Lessons from Angela Merkel for Leo Varadkar

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By Cormac Lucey So Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is on the way out. On Monday she announced that she would not contest her party’s leadership at its conference this December. She also stated that she intends remaining chancellor until the next scheduled German Federal elections in September 2021. Time will tell whether she manages to hold on that long. … Read More

So who really bore the burden of our recession and recovery ?

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By Cormac Lucey The question of who bore the brunt of the bitter economic adjustment Ireland faced in the years immediately following 2008, as economic boom turned to bust, has always attracted heavy political attention. It’s also attracted academic attention as various experts have trawled through the data to measure the impact of the bust on different social strata. The … Read More

From budgets to borders, we must break free from knee-jerk decision-making

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By Cormac Lucey There was broad dissatisfaction expressed in the country’s opinion pages about the 2019 budget. Very few of those commenting have personal experience of operating inside Ireland’s political system and its constraints. The primary limitation is that every government wants to be re-elected. Decisions are therefore almost inevitably oriented towards sustaining ministers’ political popularity, and this can produce … Read More

Compared to the crash of 2008, the next crisis will actually be even worse

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By Cormac Lucey It is 10 years since the Irish government’s fateful decision to guarantee the liabilities of the Irish banks. That rubber-stamped the country’s plunge into financial disaster, following the collapse two weeks earlier of Lehman Brothers, which kickstarted the international financial crisis. As with all meltdowns, there had been plenty of warnings. The share price of Bank of … Read More

Fianna fail needs to offer more substance – and work with the Govt to address health and housing

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By Eamon Delaney Fianna Fail got a small opinion poll rise recently, but sometimes you have to wonder about our second biggest party, and its focus and direction, not to mention internal discipline. Recently, for example, three of its TDs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called for more disclosure of the President’s spending. But their party leader, Micheal Martin, … Read More

Austerity does lead to prosperity but the left just doesn’t get it

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By Eamon Delaney I’m an old school media consumer and I have boxes of old cuttings which I go through occasionally to de-clutter. It is fascinating. You can see the how the big issues reoccur and develop, both in Irish and international affairs. It is especially instructive to see the ongoing coverage of our economic crisis from the bust of … Read More

Chasing the grey vote will put us into the red

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By Eamon Delaney The recent granny grant proposed from Shane Ross TD and his fellow Independents, has to be one of the craziest budget ideas of recent years. But this week the Independent TDs ran it close with another hare-brained notion, which was that the elderly should be exempt from paying property tax. Yes, just like that. Why do people … Read More

EU is flawed but Irexit would be a mistake

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By Cormac Lucey A new party campaigning for Ireland to leave the European Union has been recently launch. Those involved include Ray Bassett, a former Irish ambassador, and Ray Kinsella, a professor at University College Dublin. The spokesman is Hermann Kelly, who heads up communications at the European parliament in Brussels for the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group, … Read More

Arguing tax and economics with Pearse Doherty TD

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By Cormac Lucey Last week I took part in a radio debate with Pearse Doherty, the Sinn Fein finance spokesman, about the 2019 budget. Doherty argued that pressing social needs require additional taxation. His debating style is an example of one of Thomas Sowell’s insightful sayings. The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to … Read More

Insiders generally look after insiders

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By Cormac Lucey One of modern life’s great pejorative put-downs is to describe somebody as a “conspiracy theorist”. To be honest, I am comfortable with the label. I am a suspicious person and I do believe that powerful interests very often suppress information about what they’re at and to gain information about what everyone else is up to. Indeed, a … Read More