The 'Good News' - A More Just Health System

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 41 For Richer for Poorer: Three Issues of Fairness?, 2001

Seamus O'Gorman SJ, researcher at the CFJ and part-time theology lecturer at Milltown Institute asks some searching questions about our commitment to a fair health system.

1. Introduction: the promise of good news for the sick

'Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news brought to them'. Mt 11:5

Poverty And Inequality

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 41 For Richer for Poorer: Three Issues of Fairness?, 2001

The picture about what has happened to poverty in Ireland during the economic boom of the 1990s is now fairly clear. It can be summed up quite simply. The poor have been getting richer, but they are falling further and further behind the rest of Irish society because everyone else has been getting richer at a much faster pace than they have.

The poor have been getting richer….
At the beginning of the economic boom in 1994, over one in every six Irish people earned less than 72 pounds a week in today\'s money. That amount of money is equal to 60% of what an average Irish person earned in 1987 at today\'s prices.

What future for Community Employment - as it is abolished in schools?

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 41 For Richer for Poorer: Three Issues of Fairness?, 2001

December 2001


Tom Giblin SJ, looks at how CE can become more effective by becoming more responsive to its participants. He also examines the abolition of CE places in schools.

A Decision to Rationalize

In recent years the Community Employment Scheme (henceforth CE), run by FAS, has come under increasing pressure for rationalization. The arguments advanced for rationalization espoused by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and others are twofold;
many CE workers could get standard jobs for which workers are needed a good number of CE workers are doing jobs that properly belong under other Government Departments such as Education, Health, Environment etc.

Whose Business is Business?

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 40 An Ethic for the Third Millennium, 2001

Seamus O\'Gorman, SJ

June 2001

Business – An Uneasy Success Story

Given the amazing and lasting ‘success’ of the Irish economy over the last number of years, it is striking to note what a strong sense of unease there is in Irish society. At one level, the first year of the new millennium has been characterised by an almost irrational but niggling fear that much of what we have achieved could quite suddenly  turn to dust. Will we wake up and see the cranes have disappeared? Will we discover that the miracle epitomized in the potential  of the world wide web has turned out to be more one of its deceit rather than of its lasting contribution to real wealth creation? Will a contemptuously disregarded environment strike back? There are also indications of a deeper fear, the fear that all we have achieved may not have been very much anyhow.  That this feeling lingers is remarkable given the extraordinary change in our economic well-being perhaps most notably in relation to jobs and emigration. For all those real achievements, there is little evidence to suggest that we have become a happier, a  more content or more fulfilled people. As recent industrial action indicates there are significant sections of people convinced that they have not received an adequate share of the boom.  Others - the sick, the excluded - can equally wonder why the boom makes so little difference to them.  Could it be that we have been so enthralled by the experience of riding the Celtic Tiger that we have missed its meaning?

Ethics, Compassion and Self-Deceit

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

Peter McVerry, SJ

June 2001


There is a homeless person sitting in the street, begging.  Passing by, I wonder whether to give him money or not.   On the one hand, I feel sorry for him, no place to go, hungry, cold, bored.  On the other hand, maybe he isn’t really homeless, or even if he is, maybe he wants money for drugs or alcohol and I may actually be making his situation worse by giving him money.   It’s all very confusing.

In the Millennium, a sustained campaign was waged to abolish or reduce the debt owed by the poorest Third World countries, who were being crippled by the interest they had to pay on loans they had received from the economically developed world.  The campaigners argued that this repayment was preventing health and education programmes from being funded and was therefore costing lives and preventing development.   Others argued that corruption was so extensive in many of these countries and spending on arms and military so high that to simply cancel the debt would make their ruling elites even wealthier, their armies even better equipped and increase the oppression and suffering of the people, not reduce it.   It’s all very confusing.

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


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.

Turning Around the Negative Cycle in Families

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

Paul Andrews, SJ

February 2001

What is the real problem?

When you work with families, you get used to double-takes. The reason a family gives for seeking the help of a stranger is seldom the real reason. It is always more complicated than it appears. In a crisis, there is a tendency to find a scapegoat, draw a circle round her/him and say There's the problem. It is always more complex than it looks, and the initial problem is seldom the real one.

The Crisis In Parenting

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

Bill Toner, SJ

February 2001



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]

Parenting Adolescents

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

Marie Murray

February, 2001


Adolescence is a wonderful time.  One is on the brink of life.  Childhood is a glimpse behind, adulthood a stretch ahead and in between is the agony and the ecstasy of negotiating the transition from one stage to the other.

Adolescence is a time of hope.  The possibilities and potentialities are at their greatest. Intellectual capacity peaks.  Energy, enthusiasm and sheer joy of living surge up in the wit, the humour, the idealism, energy and purpose of the young.  Never again will the brain and the body, the spirit and the self be so utterly able.  This should be the moment of which marvellous memories are made.  Not so, today, for far too many young people.

We tend to think that law defines what crime is. This makes sense because contemporary legal codes are concerned with marking out the territory where conduct is permissible by specifying the conduct that is outlawed. Yet the earliest bodies of law – consider for example, the Torah or Hammurabi’s Code – are at least as committed to articulating the good as proscribing the bad... 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.