Serving 'middle Ireland': Leo Varadkar on tax break controversy, prioritising homeownership and the next election
The coalition Government still has plenty of time to run but, if the past week is anything to go by, the remaining months could be characterised by less cooperation and more shaping up for the electoral battles to come.
On today's podcast Pat Leahy and Hugh Linehan take a listen back to an interview Pat conducted with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday in which a picture emerges of how Fine Gael will differentiate itself come election time.
In the interview the Taoiseach talks about a controversy over three Fine Gael junior ministers' decision to publicly call for a tax cut in the next budget, why Fine Gael supports lowering taxes for those on middle and upper incomes, why boosting the numbers of homes available to purchase is Fine Gael's housing priority, and how a decision will be made on the timing of the next general election.
Mr Varadkar spoke about other subjects - you can read the full article here.
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Naomi Klein on conspiracies, climate and the 'personal brand'44:37Today’s guest is Canadian academic and author Naomi Klein. Klein shot to fame with her first book, No Logo, which offered an acute critique of how powerful corporations in the 1990s had profited off exploitation in a globalizing world. Her later books have examined a range of subjects including crisis capitalism, militarism, and the climate crisis. In her new book Doppelganger Klein uses the fact that she is commonly confused online for a very different writer, Naomi Wolf, who has called Covid-19 vaccine programmes ‘mass murder’, as a device to explore modern themes including online identity, conspiracy theories and the 21st Century supremacy of the ‘personal brand’.
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Disturbance at Dáil Éireann49:12Our Friday wrap of the week returns with the start of the new political season. Jennifer Bray, Jack Horgan-Jones and Pat Leahy join Hugh to discuss the week in politics: What should we call the ugly scenes outside Dáil Éireann this week - and what sort of response should there be? As politicians gear up for a period with lots of elections, is Taoiseach Leo Varadkar creating friction with his coalition partners? The concerns of farmers were in focus at the Ploughing Championships this week - as was their dislike of the Greens. Plus the panel nominate their favourite IT articles of the week, including: Justine McCarthy on a growing healthcare controversyNaomi O'Leary on Ireland's risky exposure to the Chinese economyand Roísín Ingle's paean to the joys of day-drinking.
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'Sinn Féin have pissed a lot of people off' - Aoife Moore on the struggle to write about Ireland's biggest party39:10How hard it is it to write a tell-all book about Sinn Féin, a political party known among journalists for its secrecy and its on-message discipline? Aoife Moore, author of The Long Game, a new book on the party, was expecting at least some cooperation - but it didn't really work out that way. Of those few who were willing to talk, she says, many had their own motives. In the Mindfield area at this year's Electric Picnic festival, Aoife sat down with Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to talk about the book, the party and its leaders, past and present.
Paschal Donohoe on spending v saving, RTÉ's future and Fine Gael's vigour44:23October 10th is Budget Day, so it is the time of the year for politicians and lobbyists to make their cases for extra spending and tax cuts in 2024.It will be a year when Ireland is forecast to run a surplus of over €10 billion, leaving lots of room to manoeuvre, and plenty of decisions in the hands of Minister for Finance Michael McGrath and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.On today's podcast Mr Donohoe joins Hugh and Pat to talk about Budget 2024. Of specific measures, the Minister gives little away. But he does provide an insight into his thinking about the balancing act that must be struck. They also discuss the risk posed to stability by unpredictable corporate tax receipts, the future for RTÉ and whether Fine Gael still has something to offer in government beyond the next election.And Mr Donohoe takes the opportunity to criticise Pat's argument that the Government is short on ideas.
Licence fee revolt, speed solutions, think-ins39:52Harry McGee and Cormac McQuinn join Pat Leahy to talk about the big political stories of the week:News that RTÉ licence fee receipts have continued to plummet will be of concern when the Cabinet meets this weekA spike in road deaths is another issue for the coalition to grapple withPolitical party think-in season is about to commence, but the annual events are not what they used to be, lament our correspondents.Plus: Northern Editor Freya McClements on the waning prospects of a restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the attrition a lack of leadership is causing to day-to-day lives of citizens. What is in the mind of DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, in whose hands powersharing lies?
More seats and new constituencies: a first look at the redrawn electoral map39:53The Electoral Commission has published its highly anticipated constituency review which, as expected, recommends an increase in the number of Dáil seats to let representation keep pace with population growth. The review, which is expected to be approved by the Dáil, also recommends the creation of new constituencies and the adjustment of others. But what does it all mean for voters and politicians? Cormac McQuinn and Harry McGee join Pat Leahy to dig into the review.