Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Noonan must show some nerve as we take EU helm

Michael Noonan will be our key figure in Europe during the Irish EU presidency beginning in January and his views about this and about Europe take on a special significance. The looming inevitability of this awesome eventuality in the present circumstances has worried many within the public service, not least those who consider we are not up to the job.

We are failing to grapple properly with a multitude of domestic problems, and to have the burden of a central role in the supposed matter of running Europe casts a huge shadow over our competence. No matter; the task is upon us now and we need desperately, I think, to accommodate ourselves within the reality that faces us, with our own unstable Budget side by side with the breakdown of the EU budget talks last week. Read More...

Failure in abortion legislation shows futility of referenda

It is two years, almost to the day, since the full blast of financial and sovereignty crisis hit Ireland with Patrick Honohan's RTE broadcast announcing the bailout on November 18, 2010.

We were in deep political crisis. Fianna Fail had realised they could not fight an election with Cowen as leader. He was discredited, the party divided. Read More...

We were betrayed, and children will go on suffering despite referendum result

The Government did not act "in good faith" in its information campaign in the Children Referendum, as Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children, has claimed in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment. She also claimed, in an article in this newspaper replying to one written by me, that: "Mr Arnold makes a range of statements which act to distort the purpose of this referendum and the legal impact it will have on protecting children and supporting families."

In particular, she referred to my having made false statements -- "continuing to repeat false and misleading statements over and over again does not make them true". Read More...

For children's sake, vote No and reject this hollow care proposal

Were I a member of this or any previous government of this country I would be ashamed to use the description of 'the State as guardian of the common good' in respect of care of children. It is a sanctimonious and empty term in regard to the rest of the proposed Article, particularly where it is used specifically, "to provide the place of the parents in keeping children safe". But it is the hollowness of the concept of guardianship that makes me cringe.

Any narrative of the State's guardianship is full of woeful and terrible mistakes in respect of State care of children. Read More...