Political ferment is reflected in the GFA junketings, but no sign of a breakthrough

Will the DUP and Sinn Fein pay any attention to the eloquent pleas of the elder statesmen to return to the Executive?  On the surface the answer appears to be no, unless something is going on behind the scenes we don’t know about. Local politics suffers from elder statesperson fatigue. This generation has learned how to take in their stride the high sounding generalities from popes, presidents and prime ministers past and present.  The shock of the new wore off … Read more

Fianna Fail going North would be a game changer. It implies an electoral pact with Sinn Fein in a bid to out poll unionists and lead a southern coalition towards unity

Poor old SDLP! What’s the point of voting in council elections next year for a party that says it may go out of business not now but maybe later? If Fianna Fail enter the lists, it has to be big, it has to be about more than rescuing the anti- Sinn Fein tradition of northern nationalism.  It can only be to rob Sinn Fein of its role as the pacemaker for a united Ireland.  Who ought to be better placed … Read more

SDLP’s future direction…

Interesting story from the Belfast Telegraph Political Editor, Suzanne Breen this morning about the potential of an arrangement between the SDLP and Fianna Fail. She writes; SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has refused to rule out “a realignment in Irish politics” that would see his party standing aside and Fianna Fail organising in Northern Ireland. Senior SDLP sources told the Belfast Telegraph that around 80% of the party supported it “leaving the stage” to make way for Fianna Fail. They want … Read more

Irish general election forecast – Fine Gael set to recover many of their 2016 losses

Fine Gael retained their status as largest party following the Irish general election of 2016, but were unable to put together a coalition after a collapse in support for their coalition partners, Labour, and an increase in the number of independent and Sinn Féin TDs in the Dáil. Since then, they have required a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the second largest party, Fianna Fáil. The deal is due to be reviewed later this year, and many commentators are expecting that there … Read more

Martin backs Northern representation in EU Parliament after Brexit

The Fianna Fail Leader Micheál Martin has backed post-Brexit representation for the North after Brexit in an report in the Irish News by John Manley. Manley reports; Speaking during a visit to Belfast yesterday, Mr Martin said he supported the principle of continued representation for the north. “In my view, this whole idea of respecting and ensuring that the European citizenship of people in Northern Ireland is given some manifestation and some reflection in the post-Brexit deal, is very, very … Read more

Where do we put Ulster’s Irish passport office?

Holding an Irish passport has become quite the statement. Since the Brexit vote applications have surged for a number of reasons including re-asserting an Irish identity in Britain and the north respectively. Also by Britons that want to hold on to their European Union citizenship. Dagmar Schiek, Professor of Law at Queen’s University Belfast said that “The British in Northern Ireland who do not also opt for Irish citizenship would be worse off after Brexit,”  Bearers of these little red books … Read more

Time for Fianna Fáil to end its northern election taboo?

The Sunday Business Post reported yesterday that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is “delaying his decision on whether to run candidates in the North” amid concerns in the party about the impact of Brexit. It’s nearly four years since the party called for active and serious participating and engagement in the political process in the North and decided that “…the party should begin fielding candidates for election there for 2019“. To make any meaningful impact on the elections to the 11 … Read more

Coveney says there is a need to repair relations with the DUP

Government needs to repair relationship with the DUP – Tánaiste @simoncoveney tells #twip pic.twitter.com/KGnv3gxOqj — The Week in Politics (@rtetwip) December 17, 2017 This comes after the Fianna Fail Leader, Michael Martin raised some concerns about the Irish governments strategy in an interview with JOE.ie; The problem with, what Martin calls the government’s “megaphone diplomacy” and the “weakening of the back channels between the leaders of Ireland and the UK”, is that the government is playing well at home but … Read more

Decision time for Dáil Committee on abortion reform

The Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment is set to recommend a straight repeal  of Article 40.3.3 when it considers its final report on Wednesday. The Committee has 21 members and 12 are already on the record as saying that the removal of the clause should be recommended by the group. There might also be a majority in favour of recommending that abortion be freely available and without restriction for up to 12 weeks gestation. According to the Sunday TImes … Read more

Out of left field, Sinn Fein launched the perfect storm. So let’s hear it for Leo

  Wouldn’t you know it? Sinn Fein put down a vote of no confidence first and so set the hare running. Can Fianna Fail afford to lag fortoise-like behind? In a sprung election no-one entirely wants just now, which party  holds the initiative in the tangled web of minority government and balf in. half out opposition?  Back wbere they still feel they belong for Fianna Fail under Micheal Martin? The Last hurrah for Gerry Adams or a rushed new hello … Read more

Election looms as Fine Gael backs Frances Fitzgerald

The following is a statement from the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Chairman, Martin Heydon following a meeting of TDs this evening over the the growing crisis in Dublin; The Fine Gael parliamentary party unanimously passed a motion tonight to stand firmly behind Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. At a meeting in Leinster House tonight, the party heard from An Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar who said their colleague Minister Frances Fitzgerald was facing a trumped up charge from the opposition. … Read more

7 thoughts from the Ard Fheis as Fianna Fáil begins to “spread out but stick together…”

I was a guest of Fianna Fáil at the Ard Fheis in Dublin this weekend, specifically to talk about the recent disastrous Tory campaign and to describe how Labour was able to brigade its new ecclesia towards one unlikely victory. In summary, here are seven loosely connected overall impressions from Saturday: What’s changed since 2013? No protesters chanting outside the RDS, no rounding up anyone vaguely under 30 for a photo op to see off Internet ribbing about a pensioner’s paradise. Older … Read more

Micheál Martin slamming a heavy door on government with Sinn Féin will have wider ramifications

Fascinating manoeuvring going on in the Republic at the weekend. There’s been a lot of press speculation about the challenge an enlarged Sinn Féin representation in Dail Eireann will present to the two main parties. Some SF TDs may struggle to hold on in places like Laois where boundary changes will force a defence of two seats, but the party’s single minded investment in the south (with accompanying disinvestment in NI), means there should be compensating gains. With a Labour revival still looking … Read more

Report examining Brexit and a United Ireland launched

The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement launched a report today entitled  Brexit and the Future of Ireland Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity.  The report examines issues around Brexit and the a United Ireland and is a lengthy document. Here are some of the key recommendations from the committee; On Brexit The Irish government must negotiate for Northern Ireland to be designated with special status within the EU and for the whole … Read more

“Rainy Days Back In Fashion”: The Week In Irish Politics

Another week, another glimpse of ‘new politics’ at work in Dáil Éireann. The Green party’s Waste Reduction Bill, (co-sponsored by Labour as the Greens are short on number in the chamber), passed to committee stage late last night. It did so with the support of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and a host of Independents. Its supporters argue that it’s by far the best way to reduce waste by putting the onus on companies to reduce packaging while … Read more

For Leo A Week is a Long Time in Politics

Eoin Neylon was President of Ogra Fianna Fail from 2014-2016, he has taken a look at the week in Irish Politics “A week is a long time in politics”. This quote is often attributed to former UK Labour PM Harold Wilson. It’s a quote that was likely ringing in the ears of Leo Varadkar this morning as he made an appearance at law firm Arthur Cox. Just a week ago he was accepting international plaudits as he accented to the … Read more

SDLP’s ‘unprecedented’ conversations begin

The Belfast Telegraph today reports on the first of what will presumably be a number of “unprecedented” conversations within the SDLP. The SDLP’s Mid Ulster constituency council will discuss a possible merger with Fianna Fáil at a meeting in Maghera. Local Councillor Martin Kearney said “These are normal discussions which happen after every election, “We’ve a great variety of old members and the young SDLP branch in Maghera is very active. “We want to listen to them, there’s been such … Read more

Fianna Fail must not make the same mistake with Bertie, that Labour have with Blair

1st May 2017, marked the 20th anniversary of the election of Tony Blair as British Prime Minister. For the current Labour Leadership, a huge part of their existence is owed to a repudiation of the Blair years with its mix of missed opportunities and misadventures such as the War in Iraq. Fianna Fail and Ireland face another anniversary over the coming weeks as the 6th June marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 General Election which brought Bertie Ahern to … Read more

Left to themselves, the parties won’t agree. The time has come for the governments to bring forward solutions which involve the people directly

Observed from London, the political atmosphere at home is surreal.  The volume of comment on the talks is in inverse proportion to hard information. Expectations of agreement by Good Friday are so low that  the local media can barely be roused from torpor. Emergency action for feeding the Stormont cats occupied more space in the Belfast Telegraph the other day.  Further emergency action to fund the regional government must be taken within a week followed by the crunch decision to … Read more

Should the other Dublin parties denounce Sinn Fein if they’re gaming the Stormont talks?

The Irish Times political editor Stephens Collins enjoys an unusual dual role of senior political reporter and opinionated commentator. It’s not always clear if he’s getting a bead on emerging trends of opinion in politics or simply speaking for himself.  Perhaps what Stephen thinks today,  many of the guys in Leinster House think tomorrow?  Today, he asks the blunt questions about Sinn Fein’s real intentions towards the Assembly. While most of us were struggling with conflicting feelings, he writes off … Read more