An endemic indifference to democratic procedures

There are increasing signs of indifference at the top of the EU over democratic procedures. By Vincent Browne.

The case being taken by Thomas Pringle TD on the Fiscal Treaty and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) could have very considerable significance not just here but throughout the European Union.

The ESM's time has passed - and we haven't even voted on it yet

The ESM is no magic bullet, and even if it was, it couldn't bring down the runaway beast that is Europe's debt problem. By Philip O'Connor.

After the weekend's orgy of ball sports, the fun continued in Ireland last night with the blood sport of democratic debate around the Fiscal Treaty referendum – and by extension, Ireland’s ability to access ESM funding - beamed live and direct via the Frontline.

The outcome of the debate, and with it the referendum, are irrelevant.

There he goes again

It is becoming great sport following up the Minister for Finance’s comments Michael Noonan was at it again on This Week:

RTÉYou mentioned we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in if the Fiscal Treaty had been some years ago. This would have saved us from getting into the deficit problems we got into. But how would have that prevented that given that at the time the IMF and the European Commission were complimentary of our structural deficit?

If it feels good, run with it

It seems that in the debate around the Fiscal Treaty, you can say anything you want without any reference to truth, fact, or reality. By Michael Taft.

This economic debate is getting beyond the beyond.  RTÉ reported yesterday:

Speaking at the Bloomberg economic summit in Dublin Mr Noonan said the Irish economy is in a much better position than it was this time last year.”

Bible not the rule book on same-sex marriage

The Book of Genesis offers magnificent literature but should not be used to perpetuate painful discrimination. By Vincent Browne.

Diarmuid Martin, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, was asked last week for his views on same-sex marriage. The question arose in the aftermath of the support Barack Obama voiced for same-sex marriage.

Diarmuid Martin said the (Catholic) church’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage between man and woman was clear, unchangeable and dated from the biblical account in the Book of Genesis of Adam and Eve.

Lost in translation

The Government may welcome talk of growth, but cuts in public investment and current expenditure along with tax increases will reduce GDP by over €6bn by 2015. By Michael Taft.

This debate – you wouldn’t know whether to laugh, cry or bang your head on the asphalt repeatedly. Following the rejection of austerity parties in Greece and France, the Taoiseach says:

Yes and No sides both have a case to make

The main argument for a No vote in the Fiscal Treaty referendum is to call a halt to Europe's march to a neoliberal drumbeat. By Vincent Browne.

Transport minister Leo Varadkar had a point when he said a few weeks ago that referendum campaigns are usually fought over issues that are irrelevant to the point of the referendums.

Urgent need to explore what is wrong with our politics

An Ipsos/Mrbi poll in April recorded 23% satisfaction with the Coalition Government and 73% dissatisfaction. The level of dissatisfaction is up 16% from October 2011. Nothing changes however as the current government races to the levels of unpopularity enjoyed by its predecessor. Welcome to democracy Irish style! By Niall Crowley (video below).

France, Greece, and the genie's escape from the bottle

8 May was the Fête de la Victoire in France. It was also the day of François Hollande’s first public appearance as president-elect. The right-wing Le Figaro featured photographs of “deux presidents sous l’Arc de Triomphe”, in which Sarkozy managed to look even more disgruntled than usual and Hollande looked as if he had just grasped a double-edge sword by the blade.