Economy, History, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized, United Kingdom

Unionists are seen as Irish ‘White Trash’

By 1900, when Joyce and Yeats were strutting the streets of Dublin, Belfast had a higher population. Moreover, Ireland is the only country in the world with a lower population now than in the early 1840s. The extensive livestock agriculture that dominated after the Great Famine depends on low labour inputs for profitability, and the Industrial Revolution never took off. …


Finance, Ireland, NAMA to Nature, Politics, Uncategorized

Paradise Papers, ‘Regulatory Capture’ and Democracy

We may fulminate against a corrupt nexus connecting multinational capital and a deep state, but identifying clear illegality is more difficult. The collapse of the Anglo-Irish trials shows ‘white collar’ crime is difficult to prosecute. This is because much of what is widely considered immoral behaviour falls short of criminality. The generally accepted distinction here is between tax evasion and …


Green should mean Red

The leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan has written an article for Village Magazine on the origins and current orientation of his party. I welcome references to seminal influences such as Rachel Carson, whose Silent Spring (1962) drew attention to the environmental damage wrought by industrial farming; and to 1960s ‘systems thinking’, culminating in the Club of Rome, which …

Ireland’s Livestock-Industrial-Complex

It may come as a surprise that a Republican President, and former Allied commander-in-chief, Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term ‘the Military-Industrial Complex’ before leaving office in 1961. Throughout the Cold War, and beyond, the US arms industry has exerted profound influence on political decision-making. This has yielded vast federal investment in manufacturing operations, and brought sinister deals with tyrannical …

Feirme-geddon. Ten reasons why Irish farming as we know it is on the way out.

We have already seen two agricultural revolutions in Ireland, now we are set for a third. This presents opportunities to farmers who are willing to adapt. After the last Ice Age, the agriculturists who arrived in Ireland brought with them a tool kit of grains and domesticated animals that had spread from the Middle East into Europe. Irish conditions could …

It’s personal: why I want to give up Ryanair.

Most of us have a Ryanair horror story to recount. My own version occurred at the end of a trip to my then Czech girlfriend in Prague. I blame Ryanair for the end of that affair. Though it was also my own fault for getting into a post-modern, long-distance relationship. Anyway, we’d just spent a week together before Christmas in …

A New O’Reilly?

2017 has been an annus mirabilis for shock jocks around the world. Stateside, their doyenne, Bill O’Reilly was given his marching orders by Fox News, after claims of sexual harassment. In Ireland George Hook was given an extended stay in the Sin Bin by Newstalk for laying a degree of blame on rape victims. Only months earlier his kindred provocateur …

The Leaving Certificate Mind

It is worth reflecting on why criticism is not easily absorbed in Ireland. Tempers seem to flare easily, often excluding meaningful dialogue. I attribute a great deal of this to a secondary education system which avoids profound interrogation of ideas. We lack the detachment gained from the French philosophical training in a Baccalaureate or even the English (or really Scottish) …

Irish poets learn your application-writing-skills

Nothing quite matches the rancour of artistes scrapping for funding. They make a pack of feeding hunting dogs seem positively polite. Of late, teeth are gnashing on the pages of the Irish Times over an anticipated windfall being siphoned into a new quango: Creative Ireland. It’s not so much a call for art for art’s sake, but leave it to …

Vegans to Farmers: Let’s Communicate

No doubt farmers will dismiss out of hand someone who believes that animals have rights. But I hope you’ll hear me out. I am not saying you are going to hell for raising animals for slaughter or for trying to make a living from your land, and to take care of you and your family. In my view all of …