Let’s pretend

Let’s pretend our constitution doesn’t guarantee a woman’s right to find out about abortion services in Great Britain. Let’s pretend our constitution doesn’t explicitly promise that woman that she won’t be arrested as she boards the jet to fly to Britain for that abortion. Let’s pretend instead that Ireland is a sacred place where no […]

Follow through

In 1979, the people of Ireland voted to amend the constitution, so that graduates of universities other than the NUI and Dublin University (Trinity) could vote in Seanad elections. But although NIHE Dublin and Limerick were later upgraded to university status, their graduates were never given a Seanad vote. 33 years later, our government wants […]

The chair

Dear Enda, I see that despite near-15% unemployment, you’ve having difficulty finding a chair for the constitutional convention, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring. I believe I’m an excellent candidate, not least because I’ll settle for €92K, so Brendan Howlin can rest assured I’m value for money. Now, my qualifications: I’m […]

RTÉ and the political lobby

“Labour want US style political advertising” It wasn’t the biggest ever story, but the Sunday Times liked it enough to pay me for it. It even got a bit of social media traction at the time. And it was based on three lines at the end of an internal RTÉ memo. In May 2010, a […]

One will not get that

Words spoken in the Dáil are privileged. There’s a reason for this. Public representatives need to be able to speak freely, without fear of comeback through defamation laws. Here’s where it gets tricky. 200 years ago, Hansard started publishing those privileged words. The Dail followed that tradition, with the Dail record. The Record is privileged, […]

What’s my line?

A barman, a TV repairman, four trade union officials, five solicitors, a salesman, a stockbroker, a publican, a post office clerk, two postmasters, a political advisor, four political party officials, an operations manager, a plant hire company owner, a painter/decorator, a newsagent, a management consultant, a fisherman, a FAS community employment scheme supervisor, fourteen farmers, […]