Why #GE16 has turned me off

No longer do the youth of Ireland vote for party principles, or familiar faces. We do not want our national parliamentarians working on potholes or medical cards, we want them working on making the weak in our society strong. We live in a world so much bigger than Fianna Fail or Fine Gael. We have realised that the political party system is designed to bury social issues, not address them.

First Leaders’ Debate – Where to now?

Politics is a fast moving game. What’s done is done and you have to get on with things. After the first Leaders Debate last night on TV3/Newstalk all the Leaders will be pondering what they have to do for the next time. Here at Slugger O’Toole we are all heart. So Johnny Fallon has some free and open advice for each of the participants.

#GE16 – The Goss 1

ROUND UP: As #GE16 gets underway we will be taking a look behind the scenes to keep you informed of the latest gossip from the front lines. If you have views or news from your constituency then email johnny@sluggerotoole.com and keep us posted. All the gossip doing the rounds on the ground from #GE16.

PJ Mara – The Man, The Myth, and my Friend…

END OF AN ERA: PJ Mara is probably the greatest political strategist the country has known. This won him many friends and just as many enemies. While others puffed and panted and hovered around a subject, PJ walked in and cut through all the guff to tell it like it is and make people face reality.

RTE Investigates – Facing up to corruption

STAND UP: Politicians can and must grasp this nettle. For too long they have feared repercussions. No more can that be accepted. We need a range of censures. One might possibly overlook a declaration of something very small on a form and be reprimanded in a small way, but a conflict of interest should carry a severe penalty.

Ireland – The Politics of Consensus and Spoof

Is consensus politics choking the Irish system? Freelance journalist Feidhlim ó Broin makes the case Much has been written recently about the steady rise of Fine Gael in the polls, about the nascent economic recovery and the construction of a new, progressive, modern Republic. Indeed, Ireland’s political parties illustrate this new order. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein and the Labour Party agree on practically everything from European Policy, the need for a more liberal abortion regime, to crime and … Read more

Monaghan FF candidates all withdraw from convention

Fianna Fail has been having a lot of problems with conventions to select General Election candidates. Normally the problems arise because someone doesn’t get on the ticket. However, the exact opposite will be the case in Monaghan tonight. While Fianna Fail will select a Cavan based candidate the strategy is also to have a running mate in Monaghan. This makes electoral sense for the party. However as of today, the three names in the running, Robbie Gallagher, Seamus Coyle and … Read more

Election Rule #2: Don’t get backed into a corner

DEFENSIVE POLITICS: Politicians find themselves forced to take a course of action and then can regret it later. It happens on policy, resignations, constituency matters. It’s now a long way until Spring and there is a danger that if people are giving credit for the budget now, it will be but a memory in the new year.

Election Rule #1: Don’t get carried away

As part of a new weekly series I will be looking at the lessons we should learn in politics from now until the election. Lesson one is – Never get carried away. Politics is a game of hype. You tell everyone you are absolutely brilliant and that the other fella is the devil incarnate. Due to the adversarial nature of politics there is often little room for being fair. This is all well and good but you must be careful … Read more

Denis O’Brien, Dail Privilege & why it’s not so simple

The thorny question of parliamentary privilege has been bubbling away under the surface in Ireland for a while now. It is set to become a central issue with the case Denis O’Brien will take against an Oireachtas committee. At the moment it is very ‘street cred’ to oppose anything O’Brien says or does. However, we do perhaps need to be a little bit more careful about the conclusions we jump to. Whether or not we like the individuals involved or … Read more

Eleanor Leahy’s fight for answers for her son

Eleanor Leahy gave birth to baby Nathan on the 12th of January 2003 in Erinville . At a tiny 725g Nathan was thought unlikely to survive. He was, however, a fighter and he clung with all his strength to life and did indeed survive. Sadly, despite this achievement the story is no fairytale. His mother has spent years looking for answers. Being born so premature, disability was a promise from birth. A kind of ‘best case’ scenario. Eleanor had suffered … Read more

Budget 2016 – Early details from RTE…Who leaked?

On the eve of Budget 2016 RTE political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald has revealed some of what can be expected. This may cause some questions as to who is providing the information and for what reason. It would not be the first time it happened, an early press release caused a resignation from government 20 years ago. Whatever the story behind the early leaking of the Budget to RTE there is no doubt but that it contains quite a few goodies … Read more

Budget 2016 – A resolution to mortgage crisis

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation says that Budget 2016 can help the 10,000 families currently facing repossession in Ireland. Today he outlines a simple but efficient means by with Finance Minister Michael Noonan could resolve this issue and prevent another surge in Ireland’s homelessness figures. For the past six years banks have not trusted those in arrears and have used the unproven propaganda that large numbers of borrowers are not engaging with banks and that many can … Read more

Budget 2016 – An opportunity to ease the burden on squeezed classes

In the second of our pre-budget series Longford based Independent Barbara Smyth outlines the measures she would like to see implemented to improve the lot of families and those struggling to cope. Continuous austerity budgets have seen the most vulnerable people in our society having to accept being the ones who suffered the most. Working families who have always paid their taxes, mortgages, bills and contributed most to our economy have seen their disposable income vanish. Child poverty increased while … Read more

Budget 2016- Simple changes could make a big difference to families

Louise Bayliss is a mother and works with the SPARK campaign and Equality Budgeting Campaign. In the first of our new series looking at what Budget 2016 should do, she outlines exactly what Minister Noonan needs to address in order to meet the needs of many struggling families. In Budget 2012, Minister Burton, as Minister for Social Protection, announced wide ranging reforms to the One Parent Family Payment. These changes have now been fully implemented and the effect on the … Read more

The Fallacy of the National Interest

If you follow politics at all you will be familiar with the mantra of ‘putting country before party’. At first glance it’s an eminently sensible and patriotic approach. However, I contend that this has become a dangerous and anti democratic device. It is a school of thought used to suck politicians in and it is anything but good for a country. Many people support political parties. If you do it is generally for a host of reasons. You might believe … Read more