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Presentation Sisters Justice Desk for Ireland and England

The North East and South West Provinces in Ireland, together with the English Province have established an Inter-provincial Justice Desk (Autumn 2016). The Director of this Justice Desk, Mr. Brian O’Toole provides the communication link between the Provinces and the International Presentation Association, a global network of Presentation Sisters which has NGO status at the United Nations.

A two-way correspondence between local concern and commitment, on the one hand, and the Global Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation  (JPIC) agenda on the other,  is thereby maintained.

Brian O’Toole, Director of Presentation Sisters Justice Desk.

The services of the Inter-provincial Justice Desk support the work of the Provincial Commissions and Groups in promoting research and action for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) by the three Provinces.

As part of the International Presentation Association (IPA) we have committed ourselves to respond to ‘the cry of the Earth and to people kept poor’ by embracing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a human rights framework, addressing the issues of women and children, care of the Earth and indigenous peoples.
Our mission is to speak and act in partnership with others for global justice from a contemplative stance, in a spirit of oneness with the whole of creation.

An Update from the Interprovincial Justice Desk

Much of the focus in November has been  on COP27 and what it means for us as a committed group of Christians. Our commitment to the processes of the COP27 negotiations are a follow on from our IPA commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On Oct 17th last, the UN Day for the Eradication of Extreme Poverty we had the privilege of attending Dublin’s famine stone to hear the voices of those with a lived experience of poverty.

Brian looks forward very much to the opportunity to meet our Friends of Nano face to face at the end of the month in Mount St. Anne’s Retreat & Conference Centre  to explore together those interests and commitments we have in common. See HERE

What we want from COP27

  1.  A “real zero” agreement means moving away from fossil fuels, the root cause of the climate crisis.
  2. Reduce Debt: Developing countries are suffering from the triple crisis of debt, climate change, and nature loss.
  3. Respect Human Rights.
  4. Address Loss & Damage: Climate change is not just the future, it is the present for many of the world’s most vulnerable citizens who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and their cultures. Wealthy nations have fiercely resisted providing specific finance for these losses.
  5. A fresh look at agriculture as a solution. A quarter of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture.  Agroecology is a system of food production that nourishes rather than destroys nature and offers a good solution.
  6. Progress on 2022 Glasgow COP26 commitments.

See also Shoeless on Sinai to COP27

The Eradication of Poverty

We prepare to mark the 6th World Day of the Poor on Sunday, 13th November (a Day established by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter “Misericordia et Miser” in 2016, to celebrate the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy). This day has been an important focus point for advocacy and action every year since then. Its aim after all is to encourage the Church to “go out” into the streets to encounter poverty in its different forms and to alleviate the suffering, as well as addressing the core drivers and advocating for change.


See also


The Presentation Justice Desk is a collaborative mission of the English, North East and South West Provinces and three times per year we collaborate prayerfully on a significant day as we encourage all in our three provinces to pray with us.

Our next day of special collaboration will be on August 9th centring our attention on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022.  See International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples | United Nations

Also Indigenous & Tribal People – International Presentation Association (globalpres.org)

Standing Together Against Direct Provision

The International Presentation (IPA) has joined the newly formed coalition of organisations standing against Direct Provision. STAD (the Irish word for stop) – Stand Together Against Direct Provision – are calling for the Government to fulfil the commitments it made to end direct provision by 2024 in the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision published in March 2021.

See  gov.ie – White Paper on Ending Direct Provision | Executive Summary in various languages (www.gov.ie)


At the Justice desk I am privileged to be an ATD board member representing the Presentation Sisters in Ireland. ATD Ireland are part of an important alliance called #addthe10th.

The purpose of this group is to have socio-economic status recognised as the tenth ground of discrimination in Irish equality legislation, namely the Equal Status Act and the Employment Equality Act. Those with an experience of poverty are “constantly fall through the cracks” of equality legislation.

Socio-economic discrimination can occur in many forms and can be experienced both individually and collectively. Discrimination is often felt within public services, such as in healthcare, housing and accommodation, when seeking employment, education, social welfare, or with the police.

Measuring Ireland’s Progress (SDGs)

Measuring Progress: The Sustainable Progress Index 2022 ranks 14 comparable EU countries based on their delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Written by Prof. Charles M.A. Clark of St John’s University, NY; Dr. Catherine Kavanagh of UCC; and Colette Bennett of Social Justice Ireland, the index compares 14 EU countries across all UN SDGs, assesses their performance on each individual SDG; creates a ranking table for performance overall; and provides national and local-level policy proposals to improve Ireland’s progress towards the Goals.

All 17 SDGs have been referenced but the results have been collated to indicate the degree to which we have implemented the SDGs to account for our Economic, Social and Environmental Progress. Overall Ireland stands about 10th out of 14. Below us are Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. We scored highest in SDG 4—Quality Education where we came 1st out of 14 but we scored poorly on SDG #13—Climate Action (11th out of 14). There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had an impact on our ability to achieve full implementation of the Goals and the 2030 deadline looms large. Much done – more to do as they say.


Over the course of the last year much of our work was online and at a distance from people. ‘Zoom’ allowed attendance at three or four meetings per day whereas beforehand the pace was definitely gentler with more thinking time for all. We continue to work particularly closely with the Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation (RENATE), AEFJN Ireland, COALITION 2030, Altogether in Dignity (ATD) Ireland, Edmund Rice International, Social Justice Ireland and Our Lady of the Apostles and others.

Brian O’Toole
Director, Interprovincial Justice Desk

[This is just a current selection from the vast ‘Justice landscape’ that the Inter-Provincial Justice Desk feeds into – thank you Brian for sharing this].

Universal Periodic Review Update

Every 5 years every country in the world is assessed by peer countries on their Human Rights record. This process is known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Ireland is up for review in November 2021 at the UN in Geneva and importantly there is room for Civil Society to make their own submission.
Last October 2020 Brian O’Toole availed of the opportunity to undertake some Human Rights training with Edmund Rice International (ERI) and it was here that he was prompted to think that perhaps we should make a submission. Brian had learned that any submission is strengthened when it becomes part of a coalition submission, and he therefore contacted both Christian Brothers Ireland and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles (OLA Ireland) and together we prepared a technical submission that would look at three particular topics:
1. Human Trafficking in Ireland
2. Migrants & Refugees in Ireland
3. Domestic and Gender Based Violence.
In March of 2021 we made our submission and this was supported by over 22 other NGOs who agreed to co-sign the submission.

The UN High Level Political Forum July 2021

The High-level Political Forum (HLPF), the UN central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals is taking place from July 6th—15th 2021.
The theme will be “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.
The Forum will discuss SDGoals: 1–No to Poverty; 2—Zero Hunger, 3—Good Health & Well-being; 8—Decent work & economic growth; 10—Reduced Inequalities; 12—Responsible Consump-tion & Production; 13—Climate Action; 16—Peace, Justice & Strong institutions & 17—Partnerships in depth.
The Forum will also consider the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the SDGs.
The  Countries in the International Presentation Association (IPA ) who are presenting their Voluntary National Reviews are Bolivia and Guatemala.
An overarching International Presentation Association (IPA) commitment is to work to implement the SDGs at home and abroad and therefore we will look to see what other countries have prepared for their Voluntary National Reviews.
There will be a report in greater detail on the HLPF in July. See other info.  High-Level Political Forum 2021 (HLPF 2021) .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (un.org)

Ireland and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.  This is essentially a peer review that occurs for each country about every 5 years and Ireland is up for review this year. Ireland must declare how it has improved the human rights situation at home and the UPR will assess the extent to which Ireland respects its human rights obligations as set out in the UN instruments.

Any individual or indeed group can make a submission to the Irish UPR and the due date is March 18th of 2021. At the Interprovincial Justice Desk, we sought out like minded partners who might come together with us to strengthen the message submitted by a joint submitting group. This group now comprises of; Edmund Rice International, the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles (OLA Ireland) and the International Presentation Association (IPA). Our submission will only take account of the areas of focus of our respective congregations and thus in our submission we are commenting (and recommending) on Direct Provision, Migrant Citizenship, Migrant Integration, Human Trafficking in Ireland and Violence against Women.

Our final submission will be sent to other NGOs and services in Ireland (prior to formal submission) to review, comment, add to or subtract from and to ensure that our submission is on point, takes account of the primary issues and suggests likely and possible recommendations.

It is hoped too that they might co-sign the final document again strengthening the possibility of having some of our joint recommendations adopted. Ireland is one of up to 45 countries up for review this coming November and we will watch and wait in anticipation of a promising, forward thinking, inclusive and informed national outcome document by years’ end.

Brian O’ Toole
At the Interprovincial Justice Desk

Other Useful Links
The UPR assesses the extent to which States respect their human rights obligations set out in:
  • the UN Charter
  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • human rights instruments to which the State is party (human rights treaties ratified by the State concerned)
  • voluntary pledges and commitments made by the State (e.g. national human rights policies and/or programmes implemented), and
  • applicable international humanitarian law.

Read the Commission’s report to the UN HRC: IHREC Submission to the Human Rights Commission under the Universal Periodic Review for Ireland, September 2015

Preparing for General Election 2020 – Ireland 

In order to prepare for engagement with canvassers for local candidates running for the current election on the 8th February 2020, please avail of a useful and extensive compilation of resources compiled by Brian O’Toole, with material drawn from a broad range of organisations.  Thank you, Brian.   See HERE 

Just some of  the issues exercising peoples minds at the moment include:
  • Homelessness
  • Housing / Rent / Housing Lists
  • Health
  • Climate Change / Climate Emergency
  • National Childcare Scheme.
  • Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Biodiversity Emergency.
  • Direct Provision and treatment of Refugees / Asylum Seekers.
  • Child and Adult Mental Heath Services (CAMHS). Poorly Funded and uneven spread of services throughout the country.
  • School Secretaries (two tier group).
  • People forced onto Means- Tested Job Seekers at 65 years of age when forced to retire (as per company policy) whilst their State Pension won’t kick in until they become 67 years of age.
  • Rural Broadband.
  • Public Transport.
  • Abolition of the Universal Social Charge.
  • Moving Towards 0.7% of GNI Overseas Development Aid (ODA).
  • Allowing for homes to sell electricity generated by their own solar panels back to the grid (Micro-Generation).

Brian O’Toole can be contacted as follows:

Presentation Sisters Justice Desk
Ireland and England,
Room 14 St. Patrick’s Hall,
Marino Institute of Education,
Griffith Avenue,
Dublin 9,
D09 K4P6.

Contact phone no:  089 2085253  Email: presinterprovjustice@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/presentationjusticedesk/



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