Don’t Panic

Brian Cowen says he has a plan. It says a lot about perceptions of the current leadership that my first reaction to that headline, in today’s Irish Independent, was a shrug. It wasn’t even that enthusiastic a shrug. More of a half completed slouch, really. My second reaction was to ponder headline puns. Brian Cylon,… Continue reading Don’t Panic


Biffo blinked. As I write, I’m watching live coverage of the Taoiseach’s press conference to announce the government is backing down from the decision to remove free medical cards from all citizens over the age of seventy. By increasing the income limit for a medical card to €700, the government has ensured that all but… Continue reading Climbdown


Consider the following: Biffo and Dermot Ahern were solicitors. Micheál Martin, Mary Harney, Mary Hanafin and Noel Dempsey were secondary school teachers. Mary Coughlan was a social worker. Brian Lenihan was a lecturer and qualified barrister. Willie O’Dea was a qualified barrister and accountant. Batt O’Keeffe was a lecturer. Brendan Smith was a political handler.… Continue reading Experience

Ich bin ein Hamburger

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has outlined a package of measures aimed at saving €440m in public spending this year. In an unexpected move, the Cabinet announced it would set an example for other state agencies by curbing its own excesses. Taoiseach Brian Cowen will lead the way, restricting himself to traditional ballads during late night… Continue reading Ich bin ein Hamburger

Jaw Jaw

Two days ago, echoing a recurring theme from the West Wing, I joked about how I’d been avoiding the R Word. It seems the Taoiseach has picked up the same theme, and is equally determined to avoid using the word recession. Unfortunately, the word he chose to use to use instead is not reassuring. Somehow,… Continue reading Jaw Jaw


The new taoiseach isn’t off to a good start. First he threatened to shout down Fine Gael every time they spoke in the Dáil, now he’s been forced to back down before the farmers. Ever since the IFA made it clear their support couldn’t be taken for granted in the run-up to the Lisbon referendum,… Continue reading Blink