Monthly Archives: July 2016

The deadliest year for refugees?

The Independent (UK) has a piece this day on the continued slow unfolding horror that is the meditteranian refugee crisis. Refugee crisis: 2016 on course to be deadliest year on record as thousands of asylum seekers drown in Mediterranean | Europe | News | The Independent


The tragic benchmark was not reached until October 2015, which was the deadliest year on record and made the channel between Libya and Italy the most dangerous crossing in the world.

It is a horror. A blot on the conscience of the world, and something the Irish government has made but a token effort to deal with. Sure, refugees from war and famine, what mean they to us….

Where I take issue is with 3000 refugee deaths being the deadliest year on record. On record where? Since when?  Continue reading

Your Tax euro at work….PQ version

“Noel Rock (Dublin North West, Fine Gael): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the total cost of the provision of third level education; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more) [Dáil written answers, 19 July]

via Third Level Costs — Ninth Level Ireland

to which , were I minister, I would say “no, its already public domain, look it up” or indeed  “cost, to whom?”

There are DOZENS of these types of PQ’s asked each day, where the TD concerned should be given directions to the Dail Library and told of the existence of Google.


Ireland and Scotland – some high level economic comparisons

Much of the debate on putative Scottish independence strikes me, from a distance, as somewhat odd. On the independence side there is a a strong debate on what currency to use when the real issue is the ability of an independent Scotland, within or without the EU/Euro to manage its very very large banking system. On the unionist side much commentary seems to see it as inherently impossible that such a small state as Scotland could possibly thrive.

One small state that has survived is of course Ireland. It is not that different, in culture and orientation, to Scotland. If we can survive, one might ask why might not Scotland? How do the two stack up?  Continue reading

The Economic Logic of Student Loans (or, not..)


The publication  of the long delayed and much leaked cassells report on third level financing is both welcome and depressing. It is welcome in that finally there is a clear and unambigious analysis of the financial mess in which the sector finds itself. It outlines clearly the contribution to economy and society that can be made by a well functioning and well resourced third level sector, and is blunt in the analysis of the need for immediate and ongoing resources.  It is depressing in that it took nanoseconds for the old habits of irish policymaking, ideological biases and selective analyses, to emerge. It is also somewhat depressing that the underlying economic analysis of the sector is incomplete. That said, the report is peerless in its analysis of the problems and the immediate and longterm finanial and resource needs. Where I take some issue is with a fundemental and indeed perhaps unknowing assumption. 

Continue reading