May 05 2012

Commercialisation of Irish Universities

Category: Fourth Level,Third LevelTeknovis @ 10:46 am

I read an interesting article during the week by a UCD professor lamenting the drive by Irish Universities towards greater industrial linkage. The article is The bleak future of the Irish university.

I disagree with most of his opinions, and I think it is very important that Irish universities become more relevant to Irish industry!

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Apr 30 2012

Annual All-Ireland Schools’ Programming Competition

Category: Second Level,Software DevelopmentTeknovis @ 9:22 am

The deadline for entry into the Annual All-Ireland Schools’ Programming Competition is the end of this week! It is a great competition, and the standard at the final in DCU is always extremely high!

For more details see How to Enter.

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Apr 13 2012

Minimum Wage – Greece Versus Ireland

Category: EconomyTeknovis @ 5:06 pm

Ireland and Greece are both currently being bailed-out. This effectively means that both countries are funding their current expenditure using borrowed money. This became necessary because their economies both got into serious difficulties. So it is very interesting to see how both countries are adjusting to this financial dependence.

I read today that the minimum wage in Greece has been reduced to 580€ gross per month, according to Greek unemployment at record high with youth jobless rate now over 50%. This reduction is designed to boost employment (by making it cheaper to employ people) and boost the economy (by making exports cheaper).

I was curious how this compared to Ireland, so I did some investigating. According to my calculations, the minimum wage in Ireland is 1,500€ gross per month. (This is based on a minimum wage of 8.65€ gross per hour as described in Minimum rates of pay.) Even more interesting is the fact that the minimum wage in Ireland was increased by 173€ gross per month in 2011.

The Greeks (and probably many others in the EU) must look at Ireland and wonder how the Irish can afford such high minimum wages at a time when the country is bankrupt!

I certainly do not understand this!

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Mar 21 2012

Sean Sherlock Makes a Fool of Himself

Category: eGovernment,InternetTeknovis @ 4:58 pm

Sean Sherlock is the Irish Minister (albeit a pseudo minister) who is responsible for research and innovation. Unfortunately, he is also a bit of an idiot :( He is one of many Irish politicians that has very little understanding of the Internet, yet he still embraces creating legislation relating to the Internet.

He recently gained a lot of publicity for championing a piece of legislation referred to as “Irish SOPA”. Naturally, he decided to pursue this shortly after it was abandoned in the US! At the same time Sean and his government colleagues want Ireland to become a major international centre for IT excellence. Yes, it is a sad reflection of this country that our politicians are so inept :|

This week I came across a site detailing how Sean has violated copyright several times on his own web site! The details are in Sean Sherlock TD violates copyright on his own site…, and it is very interesting reading!

Sean, you are truly an embarrassment to those of us working in research and innovation!

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Mar 16 2012

Public Sector Pensions in Ireland

Category: EconomyTeknovis @ 7:37 pm

If anybody is wondering why Ireland needs to borrow so much money, then there is a good clue in Keep your pension pot away from the sharks:

THESE ARE good times for more than 7,000 public servants who have just retired on pensions that many in the private sector would die for. Many of the 7,700 public sector (ex) workers have now cleared their mortgages, reared their children and are still relatively young. And as if all that wasn’t good enough, they have also just received six-figure lump sums as part of their pension deals.

Honestly, I think it would be better for Ireland if we could no longer borrow money until we stop spending it so foolishly!

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Mar 04 2012

Politicians and the Internet

Category: eGovernment,InternetTeknovis @ 5:12 am

I recently read an article about Irish politicians wanting to censor the Internet – Senators want online abuse images blocked.

They are calling for Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to introduce systems to block access to websites containing child abuse material.

It always amuses me to hear politicians pontificating on subject matter that they do not understand :)

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Feb 17 2012

Irish Budget 2013 Hints

Category: EconomyTeknovis @ 6:02 pm

During the week I read Latest memorandum reveals more austerity ahead in Budget 2013. I agree with the thrust of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), because we all know (except the Government) that you cannot keep spending money that you do not have:

The latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Troika and the government has confirmed that “at least €3.5 billion” will be taken out of the economy in the next budget through tax increases and reductions in spending on social welfare and capital projects.

However, I was disgusted when I read the following:

Revenue raising measures amounting to €1.25 billion will include a broadening of the personal income tax base which could mean either raising taxes or lowering the bands on the amount at which people are taxed.

There will be further restructuring of motor taxation, increases in excise duty and other indirect tax measures. A reduction in general tax expenditures is also proposed – meaning a potential cut in tax credits.

Honestly, I do not understand why the Government is determined to take more and more money from the fewer and fewer people who are working in order to fund a bloated public service and social welfare system!

The document also outlines where €2.25 billion in savings will be made including reducing expenditure on social welfare, cutting the total bill for pay and pensions in the public sector and reductions in capital expenditure – all areas where the government has previously implemented cuts.

I would love to believe that this will happen, and I would be happier accepting increased taxes if I saw that our public service rates (not numbers) and social welfare payments were decreasing towards European averages.

Indeed, Colm McCarthy recently highlighted these two groups of people as “silent winners” of the economic downturn in Ireland’s squeezed middle:

The silent winners are, however, quite numerous. Social welfare rates of payment have been cut and scheme rules tightened, but not across the board. State and public service pensioners have been spared the cutbacks. Even high-income pensioners have had free medical cards restored. But pensioners reliant on funded occupational schemes are not so lucky: most schemes are underfunded and benefits are under threat – a situation exacerbated by a government levy on funded schemes.

The winners are those far-sighted enough to choose careers with employers who do not pre-fund for retirement, which means the public service.

All this is happening at an interesting time for me, because I may have the opportunity to continue my current work in another country with far more favourable tax rates. It really is starting to look attractive!

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Feb 02 2012

Income per Irish County

Category: EconomyTeknovis @ 8:11 pm

I read a very interesting breakdown of the income per Irish county in Capital rule: People from Donegal have lowest income in Ireland.

I am not surprised that the top three are:

  1. Dublin (30,891€)
  2. Kildare (27,498€)
  3. Meath (26,312€)

What I find more surprising is that these are the only three counties where the county average is greater than the national average (26,192€). I think it is another sign of the growing divergence between the economic powerhouse that the greater Dublin area is compared to the rest of the country.

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Jan 04 2012

Irish Government Public Expenditure

Category: Economy,eGovernmentTeknovis @ 8:57 pm

If you are one of the many hard working private sector employees in Ireland that earns the average industrial wage, and you are facing the prospect of paying substantially higher taxes in 2012, then you may be wondering what is the Irish Government doing with your money.

You might find the answer, or at least part of it, in the following article: Most public servants on under €60,000.

Almost 20,000 public servants earn €20,000 or less per annum; more than a third are paid €40,000 or less and another third get between €40,000 and €60,000.

So two thirds of Irish public servants earn more than 40,000€ per annum. As far as I remember, the average industrial wage in Ireland is approximately 40,000€. So this means that two thirds of public servants earn more than the average industrial wage!

The fact that so many private sector employees are supporting the privileged positions (inflated salaries, guaranteed job security, and defined benefit pensions to mention a few privileges) of their public sector counterparts needs to be considered in the context of a government that is only surviving due to a financial bailout.

Again this highlights one of major problems we have in this country, and it really cries out for reform!

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Dec 07 2011

Irish Budget – Day 2

Category: EconomyTeknovis @ 2:18 pm

Yesterday the Irish Government announced the second part of the budget – the tax increases. See Budget focuses on jobs, property or Noonan unveils measures to raise extra €1 billion in tax for details.

Overall, I am very disappointed. I think that this Government has a significant majority, so it it had wanted to, it could have proposed a really radical budget. Instead we got the usual mix of minor adjustments without any real goal or vision. I think that this is because career politicians find it difficult to see or think beyond their immediate environments.

So what would I have done differently over the last two days? I would have reduced our deficit significantly more by imposing far greater spending cuts. The obvious way to achieve these spending cuts would be to look at the civil service costs. I believe that the Croke Park Agreement was a bad deal for tax payers in this country, and I believe that it will inevitably need to be abandoned in its current form.

The other aspect of the budget that is really amazing me is how everybody in this country who is on the State’s payroll (civil service and social welfare) seems to believe that they have a divine right to their incomes! This is probably due to a combination of laziness and arrogance, perhaps due to the Celtic Tiger.

I would love these people to realise how serious our financial predicament is, and although it was not their fault (mostly), they cannot expect future generations to be subjected to more and more borrowing just so that they can remain immune from the cuts that the majority of the people in Ireland are experiencing!

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