Forming the inevitable coalition is the easy bit

 No surprises here.. The new Fine Gael-Labour coalition government is planning to impose a property tax on family homes, to freeze income taxes and to review the universal social charge. Sources close to the negotiations revealed that Michael Noonan, the former Fine Gael leader, will be the next minister for finance The negotiators have also agreed to bring the exchequer deficit within EU guidelines by 2015 — a widely-expected compromise between Fine Gael’s proposal of 2014 and Labour’s preferred date …

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Political reform ideas for a new era in Ireland

Political reform proposals are emerging thick and fast in the wake of the Irish election to try to ensure that never again will such an existential crisis catch the whole country unawares. For outsiders the process just beginning will provide a new and fascinating test  of the relevance of political reform to  profound real life concerns and rather than a dry as dust theoretical exercise for elites.  It is a relief to see that the debate so far avoids blue …

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Will Irish Labour take lessons from the British experience of coalition?

The Guardian’s Wintour and Watt blog warns the Irish Labour party of the risks of taking the Clegg coalition route.  Yet it’s still hard to believe that the coalition dance in Dublin is much more than a ritual.  Comparisons partly depend on your outlook. Pro- Labour opinion in Britain likes to think that the Lib Dems are doomed already and warn Irish Labour against a similar fate. Gilmore’s Labour will know all too well that no Fine Gael  led ( …

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Fine Gael and Labour should strike out now for a new deal

With Fianna Fail now finally swept aide, will the two victorious parties dare  make the one move that would weld them together in an instant and all Ireland with them?  Only the most starry-eyed europhile would fail to give two cheers for the briefings emerging from Dublin that the about-to-be-born FG-Labour coalition really mean it.  They will seriously try to renegotiate the bailout. They may yet confound the ranks of critics in advance who balked at standing themselves, Browne, O’Toole …

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As Ireland votes, a note of optimism

The Economist pronounces: It is true that Ireland will not soon pull itself from the economic bog. Recovery will be slow at best, particularly if an inflation-wary ECB starts to jack up interest rates. Unemployment is likely to stay in double figures for some time. Some fear that the cost of servicing the debts to the EU and IMF, and of feeding the insatiable maw of the banks, will eventually force Ireland into a debt restructuring. This would be a …

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Will Ireland’s politicians ever stop chasing hearses and kissing chickens?

I naturally defer to all those bloggers who are chasing round Ireland in search of wisdom and craic. Nevertheless,  I’ve come to a few conclusions about the Irish general election, seen  from afar. I’m struck by the disconnect between the campaign and  the realities of the  crisis, the failure to rise to the level of  events. Although a democratic necessity this supposed watershed of an election comes across as a diversion, more like the last hurrah of a generation of …

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The “real question” the election is ducking

The Irish election campaign is being fought on  depressingly traditional lines, some breast beating here, a few bribes there,  and tactics all the way. Exciting enough if you like that sort of thing, but new politics, hardly.  In the FT, Michael O’Sullivan,  author of Ireland and the Global Question defines what he says is the real question which the politicians won’t face. Part One of the analysis seems to be agreed but part Two seems to be discussed only in …

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Southern “passivity” is a mistaken analysis of the mood the Republic

I’m grateful to Greenflag below for drawing attention to Dan O’Brien’s historical sweep, Searching for the Source of Perpetual Passivity he’s dashed off for the  Irish Times. The piece should provide readers with many happy hours of historical rumination. But although a fan of Dan’s, I’m less sure what it does for the development of Irish democracy. Dan echoes Fintan O’Toole’s Enough is Enough which has much to commend it as inspiration. But the Irish are hell for getting distracted …

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