Labour's dangerous paralysis

With the collapse of the Celtic tiger, there was a chance for Labour to change minds radically by arguing for a society fired by social solidarity rather than profit and narrow self-interest - but the party flunked it. By Vincent Browne.

On RTÉ Radio 1's Liveline programme last week, a woman was excitedly demanding that everyone should share the pain of the budgetary adjustment, and that complaints about the reduction in the First Communion allowance were absurd.

Enda's handsome contribution to the Celtic Crash

If the Taoiseach does not understand his own contribution to this crash, we are in greater trouble than we think. By Vincent Browne.

In a few years’ time, when asked how the Celtic Crash occurred and how Ireland, once a nation, became a province once again, a future taoiseach may reflect that the fiscal treaty of 2012 was a turning point.

Kenny's big gaffe was in the Dáil, not in Davos

Fine Gael made a commitment before the election to at least attempt to renegotiate the debt, but last week Enda Kenny told us "We have never looked for a debt writedown". By Vincent Browne.

A comment that Taoiseach Enda Kenny made in the Dáil last Tuesday was even more stunning than the airhead "people went mad borrowing" remark, which he made in front of the masters of the universe at Davos.

Public debate a vital part of constitutional reform process

Constitutional reform is a valuable opportunity for public debate on the sort of society and values citizens aspire to. By Peader Kirby and Mary P. Murphy.

The March 2011 Programme for Government promised a constitutional convention “to consider comprehensive constitutional reform” and to report within 12 months. Yet the virtual silence on the idea in the intervening period sends signals that rewriting our Constitution is seen as being of little importance to government and opposition alike.

Our irrelevant Dáil

For all their talk of reform, Labour and Fine Gael are as committed as their Fianna Fáil predecessors to maintaining the Dáil as an tool of the government of the day, accountable to no one. By Vincent Browne.

The Dáil met at 10.30am on Friday last with the usual affront to those who do not share a Christian belief, in the form of the “Paidir”, and, immediately, Éamon Ó Cuív sought to raise an issue to do with misleading information that had been given to the Dáil before a vote was taken on the Water Services (Amendment) Bill.

Why we need a referendum on the Austerity Treaty

Negotiations on a new international treaty involving all the EU states, except for Britain, are now at an advanced stage. Its working title, which has changed with each draft, is the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. The essential elements of this Treaty are much clearer than its name. It is effectively a Treaty to institutionalise austerity policies and represents a further significant attack on democratic rights. The campaign for a referendum and for a No vote will be vital for those opposed to austerity policies in the coming months.

Referendum would be our chance to express our outrage

A referendum this year on either the intergovernmental agreement on fiscal union or on amendments to existing EU treaties would offer the Irish people a welcome chance to express their outrage. By Vincent Browne.

There is the prospect for the Irish people of a welcome opportunity this year to express their rage at the EU, which has inflicted €100 billion of debt on this country to safeguard financial institutions in Germany, France, Belgium and elsewhere.

An interesting year for the left

2011 has been a very interesting year for the southern Irish party political left, writes Eoin Ó Broin.

The general election in February brought the largest number of left-wing deputies into the Oireachtas in its 90-year history. 63 TDs were elected on a variety of social democratic, left republican, revolutionary socialist and independent left platforms.

The combined left vote broke the 40% barrier for the first time in general election history.

If this crisis is not our fault, then whose is it?

Enda Kenny's assertion last week that Irish people are not responsible for the crisis was a bogus one. By Vincent Browne.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said in his television address to the Irish people last Sunday: "You are not responsible for the crisis." If no Irish person is responsible for the crisis, then who is?