December 2005 Working Notes

AP18_Karen_refugee_in_Kwiku.jpgThe December 2005 Issue of Working Notes (Issue 51) is now available online. You can read all of the articles here.

Editorial by Eugene Quinn

The Jesuit Refugee Service was set up twenty-five years ago by Father Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, at a time when the people fleeing Vietnam in boats were high profile on our TV screens. Now the JRS works in over thirty countries on five continents. Former JRS-Europe Director, Fr John Dardis SJ, who is current head of the Jesuits in Ireland, reflects on the Irish situation and the international challenge.  

To Detain or Not to Detain by Eugene Quinn and Renaud De Villaine

In January 2004, the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, heavily criticised the policies of the European Union towards refugees and migrants. In a speech to the Members of the European Parliament, he spoke of ‘offshore barriers’ and of ‘refused entry because of restrictive interpretations’ of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. He said that asylum seekers are ‘detained for excessive periods in unsatisfactory conditions’.

Deportation by Joan Roddy DMJ
Today, for many of us, the mention of return, removal, or deportation, conjures up thoughts of dawn raids on people's homes and rushed midnight air flights. Swift enforced departures, with little or no forewarning, are accompanied by hasty packing, frequently under Garda surveillance, with no chance to communicate this unexpected turn-of-events to friends, neighbours, church or school, much less say good-bye.

The Christian understanding of solidarity is one of the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching and is often the basis on which action towards, and with, people in situations of need is promoted. Solidarity, in this understanding, goes beyond a 'feeling of vague compassion, or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near or far' and calls for 'a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual because we are all really responsible for all.

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Conference Speakers

AN TAOISEACH, BERTIE AHERN, TD was born in Dublin in 1951, was first elected to the Dáil in 1977 for Dublin-Finglas and has represented Dublin Central since 1981. He has been Taoiseach since 1997. He served as Assistant Government Whip (1980-81); Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and at the Department of Defence, and Government Chief Whip (1982); Minister for Labour (1987-1991); Minister for Industry and Commerce (1993); Minister for Finance (1991- 1994); Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (1994) and Tánaiste (1994). He has been leader of Fianna Fáil since 1994 and served as Lord Mayor of Dublin (1986-1987).

PETER SUTHERLAND is Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and also of BP plc. A graduate of civil law, he practised at the Bar from 1969 to 1981. He has served as Attorney General of Ireland, EC Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy, Chairman of Allied Irish Banks, Director General of GATT and subsequently of the WTO. He is Chairman of the Trilateral Commission (Europe), Foundation Board member of the World Economic Forum and is associated with The European Institute (USA), the Chief Executive’s Council of International Advisers (Hong Kong), The Federal Trust, and the Consultative Board of the Director General of the WTO. He is also a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.

BRIGID LAFFAN is Vice-President of University College Dublin and the Principal of the College of Human Sciences. She is also Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics and Research Director at the Dublin European Institute, University College Dublin. She is a visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Brugge, Belgium and a member of the Research Council of the European University, Florence. She is author of Integration and Co-operation in Europe (1992), The Finances of the Union (1997) and co-author of Europe’s Experimental Union (1999). She has published numerous articles in the Journal of Common Market Studies and the European Journal of Public Policy. Professor Laffan coordinated a six-country cross national research project ‘Organising for Enlargement’ (2001-2004), financed by the EU Commission’s Fifth Framework Programme and part of an integrated research project on ‘New Governance in Europe’.

DAVID McWILLIAMS is one of Ireland’s best known broadcasters and commentators, appearing on radio and TV as well as writing a weekly opinion column in The Sunday Business Post. Educated at Trinity College Dublin and the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium, he has worked as an economist at the Central Bank, at UBS for which he travelled extensively in Eastern Europe and the Middle East devising strategy, at Banque Nationale de Paris, and as Global Strategist for Rockwest Capital in New York. He makes regular appearances on CNN, BBC and CNBC.

DAVID BEGG became General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 2001. For five years prior to that he was Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide, an international humanitarian organisation working in 27 countries. He is a Director of the Central Bank, a Governor of the Irish Times Trust, Chairperson of the Democracy Commission, a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and of the Advisory Board of Development Co-operation Ireland. He also sits on the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

DAN O’BRIEN is a senior editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the business information arm of The Economist Group which, among other things, provides economic and political forecasts for over 200 countries. London-based, he specialises in political and economic affairs in Europe and global trade and investment issues. In his capacity as senior editor he regularly addresses conferences and meetings, comments for broadcast media such as CNN, CNBC and the BBC and contributes to publications including the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Economist. He was previously employed in the foreign service of the European Commission and as a teacher of economics. He is a graduate of University College Dublin.

MARIA MARINAKOU is the President of the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN). She has many years experience as a lecturer and researcher in areas of comparative social policy and specifically concerning issues of poverty and social exclusion and the role of NGOs. Currently, she works with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants for an NGO in Athens.

ALAN DUKES is the Director General of the Institute of European Affairs and a Vice-President of the European Movement. A former leader of the Fine Gael party, he served as Minister for Agriculture; Finance; Justice; Transport, Energy and Communications. He has also been a governor of the IMF and of the World Bank. Mr. Dukes was the Director of the Irish Farmers’ Association Brussels office and advisor to Commissioner Richard Burke. He is currently a Public Affairs Consultant and has worked extensively on EU technical assistance programmes with Central and Eastern European nations.

DORIS PESCHKE was born in Hannover, Germany. She holds a university diploma in theology and studied in West Berlin, Göttingen, the Ecumenical Institute Bossey (Geneva) and Marburg. She held an internship with the World Council of Churches’ Programme to Combat Racism in 1981, worked for the representation of the Namibian liberation movement (SWAPO) in Bonn (1983-1988) and as Secretary for the Churches’ Development Services of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (1988-1999). Since September 1999, she has been General Secretary of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, an ecumenical agency of churches in Europe working on migration, asylum and anti-racism issues.

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Conference Programme

08.30 Registration
09.00 Welcome
JOHN DARDIS SJ, Irish Provincial, Society of Jesus
Where does the European Union go now?
10.00 Break
10.30 Identity, Culture and Democracy: what does it mean to be a European citizen?
Who are we – is there a European identity?
What do we share spiritually and culturally?
Is the European project driven by elites rather than by citizens?
Is the EU a threat or a support to national freedom and democracy in Europe?
How can European citizens participate in the development of the European project?
PETER SUTHERLAND, Chairman BP plc; Chairman Goldman Sachs International; former Director General GATT and WTO; former European Commissioner
BRIGID LAFFAN, Principal, College of Human Sciences, Vice-President, UCD
DAVID MCWILLIAMS, Economist, Broadcaster and Sunday Business Post Columnist
12.30 Lunch
13.30 The Lisbon Strategy: a sustainable future for Europe?
How do we optimise economic growth and employment to maximise social progress?
How can we compete globally without entering a race to the bottom in social protection?
Do European social models work? Are they worth keeping? Can we afford them?
How do we break the link between economic growth and environmental degradation?
DAVID BEGG, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
DAN O’BRIEN, Senior Editor, Economist, Intelligence Unit, London
MARIA MARINAKOU, President, European Anti- Poverty Network
1530 Break
1600 Migration in Europe: Fortress Europe or
Opportunity Europe?
What does an ‘Area of Justice, Freedom and
Security’ mean for migrants and local communities?
What do migrants and local communities need
to do to ensure successful integration?
How does Europe benefit from migration –
economically and socially?
What are the dynamic links between
demographics and migration?
Integration and multiculturalism – what have we
learned so far?
ALAN DUKES, Director General, Institute of European Affairs
DORIS PESCHKE, General Secretary, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, Brussels
1730 Closing Remarks
JOHN DARDIS SJ, Irish Provincial, Society of Jesus

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Press Release 25 October

A Disaster, and An Obscenity,
St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders has today been labeled “a disaster, and an obscenity, revealing the moral bankruptcy of the policies of the Minister for Justice.”


These hard-hitting comments by Fr Peter McVerry are contained in a study entitled Rehabilitation in Irish Prisons- Are We for Real? published today by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The study was launched in Dublin today by Judge Dermot Kinlen, the Inspector of Prisons.   


Commitment to Rehabilitation has regressed

“Rehabilitation in Irish prisons has regressed in the twenty-one years since the Whitaker Report on the penal system was published in 1985”, according to Fr McVerry, who contributed to the study.


Fr McVerry, who was a member of the of the Whitaker Committee, cited the closure of workshops and training facilities in 2003 and the cessation of literacy programmes at the youth prison as evidence of the decline in political commitment to rehabilitation throughout the prison system.


“Most young men in St. Patrick's spend 19 hours each day alone in their cells and the other five hours mindlessly walking up and down a dreary, depressing yard with nothing to do except to scheme (with enormous ingenuity, it must be said) how to get drugs into the place to kill the boredom” Fr McVerry added.


Call for greater scrutiny of replacement prison

Noting that the Government is committed to building a replacement youth prison, the Director of the Jesuit Centre, Fr Tony O’Riordan SJ called for “more scrutiny of the location, design and size of the replacement” for St Patrick’s Institution. “The problem has always been broader than the physical conditions in St Patrick's” he said


He added that “Rehabilitation must be a foundational concern in any prison-building programme. More important than any regeneration of prison buildings is a commitment to regeneration of the young people we send to prison.”


He pointed out that the Minister for Justice now has a great opportunity to exercise leadership. He called on the Minister to ring-fence the €25million annual savings arising from new working arrangements for Prison Officers and to use this money to develop alternatives to custody in targeted areas, targeted programmes in prisons and a strategy to ensure rehabilitation begun in prison continues after release. “In the absence of such investment, prison will remain little more than an interruption in an offender's criminal behaviour” he concluded.


In the absence of political commitment to rehabilitation he concluded by saying that Thornton Hall risks becoming ‘a social landfill-site’ for an increasingly uncaring Government. 



Posted in Criminality, Prisons and Justice News

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Housing the New Ireland

Issue 50 of Working Notes is available online now. Our theme this issue is 'Housing in the New Ireland.' This issue also includes editorial comment by Fr. Peter McVerry, S.J. on the findings of the NESC Report which is investigating corruption in the Garda Siochana in Donegal.

Housing the New Ireland: Comment on the NESC Report
Margaret Burns

Planning for People: Observations on NESC Chapter 5,
'Sustainable Neighbourhoods and Integrated Development'

Michael J. Bannon

Home: Dream or Possibility?
Challenges for the Homeless Services

Peter J. McVerry

Aspects of Catholic Social Teaching on Housing
Cathy Molloy

Editorial Comment - Second Report of the Morris Tribunal
Peter J. McVerry

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