Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

Unemployment: The Need for a Comprehensive Response

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

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Unemployment: The Need for a Comprehensive Response

Bríd O'Brien

April 2011

Highlighting the Scale of Unemployment  © Derek SpeirsIntroduction

There is no doubting that nearly everyone who stood as a candidate in the February 2011 General Election saw employment – its maintenance and creation – as a critical issue to be addressed by the in-coming Dáil. Now that a new Dáil has been elected and a new Government appointed, what should be the focus in tackling unemployment? What is needed to give unemployed people hope for the future as well as proper income and social supports to meet their needs?

 

Irish Banking: Rediscovering Values for Rebuilding and Renewal

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

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Irish Banking: Rediscovering Values for Rebuilding and Renewal

Ray Kinsella & Maurice Kinsella

April 2011

Introduction

This article explores the deconstruction of the Irish banking system. It discusses the ‘pressure points’ which are reshaping this system, and how these are likely to impact on the wider banking and financial community. This is an important issue in its own right because the constitutive purpose of banking is to support the wider economy, and especially job creation. But it is particularly timely to critique recent events and policies which in combination have served to subvert the development of modern Ireland.

That is hardly an overstatement. After all, the collapse of the Irish economy since 2007 has been on a scale that is unique among developed countries. Moreover, this collapse precipitated the intervention by the European Union (EU), in association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leading to a ‘bailout’ agreement that, in exchange for highly conditional financial support, effectively emasculates discretionary fiscal policy, as well as imposing very far-reaching cuts in living standards.

 

The Way Forward for Ireland: A Values Added Tax Policy?

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 

 

pdf iconThe Way Forward for Ireland: A Values Added Tax Policy?

Eugene Quinn

April, 2011

Introduction

The maintenance of a low tax regime was a key tenet of national policy during the years of Ireland’s economic boom. However, there were also demands from many quarters for improved public services and for greater protection for the most vulnerable. For a time, Ireland appeared to achieve the impossible – remaining a low tax economy while spending ever greater amounts on public services. It was a mirage.

International events in 2008 lit the fuse to a crisis that would ultimately overwhelm the State’s finances. But at the heart of our woes was not the international financial crisis but a home-grown problem. Ireland found itself facing a double-sided structural deficit problem, in which the crash in tax revenues was not being mitigated by equivalent reductions in public spending. In particular, the massive growth in unemployment represented a dual blow, with the consequent reduction in tax revenue occurring alongside a huge increase in the number of people dependent on the State for social welfare payments.

 

What Kind of Society? A Better Vision Needed

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 

April 2011

Introduction

The people have spoken in the General Election. They have voted in overwhelming numbers for change. They have done so because the philosophy and policies of the past have patently failed and they want no more of them. The new Government will go down the same tired routes at its peril.

The new Government, and all of us, must now ask, and answer, a number of fundamental questions. Do we want a society where economic growth takes precedence over all else? Do we want a society where market forces and the ability to pay dictate whether or not all of our people have equal access to food, accommodation, health care and education? Do we want a society where the distribution of income and wealth remains significantly skewed in favour of the well-off and the powerful? Do we want a society where considerable numbers of children and the elderly live in consistent poverty or at risk of poverty?

 

Working Notes Issue 66 Editorial

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 pdf iconWorking Notes Issue 66 Editorial

In a Statement issued prior to the General Election in February of this year, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice noted that in public discussions in Ireland on how to address the economic crisis reference was frequently made, by politicians and commentators, to ‘the common good’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘sustainability’. The Statement said that while this was welcome, the reality was that the mere articulation of such values was in itself of little consequence, unless there was ‘a corresponding determination to take the decisions and measures necessary to give effect to these values’.

The Programme for Government of the new Fine Gael–Labour Party Government includes many references to values such as social solidarity and equality; indeed, at the outset, the Programme states that both parties in Government are ‘committed to forging a new Ireland that is built on fairness and equal citizenship’.

 

When Ireland became an independent State it inherited some appallingly bad housing conditions. This was most notoriously the case in the severely deprived areas of inner-city Dublin, but inadequate and overcrowded housing which lacked basic facilities was also prevalent in towns and villages and rural areas around the country. Read full editorial

Working Notes is a journal published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The journal focuses on social, economic and theological analysis of Irish society. It has been produced since 1987.