Mandy Johnston: This was the opening shot of the election we all know isn't far off
Did Budget 2018 yesterday ignite a republic of opportunity? Well, no. But as prophesied, the Government told us this Budget was not...
Did Budget 2018 yesterday ignite a republic of opportunity? Well, no. But as prophesied, the Government told us this Budget was not...
This was a truly historic and momentous week across the water. As Theresa May 'celebrated' the milestone of one year as prime minister, she...
What Enda Kenny may have lacked in political imagination and vision he has made up for in sheer staying power.
The difference between an act of faith and a leap of faith is just one word. The chasm between the two, however, is colossal.
Tomorrow, the Bogside boy will make his final journey to the Creggan Cemetery through the narrow streets of the town he loved so well. These were the streets where his experience as a republican began.
The result of last year's General Election saw more independent representatives elected to Dáil Éireann than at any other time in the history of the State. Exhausted by austerity and political tumult, the Irish electorate punished most mainstream parties and it quickly became clear that Independent TDs would be a crucial part of the make-up of the next administration.
Defining jargon to categorise the electorate into chirpy soundbites has become somewhat of a pastime for the bourgeoisie. The squeezed middle, the coping classes, the JAM (just about managing) generation... take your pick. They are all just euphemisms for that section of our society deemed to be most affected by rising charges and taxes. This section of society are in jobs that deliver low...
One year on, "keep the recovery going" has become "keep the Government going" and it seems that our two main political parties have learned little or nothing from last year's General Election.
'Victorious warriors win first and then go to war" - Sun Tzu. Twenty years ago, back in February 1997 before the boom began, Fianna Fáil was putting the final touches to its 'People before Politics' general election campaign. A power-hungry party frontbench applied a relentless assault to remove John Bruton as Taoiseach to get into government.
There is always one fate-defining moment in the demise of a political leader. Taoiseach Enda Kenny had his moment on RTÉ's 'This Week' programme last Sunday.
There is enough whistle-blowing going on in Dáil Éireann to challenge the halcyon days at the Mancunian rave venue the Hacienda.
This week, members of our Government rightly and swiftly admonished the controversial new immigration measures imposed by the Trump...
Having finally calmed down after the histrionics surrounding attendance numbers at his master's inauguration, this week Sean Spicer, US...
The movie 'La La Land' is expected to sweep the boards at the upcoming Oscars, and back in little old Ireland we are about to enter a blockbusting La La Land of our own.
Simon says that fixing hospital overcrowding isn't simple! Moreover, Health Minister Simon Harris claims that we are engulfed in yet another perfect health storm. He says a freaky flu virus coupled with a creaking public health system has resulted in the greatest number of people waiting on trolleys in the history of the State.
This year, the doyens of fashion at 'Vogue' magazine recommend that our New Year's Eve party attire should reflect the 1980s. The multibillion-dollar fashion industry calendar was carved out long before the sad passing of George Michael. Alas, it will be with enormous enthusiasm and much sadness that I and many of his fans will wrap themselves in the warm comfort of his voice one more time this New Year's Eve.
Tomorrow, for one day only, the world will turn on its head. Gender quotas go out the window, and women just take over. On Christmas Day, the burden of responsibility to recreate a scene befitting a Christmas TV commercial largely lies with the female of the species. Those hoping to live out their fantasies of festive cheer, bouncy dogs and good-humoured grandparents expect women to deliver their dreams. Men play but a small bit part. It's a stereotype I know but hey, that's what Christmas is all about!
Yesterday Fianna Fáil abstained from a vote on new legislation that gives effect to 4pc rent controls in certain designated areas. That vote arrived after a political contretemps which publicly tested the confidence and supply arrangement with the Fine Gael-led minority Government for the first time.
'The polls are wrong", an increasingly confident and assured Micheál Martin told Sean O'Rourke on Thursday morning when the latest opinion polls were published.
The big boys togged out this week - ministers Simon Coveney, Leo Varadkar, Shane Ross, and power ranger Alan Kelly. They all splashed around in the water debate as the never-ending saga regarding the funding of our water utility service returned to the political arena.
Poor little Bosco must have been spinning in his bosca mór this week as the announcement came billowing from Montrose that RTÉ had taken the decision to outsource its young people's programming to the independent sector.
'The amount of misinformation on Facebook, especially during times of crisis, is staggering." - Benjamin Franklin.
On Tuesday evening we gathered inside the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre, a state-of-the-art enormous edifice underneath a glass ceiling, on the banks of the Hudson River. Supporters and scribes arrived with nervous anticipation to watch Hillary Rodham Clinton be declared the first female president of the United States of America. The script did not go to plan. Instead of attending a celebration, we were about to witness the greatest political certainty of all American presidential elections sink to oblivion.
'Even if she were in a coma, she would still be better than Donald Trump". The response from a T-shirt wearing, sticker-clad Hillary supporter in Times Square when I asked if his backing would waiver if her reported health problems were eventually proven to be true.
On December 18, 1922, the Garda flag was hoisted over the main depot block at Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park for the first time and 600 recruits were present for the formal ceremony.
This week the Vatican issued a directive not to scatter the ashes of loved ones after cremation, and instructed followers to only store them in places approved by the Church. Remains of loved ones should be spread only in consecrated graveyards or holy places specifically dedicated to this purpose.
Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, slumping sterling, fat fingers, soft borders, hard borders, crumbling Europe, disuniting Kingdom, Article 50 - words and phrases that were virtually unknown a year ago have become common parlance in the lexicon of life following the UK's decision to quit the European Union.
Flanked by a phalanx of her top brass, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan stepped once more into the breach as she was called before her political masters this week. She gave a credible performance.
While economic turmoil may have abated in Ireland, the political chaos that transpired in the wake of the General Election was on full show yesterday as Budget 2017 was revealed in all of its gruesome glory.
Until very recently, Budget day was seen as the main set-piece of the political year for the public and for members of the fourth estate. General elections aside, the annual Budget is essentially a party political pageant, used to portray the economic and political character of the Government. It was a veritable bonanza of keynote speeches, marathon day-long TV and radio coverage, with photo calls and press opportunities galore.
The lines between entertainment and politics have become blurred to the point of fusion. We now find ourselves in the bizarre situation where celebrities can segue seamlessly into international politics, but serious politicians like Hillary Clinton are increasingly expected to behave like celebrities in order to gain any traction with the voting public.
"But fumble in a greasy till, and add the halfpence to the pence'' - WB. Yeats
Some version of reality was played out this week as the political party 'think-in' season commenced against a backdrop of grave mood music for the Government. As our capital city ground to a screeching halt courtesy of striking bus drivers, there was a cacophony of claims against Nama's handling of the sale of taxpayers' assets.
The broadcasting industry - for all the billions pumped into it over its brief life - has never really fulfilled its initial promise. Despite all the investment, radio and television are essentially wasteful business models that provide us with mediocre pastimes.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a press conference. A media briefing that would deliver a ruling so fundamental to the sovereignty of Ireland's economic independence that the Irish government decided it required careful consideration and meticulous reaction. Many tireless hours were spent assiduously assessing every possible scenario to ensure that no matter what the outcome of the ruling, the Irish Government would be ready to save all the people of the kingdom.
Urban legend has long suggested that the logo on the back of your iPhone is a tribute to Alan Turing, the cryptanalyst who laid the foundations for the modern-day computer.
'Don't mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it" - Basil Fawlty
'The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda' - Renowned war photographer Robert Capa
Having haplessly become the target for this summer's silly season, Shane Ross is now falling victim to the very treatment that he heaped on his political peers when he was a journalist. Believing that a government made up of schoolteachers, former solicitors and sons and daughters of political dynasties was a failed model, Ross ditched his pen and microphone to storm the political system and free it from cronyism and secrecy.
Try to cast your memory back to a time when you had something labelled, with your name on it. A slipper bag, a uniform gabardine mac, a school locker, perhaps? In all likelihood, there is probably one commonality - you were a child.
Who will save our towns? A simple but pertinent question to ask all candidates in the forthcoming General Election. The demise of rural Ireland since 2008 has been as acute and as palpable as the national economic and social slide. The rural recovery, however, has not been as equal.
It was polling day, June 6, 1997. PJ sashayed into the room in his own inimitable style for the daily 7am team meeting at the Fianna Fáil election centre on Hume Street - referred to by the wags as 'The Mother Ship'.
Political campaign advertising in Ireland seldom inspires. In this country, the use of paid advertising to influence the debate - and ultimately voters - is confined largely to general election campaigns. Unlike America, we are spared the scourge of 'always-on' campaigning, where some advertising agencies solely work in the political field. Political advertising in Ireland is mostly created by advertising executives who are used to designing campaigns with consumers in mind, not voters. There is a huge difference.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny may not have enjoyed Christmas as much as usual, as the impending election lingers auspiciously in the background with all the inevitability of a half-cooked Brussels sprout. The controversy over his visibility during the flooding crisis will also have dampened his spirits. Today, Enda Kenny has been Taoiseach for four years and 10 months - give or take. As his term draws to...
Not for the first time in his life, Gerry Adams lobbed a metaphorical grenade into the political arena by leaving open a suggestion that a relationship between Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil could be considered post-election.
Tomorrow is the United Nations International Day of People with Disability - a day which the UN sanctions as a time to promote the understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
How on earth did Minister Simon Harris keep a straight face when he told an incredulous Sean O'Rourke this week that his Government are not going back to the bad old ways of boom time spending? Accusations from the Fiscal Advisory Council that spending now echoed the bad old days of Fianna Fáil were brushed off with alacrity and a nonchalant political eye-roll.
You and I may be thinking of how many sleeps until Christmas, but spare a thought for the party candidate who knows he/she has just 13 constituency clinics until the General Election, which is expected to be officially called by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in February next year.
Paddy likes to know what's going on.
"We have been successful in Government. We have not been successful in politics."
All the aces have been played. Only time will tell if the gamble of a 2016 election coupled with the double bluff of the highly political Budget 2016 will hit the jackpot for the Government or whether it is one roll of the dice too many.
Yesterday, ruminations quickly concluded with the commentariate deciding that Budget 2016 is designed to please the crowds, not the critics. The epic €1.5bn production, which could have been titled 'How to win friends and influence people', was trailered more heavily in recent weeks than the new James Bond movie. It contained few surprises and was created with just one simple mission in mind. Re-election.
If there was a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster which could adequately depict the current political atmosphere in Leinster House at the moment, it would be the epic confrontation from 'Braveheart', portraying the Battle of Stirling Bridge in the First War of Scottish Independence.
It's showtime tonight for Fianna Fáil in Dún Laoghraire-Rathdown.
The wonderfully powerful thing about language is that it is effervescent and ever expanding. From time to time, word combinations evolve in the language which clearly encapsulate the zeitgeist, thus affording us a short cut to what it is we are trying to say. For instance when we first heard the word, 'omni-shambles' or 'photo bombing', new incarnations of old words made perfect sense. Other words and phrases transpire but instead of providing convenience - only lead to enhance the confusion, like 'conscious uncoupling' for example.
In every general election there is one stand-out political issue which occupies debate and becomes a benchmark against which all political parties are evaluated. In recent years, the economy and personal wealth have consumed election campaigns.
As the lotto approaches €6 million this weekend, Enda Kenny should contemplate taking a trip to his local shop to have a flutter, because his luck is in, it seems. If we are to believe his interpretation of the Fennelly Commission Interim Report, that is. The Taoiseach says he had absolutely nothing to do with the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan's retirement and, if he did, he didn't mean to. So it's really quite possible that our Taoiseach could hit the lotto jackpot by merely turning up at the shop and smacking his head on the lotto machine.
Coalition Governments are difficult enough when you are in them, but getting out of them requires delicate dexterity. Like a marriage, they are an entanglement of interests which do not make separation easy. Fine Gael and Labour are married, for now. But what happens when love breaks down?
Espousing the longevity of a party leader's tenure is a tricky business, as chief whip Paul Kehoe has learned to his cost. The well-meaning deputy's comment that Enda Kenny is as durable as a Duracell bunny serves no political purpose. It does, however, give an insight into the way those close to the Taoiseach are thinking. Deputy Kehoe will not be thanked by the party hierarchy for his musings. Fine Gael's single biggest challenge in these final months is to maintain control of the date of the general election; any development which upsets its equilibrium is unwelcome in the extreme.
Donald Trump wants to "Make America great again". His campaign slogan for the presidential election next year is full to the brim with the deep-seated chutzpah we have come to associate with the powerful business tycoon and reality TV star.
NUTS, or Nomenclature Unit's Territorial Statistics, is the official terminology used for the statistical grading of Eurostat countries when determining State aids. Surely the bureaucrats in Brussels who came up with the acronym could never have foreseen a story as bizarre as Irish Water when they came up with the terminology. Oddly enough, it fits very well!
Many saw the 2011 election as the implosion of our traditional political culture as we knew it.
Next week, the Taoiseach will lead his band of merry men and women out of their natural environment in government buildings, as the Cabinet takes to the hills to hold its weekly meeting in Lissadell House in County Sligo.
There's an instruction manual in every PR company in town and it is called "How to survive the Banking Inquiry". Its advice is simple and short. Go in. Apologise. Get out.
Cash is king in Corfu town. No-one will mention the Greek crisis to any visiting tourist unless you bring it up yourself.
'Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself' - Othello.
The walkie-talkie crackled, "there's a problem in West Stand Upper". We stood just inside the tunnel of Lansdowne Road in the middle of the West Stand Lower. Even with the chaotic clamour around us, those chilling words cut through.
Political campaigns are expensive everywhere. However, in America increasingly, we are seeing enormously large amounts of money being spent on electioneering, even before candidates are selected. Money equals voice, voice leads to votes, and votes mean power. There once was a time when democracy was driven by people and not dollars, but that day has long passed.
Everyone is coming out these days! From former and serving government ministers, to political reporters and celebrities, the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage has promoted a slew of high-profile closet exits. The theory is, that by publically sharing experiences of life in Ireland as a gay man or woman, advocates for a 'Yes' vote will encourage others to lend their support and...
This UK general election was described by many political observers as the dullest campaign to date. Frozen in a sedulous fear of social media and opinion polls which indicated minimal margins of difference, the media strategists of virtually all political parties revelled in the security of sameness.
As delegates congregate this weekend at the 76th Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in the RDS, they must decide on a convincing way forward for the party, which will address not only their future but also their past. To the uninitiated, a Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis must seem like attending a Scientologists' convention. For the "true believers" inside the conference, the set piece is perfectly logical, but to the non-believers on the outside, it makes no sense at all.
Recently, a good friend asked me how I would vote in the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.
When it comes to delivering sound bites, Pat Rabbitte can still produce a sonic boom like few of his contemporaries.
A wise old sage from Fianna Fáil once gave me some solid advice: "When you don't know what to do, do nothing."
Liam Neeson is the latest superstar recruit to Tourism Ireland's gargantuan efforts to promote Ireland as the go-to destination for St Patrick's Day. His golden voice booms a Ballymena bass with just a little lilt of LA drawl, as he promises an experience of rolling hills, majestic cliffs and green fields a plenty.
The queen of the red tops is back. Rebekah Brooks is returning to Rupert Murdoch's news group to run Storyful, a Dublin-based social media news agency. Brooks' meteoric rise within the News International ranks is matched only by her spectacular and very public fall from grace.
Ten years ago Sinn Féin were caught in a vortex of debate around a series of incidents which led to many difficult questions for the leadership of the organisation.
The campaign for a Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum has a significant ambassador in the unlikely and unassuming figure of Pat Carey, former Fianna Fáil TD and minister.
As Greece basks in the glory of its revolution, here we await our own middle-class hero. Lucinda Creighton has promised to deliver more details this month about her new political project, a rebooted reboot no less.
Yesterday at Panti Bar in Dublin, members of #ShareTheLove campaign invited people to invest in history by making a donation which would help secure a 'Yes' vote in the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.
The newly launched mini-series 'Charlie' gave us a fleeting glimpse into the invidious issue of phone-tapping last Sunday night.
It is an ultimate irony that politicians who are obsessed with defining their own legacy are eventually destroyed by their venal fixation to be loved by those that they govern. Last night, we tuned in to the much-publicised first instalment of RTE's 'Charlie", written by Colin Teevan. It was a lavish production, befitting the man's lifestyle and exalted opinion of himself. The production values of 'Charlie' are more the 'Downton Abbey' that he aspired to than the 'Fair City' that he came from.
For anyone who has an affiliation to or holds some affection for Longford town, Christmas morning in 2009 was a bleak time. We awoke to the devastating news that overnight St Mel's Cathedral had been almost destroyed completely. Burned out from end to end, all that remained was its shell.
Every once in a while a news story comes along that affects us as individuals and as a nation.
The property bubble is not the only bubble that came in to sharp focus last week. The radius of relevance that exists like an invisible sphere around Leinster House was also in the spotlight.
Minister Alan Kelly had a relatively good day in Dail Eireann on Wednesday. In terms of delivering a climbdown, he served up an epic government retreat the likes of which has not been witnessed since Napoleon's withdrawal from Moscow in 1812. But today is more important because it is the day TDs host their first local "constituency clinics" since the announcement of the new water charge tariffs.
Sinn Fein's most vehement critics are united in the assumption that Sinn Fein has no moral compass.
In the days of multi-media platform surfing, endless screen scrolling and non-stop emails, physical letters have become increasingly unimportant. Save one.
It's the morning after the night before. In Government Buildings and across in the Department of Finance an eerie semblance of tentative calm envelopes the sumptuous corridors that hug the same courtyard on Merrion Street.
'Lord make me pure, but not yet!" So runs St Augustine's wayward prayer.
This week Uachtaran na hEireann Michael D Higgins announced phase two of his grand plan to shape Ireland's civic society, during a speech to an assembled audience at St Vincent de Paul offices in Dublin.
This weekend David Cameron's feeling of relief must be as palpable as last weekend's sense of panic.
As the political silly season comes to a close and the salubrious summer schools are but a dim and distant memory, the real political activity will commence again next week.
THIS has been a scintillating summer of sport. The stunning spectacle and colour of the World Cup in Brazil, Rory McIllroy's valiant and brave return to form to win two majors in one summer and the heroic performances by the Ireland women's team in the Rugby World Cup are but a few examples.
'The Government can and will demand that An Garda Síochána at every level, challenges its own culture and faces up to the unexamined habits within the police service that may need to be stripped away".
For years I have spent my summer holidays in the largely unknown town land of Lohar. It is neatly nestled in the mountains overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the Ring of Kerry between Derrynane and Waterville. In terms of amenities, Lohar consists of a church…… and that is pretty much it. On paper, as a destination for tourists, it has nothing, and yet it has something that is out of this world. A natural asset that the World Heritage Committee describe as being of "exceptional universal value". Its stunning views of the Skellig Islands make its rolling majestic coastline a spectacular...
SURVIVAL of the fittest is often misconstrued as meaning the survival of the most aggressive. But the Darwinian term used to depict ruthless competition can mean different things depending on one's perspective, for example to a biologist the term means whatever leads to reproductive success. Politics has its own science, but unlike physics and chemistry all formulas are subject to one common unquantifiable variant: Events, dear boy, events.
'I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat'– Rebecca West.
The original cast of Monty Python reassembled last week to squeeze a final few shekels from their ground-breaking and legendary comedy genius. John Cleese and his ensemble have just completed a 10-night sell out show at London's O2 arena. Here is how that came about. They announced it, they sold tickets for it, people showed up with their tickets on the appropriate evening and everything...
Enda Kenny has had a testing couple of weeks. Fine Gael may not have suffered at the ballot boxes to the extent of the Labour Party, but Enda has now experienced what it is like to be in the white heat of an election campaign from Government buildings. Our international, high-fiving hero has survived a bruising encounter with the voters and a series of epic misadventures by his own Government.
It's the age old problem, you can't get a job without experience and you can't get experience without a job. The corporate landscape is becoming more and more competitive and it is an employer's market at the moment.
The manager's role is even more pressurised than a player's.
BRAND Ireland has surely benefited from the visit from the Prince and Princess of Celebrity, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The sojourn of Mr and Mrs West to the West, is making headlines all around the world and Ireland's stock has sky-rocketed as a result. The international celebrity community has once again been reminded about Ireland's allure as a potential destination, where...
Eamon Gilmore will assess the electoral damage that has ripped through his party this morning from behind a mahogany desk in Iveagh House at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Nestled in the leafy luxury of St Stephen's Green, only a mile away is Liberty Hall, the spiritual home of the Labour Party.
Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your canvass go? The ongoing and embarrassing episode between former minister Mary Hanafin and Fianna Fail headquarters throws up questions for how a modern political party, dependent on renewal for survival, carries out the most fundamental task which party HQ is charged with – getting people elected.
Political parties dread opinion polls. The closer elections get the more they are feared. The fear and loathing does not stem from the actual statement of its statistical position but rather because it provides a fulcrum for the media for political stories. Post-poll publication directives are delivered from on-high at party headquarters calling for temperate language and reasoned reaction like "it...
"Those who do not use local guides cannot take advantage of the ground." – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The Tricolour flying over Windsor Castle was indeed a sight to behold last week. The incongruity of our flag alongside the Union Jack made for a curious juxtaposition and was a rare sight for Irish people.
My earliest childhood memory is being cold, but excited, as we waited for the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. As an Irish family living in England, it meant that every year we made the very long journey from England back to our real home for Christmas holidays and sometimes the summer too. The journey was long but the promise of what lay at the other end of it was worth it all.
The Government is enveloped in a kaleidoscope of confusion which it tried to bring an end to yesterday as Alan Shatter finally said the word "sorry". By doing so, he saved himself and probably his Labour colleague the Attorney-General. He would not have enjoyed the public admission but compromise is the nature of survival in coalition government.
As the remaining battle-weary soldiers of destiny gather this weekend in Killarney for the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis, many of the delegates must be wondering, what's the point? After the crippling election in 2011 which saw the party lose a monumental 51 seats, dropping to 17.4pc of the national vote, many political observers thought there was no way back and the brand was irrevocably tarnished to the extent that it would have been kinder to kill it than to simply allow it fade to a slow, ignominious death.
'It's lovely to know that the world can't interfere with the inside of your head" – wise words from the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir by Frank McCourt, 'Angela's Ashes'.
Without discipline, the police force would just be a bunch of people wearing the same colour clothing.