Government policy widens gap between rich and poor

"Government policy has been increasing the income of the richest ten per cent of households and widening the gap between these and the rest of society", a study by Social Justice Ireland reports. The report predicts that current Government policy will "produce a dramatic increase in poverty and social exclusion".

(Pictured: Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland. Download the report by clicking here)

Words used by Micheal Martin in first statement as Fianna Fail leader

Below is a Wordle infographic of Micheal Martin's statement yesterday on becoming eighth leader of Fianna Fail. It highlights  the words used most by Mr Martin in his speech. 'Party' is the word used most in the speech, followed by 'election', 'country' and 'politics'. The text of the speech (from Micheal Martin's website) appears here:

 

Skeletons in Micheal Martin's closet

As journalists awaited the resignation of Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil last Saturday, many asked where it all went wrong for Brian Cowen. His downfall could not have contrasted more with the ecstasy of his inauguration as party leader in 2008, a united Fianna Fail fully behind Bertie's 'chosen one'. The first Lisbon Treaty of that year was cited as the beginning of his descent in public opinion: Brian Cowen admitted to not reading the Treaty in full. (It would have been more worrying had he indeed read the impenetrable legal document, but it looked bad.)

TDs voice support for Fianna Fail leadership contenders

Fianna Fail TDs who publicly support candidates for the party leadership outlined this morning the reasons behind their choice. They were speaking on the Today with Pat Kenny programme on RTE Radio One. A new party leader will be elected from the four candidates on Wednesday afternoon. 

The four contenders for the Fianna Fail leadership, Mary Hanafin, Brian Lenihan, Michael Martin and Eamon O' Cuiv have been lobbying party TDs, but the favourite to succeed is Michael Martin. So who's backing whom?

 

Greens' departure creates election uncertainty and Constitutional conundrum

The Green Party salvaged some political standing on Thursday in forcing Brian Cowen to backtrack on a proposed Cabinet reshuffle and also set a date of 11 March for the general election. But by resigning from government this afternoon but stating their intention to support the Finance Bill from opposition benches, the Greens have cast further uncertainty on the date for an election. They also place the Dail in a Constitutional quandary and may have nullified whatever modest gains they made politically. By Malachy Browne

Optics trump ethics in Fianna Fail heave

It was persistent questioning by Sinn Fein's Caoimhgin O Caolain in the Dail last week that wheedled out of Brian Cowen the revelations that not only did he play golf in Druids Glen with Sean Fitzpatrick in July 2008, but that he spent the evening in the company of Fitzpatrick, another senior Anglo banker and Alan Gray, a board member of the Central Bank. It was a "long-standing" engagement, Cowen said, and he took the opportunity to discuss the economy with the trio.

Cowen challenges would-be contenders

Following two days of consultations with party colleagues Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced today that he will continue as Fianna Fail leader. However, Mr Cowen will table a motion of confidence in his leadership to establish "what is the settled view of the party [on the party leadership]". The vote will be cast by secret ballot at a meeting of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party on Tuesday. 

Speculation rife on Cowen's position

Brian Cowen will make an announcement this evening about his leadership of Fianna Fail. Two leading political correspondents believe that the Taoiseach will remain as party leader, despite the protestations of several senior party members, including three Ministers.   

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