Friday Conference: Demography Session

The podcast and slides from the session on demography at the Friday conference are below.


Chair: Kevin Denny (UCD)

Orla Doyle (UCD)
Early Educational Investment as an Economic Recovery Strategy

Alan Barrett (ESRI/TCD)
The Costs of Emigration to the Individual: Evidence from Ireland’s Older Adults

Brendan Walsh (UCD)
Well-being and Economic Conditions in Ireland

7 replies on “Friday Conference: Demography Session”

A partial explanation for a drop in alcohol consumption beginning 10 years ago is a drop in wage income for many working class manufacturing & other workers when faced with competition from Eastern Europe.
This process accelerated dramatically after 2004 – unable to go to the pub more then 1 night a week – the banks gave the lower orders credit which stimulated even more artificial demand for housing.
Eventually the workers could not even go out on a Saturday night & choose to stay in their caves until they became mummified.

I have to say I dislike this upper class paternalistic view of working & lower middle class class social practises – they would have been better off watching the great strategic shift in demand from consumption to crazy personnel capital goods / consumer durables which really began to take hold after the dot com bust.

The sad truth of the matter was that gregarious alcohol consumption was a voluntary tax in Ireland preventing malinvestment by destroying money.
Yee just stopped giving the poor bastards money & gave them credit instead.
The problem is when credit gets repaid / destroyed you can’t tax the stuff.

Brendan’s presentation regarding mental well being and the suicide rate is very much against the current theme in the national narrative. Well worth parsing and analysing..


Mass immigration is the large elephant in the room that cannot be discussed openly by professional people due to fear of possible consequences.

Orla Doyle’s presentation is very interesting. Early intervention is so important. I am reading “Understanding Limerick” at the moment and there’s a chapter about the sociology of feuding . Some kids in the estates in Southill and Moyross are too traumatised to benefit in any way from the educational system. The levels of tension in the community are straight out of a war zone. Who pays for the costs of the crime certain of them will go on to commit as teenagers and the hundreds of millions in reconstruction costs to rebuild the communities in projects like Limerick Regeneration?

Ireland has never been good at dealing with the poorest 10%. Look at what happened to Ballymun as well . Not even 40 years and they pulled all the blocks down.

What ever happened to these kids?

These were all FG and FF voters

Sarah, yes indeed. What is striking is how the response to the current recession differs from the 1980s. In Brendan’s paper the measure of subjective well-being takes a big dip in the mid 1980s (1987 in particular I think). Whereas now its a much smaller fall. Assuming this is not an artifact of measurement, one has to ask why, can we cope with unemployment better now for some reason?

Seafoid can’t get the fada (sorry), just for the record, the blocks of flats in Ballymun are still very much up. Less than half as far as I know have been demolished.
my real comment follows:
The papers give good IMHO reasons to invest in the future, and I totally agree with most of what’s written. I do however think the assumptions need to be challenged and contextualised, as again IMHO, the averaging of incomes as an example very much distorts the real picture particularly when working class/ no formal education communities are included with middle class more affluential communities and therefore the effects of increased incomes can greatly distort the position of lower income people very disproportionately. The official line is very seldom the truth, for example, quote from Dublin city council, “we have changed Ballymun froma 100% local authority landlord to amore than 50% private ownership estate”. When this statement is analysed in reality what it actually says is, 50% of ballymuns newly built flats are in private ownership. what it does not say is that more than 90% of the new owners have their flats rented out to mainly younger ballymunners and emigrants, in other words the local authority as the landlord has been replaced by many landlords and almost none of them are being used as the owners private residences, which has many dangerous implications for the locality. The tower blocks only made up about 50% of the total residents of Ballymun, and well over 80% of houses in Ballymun were / are in private ownership and most likely are the only domestic dwelling of the owner, I.e. not investors. Income averaging can be another area where the averages do not reflect reality, as the difference in income levels can dramatically different in real terms. Again the official line reflects only what officialdom wants it to reflect, and thus has to be manipulated to try to show the truth. Official only accepts academic arguments and evidence in a certain way, and it is on officialdoms terms, so therefore reality can be very different to the actual debate. I,m not arguing that these papers are factually wrong BTW, just that they don,t tell the whole story when you present them in another context.

I hope I,ve made my point that these exercises while academically are very valuable, they very rarely show the actual positions being experienced by many sections of communities particularly working class/no formal educated communities. The exercise being undertaken by the Northside partnership referred to by orla is most likely an attempt to prove my theory, and is being extremely closely monitored and controlled, to make a plitically accepted economic case to justify investment in early schooling, which is what has to happen to make things happen politically, but I reality those of us that live and have been reared in these circumstances have known and understood those issues for many years, but the reality is the politicians have never listened to us.

Good luck to all, getting the government to accept the findings and then actually act on them, cos that’s going to be harder than gathering the evidence, no matter how compelling the arguments are.

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