President Michael D Higgins has now signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. It is now law. So here’s some history. In 1977, a Fianna Fáil landslide saw a remarkable influx of new TDs into the Dáil. Three elections in eighteen months in the early 1980s saw further changes, and the first major issue… Continue reading Floodgates
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… Continue reading Let’s pretend
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… Continue reading Follow through
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… Continue reading The chair
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… Continue reading RTÉ and the political lobby
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,… Continue reading One will not get that
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,… Continue reading What’s my line?
Your country, your comedy gold
More than once, I’ve bemoaned the lack of decent satire on Irish television. What I had in mind was something like the Daily Show – the US version with Jon Stewart, not the Irish afternoon armchairs and gossip programme. Last week, in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal, I found out one… Continue reading Your country, your comedy gold
About a week ago, comedian Morgan C Jones tweeted his intention to stand outside Leinster House next Thursday at midday. He didn’t care if it ended up as a one man, silent protest, he just felt the need to do something. He invited others to come along if they shared his feelings. It was one… Continue reading #YoureFired