In 2019, the year in which we had a smidgen short of 78,000 millionaires, nine billionaires, and a handful of people earning more than the country, Social Justice Ireland estimated that approximately one full-time worker in five in the Republic earned less than the Living Wage. That is, in the second richest country in the world (IMF), 20 percent of our full-time labour force earned less than what it would cost to achieve an acceptable standard of living.
Our democracy is broken and it’s time we did something about it. Self-governing republican freedom is shared among equal citizens, and so is the responsibility for maintaining it. That requires active participation from us all, individually and collectively, taking responsibility for the state we’re in. 10-minute read.
In 1983, a two-to-one majority voted for the Eighth Amendment, banning abortion for all time and the Supreme Court ruled that laws criminalising homosexuality supported the ‘Christian nature of the Irish State’. But by 2018, we had legalised same-sex marriage and repealed the Eighth. What happened? 12-minute read.
Two recent studies asked students whether the skills taught in their Leaving Cert courses prepared them for third-level study. An overwhelming majority said ‘No’, that they had not learned the intellectual skills they would need to succeed. 8 minute read.
Drunken, brawling, criminal, lazy, as thick as two short planks nailed together, and not wanted over here—that’s what ‘everybody knew’ about the average Mick when I was growing up in England. Creating a racist stereotype doesn’t need any basis in fact, just an ugly image repeated often enough. (10 minute read.)
Upwards of 17,000 people moved into the Ballymun flats in one go. The bus arrived late as did the shopping centre with its one supermarket and two pubs. The promised health centre, swimming pool, library, meeting rooms, community halls, and gym didn’t happen. Anyone spot a problem?
Social media algorithms created separate information tunnels leading to echo-chambers fed not with information but with affirmation of what their readers had already liked. Each tunnel built up its own ‘truths’: anything that offered a different perspective had been sent down a different tunnel.
Owen Connolly interviews Liam O’Sullivan of Trasna na Tíre – Ireland’s online history lecture series, adapted to work with the restrictions of the lockdown. ‘We bring in experts from outside our locality to explain aspects of our history to us.’
Owen Connolly talks to Stevie Nolan of Trademark Belfast, the anti-sectarian unit of the Irish Labour movement. ‘Our role for the last 25 years has been in the peace process. In particular, we deal with sectarian conflicts in the workplace.’
French economist Thomas Piketty argues that, contrary to what we are constantly told about job creation and trickle-down riches, the ultra-rich are harmful to the general economy. When the number of US billionaires exploded in the 1990s and 2000s, per capita income growth halved from 2.2% to 1.1%. (8-minute read.)