The vulcan of Sandycove

The lives of Irish artists tend to remain untold stories. Despite the incredible resurgence of interest in the work of our native painters and sculptors, the number of Irish artists who have been the subject of biographies has remained very small. All this makes Breaking The Mould, Eamon Delaney's vibrant memoir of his father, the late, great Edward Delaney, the more welcome.

Dublin in the rare aul times

From the early 1960’s, American amateur photographer Charles W. Cushman captured on film his 30 years of world travel, including a visit to Dublin in 1961. When he died, he left his collection to the Indiana University, who digitised his photographs. The photos are presented in the photo gallery below.

Human Rights group calls for investigation into Corrib gas project

On Monday 18 January, Human rights group Action for Ireland (AFRI) held a conference calling for an independent enquiry into the Corrib gas project in Mayo. Afri are concerned about the human rights, environmental and economic dimensions of the controversial project. The group also expressed concern at the actions of Gardai in the area. 

Broken promises on social housing provision

A government leasing scheme that promised to provide up to 4,000 social housing units in 2009 has yet to provide a single home. Meanwhile, the number of people in need of social housing spirals upward. By Eoin Ó Broin

The government this week announced plans to lease properties from the private sector to house families on Local Authority waiting lists. The announcement comes following a Cabinet discussion on the housing needs of low income families that took place on Wednesday, 13 January.

Living free and clean

Websites and movements such as the Freecycle Network and the Freeconomy community have created further interest in the concept of the gift economy and made living for free a distinct, if difficult, possibility, writes Joseph Galvin.

It doesn't look like much when you first open it up. A bland beige backdrop with a series of classifieds both looking for and offering a wide range of items. Toasters, sofas, cabinets, computer parts...all the usual suspects fill out the list. So far, so Buy and Sell. The difference is that everything is absolutely free.

Use of Public-Private Partnerships Criticised

Community and political groups today criticised the continuing use of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to fund the building of civic and residential developments. Speaking at a protest held alongside the opening of the €300m Criminal Courthouse in Dublin’s Parkgate Street, Eddie Conlon of the People Before Profit alliance dismissed the use of PPPs as “part of a neo-liberal agenda”. Conlon contrasted the new courthouse development with conditions in nearby residential areas. 

(Picture: protesters outside the new criminal courts in Dublin)

Eight out of ten drivers favour zero tolerance on alcohol

83 per cent of Irish drivers think a zero per cent alcohol limit would be a good idea according to a recent survey by AXA Insurance. The survey, which was carried out across Europe, shows Ireland to be one of the most ardent supporters of the idea. In contrast, the average EU support for a zero per cent alcohol limit stood at 68 per cent. By Joseph Galvin. Additional reporting by Malachy Browne.

Irish NGO's launch aid information website

Dóchas, the umbrella group for Irish development non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has launched a website to provide information on how Irish aid agencies and the Irish government respond to emergencies. The 'How You Can Help' website takes on renewed importance in the wake of the current crisis in Haiti where an earthquake has claimed the lives of up to 50,000 people and left millions more homeless according to the Haitian Red Cross. 

Prescription charges are hazardous to health

From April, all medical-card holders (30 per cent of the population) will be charged 50c per item prescribed, with a maximum charge of €10 a month per family.

Before the budget, there was talk of the “necessity” of charging for prescription drugs because of increasing costs. Mary Harney, the health minister, justified a charge on the basis of “two things — we have to raise money and we have to discourage over-prescribing and the overuse of medication”.