Varadkar v Coveney for the Fine Gael Leadership

The deadline for nominations have passed and there are two confirmed candidates for the job with Minister’s Simon Coveney & Leo Varadkar in the race to replace Enda Kenny as Fine Gael Leader. How does the process work? Each of the candidates has been nominated by at least 10% of the Parliamentary Party (PP), comprised of TDs, Senators and MEPs. The process for electing the next Leader of Fine Gael is defined in Rule 49 of the Fine Gael Constitution … Read more

How the Irish government pulled off a Brexit coup

Denis Staunton has an excellent piece in the Irish Times about how Enda Kenny achieved so much success, so quickly with the Brexit negotiations. Whilst some were waxing lyrical about Spain’s aggressive stance over Gibraltar, Ireland pretty much went back to basics, quietly in the background working with officials and quietly pushed forward its agenda. The prominence of Ireland’s issues in the EU’s guidelines, including a statement guaranteeing that Northern Ireland could automatically rejoin the EU as part of a united … Read more

Citizens’ assemblies in Northern Ireland planned to influence the Brexit debate

Three academics, John Garry and John Coakley of Queen’s and Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania are planning citizens’ assemblies to feed into the Brexit debate in the absence of the elected Assembly. Good idea. We await an announcement which I hope will not be confined to academe, which is where I picked it up – you know, the liberal elite and all that. Their pitch is: How NI voted in the EU referendum – and what it means for … Read more

On Enda’s fondness for the precedent of German reunification, be careful of what you wish for

 The Irish government are entitled to congratulate themselves on their achievement in persuading the EU 26 to declare that if the North joined the Republic the new state would automatically inherit the Republic’s membership. Dublin hastens to add that this incorporates the  consent principle enshrined in the GFA and they are opposed to an early border poll. But the future of the open border is a completely different issue. Irish Times coverage ranges from euphoria about the declaration to nervousness … Read more

Gerry Adams ups the ante on Unity, just as it comes under fresh critical examination

 Gerry Adams knows  exactly  how to deploy  sweet reasonableness as a weapon and end up  with a perfect circle of  obstruction. He had had several “businesslike, friendly engagements” with DUP leader Arlene Foster since the talks began, and he had “no reason to doubt” she was innocent of accusations over the “cash for ash” Renewable Heat Initiative which precipitated this month’s Northern Assembly election. However, the affair needed to be “properly scrutinised”. Why block a resolution of the impasse if … Read more

Presidential voting rights by 2025?

With the recent stepping up of debate about a Border Poll and the constitutional future of the north it is interesting (though I suspect coincidental) timing to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny announce that a referendum will be held on the right of Irish citizens abroad and in the north to vote in future Presidential elections. The decision was agreed by Cabinet last week and momentous as this may be I suspect that it will come too late for the next poll … Read more

Kenny calls for United Ireland provision in Brexit deal

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny was speaking today about some provisions he would like to see in any Brexit deal which included a deal that would see Northern Ireland back in the EU should the electorate decide to vote for Irish unity. Outlining his position he said; “In other words, that in such future time, whenever that might be, were it [reunification] to occur, that the north of Ireland would have ease of access to join as a member of the … Read more

“I no longer have confidence in the ability of Enda Kenny TD to lead Fine Gael”

Fine Gael TD, Alan Farrell is the latest to declare no confidence in Enda Kenny; Unfortunately, I no longer have confidence in the ability of Enda Kenny TD to lead Fine Gael and I believe his position is now untenable. Fine Gael, as a party in Government, requires a leader who can manage the party in a manner which inspires faith amongst the Parliamentary Party, our local representatives and the wider membership. I wish the acknowledge Enda Kenny’s unwavering commitment to public service … Read more

Even after Enda, the Republic has enough elected politicians with an appetite to get on with their work

After the big confidence debate in the Dail passed with the abstention of Fianna Fail, it does seem that we have a result. It’s looking like the Taoiseach’s ‘false memory’ of a conversation with one of his independent minister has done for him. In reality, it exposes the extent to which Enda Kenny has been reliant on his advisors that he misremembered him having a conversation which in reality happened only between his advisors and those of Katherine Zappone. The … Read more

Theresa May’s week of shuttle diplomacy produced only gloom in Dublin

At the end of a week the when Theresa May touched down in Dublin again, the Irish Times is deep gloom. Noel Whelan’s pessimism is not placated by May including Dublin in a transcontinental shuttle that began in Washington, touched down in Ankara and Cardiff and ended up in Valetta. She can’t have meant business if she only had James Brokenshire with her, he snorted. It seems a bit ungracious  to dismiss her visit, the second,  in which she accorded … Read more

Theresa May holds the initiative as she makes promises on an open border

While the world is transfixed by Trump, we made a little quiet progress on the interlinked politics of Brexit and the future of the Assembly. What did we get from Theresa May’s immersion in the generally anti-Brexit atmosphere of the joint ministerial committee and a summit with Enda Kenny? A warm gesture of commitment,  that’s what, riding above the divisions which leave her unfazed for now  and  rather more than we might have expected,  in the form of an article … Read more

Fine Gael on Sinn Féin: “We couldn’t work with them”

Something to keep in mind when criticising others…  There was a bit of a kerfuffle following Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mid-term non-answer to a question on the potential for any future coalition involving Sinn Féin.  The Irish Examiner records Enda Kenny saying While strongly ruling out doing any deal with Fianna Fáil, Enda Kenny said “depending on the result you gave as a member of the electorate, politicians have to work with the result, so, Sinn Féin seem to be converted … Read more

Is it coming to the end of the line for Enda?

Interesting report in today’s Irish Times about the rumblings within Fine Gael The intermittent rumblings about Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s leadership are preparing Fine Gael for the choice it will have to make. “It’s now the time to start getting organised,” said one of those who will be centrally involved in preparing a leadership hopeful. The three main contenders are Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Frances Fitzgerald.Varadkar is seen as streets ahead of his rivals in terms of parliamentary party support. As … Read more

Calm down, dears…

Wilful or otherwise, there’s been a degree of misrepresentation of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apparently unscripted, and qualified, comments at the MacGill Summer School yesterday – you can read the official version of his speech here. As the initial reported quote demonstrated, his focus was not on preparing for the prospect of referendums on a united Ireland, but on seeking clarification of what would happen, in the new post-Brexit world, in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote. Because if that possibility were … Read more

Kenny tells EU to prepare for prospect of a Border Poll

Just in from the Irish Independent; #BREAKING Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Government and the EU must prepare seriously for the prospect of a border poll. More to follow — Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) July 18, 2016 Quotes from Enda; The discussion and negotiations that take place over the next period should take into account the possibility, however far out it might be, that the clause in the Good Friday Agreement might be triggered and that if there is a clear … Read more

“The Irish Government will not be negotiating on behalf of Northern Ireland”

In case you were wondering what the Brexit ’10-point plan’ was that the BBC reported the North South Ministerial Council agreed today, it’s in the final joint communique of 4th July [pdf file] FINANCIAL AND EU MATTERS [Implications of UK Referendum] 8. The Council had a detailed discussion on the potential impact of the UK referendum result to leave the EU. In order to optimise joint planning and engagement on key issues arising following the UK referendum result, the NSMC: … Read more

Taoiseach on Border Poll: “There are much more serious issues to deal with in the immediate terms and that is where our focus is.”

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, was, rightly, quick to dismiss Sinn Féin’s attempted distraction predictably opportunistic call for a border poll following the EU referendum result.  Here’s what she told Radio Ulster listeners “The Good Friday Agreement sets out the conditions under which I am required to call for a border poll – those are when I believe that there’s a reasonable likelihood that there would be a majority for a united Ireland,” [Theresa Villiers] said. “There’s nothing to … Read more

Kenny makes his first serious move towards forming a grand coalition

In the first meeting between the Micheal Martin & Kenny, the Fine Gael Press Office told us about this offer; This evening the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheal Martin had a positive and constructive meeting during which they discussed the current political situation and options for the formation of a stable and lasting Government.  The Taoiseach made a formal offer for the formation of a full partnership Government including Fine Gael, Independents and Fianna Fail … Read more

Whatever the lobby thinks poll suggests Micheal Martin is preferred to Enda as Taoiseach

For those in the southern press who think a grand coalition is just grand, and imminent, I’m just putting this here… …more people favoured a Fianna Fail-led minority government (14pc), rising to 37pc of Fianna Fail supporters ahead, of a Fine Gael-led one (8pc), rising to 19pc of Fine Gael supporters. The poll also found that 70pc of people would vote the same way if a new election was called, rising to 82pc of Fianna Fail supporters, 83pc of Sinn … Read more

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.