Alternative facts, fake news, and plain old lies

Thu, Mar 09, 2017

We have certainly been spoilt for choice when it comes to aphorisms that sum up the challenges for contemporary politics, particularly when it comes to the role of the media.

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The year will not pass without a general election

Thu, Mar 02, 2017

The air in political circles is dense with anxiety these days. Having been pulled back from the brink of a cliff edge which was heading straight into the depths of an election nobody wanted, TDs remain cautiously hopeful that more time can be had before facing the electorate.

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The centre that is not holding

Thu, Feb 16, 2017

Insider notes with amusement that the past three years have been catastrophic times for what, in the fantastic place that is the mind of the average Irish Times or Guardian journalist, passes for the 'the political centre'.

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It's time we talked about a post-capitalist society

Thu, Feb 09, 2017

When Donald Trump was elected on a platform of far-right populism, many thought that, once in office he would soften his cough a good bit, or at least the “checks and balances” of the American political system would go some way to restrict his more madcap proposals.

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Parkmore traffic chaos and the need for wider planning reform in Galway

Thu, Feb 02, 2017

Insider recalls a recent decision of An Bord Pleanala, where it reversed the Galway County Council's grant of permission for a new access link road and junction at the IDA's Parkmore West Business Park.

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There is one good thing about Trump's election

Thu, Jan 26, 2017

First things first: Trump’s election was greeted by wild rumours in Galway that all the US multinationals would be forced by the new president to re-locate to North America. This did not happen under Obama, as was initially feared, and it will not happen under Trump.

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What we can expect from politics 2017

Thu, Jan 12, 2017

The festive period is behind us and already people’s thoughts are turning to what the political year ahead will bring, and already we have drama in the North and the usual post-Christmas crisis in the hospitals.

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That was some year

Thu, Dec 22, 2016

What a tumultuous political year it’s been! It began with a sense that despite much turmoil and insurgency across the globe voters would shy away from the radical choices and that something akin to the ‘status quo’ would prevail. It ended with Madonna with no sense of irony berating the President-elect of the USA for engaging in sensationalist acts and rhetoric in order to generate publicity.

When we look at the three seismic events that dominated political discourse in Ireland during 2016 – Brexit, the US presidential election and our own General Election – there seemed good cause at the outset for thinking ‘safety first’ would prevail. After all in the previous 18 months we had seen Scottish voters shy away from independence and a late swing returning the Tories to majority government in the UK.

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Take me to your leader

Thu, Dec 08, 2016

Were Clint Eastwood to ride into town on a steed, canter across Eyre Square, before a final gallop up College Road to City Hall, stride in and demand of the first official he meets, "Just who is Fianna Fáil's man in this town?", what answer would he get?

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May you live in interesting times

Thu, Dec 01, 2016

Do you remember the late 1990s and early 2000s, that hubris filled era of post-Communism, new Labour and Blairism, the Celtic Tiger, and the free reign of unregulated, laissez faire capitalism, in short 'The End of History', and the seeming utter triumph of the Centre-right?

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Trump's election - the aftermath and the challenges

Thu, Nov 17, 2016

When Insider agreed to write a post-mortem on the US presidential election, he thought it would provide an opportunity to reflect on the many shortcomings of electoral politics in the second-largest democracy on earth, and that it would also offer some catharsis, some closure, at the end of a gruelling 18-month campaign.

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Ireland - a country its rulers think should not exist

Thu, Nov 10, 2016

Insider thought she lived on an island called Ireland and in a state called the Republic of Ireland. However, Insider recently realised she is wrong. According to The Marian Finucane Show, His Excellency John Bruton, and sundry officially sanctioned happenings - from Enda Kenny's Brexit gas-passing shop to events celebrating Irish classical composers - Insider now realises she in fact lives on an island called Island.

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Good politics, bad politics - you decide

Thu, Nov 03, 2016

Insider has been observing developments in the US Presidential election with increasing alarm, and is concerned our own political system is vulnerable to a significant shift in light of what is happening in other countries.

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Brexit could be the Republic’s chance to bale out of the EU

Thu, Oct 27, 2016

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty was in fine form during the Budget debate. Particularly enjoyable was his contrasting the Cabinet ‘s bellyaching over when to pay the miserly €5 extra to pensioners with the carefree approach to dishing out another €4,000+ per annum to ministers.

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Too soon to say how ‘Brexit-proof’ this Budget is

Thu, Oct 20, 2016

In what has been a tumultuous year to date – an inconclusive general election result in February, the shock of Brexit in June, and then the judgment in the Apple case at the end of August – last week’s Budget arguably posed the biggest challenge to date to the minority Government and the much vaunted ‘new politics’.

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We deserve the local politicians we get

Thu, Oct 13, 2016

INSIDER HAS observed the workings of many Galway city councils over the decades. It is an interesting, if not enlightening experience, to visit City Hall and sit in the public gallery to watch the mechanics of a council meeting.

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Repealing the Eighth and the right to autonomy over ones' own body

Thu, Oct 06, 2016

This week Insider is going to address one of the most contentious issues in society. For 33 years, the Eighth amendment has been an issue which has split the people right down the middle - which is why most mainstream politicians have shied away from outlining their position on it.

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The Budget will pass but that is the least of the Government's worries

Thu, Sep 29, 2016

As the Dáil and Seanad return after a long summer break, Insider has been mulling over the state of Irish politics. Not that it has been a quiet summer of course, with a number of issues disturbing the peace.

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Trump, Truthiness, and 'race-baiting populism'

Thu, Sep 22, 2016

There is a certain temptation these days to treat the US presidential election as some form of over-the-top reality TV show. Bring out the popcorn, bring out a buzzword bingo card, and sit back. There is certainly something of the fantastic in the air: "He couldn't! Could he?"

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Rural Galway declines - and no one is shouting stop

Thu, Sep 15, 2016

It only seems like yesterday that rural Ireland was standing up to the Dublin 4 diktat. Luke 'Ming' Flanagan was in the Dáil and the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association was waging a crusade which took rural areas by storm. Ming and Michael Fitzmaurice, backed by an able backroom team, were uniting people against the over-centralised Irish State and its masters in Brussels and Berlin.

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