Renua Manifesto Review: Vague Buzzwords Brought To You By Fox News

The Dáil has been dissolved and the campaign for the 32nd Dáil has begun. It’s easy to get lost in the media-spin, tribalism and parochialism. So I thought I’d try and clear this up by analysing the policies (not personalities) of each party by reviewing their manifesto. Trying to describe the views of any Irish political party is like trying to square a circle and first on the list, Renua, is no exception. In fact it’s hard to see what the party stands for. Seeing as it was formed from TDs who resigned from Fine Gael in protest at the abortion bill, you would expect them to be an anti-abortion party perhaps aiming for a social conservative vote like that which opposed the Marriage Referendum. After all, they are endorsed by David Quinn. However, abortion isn’t mentioned a single time in the manifesto, nor is any other social issue for that matter. Continue reading “Renua Manifesto Review: Vague Buzzwords Brought To You By Fox News”

If You Can Understand Nationalism Then You Can Understand Feminism

A lot of people these days don’t see the need for feminism. To many it’s just a lot of whinging and moaning about superficial things that don’t matter too much. Others see it as an issue that belongs in the history books, important in its time but not today. Don’t women have equal rights today? Hasn’t the movement run its course? A recent survey found that 85% of people support gender equality but only 18% consider themselves feminists. Basically, most people just don’t understand feminism (for a long time neither did I). However, I think there is another ideology that is more easily understood and can be used as a guide to explaining feminism, especially to people who wouldn’t otherwise see where Feminists are coming from. Continue reading “If You Can Understand Nationalism Then You Can Understand Feminism”

On The Campaign Trail With Yes Equality

With the vote on Marriage Equality only a week away, I thought I’d write a post about what it’s like canvassing for a Yes vote. I’ve been out most nights knocking on the doors of South Dublin encouraging people to support marriage equality. If you support marriage equality, then I would highly recommend that you come along too, canvassing is really easy and quite fun too. You can find your local group and more advice on how to canvass here. Continue reading “On The Campaign Trail With Yes Equality”

Make Grá The Law

On the 22nd of May the people of Ireland will decide whether or not we will grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. (Grá is the Irish word for love and rhymes with law, hence the slogan). It’s hard to think of a more straightforward issue than this. If two people love each other, they should be allowed to marry each other. What right does anyone else have to prevent them from expressing their love? It doesn’t do any harm or affect the rest of society in any way at all. It’s simply a matter of equality, giving gay and lesbian couples the same rights as everyone else. Continue reading “Make Grá The Law”

Can The Labour Party Be Saved?

The Irish Labour Party is in dire straits. Its vote has collapsed from 19.7% in the 2011 general election to only 7% in last months local election, causing its leader Eamon Gilmore to resign. Now there is a leadership election ongoing between Joan Burton and Alex White, both of which are making bland statements about what they would do as leader (neither have mentioned any policies or anything concrete). But is this simply a case of rearranging chairs on the Titanic and finding someone to take the poisoned chalice and lead Labour into election meltdown? Continue reading “Can The Labour Party Be Saved?”

Which Lesser Evil To Vote For?

I have a bit of a dilemma. You see the local and European election are on this Friday here in Ireland and considering my interest in politics, I will proudly do my duty and vote. The problem is the question of who to vote for. The options are pretty woeful. Irish politics is a mash of grey politicians who take turns to implement the same policies in government and criticise these very same policies in opposition. There is little difference between the parties and we seem doomed to get the same policies no matter who we vote for. Continue reading “Which Lesser Evil To Vote For?”

On The Road To Recovery Or The Road To Nowhere?

The government has been celebrating Ireland’s recent exit from the Troika bailout and have proclaimed that Ireland is now on the road to recovery. The Taoiseach addressed the nation to celebrate the regaining of Ireland’s economic sovereignty. But are we out of the woods yet? Is Ireland facing a new dawn that leaves the nightmare of the recession behind or is it only a mirage of false hope while we are still stuck in the mud? Continue reading “On The Road To Recovery Or The Road To Nowhere?”

Austerity Isn’t Working

(This is the original draft of an article I wrote for the University Observer. A counter argument was also written.)

Whenever someone tells you there is no other option, don’t believe them. There are always other options and when people pretend otherwise its usually because they want to shut the debate down. So when Michael Noonan grimly announces that we have no choice but to implement austerity, we shouldn’t blindly accept this. There is always an alternative. Continue reading “Austerity Isn’t Working”

Democracy Matters – But The Seanad Does Not

The Seanad referendum is drawing near and the campaigns are in full swing. What is interesting is how well mobilised the No side is and the arguments they are using. Rather than a rational debate based on political realities, the No side has resorted to hysteria and fantasy. Even the name of the main opposition group, Democracy Matters, implies that a democratically elected government putting the decision before a vote of the people is somehow engaging in dictatorial actions. The vote is being ridiculously described as a power grab while reform is being held as a panacea that no one seems to be able to describe. Continue reading “Democracy Matters – But The Seanad Does Not”

No Defence

It’s hard to describe the shock and outrage experienced in Ireland upon hearing of the latest tasteless stunt by Youth Defence. In a move which goes against all basic decency, the group parked a horrendously offensive anti-abortion billboard outside the office of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. After being swamped by a torrent of indignation, Youth Defence now claims that the van was not supposed to park there, but was stuck in traffic or having a break and its all just a giant coincidence. Its twitter feed began unleashing attacks upon all critics as though it was the victim. The ad company has since cancelled its contract with Youth Defence. Regardless of intention, the refusal to apologise and the lack of shame over the hurt caused has no defence.

Continue reading “No Defence”