Vote will merely reinforce and entrench hard-held positions - same as every other election in the North
John Downing"Northern Ireland has a problem for every solution."
John Downing"Northern Ireland has a problem for every solution."
John Downing Let's cling to whatever little bit of good news we can find. Those of us who detest January must know that today we have crossed the hump, and hopefully, soon now we will see various signs of spring beckoning.
John Downing We are on the cusp of a political arena without the huge presence of Sinn Féin duo Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.
John Downing 'Say nothing till you hear more."
John Downing On this day 12 months ago I was only vaguely aware that Theresa May was the 'Minister for Something or Other' in Britain. And I was sure David Cameron was set fair to become one of that country's longest-...
John Downing It does not take a wild amount of imagination to understand why Maggie Thatcher had limited patience with Ireland.
John Downing So, up with the kettle and down with the pan … and so on and so forth. For many Irish people, this writer included, St Stephen's Day is the most sociable, enjoyable and relaxing day in the entire year.
John Downing A fourth consecutive term as German Chancellor was always going to be a tough challenge for Angela Merkel - but she has still been deemed favourite to pull it off. A major terror attack in Germany - linked...
John Downing She may not appreciate the Gaelic symbolism, but Arlene Isabel Foster, nee Kelly, is now in the 'gap of danger'.
John Downing Willie O'Dea, in a classic flourish of Limerick wit, just days ago observed: "I would not be surprised to see Enda looking down from the telegraph poles as we head out to canvass the next election."
John Downing The curious thing is that the same stereotype traditionally existed in French society, just as it did here in the Republic of Ireland. I mean the notion that Protestants are more honest, direct and upright in...
John Downing Here is the news update from the Leinster House bubble.
John Downing Privately, both sides were saying "this was not the one" to bring down a shaky minority Government just days from the Christmas break.
John Downing Most people are at the thick end of 50 before they think about pensions. Then they realise they have woken up to the issue about 40 years too late. But enough of this irrepressible optimism just 12 days...
John Downing By 1994 the worst of the awfulness of what we euphemistically call 'the Troubles' was over as the first IRA ceasefire was called.
John Downing It's not a particularly tough call, this one.
John Downing Fianna Fáil along with Fine Gael will reap a bitter result if they do not signal a refund for those who paid their water charges. Weasel words about "equal treatment" for people who respected the law of the...
John Downing A congress of priests once sent an emissary to heaven with a direct question for God aimed at resolving a burning issue. The Almighty was asked to definitively rule on whether the Jesuits were superior - or...
John Downing Has Bertie Ahern done his time? And just how bad was his crime in the first place?
John Downing John A Costello was walking along the quays in Dublin one morning in the mid-1960s when he bumped into a young Michael O'Kennedy.
John Downing 'Cuba seems to have the same effect on American administrations that a full moon has on a werewolf."
John Downing The comparison with turning down up to €20bn in back taxes from Apple comes to mind. In August, the Government had to face accusations of actually spending hefty sums on EU lawyers to...
John Downing Angela Merkel is an unlikely torchbearer for liberal democracy. But these are strange political times.
John Downing The band of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, belting out 'A Nation Once Again', led Charlie Haughey into his first Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis as party leader in February 1980.
John Downing We have been here before and it cost us all dearly, in the recent past. Bertie Ahern bought industrial peace with the largesse of bloated short-term building-sector tax revenue.
John Downing Some of us have yet to adjust to calling him "President Trump" - but in Washington it's now all about the race to build "Team Trump" in the 70 days left until his inauguration on January 20.
John Downing IT WAS a good and timely sign that President-elect Trump extended the St Patrick's Day invitation.
John Downing The irony is that Arlene Foster might even have felt at home in the decidedly British-style surrounds of what is called the Royal Hospital.
John Downing The gardaí would be wrong to go on strike on Friday.
John Downing Well, much good that 'Fiver Budget' did for Fianna Fáil, as its TDs sit becalmed in the opinion polls. And yes, the centre appears to be holding all right - provided you deem the centre to be the sum of...
John Downing In the news business, as in many other trades, we understand that deadlines concentrate minds and often are required to yield a result.
John Downing Three ministers - Paschal Donohoe, Frances Fitzgerald and Richard Bruton - are in the "gap of danger".
John Downing 'It would be Leo if the vote were held tomorrow. Over a longer campaign Simon could win out," according to the assessment of one astute Fine Gael TD. But there is a little detail being overlooked...
John Downing It is now clear that Budget 2017 was the easy part. The key challenge for Enda Kenny's minority coalition will be to manage through a series of inter-connected public service pay demands - without destroying...
John Downing Leo Varadkar probably knows the old political question and answer dialogue: Q: How do you quench a fire? A: Not sure - but I do know how to start another one.
John Downing We can all check our prejudices and decide who - if anyone - in the public sector deserves a pay rise.
John Downing Childcare has been called the "second mortgage" for the past 20 years. There's a housing crisis every 20 years. Governments come and go and they sometimes ignore as much as they can get away with. Other...
John Downing The "Fiver" Budget" has morphed into the "mystery of the fiver start-date" - but it is also now limping out the gate and towards the archives.
John Downing I once knew a publican in Kerry who was so keen to avoid giving offence that he never said anything beyond a collection of words. The local wags parodied his limp conversational contributions on matters...
John Downing Talking about anyone's income is a sensitive business. And there is a coterie of people for whom - if our professional politicians were working for nothing - they would still be too dear.
John Downing It has always been rated as an extremely difficult task and it has bested some of our most accomplished politicians, who went on to hold the highest offices in the land.
John Downing Now we know Britain will trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty next March. And given a two-year negotiating process, we also know that by April 2019 Ireland must cope with an EU without our second largest...
John Downing 'Ivy Day' would probably have passed me by unnoticed yesterday. But then Theresa May finally outlined her timetable for Britain leaving the European Union.
John Downing When his career was on the rise, Bertie Ahern was seen as a 'Mr Strike-fixer'. The future Taoiseach, and eventual national anti-hero, had an adept conciliator's touch which he deftly deployed to help fix big...
John Downing The 'Great Wheel of Public Service Pay Misfortune' has been spinning pretty constantly for many weeks. Now, where would it finally stop to deliver its first big but inevitable political headache?
John Downing Well now, here's something absolutely astonishing: Fine Gael think the Fianna Fáil crowd are trying to have it both ways on the Budget.
John Downing So they are back tomorrow after their 10-week break, bar the quick one-day return earlier this month when they dealt with the extraordinary Apple saga. On balance, the 158 TDs probably needed...
John Downing If this all seems depressingly familiar, it will be because it has happened several times before in a clearly established format.
John Downing Spool back just a little less than two years. Specifically, to Saturday, October 11, 2014 - a day of dread for Micheál Martin. There were by-election counts in Tallaght and Roscommon town that returned...
John Downing So, Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny have some things in common after all.
John Downing Was that hefty banging emanating from the conference room of the Keadeen Hotel really the sound of Enda Kenny nailing himself into the leader's chair?
Sinn Fein clearly feel they could do pretty well in a Northern election... Comment
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