Batman O’Keeffe brings back student fees

Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe has said that next year will see the re-introduction of third level student fees in the Republic. This morning’s Indo (front page) reveals the following: “Students who hope to avoid the payment by enrolling this September will not escape, as they will have to pay from 2010. The move will signal the end of the era of free college education which began with the abolition of tuition fees in the mid-1990s. The plan is likely to … Read more

With the US economy in the toilet, Obama finds a novel solution

Just thought I’d add one of many pictures of a younger Barack Obama at previous St. Patrick’s day parades. President O’bama is defiantly holding aloft what appears to be a toilet plunger. The political message is unclear: does he mean that the US economy is in the toilet and he’s going to fix it with an Irish toilet plunger? Prizes (not really) for the best caption. Obama will be hosting not one but two Paddy’s day celebrations at the White … Read more

Celtic fans “Ambassadors of Glasgow”

The Irish Times reports that Celtic fans have been lauded as ‘Ambassadors of Glasgow’ by Manchester police. Although I’m a Villa man myself, I have to say fair play to the Hoops fans (but not to the Bhoys themselves – ye were outclassed). “The Manchester authorities were desperate to avoid a repeat of the ugly scenes which marred the most recent visit by a Scottish club to the city, when a minority of Rangers fans wreaked havoc during last season’s … Read more

Irish State to invest in Banks?

As France’s pint-sized President raps Ireland on the knuckles for precipitating a flow of UK funds to Irish accounts, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has hinted that a move to invest capital in Irish banks might be on the cards at a later stage. However, Lenihan stressed that caution must be exercised with regard to the state capitalisation of banks and quoted the head of the British Bankers’ Association as saying that the UK may have “gone too far” in its … Read more

Major changes to Medical Card plan

The Government has made major changes to the Medical Card plan at a 9.45 press conference this morning. Although the over 70s will still be means-tested, income eligibility levels have been increased to 95%. Additionally, the IMO will be allowed to negotiate on behalf of GPs to help resolve the crisis. If this is enough to keep together Bertie’s band of buddies, and stem the tide of yet more resigning councillors, only time will tell. My own analysis is that … Read more

Cowen faces backbench revolt as FF TD resigns

Wicklow TD Joe Behan has resigned in protest at the Government’s decision to abolish automatic entitlement to medical cards for over 70s. Mr Behan, who was first elected to the Dáil last year, quit despite the Government’s u-turn today on the issue. Biffo now faces a revolt from inside his own party as Mattie McGrath, Jim McDaid and Tom Kitt have all expressed discontent at the Government’s decision in Tuesday’s budget. Full resignation letter here. Paddy McEvoy

Dáil approves bank guarantee scheme

The Irish Independent reports that the Dáil has approved the government’s bank guarantee scheme. “The Dail has approved the bank guarantee scheme by 114 – 22 votes. Both Labour and Sinn Fein voted against the government and accused the Finance Minister Brian Lenihan of being soft on the banks. 6 Irish and 5 foreign owned banks based here will have their loans and deposits guaranteed under the plan. In return, they will pay the Government one billion euro over the … Read more

Paddy Power pays out on Obama victory

Paddy Power is already paying out on an Obama victory..”We declare this race well and truly over and congratulate all those who backed Obama,” Power said. “Although he seemed a little out of sorts in last night’s final debate we believe he has done more than enough to get him across the line on November 4.” Paddy McEvoy

Brian Lenihan: bruiser or bantamweight?

Now that the dust has settled on Brian Lenihan’s budget début, are we any closer to understanding Lenihan the younger? Senior Counsel, rising political star, a first in law from TCD and Cambridge and one of the finest minds in the Dáil? Or slash-and-burn merchant, drowning in his portfolio, with a grasp of finance so shallow that he nearly flunked Leaving Cert maths? Although Lenihan is the scion of a solid FF family, he does not fit the Fianna Fáil … Read more

Darron Gibson starts…

Derry-born Darron Gibson, known to most as the player at the centre of the IFA/FAI tug-of-war, is starting tonight for the Republic against Cyprus at Páirc an Chrócaigh. Gibson will partner Glenn Whelan in midfield in a surprise choice by Giovanni Trappatoni. Update Great run from Duff, crosses to Keane, easy header. Ireland 1 Cyprus 0. 4 min. Paddy McEvoy

The Hangover begins…

Irish people Southerners could be forgiven for waking up with a sore hangover this morning. With tax hikes across the board, child benefits cut, and departmental budgets slashed, the days of bumper budgets are well and truly over. The collective hangover after an 18 year binge has been a long time coming, but did they really have to hit fags and wine too? Full text of Brian Lenihan’s speech to the Dáil here. Budget main points here. The Examiner calls … Read more