Income inequality will worsen with Budget 2011

Income, access to an adequate income and income equality emerge from the four year National Recovery Plan as key issues of concern. It is certain they will emerge as key issues from the forthcoming budget. By Niall Crowley

Budgetary Concerns

It's budget day tomorrow and people are all screaming and shouting.... "Not me!" We're all looking out for our lot, trying as best we can to maintain some of the material wealth we have become accustomed to. Of course, some of us have become accustomed to greater levels of material wealth than others. By Seamus Bradley

Guess who's having a good recession? Brian Patterson, former Chairman of the Financial Regulator

Last Friday, the Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce held its annual President's lunch at the Newpark Hotel. In an audacious move, the theme of the meal was "A Time for Optimism". And who should address this unfashionable notion? Step forward, Brian Patterson, now CEO of Vodafone Ireland, but until April 2008, chairman of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. By Roddy Flynn

Emigration: we still can't all live on a small island?

It could have been almost any school in Ireland in the early 1930s. About forty five eleven- to twelve-year old boys, in short trousers, most sitting cross-legged, many barefoot. A formal occasion, in an age when photographs were still uncommon.

Afternoon Blog - 06 December 2010

Criticism, analysis, response: The BudgetJam liveblog. Email you comments here or comment below.


17.51 Michael Lowry was just on Drivetime explaining his decision to support the budget. I copied down a few lines - if anyone doubts the list of myths BudgetJam is built around the following should set your mind at rest:

Needy left behind while TD Gravy Train rolled on

As public servant salaries come into focus with Labour’s proposed cap of €190,000, Social Justice Ireland (SJI) has contrasted exorbitant TD salaries with meagre rises in welfare payments in the past two decades. Calling on all TDs to vote against any reduction in welfare rates in Budget 2011, SJI has shown that the take-home pay of TDs rose by €980 a week since 1986 while unemployment benefit rates only rose by €143.75 in the same period. Government ministers’ take-home pay rose by more than €1,200 a week in the same period, according to SJI. The full text of the SJI article appears below.

A race to the bottom

Fianna Fail wants to cut the number of public service employees by 14,700 over the next four years.  Fine Gael has mentioned numbers approaching 30,000.  Even Labour proposes public service numbers by 30,000 – though on Twitter Labour stated:  ‘The 30k referred to also include 10 to 12k who've already lost their job.’  This would mean, then, 18,000 to 20,000.

All this goes to show that the public sector is in for some serious downsizing regardless of who is in the next government.

Outsiders at Kilkenomics

The buzz at the recent Kilkenny-based Kilkenomics economics and comedy festival was terrific. Assembled were economists and comedians bent on explaining the nuts and bolts of our economic crisis – how it came about, who was involved and what ought to be done about it. By Miriam Cotton