Once known as the land of saints and scholars, Ireland today is better known as the land of scandals and tribunals. Politics, banking, the Church, business, medicine, law and the Gardai have all suffered from an erosion of public confidence in the wake of an astonishing proliferation of scandals. Moreover, Ireland has undergone rapid social, economic and political change over the last decade, which has had a profound impact on our value system. For example, the decline in authority and influence experienced by the Catholic Church in recent years has forced many people to seek other sources for ethical and moral guidance. Ireland at the beginning of the 21st century is a fairly prosperous one, yet this creates dilemmas of its own. Difficult decisions about the distribution of resources raise awkward questions for society. How is the tension between the rights of individuals and the overall good of society to be resolved? And who do we look to for guidance? The political elite? The Christian Church? The medical and legal professions? Business leaders? All have had their credibility seriously tainted by damaging scandals. A Just Society? consists of 25 essays by highly regarded people on the current reality of ethics in Ireland.
The contributors - who include Fr Peter McVerry, Archdeacon Gordon Linney, Mary Banotti, Fergal Quinn, John Lonergan, Finian McGrath, St Stanislaus Kennedy, Mary O'Rourke, David Begg, Martin O'Donoghue, and Fr Harry Bohan, among others - provide a hard-hitting and incisive analysis of the ethics and values - or lack of same - currently on view in Irish society. It will make a timely and important contribution to the debate on the quality of life in contemporary Ireland.