Of Toblerones and cojones

As a new year of political guff and spoofery dawns, we should forget Swedish-style taxes or childcare – what Ireland really needs is Swedish-style politicians. By Philip O'Connor.

Honour Savita by silencing the extremists

For common sense to prevail, the extremists on both sides of the abortion debte must be marginalised and ignored as much as possible. By Philip O'Connor.

If we really want to honour Savita Halappanavar and finally have a proper debate on abortion in Ireland, we need to silence the extremists on both sides.

The Electric Picnic’s alcohol paradox

In a summer where we seem to be fishing the bodies of young men out of rivers and canals with alarming frequency, there is surprisingly little debate about our paradoxical relationship with alcohol.

Cards on the table - I gave up drinking a few years ago after a young Wicklow man who was here in Stockholm to celebrate St Patrick’s Day drowned in an accident.

As is normal in Irish communities around the world, there was a lot of drinking done that weekend, and in truth it could have been any of us.

A deadbeat minister for a deadbeat nation

If James Reilly had been offered the health portfolio anywhere else but Ireland, the course of action available to him would have been clear and simple - either get rid of the interests in private nursing homes and health clinics, or don’t take the job. By Philip O'Connor.

The real problem with James Reilly appearing in Stubbs Gazette is not the fact that he is officially a deadbeat minister in our deadbeat nation.

It is our moral bankruptcy when it comes to his conflict of interest.

The ESM's time has passed - and we haven't even voted on it yet

The ESM is no magic bullet, and even if it was, it couldn't bring down the runaway beast that is Europe's debt problem. By Philip O'Connor.

After the weekend's orgy of ball sports, the fun continued in Ireland last night with the blood sport of democratic debate around the Fiscal Treaty referendum – and by extension, Ireland’s ability to access ESM funding - beamed live and direct via the Frontline.

The outcome of the debate, and with it the referendum, are irrelevant.

Labour's fears of being 'unelectable' will soon be realised

Had Labour remained in opposition, they could have increased their political capital, rather than destroying it. By Philip O'Connor.

Ever since they abandoned any pretence of socialism or social democracy to go into government with Fine Gael, I've found cause to be extremely critical of Ireland's Labour party. Naturally enough many members have contacted me to express their displeasure, via social media and otherwise.

Tell the truth and damn the torpedoes

The mere fear that they will not get other work keeps many Irish journalists in line and silences dissent, whether in print or on air. By Philip O'Connor.

"I'm a freelancer, I can't afford to get involved in this discussion" - journalist Sinéad Ryan on Tonight with Vincent Browne.

The hazard waiting in the water

The ultimate example of the risk of moral hazard is our political class. By Philip O'Connor.

After the fury over the household charge came and went, we turn our attention to the next red herring – the water meters, and the charges, and how it’s all going to be done.

When will we get the message that none of this has anything to do with water or property, and everything to do with filling the massive hole in the coffers left by the banks?

Make no mistake – they’d tax the sunset if the troika told them to.

Labour needs to stop pretending

In obeying the optics driven demand that government must be seen to be unified, the Labour Party is setting itself up for the same fate as the Greens. By Philip O'Connor.

One of the great soccer strike partnerships of the late 90s was between Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham, who, when they played together, averaged a goal between them every 85th minute.