Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Idea to Boost the Economy that Won't Be Done

Mrs Merkel's Runabout: the BMW 320d SE Touring
Cars in Ireland are some of the most expensive in Europe. A BMW 320d SE Touring costs around €43,220k here.  In Germany, the list price is €37,400.  In Spain, €38,900.  In the UK, €35,200 (converted using xe.com) The additional cost is exclusively in taxes, which ultimately seem to make their way back to Germany anyway.  This year, we introduced a new vehicle registration system to accelerate the newness effect.  Back in 1987, the auto industry was delighted when the year of acquisition was stamped on every car; I am awaiting statistics but I do expect them to confirm that car sales rose at a rate higher than the expected rate.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Free Will, Human Rights and Abortion Law in Ireland

Savita Halappanavar: her death has
prompted fierce debate on abortion
legislation in Ireland
The recent tragic case of Savita Halappanavar has re-focused the spotlight in Ireland on our anachronistic abortion laws.  In that case, Ms Halappanavar died from septic shock during a miscarriage, when she was prevented from having a termination despite her having requested on on a number of occasions.  One doctor went so far as to say it was highly likely that she would have survived had she been granted her request for a termination.

Alongside the timeline of these tragic events, the Fine Gael / Labour coalition government on the back of their Programme for Government had agreed to legislate for the X-Case.  In that case, a young girl who had been the victim of rape was deemed to have a right to an abortion if there was "a real and substantial risk" to  her life.  Crucially, that risk included the risk of suicide.  While the government, and the population generally, are of a view that the "real and substantial risk" test was appropriate, the question of suicide was for many a step too far.  Some argued that no one could clinically diagnose such a risk, that it was entirely within the gift of the woman herself to declare such a risk, and therefore such a provision would be wide open to abuse.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The SIPTU Moment: Are We On The Brink of Industrial Armageddon?

Croke Park: Fine Stadium, No Deal.
The rejection of the Croke Park agreement, coming as it does the week of Margaret Thatcher's death, presents the government with a tremendous opportunity.  Combined with Labour's shattered confidence, here's what could happen now*.

Enda Kenny announces in the Dáil that he has formed an agreement with Micheal Martin (resurgent, forgiven, and hungry to get back into power) to form a Randian Correction Coalition that will over the next two years restore the fortunes of the country.  The alternative would be at least ten more years of pain. Ireland announces a unilateral re-designation of the national debt in its various layers, and enters negotiations with its debtors to formalise those arrangements.