Parenthood is the highest calling of any woman or man. It is not enough that children are born and that our species continues to bless or wreak havoc on the world. Forming human minds and hearts requires women and men who are dedicated to their children or the children entrusted to them. We do not need to have children ourselves in order to recognise the immeasurable value of parenthood in our communities, in our country, and around the world. Every child presents the world it encounters with its own special set of demands in that most natural of hostage situations we call the family. Some children and youngsters come with more complicated, sometimes more difficult, demands. Special Needs is such a deceptive euphemism for people in physical and mental crisis; ranging from a little more care than others to complete dependence. Children need and deserve love and loving care and attention, children with mental and physical disabilities – whose lives are every bit as valuable – require more, sometimes so much more than even the most dedicated and loving parents or guardians are capable of giving alone. We are truly awakened to the worth of community from the nightmare of the survival-of-the-fittest world we have created when we encounter children and families with special needs.

However much many of us try to ignore it, we live together in a state community that can only ever be as strong and as fast as its weakest and slowest members, and a society that is measured by its commitment to and care of those most in need. Against this standard our little Ireland is a failure. We toil and struggle for our own benefit and dutifully pay our taxes into a common purse; delegating our duty of care to the wisdom of the worldly wise state comptrollers. Decisions are made where money and the profit principle are treated as priorities over and against the needs of people who need our help. Our communal tax fund is re-invested into a broken financial system in a vain attempt to kick-start the merry-go-round of cash cows and money trees, and it is offered up to men in backrooms all over Europe to satisfy the demands of a debt contracted by thieves. We are not talking about hundreds, or thousands, or millions, but billions and tens of billions of euros of our money – blown to the wind and so lost to the people who need it the most. Our government, our elected democratic government, is happy to deprive the deprived – even the sick and disabled, and they will ignore their cries because they are silent and weak.

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