Analysis
Artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b (Pic: ESO)

Proxima b – has a new Earth been discovered?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent Scientists have announced that they have discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting the closest star to our own solar system. It is big news, opening up the prospect that another world, which could potentially harbour life, is right on our doorstep (well in space terms anyway). What exactly has been found? For a number of years, astronomers have been busily engaged in a search for extrasolar planets or exoplanets. These are planets that orbit …

Religion, nursing and teacher training – what’s the connection?

The dominance of the churches in primary education here has led to an unusual situation at Dublin City University, writes RTÉ Education Correspondent Emma O Kelly. This year sees the full incorporation into DCU of three former colleges of education – the Catholic St Patrick’s and Mater Dei colleges, and the Church of Ireland College of Education (CICE). Both St Pat’s and the CICE train primary school teachers in denominational courses. In negotiations on amalgamation all three colleges were keen …

Calm before the storm?

Simon Harris has had a relatively calm start so far during his period in the health portfolio. But at just over 100 days in the role, it’s still relatively early days and there has been no major crisis yet on his desk. His main commitment has been to reinvest in health and his ability to secure an extra €500m to deal with the HSE projected overrun, as well as other developments, was welcomed. But it remains unclear how much extra …

Broken-down: Ireland’s motor insurance

There have now been two recent cases of motor insurance companies, both regulated abroad, going bust, writes RTÉ’s Business Editor David Murphy. It means potential customers can no longer rely on regulators to protect them. In that vacuum it is becoming clear that the onus is on consumers to find out more before buying the cheapest policy. In 2014 Setanta, which was regulated in Malta, collapsed leaving unpaid claims of €90m. Last month, Gibraltar-regulated Enterprise Insurance went bust. Setanta is currently …

The real story behind Ireland’s ‘Leprechaun’ economics fiasco

Over the past few days we have learned much about the true story behind Ireland’s so-called “Leprechaun” economic figures. Senior civil servants and ministers were blindsided by the astonishing 26% economic growth figures for 2015 from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) – issued on 12 July. Some of the mandarins found out after the media, who were given the information under embargo 30 minutes in advance of publication at a press briefing. When the statisticians dropped their bombshell last week, ministers …

Meaningless economic statistics may cause problems

Ireland’s economy grew by more than a quarter last year – according to official statistics. But should we believe them? The straight answer is that they have been so badly distorted by activities by multinationals they are rendered meaningless. Aircraft bought by leasing companies, multinationals moving assets to Ireland and corporate restructuring have resulted in a dramatic increase in the size of the economy. The figures show the economy grew by a remarkable 26% last year in terms of Gross Domestic …

Parallel Lines

Ireland and Britain are politically very different – different electoral systems, different parties, different issues. And yet, for the past two decades, we and our neighbours have seen extraordinary political parallels. In 1997, both countries got youthful new leaders, who brought about fundamental change in traditional party attitudes – Tony Blair changed Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution, which committed the party to public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange; Bertie Ahern changed Articles 2 and …

Pokémon Go – what’s all the fuss?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent If you haven’t already, you should expect to hear a good deal about Pokémon Go over the coming days and weeks. It hasn’t even officially arrived here in Ireland yet, but already it’s getting a phenomenal reaction in the places where it has been launched. That will undoubtedly lead to it also becoming a huge hit when it arrives on Irish shores too. So what is Pokémon Go? Made by the Japanese company …

“the long goodbye”?

It must be the silly season – people are talking about whether Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth. This notion is a hardy perennial of the summer school circuit, where the great and the good gather to ponder, pontificate and proselytise. Let them at it, it’s fairly harmless. If I run out of things to blog about, I might even discuss it at some point. But for the moment, let’s just say it’s not going to happen, whatever Frankie Feighan and …

Juno’s mission to Jupiter explained

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent Over the next few days, indeed months, you are likely to hear quite a bit about a spacecraft called Juno and its mission around Jupiter. It’s an exciting project, which could yield many answers to questions about the origin of the planet, and of the solar system as a whole. After a five year journey, NASA's spacecraft Juno will arrive at Jupiter early tomorrow morning.https://t.co/mtp1f1Tie3 — RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 4, 2016 Why …

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