Emigration: we still can't all live on a small island?

It could have been almost any school in Ireland in the early 1930s. About forty five eleven- to twelve-year old boys, in short trousers, most sitting cross-legged, many barefoot. A formal occasion, in an age when photographs were still uncommon.

Rage within the Machine

One of the sure signs that cages are rattled amongst the architects of this crisis is the anger with which dissent is met. Earlier today Conor McCabe crystallised an excellent argument about mass media doing exactly what they're supposed to do: culminating in shouty rage which is amplified by Frontline and Liveline.

Afternoon Blog - 06 December 2010

Criticism, analysis, response: The BudgetJam liveblog. Email you comments here or comment below.


17.51 Michael Lowry was just on Drivetime explaining his decision to support the budget. I copied down a few lines - if anyone doubts the list of myths BudgetJam is built around the following should set your mind at rest:

Needy left behind while TD Gravy Train rolled on

As public servant salaries come into focus with Labour’s proposed cap of €190,000, Social Justice Ireland (SJI) has contrasted exorbitant TD salaries with meagre rises in welfare payments in the past two decades. Calling on all TDs to vote against any reduction in welfare rates in Budget 2011, SJI has shown that the take-home pay of TDs rose by €980 a week since 1986 while unemployment benefit rates only rose by €143.75 in the same period. Government ministers’ take-home pay rose by more than €1,200 a week in the same period, according to SJI. The full text of the SJI article appears below.

A race to the bottom

Fianna Fail wants to cut the number of public service employees by 14,700 over the next four years.  Fine Gael has mentioned numbers approaching 30,000.  Even Labour proposes public service numbers by 30,000 – though on Twitter Labour stated:  ‘The 30k referred to also include 10 to 12k who've already lost their job.’  This would mean, then, 18,000 to 20,000.

All this goes to show that the public sector is in for some serious downsizing regardless of who is in the next government.

Outsiders at Kilkenomics

The buzz at the recent Kilkenny-based Kilkenomics economics and comedy festival was terrific. Assembled were economists and comedians bent on explaining the nuts and bolts of our economic crisis – how it came about, who was involved and what ought to be done about it. By Miriam Cotton