We do like to think of ourselves as a special little country. And in that we're not unusual. All countries think they're special; such self-regard being nothing more than a scaled up version of an entirely natural narcissism. There being no mirror big enough to check a nation's hair in, foreign opinion on our affairs is a handy proxy for that gigantic looking glass humanity never got around to building. Which is all well and good, but Ireland has lately becoming obsessed with foreign opinion, convinced the world's eyes are tracking our every move.
I moved to Ireland in early 2008, at a time where the benefits of the Celtic Tiger started to fade and when the perspective of a global and national economic crisis started to seem more and more apparent. I was moving from France, where I was living at the time, and I remember being greatly surprised by my first impressions as a migrant and a new to resident in Ireland. By Pablo Rojas Coppari, a Paraguayan national working with the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland.
Society seemed to be quite vibrant, energetic and quite jovial.
One of the places where gender inequality is most visible in Irish society is, ironically, our national parliament. Following the general election 21 constituencies out of 43 have no female TDs at all, and our female representation in public life puts Ireland at number 79 in world rankings. Here, Mary Murphy makes the case for the introduction of gender quotas.
The prostitution industry in Ireland is worth an estimated €180 million a year. This money is made through the sexual exploitation of women and girls, the majority of whom are migrants. Denise Charlton, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, assesses the Swedish legislation on prostitution and how it is yielding impressive results in combating human trafficking.
The effects of austerity economics are devastating – moreover, they are designed to target those who can bear it least. Like its predecessor, the new Irish government persists in using neoliberal policies to solve a problem created by neoliberal policies. Adam Larragy highlights how the impact of this approach has not been gender neutral.
The popular uprisings in North Africa have captivated the world as men, women, and children take to the streets to oppose corrupt and oppressive regimes. Following the people’s victory Amel Yacef points out that women’s rights may already be taking a backseat in Egypt, and she finds a glimmer of hope in the male-dominated Algerian media.
On the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day organised domestic workers across the world launched an international campaign to get legally binding international legislation to protect domestic workers’ rights. Aoife Smith of the Domestic Workers’ Action Group gives an overview of the campaign to protect some of the world’s most invisible workers.
Since the foundation of the state, no matter how corrupt or incompetent, Fianna Fáil’s ability to command loyalty, to bounce back and even to engender in the electorate a strange kind of sly regard for their own brown envelope crookedness seemed permanent. Last week’s election has been called everything from a democratic revolution to a mandate for austerity.
Reform and tax-tinkering can seem feeble when stacked up beside the overhwleming structural and social inequalities in Irish society. Did the ballot box riot of 2011 merely channel genuine anger into a cosmetic shift from one party’s austerity to another? The Irish crisis will not be solved by this election or the next, argues Dara McHugh.