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Category: Affairs

REGINA’S CLAMPDOWN

Regina Doherty

Fine Gael were left red faced last week when the party had to concede that there is little room for tax cuts in the upcoming budget. Spin obsessed Varadkar has, till now, survived minor storms but his government are undoubtedly wobbled by a series of overspend controversies and persistent evidence of economic mismanagement. “Brexit uncertainty”... Read more »

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OUGHTERARD UNREST

It should come as no surprise that Noel Grealish, who was a Progressive Democrat TD when the party introduced the Citizenship Referendum in 2004, has again been fanning the flames around immigration. There were heated contributions during a public meeting in Oughterard last Wednesday over a Direct Provision Centre proposed for the former Gateway Hotel.... Read more »

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FIONNAN’S WOES

Dana An Garda Síochána IT Trust No Stone Unturned Irish Times Black Friday Vicky Conway

News of Fionnan Sheahan’s new role will hardly have come out of the blue for fans of Goldhawk. Sheanan has stood down as editor-in-chief of the Independent News and Media (INM) group, to take up the position of Ireland editor for the Indo, Sunday Independent and Independent.ie. The year began with a serious clash between... Read more »

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LYRA MCKEE’S LEGACY

Lyra McKee

The announcement that Faber & Faber are to publish an anthology by the late journalist, Lyra McKee could hardly be more timely. Reception to McKee’s first posthumous book, an investigation into the murky background behind the IRA killing of Unionist MP Reverend Robert Bradford (See The Phoenix 28/6/19), was rather more muted compared to the... Read more »

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BUILDERS BUDGET BLUSTER

This week saw the launch of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) pre-budget submission for government perusal. Successive Finance Ministers have been kind to builders and the CIF are seeking further extension of the Help To Buy scheme, which is considered the “most effective intervention by Government by Irish housebuilders”. A mark of the present dysfunction... Read more »

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RAVEY STOCKBROKERS

Music fans mourning the closure of the Bernard Shaw can take heart that the beat goes on over at the National Concert Hall. This month’s sees the next instalment of the ‘Perspectives Series of Contemporary Music’. For around 40 euro in refined surroundings, listeners can enjoy German techno artist, Pantha du Prince, with an “immersive... Read more »

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MIKE PENCE’S IRISH BILLS

Donald Trump

Mike Pence may have ‘shat the carpet’ during his recent Irish visit but it was good news for JP Ward & Sons, the Wicklow funeral directors and favoured limo hire of visiting White House guests. The company were paid $114,000 (€82,000) to chauffeur first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters around Leinster in 2010, while... Read more »

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BIFFING BREXIT BORE

Brexiteers were buoyed with an Irish Times report claiming that “shocked” ministers “now believe that a no-deal Brexit will be significantly worse than they previously expected”. The news was enthusiastically picked up by Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, who concluded that “Varadkar has been firm on Brexit without really calculating what no-deal would mean... Read more »

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MYTHS OF RURAL IRELAND

Observers of the ongoing beef protests would be mistaken to view these events as merely sectoral industry infighting. The agricultural lobby has traditionally been guaranteed a prime seat at the negotiating table, with a succession of governments receptive to their concerns but something is rotten in the Irish countryside. The current stand off has exposed... Read more »

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FINE GAEL EXPORTS HOUSING POLICY

Frances Fitzgerald’s cuddly Euro election campaign has not prevented the new MEP returning to her blueshirt ways. In a recently submitted question to the EU Commission, Fitzgerald, who promised that the “needs of Dublin” would be “brought to the heart of the European Parliament”, is concerned about a Spanish income tax levied on non-residents fortunate... Read more »

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CARROLL’S HOMELESS CONTRACT

While the Summer tourist season may be winding down it remains business as usual at Carroll’s Irish Gifts, which maintains a significant property empire alongside its trade in the Aran jumpers and Guinness fridge magnets. Dublin City Council correspondence obtained under Freedom of Information, reveal that Carroll’s Spire Hostel on Marlborough Street has an accommodation... Read more »

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ED BROPHY’S IRON LAWS

Any hopes that government will deviate from its disastrous housing policy will have been dashed, if recent remarks from Ed Brophy are anything to go by… Responding to a Savills report that house prices “have stabilised”, the special advisor to Finance Minster Pascal Donohoe, optimistically suggested that “maybe iron laws of economics still work after... Read more »

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THE LAND OF MARXIST-LESBIANISM

Observers of the Polish press may have been surprised to encounter a recent report that Ireland has introduced a policy of “compulsory homosexuality”. The right-wing weekly DoRzeczy, which has a circulation of around 40,000 readers, also warns that “Marxist-lesbianism is well on its way to becoming a state ideology” in what was once the island... Read more »

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MIDDLE CLASS MEASLES

News of a drop in vaccinations among Ireland’s poshest neighbourhoods was greeted rather er, awkwardly, last week. The Irish Times reports a growing level of parental scepticism in the leafy suburbs of south-east Dublin, south county Dublin, Dún Laoghaire, and east Wicklow. Most commentators were flummoxed by this outbreak of well healed recklessness, however, on... Read more »

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DATA BATTLES CONTINUE

What is with the Irish state and data protection? News today that government intend to appeal the landmark ruling on public service cards is only the latest instance of ministers and mandarins refusing to accept the law. The Department of Employment and Social Protection are also appealing a ruling on child benefit and can be... Read more »

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DECLAN KELLY’S TRUMP HIRE

Declan-Kelly

Declan Kelly continues to make friends in high places with his consulting firm, Teneo, snapping up former Trump staffer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In what has now become the norm at a chaotic White House, the one time press secretary made a dramatic exit this Summer when the Mueller Report found that she had deliberately misled... Read more »

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DAVID KOCH’S IRISH ALLIES

eamon-delaney

SPARE A THOUGHT for Eamon Delaney and pals at the Hibernia Forum who will be mourning the loss of one of their most influential allies this week. Malevolent moneybags, David Koch, who passed away on Friday, achieved cartoon villain levels of infamy as an arch right wing figure behind the elaborate web of so called... Read more »

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GREENWASHING THE IFSC

Dermot Desmond

CONGRATULATIONS ARE ORDER for the legal eagles at Arthur Cox who have just “scooped” a most prestigious certificate for their commitment to “energy leadership”. The ISO accreditation marks the third green gong at the firm’s swanky Earlsfort Terrace headquarters which has been kitted out with the very best of eco-technology and workplace practice. Managing partner,... Read more »

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VARADKAR PLAYS WITH FIRE

Leo Varadkar

How courageous of Leo Varadkar to take a stand on “Orwellian” Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, as fires rage across the Amazon. The issue has lit up social media all week and An Taoiseach will be happy to score today’s front pages. Threats to block the contentious Mercosur beef deal will play well with Fine Gael’s... Read more »

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‘IRISH TIMES’ WOMEN: THERMIDOR!

Kitty Holland

INCENDIARY OUTRAGE has been the reaction of some Irish Times male hacks to the document supported by most of their female colleagues conveying the impression that the newspaper office is more like a rugby locker room than a women’s refuge. The fall-out has seen Barry O’Halloran offer his resignation as NUJ father-of-chapel (union branch rep);... Read more »

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PROFILE: HELEN DIXON

Helen Dixon

THE DATA protection commissioner’s withering rebuke of the roll out of the public services card (PSC) is a major embarrassment for ministers, notably Regina Doherty, who have steadfastly dismissed concerns about the scheme. Helen Dixon’s ruling that the government acted flagrantly outside the law marks a major scalp for Dixon at a time when questions... Read more »

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ROSE OF TRALEE FESTIVAL’S RED INK

Kirsten Maher, 2018 Rose

WITH THE 60th Rose of Tralee hooley kicking off this weekend, the build-up has been marred somewhat by the decision of the Irish greyhound Board (IGB) to (reluctantly) pull the plug on its sponsorship deal with the festival. This is not the sort of hit the festival can afford. The IGB pulled out of sponsoring... Read more »

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Privacy advocates will no doubt celebrate following the Data Protection Commission (DPC) ruling on Public Service Cards. After many long years campaigning, a copy of Friday’s Irish Times would make a worthy souvenir, seeing as this most unsexy topic finally makes the front page. The issue had been championed at the paper by journalists Karlin... Read more »

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GEORGE WHO?

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Curious to see an Irish angle on the biggest story in American politics pass with scarce coverage. The news that George Mitchell is named in court documents as part of Jeffrey Epstein’s child trafficking trial will have come as a shock and the former US Senator denies “any contact” with Virginia Giuffre. The woman, now... Read more »

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JOSEPHA, SHANE, SHAY AND NEALE

SHAY BRENNAN’S win at the Fianna Fáil Dublin Rathdown convention last week is but a small step in the party’s seemingly hopeless quest to take back the seat held by his late father, political titan Seamus Brennan, a TD and minister for decades. The real question in Rathdown is what will happen to the Fine... Read more »

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JOAN BURTON’S LAST STAND

joan-burton

THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT was kind to former Labour leader, Joan Burton, in its recent front page splash about tens of thousands of pensioners being deprived of thousands of Euro each due to a measure taken by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government in 2012. The cut in pensioners’ income was made by the Labour minister for... Read more »

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BAHRAIN BLAST

The recent executions in Bahrain of three Shi’ite activists were met with opprobrium from human rights groups and civil unrest in the Middle Eastern kingdom. One member of the country’s royal family, Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, has some interesting Irish connections and for him the timing was not good. Sheikh Khalid is the... Read more »

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PAT HICKEY’S MEDAL RUN

IT IS not surprising that the photo of former Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) boss Pat Hickey having a chinwag with his good friend, Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey, set alarm bells ringing in OFI HQ. The main players here – notably president Sarah Keaneand vice president Sarah O’Shea – are anxious that Hickey remains... Read more »

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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... Read more »

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TIMMY DOOLEY’S DEMISE

Micheál Martin

TIMMY DOOLEY’S public dressing down by his boss, Micheál Martin, for his unpatriotic remarks on the Taoiseach as he confronted the old foe, represent the final demise of the front bencher that once stood at Martin’s right hand. Dooley is a victim of the new wave that Martin promoted in his March reshuffle but the... Read more »

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FINE GAEL’S BAD MARKS

LEAVING CERT STUDENTS awoke to more than just a hangover this morning as reality dawned on life under the country’s first “Trinity Taoiseach”. While parents count the spiralling costs of third level, Fine Gael lined up to dish out a few hard lessons of their own. Education Minister, Joe McHugh, yesterday helpfully suggested that there... Read more »

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NOT SO CANNEY

Seán Canney

Bono and Mary Robinson are among he famous faces wheeled out as part of Ireland’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council (see The Phoenix 29/7/2018). But Ireland lost a lot of face at the UN last month when the hypocrisy of Leo Varadkar’s Government on climate action was exposed to a packed... Read more »

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YOUNG BLOOD: LISA DUFFY

From tiny boutique owner to red carpet designer and Instagram influencer, fashionista Lisa Duffy (39) has been one of the more compelling Irish success stories of the social media era. But has the sudden collapse of two companies in her Cari’s Closet group put an asterisk next to her brand? On all fronts, it’s been... Read more »

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PROFILE: PAUL KEHOE

PAUL KEHOE, minister with special responsibility for defence and former Fine Gael chief whip, has become one of the latest government whipping boys in another sense, ie as the target for unprecedented anger in the pauperised ranks of the Defence Forces. But Kehoe’s problems are not confined to his ministerial brief and, as the electorate... Read more »

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‘MACHO BOYS CLUB’ AT THE ‘IRISH TIMES’

THE MOST shocking news likely to be (not) reported in the Irish Times for years is the document drawn up by women in the paper’s newsroom and which alleges a catalogue of sexist behaviour, bullying and discrimination. The incendiary document was researched by social affairs correspondent Kitty Holland; Newsbrands Ireland journalist of the year 2018,... Read more »

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VARADKAR’S UNTAPPED RESOURCES

Leo Varadkar’s decision to ignore a request for gender balanced European Commission nominations prove that there are, at least, some occasions when Fine Gael find the courage to give two fingers to the bureaucrats in Brussels. An Taoiseach pointed to parliament Vice President Máiréad McGuinness and Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly as evidence of Mná Na hÉireann’s... Read more »

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