Marian Finucane Sunday 8 June 2014
Today's newspaper panel is John O’Keeffe, Criminologist, Trinity College Dublin; Tony Heffernan, former Labour Press Officer and now with DHR Communications; David Hall, Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation; Eddie Hobbs, Financial Advisor; Nóirín Hegarty, Managing Destination Editor with Lonely Planet;
Four Days to Kick Off in Brazil
Back in 2007 Brazil won the right to host the World Cup. Unlike Qatar it was relatively free of controversy and it seemed that the country – long established as a power on the pitch – would relish its moment to showcase the nation as a whole to the world.
And it’s no understatement that seven years on and with kick off just four days away ‘the euphoria has dissipated’ and the great ambition of just a few years ago has been rolled back somewhat.
Former president Lula da Silva’s regime is now seen to have been overly ambitious. They were to have 12 host cities, more than any other World Cup, a legacy of transformative improvements in infrastructure and they pledged to spend €4bn on desperately needed metro lines, trams and bus corridors. That has now shrunk to €2.6bn.
Today only €1 bn worth of projects have actually been delivered, with none at all in four of the 12 host cities – São Paulo, Manaus, Salvador and Porto Alegre.
Tom Hennigan, of the Irish Times is in Sao Paolo prior to the Opening Match next Thursday
It’s less than two weeks since King Juan Carlos announced his intention to abdicate, paving the way for the coronation of his son, Crown Prince Felipe. Ever since it seems demands for a referendum on the monarchy have dominated Twitter in Spain.
Only last year Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated in favour of her son Willem-Alexander. You might be forgiven for thinking that monarchies are an anachronism in modern-day Europe, but leaving aside Monaco and Liechtenstein, in the EU there is the UK, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Sweden. The final member of this royal club is Norway.
So will royalty always be with us or are they doomed due to being - as Hilary Mantel famously said of the Windsors – “expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment.”
Peter Conradi, foreign editor of the Sunday Times, is on the line from London.
Last August it seemed like the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was terminally wounded. After using the nerve gas sarin to kill hundreds of civilians it seemed his days were very definitely numbered.
However this week Assad won a presidential election with 89% of the vote. There was never any doubt that he would win. So why organise an election in the midst of a civil war at all?
Dr Vincent Durac of the School of Politics and International Relations in UCD, and by phone from London by Shashank Joshi, a Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Roy Keane - The Football Pundit
Roy Keane famously said of pundits "I wouldn't trust them to walk my dog.” It raises a question about what punditry/commentary is for at all.
What is striking about UK commentary (Keane apart) was the apparently desperate bid to achieve consensus amongst the pundits so that there's an agreed line on what had just transpired on the pitch.
By contrast, the Irish panels are often a set of dissenting positions - most notably Dunphy but even occasionally between Giles and Brady - which is attractive televisually because it creates a frisson of tension.
Keane single-handedly (in part because of his well-established abrasive public persona) brought tension to ITV's coverage - and effectively became Chief Pundit in 2012 as a consequence.
That appointment is all the more remarkable given his manifest unwillingness to play the role of the quiescent participant.
Keane, at times, seemed to be addressing the panel from a - slightly - parallel universe, almost as if he was in another studio and generally adopted a much more critical perspective than the others.
In studio to discuss the Keane phenomenon is Dr Roddy Flynn, Lecturer in the School of Communications, DCU.
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