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Thread: Urban and Rural Ireland - A tale of two Irelands.

  1. #16
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post
    The growth in population (now rapidly going into reverse of course) is mainly in urban and suburban areas. Most rural schools have static numbers of students, while many urban ones are bursting at the seams. And of course, provision in urban areas is far more cost effective.
    The most cost effective way to provide education would be to have a single huge boarding school serving the entire country but I don't think we need waste too much time explaining how that might not be ideal.

    Cannon's is increasing school transport costs for rural families but he isn't proposing similar hikes for city families. That's clearly an anti rural bias.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post
    The reality is that rural areas are subject to massive hidden subsidies - it costs so much more to provide schools, hospitals, roads, etc., to a scattered rural population than an urban one.
    Rural people have far fewer services than urban people and the services they do have tend to be inferior or part time. People living in the country have to bear the costs of taxation without the benefits of public services so there's a strong case to be made for a significant reduction in PAYE for rural dwellers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post
    We are paying big time for our failures over the years to focus growth in high capacity areas.
    I don't like this Green vision of Ireland of the future consisting of a few cities where the bulk of the population would be corralled and a handful of theme park yokels living in Potemkin villages for the edification of tourists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post
    The notion that this is a political decision is simply wrong - rural areas have a strongly disproportionate influence in government, this has always been the case.
    Well it is quite obviously a political decision made by politician Ciaran Cannon and supported by the government.

    It's hard to see the rural influence in the current cabinet since most of its members are form Dublin or other cities.

  2. #17
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post
    The growth in population (now rapidly going into reverse of course) is mainly in urban and suburban areas. Most rural schools have static numbers of students, while many urban ones are bursting at the seams. And of course, provision in urban areas is far more cost effective.

    The reality is that rural areas are subject to massive hidden subsidies - it costs so much more to provide schools, hospitals, roads, etc., to a scattered rural population than an urban one. We are paying big time for our failures over the years to focus growth in high capacity areas. The notion that this is a political decision is simply wrong - rural areas have a strongly disproportionate influence in government, this has always been the case.
    Worth noting here that the census figures show Laois is the fastest growing county in the country yet the hospital in Portlaoise is facing downgrading.

  3. #18
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    RTE News at One has reported that there's to be a 25% cut in the budget for patient transport services.

    This is another anti rural measure as it will hit hardest those who don't have access to subsidised public transport and who have lost services at their local hospitals to large urban centres.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-n...s-2810992.html
    Last edited by Baron von Biffo; 01-07-2011 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Added a link.

  4. #19
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post

    The reality is that rural areas are subject to massive hidden subsidies - it costs so much more to provide schools, hospitals, roads, etc., to a scattered rural population than an urban one. We are paying big time for our failures over the years to focus growth in high capacity areas. The notion that this is a political decision is simply wrong - rural areas have a strongly disproportionate influence in government, this has always been the case.
    Agree - expansion of rural housing estates to make property dealers rich without any thought for or investment in infrastructure was all part of the celtic tiger phony boom,

    Fine Gael (Brian Hayes) said well before the election that they were planning to close many rural schools, and consolidate the large ones. But to then cut transport is going to disadvatage the rural poor hugely - will parents be prosecuted who genuinely can't afford to send their children to school? The rural vote may be strong, but no mainstream party takes much notice of the poor, rural or urban.

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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    The headline over this letter is accurate even if the letter itself is ill informed and the proposed solution fanciful.

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/le...t-2817253.html

  6. #21
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Agreed. Ok, folks, our food security is a little matter I'd like to bring to everyone's attention. If we can't persuade our farmers to stay on the job in a hospital and school-less desert, how do we plan to feed our cities when the oil to ship the grain and beefburgers in from Argentina is all gone??

    Just a thought.

  7. #22
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by morticia View Post
    Agreed. Ok, folks, our food security is a little matter I'd like to bring to everyone's attention. If we can't persuade our farmers to stay on the job in a hospital and school-less desert, how do we plan to feed our cities when the oil to ship the grain and beefburgers in from Argentina is all gone??

    Just a thought.
    And when I recently spent 2 nights on a trolley in A & E in Naas Hospital which was not pleasant by any means but what upset me most was seeing very elderly people sleeping on these trolleys and one women getting very upset about changing and sleeping between two men, God love her, I helped her to the toilet to change and offered her my bed which was at the end of a corridor and next to another woman but it was very draughty and she was too cold, what can you do, she also hadn't eaten since morning and this was midnight. And as you point out Morticia this is only going to get far worse, lord help us all. Or will it help us look after our elderly relatives better?? After spending some time in Spain and seeing how they have such a reverance for their elderly relatives it is thought provoking.

  8. #23
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by jinnyjoe View Post
    After spending some time in Spain and seeing how they have such a reverance for their elderly relatives it is thought provoking.
    Yes Jinny, I'd agree. Spending less on admin and overly costly fancy new pharma, and more on manpower and dignity might ironically make everyone happier. We can't have it all and I wonder if much of the new and expensive stuff may not be overhyped in many instances?

    Tbh, though, prolonging the lives of the hopelessly senile has gone far too far.....working for hours trying to resuscitate an 89 year old who doesn't know her own relatives is just cruel. And it costs money. Note, I am saying this because I would not wish to be subjected to such myself.

  9. #24
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by morticia View Post
    Yes Jinny, I'd agree. Spending less on admin and overly costly fancy new pharma, and more on manpower and dignity might ironically make everyone happier. We can't have it all and I wonder if much of the new and expensive stuff may not be overhyped in many instances?

    Tbh, though, prolonging the lives of the hopelessly senile has gone far too far.....working for hours trying to resuscitate an 89 year old who doesn't know her own relatives is just cruel. And it costs money. Note, I am saying this because I would not wish to be subjected to such myself.
    Totally agree Morticia, from having a much much loved Grandmother who when she reached her 92nd birthday lost control of her bowels and other sectors and at times forgot who we were,( though did remember to tell me I'd got fat mind you) I loved her for that. But at the end she used to hold a crucifix in her hands and when she woke up and found herself still alive would fire it to the end of the bed and say "God what are you doing to me, I've no more purpose to serve" and though I was very sad at her passing I realised it was where she wanted to be, she had lived a long tragic life, she wanted to rest. So be it.

  10. #25
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by morticia View Post
    Agreed. Ok, folks, our food security is a little matter I'd like to bring to everyone's attention. If we can't persuade our farmers to stay on the job in a hospital and school-less desert, how do we plan to feed our cities when the oil to ship the grain and beefburgers in from Argentina is all gone??

    Just a thought.
    Food security is something that has become more and more interesting to me Morticia and I am increasingly seeing that subject as a kind of landing pad for other emerging issues.

    Given what is happening internationally and the pressure coming on the fairly luxurious long supply lines for food based on a diminishing resource (oil) I think this is going to be a huge issue shortly. Perhaps the biggest iceberg on the horizon.

    I see traces of this issue in a number of other policy/political subjects.

    (1) Ireland is one of the few European nations with a land and ocean resource that can actually feed its people- mainly because our population halved because of the famine and emigration and because we haven't become an urban overpopulated environment. Our cities are small relative to European cities generally.

    (2) We don't have a large industrial base like other European nations which we've always seen as a negative- this may shortly become a positive as it means by default once ghost estate rezoning is returned to agricultural use we'll have even more foodland relative to concrete.

    (3) More to the OP we have become used to a relatively luxurious lifestyle in terms of our surroundings- or at least what you might call the lower middle class to upper middle class has become used to driving into town while living in more pastoral surroundings. People want to raise their kids in the countryside while earning city salaries. This aspirational financial model is now coming under pressure for lots of reasons, mostly economic. It means that people demand urban services in a rural area and that is really unsustainable and this is what is being flexed through cutbacks. I'm not agreeing with the policies but just saying we are in a phase now between the realisation of the unstustainability of this luxury model and the response in rural areas which is going to have to be provision of rural services possibly by rural communities setting up their own services to replace missing central government provided ones. This is going to be painful and will lead in addition to decimation of the rural population of young people via emigration and a move to remaining economic activity in the cities.

    It sounds a very bleak prognosis for rural areas and services but what it is is the middle period between provision by central government and the learning by rural communities how to be more self-sufficient again. I can't see any other dynamic at play for years if not decades.

    To a certain extent I'm alarmed by how convenient Ireland's natural resources must look very attractive as a political food allotment to the UK for example. We may be seeing a re-run of the 17th century attitude there that Ireland is a resource of good farmland which can sustain and supply a lot of people and that may be the view from a neighbouring island overburdened with an industrial concreted land and a population of 65million and a creaking import system for food.

    I think this basic truth (and historically speaking not a new one in the relations between UK and Ireland) is what is behind the recent charm offensive by the UK political establishment toward Ireland. The royal visit and so on with a sudden increase in 'England friendly' activity among certain groups of people in and around the fringes of the Irish media.

    The good news- Ireland can feed itself and probably export more than it needs. But we need to stop chasing this improbable rainbow of an industrial Irish powerhouse as it is not a natural model for us and speaks only of yet another attempt to copy other countries instead of looking realistically at what advantages we have and leveraging those.

    I'm fairly spooked by the emerging possibility of food supply problems in the UK in the not too distant as all supply lines there depend heavily on oil prices and the availabity of cheap energy to import.

    I think this is the main strategic threat and at the same time a massive opportunity for Ireland as long as we get the balance right. Which means being too much of a risk to take but being organised enough to be a good supplier. But we need to be wary of the UK- make it a good customer but not become dependent on it. We can supply the Netherlands and Germany just as well in times to come when imports from outside Europe are too expensive and Europe is trying to feed itself again.

    Anyway- back to the OP and I think that at the highest level across political Europe which would include our lot in Dublin they know what the emerging dynamics are for Europe in a world with less and more expensive oil and what it means for agriculture and this feeds into policies in Ireland and elsewhere around the urban and rural communities.

    The model which says you can have urban style services in rural communities is for the moment broken.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  11. #26
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    good post, Captain, fully agreed. Except I'd add that the UK is probably also eyeing energy reserves (fracking, Lough Allen, anything offshore, and they've already said they want wind).

    What scares me about food security is that insufficient care to rural areas could end up decimating it, furthermore, there's a near term risk that trade deals with S. America may very well make Europe far more dependent on overseas imports just when we need to be ramping up domestic production. Then, in 5-10 years time, the rainforests are gone and Irish farmers have walked off the land.

    While your analysis is absolutely 300% spot on re UK food security (one of the reasons I bailed out of the UK; I was well aware the fuel protests in 2000 had come withing days of starving London, and I don't want to be there with my kids when the riots start), I'm not sure about the rest of Europe.

    France, the Netherlands and Spain export huge amounts of food; the French also have a relatively low population in terms of the productiveness of land; they adopted contraception in the 19th century before anyone else. The Netherlands and Spain have the high intensity horticulture thing down pat (although the sustainability of Spain's aquifer usage and the fact that most of the Netherlands should be under rising sea levels could be a problem). Germany also has a hidden culture of farming that doesn't show up on the outside via the media, but still gets a lot of respect internally. And a lot of the Eastern countries have depopulating rural areas and sinking populations. And as far as I know, I think the EU as a whole runs a fairly big food export surplus, doesn't it??

    Of course, getting stuff from a to b with minimal oil is going to be a very big challenge. if we had any sort of leadership in the WTO and similar, they'd start carving the world into regional blocs and saying "export within, conserve oil"....it may yet happen, but too little, too late, methinks.

    Meanwhile, the UK merrily signs agreements with Brazil and Argentina while the Big 4 supermarkets drive suppliers out of the home market weekly in a search for cheaper food. They will seriously, seriously regret this in times to come.

    Someone needs to set up a govt. agreed fair price for domestic produce, given to farmers; if shops want to sell cheaper, fine, but they take the hit themselves.

  12. #27
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Interesting info there on Germany and Netherlands Morticia- the food supply situation in Europe is distorted though by subsidy and subsidies based on a failed food supply model I think.

    This will be self-correcting soon enough when agricultural subsidies disappear and there really will be decimation to the traditional model of farming. I'm wondering about the Netherlands for example which is hugely overpopulated when measured against its ability to feed itself.

    If you measured agricultural production in each country in Europe against a framework of no imports or exports a very weird and unbalanced picture starts to form a bit like Milo Minderbinder's egg business in Catch-22.

    I notice as well that some industries such as the supermarket chains, meat suppliers are trying to edge ahead of the dynamic by pomoting combine farming ... the ten thousand dairy herd, the 10,000 acre farm and so on but thats more for economic of scale and their profit margin than any concern about national food supply.

    You are right re Ireland's natural assets (ooh er) in that we are a strategic asset for the island next door for all sorts of emerging reasons. Defence wise I'd scale down the army and go to a Swiss model of the 'scorched earth' model. We could save money and put off any political moves or otherwise to steal the Irish allotment.

    On a more optimistic note I can see better days for Ireland ahead- but only if we are wise enough to prevent the usual brown envelope brigade from accepting bribes to promote 'closer union' with Supermarket Britain.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baron von Biffo View Post
    The headline over this letter is accurate even if the letter itself is ill informed and the proposed solution fanciful.

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/le...t-2817253.html

    I expect you probably won’t respond to this, but you could prove me wrong, so I’ll ask the question. What exactly do you believe is “ill informed” about the letter in the Indo?

    With respect to helicopters, Maryland, area, 10,000 sq. miles, pop 6M, recently purchased a fleet of twelve medevac copters to service A&E/Shock Trauma facilities in the population centers. Non emergency is treated locally.


    That’s one chopper per 500,000 people. If Ireland bought one per county, that would work out at about one per 160,000 people. Not a bad comparison. Seems to me like good husbanding of scarce resources in tough times.

  14. #29
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Two somewhat contradictory reports on food security from Bloomberg. I guess the best you can say is that the first is a long term bet, and the second a short term market one. And I’ll go with the long term one.

    Saw a report on the Beeb a few months back, where China was both buying up land, and contracting for the agricultural output of land in east Africa. Several things struck me as odd. 1: Shades of Ireland in the 1840’s. 2: Is China really going to export food from countries where the native populations are wanting? 3: Is there not sufficient arable and irrigated land in China and it’s neighbor Russia to meet Chinese needs? I recognize tropical fruit doesn’t do well in Siberia, but still.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...od-supply.html

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...y-outlook.html

    I guess this answers my question at 3 above.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...er-orszag.html

  15. #30
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    Default Re: A tale of two Irelands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Count Bobulescu View Post

    That’s one chopper per 500,000 people. If Ireland bought one per county, that would work out at about one per 160,000 people. Not a bad comparison. Seems to me like good husbanding of scarce resources in tough times.
    Good point. However, I suspect the problem will be that they won't buy the helicopter, nor will they expand the larger hospitals to allow for more people coming in. This is Ireland, I'm afraid....

    There will also be the emerging issue of getting to the doc's under circs of fuel poverty and possibly shortage, eventually.

    However, I'd agree that if implemented, it might save lives.

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