Topic Archives: Economy

So, what place a possible Brexit in Northern Ireland’s elections?

UK Book Launch

There was a time when Europe had a popular political champion in Northern Ireland. John Hume made a successful pitch for one of Northern Ireland’s three European seats in the first directly elected European Parliament, based as much on his personal commitment to developing NI PLC as to any sectarian pitch to nationalist voters. Since then more…

DLA, mental health, and the legacy of the Troubles

NI DLA & Troubles Deaths

The debate surrounding welfare reform in Northern Ireland has gradually seen opinion divide into one of two camps; those who decry any reform of the system as “ruthless Tory cuts”, and those on the other hand who see the swelling ranks of those claiming DLA as evidence that the feckless and workshy are gaining a more…

‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life … Rethinking the Public University (Prof John Brewer) #ImagineBelfast15

Rethinking the Public University

The public university is dead … a slow and lingering death, … and its corpse lies lifeless in every senior managers’ meeting, in every classroom and every tutorial venue … in every boarded up common room and every closed bookshop. QUB’s Prof John Brewer argued over lunchtime that neo-liberalisation and a marketisation of higher education more…

Inattention to the deficit syndrome – how Northern Ireland spends more than it earns

Deficit Comparison

Today’s public sector strike reflects widespread antipathy towards what was agreed in the Stormont House Agreement. Traditionally trade unions have been supportive of agreements made between local parties, and as Eamonn McCann points out, this is the first time that trade unions have opposed a deal. There is certainly a lot of anger on issues more…

Donate to charity and the UK government will match your donation…

UK Aid are running a great scheme whereby they will match your donation to select charities. Eg you give £10 the government gives £10 and the charity gets £20. If you are feeling generous this lent here is the list of eligible charities. CAFOD – donations doubled until 17 May 2015 Lent 2015 The Lent campaign focuses on more…

“Now it seems that Sinn Fein is realising how badly exposed its negotiators left it to accusations of a sell-out.”

In today’s Irish News John Manley does everyone a favour by identifying Sinn Fein’s problem with the agreement they signed up to in December. The nub of the problem appears to lie in the figures contained in the Stormont Castle Agreement, an agreement within an agreement negotiated between the five parties days before the final more…

In the teeth of an election is Germany finally relenting on domestic austerity?

So, having finally balanced its own budget in 2014, Schaeuble finally seems ready to start re-investing in Germany’s ‘crumbling’ infrastructure: German federal government said on Tuesday that it would spend an additional 5 billion euros (about 5.59 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three years to help local communities improve infrastructure and boost investment. The more…

Austerity and Health

D_Dorling_01 1

For the last 30-plus years, the dominant politico-economic theory in the West has been ‘neo-liberalisation’. Roughly, this believes in the pre-eminence of the market, that the market is always right, that government should be small and not provide services. The response of neo-liberalism to bad times is austerity. A retrenchment of state services, and an more…

Jean-Claude Juncker: “[Tsipras] must explain that some of the promises upon which he was elected will not be honoured…”

EU flag

As Mick has noted, at the weekend the under-pressure new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took undiplomatic aim at the governments of Spain and Portugal [But not Ireland! – Ed] in an attempt to explain the outcome of European negotiations to his Syriza party coalition. The European Commission has been quick to step in to act as a “mediator” more…

2015 is looking bleak on the jobs front…

Education Minister John O’Dowd has said schools will likely see 500 job losses for teachers and 1,000 for non-teaching staff due to £28m cuts to his budget. Meanwhile we keep churning out student teachers with no work for them. Also today 200 jobs are to go at a call centre in West Belfast. Translink is more…

Poor handling of Bytel whistleblower came with a €4 million price tag

Procurement remains a bit of nightmare for the permanent government the Civil Service, especially when it comes to judging what constitutes value for money. John Campbell at the BBC has the core of the story. As the Auditor General notes, “two years later, a whistleblower went directly to the NIAO and it was only then that more…

Shale of the century – the future for fracking in Ireland

Ban Frackin

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it has become universally known, is a technique for extracting reserves of oil and gas that would be otherwise impossible or uneconomic to extract. The technique, which involves injecting rock with a mixture of water, chemicals and sand, has become one of most contentious issues in British and Irish politics. more…

West Belfast Business Breakfast: Making small changes day by day.

DUP Doorstop

This morning I ventured over to a business breakfast in West Belfast hosted by local entrepreneur, Gerry Carlile.The event which had nearly 100 people in attendance was kicked off by the local MP, Paul Maskey who preached the need for more investment in West Belfast and cited success stories like the Kennedy Centre which operates more…

Job Cuts and the Civil Service

I just don’t know. Bumper Graham and I appear often on the Nolan Show together and, well, we rarely hit it off. But, this morning, I actually got him to agree with me. Perhaps a voluntary redundancy scheme for civil servants mightn’t be such a good idea. Anyway, what’s your view? listen to ‘ Job more…

“…the platform on which Syriza won the recent general election has been significantly reconstructed.”

EU flag

What now for “the Syriza experiment“?  The Irish Times reports that the Eurogroup of finance ministers have deemed the Greek government’s list of proposed reforms to be “sufficiently comprehensive” for a four-month extension of the Greek bailout programme which was due to expire on Saturday. In an official statement released after today’s conference call between more…

“By standing firm against the London-Dublin Tory axis, Sinn Féin achieved a welfare system better than the one in Britain…”

According to Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney, [Don’t mention the Dark Side! – Ed] …Sinn Féin from 2011 onwards opposed the proposed welfare cuts and insisted welfare protection was absolutely fundamental for all citizens. “That is why Sinn Féin politically campaigned against welfare cuts alongside trade unions and grassroots communities. “This principle guided our more…