Numbers game

It’s been bothering me for a while, but until tonight I never bothered to do any research on it. Here’s Brian Lenihan’s version of it, as paraphrased by The Journal earlier today: “The Finance Minister said Ireland’s taxation system was no longer “fit for purpose”, saying that the upper 8% of taxpayers accounted for 60%… Continue reading Numbers game


Nine days from now, Brian Lenihan will stand before the Dáil and announce the government’s latest budget. The cabinet has made quite display of how seriously they take the crisis in public finances, even holding a meeting on a Sunday. Things are so bad they’ve even given up their weekends, you see. The cabinet still… Continue reading Comeback

The Accused

There’s a stairwell in the middle of the courtroom, linking the district court to the nearby Bridewell Garda station. Guards lean against the balcony as they listen to the cases. When he emerges from the tunnel, his body language defines fatigue. He moves to the bench in front of the stairwell, while lawyers shuffle papers.… Continue reading The Accused

Brace Yourselves

Less than a month ago, I described the new tax on public sector pensions and cuts in departmental spending as a minibudget. This month’s minibudget has just been announced, though the full details will not be available for a few weeks. Early predictions include increased excises on the ‘Old Reliables’ – tobacco, alcohol and fuel… Continue reading Brace Yourselves

News Management

Remember back when when all those junior ministers lined up to declare they were willing to lose their positions, and we really didn’t need twenty of them? It was all part of the Share The Pain the government has been spreading in order to condition the rest of us for pay cuts. After all, if… Continue reading News Management


More than thirteen thousand people joined a Facebook group urging Slovenia’s ‘perennial foreign minister’ Dimitrij Rupel to retire from political life. The Slovenians are annoyed that Rupel remains a member of the government, despite his party losing a recent election. Rupel, a flexible politician, had been a member of four parties during his career, and… Continue reading Newsworthy

On The One Road

How long can you stay angry? Old age pensioners marched on the Dáil last week to protest against budget cuts, as did students. Teachers are planning demonstrations this week. Army families are upset at plans to close several regional bases, and the farmers aren’t far behind. The popular backlash against the budget had an effect… Continue reading On The One Road


Biffo blinked. As I write, I’m watching live coverage of the Taoiseach’s press conference to announce the government is backing down from the decision to remove free medical cards from all citizens over the age of seventy. By increasing the income limit for a medical card to €700, the government has ensured that all but… Continue reading Climbdown