Spending cuts are a political choice

A look at the basic numbers shows that the Government does not need to cut overall spending. If it does, it's because it has chosen to do so. By Michael Taft.

With the Government to publish its four-year plan in the next few weeks, we should try to nail down some basic numbers. No doubt the plan will present an avalanche of numbers and percentages and projections, so much so that the Government may well try to hide some discomfiting statistics. Does this sound cynical?

This should not pass

The proposed amendment to the Constitution on the issue of Oireachtas inquiries carries with it an inherent menace. By Vincent Browne.

Wallace: Regulation must ensure terms of bank loans are reasonable

The Commercial Court today ordered construction company M&J Wallace Ltd and Independent TD Mick Wallace to repay borrowings of more than €19m to ACC Bank. The Wexford TD personally guaranteed five loans taken out with the bank between 2004 and 2008, before he was elected to the Dail. Mr Wallace issued the following statement on the judgement:

Robinson's constitutional challenge was a one-off

The claims of several of the current presidential candidates with regard to the role of the president ignore the constitutional limitations of the office. By Vincent Browne.

In March 1991, Mary Robinson, our then president, almost provoked a constitutional crisis in planning to defy the government and the taoiseach of the day, Charles Haughey, on a matter that related directly to government policy on international relations.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité! Norris rails in Dublin

David Norris delivered an impassioned oration to a small crowd gathered at an open house on North Great George's Street in Dublin on Sunday. Mr Norris emotively railed against the banking bailout and "the policies of the last decade which are untrue to the principles of the Easter Rising".

The 'crisis of bigness'

Our third week back since the recess began for me with a question to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, where I emphasised the need for greater State investment in early childhood care and education. “I realise that money is scarce and the Minister is constrained, but she will know that a report by the OECD in 2009 showed that we spend a lower percentage on the education of children under six than any other country in Europe. It is a fact of life that we have underestimated the importance of investment in children at the earliest stages.

South African Minister supports Martin McGuinness for Áras

A former South African government minister and ANC activist has given a gushing endorsement of Martin McGuinness's presidential bid. In a video address posted below, Ronnie Kasrils says "we South Africans are very pleased and interested" to hear of Martin McGuinness's nomination. Kasrils says that activists and leaders of the ANC, including Nelson Mandela, recognise in Mr. McGuinness "the same qualities that served [South Africa] so well in [its] endeavous to bring about a united free democratic South Africa".

Israeli legal experts differ on Norris letters

Israeli legal experts have presented differing opinions on whether letters written by David Norris appealing for clemency on behalf of his former partner, Ezra Nawi could be deemed legally non-disclosable. In 1997, Mr. Nawi was convicted of statutory rape arising from a relationship he had with a 15 year old Palestinian boy. Nawi was aged 39. 

Whose oil and gas? My oil and gas

The group behind the My Oil and Gas video which went viral last week explain why they were moved to make the film, and why they're urging people to sign up to their campaign of action to reclaim royalties from natural gas extraction for the State.