Articles tagged with: Margaret Burns

Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy - Analysis of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

on Monday, 16 October 2017. Posted in Issue 80 Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy, 2017

PdfIconRebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy – Analysis of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness– Analysis of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

Margaret Burns, P.J. Drudy, Rory Hearne and Peter McVerry SJ

Providing affordable, quality and accessible housing for our people is a priority ... The actions of the New Partnership Government will work to end the housing shortage and homelessness. (Programme for Government, May 2016)

Against a background of deepening public concern about the increasing number of households in Ireland experiencing some form of housing distress, and in particular the marked rise in homelessness, the Programme for a Partnership Government agreed in May 2016 set out a number of specific commitments to address the country’s housing crisis, and promised that the Minister for Housing would issue an ‘Action Plan for Housing’ within 100 days of the formation of the Government.1




Homelessness and Social Housing Policy

on Saturday, 14 October 2017. Posted in Issue 80 Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy, 2017

Homelessness and Social Housing Policy

Peter McVerry SJ, Eoin Carroll and Margaret Burns


The Continuing Rise in Homelessness
The most disturbing aspect of the current housing crisis is, of course, the extent to which individuals and families are experiencing homelessness.

While homelessness has been rising since at least 2013 there has been a particularly marked increase since 2015. As indicated by Table 1 below, the total number of people living in emergency accommodation more than doubled in the period January 2015 to August 2017 (rising from 3,845 to 8,270). The number of families in such accommodation more than tripled (rising from 401 in January 2015 to 1,442 in August 2017), as did the number of children (increasing from 865 to 3,048). One person in three now living in emergency accommodation in Ireland is a child. There has also been a 32 per cent increase in the number of adults on their own in emergency accommodation (up from 2,441 in January 2015 to 3,235 in August 2017).1



Alcohol: A Key Public Health Issue

on Wednesday, 03 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

Margaret Burns

May, 2009

Alcohol: A Key Public Health Issue

Off-licence sales of alcohol

Off-licence sales of alcohol have increased

© D. Speirs


The television documentary, When the Party’s Over, presented by Dr Mark Hamilton and broadcast on RTE just before Christmas 2008, provided many memorable images of Ireland’s current drinking habits and of the consequent impact on individuals and society as a whole.

One of the most striking features of the programme was the way it so clearly illustrated the fact that ‘ordinary social drinking’ as it has come to be defined in modern Ireland makes for levels of consumption that are well in excess of the limits for low-risk drinking advised by health authorities. It would appear that many people in Ireland would find themselves readily agreeing with the view of the young woman, quoted in a 2003 article in The Observer, who said: ‘That is not binge drinking. That’s called having a social life.’1

A Horrible Warning? Lessons for Ireland from Michael Moore’s Film, Sicko

on Friday, 26 October 2007. Posted in Issue 56 The Anniversary Issue

Review Article

Margaret Burns, Policy Officer, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice


pdf A Horrible Warning: Lessons for Ireland from Michael Moore’s Film, Sicko






Michael Moore’s film, Sicko, now on general release, dramatically highlights how the wealthiest country in the world, and one which spends a much larger percentage of its GDP on health than other developed countries, fails to provide an adequate and fair system of care for its citizens. The film carries its message through people’s own accounts of being denied medical care or being required to pay exorbitant amounts of money for services; it does so also through the voices of people who have worked in America’s health insurance industry and who reveal how, for that industry, the imperative of making profit takes precedence over enabling people to obtain care.


Housing the New Ireland Comment on the NESC Report

on Monday, 13 June 2005. Posted in Issue 50 Housing the New Ireland, 2005

June 2005

Margaret Burns*

In spring 2004, Focus Ireland, the voluntary organisation dealing with homelessness, placed a series of poster advertisements around Dublin city. These were designed to look rather like the plaques which are put on buildings to indicate that a noted artist, political figure or other famous person once lived there. A typical Focus Ireland \'plaque\' read: \'Paul Ryan, Homeless Person, Lived Here, August 2003\'. Posted alongside doorways, bridges and other places that might provide minimal shelter, they were a graphic reminder of the continuing problem of homelessness in the midst of a vibrant and clearly prosperous city. On the evening I first saw one of these posters, I turned on the radio and encountered a very different advertisement: this one announced a Holiday Home Fair for the latest location to become \'the\' destination for Irish people wanting to buy that second home abroad. The two advertisements pointedly illustrated the widening gap in the experience of different groups of people in Ireland with regard to housing (and income and wealth) which has been such a feature of this society over the past decade.

Getting to Grips with Ireland's Alcohol Problems

on Thursday, 02 December 2004. Posted in Issue 49 The Garda Síochána Bill 2004 (Somone will be watching you!), 2004

November, 2004

Margaret Burns*

Urgent need for responsible attitude to drinkingRecent months have seen the publication of two important reports on alcohol in Irish society - the Report on Alcohol Misuse by Young People, issued by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children in June 2004, and the Second Report of the Strategic Task Force on Alcohol, which was published in September. (1)  These documents provide a wealth of information and analysis on the topic of alcohol in Ireland today and put forward a range of recommendations. They merit serious consideration by all concerned about health and social well-being in the newly-prosperous Ireland.

Housing : A Growing Trend towards Inequality

on Thursday, 24 June 2004. Posted in Issue 48 The Constitution: Private Property and the Common Good, 2004

Margaret Burns

June 2004


The recommendations of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution on the right to private property and its relationship with the requirements of the greater social good, take on particular significance when seen in the context of Ireland\'s recent unprecedented demand for housing and infrastructural development, arising from nearly a decade of high levels of economic growth.

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.