Foolish But Noble?

15 March, 2010

Although division has arised in the parliamentary party, Fine Gael announced over the weekend plans to launch referenda on a number of issues if elected in the next national election – including the abolition of Seanad Éireann. The Irish Times carries full details.

Given the enormous patronage power that the Seanad offers to the Taoiseach and the rest of the political establishment, this is either an extremely foolish move by Enda Kenny or a truly noble one. The question is: will the public reward him enough to balance the internal political opprobrium?

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Guardians of the Peace?

9 December, 2009

Ireland’s police force, an Garda Síochána, are threatening to take action in light of public pay cuts. Although not legal according to the constitution, past examples of disobedience amongst law enforcement in Ireland include the ‘Blue Flu’ of 1998.

The reality is that no government can properly negotiate with a national police force on even footing, as long as no real alternative exists. Could private security provide the answer? By supplanting national law enforcement, maintaining accountability, promoting competition amongst service providers, and ensuring that society cannot be blackmailed by public workers with the threat of chaos.

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Signaling Theory, IKEA and Public Sector Strikes

3 December, 2009

The Irish Times explains why today’s planned public sector strike was cancelled. In the media, there was plenty of discussion over how the public sector workers were going to spend their strike day.

Last week, it was widely reported that there was a mass exodus from the city to places like IKEA. This irked many members of the public, but some felt it was reasonable to use the time productively. Why does the trip to IKEA damage the strikers’ cause?

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How To Lose Friends and Alienate Tax-Payers

23 November, 2009

The public sector strikers might as well be protesting against the recession, as though such a beast could be tamed by opprobrium. They seem to be confusing the dire economic circumstances facing the state and public finances, with some discretionary government policy that can be reconsidered.

Quite simply, the government has to cut back on public sector pay, and quite significantly so. According to the Department of Finance, the Irish government has suffered a €26 billion deficit in expenditure over revenue thus far in 2009. Next year, it could be worse.

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Are Far Away Elections Really Greener?

9 October, 2009

Alarm ClockTomorrow, the Green Party will hold a vote to determine whether to continue in government with Fianna Fáil, and whether to support NAMA. Ciarán Cuffe TD describes it as ‘the eleventh hour’.

The Green Party have probably waited too long to ditch Fianna Fáil. Instead, they chose to watch as NAMA threatened to saddle this nation with years of huge debt. Instead, they chose to watch government expenditure insufficiently contract to deal with the tax revenue crisis.

Tomorrow’s vote might provide them with one last opportunity to rescue themselves from the fate of the Progressive Democrats.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

3 October, 2009

European FlagIt now looks like Ireland will pass the Lisbon Treaty. Remember the last referendum? There was literally no mention of many important issues which were lauded by the ‘Yes’ side this time round. Truly, it is difficult to blame the Irish people entirely for being skeptical the last time around.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from the whole fiasco, which started with the rejection of the European Constitution by Dutch and French voters in 2005. It’s time for everyone in Europe to start asking themselves: where are we heading with the European Union?

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Is Voting ‘No’ Europhobic?

26 September, 2009

European FlagDeclan Ganley writes in the Irish Times that another rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish people will not deter foreign direct investment to Ireland. However, to commentators in the US and elsewhere, the impression now is of a ‘two-speed’ Europe.

I would like to ask Mr. Ganley: If he was a foreign businessman with naught but commercial interest in our small island, would he feel more confident or less confident investing in Ireland on the assumption of indefinite privileged access to European markets after a ‘No’ vote? Under such completely hypothetical circumstances, I have no doubt that his interest in our nation would evaporate.

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