Productivity in NI is 40% lower than the Republic

man holding smartphone looking at productivity wall decor

The Irish Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) was commissioned by the Shared Ireland Initiative in the Department of the Taoiseach, to report on relative productivity between the North and the South. Previous ESRI reports have looked at comparisons on health and education delivery and cross-border trade. Historically, most reports circulating in NI tend to compare NI with GB for obvious reasons and this report on productivity is thought to be the first to attempt an island-wide analysis. The results …

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Review of ‘Beauty through Broken Windows’ on the World Day of the Poor

Today is the ‘World Day of the Poor’, observed in the Catholic Church since 2017 when it was established by Pope Francis. It’s a day to remind Christians of their obligations to follow Christ’s example to pursue justice for the poor. A new book, Beauty through Broken Windows: Empowering Edmund Rice’s Vision Today, edited by Aidan Donaldson and Denis Gleeson, is an excellent resource for learning more about how Christians around the world are living out such a vision. The …

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Economic crisis – a tale of two Irelands?

closeup photo of two bubbles

Few will doubt we are entering a storm. Prof Nouriel Roubini of New York talks of interconnecting “megathreats” that may combine to make life difficult. From cold war to real war, debt and climate crisis – even a potential collapse of the eurozone fueled by Italian debt. He’s labeled Dr Doom by the Alt-right but he has a good track record at forecasting. My question is this. Will both jurisdictions on this island come through the crisis in the same …

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Review of Triangle: Three Novellas of Ireland by Pól Ó Muirí

What happens in a society when previously dominant traditions of religion, spirituality, and morality crumble and then proceed to disintegrate at break-neck speed? The island of Ireland could be considered something of a sociological case study in this regard. The ‘holy Catholic Ireland’ of the Republic has been discredited and denigrated. The often oppositional Christian traditions of Northern Ireland also seem destined for inexorable decline. Analysis of the rise of those who claim they have ‘no religion’ can only be …

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The Brexit effect on UK business…

Bugger Brexit.London Street art Shoreditch.Shot on film, Kodak Portra 800, Nikon FM2n

This new video from the FT is an essential watch. It goes into detail about the disastrous effect that Brexit has had on UK business – in short, it is not good. Some of the stuff is just madness, like the tea company that went from being able to deliver their product in 2 days to taking three months due to customs. Or the company that had to close one of its UK warehouses and move it to Poland to …

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Will Liz Truss throw UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng under the political bus?

Once upon a time in Hollywood In London.

Have any individuals ever done more damage to the UK economy than Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng? Maybe Hitler, but you know he was on the other side. When you have the actual Prime Minister of the UK doing the imploding, you have to really question WTF is going on. The latest is Kwarteng has been recalled back to the UK. Might Liz Truss try to put all the blame on him and sack him? It is the obvious move …

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NI Protocol gives boost to NI food and drink exports…

Caprese Sandwich

From Margaret Canning in the Ulster Grocer Magazine: The biggest ever annual surge in output from food and drink firms in Northern Ireland may have been fuelled by the Nl Protocol, an economist has said. Figures on the economy from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (Nisra) show that food and drink firms’ output was up just under 14% in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the year before. There had also been growth of 6 2% between …

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A Tale of two Budgets…

Piggy bank

The contrast between how the recent budgets in the UK and Ireland have been received by the markets and the general public couldn’t be greater and tells us much about where the respective economies are currently at. (Let us ignore the distinction that the UK budget was officially dubbed a “Fiscal Event” rather than a formal budget. That euphemism has uncomfortable resonance with the Russian “Special Operation” rather than the invasion of Ukraine). In Britain £45 Billion in unfunded tax …

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Spiralling down in a whirlpool wheel spin of casino economics…

#ENGAGEMENT

Picture a late November Advent evening last year. In a deconsecrated East Belfast church set midst where Morrisonian nostalgia lingered for decades. Oval shadowed across the way from Samson and Goliath’s stilled steel. In Mersey Street – with the heat from the wood-burning stove escaping far too quickly, swallowed in the shiver of a high, vaulted ceiling, atop paint peeling walls. Something hard to achieve, I thought – this authentic distressed look. Though somehow fitting. When we heard the story …

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Why the neo-Thatcherites’ gamble is doomed…

calculator, calculation, insurance

“Trickle down economics never existed in the first place, just in the minds of those who don’t like tax cuts” said a friend of a friend, citing a 2015 Spectator article by Thomas Sowell on the same subject.  He proceeded to describe the “basic premise of conservative economics [as being] that the most effective way to help people out of poverty is to grow the market, [which] creates opportunity for people on the lowest rungs to earn wages”, which sounds …

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Pound crashes to $1.03 against the dollar. Have the Tories wrecked the UK economy?

pound, coins, currency

The Conservative Party likes to be thought of as the party of fiscal responsibility, but that reputation is lying in tatters. First, they gave us Brexit, which hurt trading arrangements, increased red tape and discouraged immigration to the UK. Now the markets have reacted to their shameless budget for the rich by kicking the sh*te out of the pound and increasing UK government bond interest rates. The UK is a net importer of goods, from the Office for National Statistics: …

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Houses of sand: Unionism has a problem with younger voters. A huge one.

Whither the union. I find myself becoming weary as I write this. Articles about the demise of the union, about unionist malaise and mistakes, are so common these days that they all sound the same. I stopped writing them at one point because I had nothing new to add. Even now, people write these pieces with a weird air of arrogance. They want you to know that they and they alone have figured out that unionism is in a difficult …

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The UK Chancellor delivers a budget for the rich…

White shirt and gold watch

If you want to see Neoliberal ideology in action, look no further than today’s budget. It defies everything – common sense, economic orthodoxy, morality, and even traditional Conservative belief in sound public finances. It is economics 101 that to stimulate the economy, you need to give more money to poor people. Give an extra £20 a week to low-income people, and they will spend it in on groceries, clothes, fast food etc. In contrast, the rich already have everything they …

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Sinn Féin’s horsey metaphor on pensions does Trojan work before quickly running out of steam…

sculpture, horse, steel ross

Miriam Lord is on fire today in the Irish Times. Anyone watching RTÉ yesterday (or indeed Virgin Media One) will have noticed a big flare up over the government’s pensions. He’s the short version of how that changed in less than a day. “The cat is out of the bag,” cried Mary Lou McDonald, enjoying a hey presto! moment in the Dáil. “Let us call it what it is: a Trojan horse.” So the cat is out of the bag and …

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The poorest Irish have a standard of living almost 63% higher than the poorest in the UK…

🔴🔴🔴 I worked a lot to create this image, please consider sending a small donation to support my work.►► My Paypal link is in my profile Thank you so much

Interesting article about income inequality from John Burn-Murdoch over in the FT. From the article: Starting at the top of the ladder, Britons enjoy very high living standards by virtually any benchmark. Last year the top-earning 3 per cent of UK households each took home about £84,000 after tax, equivalent to $125,000 after adjusting for price differences between countries. This puts Britain’s highest earners narrowly behind the wealthiest Germans and Norwegians and comfortably among the global elite. So what happens …

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Revisiting Nuclear Power : Part 3 : Can it be weaponised ?

Nuclear explosion mushroom cloud

Following on from my previous articles on how nuclear power works, and why we need to rethink the dangers posed by it, it’s time to talk about the other safety-related concerns that are often raised in the debate about the viability of nuclear power. Can a nuclear power station explode like a nuclear bomb ? What happens if a nuclear power station finds itself in the theatre of military conflict, as is currently happening in Ukraine ? To deal with …

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The latest polls are not good news for those of us who love the United Kingdom

To be polite, I have been… annoyed by the shenanigans over the NI Protocol.  Unfortunately, real life has taken up too much time to allow me to writing for Slugger in recent months. This Irish passport holder who was born British and Irish, will die British and Irish, and quite frankly has better things to worry about than whether Belfast is in the United Kingdom or an independent Ireland, has been extremely frustrated by the (to continue to be polite) …

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“We want to thank the British people…”

Big Ben

This is a great bit of viral marketing from the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, which google tells me is a trade union for workers in the transport and travel industries in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This is an eye opener pic.twitter.com/PMplLC75cc — Valerie Farrington 💙 (@Valhalla51) August 17, 2022 The video does a fantastic job of exposing how much of Britain’s privatised infrastructure has been gobbled up by European State Owned companies. According to full fact: The French government …

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Revisiting Nuclear Power : Part 2 : The Danger

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a little about how governments are reconsidering their attitude to nuclear power, and talked about the mechanics of how a reactor works and how it can solve the problems of getting us to net zero carbon emissions and securing energy supply in the long term.  But we can’t gloss over the bad reputation that nuclear power has. Can’t it blow up, like a nuclear bomb ? And haven’t there been a number of …

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Can we save Belfast City Centre?

Before the pandemic, I visited a client’s office in Belfast City Centre. They were on the 7th floor of a building near City Hall. While waiting in reception, I could look over Belfast and marvel at all the construction work. At that time, Belfast was buzzing with many new companies investing in the City Centre.  I did not go near the City Centre during the pandemic as I had no reason to. I had seen reports on social media that …

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