Irish Times Inside Politics-logo

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.




How will global tax reform affect Ireland?

For decades, Ireland has used a low corporation tax rate to attract foreign direct investment. That is now threatened by a major tax reform plan announced by US president Joe Biden, which proposes to tax the overseas earnings of US corporations at 21 per cent. Talks are also taking place at the OECD on a global minimum level of corporate tax, which is expected to be higher than the 12.5 per cent rate defended by successive Irish governments. To discuss the changing face of global tax and...


Foster's exit bodes poorly for north-south relations

What led to Arlene Foster's ouster this week, who will succeed her and what will it mean for politics on the island? To find out we talk to Sam McBride of the Belfast Newsletter. Then Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray look at the other big political news of the week: the major moves towards reopening the country, and the surprise resignation of Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy. The former housing minister's departure means an intriguing byelection will happen later this year.


Heroes or Zeros? Discussing Ireland's Covid strategy with ISAG's prof Aoife McLysaght

For much of the pandemic, the Independent Scientific Advocacy Group (ISAG) has recommended that Ireland should aggressively suppress virus transmission as part of a zero-Covid policy. That strategy has, however, failed to find favour with either the Government or health officials. As we prepare for the next phase of reopening in May, ISAG spokesperson, professor Aoife McLysaght, talks to Hugh about what the group would do differently, why one wrong step now could quickly lead to disaster...


'Politics on the Couch' - with Rafael Behr

To what extent can political beliefs and behaviour be understood through the science of psychology and the study of human cognition? In today’s episode, Hugh talks to award-winning political columnist and host of the excellent Politics on the Couch podcast, Rafael Behr, about the way our minds respond to politics and how psychology drives everyone’s political thought and behaviour.


Should we worry about the deficit? - with David McWilliams

Since coronavirus, governments around the globe have abandoned traditional concerns about deficits and enacted emergency measures in the interest of saving countries from the devastating effects of lockdowns. But in a post-pandemic Ireland, what should the role of the state be? Will the Covid crisis help bring to an end the old economic orthodoxies, or will there be return to a smaller state, balanced budgets and deficit reduction? Economist and The Irish Times columnist David McWilliams...


US politics special with John Dickerson, CBS reporter and author of "The Hardest Job in the World"

CBS News political reporter, Slate Political Gabfest panelist and proud Irish-American John Dickerson talks to Hugh about the office of President of the United States, which is the subject of his book "The Hardest Job in the World". He explains how the role has evolved in complexity and now places impossible demands on whoever holds it. They also discuss how the Trump presidency warped political journalism, and the significance of President Biden's Irish-American identity.


A very bad week for the Government's Covid-19 policy

The Government's Covid-19 policy was dealt a double blow this week, as it was forced to pause the mandatory hotel quarantine system and issues with two vaccines threw the planned inoculation programme into doubt. Hugh is joined by Jennifer Bray and Jack Horgan-Jones from The Irish Times political team to discuss the latest hurdles the coalition must overcome to keep its coronavirus plan on track. Also on today's show: what does the future hold for the Fianna Fáil party?


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.