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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.




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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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...


Taoiseach to talk 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...


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.


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...


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.


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...


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...


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...


Vincent Browne on Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin & the Media's Role in the Troubles

Gerry Adams: War, Peace and Politics 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.


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...


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.


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.


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...


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.


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...


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