Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Sinn Fein’s last minute pull out from cross party ‘St Pats For All’ video

Mon 3 March 2014, 7:30am

Tweet Controversy in the Republic last night over an old problem for Sinn Fein, the St Patricks Day celebrations in the US, where they do things a little lot differently than they do at home. It concerns this cross parliamentary video supporting the St Pat’s For All parade in NYC… In the US, New York […] more »

Seanad Eireann and an emerging consensus for functional reform?

Thu 10 October 2013, 3:08pm

Tweet So Seanad Reform? It hasn’t gone away you know!  Leaving aside the practical consideration of how progress is to be made in discussions of future reforms, on the table are five ‘live’ documents: Senator John Crowne’s Seanad Electoral Reform Bill 2013 (March 2013) Senators Zappone and Quinn’s Seanad Bill 2013 (published on behalf of […] more »

Abortion legislation: Enda Kenny has much to learn about party management when in government…

Mon 8 July 2013, 4:59pm

Tweet One of the tricks of remaining in government under the STV PR system (only used in Ireland and Malta national parliaments) is not a applying the party whip too hard across the board… ‘Gene pool Fianna Fail’ is a term that once rolled off the RTE tongue to describe those who’d lost the party whip but […] more »

The fragile balancing act of the “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill”

Thu 20 June 2013, 12:59pm

Tweet Right now the Dail is sitting on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. To say it has been controversial is an understatement. On Tuesday in a powerful essay (it sounded more like an address to the nation [MP3]), Olivia O’Leary called it “a distorted law” under which men and women would be far […] more »

#Oirsocm: TD’s and Senators must first get past the blind panic induced by the word ‘Internet’…

Wed 6 March 2013, 9:51pm

Tweet The Irish Twitterati are killing themselves with laughter after an indifferent to extremely poor performance by a Joint Committee of the Oireachtas tasked with looking at social media this morning. But in fact, unlike Stormont’s more self indulgent performance (who have no powers in this regard), the lack of understanding amongst TDs and Senators (who […] more »

#Magdalene: “When the dark midnight is over, watch for the breaking of day”

Wed 20 February 2013, 11:44am

Tweet Enda Kenny may not be the most whip smart of politicians. He was for the longest time a whipping boy for the ward boss Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern… Most of the comment afterwards was unmanned, literally, by what is a very direct communication with the women themselves… he welcomes them to your parliament, your Dail […] more »

IBRC: “This bill when finally enacted will bring to an end…. erm..”

Thu 7 February 2013, 12:43pm

Tweet So what happened last night? Well, not the end of history, as the Tanaiste part billed it), but what’s left of Anglo Irish Bank (IRBC) was wound up. That required a piece of primary legislation to close it down and transfer its assets (and, more importantly, liabilities) to NAMA. Why? Because IBRC’s debt was […] more »

Who needs the Oireachtas to read your bills when you have a fireproof majority?

Tue 8 January 2013, 3:34pm

Tweet So, what else is happening in the world? Well, at risk of breaching copyright of the Irish Times, I’m going to presume their tolerance and quote a chunk of Fintan O’Toole’s column today which measures just how much of a role the opposition played in getting through the bill that will enable the Household […] more »

Head of the Orange Order addresses the upper house in Dublin…

Tue 3 July 2012, 12:02pm

Tweet So two paint attacks on Orange Halls, and a bit of post parade clashing down near the Short Strand might be considered fairly mild compared to how the Orange marching season has been ‘celebrated’ in past years. But today the head of the Orange Drew Nelson is in Dublin to address that most gentile […] more »

#VinB on hypocrisy of parliamentarians who seek (for once) to enforce the law…

Wed 13 June 2012, 1:15pm

Tweet Had to do a double take on this one this morning… Vincent Browne points to a number of cases that have passed unnoticed under the gaze of Dublin’s parliamentarians (not least Ireland’s wealthiest media tycoon, Denis O’Brien).. While Vincent is not arguing that Mick the Builder (from Wexford) is not deserving of censure, …in […] more »

Does SIPO consider a ‘donation in kind’ an exception to the legislation?

Tue 4 October 2011, 12:04pm

Tweet The specific legislation concerned is in Section 24 of the Electoral Act of 1997 (which is well worth going through to test the argument below for loopholes). Sitting snugly under Faduda’s story on Martin McGuinness there is another one which details a prima facae case that Senator David Cullinane may be breach of the donation […] more »

“Sinn Féin are increasingly looking acceptable and palatable”

Thu 30 June 2011, 12:43pm

Tweet Nice piece of analysis from Cormac O’Cuilan at on Sinn Fein’s progress in the southern polity: In the soup that is the 31st Dáil; Sinn Féin are increasingly looking acceptable and palatable. Side by side with Fianna Fáil and the Independents, their credibility as opposition (and future government) parliamentarians, is on the rise. […] more »

Uachtarán na hÉireann – SF within a whisker of nominating a Presidential candidate?

Thu 28 April 2011, 8:50pm

Tweet With 14 TDs and now 3 Senators elect, SF are a mere 3 Oireachtas votes away from the magically twenty that permits nomination to the 26 county Presidential election. I have no idea if SF would want to face a heavily tipped David Norris but two things do stand out; -just how much some […] more »

Seanad 2011

Wed 27 April 2011, 12:07am

Tweet This election to the Seanad is bound to take some time, feel free to update via comments The five-seat Cultural and Educational panel is the first to return – FF drop one seat and Lab Gain. FG – Deidre Clune FF – Labhrás Ó Murchú FF – Thomas Byrne Labour – John Gilroy Fine […] more »

19 Independents meet to form a technical group.

Wed 2 March 2011, 2:07pm

Tweet Fascinating little scenario developing here. You can only have one technical group (which affords speaking rights) amongst otherwise unaffliated groups and individual TDs in Dail Eireann. So all 19 Independents are meeting this evening to see if they can agree to form one. It’s thought that as many as 16 or as few as 11 […] more »

Getting beyond the likely ‘gridlock’ of future reforms…

Mon 10 January 2011, 5:50pm

Tweet There’s a canny piece from John Rogers, Labour’s former Attorney General from 1984-87 in the Irish Times today on the subject of political reform in the Republic. He starts by usefully restating the bleedin’ obvious on why the much researched and much debated Seanad reforms never happened: The truth probably is that none of […] more »

McAleese and ECB worried about legality of hastily assembled Bank Bill

Mon 20 December 2010, 11:45am

Tweet It seems the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill is in trouble. Not only does the President think it could be constitutionally questionable, the ECB is expressing the same concern. The key clause is in section 53 of the bill: The provisions of this Act, and any order made under this Act, have effect notwithstanding anything […] more »

Power now lies in hands of Lowry and Healy-Rae…

Wed 3 November 2010, 10:19am

Tweet There is a part you that has to admire the cool with with Biffo and the boys of Fianna Fail take their knocks. Having your whole fiscal policy dictated by a virtual committee of the ECB and the IMF and fronting the toughest budget in many generations takes some doing. But as Miriam Lord […] more »

Ireland’s colonial legacy: “A parliament collapsed into a government”

Mon 1 November 2010, 4:03pm

Tweet Re-Reading the history of Irish Republicanism through the prism of Martin Frampton’s latest book, Legion of the Rearguard I’m struck mostly by its pervasively inchoate character. That’s an impression substantiated not just by the strong historical tradition of dissent, but even by apparently random action of that most constitutionalist of Taoisigh, John A Costello […] more »

FitzGerald: How a single Dail debate lanced a bloody boil of war…

Mon 21 June 2010, 1:52pm

Tweet I’ve no doubt we will hear more about the way we need to handle the past in the wake of the publication of last week’s publication of the Saville report. But I was struck by Garrett FitzGerald’s piece in Saturday’s Irish Times which subtly highlights the difference – at the time of the shootings […] more »

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