Wealth And Poverty


Sir, - If Kevin Myers is admonishing the Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI) that whoever speaks about justice ought themselves practise that virtue, then he is doing us all a good service (Irishman's Diary, October 9th). If the instances he adduces are exact, then he valuably challenges religious institutions to re-examine their own behaviour.

However, Mr Myers's article would have been more cogent if it had noticed facts daily narrated about tax evasion practised by wealthy sections of our society. In this regard, your columnist Dick Walsh is more satisfactory. Last Saturday he spoke of "scandalous divisions in which the interests of the rich and powerful are protected at every hand's turn and in every way against the interests of the community".

It would be a pity if Mr Myers were permitted to divert attention from Fr Healy's own arguments. These have been made consistently and courteously over the last decade. To their credit, politicians, administrators and journalists have taken note of Fr Healy's publications. As I understand him (along with his colleague, Sr Brigid Reynolds) Fr Healy warns against a "two-tiered" society and prevalent exclusion from the benefits of what is now called "a booming economy". Among other remedies, he details tax reform as a re-distributive mechanism. Thus, he argues that rich and powerful interests should contribute to realigning our society towards greater social justice. Since rich and powerful interests rarely do this of their own volition, budgetary provision, duly enforced, is the most suitable way of ensuring they actually do so.

Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that Kevin Myers resents this. His "glass house" reference reads like an argumentum ad hominem. Possibly, it is a colourful literary device. Yet, it may also serve as a diversion from Fr Healy's arguments. Please allow me to pay tribute to Fr Healy's work and reiterate the necessity for fair attention to his arguments. - Yours, etc., Denis Carroll,

College Park Way,

Dublin 16.