John Gibbons

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    Farmers Journal is undermined by climate-change denial

    Part of the 1970s was striking advertising. ‘Kilkenny Mart’ was a poster featuring a powerfully built bull with a ring through its nose. The unsubtle slogan: ‘No bull in the Irish Farmers Journal’. The old Kilkenny Mart is long gone: its successor the multi-million euro Cillín Hill facility is situated a few kilometres outside the […]

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    Nature-based solutions for our cities

    The growth of Dublin at the expense of rural Ireland is a familiar refrain, amplified in post-crash Ireland. While it is true that Ireland has a particularly unbalanced economic and population growth pattern focused on its capital city, increased urbanisation is a global trend. Along with pressure on housing, this urbanisation poses a range of […]

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    Trump: Philosopher Mogul

    A group of United States mental health professionals has expressed concern about the mental health of Donald Trump. Psychologist Dr John Gartner said: “We do believe that Donald Trump’s mental illness is putting the entire country, and indeed the entire world, in danger. As health professionals we have an ethical duty to warn the public […]

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    I, Dónal Blake?

    Our new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD makes sure he gets out once a week, often to see a movie. Last year he went to see the English movie ‘I Daniel Blake’ directed by Mike Leigh. Discussing the movie at a Pobal conference he showed little sympathy for the plight of Daniel who, having suffered a […]

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    New morning for Ireland’s housing problems

    On 20 June the consumer advocacy group Right2Homes presented a National Co-Operative Bill to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. Supporting the bill was an expert panel including Edmund Honohan, Master of the High Court, homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry, academic Dr Rory Hearne of Maynooth University and other industry professionals. […]

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    Church betrays its public-interest legacy by school-land sales

    Assets that are social not just financial Ireland’s housing crisis and swirling property prices threaten precious and irreplaceable green spaces in our cities and suburbs with housing developments. House prices have risen more in the first six months of this year than the entire twelve months of 2016. Recognising the opportunity for maximum prices to […]

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    The Health Halo: Marketing is killing us

    Several years ago I lectured in a management school in England. One of the classes I gave was on food marketing. I began the class by playing a clip from the then famous documentary, ‘Super Size Me’, where the protagonist Morgan Spurlock undertakes an extreme diet of McDonald’s-only food for a month to chart the […]

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    Judicial Reform: independence yes; pouting no

    A few rules completely cover the mysterious case of The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017. The judiciary should be independent but not self-selecting. Independence is good, preening is bad. Lawyers robustly defending the judiciary against encroachments by the executive is welcome though not if it has been fundamentally mendacious and itself cut across the independence […]

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    Corruption in Wicklow: Eddie Sheehy is exonerated

    The Minister for Housing, and recent FG leadership contender, Simon Coveney, appointed a former senior Council official to investigate an allegation of financial malpractice at Cavan County Council (CCC), even though the former official had been accused in the High Court of being “up to his neck in corruption”. In March, Coveney and his department […]

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    Henry Phelan: First Garda murdered

    The Garda is in trouble, morale is low and there are numerous investigations into alleged incompetence and cover-ups. Village has been to the fore in detailing these delinquencies.  The purpose of this article is something different: to highlight through a not untypical case the extent of the duty and the dangers of service.  Overall, 88 […]

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    Reality as mad as TV

    After a couple of stuttering seasons, Season 6 of ‘Homeland’, which ended in April, pulled off a decently gripping story this time round. The writers make life difficult for themselves, as with its predecessor ‘24’, by making daring near-future predictions about the political reality that will be in place by the time the show airs. […]

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    ‘Left’ now used for ‘liberal’ not pro-worker

    I don’t like ‘-isms’,” War of Independence veteran George Gilmore once said to me.  “Heaven save me from the Marxists!”, an exasperated Karl Marx is reputed to have exclaimed. “All the ‘-isms’ are ‘-wasms’ ”, was a witticism following the collapse of East European communism in 1991. Nonetheless ‘-isms’, ideologies of one kind or another, […]

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    Needed: Compassion for all nature

    Dante Alighieri opens ‘The Divine Comedy’ with the immortal lines: Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, ché la diritta via era smarrita. (In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark wood where the straight path was lost) To the medieval mind […]

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    Charting the Charleton Tribunal

    As the Tribunal of Inquiry into protected disclosures and Certain Other Matters prepares for its opening statement from counsel in mid-June, Peter Charleton must be wondering what he’s let himself in for. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The Supreme Court justice initially agreed to chair a commission of inquiry, a much more sedate […]

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    Neoliberalism cloaked as modernity

    Leo Varadkar consistently asserts that he does not believe in equality of outcome but in equality of opportunity. He sees himself as “right” or “either centre right or a higher class of liberal… somebody who believes in personal freedom, someone who believes in a political economy and in a free market as the best way […]

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    Technology neutralises our neutrality

    Margaretta D’Arcy found herself jailed in January 2014 on the back of a protest she mounted at Shannon Airport in 2012. What was she protesting about? US troop aircraft using Shannon as a stopover on their journey to the warzones of Iraq and Afghanistan among other things. D’Arcy is a rare stalewart against the steady […]

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    Science ficsean

    Ireland is known for its literature, but not for its science fiction. There is not a great number of Irish writers in the genre, but it is a puzzling fact that major international authors such as James White and Bob Shaw are barely known in their native Ireland. Science fiction often imagines alternative life-worlds, which […]

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    Obituary: Sean McEniff, 1936 – 2017

    The death at 81 of Sean McEniff removes one of the last old-style political fixers from Ireland’s political landscape. McEniff was the co-owner of the Tyrconnell Group, a hotel chain. In 2007 Tyrconnell had merged with the Brian McEniff Hotel Group, owned by his brother, Brian McEniff, an All-Ireland-winning manager of Donegal football team, to […]

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    Ungenerous Ireland

    The 2015 Summer refugee ‘crisis’ was the moment when refugees entered the European consciousness as an existential dilemma. Many European media asked if this influx represented the death of the Schengen line, the free travel zone and even of the European project. The pan-European furore that followed contributed to the Brexit vote. Indeed it is […]

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    Time for more Times

    Launching a new newspaper is a tricky proposition at the best of times, but in the middle of historic declines in print circulation, as titles struggle to manage the transition to digital first publication, it seems downright bloody-minded. Yet that’s what News UK’s Dublin outlet has decided to do, with a daily print product following […]

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