Tributes paid to Brian Lenihan

Former Finance Minister and deputy leader of Fianna Fail Brian Lenihan passed away this morning at the age of 52. The Fianna Fáil TD had been battling pancreatic cancer for some time. Mr Lenihan was first elected to Dáil Eireann in the Dublin West by-election of April 1996, caused by the death of his father Brian Lenihan Senior. He retained the seat in the general election the following year. In the 2011 general election he was the only member of Fianna Fáil to win a seat in Dublin.

'Cute hoorism' on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill?

The Social Welfare and Pensions Bill passed its first stage yesterday in the Dáil. The Bill, which, amongst other things, restores the minimum wage to €8.65 an hour, also fulfills the commitment in the EU-IMF memorandum to increase the qualifying age for a State pension to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 in 2028.

Ireland must be mindful of human rights obligations

The UN Independent Expert for Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, has advised that Ireland immediately undertakes a human rights review of all budgetary and recovery policies and ensures that it complies with fundamental human rights principles.

Haughey's 'flawed pedigree'

One of the most notable moments in Garret FitzGerald’s political career was his speech opposing the nomination of Charles Haughey as Taoiseach on December 11, 1979. This was the speech in which he referred to Haughey’s “flawed pedigree”, a comment FitzGerald later excused by saying he had written the speech in the early hours of the morning and had not been able to seek the advice of his wife, Joan, as was usual for key speeches. The bulk of that speech is reproduced below. (The full speech is here.)

Citizenship applicants left living in limbo

Many migrants applying for Irish citizenship by naturalisation find the process unjust, the rules unclear and the lengthy processing times – measuring years – an enormous strain, according to research released today by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).

The ICI today released the report, “Living in Limbo – Migrants’ Experiences of Applying for Naturalisation in Ireland”, written by the organisation’s senior solicitor Catherine Cosgrave and prepared in collaboration with Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre in Cork.

Coalition of unions and civil society groups launch independent debt audit

Details of an independent audit to be undertaken into providing a clear picture of Ireland’s national debt were released yesterday, Wednesday 5 May. Areas of specific reference will include determining to whom the debt is owed, when it was incurred, how much of it is senior, guaranteed and subordinated debt, and when repayment is due to each creditor.

Irish labour costs are not too high - TASC

Think-tank TASC has released a report by economist Tom McDonnell which seeks to address two claims: first, that Ireland's competitiveness has declined in the past decade; and second, that high labour costs in low-wage sectors are contributing to the employment crisis. The paper, published on April 14, concludes that neither argument is supported by available data. In a statement published on the TASC website, its director, Nat O'Connor, said:

Debating default: The 31st Dáil should not be the default Dáil

Growing numbers of commentators and politicians are advocating strategic default as the only available way out of the current crisis. Newly elected Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe disagrees.

In a new paper, published here, he argues that a unilateral sovereign default would prolong the fiscal crisis, and that those advocating this strategy have not adequately justified their position.