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Category: Affairs

MATTIE MCGRATH’S PHOTO OP

DEMONSTRATORS at Leinster House were buoyed yesterday when Mattie McGrath TD arrived at the gates to chat with protesters and even have his photograph taken holding their banner.

Crowds had gathered to keep a vigil as TDs inside debated the Protection of Employee Tips Bill. Despite government objections, the legislation received cross party support and passed the Dáil by 75 to 41.

With such a strong margin, those outside were lucky they weren’t counting on McGrath, who abstained when it came down to the vote.

NO ROOM AT THE INN FOR TOYOKO

AN AGREEMENT signed by ruling parties on Dublin City Council will come as bitter news for Toyoko Inn International, whose plans to develop a hotel on the site of a former Magdalene laundry on Dublin’s Sean McDermott Street are slipping away.

Having backed a motion to prevent the sale of the site last September, councillors have now committed to building a “multipurpose Site of Conscience” at the location of the former Magdalene laundry.

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IRISH FREEDOM PARTY FINALLY REGISTERS

Hermann Kelly

JUST A FEW weeks after elections and Goldhawk sees that the ‘Irish Freedom Party’ have finally managed to register as an official political party.

The two Irexiteer candidates were, they say, forced to run as independents in May while alleging that the Oireachtas Registrar had given the them “the run around” in efforts to register the party brand on time.

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HOWLIN’S LAWS

BRENDAN HOWLIN was first out of the traps in the Dáil this week calling for the Online Safety Bill to be expedited in wake of circumstances surrounding the Ana Kriegel case. Both Howlin and Micheál Martin want to see an office of a digital safety commissioner established and beefing up restrictions on how children access sensitive material, like pornography.

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GREEN TIPS

THE GREENS will no doubt be delighted that both An Taoiseach and Social Protection Minister, Regina Doherty, cited the party’s submission to the Low Pay Commission in the Dáil yesterday as the government outlined its opposition to stricter legislation on service industry tips.   The... Read more »

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PAUL BEW’S MANIFESTO

PAUL BEW has made an intervention into the Tory leadership race by penning a ‘manifesto’ to solve the Brexit impasse. In a document published by the thinktank, UK Policy Exchange, the QUB historian and peer – who was close to David Trimble in the 90s and friendly with the Workers Party in the 80s – argues that the Westminster government has been “too pliant in accepting the EU’s argument that the Backstop is the only way to protect the terms of the Good Friday Agreement” and that “the election of a new leader now presents an opportunity to return to the negotiations and secure an agreement that is acceptable to both the House of Commons and the EU”.

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MICHAEL NOONAN & MAJELLA MOYNIHAN

Noonan: progressive

PRESSURE IS growing on Michael Noonan to clarify his own involvement in the Majella Moynihan scandal. Noonan was minister for justice in the 1980s when the news broke that proceedings were taken against Moynihan. The case was first raised in 1985, when Noonan was questioned... Read more »

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FINE GAEL’S ADOPTION DOUBLESPEAK

Charlie Flanagan

BOTH Government and gardaí are apologetic this week following an RTÉ radio documentary about the case of Majella Moynihan. Garda management took disciplinary proceedings against Moynihan in 1984 when she became pregnant outside of wedlock and the then recruit was, she says, forced to give the child up for adoption.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan followed Commissioner Drew Harris with a statement saying that: “As a young Garda, Ms Moynihan faced an appalling ordeal at a time in Ireland that was sadly too often characterised by stigma and intolerance. What happened to her was clearly wrong on every level.”

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DREW HARRIS’S GONG

Drew Harris

The AWARD of a Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) to Garda commissioner Drew Harris brought zero adverse comment in the Irish media, but it raises questions nonetheless. Firstly, there is the extraordinary ‘Glenanne gang’ ruling against Harris at Belfast High Court in July 2017.

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DRUMCONDRA MAFIA RIP

Bertie Ahern

FIANNA FÁIL’S local election success in north Dublin was not replicated by voters in the rare auld North Inner City (NIC) area, where its three candidates came 11th (Imran Khurshid), 14th (Denise McMorrow) and 16th (Brian Mohan, FF constituency chairman). But FF’s Dublin Central Dáil... Read more »

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SF’S NATALIE TREACY’S RANT

SPARE A thought for Natalie Treacy, the Fingal Councillor and Chair of Dublin Sinn Féin who has not taken the party’s election result all too well.

As one Sinn Féin office was described as “like a wake-house” in the days following the count, Treacy published a “rant” on The Pensive Quill website, in which she excoriates constituents in her “core area” who “didn’t bother to take 10 minutes out of their day to go and vote”.

After all the party’s hard work, voters now “need to take responsibility” and “realise that all the moaning in the world is not going to help you. You had the power to make a change and you just didn’t bother to come out and vote”.

What an ungrateful bunch!

LEO VARADKAR: GAY ICON?

CONGRATULATIONS are in order for Leo Varadkar who has been named a #RainbowIcon by Gay Community News magazine (GCN). Vlad finds himself in the company of seasoned campaigners like Nell McCafferty, Dr Lydia Foy and Panti Bliss but reaction to An Taoiseach’s inclusion has been decidedly sceptical.

After online commenters left a long list of alleged sins Vlad has committed against the LGBT community and the wider public, GCN responded by saying that “Varadkar made the list solely due to his being the first ever openly LGBT Taoiseach”.

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LEGAL AMBUSH FOR IAN BAILEY?

Ian Bailey

IAN BAILEY’S predictable conviction, in absentia, by a vengeful French judicial system will proceed to the more difficult process of a third attempt to extradite him to France to serve his 25-year sentence. The Supreme Court has so far been vigilant in defence of Bailey’s... Read more »

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DAVID MCWILLIAMS’S ADVICE

David McWilliams

THE ANNUAL Dalkey Book Festival gets under way this weekend with its founder, the one and only David McWilliams, sharing the spotlight with the likes of Stephen Fry and David Puttnam. Hopefully, the floppy-haired economist will not be distracted by the growing shadow of floundering... Read more »

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FF’S DEIDRE CONROY’S COMPO CLAIM

Deirdre Conroy

NOT SURPRISINGLY, there has been increased media focus on all politicians’ compensation claims since the Maria Bailey affair. This should ensure there is a healthy public appetite for a High Court case being taken by newly elected Fianna Fáil councillor and barrister Deirdre Conroy. The... Read more »

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PROFILE: MARY LOU MCDONALD

Mary-Lou McDonald

MEDIA COMMENT on the dangers facing Mary Lou McDonald’s leadership of Sinn Féin after the recent elections was predictable. However, and unusually, the political correspondents – normally so utterly uninformed about SF politics – have actually underestimated just how embattled McDonald’s leadership is.

There is war inside the party and, while Mary Lou is not the only one being scapegoated, she is the president and her leadership is on the line, if not immediately, then certainly in the likely event of a poor general election. And supporters of TD Pearse Doherty are lurking with deadly intent.

Read more about Mary Lou here

YOUNG BLOOD: SAOIRSE McHUGH

Saoirse McHugh

Saoirse McHugh, the 28-year-old genetic scientist from Achill Island, stormed into public consciousness with an impressive display in the Midlands North West constituency European election debate. And the possibility of a Dáil seat for the Greens in inhospitable Mayo is now being seriously canvassed. In... Read more »

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MARY McALEESE’S GULF GIG

Mary McAleese

WHILE MARY Robinson took significant flak earlier this year for her intervention in a feudal Emirate royal family row, another former Irish president, Mary McAleese, has developed ties to the region courtesy of her involvement in the Bussola Institute. This Brussels-based think tank and lobbying... Read more »

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NEW GREEN DEALS

THERE WAS some dissent as council business got underway in Cork this week, with only three of four Greens supporting Fianna Fáil’s return to the mayor’s office. Cllr Lorna Bogue opted instead to support the Workers Party’s Ted Tynan and abstained a number of pact votes.

For their part, the Greens managed to extract the establishment of a ‘climate action committee’ which erstwhile senator Dan Boyle will chair.

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END OF THE ROAD FOR RENUA?

FANS OF Goldhawk will not be surprised that John Leahy has stepped down as leader of Renua. It was a case of another election and another flop for the party as it failed to pick up any new seats with all but one of its 27 candidates seeing an early exit. In Birr, Leahy retained his seat but the future surely looks uncertain.

Thanks to passing the 2% threshold in 2016, Renua have the distinction of receiving around €250,000 annually in state funding, despite having no members of the Oireachtas. This year will likely be its last however, as the money flows only until a general election and without any high profile TDs, they will be doing well to repeat even the previous disaster when Lucinda Creighton and her band of exiles were wiped out.

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SINN FÉIN MELTDOWN

Mary-Lou McDonald

MARY LOU MCDONALD had no forewarning of Sinn Féin’s electoral catastrophe in the opinion polls. Red C had SF consistently around the 13%-14% mark, while other polls put them closer to 20%. In the event, the party scored less than 10% in the locals and not much over 10% in the Europeans.

There are some obvious factors. The water charges issue and protests had mobilised the working class in a way that was definitely not seen this time. Finglas had around 14% turnout, parts of Tallaght only 17%. But why did Mary Lou McDonald and the party fail to mobilise the anger about housing and the health crises and get their voters out?

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COVENEY’S MIDDLE EAST CHARADE

WHAT A deafening silence there has been from foreign minister Simon Coveney on the Middle East “deal of the century”, produced by Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner. The tánaiste, normally so voluble on the subject, has remained mute on the plan, despite referring... Read more »

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YOUNG FG’S ISRAELI PLUG

PASSPORTS at the ready for young Arthur O’Mahony who is jetting off to the West Bank where he will “experience at first hand the effects of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement”. A propaganda trip arranged courtesy of Goldhawk’s old pals at the Ireland Israel Alliance.

O’Mahony is ‘National Secretary and Director of Campaigns’ for Young Fine Gael, a towering status which apparently marks the 20-year-old UCC student for grooming by Israeli diplomacy.

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MARIA WALSH’S MILITARISM

Maria Walsh

IT WAS a close-run thing in the end for Fine Gael EU candidate Maria Walsh in Midlands North West and her gung-ho military-style soundbytes certainly boosted her campaign. But despite her “Steyr rifle in one hand and Rose of Tralee sash in the other” quote... Read more »

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AIRBNB’S LOBBYING STRATEGY

LAST MONTH, minister for housing, Eoghan Murphy, published long awaited draft regulations on short term lettings and Airbnb have been extremely busy lobbying Government in its efforts to fend of any threat.

While representations had, in the main, been handled by the company itself until recently (see here), the company has now drafted in the services of Edelman PR, where Fine Gael’s former government press secretary, Feargal Purcell, has been lobbying on their behalf.

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IRELAND’S NATO ‘FRIENDS’

Clare Daly

MINISTER OF STATE for Defence, Paul Kehoe, has brushed off concerns about the Royal Navy training in Irish waters. Fingal TD, Clare Daly (now an MEP), was alarmed to find three British vessels off the coast of her constituency back in April and put a number of questions to Government asking who authorised the incursion and for what purpose.

The exercise was approved by Simon Coveney under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Defence and the UK Ministry of Defence: a military cooperation agreement signed in 2015 following the visit of Conservative MP, Michael Fallon, to Dublin Castle; the first British defence secretary to make an official visit to Ireland.

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GARDA PRIDE

REACTION to the news that uniformed members of An Garda Siochana will take part in this year’s Dublin Pride has been mixed. The issue of police participation is contentious globally as parades increasingly embrace corporate sponsorship and stray from protests roots. The matter has particular significance in Ireland where marching began in reaction to the murder of Declan Flynn in 1983.  

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STAKEKNIFE INQUIRY COLLAPSE

The underwhelming response to the selection of Simon Byrne as the PSNI’s new chief constable shows that the media missed two bigger stories in relation to the appointment. Firstly, as an Englishman and former head of Cheshire Police, Byrne is one of the few outsiders... Read more »

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REMAINERS 2 — BREXIT 1

Naomi Long

AS PREDICTED, if Alliance leader Naomi Long got ahead of SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and/or the UUP’s Danny Kennedy, she would be elected MEP. Secondly, the election in the north would be about Brexit. So it turned out, but in much more spectacular fashion than... Read more »

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THE NEXT GOVERNMENT

Leo Varadkar

NOW FOR the real election. Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil (along with desperate pleas from Labour leader Brendan Howlin) posit the prospects of either big party cobbling together a government majority along with Labour, Greens, Social Democrats and Independents. But a glance at the... Read more »

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CAPTAIN NAIRAC’S REPUTATION

Robert Nairac

THE CAMPAIGN to sanitise the reputation of British Army undercover operative Captain Robert Nairac, shot dead and disappeared by the IRA in 1975, continues. The Irish Times recently reported assurances from the head of the commission for recovery of ‘disappeared’ Troubles victims, Geoff Knupfer, that... Read more »

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GAS MAN KELLY

Seán Kelly

As Blueshirt MEP Seán Kelly returns to Brussels for a third term, he might want to reconsider his zealous support for Shannon LNG, the enormous gas import terminal in north Kerry that would turn Ireland into a pipeline for US fracked gas into Europe (see... Read more »

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FEEHILY FIGHTS ON

Josephine Feehily

YOU CAN see why An Garda Síochána and the justice department want rid of the Policing Authority – chaired by the formidable Josephine Feehily – which is to be subsumed (handcuffed) into a new Policing and Community Safety Oversight Commission (PCSOC). Justice minister Charlie Flanagan... Read more »

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YOUNG BLOOD: HUGH O’CONNELL

Hugh O'Connell

LIKE A promising football team that falls short of winning promotion to the top flight, the Sunday Business Post is having its starting line-up picked apart by its deep-pocketed rivals. The latest star player to be poached from Merrion Road is political correspondent Hugh O’Connell... Read more »

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THE CIA AND SHANNON AIRPORT

THE DONALD is due to land back at Shannon Airport this afternoon as he bookends his European tour in the west, but he’s far from the first yank to use the midlands airport as a stopover.

750,000 foreign troops, mostly from the US, have either passed through Irish airports or Irish airspace over the last five years. Minister for Transport Shane Ross permitted in excess of 1,000 overflights and landings in the past year alone.

The CIA are also great fans of Shannon and have previously used it in a number of “extraordinary renditions”, the extrajudicial transfer – or kidnapping, essentially – of “enemy combatants”, before they were taken over to Guantanamo Bay.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: TRUMP’S IRISH ALLIES

Leo and Trump

DESPITE the efforts of the Trump regime, the international consensus on stepping up action to tackle climate change remains largely intact. In some areas, the pace of change is surprisingly quick. France has announced a complete ban on all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.... Read more »

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