The Government has chosen to decline an “overdraft” and we’re leaving the EU/IMF bailout programme without a cushion.
We’ve signaled to the world that we are on the road to normality, but it’s not over yet, there are several years of fiscal discipline lie ahead.
On the line was Dr. Stephen Kinsella of University of Limerick’s Economics dept, who believed the Government would say no to a precautionary credit line.
Sean was also joined by Professor Brian Lucey of Trinity College who says the Government has decided to jump without a parachute – and wonders if there will be a soft landing.
We know that today over 360,000 people in Ireland are using legal moneylenders, rather than banks or credit unions, to get loans, with some of those lenders able to charge interest rates of up to 290% a year.
The lenders are licenced by the Central Bank, with the majority of borrowing in this area being used to pay for family events or domestic bills.
Brian O’Connell has been speaking to some people who have availed of loans from moneylenders, and he has also gotten the views of one legal moneylender.
Over the past few weeks we’ve played some wonderful pieces of music from the weekly winners of the All Ireland Schools Choir competition.
Last week's winners were the Ursuline College Sligo and they performed a beautiful version of Johnny Said No, under director Fiona McQuillan.
Ai-Jen Poo was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2012.
She is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in the US and founder & co-director of Caring Across Generations, an organisation working with people in need of care and careworkers to raise the profile and value of care in society.
Ai-Jen is in Dublin this week as a guest of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland to celebrate 10 years of MRCI's Domestic Workers Action Group.
Sean was also joined by Siobhan O’Donoghue, who is the Director of the Domestic Workers Action Group in Ireland.
One of the greatest needs for children born with spina bifida is the services of a paediatric urologist. So it may surprise you to learn that for children born with the condition since 2009, there is no access to a urologist in this country.
Valerie Cox has been investigating.
It may seem like early days, but if you have a big gathering planned for this Christmas then it’s time to get your house in order and perhaps start planning – and cooking – ahead if you’re to avoid a last minute nightmare. We’ll be bringing you up to speed on what to do over the next couple of weeks and this week it was Christmas Puds and Festive sauces with none other than Catherine Fulvio.
Orange and Fig Christmas Pudding
Makes a 1.2 litre pudding bowl
Sometimes Christmas pudding is just too much at the end of such a rich meal so this isn’t the traditional pudding as it uses butter instead of suet and is a little lighter. This can be made 2 to 3 weeks before Christmas if you haven’t the time.
100g dried figs, roughly chopped
2 medium oranges, juice and zest
3 tbsp brandy
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g butter, softened
120g soft dark brown sugar
200g plain flour
60g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium carrot, grated
1 tbsp roughly chopped crystallised ginger
Melted butter, for brushing the bowl
Parchment and foil, for the bowl
String, for a handle
1 orange, sliced
1 fresh fig, cut into wedges (optional)
Tip: If you need a change from the orange – add pomegranate juice and then decorate with the lovely jewelled seeds.
Cinnamon and Vanilla Custard
Serves 6 (about 700ml)
600ml low fat milk
1 small cinnamon stick
6 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla paste
120g caster sugar
Individual Cranberry Puddings with Spicy Berry Sauce
Makes 8 to 10 individual pudding moulds depending on the size
These are a change from the traditional large puddings and very pretty as well, just make sure that they don’t dry out too much during cooking.
120g mixed dried fruit
150g dried cranberries
1 apple, peeled and grated
180ml strong cold tea
4 tbsp whiskey
120g dark brown soft sugar
70g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp chopped dried mango
2 eggs, beaten
80g chilled butter, finely diced
Zest of 1 lemon
Melted butter for the moulds
Holly, for decorating
Fresh cranberries, for decorating (optional)
Tip: Use wholemeal flour instead of the plain flour for a great nutty flavour.
Spicy Berry Sauce
Makes about 350ml
180g brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
120g fresh cranberries
To make the sauce, heat the sugar, water, cinnamon and star anise in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for 7 – 8 minutes, to form a syrup. Add the cranberries and bring to the boil until the cranberries “pop” but still hold their shape. Simmer for 2 to3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove from the heat and cool. Remove the cinnamon stick and star anise. This will keep in your fridge for 5 to 6 days.
Joining Sean for this week’s Gathering were Ingrid Miley, RTE’s Industry and Employment Correspondent; Jim Power, economist; Alieen Hickey, Barrister and Conor Pope Consumer Affairs Correspondent with the Irish Times