Monday 25 September 2017

Jody Corcoran

The maverick Conservative MP Enoch Powell Photo: PA

Which conservative brand will the new leader of Fine Gael follow? 

The maverick Conservative MP Enoch Powell is often quoted when a politician is at his or her end: "All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of all human affairs." Has Enda Kenny's political life ended in failure? It is too early to say, not least because it has not yet ended. The late Conor Cruise O'Brien's observation on Charles Haughey is relevant: "If I saw Mr Haughey buried at midnight at a crossroads, with a stake driven through his heart - politically speaking - I should continue to wear a clove of...

Minister: Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Tom Burke

Notebook: A look at the week that was 

I awake on Sunday morning with the anxiety that follows having said too much. Overnight I have received a text message from Eoghan Harris which refers to as "astonishing" my article in last week's newspaper. Astonishing could mean anything - extremely surprising or impressive; amazing. I feel neither impressive nor amazing, but I have surprised myself. Did I really need to tell the country that the Vatican has refused to absolve my sins, of which there are many? Yes, I did. Call it my penance.

The full effects of Brexit have yet to be felt in Ireland Stock photo: PA

It is time for fresh elections before the country is brought to its knees 

In the last 10 weeks, two of the most significant events in a generation have taken place at a time when the country is governed by what is turning out to be one of the weakest administrations in the history of the State. The time has come to shout loudly and clearly: enough is enough. The next election, whenever it comes, cannot come quickly enough. But when it does, will the country come to its senses? We had better hope so.

Long reign: Pat Hickey has been president of the OCI for 28 years. Photo: Sportsfile

Pat Hickey has form when it comes to sports ministers with an agenda 

Shane Ross is the latest Minister for Sport to be criticised for the perceived timid nature of his recent interactions with the Olympic Council of Ireland, which is mired in potential scandal in Rio, Brazil. It is notable, however, that such criticism has not come from political rivals, but from former colleagues in the media, none of whom have had to directly interact with the council or its president of 28 years, Pat Hickey.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny could consider a minority government Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Time to think outside the coalition box 

Minority governments can work, but they require more subtle skills than the simpler and cruder forms of majoritarian politics. It is often forgotten that seven of the 17 governments here up to the mid-1980s were minority governments. That is, over 40pc of governments which built the State did not have a clear majority. So we are not quite in uncharted waters. We are, however, on difficult terrain. But there is no need to panic. A solution to the current impasse can be found and that solution does not have to mean a 'grand coalition' between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Taoiseach, Enda Kenny at the official rebrand of Euromedic to Affidea Ireland and the announcement of the creation of 100 jobs over the next 18 months. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 5/11/2015

So, is outright victory within FG's grasp? 

One of my mates lost his shirt in the recession. He is now a supporter of Sinn Fein. His view has become 'so what' if Sinn Fein is involved in criminality and 'so what' if the IRA Army Council controls Sinn Fein. He said as much last Sunday night when we had a pint in the company of another mate, who is a Labour supporter. I support neither of these or any party, although they both seem to think I am a supporter of Fianna Fail. Neither believes me when I tell them that I have not voted Fianna Fail since the last millennium. However, I try to explain to them that Fianna Fail is essential to...