Bruce Arnold

Chief Critic of the Irish Independent, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Reform will give Seanad a life and mind of its own

My first experience of the Senate was as a student in Trinity College, privileged to be taught by Owen Sheehy Skeffington. He was an outstanding senator making a lasting contribution to public life. He became a friend, guiding me during my early days as a journalist, in particular about Irish politics.

He became famous for a splendid speech at the time of the Arms Trial, about Charles Haughey, Neil Blaney and Kevin Boland, on the theme of a Gilbert and Sullivan jingle, 'They'll none of them be missed, they'll none of them be missed!' Read More...

'Father of the Country' who truly transcended politics

Garret FitzGerald enjoyed a unique status in Ireland that transcended all the usual barriers politicians face. He was acceptable to all sides and spoke to all Irishmen and women with an egalitarianism and sense of justice that made him a truly loved figure. It also raised him to the status of Father of the Country.

In the broadest possible sense, he presided with distinction and integrity over modern Irish political life, his active career in politics and public affairs dating back to the 1960s. Read More...

This visit has brought our two countries even closer

The queen's silent bow in reverence for those who fought against Britain for Irish freedom was the most moving gesture of her first day on Irish soil -- finer and far better than words could ever have been.

It set a tone higher than anyone here or in Britain could have imagined or forecast. And the richness of what we have witnessed has forged powerful and unbreakable bonds of friendship, truly endorsing a relationship unmatched elsewhere among the 27 EU members. Read More...

Kenny must get tough to put us on right road

Shortly before Enda Kenny became Taoiseach, and promised he would "hit the ground running", I expressed the hope he would be running in the right direction. Within weeks, his position and approach were being questioned and this has gone on, fuelled in part by noises off-stage, principally by Brian Lenihan, trying to claim that he got it right but was betrayed by the ECB and the EU. Jean Claude Trichet has now come back to deny this.

Trichet has not done so as a good democrat, releasing documentation and making himself available for public scrutiny, before the European Parliament or in Dublin. His role could then be challenged. But then, Trichet is not a democrat. Within the EU's totalitarian regime, he is close to being the senior dictator, amenable to no investigation or questioning and completely outside parliamentary control of any kind. That is what the EU treaties lay down. Most significantly, his fellow directors -- Patrick Honohan among them -- cannot control or change him. So much for the 'democracy' that now governs us. Read More...