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Well, what do we make of the weather? Last week it was completely spring-like, mild temperatures, lots of sunshine, and one would really think that spring had arrived. In contrast, this week started off with cold, showery, shivery type of weather and low temperatures. So it is the old story; we think spring has come but really it hasn’t. And yet, the daffodils are out, not quite in abundance yet but they are out with their yellow blooms. In my back garden I have a small magnolia tree. Now, it is called a dwarf magnolia, but because of political correctness you are not allowed any more to say that word with regard to anything, and so it is a small magnolia. The buds are already on all of the branches of that magnolia tree, which would indicate that it is soon going to flower. But somehow I don’t think so if this weather continues. Be that as it may, well at least so far we’ve been spared the snow and wild winds which were very much the climate of 12 months ago. So let’s hope the benign days continue – and more daffodils please, and more buds turning to flower please, in everyone’s garden!
A high level conference on ‘Brexit and the Future of British-Irish Relations’ with leading figures in politics, business, journalism and academia will take place at NUI Galway on Thursday, 28 February and Friday, March 1. The event has been co-organised by the University’s Moore Institute, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and the Mitchell Institute at Queen’s University Belfast.
Europe is likely to be a recurring theme in Irish politics during 2019. The fate of the Brexit process across the Irish Sea has been Issue No 1 for some time, and despite all that happened last week, including the thumping defeat for Theresa May's deal in the Commons, the only certainty is the promise of further drama to follow.
With the Christmas festivities getting under way and 2018 drawing to a close, now is a good time to review an eventful political year. While the anticipated general election did not materialise, 2018 did see trips to the ballot box with a keenly contested referendum on abortion as well as a presidential election that, while low-key, threw up a number of interesting questions.
Well it’s been a busy week again, but to begin this column this week I’m going to start on a gentler note.
For Insider, like many people, November 22 will always be associated with events at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, in 1963 on America’s day of infamy. Insider could not help but note that anniversary when considering the latest Brexit drama of the past week which, like the Kennedy assassination, is transfixing people here and has the potential to leave an indelible mark on our country.
Insider has been a keen observer of the political scene for well over 40 years, and, up until recently, thought he had seen and heard it all. There were many contenders for the ‘Brass Neck’ award over the years - from Charlie Haughey’s ‘doing the State some service’ to Ray Burke’s ‘line in the sand’ to Bertie Aherne's ‘won it on the horses’.
Well what a thrilling and wonderful weekend we had last Saturday and Sunday. Hurling has become the new game to watch, to reflect upon, to talk about, and to exult in the sheer strength and vitality of the players.
I’m sure you’re all still enjoying the bountiful summer. It is wonderful to wake up each morning and to know that the day will be warm.
Well, Ireland won last Saturday in Melbourne so it’s full steam ahead for Sydney next week, now it really is a competition. Australia won one match and Ireland won another match and now, next Saturday, will be the decider.