Elections Live

What's happening on the campaign trail - and Jackie Kennedy's letters to an Irish priest

Ronan McGreevy, Fiach Kelly Tue, May 13
LIVE: Elections Live

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  • 09:06
    Hi I'm Ronan McGreevy and along with my colleague Fiach Kelly we will be bringing you all the election news happening today and the rest of the news.
  • 09:09
    Today The Irish Times publishes a supplement regarding Jackie Kennedy Onassis's correspondence with an Irish priest Fr Joseph Leonard. It is a fascinating insight into a woman who shied away from the limelight after the death of President Kennedy in 1963. The letters are part of a caché which go on sale on June 10th at Sheppard's Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co Laois.
  • 09:11
    The significance of these letters cannot be overstated for those who are interested in the Kennedy family. Jackie Kennedy Onassis never gave an interview after 1964, never wrote an autobiography and had no interest in publicity though the press continued to find her to be a fascinating woman.
  • 09:11
  • 09:21
    Presenter and political pundit Shane Coleman was on Newstalk last night and revealed some private polling which shows some good news for Fine Gael in the Ireland South constituency. Fianna Fáil's Brian Crowley will top the poll, Fine Gael's Sean Kelly will also be elected and Sinn Féin's  Liadh Ní Riada  should win a third seat. Coleman believes Fine Gael can win a second seat in the four seat constituency with Simon Harris and Deirdre Clune currently neck and neck. Labour's Phil Prendergast, who disowned her party leader Eamon Gilmore a few weeks, is also in the mix for the last seat. Coleman reckons Fianna Fáil are "incredibly confident" of winning the Dublin West seat ahead of the Socialist Party.  
  • 09:36

     Former Attorney General of Ireland Peter Sutherland will today be presented with the prestigious Order of the Polar Star by King Karl Gustav of Sweden.

    The Order of the Polar Star is a Swedish order of chivalry  only awarded to foreigners and members of the royal family for services to Sweden.

    The nomination noted that, “Peter Sutherland combines - in a unique way - political, economic, intellectual and commercial competence, creativity, and extensive experience.”

    In particular, the proposers emphasised Mr Sutherland’s work in the position of UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, which he has held since 2006.  

  • 09:42

    Would you employ somebody who has very visible tattoos? According to a survey by Peninsula Ireland of 2,412 employers north and south, some 73 per cent of Irish employers would be unlikely to employ somebody with a lot of tattoos. Peninusla Ireland are a  Dublin based employment law.  


  • 09:52
    Here's an excellent article by Malachy Clerkin about the bowing and scraping which went on when Donald Trump arrived in Ireland yesterday.  
  • 09:55
  • 09:57

    Good morning, Fiach Kelly here, Political Correspondent of The Irish Times. As Ronan said, we'll be keeping you updated throughout the day on the news - elections and otherwise - as it happens.

    We know most of you will be mainly interested in this morning's fantastic Jackie Kennedy scoop from Michael Parsons in the The Irish Times but we'll still endeavour to bring you the best from the political front.

    It's Tuesday, so that means the Cabinet is meeting this morning. The main item today will be the Guerin report and how the Government will deal with its fallout. We already know a Commission of Investigation will be established, but the post-Cabinet statements, if any, will be interesting.

    The focus is still on the Department of Justice, as our lead story today shows. Brian Purcell, the secretary general, has been asked before the Oireachtas Justice Committee later this week and is expected to respond to its request by this evening. It would be almost unheard of for a sec gen to turn down a committee request, yet any appearance will be tough for Purcell. One to watch as the day unfolds.

    Not much is planned today by way of setpiece events election-wise today; most candidates, TDs and activists are busy canvassing. Voters really only tune during the last week, so expect the campaign to really kick into gear towards the weekend.  

    Also on the agenda today is close of nominations for those hoping to succeed Charlie Flanagan as Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman. Flanagan's success in increasing the profile of the previously low-key position makes it a job backbenchers feel is worth competing for, yet the real interest will be in who they elect: a Kenny loyalist, or someone more independent of the party leadership?

  • 10:08
    What's this? A statement just in from the Labour Party in Limerick has called for the "Government to defer the €2 billion Troika cut package until economic recovery is fully secured".

    It goes on to say the economic recovery is not yet secured and a €2 billion cut in the budget will harm "the consumer economy".

    “The Irish people have shown remarkable forbearance in shouldering the enormous debt that they were saddled with by international banking interests.
    "During the crisis, they endured awful unemployment, cuts to their public services and the emigration of their young people at rates not seen for decades. The Labour Party played its part, too, by going into Government and ensuring that there was stability and even-handedness in the management of a truly dreadful economic situation. It is now time to give the the Irish people a break."

    Now, I know I am a conspiratorial sort, but doesn't this sound similar to what Pat Rabbitte has been saying since the weekend, that in effect Irish people have had enough and need a break?

    Is this the latest step in a Labour push for a neutral budget in October or a solo run by its Limerick branch? FK
  • 10:10
    Meanwhile,Fine Gael Cork City Council candidate Sue-Ellen Carroll has called for a "dog fouling solution".

    "The Local Area Representative has called for dog waste disposal bins to be made available in our communities and for dog owners to take responsibility or be held accountable."

    How about tax breaks for pooper scoopers in the budget? FK

  • 10:18

    Consumer Network One Big Switch has today launched a campaign to find 5,000 consumers to help co-write a submission to political leaders on water charges.

    Consumers can join the campaign, and help co-write the submission, by answering a series of questions about the water charges at OneBigSwitch.ie.


  • 10:24
    Forget the elections, the ding-dong everybody is talking about is the extraordinary attack by Beyonce's sister Solange on her brother-in-law and Beyonce's husband Jay Z. The attack lasts three minutes and 30 seconds.  
  • 10:24
  • 10:46

     A woman hoping to become Ireland's first astronaut will give a public lecture tonight.  

    Dr Norah Patten is an Irish space researcher who spent last week with NASA in the US preparing to launch the first Irish student experiment into space.  

    Dr Patten entered the Lynx Space Academy, a  competition to give 22 want-to-be astronauts from around the world the space to get into space.

    The first Irish students to launch a science experiment into space have been visiting the NASA Wallops Flight Centre in Virginia, USA this week.  

    The trip, which has been sponsored by Irish Cement, sees the four secondary school students from St. Nessan’s Community College in Limerick visit the centre where their experiment will launch this summer.  

    The students are set to be the first Irish teenagers to launch their science experiment into space after they won ‘The Only Way is Up’ competition run by The Irish Centre for Composites Research (IComp) at the University of Limerick.

    Their experiment will investigate the effects that microgravity has on the solidification of reinforced concrete and will spend 30 days orbiting the Earth

    The lecture happens at the Schrodinger Theatre, Fitzgerald Building in  Trinity College Dublin.  


  • 10:54
  • 10:59
    Here's a heartbreaking interview with Joe and Rosie Dolan and his wife about the tragic killing of their son Andrew in an unprovoked attack during Christmas 2011.
  • 11:05
  • 11:13

    Senator Lorraine Higgins, the Labour party candidate in the  Midlands-North-West constituency is trending on Irish Twitter but not in a good way. Her performance on the debate with her fellow candidates in the constituency did not go down well among viewers judging by the reaction on social media.

  • 11:18
  • 11:21

    The Swiss artist of Ridley Scott's Alien, H. R. Giger, has died aged 74.

    He died of injuries sustained after he fell down stairs at his Zurich home.

    Born in 1940, Giger was best known for his 'Xenomorph' alien in Scott's sci-fi horror masterpiece for which he won a visual effects Oscar in 1980.

    He studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich and was known for creating strange dreamscapes.

  • 11:46

    RTÉ  Prime Time  will hold a series of special election debate programmes running for three consecutive nights beginning this Sunday 18th  May. All candidates standing in the European Elections in Ireland have been invited to take part in these studio debates.

    On Sunday 18th  May, David McCullagh and Miriam O’Callaghan will present the debate on the  Midlands-North-West  constituency at 10.35pm.

    On Monday 19th  May Miriam O’Callaghan and Claire Byrne will present the debate focusing on the  South  constituency beginning at 10.35pm.

    The final special programme in the series will feature the  Dublin  consistency on Tuesday 20th  May at 9.35pm presented by Claire Byrne and David McCullagh.


  • 11:52

    The Sinn Féin candidate for the Midlands Northwest European constituency, Matt Carthy, has called for the independent expert panel on pylons to listen to the voice of local residents.

    Speaking following the publication of the Terms of Reference of the review of the Grid West and Grid Link projects, Carthy said:

    “It is essential that the concerns of communities affected by pylons are addressed by the independent expert panel.

    “Under the terms of reference, the independent expert panel will examine the potential environmental impacts, technical efficacy and cost factors in regards to place electric transmission lines overhead or underground.

    “However, it is disappointing to learn that in potential impacts of electro magnetic fields will not be taken into consideration by the independent expert panel.

  • 11:55

    Under-18 rugby players should be barred from playing in the frontrow against adults to avoid injury to their necks, a new study suggests.

    Research has shown younger players often do not have the same neck strength as seniors and are at a higher risk of injury.

    A team at Edinburgh University  is advising that youth players undergo tests to demonstrate they have the necessary neck strength before being approved to play adult rugby. Here's the story.  

  • 12:25
    On the issue of Sinn Féin and following on from Ronan's post earlier on internal polls, the party is optimistic about the chances of its candidate in Dublin West, Paul Donnelly.

    It had some internal polling done a few weeks ago, and it threw up some interesting results. Now, this comes with the usual caveats of party polls – we haven’t seen the details or raw data and have only been briefed on it.

    The face to face polling was also carried out only in the Mulhuddart ward in of Fingal County Council, which is effectively the working class ward, aside from Blanchardstown, of Dublin West.

    It also polled the council candidates in that ward, yet Sinn Féin points out that three of those are running for the by-election – Donnelly, Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party and David McGuinness of Fianna Fáil.

    It should also be pointed out that the pereception has been that Sinn Féin is weak in Dublin West since it was a Socialist stronghold (it currently has no councillor out there).

    Here’s what Sinn Féin claims its poll shows:

    The Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA), including Coppinger, came in at 8.8 per cent.

    People Before Profit on 1.5 per cent.

    Sinn Féin says its two council candidates in the ward, including Donnelly, account for 33 per cent.

    Fianna Fáil is on 15.5 per cent.

    Fine Gael was on 15.5 per cent.

    Labour polled 16.2 per cent.

    Sinn Féin sources say this shows them to be well-placed of all the left candidates to take the Dáil seat vacated by Patrick Nulty.

    If it is true, and the numbers hold up, it raises a wider question: is the Sinn Féin brand now so unstoppable that it was steamroll all left-wing rivals in its path.

    Now, again, this must be read with a degree of scepticism. FK.
  • 13:18
    Speculation that Frances Fitzgerald may address the media post-Cabinet but not confirmed. Statement expected on Guerin at the very least. FK.
  • 13:57
    But even as Sinn Féin marches onwards, what of their policies? My colleague Arthur Beesley was at the party’s European manifesto launch yesterday and gives a flavour of what it proposes. FK
  • 14:00

    Today FM's Gavan Reilly has tweeted the latest odds from Paddy  Power  for the Euro elections:

  • 14:05

    The Electric Picnic has added 21 new acts to the bill and it can be said that the calibre of artist is at least as strong as what has already been announced.

    The stand-out announcement is Blondie, fronted, as ever, by the evergreen Debbie Harry. They are about to release their 10th studio album Ghosts of Download.  

    Also confirmed are Sinead O'Connor and Scottish instrumentalist pioneers Mogwai.  Kelis, Neneh Cherry, The Horrors and Duke Dumont . I have no clue who The Districts and Unknown Mortal Orchestra are but I'm sure there are fans out there salivating at the prospect of both being added to the bill.  

    A quick Google search reveals that  
     Vancouver Sleep Clinic are not actually from Vancouver. They are the solo project of 17-year-old Australian singer-songwriter Tim Bettinson. You learn something new every day.  

  • 14:21

    Four TDs have put their names forward to be chair of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, ahead of tomorrow's vote: Paudie Coffey, Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, Dan Neville and Catherine Byrne.

    None could be described as rebels or troublemakers, so it doesn't look like  Enda Kenny will have a Colm Keaveney scenario on his hands.  
    Keaveney tortured Eamon Gilmore as  Labour Party chairman before becoming an Independent  TD and, latterly, a member of Fianna Fáil. Easy to  forget that last fact, bonkers and all as it is. FK    

  • 14:27
    Are you stimulated?

  • 14:29
    Our Jim Carroll of On The Record fame is looking for thoughts and considerations on the latest additions to the Electric Picnic line-up. You can follow him here.
  • 14:36
  • 14:52

     For generations of Irish students, EIL has been an Irish organisation that gave foreigners a chance to come to Ireland to study and Irish young people a chance to go abroad.  

    The organisation is 50 years old this year and and, as part of the year-long programme of events, they are holding the ‘Host Family Awards’ in Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin on Saturday.

    Every year hundreds of Irish families take part in their ‘host family’ programme, whereby they open up their homes to international students who come to Ireland to study and immerse themselves in Irish culture.

    Lots of the families who are nominated have been hosting students for over 10 years and many of them stay in regular contact with those who have stayed with them over the years.

    One of the guest speakers at the awards will be Carol Bergin, who came to Ireland from America on a homestay with EIL in 1970. During her time here, she met her husband, Denis and she went on to be National Director of EIL from 1975-1988.

    Carol will speak about homestays in Ireland in the early years of EIL. There is also some nice footage from a documentary commissioned by EIL in 1970, which features Carol and focuses on her trip here.

  • 14:55
  • 14:55
    See above some vintage footage from 1970 and the exchange students from the United States who came to Ireland.  
  • 15:05

    Electric Picnic founder John Reynolds has settled his legal action against the Electric Picnic, the festival he founded 10 years ago. The action was due to go on for eight days but was settled before it went ahead. Reynolds settled his action against Festival Republic, the company owned by Melvin Benn who bought a majority stake in Electric Picnic in 2009.  


  • 15:13
    Brian Purcell, the secretary general of the Department of Justice, has confirmed he will appear before the Oireachtas Justice Committee  but the  date for his hearing has yet to be confirmed.  

    But what will Mr Purcell say to the TDs and senators  who are lining  up to question  him on the current justice controversies?  He could just stonewall and decline to give any further details and, here's the thing, he has  the perfect excuse for so doing.

    Both the Garda taping controversy (including Martin Callinan's resignation, after Enda  Kenny  sent Purcell to the  then  commissioner's house)  and the Guerin Report, including the performance of Purcell and his department, are now part of two separate  commissions of  investigation.  

    And we  wouldn't want to prejudice the outcome of those now, would we? FK                    
  • 15:26
    How should Ireland progress with the Eurovision? Here's some ideas from Shane Henegan.
  • 15:30

    For as long as any of us can remember, Ireland has depended on the English leagues to produce an international team, but look at the example of Belgium. Coach Marc Wilmots has just announced his squad and from 1 to 23 it is full of players playing at the highest level. How did a country of 10 million people end up producing so many world-class players> Could we learn something from them?  



    Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (Hoffenheim), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht)

    Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Lauren Ciman (Standard Liege), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

    Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin De Bruyne (VfL Wolfsburg), Steven Defour (Porto), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg)

    Forwards: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Divock Origi (Lille)

    Reserves: Michy Batshuayi (Standard Liege), Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Zulte Waregem), Radja Nainggolan (AS Roma), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hanover 96), Jelle Van Damme (Standard Liege)

  • 15:31

    A statement has just landed from Frances Fitzgerald on the outcome of Cabinet discussions on the Guerin report. Here are its main points:

    "Decision to establish Commission of Investigation as proposed in the Guerin Report          

    Garda Inspectorate to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into serious crime investigation, management, operational and procedural issues

    Cabinet agree to urgently bring forward new legislation to strengthen the operation of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission  

    Independent expert review of performance, management and administration of Department of Justice  

    Independent   Garda Authority to be up and running by the end of the year

    New Garda Commissioner to be recruited by open competition in parallel with establishment of authority."

    It should  be pointed out that the only new things here are the Garda Inspectorate review and the review of the Department of Justice. Everything else has been announced previously. FK.

  • 15:47
    Sinn Féin will be the big winners in the forthcoming European elections, according to political correspondent Harry McGee. Here's his analysis.  
  • 16:00
  • 16:15


  • 16:21
    Frances Fitzgerald is hosting a press conference within the next 30 minutes on the steps of Government Buildings. I wonder if she had a good look over the weekend and found confidence in Brian Purcell? FK.
  • 16:43

    The end of an era has come. Perhaps, it is inevitable, but John Reynolds will no longer be involved in the Electric Picnic festival. Reynolds settled his court action with Festival Republic today before an eight day case was due to begin at the High Court. After the settlement was announced, the festival organisers issued a short statement which said: "EP Festivals is pleased to report that an agreement has been reached between POD Music and Festival Republic Dublin regarding Electric Picnic.

    "As part of the agreement, POD Music, a co-shareholder in Electric Picnic, has agreed to divest its stake to Festival Republic Dublin. Festival Republic Dublin would like to thank John Reynolds, director of POD Music, for his contribution to the successful development of Electric Picnic and wish him well for the future."

    Electric Picnic fans will be grateful to Reynolds for the vision he has shown in putting the festival together in the first place. It's just a shame it had to end this way.  


  • 16:50

    Glasnevin Cemetery needs you. The cemetery is putting together a collection of artefacts and memorabilia surrounding the First World War. Those who have Irish relatives who fought in the war should bring their family heirlooms to the cemetery on Friday and Saturday for evaluation. Click here for more details.  


  • 17:00
    Our exclusive about Jackie Kennedy Onassis has been followed up internationally. Here's a report in the New York Daily News.
  • 17:21
    Frances Fitzgerald has again declined to express confidence in Brian Purcell, saying she'll wait until the outcome of the review into her department. The speculation is Mr Purcell is being lined up for a move elsewhere in the civil service. And that's us for the day, back tomorrow. FK.