A cartel that puts the mock in democracy
It's entertaining, up to a point, to watch Fine Gael and Fianna Fail dancing around Sinn Fein.
It's entertaining, up to a point, to watch Fine Gael and Fianna Fail dancing around Sinn Fein.
It's getting so I dread turning on the radio or the television. The horror stories are multiplying.
Gene Kerrigan Most people who have reservations about repealing the Eighth Amendment recognise abortion as an issue of conscience. They recognise that others, people as serious and thoughtful as they...
Gene Kerrigan Was it Vladimir Putin, a man with a thuggish history, who gave orders that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia be dosed with a horrific nerve agent?
Gene Kerrigan Mostly, journalism is about day-to-day stuff. Sometimes it's about the big things. An example of the latter was the Boston Globe's 2001 campaign on child sexual abuse.
Gene Kerrigan This Doonbeg thing, it's Irish politics in a nutshell. The ineptitude, the deceit, the two-faced playacting, how the rules are just for the little people...
There were dozens of young people on the steps of the Mansion House, in Dublin, one morning last week. Inside, there were more than 300, from a range of schools.
Well, that was a memorable week. Some scary parts, many quiet acts of kindness and heroism, and a whole lot of dedicated public service.
Gene Kerrigan You know how it feels when you see a Magnum ice-cream? Probably you think - oooh, nice, but I shouldn't. Probably, we all feel something like that about all ice-cream.
It's online, you can find it without too much bother. And if you give it a fair read I'll bet you'll be convinced Project Ireland 2040 is more than just an election gimmick.
Last Wednesday's Dail screaming match between Marc MacSharry and the Healy-Rae brothers was one of those scraps where you could cheerfully brain both sides.
Last week, we enjoyed the brawl in which the rugby fans from Terenure College squared up to St Michael's finest.
Gene Kerrigan Inevitably, when The Irish Times poll showed Leo Varadkar hitting 60pc approval, the alternative media struck back.
Like every job, politics has a basic set of skills, a body of knowledge built up by earlier practitioners. Those who enter politics are supposed to acquire that body of knowledge. Senior civil servants, too. And journalists who deal with politics.
Gene Kerrigan We were running. All of us were confused - lawyers, gardai, journalists, members of the public - we didn't know which way to run.
Gene Kerrigan Do we really have to face yet another year pretending we don't know what's wrong with the hospitals? Because that's what we're doing now - we're pretending we don't know what's wrong.
Gene Kerrigan These days, we've got used to the end-of-year arrival of a flock of books that assess political and current affairs. They're an alternative to the incessant torrent of news.
Gene Kerrigan The Veritas shop in Abbey Street, Dublin, is a retailer of Catholic publications and paraphernalia. It should be alien territory for a long-time non-believer, but nostalgia brings me there most Christmases, usually to buy some candles.
Isn't it lovely, at this time of year, the way the Christmas spirit bubbles up? A mixture of secular idealism and Christian love embraces us all.
Gene Kerrigan Last week, at the Oireachtas Finance Committee, there was some rage about "unscrupulous" behaviour by bankers. Turns out thousands of people on tracker mortgages were "ripped off".
There'll probably be an election next year. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are itching for a fight. No political difference - they're like opposing football fans who just can't stand each other.
Gene Kerrigan The first thing most "sensible people" agree on this weekend is that it would be damaging to have a general election just now. The second thing is that this email to Frances Fitzgerald is a trivial matter, and hard to understand.
Gene Kerrigan It should have been a good week for Fine Gael. The Brexit carry-on gave Varadkar a chance to look good by comparison with the clowns who currently govern the UK.
Gene Kerrigan You can't, as Sir Michael Jagger used to sing, always get what you want. Last week, a chap with illusions that he has a talent for burglary was sentenced to three years, at Trim Circuit Court.
Gene Kerrigan The crime, the corruption and the social evils are coming at us in waves. And the very expensive defences we have in place to protect us have turned out to be bugger all use.
Gene Kerrigan Last Wednesday, Leo Varadkar publicly rejected responsibility for those paid to speak anonymously on behalf of his Government. These "spin doctors" and their mouthpieces, paid agents of the...
After decades of obeying the law, paying taxes without dodging or complaining, I've begun to wonder if I've been a mug.
Gene Kerrigan There are good things and bad things about the Belfast Agreement, but anyone treating it as a political poker chip is gambling with other people's blood. And that seems to be what went on last week.
Gene Kerrigan You've heard of the "Deep State"? It's an allegedly sinister hidden state-within-the-state, up to all sorts of carry-on. Intelligence agencies, groups of higher civil servants - that kind of thing.
Gene Kerrigan Credit where credit is due. It's uplifting when politicians do what they say they'll do. It's worthy of note when the Taoiseach, for instance, recognises the dreadful plight of children in pain and does something about it.
Gene Kerrigan Remember the good old days? Remember when Dublin councillors wore a groove in the O'Connell Street pavement as they left their meetings and waddled around the corner to Conway's pub to collect their backhanders?
When the online petition popped up on my screen, calling on Newstalk to sack George Hook, I was sorely tempted. My finger toyed with the button for a moment, then I moved on without clicking.
Gene Kerrigan In May 1921, with the State not yet formed, WT Cosgrave, Minister for Local Government, 1916 veteran, future head of Government and one of the founders of Fine Gael, wrote about the poorest of our nation: "They have no ideas whatsoever of civic responsibilities. As a rule their highest aim is to live at the expense of the...
Here's a political truth: Mediocre politicians measure each social problem primarily by the extent to which it affects their careers and reputations.
What's politics about? Well, say the pundits, we have two political camps. On the one hand, we have Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. These parties are run by "responsible", "sensible" people who believe in prudent government spending.
Here's a story about two men, Darren and Christopher, who had a problem. What happened to them tells us some bad news about the state we're in - and some good news.
Gene Kerrigan Just six years ago, people in their early 30s made up the largest group within the homeless. It's a horrible way to have to live, but most adults can at least try to steel themselves against the dread that envelops such a life.
Gene Kerrigan When it comes to grand announcements on the state of the nation, and predictions about economic recovery, some of us are inclined towards scepticism.
Gene Kerrigan The low point in last week's Kevin Myers circus was, for me, the moment he went on BBC Radio 5. Myers climbed down into the hole he'd dug for himself, took out his trusty shovel of contorted rhetoric and proceeded to dig.
Gene Kerrigan To spare his blushes, we'll call the man Paddy Murphy, though that's not his name. On February 20, 1997, he and his partner and their three-year old son approached Kealfadda Bridge, in West Cork.
Gene Kerrigan Heaney is handy. If you're a political leader with a featherweight image, and you need some gravitas, it helps to flick through a volume of Seamus Heaney's poetry.
Gene Kerrigan For some time, humiliation has been part of the job description for members of the Irish establishment. The pay is still good, and you still get to wag your finger at the common herd, but the position has lost its moral swagger. Because they know that we all know what's going on. The remarkable thing is the extent to which the...
Let's put ourselves in the position of a juror in the Jobstown case. Since the case was long and unwieldy, let's look at the evidence the jury heard about the actions of just one of the accused.
Gene Kerrigan There are times when the mask slips, and this is one of them. While Fine Gael and Fianna Fail were squabbling over the appointment of a judge, they disclosed some rather startling things we're really not supposed to know.
Gene Kerrigan May God forgive me for what I'm about to inflict on you, but in a moment it will be necessary to replicate some praise for our new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. It won't take long and you might even enjoy it, in a quirky, masochistic sort of way.
Gene Kerrigan It's hard to know who has looked more ridiculous since the results of the UK general election started coming in. There's great fun to be had watching shocked Tories circling one another, deciding which back to stab first.
Gene Kerrigan It'll be all right, won't it? Eventually? Let's say five years from now, we won't be having one crisis after another in basic services, will we?
Gene Kerrigan Ok, complete the following sentence: "I'm really glad Leo Varadkar was Minister for Transport from 2011 to 2014, because otherwise . . ." Take your time. Search your memory.
Gene Kerrigan For politicians in heat, words are dust to be thrown in the eyes of others, while they position themselves for victory. And during any election, truth is a handicap. So, never mind what they say,...
Gene Kerrigan Siobhan Phillips was a vulnerable woman. In October 2015, Garda Tony Golden was murdered trying to protect her. Dara Quigley was a vulnerable woman. A month ago, when she was at a very low ebb, utterly defenceless, a video of her plight somehow emerged from Garda custody. It was displayed for the world to see.
Gene Kerrigan Yesterday, Enda Kenny's second government was a year in office. And, about two weeks ago, Enda finally managed to beat John A Costello's record and become the longest-serving Fine Gael...
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