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IssueM Articles

Crime and Prisons

Tough on Crime or Tough on Criminals? While it may be difficult to predict the outcome of the forthcoming General Election, it is somewhat easier to make accurate predictions about the issues that will surface as the election campaign unfolds. Crime will almost certainly feature prominently and we can safely expect that the political parties… Read more »


Climate Change

If the Dáil we elect at the forthcoming General Election lasts a full term, it will oversee the whole five-year period of Ireland’s commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (2008–2012). It will also cover the period during which the international negotiations to agree new and more challenging commitments to reduce our climate-changing pollution will be conducted.


Alcohol and Drugs

One of the notable features of prosperous Ireland has been its level of spending on alcohol and illegal drugs. The Strategic Task Force on Alcohol report of 2004 calculated that the country’s annual expenditure on alcohol of nearly €6 billion of personal income in 2002 represented €1,942 for every person over fifteen years of age.1… Read more »



Introduction The Government’s performance in recent years in relation to development cooperation has been hailed in many quarters as a considerable success. The decision in 2005 to re-instate the commitment to meeting the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of GNP on development aid, and the achievement of the first interim target of 0.5… Read more »



Voting in Pursuit of Justice

The Forthcoming Election The imminence of the third General Election since the Irish economic boom began provides an opportunity to consider how far we as a people, residents of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, are concerned with eliminating poverty and injustice. It is without question that high levels of economic growth, which… Read more »


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 »


Asking the Right Questions: Christians, Muslims, Citizens in Ireland

Our neighbour, eight-year old Muhammad, arrived at the front door on Hallowe’en night in the guise of Darth Vader; he was flanked by two other children from the road, disguised as a pirate and the devil. Later, his eleven-year old sister, Selma, arrived on her own, gorgeously dressed as a witch. As they departed with their trick or treat goodies, I recalled the words of President McAleese, addressed to Muslims in Ireland at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh, Dublin: ‘Your being here helps us and keeps challenging us to find ways to be joyfully curious about each other … we, I hope, will try our best to make Ireland a country of real welcome and a country of celebration of difference …’1 Are the President’s words realistic or are they naïve? I want to explore the kinds of questions we need to put to one another as Irish citizens so that obstacles to the realisation of the President’s hopes can be overcome.



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.



Working Notes – Issue 54 Editorial

The cover of this issue of Working Notes features a colour photograph of a scene from Moore Street in Dublin just a few weeks ago. This street, like many other parts of Dublin, is now populated by many nationalities – immigrants who have come to live in this country. Ireland has become more colourful as… Read more »