Issue 71 Waiting for Asylum Decisions

Lives on Hold: Living Long-Term in Direct Provision Accommodation

on Thursday, 18 April 2013. Posted in Issue 71 Waiting for Asylum Decisions, Poverty & Inequality

Canteen in direct provision centre © D. Speirs

Canteen in direct provision centre
© D. Speirs

Direct Provision

Prior to 2000, people seeking asylum in Ireland were able to avail of mainstream social welfare payments, such as supplementary welfare allowance and rent supplement; in other words, they were assessed for entitlement along the same criteria as people already resident in the country. However, in the late 1990s the arrival of record numbers of people seeking the protection of the Irish State led to a change in policy in relation to the provision of accommodation and income for applicants during the processing of their claim. The result was the introduction of a system of ‘direct provision’.

Breaking the Silence on Racism

on Thursday, 18 April 2013. Posted in Issue 71 Waiting for Asylum Decisions, Poverty & Inequality

Refusing to see racism © iStock
Refusing to see racism  © iStock


Racism is a persistent and increasing problem in the European Union and it is a problem from which Ireland is not exempt. Racist incidents are an everyday occurrence in Ireland, but this is a reality that remains invisible to most of the population.

As a State, we have not yet developed the means to adequately deal with the issue. Racism is a violation of human rights and also a barrier to integration – it is clear that attempts to integrate or participate fully in Irish society will never be completely successful as long as racism persists.

Ethical Finance

on Thursday, 18 April 2013. Posted in Issue 71 Waiting for Asylum Decisions, Economics


Investment not just a matter of financial risk and reward © iStock
Investment not just a matter of financial
risk and reward                           © iStock


Many Christians in Ireland, either individually or as members of organisations, have long been campaigning for greater justice and transparency in economic and financial activity. During the ‘boom’ times they may well have felt like the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness; today, however, in the wake of successive financial scandals, discussion of ‘ethical finance’ has gained new momentum and immediacy.

Prior to the global financial crisis, if you were to ask people in Ireland what they understood by ethical finance, it is likely that most responses would have made reference to the need to protect vulnerable communities in the developing world. Now the devastating consequences of unethical financial practices have been experienced in a very real way much closer to home. As a result, we have seen rising public demand for radical reform aimed at ensuring that the financial sector serves the interests of society, and not the other way round.

Restoring the Fabric of Irish Economic and Social Life: A Theological Reflection (Part One)

on Friday, 19 April 2013. Posted in Issue 71 Waiting for Asylum Decisions

Banking or gambling? © iStock
Banking or gambling?                  © iStock



Writing in the euphoric aftermath of the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and of President Barack Obama in May 2011, but in the context of the ongoing economic crisis, clinical psychologist, Maureen Gaffney, noted that people respond to big crises in two main ways – ‘by constructing redemption stories or contamination stories’, and said that ‘these stories significantly affect how people respond to the crisis’.1

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.