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

What does Drew Harris’s appointment as Garda Commissioner tell us about Fine Gael’s attitude to Sinn Fein?

In the Irish Times Ed Moloney has a fascinating backgrounder on the ground breaking appointment of   PSNI Deputy Chief Constable  Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner. Might we now  expect that senior Garda officers will at last become eligible  to head the PSNI?  Or does  history suggest that a single force to serve the entire state creates too introverted a culture to adapt to elsewhere, even to the North?   Drew Harris brings heavy baggage with him and his  appointment will have … 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

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

Government needs to repair relationship with the DUP – Tánaiste @simoncoveney tells #twip — 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; 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

Frances Fitzgerald resigns from cabinet

Statement in from the outgoing Tanaiste & Minister, Frances Fitzgerald; Today I made the decision to tender my resignation to the Taoiseach, stepping-down with immediate effect as Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve in Government, but I believe it is necessary to take this decision to avoid an unwelcome and potentially destabilising general election at this historically critical time. “Throughout my career I have always sought to … 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

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

Let’s welcome Leo Varadkar. He’ll play a big part in our futures

The emergence of Leo Varadakar as Taoiseach is the latest sign of dramatic change of in the Republic.  It is a bit unsettling that although we are learning who he is we haven’t a clue what he is in traditional Irish terms.  Since starting out as a Fine Gael party nerd in his youth, he has risen without much trace, picking his causes with increasing care but making his mark with signature comments.  Thankfully none of them was about our … Read more

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

“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

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

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) 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

Two polls show good news for Fianna Fail

Two polls out tonight from RedC and the Sunday Times/Behaviour and Attitudes survey show good news for Fianna Fail NEW SBP/Red C Poll: FG 26 (-) FF 29 (+3) SF 13 (-2) Lab 6 (-) IA 5 (+1) Ind 7 (-4) AAA/PBP 5 (-) SD 4 (-) GP 4 (+2) Ren 1 (-) Other 1 (-) — Hugh O’Connell (@oconnellhugh) July 16, 2016 POLL STimes/B&A (Jul 1-11, ±3.3%) FF 30(+5 4wks) FG 25(-1) SF 14(-3) Lab 6(+1) AAAPBP 5(+1) Inds … Read more