'In the Wake of the Celtic Tiger: Poverty in Contemporary Ireland'

 The Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (ICJSA) yesterday launched a position paper In the Wake of the Celtic Tiger: Poverty in Contemporary Ireland at the Saint Vincent de Paul National Office at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.

Speaking at the event, ICJSA Chair Bishop Raymond Field said: "The theme of Pope Benedict XVI's message for World Day of Peace on 1 January was Fighting Poverty to Build Peace. In his message Pope Benedict said that 'every form of externally imposed poverty has at its root a lack of respect for the transcendent dignity of the human person.' In addition to addressing world peace and the impact of globalisation, Pope Benedict also acknowledged the many forms of poverty that exist in 'advanced, wealthy societies', warning us that 'sooner or later, the distortions produced by unjust systems have to be paid for by everyone'."

Bishop Field continued: "Last June the ICJSA published a position paper entitled Violence in Irish Society: Towards an Ecology of Peace, which highlights the connection between violence and social exclusion in Irish communities. At that time ICJSA undertook to further research the issue of poverty. Today's paper In the Wake of the Celtic Tiger: Poverty in Contemporary Ireland is a deeper exploration of this problem and its consequences, not only for the individuals and families affected, but for our society as a whole.

"We are mindful that this position paper is being published against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty that is reflected daily in the media. Every day brings further job losses with the ensuing devastating consequences for the individuals, families and communities affected. While we acknowledge the many pressures on Government and the need for difficult decisions at a time of economic crisis, the needs of the most vulnerable must not be ignored."

Dr Ethna Regan CHF, said: "The ICJSA's objective today is to focus on the plight of the most vulnerable groups in our society, particularly those who benefited little, if at all, from our economic prosperity. Poverty alleviation is not a luxury for prosperous times but a moral and developmental imperative for contemporary Ireland."

Professor John Monaghan, National Vice President of the Society of St Vincent de Paul said: "The Society of St Vincent de Paul might be seen as being engaged in a modern day application of the story of the Good Samaritan. But we are about much more than that, because apart from providing friendship and support we must also continue to ask, both of the Government and society in general, the awkward question: 'Why is the person we assist lying on the road in the first place?'

"As a matter of urgency a 'National Development Plan for People' is required to ensure enough money to live on, access to education, access to healthcare, and the development of strong and environmentally sustainable communities. Such a development plan must also include a forum for discussion of the common good that includes people of different faiths and convictions, giving priority to the voices and experiences of the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable."

In conclusion Bishop Field said, "The ICJSA wishes to acknowledge the important contribution of community and voluntary organisations in the area of poverty eradication. In particular I wish to express support for the vital work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul which, in a Christian manner, never fails to respond to all those who call upon its services."

To read a pdf of In the Wake of the Celtic Tiger: Poverty in Contemporary Ireland see: www.catholicbishops.ie
The site also has a video interview with Bishop Raymond Field on the position paper

Source: Irish Catholic Media Office

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