Analysis
<> on December 9, 2011 in Berlin, Germany.

Scary movie – Brussels style

Holy Moly – the latest economic forecast from the European Commission is one of the scariest I have seen from any major forecaster for some time. You want me to be more precise – OK, what about 2009? That’s the last time the global economy was growing as slowly as it is now. As for the risk of something bad blowing up, like it did back then, well have a look at this line from Marco Buti, the top Eurocrat …

Screaming in fiscal space

Nobody outside Leinster house seemed to be too bothered by the prospect of the next government (or governments – however many it takes to reach the end of the forecast period in 2021) having an extra €2bn to play with. But it seems they do, thanks to a largely expected expansion of our old friend, the fiscal space. The Department of Finance published a “slimline” version of the Stability Programme Update on Tuesday night, giving the expected update on its …

Irish Water deal muddies prospects of fixing leaks

Whatever the arguments in favour of accepting Fianna Fáil’s demands for suspending water charges, it is abundantly clear some Fine Gael ministers believe it was not in the public interest. Taoiseach Enda Kenny decided acquiescing to Fianna Fáil’s stipulations to suspend for nine months was better than calling a second general election. But by opting to halt paying for water a Rubicon has been crossed. It will now be a political nightmare to resume charging and any government will have …

The public finances without a Government

By Sean Whelan, Economics Correspondent By the end of this week, the government is supposed to have sent the European Commission a document called the ‘Stability Programme Update’. Although this requirement has been around for some two decades, it is only with the onset of the financial crisis that the wider public started to pay it much attention. In fact the SPU, as it is know, is probably the most important budget document apart from the Budget itself. 

Time to sanction Garda right to strike?

Next week, members of the Garda Representative Association will meet in Killarney against the backdrop of huge unrest in the force over pay and conditions. The GRA meeting has been preceded by district gatherings, most notably in Cork, where members have said that their pay and conditions, particularly for new entrants is unsustainable. New Gardaí are paid €23,000 per annum and have lost an allowance for rent which was worth over €4000 a year. In fact, Gardaí say their salaries …

How to manage a minority – the rules of engagement

As Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil edge closer to a deal on minority government the members of the 32nd Dáil are attempting to get their heads around how such an arrangement would work in practice. If agreed, the Framework Document will set out in detail the ground rules for how the government and the opposition must behave in order to allow this new political reality to function. It will require a massive shift in political culture. Our politicians have been …

Is the EU’s stance on Google Android really best for consumers?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent Listening to the press conference of the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, you would think Google hadn’t a leg to stand on. The EU has formally served the internet giant with a Statement of Objections over alleged anti-competitive practices around its Android operating system. And the case it has laid out, on the face of it, seems pretty compelling. Anti-trust regulators claim the dominance of the software in the smartphone market – 80% …

Ireland misses pollution targets by a mile

One of the faults of journalism, and it has many, is that it often lets the urgent overshadow the important. One of the biggest threats to life on the planet is climate change. This country is going to miss its greenhouse gas emissions targets completely and the Government’s own plans to address this shortcoming are hopeless. And that’s the view of a State body. Ireland is supposed to reduce its emissions to 20% below 2005 levels by the year 2020. …

Delegates, superdelegates and selection conventions

The process to select the individuals who will contest the US Presidential Election for the Democratic and Republican party is well under way. It’s been exciting, controversial and dramatic. But it also can be confusing, as the system is so different to our own. RTÉ Washington Correspondent Caitríona Perry explains the maths behind the politics. Q: There was so much fuss at the start of the year about Iowa and New Hampshire and what the voters there were doing and …

A pyrrhic victory for Apple in FBI encryption battle

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent The announcement late last night that the FBI is dropping its court case against Apple, aimed at forcing the computer giant to program a back door into a terrorists iPhone, is a victory of sorts. But the genie is out of the bottle on this issue, and won’t be going back in. It all began with the shooting dead in San Bernadino in the US last year of 14 people by terrorist Rizwan …

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