Issue 83 Harm of Inaction

Working Notes Issue 83 Editorial

on Monday, 04 February 2019. Posted in Issue 83 Harm of Inaction, 2019, Current

Editorial

When Pope Francis met with a number of survivors of clerical abuse during his visit to Ireland in August 2018, the impact was profound. The expectations of those he met were minimal — that they would sit and listen, and he would leave after 30 minutes. Instead, the meeting went on for an hour-and-a-half and everyone was given an opportunity to speak. Francis listened intently, expressing his anger at the harm caused and his shame at the failure of the Church authorities to tackle clerical abuse in Ireland.

Immediately after meeting the survivors, Francis met with members of the Irish Jesuit community. It was not a coincidence that he spoke about abuse within the Church, making specific reference to Ireland, Chile and the United States. Francis called upon the Irish Jesuits to help, by speaking out. In December the Jesuit Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat in Rome established the Project for the Promotion of a Consistent Culture of Child Protection. This Jesuit project is being administered from Ireland and will identify gaps in existing programmes and make recommendations to promote a culture of protection in the 70+ countries where Jesuits work.

Lifelong Harm of Trauma and Homelessness

on Thursday, 31 January 2019. Posted in Issue 83 Harm of Inaction, 2019, Current

Lifelong Harm of Trauma and Homelessness

Dalma Fabian

INTRODUCTION

Rates of homelessness are rising in almost all EU countries with a 150% increase in Germany from 2014 to 2016, a 20% rise in the number of people in emergency shelters in Spain over the same period, and an 8% increase in Denmark between 2015 and 2017. In the Netherlands 4,000 children in 2015 were registered with local authorities as homeless, up 60% on 2013. While the official number of people experiencing homelessness in Ireland is contested,1 the number has increased by 200% between July 2014 and November 2018, family homelessness having particularly contributed to this rise.2

Mortality rates among people experiencing homelessness are shockingly high. In England, the average age of death for men is 47 years old and for women it is even lower at just 43 years old. This is compared to 77 years old for the general population.3 Findings from a 2016 study of mortality among people experiencing homelessness in the Dublin region found that the average life expectancy was 44 for men and 38 for women.4 The impact of homelessness on the individual and society is profound, and it is therefore increasingly important to develop effective strategies to prevent and reduce the phenomenon. 

What Harm a Poor Healthcare System?

on Thursday, 31 January 2019. Posted in Issue 83 Harm of Inaction, 2019, Current

What Harm a Poor Healthcare System?

Sheelah Connolly

INTRODUCTION

What constitutes a good healthcare system? Opinions differ, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has simply defined it as one that: “delivers quality services to all people, when and where they need them.”1 This definition is closely aligned to the much-discussed concept of universal healthcare. While the term is somewhat ambiguous and often used without explanation, most commentators agree that universal healthcare encompasses individuals receiving the care they need without suffering financial hardship.2

A majority of European countries introduced universal healthcare (to a lesser or greater extent) during the 20th Century. However, Ireland remains an anomaly in Europe in not providing it. In this article, I explore some of the benefits of universal healthcare before examining the shortcomings of the Irish healthcare system and their potential for harm.

A More Humane Approach to Addressing Harm

on Thursday, 31 January 2019. Posted in Issue 83 Harm of Inaction, 2019, Current

A More Humane Approach to Addressing Harm

Tim Chapman

INTRODUCTION

The core value of the common good, which sustains community and justice, is being eroded in modern society.1 Globalisation has provided many material comforts, but resulted in an underlying sense of insecurity and risk.2 Many people have lost the experience of solidarity with others that community and religion offered in the past. They feel threatened by other groups, often blaming them for their lack of access to employment, housing and public services.

In this paper, which is based upon research commissioned by a Catholic philanthropic organisation, an alternative, and more humane approach to addressing harm is presented – one that has a greater potential for positive outcomes. In our original research, we were interested specifically in the values of human dignity, active participation in society, the common good, social justice, and solidarity. These are concepts that also serve as core components of Catholic social teaching. Our goal was to explore if these values could transform the way society responds to crime.

Reflections on Ireland's Response to Potentially Irreversible Climate Change

on Thursday, 31 January 2019. Posted in Issue 83 Harm of Inaction, 2019, Current

Reflections on Ireland's Response to Potentially Irreversible Climate Change

Thomas L. Muinzer

INTRODUCTION
Ireland stands at an important historical moment. We live in an era where the world is endeavouring at last to get to grips with what philosopher Noam Chomsky, recently deceased physicist Stephen Hawking, and many others have described as one of the greatest problems facing humanity, that is, anthropogenic (human driven) climate change.1 Ireland has the capacity to make a world-leading contribution towards overcoming this challenge. However, its current performance is extremely poor given the diminishing time available to prevent dangerous climate change.

Writing six years ago in the Cork Online Law Review, produced out of Cork University, I made some general observations on Ireland’s overall performance in the sphere of climate governance, and ended with a question.2 Alluding to W.B. Yeats, I invited the reader to “call to the mind’s eye”3 from out of the grave John Tyndall (1820–1893), the Victorian scientist, and ask what he would make of Ireland’s climate commitments and performance if he were alive today (?). Tyndall was chosen not only because he was Irish (from County Carlow), but because he made essential contributions to the unfolding understanding of the science behind climate change.4 His most important contribution to science was to demonstrate and measure how atmospheric greenhouse gases absorb heat to different extents. This work made a vital contribution to our understanding of the greenhouse effect that underpins climate change.5

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