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Irish Times Inside Politics

News & Politics Podcasts

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.

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.




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.




Understanding the loyalist grievances that led to violence in Belfast - with Newton Emerson

It's not just Brexit, or the Bobby Storey funeral, or the constant talk of a border poll. Many factors fed into this week's violence and rioting on the streets of Belfast. The violent clashes involved youths from loyalist and nationalist areas, but today's conversation with Newton Emerson focuses on the roots of the anger and disillusionment felt by the working-class loyalist community, and the role of criminal gangs in fomenting violence against the PSNI.


Quarantine clashes and vaccine targets

The debate surrounding mandatory hotel quarantine rumbles on between government departments, but what are the logistical, legal and diplomatic issues at stake? Will the introduction of a vaccine passport or a digital green certificate be enough to smooth over the cracks? And with the long promised ramp up in vaccinations now on the horizon, will the government be able to keep up with their ambitious targets? Our political team made up of Jen, Pat and Cormac join Hugh to discuss.


The psychology and the politics behind this week's Covid-19 moves

Behavioral economist Pete Lunn and political correspondent Jennifer Bray join Hugh to talk about the government's major moves in the Covid-19 fight this week: the easing of some restrictions, particularly around outdoor activities, and the simplification of the vaccine rollout, favouring older people over particular groups such as teachers, Gardaí or carers. Pete, who advises Nphet on how the population might respond to Covid-19 regulations, explains why the hope is the relaxing of...


A moment of triumph and peril for the Greens

Last week was a very good one for the Green Party, but you could be forgiven for getting the opposite impression. Today, Hugh and guests spend a little time on the party's dangerous internal divisions (as demonstrated by the spat over party member and Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu's unsanctioned run for a Seanad seat) and more time on the significance of the Climate Action Bill, the piece of legislation published last week that is a major achievement for the party and its leader Eamon Ryan....


Is free speech under threat?

In his new book Free Speech and Why it Matters, Andrew Doyle questions a new form of social justice activism, which as he puts it, casually disregards the principle of free speech for the sake of what is perceived to be a higher social priority. In today’s episode, the author and podcaster joins Hugh for a discussion on 'wokeness' and cancel culture, self-censorship and where the limitations of acceptable speech should be drawn.


Vaccine stockpiles, shortfalls and supply issues

The EU is set to tighten export controls in a bid to prevent Covid-19 vaccines leaving the bloc. It comes as Europe looks destined for a showdown with the UK over a stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines, said to number up to 30 million doses, and coveted by both sides to shore up inoculation campaigns. As shortfalls and supply issues hold back the rollout in many European countries, including Ireland, can we expect any relaxation of the rules here on April 5th? Hugh is joined by Jack...


Interview: Derek Scally, author of The Best Catholics in the World

In today’s episode Irish Times Berlin correspondent Derek Scally joins Hugh to speak about his brand new book: The Best Catholics in the World. Having spent the last twenty years living and working in Germany, Scally has witnessed a nation engaging earnestly with their past, and asks why the same cannot be said for his native Ireland and the legacy left over by the Catholic Church. Speaking to campaigners, survivors, writers, and historians, Scally embarks on a quest to unravel the tight...


Pandemic Politics: Ask Me Anything

In today’s episode, Pat and Jen join Hugh for a special edition of “ask me anything”. From the zero Covid strategy to concerns around global vaccine supply, the team tackle your questions on the politics of the pandemic. Thanks to everyone who sent their questions in. Happy St Patrick's Day.


Monarchies in modern times

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan dominated the news headlines all this week. The most watched programme on RTE so far this year, it shone a light on the inner workings of the long standing British monarchy. Allegations of racism and maltreatment now lead to bigger questions surrounding the legitimacy of the monarchy in a diverse and multicultural Britain. Joining Hugh to take a look back at the history of the royals from an Irish perspective, the potential...


Davy in crisis, Ireland’s illegal adoptions, vaccine delays and MHQ

It's just over a week since the Central Bank fined Davy stockbrokers €4.1 million for breaching market rules. On today’s show, Hugh talks to Jack Horgan-Jones and Cormac McQuinn from the Irish Times politics team about the political impact of the scandal. Also on the agenda today: continued delays in vaccine deliveries, progress on mandatory hotel quarantine and another dark chapter in Irish history, in the shape of the review of historical illegal adoptions.


Empire, imperialism and Ireland - with prof Jane Ohlmeyer

President Michael D Higgins sparked a debate recently with his sharp critique of British imperialism. In a piece for the Guardian, he accused some academics and journalists of a "feigned amnesia" and a failure to address Britain's imperialist legacy, especially when compared to Ireland's reflections on nationalism, the war of independence and partition a century ago. In today's podcast, Hugh talks to Erasmus Smyth professor of modern history at Trinity College Dublin, Jane Ohlmeyer, about...


Is affordable housing achievable?

In January, the Affordable Housing Bill was published by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien. The Bill introduces a shared equity scheme and a cost rental scheme, both designed to tackle the housing affordability crisis in Ireland. However, with the supply of houses under extreme pressure, due in part to the construction sector shutdown, will a shared equity scheme only lead to higher house prices? When can we expect to see any positive effects on the market...


Poll: what is the public's attitude to lifting restrictions?

Political editor Pat Leahy joins Hugh to look at the results of this week's Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll on Irish people's attitudes to relaxing Covid-19 restrictions, as well as the level of support for parties and political leaders.


"The EU needs to look at its own problems" - Clare Daly on civil rights, Russia & life as an MEP

This week Harry and Hugh talk to MEP Clare Daly, who since her election as an MEP for Dublin in 2019 has been an outspoken voice in Brussels on the issues she champions, such as her opposition to defence spending and the imprisonment of Julian Assange. They talk about Clare's controversial comments on jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Covid-19 restrictions and the challenge to get people back home to pay attention to what goes on in the parliament. But first Harry explains...


Politics, culture and the centenary of Northern Ireland

Following last week's podcast with professor Brendan O’Leary on the creation of Northern Ireland, today’s show looks at this year’s centenary in respect of the politics and culture of the region. Hugh is joined by unionist political commentator Sarah Creighton to discuss the future of Northern Ireland, its changing relationship with both the UK and the Republic, and her views on the prospect of a united Ireland. In the second part of the show, Hugh talks to Northern Irish writers Jan Carson...


Covid-19: How is Ireland performing?

Education is top of the agenda this week, as talks continue regarding the reopening of schools and the scheduling of state exams. In today’s episode, Hugh is joined by The Irish Times education editor Carl O’Brien, health editor Paul Cullen, and by political correspondent Jennifer Bray. The team also take a look at the national vaccine rollout and a gloomy report by the ECDC.


The centenary of Northern Ireland - with Prof Brendan O'Leary

This year marks the centenary of partition on the island of Ireland. The official commemoration takes place in May, but what were the key political and legislative events that led to the establishment of Northern Ireland? On today's podcast, Hugh speaks to Brendan O'Leary, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, who last appeared on this podcast to discuss his three-volume A Treatise on Northern Ireland. He talks to Hugh about the creation of Northern Ireland, how...


One year on from #GE2020

It may feel like a lifetime ago, but this week marks one year since the 2020 general election. And what an eventful twelve months it’s been. In today’s episode, we take a look back at the historic election result and the Sinn Féin surge which swept across the country. What important lessons have been learned by the political parties since then and how will their strategies change next time around? Joining Hugh to discuss this and more is Jennifer Bray, Pat Leahy and UCC political scientist...


Universal basic income: is now the time?

The concept of universal basic income (UBI) - paying everyone a regular, fixed amount of money to ensure a basic standard of living - has moved to the mainstream in recent years, driven by concerns over economic inequality and the erosion of traditional employment bases. More recently, the vast level of state support for workers in Covid-19-hit industries has shown that mass payments are feasible, if only for a limited time period. The Green Party supports UBI and won a commitment for a...


The EU's vaccine blunder

Naomi O'Leary on how the EU commission made its biggest blunder in years, combining two incredibly sensitive issues - the vaccine rollout and the Northern Ireland protocol - in one embarrassing and consequential controversy. Denis Staunton on how the commission's cock-up is being used in London and Belfast to leverage concessions on the operation of rules governing trade into Northern Ireland. And Jack Horgan-Jones on the domestic politics of our own vaccine rollout. Who will we blame if...