Tag Archives: republic of ireland

Opinion: the UK has many economic lessons to learn from Ireland

When various commentators and critics of the coalition’s economic policy cast around for alternative solutions, not many look to Ireland for a model to follow, but perhaps they should.

My native country’s economy is in the sort of doldrums which make the current UK growth and employment rate look utopian, but the economy formerly known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’ is healing itself and there are many lessons for UK policy makers to learn. This year growth is forecast to be 1.8%, double what the UK can expect to achieve, while the country was recently able to return to the bond markets …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Gender quotas get legal backing in Ireland

Interesting news from Ireland on the long-running question of male dominance of elected Parliamentary posts:

GENDER QUOTAS are set to become law after the Electoral Amendment (Political Funding) Bill 2011 passed all stages in the Dáil yesterday.

The legislation, which has yet to be signed by the President, will halve State funding to parties unless 30 per cent of their candidates at the next general election are women. This figure will rise to 40 per cent at subsequent general elections…

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Video: Perhaps the most dramatic implosion of a front-running Presidential campaign in history

In case you missed this, it is likely to rank as one of the most dramatic ends to a front-running Presidential campaign in history.

Before this RTE debate on 24th October last year, Sean Gallagher, standing as an Independent candidate, was 15 points ahead of the field and a “shoe-in” to be the next Irish President. Three days later, he finished the actual election 11 points behind the winner, Michael D Higgins.

This video clip shows the complete debate episode which led to Gallagher’s political demise. The discussion centres on a visit to a businessman’s house on behalf of Fianna Fail. Fellow Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness accuses Sean Gallagher of accepting a cheque from the man.

After denials from Gallagher, there is a commercial break. Then, presenter Pat Kenny announces that a tweet has come from Sinn Fein saying that they will produce the man to say that Gallagher accepted the cheque from him.

Under pressure, Gallagher then says, at 7’38” in this video, that he may have taken an envelope from the businessman. The word “envelope” has very strong connotations of corruption in Irish politics. At the very mention of the word by Gallagher, there are loud snorts of derision from the studio audience.

This may be the only time in history that a promising Presidential campaign was ended by just one word – “envelope”.

This is rivetting viewing:

Posted in News and YouTube | 2 Comments

Opinion: A New Approach to our Union

The current approach to the United Kingdom doesn’t work.

The current approach treats each home nation as an individual, yet this approach leads to everyone pulling the centre in every direction. It leads to infighting, or to one country taking control and dictating to the others how they should be run. Neither result leads to a strong union.

We currently have the Scotland Bill going through Parliament devolving more powers to the Scottish Parliament; Wales passed a referendum giving its citizens the ability to pass primary legislation; and Nick Clegg has set up a commission to address the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 26 Comments

Ship of Fools: lessons from the Irish crash

Fintan O’Toole’s Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger is a coruscating account of how the Irish boom turned into biter bust. The sharpness of the prose as O’Toole recounts a tale of property boom, tax evasion and dodgy banking practices both entertains and obscures.

Along the way we have a blizzard of names and details about tax dodging, back handers and absent regulation. We also have the bitter irony of the failed exposure of politicians. When politicians were exposed yet their political careers continued unimpeded, the message to other politicians was – look, it does you no …

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

The Independent View: Advice for the Lib Dems – be strong, but also be selfish

Watching the Liberal Democrat angst over tuition fees takes me back to 1989, when I was a young, considerably trimmer and clean shaven young Progressive Democrat activist. There had just been an Irish general election, and we had been devastated, dropping from 14 seats to just 6, which in Westminster terms would be like dropping from 50 odd seats to the early twenties, so you can imagine the howls of anguish. But that wasn’t even the worst bit: we were now faced with the nightmare scenario of entering coalition with Charles Haughey’s Fianna Fail, which in British terms was like …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 36 Comments

Opinion: Ireland has many economic problems…..but it isn’t an argument against the Euro

As my native Ireland teeters on the edge of bankruptcy and bailout, sections of the British press have taken the opportunity to view Ireland’s difficulty as the Europsceptic’s opportunity.

Some of the comment has centred around the idea that British taxpayers will be asked to ‘bail out’ their feckless neighbours, as, apparently they were with Greece last year.

This article aims not to explore that argument further, as it is a debate too reliant on uncertain future events, and is framed within a Britsih nationalist context which it is not appropriate for me to explore.

Instead I want to focus on another aspect …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 55 Comments

Opinion: can social partnership agreements be part of the deficit solution?

My native Ireland enjoyed a period of unprecedented economic growth in the late ‘90s and early nougties, and while many of the reasons are similar to the reasons Britain enjoyed periodic growth in the same period, one factor in the growth which was unique to Ireland were the use of Social Partnership agreements.

These agreements were principally negotiated between the private sector employers, the government in a dual role as both government and large employer, the unions and social groups and organisations.

Agreements such as these typically last about four years, and the benefit to the economy is that there is a …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: Another Greek tragedy? Time for Europhiles to admit the dream is over

In case you wouldn’t have noticed, another crisis has come on top of the big one.

For those who understand French, read carefully this article in the March 5 edition of French daily “Le Monde” . A former German finance vice-minister buries the euro as it is now and advises all Southern-Europe economies (including France) to get out of the Eurozone if they don’t clean up their act, behave more like Germany and adopt many unacceptable social measures. Some German backbenchers have suggested these might include selling off some islands (who would buy these? You guess).

That doesn’t yet …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 54 Comments

Nick welcomes Ireland’s Lisbon yes vote, says Tories are “embarrassing themselves”

Ireland’s yes to the Lisbon Treaty was emphatic (albeit at the second time of asking): 67% voted to approve it, with just two of the 43 constituencies rejecting it, on an icnreased turnout of 58%.

Nick Clegg was quick to welcome the result – and to note the awkward situation David Cameron now finds himself in:

This result finally puts to rest years of wrangling over Europe’s future and paves the way for a stronger and more democratic European Union.

“The worst thing would be to re-open this self-indulgent debate. David Cameron should now finally accept the treaty as a fact of life instead of plotting with Eastern European nations to have it blocked. The Conservatives are already embarrassing themselves and Britain with their petulant impotence on Europe.

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments



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