- TAX AND SPEND: Part One: Tax . . .
Painfully ironic though it feels to write this, it’s time to repatriate the taxes of the Irish companies relocated ‘offshore’ and call out the bogus non-resident non-tax-paying billionaire moochers who pay for nothing and walk away with everything, including lucrative Government contracts. (8 minute read)
- TAX AND SPEND: Part two . . . and spend
the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful at the expense of the rest of us in a rigged system. Public waiting lists for medical treatment get longer as we shovel money into The private sector. Rich kids get a better education at our expense. And then the Government cheats on the Leaving Cert results to see that they get the top university places.
- SENATE REFORM
Think Nationally, Act Locally 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 Taoiseach gets to nominate eleven Senators, which is a nice head start, but it’s hardly necessary: even though all Bills nominally need the approval of both houses, if the Dáil sends a Bill to the Senate, the Senate can potentially delay its becoming law, but can do nothing […]
- 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 […]
- ANGRY COMMONERS
Despite a century of republican independence, the common ownership of Ireland’s wealth promised by the first Dáil continued to find its way into the hands of privileged private interests. Public rights and welfare are now subordinate to property rights, citizens are taxpayers, and workers are human resources. 15-min read.
- A VERY IRISH COUP
Shaw said it’s past time to see things as they are and ask ‘Why?’; it’s time to dream of what never was and ask, ‘Why not?’ Why not a first-class, single-tier healthcare system, a first-class single-tier education system, housing for everybody, and a taxation system that makes the rich pay their share? 12-minute read.
- BROKEN DEMOCRACY
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. Our democracy is broken. It’s time we did something about it. 10-minute read.
- THE NOT-SO-QUIET REVOLUTIONARIES
In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that laws criminalising homosexuality supported the ‘Christian nature of the Irish State’ and a two-to-one majority voted for the Eighth Amendment. But by 2018, we had legalised same-sex marriage and repealed the Eighth. 12-min read.
- CLASS IN THE CLASSROOM
All other things being equal—Leaving Cert results, for instance—students who attend schools in working-class areas are less likely to graduate to third-level study than those from more affluent areas. Why is that? Two classic studies partially explain the disparity, but it took a pandemic to break it open.
- THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF CORNFLAKES
The debacle surrounding ‘standardised’ Leaving Cert grades made it possible to see why students from private schools are disproportionately more likely to graduate to third-level study than all others. That’s the intention—quid pro status quo.12 minute read.
- IS THE LEAVING CERT FIT FOR PURPOSE?
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.
- THE ESSENCE OF HUMANITY
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.)
- EQUAL ACCESS TO A HOME
The only possible conclusion is that current housing policy is designed to make landlords, developers, and investors rich on our tax money. Keep shovelling the money upwards and, to paraphrase Trump, ‘one day the homeless will just disappear, like a miracle.’
- “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle – a new interpretation
Written by Scottish-born folk singer Eric Bogle, the song describes the futility and horror of war through the personal experiences of the song’s character. In stripping away melody the words alone are left to convey the bleak vistas and raw emotion of the story.
- Welcome to Ballymun
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?
- Misinformation, disinformation, and plain ole lies
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.
- How We Can Build a Sustainable Future
Eco-villages have become more and more popular over the years as people become more conscious of the looming climate crisis. Owen Connolly asks Davie Philips of Cloughjordan exactly what is an eco-village and what is different about living in one?
- History’s Response to Covid 19
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.’
- Let’s Cooperate! Stevie Nolan of Belfast Trademark
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.’
- An Chéad Dáil Éireann
Democratic Programme We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President, Pádraig Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be […]
- BORIS JOHNSON’S HUMAN EXPERIMENT
More than 250,000 UK citizens may die by Johnson’s Covid-19 experiment. Herd immunity has never been tested on a human population with an unknown virus and an unavailable vaccine. This idea by Boris Johnson and his administration in the UK, was not only crazy, but a very dangerous human experiment.
- ST. SHEELAGH’S DAY – MARCH 18th
Should St. Sheelagh be our patron saint of Covid-19? Terrifying and destructive yet the embodiment of fertility and the maternal instinct in addition to being the queen of territorial sovereignty she has all the qualities of the Coronavirus crisis and it’s necessary isolationist management.
- 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.
- ‘WHY WE BUILD THE WALL’ by Anaïs Mitchell
Recently there has been a worrying growth in active and headline-grabbing intolerance towards asylum seekers. Pressure groups are increasing efforts to build social and political walls around our communities and country. Globalisation has reduced continents to parishes and a worldwide bout of parochialism has taken hold.
- TINNITUS! Help is available.
Most tinnitus sufferers have the common experience of being told “there is no cure for tinnitus.” However, life changing help is available for tinnitus victims and this article explains how and why it works.
- 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.
- It’s a War Zone in HSE Emergency Departments
Since 2006 when our hospital A&E’s were determined by the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney, to be in a “state of emergency”, almost 4,000 sick people in A&E have been killed. The deaths are due solely to delays, neglect and inhumane treatment while awaiting necessary medical intervention.
- Eddie Comes Home (Fiction)
The first words she’d ever said to him were that her father had warned her not to be in this dance hall because it attracted a very low crowd. She’d had a blonde bubble-cut then, just like Kim Novak’s, and she was the best-dressed girl in the hall.