Jody Corcoran: 'Varadkar a more unpopular Taoiseach than Enda Kenny'
As he wiles away his time in the wilds of Co Mayo, Enda Kenny must be scratching his head in befuddlement this weekend.
As he wiles away his time in the wilds of Co Mayo, Enda Kenny must be scratching his head in befuddlement this weekend.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said it is "unfair" to target the private home of a public person, after a protest was staged close to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s home in Dublin last night.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said it is "unfair" to target the private home of a public person, after a protest was staged close to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's home in Dublin last night.
While it is necessary to have a strong government, not one that bends or breaks to each public...
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has mounted a strong defence of the escalating cost of the National Children's Hospital, comparing it to "bad press"...
Let us leave aside for a moment Micheal Martin's statement that Fianna Fail's continued support of the Fine Gael-led minority Government was a decision taken in the "national interest" at a time of Brexit, other than to state at the outset that the decision is clearly in the national interest.
The Government is to establish a new corporate enforcement authority to replace the office which was heavily criticised for its investigation into former Anglo Irish Bank chairman, Sean FitzPatrick, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
As somebody who had Travellers live beside me throughout most of my formative years, I would like to answer the question that Peter Casey (and his supporters) have repeatedly asked to defend their singling out of Travellers for criticism during the presidential election and its aftermath.
There is a risk now that Peter Casey's vote in the presidential election will be interpreted to have "significance" not actually there.
'Buy Irish first, then buy Indian' an advertisement in An Phoblacht for the Indian Stores on Dame Street in Dublin stated in the 1930s. This little-known fact is by way of illustrating the close associations between Ireland and India in the fight for independence from the British Empire.
Great effort is being made to interpret the intention behind Leo Varadkar's writing, and release, of a letter to Micheal Martin related to extending the confidence and supply agreement...
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called for church actions to follow words of condemnation of clerical child sexual abuse, in a powerful address on the...
The public's confidence about their personal finances has decreased for the first time in three years in an indication that a new caution has taken hold, according to the annual Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown Consumer Sentiment opinion poll.
The most hackneyed phrase in politics, when it comes to general elections anyway, is that 'it's the economy, stupid'.
It was the reaction to the photograph that proved most revealing: children asleep on plastic chairs under the bright lights of a garda station, with no home to go to.
Leo Varadkar is facing his Harry Truman moment. What he does next will define his place in history for decades to come. It is said that the Taoiseach is "Zen" at the moment. Perhaps. Sometimes though, the more it is said that somebody is calm and relaxed the more likely it is that the opposite is the case.
Will Leo Varadkar's Government - in the words of Simon Coveney - be the Government that "reintroduced a physical border on the island of Ireland" in the event of a no-deal Brexit?
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said "UK-wide solutions are possible" to resolve the Brexit crisis. His comment, in a Sunday Independent article today, follows indications that senior DUP figures are now open to a 'soft' Brexit.
'All politics is local," the former US Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill is reputed to have said by way of linking a politician's success to his or her ability to understand and influence the issues of constituents.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's pledge to raise the level at which people pay the top rate of income tax has failed to capture the mood of the country, according to a Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae has dramatically warned Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that a Fianna Fail-led minority government could be formed without the need to have a general election.
As soon as the Budget is out of the way on Tuesday, thoughts will immediately turn to negotiating a new confidence and supply deal and, inevitably, the prospects of a general election, which are strong.
The Government will this week introduce an Election Budget which will benefit landlords, the self-employed and squeezed middle-income earners, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The big difference between this and the last Presidential election is that an outgoing President is seeking re-election. That fact alone could prove the essential difference in the end. Michael D Higgins is a popular and experienced outgoing President. It is difficult to see him being defeated.
In a significant speech yesterday, Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary gave the strongest indication yet that his party was prepared to extend the confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael.
Ahead of the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, a nationwide Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll has found strong public support for former President Mary McAleese's recent severe criticism of the Catholic Church.
Transport Minister Shane Ross has sharply criticised Government partners Fine Gael and senior State officials for attacking his demand that grandparents receive a payment to mind grandchildren.
'There is a lack of substance there," Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said about Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week.
The takeaway political news of the week is that Leo Varadkar is supremely confident Fine Gael will win the next general election. Chomping at the bit for an election, some might say. Cocky even. And why wouldn't he be?
All political parties poll public opinion. Fine Gael is no different. It is the questions they ask rather than the answers they receive which can be most revealing. This Fine Gael online focus group poll, details revealed here today, are most revealing in that regard.
An interesting finding in the yearly vital statistics published by the Central Statistics Office last week is that in the decade to 2017 there has been a 12pc decrease in the number of registered births.
So, you think you know what happened in the abortion referendum? Well think again.
There will be those deemed to be the political winners and losers but the result of the abortion referendum, in a vivid sense, defies analysis through the normal prism of politics as usual.
As a twice-stated 'undecided', I suppose it is worth saying at this stage that I will be effectively voting Yes in the abortion referendum. It would be more accurate to say I will not be voting No. In the end, it came down to three factors.
The question is being asked at a high level behind the scenes in Government as to how the cervical cancer scandal will affect the outcome of the abortion referendum, if at all.
The Government's handling of the cervical cancer scandal has exposed a fatal flaw at the heart of Leo Varadkar's administration.
On the North Strand, in Dublin's north inner city last Friday morning, a woman gets on the bus. She is, maybe, 50. She stands beside a friend already on board. By the by, she says she does "not know herself these days". Why, her friend wonders. Her husband has found work, she says, erecting scaffolding on Pearse Street.
THE abortion referendum looks like it will be passed by a narrow majority but success is by no means certain at this stage, according to the latest Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has ruled out a summer general election but remains open to the possibility of an election to seek a "mandate" for the Government's negotiation position on Brexit, the Sunday Independent understands.
With relations between Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin growing more strained by the day, the debate has moved on from whether the 'confidence and supply' deal will be renewed to when the next election will be called, the timing of which will be important, but not as essential as some would argue, to the outcome.
After three days of snow and closed schools it was time to head for the hills. Well, to the lakes actually, in the midlands close to Athlone in County Westmeath.
When Leo Varadkar went to work last Friday morning his advisers could be forgiven for beating him over the head with a copy of his 'Marking the Anniversary of the Republic' speech delivered two nights before and warning him not to lose the run of himself.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin will today pay a warm tribute to the peace process work of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who has hit the headlines again after walking out of an interview in which he was questioned about his past finances.
It must cross Micheal Martin's mind these days that had he accepted Enda Kenny's offer of an 'equal partnership' Grand Coalition in 2016 he could reasonably expect to be Taoiseach this year.
Now that Leo Varadkar's spin unit is to be no more, Fianna Fail's problems are at an end, right? That is the logic which follows the heavy concentration of political firepower on the unit since its ill-considered conception.
Leo Varadkar was forced to intervene on Friday night to calm a furious Cabinet row after the Attorney General described proposed new laws to appoint judges as a "dog's dinner" and "unconstitutional".
If Leo Varadkar thinks he has weathered the storm, he is mistaken. The snow will melt, but there will be further consequences to his 'spin' unit's promotion of the national development plan.
There is a point at which a trend becomes an unstoppable momentum. Leo Varadkar is almost, but not quite, at that point. He will be soon though, if he keeps going like this. So Micheal Martin should be worried, if not yet alarmed.
Fine Gael has increased its support by 10 points since the last general election and now has an eight-point lead over Fianna Fail, according to the latest Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar intends to nominate former Ulster Farmers' Union president Ian Marshall to Seanad Eireann, the Sunday Independent has learnt.
It would be remiss not to congratulate Mary Lou McDonald on her election as President of Sinn Fein, as somebody who had twice predicted that this day would not come. Those predictions were based on statements by Gerry Adams that he would lead Sinn Fein into the next election. Within months of his most recent absolute declaration, Adams then announced his intention to step down in...
There may seem little to connect the political events of last week, but when you look closer at the State of the Union address in the US, the abortion debate here and the discussion around the future of rural Ireland, as represented by the shambles that is broadband roll-out, there is a common issue that has still not been settled, a divide that is, if anything, growing to a more dangerous level.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is to support repealing the Eighth Amendment and will campaign for more liberalised abortion laws, including access to abortion services in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will support repealing the Eighth Amendment and campaign for more liberalised abortion laws, including full access to abortion services in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
It is interesting to recall now that when the Kerry Babies Tribunal reported in October 1985, that report was not debated in Leinster House, despite the public controversy that raged over its conduct and findings.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has described the latest gangland murder - as the Regency Hotel murder trial continues at the Special Criminal Court - as "a total disregard and contempt for law and order".
DUP leader Arlene Foster yesterday called for a "sensible Brexit" and set out why she had objected to the original proposals negotiated between the EU and UK.
There is a growing view in Government that it may not be possible to hold an abortion referendum before next summer, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
Maurice Hayes, whose death has occurred aged 90, was a writer, author and commentator, twice appointed by the Taoiseach as an Independent nominee to Seanad Eireann, who was noted as an even-handed observer and a man whose temperament, integrity and sense of fairness marked him out as an astute contributor to major policy initiatives and public life in Ireland.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has admitted that the "success" of the Government will be determined by its ability to tackle the housing crisis next year.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that Ireland's relationship with the UK has been "strained" by events related to Brexit.
The most significant thing about the Irish Times opinion poll last week, which showed Fine Gael has opened an 11-point lead over Fianna Fail, is that such a dramatic shift in public sentiment could occur at all.
It is being said that Leo Varadkar has been badly bruised by the events of last week. Bruises heal. The damage could be more serious than that, however, akin to a surgical incision. The question is whether a vein has been nicked, and whether Varadkar will slowly bleed out between now and the next election.
Ireland and the European Union have agreed that a new EU-UK treaty will apply the conditions of the single market and customs union to avoid the return of a hard border in Northern Ireland, the Sunday Independent has learned.
The Taoiseach spoke to Maurice McCabe last Tuesday night. It was a relatively brief conversation. They spoke for perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. Leo Varadkar felt that out of courtesy to McCabe, given that once again, through no fault of his own, he was at the centre of a major controversy, he had a right to know what was in the email which is now threatening to bring down the Government.
There are several ways in which the current political crisis can be resolved - but is Leo Varadkar wise enough to accept any of them? That's the question being asked at the highest political level this weekend.
'If you're not paying for the product, you are the product'.
Ireland's top civil servant has moved to make several changes to the operation of the Taoiseach's controversial communications unit after what he says are "understandable concerns" raised about its "political impartiality".
The most relevant question this weekend is whether a terrorist attack is imminent in Ireland, or whether some form of threat to national security exists. I ask this not to alarm - although we should be told if there is - but to draw attention to the Taoiseach's increasingly questionable use of his Twitter account.
Ireland's banks are up to three times more profitable than the average for major eurozone banks, according to European Central Bank data analysed for the Sunday Independent.
New Zealand prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern (37) is the latest to join the club of young world leaders which that most vociferous of demographic groups, Millennials, like to believe foretells a changing of the guard that will usher in sweeping social and political change, not least in Ireland.
Micheal Martin's Budget speech, and again to his party's Ard Fheis, has laid out what will be Fianna Fail's line of attack on Fine Gael, and Leo Varadkar in particular, between now and the election.
My favourite Liam Cosgrave story relates to the collapse of the second inter-party government in 1957, a parable which could go to the heart of Fine Gael to this day.
Fianna Fail social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea has dramatically intervened in Budget negotiations to demand across-the-board social welfare increases for the elderly, disabled and carers.
The series of rows between Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald last week has brought into sharper focus the differences between Fine Gael and Sinn Fein in relation to the taxation of bailed-out banks and, more generally, economic management in advance of the Budget.
Housing expert Lorcan Sirr, currently a visiting professor in Spain - where there is also a "housing crisis" - made an interesting presentation to the Fianna Fail 'think-in' last week.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that a "large part of the solution" to the housing crisis is high-rise apartment living in city centre locations not "urban sprawl".
Gerry Adams is not a stupid man, whatever his Twitter account may show. He knows he is an electoral liability to Sinn Fein in the Republic. So, something else must be going on for him to remain leader into the next election and beyond (as predicted here that he would some time ago).
Government ministers are increasingly concerned that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's focus on public relations "spin" will backfire at a time when the housing crisis has escalated, claiming the life of a third homeless person in a week.
It is by now evident that Leo Varadkar is to be targeted this coming Dail term by the Opposition for the level of "spin" associated with his leadership style.
Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has said that Provisional IRA informer Sean O'Callaghan, who died last week, "ultimately defeated" the IRA and had helped to "expose their fascist campaign".
There are a few politicians here who are almost always worth listening to. In general, though, the political system is not set up for what we might call interesting discourse. Maybe that is why we have the summer school season, now upon us, which allows politicians time and space to expand on their political thinking.
The Government will this week announce a "significant ramping up" of spending on Ireland's infrastructure to allow it to bring forward long-delayed projects like Dublin Metro, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The most interesting comment in the Jobstown trial came from Judge Melanie Greally who told the jury they had shown "extreme bravery and courage" in taking on the case. Why so? Such a comment, one imagines, would usually be reserved for a jury, should there be a jury, in a terrorism or serious organised crime case. Indeed, that was why the Special Criminal Court was...
Transport Minister Shane Ross has spoken of his "surprise" that the High Court President has come out so firmly against proposed judicial selection reform after Mr Justice Peter Kelly said five years ago that appointments to the Supreme Court were "purely political".
On the longest, hottest day of the year, Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin went head- to-head in the Dail and in the supercharged atmosphere of midsummer, a form of truth emerged.
In 20 years of reporting on the formation of governments, I have yet to witness an occasion when all have been entirely pleased with the choices made by any Taoiseach.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has significantly increased pressure on the former Attorney General Maire Whelan to withdraw from her proposed appointment to the Court of Appeal, stating last night that she should "consider her position".
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday delivered a strong attack on "Irish populism" and outlined some detail of what Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meant when he said he would lead a Government of the "new European centre".
The Fine Gael leadership contest is providing a fascinating insight into how Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney are both tantalisingly close to being correct, and therefore both entirely wrong, in their separate analyses of what should be Fine Gael.
Last February I said that in 12 months, or even 12 weeks, Micheal Martin may look back on the events of that week and say to himself that was the moment he should have pulled the plug.
The Brexit mood music sounded melodious at all points across the country last week - but then reality kicked in, thanks to our friends at the International Monetary Fund.
The public has loosened its purse strings and intends to start spending again, according to a Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
Last week, we revealed that people's confidence had returned to record levels not witnessed since 1989, to a time when the sustainable period of the Celtic Tiger was about to emerge, as opposed to the credit-fuelled boom of the Noughties that brought the whole thing crashing down in an unholy mess, the ramifications of which are still evident.
The public's confidence about their personal finances has soared to a level higher than throughout the Celtic Tiger period and is now at its highest point in 28 years, according to a landmark Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
It was Gay Byrne who first brought Simon Harris, until then a young man in an old man's suit, the quintessential young Fine Gael nerdy-type, into the public imagination.
They may not be best buddies these days but, when he resigned as Justice Minister, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny paid tribute to the major reforms Alan Shatter introduced into Ireland's citizenship laws and his creation of a new citizenship ceremony.
'Interesting move," a Fine Gael Cabinet minister told me by text last Saturday night, when he picked up an early edition of this newspaper, in reference to our story that Fianna Fail had threatened not to facilitate the election of a new Fine Gael Taoiseach unless the report of the Oireachtas water committee was legislated for by Environment Minister Simon Coveney.
The water charges controversy dramatically escalated on two fronts yesterday as Fianna Fail threatened to block the election of a new Fine Gael Taoiseach, and new details emerged of a still-thriving bonus culture at Irish Water.
Quite how Fianna Fail has appeared to snatch defeat from victory on the water charges issue is a sight to behold.
As predicted here last month, Simon Coveney (and Fine Gael) has caved in on water charges, the finer details of which will be officially revealed this week.
Fine Gael leadership contender Leo Varadkar has described Sinn Fein's demand for a border poll as "alarming", insisting a vote on Irish unity "at any point in the near future" would be counterproductive.
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan last night remained under serious pressure after Fianna Fail said it was "unable" to express confidence in her following a statement she issued yesterday to address the latest controversies to engulf the force.
Last Wednesday, in the House of Commons in London, before she set out her engagements for the day, British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her condolences to the family and colleagues of the former deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.
Fianna Fail Justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan last night said he was "unable" to express confidence in the Garda Commissioner after she issued a statement yesterday on the latest serious controversies to engulf the force.
Alan Kelly, the Labour TD, has been "sounded out" about contesting the next General Election for Fine Gael in Tipperary, the Sunday Independent understands.
The maverick Conservative MP Enoch Powell is often quoted when a politician is at his or her end: "All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of all human affairs." Has Enda Kenny's political life ended in failure? It is too early to say, not least because it has not yet ended. The late Conor Cruise O'Brien's observation on Charles Haughey is relevant: "If I saw Mr Haughey buried at midnight at a crossroads, with a stake driven through his heart - politically speaking - I should continue to wear a clove of...
In 12 months, or even 12 weeks' time Micheal Martin may look back on the events of last week and say to himself that was the moment he should have pulled the plug.
Simon Coveney has dramatically narrowed rival Leo Varadkar’s lead as the public’s favourite to succeed Enda Kenny — but there is also clear evidence that a third candidate could emerge to win a Fine Gael leadership contest, according to a Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll.
The reaction to Stephen Donnelly's decision to join Fianna Fail has so far failed to take account of a significant factor said to have influenced Donnelly in his decision: the personal relationship that blossomed between him and Micheal Martin when first they sat down to discuss his move a few months ago.
The immediate effect of Sinn Fein's outward positional shift on entering government as a junior coalition partner with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail has been to put back on a fast track the end of Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach.
Government minister Leo Varadkar has voiced his deep concern after Donald Trump unveiled an isolationist vision of America in a divisive and fiery inauguration address.
The State agency that promotes road safety has privately warned Transport Minister Shane Ross about serious risks to its plan to reduce road deaths to 124 a year by 2020.
The inauguration of Donald Trump as President of America has brought into sharper focus the rise of populism politics here and internationally, and also, the general angst that this has caused among so-called liberal elites everywhere.
The resignation of Martin McGuinness, coupled with his evident ill health, has led to speculation that more sweeping leadership change may now take place in the Republican movement.