A Command Democracy

Dan Boyle is a former Senator and member of the Green Party. He is the Author of ‘Without Power or Glory – The Greens in Government’. Today he gives us his take on local government and the threats to democracy posed by our current system After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Progressive Democrats used to taunt that Ireland now had become Europe’s biggest command economy outside of Albania. On the surface there was something to this. …

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Politicians and silly expenses claims

In the news today we are told that Alan Shatter claimed €12 for passport photos on his expenses and also for injections he had to take before travelling. Now, let’s be honest here this isn’t the biggest news in the world. Nor will the country be facing ruination over the claim. It is far from the worst thing any politician has done. It does, however, raise the issue of expenses again. There will be a rush of people to slam …

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John McGuirk on Gender Quotas and why he’s not Johnny Fallon’s kind of man

Here I am, sitting on my couch, just another one of Jonny Fallon’s whining, moaning, whinging, man wallowing in self-pity about gender quotas (at this point, my other half looked over my shoulder and said “well, at least you’re self-aware”). There are better ways to spend a Friday evening than writing about this issue, but any argument so full of the kind of man-bashing, feminist-appeasing nonsense designed to win approval from the right kind of people on twitter as Jonny’s …

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Feminism, Quotas and Why Men Need to Man Up

Whining. It’s something that bugs me a lot. People who find all manner of excuses for why they are not getting what they want. We live in an age where if you even have a robust conversation with someone they immediately accuse you of being threatening or intimidating. I remember when there was a lot of debate about men getting in touch with their feelings. I remember people praising Paul Gascoigne for crying after England lost in Italia ’90. Now, …

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End of the line for Irish Water?

Radio Producer and Presenter John O’Donovan argues that its time to wind up Irish Water. Eurostat , the EU statistics agency has today decided that the Governments spend must remain on the states exchequer balance sheet. This means we will face into an additional €500 million added to the national debt, the assumption up to now by the Government was that it would pass the Eurostat assessment, even though they had factored the cost into its Spring Statement. In what …

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The Arena – Political Podcast

In the Arena this week, John O’Donovan, John McGuirk and Johnny Fallon tackle the new Social Democrats party, Water Charge payment rates and the continuing saga in Greece. Keep up to speed with Ireland’s best political podcast. This is the second episode with lots more to come. Lots more debate, interviews and opinion to come in the weeks ahead. Johnny Fallon

The Greek Deal…A final act of subversion?

John O’Donovan, Radio Producer, presenter and lecturer in media says that Greece now needs an election before any deal can be agreed. After a victorious referendum result that saw the Greek people defeat an austerity deal by a clear mandate of 61%, Greece has now been bounced into what appears to be an even more swingeing bailout deal. The third bailout deal will keep Greece in the Eurozone, if it is passed in the Greek Parliament by Wednesday, but at …

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The Arena – Political Podcast. Greece, what now?

‘The Arena’ is a new political podcast featuring John O’Donovan, John McGuirk and Johnny Fallon. Slugger O’Toole is delighted to be associated with this new podcast and over the coming weeks and months we will be improving the quality and depth of the podcast. In the months ahead it will feature debate, interviews analysis and a wide variety of guests. Just to whet the appetite we have put together a quick synopsis of our own views on Greece before it …

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Ireland has missed a glorious chance on Greece

As the Greek tragedy rumbles on France has said it will keep up efforts to reach a deal. France has also maintained that the biggest critics of Greece are the other smaller countries. This brings Ireland into the spotlight. Has the government really been politically clever in how it has handled the Greek crisis? Ireland has a strong reputation in Europe. At several junctures in the history of the EU it is Ireland that has helped to bring people around …

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Banking Inquiry – Are we really learning anything new?

The Banking Inquiry continues to trundle on and fill the column inches. Each witness that comes before the inquiry promises more detail, better insight and the hope that we are going to get something new. However, one has to question if we are really getting anywhere at all? Of course there is a number of ways to look at these things. The inquiry was always going to be more therapeutic than anything else. In the US and other countries we …

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Trouble for Independents in Seanad

It would appear that all is not well with the Independent grouping in the Seanad. The fall out from Averil Power’s resignation from Fianna Fail has created a new problem. A press release issued by Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell in the last hour says that while the grouping accepted Senator Power they rejected his application with no discussion. Senator Craughwell has applied to join the group on two separate occasions but was told that they do not wish to accept …

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Why Enda must aim for a 2016 Election Date

Predicting elections is a tricky business. The pressure of government sees events overtake plans very quickly. Deciding when to go to the country has always been a holy grail of strategy for serving Taoisigh. There are many examples of getting it wrong and still many more of where a government collapse takes the decision away from a Taoiseach. Enda Kenny will have to try plan things though. All things going well the ultimate decision lies with him. There is one …

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Losing the armour after decades of hurt

Paul Francis Quinn is a singer and in this heartfelt piece he describes exactly what the recent marriage referendum result meant for him and many others. In 1986, near the end of a long, balmy and sleepless summer, a heterosexual male friend and I took the DART from the suburbs of Bray. Into the city we went and once there he promptly deposited me in a dingy, beer stained bar called “The George”. A third of the size it is …

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Fianna Fail’s future is the radical centre

Many voices are rushing to tell Fianna Fail what direction it needs to go. Mark Beegan is a Public Relations Consultant and Fianna Fáil activist. He specialises in political communication and media relations.  He argues that simple ideological analysis is not enough and is not what Fianna Fail was ever about.   Senator Power’s bombshell has brought forward a debate long needed in Irish politics. Where does Fianna Fáil stand and for whom? John McGuirk and Pat Leahy have both …

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Take a position or face irrelevance – The FF choice?

Fianna Fail needs to decide on its path for the future.  Most of all it needs to decide who it represents according to Communications Consultant John McGuirk.   A year ago today, two of Fianna Fáil’s biggest stars were its young, attractive, articulate Senator for North Dublin, Averil Power, and it’s poll-topping, gravity-defying MEP for Munster, Brian Crowley. In the most barren era for the party since its foundation, members could point to both as examples of the party’s continued …

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Slugger O’Toole – New Horizons in the Republic

I am delighted to take up the role of Southern Editor here at Slugger O’Toole.  It is the perfect time for ‘Slugger’ to expand.  Over the next year we want to bring that unique approach to the Irish political scene.  In the past I was deeply involved in grass root politics.  Ireland has a great tradition of this across all parties and none.  There are many people who possess a deep understanding of the political game and how it works. …

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Marriage Equality Referendum – A night out with disagreeable friends.

The Marriage Equality referendum continues to trundle on.  The political parties are finally starting to make their presence felt with posters and the odd canvass outside of urban areas.  It has become an emotive issue.  That’s understandable.  It means a lot to the people involved.  For many though, it’s just another referendum where they are hearing the usual liberal and conservative heads knocking lumps out of each other. We are like the person who has arranged a night out with …

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Look over there…a view of the UK election from Ireland

I have never made a secret of the fact that I am no expert on politics outside of Ireland.  I watch elections in other countries in a disinterested fashion.  The systems are strange and I find it gives you an insight into just how bizarre politics can look when you are not involved.  The UK election is probably the most interesting one in my lifetime.  Up until now all I have ever seen is a strange and undemocratic voting system …

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