9 Understanding the Irish state’s approach Nearly every country in the world has asserted ownership over the hydrocarbons within its territory (Easo, 2009) and Ireland is no different. Ireland’s approach to resource management, however, is dissimilar to many other countries with outcomes that include the transfer of ownership and control of state resources to private interests and one of the lowest rates of government take in the world. The Irish model has also resulted in a prolonged conflict which has engulfed the lives of many people for over a decade. In
Gas and oil are pivotal to the functioning of modern societies, yet the ownership, control, production and consumption of hydrocarbons often provokes intense disputes with serious social, economic, and political ramifications. In Gas, Oil and the Irish State, Amanda Slevin examines the dynamics and conflicts of state hydrocarbon management and provides the first comprehensive study of the Irish model. Interpreting the Corrib gas conflict as a microcosm of the Irish state’s approach to hydrocarbon management, Slevin articulates environmental, health and safety concerns which underpin community resistance to the project. She emphasises how the dispute exposed broader issues, such as the privatisation of Irish hydrocarbons in exchange for one of the lowest rates of government take in the world, and served to problematise how the state functions, its close relationship with capital, and its deployment of coercive force to repress dissent. Analysis of these issues occurs within an original account of decision-making and policy formation around Irish hydrocarbons from 1957 to 2014. Slevin traces the development of the state’s approach in tandem with occurrences in Irish political economy and examines the impact of global trends on different approaches to hydrocarbon management. A detailed case study of Norway reveals ideological, political, social and economic forces which influence how states manage their hydrocarbons and the author uses those factors as the basis for a rigorous critique of the Irish model. Examining subjects that are simultaneously empirical and ideological, historical and current, the focus of this book extends beyond decision-making processes within the state system to their impacts on people’s lives in communities. Slevin uncovers the social, environmental, economic, and political consequences of current policies and offers a blueprint for an alternative framework for hydrocarbon management.
32 2 Sociology and the Catholic social movement in an independent Irish state Introduction This chapter examines the emergence of sociology as a subject taught in southern Irish universities and adult education courses in the 1930s and 1940s. It also takes in the wider context of this development –the growth of a Catholic social movement with ambitions to reshape the state’s institution and policies in line with the principles expounded by papal encyclicals. Negatively influential in blocking state intervention projects in fields such as health, this movement
In 2013 the Irish state changed its laws on prostitution to criminalise the buying and partially criminalise the selling of sex. Drawing from radical feminism, the law posits sex work as violence against women to which no woman can meaningfully consent, casting the state as protecting all women from such violence. This chapter argues that the change was a defining moment in the state’s relationship with sex workers and continues its instincts to suppress certain women since its foundation, expressed in institutions such as Magdalen Laundries. It manifests moral and psychic discomfort about the sex worker’s presence, traceable to early statehood, when female sexuality was viewed as belonging exclusively within heteronormative marriage. This chapter critiques radical feminism’s deliverance to the state of power to produce and police codes to protect women and a symbolic notion of the (desirable) female. Following Brown’s critique of protective legislation and policies which intensify the vulnerability and degradation of some women, it frames the new law within critiques of the validation by ‘carceral feminism’ of punitive foreign and domestic policy goals and increasing border securitisation, concluding that the law produces and institutionalises the very kind of woman it seeks to repudiate – the helpless, female victim.
Recent years have witnessed a burgeoning international literature which seeks to analyse the construction of health and health policy through an analytical lens drawn from post-Foucauldian ideas of governmentality. This book is the first to apply the theoretical lens of post-Foucauldian governmentality to an analysis of health problems, practices, and policy in Ireland. Drawing on empirical examples related to childhood, obesity, mental health, smoking, ageing and others, it explores how specific health issues have been constructed as problematic and in need of intervention in the Irish State. The book focuses specifically on how Jean Jacques Rousseau's critical social theory and normative political theory meet as a conception of childhood. The 'biosocial' apparatus has recently been reconfigured through a policy framework called Healthy Ireland, the purpose of which is to 'reduce health inequalities' by 'empowering people and communities'. Child fatness continues to be framed as a pervasive and urgent issue in Irish society. In a novel departure in Irish public health promotion, the Stop the Spread (STS) campaign, free measuring tapes were distributed throughout Ireland to encourage people to measure their waists. A number of key characteristics of neoliberal governmentality, including the shift towards a market-based model of health; the distribution of power across a range of agents and agencies; and the increasing individualisation of health are discussed. One of the defining features of the Irish health system is the Universal Health Insurance and the Disability Act 2005.
culture thus embodies all the tensions and contradictions eih ch-10.P65 176 26/3/03, 15:18 Community, language and culture 177 historically pertaining to relationships between community, nation and state. The Irish state has followed patterns typical of nineteenth- and twentiethcentury nation building, in that it has sought to establish a unity of geographic space, language and ethnic culture. But Ireland has been caught in the webs of colonial and neo-colonial domination, first by Britain and latterly by processes of global capital. These regimes have enforced
Corrib gas conflict, revealing the environmental, health and safety concerns initially underpinning resistance. It also highlights how the dispute exposed wider issues surrounding the Irish state’s management of its gas and oil. Problematic elements of the state’s approach include the transfer of control and ownership of state owned hydrocarbons to private companies; lenient fiscal terms which result in minimal economic returns to the Irish state; and the use of state and private actor coercive force against citizens. As a microcosm of the Irish state’s approach to the
M1634 - HAYWARD TEXT.qxp:ANDY Q7 27/1/09 13:23 Page 189 8 Governance, state and polity This chapter examines the conceptualisation of ‘governance’ in Irish official discourse in relation to both the Irish ‘state’ and the European ‘polity’. ‘State’ and ‘polity’ constitute the broad conceptual and institutional supporting frameworks for the meaning and significance of governance in nation-statehood and European Union respectively. The traditional narrative of the state is national self-determination, i.e. quest of the nation to decide and direct its own forms
singularity and extreme nature of what took place in Ireland. In addition, their discussion has often dwelt on the similarity with other Catholic but totalitarian countries, such as Franco’s Spain and Mussolini’s Italy.87 This comparison is crucially flawed since the new Irish state, while restrictive and oppressive in many respects, nevertheless remained firmly committed to the institutions of liberal democracy.88 Likewise, those who have attempted to advance a theoretical model for understanding what took place in Ireland, namely the ‘nativist’ decolonisation paradigm of
coalition government. After a quarter of a century in which the Irish state fluctuated from the brink of bankruptcy in 1987 through to the vulgar heights of the Celtic Tiger in the early to mid-2000s, to the spectacular collapse of the banks in 2008–9 one constant remained: politically the Irish electorate would look to traditional solutions when it came to the ballot box. The Irish voter, while occasionally happy to flirt with minor parties and independents, ultimately rejected newcomers, forcing them either to disband or to join with one of the larger parties. The