Ireland Culture

Ireland Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Ireland

According to ETHNICITYOLOGY.COM, Ireland is a country located in Europe. Ireland has six everyday newspapers and five Sunday newspapers. About ten British newspapers are distributed in Ireland. The company Independent Newspapers controls about 40% of the press. the four largest newspapers: Irish Independent (founded 1905; 165,000 copies), Evening Herald (1891; 105,000 copies), Sunday Independent (1905; 335,000 copies) and Sunday World (1973; 305,000 copies).

Radio was started in 1926 and TV in 1961. A second TV channel was introduced in 1978 to meet competition from British TV and a second radio channel in 1979 in response to widespread pirate radio operations. Radio Telefís Éireann (RTE) is a public service company, which had a monopoly on radio and television broadcasts until 1988, when private radio and TV were allowed. About 25 local radio stations have been founded. In 1998 came a private nationwide TV channel (TV3) and a private nationwide radio (Today FM). There are 695 radio and 399 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to APARENTINGBLOG, Ireland has a rich cultural life with long traditions, not least in literature, with names such as Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright. Even in music, groups such as U2 and The Pogues have hit many places in the world.

Thanks to the medieval monks, not only religious literature but also folk beliefs and the Celtic fairy tale world have been preserved in magnificent manuscripts.

At the end of the 19th century, what was called the Irish Renaissance emerged, a movement with roots in the island’s fairytale and folklore traditions. It was inspired by national romance and linked to movements that sought political independence. Even before that, Irish writers and playwrights such as Jonathan Swift and Thomas Moore had reached world reputation. They often came to be regarded as Englishmen because they wrote in English.

The great authors also include Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw (Nobel Prize 1925), William Butler Yeats (Nobel Prize 1923), Sean O’Casey and James Joyce. Later came Brendan Behan, Flann O’Brien, Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize 1969), Frank O’Connor and Edna O’Brien. Nobel Laureate and poet Seamus Heaney, who was born in Northern Ireland, lives in Dublin. A younger generation of authors include Dermot Bolger, Maeve Binchy, Patrick McCabe, Neil Jordan, Nuala O’Faolain (1940–2008), Colm Tóibin, Roddy Doyle, John Banville, Anne Enright, Emma Donoghue, and Joseph O’Connor. Two major international writers are Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern (daughter of former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern). A new literary star shot is Sally Rooney whose two novels, Conversations with Friends and Normal People.

Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan are among the most prominent domestic filmmakers. In 2011, the black comedy The Guard directed by John Michael McDonagh became a major audience success in Ireland.

Groups like The Dubliners and The Chieftains have made Irish folk music famous. Among the instruments are the bagpipe uileann pipes, the flute tin whistle and the drum bodhran. Typical dances are jig and real. The groups The Corrs and The Pogues mix folk music with modern rock music.

U2 belongs to the most popular rock groups. Several so-called boy bands such as Boyzone and Westlife, which were formed in the 1990s, have also won a major impact, as have the twins Jedward who in 2011 and 2012 represented Ireland in the Eurovision Schlagfestival.

The great upswing for the popular music industry is due in part to the fact that in 1969 the government introduced tax exemption for the authors’ income (also applies to literature and art), although some restrictions were made in 2005. Many foreign writers, artists and musicians have therefore settled in the country.



New controversy around abortion legislation

Another controversy arises around the country’s abortion legislation, when doctors, for fear of prosecution, refuse to turn off the respirator for a young woman who is brain dead after a blood clot because she is pregnant in the 18th week. This happens despite the fact that her family has wanted to let her die and despite the possibility that the fetus will survive is minimal. According to the Irish Constitution, an unborn child has the same right to life as a pregnant woman. The Supreme Court decides at the end of the month that doctors can discontinue life-sustaining treatment. The case is considered a preliminary ruling.

New protests against water charges

December 10

Protests against the new water charges continue. Demonstrations in Dublin gather up to 100,000 participants.


Adams Ireland’s most popular party leader

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams remains Ireland’s most popular party leader, despite a marked decline in the fall. This is likely due to the debate over how he should have acted in connection with a rape case in Northern Ireland. Máiría Cahill has accused Adams and several other leading Northern Republicans of blaming her for being raped by an IRA activist on numerous occasions in 1997, and also forcing her to meet the perpetrator on a number of occasions in connection with an internal “legal process”. The four people identified deny that they have had any part in a litigation trial. The case has been debated in both the Northern Ireland and the Irish Chamber of Deputies. In Dublin, this leads to a tough exchange of words between Prime Minister Kenny and Gerry Adams.

Protests against new water charges

During the autumn, protests against the government’s decision to introduce water charges in cities and other urban areas are growing. Particularly extensive are those in poorer suburbs of Dublin such as Tallagh and Jobstown. However, the government promises to present a new and simplified proposal for water charges. In addition, it promises a discount for those who register with the new water company, Irish Water. Debaters at the same time argue that it is difficult to claim money for a water system that has such large shortcomings and that the protests are largely about the cuts made after 2011 to such an extent that they have the worst (see also Current policy and Natural resources, energy and environment).


Child allowances are increased, “loopholes” for large companies must be clogged

For the first time in several years, the Irish Government can present a budget that does not primarily contain austerity. This is done a year earlier than planned. The government states that it is not prepared to give up the low corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, but that one should clog the “loophole” that existed that could have given multinational companies extra low tax. Companies must also register in Ireland. The rules will apply to all new companies from January 2015, while transitional rules will apply until 2020 for other companies. Child allowances are increased by EUR 5 a month for all children, income tax is reduced by one percent for those with the highest income and low-income earners are allowed to earn more before having to pay tax. Contributors will also receive extra money for Christmas, which was abolished during the crisis years.


Growth is accelerating

Reports indicate that the Irish economy has started to recover faster than other euro area countries, largely due to the success of the export industry. According to forecasts, growth will be closer to 5 percent in 2014. However, it is pointed out that, although house prices have started to rise, they are still 40 percent lower than they did before the crisis. Unemployment is also high, about 11 percent.


Denied abortion after rape

A new case involving Ireland’s controversial abortion legislation raises upset feelings. A young woman who became pregnant after a rape before arriving in Ireland is denied abortion by a panel of two psychiatrists and a obstetrician as she is in the 16th week of pregnancy. It must have been almost eight weeks since she first asked for an abortion. Because the woman is an immigrant, she does not have the opportunity to travel to another country for the intervention. She starts a hunger strike, but the child is delivered by Caesarean section during the week of pregnancy and taken care of by the authorities.


Burton’s new Labor leader

Labour’s Deputy Party Leader Joan Burton wins the vote on party leadership by 77 percent of the vote against 22 percent for Deputy Health Minister Alex White. Burton also replaces Gilmore as Deputy Prime Minister.


Apple’s tax treaty is being investigated

The European Commission decides to launch a formal investigation into what the US IT company Apple’s tax settlement looks like in Ireland (see also October 2013). Apple has been operating in Ireland since 1980 and has 4,000 employees in the country. Other large companies are also reported to use loopholes in Irish legislation to avoid paying taxes. The European Commission says it is also considering investigating similar problems in countries such as the Netherlands and Luxembourg.


Backlash for Labor in the EU elections

May 23

In the elections to the European Parliament, Labor receives just over 5 percent of the vote and is thus left without a mandate. Party leader Eamon Gilmore announces he is leaving. The Green Party will also be without a mandate. The largest party will be Fianna Fáil with just over 22 percent of the vote, giving the party 1 of Ireland’s 11 seats, and Fine Gael who also wins just over 22 percent (4 seats). Sinn Féin takes home almost 20 percent and 3 seats, while the last 3 seats go to independent candidates. The turnout is 51.6 percent.

Success for Fianna Fáil in the local elections

May 23

In the Irish municipal elections, Fianna Fáil receives the most votes, ahead of Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Labor.

Ireland’s credit rating is raised

Credit rating agency Moody’s upgrades Ireland’s status from Baa3 to Baa1, largely due to the country’s relatively high growth rates.

Suits the British state for terrorist acts

Relatives of the victims of three bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 sue the British state through the Belfast High Court. In the attack 33 people were killed and over 300 injured. UVF, a semi-military loyalist (Protestant) group from Northern Ireland, admitted in 1993 that it had done the killing. There are also suspicions that people within the British Security Service and the Northern Ireland Police should have known about the attack plans without trying to stop them. In 2003, a former judge in the Supreme Court of Ireland presented a report stating that there were grounds for these suspicions, but that there was no evidence. The criminal investigation in 1974 was closed after only a few weeks and no one has been charged with the death.

The Minister of Justice resigns

At the beginning of the month, Minister of Justice Alan Shatter resigns after a report of harsh criticism of, among other things, the Justice Department in connection with a scandal (see March 2013). In her farewell letter, however, Shatter rejects some of the criticism.

Gerry Adams is released

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will be released by Northern Ireland police on May 4.


Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams seizes

April 30th

The conflict in Northern Ireland at the end of the month also casts its shadow over Irish politics. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who sits in the Irish Chamber of Deputies, is being arrested in accordance with British terrorist legislation. He is being questioned about the IRA’s murder of 10-year-old mum Jean McConville in 1972. Adams says he has not been involved in the act, and he has throughout the years denied that he was a member of the IRA (though it was widely believed he had a leading role). McConville was abducted by the IRA who mistakenly suspected her of being an outsider. The Republican group admitted in 1999 that it had murdered and buried her in a secret place. Her remains were found in 2003. In Irish press, it is speculated whether it is now time for Sinn Fein to change leaders to avoid dealing with questions about the party’s dark past.

The President travels to the UK

At the beginning of the month, Irish President Michael D Higgins travels to the UK for a state visit. This is the first time an Irish head of state has done this in the neighboring country. Both the Irish and British Governments now emphasize the good relations between the countries (see Foreign Policy and Defense).


Police in windy weather

Ireland’s chief police officer, Martin Callinan, resigns after being criticized by police who have revealed that their colleagues have let celebrities avoid fines for traffic delays. The deal has also reached the government where Callinan is being defended by Justice Minister Alan Shatter while being criticized by Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore. Shortly thereafter, the police and the Minister of Justice end up in new winds after revelations that the police had secretly recorded calls made at police stations. There are over 2,500 tape recordings, and it is feared that the police also recorded conversations between the suspects and their defense attorneys. Callinan should have known about this and must have ordered a stop for the interception in November 2013. The government appoints a commission to investigate the interception charges.

Ireland Culture

About the author