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Transforming Ireland, 2011-2016: Essays from the 2011 MacGill Summer School

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Transforming Ireland, 2011-2016: Essays from the 2011 MacGill Summer School

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Essays from the 2011 MacGill Summer School on building a healthy, modern, caring democracy in the next five years


The past year has seen the economic crisis deepen and the arrival of the IMF/ECB/EU troika in Ireland. It has seen dramatic political change with the near annihilation of the Fianna Fail party which has governed the country for decades and the coming to power of the Fine Gael/Labour coalition with a large majority. Has the Irish political landscape changed forever or is the change simply the result of the frustration and anger of the electorate who in time will revert back to their old voting patterns?

Whatever happens, is the present Irish political system suited to the increasingly complex world of the twenty-first century and, in particular, does it provide the quality of governance which we now need What electoral and parliamentary reforms are required which would give the country strong national and local administration and get rid of a system based on clientelism and what is referred to here as ...amoral localism' And how do we reform our institutions and our public services such as health to give access to the best available care to all the citizens, irrespective of class or means? And at a time of diminishing resources how can we transform our education system and adapt it to the demands of a modern economy and transform it into one of the best in the world? And how do we transform our economy so that we can reduce our massive debt, get back our economic sovereignty, grow world-class indigenous industries and get the unemployed off social protection and into employment or training? These are only some of the topics dealt with in this book of essays by leading public figures in Ireland today, including senior Government ministers, and is essential reading for anyone interested in building a better Ireland.

About the Editor

Joe Mulholland has been Director of the MacGill Summer School for most of its 31 years. Born in Donegal, he was educated in Donegal, the UK and France. He is an award-winning television documentary maker and has held held several senior executive positions with Radio Telefis eireann. He has been a regular contributor to the French media including Le Monde and is currently Chairman of the board of the National College of Art & Design in Dublin. He was nominated Donegal Person of the Year in 2009.


  • John Armstrong
  • Dr Ruth Barrington
  • David Begg
  • Prof Gerry Boyle
  • Joan Burton TD
  • Richard Bruton TD
  • Dara Calleary TD
  • Dr Mary Canning
  • Shay Cody
  • Simon Coveney TD
  • Pearse Doherty TD
  • Dr Donal Donovan
  • Joe Durkan
  • Matthew Elderfield
  • Caroline Erskine
  • Prof David Farrell
  • Frank Flannery
  • Sean Fleming TD
  • Kevin Gardiner
  • Brian Hayes TD David Hodgkinson
  • Blair Horan
  • Enda Kenny TD H.E.
  • Julian King
  • Prof Brigid Laffan
  • Prof Philip Lane
  • Ronan Lyons
  • Prof Brian MacCraith
  • Ruairi McKiernan
  • Prof Peter Mair
  • Micheal Martin TD
  • Dr Eddie Molloy
  • Martin Murphy
  • Dr Mary Murphy
  • Dr Lance O'Brien
  • Sean O'Driscoll
  • Rowena O'Dwyer
  • Aileen O'Meara
  • Andrea Pappin
  • Senator Averil Power
  • Ruairi Quinn TD
  • Dr James Reilly TD
  • Eamon Ryan
  • Robert Watt
  • Noel Whelan

...My vision is of a more effective and efficient State that can once again live within its means.'

Enda Kenny TD

...Why did we have such bad governments Whose fault is it The simple answer is that it's our fault.'

Professor Peter Mair

...If we want to have substantive constitutional reform it must be allowed to address the fundamental structures of our political system.'

Micheal Martin TD ...Trade unionists must recognise that, in many cases, our unions and union structures were designed for a different era.'

Shay Cody

...In 2001, spending on social protection stood at €7.84 billion; by last year, this had grown to €20.85 billion—an increase of 266%. Inflation increased by 30% during the same period.'

Joan Burton TD

...People in Ireland are unemployed, not because there is no demand for workers, but there is demand for workers with skills a,b and c while those unemployed have skills x,y and z.'

Ronan Lyons

...On what basis should medical consultants in Ireland be the highest paid medical professionals across 30 countries' - Professor Brigid Laffan ...Serious change and reform are no longer an option but a necessity.'

Martin Murphy

...There is a case to be made for tough-minded reviews of all departments.'

Dr Eddie Molloy

...We need a can do, must do and will do attitude. We need all three.'

Sean O'Driscoll

...The tax base for VAT in Ireland is excessively narrow.'

Professor Philip Lane

...I believe that, to achieve a fair and just society, we must have a universal, single-tier health service.'

Dr James Reilly TD

Additional Information

Additional Information

Author No
Editor Joe Mulholland
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-10 978-1-908308-14-6
ISBN-13 978-1-908308-14-6
Illustrations No
Date of Publication 2011
Number of Pages 350

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