“UK policy is towards a more unilateral approach which carries with it many dangers…”

Interesting speech by Micheal Martin at Queens at the end of last week. Certainly an attempt at providing a grounded analysis, by a senior Irish political leader speaking in a U.K. University which even in the best case scenario is unlikely to do well out of any putative Brexit deal. First, a well aimed dig at ‘Perfidious Albion’ for breaking with the EU: It is simply impossible to look at the referendum debate and the arguments used to promote Leave … Read more

Micheál Martin throws a few questions at the all island dialogue on #Brexit to consider…

The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham was the venue for a series of Reconciliation Networking Forums which take place annually [amended from my mistake earlier]. The venue is now being pressed back into the purposes of north-south engagement. Unlike those previous events, this all island civic forum on Brexit (Live Feed available here) has been much more overtly political, making almost inevitable there would be no formal representation from any unionist party. It began this morning with a series of pitches from each of the political leaders and … Read more

Post #Brexit northern nationalism needs its politicians to step up. Enter Fianna Fáil?

Maybe we were far too rigid in our approach [to partition], too tenacious of our point of view, too proud to temporise or placate… whatever may have been the reason, we made no headway, so our successors must start from “square one”. Sean MacEntee, 1970 The head-quote is from Stephen Kelly’s Fianna Fail, Partition and Northern Ireland 1926 – 1971. It could fit the situation nationalism faces now that Brexit looks set to alter intra-island relations more profoundly than any … Read more

Micheál Martin invokes Hume to argue that the centre has, can and must continue to hold…

“Will it be said, when the array of tombs which stretch from end to end of Europe have been multiplied, that there had been plenty of time.., but that the statesmen waited too long and the soldiers took control?” – Eamon De Valera, address to the League of Nations I’ve been away over the weekend so I missed Micheal Martin’s speech at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties. The media generally picked up on his observation that Brexit could make the … 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.

Martin: “Economic and social situation in Northern Ireland should cause real concern”.

So the news from Ballymena, again, is not good. Another vestige of the work put in under O’Neill (and more directly, Brian Faulkner) in trying to modernise the economic base of Northern Ireland goes. The truth is that Northern Ireland is in an uneviable position as a periphery region both within the UK (water imposes major costs for manufacturing industry) and across the border. The ‘all shall have prizes’ governance model of peacebuilding at Stormont means there is little or … Read more

“Are people certain the proceeds from the organised crime is not finding its way into the [SF] political project?”

Micheal Martin took his second pot shot of the week at Sinn Fein in Leader’s Questions in Dail Eireann in as many days. But this was a more forensic strike than yesterday‘s more on-the-hoof affair. He starts with a reference to £28 Million raised by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) from individuals with “connections or associations” with the Provisional IRA, and then from here asks… Are people absolutely certain Taoiseach that any of the proceeds from the organised crime that’s been going … Read more

Micheal Martin: “Real Irish republicanism is founded on generous, anti-sectarian and international idealism”

So for me (as I noted in this morning’s SluggerReport) the most interesting event of the weekend was Micheal Martin’s speech at Bodenstown (not Ballyboden as I said this morning) commemorating Wolf Tone, the father of Irish Republicanism. It’s something I’ve been keeping an eye over the last few years because I think Martin has been using this annual occasion to sharpen some of his thinking on north south relations, but more particularly his party’s response to the Sinn Fein … Read more

Why do we price in all manner of ugly affairs but not the possibility of change?

There seems to be a presumption that the withdrawal of the UUP was purely in response to the muder of two men and the unstated relationship to those killings to the sill existing commandstructure of the IRA. Micheal Martin’s statement yesterday provides deeper context: “The decision of the UUP to withdraw its minister from the Executive is deeply regrettable. It confirms Fianna Fáil’s concerns about the seriousness of the situation facing the Northern Ireland institutions. This latest development comes following … Read more

“We need to sort out a dysfunctional and deeply cynical approach by the dominant parties.”

There’s a strong sense of politicians going through the motions each time there’s a plenary debate on Northern Ireland issues. Two exceptions this afternoon were Paul Murphy of the Anti Austerity Alliance who gave a pretty blistering account of SF’s role in the signing up to the so called fantasy budget, and Micheal Martin… I’ll add Murphy’s speech when we get the text, but here’s Martin’s in full: The sad reality is that the situation in Northern Ireland is now … Read more

Fianna Fail-Could they bounce back at the next election?

Fianna Fail, the natural governing party of Ireland. One of the most successful parties in Europe, second only to the Swedish Social Democrats for both electoral success and length of time in power. All of this changed in 2011 as the party suffered a heavy defeat following three years of recession and austerity. With the exception of 2013, the party has polled at around 19-23% and in the local elections they won more councillors than any other party in the … Read more

Fianna Fail’s future is the radical centre

Many voices are rushing to tell Fianna Fail what direction it needs to go. Mark Beegan is a Public Relations Consultant and Fianna Fáil activist. He specialises in political communication and media relations.  He argues that simple ideological analysis is not enough and is not what Fianna Fail was ever about.   Senator Power’s bombshell has brought forward a debate long needed in Irish politics. Where does Fianna Fáil stand and for whom? John McGuirk and Pat Leahy have both … Read more

Martin on the Starmer report: “It’s time for Gerry Adams to own up and come clean…”

And whilst the SDLP gets tangled in all kinds of mess with welfare reform, Micheal Martin keeps up his one man Republican opposition to Sinn Fein on the Starmer report (copy via reader Jag) released yesterday… The report vindicates Mairia Cahill who bravely stood up to on-going abuse and spin by Sinn Féin. Consistent claims that the court case had found all suspects not guilty have been given their proper context by this report. The unacceptable delays and weakening of … Read more

Is it possible that Fianna Fail has turned another one of those invisible corners?

So averting gaze from the mesmerising polling of the UK election, and to the unfixed electoral politics of the Republic, here’s a constructive question. Is Fianna Fail on the rise again? Mad, eh? Well, Jody Corcoran does not have a completely unblemished track record when it comes to predicting the future. Still, the 1400 at the party’s selection meeting in Kerry is larger than several parties’ national conferences, and 800 turned up in Sligo last week. Specifically Jody notes that… … Read more

Adams v Martin: Well that escalated quickly

This morning the Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin and the Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams went head to head over remarks made by Martin at the annual 1916 commemoration yesterday where he stated that Sinn Fein where unfit for democratic government. Here is the audio of the tense exchange between the two leaders Who got the better of whom in this exchange? David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on … Read more

Adams: “Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party.”

Speaking at a party candidate event earlier today in Belfast, Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams TD made another statement about the Cahill case; below are his remarks to members of his party The allegations of Maíria Cahill have been at the centre of the media and political system North and South, in recent times. Over the course of the past week Maíria Cahill has made serious allegations against myself and named Sinn Féin members. While I am very mindful of the … Read more

Martin: “Sinn Fein is failing even the most basic standards of republicanism”

Micheal Martin’s response to Gerry Adam’s blog statement is also worth replicating here more or less in full: “After instigating a vicious campaign of vilification against Mairia Cahill over the course of the last week, it is of course welcome that Gerry Adams has belatedly acknowledged that his organisation did carry out internal investigations of sexual abuse allegations. However, it is deeply disappointing that even as he abandons a key claim he fails to do the right thing by Ms Cahill. … Read more