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Category: Affairs

CHARLIE FLANAGAN’S NEW RULES

CHARLIE FLANAGAN STRUCK the most gentle of tones on radio this morning as gardaí were given emergency powers to enforce further restrictions of movement. During back to back interviews, it was left to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ and Pat Kenny on Newstalk to do the... Read more »

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HSE PAUL REID’S RADICAL PAST

Paul Reid

HSE CHIEF EXECUTIVE Paul Reid took over the top job last year with a mission to bring health spending under control. After making headlines in May with all the right fiscal noises on his appointment, Reid soon had to concede that reaching targets and “transforming... Read more »

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FORMATION IMPATIENCE

Leinster House

GOLDHAWK IS STRUCK by how coverage around government formation has shifted in recent days. Several pol corrs have moved on from lamenting the impasse of election arithmetic and a tone of impatience now festers in the news. Writing in the Irish Times, political editor Pat... Read more »

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CIARA KELLY’S IMMUNITY

Ciara Kelly

A WORLD GRIPPED by uncertainty will be encouraged to learn that the Sunday Independent is making significant scientific progress in the battle against Covid-19.  Writing in this weekend’s paper, Newstalk broadcaster Ciara Kelly announced that “I, like thousands of others here, have had Covid-19. I’m... Read more »

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VLAD’S DOLE DECEPTION

Leo Varadkar

GOVERNMENT PLEAS to avoid rumour and hearsay have quickly come undone. A more familiar side to Leo Varadkar resurfaced this week when he insinuated that some unpatriotic gurriers may be gaming the social welfare system. At a press conference on Thursday, the caretaker Taoiseach claimed... Read more »

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UCD’S ‘INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS’

A BULLETIN from UCD President Andrew Deeks last month reminded staff that, although everyone is grappling with the fallout from Covid-19, efforts should be made to ramp up the recruitment of international students. Irish universities are increasingly reliant on this income and Deeks warns, ominously,... Read more »

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TIMMY DOOLEY’S DEMISE

Timmy Dooley

FANS OF GOLDHAWK will not be surprised to see Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley fail to win a seat in the Seanad elections. Not only was the former Clare TD damaged by the Leinster House voting controversy but his standing in the party has been greatly... Read more »

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AIRBNB’S COVID CRISIS

ROCKED BY TRAVEL BANS and deserted cities, Airbnb, the self-styled disruptor, is currently facing disruption of its own Tourism remains potentially the longest term casualty of Covid. While the more IT focused luminaries of Silicon Valley are seeing a boom due to social distancing, Airbnb’s... Read more »

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PADDY COSGRAVE’S CHINESE WHISPERS

SELF-DESCRIBED “jumped up ticket tout” Paddy Cosgrave has been more voluble than usual in his criticism of the Irish government but this has almost been matched by the Web Summit founder’s praise for a far off country. His relentless, highly critical (and often inaccurate) tweets... Read more »

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DUTCH POWER PLAY

IT IS ALMOST a year since Leo Varadkar visited the Hague for bilateral talks with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte. As Britain leaves the EU, the Netherlands aspire to fill the gap as a third major power between Germany and France. To do this it... Read more »

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DAVID GRAHAM’S RANGERS APPOINTMENT

THERE HAS BEEN A MIXED reaction in Glasgow to the appointment of David Graham as head of communications at Rangers Football Club. The former DUP special advisor was elected to Belfast City Council in May and will now vacate that role for a move to... Read more »

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FINE GAEL TWITTER FRENZY

THIN SKINNED BLUESHIRTS have perhaps become a little too adverse to criticism as the Government negotiates its way through the Covid crisis. Buoyed by a sure footed performance from the party’s leading lights, supporters have been basking in the unfamiliar glow of national unity and... Read more »

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LIZ DOYLE’S HEAVY GOING

THE AWARDING by a jury of €300,000 in defamation damages to Chris Gordon is not the end of this particular race. An appeal looks certain given that the defendants, the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association (ITRA), would be severely handicapped by the financial impact. Presumably, also... Read more »

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OPERATION PLAGUE NATION

Kathryn Thomas

RTÉ’S INTENTION TO SCREEN an Operation Transformation spin-off centred on the coronavirus is off to an inauspicious start. Producers plan to install cameras in the homes of five families to “capture how they are coping behind closed doors since Covid-19 arrived in Ireland”. Reaction on... Read more »

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BANKING’S BAD START

THE IRISH BANKING SECTOR finds itself in the most uncomfortable position of being called upon to play its part in the national effort. The Covid crisis touches every aspect of life; Government is scrambling to contain the disease and the public are making enormous sacrifices,... Read more »

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BUSINESS AS USUAL?

WHILE DAILY UPDATES from Italy have become a fixture of Irish news bulletins, an increasingly tense labour stand off has not received the same prominence. Headlines have focused on ski resorts, balcony singing and deserted tourist attractions, but northern Italy is also the country’s industrial... Read more »

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SUSIE O’CONNOR’S CRISIS CABINET

THE “CORONAVIRUS is no time for rookie ministers” according to Susie O’Connor in Tuesday’s Irish Times. The management consultant argues that considering the “very steep learning curve”, “vast amounts of data” and general rigmarole facing a new “cast of characters”, it would be best if... Read more »

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THE NEW AVERAGE

GOVERNMENT PLANS to introduce an income support scheme sees the average wage set at around €35,000-€40,000. This will certainly come as news to Leo Varadkar who said during the election that “the average person working full-time in Ireland earns €47,000 per year, and I don’t... Read more »

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EOGHAN’S MURPHY’S CORONA CO-LIVING?

Eoghan Murphy

AS ONE FUNDAMENTAL conviction after another vanishes in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, surely Eoghan Murphy has further reason to feel foolish. Despite widespread scepticism last year, the housing minister was prepared to act as a salesman for Richard Barrett’s plans to develop a... Read more »

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SEANAD ELECTION PACT

The spirit of coming together while staying apart has rubbed on to the Seanad elections where the make up of the select electorate has made for some unusual bedfellows. Labour, Sinn Féin and the Greens have engaged in a bit of horse trading to ensure... Read more »

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CONCANNON’S SECOND ROLL OF THE DICE

THE RETURN of John Concannon to the centre of government will raise eyebrows and certainly be a cause for some alarm among opposition parties. Concannon, who previously headed up Varadkar’s ill-fated ‘Strategic Communications Unit’ (SCU), is back to manage the state’s public information campaign during... Read more »

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NEWTON’S “SECTARIAN SPLIT”

NEWTON EMERSON is rather selective in his assessment of the reaction to the UK’s handling of the coronavirus. Writing in Thursday’s Irish Times, the columnist plays down both Boris’ bungling and the DUP’s misplaced conviction that Number 10 had the right strategy. It is not... Read more »

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MISSING SHINNERS

If idle hands make the devil’s plaything then these are dangerous times for sports journalism. Following Leo Varadkar’s address to the nation on Tuesday night, Sindo sports editor John Greene pondered on Twitter, “has anybody seen Sinn Fein? Asking for a friend”.  In the previous... Read more »

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LEO VARADKAR’S HEROES

THE SPEED WITH which government figures have adopted the language of solidarity is a sight to behold. Gone is the cult of individualism, the veneration of job creators, risk takers, the so called squeezed middle and “people who get up early in the morning to... Read more »

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BORIS JOHNSON’S NUDGE THEORY

Boris Johnson

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT was forced into an embarrassing u-turn as the full scale of its calamitous coronavirus policy finally began to penetrate minds in Number 10. Boris Johnson has been subject to enormous criticism over his handling of the outbreak with a growing number of... Read more »

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BRIAN MERRIMAN’S FUNDING CONCERNS

THESE ARE UNCERTAIN times for Dublin’s Gay Theatre Festival (DGTF) who say that any decision to suspend funding would be a “crippling blow.” Concerns were raised this week as Dublin City Council (DCC) announced its intention to review spending and grant allocations in light of... Read more »

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STILL NO ROAD TO GOVERNMENT FORMATION

IT WAS a “Saint Patrick’s Day like no other” according to Leo Varadkar as he addressed the nation on Tuesday, but the Taoiseach’s imitations of Winston Churchill and JFK only underline the difficulties facing Fine Gael. The present crisis may have given the party an... Read more »

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ANOTHER OUTBREAK IN BELFAST

Michelle O'Neill

“MANY LOVED ONES WILL DIE” according to the front page of the Daily Mail which quotes Boris Johnson’s speech to the nation on Thursday. By some contrast, the Irish edition leads with Leo Varadkar’s remarks that “Together we can save many lives”. The British editorial... Read more »

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IRELAND’S NEW ENVOY

IRISH EYES ARE smiling with the appointment of John ‘Mick’ Mulvaney as US envoy to Northern Ireland. The post had been left vacant since Trump took office as President in 2017, but with the announcement coming just days before An Taoiseach visited Washington, the White... Read more »

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OIREACHTAS SOLDIERS

AN INTERESTING CONTEST in the Seanad elections will see Gerard Craughwell and Sarah Walshe both compete for a seat on the labour panel. Craughwell has established himself as a most vocal public advocate for members of the Defence Forces since his election to the Seanad... Read more »

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FINANCE MINISTER Pascal Donohoe was “delighted” to speak at the opening of the International Fraud Prevention Conference at Croke Park this week where those attending were hoping to “build Ireland’s reputation as a cyber security centre of excellence”. Former Irish Independent editor-in-chief, Stephen Rae, organised... Read more »

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WILLIE MULLINS’S FRUSTRATIONS

Willie Mullins

AFTER A hugely frustrating two days at Cheltenham Willie Mullins finally hit the bull’s-eye in the last race on Wednesday, when Ferney Hollow stormed home in the Champion Bumper. The fact that it was the Mullins second string that hit the target at the expense... Read more »

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THE KAISER’S HOUSING PLAN

Dermot Desmond

BILLIONAIRE DERMOT DESMOND emerged as an unlikely people’s champion at the weekend with a lengthy analysis of the housing crisis published in the Irish Times. The Kaiser’s background in finance lent him significant credibility as he cut through much of the obfuscation currently clouding official... Read more »

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RORY HEARNE’S SEANAD BID

Dr Rory Hearne will be hoping that it’s second time lucky as he bids for a Seanad seat on the NUI panel. The Maynooth lecturer has made a name for himself in housing policy with ubiquitous appearances in the media and at various conferences. Hearne,... Read more »

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OFFICIAL NARRATIVE IN RETREAT

MUCH HAS BEEN made recently of younger voters and their supposed ignorance of the Troubles. Post-election commentary has settled with some unease on the fact that contemporary issues like rent or the cost of living have taken precedence over events from thirty or forty years... Read more »

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REVIEW: THE GUARDS: INSIDE THE K (VIRGIN MEDIA TELEVISION)

DURING a 2013 broadcast of Tonight with Vincent Browne, former TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan suggested that leaking the details of Clare Daly arrest was a, “vindictive action by, I believe, a corrupt police force”. For this admission Flanagan was savaged over the next week in... Read more »

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