The FTA with Colombia and Peru: European Parliament puts big business before workers' rights

Once again, despite its repeated fine words, the European Parliament this afternoon placed the interests of big business before workers' and human rights. It voted overwhelmingly (486 to 147, with 41 abstaining) to consent to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia and Peru. MEPs have been inundated with emails and reports from NGOs, human rights organisations and activists seeking for them to vote against this report, given the systematic abuses of human rights in Colombia.

Retrieving memories of the 1913 Lockout

The 1913 Alternative Visions Oral History Group was set up in September 2012 to collect stories from people whose families, communities or unions have memories of the 1913 Dublin Lockout and to consider the legacy of the Lockout in the light of 100 years of subsequent history. The project is sponsored by various trade unions and is led by oral historians Dr Ida Milne and Dr Mary Muldowney. Interviews will feed into a book due for publication in 2013 to celebrate the centenary of the Lockout.

The IPSC, the Irish Times, and a miscarriage of journalism

The Irish Times reported an untrue story on its front page about Irish pro-Palestinian activists - then reported it again and again. The Press Ombudsman shrugged his shoulders, and the Press Council couldn’t be bothered. The Dervish affair tells a worrying story about the state of our press, and about the failure of Ireland’s much-vaunted “independent” form of press regulation. Harry Browne reports

The language of austerity

Apart completely from the regressive nature of the Budget measures – apart, that is, from the challenge to parents to get by with cuts in child benefit or back-to-school allowances; apart from the heartache from cuts to respite care or the struggle of young people to hang on in college with new demands on their families' incomes - apart from all of that, it's worth looking at the language in which the budget measures were presented. By Sheila Killian.

Abortion debate reveals inequality of Irish laws

Our legislators are in deep denial about the significance of the constitutional framework on abortion that they want to protect. By Vincent Browne.

Nothing that the expert group on abortion has proposed on clarifying the law on when abortion is permissible here would have saved the life of Savita Halappanavar, if what we now understand were the circumstances of her death is correct.

Deflationary, dispiriting, depressing

That Budget 2013 was pretty much what we expected is probably the most depressing thing about it. By Michael Taft.

Child Benefit cuts, PRSI rises, respite care cuts, property tax, pension caps (eventually) – how does the budget look when we stand back from the individual elements? What is the narrative? How does it fit with what the Government is projecting over the medium-term?

Labour's magic €500m – Now you see it, now you don’t

When Eamon Gilmore or any other Labour spokesperson claims that Budget 2013 “squares up to the wealthy in our society” and includes a “€500 million wealth tax package” they are being less than honest. By Eoin Ó Broin.

Eamon Gilmore claims that Budget 2013 is fair. He told RTÉ that, “This Budget… will produce over €500m in additional taxes on wealth… It’s the largest package of tax measures on wealth in this country that I have seen in my 23 years in the Dáil.”

Budget 2013: 'Deeply regressive, both socially and economically'

Social Justice Ireland have this morning released a detailed response to Budget 2013. The group describes the Budget as “unjust and regressive", adding that "It does nothing to foster economic recovery or to provide a vision and direction for the country."

They say:There is a profound lack of any guiding vision that would suggest Budget 2013 was moving Ireland towards a future where everyone had access to the basics required to live life with dignity.