A dreary familiarity to this saddest of stories

The quiet hamlets of Cumbria – Wordsworth country – have now joined the grim global landscape of mass murder. Most of us cannot help trying to imagine the suffering among the uncomprehending bereaved, the horror of the local communities. We can do that because we feel empathy and compassion and can therefore imagine the consequences. Did Derrick Bird not think... Read More

Posted: 07 June 2010


A historic opportunity for optimistic leadership

In a recent interview, Roddy Doyle, just returned from a week in the UK, remarked that it was a relief to be away from the non-stop coverage of the financial crisis here. People in the UK, it seemed, were just getting on with things. What was it about us, he mused, that left us unable to get this crisis out... Read More

Posted: 24 April 2010


Chronic anger – and why the heart grows brutal from the fare

Over the last year, it seems as if we in Ireland are growing collectively angrier on a daily basis. There is no need to recite the litany of economic, banking, political, child abuse and other issues that have provoked that anger.  Rather I want to focus on the effects of anger on individuals and on a society and the relationship... Read More

Posted: 04 January 2010


Church's view of sex the root cause of its troubles

After the first wave of revelations over a decade ago, the sexual abuse of children by the clergy was explained away by the Roman Catholic Church by the bad apple theory – that these isolated “sexual acts” were transgressions by a minority of weak priests. In the wake of the Dublin diocesan report, that explanation has been amplified to include... Read More

Posted: 02 December 2009


Agencies are capable of pivotal role in recovery

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow citizens, we need to get a grip here. In the wake of the report of “An Bord Snip Nua”, there has been a national outbreak of self-loathing. How could we have got it so wrong? What national madness took hold? And that was even before the Sunday papers got going with the “bloodbath”of solutions ahead –... Read More

Posted: 23 July 2009

Book Review

Doctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Madness Really Any Good? By Richard Bentall Allen Lane

In 'Doctoring the Mind: Is the Current Treatment of Madness Really Any Good?' Richard Bentall does not mince his words. Conventional psychiatry, he charges, has failed “because it has been profoundly unscientific and at the same time unsuccessful at helping some of the most distressed and vulnerable people in our society”. This charge is all the more startling given the much-heralded new... Read More

Posted: 18 July 2009