Selling off our rail service is no guarantee of success
The sell-off of Eircom was ultimately a bad deal for small investors and for the state. Fears over a possible disposal of Irish Water have been widespread. And now the EU wants to privatise...
The sell-off of Eircom was ultimately a bad deal for small investors and for the state. Fears over a possible disposal of Irish Water have been widespread. And now the EU wants to privatise...
James Finley was abused physically and sexually as a child. He overcame the abuse and decided to become a monk. Years into his training he was abused by a priest, and quit.
Denis O'Brien is a rich and influential man. Controversial, he has contradicted findings of the Moriarty Tribunal that impugn his character. He has successfully sued a newspaper for questioning...
The Irish media this weekend have decided not to report statements made by Catherine Murphy TD in the Dail. Those statements refer to billionaire Denis O'Brien, a major shareholder in Independent...
To lose one referendum about political reform may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. To lose a third is downright inept.
No group may visit the Dublin Jewish congregation's fine synagogue in Terenure for the time being.
We'd hate to see it sold off. That green shamrock on a shining Aer Lingus tailfin. It's part of our identity as an island people.
Pope Francis last week spoke about corrupt officials, free speech and the Dalai Lama. But a colourful reference he made to rabbits got most attention.
RTE screened pornographic images last week, but the media paid more attention to the launch of Ulster Television's new Irish news programme. RTE will talk porn again tomorrow night.
An heroic poem proclaims that "Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred".
If the Taoiseach had sacked Alan Shatter the morning after Shatter revealed on television confidential data from garda files about Mick Wallace, then the former Minister for Justice...
She has just been forced out of her home. Maria and her husband and their baby cannot afford to stay. The landlord upped the rent and they were already stretched to the limit.
Documents released by the Department of Justice to the Sunday Independent last week show that civil servants briefed former minister Alan Shatter on the sensitive issue of whether or not GSOC, the...
‘I certainly hope it does not come back to haunt me.” Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell was not talking about his refusal to answer certain questions at an...
The Department of Justice has failed to comply with the law. It has not answered a Freedom of Information request relating to a leaked Garda Inspectorate report and other matters.
Many young Irish people will vote Yes to gay marriage on the grounds of equality. But they ought to vote No in the other referendum on May 22, for the very same reason.
It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry listening to Irish Government ministers kick for touch.
The man behind me thought he was being funny. "Here's hoping that the pilots are happy," he quipped loudly last week, as we stepped on board our United Airlines flight from Florida to New Jersey. No one laughed.
BISHOPS SLAM GAY MARRIAGE. That was the headline that you did NOT see last week. But it was the reality.
He said, "My brain is fried". That's how a friend put it recently, after spending hours trying to work out what health insurance he should buy, at a rate that he could afford. Many people know how he feels.
This week Ulster Television launches its new service for the Republic of Ireland. It's another reason to moan about TV - 57 channels and nothin' on!
You can call him "Mick" if you wish Mr Adams, but you never knew him. My grandfather did. And he sometimes hid Michael Collins in a cellar below my grandfather's premises on Middle Abbey Street, right opposite Independent Newspapers.
The Government is breaking a promise. It recently announced that appointments to State boards must in future be openly advertised and filled in a transparent manner.
'Sing a new song to the Lord". That's the motto of the new head of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Last week, Eamon Martin became Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland when Cardinal Sean Brady stepped down.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has attacked a decision of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Compliance Committee, of which I am a member. The union went wild on Mooney.
The pressure on Sergeant Maurice McCabe and his family has been enormous. But last week brought them relief with the publication of a damning review of official reactions to his complaints about Garda malpractice.
When Gerry Adams last week tweeted an image of a chocolate cake he was using his Twitter account to do what he does best online, winding up critics while projecting to the public an image of himself as a regular guy.
Claire just got a mobile internet bill for €7,500. To say the young Irish woman was shocked is an understatement. She had been one week in the US.
IF THE plan was to divert attention from overcrowded classes and the working conditions of teachers, then it succeeded. Mathematics, religion and the feminisation of teaching made headlines.
When Sergeant Maurice McCabe ran into a brick wall about penalty points, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar met him last May and gave him heart. So Varadkar was consistent last week in calling the garda whistleblowers “distinguished”.
THE leak of a damning report on the penalty points system last week raises new questions about the gardai and the Department of Justice. Was it a breach of security, or a case of attempted media manipulation?
The loss of a computer drive in a sex abuse case should be investigated as part of any serious inquiry into facts surrounding the allegations and treatment of garda whistleblowers.
MORE than five times as many people think that the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was justified in launching a public interest inquiry about bugging than think that GSOC was not.
In a key statement last week, a stern Taoiseach misinformed the public about the duties of the independent Garda Ombudsman. How and why did he do so?
The independent Garda Ombudsman must now get to the bottom of the penalty points affair. It has dragged on too long. But to do so the Ombudsman needs direct and unfettered access to the Pulse computer system, on which gardai store records.
‘Who would have thought the Pope would be this great proponent [of breastfeeding]?”
'WHO would have thought the Pope would be this great proponent [of breastfeeding]?'
OH God. It looks more like point- scoring, than religion. Army chaplain Eoin Thynne has been rapped over the knuckles by the military top brass for saying what he thought of the Christmas address to the nation by Pres- ident Michael D Higgins.
WHAT will Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan do to change the present "culture and attitude" of senior gardai that Judge Peter Smithwick described last week as "disheartening and depressing"?
Choje Akong Rinpoche, who was murdered last Tuesday aged 73, was a remarkable man. He and his brother fled Tibet in 1959 under fire from Chinese troops. Yet he later persuaded China to let him back each year to help schools and other charitable projects for Tibetans. He and his brother were guests of honour at a private lunch in Aras an Uachtarain in 1998.
YEATS' tower in Co Galway is deserted and the area overgrown. I felt like I had stepped outside time when I visited Ballylee last weekend.
INTERNET pornography is a problem. And it is a problem for adults as well as children. We are not talking here about safe, happy sex.
An official reprimanded the man behind me in the public gallery of the Seanad for using a mobile phone on silent last week. Meanwhile, a few metres away, on the floor of the Seanad, two senators were using mobiles.
WHAT have Deputy Mick Wallace and RTE's political correspondent David Davin-Power got in common?
The failure of the Irish Catholic hierarchy to prevent the Dail passing abortion legislation is a moment to reassess the role of religion in Irish society.
The Catholic bishops have lost perspective on the minor abortion legislation now being proposed to safeguard women's lives. And most Catholics know it.
the Dail Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality would like the Garda Ombudsman to investigate and report to it on the penalty points scandal. It wants to send him the internal garda report on the matter that has been criticised by garda whistleblowers and in the Dail.
At the heart of the penalty points row is a serious issue about policing. For the garda whistleblowers involved, this has never been about local gardai exercising a bit of sensible discretion at the side of the road, and certainly not about seeing which Dail deputy is the biggest hypocrite.
LAST Sunday RTE promoted and broadcast a radio report referring to the controversial and secretly recorded tape of an alleged conversation between Michael Lowry and Kevin Phelan in 2004. A transcript of that tape was recently published by the Sunday Independent, and it was later played and discussed on TV3.
Earlier this year, the Attorney-General's office promised one of the garda whistleblowers in writing that any correspondence received from him would be "handled in strict confidence".
THE full internal garda report into the penalty-points scandal has not been published.
Gardai are calling for an independent body to review garda pay. The Garda Commissioner reportedly supports their demand. But garda pay is not the only part of Ireland's policing system that is in need of review. Discipline and efficiency are also important.
A Garda who last year revealed details of penalty-point terminations that are now the subject of an official inquiry quit the force last week. He says that he felt he had "no choice".
THE rose is withering. The Rose of Tralee has dropped out of Ireland's top 10 television programmes.
Gardai have listed the grounds on which senior officers may set aside penalty points and other fixed-fine notices.
IN one way, it looks like pulling up the gang-plank once you have managed to climb on board. But the judges have a point when they call for a new system to guarantee judicial independence.
Details of the penalty points scandal suggest that the problem is far more extensive than Justice Minister Alan Shatter is currently acknowledging.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has launched a new code of fairness for broadcasters that is intended to help protect the public against programmes that are biased.
A GARDA source claims that the penalty-points scandal has cost the State up to €8m in lost revenue.
The penalty points scandal matters. It goes to the heart of Irish society, and of a way of doing business that has contributed to creating the State in which we now find ourselves. But a report on it is likely to be spun by ministers before the public sees it.
If a drunken driver kills your wife, you might want that driver charged with murder and sent to prison for a long time. But it is unlikely to happen.
LAST Thursday, TV3 played the tape of a phone conversation between Michael Lowry and a businessman, recorded in 2004. The tape demonstrates that the Moriarty tribunal did not have access to all relevant information and that, bad and all as its findings were, they might have been worse. It raises the question of what else Lowry knows that the tribunal did not.
REFLECTIONS ON CRISIS: THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL
Such absolutist language on abortion has unnerved an already indecisive Government, writes Colum Kenny
At least four people have died from exposure on our streets so far this winter in the Republic of Ireland.
'I don't rat on people," says Deputy Tom Hayes of Fine Gael. He was refusing to identify the four people whom he says were with him when a bizarre practical joke was played on another TD on the eve of the latest austerity Budget.
Would you risk your life to save someone? A New York photographer was at the centre of a moral storm last week when he took pictures of a man about to die but did not intervene to save him. Neither did ordinary members of the public.
Donnybrook's dithering was an appalling response to the terrible Savita tragedy that everyone was talking about.
IT IS every parent’s nightmare. Their daughter or son goes abroad and meets an evil end. The death in Japan last week of 21-year-old DCU student Nicola Furlong was untimely and unpleasant.
'You never got to like it?" That was one of the remarkable questions put to Brendan Boland when he was interrogated by priests in 1975 after reporting to the Catholic Church his sexual abuse at the hands of Fr Brendan Smyth.
How is your paradigm? If you do not even know what a paradigm is, then last week's speech by Michael D Higgins may have passed you by. And that would be a pity. Because he wants to be a President for all the people, and he was saying something useful.
This Christmas Eve, some of us will do what Irish families have done for generations. Light a candle at the window and go out in the dark to attend Mass. It is Christmas, and old traditions still have a place in our hearts.
It has been another great TV series, popular with young and old alike. So does it really matter that the BBC gave viewers the false impression that every bit of its Frozen Planet series was shot in the wild? Yes it does. It was revealed last week that its pictures of cute polar bear cubs being nursed underground were actually shot in a man-made den in a Dutch zoo. This matters because apparent fakery can be used by critics to attack the BBC itself.
To judge from this book, RTE made Dermot Morgan. The caption under a picture of him dressed as a priest notes how his career began on RTE.
IRELAND'S Catholic bishops will warn that the "wounds" caused by financial turmoil and government austerity measures could lead to violence in the streets.
THE minister sat at the table and praised light-touch regulation. Sile de Valera was talking to the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.
SO THEY disappeared into thin air? All those billions that Irish banks lent to golden circles? Taxpayers are being given the mushroom treatment. Kept in the dark and shovelled manure, while this Government sinks Ireland in debt for decades.
WE had been in Toronto for less than two hours when the young Irishman approached us. He seemed depressed when we spotted him, sitting on the sunny steps of a tall building with a faraway look in his eyes.
Joe (not his real name) is Irish. And, at the time of his crime, was a chronic heroin addict.
SACK the semi-state boards? Sell off the family silver? Privatise the ESB or An Post, and all other publicly owned bodies? Not unless we want to throw good money after bad.
It is too easy for some of us to escape jury duty. The fact is that not all citizens want to sit in judgment. It is not merely a matter of fearing intimidation by criminals. A trial may run on and on, and can result in a serious loss of earnings as well as time.
IT WAS not a pretty sight. On one side, Minister Mary Coughlan blustering that she does not like what her own Government has done but telling teachers to live with it. On the other, rows of teachers heckling and hissing and generally behaving like naughty children. This is not what the young need now.
If there is one thing worse than selling your birthright for a mess of pottage, it is trying to sell your birthright and not getting the pottage that you wanted.
It was a sunny morning in Armagh yesterday, and St Patrick's Cathedral was warm and bright. But, as he celebrated Mass, Cardinal Sean Brady looked tired and dignified rather than happy or pleased. He was about to read us the Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland.
The sins of the parents are being visited on our young people. It was not their negligence and greed that caused the crisis in the Irish economy. They should not be its scapegoats.
Presenters come and presenters go -- but The Rose of Tralee goes on forever. It is still one of the most popular programmes on Irish television -- No 6 in the Top 10 last year. No matter what cynics think of it, only a brave or foolish programme controller would dare to drop The Rose from schedules in favour of something trendier.
Benedict XVI is writing a special Lenten letter to Irish Catholics. What can he say that will make a difference? Who is informing him about Ireland?
HEALTH is getting dearer. The New Year started with bad news for many VHI subscribers. Ireland's main health insurer is pushing up prices again, bringing its standard "Plan B" subscription for an adult from €721 in 2008 to about €972 this year.
THERE is hope hidden under the tinsel and noise of Christmas -- and we badly need it this week. Because citizens are depressed by a lack of leadership and by bad example.
ANEW nuclear power station is to be built just 70 miles from Dublin city, close to Holyhead in north Wales. Last May, an existing reactor at the same location was closed for a period following a small fire.
AS young Irish people look for work abroad, others fear that their present jobs will disappear soon and leave them owing huge debts. Some head into further education. They do so in the vague hope that things may improve by the time that they qualify.
LAST weekend, three Irish women stood in line while RTE panellists guessed which of them had had sex with an ageing British pop star. The women (and RTE) let panellists handle the women's breasts, ostensibly to discover if these might be filled with silicone. The middle-aged pop star reportedly likes enhanced breasts. Welcome to Podge and Rodge and public service broadcasting.
FIANNA Fail backbenchers have taken a stand on principle. Or on alcohol to be more precise. They hope that the Republic of Ireland will be the last man standing a round when it comes to drink-driving.
MINISTER John Gormley will not be hiring expensive cars in Britain anymore. Instead, I am told, he will be able to bring his ministerial limo and a garda driver with him. So that's ok.
THE new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (bai) has powers to fine broadcasters that "cause offence". The authority is expected to be established next week.
JOHN O'Donoghue TD should resign as Ceann Comhairle. More must happen if the Oireachtas is to win public confidence and respect for the times ahead. Minor Dail reforms that are currently promised are not enough.
Vincent Browne and TV3 have a problem. The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) will only let TV3's big new sponsorship deal with Bank of Scotland (Ireland) stand if Browne focuses on entertainment and lifestyle issues.
THE Supreme Court last week did its job without fear or favour. Sceptics had wondered if it might allow builder Liam Carroll to win his appeal just because of the consequences for Nama and the Government of not doing so. But it found against Carroll on the facts before it.
IRISH teenagers are sending sexually explicit texts and emails. Some find 'sexting' funny. It is exciting. It may be a crime. It can be fatal.
POPULAR RTE programming could be "devastated" if a proposal to fund TG4 from the licence fee goes ahead. That's according to Screen Producers Ireland (SPI), the organisation representing independent producers. It points out that independently made programmes on RTE have included The Road to Croker, Cracking Crime, Raw, Class Act, Operation Transformation, Eden and Ryan Confidential.
WHAT do you call 400 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good beginning. It is an old joke but maybe Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, muttered it to himself last week when he opened The Irish Times. Dozens of Irish barristers and solicitors had signed a letter to the editor in an attempt to sink his Criminal Justice Bill.
The Green Party does not want next month's local elections to be about national issues. You bet. In government with Fianna Fail, its leaders fear that the local base on which they built their party could be savaged because of current woes. Last week they told their supporters to feel free to support parties other than their coalition partner.
The Catholic bishops have refused point blank to explain publicly their refusal to publish legal advice that they claim has prevented them from sharing with the Health Service Executive (HSE) statistical information about child abuse that occurred in their dioceses.
A MAN stabbed to death in Galway. A woman bludgeoned with a brick in Howth. Staff locked at gunpoint into a strongroom in Wicklow. A young woman murdered in Ranelagh on Wednesday night.
WILL Aer Lingus let us down for Christmas? My flight to France got away on Friday, but my return from Spain could be hit by industrial action.
Last week, Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe strongly indicated that he personally would press at Cabinet for the reintroduction of college fees in the near future. But he did not promise that his government would maintain State funding of colleges at levels equivalent to those of today, on top of any income coming to colleges from new fees.
A FINE Gael spokesman claimed last week that we are turning into a police state and that the EU may be about to give media access to our personal bank accounts.
THE PAYE sector is a sitting duck. Middle-class PAYE workers are set to be squeezed to protect wealth and to keep the poor from getting restive. PAYE employees face higher health charges, the reintroduction of university fees and even the use of their taxes to keep property prices artificially high.
RTE is worried. Its €441,000-a-year director general has warned staff that there are tough times ahead. But there is no sign yet that DG Cathal Goan plans to do a Carol Vorderman on his own stars such as Pat Kenny or Gerry Ryan.
How to lose friends and influence. First we send them Dustin. Then we stuff Lisbon. Then, Irish farmers celebrate as World Trade talks collapse. The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) even wanted the Irish Government to exercise a veto over everyone else involved, had it come to a deal.
RTE is seeking to enforce more rigorously its rules concerning the commercial activities of programme presenters such as Gerry Ryan and Pat Kenny. Just this month, one of Ireland's leading talent managers and his clients in TV and radio received extensive publicity.
So did ministers really "give up" their planned pay increase last week, or just "put it on hold"? And is there a problem with TDs and senators claiming inflated expenses?
What do Dustin the Turkey and Dempsey the Minister have in common? Each gave another excruciating performance last week. But Dustin was booed in Belgrade, while Dempsey got away with his appearance in Dublin.
It cost €27,000 to send 12 RTE employees to America for the 'Super Tuesday' primaries. Oh no, hang on, it cost €62,000. Oh wait, actually it cost more than that. And that does not include RTE's permanent Washington correspondent, Robert Shortt.
The ghost of Ray Burke was knocking at the door. But Minister Eamon Ryan did not want to let him in. Poor Ray. Out there in quiet retirement among the remaining trees of north Dublin, and a brand new post-Haughey, post-Bertie Fianna Fail/Green coalition has written him out of history. That's what happens when you are political toast.