Page 1


University Observer OTWO:


Des Bishop, Jack White, Joe Randazzo

HOMELESSNESS Sean Finnan looks at the strain on services v o l u m e

x I X


More controversy over License to Reside following incident on Blackrock Campus

i s s u e



1 3

N o v e m b e r

2 0 1 2


w w w . u ni v e r s i t y o b s e r v e r . i e

Poor attendance recorded at Gilmore’s 250 Meeting

by daniel keenan · news editor

The Student Legal Service (SLS) in UCD has once again called for changes in the license to reside, the document which substitutes as a lease for students living on UCD residence, after an incident on the Blackrock Campus. The incident arose as part of a cleaning and storage issue at the campus. According to UCD Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Mícheál Gallagher: “A number of students had been emailing me concerned over an email sent which essentially said that there kitchen utensils were to be disposed of, if they weren’t collected. The system as it operates in Blackrock Halls is that, between 10am and 12pm everyday, cleaners come in and clean up all the kitchens. However, if there are pots or pans left around, they move them into boxes and leave them in a different location.” The residents can collect the utensils from storage, but management in Blackrock Halls reports that some of these items had not been collected and were now a health and safety issue. “They’ve essentially issued the ultimatum that if not collected by Monday at 5pm, that the resident’s material will be disposed of,” says Gallagher. “A number of residents got in contact with me, quite alarmed because there’s no reference to seizing a person’s item under the licence to reside.” Chairperson of the SLS Patrick Fitzgerald says: “Nowhere in the license does it say that UCD has the power to seize personal possessions in this manner. The constitutional right to property under Article 40.3.2 was infringed in this instance. This incident further shows the need for systematic reform of UCD license to reside and UCD should now consider re-drafting it as a lease.” This is the third time that the SLS have called for the abolition of the license to reside, having criticised it earlier in the year due to changes allowing residential assistants to film inside students’ apartments, and later saying that it takes away the legal rights of students. The SLS claim that a conventional lease system is the way residence should operate. “If UCD Residences adopted a lease, students would enjoy a right of appeal to the PRTB. This would allow students to challenge a decision of UCD cheaply in an independent forum. This would ensure greater transparency than we have now and ensure students enjoy rights as tenants. The present situation where the appeal process is operated by UCD has led to an arbitrary system that truly lacks proper procedure, transparency and independence.” The incident at the Blackrock campus has since been resolved. According to Gallagher: “I put forward a proposal that the deadline will be extended past Monday and that also instead of the items being disposed of, I could arrange a collection with SVP, so taking it as a ‘if residents don’t collect it by a certain date, we’ll take it as a kind donation to SVP.’”

by sean o’grady · deputy news Editor

On Wednesday November 7th, a public meeting for UCD and IADT students was held in Stillorgan Park Hotel for the Gilmore’s 250 campaign. The campaign focuses on the government’s plan to increase fees by €250 each year for the next three years. The meeting was not well attended. UCDSU Campaigns and Communications Officer Paddy Guiney says: “The meeting wasn’t well attended by students; there were county councillors, members of staff, community members. My main aim is to put people on the streets for November 19th. Nothing will be 100% successful. If there are 1,000 people at the meeting or two, we’d still be putting them same amount

of pressure into the campaign.” UCDSU President Rachel Breslin says she did not expect a larger turn out at the meeting because “from UCD’s experience, it’s not something that students hugely engage in,” but she doesn’t believe that the low turnout will translate to a poor turnout at the demonstration on November 19th. “I think that we certainly had the same worries [about low turnout] last year for different meetings and for all sorts of things. Someone said to me afterwards: ‘Why would I want to go to a meeting?’ There is a great difference between a meeting and a protest and our focus has been, and will continue to be the protest, because that is what our objective of this campaign is: to get students out onto the street protest-

ing,” says Breslin The meeting had a handful of TDs in attendance, however Breslin says she was unhappy with the lack of political presence. “The TDs in Dublin South have been very unresponsive, especially Eamon Gilmore himself. We would have liked more TDs to have been there but their complete disregard for the student movement was shown in the fact that they did not show,” she explains. The meetings focus was on the effects that such an increase will have on students and their education. IADT SU President Marie Farrell was worried about how the increase will affect students who are struggling at present with fees: “The severe financial pressure that students across the country

are under is phenomenal. We have students in our office everyday crying, worried, not having a clue what to do because they have to make the choice between getting a bus ticket or eating for the week.” When asked about the objective of the Gilmore’s 250 campaign, Breslin says they want to put “continued pressure on Eamon Gilmore until he resigns. These promises were made with full knowledge of the economic situation and the realities and they were blatantly disregarded without any sort of apology and there is this continued lack of interest and lack of awareness of what students are going through.”

SU Presidents to oppose amendment to Universities Act by aoife valentine · deputy editor UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin has come together with the SU Presidents of the other Irish universities to oppose the ‘Arrangement of Heads’ of the Universities (Amendment) Bill 2012. The Heads of the Bill call for an increase in the power given to the Minister for Education and the Department of Education when it comes to determining pay, remuneration and staff levels. Breslin feels this affords the Minister more power than is necessary and that it infringes on the University’s autonomy. She commented that: “By taking the power out of the university and the autonomy away from the university and giving it to a minister who is not involved in the day to day running and not involved in the sector particularly, and who can be influenced by populist choices and who can come under pres-

sure from the media, then it is taking a core function of the university, which is to run itself.” Roughly 80% of the University’s budget is pent on pay and remuneration, so this is an important aspect of how the University decides to run itself. Breslin however fears that should this power be granted to the Minister, they may also cross lines in terms of interference with the University’s running. She fears that provisions that allow the Minister to withdraw funding from certain universities or even certain departments within certain universities, could mean that we’ll see departments shutting down without the adequate staff to keep them running. She says: “It could have wide ranging repercussions. Though I do feel that there needs to be action following on from the scandals and the massive

overspending both in UCD and other areas on wages, but that an enforcement issue rather than this issue on determining pay and this Bill doesn’t really address those issues at all.” Having spoken to other Students’ Union Presidents across the country, they plan to “take an action and publicly state that this isn’t a bill that Students’ Unions feel would help the quality of our education or the efficiency of running of universities. We intend on publicly making sure all stakeholders from the university to the government to the public and the media are aware of that.” The University are also in opposition to the Bill, with Breslin commenting that: “I think the University are likewise worried about taking this autonomy away from the management team.”

The Bill put forward by Minister Ruairi Quinn has taken all parties by surprise. Though it was previously known that a Bill was being pushed through to deal with the issues of overspending on pay and bonuses, as has happened in recent years. However Breslin states: This Bill doesn’t tackle these issues at all. It’s much wider in the powers it does give, but narrow in that it doesn’t actually address that issue.” The Union of Students in Ireland will not be taking part in the action planned by the Students’ Unions’ Presidents, as following a discussion with USI, Breslin felt that “because there are two universities that aren’t in the USI, that it would be something that it would be good for us to, as universities, address it as one statement and one voice.”



The University Observer | 13 November 2012

News National Campaign halts Laptop and Bike Scheme in Brief by patrick kelleher

by Yvanne Kennedy · Senior Reporter

UCD Earth Institute showcase Research

UCD Student’s Union Campaigns and Communication Officer Paddy Guiney has confirmed that the laptop repair service and bike rental scheme, due to be launched last week, have been postponed until semester two. Guiney claimed this was due to the need for him to be 100% committed to the National Campaign to stop the contribution increase, which is his “top priority”. Guiney says the laptop repair service, which is to be run with NetSoc and facilitated by the Union, is “all ready to go. They [NetSoc] are completely ready to go. We could have launched; our plan was to launch this week. It just can’t happen because of the National Campaign.” Guiney decided he could not commit to the necessary promotion and publicity to make the launch a successful one at this stage. Union efforts are currently being concentrated on the Gilmore’s 250 plan and the associated demonstration on November 19th. A decision taken with the Environmental Officer in relation to the bike scheme was on similar grounds, with Guiney saying he will have the time after the Budget and over the Christmas break to successfully pull together the two efforts: “It’s a fantastic scheme and I want it to be successful and if I

The Earth Institute at UCD hosted a showcase on its research around energy, the environment and climate change, and aimed to identify opportunities for partnerships between industry and academia on Tuesday 6th November. The event was held in the O’Reilly Hall, and attracted researchers, representatives from industry and state agencies. This development comes after the Irish Government revealed its plans to help establish a low-carbon economy in its ‘Our Sustainable Future’ strategy earlier this year. The Earth Institute hosted the event in an attempt to showcase the institute’s research, and also to provide possibilities for future links with industry. This linking process was initiated on the day by networking sessions, which sought to identify collaborations between research and industry, focussing on harnessing energy, water and mineral resources, climate change and smart cities. Speakers on the day included Dr. Kevin O’Connor, who spoke about the UCD spin-out, Bioplastech, a company he set up, and Dr. Ciaran Peyton from Tullow Oil, as well as Steve Clark from Mainstream Renewable Power, who discussed their collaborations with academia.

HiberGene Diagnostics Ltd appoint new CEO HiberGene Diagnostics, a company utilising the latest medical technology to develop, market and manufacture molecular diagnostic tests for humans with infectious diseases, announced the appointment of Tony Hill as Chief Executive Officer on November 1st 2012. Hill previously worked for an international diagnostics company, where he was Global Sales Director until his appointment at HiberGene. He has experience from more than 20 years in the diagnostic and life science industries. Brendan Farrell, Executive Chairman of Hibergene says he is “delighted to have secured someone of Tony’s calibre to lead Hibergene. He has a great range of experience across diagnostics and life sciences, coupled with a strong track record of success.” Hibergene is based at Nova UCD, the centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at UCD. They have developed a molecular diagnostic test for Meningococcus, and plan to develop a test for Pneumococcal Meningococcus, which are the two most common forms of meningitis. The company is currently fundraising to bring the tests for meningitis to commercialisation. This fundraising will also fund further research and development on a range of human infectious diseases.

UCD Foundation Day Medal for Dr. George Moore Dr. George Moore has been awarded with the UCD Foundation Day Medal, an award that marks the foundation of University College Dublin’s charter in 1854. It is presented every year to a graduate of the University who has made a significant contribution to Irish life. The award was presented to Dr. Moore at an evening event in O’Reilly Hall by UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, who called Dr. Moore “an extraordinary individual; a truly global citizen; an innovator and a serial entrepreneur.” Dr. Moore is considered one of the founding fathers of the data analytics industry. He is also known for being the co-founder of TargusInfo, whose analytics technologies is used by many Fortune 500 companies, including Facebook, to help firms analyze customer behaviour and anticipate customer needs. The company was sold earlier this year to Neustar for an estimated US$700M. “George’s ongoing support for the UCD School of Business and UCD’s new Science Centre will provide a legacy that will greatly enhance the experience of UCD students for generations,” Dr. Brady added. “Its impact will be measured not only in the impact it makes for UCD but for Irish society.” The UCD Foundation Day Medal was inaugurated in 2004 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the opening of UCD’s antecedent institution, the Catholic University of Ireland.

launched it now, it wouldn’t take off… It will launch in semester two.” NetSoc are due to set up in the Students’ Union Corridor in the Student Centre. In October, Guiney was optimistic regarding the project saying he was “very excited about this scheme and looking forward to it being successful.” Initially due to launch around Halloween, a new date had been set for this week. The laptop scheme aims to reduce

costs for students when they damage their laptops. While professional repairs can reach the hundreds, €30 is all that will be asked of UCD students through this facility. It was hoped that a phone repair scheme would also be set up, depending on the success of the laptop service when it eventually gets up and running. The bike scheme will see a secondhand service set up through the Belfield Bike shop. UCD authorities have the

right to take and store any bikes left on campus for longer than three months. Under this new system, the bikes would be refurbished and sold to students for a low price. There is also demand seen for the price of new bikes to be lowered and in response to this, there is the possibility that half price ones may become available through the scheme. Both schemes will “definitely” be running at the start of semester two, according to Guiney.

Newstalk’s Futureproof record live necropsy in UCD by emer sugrue · editor

Newstalk’s science programme Futureproof recorded a live canine necropsy last Thursday, as part of an hour and half long show titled Drugs, DIY and Dark Arts, which was presented in UCD. The necropsy, or animal autopsy, involved a recently deceased Dalmatian and was performed in UCD Veterinary Hospital by Professor Sean Callanan and Brian Cloak. It was streamed live to an audience of students in Astra Hall. The event was followed by a panel discussion covering the topics such as illusion, magic, pharmaceuticals, consciousness, and humans existing alone. The panel featured psychologist, author and former magician Richard Wiseman, TCD geneticist Aoife McLysaght, and Futureproof regular, Ian Brunswick, hosted by presenter Jonathan McCrea. The event was the first of it’s kind held in UCD, and was organised as a joint project between Futureproof and UCD Students’ Union. SU Education Officer, Shane Comer explained how the event came about. “I was approached back at the start of September by the Futureproof, its a weekly show done on Newstalk that focuses on science and stuff like that, and they wanted to do a live recording here in UCD. They did it in Electric Picnic to huge success and they said it encouraged them to do one here in UCD... Nothing like this has happened in UCD before, which is why I was really eager to get something like this.” Turnout for the event was high and Comer expressed his delight at the

Newstalk’s Jonathan McCrea events success. “There was about 80 to 90 people there, which I was really pleased about. It was open to everyone but it obviously more focused on the veterinary sciences, the health sciences, Ag, that kind of stuff but I’m pretty sure I spotted one or two law students in there as well. I was very pleased with attendance.” Although no plans are currently in place to hold similar events in future,

Comer has high hopes that this could become a regular feature in UCD. “If the opportunity arose definitely... should the opportunity arise I’d be more than happy to do something like this in UCD again. I hope it’s not a once off but it’s the first one that’s been done. It ties back nicely to my wanting to do something different with the Education Office. It certainly was different.” The recording of the UCD show

was broadcast last Saturday at 6pm, and is currently available online as a podcast. A video of the necropsy will also be available online in the coming days. Futureproof will hold another live event in UCC this Thursday, with the recording to broadcast the following Saturday.

UCD to hold International Mental Health Conference for The Gathering 2013 by aoife valentine · deputy editor

UCD are in the early stages of planning an International Mental Health Conference to take place in UCD, as part of the Gathering 2013. The idea was borne out of the University’s desire to take part in the yearlong event, which aims to celebrate

Ireland and Irishness by inviting anyone with a connection to the country to come back and attend events that are happening across the country. UCD along with UCD Students’ Union felt the event was only worth running if it had a strong student focus. UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin explained: “I wanted to host and organize a one off unique event for The Gathering, but I also wanted it to have a real student benefit or else it’s not worthwhile. We thought about and we’re working on the idea of a M e n t a l Health Conference, for student leaders and student activ-

ists across the UK and further afield and look at the common mental health problems experienced by students on campus, look at what other colleges are doing to tackle those, and to develop a strategy that we would all have in terms of mental health, and particularly to promote the Please Talk message which started in UCD, and is now growing and growing.” The event is planned to take place in June 2013 as this is when “the campus is quiet and the officers are a lot quieter.” It will be a three-day event with speakers from all over Ireland and the United Kingdom, and more international representatives if resources allow for it. The Steering Group are looking to invite people who are doing research in the area, as well as people who are active in the mental health field. They would like the event to “build a desire among student leaders and get them to put that as a priority for the year ahead.” UCD’s aim is to attract its alumni back to the campus, as well as inviting anyone else who has an interest to come and visit. Breslin commented

that: “There was a meeting of various different parties all over UCD to discuss what UCD could do to be involved in the Gathering 2013, and to try and promote UCD and promote Ireland and to invite our alumni back and show them the campus, as well as inviting others and show them UCD, our physical features, our ethos, the research that is going on.” The steering group is made up of representatives from a wide variety of areas of the University, including Martin Butler, Vice President for Students; Gary Moss, Commercial Manager; Dominic O’Keefe, Director for Student Services and Facilities; Michael Rafter, Buildings Operations Manager; representatives from the International Office and from the Quinn School of Business; Mark Simpson from UCD Communications; along with Breslin herself. Though no students are currently presently on the committee, Breslin states that this is because the plans are in such early stages and that numerous students will be needed as the project progresses.

The University Observer | 13 November 2012




Relay For Life confirmed as annual event News

in Brief by Claudine murphy

by brónagh carvill The recently set up committee for Relay for Life are in the process of planning the event, in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, with the 24 hour walk expected to take place in April. Students’ Union Welfare officer, Micheal Gallagher, describes the Relay For Life as a “massive logistical event.” There are therefore many committee positions such as event chair, sponsorship, fundraising, team development, publicity and logistical chair required to run the relay. Gallagher says of the SU’s involvement in the event, that: “the welfare crew will be very heavily involved as well as all the echelons of the Student’s Union…offering them [the teams] every piece of support they need” Gallagher, having actually participated in the Relay last year with a team from Social Science, described it as “probably the most powerful event that I’ve ever been to.” This year’s Relay For Life will take place on April 3rd 2013 on the G.A.A astro turf pitch in UCD, the same venue as last year. Gallagher says the advertising of the event will be taken up by the SU with “a lot of posters, Facebook,

and traditional means of advertising as well we’ll include information about it in our all student email that we get in the Student’s Union.” Relay For Life is an event participated in by more than four million people in over 20 countries around the world. It is the signature fundraiser of the American Cancer Society, but has been adopted by branches of the charity worldwide. This year’s event will be the second event of its kind held at UCD, and involves volunteers walking or running around a track for 24 hours. Each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times, because ‘cancer never sleeps.’ Several of the laps will be themed, with the first lap of the relay to be walked by survivors. The ‘luminaria’, or ‘candle of light’, ceremony then remembers all whom we have lost their fight to cancer. Lastly, the involvement of the volunteers in the relay and fundraising symbolises their active attempts to fight cancer. Fundraisers are run before and during the event: “The different teams may have fundraised in the run up to the Relay for Life, selling the candles for the candles of hope ceremony. The different teams in the different tents also have fundraisers going on con-

Coalition in Britain to fight marketisation of universities

stantly, I remember clearly last year, one team were selling cupcakes, another team operated a kissing booth,

nicely themed to their own team,” says Gallagher.

UCD Students awarded twelve NUI Awards by jack walsh · senior reporter The 2012 NUI Awards were held on the Wednesday November 7th at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Dr Maurice Manning presented Awards and Scholarships valued at over €1 million to graduates and students of National Universities in Ireland. UCD were awarded 12 awards in a range of areas from rural development to French. This year continues UCD’s strong representation at the NUI Awards, as the University was represented in the categories of Irish Historical Research Prize, NUI Travelling Studentships in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, Pierce Malone Scholarship in Philosophy, The French Government Medal and NUI Prize for Proficiency in French and The Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and Prizes, among others. UCD Students’ Union Education Officer Shane Comer stated in relation to UCD’s performance: “I think it went well for UCD, and I am delighted to hear about the wins that we had. It was a testament to the quality that we have in UCD.” Dr Manning stated in relation to the awards: “We regard our awards as an investment in academic excellence and we are very confident that this investment will pay handsome dividends not just for the individuals concerned. There will also we hope be lasting benefits for Ireland, for our society, our culture and our economy”.

LIST OF UCD WINNERS Dr Mark Empey - NUI Dr Garret FitzGerald Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities (graduate of UCD, he will will take up Fellowship in NUI Maynooth) Dr John Healy – NUI Post -Doctoral Fellowship in the Sciences (a graduate of UCD, he will take up the Fellowship in NUI Maynooth) Dr Meriel McClatchie - NUI Dr Garret FitzGerald Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities (a graduate of UCC, she will take up the Fellowship in UCD)

Rónán MacDubhghaill – NUI Travelling Studentship in the Humanities and Social Sciences Darren O’Byrne – NUI Travelling Studentship in the Humanities and Social Sciences Anthony Fitzpatrick – NUI Travelling Studentships in the Sciences Dylan Connor – NUI Denis Phelan Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences Richard Teague – Pierce Malone Scholarship in Philosophy

Dr Bettina Schaible – NUI Post – Doctoral Fellowship in the Sciences (will take up Fellowship in the Conway Institute, UCD)

Rowan Lacey – French Government Medal and NUI Prize for Proficiency in French

John Reynolds – E J Phelan Fellowship in International Law

Geraldine Cawley – NUI Scholarship in Rural Development

When speaking at the event and in particular addressing those nominated and winners, Dr Manning congratulated those who were awarded the prizes, and introduced the inaugural NUI Dr Garret FitzGerald Post-Doctoral Fellowships, named in honour of former Taoiseach and UCD graduate, Garret Fitzgerald: “I am particularly pleased that for the first time we are awarding the NUI Dr Garret FitzGerald PostDoctoral Fellowships, in honour of our late great Chancellor. As Chancellor, Garret greatly enjoyed this ceremony as an endorsement of so much that he valued: intellectual challenge and rigour, and the opportunity to meet the brightest minds of the rising generation.” 115 awards were presented this year of which included the 5 NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowships, the E J Phelan Fellowship in International Law, the NUI Travelling Studentships, Dr HH Stewart Medical and Literary Scholarships, and the NUI NCAD Art and Design Prize for an artist’s book and prints entitled, ‘Albert, Ernest and the Titanic’ depicting the story of the two printers working onboard the Titanic. At this year’s award ceremony, over 100 students and graduates from the constituent universities and recognised colleges of the federal university received awards. UCD, UCC, NUI Maynooth, NUI Galway, RCSI, St Angela’s College and NCAD were represented in the award winners in a wide variety of subjects.


“I’m not aware of the campaign at all and no I am not .”

“I am not because I have a lot of study to do. I’ve gotten loads of Facebook invitations but not really.”

“I don’t really know what the campaign is, I’ve just seen people talking about it on Facebook. I hadn’t even heard that there was a march going on.”

“No I’m not going. The reality of it is that the campaign won’t change anything.”

“I don’t know what the Gilmore’s 250 campaign is, I haven’t heard about it.”

Eleanor Keane

Ryan Cunningham

Eimear McIvor, Lucy Mandal

Eoin Madigan

Sorcha O’Brien

The marketisation of higher education is proving a cause of concern in Britain, and has led to the formation of a coalition, comprised of some of Britain’s most notable intellects, united in their determination to defend universities against this and the decline of academic freedom. The Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU), founded by Sir David Attenborough, Lord Bragg and many others is due to be launched next week. The group claim that the very basis of a degree is currently threatened. According to historian and former British Academy president Sir Keith Thomas, “the very purpose of the university was being grossly distorted by the attempt to create a market in higher education”. He writes that students are now “regarded as consumers and academics, as producers,” whose research is expected to focus on areas of commercial interest. The groups’ intentions are to campaign for the abolition of government funded bodies and encourage movement toward independent grant councils, with no political interference.

China to ban international education recruitment China’s Ministry of Education are currently reviewing regulations which could lead to a reduction or even a complete ban of operations of services provided by international recruitment agents. A draft regulation was published on a ministry website stating that overseas agencies, and their representative offices in China including foreign-invested enterprises, Chinese-foreign joint schools and individuals, shall not partake in ‘intermediary services’ in China. The new regulations will apply to universities, language schools and high schools recruiting Chinese students. This move is part of wider government efforts to regulate international student recruitment. The rules come following accounts in Western media of ruthless recruitment of Chinese students by foreign universities, whom make false claims about their facilities and degrees, with which to attract feepaying international students. In July, New Zealand immigration officials discovered 279 applications from Chinese students to contain some element of fraud, with intermediary agencies blamed for this.

Netherlands abandons student scholarships From September 2014, student’s scholarships will be replaced with loans, following budget cuts introduced by the new coalition cabinet in the Netherlands. The free public transport pass will also be removed in 2015, a move causing anger among the Netherlands’ 600,000 students. The new coalition, consisting of the liberal party VVD, and the labour party PvdA have planned €1 billion of budget cuts, which it is believed will result in 15,000 fewer students attending. A current student receives €246 a month, but from 2014 students will be forced to take out loans from the government, costing €3,000 per annum. The current average student debt is €15,000. The cut of the free transport pass has come as a shock, according to Thijs van Reekum, chair of the student organisation ISO. The new government have expressed their desire towards excellence in education, and ‘to be in the Top 5 in the world’. However, Jan van‘t Westende of the LKvV believes that: “With these cuts that is never going to happen.” These measures are yet to go through the Dutch government, and students are hopeful that changes will be made to these cuts.



Observer comment

The University Observer | 13 November 2012

Bullying, Suicide and the Media Daniel Keenan outlines the problem with the media’s current anti-cyber bullying crusade


ullying has always been associated with the school yard, and despite bullying often persisting well past childhood and adolescence, it’s still very much a child’s game. It is far from restricted to the school playground however, as online bullying is now all too prevalent in society. In the world of social media, everyone has a voice, an opinion and a forum to express it. It is, for for all intents and purposes, a bully’s paradise, a place where they can say what they want about anyone, with little or no repercussions. It is the equivalent of passing a sinister note about somebody, except it can reach a much wider audience. News of tragic suicides due to online bullying are now becoming commonplace, and while highlighting the issue is important in trying to prevent online bullying, publicity of these suicides is becoming problem in itself. Amanda Todd, a 15 year old Canadian girl, and

Erin Gallagher

Erin Gallagher, a 13 year old girl from Donegal, both took their own lives as a result of cyber bullying, and it has been heavily covered in the media recently. Almost every story written about the cases has been and is going to be sympathetic to the victim of bullying, as it’s near impossible not to be. Reporting on the stories seems a simple process: you have an innocent young person, and a bully or bullies. You have the victim and their tormentors. You have a good guy, and a bad guy. And that’s exactly where the problem starts. There is enormous danger in casting heroes and villains in these cases. There are likely many teenagers being bullied, whether online, verbally or physically, who may be severely depressed and even contemplating suicide. They can relate to these cases. Reading the story, where the victim is revered while their tormentors are nationally despised, almost creates a positive advertisement for suicide. Mass reporting of teenage suicide unfortunately can unintent iona lly glamorise it. The only reason it’s being reported on, the only reason that the bullies are brought to justice, the only reason the nation can sympathise with an innocent victim of bullying, is because of suicide. The unfortunate fact is that there are many cases of internet bullying in Ireland that few people know about, meaning there are people out there con-

templating suicide due to the abuse. The fact is that the only reason that Erin Gallagher and Amanda Todd’s tormentors have been outed is because of their suicides. Having their bullies feel the wrath of their actions is an obvious desire of a person being bullied, and the way to do that on a large scale, while also being seen as a heroic martyr for cyber bullying, is to take their own life. Suicide can become viewed as a way not only to escape the bullying, but to take revenge. However you may feel regarding bullies ‘deserving’ it, being blamed publicly for someone’s death is likely to have a profound and possibly traumatising effect on those targeted. The media is presenting to very vulnerable young people the idea that they can ruin the bully’s life forever by taking their own, an extremely appealing idea for a desperate teen. No media outlet is saying suicide is a solution, they are all saying the opposite in fact, but the heavy reporting on the issue manages to present it as the only viable option, suggesting that the world will only care about their case if it involves suicide. It’s a chance to garner the sympathy of the nation and finally turn the tables of those abusing

you. The spotlight has to be taken off the victim. Having a face for a campaign is sometimes not the important issue. The two cases need to be dealt with separately. We can’t just tackle cyber bullying as a result of people taking their own life, as it starts a vicious cycle. Cyber bullying is an issue which badly needs resolving, but all the while kept separate from the issue of suicide. In football, a two-footed tackle warrants a red card, as it has the potential to break somebody’s leg. Yet many players make two-footed tackle without breaking somebody’s leg, and are still sent off. The degree of the actual action shouldn’t matter; cyber bullying shouldn’t only matter because it has caused suicides, just like a two footed tackle shouldn’t only matter if it breaks somebody’s leg.

Suicide has always been a huge issue, and it is something that always needs to be talked openly about, but in the right way. The real tragedy in the cases of Amanda Todd and Erin Gallagher is not that they committed suicide because of cyber bullying, but just that they committed suicide. That teenage girls decided to end their lives instead of reaching out to the right channels for help is the issue; the causes of their suicide is, and should be, a separate issue. Lumping these two important issues together, as has been done over the last few months, takes away from their importance as individual problems in society. By tracking the smoke, instead of finding the fire, we now have a case where the best, and seemingly only way to bring cyber bullying to national attention, is by suicide.

grubbing enterprise,” before adding that after 30 years at the forefront of the Irish-America connection, the Gathering was one of the more genuine initiatives he had come across. Miley also presented the motivations for the Gathering as more than economic, as the purpose of the project was to get the nation thinking of its emigrants and to create a new template for interacting with them. Question marks have also been raised over the competence of the Gathering’s organisers, after it emerged that they co-funded a visit to New York by the Today FM Last Word programme, the same show on which Gabriel Byrne branded the initiative a “sham”. This scoff-inducing news should further erode the public’s

confidence in the initiative. As part of the initiative, schoolchildren are being encouraged to send postcards to relatives abroad inviting them to visit, and every home in Ireland will be sent an information leaflet encouraging them to take part. Perhaps this ongoing debate can only harm the Gathering as an initiative which relies so heavily on public support, which is now clearly divided. So it will be fascinating to see where it goes from here. Can the Gathering operate at the intersection where it can boost tourism whilst creating a palpable connection between the island and its lost children? Perhaps it is how the Gathering unites these motivations which will determine its success.

The Gathering storm Following Gabriel Byrne’s dispute over the authenticity and value of The Gathering, Aaron Barry examines whether the event truly engages with the Irish diaspora


he Gathering Ireland 2013, a year long event aimed at celebrating Irishness and connecting the diaspora with their Celtic roots, was brought into disrepute last week when Gabriel Byrne labelled the initiative “a scam”. As a former cultural ambassador of Ireland to the US, the respected actor can speak with some authority on the subject. Byrne argues that we are exploiting the already-neglected diaspora only for economic gain. But can we not treat our diaspora well, respect them and also gain tourism revenue? Why should these things be mutually exclusive? Speaking on TodayFM, Byrne explained his disillusion with this government after a cut in funding led to his acrimonious exit from his role as cultural ambassador. He also took issue with the fact that they are asking our emigrants to come back home to help the very ailing economy that they were forced to leave in order to find work. There is little doubt that this initiative demotes our estranged fellow Irishmen to mere tourists who we are to “shake down for a few quid”, rather than an attempt to understand and strengthen the spiritual connection between the diaspora and the island. This relationship with the diaspora has been neglected by a society where emigration has been so prevalent for over 160 years. So can we call the Gathering a tourism strategy masquerading as an attempt by a government to connect her nation to its children

abroad? Another Irish expat Terry Wogan offered his support on BBC Radio 4 when asked if the event was a “tourism wheeze”, Wogan responded: “Of course it is. It is an attempt to bring more people to Ireland to spend their money and enjoy themselves. The one thing that we can guarantee is that they will. The kind of welcome they will get will be like no other” One area of contention in the debate regarding the Gathering 2013 is its ambiguity. Forming part of Byrne’s rant was the suggestion that IrishAmericans were unhappy to fork out large sums of money for plane tickets to attend ‘egg-and-spoon’ races in Ireland. The Gathering relies on grassroots networks to provide the events to attract an estimated 325,000 of the 70 million people of Irish descent back to Ireland. Fáilte Ireland said it was not an event but a “movement” and that it was up to everyone in Ireland to “do their bit”. Surely this will lead to inconsistencies in both funding and the quality of the events which are hoped to bring home the diaspora. Sean Moriarty, a journalist with the Irish World community newspaper in London, takes issue with this structure, stating that it does little for those emigrants wanting to return home on a regular basis and, therefore, will not much strengthen the relationship between the nation and its emigrants: “If you want to do something for emigrants all over the world, do something about the rising costs of flights, do something about the timing

of flights”. This further intensifies the widely held belief held by critics of the Gathering that it simply does not work for, or even respect, the diaspora which it is designed to attract. Project Director Jim Miley’s conviction that the Gathering respects the diaspora has remained strong, utilising the example of the Notre Dame versus Navy game at the Aviva Stadium, attended by about 35,000 people, mostly Americans. “The one thing you couldn’t find in [that] city that week or weekend was an ounce of cynicism or an ounce of people feeling that they were ripped off.” Another steadfast defender of the Gathering is the founder of the US-based Irish Voice newspaper, Niall O’Dowd, who described the initiative as “genuine, not shamrocks and shillelaghs”, whilst also insisting that the connection between Ireland as its emigrants is very strong. O’Dowd defended the much-disputed motivations for the conception of the Gathering, conceding that “there are people, and some politicians, who see the diaspora as a kind of money

The University Observer | 13 November 2012



Aiding or abetting Following the decision by the Irish government to cut off foreign aid to Uganda, after the discovery of corrupt use of aid money, Evan O’Quigley explains the importance of foreign aid


hen the media recently reported that €4 million of Irish aid money may have been misappropriated by the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi, many were justifiably outraged. Eamon Gilmore said he was “absolutely disgusted”, and Ireland immediately suspended all direct aid to the African country. The news came following a report by the Auditor General of Uganda who carried out a special investigation into the handling of aid funds. The Ugandan Prime Minister initially denied that he is responsible for any wrongdoing saying that “no money was ever paid to me and I never handled money. As Prime Minister, I don’t handle money of government at all, ever… And even money that was paid to private accounts, some was fraudulently paid to private accounts. But some, it’s not the case they stole the money, they used it for the purpose for which it was intended, although it was irregularly managed.” However, after the withdrawal of Irish Aid he was quick to apologise, with the Ugandan government promising to pay back the misappropriated money in full. Nobody was happy to hear the news that money had been squandered by a known corrupt prime minister, but those more right leaning were perhaps most rattled by the news. Kevin Myers wrote in the Irish Independent that it was an undemocratic country and all but argued that we should not be giving the country any aid at all. There is a new view emerging in conservative circles that foreign aid in general does not work, and is pointless. Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist and former World Bank and Goldman Sachs employee, in 2009, wrote the book Dead Aid, which argued that foreign aid is essentially harmful and that the free-market would better solve Africa’s poverty problems. The book, unsurprisingly, received an

approving forward by the historian, leading intellectual of the right and Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson, a known advocate of free-market neoliberal economics, who also worked as an advisor to John McCain in 2008 and has written articles in support of the US tea-party movement. There may be a certain amount of truth in the ineffectiveness in foreign aid, but that should not be an excuse for developed western countries to cut off all donations based on this notion. There’s a quote that often floats around the internet from by archlibertarian Ron Paul that “Foreign aid is taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries.” The first half of that quote makes no sense, as according to the Economist most foreign aid comes from corporate taxes as opposed to general social-insurance taxes. But there is some degree of sense to the second half of that quote. foreign aid is often misappropriated and misused by corrupt public figures, and this latest news about the Ugandan Prime Minister is no surprise. The solution to this however, should not be withdrawing all aid but rather to focus on the problem that is corruption. There have also been suggestions that while Ireland are currently paying back bailout funds; it should not be in a position to continue to give aid. It should be no surprise to anyone to learn that Ireland is a bit strapped for cash but there is a discernible difference between losing our livelihood as many in Ireland have due to economic woes, and losing your life, as those in the developing world do. It’s difficult to even compare what we consider poverty in Ireland, and what poverty is on a global scale. A better solution would be to tackle corruption, both on an international scale and from within Uganda itself. It would be dangerous to decide based on anti-aid economics and cases of corruption that money that could

Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi: “I never handled money”. potentially save lives, help build infrastructure and pay for education, be discontinued immediately without so much as a second thought. What is key is to stamp out corruption and misappropriation of funds. Many in Uganda, such as the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) have campaigned for the same thing for decades. It is also worth noting that while in the west we often think of largescale political corruption as a phenomenon associated with ‘backward’ third-world countries that doesn’t go on to the same extent in the west. Imagine if, upon hearing of corruption in Irish politics (of which there has been a lot of), EU countries and the US decided to stop all free-trade

and throw Ireland under the bus, like many in Ireland are suggesting we do with regard to foreign aid in Uganda. We would be outraged, and rightly so. To punish the population of a country based on the actions of a government would be wrong. The Ugandan ambassador to Ireland, Joan Rwabyomere, has expressed her disappointment in the decision by the Irish government to suspend all €16 million in aid. The director general of Irish Aid Brendan Rogers, who pointed out “all of that money, except for this €4 million [that was transferred to the office of the prime minister], has made a huge difference in that country. It’s a different place. It’s a young democracy,” he said. “It

is a poster boy for corruption, but it is also a poster boy for progress as well.” Despite the fact that much of the money sent by Ireland is squandered, direct aid from countries like Ireland is crucial. It’s not enough to rely on the hopefully philanthropic nature of the rich, and that great free-market we hear so much about to end global poverty. Granted these must also factor in as part of a wider anti-poverty strategy, but getting into ideological arguments about what should be done when lives are at stake is not helpful, nor will it do much good for the Ugandans, or indeed anyone else suffering in absolute poverty.

Leaders of the free world With Budget 2012 looming, and politicians under ever-increasing scrutiny, Yvanne Kennedy looks at one of the most charged but unchanged issues, that of politician’s pay


very day there is a new rumour of a cut to income or benefits for ordinary people across Ireland, whether that be in the form of allowances for ‘acting-up’ into a higher position or the potential cuts to the children’s allowance; the majority of people are being hit in some capacity. So how then, if the Government is happy to deny these people the benefits previously afforded to them, can they justify their own allowances and salaries which are at least double the average industrial wage? No doubt it is an onerous task to be part of a group that has a direct impact on the way in which the country is run. There is huge pressure on the men and women who form the Dáil. A line does, however, need to be drawn somewhere because while a cut in their

salaries may not reap gigantic benefits for the economy, it would be an act of solidarity that would go quite far in restoring the belief in those in power that is so sorely lacking. To say that there have been no cut backs in the Cabinet would be a misrepresentation. Certain extravagances have been reduced, such as Ministerial cars and foreign trips for more junior members of Government. But to say that huge leaps have been made in reducing benefits to some of this country’s top earners would be to overly compliment on a job not so well done. There is a huge discrepancy in the amounts paid to the members of our national parliaments and the average taken home by members of their constituency every week. We’re not alone in this practice of politicians overpaying themselves from the public

purse however. In a study from the Economist, Ireland was ranked 11th in the world for the amount paid to state leaders relative to GDP per person. At the time the Taoiseach was paid more than seven times this amount. While we are behind countries such as the United States and Germany, we have left the likes of Britain and Australia in our dust. So why have politicians felt no need to rectify this problem? There seems to be no real answer. It is terribly difficult for anyone to stomach another cut on top of all the ones that have come before. It’s a scary prospect to have to contemplate any personal sacrifices. Eamon Gilmore giving up his subsistence isn’t going to change the fact that the cuts will need to be made and will probably have little or no true impact across the board, but it would be a

start. Politicians always want to say that they understand the people they represent, that they get that times are tough but that they can’t shy away from making the tough decisions; decisions no one would envy. Whether or not all of the decisions are sound is an entirely different debate, but at the end of the day, the average politician quite possibly doesn’t really understand the day-to-day struggle of a single parent with young children who is in receipt of the children’s allowance. While a person earning anywhere near the salaries of our TDs may not better understand the struggle of this family by taking a cut of a few thousand, it does show a willingness to at least make some sort of sacrifice to stand with those that elected them in good faith. There was uproar recently at the news that Sinn Fein TDs were only taking the average industrial wage from their pay packets, and using the surplus to employ people from their constituency to work in their offices. While there may be cries of misappropriation and dodgy practices, these TDs were actually doing something quite admirable. While the method may have been questionable, the result seems nothing but positive. If the average wage is something

which the average person lives off, how is it that TDs cannot do the same thing? Beyond the average salary, there are ‘necessary’ expenses associated with being away from home and having to travel from home quite frequently; having to eat out, certain members needing Garda escorts etc., the list goes on. But there is a lot to be said for living frugally and attempting to cut back and not spending every cent given to you just because you could. Politicians the world over have to look at ways to save, ways to trim the excess and bring budgets into line with harsh conditions. There is no doubt that these members of the Irish parliament have a difficult task before them every day when they walk into Leinster House and assist in running the country. What they need to remember however is that every single person on this island has something to contribute and that they are finding it very difficult to do so in the conditions which have been imposed upon them by our Government and those farther afield. It would do them good to pay more than a lip service and pay something more substantial towards the betterment of morale and confidence boosting that the citizens they represent are so lacking.



The University Observer | 13 November 2012

L&H Debate: Stem-Cell Research With the L&H this week debating the ethics of stem cell research, Victoria Sewell looks at some of the issues surrounding the subject


tem cell research has been with us for a surprisingly long period of time, with the term “stem cells” itself dating back early 1900s research into types and differentiation of blood cells. The research into the restorative and regenerative properties of stem cells dates back to the 1960s, with research into bone marrow transplants and treatments. Nowadays, stem cell research is, along with gene therapy, considered to be at the cutting edge of medical research, with hundreds, if not thousands of potential applications being suggested and investigated. To date; a young girl in Sweden was treated with a transplant aided by stem cells from her own body, deaf gerbils have had their hearing returned to them, and scientists have grown a functioning thyroid from embryonic stem cells. Researchers in Stanford University are looking at ways to specifically target cancer stem cells, which would provide less arduous alternatives to chemotherapy, and greatly decrease the risk of relapse.

Add this to the much-heralded potential for treating issues such as spinal injuries and Parkinson’s disease, and it is easy to see why the scientific community and mainstream media at large get very excited about the topic. However, there is a considerable amount of controversy surrounding the subject, particularly related to where the cells themselves originated from. There are three types of stem cells which are currently used in research: adult stem cells, amniotic (cord blood) stem cells, and embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells are taken from an adult donor, often to treat their own illness. They can be retrieved from the bone marrow extraction, fatty tissue, or blood donations. In many cases they may the most appropriate source of stem cells, as have the same DNA and can prevent rejection of new organs. However, as these cells are already developed, their versatility is limited, and it may be difficult to use them in other situations. There is also a risk of degeneration related to age and other factors (i.e sun exposure over the

course of your life causes degeneration in skin cells). Amniotic stem cells are retrieved from the umbilical cord at birth. These cells have a greater versatility as they came from the embryo, but collection does not involve harm to mother or child. Often amniotic stem cells from newborns are used to treat older siblings suffering serious illnesses. However, they are not an ideal source for research or widespread treatments, as they can only be collected after a child in conceived and born. Finally, the most contentious source of stem cells is embryonic stem cells. These cells are taken from an embryo (or blastocyst, as it is referred to at this stage) that has developed for about five days. As the embryonic cells will eventually differentiate into every different type of cell in the body, they are the most versatile for use in treatments. Embryonic stem cells are, however, the area of most controversy in the field, as the harvesting of cells usually, but not always, involves the destruction of a human embryo.

The controversy rests around the right to life, and when life begins. For those who believe life begins at fertilisation, and that all embryos which have the potential to become human beings have the right to life, then embryonic stem cell research is inherently wrong. However, the argument centres on whether life does in fact begin when the embryo is implanted in the womb. The vast majority of fertilised eggs never make it to implantation, and do not result in viable pregnancies. Emergency contraception, which is legal in this country, can be taken up to three or five days (depending on the type) after fertilisation, and is effective up until implantation occurs. Similarly, during IVF the embryos are not implanted until after 3 days to ensure they are developing. The original stem cell research was done on unused IVF embryos, which would have otherwise been discarded or destroyed. A recent poll by showed that 63% of respondents approve of embryonic stem cell research, a figure which rose to 88% when including those who agree to it in certain circumstances. At present in Ireland, however, there is no legislation covering stem cell research, embryonic or otherwise, despite repeated calls from the scientific community. According to the Irish Stem Cell Foundation, this lack of legislation is damaging to both patients, putting them at risk of

improperly tested treatments; and the science industry at large, by discouraging outside investment in that area. Indeed, given that scientific research and pharmaceuticals are among Ireland’s largest and most profitable industries, efforts should be made to not restrict development in these areas. In reality, stem cell therapies are still very much in their infancies, with clinical trials being conducted as much to see if they are safe, practical, or even possible as much as to test the efficacy. As well as this, stem cell research has been very much overhyped in the media, with it heralded as a miracle cure, a panacea, with little regard given to the difficulties, the limitations and the drawbacks inherent not just in it, but in all medical research. Simply put, even at their best, stem cell therapies will not help everyone, in every situation. There is not a cure for everything, as death and disease are inherent parts of life. What they can do however, is offer greater access to treatment for those who currently have no options, and help create more targeted treatments for others and this is something which should be welcomed, encouraged and praised. The L&H will debate the motion “This House Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research” on Wednesday November 14th at 7pm in the Fitzgerald Debating Chamber

Savile Row How did we allow a prominent figure like Jimmy Savile to act so carelessly without consequences during his career? Catherine Murnane considers the excessively forgiving attitude that the public shows towards its heroes

“Even when the truth about our prominent figures emerges and the facts become clear and unarguable, Irish people still find ways and means to defend those in the public eye”


ow did we get here? How did society blindly award Jimmy Savile with knighthood, an OBE and his paternal position in the British media? How did the one of the most idolised figures in the entertainment industry become one of the UK’s most prolific abusers within the space of a mere month? For over 48 years more than 300 victims suffered in silence, unable to bring their trauma into the media spotlight, unwilling to arouse concerns about a figure nobody else dared curse. The Jimmy Savile story, paired with others, demonstrates the blind adoration we show towards prominent public figures. Throughout the 1980s, Savile was granted access to the nurse’s accommodation building at Leeds General Infirmary. On the mornings that he decided to bring young, unsupervised girls with him, nobody raised a voice or pointed a finger, not even after Savile passed away. A 60 year old male was allowed to regularly take ill children, whom he had no relation to, from a controlled hospital environment and abuse them. If it had been anyone but Jimmy Savile, public outcry and distasteful tabloid headlines would have instantly ensued, with witnesses eager to bring justice to the story. But we couldn’t

shun Savile. He was a public hero. Nobody wanted to undermine him. This isn’t the first time in recent news that this protective shield of appreciation has been granted to public figures. The prominent role of the Catholic Church in Ireland ensured its establishment as an authority that nobody sought to question. From the 1930s up until the media revelation of the 1990s, the Irish state trusted the Church to provide for those who needed assistance. Over 35,000 children and teenagers who were orphans, petty thieves or unmarried mothers were sent to schools, reformatories and hostels that were fully run by the Catholic Church. During these 70 years, Catholic Ireland did not dare question its religion. It was only when we began to become a more multi-religious nation that the walls of protection began to fall down. It took a media outcry for the Church to stop moving priests between dioceses to avoid the revelation of these sins and finally acknowledge them. And it wasn’t until 2009, almost 80 years since the

first claim of abuse, that the Murphy Report finally acknowledged 320 complaints made against 46 priests. How did they gather the information? Not only did victims come forward, but droves of staff members and the public who had witnessed suspicious behaviour. Though they had known all along, they would have never spoken out against the Church as individuals. It was only when other prominent establishments within the media and the state confronted them that they could forgive themselves for speaking up. But even when the truth about our prominent figures emerges and the facts become clear and unarguable, Irish people still find ways and means to defend those in the public eye. The response made by many Irish people to the Sean Quinn saga is a disturbing example of this. Quinn went from being Forbes 164th richest man on earth to bankrupt in a flash, bringing national banks and the nation down with him. Using illegal mechanisms, Quinn took over 28% of Anglo Irish Bank in

2007. When he was asked to finally cough up the money, his throat was bone dry. He used fraudulent and bizarre attempts to place assets abroad on exotic islands where the Irish victims of a grey economic climate could not reach it. The Courts have deemed his actions illegal. He’s been sent to jail. Yet he still accumulates hundreds of supporters across our island. In the eyes of many, the Mighty Quinn lives on. In August. we saw crowds of supporters gather in his home county of Fermanagh, advocating the forgiveness of a local icon. That day supporters praised Sean Quinn for the employment and opportunities he had brought to the area, his contribution to local causes and his never-ending commitment to his heritage and roots. He is a paternal figure to these people; one whom they feel has earned their unconditional adoration. Perhaps the issue here is that people need heroes. Perhaps we are too proud to accept that we may have misjudged a character, that the person who solved our problems for us now causes them.

The concept is an understandable one when we consider the recent revelation of Lance Armstrong’s drug use throughout his career. For seven years he was the epicentre of the Tour de France, an athlete that inspired and motivated the talent of others. To acknowledge that the figure you strived to become was a fraud and a liar would make you question your interest in the sport, your desire to cycle at a competitive level. Because the person you admired is now the enemy of sporting principles. It would be much easier to ignore that fact and the stories you hear in the paper and focus on the other aspects of his character that you can still argue to be intact. The same applies for the other scandals mentioned above. At one point we looked to these figures for relief, faith or guidance. If we don’t have them, who can we turn to instead? And if that question can’t be answered, then we really do have a pressing issue to consider.

The University Observer | 13 November 2012

Observer Features



Young and desperate With emigration reaching record highs for today’s youth, Nicole Casey looks at the causes and consequences of youth unemployment, and what you need to secure a job at home


ccording to CSO figures, unemployment currently stands at 14.72% with only a quarter of the 15-24 year old age group currently in employment. It seems the educated elite workforce that the Irish government preened during the Celtic Tiger era are no longer the attraction to multi-national corporations that they used to be. As companies continue to globalise their operations, the future is bleak for students and young graduates nationwide. Education in Ireland has seen major changes in recent years. While our universities are still amongst the top ranked within Europe, degrees are holding less and less appeal in the current harsh economic climate. Less than a decade ago, Irish universities


s another November rolls in, the traditional frenzy over proposed and alleged budget cuts comes into full swing. For students, an inflated contribution fee is on the cards, with a €250 increase coming into effect from September 2013. This should bring the total registration fee to €2,500. There’s also a suggestion that €250 will be added to the fee in every subsequent budget until it will cost €3,000 each year in contribution fees to attend university, despite our third level education supposedly being exchequer funded. It’s also traditional ‘march season’ for the Students’ Union (SU), however

“The USI is mandated to fight for free fees ... There are many different alternatives which were offered during the Preferendum towards the start of the summer, but we have our mandates and we’re following our mandates. Credible alternatives don’t come into it.” this year sees a slight change. The SU and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have instead launched a campaign against this increase in fees called ‘Gilmore’s 250’. It’s part of a national campaign in which, according to SU Education Officer Shane Comer: “All unions across the country have been given a strategically chosen TD… In this instance, UCD have chosen Eamon Gilmore. In previous years, a single demonstration was organised in which all Unions marched together against the government, rather than individual TDs.” Comer points out

were producing some of the finest graduates in the world. This, combined with a highly favourable corporation tax, drew many multi-national corporations (MNC) to Ireland, resulting in excellent jobs for our highly skilled graduates. However, as globalisation becomes the main aim of MNCs, formerly attractive countries such as Ireland begin to suffer. Globalisation consists of linking a multitude of communities and expanding the reach of power worldwide. Put simply, it is similar to the idea of an American company designing products in Europe, producing them in Asia, and then selling the products worldwide. Globalisation aims to reduce production, selling, and distribution costs, but at the expense of skilled employees.

One main consequence of the current increases in youth unemployment in Ireland is that of the ‘brain drain’. The Irish government invest considerably in the education and training of Irish citizens, and when those newly graduated young people begin emigrating, this investment is now of benefit to the countries to which Irish-educated citizens are going. UCD Students’ Union Education Officer Shane Comer commented: “It’s a sad state of affairs. Ireland produces some of the best and most qualified graduates in the world and then we see them emigrate to other countries that reap the benefits.” Between April 2011 and April 2012, emigration reached 87,100, a record high for the current recessionary period, with people under 25 mak-

“Ireland produces some of the best and most qualified graduates in the world and then we see them emigrate to other countries that reap the benefits.” ing up 33.76% of this. According to Research and Development Officer for the Public Appointments Service Susan O’Riordan, this emigration is only set to continue: “What will tend to happen will depend on the economic cycle, price of labour, and the cost an employer is willing to pay. Labour is increasingly mobile. For persons with poor educational skills, who do not tend to be employed in MNC’s, the outlook will be bleak.” People will always go where there is work, and for young people, with no family or work ties, emigration will always seem like a viable, and sometimes last choice. For the young people that remain, the hope of securing a job is fleeting. Both the current and next generation of students are suffering considerably because of the recent cuts to education. University budgets have been slashed, and grant allowances have fallen significantly. It seems that since students are no longer an attraction for business, they are no longer worth the investment. Those from families that would previously have relied on grants to fund their third level education are putting off working towards a degree, while those already in education are choosing to stay within the system for as long as it is financially viable, in the hopes of securing a job upon graduation. But education is no longer enough when attempting to secure a job. According to O’Riordan, people need to bring more than just a qualification to an interview if they want to land that elusive job. “Attitude, attitude, attitude,” O’Riordan claims, is the key factor businesses are now looking for.

“Standards are certainly higher now… People are expected to work harder, longer, for less pay, more tax and fewer benefits.” With an abundance of choice when it comes to filling every available position, companies can afford to be picky, and only accept the best of the best. O’Riordan believes that personality is now the deciding factor, when qualifications are all of a similar level: “A good work ethic, a good brain, and adding value to a company will always be considered desirable. If you can prove to an interview board that you can apply your skills and knowledge in a practical, productive manner, that will give value to the company, you are on a winner. That evidence can be based on how you approach doing a university project, voluntary work in the community, [or even] a football club.” Jobs are scarce, and the consistent failure to secure a position can leave young people feeling worthless and desolate. Comer believes that the answer lies in a government that “fosters an environment where graduates can get employment but not get annihilated by a tax system [hitting] lower incomes, where most graduates begin their careers.” O’Riordan echoes this, and states: “A highly educated, young, mobile workforce is unlikely to hang around waiting for things to improve.” If the government do not begin to tackle the issue of youth unemployment, it is highly likely that our young, educated workers will continue to leave us for greener pastures, and better career prospects.

“People are expected to work harder, longer for less pay, more tax and fewer benefits.” why a large march isn’t the best solution this time around, however: “[The marches] have gathered one day of media coverage and, in 2010, negative coverage with what happened in terms of the occupation of the Department of Finance.” The campaign consists of a major online campaign and a planned march to Gilmore’s constituency office in Dun Laoghaire. It was presented at the second SU Council in late October and was unanimously accepted. The campaign encourages UCD students to visit and send an email of discontent to the Tánaiste. Chairman of Labour Youth, Seán Glennon, reckons that ‘Gilmore’s 250’ is the wrong approach to fight the issue of increased registration fees. He commented: “I feel going after high profile figures such as Eamon Gilmore will have little effect, especially when done in such an antagonising way. While Labour Youth has been involved in lobbying TDs and Ministers, a better approach for the USI to take would be to get its members across the country to get in touch with their local TD, emphasise the importance of fees and Labour’s promise [not to increase fees] was why they voted Labour in the last election and to raise the issue to the minister either in a Labour parliamentary party meeting or in the Dáil.” Glennon and Labour Youth are also disappointed with Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn, for not keeping his most prolific pre-election promise. “Labour Youth are especially annoyed at Minister Quinn, as his backtracking on fees meant that Labour Youth members across the country were unwittingly lying to their friends, family and students and parents they canvassed when they emphasised how Labour in government would not increase third level fees.” The increase in fees is, however, almost inevitable. This upcoming budget has to cut spending by €2.25 billion, as well as collecting an extra €1.25 billion in taxes. So is it justifiable to expect to be untouched in this budget, which is being carried out under extreme circumstances? Comer insists: “We’re not trying to avoid these cuts and let the rest of the country suffer. The whole country is up in arms over this budget to ensure that their sector is protected and that’s what we’re doing here, we’re

Scapegoating Gilmore With Budget 2013 approaching, Mark Holt looks at the Student Union’s campaign against another increase to the student contribution fee protecting our sector, who we represent i.e. the students of UCD and, on a wider range, the students of Ireland.” He continues: “I don’t think we’re getting away scot-free. I think we’re actually getting savaged. Minister Quinn himself has said that students can ‘assimilate’ to these cuts or, in layman’s terms: absorb this debt; he feels we’re an easy target.” Glennon agrees that Minister Quinn’s choice of words was poor. “We feel Ruairi Quinn’s choice of words, while worrying, do not adequately reflect either his own or the Labour Party’s lack of enthusiasm in increasing the registration fees.” The online phase of the campaign involves an intense social network element. Students are being encouraged to use #standup and #Gilmores250 at the end of tweets directed at political accounts. There’s also a Facebook page and a Twitter feed revolving around Gilmore’s 250. On paper, it looks like the online phase isn’t really taking off. Comer disagrees, however: “I feel the online aspect of the campaign is going extremely well because the students are talking about it, they’re getting engaged with it and I think it’s been very effective thus far and its gotten a lot of attention from the politicians in question. We’ve got meetings with Counsellor Niamh Bhreatnach who was the Labour Party Minister for Education when the free fees scheme came in. We’ve been offered meetings with Minister Quinn, but again, we’re targeting Eamon Gilmore.” A further question still remains. It’s obvious that the collective ideal of students, the SU and the USI is universal education. The USI constantly campaign for the elimination of all fees. But why not offer credible alternatives to fees? “The USI is mandated to fight for free fees,” Comer states. “There

are many different alternatives which were offered during the Preferendum towards the start of the summer, but we have our mandates and we’re following our mandates. Credible alternatives don’t come into it.” Labour Youth have a similar opinion of universal education. “Labour Youth believes in universal access to third level education, we don’t see any increase in the registration fee being justifiable especially after Minister

Gilmore’s 250 campaign caricature

Quinn emphasised the Labour Party’s commitment to not increasing the registration fee during the last election.” While both parties seem to be coming to similar conclusions, despite perhaps coming from slightly different ends of the spectrum, it will all ultimately come down to whether or not they can get students behind them and the campaign. Their success on this, it would seem, is still a work in progress.



The University Observer | 13 November 2012

Where did you sleep last night? With increasing stresses on homeless services due to rising numbers of homeless people in Ireland, Sean Finnan examines the impact that these strains are having on the provision of adequate services


ast year’s Census was the first time a comprehensive effort to identify homeless persons in Ireland took place in the gathering of Census 2011 information. The numbers showed that there were 3,808 homeless on the night of April 10th 2011 including 2,375 homeless in Dublin. Homeless charities are seeing a rise of up to 40% in the number of people using its advice and information services alone last year. Since the recession hit five years ago, homeless numbers have been steadily rising. In the previous government’s National Implementation Plan dealing with homelessness, they outlined their vision that “from 2010, long term homelessness and the need for people to sleep rough will be eliminated throughout Ireland. The risk of a person becoming homeless will be minimalised through effective preventative policies and services.” However, the opposite is the case. Rising numbers of homeless people and cuts in both government funding and a lack of support to homeless charities are putting strains on the effective management of homeless services. “We have experienced increasing demands of nearly 2,700 people accessing our services in 2011, which is a significant increase again over the past two years,” says Aoife Mulhall of Dublin Simon Community. “The official Rough Sleeper Count in Dublin undertaken by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive in April 2011 found 60 people bedded down sleeping rough, compared to 73 in April 2012, an increase of nearly 25%. Dublin Simon Community view this as an absolute minimum number in relation to people sleeping rough in the Dublin Region on any night, as it does not include people in squats, couch surfing or sleeping in parks. The Dublin Simon Community Rough Sleeper Team operate 365 days of the year, to provide a service to people living on the street with the aim of moving them out of homelessness and into independent living. The Rough Sleeper Team, also known as RCOS (Regional Contact & Outreach Service), provide support to rough sleepers to engage with mainstream services including emergency accommodation, addiction treatment options, social welfare payments, primary healthcare, food and clothing and needle exchange.” One of the main objectives of the National Implementation Plan was to ensure that those in emergency accommodation would be provided with a support service in order to ensure their effective integration back into society. According to last year’s census figures, 43% of homeless people were in emergency accommodation while 26% were in long-term accommodation. What is not clear by the figures is how long homeless people have been relying on emergency accommodation such as B&Bs and hostels for their accommodation requirements. At the moment in Ireland, there are 98,318 households on the social housing waiting list. Of these, 65,643 people are unable to reasonably meet the cost of the accommodation they are occupying, while 2,348 people are homeless. There is a reasonably thin line between not being able to afford to pay for one’s home, and ending up homeless. With as many as 128,000 mortgages in arrears, according to latest Central Bank figures, there will be many more households finding the challenge of affording to keep their own home even more troublesome. A representative from the Dublin Homeless Regional Executive spoke to the University Observer on the issue. “The DHRE are the lead authority for

“We have experienced increasing demands of nearly 2,700 people accessing our services in 2011, which is a significant increase again over the past two years” all the other local authorities in the region. So DCC (Dublin City Council) would provide accommodation for homeless people. Each local authority would say, have an obligation to house so many homeless people from their housing waiting list. Homeless people get priority, but there are other ways where people move out of temporary accommodation to long-term options which would be the private rental sector as well as people on the rental accommodation scheme so there are a couple of options there in order to move people out.” The Dublin Homeless Regional Executive was established in 2009 in an effort to make the provision of homeless services more efficient and cost effective. In the same year, the DHRE launched its Pathway to Home strategy placing more emphasis on providing long-term accommodation for homeless people and to reduce the need for emergency accommodation. “The main aim of the model is to move people from emergency accommodation into more independent living with or without support as required” says the DHRE representative. “So we would have done an audit of all the homeless services in order to work out which buildings were fit for purpose cause there is low-grade accommodation out there. So we want to change that into, you know, that people would have their own units of accommodation rather than being in dormitory style accommodation. That’s been what’s happening over the past three years and obviously the process hasn’t been completed yet, but what happens now is that you’re either in temporary accommodation or else supported temporary accommodation.” However, there is no doubt that there is a severe shortage of appropriate long-term accommodation. This is despite the fact that there are clusters of residential estates and apartments scattered in Dublin and the rest of the country without any residency. Much

In the previous government’s National Implementation Plan they outlined their vision that “from 2010, long term homelessness and the need for people to sleep rough will be eliminated throughout Ireland”

of these buildings come under the remit of NAMA, however the argument that such accommodation could easily be used to house those homeless seeking to move out of emergency accommodation may be too simplistic. The DHRE representative argued: “It’s something we are working on to acquire NAMA properties. DCC are looking at … empty buildings around the city to try and bring them up to a good standard for people that are homeless. Again, there are standards now that must be put in place so obviously you have to invest money in these properties in order to bring them up to a standard in order to put people in them... It’s trying to match the need with the amount of people that you have homeless. If you look around the country, you could have NAMA properties in somewhere like Leitrim

rights are watered down to a token gesture. Two political wills are in existence here, one that wishes to use the price of London rent to create wealth, the other in the belief that the government should provide local housing to those that cannot afford it. “The critical demand for Simon services is increasing and it’s vital that we are focused on, and able to provide, suitable ‘move on’ housing options to prevent people from being stacked up in emergency accommodation simply because there is nowhere else for them to go” says Mulhall. “As part of this Housing-led approach we are committed to the sourcing and acquiring of fit-for-purpose properties across Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. This effort will be enhanced by offering support to those who move on from homelessness and by providing preventative

It’s quite expensive, it costs around €4,000 a year to run… We literally distribute the food by walking around the city centre. People approach us but if they’re visibly homeless we approach them… If it wasn’t for Homeless Week, we wouldn’t be able to have this service.” Homeless Week runs in UCD from Monday 12th November and is organised by SVP UCD. “One of the big things of Homeless Week is not only to raise awareness… but to move it to a more understanding [approach], trying to get an awareness of the issues and to understand those issues about why some people do become homeless,” says Bolger. “Arguably the main factor… would be addiction… but that factor is always coupled with another factor. There’s always an overlap and it’s usually mental health illness.

measures ensuring people do not become homeless at all. Accommodation needs must be met for people to live independently and integrate into their communities in a supported environment with trained, experienced staff thereby decreasing the incidences of homelessness.” Without the support of charities, the short-term survival of many rough sleepers would be in serious jeopardy. “What our services provide are shortterm measures,” says Brian Bolger, auditor of UCD St Vincent de Paul. “We are providing short-term services to a long term problem and that’s what homelessness is, it’s a long term problem… UCD SVP have two main homeless services: the soup run which we have on four nights a week and then we also volunteer at the Back Lane Homeless Hostel near Christchurch. All the money that we raise for Homeless Week will go directly towards the soup run which is on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Dublin Simon found that 67% of homeless people have mental health issues, which is huge.” Economic woes will continue to be blown up in the media and from the mouths of politicians yet their impact can all be too easily ignored when it affects those on the edge of society. Political pressure can seldom emanate strong enough from those left on the fringes by society. It’s not only up to the lobbying powers of Dublin Simon, Focus Ireland, SVP and the likes to campaign for the greater provision of services for homeless, it’s up to the public that politicians engage in such issues. As the inevitable trouble with mortgage re-payments will become more widespread over the coming years, those on the brinks of homelessness will continue to put pressure on already strained services. Without greater collective concern, the other that we involuntarily avert our gaze from may have a familiar eye.

“We are working to acquire NAMA properties. DCC are looking at empty buildings around the city to try and bring them up to a good standard for people that are homeless but you know, the majority of homeless people are in Dublin so how do you fit that need with the people that you have who are homeless and what exactly they need. It’s very difficult to match that up. If you have single men looking for some place to live you have to acquire single properties for them, you know.” Recently, councils in London have begun moving homeless families from their social housing homes to districts well outside their community areas as near as Kent and Luton and as far away as Hull and Manchester. The reasons that they give is due to the high rents of living in London and also due to the prospective welfare cuts that will leave many families struggling to afford to live in the city centre. As Government budgets become tighter, it is the people at the bottom of the social ladder that provide the liquid solutions to narrowing the deficit. Without a home it seems, a symbol of some sort of material wealth, social

The University Observer | 13 November 2012



Changing Voices With some recent court persecutions for sexual abuse being surprisingly lenient, Isobel Fergus looks at the changing difficulties facing victims in reporting abuses


ith the recent release of the Rape Crisis Network and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre annual statistics report, and with SAFE Ireland set to release their report later this month, figures on both domestic and sexual abuse in Irish society are being put out in the open. Hopefully, these statistics will reflect the changing attitude in Irish society towards victims of abuse. However, the numbers are still sure to show the ongoing battle to prevent both sexual and domestic abuse in Ireland. Unfortunately, we are no strangers to stories regarding sexual abuse in this country. The release of the Ryan report in 2009 marked a dark past in the case of state institutions in Ireland. As horrific as this report was, it was hopefully eye opening in giving both the State and ordinary people an opportunity to learn from the past. A positive effect from the Ryan and Murphy reports is that it has encouraged more and more victims to speak out. Domestic and sexual violence is becoming less taboo to talk about than it was in the past. Both female and male victims used to feel a certain stigma in coming forward, though thankfully this attitude is, admittedly slowly, becoming increasingly a thing of the past. According to Caroline Counihan, Legal Officer for Rape Crisis Ireland: “[The reports] had an indirect effect not just on people who had actually been the victims of this kind of sexual violence perhaps in institutions historically, but also people who had suffered something similar in their own families” It is important to remember that both domestic and sexual violence affects all walks of life, across all ethnicities, social classes, cultures and genders. In the last decade, more men are beginning to speak out on the subject. According to the 2010 Rape Crisis’s Network report of the 1,545 survivors of sexual violence, 15% were male. This was up just marginally from 14.8% in 2009. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 2011 report revealed that 18.8% of those that called their helpline were male up from 17% in 2010. More men are also speaking out about domestic violence issues. Groups like the Men’s Development Network in Waterford are working to provide services to men who are experiencing domestic violence. Caitriona Gleeson, Communications manager for SAFE Ireland emphasises that: “There is a certain need for more research into what are the needs for male victims and what is the effect of domestic vi-

olence on male victims, so there can be a needs led service response for them as well.” Although, there is an increase in victims coming forward, there are still major problems when it comes to both domestic and sexual violence. Low prosecutions are a constant problem in relation to domestic violence. With regard to these low levels of prosecution, Gleeson says: “Members are coming to us and we are hearing, if any, there are very low prosecutions. In Ireland, because we don’t have a code that captures crimes committed in the context of domestic violence, we don’t have the national information to the levels of prosecutions. The number of people on probation who are there because of crimes related to domestic violence would be in the very low percentage, of between 2-5%.” The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 2011 report said that in 304 cases, where the reporting status was known, 91 cases were reported to the Gardaí, a reporting rate of 29.93% and of these 91 cases, only seven cases (7.7%) were tried, resulting in four convictions or guilty pleas and one acquittal. The problem with situations like this is it deters victims from coming forward. There is a feeling of not wanting to go through the traumatic side of prosecuting someone if you are unlikely to see the results. Especially when in most domestic violence and sexual abuse cases the perpetrator is someone the victim knows. This can make coming forward all the more difficult, and simply not worth it when it seems the courts are against you. According to the 2010 Rape Crisis Network’s Statistics and Annual Report, only 30% of survivors reported the sexual violence to the police. There are worries that this trend will continue if some of the lenient sentences that have been reported recently become the norm. As unimaginably hard as it is to come forward as a victim, this must be multiplied when you watch your perpetrator walk free in a court of law. This is what happened recently to a young female victim when her attacker was fined €15,000 and given a suspended sentence after sexually assaulting the young girl. Another man was given a three year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to abusing his two adult nieces on different occasions. Judge Martin Nolan explained that the publication of his name was punishment enough. Counihan says: “We did get some outraged reaction from survivors who were fearful of what might happen in their own case. Certainly, I remember being asked about that myself and my advice would be if you feel the

“The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 2011 report said that in 304 cases, where the reporting status was known, 91 cases were reported to the Gardaí” sentence is unduly lenient you can certainly write a letter to the DPP. She’s independent in the exercise of her functions and she will make her own decisions, but at the end of the day, you, the victim of the crime, have got a right to express your view on it and don’t be behind the door about doing it if you really feel it is inappropriate.” It is clear from the prospective of all sides that there is a need for greater transparency when it comes to sentencing. Counihan urges there is a strong need for guidelines in relation to sexual violence cases. “It is now time for everybody concerned to be looking at some form of sentencing guidelines being introduced. I think they would really help and it’s just very empowering to have a publicly available set of guidelines that are totally transparent. I think also it would be helpful if judges, certainly in serious crimes, and often they do, but it would be great if they always provided outline reasons why they imposed a particular sentence in a case. It’s the old saying: knowledge is power. If people understand the reasons for a decision and they can see a rationale and if it

“The recent refusal of the Original Rudeboys to support Chris Brown at the O2 in December due to his assault on then girlfriend Rihanna was a great indicator of the changed attitude in Irish society”

seems broadly in line with sentencing guidelines, well then that’s much easier to come to terms with and then its much easier also to make a judgement in terms of whether it would be appropriate in writing a letter to the DPP to ask her to consider putting an appeal against the sentence as being unduly lenient.” If we are to work towards a society free from abuse then ordinary people need to come forward if they recognise signs of abuse. There are many ways to help the victims and to get involved. Gleeson states: “Two immediate ways that I would think of would be to make contact with your local service and there is always a need for support around fundraising and raising awareness, to see what the service could do with and any way they could volunteer and then secondly, I think it’s really critical that we are all informed about what domestic violence is and what are the signs and symptoms of it.” Fundraising is such an important factor in helping to not only raise awareness but to help see the decline of both domestic and sexual abuse in Ireland. The recession of the last years has made it difficult for state funding and other organisations to help victims across all sections of society. “There are fewer resources within family and within community, so where a woman may have been able to make escape routes or have escape through family networks, those resources may not be there and more critically at the moment. What we’ve seen quite drastically over the last three years is the huge depletion of the other agencies capacity to respond, so particularly within state agencies there has been a huge cull of personnel at the frontline, and also there is much more stricter application of allowances that are critical in supporting women,” says Gleeson. SAFE Ireland recently couldn’t open a refuge in Kildare due to lack of funding and unfortunately problems like this have become more frequent in the past few years for chartable organisations. According to Gleeson: “The site, the refuge was built and completed in December last year, so the keys were handed in January of this year and it’s a state of the art facility. It’s been built with the insight and experience of many refuges across the country and with the experience of women and the women’s needs so it’s a purpose built unit facility and I understand that there is ongoing negotiations but to date there has been no secured funding that will allow them to open the service and run it a way that can comply with health and safety standards”

The government’s launch of COSC in 2007, an office within the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to tackle domestic and sexual violence problems was a major step in the right direction to end the abuse. The aim of COSC was to have all instances of sexual and domestic abuse recognised as unacceptable and to have increased safety for victims. It is the aim of this strategy that all incidences of domestic and sexual violence will be understood and recognised with an improved level of service provision and accountability to perpetrators by 2014. The latter aim still remains to be seen from recent evidence, services in these harsh economic times are declining and accountability to offenders is far from the norm. The COSC aim to identify domestic violence as wholly unacceptable is happening on a frequent basis. More victims are being heard and more people are taking a stance against all types of abuse. The recent refusal of the Original Rudeboys to support Chris Brown at the O2 in December due to his assault on then girlfriend Rihanna was a great indicator of the changed attitude in Irish society, especially amongst young people. On the John Murray show on RTE1, bandmate Sean Walsh declared, “Even though it’s a huge opportunity to play in the O2 with a major hip-hop star and a substantial fee was offered, we are completely against Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna. With our latest single ‘Blue Eyes’ being about domestic violence, it goes against everything we are about as a band and supporting Chris Brown would send out the wrong message to our fans.” The exact same issue has come up again with the Students’ Union Entertainments Office in Trinity College last week offering tickets to a Chris Brown concert as part of a Facebook competition, and being met with resistance and criticism from students. Numerous complaints were made that TCDSU shouldn’t be condoning or supporting domestic violence, and in the end, they cancelled the competition and released a statement apologising for their actions. People actively speaking out in defence of victims of abuse can only be a move in the right direction. The last 20 years have seen public attitudes to domestic and sexual violence change from that of secrecy and shame to voices that are no longer willing to be silenced. However, domestic violence is an extremely complex and sensitive issue and in a difficult economic climate, there is still a lot to be done to completely change the patterns of abuse.



The University Observer | 13 November 2012

Observer Science The aesthitics of discovery

With the increasing popularity of artwork that tackles scientific concepts, Emily Longworth speaks to scientist and photographer Pablo Rojas ahead of his upcoming exhibition in UCD


magery has always been the currency of education; universally understood and immediately accessible, a huge part of our ability to understand a subject comes from visual interpretation. Conveying information through artwork has been done for centuries, but recently, with the exponential growth of visual communication and graphic design technology, the merging of scientific and artistic disciplines has come into a golden age. This month the Conway Institute will host Biophotologia, an exhibition by UCD graduate, microbiologist and photographer Pablo Rojas. From the 23rd to the 30th of November, images of research will be on public display, and the artist hopes they will succeed in engaging as many people as possible in the aesthetics of research. “I am aiming to state how fragile is the thin line that divides arts and science when it comes to images. My idea is to show people that such frontier is very variable and dynamic, and also that the constant friction that results from both sides can generate very interesting pictorial output and discussion,” Rojas says. Biophotologia will exhibit work from several of Rojas’ previous shows and collections. Having done a basic degree in Microbiology in Ecuador, and completing a Masters in Bacterial Epidemiology in UCD, Pablo Rojas is currently working on his PhD in Berlin. All of his studies have given him a good source for artistic material, and his images of Biofilms and microbial growths have been met with great response.

His exhibition emphasises the beauty in images that are often discarded in the research process. He describes the scientific perspective as one that has often ‘trained the eye not to see the beautiful’ when only looking for results. When the images are re-examined with different perspective, “the imaginative process shared by both disciplines where the conventional frontiers between them can no longer be traced”. The exhibition will feature photos of microbiology research, which include macro-lens depictions of colony growths in the lab. As well as human portraits created in an aesthetic experiment between volunteers and bacterial biofilm images, and several videos that creatively re-imagine diagnostic imaging. One of Rojas’ former exhibits, Zoonosis, is entitled after the term for infectious diseases that can be transmitted between species, and often from humans to animals or visa versa. “When it comes to things like microbiology or molecular biology, zoonosis is the actual gateway or bridge to when we start thinking about how microbiology links the animals to us,” Rojas says “And this basically relates to 15,000 or 20,000 years ago when we first started domesticating them and we started agriculture.” Many academics have responded to Rojas’ previous exhibits with technical feedback, and he finds that this “dramatically clashes with a more subjective feedback provided by others, where the interaction between aesthetics and science is celebrated.” He hopes

that the exhibit will give scientists a different perspective on the subjects they work with. “In some cases I have been asked if I can provide a copy for decoration. Interior designers have also showed interest in acquiring images from the collection.” A talk on the correspondence between scientific and artistic frontiers entitled ‘Progressive synergism between photography and microbiology, an aesthetic approach’ will be given by Rojas at the launch of his exhibit on November 23rd at 4pm in the Conway Institute. Rojas is excited for the exhibition, and explains how he thinks multimedia and photographer enable people to engage more with the research topics he uses in his work. “The microscopy experience still charms grown-ups and kids. Interactive installations where science remains as a vehicle through the cognitive experience can certainly improve the chances of understanding complex concepts.” Another supporter of art and science collaborations is Martin Kemp, author of The Human Animal in Western Art and Science. In fusions of the two disciplines “science becomes more accessible because it is “real” in relation to the art, not about abstract data. At their best, collaborations reunite things that have become radically severed.” Physicist David S. Berman maintains that theoretical physics and art share a common element: “They should provide a new way of seeing the world. Rela-

The Big Barnes Theory: Blueprint for a green future


t’s often hoped that a future planet Earth might bring with it a society that is waste-free: a utopia devoid of garbage dumps, sewage outfall pipes or cellophane wrappers. It’s a concept that’s not totally alien to us present day humans, but which unfortunately hasn’t yet gripped society as pervasively as many wish. The term ‘Zero Waste’ has its roots in the 1970s, and was actually coined by a California-based company Zero Waste Systems Incorporated, whose

founders saw it as their mission (more for financial gain than anything else) to find a way to collect and sell on waste chemicals resulting from electronics manufacturing processes for reuse in other sectors of industry and scientific research. The philosophy of Zero Waste has snowballed since then, and now drives many of the most salutary waste management practices today, such as a recent push by General Motors to make half of its factories worldwide landfill-free. The general idea is a holistic

Ethan Troy-Barnes considers whether better design principles today might hold the key to a greener planet Earth in years to come

one of minimal impact, whereby the amount of resources consumed in both the manufacturing and use of a product is minimised and the human effort expended is reduced. Unlike recycling, which begins after the product is used and merely attempts to curtail waste production and reduce the consumption of new raw materials, Zero Waste advocates an approach which addresses the entire process of product design from inception right through to utilisation and then re-utilisation. The objective with

tivity and quantum mechanics are now as much a part of the cultural landscape as Shakespeare and Beethoven”. The revitalisation of science in artwork has become even more widely celebrated by the advent of the internet, although it has been around for as long as the research itself has. In Victorian times, diatoms (a kind of microscopic algae) were used to make miniature artwork. The colourful, geometric organisms were prepared in pretty arrangements on glass slides, and positioned with a single human hair as a pastime for Victorian people. Mathematical principles and geometric design has been a huge part of artwork throughout history since major developments were made during renaissance times. One-point-perspective dramatically changed the realistic appearance of paintings, which had

been largely two-dimensional before linear boundaries were applied. Effectively, artwork is the tool of the teacher, who adapts their message to be visually accessible. In the middle ages, religious theory was communicated to the lay person almost solely through imagery, which filled churches and cathedrals via sculpture. This aspect of scientific art has lead to the growing success of international science galleries in recent decades. More and more researchers are looking to merge their work with artists in the hopes of making it more understandable to the greater public.

Biophotologia takes place from November 23rd-30th in the main lobby of Conway Institute.

In Victorian times, diatoms were used to make miniture artwork

Zero Waste is to improve the design of a product so that a long-lifespan and reusability is built into the item from the start, unlike recycling which attempts to find a use for things after the fact. For example, instead of collecting waste paper cups and figuring out a way to reuse them such as for arts and crafts or to be processed into new paper, Zero Waste aims to redesign the cup entirely so that there is no opportunity for waste in the first place. This may involve designing a more durable cup made out of plastic instead of paper. As a result, each time a new cup is used, all that must happen is for the waste cups to be collected, washed and redistributed, rather than for new raw materials to be consumed and whole new cup to produced. In this way, the Zero Waste approach attempts to better engineer the world around us from the ground up, reducing our impact on the planet by creating products and services that are better fit for use. A good example of how Zero Waste applies to society in a non-industrial setting is seen in computing, where everyday tasks such as going to the bank can be carried out virtually by accessing an internet banking service. This reduces the energy consumed in travelling to the bank, as well as the materials consumed, as massless electrons are used, instead of massive carbonaceous materials such as paper, to document transactions. The current trend of a world whose industrial and social processes are becoming ever more computer-reliant is towards a society where a lot of things happen virtually, with the likes of paper books and chemical laboratories being replaced by tablet computers and virtual biochemical simulators. However, in ecological terms, the digital revolution also has its disadvantages. Moore’s Law means that computers are routinely evolving so fast that even the most cutting-edge digital technologies quickly become redundant, being replaced every few years not just by upgrades but quite often by totally new technologies. We can’t really plan for the future in such an un-

predictable domain, and to do so would be counterproductive. Likewise, in the area of implantable medical devices, the aim is to utilise technologies that are disposable in order to minimise the risk of inadvertently passing infections between patients. However, according to Zero Waste reasoning, the approach in such cases should be no different: devices should again be designed appropriately – by, for example, being made biodegradable – such that their temporary use leaves a minimal impact on their environment. Just this year, a research team at the University of Illinois announced the development of a biodegradable silicon chip. Professor John Rogers, head of the project, echoes the Zero Waste philosophy, explaining how, in the context of medical implants: “The ability to use materials science to engineer [appropriate] time frames becomes a critical aspect in design”. Designing a product correctly can turn a material that might normally last centuries into something that will decompose safely over weeks or months. The key in silicon’s case is simply to make the product ultra-thin: “If dissolution rates in the body are about a nanometre a day, a 20 nm thick sheet of silicon is gone in three weeks. So that’s what we made,” explains Rogers. In her novel The Female Man, Joanna Russ conceives of a future where humanity utilises technology in such a way that enables them to create a society that blends discretely with the world around it, metropolises and urban sprawl are replaced by highly efficient communities set inconspicuously into the oceans and jungles around it. While this might sound a tad extreme to some, humanity is getting better at engineering the world it inhabits. We’re already designing sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste pseudo-arcologies such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. A society that works with, rather than against, the Earth’s diverse and fragile ecosystem might be closer than we think.

The University Observer | 13 November 2012


Science of sexuality


n California, legislation is about to come into play banning socalled conversion therapies for minors, which aim to ‘cure’ youths of their homosexuality. However, Christian groups such as the Pacific Justice Institute are already challenging this new law, bringing the question of sexuality orientation and its immutability to the fore once more. The therapies, which rely on behavioural modification, psychoanalysis and in some cases even sex therapy and/or prayer, are based on notions that homosexuality is a disorder resulting for some psychology disturbance. Such notions were common in early psychology, and were even held as the general consensus up until the early 1960s, supported by myriad studies, studies that have either been shown to lack scientific rigour or have been outmoded by later works. Keeping with psychology for the moment, as sexuality (in humans at least) was described predominantly through this branch of science up until extremely recently, psychoanalysis and behaviourism offer the best examples of what was prevalent in the early years of sexual orientation studies. It is important to note that much work in this field, but not all, was started with a view to either curing what was already assumed to be a disease or to classifying its pathology. Freud postulated that family dynamics influence a child’s ultimate sexual orientation. Ideas like the closeness to a mother and distance or absence of a father steering a boy towards homosexuality or hatred of a mother leading to lesbianism were well respected and even developed on in early psychoanalysis. While Freud himself was sceptical of psychoanalytical conversion therapies and believed that some biological factors may be at work, his contemporaries and those that followed were more prone to viewing homosexuality as a disease, and a curable one at that. The idea that gender traits, including sexual orientation, are learned consciously or unconsciously from parents,

peers and society in general and that in homosexuality something goes wrong was adapted from behaviourism, and became the mainstay of later supporters of the view that homosexuality was an acquired disorder. However, not all psychological studies from the time posed homosexuality as a disease, or even as abnormal. In 1957, Evelyn Hooker stated in The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual that “homosexuals were not inherently abnormal and that there was no difference between homosexual and heterosexual men in terms of pathology”. This paper became influential, especially among proponents of gay rights. The general acceptance of the facts that studies assuming homosexuality was a disease were flawed and that conversion therapies produced no change of orientation was in part due to the modern gay rights movement. In the decades that have followed since the Stonewall Riots, sexual orientation studies have tended less and less to assume homosexuality is a disorder and have put greater focus on the role biology plays in orientation. The current consensus is that sexual orientation is strongly influenced if not completely determined by biological factors such as genes and hormones. Is essence, the view at large has moved from exclusively nurture to predominantly nature. Biological theories of sexual orientation see it as part of a larger group or cluster of gender traits and have applied various techniques (genetic studies, endocrinological studies, etc) to evaluate where within the cluster ho-

mosexuality lies. Animal studies have offered great insight into the role of genes and sexual orientation. Sexual orientation in the fruit fly, Drosophila, appears to be completely controlled by the Fruitless

In this new age of mass communication, Stephen Connolly looks at the new trend of crowdsourcing medical advice


ith the gradual demystification and developing transparency of the medical profession, and doctors’ loss of their once absolute, priestlike authority in their opinions, the 20th century witnessed a change in the assertiveness of patients. Reflecting the freedom of discerning consumers born from capitalism’s rise, healthcare service users began to exercise their option to their physician’s decision, opting for second or third opinions without having to turn to chewing roots and massaging Chakras as an alternative. Salvatore Iaconesi, robotics engineer, open source artist and TED fellow, when informed that he had an inoperable brain tumour by his neurologist

With new legislation coming into place in California to ban conversion therapies for homosexual minors, James Kelly looks at the science of human sexuality gene (Fru). Depending on the way Fru is spliced, the way its mRNA is altered before forming protein, a male or female form will be produced. Females engineered to produce the male form of Fru (the protein) will approach, court

and attempt to copulate with other females. Males engineered to produce female Fru will not approach females. In humans things are a little more complicated, and altering gene expression isn’t really an option. Instead, researchers have focused on looking for evidence of genetic influences on human sexual orientation through family and sibling studies, comparing heterosexuals with their homosexual relatives (usually siblings) through statistical analysis. Twin studies are the gold standard as the twins will almost always have been subject to the same environmental factors. What twin studies have revealed is that, while there is a definite genetic component: the likelihood of a twin being homosexual is hugely increased if the other is homosexual, though other factors are at play. These could still be purely biological and simply not on the genetic level. Hormones studies in adults have found no significant difference between the circulating hormone level of a homosexual and a heterosexual. However, studies into prenatal levels of testosterone show high levels in males, low in females. They also look at other sex hormones, and their involvement in sexual differentiation of the body and brain may be where the answer lies. These studies follow from viewing orientation as part of a cluster of gender traits. The hypothesis is that a-typical levels of hormones can result in minute though significant changes in the sex-specific differentiation of the brain. How exactly the hormone levels change is unclear. Genetic and/or environmental factors could be responsible. Neuroanatomical and cognitive studies have attempted to qualify these changes but, as with many complex biological problems, inconsistencies have arisen and replication is needed. What’s most important is that science is no longer trying to find a cure to what was assumed an acquired disease but rather, trying to find a discrete grounding for what it has already found to be an innate phenomenon.

view their own medical records . Crowd sourcing in the medical world pre-dates Iaconesi’s site however. was established in 2008 and has since accrued over 25,000 member, sharing their data on 576 medical conditions allowing such information as prevalence of certain features of a disease, methods of alleviating chronic pain and possible treatments and their associated hazards, thus not forcing patients to take their doctor’s for it while 23andMe is another company based in California that is acts a resource for sharing medical data that might normally reside in hospital databases and presents it for public consideration. This time they are focusing on the human genome and attempting to make it fully searchable; granting you, for a fee, the power to ‘Be Your Own Advcate’ as the homepage states. It grants insight into users’ genetic code and risk of inherited disease with a single saliva sample, while documenting and consolidating information regarding the conditions they already suffer, their lifestyle, and other details, providing a potential powerful resource for research, something that the site encourage the public to carry out. They recently obtained the first patent for determining user’s risk of Parkinson’s disease, and its recent acquisition of the aforementioned CureTogether will surely yield information concerning the relationship between the genetics of person and the condi-

tions they may or may not afflicted by a consequence. While to be used for data, the verity and accuracy of this data must be regulated, and is an issue which has yet to be addressed. Regardless of the efficacy of these routes taken by patients, their very existence, like the malevolent black lesion on Iaconesi’s MRI and his reports of focal seizures, point towards a significant malfunction: the conventions of the medical profession in general. What is it about the normal avenues of medical care that deter some? In his recent TED talk, Iaconesi explains that he felt that he lost a degree of his humanity through being processed by the health service. “When you become diagnosed your life changes, it becomes a procedure. You are replaced by your clinical records and while [these records] are talking about you, they are not talking about you. You disappear as a human being.” By contrast in this project Iaconesi says, not without pride, that in the dialogue between past patient, poet or physician that “Everyone is feeling part of a human society, not just dealing with a patient”. These developments need not be seen as the alternative to following the normal procedures of obtaining medical care however, but rather tools with which the medical science community can perhaps restructure their methods of obtaining and delivering data and alienating less in the process.

“Freud postulated that family dynamics influence a child’s ultimate sexual orientation”

Asking the audience

earlier this year decided not only to get a second or third opinion but dozens, potentially millions. He brought his clinical records with him, and achieved the impressive feat of converting the data from its heavily-encrypted state to a form legible to the world, and published them on a dedicated website, ‘La Cura’ or the ‘The Cure’, inviting the viewers to browse them and contribute their opinions, share their experience or reflect on the project. Using the freedom granted to us by Iaconesi, even we could peruse the intimate details of his medical records with an unsettling ease akin to peeking at a Facebook profile, granting a rare opportunity to access the thoughts and terminology of a pathologist, demystifying the diagnostic process with the

aid of a medical (and an Italian) dictionary. The tumour currently residing in his brain is known as a low-grade glioma, a term describing the proliferations of the various lineages of supporting or non-neuronal cells of the brain. Such a diagnosis is often damning, with such tumours being impossible to remove entirely by nature, however the low-grade classification here indicates a hope for surgery. In his mission to share this experience, and find alternatives to surgery, or even the best method for resection of the tumour, the site garnered an unprecedented response. Over 15,000 testimonies have since arrived from past and present sufferers of the same brain disease sharing their experiences, 60 doctors have made contact with Iaconesi, 40 of which were soon accompanied by accounts from previous patients vouching for the their ability, 600 poems have been composed for Iaconesi or about his condition, an electronic ensemble have performed a concert against a backdrop of his projected MRI images, a model of his glioma has made it Second Life and anyone with a 3D printer can obtain their own physical replica of the neoplasm from Thingiverse. Already this has roused the Italian government to rethink the current obstacles patients are faced with when they attempt to

“We could peruse the intimate details of his medical records with an unsettling ease akin to peeking at a Facebook profile”




Observer Gaeilge

The University Observer | 13 November 2012

Prionsacht na Sealand – an tír is lú ar domhan Labhraíonn Cian Ó Tuathaláin faoi scéal na Sealand, anois gur cailleadh a Taoiseach agus an tír fholamh.


uair ceannaire na stáit is lú ar domhain bás an mhí seo caite, Paddy Roy Bates ab ea é, Prionsa na Sealand. Ní féidir a shéanadh go bhfuil stair na tíre seo thar a bheith spéisiúil, agus, ar ndóigh, an pháirt a bhí ag a hiarcheannaire léi. Bhunaigh Prionsa Roy an tír iargúlta seo i lár na Muire Thuaidh i 1967. Bhí suim ollmhór aige sna stáisiúin bhradacha raidió agus d’aimsigh sé dúnfort tréigthe de chuid an airm Bhriotanaigh, suite in uiscí idirnáisiúnta, sé míle ó Essex, Sasana. Dar leis a mhac, Michael, ‘bhí sé ar intinn ag [Roy Bates] chun stáisiún a bhunú ar an dúnfort seo, ach ansin bhí idé aisteach aige chun stát ceannasacha a fhógairt ann’. Rugadh Sealand ar an 2ú lá de Mheán Fómhair, le Prionsa Roy á stiúradh agus a bhean, Joan, ina banphrionsa. Den chuid is mó, sheinn an Prionsa ceol ó Fhrank Sinatra is a leithéid óna bhaile nua, ach thug sé faoi dhearadh go raibh ré an rac-cheol ró láidir le seachaint. Thabhairt sé thriail éisteachta do na Rolling Stones, ach díbríodh iad ó Sealand mar mheas an Prionsa gur ‘lucht seafóideach’ ab ea iad. Ag an bpointe sin bhí roinnt deacrachtaí leis an bPrionsa agus an Bhreatain Mhór maidir le cúrsaí fearainn. Bhí cás na Sealand curtha os comhair na cúirte, ach d’éirigh le Bates ar bhonn go raibh Sealand taobh amuigh den fharraige Shasanach. I measc na rudaí a rinneadh chun neamhspleáchas a thaispeáint i Sealand, bhí bunreacht scríofa, bratach cruthaithe, amhrán náisiúnta chomhchurtha, agus airgeadra déanta. D’éirigh conspóid sna 1990í nuair a bhí an iomarca pasanna ó Sealand i láthair ar fud an domhain. Aimsíodh Pas ó

Sealand i Miami, Florida, i 1997, in áit a raibh lámh ag dearthóir Iodálach, Gianni Versac, ina bhás féin. Úinéir an pas i gceist ná Gearmánach, duine nach raibh ceart aige pas ó Sealand a bheith aige ar chor ar bith, agus stopadh cló na pasanna seo ina dhiaidh. Ní hé sin an t-aon uair a bhí aird domhanda dírithe ar Sealand. I 1978, fuair Monarcacht na Sealand cuireadh bréagach chun dul go Vienna i gcomhair comhdáil, ach idir an dá linn, rinne dream Gearmánach ionradh ar an oileán folamh. D’fhostaigh an Prionsa a seanchomradaí ón airm chun teacht leis i héileacaptar agus na ropairí a ghabháil. Choimeád siad duine amháin dóibh mar ghiall, ag déanamh caifé agus ag glanadh na leithris go dtí gur scaoileadh é dhá mhíonna ina dhiadh. Chum an Prionsa mana na Sealand leis féin, ‘E Mare Libertas’, Ón fharraige – Saoirse. Le blianta anuas, rinne Rialtas na Sealand airgead ó shuíomh idirlín na tíre, Ar an ngréasán seo, tá an cuairteoir in ann t-léantaí cheannach le I <3 Sealand clóite orthu, pinn, cupáin, bandaí lámha, seanstampaí agus, an pièce de résistance, teastas le hainmneacha orthu ag rá go bhfuil an duine ainmnithe ina Thiarna nó Bhantiarna na Sealand. Faoi láthair na huaire, tá tú in ann teidil a cheannach chomh saor le £29.99, ach chun teidil níos cumhachtaí a cheannach ar nós Cunta nó Cuntaois, caithfidh tú £199.99 a dhól amach. Smaoineamh air, bheinn i mo thiarna féin ar chostas €25 ar a laghad, mo theidil scríofa roimh m’ainm ar bharr mo pháipéir scrúduithe, nó mo leathanach Facebook, nó m’iarratais phoist. Ní bheadh fadhb ar bith ag déagóirí agus iad ag baint triail as dul isteach

sna clubanna oíche, le cárta aithintis ó Sealand ag costas £25. Thairis sin, ní bheadh faitíos ar an doirseoir slándála ach an oiread, nuair a fheiceann sé go bhfuil an leaid le sé bliana déag d’aois os a chomhar ina chunta, an mbeadh? Is foinse grean é Sealand dom i gcónaí. Sciathann sí i gconaí mé, an tslí ina bhfuil scéal na tíre seo chomh haisteach is atá. Mar mhac léinn na tíreolaíochta, bím i gcónaí ag breathnú ar fhiricí stáit agus creidim go bhfuil staitisticí na Sealand den chuid is greannmhara atá feicthe ariamh agam. Achair: 550m². Daonra: 2 (sealadach). Rialtas: Monarcacht Bunreachtúil. Grúpaí eitneach: Eorpach, Cugasach. Déamainm: Sealander/Sealandic sa Bhéarla. Ag deireadh an lae, a cheapaim dom féin, is teach réamhdhéanta ar chosa croise é. Ansin, cuimhníonn liom. Rugadh fear éicint a thabhairt suas a shaol chun troid leis an airm Briotanach nuair a bhí sé chomh óg le cúig bliana déag d’aois. Bhí baint aige leis an gCogadh Cathartha Spáinneach. Bhunaidh sé náisiún as a bhata féin agus throid sé chun aitheantas idirnáisiúnta

a fháil don tír sin. Ní oileán simplí in aice na Sasana í Sealand. Is toradh d’fhear aislingeach í, a bhí baile do chlann ar feadh gluain iomlán, amach as ionannas an mhórthír. Má tá tú ag léamh an alt seo, agus tá suim agat chun a bheith an chéad Prionsa eile de Sealand, caithfidh tú beagánín níos mó ná €25 a íoc. Tá an seandhúnfórt (darbh ainm HM Fort Roughs) le díol ar praghas £600,000.

Seans chun náisiún Gaelach nua a bhunú ar taobh eile den Bhreatain Mhór, b’fhéidir. In agallamh i 1980, dúirt an Prionsa Roy: ‘B’fhéidir go bhfuil mé chun bás a fháil óg, nó b’fhéidir gheobhaigh mé bás sean, ach ní gheobhaigh mé bas as leadrán go deo’. Fuair sé bás ag 91 bliana d’aois, tar éis tréimhse le galar Alzheimer.


Bhradacha....................................................Pirate Radio Ionradh...................................................................Invasion Giall.........................................................................Hostage Cunta/Cuntaois...................................Count/Countess Doirseaoir slándála..........................................Bouncer Sciathann................................................................Baffles Cugasach.......................................................Caucasian

Na cúiseanna a bhaineann leis an méid daoine óige atá ag ól Labhraíonn Charlotte Ní Éatún faoi daoine óige is na cúiseanna atá an méid dóibh ag ól riomh a shriocann siad an Ard Teist fiú


agus an tuirseacht. Freisin is cúis ullmhór é an stair atá ag an bpáiste, mar shampla dá má rud é go raibh saol deacar nó crua acu suas go dtí an pointe seo, casann siad i dtaobh an óil chun fáil reidh leis na mothúcáin atá á bhraith acu. Ach an é seo an t-aon cúis atá ag déagóirí tús a chuir leis an ól chomh luath is cur féidir leo? Cepaim féin go bhfuil cúpla cúiseanna ann nach bhfuil pléite in a lán de na hailteanna ar líne nó i leabhar fiú. Tá íomhá curtha amach ag na meáin cumarsáide gur rud iontach is spraoiúil é an ól. Fiú ar Facebook bíonn cuireadh curtha chugat cuile lá chuig cósúir ullmhór nua atá ag tárlú le hiontálas laghdaithe agus deochanna ar dhíol. Faigheann na daoine óige na cuireadh seo chomh maith nuair atá daone áirithe acu mar chairde ar an suíomh. Nílim a rá gur rud úfásach é Facebook nó aon suíomh sóisialta, ach tá sé a rá agam go gcruthaíonn na rudaí seo suim i ndéagóirí nach raibh deoch acu ríamh roimhe. Freisin, tá saol na daoine cáiliúla i gconaí sna meáin- go háirithe nuair atá fadhb nó droch rud ag tarlú sa saol acu. Nuair atá daoine cáiliúla seo ag dul tríd pointe íseal ina shaol, agus tá siad casta leis an alcól is na drugaí, is cósúir é seo do na meáin. Bíonn pictiúirí de na daoine seo i ngach paipéar nuachtáin is i gcuile iris leabhar. Bíonn gach daoine ag iarraidh breathnú ar na daoine seo agus conas a réiteoidh siad iad féin, is an mbeadh siad in ann an sean shaol a bhí acu a fháil ar ais. Nuair a bhí mise níos lú, breathnaigh na meáin ar daoine cosúil le Lindsey Lohan, agus Brittney Spears a bhí ag dul tríd am deacar agus a bhí cabhar go mór ag teastáil uathu. Ach, cosúil le a lán daoine cáiliúla eile atá ann, chuaigh siad chuig ‘rehab’ chun an fadhb seo a réiteach. Ach, nuair a thagann siad amach is direach ar ais chuig na sean nósanna don ól is do na

drugaí a théann siad. An bhfuil daoine óile ag breathnú ar na daoine seo mar eiseamláir? Ní dóigh liom go gcuideach na daoine óige seo le chuile rud a dhéanann na daoine cáiliúla seo, ach tá fois maith agam go ndéanann tú rudaí amadacha leis an daoine a íolaíonn tú a chóipeáil. Ach, é sin ráite faoi na daoine cáiliúla a fhaigheann cabhar agus a thiteann síos arís, tá cuid maith de na daoine cáiliúla sa domhan a cuidíonn leis an gcabhar a fhaigheann siad agus a chasann an tsaol thart sa treo ceart. Sampla de seo ná Robert Downey Jr. a bhí ag bun an dreamaire mar gheall ar an andúil a bhí aige don alcól is na drugaí, agus lá amháin, d’athraigh sé is anois is ceann de na daoine is cáiliúla agus is saibhir ar domhan. Chomh maith le sin, tá Billie Joe Armstrong as ‘Green Day’ i ‘rehab’ faoi láithir ag fáil

cabhar i ndiadh clis i rith clár ceoil ar an teilifís. Is rud maith é an alcól- uaireanta, ach nuair a imíonn rudaí as do láimhe

agus ní féidir leat teach ar ais síos, tá sé i bhfad níos fearr cabhar a fháil ná do shaol a chaitheamh san ospidéal.

Dífhostaíocht..........................................................unemployment Séanadh..........................................................................................denial Mar bheart...............................................................................matters Rágus óil.....................................................................binge drinking Ionchas óil.........................................expectations of drinking Easpa comhordaithe..............................lack of coordination Meadhránacht.....................................................................dizziness Eiseamláir..........................................................................role model Íolaíonn........................................................................................idolise Andúil-....................................................................................addiction Clis.........................................................................................breakdown


á cuid maith dúinn anseo in Éirinn atá fadhbanna éagsúla acu. Fadhbanna airgid, leis na bainc, ina phost nó mar gheall ar dífhostaíocht. Sna hamanta nach bhfuil aon áit againn le casadh ach chuig na rudaí a thugann mothúcháin bréagach dúinn. I gcóir cúpla daoine, is séanadh a oireann leo. Conaíonn na daoine seo ina dhomhan féin agus ní ligtear isteach aon daoine eile. Ach, an fhadhb atá i gceist inniu agam ná an alcólaíocht. Is fadhb é seo a thagann ar an-chuid daoine in Éirinn agus thart ar an domhan ar fad. Ach, is Éireann atá mar bheart orainn. Sa bhliain 2009 an tomhaltas alcól a bhí againn anseo in Éirinn ná os cionn 11.3 lítear in aghaidh an daoine fásta. Tá seo dhá uaire níos mó ná mar a bhí na rataí i 1960. Tuigim, is rud spraoiúil é an ól, agus cuireann sé go mór leis na hoícheanta amuigh ar bhaile atá againn mar mic léinn, ach is fós mórcheist atá agam, an bhfuil fois ag na daoine atá ag ól cuile oíche amach is amach, is ag fáil ‘shitfaced’ go bhfuil a lán eifeachtaí ag an méid coisireaht aige se oar do chorp? I suirbhé a rinne an ESPAD I 2007, fuireadar amach go raibh os cionn 44% de chailíní ag baint páirt i ragús óil agus go raibh os cionn 42% de bhuachaillí ag baint páirt I rágus óil. An aois grúpa a bhí I gceist ná déagóirí idir 15-16. Beidh an chuid is mó de na páistí seo fós ag ól inniu, agus tá seans ullmhór ann gur páirt iad den ghrúpa daoine atá tugtha leis an ól. Cén cúis atá ag déagóirí chomh óg tosnú ag ól? An ea go bhfuil sé ‘cool,’ nó an bhfuil siad ag cóipeáil daoine eile? Dar le suíomh ar an idirlín, thosnaíonn daltaí chomh óg le haon bhlian déag d’aois ag ól mar gheall ar an t- ionchas óil, an fíoras nach bhfuil na éifecht don alcól ar eolas acu, mar shampla an easpa comhordaithe, an meadhránacht,

The University Observer | 13 November 2012


Observer Opinion Be a loser like me

The Valentines: Media Musings

Reflecting on the National Media Conference last weekend, Aoife Valentine asks if ‘the why’ is really the sole remit of print media

In this week’s installment of, Killian Woods gets all sappy and talks about Glee. Gay.


o matter how boring, socially inept, but principally boring people are, they always have something about them that singles them out from the crowd. Something that specifically defines and gives them a niche amongst their friends, or the people around them. This could be a wide range of things. Maybe you’re the person with the iPod full of crap S Club 7 music that brings the party to the next level, or maybe you’re a level five half-Elf ranger in your Dungeons and Dragons group, or you maybe you’re the person who attends every lecture and shares the notes with those who missed classes. Whatever it is, you won’t be ashamed of it, and if you are, you definitely shouldn’t be. Last week, my friend kindly gave me a coffee mug as a present. It was such a lovely gesture and made my week after a successive number of crappy days that equated to Hurricane Sandy plus the third world hunger by the square root of Bambi’s Mom being shot down by hunters. As well as being really appreciative of the present, it also gave me a stark realisation about what defines me. Unlike most other people, I’m defined by a television show that spontaneously erupts into elaborate show tune numbers and also has a target audience of teenage girls and extravagant homosexuals. Yes, I mean Glee. This isn’t just any Glee mug, it is the Glee-est of mugs that has a colour scheme to put the LGBT movement to shame Even though I’m most definitely a straight man, it shouldn’t shock me that I’m defined among my friends as the ‘guy who likes Glee’. I make no secret of the fact that I like the show and shouldn’t be surprised when a friend of mine sees a coffee mug that says Glee on it, they say, “Hey, do you know who’d like to drink their morning cup of coffee out of that mug there while dancing around the house to a mashup of ‘I Can’t Go for That’ and ‘You Make My Dreams’? Killian, that’s who”. From what I get, people are continually baffled how I can genuinely like Glee. But, really, there’s absolutely nothing baffling about it. I like Glee because it makes me happy to watch it, and that’s all that matters. I genuinely like the stupid story plots and the fact that in the grand scheme of things, Glee doesn’t really matter. But to me, it does. When I watch Glee, I can zone out of life and

for those forty minutes, nothing matters other than what Journey song will they cover this week. And even though I still forget the difference between them, I honestly care if the New Directions win regionals and sectionals, or whichever order they’re meant to be in. So then, what defines you? And do you belong to anything? Belonging is very important as well. I belong to many things such as this newspaper you’re reading now, my tag rugby team with my friends, and a group of society castaways questing their way across Breland, one dugeon and dragon at a time. In these groups of friends, shame is left at the door. I am wholly comfortable being who I am within these groups and don’t hide one bit of my personality. Not even the bit inside of me that would happily murder a child if it meant that the evil wizard Erik Mordheim wouldn’t be able to follow through with his mischievous plans. Without trying to sound corny, even though I’ve re-read what I wrote and know that I’m doing a damn good job of it, I urge you all to belong. Find somewhere that you don’t have to hide your interests from the people around you. If you have to lie to fit in, then they’re not worth your friendship and that’s not where you belong. Although it’s nice to poke fun at these silly things that define us and revel in a bit of self-deprecation, this “What defines you?” question is very important. And funnily enough Glee is full of great moral tales to back up my opinion that you should express your interests and be that person. For instance, a young and unpopular Rachel Berry, eventual star of the Glee club, starts off in season one desperately trying to belong. She yearns to be popular, but more importantly special, and hits the nail on the head in saying, “Being a part of something special, makes you special.” So, that’s where I am. I belong among the Gleeks. I wouldn’t mind enhancing what personally defines me past being “the Glee guy” and branch out into more musicals. I might dabble in a bit of Radiohead over the next few months just to balance out my music taste and start watching Homeland so that I can still renew my subscription to being a straight white man. Then again, maybe I should just stick to my guns and be content that a friend went out of their way to spend fifty cents on me.

“If the Irish Times went online-only in the morning, its journalists wouldn’t suddenly become witless fools who can’t tell the wind from the trees”

“Glee is full of great moral tales to back up my opinion that you should express your interests”


t a conference designed to show the abilities and dedication of students as the future of media, and to create a space where student led solutions could be found to the many challenges facing modern media, it is funny to come away both inspired and very uncertain whether making a living once I graduate from student media into the real world, will be possible. The National Media Conference that took place in Trinity last Saturday offered rooms full of student journalists a lot to think about. Whether you are mostly based in print, radio or screen, there was much to take in, though my interest largely lay in print. Kevin O’Sullivan, editor of the Irish Times opened the day with a talk about his paper’s recent redesign. Inspired by the necessity to engage with and adapt to the digital age, they reduced the paper’s size and have been changing the way they decide their content to reflect what their readers are looking for. This followed the release of a new ad built around the slogan: The Story of Why. O’Sullivan proclaimed himself to be a ‘digital optimist’ who was “honed out of print journalism”, but acknowledged that the days where newspapers tell you the news is well and truly over. That was the concept behind the ad campaign: that you can find the who, what, when and where of any story from any media source online, but that people still buy newspapers to discover the why. People will no longer pay for the what, but there’s an element of trust between consumers and their newspaper of choice that drives them back to the print edition to get opinion and analysis: the why. He summed it up by saying that when he wanted to know he reads, but when he wants to understand, he’ll go straight for the printed version. The Director of News Services for Storyful Claire Wardle, the only female speaker I saw at the event, was there to extol the many benefits journalists can gain from the internet, so long as they’re prepared to put all information through traditional verification processes. She made an interesting point, in highlighting that journalists, particularly those with more traditional values, are getting increasingly upset that people are now sharing news with each other, rather than directing it towards media institutions. For example, Barack Obama was the first person to tweet his own re-election, with CNN only broadcasting it seconds later. It was a theme that came up a number of times throughout the day: that the role of journalists is now much more demanding, given the multiplicity of sources there are now available, and how much the audience wants to be involved. With Twitter and an infinite capacity to comment online on every topic imaginable, people want to be heard, and they don’t want it to be the next day, on the letters to the editor page. Audiences want to be involved pre-

and post-production. Every minute, 72 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube, and 100,000 tweets are sent. Journalists are expected to find what’s useful amid all of that, verify it, do it faster than ever before, and engage the audience as much as possible throughout the process. With almost all of this based online, it seems almost silly to exclude the ‘why’ from the online remit. If you can trust an online-only media source to tell you the news, why can’t you trust those same people to understand what they’re publishing? Why is it that once you put it on a physical piece of paper that it becomes credible? If the Irish Times went onlineonly in the morning, its journalists wouldn’t suddenly become witless fools who can’t tell the wind from the trees, simply because their articles are now published through a different medium. Their skills remain the same, or more likely, they need infinitely more skills and to be able to use most of them at once, in order to be able to incorporate the infinite amount more expected of journalists online. Sure, there is the trust between print media and consumers that is so often talked about, but I think consumers trust media brands, more than the actual print edition. They trust the Irish Times as a whole, not the paper it’s printed on. Some may enjoy having a physical paper to read, and would probably complain if they found it had disappeared from shelves in the morning, but I don’t think that they would assume the entire organisation was incapable because they’re based solely online. Obviously, there are financial issues. I think it’s easily assumed that the Irish Times isn’t ready to go onlineonly right now, in a financial sense. The revenue they take in from their website is presumably not yet surpassing that earned from the print edition, and to take away one of those streams of income, particularly the larger one, would obviously cause concern for the future of their business. And ‘The Story of Why’ is certainly a marketing campaign aimed at selling more papers, in a time when less and less people choose to do so. It’s a clever campaign, and certainly something that I would have believed in had I not spent the day thinking it through. Why should the ‘why’ be the sole preserve of papers? Staff writer at Gavan Reilly made the point that if we woke up on an alien planet in the morning and had to start society from scratch, there’s no way we’d start printing newspapers. Technology has progressed far further than that, so why would we? We would do everything online, and that includes the ‘why’. While print newspapers can no longer keep up in terms of the ‘what’, in terms of the news, as we are provided with an excellent platform online to break news far more speedily than perhaps we should be allowed, the digital ‘why’ from the same credible sources we all know and trust, has no reason to be ignored.



The University Observer | 13 November 2012

controlling his own baggage carousel. Yes, there really is a carousel and the contests get a shock when people who are also their baggage, appear on the rotating machine to tell Mr. Dreamboat secrets about the girl. The drama! This approach to life would be incredibly useful for dating. If you had the opportunity at the start of the date to ‘air your dirty laundry’ maybe everyone would save a lot of time seeing people they really aren’t suitable for. For instance, if a guy you are about to embark on a This week Lucy Montague Moffatt puts down her books for some date with opened his lighter entertainment and discovers the benefits of complete honesty first suitcase and revealed: “I don’t think women are equal to men” [an example n-between the furious bouts of in love with the guy just from what the of a guy’s actual baggage on this genius intense study I was definitely producers have told them and their fire show] or if I opened my pink, shiny doing, I happened upon a new to win is not fuelled by the chance of a four wheeler to reveal: “The guy I TV programme called Baggage. free holiday, but their desire to time to really liked just moved to At first I was appalled by this spend with this stranger who is nice to Canada so I might suddenly cheesy, fake smiling, models-wearinglook at. run away there with no airhostess-costumes monstrosity that This may all sound like a typical warning,” then all either of was seeping out of the screen like fake dating show so far. There’s a man, us would have to say is: “I lava from child’s ‘Make a Volcano’ set. there are leggy women wearing can’t handle your baggage.” Who decided this was allowed to be on too much jewellery and there’s the We could shake hands and the TV? Who is responsible? chance to run around in a bikini with leave it at that, without any Of course, this didn’t stop me a strange man. However, this show is of this “What are your hobwatching because if I am anything, called Baggage, and that is where this bies?” or “How do you feel I am a hypocrite. In fact, I watched show makes Take Me Out look like about the decline of the bee harder. I slipped off the couch perched Downton Abbey. The three prospecpopulation?” nonsense. on top of a pillow and scooted myself tive dates drag on stage with them a Society may be on its closer to the TV, open mouthed in suitcase each. Inside these suitcases is way to being desensitised wonder at how this could actually be written a piece of baggage that the girl about a lot of things but happening, in real life. I know they call has. These ‘baggages’ ranged in this pure, uncensored honesty it reality television but it is always this episode from ‘I wee everywhere’ to ‘I in everyday life still shocks genre of TV show that tends to be the am a member of a sugardaddy website’. people like a slap in the most unbelievable. And it was at that moment I realised face. In a lecture recently, a The premise for this programme is Baggage is the most important TV girl went to leave half way as simple as the target audience. Gok show to ever have hit our screens. through. Just as she was Wan (he’s all “Darling, darling!” and You see, ideologically speaking, racing up the stairs, sure you’re all “Awh, he’s not as annoying everyone does walk around with all she has made her escape, as I thought”) presents a man to you the secrets they don’t want people to the lecturer looked up and who is as dashing as he is muscley but know hidden inside a handy, Ryanairbellowed at her: “Are you in somehow also still single; it’s a fact friendly wheely bag. What Gok Wan is the wrong theatre?” that Gok must change immediately. So telling the viewers is that it is okay to She turned around cue him bringing on three girls who open up that suitcase and tell everytimidly to face her fate, 200 all want to win the holiday with Mr. one what you have been hiding inside. excited eyes resting upon Dreamboat. Obviously they have fallen Gok, of course, does this in between her. “No,” she gulped, go-

The FirstYear Experience: Baggage


Postcards from abroad Having settled into Australian life, Elizabeth O’Malley is happy to avoid debauchery and drama, as she makes the library home


was asked recently how I thought my first semester in Australia had gone. I couldn’t really sum it up there and then but thinking about it the word that describes it best is probably ‘lovely’. I haven’t swam with the crocodiles, or gone sky-diving, or gotten very drunk and woken up in a different state. My experience has been much more low-key than that. There have been nights out and nights in, days lounging in the library or lazing in the kitchen or reading by the creek, working at a nice job, working consistently on my studies, hanging out with great people, walking in the sun to get groceries, trying to experience all the little things. It’s not that newsworthy and it’s hard to explain in writing but it’s been nice. My life abroad has been perfectly ordinary. Does that mean it’s exactly like home? Not really. If anything my life at home is usually a

lot more eventful. For example, despite only having to pass while away, I’ve found I’m working harder on my studies than I ever have before. This is down to three things. First, without parental pressure it seems I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure I go to class and do well. It turns out when I’m responsible for myself, I get shit done. Go figure. Second, these classes are really challenging but they’re really interesting and I want to get the most out of them. After all, it’s costing a lot of money to be here and I have the opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world. I really don’t want to waste that. The third reason is I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been going out at least once a week. I haven’t missed a social occasion. But during the day, when I don’t have class and I’ve caught up on the internet, I figure I might as well study. So that’s what I do for an What’s up Wastrels? It’s been quite a few weeks in Hacksville, and the rumbles of discontent amongst our restless representatives are getting louder than the JCBs in UCD’s Science Shell. Deep divisions are lurking beneath the surface of the Sabbat team’s increasingly scuffed veneer, and it seems much of the mutterings are aimed towards an ambitious young upstart by the name of Paddy “Poster Boy” Guiney. Paddy “Doublethink” Guiney has been


average of six hours a day. Besides, it’s not like my grades count for nothing. If I apply for a masters or a job in law they’ll be looking at how I did here. Another thing that is different from home is that there hasn’t been any drama here. If anything, I’ve managed to be involved in more drama at home despite being 10,000 miles away. It probably helps that I’ve only known people here for three or four months so we haven’t gotten irritated by each other. It probably also helps that a lot of my friends have boyfriends and girlfriends either here or back home and I’m hoping to steer clear of relationships since I’ll have to leave

ing red. “Why are you leaving then?” the lecturer asked, getting angrier now. “Because… because I haven’t had breakfast” and with that she scurried for the doors of safely with her full bag on her back, like Sam carrying Frodo towards Mordor (this event may have been over dramatised for effect i.e comparisons with Lord of the Rings). Of course I thought she was a fool for not saying something about vomiting. If in doubt always go for the vomiting excuse. However, I have to applaud her amazing honesty. If I was the type of person who knew anything about class reps then I would want her to be whatever that is. She stood in front of our class and opened her suitcase wide, and that must be commended. Imagine if, during the introductory lectures, our lecturers placed their suitcase on their desk in front of us and opened it up, announced “This year I got divorced”, closed it again and then continued with their instructions of what to expect. Not only would it

humanise them for us but it would also help us respect them on another level, especially if their baggage was “I am a member of a sugardaddy website”. If a lecturer told us that, I would make sure to never miss their class, even if it was on at 9am on Monday morning. After watching the dating show to end all other dating shows, I now know how the world should work. We need to wander around our lives, wearing enough make up to suffocate a small rodent in, dragging a suitcase full of our worst traits with us. Gok Wan must dance around our rolling bags shouting “Darling!” and calling his “lovely air hostesses” to follow him. We need to thrust open our suitcases when instructed and tell the world what lies hidden inside our very soul. And maybe every so often, out of habit, Gok will strip us naked in a crowded shopping centre and scream through a speakerphone: “She may be an alcoholic but don’t her thighs look fab!” Hm, on second thoughts, maybe not.

banter but again, no big stories. It does make things a little boring, but I’m happy with boring. I still have fun but it’s clean, wholesome fun. Instead of constantly being stressed or worrying I’ve had a lot more time to think about different things, like what I want to do with my life after I get back. It also helps that in the first time ever, I have my work done in advance. I think the last time I was stressed was about two months ago when I was trying to figure out how to handle the huge course workloads. Then I got into a routine, started living in the library and things were all good. If anything, my trip here feels a bit

same time very laid back. Whether this will survive when I get back to Ireland is anyone’s guess. The only thing I’m wondering is, am I doing it right? I mean, I’m still having a great time and the exchange is fulfilling in a way I didn’t even think possible. I just thought that being away would be more eventful than it is. Does everyone have the same experience when they go away? Is it just me? Or is it because I’m in Canberra, which is famously quite boring? (Seriously, Google ‘Canberra boring’ and you’ll see what I’m talking about). It’s hard to find something to write about. Misery, high and lows, adventure, those are all things that are easy to write about. I could tell you about all the little things like the end of year night out or the funny work story or our movie marathon sessions but I feel like those are things that only I will properly get excited about. After all, I’m assuming the reason you’re reading Postcards from Abroad is because you want to hear about unique experiences from people coming into contact with different cultures. Maybe after the exams when I have the chance to do some travelling I’ll have a few more stories. Right now I’m happy to be happy, even if that isn’t as exciting.

“I have this new image of myself as a responsible, hard-working person who is at the same time very laid back. Whether this will survive when I get back to Ireland is anyone’s guess” eventually. There’s been no fights, no debauchery, no love triangles, no drunken mistakes, no ruined friendships, no massive break-ups. We just make nerdy references and dance a lot when we go out. At work? Well, I just work. There is

like an extended retreat, except you’re allowed talk and drink. It’s also sunny and warm, which helps with the lack of stress. Even if you did want to rush the heat makes that hard. I have this new image of myself as a responsible, hard-working person who is at the

looking over his shoulder a lot recently as he seems to have developed the idea that everyone is out to get him, and is pointing fingers at the possible presidential plans of his fellow officers. Paddy “PG Tips” Guiney’s ambitions have reached such heights that even personal and professional relationships are casually sacrificed in the hope of scoring points with his perceived electorate. His recent actions have backfired spectacularly however, turning the corridor into a warzone and finally legitimising his fears. It turns out that when you piss off everyone around you, they really will be out to get you. While his initial fears that they were all out to get him may have been baseless, Paddy “I Am The SU” Guiney has since embarked on a mission of alienation and self sabotage so dramatic that within days he has created his own opposition to his leadership. The man at the top of his watchlist is none other than Mícheál “Mr Clean” Gallagher, who Guiney believes has become a threat to his ambitions, with his sneaky plan of promoting himself

through “being good at his job” rather than Guiney’s ploy of pretending he doesn’t want to be President unless he’s drunk, at which point he tries to recruit the nearest party guest on to his imaginary sabbatical team. His other major threat to Presidency is Rachel “The Guvnor” Breslin herself, who seems to have taken against Guiney’s plan to become President simply by inserting himself in the role and hoping she won’t notice. The Bresident is rallying the troops in the hope of taking him down a peg, so now he really does have something to be paranoid about. Paddy’s paranoia is not limited to within the corridor. Outraged at his frequent featuring in the University Observer’s Quotes of the Fortnight, Paddy “On The Record” Guiney has threatened to start recording any interviews he manages to do, and is refusing to answer questions except by email. Maybe eventually his fears will sink him to the depths of doing his job and he will eventually send out some press releases. It might even stretch as far as sharpening his communica-

tion skills so that he manages to get the correct times and dates on all his campaigns posters. His enemies don’t stop at the college gates either, Talleyrand has got wind of more angry muttering from no other source than Domino’s Pizza, fed up with the Campaign and Communications officers abusing their half price deals, and rudely demanding freebies. Rumour is that they are about to sever ties with Paddy “Fingers” Guiney over the upset so get your pizza while you still can. While this special Talleyrand Extrava-Guiney Spectacular will do nothing to convince him that the whole world isn’t against him, there really is nothing to worry about. Unlike everyone else, Talleyrand isn’t out to get you; the other sabbatical officers just don’t do anything interesting enough write about. Tallyho! Talleyrand

The University Observer | 13 November 2012


Observer Editorial editor @

“Education Officer Shane Comer stated that the Students’ Union had been offered a meeting with the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, but turned it down”


ast week was a golden week for democracy, as both America and Ireland had very important decisions to make: who would be leader of the United States and if we should change the wording of the constitution, respectively. Possibly these were not of equal importance, but still, an important week for exercising our democratic rights. Though very clearly on different scales, it was an interesting to see the different levels of interest, argument, passion and participation in both races. While the US Presidential Election was a closely fought race between ideological opposites, in a nation bitterly divided along political lines, our referendum was greeted by overwhelming agreement and indifference. While both candidates trying to persuade voters spent $2 billion, I did not see a single No poster for the Children’s Referendum. I know nobody who planned to vote No, and frankly few who cared at all. This was very clearly reflected in voter turnout: 60% in the United States versus under 30% for the referendum. Obviously they were completely different votes, but it is still interesting to compare them. Even though we usually have a relatively high turnout for elections (last general election showed 70% of those

eligible turn out to vote), we never seem to have the same passion that America has. It’s probably down to a lack of jeopardy. Over there, the different between the candidates is enormous. Both sides, Republican and Democrat, feel equally desperately that it is a stark decision between good and evil, and if their candidate doesn’t win the world is doomed and they should pack up and move to Canada. Canada must be on the edge of their seat come election time wondering if there’ll be an influx of right-wing free-marketers paradoxically fleeing to their welfare state. In our general election, all we had was a choice between a right wing party whose policies for the previous decade had bankrupted the nation, and a different right-wing party who hadn’t had a chance to bankrupt the country with their basically identical policies. It’s just difficult to be passionate about. The referendum is an all time low for voter interest. At 30%, that means less than half of those who made the effort to vote last year bothered this time. Even people I know who take days off work to go home and vote didn’t think it was worth the effort this time. Looking around at the posters and listening to political campaigning, it was inevitable that it would pass. My input was unnecessary, so why even try? This is also the reason, I believe,

Letters to the Dear Editor, I was reading the article in the University Observer on the deposit retentions in UCD Residences. I wonder if you’ve come across this gem of a sentence from the Licence to Reside: “The Guarantor in consideration of the within licence having been made in favour of the Occupier at the Guarantor’s request HEREBY COVENANTS with UCD that the Occupier will pay the Occupancy Fee, Utility Fee and any other outgoings or charges (including fines) payable here-


under on the dates and in the manner herein specified and will perform and observe all the Occupier’s covenants and conditions herein contained and that in case of any default by the Occupier in respect of such payments or in the observances or performance of such covenants and conditions as aforesaid the Guarantor will pay and make good to UCD on demand all and any losses, damages, costs, charges, expenses and/or fines thereby arising or incurred by or levied on the Occupier PROVIDED ALWAYS AND IT IS HEREBY AGREED that any neglect or forbearance of UCD in endeavour-

Clarifications & Corrections


University Observer Volume XIX Issue V Telephone: (01) 716 3835/3837 Email:

The University Observer is printed at Webprint Concepts Limited Mahon Retail Park Cork Ireland

that the latest anti-fees campaign, can win. Gilmore’s 250 has had such little imSince the golden age of student acpact among students. Almost no stu- tivism in the 1960s, the attitude of ‘Yes dents went to the public meeting last We Can’ has evaporated in Irish univerweek, and polling them on the campus, sities. Students today don’t believe they almost none have even heard of it. De- can influence government; they don’t spite the huge amount of energy that feel it’s possible to change the governthe Students’ Union has put into this ment’s mind about education policy. campaign, including certain officers Every single year there is a protest and suspending all other projects in or- every year, no matter how many people der to devote themselves to this single march, no matter how many people are campaign, it has not taken off. bussed up from Cork, Limerick and The campaign itself is an oddly fo- Galway to join in, no matter how much cused one. Instead of the usual large- they fight, nothing changes. Fees go up scale annual anti-fees march, Gilmore’s and up. Gilmore’s 250 was designed to 250 specifically targets Eamon Gilm- be a change; even those organising it ore as the villain in the rising student admitted that marches don’t work. But contribution problem, and encourages they will march anyway, albeit after students to send emails en masse ex- sending a few emails. It’s not surprising pressing their disgust with the policy. this campaign has failed to capture the The campaign is so narrowly targeted imagination of the student body. These in fact, that Education Officer Shane protests will never work while students Comer stated that the Students’ Union continue to feel that rising fees are inhad been offered a meeting with the evitable and there’s no point fighting. Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, And honestly, history backs them up. but turned it down because they don’t We feel defeated on the issue, and just want to meet with anyone but Gilmore. like the Children’s Referendum, that However foolish this is, however much the decision has been made and there’s it makes the Students’ Union look like no need of our input. Until the Students’ they care more about fulfilling the nar- Union can convince us our voice matrow brief of their particular campaign ters, any attempt at change is doomed than actually doing whatever they can to failure. to help students, it probably wouldn’t make a difference to student interest. Because students don’t believe they

Letters should be sent by email to or by mail to The Editor, The University Observer, UCD Student Centre, Belfield, Dublin 4

ing to obtain payment of the said payments hereby reserved when the same become payable or to enforce the performance of the covenants and conditions herein on the Occupier’s part contained to be observed and performed and any time which may be given to the Occupier by UCD shall not release or exonerate or in any way affect the liability of the Guarantor hereunder and FURTHER PROVIDED ALWAYS that UCD may at its absolute discretion apply the Balance (as hereinafter defined) in partial or full satisfaction of any claims against the Occupier or the Guarantor hereunder.”

It is the policy of the University Observer to rectify any errors as soon as they arise.

Editor Emer Sugrue Deputy Editor Aoife Valentine Art, Design and Technology Director Conor Kevin O’Nolan Chief Designer Gary Kealy News Editor Daniel Keenan Deputy News Editor Sean O’Grady Comment Editor Evan O’Quigley

Features Editor Sean Finnan Science & Health Editor Emily Longworth Irish Editor Charlotte Ní Eatún Sports Editor Kevin Beirne Chief Writers Ethan Troy-Barnes Senior Writers Yvanne Kennedy Jack Walsh

Quotes of the Fortnight “If there’s anyone to get anything done in the Dáil, it’s a Fianna Fail-er ” john logue a-political usi president

“I’m a bit of an ‘a-fish-ionado’” pat mcgee from Stars on his love of salmon

“’ve based it around the number three. It’s encompassed my whole life. Then I realised you couldn’t have three wives at the same time, so I’m still working on that.” mícheál gallagher, when asked what his involvement will be in this year’s relay for life

Thankfully I’ve no involvement with this either as a resident or a guarantor, and I think I understand what it means. It’s the fact that someone can put a SINGLE SENTENCE this long in a document and still be taken seriously that gets me. According to any of the legal types I’ve asked, the language is perfectly normal. How does it read given that normal people are expected to agree to it? - Fergal Suipeil

Queries and clarifications can be addressed to

Contributors The Badger Aaron Barry Bronagh Carvill Nicole Casey Stephen Connolly Isobel Fergus Shane Hannon Mark Holt Patrick Kelleher James Kelly Lucy Montague Moffat Catherine Murnane Claudine Murphy Elizabeth O’Malley Cian Ó Tuathaláin Victoria Sewell Talleyrand Donal Woods Killian Woods

“We haven’t even had the time to buy a white tiger” Jack White on bigamy

“If people came to me in April and they weren’t done, I’d accept it completely they’re not fully launched” Paddy Guiney on accepting his responsibilities

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, Dave Connolly, Jack Leahy and Martin Lawless


The University Observer | 13 November 2012

The University Observer | 13 November 2012




What is the best combat sport? Jack Walsh and Kevin Beirne slug it out over which is the better sport: mixed martial arts or boxing


Boxing can go the distance

MMA, all the way

by Kevin Beirne

by Jack Walsh

li/Frazier, Sugar Ray/ LaMotta, Balboa/Drago, is there any sport that throws up such incredible and ferocious rivalries as boxing does? Okay, so technically that last one never happened, but it was a part of one of the greatest movie franchises ever. In very few sports is a rivalry guaranteed to result in a physical confrontation to determine the victor. Boxing, in its purest form, is simply just two people settling a score. Its simplicity is what makes it so beautiful, like minimalist art. Muhammad Ali remains one of the most recognisable and widely quoted names in sport to this day. He was not only a terrific athlete, but he pushed the boundaries for social change in America in the 1960s and 70s. He refused to fight in the Vietnam War, which resulted in him having his titles stripped from him as his boxing licence was suspended for draft-dodging, summing up the feeling of the youth of the nation. Ali truly transcended sport, in the way only the greatest can. His famous words, “I ain’t got no quarrel with the VietCong...No VietCong ever called me nigger”, inspired even the great Dr Martin Luther King to oppose the Vietnam War. While even the average sports fan would struggle to name even three MMA fighters, past or present, you could ask any random person, even someone who never watches sport, to name a boxer and I would guess they could name at least one. That is because the sport of boxing is so much more than just hitting an opponent. Just think back to Ireland last August as the entire country cheered on Katie Taylor to an Olympic Gold Medal. The euphoria that swept across the nation was very much needed at the time. It is often argued that MMA is better than boxing because it is more technical. This is to assume that to make a sport more technical is to make it more enjoyable for the viewer. There is no doubt that MMA is a more difficult sport, but one cannot assert that it is better for this reason. For those who have watched some MMA fights, you are probably familiar with these “technical battles” between two opponents which just looks like a three minute long hug to the untrained viewer. Even if you know what is going on, it is not necessarily exciting. For example, many of us understand the rules of cricket perfectly, but choose not to watch it because for large parts of it, it feels as if nothing is happening. The same can be said of MMA which can feel like an awful let down after you stay up until 3am, only to see two men try to bear-hug each other into submission. Another reason boxing is better than MMA is because of safety. It sounds strange to glorify safety in a sport that is based solely on beating your opponent up, but it is true. The referee in MMA is but a glorified spectator most of the time, and is completely powerless to prevent the knockout


blows that occasionally occur. In boxing, you do not have the sense of guilt that you are watching two people destroying their lives by crippling their bodies in the future. Due to the relative newness of mainstream MMA, we don’t actually know the effects the sport will have on its competitors in the long term, although it would hardly be a stretch to say it won’t be good. But that raises another point: the fact that MMA, as a sport, is so young compared to boxing. Boxing has been around for decades, while MMA is about as old as the Playstation. Boxing has been there, done that, while MMA is still trying to find its feet.

“There is no doubt that MMA is a more difficult sport, but one cannot assert that it is better for this reason” MMA’s youth does make it intriguing to viewers, but the boom in popularity will soon wear off just as the novelty banner does. Boxing will outlast MMA because it already has its identity. The problem for MMA is that it wants to put off having an identity for as long as it can because it knows what that identity will be: a submission game. It’s simple; as MMA evolves, it becomes more specialised. Nobody wants to be knocked out. Not only does it hurt like hell, but it actually increases your chances of being knocked out in the future, and more and more fighters are realising this. The risk for being knocked-out is no longer just losing one fight; it can damage your entire career. This means that fighters will begin to focus more on styles which minimise their opponent’s ability to knock them out. You can already see this trend with

“Each weight class is filled with a myriad of talent, with the lightweight division in particular being described as a shark tank”

“Boxing has been around for decades, while MMA is about as old as your first sex dream” the increase in the amount of submission holds being used in the sport. At first, crowds will find it entertaining to watch a giant beg for defeat, but eventually it will become deathly boring as every fight will just be a struggle to get the better hold. That is why MMA cannot last, at least not in its current format. A sport that cannot last, while it can be entertaining, is not a good sport. Boxing has been around for so long that it has already passed through its awkward puberty phase and has come through the other side. And also, Rocky I-IV and Raging Bull versus Here Comes the Boom? That’s not even a fair fight.

hen discussing mixed martial arts (MMA), it must be remembered that we are talking about what is conceived as the current “modern era” of the sport. Forget the stereotyped view of a pseudo gladiator fight, and embrace what the sport really is: a blend of some of the most exciting martial arts to create a technically gorgeous sport. Stylistically, MMA holds a severe advantage over Boxing; firstly in that your hands are not your only tools in an MMA fight. Whilst boxing is a staple in MMA training and competition, a full repertoire requires the proficiency in standard American and Dutch Kickboxing or Muay Thai Kickboxing, a sport that utilises elbows and knees along with traditional kickboxing techniques. From this blend, the stand up faction of MMA holds a variety of interesting aspects that are not only entertaining to watch, but for the athletes provide a true challenge. With boxing, a fight really only takes on one plane, dealing only with jabs to the face and hooks to the body. Whilst these provide a test, and for an audience are nice to watch, a mixed martial arts fighter on his feet has to

contend with a variety of strikes from a variety of levels. Also, boxing is on a notable mindset of only having to deal with other boxers, you really can’t be completely original or all that creative when you’re fighting a competitor who has studied an art that has never particularly evolved. From an audience’s point of view, it’s a sport that if you watch it, in terms of mechanics, you always know completely what’s going to happen. That’s one of the beauties of MMA; it’s unpredictable. Whether it’s the blockbuster style of Kickboxing from Anthony Pettis or the flying knees of Carlos Condit, the tempo can change in a second, the finish can come out of nowhere. As a sport with such a short history; it means the sport is ever changing. Originally it was a case of martial art vs. martial art, then it became training originally in one art to transition to MMA. Right now, athletes like Rory MacDonald, who have trained only in MMA, have brought the sport into its third era, where it has fully become a sport in its own right. Intelligence and originality have created this new hybrid, which over the next few years, will be completely and utterly implemented, which also includes MMA’s most decisive element compared to boxing; the ground game, and it’s no coincidence that over 70% of fighters on the UFC’s roster are college educated, as many transitioned into the sport from collegiate wres-

tling. Greco-Roman wrestling provides the clinch aspect of MMA when fused with Muay Thai and Judo, whilst freestyle wrestling is utilised to form the takedown, which, once a fight reaches the ground, transitions towards using Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu to look for a submission. Jiu Jitsu is a sport of nuance, and is widely credited as one of the greatest self defence martial arts in the world. A single mistake is the difference between success and failure. While disinterested observers bemoan grappling, savvy fans can easily witness the beauty of watching a good fight on the ground. The idea of a good fight is something that must be discussed, as critics of boxing often look toward the structure of professional boxing as a business. In MMA, promoters such as Bellator utilise tournaments to crown champions, boxing has been noted for having a specific hierarchy by which fighters receive title shots, a boxer often fighting journeyman after journeyman. Weight classes also offer insights into the competitive nature of each sport, with MMA having only eight weight classes, in comparison to boxing’s 17. This means MMA fighters are unable to jump divisions whenever they feel, with a far deeper talent pool evident within each class. A notable discussion is the talent pool within each of boxing’s weight classes, and how this compares with MMA’s, in particular that of the UFC’s. Although it is not the only high profile MMA promotion, the UFC have taken a clinical approach to ensuring it is the premier organisation, and one of these has been the attraction of the best of the best. Each weight class is filled with a myriad of talent, with the lightweight division in particular being described as a shark tank, with each of the top ten fighters having the ability to be champion on any given night. Promotion is another aspect of each sport that often comes under scrutiny, as of course this is how the fights actually happen. The UFC for example has put on a total of 26 fight cards so far this year, each of these cards having 9-11 fights on them. The most recent of which was last Saturday with a card being held in Macao, China, and the first UFC event ever held in China. Boxing and MMA has such a strange relationship, a relationship that within sports has never really been seen before, as although it is a rivalry, MMA owes boxing so much in return. Whilst MMA is the more dominant combat sport, boxing is as integral to MMA as wrestling is. This cross of divisions is evident in the amount of boxing gyms that have trained MMA fighters, to trainers such as the legendary Freddie Roach crossing sides to train UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre among others.



The University Observer | 13 November 2012

UCD record historic World Cup victory Dónal Woods relives the Student Yachting World Cup, in which UCD claimed Ireland’s third victory in seven years in the tournament


n Friday November 2nd, ten Irish students from UCD won the incredibly prestigious annual Student Yachting World Cup (SYWoC), in La Rochelle, France. It was not only a victory, but a dominating performance, as the Irish Team beat the rest of the competitors by the largest margin ever recorded by an Irish team competing throughout the 32 year history of the event. The Irish team dominated the regatta by consistently scoring podium places in almost all of their 13 races throughout the championship, to finish on a total of 25 points while their closest rivals, Team Canada, finished on 37 points. The regatta saw the top 14 teams from around the world compete over a six day period in a wide range of sailing conditions and race course formats. The Irish team got off to a good start by getting two second place positions on the first day. The team took a little longer to find their groove on the inshore course, coming in eighth place, leaving them in third place overall on the first evening. From there, the team’s ability and confidence improved as they learned how to sail the boat most effectively in the varying wind and wavy conditions that La Rochelle produced on a daily basis. Team Ireland’s tactician, Barry McCartin, had clearly done his homework and his research paid off as he frequently called the best lines and angles to sail the team around the course. The team had been training hard in

the build-up to the World Cup, carrying out intensive fitness and strength training in UCD’s High Performance Gym, under the tutelage of world class sailing coaches Marty O’Leary and Maurice O’Connell. This training evidently paid off as, during the second day, team skipper Aidan McLaverty was on top of his game to produce some incredible start-line manoeuvres in order to keep Team Ireland consistently at the front of the pack. Day two of the regatta brought similar sailing conditions to the first day and so Team Ireland carded once again two second place finishes. An unfortunate “Did Not Finish” in the inshore race due to a navigational error was a difficult blow to the team that might have undermined their hard work but thankfully Team Ireland’s training shone through, as sail trimmers Simon Doran and Cathal Leigh-Doyle ensured the team maintained the best boat speed in the entire fleet. A third place finish followed by two first place finishes in the eighth and ninth races on the third day were both welcome results to an already confident Irish side, as they found themselves in a strong position before the night race. Ireland were credited with cleverly using their subs by brining on Ben Fusco and Ellen Cahill for the night race. The race started at 4.30pm, but didn’t finish until around six hours later, providing a unique tactical challenge to the team who had to cope with pitch black darkness as they sailed around La Rochelle bay. The team managed an impressive third-place finish after a

very close final 20 meters of the race. Team Ireland’s pit crew member Alyson Rumball, played a crucially influential role in ensuring the sail changes went smoothly and quickly throughout the night. Going into the final three days of the regatta, Team Ireland were only a whisker ahead of their closest rivals, Team Canada, but Team Ireland’s fitness allowed them to push on in spite of the increased winds. Team mast man Theo Murphy and bowman David Fitzgerald excelled in the gusty conditions which allowed Team Ireland to out manoeuvre the other teams down-

wind while Bella Morehead also shone as she trimmed brilliantly downwind. It was unfortunate for the spectators that the last two days of the regatta had to be cancelled due to extreme winds gusting over 40 knots onto the race course. The cancellation ensured that Team Ireland’s lead of 12 points secured the prestigious trophy and won the regatta. As a result of their win, Ireland Sailing Team/UCD will return to defend their title next year in France. Unfortunately, the Irish team had originally found immense difficulty getting sponsorship in order to pay for their trip to the World Cup. They ap-

plied to over 70 businesses but were only able to get sponsorship just over a week before their departure. It appears that the recession had taken a tough toll on club sponsorship, and had a number of sailing brands not given them money, they might have not competed at all, denying these talented sailors from what will hopefully be one of their many bright achievements for Irish Sailing. Hopefully for the team this victory will increase their chances of getting financially backed earlier on instead of leaving them swinging in the wind until weeks before the competition.

Injuries restrict Irish chances With the first of the Autumn Internationals out of the way, Kevin Beirne looks at the state of the Irish rugby team

“It seems as if Kidney’s hero-status in Munster, as well as his villain status from his time at Leinster, has coloured his judgement.”


reland took on South Africa last Saturday hoping to put the embarrassment of their summer tour to New Zealand behind them, which included a 60-0 drubbing in the final test to complete the whitewash. South Africa, meanwhile, were coming off a second-place finish in the inaugural Rugby Championship, where they lost half of their games. Injuries had hit Ireland hard, keeping the Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Rory Best (Irish, Munster and Ulster captains respectively) out of the side, as well as preventing Kidney from choosing a former ERC European Player of the Year, Seán O’Brien, the current ERC European Player of the Year, Rob Kearney, and human-wrecking ball, Stephen Ferris. The result of these injuries was a new-look side, with Richardt Strauss making his Irish debut against his birth-nation, as well as against his cousin, and fellow hooker, Adriaan Strauss. Kidney also chose three uncapped players on the bench in the form of David Kilcoyne, Michael Bent

and Iain Henderson. South Africa were not without casualties either, with Bismarck du Plessis, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brussouw, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Fourie du Preez, Francois Steyn and Jacque Fourie all unavailable, while Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira was a late cry-off for the Springboks. In the end, South Africa finished stronger and came out as 16-12 winners, despite being down 12-3 at halftime. For all of Ireland’s good play in the first half, they were ultimately lacking in creativity in attack and D’Arcy looks to have lost yet another yard of pace in the centre. The decision by Kidney to start Conor Murray will be questioned considering his form before the game, and his performance during it. Too often was he guilty of poor decision-making; whether it was a loose box-kick or his continued obsession with the blind side. Murray needs to utilise his size by making more runs at the defence, much like Mike Philips of Wales. South Africa were happy to commit as few play-

“D’Arcy will be 33 at the start of the next Six Nations, and O’Driscoll will be 34, yet Kidney does not seem to be bringing through the next centre partnership”

ers as possible to the ruck defensively, which left space to be attacked just off the sides. If Murray were to have taken the ball on himself from the base of the ruck, and had his wingers been alert to the plan, an Irish try could have been fashioned. It was never going to be easy for Ireland to beat the third-ranked test team in the world without six players who would be pretty much guaranteed a starting berth, but there was a lot riding on this game. At the end of the year, the pools for the 2015 World Cup will be drawn based on the IRB’s world rankings at that time. Going in to the internationals, Ireland lay in seventh place. With Argentina’s 14-point victory over Wales earlier in the day, Ireland are now down to eighth in the provisional rankings. This puts them dangerously close to falling out of the second tier of seeds and guaranteeing them a place in a group of death come 2015. If there is any doubts about whether or not the IRFU is thinking about this, look no further than their decision to not sanction a full test against Fiji. Since the IRFU have the match listed as an ‘A’ fixture, a loss would have no effect on their world ranking. On the one hand, this could be the IRFU giving Kidney some leeway to give more game time to inexperienced players like Ian Madigan, Michael Bent and Paul Marshall and see how

they work together, but on the other it shows a lack of confidence in the man currently behind the wheel of a misfiring Irish team. Ireland’s record since winning the grand-slam in 2009 is played, won 23, drew 2 and lost 24, with nine of those wins coming from sides currently ranked outside of the top ten, and two of those losses coming against Scotland. During this period, Ireland have only beaten three teams ranked higher than them at the time of the match; South Africa (2009), England (2010) and Australia (2011). Despite Leinster’s three Heineken Cups in four years and Ulster’s appearance as a real force in Europe over the last year, Kidney seems reluctant to bring in new players unless he is forced to or they are from Munster. It seems as if Kidney’s hero-status in Munster, as well as his villain status from his time at Leinster, has coloured his judgement. Gordon D’Arcy is one of the greatest servants Irish rugby has had in recent years, but his body is feeling the effects of over a decade of top-level

rugby. Despite having young players like Fergus McFadden, Darren Cave, Eoin O’Malley or even Danny Barnes, Kidney persists with what he knows. D’Arcy will be 33 at the start of the next Six Nations, and O’Driscoll will be 34, yet Kidney does not seem to be bringing through the next centre partnership. We have seen this story already play out in the second row, with Kidney refusing to replace the O’ConnellO’Callaghan dynamic, even after it was no longer the starting pairing for Munster. O’Callaghan even managed to earn a spot on the bench, despite the performances of Dan Tuohy over the past year and the potential of Devin Toner. With the Autumn Internationals already technically halfway over for Ireland, it would be a surprise to see any major changes to the Irish set-up. Hopefully the Six Nations will allow Kidney to start rebuilding a team without having to worry about the world rankings. Let’s just hope it’s not too late.

The University Observer | 13 November 2012



The Badger:

by jack walsh


The Badger is decidedly underwhelmed with the football season so far

The Irish Student Trampolining Open (ISTO) is set to take place in Cork from the 5th to the 7th of April 2013. The event is attended by 40 different Irish, Northern Irish, Welsh, Scottish and English clubs, and has attracted international attention in recent years from French, Dutch and German trampoline clubs. It is the largest trampolining competition in Ireland. This year’s ISTO will have competitions in individual, synchronised, double-mini trampolining and tumbling, which aim to include all ability levels from novice to elite. This year’s event will also introduce more disciplines and levels of gymnastics. A portion of sponsorship will be donated to the Irish cancer society, with €1,025 donated to Special Olympics Ireland last year.

Ugliness in the beautiful game

Football UCD AFC has won the Airtricity League Fair Play award for the 2012 season. As a result, UCD AFC will receive €4,000, along with the chance of playing in the Europa League next season. The competition is based on points system with points awarded or deducted by the match delegate at each Premier Division match for red and yellow cards, positive play and the behaviour and attitude of players and team officials. UCD will now wait for the result of UEFA’s Respect Fair Play ranking which is based on all UEFA competition matches played at both club and national

team level, from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013. The top three countries in the table on May 1, 2013 will each be granted one additional slot for the first qualifying round of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League. If Ireland is to be placed in the top three, UCD will be given a slot within the Europa League next season.

Basketball UCD Marian lost by nine points at the Upper Glanmire Sports Centre against Bord Gáis Neptune on Saturday the 10th of November with Neptune winning by a score of 64-53. UCD Marian held a two point lead at half time with a score of 33-31, but Neptune were able to dig deep and secure victory, now sitting in third position in the league table to UCD Marians fifth. Although UCD boasts the tightest defence in the league, they could not contend with Neptune’s offence in the second half. UCD’s attack once again was left wanting, as John Galvin top-scored for Marian with 20 points, while captain Niall Meany managed nine points. UCD have now lost their last four games, having started the season with two wins from their first three. Marian’s next game is against Killester on Saturday, November 17th in UCD. Throw in is at 7.10pm.


Shane Hannon investigates why racism is so prevalent in football today, and asks what can be done do fight it


ack in late October, a thrill- of Norwich City) manages in the Pre- mer FA chief David Davies described ing game of football be- mier League. the Suarez case as “one of the most diftween two of the top sides in Some argue that it doesn’t come ficult of modern times” as it was essenthe English Premier League down to colour, rather qualifications tially one man’s word against another’s. took place at Stamford and experience, but one need look no Similarly, the Terry case dragged out Bridge. Unfortunately, in the immedi- further than the example of former into an 11-month saga. ate aftermath of the Chelsea-Manches- Notts County, Birmingham City and Current FA chairman David Bernter United match, an all too familiar Derby County defender Michael John- stein spoke of how “the reputation of adversary of the sport reared its ugly son to realise that unfortunately this English football has been damaged” head once more. Referee Mark Clatten- isn’t always the case. because of it. The two cases were much burg was accused of using inappropriJohnson began taking his coaching the same, and yet the differing punishate language, some of which were racist badges as a player and took up a coach- ments handed out did little for the FA’s in nature, by a Chelsea player. ing post in Notts County’s youth set-up reputation. This latest allegation of racism after he retired in 2009. When the firstSuarez was handed an eight-match comes after a turbulent year in English team manager Paul Ince, one of the few ban and was fined £40,000 for racially football, during which the Luis Suarez black managers in recent years, lost his abusing Patrice Evra of Manchester and John Terry cases took up the col- job, Johnson (who held a Uefa Pro Li- United, while Terry was dealt a fourumn inches in place of matters on the cence; the highest coaching qualifica- match ban but handed a much steeper field of play. But is racism more preva- tion) was also told he was surplus to fine of £220,000 for doing likewise to lent in football than in other sports? requirements. QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. When comPerhaps it is football’s worldwide popuJohnson was replaced by a former pared, these varying punishments larity, attracting people from all social under-12’s coach who only held a UEFA highlight the inconsistency amongst and ethnic backgrounds, which leaves B Licence. The Professional Foot- the powers that be in the English game. it more open to It is disthese accusations crepancies “The Rooney Rule, introduced to the NFL in 2003, like than a less diverse this sport would be. which rerequires all teams in the league to interview at least Racism in footcently comone candidate from an ethnic minority for head ball goes back alpelled a most as far as the handful of coaching and senior football operations jobs” sport itself. Diplayers to rexie Dean, a darkfuse to wear skinned Everton forward in the 1930’s, ballers’ Association (PFA) Chief Execu- the now infamous ‘Kick It Out’ t-shirts had racist comments aimed at him tive Gordon Taylor has maintained that during their warm-ups. The refusal to as he left the pitch at half-time dur- “As the players’ voice, we are commit- support an anti-racism campaign from ing a match in London. He reportedly ted to tackling the issue of black players some of the most prominent black playpunched the offender himself and ran going into coaching and management.” ers in the league shows that the players down the players’ tunnel. Surpris- But what, if anything, can the authori- feel not enough is being done. ingly, the police took no action against ties do? One possible solution would be In a recent ComRes poll for the SunDean as apparently the victim had “de- to follow the lead of the NFL by imple- day Mirror, 40% of people agreed that served” his punishment. menting a ‘Rooney Rule’. racism is widespread in English footBut here we are 80 years on and The Rooney Rule, introduced to the ball; up from 31% in June. 57% were racism is still making its unwanted NFL in 2003, requires all teams in the also convinced that it would be impospresence felt in the stands and on the league to interview at least one candi- sible to eliminate racism from football, pitches. It feels like every week there is date from an ethnic minority for head although it seems few would argue that a new case to keep the issue alive. Some coaching and senior football operations the FA and FIFA shouldn’t strive to question if the problem really is all that jobs. Its success speaks for itself. With- achieve this. bad, but the statistics speak for them- in three years, the percentage of AfriIt is worrying to think that a point selves. can-American coaches in the NFL rose could be reached where racism would A recent report by BBC Sport looked from 6% to 22%. This method would, at become akin to foul language; frowned at the lack of opportunities for black the very least, be a start for the FA in upon, yet acceptable. It is indisputable coaches in football. While 30% of play- their attempts to eradicate racism from that racism is currently tainting the imers in the professional game in England the sport. age of the sport, and this should never are non-white, there are only four black Over the last year, the Luis Suarez have been allowed to happen. It is time managers in English professional foot- and John Terry cases took racism in the to re-paint football’s make-up and help ball. Only one of those (Chris Hughton English game to a whole new level. For- reclaim the beautiful game once again.


he Badger is finding it hard to tell which was more predictable this weekend; Manchester United’s comeback against Aston Villa or Arsenal’s stubborn refusal to win a game. In truth, they are both so unremarkably predictable that you may as well ask which UCD residence has the lowest level of syphilis*. Honestly, the only thing that surprised The Badger this week was the fact that Celtic managed to beat Barcelona by refusing to actually play football. After the game, Celtic were heaped with praise, describing them as “heroic”, “magnificent” and “only having the ball for 47 seconds in the second half”. If you don’t believe The Badger (which is something you should never, ever do), you can check it out for yourself on the official UEFA stat sheet, which said Celtic had possession of the ball for a grand total of 6 minutes and 51 seconds during the game, giving them a whopping 11% possession for the night. Of course, Celtic fans will claim that the only statistic that counts is the goals scored, and (for once) they are right. Celtic managed to hold out Barcelona for 90 minutes by playing a revolutionary 10-0-1 formation. The Badger also found it amusing when many pundits decided it would be appropriate to call the night the greatest achievement in Celtic’s European history, completely ignoring the time they actually won the European Cup in 1967 after beating an Inter Milan side that had won two of the previous three tournaments with a team purely comprised of players born within 30 miles of Glasgow. Gone are the days when such a team could be built, not simply because of the current transfer climate, but also because Scotland are terrible at all sports again. In fact, it seems as if British and Irish football has hit a rut, with the over-rated Wayne Rooney the closest thing there is to a world-class player in any of the “Home Nations”. What this week also proved was that the constants claims by Sky Sports that the Premier League is the best in the world are either an attempt at selfpromotion, or a complete inability of the English to accept they are not the best at something. The Badger believes it could be a combination of the two. It’s sad that it is only November and The Badger is already growing tired of the football season. Perhaps a winter break isn’t such a bad idea after all. *It’s Glenomena.

OSbserver P O R T


The University Observer | 13 November 2012

Blackrock edge past Collidge UCD RFC 17 - 19 Blackrock


ast Friday night saw UCD RFC host a Blackrock College side who started the night rooted to the bottom of the table after four successive defeats. UCD, on the other hand, came into the game buoyed after their narrow 18-15 away win over Malone RFC the previous week. There were three changes to the UCD side from the victory over Malone. James Tracey reassumed his duties at loosehead, while Leinster academy prospect Jordan Coghlan lined up at blindside flanker and Shane Grannell took over from last week’s two-try hero Eoin Joyce at number 8. For the majority of the first half, both sides struggled to maintain any rhythm in their play as a series of mistakes marred the opening proceedings. Blackrock attempted to pin UCD back in their own half, relying on a kicking game, but UCD were more than happy to respond on the counter-attack. UCD’s wingers skipped numerous Blackrock tackles, continually giving Collidge a good foothold in their opponents half. Still, UCD players were left isolated too often as Blackrock tacklers poured in to rob possession and clear their lines. Blackrock grew into the game and began to take control around the halfhour mark. A careless kick by UCD centre Alex Kelly, just outside the UCD 22, flew straight into touch, gifting the visitors a platform to maul their way towards the UCD try line.

UCD struggled to hold off the powerful Blackrock pack and were forced into conceding numerous penalties close to the touchline. After successive lineouts deep in UCD territory, Blackrock found the breakthrough and Colin Philps touched down, although Michael McKeever could not convert. Conceding the try kicked UCD into life and they ferociously hit back at their opponents, looking to narrow the deficit before half time. The marked increase in the intensity of UCD’s play forced holes to open up in the Blackrock defence and Collidge’s free-running centres exploited the gaps. UCD’s Stephen Murphy glided through the Blackrock defence to beat the first tackler before hands in the ruck from Blackrock’s scrum-half Izak Muller earned UCD a penalty and Muller a yellow card. James Thornton duly stepped forward to kick UCD’s first three points of the game, with the score 3-5 at the half. UCD started the second half with a roar, as Boyle yet again showed his value to this UCD team with another great break up the middle of the pitch. The pace of play told a story of a UCD side ready to take a step up to the next level, but they were left frustrated with any venture into Blackrock territory, as the referee continually blew in favour of the visitors. Occasionally, Collidge looked a little over-eager at the ruck. Both sides found themselves having to exert a lot of energy and man power into simply

retaining the ball, but Blackrock began to build on their lead in 49th minute, as poor UCD discipline right in front of their posts gifted Blackrock two opportunities to kick at goal, which McKeever converted accordingly. Reserve fly-half, Niall Earls, entered the game on 55 minutes, looking to give UCD a different point of attack to unlock the solid Blackrock defence. Despite this, Blackrock again added to their lead through McKeever, and now UCD were faced with an 11-3 score to overhaul. As the game entered the final ten minutes, Blackrock struggled to hold back the UCD onslaught and gave away a penalty that resulted in another yellow card, this time for second row Des Dillon. Buoyed by the benefit of being a man to the good, UCD eagerly went in search of that important try. A sloppy pass in midfield right on the try line was intercepted by Blackrock’s Jan-Simon Byrne, who took it the length of the field to make the score 19-3, with McKeever missing the conversion. It was apparent that it wasn’t UCD’s evening at the Belfield Bowl, but the

students were persistent. This was particularly evident in the mammoth performances of flanker Coghlan and substitute Conor Gilsenan continued to carry the ball, hoping to inspire a comeback. Their efforts in the end didn’t go unrewarded. From a penalty deep in Blackrock’s half, UCD took a quick tap and the ball was spread to fullback Boyle. Still with a lot of work to do, Boyle managed to break the first tackle and evaded another to score UCD’s first try. Now within a sniff of a bonus point, UCD continued to rally forward, and through sheer persistence, carved another try scoring opportunity for themselves. Earls had found his rhythm by this stage and was readily unleashing his back line and forwards to carry the ball. As full-time approached, Collidge reverted to their lacklustre play of the first half, but still managed to carve out one final opportunity for Daly to race through the centre of the Blackrock defence and score UCD’s second try, and with Earls’ conversion, the score stood at 19-17 in favour of the visitors.

Now well past the 80-minute mark, the game was thought to be over on three separate occasions, yet the referee allowed proceedings to continue. UCD pushed hard for a third try or an opportunity at goal, but Blackrock closed the game out and notched up a well-earned victory. UCD: Andrew Boyle; Paddy Dix, Alex Kelly, Stephen Murphy, Barry Daly; James Thornton, Rob Shanley; James Tracy, Risteard Byrne (capt), Kieran Moloney, Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon, Jordan Coghland, Mark McGroarty, Shane Grannell. Subs: Rory Hannon, Adam Clarkin, Conor Gilsenan, Shane O’Meara, Niall Earls. t Jan-Simon Byrne; Tom Kevany, Michael McKeever, Rob Keogh, David Rowan; David Godfrey, Izak Muller; David Lewis, Ryan Fisher, Colin Phillips, Des Dillon, Owen Cullen, Michael Carroll, Peter McCague, Job Langbroek. Subs: James Mannion, Michael Carroll, Richard Liddy, Mark ScottLennon, Billy Glynn. by killian woods

UCD AFC: A season in review Kevin Beirne looks back on UCD AFC’s most recent League of Ireland campaign


t has been just over two weeks since UCD AFC finished up their 2012 Airtricity League campaign with a tired 1-1 draw with Shelbourne. It was a season in which UCD reaffirmed their status in the top-flight for the third straight season. The Students are even in with a chance of a Europa League berth, thanks to their topping of the Irish Fair Play table. They say a week is a long time in sport, so two weeks thought should be more than enough to review the 2012 campaign with. Although the season was originally contested by twelve sides, Monaghan United’s withdrawal in June left UCD with the second smallest stadium in the now-eleven team league, with only Drogheda United’s Hunky Dorys Park boasting a lesser capacity. UCD’s season began in early March with a 1-0 win at home against Cork City, with Paul Corry scoring an absolute screamer, but it was not a sign of things to come. UCD would only win one more game over the next five

months, although the sole win in this run did come in the form of a 1-0 victory over eventual champions Sligo Rovers. During that time, UCD managed only eight points from 17 games. It seemed the Students were in a hole, and things looked bleak. It was unclear as to whether or not they would be playing in the Premier Division again next season. Despite this poor run of form, UCD showed their resilience and avoided a repeat of the 2008 campaign, during which they were relegated, by finding a new gear in the middle of August with a 2-1 win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park, their first away win of the season. They soon followed up that result with another win over Cork City, before losing to Sligo Rovers. Towards the end of an eventful month for the Students, it was announced that star midfielder Paul Corry had signed for Sheffield Wednesday for a fee believed to be around €90,000. The 21 year old had been on the radar of many an English club for some time,

“A return of twenty points from their last twelve games will surely put a bit of a gloss on a campaign that was threatening to be disastrous for large parts of the year”

and had turned down advances from Burnley, an English Premier League side at the time, at the age of 18. Corry had decided he wanted to finish his degree in UCD before pursuing a professional football career. Just days before the close of the English transfer window, armed with a recently acquired BComm, Corry set off to join the Championship Paul Corry: Signed for Sheffield Wednesday for a fee believed to be around €90,000 outfit. Many wondered if the Students could dig themselves out of the on a campaign that was threatening to move was one that was well timed. hole they were in, especially having lost be disastrous for large parts of the year. We were likely to lose Paul to another such a talented player, but they seemed No doubt that many in the UCD camp League of Ireland club at the end of to be galvanised by Corry’s departure. would feel that the season ended too the season, but he has now a great opIn the eight games following his depar- early, as the Students were just hitting portunity to develop a career in the pro ture, UCD claimed four victories and their stride. game.” only lost twice. For UCD to have retained their In looking to the future, Russell reConsecutive wins over Bray, top-flight status for another season in mains optimistic about UCD’s chances, Dundalk and then Derry, as well as one a professional league is nothing short drawing inspiration from within the against Drogheda in October, allowed of remarkable. Although there are not Airtricity League, saying “The achieveUCD to climb to the safety of ninth millions being thrown around by oil- ments of Drogheda United this season place, six points clear of tenth place barons like there are over in England, have shown that the underdogs will alBray Wanderers and just five points off there is still some money to be made. ways have a chance, so we will go into a Setanta Sports Cup spot. Manager Martin Russell is all too next season looking upwards as usual.” Although UCD will be upset with aware of this, commenting: “It’s been If UCD can carry their end of season their slow start to the season, a time well documented about how difficult it form into next year’s Airtricity League, which contributed heavily to the Stu- is for the club to hold onto our players, then it is conceivable that the Students dents losing half their games this sea- especially after the scholarship years. could be fighting for a place in Europe, son, they will no doubt take pride in the I understand our financial constraints or, at the very least, a Setanta Sports fact that they were able to bounce back and all you can really do is try and en- Cup spot. With the talent available, and from such a horrid start. courage the next young crop to build on the strong sense of togetherness in the A return of 20 points from their last what has gone before. team, it seems like 2013 could be a year 12 games will surely put a bit of a gloss “For all concerned Paul [Corry]’s to remember for UCD AFC.

Vol XIX Issue V - Berliner  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you