Monday, 30 November 2015

CoP21: Holding the fate of humanity

Peadar Kirby: Just three days before the historic climate change summit opens in Paris today, November 30th, Malaysia and Jamaica became the 179th and 180th countries respectively to register their pledges to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Don’t cut the USC – keep it for universal health care

Rory Hearne: The pre-election promises of tax ‘give-aways’ in future Budgets have begun in earnest with Labour and Fine Gael’s reported proposals to reduce and abolish respectively the USC. But such changes to the USC would be bad economic and social policy decisions. The USC is a progressive tax that provides enough revenue to cover the entire capital spending budget. Reducing and abolishing the USC is likely to have a devastating impact on the provision of funding for much needed public services such as universal childcare, education and healthcare.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

An End to Tax Cuts in the US?

Paul Sweeney: Americans are not in favour of cutting taxes! The American Enterprise Institute, a Right Wing think tank, is saying that it’s the end of the day for Republicans who are seeking tax cuts. They argue that the tax cutters are out of tune with trends. What is happening in the US of A?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

In the midst of a crisis why are we selling off much needed local authority housing?

Rory Hearne: You just have to wonder do we ever learn? In the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis with over 100,000 households in dire need of social housing new legislation is being   introduced to allow the sale of local authority housing to tenants at discounts of up to 60%. This is likely to replicate the experience of previous purchase schemes that resulted in the privatisation of 240,000 local authority homes and contributed to the state's inability to deal with the growing need for social housing.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Transport policy and social equality

James Wickham: The National Transport Authority (NTA) has just closed the consultation period for its draft transport strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.  Consultation on the Dublin City Development Plan closes on 11 December 2015.  Both consultations are an opportunity to discuss the relationship between transport issues and social equality.  Here is an abbreviated and amended version of my submission to the NTA.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Budget decisions would benefit from stronger role for Houses of Oireachtas

Nuala Haughey: The revelation a few years ago that German parliamentarians were privy to vital Budget information withheld from our own lawmakers caused uproar on the opposition benches and beyond.

Since that episode in 2011, there have been changes to key aspects of how the annual budgetary process works in Ireland.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Universal health care most important factor in Irish Happiness

Rory Hearne: It is an important time for thinking about the type of Ireland we would like to see developing through the recovery and into the future. What type of economy and society should we pursue?

The crash, bailouts and austerity have been harsh lessons for many people in the downsides of free-market, de-regulation, low tax and neoliberal policies. There is new evidence of a growing support for alternative policies and values that seek to protect people from the market through state provision in areas such as housing and health.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Why Ireland Needs a Plan B for Brexit

David Begg: The publication of a report by the ESRI suggesting that a fifth of Anglo-Irish trade could be at risk in the event of a ‘Brexit’ presents a major challenge for public policy. Apart from hoping that it won’t happen we need to start thinking about an alternative strategy in case it does.

The Department of Finance says it does not necessarily agree with all the findings of the ESRI concerning the implications of a British withdrawal from the European Union. Nevertheless there is widespread acceptance that the economic challenges would be very significant. This indeed was the consensus of a seminar on ‘Brexit’ organised by the Charter Group in Dublin a couple of weeks ago.

There is justifiable concern that we could sleepwalk into a major crisis and in that respect publication of the ESRI report is timely.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Unequal recovery shows the changing fortunes in Ireland

Cormac Staunton: If incomes are a reliable indicator of the health the Irish economy since the financial crisis, then there has been a significant turnaround in the last five years. However, to fully understand what’s happening in this recovery, we need to look at who has benefited.  This is particularly important in the context of the discussions around the impact of changes introduced in the Budget.