Society is an ever-changing setting of public interaction, shaped by altering economic, political, cultural and social environments. The purpose of this website is to identify and explore these issues, providing a forum for informed debate on and a further understanding of the societies we live in.
Curing the Health System: UHI in Ireland

Curing the Health System: UHI in Ireland

The Irish healthcare system cannot accurately be described as being either public or private in nature, but rather a mesh of public and private, non-profit and for-profit institutions. The inefficiencies of the current hybrid system are painfully evident, while the inequality of service provision, typified in the current layout where...
After the Tiger: Active Labour Market Policies in Modern Ireland

After the Tiger: Active Labour Market Policies in Modern Ireland

The severity of the economic crisis, coupled with rising unemployment figures, has exerted considerable pressure on stretched social welfare provisions, raising questions on the efficacies of the welfare systems of the state. In particular, it has been queried whether a more proactive approach in returning unemployed jobseekers to the active...
In review: 'The Crisis of the European Union: a response', by Jürgen Habermas

In review: ‘The Crisis of the European Union: a response’, by Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas, in “The Crisis of the European Union: a response” presents a powerful case for (a)  the expansion of the powers of the European Union and (b) (more explicitly than in the case of (a)) the creation of a European “demos” or “civic solidarity” (p. 53). I shall address his...
Geopolitical preferences and the Securitization debate

Geopolitical preferences and the Securitization debate

The recent events in Paris have again brought the debate of securitization to the fore in European political dialogue. The acts, perpetrated by members of a minority ethnic community against a bastion of francité – the free press, has been decried not only in France, but across Europe as a continent and...
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A case for increased social expenditure

A case for increased social expenditure

Termed by media outlets as the closest thing to a ‘give away budget’ since the Celtic Tiger heyday, Budget 2015 was intended to ease the fiscal pain placed on Irish society during years of Austerity. Yet, while fiscal relief is indeed to be welcomed, this author feels that the latest budget was a missed opportunity...
Social Costs of Direct Provision

Social Costs of Direct Provision

A clear majority of Irish voters approve of the current Direct Provision policy towards asylum seekers [1]. Support for the policy is strong across all social classes, but is especially popular among DE voters, and, surprisingly, among young voters (18 to 34). Given such broad popular support for the current arrangement, it is unlikely that any change...
Water: Economics and Equitability

Water: Economics and Equitability

The economics of water is about trying to understand water scarcity and the values of water, as well as how to ensure that our broadly defined needs are understood, that costs and benefits of choices are clear and that the impacts of alternative pricing schedules are understood (Joyce and Convery, 2009, p.377). Implying that water...
The Far-Right in Europe: Nightmare Scenarios and Inevitabilities

The Far-Right in Europe: Nightmare Scenarios and Inevitabilities

Last Sunday Sweden went to the polls to elect its national legislature. The result was the replacement of a minority centre right administration with a minority centre left one. In Europe an occurrence such as this (or its reverse) is generally of only passing interest. On this occasion, however, the most startling result of the...
Islam in Ireland: integration and education

Islam in Ireland: integration and education

Ireland’s Muslim community is relatively unique in Europe, in that the original influx of Muslims from abroad largely comprised of highly educated individuals and their families, for the most part coming to work in the Irish health service or other public sector positions. Unlike in other European states where most Muslims hailed from a particular...
Scottish independence: beyond identity

Scottish independence: beyond identity

In less than one month’s time Scotland will hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. This referendum was initially expected to yield an easy victory for opponents of independence, and while opinion polls still indicate a lead for the “No” option in the independence debate (of varying strength) it has become clear that...
Housing: replacing the wobbly pillar

Housing: replacing the wobbly pillar

The recent election of Joan Burton as the 11th leader of the Labour party brings hope to its members of a change in the fortunes of their party which faced an electoral nightmare in the local and European elections. But comments made by Burton that ‘a Labour priority in the remainder of this Government’s term would...
European Integration and Popular Sentiment

European Integration and Popular Sentiment

Around the time of Jean Claude Junker’s nomination by the European Parliament to serve as President of the Commission, it could frequently be heard that Junker’s brand of euro-federalism was a sort of “relic”. Few believe any longer in the viability of the integrationist project, it was said, and Junker’s appointment served merely to demonstrate...
Media on Gaza: information or speculation?

Media on Gaza: information or speculation?

Media is a powerful tool of information. A look at our screens or a glance through the newspapers can not only provide information on different current events, but can also convey the suffering and plight of individuals across the globe. In recent times, the imagery of Palestinian suffering helped bolster Palestinian solidarity protests worldwide, with...
Stagnation in Northern Ireland requires new interventions

Stagnation in Northern Ireland requires new interventions

It seems as if inter-ethnic, territorial and sectarian tensions have become a global epidemic in recent times. Israeli-Palestinian relations are on a knife-edge, the conflicts in Nigeria and Central African Republic have not been resolved, and there is a feeling that Ukraine is still very much an ongoing affair. And then there is Northern Ireland. While violence...
Modern European social democracy in crisis

Modern European social democracy in crisis

The central question for established centre-left political parties in Western Europe is whether there remains a viable future for traditional social democracy, among whose features we might number support for the mixed economy and the institution of large cash transfers with the aim of redistributing wealth and easing poverty. Recent developments within the aegis of...
Ugly Carnival for the Beautiful Game

Ugly Carnival for the Beautiful Game

The World Cup has arrived. The colour, the pride, the expectation of great things from 22 men on a pitch: it is why we call it the beautiful game! Yet this World Cup, the most expensive in history, has been marred by controversy. Brazil 2014 is not an isolated case. Sport events are no longer merely...
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