Articles tagged with: Irish Politics

Public Participation:Involving Citizens in Designing Public Services

on Thursday, 29 September 2011. Posted in Issue 67 Questioning Drug Policy

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Public Participation: Involving Citizens in Designing Public Services

Introduction

‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’, the famous maxim of Kurt Lewin, has particular relevance for the reform of our public services. In that challenging task, there is need for a coherent theoretical perspective and clarity as to the fundamental goals we as a society wish to strive for in the coming decades. I want to argue for a radical new paradigm for public services and to describe such a paradigm. I will discuss the implications of this paradigm using the case example of health services and will seek to draw some broad applications for the community and voluntary sector in relation to the design and delivery of public services.

I believe that the OECD Public Management Review, Ireland: Towards an Integrated Public Service, completed in 2008, has a failed paradigm at the heart of the thinking it presents. The very opening sentence of the report is illustrative of this:

Ireland’s economic success story is one that many OECD countries would like to emulate. While the reasons underpinning Ireland’s success are varied, the Irish Public Service has played a central role in ensuring that the right economic, regulatory, educational and social conditions are in place to facilitate growth and development.1

Even without the benefit of hindsight, this would have to give rise to serious questioning.

Overcrowding and Cell Capacity in Irish Prisons

on Thursday, 29 September 2011. Posted in Issue 67 Questioning Drug Policy

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Overcrowding and Cell Capacity in Irish Prisons

Introduction

Any discussion of prison conditions or overall prison policy in Ireland cannot but give close attention to the question of the overcrowding that is pervasive throughout the prison system.

This overcrowding starkly reflects the reality that the numbers imprisoned, both on remand and under sentence, have grown significantly over the past thirty years, with the daily average number of people in prison increasing more than three-fold, reaching well over 4,000 in 2010.

There has been an expansion in prison places – with, for example, the building of large extensions to many prisons, but the number of additional places has not matched the increase in the number of people detained. The result is that, in most of the country’s prisons, cells designed for one person now routinely accommodate two or even more people. On 7 December 2010, 63 per cent of those detained in Irish prisons – 2,762 people out of a total prison population of 4,416 – were not accommodated in a single cell.1

What Kind of Society? A Better Vision Needed

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 

April 2011

Introduction

The people have spoken in the General Election. They have voted in overwhelming numbers for change. They have done so because the philosophy and policies of the past have patently failed and they want no more of them. The new Government will go down the same tired routes at its peril.

The new Government, and all of us, must now ask, and answer, a number of fundamental questions. Do we want a society where economic growth takes precedence over all else? Do we want a society where market forces and the ability to pay dictate whether or not all of our people have equal access to food, accommodation, health care and education? Do we want a society where the distribution of income and wealth remains significantly skewed in favour of the well-off and the powerful? Do we want a society where considerable numbers of children and the elderly live in consistent poverty or at risk of poverty?

 

Working Notes Issue 66 Editorial

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 pdf iconWorking Notes Issue 66 Editorial

In a Statement issued prior to the General Election in February of this year, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice noted that in public discussions in Ireland on how to address the economic crisis reference was frequently made, by politicians and commentators, to ‘the common good’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘sustainability’. The Statement said that while this was welcome, the reality was that the mere articulation of such values was in itself of little consequence, unless there was ‘a corresponding determination to take the decisions and measures necessary to give effect to these values’.

The Programme for Government of the new Fine Gael–Labour Party Government includes many references to values such as social solidarity and equality; indeed, at the outset, the Programme states that both parties in Government are ‘committed to forging a new Ireland that is built on fairness and equal citizenship’.

 

Taking Our Rightful Place Ireland, the Lisbon Treaty and Democracy

on Friday, 28 August 2009. Posted in Issue 61 Perspectives on Europe

Edmond Grace SJ

September , 2009

Taking Our Rightful Place: Ireland, the Lisbon Treaty and Democracy

Bureacracy in Europe

Bureacracy in Europe
© iStock

A Basis of Right

The Irish electorate has voted in favour of many European treaties since the original treaty of accession in 1971. Until the Nice Treaty any deal struck by Irish negotiators with their European partners included generous financial incentives. These incentives are indisputable and easily grasped. They have been our point of entry into Europe up till now and no other vision has been offered by our political leaders, who now have left it too late to redeem their failure of leadership. They have appealed too often and too eagerly to narrow self-interest and, as a result, they have lost the ability to inspire any generous sentiment.

The time has come for straight-forward if unfamiliar questions. What is this entity, the European Union? How have we Irish benefited from membership? What are we willing to contribute? And why?

Irish Health Services: Money, Inequality and Politics

on Tuesday, 02 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

Sara Burke

May 2009

Irish Health Services: Money, Inequality and Politics

Official reports on health

Some of the many official reports
on health

©JCFJ

Introduction

On 10 March 2009, the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, said in the Dáil that emerging pressures on the finances of the Health Service Executive (HSE) would mean that savings of €480 million would have to be made elsewhere in its budget over the course of the year. The HSE, however, said on 12 March 2009 that in order to meet the new pressures and stay within budget it would have to make savings in other areas amounting to over €1 billion.

The divergence in the projections as to the scale of the shortfall went largely unnoticed by politicians, the media and the public. A month later, in a statement issued following the Supplementary Budget of 7 April 2009, the Minister for Health and Children referred to the shortfall as amounting to €540 million.1

The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008: Well-Founded Fears?

on Wednesday, 29 October 2008. Posted in Issue 59 In Recession who will be left Stranded?, 2008

Eugene Quinn
November 2008

 

Right to Stay Campaign

Right to stay, right to work campaign

© D. Speirs

pdf The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008: Well-Founded Fears?

Context

 

The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008 has come before the Dáil at a time when there has been a significant reduction in the number of new asylum claims being made in Ireland. In line with European trends, applications have dropped from a peak of 11,634 in 2002 to fewer than 4,000 in 2007.


Announcing the publication of the Bill on 29 January 2008, the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Brian Lenihan TD, said:

 

Development

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May, 2007

 

pdf Development 54.84 Kb


Introduction

The Government’s performance in recent years in relation to development cooperation has been hailed in many quarters as a considerable success. The decision in 2005 to re-instate the commitment to meeting the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of GNP on development aid, and the achievement of the first interim target of 0.5 per cent by 2007, have been widely welcomed. Ireland continues to provide a high quality of aid, having good aid predictability, not tying its aid to conditions and being poverty focused. Given its relatively small population, Ireland is a not a big donor in terms of overall volume of aid but its per capita contribution is high and is set to improve further. The most recent OECD survey places Ireland sixth in the global league table of countries’ contributions to development aid as a percentage of Gross National Income.

Alcohol and Drugs

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May, 2007

 

pdf Alcohol and Drugs 79.70 Kb


One of the notable features of prosperous Ireland has been its level of spending on alcohol and illegal drugs. The Strategic Task Force on Alcohol report of 2004 calculated that the country’s annual expenditure on alcohol of nearly €6 billion of personal income in 2002 represented €1,942 for every person over fifteen years of age.1

Climate Change

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May, 2007

pdf Climate change 65.57 Kb


Introduction

If the Dáil we elect at the forthcoming General Election lasts a full term, it will oversee the whole five-year period of Ireland’s commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (2008–2012). It will also cover the period during which the international negotiations to agree new and more challenging commitments to reduce our climate-changing pollution will be conducted.

Crime and Prisons

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May, 2007

 

pdf Crime and Prisons 60.65 Kb


Tough on Crime or Tough on Criminals?

While it may be difficult to predict the outcome of the forthcoming General Election, it is somewhat easier to make accurate predictions about the issues that will surface as the election campaign unfolds. Crime will almost certainly feature prominently and we can safely expect that the political parties will compete with one another to prove to the voters that it is they who will be the toughest on crime.

Migration

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May 2007

pdf Migration 61.83 Kb


Introduction
In its report, Migration in an Interconnected World, the Global Commission on International Migration noted:

Educational Disadvantage

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May 2007

pdf Education Disadvantage 65.09 Kb


Introduction

If you are a child or young person attending school in a disadvantaged area of Dublin, there is a 30 per cent chance that you will leave primary school with a serious literacy problem;1 only a 50:50 chance that you will sit your Leaving Certificate,2 and a 90 per cent probability that you will not go to college.3 In contrast, if you are a child or young person whose parents are from a professional background and you live in a prosperous part of Dublin, you have only a 10 per cent chance of leaving primary school with a serious literacy problem, you will almost certainly complete your Leaving Certificate and be part of the 86 per cent of young people in your area who go to college.

Health

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May 2007

pdf Health 59.88 Kb


The Health of the Nation
Everyone agrees that ‘health’ will be one of the major issues in the coming General Election. In reality, however, it is not health but health services that will be the focus of debate. But the state of the nation’s health ought to merit some serious attention, and some promises of action, by those who would aspire to form the next government.

Housing and Homelessness

on Thursday, 26 April 2007. Posted in Issue 55 The Election Issue, 2007

May 2007

pdf Housing and Homelessness 61.12 Kb


Introduction
If, as predicted, the number of new houses built during 2007 shows a decline on the 2006 figure, this will represent a notable break with the significant upward trend in housing construction that has been such a feature of the past decade. Whereas 26,500 houses and apartments were built in 1995, the number rose to 49,812 in 2000 and to 93,419 in 2006. In other words, housing output in 2006 was more than 250 per cent higher than in 1995.

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