Politics podcast: June 30th
In this week’s Politics podcast Harry McGee talks to Fiach Mac Conghail, director of the Abbey Theatre, newly appointed Senator and chairman of We the Citizens.
It is impossible to convey to those who weren’t around at the time the sheer excitement of Mrs Gaj’s Restaurant in the Dublin of a previous era. It was a gathering-place for the left and liberals in an Ireland that was still a cold house for adherents of such views.
I note that the Chinese human rights campaigner, Hu Jia, has been released although still seemingly under restrictions. Three years ago, the present writer was covering a trip to China by then-Taoiseach, Brian Cowen. Our governments have not been exactly to the fore in campaigning for human rights in China but even Ireland could not ignore the Hu Jia case. In order to get the following piece done, I had to pass up a rare opportunity to visit the Great Wall. But … no regrets!
I know my many friends will be deeply disappointed but unfortunately I have to break the news to them today that I shall not be running for the high office of Uachtarán na hÉireann. I am painfully aware of the unvarnished reality that this will come as a further blow to national morale at a time when Mother Ireland faces great peril.
It may be the longest political honeymoon in recent decades but, after 100 days, it is well and truly over. From now until the next Budget in December, the Fine Gael-Labour coalition will be coming under increasingly severe scrutiny from media and public alike. As suggested in this piece on the mood in the Labour Party, which I wrote for the print edition of the paper recently, one of the Government’s problems may be that its majority is too big.
Sadly, I was unable to attend the funeral of Brian Lenihan since I was in Cork, covering the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. However, I would not like to let the opportunity pass wihout paying tribute to his courtesy, civility, eloquence and intelligence.
In this week’s Politics podcast Harry McGee talks to Labour Party Louth TD Ged Nash and Fine Gael Cork South Central TD Jerry Buttimer about the importance of social media in politics, the race for the Áras and the interest rate on the bailout package.
The race for the Presidency is intensely interesting, albeit at times a little silly. For some, it seems to be almost a vanity project, whereas this is a very serious political office. By way of a reminder, herewith the main section from the English-language version of Bunreacht na hÉireann/The Irish Constituion on the Presidency dealing with this topic. There’s more at http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/upload/static/256.htm
The way things are going, it will soon be easier to list the people who are NOT running for President than those who are. There is a bit of a race on for the Fine Gael nomination and Labour will be deciding on Sunday June 19th.