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  • How much do we really know?

    January 25, 2010 @ 1:27 pm | by Harry McGee

    Brian Cowen’s interview with Gerald Barry on This Week yesterday was one of his better ones. (You can listen to the full interview here.)

    He warmed up towards the end and you could hear from his voice that he was speaking in real English and probably gesticulating his arms, and not just coming out the civil servant nonsense lingo.

    (more…)

  • The Persil Brigade – Whiter than Whitewash

    January 20, 2010 @ 2:41 pm | by Harry McGee

    So much for a hybrid inquiry. What a cop out. No political accountability. No public hearings. No compromise to the Greens whatsoever despite their bleatings. The only thing that’s hybrid about this is that the Greens went looking from a compromise and Fianna Fail compromised by giving them a process with even greater degrees of opacity than a straightforward Commission of Investigation. (more…)

  • Hybrid equals what?

    January 19, 2010 @ 1:09 pm | by Harry McGee

    Dan Boyle said he hopes to see a hybrid inquiry emerging from this morning’s Cabinet meeting.

    Hybrid equals compromise equals fudge equals watered-down mish mash.

    Attorney General Paul Gallagher has supposedly given advice that a Commission of Investigation is the safest option. I would not be surprised if that is the case, given Gallagher’s very conservative approach to date (judges’ pay being the most signal example).

    (And while I’m at it, wouldn’t it be great if we knew the identity of the 30 beaks who have not ponied up any contribution to the pension levy).

    Brian Lenihan will outline the scheme in the Dail today.

    Will the opposition attack? Are Kilkenny the best hurling team in the country? Is Brian O’Driscoll the best centre in the world?

    Of course, of course, of course.

    And they will be right. A Commission of Investigation is a classic bit of rope-a-dope strategy, string it along as long as possible, with nothing emerging this side of the next General Election.

  • Banking Inquiry

    January 18, 2010 @ 10:57 am | by Harry McGee

    There will be a kerfuffle when the Dáil returns tomorrow over the form that the banking inquiry will take. Most of the Sunday broadsheets yesterday reported that the Government is veering towards a Commission of Inquiry model.

    That’s the concept brought to us by Michael McDowell. And, yes, it works. Very well too. But it’s not a utility player as such. It’s specialist. Worked well with Judge Murphy’s investigation of how the Dublin Archdioices responded to allegations of clerical sex abuse. It was also effective when inquiring into the death of a young boy whilst in custody.

    (more…)

  • Cowen and Brown in Downing Street

    January 14, 2010 @ 4:20 pm | by Harry McGee

    Both leaders have issued a statement in the past 45 minutes. It’s exactly as you would expect. It goes along the lines of many previous statements, with minor variations.

    The gist. The following are the important issues: devolution of policing and justice powers.

    Despite all the tragifarce of the past month, despite the serious fever that the Iris Virus has caused to the DUP, we believe it’s still achievable. What’s more we believe it’s desirable. The date on the Good Friday Agreement ticket has not yet expired.  Like parents, we have finally emptied the nest, but you always know we are there at the end of a telephone.

    (more…)

  • A note on the fine balance between criticism and a whinge

    January 12, 2010 @ 12:41 pm | by Harry McGee

    There was a lovely sentence in John Waters column last week (read the whole article here) that really caught my eye. He was extolling the virtues of Radio 4 by means of moaning about the consant moaning we hear on RTE (and in most of the newspapers).

    Here’s the snatch of column that I liked:

    (more…)

  • 2010 – Predictions for a political year

    January 4, 2010 @ 1:11 pm | by Harry McGee

    The narrative of Joe Lee’s amazing social history of Ireland brought us from 1912 to 1985. The last chapter, Perspectives, lambasted the policy, moral and economic failures that had beset us. Lee compared Ireland unfavourably to Denmark, a country with a similar population, that had prospered during the decades that Ireland had stagnated.

    (more…)

  • A Christmas Snarl

    December 23, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | by Harry McGee

    In the spirit of the season, Vincent Browne delves into his sack and delivers a present to all political correspondents.

    Oh, wow, it’s a splatter bomb, lobbed right into the middle of the pol corrs room.

    You can read Vincent Brownes ‘s column here.

    (more…)

  • Copenhagen – Day 11

    December 17, 2009 @ 10:26 pm | by Harry McGee

    Day 11 of the conference here in Copenhagen and early this morning it seemed that the 193 countries were as close to a deal as they had been on Day 1.

    In one sense, when you think about it, the ambition of this conference is audacity itself. (more…)

  • No Joking Matter at the Taoiseach’s Dinner

    December 5, 2009 @ 12:40 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The Taoiseach’s annual Cairde Fáil dinner of party supporters last night at Citywest was a low-key affair. Any journalists hoping for a row were disappointed. Brian Cowen’s speech was in the “Workmanlike” category: we shall soldier on, pay talks or no pay talks. (more…)

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