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May 2013 Archives

Future of the Seanad

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The Taoiseach's decision to proceed with a referendum on abolishing the Seanad in four months time leaves little time for discussion on this hugely significant proposal either inside or outside Leinster House.

With the political holidays looming and many other more pressing economic and social matters to be addressed, it is hard to believe that his timetable can be adhered to. However, if he does proceed then the likelihood of rejection must be very high given that voters  have clearly demonstrated in past referendums that they want to be fully informed on all issues and options and don't like being taken for granted or fools.

Letter published in the Irish Times on Friday, 17th May 2013.

April and Austerity

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April has been a bad month for the proponents of austerity. Did we really have to wait till April 2013 for the Government and troika to wake up and realise that severe austerity ultimately curtails growth?

  • Early in the month, Ashoka Mody, the IMF's former mission chief to Ireland, stated that reliance on austerity for Ireland was counterproductive and that failure to tackle Irish bank bondholders was a mistake.

  • In midmonth, an academic paper by two eminent US economists Reinhar and Rogoff used to justify austerity measures was found to contain fundamental errors which undermined their proposition that high governmental borrowings (as in Ireland) are necessarily connected to minimal economic growth.

  • On the eve of last weekend's G20 meeting in Washington, EU commissioner Olli Rehn indicated that the euro zone will slow its budgetary belt-tightening because the troika's austerity programmes were having a greater-than-expected impact on growth.

  • On Monday the president of the European Commisssion conceded that austerity wasn't a sustainable policy in the absence of social and political support

Published in Irish Times Readers Comments on 4th May 2013.

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