Article Category: International Issues

Towards the Lisbon Treaty Referendum: The View from Europe

The title proposed to me implies a double focus: actually, a double double focus. If the rest of this edition of Working Notes offers perspectives on Europe, my task is to discuss perspectives from Europe. Two doublets are implicit in the title: ‘The view’: but whose view? The view of the political establishment in Brussels?… Read more »


Euro barometer surveys consistently show that Irish people have a positive attitude towards the European Union. Research on how people voted in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty found that this positive attitude was the strongest single factor affecting people’s voting decisions.1 It also found that a low level of knowledge of what was in… Read more »

Taking Our Rightful Place Ireland, the Lisbon Treaty and Democracy

The Irish electorate has voted in favour of many European treaties since the original treaty of accession in 1971. Until the Nice Treaty any deal struck by Irish negotiators with their European partners included generous financial incentives. These incentives are indisputable and easily grasped. They have been our point of entry into Europe up till now and no other vision has been offered by our political leaders, who now have left it too late to redeem their failure of leadership. They have appealed too often and too eagerly to narrow self-interest and, as a result, they have lost the ability to inspire any generous sentiment.

Ireland, Europe and Catholic Social Teaching: Shared Values?

In May this year, on the last stretch of the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, etched on a large stone, for all to see, were the words ‘No Irish in EU’. The pilgrim route celebrates St James the Apostle and has been walked by Christians for well over a thousand years, and by Kerrymen since the 1400s!1 Given the history of Irish Christianity, and its importance in the founding of Europe from the 6th century, it shocks to realise that in 2009 there are people who do not want us in the European Union.

29.8.05. Dun Laoghaire. Participants in the Dun Laoghaire Refugee Project and P+L+U+S Appeal (Please Let Us Stay)- Leave to Remain for Aged-Out Minor Asylum Seekers- meet in Dun Laoghaire. Here Simret Teka speaking with Mekedelawit Solomon on her left and (on her immediate right-behind) Johnson Godwin. ©Photo Derek Speirs

Hidden Children: the Story of State Care for Separated Children

During the past ten years, over 5,300 children have come to the attention of the authorities in Ireland, having arrived here without the company of either of their parents. Many of these children, referred to as ‘separated children’ or ‘unaccompanied minors’, have experienced war and violence; some have been trafficked or smuggled into Ireland. They come from a wide range of countries, including Nigeria, Somalia, Ghana, Angola, Rwanda, China and parts of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.


In its report, Migration in an Interconnected World, the Global Commission on International Migration noted: International migration has risen to the top of the global policy agenda. As the scale, scope and complexity of the issue has grown, states and other stakeholders have become aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by international migration.

Ireland’s Asylum System – Still a Shambles?

Introduction Having worked overseas for more than ten years, I returned to live in Ireland in 1997. In the years during which I was away, both the pace and the scale of change in this country were significant; over the subsequent decade, however, they have been even more dramatic. Nowhere has this been more evident… Read more »


Trafficking and the Irish Sex Industry

At the Young Social Innovator of the Year Awards 2005, the Transition Year class of St Leo’s – founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1839 – won the Global Citizenship Award. Their project, ‘Stop the Trafficking of Women into Ireland for Sexual Exploitation’, was inspired by stories of young girls and women whose experiences were so shocking that they could not be ignored.

Integration: A Challenge in Principle, in Policy and in Practice

The economic boom of the Celtic Tiger years has transformed Ireland from a country of origin into a country of destination. Sustained and stellar economic growth from the early 1990s not only persuaded thousands of Irish nationals to return but attracted non Irish national migrant workers in large numbers. They were responding to the recruitment efforts of Irish employers who, faced with the significant skill and labour shortages that were a consequence of the boom, began to look overseas to fill vacancies.


Today, for many of us, the mention of return, removal, or deportation, conjures up thoughts of dawn raids on people\’s homes and rushed midnight air flights. Swift enforced departures, with little or no forewarning, are accompanied by hasty packing, frequently under Garda surveillance, with no chance to communicate this unexpected turn-of-events to friends, neighbours, church… Read more »