Wednesday, 9th January 2013
The Austerity Mantra
The recent announcement that the unemployment figures for December brought the live register down by 1,400 people has to be a good thing. However it is always expected that the figures for this month will be this way due to seasonal factors and the underlying numbers of those who are still unemployed give serious cause for concern. When you consider the number of people who are off the register because they are on various schemes and also the numbers of non Irish nationals who have returned home as well as the significant amount of people who are heading abroad looking for work the fact that we still have over 14% of the population unemployed is worrying. This Government has repeatedly said that tackling unemployment is one of its chief aims and to be fair to it they do
Wednesday, 2nd January 2013
Back and Forth
It is no wonder that this month is named after the Roman God Janus. With its two heads the God signified a time where you could look back at the recent past yet at the same time look forward at what was to come. On one level it is simply a case of past and future, certainty and uncertainty but on another level it can also be about how the past informs the future and to a large extent how the past moulds the future. You don't exactly have to be Nostradamus to know how much of this year will go. Economics, and it is always about economics, will be the most dominant feature of the year. We have had austerity foisted upon us to such an extent that you might think that there was not much more
Wednesday, 2nd January 2013
I am writing to thank the people of Co. Waterford most sincerely for the support they have shown for Trocaire's work throughout 2012.
The economic environment here at home has not been an easy one and this makes the support Waterford people have shown even more remarkable. People from Co. Waterford have stepped up to the mark and shown an incredible regard for, and solidarity with, the world's poorest people during our Lenten campaign, by getting involved in Trad for Trocaire and by buying our Christmas 'Gifts of Change'.
Clergy, parishioners, volunteers, teachers, students, parents and many others have supported Trocaire's work, which could not continue without the generosity of Irish people. Thousands of families and communities in the developing world have benefitted from this generosity - parents are now able to feed their families, children can go to school and the human rights
Thursday, 20th December 2012
The Festive Season
It is inevitable at this time of year that people reveal more of their philosophical nature. The festive season is of course about many things but there is perhaps one word that is most prominent in most people's minds and that is: family. Of course family means many different things to many different people. For some it is the traditional extended family while for others it is the family that they have created through the years consisting of all the many various friends that they have made who are now so close to them. Family these days is much more of an encompassing term than it once was. Some people are not as close to their relatives as other people are and by and large most people are fine with this. Knowing what makes you feel happy and
Wednesday, 12th December 2012
Who does 'the heavy lifting'?
So, the budget turned out as we all expected. Practically everyone was hit in one form or another although it has to be said that there were those who were particularly targeted. We all knew that the Children's Allowance would be reduced and so it was, carers were also hit as were home owners. The old reliables turned out to be just that and prices there were raised. Nobody it seemed was immune to what was termed one of the hardest hitting budgets in recent years. If all of this was hard to hear what was perhaps worse, and added insult to injury, were the terms in which the budget was described by the government parties. It seemed as if they were taking money out of their own pockets to pay off the country's debts by
Wednesday, 5th December 2012
The complexities of life
In a recent questionnaire by The Irish Times asking readers what laws they would change, the answers that they received were quite emphatic. There were two very different but very definite laws that people wanted to change. The first was the law on abortion and the second was the introduction of marriage for same sex couples. The first of these changes that people wanted is understandable, particularly in the wake of the Savita Halappanaver case. As it stands, there is no indication from the Government when or even if the law on abortion will change. At the same time it is also clear that the issue of abortion is to the fore of everyone's minds in a way that it hasn't been since the X Case 20 years ago. The only thing now is to see how
Wednesday, 5th December 2012
27 November 2012
I am a sociologist interested in issues of inclusion and exclusion in Irish society and the management of spoilt identity.
To this end I am interested in hearing of the circumstances under which people have been barred from public houses in this country and the consequences thereof. Being barred, especially from a favourite pub, can be a deeply disturbing, traumatic and embarrassing event for a person. It can often happen as a consequence of vulnerability, challenge or threat that is being experienced by a person in their life or other chronic underlying factors. Publicans are not sufficiently sensitive or knowledgeable to enable them to understand such matters so that even one minor event, often arising from a miscommunication, may be sufficient to incur summary debarment. These events in most cases are so minor as to not even warrant
Wednesday, 28th November 2012
At a time when there seems to be so much uncertainty all around, it is heartening to see that something positive is happening in Waterford. The upcoming Christmas festivities are really ratcheting up a gear and it has to be said that the centre of the city is really looking at its very best. The turning on of the Christmas lights by the Mayor was a huge event attended by many people. The simple act of relocating the Christmas tree has really opened up John Robert's Square and the arrival of the carousel really gives the whole area a real festive air. Of course, with the launch of Winterval this year there will be a lot of activity in Waterford to entice people into the city centre. While Christmas is always a joyous affair where people pull out all
Tuesday, 20th November 2012
It cannot happen again
The death of Savita Halappanavar has been described using many words but that one that seems to be used the most and perhaps has most resonance is the word shame. Its an interesting word in so far that it implies within it that we should have known better and that such a situation should never have been allowed happen in the first place. It has been over 20 years since the X case and since then no Government, or it seems practically any public representative, has tried to do anything to formalise the implications of that particular case. It is not surprising. The issue of abortion is a highly emotive one and here in Ireland it has engendered vicious and protracted public debates leaving virtually everyone wary of even broaching the subject in public. But then again
Tuesday, 13th November 2012
Although almost all media outlets would have had you believe that the U.S. Presidential elections were going to be a close run thing there was never any real doubt that Barack Obama would hold on to the office. The idea that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would somehow win was just too unbelievable. While 90% of Europeans questioned on who should win the election backed Obama the real vote rested with the American electorate and they backed the incumbent. A lot of people though were not so enamoured with the President and voiced their concerns that he really wasn't doing the job as well as they expected. That coupled with what was perceived to be a bad job in the first Presidential debate made it looked as if there might be some doubt that the man would not be
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Google AlertWhen a company which has it's European Headquarters here in Ireland is called 'evil' and 'immoral' by M.P.s in The House of Commons you tend to sit up and take notice. The particular company that was being referred to was Google and the reason it had enraged M.P.s in London was because even though it has a big operation there and conducts a lot of business there it pays no corporate tax. It does this by having all of its financial transactions finished here in Ireland. And the company here is …
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