Irish budget: Slugger’s live blog…

We’re kicking off shortly, if you want to follow the live stream from the Dail Chamber, you can pick it here, or at … Come in and join the conversation… I’ll be dipping in and out, but Mack should be around for most of the proceedings…

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  • John Ó Néill

    To avoid unnecessary duplication of threads today, I’ve just adding this here.

    The backdrop of today’s budget is probably as miserable as you can get. In the broad sweep of history, it may be hard to capture the physical and spiritual chill surrounding todays proceedings in the chamber. There is the persistently irritating weather, with the snow now turned to deep ice on secondary roads where the local authorities haven’t really been able to grit (or can’t afford to). The initial novelty of snow (and closures of schools and work) has long worn off.
    Politically, the government are hitting record lows in the ratings, record highs in borrowing and represent the paradox of a lame duck condemning their successors to impotence. Then there was the eve-of-budget spectacle of the two ambassadors for Irish pork barrel politics, Michael Lowry and Jackie-Healy Rae, flaunting their electoral prospects for all they could finally wring out of it.
    Then, there is/was the whole loss of sovereignty thing – real or spun.
    For those to whom it is a major concern – Mary Byrne was even knocked out of the X-Factor at the weekend. And for those of a parochial bent in the south – Irish golfer of the year is clearly Graeme McDowell just edging out Rory McIlroy.
    But if you want a last vestige of misery to be wrung out of today – it appears that the Bank of Ireland is having a systems failure of sorts.
    That wouldn’t be a run on the bank then (just to remind everyone of what happens if the budget happens to fail)…

  • John

    The Irish Republic of Brussels.

  • Mack

    Also John the water is being turned off in Dublin this evening!

  • John Ó Néill

    Yeah – I’d forgot to add that. I’d should also mentioned that the OECD have dropped the republic’s literacy rate for 15 year olds from 5th down to 12th (out of the 39 countries it surveys). So there goes the knowledge economy quietly into the night. A bit esoteric, maybe, but wait for the knowledge economy being referenced during the budget and have a quiet laugh to yourself.

  • John Ó Néill

    Those two post obviously show that an OECD survey of literacy rates amongst thirtysomethings would also show a steep decline (and the failure of the returned preview on slugger, ahem).

  • In an aside –all Bank of Ireland phone and internet banking is down. ATM are operating with severe limit restrictions. BoI cliam it is an IT glitch –but glitches do not operate on side of caution by regulating a lower withdrawl limit.

  • Greenflag

    Pearse Doherty SF on his feet lambasting the Government . The Donegal man is ripping them apart -Goodbye Gerry- SF has a new leader in the Republic . Refreshing to hear real opposition in the Dail as opposed to FG & Labour poncing about saying nothing .

    Doherty certainly shows up Labour’s Burton as ‘opposition’ although she did well enough .

  • Mark McGregor

    Doherty’s speech has been one of the most passionate, imformed and articulate contributions I’ve seen in the Dail.

    SF must regret not having got him in last time.

    I’ll be posting it as a stand alone blog on politics done near perfect once it is available.

    Amazing stuff, well done Doherty. SF – you just got a shit load of votes based on this man alone – start the cloning programme.

  • RepublicanStones

    You gotta love the way he keeps referring to minister Coughlan as ‘Mary’ – particularly liked when he advised her to keep her mouth shut.

  • G O’Neill

    Pearse Doherty’s speech is a game changing moment in the history of this island- amazing stuff!

    What a contrast to the old and stale politics of Burton and Noonan.

    Wonder how much RTE will show of it…very little I’m sure

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Gotta say that Doherty has been amazing.
    Clearly he has rattled Mary Coughlans cage and really the Leass Ceann Comhairle should have booted her out of the Chamber.
    He was still speaking on RTE2 while RTE1 was showing a news item about the Budget debate. It excluded any mention of Doherty which on this bulletin while he was still speaking was fair enough.
    It will be interesting to see how or if his contribution will be treated on the 9pm News.
    Or indeed if his performance merits him getting on Prime Time.
    Certainly there would be a lot of people who would have felt that he was talking for them. Of course his very “new-ness” was a plus.
    There was of course ot much wrong with Michael Noonans contribution. Or John Burtons. Until Doherty opened his mouth and blew them out of the water.
    FG dont have much to worry about SF.
    FF certainly do.
    Of course those intrepid Dáil sketchwriters will ride to the rescue of the status quo.

  • pippakin

    Pearse Doherty did amazingly well and everyone can see how badly SF and the Dail need him! I wish he were Labour. I will be watching closely to see if Labour get anywhere near and if the other candidates of SF are of a similar calibre.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    G O’Neill,
    I did not see your contribution before I posted my own but while I agree with the general thrust of your contribution, you are probably over-stating the impact Dohertys speech will make.
    But thats the thing about “impact”. We cant actually judge it ……yet.
    Certainly its a bigger impact than Miriam Lord referring to “Jarry” in a juvenile way.
    Certainly if theres a general election held in the next half hour……SF wins by a landslide.
    Unfortunately for SF its not for three months.
    Yet how this speech is treated by RTE and the media is going to be interesting.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I think its fair to say that the majority of SF candidates will not be of Dohertys calibre. But neither will the majority of candidates from other parties.
    I think if I was living in Donegal South West……and regardless of whether or not Id voted for him…….I might think that the right man had won.
    I was not particuarly impressed by the Labour candidate in Donegal SW (McBrearty) and during Deputy Dohertys speech I could not help think that had Mr McBrearty been elected, his sole contribution would have been sitting behind Joan Burton nodding wisely…….and an Dáil ……and nation would have been denied hearing Deputy Doherty.

    Of course I suspect “Mary” was rattled as much because Dep Doherty is from same constituency and she is now defending the only FF seat there. If I was Deputy Coughlan, Id make sure that she has a weak running mate or no running mate because she is very very vulnerable.
    Yet Leas Ceann Comhairle Brendan Howlin was interesting.
    He let some of Dohertys stuff go because he was new boy. Likewise he was a bit too easy going with Coughlan.
    But at times as he rang the bell, he seemed to have the look of a man who was witnessing something………historical?

  • pippakin


    I thought so. Pearse Doherty looked young, energetic and very capable. He shone among the middle/old aged people surrounding him and the previous weary speeches.

    Of course he was also saying what most of us wanted to hear and even though it is easy to say with not much prospect of being in power to implement it, it was still good to hear.

    I thought it was one of those rare moments and I think others did too. I wonder thought how pleased some others in SF might be. I doubt we were the only ones who caught a glimpse of a possible future.

  • Greenflag

    ‘who was witnessing something………historical?’

    He was . Over the past decade or more I can’t recall a single occassion when any opposition TD , FG or Labour ever rattled the FF Government as much as Pearse Doherty did today .

    It will be interesting to see how RTE (Labour’s fiefdom) treat the SF TD’s upsetting of the opposition applecart .

  • G O’Neill


    I may be over stating it but I just felt the tone and thrust of the speech caught the imagination based on the twitter and threads with people now feeling comfortable voting in the 26 counties SF

    Your spot on when you say we will see the impact in the coming months and I agree with you about how intresting it will be to see RTEs coverage.

  • G O’Neill

    And I should add of course the internet reaction is a world away from politics in some parts of Ireland!

  • Greenflag

    G O’Neill,

    ‘ with people now feeling comfortable voting in the 26 counties SF’

    That could be one of the biggest outcomes of this budget i.e people in ROI feeling more comfortable about SF . We’ll see soon enough . Cowan now calling a litre of petrol a letter of petrol 🙁

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    pippakin……while many people might broadly agree with Deputy Doherty, it may be a different matter actually voting for Sinn Féin based on their obvious baggage.
    This is of course something that nationalist/republican people in the North have had to come to terms with.
    Many now vote SF who possibly could not have seen themselves doing so in the 1970s and 1980s…yes its generational as well of course.
    In the North, SF via the medium of the Irish Republican Army are held responsible for such a lot……Bloody Friday, La Mon, the Shankill bomb to name but a few. Indeed even Jean McConville as discussed as recently as yesterday.

    Can voters in the South immune from much of the horror of the 1970s support Sinn Féin. The electorate in the North have had to make difficult choices…..and suppressing conscience.
    Can the people in the South do so? Rather like the ceasefires or Good Friday agreement were milestones here……where SF came in from the cold. Is Dohertys speech of that import?
    Is it enough to forget Jean McConville (as the nationalists in West Belfast have done) in the South. Or closer to home forget Garda McCabe.?

  • pippakin


    No, its not enough to forget Jean McConville, but everyone and every party has to move forward. Pearse Doherty is untainted by the past. As far as I know he is not damaged goods.

    SF have got to rid itself of the past. Pearse Doherty is new and if he is an example of their newcomers then the future is full of opportunity.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    pippakin…this is exactly my point. It will be 20 years before we have untainted politicians.
    But for many of us, there comes a point when the Future means more than the Past.

  • pippakin


    Yes of course but with SF it is not up to them. The decision to vote for SF could be made and the past could rear its head on the voting day. it will stay that way until some of the damaged SF members retire or leave to spend more time with their families.

    P Doherty is untainted and he is good.

  • patiodev

    As the next generation realizes the future promised has already been spent their anger may resolve their conscience about SF’s tainted past. Ironically this may end the civil war politics of the south.

  • Marian Brady

    Yes I too am impressed with Pearse Doherty, he is sharp and quick thinking. I thought he was brilliant in the European election 3 years ago when he didn’t win. He was so fresh and energetic. I don’t think Sinn Fein are well supported down here but who knows, now people are so sick of the same old, same old, they might do better! I’m not sure Jarry will pull it off in Louth, it’s a stretch too far for the people of Louth..! Also I think Labour should be cosying up with Sinn Fein and not Fine Gael but they won’t because they will scare off their smoked salmon socialist voters.
    The budget was so lacking in any kind of stimulus package, I really don’t know what they can be thinking. Do they want the country to grind to a halt?
    Also all the parties look and sound so tried and without vision, its depressing!

  • Munsterview

    Pearse certainly delivered the goods this afternoon, he did Donegal and Sinn Fein proud. I see his potential on election night, after his acceptance speech the others were lackluster. Of the three there there was no doubt that the best candidate won.