Irish Times Inside Politics



The best analysis of the Irish political scene featuring Irish Times reporters and columnists, outside experts and political guests. Also on this channel: Inside Story, an occasional series examining major news stories and how we cover them.


  • Quarantine clashes and vaccine targets

    Quarantine clashes and vaccine targets

    07/04/2021 Duration: 40min

    The debate surrounding mandatory hotel quarantine rumbles on between government departments, but what are the logistical, legal and diplomatic issues at stake? Will the introduction of a vaccine passport or a digital green certificate be enough to smooth over the cracks? And with the long promised ramp up in vaccinations now on the horizon, will the government be able to keep up with their ambitious targets? Our political team made up of Jen, Pat and Cormac join Hugh to discuss.

  • The psychology and the politics behind this weeks Covid-19 moves

    The psychology and the politics behind this week's Covid-19 moves

    02/04/2021 Duration: 38min

    Behavioral economist Pete Lunn and political correspondent Jennifer Bray join Hugh to talk about the government's major moves in the Covid-19 fight this week: the easing of some restrictions, particularly around outdoor activities, and the simplification of the vaccine rollout, favouring older people over particular groups such as teachers, Gardaí or carers.  Pete, who advises Nphet on how the population might respond to Covid-19 regulations, explains why the hope is the relaxing of particular rules could actually lead to a reduction in risky indoor behaviour, while Jennifer takes us inside the political discussions around these controversial changes.

  • A moment of triumph and peril for the Greens

    A moment of triumph and peril for the Greens

    31/03/2021 Duration: 42min

    Last week was a very good one for the Green Party, but you could be forgiven for getting the opposite impression. Today, Hugh and guests spend a little time on the party's dangerous internal divisions (as demonstrated by the spat over party member and Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu's unsanctioned run for a Seanad seat) and more time on the significance of the Climate Action Bill, the piece of legislation published last week that is a major achievement for the party and its leader Eamon Ryan. Guests: political editor Pat Leahy and Sadhbh O'Neill, policy coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition.

  • Is free speech under threat?

    Is free speech under threat?

    26/03/2021 Duration: 54min

    In his new book Free Speech and Why it Matters, Andrew Doyle questions a new form of social justice activism, which as he puts it, casually disregards the principle of free speech for the sake of what is perceived to be a higher social priority. In today’s episode, the author and podcaster joins Hugh for a discussion on 'wokeness' and cancel culture, self-censorship and where the limitations of acceptable speech should be drawn.

  • Vaccine stockpiles, shortfalls and supply issues

    Vaccine stockpiles, shortfalls and supply issues

    24/03/2021 Duration: 40min

    The EU is set to tighten export controls in a bid to prevent Covid-19 vaccines leaving the bloc. It comes as Europe looks destined for a showdown with the UK over a stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines, said to number up to 30 million doses, and coveted by both sides to shore up inoculation campaigns. As shortfalls and supply issues hold back the rollout in many European countries, including Ireland, can we expect any relaxation of the rules here on April 5th? Hugh is joined by Jack Horgan-Jones from our political staff and Europe correspondent Naomi O'Leary.

  • Interview: Derek Scally, author of The Best Catholics in the World

    Interview: Derek Scally, author of The Best Catholics in the World

    22/03/2021 Duration: 40min

    In today’s episode Irish Times Berlin correspondent Derek Scally joins Hugh to speak about his brand new book: The Best Catholics in the World. Having spent the last twenty years living and working in Germany, Scally has witnessed a nation engaging earnestly with their past, and asks why the same cannot be said for his native Ireland and the legacy left over by the Catholic Church. Speaking to campaigners, survivors, writers, and historians, Scally embarks on a quest to unravel the tight hold the Catholic Church has had on the Irish. In this conversation, they discuss the origins of the book, the intersection of church, state and people and the strands of religion still intertwined in Irish society.

  • Pandemic Politics: Ask Me Anything

    Pandemic Politics: Ask Me Anything

    17/03/2021 Duration: 41min

    In today’s episode, Pat and Jen join Hugh for a special edition of “ask me anything”. From the zero Covid strategy to concerns around global vaccine supply, the team tackle your questions on the politics of the pandemic. Thanks to everyone who sent their questions in. Happy St Patrick's Day.

  • Monarchies in modern times

    Monarchies in modern times

    12/03/2021 Duration: 36min

    Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan dominated the news headlines all this week. The most watched programme on RTE so far this year, it shone a light on the inner workings of the long standing British monarchy. Allegations of racism and maltreatment now lead to bigger questions surrounding the legitimacy of the monarchy in a diverse and multicultural Britain. Joining Hugh to take a look back at the history of the royals from an Irish perspective, the potential fallout from the interview and how monarchies adapt to modernity are Irish Times London Editor Denis Staunton and John Gibney, Assistant Editor with the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy and the editor of Ireland and the Monarchy. Next week, we’ll be recording another Ask Me Anything episode, which will take a look back at a pandemic year in politics. If you would like to put your question to the team, send it in by voice note to before Tuesday, March 16th. The episode wil

  • Davy in crisis, Ireland’s illegal adoptions, vaccine delays and MHQ

    Davy in crisis, Ireland’s illegal adoptions, vaccine delays and MHQ

    10/03/2021 Duration: 32min

    It's just over a week since the Central Bank fined Davy stockbrokers €4.1 million for breaching market rules. On today’s show, Hugh talks to Jack Horgan-Jones and Cormac McQuinn from the Irish Times politics team about the political impact of the scandal. Also on the agenda today: continued delays in vaccine deliveries, progress on mandatory hotel quarantine and another dark chapter in Irish history, in the shape of the review of historical illegal adoptions.

  • Empire, imperialism and Ireland - with prof Jane Ohlmeyer

    Empire, imperialism and Ireland - with prof Jane Ohlmeyer

    05/03/2021 Duration: 38min

    President Michael D Higgins sparked a debate recently with his sharp critique of British imperialism. In a piece for the Guardian, he accused some academics and journalists of a "feigned amnesia" and a failure to address Britain's imperialist legacy, especially when compared to Ireland's reflections on nationalism, the war of independence and partition a century ago. In today's podcast, Hugh talks to Erasmus Smyth professor of modern history at Trinity College Dublin, Jane Ohlmeyer, about what exactly imperialism is and what its contemporary legacy might be.

  • Is affordable housing achievable?

    Is affordable housing achievable?

    03/03/2021 Duration: 42min

    In January, the Affordable Housing Bill was published by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien. The Bill introduces a shared equity scheme and a cost rental scheme, both designed to tackle the housing affordability crisis in Ireland. However, with the supply of houses under extreme pressure, due in part to the construction sector shutdown, will a shared equity scheme only lead to higher house prices? When can we expect to see any positive effects on the market and what are the risks involved? Joining Hugh to discuss the plan is Minister O’Brien and Irish Times business journalist Eoin Burke-Kennedy.

  • Poll: what is the publics attitude to lifting restrictions?

    Poll: what is the public's attitude to lifting restrictions?

    26/02/2021 Duration: 26min

    Political editor Pat Leahy joins Hugh to look at the results of this week's Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll on Irish people's attitudes to relaxing Covid-19 restrictions, as well as the level of support for parties and political leaders.

  • The EU needs to look at its own problems - Clare Daly on civil rights, Russia  life as an MEP

    "The EU needs to look at its own problems" - Clare Daly on civil rights, Russia & life as an MEP

    24/02/2021 Duration: 59min

    This week Harry and Hugh talk to MEP Clare Daly, who since her election as an MEP for Dublin in 2019 has been an outspoken voice in Brussels on the issues she champions, such as her opposition to defence spending and the imprisonment of Julian Assange. They talk about Clare's controversial comments on jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Covid-19 restrictions and the challenge to get people back home to pay attention to what goes on in the parliament. But first Harry explains what went so badly wrong with the government's Covid-19 communications in the past week.

  • Politics, culture and the centenary of Northern Ireland

    Politics, culture and the centenary of Northern Ireland

    18/02/2021 Duration: 53min

    Following last week's podcast with professor Brendan O’Leary on the creation of Northern Ireland, today’s show looks at this year’s centenary in respect of the politics and culture of the region. Hugh is joined by unionist political commentator Sarah Creighton to discuss the future of Northern Ireland, its changing relationship with both the UK and the Republic, and her views on the prospect of a united Ireland. In the second part of the show, Hugh talks to Northern Irish writers Jan Carson and Rosemary Jenkinson about the centenary in terms of culture and identity.

  • Covid-19: How is Ireland performing?

    Covid-19: How is Ireland performing?

    17/02/2021 Duration: 42min

    Education is top of the agenda this week, as talks continue regarding the reopening of schools and the scheduling of state exams. In today’s episode, Hugh is joined by The Irish Times education editor Carl O’Brien, health editor Paul Cullen, and by political correspondent Jennifer Bray. The team also take a look at the national vaccine rollout and a gloomy report by the ECDC.

  • The centenary of Northern Ireland - with Prof Brendan OLeary

    The centenary of Northern Ireland - with Prof Brendan O'Leary

    12/02/2021 Duration: 48min

    This year marks the centenary of partition on the island of Ireland. The official commemoration takes place in May, but what were the key political and legislative events that led to the establishment of Northern Ireland? On today's podcast, Hugh speaks to Brendan O'Leary, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, who last appeared on this podcast to discuss his three-volume A Treatise on Northern Ireland. He talks to Hugh about the creation of Northern Ireland, how its structures have changed in the past 100 years and what preparations for a referendum on Irish unity should look like, if there is to be one.

  • One year on from #GE2020

    One year on from #GE2020

    10/02/2021 Duration: 47min

    It may feel like a lifetime ago, but this week marks one year since the 2020 general election. And what an eventful twelve months it’s been. In today’s episode, we take a look back at the historic election result and the Sinn Féin surge which swept across the country. What important lessons have been learned by the political parties since then and how will their strategies change next time around? Joining Hugh to discuss this and more is Jennifer Bray, Pat Leahy and UCC political scientist and co-editor of How Ireland Voted, Theresa Reidy.

  • Universal basic income: is now the time?

    Universal basic income: is now the time?

    05/02/2021 Duration: 40min

    The concept of universal basic income (UBI) - paying everyone a regular, fixed amount of money to ensure a basic standard of living - has moved to the mainstream in recent years, driven by concerns over economic inequality and the erosion of traditional employment bases. More recently, the vast level of state support for workers in Covid-19-hit industries has shown that mass payments are feasible, if only for a limited time period. The Green Party supports UBI and won a commitment for a pilot UBI scheme in the programme for government. Late last year it was announced this trial would be aimed at artists, a group often not rewarded for their work with sustainable incomes. So is UBI a good idea, and how will this pilot work? To find out Hugh talks to Neasa Hourigan, Green Party TD for Dublin Central and co-author of the party's policy on UBI, Angela Dorgan, chair of the National Campaign for the Arts, and Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University.

  • The EUs vaccine blunder

    The EU's vaccine blunder

    03/02/2021 Duration: 39min

    Naomi O'Leary on how the EU commission made its biggest blunder in years, combining two incredibly sensitive issues - the vaccine rollout and the Northern Ireland protocol - in one embarrassing and consequential controversy. Denis Staunton on how the commission's cock-up is being used in London and Belfast to leverage concessions on the operation of rules governing trade into Northern Ireland. And Jack Horgan-Jones on the domestic politics of our own vaccine rollout. Who will we blame if Ireland lags behind?

  • Debt and taxes after Covid - with Marie Sherlock and Cliff Taylor

    Debt and taxes after Covid - with Marie Sherlock and Cliff Taylor

    29/01/2021 Duration: 38min

    Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is presiding over a massive expansion of national debt to meet society's needs during this pandemic. Prevailing economic wisdom says he's right to do so. But when the Covid-19 crisis passes, the old questions of how much to spend and how high to set taxes will return. To talk about the  political and economic choices ahead, Pat Leahy talks to Labour Senator and former trade union economist Marie Sherlock, and our economics columnist Cliff Taylor.

page 1 from 25