Michael Smith

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    IFA: from pipsqueaks to bullies

    Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Ireland’s National Farmers’ Association (NFA) was a political pariah, with then Taoiseach, Fianna Fáil’s Jack Lynch threatening to have the organisation proscribed, a move that would have placed every farmer in the NFA on the same legal footing as an IRA member. That was almost exactly 50 […]

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    National narrowcaster

    RTÉ’s Claire Byrne show sells short epic issues like the merits of veganism. In order to fulfil adequately its anointed role, a state broadcaster must be courageous, at times running counter to prevailing sentiments.

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    Macron: Elected, not chosen

    In the Bible, Emmanuel is the name of the Messiah, the one who comes to save men. How ironic to see that the man who appears to save France from a far-right cataclysm bears this name. With a second round win of 66,1% against Marine Le Pen, the economic liberal candidate Emmanuel Macron of En […]

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    Trump versus the public sector

    Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and beacon of the so-called ‘alt-right’, recently announced to cheers at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that “the primary goal of the Trump administration” is “the deconstruction of the administrative state” or the dismantling of the public sector. Similarly, Trump’s oft-chanted populist campaign pledge to #DrainTheSwamp […]

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    The future of Labour

    These are challenging times for social democracy. Last year, my party took a beating in the general election. We lost many good TDs, and saw our share of the vote fall to 6.6%. Unfortunately, this result was in some ways a foretelling of what was to follow elsewhere. Over the last six weeks, we have […]

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    Nobody’s Child

    PJ Rafferty’s mother Eileen was first brought to the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in 1951, aged 27. Pregnant outside of marriage, Eileen was discretely ushered into the home by the local parish priest, anxious to avoid a scandal in the Galway town. In an era of a Catholic Ireland seemingly devoid of empathy, compassion […]

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    The logic of following the UK out

    If Britain leaves the EU single market and customs union while the Republic stays in the EU, the North-South border within Ireland will become an EU land frontier, with customs controls inevitable and possibly passport controls. EU-based laws and standards, for example in relation to crime and justice, would prevail in the South and British-based […]

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    Brushstrokes of a war criminal

    Donald Trump conjures such intense images that it is difficult to frame recollections of a man who made him possible. What memories flood back in your mind’s eye when you think of his Republican predecessor? Weapons of Mass Destruction? That awful expression, like a ghost stirring at the back of your mind? Perhaps you smile? […]

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    Theory of water services

    Even with the likelihood of charges for wasteful use of water, as recommended by the Report on the Funding of Domestic Public, the State will remain much more central to water provision than under erring market environmentalist models.

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    Facebook owns you

    Around 25% of the population of the earth use Facebook. Its latest accounts, presenting figures up to December 31st 2016, reveal that, at peak, there were 1.83 billion active users, 1.74 billion of those connecting from a mobile device. Figures for Ireland are less clear-cut, but 65% to 78% of the adult population is estimated […]

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    Nailing Harry Breen

    RUC Chief Superintendent whose death was the Smithwick Tribunal’s focus, was not as innocent as the tribunal extraordinarily contrived to believe. Smithwick failed to ascertain how and why he was murdered and credible sources are now telling Village why Harry Breen may have been of particular interest to the IRA.

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    Ancient myths for today’s dreams

    The highest compliment I can pay Mark Williams is that after reading his ‘Ireland’s Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth’, I have an appetite to learn the Irish language. He exposes to the light a literary inheritance that has barely flickered in the Irish national consciousness since independence in 1922. It allows […]

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    Truthcheck: Simon Coveney and key housing facts

    In an article on 27 March in the Irish Examiner ‘Simon Coveney Looking at All Means of Getting more Houses’, the Minister for Housing made serious and precise statements about the housing market. Mel Reynolds checked them. CLAIM: “Many years of pro-cyclical policies contributed to the crash that caused a decade of inactivity, and it […]

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    Our exquisite recent Architecture

    Kathleen James-Chakraborty reviews ‘One Hundred & One Hosannas for Architecture’ by Shane O’Toole, Gandon Edition. Designed much like a guidebook, to fit into the pocket of a good tweed jacket, and with not one but three ribbons to hold one’s place, ‘One Hundred & One Hosannas for Architecture’ is in fact a collection of essays […]

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    Housing and Coveney

    The figures given for housing completions 2015-2017 are simply and definitively untruthful and misleading. It is extraordinary that the political Department of Housing and the normally scrupulous Central Statistics Office continue to tout them though the deficiencies have been highlighted by Mel Reynolds in Village and elsewhere.

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    Wicklower still

    The former Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, made a promise he did not and could not deliver to spend €50m of public money on the remediation of an illegal waste dump. This was in order to avoid the emergence of damaging evidence in the High Court about the role of Wicklow County Council (WCC) […]

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