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State of the Nation

Is Michael Lowry about to be brought in from the cold?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

Updated 12.10 pm

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Everyone’s talking about…

The Moriarty Tribunal PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Independent TD Michael Lowry. So much so that Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told The Irish Examiner that “there’s too much talk about Michael Lowry, quite frankly.”

Despite what Coveney thinks, as it becomes increasingly unlikely that the current government is returned without independent support, there’ll continue to be speculation about what gene pool TDs could prop up a second Enda Kenny-led government.

The speculation is likely to continue as long as Enda Kenny refuses to answer questions about it, something he did at the weekend.

Someone who appears to have made his position clear is Labour’s deputy leader Alan Kelly. He features on the front of today’s Irish Independent and says that his party wouldn’t work with Lowry.

His boss Joan Burton isn’t on the record as saying the same yet, her doing so could put and end to the story and she’ll be under pressure to  make public comment soon.

If Labour are to keep arguing that they can act as a watchdog to a Fine Gael government, nipping this one in the bud now could act as a timely example.

Another reason to do so is to turn the debate back on to the issues.

PastedImage-87361 Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin ruled out working with Michael Lowry again. Twitter / TJ_Politics Twitter / TJ_Politics / TJ_Politics

If Lowry was to help out a government that came up short, it wouldn’t be the first time.

The Tipperary TD was part of a group of independents who gave Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fail a helping hand in 2007.

He did this before the publication of the Moriarty Report but when allegations of his dealings were widely known.

Speaking this morning, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin ruled out working with Lowry again, saying there is a “fundamental difference” between now and 2007.

I think the Moriarty Tribunal has come in the intervening period and that says very strong things in terms of Michael Lowry’s involvement and interference in the awarding of that particular mobile phone licence, and that is something that all political parties cannot fudge.In other words, the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal. Parties can’t dodge those, they’re very real and they’re significant conclusions by the honourable judge. There are also other issues we obviously can’t discuss.

All this Lowry talk may soon begin to frustrate voters if, as rumours are to believed, we’re a month out from the election and we’re not talking about issues facing the country.



Need to know who’s running in your area and what they stand for?’s candidate database is now live.

The agenda

  • Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will today bring plans to cabinet that legislate for two weeks paid paternity leave for fathers.
  • Enda Kenny will face Leaders’ Questions from 3.15pm.
  • The final stages of a bill that will change the way institutes of technology operate will be published this evening.
  • A Fianna Fáil motion calling on the government to make more social and emergency housing available will be debated from 7.30pm.
  • Separately, Environment Minster Alan Kelly is expected to announce 1,000 more social housing units today. 

What the others are saying 

  • The Irish Independent reports that Brendan Howlin wants to re-establish town councils that were abolished by the government he’s in.
  • The Irish Times reports that UK Prime Minister David Cameron praised Taoisech Enda Kenny’s help in EU negotiations.
  • The Irish Daily Star reports that Kenny will announce the date of the general election next Monday, and it will be on 26 February. 

In case you missed it 

Good day for…

Bernie Sanders. A week out from the first Democratic caucus, the Independent Senator is just six points behind Hillary Clinton in Iowa polls. If you’re wondering what his appeal is, it’s moments like this.

CBSN / YouTube

Bad day for… 

Communications Minister Alex White. What’s your Eircode? If you actually know it you’re certainly in the minority.

The system hasn’t caught on and some argue it was archaic and doomed from the start. The minister went on radio yesterday morning to defend the millions spent on it. If you’re explaining you’re losing.

On the Twitter machine… 

Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell TD with a rather unusual attack ad. Or rather an attack cartoon.

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