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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Can Fine Gael stop screwing up in 2015?

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

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Everyone’s talking about

Many believe that Fine Gael screwed up pretty much everything in 2014, certainly the things that should have been easy, like the election of John McNulty to the Seanad (losing the unloseable election). Already 2015 hasn’t started brilliantly.

Fine Gael Think Ins Frances Fitzgerald, Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan will address a special Fine Gael think-in today. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The possible return of Frank Flannery – now being played down by many – is dividing members and is an issue likely to be raised at the parliamentary party’s special think-in in Dublin city centre today. The party has also courted controversy with its decision to completely withdraw from the Vincent Browne constituency debates.

Add to that the unnecessary and entirely avoidable furore over Leo Varadkar being out of the country during the Emergency Department crisis and the ructions being caused by Enda’s secret list of women and it’s not been a super start to 2015 for the biggest party in the country.

At the end of the day all the talk about the economy with op-eds and soundbites will not make one bit of difference if Fine Gael does not look like a competent outfit and right now it seems to have picked up from where it left off in 2014.

The agenda

  • All day: As mentioned, Fine Gael is holding a special one-day think-in in a city centre hotel.
  • All day: Sinn Fein is also holding its own think-in ahead of the resumption of the parliamentary session. 
  • 8.45am: Enda Kenny and Charlie Flanagan are launching a review of Ireland’s foreign policy at Dublin Castle this morning. More here.
  • 2pm: Former British prime minister Tony Blair will give evidence about ‘on the runs’ to a House of Commons committee today.
  • The Cabinet meets tomorrow. 
  • The Dáil is also back tomorrow.
  • But the hard working men and women of the Seanad have an extra week off.

Inside Leinster House

The halls of the Oireachtas have been fairly quiet this last week but that hasn’t stopped a lot of talk about Shane Ross’s new political alliance and Lucinda Creighton’s initiative. Fine Gael senator Martin Conway is now understood to have been flirting with the idea of joining one or the other if he fails to get selected by his party for a Dáil run in Clare. “Any news from Clare?” asked one mischievous member of Creighton’s new party yesterday.

What the others are saying 

  • The Irish Independent leads on a plan to offer tax breaks and subsidies to make childcare more affordable that will be discussed at Cabinet tomorrow 
  • Anti-terrors laws will be before the Dáil in the coming weeks with the country on “alert” for Paris-style jihadist attacks, according to the Irish Examiner.
  • The Irish Times says that three-quarters of Fine Gael TDs favour loosening the party whip system according to a survey carried out by one backbencher.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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