One of the things I least like about Ireland is that it is hard to do a simple thing like giving some money to charity without having very complicated feelings. Voluntary efforts are a wonderful part of Irish society. But, far too often, they are not a supplement to a properly functioning system of social decency, but a substitute for it.
Last week, I made a small donation to the Trinity Access Programme’s nationwide effort to get laptops to second-level students whose families can’t afford to buy them. Rather than making me feel good as a person, it made me feel a bit sick as a citizen.