Why the Shared Island unit doesn’t need to shy away from constitutional questions

Interesting article by Aiden Corkery in yesterdays Sunday Business Post on the new Shared Island Unit to be established within the Department of the Taoiseach.  In it he quotes the views of the former Fianna Fail TD and advisor, Martin Mansergh Martin Mansergh, the former Fianna Fáil TD and adviser to Bertie Ahern during the Good Friday Agreement, disagreed. He said he believed the new unit would be more focused on the more pragmatic details of north-south cooperation. These included …

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A coalition pact in the Republic awaits wider approval

So the two traditional parties of government in the Republic have struck their coalition deal. They’ve taken their time. Southern government formation now looks more continental than ever. They’ve had the great excuse of tackling something even more important than  creating a new government after an election.  Fianna Fail and Fine Gael profess the need for a national  coalition in response to Covid 19. But in truth the emergency  does no more than give them cover for what would have …

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Varadkar is having a good crisis. This it seems, is not the time to object.

The Republic are doing things a little differently: joining an EU  initiative to procure much needed ventilators, sending an Aer Lingus plane to China for hospital workers’ PPE; the Gardai Commissioner calling for people in the streets to produce IDs, off licences to stay open  in contrast with  GB. The North at first followed the GB rules but has now fallen into line with the south. The consequences if the northern ban remained in force if a hard Prohibition border …

Read more…Varadkar is having a good crisis. This it seems, is not the time to object.

Now the counting is over, what does the Irish political landscape look like

Change. Such a simple word, yet if we could sum up this election, it really was about change, not just for its own sake but ambitious change. A sense that the country was heading in the wrong direction and despite record growth rates, a large section of the electorate opted to take a punt. Fed up of paying high rents, having their children living with them and the cost of everything rising, they looked at who embodied that ambitious change …

Read more…Now the counting is over, what does the Irish political landscape look like

Sinn Fein deserve their chance to satisfy the huge expectations their victory has aroused

Let’s stand back. With just one seat fewer than Fianna Fail but with quotas to spare, Sinn Fein’s claim to have gained the moral advantage has credibility in spades.  Another reading is just possible. The two centrist parties outnumber them by rather less than 2 to 1. Twice in France the  right and left  united to defeat the far right in the second round of a presidential election, once by joining together and last time by forming a new political …

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The BBC and the Irish language

Any number of spokespeople for organisations involved in Irish language advocacy and political parties have their names mispronounced on an ongoing basis by BBC presenters and journalists. The ongoing failure of BBC management to take corrective action on this issue is an indictment of the broadcaster and fatally compromises their commitment to accuracy and impartiality as expressed in the ‘bible’ of the BBC, the Editorial Guidelines.

SDLP take their place at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis

The first Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis since the announcement of the announcement of the partnership with the SDLP, so we thought we would go down and see the response that it was getting from delegates. There was a decent number of SDLP members and MLAs at the Ard Fheis, with members curious about the event and MLAs enjoying liaising with TDs and Senators. Despite the partnership being a few weeks old, you can still detect at a membership level some …

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SDLP endorse partnership with Fianna Fail

SDLP delegates gathered in Newry today to debate the proposed partnership with Fianna Fail. After spending the afternoon debating the proposal, members have voted in favour of the partnership. The result of the ballot was 121 delegates in favour of partnership with Fianna Fail (70%). The support in favour of the alternative proposal of partnership with Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail was 53 (30%). Follow the vote the SDLP Leadership issued this message; Today SDLP members have voted in …

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SDLP and Fianna Fáil can deliver our long awaited peace dividend

On Saturday I attended the ‘Beyond Brexit: Ireland’s Future’ conference in Belfast. My immediate observations were firstly the sheer number of people that were in one room; a rarity for a political event in Northern Ireland. The broad representation of speakers undermined the myth that Irish Nationalists are a homogenous group. Despite the conglomeration of those present – they were all unified under the one realisation- that Brexit has shifted politics indefinitely. And that that shift has unearthed centuries old …

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Fianna Fail and SDLP announce joint partnership

Fianna Fail and the SDLP met today in Belfast to launch their new partnership arrangement. The partnership will have three key themes 1) A politics that works -This will address Anglo-Irish relations, the current political situation in Northern Ireland and a new economic model. 2) Better public services-This will address reforms to key areas such as Health and Education. 3) Uniting Ireland’s people-This will address greater cooperation on the island and the arrangement for a future poll on unity. Specific …

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This can be an exciting new project, the days and weeks ahead will determine the breadth of opportunity

“Somewhere along the course of the road our conversations have drifted. They’ve centred too much on us as a party and not enough on the fate and future of the country. That stops here and now. Colum Eastwood’s first address to party members as leader remains, I believe, one of the most consequential from an SDLP Leader in over a decade. After winning a decisive victory over Alasdair McDonnell, it set the right tone for a party which had suffered …

Read more…This can be an exciting new project, the days and weeks ahead will determine the breadth of opportunity

SDLP/Fianna Fail talks coming to a conclusion.

In today’s Irish News, Claire Simpson reports a message from the SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood and the Deputy Leader, Nichola Mallon to the party membership about discussions with Fianna Fail.  It says; “Our discussions have been based on how best to meet the challenges of Brexit, how best to restore the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and how best to ensure that our values of reconciliation and the unity of our people can once again enter into the lifeblood …

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What would paddy Devlin make of a SDLP/Fianna Fail merger?

Over recent months we have seen continuous speculation and briefing by SDLP & Fianna Fail members who wish to promote the idea of a FF-SDLP merger. SDLP members have two key challenges to face should they seriously consider a merger with Fianna Fail, firstly how does Fianna Fail resonate with its labour values and secondary are Fianna Fail just too toxic due to their record of scandal. The SDLP has always had a labour bone in its body, the politics …

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Fianna Fáil and its discontents – the Eurosceptic opportunity

By Aidan Harkin At the time of writing Fianna Fáil (FF) is struggling to re-assert itself as the prominent force in Irish politics. The 2016 election was a moment of promise for FF who experienced considerable gains from its disastrous 2011 election performance, resulting in a difference of only six seats between them and the governing party Fine Gael (FG). This rise coupled with the implosion of the Irish labour party has meant both FF and FG now co-exist uncomfortably …

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The reality and rhetoric of where Fianna Fail stands in Irish politics

I read with some amusement Jack O’Connors contribution to the debate around Fianna Fail and the SDLP possibly developing a more formal arrangement. He argues; Noel Whelan is probably indulging in a bit of end of silly season kite-flying, but it is extremely damaging to the Labour Party. I mean no disrespect to the Fianna Fail Party, indeed I am on the record as saying that the decision not to go back into Government with them in 1994 was one …

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Watch back the Leaders Debate from Feile and Phobail. 

Some thoughts In a 90 minute debate there was a very interesting dialogue between the representatives of the parties. It was on the whole, a respectful exchange of views. Simon Hamilton and Robin Swann deserve credit for how they approached this debate. They handled an audience that was far from being on their side well and I think it beneficial having that Unionist voice on the panel to remind all of us that not everyone thinks the same way on …

Read more…Watch back the Leaders Debate from Feile and Phobail.