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  • Stephen Collins: Varadkar right to defend Whelan move

    Leo Varadkar has had a baptism of fire as Taoiseach, having to deal with a political crisis over a judicial appointment in his first week in the job as well as dealing with some internal fallout from his Cabinet and junior ministerial appointments. It was a rude introduction to the rollercoaster nature of the Taoiseach’s office. One day it is the glamour of travelling to Downing Street to meet British prime minister Theresa May and the next being subjected to hostile questioning from Opposition leaders in the Dáil over a questionable Government decision. Varadkar had better get used to it because that is the way his life is going to be for as long as he remains in the Taoiseach’s office. Political

  • May: No EU national will be forced out of UK when Brexit happens

    European Council president Donald Tusk has said members will decide in November where EU agencies now based in Britain will be relocated. No EU national currently living lawfully in the UK will be made to leave on the day of Brexit under proposals outlined by Theresa May to her EU counterparts. Mrs May told a European Council summit in Brussels that she wanted to offer "certainty" to the estimated three million EU expats in the UK and ensure that families are not split up by Brexit. But she made clear that the proposals would be adopted only if the same rights are granted to UK citizens living in the remaining 27 EU states in a reciprocal settlement. And she set up a series of probable clashes

  • Cian O'Neill introduces occlusion goggles into Kildare training to improve accuracy and awareness

    Kildare have gotten off to a fantastic start in the Leinster championship this year with blowout wins over Laois and Meath to advance to the Leinster final for the first time since 2009. The Lilywhites have made a concerted effort over the last few seasons to improve the analytical aspect of their training with O'Neill and sports scientist Jason McGahan introducing GPS monitors and occlusion goggles to improve Kildare's physical performance on the pitch. "We're always looking for those marginal gains," said O'Neill. "We use different types of ancillary equipment such as the occlusion goggles.

  • As trust nosedives, could the Whelan controversy lead to an early election?

    The edgy exchanges between the Fine Gael leader, Leo Varadkar, and his Fianna Fáil counterpart, Micheál Martin, yesterday indicated that trust between the two has nosedived, just a week into the new Taoiseach’s reign. The fault line for this seismic political event was the Government’s hasty appointment of the former attorney general Máire Whelan to the Court of Appeal. For a week the Government has faced Opposition claims that it bypassed established procedures to facilitate the departing law officer for the Government. The Government has argued that it was perfectly entitled to appoint her the way it did. That is true. It has reserved powers to appoint a candidate to the courts and can bypass

  • Decision to sideline new TDs seen as reason for gender inequality

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was unable to mine a potential seam of female talent for ministerial appointments because of his self-imposed ban on promoting TDs selected for the first time in 2016. First-time TD Maria Bailey, who was a supporter of Mr Varadkar’s leadership rival Simon Coveney, said Tuesday had been a “disappointing day” because of the poor gender balance in the junior ministerial ranks. “It’s really disrespectful to discredit what anybody did before 2016. We all bring life experience and skills. They can’t possibly say the class of 2016 doesn’t come with experience and motivation,” she said. “We have to give young girls coming through the opportunity to get into politics. You can only

  • Chief Justice rebukes Varadkar and Martin over Whelan row

    CONOR GALLAGHER MARY CAROLAN The country’s most senior judge has rebuked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin over Dáil comments about former attorney general Máire Whelan and senior members of the judiciary. Chief Justice Susan Denham gave a pointed reminder on the separation of powers between the branches of government as the controversy over Ms Whelan’s appointment to the Court of Appeal continued. Legal sources said the comments were aimed at Mr Martin in particular, and The Irish Times also understands that Leinster House authorities considered taking action against the Fianna Fáil leader but decided against doing so. Other senior members of the judiciary are also

  • It’s back down the hill for the Grand Old Duke of Cork

    Ohhh, the Grand Old Duke of Cork/ He had 36 strong men (and six women)/ He marched them up to the top of the hill/ And he marched them all over the shop/ And he marched them down again. . . Micheál Martin seems stranded on that blasted hill. And the troops are getting restless. It’s been a case of once more with feeling for the Fianna Fáil leader this week. Time to lead another march to the summit of high dudgeon and give out about the view. Micheál strode into the Dáil on Wednesday with the air of a man spoiling for a fight. His Soldiers of Destiny arrayed around him, keen to take umbrage. Fighting fizzbags in waiting, glaring over at the new Taoiseach as their Grand Old Duke of Cork launched