Category: News

Reforming Irish Education

Reforming Irish education: the challenge for the next minister

Edward Walsh

Spending more does not necessarily mean that schools become better; in fact they sometimes become worse.  During the past decade
Britain increased school funding by 21 percent and the US by 37 percent, yet
standards slipped in both countries.[1]   In Ireland’s case the bad outcome is even more dramatic.  In the past decade funding
per student [2]  was increased in real terms by 61 percent[3]
yet performance decreased by 15 percent[4].  This disconcerting news was further reinforced before Christmas when the international ranking for Ireland’s

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A National Government of Unity

A National Government of Unity

Edward Walsh

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...

Institutional Reform, MacGill Summer School 2010

The Challenge of Institutional Reform

Ed Walsh

The political leadership of ‘nouveau riche’ Ireland failed during
the past decade to make policy based on evidence; opportunity and public
resources were squandered.  Now, as
Ireland stares bankruptcy in the eye, we have no option but to abandon the
irresponsible fiscal philosophy of the Ahern and McCreevy era:   we
don’t have it, so we can’t spend it.

We must search for something rational and get the words and
policy right.

While expenditure on road infrastructure has clearly been
beneficial, in other areas throwing money at problems has not worked.  The most glaring … Continue reading...

Talent Deficit in Government

Addressing the Talent Deficit in Government and the Public

Ed Walsh

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...