The 'new politics' looks much like the old

Rather than the media being to blame, it is politicians who are the real culprits in trivialising, distorting and denigrating our political process and discourse. By Vincent Browne.

Pat Rabbitte, in wistful recollection of Michael McDowell, recently quoted with approval from a newspaper article in which the former Progressive Democrat leader had written about "the over-weening power of the media as principals in our politics".

An independent, impartial 'product'?

The idea that news can be "independent", "objective" and "impartial" is a problematic one. By Vincent Browne.

It is not the idea of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to attempt to set standards for radio and television news and current affairs to ensure “independence”, “objectivity” and “impartiality”. That was the idea of Eamon Ryan, the instigator of the Broadcasting Act of 2009, and it was this Act which required the authority to do this.

A handy stick to beat us with

The Government has been carefully reticent about signing up to an amendment to an EU treaty last month - one that is potentially very threatening to Ireland's interests. By Vincent Browne.

Just over four weeks ago, on 2 February, the Government signed a modification to an EU treaty that, according to Government ministers, contains a provision potentially very menacing to Irish interests.

Irish politics: Continuity through stupidity

Last week brought several reminders of the ineptitude of Irish governments, past and present. By Vincent Browne.

A sense of hopelessness was in the air last Thursday. The announcement that the proposed Children's Hospital at the Mater site had been refused planning permission, on such palpably foreseeable grounds, confirmed the comprehensive ineptitude of the former government.

Too many years of funking it on abortion legislation

Time and again Irish governments have shrunk from legislating for the conditions in which abortion could take place here. Enough. By Vincent Browne.

In February 1992 the Irish government claimed a diplomatic triumph in persuading our partners in the European Community to agree to a protocol to the Treaty on European Union which seemed to insulate Ireland from any interference, via European treaties or law, with our constitutional protection to the right to life of the unborn.

What's happened to Joan Burton?

Thus far, Joan Burton has been a major let-down as minister for social protection. By Vincent Browne.

Joan Burton was disappointed not to have been given a senior finance position in the Fine Gael-Labour government last March, according to media reports at the time, which she did not deny subsequently.

Ireland has no need for an embassy in the Vatican

Many convinced Catholics believe it would be appropriate now for the Vatican to pare back the pomp and pretence, as a signal of the humility it nowadays protests. By Vincent Browne.

An Italian monsignor visited a drapery store in Rome in early March 1923 and ordered warm underwear, most likely long johns and woolly vests.