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.
Part-time work: lessons from the Polder model

Part-time work: lessons from the Polder model

In the cases of Ireland and the United Kingdom, the welfare of workers is largely evaluated on the basis of occupational status and earnings. The implication of this is that part-time jobs are widely regarded as sub-standard jobs, deviating from the ‘norm’ of full-time work by which worker welfare and...
Ending Extreme Poverty: The Case for Relative vs. Absolute

Ending Extreme Poverty: The Case for Relative vs. Absolute

In perhaps the most memorable anti-poverty speech of our time Nelson Mandela remarked ‘’Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human...
A floating dilemma: the Mediterranean crisis

A floating dilemma: the Mediterranean crisis

Amnesty International reported July 2014 that at least 2,600 individuals had died attempting to cross the Mediterranean since 2011. In the nine month period between October 2013 and June the following year, 43,430 would be migrants were rescued by the Italian Navy as part of Operation Mare Nostrum, a rescue...
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...
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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 labour market ought be taken...
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 arguments for both (a) and...
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 further afield. In its wake,...
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...
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