Analysis
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Growing anger in the Irish science and research community

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent In the early 1990s, Irish scientists were angry. Cutbacks in already reduced funding for research, inadequate grants for post-grads and a lack of resources for equipment led to a ground swell of resentment among the science community here. The Irish Research Scientists Association was formed and a lobbying campaign began. And when its voice eventually became loud enough, the government of the time started to take the concerns seriously. Almost of quarter of …

Brexit could send Ireland back in time

Overlooking the River Liffey on Dublin’s docks is the neo-classical Customs House. The stunning building took ten years to construct and was completed in 1791 at a cost of £200,000, which was a fortune at the time. One of its purposes was to collect tariffs on goods coming into Dublin Port. At the time tariffs were seen as a positive mechanism for any country because they protected a nation’s domestic industry from foreign competitors. Since then economic thinking has been …

A Journey to the Heart of Brexit Britain

The tour groups shuffle respectfully past the stone tomb. A dappled pink light shines in from two brand new stained glass windows. The final resting place of Richard the Third in Leicester’s cathedral has become an unlikely tourist attraction. His remains, uncovered under a city car park, were reburied here with much pomp and ceremony last year. Now the stage villain king, killed at the Battle of Bosworth close to Leicester, has also been credited with the good luck enjoyed …

Why the resistance to tackling antibiotic resistance?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent There are certain issues which people know are serious, but for whatever reason choose to bury their heads in the sand about. Climate change is one obvious one. Despite decades of warnings that our manmade carbon emissions are effectively overheating our planet, only in the last two or so years has the global community woken up to the reality of the danger and started to take action – possibly too late. Antimicrobial drug …

The European Commission recommends…

We are now halfway through the budget-making process for 2017, the point at which the European Commission sends out Country-specific Recommendations to member states – key issues to be dealt with in the national budget plans that are to be published in mid October. They boil down to calls to broaden the tax base, prioritise capital spending on transport, water services and housing, tweak social welfare policy to concentrate on the high number of “low work intensity households” in Ireland, …

Back to the smoke-filled rooms?

In John Leonard’s book, Dub Sub Confidential, about his life and the GAA, he talks about what it’s like to be the substitute wishing in hope to get a go on the pitch during a big game or indeed any game. John describes in fascinating detail how he wished that Stephen Cluxton, a man on his own team, would be sent off the pitch, either through foul or injury to allow him on in his place. But, you need to be careful what you wish for. It was …

Laws to cut mortgage rates could be counter productive

A lot of mortgage customers feel ripped off. The reason is simple. Many people on standard variable rates are paying interest between 3.1% and 4.5%. Those lucky enough to have trackers are generally paying between 0.5% and 1.5%. So it is not surprising that the people with variable loans aren’t happy. The new Programme for Government promises to tackle the problem. It says it is “not ethically acceptable for Irish banks to charge excessive interest rates on standard variable rate …

A wake-up call for government on digital skills

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent As journalists, we generally try to deal in facts. But sometimes, anecdotal evidence is far more compelling and indeed trustworthy. I regularly meet the managers of technology business operating here – from massive global multinationals, to tiny early stage start-ups. As well as probing what’s going well for them, and their plans for the future, I often make a point of asking them about the challenges they are facing. For some, it’s scaling rapidly, …

ESRI shows customers bamboozled by choice

It is critical that regulatory bodies make use of a new ESRI study to ensure consumers are not bamboozled into overpaying or making the wrong purchase, writes Business Editor David Murphy. We all know the feeling – you go to buy something and within minutes you are completely bamboozled. Perhaps health insurance is the best example. There can often be 30 different policies on offer within a limited price range. Each policy has a vast array of different features. Some …

Diplomatic impunity?

  Most people think it’s not appropriate for Sabina Higgins to make public comments on abortion. We asked the question of our Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research Smartphone panel and 46% of respondents felt that the wife of President Michael D Higgins should not have said anything about abortion, 42% thought it was appropriate and 12% didn’t know. There is nothing in the constitution preventing the spouse of the President from making comments about whatever he or she wants. It has merely …

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