Welfare cuts will push people into debt

The social welfare cuts introduced in Budget 2010 will cause increased hardship for families on social welfare, according to leading charity and social advocacy groups. Social Justice Ireland (SJI) and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) have both been critical of the Budget in statements released on their respective websites, calling it "anti-family" and "very bad news".

Budget 2010: Government alcohol policy remains disjointed

The reduction in excise duty on alcohol in Budget 2010 caused genuine astonishment –why, given our many alcohol-related social problems, would the government entice us to drink more? The shock at this measure is itself surprising, because never has this government demonstrated coherent policy around alcohol. By Malachy Browne and Deirdra O'Regan

Budget cuts will put almost half the population at risk of poverty

Budget 2010 already is an enormous triumph. Irrespective of whether its public sector pay cuts cause public sector chaos (possible), irrespective of whether gardaí defy the State (unlikely), irrespective of whether it causes the fall of this Government (probable but not now), Budget 2010 already is a triumph.

Vatican cannot be above reproach in sex abuse scandal

The cynical indifference by Irish Catholic bishops to the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by their brother priests is not the full story, by any means. The culpability of the leadership of the Catholic Church at the Vatican is part of that fuller story, as I hope to demonstrate.

Clerical child sex abuse is only a small part of the scarifying phenomenon of child sex abuse in Ireland.

What on earth does the Department of Health actually do?

With public services in the spotlight, in particular the health services, the silent machine of the Department of Health (DoH) manages to dodge most attention. So what does the Department of Health actually do? How many people work there and what is its budget? How as it changed since the establishment of the HSE in 2005? Is it providing good value for money? The mission of the DoH is to improve the health and wellbeing of the Irish people and oversee health and social service provision (“fair access, responsive and appropriate care delivery, and high performance”).

Women are still unequal and unrepresented in Ireland

A more equitable gender balance in positions of leadership and employment would have lessened the impact of the recession on Ireland. Indeed, an increased effort to correct gender imbalances could also hasten our recovery. However, Ireland's gender gap is getting worse, impacting not only the economy, but women's health, violence, children and society as a whole.

AIDS stigma remains a problem in Ireland

Today, 1 December 2009, is World AIDS Day. Figures released recently by St. James’s Hospital show a significant increase in new cases of the virus in Ireland for this year. While standards of treatment and prognosis are improving, surveys and anecdotal evidence show there is still a significant stigma attached to HIV and AIDS. This stigma is not only causing hardship to those with the disease, it is also preventing people from seeking tests and treatment for HIV.

Lies from Connell and Co. most shocking aspect of diocese report

It was the lies that are the most striking revelation of the report on the Dublin Archdiocese. That is after the disclosures of the terrible abuse of probably thousands of young people over the years and the cover up of those abuses. But the lies from the mouth of an Archbishop, a professor of philosophy, later a Cardinal of the Church, the man who spoke of his counterpart in the Church of Ireland as being intellectually inferior, a finger-wagging moralist, the man who had a moral qualm about attending a reception hosted by Bertie Ahern and his then partner, Celia Larkin.

Poor emergency planning exacerbated flood damage

"I have never seen anything like it before," said Michelle Moran, a young resident of Cork. Just seven days ago, the ground floor of Moran's house on the Western Road was under approximately a metre of water. Since then, the waters have receded but for many throughout the country the situation remains extremely serious. This past week saw Ireland's worst weather in decades devastate large parts of the country, particularly in the south and west.