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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.




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...


Debt and taxes after Covid - with Marie Sherlock and Cliff Taylor

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is presiding over a massive expansion of national debt to meet society's needs during this pandemic. Prevailing economic wisdom says he's right to do so. But when the Covid-19 crisis passes, the old questions of how much to spend and how high to set taxes will return. To talk about the political and economic choices ahead, Pat Leahy talks to Labour Senator and former trade union economist Marie Sherlock, and our economics columnist Cliff Taylor.


Covid-19: our losing battle with the travel problem

What to do about the risk of international travel bringing the virus into the country has been a problem for the Irish government since the pandemic began, one we've never really got on top of. New measures aim to tighten things up, but do they go far enough? And how do we compare to our neighbours? Naomi O'Leary, Jennifer Bray and Jack-Horgan Jones join Harry McGee to discuss. Plus, what's going on with the Astrazeneca vaccine?


An uncomfortable week for Leo Varadkar

This week the spotlight has been well and truly on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar following the release of internal Department of Health emails, which provide fresh insight into the controversial leaking of a GP contract back in April 2019. Following immense political and media criticism last November, Varadkar apologised in the Dáil for his actions. Now once again, he finds himself in the eye of the storm. Political editor Pat Leahy joins Hugh to discuss.


Covid-19: plans to resume special education postponed

With levels of Covid-19 infection still at an all-time high, the Government failed to get teaching unions on side for a return to school this week for students with additional needs. On today’s podcast Hugh is joined by Jennifer Bray, Jack Horgan-Jones and Harry McGee from The Irish Times politics team to discuss how this happened. We also look at the vaccine rollout, the controversy over how it has been handled by some hospitals and why the next phase is likely to be even more politically...


Mother and Baby Homes report

Earlier this week the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes published its long-anticipated report. It investigated decades of abuse at fourteen mother and baby homes and four county homes across Ireland between 1922 and 1998. In today’s episode, Hugh and Pat are joined by Caelainn Hogan, journalist and author of Republic of Shame and by mother and baby home survivor Elizabeth Coppin to discuss the findings within the report, the public apologies and what more needs to be...


Covid-19: can our hospitals cope?

First, Simon Carswell on the wave of Covid-19 patients hitting our hospitals. When will the wave reach its peak, and will the system be able to handle it? And how are our nursing homes doing this time? Then Peter Foster, public policy editor at the Financial Times, joins Hugh and Simon to look at the difficulties bedevilling traders and hauliers since Brexit took effect on January 1st, and some of their surprising consequences.


Covid-19: was this inevitable?

In our first podcast of the year, Hugh talks to The Irish Times health and political editors, Paul Cullen and Pat Leahy, and political analyst and statistician Kevin Cunningham about the social and political ramifications of the recent dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases. How has the government responded to the latest crisis and what level of public support is there for the restrictions?


AMA 2020, part two: more listener questions answered

It's the second and final instalment of our annual "ask me anything" podcast! Hugh puts your questions, mainly about politics and the media, to Harry, Pat, Jen and Jack. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question and sorry to those whose questions we didn't get around to this time. Wishing all our listeners a safe and happy 2021.


AMA 2020, part one: your questions answered

It's the first instalment of our annual "ask me anything" podcast. Recorded on December 18th. Hugh puts your questions, mainly about politics and the media, to Harry, Pat, Jen and Jack. Part two will be published next week. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question and sorry if we didn't get around to yours this time. Wishing all our listeners a safe and happy Christmas.


It's Level 5 again

Cabinet has agreed to reimpose Level 5 restrictions, with some modifications, due to the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. Pat Leahy joins Hugh to take us through what that means.


Vaccine rollout, political apologies and a Green divide

This week the Irish Government announced details of their national Covid-19 vaccination plan. Vaccines will be rolled out in three phases: an initial roll out followed by a mass ramp-up and finally, open access. It’s an extraordinary undertaking, which is sure to throw up plenty of challenges for Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and his department. In today's episode, Jen and Harry join Hugh to talk through the key points of the plan. The team also discuss yet another political apology, this...


Brexit: Another deadline approaches

Following a meeting over dinner this week between Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, it’s clear that very large gaps still remain between the two sides. Negotiators have been given until this Sunday to figure out a path forward, but will this be yet another deadline ignored? The sticking points remain the same: fisheries; the level playing field; and governance, however the focus has narrowed onto a specific element of the level playing field – the...