January 2018

Monthly Archives

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    Food Insecurity

    Like most people in Ireland, I grow almost none of my own food. Unfortunately living in the city, and not having a garden I am somewhat restricted. Every now and again I get a pang of anxiety when I see supermarket shelves empty on a Sunday night, before the delivery lorries have arrived. This is […]

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    Brexit: Dunkirk or D-Day?

    Standing beside Britain’s much-maligned Prime Minister, Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the morning of the 8 of December announced that “sufficient progress” has been made on Phase I of the Brexit talks to move onto Phase II, and the integral future trading relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union. Brought to […]

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    DUPed

    Ireland and the EU have been outmanoeuvred by the UK into a deal that gives NI and perhaps ultimately the whole UK a competitive advantage trading into Ireland and the EU, by allowing a retreat for NI and the UK from EU environmental, social and other typically non-economic standards.

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    Needed: Mass party of the socialist Left

    It is almost a decade since the beginning of the financial crisis which brought capitalism to the point of collapse. In the intervening years, working-class people have been forced to carry the cost of bailing out the system through various, vicious austerity programmes. Establishment political parties across Europe and the world have been greatly reduced, […]

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    Housing: ‘the carrot and the stick’

    There’s been plenty of talk about “carrot and stick” for our housing predicament. At a property Summit last month, commentators exhumed memories from the industry boom and bust and suggested numerous ways to revive the sector. Much discussion revolved around the fact that there is no official metric for the measure of new housing output. […]

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    Immingratitude

    In December a group called ‘Identity Ireland’ made much of a do online about the relative nothing of unfurling their banner from a bridge over a motorway. The banner urged motorists to “DEFEND IRELAND”, prompting one Twitter user to quip they were “11 days too late” (referring to the Irish soccer team’s humiliating 5-1 defeat […]

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    EU(S)

    Books on the European Union generate glaze-over and are certainly neither written nor read for fun dinner-party conversation, trading as they do in institution-making and bureaucracy. The EU is an incomplete experiment in international co-operation brought about by the catastrophic decline in imperialism, with its consequences for European nations, and two major world wars. But […]

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    Marine life: out of sight, so nihilistically destroyed

    Fish don’t vote. When Ireland’s Marine Minister Michael Creed said: “I am satisfied that I have managed to turn an extremely worrying set of proposals from the Commission into a much improved outcome for the Irish fishing industry”, there was little doubt as to whose interests the minister represented. While he added that he was […]

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    Adventurers in immortality and Nazism

    The revised edition of ‘Francis Stuart: Artist and Outcast’ (Kiely, Liffey Press, Dublin 2007; Areopagitica, NC 2017) coincided this year with two other biographies about Nora O’Mara and John Lodwick, close friends of Stuart’s in wartime. The challenge for the biographer is to interrogate the sources about Stuart, O’Mara, and Lodwick each of whom was […]

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    The Shaker Hymn: There’s no redoing things

    Independent music is odd: for a wide umbrella of music that breeds the creative freedom and cultural autonomy needed to help progress the overall artistic discourse, there’s no shortage of revivalists of various stripes, rejigging and refreshing previously well-worn sonic tropes. It’s been hard in the past to look at Corkonian psych-poppers The Shaker Hymn […]

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    Trouble Pilgrims

    The Radiators From Space, Ireland’s first punk band, captured the subversive mood of 1979 in the groundbreaking ‘Ghostown’ album. Now they cast a long shadow over Trouble Pilgrims who have inherited band members Steve Averill and Pete Holidai. But the iconic pair of Irish rockers are not just surviving, they’re thriving. The reason for this […]

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    The rock star should be sometimes alone, but never lonely

    The story of the contemporary rock diva, Lady Gaga, who literally could not stand to be alone, is a philosophical fable for our times. A few years back, according to claims in a legal action filed by the rocker’s former personal assistant, who sued for overtime pay, the singer could not tolerate being in her […]

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    Required Viewing

    The last day of November this year marked the seventieth anniversary of the death of Ernst Lubitsch, whose greatest works, such as ‘Ninotchka’, ‘To Be or Not to Be’, ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ and ‘Heaven Can Wait’, are now widely unknown. Lubitsch himself, who started his career in silent movies in his native Germany […]

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    Old Lady weds De Paper

    A s early as last February, the Irish Times reported that Landmark was in talks with Independent News & Media (INM) over a possible takeover, as the company struggled to service its €21m debt. At the time, INM was undergoing a competition review of its plans to purchase Celtic Media. The Competition and Consumer Protection […]

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    Dáil and its legal reform is pro-lawyer

    The circumstances of the demise of former Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, diverted attention from the risk of the thwarting of his reforms of the legal profession. Infamously many ministers, and their – often informal – advisers, are lawyers. Indicative of the problem is that at the last reading of the proposed reform bill, it […]

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    Trump and the Road to Hell

    States, including our own, have always afforded privileges to certain groups above others through their laws. Various codes have upheld discrimination in gender, pedigree, ethnicity, and even ordained that one person is the property of another. But positive law co-exists with another ideal of a universal Rule of Law, or justice, conceived in classical antiquity […]

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    Villager – December ’17 / January ’18

    Happy Christmas from Villager! No Trump lookalikes or Nominal determinisms this month. Villager’s had it with formula journalism. In fact he’s had it with a lot of things. Nothing ever changes: Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, one-off-housing and winter never went away. The only good thing is we see less of Martin Mansergh, now. And Christmas, […]

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    KWETB, under investigation by Fraud Squad, C&AG and HSA, is not the only scandal in Kildare

    It is unlikely that the controversies which have rocked the Kildare and Wicklow Training Board (KWETB) in recent months would have emerged but for the persistence of Newbridge Councillor and unsuccessful Fine Gael general election contender, Fiona McLoughlin Healy. Her efforts in exposing the questionable decisions by the KWETB have been followed by the early […]

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    Resignation as probes proceed into €116m education body

    The resignation of the chairman and vice-chairman of the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) in early December is the latest dramatic development in a controversy that has already been marked by the early retirement of its chief executive, Seamus Ashe. Chairman and Wicklow councillor Jim Ruttle and vice-chairman, Kildare Fine Gael councillor, […]

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