Fragments 2006-11-09

On the periphery of the vast Liffey Valley shopping centre in west Dublin, there is a wall topped by railings (see picture). Behind the wall live thousands of people, excluded not just from Liffey Valley but from society generally by poverty and neglect. Liffey Valley is a monument to one of the great injustices perpetrated on the poor of the city.

Fragments 2006-11-02

Six weeks after we reported in a front page story that Michael McDowell had bought Thornton Hall lands for eight times the commercial value (see accompanying cover of Village of 14-20 September and the reproduction of the article by Frank Connolly), the penny has dropped with the Committee of Public Accounts and some of the media that this is, in fact, what occurred (see headline from the Irish Times of 27 October, left).

Discrimination towards non-EU nationals

There is individual and institutional discrimination towards non-EU nationals seeking further and third-level education in Ireland. Also there is inconsistency in relation to the fees they are charged.

Confusion over padded-cell figures

Figures supplied by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell about the use of padded cells in Irish prisons clash significantly with data contained in a Freedom of Information application obtained by Village.

Equal-rights ruling 'didn't change anything'

The recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling which stated that an employee could be paid more than a colleague if they had a longer length of service was reported as discriminatory towards women taking maternity leave and a back-track on equality rights. But in fact the ruling had nothing to do with maternity leave and was a clarification and improvement of case law in the area that had been established 17 years previously.

Fragments 2006-10-26

A vacancy has arisen on the Supreme Court with the retirement of Brian McCracken, who was, of course, the most successful of the tribunal chairpersons when he headed the inquiry into the Dunnes Stories payments to Charles Haughey and Michael Lowry. He had been promoted from the High Court to the Supreme Court. A few others on the Supreme Court also got promotion: Catherine McGuinness, Susan Denham and Nicholas Kearns, for instance. Catherine McGuinness, incidentally, is also due to retire soon.

The state that does not exist

The Catholic church exploits its elusive status as a state to invoke diplomatic immunity to shield its sex abusers, but refuses to cooperate with international war courts. Eamon McCann reports

Fragments 2006-10-05

Judges claimed €1.9m in expenses in 2005 and the highest amount claimed by a single judge was €54,902. Over €63,000 was claimed for judicial attire and incidental expenses.