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Working Notes – Issue 78 Editorial

John Guiney SJ and Eugene Quinn During 2015, in excess of one million refugees and migrants risked their lives in crossing the Mediterranean Sea to enter the European Union. More than 3,700 people, one quarter of them children, died by drowning during the attempt. Europe’s experience of increased forced migration is just one element of… Read more »



Working Notes – Issue 77 Editorial

Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home, the first papal document devoted entirely to ecology, has generated considerable interest and debate since its publication in June 2015. The encyclical is at once an exploration of the various environmental crises facing the world, a radical critique of current economic models, a call… Read more »


A sign reads, "There Is No Planet B", as parents carry children among thousands marching through central Oslo, Norway, to support action on global climate change, September 21, 2014. According to organizers of "The People's Climate March", the Oslo demonstration was one of 2,808 solidarity events in 166 countries, which they claim was "the largest climate march in history".

Preparing the Road to Paris

Some of the younger activists at a recent United Nations Climate Conference sported tee shirts which read: ‘You have been negotiating about climate change since before I was born!’. Indeed, the seemingly intractable negotiations which began with the First Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Berlin in 1995 have been in essence a spectacular failure.



Ecological Economics and Politics in the Ecology Encyclical

It is clear that in Laudato si’ Pope Francis has put forward a quite detailed account of what is required at the economic and political levels if there is to be an adequate response to the ecological problems of our world. His encyclical poses very serious challenges not only to governments but also to each one of us in our daily lives.



The Role of Social Enterprise in Renewable Energy Production

Natural resources – water, energy and fertile soil – are fundamental to our life on earth. Many environmentalists – for example, Tim Jackson1 – believe that at the heart of the environmental crisis we are experiencing, and which is manifesting itself in so many ways, lies over-consumption of the earth’s resources.


Environmental Initiatives by Church Groups in Ireland

In this issue, we publish articles outlining the ecology work of a further six groups. The first article describes the work of the Presentation Sisters in Ireland. Following this, there are articles on four church communities (Carrigaline Union, Church of Ireland; Clonakilty Methodist Church; Fitzroy Presbyterian Church; Rathfarnham Quaker Meeting) which have received an ‘Eco-Congregation Ireland Award’, and on a fifth (Balally Catholic Parish) which is shortly to receive an Award.


Catholic Social Teaching and Housing

‘Have youse (yis) no homes to go to?’ – the traditional, plaintive cry of long-suffering publicans, trying to clear their premises after closing time, can sound somewhat hollow and ironic to many in today’s Ireland. We live at a time when housing supply does not meet demand; when, in the wake of the collapse of the property bubble, home-owners may struggle to meet mortgage repayments and many fear re-possession; where those in negative equity may find themselves unable to move from their current home even when there are pressing family or financial reasons for them to do so; where waiting lists for social housing are at an alarmingly high level, and where many are unable to access or remain in private rented accommodation because of unaffordable increases in rents in many areas.



The Private Rented Sector: the Case for Regulation

In the past, those with good jobs and reasonable incomes in Ireland might have aspired to purchase a home. However, after a short few years of house price falls subsequent to the economic crash in 2008, the purchase price of houses has been escalating again, meaning that owning a home may now be impossible even for households that are relatively well-off. Therefore, they have no option but to rely on accommodation provided by private landlords.


House Keys on Stack of Money isolated on a white background

Recent Trends and Developments in the Owner-Occupier Sector in Ireland

Cathal O’Connell and Joe Finnerty Introduction This article examines the recent experiences of the owner-occupier sector in Ireland, with reference to historic trends in home-ownership, the impact of the economic crash on the housing system and the consequences that followed, and the current and pending challenges faced by the sector. Given the links between the… Read more »


eviction notice

The Private Rented Sector in Ireland: Time for a National Strategy

Bob Jordan Introduction  In December 2014, in a ‘Chairperson’s Statement’ introducing the 2013 Annual Report of Threshold,1 Senator Aideen Hayden, stated: ‘Threshold is calling on the Government to introduce a national strategy on private rented housing as a matter of urgency. This strategy must provide real security for individuals and families who are making their… Read more »