Undervalued Biodiversity

Beyond agriculture we see this undervaluation of biodiversity every day. Developments fail to take care to protect existing habitats; trees are routinely cleared in the name of road safety, when they are deemed dangerous or to satisfy the demand for fuel. We value what we understand.

Easter urges compassion for prisoners

At the heart of the prison-black-hole phenomenon is a refusal to recognise the humanity of the prisoner. The person in prison ceases being a citizen, a neighbour, a person with a complex narrative that can explain how they ended up where they are. They no longer warrant our empathy. They become faceless and nameless.

An Overview of Challenges Faced in Irish Prisons

Most prisoners come into prison with an addiction issue, receive little or no help with their addiction, and leave prison with the same addiction issue. And we are surprised when they reoffend!

Public land for public good

If this example of using public land for the ‘common good’ was followed by everyone – from individuals to businesses to the State – it would significantly improve our lives, as well as help with the multiple social and environmental crisis we are living with.

Who benefits from ending the eviction ban

A house or apartment that is owned by someone who does not live in it, is not that person’s home, but it is their property. If the property has a tenant living in it, it is now their home, even though they are not the owner.

Where’s the Common Good in the Migrant Crisis?

This semester I have been teaching a course on how theology relates to power and politics. It has been a joy to watch students grapple with classic theological texts – so apparently distant from their everyday experience – and see them realise how sharply they apply to pressing contemporary issues. At the same time, I… Read more »

‘National Conversation’ is a loaded term

Maybe serious channels for dialogue, listening and understanding are being developed by the Office of An Taoiseach and other departments. But if, as I suspect, the real intention is not for understanding but a focus on building consensus about the issue of societal violence, we may be asked to travel a different path. One of punishment rather than understanding.

European slow and active travel

Travelling to Rome in October 2019 was my first experience of slow travel across continental Europe. It was without a doubt more stressful to organise than booking a flight, but I can honestly say that it was one of my nicest travelling experiences.

Missing Targets in a Housing Crisis

There are – still – more than 11,000 people homeless. Homelessness figures have been record-breaking, (you might say exceeding their targets) for six months in a row.  But the Government’s targets for social housing have not even been met, never mind exceeded. This fact has been further compounded by the Department of Housing’s reported underspend of €340 million in its housing budget for last year, which raises further questions about the Department’s capacity and determination to lessen the severity of this crisis. 

Cargo bikes not SUVs

My wife and I rented an electric cargo bike while on holiday last year and were awakened to the possibilities that they offer. A bike like this can carry kids and bags and shopping over far longer distances, with ease. The government offers a €1,500 tax free allowance to buy electric cargo bikes. They cost next to nothing to run, and in traffic are as fast as any car.