February 2021

The EU Covid Vaccine Disaster: A Brief Outline

The EU has landed in hot water following its row with Anglo-Swedish Covid vaccine-producer AstraZeneca and the European Commission’s decision to frustrate efforts to transport shipments from EU countries to the UK. Why did the EU feel the need to take such drastic steps and what will the distribution of vaccines look like in Europe in the coming months?

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Captain Sir Thomas Moore

The Second World War veteran, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who on his 100th birthday, raised just under £33 million for the NHS during the first lockdown in April, has passed away from COVID-19 related complications in hospital on the 2nd February 2021. 

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Stan Culture: Idolising Politicians

Stan culture is something that is easily recognisable on the internet, obsessive fans that coordinate and communicate express their love for their beloved idol.Many  have collective names for example  BTS have their “ARMY” and Beyonce has the  “ BeyHive''. These groups have been around for years but in recent years stan culture has moved towards politicians. “Stans'' hold great power on the internet and collectively promote various causes, celebrities and now politicians, but what influence does this have on our political climate?

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r/wallstreetbets: Populism in Finance

The old expression, “The house always wins”, says that all gambling is set up so that the house will always make a profit through design. Either that or the house manipulates your outcome because, due to the volatility of your cards drawn, they have restricted your hand to hit only. To the ordinary person, the game would seem rigged.

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January 2021

Apple’s $100 Billion Dollar Quarter

The release of the iPhone 12 generated a 12% increase in quarterly sales leading to revenue of over $100 billion. These figures were considerably boosted by the company’s performance in China. Sales in China rose by 57% this past quarter, generating $21.3 billion. 5G towers are more widespread in China than they are in Europe. CEO Tim Cook believes this is a major reason for Apple’s excellent performance in China this quarter.

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GameStop's Stockmarket Surge

For many businesses, the Coronavirus pandemic has been devastating, and has threatened companies with closure. One such company was GameStop. The gaming store had planned to close over 450 stores this year, yet this week, the company’s stock (GME) has skyrocketed.

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The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: A Step Forward or Pure Symbolism?

On the 22nd of January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force with 86 signatories, having been adopted in 2017 with 52 party states including Ireland. Activists have hailed the treaty as a significant step forward in denuclearisation while others, noting that none of the nuclear-armed states have joined it, have dismissed the treaty as little more than “symbolic”. This article will briefly explore past diplomatic efforts to reduce the risk of global nuclear annihilation before taking a closer look at this latest treaty and what it means for denuclearisation efforts going forward.

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Samantha Power: Joe Biden’s Nomination for USAID

Samantha Power has been nominated by President Joe Biden to lead the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This is the lead organization overseeing US humanitarian aid around the world. This is a role suited perfectly to human rights advocate Power who previously held the role of US Ambassador to the United Nations. Samantha Power’s Irish connections are true and strong. It is likely this connection will play an important role in the relationship between Power and Biden in the new administration.

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The US Impeachment Process: is it an adequate way of removing an individual from office?

The way individuals who hold high office are removed from such office due to their mal-behaviour or wrongdoing, is done so by being “impeached”. In the context of the United States, this means that Congress is capable of removing individuals in official office within the US government such as, a Senator, Congressman, Secretary in the Cabinet, Ambassador et al. This piece will maintain its focus on the impeachment of a President. 

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Medical Cannabis: Approved for HSE Service Plan

This year, medical cannabis has been added to the HSE service plan; in short, this will allow for the patent of medications containing cannabis to be prescribed to patients. To date, four products have been approved, and more are being reviewed. However, the criminal association of cannabis in Ireland has troubled the movement, notwithstanding the fact that such medical treatments that have been supported by various studies, including one by the Journal of Psychopharmacology (2020), which details the high demand by patients and the reluctance of  health services to fulfil this demand.

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The implications of Trump establishing a splinter party

As the 45th President of the United States, Trump’s tumultuous term has finally come to an end, with Biden being inaugurated earlier this week. However, one cannot assume that Trump and his allies will disappear from the American political spectrum- Trump himself telling his most loyal supporters that he will be back. With the Republican Party split between a sizeable pro-Trump faction and a more centrist faction, the party faces an uphill internal battle to unite the party. This effort may be in vain, conversely as The Wall Street Journal reported on the 19th of January, Trump is now considering finding a new political party.

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The Fishy End to Brexit

We often hear of the 1% or the 0.1%, and even the 0.01% in many sections of our society, most notably income inequality and its distribution often through a Bernie Sanders bellowing voice. Well now we may add a new consequential 0.01% to that list of injustices. By this, I mean the share of the fishing industry in terms of GDP to the British economy which accounted for just 0.02% last year.

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Collapse of the Dutch Government: The Child Welfare Scandal and the Upcoming Election

On Friday the 15th of January, long-serving Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte announced that he and his cabinet would resign over the growing controversy over thousands of parents being falsely accused of fraudulently claiming child benefits. From 2013 to 2019, these parents were forced to pay back money they had received as part of their childcare benefits allowance, often in its entirety and amounting to thousands of Euro.

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America United: What to expect from the Biden-Harris Inauguration

The 20th of January 2021 marks the day that Joseph R.Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America.The inaugerationsignifies the achievement of a dream for Biden that has spanned almost five decades. It also comes at a time when America has never been so divided. Security around the capitol has increased since the insurrection on January 6th.Outgoing president Donald Trump will not attend the event. The Biden Inaugural Committee has announced that the theme for the inauguration is  “America United”. So what can you expect from inauguration day?

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End Taxation without Representation: D.C, Puerto Rico and the 51st State

The United States of America has stood as the beacon of democracy and freedom in the world for a long time now, yet for 4.4 million Americans this is but a façade in their lives. These people are all resident to the various territories, possessions and districts that make up the United States. It stretches from Guam in the far eastern Pacific, to Samoa in the south to Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.

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Operation Desert Storm: 30 Years On

Sunday the 17th of January 2021 marks the 30th anniversary for the commencement of the First Gulf War or officially, Operation Desert Storm. This was a multi-national military operation authorised by the United Nations and spearheaded by the United States. Umpteen numbers of different nations contributed to the task of ousting President Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The invasion covered a widespread coordination between different nations air forces followed by a ground invasion. 

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Cryptocurrency: Not just for Basement Anarchists

Cryptocurrency is one of the new additions to financial assets in the past decade. It has grown in popularity, function, and available currencies. It is a digital currency used for transactions and in some circles is a speculative asset. But why is a once dismissed decentralised currency that was the dream of anarchists now drawing the attention on investment banks?

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The WhatsApp Privacy Policy

WhatsApp updated it’s privacy policy on January 4th 2021, asking users to accept the policy before February 8th. The update included information as to how businesses store their WhatsApp chats and how users interact with business accounts.

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Catholic Ireland is a Damaged Ireland

This week saw the Irish government published a long-awaited Commission of Report into the Mother and Baby Homes. This report reminded so many of us of the Catholic Church’s atrocities against women and children in Ireland. However, some of the Commission’s conclusions in the report have been met with disappointment from survivor groups and TDs alike. With the church’s abuse and cruelty back in the media spotlight, one must question if this apparent holy institution has benefitted this small island nation in any way. 

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The ‘Comprehensive Agreement on Investment’: What Does This EU-China Deal Mean For Global Trade And Politics?

After years of negotiation, the European Union and China have recently concluded what they’ve dubbed the  “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment”. Diplomats have hailed this as a milestone and a boon to the European and Chinese economies at a time where the world is in investors? What implications does this have for international relations? This article will analyse the main components of the agreement and its implications on the world stage.

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Prioritisation Politics: Covid-19 Vaccine

With a third wave of Covid-19 sweeping across the world, devastating families and pressuring health services, a vaccine provides hope for many. The approval of a second vaccine by Moderna, with Ireland in line for 900,000 doses, offers more flexibility for the inoculation process.  A vaccine may not enable us to return to our lives pre-covid but  will offer a glimmer of hope for life beyond Covid-19.

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The Great Reset - Building a Sustainable Economy

The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech which is offering 90% protection has given us hope that the global pandemic can finally come to an end. With scientists and politicians suggesting that life could return back to normal by summer, now more than ever is a time to consider what type of life we will be returning to, specifically how we shape the economy.

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The Economics of OnlyFans and Pornography

A revolution in Sex Work is underway and is being primarily pioneered by one particular application - OnlyFans. Like most corporations, this platform follows the laws of supply & demand. In every aspect, it can be considered a marketplace with actors, buyers, sellers, and market trends. 

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December 2020

The Biden Cabinet

The 46th president elect of the United States of America Joe Biden has selected some of his cabinet so far and let’s give a run down on who they are.

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November 2020

Adversaries from within, can the European Union stem the growing ideological divide of its member states for the future of the bloc

Peace and prosperity on a continent that has torn itself apart throughout history may have once  seemed unimaginable, is now a reality, owed to those who instead of seeking division, sought alliance.  Ever since the origin of the European Union, its purpose has been relatively straightforward, to  promote integration amongst member states and avoid conflict after Europe lay devastated after World  War II. Since then, the alliance weathered storms such as the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union and  the Great Recession, amongst many others. But the Union now faces a threat, partially of its own  making, a difference of ideologies amongst member states, a poison from within and the legislative  inability to progress past any issue that does not have unanimous support. 

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The Special Criminal Court; A Contentious Arm of the Judiciary

The Special Criminal Court (SCC) is a three-judge court, with no jury, which sits in the Criminal Courts of Justice Complex in Dublin. The origins of this court date back to the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922. The 1922 Constitution allowed for military tribunals; the SCC is the modern version of this but it is important to note that there has not been a member of the Defence Forces sitting on a court such as the SCC since the conclusion of the Second World War. It’s purpose is to deal with crime where the "ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice". It deals primarily with terrorist/gangland offences.

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Nazi Megastructures; Preserve Them or, Destroy Them?

Nuremberg is a city in the German province of Bavaria, situated in the western side of the country, cerca 170km north of Munich. It is an infamous city for all the wrong reasons, for it was there that Adolf Hitler held his Nuremberg Rallies. These were major components of Hitler’s propaganda machine, designed and perfected by his Minister for Propaganda and Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels. The sole intention for these Rallies was to win over and brainwash the minds of the people so that Hitler would have complete support in what actions he took. In his autobiography, “Mein Kampf” he outlined that he intends to “use democracy to destroy democracy”. At the time, to attend one of these Rallies was the highlight of the calendar year for citizens and soldiers alike, for some the highlight of a lifetime.

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How Microsoft Has Led the Way in Making the Gaming Industry More Accessible

I wrote an article a couple of weeks back when the story broke that ZeniMax Media (Read Here) and all its associated companies namely Bethesda Game Studios had been bought up by Microsoft and close to the end of that article. I mentioned Microsoft’s continued commitment to making the gaming market and medium as a whole more accessible to everyone but in particular those from low economic backgrounds and those with physical disabilities. The push to making gaming more accessible seems to many like the best way of expanding an already growing medium. Just last year gaming on mobile devices, consoles and personal computers was ranked as the most lucrative entertainment industry in the world raking in $145.7 billion last year alone compared to the box office at second place which “only” brought in $42.5 billion. At the time, CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella was quoted saying “gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends.” With the soon approaching release of both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 along with the lower social interactions which are most likely set to continue in most parts of the world for at least the continuation of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic the gaming market will surely only begin to attract more customers.

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The geopolitical implications of President elect Biden for Ireland, Brexit and the European Union

As the dust settles on a tumultuous election, we can begin to anticipate what a Biden presidency may look like and how it may be of affect to the Emerald isle in the face of potential Brexit fallout. While many Presidents have claimed Irish heritage, in the hope of attracting votes from the many Irish diaspora, President elect Biden has shown frequent enthusiasm embracing his ancestry throughout his career.

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Joe Biden - President Elect

Joe Robinette Biden is the President-Elect of the United States and will be the 46th President. Many in Ireland are celebrating as Joe has roots in both County Mayo and Louth with his great grandfather hailing from Ballina Mayo. Biden's other great-great-grandfather was from the Cooley Peninsula, Co Louth. Joe has referenced his Irish heritage numerous times, and he is sure to do so more times. 

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Coalitions, do they work? A Brief Analysis on the History of Coalitions in Ireland

We live in a system of government known as “representative democracy.” This means we, as a population are split into various municipal regions and vote for individuals to represent us in our Legislature. This is the law and policy making body of our tripartite system of government which stems initially from Aristotle in his work Politics and further expanded upon by Montesquieu in Spirit of Laws.  In turn, the Legislature vote for the Executive which is the governing body of our land.

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October 2020