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Inside Politics

Fintan O'Toole: What does Simon Harris stand for?

What sort of a politician is Simon Harris? What can we learn from his record? And what sort of a Taoiseach is he going to be? Columnist Fintan O'Toole joins Hugh Linehan and Jennifer Bray to dig into the presumptive taoiseach's record and the state of the Fine Gael party.



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  • ‘If the election was held today, Trump would win’

    32:47
    The upcoming US election will see a presidential rematch for the first time since Eisenhower and Stevenson in 1956. That contest is between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the two most unpopular candidates in living memory. But who is likely to prevail once the votes are finally counted?In a special live event last week, Head of Polling at Ipsos US, Cliff Young, joined Hugh Linehan to dig into some of the big questions that have defined the presidential race thus far.Why is Joe Biden performing so poorly in the polls? Why have so many minority voters who would traditionally have voted Democrat, decided to make the move towards the Republican party? And despite his legal woes, does Trump’s anti-establishment stance still retain its potency?And in terms of what issues are front and centre for US voters, Cliff explains why it’s the economy, more specifically inflation, that is having a ‘nasty effect on the political calculus’. But can that be changed in any significant way before election day?Produced by Declan Conlon.
  • Aggression and abuse on the campaign trail for those running in local elections

    44:04
    Hugh Linehan is joined by Cormac McQuinn and Jennifer Bray to discuss the week in politics: ·     The last fortnight has seen several incidents of councillors being verbally and physically attacked while out canvassing for the forthcoming local elections. A disturbing trend that hasn’t been a feature of previous elections.·     The panel dig into what the Irish Times/Ipsos B&A poll results say about the volatility of public opinion right now.·     And neither current First Minister of Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, or former First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster, came away from the UK Covid-19 inquiry unscathed. And the panel pick their favourite Irish Times pieces of the week: ·     Ronan McGreevey writing 50 years on from the Dublin-Monaghan bombings.·     Laura Kennedy does the arithmetic of emigration.·     Stephen Collins writes of Micheál Martin’s political enemies  postponing their big move.
  • Poll suggests Sinn Féin support is still in decline

    26:23
    The latest Irish Times/Ipsos B&A opinion poll shows Sinn Féin support has slumped again while there has been a recovery for Fine Gael. The poll also shows that Micheál Martin is the most popular party leader, while support for independents remains at a high level. But what lies behind these trends? Hugh was joined by Cliff Young from Ipsos as well as podcast regulars Pat Leahy and Jennifer Bray to discuss the poll results before a live audience in Dublin city centre.
  • Is the 'disinformation' label used to stifle free speech?

    46:29
    Disinformation is a concern in the run-up to the local and European elections. And the combination of new AI technology and complex social media networks make it easier than ever to spread misleading information to a global audience. But who polices disinformation, and is the term sometimes misused or abused for political ends? To debate this, Hugh talks to Eileen Culloty of DCU, Freddie Sayers, editor of UK news and opinion website Unherd, and Jack Horgan-Jones from The Irish Times politics team.
  • A famous victory for student politics

    48:13
    Hugh is joined by Harry McGee and Jennifer Bray to discuss the week in politics:This week saw a rare and notable victory for student politics at Trinity College Dublin, where protestors secured a victory in their campaign for the college to divest from companies linked to Israel.Meanwhile the Government’s moves towards recognising Palestinian statehood are still underway.The asylum seeker accommodation crisis trundles on.It is a month out from the European elections and Jennifer and Harry have their ear to the ground. Could high-profile first-timers like Ciaran Mullooly and Niall Boylan claim seats in Strasbourg at the expense of more established politicians?And the panel pick their favourite Irish Times pieces of the week:Patrick Freyne reviewing Jennifer’s favourite TV show.Laura Slattery’s excellent live coverage of Bambi Thug’s quest for Eurovision glory.Barry Roche on the many outstanding mysteries surrounding American passport fraudster Randolph Kirk Parker, who was arrested in Cork last year.
  • Eoin Ó Broin on why Sinn Féin's support declined: 'We have to get better at spelling out alternatives'

    56:55
    Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin is in studio to talk with Hugh Linehan and Pat Leahy about his party's apparent decline in support in the past year, his views on housing and how to handle high numbers of asylum seekers, and the political landscape ahead of forthcoming local and European elections. Eoin also denies the suggestion, recently made by Davy Stockbrokers, that Sinn Féin has more in common with the New Labour of Tony Blair than the socialism of Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Migration front and centre as accommodation crisis deepens

    40:20
    Host Pat Leahy and political correspondents Jack Horgan-Jones and Harry McGee discuss the week in politics:The critical shortage of accommodation for people arriving in Ireland to apply for International Protection was everywhere in the news this week, as was the row between the UK and Ireland over returning migrants. The Government desperately needs to build a system that can process asylum seekers quickly and efficiently, and provide accommodation in the meantime.The outcome of local elections in the UK points to a potentially catastrophic general election for the ToriesIn Scotland, the SNP's diminished status means independence seems further away than any point since before the 2015 referendumThey also pick their favourite Irish Times articles of the week.
  • Will far-right politicians make inroads in local and European elections?

    46:46
    Political Editor Pat Leahy sits in Hugh Linehan’s chair as podcast host this week for an Inside Politics election special as our politics team analyses the upcoming local and European elections. Jennifer Bray reminds us of the political landscape influencing the 2019 local elections which led to the ‘Green wave’ and Sinn Féin’s running aground. Jack Horgan-Jones analyses the impact a pandemic, a cost of living crisis and the war in Europe have had on voters and the resulting trends that have become embedded. Harry McGee and Cormac McQuinn take a deep dive into the issues, candidates and political groupings in the sprawling European election constituencies. There is also an intriguing electoral race taking part on the 7th of June when voters in Limerick city and county will go to the polls to choose Ireland’s first directly-elected mayor. If the elections haven’t yet been top of mind for you, don’t miss this thorough look at the forthcoming ballots.
  • Harris delivers on Stardust as McEntee fumbles the border question

    45:33
    Hugh Linehan is joined by Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to look back on the week in politics:Taoiseach Simon Harris’s sure-footed performance as he delivered an apology to the Stardust tragedy victims.Less good was Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s appearance at an Oireachtas committee, where she struggled to answer a question about the State’s handling of international protection applicants.Discussions about budget spending are starting early this year, a sign of the auction politics to come in the run-up to the general election.Plus the panel pick their Irish Times articles of the week:Justine McCarthy on the growing number of journalists becoming Government advisors.Finn McRedmond in defence of snobbery.And coverage of the dysfunction in University Hospital Limerick, as revealed by a coroner’s report on the tragic death of teenager Aoife Johnston.Sign up for Politics push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phoneFind The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date