The exchequer deficit in Ireland was €1.6 billion at the beginning of 2008. The exchequer deficit at the start of 2013 was €15 billion. Over the corresponding five years from 2008-2012 inclusive, the total 'savings' by way of public sector pay cutbacks, public spending cutbacks and tax increases amounts to €24.4 billion. By Dr. Tom O'Connor of Cork Institute of Technology
Reading the Observer recently (14/10/2012) brought my thinking back to the nature of political struggle and the party structures that we have in the nation state.
Lester Brown, an environmental analyst and president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington had an article in the paper. He has a new book out - Full Planet, Empty Plates – in which he predicts “…ever increasing food prices, leading to political instability, spreading hunger and, unless governments act, a catastrophic breakdown in food.”
Professor Georges Enderle from the University of Notre Dame has been giving a series of lectures this week at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. One of his most interesting ideas is around the purpose of business, which he sees as the creation of wealth. So far, so Friedman. The cool bit is how he defines wealth. By Sheila Killian.
While trying to understand what is happening in our modern history and how the world is handling revolutions and fights for liberty, I find myself in front of a big question mark and no common sense, wisdom or intellect can help me understand. Didn't our ancestors fight for human rights, to reach for a life in peace and freedom with equal rights for all? By Sumou Al Nassea, Syrian activist.
While being caught up in the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics, not for the first time I found myself wanting to be an athlete rather than a writer. The incredible sight of the disabled aesthetic being so celebrated in a public – indeed, a worldwide – forum left me emotionally energised. Just for a moment I found myself amongst the group being lionised.
Last month the Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik was found guilty of killing 77 people and wounding 242 in a murderous rampage last year. Breivik’s actions were undeniably wicked and grotesque. However, Breivik was found to be sane – in other words, this was the work of a rational, intelligent human being. No sinister voices in his head; no obscure songs played backwards issuing subliminal murderous missives.
On 8 October 2011 the Occupy Dame Street camp was established. But the next five months made it clear that such a disorganised (or “non-hierarchical” to use their term) protest would not be effective. On 8 March 2012 An Garda Síochána dismantled the camp and any campers that had remained were gone for good. But the campers had certainly generated public debate around the issues they had raised.
We, the people of Ireland, remembering "the heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation" enacted for ourselves Bunreacht na hÉireann, the basic law upon which our State exists.
Nothing gets the goat of the Irish quite like a sports-related injustice. In 2009 a Thierry Henry handball mobilised the nation into a marching, protesting, boycotting behemoth. The display of outraged solidarity truly was something to behold; the type of display sadly lacking when it came to the clearly more trivial matter of the Government of the day selling the country down the river in the 2008 bailout and thus condemning the country to decades of hardship. Fast forward to 2012, and it is clear that Ireland’s sporting skin is as thin as ever.
The deal reached by EU leaders in late June has been hailed as a game-changer for Ireland. Yet at the same time, the government has maintained that there will be no immediate or short-term benefit for the country. The public is told that if any benefit does arise this will be accrued over the longer-term with a fall in borrowing costs for the country.