A Wake-up Call for
the Small Nations of Europe
The relief and satisfaction in Ireland, following the
Euro-summit, that reduced interest rates and extended loan repayment periods,
is similar to that of the inmate returned from solitary confinement to the regular
The reduction of the harshness of Ireland’s sentence was
triggered, not through compassion for a small country, but by financial market
events that threatened two large economies, Spain and Italy, and the future of
the Euro in a way that concentrated minds in Brussels and Berlin. Finding rational solutions for economic
recovery in countries large … Continue reading...
A National Government of Unity
Many in Britain, who came through the harrowing years of war,
the London blitz, the struggle to defend against invasion and the eventual
defeat of Germany, recall the period as one of great personal fulfilment and
satisfaction. British political parties set aside their
differences and formed a national government of unity for the duration of the
war. The prime minister’s inspired leadership
rallied people to the cause; the parliamentary routine of peacetime was abandoned. A united people responded to the challenge and,
under conditions of great hardship, contributed to the war effort and… Continue reading...
Addressing the Talent Deficit in Government and the Public
The democratic institutions of the Republic remain remarkably
unaltered since the foundation of the State. This may be seen as an achievement,
and in ways it is, but it provokes the question whether these are still the
best choice for the governance of Ireland. The STV (single transferable vote) electoral
system, favoured in the English-speaking world when adopted by the first Dail,
is still retained, even though abandoned across the globe by every other democracy
with the exception of Malta. Almost all the states of post World War … Continue reading...
The Quality of National Governance can not Exceed the Quality of those who Govern
If Ireland were a business the Director’s would be held liable for reckless trading and the concern would be wound up. Angry shareholders would have good reason for demanding answers to a litany of complaints.
Why did you stimulate rather than curtail the construction bubble? Mention of a property tax and withdrawal of tax incentives would have done the job even though you no longer control interest rates or currency. Why did you narrow rather than broaden the tax base and ignore warnings that the building … Continue reading...
Seanad reform: first step towards transforming the Oireachtas
Seanad Eireann remains lumbered with an electoral system that is both arcane and outdated, with such limited functions that it remains on the political periphery. These are the broad findings of Mary O’Rourke’s Seanad Committee that recommended a well-conceived set of proposals for Seanad reform in 2003.
The prospect of government paying any more attention to these proposals than it did to the succession of 11 previous reports, dating from 1928, seemed remote. But Minister John Gormley has moved swiftly and decisively towards addressing Seanad reform and taking on board a range … Continue reading...