Articles tagged with: Bill Toner SJ

Do Poor Children Deserve Perfect Teeth?

on Wednesday, 30 July 2003. Posted in Issue 31 Do Poor Children Deserve Perfect Teeth?, 1998

Bill Toner, SJ

March 1998

Introduction

The current debate about the availability of free orthodontic treatment for children may seem a fairly trivial issue, compared with other problems facing our society. Yet it raises serious questions about our values, our priorities and our standards. Basically the background to this issue is that throughout the western world people are setting themselves ever more exacting standards in regard to personal appearance. Due to increased resources and new medical technology, \'blemishes\' which are accepted by one generation as a fact of life become less socially acceptable. Many conditions which are often \'corrected\' nowadays (such as eye squint, birthmark and hare-lip) were not always attended to in the past. For older people who can afford them there are a whole range of cosmetic \'improvements\' available, such as \'face-lifts\', hair replacement, silicon implants in breasts and so on. Currently there is a particular focus is on teeth. It appears that today\'s image-makers have decided that straight even teeth, with no gaps, should be the norm. This new standard is probably much influenced by American television, particularly soaps like Friends and Baywatch.

Retired Self-Employed

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 38 Dying on the Streets, 2000

Mary Purcell lives in a rural parish in the West of Ireland.

Bill Toner S.J. is Director of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin.

A Penny-Pinching Pension Scheme

Social Insurance for self-employed persons was introduced in 1988.  This was a progressive move, long overdue.   Before the change, people who chose the option of becoming self-employed people were more at risk of insecurity and poverty in old age than those employed by others.  Many thousands of self-employed, from small shopkeepers to bicycle repair men, were too poor to be able to negotiate their own personal insurance schemes and in old age they became a burden, grudgingly borne, on the state.  In fact, notwithstanding the above title, many of the group on which this article focuses are not actually ‘retired’ since they cannot afford to retire.  But they are at the age at which most of their fellow-citizens have retired.

The Dependency Culture: A Good or a Bad Thing?

on Wednesday, 30 July 2003. Posted in Issue 32 The 'Dependency Culture': A Good or a Bad Thing?, 1998

Bill Toner, SJ

July 1998

Introduction

The other day I listened to a middle-class woman sounding off about the \'dependency culture\'. She complained in particular about people who "did not need to go out to work" because they were surviving very well on unemployment assistance or lone parent allowance, rent allowance, back-to-school allowances, medical card and so on. She resented the fact that these benefits were partly funded from her own income tax payments

Community Development in the Age of the Celtic Tiger

on Sunday, 06 July 2003. Posted in Issue 37 Community Development in the Age of the Celtic Tiger, 2000

Bill Toner, SJ

May 2000

Introduction

Some dreadful planning decisions and environmental blunders were made in Irish cities between the 1930s and the end of the 1960s. It is hard to imagine them taking place today. For instance, there is no possibility that the authorities in Northern Ireland would today be allowed to drive a motorway through the middle of Belfast, effectively cutting it in two. No local authority would now be allowed to design an area like Drimnagh in Dublin, a development of over 5,000 houses built in the thirties without a single green space. The destruction of part of Georgian Dublin\'s Fitzwilliam Street, to build new offices for the E.S.B., could not happen today.

Training Bottlenecks Hitting Skilled Trades

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in Issue 36 Cherishing our Old Folk, 1999

Bill Toner, SJ

December 1999

 

The recent survey of vacancies by FÁS and Forfas shows that among the occupations most in demand by the Celtic Tiger are skilled maintenance and skilled production workers. At present there are no fewer than 8,100 vacancies for these grades in the Republic. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has tried to get a fitter or electrician or bricklayer to do a small job. In a recent survey, employers reported that the job of skilled tradesperson was the most difficult job to fill. Many tradespersons are being recruited from overseas. The kind of jobs included in this group include electricians, fitters, electronic workers, welders, bricklayers, carpenters and many others.

Working Class Cultures: Can They Adapt?

on Wednesday, 30 July 2003. Posted in Issue 30 Working Class Cultures: Can They Adapt?, 1997

Bill Toner, SJ

November 1997

Introduction

When I was growing up in the 1950s I lived in Drimnagh, an area of Dublin which was on the line between working class and lower middle class. My parents were on this line too, having both left school at or before fourteen. My father had been fortunate enough to progress into a technical and then into a clerical job, so we gradually became upwardly mobile. I got a good secondary education, in a Christian Brothers school where many of the students went on to university. But my parents were not enthusiastic about university. My mother occasionally ridiculed a neighbour who talked about her hopes that her daughter "would go on to Uni", and thought the woman to have \'airs and graces\'. My father used to cite the case of a cousin who had gone on to university and then \'had\' to emigrate. He encouraged me instead to apply for a clerical position in the company where he worked, which I did, successfully.

An Ethic for the Third Millennium

Written by Bill Toner SJ on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 40 An Ethic for the Third Millennium, 2001

Bill Toner, SJ

June 2001

Bill Toner, S.J. is the director of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice

Introduction

Culture is very fragile.  A society or group can live for hundreds of years in a particular way that holds the group together, ensures their survival, and gives meaning to their lives. Then something unexpected can happen, such as an invasion, or a new invention.  The culture may be enriched or transformed by these events, but it can also fall apart.   In this article I propose to examine in more detail the role of values during this process of transformation, with particular reference to our own culture on the island of Ireland.

Doing Cultural Analysis

on Sunday, 06 July 2003. Posted in Issue 37 Community Development in the Age of the Celtic Tiger, 2000

Bill Toner, SJ

May 2000

 

Introduction

The November 1997 issue of Working Notes featured an article entitled \'Working Class Cultures: Can They Adapt\', which referred to the process of cultural analysis. The focus of that article was certain features of lower working-class culture (such as early school leaving) which made it difficult for young people in working class areas to participate fully in our modern economy.

This article discusses more fully what cultural analysis is, and how it can be carried out. It may be possible for community workers, for instance, to carry out a modest project in this area, perhaps as an alternative to the more common \'needs analysis\' carried on in communities.

Facing up to Mental Illness

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in Issue 34 Facing up to Mental Illness, 1999

Bill Toner, SJ

April 1999

Introduction

The moral character of a society can best be judged by the way it looks after the weakest and most vulnerable of its members. These include, for instance, the very poor, the homeless, travellers and gypsies, the unborn, children, asylum-seekers, the sick, the elderly, the imprisoned. There is no evidence that Ireland is, in general, significantly worse than many other countries in looking after its most marginalised groups. But neither is it significantly better. Recently it was severely indicted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the lack of policies and the inadequacies of services for vulnerable and at-risk children, as reported in Working Notes (Issue 31).

The Claims Industry and the Public Interest

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in Issue 35 The Claims Industry and the Public Interest, 1999

Tony O'Riordan SJ and Bill Toner, SJ

June 1999

Introduction

Processing personal injury claims is big business. In the Dublin Area Yellow Pages for 1998/9, 44 pages of advertising are devoted to solicitors (as against 33 pages to computing-related services, 24 to building services, and 9 to auctioneers, estate agents and valuers). In the \'solicitors\' section there are 23 full-page advertisements costing between £10,000 to £16,000 each The total cost of the advertisements in this section is about £500,000. The content of these advertisements is dominated by the item of personal injury claims. Bold headings proclaim "Personal Injury Law is Our Business", "No-Win No-Fee" etc.

Much of the analysis of the so-called \'compo culture\' has focused on four factors:

Cherishing Our Old People

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in Issue 36 Cherishing our Old Folk, 1999

Bill Toner, SJ

December 1999

Introduction

Like many other blunt Anglo-Saxon words used to describe people, \'old\' is no longer politically correct. The literature on old age restricts itself to gentler terms and expressions, - \'Elderly\', \'Ageing\', \'Senior Citizens\', \'Older Persons\', \'Active Retired\'. The term \'Old Folk\', with its cheerier and more affectionate connotation, still survives in the names of a few community associations for the elderly. The reluctance to use the world \'old\' may well be a resistance to being \'labelled\' and pigeon-holed. Or it may contain an element of denial in a secular world that increasingly sees the seventy-odd years of life as all that we have or will have.

Wanted: An Immigration Policy

on Wednesday, 30 July 2003. Posted in Issue 33 Wanted: An Immigration Policy, 1998

Bill Toner, SJ

December 1998

Introduction

A couple of years ago the London-based Independent on Sunday published a feature about the attractiveness of Ireland to many retired English couples. It seems that many retired English people have discovered that in their old age they are better off in Ireland than in England. Free travel is a considerable attraction and many of them are entitled to medical cards, which provides them with a better service than they would get from the N.H.S. They have the same entitlement to non-contributory pensions as Irish citizens.

Dying on the Streets

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 38 Dying on the Streets, 2000

Bill Toner, SJ

November 2000

Introduction

During the summer two young men from overseas, both English-speaking and white, were taking part in a Catholic ‘renewal programme’ in Dublin.   Part of the programme provided opportunities for getting in touch with the reality of poverty.   The two men chose the option of staying in a hostel for the homeless overnight.

The Crisis In Parenting

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 39 The Crisis in Parenting, 2001

Bill Toner, SJ

February 2001

 

Introduction

In a recent survey in a Dublin suburb afflicted by drugs, 100 adolescents were asked in a questionnaire how the family could help young people to avoid getting involved with drugs?   Of these, 28 stated that parents could help by knowing where there children were and who they were with, looking after children properly, keeping of the street and limiting their freedom.  Another 23 suggested that parents could talk to children about drugs.  The authors of the survey conclude:  “Of those responding, over half (of adolescents) require a greater involvement of parents in their lives.  The perception that young teenagers want more freedom is not borne out by the results of this survey” [1]

Crime: Causes and Responses

on Wednesday, 30 July 2003. Posted in Issue 31 Do Poor Children Deserve Perfect Teeth?, 1998

Bill Toner, SJ and Tom Giblin, SJ

March, 1998

 

Why Did Gavin Do It?

Gavin, a twenty-one year old who normally lives in a flat complex in the inner city, is currently serving a one year sentence for burglary. On temporary release for Christmas, he is persuaded by a young neighbour to join him in a stolen car. The two drive out to the suburbs, where they spend some time in high-speed \'joy-riding\' and then ram-raid an off-licence and steal spirits and cigarettes. On the way home they are followed by a police car, which they ram. They are arrested and Gavin arrives back in prison, where he will face further charges.

When Ireland became an independent State it inherited some appallingly bad housing conditions. This was most notoriously the case in the severely deprived areas of inner-city Dublin, but inadequate and overcrowded housing which lacked basic facilities was also prevalent in towns and villages and rural areas around the country. 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. It has been produced since 1987.