Ireland's political magazine Thursday - Apr 02, 2015

News

21% of Irish workers are low-paid.

21% of Irish workers are low-paid.

By Sinéad Pentony. Low pay is endemic and entrenched in the Irish economy, and the situation for many low paid workers can only be described as grim. The government is setting up a Low Pay Commission and introducing a range of legislative changes to address a number of issues relating to low pay. Will it

How optimism lifted.

How optimism lifted.

 In the Sticks by Shirley Clerkin. There was optimism and all the babies slept peacefully in their beds among the quiet, velveteen hills.  The piano played cheerful melodies, tinkling beads on a necklace out the open windows to the birds that flitted contentedly on the air. Plans were gone over, knitting clacked, beds were dug,


Quality, uniqueness and place.  Planning for quality of life.

Quality, uniqueness and place. Planning for quality of life.

By Kevin Leyden and Patrick Collins. Ireland appears to be slowly re-emerging from its recent economic troubles and many have offered new ideas about our future. For us, this will involve considering the importance of two interconnected phenomena: the experiential economy and place-making. Both are about quality of life. We argue that focusing on quality


Our top-heavy Arts Council.

Our top-heavy Arts Council.

By Kevin Kiely. The 1951 Arts Act established the Arts Council and charged it with stimulating public interest; with promoting knowledge, appreciation and practice; and with assisting in improving standards in the arts. It is a voluntary body of 12 members and a chair, appointed by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for

Decriminalise outdoor prostitution.

Decriminalise outdoor prostitution.

By Sarah Benson. Buying sex is not illegal in Ireland. Neither is selling sexual services. The law protects these transactions as agreements between consenting adults. Some activities associated with prostitution are outlawed, however, as public order offences. These include curb-crawling, soliciting in public, loitering in public places, brothel-keeping and living off immoral earnings. Until passage


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

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,”

Back to basics for Galway Harbour scheme.

Back to basics for Galway Harbour scheme.

By Ian Lumley. Galway Harbour Company is seeking permission for the development of a 27-hectare, €52m extension of the harbour, which will include the creation of commercial quays, a deep-water docking facility and the reclamation of lands from the sea. The State-owned company wants a new commercial harbour to accommodate ships up to 40,000 tonnes


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


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