Ireland has a population about half theat of New Jersey. Yet, last year the Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Ireland spent 15 million Euro helping the poor. That’s about 3 million per person! Either the president of Ireland’s de Paul Society is exaggerating or the people of the country are extremely generous. Or, of course, some of the money came from people of Irish descent, or otherwise around the world. Nevertheless, that’s a lot of “social justice”.
There is something about the people and country-side of Ireland that my late husband and I found so beguiling that in 25 years we returned there three times. We are not of Irish descent, nor are we politically motivated. We found the people to be genuinely kind and the country-side moody, yet lush. It seemed to be the perfect place for conflicted poets and saints.
From the late 90’s through the early 2000’s, Ireland’s economy boomed. In 2008, the European recession hit it hard. Ireland was one, if not the first European country, to pass austerity laws. And, I might add, peaceably. Although the country has had more than its share of priest pedophile scandals, Ireland remains a Catholic country devoted to social justice – one of the more altruistic and practical tenants of Catholic Christianity.