What can we learn from the Cloyne Report?

Paedophilia is a very uncomfortable subject. Most people dismiss the topic if it is brought up in conversation - the very idea is repulsive to most human beings. Yet paedophilia is part of the human condition whether we like to accept the idea or not - and in order to protect innocent children it is vital that society address this complex issue with vigour.

Nick Griffin and UCC

Ben English, of UCC's Government and Politics society writes in the Irish Times that the society has extended an invitation to Mr. Nick Griffin MEP, of the British National Party (BNP), to speak at the university in the new year. This invitation has been accepted.

Mr. English opines that this is in response to the withdrawal of an invitation to Griffin to speak in Trinity College, and that issues relating to free speech will be teased out during Griffin's appearance. Honest!

Scully affair highlights need for reform

Darren Scully, the now disgraced former Fine Gael Mayor of Naas, will be forever remembered as the local councillor that took to the radio waves of Kildare FM to denounce his “black African” constituents. But his comments have sparked a long overdue national debate on racism and legislative reform in Ireland.

The euro: breaking up isn't hard to do

It is an article of faith among almost all political parties in Ireland that the country’s future is inseparable from that of the euro. It is widely considered to be insane even to think of the alternative. If Ireland left the euro the economy would collapse, the country would have to default on its debts, and it would be frozen out of international markets, or so the story goes. There are too many practical difficulties in re-issuing an Irish currency and the national debt would still be denominated in euros, leaving a heavy burden for future generations.

Time to agitate for change

I have no choice but to be agitated. And I have to agitate. I am troubled. My dad often used to say that we (his children) would have much more leisure time then people of his generation. He believed that technological developments would take the strain, so to speak. He also had the reasonable expectation that the life chances of working class people would continue to flourish, as he had noted from the end of the Second World War.

Are Labour prisoners in government?

The Labour Party in Ireland has sold out – or at least its parliamentary party has. They have been sucked into the gaping maw of neoliberalism in all its guises. The recent decisions made by the coalition - from the closure of army barracks to the proposed cuts in the public service to the forthcoming increase on VAT rates by 2% - these actions and the party’s complicity with paying unsecured bondholders have left Labour bereft of any credibility as a party of the Left.

USI's stance on fees is too simplistic

Here's a hunch - Ruairi Quinn is bluffing big time and we're all falling for it. Reintroduce student fees? His slipperiness and generally non-committal tone when speaking about them this week is calculated. He's raising hackles, but that will ensure that a €500 top up of the student registration charge passes in the Budget with only sighs of relief at what could have been (worse.)

We've been here before. Precisely twelve months ago. With a motley Fianna Fáil-Green coalition.

A key moment for radicalism

A concerted effort is being made to close down the various Occupations in the US. No doubt this will give to reactionary forces the green light to start the same process wherever they can. Expect more stories of local businesses' trade being adversely affected or random criminal acts. After the initial first few weeks, when there was little media attention, the growth in understanding and support for this overt challenge to neoliberalism has made an impact. This is the reaction.

Circumstance, but little pomp

Gown has yielded to town, or the plain people of Ireland, in the twenty-one years since Dr. Patrick Hillery departed from office as our last male President. At Mary Robinson's inauguration in 1990, at Mary McAleese's in 1997, official Ireland was not as austere in its habits as imperatives both fiscal and moral have now compelled it to be.

A global opportunity

It’s a crisis if you want it to be a crisis. I say it’s an opportunity. 

The way things have gone over the past decade or two have really challenged my optimistic outlook. I was whining about the woes of the world to a good friend a few months back when he replied that “There’s a theory that everything is alright and it’s all the way it’s supposed to be.”

What an optimist. “How positive,” I thought.