Feb 27, 2006

Too many people registered to vote

The latest electoral register, published this month, could be wrong by up to 860,000 voters, a Sunday newspaper has claimed.
This is in spite of efforts by the Department of the Environment to improve the voter database.

According to figures obtained by the Sunday Tribune, there are almost 3.1 million people registered to vote in this country.

That's almost 300,000 more than the number of people actually eligible to vote.

In addition, the international norm for voter registration is 80-85% of the population - which would mean the level of inaccuracy would be about 800,000 voters.

The Department of the Environment undertook measures last July in an effort to improve the register's accuracy, but opposition parties now say the situation is getting worse."
As a relative newcomer to Ireland - I am surprised how easy it is for someone to remain on the electoral register if they move house or die.
In the UK a form is sent to every house every year to confirm who is eligible to vote. If the form is not returned - then anyone previously registered at that address is deleted from the register. Here in Ireland the onus is on the voter to inform the local authority when they move - and fill in a form and get it authorised by the gardai. So I can see why many people wouln't be bothered to tell them.

Feb 24, 2006

Tory praise for Ireland

Conservatives praising anything would worry me - they are just out for the businessman and the rich as far as I can see.

"In a speech in Dublin, British Tory MP George Osborne was set to claim that the UK government and economy needs to be leaner and more efficient in the face of increasing international competition.
But the Conservative frontbencher said the chancellor has instead overseen a decline in productivity and an expansion of the bureaucratic public sector.
'Faced with the extraordinary rise of emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil, many European governments seem to have accepted that we will not be able to compete. In Britain we are in danger of following their lead,' he argued.
'Our chancellor's response to globalisation is to block much-needed reforms, and give us an ever rising tax burden, and an ever growing welfare state. But that path leads to decline and is wedded to the past.
'To stick to it today represents a failure of ambition. Instead we must prepare ourselves for the future, through education, benefit and tax reform, new infrastructure, more research, and renewed innovation.'
And he said that Ireland has set an example to follow.
'That is why companies like Google, Intel, Apple, and Oracle have all chosen to locate their European operations in Ireland not Britain,' said the shadow chancellor.
'Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in economic policy-making.
'With its vision of a highly-educated, innovative, open, dynamic, low-tax economy, and relentless focus on the long-term drivers of prosperity, Ireland's economic miracle has shown that it has the right answers to the challenges of the new global economy.
'The new global economy offers us great challenges, and also great opportunities. Ireland has shown the world that wise economic policy-making can produce outstanding results that surpass all expectations"

Feb 22, 2006

Poor Language skills in Ireland

It's a day for bad news today - I do try to show the good and the bad about living in Ireland. Reports today show that Literacy levels have dropped in Ireland , according to examiners of some of last year's Junior Certificate papers. (Taken at age 14/15)

And in a separate report, an EU survey showed that Irish people have the worst record for second languages in Europe - and aren't bothered to improve their skills.

In a stinging indictment of broader education standards, the 2005 examiners say: "The most significant addition to the points made by the examiners in that year has been the observation that standards of literacy, in particular the ability to write in coherent, continuous prose, have declined."

Poor knowledge of basic vocabulary, such as the days of the week, among Junior Certificate French candidates was also identified in a series of chief examiners reports for 2005. These were published by the State Examinations Commission.

Ireland is the only EU country with no statuatory provision for teaching modern language in primary schools.

Third World ?

I was listening to a local radio phone in this morning here in the West of Ireland. They were discussing the problems with water supplies in rural areas. It was shocking to hear that in several areas there are dozens of houses with undrinkable water - they have to buy bottled water. Also there are other areas in County Mayo where the water is turned of for most of the day. There are no water rates payable in Ireland - the water supply is mainly controlled by local Councils with financial help from the government via taxpayers money. As someone said on the radio - if this was Ethiopia people would be sending aid to help - but Ireland is supposed to be oe of the richest countries in GDP terms in the world !! What is going wrong?

Feb 19, 2006

Irish House Prices Keep On Rising

A major international think-tank is preparing to deliver a glowing report on the Irish economy, in which it will say there is no threat of a housing market crash over the next two years.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will say in its report, to be published in the next two weeks, that the economy will continue to grow rapidly.

The report is one of the most positive reports on the economy ever delivered by the Paris think-tank. It is prepared every two years and its forecasts up to the end of next year will come as a boost to the Fianna Fail-led government, as it prepares for an election next year.

The report will predict that house price growth will continue and that the housing market is not a bubble waiting to burst. Significantly, it will suggest that house price inflation could grow by up to 8 per cent in each of the next two years, without raising the risk that prices will collapse.

The economy will grow by 5 per cent this year and next, and is expected to continue to draw on immigrant workers to fuel a surge in Irish incomes.

The OECD will state its view that house prices, which have grown quickly along with other eurozone countries such as Spain, France and Italy in recent years, can be justified by the fundamental strength of the local economy.

Factors such as low interest rates and the growing population in Ireland have supported the huge rise in house prices in the past.

If the OECD forecasts are realised, the average cost of a Dublin house would climb to €430,000 by the end of next year. The OECD predicts that house price growth will slow, but it has ruled out the risk of a sudden collapse in the market.

Despite the rise in oil prices, the report will predict little risk of consumer price inflation sparking as it did during the height of the boom in 2000. Inflationary pressures are not building up, despite oil price rises and high growth rates, the report will say.

The OECD will also say that the Special Savings Investment Accounts (SSIA) pose only an outside risk for stoking inflation if consumers spend more of the €16 billion SSIA windfall than is expected after they start to mature in May

Feb 5, 2006

Looking for a property in Dublin?

This company offer to find you the ideal property - they do the searching and save you all the hassle (for a fee of course) They even offer to unpack all your belongings after yo move.