1999

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.

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).

Hopelessness and Suicide in Prison

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

Tony O'Riordan, SJ

April 1999

 

Why do people kill themselves? Because they have lost hope. People who have hope can envisage a future and can see what they are going to do tomorrow, next week and even in the years ahead. This ability to look forward to the future with a degree of confidence is what keeps us going in life.

Sadly it seems as if a growing number of Irish people are lacking in hope. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of suicides in Ireland in recent years, particularly among young males. 359 suicides were recorded in the first 9 months of last year. It is estimated that the figure for the entire year will exceed 500. This will be significantly more than the number of people killed in road accidents in 1998, which is estimated at 460.

Unfulfilled Hopes: A Comparison of Two Reports

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in 1999

Scroll down this page to compare these two reports.

 

Extracts from

The Psychiatric Services -Planning for the Future(1984)

Psychiatric HospitalsMany of the hospital buildings are old and have poor facilities. Improvements are urgent and necessary in the interests of the patients and staff…. For patients who continue to live in psychiatric hospitals…a wide range of programmes of activation and rehabilitation is needed, whether to prepare them for a more independent life in a community setting or to raise the quality of their lives in hospital.

Extracts from

Report of Inspector of Mental Hospitals (1997)

"The Inspectorate cannot stand over conditions pertaining to St Brendan\'s Hospital and the Board are urged to double its efforts in an attempt to close St Brendan\'s" (p.6) "Conditions in St Loman\'s (Palmerstown) have continued to deteriorate to the point where some relatives have refused to have patients admitted to the hospital and have taken them home instead" (p.8) "The admission facilities in St Senan\'s (Wexford) were unsatisfactory. There was no privacy and severe overcrowding. Bathroom facilities were grossly inadequate, day space was extremely limited, there were no facilities for visitors to meet with their relatives, interview and other offices were non-existent and ECT had to be administered in beds, virtually in full view of other patients" (p.107)"Conditions in Unit 11 of St Joseph\'s, Portrane, had deteriorated since the previous inspection. The condition of the toilets was unacceptable: seats were missing from the toilets, the boards at the back of the toilets were smeared with faeces and a terrible stench emanated from the area. There were no taps or handles on the wash-hand basins, no soap and no towels. Windows which had been broken were boarded up. One exit door (a fire exit) had been boarded up with plywood…No lights were functioning in one of the day-rooms and toilet areas. Patients were groping around in the toilet in the dark" (p.42)"Once again, it was emphasised that the living accommodation in four wards of the main building in St. Loman\'s Hospital (Mullingar) were unacceptable and should be vacated as soon as possible." (p.60). "In the long-stay wards, care was almost exclusively of a custodial nature…the male wards were grim, dark and gloomy". (St. Mary\'s, Castlebar) (p.137).

 

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.

The North: Fair Play Needed for Ex-Prisoners

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

December 1999

 

Whatever people feel about early prisoner release in Northern Ireland, most people will agree that it is counter-productive to turn former paramilitary prisoners into an embittered and marginalised group through bureaucratic persecution. Yet there is every danger of this happening, as former paramilitaries are being treated in law the same as any other prisoners, though most people would agree that this is simply not appropriate. Indeed, it is questionable whether most of the sanctions listed below should be applied to any ex-prisoner, given that they are considered to have paid their debt to society.

Immigration: More Than Just Numbers

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

Tony O\'Riordan, SJ

December 1999

The recent trend of immigration

Much of the focus on immigration has been as a result of the growing number of asylum seekers arriving in Ireland in recent years. However the recent trend of immigration in Ireland shows that apart from asylum seekers there are a considerable number of immigrants each year. (see Table 1). In fact even with the increase in asylum seekers there are 10 times more immigrants arriving in Ireland than those seeking asylum.

Twenty-Five Years of Homelessness

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

Peter McVerry

June 1999

Then and Now

In 1974, I went to live and work in Summerhill, in Dublin\'s Inner City. In those days there was no such category as \'homeless children\'. There were a few children who frequently did not return home at night or who returned home only in the early hours of the morning, but they were so few in number that they did not constitute a separate problem category.


Issues Before 1997

Click here for a selection of articles from before 1997