James Downey: Media has put up with too much for too long - Panama Papers herald a revolution
Who says you never hear any good news? The exposure of the Panama Papers to the daylight was terrific news. And it could get better. Through...
Who says you never hear any good news? The exposure of the Panama Papers to the daylight was terrific news. And it could get better. Through...
More than a month has now gone by since the General Election, and still we have no government.
For almost as long as I can remember, people in Ireland and neighbouring countries have enjoyed making snide comments about the curious way...
Can you remember who uttered the following words this week?
Everybody loves lists, and everybody wants to know who sits where in the global pecking order. But when it comes to the 'Forbes' list of the 73 most powerful people on the planet, you have to suspect that the compilers relied, at least partly, on guesswork.
Now we know. The Taoiseach tells us that he did not get a "specific" briefing to the effect that we might have to send in the Army to protect the banks and the ATMs if the euro currency collapsed.
Our reviewer on a new book that attempts to explain the mysteries of de Valera.
On a bright September morning in 1981, Denis Healey and I walked together from a Brighton hotel to the British Labour Party's annual conference.
Colum Eastwood, MLA for Foyle, plans to challenge Dr Alasdair McDonnell for the leadership of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). He is 32 years old, Dr McDonnell 66. He has called for "a new brand of progressive nationalism" in Northern Ireland.
You can pick up the latest opinion poll findings, turn them round, peer at every item, make comparisons with previous surveys, and you will still come to the same conclusion.
Five words contain the entire content and meaning of the most notorious question ever asked. "Am I my brother's keeper?" We all know the Bible story, and the answer.
Like many thousands of others, I remember vividly the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and how we all felt about it.
Now we know how this country is governed - or not governed. The Fennelly Report tells it all: the sloppiness, the incompetence, the delays, the failures of communication, the faulty memories.
Over the past few months, and especially in recent days and weeks, the prospects for the human race have improved by several hundred per cent.
Lord Sewel (John Butifant Sewel) is a man of distinction, with various academic and political honours under his belt. He is also a very silly man. He let himself get caught in what was once known as "a compromising situation".
Once upon a time, Britain had a Home Secretary by the name of Michael Howard. He based his work largely on the proposition that "prison works". He repeated it constantly and quietly but with what seemed a curious hint of a threat behind it.
Bertie Ahern gave the performance of his life at the Banking Inquiry yesterday.
George Osborne presented his seventh budget - and first purely Conservative budget - in the House of Commons the other day. It was not one of the more exciting events of the week.
Charlie McCreevy's performance at the Banking Inquiry on Wednesday has been described as wonderful. I can think of a better word: perfect.
Jeb Bush may look and sound like a clown, but we have to take him seriously. He is the frontrunner - so far - for the Republican nomination to contest the US presidential election. By the end of next year, he could become the most powerful man in the world.
One cartoon seems to say it all. It depicts the pillars of that monument to ancient Greek glory, the Parthenon, crumbling.
History frowns on new Irish political parties. Ever since the foundation of the independent Irish State they have sprung up like mushrooms and quickly disappeared, usually without anything in the way of "achievements" to mark their passage.
Eamon Gilmore led a party of 37 deputies into the Dáil in 2011. It was a record: almost four times the party's normal representation.
When Micheál Martin alienated Averil Power, he "threw a pearl away, richer than all his tribe". Richer, certainly, than the remnants of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary tribe who sit beside and behind him in the Dáil. Of the 18 deputies who support him there, half a dozen at most make any visible contribution to the party or the country.
You may not have known that the Eastern Partnership is holding an important meeting in Riga, the Latvian capital where, according to the popular limerick, a young lady once went for a ride on a tiger, with unfortunate results.
Deputies enjoy the Leaders' Questions slot in the Dáil, but for the wrong reasons. When this procedure was introduced a few years ago, some thought it would improve the standard of debate and make it easier for opposition party leaders to extract information from the government of the day.
Journalists from the major continental media flocked to Britain this week to cover the general election. They have not been impressed.
With less than a week to go to the British general election and no overall parliamentary majority in sight for any party, the Conservatives have resorted to an old favourite, the Fear Factor.
Enda Kenny fairly flew out of the blocks in his haste to praise the report of the working group on Seanad reform. Innovative and radical, he called it.
Can you think of a country, other than our own, where the majority party in a coalition government has no real empathy with its partners and treats them with - at best - tolerance?
For a while there, some people had begun to worry about the commemoration of the Easter Rising next year. They included Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, one of the people involved in the planning. When somebody like Ferriter has doubts, we have to take him seriously.
After much reflection and a certain amount of pain and puzzlement, I have made up my mind to vote No in the referendum on gay marriage.
When it comes to mastery of language, George Osborne does not bear comparison with Oscar Wilde or even Bill Clinton.
Enda Kenny returned this week to his favourite theme. Jobs, jobs, jobs! And he went farther. He held out the dazzling prospect of full employment in three years.
Fianna Fáil took a battering of epic proportions in the general election exactly four years ago. The party would have to pick itself up, dust itself off and start all over again.
All of us who have reached a certain age remember, usually without affection, a game played by the Fine Gael and Labour parties in advance of general elections.
Jim Daly, Fine Gael TD for Cork South West, took part in a panel discussion on the Vincent Browne programme a few nights ago. I couldn't help wondering how many of the viewers had ever heard of him.
Now we know - not everything, but far more than we knew before about how the Irish financial establishment turned a boom of historic propositions in one of the worst economic crashes in history. And we know it thanks to an Oireachtas inquiry in which most of us had previously reposed little faith.
Nannyism gone mad. That's the verdict delivered by TD Michael Healy-Rae on the Government's proposal to put a 'floor' under the prices of alcoholic drinks.
According to the Irish Independent-Today FM opinion poll, 60pc of us want to see a new political party formed. Nothing could be simpler than the reason for this desire: dissatisfaction with the existing parties. But nothing could be more complicated than the issues that surround it.
Barack Obama cannot win the next US presidential election. He cannot even stand as a candidate, since his statutory two terms will have ended. But he can win the next round of Senate and House of Representatives seats for the Democratic Party.
What a difference a couple of percentage points can make! The latest opinion poll finds Fine Gael and Labour up, with no support fleeing to Fianna Fail. Better still for the Government, Sinn Fein, and Gerry Adams personally, have lost support and the much-feared independents have failed to profit from the recent - mostly favourable - flood of publicity.
Lucinda Creighton's new party - which still, most surprisingly, has not fully emerged into the light of day - will be seen, inevitably, as the natural successor of the Progressive Democrats.
Almost anything can happen in 2015, and almost everything surely will. Wars, famines, collapsing oil prices: any fool can predict these and other evils which afflict the human race. When it comes to general elections, it gets a bit trickier.
Has the world finally begun to wake up to the terrifying reality of climate change?
You don't have to like Alan Kelly's plans for water charges to accept that no better plan exists. Or indeed, can exist.
Have we seen the future? A Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail coalition? Gerry Adams as Taoiseach? Fine Gael reduced to third place in the pecking order? Labour annihilated?
What would we be without David Norris? Most of us walk around Dublin with our eyes closed, but Mr Norris takes a sharp look at everything that's wrong and denounces it in colourful terms.
The team who monitored our compliance with the terms of the EU-ECB-IMF bailout left Dublin at the end of 2013. Since the beginning of this year, the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition has struggled again and again with a series of grave difficulties, mostly of the Government's own making.
Bertie Ahern's government wasted the boom. Brian Cowen's government wasted the economic crisis. Will Enda Kenny's Fine Gael-Labour coalition waste the recovery?
When someone sticks a firearm in your ear, you had better believe the gun is loaded.
James Downey on Des O'Malley's battles with Charlie Haughey.
Anyone who wants an insight into Ireland's economic woes need not plough through the hundreds of thousands of words written by academics on the subject.
Old hands always said that you never could tell what the voters of Roscommon would do. They were right.
Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin, in their Budget speeches yesterday, sketched out the Government's plans for three years, not just one.
Fergus O'Dowd was until recently a junior minister with a brief to promote, heaven help us, the New Era. He found himself caught up in a controversy which shows that we still live in the old era.
On Wednesday night the Seventh Cavalry, in the person of Michael Noonan, came galloping over the hill to rescue the beleaguered pioneers and speed them on their way towards the rich lands of the Golden West, otherwise known as the economic recovery.
Let me give you a little glimpse of Irish democracy in action.
Nowhere outside Scotland will the results of that country's referendum be scrutinised more intensely today than in Northern Ireland.
Anybody who has watched events in Iraq must have reacted with horror at the brutalities perpetrated there, but also with dismay when they take a peep at the White House and the US State Department.
Nomination to the EU Commission is often described as the biggest plum that any Taoiseach can hand out. Not all the recipients find it to their taste.
Even in the United States, where elections seem to go on for ever, the political movers and shakers allow themselves a little break at this time of year. Were you to seek them out, you might find them more readily in Martha's Vineyard than in Washington.
THREE years ago, the UN Global Commission on Drug Policy announced that the world had lost the long war against illegal drugs. Its 22 eminent members concluded that there remained only one feasible response: legalise the trade.
Pat Rabbitte told some uncomfortable truths this week. You might dislike the way he told them, but that does not make them any less true.
Exactly 100 years after the outbreak of World War One, an unlikely source has brought the question of World War Three into the public discourse. David Cameron says Britain will not start World War Three.
Enda Kenny, as is his wont, has been more than sedate. He is behind the game and behind the times.
Once upon a time, quite a number of people thought Ireland was the best country in the world. If any of them still exist, they will doubtless have enjoyed reading the reports about the findings of the Good Country Index.
LIKE so many millions from Shanghai to Sacramento, I settled down comfortably on Wednesday evening to watch the Great Spanish Comeback.
Enda Kenny has dispelled, rapidly and neatly, any illusions we may have had about parliamentary independence, separation of powers and such-like democratic frills.
We seldom hear contributions to public debate from elder statesmen, partly because we have so few. Now, all of a sudden, two of them have given us an insight into their thinking.
Joan Burton wants to serve a full term as leader of the Labour Party. In the unlikely event that she fails to win the prize, any alternative leader would presumably say the same.
In the European and local elections, the voters have done something that all the politicians, all the experts, all the pundits have failed to do for generations. They have changed our dreary political landscape. Radically? For sure. Permanently? Perhaps. Let's hope so.
Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. The saying is often credited to the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana.
Like a good citizen, I watched one of the television debates on the European parliament elections. It lasted for two hours, not counting ad breaks.
Politicians' expressions of regret for others' misfortunes are often, shall we say, formal. Not so with Enda Kenny's regret for the resignation of Alan Shatter. Since he formed the Fine Gael-Labour coalition three years ago, the Taoiseach has seen his Justice Minister as one of the chief mainstays of the Government. He admires Mr Shatter for his intelligence and his combativeness – which many see as arrogance. But yesterday he had no choice but to admit that Mr Shatter could no longer stay in office.
On the desk of every politician should stand a little notice carrying a warning. It could read, "the buck stops here" or, "it's the economy, stupid". Better still, it could bring a message which is particularly apt for members and supporters of coalition governments: "No squabbling in public."
Jen O'Malley-Dillon, former Obama strategist, has been giving tips on fighting elections to Irish women with political ambitions.
Bertie Ahern doesn't think much of Micheal Martin's leadership of Fianna Fail. The man who likes to see himself as the ultimate Dub says that under his Cork successor the party is "doing fairly brutal".
Seldom if ever have our politicians had a better right to an Easter break. They are worn out from three years of endless toil and trouble with precious little to show for it.
MICHAEL D Higgins's address to the joint Houses of the Westminster Parliament yesterday was a little gem.
You probably didn't watch the television debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage. Who cares on this side of the water about a confrontation between a powerless British deputy prime minister and the leader of an eccentric fringe party?
Sir Robert Peel said there was no appetite for the truth in Ireland. Decades, even centuries, have rolled by since he made that remark. Do the sad facts of the 19th Century remain the same in the 21st?
SINCE its disastrous general election performance in 2011, Fianna Fail has had three years in which to renew and reinvent itself. It has not used the time well.
On the map of Europe an invisible but easily traced line runs almost straight from the Baltic to the Adriatic. It marks one of the most striking divisions in history.
From the beginning – in other words, for the last three years – I have maintained that the Labour Party made a mistake of historic proportions by entering coalition with Fine Gael.
Harold Wilson famously said that a week was a long time in politics. If he was right – and nobody has ever challenged his assertion – three weeks must count as an eternity.
Yesterday on the airwaves, sports commentators talked about "hatred". Hatred at Twickenham today? I can't believe there will be any hatred. The time has long gone when a substantial minority – but only a minority – of the Irish thought it a sort of patriotic duty to hate the English.
YOU know the way children declare that they "just can't wait for Christmas" (or Easter, or take your pick). Myself, I have been looking forward with similar eagerness to the new instalment of the American version of 'House of Cards'.
TED Nealon, who died this week aged 84, was one of the very few Irishmen who achieved real distinction in both journalism and politics. His remarkable career points up both the connection and the difference between the two arts.
Bill Gates says that by 2035 almost all countries will have reached a standard of living equivalent to the level now enjoyed in China.
Elizabeth Shannon, wife of an American ambassador to Ireland decades ago, is still remembered here for something she said about the Irish. She found that we had no "sense of outrage".
Those were the days! The days when an exciting new party looked certain to sweep the country. The days of wildly enthusiastic mass rallies. The days in which Des O'Malley, much to his credit, looked embarrassed instead of triumphant when his supporters hoisted him on to their shoulders.
Once upon a time, serious citizens -- not just the chattering classes engaged in pub and dinner-table conversation -- talked about repartition as a solution to the Northern Ireland problem.
Who says 2014 will be no better than 2013? Most of us will be very little better off this coming year -- not much richer or happier than before the departure of the troika.
Hardly had the troika proclaimed "mission accomplished" and left the country than the Government supplied us with an example of how little it had learned from the harsh experiences of the last three years.
Alan Shatter is right. He often is, you know. Right in more ways than one. The Justice Minister has a peremptory manner. That does not go down well with the multitudes of citizens who are accustomed to the folksy style of most Irish politicians.
Tonight in Kerry – in earlier times the scene of major battles within the Labour Party – Eamon Gilmore will address the party's annual conference.
The Sunningdale Conference met on December 6, 1973. Several of the participants are still alive. One of them, Seamus Mallon, famously called the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 "Sunningdale for slow learners", and it is perhaps best remembered for that quip.
He was the very model of a modern American president. Tall, handsome, an inspiring orator, a World War II hero who sought world peace but found himself forced, in the greatest crisis of the Cold War, into a confrontation with the leader of the rival superpower which might have brought about a nuclear catastrophe.
Europe's poster boy has done the job and received the praise. The European Commission and the European Central Bank are delighted.
Perhaps you are looking forward eagerly to what Enda Kenny sees as the glorious date, December 15, 2013, when we regain our economic sovereignty?
'Don't panic!" cried Corporal Jones in 'Dad's Army'. The joke, of course, was that the corporal was the only one who did panic.
The deal is done. This week, Michael Noonan confirmed it. The tax increases and spending cuts in the Budget will amount to less than €3.1bn. It had to happen. The Labour Party had made the size of the savings a "red-line" issue, and the survival of the Coalition with Fine Gael was at stake.
How many of us can name the Ceann Comhairle of the Dail? And how many understand the issues in the dispute between the incumbent, Sean Barrett, and the Government?
If it looks like a new party and sounds like a new party, there's a good chance that it contains within it at least the seeds of a new party.
Back in 1979, when half my present readers had not yet been born, the incumbent government brought forward a referendum to reform the Seanad.
TOMORROW at Beal na mBlath, Bill O'Herlihy is expected to call for the end of the "Sinn Fein split" with the coming together of the inheritors of that event, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
MOST of the young people now celebrating their Leaving Certificate results embarked on their secondary education at the beginning of September 2008.
What's the difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail? We have heard this question asked again and again throughout most of our lives and never got a satisfactory answer. The short answer is that there is no difference worth talking about.
Only three months after his arrest, the kidnapper, torturer and rapist Ariel Castro has been sentenced to "life plus 1,000 years" in Cleveland, Ohio.
Two and-a-half years ago, the Labour Party "signed up for the duration". It joined a Coalition with Fine Gael aimed at serving a full five-year Dail term.
DAIL deputies tottered away from Leinster House this week in a state of exhaustion. Nothing to do with the weather. They were exhausted from overwork.
THEY sang 'A Nation Once Again' outside Leinster House during the abortion debate. I don't know what point they were trying to make. But then, we've all been a bit unsure about nationhood since we lost our economic sovereignty.