In defence of populism

Populism can be progressive or reactionary, democratic or authoritarian. But it is always a challenge to the status quo and is most powerful when a political or economic system is in crisis. By Eoin Ó Broin.

In his end of year review Sunday Business Post political editor Pat Leahy described Sinn Féin’s opposition to austerity in 2012 as “aggressive and populist”.

His description is one that has a broad currency among political commentators.

Of Toblerones and cojones

As a new year of political guff and spoofery dawns, we should forget Swedish-style taxes or childcare – what Ireland really needs is Swedish-style politicians. By Philip O'Connor.

Political and clerical hypocrisy on abortion issue

Both Fine Gael and Labour are as one in their determination to expel from their ranks any parliamentarian who votes in accordance with the pledges on which those two parties sought and obtained their mandates. By Vincent Browne.

Enda Kenny has reiterated that there will be no free vote on the abortion legislation which is to be introduced in the Dáil early next year.

Labour's way is yet another confidence trick

We should have known from the awful blather and bombast of the Labour manifesto that we were being set up for another con job. By Vincent Browne.

Just last year, in February of last year, they were talking of a new politics. No more the cronyism, stroke politics, abuses of corporate and political power.

Time to hold Ireland's 'elite' accountable for this terrible mess

The Debt Justice Action (DJA) campaign, of which I am a part, has just lodged an application with the Guinness Book of Records to recognise Ireland as having the world’s most expensive ever bank bailout.  A video accompanying the application can be viewed below.  The satirical intent behind the project is well captured by DJA member Diarmuid O’Flynn: “We’ve had a difficult few years here in Ireland.

Hundreds show their support for carers at Dublin protest

Hundreds attended a lunchtime protest outside the Dáil yesterday in support of carers who will be affected by cuts announced in last week's Budget. The protest was organised by The Carers Association.

Protesters were demanding the reversal of the 19% cut in the Respite Care Grant announced in the Budget. The cut amounts to a loss of €375 per year for an individual carer.

Labour in government: Making inequality worse

Ireland is still a very rich society - the problem is not how poor we are but how badly we distribute those riches. By Vincent Browne.

The Labour Party is right. Had Fine Gael got an overall majority in the 2011 election, last week’s budget would be much more unfair. Social welfare rates would be cut again, having been cut in the first Fine Gael budget of last year; child benefit would no longer be a universal payment; there would be no mansion charge, the cuts in health and education would be deeper.

The FTA with Colombia and Peru: European Parliament puts big business before workers' rights

Once again, despite its repeated fine words, the European Parliament this afternoon placed the interests of big business before workers' and human rights. It voted overwhelmingly (486 to 147, with 41 abstaining) to consent to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia and Peru. MEPs have been inundated with emails and reports from NGOs, human rights organisations and activists seeking for them to vote against this report, given the systematic abuses of human rights in Colombia.

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