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Category: Affairs

FARMING FICTION

NO LESS than “one of the foremost experts in the world on the important role of farming in the climate debate” was in Dublin this week as the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) seek to “rebalance the debate around climate action”. Dr Frank Mitloehner has gained... Read more »

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ROBERT NAIRAC EXPOSED

Robert Nairac

‘Breaking news’ about the involvement of SAS officer, the late Captain Robert Nairac, in the Miami Showband massacre will not have surprised readers of The Phoenix who would have read details of the atrocity in the recent edition (16/01/20).  MIAMI SHOWBAND: NEW EVIDENCE SEISMIC NEW... Read more »

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JOHN MCGUIRK AND GRIPT

John McGuirk

THE JOHN MCGUIRK-edited gript.ie conservative website is in the news for all the wrong reasons, with cybersecurity outfit Upstart drawing attention to links to AggregateIQ (AIQ) that are currently being examined by Facebook. AIQ – which was suspended from Facebook’s platform in 2018 over in... Read more »

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CPL RESOURCES PROFIT BOOM

Anne Heraty

FANS OF Moneybags will not be surprised to see that profits are up for Anne Heraty’s undervalued recruitment group CPL Resources, where the very well paid CEO referred to increased demand for, er, “solution oriented and flexible work models”. What is most significant about CPL,... Read more »

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VARADKAR’S RURAL HEARTBEAT

FINE GAEL LAUNCHED its election showcase for rural Ireland on Wednesday with Varadkar announcing that “agriculture in many ways is the heartbeat of the Fine Gael party particularly in rural constituencies”. A steady slew of stories about these communities on life support, however, has kept... Read more »

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FINE GAEL JITTERS

THIS WEEK’S DISMAL POLL figures may not have come as a total surprise for Leo Varadkar who has just seen almost 20% wiped off his approval rating since October. Vlad will have had some difficulty in acquiescing to the party producing election materials which feature... Read more »

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FASCIST FAILURE

LOOKS LIKE FURTHER bad news for the far-right following Goldhawk’s recent report that some of its Irish adherents are currently doing time at her majesty’s pleasure (See The Phoenix 10/1/20). The Identitarian Movement GB & Ireland (formerly known as Generation Identity UK & Ireland) is... Read more »

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SINN FÉIN’S DEBATE GAMBLE

Mary Lou McDonald

SINN FÉIN’S CAMPAIGN for inclusion in head to head television debates has proven to be an effective rallying cause. Fighting a parallel battle away from the election proper has done no harm for the party’s image and keeps the narrative on a terrain more comfortable... Read more »

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PROFILE: FEARGAL PURCELL

Goldhawk was surprised to see his old pal Feargal Purcell on the panel for analysis of last night’s TV debate. Enda Kenny’s former press officer now works as a lobbyist for the likes of Airbnb, KBC Bank and Pfizer but still, it seems, finds time to go to bat for Fine Gael.

PROFILE: FEARGAL PURCELL

Feargal Purcell was back in the news last month following an explosive Dáil row over the Climate Emergency Bill. The Fine Gael handler turned lobbyist has been increasingly active on behalf of the fossil fuel industry and with a supporting role in several sensitive policy dramas, the former spin doctor is continuing a habit of making headlines.

The Kilkenny native joined the Defence Forces as a cadet at the age of seventeen and spent almost twenty years an officer, serving abroad in Bosnia and the Lebanon. On completion of a Masters in Communications, Commandant Purcell took a post in the army press room where he became a familiar face as spokesman during preparations for the deployment in Chad.

From there it was only short march to the elite corps of Fine Gael where he became deputy head of communications in 2008.

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REPEAL AND THE ELECTION

THIS ELECTION marks the first major vote since the Eighth Amendment was repealed in 2018. That long and arduous process saw much agonising on the part of politicians but will any of it have an impact come the day of reckoning? The memory of culture... Read more »

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FINE GAEL GOES TRUMP

Goldhawk was amused to read an internal Fine Gael memo in which director of elections in Dún Laoghaire, Paddy Hayes, complains of the media’s alleged opposition to giving his party “a fair crack of the whip”. RTÉ News are “institutionally opposed to government” according to... Read more »

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PADDY COSGRAVE’S “THIN LAYER OF SCUM”

Paddy Cosgrave

PADDY COSGRAVE FIRED off some typically restrained political analysis this week when he said that a vote for Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil is “voting for the guaranteed continuance of the indefensible privileges” enjoyed by “the thin layer of scum that sits atop Irish society”.... Read more »

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VARADKAR’S POLL SHOCK

Leo Varadkar

TREMORS OF DREAD ran through the Fine Gael membership on Sunday as opinion polls showed an ominous seven percent wiped off their support. Coveney, Donohoe and other senior figures put on a brave face and spoke of “motivation” but morale will not have been improved... Read more »

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MING AND MCHUGH

THE SIGHT of Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan spending the weekend canvassing with Green Party candidate, Saoirse McHugh, has raised eyebrows all round. On one side, Ming will not have endeared himself to farmers in the West where perception of the Greens as a high tax anti-rural... Read more »

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ARLENE’S LEGACY

MONDAY SAW publication of new rules for ministerial advisors in Belfast as Stormont braces itself for conclusion of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) inquiry and likely endgame in the so called ‘cash for ash’ scandal. In future, Ministers will be directly responsible for the “conduct... Read more »

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ALAN ENGLISH MOVES TO THE SINDO

Alan English

CONGRATS TO Alan English for landing the Sunday Independent editor’s job, confirming Goldhawk’s report last week (see The Phoenix, 17/1/20). For the full background to office/editorial politics at Independent House involving former INM group editor, Fionnan Sheahan, ex-Sindo and current Indo editor, Cormac Bourke and new owners, Mediahuis see The Phoenix, 1/11/19 and... Read more »

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HOW THE WESTON FAMILY MADE THEIR FORTUNE

Paul Marchant Galen Weston

No surprise to see Hilary and Galen Weston et al at the top of the growing list of ‘Irish’ billionaires, with a guesstimate of their family’s wealth put at almost €12bn. Moneybags examined the business model for the Weston-controlled conglomerate Associated British Foods in the... Read more »

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YOUNG BLOOD: SARAH DURCAN

Sarah Durcan

First time Social Democrat candidate Sarah ‘Waking the Feminists’ Durcan has some interesting cultural credentials, most notably as a member of the board of the beleaguered Abbey Theatre, which has made more headlines for the ongoing drama offstage than anything on. In the hotly contested... Read more »

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WILL DROGHEDA BECOME YET ANOTHER BYWORD FOR CRIMINALITY?

THIS TIME FOUR YEARS AGO, armed gardaí were posted on every corner in Dublin’s inner city. The Regency Hotel shooting became an opportunity for an unprecedented and highly visible performance of police might. In the media, hacks battled to outdo one another with the darkest... Read more »

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EOGHAN MURPHY’S BAD WEEK

Eoghan Murphy

GOLDHAWK WOULD LIKE to have been a fly on the wall when Eoghan Murphy’s team were alerted to photos of the minister beaming down on the scene where a homeless man had suffered “life changing injuries”. Expressing how “saddened” he was by the incident, Murphy... Read more »

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PADDY HOLOHAN DERAILS SINN FÉIN

Paddy Holohan

THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN went off script again on Thursday as Sinn Féin faced pressure over some seriously dubious remarks from Paddy ‘hooligan’ Holohan. After much toing and froing the party eventually announced that their newly elected councillor has been “suspended with immediate effect”. The party... Read more »

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AODHÁN Ó RÍORDÁIN’S LABOUR AMBITIONS

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is hoping to claw his way back into the Lower House by contesting the 2020 election in Dublin Bay North. He narrowly lost out on the constituency’s fifth and final seat to retiring Independent TD and Minister Finian McGrath in 2016.... Read more »

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TP O’REILLY’S CAMPAIGN

TP O'Reilly Marian Harkin Fine Gael

Vlad’s visit to a forklift factory in Cavan as part of the first days of the election trail inadvertently created some pretty bad optics. He was photographed sitting in a combilift soon after it emerged that a homeless man was seriously injured by industrial machinery... Read more »

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YOUNG BLOOD: PADDY HOLOHAN

Paddy Holohan

SINN FÉIN councillor, Paddy Holohan, has managed to come across as homophobic and racist in just a few words, referring to Varadkar’s India background, and saying the Taoiseach should be a ‘family man’ with kids. Expulsion, rather than apology, would be more appropriate. Readers may... Read more »

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YOUNGBLOOD: PAUL MCAULIFFE

Paul McAuliffe

Who is Fine Gael’s most vulnerable TD in Dublin, if not the country? Answer: Noel Rock in Dublin North-West. Who is poised to take Rock’s seat, at the general election? Answer: Fianna Fail’s Dublin Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe. Who did Taoiseach Leo Varadkar call out... Read more »

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VLAD’S FALSE START

Leo Varadkar

LEO VARADKAR met his election target date, but the manner of its announcement was belated and cack-handed. Fine Gael’s delicate political choreography came undone a week ago as plans to call the election last weekend had to be aborted due to adverse political and PR... Read more »

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TRUMP CARD FOR EU ARMY

Brigid Laffan

THOSE MODERATE Irish Europhiles who are so aghast at Donald Trump’s belligerent foreign policy have managed to use his latest excess against the Iranians as another argument to create an EU army. Some 24 hours after a US drone killed Iran’s General Qassem Suleimani, an... Read more »

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SINKING SOC DEMS

Róisín Shortall

THE SOCIAL Democrats might be staring into the abyss at this election. The centre-left group, headed by TDs Catherine Murphy and Roísin Shortall, had pretensions of replacing the moribund Labour Party. Now Labour, the resurgent Green Party and even Fianna Fáil threaten to put the... Read more »

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YOUNGBLOOD: SAOIRSE MCHUGH

Saoirse McHugh

Will Achill Island native Saoirse McHugh be able to ride the ‘green wave’ all the way to a seat in the Dáil? Rural Mayo is hardly a hotbed of climate change activity. But the environmentalist, who recently announced her candidacy in the 2020 general election,... Read more »

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DONNELLY’S DIAGNOSIS?

Stephen Donnelly

THE STAGE IS SET for an intriguing battle in Wicklow where Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly has announced his desire to become the new Minister for Health. An ambition not lost on the present incumbent and constituency rival, Simon Harris. Donnelly had has plenty of opportunity... Read more »

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BOOZY BATTLES

RED INK AT THE IT

SOZZLED READERS of the Irish Times will surely raise a glass to Mark Paul for his spirited defence of industry funded alcohol awareness campaigns. The business hack suggests that Simon Harris is “drunk on power” for questioning the advice peddled by DrinkAware, which is jointly... Read more »

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VARADKAR TO BOW OUT OF POLITICS?

THIS ELECTION IS NOT just the most important of Leo Varadkar’s career but quite possibly the last. Despite his relative youth, Vlad has already spent longer in politics than most. After joining Fine Gael while in still secondary school, he later described the party’s youth... Read more »

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THE BATTLE FOR TAOISEACH

THE COMING GENERAL ELECTION will mark the first in over a decade in which the next Taoiseach is not yet a forgone conclusion. While Fianna Fáil’s recovery remains still a shadow of the days when they would claim to be the “natural party of government”,... Read more »

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BRUTON’S ECO SPIN

Richard Bruton

WILL FINE GAEL’S INTEREST in climate ever extend beyond PR? It is no accident that Richard Bruton lined up the Climate Action Bill as government’s first media splash of the new year. At present the legislation exists only in draft form, however, and government’s ambition... Read more »

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BANGED UP ABROAD

IT WAS PORRIDGE at Christmas dinner for some of Ireland’s far-right provocateurs. Dale Lutton of Portadown and Belfast born Deirdre McTucker (sometimes Damhnait McKenna), who attended UCD and resides in Loughlinstown, were each convicted of violent disorder following farcical scenes in a Kent carpark. The... Read more »

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MAURA HOPKINS BOWS OUT

FITTING that Maura Hopkins would announce her decision not to contest the general election in the week that childcare workers escalate concerns over underfunding. In a statement, the Fine Gael Senator said that as a new mother it would not be possible to balance the... Read more »

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