Analysis > David McCullagh
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Parallel Lines

Ireland and Britain are politically very different – different electoral systems, different parties, different issues. And yet, for the past two decades, we and our neighbours have seen extraordinary political parallels. In 1997, both countries got youthful new leaders, who brought about fundamental change in traditional party attitudes – Tony Blair changed Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution, which committed the party to public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange; Bertie Ahern changed Articles 2 and …

“the long goodbye”?

It must be the silly season – people are talking about whether Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth. This notion is a hardy perennial of the summer school circuit, where the great and the good gather to ponder, pontificate and proselytise. Let them at it, it’s fairly harmless. If I run out of things to blog about, I might even discuss it at some point. But for the moment, let’s just say it’s not going to happen, whatever Frankie Feighan and …

The reluctant Taoiseach

Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of a remarkable man, the third head of an independent Irish government, John A Costello. If you don’t know much about him, you’re not alone. He has been sadly overlooked, despite being Taoiseach twice, and serving longer in that office than any subsequent Fine Gaeler – although his record will be broken if Enda Kenny is still Taoiseach on 19 April next year. I have an interest to declare: I wrote a …

(Dad) Dancing in the Dark

Since the weekend Springsteen concerts, there’s been a lot of criticism of the attendance of a somewhat divisive figure, turning up like an embarrassing uncle and sucking all the good out of the event for everyone else. If he likes it, how can I like it, many fans thought. But enough about Bono. Bruce invited him on stage, and that’s good enough for me. There was also some comment about the Taoiseach, whose enthusiastic dancing and air guitar skills were …

Eventually, a government will emerge

Back in 2007, when I was a Political Correspondent for RTÉ News, my then six year old daughter made a poster to put up in the kitchen on the day of the General Election count. “Hurrah,” it said, “the election is over!” It was clear what she was thinking – trips to the playground! Going swimming! Maybe even ice-cream! It had been a long campaign. But as I looked at it, I was thinking that while the count might be …

SNP – Paving the way for Scottish independence?

Over the weekend, I was given a historical question to ponder by our good friends in the RTÉ History Show (presented by Myles Dungan on Radio 1, between 6pm and 7pm on Sunday evenings – you should listen, it’s very good). Their question was: can the SNP’s sweeping victory in the Westminster election be compared to Sinn Féin’s electoral triumph in 1918, the election that paved the way for Irish independence? It seems to me the answer is yes – and …

The day I nearly died for England

News of June’s planned soccer friendly between Ireland and England at the Aviva reminds me of the last time I saw England play at Lansdowne Road. Not the infamous abandoned game in 1995, but their previous visit, in November 1990 for a Euro ’92 qualifier. The game was a 1-1 draw (David Platt took the lead for England on the 67th minute, Tony Cascarino equalised on the 80th), but that wasn’t the reason for my attendance. I was then working …

The Coalition game begins

Enda won’t play with Micheál or Gerry; Micheál won’t play with Gerry or Enda; and Gerry won’t play with Enda or Micheál. They’ll all play with Joan, but given Labour’s current poll ratings, that may be a bit academic. The election is still a year away, but the great game of Coalition-formation 2016 is well and truly underway. We’ve had a lot of talk about it in recent days, with the Taoiseach’s Prime Time interview on Thursday, the Fine Gael …

Prime Time’s David McCullagh blogs on farm safety concerns

Farm Safety is in the news again – and for all the wrong reasons. The death of Johnny Ryan last week was the first farming death of the year, and had particular resonance because he was well known in GAA circles, and because he was the father of Kilkenny hurling captain, Lester Ryan. After the tragedy, Lester Ryan spoke of how his father had been extremely safety conscious, always taking the correct precautions when going about his work. And yet, …