One of the final acts of the last Fianna Fail government was to award licences to a number of companies to explore for commercial gas in the Northwest Carboniferous Basin (more commonly known as the Lough Allen basin). The Lough Allen Basin is a huge area that covers parts of counties Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Tyrone. It is an area of 8000 square kilometres in total.
Following his announcement that many of his proposed cuts to teacher numbers in schools serving areas of social disadvantage (“DEIS schools”) are to be reversed, Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, has admitted that protests work and that he made the decision because of the huge protests faced by himself and his colleagues on the government backbenches. “[I]n relation to the area where all the pressure was coming from and all the protests was [sic] coming from …. I reflected on the impact on those schools…. and I reversed that decision,” he said.
As the flames from the latest round of rioting in Greece die down, the incapacity of the mainstream media to tell the story of the current Eurozone crisis leaves us as much in the dark as before the Molotov’s lit up the nightly news.
In mid-August, Labour Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn announced both further increases to the “registration fee”, which currently stands at €2000, and the return of tuition fees, which will be payable at point-of-entry, for third level education. Coupled with the massive cuts already to the grants system, this will make it prohibitively expensive for many students to enter and complete third level education, and impose a substantial financial burden on those that do. The implications of this will be further falls in the standard of living of ordinary families and increased indebtedness for young people as they begin their adult lives. For many prospective mature students, their hopes of getting back to education will be ruined.
The euro zone crisis, and the mainstream opinion formers’ response to it, raises the question of nationalistic understandings of the way the world works, and how these understandings frame our perception of where our interests lie.
As the scale of the debts loaded onto the Irish people became clear, the calls for defaulting became louder. The moral argument for default is certainly strong: why should Irish workers pay for the poor decisions of Irish and European capitalists? But justified though it may be, would defaulting cause more pain than gain?
The Civil Partnership Bill was signed into law in July and the first civil registrations are expected early next year. The new legislation provides same-sex (and heterosexual) couples with ‘marriage-like benefits’ and can be seen as a move towards equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transsexual) people.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Celebrations have recently been seen all over the world, as a celebration of sexual diversity. It's worth remembering the history of Pride celebrations, of their origin in a homophobic and repressive culture, and their challenge to a world that refused to recognise sexual freedom. In this article, Paul McAndrew discusses the origins of Pride as a moment when the queer community in New York stood up and fought to be proud of their sexualities.
On Tuesday 24th November 2009, 250,000 public sector workers took strike action in opposition to the government policy of public service pay cuts. This was a potentially massive show of defiance and the first time in more than 20 years that the trade union movement had flexed its collective muscle.
Working people hit the streets in huge numbers on November 6th. The protests showed, once again, that there is a willingness to resist the government’s attacks on living standards. Most observers put the total number who walked out of work to take part in the eight protests at around 100,000.