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Irish Times Inside Politics
The Irish Times
The best analysis of the Irish political scene featuring Irish Times journalists, political thinkers and the occasional politician. Hosted by Arts & Culture Editor Hugh Linehan.
6 hours ago
Lifting the lid on paid-for politics - with Peter Geoghegan
Hugh talks to journalist Peter Geoghegan about the murky world of political think-tanks and pressure groups that he writes about in a new book, Democracy for Sale.
2 days ago
Remembering John Hume - with Claire Hanna
SDLP MP for South Belfast Claire Hanna joins Hugh to look back on the life and legacy of John Hume, who died on Sunday.
Jul 29, 2020
Government stumbles toward the recess
It's been another extraordinary week for the new government and a very uncomfortable one for Micheal Martin and some of his ministers, as stumbles over Pandemic Unemployment Payments and ministerial pay have undermined more positive messages on the reopening of schools and measures to stimulate the economy. Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee join Hugh to discuss the week in politics as we stumble toward the Dail's delayed summer recess.
Jul 24, 2020
Repost: Michael Lewis on Cronyism in The Trump Administration & The Unsung Virtues of Civil Servants
Author Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Big Short, The Undoing Project)talks to Hugh about his new book 'The Fifth Risk'. The book concerns the Trump Administration and what Lewis says are astounding levels of cronyism and corruption in the appointments it has made in key government organisations with responsibility for everything from nuclear weapons to weather forecasting.
Jul 22, 2020
Green list confusion, EU recovery deal and the impending stimulus package
In today’s episode Hugh is joined by Pat Leahy and the newest member of the politics team, Jack Horgan-Jones to dissect the events of this week, including the mixed messages surrounding the newly published green list, the EU recovery deal and the eagerly awaited July stimulus package.
Jul 17, 2020
How damaged is Micheál Martin's leadership? (Live at The Irish Times Summer Nights Festival)
This week The Irish Times ran its "Summer Nights" online festival, featuring conversations with guests like Samantha Power, Anne Enright, Imelda May, Paul O'Connell, Dermot Bannon and David McWilliams. As part of the festival, the politics team got together to discuss, well a lot of things really. They started with what's been another horrible week for new Taoiseach Micheál Martin. How much harm has the Barry Cowen controversy done to his leadership? The Irish Times Summer Nights festival is sponsored by Peugeot.
1 hr 1 min
Jul 15, 2020
US politics: is Trump toast? With Fintan O'Toole and Suzanne Lynch
President Donald Trump is clearly behind in the polls, but is it too late for him to claw it back? What kind of campaigns will he and his rival Joe Biden need to run to secure victory? To talk about the 2020 race Hugh is joined by columnist Fintan O'Toole and Washington correspondent Suzanne Lynch.
Jul 8, 2020
FF's shaky start continues, economic dilemmas & Paschal's Eurogroup candidacy
Micheál Martin took hist first leaders' questions as Taoiseach this week, however much of the focus was on Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen and his drink driving apology. Jen Bray has the latest developments from the Dáil. Economics columnist Cliff Taylor and Europe correspondent Naomi O’Leary join Pat Leahy to discuss the EU’s path to economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19. Plus, a potential new position this week for Paschal Donohue?
Jul 3, 2020
Brexit: what's the latest and will there be a deal?
Brexit is still going and is still as infuriating as ever. With Britain now locked into a complete and final exit from the EU at the end of the year, London editor Denis Staunton updates us on the slow progress being made in negotiations on the future trade relationship, and helps us understand Boris Johnson's position. But first, Jennifer Bray recaps a fairly miserable week for the new leadership of both the Government and the opposition.
Jul 1, 2020
Coalition Teething Pains & Sinn Féin's Support
Academic and political analyst Kevin Cunningham joins Pat and Fiach to talk about the first week of the new coalition, new analysis of the source of Sinn Féin's support in #GE2020 and the difficult next stage in dealing with Covid-19.
Jun 26, 2020
New Government: FF, FG and Greens enter coalition
Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have voted overwhelmingly to enter into government together . Pat Leahy is joined by Jennifer Bray, Harry McGee and Fiach Kelly to discuss this historic three-party coalition.
Jun 24, 2020
Interview: Masha Gessen, author of Surviving Autocracy
Masha Gessen is a Russian-American author, activist and journalist. In their new book, Surviving Autocracy, Gessen provides a punchy and persuasive analysis of the destruction the Trump administration has waged on US institutions, culture and sense of identity. In this episode, the author speaks to Hugh Linehan about the parallels between the US and Russia under Putin.
Jun 19, 2020
Interview: Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan joins Hugh Linehan and Irish Times political correspondent Harry McGee to discuss yesterday’s marathon Green Party convention, the divisions amongst party members and the outlook for the new programme for government.
Jun 16, 2020
The making of a PfG: negative externalities, biogenic methane & "absolute bastards"
What's in the FF-FG-Green programme for government, how is it going down with the grassroots, and what about that Irish Times / Ipsos-MRBI poll? Discussing it all are Pat, Fiach and Jen with host Hugh Linehan.
Jun 10, 2020
Green sticking points, is Direct Provision really finished?
First Harry McGee and Mary Minihan talk about the sticking points in negotiations between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party to form a government, and a bit of Green Party history that casts light on the awkward phase it is going through. In part two, academic Liam Thornton joins in to discuss the fate of Direct Provision. The ending of the controversial system for dealing with those applying for asylum now seems all but certain. How did it come to this, and what comes next?
Jun 5, 2020
‘Phase Two Plus’ and decision time for government formation
Ireland is about to enter the next phase of the roadmap out of lockdown. 'Phase two plus' as coined by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier today. Pat Leahy and Fiach Kelly speak to Hugh Linehan about the accelerated lifting of restrictions and discuss where we stand on this long and winding road to government formation.
Jun 3, 2020
#BlackLivesMatter in Dublin too; Trump's gamble
The size of the #BlackLivesMatter demonstration in Dublin at the weekend took some by surprise, but it shouldn't have. Musician Sallay Garnett, also known as Loah, who has recently spoken out about her experience of racism in Ireland on social media, joins Irish Times journalists Fintan O'Toole and Sorcha Pollak to talk about the source of the energy behind the protest and whether Ireland is embarking on a reckoning with its own racism. After that: Washington correspondent Suzanne Lynch on the political gamble Donald Trump is taking with his hardline approach to protests over the killing by police of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.
May 29, 2020
US politics: is America now an oligarchy? With Robert Reich
Robert Reich is an economist, professor, author, and political commentator who served as Secretary of Labour in the Clinton administration. Hugh talks to Robert about American society today, his contention that the US has become an oligarchy serving a select few, and how Donald Trump is a symptom of this decline. His latest book "The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix" It is out now.
May 27, 2020
UK politics: how badly does the Cummings saga damage Johnson?
London editor Denis Staunton joins Hugh, Fiach and Jennifer to talk about the gripping story that has dominated UK politics for many straight days: Dominic Cummings' road trip (20.34). But first on today's podcast the team look at our own lockdown etiquette mini-scandal involving Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, revelations at the Covid committee hearings on the state's assistance to nursing homes at the start of the outbreak and those slow-moving government formation talks.
May 22, 2020
How a legal challenge could unravel the EU - with Ronan McCrea
"Once taboos are broken, it's quite hard to reinstate them". A German court ruling challenging the primacy of European Court of Justice in EU matters poses a threat to the EU that even it can't fudge. The case hinged on the right of the European Central Bank to engage in bond-buying to support the EU economy. The top German court has ruled that the ECB hasn't sufficiently explained why the measures are necessary. But more importantly, it also ruled that its view is supreme over the ruling of the top European court, the ECJ. Among other problems, this could undermine attempts to rein in member states like Poland and Hungary that are challenging the EU's political norms. To explain how the ruling does this and why it matters, Hugh talks to Ronan McCrea, professor of constitutional and European law at University College London.
May 20, 2020
A Green Heave?
A move to challenge Eamon Ryan as Green leader is under way among a cohort within the party, with deputy leader Catherine Martin being urged to stand against him. That's the first topic on today's podcast with Irish Times politics team Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee which also takes in government formation talks, a strange spat between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, the first hearing of the Covid-19 committee and how politics will handle the pressure to return public life to normality.
May 15, 2020
Eamon Ryan's long road back to power
It's been a difficult path for Eamon Ryan and the Green Party since the dark period following 2011, when the party lost all its seats and state funding. His stewardship of the party has earned him respect, particularly among the old guard. But do the fast-growing Greens' new recruits give him the same credit? Fiach Kelly writes about Ryan in this weekend's edition of The Irish Times and here he talks to Hugh about Ryan's leadership style and his party's difficult return to the government negotiating table. They also talk about how a relationship between the Greens, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael might work. This weekend's edition of The Irish Times features a series of articles about Green politics. You can read them all on irishtimes.com - or pick up a copy of the paper in your local newsagent.
May 13, 2020
Relaxing the lockdown
Different countries are taking different approaches at different speeds as they move to reopen their economies. London Editor Denis Staunton and Berlin Correspondent Derek Scally talk to Hugh Linehan about the politics of pandemic in the UK and Germany respectively.
May 6, 2020
The end of the beginning
As Ireland moves into the next, more complex phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, how can we hold the authorities to account? Is the current government being transparent enough about the decisions it is making and the rationale which underpins them? What happens when a new government is finally formed? And how well is the media covering the crisis? Hugh Linehan talks to columnist Fintan O’Toole and political editor Pat Leahy.
Apr 30, 2020
Can we reduce carbon emissions by 7% per year?
The Green Party has demanded that any government it joins implements cuts of 7 per cent each year to our national carbon emissions. Where does that figure come from, and is it achievable? We ask climate researcher Hannah Daly. Then Fiach Kelly explains how the overtures from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are going down with the Greens, and what we know about plans to ease the Coronavirus lockdown. Dr Hannah Daly lectures in energy systems modelling at University College Cork.
Apr 24, 2020
Interview: Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline
Phillipe Sands is a barrister, author and broadcaster. His new book The Ratline tells the story of Nazi war criminal and fugitive Otto Wachter, about whom Sands has already produced a popular podcast, also called The Ratline, for the BBC. Sands talks to Hugh about how he encountered Wachter's son, the nature of evil and the remembrance of the Holocaust.
Apr 22, 2020
Stark economic predictions for the year ahead - with Michael Taft
This week the Government published the worst economic projections since the financial crisis of 2008-11. Finance minister, Paschal Donohue, issued a bleak warning that Ireland is now in “severe recession”. How will the next government deal with the economic and fiscal challenges that lie ahead? Is there anything in the joint framework from Fine Gael and Fine Fail that can weather the storm? Michael Taft, a researcher for SIPTU and the man behind the blog ‘Notes on the Front’ joins Hugh and Pat to discuss the structural reforms and measures needed to grow the economy and control the national debt.
Apr 17, 2020
Can Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael lure a third party?
This week, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's historic agreement to form a government together didn't make much of a splash among the distracted public. There are difficult decisions ahead, but no sign of them in the joint framework document that accompanied the agreement. Will a smaller party bet on going into government with FF and FG in a time of unprecedented uncertainty? And can Sinn Féin be ignored for much longer?
Apr 15, 2020
US Politics special with Clare Malone of FiveThirtyEight
Today Hugh talks to American journalist Clare Malone about the upending of US politics in an election year by the outbreak of Covid-19. Clare is senior political writer with FiveThirtyEight, a data-driven politics and sports website. She is also a regular on the popular FiveThirtyEight politics podcast. They talk about the response of the Trump administration to the outbreak, the potential impact of the virus on voting in November, rampant gerrymandering in some American states, and the strengths of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Apr 10, 2020
Europe's dissonant coronavirus response - with Naomi O'Leary
Europe correspondent Naomi O'Leary joins Hugh and Pat to talk about the EU response to the coronavirus crisis and how differing national memories of anther crisis, the financial crash of a decade ago, are driving dissonance among member states. Plus, Pat digs into the government formation talks once again.
Apr 8, 2020
How are we handling this lengthy lockdown? With Jennifer O'Connell and Patrick Freyne
As we approach a sunny bank holiday weekend, and with several weeks of social distancing already under our belts, Hugh talks to Jennifer O'Connell and Patrick Freyne about how we are collectively handling the deprivations of life in lockdown. And we wonder some more about what permanent changes might come about as a result of Covid-19.
Apr 1, 2020
Politics in the age of isolation
Politics is still going on, so Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee talk to Hugh about the latest goings-on: government formation, Seanad elections and the Labour leadership. But first they reflect on the nature of work and politics in the age of isolation.
Mar 25, 2020
The government's response steps up a gear - with Fiach Kelly
Fiach joins to Hugh to talk about the caretaker government's response to the Covid-19 outbreak, and how the intervention of a civil servant has brought focus back onto the creation of a new government.
Mar 20, 2020
What will the long-term consequences of Covid-19 be? With Fintan O'Toole
What will come in the wake of Covid-19? The end of the office and the transformation of cities? A new age of hedonism? A long-term increase of the role of the state in the economy? To talk about that and more, Hugh virtually sits down with Fintan O'Toole.
Mar 18, 2020
A new government must be formed - but how?
What a week it has been since our last podcast. Hugh and Pat talk about Leo Varadkar's national address, what the Coronavirus outbreak means for politics now and in the future, and the dilemma facing our system of how to form a new government under such novel and trying circumstances.
Mar 11, 2020
Coronavirus transforms the political reality
Jennifer and Pat join Hugh to talk about the Coronavirus outbreak. How ready is Ireland? They also discuss the accelerated government formation now taking place. As the situation worsens, all parties will come under even more pressure to bring a new government into existence. Like many of you, the Inside Politics team is making changes to how it does things in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. Today's episode was recorded remotely. You may notice a slight change in audio quality. Thanks for your continued support. irishtimes.com
Mar 6, 2020
Does it matter what Sinn Féin calls Ireland? - with Newton Emerson
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar lambasted Sinn Féin this week for “burning a Tricolour before our eyes” by referring to the Republic of Ireland as "the Southern State". He's wasting his time if he expects Sinn Féin to change in this respect, but he's also missing a more important point, says Irish Times columnist Newton Emerson. Southern politicians should learn from the peace process in Northern Ireland that Sinn Féin can be encouraged to respect democratic and political norms when brought into the fold. Hugh and Newton also discuss the DUP's "evolving" position on the Northern Ireland protocol (the agreement between the UK and the EU that Northern Ireland will remain more closely aligned with the EU post-Brexit, requiring checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea). Having missed a chance to support Theresa May's "best of all worlds" deal, are they now getting ready to spin their satisfaction with Boris Johnson's "worst of all worlds" compromise, having no other choice?
Mar 4, 2020
How Can Labour Become Relevant Again? / The ‘Bonkers’ Seanad Election
As government formation talks rumble on behind the scenes, Fiach Kelly and Harry McGee join Hugh Linehan in studio to discuss the first of the Labour hustings which took place in Cork on Monday night. Labour have struggled to win the youth vote and provide a clear party message, so how can they stay relevant to an electorate who are moving further away from them? Also, Irish Times parliamentary correspondent Marie O’Halloran joined Hugh and Fiach in studio to talk through the fundamentals of the 'bonkers' Seanad Election.
Feb 28, 2020
Post-Brexit Trade Talks: Who Will Triumph?
With Brexit negotiations due to take place on Monday between Britain and the European Union, each side is accusing the other of bad faith. Britain’s negotiating mandate is at odds with the European Union’s on a number of issues. So what are these key points of contention and will there also be issues surrounding the Northern Irish Protocol? London Editor Denis Staunton and Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary join Hugh and Pat to discuss each side’s differing perspectives.
Feb 26, 2020
How Can Sinn Féin Get Into Government? - with Louise O'Reilly
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal and party health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly joins Hugh and Pat to talk about the party's reasons for holding public events this week and its ambition to be a part of the next government. What would it take for Fianna Fáil's stance to shift in favour of a deal? They also discuss the governmental response to the global Coronavirus outbreak.
Feb 21, 2020
Diatribe and Vitriol on Day One of The Dáil
Who was Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin really speaking to when he attacked Sinn Féin last night in Leinster House? Fiach Kelly joins Hugh to discuss a fraught first meeting of the 33rd Dáil.
Feb 19, 2020
"It's Up To Sinn Féin", Fianna Fáil In A Bind, Alan Or Aodhán
On today's podcast: Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are both spinning that Sinn Féin must step up and try to form a left-wing government - hoping that Mary Lou McDonald will fail, of course. Michéal Martin and Fianna Fáil arrive at a major inflection point: should they try to court younger working class voters or older middle class voters? The future of the party may be at stake. And the Labour Party faces its own dilemma. Which section of the party's traditional support base should its new leader represent? Hugh is joined by Fiach Kelly and Jennifer Bray.
Feb 14, 2020
Ask Us Anything: #GE2020 Edition
Now that the dust has finally settled on the Irish general election, Hugh is joined in studio by Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee to answer any of your lingering questions.
Feb 12, 2020
Sinn Féin and The IRA: Anything to Worry About?
Sinn Féin is poised to take power in the next Dáil after winning a strong mandate in #GE2020, but for many people questions remain over its relationship to the Provisional IRA. Today we attempt to sort through what we know and what we don't know on this question. Does the IRA Army Council still remain at the top of the republican political movement? If so, does it pose a threat to security or has it become toothless? And to what extent does it influence modern Sinn Féin? Simon Carswell is here to help. Plus, Sam McBride on unionist reaction to Sinn Féin's political success down south.
Feb 11, 2020
Election Daily - So Long
Election 2020 is over and so is Election Daily. On this final episode, Fiach and Pat join Hugh to talk about what happens next. Leo Varadkar could remain as Taoiseach longer than people may realise, says Pat. There's a split in opinion as to whether Sinn Fein really wants to be in government, and agreement that Fianna Fail are in the most difficult position of all. Thanks to everyone who listened to Election Daily. Inside Politics will be back tomorrow. Email the podcast: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb 10, 2020
Election Daily - Monday - Day Two of the Count
Jennifer Bray joins Hugh Linehan from the RDS as the count rattles on into the evening there. Jennifer O'Connell was at the count centre in Waterford yesterday as Sinn Fein's David Cullinane won his seat with twice the required quota of first preference votes. It's been a dismal day for Fianna Fáil as the party continue to lose seats. Where are the transfers going & who is benefiting from the SF surge?
Feb 10, 2020
Election Weekend in The Newsroom (And What Now?)
Pat Leahy is here to assess the results of #GE2020. How did Sinn Fein turn its fortunes at the ballot box around so spectacularly in a few short months? And can Micheal Martin really do a u-turn on governing with Sinn Fein? But first we relive the weekend as it played out in The Irish Times newsroom.
Feb 9, 2020
Election Daily - Count Day - Sinn Féin Surge
The Sinn Fein surge is real and it's playing out in constituencies all across the country today. Harry McGee and Jennifer Bray are here to discuss the story of the election so far.
Feb 8, 2020
Election Daily - Exit Poll - The Big Two Become The Big Three
Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy are here with analysis of the Ipsos / MRBI poll that projects a tie between Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and a new realignment of the Irish political landscape.
Feb 7, 2020
Election Daily - Friday - The Campaign Ends
Pat, Jennifer and Fiach join Hugh to look back on the campaign as it draws to a close. Plus, what happens if Met Eireann tell people to stay home? And we hear a clip of Paschal Donohoe's reflections earlier today on what made this campaign a different and difficult one. If you're enjoying the podcast, please take our survey: www.irishtimes.com/podcastsurvey it should only take a few minutes.
Feb 7, 2020
Calling (Some of) It
Damian Cullen, The Irish Times's self-described "go-to guy" for general election numerology, joins Hugh and Harry to bravely call the results of a few of the more interesting constituencies in tomorrow's general election, from Dublin Central to Tipperary and from Galway West to Wicklow.
Feb 6, 2020
Election Daily - Thursday - 'Amadán Economics' & Low-key Greens
As we reach the final stages of the election campaign, how are the political parties holding up? Is there a sense of panic within Fine Gael & are the Greens failing to get their message through? Harry & Fiach are here to discuss. Plus if you're enjoying the podcast, please take our survey on https://www.irishtimes.com/podcastsurvey it should only take a few minutes.
Feb 6, 2020
#GE2020 Live Show - Ireland Wants Change, The Poll Effect, FG's Negative Campaign
To mark Election 2020 last night we put on a live show in Trinity College, Dublin for subscribers to The Irish Times. Regulars Hugh, Jennifer and Pat were joined by Mary Minihan, Jennifer O'Connell and Fintan O'Toole to talk about the big picture of this campaign: Fine Gael's negative campaign, Sinn Fein's rise, and the effort to understand exactly what kind of change the people of Ireland want. The discussion went on for two hours; in this podcast you can hear some of the highlights.
Feb 5, 2020
Election Daily - Micheál Martin on Sinn Féin 'Omertà', Final Seats and Coalitions
Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin talked to Pat Leahy earlier today. On the agenda: the murder of Paul Quinn and why he thinks Sinn Fein is a party unfit for government, his justification for excluding Mary Lou McDonald from a future coalition, and what the potential path to power is for Fianna Fail in this election.
Feb 4, 2020
Election Daily - Leader's Debate Reaction with Jennifer Bray
What were the high and low points for Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald on tonight's RTE debate? And can it move the dial for voters? Jennifer Bray talks to Hugh.
Feb 4, 2020
Election Daily - Leo Varadkar on Why FG is Struggling, Micheál Martin & Sinn Féin
Fiach Kelly chatted to Leo Varadkar at Fine Gael HQ earlier on, and he's here with the audio. The Taoiseach is asked about polls, says Micheál Martin can't be trusted not to break his pledge on partnership with Sinn Fein and gives some clear indications what his party's strategy will be over the final days of the campaign.
Feb 3, 2020
Election Daily - POLL - Sinn Féin Take The Lead
It's a first for the long-running Ipsos MRBI / Irish Times politics poll. Sinn Féin have overtaken Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and now enjoy the most support of any political party. The result is certain to make waves in this election campaign. Pat Leahy is here with analysis. For more on the poll, go to www.irishtimes.com.
Feb 3, 2020
Election Daily - Monday - FG Press The Panic Button
Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee are here to talk about Mary Lou McDonald's addition to tomorrow night's leaders debate on RTE and Fine Gael's tanking campaign. How bad could it get for them on a bad day? Harry crunches some numbers.
Feb 1, 2020
The Climate Crisis: Promises, Policies and Politics
It was supposed to be the climate change election. It hasn't turned out that way so far, even if it is a sign of progress that all the parties have detailed climate proposals in their manifestos, says Joseph Curtin, a climate change expert working in the NGO sector and a member of the Climate Change Advisory Council. But that doesn't mean you should take the figures in the manifestos too seriously. Joe talks to Hugh and Harry McGee about some of those proposed policies, which parties are most ambitious, and the best way to implement carbon tax.
Jan 31, 2020
Election Daily - Friday - Focus Groups & Dirty Tricks / Brexit Day with Denis Staunton
In a special, slightly extended episode of Election Daily, Denis Staunton joins us from London to talk about the momentous but strangely muted occasion of Brexit Day. But first Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy are here with news from the campaign including insights from an Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI focus group and some of the tactics allegedly used when constituency partnerships go bad.
Jan 30, 2020
Election Daily - Thursday - On The Canvass with Gerry Adams and Dara Calleary
Jennifer Bray is in Mayo following the campaign of Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary, who is confident local issues can deliver two seats again despite the Saoirse McHugh factor, while Simon Carswell is in Louth with Gerry Adams who is canvassing with Sinn Fein's candidates there. Can Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú take the seat Adams is vacating?
Jan 29, 2020
Election Daily - Wednesday - Carbon Tax & The Green Party
We're focusing on the Green Party today with Irish Times journalist Harry McGee who attended their briefing on transport earlier & Assistant News Editor Mary Minihan who has literally written the book on the Greens. Up for discussion is Saoirse McHugh's carbon tax comments and the perception of the party in rural Ireland.
Jan 29, 2020
It's Housing, Stupid: Sinn Féin's Youth Appeal
Sinn Féin has carved out a space for itself as the main party of left-wing opposition, and its manifesto proposes radical change. Polls show it has gained support in recent months, and it is the most popular party among those under 35. It has made the housing issue its own. Will its strategy work on February 8th? To understand the party's appeal, with its unique characteristics in Irish and even European politics, and to examine some parts of its generous manifesto, Hugh and Pat are joined by Jane Suiter, Associate Professor at DCU's School of Communications, and Aidan Regan, Associate Professor of Political Economy at UCD.
Jan 28, 2020
Election Daily - Tuesday - Varadkar Forgives Noone & Labour's Manifesto Launch
Following on from the leaders debate in NUIG last night, Fiach Kelly was in Galway early this morning on the canvas trail with Leo Varadkar. But how did the Taoiseach respond to the controversial autism comments & subsequent apology made by Fine Gael's Catherine Noone? Plus Jennifer Bray attended the Labour manifesto launch earlier today and talks us through their promise of a living wage, a three year rent freeze and the potential for an 'omnibus referendum'.
Jan 27, 2020
Election Daily - Leader's Debate Reaction with Fiach Kelly
Fiach joins Hugh to assess the second debate of #GE20, this time with seven party leaders. Who impressed, who failed to make their mark, which issues dominated, and which were ignored?
Jan 27, 2020
Election Daily - Monday - Moving Week, Project Fear, Debate II Preview
Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray are here with your daily update on the events of the general election campaign. It's a critical week for all the parties and candidates as the large block of undecided voters - over 20% according to polls - should begin to make up their minds. Which message is winning out? Plus, what to watch for in tonight's seven-way debate.
Jan 25, 2020
Housing: What Are The Parties Proposing?
As the political parties begin to launch their manifestos, and to coincide with a major series in The Irish Times on the causes and potential solutions to the housing crisis, we talk to three of our journalists: - Political reporter Jennifer Bray on the key policies being proposed by the political parties and the major differences between them; - Business reporter Eoin Burke-Kennedy on the problems with measures designed to help buyers, like the SSIA scheme proposed by Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael's expanded Help-To-Buy programme; - Dublin Editor Olivia Kelly on the role of the Land Development Agency, a key component in Fine Gael's Rebuilding Ireland strategy, and its uncertain future after GE20.
Jan 24, 2020
Election Daily - Friday - Party Manifestos & A Look Ahead to Next Week
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both released their party manifestos today, but what are the real differences between them? As we reach the end of the first full week of GE2020, Pat Leahy and pollster Kevin Cunningham dissect the party promises and also take a look at what lies in store for the remainder of the campaign.
Jan 23, 2020
Election Daily - Thursday - Leo's Answer, Coalition Partners, The Disunited Left
Harry McGee and Mary Minihan join Hugh to dig into last night's debate some more, including the fallout from Leo Varadkar's awkward answer about his past use of drugs, and analyse what Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have been saying about potential coalition partners like the Greens. Plus Harry explains what is going on within the Solidarity / People Before Profit group, who risk splitting the left wing vote in Dublin South-West.
Jan 22, 2020
Election Daily - Wednesday - Debate Reaction and Analysis
Fiach, Jennifer and Hugh react to the first debate of the general election between Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar.
Jan 22, 2020
What's Really Motivating Voters? With Jennifer O'Connell
Over the last week, Irish Times journalist Jennifer O’Connell has been travelling across the country speaking to people and learning about their thoughts on #GE2020. From a book club in Míchael Martin’s constituency of Cork South Central, to a livestock mart in Ennis Co. Clare, Jennifer came across disillusioned voters who want for change, but feel nothing can be done. Pat Leahy takes a look at whether the latest Irish Times Poll reflects Jennifer’s findings amongst the electorate and why Irish people are choosing policy over personality.
Jan 21, 2020
Election Daily - Tuesday - SF on a Roll & The Latest Poll
As Sinn Féin perform well in the polls, Mary Lou McDonald continues to fight for her place in the televised leaders debate. Fiach Kelly spoke to the SF leader at the candidates launch in Dublin today about the possibility of becoming the next Taoiseach. Also Pat Leahy discusses the most important policy issues for voters according to the latest Irish Times poll.
Jan 20, 2020
Election Daily - POLL - Fianna Fáil Opens A Lead, Sinn Féin Surges
The latest Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll, conducted in the days after the calling of the general election, shows Fianna Fáil edging ahead of Fine Gael and Sinn Fein gaining significant support. Pat Leahy is here with all the numbers and analysis.
Jan 20, 2020
Election Daily - Policies, Pensions & Polls
For Fine Gael, week two of #GE2020 opens under the shadow of a poll in a Sunday newspaper that put them 12 points behind Fianna Fail. The Irish Times will publish our own poll soon. Meanwhile, Harry McGee and Mary Minihan join Hugh to talk about the eruption of pensions as an election issue, Sinn Fein's strength on the housing issue and the head to head debate between Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar.
Jan 18, 2020
So How Did The Last Government Do?
How has Fine Gael performed in government since 2016? We ask four of our specialist journalists - Paul Cullen on health, Kitty Holland on social housing and homelessness, Carl O'Brien on education and Cliff Taylor on the economy - to compare what was promised to what was delivered.
Jan 17, 2020
Election Daily - Varadkar Visits Drogheda & Labour Seeks Commuter Vote
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar & Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan met with senior Garda in Drogheda today as gang wars escalate in the town. Simon Carswell was following the action and spoke to Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy about how locals reacted to the political presence. Plus Labour were also in Drogheda for the launch of their campaign 'Getting Ireland Moving'.
Jan 16, 2020
Election Daily - On Board The Battle Bus, FF's Spending Pledge, SF on Defensive
On day three of the election campaign Jennifer Bray spent the afternoon aboard the Fine Gael 'battle bus' as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited Longford, shook some hands and avoided some bolshy locals. Fiach Kelly attended the launch of Fianna Fail's economic strategy, an event light on detail but which confirmed that public spending would be a key part of its campaign. Plus, a mini-controversy over a Sinn Fein councillor's remarks about Leo Varadkar that put his party on the back foot.
Jan 15, 2020
Election Daily - Controversial Remarks & Campaign Launches
Harry McGee and Pat Leahy join Hugh Linehan in studio to dissect day two of #GE2020. As campaign launches took place across the country, the homeless crisis became the main issue facing the parties following an accident along the canal in Dublin.
Jan 15, 2020
What's at Stake in #GE2020? - with Fintan O'Toole
Is there potential for real change emerging from the results of this general election? Fintan O'Toole joins Hugh and Pat to talk about the politics of patronage, how politicians respond to what they perceive voters want and why we need to talk about Sinn Fein's legitimacy as a partner in government.
Jan 14, 2020
Election Daily - Day One - Slogans, Saturday Voting, TDs Stepping Down
Election Daily is our new podcast series covering #GE2020 in under 15 minutes. We'll publish a new episode every weekday evening. Fiach Kelly and Jennifer Bray run through the events of day one of the campaign including the big reveal of February 8th, a Saturday, as election day, the unveiling of campaign slogans and a slew of announcements by sitting TDs that they won't run this time.
Jan 13, 2020
What Kind of Election is #GE2020 Going to Be?
The election hasn't been called yet but the political attacks have already begun. What kind of election campaign is in store? With a real head-to-head clash between Varadkar and Martin for the job of Taoiseach, the political stakes are higher than in recent years. Pat Leahy is here to discuss the early manoeuvres in the campaign. Attention listeners: we will be publishing a short daily election podcast five days per week throughout the campaign . You don't need to do anything; "Election Daily" will show up in your Inside Politics feed every evening. And don't worry, we'll still publish our regular shows with the more in-depth stuff.
Jan 10, 2020
Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox on The "Vacuous, Corrupting" European Union
Claire Fox stands out in the UK political landscape as a Brexit Party MEP with a background in far-left politics. In Dublin to deliver a talk about the reasons behind Brexit at the pro-EU Institute of International and European Affairs, she visits the Irish Times to argue that the loss of national sovereignty that comes with EU membership is intrinsically harmful to democracy.
Jan 8, 2020
RIC Row, What's Happening in Stormont, A February Election? - with Newton Emerson
With its clout in Westminister dead and buried, the stakes couldn't be higher for unionism in the current negotiations to restore power-sharing in Stormont. Why then is the DUP unwilling to make some compromises? To explain what's happening up north, Newton Emerson joins Hugh and Fiach. But first they discuss the row over a centenary commemoration that has backfired on the Government down south, exposing the durability of the very divisions it was designed to help heal. And finally Fiach has the latest on the timing of a general election.
Dec 31, 2019
Ask Us Anything 2019, Part 2
Hugh is joined by Jennifer Bray, Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy to answer some more of your questions on diverse topics, from the rough and tumble of political reporting to the success of the Tories in UK politics and their own podcast listening habits. Inside Politics will return on Wednesday, January 7th. Thanks for listening in 2019.
Dec 24, 2019
Ask Us Anything 2019 Edition
Hugh is joined by Jennifer Bray, Fiach Kelly, Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to answer some of your questions about politics, politicians, political reporting and more. This is part one of the 2019 edition of Ask Us Anything. We'll publish part two next week. Happy Christmas to all our listeners!
Dec 21, 2019
2010s: The Left's Failure, The "Rigged System" & The Intrusion of Tech - with Fintan O'Toole
As the 2010s dawned, it seemed the economic turmoil of the great recession would bring about social and political change. It did, but in unexpected ways, and increasingly under the warping influence of Big Tech. Hugh is joined by Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole to look back on a troubling decade.
Dec 18, 2019
Northern Ireland's Changed Political Landscape - with Dr Katy Hayward
What lessons will political parties in Northern Ireland take from the results of last week's election? Hugh and Pat talk to Dr Katy Hayward, a political sociologist at Queens University Belfast and a senior fellow in the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, and a trusted voice on Brexit and its implications for Northern Ireland.
Dec 13, 2019
A Landslide for Johnson, Labour's Destruction, What Now for Brexit
The results are in. Boris Johnson has secured a historic victory in the UK general election, with the Conservative Party winning a majority of 364 seats to Labour's measly 203. With Britain’s departure from the EU securely on the horizon for January 31st 2020, Boris has succeeded in his mission to ‘Get Brexit Done’. Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, is on the way out. In Northern Ireland, it was a bad night for the DUP. Up bright and early to discuss the results and ramifications with Hugh Linehan is London editor Denis Staunton, academic and former Uk Labour pollster Dr Kevin Cunningham and political editor Pat Leahy.
Dec 11, 2019
The Beginning of The End, The UK Votes
The current Dáil is living on borrowed time, but how will its final act play out? To talk about confidence votes, party strategising and, yes, the timing of the next general election, Hugh is joined by podcast stalwarts Pat, Fiach and Jennifer. They also reflect on the closing days of a UK election campaign characterised by misinformation and mistrust.
Dec 6, 2019
UK Election Update / The Rise of The Political ‘Boomer Meme’
At a Labour press conference this morning, Jeremy Corbyn revealed a confidential Northern Ireland Brexit report, which drives a ‘coach and horses’ through Boris Johnson’s promise of no border in the Irish Sea. London Editor Denis Staunton joins Hugh to discuss the implications, if any, this might have for the Conservatives. They also examine how the parties are shaping up as the election campaign enters the home stretch. Also, Finn McRedmond joins us from London to discuss how political parties are using micro-targeting, poor quality ‘boomer memes’ and celebrity endorsements to enhance their online election campaigns.
Dec 4, 2019
Hope and Disillusionment on the Campaign Trail - with Patrick Freyne & Jennifer O'Connell
In recent months Irish Times journalists Patrick Freyne and Jennifer O'Connell have spent time meeting people across the UK and learning about their thoughts on Brexit, their opinions of their political leaders and their fears about the direction of UK society. They've found a confused, disillusioned and, at times, hopeful electorate.
Dec 2, 2019
Reading the Byelection Results
Fiach Kelly and Jennifer Bray join Hugh to look at the results of four byelections in Wexford, Cork North-Central, Dublin Mid-West and Dublin Fingal. How good a day was Saturday for Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the Greens? How bad for Fine Gael? And will the ugliness of some of the debate persist into the general election campaign to come?
Nov 29, 2019
The Strange World of The DUP - with Sam McBride
What makes the DUP tick? The big beast of unionism has played an outside role in politics across Ireland and the UK over the past few years, yet understanding of the party south of the border or on the other side of the Irish sea is often lacking. To find out a bit more about the party and its view of the world, Hugh and Pat were joined by Sam McBride live on stage at the Dublin Podcast Festival last week. Sam is political editor with the Belfast Newsletter and author of Burned, a book about the "cash for ash" scandal that has plighted the party.
Nov 27, 2019
The Toy Show Elections
Four constituencies, four battles for four seats in Dáil Éireann. On Friday (which is the same day as the Toy Show, as Leo Varadkar pointed out while canvassing with Verona Murphy in Wexford) voters go to the polls in Dublin Mid West, Dublin Fingal, Wexford and Cork North Central. The team talks through the constituencies one by one, with a few digressions along the way, and finally make some predictions.
Nov 22, 2019
UK Election: Can Anything Stop Boris Johnson? - with Dr Kevin Cunningham
First-past-the-post, tactical voting, Labour leavers, Tory remainers... it all ads up to a a formidable task for pollsters to call the outcome of GE19. But the numbers we have so far strongly suggest Boris Johnson is on course for a majority. Pollster and politics lecturer Dr Kevin Cunningham joins Hugh and Pat to look at those polls and ask is there any scope for Labour and other parties to stop Johnson, or is it too late?
Nov 20, 2019
O'Devaney Gardens, Verona Murphy In Hot Water and A Remainer's Perspective on the General Election
Dublin Editor, Olivia Kelly gives us the low down on what's happening with O'Devaney Gardens. Last week City Councillors approved a deal which would see more than 800 new homes developed on the site, so why is Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy questioning it's approval now? Fine Gael's Verona Murphy was forced to apologise this week for her comments concerning asylum seekers in Ireland. Political reporter Jennifer Bray was canvassing with the by-election candidate last week and joins us to discuss the disparaging remarks that were made on the canvas trail. Plus, Ros Taylor from Remainiacs Podcast gives her take on last night’s Leaders Debate on ITV and gives us a remainer’s perspective on the British General Election.
Nov 15, 2019
UK Election: Could Flooding Cost Johnson The Election? - with Denis Staunton
Hugh and Pat are joined by London editor Denis Staunton to talk about the first full week of the UK election campaign. Are the big two parties starting to squeeze the smaller groups out? Are tactical voting considerations having an impact? Is it a Brexit election so far? And could flooding and the government's slow response cost Boris Johnson the election?
Nov 13, 2019
Northern Ireland's New Political Battle Lines, Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Northern correspondent Freya McClements on the party plans and pacts that are turning Northern Ireland's Westminster election into one of the most interesting in years. Is it remain versus leave, green versus orange or a mixture of both? Plus Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy have an early look at the by-elections taking place in four constituencies in a few weeks' time. Derogatory social media posts about Travellers and others made by Fianna Fail's Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee are threatening her campaign in Dublin Fingal. Will the party stick by her?
Nov 10, 2019
Micheál Martin on Party, Policies and a "Wind-down" of Confidence & Supply
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin gave an interview to our deputy political editor Fiach Kelly last week, covering the veteran politician's approach to the next general election, rebuilding trust in his party, his plan for bringing to an end the confidence and supply deal that props up Leo Varadkar's government, and more. Fiach plays back some clips of the interview and discusses them with Hugh Linehan.
Nov 6, 2019
US Politics: One Year Out, Should Democrats Worry? / Fobgate, Money Messages & Election Wobbles
Yesterday was a good day for the Democratic Party, winning control of the legislature in Virginia and the governorship of Kentucky, while President Trump's impeachment problems deepened again. But with one year until the presidential election, there are some worrying signs that the party could struggle to select a candidate who can compete with Trump in the places that matter. To look at the state of that campaign Hugh talks to our Washington correspondent Suzanne Lynch. But first, deputy political editor Fiach Kelly is here to talk about last week's general election wobble, the row over "money messages" and the intricacies of Fobgate. Are the rules for TD's expenses being abused?
Nov 1, 2019
#GE19 Tactics, What Different Results Mean for Brexit - with Patrick Maguire and Paddy Smyth
The UK general election campaign is, among other things, a battle for what kind of Brexit will ultimately happen. Our Europe editor Patrick Smyth sets out five possible election outcomes and the sort of Brexit the EU expects from each, from No Deal to a new deal - or no Brexit at all. But let's not get ahead of ourselves: the campaign is just beginning. To understand the dynamics and tactics at play in these early stages we talk first to Patrick Maguire, a political correspondent with New Statesman magazine.
Oct 30, 2019
Direct Provision Tensions: "The Lack of Consultation Isn't Working"
Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny's car was torched a few days after he spoke out against rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the Dáil. Kenny, who has supported the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers in the town of Ballinamore in his constituency, talks to Fiach Kelly and Harry McGee about his fears that real issues are being twisted to win support for extreme views. And Irish Times journalist Jennifer O'Connell talks about why two towns, Borrisokane and Ballinamore, have reacted differently to the arrival of direct provision centres. How can the government better engage with communities? But first, London editor Denis Staunton on the forthcoming UK general election. Could this election throw up a worse Brexit than Boris Johnson's deal from an Irish point of view? And can Jeremy Corbyn repeat the trick of 2017 and outperform expectations?
Oct 25, 2019
Is The UK Ready for What Brexit Brings? - With Ruadhán Mac Cormaic and Helen Thompson
Leaving the European Union will have consequences for politics in the United Kingdom. What are they, and is the UK ready for them? To chat about that and other Brexit-related themse, Hugh is joined again by Helen Thompson, professor of political economy at Cambridge University, and by Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, assistant editor with The Irish Times.
Oct 23, 2019
Tangled Up in Brexit, Proxy War of The Buttons
Hugh is joined by Denis Staunton, Pat Leahy, Harry McGee and Jennifer Bray. What will UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson try to do first: win a general election, or pass his Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the House of Commons? Last night was the first time any Brexit deal was approved in a vote, but Johnson's joy was short-lived when a procedural vote denied him a rapid debate stage. This complicates things in various fiendish ways, as keen Brexit watchers won't be at all surprised to hear. Denis explains. After that, our political team discuss the tit-for-tat row over errant votes in Dáil Éireann. Is it significant or simply a pre-election proxy war?
Oct 18, 2019
Votes for A Deal, Ireland's Bittersweet Brexit Success - with Fintan O'Toole and Denis Staunton
London Editor Denis Staunton on where Boris Johnson might find - or lose - support in tomorrow's House of Commons vote on the Brexit deal. Fintan O'Toole on how the strategies of the different parties to Brexit played out in the extraordinary week that led to Johnson abandoning the DUP and striking a deal with Ireland and the EU.
Oct 17, 2019
Brexit: Can This Deal Pass?
Pat Leahy and Denis Staunton are on the line to discuss the Brexit deal agreed today and the reaction here, in Northern Ireland and in Westminster. Can Johnson's deal pass? And what are the implications of the consent mechanism for Northern Ireland?
Oct 16, 2019
Brexit: Issues Remain as Deadline Looms – with Peter Foster
At this moment in time there is still optimism that a deal may be struck in Brexit talks between the EU and the UK ahead of tomorrow’s European Council meeting, though the outstanding issues may see it go right down to the wire. The elements of the deal are set to be a customs border in the Irish Sea - rebranded and sweetened for the DUP - as well as a hefty financial package for Northern Ireland. Details of the other key issue - that of consent, and how Northern Ireland agrees to whatever special treatment it is given - have yet to emerge. Hugh is joined by Peter Foster, Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph, and by our own Fiach Kelly and Denis Staunton to analyse the state of play.
Oct 14, 2019
Poll: Varadkar’s Approval Up, Little Between Fine Gael & Fianna Fáil
Political Editor Pat Leahy is here with the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll which shows Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are in pretty much a dead heat, while the Green Party is enjoying a steady upward trend in support. Significantly, there has been an 15 point increase in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s personal satisfaction rating, ending an 18-month long period of decline.
Oct 14, 2019
Remembering Children Who Died in The Troubles - with Joe Duffy & Freya McClements
When remembering the Troubles, we tend to focus on the acts of perpetrators. But a new book focusses on the 186 children who died in the Troubles, some of whose deaths have, up to now, appeared nowhere on any list of victims. 'Children of the Troubles' is written by RTÉ's Joe Duffy and The Irish Times Northern correspondent Freya McClements. In this interview, Freya and Joe tell Hugh that, for many of the parents and loved ones left behind, time has not moved on - their losses are not "legacy issues".
Oct 11, 2019
Brexit: A Backstop for Slow Learners, The Tunnel, The North's Opportunity - with David McWilliams
Our columnist, economist David McWilliams joins Hugh and Pat. Their discussion weaves together the significant events of the past 24 hours and the longer term economic and social impacts of Brexit on Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Oct 9, 2019
Another Brexit Breakdown, Paschal's Budget Message
The Spectator's political editor James Forsyth had the biggest Brexit scoop of the week on Monday when he reported that, per a Downing Street source, Brexit negotiations were breaking down. The reason? As Downing Street sees it, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has gone back on a promise to soften his negotiating position if the UK made the first move, a promise he made to Boris Johnson when the latter visited Dublin last month. But is this all spin or a genuine belief? And what does it mean for next week's EU Council summit? Hugh and Pat talk to James about that first. Then they are joined by UCC's Dr. Theresa Reidy and economist John Fitzgerald about yesterday's budget. What political messages were Paschal Donohoe and Leo Varadkar trying to send?
Oct 4, 2019
The DUP's Brexit Ruse - with Sam McBride & Patrick Smyth
In agreeing to regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, the DUP have made a major Brexit concession, a "massive shift", says the Belfast Newsletter's political editor Sam McBride, the importance of which has not yet been grasped outside Northern Ireland. Hugh and Pat talk to Sam about the thinking behind the move and the significance of the proposed Stormont veto. Then they talk to our Europe editor Patrick Smyth about the specific problems Brussels has with Boris Johnson's new Brexit proposals. Is there is any sign of negotiators reentering "the tunnel"?
Oct 2, 2019
A Boring Budget, Johnson's 'Final' Brexit Offer, Bring Back Wolves
It might not feel like it, but there is a small matter of a budget to think about next week. Hugh is joined by Harry McGee, Jennifer Bray and Fiach Kelly to discuss what Paschal Donohoe is likely to do with what should be a tight budget dominated by Brexit. Speaking of Brexit, Boris Johnson set out his ‘final’ Brexit offer to the EU at the Tory conference in Manchester today. We look at the leaks overnight about that offer and the political reaction to it in Dublin. Plus: Paul Murphy's new political grouping 'Rise' and Eamon Ryan's calls for the reintroduction of wolves to the Irish countryside.
Sep 27, 2019
Brexit: Rancor in Westminster as EU Hopes Fade - with Nick Gutteridge and Simon Carswell
The Brexit week began with Lady Hale delivering a famous judgement against Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That might have been expected to dominate the news for days, but Johnson, prematurely returned to Westminster, produced another 'dead cat', whipping his parliamentary opponents into a frenzy with his use of what they called dangerous language. Looking on from Brussels, the European negotiators believed they were watching hopes of any deal passing the Commons evaporate. To discuss the week that was, political editor Pat Leahy is joined by public affairs editor Simon Carswell and Nick Gutteridge, a Brussels-based journalist with The Sun,.
Sep 25, 2019
Brexit: A Brutal Defeat for Boris, Green Shoots, A Growing Threat to Journalism
Boris Johnson faces an uncertain future and narrowing options after yesterday’s brutal supreme court ruling that his prorogation of parliament was unlawful. London editor Denis Staunton talks to Pat Leahy about the prospects facing the under-fire British prime minister. Also today: Green Party councillor Hazel Chu and our own Cliff Taylor join Pat to discuss the carbon tax, green washing and the Green Party’s ambitions for the next general election. Plus: In an op-ed on press freedom by New York Times publisher A G Sulzberger this week, we learned of the story of how the paper’s Cairo bureau chief, Irishman Declan Walsh, had to be spirited out of Egypt by Irish diplomats because of a threat of arrest after Trump administration officials refused to intervene. Declan talks to Pat about how that came about and what the episode says about the US government’s role in protecting journalists working abroad.
Sep 20, 2019
Naomi Klein: We Need Radical Climate Action
Canadian journalist and social activist Naomi Klein is best known for her 1999 book No Logo which exposed corporate malpractice. Two decades on, her focus has shifted towards climate change. In her new book On Fire she argues the case for a "Green New Deal" to stymie global warming and tackle climate injustice.
Sep 18, 2019
Election Talk, Brexit Back-Channels
The dawning political season in Leinster House is overshadowed by the prospect of a general election and still by the uncertainty over Brexit. Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy join Hugh to talk about factors that will decide the timing of an election, and what the Taoiseach has been saying about a post-election deal with Fianna Fáil. They also discuss the "informal talks' that have been taking place between Tánaiste Simon Coveney and his UK counterparts about post-Brexit border arrangements. But there is little optimism in the studio that a deal before October 31st is looking more likely.
Sep 11, 2019
Brexit: A Backstop In All But Name?
The DUP has publicly rejected proposals for a Northern Ireland-only backstop amid speculation at Westminster that Boris Johnson is considering an all-Ireland solution for the Border after Brexit. But with different shades of opinion within Arlene Foster’s party behind the scenes, is there room for manoeuvre? Could the DUP sell the idea of a ‘soft’ backstop to its supporters? Belfast-based political commentator and former UUP director of communications, Alex Kane, and Irish Times northern correspondent Freya McClements, join Hugh and political editor Pat Leahy to discuss.
Sep 9, 2019
Brexit: Has Boris Johnson's Visit Changed Anything?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has visited Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for a "positive, constructive" meeting. But has the Irish government's view of the Brexit stalemate changed at all? Pat Leahy is here to discuss.
Sep 5, 2019
Bracing for Johnson's General Election - with Fintan O'Toole
Fintan O'Toole pops in to review the incredible week that has unfolded in Westminster and what we can expect from the election that seems inevitable now. Will it be the dirtiest political campaign we've ever seen?
Sep 4, 2019
Brexit: A Bad Day for Boris, Election Calculations, A Chink of Light? - with Katy Balls
After a day of drama and political upheaval in Westminster, Hugh is joined by our own Pat Leahy and Denis Staunton, and by Katy Balls, deputy political editor with The Spectator magazine, to ask: - What have we learned from the past 24 hours? - For how long will Jeremy Corbyn withhold his support for an election? - What impact will the dramatic expulsion of Tory rebels from their party have on UK politics? - Does Boris Johnson have a plan? - Is a possible post-election path to an alternative deal emerging?
Aug 30, 2019
Northern Ireland Past, Present and Future - with Professor Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, has written a three-book treatise on the entity we call Northern Ireland that is both accessible and erudite. He talks to Hugh about the past, present and uncertain future of Northern Ireland.
Aug 29, 2019
Brexit: Sit Back and Remain on the Edge of Your Seat – with Lisa O’Carroll
The dust is beginning to settle after British prime minister Boris Johnson’s surprise announcement on Wednesday, that he is to prorogue parliament for five weeks in order to bring forward his Government’s new legislative agenda. The move has been attacked as anti-democratic, but what happens next? Is a general election now more likely to be called before the October 31st Brexit date that Johnson has long since promised to honour? Or, can opposition MPs manage to coalesce around an alternative PM to form a government of national unity and halt Johnson in his tracks? Hugh is joined by The Guardian’s Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll and Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy to discuss how this could all play out in the weeks ahead.
Aug 28, 2019
Can a Capitalist Economy Solve the Climate Crisis?
Is it possible to run a capitalist economy and also address climate change? Or, is the greed-driven system destined to destroy itself? Hugh is joined by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett to discuss what role socialism and left-wing green politics can play in helping to bring about real democratic change to fight climate change.
Aug 23, 2019
Maureen Dowd on Trump, Washington in Turmoil and Thriving Journalism
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is the undisputed queen of the Washington commentariat. President George W Bush called her 'the Cobra' and in 1999 she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the Clinton administration. In today's podcast, she tells Hugh that journalists in Washington are in a strange position because while Donald Trump's presidency is "the most incredible thing that’s ever happened in politics", it has seen journalism thrive. She also talks about the Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the party's prospects in 2020 and why President Obama must shoulder some of the blame for Trump's election. Maureen Dowd will take part in a public conversation at the Kennedy Summer School on Saturday, September 7th. kennedysummerschool.ie. Her column appears every Monday in The Irish Times
Aug 21, 2019
Brexit: The 'Phoney War' Phase - with Professor Ronan McCrea
Almost a month after becoming British prime minister, Boris Johnson has restated his opposition to the backstop in a four-page letter to European Council president Donald Tusk, in which he failed to put forward a single idea for replacing it. As the Brexit stalemate continues, there is a sense that we have reached the phoney war phase, with apathy growing among many EU nations who just want to bring the matter to a close, whatever that might mean. Is Johnson serious about finding a solution to the backstop? What happens when the House of Commons returns from its summer break? What role can Jeremy Corbyn play in preventing a 'no-deal' crash out on October 31st? And, where do the negotiations between the EU and Britain go from here? Guests: Professor of Constitutional and European law at University College London, Ronan McCrea, and Irish Times political editor, Pat Leahy.
Aug 16, 2019
Radicalisation and the Amplification of Extremism Online
In today's podcast we look at issues around radicalisation, disinformation and the amplification, sometimes unwittingly, of extremism online. What role do the big tech companies play and what, if anything, can be done about it all? Guests: Director of FuJo and the PROVENANCE project at DCU, Jane Suiter, and Liz Carolan of Transparent Referendum and Digital Action.
Aug 14, 2019
The Struggle for Independents - with Finian McGrath
Do independent politicians get their fair share of coverage in the Irish media? Independent TD and Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath, talks to Hugh and Fiach about the place of independents in Irish politics, why he thinks they are ignored by the media and what impact Brexit is going to have on the government's budgetary decisions over the next few months. He also brought his guitar into studio, so listen right to the end to hear why.
Aug 7, 2019
Sinn Féin's Westminster Seats, Social Housing - with Eoin Ó Broin and Fintan O'Toole
Is it time for the state to build much more social housing? Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin feels that it is and he has written a book about how that can be achieved. But first Eoin debates with Fintan O'Toole about Fintan's controversial column. In the column Fintan argued that Sinn Féin should give up its Westminster seats and allow for the election anti-Brexit replacements in time to thwart Boris Johnson's drive towards No Deal.
Aug 2, 2019
Billy Bragg on Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn & Why Labour Should Support A Second Referendum
Best known as a unique musician with a political edge in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and The Clash, Billy Bragg is a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and an outspoken opponent of Brexit. He's written a book about how to fix the problems he sees in modern democracy, called "The Three Dimensions of Freedom". He talks to Hugh about Labour's approach to Brexit, Corbyn's leasdership, the diminished role of music in politics today, and more.
Jul 31, 2019
Brexit: Is The Political Landscape Shifting? - with Professor Helen Thompson
Britain’s MPs are now on holidays but Boris Johnson and his cabinet are working away on their preparations for a No Deal Brexit in October. Will this have an effect on the political calculations in Dublin, in Brussels and across Europe, where EU member states' own domestic politics may soon add further complications into the mix? And if it does, will it be enough to force any workable compromise? To discuss this Hugh is joined by professor of political economy at the University of Cambridge Helen Thompson, London editor Denis Staunton and deputy political editor Fiach Kelly.
Jul 26, 2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Brexit, Boris Johnson and What "No Deal" Means for The North
With Brexit tensions hitting new highs, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers Pat Leahy's questions about how he views Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hardline approach, what No Deal could mean for Northern Ireland and what measures are being taken to protect the domestic economy. The interview was recorded live at the MacGill Summer School.
Jul 25, 2019
Johnson's No Deal Cabinet, Varadkar's Determination - with Lisa O'Carroll
Buckle up: it's going to be a bumpy ride between now and the end of October. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's cabinet purge and appointment of hard Brexiteers to key positions looks to be setting the UK up for a no-deal Brexit. To understand yesterday's unprecedented events in Westminster and what they mean for Ireland, Hugh talks to London editor Denis Staunton, The Guardian's Brexit correspondent Lisa O'Carroll in London and here in Dublin by Deputy Political Editor Fiach Kelly.
Jul 24, 2019
Boris Johnson's in Charge, Maria Bailey's Punishment, End of Dáil Review
The front pages are dominated by two stories today: Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership and Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey’s punishment for her claim against Dublin’s Dean Hotel for falling off a swing. Pat Leahy is joined by Harry McGee and Jennifer Bray to discuss what the mood is like around Dublin as Boris Johnson prepares to assume the role of British prime minister and whether the Taoiseach bottled it by not removing the party whip from Bailey. Also in today’s show, the team run the rule over the highs and lows of the Dáil term, as Cabinet meets for the last time at Glenties on Thursday.
Jul 17, 2019
Brexit: What is Boris Johnson's Strategy? - with James Forsyth
Both contenders for the Tory leadership, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, mades news on the hustings the other day by stating that even a time-limit to the backstop would not be enough: the backstop simply must go. Assuming Boris Johnson becomes the next PM, as seems likely, how does he plan to get any kind of deal with the EU with such a hardline approach? What, in short, is his game? To find out, Hugh and Pat talk to political editor of The Spectator magazine, James Forsyth. Later on, Una Mullally is here to look back on the life, achievements and allyship of the late Noel Whelan.
Jul 12, 2019
Ailbhe Smyth's Life of Activism - Live at Body & Soul
Everyone at Inside Politics was shocked and saddened to learn of the death this week of our colleague and friend, Noel Whelan. Our condolences to his wife Sinéad, his son Séamus and the rest of his family at this difficult time. Inside Politics will pay tribute to Noel next week. Today's podcast is an interview with Ailbhe Smyth, recorded live at the Body and Soul music festival in Westmeath last month. Ailbhe was co-director of the Together for Yes campaign that helped secure the repeal of constitutional abortion restrictions in Ireland last year, talks to Hugh Linehan about her life, her politics and the origins of her activism. "It is that way for so many women. Something happens in your life, it can be big or it can be small... the first thing is, this is hurting me, this is damaging me, and then there is that realisation: if this is hurting me, it's hurting others. That's the first step into the political arena".
Jul 10, 2019
Is No-Deal Brexit Now Inevitable? With Fintan O'Toole, Lisa Chambers, Katy Hayward
Is a no-deal Brexit inevitable? What will happen at the border if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal? And how will our own political system deal with such a crisis? To discuss, Pat Leahy is joined by Lisa Chambers, Fianna Fail Brexit spokesperson, columnist Fintan O'Toole, Katy Hayward of Queens University Belfast and our own Fiach Kelly.
Jul 3, 2019
Mercosur Adds to Govt Woes, President Von Der Leyen, EU Dealmaking
As Dáil term nears a close, the government is creaking a bit under the pressure of a growing number of fronts: agriculture, broadband, Brexit and hard budgetary choices to come. Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Gerard Howlin add up the problems and wonder if this government's race is run. Who is Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen and why is she the new EU Commission president? Her appointment is a natural expression of the power struggle at the heart of the European Union, while her skill set will come in handy for challenges to come, explains Derek Scally. Fianna Fáil MEP-in-waiting Barry Andrews says there is life in the Spitzencandidate approach yet, and criticises EU centre-right political group EPP (of which Fine Gael is a member) for allowing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban be kingmaker in the allocation of top jobs.
Jun 28, 2019
A United Ireland? Live at Body & Soul with Mary Lou McDonald, Sophie Long & Simon Carswell
After several years of turmoil in the UK over Brexit, there is a feeling that the union is under strain like never before. But are we really any closer to a united Ireland? To talk about this, Hugh was joined by Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, unionist writer Sophie Long and Simon Carswell from The Irish Times for a special live recording of the podcast at the Body & Soul festival last week.
Jun 26, 2019
'Fake News' Comes to Ireland, Govt Plans Brexit Budget
An investigation by the Digital Forensic Research Laboratory at Washington-based think tank, the Atlantic Council, found that Ireland was one of several Western countries targeted by a Russian-based information operation which used fake accounts and dozens of online platforms to spread fake news. Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow for information defence at the DFRLab, joins Hugh and Irish Times public affairs editor Simon Carswell to discuss what the investigation uncovered, how the disinformation war operates and whether it can be policed. But first - Tuesday saw the publication of the summer economic statement, with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe saying a budget-day package of €2.8 billion - with €700 million for new spending - will be available to him on October 8th, deal or no-deal Brexit. Fiach Kelly and Jennifer Bray report on the ins and outs of it.
Jun 21, 2019
Michael Wolff on the Trump Presidency, Journalism & Politics Without Ideas
American journalist Michael Wolff has written a follow up to 'Fire and Fury', his infamous bestseller detailing the chaos of the Trump White House. He talks to Hugh about his work, the decline of the Trump presidency, the deficiencies of Donald Trump and the starring role of Steve Bannon in Wolff's new book 'Siege: Trump Under Fire'.
Jun 19, 2019
An Ambitious Climate Action Plan
This week the Government published its much-anticipated plan to tackle climate change. It's an ambitious proposal, aiming to cut emissions and make Ireland carbon-neutral by 2050 through new climate legislation, budgets and targets which will ensure greater oversight. Sounds good on paper, but will it work in practice? Plus - The Government will publish the summer economic statement next week, laying out what resources will be available under two Brexit scenarios: a no-deal Brexit or an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU later this year. Which option will make it in to the budget-day package? Guests: UCD lecturer in environmental politics & green political theory, Sadhbh O'Neil, Harry McGee and Fiach Kelly.
Jun 14, 2019
How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change - with Jared Diamond
Bestselling author, geographer and historian Jared Diamond's latest book, Upheaval, is about how countries come through turmoil while adopting selective changes - a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises. In today's podcast, he talks to Hugh about the book and about his broader views on how societies develop, survive or fail to sustain themselves.
Jun 12, 2019
Brexit, Scotland and Rockall / Fiscal Slap-Down
First: No sooner than it had begun, our new national rivalry with Scotland seems at an end as territorial tensions over Rockall abate. But why did the spat happen, and what does it tell us about Scotland's place in this period of political upheaval? Hugh talks to Glasgow-based journalist Peter Geoghegan about the political scene in Scotland as Brexit, the Tory leadership race and the SNP's ambition for another independence referendum intersect in interesting ways. Then: 'Fiscal' Cliff Taylor and 'Political' Pat Leahy bring their respective perspectives to bear on the Fiscal Advisory Council’s warnings this week over irresponsible government spending.
Jun 8, 2019
Brexit And The Problem with British Media - with James O'Brien
British broadcaster and outspoken Remainer James O'Brien has become widely known for the exasperated monologues and heated debates that feature on his daily LBC radio call-in show. He’ll be appearing next week at the Dalkey Book Festival to discuss his book, How to be Right... In a World Gone Wrong. He talks to Hugh about his unique broadcasting style, the British media landscape, the nature of disagreement and the prospects for Britain.
Jun 5, 2019
The Tory Leadership & Brexit, Gender Quotas in Local Elections
As the Tory leadership hopefuls compete to succeed outgoing prime minister Theresa May, the party has tightened the rules for the contest amid concerns about the size of the field. Whoever wins, the task of delivering on Brexit remains and the stark choices facing the UK as it staggers towards the extension date of October 31st are unlikely to change. London editor Denis Staunton is on the line to discuss the various runners and riders with Hugh and Pat. Plus: The National Women’s Council of Ireland has welcomed the increased number of women elected as councillors in the recent local elections but says it is very disappointed about the missed opportunity to break the critical barrier of 30% of women’s representation in local government. NWCI director, Orla O’Connor, explains why a poor showing by the larger parties in particular highlights the need for gender quotas.
May 31, 2019
Who is Emmanuel Macron? - with Sophie Pedder
Journalist Sophie Pedder is the Paris bureau chief of the Economist, writing about French politics and economics. The author of “Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation”, she talks to Hugh about who Macron really is and what it is that drives his politics. Sophie will be at the Dalkey Book Festival June 15th and 16th to discuss Macron and the role of modern media in the era of fake news.
May 29, 2019
Exit Polls, The Left, Where's the Electoral Commission? – with Fintan O’Toole
As the dust begins to settle on the local and European elections, we look at why, not for the first time, an exit poll was wide of the mark and whether that’s a cause for concern. We also look at the state of the left and whether disappointing results for Sinn Féin and People Before Profit are an indication that the politics of protest has dried up post-austerity. Plus - Nobody has ever said an electoral commission is a bad idea. So, why hasn’t it happened yet? Guests: Fintan O’Toole joins Hugh, Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee.
May 27, 2019
Election Special: Sinn Féin in Crisis, A Green-Left Alliance?, Fianna Fáil's Path to Power
Fiach Kelly, Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray join Hugh to talk about all the results we have so far from the weekend's local and European elections. What is behind Sinn Féin's slump? Could good news for Fianna Fáil in Dublin foretell a return to power for the party? Will anything come from talk of a Green-left alliance at the next general election?
May 24, 2019
The Strategies of Right-Wing Populism - with Jan-Werner Mueller
As voters go to the polls in 28 countries this weekend to select the new European Parliament, the expectation is of a significant surge in support for populist parties, from La Lega in Italy to Alternative für Deutschland in Germany. But what do we mean when we describe a political party as populist? Hugh talks to Jan-Werner Müller, professor of politics at Princeton University and author of the 2016 book, What is Populism? Jan-Werner was in Dublin to address the Institute of International and European Affairs on how modern democracies can combat what he sees as a threat to democratic norms and liberties.
May 22, 2019
Is Our Political System Capable of Tackling Climate Change?
A 'climate emergency' has been declared in Dáil Éireann, and green issues are coming up on the doorsteps in this election campaign, putting pressure on our politicians from below to take the problem seriously. But even if they do, and even if the predicted 'Green wave' materialises, is our system really capable of tackling a problem the size of climate change? To discuss, Hugh and Fiach are joined by Gavin Daly of the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network and Sadhbh O'Neill, a former Green party councillor, PhD candidate in political philosophy and lecturer in environmental politics at the School of Politics and International Relations at UCD. But first Hugh and Fiach discuss the latest news from the local and European election campaigns.
May 17, 2019
EU Elections: The State of the Race
To talk about what has been a rather low-key EU election campaign so far, Hugh is joined by Pat Leahy, Fiach Kelly and Jennifer Bray.
May 15, 2019
Going Through The Motions: The Problem With Local Government
They are powerless, frustrated, underpaid and too often reviled by their constituents. Many local councillors have spoken out about how unattractive the role has become. Today we talk to two young, promising sitting councillors, Fianna Fáil's Frank Kennedy of Dublin City Council and Labour's Grace Tallon of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, about why they are not running for reelection in #LE2019. The Irish Times Dublin correspondent and council-watcher Olivia Kelly is also here with her analysis of what's going wrong in the DCC chamber.
May 11, 2019
Trump, Truth & US Politics - with Bob Woodward
At the age of 76, Bob Woodward has now covered nine different American presidents. That's 20% of all presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump. Most famously he contributed to the downfall of one, Richard Nixon, with his reporting on the Watergate scandal. Fear: Trump in the White House is published by Simon and Schuster. A public conversation with Bob Woodward on the state of the US presidency, moderated by Fintan O’Toole, will take place in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, on Monday, June 10th
May 10, 2019
POLL: Who Leads in the Race for Europe?
Today's Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll is actually three polls, with one conducted in each of our three European parliament constituencies: Dublin, Midlands-North-West and South. It gives us the first look on a candidate-by-candidate basis at who is winning the battle for European Parliament seats. If the numbers are right, we're in for some extremely close races. Political Editor Pat Leahy is here to explain the poll and its findings.
May 8, 2019
Plebiscites and Populism and Broadband, Oh My
It's the topic none of you has been asking us to cover: the forthcoming plebiscites in Limerick, Cork and Waterford to see if those cities should have a directly-elected mayor. On the ground, journalist Patrick Freyne has found a total lack of knowledge of or engagement with the issue among voters. Has this process been designed to fail? Hugh and Pat are also joined by DCU's Jane Suiter to discuss the presence of right-wing populist candidates on the European ballot papers. And finally the panel worries about the future take-up of budget-busting rural broadband in the mistiest corners of Ireland and questions the wisdom of deciding on €3bn project spends right before an election.
May 3, 2019
Nationalism & The Irish-American Identity - with Michael Brendan Dougherty
Our guest today is Irish-American writer Michael Brendan Dougherty, who is a journalist with the New York-based conservative magazine National Review. His new book 'My Father Left Me Ireland' examines his own relationship with his Irish roots, competing views of Irish history and Irish nationalism.
May 1, 2019
The New IRA and Politics in the North
Nearly a fortnight on from the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry, local elections take place in Northern Ireland tomorrow. Will those who come out to vote decide to make an appeal for compromise and moderation following her death, or hold to the polarised status quo? Belfast-based reporter Amanda Ferguson joins Hugh, Pat and Harry to discuss the New IRA and the political situation in the North, ahead of the planned resumption of talks on powersharing next week. In the second part of the show, Hugh, Pat and Harry also discuss the early rounds of campaigning in the local and European elections south of the border.
Apr 25, 2019
Bret Easton Ellis on US Politics Invading His Apolitical Life
Bret Easton Ellis, best known as a fiction writer of novels including American Psycho and Less Than Zero, has just published his first non-fiction book, White. The collection of eight essays responding to contemporary culture has caused a stir due to the writer's views on US politics, the overreaction - as he sees it - of middle class liberals to the presidency of Donald Trump, the shortcomings of movements like #MeToo and the moral and intellectual failings of millennials. Easton Ellis, who says he never votes, talks to Hugh about the book and about why the election of Trump has seen politics invade his otherwise apolitical life. Bret Easton Ellis will tonight - April 25th - be in conversation with Nadine O’Regan at the O’Reilly Theatre, Belvedere College, Great Demark St at 7pm as part of the International Literature Festival, Dublin. Tickets from www.ilfdublin.com
Apr 24, 2019
Anti-EU Parties in the European Parliament - with Dr Kevin Cunningham
Political scientist and polling expert Dr Kevin Cunningham joins Hugh, Pat and Fiach to discuss a report he co-authored for the think tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations, on the shape of the next European Parliament. The study found that anti-EU parties are likely to form the second largest bloc in the parliament after next month’s elections. How will their opposition to EU initiatives impact on how the other pro-EU parties work together? They also talk about how the European elections will play out in Ireland, two wildly different opinion polls in Irish Sunday papers last weekend and what effect the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry will have on politics in the North.
Apr 17, 2019
"This Is Not A Retirement" - Clare Daly on Running for Europe
Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly joins Hugh and Fiach to discuss her decision to run for a seat in the European parliament. Why has the TD some see as one of our most accomplished parliamentarians decided to leave the Dáil? They also discuss Garda reform, Francis Fitzgerald's ouster, the rise of far right politics and her own criticism of the media. After that, there's time for Fiach's overview of the many runners and riders in the European parliament race.
Apr 12, 2019
Brexit Day Blues II - with Fintan O'Toole & Denis Staunton
The new October Brexit deadline impacts British politics in myriad ways, obvious and subtle. But it also has implications for politics here in Ireland and across Europe. First Denis Staunton and then Fintan O'Toole join Hugh and Pat to talk it through and take stock, as one Brexit chapter ends and another begins. Warning: this podcast contains major spoilers for Flann O'Brien's 'The Third Policeman'.
Apr 10, 2019
Brexit: Ireland's Wasted Opportunity - with David McWilliams & Shana Cohen
As Theresa May waits to find out what Brexit extension EU leaders will offer her, we ask what, if anything, Irish society can gain from Brexit. To do that Hugh is joined by economist David McWilliams, Dr Shana Cohen, director of think-tank Tasc, and columnist Cliff Taylor. They also discuss property tax and the Irish obsession with property ownership. Is a unique Irish mindset or government policy chiefly to blame?
Apr 5, 2019
Brexit: Can Corbyn and May Strike A Deal? - with Helen Thompson
As Theresa May sends a letter to Brussels seeking another extension, Hugh and London Editor Denis Staunton are joined again by Helen Thompson, Professor of Political Economy at Cambridge and co-host of the Talking Politics podcast, to assess the difficulties facing Prime Minister May and Jeremy Corbyn as they seek to strike a deal on Brexit that will pass muster with enough members of their own parties.
Apr 3, 2019
Zuckerberg in Dublin, A Green Consensus, The Carbon Tax – with Eamon Ryan
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg made a flying visit to Dublin this week, during which time he met with politicians including Green Party leader Eamon Ryan on the issue of fake news. On today’s podcast the Dublin Bay South TD joins Hugh and Pat to discuss what Zuckerberg said and what it really means. They also talk about why a greater focus on the issue of climate change hasn’t improved the Greens standing in the polls and how to prevent the carbon tax going the way of water charges.
Mar 29, 2019
Brexit Day Blues - with Ronan McCrea
It was meant to be the day when "church bells were rung, coins struck, stamps issued and bonfires lit to send beacons of freedom from hilltop to hilltop", to paraphrase Boris Johnson. Instead, UK PM Theresa May has suffered another defeat of her withdrawal agreement, albeit by a slimmer margin of only 58 votes. Our London Editor Denis Staunton and Ronan McCrea, Professor of Constitutional and European Law at University College London, talk about what comes next, and some longer term Brexit problems we haven't even begun to think about.
Mar 27, 2019
Indicative Vote Day, or 'Strictly Come Brexit' - with Denis Staunton
First: Later today in the UK House of Commons, 'indicative votes' - designed to show how much support different Brexit options enjoy - will be held, upending the normal, natural state of government-led parliamentary procedure. The various votes will encompass a range of options from revoking Article 50 entirely to a straight-up No-Deal Brexit. Denis Staunton in London and Pat Leahy on what it all means and how different factions might vote. Then: Fiach Kelly and Jennifer Bray on the Fine Gael party conference, political ground clearance for a carbon tax in the next budget, and the efforts of Bill Browder to build support for a Magnitsky Act in Ireland.
Mar 21, 2019
US Politics: The 2020 Democratic Candidates - with Suzanne Lynch
Taking a break from the chaos of Brexit, we turn to a rather chaotic and already crowded field of candidates for the Democratic Party nomination to take on President Trump in next year's US presidential election. There are many factors at play and to help us understand them we talk to Suzanne Lynch, The Irish Times's Washington correspondent.
Mar 20, 2019
Brexit: What is The EU's Strategy? / Councillors & Gambling Machines
First: Patrick Smyth in Brussels joins Hugh and Pat to talk about the thinking behind the EU's stance on a potential Brexit delay. Then: Jennifer Bray on why councillors in Donegal, using one of their few regulatory powers, have voted to legalise gaming machines despite the risks of addiction.
Mar 15, 2019
David Runciman on Democracy's 21st Century Problems
Western democracies are beset by a variety of problems: fractured legislative bodies, the rise of the far right, the erosion of norms and the dangers posed by technology. But we shouldn't confuse those with the problems of the past, according to David Runciman in his book How Democracy Ends. Ahead of his talk at the Mountains to Sea festival on Sunday March 31st, he talks to Hugh about his ideas. And about Brexit too, of course. David Runciman is Professor of Politics at Cambridge University and host of Talking Politics podcast.
Mar 13, 2019
Politics Fails Utterly in Westminster - with Fintan O'Toole & Lisa O'Carroll
Prime Minister Theresa May has failed spectacularly in her bid to pass a Brexit deal through the House of Commons. The Guardian's Brexit correspondent Lisa O'Carroll on the fallout in Westminster, the few paths forward and the 'atomisation' of conventional politics. Fintan O'Toole on the characteristics that have brought Theresa May and the nation she leads to this point of political breakdown. How much blame for Brexit is hers?
Mar 7, 2019
Poll: Northern Ireland Is United in Opposition to A Hard Brexit
The second set of results from the Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll reveals attitudes to Brexit and Irish unity across the island of Ireland, north and south. Among the most significant findings: respondents from all communities in Northern Ireland are heavily in favour of "the softest of soft Brexits". A majority of voters would choose to remain in the EU in a second referendum. And majorities of both Catholics and Protestants feel the DUP and its leader Arlene Foster are not representing Northern Ireland's interests well. Pat Leahy is back with more analysis.
Mar 7, 2019
Poll: Support Dips for Varadkar and McDonald
Political Editor Pat Leahy is here with the latest Ipsos / MRBI poll which brings bad news for most political groups but especially for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, support for whom has dipped significantly.
Mar 6, 2019
Digestible Truth, The Soc Dems Rift, Unspinnable Brexit - with Peter Foster
First: Fiach Kelly explains what we've learned from a cache of documents featuring exchanges between Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, his party colleagues and an international umbrella organisation for socialist politics, while Jennifer Bray has the latest on internal divisions within the Social Democrats. Then: Is there any version of the backstop that could be accepted by the EU, Ireland and Britain? In part two we're joined by Peter Foster, Europe Editor of British newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, who says the political realities of Brexit and the implications of the backstop mean the border issue still looks completely irreconcilable.
Feb 27, 2019
Brexit Endgame, Beware The Ides of March, Looking for Ladders
Finally it seems that meaningful moves are being made in Westminster toward some sort of conclusion to the Brexit saga. Denis Staunton and Pat Leahy analyse the public shifts in position made in recent days by Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and hard Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, and the private strategising of the Irish government, the DUP and the European Union.
Feb 25, 2019
Brexit in The Desert: Progress, or Another Mirage?
The EU-Arab League summit in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, today has been dominated by talk of Brexit. And it has turned out to be a more eventful day than promised, with expectations growing that UK Prime Minister Theresa May will take steps to avoid 'No Deal', reports our Deputy Political Editor Fiach Kelly.
Feb 23, 2019
Ready, Steady, Wait: Fianna Fáil, Brexit and The Next Election
At the Fianna Fáil ardfheis in City West, everyone, from the regular delegates on up to the party leader Micheál Martin, wants to take the fight to Fine Gael in a general election. But not right now, of course. As all are at pains to point out, the party must hold off in the national interest. Harry McGee and Pat Leahy were there to assess the party mood. They were joined by the party's Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers and European candidate Barry Andrews to talk about the party's direction, the Brexit waiting game and working with the SDLP. After that, Pat and Harry analyse the speech delivered on Saturday evening by Micheál Martin.
Feb 20, 2019
Children's Hospital: Questions Remain / The Politics of Dissident Republicans
Jennifer Bray and Fiach Kelly join presenter Harry McGee to discuss the big political stories this week: the continuing National Children’s Hospital controversy, the government's Brexit omnibus, UK Labour resignations and Fianna Fáil's Ard Fheis this weekend. Later: Historian Dr Marisa McGlinchey talks to Harry about her book, Unfinished Business - The Politics of 'Dissident' Republican Groups, for which she spoke to 90 members of paramilitary groups about their motives and ambitions.
Feb 15, 2019
A Short History of Brexit - with Kevin O'Rourke
As a professor of economic history at Oxford University, and an Irishman, Kevin O'Rourke is well placed to explain how the different economic experiences of the UK and Ireland have led both nations to very different views of the European Union. His book on the subject, A Short History of Brexit, holds plenty of surprises for Irish and British readers. And Professor O'Rourke has a message for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when it comes to the issue of the border. A Short History of Brexit is published by Pelican.
Feb 13, 2019
Children's Hospital 'Learnings', FF-SDLP, Nurses Strike - with Dara Calleary
Amid apologies and ‘learnings’, the row over the massive overspend on the National Children’s Hospital rumbles on. Two big questions remain: What will the final bill be? And, which other projects will suffer as a result? Hugh is joined by Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary, Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray to discuss the controversy and how budgets on capital projects can be controlled better in the future. Later: the new SDLP-Fianna Fáil alliance, the nurses’ strike and Brexit.
Feb 8, 2019
Life After Brexit: Lives, Livelihoods & Communities At Risk
Simon Carswell has been investigating the potential impact of Brexit on people - their lives, their communities and their businesses. He talks to Hugh Linehan about what he has discovered, including the fear of the return of violence, the threat to trade and the concerns of children in border communities.
Feb 6, 2019
May's Subtle Backstop Shift / Children's Hospital Blame Game
First: A subtle but deliberate shift was noted in Theresa May's position on the Brexit backstop during a trip to Belfast yesterday. As the two-day Northern Ireland visit draws to a close today, is her strategy any clearer and what are its chances of survival? Plus: The blame game over the dramatic cost overrun on the proposed National Children's Hospital is lurching from controversy to full-blown crisis. What might it mean for the government? Guests: Denis Staunton, Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee
Jan 30, 2019
Brexit: What is Theresa May's Strategy?
Theresa May has united Tory MPs behind her plan to go to Brussels to seek legally binding changes to the Brexit withdrawal agreement, exploring 'alternative options' to the Irish backstop. The trouble is, the EU won’t reopen the deal and they’ve said so time and again. The Guardian’s Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll, Irish Times Europe editor Patrick Smyth and Irish Times deputy political editor Fiach Kelly join Hugh to cut through the spin to explain what happened in Westminster last night and what it all means.
Jan 25, 2019
Deborah Lipstadt on Antisemitism of The Right And Left
Sunday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and to mark it Hugh talks to academic and author Deborah Lipstadt about her new book Antisemitism Here and Now. They discuss the growth of antisemitism in Europe and the United State, what distinguishes antisemitism of the political left from the political right, and why she has a problem with an initiative in the Seanad to boycott goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Deborah Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. Her book Antisemitism Here and Now is available now from Scribe.
Jan 23, 2019
Brexit Reality Bites / No Child 2020 with Tanya Ward & Fintan O'Toole
First: Pat Leahy on the comments yesterday by an EU Commission spokesperson suggesting that a hard border will appear in the case of a no deal Brexit, a suggestion flatly rejected by Simon Coveney. But what are our plans in the case of a no deal Brexit? Is a softening on the backstop being considered behind closed doors? Then: The Irish Times's Fintan O'Toole and Children's Rights Alliance CEO Tanya Ward join Hugh to talk about No Child 2020, an initiative of the two organisations to draw attention to the issues of child poverty and deprivation that still afflict Ireland 100 years after the first democratically elected Irish parliament promised to serve children as its "first duty".
Jan 18, 2019
Peadar Tóibín on Building A New Party With 'No Taboo Subjects'
Public meetings to introduce pro-life TD Peadar Tóibín's new, as-yet unnamed political party have been drawing decent crowds around the country in recent weeks. Already 1,400 people have joined the party. Who are they, and what will the party stand for beyond opposition to abortion? Peadar sits down with Hugh and Pat to explain.
Jan 16, 2019
May's Crushing Commons Defeat
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan joins Hugh and Pat to consider last night's historic House of Commons defeat for Theresa May's Brexit plan. Has the likelihood of a 'no deal' crash out increased? And, how prepared is the Irish government for such a scenario? Also on the agenda: Fine Gael's "old-fashioned environmentalism", the carbon tax and the Green Party's ambitions for the local and European elections.
Jan 9, 2019
Nurses Pay: Why Fine Gael Won't Back Down
As nurses prepare for days of strike action, our politics team consider the problem it poses for Minister Paschal Donohoe and how he is likely to respond. In part two the panel look ahead to the new political season and discuss the significance of upcoming European elections in an utterly changed European political landscape and the meagre legislative agenda. But as ever, it's all overshadowed by the B-word.
Jan 4, 2019
Repost: Timothy Snyder, Author of "On Tyranny" (November 2017)
Today, for the benefit of those who recently discovered Inside Politics, we're reposting a podcast with one of our favourite interviewees: American author, historian and academic Timothy Snyder. In November 2017 Hugh interviewed Timothy Snyder about his book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, in which he makes provocative and unsettling comparisons between today's politics and the rise of the Third Reich and suggests how we can avoid the terrible mistakes of the past. Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He has spent ten years in Europe, and speaks five and reads ten European languages. He has also written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The New Republic as well as for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers. He is the author of several award-win…
Jan 2, 2019
Ask Us Anything #2
The second of two AMA episodes of Inside Politics. Answering your questions about politics and more are Pat Leahy, Fiach Kelly, Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee with host Hugh Linehan.
Dec 26, 2018
Ask Us Anything #1
We invited you to submit questions for our politics team and we received a lot of responses, so today is the first of two episodes dedicated to answering them. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question!
Dec 19, 2018
What We Got Wrong About 2018
What did The Irish Times politics team expect to see happening in 2018 that failed to materialise? Which politicians impressed us? What disappointed us? Fiach Kelly, Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee join Hugh to look back on the year in politics.
Dec 14, 2018
The Transformative Election of 1918
This day 100 years ago, citizens (including, for the first time, women) across the entire island of Ireland voted together for the final time for a national parliament. To look back at that vote and its historic consequences, Hugh is joined by Diarmaid Ferriter, Irish Times columnist and Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD, and Dr Mary McAuliffe, a lecturer in Gender Studies who specialises in Irish women's history, also in UCD. But first Hugh shares some family history of his own.
Dec 12, 2018
May Digs Her Heels In
Today's podcast focusses on Brexit and the Sinn Fein party's fortunes. London Editor Denis Staunton explains why UK Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to lose a confidence vote called by her own backbenchers and what the process means for Brexit, for The Tories and parliamentary politics in Britain. Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty is here to discuss his party's showing in the presidential election, the loss of TDs Peadar Tóibín and Carol Nolan over the abortion issue and why Fine Gael's budget arithmetic is "batsh*t crazy".
Dec 5, 2018
Historic Times in Westminster, Peadar's Party, Paschal's Reprimand
With Hugh to appraise all this week's political news (including high drama in Westminster, the personalised abortion legislation debate, Peadar Tóibín's new political movement and the Fiscal Advisory Council's reprimand of the Government's budgetary policies) are UCC political scientist Dr Theresa Reidy and Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray from our politics team.
Nov 30, 2018
Bill Browder on Putin's Kleptocracy & A "Cold War Against Crime"
"Putin and his regime are going to become more hostile, malicious and deadly to the rest fo the world, and we need to understand this". Since the murder in Russia of his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Bill Browder has been on a mission to highlight and punish corruption and crime in that country and beyond. He is in Dublin this week to push for the introduction here of a law to mirror the US Magnitsky Act that penalises Russian officials by targeting their assets. He talks to Hugh about Vladimir Putin, the Russian regime and the decade-long campaign that he believes has placed his life at real risk.
Nov 28, 2018
What Really Caused Brexit? With Fintan O'Toole & Professor Helen Thompson
As we wait for UK parliament to vote on Theresa May's deal, Hugh talks to two people with thought-provoking and divergent ideas about what brought about Brexit in the first place: Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole and Professor Helen Thompson of Cambridge University. The conversation touches on everything from the Norman invasion to the nature of the EU single market, and even a fictional EU prohibition on prawn cocktail-flavour crisps.
Nov 21, 2018
Abortion Bill Hurdles, Leo's Tax Promise, Brexit Rubber Stamp
Concerns are growing that the Government’s proposed abortion legislation will not pass through the Oireachtas in time for its planned introduction date in January. Was Minister Simon Harris naive in setting the deadline? Irish Times politics team new recruit Jennifer Bray joins old timers Hugh, Pat and Harry to talk about this and other matters including Brexit, Leo's tax cuts promise, and the national broadband scheme.
Nov 17, 2018
Simon Coveney on Brexit, the DUP & No Deal Contingencies / Leo's Big Tax Cut
On the floor at the Fine Gael National Conference, the Inside Politics team interviews Tanaiste Simon Coveney about Brexit, what happens if the deal is not approved by UK parliamentarians and the role of the DUP. Plus: A major policy announcement has been made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in his speech: a pledge to raise the threshold for the higher rate of income tax from €35,000 to €50,000 over five budgets. Huge if true. But is it wise? Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy analyse the news.
Nov 14, 2018
The Audacity of Theresa May
With a Brexit deal agreed between Britain and the EU, now all eyes turn to Westminster. Will Prime Minister Theresa May be able to bounce her cabinet, the Commons and the EU into a deal that nobody likes and many despise? And ultimately could the markets scare the Commons into accepting anything to avoid No Deal? Meanwhile in Dublin, all focus is on whether the wording of the border backstop will be sufficiently resistant to 'interpretation' down the line. Plus: Confidence and Supply negotiations continue in Brexit's shadow, and Fianna Fáil's forever delayed move into Northern Irish politics. Today's guests: Fianna Fáil TD & Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers, our own Pat Leahy and Denis Staunton in London.
Nov 12, 2018
Michael Lewis on Cronyism in The Trump Administration & The Unsung Virtues of Civil Servants
Author Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Big Short, The Undoing Project)talks to Hugh about his new book 'The Fifth Risk'. The book concerns the Trump Administration and what Lewis says are astounding levels of cronyism and corruption in the appointments it has made in key government organisations with responsibility for everything from nuclear weapons to weather forecasting.
Nov 9, 2018
Patrick Radden Keefe on Murder, Memory and Denial in Northern Ireland
New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe has written a book about the killing of mother-of-ten Jean McConville by the IRA in 1972. As well as uncovering new facts about the circumstances around McConville's killing, and making a new allegation about the identities of those who killed her, the book is a valuable outsider's view of the enduring legacy of The Troubles and the roles of republican leaders like Gerry Adams. On today's podcast Patrick Redden Keefe talks to Public Affairs Editor Simon Carswell. "Say Nothing: a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland" is out now.
Nov 7, 2018
US Midterms / David McWilliams on The Successes of Centrism & The Property Problem
First: Washington Correspondent Suzanne Lynch on a night of mixed results for both parties and President Trump in the US Midterms. What message will Democratic Party take from this when selecting a presidential challenger to Donald Trump for 2020? Then: economist and Irish Times columnist David McWilliams joins Hugh and Fiach to talk about his new book Renaissance Nation, the success of political centrism in Ireland, what divides the generations and how the property problem ("the primacy of feudalism over creativity") threatens to undo our hard-won progress.
Oct 31, 2018
Martina Fitzgerald on 'Madam Politician', Labour's Next Moves
RTÉ political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald has written a book about the experiences of the small number of women - 10% of the total - who have sat at the cabinet table in Ireland. Madam Politician features interviews with all "the living members of this exclusive club". She's here to talk about what she found with Pat Leahy and Harry McGee. They are also joined by Labour councillor Rebecca Moynihan who shares her own experience at the local government level, and discusses what the Labour party should do to grow its support.
Oct 27, 2018
Result Day Special: Higgins's Victory, Casey's Appeal, Sinn Féin's Problem
The official numbers are not yet in but the result is clear. Kitty Holland, Pat Leahy and Fiach Kelly are here to talk about the reelection of Michael D Higgins to the presidency, the surge in support for Peter Casey, who today denied the growth in his support was due to his comments about Travellers, and the disappointing showing from Sinn Féin's Liadh Ní Riada. Has this election exposed a flaw in the party's broader strategy?
Oct 24, 2018
Tedious, Shallow & Lacklustre: The Final Full Presidential Debate
There’s still one more live debate left to endure in this presidential campaign, but last night’s on RTÉ’s Prime Time was the final one to feature all six would-be presidents. Did we learn anything new about the candidates? Director of the Institute for Future Media and Journalism at DCU, Jane Suiter, joins Hugh and Pat to discuss their performances, whether there were too many contestants in the race and how the blasphemy referendum might play out.
Oct 22, 2018
Mary Lou McDonald on Brexit, Border Polls, The Presidency & Frances Fitzgerald
In this bonus podcast, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald explains why her party is working “might and main” to ensure there is a Brexit backstop. She also speaks to Hugh and Fiach about her belief that a Border poll will happen in the next 5-10 years and why a hard Brexit would in fact speed that process up. Asked whether she regretted criticising former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald following her exoneration in the Charleton report, McDonald said it is her job to challenge the government, adding that she could play her violin and list how many times she has been criticised, but sometimes you just have to take your knocks in politics, even when you think it's wrong. Also on the agenda: the presidency, the DUP and going into government.
Oct 17, 2018
Fintan O'Toole on The Unfolding Tragedy of Brexit
Could Brexit be "one of those historic circumstances where you end up with something only a hardcore of loopers really wants", asks Fintan O'Toole? Fintan joins regulars Hugh and Fiach to talk about the carnival of diabolical scheming, treacherous backsliding and barmy brinkmanship that is Brexit, as Theresa May meets EU leaders in Brussels. After that they discuss the presidential election and what Fintan has called social housing snobbery in the pages of The Irish Times.
Oct 15, 2018
POLL: Fine Gael Maintain Steady Lead
Pat Leahy joins Hugh to take a look at the latest poll from The Irish Times and Ipsos/MRBI showing Fine Gael enjoy a steady lead over nearest rivals Fianna Fáil, with an average 8 point advantage over the last 12 months. The results point towards a reasonably settled political landscape, so where do voters stand on the issue of a general election? And, how did Paschal Donohoe's Budget 2019 go down with the electorate?
Oct 12, 2018
Denis Naughten's Exit & Micheál Martin Plays a Weak Hand Well
Hugh is joined by Pat Leahy for a bonus Friday episode of Inside Politics. On the agenda: - Denis Naughten’s shock resignation as Minister for Communications leaves the government with a fibre optic headache. - Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin pens a 'Dear Leo' letter.
Oct 9, 2018
A Social Democratic Budget?
Leo Varadkar won the Fine Gael leadership on a promise of rewarding those who "get up early in the morning". 18 months later his government has delivered a budget in which spending increases dwarf the tax cuts those early risers might have expected. To discuss the measures, the thinking behind them and the beginning of the endgame in the Varadkar-Martin deal, Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy join Hugh Linehan for a late night podcast.
Oct 5, 2018
FG Taking Hits as Housing Crisis Intensifies, Budget Business, Pugilistic Peter Casey
Hugh is joined by Fiach Kelly and Harry McGee for a bonus Friday episode of Inside Politics. On the agenda: - It was another terrible week for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, with a well-attended protest outside the Dail followed by a harrowing RTE radio report featuring a teenage girl in emergency accommodation. It was the sort of interview that breaks through the noise and forces everyone to sit up and pay attention. - Housing is also likely to dominate next Tuesday's budget. What else can we expect from Paschal Donohoe? - Alone among presidential challengers, Peter Casey is dropping the motivational speaker approach and going straight for the jugular - Michael D's jugular, that is. Will Casey's pugilistic politics pay dividends?
Oct 3, 2018
Blood-Red Lines, Brexit Crunch Time, Money in Presidential Politics
The DUP's line on Brexit is "blood red", according to Arlene Foster. Her apocalyptic choice of words might reflect a deep-seated unionist fear of betrayal by London, says Pat Leahy. Meanwhile over at the Tory conference a more pragmatic attitude to Brexit prevails, says The Guardian's Lisa O'Carroll. Still: something, somewhere, has to give. "Small Country, Big Nation", "Leading With Purpose", "Better Together" - just some of the inspirational slogans chosen by presidential hopefuls ahead of the election in a few short week's time. But the campaign so far has been dominated by much pettier matters. Harry McGee has been following.
Sep 26, 2018
Senator Lynn Ruane on 'People Like Me', Housing Wars & 'Reverse Snobbery'
Today's guest is Senator Lynn Ruane, the author of an excellent new memoir, who insists there is no such thing as 'reverse snobbery'. Or at least it's not something that a well-heeled person like (say for example) Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy needs to worry about, not in the way someone from Lynn's own neighbourhood needs to worry about the real, oppressive thing. With Political Editor Pat Leahy and Hugh, she discusses housing , educational opportunities and the lack of working class voices in the Oireachtas.
Sep 19, 2018
Housing Activists 'Take Back the City'
A group of housing activists have been occupying vacant properties in Dublin city centre since early August as part of a protest over the amount of vacant housing in the city. Last week the Take Back the City protesters drew national attention to their cause when men wearing black balaclavas repossessed 34 North Frederick Street, which the group had been occupying since mid-August. Two of the activists, Aisling Bruen of the Housing and Homeless Coaliation and Óisín Vince Coulter president of the Trinity College graduate students union, speak to Hugh and Pat about their campaign and what they hope to achieve. Later: Hugh and Pat discuss the political impact of the housing movement, the presidential contest and what's topping the agenda as business resumes at the Dáil this week.
Sep 12, 2018
Cash for Ash, CervicalCheck, And Then There Were... Five?
Harry McGee is back on the politics beat and back in the Inside Politics studio to tell us about the political problems created by the CervicalCheck report, beginning with a leak of details from the report to media outlets yesterday. Harry has also been watching the nationwide tour of presidential hopefuls as they seek to hoover up county council nominations. For an exciting October election campaign, the signs are inauspicious. Later: Up North, the Cash for Ash scandal just gets more and more embarrassing for the DUP as the enquiry into how millions of pounds went almost literally up in smoke continues. But without any possibility of accountability, the worse it gets, the more the central question becomes: so what? Guests: Newton Emerson and Amanda Ferguson
Sep 5, 2018
FF and FG Stand-Off, Leo Defends Eoghan, Blimp Incoming
DCU's Jane Suiter joins Hugh and Pat to talk about the exchange of letters between and Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on the topic of renewing their little arrangement. Martin rebuffed Varadkar's advance - what next for confidence and supply? Plus, Varadkar defends embattled Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and criticises Sinn Fein and local government on housing, and Dublin readies itself for the arrival of Donald Trump.
Sep 3, 2018
Paschal Donohoe on Social Change, Conservatism & 'The Radical Centre'
Last week, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe gave a talk at the Collins Institute, a Fine Gael-associated think tank in Dublin. The talk was about the political centre, how it is weakening in other jurisdictions and how he sees Fine Gael's role as a party of the centre. Before delivering the address he talked to Hugh Linehan about his politics, including his rejection of the label conservative and Fine Gael's desire to position itself as the party of social change. Today's podcast features that interview, plus some analysis of Paschal's politics and how his words may or may not translate into actions from our political editor Pat Leahy. You can watch and listen to Minister Donohoe's speech here: http://www.collinsinstitute.ie/renewing-the-centre-collins-institute-lecture/
Aug 29, 2018
"Unless we set priorities, nothing is a priority" - The State & Social Housing
Ireland's housing crisis is complex and multifaceted, but one key element that the government must address in seeking a solution to it is the social housing sector. Two-thirds of all social housing in Ireland is now privately owned, while funding for the sector was cut by 82% during the last recession. Experts say the system is broken and reforming it needs to be prioritised by government. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said his policies aimed at tackling the housing crisis are working, but with homeless figures continuing to rise, his critics say otherwise and there are rumblings of a motion of no confidence from the opposition benches. Joining Hugh on today's podcast: UCD professor and chair of the Housing Finance Agency Michelle Norris, head of policy at Clúid Simon Brooke and Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin.
Aug 25, 2018
Craig Unger, 'House of Trump, House of Putin'
Craig Unger's new book, House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, analyses links between the Russian mafia, Vladimir Putin and the Trump Organisation. On today's podcast Unger, a veteran journalist for The New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair, talks to Hugh Linehan about why he believes that the current U.S. president is a Russian asset.
Aug 22, 2018
FF-SDLP Merger, Uncharted Waters for Michael D., Papal Visit
This week UCD professor Diarmaid Ferriter joins Hugh and Fiach to look at some of the issues currently on the civic and political agenda through the lens of history. First it’s Fiach’s story that a Fianna Fáil takeover of the SDLP appears to be in the offing, with a merger being discussed at the highest levels of the parties. What are the origins of this political alliance, and how would a merger work? Also on the podcast: In seeking another seven years at the Áras, Michael D. Higgins becomes only the second sitting president in Ireland’s history to face a contest to do so. In 1966 President Éamon de Valera chose not to run a campaign as he sought a second term, so Michael D. now finds himself in uncharted waters as he prepares to do battle in what could be a nasty contest. And, as Ireland’s Catholics prepare to give Pope Francis a ‘céad mile failte’, how will his visit differ to that of John Paul II in 1979?
Aug 17, 2018
Interview: Cody Keenan, Speechwriter for Barack Obama
Cody Keenan has been a speechwriter for President Barack Obama for more than a decade, rising from a campaign intern in Chicago to Director of Speechwriting at the White House. Keenan has helped craft the president’s remarks on every topic for every audience, from backyards in Iowa, to State of the Union addresses. Now he is helping President Obama write a memoir of his time in the Oval Office. On today’s podcast Keenan speaks to Hugh Linehan about getting his start with Obama, what he believes the 44th president’s legacy will be, whether US politics is suffering irreparable damage under the Trump presidency, and more.
Aug 15, 2018
Labour's Leadership, Presidential Potentials
It’s a quiet week on the political front, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Brendan Howlin’s Labour leadership has come into question of late, with a number of councillors calling for him to stand aside. But as the party seeks to renew itself, who is likely to replace him? Also today: As the impending presidential contest gains pace, who will win the nomination to do battle with Michael D. Higgins? And, what questions he will have to answer in the debates? Guests: Sarah Bardon and Fiach Kelly
Aug 8, 2018
Breaking Down a Border Poll
Former Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson was criticised for telling the MacGill Summer School last month that he did not think the North would vote to leave the UK in a Border poll but it was no reason not to prepare for the eventuality. As the Brexit deadline approaches, what is the feeling in Northern Ireland on the issue? Has the DUP's support for Brexit backfired? And, what would a road map for unification actually look like? Also today, rumblings of a leadership heave at Labour and Shane Ross mishits with his granny grant and hockey funding. Guests: Matthew O'Toole, Susan McKay and Fiach Kelly.
Aug 1, 2018
Amnesty and "Foreign Money" in Politics / Colm O'Gorman on Pope Francis's Visit
First we look at the news that broke yesterday that Amnesty International Ireland has won its challenge to an order made by the Standards in Public Office Commission, or Sipo. Sipo ordered Amnesty to return money to a foreign donor as it was given to be used 'for political purposes'. The news raises questions about how Sipo came to its flawed decision but also about how we control the flow of money in our politics. Hugh discusses these issues with Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty, Liz Carolan of the Transparent Referendum Initiative and our own Political Editor Pat Leahy. Later on Colm, who is a survivor of clerical abuse, talks about his attitude to the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next month.
Jul 27, 2018
Fintan O'Toole on "Pre-Fascism" & The Yeats Test
Fintan O'Toole's recent column about the characteristics of the Trump Administration, entitled 'Trial runs for fascism are in full flow' has found a large international audience. He talks to Hugh Linehan about what he sees as Donald Trump's method for gradually pushing the United States further towards authoritarianism. There's also time to consider whether W.B. Yeats foretold the ascendance of Donald Trump, and a novel use of his poetry in today's troubled world. You can read the original article here (recommended before listening) https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-trial-runs-for-fascism-are-in-full-flow-1.3543375
Jul 25, 2018
Different Schools of Thought
Last weekend in Rialto a new event took place: The Danielle Carroll Summer School. Named in honour of a woman who took her own life after her and her family become homeless, focussed on social issues and featuring all-female speakers, the event was quite different in theme and tone to this week's MacGill Summer School in Glenties, County Donegal. Hugh talks to Kitty Holland, who was at the Rialto event, and Conor Gallagher, who is in Glenties this week, about the events and the place of such events in today's Ireland. But first: A bewildering array of potential nominees for the presidency are popping in and out of contention. Fiach Kelly looks at some of the more likely ones.
Jul 18, 2018
Chaos in Westminster, Slow-Moving Sláintecare
This week: Turmoil at Westminster means Ireland’s plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit have stepped up a gear. The Tories were supposed to unite behind Theresa May’s Chequers deal and Brexit white paper, but that plan unravelled spectacularly and instead the Prime Minister finds herself presiding over an increasingly divided government. Denis Staunton is on the line from London to talk to Hugh and Pat about what has happened in Westminster and what it might mean for the Border backstop, which has yet to be agreed. Later: The blueprint for a reform of the health service was delivered by an all-party committee a year ago, but the government has yet to come up with a plan to implement Sláintecare. Health policy analyst at Trinity College, Sara Burke, who worked with the committee, and Irish Times industry correspondent Martin Wall join Hugh and Pat to discuss the outstanding issues and what happens next.
Jul 11, 2018
"Women's Life Within the Home", Race for The Áras
This week: Hot on the heels of the #8thRef, the government has scheduled a referendum for October 26th on Article 41.2 of the Constitution. It refers to a woman’s life in the home and is considered sexist and outmoded by many. The government is pushing for a straight deletion of the Article, but has there been enough discussion around what that actually means? The Oireachtas Women’s Caucus feels they weren’t consulted enough on the matter and there is an argument for the Article to be amended to be more inclusive, rather than removing it completely. Joining Pat and Sarah to debate the issue on today’s podcast is Dr Laura Cahillane from UL’s law department. Later: Micheal D Higgins has announced he'd like to continue life within his home, Áras an Uachtaráin. Moves are afoot by some independent politicians to facilitate a challenger to President Higgins in an autumn election. Can they succeed? Pat asks Fiach Kelly and Noel Whelan.
Jul 4, 2018
"Freewheeling" Varadkar Attacks the Media
The Taoiseach went off-script in New York yesterday, sympathising with Donald Trump’s views on the media and spoiling an otherwise unremarkable visit to make Ireland’s case for joining the UN Security Council. In a “freewheeling” discussion, Leo Varadkar surprised guests at a private lunch when he criticised the media, saying political journalists were more interested in gossip than the story. Now his Ministers say he was taken out of context. What really happened, and what does it tell us about Taoiseach Varadkar? First we hear from Simon Carswell who was among the Irish journalists present in New York. He joins Sarah, Pat and Fiach on the line. Also today: Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s pre-election phony war.
Jun 27, 2018
New Commissioner in Town, Brexit Dawdling & Michael D
The air’s been let out of this week’s EU Summit with no sign of the significant progress on Brexit negotiations that the Irish government had sought when they last convened. With October’s meeting now the next important date on the calendar, is the threat of talks grinding to a halt becoming more real? Will the much vaunted backstop ever materialise? Is the likelihood of a hard Brexit increasing? And, does the British government know what it wants? The Guardian’s Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll joins presenter Pat Leahy, Irish Times public affairs editor Simon Carswell and political reporter Sarah Bardon to discuss the myriad outstanding issues in the negotiations, as the March 2019 withdrawal deadline looms large on the horizon. But first on the agenda: the appointment of the new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Fianna Fáil’s declaration of support for a second run for the presidency by Michael D Higgins.
Jun 23, 2018
Interview: James Comey, Former FBI Director
On June 22nd, the man Hillary Clinton blames for her 2016 presidential election defeat to Donald Trump, the former FBI director James Comey, was in Dublin to promote his book A Higher Loyalty. Coincidentally, less than a kilometre away, Clinton was also in town to receive an honorary degree from Trinity College. Comey was interviewed by Hugh Linehan at a live event at the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar. They spoke about his book, the election and his interactions with Donald Trump before he was sensationally fired by the US president, as detailed in A Higher Loyalty. You can hear that interview in this podcast, with thanks to the IFI.
Jun 20, 2018
Prudent Paschal, Leo's Public Image & Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis
Sarah and Fiach join Hugh for a roundup of what has been happening in and around Leinster House this week, with preparations for the 2019 budget well underway. Will prudent Paschal Donohoe stick with his hitherto cautious mantra? Also, does Leo Varadkar’s tactic of standing back and letting his ministers do the talking impact on the public’s perception of him? And, there’s a bit of healthy disagreement in the ranks on a number of things, including the Taoiseach’s role in the recent referendum and gender balance in political debate.
Jun 13, 2018
The Separation of Church & State
As the country moves on from the resounding Yes vote in the referendum to repeal the Eighth amendment and with plans for another referendum on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution in the autumn, Ireland is dramatically renegotiating the relationship between Church and State. As Irish Catholics look forward to the Papal visit at the end of the summer, what does the future of that relationship between the institutions of the State, the political establishment and Catholicism look like? Joining Hugh on today's show: Irish Times religious affairs correspondent Patsy McGarry, professor Áine Hyland, who was a founder of the Dalkey School Project in the 1970s, and editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper Michael Kelly.
Jun 6, 2018
The Political Landscape after The Referendum
Thousands of women and young people mobilised for the referendum campaign, but will many remain politically active in its aftermath? Sinead Gibney, the new Dún Laoghaire candidate for the Social Democrats, joins Hugh, Pat and Harry to discuss what lasting impact of the campaign will have on the political process. Also, with a general election looming somewhere on the horizon, is the Left becoming too crowded?
Jun 1, 2018
Referendum Debrief with Una Mullally, Pat Leahy, Jane Suiter & Sarah Bardon
One final Friday referendum podcast. Columnist Una Mullally and DCU political scientist Jane Suiter join Hugh, Pat and Sarah to debate what really happened. How did the media fulfil its role? What were the decisive factors in voters' minds, and can the success of the grassroots campaign for liberalisation be parlayed into electoral success for the politicians who supported the people?
May 30, 2018
"A Lot of My Colleagues Didn't Show Leadership" - One Fianna Fáil TD's Blunt Assessment
It will take a few podcasts to digest the historic referendum results of last weekend. Today we begin by looking at what lies behind the divergence between opinion polls and the final result. Then Michael O'Regan has the view from rural constituencies like Kerry where many TDs were left at odds with the majority. And we turn to Fianna Fail and reports of an unhappy meeting last night as the party struggles to figure out what its position on abortion should be. Is the party at risk of a major rupture? We talk to Niall Collins, the Limerick TD, FF spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Yes campaigner, who is blunt in his assessment of the motives and leadership of some of his colleagues. He demands the party now row in behind leader Micheal Martin on the issue as legislation works its way through the Oireachtas. We'll be back with another podcast on Friday, with columnist and campaigner Una Mullally and political scientist Jane Suiter of DCU.
May 26, 2018
Referendum Special with Kitty Holland, Fintan O'Toole, Sarah Bardon & Pat Leahy
The count is underway but the result is not in doubt. Social Affairs correspondent Kitty Holland, columnist Fintan O'Toole and Sarah Bardon and Pat Leahy from our politics team talk to Hugh about the ramifications of the resounding vote to remove our constitutional ban on abortion.
May 25, 2018
Exit Poll: A Landslide for Repeal
The people have voted to repeal the 8th Amendment. But not only that. If the results of The Irish Times exit poll are borne out when the final vote is counted, the scale of the victory for Yes in this referendum points to a profound transformation in Irish attitudes to abortion.
May 24, 2018
The Story of The 8th with Ruadhán Mac Cormaic (October 2016)
"One of the most poisonous debates witnessed in twentieth century Ireland" is how historian Diarmaid Ferriter described the run-up to the passing of the 8th Amendment in 1983. Against a backdrop of intense political division, moral outrage and conflicting understandings of how a rebalancing of the rights of a woman and an unborn child would play out in public courts and private lives, the referendum passed with a two to one majority. When the Citizens' Assembly first met in October 2016 to once again examine the abortion question, Ruadhán Mac Cormaic took us back to the early eighties to understand how and why the controversial amendment came about and its legacy in politics and society. This podcast was originally published in October 2016.
May 23, 2018
Debate Drama, Pat v Sarah, Mick Heaney on Referendum Radio
Which side won last night's referendum debate on RTÉ? Pat Leahy sees it as a tie, while Sarah Bardon calls it for Yes. The deciding vote is cast by our radio critic Mick Heaney, who also tells us about the how the referendum battle has played out on the airwaves. But first Sarah explains the strange goings-on that resulted in two male politicians going head to head over abortion.
May 18, 2018
This Referendum is Different, Leaders Canvass, John Waters Takes A Stand
Sarah, Pat and Harry return for another referendum roundup, including more poll analysis, a look at the nationwide canvass, the campaign activities of Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin and a welcome moment of levity provided by a popular rival podcast.
May 17, 2018
POLL: A Further Decline in Support for Repeal
Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy discuss the latest poll from The Irish Times and Ipsos/MRBI that shows a further decline in the number of those responding they will vote yes, and an increase in those saying they will vote no. With just over one week left until polling day, which side does the trend now favour?
May 16, 2018
Referendum Heats Up, The Rural Vote, 'Max Fac' Brexit - with Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers
To discuss the latest news from the 8th Amendment referendum campaign, the division of the Fianna Fáil party on that same issue, and the latest on British Prime Minister Theresa May's struggle to find a way through the Brexit-Customs-Irish-Border thicket, today's podcast features Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Brexit and Yes advocate Lisa Chambers, Fiach Kelly and Sarah Bardon from our politics team, and London Editor Denis Staunton.
May 11, 2018
Referendum Countdown, Tech Ad Ban Harms #SaveThe8th, More Fact Checking
Liz Carolan of the Transparent Referendum Initiative joins Hugh, Pat and Sarah to talk about the biggest story of the campaign this week: the pulling of the digital rug from under campaigners by Facebook and Google. It's clear which side is hurting most, with Google's move a particularly damaging blow to #Savethe8th. But will it be a decisive one? Plus, Sarah reports on another fraught week checking facts for an ungrateful public.
May 9, 2018
Facebook, #8th Ref Ads, CervicalCheck & Mandatory Reporting
Transparency campaigner Gavin Sheridan joins Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy to discuss Facebook's announcement that it will no longer accept foreign advertisements relating to the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment and the need for new legislation on political campaigning in the digital era. But first, Pat explains how the Dáil has failed to bring in mandatory reporting in the face of opposition from health professionals, as the controversy over failures in the State’s cervical screening service continues.
May 4, 2018
Three Weeks Until Referendum Day
Referendum Day is drawing near, and over the next three weeks The Irish Times politics team will be bringing you extra podcasts on the campaign. What are campaigners hearing on the doors? What are the contentious points dominating discussion? And what role are our elected leaders playing in the fight to save or repeal the 8th Amendment? Pat Leahy, Harry McGee and Sarah Bardon join Hugh for the first in this series.
May 2, 2018
CervicalCheck Scandal, More Brexit Fudge, #8thRef - with Minister of State Helen McEntee
Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee talks to Hugh Linehan and Fiach Kelly about another critical period in Brexit negotiations and the contours of the ongoing referendum campaign. But first they look at the major scandal emerging over CervicalCheck that is taking its place alongside other historic State failures in its treatment of women.
Apr 27, 2018
Interview: Yascha Mounk, Author of "The People Vs. Democracy"
Hugh talks to Harvard University lecturer and Slate columnist Yascha Mounk about his book "The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It", in which he shares his theories about why confidence in democracy is dwindling worldwide.
Apr 25, 2018
#8thRef, Labour's Hopes, Public Sector Pay, Paschal's Test - with guest Brendan Howlin
Labour leader and former Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin joins Hugh, Sarah and Harry on today's politics podcast. They talk about the referendum campaign, Labour's hopes in the face of poor poll numbers, how the question of public sector pay is framed and the challenges ahead for Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Apr 20, 2018
POLL: With Most Minds Made Up, Repeal Maintains Its Lead
As the referendum campaign intensifies, the latest Irish Times / IpsosMRBI poll is here. 47% of respondents to this poll support repeal of the 8th Amendment. It is a drop of 9 percentage points in support of repeal, down from 56% in February. But despite this downward trend, a close look at today's numbers suggests the referendum will pass, says Political Editor Pat Leahy.
Apr 18, 2018
Save the 8th's John McGuirk
Hugh Linehan and Sarah Bardon sit down with John McGuirk of the Save the 8th organisation to talk about some of the key issues, fundraising, conducting a civil campaign and Mr McGuirk's approach to social media.
Apr 11, 2018
A Slow Start for Repealers? No, Says Ailbhe Smyth
Co-Director of Together For Yes Ailbhe Smyth joins Pat and Hugh to talk about the campaign so far, the intense fundraising activities of the past few days and to rebut the suggestion that #savetheeighth has been doing the early running. But first Pat talks about a change for the worse in Anglo-Irish relations on the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.
Apr 4, 2018
Confidence & Supply, Presidential Election, INM
Sarah Bardon, Fiach Kelly and Hugh Linehan discuss the increased likelihood of a general election in the short term, after comments by Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen suggesting his party is unlikely to renew its confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael. Also, just who will contest the presidential election? And, what sort of impact could the allegations of a data breach at Independent News and Media have on journalism in general?
Mar 28, 2018
Coveney Blunders, SCU, How To Win A Sports Grant
First up today, Hugh, Pat and Harry discuss Tánaiste Simon Coveney's difficult few days, and the disbandment of the ill-fated Strategic Communications Unit. Then they take a close look at a recent story that revealed a lot about how Irish politics really works: the controversy over the allocation of a sports grant to a private Dublin school. UCC economist (and former All Ireland winning Cork hurler) John Considine explains how it really works.
Mar 21, 2018
Weaponised Facebook: It Couldn't Happen Here (Yet)
The Inside Politics team look at the harvesting of Facebook user data to target citizens with news, of both the real and fake varieties, to manipulate their opinions and ultimately their votes. It seems that technology has raced ahead of democracy. Is now the time to rein tech in? Elaine Edwards is The Irish Times's data security expert and she joins Hugh, Pat and Fiach to talk about the story, and what it means for the political system here in Ireland. After that Fiach tells us how the mood music around Leinster House suggests a general election is not far away.
Mar 14, 2018
Taoiseach Talks Trade with Trump
Leo Varadkar meets Donald Trump for the annual St Patrick’s Day White House visit by an Irish leader tomorrow. How will the encounter differ to that of his predecessor Enda Kenny? Suzanne Lynch joins Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy on the line from Washington to discuss. And, with just health minister Simon Harris staying behind to deal with the ongoing hospital overcrowding crisis, we look ahead to the return of the Dáil next week, when the referendum Bill and corporate tax will be topping the agenda.
Mar 7, 2018
Referendum Obstacle Cleared & Katy Hayward on Brexit
The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the government to proceed with plans to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, ruling that the unborn has no constitutional rights outside the right to life in Article 40.3.3. Pat Leahy and Hugh Linehan discuss the landmark unanimous judgment by the seven-judge court. Later, political sociologist at Queens University Belfast, Dr Katy Hayward, on the possible solutions to the question of the border with Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Feb 28, 2018
Strategic Communications, Brexit Fudge Hits the Fan
The role of the Strategic Communications Unit has come under the spotlight thanks to this week's controversy over a series of 'advertorials' placed in regional and national newspapers, including The Irish Times, concerning the new national development plan, Project 2040. To discuss this story, Hugh and Pat are joined by Gerard Howlin, a public affairs consultant, Irish Examiner columnist and former senior political adviser to the Ahern government who says the origins and characteristics of the SCU suggest an unwelcome blurring of lines between politics and the Civil Service. Also on the podcast: cans last seen flying down the road towards Brexit are reappearing this week. The Irish Border question is back and is posing a major threat to UK-EU negotiations.
Feb 24, 2018
Live: Can The Big Three Parties Learn to Work Together?
A special live episode of the podcast featuring Minister for Arts Josepha Madigan, Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne and Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly. They joined Hugh Linehan and Fiach Kelly to discuss the relationship between their three parties, and more. Thanks to our guests and to everyone who attended the live recording on Thursday, February 22nd here in The Irish Times. For information on future events, subscribe to The Irish Times political digest email.
Feb 21, 2018
Michael D's Challengers, FF's Vulture Signalling, Unborn Rights
Michael D Higgins is going to run for a second term. The major parties do not want to put a candidate up against him - but might they have to, for the sake of appearances? Pat Leahy and Sarah Bardon join Hugh Linehan to discuss the potential for an accidental race to the Áras. Will Michael D be challenged, and if so, who will the challengers be? Then they turn to Fianna Fáil's determination to have a row about vulture funds, who Fianna Fáil say must be regulated before they can get their claws into billions of euros worth of non-performing Permanent TSB loans. Lastly the panel look at two stories concerning the 8th Amendment: a Supreme Court case taking place this week that has the potential to upset Government's plans for an early summer referendum on the 8th, and the political reaction to polls showing a tightening of opinion on the 12 week proposal.
Feb 14, 2018
Best Laid National Plans & Impasse Remains in Belfast
The government will unveil two key documents mapping out its plans for Ireland’s future this Friday - the €115bn 10-year Development Plan and the National Planning Framework. Previous plans have proved ineffective in achieving their goals by spreading the wealth too thinly in an attempt to appease all sides and the initial drafts of the latest documents have seen the debate over the rural-urban divide reignited in recent weeks. On today’s podcast, former environment editor of the Irish Times Frank McDonald, who first warned of the ruination of Irish villages through a suburbanisation of the countryside 30 years ago, joins Harry McGee and Fiach Kelly to discuss the merits of the government’s latest plans. In the second part of the show, Amanda Ferguson reports from Belfast, where talks on re-establishing power-sharing at Stormont appear to have come asunder once again, with the DUP leader Arlene Foster making clear her party’s opposition to proposals for an Irish Language Ac…
Feb 10, 2018
Interview: Former Press Secretary Feargal Purcell
"Enda didn't get a fair hop from the media". Feargal Purcell served as Enda Kenny's press secretary for six years, and briefly as Leo Varadkar's after that. As government press secretary during the years of austerity, Purcell was no stranger to crisis. Among his responsibilities was find and brief TDs and ministers willing to bat for Enda Kenny's administration when the chips were down. Sometimes they were hard to find. On this episode of Inside Politics, Feargal talked to Political Editor Pat Leahy about his time at the heart of government, the nature of the relationship between the politicians and the media, and the style and substance of the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. He also talks about his new role with Edelman, a global international public relations firm that this week published its annual Trust Barometer, a study examining public attitudes to institutions including government and the press.
Feb 7, 2018
Vincent Browne on Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin & the Media's Failures in Reporting The Troubles
'Gerry Adams: War, Peace and Politics', a new documentary by Vincent Browne, airs tonight and tomorrow night on TV3. The veteran broadcaster and journalist talks to Hugh about his personal view of Adams, the evolution of Sinn Féin and why he feels the media, including The Irish Times, failed in its coverage of Northern Ireland at the outset of the Troubles. Also on the panel today are Colm Keena, who wrote a biography of Adams, and political reporter Sarah Bardon.
Jan 31, 2018
After A Historic Night, Campaigning Intensifies
The Taoiseach’s statement on Monday night that the Government will propose a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment and that he would personally back it, was a historic moment that will be recognised in hindsight as the official start of the abortion campaign. With the Cabinet divided on the issue of legislating for abortion up to 12 weeks, that will prove to be a key part of the campaign as it progresses. Pat Leahy and Sarah Bardon join Hugh Linehan to discuss the change in the framing of the debate in recent week to focus on women, rather than the unborn, and why the wording of Health Minister Simon Harris’s proposed legislation that would follow a repeal of the Eighth Amendment will be the next significant moment in the lead up to the referendum.
Jan 26, 2018
Poll: Permit Abortion Up To 12 Weeks? Yes, Say A Clear Majority
Pat Leahy talks to Hugh Linehan about the findings of the latest Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll that asked voters for their views on abortion, including the recommendation of the Dáil committee on abortion to allow unrestricted access up to the 12th week of pregnancy that is likely to form the basis of a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment this summer.
Jan 24, 2018
Fianna Fáil Divided / Leo's Bank of Mum & Dad
Micheál Martin took his party by surprise with his statement of support on repealing the 8th Amendment last week. Is there now a risk of rebellion in the ranks? Sarah Bardon and Harry McGee join Hugh Linehan to discuss this and why Leo Varadkar's 'lots of us did' comment about housebuyers borrowing from the 'bank of mum and dad' has rankled some.
Jan 17, 2018
Decision Time Nears on 8th, Referendum Battle Lines, Sinn Féin's Growing Pains
On the question of the 8th Amendment, there remains in Leinster House a good number of fence sittters. The time for them to jump off is drawing near, say Sarah Bardon and Fiach Kelly. For Sinn Fein TD Peader Tóibín, who supports the full retention of the 8th Amendment, concerns about "sex selection" abortions and abortions when the foetus has been screened for Down Syndrome will be key points on which the referendum campaign will be fought. He talks to Hugh, Fiach and Sarah about his views on abortion and opposing his own party's position. Deputy Tóibín also answers questions about a difficult week for Sinn Féin, as the Barry McElduff affair raised questions over the party leadership and how Sinn Féin handles its own dark legacy.
Jan 10, 2018
Fianna Fáil's Prospects, Homelessness, Property Tax & more
Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee joins Hugh, Pat and Harry to discuss why, even after recent opinion polls show Fine Gael's support gathering pace at the expense of Fianna Fáil, Mícheál Martin's party isn't spooked by the numbers just yet. Also on on the agenda, the housing crisis, homelessness and how the property tax can be calculated more fairly.
Jan 3, 2018
New Year, Old Problems
As 2017 drew to a close political staff did the traditional round of Christmas interviews with senior politicians. Familiar themes emerged: the extremely thorny issue of housing, the popularity contest between the two major parties, and what a future coalition government involving Sinn Féin might look like. Today Simon Carswell and Fiach Kelly talk to Hugh about the major political challenges in the year ahead: Michael Martin - can his party recover ground lately lost to Fine Gael? Eoghan Murphy - can he define success in housing and then achieve that success? Mary Lou MacDonald - as leader, can she finally manoeuvre Sinn Féin into power?
Dec 27, 2017
The Year in Politics
Pat Leahy, Fiach Kelly and Michael O'Regan look back at some of the big events of 2017 and speculate about the forces at home and abroad that will shape Irish politics in 2018.
Dec 20, 2017
Senator Catherine Noone
Senator Catherine Noone, chair of the abortion committee that today published its report, talks to Hugh and Pat about how a majority of the group came to the view that the 8th Amendment to the constitution should be removed outright.
Dec 13, 2017
Brexit: What's Our Strategy Now? Live at the IIEA
The question of the post-Brexit status of the Border may be settled for now, but broader questions remain. What will Ireland's place in Europe be, once the UK, its traditional partner and ally, has departed? What is our European strategy and how will we achieve our goals? Podcast regulars Pat and Hugh talked to Ruadhan Mac Cormaic and Lucinda Creighton in front of an audience at the Institute of International and European Affairs on North Great Georges Street last night. Apologies for the temporary sound quality deterioration as a street cleaner passed by an open window. Thanks to our hosts the Young Professionals Network and the IIEA.
Dec 9, 2017
Poll Special: 8th Amendment, Political Parties & Brexit
This week, there were three Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion polls. This morning's asked respondents whether or not they would vote to change the constitution in relation to the Eighth Amendment. Earlier in the week, we took the temperature of the electorate and found a five point surge in support for Fine Gael, while yesterday's poll focused on Brexit. Pat Leahy and Hugh Linehan provide an analysis of the results.
Dec 6, 2017
Brexit: High-Stakes Game Playing
The Guardian’s Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll joins Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy, deputy political editor Fiach Kelly and presenter Hugh Linehan to discuss what went wrong in the Brexit negotiations this week and how likely it is that the deadline for an agreement will be met. The panel also assess the impact of tensions surrounding Brexit on Anglo-Irish relations and ask whether creative ambiguity is being used as a deliberate tactic by leaders on all sides.
Nov 29, 2017
Fintan O'Toole: "An act of defiance of Irish democracy" / Britain's Pesky Irish Problem
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called the Department of Justice 'dysfunctional' yesterday, but it is worse than that, says Fintan O'Toole: the failure by the Department to give the infamous emails at the heart of Frances Fitzgerald's downfall to the Charleton Tribunal is an act of defiance of Irish democracy that requires a independent investigation with the power to question witnesses under caution and seize documents, phones and computers. He talks to podcast regulars Hugh Linehan, Fiach Kelly and Sarah Bardon in part one of today's podcast. In part two they hear from London Editor Denis Staunton about the persistent belief in London that Dublin's 'bloody difficult' position on Brexit is motivated by party politics, the rise of Sinn Féin, or even a forthcoming presidential election - anything really, except for what Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are actually saying.
Nov 28, 2017
After A Day of Drama, Questions Remain
Pat Leahy and Harry McGee talk to Hugh about the dramatic events of the last week that were capped today with the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald, and the questions that remain. How could such important documents be missed - or was it more sinister than that? Is the Department of Justice facing a reckoning? Why did Leo Varadkar handle this situation as he did?
Nov 22, 2017
No Hand, Act or Part
This week there proved to be at least one more political sting left in the tail of the McCabe controversy. This latest entanglement involves a dubious legal strategy, a curiously incurious former Minister for Justice, a poorly written email and a frustrated Taoiseach. It's confusing, but we hope this conversation between Sarah Bardon, Harry McGee and Hugh Linehan will leave listeners with as clear an understanding of the affair as possible.
Nov 20, 2017
Exit Adams / Live at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis
Inside Politics returned to the RDS on Saturday for the final stop on our tour of party conferences in what has amounted to a festival season for Irish politics. Louise O'Reilly, TD for Dublin Fingal, and Conor Murphy, MLA for Newry and Armagh, joined Hugh, Sarah Bardon and Northern Editor Gerry Moriarty to discuss some of the thorny challenges facing Sinn Féin. But first Fiach Kelly and Hugh discuss the news that, as expected, Gerry Adams will step down as Sinn Féin leader.
Nov 15, 2017
The Brexit Riddle
As the deadline for completing the first stage of Brexit negotiations draws near, and with the British political establishment in the midst of a nervous breakdown, our Government is fast approaching a critical point in how it handles this most intractable of situations. Divergent national interests - on trade, on EU relations, on the border question - mean it is far from simple for us to stake out a coherent position. So what is our bottom line? Pat Leahy and Cliff Taylor join Hugh to see if they can imagine what solutions, or even the process of finding solutions, might look like.
Nov 11, 2017
The Taoiseach's Speech, Republic of Opportunity, Brexit Realities (Live at FG Conference)
Last month we went to the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis for a close look at that party's policies, politics and personalities. This weekend it was Fine Gael's turn for their annual get-together, so Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and TD for Dublin Rathdown Josepha Madigan joined Hugh, Harry McGee and Fiach Kelly for another live recording of the podcast. They discussed the style and substance of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's speech, the new policy proposals outlined in the "first iteration" of their "rolling manifesto", and the remaining doubt over how far we are willing to go to secure a a frictionless border with post-Brexit Northern Ireland.
Nov 8, 2017
Sexual Harassment, Languishing Bills, Alan Shatter
The Houses of Parliament in Westminster have been engulfed by allegations of sexual harassment in the past week. How does the environment in Leinster House compare? Fiach Kelly and Sarah Bardon join Hugh Linehan to discuss. Also on the agenda, the intense lobbying around plans for the display of alcohol in shops, why Bills are being left hanging at committee stage and Alan Shatter's Facebook post in which he said he won't stand for Fine Gael in the next general election.
Nov 6, 2017
Inside Story - Paradise Papers
Paradise Papers is the name given to a journalistic project organised by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC along with 96 media partners around the world, including The Irish Times. It is one of the largest data leaks in journalistic history, and involves the largest number of documents ever leaked. The leaked documents show how deeply the offshore financial system is entangled with the overlapping worlds of political players, private wealth and corporate giants, including Apple, Nike, Uber and other global companies that avoid taxes through increasingly imaginative bookkeeping maneuvers. Irish Times Legal Affairs Correspondent Colm Keena has been working on the project, and on this podcast he talks to Hugh Linehan about what has been uncovered, including the investments made by famous figures such as Bono and Queen Elizabeth, and the legal advice received by AIB when The Revenue Commissioners requested information about offshore deposi…
Nov 3, 2017
Interview: Timothy Snyder, Author of "On Tyranny"
Hugh Linehan speaks with American author, historian and academic Timothy Snyder about his book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, in which he makes provocative and unsettling comparisons between today's politics and the rise of the Third Reich and suggests how we can avoid the terrible mistakes of the past. Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He has spent ten years in Europe, and speaks five and reads ten European languages. He has also written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The New Republic as well as for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers. He is the author of several award-winning books including The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, and Black Earth: The Holocaust as History a…
Nov 1, 2017
Can Labour Come Back?
Labour is in the doldrums, stuck on five or six per cent in the polls and struggling to have its voice heard. What are its chances of getting back to ten per cent or more by the next election? Is its brand becoming less toxic? What is the purpose of Labour in Ireland now? Guests: Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent; Ed Brophy, political columnist with the Sunday Independent and former chief of staff to Tánaiste Joan Burton; and Dublin City Councillor Rebecca Moynihan, who will run for Labour in the Dublin South Central constituency in the next election.
Oct 25, 2017
Repeal or Replace, Crimes in The National Interest
Hugh and Pat are joined by Social Affairs Correspondent Kitty Holland and columnist Fintan O'Toole to discuss the direction being taken by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil at the Abortion Committee, and why "scandal" is the perfect word to describe the tracker mortgage situation - there are cries of outrage and numerous investigations, and ultimately no-one will be held accountable.
Oct 20, 2017
Interview: Martin O'Malley on Life in Politics, Trump, Running in 2020
Irish-American politician Martin O'Malley is best known for terms as governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, and for his unsuccessful run for the Democratic presidential candidacy in 2016. Earlier this week he talked to Political Correspondent Harry McGee about his Irish connections, his upbringing and political philosophy, his views on the Trump presidency and how he squares his own liberal views on abortion and marriage equality with his Catholicism. He also shed some light on his relationship with David Simon, creator of tv show The Wire which portrayed the social and political problems of Baltimore in the early 2000s.
Oct 18, 2017
Storm Ophelia, 8th Amendment Committee & EU Summit
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a number of press conferences throughout Storm Ophelia, did live interviews and donned a high-vis jacket to assess the resulting damage in its aftermath. On today's podcast, Pat Leahy, Sarah Bardon and Harry McGee from the politics team join Hugh Linehan to discuss the government’s disaster response and compare it to that of previous years. The panel also discuss the Oireachtas committee examining the Eighth Amendment, the Fianna Fáil ardfheis last weekend and the upcoming EU summit where Brexit will take centre stage.
Oct 14, 2017
Are Fianna Fáil Ready for Government? Live at the Ard Fheis with Dara Calleary & Fiona O'Loughlin
Inside Politics has made the short trip from its office to the RDS where a resurgent Fianna Fáil are holding their annual Ard Fheis, to ask whether the party is really ready to return to government after a long spell in the political wilderness. Joining Hugh, Pat and Sarah were Dara Calleary and Fiona O'Loughlin, while Fiach canvassed the opinions of some special guests in the audience.
Oct 13, 2017
Interview: A.C. Grayling - Rethinking Democracy
Philosopher A.C. Grayling is known for his writings on the intersections between belief systems, individual liberties and systems of government. In his new book Democracy And Its Crisis, he explores the challenges facing representative democracy today. He talked to Hugh Linehan about his ideas, including the "weaponisation" of social media, potential reforms to our political systems and when referendums are useful.
Oct 10, 2017
Budget Special: More Porridge, Less Pyrotechnics
No big bonanza and no pyrotechnics, but Budget 2018 is more exciting than it might seem on the surface. So say the Irish Times political team. Paschal Donohoe may not have found any money down the back of the couch, but has he delivered a budget that will take this government to the next election? On today’s Inside Politics podcast, Pat Leahy, Fiach Kelly and Mary Minihan join Hugh Linehan to discuss the political impact of the measures introduced in today’s budget.
Oct 6, 2017
Poll Special: 8th Amendment, Framing Questions, Leo's Bounce
Pat Leahy talks to Hugh Linehan about the results of the latest Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll. The poll showed greater support for a limited revision of abortion restrictions than their outright removal. But some pro-choice activists have criticised how the question was framed - Hugh puts their position to Pat. And there's time at the end to look at the other major finding: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is the most popular party leader with an impressive 49% approval rating. But will his rising tide lift other boats for Fine Gael?
Oct 4, 2017
Any Budget Surprises in Store? Leo vs LCD Soundsystem, Catalonia Reaction
With just six days left until Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe announce their first Budget as Taoiseach and finance minister respectively, the most surprising thing in the lead up to it has been the lack of anything surprising. On today's podcast, Cliff Taylor joins Fiach Kelly and Hugh to discuss the likelihood of any big bombshell being dropped next Tuesday, at a time when money is tight and any significant giveaway would have to be financed either through tax increases or cuts to another department. They also discuss the reaction in Leinster House to the political unrest surrounding the Catalonia independence referendum in Spain and whether or not Taoiseach Leo Varadkar can get away with going to gigs anymore, after the LCD Soundsystem debacle.
Sep 29, 2017
Interview: Robert Harris on The Transformation of Britain
Novelist and former political journalist Robert Harris returns to Inside Politics to discuss his new novel 'Munich', set over the course of the four-day crisis talks between the British, French and Nazi governments which prevented the outbreak of war in 1938. He talks about the modern misapprehension of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, the nature of appeasement and the current state of politics in the United Kingdom as it moves through the painful Brexit process.
Sep 27, 2017
Abortion Referendum, Sinn Féin's Culture, Property Tax
Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin joins Hugh, Pat and Sarah to discuss the forthcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's recent attacks on Sinn Féin, whether there is a culture of bullying in the party, and also its stance on property tax.
Sep 25, 2017
Ruled By Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael Forever? (Live at the Dublin Podcast Festival)
Ten years after an economic and social crisis that it seemed would change the Irish political landscape utterly, the political dominance of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is diminished - but continues. Are we destined to be governed by these organisations forever? As part of the Dublin Podcast Festival, Pat Leahy, Mary Minihan and Fiach Kelly joined Hugh in front of a live audience at The Workman's Club in Dublin to take a close look at our two main political parties today. How do they see themselves and one another? How has the upheaval of the last decade changed them, and where are they headed ideologically? Thanks to Alan Bennet and everyone working on the Podcast Festival. Thanks also to Alan Kinsella for providing our backdrop of historic election literature.
Sep 20, 2017
Budget Skirmishes, Michael D's Move, Dáil Returns
Hugh is joined by Harry McGee and Fiach Kelly to discuss everything and anything on the political agenda this week, including pre-budget skirmishes between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, President Michael D Higgins's noteworthy appearance at the ploughing festival, a potential Water Referendum, and the return to work of the members of Dáil Eireann after a long, damp summer.
Sep 13, 2017
"The Trends Are Good, But It's Not Enough"
This week Hugh, Pat and Harry are joined by Minister of State at the Department of Housing Damien English to talk about the latest news on the housing crisis, the resignation of Noirin O'Sullivan and what we can expect from the Taoiseach as the political season begins.
Sep 6, 2017
Barry Cowen Defends His Housing Proposal & FF's Record / SF's Leadership Dilemma
The negative reaction to Fianna Fáil TD and spokesman on housing Barry Cowen's proposal to incentivise building by reducing VAT rates for builders shows the mistrust that is a legacy of the housing crash could still be a problem for the party. Hugh and Pat talk to Deputy Cowen who defends his proposal and Fianna Fáil's legacy when it comes to housing. Later on we go to Fiach Kelly at the Sinn Féin think-in to hear about the future Gerry Adams' leadership (still murky) and the party's desire for power and a role in southern government (crystal clear).
Aug 30, 2017
PSC: Compulsory or Mandatory? Housing Out Of Hand, Strategic Communications
From E-voting to water charges, there have been plenty of examples of governments getting into hot water over a 'sensible' plan emanating from the civil service. Could the controversial Public Services Card become another example? Or is it a summer story? Far from being a summer story, the housing crisis is very real. It's an acute problem with no short-term solution - the stuff of political nightmares and a major potential liability for Fine Gael. Finally, a look at the modern PR stylings of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Should he be replying to George Hook's criticisms on Twitter? And what exactly is the "Strategic Communciations Office"? Today's panel is hosted by Hugh Linehan, with Pat Leahy and Sarah Bardon.
Aug 23, 2017
Housing Crisis: Time for the State to Build
Can we fix a housing market bedevilled by perverse incentives and bottlenecks? How important have lobbying, vested interests and ideology been in determining our housing policy? Why did the state lose faith in social housing? As the housing crisis gets worse and worse, we ask two experts how we got here and what needs to be done. Guests: Dr Michelle Norris, head of UCD's School of Social Policy, and Dr Lorcan Sirr, lecturer in housing studies, urban economics, and research methods in DIT's School of Real Estate and Construction Economics.
Aug 16, 2017
Britain's Border Proposal, Preparing for Failure, Craughwell 2018
Britain has just released a negotiating paper with details of how it sees a future UK-EU border on this island operating. Here with hot takes are Fiach Kelly and Mary Minihan. After that there is time for a look ahead to the various votes the people could be asked to make in 2018, including referendums and a potential race for the Áras. Could Senator Gerard Craughwell's decision to run for presidency upend Michael D. Higgins' hope of a second term?
Aug 12, 2017
Inside Story - Simon Carswell Visits Ireland's Ghost Estates
Ghost estates - residential building developments began during the boom and abandoned when the crash came - became synonymous with the excesses of the Celtic Tiger. Hundreds still dot the Irish countryside: homes to rats, brambles and despairing residents, as reporter Simon Carswell tells Hugh Linehan. You can read Simon's long read at irishtimes.com
Aug 9, 2017
Brexit: Fintan O'Toole & Jeffrey Donaldson on Dublin's Tough Talk
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson and Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole discuss how well Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is playing Dublin's hand in the rather complicated game of Brexit. They join podcast regulars Hugh Linehan and Fiach Kelly.
Aug 2, 2017
Sophie Long on Varadkar, Brexit and the DUP
Former Progressive Unionist Party member and feminist academic Sophie Long gives her view on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s recent comments about Ireland’s post-Brexit border. Ms Long, who resigned as the PUP’s communications director after she came under fire for tweeting her condolences on the death of Martin McGuinness, joins Michael O’Regan and Fiach Kelly, with Mary Minihan on presenting duties this week. Taoiseach Varadkar travels to Northern Ireland this weekend where he will attend a breakfast Pride event in Belfast on Saturday morning, a move that might annoy the DUP according the Ms Long, but won’t have any major impact. Anthony Scaramucci’s short-lived stint as White House director of communications also gets a mention and the panel talk about Kevin Myers’s controversial column in the Irish edition of The Sunday Times last weekend and the public reaction to TD’s outstanding €5,500 Dáil bar bill.
Jul 26, 2017
Don't Party Like It's 1999
When Government returns to its work in the autumn, the difficult and politically dangerous work of managing our economic recovery by means of the budget will begin, with much of the task landing on Paschal Donohoe's desk. What lessons will he take from past growth spurts in the nineties and noughties, and the problems that followed them?
Jul 21, 2017
David Goodhart On Rethinking Political Divides
In his book "The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics", journalist David Goodhart attempts to provide a framework for understanding UK society that explains Brexit and the collapse of the political centre. Before appearing at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties this week, he talked to Hugh Linehan about his ideas.
Jul 19, 2017
Water Refunds, GNI in A Bottle, Brexit Pessimism
Fine Gael have found the money to repay water charges to those who complied back in 2014, marking perhaps the final chapter in a terrible humiliation for the party. The €170 million needed for that is coming out of €300 million that has been found down the backs of various departmental couches. Won't that money be missed by the Ministers? The country has finally moved on from the water debacle, and today on the podcast we also look ahead to two of the biggest problems facing the country: how we measure and control our economy, and the potential calamity of Brexit. Apart from showing our economy to be much smaller than we all thought, what does the new GNI measurement mean for political decision making? And, one year on, has the assessment of how damaging Brexit can be changed? Pat Leahy is on the line from the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, where Brexit despair and fiscal prudence are dominating this year's discussions, while Mary Minihan recalls the dispiriting lack of unde…
Jul 12, 2017
End of Term, Paschal's Loose Change, The Observing Taoiseach
The summer break is looming in Leinster House and TDs are rushing to get things legislation through after an underwhelming term. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is making his 'Summer Statement' on the public finances and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is settling in to his role. To discuss all this and more Pat Leahy is joined by Sarah Bardon and Harry McGee.
Jul 5, 2017
Trudeaumania, Bin Ideology & DUP's Desperation
Harry McGee and Pat Leahy talk about the substantive issues addressed by An Taoiseach Leo Vardakar and Justin Trudeau on the occasion of the Canadian PM's visit, issues that were hard to discern with all the smiling, posing, praising and jogging going on. Then they turn to the issue of waste, which is a burning one on the left but not so much for the traditional establishment parties Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour. Why? Finally they call up Newton Emerson in Belfast to find out who really wants what in Northern Ireland, a day after talks to restore power sharing in Stormont were put on ice until the autumn.
Jun 28, 2017
Shane Ross's Unloved Bill, NED Talks
Former Irish Times Legal Affairs correspondent and author of The Supreme Court Ruadhan Mac Cormaic joins podcast regulars Sarah Bardon, Pat Leahy and Fiach Kelly to discuss the controversy surrounding Shane Ross's push to reform the judicial appointments process. Why is he so obsessed with this particular issue, and is the Bill solving the right problems? There's also a few minutes to discuss the National Economic Dialogue event taking place today.
Jun 21, 2017
Cringe Actually, Gender Roles, Nóirín Gets The Third Degree
The grubby appointment of former AG Máire Whelan to the Court of Criminal Appeals, the glaring lack of females in the senior and junior Government ranks and the dropping of Love Actually references in Downing Street all add up to a lacklustre first week on the job for An Taoiseach. What could he have done differently? We also hear some spiky exchanges from the Garda Commissioner's appearance at the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, and wonder what exactly Theresa May was expecting when she opened negotiations with the hard-as-nails DUP. Guests: Fiach Kelly and Mary Minihan. Hosted by Hugh Linehan.
Jun 16, 2017
Fintan O'Toole on Brexit, English Nationalism and the DUP
Hugh talks to Fintan O'Toole, who has just been awarded the Orwell Prize for Journalism for his writing on Brexit. Fintan explains why the Irish view on subjects like Brexit and the ascent of nationalism across the Western world is a useful one, and why David Cameron should have asked Enda Kenny for advice. They also discuss the unusual role of the DUP.
Jun 14, 2017
Leo's First Day: What We Learned
After another long day in Dáil Eireann, Irish Times politics team members Pat Leahy, Fiach Kelly and Mary Minihan trooped back to base to chat with Hugh Linehan about the ins and outs of Leo Vardakar's eventful first day as Taoiseach.
Jun 7, 2017
Political Theatre, Cabinet Forecast, Mary Lou McDonald on Leo The "Tory"
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald returns to the podcast to share her views on Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael's place on the political spectrum, future coalition possibilities for Sinn Féin ("we will talk to everybody"), and whether the northern wing of her party might be convinced to drop abstentionism and support a Labour "Coalition of Chaos" in Westminster. But first we hear from Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy about the feast of political theatre we can look forward to upon Leo Vardakar's elevation next week, and what whisperings they've heard about who will adorn the presumptive Taoiseach's cabinet.
Jun 2, 2017
Leo Varadkar has prevailed. At just 38, the new leader of Fine Gael is practically guaranteed to become our next Taoiseach. Simon Coveney, meanwhile, salvaged dignity by running him closer than looked possible in the early stages of the race. Harry McGee, Fiach Kelly and Pat Leahy look back on the two week campaign,and ahead to what kind of leader Mr Varadkar is likely to be and what early challenges he will face in the most scrutinised job in the land.
Jun 1, 2017
Interview With Angela Nagle, Author Of 'Kill All Normies'
Academic and author Angela Nagle first came to many Irish Times readers' attention when she penned an opinion piece on the so-called Alt-Right, in response to the publication of a controversial glossary of terms used by those who so self-identify. Now she has published a fascinating book, 'Kill All Normies', that charts the origins and evolution of that movement and offers a provocative thesis on why the liberal left has largely failed to counter their nihilism. In this podcast she talks to Hugh Linehan about her ideas.
May 31, 2017
Leo's Last Lap, Simon's Switchers and Yesterday's Men
Blue blood stained the floor after the final Fine Gael leadership hustings in Cork on Sunday. Now there are just a few days left for Simon to overhaul Leo's lead. Coveney supporters are helpfully circulating numbers around Leinster House, showing the different ways he can win. Do they add up? What influence are yesterday's men, Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan, having behind the scenes? And is Leo really going to drag the party rightward? Today's guests are Mary Minihan and Sarah Bardon. They also find time at the end to talk about a very welcome Supreme Court decision on Direct Provision.
May 27, 2017
Inside Story: The Persecution of Sean FitzPatrick
Sean FitzPatrick has been vilified for his key role in the economic crash that devastated the country. But has the State wronged him in its pursuit of a criminal conviction against him at any cost? Today we look at the disturbing things we have learned about a bungled investigation of his activities while at the helm of Anglo Irish Bank, an investigation led by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Colm Keena, our Legal Affairs Correspondent, talks to Hugh Linehan.
May 25, 2017
Poll Shows Majority Favour Coveney
A new Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll brings badly needed good news for Simon Coveney as he tries to overhaul Leo Varadkar's early lead in the race to lead Fine Gael. But will it be enough to sway the TDs and Senators who have already declared for Varadkar?
May 24, 2017
Mission Impossible? - Simon Coveney's Leadership Fight
The chances of Simon Coveney becoming the next leader of the Fine Gael party are slim, but Dublin Bay South TD Kate O'Connell, who is supporting him, says the race is not over yet. She tells Hugh Linehan, Pat Leahy and Fiach Kelly that she's backing Coveney because she wants a statesman and not a celebrity for Taoiseach, and why she would be "very, very" worried about the direction that Fine Gael might take under a Leo Varadkar leadership.
May 19, 2017
Fintan O'Toole: This Low-Stakes Race Is Meaningless For Most Of Us
Leo Varadkar seems to be pulling away in the race to succeed Enda Kenny. But does it really matter whether it is Simon or Leo? Fintan O'Toole talks to Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy about a race he says is not even a struggle for the soul of Fine Gael, let alone the soul of Ireland, between two candidates who have failed to show real leadership on major social problems.
May 17, 2017
There Is A Vacancy: Varadkar Holds Early Lead in Race to Succeed Kenny
Enda Kenny's leadership of Fine Gael and the country is over. Who will replace him? Fiach Kelly has canvassed every TD, Senator and Councillor to get the most detailed picture possible of the state of the race between Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, the two known contenders. You can find the Irish Times Fine Gael leadership tracker here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/fg-leadership-race
May 17, 2017
Seán Fleming on Enda's Lingering Leadership, Confidence & Supply and PAC
How has Enda Kenny's long goodbye impacted on the Oireachtas? Fianna Fáil TD and chair of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee, Seán Fleming joins Mary Minihan and Hugh Linehan to discuss the lingering limbo of Enda Kenny's leadership, the future of the confidence and supply arrangement with his party and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's appearances before the PAC.
May 12, 2017
Inside Eurovision with Patrick Freyne
Eurovision time is here again, and this year it's taking place in Ukraine. Is the tense political context impacting the annual carnival of national pop? And more importantly, why can't Ireland pick the right kind of song to get to the final? Irish Times Eurovision Correspondent Patrick Freyne is in Kiev. You can find more information about Irish Times podcasts at irishtimes.com/podcasts Tweet about the podcast @hlinehan
May 10, 2017
A Disturbance in the Force, Dáil Decorum, Paschal the Kingmaker
Will Nóirín O'Sullivan eventually be invited to follow sacked FBI director James Comey into early retirement? To discuss that developing story, plus the new tradition of silence in the Dáil, Leo Varadkar palling around with councillors and Paschal Donohoe's clever political positioning, Hugh Linehan is joined by Pat Leahy and Sarah Bardon.
May 5, 2017
A Year of Living Independently
The Independent Alliance has been in Government for one year, already longer than many observers predicted at the outset. How has it been doing? Very well, according to its five TDs. Led as ever by Shane Ross, they gave a press conference yesterday in which they proudly outlined their achievements and their undiminished belief in New Politics. Pat Leahy and Hugh Linehan listen to some of what was said and assess the group's impact on the Irish political landscape.
May 3, 2017
What Ails The Dáil? How To Fix Our Lifeless Legislature
What's going on in Leinster House? Not much, but at least we can argue about why that is the case. Today's Irish Times editorial was a little harsh, says Harry McGee - the lack of legislative achievements this term has not been all the Government's fault. And Fiach Kelly says useless bills destined to fail are clogging up the works. Also on the agenda today: what is likely to be a highly unusual 8th Amendment committee, Dáil prayers, Harry's ministerial scorecard and the "worst dinner party in history".
Apr 26, 2017
Church, State & Hospital / What Next For Anti-Abortion Groups?
The row over ownership of the new Maternity Hospital may be dying down, for now, but it has revealed some interesting things about the politics, people, and institutions involved. Mary Minihan and Pat Leahy discuss the story with Hugh Linehan. Later in the podcast they look at the outcome of the Citizens' Assembly. That's after we hear from Cora Sherlock and Breda O'Brien, both campaigners for the retention of the 8th Amendment.
Apr 22, 2017
Inside Story - Gardaí Struggle With Hostility On Streets
It's been a torrid few months for the institutional reputation of An Garda Síochána. Some members of the force believe the various controversies have undermined confidence in, and respect for, the force. Is this jeopardising their safety as they do their work? A spate of recent attacks suggest it could be. For a small section of society, the uniform is now “like a red rag to a bull", as one garda told Conor Lally.
Apr 19, 2017
Snap Chat: May's Surprise, Labour's Nightmare, The Forgotten Celtic Fringe
How the forthcoming UK election could leave the Conservatives with a whopping majority and consign Labour to as much as another decade in the political wilderness. And in Northern Ireland and Scotland, already marginalised by Brexit, will this vote put even more distance between citizens and Westminster? Today's guests are Professor Tim Bale, a political scientist and author of 'The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron' and Peter Geoghegan, a Glasgow-based journalist and author of 'The People's Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again'.
Apr 12, 2017
Water Solved? / All Politics Is Local
Part one: Could water finally be a political issue of the past? Sarah Bardon has the latest on the negotiations that briefly threatened to topple the Government but now seem to have been solved to the relief, if not satisfaction, of most parties. Part two: In Sallins, County Kildare, local people and politicians are not too exercised about who pays for excess water usage. But they are worried about crime, housing, services and amenities in a commuter town whose population has increased tenfold in the past decade. Harry McGee met the good people of Sallins and a few of their representatives: Catherine Murphy of the Soc Dems and James Lawless of Fianna Fáil, and local councillor Fintan Brett of Fine Gael.
Apr 8, 2017
Inside Story - IRA veterans' view of Brexit
Does Brexit threaten peace in Northern Ireland? Simon Carswell asked four ex-IRA men their views. Their answers show that they, like many others, are prepared to contemplate the previously unthinkable as Britain's historic departure from the European Union draws closer.
Apr 5, 2017
FG-FF deal fraying / Green's Catherine Martin on maternity leave & rebuilding the party
The arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is getting ropier by the week, with continued disagreements over water and how to deal with the crisis facing the Gardaí. Pat Leahy has the latest from Leinster House. After that Catherine Martin of the Green Party is here to talk about the effort to rebuild the party after its calamitous experience in power and her private member's bill to reform maternity leave.
Mar 29, 2017
Jim O'Callaghan on Garda Controversy & Confidence
There's a distinct lack of confidence emanating from the opposition benches of late, as the Dáil gets to grips with the latest Garda controversy. Speaking on today's episode of Inside Politics, Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan said public confidence in the force has been undermined once more, by the recording of one million breath tests that never happened. Mr O'Callaghan was critical of the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald for not dealing with wrongful convictions in the courts arising from difficulties with the fixed charge notice system, when she first became aware of the issue last year. The Dublin Bay South TD also accused the government of staying silent on the latest revelations over the weekend and said it has further damaged the relationship between his party and Fine Gael. Hugh Linehan was joined in studio this week by Sarah Bardon and Fiach Kelly from the Irish Times political team.
Mar 26, 2017
Inside Story - Victims on Trial?
Testifying against an abuser in court is a harrowing experience for a woman. When defence barristers ask questions about that woman's personal sexual history, it gets even worse. Why does this have to happen, and does it happen too often? We talk to court reporter Conor Gallagher about what new figures reveal.
Mar 22, 2017
Stephen Donnelly on Brexit, Fianna Fáil & "Phenomenal" Ireland
Fianna Fáil’s newest recruit Stephen Donnelly talks about why he has never been more convinced of the need for the government to appoint a Brexit minister. Donnelly, who has been Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson the issue for the last six weeks, lays out what Ireland’s priorities should be ahead of the triggering of article 50 by Britain next Wednesday and what demands should be made. He also speaks about his decision to join Mícheál Martin’s ranks, saying that while being part of the Social Democrats “did not work”, he still believes that the best way for him to achieve his political goals is from within a party, and Fianna Fáil are the best fit. Asked about the party’s conservative stance on issues of conscience like the Eighth amendment, Donnelly, who is clear in his belief it should be repealed, said he has found there is a freedom within the party to advocate on such issues. Hugh is also joined in studio by Irish Times political correspondent Harry McGee.
Mar 21, 2017
The Legacy of Martin McGuinness
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald joins us to pay tribute to the late Martin McGuinness. She calls him a person of grit and remarkable skill, who leaves Ireland at a crossroads and his party with the determination to carry on what he started. Also on the podcast, Mick Fealty, the editor of the Slugger O’Toole blog, discusses McGuinness's role in the Troubles and the peace process, and the legacy he leaves behind. Hugh is also joined in studio by Irish Times Political Editor Pat Leahy.
Mar 16, 2017
Colm Tóibín's solution for Northern Ireland
Author Colm Tóibín believes compromises must be made on all sides and by all traditions to give Northern Ireland the best possible future, one that looks very unlike what exists today, and one neither nationalists nor unionists will much like the sound of. He tells Hugh Linehan about his idea, and why he is not optimistic it can be achieved.
Mar 15, 2017
Gerry Adams on Stormont negotiations, a border poll and reaching out to unionism
Our guest today is Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. On the agenda are negotiations to form the Northern Ireland executive, what should happen if those talks fail, and the future of Northern Ireland, including Sinn Féin's hoped-for border poll and winning over unionists. Hugh is also joined by Political Editor Pat Leahy. Tweet comments, praise, criticisms: @hlinehan Email the podcast: email@example.com Subscribe to Inside Politics. RSS: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:70142248/sounds.rss iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/podcast/irish-times-inside-politics/id794389685?mt=2
Mar 8, 2017
Tuam Reaction, Harris Withdraws From FG Race, Enda Goes to Washington
In the past week the confirmation of the discovery of human remains at a former mother and baby home in Tuam, County Galway has shocked the nation and in the political realm provoked strong reactions from the Taoiseach and others. Hugh Linehan is joined by Sarah Bardon, Pat Leahy and Simon Carswell to discuss the disturbing case and its political fallout. The panel also look at the latest news in the Fine Gael leadership race and ahead to Enda Kenny's troublesome trip to Donald Trump's White House next week.
Mar 4, 2017
Bonus Pollcast: Advantage Coveney In Two-Horse Race
Recorded earlier this week, this podcast features analysis of the final batch of results from the latest Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll, this time concerning the Fine Gael leadership race. The numbers reveal it really is "The Simon and Leo Show". The poll also reveals a lukewarm national sentiment for "The New Politics". Political Editor Pat Leahy and our host Hugh Linehan discuss.
Mar 3, 2017
Poll Special: Plurality Want 8th Replaced, Not Repealed
Pat Leahy talks to Hugh Linehan about the findings of the latest Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll which show that the question of abortion remains a divisive one - and one that is likely to scare politicians. While more favour outright repeal than no change to the status quo, the largest group - 38% - prefer the 8th amendment to be replaced with another less restrictive constitutional clause. But first Hugh asks Pat about the poll results on the standings of the parties, as reported in yesterday's Irish Times.
Mar 1, 2017
Finian McGrath on 'Grace' & punishing HSE staff who failed her, Irish Water & Dáil delays
Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologised yesterday for the appalling treatment of 'Grace', a child with an intellectual disability, in our care system. Independent Alliance TD and Minister of State with responsibility for disabilities Finian McGrath joins Hugh Linehan, Sarah Bardon and Fiach Kelly to talk about the case. They also discuss Irish Water, and Finian mounts a defence of the "do-nothing Dáil".
Feb 24, 2017
"A toxic balance of power between FF & FG" - Prime Time's Katie Hannon on a year of New Politics
It's one year since voters gambled on an uncertain future by returning no clear winner in the general election. Over the next week, in print and online, The Irish Times political team will be examining what exactly that gamble has delivered to the nation. Joining Pat Leahy and Michael O'Regan to kick off the series on today's podcast is Katie Hannon, Political Correspondent with RTÉ's Prime Time.
Feb 22, 2017
"He's not like other politicians" - Varadkar and Coveney supporters make their case
The race to become the next leader of Fine Gael is now on, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary. On today's podcast we talk to two Fine Gael TDs, Minister of State Damien English and party vice president John Paul Phelan. Damien is a leading backer of Simon Coveney's bid while John Paul's support for Leo Varadkar is no secret. We ask them why Fine Gael members should pick their respective men, and what way they see the race going.
Feb 15, 2017
McCabe Crisis: Kenny Departure Hastened, Our Institutions Exposed, How To Run A Tribunal
It's been a busy week in politics and there's a lot to get through on today's podcast. First political reporter Sarah Bardon looks back at a shambolic few days on the Government front bench. Dáil watchers concur it has been a shocker from Fine Gael, and especially from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, whose tenure as party leader is measured now in days and weeks, not months and years, says Sarah. Then Alan Kelly of Labour and John McGuinness of Fianna Fáil join us to talk about the treatment of Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and Keith Harrison, and what they want from the tribunal of inquiry that is now to be set up. Deputy Kelly says he wants to "flush out" any members of Government who were briefed by senior Gardaí about allegations against Sgt McCabe, while Deputy McGuinness expresses no faith in the government his own party props up. And finally we take a quick look at the history of tribunals of inquiry in this state with Irish Times legal affairs correspondent Colm Keena. Must t…
Feb 10, 2017
McCabe Controversy Entangles Ministers, Senior Gardaí
Pat Leahy and Sarah Bardon tell Hugh Linehan what is now known about the false rape accusations made against whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, and how a statement by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone raises more questions than it answers about who in Cabinet knew what, and when.
Feb 8, 2017
Politicians Under Pressure
Donald Trump begins his day at 5am by watching "lies" about him on TV, while new Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly is being told "everyone hates you" on Twitter. Minister for Health Simon Harris is "ashamed", and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and the DUP's Arlene Foster aren't having great weeks either. Pat Leahy, Sarah Bardon and Michael O'Regan join Hugh to discuss the various calamities befalling our politicians this week.
Feb 3, 2017
Repeal Campaigners Talk About Strategy, Tone & "Shrillness"
The campaign to repeal the 8th amendment enjoys popular support in opinion polls and the dedicated efforts of progressives, but some have criticised how the campaign is communicating its message to the middle ground. Three prominent supporters of the campaign join Hugh to talk about what they make of such criticisms, the campaign's strategy and what lessons can be learned from the success of the same-sex marriage referendum campaign. Thanks to today's participants Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the 8th, Colm O’Gorman, Director of Amnesty International Ireland and Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell.
Feb 1, 2017
Brendan Howlin on rebuilding Labour, politics of the left, Trump, & more
After a catastrophic performance in the 2016 general election, the Labour party must rebuild from its roots and reconnect with working class voters, according to its leader Brendan Howlin. The Wexford TD was speaking to this week’s Inside Politics podcast and said his party is currently working on a review of its constitution, for which there have been “hundreds of submissions”. Deputy Howlin said membership of the Labour party has increased by 1,200 in recent months, thirty new area representatives have been appointed and the process of selecting candidates to contest the next general election will get underway in the coming weeks. When asked if new leadership at both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin in the next general election would mean it was time for a change at the Labour helm, deputy Howlin said he was still “up for the task”. He said the aim is to double the party’s seats, but he acknowledged there would not be a “bounce back” this time round. Deputy Howlin also cr…