Systems differ and patients die…

person sitting while using laptop computer and green stethoscope near

The failure of healthcare information support systems to provide a fully integrated and portable digitised personal medical history to aid healthcare professionals in making timely and efficient diagnostic, treatment and care decisions has become an open sore in Irish society, leading to much public debate. I felt moved to share my experience of such systems in the Irish Times: A chara, – Nearly 20 years ago I was asked to review the implementation of a digital patient record system at …

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Rugby Six Nations Review: Round 1 

Although none of the results came as a shock, the glorious unpredictability of the 6 Nations was underlined by three away victories in the opening round. Italy came close to shocking France in Rome, which would have been only the fourth time they have beaten France in 47 matches since the sides first met in a fully recognised international in 1937. Scotland beat England for the third time in a row for the first time in over 50 years and …

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Ireland and the 6 Nations Rugby Championship…

Ireland have a patchy record in the 6 Nations rugby championship with only four wins since Italy joined in 2000. This compares to seven for England, and six for France and Wales, and none for Scotland or Italy. The figures for Grand Slams are even worse, with four for France and Wales and two for England and Ireland. So it ill-becomes us to become too sniffy about a tournament which funds virtually the entire game in Ireland. Some younger fans, …

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A Cordon Sanitaire between the EU and UK…

aerial photography of forest

Recent discussions about the Protocol in Northern Ireland have focused on the problems it poses for the DUP. But from an EU perspective it seeks to solve a far larger problem for the EU as a whole. Much of the analysis of Brexit has been in terms of it being an English nationalist project. What has been missed is the extent to which it is also a political libertarian project. Much of the driving force behind Brexiteer ideology has been …

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Rugby – A Clean Sweep by the Irish Provinces…

This has been the first clean sweep by the Irish provinces with four bonus point wins since the South African teams entered the URC competition. It is an outstanding achievement and a great way to finish off this block of games ahead of the 6 Nations championship. Nothing is guaranteed, but Irish rugby has never been in a better place. Ulster 35 Stormers 5 Benetton 30 Munster 40 Leinster 38 Cardiff 12 Connacht 43 Lions 24 Ulster returned to winning …

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The seven deadly sins of the DUP…

low-light photo of pink-haired woman

When I saw the headline to Brian Walker’s piece, Rather than keep slagging off the DUP over the Protocol, let’s recognise their better points, I expected to see a forensic analysis of the DUP’s 7 tests for determining whether the Protocol had been adequately reformed to meet their requirements for re-entering the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland. I was looking forward to seeing what better elements might be extracted from them that could be congruent with the EU and its …

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Ireland, I believe, is ready to move on. Wither unionism if England loses interest?

brown and white concrete building during daytime

Brexit and the resulting impasse around the protocol have tended to put the focus on the DUP and the failure of the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement (BGFA) institutions to operate properly. For unionists the issue is a perceived diminution in the constitutional link with Britain. For nationalists it is another sign of the failure of Northern Ireland to function properly and the need to remedy that by preparing for a united Ireland. However, as our esteemed editor, Mick Fealty, …

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The Protocol and the Founding Principles of the EU…

glass walled building during daytime

Treaties can be as dry as dust and as boring as old rope, which is why lawyers have to be paid to read them. But sometimes it is worthwhile to scan their more important provisions. This is how the 1957 Founding Treaty of Rome (official text not available in English), later consolidated and incorporated into The Treaty on the Functioning of The European Union describes its purpose on its very first page: PREAMBLE HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF THE BELGIANS, …

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EU Membership has been the making of Ireland…

yellow and black star illustration

New Year’s Day marked the 50th. Anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the EU (then EEC), the single most transformative event in our 100 years of independence. Indeed, our post-independence history could be neatly divided into two periods, pre- and post-EU, although many would trace the origins of Ireland as a modern advanced economy to the Lemass reforms associated with Dr TK Whitaker’s seminal 1958 study, “Economic Development.” There aren’t any soldiers marching or trumpets blaring to mark the event, but …

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An inter-governmental executive for Northern Ireland?

body of water near buildings under cloudy sky during daytime

Alex Kane and Newton Emerson are two of the foremost unionist commentators on Northern Ireland and are widely read throughout Ireland through their regular columns in the Irish Times and other newspapers. So it matters when Alex Kane concludes, in yesterday’s column, that many in the unionist community have come to the conclusion that the Strand 1 Good Friday Agreement institutions – the Assembly and Executive – are not worth saving. I have responded with a letter published in the …

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Comparing the UK and Irish economies…

shallow focus photography of red apples

The chart below probably does more to sum up the economic histories of Ireland and the UK in recent decades than any other. Taken from countryeconomy.com it compares Irish and UK GDP per capita growth since 1970. Of course, here is an argument that Irish GDP is somewhat inflated by the activities of global corporations located here, but what I want to focus on is the trend. Irish and UK GDP per capita tracked each other quite closely until about …

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Rugby Champions Cup first round round-up…

I’ve been thinking about the differences between the province’s experiences in Europe last weekend. Leinster destroyed Racing92 10-42 away. Ulster had a chastening experience in losing to Sale 39-0. Munster secured an honourable losing bonus point against outstanding French side and perennial European Cup challengers, Toulouse. Connacht had a creditable win 22-8 against Newcastle despite resting a few front liners. I’ve long been an admirer of the Cullen/Lancaster coaching duo and the assistant coaches they have brought in over the …

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Paschal Donohoe re-elected Eurogroup President…

Paschal Donohoe has been the Irish Minister for Finance since June 2017 and since then has presided over one of the most successful economies in the world. He was elected President of the Eurogroup, comprised of Eurozone Finance Ministers, in July 2020 and his term was due to expire in January 2023. Under the coalition government agreement between the Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green parties negotiated in June 2020, the two most senior jobs in Government, Taoiseach and …

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A great result for Irish Rugby: Ireland 19 South Africa 16…

football stadium

This was another outstanding performance by the Irish team beating the World Champions and justifying their World No. 1 ranking. It was a tough grinding encounter with a lot of injuries and with the Springboks seeking to make their superior size and bulk up front tell. But Ireland never flinched from the collisions usually double jobbing with one tackler going low and another seeking to stop the momentum or target the ball. South Africa’s kicking game wasn’t up to their …

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A Tale of two Budgets…

Piggy bank

The contrast between how the recent budgets in the UK and Ireland have been received by the markets and the general public couldn’t be greater and tells us much about where the respective economies are currently at. (Let us ignore the distinction that the UK budget was officially dubbed a “Fiscal Event” rather than a formal budget. That euphemism has uncomfortable resonance with the Russian “Special Operation” rather than the invasion of Ukraine). In Britain £45 Billion in unfunded tax …

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Why I think The IRA War was a failure…

Various posts by Mick Fealty and many others, most recently by Brian Walker in “Leave futile arguments about equivalence aside. We all need to come clean about why the Troubles lasted so unforgivably long” have asked us to re-examine culpability for the Troubles and the need to let the healing process proceed through a truth recovery process. Despite their best efforts, the ensuing conversations have always descended into a welter of “whataboutery” and the sins of the other side. The …

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Five ways to scrap the protocol…

The UK has refused to engage with extensive proposals from the EU to introduce an “Express Lane” for goods intended only for consumption in N. Ireland, and to radically reduce the amount of paperwork associated with phytosanitary controls. The Joint EU UK committee to oversee the workings of the protocol hasn’t even met since last February. Instead, the UK has gone for a “maximalist” position, passing legislation in the Commons to give Ministers the power to disapply large parts of an international Treaty, …

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Making the UUP relevant again…

please wait here until you are useful thank you signage on multicolored wall

On the 13th.  of October 2021, the European Commission issued proposals to resolve the impasse around the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol following discussions with political leaders, businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland. The proposals seek to differentiate between goods intended to stay in Northern Ireland and those going on to the Republic of Ireland or the EU by providing an “express lane” with an 80% reduction in official checks and vastly simplified procedures for phytosanitary certification. …

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A response to Andy Pollak talk on “The South is not ready for unification”…

At one point, after his talk, Andy was asked: “So has Partition been a success?” to which he replied with a horrified “No, it has been a disaster”. But that does not mean partition has not had major effects. Blogging at the European Tribune and on Slugger O’Toole has taught me that we might as well be on two different planets. There is almost no appreciation of N. Ireland politics in Ireland, never mind Europe, and vice versa, much N. …

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Irish Rugby has a good season but loses out by fine margins…

white, blue, and red football on green grass

Before anybody gets carried away with doom and gloom about Irish Rugby’s lack of Trophies this year, it might be worth recalling the fine margins by which we lost out. Ireland won the Triple Crown and only lost out on a Grand Slam by 30-24 away. Victories in Paris have always been as rare as hens’ teeth. In the European Cup Ulster lost 50-49 to Toulouse on aggregate while in the Quarter Finals, Munster drew with them 24 -24 before …

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