Inaugural Maynooth University Visiting Scholar Lecture: “Learning from Latin America: Lessons from the periphery in a time of austerity”

Eduardo SilvaProf Eduardo Silva will deliver the inaugural Maynooth University Visiting Scholar Lecture: “Learning from Latin America: Lessons from the periphery in a time of austerity” on Tuesday, 5th May 2015, with responses from Dr Mary Murphy, Maynooth University Department of Sociology and Dr David Begg, former General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

The evening begins with a reception in Pugin Hall at 6.00pm, with the lecture commencing at 6.30pm in Renehan Hall. Register for the Silva event here: Continue reading

The Coming Storm: what will Election 2016 bring us?


At most a year out from the general election, we are beginning to see some shape to what could be the most formative election in recent memory. The 2011 election was called an ‘earthquake election’ by some political scientists because on many metrics we saw remarkable changes, it was one of the most volatile elections in post-war Europe. But it was as remarkable that such a volatile election produced such a familiar government. The Irish did what they were used to doing, kicking out a long-lasting Fianna Fáil government replacing it with a Fine Gael-Labour coalition. Continue reading

Report of the Seanad Working Group on Reform

post by Elaine Byrne 13 April 201

The report of the Seanad Working Group on Reform was published today.

It can be accessed here.

The proposals include votes for the 800,000 Irish passport holders abroad, residents in Northern Ireland and popular election.

A draft Bill will be published shortly which seeks to implement the proposals of the WG. As per the remit of the Working Group, the proposals are within the confines of the constitution and do not need a referendum.


Voice or Vote? The Central Access Scheme controversy


Post by Vanessa Liston

The controversy over the Central Access Scheme (CAS) in Kilkenny city has raised some important issues about local democracy in Ireland. One of these concerns the link between elected representatives and citizens. On the one hand those who, for different reasons oppose the scheme, claim that democracy is dead. Councilors do not represent the voices of all the people and so the system has failed. On the other hand, supporters of the scheme state that a vote on the matter in Council has been carried on numerous occasions and passed with a significant majority. Therefore the voice of the people has been heard. Continue reading

Where are the pots and pans? Collective responses in Ireland to neoliberalization in a time of crisis: Learning from Latin America.


Eduardo Silva

Prof. Eduardo Silva, Tulane University, this year’s Maynooth University Distinguished Visiting Scholar.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Barry Cannon and Dr. Mary P. Murphy, National University of Ireland Maynooth. This blog presents the arguments from a paper published in Irish Political Studies by the authors. Free access to the paper is available for the month of March at

One of the questions which has frequently been asked about the Irish reaction to austerity, at least until the emergence of the Right2Water Movement, was why the Irish did not protest as much as in other affected countries. To attempt to answer this question we thought it would be useful to use a framework developed by Prof. Eduardo Silva of Tulane University in his 2009 book Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America to examine the Irish case. Silva offers a multi-dimensional framework, identifying associational power (intra-group cooperation), collective power (cross-group cooperation) and ideological power (framing and brokerage mechanisms) as key concepts to help explain successful popular mobilization against neoliberalism in the region. Applying this framework to the Irish reality, our paper provided two key findings to help answer the question posed. Continue reading

Political Legitimacy in Ireland During Economic Crisis: Insights from the European Social Survey


Posted on behalf of Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan, School of Applied Social Studies University College Cork, Dr Amy Healy, NUI Maynooth, and Prof Michael Breen, Faculty of Arts, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.

This blog presents the arguments from a paper published in Irish Political Studies by the authors. Free access to the paper is available for the month of March at

The impact of the 2008 recession on political legitimacy in Ireland is still being felt. The collapse of the banking, construction and property sectors, and the 2010 EU/International Monetary Fund loan and attached austerity conditions resulted in a dramatic election in 2011. Support for Fianna Fáil, the party that had dominated political power in Ireland for decades, was decimated and Fine Gael and Labour subsequently formed a coalition government. The next general election will be held in 2016 and in the intervening years there has been widespread protest over austerity, cutbacks, and new taxes and charges. Continue reading