Columbans Ireland

Oct 18th
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"We should be ashamed of our country"

As Irish people we should have more empathy for the plight of migrants, writes Fr Alan Hilliard in an article for the irish Catholic.

"Writing and speaking on the subject of migration in Ireland falls on deaf ears most of the time, unless of course it is about tragedy that befalls Irish people abroad or the subject revolves around the plight of groups of Irish emigrants who are suffering under the weight of a seeming injustice overseas. 

I am often perturbed that a country like Ireland with such a tragic history of emigration cannot draw the parallels with contemporary European migration. The simple wish to live in a place where one can find safety, security, even happiness, is the key to every migratory journey whether that is a journey out of Europe or a journey into Europe. 

Climate Change and the Preferential Option for the Poor

A principle which is helpful in the search for an ecological theology is the preferential option for the poor. This is a relatively recent moral principle which emerged, especially from the struggles of poor people in Latin America, during the second part of the 20th century. It is now enshrined in Catholic Social Teaching. It challenges individuals and societies to examine ethical and economic choices from the point of view of how it will affect poor people, not just in their locality, but globally as well.

President Higgins' Address to Misean Cara

I was very delighted to accept the invitation to come here today and to pay tribute to the inspiring work that missionary members have long carried out – and continue to carry out – in providing education and health services to those in greatest need, in promoting their human rights, in working with them to boost their opportunities for better livelihoods;  and also to pay particular tribute to the work of Misean Cara in facilitating and supporting that work.
May I thank your chairperson Matt Moran for his kind references to our own family connections to this area, and indeed Sabina’s family is perhaps the most connected with the work that you have been speaking about.  My sister-in-law Margaret Coyne spent, I think, just about twenty-seven years in Tigre Province in Ethiopia and we are delighted to be able to hear that the work we visited, to hear that the work is continuing and my brother-in-law Fr. Paddy Coyne spent a great deal of time in the early days establishing schools in Kenya.

Big Tobacco Flexes its Muscles

At the moment we are witnessing an extraordinary event. Big Tobacco, in the guise of Japan Tobacco International (JTI), is planning to take the Irish government to court over its attempts to introduce plain tobacco containers.  Dr. James Reilly, the Children’s Minister in Ireland has adopted this position as a way to further reduce the number of smokers in the country.   Minister Reilly pointed to the fact that in Ireland 5,200 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases. The tobacco industry dispute the claim that plain packaging leads to fewer smokers.   In Australia, where plain packaging was first introduced, John Player circulated data recently which shows that in the 12 -17 age-cohort tobacco use grew by 32 percent since plain packaging was introduced in 2012. Many question these figures, and wonder why they plan to take the Irish government to court if plain packaging will increase their sales!.

Unlikely encounters show connectedness

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That and surprise. (Julia Cameron)

It was a hot tropical morning as I set out for a distant hill barrio of Illigan City in Mindanao. Every few miles the jeep conked out. After checking various plugs, connections and a dose of coaxing it started again went another few miles and spluttered to a halt. Again, after another dose of persuasion it started only to break down again. Frustrated, I abandoned it and took to shanks mare. Eventually, I arrived at my destination two hours late. The local people waiting to celebrate the feast of their patron understood as they frequently experience similar travails with transport.
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Missionaries -  we're just trying to match the generosity of those with whom we work and those who support us.

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