Sunday, December 31, 2017
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Irealnd's over-65s are expected to double within the next 20 years bringing the totoal number of people over 65 to one million.
Ireland's population is ageing faster than the EU average.
There has been a 34 per cent increase in people aged over 65 since 2008.
A million people with the Travel Pass in 2038?
Friday, December 29, 2017
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
This week's Independent News & Media Irish regional newspapers' column.
Earlier this month an aggravated burglary took place a short three kilometres from where I live.
A woman and a man smashed the window of a house and forced a man in his 60s to go to an ATM to withdraw money. Later in the morning they made him go to a bank and withdraw a larger sum.
Fortunately, two people were arrested. Imagine the terror and trauma caused to that man.
A day hardly passes when we don’t hear about a violent act done to a person. In mid-December a 78-year-old widow, who lived on her own, was murdered in Limerick.
All crimes are heinous but when they are done to vulnerable people there is a gasp of horror from the collective national conscience.
We read it in the newspapers and see it on our television screens. But when it does not impinge on us I think it’s true to say that we easily move on to the next item of news.
When it touches us at a personal level it is a different story.
In early December I was cycling on a narrow Dublin street. It was 5.45pm. I was well lit up and it would have been impossible not to see me. A car passed me but alas it was far too close for safety and certainly for my comfort. I got a real fright so my immediate reaction was to beckon to the driver to move out. I simply waved my hand suggesting he give me more space. There was no rude gesture, nothing like that from me.
Nervously I continued cycling. Because of the heavy traffic I managed to pass the motorist, so some minutes later I spotted a car pull up beside me and the window coming down. It dawned on me what was happening. My motorist friend was not happy with me. I was expecting a roar or two, a short exchange of words and that would be it.
It was nothing like that. He launched the most aggressive and frightening tirade that I have ever experienced. He screamed at me, using violent and obscene language. I was so frightened there was no way I was going to argue with him. I tried to explain that he drove too closely to me. He was having none of it.
He so frightened me that I was stuck to the ground. Why did I simply not jump up on the footpath and cycle away at speed? The answer is that I was terrified. Does he behave like that at home?
This was small stuff in so many ways. What must it be like for people who have to live with such behaviour? How must it be for women, children, vulnerable people, who are confronted with intolerable violence on a daily basis?
Later that evening I phoned a Garda station. I got chatting to a friendly garda and explained what happened. He told me that the general public has no idea how society is changing and how violent people are becoming.
What is it about us that can make us violent? Nature of nurture?
Since that incident happened me I’ve been thinking of the words of Levin in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: ‘We must live for something incomprehensible, for God, whom no one can know or define’.
There’s a line in Psalm 41 which reads: ‘By day the Lord will send his loving kindness.’
I like to go for that.
Goodness and kindness surely are the hallmarks of strength. We need a gentler world. There’s more to us than nastiness and violence. It should never be tolerated.
Monday, December 25, 2017
Sunday, December 24, 2017
"Christmas reminds us that a faith that does not trouble us is a troubled faith.
A faith that does not make us grow is a faith that needs to grow. A faith that does not raise questions is a faith that has to be questioned.
A faith that does not rouse us is a faith that needs to be roused. A faith that does not shake us is a faith that needs to be shaken. Indeed, a faith which is only intellectual or lukewarm is only a notion of faith.
It can become real once it touches our heart, our soul, our spirit and our whole being, once it allows God to be born and reborn in the manger of our heart, once we let the star of Bethlehem guide us to the place where the Son of God lies, not among kings and riches, but among the poor and humble."
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Last year a new Irish company, Food Cloud, prevented 23 million meals in Ireland and the UK being lost.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Unfortunately there is an aggressive tone to the piece, which most likely will bring none of us closer to the goodness and kindness of God.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017
When a nation's pride is damaged, history shows that the genie is let out of the bottle.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Saturday, December 9, 2017
He was in luck as I had one copy. We got chatting. Maybe during our chats in the next day or so I discovered he was a Redemptorist priest, or maybe it was a nurse or doctor who said it to me. During the following days and weeks we built up a friendship.
And guess what, after 14 months in the job I'm inclined to think there are degrees of 'amazement' in every human being.
And then the silent ones too, who hide behind anonymity. Maybe it has something to do with my DNA, but that's simply the sort of person I am. I think I understand why the institutional church is where it is today.
Friday, December 8, 2017
The man is dead but how lovely it is to read about a Dominican who lived this sort of life.
It's another world to prancing about in perfectly tailored habits, talking about angels and waking up thinking of the Immaculate Conception.
This man seems to have been a real, kind human being, who had no time for piosity, codology, humbug.
It's profoundly sad to observe what's happening the Dominican Order in some provinces.
It seems as if the Order in some countries is being influenced by a right-wing fundamentalism, which has its origins in the Unied States. Trump-style Christianity. Bizarre.
A chapter in international solidarity with Brazil’s embattled rural poor closed on Sunday 26 November with the death of Dominican priest and lawyer, Henri des Roziers.
Henri had worked in Brazil since 1978, using his skills as a lawyer to defend rural workers’ unions and to bring to justice the landowners who ordered the killing of so many of their leaders.
The tributes paid to Henri at his funeral in Paris on 1 December put his commitment into a broader context.
Born into what the French call a family of the haute-bourgeoisie, Henri showed very early that he wanted to follow a different path by visiting poor families in Paris slums, an example of what was later called the ‘option for the poor’.
He studied philosophy and law at the Sorbonne and later in Cambridge. In Cambridge, he met a French Dominican theologian, Yves Congar, who had been banned from speaking by the Vatican and was in a kind of exile in Britain.
Congar’s influence made Henri decide that the Dominican order would enable him to develop his Christian commitment to justice; His first post was as a chaplain to students at the Centre Saint-Yves in Paris, the only student centre that did not close during the student revolts of the 1960s.
He later became a priest worker, a lorry-driver and a worker in a chemical factory in Besançon.
Later, in Annecy, he had a job inspecting and closing the squalid accommodation to which North African migrants were condemned, using his legal skill
She was mocked for losing the beauty that defined her; Christine Keeler looking rough became a tabloid staple, for what else was she for?
She was mocked, too, for seeking to profit from the scandal with her memoirs; but if men can benefit from her story, why not she? The answer is simple, and eternal. She was the woman, and the woman bears the guilt.” https://gu.com/p/7ya5a/sbl
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Note the refernce to 'post-truth' in this piece in today's Guardian.
The world seems edgy.
"In London, the Jewish Board of Deputies president, Jonathan Arkush, welcomed Trump’s decision, saying it was bizarre that it should be seen as remarkable.
“Jerusalem has been the spiritual centre of Jewish life for 3,000 years, since the time of King David,” he said. “Given that Jerusalem is in fact historically, presently and legally Israel’s capital, the decision by many countries not to formally recognise this has been an act of post-truth petulance.”
Nasser Qudwa, a senior Palestinian official, said unilaterally recognising Jerusalem as the capital would be in breach of international law, and that the Palestinians would seek to challenge the move at the UN security council.” https://gu.com/p/7y996/sbl