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The best analysis of the Irish political scene featuring Irish Times reporters and columnists, outside experts and political guests. Also on this channel: Inside Story, an occasional series examining major news stories and how we cover them.

The best analysis of the Irish political scene featuring Irish Times reporters and columnists, outside experts and political guests. Also on this channel: Inside Story, an occasional series examining major news stories and how we cover them.
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The best analysis of the Irish political scene featuring Irish Times reporters and columnists, outside experts and political guests. Also on this channel: Inside Story, an occasional series examining major news stories and how we cover them.




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.


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?


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.


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.


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...


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...


People Like Me, Housing Wars, No Such Thing as 'Reverse Snobbery' - with Senator Lynn Ruane

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...


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...


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...


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.


Interview: Paschal Donohoe

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...


"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...


Interview: 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.


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...