In a recent article in Intercom magazine, Dr David Begg, adjunct professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences and a former general secretary of ICTU, outlined that for Catholics, hope is the greatest defence against adversity.

Dr Begg described the realities facing many businesses as they emerge from lockdowns into the ‘90% economy’. He said, “businesses are emerging from lockdown short of money, with strained balance sheets and facing weak demand.” The oncoming six week lockdown will bring a new level of difficulty to businesses, who have only just reopened. He continued, “The worry is that some businesses will not reopen and so people may never work again.”

Drawing attention to the shocking unemployment figures recently published by the CSO, Dr Begg said, “Unemployment volumes and rates for the end of June were 531,412 persons and 23.1% respectively. By the end of July this had improved somewhat to 386,935 and an unemployment rate of 16.7%. Before the pandemic the unemployment rate was down to 5.2%.” He emphasised, “These statistics reveal a great deal about the impact of the pandemic on the labour market but they do not tell us much about the impact on people’s lives. They do not tell us about the shattered dreams, the uncertainty about ever being able to buy a home or start a family, the inability to save for a pension or to afford third level education for children.”

In conclusion, Dr Begg stresses the importance of hope as a means of combating the challenging times we now face. He said, “I don’t expect that many of us spend time drilling deeply into the theological dimensions of hope. But it is the gift of our catholic faith that deep within us there is this understanding that no matter how impossible our situation, nothing is impossible for God.”

To read the full article, click here.

Ends