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The BCFE Bulletin

Issue December 2009

A Ballyfermot College of Further Education student publication

Damien Dempsey Exclusive interview We chat to former Rock School student Damien Dempsey about his time in the college, his rise to fame and cutting it in the music business see page 8 >>

Young man left for dead after brutal racist attack By Evan Broderick News Editor “They came up and attacked us from behind out of the blue”. These are the words of BCFE business student Sean Burke as he describes the terrifying attack that landed him in hospital after attending his grandfather’s month’s mind mass. Burke, who is a native of Lyndhurst, New Jersey but has called Sallins in Kildare home

for the past 11 years, suffered multiple injuries after a group of six young men attacked him and his brother (16) as they left a pub in Nenagh, County Tipperary on November 7th. As the two made their way down a quiet street shortly after the David Haye boxing fight that night, Burke says that the gang crossed the street and came from behind them “before one of them kicked me in the back of the legs”. Burke’s brother took a head butt to the

face before he attempted to intervene. “I was knocked to the ground and all of them really went to town on my face,” he recalls. The attack went on until one of the group said “leave them alone they haven’t done anything to us,” Burke says. When asked to say why he thought the attack happened Burke stated that just before the gang struck he heard one of them shouting “f*** you, you foreign b******s.”

“It was a quiet street and we were the only ones there so I think they might have heard my American accent.” Burke suffered a broken nose, two bruised ribs, a swollen eye and various cuts and bruises to his body which put him in Limerick hospital overnight. During a check up it was revealed that the injury to his nose had turned into a dangerous blood clot, which resulted in a 3-day stay in hospital. continued on page 2

Former student scoops top prize By Ben Blake Editor-in-Chief AN Irish animator has scooped the Grand Prix at the Japan Prize Awards in Toyko. Chris Dicker, who spent three years studying Classical Animation in BCFE in the late nineties, picked up the prestigious gong for his innovative Horrific: A graphic image of Burke’s face after the attack

television programme ‘What’s Your News?’ at the recent awards ceremony. “It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind,” explained Dicker. “We didn’t find out until the Friday that we had actually won and they flew me straight over to Japan for the awards on the Wednesday.” It is a major achievement for Dicker, who is Creative Director of TT Animation, a small tel-

evision production company based outside Manchester. Running since 1965, the Japan Prize aims to celebrate media outlets such as television shows, websites, games and other audiovisual products which strive to educate children. The contest received 324 entries from 65 different countries this year and boasts the Teletubbies and Sesame Street as past winners, which makes Dicker’s

achievement all the more impressive. “It’s cool because we were up against the likes of the BBC, so the competition was really good,” he says. “Animation rarely wins the prize, so we were really shocked. They told us that we had won the pre-school category but then we picked up the Grand Prix too!” continued on page 3


The BCFE Bulletin

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December 2009

PLC places are capped By Evan Broderick 3,300 would-be students were left disappointed as they applied to the 1,400 places available in BCFE after the Government placed a cap on the number of places available in PLC colleges around the country. These shocking figures came to light early in October, when Fine Gael education spokesman, Brian Hayes, released the figures as part of questioning why the Government would place a cap on places in higher education in such troubled times. Places have been limited to just 31,688 with over 60,000 people applying for positions in PLC colleges across the country. BCFE had the highest number of applicants and therefore the highest number of people turned away from entering further education. Several other colleges in the Dublin area have turned away large numbers of students. Inchicore College had 2,500 applicants for just 800 places, while Coláiste Dhulaigh in Coolock was forced to turn away 2,000 of the people who applied for the college's 1,000 places. Many PLC colleges are run by Vocational Educational Committees, which place an emphasis on courses where students can learn practical skills that are useful in the the workplace. Some PLC qualifications can also be used to gain entry to other third level courses. The Government announced that they intended to create 51,000 new training places but these were mainly to FÁS, leaving PLC colleges such as BCFE restricted to lower numbers by the Government’s cap. With so many people losing their jobs, or completing the Leaving Certificate only to search for employment in one of the worst economies in living memory, the need for skills that a PLC course can offer is more important now than it has ever been. BCFE Vice Principal Kevin Devine says that “We have currently enrolled 1,630 students which is 200 more than the cap.” With the live register swelling to 430,000 thousand people, Mr. Devine says that “we took in that number because we were reluctant to turn away applicants during this difficult time”. This silver lining that is being enjoyed by BCFE students is certainly not apart from a large cloud, with Mr Devine continuing to say that “this works as a short term measure but is not sustainable in the longer term.” With every student being allowed into the college over the cap, expenses become greater. Even at this early stage in the year Mr Devine says that “already essential maintenance and replacement of resources is falling behind.”

Taxi drivers taking the mick Crowded: Several taxi drivers occupying spaces in the car park. The designated taxi rank (not pictured) is located opposite

By Ashley Farrelly Taxi drivers provide a great service when it comes to taking us home after a few too many beers on a college social night. We also appreciate the fact they get us to our destination safely. However, when it comes to taxi drivers at BCFE, many of us are becoming quite irritated at the sight of them in the adjacent car park. Students who do have the luxury of driving can be delayed by up to an hour due to no car spaces, which is inevitably very frustrating.

Recently, a number of taxi drivers have been allegedly spotted taking off their plates, putting them in the boots of their cars and filling up parking spaces while they wait for the rank to empty out. This sort of conduct is deceitful, as it is done in order to avoid prosecution. Sean Maloney from the Ballyfermot office of the Dublin City Council said: “We are aware there is a problem in the car park and obviously this is due to the number of taxi plates issued around the city. “There are only two taxi spaces reserved for taxis along thei rank and a number of taxis are using the car park as an over-

flow facility.” So how do the council plan to eradicate this problem? “The council is proposing some

Tesco’s manager commented: “We are losing business over this situation. The council should introduce pay and dis-

I could not get a car space, after driving around for half an hour in the end I drove home and had to walk!

amendments to facilitate eight spaces in the car park opposite Tesco,” Maloney explained. “We will also be implementing a taxi rank on the main Ballyfermot road for evenings and weekends,” he added.

play meters.” Another employee said “One morning last week I could not get a car space, after driving around for half an hour in the end I drove home and had to walk!” When a member of staff at

Photograph: Ian Goode BCFE was asked what they would like to see in the future in regards to the college car park, they replied: “A barrier should be implemented to allow only students, college employees and essential services such as deliveries and taxis picking up disabled students.” One taxi driver reluctantly commented “We have a right to park up this end, it’s council property and we pay our road taxes!” The ‘end’ he was referring to is the car park facing Tesco. We can only hope that the council’s proposals do eliminate the constant battle to find a car space in the mornings.

Attack leaves Burke hospitalised By Evan Broderick continued from front

Pictured: Sean Burke after the attack

On the night of the attack itself, Burke had to endure a forty minute ambulance journey to Limerick hospital as Nenagh’s accident and emergency closes at 9pm. “Everyone jokes with me that my 3-hour wait was short for an accident and emergency,” he says. Mid Western Regional Hospital in Nenagh lost its 24-hour A&E room earlier last year. The service was joined with Limerick hospitals during a round of HSE cut backs earlier this year. Burke feels that cut backs like this could potentially lead to fatalities. “If I’d received more serious injuries I could have been dead in the time it took

me to get to hospital.” Burke feels particular anger towards a justice system that he believes has let him down. Gardaí in Nenagh have identified the gang after taking a detailed statement from him but it may take up to three months for a trial to take place.

I want justice not just for myself but for other people too, what about the next time this happens. They broke my nose but they could kill someone the next time.

“I want justice not just for myself but for other people too, what about the next time this happens. They broke my nose but they could kill someone the next time.” When asked what changes he

would like to see made to the system, Burke says: “This definitely begins at home, I mean where were the parents? You can’t blame it on income either, I have tonnes of friends in lower income brackets and they’d never dream of doing something like this.” Burke is pessimistic that the people who assaulted him will face any kind of real penalty even if they are convicted of the attack. “St Pat’s is like a school for them now, you get to meet all your friends and learn a trade. There is just no deterrent for this kind of crime, they know what will happen to them and they laugh at it.” When asked whether the attack has changed him in any way, Burke says that the biggest change it’s had on him is to “make me want to do something about this, to get justice for myself and to stop this from happening to someone else.”

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December 2009


Dicker creates award-winning kids tv show By Ben Blake Editor-in-Chief

continued from front

‘What’s Your News?’ is a news show with a difference. Targeting 4-7 year-olds, a team of cartoon ant anchors cover stories relevant to the lives of children, with everything from the loss of a tooth to a new haircut being investigated. “The whole idea behind it was just to give children a voice. Every broadcaster is trying to make their news feel regional by putting people from their country on the screens,” says Dicker. “We’re trying to show children who are not long going to school that there is a big world outside those four walls. We want four-year-olds in the school yard to be like “Have you seen the news?”, because you never hear them say that.” Children’s television networks like Nickelodeon have a certain formula their shows usually follow, explains Dicker. “They just slot straight in, but we have broken the mould.” The show, which took two years to create from concept to

Innovative: The programme has been a huge success with children and (below left) creator Chris Dicker final product, has proved a big hit with viewers. As well as being aired on Nick Jnr UK, it is set to hit US and Canadian screens in the coming weeks, and Dicker doesn’t plan to stop there. “We’re also hoping to get it into Australia early in the New

Year. Then there is talk of Japan too,” he adds. “We would also love to get it onto TG4 with a Gaeilge version. We haven’t even approached them yet – but we will.” On getting into animation, Dicker jokes that he had no other alternative. “I couldn’t really do

just decided to go. There was no plan, I just kind of fell into it.” His memories of the college are all positive ones. “For me, the course was just perfect. There is so much that I learned during my time there that I still rely on – the basics. We had great teachers and I loved it

America with Dreamworks, couldn’t be happier at how his career has panned out. “It’s funny how life turns out, because a while after that I was offered a job in TT Games as a developer. In 2006, TT Animation was founded and I became Creative Director.”

For me, the course was just perfect. There is so much that I learned during my time there that I still rely on -- the basics. We had great teachers and I loved it there!

anything else in school. All I ever did was draw, so I didn’t really have much choice,” he laughs. “I heard about Ballyfermot when I was in school and

there!” The 31-year-old, who earned a work placement with Disney during his time in BCFE and later turned down a contract in

A year later, Warner Bros bought out TT Games and 60 per cent of TT Animation, and Dicker is hopeful investment from the US entertainment gi-

‘Rife with unemployment, crime and piebald ponies’ By Luke Fitzpatrick Author Jim Connelly has angered Ballyfermot residents with his controversial new book, “A Culchies Guide to Dublin.” Connelly cites “Ballyer” as “an undesirable suburb rife with unemployment, piebald ponies, high truancy levels and a crime rate requiring the constant presence of the Garda helicopter” adding to, what many believe, is an uneducated view of the borough. The area has previously been considered by some people to be under funded by the government. However in 2001, Ballyfermot was chosen by the government to be a part of the RAPID initiative. ‘Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment, Develop-

ment, integrated service provision and social inclusion interventions’ (RAPID) aims to develop chosen areas throughout the country. It was given the green light in 2007 and the area implementation team aim to improve the area in under several headings. The RAPID scheme also has a 5-year plan in place to deal with crime. Local Pat Flannery agrees: “It is very ignorant for someone to just go and publicly put down our area when we have our park, our libraries, Youth Outreach centres and countless other facilities.” Indeed, the area “California Hills Park” is used for a variety of sports as well as a play area for children, coupled with the football pitches, swimming pool and gym. It is clear that Ballyfermot is a far cry from an “undesirable suburb life.”

Undesirable: An illustration by BCFE student Carla Edwards depicting Connolly’s view of Ballyfermot

ants will see his master plan materialise. “Our goal is to make movies with Warner Bros – it’s a slow process, so we’ll see what happens.” The industry hasn’t escaped the global recession and job opportunities have been hit in recent times. However, Dicker advises budding animators to persevere. He says: “Just do whatever it takes to get yourself the work in the industry. “It’s unfortunate that Ireland is a pretty small pool, so you may have to leave the country like I did in order to further your career. But people who are really good at their job will always find work.” Check out ‘What’s Your News?’ at


The BCFE Bulletin

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December 2009

Ballyfermot left booked as library moves Relocation to the Civic Centre means more hassle and a depleted catalogue for college and community alike By Barbara Spain Ballyfermot library has always been an integral part of BCFE. In September of this year, the library relocated “until further notice” to the Civic Centre on Ballyfermot Road. The closure came about when health and safety issues were highlighted regarding roof repairs. On inspection of the roof, it came to the attention of the powers that be that there was asbestos present. A report was sent to the Dublin City Council and officials immediately closed the premises. Jonathan Delaney, a business student at the college said “It’s not very nice that the library has closed as students have to travel a far distance to get access to the books.” Vincent McManus, a librarian in the Civic Centre maintains “change is always good” but with a reduction of books on lend from 45,000 to around 3,000, is Ballyfermot’s library slowly disappearing? The closure was necessary to facilitate access works approved under the Dublin City Council Sectoral Plan, grant aided by the DOEHLG National Disability Strategy 2009, and to allow for necessary roof repairs. Roof repairs were conducted as required over the years, but the nature of the current work programme requires that customers and staff should not be on site for health and safety reasons during the refurbishment. Terry Corcoran, who has worked in the library for the past 20 years, said he was “completely surprised by the closure.” Library staff at the Civic Centre have been reduced from 16 members to 8. The other members of staff have been relocated to different libraries. Local community groups

Absent: The old library’s future looks uncertain which also use the facilities at the library include art groups, AA meetings and the local play group. All of these groups have to find an alternative premises as the new location does not have the capacity to accommodate them. The good news is that the library in the Civic Centre has recently opened a computer room with 10 computers on the second floor with printing facilities. There will also be a photocopying machine in the near future. Local schools have been offered between 200 and

400 books on lend for students. Back at the college, the resource room is available. This contains publications, journals, newspapers, college prospectus and books relevant to BCFE courses. Marie Hayes, who worked in the resource room for a number of years, has recently retired. Kevin Devine, Deputy Principal says resource room staff originally came from a FÁS scheme. Funding for this scheme has been cut however, and members of staff who retire are not being replaced. “Cutting

Photograph: Ian Goode the public library is compounding the problem,” Devine said. There is a FÁS work placement scheme in place at Ballyfermot College and the college has advertised for an applicant to fill the position of technician under that scheme. In the meantime, volunteer staff are providing a limited service. With the future of Ballyfermot’s public library unresolved and the resource room understaffed and under resourced, surely a question needs to be asked – just where do the needs of our students stand on a list of the authorities’ priorities?

Failure to grant wishes of students By Barry Montgomery Batt O’Keeffe and our Department of Education have yet again, missed their self-set deadline, the last of which was October 30th, for first installments of student maintenance grants. With over 50 per cent of BCFE students relying on grants to help them with the day-to-day struggles of being full-time students, the delay has added an extra pressure on vulnerable students. The first semester of college is the most critical period of the year, and with students often finding themselves struggling financially with living expenses,

the reality of a high drop-out figure for 2009/10 is becoming more and more of a possibility. Figures show that there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of students applying for maintenance grants this year. This latest delay in the payments will affect hundreds of them, who may possibly have to wait until January 2010 to receive their payments. When asked about the Government blaming students for delay, BCFE student Mark Bennett was angered, saying “it’s unfair to blame us for the delays. Loads of students filled out the forms properly and sent them back in time, and yet we’re still waiting.”

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has said delays have been caused by the government’s failure to reform the grants payment system as part of the Student Support Bill. The Bill, published in February 2008, proposed a new single unified grant scheme to replace the existing four schemes in a bid to speed up the process and was due to come into law for the academic year of 2009/10. When questioned about the delay, Minister O’Keeffe was quick to blame others. “It’s highly inefficient to have 66 awarding bodies for student grants,” he said. “I want to simplify the range of grants and significantly re-

duce the number of bodies administering them.” As hundreds of frustrated students place endless phone calls to their local VECs and county councils, officials have continuously said that grants will not be available until they receive the relevant funding from the Government. But with accusations and blame being thrown back and forth, startling figures released by the VEC show that 70 per cent of applications received by them nationwide arrive “incomplete” to the offices, which in turn invariably cause “huge delays with processing and payment of grants to third level students.”

Staff Editor-in-Chief: Ben Blake Deputy Editor: Eimear Duignan News Editor: Evan Broderick Features Editor: Emma Habington Assistant Features Editor: Emma Delaney Entertainment Editor: Lucy Watts Sports Editor: Brendan White Assistant Sports Editor: Darragh Farrelly Production Editor: Ian Goode Design team: Alan Murphy David King Sub Editor: Lani Wilson Marketing team: Jovita Finnegan Laura Hannigan Contributors: Ashley Farrelly John McCormack Barbara Spain Brian Fox Barry Montgomery Jodi Kilfeather Luke Fitzpatrick David King

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The BCFE Bulletin

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December 2009


What do you think of the food options provided by the canteen?

Sean Whelan PMH1

Daryl Fitzsimmons MND1

Aoife Doherty MND1

Robert Mills CGH1

Ray Quinn CGH1

“The tea tastes like porridge but I’m not arsed. The sausage rolls are alright but they can be a bit flaky.”

“The lunches here are great. My old school was twice the price so it’s a godsend. I usually get a cup of tea, a doughnut and a sandwich.”

“Depends, I get tea sometimes but it could be stronger. The Tesco chicken balls are brilliant, they should get them in!”

“I’m a big fan of Chasers, their beef burger and chips is massive and it’s very reasonable. The canteen is a rip-off.”

“Chicken wings and chips in Chasers. There is nothing decent to eat here, it’s just sweets and that.”

Nicola Hyland ADA2 “I bring my own lunch because I don’t really like the sandwiches, they’re soggy. I would like healthier options.”

Student Union looking to improve By Laura Hannigan The Student Union (SU) in BCFE is unknown to many students. In most other colleges, the SU is at the heart of everyrthing that is happening - from organising socials and fashion shows to arranging other social activities for its students. But it’s a different story here, as the vast majority of us are oblivious to the SU’s existence. “To be honest, I didn’t even know there was one, what do they do?” a puzzled student answered, when asked of their

opinion on the matter. The only apparent evidence of the SU can be found on the door of room 5 in the college’s main building, where “Student Union” is written. Despite appearing disused, it turns out the SU does, in fact, operate from this location. “The class reps last met in October, and we were asked to set up a Student Union so, people put themselves forward and were voted in,” reveals Vice President Steven Caswell. The current SU consists of President Darren Carey, his deputy Steven Caswell, Secre-

tary Suzie Kelly, Treasurer Aishling O’Grady and Entertainment Officer Damian Coyne, who all play key roles in the running of the union. Acting as our representative, the SU regularly meets with Principal Maureen Conway to address the many issues and needs relating to student life in BCFE. “Our role is to be a voice for our students and if anyone wants come to us with any of their problems we’re here,” Carey explains. “At the moment, we’re just trying to get up and running and

make sure that there’s always someone in the office to talk to.” In the coming weeks there are plans for a Christmas social, after the success of the recent Traffic Light Ball in Sin nightclub. A Facebook page has recently been created, which will keep students up to date on socials and events which are happening around the college. More information can also be found on the SU notice board, which is located in front of the porter’s office in the main building.

Why not have your say, on BCFE’s only student discussion forum?

Simply log on to Now you’re talkin’

VEC offers little mental health aid By Lucy Watts Student support in Colleges of Further Education across Dublin is falling further and further behind the health and wellbeing assistance offered in large, third-level institutions. This is despite the recent publication of a report estimating that one-third of all college students in Ireland are experiencing mental health issues. The City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee provides one psychologist who visits BCFE for a number of hours each week, and two staff guidance counsellors. Though their roles cannot be undermined, it seems the CDVEC is failing its students in crucial areas where more support should be provided. Though he admits that there is still a certain stigma existing in Irish society regarding mental health issues, Michael Cummins, Development Officer of

Under pressure: Stress is a problem for many students

Photograph: Ian Goode

Mental Health Ireland, states: “A lot has been achieved in relation to stigma through awareness programmes, distribution of leaflets, and public talks such as the one I held myself in Tallaght Library during World Mental Health Week.” According to the Director of Student Counselling in UCD, Marie Murray, “the better approach (in assisting students) is to normalise what is a transitional stage in their lives. You need to look at - what are the demands of this time and what kind of support do people need? “Universities and colleges are like a microcosm of what is going on in society as a whole.” Both Cummins - who visited BCFE at the beginning of November - and Murray state that they have seen a noticeable increase in people utilising the respective services that they help to provide, particularly since the economic situation has worsened in the past twelve to fifteen months. Cummins’ advice for anyone who is worried about them-

selves, or someone else, is still to “visit your GP.” For many students in college at the moment, visiting a GP is an expense that they cannot cover the cost of. In UCD, counselling services are free for registered students but some medical procedures may require a nominal fee, while in Trinity College, registered students pay only for medicine that they are prescribed. Though both Trinity College and UCD may have larger student numbers in single institutions, CDVEC covers 16 Colleges of Further Education and 22 educational facilities in all. They contain approximately the same number of students as Trinity College, which has, by comparison, seven staff psychologists and psychotherapists, guidance counsellors, on site nurses and a GP. Another sizeable difference is that all services remain available to students during holidays.


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December 2009

Strikes put on hold... for now By John McCormack Despite public sector workers calling off a second one-day strike last Thursday, students have been left wondering whether further disruption to the college schedule is on the cards. While the Government and public sector unions seem to be edging towards a €1.3 billion pay cuts agreement, teaching unions are facing internal revolt over proposed wage cuts and further reform.

Negotiators have been locked in talks for several days, with discussions centring on the proposition of two weeks unpaid leave and the slashing of overtime. However, last week Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced that the sabbaticals did not form the basis of an agreement. Cowen said other avenues should be considered to make cuts before

ices restricted and 5 per cent less hours worked. Up to 250,000 public sector workers took part in a one-day strike on November 24th and union members and students at BCFE were among those affected as the strike action saw the closure of all of Ireland’s public services, with the exception of emergency cover. Peter McLoone, the chairman

There is great unity among all the college staff. We believe that the Government must find alternative ways to find money other than targeting public service workers -BCFE Union Rep Helen Mahoney

Above: The sign says it all

declaring that an agreement would have to be reached before the budget. “The proposals in their present form do not provide the basis for an agreement, and until they do, we don’t have the basis for an agreement,” the Taoiseach said. “But we want to continue with those discussions.” “It was indicated to the unions that they (proposals) did not, in their present form, provide a basis for the Government to confirm that they would not consider other options to affect the necessary savings,” Cowen said. Enda Kenny has also weighed in, saying it would not be possible to slash the wage bill by allowing staff to take 12 days off, which would also see vital serv-

of the public service committee of ICTU, said the Government had forced the strike by failing to engage with unions “with willingness to negotiate a fair alternative to plans for a second huge pay cut in less than a year.” BCFE Union Representative Helen Mahoney said that employees in the college supported the previous strike action. “There is great unity among all the college staff. We believe that the Government must find alternative ways to find money other than targeting public service workers.” “We also believe that the wealthy should carry more of the burden rather than the country’s pensioners and social welfare recipients.”

Feeling blue: Graham Holbrook’s Blue Figure on display in the main building

Left disconnected By Evan Broderick

Above: An all too familiar sight for many BCFE students this year

The internet was unavailable to BCFE students and staff from the beginning of the year to the week before the mid-term break, leaving many classes without a resource they use extensively – not to mention leaving virtual farms left in disarray and funny pictures of cats not downloaded. Aside from the toll the internet outage had on student’s Farmvilles and Mafia War crime syndicates, the fact remains that many of the courses in BCFE rely on an extensive use of the internet in class and for various projects. The outage’s biggest affect was on students studying in the areas of media, multimedia, television, radio and journalism. These areas demand high amounts of research as well as

the ability to view and listen to the archived audio and video that is available on many internet sites. In previous years, students who had studied in this area complained about the overly restrictive blocking policy the college had used on various news sites and social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo, which have become essential tools when working in the media. A BCFE source has said that the outage and long period of maintenance can be blamed on the fact that the staff of IT technicians is now smaller than it has been in previous years. Without the internet, many classes were unable to complete work and some classes had to be abandoned completely. Posters around college alerted students to the fact that the network would be undergoing maintenance and would not be work-

ing for a few weeks. One of the main problems that arose with the lack of internet access in the college during the few weeks internet was that of the “digital divide”. That is to say that many students were without access to the internet at home and relied on the college to connect. Without it, many students are cut off from the huge resources that the internet can provide when doing coursework that involves outside research, not to mention all the services that can only be found online. The good news is that the internet is now back in full working order in BCFE, with previously blocked sites fully accessible. So now students can once again work to their full potential while, of course, maintaining a sprawling farm or criminal empire at the same time as having a chat with their friends.


The BCFE Bulletin

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Features They’d bring in people to talk to us. Christy (Moore) came in, it was deadly. To pick their brains was great.” A prolific writer, his development as a lyricist can be tracked from the early days of writing raps for They Don’t Teach This Shit in School, right up to the more mature, socially conscious lyrics on Shots and To Hell or Barbados.

December 2009

“Kids think they can get famous overnight. That’s often not the way of it. You’ve to put the work in – years and years . We learned guitar theory, about management contracts, how the industry works,” he adds. All this talk of uphill toiling might be daunting to those in the early stages of a career in music. Rock School is not a

You’ll get a hundred knocks and insults, and all it takes is one good thing from someone you respect. That tears down anything negative anyone ever said and just blows it out of the water.

The Rocky Road to success By Emma Habington Features Editor


hen your first taste of the pay off fame brings is a ghetto blaster given to you by a yoghurt company, you would be mad not to pursue the music further. Damien Dempsey has, over the years, established himself as one of Ireland’s foremost singer-songwriters. Now doling out the advice he once took from musical icons who would guest speak to his class, the former BCFE Rock School student has come full-circle. He has been hailed as “One of the most important and evocative Irish singers of all time”

(The Irish Examiner), but recognition has not come easy for the man from Donaghmede. Dempsey used his life experience on the harsh Dublin streets to shape his most thoughtful and affecting songs. He strived to be original. In Rock School, this was encouraged in Dempsey, and he has since used his skills to cultivate his truly unique style. The musical calling was not always clear. While he has acknowledged the role played by the traditional singsongs that took place in his living room, ‘Damo’ did not see himself as a musician early on. “Ah, I just wanted to get a job because I was pretty smashed most of the time!” he recalls. The early 90’s were hard times for him, and it was only after coaxing from “the mother” that Dempsey went on to pursue music at third level. “I was the first in the family to

do my Leaving (Certificate). The mother was begging me to go on and do the third level. She was expecting it.” Nothing appealed, until happening upon Rock School in a BCFE prospectus. He soon realised that stage presence and confidence in your work does not come part and parcel with talent – you learn as you go. “I had never played a gig. I’d never been on stage in front of anybody.” Dempsey tells how he participated in an end of year concert in the Baggot Inn – his first ever gig. “The whole year were there,” he says. “They knew the songs…they were all singing along to my stuff. I was blown away by that.” Gaining the confidence was key. The idea of mutual encouragement and support proved a vital part of the proactive BCFE music experience for Dempsey. “You’d learn from other heads.

Dempsey learned early on that writing is something that develops depending on the practise and honing you devote to it. At Rock School, they had him knocking out songs on a weekly basis. For better or for worse. “They made us write a song a week,” he remembers. “Even if I didn’t feel like it, I’d make myself write.” Building a profile was vital too, and Dempsey places great emphasis on “getting the name out.” “You have to gig anywhere to get out there on the scene. I used to do a bit of labouring, to finance myself. People will tell you to get a job – that it’s not working.” Dempsey’s development represents the complete antithesis of the modern gateways to success. While the X Factor era promises instant fame, Dempsey’s is a tale of experience and steady artistic growth. Hard graft and a keen understanding of how the industry works are the stepping stones for those aspiring to be serious artists.

one-way ride to success, and certainly is not for cosseted prima donnas looking for quick recognition. “You’ll get a hundred knocks and insults, and all it takes is one good thing from someone you respect. That tears down anything negative anyone ever said and just blows it out of the water.” His own musical heroes have since heralded Dempsey as the brightest talent we have to offer. Christy Moore took the place as his mentor, while his most vocal champion came in the form of Morrissey. In a time where remaining in college is difficult for many, and financial constraints often mean abandoning dreams of musical stardom, Dempsey has a token of advice to offer. “If it’s what you want and your mind is set, you’re in the right place,” he says wholeheartedly. “If you’re hard-headed enough and you know it’s your calling – just keep at it. “Take the knocks, roll with the punches, and remember, there’s no such thing as a bad gig.”

Accomplished:Damo with a pretty instense look on his face (left) and (below) posing on a rooftop

The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

December 2009



Crèche playing a vital role for BCFE’s parents

Vital: The colourful surroundings of BCFE’s crèche

By Ashley Farrelly


eing a parent is a very fulfilling job – watching your child learn, laugh and grow. But however much you love them, it can get quite monotonous at times. That is why a number of brave parents have taken the plunge and decided to return to education. Like most students, the main reasons for doing so are to either enhance their education or to try to get a decent job. Making the decision to return to education is never taken lightly and we all have different factors to consider, may it be funding, travel arrangements or what course to apply for. When parents take it upon themselves to return they too need to weigh up the pros and cons. Parents may feel they do not

want to miss anything in their child’s life and feel guilt, but the ones who do are to be admired. The issue of student parents has been recognised by the Government, and a study carried out by the Centre for Social and Educational Research at DIT has addressed the challenges facing student parents. The report, entitled ‘The Invisible Student’ observed “teenage parents represent a particularly vulnerable group within the education system.” In terms of being heard, parents studying at Ballyfermot are pleased with the support from the college. They also praised the crèche, which was initiated thanks to our dedicated principal, Maureen Conway. She fought for two years to get the crèche funded and initiated, and eventually succeeded in doing so. “It took me two years to get the funding for the crèche with the help of the VEC.” The crèche has been a vital element in the college’s support for student parents. The importance of on campus childcare

cannot be underestimated. The DIT report reads: “The lack of quality and affordable childcare is a key factor in determining whether or not young parents return to education after the birth of their child.”

guidance and childcare facilities are made available to them. By guaranteeing a safe and nurturing environment on campus, the worries relating to childcare are lifted. However, while the success of the crèche facilities cannot be

support group for student mothers in the country. Project worker Mary O’ Gorman states that: “If they get the right support, they are often more than willing to participate in schooling, even if they have struggled before.”

Since we first opened our doors in 2004, not one student with a child in the crèche has dropped out -Pauline Gregory, Crèche Manager

Without Conway’s determination, parents would not be able to leave their children in a safe and friendly environment. The crèche, which is funded by the VEC, first opened its doors in 2004. The success of the facility to student parents is obvious, as manager Pauline Gregory points out: “Since we first opened our doors in 2004, not one student with a child in the crèche has dropped out.” This proves parents are capable when the right support,

denied, there is a gap at BCFE with regard to support networks. While the Student Union provides support across the board, there is no specific interest group for student parents. This is identified as a key element in encouraging and enabling student parents to continue their education. One organisation that seems to have their balance right is the Waterford Student Mother’s Group, run in conjunction with Barnardos. The group is unique in that it is practically the only

In the words of one student: “Motherhood should not mean the end of your education. If anything, education becomes more important once you become a parent.” According to WSMG: “counselling, childcare and peer support” are the most important methods for supporting students in their return to education. A BCFE student mother strongly indicates that this is the case: “I don’t get too stressed, as I have lots of friends to talk to

Photographs: Ian Goode

and confide in.” However, it is likely that there are parents who do not have this type of support network in place, and in this case, an interest group would prove invaluable. While BCFE is currently without a support group, The Base youth outreach facility in Ballyfermot is taking a leaf out of the Waterford Student Mother’s Group’s book. As of January 2009, the Base has implemented a Teen Parent Support Programme. In the words of Base project leader Ciara Hoey: “The support the Base offers young parents is crucial to enhance the well being of young parents and their children and to reduce their exposure to poverty, isolation and social deprivation.” Education is vital to fulfilling this goal, and while The Base’s focus on teen parents is commendable, it is obvious that parents in third level are still in need of this type of service – be it in BCFE or outside.


The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1


December 2009

Whacky gifts sure to be hits By Jodi Kilfeather


oming up with gift ideas becomes the bane of our lives around this time every year. The pressure begins to grow earlier and earlier as the lead-up to the big day seems to stretch back an extra month per annum. For instance, this year, there were advent calendars, Christmas decorations and wrapping paper on sale in chains such as Marks and Spencer, Penneys

Never-ending bubble wrap

and Argos by September. Halloween was nearly forgotten in the midst of the fairy lights! However, with the introduction of online shopping, retailers such as these are lagging behind. The internet offers a wide range of online shopping sites and gift ideas, for example, Amazon, eBay and web catalogues. Not only do these sites have an endless variety of goods, but prices can be found at more than half the cost the stores themselves charge. In saying all this, the combination of both low prices and originality is a hard feat to achieve these days – a tie for your dad, jewellery for your mam, CD for your sister and videogame for your little brother. Granted, these timely presents are always greeted with appreciation – but they tend to become a little dated on the seventh consecutive year of giv-

ing them. But with the seemingly endless flow of technology and various other futuristic and funky gadgets, it can be hard to keep up and equally hard to decide what to choose. This is where Fred Schelbaum comes in. A self-confessed “gadget and technology freak”, Fred is the creator of, an online shopping site with a little extra. Pressieport offers a vast amount of gifts to choose from,, offering next-day and overnight delivery to anywhere in Ireland (handy for those of us living out in the middle of nowhere). However, not only is it closer to home than other options, but instead of supplying the everyday, run-of-the-mill gifts, it possesses a range of unusual and eclectic alternatives – you only have to click onto the site to see a host of colourful items thrown

up before your eyes, all reasonably priced. When it comes to choosing what you want, Pressieport enables you to pick from a list of gift categories on the page, such as ‘Funky gifts’, ‘Gadgets’, ‘Kid’s gifts’ and many more. And if some of those aren’t in your price range, there is also a ‘Gifts by Price’ option, allowing you to search for an item within your budget. Along with Pressieport, there is also the aptly named Again, like Pressieport, it is a great source of fresh and modern ideas for gifts for any time of the year. From gifts with names like ‘the wand remote control’, ‘stylophone beatboxes’, and ‘USB cup warmers’, to pocket fishing rods, and speaker pillows, you’re bound to be a hit with your friends and family this

This quirky wine bottle holder is just €27 from pressieports Christmas. Although the convenience of the internet is undoubted, try not to rule out thrifty stores such as TK Maxx or even charity shops like Oxfam. You’d be amazed to find an endless array of highstreet brands at less than half the price in these shops – from

celebrity perfumes, to jewellery, technology and clothes, such as Element, Nike, Gap, Calvin Klein, Sony, Apple, and more. Think original and low-price when shopping for your loved ones in the coming weeks, and you’ll be rockin’ around the recession tree this Christmas.

A staple diet By Brian Fox


eyond the bustling little community of college students and the throng of busy Tesco shoppers lies the many Ballyfermot eateries. For those in need of mid-afternoon sustenance, Ballyfermot houses many artery clogging delights. One of these warm, heart stoppers is the small Tesco food and salad bar. One Tesco employee had this to say when asked to comment on the delicatessan provided by Tesco: “I have been doing this standing job for about 21 years now and it has even been here before me.” When asked if the scheme had been introduced for the college students benefit she replied: “Oh no, the food’s meant for everybody - locals, school kids and even staff.” Prices range from 30c to €2.39, a good deal for a small price. Along with Tesco, a few other shops serve a wide range of belly filling treats. Even BCFE is getting in on the act, serving up cups of tea and coffee for a mere 75c and lovely, piping hot ham and cheese toasties, among others, from just €3.50. Angela Martin, that warm face seen behind the canteen counter, was happy to speak to the BCFE Bulletin. “Yes, the prices might be a bit higher here but it is almost all cooked up right in front of them.

“We also serve a wide range of foods. We do salads as well, so we can cater for different tastes and dietary needs.” For nine years now, students who come and go are greeted by Angela’s warm smile. However, the eats at our fine college canteen are not appreciated by all. Many students choose to ignore the facilities provided on campus and buy their lunch elswehere. Some students admit to never having eaten at the canteen. Rob Donoghue, a first year student studying Computer Games and Interactive Entertainment Development, admitted, “I’d normally just head to Spar and grab some stuff and bring it back to the college.” The clear winner has to be Whelan’s Butchers, who do a fairly enticing deal for the hungry student on the go. Prices start at €2.00 for a sausage and pudding roll, and €2.50 for sausage, pudding and rasher roll. Of course, if you prefer, there are spicy chicken fillet rolls and a soft drink for €3.50. While it tips the scale in terms of expense, Spar remains a very handy place to purchase the bare essentials. Snack boxes are priced at €2.49 and small sausage rolls are 4 for €1. For those seeking coffee, Spar challenges coffee giants Starbucks on their prices with an outrageous €2.19 for their so-so blend. Vegetarians would be hard pressed to go hungry, with a substantial salad bar offering a

range of nibbles. And if you carnivores fancy something cold but meaty, then one of the very smiley girls behind the counter can whip you up a gorgeous cold meat roll. Yum yum! To finish off the smorgasbord of eateries, here’s a question that really needs answering, in my opinion. There is no shortage of fast food nation wannabes here in the Ballyfermot area. But why, oh why, is that all there seems to be? Happy heart surgery.

Above: Ballyfermot Road with Whelan’s Butchers (left) ChickenHut (right) Below: A meal fit for a king Photographs: Ian Goode

The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

December 2009



e college’s hidden treasure By Barbara Spain


ll artists long to be recognised and to leave something to posterity. They want to be loved and at the same time they want to be free. But nobody is free,” said Francis Bacon. BCFE has a hidden treasure in the form of art. The Arts Block is only a stone’s throw away from the main building on the Kylemore Road. However, many students do not even know it exists. Here, art students learn everything from drawing, design, printmaking and textile design. Other courses include graphic design and illustration. The athmopshere in the Arts Block is relaxed and friendly. The corridors in the college are lined with beautiful pictures that you could easily spend the day admiring. Students here are passionate about their work. They share a common bond through their creativity and exceptional skills. The Arts Block often seems distant and unconnected to the main building, and students hear little about the work the art students are doing, as there is little communication between the two campuses. The Arts Block has been, and still is, the training ground for many talented students. Eleanor McCaughey, a 2001 graduate of the Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design at

BCFE, has been nominated for a BP 2009 Portrait Award. From over 1900 artists, only 56, including Eleanor, were selected for the final stage of the competition. She trained at BCFE, as well as at the Irish Academy of Figurative Art. Her work has been seen in group exhibitions in Ireland and the USA and was selected for the Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition 2008. Her pieces were also recently shown at the National Portrait Gallery. Currently, Eleanor is living in Dublin, painting and working as an artist for Boulder Media. Laura Elston (21) is from Palmerstown and is partaking in the Art, Design and Three Dimensional course. “I’m doing something creative,” she says, “Using your mind, you’re doing something different everyday.” She studied science for two years, but said she “couldn’t picture herself in a laboratory.” After college, she would like to pursue a career in interior design, sculpting and teaching art. If a person is pursuing art professionally in Ireland there is an exemption from income tax on their earnings. However, in a recent report from the Commission of Taxation, special treatment of Irish artists could come to an end as the recession forces the country to overhaul its tax concessions. This tax exemption was introduced in 1969 to help struggling artists, but it has also been criticised because some high earning artists were paying no tax. Laura says she would love to

not to pay taxes as the tax exemption is important for up and coming artists. Marie Carroll, a mature student from Castleknock, is attending Art, Design and Mixed Media at BCFE. This course includes drawing, painting, print making, sculpture, photography and life drawing. “It’s the right time in my life at the moment. I’m in transition. Being a mature student, it’s the right time to find myself.” Marie has found a course she is really enjoying. Karina Stack (18) comes from Leixlip, and has been passionate about drawing and painting from a very young age. “Since I was young, I was always drawing. I just love art. When I got to secondary school I knew I was going to go down that road.” Karina won first prize for poster competitions at Confey College, Leixlip. She is attending the Art, Design and Mixed Media Portfolio course in the college. She would like to continue to do visual communication and graphic design. The Arts Block is not just an environment for fine art. The courses provide students with the tools they need to pursue a profession in a creative field. The campus is well worth a visit, and not just for the hot tea and warm welcome you will receive, but to see the great work and the talented students that it is producing. The open day will be in the new year. Creative: Two pieces by BCFE students and (far left) the Arts Block


The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1


December 2009

Choo’s for all at H&M By Laura Hannigan


ust as we were getting over the excitement of Matthew Williamson at H&M, they have again brought the fashion world to a stand still. Finally, the iconic Jimmy Choo is here, having arrived in stores on November 14! Fashionistas from all over the country fought Mother Nature, many spending up to 14 hours queueing in the freezing cold, to capitalise on this once in a lifetime chance and get their hands on part of the exclusive line. President of Jimmy Choo Tamara Mellon commented: “We are privileged to be among the fashion greats who have been affiliated with H&M. Jimmy Choo will bring to H&M a sophisticated, fashion forward, accessible and glamorous collection. They are the perfect party pieces to buy now and then wear out that night!” Mellon certainly delivered as promised. One male (!) shopper con-

fesses: “I was on my way home from a night out, and I saw people waiting outside H&M. I went up and asked what they were doing and they told me that Jimmy Choo was going on sale in the morning. I joined the queue and was lucky enough to know my girlfriend’s size, so I got her a pair for Christmas.” This is not the first time H&M has collaborated with high-end fashion designers. Previously, they formed collections with Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld, to name but a few. All of these collections sold out within hours of launching. Colourful designer Matthew Williamson confessed that he worried that after collaborating with H&M, his brand would be tarnished. However, he was proven wrong and went on to say that he would not have changed the experience for the world. H&M’s Margareta van den Bosch, the ‘brains’ behind the designer collaborations, had this to say: “We adore Jimmy Choo. They are glamorous and sexy, and they add instant style to the simplest of outfits…This collaboration is particularly excit-

ing because it’s our first shoe designer collection.” H&M started this new trend of marrying high-end designers and the high street to create affordable, fashionable pieces in the midst of recessionary times. Like H&M, many other high street stores have been creating excitement with lines designed by celebrities, some of who are already firmly part of the fashion industry, and some who are new to the game. Top fashion model Kate Moss launched her self-titled line in TopShop, Oxford Street in May 2007, where a ‘countdown to launch’ board dominated the store window. Moss lent her keen eye to a high street collection, and her pieces have been sported by reams of high profile celebrities, giving her line the seal of approval it deserves. It is hard to miss the life size pictures of singers Alesha Dixon, Pixie Lott and Kelly Rowland sporting their own designs for River Island. The celebrities have created an exclusive range of t-shirts for the boys and fabulous party dresses for the girls, just in time for the Christmas season.

Above: Photograph by Magnus Magnusson Below: Photograph by The goal is to raise money for The Prince’s Trust charity. Each item of clothing was designed by the celebrity to reflect their personal style. “My t-shirt dress is everything it should be - cheeky, fun and cool. I’m hoping it will raise a lot of money for The Prince’s Trust,” revealed Pixie Lott. H&M really have gotten it spot on, helping to make fashionista’s dreams come true. The company have made designer labels accessible, and continue to identify themselves as affordable but fashionable. They have given us the chance to be a little bit Cheryl Cole or Victoria Beckham, for a fraction of the price. Let’s hope this new found designer accessibility continues. But more importantly, let’s hope Christian Louboutin will take a leaf out of the Jimmy Choo book, and follow suit - or shoe!

BCFE’s favourite porter takes time out to answer your queries on everything from deceased gangster rappers to facial hair Have you a favourite song of all time? Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way. I actually went to see them three weeks ago! You can take Boyzone, Take That and the rest and throw them in the bin, because they haven’t a patch! What’s your poison? I’m not a big drinker but I’d have a couple of lager shandys on special occasions. Where’s your ideal holiday destination? I usually go over to England and Wales every year to see a few air shows. Once I see the Red Arrows, that keeps me happy. It’s like making love to a woman!


The Beatles or The Stones? I saw both of them play back in the ‘60s as well as The Beach Boys. All three were very good, but if I had to choose it would

be The Beatles. Biggie or Tupac? My answer to that is – rap is crap! It’s not music, it’s rubbish! (Proceeds to imitate a rapper to make his point) Who’s going to win the X Factor? I don’t watch reality shows of any description. Big Brother, Little Brother…none of it. To me, it’s cheap television. Don’t you hate it when you’re having a nice cuppa’ tea and just as you go to dip a biscuit, the thing falls in? I do indeed! It has happened to me a couple of times. How do you combat such a problem? I’ll just pour the tea out and make a new cup! Marilyn Monroe or Audrey

Hepburn? I did like them both as actresses. Marilyn Monroe got bad press and was unfortunate but Audrey Hepburn had more eloquence and would be my favourite of the two. What’s the last thing you dressed up as for Halloween? I’d be going back to my youth, probably a cowboy I’d say. Some would say you’re still a cowboy, but that’s neither here nor there! Have you ever done anything worthy of a Blue Peter badge? Yeah, (pauses) helping the students of Ballyfermot College everyday! Was Movember your favourite time of the year? Not really, but if anyone asked me to shave off my moustache I’d say no because it’s a collector’s item at this stage!

What do you think of Tiger Woods failing to drive 300 yards and ending up in the rough? I think there’s more to that story than he’s letting on. Either his wife has chased him out of the house and smashed the car or something, because he’s refusing to comment on it. But I’m sure we’ll hear all about it in the Sunday papers! Finally…can you direct me to Room 34? Room 34? There is no such room, it only goes to 33 in this building! I know my rooms well, why do you think the students come to me? Have your question answered by Jerome and be in with a chance of winning a custom made Boats and Hoes t-shirt! To enter, send your question along with your name and class to:

The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

December 2009

s ’ f r u S ! p u

Creating a wave: Couch Surfing has become a new craze for the thrifty traveller

By John McCormack


n the summer of 2000, Casey Fenton needed a holiday. He also needed money. He searched the airline websites and managed to snag a cheap flight from his home town of Boston to Iceland. At the time, Iceland was one of the most expensive destinations in the world and a hotel was not an



By Eimear Duignan Deputy Editor One sure way to get over the January blues is a sneaky weekend break that is not too damaging on the post Christmas pocket. Here is a list of five UK and European destinations, all coming in at under €180 for flights and accommodation for January 15th – 17th. All flights are with Ryanair and relevant accommodation details are given. So jump on board that happy, yellow, plastic plane and escape January’s doom and gloom!


Features million friendships formed. It also reports a 99.6 per cent success rate in positive experiences by their members. Jim, from Dublin, has been a member for over a year and is an enthusiastic participant in the organisation. He stresses that while the financial savings one can make by using the service are good, the main advantage of Couch Surfing are the people you meet. “I have hosted many people in my home but if I get one whiff that all they are interested in is a free bed then I’ll just ignore their request, because it’s not about that,” he tells. “It’s pretty easy to tell who is serious about it by looking at their profile on the website.” When you sign up to the database you are encouraged to supply, as much information about yourself as possible. The questions include simple things like naming what kind of people you get on with and your favourite music and books. It also asks you for your life’s mission, which can be hard to answer without sounding like a hippy, but examples include “to enjoy life and meet cool people” or “to find the door into summer.” This may take time but the more open you are, the more chance you have that someone will accept your request to stay in their home. A profile with no photo and little information is unlikely to be given much thought. Jim says the project has done all it can to make the service as safe as possible, but ultimately it’s up to each individual to exercise discretion. “My daughters have surfed and I’d always advise them to have a hostel booked that they don’t mind losing their deposit on, at

least for the first night. That way if they get a bad vibe they can simply leave.” Another advantage is the ability to tap into local knowledge. Guide books are a help but things can change, such as a new restaurant opening or a small bar with great live music that is off the beaten track. The system allows you, through the website, to establish a relationship with someone who has similar interests to you. It can save you a lot of footwork to have this resource right in the place you are staying. The social networking side of the project has sprung up almost by accident but now the project holds gatherings of its members in many major cities. “We hold parties in Dublin so the Couch Surfing community, both hosts and visiting surfers, can come together,” Jim says. “It’s also a good way of verifying members as the whole system depends on members commenting and vouching for each other.” The standard of accommodation can vary from a couch or futon in a living room or a bed in a palatial residence, such as Jim experienced in Sierra Nevada, California. If the idea of letting people stay over in your house is a step too far you can sign up to meet, have a coffee and show off your city or town to visiting tourists. In these recessionary times, it’s time to follow Casey’s examples and get creative. But remember, it’s not just a free bed. It’s a platform to meet new people, form lasting friendships – and have some fun along the way. If you are interested in participating, you can visit their website at

option. Casey needed to get creative. He decided to email 1,500 University of Iceland students to ask if they would put him up for the duration of his stay. Fifty of them agreed and an idea was born. The premise was this. People would sign up to a database and agree to host guests in their homes and they in turn would be able to avail of hospitality from other hosts when they went travelling. It was basically a hospitality exchange network

and came to be known as Couch Surfing. Hospitality networks are not a new idea as organisations like Servas have been helping travellers find accommodation and friendship for 60 years. The Couch Surfing project embraced the internet and, after a quiet start, has seen its membership rocket to over a million members. Their website claims that in the last five years, 1.25 million successful Couch Surfing stays have been recorded, with 1.5




Flights: €24.99 per person.

Flights: €99.58 per person.

Flights: €62.19 per person.

Flights: €46.98 per person.

Flights: €34.98 per person

Accommodation: €56.04



€64 per twin en-suite room at Pfefferbett Hostel 00 49 30 93 93 58 58 or through

Accommodation: €80 per ensuite twin room at Centric Point Hostel 00 34 93 231 20 45 or through


per double room at Apollo Hotel 00 44 20 7727 3066 or through

€42 per double room at La Fontaine 00 48 12 422 65 64 or through

Total weekend cost:

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It also asks you for your life’s mission, which can be hard to answer without sounding like a hippy

Total weekend cost:

Barcelona Edinburgh

Total weekend cost:

€143 per double room (second night free) at The Agenda Hotel 00 44 131 316 466 or through

Total weekend cost:






The old reliable in weekend getaway is, of course, London. You can’t go wrong with this city. It’s just a stone’s throw away and offers plenty to do. Whether you are into shopping on Oxford Street, strolling through the Camden Market, partying in Soho, or taking in the tourist sights of Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and The London Dungeons, London is a city not to be missed, especially when it’s as cheap as chips to get there.

Krakow stands out as Poland’s ultimate attraction. By day, there is plenty to see and do, with a massive collection of artworks, historical buildings and monuments scattered throughout the city. By night, the city has a diverse and pulsing night scene, with a plethora of bars, clubs and restaurants thriving from the city’s pokey cellars and winding streets.Do not miss this oppourtunity to see Poland’s most happening city. You won’t be disappointed.

Berlin is, in every way, big and strong; from its buildings to its beer, and from its people to its parks. There is something here for everyone. You can view the many historical sites, do the rounds of the endless pubs, restaurants and clubs, or explore the masses of parks within the city’s parameter. With the recent 20-year anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the city is buzzing with that ‘steeped in history’ feeling; defenitely something worth experiencing.

Barcelona is, without a doubt, one of Europe’s funkiest cities and is a hotbed of culture and cool. The city boasts beautiful architecture, among which is Antoni Gaudi’s unique Sagrada Familia, making it an amazing city to wander around for a weekend. As well as being the epitome of art and style, Barcelona is an insane party place with a thriving club scene and is over run with arty, quirky and eccentric characters A definite must visit.

Built around a historical castle and set against a backdrop of rolling hills, Edinburgh certainly is pretty to look at. However, there is more to this city than just picturesque charm. Edinburgh has also been home to the likes of Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Sean Connery, and The Bay City Rollers. The city has a massive array of busy pubs, lining its characteristic cobbled streets, which are often frequented by party loving artistes in the form of writers and comedians… the perfect recipe for a weekend session!


The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

Entertainment An

Enchanted World By Lucy Watts Entertainment Editor


he overwhelming memory I have of the old wax museum when it was still up in Parnell Square is: dust. Since it has been re-housed and re-launched, it has acquired a whole new generation of fans.

It is rightly described a ‘kitsch’; frankly, any wax museum that takes itself seriously is bound to fail. After being greeted by Mary McAleese at the entrance of the building, you begin the tour at your own pace. Each room contains a green button, which you press to hear the audio guide to the characters and the context of the scene. The first room you enter is the ‘Writers’ Room’; some of the giants of Irish literature are in this space - Brendan Behan, Samuel Beckett and

Oscar Wilde, among others and because of the peculiar likeness to real people that most of them obviously possess, at times it can become downright unsettling. ‘The Time Vaults’ are located down in the basement. The history of Ireland is covered extensively and entertainingly, with real continuity between situations covered and the characters featured. ‘The Chamber of Horrors’ is also understandably situated in the basement. It is terrifying, particularly the leering recreation of Hannibal Lector. There is also a corridor in the basement that is one of the strangest sections of the wax museum; it contains models of an angry Black and Tan, Eamon DeValera, Edmund Hillary, Charles de Gaulle and Anwar Sadat. In fact, this slightly peculiar grouping style features through-

December 2009

Above: Entrance to musem Bottom left: U2 waxwork out the rest of the museum. In the ‘Enchanted World’ - which you reach alongside Jack climbing the Beanstalk - Batman is standing beside Bob the Builder, who is beside Harry Potter, Spongebob Squarepants, Leonardo and Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Santa Claus, in that order. There is a fascinating ‘Science Plus’ section, which is full of interactive gadgets and plenty of information about the often overlooked Irish link to many of the greatest scientific discoveries of the past. This area leads on to the ‘Hall of Fame’, at which point you encounter two Popes: John Paul

II and Benedict. Then comes the ‘Hall of Irish Legends’ (nobody could tell me why Gerry Ryan was in there, or why someone went to the effort of making a waxwork of him in the first place). That led onto ‘Irish Sporting Legends’, and then the ‘Grand Finale’ – as the sign on the door said – which contained U2, Phil Lynott, Boy George (I think) and Joe Dolan, resplendent in his white suit. In the same room there was also a model of Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze in Batman and Robin – does anybody remember that film? Some of the waxworks are

truly terrifying, very eerie and sinister. Sometimes the assemblage of figures was linked by only the finest of threads, but if anything, this quirkiness added to the charm of the place. If, like me, you are scared of mannequins, never mind statues that are created with the sole purpose of being as lifelike as possible, maybe this advice I was given by a little girl who was on her second circuit of the Irish history rooms ahead of me will be worthwhile to you too; “He’s the freakiest” - she was pointing at a figure of a strangely smooth-skinned Bertie Ahern. “None of the rest of them are as scary as him!”

Bombhouse art is light after dark By Lucy Watts


ocated at the end of a street flanked by redbrick, terraced houses, the Bombhouse gallery and studios are certainly not easy to find - even more so when the current exhibition is reliant on darkness in order for it to operate to its full effect. The gallery is only open between 6pm and 9pm, and to enter you must first duck under some barely lifted shutters and make your way through an unlit atrium.

The idea is that the public can enter the gallery while the sky is only beginning to darken, and witness a complete transformation in the mood of each individual art-piece, and the surroundings as a whole Bombhouse is an open-plan, disused warehouse, which has

been transformed into a gallery, and it also provides studio space for some seven artists in residence. The idea for Nightlight sprang from an interest several of them shared in the ability of light to transform a space physically and atmospherically - so dramatically. The idea is that the public can enter the gallery while the sky is only beginning to darken, and witness a complete transformation in the mood of each individual artpiece, and the surroundings as a whole. The only light comes from the installations themselves; there are thirteen physical art pieces, and four video projections. The type of installations vary greatly from ‘Tinted Spectacle’, which was made entirely out of materials found by the artist (including a broken umbrella, wooden crates, leaves from trees and all manner of plastic containers, stacked on top of each other and lit from the centre) to ‘Another World Coming Into Our Own’, which was a beautifully constructed, silhouetted miniature town made entirely from paper. It was hidden inside the parti-

tion between the gallery and studio space, and was only visible through a small lens at eyelevel in the divide. It was very interesting to see the broad variation in how artists interpreted such an expansive theme; however, a couple of the pieces did leave me a bit baffled. One such example is ‘I Was Here Now’, and is about “the fleeting nature of time.” It consisted of one thousand clocks in a metal dustbin, and was apparently what was left from a piece of performance art with the same title, but it just left me a bit confused as to how it made any statement, or how it was relevant to the subject of the exhibition. Without wanting to sound overly critical, I hope that a fault in the electrical wiring is to blame for ‘Flock’ not quite functioning particularly effectively; I have a feeling that there was more to it than two lengths of 2 x 4, a cardboard box and some fluorescent wiring. Nightlight makes a very worthy premise come to life in an extremely lo-fi, appealing way and is worth a visit.

The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

December 2009



iven the current trend for all things 80’s and minimal that has proliferated most music; it is safe to say that ‘epic’ wouldn’t be a recurring theme within many recently formed Irish bands. However with a name like Romanovs Goodbye, this was the first notion that popped into my head, and I am informed by the band, it was this very “sense of history” that made them decide on the name following their founding in 2008. Three members of the fivepiece band met while studying in BCFE (two were doing music management, the other, sound engineering). Their success to date has been hard-earned and well-deserved – they create “al-

ternative, experimental rock”, though it is difficult to categorise their style. Dave McCabe – guitarist, bassist and sometimes percussionist, said, “We don’t like putting a genre of music on it, because if you stick to one genre it really restricts you and pigeon-holes you. It restricts you from being free.” In fact, this multi-instrumentalist ethos is apparent with each band member and within each of their songs in live performances. “Throughout our set the songs really differ depending on who’s playing what instrument. We don’t do it to be pretentious; it just depends on what we’re feeling at the time when we’re writing the songs.” Dave elaborates: “The band was a set line-up, then Mick (Wallace: bassist, synthesizer and “technological genius”) joined the band, and that’s when the synth came in as well. We

had two very strong vocals in the band in Derek (Fitzpatrick: guitarist, vocalist and “dancer”) and Rob (Bannon: percussionist, vocalist and synthesizer) and were like, ‘We have to utilise that. “Not in a conscious way of ‘let’s set ourselves apart’, but in a way like, ‘we have these assets here – let’s work on that,” he says. “ Most of it came from just messing around in the studio, or from Simon (Masterson: guitarist and drums) coming up with a riff and telling someone else to hop on drums.” The band considers the addition of Mick as “the turning point” for them musically. Mick explains: “We use Ableton now, which I think is just the greatest tool any musician could ever get. There are so many different synth sounds and atmospheric noises available to you, to lift a song and to transform it into something more epic.” This new, more developed sound has also brought them recognition outside of Dublin – such as in Tipperary “where Dave has a legion of fourteen year-old girls who stalk him on Bebo. In four years he’ll have

about seven wives” – and London. Dave details: “We went to London in the summer and played at a festival in Camden, the Spice of Life in Soho and a few gigs in Shoreditch in a week. It was an amazing week; we got a great reception over there, people seemed to be really into what we were doing so we’re looking to go back.” Currently the band are focusing heavily on recording and releasing their debut EP, entitled ‘Shadows’, which they hope to launch in February, 2010. And they remain open-minded when it comes to the future of the band: “We decided really early on that we don’t want to do this forever, so let’s grab it by the scruff of the neck and really go for it. That’s not to say that if people like what we do, we won’t continue with it!” But the experience of being in a band with your mates and having the opportunity to record music is best summed up by Mick: “You do it for the sheer fun and experience of it; so I’ll have a story to tell my grandchildren, when I’m stuck on a flooded farm in Galway.”

Music Review

Music Review

Music Review

Gig Review

Gig Review

Game Review

em Crooked Vultures

Rihanna Rated R

Chromeo DJ Kicks

Simian Mobile Disco

Arctic Monkeys

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

History in the making:

Romanov’s Goodbye By Lucy Watts



he term ‘super-group’ has gotten bandied about rather carelessly over the past few years; simply being in a band and creating a side project with a friend, who is, ideally, another musician, does not a 'super-group' make. Them Crooked Vultures is the first band in a long time to be worthy of the title. It is made up of Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones, all three of whom have long ago earned their rockstar credentials and proven themselves as leading musicians of their generations. Perhaps this is why it is disappointing that their debut album sounds so much like a Queens of the Stone Age release. Though the songs are excellently constructed and wonderful in their own right – just take a listen to ‘No One Loves Me & Neither Do I’ and ‘Dead End Friends’ as the most radiofriendly examples - it seems fair to say that a more distinctive sound for the band collectively, wouldn’t have gone amiss.


t first look, it appears that Rihanna has come out fighting in her first musical offering since her exboyfriend Chris Brown attacked her last February. However, her new album sends out mixed signals. For much of it, Rihanna plays the dominant female, seemingly gaining revenge on an unnamed male who has mistreated her at some stage. There are a plethora of violent images thrown in for good measure; guns, flames, policemen, cold cases, car crashes - however, it remains somewhat unconvincing. It is as though she foresaw the press scrum that interpreting the album would cause, so decided to make the subject matter clearer to avoid speculation. Musically, the best songs on the album are ‘Rude Boy’ and ‘G4L’, with their glitchy, dubstep influenced beats and Caribbean undertones. However, the garish guitars most evident in ‘Rockstar 101’ and ‘Russian Roulette’ feature heavily throughout the album, giving it an air of complete lack of imagination.


K7’s series of DJ Kicks albums have established themselves as some of the ultimate showcases for artists influences and mixing abilities, with excellent prior mixes having been delivered by the likes of Tiga and Hot Chip. This time it is the turn of Montreal duo Chromeo and their selection does not disappoint. Though disco and synth-driven 1980’s style music is currently undergoing something of a resurgence, this album features some early 80’s disco and italo from the likes of Kano (the band considered to have pioneered the original italo-disco sound) and Donna Allen. It even veers towards wonderful 80’s cheese with Leo Sayer, but still remains contemporary with contributions from the likes of Lifelike and Chateau Marmont. For anyone with even the most remote of interests in Chromeo, disco or italo, this is one collection not to be missed.


hough it wouldn’t have looked out of place in a UK Garage video, the exposed brickwork and concrete floors of Union Car Park contained something rather more ear-bleedingly good. As part of the celebrations for Ten Years of Wang – the legendary London party nights – Simian Mobile Disco was one of the headline acts. For a duo who received all-round average reviews for their recent release, ‘Temporary Pleasure’, SMD delivered a DJ set that was harder and rawer than anyone could have anticipated. Featuring remixes and re-edits of songs from both of their albums, their decision to minimise the vocals, and deliver a beats-heavy, dancefloor pleasing performance was well-measured on their part. They impressed the heaving crowd to such an extent, that there were audible groans of disappointment when Andrew Weatherall (the legend that is) followed them on stage. This takes nothing away from Andy, who was splendid, but highlights an unbelievably pleasant surprise, delivered by SMD.

Photograph: Ruthless Imagery


he Sheffield quartet returned to the capital for the first time since June 2007’s Malahide Castle gigs. This time around, an almost capacity crowd buzzed with anticipation before the Monkeys took to the stage. However when the opening number, Dance Little Liar, did arrive it was met with polite acknowledgement – followed by a hum of indifference. While there is no doubting that latest album, Humbug, contains a number of accomplished tracks, its darker sound has not been received as warmly as its two predecessors were. After a pretty uninspiring start, the crowd roared to life as old favourites Brianstorm, and I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, were bashed out. Now in the ascendency, The View From The Afternoon and When The Sun Goes Down had the place hopping either side of the band’s latest single, the heartfelt ballad, Cornerstone. Having grown out of a true classic in A Certain Romance, 505 played the night out in what was a reasonable end to an ordinary performance.


odern Warfare Two is one of the most highly anticipated videogame releases that the world has ever seen. The game is the sequel to 2007’s hit Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and is a real return to form after last years so-so Call of Duty World at War. The game’s single player mode offers a tightly controlled roller coaster ride through an off the wall story. It is these excesses in the story that rob one of the games controversial airport sequences of all its relevance and impact. These issues, aside the single player, is an amazing five hour race through some of the best action sequences ever seen. Once you have finished with the single player game you can jump online with up to 18 other people. The multi player will be familiar to anyone who has played a game in this series. Very little has been changed but then it is almost perfect so big changes weren't needed. In short, Modern Warfare 2 is the best video game released in 2009 and probably the best since the release of the first Modern Warfare.


The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

Special Feature

December 2009

A decade in photos 2000-2010 2000

Reality TV bursts onto the scene with the birth of Big Brother.


Fronted by President George Bush, America invades Afghanistan.



The world is rocked by terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Euro becomes legal tender in the EU and is used by 16 member states.


On Stephen’s Day, a 100ft high tsunami causes utter devastation throughout much of South East Asia, killing nearly 230,000 people.

2006 2007 2008

Italy win a World Cup that most will remember for Zidane’s headbutt.

Madeleine McCann vanishes from a Portugese holiday resort.

The world’s largest economic downturn since the 1920s begins.


The Christian world mourns as Pope John Paul II passes away peacefully in the Vatican on 2nd April.


Barack Hussein Obama becomes the first African American to take up office in the White House. His first move is to order the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1


December 2009


Halls of BCFE to fame in RTE By Brendan White Sports Editor

Having grown up in Blackrock, Co Dublin, Ryle Nugent worked his way up from being a passionate rugby fan to becoming RTE’s top commentator on the sport. Ryle speaks to The BCFE Bulletin Sports Editor Brendan White about his rise through the ranks. It all began in the dingy studio of a pirate radio station. Before earning a move to 98FM and getting his big break in RTE, Ryle Nugent began his broadcasting career in the humble surroundings of Sunshine Radio. After attending Blackrock College, Nugent applied to BCFE and graduated, having completed Broadcasting and Journalism, in 1990. Before even entering the course, he was pretty sure he wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting, but it was his experiences at Ballyfermot that helped him decide. “The course at the time was very practical, and still is. In terms of doing reports and making programmes, it gave me a real taste for it,” Nugent said. “I had been working part time in Sunshine Radio,” he said, “then started in 98FM. It was something I knew I wanted to do but I wasn’t exactly sure what field I would settle in.” Nugent feels the course allowed him to develop his strengths freely and gave him the platform to further his career. “From running a radio station in the local community to producing college

In action: Nugent doing what he does best from the commentator’s box

Photograph courtesy of RTE

through in his career. “They didn’t have a DJ between midnight and 6am at weekends, and I was playing the music there, just to be involved.” Nugent’s real love was sport and when the opportunity arose to become a rugby analyst at the station, he didn’t need to be asked twice. “They began expanding their sports coverage and started doing stuff during the week. I got a chance because I was there and they knew it was a passion of mine. “Getting into 98FM at the start was an absolute break and gave me the launch

pad to move on and improve.” However, Nugent was still yet to find his niche. A career in rugby commentating looked a tough nut to crack with the likes of Fred Cogley, Jim Sherwin and George Hamilton already involved with rugby in RTE. “I worked there (98FM) for the guts of two years and I was doing more and more rugby. I was covering club cup matches and internationals at the Five Nations. I loved the game and got the chance to be involved in it – because I was absolutely useless at playing it,”

newspapers, and making limited television programmes, it gave me a real chance to see practically what I might be good at and what I might enjoy. “I enjoyed all three elements: written, television and radio. But radio was where it started and what I really loved,” says Nugent. “There weren’t many qualifications like it around so it gave us a really good start and no doubt it helped me hugely in deciding what I wanted to do.” Nugent labels his time in 98FM as “without a doubt” an important break-

Nugent joked. “At the time, there was really only one outlet and that was RTE with Fred Cogley, although there were secondary chances for Jim Sherwin and George Hamilton when double matches were being played.” He got a break in RTE doing a kids sports show called The Grip in 1995. “When I got in there, I managed to find my way into the sports department and things fell into place from there.” “I was lucky enough to cover the Rugby World Cup in 1999 because there were so many matches and the boss asked me would I try,” said Nugent. “I did a match one afternoon and it just took off from there. I did enough to get a second and a third chance. “Fred was at retirement age and Jim Sherwin did all the Ireland games but there were more and more games being aired so there was a need for two commentators. Then when Jim retired, all of a sudden I found myself in a position where I was doing Ireland games and I considered myself unbelievably privileged to be doing so.” Nugent has commentated on numerous standout matches, including Ireland vs England in the first match in Croke Park, which he describes as “an incredibly special atmosphere, a terrific day and a great result.” When asked about club rugby, Nugent believes that Leinster have a real chance of retaining the Heineken Cup, saying “It’s a massive ask, but of course they can. “Whether they actually will do it, I’m not sure,” he concludes.

Season ends in disastrous fashion By Brendan White

Off the field issues have overshadowed the League of Ireland in recent years, and with financial embarrassment, unpaid wages and league expulsion, 2009 has failed to buck the trend. An entertaining Premier Division race went down to the wire this season as Bohemians battled it out with Shamrock Rovers to reclaim their title.

Expulsion for Derry Events at Derry City were the real talking point of the season after the club was expelled from the league when an FAI investigation uncovered irregular payment patterns. The first signs of smoke were witnessed following their failure to pay players as the Candystripes’ financial situation deteriorated to the point where many were owed eight weeks wages. Derry were guilty of holding second unofficial contracts with a host of players, which allowed them to pay different figures to the ones they reported in their accounts. The illegalities came to light after goalkeeper Darren Quigley contacted the LOI General Manager

Fran Gavin to complain about how much he was owed by Derry. Following a four and a half hour meeting, the FAI terminated Derry’s license with the league. Immediately after the meeting, Derry City Chairman Pat McDaid told The BCFE Bulletin’s Sports Editor Brendan White that the treatment of the club was “absolutely shameful and disgusting”, describing their meeting with the FAI as a “complete setup.” McDaid also maintained that “there was absolutely no admissions made” by the club during the meetings. Pat McDaid also questioned why the FAI had “done nothing about it” despite having “that contract in their possession for almost three months now.” Pat McDaid resigned shortly afterwards along with the entire board. A new board, made up of local businessmen, look to take over a Derry City destined for a place in the First Division next season. Derry’s expulsion handed Bray Wanderers a potential reprieve from relegation. Bray were given a play-off with Sporting Fingal instead, who saw off Shelbourne in the promotion play-off. Fingal advanced 4-2, relegating The Seagulls for the second time in a matter

of weeks. The LOI’s second tier was won by UCD, who return to the Premier Division after just one season away. Martin Russell’s young side showed their ability and played by far the best football throughout the season.

Trouble on Leeside Cork City would be forgiven for believing they had weathered the storm of the previous season, with new owner Tom Coughlan preventing the club from going bust. He was brought in to bring stability to the Leesiders, but this year has seen them regularly spread across the back pages more often for bad reasons than good. The non-payment and late payment of players almost led to a mass strike. During the height of the chaos, the team was unable to travel to a game in Dublin when the bus company refused to drive them until their outstanding debts were settled. This prompted club captain Dan Murray to plead for funds live on a local radio station to raise the money needed. Weeks later, players refused to travel to a match until they had received wages, having previously agreed to defer. The season’s end brought more con-

troversy as fans refused to support the club and held demonstrations outside their Turner’s Cross ground in protest for the way Coughlan was running the club. With Coughlan hoping to jump ship, Forás, Cork City’s supporters group, look most likely to take control next season.

Bohs march on With six games remaining, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers met in Tallaght Stadium with Rovers winning 1-0 to leave them in the driving seat for the title. However eight dropped points in the remaining games for Rovers allowed Bohs to regain their title with 16 points from their final six games. Bohs finished the season as double winners after their EA Sports Cup win over Waterford United. The Gypsies faced Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League second qualifying round and were only minutes away from progressing but for a late away goal in Dalymount Park. They had battled back from 1-0 down in Austria, with Brian Murphy superbly saving a penalty before Joseph Ndo grabbed a deserved equaliser and valuable away goal.

European Adventures Sligo Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic both competed in European action this season. Rovers had a disappointing time, losing to Albanian outfit Vllaznia in the first qualifying round of the Europa League, while The Saints had an heroic European campaign, narrowly losing out to Steaua Bucharest after a courageous showing. They had battled their way through the second and third qualifying rounds before being eliminated.

FAI Cup Final The FAI Cup Final was staged at the new Tallaght Stadium for the first time this year. Sporting Fingal, who defeated Bray 41 in their semi final, faced Sligo Rovers, who had progressed with a 1-0 against Waterford United. A swirling wind engulfed Tallaght, with nearly 8,000 in attendance. Sligo looked to have won it with an Eoin Doyle goal before Colm James scored from the penalty spot after Sligo keeper Ciaran Kelly took down Eamon Zayed. Gary O’Neill grabbed a late winner to hand the trophy to Liam Buckley’s men to go with promotion in just their second year in existence.


The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1


December 2009

Never mind the Springboks Kidney ends first year in charge with win over world champions

The thing about the Autumn International Series is that they come with their own bag of readymade excuses. The visiting Southern Hemisphere sides can point to the teams being tired after a long, hard journey, and in South Africa’s case, extremely successful season. Their Northern counterparts will cite rustiness and inability to get to the pace of test rugby after the off season’s lack of match practice. As the mist settled like a blanket over Croke Park in the wake of Ireland’s victory, South Africa’s coach, Peter De Villiers dipped in and found the old ones were still the best. “Our players were tired. If we’d picked the second team people would have thought we’re looking down on them but maybe we should have rested a few senior players,” he groaned. To be fair to De Villiers, his team was shorn of some world class talent and by the end Victor Matfield cut a forlorn figure without his giant sidekick, Bakkies Botha. New Zealand and Australia were coming to the end of their seasons also but

showed no such ill-effects as they trounced France and Wales, respectively. Admittedly, neither country had to engage in the war of attrition that was the Lions tour. Ireland started their campaign with a hard fought draw against a youthful and talented Australian side. Many had underestimated the Wallabies by judging them on the Tri-Nations. But if the only teams you played were South Africa and New Zealand, how many games would you expect to win? Next up were Fiji and Declan Kidney rewarded Jonathan Sexton with a run at out-half. The former St Mary’s star repaid his coach with a man of the match performance and an outstanding display of place-kicking. It was somewhat of a surprise that he was retained for the Springboks. Sure he could dominate the Fijians in the familiar surroundings of the RDS, but could he do it in the white heat of Croke Park with Schalk Burger bearing down? Yeah well, turns out he can. And then some. His kicking, composure and confidence are all first class and his defence is superior to O’Gara’s, but you haven’t seen the last of the Munster man yet. His ability to keep his pack on the front foot and dictate a game with his tactical

Rory continues rise through the ranks By Brendan White

An action-packed finish to this year's European Tour Race to Dubai saw Rory McIlroy narrowly miss out on the crown. The talented Irishman pushed Lee Westwood all the way before falling at the last hurdle and settling for second position, collecting over €3.6 million. McIlroy finished the 2008 calendar year at 39th in the world rankings. His first professional win came when he won the Dubai Desert Classic on 1 February 2009 with a score of -19. The win took him to 16th in the world rankings. He again impressed at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, making it through to the quarter finals before losing 2&1 to Geoff Ogilvy. April saw McIlroy compete in his first major tournament as a professional and his first Masters Tournament. He finished in tied for 20th place in the tournament, two under par.

McIlroy continued to improve and show his undoubted talent by finishing fifth at the BMW PGA Championship and 12th at the European Open. McIlroy shot a final round of 68 (-2) in the 2009 US Open to help him finish in a tie for 10th, his first top ten finish in a major in only his second major as a professional. He then finished tied for 3rd at the 2009 PGA Championship. McIlroy kept his Race to Dubai ambitions going with a second place finish at the Hong Kong Open, as Lee Westwood did not take part. The final event was the Dubai World Championship where the Race to Dubai winner would ultimately be crowned. McIlroy battled with Westwood throughout the weekend but eventually had to settle for third place in the tournament, eight shots behind Westwood. This meant that Westwood was crowned the winner and collected over €4 million. People seem to forget that Holywood native is still just 20 years of age. Already ranked an incredible tenth in the world and sixth in Europe, he is proving that he will someday go on to become golf's number one ranked player in the world.

Leader: Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll bursts upfield during the South Africa game kicking will be of use another day but surely Sexton will be the man when the World Cup rolls around in 2011. If it were held tomorrow you feel the least Ireland can expect would be a semi-final spot, and they would stand a

great chance of winning it. Some bad deficiencies in the scrum would need to be addressed first, though. A final word on Brian O’Driscoll. Ireland’s talisman had a relatively quiet Autumn series but when a try was

Photograph courtesy of RTE

needed against Australia, or the big hit that ended the game against the ‘Boks, he was there. If he can keep fit and in form for another 18 months we can dream of lifting the William Webb Ellis Trophy.

Know your sport Compiled by Darragh Farrelly 1. In American football, what is the name of the trophy awarded to the winners of the Superbowl? 2. Who is the last Englishborn manager to coach an FA Cup winning side? 3. In basketball, it’s called a tip-off, in football it’s called a kick-off. What is it called in ice hockey? 4. Who was the first man to run a four-minute mile? 5. Who is the all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup finals history? 6. How many lanes are there in an Olympic-sized swimming pool? 7. What is the maximum number of clubs a golfer is allowed in his or her bag in a round of golf? 8. What horse has won two of the last three Cheltenham Gold Cups?

9. Who scored Ireland’s first ever goal at a World Cup? 10. At which Olympics did Sonia O’Sullivan win a silver medal for Ireland? 11. In which sport do the rules state that the water must be a minimum of 1-metre deep? 12. Who was Mike Tyson fighting when he famously bit off his opponent’s ear in a boxing match?

18. At which Olympic games did the infamous ‘Black Power’ salute take place? 19. On what Pacific island did the infamous Roy Keane spat take place before the 2002 World Cup? 20. At which golf course did Padraig Harrington win his first of two British Opens in 2007?

13. What is a natatorium? 14. Who is the only player to play in three World Cup winning sides? 15. Jenson Button is the current Formula One champion. But with which team did he win that title? 16. In rugby union, who is Ireland’s all-time leading scorer? 17. In which country was the game of golf invented?


1. Vince Lombardi Trophy 2. Harry Redknapp 3. Face-off 4. Roger Bannister 5. Ronaldo (Brazil) 6. Eight 7. Fourteen 8. Kauto Star 9. Kevin Sheedy 10. 2000 Sydney Olympics 11. Water Polo 12. Evander Holyfield 13. A swimming pool 14. Pele, in 1958, 1962 and 1970 15. Brawn GP 16. Ronan O'Gara 17. Scotland 18. 1968, Mexico City 19. Saipan 20. Carnoustie

By John McCormack


The BCFE Bulletin

Edition 1

Orchard remain in full bloom

FIFA suffers backlash from bitter Irish fans

By Darragh Farrelly

Cherry Orchard has long been regarded as one of the country’s top schoolboy sides. Based here in Ballyfermot, some of the club’s former players include the likes of two current Premier League stars, Keith Fahey and Andy Reid. But what makes them so successful? How does the Orchard constantly maintain its own high standards? Ballyfermot man and Cherry Orchard schoolboy chairman Dermot O’Riordan recently spoke to The BCFE Bulletin. While Cherry Orchard has been lauded for having such a top schoolboy setup, it wasn’t until 20 years after its foundation that the underage system was initiated. “The club was initially founded in 1957 to cater for adult players”, O’Riordan says. “The team did enjoy some success at senior level through the 60’s and 70’s. It wasn’t until John Wilkes took over that the club began to fulfill its potential.” Under Wilkes, the club achieved numerous successes at national level. “The club’s first major success came in 1981, and that was followed by an unprecedented hat-trick of FAI Junior Cups between 1985 and 1987.” While the club’s senior sides currently compete in the top LSL divisions, their schoolboys are also regarded as one of the top club’s in the country. “We first entered the schoolboy ranks in 1970, with five teams competing in the Dublin District Schoolboy League,” explains O’Riordan. They tasted their first national success in 1977, when the

Under-15 side beat Shelbourne to win the SFAI Evans Cup. Here precedent was set for future underage teams to match. Since then, the club has seen some of Dublin’s top talents grow up playing in the famous black and red stripes. Their greatest success to date came in 1993 when they became the only amateur side to win the Northern Ireland Under-16 Milk Cup competition. Beating Glasgow Rangers 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, that achievement is a feat which has yet to be matched. Boasting the likes of Sunderland’s Andy Reid and Stephen Quinn of Sheffield United as former players, Dermot explains it is a task in itself trying to perfect skills from an early age. “In the case of Andy, we could see from early on he had raw talent,” he says. “However, trying to predict which players might go on to bigger and better things is a pretty inexact science. A lot of players have played for this club but for one reason or another have failed to fulfill their potential.” “We get lads each year coming from far afield places just to play for an hour and a half on a Saturday morning. I think that speaks for itself.” And the club’s proud tradition drives those involved to strive to raise the bar even higher. “We have a long and proud tradition here. We are constantly doing our utmost to maintain the standards which have been set for us by our predecessors,” O’Riordan concludes. Cherry Orchard has provided the people of Ballyfermot with something to be proud of. The club’s success cannot be overstated, with such an array talent emerging from its home at The Lawns.

December 2009

By David King continued from back Public opinion seems to have changed completely now. Instead of ‘poor old Ireland’, we have managed to become a snivelling and bitter nation unwilling to allow the controversial incident to pass. We have become something of a laughing stock in the world of football and essentially in the history of the

Sport world’s most illustrious tournament. Thank you Mr Delaney, Mr Blatter and of course the disturbingly silent French legend Michel Platini, UEFA President. To our real leader, Trapattoni, a less sarcastic thank you is aimed. To be on the brink of a place in South Africa next June was a fantastic achievement and Ireland can now look forward in real hope for the first time in just under a decade. However, for him this debacle is not such a new thing. His personal distain for FIFA stretches back to 2002 when his then

Italian national team were equally robbed of a place in the quarter finals of the World Cup as they were eliminated cruelly and controversially by co-hosts South Korea. That too, raised serious questions of FIFA’s influence over games of such magnitude which seem to be solely for their own benefit. But this time the small nation did not gain favour at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. The big boys won this battle and for those still behind the sofa this June, don’t come out… it will only remind you of what should have been.

Saints blessed to stay up By Darragh Farrelly continued from back The game saw Fabio O'Brien make his debut, and he got on the score sheet, only for Valletta to quickly level arrears. However, a week later Fabio once again proved to be the hero, scoring late on for ten-man Pat’s to set up a tie against Russian outfit Krylya Sovetov. The Saints managed a 1-0 victory and real hope of going through in Russia. However, with twenty minutes left, Pats looked down and out losing 3 - 0. But once more O’Brien set Pat’s on their scoring to make it 3 -2 and earning Pat’s arguably the greatest ever result in Irish club history, winning 3 - 3 on aggregate. While the European adventure did eventually cease against 1986 European Cup winners Steaua Bucharest, the victory will undoubtedly go down in history. With the European run well and truly over, Kenna’s reign as manager soon followed suit. After a string of poor results and an ultimately embarrassing

defeat in the quarter final of the Cup against First Division Waterford United, Kenna resigned with Pat’s embroiled in a relegation dog fight. Pete Mahon was entrusted with keeping the Saints’ record of never being relegated intact. Results did gradually begin to turn, and going into the final two rounds of games, their own faith rested on those around them. The final game of the season was against Shamrock Rovers. Hoping Galway or Sligo dropped points, Pat’s needed a victory to have any hope of avoiding a relegation play-off. While the game was tight, player of the season Ryan Guy gave the Saints a 1 - 0 victory, and with results going their way, Pat’s stayed up. While the season may be remembered by some for the Saints’ European exploits, others will remember it for lacklustre domestic performances, and a close shave with relegation. One does hope the new season brings some success back to Inchicore, or silverware in some shape or form. Hope springs eternal. Oh, the joys of following Irish football! Hero: Ryan Guy

Fantasy footballers chasing fool’s gold By David King

The amateur review and spontaneous analysis of the previous weekend’s Premier League games took a familiar line of questioning and raucous gesticulating. Rival fans bemoaned their own club’s lethargic performances while simultaneously deriving untold pleasure from the demise of an opponent’s club of choice. However, there is a notable difference in the die-hard passions of these fans who are usually more than willing to gloat and show overwhelming disdain for any team, which poses a realistic threat to their chances of success. Somebody had uttered their fantasy football score of the week. The Manchester United fans were delighting in the fact that neighbours City had drawn away to bitter rivals Liverpool, while Arsenal had slipped up away to Sunderland, losing 1-0. But the Favourite: Jermain Defoe

most notable result of Game Week 13 occurred at the home of their North London rivals. Tottenham had annihilated Wigan with a record breaking score of 9-1. Jermain Defoe became only the third player after Alan Shearer and Andy Cole to score five goals in a Premier League game.

In no other scenario would a true United fan watch Liverpool and wish, either secretly or publicly, that Fernando Torres would score as many goals as possible “Do you know anybody who had Defoe?” a Chelsea fan asks in an unenthusiastic monotone. He obviously didn’t. The Arsenal fan opposite draws a broad grin before revealing that he ‘had’ Defoe. Decked out in a bright yellow Arsenal away jersey, his sheer joy at the unlikely moral victory offers up a common new paradox for fans of football. The perplexing and contradictory world of fantasy football…

The sort of antipathy that follows football is in essence a wonderful thing and the rivalry ensures that the strong feeling for or against a team exist forever. Passion inevitability drives sport. But the invention of fantasy football (coincidently, the same year the Premier League was born) and its growing popularity has made a mockery of the modern day football fan. In no other scenario would a true United fan watch Liverpool and wish, either secretly or publicly, that Fernando Torres would score as many goals as possible so as to boost his own chances of winning a community game that is of course, just fantasy. Hours are spent in front of computer screens carefully plotting and essentially guessing which team would gain the most points in a fake online game. This exercise involves no physical input whatsoever, but feels damn good when you can get one over on friends and faceless opponents alike. This scene is repeated all around the world with endless questions of who will you

leave in or take out. Will Craig Gordon keep a clean sheet on Sunday for Sunderland? That’s 6 points at least... put him in. Terry hasn’t scored for a while for Chelsea... he’s due one... stick him in. Duffer is reportedly still feeling the effects of Ireland’s elimination to the hands of the French or more accurately, Thierry Henry... time to give him the bullet. Four points for a goal from Lampard. McShane has scored another own goal, minus 3 points for him. Reina gets a clean sheet and an accompanying 7 point haul. Lovely. All relevant scenarios for today’s football fan. Then there’s the Arsenal fan that had, in fact, made Defoe his captain. 25 points for all those goals and bonus points. Double those = 50 points. Unbelievable. Next week, Spurs can put the heat back on Arsenal for the lucrative fourth place finish in the league with another win. Defoe will once more become public enemy number one for Gunners fans. Unless he scores again, that is.

Sport Pat’s have prayers answered By Darragh Farrelly

Farce: Sepp Blatter hasn’t covered himself in glory during the aftermath of Ireland’s play-off defeat

FIFA chief’s septic behaviour By David King

As Sepp Blatter shared a laugh with the international press, Ireland’s battle for a place at the nineteenth FIFA World Cup well and truly ended. However, instead of going out as uncontested moral victors, the national team has managed to exit in a series of embarrassing whimpers. The fallout of ‘that handball’ reverberated around the world and has been, if anything, overdone in many areas of the media. But, for once this is not the fault of the international press but the fault of our incompetent Football Association of Ireland and the equally use-

less FIFA. To the players and management of Ireland, the pain has been felt deeply. An unavoidable sense of injustice was teased and tampered with by slim hopes of a way out of the nightmare inflicted upon us by France and Thierry Henry on that fateful night on November 18th. The immediate aftermath saw John Delaney, the much maligned leader of the FAI, go directly to the world’s press as he grovelled hopelessly for a replay with the French. “It is up to the people who govern the game now, if they really believe in the principles of fair play then step forward. If we had qualified in this manner, I wouldn’t be happy”, went the desperate plea from Delaney. Many

Irish fans began to find their place behind the sofa as the likelihood of any such replay seemed highly improbable. Salt was rubbed further into the wounds of already heartbroken fans as former hero and adversary Roy Keane gave his opinion on the whole incident. He was one of a long, long line of managers to have his say on the episode. However, his bitter retort only served to send Irish fans deeper into their spiral of depression. Not much of what was said by Keane was untrue, but the manner in which he aimed both barrels at his homeland before subsequently squeezing the trigger tarnished both his image and the national sense of togetherness, which had enveloped the nation. Admittedly, he did intend only to harm the interests of

Talking the talk with Ryle Nugent interview page 19

the FAI, but Irish fans felt a sense of betrayal beneath it all. Not so new for some then. There followed a sort of apology from the former international but the worst insult of all was still to come. Those settled uncomfortably behind that sofa were fully vindicated as the final insult was served up at the world’s largest international football conference. The ‘private’ request by the FAI to be introduced as the 33rd team at next summer’s games was met with laughter at the Soccerex conference in Johannesburg. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who giddily revealed the request, duly joined in with a snide snigger of his own. continued on page 19

St Patrick’s Athletic endured one of their worst domestic seasons in recent memory in the 2009 campaign, while at the same coming within a whisker of qualifying for the Europa League proper. The Saints’ season began in earnest against the new boss’ old team, Galway United. Jeff Kenna had the previous season kept the Tribesmen up against all odds. With two second place finishes in the previous two seasons, Saints fans were hoping the team could go one better. What came to arise on the opening night of the season was a huge shock to the system of many a Pat’s fan. A 3 - 0 hammering left fans despondent as to what lay ahead for the forthcoming season. That defeat was followed up by two excellent away day victories at Sligo and Cork. While those victories perhaps took fans’ minds off the opening day, the next seven games left Jeff Kenna’s reign in charge of the Saints perilously close to being ended prematurely. While fans began to grow increasingly disillusioned with Pats’ performances on the pitch, and Kenna's lack of poise and vigor off it, the club once again set out on a European journey, one year on from reaching the lofty heights of the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Before that however, there was somewhat of a glimmer of hope on the domestic front. In front of a sell-out crowd, Pat’s fans saw the potential they had craved for so much of the season when handing out a 3 – 1 thumping to league champions Bohemians. And so the European tour began in earnest once more, with a first round draw against Valletta FC of Malta. continued on page 19

Celebrating Cherry Orchard see page 19

BCFE Bulletin Edition 1  

First edition of the BCFE Bulletin, December 2009.

BCFE Bulletin Edition 1  

First edition of the BCFE Bulletin, December 2009.