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Can Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin end Civil War politics?

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

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Everybody’s talking about… 

Irish General Election Could Enda turn his attention away from Miriam and talk to Micheál? Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

It’s a question that has occasionally popped up over the last three years as the polls show that both parties could conceivably have the numbers to do a deal. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are historically divided by the events of the Civil War, but now two senior Fine Gael ministers, Leo Varadkar, and this morning in the Irish Examiner, Simon Coveney, have suggested a deal could be done.

Coveney’s comments to the Examiner were made before Christmas but they’re reporting now is sure to spark a day or two of debate about such a possibility. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has already said that the current senior coalition partner is “too right wing” for his party. While this morning Timmy Dooley has taken to Twitter with this topical quip:

Although he’s been less definitive on Morning Ireland.

There are two things to say about this. The first is that history has taught us that a deal can always be done, particularly when the numbers stack up. But history has also taught us that junior coalition parties always suffer when in government. Many in Fianna Fail will argue that if faced with that prospect after the next election it would be better to wait until the election after that before going into government.

The agenda 

  • 10.30am: The Cabinet holds its usual weekly meeting this morning. 
  • 2.30pm: The Seanad has been reformed! Well, sort of. Adjournment debates, which are like Topical Issues where ministers take questions, have been replaced by Commencement Debates. It’s essentially the same thing except now it takes place at the start of the Seanad’s day rather than at the end. 
  • 3.15pm: Enda Kenny takes his usual Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. 

Inside Leinster House 

How has Leo Varadkar’s decision to go public about his sexuality gone down among  the Fine Gael grassroots? The country’s traditional conservative party unsurprisingly has a lot of conservative members, but one backbencher believes “they’ll be okay”. It’s hard to think the reaction will be anything other than positive when the party gathers for its national conference in Mayo next month.

What the others are saying 

  • Leo Varadkar’s sexuality will not be a factor in any Fine Gael leadership race, says the party’s former strategist Frank Flannery, according to the Irish Independent
  • Charlie Flanagan is pledging that new anti-terrorism legislation will be brought in within a period of weeks, according to the Irish Times.

In case you missed it 

On the Twitter machine 

Glad we cleared that one up

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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