New and old politics discussed at the MacGill Summer School

First full day of political panels discussed in special edition of The Irish Times politics podcast


Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó’Broin introduced a note of discord to the otherwise cosy proceedings early on on the first full day of political panels at the 2016 MacGill Summer School.

Beginning by saying he had always seen MacGill as the establishment talking to itself, he went on to criticise the parameters of the panel he was participating in.

You can hear his remarks, later gently rebuffed by MacGill organiser Joe Mulholland, in a special edition of The Irish Times politics podcast.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny devoted his speech to his Government’s response to Brexit, and went as far as mulling the possibility of a future border poll. He ended on a defiant note, saying he intends on implementing his programme for Government - also highlighted in the podcast.


Ireland is still overwhelmingly centrist in its political views, according to figures presented by political scientist Theresa Reidy of UCC.

Despite that, the downward trend in total votes for traditional parties Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour has been recognisable since the 1970s, she said, perhaps begging the question why that trend’s continuation in 2016 came as a surprise to many.

Former Fianna Fáil minister Noel Dempsey also suggested centrist politics were not going away in his talk on the necessity for “New Politics”, saying Irish voters will always return to the centre - if they trust their politicians.

He took a swipe at ministers ignoring their Attorney General’s advice, calling it an example of “old politics”.

Theresa Reidy also presented figures showing a major shift in attitudes to abortion in Ireland. You can hear that part of her address in our podcast.

She also visited the Inside Politics podcast studio in the Highland Hotel to discuss the day’s events with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and former Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery.