#GE16: 25 Twitter accounts to follow to make General Election 2016 more fun

29 Jan 2016

Observe the greatest collection of wits, critics and all-round decent sneers do their thing ahead of General Election 2016

We list the most entertaining commentators on Twitter who will help you enjoy the shenanigans and keep you informed in the lead up to Ireland’s General Election 2016.

As Ireland waits with barely-bated breath for the nod from Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD for when the General Election will take place, we have assembled the greatest collection of wits, critics, commentators and all-round decent sneers to keep you entertained and up to speed with all the goings-on during the peculiar political institution beloved of the Irish, the General Election.

So, in no particular order:

1. Suzy Byrne (@suzybie)

Suzy Byrne has been clucking her way through current affairs since Twitter was barely hatched, blogging and posting under her chosen nom de guerre Maman Poulet. A prolific tweeter with a sharp, acerbic wit, Byrne’s blog has won Best News and Current Affairs Blog in the Irish Blog Awards in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and won overall Best Irish Blog in 2009. In 2011, Suzy won Blogger/Website of the Year in the National Lesbian and Gay Federation GALAS Awards.

2. David McWilliams (@davidmcw)

One of Ireland’s more prominent economists, David McWilliams’ writing on Irish society is a constant source of entertainment and information. He’s also very active on Twitter, and not always serious.

3. Matt Cooper (@cooper_m)

With one of the biggest radio shows in the country on Today FM, journalist and author Matt Cooper has been interviewing politicians for years and would be known for not holding back on throwing a few inquisitive grenades into their laps. Having most recently interviewed An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD on The Last Word on Today FM, Cooper is likely to be one of the major sources for news from the campaign.

4. Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly)

Another Today FM stalwart, Gavan Reilly works as a political correspondent for the radio station and is going to be the one enjoying the fun that is door-stepping politicians while they look uncomfortable greeting people they’ll likely never talk to again. Aside from just reporting on what’s happening, though, Reilly does quip in with some humorous thoughts on the latest goings-on.

5. Una Mullally (@UnaMullally)

With her Twitter account, Una Mullally offers an at times acerbic – but always insightful – view of Irish current affairs. While it’s certainly far from all she talks about in the political sphere, Mullally tweets regularly in support of gender and LGBT equality, often with real wit and always with honesty. Mullally is a writer for The Irish Times and a presenter on TG4.

6. Waterford Whispers (@WhispersNewsLTD)

Waterford Whispers is Ireland’s answer to The Onion, bringing us daily satire and regularly skewering politicians and public figures like Denis O’Brien. Nestled in among the tweets about the ephemera of daily life, you’ll find genuinely clever commentary about the Irish political scene.

7. Donal O’Keeffe (@Donal_OKeeffe)

Donal O’Keeffe is a writer and artist, as well as being a columnist for The Journal and a contributor to the Cork Evening Echo. A prolific tweeter, O’Keefe was a vocal Twitter supporter of #marref, tweets frequently about #repealthe8th and is a consummate live tweeter of current affairs programmes like #vinb.

8. Eleanor Tiernan (@eleanortiernan)

Irish stand-up comedian Eleanor Tiernan brings a solid dose of humour to Twitter and to politics. While solidly focused on the US presidential race at the moment – and let’s be honest, who isn’t (hi, Trump!) – Tiernan clearly has an eye on Ireland and, if her straight-talking US-centric fare is anything to go by, her General Election coverage should be biting. And hilarious.

9. Harry McGee (@harrymcgee)

Political correspondent with The Irish Times, and former college lecturer of one of Silicon Republic’s team, Harry McGee’s coverage of elections is up there with the best. As active on Twitter as he is prolific in print, McGee is sure to provide exhaustive coverage of the election campaign.

10. John Moynes (@JohnMoynes)

As a poet, author and comedian and a self-proclaimed ‘bearded lefty’, John Moynes has become a particular favourite online among fellow lefties and those on Broadsheet.ie with his ‘Limerick A Day’ daily on the site.

So when he’s not rounding up the news through his limericks, he’s taking to Twitter to talk about what’s driving him a bit mad about Ireland.

11. Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan)

While his main job might see him working as a freelancer producer and director for TV shows and music clips, Jim Sheridan has also made a name for himself on Twitter as one for some pretty funny Irish political tweets.

And, like anyone who knows how to appeal to the masses on Twitter, he mostly does it through excellent photoshops.

12. Oireachtas Retort (@Oireachtas_RX)

With a steely – and sarcastic – focus on all the goings-on at Leinster House, Oireachtas Retort has a “take no prisoners” style to happenings among members of the Dáil and the Seanad. The idea is to enliven the debate with regular news and humour that may not be found in the mainstream press.

13. Tara Flynn (@TaraFlynn)

Comedian and writer Tara Flynn is one of Ireland’s most active figures on Twitter, commenting on social and political issues across the spectrum. Often writing in @ThisHeadStuff, Flynn’s enthusiastic activism is contagious.

14. Fintan O’Toole (@fotoole)

Widely-known Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole largely dispenses with the humoristic approach favoured by many of his commentating counterparts in favour of honest reportage, offering analysis on daily life – and daily politics – in Ireland. While not exactly chock-full of witty repartee or stand-alone comments, O’Toole’s Twitter feed will give you a nudge towards some really great articles on Irish political happenings.

15. Fintan O’Toolbox (@FintanOToolbox)

Somewhat of a parody account that tweets prolifically on religious, political and social affairs, among other things, O’Toolbox is also one of the contributors to the satirical website The Donegal Dollop. Worth a follow as O’Toolbox is not one to hold back his opinions.

16. Stephanie Lord (@Stephie08)

Ahead of the General Election, there has been much talk online – and in traditional media – about the possibility of repealing the 8th amendment to the Constitution that bans abortion in Ireland.

As spokesperson for Choice Ireland, Stephanie Lord still manages to poke fun at the establishment and the sometimes ludicrous nature of Irish politics.

17. Gary Murphy (@GaryMurphyDCU)

The dominant name in DCU’s law and government department, Gary Murphy’s social media activity covers a wide array of topics – starting with DCU, moving on to US politics, Irish elections and, of course, Cork. When it comes election time, Murphy is often the go-to-guy for TV coverage. Simply: an expert.

18. Patrick Cullivan (@paddycullivan)

Bringing bitter sarcasm to a whole new level, Patrick Cullivan – leader of The Late Late Show’s Camembert Quartet and self-proclaimed satirist – looks at all of the electioneering with a broad scope, cutting right to the heart of the ‘elect me, please’ rhetoric and calling the entire political sphere out for its most grievous missteps.

19. Donegal Dollop (@DonegalDollop)

A more northerly version of Waterford Whispers, the Donegal Dollop is a caustic no-holds-barred view on the world from a Donegal perspective, of course. In other words, it doesn’t hold back and has been closely observing the run-up to General Election 2016 in a scintillatingly humorous fashion.

20. John McGuirk (@john_mcguirk)

Sometimes seeming to be professionally controversial, PR and communications consultant McGuirk tweets about a variety of issues across the political and religious spectrums – as well as about American Football. Likely to have a difference of opinion with others on this list during #ge16.

21. Colm O’Gorman (@Colmogorman)

Executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland, Colm O’Gorman is a regular voice on societal affairs in the country. Advocating everything from marriage equality to mental health awareness, he really has his finger on the pulse of the nation.

22. Jason O’Mahony (@jasonomahony)

O’Mahony is a writer, a contributor with The Times (Ireland edition) and also has his own blog, for which he received the accolade of Irish Political Blogger of the Year in 2013 and 2014. Has written ‘guides’ to Irish elections and Irish voters on his blog, which he shares through Twitter.

23. Niamh Puirséil (@NiamhPuirseil)

Niamh Puirséil is a historian and writer who has written widely on Irish politics, history and the labour movement in particular. She is best-known for The Irish Labour Party 1922-73the standard history of that party and the best-selling Landmark documents in Irish History.

 24. Noel Whelan (@noelwhelan)

Author of The Tallyman’s Campaign Handbook, Whelan knows a thing or two about the machinations of Irish politics. A barrister, a columnist with The Irish Times and a frequent contributor to current affairs shows on radio and TV, Whelan tweets and retweets about all things politics-related.

25. Fergal Crehan (@fergal)

As the handle indicates, Fergal Crehan was fairly early to the Twitter game, having joined the network in December 2006. A barrister with a particular expertise in privacy and data protection law, Crehan is also something of an entrepreneur with his company The Hit Team, which specialises in removing sensitive and private material from the web.

Dail Eireann image via Shutterstock