Families for Rent

There’s a new kid on the block and it looks like he’s here to stay. Well, at least until his lease expires. More and more Irish people are choosing the mobility and flexibility that comes with renting their homes instead of buying them. There has been an 84pc increase in private sector rentals since 2006, with 18.5% of the population now renting. In Dublin, that number is over 30%. Contrary to popular opinion, our levels of home ownership are actually lower than the European average, which stands at 73.6pc compared to 69.7pc in Ireland. Continue Reading →

Who needs cash?

As a sixth consecutive austerity budget starts to hit us in the pocket, many people are becoming exasperated at the lack of initiatives offered by the government and instead are taking matters into their own hands. Barter and swap groups have been starting all over the country, providing communities with new ways of accessing goods and services they may not have the money to buy. Continue Reading →

Isn’t it time to start making women’s health a priority?

I belong to a minority group. I am more likely to die of a preventable disease than my peers in other countries. My risk of death from a stroke, heart disease or cancer is one of the highest in Europe. I am considered too incompetent and untrustworthy to make a decision regarding my own reproductive health and I have no right of access to treatment for medical issues in this regard.

I am a woman living in Ireland. Continue Reading →

How can friendships survive a new baby?

Marlene Dietrich said “it’s the friends you can call up at 4am that matter”. I’m guessing these friends haven’t just spent two hours pacing the floor with a screaming baby while arguing with their partner about who deserves the most sleep. At that stage, the 4am phone call would have to be really, really important. Continue Reading →

Why we choose not to send our children to religious schools

Most people don’t think a huge amount about school choices before they have children so it may come as a bit of a shock to some new parents to find that they have little or no choice at all.

97pc of Ireland’s 3300 primary schools are denominational with 93pc run by the Catholic church. Although 84pc of the population still describe themselves as Catholic, those that have no religion form the second largest and the fastest growing group. So what are the options for those seeking a secular education for their children? Continue Reading →

The childcare money pit

The budget is coming and the leaks have been drip, drip, dripping for months. However, with all the debate over child benefit, are we missing the elephant in the room? Irish childcare costs are now among the most expensive in the world and we have one of the lowest public expenditure on childcare and early education.

According to a 2010 OECD report, Irish parents spend an average of 29% of their incomes on childcare. A full-time Dublin crèche place can cost up to €1100 for just one child, with most crèches offering a discount of only 10% for a second child. As childcare bills now surpass mortgage bills as the major household cost for families, what affect is this having on working parents and, in particular, working mothers? Continue Reading →