June 2021

Decline In Support For Irish Labour Party Continues

Since its unpopular coalition Government with Fine Gael, the rapid decline in support for the Irish Labour Party has rapidly expanded in recent years. Since the resignation of Eamon Gilmore in 2014, it has had three leaders in the space of 7 years, including its current leader Alan Kelly. 

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Government Announce National Economy Recovery Plan

The Government has announced a National Economy Recovery Plan yesterday. Taoiseach Micheál Martin, alongside Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan announced the Government’s plan, which lays out a road map for the economy as it emerges from the impact of Covid-19 

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Common Agricultural Policy Perspectives

Talks on the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) failed to come to an agreement last Friday. The negotiations fell apart on the small hours of Friday morning as MEPs and European Agricultural Ministers could not agree on a number of important issues.

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The Economics of Modern Monetary Theory

MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) is a recent theory in economics within the macroeconomic thinking that aims for public policy to understand the strength of their currency and use the money to the full advantage of their economy. 

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May 2021

The Case for a Living Wage

As employers call for changes around the rates Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), coupled with staff shortages, poses the question: is it time to fast track the living wage proposal?

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Turkey’s Handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic Proves Controversial

The handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Turkey by the Turkish Government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has proved controversial. Having first come to power in 2003 as prime minister following the formation of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan’s grip on power has continued to tighten in recent years. Whilst it appeared to have controlled the pandemic in its early stages, the mishandling of the pandemic has been heavily criticised in Turkey, as 2020 continued and waves of the pandemic continued and worsened across the world.

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Italian Government Finalizes Plans for New Colosseum Floor

The Italian government has approved a plan to construct a new floor in Rome’s ancient Colosseum, enabling visitors to stand where gladiators had once fought in battle. The Colosseum was the biggest Amphitheatre in the Roman Empire, which hosted gladiator fights and animal hunts, among other events. The monument attracted 7.6 million tourists in 2019, making it one of Italy’s most prominent landmarks.

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“Until The End of The World" Review

‘Until the End of the World’, can best be described in the words of the man who directed it, “the ultimate road movie”. It is most certainly, one of those ultimate adventures from start to finish, though in typical Wim Wenders fashion, nothing is ever as simple as the nostalgia laden longing for the road.

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Emergence of Central Bank Digital Currencies

We are on the verge of a new financial frontier due to the emergence of cryptocurrencies, and this has changed the role of central banks in the monetary system. The growth of coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum has taken some of the importance of central banks and spread it among thousands of computers around the world. This has not gone unnoticed by governments, and they have been looking for a more centralised, less volatile alternative. The introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC’s) may yet shift the power back to the banks. 

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The Fallout from Vaccine Under-Delivery

On Thursday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD told the Dáil at the convention centre that there are real concerns about the supply of the single-shot dosage of the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine. The vaccine is one of four vaccines being used to inoculate people around Ireland. There is grave concern about whether Ireland will meet it’s target of 82% of the population being vaccinated by the end of June. 

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Joe Biden Unveils Budget Plans: $6 Trillion Spend

U.S. President Joe Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget total of Federal Spending over the next ten years as part of his budget for the fiscal year of 2022. The enormous spending would fund Biden’s domestic agenda, expand the safety net to more working families, and update infrastructure.

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Should The National Anthem be Played Before GAA Matches?

Last week, the GAA amended its rules on requiring players to respect the Irish flag and national anthem, making them stricter than was previously the case. According to the Irish Examiner, the rule has been reworded so that “teams shall stand to attention respectfully facing the flag for the full duration of the anthem.”

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Eurovision 2021- Is Eurovision Voting Still Political

After 2020’s cancellation, the Eurovision Song Contest returned to our screens last week from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It provided us all with a form of escapism from the pandemic we are still fighting. The Dutch government decided to use the contest as a trial event to allow people return to live events in the country after Covid, this meant that there were 3500 people permitted to attend each live show without having to wear masks; providing they tested negative before entering the stadium. As always, the voting in this year’s contest was intriguing and bizarre in some cases, but the voting system in Eurovision allows us to piece together a picture of the current gro-political environment in Europe.(as mentioned in this article-   ). In this article I will explore some questionable jury voting and how external political factors may be influencing how certain countries are voting. 

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Must Read Books for Summer 2021

The opening of non-essential retail last Monday the 17th of May provided a sense of relief for many. Queues began early in the morning and snaked along streets and around corners as eager consumers braved the elements in search of some long awaited retail therapy. While many  waited in line for big retailers such as Penneys, Brown Thomas and Zara, a dedicated few waited in line for bookshops to reopen.

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Seeing the World With New Eyes

In Paris a 58-year-old man who had been blind for almost forty years, has been able to benefit from this treatment. He suffered from a degenerative illness to his retina: retinis pigmentosa. This is a hereditary disease which here explains why he had deficient photoreceptors. Indeed, the retina in the back of his eye would deteriorate as the light detecting cells would die. 

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The struggle of Germany's Social Democrats

Since the 2017 Federal Elections Germany’s social-democrats have been in decline. During the 2017 elections the SPD managed to obtain 20,5% of the vote share, one of the worst results in their history. For a party which is 157 years old, such a result was a major blow. 

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The Return of Formula 1 to the Streets of Monaco 

The previous season of the Formula 1 calendar has had the prestigious and world-renowned Monaco race weekend omitted from the schedule due to the unforeseen effects of Covid-19. The entire weekend made it seem as if the years absence was worth it due to what happened throughout the course of the event.

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UK Mortgages Cut by Lenders as House Prices Climb

Last March proved to be HSBC’s strongest month ever for mortgage completions. The bank completed more mortgages than any month since it began to offer home loans almost half a century ago. During the month, more than 3,000 first time buyers completed mortgages. Further, according to the Bank of England, net mortgage borrowing reached a record £11.8 billion, the strongest figure since records started in April 1993. This all came off the back of an extended tax break on March 3rd.

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Sinn Féin Consolidates its Support in the Polls

In the past 15 months or so, Sinn Féin’s support has continued to grow in the polls and crucially, it has been able to sustain this support in recent polls following its best ever election in February 2020, when it took 37 seats and won the highest percentage of first preference votes at 24.5%. However, it won a smaller proportion of seats, as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael ran more candidates. In hindsight, Sinn Féin could have won a much larger proportion of seats, if it had run more candidates.

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Soundtrack for A Summer

It is by all scientific and emotional measures, in fact, Summer. Yes, we all got here, whether it was through blood sweat and tears or if you breezed through the past few months with a certain jive to your step. We are all looking for something easy to slide into, either thoughts of Summers gone by or the thoughts of the Summer lost to COVID plague our minds, or something in between.

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Lost Italian Village Curon, Reemerges

The draining of Lake Resia in Northern Italy has revealed a village by the name of Curon that had been submerged under it for the past 71 years. Prior to the draining, the only sign of Curon's 163 lost homes was a 14th century church spire that protruded above the lake as a seemingly solitary structure.

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Abortion Rights under Siege

The United States Judicial system has come under much scrutiny over the past few years due to the politicization of the court under the Obama, Trump and Biden eras. At present it looks likely that this issue will come to the fore yet again in the coming days, as the ever-looming spectre of Roe v Wade, rears its head yet again at a particularly fraught moment in US politics. 

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Simon Coveney

Fine Gael TD Simon Coveney is often portrayed as dithering and indecisive, unable to present a viable alternative to the status quo. This characterisation  stems largely from his attempt to win  the Fine Gael leadership in 2017. Widely regarded as a gentleman, loyal to the party and dedicated to Irish politics. Coveney operates  largely under the radar in Ireland, Europe and around the world in his role as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence.

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Doug Beattie Elected As Ulster Unionist Party Leader

In recent hours, Upper Bann MLA, Doug Beattie has been elected as the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). He was the only candidate for the leadership of the UUP. According to BBC, ‘Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie has been elected as the new leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)… It comes after Steve Aiken announced his decision to step down as party leader after less than two years in the job… He said he had taken the party as far as he could’.

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Housing in Ireland: Problems and Solutions

Housing is inelastic in demand; everyone needs it (both renters and owner-occupiers). There are two barometers of housing: one is the yield (relationship between sale and price), which reflects a user cost but also finance technology and confidence and is useful for policymakers to make informed decisions. Secondly, the other measurement is the elasticity of supply. 

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Israel and Palestine: The Case for a Just Peace

The ever-escalating crisis which has emerged since hostilities between Israeli armed forces and the Palestinian minority ensued, has led to widespread condemnation and international outcry. Talks have since shifted from discussing ceasefires to seeking a permanent solution to the issues which continue to face the most complicated region on the planet.

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