Issue 31 Do Poor Children Deserve Perfect Teeth?

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


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.

Government Report to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child

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

Fr Peter McVerry, SJ

March, 1998


Ireland\'s first national report on the state of children\'s rights and protections to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the child was presented by Liz O\'Donnell T.D., Minister of State for Development Assistance and Human Rights on the 12th and 13th January. Following her statement to the Committee, the Minister was grilled by the members of the Committee who had been well briefed by several NGOs who were also present, including the Children\'s Rights Alliance. The Children\'s Rights Alliance has been very critical of Government inaction on children\'s rights and needs and expressed to the Committee their criticisms. It is only a coincidence, of course, that the night before they met the Committee, they received a cheque from the government for £100,000 towards their valuable work!

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.

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.