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she's gone

'On the edge of turmoil': What the world media made of the Frances Fitzgerald controversy

There’s been a lot of interest from abroad – but only some of it is seizing the drama of the moment.

FRANCES FITZGERALD HAS resigned as Tánaiste, after days of speculation following the whistleblower email controversy.

The issue was around an email she received regarding the legal strategy used against Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

In a statement, Fitzgerald said today that she would be stepping down with an immediate effect.

Fitzgerald’s resignation comes just hours before Fianna Fáil was scheduled to table a motion of no confidence in her, which would have led to a collapse of the government and the calling of a general election.

But what did the world’s media make of the news?

The main takeaway from taking a look at the global headlines: The world is interested in what’s been going on, but overall it’s not getting over-dramatic.

That said, perhaps the most pointed piece (in a sea of very on-the-nose ones) is this article from The Guardian, which says that Ireland is “on the edge of turmoil”.

PastedImage-60892 The Guardian The Guardian

There’s plenty of interesting imagery here:

“…will save the government if it gets its scalp…”

“But in the act of torpedoing the confidence and supply agreement…”

“…shortened the lifespan of the government…”

“…his language has been confident and pugnacious…”

The next fortnight will be a test for Europe to show how committed it is to the Irish question without the Varadkar megaphone in play.

It’s also interesting to note that the story is being picked up by a range of publications, including The Register Citizen, which is based in Connecticut.

The Daily Mail did get a bit of drama into its headline today, thought:

PastedImage-13238 Daily Mail Daily Mail


Financial Times

PastedImage-19633 Financial Times Financial Times

But the rest of today’s coverage was pretty short on drama. The FT describes Fitzgerald as Ireland’s “embattled deputy prime minister”, with a short explainer about how she faced “accusations she mismanaged a policing scandal during her time as justice minister”.


PastedImage-21183 BBC BBC

The BBC included the words Tánaiste and Garda, explaining for readers what they both mean. It said that she is resigning “for the sake of the country”.

A few sites, like the Daily Mail and Fox News, carry Press Association wire copy on the issue, including a tweet from Frances Fitzgerald. They describe the Confidence and Supply Agreement as “fragile” and say the “fallout is casting a long shadow over December’s key Brexit summit”.

So, overall – a very straight and factual account of what’s happened. What remains to be seen is what happens after the dust has settled and the commentators and columnists come out in force.

That’s especially the case with UK-based publications, who may be particularly concerned about what a general election in Ireland could mean for Brexit negotiations.

Read: ‘I believe it is necessary’: Frances Fitzgerald resigns as Tánaiste following whistleblower email controversy>

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