Thursday, 26 May 2016

In this Programme – “There’s One for Everyone in the Audience.”

Paul Sweeney: This Programme for government is quite different from previous programmes. It is 160 pages where is the last programme was a mere 60. 

The many promises are a recognition of the vulnerability of this new minority government. It has to be more open to the views of others. In turn, this means that it will be much more difficult to be decisive in policy implementation. Yet, this handicap may lead to better policies. One of the downsides of social partnership was that issues took a long time to resolve, but the benefit was that better decisions were made in the long run, because many had contributed, foreseeing the downsides and strengthening policy. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A New Era for Housing Policy?

Nat O'Connor: Now that there is to be a Minister of Housing, Planning and Local Government, as well as a Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, one might hope for decisive shifts in housing policy.

The Fine Gael manifesto and the Programme for Government outline a range of commitments, including delivery of more social housing and affordable housing. Regardless of ideology, one might hope that the new ministers might wish to see a more coherent and honest housing strategy. At present, housing policy is neither.

Monday, 23 May 2016

How fares tourism? A review of the Programme for Partnership Government

Dr  Ziene Mottiar: It is surprising that a sector which employs 205,000 people, brings €6.6 billion of revenue into the country and contributes €1.6 billion in taxation is given so little attention in the Partnership for Government document, especially in light of the fact that there is considerable focus on rural development within the programme.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Where ambition meets reality: new Government spending plans do not add up

Marie Sherlock: As we have learned the hard way over the past decade, there is one hell of a gap between the lofty ambition of rescuing and building the economy and the hard task of making it happen and finding the resources to do so.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Benefits of the Benefacts database

Nuala Haughey: A new database of information about some 18,000 non-profit organisations in Ireland will no doubt contribute to the drive for more accountability and transparency in the sector.
Billing itself “civil society online,” Benefacts is a free and searchable public directory that provides regulatory, financial and governance data about the non-profit sector which employs more than 100,000 people and has a combined annual turnover of more than €6bn. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

How the Government should tackle the housing crisis ­

Rory Hearne: The draft Programme for Partnership signals that the new Government will give urgently needed prioritisation to the housing and homelessness crisis. Positive measures include a commitment to “significantly” increase the delivery of social housing units, raising the level of rent supplement, developing “cost rental” housing, addressing mortgage arrears and progressing
the right to housing in the Constitution.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Reducing inheritance tax: populism and financialisation

James Wickham: Last week one of the first proposals of the new government was to raise the threshold for inheritance tax.  This is one of those measures that can have popular appeal and which are actually extremely regressive.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Polls indicate outcome of UK referendum on the EU too close to call - Brexit is a real possibility.

Blair Horan: Currently the polls for the UK referendum on EU membership, which takes place on 23 June, indicate that the result is on a knife edge and that Brexit is a very real possibility. While most polls conducted since the campaign began in late February show a small lead for the Remain side there is a clear  age divide with the prospect that an expected  higher turnout among older voters over 50, a majority of whom back Leave, could yet decide the outcome.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Today's UK conference on corruption is a step in the right direction, if a small one.

Paul Sweeney:   Mr David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, calling Afghanistan and Nigeria corrupt, as he hosts an anti-corruption conference, today Thursday 12th May 2016, is a good case of “the pot calling the kettle black.” 

Yet that Britain is holding the conference is welcome.

However, it is worth focusing on some of the big powers and how they are a key part of the system which facilitates corrupt leaders in developing countries who steal billions of their citizens' taxes; major criminals; tax evaders and multinationals tax avoiders in hiding vast sums of cash. 

The extent of the corruption was highlighted by the Panama papers recently. And that was the papers of only one company, although it is a very important tax cheaters’ company.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The dependence of EU farm income on public support

Alan Matthews: In spite of the substantial reforms in the structure of the CAP over the past two decades, EU agriculture remains hugely dependent on public support. The importance of public transfers, including direct payments, to EU farmers can be shown in various ways.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tax havens, secrecy and policy options

Jim Stewart: Panama is primarily a secrecy jurisdiction. The main function of the firm at the centre of the leaked documents, Mosack Fonseca, is to incorporate entities. This often involved a chain of ownership across several ‘tax haven’ type jurisdictions. A chain of ownership is used to make identification of true owners very difficult. This is one reason why this leak is of far greater significance than other leaks, for example the Luxleaks, because the web of interconnections and chain of ownership has been revealed.