"I did find it hard not to nod off" - Sunday Paper Review

Pat Rabbitte, Eoin Ó Broin and Sheila Reilly joined Shane in studio for a look at today's papers

For this week's Sunday Newspaper Review, Shane Coleman was joined in studio by former Cabinet minister Pat Rabbitte, Sinn Féin general election candidate Eoin Ó Broin, and editor of the Longford Leader Sheila Reilly.

The panel started by discussing yesterday's speech by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Fine Gael's Ard Fheis.

Deputy Rabbitte observed, "I don't think a Taoiseach goes out and makes a speech by accident. I think the speech was remarkably - but I suspect deliberately - low-key.

"This is a big one for Fine Gael - never in the party's history has a Fine Gael Taoiseach been returned to office. If one believes the polls, that prospect is within the grasp of Fine Gael. I suspect that any triumphalism would be counter-productive in the minds of those who are shaping the campaign," he suggested, although added "I did find it hard not to nod off" during the speech.

Eoin argued, "Enda Kenny has a real dilemma. On one hand, his so-called recovery narrative is the cornerstone of their campaign. He knows, both from opinion polls and because he's a constituency politician, that anything up to 80% of people are telling him that they are not feeling the recovery that's happening in the macro-economic statistics in their day-to-day lives.

"If he had a more triumphalist speech, that would probably alienate even more voters. But at the same time, that's the stake he's made for this election campaign," he pointed out, adding that Sinn Féin is arguing that the recovery is two-tier.

The debate moved on to yesterday's water charge protests around the country.

Sheila said that while pictures didn't seem to back up claims more than 20,000 attended the main Dublin City protest, "if you say there's somewhere between five and ten thousand out there, it's still a significant amount of people.

"You can't dismiss that people still got out yesterday and brought their placards with them. But the reality is the sting has gone out of this for the large majority of voters. I know from talking to local politicians they're not getting canvassed on it anywhere near as much as they were. A few of them have been asked for the Water Conservation Grant forms that were originally burnt," she said, although stressed that it is still an issue for a lot of people.

Meanwhile, there was some very lively disagreement from the other panelists when Eoin suggested Irish Water has "failed miserably... and it is failing every single day" to deliver higher quality services.

You can listen back to the full Paper Review below: