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This ‘new politics’… and all can be on the FF front bench. Well, almost all… January 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

What was it I was saying about Martin’s ploy being to have an eye-catching announcement very day of the campaign. Kudos to the man, he’s not doing too badly so far, though… the latest development does seem to kind of sort of represent a political jumping of the shark…


Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has named eight people with no ministerial experience, including one Senator, three councillors and a party member unelected to public office, to his new team of party spokespeople.

Well, it’s certainly ‘new’, though I’d be interested in precisely how, other than hoping to assist in the election chances of those who are candidates, those spokespeople will operate in the wake of the election.

Though on second thoughts…

A further straw in the wind on the ‘new’ component is that he’s clearly been unable to dissuade the two candidates in Dun Laoghaire from running and thereby potentially seeing both seats go west.

Ah, this ‘new’ politics. In parts, surprisingly like the old.

None too subliminal suggestion on the part of the Irish Times? January 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Whatever about the popularity or otherwise of the Green Party, and given the latest polling their imminent demise from national politics appears almost inevitable… what are the IT implying by the choice of these photographs?

An unusual Election Broadcast…… January 31, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

One of the more imaginative Irish Election Broadcasts…. from Dublin South East Independent candidate Dylan Haskins.

I think I know him from the Telly……

Crisisjam at Politico.ie January 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
1 comment so far

Just to note that Crisisjam, the continuation of Budgetjam is on-going at Politico.ie with a range of commentary on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going in this economic crisis.

Or as it says:

Crisisjam: exposing and challenging the myths, the half-truths and the occasional outright lies disseminated by a largely uncritical and frequently complicit media; providing a space for new alternative and radical ways of talking and thinking about the crisis, as well as a forum for original research and reporting.

There’s a range of contributors both familiar and new and its an interesting and useful project. More than well worth a visit.

This over on Ephemeral Left may be of interest to some January 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

Buapestkick’s blog Ephemeral Left carries some interesting materials relating to the Laois/Offaly United Left Alliance which you’ll find here.

Left Archive: No Hanging Here: The case of Marie and Noel Murray, Murray Defence Committee, c.1976/7 January 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Murray Defence Committee, Uncategorized.

To read this file please click on the following link: MURRAYS77

An interesting document [and many thanks to the person who forwarded it to the Archive] that serves as a companion piece in some respects to the pamphlet in the Archive on the Sallins Train Robbery and the subsequent arrest of members of the IRSP.

This was issued by the Murray Defence Committee in 1976 or early 1977. It concerned the possibility that Noel and Marie Murray might be hanged for the murder of Garda Michael Reynolds after the Death Sentence was passed during their trial.

Noel Murray had been a member of Sinn Féin from 1966 and had gone with Official Sinn Féin in 1970. Marie Murray had been active in the Housing Action Committee in Dublin in 1969 from which she had joined OSF the following year. Both had left OSF in 1973 but remained politically active – apparently on the anarchist left. Some sources suggest they were part of the little known anarchist splits from OSF – Dublin Anarchist Group and New Earth.

As noted in The Lost Revolution, The Murray Defence Committee was not supported by Official Sinn Féin.

The pamphlet here is very much focused on the Death sentence which was initially handed out [and only later on appeal was set aside because they could not have known that it was a Garda that was shot, since he was off-duty] and reporting the trial and refers almost not at all to issues of guilt. It gives considerable space to the conduct of the trial and the situation leading up to it subsequent to their arrests.

Interestingly it positions both of the Murrays as being ‘politically active’ and ‘continuing to fight for…an independent socialist Ireland’.

As was noted to me by the person who very kindly donated it to the Archive:

On the photo on P.3 – carrying the banner on the left is Tony Gregory. Marching behind him are Mick Ryan and Seamus Ó Tuaithail.

There is also some literature relating to this case here on the Irish Election Literature Blog.

Seán Haughey interview… January 30, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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There’s an interview in the Mail today with Seán Haughey, son of Charles J, conducted by Jason O’Toole. In a way what is most telling is how little Haughey divulges. This seems to be a man who has decided the less said the better, and what is said is entirely anodyne. One comes away with a sense of someone who has no particular political ideology.

First up there’s a fair bit of personal stuff about his father and his family. And surprisingly defensive too…or perhaps not so surprising on second thoughts.

People were genuinely supportive and very favourable towards my father and his legacy despite everything. I felt throughout all those difficulties he still had great support throughout the country. ‘I know people will say, “Is that fella delusional?” But that certainly was my experience and I can’t deny that.

Fair enough, but even that has the feel of displacement activity on Haughey’s part as if he’d rather not discuss contemporary politics for fear of giving too strong an opinion.

This may well be also because as he admits ‘he will always live in the shadow of the two political giants in his family: his ‘controversial’ father and his more ‘universally accepted as brilliant’ grandfather, Seán Lemass’

And the ‘legacy’ of his father he thinks has held him back…

People are still very opinionated about his legacy.

So, yes, all that has overshadowed – is the word you use – my own political career. But I’m carving out a niche for myself and whacking away diligently and dealing with the issues of the day. I don’t feel intimated by that (legacy), as I have fairly modest ambitions myself; I’m just really honoured to be a public representative. ‘But the Haughey name, from a party point of view, probably has held me back. There probably would be a reluctance to advance somebody with the Haughey name. I have felt that from time to time.’

And what of this?

Seán insists he was as shocked as the rest of the nation when financial scandals about his father – including the revelations about taking money from businessmen and embezzling money from Fianna Fáil – began to emerge after his retirement from political life, specifically during the McCracken Tribunal and the ongoing Moriarty Tribunal. And even though his father managed to purchase the palatial Abbeville estate – eventually sold off to settle tax evasion bills – and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, Seán maintains that he always believed his father’s financial dealings were all above board. But he concedes: ‘I wondered about it from time to time. To me, it was the family home. It was a very grounded family upbringing but I always felt maybe that he’d made money from property and investment and so on. Yes, I did question from time to time but I always felt there was a fairly innocent explanation.’


Not exactly gushing words for one B. Ahern…

Even though he’s going to bravely face the irate electorate in next month’s election, he admits that he did – albeit briefly – consider quitting Fianna Fail when he was passed over by then taoiseach Bertie Ahern for several ministerial positions. ‘I was taken aback at that time. The general view was that I was next in line. I may have contemplated it (leaving Fianna Fáil) for a day or two but with my tradition and heritage I don’t think I could have done that. ‘With a grandfather and a father leading the party, I don’t think I could ever contemplate running as an independent – even though a lot of my voters tell me I should in the current scenario. If you’re on the team, you play with the team, in good times and bad. ‘I think Bertie Ahern did his best to move people along and give people a chance and so on but he probably was apprehensive of preferring somebody with the Haughey name. I think that would be fair to say. I don’t have any grudges against him at all, in that regard.’

As for the present and the future… well, hardly a ringing endorsement of FF prospects in this:

…he concedes that he himself is already contemplating life outside of politics if he fails to retain his seat in Dublin North Central. ‘I have a fighting chance of retaining my seat. I’ll go out there and fight for it and take my chances. I did think long and hard about running in this election – it’s going to be a very, very difficult election. You’d be mad not to reflect for a little while before a General Election, whether you should run again. You know, what are the prospects of defeat and so on.’

And more broadly?

I’d love to be a Fianna Fáil today – probably in Opposition – and build up the party, to give it new vision and new direction with the new leader.’


Seán believes there is a new sense of optimism in the party following Micheál Martin’s ascent to the leadership. ‘He will bring a new energy to the party. We’ve seen that a week is a long time in politics and four weeks is a long time in politics; so, I think the election is all to play for. Campaigning hasn’t even commenced yet. I wouldn’t right us off just yet.’ Spoken like a true Haughey.

Never a truer word…

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week January 30, 2011

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

A flavour of this week’s fare comes with this story, which explains why unions are superfluous to getting your rights due to the existing employment laws. Sure. It’s then followed up with a story from Louise McBride pointing to various instances where unions have failed to reverse the decisions of government or companies, as part of the following “question”.

If your union means nothing more to you than boring meetings and a magazine which comes in the post every so often (which you fall asleep reading), it could be time to put that few hundred euro you pay to your union each year back into your pocket.

I’m amazed to see the anti-union propaganda take such a crude and silly turn. But I shouldn’t be.

Brendan O’Connor seems deeply affected by the failure of Brian Lenihan to win the Fianna Fáil leadership.

Someone mentioned to me the other day that he saw Brian Lenihan on TV after the result of the Fianna Fail leadership contest and he thought, “That’s a man who is slipping off into the mists of history”. And it was kind of sad, and you found yourself thinking, as you did with Katy French, or Gerry Ryan or George Lee: Is that how that story turned out? Is that how that ended?

I’m fairly sure that the overwhelming majority of people can’t wait to see the back of him. At least for now, as there may be a Mandleson-like return at some point in the future. Or perhaps that should be Haughey-like.

The man who just won’t go away, Michael McDowell, is back, implicitly touting himself for a role in the formation of a new “centre-right” party. It makes you wonder if he considers himself centre-right where the actual right lies.

Which brings me to the reflection that it is only after the FG-Labour coalition takes office that the conditions will be right for a new centre-right party to emerge. There clearly will then be not merely “a gap in the market” but “a market in the gap” as well.

Still can’t resist invoking the magic power of the word “market”, can he? Old habits die hard.

Eoghan Harris uses the fact that Chris Andrews support Michael Martin to suggest that Fianna Fáil is in danger of a swing to the left, one which will endanger, it seems, the state of Israel.

As Holocaust Memorial Day fell last week, I have a question. Why, in a world of struggling peoples, are Andrews and his supporters in Flotilla Fail so focused on one people, and so aggressive toward the state of Israel — a state set up by Jews who escaped Hitler’s mass murder?

Andrews and Flotilla Fianna Fail sum up Martin’s primary problem. In a country crying out for a centrist coalition, pledged to keep taxes and public spending down, Flotilla Fail presents itself as yet another populist version of the Labour Party and Sinn Fein, both in fiscal and foreign policy.

Nah, I can’t follow the thinking here either.

New Polls… January 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

As Mark P has noted, two polls out tomorrow, one from RedC for the Business Post, the other for the Sunday Independent…

Interesting snapshot of the campaign, ach, I’ll quote his thoughts in full:

The two polls tomorrow are very close to each other, which gives them a certain credibility.

Party / MB / Red C
FG / 34 / 33
Lab / 24 / 21
FF / 16 / 16
SF / 10 / 13
Gre / 2 / 2
Oth / 15 /15

Things of note:

No bounce for FF. Greens well under the margin of error. Labour edging slowly down. SF falling back but still at a historically high level. Others gaining rapidly – although what that last one represents is very much open to interpretation.

Here are some comparative figures on the RTÉ website…

The Red C poll for the Sunday Business Post shows Fianna Fáil at 16% – up two points since the last Red C poll for Paddy Power at the start of the month.

Fine Gael support is down two to 33%, Labour unchanged at 21%, the Greens down two to 2%, Sinn Féin is down one to 13%, and Independents and Others up three to 15%.

And more from Conor…

The Red C Poll figures are out:


Tomorrow’s Sunday Business Post/Red C polling results. figures in brackets are from last Red C Poll for Sunday Business Post, in December.

The figures in square brackets relate to the 2007 general election.

* Fine Gael: 33% (34%) [27.3%]
* Labour: 21% (23%) [10.1 %]
* Fianna Fáil: 16% (17%) [41.6%]
* Sinn Féin: 13% (14%) [6.9%]
* Green Party: 2% (2%) 4.7%]
* Ind / others: 15% (10%) [6.7%]

Just to add very briefly, that would seem to be it for the Green Party in terms of returned representation. The Others is interesting. Both ULA and right of centre Independent candidates adding to that figure?

SF still doing well, but as he says dipping. Labour doing well too but… And the arrival of Micheál Martin giving only two per cent to FF, though that two per cent not pulled from the Independents, which surprises me greatly.

Lots to reflect on over the next few days.

This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Wire January 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Wire? Brilliant, no dispute. Early period, Pink Flag – stone classic, Chairs Missing – the pace slows somewhat, but in an interesting way, 154 – remarkable. Then they stopped.

And then returned as an electronic band, of sorts. New Orderesque, but with a crisper edge, perhaps informed by their adherence to a much more concise form of post-punk originally. And they even charted, with Eardrum Buzz (apparently their biggest hit – well so sez wiki, so it must be true 😉 ). But to call them poppy, well, not so much. Melodic, certainly, but shot through with an amelodic aspect and with a heaviness that set them apart from the more straight ahead outfits in the same area. Later they became Wir, after one of their members left and then stopped again for a while. The 2000s saw intermittent appearances in both album and live form and a new album was released this very month.

But that 1985 to 1990 period is to me perhaps better than their original incarnation. Slightly though, only slightly, let me assure the purists – and it’s a mood thing too, catch me on another day and it’s all 154 or Pink Flag in my head. But there’s something of The Passage about their approach. Perhaps not quite as stark but listen to ‘Drill’ and the connections are evident, aesthetically. Indeed listen to ‘Ahead’ and the original iteration of the band is also evident, that impassioned but very slightly detached overview that they made their own. Though in truth pretentious is another word that sometimes come to mind when I hear them, and it’s a charge that has to some degree dogged their later reputation. And yet, the music still holds up [and can I recommend while we’re talking about pretension and The Passage this absolutely brilliant overview of the latter band by Phil on The Gaping Silence which somehow manages to be both affectionate and highly and accurately critical simultaneously?]

Anyhow, here are a number of tracks from that period. If you can get your hands on 1985-1990: The A List that’s pretty handy as an overview of the period. It’s a curious compilation whose running order was sequenced by polling fans. Why? Who knows.

At the end there’s a piece from a live version of ‘Drill’ .

We start with their finest moment of that period… the fascinating ‘In Vivo’ (this is the 7″ version apparently) followed by their second finest moment, ‘Ahead’.


In Vivo


Eardrum Buzz

Kidney Bingoes


Silk Skin Paws

Drill [live on the Late Show]

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