Ireland Callingby John Spain
- Abortion reform Irish style - Women still have no rights over their own bodies, continue to travel to the UK for procedure
- We’re total abortion hypocrites - proposals for new legislation were laughable
- Catch 22 for Irish abortion law - navigating Ireland’s rigid, Catholic influence legal framework and Savita Halappanavar’s case
- The late Baroness Margaret Thatcher had her good points
- Letters from the tax man - the mounting cost of Ireland's property tax and running the country
Tuesday of this week was the Day of Reckoning for the Irish banks as the full truth of just how much it is going to cost us to rescue them was revealed for the first time.
Of course we have known for some time that the banks are in deep trouble. But exactly how much it is going to cost us taxpayers to save them was not very clear.
The Pope's letter to Catholics in Ireland, a short version of which was read out at all Masses in the country last Saturday night and Sunday morning, is too little, too late. It has been dismissed with something approaching contempt not just by the victims of clerical abuse, but by people in general here.
All the newspapers and TV did vox pops -- street interviews -- in the wake of the letter, and reporters had a real problem finding anyone to say it was an adequate response to the abuse and cover-up scandal here.
People are right to be dismissive. I didn't go to church at the weekend myself. I don't go that often anyway, but I might have gone because I was curious.
It's almost beyond belief. Over the weekend it was revealed that the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, was deeply implicated in a cover-up of serious sex abuse by a priest.
And not just any priest, but Father Brendan Smyth, the most outrageous child abusing priest this country has ever seen. The Irish Voice featured a front page story a few weeks back about the horrors he inflicted while he was in the U.S.
Brady, who has been telling his fellow bishops here recently that they should resign if they had been part of the cover-up culture in the Catholic Church over the years, has now been revealed as the master of the cover-up himself.
We're a country split down the middle. Our 300,000-plus state workers have now decided to escalate their fight against the pay cuts that have been imposed on them.
Over the last few weeks they have been taking limited action which delayed or curtailed services. But on Monday of this week they agreed to increase pressure on the government by complete work stoppages to take effect on a rolling basis over the next few weeks.
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) scheme to rescue the Irish banking system from collapse was approved by the European Commission last week, much to the relief of the government. All the signs now are that Nama will start buying in billions in bad property loans from the banks within the next few weeks.
Whether that's good or bad depends on how you look at it. It's certainly the most important thing to happen in the Irish economy in years, possibly ever.
But it's also extremely boring, which is why most people here glaze over whenever Nama is mentioned.