Republic: a model for peace and democracy?

As Pete notes our two big peacemakers have been ‘track twoing’ their experiences with Iraq. When it comes to peaceful societies, the Republic is streets ahead, running at number four in this Global Peace Index. It does pretty well in the Democracy index, scoring highly under Civil Liberties (10.00) and Electoral Process and Pluralism (9.58), and least well in, ahem, Political Participation (7.78). That would be the the content free, “Trust me, I’m a politician, the government, the opposition”, thing.

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  • Fraggle

    The UK seems to be between Morocco and Mozambique.

  • Dawkins

    For God’s sake, Fraggle, don’t let the BNP hear that.

  • It’s astonishingly good. A little too good.

    I’d have serious questions about some of the figures for civil liberties, freedom of the press and political participation.

    Part of the problem seems to be, in terms of freedom of the press, that it is state control or influence of the media. Ireland’s media is dominated by a single media entity. If that was a state, it would be heavily criticised in such a report. Because it is a company, that aspect of the press is ignored.

    Political participation should, I would have thought, be lower. Ireland has traditionally had lower levels of active political party membership for example, than the rest of the EU. Alienation, especially in working class areas, is quite high.

    Finally, on civil liberties, the Irish government has been regularly criticised for the continuing use of emergency legislation, monitoring of electronic communications and mobile phones especially is not subject to judicial oversight. Freedom of Information legislation restricted.

    I’m not arguing the it is some sort of Zimbabwaeesque disaster zone. But some of those figures require a great deal of salt.

  • Mick Fealty

    Greece and France, Fraggle. Try using your good eye. 😉 But it looks like ‘Political participation’ is the killer score for the UK (5.00). I’d venture a guess that’s related to diversity.

  • Sorry for the double post. Meant to post this link:
    http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2007/08/03/if-youve-nothing-to-hide-youve-nothing-to-fear/

    …to a piece on out site dealing with some of the civil liberties questions live at the moment.

  • Mick,
    you’re not peteb and the crossing out cynicism is not your style….like the way you hit out on the radio today.. against.. I can’t even remember his name

  • Fraggle

    Mick, there’s 2 indices. I was referring to the Global Peace Index, you, the Democracy Index.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry F… Meant to be a touch of levity parci (waves ‘humour’ cue card in the air)…

  • The Third Policeman

    I like it Mick, because you left that ‘a’ in there brfore ‘the opposition’ it looks like a JFK quote. Or of course a Mayor Quimby one.

  • heck

    the irish economy is also a model. The per capita income is now ahead of the US. ( based on US government reports.)

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2004rank.html

  • PeaceandJustice

    heck – “the irish economy is also a model.”

    The wonders of a pro-business approach and low business taxation. No wonder the Shinners got rejected. As Dermot Ahern said – young people in the Republic were “not tuned in to a party with Marxist socialist policies”.

  • joeCanuck

    “young people in the Republic were “not tuned in to a party with Marxist socialist policies”.

    You can say that again and again. There is no future for SF, as presently constituted, in the republic, no matter how much spin they put on it.
    G.Adams showed total ignorance of basic economics in “that” debate.
    Meaningless slogans don’t win elections.

  • Harry Flashman

    So jolly good heartfelt gratitude to the instigators of this marvellous society then, eh?

    Hail and farewell Progressive Democrats, you served your nation well, much thanks you got for it mind you.

  • heck

    Come on now PeaceandJustice tell me why unionists are unionists.

    The per capita income in the republic of Ireland is one of the highest in the world. Productivity per worker is the second highest in the world (after the US). (The irish work harder than most people.) It is a democracy with an elected head of state rather than an inbred monarchy and its second chamber was not set up for the descendants of court pimps and prostitutes. It is a secular country with no established religion or with bishops sitting in parliament. It is a peace loving country that does not launch illegal wars, occupy other people’s countries, commit war crimes, or have weapons of mass destruction.

    Oh yea–too many fenians!!

  • The Dubliner

    “Part of the problem seems to be, in terms of freedom of the press, that it is state control or influence of the media. Ireland’s media is dominated by a single media entity. If that was a state, it would be heavily criticised in such a report. Because it is a company, that aspect of the press is ignored.” – Frank Little

    Despite the British media refering to the violence in Northern Ireland as the “Irish Troubles” in an attempt to escape the bad PR, they were “British Troubles” as they occured mostly on British soil, so they contribute to Britian’s lower ranking on the index. However, they avoided their de facto “state control” of sections of the Irish print media affecting their score, since their intelligence services wouldn’t actually do such a thing, you know. Anyway, it’s ignored because, as you figured out, it isn’t state control if it is controlled by private enterprise.

    “I’m not arguing the it is some sort of Zimbabwaeesque disaster zone.” – Frank Little

    Given the list of notable endorsements, I suspect that the GPI will file that comment under “Local Begrudgers.”

  • Rory

    “….‘Political participation’ is the killer score for the UK (5.00). I’d venture a guess that’s related to diversity.”

    If by that, Mick, you intend to imply that the figures are distorted downward by non-participation in the political process among British citizens of ethnic origin and rate that as the significant factor then I think you would be grossly underestimating the alienation among “non-ethnic” (what a horrible usage) citizens.

    Although this alienation is strong among the white working class it is not confined to them. There is a cynicism abroad about the political system, a deep distrust that voting really matters and a total repugnance of politicians and all matters political generally that deters the vast majority of the population from believing that participation will make any significant difference.

    Which I suppose indicates that democracy is working exactly as it was intended it should – in order to allow the lords of capital to control without undue interference from the masses.

  • Fraggle

    I’d venture the opinion the the FPTP system reduces participation. In many constituencies, the result seems a forgone conclusion and voting seems pointless. I felt this way myself when I lived over in Britain.

  • slug

    The BBC were asking last night on R4 if Ireland is now institutionally racist, with the new black-only school in Balbriggan and the Irish Minister saying that because they were Irish blacks it wasn’t an issue of race.

  • Dewi

    I read that yesterday Slug – it’s that “Let’s see your baptism certificate” thing isn’t it ?
    Catholic schools are allowed to prefer Catholic children. The school ain’t designed to be black only – it’s just that these kids have been rejected by the Catholic schools. Seems all very strange to me.

  • slug
  • Alan

    This does bear some further investigation. This is from March 06 – does anyone know what the situation is now ?

    See http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=53891811

    “Kelly said some parents, both locals and immigrants, “felt forced or coerced to have their child baptised to get a place in their local Catholic school.””

    “When asked whether white parents were reluctant to have their children attend predominantly black schools, Hanafin suggested that Irish-born blacks were part of the same “race” as white Irish people, so such prejudice was irrational.

    “Just because the child is black doesn’t mean they’re not Irish. So it might be a skin-color issue, but it’s not necessarily a race issue,” she told national broadcasters RTE.”

  • slug

    Sorry about the above link.

    Correct link

    HERE

  • Alan

    Sorry, that’s the user registration date. It is from yesterday.

  • Alan

    Interestingly, UK Race legislation includes “nationality” as a category. What is the case in the Republic, does nationality supercede race ?

    I can see real problems attempting to use that idea as any kind of rationale for differential treatment. It would seem to come under indirect discrimination. The unintentional result of the policy being to adversely impact on a particular social group.

  • slug

    “I can see real problems attempting to use that idea as any kind of rationale for differential treatment. ”

    I agree and that Irish Education ministers argument makes no sense. We can’t ignore skin colour and pretend that its not related to race.

  • Frank Press freedom has to do with the ability of the press to go on its business without interferance. Whether one company controls a lot of it does not matter. Of the 3 broadsheets they are all controlled by different companies.

    Why do people so hate the indo. Is it because it out sells the Irish Times?/

  • Rua

    I saw an interview with Hanafin, I think it was on Primetime, and I got the distinct impression that she isn’t going to do anything about this issue, certainly not from a legislative point of view.
    Most immigrant communities are based in Dublin Central and West. Hanafin is very much a Dublin South TD, a constituency with more private Catholic Schools than any other in the country. She’d have to confront a large proportion of the people who put her in office in order to resolve this issue and frankly-I don’t think she’s got the balls

  • slug

    Rua

    This issue is only going to get bigger as immigration of non Catholics is going to continue. If all-black schools doesn’t bring it to a head, what will? This is surely creating a very segregated education system – and seems very racist?

  • Rua

    Ye, obviously, but we’ve always had a very segregated educaton system. In fact, our education sysetem is based on segregation(twixt catholics and prodestants). Its been like this since the late 19th century when the Church and then British establishment joined forces to eliminate hedge schools. In the last while this has switched to a segregation between public and private education. Private schools have become status symbols and public schools are increasingly under-funded. This is just the next stage in the stratification of Irish society-I’m not saying its right, in fact its an absolute disgrace, but it is happening. To be honest it makes me feel very helpless and a little angry that my country is being cocked up by lazy politics and there’s nothing I can do about it because there’s no credible opposition parties

  • Kloot

    This issue is only going to get bigger as immigration of non Catholics is going to continue. If all-black schools doesn’t bring it to a head, what will? This is surely creating a very segregated education system – and seems very racist?

    This does not just affect immigrants. This also affects Irish born children. Parents have no choice but to baptise their children so as to assure them a place in schools. I for one would like the option of not baptising my children, but in all likelihood, with their future education in mind, id probably end up going along with the charade just to give them a better chance at getting into a school.

    Its a ridiculous situation, but unfortunately, there are many that will defend it.

  • splurge

    Of course what you all forgot to mention is that the Church has ended up having to manage the new school that was set up for the extra pupils who couldn’t get into the existing schools. Here’s the thing – if you don’t want to be a Catholic, don’t – and go and set up your own schools. the system allows for pluralism.

  • slug

    “the system allows for pluralism”

    Doesn’t seem to result in it, tho!

  • Rua

    splurge
    You’d be right in saying that the state as a whole owes a great deal to the Catholic Church from an educational point of view. You’d be right in saying, as well, that the system allows for pluralism-in this bannana republic anyone who can count to ten can open a school.
    I think what most people are concerned about is however the lack of ‘normal’ shools and the segregation this causes.

  • Dewi

    I suppose the heart of the matter is “Why is it OK to segregate Education by faith when segregation by colour would be considered appalling ?”

  • Kloot

    Here’s the thing – if you don’t want to be a Catholic, don’t – and go and set up your own schools. the system allows for pluralism.

    That would be all fine and dandy if the money was there to fund these new schools. Its not.

    Most of these ‘Catholic’ schools survive due to state intervention. Yes, they were sustained through the bad years by the Church, and they largely reflected the demographics of the time, but times have changed and why should I as a tax payer member of the public have to build my own school if I dont want to baptise my child.

  • Labourman

    I’d like to see the Labour Party gut the government on this one.

  • Splurge

    The difference between having schools based on religion and ones based on race is that religion has an intellectual content that has to be taught – that’s the main point of a Catholic school. I wasnt’ being flippant when I said people should set up their own schools. I didn’t mean they should fund them – if the numbers are there the State will fund them. That’s why there are many new non-denominational and Irish speaking schools. Perhaps it’s not the best way – but it’s not the Catholic Church’s fault that the State has made no provision for the huge influx of immigrants.

  • PeaceandJustice

    heck – “[Eire] is a secular country with no established religion”.
    While times may have changed, there is still the shadow of the Roman Catholic church over the country.

    “It is a peace loving country that does not launch illegal wars”.
    Except of course for the setting up and arming of the Sinn Fein/IRA death squads in Northern Ireland. And allowing those death squads to attack people in Northern Ireland and get away with murder (Gen Sir Mike Jackson reminds us of this in the Daily Telegraph today).

    Using the rationale of ‘Heck’, why doesn’t Eire rejoin the United Kingdom? The peoples on these islands have a lot in common – you need to start thinking outside of your ‘Little Ireland’ mentality.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    ”Using the rationale of ‘Heck’, why doesn’t Eire rejoin the United Kingdom? The peoples on these islands have a lot in common – you need to start thinking outside of your ‘Little Ireland’ mentality. ”

    eh what?.. I’m sure the GB central governmant aka Westminister would just love if EIRE rejoined the UK. All that extra surplus of billions and billions of annual tax revenue for the Westminisiter government to splash about. I’m sure too that they would be only to glad to toss out the like of NI, Wales etc.. We have alot in common here on these islands Peace&Justice, thats very true indeed….culture, language, sport etc…and not forgetting money…but ‘Little Ireland’ is not ‘Little Britain’….and we like looking after our own affairs as you will come to know too now that you have ‘Home Rule’ of sorts.

    BTW the Catholic Church is well on the way out in ‘Eire’. Just as ‘Songs of Praise’ which you may be familar with on the BBC on Sunday evenings, only the trappings are left.

    ”This issue is only going to get bigger as immigration of non Catholics is going to continue. If all-black schools doesn’t bring it to a head, what will? This is surely creating a very segregated education system – and seems very racist? ”

    Oh dear , deep south Alabama comes to mind does it Slug…all those Klansmen mobs lynching innocent black folk.
    The economic boom in ‘Eire’ (as Peace & Justice loves calling southern Ireland, aka ‘the Republic’) has saw thousands and thousands of foreign nationals come to Ireland seeking working and a new life. This is a rather NEW phenomena to Ireland as we didn’t have and control an empire, unlike some.

  • “Come on now PeaceandJustice tell me why unionists are unionists.

    The per capita income in the republic of Ireland is one of the highest in the world. Productivity per worker is the second highest in the world (after the US). (The irish work harder than most people.) It is a democracy with an elected head of state rather than an inbred monarchy and its second chamber was not set up for the descendants of court pimps and prostitutes. It is a secular country with no established religion or with bishops sitting in parliament. It is a peace loving country that does not launch illegal wars, occupy other people’s countries, commit war crimes, or have weapons of mass destruction.

    Oh yea–too many fenians!!”
    Sadly heck raher suspect you are correct in your conjecture aout the nionists real motives for resisting re-unification.

    I do hope you are wrong though

  • “you need to start thinking outside of your ‘Little Ireland’ mentality.”

    PeaceandJustice ROI is a member of the EU and is much more communitaire that the UK.

    Moreover the currency of the ROI is the Euro a rather bigger economic player than the good old pound sterling.

    It is the ittle Englanders that are being left behind by geo-political events.
    BTW how will your ritishness survive Scottish independence?