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Category: Affairs

MARY LOU’S HEADLINES

Mary Lou McDonald

WITH THE Christmas break out of the way, political theatre resumed with a bowel movement on Wednesday following an Irish Examiner interview with Mary Lou McDonald. Outlining some of the priorities her party may tackle on entering Government, the Sinn Féin leader told Elaine O’Loughlin that “there is immense talent in our civil service, our... Read more »

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MARK HENRY’S MESSAGE

ONE MAN who will be cheerful despite much uncertainty is the new author Mark Henry, whose book, In Fact: An Optimist’s Guide to Ireland at 100, filled many influential stockings over Christmas. Though released in Autumn, the book and its message became inescapable throughout December and this was not the usual seasonal marketing campaign. In... Read more »

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FRANCES BLACK SINGING THE BLUES

WITH FRANCES BLACK appealing in the Seanad to Catherine Martin on behalf of the music industry, the question of where live income supports are going has raised a discordant note in the entertainment industry. The third strand of the Live Performance Support Scheme is worth €5m and is a response to new capacity restrictions to... Read more »

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SEBASTIAN HAMILTON’S TOY SHOW

IT WAS a lucky escape for fintech challenger Revolut during this year’s Late Late Toy Show, with publicity disaster averted by the deep pockets of founder, Vlad Yatsenko. Attaching the banking and payments app to Ryan Tubridy’s annual feel-good event was certainly a clever move in the context of Revolut’s overall Irish strategy, even if... Read more »

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LUKASHENKO’S LOCAL CRITIC

ONE OF the lower profile diplomatic style sinecures is that of honorary consul, the small cohort who represents around 40 countries here. They have a quasi diplomatic role but also essentially promote business ties between the countries. Sometimes, however, what seems like a cosy enough arrangement can get a little bit tricky, as is the... Read more »

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FINTAN’S FIVERS

Fintan O'Toole

“VICIOUSLY EXTORTIONATE” was how Fintan O’Toole described the terms of the “ransom note” imposed on Ireland a decade ago when Troika heavies rolled into town. Days after taking to the stage to act as master of ceremonies for an ICTU demonstration against the austerity plan in Dublin, the Irish Times columnist wrote that “Ireland has... Read more »

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BRITAIN’S BORDERS

FEW MATTERS more than citizenship underline the true reality of the political project underway in Britain. It is impressive, almost, how the right wing press have drummed up a contrived outrage about so-called cancel culture, while in the background the Tory Home Office carries on its effort to strip people of a right to live... Read more »

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DIXON WHACKS GOVERNMENT

THE NEWS is not good for the party of law and order. A climbdown from Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys in her appeal against the Data Protection Commission (DPC) sees her party concede at last that successive Fine Gael governments have been acting flagrantly outside the law, across a number of departments and over several... Read more »

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RTÉ’S BIG DEBATES

Jon Williams

INTERESTING TO see Jon Williams take on the critics. In the Sunday Times, RTÉ’s Director of News and Current Affairs responds to Declan Lynch, who in a recent Sindo column argued that the media should at this stage question its motives for giving airtime to figures to like Nigel Farage. Williams counters this by insisting... Read more »

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NUTRALISING NPHET

Tony Holohan

IRISH CUSTOMERS have recently encountered problems with further verification requirements in the online shopping process. Following months of scam phone calls, the banks have added what they call “an extra layer of security.” The same principle has been applied to public health as the Government face down unwanted communications of their own. Members of Nphet... Read more »

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DOIREANN GARRIHY’S DISAPPEARING LISTENERS

Doireann Garrihy

RTÉ CONTINUES to champion Doireann Garrihy, although the latest JNLR figures suggest that the public is not quite as enamoured of the golden girl of Montrose. Louise McSharry was recently dropped from 2fm although her show was pulling in 104,000 listeners on Saturday mornings. Yet Garrihy’s 2FM Breakfast show with Donncha O’Callaghan and Carl Mullan... Read more »

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NORAH CASEY STRIDES AGAIN

HAVING SO much of her considerable energy trained on Woman’s Way magazine seems to have reaped rewards for Norah Casey. According to recently-filed accounts for Harmonia Ltd, the publishing company made a profit of €305,000 in 2020, bringing accumulated profits to €703,000. By comparison, Harmonia only made a profit of €14,000 in 2019 and recorded... Read more »

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MEDIAHUIS’S MORTIFICATION

JUDGES AT the recent Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards clearly weren’t as impressed as publisher Mediahuis Ireland is with its output. While it boasts of its titles’ “unique and original Irish journalism” and “thorough and entertaining background features,” the Indo, Sindo, Herald and Independent.ie received zero gongs at the awards. It was left to the Sunday... Read more »

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HIGGINS UNHEADED

Michael D Higgins

HAS THE Oireachtas set itself on another collision course with the President? Despite the Dáil’s Business Committee, Ceann Comhairle, Taoiseach and Office of Attorney General all committing to change on foot of criticism from Michael D Higgins in Summer, the December bottleneck has once again appeared on the order papers at Leinster House. In a... Read more »

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CHARITY PAY DAY

Dee Forbes

MEMBERS OF the public who gave so generously during RTÉ Does Comic Relief last Summer may not have expected to see their donations used to rehabilitate the image of the charity sector. Ever eager to emphasise its own vital national importance, the cash strapped broadcaster tapped into a sense of community during the pandemic last... Read more »

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JENNY MCCARTHY’S NEXT SHOT

AS A side hustle to her photography business, broadcaster Martin King’s missus Jenny McCarthy has joined the ranks of minor celebs launching their own brands. McCarthy has made her name capturing the marriages and babies of celebs and influencers like Karen Koster, Glenda Gilson and Pippa O’Connor, which may provide her with a ready market... Read more »

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UNIONISM’S NEXT MOVE

Jim Allister

POLITICAL FALLOUT from the death of David Tweed has exposed the limits of Jim Allister’s ability to put space and moral certainty between himself and his Unionist rivals. The TUV leader, senior DUP figures and the Orange Order have all been criticised sharply for their tributes to a man remembered in the Irish Times sports... Read more »

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BOGGED DOWN

EVEN BY standards so wearily familiar the latest bid to continue commercial peat harvesting is a supremely impressive piece of political cynicism. With the Government scarcely home from a global climate summit, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have revealed their intention to permit one of the country’s most harmful practices to persist for up to... Read more »

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TOYING WITH FIONA O’LOUGHLIN

RTÉ BROADCASTER Joe Duffy may be deploying his pen to console Fiona O’Loughlin again after reactions to her call for a new bank holiday to coincide with the Late Late Toy Show ranged from amused to rather scornful. Being laughed at over trivial matters has upset sensitive Fianna Fáilers of late, and the Kildare senator... Read more »

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VLAD’S GULF PLÁMÁS

Leo Varadkar

AN TÁNAISTE’S tour of odious Gulf regimes this month passed without incident and not a whole lot of media scrutiny. A solitary report by Petula Martyn for RTE’s website at least sought comment from Enterprise Ireland’s Conor Fahy on human rights abuses in the Saudi kingdom and UAE but there was no mention in any... Read more »

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EU VS BIG TECH CONTINUES

EUROPEAN EFFORTS to put manners on Silicon Valley took a step closer this week as the Digital Markets Bill moved toward its final parliamentary vote. The internal markets committee on Monday voted by a majority to adopt the legislation which will impose a raft of stricter obligations on some of the internet’s largest players. Compromise... Read more »

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GRIPT BROUGHT IN FROM THE COLD

John Burns

CONCERN ABOUNDS in recent years about partisanship, “dark money”, the stoking of online outrage and so-called fake news fuelling dangerous problems. The Sunday Times is, at least, in safe hands judging by recent remarks from Nóirín Hegarty. In an interview published this month, the new editor at Rupert Murdoch’s Aawrish title told the Corporate Governance... Read more »

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“DEMONISING” THE VULTURES

BUSINESS POST hack Killian Woods noticed an interesting trend in housing coverage this week, starting with the opinion page in his own newspaper. A column on Sunday by Dan O’Brien cautions against “demonising” international investors as “vultures” and “cuckoos”. Woods points out that Matt Cooper in the Daily Mail earlier in the month makes this... Read more »

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SEAWEED SHOCK

THE IRISH Independent picture desk got itself in a tangle last week over the delicate problem of agri emissions. Young seaweed farmer Sinéad O’Brien was less than impressed to find her image used by the newspaper in what she describes as greenwashing. An article by Clodagh Kilcoyne and Conor Humphries in the Indo’s farming supplement... Read more »

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NÓIRIN O’SULLIVAN’S REHABILITION

ALL IS well that ends well for Nóirín O’Sullivan, who appears to have patched things up with at least some sections of the media. Four months after the Disclosures Tribunal published its fourth interim report, the former Garda Commissioner was the subject of extensive coverage in the Irish Times over the weekend. Spread across two... Read more »

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SYMPROVING OONAGH O’HAGAN’S FINANCES

GREAT NEWS for Meaghers Pharmacy Group MD, Oonagh O’Hagan, who won the “Wellness Award” at VIP Publishing’s recent fangirling ‘Power of Women’ event. Speaking of power, a cursory glance at Meaghers’ website and blog and O’Hagan’s social media reveals a heavy push on Symprove, a food supplement Oonagh recommends as the “best food supplement for... Read more »

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O’GORMAN’S SENOR HURLING

RODERIC O’GORMAN cut a different figure this week, just a year on from his political baptism in the Mother and Baby Homes controversy. The rookie TD was blindsided in October 2020 as his caring and liberal image contrasted sharply with the realities of running a government department. Signs are now that O’Gorman has matured into... Read more »

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SHERIDAN BASHES THE BANKERS

RECENT EVENTS have prompted a reflection of sorts in the press this past fortnight. Efforts of the Quinn family to remove media coverage from search engines and the death of Seán FitzPatrick have put Anglo Irish Bank in the spotlight. In the Irish Times, Kathy Sheridan used the occasion to look beyond the pair’s misdeeds,... Read more »

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FINE GAEL’S MERCOSUR DANCE

WHAT A DELICATE choreography the Government must perform on the politically toxic Mercosur trade deal. On Morning Ireland earlier this month, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar assured beef farmers that Ireland will not ratify the agreement, on the basis that the Government are, apparently, “not satisfied” with the environmental protections contained in the proposed deal. Satisfaction, of... Read more »

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RYAN’S NEW PALS

ÉAMON RYAN was more than pleased with himself on the Glasgow stage as he rubbed shoulders with politicians at the COP26 summit. Friends of the Irish Environment had written to Ryan and foreign minister Simon Coveney in October suggesting that Ireland get on board with the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) ahead of its... Read more »

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JAY BOURKE’S MINTED CONNECTIONS

Jay Bourke

IT MUST be disheartening for Jay Bourke to find himself seeking approval from the High Court for an arrangement to write off debts of €12.5m, particularly as he is surrounded by people enjoying better financial outcomes. These include his father John Paget Bourke, former chairman of Irish Permanent, who owns 51% of its shares of... Read more »

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WEE DANIEL’S LAURELS

Daniel O'Donnell

DONEGAL CROONER Daniel O’Donnell has discussed “cutting down a bit”on his performing schedule, but he has certainly earned enough to allow himself to rest on his laurels. Despite having to cancel or postpone various concerts due to the pandemic, an entertainment company owned by Wee Daniel made a profit of €689,000 in 2020. D.O.D Promotions... Read more »

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PAT EGAN’S FEW QUID

WHILE CONCERT promoter Pat Egan told the Irish Times that he both makes and loses “a few quid,” his profits suggest that the music industry has been pretty kind to him. And now that he has secured a venue for shows covering the “nostalgia market,” the impresario’s books may be singing an even sweeter tune.... Read more »

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JACKIE LAVIN’S TURBULENCE

BUSINESSWOMAN JACKIE LAVIN and her son Gary Lavin (founder of the soft drinks company VitHit) will be hoping for a quieter new year, after both found themselves engaged in legal proceedings in recent months that generated column inches for thirsty hacks. The Circuit Civil Court heard allegations recently that Jackie swore and used abusive language... Read more »

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THE NEXT STEP ON TUAM

ON OCTOBER 12 this year, the Irish Times carried a column which suggested that a “barrage of negativity” has led some of those remaining in religious orders to conclude that “Ireland has become no country for old nuns.” The roots of any negativity were largely avoided, and the piece instead invoked the usual names one... Read more »

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COVENEY’S COMPASS? EU ARMY MARCHES ON

Simon Coveney

IF THE past twenty months had not already provided enough grounds for optimism, we can look forward to “the year of European defence” in 2022. The idea was proclaimed in a speech by European Council President Charles Michel last month and it reflects growing confidence among EU militarists that the momentum is firmly in their... Read more »

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