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SENATE REFORM

What is the Senate good for? Ideally, in a bicameral legislature, each house acts as a check and/or balance to the other. In our case, however, there is no check, given that the balance is well and truly tipped in favour of the Government of the day. The result is a redundant Senate and a dictatorship of the Dáil.

TAX AND SPEND Part three: Anyone for Redistribution?

More equality is better for everybody, including the economy.Social Justice Ireland Right-wing governments are predictably reluctant to impose a wealth tax on their friends. But in a time of multiple crises—not just the coronavirus and its effect on the economy, but also the perennial favourites in health, housing, climate action, and so on—there’s nothing to be gained by endlessly cutting the national cake into ever thinner slices in an attempt to make it stretch further. We’ve been determinedly doing that for four neo-liberal decades, refusing to admit that the national budget isn’t St Brigid’s cloak[i]. And look how well it’s working. In the sixth richest country in the world (according to the International Monetary Fund), Social Justice Ireland estimates that approximately one-in-five full-time workers is earning less than the Living Wage—the average gross salary that will enable an adult in full-time employment to afford a socially acceptable standard of living based on needs, not wants. One child in five is living in a family with an income below the poverty line. One in four is living in a household experiencing deprivation of two or more basic necessities. And 110,000 children are surviving consistent poverty, both living below the poverty line and with persistent deprivation of basic necessities. These stark figures present very serious policy implications for Ireland, not least for the success of these children within the education system, their job prospects in the future and for Ireland’s economic potential in the long-term.  How long more can we afford to ignore these children and their living standards? (Poverty Focus 2019) There are one million people on healthcare lists waiting for treatment for months and sometimes for years. There are upwards of 70,000 families waiting up to 12 years for housing. Focus Ireland report that eight and a half thousand homeless […]

THREE ELECTIONS THAT NOBODY WON AND EVERYBODY LOST

After a century of batting the electoral ball between two right-wing parties, in the last three elections, we voted in unprecedented numbers against the ‘ruling’ parties of the last hundred years and for outsiders, non-politicians, single-issue warriors, and the like. The effective message from the electorate was a pox on all your houses.

EQUAL ACCESS TO A HOME nix

Let’s be clear, homelessness is a policy-driven crisis. Bedrock Fine Gael ideology does not want government in the business of building public housing, because it interferes with the free market. The ‘logic’ is that, without government interference, supply-and-demand in a free marketplace will solve the problem. Except that it hasn’t.

JUSTICE, SOLIDARITY, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

It’s not an exaggeration to say this last year has been among the most meaningful and enjoyable of my life. I’ve wanted to return to teaching for a long time, and so when I read that a solidarity organization in El Salvador was recruiting ESL teachers, I jumped at the opportunity.