I am Sorry

flowersA few weeks ago almost 900 people were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to get to Europe. 900 families and more, bereaved in the space of one night. A few nights later, another tragedy: this time, 400 people. All crammed into grossly overcrowded fishing boats with women and children locked in the holds below deck.  All had great desires: safety from bombings, or captivity and death by one of the many powerful terrorist groups, a need to make a new start for a dignified way of life with work, desires every human being in similar circumstances would have.  Desires born of desperation, like those young women and men who set sail on “coffin ships” to America from the West of Ireland in the mid to late 1800's to escape famine and misery at home. Many of those died at sea, too, of disease and hunger.

A poem translated from Arabic has recently been circulated through the internet.  The author is unknown. We do not know his or her circumstances or whether it was written from direct experience or from afar having heard of the appalling events in the Mediterranean.  Nonetheless it is a powerful meditation on the plight of each of those who now lie on the sea bed, partly because the European Community has lost its humanity and is refusing to adequately fund search and rescue operations.  “Everyone should read it” said the email, the loss it describes is immeasurable.


AFRICA – Access to Medicines, SMA Justice Briefing no 26meds

Then latest SMA Justice Briefing;  AFRICA – Access to Medicines reflects the Christian commitment to Justice and Church teaching on the inalienable dignity of the human person.  Access to medicines is a human right stemming from the right to life itself. Yet denying this right is an injustice that is common in many parts of the world. As a result the health and well-being of millions of people in Africa and across the developing world is negatively affected.  

This Briefing is based on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) 2015 Wish List.  This was drawn up because  Medicines should be a Right NOT a Luxury  Read more 

A more detailed Audio-Visual presentation, prepared by the SMA  Justice Office and  giving a broader overview of the issues affecting access to medicines in Africa is available on YouTube at



Direct provision needs ‘urgent action’, say Catholic bishops

Irish Times 11th December: Bishops have appealed for urgent action by the Government to address the direct provision system for asylum seekers. Read more


More than 600 granted asylum have no homes
An Irish Time’s article date 9 March 2015 reports that  successful asylum seekers  are caught in direct provision due to housing crisis  read more


Direct provision has been consistently challenged by activists, politicians and human rights lawyers by advocacy and in the courts over the past few years with numerous articles on the topic, including some of those below,  linked to on this website. The system has been widely condemned. Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness, refugee support groups and childcare expert Geoffrey Shannon amongst others have claimed that Ireland is in breach of constitutional and European human rights.

Yet every challenge and criticism has, up to now, washed over or been soaked up by government authorities without any change.  Is there finally light at the end of the tunnel?  This article by Liz O’Donnell in the Irish Independent (26 July 2014) points to a change of attitude with the appointment of the new Labour Minister of State Aodhan O Riordain at the Department of Justice.  Is there hope at last that the Direct Provision system will be reformed?  Read more



OPEN SECRETS - free Kindle download

OPEN SECRETS - free Kindle download

Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking and Witchcraft. To mark the first anniversary of its publication the Kindle version of the Book is now being made available free of charge and can be downloaded from Amazon.com.  Hard copies of the book are still available for purchase directly from the SMA Justice Office, African Missions, Wilton, Cork. Email: justice@sma.ie  Cost: €19.10  


Choose all that will bring life

Choose all that will bring life

Recently a friend working with refugees, told me “We are getting asylum seekers now from Syria and Iraq”.  The United Nations Refugee Agency reported that in 2014 there was a...

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