Page 1

Features

The

Siren

Surviving Vietnam

Des Bishop interview inside

Interview Page 9

The College Tribune 3rd November 2009

The Difference is we’re independent

Issue 5 Volume 23

Students seeking financial aid doubles l

Demand for Assistance Fund rises

Applications up from 200 to 420

l

Karina Bracken & Cathy Buckmaster The amount of UCD students applying for financial assistance in the form of the Student Assistance Fund has doubled this year. UCD Students’ Union Welfare Officer Scott Ahern has been involved in promoting the fund. Ahern said that the Union has witnessed a sharp rise in the numbers seeking monetary aid. “The Student Assistant Fund runs every year in the University. The application process is means-tested. There are two categories of students that apply for the support. Students that are financially supported by their parents and mature students over 23.” “Last year approximately 200 students applied for the fund. This year we gave a big push, particularly with advertising, for it. We had over 400 applicants this time around,” stated Ahern. “The most obvious reason for the increase is the current economic situation. Some student’s parents have lost their jobs, or their income has taken a significant cutback. For example, if your parents are say a nurse and a Garda then they would have lost €800 a month from their pay packets in tax alone. This has a knock-on effect on the financial support that parents can offer.” According to Ahern, the current maintenance grant does not cover a full year’s rent or other expenses incurred while at college. “At just over €3,000 the full grant doesn’t cover the average €4,000+ a year that a student living away from home

USI and UCDSU launch campaign against registration fee rise spends on rent.” Ahern does see a bright side in the numbers applying. “This increase has almost been a good thing. In that students are recognising that the help is out there. The response has been phenomenal this year.”

Nearly all of the current applications for funding will be successful, believes Ahern. “Everyone will get money but they will get less money than they would have before.” “Normally in previous years the breakdown of what people receive is something

like €500 or €600 if you or your parents earn less than €25,000. Then under €30,000 it was something like €400.” “This year it has dropped to €400 and €300 respectively. While this is obviously not ideal, it means that more people are

Dublin Bus resumes full service Niall Dolphin Dublin Bus has agreed to restore a full service of its popular No. 10 route to Belfield. The service was curtailed last year after incidents of antisocial behaviour by students. The No.10 bus has not picked up from campus after 8pm since September 2008, when Dublin Bus decided to suspend its operations from the stop at night.

www.ucd.ie/tribune

Photography by Philip Connolly getting some sort of financial assistance.”

INSIDE Focus, pg 7

l No. 10 on campus after 8pm l Plans for increased security

The service was reduced after “an inspector was punched when trying to take drinks from a UCD student last year,” according to SU President Gary Redmond at a recent SU council meeting. Dublin Bus pulled the night time service from Belfield after the assault over concerns for the safety of their drivers. Dublin Bus Press Officer Brendan Cushen released a statement about the company’s decision. “The safety of our staff and passengers is of the utmost importance to Dublin Bus and the temporary withdrawal

of services is common practice in areas where the company experiences incidents of anti-social behaviour.” In September 2009 Dublin Bus entered into talks with UCD Buildings & Services, the SU and An Garda Síochána to resolve the situation and reinstate the service. After successful negotiations, the service was resumed on 28th October.

INSIDE Continued, pg 4


2

News

College Tribune

November 3rd 2009

Vox Pop

We asked students about their thoughts on the possible increase in UCD’s registration fee

Brady receives backdated pay boost

l University heads get 19% rise l Abolished allowances replaced by more pay Philip Connolly UCD President Dr. Hugh Brady is to receive a 19% back dated pay rise along with other university heads. The pay rises were originally recommended in 2007 by the O’Brien Review into Higher Education Remuneration. The review also found that no such payment could be cleared until all universities had cancelled a series of unauthorised allowances that were also being paid to staff. UCD has since abolished 60 of these allowances. The pay rise was due to be implemented two years ago, but conditions for the increase were only recently satisfied. Many others in higher management positions and professorial staff are also to receive backdated payments. A spokesperson for the Department of Finance confirmed that money would be

distributed now that the unauthorised allowances have been abolished. “The Department of Education is in a position to award the rises,” the spokesperson stated. The increased pay will not be funded by the Department of Finance, he added. “If universities can manage it in their own budgets, then so be it.” The huge increases come at a time of widespread cutbacks in the education sector. Mike Jennings, General Secretary of IFUT, has strongly criticised the large increases to be paid to university heads. “This shows that the decision of those university heads to forfeit their allowances was really not a selfless act, but more of a pragmatic decision in order to achieve those high increases recommended by the O’Brien report.” Over 400 professors in Ireland are in the process of receiving a pay increase of 5.5%. Bursars and secretaries will receive a rise of up to 5.1%. Presidents such as Brady

and John Hegarty, the provost of Trinity College Dublin, will see the highest rise of 19%. Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe recently expressed his anger that university heads were unwilling to take a voluntary pay cut. “I would have exhorted the university presidents to take the appropriate cut. One would have expected that people in such senior positions would do the right thing,” said O’Keeffe. A spokesperson for the Department of Education released the following statement: “Those pay increases recommended for the staff in universities was cleared a while ago, but they were only to be paid out when it was understood there wasn’t an unauthorised allowance in place. After that, each of the professors and staff were assessed on a case-by-case basis and where we were satisfied, the pay increase has now been awarded. A very small number of residual cases are still to be resolved.”

Danny Sheridan

Robin Pöthe

“I think it’s ridiculous that they’ve nearly doubled it in two years, from €900 to €2000. that’s a lot of money.”

“I’m an Erasmus student but in German we pay €500. This used to be free although there was an additional €85 for student service charges and there was a protest before the 500 even came in.”

Joseph Kerin

Martina O’Brien

“I’m not here next year but I suppose I’d have to afford it if I was. I think everybody has to dig deeper in their pockets now. The government are doing the best they can.”

“It’s shite. It depends; I can afford it if I get a grant next year.”

The College Tribune

The Difference is we’re independent

LG 18, Newman Building (Arts Block) Box 74, Student Centre, UCD Email: collegetribune@gmail.com Tel: 01 716 8501 Editors: Cathy Buckmaster Philip Connolly Design: Philip Connolly News Editor: Karina Bracken Turbine Editor: James Grannell Sports Editor: Colman Hanley Dep. Sports Editor Eoghan Brophy

Music Editor: Jim Scully Arts Editor: Katie Godwin Features Editor: Sisi Rabenstein Fashion Editor: Aoifa Smyth Photography Editor: Barry Hennessy Copy Editors; Eileen Gahan

Contributors; Niall Dolphin, Christina Finn, Ian Mulholland, David Tracy, Laura McGlynn, Conor McKenna Katherine Creagh, Ashling Maguire

Fiona Kennedy, Aine Keegen, Cathal O’Gara, Aoife Hamill, Kathleen Henry, Noreen Maloney, Caoimhin Millar, Mark Hobbes, Ryan Cullen, Frank Black, David Murphy, Danny Wilson, Caragh Hesse Tyson, Aisling Kennedy, Roe McDermott Special Thanks; Huw and Mark at NWM, Amy and Chantal at Universal, Danielle, Colm and Rory at MCD, Colin Glesson and Catriona Cody, Professor Grumus, Asya, Maximillian Connolly, Eddie Buckmaster and Corah Lanigan, Jim Henderson, Dominic Martella,Dan Oggly, Jordan Daly, Simon Ward, Roe McDermott

The College Tribune Wants You If you are interested in writing for this newspaper please do not hesitate to contact us, no experience is required collegetribune@gmail.com


College Tribune

News

November 3rd 2009

3

Disability service faces cutbacks l Students directly affected l Photocopy credits cut Karina Bracken The disability service is the latest department to be affected by the cutbacks that have been widespread across UCD due to the financial difficulties the college is facing. A UCD arts student spoke to the College Tribune about how the cutbacks in the disability service are impacting upon their life. “Due to the recent decrease in funding I am no longer entitled to a photocopy card. When I went up to the disability service office to get printer credit I was told that the new cutbacks mean I will not get it now.” “The disability service said that the priority is with students who have a learning disability, like dyslexia. Obviously I agree that they should take precedence. However the situation leaves me in difficulty.” The student went on to explain that while it may appear to be a simple gesture, the extra photocopy credits were a great help. “My condition means that I suffer from chronic fatigue. Sometimes I get so tired that I have to leave the library because I physically cannot stay.” “The credit was great so I could photo-

copy what I needed and bring it home. Similarly, I have to miss lectures sometimes and it helps to get notes photocopied for what I missed.” The student asserts that the UCD Disability Service is doing its best for students with what it has at its disposal. “However, the University is inflicting cutbacks on a service that helps its most vulnerable students.” The SU Disability Rights Officer was unavailable for comment. SU president Gary Redmond explained that cutbacks were happening across the board in UCD as a result of a HEA directive for every unit to take a three per cent cut. “This has affected the Disability Support Service, and in turn, the students that they support. It’s unfortunate that students with disabilities have had their Copi-Print photocopying credit allowance cut. This has also occurred to New ERA students.” “It’s my understanding that photocopying credits were cut as in general there has been a fall in the levels of photocopying across the university, due to the increased provision of notes and reading materials through Blackboard,” stated Redmond.

Wheelchair access blocked to Forum Bar l

Building works obstructing entry Karina Bracken

The Forum Bar on campus is currently inaccessible for wheelchairs, it has emerged. The main entrance has been largely blocked off by the building of the new Student Centre. According to the Students’ Union, the Management Committee of the Centre Club has written to UCD Student Centre Ltd. requesting that a ramp be installed to provide unobstructed wheelchair access to the premises. One UCD student witnessed the problem first hand in the Forum Bar last Thursday and had this to say about the incdent. “I was waiting to be served and one guy came to ask the barman if his friend in a wheelchair would be able to get in through the back.”

l Entrance steps narrow and steep

“The barman said the wheelchair probably wouldn’t fit through the small entrance between the bar itself and the pub. He was very apologetic, but the student seemed frustrated.” “In this day and age, it’s unacceptable really. They should have considered wheelchair access when they blocked of the entrance to the Forum Bar. Is it not within the law to provide wheelchair access?” The College Tribune spoke to the manager of the Forum Bar. “This issue wasn’t really brought directly to our attention. However the building works for the new Student Centre have certainly blocked off access to the bar. ” “Wheelchair access is difficult at the moment. There is only the one main entrance, and to be honest the steps are quite steep and narrow. We could bring people in the back but the entrance into the bar is too narrow for a wheelchair to fit through.”

The manager said that the building works have affected business in the bar. “We are definitely seeing fewer customers. I mean it’s not a nice thing to look at. We have had no say in the matter.” “There doesn’t even seem to be that much work going on anyway. The site has been there for six months, since April, but there has been very little done.” SU President, Gary Redmond stated, “I’m hopeful that the matter will be resolved in the coming weeks.” In other news, students received an email from Vice-President for Students Martin Butler last week imploring them not to chain bicycles to wheelchair ramps as it is blocking access. Disability Awareness Week is taking place in UCD from 2nd to 6th of November

The UCD Unicare program is a community approach to promote personal safety for all students, staff and visitors through awareness, partnership and prevention. Visit www.ucd.ie/unicare for tips how to:

· stay safe when you are out and about on your daily business around campus; · how to keep your bike, laptop and other belongings secure · what to do in case of an emergency Information about : o Walk Alone service o Campus Garda Office o Lost and Found o How to organise an event o ICE campaign


4

News

College Tribune

November 3rd 2009

News in brief Compiled by Cathy Buckmaster Motion of no confidence postponed Kimberley Foy, the Postgraduate Office for UCDSU, did not attend SU Council on 27th October when a motion for a vote of no confidence was to be proposed. The motion was postponed to the next council meeting. According to the motion, Foy has not been carrying out the duties of her office. The SU said that Foy did not go up for election or contest the seat on the UCD Governing Authority, which is a stipulation of the position. It is alleged that Foy did not attend SU meetings or work on the personal cases of students. Gary Redmond proposed the motion and was backed up by the other Sabbatical Officers. They demand Foy’s immediate resignation. The motion was postponed as Redmond cited “one further clarification on an issue”. UCD students scoop undergraduate awards 11 of the 41 Undergraduate Awards of Ireland were won by students of UCD. Over 1,600 undergraduates from Irish universities submitted work produced as a normal part of their academic course work in the hope of winning one of the awards. The winners were selected through an academic review process by 33 separate panels made up of academics and industry professionals. Each of the winners received a gold medal and their winning essays will be published in an annual journal.

Night time bus returns l

Continued from page 1 Niall Dolphin

There is to be an increased Garda and UCD security presence at the No.10 bus stop on campus in the following weeks. Dublin Bus will also be placing chief inspectors at the stop. These conditions were agreed upon by all parties so that the service could be reinstated. “The SU has launched a campaign discouraging students from involvement in anti-social behaviour as well as a poster campaign on campus,” said Redmond. In the SU council meeting Redmond added that students who engage in anti-social behaviour will be subject to “discipline for violating the Student Code”. The first few days of the resumed service have passed without incident. “I was there myself on Thursday night. It was extremely busy and only minor incidents occurred,” commented Redmond.

“It’s important for students to remember that this service is for the use of everyone on the campus. 99.9% of students are well behaved, but the .01% of those who misbehave will face serious disciplinary consequences. They will be dealt with by the University and their details may be passed on to the Gardaí.” “Repeated instances of anti-social behaviour on the part of students will result in the permanent withdrawal of Route No.10 from campus, so we appreciate the co-operation of all students in safeguarding our bus services.” The situation will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. “Dublin Bus will continue to monitor the situation over the next few weeks,” stated Cushen. “There will be weekly meetings with UCD to ensure the situation is running smoothly.”

It’s a wrap l Sandwich company shuts doors l Workers now on bread line Gubnet McDonagh It turns out that the familiar Doolittle sandwich was really all filler and no killer. The company went bust this week after only a few years in business. At one stage the business made €3 million, proving that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Up until recently, the brand was sold in the SU shops on campus. The red labels were familiar to students looking for a cheap eat. ‘Doolittle’ the name - not just a mantra for Arts students - came from a concept that people had to “do little” to enjoy the

readymade sandwich. Its moniker of idleness may have also affected company confidence and leaked into its bank balance, as their account showed a loss of €383,000 at the end of 2008. The company goes under leaving more 8,000 hungry people having to get their lunch elsewhere and 32 people looking for new jobs. Founder and chief executive Jenni Timony blamed “the high cost of doing business combined with the downward pressure on selling prices.” Ultimately, the recession now seems to be ravaging our stomachs as well as our pockets.

UCD researchers hope to smash atoms for Christmas The world’s most powerful atom smasher could be in operation before Christmas. Irish researchers from UCD are already in place at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) near Geneva as scientists gear up for the restart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is a 27km-long circular tube built into a tunnel under the Jura Mountains which sends beams of broken-up atoms around the ring in opposite directions at almost the speed of light and collides them to release huge energies. “It would be a great Christmas present” to get collisions in December, said UCD’s Dr Ronan McNulty, who heads its high energy particle physics group. Dr McNulty has four Irish PhD students at Cern. UCD research show a ‘new type of Catholic’ Studies done at UCD has found that “there is a new type of Catholic emerging in Ireland,” according to Prof Tom Inglis. Based on these studies, he suggested that “there are four types of Catholics in contemporary Ireland”. Dr Inglis, associate professor at the school of sociology in University College Dublin, was speaking at the Alternative Spiritualities: New Religious Movements and the New Age in Ireland conference in NUI Maynooth. He continued that the apparent lack of religious adventurism on the part of the Irish was “related to the monopoly position that the Catholic Church developed in the religious field from the 19th century.”

Trinity academic slams UCD l

Lecturer disputes best university claim

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UCD spokesperson defends statement Cathy Bucmaster

A statement made by UCD claiming it is Ireland’s premier university has been slammed by a Trinity College lecturer. Dr Gerald Morgan, of Trinity’s English Department, has criticised a claim on UCD’s website that that suggests the college is Ireland’s top university. Morgan has pushed the university to explain its claim, as it is only ranked as the second best Irish college in the Times Higher Education QS league table. In the world rankings of universities, UCD is at 89 while Trinity College Dublin is at 43. It was UCD’s first time to enter the top 100. The claim can be seen on the welcome note to UCD on Google where the college quotes itself as “Ireland’s premier University, a 35 school institution with over 20,000 students.” “It’s a great achievement for Trinity to be 43 and for UCD to say it’s the premier university at 89...it’s for them to clarify what they mean, and it’s very important that we know who the best people are. We’ve got to make it right,” Morgan stated. Morgan alleged that “of all our institutions, universities above all cannot be seen publicly to be promoting falsehoods. We shall lose credibility on the international stage if that is seen to be the case.” Morgan stressed that these opinions are his own views and not those of Trinity College and he does not want to create tension between the two universities. “We ought to applaud the achievements of both universities but you can’t make statements that you can’t stand over,” he added. In response to the Trinity Lecturers comments, a spokesperson from UCD said: “It’s possible to have two leading universities in Ireland, just the same as it’s possible to have two or three top athletes in a country.”


College Tribune

News

November 3rd 2009

5

Higher Education Inc.

l

Universities blamed for marketing education

Karina Bracken A number of international educational trade unions have accused Irish universities of marketising higher education. In a seminar entitled, “Will marketisation destroy the University ideal?” members of Education International (EI) spoke about the increasing commodification of third level education. The discussion was about the global trend with a particular focus on Ireland. A number of academics from Dublin universities were in attendance, including UCD and TCD. The academics and trade union members met to discuss the increasing amount of funded research that is taking place in Irish universities. The seminar centred on the ideological dangers of higher education becoming a market place. General Secretary for the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) Mike Jennings chaired the seminar. Jennings spoke about the relevance of academic freedom for the future of Irish society. Jennings highlighted how important raising money is now in academic positions. “A memo on hiring from UCC explicitly states that anyone going for an academic post or promotion should bring with them an ability to raise funds. What on earth has fundraising got to do with the good qualities of a good academic?”

“We have heard complaints from some academics that were denied promotions solely on the basis that another colleague is better at bringing in money,” elaborated Jennings. Danish academic Jens Vraa-Jensen presented a paper on the need to protect the values and missions of a University. “A university is an institution where one of the main obligations is the free, critical and independent development of thought and new ideas which in many cases will challenge the dominant truth. And therefore they should not be expected to deliver measurable outcome on a daily (or yearly) basis,” said Jensen. Jensen added that “university teachers are now comparable to private consultants. Universities are becoming advanced service providers. Graduates are churned out in terms of their employability; therefore what they are taught has to meet the demands of the current market.” “A capacity to think intellectually is a quality that is therefore pushed to the back as it does not have immediate value in the labour market. Universities should be safe guarded as intellectual institutions.” The speaker was in favour of free university education. Jensen supported his argument by referring to studies demonstrating that free college does contribute financially to society. “Long term education eventually gives a higher pay back

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Academics revolt against raising money

to society in terms of taxation. The better education you have, generally the higher tax you pay. This is of course based on a progressive tax system.” Canadian economist and trade unionist Dave Robinson set out a hypothetical view of universities as profit-making enterprises, by “putting the earn in learn”. Robinson said that at present, the global education market is worth €2.2 trillion annually.

Robinson spoke about the branding of universities as contributing to marketisation, something which UCD has accused of in the past. On TCD lecturer said the current focus on research was a “cancer in the system” and this added to the “persistent focus of university heads on rankings”. The speakers called for a return to the traditional values of teaching and schol-

arship and a search for knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Jennings added that IFUT’s request to meet with the Department of Education has finally been accepted. In the Strategy for Higher Education meeting IFUT hope to discuss marketisation and the current embargo on recruitment in the university sector.


6

Focus

College Tribune November 3rd 2009

USI protest hike in Registration Fee l USI launches campaign in “media stunt” l Ireland compares unfavourably to EU countries Cathy Buckmaster Union of Students Ireland (USI) members gathered outside Dáil Eireann last week to protest the possible increase of university registration fees. The annual registration fee that students pay looks set to increase to over €2,000 after an increase from €900 to €1500 this year. UCDSU President Gary Redmond was present at the midday demonstration on Tuesday last. Afterwards Redmond referred to the protest as a “media stunt” at the SU council meeting. The USI used the demonstration to launch their latest campaign against the government, after the introduction of full fees was taken off the agenda. USI were reacting to comments made by the Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe suggested that the registration fee could be subject to increase. USI believe that the registration fee is already too expensive and claims some students are being forced to drop out of college because they cannot afford to pay it. This week the union also said that the money raised from the fee is supposed to be spent on student services. However, they allege that the funds are being diverted into other areas while student services are being closed down. “Yesterday was the media launch for the USI student registration fee campaign which is a campaign to stop any further increase in the registration fee. It was really only the media launch yesterday so it was only a couple of students and the sabbatical officers there,” said Remond, explaining the low student turnout at the protest. “Obviously in the last year, we’ve seen a 69% increase in the registration fee going from just shy of €900 to €1500. We’ve heard rumours coming out of finance and education that were looking at anything from a €1000 to €1500 increase.” “The way I’ve been pitching this to politicians is that if they go and do their shopping in Tesco one week and it costs them €100 and the next

week it costs them €169, they couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t afford it either as we wouldn’t know how much it would cost next week. Not only is it morally wrong but it’s unjustifiable.” Redmond explained the central premise of the new USI campaign. “The whole point of the SU protest was that we had T-shirts with flags from different countries with the amount they pay in straight up or “full” fees.” “A lot of the time their straight up fees are less than our registration fee. We have countries like Luxembourg who pay fees but they are charged €200 and places like Italy that charge €750. This is apparent across the spectrum of our EU counterparts.” Redmond also went on to discuss the controversial break down of the current registration fee. “I did some very simple maths this morning. The so-called student registration fee was brought into place for things like Chaplains and Student Advisors, but UCD only receives €505 of the €1500. The rest of it goes back to central government.” “This really is a tax by any other means; by any other name. Only €500 goes to the university. It’s absolutely shocking; the wool is really being pulled over eyes on this one. So this will be part of the whole campaign.” “So obviously we’re going to go back to lobbying TDs and going to go back to the Green Party. It’s great they’ve prevented an increased student contribution but if they’re just going to double the existing contribution, what’s the point?” Redmond explained his worry concerning the probably increased registration fee. “I would be extremely concerned the registration fee will rise. All the signals are that it’ll happen.” “At the moment we’re looking to put some sort of cap on the registration fee so it can’t go any higher. Ultimately the USI are calling to abolish the student registration fee but for now, we just need to get a cap in place. Really, literally expecting a student to come and pay €1500 or €3000 next year is absolutely ludicrous.”


Focus

College Tribune November 3rd 2009

7

View

from

the

Concourse

“This really shows how bad things

Recession hits home for students

are at the moment, and they are really bad.” “Students

can’t

get their grants and they can’t get a part time job.”

l

Struggle to meet basic living costs Karina Bracken

The recession has been hitting the headlines with its dire consequences for the nation for over a year now. Companies closing, job losses and severe cutbacks are now old news. Students are not the most obvious ones to suffer in a recession – they are supposed to be always broke anyway. In the past, not having money meant that you could not go out and drink. However now some students are struggling to meet the basic costs associated with college education and even everyday living expenses. UCD students have been affected in different ways. Many are supported by their parents through college, but with some parents losing their jobs and most seeing a significant cut in their take home pay, the amount of familial financial support available for study has inevitably been cut. Students supporting themselves have inevitably been affected by the rise in unemployment and the difficultly in finding part time work. This is apparent in the 100% increase in this year’s applications for the Student Assistant Fund in UCD. In the past, the fund catered to a particular socio-economic background but its scope has had to broaden because of the recent crisis. Over 400 UCD students have applied for the financial aid offered in the fund, which only offers a maximum of €400. An amount that will not go very far in itself. Scott Ahern, Welfare Officer for the SU, has been involved directly with students who are encountering financial difficulties. Ahern pointed to the fact that

l

students are taking advantage of UCD’s financial assistance services in greater numbers, such as the MABs clinic, Millennium Fund and Student Welfare Fund. “There have been about 50 or 60 applications through the Welfare Office for the Welfare Fund. It aids students with more emergency financial needs than the Assistance Fund. It is immediate, with most students getting their money within 24 hours.” The Welfare Fund can offer up to €150 for unexpected expenses such as a doctor’s visit or college expense. It has been reported that the fund is to receive an injection of money from the unused printing credit left in the accounts of past UCD students. “There’s no better year for this issue to be highlighted,” commented Ahern. SU President Gary Redmond added that the dramatic rise in numbers seeking assistance “really shows how bad things are at the moment, and they are really bad.” The financial support that is in place for some, namely the higher education grant system, has been criticised for being too slow to get money to students. The SU have been fighting to speed up the grants. At a recent council meeting one student reported that the Donegal Office would not be giving out the first grant cheques of this academic year until the 1st of December. “Donegal is notorious for its grants system. They process each grant request individually first and then they got to release the cheques once they have been collectively assessed. In other places like South Tipperary the grants are sent out as each request is processed.

Increased demand for financial assistance Donegal seems to have only a few staff in the grants department,” commented Ahern. The SU successfully lobbied Wicklow Co. Co. to send out cheques sooner and on Friday they announced that Donegal had now brought forward their release date. “I got confirmation that the first batch of Donegal cheques was released yesterday. Mayo finally came in also. There was big queue in the Fees and Grants section in Tierney today anyway,” said Ahern. Redmond stressed how important it was that the grant cheques are released on time. “Students can’t get their grants and they can’t get a part time job. Students simply can’t afford it anymore. Its not that students are being greedy and don’t want to pay, they actually can’t pay now.” The College Tribune spoke to a number of students about the financial difficulties they are facing. Rory Fogarty is a Masters student who is having trouble meeting Dublin’s inflated cost of living. Fogarty has recently considered seeking financial assistance, something he has never thought of doing before. “The price of being a student, not even considering registration fees, is so high. I can’t really afford monthly bus and rail tickets anymore, so I have to try applying for a travel grant.” “At the moment, I just try cycle to college to save money and do things like bring packed lunches because campus food is too expensive.” Yasminn Lehmann is an MA student at UCD and finds that the current economic climate has directly impacted her own financial situation.

“Due to the recession I would find myself struggling to get the money together to pay for accommodation on campus. My parents have been affected by financial difficulties so they can’t help me out as they usually would.” Like many postgraduate students, Lehmann got a bank loan to finance her masters. “I had to take out a huge loan to pay tuition fees for my masters and even that was a tough struggle because the banks do not give out loans as freely anymore since the recession, as I was actually told by the clerk there.” Lehmann agrees that students no longer have the same amount to spend on their leisure time. “You have to watch your budget more carefully, see that you get by until the end of a month. So there is not very much left for fun activities and basically nothing for extravagant things like trips away.” Students are not only anxious about the present, but they are worried about the future, as third year Arts student Katie Keane illustrates. “The funding cuts in arts have really made me worry about my career when I finish up. In Dublin, the arts have really taken a hit and it will be very sad if more funding is pulled as recommended in the McCarthy report.” “As well as that, even though it’s my final year, I’m still unsure what I’m going to do next year. The price of a MA course is something I couldn’t afford at the moment so I would have to consider getting a loan. However I’m not sure if I want to be in debt so early in my life.”

SU President Gary Redmond “I can’t really afford monthly bus and

rail

tickets

anymore.” Rory Fogarty, MA student “The banks do not give out loans as freely since

anymore the

reces-

sion.” Yasmin Lehmann, on financing her MA “The funding cuts in arts have really made me worry about my career when I finish up.” Katie Keane, 3rd year Arts, on the future


8

Features

International

College Tribune November 3rd 2009

Welcome to the Jungle Karim Amer of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees and Chara Lata Hogg of Chatham House tell Alex Court about the poor living conditions displaced Tamils are being forced to endure in Sri Lanka On 22nd October nearly 6,000 ethnic Tamils were allowed to leave the Menik Farm internment camp in northern Sri Lanka. It was the first time these Internally Displaced People (IDPs) were permitted to go back to their homes in areas once controlled by the rebel group the Tamil Tigers. It was a decision that was overdue, but welcomed around the world. Since the civil war ended in May this year, the government has held tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils in camps like Manik Farm. The main reason used in justifying this situation is the mine-fields leftover from the civil war. Government sources claim these sites are being cleared, but many commentators say this process is taking far too long. Charu Lata Hogg, Associate Fellow of Chatham House’s Asia Programme, told the College Tribune “it is a fact that the areas have not been demined.” Karim Amer, SeniorDesk Officer within the Asia Bureaux of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), agreed with this assessment. He told the College Tribune that “the pace of demining is still rather slow.” He added that the UNHCR has “just, at the request of the [Sri Lankan] government, purchased some demining equipment…to try to accelerate the demining process.” Another concern the government points to is that there could be Tamil Tiger rebels hiding among the refugees. This concern has led to an interviewing process within the camps, where officials try to weed out those with a history of rebel involvement. The worry here is that these people would carry out violent attacks on the government if they were freed from the camps, and may even attempt to re-form a Tamil Tigers group. The Tamil Tigers, officially the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has been considered defunct since their founder

and leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was shot dead by the Sri Lankan army on May 19th, during the final offensive. LTTE’s principle demand was an independent state for Tamils in the North East of the island. They did not completely fail in this objective, as the LTTE ruled a quarter of Sri Lanka at its peak, with an army, navy and small air force. They even had their own prison system and taxes. The IDP camps, which have resulted from the Sri Lankan crackdown on the rebel Tigers, are a massive worry for members of the international community who care about human rights. Governments and lobby groups around the world have severely criticised the Sri

“1,400 people die each week in this giant jungle ‘city’” Lakan government for failing to adhere to UN standards. Basic problems include access to food and decent living conditions; there have even been reports of people being injured while trying to get their share of such basic supplies. Amer suggested that reports of twenty strangers being forced to share a tent could be correct, and added “The camps are extremely over-crowded and what we would consider the international standard for anything in those camps, are not [being] met at the moment.” Other causes for concern are the communicable diseases, which plague the displaced populations. Lata Hogg clarified such diseases include malaria, cholera and dysentery. Infection rates soared as torrential seasonal rains swamped the camps, a factor which is only going to worsen as

monsoon season settles in. While these issues are pressing, the most serious problem is that these people are being denied freedom of movement as they are held against their will. Lata Hogg explained that “according to the UN guiding principles on the internally displaced, all individuals who are housed in these centres should be allowed freedom of movement and should be allowed the freedom to live with host families.” Of the roughly twenty-one camps in Sri Lanka’s north east, the most infamous is Manik Farm, in Vavuniya district. Lata Hogg said this camp is “the largest concentration of refugees in Sri Lanka, and it is probably one of the largest sites in the world which houses IDPs” Reports say between 250,000 and 300,000 people are housed in this makeshift site. In July, The Times reported that 1,400 people die each week in this giant jungle ‘city’. It is so large that there are ten zones and government run shops. Mr Amer, who has recently visited Manik Farm, referred to the site as “a massive complex of camps… divided up into various zones.” He went on to say there could be as many as 40,000 people in some of the larger zones. In describing Manik Farm, Mr Amer said that “it was designed never to be a long term displacement site, it was always designed very much for an emergency humanitarian assistance…I mean we’re talking about emergency tents, emergency shelter kits, even the latrines were built [to last] for 3 to 6 months.” He went on to explain how this was particularly worrisome as Sri Lanka has such severe climatic conditions, meaning such equipment deteriorates even more quickly than usual. While some reports suggest conditions within the camps are improving, this is no solution. The focus needs to be on

releasing the IDPs. This is imperative, as many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and charities are refusing to spend their resources improving the camps, because the displaced people should be permitted to return home. Mr Amer told the College Tribune that the U.N. is one such group: “The position of the UN has been that, because we don’t want people remaining in these camps for a long period of time, we don’t want to invest into heavy infrastructure...We’d rather put our resources towards the areas of return where these people are going back to” The government has promised to release all the people it is holding by the end of the year, in accordance with their 180 day plan. It is unclear if the government’s plan goes until the 31th December or 30st January, but recent reports suggest the later date. This plan coincides with Rishat Badurdheen, Minister for Rehabilitation, telling the BBC, earlier this month that 36,000 civil internees would be resettled “over the coming weeks”. Lata Hogg remained sceptical about this

timeline, saying: “it is highly unlikely in terms of logistics, considering that the areas have not been demined…there is no proper proposal about where these people would be rehabilitated after their release… If they are released from Manik Farm, where are they going to go is a very important question.” While it is positive to see more IDPs being released, this cannot mean that those left behind are forgotten about. Pressure must continuously be applied to the Sri Lankan government to honour their commitment to international agreements on protecting displaced populations. Simultaneously, the camps themselves must continue to be closely monitored so as to maintain the human rights of the IDPs themselves. Lata Hogg went on to say that even though the government do have legitimate security concerns, and should take steps to ensure the Tamil Tigers are not given a chance to reform, “this does not justify flaunting international laws on the treatment of displaced persons.”


College Tribune

Features

November 3rd 2009

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Good Morning Vietnam War veteran John W. Wallace, speaks to Cathy Buckmaster about his experiences of Vietnam; the country, the war, the soldiers and the protestors Crouching low in the thick, exotic undergrowth, he is poised for ambush. The back-breaking pack, swarming tropical insects and horrific stench are nothing compared to the wet, sticky heat clinging to every inch of his body. The constant hum of firing mortar shells rattling in the distance can only be silenced by the thunder clapping sky. John W. Wallace, a Vietnam War veteran is only too familiar with experiences like this. After being drafted while still a teenager, he served in 1968 through 1969, for some of which he was a squad leader in an infantry platoon. Wallace explains the circumstances that lead to him first being involved with the war. “I was drafted when I was eighteen but I never considered avoiding the draft. When I got my notice, the Navy had a four year waiting list so I joined the army.” While his first days of service offered a change of scene for a city kid, Wallace soon found out it wasn’t a welcome adjustment. “To me my first few days of service were fun because I was born and raised in New York City. To be so out of the city, it was interesting.” “But the culture change was hard. Let’s put it this way, it was a total shock. I’d never expected to see what I saw, especially not the people who lived there and the things that were done.” Wallace also found the different climate and subsequent tropical conditions hard to adjust to. “When you first got there and stepped off the plane, the country smelled like a garbage dump. You wanted to throw

up so you had to acclimatise to that.” “It was hotter than hell; 120 degrees in the shade some days so you were continuously sweating. Then it’d drop down at night and you’d be freezing. With regards to sleeping; we had a tent with no mattresses, just springs. Due to the humidity being awful, we slept on that to stay off the floor.” “You had to get used to the bugs, especially if you were on an ambush. You couldn’t move; you jus had to let them eat you alive. You had to shake your boots out every morning to get the scorpions out.” “You had little snakes that were about the size of a pencil called one steppers; they’d bite you and one step and you were dead. That’s how fast their venom worked on you. There were all kinds of insects but when they weren’t around, then you knew the enemy was; that’s when you really got worried.” Wallace goes on to explain his exact position while serving in Vietnam. “The outfit I was with was for the ninth cav. We were the eyes and ears for the first cav; we were like scouts. So the only thing we carried heavy was water and lots of ammunition.” “I was in a lot of direct combat. I was a squad leader and it was helicopter reconnaissance. Whenever we were put on the ground it was to make contact and hold contact until the unit could be brought in to release us.” “We started every major battle that the first cavalry got into. If you were looking at the total enemy killed for the time that the first cav was there, the first cav killed more than half the enemy in Vietnam. Our life

Vietnam 2.0?

span was generally two weeks.” Despite such a short life expectancy, Wallace claims the anxiety about death was all part of life over there. “Basically, once you got used to what was going on, you came to accept if your time was going to come, your time was going to come.” “That was the way we looked at it. However, when it got down to your last 30 days, that’s when you really got scared because you didn’t want to get hit in the last 30 days. You wanted to get home.” One of his most memorable experiences from his time in Vietnam was a close brush with death. “There was an incident where we had a helicopter go down. We had like a half hour before out flight was coming in to get the two pilots out. But, it was all in triple canopy jungles so the only way we got in there real fast was jumping out of a helicopter.” “When I jumped, I fell into a bomb crater and I’d twisted my leg bad and broken my M16 so if I had pulled the trigger, it would have blown up in my face. So basically, it was just adrenaline that kept me going until we got those pilots out of there.” Due to the division Wallace was involved with, it meant that a lot of their missions were disregarded. However, Wallace claims he doesn’t need rewards to be proud. “What we did every day, other outfits would get medals for; but it was common to us.” “I seen a lot of guys get shot. I seen a lot of guys die. I held a lot of guys in my arms but the thing I’m proudest of is that I never lost a man in my squad while I was in charge. That was a whole year over there,

a long time.” One of the most controversial incidents of the Vietnam War was the My Lai Massacre which saw a village of unarmed civilians in South Vietnam murdered by a unit of the U.S. Army. Wallace remains resentful of the way My Lai was focused on by the media at the time. “I didn’t hear about that until I got home. Now as far as anything like that goes, that was very few and far between. That was the media pushing that crap and they wouldn’t publish what was happening to us.” “The enemy was a thousand times worse. We tried not to shoot civilians but the enemy went in purposely to shoot civilians just to get them out of the way. They were brutal; they tortured people and everything else.” “The news media got a hold of it and sure they were all over it but you also look at why it was done. I believe if you don’t give back to the enemy what they do to you, they ain’t going to be afraid of you but we didn’t do that in our outfit now.” Whereas some veterans found they grew attached to the country while serving, upon his last few days, Wallace had no such sentimentalities. “I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. I wanted to get back to the land of flushing toilets, clean showers and mattresses. I wanted to get back to what I knew was humanity.” “The first thing I did when I got home was I went to the bar and got drunk. I was really down in the dumps because when I got in the airport in San Francisco, I was spit on and called a baby killer and I couldn’t

understand why.” Wallace also found the war had numerous long term affects on his life due its negative affects on his mental health. “I became a workaholic to suppress my post traumatic stress disorder which up until about ten yeas ago, didn’t realise I had. It cost me my marriage and I was in and out of a lot of jobs.” Wallace, like hundreds of other veterans, is still aggrieved about the fact that upon returning to the US after service, he was greeted by slander from the growing number of anti-war protestors. “I mainly avoided them but let’s put it this way; if one of them had come up to me, face to face, I might have killed them.” “How can you protest if you weren’t there? Some veterans who came back protested but I felt they had the right because they were there and knew what was going on.” He concludes, his resentment about the matter still very much in tact.

Lindsey German from the Stop the War campaign talks to Eileen Gahan about the problems of the continuing U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, and how it may be turning into Obama’s Vietnam Lindsey German from the Stop the War campaign talks to Eileen Gahan about the problems of the continuing U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, and how it may be turning into Obama’s Vietnam The recent increases of U.S. and British troops being sent to Afghanistan was a measure to support the new democratic government of the country and to quell the Taliban uprising on the Pakistan border. Yet instead it may be having the opposite effect on the country. Lindsey German, a spokesperson for the Stop the War campaign, tells the College Tribune how the continued presence of U.S. and British troops is causing, rather than preventing, the recent upsurges in Taliban violence. “According some British army personnel, rather than resenting the Taliban for planting these bombs, the Afghans are telling the army ‘If you weren’t here

in the first place the Taliban wouldn’t be planting these bombs’ and that’s a pretty unanswerable reply, because it’s absolutely true. If the foreign troops left tomorrow then the Taliban wouldn’t be planting the bombs.” However, withdrawing from the country does not seem to be on the agenda for the allied troops. Instead even more troops are being sent over to support the American backed Afghan government, led by Hamid Kharzai. German sees many parallels between these actions by President Obama and the U.S. policy during the Vietnam War. “They’re behaving like they did in Vietnam, which is that they are propping up various corrupt politicians, they’re sending in more troops, attacking Pakistan, so they’re extending the war.” German does not believe that the increase in troops will be sufficient to defeat the

Taliban. “They are not sending in enough troops to totally suppress the population which is what would actually be needed. Even with the increase of troops sent in this week, there will still be fewer troops than the Russians had when they were defeated 25 years ago.” There appears to be no easy way for the foreign powers to solve the current problems of Afghanistan. “I think bottom line is that it is not the business of the British and Americans to tell the Afghans what to do. We might not like the people we think will be in power in Afghanistan, we may not like some of the things that are happening there but at the end of the day if people don’t have national sovereignty they can’t possibly have democracy, or you can’t possible have any kind of progress in society. So the bottom line is that the troops have to get out, then you could talk about negotiations.”


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Features

Science National

Surviving the mother from hell Throughout his childhood Ken Doyle endured savage abuse at his mothers hand, he tells Philip Connolly his story and explains how his country stood back and did nothing; still refusing any blame to this day

College Tribune November 3rd 2009 Edgar Allen Poe once wrote; “Because I feel that in the heavens above The angels, whispering one to another, Can find among their burning tears of love, None so devotional as that of “Mother,” Therefore, by that dear name I have long called you, You who are more than mother unto me” For most a Mother is a vital part of nurturing their lives, for Ken Doyle she was responsible for destroying his. Two brothers, Ken and Patrick Doyle, from Tullamore in Co, Offaly, were severely abused and neglected by their mother, the Christian Brothers, the Gardai, and the Midland Health Board. During their childhood, the brothers were starved, tortured, brutally beaten, and forced to steal by their mother. When the Midland Health Board finally removed the boys from their home at 3 Pearse Park, Tullamore, they were sent to state institutions where they were raped and sexually abused. Ken’s story begins at an early age, around 18 months. “That is when the abuse, according to the records I have secured from the Midland Health Board, began. As early as 1965 my grandparents contacted the I.S.P.C.C. (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) in Athlone, about my mother starving my brother Patrick because he was taking food out of neighboring bins. If anyone had investigated they would have found that Mrs. Doyle was starving both Patrick and myself.” “In the same file Mr. Doyle even says he went to the priests to ask them to talk to his wife, but they would not come to his home and his wife refused to go to the priests. But yet every Sunday both Mr. and Mrs. Doyle were up to the Church in the front pew for Mass. And, of course, the priests were doing their own child abuse thing.” “And what did the Midland Health Board do? I was sent to St. Joseph’s Industrial School in Galway, where I was sexually abused by the Christian Brothers. The picture of me on the St. Joseph’s page of this site shows me at the age of 12 from the expression on my face you can see how unhappy I was and how small for my age. After St. Joseph’s I was sent to another school run by the Catholic Church, Scoil Ard Muire at Lusk, Co Dublin, where the sexual abuse continued. What happened to the place of safety?” “Even earlier, In 1970, I was in the hospital for malnutrition. At that time I entered the hospital at 4 1/2 years old weighing 27 pounds. In my father’s comments to the attending doctor: the child is neglected only getting one meal a day. Because I was getting fed regularly in the hospital I left after 3 weeks weighting 31 1/2 pounds.” “Starvation was only one of the abuses I suffered for all of my life. My mother used to beat me with anything she could lay her hands on. She kept me in diapers and made me wet them. Or she keep me naked in a cold house or out in the backyard. Cold baths were another thing she liked to inflict on me.” “In addition to this abuse Mrs. Doyle had various sexual perversions she would force Patrick and myself to satisfy her with.” Well known around the area, the Doyles were left along and vulnerable. “I was forced to steal all over the town bringing the stolen goods home to my mother. I stole groceries, Waterford crystal, newspapers, money, clothes anything I could get to please her. My reward, maybe some food or maybe not such a severe

beating that night.” While Ken and Patrick were singled out, there other siblings also suffered. “One of my siblings committed suicide two years ago, every one of the children in that household were abused.” To this day Ken lives with the very real consequences of his mother violent abuse, Rendered unable to work due to and injury sustained as a child. “At the age of 6 years of age my mother beat me so severely that she broke my leg in several places. I spent 13 weeks in the hospital recovering. My mother told the doctors I fell down the steps and broke my leg. Today she tells the Garda that it was self defense. How could it be self defense since she weighed over 200 pounds and I was maybe 50 pounds at the time. This was pure and simple another act of abuse where she got carried away.” Since then the true ineptitude of the states role has become clear. “Back in 2000, while living in Phoenix, AZ I was having some medical difficulties. Mostly with the back problems but also stomach problems, which have been tied by doctors to the child abuse and starvation. I told the doctor of the abuse as a child so the doctor said she would like to see any medical records from Ireland.” “So I contacted the Midland Health Board in Ireland and asked for my medical records to give to my doctor. Some time later I got a call from a very nice lady at the Health Board who said she had the files and would forward them to me. But first she wanted to tell me how sorry she was for the things I went through as a child in Ireland. I was a bit confused and not sure what was in these “files”. But the whole dirty secret would be revealed in what I was about to get from the Health Board.” “What I received were 100 pages of social files that detailed who knew and what they knew about the abuse and when they knew it. My guess that no one knew of the abuse was wrong. Social workers, doctors, police and, of course, Catholic Priests all knew that Patrick and I were being abused and did nothing. “ “I finally got about 200 pages before they stopped even answering my appeals and letters. At this point they knew they had made a mistake in releasing the social files, which I hadn’t asked for, and were not going to give up any more information. By then I had filed suites against the Christian Brothers for sexual abuse at their so-called school and the Health Board for not protecting me as a child. If the Irish Government put as much money into protecting children as they did into employees and office space in such areas as information commissioners and ombudsman then maybe there would be no more child abuse in Ireland.” “From the files you can see that the problem was too many nuns masquerading as social workers and those who were not nuns were just incompetent. And the so-called teachers in the schools were not bright enough to know that something is wrong when kids are searching trash cans or stealing other kid’s lunches for something to eat.”

“At the age of 6 years of age my mother beat me so severely that she broke my leg in several places”


College Tribune

Features

November 3rd 2009

Science

11

Black holes and revelations With new research shedding some light on our cosmos’ dark ages, Dr. Brian McBreen speaks to Philip Connolly about how we are getting to better know the Universe Astronomers have seen the furthest back in time ever, measuring light from a star that exploded 13 billion years ago, just after the dawn of the universe. They traced a gamma-ray burst from a massive star that died just 630 million years after the Big Bang brought the Universe into being - when it was just five per cent of its present age. To give some perspective, the light left these galaxies 8 billion years before our own Sun and Earth had even formed. Astronomers from the UK and Italy announced this record-setter in the journal Nature, which published two reports on the object. The star’s light first appeared last April when an incoming wave of gamma rays smacked into the earth. Nasa’s orbiting satellite Swift gave early warning to the world that a giant star had exploded in what is known as a gammaray burst. These are the largest explosions seen in the cosmos, so large that when they go off the light emitted is brighter than all the stars of the universe put together. Astronomers are hugely interested in these events and Swift is there to tell ground-

based observers where to point their telescopes to capture the fading afterglow as the star’s dying light fades. Gamma-ray bursts occur when a large star collapses to form a black hole, stated University College Dublin’s Dr. Brian McBreen. We only have “theoretical guidance” about just how far back in time we can go

Gaeilge

toEwards the Big Bang, but every discovery of this kind is important, he said. “It is telling us there were stars 640 million years after the Big Bang. It is quite exciting.” It means the Dark Ages of the cosmos didn’t last quite as long as previously thought, but Dr. McBreen expects that we will keep having to push back the clocks.

“The significance of this is: if there is one then there are many. You can expect more of these. It is only a matter of time and of facilities.” Dubbed GRB 090423, the record-breaker is an example of the brightest and most violent explosions known to exist. The explosion is thought to accompany the catastrophic death of a very massive star as it ended its life, and is triggered by the centre of the star collapsing to form a black hole. Much of this light was in the form of very high energy gamma-ray radiation, which triggered the detectors on a NASA satellite called Swift. Following up on the announcement from Swift several of the world’s largest telescopes turned to the region of the sky within the next minutes and hours and located the faint, fading afterglow of the GRB. Detailed analysis revealed that the afterglow was seen only in infrared light and not in the normal optical. This was the clue that the burst came from very great distance. The star’s death long ago was bright

enough to outshine even galaxies and will help scientists understand what happened in the early days of the universe. The cosmic ‘Dark Ages’ are thought to have ended about 800-900 million years after the Big Bang, when light from stars and galaxies re-ionized the previously neutral gas pervading the Universe. As more gamma-ray bursts are detected from these early times, it should be possible to trace the progress of this re-ionization, leading to the intergalactic medium we see today. Using two telescopes in Hawaii, they tracked the explosion from about 20 minutes after it was first seen. They also followed its afterglow via a telescope in Chile. Meanwhile, a team of Italian astronomers led by Ruben Salvaterra used their telescope in the Canary Islands to watch the same burst. The astronomers measured the explosion’s redshift - the distortion of light as it travelled across space and time - and found it was the highest ever recorded. The previous oldest object is at least 150 million years younger than the newly discovered gamma-ray burst.

Tá Gaeilge agam, ní Gaeilgeoir mé Blianta fada ó shin, an bhrí a bhain leis an bhfocal “Gaeilgeoir” ná duine a rinne sár-iarracht chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn agus an teanga a chaomhnú, ach le déanaí tá brí diúltach ag baint leis an téarma “Gaeilgeoir”... Nuair a cloistear an focal “Gaeilgeoir” anois, smaoinítear ar dhuine le drochchaighdeán Gaeilge, a cheapann go dtosnóidh gach duine sa tír ag labhairt na teanga más rud é go dtéann siad timpeall le stickers ‘Grá don Ghaeilge,’ á chur ar gach aon duine a bhfeiceann siad. Ag deireadh na dála tá níos mó olcais ná maitheas á dhéanamh ag na “Gaeilgeoirí” seo i leith todhchaí na teanga, toisc go gcuireann siad daoine ar mire lena gcuid cainte maidir le “craic” agus “spraoi” bheith acu ag na “céilís” (céilithe an iolra ar an focal céilí, déanfaimís droch-Ghaeilge na n“Gaeilgeoirí” seo a sheachaint)... Cé go gceapann siad go bhfuil siad ag

cur na Gaeilge chun cinn, is a mhalairt atá fíor, mar go bhfuil “Gaeilgeoirí” na tíre seo go mór lena chéile agus nuair a feiceann daoine gan Gaeilge seo, bíonn siad den tuairim gur club rúnda atá i gceist leis an Gaeilge. Chreideann daoine gan Gaeilge mar sin nach mbeidh siad mar chuid den club rúnda sin riamh, agus ciallaíonn sé sin nach bhfuil chúis acu an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim. Tuigimid dár ndóigh nach club rúnda atá i gceist ar chor ar bith. Tá daoine den tuairim gur tháinig tús le “Ré na nGaeilgeoirí” nuair a d’oscail Hector Ó hEochagáin a bhéal don chéad uair ar Theilifís na Gaeilge, agus gurb eisean ceannaire na “Gaeilgeoirí”, ach le bheith cothrom, ní théann Hector timpeall ag greamú stickers ar dhaoine ar thaobh na sráide, agus ní dhéanann sé iarracht a thuairaimí i leith na teanga a bhrú ar aon duine.

mian leis toisc go bhfuil íocaíocht a fháil aige as, ach ní ionann seo agus rá gur ghá go mbeadh gach duine le Gaeilge go h-iomlán “cracked” agus “lasmuigh don bhosca”. Fanaigí sa bhosca, a chairde, agus seans nach maróidh sibh an teanga le bhur gcuid pleidhcíochta... An fhadhb is mó a bhaineann leis na “Gaeilgeoirí” ná go dtugann siad droch íomha do chainteoirí Gaeilge, cé nach bhfuil ach an mionlach i gceist leis na “Gaeilgeoirí”... Tá neart cainteoirí Gaeilge ann, nach ndéanann iarracht an teanga a bhrú ar dhaoine gan Ghaeilge, ach a úsáideann an Ghaeilge go laethúil agus atá thar a bheith bainteach le saol na Gaeilge. Ní ionann bheith i do “Ghaeilgeoir” agus bheith páirteach i saol na Gaeilge... Is féidir liomsa a rá go bhfuil Gaeilge agam, ach nach “Gaeilgeoir” mé - an féidir leatsa an rud chéanna a rá fút féin?

Is réalt teilifíse é Hector agus is féidir leis a phearsantacht craiceáilte a úsáid más

le Cian Taaffe


12

Features

College Tribune November 3rd 2009

Travel

Viewing Beijing From Below

Rowan Kilduff gained exclusive entrance to the sprawling tunnel system which lies beneath the city of Beijing in China Who would’ve thought that under the entire centre of Beijing, underneath the peaceful Hutong streets and even stretching to Tianemen Square, there is a whole underground city? In the 1960’s, while the ever star reaching west was building space shuttles, Mao came up with the idea that the future lay underground. It was a time of fear of Nuclear War, and he planned for it. The result is that today in Beijing there are tunnels all over the narrow streets surrounding the Forbidden City and Tianemen Square. Secret entrances in people’s houses that lead down into a network of passage ways leading eventually to a complex of subterranean buildings said to include: a hospital, safe houses for officials, stores, restaurants, clinics, schools, theatres, reading rooms, factories, a roller skating rink, a grain and oil warehouse as well as barber shops and a mushroom cultivation farm, for growing foods that require little light, not to mention an entire 4-lane highway

leading from the government buildings to the outskirts of the city! Walking around Beijing, you would have no idea it was even there. Going down there was a bit like entering the hatch in LOST. Due to some sleuthy work with the local officials, the trip went ahead; there was a soldier at the door who made a big deal out of not looking at us at all as we passed and then we were descending steps into the basement of this normal house. We were in. Below there were quotes celebrating the ‘Great Leader’ and the Communist Party. Torches cast eerie disorientating light across everything, reflecting off the water at our feet, and at weird angles off the walls. Off the main tunnel were maybe ten storerooms, some empty, one full of old rusted bicycles from the 60’s, one with fire extinguishers. Certain sections of the tunnels were open to the public for a time, but have been closed for over a year. It could be that they

are dangerous and unstable as a result of the subway lines cutting through them. Eventually we discovered that a caved in roof blocked the exit path and we’d reached the end of our journey. The experience of going down there was amazing, it is something that is about as far from the tourist trail as you can get! A lot of people have never heard about this place and most Beijingers have never gone down here. Mao’s tunnel system was designed to stretch throughout Beijing. They were built for escape and refuge from Nuclear War. So in theory if you found the right entrance you could follow these tunnels all the way to Tianemen Square. However, many have been blocked off on purpose by the military. I was told that people are embarrassed by the whole period in history that spawned the tunnels, but can’t say it because of two reasons: they love the idea of ‘China’ so they won’t risk any blemish on it and more importantly, there still isn’t any true freedom of speech in China. Newspapers are censored, many books are banned, and even websites like YouTube, Facebook and Myspace are blocked. The Communist Party rules. Mao is alive and well in some ways, still given his ‘due respect’ from everyone too scared to say otherwise. My stay coincided with the detainment of the latest person to speak out against the government in China, the famous artist Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei was beaten and arrested. He designed the bird’s nest for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and he was the only person to openly criticize China in his blog. It makes me appreciate coming from an open free country where I can say what I want and unlike Ai Weiwei, I don’t have to worry about the police breaking down my doors and dragging me away for writing an article like this one.

FACT FILE: Beijing’s Underground City was open to the public from the year 2000 but have since been closed to the public as of 2002. The tunnels were built from 1969 to 1979 by more than 300,000 locals and even school children They extend for over 30 kms covering an area of 85sq kms, 8 to 18metres underground. There are more than 1000 anti-air raid structures in place. Most of the ancient city walls of Beijing were leveled for building materials.

It was planned that the tunnels could house 40% of Beijing’s population in case of nuclear attack. Luckily it was never used.

For those interested in seeing the Underground City, the address is 62 West Damochang Street, Qianmen, tel. 6702-2657. Apparently, there is another site in Beijing Qianmen Carpet Factory at 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, tel. 6701-5079 and a lesser known one at 18 Dazhalan Jie in Qianmen. (at the time of writing, the access to the underground city is by unofficial means only)


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Opinion

College Tribune

&

Comment

November 3rd 2009

Debate

Psycho-social Benefits of Religious Practice I am not into religion, though I would classify myself as a spiritual person’! How often have I heard this and similar pronouncements- almost like a boast – from the lips of a young and not so young generation of ‘enlightened’ souls! What is it about ‘religion’ that rings so hollow? Why is it perceived a bit like an old, tattered coat that is neither fashionable nor attractive and in any case just doesn’t ‘fit’?

Religion for many smacks of authority - rules and regulations, dos and don’ts (with emphasis on the latter), stricture and structure, institutional control and (largely male) domination. In a word, it feels like an imposition from above rather than liberation from within, and this, in an age which highly values – and rightly so - personal freedom and self-determination, is ‘anathema’ to the soul of contemporary women and men.

Hence, perhaps, the widespread rejection of religion. And yet, spirituality remains. Even belief in a personal God remains. The problem, it would seem, is not so much faith, but its institutional expression, not so much belief in God so much as difficulties with Church. Religion for many has moved from public, communitarian, institutionbased practice to a privatised, personalised, customised, DIY ‘spirituality’. But is this enough? Will it serve us over the long haul? In a recent publication entitled ‘The Psycho-social Benefits of Religious Practice’ (see www.ionainstitute.ie) Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry at UCD and the Mater Hospital, presents rigorous scientific evidence to show ‘the positive link between religious practise and personal and societal well-being’. In her Executive Summary, we read the following striking headings (which are discussed and defended in the body of the research): Religious practise reduces the risk of suicide, religious practise reduces the risk of depression, religious practise helps cope with bereavement effects, etc. Other positive effects include reduced risk-taking in sexual behaviour among teenagers and greater marital stability among couples who practise the same religion. ‘In general’, she writes, ‘it seems that participation in religious activities, as distinct from the more nebulous ‘spirituality’ has a greater benefit on psychological and social adjustment’.

Further, she concludes: ‘If religion is practised by a large number of people across a population, then its benefits will accrue to society as a whole’. If these findings are true – and they are well attested, with rigorous elimination in the research of so-called ‘confounders’ which could ‘cloud the picture’ or skew the results – then it would seem that the contemporary refusal of religious practice is short-sighted and ultimately selfdefeating, or at the very least, not selfserving. As a person given to religion and religious practice ‘professionally’ as a Jesuit priest, I often have the impression, when confronted with the ‘I’m not into religion’ antiphon, of one standing outside a magnificent cathedral I have just exited and looking back with the eyes of my conversation partner. All he sees are grey walls, a solid structure more like a prison than a home, and vague, colourless shapes on grilled windows that hardly make sense. I, for my part, have just come from inside and am still filled with the sweet scent of incense that fills the air, the splendour of the stained-glass windows, and the extraordinary light the forms and shapes cast on our human story. I realise that I see things from the inside out and he sees it from the outside in, and both perspectives are completely at odds with each other, though we are looking at the same thing! At the heart of religion and religious practice for me as a Catholic, as a Christian, is ‘deep, interior knowledge and love

Atheism; an alternative faith  ardinal Seán Brady recently re-iterated the C claim that atheism is, like religion, a position of faith: since atheists cannot disprove the existence of God, then to take the position that God does not exist requires a leap of faith. Mr. Brady isn’t alone in this suggestion; many highly-placed religious figures, from the Pope to American evangelical leaders such as Pat Robertson frequently endorse it. But it relies on a misguided interpretation of the atheistic position. Atheism is not a position of certainty; it is an expression of belief. Atheists do not claim absolute knowledge. Nor do we claim that it all ‘happened by chance’, as is so often said. What we avow is the pretty un-extraordinary belief that the Universe was not created by a personal, intervening God, with the characteristics described in holy books such as the Bible or the Koran, in the same way as the reader of this article no doubt believes that there is not someone with two heads standing behind them (try proving it!). It’s important to bear in mind that theistic incarnations of God are quite specific. In the interests of objectivity, I try not to rely too heavily on the archetypal image of a bearded, wise old man in the heavens, because no doubt there are nuances to it and religious people (generally theologians) with more “sophisticated” interpretations. However let’s be honest – what layperson thinks of anything radically different from this when they picture their God? It certainly isn’t a “quantum fluctuation” that the vast majority of believers have in mind. No, this must be an

entity capable of connecting and empathising with human beings; our hopes, our suffering, our fears, our joy. It is therefore an entity with whom we share much in common. Religions insist that this stems from God having created man in his own image, but to most atheists, it’s exactly what we should expect if it the opposite were true. There’s good psychological evidence to show that humans, as a species, are obsessed with personification of inanimate objects. We see (human) faces and patterns where there are none. We see intentionality in everything. We’re also, it must be admitted, pretty selfcentered – we want to see ourselves as the most important objects in the Universe. It was only in the 16th century that Copernicus’ Heliocentric Model of the Solar System convinced us that, in fact, our planet was not the centre of everything. But why had we ever assumed this to be the case? Certainly not because of any objective evidence pointing towards it. There’s an amusing anecdote in which the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein asked a friend this exact question, to be told that “obviously it just looks like the Sun is rotating around Earth and not the other way around.” Wittgenstein replied: “well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating around the Sun?” But to me atheism is not just a philosophical standpoint on the nature of reality; it is a social standpoint, an expression of the principles to which we subscribe. We live in a society in which upwards of 90% of primary schools are owned and operated by the Catholic Church.

If I want to send my children to a school and not be coerced into believing falsehoods about the world, then I’m clearly in trouble! Add to this the fact that our constitution is still explicitly Christian, containing a litany of references to the Judeo-Christian God, “blasphemous libel” is still considered an offence punishable by law and the influence of the Catholic Church still exerts itself unmistakably in our intolerance towards homosexuals and suspicion of scientific advances such as embryonic stem cell research. Atheists should be unapologetic. The very fact that we have not been able to organise ourselves in the past has led to a complete lack of political clout. The whole reason religions have such influence in politics in some places is precisely because religious institutions have perfected the art of lobbying. Adam Dinan Adam Dinan is student officer with Atheist Ireland, a national body established in 2008 which aims to promote a rational, ethical and secular Irish society. He also studies Microbiology at University College Cork and is the auditor of UCC Atheist Society, the first third level student group established for non-religious people.

of Christ made man for me’ (St. Ignatius Loyola). It’s a bit like being in love. Just as the ritualistic expressions of love between couples – candle-lit meals, warm embraces, surprise parties – are full of meaning and truth only because they are underpinned by love, so too religious practice, without this underpinning, are empty. I wonder if the loss of a heart-felt connection God explains why religious practice – ritual - has lost its appeal? The intense search for spirituality in our time, often sought in New Age practices or other home-made rituals, is indicative of some need to connect with the transcendent. The question is: are these home-spun practices a worthy substitute? Are they effective and satisfying in the long run? Casey’s survey would suggest that they are not, that we need more and that those who are part of a practising community of believers are clearly in a better place. Where do you stand? Leon Ó Giolláin S.J. (Chaplain/Student Adviser). P.S. If you would like to continue the discussion initiated in this opinion-piece, please feel free to contact Leon at leon.ogiollain@ucd.ie. Also: www.ucd.ie/chaplaincy. Fr. Leon Ó Giolláin S.J. is the Chaplain and student advisor for Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. Before coming to UCD as chaplain four years ago, he worked with young Religious and seminarians as a counsellor, having trained in Rome in clinical (Christian-based) psychology. He also


College Tribune

Editorial

November 3rd 2009

Tribune

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Editorial

Rises in pay as country goes down Reports of pay rises and bonus awarded to those in upper management positions in the public sector is not new news in this country, or even this University. When the Celtic Tiger was roaring the payments may have been justifiable, or least more readily accepted by the populace. News of pay rises and bonuses in the current economic climate, however, are sickening. The country is facing a national budgetary crisis. Unemployment is continuing to grow which is placing a major strain on social welfare resources. It is also creating a massive shortfall in the amount of tax expected in the exchequer income. The private sector is witnessing dramatic pay cuts and job losses. The public sector has lost income through increased taxes and levies, and is looking to take a pay cut across the board in the next budget. Vital operations in children’s hospitals are being cancelled weekly as there are not enough ICU beds or nursing staff to look after them due to lack of funding. If the recommendations in the McCarthy report are implemented, the Arts will also see a debilitating cut in funding, leaving one to wonder about the future of Irish culture and ability to attract foreign visitors. All the while some are receiving pay rises. The main argument for the pay increases is that they are backdated, promised years ago but for whatever reason are only to be paid out now. It is expected that there could be legal challenges if the money was denied. This is unacceptable. It is typical of the inherent greed that accompanied the boom years that more money must now be paid out, even when the country and the Government are not in the same position now as they were when the pay was agreed. On the surface this may not be fair, but as we have seen the recession has not been fair. If we are to pull ourselves out of this situation, the country needs to change its remuneration practises and examine the amount of money is pays to people who contributed more than their fare share to getting us in this mess.

A much appreciated helping hand With €4,000+ a year being the average cost of a student living away from home spends on rent, it is not hard to see why the Celtic cubs are being so badly affected by the recession. Students are burdened with high costs for just simply the basics of our so called ‘free education.’ This entails not only the cost of accommodation but also everyday nourishment, course books and an ever increasing registration fee. It must also be taken into account there is at present very few remedies for this fiscal difficulty with part time jobs as hard to come by as the book you need in the James Joyce Library. However it is a comforting thought to know help is at hand for the student under serious financial hardship. The Student Assistance Fund, which is means based and is available to those students under severe and ongoing monetary pressure, targets those who are most at need. It must be applauded that even though the amount of students applying for the fund has over doubled, from 200 to over 400, they will all be accommodated. According to UCD’s welfare officer, nearly all of the applicants for funding will be successful. Even if it the applicants will get less money than previous years, it is a reassuring thought that despite the university cutting back in every department possible, those in serious need of a helping hand will not find themselves facing a closed door. With the huge push of advertising for the Student Assistance Fund, students are recognising that the help is out there as seen by the phenomenal numbers applying this year.

Education Inc.

“A cancer in the system” was how one academic put it, as academics rage against there masters over the so-called “marketisation” of education. Another called for a return to the traditional values of teaching and scholarship and a search for knowledge for knowledge’s sake. “A university is an institution where one of the main obligations is the free, critical and independent development of thought and new ideas which in many cases will challenge the dominant truth. And therefore they should not be expected to deliver measurable outcome on a daily (or yearly) basis,” Well, why not? Although we should always give education the time and space to allow new ideas to gestate and flourish, should there not be some form of result based responsibility, as there is for students of course. The last few years have seen UCD race up the Times lists at an unprecedented rate, a climb few would attribute to the HEA or government. Mostly this is a symptom of President Hugh Brady’s aggressive commercial plans, resulting in better facilities and often better staff as the university becomes more reputable abroad. There are few who would turn those down.

Letters

Dear Editor,

First, the guarantee: concerned about the detrimentary effect of health charges in UCD I contacted Vice-President for Students Martin Butler and SU Welfare Officer Scott Ahern. I received assurances from both that if a student was unable to pay they wouldn’t have to. Second, the reality: A female undergraduate contacted me, very upset and worried. She had been to the nurse at UCD but was unable to pay the €25 fee because, quite simply, she needed the money for food and books. Despite her nervous condition, she received 6 reminder emails from the health centre in the space of 2 days demanding payment. She went to see Ahern. His response was to put her in touch with a government debt management service! She was not mismanaging money; it is just that everything costs more. Sick students, unable to afford the fee and worried about their health, now have the extra worry of scraping together money while being constantly hassled for payment.

A free health service is an essential prerequisite to an effective and just health service. Throughout the history of independent Ireland, progressives like Noel Browne fought for this principle while FF/ FG remained inert in the face of Church pressure. Unfortunately, in the Ireland of today the wealthier you are the better service you get. A key exception is the free healthcare available to Irish students. This is based on the recognition that college is generally a transitory and relatively impoverished period of one’s life. Except in UCD - the only students’ union in the country to have spinelessly conceded the relinquishment of free healthcare for students. Few students realise that, unlike library fees, outstanding health charges do not affect your ability to graduate. If you can’t pay, don’t; and let your SU know what you think of the fee in the meantime.

Yours etc, Bryce Evans

reading letters, Romans by St. Paul there’d be no problem now would there? So why can’t I read my Hamlet or my history of medieval sexual deviancy?

Senior Tutor, School of History and Archives School of History and Archives and Humanities Institute of Ireland University College Dublin

God is discriminating against me, and UCD have, as the former Catholic University, become the right hand of the Lord. I mean think about it. First they took the sexy posters, now they’re shutting up shop on Sunday. Who runs this bloody place? Papa Ratzi and the men in black?

Dear Sir/Madam

What’s next, closing of the bars, skirt length regulations, expulsion the homosexuals and sexually liberated individuals from campus? I for one smell a conspiracy. Hitler probably started like this. Little by little you know, nobody gets suspicious that way. I bet they close the library on a Sunday so they can spend the day removing undesirable literature. I certainly have been having difficulty finding some of the books I needed the other day. I bet they’re burning all the Thomas Mann, and Oscar Wilde. Next they’ll be after Shakespeare and that just ain’t ever good.

What is the deal with the library opening hours? This years opening hours are absolutely ridiculous; it closes too early and they don’t even bother to open the place on a Sunday. I know it’s the Sabbath and all that but I hardly think the Lord is going to strike my ass with a thunder bolt for reading some Shakespeare for my English class on Monday morning. I mean if I was reading the twelfth letter to the, obviously very into

I think we, the students, should all rise up like a unified body and bring down the ridicules bureaucratic rule that has taken over Newman’s dream. The cutbacks are, as always, totally absurd. They didn’t cut back on Brady’s wage did they? No. They cut costs by attacking the library. Surely to the Sabbath work hating God, this makes no sense. What is a university, after all, without its library? Maybe that’s why our University has gone to the pits; we’re nothing, because our library has become nothing. Name and address with the editor


Inside

Its Satire Stupid!

Belfield bugler loses horn Atheist society claims to be a non-prophet organisation Bowling alley goes on strike Baby born nine months premature Lustra claim Scottie doesn’t know Crematorium makes residents blood boil Assassin did it from behind

Politicians receive anal transplants It has recently come to light that a number of T.D.’s in Dáil Éireann have received surgery funded entirely by the HSE. Among those eminent politicians who underwent what has been described as “emergency surgery” are Brian Cowen, Enda Kenny, John Gormley and Batt O’Keeffe. The surgical team at the Mater hospital preformed a number of anal transplants on the T.D.’s. The aim of the operation was to divert any future excrement towards the politician’s anal cavities, as opposed to the present situation where it seems to be flowing freely from their mouths every time they are opened. “Never in the history of the state has such an action been so badly needed”, commented Dr. Frank N. Furter, who lead the surgi-

cal team during the operations. “There has been a sharp rise in oral excretion during the present government’s time in office. Talk of NAMA, fees, and other such dribble have gone on far too long, this has to end now. These transplants will, we hope, sort things out in the Dáil.” More locally, it is rumoured that the UCD Students Union have expressed interest in the procedure. It seems they are interested in going under the knife themselves. Reports from inside the dark halls of student political power have revealed that there is so much shit spoken in the place, it looks like the Maze prison during the dirty protests. It is hoped the post-op Redmonite regime will involve a little less conversation and a little more action.

te

i l e s d n se a m a b O to s p o o r t tan s i n a h Afg

Inventive recession money makers Recession is here and fears of Ireland’s imminent return to the 1980’s are gripping the nation as a whole. Yes, that’s right, leggings and mullets are in danger of making a comeback any moment now. Poverty is gripping the land as the unemployed stand in ever expanding dole queues. We’re growing weary of endless reports of doom and gloom. The Turbine has decided to help our fellow men and women, by supplying three ingenious modes of money making; after all, money is the root to happiness. That’s what our capitalist masters have been telling us for the last few years anyway. Recession money maker number one is busking. You will need is a tin whistle and absolutely no talent. Blow into

the thing make it screech, people will pay you to stop. You could also try book a few gigs. Who knows, you might even make it to the big time. U2 started out as a group of snot nosed, talentless, street performers, look at how far they’ve come, their now a rich group of snot nosed, talentless, stage performers. Recession money maker number two is prostitution. Yes we are serious. It’s the oldest profession on earth and you don’t really need to buy anything for it. All you need to do is dress up nice, moisten your lips and find a spot on Leeson St. guys should head for the Wellington monument. We at The Turbine believe we should use the frustration of the bankers and business men to our advantage by overcharg-

ing them for sexual favours. It’s not like they haven’t been screwing us for years anyway. Recession buster number three is selling a kidney. You’ve probably spent your time in college drinking your liver to death and smoking your lungs to obliteration so selling your kidney shouldn’t pose any nasty ethical problems. All you need is access to the internet. Write a nice description of yourself and your lifestyle, always remembering to make yourself sound sporty and healthy, kidney buyers like that kind of thing. Then it’s only a matter of time until you’re €4,000 better off. See you at the student bar soon, with pockets full of cash.


College Tribune

Sport

November 3rd 2009

17

the college tribune

Sport

The College Tribune 3.11.09 ucd.ie/tribune/sport

Super League It’s for special people

Down the Line

We decided send our newest reporter for his first taste of superleague, or any sport for that matter. We’re very sorry and it wont happen again.... Finding the location of a pitch called Astro 1 in U.C.D. may be simple for the multitudes of sports fans in our fair university, but for one who has never even seen a full soccer match in their life, this poses a series of particular problems. The solution to this embarrassing conundrum came in the slightly unexpected form of loud cheering and whistle blowing. Such a ruckus could only lead to a sports match or a gay pride rally, both of which have their individual charms and both of which have an unusual number of similarities, male bonding, playful jostling and the importance of balls to name but a few. The pitch was however located, just as the match was to begin, and what a match it was. It proved apparent that more can be learned about football while attending a live match, than any other way. The 2:00pm meet in Astro 1 was between The God Squad and Gheel BBQ 2007. The initial impression of the game was that Gheel BBQ 2007 were the wealthier side, with all but two of their players in matching uniforms, which was a very nice touch. Gheel’s synchronisation seemed to be paying off in the opening ten minutes of the game, in which, despite two misses, they were the better opening side, dominating control of the ball. The God Squad came back in the tenth minute with their first goal of the game. Gheel came close to scoring again in the twentieth and twenty-eighth minutes of the game respectively. However despite their best efforts they failed to achieve any digits on the metaphorical scoreboard (they don’t in fact have one

in Astro 1, very inconvenient) until the thirty-first minute of the game, when an impressive run down the left side resulted in the ball being planted firmly in the net. The Gheel keeper seemed at ease blocking The God Squad balls. In the thirtyninth minute of the game however The God Squad scored an impressive goal when the ball was lifted over the opposing keeper. One wonders if some divine intervention was at work. This seemed to mark an improvement in The God Squad’s game. Improvement however didn’t carry over to the second half as The God Squad putting through their own net, which was followed by Gheel’s domination of the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Here commentary must sadly end; it began to rain, there was thunder and lightning and reporters melt in the rain. Sunday afternoon was intended to be spent reporting on the match between Bitchezs Aint Shit and Your Mum’s a keeper, very hung-over, after a tremendous night at the Rocky Horror. Sadly however only Bitchezs Aint Shit had turned up by quarter past the hour, reporters melt if they wait around too long so it was off home once again. The lack of punctuality on the part of Your Mum’s a Keeper can only be attributed to their over zealous trick-or-treating, which resulted in over indulgence of sweets, causing either tummy aches or perhaps some sort of sugar induced coma. Football has proven to be far more interesting than previously thought.

Mightier than the sword? With many a sporting deep, dark secret pouring out, Ben McCormack examines how we let the celebrity world infiltrate the pinnacle of skill and physical accomplishment In a heart wrenching interview to the Irish Times, Donal O Cusack finally opened up with the wider world. Tormented and courageous, Andre Agassi also came clean about his secret a few days later. Yes they both have autobiographies coming out. This is the incredible truth behind their insubstantial secrets, the latest in a long line of sports celebrities to appear with a piece of writing that will survive for a quarter of a generation. The modern culture has permitted the celebrity cult to run rampant, allowing a certain glamour model to write thirty different books, most of which are about herself, and nobody seems to mind. For a long time sport was held away from this lifestyle, being promoted (usually by the old guard and snobby journalists) as the pinnacle celebrity and the ordinary working man. No longer, I am sure. Even the GAA is no longer safe from the mutating virus that is the celebrity. The amateurs are only that by the title, with players, coaches, commentators and even ex-presidents are now selling their “se-

crets” for the rights to publish. Tadgh Kennelly has been the latest player to write a book, “revealing” early that he has been close to illegal play on the AFL and GAA pitch. Any one else think so what? But the most blatant use and most disturbing frequency of autobiographies has come from that great bastion of sports celebrity, the premiership. If the players of the various teams of England really insist on telling me about how they made it from rags to riches, don’t they have enough out lets already? Wayne Rooney and Stephen Gerrard for example, both young guys, incredibly talented and come from working class backgrounds, like a lot of players, are not really worth the attention of a book. At least not yet, considering their both still playing and have done nothing earth shattering except win some trophies. Sport is now being belittled by this world. The gossip hounds are now supplying a duel service, with a match report and a full list of after party details. Ghosts of players past will now haunt the public instead of

the Match of the Day studio, flooding in with a belief that any slightly interesting story will sell. Of course, we already have a precedent on how this will affect the sports themselves. The most odious/skilful, bullying/inspiring, whining/determined player perhaps ever to play in the premiership, Roy Keane, was infamously punished by the FA, after he was retired and many years after the incident. Is this the course that sport in general will continue on? Where ruling bodies are able to charge people with mild offences well after the incident? Some people might call that petty, and this reporter is one of them. In the larger scale of things though, I am worrying and troubled. I see young guys doing TV shows, older guys writing meaningless biographies and the oldest guys looking on in despair. The sports fans of this world are being bombarded by the new celebrity, footballers and models, rugby players and porn stars, making the elite firmly the elite.


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Sport

College Tribune November 3rd 2009

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

French journalist Xavier Cerf talks to the College Tribune in anticipation of Ireland’s crunch play-off qualifiers against France. By Niamh Hanley It was the draw that nobody wanted. With memories still fresh from Thierry Henry’s killer Croke Park goal in 2005, the Irish team face a stern test in their French opponents. Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni has voiced his opinions of the current French side, viewing them as more dangerous than the team that won in Dublin. “I have seen their games and we were more than surprised that they did not fin-

ish top of their group.” So why has this French side consistently underachieved, and how are the Irish squad viewed in the French media? Xavier Cerf, a journalist with Vestiaires, a magazine for football coaches in France, offers his interpretation. Pre-

viously he has worked with Le Foot Lyon, the official magazine for Olympique Lyonnaise, and is deeply immersed in the game in France. Cerf claims that reaction to the draw was initially mixed. “Some football people, such as Bixente Lizarazu [World Cup winner with France in 1998], have said that the Ukraine would have been the worst draw for France. It would have been difficult to play there in November, due to climate conditions. Gérard Houllier has also said that the French should not be afraid of Ireland.” “However,” Cerf continues, “we know it is always difficult to play against Ireland, they are a team well known for their fighting spirit. We know, moreover, that they didn’t lose against Italy in their qualifying campaign. So we consider them a very good team.” The world’s media have been quick to dub the French as favourites in the tie. Xavier Cerf is doubtful, however, as to the degree of confidence within the French camp. “It’s hard to tell if the players are telling the truth or not in interviews. But the French players know that they had difficulties against average teams like Austria, Serbia, and Romania. None of those teams are as strong as the Irish side. So I don’t think they are too confi-

Ski’s the limit for UCD Snowsports

dent. They are cautious in their approach to the two games, although some players may be a little arrogant about it.” The controversy in Ireland relating to the non-selection of certain players has parallels in France also. After coming second to Serbia in their qualification group, the pressure on French manager Raymond Domenech is building. A recently publicised bust-up with Thierry Henry casts the spotlight on Domenech once more, a controversial figure who has divided the French soccer public. Cerf gives his opinion on how the French manager has stayed in his position. “You have to know that when he played with Lyon and Bordeaux, in the seventies and eighties, a lot of players were afraid of him. Domenech was a tough defender. He has always been like that, defending his convictions, even if most pundits deny it. Many of the World Cup winning squad of 1998 think that Domenech doesn’t have the tactical ability or the talent to manage a team like France. But he doesn’t care about that, he thinks he’s always right.” Yet the eccentricities of Domenech means that the French public has never fully warmed to him. Widely acknowledged as superstitious, Domenech applies theories of astrology as part of his management style. However, he is an astute operator who can deflect attention from his team when needed. Only minutes after France’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2008 semi-final, Domenech proposed to his girlfriend on camera. Reports in the English-speaking media about his opinions on the Irish team have also been misleading, according to Xavier Cerf. “I don’t think he said [that the Irish team are

Mark Hobbs In this little green isle of ours, snow is usually greeted with joy and wonder. Thousands of children stay home from school, masses flock to parks and fields and countless snowmen are brought into the world. And why do we treat it as something strange and fascinating? We do this because it doesn’t snow in Ireland, or very rarely at least. Bearing this in mind, how is UCD Snowsports one of the fastest growing societies in the college? “It seems strange for a lot of people to join snow-sports in a country that there is no snow, but between our weekly activities on the dry slope we have here and our very epic trips we get a lot done”, said the club’s captain Shane Given. Fortunately for snow-sport enthusiasts there is an artificial ski slope in Kilternan, situated ten minutes off the M50 just outside Dublin. The dendex surface is not quite as fast as snow, but does give a close approximation and is an ideal place to learn the ropes. UCD Snowsports provides training sessions up to three times a week at discounted rates, and attention is spread equally between snow boarding and skiing. “Anyone who has been skiing or snow-

like an England B side]. He said ‘Angleterre bis’, which means ‘another England’, a team whose players mainly play in the English Premiership. He thinks Ireland is a strong team, not that they are England reserves.” Whatever interpretation is made of Domenech’s comments, the coach himself will be at odds without playmaker Franck Ribéry, a creative force who will be badly missed in the French side. Cerf, who dubs Ribery the “best player in the [French] team”, acknowledges the loss, and also thinks that the Irish have individual players who will prove a thorn in the side of the French defence. “Personally, I’m a fan of Robbie Keane. He’s a top class goalscorer and the French [will be] aware of that. Damien Duff is not the same player who was at Blackburn and Chelsea, perhaps, but he will always be a danger.” As for the play-off itself, Xavier Cerf thinks that the Irish may just be able to overcome their Gallic counterparts. “I’m not a great example of a French supporter because I don’t like the arrogance surrounding the international side. If Ireland are able to avoid defeat against the Italians twice, I don’t see why they can’t do it against France. I can see it being a 1-1 draw in Dublin, and the Irish snatching a 1-0 win in Paris. People might think that I’m mad, but it’s what I want to see! And they can do it. France is not an amazing team, you will see…”

boarding before will know how much fun it is…it’s just a fun sport that you can progress at your own speed without the pressure of playing on a team like in rugby or soccer”, he continues, emphasising that the success of the club has laid in their ability to cater for people of all abilities in a patient and relaxed environment. Indeed the club’s upcoming trip to Avoriaz drew unprecedented success, selling out within minutes as members queued for hours in advance of the sale. Seasoned and experienced sports people are catered for too; the club hope to provide some genuine competition in this month’s British University Dry Slope Championship in Edinburgh. Given lists discounted training prices, relatively cheap trips abroad and an extremely active social aspect to the club as key advantages to joining rather than braving the slopes alone, and the eighty UCD students that will be pitting themselves against the Alpine slopes of Avoiaz echo his sentiments. There is a word of warning however, it seems snow sports can end up being all consuming; “Turns out snowboarding is incredibly addictive, so I haven’t really been able to stop.” He exclaimed.


College Tribune

Sport

November 3rd 2009

UCD endure two thrashings Ben McCormack After a great opening start in the league and cup, UCD suffered two defeats in a row at the hand of Limerick sides. The first was at the hands of Thomond, by sixteen points, and this week to Bruff. These results have dropped UCD to 8th place in the table with nine points off the lead. After only four games this is not a drastic situation but in a short season and a division they should really be doing better, this may be a costly two games. Their opponents this week, Bruff, have started the season uncharacteristically well. The lesser known of the Limerick sides currently lie in sixth place. However, while they have picked up good wins against the likes of Old Crescent and Highfield, they were crushed by Lansdowne 54-13, which is where the students aught to be aiming. By failing to pick up even a losing bonus point here is as much of a problem for the UCD camp as it is a success of the Bruff defence. With not so long to go until Christmas and some of the tougher games just the other side, Collidge need to be picking up on every point they can. With Lansdowne still undefeated and only dropping one bonus point so far, they are looking like the team to beat, a position the students shared not so long ago. Many predicted that the students would use their defeat last week to beat their hosts. The loss to the midfield of some key

19

Sports in Brief Compiled by Eoghan Brophy

Archer closing in on Euopean Championships

playmakers has left UCD looking vulnerable this week. Though through to the last sixteen of the Cup comfortably with a wonderful win

over Thomond, this may seem like a distraction from the idea of promotion. This would be hard to conceive. With the likes of Clonakilty and Old Cres-

cent on the horizon over the next few weeks, UCD have the chance to crawl back up the table, a proposition much more preferable to cup rugby.

Marian fall to fourth Defeat Continued from Back page

Photography byIan Mulholland

Baynes kept the baskets coming for Marian and scored a beauty two minutes into the second quarter. A slick dummy inside and finger roll made the home crowd roar. Unfortunately four Marian fouls allowed Campbell and forward Rob Lynch to clock up the free throw points. UCD also missed too many from outside when they should have driven inside. They seem to miss a big centre presence like Dave Ryan. Patrick Shea just doesn’t put enough on the score board. UL lead by seventeen points at the start of the second half and despite scoring first UCD failed to reduce the overall difference in points. Conor Meany and Neil Baynes forced their way inside the tough UL defence but UCD’s defence was again prone to giving away free throws and Campbell and Robbins put away respective baskets from the line. At that stage of the game the top scorers were; for UCD, Niall Meany with 17, Neil Baynes with ten, Conor Meany with seven and for UL, Stu Robbins with 24 and Neil Campbell with 14. Conor James played particularly well towards the end of the third quarter, stealing possession twice in quick succession to allow counter attacks where Conor Meany got some desperately needed points. The last minute of the third consisted of Daniel James putting away free throws and Baynes palming in a rebound to make it 50-67 to the Limerick team. UCD pushed for a comeback in the final quarter but could only come as close as ten points from the Eagles’ score. After great work from Baynes, Conor James and both Meany brothers they brought the score to 67-77 with a minute to go but UL kept winning free throws to break up any home momentum. At the centre of this play was the talisman Robbins with a whopping 29 points to his name. Niall Meany got a nice three pointer as did Scott Kinnevane but in the end Rob lynch got the final basket to leave it a disappointing 69-88 and Marian still fighting for a first win. They face Dart Killester away this Sunday at 3-30.

UCD archer, James Ryan could be on his way to the European indoor championship after an impressive performance at the Greenhills Anniversary Shoot. Beating his own intervarsity record by 20 points, he won the Olympic recurve category. There is a question over whether Ryan’s score of 578 will count as an official record with Greenhills not part of the intervarsity league. Another performance like this will result in his inclusion in the European Indoor Championships. UCD Archery society will gain a huge confidence boost from their chairperson’s performance as they go into the first intervarsity tournament of the season in DCU next Saturday.

Soccer success continues UCD U20’s came through an eventful game on Saturday afternoon to continue the success for UCD Soccer, progressing to the semi-final after beating Limerick on penalties. Sean Huoston and Gavin Falconer scored for the students along with a penalty miss from Keith Ward before Limerick got back into the match with their own two goals before rain stopped play midway through the second half. Referee Rhona Daly decided that the heavy rain was unsafe and brought the teams in for 15 minutes. After the rain delay the match lost its momentum and neither team could find a way through. After extra time it was still 2-2 and so penalties decided on the winner. 8 penalties for each side later and Danny Fallon got the winner for the students, three hours after the game had started.

Hockey teams show poor form UCD men’s and ladies first hockey teams suffered defeats at the weekend. Joint leaders Three Rock Rovers put three past the students with only one coming in reply as the men’s hockey team have yet to gain a point this season. Having conceded 29 goals in the five games so far, they are glued to the bottom of the division one table. The ladies team lost 3-2 to Hermes but have fared a little bit better than the men’s with one victory from their first three matches this season and face a tough match at home to Pembroke Wanderer’s next weekend.


Losing the plot

A Lost Cause?

Report Page 18

Interview Page 18

Rugby side endures second loss

Can the Irish really beat the French

the college tribune The College Tribune 3.11.09 ucd.ie/tribune/sport

Sport Photography by Ian Mulholland

Team

P

W

D

L

F/A

Pts

UCD

32

23

5

4

61 / 18

74

Sporting Fingal

32

21

6

5

66 / 25

69

Shelbourne

31

20

7

4

58 / 29

67

Waterford United

32

19

6

7

48 / 19

63

Photography byBarry Hennessy

Students are champions Eoghan Brophy Lisseywoollen Athlone Town 0

UCD 5

Harding 35 Finn (pen) 59 McMillan 69 Corry 71 McMahon 82

UCD secured the first division title with one match to spare and they did it in style, cruising to a 5-0 victory against Athlone Town. With Shelbourne losing 5 - 4 to Longford, they can no longer catch the students and Belfield will witness Premier Division football next season. Sean Harding got the opener from a free kick just outside the box before the game ended as a contest on 59 minutes. Athlone keeper Barry Andrews got himself sent off after throwing an elbow at Dave

McMillan, resulting in a penalty and a red card. UCD captain Ronan Finn scored from the spot and UCD had the freedom of Lissywollen after that. McMillan, Paul Corry and Peter McMahon added to the goals tally to put the gloss on what has been a fine season for Martin Russell’s men. There were three changes to the side that came from behind to beat Longford last week. Greg Bolger and Keith Ward came in for Robbie Creevy and John Reilly with Chris Mulhall also replacing the suspended top scorer Ciaran Kilduff. And UCD clearly didn’t miss their top scorer, coming out of the blocks fast as usual. The first chance of note came on eight minutes when Evan McMillan headed over from a corner. On 21 minutes Harding came close with a free kick but put it just wide.

And Athlone failed to heed the warning as Harding was given another chance from just outside the box as he curled a free kick in to put the students in front. Reports were filtering through from Tolka Park that Longford were in front but the students didn’t let up with Creevy coming close just before the half. Athlone were in no means out of the game that is until the sending off. McMillan slid in for a 50/50 challenge and after an exchange of words, former student Barry Andrews lashed out with the elbow. It was an easy decision for referee David Coombes in producing the red card and awarding the penalty. Ronan Finn made it 6 from 6 from the spot this season and put UCD 2-0 up. The game was ultimately over as a contest less than ten minutes later. Dave McMillan headed in from a Finn right-wing cross before Paul Corry put his left foot through

the ball sending it into the bottom right corner. And the rout was finished off as the two subs, Ward and Peter McMahon combined, ending in a goal for the Monaghan man. With the Shelbourne game starting 15 minutes later the UCD players had to wait for the result to confirm that they were champions. By the end of UCD’s game it was 3-2 in Tolka Park to Longford. In the space of the next 15 minutes there was four goals, two apiece and so the UCD players came out from the showers, wrapped in towels and belly flopped on the Athlone surface to signal the start of the celebrations for the students that will continue next week when the trophy is presented after the match in Belfield Bowl against Waterford.

Fourth straight loss for Marian Jordan Daly Belfield UCD Marian 69- 88 UL Eagles UCD fell to their fourth straight defeat as poor discipline in the second quarter allowed UL Eagles to take the victory. The first quarter was a closely fought ten minutes. End to end scoring from both teams coupled with heavy fouling made for a decent spectacle but the home side, UCD failed to assert dominance. Eagles Captain Neil Campbell put away a couple, as did Scott Kinnevane and Glenn Wong got an early basket too. The towering Welsh powerhouse centre, Stu Robbins cleaned up and pushed the away score to twenty two at the buzzer. Neil Baynes was excellent all afternoon and worked with Conor Meany to swiftly cut through the UL defence while Niall Meany scored eight of the first twelve Marian points. UCD trailed 20- 22 going into the second period. UCD suffered in the second quarter due to weak discipline, conceding too many fouls and gave away a comfortable lead to the Eagles as Robbins made his game tally seventeen points with free throws and a powerful inside dunk technique. At 6’11” he used pure bulk to force gaps in UCD defence. Continued page 19

College Tribune Volume 23 Issue 5  

College Tribune Volume 23 Issue 5 November 3rd 2009

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