Eoghan Harris: 'Talks vindicate Micheal Martin's calls for bilateral backchannels'
Five million people in the Irish Republic have reason to rejoice that London and Dublin are talking directly to each other again - as Micheal Martin...
Five million people in the Irish Republic have reason to rejoice that London and Dublin are talking directly to each other again - as Micheal Martin...
Politically, I'm a hedgehog, not a fox. The only issue which finally matters to me is whether we can share this island with our Northern...
Boris Johnson, an English nationalist, and Leo Varadkar, an Irish nationalist, are both using nationalism for electoral reasons.
Leo Varadkar has come to a cross-roads in his political career and must make a choice: does he look good or do good?
Last Monday we reluctantly realised that there would be no decent deal on the backstop without the consent of the majority of Northern...
An ancient Chinese proverb says we cannot stop the blackbirds of evil flying over our heads - but we can stop them making a nest in our hair.
Last Thursday, Leo Varadkar rhetorically dug up Famine graves in a last desperate attempt to distract from the following frightening truth.
Just over a month ago, on June 16, this column's headline predicted what has actually come about: "Why Boris Johnson will not back down on the backstop."
Last week, the backstop began to blow up in Leo Varadkar's face where it politically matters most - in mainstream Irish media.
Tom Barry time is what I call the hazy days of high summer in West Cork when I follow in the footsteps of his famous flying column.
Like the writers of Game of Thrones, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney lost the Brexit plot at the most crucial part - the end.
To Munster, mostly Cork, letting my mind wander where it willed.
Let me start by briefly looking at the lessons of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur's astounding displays at Anfield and in Amsterdam.
To Waterford, to give a talk titled 'Reflections of a Revisionist', which turned into a two-day tour of the literally wonderful Waterford Museum of Treasures.
Sinn Fein is not free to restore Stormont and Irish media is too invested in demonising the DUP to force change on the shadowy figures in the...
Last week the Irish media led with some shocking news: "Government got it backwards - the backstop has created the hard Border it was supposed to stop."
Simon Coveney is a skilled yachtsman, but cheered on by RTE he has set a reckless course hoping to round Cape Boris and return in triumph flying the green flag.
The Government and the Green Groupthinkers will be glad to hear I was tempted to take a week's leave from the backstop, but when my country needs me, I believe, like Commander Ericson in The Cruel Sea: "Leave is a form of treachery".
Last Monday, speaking to Shane Coleman on Newstalk, I again urged a compromise on the backstop, reminding listeners that Ireland lived within two circles.
Last weekend, I headed for Ardfinnan, Co Tipperary, where my sister Brigid and her husband Fintan McIntyre farm a small holding in sight of Slievenamon.
Count all your blessings. You had the moral luck not to be so desperate for a better life that you died trying to cross the treacherous Rio Grande with a two-year-old toddler clinging to your neck in terror as you drowned.
To my mind, Love Island on Virgin Media is a morally healthier programme than The Brigade on RTE.
Last week in The Irish Times, Fiach Kelly said the FG strategy for the next election is Brexit and financial prudence.
Both Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald are in denial about the hard choices they must make if their parties are to survive and prosper.
Anyone looking for analysis would have to agree Virgin Media had a good election and RTE a bad one.
Lyra McKee will not have died in vain if it shocks Irish nationalism, north and south, into resetting its moral compass.
Contrary to what Marx says, history does not repeat itself, either as history or farce, but sometimes throws a shape that seems a bit like something we saw before.
Boosted by the compliant coverage of the Merkel visit by RTE and The Irish Times, Fine Gael media flakkers are firing shots at the few critics of the backstop strategy.
Terence MacSwiney is my hero for three reasons: his heroic hunger strike, his hatred of Hibernianism, his noble Principles of Freedom.
Tommie Gorman is not just a good journalist, he is a great peacemaker.
Surfing Irish social media last week was like a long swim through sectarian sewage.
To know the true mind of Middle Ireland, take a budget week's break in Morocco.
For months now, swimming against the stream, I have been calling here for a "soft backstop", a tweak that would help Theresa May get the Withdrawal Agreement.
My own policy for making peace is very simple: speak loudly about crimes committed by your own side, and shame the other side into doing the same - if they don't you win the battle of world opinion.
A small majority of English people went mad and voted for Brexit. But a bigger majority in the Republic has gone right off its rocker.
St Brigid's Day normally sees me in high spirits, but not this year.
Last Monday, I sat in the Dail chamber listening to the largely mediocre centenary speeches - President Higgins's the sole exception - and reflected on Leo Varadkar's version of the fable of how to boil a frog.
Leo Varadkar is the first Irish Taoiseach to bet the country's Gross Domestic Product on the rationality of the right wing of the Tory party.
President Higgins will not be attending the centenary commemoration of the Soloheadbeg Ambush next Sunday.
Green groupthink in Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are driving the twin follies of the backstop and the proposed FF-SDLP linkage.
Last January, the playwright Colin Murphy, in an essay about the danger of consensus, quoted George Orwell:
Four more years, thrummed the train to Cork last Monday as I headed south on my annual Christmas trip.
The big beasts of the Irish media are all backing Leo Varadkar's backstop strategy.
On December 11, Theresa May will face the same challenge the Duke of Wellington faced when he wrote to Archbishop Patrick Curtis on the same date 190 years ago, supporting Catholic emancipation.
As we approach the end of 2018, I don't want to let the year die without marking the achievements of the eight men who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago.
Brexit has put a big strain on friendships I have forged with British and Irish unionists over the past 30 years.
Back in 1967, during a row in RTE, my mentor Jack Dowling told me that one of my faults was a failure to recognise unmanageable situations or unmanageable expectations.
Brian Hayes is a big loss, not just to politics, but to the body politic.
Like all great leaders, Angela Merkel will not be missed until she has left the stage and we see the pygmies in her place.
President-elect Higgins would be wise to cut up his credit cards for the next seven years.
Pat Kenny's Big Debate proved a perennial truth: the old dog for the hard questions.
Most of you don't know John Hume declined to take part in the October 5, 1968, march in Derry which is now accepted as the start of the civil rights struggle.
When Arlene Foster said she would be happy to work with Boris Johnson, I recalled a saying attributed to the subtle French statesman and survivor, Talleyrand.
Long ago I laid down what I believe to be an iron law of Irish politics: as long as partition lasts, the national question is the only game in town.
Be sure not to miss Colin Murphy's brilliant television play The Bailout, which starts on Virgin tomorrow night, of which more anon.
As we are now perpetually on the eve of a general election, fair play demands that RTE does not favour any party.
The coverage of the Drew Harris appointment taught us two media lessons.
Leo Varadkar, aged 39, is at a cusp in his life when he needs to listen to some words of wisdom from the late great John McCain.
Back in 1979, asked about Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland, I jokingly said it would set the country back 300 years for three days.
A society needs an accurate grip on its past to protect itself from those who want to hijack history for their own ends.
Last Sunday, factor 50 sun burning a hole in my head, I drove from Skibbereen to the Abbey Hotel in the Ballyvourney gaeltacht, Co Cork, to attend a long afternoon meeting in the Irish language.
Given Peter Robinson's wake-up call to unionism and Mary Lou McDonald's volte-face on border polls, I am extra grateful to Eugene Downes, director of the Kilkenny Arts Festival, for inviting me to talk about the Duke of Wellington and Daniel O'Connell next Saturday.
To be too far ahead is to be alone. As I found out over the past 40 years whenever I wrote about evangelical Irish-speaking missionaries, RIC men and Protestant victims of the Old IRA.
Last Friday the Taoiseach spoke briefly but cogently in West Cork about the murder of 13 Protestants in April 1922.
Last week, we got some clarity on Brexit and the Presidency and saw the Seanad at work.
When Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach, I warned him against too many foreign trips for two reasons.
Coming out of Fields in Skibbereen, whistling the Mountains of Mourne, I got a convent school puck that hurt.
Leo Varadkar would like to do a deal with Sinn Fein if he was let - and only the pundits and his party are in denial about it.
Charles and Camilla's visit was another small blow against the Anglophobia that continually lurks at the lumpen level of Irish society.
Leo Varadkar was wrong to launch Feile an Phobail but the pundits didn't tell you why.
The Irish Times is coolly giving credit for the referendum result to Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael and dismissing Fianna Fail as totally out of touch. Here is a more accurate summary.
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young and flying home to secure a resounding Yes result was very heaven.
Samuel Johnson assured Boswell that, "a man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it". I wonder.
Micheal Martin has a working moral compass and always acts with good authority: he tells the truth, about women's issues like abortion and cervical cancer, about Brexit, and the dangers of a deal with Sinn Fein.
Vicky Phelan's call to action is clear. Do your duty or be held accountable.
Noel Hill has no rival as the master of the humble concertina, which he raises to high art by playing it as if it were a set of uilleann pipes.
Last February 26 I hoped here that President Higgins would seek a second term as he was best fitted to give us a pluralist position on the coming centenaries of the War of Independence and Civil War.
For the past six months I regularly predicted a Fine Gael-Sinn Fein coalition - and will prove that claim further on.
As I want to write about both the flagging Repeal the Eighth and the Brexit campaigns I will ration my rage about alleged breaches of data in INM while waiting for a fuller picture from the High Court hearing on April 16.
Moral courage is rare. Gerard Murphy must know his new book on the death of Michael Collins* risked return fire from academic nationalists but he still forged ahead.
Two questions this week. How did a mesmerised media miss the Taoiseach's major mistake on Brexit? Why does one of the "hooded men" see so clearly?
Leo Varadkar's largely successful American visit was rich in raw material for my fat mental files on the incoherent interaction between media and politics in Ireland.
Dan Donovan, who died last week, was what Dr Johnson would call a man of parts: actor, producer, director. But mostly he was a brilliant teacher who left an indelible mark on those he taught.
We are still dealing with the aftermath of two blizzards, one natural, one political. We are coping a bit better with Storm Emma than the Brexit blizzard.
Let's hope President Higgins decides to seek a second term - and that Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have the sense to stand clear.
As well as forcing us to hold our sides in helpless laughter, both The Young Offenders and Derry Girls show how television can dispel bigotry and prejudice.
Sinn Fein trolls often take me to task for supporting different political leaders and parties down the years.
If the political fudging of the past week continues for 16 more weeks there will be no Repeal, and no change in our abortion laws.
Although I favour Repeal of the Eighth, I have always avoided writing about abortion for two reasons.
The latest Churchill film, Darkest Hour, opened last week in Irish cinemas.
The recent deaths of Maurice Hayes and Donal Barrington deprived Ireland of two of our greatest public men and left me mourning two of my long-time personal heroes.
We all lived our own year in 2017. Looking back, I find one big lowlight and two smaller personal highlights.
Our Christmas trip to Cork began under the cloud cast by Brexit.
Ryan Tubridy's reversals on the royal wedding provide the perfect peg for pondering our ambivalent attitude to England and its institutions.
The Taoiseach and Tanaiste are being acclaimed on all sides for winning the battle of Brexit, so my criticism of how they conducted the campaign won't bother them.
Four words sum up the past two weeks: complicity, character, cowardice and civility.
Let me start by making three predictions about which I further predict I will not have to eat humble pie.
In spite of being one his most consistent critics, I would never belittle the dark brilliance of Gerry Adams, both as a political leader and strategist.
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be a young woman in the West was very heaven.
Last Tuesday, 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg and began the Protestant Reformation, a topic to which I shall return later.
Last week, I spent some time catching up with the new shows on TV3, hoping for fresh ideas to compete with RTE's predictable menu of political correctness and myopia about Sinn Fein.
Conor Cruise O'Brien was born 100 years ago this year. Trinity College is marking his birth with a major symposium next Thursday and Friday.
Hurricane Ophelia hurt but Hurricane Regina Doherty was full of hot air. She told Morning Ireland that Fianna Fail had never raised pensions and could not be trusted on them.
This week I want to touch briefly on what makes for a good party leader, a good current affairs show, and, above all, good judgment.
Liam Cosgrave's political credo, like his father's, was salus populi suprema lex: the safety of the people is the supreme law. In practice this meant protecting the State from the IRA, and he was never slow to use its initials.
Cui bono? Who benefits most from the Taoiseach's spats with Mary Lou McDonald?
Last Sunday night I rang the bell of my Mayo neighbour who had been bravely flying the flag in Dublin all season.
Sam Maguire, who died in poverty, was a patriot who still continues to serve his country.
Last Sunday, Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein were in trouble in the Republic on two issues: Gerry Adams's call not to prosecute the murderers of Tom Oliver, and Sinn Fein's rejection of Arlene Foster's olive-branch speech on restoring the Northern Executive.
Last Tuesday, Simon Coveney said he was worried about North Korea. He would do better to worry about the North of Ireland - and its increasing impact on the politics of the Irish Republic.
Sean O'Callaghan inverted our idea of an IRA informer. Rejecting the role of despised tout, he finished as a flawed, tragic hero, at least in my eyes.
Michael Twomey, famous as an actor from Cha and Miah, was more than the sum of his parts but rather a "man of parts". That was Dr Johnson's admiring phrase for a man of many talents but also of moral substance.
Leo Varadkar's recent skilful speech in Queen's University Belfast came just too late for me to praise the sure touch of his new speechwriter, Professor Patrick Geoghegan of TCD.
Leo Varadkar rounded on the Brits about Brexit last Friday week. Gerry Adams led the chorus of approval - and is still gushing.
Saturday in Skibbereen market is no place for souls seeking solitude. For locals and blow-ins, this is a meet-and-greet market, followed by the fast West Cork dismissal - "I'll let you go so" - when you are sucked dry.