Ireland's political magazine Friday - Mar 06, 2015

News

Meat causes flooding.

Meat causes flooding.

By Cathal O’Meara. Landscapes that support extensive meat and dairy farming are dramatically damaging our rivers and contributing to flooding in our towns and cities. Globally livestock accounts for 70% of all our agricultural landscapes and contributes more greenhouse gasses (18%) than the entire transport sector (12%). However, our livestock-dominated landscapes are having their most

New data show wealth tax good for €200m a year.

New data show wealth tax good for €200m a year.

By Micheál Collins. Despite its prominence in various public policy discussions over recent years, detailed information on wealth in Ireland has been sparse. For the most part discussion on the distribution of wealth, and concepts such as a wealth tax, were based on hunches and guesstimates or assumptions that the wealth distribution must have in


Stealthy privatisation of community and public services.

Stealthy privatisation of community and public services.

By David Connolly. Thursday the 19th February 2015 is a day of great significance for workers and organisations in the Local and Community Development sector. On that day Local Development companies will be informed of the outcome of a tendering process imposed by the Department of Environment (DoE) for participation in the new Social Inclusion

Gogarty and the redactions.

Gogarty and the redactions.

By Frank Connolly. In the Spring of 1996, I met with Jim Gogarty at his home in north Dublin. Over a conversation lasting a couple of hours he told me of the day in June 1989, during a general election campaign, when he was present in the Swords home of then minister, Ray Burke. He


BID: Trying to run before it can walk.

BID: Trying to run before it can walk.

By Mannix Flynn. BID (Business Improvements District, now known as DublinTown) is a not-for-profit quango, funded by hundreds of retailers in an area, 2,500 of which are compelled by the City Council – acting under the Local Government BIDs Act 2006 – to pay an extra rate to it. Businesses must vote in favour of

RIAIsing the stakes.

RIAIsing the stakes.

By Michael Smith. Intrepid followers of architectural tumult will recall how a letter arrived in the in-boxes of polo-necked members of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) on 11 November, from the President Robin Mandal. “Let me state there is no basis to any allegations of corruption or fraud in the organisation,”


Hackles RIAIsed.

Hackles RIAIsed.

By Michael Smith. Floppy-haired RIAI president Robin Mandal recently wrote to members expressing his exasperation at allegations of impropriety and misgovernance at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). “I am genuinely at a loss to understand how there could be even a perception of lack of appropriate governance at the RIAI and,

Charter for the Left for 2016.

Charter for the Left for 2016.

By Frank Connolly. The Syriza victory in Greece has its foundations in the polarisation of that society following the collapse of the economy in the great financial crash of 2008/2009, and since. It is rooted in the implosion of the traditional parties, and in particular of Pasok, the social democratic party that dominated the Greek


Villager – February 2015.

Villager – February 2015.

  Saving trees from themselves. In keeping with its general philosophy of doing more to achieve less Dublin City Council has erected signs in Merrion Square signalling that it is about to begin cutting down 300 trees there in accordance with a Conservation Management Plan. The idea is… well actually Villager couldn’t really see the

Unleash the Irish park.

Unleash the Irish park.

By Hayley Farrell. Dublin is the 21st greenest out of thirty leading cities in Europe according to the 2010 Green Cities Index. London is in 11th place and Berlin, with an impressive 40% percent parks cover, is Europe’s eighth greenest city. Scandinavian cities occupy the top three places of the ranking. Dublin has a modest


Media diversity delusion.

Media diversity delusion.

By Gerard Cunningham. The Bell Telephone Company was born out of the great communications revolution at the end of the 19th century, and dominated the American business landscape for a century, until it was broken up by the US Justice Department in 1984. In its place, the ‘Baby Bells’ were left to compete both with


Vipers’ nest: Ansbacher.

Vipers’ nest: Ansbacher.

By Séamus Maye. Just when it seemed that the Ansbacher scandal had receded into the distant past, up pops Gerard Ryan, a respected civil servant with an explosive dossier. Ryan’s revelations and indeed frustrations, go to the very core of what has passed for Irish politics and institutional regulation for several decades now. The suppression

Ebola’s stigma recalls leprosy

Ebola’s stigma recalls leprosy

By Caroline Hurley Ebola was first identified in 1976 in Sudan in a cotton factory, with bats suspected as the reservoir species. The disease typically occurs in outbreaks in tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, though also in Venezuela, Cambodia and Indonesia. The largest outbreak so far is the ongoing epidemic in West Africa, which is


The dangers of the “shoebox” argument.

The dangers of the “shoebox” argument.

By Ronan Lyons. It is accepted by almost everybody that, in a city with Dublin’s geography, a home with a south or west aspect is preferable to one that faces north or east. Similarly, who could argue that having 60-square-metres to live in is better than 50? Everything else being equal, I think we’d all

Shutting up shop: the EU and the environment.

Shutting up shop: the EU and the environment.

By Tony Lowes. In last month’s Village James Nix outlined the – surprising to most – ways it is proposed to downgrade the environment in the new scheme of Commission Directorates and portfolios. But this overt change is less surprising when you consider the way the Commission has downgraded its enforcement of environment law over


Yes in May.  A toolkit for marriage-equality campaigners.

Yes in May. A toolkit for marriage-equality campaigners.

  By Grainne Healy. ‘We want to live in a country where you can marry the person you love’ In many ways the coming out of Minister Leo Varadker was the starting gun for the marriage equality referendum campaign. His announcement brought the forthcoming campaign to the attention of the media and the public in

Wasting anger.

Wasting anger.

By Michael Smith. Colm McCarthy, Ireland’s most unangry man, has stated portentously if unoriginally that “anger is not a policy”. He likes to reach smugly for a metaphorical spreadsheet that emits efficacious public policy to him alone, at his click. He’s right of course.  Always right! The Roman stoic philosopher Seneca agreed with him: anger


How government has dismantled the equality infrastructure.

How government has dismantled the equality infrastructure.

By Rachel Mullen. The Equality Tribunal has been an important part of the Irish equality infrastructure. The system whereby the former Equality Authority provided support to those taking cases of alleged discrimination and a specialist Equality Tribunal heard and decided these cases had been lauded as best practice by the European Commission. The Equality Authority

In the bath with Sean Quinn, 3.2bn loser

In the bath with Sean Quinn, 3.2bn loser

                Seán Quinn lay back in the gilt bathtub that he had got the Quinn Group to buy for him, and was hiding from Anglo, and reflected on how honest he was.  I am a very honest man, he thought, decent and humble, wrecked by Anglo.  I don’t