Cartoon – Liquidity crisis

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

How Stands the Republic? Grim verdicts at the MacGill summer school

  During a visit to tropical Donegal a couple of weeks ago I picked up from Johnny Boyle in the Highlands Hotel this year’s programme for the Patrick MacGill summer school in Glenties, now just under way.  Instead of the usual summer school  diet of history, literature and nostalgia, for several years now,  in the programme’s own words –  “ especially since the sudden and brutal fall of the Celtic Tiger, the MacGill School has focused on reform of the …

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

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 who rowed generally in the same direction… One of the shocking effects of seeing what happened in Fianna Fail when unburdened by the party whip was …

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“during the Derry visit, Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson were nowhere to be seen, surely mindful of their upcoming trade mission to China.”

According to an Irish News report today …OFMDFM has refuted any suggestion that the Stormont leaders snubbed the Dalai Lama when he visited Derry last month. A spokesperson for OFMDFM said the ministers were unable to attend “due to prior diary commitments”. Which is fine…  After all, “diary pressures” was the same excuse Tony Blair gave in 2004 when he was accused of snubbing the Tibetan leader – although they had already met in 1999 in a “spiritual capacity”.  And it appears …

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

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 Eireann… What Enda lacks in intelligence, he more than makes up for in emotional intelligence. It may be something he has to use more than just …

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Taoiseach is ‘diluting the impact of the alleged charges against Adams by cynical and lazy repetition’

Eilis O’Hanlon is not so much coming to the rescue of Gerry Adams, as upbrading the Taoiseach for using the abduction and murder of a Belfast housewife to punctuate his own inability to answer fairly straightforward questions from the Opposition: In the right context, the charges against Gerry Adams carry considerable weight. Last week, demanding that the British government come clean about its role in the murder of lawyer Pat Finucane, it would have been perfectly legitimate to inquire what …

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Gerry Adams ‘stung’ in the Dail by Taoiseach over his past…

Okay, leaders Questions did not go to plan today. The subject under discussion was Welfare Reform. The Taoiseach had just taken a bit of roasting at the hands of Micheal Martin (over a planned 20% cut in the respite care grant). Then it was Gerry’s turn with the Taoiseach (who was probably already in very bad twist). It all starts here, when Kenny gives him what sounds like an almost playful dunt over the Northern Bank robbery, in response to …

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Enda makes Time, but will it last?

Well, fair play to Enda. Front page of Time and a big set piece interview with that paper’s European editor is not to be sniffed at. Some may begrudge him the attention, and indeed Fintan O’Toole has suggested that of course he’s only doing what Fianna Fail would have done (H/T Niall). Of course, we’ve been here before. Kenny’s party’s own Tallaght strategy created a degree of political security for the then Fianna Fail led government to take some of …

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“Enda sounded like Fr Ted trying to explain to a baffled Fr Dougal the difference between “small” and “far away”.”

In the Irish Times, the peerless Miriam Lord on the latest shenanigans in the Dáil Meanwhile, the saga of the Promiscuous Notes rumbles on. It was Gerry Adams’s turn this time to wave them provocatively at the Taoiseach. The Spanish have the right idea, said the Sinn Féin leader. They took the toro pos los cuernos in Europe this week and got themselves a reduction in their budget deficit targets. “Will the Taoiseach follow the lead of the Spanish government, …

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You are not responsible for the crisis (Oh yes you are)

Whoever it was aimed at, Enda Kenny’s performance in Davos doesn’t seem to be going down well back home. The Irish Times reports that he said: “What happened in our country was that people simply went mad borrowing,” Mr Kenny told a meeting at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “The extent of personal credit, personal wealth created on credit was done between people and banks – a system that spawned greed to a point where it just …

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Austerity in two halves: #Budget2012

Early next week will finally see the introduction of #Budget2012 to the Dáil, in a novel format with two speeches, one by Brendan Howlin on Monday and one by Michael Noonan on Tuesday. The budget has been heavily trailed, with endless kite-flying over the last few weeks. A brief guide to (some) of the proposed changes was given by Caroline Madden in the Irish Times last Monday. For ease of reference, most of the main suggested budgetary changes are given below. It will be interesting to compare the …

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Unionists highlight Troubles border murders

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that at the meeting of government ministers from Northern Ireland and the RoI in Armagh, Arlene Kelly and Danny Kennedy presented Enda Kenny with details of more than 150 republican murders in border areas during the Troubles. They have called on the RoI government to apologise for the fact that the IRA killers were able to escape across the border following these murders. Mrs. Kelly said: …that they should remind the Irish Government of today …

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Did Taoiseach submit #Budget2012 to Berlin for approval?

The Irish government is under pressure this evening as it is having to deny Press Association reported rumours that it has allowed the German government to inspect the budget before it is brought to the Dáil next month (i.e. well before the democractically members of Oireachtas get to see it). The Irish Independent says that Reuters also had the same story, prompting swift denials from Government officials today. With market driven crises prompting the replacement of existing leaders with technocrats in Italy …

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Are the Fine Gael donors the bondholders?

Fine Gael won’t reveal who fund them or the identity of the bondholders who received a $1 billion payout last week. With a further unsecured, unguaranteed, bond due early next year and some major cuts coming in the December budget, surely it is time for Fine Gael to come clean about the identities of it’s donors? The ban on corporate fund-raising by the party was lifted when Enda Kenny took over as party leader. Since then, the party has managed to build up significant financial resources …

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I share the Irish public’s dismay at the cost and unfairness of this policy

In this morning’s Irish Times, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, offered everyone the wisdom of his thoughts on the payment of a €700m unsecured unguaranteed Anglo-Irish Bank bond. The whole piece is worth a read. He states that: Part of the existing agreement with our external partners is not to allow any Irish bank, including Anglo Irish Bank, default on its debts to bondholders for fear of paralysing wider European financial markets. I share the Irish public’s dismay at the cost …

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Taoiseach’s speech: An end to ‘Never explain, never apologise’?

The papers are full of the taoiseach’s speech to the Dail yesterday. Rightly so. It was an audacious speech, and one made in stark contrast to the parliamentary mumbling and stumbling of the two previous taoisigh. And, importantly, it was a defence of thousands upon thousands of ordinary Catholics, ‘who have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of church authorities to face up to what is required’. Somewhere in the Irish media in the last few days, someone …

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Taoiseach’s speech: This is not Rome… this is a republic of laws

A sea-change in Irish government-Catholic Church relations took place yesterday. In the government’s official response to the Cloyne Report, Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave an unprecedented speech to the Dáil, excoriating the Vatican for its efforts to block co-operation with the investigation by civil authorities of clerical child abuse: … for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic, as little as three …

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Judge Smithwick: “I think this was singularly ill-advised.”

I had mentioned the apparent disagreement between the chair of the Smithwick Tribunal, Judge Smithwick, and the Irish Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, over the latter’s proposed ‘deadline’, of 30 November, for the Tribunal’s final report. And in correspondence from the time, just released to the Oireachtas along with the Tribunal’s interim report [pdf file], Judge Smithwick made clear the extent of his disagreement. Judge Smithwick wrote to the Minister accusing him of a “wholly inappropriate” attempt to “interfere with the independence” of the inquiry. He …

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