A famine amongst plenty

Homelessness and the demand for social housing are both rising rapidly in Ireland. Meanwhile, an estimated 100,000 properties lie vacant around the country. Paul Walsh looks at possible solutions to a housing crisis in the making.

Privatisation being driven by Fine Gael alone

Privatisation of State assets is being driven by Fine Gael: not the EU, or the IMF or the ECB – or even by Labour. By Michael Taft.

The EU-IMF deal does not require the Government to privatise state assets. I’ll repeat that. The EU-IMF deal does not require the Government to privatise state assets. Those who claim otherwise have either not read the EU-IMF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and are just repeating what they heard from someone else. Or they are simply misleading people. It’s that simple.

Fiscal Advisory Council's report is a poor start

The Fiscal Advisory Council's basing as far-reaching a claim as ‘austerity is working’ on a mix-up of terms is a serious matter. By Michael Taft.

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council’s first report is out. It is a poor start. There is much to chew over but here I want to take up one contention – the one that says austerity is working. For if this argument is the best it can come up with, then it will have its work cut out to establish credibility.

Cannabinoids 'a buffer against stress and pain'

New research from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway highlights the importance of marijuana-like chemicals in suppressing pain. By John Holden.

The effects of smoking weed vary from person to person. For some it’s the perfect relaxant at the end of a long day. For others, marijuana can in fact cause anxiety and stress.

Its effects will vary depending on an individual’s own personality and make-up. However, the active ingredient in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), doesn’t change.

Because they're worth it?

Are high executive and banking pay related to results? Or to social value added? Or does executive compensation simply ratchet upwards, irrespective of either? Jeremy Fox reviews work from the High Pay commission, the New Economics Foundation and Ha-Joon Chang suggesting the answers are 'No', 'No' and 'Yes'.

Public investment is the key to growth

Public investment is essential if the Irish economy is to get back on its feet. By Michael Taft.

Colm McCarthy’s post on Irish Economy takes a sceptical look at ‘productive investment’, or more precisely, the Government’s claim that the New ERA proposals can create up to 100,000 jobs. This leads him to state that:

“The spectre of politicians seeking to create 100,000 jobs through extra public spending is every economist’s nightmare.”

The importance of being open

The financial crisis means the need to scrutinise public bodies is more important than ever. Recent discoveries have found that both NAMA and Anglo Irish are subject to some requests for information. Journalist Gavin Sheridan talks to Richard Chambers about the state of government transparency in Ireland.

Seeds of change in plan for abandoned Anglo HQ

A plan to transform the half-built Anglo headquarters in Dublin into a 'vertical park' for public use would stand as a permanent reminder of the problematic nature of a system so orientated towards property development if it goes ahead. By Philip Lawton.