2003

Keeping The Scales of Justice Balanced

on Thursday, 18 September 2003. Posted in Issue 46 The Prisons and the Gardai: A Case for Independent Review, 2003

Peter McVerry SJ has worked with homeless young people for the last 30 years

 

Two critical elements of the Criminal Justice System have been in the news recently. The First Annual Report of the Inspector of Prisons(i) was published and the Minister for Justice announced the "most radical reform of the Gardai" since 1924, and promised new legislation giving the Gardai more powers.

Editorial

on Thursday, 18 December 2003. Posted in Issue 47 Budget 2004: Preserving a Divided Society?, 2003

December 2003

Dear Reader,

We are happy to present to you with the December 2003 issue of Working Notes. We hope you find it helpful for your reflection and work.

In our opening article, Budget 2004: Small Change for the Poor, Robin Hanan of EAPN (European Anti-Poverty Network) Ireland, analyses the seventh Budget to be introduced by the current Minister for Finance. While welcoming the increases announced in social welfare payments, and the concentration of income tax cuts on the lowest paid, Robin Hanan suggests that, viewed in a broader context, the Budget is not so ‘harmless’. It was preceded by the Estimates, published in November, which introduced welfare cuts that will save a comparatively small amount of money but have a devastating impact on the people affected, and by a year-long run-down of the Community Employment and Jobs Initiative Schemes. The Budget is critically considered in the light of fact that Ireland is the fastest-growing economy in the European Union, and the member country with the second-highest level of income, yet has the lowest spending on social provision and the lowest overall tax rates.He concludes that the Budget showed little indication of a willingness to undertake the type of taxation and spending measures that would be required to seriously address the tasks of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and developing a level of public services commensurate with our wealth.

In the second article in this issue, Economics and Justice, economist Eithne Fitzgerald argues that the purpose of any economic system ought to be to serve the greater good of society and to ensure that the basic human needs of all its people are met in a way that is both fair and efficient. Ireland over the past decade illustrates some of the virtues and the vices of the market model. Its benefits, in terms of rising incomes and increased employment, are highlighted in public and political discourse. She suggests that even though mainstream economics acknowledges that there are important areas of activity where the market \'does not give the right answer\', public debate on economic policy has become increasingly dominated by those adhering to a blind belief in market forces. She argues there is need for an alternative economic voice - one that places justice and redistribution at the heart of our economic values.

As a seasonal offering, we are privileged to have insightful Perspectives on Christmas from two people who have come to reside in Ireland from afar, Zhiyan Sharif, who is from Kurdistan in Iraq and Egide Dhala who is from the Congo. Finally, Cathy Molloy introduces a Christmas Reflection from an essay by Karl Rahner SJ.

If you enjoy what you read in these pages and find it useful we invite you to consider making a voluntary subscription to Working Notes. We suggest a sum of €15.00 per year. If you wish to contribute more to our work, we would be most appreciative.

We thank you for your continued support and wish all our readers a very happy Christmas.

 

 

Eugene Quinn
Director, Centre for Faith and Justice

 

 

Working Notes Issue 45 Editorial

on Thursday, 10 April 2003. Posted in Issue 45 Social Partnership: Is it a Just Structure?, 2003

April 2003

Ireland for the first period in its history is experiencing substantial immigration. Eugene Quinn in his article \'Integration: What\'s done? A lot more to do\' assesses the policy response to date. He questions whether there is a disjuncture between the policy rhetoric and the practice. Two areas of particular concern are the scope of integration policy, it currently excludes the broader migrant population, and the negative consequences for integration of dispersal and direct provision policies.

Peter McVerry SJ examines how the homeless have fared during the Celtic Tiger years in \'A rising tide...but no boats to lift". Against a backdrop of a chronic shortage of accommodation he examines the options now open to the homeless. He questions why, after five years of economic prosperity, the problem ofhomelessness has become so critical.

The issue of Clerical Sex Abuse and the response of the Catholic Church is considered in an article by Brian Lennon SJ entitled \'The Contradiction of Justice\'. As an institution that advocates justice for the weakest and most vulnerable in society he argues that the same standards of justice must apply within the Catholic Church.

Edmond Grace SJ in his article on \'Politics, corruption and Europe\' reflects on the growing alienation of ordinary citizens from politics and politicians, and the danger this poses to the democratic process. He points out that democratic politics is not just about winning elections but about including all the people in the process of government. Electoral politics is geared towards majority rule, which, if unchecked, becomes unresponsive to the rights of minorities. A more inclusive style of democratic politics is needed and the European political arena, which badly needs to demonstrate its own democratic legitimacy, may provide a way forward.

Finally, if you enjoy what you read between these pages and find it useful we invite you to consider making a voluntary subscription to Working Notes. We suggest a sum of C 15.00 per year. This covers the cost of producing Working Notes. If you wish to contribute more to our work here we would be most appreciative.

We thank you for your continued support throughout this year.

Eugene Quinn Director, Centre for Faith and Justice

Issues of Justice, Leadership and Authority in the Church

Written by Cathy Molloy on Thursday, 10 April 2003. Posted in Issue 45 Social Partnership: Is it a Just Structure?, 2003

Cathy Molloy is a Research Officer for the CFJ.

The church has a long tradition of engaging with issues of social justice. We have come to expect that it will be an advocate for the disadvantaged and those excluded or on the edge of society and will criticise structural injustice wherever it comes to light. The recent uncovering of injustice of the most appalling kind within the church diminishes, for some, even the prophetic voices and actions of those most committed to justice. It disheartens everyone, lay and priest alike. This article touches on some issues relating to justice, leadership and authority in the church and considers some signs of hope for a way forward.

Acknowledging the Pain of Reality

on Sunday, 29 June 2003. Posted in 2003

Séamus O' Gorman SJ comments on some requirements of justice in relation to the current Child Sexual Abuse scandals

Over the past few weeks much has been said, written and felt about the shocking story of clerical child sexual abuse. Rather than add pages more, the priority now seems to be to support the emerging initiatives, in particular the proposed audit, which offer some promise that the actions necessary to provide a more just way forward are being prepared for. A new light has stayed focused on this heart wrenching open wound in our society. For this, society's and the church's thanks are due to the remarkably courageous words, actions and leadership of a number of victims of abuse in the Diocese of Ferns. This crisis must be seized as an opportunity to face our past with genuine honesty, so that we can approach a future with some hope.

Budget 2004 – Small Change for the Poor

on Thursday, 18 December 2003. Posted in Issue 47 Budget 2004: Preserving a Divided Society?, 2003

Robin Hanan

December 2003

 

The day after Budget 2004, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, was on the defensive. The Budget, he declared, would dispel the myth that this was a right-wing Government which cared only for its rich friends. He talked about the increase in social welfare payments and the concentration of income tax cuts on the incomes of the lowest paid, particularly those at the minimum wage.

In spite of the unpopularity of the Government, he might just get away with it. The media found so little that was contentious that it was the announcement in the Budget speech of the decentralisation of government departments that became the focus of attention.


Economics and Justice

on Thursday, 18 December 2003. Posted in Issue 47 Budget 2004: Preserving a Divided Society?, 2003

Eithne Fitzgerald

December 2003

 

©D. Speirs

Equity and wider human well being must be central concerns in a just economic order

Economics - Value Free?

Economics is central to public policy and economic policy affects centrally the lives of citizens. Economics allows us to explore the likely outcomes of particular economic activities and to examine how policy impacts on different groups in society - who benefits and who loses - and to come up with proposals for change.

 

A European Exchange: People in Poverty - Partners in Europe

on Tuesday, 23 September 2003. Posted in Issue 46 The Prisons and the Gardai: A Case for Independent Review, 2003

September 2003

Stuart Williams joined ATD Fourth World in 1971  He and his wife Isabelle have been present in Ireland for four years.


"People like that need our help…"

It\'s nothing new, to hear a sentiment like this expressed about people in poverty. Yet it was the speaker and the person about whom this was said that made this recent comment so striking. The speaker, a Traveller living in a temporary site in Dublin, was referring to an Irish Member of the European Parliament she had just met and who she felt needed support from people like her in his efforts to campaign against poverty and social exclusion in Europe.

 

Sustaining Work, Prosperity and Fairness.

on Tuesday, 18 February 2003. Posted in Issue 45 Social Partnership: Is it a Just Structure?, 2003

Brendan MacPartlin, SJ

The social partnership process emerged in Ireland at a time of crisis and has been closely associated with recovery and transformation in the Irish social economy.  The names of the six social partnership programmes of the past sixteen years suggest some of key concerns  of the time  – recovery, progress, work , competitiveness, partnership, prosperity, fairness and sustainability. The notion of fairness came more strongly into focus in recent years and the latest programme, Sustaining Progress, proposes in its vision for Ireland that the foundations of a successful society incorporates a commitment to social justice.  If justice is that virtue that intends to give everyone his/her due then social justice is probably the virtue that gives everyone in society his/her due.  It was clear in the run up to the agreement of Sustaining Progress that many did not think they were getting their fair dues.  So clearly we are not in a position to claim that the outcomes are totally fair.  In this article I will try to use traditional ideas about justice and make the case that social partnership is characterised by justice in its process to an extent that it is a practice worth maintaining and developing.

The War in Iraq - Is it still worth working for peace?

Written by Eugene Quinn on Thursday, 10 April 2003. Posted in Issue 45 Social Partnership: Is it a Just Structure?, 2003

Eugene Quinn and Seamus O'Gorman SJ

 

"It was an outrage, an obscenity. The severed hand on the metal door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human brains inside a garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-smouldering car. Two missiles from an American jet killed them all - by my estimate, more than 20 Iraqi civilians, torn to pieces before they could be \'liberated\' by the nation that destroyed their lives. Who dares, I ask myself, to call this \'collateral damage\'?"
Robert Fisk’s visceral description of the horrors of the Market Square bombing in Baghdad (The Independent, March 27th, 2003) shatters any illusions about what the reality of war means in terms of human lives. The speed with which war arrived has been bewildering. It seemed one day we were debating the justness and the legitimacy of military intervention, marveling at the spontaneous and unexpected opposition of millions worldwide to the prospect of war. The next we were sitting helplessly by as war enveloped Iraq.

And so this is Christmas...?

on Thursday, 18 December 2003. Posted in Issue 47 Budget 2004: Preserving a Divided Society?, 2003

 

Cathy Molloy

December 2003

 

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas many people find themselves drawing breath now and again and wondering what it is all about. On the one hand, there is the exhilaration of the \'season of goodwill\', the decorations and seasonal music to brighten all our lives, the getting together with friends or colleagues or family, the special food and present-giving that lifts us right out of the ordinary humdrum existence of short days and long winter nights. Where would we be without it? On the other hand, there are constant reminders that Christmas is not a joyous fun-time for everyone. Loneliness and poverty, homelessness, isolation, hunger and sickness can be exacerbated at Christmastime and we are fairly bombarded with requests to include others at home and far away in our way of celebrating the great Christian feast. And so we should be.

Integrating Perspectives on Christmas

on Thursday, 18 December 2003. Posted in Issue 47 Budget 2004: Preserving a Divided Society?, 2003

December 2003

by Nadette Foley, Zhyan Sharif and Egide Dhala

Nadette: Christmas is a time for home coming. In many different parts of the world people make enormous efforts, and travel long distances, to spend Christmas-time with their families, even if only for a few days.  But just as in the past thousands of the Irish people who emigrated to North America, Australia or Britain, had to spend their Christmases away from home, so also many of the people who have come to Ireland in recent years as migrant workers, as refugees and especially as asylum seekers, do not have the option of going home for Christmas.  Returning may not be possible because they cannot afford the money, or the time, or if they leave they will not be re-admitted or the conditions in their home country make going back dangerous.

The Residential Tenancies Bill 2003: A Tentative First Step

on Tuesday, 23 September 2003. Posted in Issue 46 The Prisons and the Gardai: A Case for Independent Review, 2003

September 2003

Seamus Murphy SJ is a lecturer at the Milltown Institute


After many decades of neglect, the government is proposing a major reform of the law governing landlord-tenant relations in residential premises.  The proposals are contained in the Residential Tenancies Bill 2003 (hereafter referred to as ‘the bill’)(i).    As is well known in informed circles, but less so to the general public, the Irish tenant’s lack of rights and legal protection is embarrassing to the point of being shameful when compared to such tenants’ status in other EU jurisdictions.  The government’s bill comes not a moment too soon.

Juvenile Justice, Child Care and the Children Act, 2001

on Thursday, 10 April 2003. Posted in Issue 45 Social Partnership: Is it a Just Structure?, 2003

Raymond Doole and Maria Corbett

The juvenile justice system in Ireland is governed by legislation (the Children Act, 1908) that pre-dates the creation of the present Irish State.  New legislation (the Children Act, 2001) has been enacted but the ongoing delay in bringing most of its provisions into force has resulted in the continued use of the outdated 1908 Act.  Full introduction of the 2001 legislation is not expected until the end of 2006.

In February 2016, the Jesuit Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology and for Higher Education in Rome published a Special Report on Justice in the Global Economy. The Report was compiled by an international group of Jesuits and lay colleagues in the fields of social science and economics, philosophy and theology. This issue of Working Notes is a response to the Report. Read full editorial

Working Notes is a journal published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The journal focuses on social, economic and theological analysis of Irish society in the areas of . It has been produced three times a year since 1987, and all of the articles are available in full on this site. Read More..