Monday 21 January 2019

Leo Varadkar (PA)

Editorial: 'Fine Gael will pay the price if it can't fix housing crisis' 

New years are supposed to be about novelty, fresh starts and frontiers. If the Government had a foundry for panel-beating the dents out of promises that have been overturned, it would be very busy just now. But we can return to that in a moment. It's a tad too easy to outsource all social responsibility to our elected representatives. They are, after all, given their power by us, and if we do not chose to hold them accountable for fissures opening up in society they will skip over them.

'For example, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook have a combined market capitalisation of $3.7tn, equal to Germany’s GDP last year.' Photo: Getty Images

Editorial: 'A challenge for high-tech Ireland' 

The statement last week by Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who invented the world wide web in 1989, that technology companies have grown so dominant that they may need to be broken up, unless challengers or changes in taste reduce their clout, is the latest in a growing body of opinion that believes the manner in which some companies operate internationally will eventually be brought to an end. "I am disappointed with the current state of the web," Berners-Lee said. "We have lost the feeling of individual empowerment and to a certain extent, I also think the...

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More bank reform before pay cap lift 

The resignation of the Allied Irish Bank chief executive, following the recent departure of the bank's chief financial officer, has given rise to a suggestion that the imposed cap on bankers' pay should be lifted. The suggestion is premature. Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe recently announced that his department has issued a tender for a consultancy firm to review bankers' salaries. The outcome, of what is expected to be a lengthy process, should be awaited and then duly considered before a decision is taken.

Seamus Coffey, the chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, has also expressed serious concern over what he has called a

Volatile corporation tax unsustainable 

The announcement of an extra full €1bn in corporation tax receipts ahead of earlier forecasts is welcome news at a level this close to a Budget required to meet pressing public spending demands, but is also deeply concerning at another, in that it seems to confirm that Ireland has become reliant on what is an unsustainable revenue source. The anticipated extra funding is now expected to fill a growing black hole in the funding of the health service, amounting to around €700m. There is clearly something seriously amiss when what is described as a 'technical change in international...

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Europe has much to do 10 years on 

The 10th anniversary of the onset of the economic crisis has given rise to much retrospective analysis as to what went wrong, but a more pertinent question is whether the real lessons of that calamitous event have been learned to ensure a similar event will not reoccur in the future. It would be convenient to say that such lessons have been learned, and for many, at a personal level, the scars have been recent and so deep as to make it unlikely that a repeat of the conspicuous mistakes of the past will reoccur in their lifetimes. Indeed, on a broader domestic level, there are also signs that...

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Trump visit and the right to protest 

The visit to Ireland by US President Donald Trump in November, as part of a European tour that would also see him travel to Paris for a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice after World War I, has given rise to calls for a mass protest from the public from several politicians, including the Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin and the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Protest is very much a vibrant part of liberal democracies and should be accepted, indeed welcomed, as such. Since Donald Trump's inauguration as president, there has been a protest every day somewhere in...