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
Here's hoping you all had a great St. Patrick's Day. In Dublin it was less ecstatic than usual, possibly because of the unseasonably cold weather that has afflicted us for the past two weeks.
I see from the TV pictures that it was the same over there, with what looked like sleet showers falling on the New York parade at some stages. That did not seem to dampen enthusiasm in the Big Apple.
In the last few weeks we have been listening to lots of positive noises being made about Ireland. For the first six months of this year Ireland holds the EU presidency, so there are important people visiting here all the time for important EU meetings and they tend to say nice things about us when they're here.
Recently it was European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who hailed our economic recovery, saying the country is "turning the corner" and well on the road to recovery.
Viewing the sequester controversy in the U.S. from this side of the Atlantic last week was a reminder of how much we have in common with you guys over there.
The financial crisis in Europe, in the wake of the global downturn, has been caused largely by governments (like in Ireland) that can't balance their spending with their revenue and that run massive, unsustainable budget deficits. And it's the same in the U.S.
Last week Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny delivered an emotional apology in the Dail (Parliament) to the women who had spent time in the notorious Magdalene laundries in Ireland, mainly in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
The name of the Magdalene laundries -- called after Mary Magdalene, the fallen woman or prostitute who was forgiven by Jesus -- gives you a good idea of what Irish society of the time thought of the women who were locked up in these grim institutions.