Politics »

  • McDaid Issues Not-so-Veiled Threat

    November 30, 2009 @ 2:10 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    As Bill Shankly said about soccer, politics in Donegal is not a life-and-death matter – it’s much more serious than that. Judging from reports, Niall Blaney’s supporters beat rival TD Dr Jim McDaid’s backers to the punch in some internal party elections. The effects could be shattering for the rest of Fianna Fáil. (more…)

  • Dubai Rocks the World

    November 28, 2009 @ 12:40 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Just when it looked as if the international financial system was finding its feet, suddenly there is a crisis in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, where a Government-owned property development company Dubai World has asked for a moratorium on its debts.

    YouTube Preview Image


  • A Sin Against the Holy Ghost

    November 27, 2009 @ 11:09 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton said. The Catholic Church in this country had virtually absolute power (no, remove the word “virtually”) and the results can be seen in the grim pages of the Murphy Report and its predecessors.


  • A Good Job in the Bank

    November 26, 2009 @ 11:03 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    From time to time when I was growing up, someone would sidle over to me and say, “Get yourself a good job in the bank, boy.” I ignored the advice and went off studying poetry and novels, my head full of Wordsworth and Keats and Shelley and D.H. Lawrence and Henry James and Ford Madox Ford.


  • Curses and Distractions

    November 25, 2009 @ 11:07 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Bad as the floods are, if I were in government I would welcome them as a distraction from the economy and the Budget. Likewise the glorious controversy over Thierry Henry’s hand-ball.


  • The Rain it Raineth Every Day

    November 23, 2009 @ 10:49 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    When we started this blog, I didn’t think I’d find myself writing about the weather. But it never ceases to amaze me that, with all our experience of rain, we still can’t cope with it. Am I dreaming, or are people really queuing for drinking-water? And our roads and bridges in some areas are in a “state of chassis”. Time to revive the old political promise about draining the Shannon.

  • The Day That’s In It

    November 22, 2009 @ 2:32 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Listening to Sunday Miscellany this morning, I was reminded by contributor Kevin McAleer (the comedian, I take it) that this is the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on 22 November 1963.

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  • Who said sports and politics don’t mix?

    November 19, 2009 @ 5:12 pm | by Harry McGee

    I was in Buswell’s Hotel a short while ago covering a press conference. As I left by the lobby I spotted Dermot Ahern, the Minister for Justice, being interviewed by a camera crew.

    What was it about? Bankers’ pay? Tiger kidnappings? The Criminal Justice Bill that’s going through the House at the moment?


  • The Feral Media

    @ 12:16 pm | by Harry McGee

    The phrase is Tony Blair’s and I love it. I came across it last night when reading a piece that the Labour MP for Sunderland (and former journalist of Birmingham 6 fame) Chris Mullin wrote for the Guardian. You can read the article in its entirety here.

    I know, I know. Before your fingers start thumping the keyboards in the Comment section,  I’ll be the first to admit that there was no better man for manipulating the British media than the sooon-to-be failed candidate for President of the European Council.


  • Still no pain, but at least some gain for Sinn Féin

    November 17, 2009 @ 12:09 pm | by Harry McGee

    As long as I have been writing about politics, there was one comedy show we all looked forward to every year.

    It was the Sinn Fein pre-Budget Outlook.

    The party would present its figures and we would hold our bellies as its TDs conveyed such fiction and fantasy with such straight, serious and po-faces.


  • Second Ghost Bike

    November 16, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | by Harry McGee

    Somebody (thank you Thomas)  emailed me this morning to say that a second ghost bike has been erected at Aston Quay, near the spot where Karl McGee was killed last September.

    The South Quays are beyond awful for cyclists. No proper cycling lane. Squeezed in between buses and cars. With cars accelerating as if it’s Brands Hatch and not a (supposedly people friendly) city centre. See the discussion following his death on boards.ie here.

    And here is the link to the original article I wrote when the first ghost bike came to Dublin.

  • Hard Lessons from the Decade of Greed

    November 14, 2009 @ 12:50 pm | by Harry McGee

    We have seen the full gamut of clever debating techniques employed by politicians and unions in the past couple of weeks.

    There is deflection:

    Such as: “People are missing the real scandal here. The Government is bailing out the banks while squeezing public services.”


  • Henry Kelly looks back on the Troubles

    November 13, 2009 @ 11:09 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Before it fades into the farther recesses of public memory, here’s a thought-provoking piece from our Op-Ed pages by a former Northern Editor of The Irish Times, who went on to become a prominent broadcaster in Britain, Henry Kelly.

    Mourning the dead in Omagh, 22 August 1998 (Photograph by Alan Betson) 


  • If it worked for Bertie…

    November 12, 2009 @ 5:21 pm | by Harry McGee
    YouTube Preview Image

    Fianna Fail have recently started doing these video diaries, showcasing the musings of Brian Cowen on the economy, Europe…. and Ireland’s chances against France in Croke Park on Saturday night. (more…)

  • Death Penalty for Mass Killer

    November 11, 2009 @ 11:08 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Listening to the details of the execution by lethal injection of John Allen Muhammad, the Washington Sniper, was pretty horrific. Thank goodness we have gotten rid of the death penalty here and that it is part of the conditions of membership of the European Union: definitely a plus, whatever way you voted on Lisbon.

    Van removes the body after execution


  • The Frontline Heckler

    November 10, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | by Harry McGee


    I wrote the story on Alan O’Brien’s dramatic outburst against Pat Kenny on RTE’s Frontline last night. When I checked late last night, the Tweeters and bloggers were also quick of the mark and out in force.

    The first sight readers of the paper saw of the story was this morning or at 1am if they read it online. But the point is that that it was written up in six minutes, quicker than your average blog. I had time only to tap the stuff out, certainly little time to reflect on the quality of the intervention. (more…)

  • Unions losing traction?

    November 9, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | by Harry McGee

    Was it just me or have comments from the various unions and ICTU over the past 24 hours suggest that they are now prepared to seek a deal rather than return to the streets, because they are worried that their mass protests will be shorn of the mass bit? (more…)

  • Playing with Fire?

    November 8, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It looks like the present writer is not the only one who doesn’t appreciate the “context” of  certain jokes relating to the Nazi period in history (see my previous posts about Tommy Tiernan.) Author Peter Sheridan had a difficulty with the production called Adolf  in the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin.  Herewith the report in The Irish Times by Arts Editor Deirdre Falvey:-


    Peter Sheridan: Is it all a question of
    context? (Photograph by Frank Miller)


  • Good news for Obama at last

    @ 1:59 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    After a rocky few months, at last a positive political development for US President Barack Obama with the approval of his healthcare legislation by the House of Representatives. Read this report that surfaced in my mailbox.


     Outlook is healthier for Barack and Michelle (Photograph by Cyril Byrne)


  • The Numbers Game

    November 7, 2009 @ 6:45 pm | by Harry McGee

    Everytime there is a demonstration in the country, the authorities experiences crowd trouble.

    No, not violence, though we occasionally see that rearing its ugly head – remember the misbeggoten Free Ulster riot some years ago. (more…)

  • Afghan War Looks More and More Futile

    November 6, 2009 @ 11:11 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The parallels between Afghanistan and the Vietnam War are growing all the time. Like LBJ, President Obama has a strong interest in social issues and clearly wants to make life better for ordinary citizens of the US. But Lyndon Baines Johnson was brought down by a slow-burning military disaster in a faraway land.


    Broken man: LBJ listens to Richard Nixon inaugural speech, January 1969


  • Country and Western Alliance 2009?

    November 5, 2009 @ 8:55 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    A certain wag who worked on this newspaper some years back used to have great fun at the expense of aspirants for jobs and promotions that appeared “on the board”. His favourite witticism was to tell one or other of the hopefuls: “Your name is being linked to the job – people are saying ‘Joe Bloggs hasn’t a chance of getting that one’.” Oh the cruelty of it! But it was very funny and the victim usually laughed as well.


     Tá Máire réidh! (more…)

  • Morning Ireland and 25 years

    @ 2:55 pm | by Harry McGee


    I  watched Morning Ireland for the first time ever this morning, on its webcast (to find it check it out here). It was great to see David Hanly and great to hear that voice like a door on a rusted hinge. RTE peoople describe the above pic of Hanly and a gloriously moustachioed David Davin-Power as the ‘Starsky and Hutch’ pic.

    I toiled in the Morning Ireland vineyard for over two years between the Spring of 1996 and May of 2008 when I moved back to the rediscover the glory of the printed word, with The Sunday Tribune.

    It was a great place to gain experience of broadcast news and current affairs (my contacts book was bulging afterwards)  though I never really felt as comfortable on air as I did in print.

    Still they were great years. My own two highlights were a series that Niall Martin and I did on life inside the walls of Mountjoy Prison in 1996,  and a series I did from Sarejevo and Bosnia for Christmas 1997.

     Workwise, it was a hard hard station. As a reporter, you worked the four o’clock shift which meant you were working until midnight, but often well after that. The other shift started at 6am. It was unrelenting. The pressure of turning around the programme each night  was constant. We had a team of four or five working to fill an hour and a half (as it was then).

    My very first day on the job was traumatic to put it mildly. I was handed a Sony professional recorder and a microphone and sent out to Castleknock to interview the then Taoiseach John Bruton. He was canvassing with then Fine Gael candidate Tom Morrissey for the Dublin West by-election. My orders were to ask him nothing about the by-election but to quiz him on the Northern peace process which was going through a particularly sensitive phase at the time.

    I located Bruton in a suburban housing estate. Initially, he was glad to do the interview and was all cheer and bonhomie. But when he realised that I was going to ask nothing about Morrissey or about Dublin West, his countenance darkened and he whispered through gritted teetch (and I took it he was no longer in a mood of bonhomie)  that he didn’t want to answer questions about the North and why didn’t I ask about Tom Morrissey?

    I was nervous to begin with. I had never used a professional tape recorder before and didn’t have a clue about adjusting the levels. And because I had come from slovenly newspapers I didn’t have the crispness of question delivery that broadcasters all acquire. And Bruton’s countenance was that of a man who has just realised his pocket has been picked. I stammer and stuttered out the questions, none of which made much sense.

    It was terrible. The questons were terrible. The levels were wrong. Bruton was so annoyed that he spoke in a barely audible voice. You could hardly make out what he said. I winced listening back to my own shambolic questions.

    Fine Gael contacted the Morning Ireland editor as I drove back to complain about him being ambused in that fashion by a nincompoop who asked nonsensical question. The editor on duty that night decided to drop the item, a decision he would have made anyway upon listening to the unbroadcastable quality of the tape.

    The following morning, another programme editor Donal Byrne asked me how I had got on. I told him my sorry tale and how intimidated I had been by both the technology and the glowering presence of Bruton.

    “It was like being thrown in the deep end,” I said.

    Byrne replied quick as a shot. “You learn very quickly in this game that there is no such thing as a shallow end.”

    I have never forgotten those words.

    Happy Birthday, Morning Ireland.

  • Audacity of opposition versus timidity of Government

    November 4, 2009 @ 10:42 am | by Harry McGee

    Arianna Huffington in her eponymous blog  poses a great question in her headline on Obama’s first year in office (see the blog posting here).

    “Obama One Year  Later,” it reads. “The Audacity of Winning vs. The Timidity of Governing”.


  • Predicting our future while forgetting our past

    November 3, 2009 @ 11:54 am | by Harry McGee

    David McWilliams

    I remember distinctly the moment when the potential of the internet for journalists became clear. I was standing in the newsroom in RTE circa 1996 as a colleague scoped a newly-acquired internet-enabled computer.

    He checked out the search engine du jour of the time (altavista) and turned round to me with an excited look on his face.


  • Chewing the Fat (and the Garlic) with Brian Lenihan

    November 2, 2009 @ 11:40 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Oh to be David McWilliams’s publisher! The publicity he has generated with the extracts from his new book, carried in the weekend newspapers, will have it flying off the shelves. As they say down the country, “He has a great welcome for himself.” Or alternatively: If  you don’t blow your own trumpet, nobody else will blow it for you.”

    Chewing garlic ensures they stand well back! (Photograph by Bryan O’Brien) (more…)

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