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Rate of UCD accused of “profiteering” as deposit retentions First Class Honours in double in UCD Residences UCD drops by 7% since 2009 by aoiFe valentine · DePUty eDitor
by yvanne KenneDy · senior rePorter
UCD has emerged as the most difficult University from which to get a First Class Honours degree. in 2011, only 12% of the graduating classes achieved this feat, quite below the national average of 16%. it has become consistently more difficult in the last few years to achieve high results in UCD, which in just 2009 had 19% of graduates awarded First Class Honours. a spokesperson for the University put this down to changing education practices in UCD. “More significantly, the biggest change in university teaching is the shift from course descriptions to learning outcomes. UCD is leading in this field. this focus on learning outcomes means that our students can articulate and demonstrate their knowledge to employers. the university runs an annual module enhancement process, which includes an assessment of student feedback, learning outcomes and grade distribution.” UCD students’ Union President rachel President views this announcement as a positive one for the University. “i think that in a climate where companies and the media are portraying first class degrees as something that is easy to achieve, there’s this myth around the ease of academic achievement, that it’s certainly beneficial from a UCD point of view to show that we are very stringent with the ranking of our degrees and the marks that are given out to students. From the students’ Union point of view, from the committees we sit on like academic Council, we don’t have any concerns about the grading process, we’re happy with the methods being used.” the investment in excellence in education may be admirable but the irish times recently reported that in the current climate, 60% of employers are looking for graduates who have achieved at least a 2.1 degree. this is in sharp contrast with only two years ago when 38% were expecting these kinds of results. UCD students’ Union education vice-President shane Comer put this increase down to, in part, the influx of university graduates but also the understandable need on the part of companies to employ the “best possible graduates.” UCD ranks behind major third-level institutions such as DCU, where the amount of first-class degrees last year was above the national average at 17%. it also trails behind UCC and tCD where 18% of the Class of 2011 received this accolade. of those that graduated from UCD over the last number of years, only 4% received pass degrees. this is in sharp contrast with the overall average which is 10%. 84% of graduates were awarded a second-class honours degree or higher.
Following a Freedom of information request by UCD’s student legal service (sls), it has been revealed that the total amount of students’ deposits being retained by UCD residences has almost doubled between 2010/11 and 2011/12. in 2010/11, the total fig ure for deposit retentions was €93,203, however as per footnote three of the request, the “actual total deduction for 2010/2011 was €56,703 as the cleaning deductions were suspended to allow for a further year’s communication on education on the requirements.” the fig ure for 2011/2012 marked a significant increase on that fig ure, totalling at €105,316. UCD sls Chairperson Patrick Fitzgerald commented that: “some charges weren’t applied because they said they wanted to invest in education on their requirements. i would dispute that because students don’t know what’s in the licence to reside. i lived on campus for two years, and there was no education… From speaking to former r as, there has been a shift in policy. they’ve made a decision to go out of the way in terms of additional charges, and the fig ures ref lect that… there is deliberate profiteering out of students, and that’s why we wanted to explore this.” Fitzgerald also pointed out that it is very difficult for students to dispute these charges, as they have no legal rights, due to signing a licence to reside for residences, rather than a lease. if someone wants to file an appeal, they only have 48 hours to bring it to the Head of accommodation. after that, they only have five days to
As part of Gender Equality Week, UCD Pro-Choice Society show their support for Marie Stopes Northern Ireland. bring it to the vice President for students. He stated: “the whole system is self-contained. the system is deliberately constructed to stop students appealing… we feel there is profiteering. there are mark ups on all of these fines or deposit retentions… a balance needs to be struck, and that balance is struck in favour of UCD residences trying to make a profit as much as possible, in a situation where students enjoy no legal rights.” UCD students’ Union welfare officer Mícheál Gallagher stated: “i do think it’s unfair to students. even today, i had two separate
phone calls from students ringing me, terrified because of fines. they were asking about the appeals process. there doesn’t seem to be a structure in place where they’re educated on their rights of appeal and i can’t even describe the terror in their voices. i do think students are being taken advantage of.” there have also been complaints made as UCD residences have stopped channelling the money collected from fines to the student welfare Fund, a fund which helps students in financial emergencies. this was previously agreed by UCD residences and UCDsU. Gallagher said: “it was to give
back to the students, almost like corporate social responsibility, but instead it’s going into the res life Committee. i think the fines collected would be better off going to the students i see everyday who are struggling to afford to feed themselves. we weren’t allocated as much money as we were last year, by the european social Fund. you kind of question then how valuable it is going into the res life committee.” a spokesperson for UCD residences or the University was unavailable for comment.
UCD’s surplus of €3.3m reduces deﬁcit to €3.2m by aoiFe valentine · DePUty eDitor UCD’s estimated budget outturn for 2011/12 has shown that the University made a surplus of €3.3 million for the financial year ending september 30th 2012. this surplus means UCD’s overall accumulated deficit has been reduced to €3.2 million for the financial year that began october 1st 2012. the University hopes that by the end of the current financial year, september 30th 2013, that it will have cleared its deficit entirely. a spokesperson for the University stated: “the University has been aiming to reduce its budget over a number of years by a number of measures, including cost control and income generation. the university expects to clear the remaining deficit in this financial year. the level of cuts will depend on actual state funding and the expansion of
the income base.” this marks the fourth year in succession that UCD’s deficit has been significantly reduced and according to the President of UCD Dr Hugh brady, it “represents remarkable achievement given huge cuts in state funding in recent years.” Cutting the University’s deficit has been part of a ‘Five year Planning Process’ that began in 2008 and introduced a number of focus groups to research methods of doing this. these groups looked at improving the University’s income from sources outside of the state, including increasing summer campus accommodation fees and restricted access deals with external companies; staff cost reductions with a policy of non-recruitment and a number of voluntary redundancies;
non-staff cost reductions such as seeking rebates and discounts from the University’s largest suppliers; and strategic measures, such as attracting more graduates to study at UCD, and more international students across the board. according to Dr brady, this final measure is on track, stating: “overseas fee income continues to grow and is ahead of target for the 2011/12 year.” From 2008-2011, funding from the state has been cut by over €60 million, marking a 33% cut in funding per student, along with approximately 10% cut in University staff. in addition, the non-exchequer component of the University’s turnover has risen from 36% to approximately 44%. reducing the University’s deficit has seen numerous cuts to student services over the last
number of years, including cuts to student desk hours, the abolition of reception desks in each building, and cuts to library funding, which has prevented the library from purchasing necessary textbooks for students. it has also resulted in reduced library opening hours. before the start of term this year, the decision was taken by the University to cut sunday library opening hours, at a saving of €14,000 to the University, per semester. this move was condemned by UCD students’ Union, with President rachel breslin commenting: “i do think it’s a very serious issue. a 7-day library is something that is so important for a university of our standard and our academic ambition.”
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
NEWS UCDSU receives loans totalling over €1 million IN BRIEF by Daniel Keenan · news editor
by jack walsh · senior reporter
UCD Choral Scholars ranked 35th in World UCD Choral Scholars have been ranked 35th in the World Mixed Choral Rankings, decided by INTERKULUR, an international organisation which organises choir events worldwide. The organisation’s flagship event, the World Choir Games, take place every two years in different partner cities around the world. The singers compete on behalf of their nations in more than 20 different disciplines. Over 6,300 choirs, made up of a quarter of a million singers and musicians representing a hundred nations, performed in over 120 events organised by INTERKULTUR. “It is always satisfying for our students to be acknowledged internationally for their work and commitment, especially for the level of preparation they undertake to compete at an international level,” said Desmond Earley, Artistic Director of UCD Choral Scholars and Director (Music) of UCD Ad Astra Academy. “This tribute belongs to our students, both past and present UCD Choral Scholars, and I would like to thank them for their constant commitment to the standard of performing-arts we espouse here at UCD.” UCD Choral Scholars is Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble; e18 students are awarded a scholarship each September following a competitive selection process.
UCD Science Soc Pubcrawl raises €3000 The UCD Science Society held its annual “Pubathon” pub crawl in aid of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. The total amount raised was in excess of €3000, with over 630 people attending the event and each ticket costing €9. Science Soc Auditor Maidhc Healy discussed where the proceeds will go: “The money goes to Crumlin. There is a rollover with all of the money, so through the year we build on our profits, and at the end of the year we present it to Crumlin. It will either go to the St. John’s Cancer Ward or the Cardiac Unit.” Healy has stated that his main aims going into the pub crawl were: “To try to make it bigger than last year. Last year’s committee had the biggest pub crawl in UCD and we broke that again this year by a good 100 people and probably more. We just tried to make it bigger than last year, and to raise more money.”
UCD energy management spin-out reaches 2012 Seedcorn Regional Finals Wattics, the University College Dublin energy management spin-out company, has been shortlisted for the InterTradeIreland 2012 Seedcorn Business Competition. The company has been shortlisted for the Dublin Regional final, in the emerging company category. Headquartered at NovaUCD, the company has developed an innovative ‘smarter metering’ solution to manage and benchmark electrical machines and appliances operating in industrial and commercial sites. Its solution requires a single meter at the mains to dissemble the total energy consumption by appliance. Wattics has a customer base that includes Pfizer, KPMG, ESB and Dublin Airport. Wattics was founded by Dr Antonio Ruzzelli, Anthony Schoofs and Alex Sintoni as a spin-out company from UCD’s School of Computer Science and Informatics, and the CLARITY Centre for Sensor Web Technologies. This InterTradeIreland Equity Network competition, which has a total prize fund of €280,000, was open to all independent companies incorporated in Ireland or Northern Ireland in the seed, start-up or early stages of business development, ideally targeting international markets. Eight companies have been chosen to the final stage of the competition, which will be held on the 28th of November. Silvercloud Health and Hanpack have been shortlisted in the emerging Company category along with Wattics.
The UCD Students’ Union has been granted two loans from the Bank of Ireland, totalling approximately €1,075,000. €645,000 of the loan were taken out for UCDSU Ltd, while the second loan of €430,000 was granted for UCDSU Commercial Services Ltd.The two loans were approved by the bank last week, and signed off by the SU’s Board of Directors at a meeting on Monday October 22nd. The entire €645,000 of the loan for UCDSU Ltd is to be drawn down, while about one quarter of the loan for UCDSU Commercial Services Ltd is also being drawn down. “We’re drawing down the full €645,000 for UCDSU Ltd and drawing down part of the €400,000 for the commercial services; approximately €100,000, but the remainder will be drawn in due course when we begin a capital investment program on the Library shop, and the Engineering shop and the Science shop in the new building,” says UCDSU President Rachel Breslin. The money is to be used to maintain the Union over the coming months and pay off debts still owed by the Union. “The money will be used to pay off some remaining creditors that we have,” says Breslin. “Secondly, to sustain ourselves over the coming months and weeks, because we are using capitation that was advanced last year, and we have
not received capitation this year so we are trying to fill that hole to make up for the capitation that was advanced by the college from last year. And thirdly, we’ll be using the money, some of it, to fund the shop in the new Student Centre.” The funds allocated for the new SU shop are understood to be approximately €35,000, while the capital investment in the shops, which it was hoped would have begun by now, is not expected until the summer. Breslin felt it would be “over-ambitious” to try to overhaul the supply and management structure issues in such a short space of time. “We’re looking at our options in
terms of the future of the shop, the management structures and the overall setup. Right now, we’re getting estimates and quotes, and different sources from companies on summer redevelopment.” The decision to split the loan was taken because the UCDSU and its services are now legally two separate entities, though the only shareholder in UCDSU Commercial Services Ltd remains the Union. The Union has adopted the limited company setup, partly because of a debt owed to the Revenue Commissioner. This debt, which reached a settlement of approximately €500,000, has
since been paid off, which was a large contributing factor to the loan being granted from Bank of Ireland. “The limited liability company structure that we’ve incorporated [was done] so that we have a legal obligation to file accounts every year, to update the shareholders and the Board of Directors of those and our Constitution, which places very stringent financial restrictions on the Union and ensure that, at all times, that there is constant reporting, so people will be made aware of what’s going on,” says Breslin.
Unions in the past have let politicians away with the broken promises,” says Breslin. “There is a belief among politicians and the media that students will not pursue a vigorous campaign over a long period, to bring accountability to people who lie to them or who break promises and that is a huge part of this campaign.”
A march to the constituency office of Eamon Gilmore is planned for November 19th, which it is hoped will be supported by the community members that the Union plans to canvass. Breslin is adamant that the initiative will not “fall away and lose momentum,” if preBudget attempts are not successful in halting an increase.
UCDSU launches ‘Gilmore’s 250’ campaign by Yvanne Kennedy · Senior Reporter
UCD Students’ Union has started campaigning against a potential increase to the Student Contribution Charge in the forthcoming Budget. The campaign, named ‘Gilmore’s 250,’ seeks to target the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. TheLabour Party signed a promise to the students of Ireland in the run up to the 2011 election, that the student contribution would not increase, and that he would not preside over cuts to the grant. Increases in the student contribution charge and grant cuts have been implemented since Labour formed a coalition government with Fine Gael in March 2011. The campaign aims to stop a further €250 being added to the contribution charge, as Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has promised. The work on the campaign began last week with the launch of a Facebook and Twitter campaign, as well as the publishing of a website, gilmores250. com. This is being run in connection with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), who are planning to target upwards of 30 TDs and senators across the country in localised campaigns in the run up to Budget Day. “A fresh approach needed to be taken between ourselves USI and other Campaigns officers. We decided that we need to become more of a lobby-
ing group,” says UCD Students’ Union Campaigns and Communications Officer, Paddy Guiney. Guiney wants to see the Union and the USI as a group that recognises the “ineffectiveness” of past marches and campaigns, and uses that knowledge in building better links with the Government, students and local community going forward. Gilmore’s 250 will branch out into the local community in the next week. Both Guiney and UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin will be going out into the community, as well as to lecturers and to local businesses, and asking them to support the initiative. Though the USI allotted a TD to each of the member Unions, Guiney sees Gilmore as a lucky draw, as a former Class Rep, NUIG Students’ Union President and USI President, it is hoped he will be one of the most likely to give in: “He is running for re-election. If we can put enough pressure on him, he will crumble, especially if we get people on board from the constituency,” says Guiney. Breslin has not taken the opportunity for a fight against increased contributions lightly, and has looked at why past student campaigns have failed to halt an increase in fees, and what the rationale behind these increases are. “We found that the Students’
Aramark to create International Food Court in Main Restaurant
by Conor ryan
Campbell Catering Ltd, trading as Aramark, has won the tender to take over catering services in UCD’s Main Restaurant. The company, who will be injecting significant capital investment into the area, will create an International Food Court to replace the current catering services, by January 2013. The refurbishments will begin at the end of this year, to be completed during the Christmas holidays to minimise disruption to services and students. It is hoped that these changes will allow UCD Catering Services to be able to provide for the changing food demands on campus. UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin commented on the development, saying that: “The food outlet will be changing dramatically over Christmas. On the plans I’ve seen, there are different areas sectioned off. Subway are there, Bewleys are there, so there are some wellknown brands. There are also various themes, like an Asian theme in one area for example. The food offer will contain everything from sandwiches and stan-
dard fare, to food from all over the world.” As a major player in the food market both here and abroad, and from past experience, Breslin expects the quality of food from the Aramark subsidiary to be of a high standard: “Judging by Campbell’s other food outlets, the quality is normally very good. On issues such as quality and price, it really is the responsibility of the Students’ Union and students as a whole that if they [quality and price] don’t stay the same, then we will have to act.” Regarding diet variety, Breslin says: “There are vegetarian, vegan and Halal options included.” As well as the development of the upper floor of the restaurant, President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady stated that there would be “a new food offer on the lower floor in the spring of 2013, and the refurbishment of the kitchens and staff facilities and some major engineering works.” A spokesperson for the University said of the later developments that: “The plan for the lower ground floor adjacent to the Global lounge is to open a differ-
ent type of offering to those currently available elsewhere on campus to increase the diversity of choice for students and staff.” It is understood that UCD will no longer be operating the restaurant internally, and that Aramark will now be “wholly responsible for the operation of UCD’s Main Restaurant”. The existing catering staff will remain employees of UCD, in order to ensure continuity of service. This marks the project out as being “unique to Ireland” from a HR perspective, according to Dr. Brady. Campbell Catering provides services to over 400 organisations and employs over 4,000 staff in Ireland. Worldwide, the Aramark corporation operates in 22 countries, employing over 255,000 staff, with its main focus being the education sector. UCD Commercial, Residential and Hospitality Services chose Aramark as it fitted the criteria of a partner who would invest in infrastructure, improvements in service, and in people.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Gender Equality Week clothing sale raises €250 for Bodywhys by Niamh O’Driscoll A second-hand clothing sale, run as part of UCD Gender Equality Week, raised over €250 for the charity Bodywhys, which supports those affected by eating disorders. The sale, where clothes ranged in price from €1 to €5, took place in the Astra Hall on Thursday October 25th. According to UCD Students’ Union Gender Equality Co-Ordinator Ciara Johnson, the purpose of the week was to “raise awareness of Gender Equality issues and to campaign against stereotyping and discrimination. We aimed to promote the message that regardless of whether you are male, female or transgender, you should be valued by what’s on the inside and not by the stereotype that society places on you”. She stated there was “an extremely positive response from students over the week, with many suggesting follow-on ideas or looking to get involved.” Johnson believes that the issues highlighted by the week are of importance to UCD students. She explains that gender equality is of concern in many aspects of student life, for example “female representation on the Union, ensuring all our campaigns don’t exclude any gender and even down to lecturers or students using language which is offensive to a particular gender.” Four themes were reflected in the week’s events: gender equality in society, LGBT issues, overcoming stereotypes, and body image. Among the events that took place were a National Youth Council of Ireland training course on gender and equality issues, a body image workshop and a debate on gender quotas. The debate featured speakers such as Labour TD Joanna Duffy, Fine Gael County Councillor Barry Ward, 5050 Group’s Claire McGing and Labour Women’s
News in Brief Sean o’grady · DEPUTY news Editor
UK student newspapers censored by Students’ Unions
Photographer: Aoife Valentine
Angelina Cox. A healthy eating demonstration with Clever Cuisine and UCD Masterchef Winner 2012, Maeve DeSay, also took place. One of the events which “really captured students’ imaginations” was the interactive ‘I Heart Me’ tile mosaic, where students painted the feature they like most about themselves on a pile, by
filling in the message ‘I love my -’. Johnson explains that the idea was “to focus the mind on what they really like about themselves and helping them realise just how great they really are. We are all different and none of us are perfect, but we should celebrate our differences rather than comparing ourselves to others and learn to love ourselves”. After
being baked and glazed, the tiles will be displayed in the Student Centre. Planned for week 10 of the semester is Stay Safe Day, which will focus on domestic abuse and sexual assault. Johnson explains that this is a theme which “needs to be addressed for both men and women.”
Several student newspapers across the United Kingdon have been placed under restrictions by their respective universities’ students’ union. This prevents them from publishing anything that the union deems unsuitable. The gagging order is in place in universities in Leeds, Sheffield, Lancashire and SOAS in London. The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in particular have seen the editorial team of their paper, Pluto, being presented with a new code of conduct by its union which does not allow its journalists to speak to members of the public without first obtaining written permission from the students’ union media officer. The move has angered students at the paper who say their editorial independence is being infringed on. Leeds University Students’ Union has threatened legal action against its own newspaper to prevent them from giving a full report on a police investigation due to irregularities in the Unions’ financial accounts. Similarly, at SOAS in London have forced the newspaper editor to resign after the Students’ Union removed an article about potential corruption over missing charity money.
Six Canadian University Presidents Request Additional $130 million in funding
Dean of Medicine resigns by Daniel keenan · news Editor
The Head of the Medical School in UCD, Professor Bill Powderly, has stepped down from his post to take up a new position at Washington University, Missouri, stating that he is leaving partly because he found it extremely difficult to recruit top-class doctors to return to Ireland because of malfunctioning health and education systems. Powderly explained his reasons for stepping down as a combination of personal factors and due to frustration at government cuts to research grants, making it more difficult to attract top researchers to Ireland. Powderly said it is now “extremely difficult” to recruit top level academics to come to Ireland because of the budget cuts implemented by the government. “I think there is a lack of recognition at a senior level in Government of the wide-ranging jobs that senior academics do. And the Health Service Executive doesn’t understand education and research or care about it,” commented Powderly. Powderly is the second senior medical academic to leave Ireland in the past six months, following Professor Dermot Kelleher, who resigned from his role as Dean of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, to go to Imperial College London in June. Powderly’s resignation comes at a time when there is growing worry about Ireland’s ability to compete with other international academic institutes, with all top-level universities falling in the rankings over the past three years. He said the last 15-20 years were a “golden era”, when Irish universities
were able to attract “serious international talent back to this country.” He also stressed that recently announced salary cuts to senior academics would be a major deterrent to recruitment of top level researchers. Powderly was one of a number of professors to sign off on a letter to Minister for Health James Reilly and Head of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, earlier this month, outlining the effect that capping the salary of clinical academic professors to €145,000 could have. The letter read: “Typically we try to recruit such individuals from academic departments at major institutions outside of Ireland – USA, UK, Europe and Australia. Since they will have already established positions elsewhere, we must be able to offer attractive opportunities for them to come to Ireland. Salary is therefore an important component of recruiting – the proposed salary will be non-competitive for such individuals.” Powderly, a UCD graduate and world authority on HIV and infectious diseases, returned to UCD in 2004, having spent 22 years in the US. He started his career at the School of Medicine at Washington University in the 1980s and later served as co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. Powderly begins his new role as Deputy Director of Washington University’s Institute of Public Health in January 2013, where he will hold an endowed chair, the J. William Campbell Professorship, and lead the clinical activities of the infectious diseases faculty and fellows. A spokesperson for UCD refused to comment on Powderly’s departure.
50,000 students waiting on grant approval by emer Sugrue · Editor
Over 50,000 students who have applied for an academic grant through the new system, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) are yet to find out if they have qualified. SUSI was launched this year as an online-only national system for new applicants in order to speed up the grant process. This is to replace the previous system of students applying to their local authority or VEC for a grant. Of the 65,335 applications made by students to SUSI, only 4,159 have been awarded, just one in every 16. Grant payments were originally expected to be paid at the beginning of October, however fewer than 1,700 students have received a payment. While 10,000 applications were denied outright, 54,230 have yet to hear about their status. The CEO of City of Dublin VEC, which runs SUSI, Jacinta Stewart has stated that they had expected that 35,000 students would have been awarded grants by December. UCD Students’ Union Education Officer Shane Comer expressed anger at the delays, “As regards students who applied for the first time this year, through SUSI, there’s been a massive amount of delays not just in UCD but around the country... I am extremely dissatisfied, extremely disheartened and just annoyed at the performance of SUSI because it was greeted with such fanfare, even by myself and the fact is that UCD got its first batch of names in, processed those names but it was a minuscule amount compared to the numbers of
students who have actually applied to SUSI. I’m disgusted by that.” Stewart cited the source of the delay as incomplete and poorly filled out application forms. 50,000 of the applications were returned requesting further documentation, of which 40% came back still incomplete. Union of Students in Ireland President John Logue described the delays as a “scandalous situation” and blamed the problems students had in filling out the applications on SUSI staff shortages and the lack of guidance for applicants, saying there “is a need for more hands on the pump”. The figures were released by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn last week in response to a parliamentary question from Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien condemned the delays: “As thousands of families struggle to make ends meet, it is unacceptable that students are having their grants delayed because of flaws in a system that was supposed to improve the processing of third level applications,” he said. “The new SUSI online system was supposed to make the process of applying for a grant a good deal easier but regrettably, there have been serious flaws which have resulted in delayed payments, poor communication and inadequate responses to applications and document submissions.”
The Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia (B.C.) in Canada is asking for $130 million from the government to be given over the course of four years. The money would go towards six of the top research universities across the Canadian province and will be used in several different areas. The Universities hope to open up more spaces for future students. The Council plans on using $51 million each year to create new grants and scholarships for students to make the process of coming to college easier. This bid is being supported by a projection that shows there will be 32,000 unfilled jobs in B.C. that require applicants with third level education by the year 2020. This new information is being used to argue that 11,000 new spaces need to be available for students within the next four years. The current B.C. minister of advanced education, John Yap, has said that currently, there is not enough money for the bid: “All of these recommendations have merit, but first, we need to balance the budget.”
StudyfindsMethadonereducesthe riskofHIV. A study from researchers at the University of Bristol and several other international bodies has found that people who inject drugs (PWID) reduce their risk of contracting HIV in half by using substitute drugs such as Methadone. It is estimated that 5-10% of HIV infections worldwide are due to injection drug use. The study supports the idea that providing addicts with other drugs such as Methadone, rather than asking them to quit completely, helps provide them with stability in their lives and serves as a platform for addicts to make a full recovery. Researchers have found that this type of therapy, knows as Opiate Substitution Therapy (OST) was associated with a 54% reduction in the risk of HIV infection among PWID. Matthew Hickman, the studies primary researcher at the University of Bristol says: “Increases in HIV incidence have been reported among people who inject drugs in a number of different countries in recent years and there is strong evidence demonstrating the association between OST and the reduced risk of HIV transmission.”
€8000 in prize money for student safety competitions
News in Brief by Megan Stokes
UCC Commits to Energy Savings under SEAI Agreement University College Cork (UCC) has signed an agreement with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to affirm its commitment to energy efficiency. The agreement, signed under the SEAI’s Public Sector Energy Partnership, sees UCC aiming to meet a target of over 3% energy savings year on year. An eight-year plan, to be developed sometime in the future, will commit UCC to energy savings of 33% by 2020, as per the National Energy Efficiency Plan 2009-2020. UCC Buildings Officer Paul Prendergast spoke of his university’s commitment to “enhance the sustainable environment of the University community” and described the SEAI programme as a “key component” of UCC’s overall energy strategy. SEAI Chief Executive Brian Motherway was also pleased with the decision, saying that his organisation was delighted to have UCC on board and stressing the partnership’s role in facilitating Irish public bodies to lead the way in energy efficiency and environmental protection. UCC’s environmental record includes receiving the world’s first Green Campus flag by An Taisce in 2010. The university was also the first third level institution to be awarded the ISO 50001 standard in energy management, which enables organisations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance.
by Yvanne Kennedy · Senior Reporter
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and drinkaware.ie have launched separate campaigns inviting young people to explore the issues of texting while driving and problem drinking. Prize funds for the multimedia and film based projects are €3,000 and €5,000 respectively. According to Chief Executive of drinkaware.ie, Fionnuala Sheehan, their campaign was prompted by the fact Irish people consume almost three times as much alcohol as their European counterparts on any one occasion. The competition is aimed at students because of the temptation to get overly caught up in the social aspects of student life. The RSA competition, ‘Keep Drama Off the Roads’, hopes to generate awareness among young Ireland of the dangers of using a mobile while driving. They are hoping to appeal to filmmakers between 15-25 and are providing an opportunity for the work to reach
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
a wide audience. Last year’s winning concept has been viewed over 31,000 times on YouTube. Along with the €3,000 prize fund, the winner will get the chance to work with a team of professional film producers to turn the 1,000 word concept they have submitted into a reality. The winning film will get coverage on the RSA website as well as the competition site, www.keepdramaofftheroads. ie, and the insurance site www.sentantainsurance.ie. In its sixth year, DARE2BDRINKAWARE.ie , the film and multimedia competition from drinkaware.ie, is aimed solely at third-level students and hopes to raise the profile of responsible use of alcohol. The theme for this year’s competition is ‘pacing our drinking’. Sheehan says they wish to “empower young people to resist the pressure to drink, or to drink more.” They want to promote the message that ‘’the best pace to drink at is your own”. The hope is that by bringing stu-
dents themselves on board, they can get across messages that they feel are relevant to their peers which should help the campaign to be more focused and accessible. Entries for the competition can be produced in the form of a short film or interactive website and focus on the idea of pacing drinking among college age young people. Entrants must complete a short proposal outlining the idea behind their
14 New Staff Recruited to UCD School of Business
Dundalk IT President Opposes Fee Increases. The President of Dundalk IT, Dennis Cummins, set out his opposition to any planned increases in third-level fees at the USI’s Public Meeting on the Cost of College in Dundalk last Monday, stating that the revenue gathered was never seen by colleges. Cummins also said high fees only serve to victimise already struggling students. The meeting was attended by local politicians, including Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who said he supported the USI’s ‘Fed Up? Stand Up!’ campaign. All elected representatives from Louth were invited to the event, but no government TDs attended. Councillor Thomas Sharkey also gave his support, and urged students move away from the language of entitlement when discussing the grant: “Don’t call it a grant. Call it food. Call it accommodation. Call it books. Because that’s what it is.” USI president John Logue stated that Cummins’ view represented the “consensus” opinion and that the money from fee increases was “going into a black hole of debt” rather than towards college services. The meeting also saw a cross-party coalition of councillors commit to bringing a motion to Minister Ruairi Quinn, asking him to prevent any “significant increase” to third level costs.
NUIG Students’ Union Supports Pieta House and Age Action Ireland NUI Galway Students’ Union President Paul Curley said he was “delighted” to announce the decision to endorse and fundraise for Pieta House and Age Action Ireland. Pieta House works to help those dealing with suicidal ideation and self-harm, while Age Action Ireland campaigns for positive images of ageing and better policies geared towards the elderly. Age Action Ireland spokesperson Eamonn Timmons said the charity was “honoured” to be chosen and that the support would “enable us to continue the important work of making Galway a better place in which to grow older.” Pieta House founder, Joan Freeman, also welcomed the support, coming as a new suicide crisis centre is set to open in Tuam this year. She asked students to be aware of the service and to use it if necessary: “Suicide can happen to anyone and I want to ask everyone in NUI Galway to look out for their friends and classmates and get in contact with us if they think anyone may be in distress.”
entry and will have until March next year to develop and complete the project. Industry experts will then judge the winner. The drinkaware.ie competition is open until 23rd November and more information is available on DARE2BDRINKAWARE.ie. Those interested in entering the RSA competition have until November 16th at 6pm and can find out more at www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie .
by BRÓNAGH CARVILL
UCD School of Business has appointed 14 new faculty members to the University for the new academic year. The majority of the new faculty are international appointees from universities abroad, including South Korea, USA, Canada, France, Italy and Germany. Several of the new faculty appointees are from Ireland. Dean of the UCD School of Business Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, believes the
recruitment of the new staff is an indication of the international perception that Ireland remains a strong country for academia and third-level education: “With 60% of our new faculty coming from overseas, this is a vote of confidence in how positively the new international faculty feel about Ireland’s university education system and our future prospects as a nation.” “To support the demand for graduates who can work across our increasingly globalised society we searched
nationally and internationally for the best and brightest to join the world leading academics already teaching at UCD. Each one brings a diverse range of academic research, real-world multicultural experience and commitment that will provide our students with the necessary critical perspectives they need to succeed in leading change in society,” continues Ó hÓgartaigh. The new faculty will lecture at both the undergraduate school, UCD Quinn School of Business, and at UCD Michael
Smurfit Graduate School of Business and will cover a range of business subjects including accountancy, marketing, management information systems, global leadership, banking, finance, sustainable supply chain management, and human resources. The UCD Michael Smurfit Business School was recently announced as the only Irish business school to be placed in the 2012 Financial Times rankings. It has been ranked in the Top 100 global Executive MBA programmes for the 13th consecutive year. Factors considered in the Financial Times ranking of the world’s top 100 EMBA programmes include the quality of alumni, faculty research capabilities, the global nature of the programme as well as the proportion of faculty with PhD degrees. Ó hÓgartaigh says of the Smurfit School of Business that the “ultimate aspiration [is] to make a significant impact in business education globally. The recruitment of these new faculty members is one of the key initiatives designed to consolidate the school’s position as one of Europe’s leading business schools. We are the only Irish business school listed in the Financial Times ranking of the top 100 global MBA programmes, maintaining our status as Ireland’s leading centre of excellence in this field” In addition to the new faculty members, two new Masters Degrees have been launched for the new academic year, the MSc in Digital Marketing and MSc in Energy and Environmental Finance.
UCDSU back ‘Yes for Children’ campaign by Emma smith
UCD Students Union will be backing the ‘Yes for Children’ campaign ahead of the referendum on November 9th, which could lead to changes to the Irish Constitution. This announcement follows a motion which was passed through Union of Students of Ireland (USI) in March. UCD, like most other colleges around the country, has decided to back the referendum campaign, after ratifying it at the last meeting of the Union Executive. UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin, says of the ‘Yes for Children’ campaign: “We started looking at it when a motion was brought to the USI Congress last year and it really made our team stop and think about the fact we must, as students, stand for those other social causes as well as our own, for the betterment of our society, and this was a part of that”. UCDSU Campaigns and Communication Officer Paddy Guiney agreed it was important to support social issues: “In the past it’s been given out to us that we haven’t supported enough minority interest groups and I feel that this year this has changed and there is more of a broader outlook and we are trying to help as many people as we can… As a
Union, you’re supposed to be representative of every student here… I think as a Union, we needed to take a stance on this and show our support and I feel we have done that.” Due to other campaigns within the Union, Breslin explained that they haven’t been able to dedicate a great amount of resources and time to the ‘Yes for Children’ campaign but added: “I do think that for quite a small amount of work, we can show the importance that this has to students, and that students need to get out there and vote yes.” UCDSU Welfare Officer Mícheál Gallagher will continue to organise information stands across campus until the referendum, to get students informed on the issue at hand and encourage them to vote yes. Guiney will also be out across campus, helping students register to vote. He has already begun this, registering 750 students last week. This will continue, with the
aim of “getting more young people involved in politics.” If successful, the campaign, which is being supported by children’s charities and rights groups as well, will lead to the creation of Article 42A, which would aim to better protect the vulnerable children of Ireland. The proposed
changes include state intervention if parents fail in their duty, explicit obligation to protect and vindicate rights of children and changes to legislation concerning adoption. For in-depth coverage of the Children’s Referendum, turn to page 7.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Head to Head: Should the state provide a national television service? With sections of the media calling for an end to RTÉ, Rachel Maher and Emer Sugrue debate the need for a state-funded television network
tate funded broadcasting has been under attack across the globe in recent years. Presidential candidate Mitt romney recently caused outrage with his promise to cut the american channel Pbs, the provider of the much-loved educational children’s programme Sesame Street. the bbC has also come under frequent attack from conservative politicians who question the ‘fairness’ of having such a huge body exempt from free market competition. yet state funded broadcasters like rtÉ and the bbC provide a service that commercial stations do not and cannot. Government funding frees programme makers from the pressures of ratings and advertisings and with this allows a unique opportunity to create interesting, unusual, educational and innovative programming. the key advantage of publicly funded broadcasting is also an elitist one: the most popular and highest rating, and therefore highest earning, shows on television today have absolutely no intellectual value. the percentage of airtime made up by reality tv is growing every year. these shows are both extremely popular, and very cheap to make. they don’t require scriptwriters or even paid actors. the huge ratings for these programmes also attracts advertisers, who not only pay highly for ads during these slots, but pay for the more subtle product placement within the shows, further funding the concept and allowing reality tv to flourish. while this is all well and good, there is a wealth of other programmes which are extremely valuable but will never have the mass popularity that commercial funding depends on. without government funding the bbC would never be able to produce the amount of documentaries and in-depth investigative programmes that it does. Documentaries are often expensive to make, and watched by few people, but it is important for everyone that they be made. they give people the option of being informed about the world and learn something new, even if fewer people than they’d like take them up on the offer. on a commercial channel the constant focus on ratings means educational programs just don’t happen, and documentaries are reduced to Ireland’s Booziest Slags and hour-long slurs on the travelling community. they’re popular, they get the ratings, but they are in no way an appropriate use of the televisual medium. aside from documentaries, state funded broadcasters have the resources to create another sort of programming with limited appeal: cultural minorities. tG4 and bbC Cymru wales, channels which broadcast in irish and welsh respectively, could never flourish without government money. while irish is an important part of our cultural heritage, few people speak it fluently and even fewer have it as their primary language. with just 7% of its income generated from advertising, it would be impossible for tG4 to survive without funding. while the welsh language is in a much stronger position than irish and the use of wales for filming has boosted bbC Cymru wales’ reputation considerably, they still only receive a tiny share of the viewing figures meaning they would collapse is forced to compete commercially. on a more subtle level, the freedom from ratings allows state funded channels to take more risks with their commissions. Unlike channels such as Fox in america which commissions and then almost im-
mediately cancels new series if they aren’t an instant hit; the bbC is known for commissioning unusual shows that are not guaranteed an audience and giving them a chance. Many of the most popular comedy shows started in late night bbC 3 slots, and allowed to develop a cult following over the course of their run. rtÉ has also begun to take chances in its commissions, running competitions such as storyland, in which people can make short online episodes with a view to creating a full series. For a state funded broadcaster, creating content that people might get something out of is more important than the success of any one project. this risk-taking is all the more valuable when you compare it to what commercial stations such as tv3 resort to. the reality is that it’s safer and cheaper to re-run Friends ad infinitum than to create new programming. being state funded also grants entities such as rtÉ and bbC much more freedom to criticise corporations and public figures. this may seem counterintuitive: after all, if the broadcaster depends on the government for funding they must be beholden to them, they must have to take a soft line on those who pay for them. in fact, being publicly funded grants them more independence, as the government guarantees the independence of rtÉ and the bbC. they also have full freedom to investigate and criticise companies who may have unethical business practises without fear of losing advertising revenue. this is a serious concern for independent broadcasters as most companies, and certainly most companies with money for television advertising are actually subsidiaries of larger parent companies making any investigation a very risky prospect. while there are many criticisms levelled at rtÉ, the bbC and other state funded broadcasters and their operations, what should not be in doubt is their value as a service. Government funds allow them the freedom to create programmes for their own sake, because they are good and worthwhile rather than because a focus group showed people would buy 20% more pizza during it. we need our state funded broadcasters because the free market can never provide the same level of creativity and innovation, and without that we might as well not have broadcasts at all. by Emer Sugrue
“On a commercial channel the constant focus on ratings means educational programs just don’t happen, and documentaries are reduced to Ireland’s Booziest Slags and hourlong slurs on the Travelling community. They’re popular, they get the ratings, but they are in no way an appropriate use of the televisual medium.”
hould the state provide a national television service? Perhaps the question should be rephrased. should we allow any other independent television stations the chance to become viable competitors in irish media or even, should ordinary citizens have a choice in what irish based broadcasters we watch on the box? these are all reasonable questions in a western democracy, yet with rtÉ stifl ing independent stations from becoming true contenders in media, how can we possibly say that an open market exists in ireland’s media? take a look at the television licence for example. this idea was originally conceived in 1962 when there was only one station operating in the country. this time has long since passed, especially with the imminent digital switchover when ireland will have more choice than ever in terms of television channels. as we are reminded incessantly by advertisements, these licences are on sale in your local an Post office for a staggering €160. these fees account for 50% of rtÉ’s annual revenue. one might wonder how much of this revenue is spent on the incessant reminders to television owners to pay this fee. but why is it rtÉ is the only broadcaster to benefit from the licence fee? in July of this year, independent broadcasters of ireland (ibi) issued a policy demanding a small slice of the revenue from the licence fee, stating that to varying degrees, they too perform a public service function, providing news, current affairs, sport and a range of speech and irish language programming, all being key elements in public service broadcasting in ireland. ibi’s July policy release also proposed that the broadcasting act be amended to remove rtÉ’s commercial mandate and for it to be replaced with a limit on the commercial reach of the state broadcaster. this policy has been met with little action from rtÉ or legislation makers. although independent broadcasters get some programme funding indirectly through the ‘sound and vision’ scheme, many of the programmes that are funded are actually for broadcast on rtÉ stations. Clearly rtÉ still retains an unfair financial advantage over their independent counterparts. recently there have been claims from some independent broadcasters of what has been named a “commercial
No creep” being noted in rtÉ’s online services. with more and more people turning to online streaming of their favourite television shows, there is an increased opportunity for broadcasters to profit from internet commercials. However, a distinct lack of clarity has been noted in rtÉ’s accounts from online advertising, particularly in reference to the degree of crosssubsidisation and on the real costs of providing these services. this begs the question: are rtÉ using the licence fees to compete in areas other than their original mandate in an effort to further dominate other major media competitors? while it may be true to label rtÉ as a national institution, it is difficult to accept the annual €160 fee being used to preserve and give unfair protection to the station. some people argue that to disband the irish national broadcaster would be comparable to disbanding the bbC. but the bbC is an entirely different set-up, not only is the quality of television produced for the bbC immensely superior to that of rtÉ, the british broadcasting Corporation can at least attempt to justify their licence fee; they have no advertising or associated revenues in their business model. to compare the output of media funded by a licence fee paid by a country with 60 million people to one funded by a population of just 4.5 million is ridiculous, yet we are expected to be satisfied with the response that because something works for the UK we should be happy with the same system. in early october it was announced that ben Frow, tv3’s head of programming for the past five years, is set to vacate his position this December. interviews have revealed that it is not only the economic recession that has forced the channel to squeeze their margins. talking to theJournal.ie in august, he referred to continued public funding support for rtÉ and their commercial advertising revenue: “our ambition is limitless but we can only do so much unless some people step up to the plate and help us out a bit”. He has commented that there seems to be “an inherent snobbery towards tv3”, and by extension other independent broadcasters, leaving these companies with “very little room for taking a risk”. to quote Frow once more: “everyone seems utterly terrified of rattling rtÉ’s cages”. sadly, this does indeed seem to be the case. rtÉ are seemingly trying to create a virtual monopoly within irish media. with the digital switchover, commentators find it difficult to predict how rtÉ will fare amidst the multitudes of ‘sky Plus atlantic’ packages and UPC’s multiple offers, let alone our independent channels. this will put rtÉ to a quality test which few could believe will turn out well for the state funded broadcaster. in the long run, this will be a positive move. we need to create a level playing field in all industries and not to support unfair competition, especially in an industry that enters people’s homes every night, so legislators should either share the licence fee with all broadcasters or eliminate the fee entirely. by Rachel Maher
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
A man’s world Following the recent condemnation of sexism and misogyny in politics by the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Isobel Fergus examines the role of feminism in political discourse
he Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently divided the public in a speech on sexism and misogyny in parliament. People have split into those who believed she was simply playing the gender card, and those who saw it as a powerful day for women’s rights. There is no doubt however that this has successfully placed feminism back to the forefront and made people all over the world assess the role powerful women play in society. Women are under-represented in politics across the world. The Global Gender Gap Index introduced by the World Economic Forum captures the magnitude and scope of gender baseddisparities and tracks their progress. According to the 2011 Global Gender Gap Report a mere 20 women serve as elected heads of state or government. At ministerial and parliamentary levels, the global average is less than
20%. Ireland ranked 5th in the Global Gender Gap index. However, only 15% of those elected into the 2011 Dáil were women; and those 25 women out of a total of 166 TDs merely marked an increase by three from 2007. Women make up roughly half the population of every country in the world. However, only two countries, Rwanda and Andorra, have reached 50% or higher in female representation in the national legislature, with Cuba and Sweden close behind. In 1918, the Parliament Act made women eligible to be elected to, and sit and vote in, the House of Commons and in 1922, Article 3 of the Constitution of the Irish Free State gave full citizenship to all women and men over the age of 21. Although most countries have long had the legal rights for women to participate in all aspects of politics, women are still under-represented all around the world not only in politics but also in most powerful roles of society.
Feminism is not a popular concept and often seen as extreme and linked to negative connotations. Most women do not self-identify as feminists, and sexism is not a card that most women want to play even when they are victims. Powerful women see calling out misogyny and sexism as weakening themselves away from positions of power. There are unofficial rules that in order to be a successful woman you have to move away from the stereotypical images of women as ‘nurturers’ and not show emotions or weakness. There is no doubt that a lot of work environments are dominated by men and in many workplaces women receive less pay than a man for the same role. Women are acutely aware of the disadvantages that their gender plays in climbing the corporate ladder. In a recent supplement in the Irish Times, Mary Robinson suggested that there is evidence that countries experience higher standards of living when
women are empowered as political leaders. Therefore, it is important from both a rights and economic perspective that women are better represented in political decision-making. Most women are highly represented in third level education. UCD and most universities across the world are places of equal opportunities for all genders, races and religions. However, upon leaving the comfort of university where women are actively encouraged to participate at all levels, women can get a shock when they enter the ‘real world’ and realise just how male dominated workplaces really are. Prime Minister Gillard did not hold anything back during her 15-minute speech, claiming that “If he [Abbott] wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives. He needs a mirror.” Giving numerous examples of less than savoury comments about women that Abbot made as a minister, including “that men, by physiology or temperament, are more adopted to exercise authority or to issue commands” and “if it’s true that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?” Tony Abbott, the leader of the opposition party in Australia who is often noted for being aggressive in Parliament, is not particularly popular with female voters. However, perhaps more interestingly, neither is Gillard. So whether these personal offences mentioned by the Prime Minister
way from Wall Street to Dame Street, that some sections of the public are jumping to defend the most privileged and unharmed amongst us? Surely by all comprehensible logic, it should be these people we should hate for wrecking the country. It should of course be noted that it would be unfair to blame only the very rich. There is no doubt that some corporate leaders did act responsibly, and that they do not deserve to be lumped in with the ‘wanker banker’ stereotype. The Quinn family however, as evidence suggests, do not belong in this category of the benevolent good-natured elite. Why, in that case do people defend them? There are two possible reasons, and quite possibly both are true. One is that many will stand up against blaming the most aff luent no matter what, perhaps in the vain hope that they will join that group someday. They don’t want to see them as bad people, but rather those who were worked hard, and fully deserve their wealth. The second type are those who fall for loyalist
theories and localism. These are those people who know the Quinn family from around the community and in spite of all the evidence, have a soft spot for them. The first type, the phenomenon of standing up for the corrupt wealthy elite, is not confined the Quinn family, or even in Ireland. In the United States, Tea Party Republicans have stood up against tax cuts for rich ‘job creators’, a new term that has cropped up out of the minds of right-wing spin doctors since the economic crisis. In Syria, loyal supporters of Assad stand to defend them despite the obvious injustice and inequality they face at home. Thomas Frank, an American author and journalist has said of this phenomenon of ardently defending rich who do not pay their fair share in society that “the great goal of the backlash is to nurture a cultural class war.” This may explain why the Peter Quinn told the crowd at Balleyconnell that the media have been insulting his family’s supporters, calling them “morons and gobshites” and “culchies and idiots”; as he labelled journalists as “bastards”.
In Ireland, we do quite often turn a blind eye to corruption and law breaking among the white-collar classes, while being far quicker to place blame when it comes to petty crimes. In any other European country, with certain obvious exceptions like Italy, could Charles Haughey and Bertie Ahearn have stayed in charge, when just about everyone knew of their corruption, lies and criminal activities? It’s likely that the Quinns’ most ardent supporters are the same crowd that defend corrupt public figures, claiming to be standing up for fellow Irish citizens against some sort of witch-hunt by the courts and the media, as Ciara and Peter Quinn have both seemed to suggest. One would suspect they really know full well that there isn’t any kind of truth to what they’re saying. There seems to be a kind of bizarre nihilism among the most ardent defenders of the Quinn family. While some of them support and defend the Quinns despite their wrong doings, others deny they ever happened at all. Surely, with all the re-
were genuine or just part of another political game is unclear. It seems odd that while Gillard was crying sexism against Abbott, she was defending Peter Slipper, the speaker of the House of Representatives over a series of inappropriate texts with vulgar comments about women’s genitalia. Slipper conveniently resigned later that day. In the middle-east, strong women have been key leaders in the uprising of the Arab Spring. In countries that can be extremely hostile to women’s rights these winds of change across the Arab Spring bring hope for equal opportunities for women in the coming century. However, the recent vicious shooting of 14-year old Malala Yousafzar in Pakistan by a Taliban militant because she campaigned for women’s education shows just how long there is to go for women’s rights in some parts of the world. It remains to be seen whether there will ever be female representation in politics that reflects the female population of the world. Some say feminism has died in recent years but if Prime Minister Gillard’s speech is anything to go by, it is still alive but with different priorities. In most countries women are no longer fighting for basic equal rights but are entering into public power struggles to seek their rightful place at the top of the political ladder. In the words of Margaret Thatcher: “People think that at the top there isn’t much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is there is tons of room at the top.”
porting on their legal affairs it must be obvious to everyone that there has been a huge lapse of justice here. It seems many would rather not know what the evidence suggests, but would rather go on some passionate instinct and assume that the Quinns are good people, that have done great things for the community, and any evidence or facts that conflicts or contradicts that view of them must just be mistaken. In Ireland we often are unwilling to condemn the immoral and even illegal actions of public figures. If someone has done something positive for the local community in the past (for example, Michael Lowry et al.), they will probably be forgiven for massive corruption and dodgy dealings. This ‘Ah but he fixed the road’ mentality is fundamentally harmful to a functioning democracy. It makes a mockery of the Irish justice system. This sympathy for those that abuse their power, wealth and privilege must end. If it doesn’t, they will never be held accountable for their actions.
Defending the elites With supports of the Quinn family gathering around in demonstrations in Ireland, Evan O’Quigley looks at why people rush to the defence of the elite.
arlier this month an estimated 4,500 people gathered around Balleyconnell, Co. Cavan, in the rain and cold, during hours of speeches to a rally in support of Sean Quinn and his family. Why would people be so happy to jump to the support of a family holding onto a half a billion euro of public assets? It hasn’t been legally proven what exactly the Quinns have done, but an absolute barrage of accusations has come out about them. Among these are that they have lied to courts, forged and fraudulently backdated legal documents, destroyed computer files which could have been used as evidence, and seemingly have deceived the public and the justice system in every conceivable way. Yet instead of blaming the family that have caused the country so much grief, large sections of the public instead are jumping to defend them. Instead, the public are pointing their fingers at the media, claiming they’re on a ‘witch-hunt’ and that they’re all but declaring ‘war’ on them. Since time immemorial there have been conflicts between the rich and poor; the lower and upper classes; the proletariat and the capitalist. In most popular philosophies and religions the rich are despised; whether it’s Christianity, Marxism, and even old-school conservative populism. Why is it then that now, even after the economic disaster that began in 2008, caused by the foolish and dangerous practices of well-paid politicians, bankers and corporate leaders all the
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
In Focus: The Children’s Referendum With no public debate scheduled for the upcoming Children Referendum, Catherine Murnane considers the arguments being made by the ‘Yes’ and recently created ‘No’ campaign
n November 10th, the State will ask the nation for its opinion on a potential change to our Constitution. The change will alter the Constitution’s relationship with children and the rights they hold under it. Until this fortnight, no organised argument against the amendment had been visible, leaving none of us with any informed concerns about the implications that this change could have on Irish society. With organisations such as Parents for Children, the Christian Solidarity Party and Alliance of Parents Against the State now publicly vocal on the issue, the need for a legitimate debate is paramount. For many people, awareness of this campaign is limited to a familiarity with the posters of a giant pencil-wielding child which can be found all over Dublin. So what exactly is this referendum about? It’s about a State aim that has been in the pipeline for a number of years: to improve the rights of children and to ensure that the state protects those rights. Should it pass, the amendment will alter the structure of the Constitution, inserting a brand new article to follow after Article 42, which concerns education. The amendment will also delete the last section of Article 42. As the Constitution stands, this is the only area that directly addresses the requirement of state intervention in scenarios where parents have failed in their duty to provide for their children. Article 42A will take on that role instead. Though it may seem like a mere structural change, there is a whole lot more to it than that. “The amendment will make very specific changes in relation to adoption,” explains Professor John O’Dowd, Constitutional Law lecturer at UCD. “A married couple in future will be able to give their child up for adoption voluntarily. At the moment only unmarried couples can, so that will be changed.” The amendment will also make it easier for the State to introduce the option of adoption without the consent of parents when it is in the “best interests of the child”. This changes the current standard which is required to be met for this to occur. O’Dowd describes that standard as one where “there has been a total failure by the parents or abandonment of the child”. Thus, involuntary adoption will be permitted under this amendment when it is in the child’s “best interests”, a standard which will be left to legislation to precisely define. In practical terms, this will increase the number of adoptions that take place in Ireland. O’Dowd believes there to be “about 2,000 children in foster care at the moment who might be affected by this and not all of them, but several hundred could be adopted by foster parents.” This increase in the State’s responsibility for children is supported by a number of children’s charities. According to Catherine Joyce,
Head of Advocacy at Barnardos, this referendum is something the charity has been campaigning for over the last number of years. “We had a conference in 2006 that looked at the need for Constitutional change. We’ve fought for it for a long time. It’s crucially important for the progress of protecting children in Ireland. The support such charities are giving to the yes vote has become publicly evident in the last month.” A number of organisations including Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance, the ISPCC and Campaign for
are “hopeful that the amendment will place a better emphasis on the wellbeing of children and family support services so that early intervention and preventative support services exist which will allow the state to move in before the situation reaches crisis point.” However, Kathy Sinnott, member of Alliance of Parents Against the State, is concerned about the consequences of giving the State the authority to intervene too early. She points to the wording of the currently standing Article 42.5 which is to be removed in
caught shoplifting or has a history of drug use could be deprived of the opportunity to even try raising their child. Sinnott claims: “A lot of people change for the better when they have a child. A bond is created.” It would appear that her desire would be for the state to increase the assistance it gives families in raising their children rather than removing them from their family environment. She references the significant position of ‘the family’ in the Constitution and the special protections it receives under under Article 41 to support her argument. “The family is the natural habitat of the child. There is recognition in the Constitution that the child is going to thrive in the family unit.” However, O’Dowd reminds us that Article 41 and the protections it provides will still remain in force should this amendment be passed. More so, he focuses on the use of the wording of the amendment which makes the best
“Turning a blind eye to the suffering of vulnerable children children is no longer acceptable. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we create a society where children are protected, valued and have the right to a safe and happy childhood.” Children have joined together to form this amendment; “Under this Article, interests of the child the “paramount” the ‘Yes for Children’ campaign. The the state are obliged to step in by apconsideration in such scenarios. This campaign group even organised a bus propriate means in situations where places the best interests of the child tour and have been travelling across the family has failed. Appropriate here above any other rights or interests the country canvassing potential votmeans according to the needs of the in the Constitution, including those ers since October 8th. At the launch of child. In the new Article, regard must of the family. He explains that “the the campaign, Ashley Balbirnie, Chief be given to the natural and imprescrip- Courts will have to read that under a Executive of the ISPCC, emphasised tible rights of all children from day presumption of constitutionality and the need for constitutional change to one. Under the current Constitution, there is a significant constitutional ensure child protection mechanisms the family has regard for that and the presumption that the welfare of the in Ireland are enhanced. “Turning a state is supposed to support them if child is best served by parents”. blind eye to the suffering of vulnerable they are struggling.” Sinnott also argues that the children children is no longer acceptThus, the fear is that this amendparamount nature of the child’s best able. It is everyone’s responsibility ment would give power to the state interests will only relate to cases taken to ensure we create a society where to take a predictive approach where, by the state against parents, not those children are protected, valued and for example, a mother who has been taken by parents against the state due have the right to to the absence a safe and happy of Article 42.5. childhood.” “The Sinnott There is case couldn’t be nobody on either won under the side of the fence amendment. This that would was a case where argue against a mother was creating such a unable to provide society. Rather, for her son due the division in to a disability this referendum and sought for arises from the the State to assist implications that her. Article 42.5 this amendment was critical to will have on state the success of childcare functhis case which tions within such got education for a society. children all over The first area the country.” of debate in this On the other referendum is hand, Joyce bethe concept of lieves that the preventative amendment does intervention. We not give more must consider power to the whether or not it state, as there is is appropriate for a requirement the state to interfor any decision rupt family life at to be proporthe first signs of tionate. It is an problems in the avenue for the aim of preventState which she ing a child from feels is necessary, being deprived of especially when their best interyou look at the ests. Joyce says figures. In 2011, Kathy Sinnott, member of Alliance of Parents Against the State that Barnardos there were over
32,000 referrals relating to abuse and neglect, and of that number, 1,500 cases of abuse and serious neglect were confirmed. On top of this, according to a recent report on child deaths, some of those children who had died in the care of their families, had in fact been known to State services. It is key that the State has early intervention in cases such as this, however Joyce is clear that there are numerous safeguards in place to stop the abuse of this power, not least of which is the requirement of proportionality. Joyce argues that the amendment “obliges the state to provide more proportionate responses regarding children’s needs. In Barnardos, we only use the option of taking children into care where there is a significant risk. We need to have that option because there are sadly cases where children are not safe at home.” Another area of concern that has been highlighted about the proposed amendment is the generality of Article 42A.2 which describes the role the State must take as a guardian in situations where parents have failed to provide for their children. Article 42A.2.2 outlines the State’s ability to to organise the adoption of children in such circumstances. Sinnott sees this as forced adoption. “I have checked with two constitutional lawyers and it’s involuntary adoption, which is the same as forced adoption. This when it comes to the failure of the parents, the bar is raised even higher.” O’Dowd, however, considers the leeway the provision gives to the Oireachtas to determine the exact mechanisms of the involuntary adoption process. “The government proposes that there be a 36 month waiting period, but that’s what they propose in the legislation.” The time frame and procedures are left to government functions to define. Sinnott has also publicly vocalised her concern on the potentially dangerous doors that this provision opens to the introduction of compulsory vaccinations for children. “When the State is allowed to decide the best interests of the child and it is written in the Constitution, then that includes medical policy.” O’Dowd expresses similar concern. “I suppose if you look at the generality of Article 42A.2.1, you could say that it opens up the issue of compulsory vaccinations. The response would be that there is no intention to introduce compulsory vaccinations, but that’s not really relevant. The issue is whether it is lowering Constitutional barriers.” And that’s what you have to decide. When reading the Referendum Commission’s Independent Guide and the wording of the amendment itself, consider the arguments that have been provided above by those with legal and practical knowledge in this area. The debate is not about whether are not we like children or whether or not they should be protected by our Constitution. The fact that organisations renowned for advocating children’s rights appear on both sides of the debate demonstrates this. Rather, the question here is whether or not this amendment and the subsequent changes it will make to childcare and family law are the correct ways of ensuring children’s rights are fully recognised in Ireland. When you tick a box on November 10th, make sure you know why you’re doing it.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
A fall in standards As recent cutbacks begin having an effect on the quality of education, Nicole Casey looks at what is being done to improve our current situation
he current economic climate is having major effects on everyone; cutbacks are widespread, taxes are increasing, and people are just generally unhappy with the present situation. The students of UCD are also starting to feel this disillusionment with both the administration and our current government, in the form of the new library closures on Sundays and the issues arising with the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grants. Questions are being raised, protests organised, and students are looking to the Students’ Union for a desperately needed solution. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) was a system introduced for students entering full time education in the academic year 2012/2013, replacing the old system of application through a local Vocational Education Committee. Unfortunately, the system has not been as successful as the government and students had originally hoped, and currently UCD students waiting for their grants to come through have been denied access to the UCD’s libraries. Students’ Union Education Officer Shane Comer described the situation as “absolutely shambolic.” When asked what was being done for these students and their current lack of access to the necessary resources the library provides, Shane explained: “We’ve managed to negotiate a temporary sort of thing, because the students on SUSI shouldn’t be penalised, it’s not their fault, its SUSI’s fault. So a temporary access… has been granted to them until their grant is processed.” Students in receipt of grant payments are not the only few who are suffering at the hands of the library this semester. So far this year, the library has remained closed on Sundays,
and is not expected to reopen until the start of November. While the administration of UCD have cited “lack of use by students” as the reason for closing the library on Sundays, Comer believes this is completely untrue: “It ranges from around the 250 mark in the early months to about 600 when midterms kick in. And then obviously [at] exam time it would peak at around 2,000.” While the library is due to reopen for the final weeks of term, catering for the 2,000 students who use it at this time of the year, its closures throughout the early semester weeks has been felt by many. Students such as postgraduates and PhD candidates are at a huge loss, as are the undergraduates who live on campus, who may need the peace and quiet the library offers to complete assignments. But what is being done? Students are banding together and organising protests and marches, such as that organised by Karl Gill on October 18th. When asked about his involvement in the protest against library closures, Gill admitted: “I’d rather see the Union out doing something like this, because that’s the reason I’m organising something like this, in the absence of the SU organising it and, needless to say, it would be a bigger protest if the SU were organising it because they’ve got bigger resources.” Although the SU did not organise the protest against library cuts, Gill did admit that they sympathise with the issue, noting that a number of the sabbatical officers did take part in the march to the library, with President Rachel Breslin speaking at it. However, the Union are focusing their efforts on talking with library representatives and creating a new Library Users Committee, something which Comer believes we are desperately in need of: “I believe an issue like this wouldn’t
have arisen had there been a solid Library Users Committee in place. I’ve been in discussion with the associate librarians and we’re hoping to have…our first meeting this November. It’s the sort of forum where stuff along these lines, issues such as this, would have been brought up and would have been discussed.” Unfortunately, the library is not the only area in which we are currently suffering or underperforming. UCD does not currently have a language lab for students who wish to hone language skills or prepare for exams. Health Science students have recently been left without a computer lab, and of course the current redevelopment being undertaken in the Science
Future T generation of politics With Scotland lowering the voting age in the upcoming independence referendum, Laura Woulfe examines the relevance of this decision to contemporary Irish society
he issue of voting age is a subject that is becoming increasingly topical in the 21st century. It has often been suggested, as said by Professor David Farrell of the School of Politics, that: “people are maturing earlier; 21 seemed like a reasonable age [to vote] up to the ‘70s, 18 then seemed like a reasonable age, now 16 seems more reasonable.” However, as Theodore Roosevelt once famously said: “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” Are the characters of 16 year-olds today strong enough to be able to cast a responsible vote worthy of affecting national politics? The arguments from those against lowering the voting age claim that those aged 16 and 17 are simply too immature to be trusted with a vote. However, according to the Chair of the UCD Young Fine Gael, Lorcan Nyhan: “If we deem young people mature enough to work, pay tax and drive at 17, then we must deem them mature enough to vote. In early October, the news that the Scottish Government will reduce the voting age from 18 to 16 for the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence caused a lot of discontent among the English Government. Many believed that allowing 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in the referendum would inevitably lead to a lowering of the UK-wide voting age. However, in Austria, the first country in the European Union to lower the voting age to 16, there appears to be no sense “of any regret that they went down this
building has left a lot to be desired in regards to basic facilities. It is understandable so that the university has been falling consistently in terms of world rankings, and the new library cuts will only further hinder this problem. Gill feels that students’ unhappiness with the new library cuts will result in a national and international fall in standards of UCD: “I don’t know how they manage to rank these things. I mean, how do they grade what’s a good university and what’s not? But I would say…you can’t have a good university without a working library
route,” according to Farrell. This success story encourages the thought that we are entering an era where more and more countries are going to question the standard voting age. While Nyham opposes this idea, saying: “I don’t think one country giving 16 year-olds the vote for one election will influence other European countries.” It is something that may directly affect the people of Ireland in the near future as Fine Gael intend to propose lowering the Irish voting age to 17 in the Constitutional Convention that will be held later this year. One problem with reducing the voting age in Ireland is that there is a general consensus that Irish teenagers have very little interest in politics. Eamonn Waters stated in his article ‘Ireland – Young Population, Old Political Systems’ that: “fewer people are voting and quite a number of those abstaining are young. Strangely for a country with the youngest population in Europe, Ireland’s political profile also looks relatively old.” Logically, this causes many people to question the potential significance of lowering the voting age to 17 in Ireland. “Lowering the voting age would not lead to a huge increase in interest at first but I believe that it would show that we are serious about engaging with the youth of today and that the Government values their opinion and input,” says Nyham. Indeed, many people against lowering the voting age, use the argument that “when we reduced the voting
that students are happy with.” Comer believes that the university’s ranking is a top priority of the administration, but a secondary one of the Union: “There’s a matter of pride involved. When you are a member of UCD you want it to be the best. But in terms of it being a priority of the Union…I wouldn’t list it as a massive priority.” While the administration is putting a major focus on improving our world rankings, students are suffering without basic services, such as a Sunday library. “Do I believe UCD is hindering students and their performance in their degrees?” our Education Officer concludes, “Inadvertently, yes. Not deliberately but inadvertently, they are.”
age from 21 to 18, turnout in elections went down, because younger people are reckless, they’re not thinking about politics, they have other things on their minds so they’re not voting. However there is an alternative argument that says one of the reasons was because the age was set at the wrong level,” explains Farrell. It is thought that if Ireland lowers the voting age and improves political education in secondary schools that more young people will be influenced to vote. “If you reduce the voting age to 16, you’re going to get young people who for the most part are still at home, they might still be at school. If you tie that in with civics and democracy trainings in schools, which is something we really should be doing, there’s a greater chance that it will instill in people of that age the importance of voting,” says Farrell. As a result, hopefully young people will continue to vote throughout their late teenage years and early twenties. “If you don’t vote in your first election, there is a greater likelihood that you’ll never vote. The most important election is your first election.” However, an even more effective way to get young people interested in politics and using their vote is through social media. Only recently, the Washington Post discovered that the majority of young people had interests in “political and social issues, but also strayed far from traditional methods of expressing themselves in these realms.” This indicates that if political discussion and awareness featured on Facebook or Twitter, more young people would be inclined to learn about or even actively get involved in politics. “We are seeing a generational shift in how people engage with politics. What you are more likely to find now among younger citizens are a greater willingness to be involved in social media type campaigning in order to express their political viewpoints,” says Farrell. As it is possible that Ireland may be lowering the voting age to 17 in the foreseeable future, the chance for young people to bring something new to the old man’s game is to be relished. As Nyham states: “Young people bring an extremely beneficial fresh outlook to politics and the sooner we engage with young people the sooner we see the benefit of this outlook.”
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
SCIENCE & HEALTH
With bionic eyes now visible on the horizon, Ethan Troy-Barnes investigates the implications for those without sight
n 2010, WHO estimated that as many as 39 million people were blind worldwide, and even today most types of sight loss remain largely incurable. However, cutting-edge bionic implants might be about to change all of this. At the moment, untreatable loss of vision typically results from either a degenerative process affecting the retina (the layer of light-sensitive nervous tissue lining the inner surface of your eye responsible for sight) such as that seen in retinitis pigmentosa, or from direct trauma to the eye. Unfortunately, however, whole eye or even retina-only transplants are not currently possible, and don’t seem likely in the near future. This is because the eye is made up of nervous tissue and it’s very difficult to graft new nervous tissue to old damaged nervous tissue, as neurons aren’t very good at regenerating once they’ve been damaged. This prompts us to look to cutting-edge cybernetic technology which might enable us to replicate the function of the lost eye (namely the retinal tissue), without the need for organic grafts. The general idea with such technology is to recapitulate the basic workings of the retina using electronic components, and then relay the resulting visual information back to the brain somehow. So, how does the retina actually work? Well, each retina basically consists of millions of light-sensitive cells, called rods and cones, located all over the inner surface of the eye. When you look at something, the light ref lected off whatever you’re looking at enters the eye and stimulates these cells. These cells then relay this visual information as an electrical signal in a very precise and controlled manner to underlying optic nerve cells, which then pass this information directly to the visual cortex at the back of the brain. In engineering terms, this is ac-
tually a relatively straightforward process. A sensor responds to incoming light by generating an electrical signal which is sent back to the brain and interpreted in the visual cortex as an image. So, scientists simply need to design some sort electronic device capable of generating an electrical charge in response to incoming photons, which the brain will then be able to understand as representing visual information. This may be achieved one of two ways. The first involves directly mimicking the retinal tissue using the likes of tiny photodiodes (which generate an electrical signal when stimulated with light) and then the using an intact optic nerve to replay this information back to the brain. In the scenario, the artificial retina would replace the existing malfunctioning retina, and be grafted inside the eye directly on top of underlying optic nerve cells, and stimulate these cells exactly as organic rods and cones would. However, there are currently a number of limitations to this approach. First and foremost is the sheer number of artificial photodiodes which would be needed to replace lost retinal cells. These numbers are somewhere in the region of 100-150 million in a healthy retina. Just like amount of pixels on a computer screen, it is this sheer amount of cells that are responsible for the high level of visual acuity that we normally enjoy. In order to replicate the high-definition sight we’re used to, we’d need to have a similar amount of photodiodes in our artificial retina, meaning the electronics would have to be very small, and very expensive. Alternatively, some researchers, such as the late Dr William H. Dobelle who pioneered the first ever artificial eye in 2000 (which allowed a person to interpret large shapes and even drive a car in a controlled environment) have suggested cutting out
The Big Barnes Theory: A Fresh Pair of Eyes the middle man entirely and relaying specially processed information taken from a video camera directly to the visual cortex itself via electrodes implanted at the back of brain. Happily, progress in this area is being made at breakneck speed. There are many high-profile projects across the world developing artificial eyes, and constantly improving on the quality of vision that can be afforded the user. In fact, just last month the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System, an artificial retina developed by California-based company Second Sight, was recommended for FDA approval, paving the way for
clinical use in the very near future. It’s likely that before too long, ophthalmic surgeons will be implanting bionic eyes that allow patients to see as well as somebody with 20:20 vision. However, why stop at perfect sight? With the likes of Google’s augmented reality specs and other such technologies currently on the horizon, it’s conceivable that, like Tiresias of Greek mythology who paid the price of blindness for the gift of clairvoyance, those without vision might be the first to experience superhuman sight. Customised bionic eyes could al-
low zooming in on distant objects, night-vision, the ability to see electromagnetic radiation outside the normal visible range, and even digital recording of what the user sees for perfect recall at a later date. When you imagine the benefits of, say, somebody who is able to visualise harmful radiation in the aftermath of nuclear disasters or during mining operations, it’s easy to see how advances could have tremendous implications for how we work and live, and completely redefine what it means to see.
Michael O’ Sullivan examines Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking skydive and what it means for us as human beings
One Giant Leap for Mankind
n October 14th, a biological life form fell from space and landed in eastern New Mexico in the USA. Ironically enough, this life form originated in Roswell, the alleged landing site of aliens in the 1950s. Although in this instance, the life form was not some sort of green creature with elongated limbs and eyes atop stalks. No, the life form was a human, a 43-yearold Austrian by the name of Felix Baumgartner. He ascended to the edge of space through the aid of a giant helium filled balloon and then simply jumped out, with eight mil-
lion people watching a live stream of the event on YouTube. With his top speed clocking in at 834 miles per hour, Baumgartner broke the sound barrier, achieved Mach 1.24 and shattered the previous freefall speed record by more than 200 miles per hour. He also broke the record for the highest manned balloon f light and the record for the highest altitude parachute jump. The parachute jump and freefall speed records were previously held by his adviser and capsule communicator Joseph Kittinger. When setting his record in 1960, Kittinger’s
pressure suit failed, causing one of his hands to expand to twice its normal size due to the reduced pressure of the earth’s atmosphere. In a previous attempt, he had also gone into a f lat spin, lost consciousness and was saved only by his automatic parachute opener. Oddly enough he set a record on that occasion, due to the fact that the g-forces acting on his extremities as a result of the spin were 22 times the force of gravity. Baumgartner had to breathe a special air mix before his ascent so as to be sure he wouldn’t have any nitrogen bubbles in his system, which
would expand and cause the illness common to scuba divers known as the bends. With such risks involved, one has to admire the sheer tenacity of Baumgartner, who jumped from a height 17 kilometres above Kittinger’s highest attempt. On top of the obvious risks to his personal safety, Baumgartner battled through psychological difficulties before achieving his death defying feat. The pressurised suit he was required to wear brought on a severe bout of claustrophobia which he had to work through with a sports psychologist and other specialists before he could even attempt any test jumps. The jump itself had been initially scheduled for October 9th, but due to adverse weather conditions had to be postponed. The images provided by the cameras attached to Baumgartner’s suit illustrated to eight million live onlookers just how high he was. The curve of the earth and the infinite blackness of space caught on camera, and a man sitting between both of them. Just before he jumped, Baumgartner addressed the millions of people watching live on their computers, echoing Neil Armstrong: “I know the whole world is watching now. I wish you could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to be up really high to understand how small you are... I’m coming home now.” Less than ten minutes later, he was jumping up and down on the earth’s surface. Red Bull’s sponsorship of the dive has led some people to believe that the entire thing was merely a dangerous and reckless publicity stunt.
However, Red Bull have a very distinctive reputation for sponsoring extreme sports events and deathdefying record attempts, and had worked with Baumgartner previously when he skydived across the English channel using a specially made carbon fibre wing. While that particular jump shows all the hallmarks of sheer bravado, the Stratos jump provided scientists with very detailed information about the effects of re-entering earth’s atmosphere from such heights minus the aid of transportation, information that will be put to good use by space programs across the globe. The fact that technology has advanced to such a degree to allow a man to break the sound barrier is just another landmark among the ridiculous number of technological landmarks that have been achieved with increasing regularity over the past number of years. Since the year 2000, we have gone from carrying mobile phones with monophonic ringtones and VGA cameras, to what are basically handheld computers capable of almost as much as your average PC. So where do we go from here? We have a robot on Mars, man has walked on the moon, we have portable devices that are completely touch screen and capable of producing 3D images, we are seeing the beginnings of bionic prosthetic limbs; man has moved on a great deal since Kittinger did his skydive in the 1960s. Can anyone imagine how much further we will go in the next 40 years? If Felix Baumgartner has proved anything, it’s that the future of the human race is both bright and damn well exciting.
SCIENCE & HEALTH
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Meeting the men on the moon Two months after the death of Neil Armstrong, Shane Hannon speaks to Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Edgar Mitchell and Dick Gordon from the Apollo era about their extraordinary experiences
etween July 1969 and December 1972, twelve American men walked on the surface of the Moon. Sadly, now, only eight of those are still alive. It was a technological achievement that even in today’s world of rapid advancement stands out for its sheer audacity and ability to inspire. But what of the men that went there? Did flying to the Moon change them in any way? Where should NASA go from here? As we all discovered with the recent passing of the first man to take ‘One Giant Leap’ on the lunar dust, these heroes won’t be around forever. Sitting face to face with a man who has walked on the Moon is an experience that is hard to express. They are part of a tiny fraternity, a group that has seen things we can only imagine. As I spoke with Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 astronaut and second man to walk on the Moon, it is easy to wonder if the moon seems different once you’ve walked on it. Aldrin explains: “The Moon hasn’t changed. I changed, because of going there.” This seems quite poignant when you remember that when Aldrin returned from his lunar trip he fell into depression and
Since then he has hit the headlines for his UFO revelations; he claims to be “in on the fact that we’ve been visited on this planet” and that “the UFO phenomenon is real.” He also harbours a deep passion for Parapsychology and the nature of consciousness, and is said to have had an epiphany on his way home from the Moon. When asked about this moment, he expressed that: “It seems to be a magic, incredible situation when you see the universe in that perspective.” Being an astronaut in the 1960s brought with it fame and admiration only sports and movie stars could associate with. While speaking with Mitchell, it’s very clear just why these men were, and still are, so revered. He’s rather blasé about his experience on the moon, simply replying: “Well, you could always say been there, done that.” He barely took the time to register where he was and what he was doing, commenting that: “The feeling was to get the job done. We were too busy doing what we set out to do.” Each Apollo Moon-Landing mission was comprised of three astronauts, two would descend to the surface in the spider-like Lunar Module, while the third, the Command Module Pilot,
“An extraordinary feat of technology, but it also proved the potential of human desire, courage and above all, curiosity.” alcoholism, before eventually working his way out of those problems. It soon becomes apparent that not all of the men who flew to the Moon were changed greatly by the experience. As I chat to Charlie Duke, the Apollo 16 Lunar Module Pilot and tenth man to walk on the Moon, he says: “I look at the Moon now and I have that satisfaction that I was able to be there, but I don’t really think it changed my attitude.” Before he walked on the Moon, Duke had been a distinguished pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and was Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for the Apollo 11 landing; in other words he was the one in Mission Control in Houston who responded to Neil Armstrong’s declaration that ‘The Eagle Has Landed.’ After his mission, he became a Christian and has spoken so eloquently and candidly about his time on the Moon that it’s hard to believe he wasn’t affected in any way. Perhaps of all the men to have walked on the Moon, one of the most interesting is Edgar Mitchell. On the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, he became the sixth man to walk on the Moon.
would orbit sixty miles overhead. The Command Module Pilot of Apollo 12 mission, Dick Gordon was a real character of the Apollo Program. When asked about flying solo around the Moon for 38 hours while his friends Pete Conrad and Alan Bean hopped around on the surface below, he seems to only recall the relief he felt when his crewmates came back unscathed to the safe haven of the Command Module after their successful foray to the Moon’s Ocean of Storms: “I was glad to see them back. I sure as heck didn’t want to go home alone.” Gordon had wanted to someday go the last sixty miles himself and place his own boot prints in the lunar dust. He says walking on the actual surface was seen as “the ultimate really in Apollo” and you don’t have to look far behind the humour to notice a genuine longing in his voice as he says: “Being 83 years old I don’t think I will, but in my dreams I will.” He would have walked on the Moon too had the Program not been cancelled due to budget restraints: he was slated to be the Commander of Apollo 18 before it was revealed that Apollo 17 would be
the last mission of the Program. Duke possesses a contagiously soothing voice; his South Carolinian drawl makes watching videos on YouTube of him running around on the Moon all the more entertaining. When asked to describe the lunar landscape at his Apollo 16 landing site, he responded with a fascinating description of the view from Stone
the Moon. They were chosen by NASA for the astronaut program because they were pilots who could make quick decisions and deal with the pressures of spaceflight. They weren’t chosen because of their potential to describe their experiences; if that was the case poets, philosophers or artists would have received the nod instead. But it’s clear they have mellowed thanks to their
Mitchell was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work in the field of consciousness, and he has written articles on his thoughts for world peace, as well as his vision for the third millennium. It’s palpable from speaking to him that he certainly is one of the more philosophical astronauts, and he speaks of how “by the time we go to
“The Moon hasn’t changed – I changed, because of going there..” Mountain in the Moon’s Descartes Highlands: “You could look out to the North, all the way past North Ray Crater and beyond the Smoky Mountains and then off to the left we could see all the way to the horizon on the open part of the valley.” To any passers-by it would seem like this was merely an elderly man explaining what he saw on a recent excursion to a mountain range, but the fact that he was describing the sights he saw on the Moon 40 years previously almost beggars belief. Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was, almost prophetically it seems, ‘Moon’. You could say he was destined to walk on its cratered surface, and when he did, his first words were to describe the landscape as ‘Magnificent Desolation’. When asked if he felt this was an accurate summarization of the Moon from orbit, and Gordon stated: “It’s probably a pretty good description. It is magnificent and it is pretty desolate.” It is incredible that these men have changed so much in the 40 years since they went to
experiences, and with that mellowing process comes astronaut humour, something that was somewhat unexpected from these former military men. Many people will know about Alan Shepard’s famous golf shot on the Moon on Apollo 14, where he claimed to have hit the ball “miles and miles and miles” in the one-sixth lunar gravity. But Ed Mitchell was on the Moon with him and also partook in this aptly-dubbed ‘First Lunar Olympics’. When asked who won, he quipped: “I did, because my javelin went further than his golf ball.” And so it did, reportedly by all of four inches. One thing it’s interesting to ask these former astronauts, is where they think NASA should go from here. There are somewhat infinite options when it comes to their next step, but the most obvious choices would be to further explore the moon, or to head for Mars. The four experienced astronauts have very varied opinions on the topic, however. Gordon points out: “In terms of exploration we’ve been to the Moon… the logical step is for men to go to Mars”, while Duke believes we should “return to the Moon” because it’s there that we can “develop the systems we need for long-duration stays like Mars.” Mitchell decides to sit on the fence on the matter, remarking: “It’s just a matter of pay your money and take your choice… We’re gonna do them both in due course.” Of all the Apollo astronauts, perhaps it is Aldrin who has campaigned most tirelessly for a continuation of American manned space exploration and particularly for missions to Mars. He asserts that: “The most indicative of leadership is to build a base and land for permanence on Mars” and to then “continue to establish more and more settlers.” He stresses this need for Martian missions to be permanent, because of their long-duration nature, as missions to Mars may take roughly six months, and that’s only one way.
Mars, we have to go as a civilization, not as a nation.” This seems like a very good point. When humans do go to Mars, what will be the point of astronauts looking back at the tiny blue dot that is Earth and saying they’re from countries defined by invisible borders? Mitchell also mentions the importance of looking after this planet of ours, and how “if we survive long enough, if we don’t kill ourselves off, we’ll go on out into the universe and eventually go outside of our solar system.” That day may be a long way away, but when it arrives we truly will have left our home planet. Speaking with these men truly is a humbling experience. Sadly, the day will come over the next 10 to 15 years when these first lunar explorers will be mere memories and the story of their epic voyages to the Moon indelibly marked in the history books. When Neil Armstrong passed away on August 25th his family released a statement, the end of which called on people to honour him in a certain way. It read, “…the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the Moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” We should do likewise for all of our lunar voyagers. What they accomplished was an extraordinary feat of technology, but it also proved the potential of human desire, courage and above all, curiosity. They journeyed to a place from which they could cover our entire planet with the tip of their finger. Here’s to the men who explored the Moon, and discovered the Earth. The above interviews with Col. Buzz Aldrin (Gemini 12, Apollo 11), Gen. Charles Duke (Apollo 16), Capt. Richard Gordon (Gemini 11, Apollo 12) and Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14) were exclusively conducted during the ‘Autographica’ event at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham, UK on Saturday October 13th, 2012.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Observer Gaeilge email@example.com
Tá mo shaol ag cuir isteach ar mo am idirlíne
Labhraíonn Seán Cooke faoin idirlín agus an oibseisiún atá againn lenár Ríomhaire
aireannta ní theastaíonn uainn ach ár scíth a ligint, labhar lenár gcairde and breathnú ar chúpla fiseáin. Ach ansin cuimhníomuid ar chóisiúr a thug daoine cuireadh chugainn dhó agus caithfimid loieáil as ár gcúntais Facebook agus Youtube. Cén fáth nach fhéadfadh linn cóisiúr againn ar an idirlín? Bhí an cheart ag Justin Timblerlake nuair a dhúirt sé sa scannán The Social Network gur slí maith é ‘tagging’ a dhéanamh ar dhaoine i bpictiúirí ar Facebook le cuimhin ar na rudaí a tharla ag an gcóisiúr agus na daoine a bhí ann. Is cúis náire é nár fhorfheidhmigh siad an ‘tagging’ leis an méid céanna draíocht sa fíor shaol is a sholáithrigh Justin Timberlake na línte sa scannán. Leis an buama ullmhór pléascaithe i gcuile tír sa Chéad Domhan tá méidiú ullmhór tagtha ar suíomhanna lionraithe sóisialta, nó mar a glaíom orthu; suíomhanna gach-daoine-breathnaigh-orm-agus-cad-atá-á-dhéanamhagam-agus-lig-oraibh-gur-Cuma-libh, is fadhb é atá ag teach chun tosaigh le déanaí nach mbeidh orainn an teach a fhágáil in aon chuir i gceann cúpla bliain. Leis an réimse leathan de shuíomhanna sa nua-aois, is féidir linn ár siopadóireacht don tseachtain a ordaigh ón idirlín agus ní caithfimid é a bhailiú. Is féidir linn an dinnéar a ordú ar líne chun an comhráciotach sin leis an airgeadóir thar an bhfón a sheachaint. Is féidir linn pictiúr a thabhairt don dinnéar atá againn is é a phostáil ar ‘Instagram’ don domhan
iomlán a fheiceáil. Fad is atá din á dhéanamh againn, is féidir linn insint lenár 500 leanathóirí go bhfuileamar ‘ag ithe dinner #pizza #dominoes.’ Nuair atá na mílte suíomhanna againn le ceol a fháil, pictiúirí a roinnt, labhairt le daoine atá an domhan iomlán uainn, agus fiú chun bia a ordú chun an saol a choiméad ag imeacht ar aghaidh, cad é an pointe don shaol é féin> An bhfuileamuid ag titim sos poll ullmhór nach mbeadh ach róboit againn inár shaol? Tá na laethanta den saoithín ríomhaire imithe, daoine a chaith beagnach 10 nuaire chuile lá ar líne, taobh thiarr de ríomhaire fad is a súgraidh páistí an aois céanaa leis leasmuigh faoin ngrain. Sa lá atá inniú ann, tá gach daoine ag caitheamh an am soar atá acu taobh thiarr de ríomhaire ar Facebook is ag uaslódáil an béilie is déanaí a bhí acu. Tá mo Facebook ar oscailt fad is atá seo á scríobh agam taobh thiarr de ‘Microsoft Word’ agam fiú! Dar le Samantha Sherlock, iardhalta de UCD “cúpla bliain ó shin bhí mé in ann dul timpeall chuig teach mo chairde nuair is mian liom, ach anois tá an ceapadh sin ann nach go gcaithfidh tú rudaí mar sin a chuir ar líne fiú!” Fiú gur truath é modhanna bunúsach caidreamh a fheiceáil ag imeacht ónár saol laethiúl, caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil an idirlín úsáideach i gcomhair cúpla rudaí. Gnó, mar shampla. Is féidir le clubanna thíos baile corradh a thabhairt chuig slua ullmhór de dhaoine agus níos mó eolas a chuir leis ná mar is féidir ar phoitéar. Beadh sé deacar ar áit mar ‘Alchemy’ chun ceist a chuir ar daoine ranamacha ar an tsráid faoin saol oíche atá acu, mar
sin tá buntáistí ag baint leis. Tá fadhb ann nuair a thosnaíonn an saol ag cuir isteach ar an idirlín. Cuile oíche déanaim seic ar Facebook agus cuile oíche tá mo bhalla tógtha le méid mór stádas faoin cé chomh deacar is íslithe is atá an saol de bharr go raibh siad gafa sa bháisteach. I ndáiríre. Táimid inár gconaín in Éirinn, tá sé I gonaí ag cuir báisteach. Fós níl aon rud níos measa ná stádas faoi Jimmy agus na brogan nua a bhfuiar sé. Ní gcuireadh éinne an cheist “An bhfaca tú brogan Jimmy?” ach “An bhfaca tú stádas Jimmy?” Tóg na focail seo le pinseál salainn. Ach, muna éisteann tú leis an alt seo agus thosnaíonn an cine daonna ag aigeach, cuimil an salainn seo i do shúile de bharr ár éist tú liom. Tá an méid spléachóir is greamú atá againn ar an idirlín ciapadh. Tuigeadh mé dá mo rud é gur rudaí tamhachtach a bhí iontu, ach ag nuashonrú cuile rud a tharlaíonn duit cuile lá; níl sin tamhachtach. Beidh ríalú ag ríomhaire ar domhan
ag an ráta atá muid ag dul, ach ní sa slí a thaispeántar sna scannáin é. Fánfaidh siad. Fánfaidh siad fad is a sclábhaíonn na daoine ag an scáileán, ag ligint orainn go bhfuil saol againn, chiallfaimid lón nó dhó anseo is ansiúd, agus cúpla uair coladh anois is arís. Riomh atá aon eolas againn, beidhimd gan bia ceart agus ní beidh
go lóir coladh á fáil againn, agus mar sin ní beidhimid in ann na feidhmeanna bunúsacha a dhéanamh. Má tharlaíonn seo duit, tá truath agam duit. Ar laghad beidh tú in ann an píosa deirneach de fhuinneamh atá agat a úsáid chun do focail deirneach a cló scríobh: “Táim ag logáil as don uair deirneach. #FeicimAnSolas.”
réimse leathan..................................wide range iar-dhalta.......................................past student saoithín ríomhaire.................computer nerd slua.................................................................group pinseáil.........................................................pinch i ndáiríre...................................................really
An strios atá ag meá síos ar ghuaillí na mic léinn Labharaíonn Charlotte Ní Éatún faoin strios a thagann le h-aistí agus conas déileáil leis
strios maith agus an strios olc. Tá sé go maith má tá píosa strois I do shaol. Is cosúil le inneall é strios agus nuair atá uaillmahian agat, cabharaíonn an strios leat iad a shriocadh, ach dar ndóigh níl an iomarca strios maith don tsláinte in aon chur. Tá cúpla modhanna ann le cintiú nach thosnaíonn do chorp ag fulaingt mar gheall ar strios, tá siad freisin le n-úsáid má tá tú faoi an iomarca strioss agus caithfidh tú sos a thabhairt. Má tá tú ag fulaignt faoi láithir, breathnaigh ar na leideanna seo chun an strios a laghdú. Bain úsáid as teicnící suaimhneach. Tá cinn éagsúla a oireann do chuile mac léinn le fáil ar an idirlín. Nuair a thosnaíonn tú ag dul as do mheabhar leis an méid focail atá le scríobh fiú nach bhfuil ach 300 scríobhta agat, tóg sos. Téigh ar siúlóid, fiú thart ar an seomra nó thíos chuig an gcistin le cupán tae a dhéanamh. Tóg aire de do chorp. Má tá tuirse ort ón oíche riomh ré nuair a d’fhán tú amach i ‘Dicey’s’ go trí ar maidin, tóg cúpla uair a chloig le cinntiú go bhfuil tú réidh l’obair a dhéanamh. Tá sé níos easca don strios cuir isteach ort má tá tú chomh tuirseach go bhfuil tú ag titim i do choladh cuile uair a shuíonn tú síos. Bíodh spraoi agat. Tá a fhois agam go bhfuil sé deacar smaoineamh faoi aon rud ach na haistí is na tascanna ar fad atá againn le déanaí, ach tá sé go maith agus sláintiúl sos a ghlacadh. Is féidir am a chaitheamh le do chairde, breathnú ar an teilifís, leabhar a léamh, nó dul chuig an bpáirc le do scíth a ligint, ag suí os chomhair na lachann. Is féidir leat arán a thabhairt leat is iad a beathú! Níl na comhairle thuas ach é sin; comhairle, nílim a rá leat go gcaithfidh chuile daoine anseo i UCD tosnú ag análú go deimhinn is go láidir i lár an leabharlainne, ach is rud le
tabhairt faoi deara é, coiméad súil ar an leibhéal strios atá ionat. Leis an staid reatha atá ag baint leis an leabharlann faoi láithir tá sé níos deacra ná mar a bhí ríamh ar mhic léinn a n-aistí a dhéanamh i dtimpeallacht ciúin, leis na sorsaí ceart ar fad os a chomhair. Freisin nuair atá tú sa bhaile tá sé indhéanta go mbeadh tú ag dul ar mearú níos éascaí. Tá eolas maith agam ar seo. Ní raibh cead agam sa leabharlann suas go dtí inné, agus mar gheall go gconaím i dteach mo Mhamó is mo Dhaideó, tá sé i gconaí deacar áit a lorg atá oiriúnach le mo obair bhaile is mo aistí a dhéanamh. Tá sé deacar, ach an tseimeastar seo cugainn, bain triall as píosa strios a chuir ort féin ag tús an seimeastair chun píosa níos mó obair a chuir
isteach, agus dean pleann amach dos na h-aistí fad is a fhaigheann tú iad. Mar a dhúirt mé cheanna, is fíor
é gur rud maith é píosa strios a chuir ort féin, ach ní rud maith é má tá tú féin is do shaol ag fulaignt dá bharr.
mhoilleadóireacht.....................procrastination cothaitheach.........................................nutritional strios.....................................................................stress brú......................................................................pressure fulaingt................................................................suffer teicnící suaimhneach......relaxation techniques
húisigh mé ar maidin agus i ndaidh os cionn leath uair de mhoilleadóireacht d’éirigh mé as mo leaba. Ghleas mé i mo éadaí is compardaí is rith mé as mo theach, gan aon bricfeasta a ithe, agus rith mé síos an lána beag le mo bhus a fháil. Chás mé ar chlé, an domhan ar fad níos goille mar cheap mé go gheobhainn an bus gán aon dabht, agus chonaic mé an bus ag tarraingt amach ar an tstráid. Chiall mé é. Fiche nóiméad le fánacht go dtí an cead ceann eile. Is é am t-am den bhliain sin arís é, nuair atá aistí le tabhairt isteach beagnach gach dara lá agus an obair sin a dhúirt tú go dtosnódh tú an tseachtain seo cugainn, tá sé ar fád le déanamh in aon oíche amháin! Tá a fhois agam go mbeidh breis is aon triú de na mic léinn i Newman ag dul tríd cuile lá de na trí seachtaine deirneach ag iarraidh aon rud gur féidir leo sprioclá níos foide uainn a fháil leis. Ach ná bíoch imní ort. Tá os cionn leath (i bhfád os cionn leath) de na mic léinn sa fhoirgnimh seo sa bhád céanna leat! Ní tusa an t-aon daoine atá ag braithniú ar Pot Nuddle agus Red Bull don cothaitheach laethiúl. Ach cad é an chúis leis an moilleadóireacht seo? Cén fáth nach ndéanaimid na haistí is na tascanna nuair a thugann na léachtóirí dúinn iad ag deireadh mí Meán Fomhair, tús mí Deireadh Fomhair? Dar le Claire English Hayden “táimid ar fad leisciúil, agus is léir go n-oibríonn chuid maith dúinn níos fearr faoin mbrú de sprioc-am díreach os chomhair dúinn.” Is fíor é seo go; oibríonn an chuid mic léinn níos fearr nuair atá sad faoi bhrú, ach an bhfuil seo sláintiúil do mhic léinn má tharlaíonn sé go róminic? Tá dhá cinéal strios ann. Tá an
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Observer Opinion Postcards from Abroad: lund
The FirstYear Experience: what have i learned?
Sweden has great style? Faye Docherty reﬂects on the sartorial differences between Ireland and Sweden and proposes that Lund may be more fashionable than most realise
pon arriving in lund i very quickly realised that the swedish know how to dress. it is not just about what they wear; physically they are all nordic Gods and Goddesses. if you are picturing tall, blonde, tanned and extremely attractive beings then you’ve got it just right. For the majority of swedish students living in lund, it is evident that they care about how they present themselves. they don’t appear vain or cocky, they just don’t leave the house looking like a slob. being a UCD arts student means the newman building is where i call home. i am very accustomed to the way of life within newman’s walls. the one thing that is quite special about the building is how people view style. it seems that for many UCD students, aesthetics are not on the top of their agenda. Coming to class in your tracksuit, clothes from the night before or even items that could be classified as pyjamas, is not unusual. in fact for many UCD students it is just the norm. i hate to say it but unfortunately the vikings beat us Celts in the style (and looks) stakes. both the male and female students of lund make an effort in how they dress. the swedes are easily distinguished for their sense of style. Unfortunately for the international folk it means we stick out like sore thumbs. also, chances are if you see somebody looking a little rough, they aren’t from sweden. However there is no need to worry, dressing like a swede isn’t as difficult as you may think. Unfortunately you won’t be able to change your height and if you’re not naturally a twig, the gym might become your new best friend. yet everything else is pretty attainable. a typical swedish girl’s hair would be blonde, not that tacky blonde though; it would of course have to still be natural looking. if you aren’t blessed with sun kissed hair the bleach in the pharmacy will do just as good a job. she would wear her hair down, with a little wave and a middle parting. the more edgy swede might shave a small section shaved off the side of her head; however this is not a necessity. if you aren’t confident enough, put the razor down now! of course every swedish person is tanned, however i’ve started to question how natural it can be. we are quickly approaching november and nobody is getting any paler. Just like the blonde hair, it might not be natural but they most certainly make it look like it is. no swede embraces the ‘pale and interesting’ look, although not many irish
girls do either. we steer so far clear of being pale that we end up resembling one of our five a day. in terms of what a swedish girl wears it is always very simple but classy. boots and white Converse all stars are a big favourite. black skinny jeans and a loose chiffon top are also must have. all these elements teamed with a leather jacket complete the look. if you weren’t satisfied with that though a massive scarf and ray bans would send you into swedish style heaven. in terms of swedish guys their style is very impressive. in all honesty, i don’t know if it’s so much that swedish guys have great style or irish guys have none. if i were to walk around UCD, not many men would be dressed well enough for me to notice, let alone comment on it. yet, if i were to walk around lund i would have to point out almost every guy that walked passed me. their hair is of course blonde. the ‘typical’ swedish guy hairstyle is short on the sides with a massive quiff in the middle. this quiff is then usually styled to within an inch of its life. the copious amounts of gel allow it to be slicked back or to the side. another key factor to be noted is that although the guys put a lot of time into their appearance it always looks effortless. their style is once again classy but it has a little bit of edge to it. like swedish girls they love white Converse. they also sport desert boots and suit shoes regularly. rolled jeans and trouser are a must. Most of their clothes are in dark, simple colours. a stylish jumper or shirt under a great black coat completes the look. For swedish girls, their style doesn’t vary much from day to night. in general clubs here are a much more relaxed affair. short dresses and sky-high heels are almost non-existent. instead of your standard 5-inch heel, most girls tend to favour the dreaded ‘kitten heel’. irish people might dress more casually during the day but we most certainly take it up a few notches on a night out. in ireland it is all about the big hair, the short skirt and so much make up that it leaves you almost unrecognisable. if you want to look like a swede, dress up more during the day and dress down during the night. Dye your hair blonde, get yourself a bottle of fake tan and make sure everything looks effortless. if you are a guy don’t be scared to spend twice as much time as your female counter part in achieving your effortless cool appearance. once you’ve attempted all this you will no doubt be on your way to looking like one of the many nordic Gods and Goddesses that grace the streets of lund.
With midterms and essays upon her, Lucy Montague Moffat isn’t quite sure she can handle the pressure
“It was at this point that I decided my gymnastics career was over and I’d much prefer hanging out in my room reading Mizz magazine for hours on end instead.”
“They don’t appear vain or cocky, they just don’t leave the house looking like a slob. ”
his week i mostly watched Runaway Bride. well once. but even once is a big commitment, especially since watching it was the only productive thing i did all week. as you have probably guessed from my choice of film, i wasn’t exactly in great form this week. not romantically, or anything stupid like that. i wasn’t reaching for the Julia roberts section of my film collection (in truth my whole film collection is Julia roberts classics) to fill some horrible boy induced wound in my soul. no, the reason i dragged myself through the 90 minute will she/ won’t she thriller was because it was the stupidest thing i could find on netflix, which is saying a lot, and stupid is exactly what i needed. i had a bad week. it was raining for one. as a cyclist i must say that rain is not my friend. i don’t mind it so much if i am cycling home and am able to dry off in the privacy of my own room, but spending six hours squelching around the newman building is far from fun. However, i am using rain as an excuse. it is just such a handy one! i often find myself believing my own rain related bullshit: “no lucy, go back to sleep, it’s raining. no one expects you to go to work while it’s raining. you’ll most definitely get sick and die if you leave the house.” okay, rain is off the hook. to explain the reason for my bad week i must first explain a really lovely trait that has been part of my personality my entire life. it is called self-sabotage and its gloomy shadow follows me wherever i go. anytime i am almost good at something, or start to achieve anything remotely impressive i immediately back away, quit or use rain as an excuse to not do it anymore. i have no idea why i am programmed this way, maybe it’s just pure laziness or some crazy fear i have inside of success: “ah, achievements, get away from me!” if i look back at my life (yes, i just went there) these self-sabotage situations crop up constantly, to a point where i get so frustrated i have to stop thinking about them and go watch runaway bride. For instance, when i was 12, i changed gymnastics class and started going to this amazing russian coach. after a few sessions he told my Dad he had really high hopes for me and refused to let my Dad pay for my classes. it was at this point that i decided my gymnastics career was over and i’d much prefer hanging out in my room reading Mizz magazine for hours on end instead. or take when i was 16 and a literary agent said she would be interested in publishing a novel i had sent her. all i had
to do was a bit of editing and storyline changes. after a year of procrastination i decided that i didn’t like my book anymore and let go of the whole idea. these are just two examples. but you would think with age, maturity and experience i would have slowly grown up and out of this horrible routine of ruining every opportunity that i get. How i wish it was all that simple. no, apparently my self-sabotage creep is still firmly by my side, whispering sweet nothings into my ear about spending whole days in bed and ordering take-away at 2pm, like a boss. last week i decided that taking a week off college was a very sensible, almost noble, thing to do. it wasn’t that i was overworked or dying with raininduced pneumonia, it was simply that i deserved it. i lounged around the place, putting any food i could forage in my mouth, and watching documentaries in an attempt to make myself feel less guilty about missing out on real education. i had a golden week the week before, apart from tutorials, but who counts them? i was on top of all my college work, was finally noticing that i was learning new information and could actually understand most of what the lecturers were talking about. i even talked in a tutorial, loads. like, they couldn’t shut me up. now here i was, putting on my runners under my wedding dress, scampering away from anything that i could be vaguely good at all over again. i am now really behind in all my subjects and it feels awful. i know i can catch up and i have got some time to get everything done but it is just all extra bad because it is self-inflicted. i heard a woman talking in the corridor today about how she was so sick last week that she couldn’t physically get up. she was telling her friend that she has three huge essays due this week and didn’t know how she was going to get them done. all my problems seemed immensely insignificant compared to hers but at least she doesn’t have the extra burden of the horrible guilt, because when it is your own fault that you are failing life, your brain isn’t going to let you forget it. now that i am so aware of this trail of self-sabotage history stalking me through my life i think it is time to make a decision. what am i going to do about it? i need to choose whether i am going to turn around half way down that aisle and make a mad dash for the nearest vehicle to speed away from my new life in, or if am i going to just take the plunge and marry richard Gere. well, he is super charming. i’ll give him that.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
The Valentimes: transport traumas
Kill.i.an: Middle class trash
In this week’s column, Aoife Valentine recounts the perils of using mascara in a moving vehicle and the lack of transport etiquette shown by fellow commuters
Embracing his middle class life, Killian Woods tries running and lifting things at the gym
ometimes i find myself with a running monologue in my head narrating my life as it unfolds. Most of the time it’s my voice, or whatever i think my voice sounds like, while on the odd occasion it’s bob saget’s. Hearing his voice in my head is the only foolproof feedback system that i have to remind me i’m watching too much of the best tv show about friends that’s not Friends, How i Met your Mother. so, after a weekend watching season six and seven of How i Met your Mother all the way through from start to finish while carving pumpkins for Hallowe’en, i walked out the door of my Upper leeson street freezebox on Monday morning with bob’s voice narrating what i/he thought was going to happen. How i Met your Mother hits me as a remarkably middle class show. For those of you living under a rock for the last several years, the show centres around ted Mosby, a sappy romantic telling his kids a lot of crazy stories about his friends that will eventually culminate in the story about how he met their mother. i say that it’s middle class because that type of person, for the most part, can readily relate to the show. everyone knows a player like barney, a career-driven girl with Daddy issues like robin, and an inseparable couple like lily and Marshall. some people even share a birthday with ted. one of those ‘some people’ being me. it took me a long time to notice and embrace that i actually am middle class trash, but the signs have been obvious for years. i add leek to most things i cook, my wardrobe is full of the north Face and Helly Hansen jumpers, i have a subscription to time Magazine, and my main hobby is buying the sunday papers and not reading them. i even live on leeson street, a middle class trash hub. and although prostitutes also live there, in fairness to them, they’re probably driving up the average income in the area. i’m pretty good at being middle class, so i figured, by right; i should be adept at the most popular middle class sport: the gym. i’ve never used gyms before and always give the same jerky answer when people ask me why i don’t go to a gym. that being: “if i want to exercise, i’ll just run to your gym and back for free.” that excuse no longer works since i have full access to a brand spanking new free gym on campus, so i’d be a fool not to at least attempt gym-ing. when i tried to go to the gym for the first time, i was told that i had to do some sort of induction fitness test. i
have a feeling i misheard them because the fitness test only involved watching another man in what looked like an Xs ladies t-shirt working out. Maybe the fitness test was a test of how comfortable i am watching other men exercise? that would make sense because if you’re uncomfortable watching someone else exercising, then gyms are not for you. During this inappropriately named induction test, the guy kept saying “working out” and the more he said it, the stranger it sounded and it kind of lost meaning. in a gym you either lift things or move your legs, but never both at the same time because for some reason that would be weird. except for that one machine where you lift things using your legs. there’s no mental stimulation or “working out”, it’s all just biomechanics. the term working out should principally be reserved for long division and Pythagoras’ theorem. once i finally got into the gym, i didn’t last long. i can run just long enough to make a bus stop, but without that motivation, i lost interest. then i cramped up on the fake bicycle and was very bad at lifting the heavy things. i decided to round off my first visit to the gym with a swim. i wasn’t looking forward to this one bit because i swim like sam in the lord of the rings. there’s a lot of flapping, i don’t go very far, and sink very easily. My best achievement in swimming was when i lived in australia. the country was high on the ian ‘the thorpedo’ thorpe olympic buzz and my school organised a big school swimming competition. somehow, i managed to finish fourth in my heat. then again, you could also say that the person who won the heat was fourth last. the worst bit was after the exercise: the changing room. the UCD gym should call in the Centre of Disease control to investigate the locker rooms because there has been a serious outbreak of small man syndrome. emphasis on the small. i don’t know who told these men otherwise, but there is nothing beautiful or art like about dingly dangly bits which warrants them being displayed in any public setting. and believe me, this is not a homophobic protest. there is one solitary reason why i don’t want to look at other men’s junk and that’s because it is ugly wrinkly skin. i shouldn’t have even attempted to go to the gym. Using How i Met your Mother as my middle class life guide book, i would have realised that it would be a terrible idea. i think i’ll just stay home carving pumpkins.
“I do sometimes worry that instead of ending up in the ofﬁce, I’ll wake up blind in some A&E after one too many times testing fate, yielding a mascara wand to my eyes just as the bus takes a swift turn around a sharp bend.”
“I add leek to most things I cook, my wardrobe is full of The North Face and Helly Hansen jumpers, I have a subscription to Time Magazine, and my main hobby is buying the Sunday papers and not reading them.”
ast week a quite elderly man sat down on the seat next to me on the bus to work and told me what i was doing was unbecoming of a lady. i wasn’t swearing like a sailor at him, nor was i spitting in children’s faces. i hadn’t even yet resorted to feeling more sorry for myself than the rest of the planet does for themselves, which was almost an achievement in itself considering twitter wouldn’t load on my iPhone and i really needed to tell the world how unbecoming this man thought i was. no, i was innocently putting on some foundation. it was 7.30am, i had only just started my two-hour commute to UCD, and i was sleepy. My body isn’t equipped to cope with getting up while it’s still dark, so i was already running late for an early-morning interview. this is the problem with living two hours away from UCD. i’m doomed from the beginning. not only do i have to use almost every mode of transport there is to get to college, but i have to try my very best not to fall over while doing it. add in the fact that i’m unwilling to rush the four minutes i like to spend brushing my teeth, and there’s a lot of running for buses and flailing around on the opposite side of the road, trying to make the bus driver see me, take pity on me and wait a second until i won’t die crossing the road. this has all cumulated in the most regimented morning routine, where i can be out of the house, showered, dressed, looking vaguely presentable down at the bus stop, in 13 minutes flat. the only thing i cannot do in that time is put on my make up. if you had my bed, you wouldn’t be wasting your time not being in it. not even five tiny minutes. so i do what i can on the daily commute. it’s really not that bad. it’s not like i’m whipping out tweezers and having good pluck of my eyebrows. nor do i bring out the nail clippers or nail files, and leave bits of my nails all over public transport. More importantly than all of those, i have never once brought dental floss in the general vicinity of a bus, nor have i ever eaten a tuna sandwich on one. other people do all of those things and are perfectly becoming. or at least, they weren’t given out to for being downright disgusting. one rather flustered woman did once get on a packed 145 recently and ask some woman who was sitting down if she would let the flustered lady sit down so she could apply her face. i’m not her either. if the bus or train is packed, i just use my incredible ability to sleep standing up while i can, and arrive to the office looking a little more dead than usual. i just sit quietly and put on my make
up. i’m not bothering anyone. it’s not like i’m using an eyelash curlers to perform cruel acts of small torture on my fellow commuters. though, i do sometimes worry that instead of ending up in the office, i’ll wake up blind in some a&e after one too many times testing fate, yielding a mascara wand to my eyes just as the bus takes a swift turn around a sharp bend. you quickly learn to move with the bus, rather than fighting it, once you’ve stabbed yourself in the eye/nose area with a black eyeliner pencil enough times. it’s both in an effort to save what little sight you have left, and also to avoid looking like a sap with soot on their face for the rest of the day. the lovely man beside me informed be that i was performing private activities, and that it was impolite of me to destroy the world’s image that all women are lovely, naturally and that no one wears make up, or some bollocks. besides the fact that we all know that much worse crimes against a natural image have been committed by the tangoed tan team, who often barely resemble people, it’s also clear that nothing about my make up routine is private. My face is allowed be naked in public. it’s grand. He concluded that was i was doing was terribly unsanitary and that i should be extremely embarrassed. well, when you hold a mirror up in front of your face, open your mouth like a fish and try to apply mascara on a moving vehicle, you quickly learn to not care who is looking at you. also, children wander around buses licking poles and stuff. that’s unsanitary. Putting your own make up on your own face with clean hands and brushes is identical to doing the same in your bathroom at home. numerous people do terrible, terrible things on public transport, from vomiting, to have full on domestics with their various other halves, to engaging in eh, actually intimate and private activities. it’s ‘impolite’ to talk so loudly on your phone that everyone knows your life story by the time they get off the bus, and it’s just plain annoying when people insist on asking you about what you’re reading, even though you’ve got earphones in and are, well, reading; both obvious signs that you’re not on the bus to make a new friend. when you put it in perspective, applying your make up is really quite an innocuous activity. we should instead be targeting all those men who take up two seats everywhere they go, simply by virtue of the fact that they seem to find it completely impossible to close their legs. what is that? those are the people who are the scourge of society. i’m lovely. and becoming.
eminism is the real F-word these days. Despite an rise in journalism about gender equality, feminism and television, film and other culture pertaining to these issues, to personally identify as a feminist still seems problematic and difficult for many women as well as men. there are many myths surrounding the idea of feminism and what it really means, but when we open our eyes to the true meaning of feminism and what it means to both men and women, we can begin to work toward a more equal and productive society that benefits everyone. Put simply, feminism is the belief that equality should exist between the genders. Feminism celebrates the inherent differences between men and women as well as questioning the needless inequalities between them, such as pay gaps, slut-shaming of women, sexualised bodies in advertising and lack of female representation in a variety of sectors, such as technology, science, education and the arts. Feminism asks why there are barely any female Ceos in the Fortune 500 companies. it asks why you need a woman in a bikini to advertise the latest chocolate bar. it is furious that rapists and other sexual criminals are not brought to justice properly in this country. it wonders why some people feel the need to steal photos of women in bikinis and underwear and paste them all over the internet. Feminism wants the world to be equal, so that we can build a better future based around people being judged for their hard work and ability, not their gender. simply put, there is a feminism for everyone. white, middle-class feminism is of course the most obviously publicised feminism, but there are writings on black feminism, latin feminism, disabled feminism, trans feminism, conservative feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, male feminism etc. the internet is a brilliant resource for searching writings out because people are writing and blogging about women’s issues from countless perspectives daily. the most common myth is the most pervasive. Feminism is not centred around a culture of despising men. Misandry, the correct term for a hatred of men, is certainly a facet of a certain type of feminism, but the key of understanding feminism
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Observer OpEd Feminism is for Everybody by Bridget Fitzsimons transgender women do not have a place in feminist discourse, stating in the manifesto for the radFem 2012 conference (which has since been cancelled amid much controversy) that attendance should be restricted to “women born women and living as women”. while these women self-identify as feminists, as i do myself, i feel their views on transgender individuals and gender as a whole are archaic and anti-feminist. My personal brand of feminism believes that we must all, women and men, work together toward a more equal future that benefits all of us. i also disagree with the ‘reclaim the night’ marches, which are designed to protest the prevalance of rape and sexual assault and a society that makes it very difficult for women to feel safe walking home alone at night. while i am very much in favour of marches like these, men are excluded from these official marches, to create a safe marching space for women. the mistake these feminists make is ignoring the fact that men can and will be feminist allies on issues such as these. in addition, by ignoring a male voice against rape and sexual assault, feminists run the risk of ignoring the very real and stigmatised issue of male rape. the problem with the correct understanding of feminism is that it is often seen by many people as an academic theory that is centred around the furthering of white, middle-class women, excluding problems faced by women of colour, disabled women and other marginalised groups. these issues have been raised in recent on-
give a shit about it”. the truth is that we cannot look towards one person for feminist rhetoric. yes, Moran did herself no favours in excluding women of colour in such a dismissive way, but she speaks to a very personal type of narrative. Hers is a personal feminism, built around her own experience as a white cisgender woman in the United Kingdom. Her feminism is not applicable to everyone and nor should it be. Feminism does not need to be an academic construct that fits into all perspectives and versions of womanhood. while my studying of academic feminism helped me enormously in realising my own beliefs, feminism is
“Feminism is as political as it is academic. When you’re campaigning to close the gender pay gap, no one will care if you’ve read Simone de Beauvoir and knowledge of Julia Kristeva isn’t essential for being outraged at the way in which sexual criminals are sentenced in this country.” necessary to promote clubs and societies? little things like this add up to a feminist consciousness. Caitlin Moran notes in How to be a woman “i have one rule of thumb that allows me to judge [...] whether some sexist bullshit is afoot [...] are the men doing it? are the men worrying about this as well? is this taking up the men’s time? are the men told not to do this, as it’s ‘letting our side down?’” obviously, this is not applicable in every single case, but it highlights feminism’s true cause: equality. i don’t wish to be better than men, i just wish to live in a world where men and women co-exist and work together without being limited by their gender.
in this country. academia can be intimidating when you feel like feminism belongs only to those who are able to read and understand difficult texts pertaining to it. the truth is that there are several accessible books about feminism
and gender issues that will allow anyone to learn more about feminism. i highly recommend Jessica valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism: a young woman’s Guide to why Feminism Matters, bell hooks’s Feminism is for everybody: Passionate Politics and Gender outlaw by Kate bornstein. bornstein writes excellently on gender and trans issues, hooks is an incredible writer about black feminism (see also: ain’t i a woman?: black women and Feminism) and valenti is great for an introduction into general feminist issues from a white perspective. she has also written recently about feminism and parenthood, after the birth of her first child. these books are for men and women alike and offer great perspective into the different facets that feminism can offer. next time you walk through the concourse and see a poster for “stockbrokers and secretaries” night, or a woman in a bikini advertising the “Porn Debate”, question it. why do these posters have a place in a centre of education? why are naked women
and having an office near enough to sU HQ to get to. the march has been scaled down from previous years’ antifees extravaganzas but Paddy “Raise The Flag” Guiney claims that it will be just as effective, and size is no indication of power. or at least that’s what he tells the first year reps. in order to get people involved in the march, there has been a major crackdown by Rachel “Minitrue” Breslin who declared in last week’s Union Council that opinions and individual thoughts have no place in student government. the Union’s word is law, and they must follow regardless of what they or the students they represent have to say, if by some unfortunate accident they should accidentally talk to them. Rachel “Chief Whip” Breslin then stormed the aisles to interrogate various members on why they had joined the Union. Unfortunately few gave the correct response of “to bow down to your will” so it remains to be seen how many make it to the next Council. in defiance of this, Eoin “Soapbox” Heffernan has taken on the mission of having thrice the number of opinions
a normal man can hold, and is spewing them violently in the direction of eamon Gilmore and UCD. while all of the scurrilous sabbats have taken to carpet bombing everyone’s Facebook feed with pictures of campaign posters to the degree that the mass-unfriendings of students will kill any attempts to raise awareness, Eoin “Hashtag” Heffernan has taken a more personal route, and regularly tweets at and comments on Gilmore’s pages to proclaiming him to be a “gremlin”. Glad to see those diplomacy lessons are paying off. the second union council also saw a revolt against the revolts when Karl “Better Red than Dead” Gill took Paddy ”Designed By Committee” Guiney to task for having so many private campaigns crews that he had forgotten to include the official Campaigns Forum in any discussions or decisions. at least the volume of help the C&C officer is getting compares well to our hapless education officer Shane “Double-O” Comer, who had to resort to shrouding then purpose of his request for 30 helpers in mystery. is some sort of secret protest or occupation planned? Unfortunately for Shane
“Lone Ranger” Comer a mass pandemic of flu and dead grandmothers broke out when he revealed it was for a marathon petition signing session. try the Campaigns Forum next time, we know they’re not busy. inside the corridor there is a revolt of a different kind over what is to become of talleyrand’s old hunting ground, the former University observer office. both Paddy “Fetherlite” Guiney and Mícheál “Ultima” Gallagher have laid claim to the space for use for either hiding several more secret campaign crews in, or as another storeroom for contraception. Meanwhile Mark “One Thing I’ve Noticed” Stokes is settling into life as a sabbat like a UCD duck to some worryingly green water with his clever sidestepping of the whole debate by announcing it as his office space for his meetings. lets hope during the battle for office domination none of them realise that talleyrand still has the keys.
as political as it is academic. when you’re campaigning to close the gender pay gap, no one will care if you’ve read simone de beauvoir and knowledge of Julia Kristeva isn’t essential for being outraged at the way in which sexual criminals are sentenced
“Feminism is not centred around a culture of despising men. Misandry, the correct term for a hatred of men, is certainly a facet of a certain type of feminism, but the key of understanding feminism is realising that it means different things to different people...” is realising that it means different things to different people. Feminism is an overarching term that encompasses many different experiences and thoughts. For example, radical feminists, including noted feminist academic Germaine Greer, feel that
line critiques of mainstream feminist journalist Caitlin Moran, who when questioned if she had asked Hbo’s Girls writer lena Dunham about the lack of women of colour in her programme, replied (via twitter, of course) “nope. i literally couldn’t
attention airheads, Hackland has been all a-flurry recently and the word of the week is: revolt! Despite mumbles of a new approach to the issue of fees, the sU have fallen back on the old standard and allowed Paddy “Logue Mode” Guiney to fulfil his only brief and organise a march. the target of their outrage this year is eamon Gilmore who has committed the double crime of not fulfilling campaign promises despite being in the all-powerful position of head of the minority party in a coalition,
Bridget Fitzsimons is a graduate of UCD’s MA in Film Studies and Editor Emeritus of Volume XVII of the University Observer. You can follow her on Twitter @BridgetFitz.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Observer Editorial editor @ universityobserver.ie
It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the minutiae of your own life and forget about the wider issues of the world. What is the US Presidential election when you’re trying to figure out how to get to your nephew’s birthday party on public transport while carrying a 6 foot inflatable T-Rex?
his issue it was a struggle to come up with a topic for this editorial. I had a very busy weekend, was out sick for a few days, and then had a frantic catch-up when I returned. Though I am usually very interested in politics, news and current affairs, in the last few weeks it has sort of passed me by. I started looking up newspapers to get some ideas and nothing was familiar to me. I knew the characters but not the stories, like missing a series of Downton Abbey or going to the bathroom during Lost. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the minutiae of your own life and forget about the wider issues of the world. What is the US Presidential election when you’re trying to figure out how to get to your nephew’s birthday party on public transport while carrying a 6 foot inflatable T-Rex? What are the events in Syria to having to meet your boyfriend’s family for the first time? World events are so much greater than the individual, yet the things happening in your own life will always take precedent. An essay deadline is not more important than war in the Middle East, but it is to you. However much you want to care, when
real-life worries stack up it quickly shifts into the ‘not my problem’ part of your brain. It’s also very easy to focus on particular aspects of news and forget about everything else. World events are not something that is easy to find out via osmosis. Even if you are an ardent watcher of 24-hour-news, you’ll come away with the feeling that one missing child in Surrey is far more important than the millions and millions of children worldwide dying from war and famine. All news coverage is down to the decision of the editor, and they may have a very different idea of what is important. There is also a culture of promoting stories the public will find interesting, rather than the stories the public need to know. It’s even easier to be blinkered by your own interests and prejudices. As an atheist with few religious friends or family, I can forget for large periods of time that religion is even a thing, never mind an important issue for the majority of the globe. I’m probably even less connected to the phenomenon of religion than someone in an atheist community, as I’m not even actively fighting against the yoke of dominant religiosity. I don’t even know wheth-
er people I know are religious, it just never comes up. I’m lucky that I live somewhere where my beliefs, or lack of beliefs, cause no trouble, but it does further my disconnect from world events. It would be nice to believe that this was just me, and I’m the only one who spends more time thinking about Downton Abbey than Syria but I suspect not. You see the disconnect everywhere, from low voter turnout to lack of participation in protests. Unless an issue directly affects you, regardless of whether you support something in theory, it’s difficult to make the effort to raise awareness, raise money or march in the streets. This is not just for the wider world, but even student issues face this disengage. While students have traditionally been the most active group in promoting social and educational reform, the numbers who turn up to marches and events are usually underwhelming. While the issue of fees is vitally and pressingly important to those with financial problems, if you are lucky enough to have parents who can afford to pay for your education, then it can easily slide down your list of priorities. You may support the fight against fees,
but do you support it enough to get out of bed on a winter morning to march through town? Do you even support it enough to send letters to your TD? We need to re-examine our priorities. While you have to live your life as best you can, the rest of the world is important. While it may feel like these issues don’t affect you, in the much grander scheme of things, they do. Whether it’s because fees spiral out of control preventing even the fairly well off from being able to participate in third level education, or simply that your friend’s grades suffer when they have to work two part time jobs in order to afford to live, you are affected. We need to re-examine our priorities and decide that regardless of our current financial state, this is a personal issue. Fees and service cuts affect us all by compromising our generation’s education and future prospects. This is a problem, and further more, it’s our problem. We all need to make the effort to support fellow students in the fight for educational rights no matter what else we have going on in our lives. We need to send the letters, put up the posters and attend the marches. Even if it is snowing out or really early in the morning.
Quotes of the Fortnight “I think it’s a testament to the quality of teaching here.” Shane Comer on why UCD has the lowest number of first class honours
“That’s how I feel, I think.” Paddy Guiney on his political convictions
“Hard to swallow is subjective.” Animal Collective
Letters to the editor Dear Editor It is a cliché (and like most clichés partly true) that every interest group feels that “the meeja is agin us”. It is also an accepted state of affairs that student’s unions, and the student press in general, will align with the liberal-progressive philosophy that has been pushed upon young people for decades now, mostly through the influence of the entertainment industry, the advertising industry (hedonistic individualism is good for sales) and “tenured radicals” in academe. However, even though I accept that the student press will be a vehicle for the trendy (or “progressive”) social thinking of our day, and even though I believe in the freedom of the press and your entitlement to take a particular editorial stance, I was disappointed by the unabashed bias of your October 16th issue, which didn’t even make a pretence towards balance or objectivity. Not only did your editorial fail to even acknowledge any arguments against abortion, it also offensively linked “silence” on support for abortion with a reluctance to talk about mental health issues. There is no resemblance at all between these
two things-- abortion is the taking of human life, while mental health is its flourishing. You then compare moral conservatism, (for instance opposition to abortion) with economic “conservatism”. In fact, social liberalism and free market economics-- what one writer has wittily described as “acts of capitalism between consenting adults”-go hand in hand, especially in their too-narrow definition of “consent”. You also carried an article in favour of same-sex marriage, by Enrique Anarte Lazo, (but no balancing article in favour of the timehonoured definition of marriage). Mr. Lazo says: “To solve these problems in a satisfactory way, it is necessary to create a space of dialogue. That is why European democracies have always been an example to follow. The myth collapses, however, with topics like gay rights or abortion, which both require forgetting about theological and religious thinking, and focusing on legal, social and political argument”. This seems to mean that democracy is a fine thing in its way, but not when it comes to liberal sacred cows such as same-sex marriage and abortion,
which should be imposed regardless of the will of the people. Mr. Lazo is also wrong to imply that those opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage rely upon religious arguments to make their case. Usually, as a matter of fact, they make their arguments upon philosophical, social and other grounds. But they are absolutely entitled to argue on religious grounds if they so choose. That’s democracy. Unfortunately, it seems as though The University Observer has become little more than a propaganda sheet.
Clarifications & Corrections It was reported in Issue III in the article “University-Community Collaboration in UCC’s CARL” that UCC was the first Irish thirdlevel institution to use student research as the means for increased interaction the university and the wider community. In fact, DIT and NUIG have run similar schemes previously. We are happy to clarify this.
Yours faithfully Maolsheachlann O Ceallaigh 74, Sillogue Gardens Ballymun Dublin 11 Letters should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to The editor, The University Observer, UCD Student Centre, Belfield, Dublin 4
It is the policy of the University Observer to rectify any errors as soon as they arise. Queries and clarifications can be addressed to email@example.com.
Editor Emer Sugrue
University Observer Volume XIX Issue IV Telephone: (01) 716 3835/3837 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.universityobserver.ie
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Deputy Editor Aoife Valentine
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Contributors Bronagh Carvill Nicole Casey Sean Cooke Faye Docherty David Farrell Isobel Fergus Shane Hannon Aaron Kennedy Rachel Maher Lucy Montague Moffat Matthew Morrow Niamh O’Driscoll Sean O’Neill Micheal O’Sullivan Conor Ryan Megan Stokes Emma Smith Talleyrand Killian Woods Laura Woulfe
“A lot of people don’t vote in sabbatical elections, but even more don’t vote in national elections.” Paddy Guiney misunderstanding percentages
“It would be good to get as many young people as possible out there, and get them tested for registering to vote.” Paddy Guiney, god of voting
Chief Photographer Caoimhe McDonnell Special Thanks Eilis O’Brien Dominic Martella Giselle Jiang Dominic, Grace, Charlie, Jason, Aifric, Mark, Sandra and all the Student Centre Staff Tony, Laura and all the Webprint staff Very Special Thanks Balazs Pete and all the robots at NetSoc, Teresa Alonso Cortes, Declan Clear, Dave Connolly, Bridget Fitzsimons, Killian Woods.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Reinventing the wheel
his summer’s All-Ireland Championships have been labelled one of the most exciting in recent memory with Donegal winning their second ever Sam Maguire and the Kilkenny-Galway decider being the first replayed All-Ireland hurling final in over half a century. Despite the exhilarating nature of the championship this season, calls have been made within GAA circles for a possible restructure of the Championship system. The current qualifier system has been established for over ten years. It has certainly served the association fantastically over the last decade, with the emergence of smaller counties such as Wexford and Fermanagh on to the bigger stage in Croke Park. Even though the current method has worked effectively, calls have been made for another reconstruction of the championship. In 2001, when the blue ribbon event of Gaelic football was altered, sections of the hierarchy disagreed with the abolition of the old knockout system. So how would they feel if the current system moved further away and became based upon a system with four groups of eight teams? The issue that is really impeding the GAA from concluding on a decision
over a new frame-work for the championships is the Provincial Championships. The early round games in Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster are seen as part of the organisation’s rich heritage. The rivalry of local counties battling it out is part of the ethos of the GAA. The qualifier system seems to have undermined the early round games, as the bigger guns seem to be trying to conserve energy for the later rounds of the Championship when games become increasingly competitive. The provincial championships have certainly become less important to giants of the game such as Dublin and Kerry in football and Kilkenny in hurling. Nevertheless, provincial games are a sacred part of the association and the hierarchy seem reluctant to retire the age-old system. If the new style to the championship was instigated, it would require three teams from Leinster and one from Ulster to leave their current province. Under the current structures, it is possible to win a Munster title with two wins, while winning Leinster can take as many as four. The main problem with this change would be the idea of local derbies. New rivalries would effectively be forced upon the counties that make the switch while old rivalries would lose their
With calls to reform the All-Ireland Championship getting louder, Seán O’Neill takes a look at what is being suggested
bite, with the teams no longer facingoff regularly. It is hard to see counties such as Wexford, Fermanagh or Longford feeling truly at home in their new group. Although there have been cries to reinvigorate the game with a new format, some have even called to revert to the traditional style of the GAA Championships where everybody got one chance. The cut and thrust of the knock-out games would certainly mean teams would have to be on top of their
The issue that exists with players is that they train as hard as any professional athletes, for seven to eight months of the year, but only have two chances to get it right once summer comes round. If teams are placed within a group format of either four or eight teams, they will be guaranteed a series of games in which they can perform. Complaints over the standard of smaller counties have been levelled at the likes of Wicklow and Roscommon, but if these so-called weaker teams gain
Although there have been cries to reinvigorate the game with a new format, some have even called to revert to the traditional style of the GAA Championships game earlier in the championship. Others have called for the Championship to adopt the structure of a league, but why would the GAA move to make the premier cup competition into a league, when there is already one in place? Perhaps it would be successful if teams took the league more seriously. The complaint that players, in particular, have over the current structure is that too few games are guaranteed.
more competitive action in the white heat of championship they will inevitably improve. Players and managers are struggling to meet large demands. They train tirelessly for several months with the possibility of their summer lasting a few worthless weeks. The club game is also being affected with inter-county fixtures gaining priority. If a group system existed, set dates for games would
help clubs establish when their season will begin and finish. The GAA is in the unusual position of having its elite completion run in a non-league format. This is incredible as the league format is king in almost every other team sport. In the GAA, though, we have seen that tradition plays a major part in making changes to rules and formats with the prime example being rule 42, which led to extraordinary debate. The GAA is an undoubtedly conservative organisation, so any changes to the current system would be considered truly radical. GAA players are among the finest athletes in the world and make massive sacrifices throughout the year in order to be competitive, yet they seek no financial reward for all their hard work. To honour their commitment with two meaningful games a summer is perhaps too little. The debate over whether the championship should be restructured seems like it will rumble on for a while yet, with many pros and cons being argued for both sides. Despite the opposition to these radical ideas, there would appear to be an acceptance in the corridors of power that the games of Gaelic football and hurling need some sort of a tuneup. Whether or not we’ll see a change is a question for another day.
Suspicious minds Just in time for Hallowe’en, Matthew Morrow takes a look in to the weird world of sporting superstitions and curses
e all know that professional sportspeople can be superstitious and most have their own pre-match routines and celebrations. Basketball superstar LeBron James has his famous chalk toss just before tip-off. Andy Murray will keep using the ball from the point before if he wins on that point and Serena Williams bounces the ball seven times before a first serve, and four times before a second serve. These are all very innocent practices, done almost for the sake of doing them. These superstitions are so widely accepted in sport that we often don’t
even realise they are there. Some of you reading may even have your own, but there is a darker side to this; the world of the sporting curse. For example, some people in the west believe that Mayo may well have won the All-Ireland Football final this year if it weren’t for the “Curse of ‘51”. They believe that there was a curse placed over the county by a priest that stated they won’t win the Sam Maguire again until every member of the team that won in 1951 has passed away. Legend has it that the priest in question became incensed when the Mayo team bus passed by a funeral without showing due respect as they celebrated
their All-Ireland win, and so he cursed the county football team for years to come. With five of the 1951 team still alive, it appears that if the curse is true, Mayo might yet have to wait some time to bring Sam back to Castlebar. Over the pond in the USA, sports teams and franchises have attached more credibility to curses. The Curse of Billy Penn was an alleged curse used to explain the failure of major professional sports teams based in Philadelphia to win championships. In March 1987, a skyscraper was built which exceeded the height of William Penn’s statue atop Philadelphia City Hall. Penn was the founder of the city. Until the construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, it was believed that a gentlemen’s agreement existed among the people of the city that forbade the erection of any building taller than the statue. Since the curse began, the Flyers lost the Stanley Cup Finals twice, in 1987 and in 1997, the Phillies lost the 1993 World Series, the ‘76ers lost the 2001 NBA Finals and the Eagles lost three straight NFC Championship games from the 2001 through 2003 seasons, before reaching Super Bowl XXXIX after the 2004 season, only to lose to the Patriots by three points. The curse was appar-
ently lifted in 2007 when construction workers on the new Comcast Center, the new tallest building in Philadelphia, attached a four-inch tall figurine of William Penn to the final beam of the building, restoring Penn to his rightful place over the Philadelphian skyline. The following year, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series. Until 2004, when they won the World Series after an 84-year wait, many Boston Red Sox fans believed that the Curse of Bambino would forever prevent them from winning the Commissioner’s Trophy. This curse originated after the switch of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the New York Yankees in 1919. Prior to the switch, the Red Sox had been one of the most successful teams in baseball history, amassing five World Series triumphs, but after the sale they went over eight decades without winning, whilst the Yankees became one
2003 post-season when Fox television commentators played it up during the Cubs-Marlins match-up in the 2003 National League Championship Series. There have been several attempts to ‘lift’ the curse, including Sianis’ nephew bringing a goat to the Opening Day Game in both 1984 and 1989. In both of these years the Cubs won their division, but did not break their streak in the World Series. Allegedly, the only way to lift the curse is for the Cubs franchise to show a sincere fondness for goats, and not just allow them into the stadium for the sake of breaking the curse or as a publicity stunt. Until such a time, it appears that their wait for a World Series will go on. So it seems as if superstition is alive and well in sport today. Whether it be something as small as a player insisting on leaving the changing room last or something that affects an entire city,
When the owner of the local Billy Goat Tavern, Billy Sianis, was asked to leave the Wrigley Stadium because the smell of his goat was upsetting the away fans, he was outraged, declaring “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more” of the most recognisable and successful franchises in Major League Baseball. The World Series win in 2004 put to rest this curse for the Red Sox, but there are other examples of curses in North American sport that are still believed to this day. The Curse of Billy Goat is still thought to haunt the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise. This curse dates back to the 1945 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, when the owner of the local Billy Goat Tavern, Billy Sianis, was asked to leave the Wrigley Stadium, because the smell of his goat was upsetting the away fans. He was outraged, declaring “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more”, which many believe means the Cubs will never win another game in the World Series in Wrigley Stadium. The curse has been immortalised in newspaper columns over the years and gained widespread attention during the
sports fans and players alike continue to indulge these ideas, often as a way of explaining failure without accepting their own shortcomings. Regardless of how much sense they make, superstitions are simply a part of sport.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
Men in black In light of the recent controversy in the NFL, Kevin Beirne looks at the importance of proper officiating in professional sport
ebras, the man in the middle, a banker with a w: referees are known by many different names. We often blame them for killing a game or being biased towards a particular team. When our team fails to reach its potential, it’s not unusual to claim it was the fault of the referee rather than our own players. With all the money riding on modern sports events, from prize money for the teams to a simple bet placed by an eager punter, it is so vital that the standard of refereeing is high. So why is it that we are left to talk about a mistake the referee made instead of what any of the players actually did so regularly? One of the simplest explanations for this is that, in most sports, referees are not fully-fledged professionals. It was not until the year 2000 that the FA introduced fully professional referees for the Premier League. Even those referees who are paid do not receive huge amounts of money, unlike the players they are forced to regulate on a weekly basis. In fact, it is believed that Premier League referees earn somewhere in the region of £60,000 a year for their contribution to the game, which is £10,000 less than Andrey Arshavin is paid, per week, to sit on Arsenal’s bench. So why is it that the powers that be pay the most important individual on the pitch so poorly compared to the players? One problem is demand. Footballers are paid so much because they have a number of teams to choose from and all of them are competing with one another. Referees, on the other hand,
do not have this luxury. Another problem is, ironically, respect. Most associations do not seem to respect the importance of having proper referees. For anyone who is wondering the true value of top-class officiating, just look to a recent example from over the Atlantic. For the first three weeks of this season, the National Football League (NFL) “locked out” their referees and relied on replacement officials to oversee their games while labour talks took place between the league and the referees. Inevitably, this ended in disaster as the public got to see the importance of their officials. The NFL was found to have hired replacement officials with incredibly embarrassing blotches on their CVs, with the majority of them being fired by the Lingerie Football League, which is where women play American football in lingerie, for ineptitude. In a vastly technical game like American football, using replacement referees was always going to be a gamble. In this case, the gamble completely blew up in the face of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as the poor officiating culminated in a last-second fiasco in the Packers-Seahawks game, with the Seahawks getting an undeserved win. Under the pressure from the public following that game, the NFL came to an agreement with the referees’ union and the original referees were reinstated. NFL supporters were so delighted by this that the refs were given a standing ovation in almost every stadium the
Premier League referees earn somewhere in the region of £60,000 a year … £10,000 less than Andrey Arshavin is paid, per week, to sit on Arsenal’s bench following week. But still, the NFL underpays their referees compared to the players. In the NFL there is both a salary cap and a salary floor on how much teams can spend on players. The salary floor ensures that players do not get ripped off by their teams. Under the current collect bargaining agreement in the NFL, the lowest any player can be paid (besides a pay-as-you-play contract) is $375,000 a year. In order to receive this pay, the player has to be a first year player with absolutely no experience in the professional game. This does not include any performance based incentives or signing bonuses. Meanwhile, after all the talk and the dramatic move by the NFL to lockout their refs, NFL referees will earn about $173,000 this year. That is less than
half of what the lowest earning player receives. One wonders how a multibillion dollar corporation like the NFL was so unwilling to meet the demands of the officials. It all goes back to worth. The NFL feels that the worst player in the league is worth more than their best referee. In fact, the NFL feels that the worst player in the league is worth double the best referee. The referees’ salaries will rise to $205,000 by 2019, but one would expect the players’ salaries to rise even more. It does seem a little strange to claim that a person who makes well over $100,000 a year is underpaid, but it is relevant to the market they are in. The NFL is expected to take in $9.5 billion in revenue this year, which would make it the largest sports market in America. The referees in America are still
much better paid than those in Europe. As stated earlier, the average Premier League referee earns around £60,000 a year, with almost half of that based on the amount of games they do. It is not uncommon to be watching a Champions League match and hear the commentator inform you that the referee is a teacher back in their home country. Referees are a vital part of any sport. Without them, sport would be a chaotic mess that would be impossible to enjoy on the scale that we do. Although they are well-paid relative to the rest of the economy, they are underpaid, if you consider the market they exist in. Until they receive equal billing to the players on the pitch with them, we can continue to expect many flawed performances.
Playing fair David Farrell examines what exactly the Financial Fair Play structure will mean for European football
he return of the Champions League sees Europe’s greatest sides pit their wits against one another in a battle for continental supremacy. Where once it was a competition that saw sides win by mere merit, and judicious and effective youth development, it is now one that requires serious financial muscle to even get a look in beyond December. In response to the growing inequality and financial mismanagement throughout football, UEFA have stepped in with their much vaunted Financial Fair Play policy (FFP). As Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain return to action, the discourse often turns to their new clout granted by their Middle-Eastern investors and the contrast offered by abandoned Malaga.
cipline, decrease the upward pressure on salaries and transfer fees, whilst encouraging them to invest in youth development and infrastructure with the hope that it would offer greater stability. FFP sees clubs compete within their means and negate the effect of wealthy owners, allowing clubs to compete on a more level playing field. The impetus for the new policy came from the gloomy forecasts offered by Deloitte’s annual ‘Football Money League’ reports, which showed vast numbers of clubs across Europe with serious debts. From 2010, clubs had a three year lead-in period which would see them make steps toward breaking even or face expulsion from European competition. This is followed by a further six year leeway with losses capped
FFP regulations do not count debt accrued from investing in stadia, improved training facilities or youth programmes, opening up the possibility for more home-grown talent to come into the first team FPP is intended to level the playing field and promote sustainability. The plan originated from UEFA president Michel Platini and was passed by UEFA’s executive committee in September 2009. It hoped that clubs would enact greater financial dis-
from 2012-13, the threshold lowering in 2015-16 and gone by the start of the 2018-19 season. This process is overseen and implemented by the newly created Club Financial Control Panel, with the ability to look into compliance and enforce
FFP through fines or expulsion from European competitions. This power was used at the start of the season to withhold prize money from clubs over non-payment to other clubs, most notably to Atlético Madrid and Sporting Lisbon. It all sounds rather rosy and lovely when laid out. Put simply, FFP essentially imposes some common sense upon clubs and doesn’t allow another case akin to that of Leeds United or Portsmouth to develop. It has seen many clubs change their strategies in response and breed a new financial culture. Despite the apparent strictness, there are ways around these rules and these loopholes are the cause of much discussion. The main perpetrators are, of course, the very clubs that are highlighted as those that need to be constrained. Rather than make loans or donations to the clubs, the owners of Manchester City and PSG have used companies they own or have a financial interest in to sponsor the clubs and various investments. The owners of Manchester City have exploited a loophole by having Etihad Airways, a company also owned by the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, sponsor the club’s shirts, stadium and new training complex. The owners of PSG are expected to also indirectly sponsor their own shirts once the current deal expires. This year, Ligue 1 saw a record-breaking TV deal from the
Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera and a slew of minor deals with firms connected to their owners. This problem was supposedly addressed by the ‘fair value test’, but Manchester City’s £400m deal from Etihad has not come under any scrutiny, much to the disgust of Arsène Wenger and many others. This advantage, whilst significant, still does not remove the necessity for clubs to re-evaluate their spending and seek to become more sustainable. Liverpool indulged in a summer clear-out of expensive players in an effort to conform to the rules, as did the aforementioned Man City. Clubs are looking to increase their commercial revenues by selling naming rights and all other manner of opportunities, ranging from ‘official partners’ in all sectors to money spinning tours in the Far-East or USA to boost support and milk the financial opportunities that foreign markets offer. This overt and necessary commercialisation of the game has been here for a long time, and whether or not it sits well with fans is no longer an issue considered by the owners as it is increasingly needed for clubs to dine at the top table. So how does a small club benefit from the new rules? FFP regulations do not count debt accrued from investing in stadia, improved training facilities or youth programmes, opening up the possibility for more home-grown talent to come into the first team. While negating the need for expensive signings, it allows fans to see talent coming
up through the club and invest in the future and creating sustainable success. We are in a time of great economic uncertainty, and yet the flow of money into football shows no sign of stopping. Clubs continue to place huge sums of money on the table to lure players from every corner of the globe, but belts are being tightened and greater responsibility being practised. The future of the game is far from certain, but the signs are more positive now than at any time in the last decade. Still, UEFA have yet to address concerns over patronage through companies connected to their owners, the biggest test for FPP. Will UEFA shirk their responsibility if a big club falls foul of its rules? We can only hope that Platini’s bite is as fierce as his bark.
The University Observer | 31 October 2012
How to be a success in 140 characters or less
by jack walsh
Rugby UCD U-21s left the UCC Sports Grounds in Bishopstown having been crowned the 2012/2013 Conroy Cup champions, defeating Trinity College Dublin 13-7 in the final. Squads from Carlow IT, NUI Maynooth, and Queens University Belfast were also welcomed. UCD’s squad remained relatively young, with only three of last season’s team in the squad. UCD opened their campaign by defeating newcomers NUI Maynooth 56-0, followed by a tougher 33-17 victory over Queens University. Trinity beat both Carlow IT and UCC en route to the final. Following a scoreless first half, Trinity broke the deadlock with a converted try just after half time. UCD upped the intensity, resulting in Peter Conlon going over in the corner. Captain Liam Burke kicked a difficult touchline conversion, as well as adding two penalties, as UCD repelled a late Trinity fight-back and retained their crown.
UCD represented Ireland at the 32nd Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle, France from October 27th to November 3rd. This was the first time Ireland was represented in the competition for over a decade. UCD earned the right to represent Ireland having won the Irish Student Yachting national Championships in March. UCD will be looking to build on a successful time at the Irish University Sailing Associations (IUSA) Eastern Championships in Wexford, which ran from the 13th to the 14th of October. In a competition that featured seven other colleges, two UCD teams battled it out in the bronze final, with UCD6 emerging as the victors. UCD3 finished second in the silver fleet, losing out to a Trinity Alumni team in their final. UCD1 were defeated by the Alumni team, who would go on to win the overall event, in the semi-finals of the Gold fleet by a score of 2-1.
Basketball UCD Marian lost by 12 points at home to UL Eagles in their Nivea for Men’s Superleague encounter last Saturday night, with the Eagles winning by a final score-line of 61-73. The teams were tied at 30-a-piece at half time, but UL asserted their dominance and stay second in the table, while UCD Marian sit in fourth. Captain Niall Meany topscored for Marian with 16 points, as Marian maintained their record of the lowest-scoring offense in the league. UCD’s remains the stingiest defence in the league, but it could not bail them out this time, as a second half surge saw them fall short. Marian’s next game is against Moycullen on November 3rd in UCD.
Dope Culture In light of the USADA’s recent report on Lance Armstrong, Kevin Beirne examines the existence of doping in other sports
any of us suspected it which he would receive his drugs. remains clean. to be true for a long The following December, Le Monde In his autobiography, Andre Agassi time, even before the claimed to have documents belong- told of how he failed a drug test for takUSADA released its ing to Dr Fuentes detailing the “sea- ing crystal methamphetamine, for recincredibly detailed, sonal preparation plans” of Barcelona reational purposes, but managed to get 1,000-page-plus report into “the most and Real Madrid. Le Monde was later off with a warning after claiming that sophisticated, professionalised and forced to pay €15,000 after it lost two his drink had been spiked at a party. In successful doping programme that cases, in 2009 and 2011, having been his book, Agassi admitted that he had sport has ever seen”, in which Lance found to have been “using false and un- lied to the ATP and it is worrying how Armstrong was finally found guilty of verified facts” in its report. willing the ATP were to sweep a failed taking performance enhancing drugs. This is not the first time that a foot- drug test under the rug, even for nonFor the majority of sports fans, this ball team had been accused of admin- performance-enhancing drugs. report is hardly a revelation. It is hard- istering drugs to its players in order The ATP’s ability to deal with those ly a secret that the sport of cycling has to achieve a competitive advantage. who dope is further thrown in to quesstruggled with doping over the past During the EPO boom in cycling of the tion when one considers their response 20 years, and many had assumed that mid-1990s, Roma manager Zdenek Ze- to finding human growth hormones in it would be impossible for anyone to man raised concerns about the size of the luggage of the South African Wayne dominate in a sport in which doping the Juventus side that was dominating Odesnik. He originally received a two was so widespread without engaging in Serie ‘A’ and were perennial contenders year ban, but it was reduced to fourteen doping themselves. in Europe at the time. months due to his cooperation with Despite the amount of coverage the These concerns finally culminated helping the ATP find other dopers, dereport has gotten in the mainstream in an investigation into the team, which spite Odesnik denying that helped the media, one part has gone largely unre- resulted in the team doctor being found authorities. ported. Apparently, in a conversation guilty of administering illegal subSo long as there are big gains to be that took place back in 1999, Dr Luis stances, including EPO, to some play- made as a result of doping, players will García del Moral, the US Postal Ser- ers. Shockingly, no players were pun- take the risk. Baseball is a perfect exvice team’s doctor during Armstrong’s ished and even the team doctor walked ample of a sport that has had its repureign, told Tyler tation tarHamilton, a fornished by mer member of the doping. The Some feel that a doping conspiracy had been team, that cyclists all-time lead“take nothing in uncovered in football, but nothing was done about it ing homerun comparison to foothitter, Barry ballers.” Bonds, has That is quite the allegation to make, free following a series of appeals that had his career sullied by allegations but García may have personal experi- eventually upheld the original guilty that he took steroids. To this day he still ence of administering these drugs to verdict, but also decided that no action denies the charges; although it is widefootballers at the very top-level. This could be taken because of the statute of ly accepted as fact that he took steroids. claim is backed up from reports fol- limitations. Baseball has somewhat rebuilt its lowing the breaking of the “Operation Some feel that a doping conspiracy reputation, as many feel they have taken Puerto” scandal in 2006, when Dr Eu- had been uncovered in football, but a hard stance on substance abuse, parfemiano Fuentes was said to be leading nothing was done about it. No players ticularly steroids. The game is still not a doping network of up to 200 clients. were suspended and Juventus were not clean and two players, Melky Cabrera Out of the 200 alleged clients of Dr stripped of any of the titles they won and Bartolo Colon, were suspended for Fuentes, only 34 were named, and each during this time. In the end, it appears 50 games each following elevated levels one was a professional cyclist. Dr Fuen- that there was not enough evidence of of testosterone back in August. tes was so angered by the singling out illegal drug use to justify this action, It remains unclear whether or not of cycling that he announced that he although there was widespread misuse doping is as common in other sports as also worked with footballers and ten- of legal substances. it is in cycling. The USADA report has nis players, although he provided no The other sport in which García brought the idea of doping back in to names. claimed to have a hand in, tennis, is the public consciousness, and it would In September of 2006, former cy- now facing its own accusations of drug not be too surprising to see other sports clist Jesús Manzano, one of the people use in light of the USADA report. The taking action on this wave of anti-dopnamed as a client of Dr Fuentes, told most high-profile name involved is Da- ing. Let’s hope that they do, as such acFrench media that he had seen some vid Ferrer, but the accusations reach tion can only be good for sport. well-known La Liga stars in Dr Fuen- most of the top-level tennis players in tes’ offices during his visits there, in Spain, although Rafael Nadal’s name
his may come as a shock to some of you, but The Badger likes Twitter. If you follow the right person, or badger, Twitter can be an incredibly informative place. The Badger regularly sees things reported on Twitter by people with certain connections about an hour before Sky Sports News reports them as “breaking news” that has just come in to them. If you want to make it look like you have an insider at a certain football club, just find the right Twitter account to follow, and you will find out all the transfer deals and match-day starting XI’s well before the mainstream media reports it. But The Badger knows all too well how this can be abused. During the most recent transfer window, a series of Twitter accounts began to pop up, all claiming to be agents who are “ITK” (meaning “in the know”, for those of you not ITK about what ITK means). These ITK accounts ruined the beautiful harmony of sports reporting on Twitter, flooding the rumour mill with so many baseless “reports” that it became an exhausting experience to filter through what was true and what was false. Some of these accounts began to gain a certain amount of credibility after some of their claims became reality. Hilariously, as the transfer window drew to a close, and school started again, some of these accounts began to update less and less regularly. Eventually, many of the accounts claiming to be “ITK” came out with statements admitting to being a bored fourteen yearold, and thus restoring The Badger’s faith in the human race. It has recently come to The Badger’s attention that a certain Liverpool “insider”, known as Duncan Jenkins, has not only been found out as a parody, but was blackmailed by Liverpool FC to stop posting. The club that handled the Luis Suarez racism case with all the grace you’d expect of a drunken Scouser attempting ballet for the first time, actually threatened to ban a fan from Anfield for life and to ruin his father’s business for engaging in this speculation game. Perhaps the best part of the entire exchange between Jen Chang, Liverpool’s director of communication, and the creator of Duncan was when Chang claimed “You know how crazy football fans are, you’ll have dog shit coming through your letterbox.” So what was once England’s most respected club has managed to destroy its reputation in less than a year by vehemently defending a racist and threatening its own fans, but that’s the price you pay if you want top-quality superstars like Fabio Borini and Stewart Downing on your team. By the way, there is still no word on whether or not Jen Chang has received any shit through his letterbox yet. You can follow The Badger on Twitter @ UO_Badger
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The University Observer | 31 October 2012
End of season syndrome strikes sluggish students UCD 1 - 1 Shelbourne
fter last week’s disappointing 2-1 defeat to Shamrock Rovers, Martin Russell’s men went out seeking a win against eighth placed Shelbourne, in what was to be UCD’s final game of the 2012 Airtricity League season. UCD and Shelbourne had met twice this season before Friday night’s clash, with both sides earning away victories over the other. Graham Rusk and Cillian Morrison both returned to full training during the week and were available for selection, while David O’Connor and John Kelly were still not fit enough to join the action. The points were shared between the two teams, as the game finished in a 1-1 draw under the lights on a blistering cold night in the Belfield Bowl. With UCD guaranteed a ninth place finish, one could suggest that very little was to play for. Shelbourne, on the other hand, had the possibility of garnering a top-five finish and seemed to dominate for the entirety of the match, however UCD held on for a draw in what was an eventful encounter. The match began as Shelbourne immediately showed their intent by hoisting up a long ball up to their strikers, but it was of little consequence. An
early chance fell to former UCD striker Conan Byrne in the first minute, but his shot went narrowly wide to UCD goalkeeper Ger Barron’s delight. The encouraging start from Shelbourne proved too much for the Students as they conceded an early David Cassidy goal in the second minute to make it 0-1. Fine play from Kevin Dawson down the right-hand side provided Cassidy with the ball on a plate, and he was happy to oblige with the finish. UCD struggled early on to get their passing going, hindering their play in defense as well as in attack. A throughball from Andy Boyle to Paddy Kavanagh turned out to be another close call for UCD as the pressure mounted on the Students. UCD gradually began to enforce themselves on the game, as Shelbourne began to feel some of the pressure. Glenn Croning and Kevin Dawson controlled the middle of the park, setting the foundations for what would be a frustrating day for the visitors. Byrne was once again played through on goal, but Kavanagh made a last ditch tackle to keep the deficit at one goal. UCD began to find their feet in the game, as the passing began to flow far more fluently. David McMillian put pressure on the Shelbourne defence
and seemed to be causing them some trouble. Both sides found it difficult in the final third of the pitch in the opening minutes, but UCD turned the game on its head as they scored against the run of play in the 21st minute. UCD winger Dean Clarke drew a foul out on the right and Benson’s inswinging ball proved too hot to handle for Bennion as he tipped over. The resulting corner from Mulhall saw Hugh Douglas heading it home to make it 1-1. Lorcan Fitzgerald of Shelbourne injured himself badly in a reckless challenge on Douglas and he received a yellow card for his trouble as he was stretchered off before being replaced by Barry Clancy. This seemed to be the excuse the game needed to liven up, as Gary Burke sent a decent volley over the bar in the 32nd minute and soon after released McMillan who came close to scoring as halftime approached. Philip Hughes tested Barron on the stroke of halftime, as his low shot was saved by the UCD goalkeeper. The two teams went in level at the half, a fair result considering the industry and hard work of the Students and the stellar performance of goalkeeper Ger Barron. As the second half kicked off, Ka-
vanagh made way for Mark Langtry in the hopes that he could establish a UCD foothold on the game. Shelbourne began the second half as they did the first; with Conan Byrne forcing a tremendous save out of Barron in the 47th minute, as UCD struggled to come to grips with their passing. The hero of the first half nearly became the villain, as an attempted clearance by Douglas forced a save out of his teammate Barron, who was constantly maintaining the 1-1 draw for UCD with strong performance. In the 57th minute, Conan Byrne made a darting run in behind the UCD defense, but his shot went just right of Ger Barron’s post. Mulhall’s work down the wing kept the game alive for the Students for much of the second half, as he cut in from the left to smash over a decent strike on the 60th minute mark. Shelbourne had the lion’s share of possession approaching the end of the match and almost made their superiority count after another fine opportunity for Byrne was thwarted by the impressive Barron. As the end of the game drew closer, it felt as if a moment of genius was required for either side to
get a win. In the final minute of the match, Douglas was forced to clear a Kavanagh effort off the line to ensure UCD ended their season with draw. Shelbourne were punished for their inability to convert, and finished the season in eighth place, missing out on a Setanta Cup spot. UCD finished the season four points behind Shelbourne in ninth place. The Students went in to this game knowing that they had already ensured they will once again play Premier Division football next year.
touchline. On the half hour mark, Ballynahinch were dealt a massive blow as Thompson, their troublesome centre, limped off. To compound the visitors’ misery, good work at the breakdown earned UCD a penalty and James Thornton did very well to convert the opportunity and give UCD a seven-point lead. This seemed to light a fire under the away side, and a clean take from the restart left UCD immediately on the defensive. Ballynahinch crept up the field and eventually spread the ball to winger Quinn who hugged the touchline to run in for a try. Quinn converted his own try to level the scores. Neither team managed to gain the upper hand in the final stages before half time. Both sides had some good territory and build-up play, but lacked the precision to make the final pass. The wind picked up for the second half and the opening exchanges were focused in UCD territory, with Collidge struggling to clear their lines. When they did get the ball, it was Daly and Coghlan-Murray making clever inside runs to switch the focus of attack that showed most promise.
Ballynahinch matched UCD’s slick passing play with a few intricate moves of their own. Jonny Madden broke numerous UCD tackles and cleverly offloaded to his scrumhalf McIlroy, but they couldn’t recycle possession on the UCD line and were forced into another handling error. Ballynahinch took control of the scrum in the second half and managed to use UCD put-ins as a weapon against them. The sides traded scrums deep in UCD’s 22 around the 55th minute. Collidge’s front row finally succumbed to the pressure of Ballynahinch’s strength and a penalty try was the only decision referee, Dave O’Flynn, was left with, leaving Collidge trailing by seven points with just over 20 minutes left. UCD began to improve up front, and a powerful rolling maul in the 68th minute resulted in a penalty for Collidge, but Thornton dragged it wide. UCD continued to drive forward but some ferocious hits from James Simpson, in particular, kept UCD at bay. With ten minutes to go, Thornton kept his cool to slot over a penalty and cut the deficit to four points. Ballynahinch sealed the game in the
75th minute thanks to a try from Chris Napier. The second row touched down in the corner after exploiting an overlap created by a break from Michael Graham off the back of the scrum. UCD rallied in the closing stages, hoping to reduce the 11-point gap so they could at least earn a bonus point for their efforts. The away defence held firm and closed out the game to earn a deserved 13-24 victory.
UCD: Barron; Douglas, Leahy, Kavanagh (Langtry, 46), Nangle; Clarke, O’Conor, Burke (McCabe, 64), Mulhall; Benson; McMillan (Lyons, 75). Shelbourne: Bennion; Hurley (Gorman, 90), Boyle, Paisley, Fitzgerald (Clancy, 31); Byrne, Cronin, Dawson, Kavanagh; Cassidy; Hughes. Referee: N Doyle. Man of the Match: Ger Barron (UCD) by aaron kennedy
Collidge suffers first defeat UCD 13 - 24 Ballynahinch
CD took on fellow undefeated side Ballynahinch at the Belfield Bowl on Saturday, hoping to build on impressive victories over Belfast Harlequins and Bruff. Collidge had two changes to the side that faced Bruff, as Rob Shanley assumed the scrumhalf duties from Luke McGrath and Shane Grannell switched to blindside flanker to accommodate for Brian Cawley in the second row. UCD had the benefit of a slight wind in the first half, but conditions were mainly calm and the slight chill in the air was offset by the glorious sunshine throughout the game. The match kicked off at a ferocious pace as Ballynahinch inside-centre Thompson easily broke the UCD line and left Collidge backtracking to cover in midfield. An excellent covering tackle by Stephen Murphy eventually stopped the centre’s blistering run before a knock-on from the away side allowed UCD a chance to clear their lines. After a slow start, UCD steadily improved, but were losing the important battle of the breakdown. UCD also struggled to contain the powerful lines ran in midfield by the Ballynahinch centres and were left back-pedaling on numerous occasions in the opening 15
minutes as they were torn apart by a flowing centre partnership. The opening score came after Ballynahinch winger Chris Quinn fielded a box-kick just inside his own half. Quinn’s incisive run brought the ball deep into the home side’s 22. An infringement from UCD gifted a penalty in front of the posts to the away side that Quinn himself converted. UCD responded positively, and on 18 minutes Barry Daly was racing down the touchline following a slick-passing move. Daly chipped ahead and won a lineout deep in the Ballynahinch half. The ensuing lineout gave UCD an attacking platform, with the pack trying to maul their way over the try-line. Scrumhalf Shanley eventually spread the ball to his backs, and centre Alex Kelly was held up just short of the line following a promising run. Although UCD lost possession, Ballynahinch gifted it straight back to the home side by giving away a penalty for binding incorrectly at the scrum. Shanley took a quick tap and spread the ball to Stephen Murphy who found his centre partner Kelly. Kelly poised himself to offload to winger Sam Coghlan-Murray, whose angled run to the corner left the defenders no chance to make up the ground. Fly-half James Thornton converted from the right
UCD: Andy Boyle, Sam Coghlan-Murray, Alex Kelly, Stephen Murphy, Barry Daly, James Thornton, Rob Shanley; James Tracey, Risteard Byrne, Kieran Moloney, Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon, Shane Grannell, Mark McGroarty, Eoin Joyce. Subs: Rory Hannon, Adam Clarkin, Josh Van Der Flier, Andy Cummiskey. Ballynahinch: Craig, Quinn, Morrow, Thompson, Harte, McAleese, McIlroy; McCall, Herring, Carey, Simpson, Napier, McGigan, Pritchard, Graham. Subs: Stevenson, Armstrong, Madden, Cairns, Ferris. by killian woods