Student unions - forsaking their name and the students of Ireland

When one of the few major demonstrations mounted in opposition to the cuts was met with police brutality last November, USI leader and Ógra Fianna Fáil affiliated Garry Redmond condemned his own members. In the face of student transport being cut, fees being hiked and vital part-time employment vanishing, the conservative and inactive unions, writes Éimhín Ní Cionnaith, have shown about as much integrity as can be expected from a careerist leadership.

Is Ireland a tax haven?

Nicholas Shaxson, author of the acclaimed Treasure Islands, brings together the evidence and concludes that Ireland is a tax haven - one which saw $1.8 trillion moved by multinationals through subsidiaries in the IFSC and reinvested overseas in 2009.

Invasion of the time bandits

Those who are employed experience a distinction between their employer's time and their 'own' time. And the employer must use the time of his labour, and see it is not wasted: not the task but the value of time when reduced to money is dominant. Time is now currency: it is not passed but spent.

-E. P. Thompson, Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism 

Class: it's not about choice, it's about power

When moneygeddon struck in 2008 it spilled macchiato all over the idea that anyone but the elite of the elite has any power, either in this country or abroad. Sorry Mr McWilliams, but as Conor McCabe writes below: 'Class is not about choices or purchases or consumption or decking. It is about power.' And if we've learnt anything in the past few years, it's that the vast majority of us have very little. 

'Let's get Ireland working!' At what?

Hilariously, if you type the phrase 'pointless work' into Flickr (and set it to return only creative commons licensed images) the first page of results consists almost solely of pictures of Enda Kenny sitting in front of his party's 'Let's Get Ireland Working' slogan. At no point have Fine Gael ever really clarified what they're going to get Ireland working at, and that, writes Nyder O'Leary, is because they have no idea what it is an economy is supposed to do.

Employment Regulation Orders and protecting the vulnerable

Back in March, the Quick Service Food Alliance took a case challenging the constitutionality of the Joint Labour Committee system that sets wages and conditions in their industry. Food service is one of the least unionised and lowest paid industries in the country, and yet employers complain that wage costs are crippling their businesses. As Helen Lowry writes, wages have at best a minimal effect on the cost of food to the consumer, so the desire to abolish the few standards on pay and conditions (and subsequently lower them, no doubt) will have no effect on demand.

Finland – A good girl on a mission?

On 25 November 2010, four days after Ireland's international reputation reached its low-point, another small country at the other side of Europe got itself branded. A new country brand report, entitled Mission for Finland! was published with a bombastic subtitle: “How Finland will solve the world’s most wicked problems’.