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homeless man asleep on cardboard.


Peter McVerry SJ The Housing Crisis Homelessness is the most visible, and extreme, consequence of a dysfunctional housing system. And the housing system in Ireland today is certainly dysfunctional; indeed, it could be said to be an example of the perfect storm, with all three of the main housing sectors in crisis at the same… Read more »



Working Notes – Issue 76 Editorial

In little more than a decade, the housing system in Ireland has gone from the peak phase of a property boom to a collapse of the market and dramatic falls in both housing output and prices, and now to a situation where house prices are rising, particularly in urban areas, but where we continue to… Read more »


Interview with Thomas Piketty, Author of Capital in the 21st Century

Thomas Piketty is an economist. He is director of studies at the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris and a professor at the Paris School of Economics. His research focuses on economic inequalities. His most recent book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century,1 has generated lively debate in the United States and Europe.



Working Notes – Issue 75 Editorial

This issue of Working Notes looks at inequality – a  subject which has been the focus of increasing attention in the last few years, from sources as diverse as the Occupy movement and the OECD. The slogan of the former, ‘We are the 99%’, reflects the extreme concentration of wealth and incomes in the top… Read more »


Catholic Social Teaching and Inequality

Gerry O’Hanlon SJ The Question My 92 year old uncle Rory recalls with fondness a time back in the 1940s and ’50s when he used to go for the odd drink in summer time with the then-goalkeeper of the Irish soccer team, a relative through marriage. Rory, a tradesman, was earning about IR£10 a week;… Read more »


Ireland’s Income Distribution

Micheál L. Collins Introduction Judged in an international context, Ireland is a high income country. The 2014 United Nations Human Development Report ranks Ireland as having the 28th highest gross national income per person in the world – with an average income at almost two and a half times the world average.1 Data from the… Read more »



Household Wealth and its Distribution in Ireland

We do not know the distribution of household wealth in Ireland. The reason is straightforward. We do not yet have sufficiently high-quality data usable for distributional analysis – the type of analysis that would allow us to know what groups within society own what share of wealth. We cannot even be certain about aggregate net wealth in Ireland or of the composition of wealth by asset type. 


Interview with Pat Cox, Former President of the European Parliament

Edmond Grace: Over the past year you have spent some considerable time in Ukraine as EU observer to the Timoshenko case. How is the EU seen in that country? Pat Cox: For many Ukrainians, especially the young, their idea of Europe is of modernisation, values, the rule of law – especially the fight against corruption – and… Read more »


The Social Dimension of Europe: Withered on the Vine?

Introduction There is obvious disenchantment among Europeans with ‘Project Europe’. This is largely due to a feeling that the social dimension of the project is being sacrificed in the interests of the economic dimension, while at the same time the supposed benefits of ‘free and undistorted’ competition are not forthcoming. No doubt, this is a… Read more »


Interview with James K. Galbraith

Jean Merckaert and Solange de Coussemaker: You are aware that Italy, Spain and Portugal made the choice for Europe in order to distance themselves from their fascist past. Fifty years on, we are witnessing a strong rise of extremists in advance of elections. Has Europe lost its soul? James K. Galbraith: This is a real danger. The… Read more »