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NUACHTÁN SAOR IN AISCE VOL. 22 Issue 06. 15 DEC 2020

Student Independent News


The President expressed his support for paying student nurses.

Ó hÓgartaigh gets grilling at council, but pledges support for student nurses

President claims he will support efforts to pay student nurses in fiery Question and Answers session. Paddy Henry Editor NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh came under fire at the Student’s Union’s class Rep Council meeting late last month. The President, who attended the meeting to address concerns brought to representatives of the various schools and year groups throughout the University was heavily criticised by members for what they perceived as inaction on the part of the University in their handling of student affairs throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Questions raised ranged from issues students have had around the student levy to access to campus and the potential for more in class teaching in semester two. President of the Student’s Union Pádraic Toomey put forward a motion at November’s Council in support of student nurses. The motion, which was passed pledged support for local and national campaigns for fair renumeration for their work, an increase in allowances and the ending of the exploitation. The Council commended their work and noted that student nurses were unpaid, under supported and exploited while undertaking clinical placements. They also acknowledged that they were at an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 during their clinal placements, The move by council came just days before a defeated People Before Profit motion in the Dáil advocating for the immediate reinstatement of the payment of student nurses and midwives who are in placements during the Covid-19 pandemic, among other measures caused controversy. Student’s Union Pádraic Toomey spoke of the efforts that would be made to get student nurses paid following the passing of the motion, telling SIN. “The motion passed so with our work with the USI, with their working group and with our own

working group in the USI we are hoping to help with their work there and to get student nurses paid.” Also passed at council was a motion mandating the Union to campaign for all unpaid postrgraduate researcher teaching to be paid fairly for their work. Such was the demand from students to have questions answered by Mr Ó hÓgartaigh, another Question and Answers session was arranged with him last Thursday where he further addressed student queries. Pádraic Toomey welcomed the president’s attendance at the meetings stating that the second session was a result of the students wanting “way more” from President Ó hÓgartaigh. “We had the President on to answer questions and students actually wanted way more from him so that’s why we had Ciarán on again for two full hours again on Thursday (10th December) answering student’s questions. During the second session Ó hÓgartaigh pledged his support to student nurses telling those in attendance, “I would support that, learning from the pandemic and the Covid crisis one thing I think we have learned is that there were people in society who weren’t valued enough. Healthcare workers are among those so I would support. I support the direction of travel on that. It’s a HSE issue and it’s certainly a policy issue more widely, so the extent to which the University has a voice on it I would support the case and the campaign. I think that there are many people now in society that we value more than we did before and I think that nurses and nursing students are one of those groups .” Toomey welcomed Ó’hÓgairtaigh’s intervention on the matter “At the end of the meeting he said that he will come out in support of student nurses and he said that he will work with me on putting his voice in to doing that to say that student nurses should get paid.”

INSIDE SIN speaks to leading female artists on the lack of female artists on our airways. Page 6

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President Higgins makes Christmas address to students4 WHO Director leads NUIG’s honorary conferrals roll5 Gender Disparity in Irish Radio: How 2020 showed Irish Women’s voices in music were stronger than ever6 Failte Refugee Society Organises Christmas Swim in Aid of Direct Provision8 Women’s Aid on the abuse of young women9 NUI Galway lecturer talks how Covid-19 has affected her teaching10 Let’s talk about SHAG Week, was it a soaring success? Or was it a mess?11 NUI Galway Lecturer talks Student Mental Health, Psychotherapy and Podcasts.13 Pantomime – “The Santa Claus of the Theatre” is missing from 202014 Warner Bros to stream all their 2021 film releases15 Book Club Winner: The Distance between Two Freezing Hearths16 Get ready for the Winter spirit17 The Crown is far from the first on-screen inaccuracy and it won’t be the last18 How to Self-Care – Pandemic Student Edition20 Back in the day before 202021 Beauty bag review: December22 A Sign of the Styles: How a Harry Styles cardigan has created waves on the internet during lockdown23 Dealing with me; Grieving in lockdown24 And the award for the “Worst Year” goes to... 2020?25 The Leaving Cert is not fit for purpose26 Period poverty (the cycle of inequality)27 From Garda during the week to GAA commentator at the weekend28 Cause for optimism in 2021 as Galway bow out to excellent Treaty29 The Tribesmen abroad, Galway’s footballing prospects reviewed31

An bhfuil rud éigin le rá agat? Cur litir chuig an Eagarthóir chuig

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

EDITORIAL And just like that we’re into issue six, how quickly this year has flown by. In a year of elections on both sides of the Atlantic, political upheaval and controversy aplenty, the all paled into the insignificant in the shadow of Covid-19. I usually avoid offering any personal musings in my editorial. I write it as an introduction to the paper more than anything else. However, after the year we have all endured I see it fit to dedicate this issue to a select group of people who have done heroic work. A cohort who have kept our most vulnerable safe, well and comfortable during the most testing of times, all without getting a red cent in return. I am of course referring to the student nurses. A crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic really puts into perspective how invaluable the work they do is. In a recent motion put before the Dáil to pay our student healthcare heroes, our politicians have seemingly confused the phrases “invaluable” and “of no value.” A round of applause in the Dáil commending the work of our healthcare workers earlier in the year echoed around the chamber in Leinster House may have been a sign that our frontline workers may be getting some well-deserved recognition. It turned out to be virtue signalling in motion. While 2020 has been a year of great inconvenience for many of us, it has been a year of great loss for others, and when we look back at the last twelve months in years to come I hope the narrative will not be centred on the closure of the pubs

or the restriction of movements, but rather the 2,000 plus lives lost to this virus . The death toll has become somewhat trivialised of late. Conversations similar to “five deaths today, that’s not bad, but it was two yesterday” have been commonplace over the last year. But while for some they are simply statistics and points of conversation, for others they are empty seats at the dinner table on December 25th and this should be especially considered during the festive season. On to the paper, our final issue of 2020 is a big one, and once again I want to send a sincere thank you to everybody who has contributed over the past twelve months. Whether you wrote 500 words or 5,000 words every submission is greatly appreciated on our part and it is truly great to see people put their time and effort into something like SIN. I want to give a special thank you to everybody who served as a sub-editor over the last year too. Your effort since I took the reigns at the start of the year has been phenomenal, and having done the job myself, I know how time consuming it can be. So huge credit must go to Conor, Saoirse, Alice, Anastasia, Darren, Oisín and our online guru Danny, you’ve been a joy to work with over the past few months. So, to everybody reading, I hope you have a wonderful and safe Christmas and a happy new year. Hopefully 2021 will bring better things for us all.



2020 -2021


Find us online:

www.sin.ie EDITOR: Paddy Henry editor.sin@gmail.com LAYOUT: Shannon Reeves

Vice President / Education Officer Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Oideachais

President / Uachtarán

Emma Sweeney

Pádraic Toomey

su.education@nuigalway.ie 086 385 3658

Vice-President / Welfare and Equality Officer Leas-Uachtarán / Oifigeach Leasa agus Comhionannais

su.president@nuigalway.ie 086 385 5502

Róisín Nic Lochlainn

su.welfare@nuigalway.ie 086 385 3659

Oifigeach na Gaeilge Irish Language Officer

Mature Students’ Officer Oifigeach Mic Léinn Lánfhásta

Gender and LGBT+ Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Inscne agus LADT+

Disability Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Míchumais

Erin Mac An tSaoir

Michelle Mitchell

Maeve Arnup

Patricia O’Mahony

091 493 570 su.gaeilge@nuigalway.ie

085 853 7011 su.maturestudents@nuigalway.ie

091 493 570 su.lgbt@nuigalway.ie

085 212 0689 su.disability@nuigalway.ie

Postgraduate Taught Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe Teagasctha

Postgraduate Research Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe i mbun Taighde

Martin Smyth

Sebastiaan Bierema

Kirsty Moran

087 781 0130 su.pgtaught@nuigalway.ie

091 493 570 su.pgresearch@nuigalway.ie

085 882 4797 su.clubs@nuigalway.ie

Convenor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies / Tionólaí Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta & an Léinn Cheiltigh

Convenor of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences / Tionólaí Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte

Convenor of the College of Science and Engineering / Tionólaí Choláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta

Claire McHale 091 493 570 su.arts@nuigalway.ie

Clubs Captain Captaen na gClubanna

Evan O’Flaherty 091 493 570 su.medicine@nuigalway.ie

Aoife Buckley

087 775 0227 su.scienceengineering@nuigalway.ie

Positions to be filled next semester/Poist le líonadh an chéad seimeastar eile: Societies Chairperson • SU Council Chairperson • Convenor of the College of Business Public Policy & Law • International Students Officer • Ethnic Minorities Officer

Teil/Tel: Ríomhphost/Email:

+353 (0)91 493 570 studentsunion@nuigalway.ie


Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland. Áras na Mac Léinn, OÉ Gaillimh, Bóthar na hOllscoile, Gaillimh, Éire.




December 15 2020

NEWS EDITORIAL By Conor Brummell Hello everyone, and welcome back to the final issue of SIN for 2020! Time has absolutely flown by, and I can’t believe Christmas is nearly upon us. It’s going to be a different one this year, even for the fact that we have so much college work to do, and exams after Christmas, but we’ll get there. Before I go on, I just want to thank you the reader for sticking with SIN this semester. At the start of the year, we wanted SIN to be one of the constants, and I feel like we achieved that goal, for this semester at least. SIN is a volunteer led paper, and as such it can be difficult to try and motivate people to write for the publication. We thought we were going to have difficulty filling thirty-two-page paper every two weeks, but we must admit, despite the difficult and unusual challenges we faced, we did it. In the same breath, I want to thank the writers who have given their time to help get the paper every two weeks. Without you all, this semester would have been a tough one in terms of keeping the high standard of journalism this paper has always had. I want to personally thank Caoimhe Killeen, Fiona Lee, Mary Raftery, Sarah Slevin, Niamh Casey, Paris Ediagbonya, Valerie McHugh, and Eimear Nig Oireachtaigh, who I personally worked with this year as Editor of News. Student Journalism is so incredibly important, and especially this year, you’ve all shown that despite the difficult times we are living in, the future of journalism and media in Ireland is bright. In this issue, Caoimhe Killeen has a story about a Deep Seas Research project that is being headed up by NUI Galway. Niamh Casey tells us all about the appointment of Saileog Ní Cheannabháin as Sean Nós Singer in Residence in the college for 2021, and I report on a new charity called Ohana Zero Suicide who are aiming to break the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide in Ireland. Chomh maith leis sin, tá Eimear ar ais arís ina colún agus sa tseachtain seo, molann sí Mary Kennedy dúinn, agus an t-obair atá á dhéanamh ag an gcraoltóir maidir leis an teanga. As always, I’d love to hear from you if you have a story or want to get involved. We’ll be back up and running at the end of January, with the first issue of SIN in 2021 coming out in February. My email is deputy.sined@ gmail.com. Until then my friends, good luck in the exams, enjoy your Christmas and we’ll see you in 2021!

FEATURES EDITORIAL By Saoirse Higgins Hi and welcome back to our last issue of Semester 1! It’s been a weird semester for all of us, online lectures have been difficult and I miss the buzz of Galway as I sit in my bed at home. However, I am so excited for Christmas!

I have the presents ready (including matching pyjamas for an embarrassed boyfriend), the hot chocolate on the pot and the Christmas tree lighting up the sitting room. I hope all of you have a good Christmas and maybe I will be able to see some of you in the new year. I have loved reading all your articles this semester and I can’t wait to see more, we truly have great writers in NUIG. For our last issue, Features is absolutely packed with articles. Our regular columnists Aine and Tom talk to us about life at home and the toy show. We then move to see how lecturers are coping this semester! Sarah Slevin talked to lecturer Chris Place about psychotherapy and Ilka Denker talked to Soc and Pol lecturer Jaqueline Murphy about how online learning has been. Ilka Denker also got the chance to talk to a Leaving Cert group who have started an activism group in Galway. We then have a rundown by Sophia Hadef of Francis’ Soap Shop and what they have to offer this Christmas. With image-based sexual abuse in the headlines the past few weeks, Rachel Garvey gives us a snippet of the situation in her two articles. To round out the list, Neasa Gorrell tells us how SHAG week went and how everyone had a good time, especially the winner of the jar of 187 condoms. Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

ARTS AND ENTS EDITORIAL By Alice O’Donnell It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I’ve been blasting Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ for the past two weeks, made a bulk purchase of hot chocolate, and replaced my normal socks with fluffy ones. Although this past year has been anything but predictable, Christmas offers a welcoming warm hug of a return to traditions, of reliable times of Christmas puddings and cheesy movies. Sophia Hadef gets the Christmas theme off to a running start with her article on her all - time favourite Christmas books and films. Sticking to the literature theme, we also have a very special feature in this issue – the winner of the Book Club’s Christmas Short Story Competition! The Book Club is a fresh and sparkly new society at NUI Galway, and it’s great to see them budding and blossoming into such an active and popular society. Gabriel Baños’s story ‘The Distance between Two Freezing Hearths’ is the well deserving winner, a beautifully touching story sure to get you in the Christmas mood. Of course, for some Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year. Ilka Denker’s poem, ‘Beggar on Shop Street’, touches on the loneliness and isolation some people feel on Christmas, and the coldness of streets in December. A wonderful thought - provoking poem well worth the read. 2020 was beginning to seem as dismal as the lyrics of ‘Fairytale of New York’; two lockdowns, online classes, cancelled holidays and social distancing among some of the features

of the year. I read a quote recently by T. S. Eliot which struck me - “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” So, here’s believing that 2021 will be a more forgiving year; awaiting a voice of recovering, friendship and hope. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, happy New Year, and the very best 2021. See you next year!

FASHION & LIFESTYLE EDITORIAL By Anastasia Burton Can you believe how quick this year has passed? I am still mentally in March or April, but my calendar is telling me the opposite! How did we go from looking forward to a new year and a new us, to looking at a new year of uncertainty and acute fear. We have lots to look forward to in the new year, but I don’t think the mental and physical wounds left by 2020 will heal anytime soon. I wish to thank all the wonderful writers who took the time to write articles for my section this year. I am very grateful for you guys and you have been amazing me each time with brilliant work each and every issue. I hope to see some familiar names in 2021 and I have no doubt that your pieces will take my breath away. I hope that you have been enjoying our staple articles focusing on cheap and easy recipes, beauty bag reviews, mental health column, budgeting advice and the staycation junkie series. I am very proud of the work everyone has put into the regulars, but I’m also delighted with the wonderful fashion, beauty and lifestyle pieces I have received this issue! Check out the articles on Goth fashion and Harry Styles! I’m wishing you all health, good fortune, good grades, and good vibes in the upcoming new year and since I’m not a Christian I can’t really wish you a Merry Christmas, but I will wish you a happy upcoming new year. Lots of love Anastasia

OPINION EDITORIAL By Darren Casserly Hello everybody and welcome back to the last issue of SIN for the worst year of all time, 2020. As always, we have a great opinion section for you to read with many different issues being discussed. Aicco Sappi gives us their 2020 year in review and what there is to look forward to in 2021 (if there is anything.). Along the same lines Sofia Hadef gives us her resolution for 2021, personally just getting through next year will be enough for me. Eoin Gallagher writes about the decision by the government to continue to support greyhound racing, and if it can even be considered a sport with it’s treatment of greyhounds. As well as this Eoin looks at the latest controversy surrounding a secondary school in


Carlow and the report that comments were made about the girls’ uniforms at the school. Daniel Falvey writes about a recent report that was published stating that the current Leaving Cert is not up to standard and needs to be replaced. Daniel also gives us some alternatives to the current system such as having more of the exams weighted towards practical learning similar to the way they do it in countries such as Australia. Finally, Ryan Coyle writes about how the pandemic has changed his view on the public as well as how his own habits have changed such as giving him more appreciation for the things that he has and how he used the time to improve himself. We have these and a lot more in this issue and if you have any interest in writing for SIN next year or if you have any questions you can email me at opinion.sined@gmail.com. I also want to thank all the contributors this year for making the paper what it is.

SPORTS EDITORIAL By Oisín Bradley Hello hello and welcome back to one and all for the final issue of SIN for 2020! It’s been a wild ride to say the least, and as we look towards 2021 with a sliver of hope of normal life returning, it’s important for me to thank everyone who has contributed to the paper and the sports section over the last six issues. Everyone who has contributed in any way to this section, I cannot thank you enough. Whether it be through giving your time for an interview or writing an article yourself, all of you have played a vital role in keeping the flame burning and keeping SIN alive in the most challenging of times, and you have been essential to making my life that little bit easier. I thank you for that. Anyways, onto the ever-busy sports section. Firstly, we turn our attention to Darragh Nolan, who has offered his perspective on the Galway hurler’s season and what 2021 may hold for them. Also on the topic of gaelic games, I weighed in on the ever-present issue of fixtures in our Ladies games which came to a head in Croke Park on the morning of the All-Ireland football semi-final. We also had a good piece from Louise Toal, who interviewed Ballinrobe GAA commentator Aoife Donnelly on her perspective as a budding commentator, as GAA club livestreams has given birth to dozens of new commentators up and down the country. There have been signings galore at Eamonn Deacy Park, and Ronan Manning has been the latest man to sign up for the 2021 campaign. We also looked at how Galwegians are shaping up across the water in England’s top tiers as the season enters the notoriously busy Christmas period. Finally, news editor Conor Brummel was in conversation with Aisling Mullin of the NUI Galway handball club on their recent 20x20 classification, and what is to be done to ensure gender equality in sport. Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope you have a happy, prosperous and above all normal New Year!

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SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

President Higgins makes Christmas address to students Paddy Henry President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has delivered a special address to Third Level students this year. In his address the President reflected on his own time as a student in the 1960’s coming from a background where nobody before him a attended a Third Level institution. The President spoke of the importance of self care and taking stock during what has been a chaotic year, telling students to, “take time now to reflect on this and respect your own wisdom and resolve. Self-care is important: eat well, exercise, be among nature when you can, even if just for a walk. Keep up the sport you did in school. Take a few moments now and again to self-reflect, take stock” The long time Labour TD for Galway West noted the unique situation which students find themselves in this year making specific reference to First Year students who he said have been uniquely impacted upon by the current situation telling students that. “You, in your special circumstances created by Covid-19, are challenged more than others who have had to overcome the hurdle of the first term. I want you to know that, as President, I am aware of these challenges and that you are much valued by those who care for you. Facing difficulties in exceptionally challenging circumstances requires support from family, friends, your tutors and lec-

turers and from all of us in the wider society.” The former President of the NUI Galway Student’s Union also reflected on the controversies relating to the Leaving Certificate exams this year. The Covid-19 pandemic caused major disruption to the state exams. The president said that the circumstances around the leaving cert this year have made things more difficult for first year students stating, “This year is particularly challenging given the circumstances of the Leaving Certificate occasioned by Covid-19. Then, too, the experience of the first term will have been totally changed with the absence of the collective experience of learning. In my own time, some of us even studied together; participating and speaking at societies, such as the debating societies, be it in English or Irish. They were for us as important as the lectures.” President Higgins appealed to Universities to do their best in ensuring that all aspects of education are accessible to all students, to be innovative in their quests to work around the current situation and to do their work with “kindness and generosity.” “I am appealing to all third-level colleges to do their best, and I know they are anxious to do so, to address these issues by enabling parts of courses to be transferable to students without the technological means, to innovate with new forms of contact and encouragement, and that you continue to work with great kindness and generosity.” he said.

He also paid tribute to staff and management of third level institutions, who he said had “gone beyond the call of duty this year” in their adaptation to circumstances on such short notice. Praising them President Higgins said. “I wish to pay tribute, if I may, to the extraordinary collective endeavour from the staff and

management in third-level institutions who have gone above and beyond the call of duty this year to change how we teach and how they support our students. It has been a momentous transition at very short notice, only made possible by the extraordinary effort, commitment, goodwill, know-how, creativity and co-operation of all staff.”

The President reflected on his own time as a student in NUI Galway during the address.

Saileog Ní Cheannabháin appointed as NUI Galway’s Sean-Nós Singer in Residence for 2021: By Niamh Casey

Just €9 Margadh iontach ar €9

Socks Big Yellow Thing

Stocaí Carthanachta Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn, OÉ Gaillimh


All proceeds go to the SU Charities www.su.nuigalway.ie






As a Sean-Nós singer, musician, and composer, Saileog Cheannabháin learned and played both traditional and classical music from a very young age. She was raised in Dublin, in an Irish speaking household steeped in traditional song. Her mother Úna Lawlor is a classical violinist and both of her siblings Eoghan and Muireann are also singers and musicians. Saileog’s father, Peadar Ó Ceannabháin comes from the rich tradition of Sean-Sós singing in Carna. He and other singers from Iorras Aithneach were some of the first influences on Saileog, who cites singers such as Seán ‘ac Dhonncha, Sorcha Ní Ghuairim, Dara Bán Mac Donncha agus Josie Sheáin Jeaic ‘ac Dhonncha as formative influences on her approach and singing. It was this understanding and approach that first gained her the college’s recognition. Saileog released her first album in 2012 titled ‘I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche’, a collection of the songs collected by Séamus Ennis. The album caught the attention of the college as it was made up of songs collected by Séamus Ennis in Iorras Aithneach in the 1940s, which included unearthing songs that had been forgotten as well as learning and recording more unusual versions of songs still sung. Following this, Saileog’s second album, ‘Roithleán’, was released in 2016. Saileog’s appointment is a first in the residency’s history as she is the first singer to hold the post and simultaneously reside outside the Gaeltacht. Welcoming the appointment, Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin from the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway said, “We are delighted to have Saileog Ní Cheannabháin join us as Sean-nós Singer in Residence this year. Saileog is among the generation of singers who look to the rich historical tradition of singing from Connemara and build on that in their own performance and practice, and the appointment represents a fantastic opportunity for our students.”

The Sean-Nós residency symbolises the dynamic connection between the Centre for Irish Studies and the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht on the university’s doorstop, giving due recognition to Sean-Nós singing as a highly developed and sophisticated art form. The scheme, made possible with the support received from Ealaín na Gaeltachta, is fundamental to the Centre in its teaching and learning and research ethos for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Dr. Verena Commins, lecturer in Irish music studies at NUIG, spoke about the Sean-Nós tradition in the college; “We are very proud of the sean-nós scheme at the Centre for Irish Studies which recognises a sean-nós singer or dancer each year. It has been running for nearly 20 years at this stage, beginning with our first singer in residence, Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin in 2002.” The scheme will be run virtually during the pandemic, but the Centre looks forward to reimagining how it will work. The launch took place online, on Thursday December 10th, where Prof Lillis Ó Laoire from Roinn na Gaeilge introduced Saileog and gave greater insights into her singing influences and what the college must look forward to. Saileog will deliver a series of workshops at NUI Galway as well as contributing to the expanding Sean-Nós Archive Collection. The virtual workshops are free and open to the public and will begin in January 2021. Saileog will perform a concert in the Connemara Gaeltacht as part of her residency next summer.


December 15 2020


WHO Director leads NUIG’s honorary conferrals roll Paddy Henry Executive director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mike Ryan, forms part of a high profile list of recipients of honorary degrees from the University this year. Mayo native and alumnus of NUI Galway, Dr Ryan has steered responses to lethal disease outbreaks around the world, including Covid-19, and worked in some of the world’s trouble spots, including Iraq where he was once taken hostage. Dr Ryan has earned himself a significant international profile on the International stage since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Ryan was regarded by many as the face of the WHO’s response to the outbreak in the early days of the pandemic though his

role as Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme with the World Health Organization, leading the team responsible for containment and treatment of the virus. Joining Ryan on the list of recipients are, Ailbhe Smyth, an academic, a life-long feminist and an LGBT activist, Dr Jerome Sheahan, a retired NUI Galway statistician and mathematician, founding member of the Galway film Fleadh Bob Quinn, founder and chief executive of Complete Laboratory Solutions Evelyn O’Toole, NUI Galway graduate and bilingual poet Mary O’Malley, founder and owner of the Galway Advertiser Ronnie O’Gorman, internationally claimed button accordionist Máirtín O’Connor, Galway native and acclaimed musician Eimear Noone, Director of the University of California Systemwide

Dr. Mike Ryan

Biotechnology Program Dr Martina NewellMcGloughlin, former Udárás member, NUI senate member and NUI Galway lecturer Professor Hubert McDermott, former Director of Nursing at University Hospital Galway Jean Kelly, acclaimed palaentologist Professor David Harper, and Dick Byrne, an architect renowned for his life-long contribution to the arts in Galway Speaking about the conferrals, President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. “Each one has made an excellent and distinctive contribution to public life, the Eimear Noone

betterment of society and the interests of humanity. “NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to respect and recognise these exceptional individuals. Each of those we honour also have a special bond with our region - drawing on the unique experiences, strengths and challenges with which we as a University also engage – our values of Respect, Openness, Sustainability, and Excellence; our profile on human rights, and our emphasis on excellence, creativity and innovation. In honouring these exceptional individuals, we also signal what we value in areas that matter to us and to our society.” The University aims to hold the Honorary Conferring ceremony next summer in line with public health guidelines. Ronnie O’Gorman

Under the Sea- NUI Galway scientist part of decade long deep-sea research programme launch By Caoimhe Killeen An NUI Galway scientist has proposed the ‘Challenger 150’ programme alongside an international team of scientists from 45 other institutions, a decade-long programme that will examine how deep-sea changes impact both the ocean and life on Earth. Professor Louise Allcock, Head of Zoology and Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Ocean Research and Exploration at NUI Galway also helped to author a detailed paper outlining the blueprint of the programme which appeared in the ‘Frontiers for Marine Science’ journal, alongside a comment article in Nature Ecology and Evolution outlining the motives for the project. The project’s name stems from the 150th anniversary of the first ship to record deep sea life, the HMS Challenger and is led by the Deep-Ocean Stewardship

Initiative (DOSI), and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR). Challenger 150’s main goal is to build ‘greater diversity and capacity in the scientific community’, while acknowledging developed nations have easier access to tools needed to carry out deep sea research. The programme will generate new geological, physical, and biological data through application of new technology through scientific innovation. The data will then support regional, national, and international decision-making on deep sea issues like fishing, conservation, and climate mitigation. Professor Allock has stated the next decade is critical for ocean life and that the programme blueprint “maps out how nations can share knowledge, equipment, and expertise, and develop capacity in deep-sea science across the world…Such knowledge can inform policy development and ensure

our oceans are protected such that they also sustain future generations.” Challenger 150 also happens to coincide with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development which will start next year and conclude in 2030. Both DOSI and SCOR have noted that this will deliver a massive surge in deep sea knowledge, and that the authors reflect a modern approach in terms of geographical diversity from all six inhabited continents. “The Decade also provides the opportunity to build a long-term programme for training and capacity building in ocean sciences” stated Dr Ana Hilario, co-lead of the DOSI and SCOR Decade project groups and a researcher at Portugal’s University of Averio. “Such training will create a network of enhanced capacity that will allow countries to exercise their full role in international

discussions on the use of ocean resources within and outside of their national boundaries.” From an Irish perspective, NUI Galway has recently lead expeditions on the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer and the remotely operated deep-water vehicle ROV Holland I which have highlighted the diversity in the Irish deep sea. Challenger 150 will help scientists to understand such connectivity within oceans, and how best to conserve such biodiversity in the face of global climate change. “The deep seas and seabed are increasingly being used by society, and they are seen as a potential future asset for the resources they possess” stated Kerry Howell, Professor of Deep-Sea Ecology at the University of Plymouth and lead author of the research publications. “But managing these resources sustainably requires that we first understand deep-sea ecosystems and their role in our planet, its people and its atmosphere.”

Ohana ZERO Twenty2Zero suicide campaign aims to end the stigma of talking about suicide By Conor Brummell Ohana ZERO suicide officially launched its Twenty2Zero campaign on December 9th in an attempt to break the stigma associated with suicide. Ohana ZERO suicide has partnered with Zero Suicide Alliance UK to bring suicide awareness training to the people across the island of Ireland by empowering them to identify suicidal behaviours, and to support those feeling vulnerable or suffering from mental health problems. Twenty2Zero aims to end the stigma associated with suicide, encourage people to talk about the issue, and to intervene if loved ones, friends or strangers are believed to be at risk.

This online Suicide Awareness training is free and it is aimed at people from all walks of life. It can be accessed via their website at www.ohana.ie Su Carty, a Director of Ohana ZERO suicide, commenting on the announcement said, “Every suicide is a preventable death. Our goal is to empower communities and individuals throughout Ireland to help by being alert to the warning signs and helping those who are feeling suicidal to stay safe. “Our Suicide Awareness training, with the simple tagline ‘Show you care, ask the question, make the call’, is designed to provide every person with the understanding and basic skills that will reduce suffering and save lives. Taking this short 20-min-

ute training could help save a life and we could be 20 minutes away from zero suicide.” Actress, writer and comedian Eilish O’Carroll in support of the initiative said, “I am pleased to support this fantastic initiative. Suicide prevention is everybody’s business, both locally and nationally. I can vouch that those taking this training will leave equipped with the tools to engage with those at risk. We hope business leaders and the community in general assist us to raise awareness and help save a life”. The announcement comes amidst experts’ concerns over isolation, anxiety and other mental health concerns intensified by Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown, reducing people’s social contact with

others including family members and friends. Ohana ZERO suicide is asking people to lend their social media feeds to the cause. The time has come to not only talk about suicide as a public health issue but to start taking action. Ohana ZERO suicide is asking people and organisations to help spread the word about the free suicide prevention training using the hashtags #Twenty2Zero and #OhanaZeroSuicide. You can also keep up with Ohana ZERO’s social media channels for more information on: Instagram: @Ohana_zero_suicide Facebook: OhanaZEROsuicide Twitter: @ohanazero LinkedIn: Ohana Zero Suicide


SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

Gender Disparity in Irish Radio: How 2020 showed Irish Women’s voices in music were stronger than ever By Conor Brummell News Editor The coronavirus pandemic brought many issues in Irish society to light, one of which was the wellknown but lesser spoken-about secret of gender disparity in Irish radio. Back in June 2020, music publicist Linda Coogan Byrne released a report that she compiled, comparing the amount of Irish female artists that were played on the radio in Ireland to their male counterparts. The report was shocking; Zero female musicians featured in the top 20 artists played by four stations- FM104, LM FM, WLR FM and South East Radio – in the 12 months leading up to the report. As well as that, just five percent of the top 20 played artists on Today FM, Spin 103.8, Beat 102103FM, Red FM, Cork C103, Clare FM, Cork 96FM, KCLR FM, KFM, East Coast FM, Radio Kerry, Live 95FM, Midlands radio, Shannonside Northern Sound, Spin Southwest FM were female. The Irish music scene was decimated by Covid-19, and many artists did not have live music gigs to support themselves through the pandemic. Speaking to SIN, Linda Coogan-Byrne said that the report was something she had wanted to do for years but had never had the time to until now. “I never had a problem getting male identifying acts on the radio,” she says. “I have worked with major international female acts that were signed to big labels, and they were okay to get airplay. But when it came to domestic female Irish artists, I just always struggled. I wondered, what would the actual data reveal?” “When I got the results, I asked Áine [Tyrell] would she help with the graphics of the report, and she rang me in the middle of the night from Austraila and just said ‘What the hell?’ “We knew it was bad, but we did not realise it was this bad. It was just dismal, absolutely shocking,” she continued. In Ireland, what gets played on the radio heavily depends on the music charts. Linda says that when she approached radio stations about the problem, they said they played just what was popular in the charts. “Whoever is played on the radio, gets in the charts,” Linda stated. “The likes of Hozier and Dermot Kennedy appear in both the top 5 in radio airplay and in the top 20 on the charts. There is a correlation there, and we proved that by releasing this report.” When asked why it is so difficult to get Irish female artists played on the radio, Linda says, “The problem with misogyny in Ireland is that women can be just as

Linda Coogan Byrne

bad as men. They have a slice of the pie and they don’t want to upset the patriarchy and demand for better, because they have a job in a country where there are less female than male broadcasters.” Linda also says that it took some time to get a response from the radio stations who appeared on the list. “It took 8-12 weeks to hear back from some of the stations. They had the idea that I had thrown them to the wolves, but I just had to remind them that this was not about their ego. It was about the fact that there is a decade’s worth of Irish female artists who were ignored and kept off the airwaves.” “One thing that caught them out was that I asked them to hum a song by five female artists in Ireland who had released music recently. They couldn’t,” she continues. Female artists not getting played on the radio boils down to privilege, and not wanting to upset the status quo, Linda says. “I’ve had a lot of male broadcasters unfollow me on Twitter and take me off their mailing list because of the report. I really didn’t want the report to be taken personally like that, but they made it personal by not engaging in the conversation and ignoring it,” she says. “It is part of the issue, I think, that when people are called out or told they’ve been doing something wrong, instead of trying to help solve the problem, they just ignore it.” What was upsetting about the report, was the fact that that people did not stand in solidarity with it. “I was flabbergasted,” Linda says. “In the last decade, male artists were given 100% of the pie. They appeared on the festival line-ups and major playlists, and a lot of them stood back and did not show support. That’s what was upsetting.” In October, Linda released an updated report which showed some radio stations had improved. “In the period of four months, RTÉ 2fm did a full 360, and brought the disparity up from 10% to 45%. Spin 1038 also jumped from 5% to 40%, which is amazing.” Other radio stations on the list were Today FM who jumped from 5% to 10%, and FM 104 who moved from 0% to 10%. “This has never happened before. It is just incredible,” says Linda. “Some people are still not getting back to me, but they’re talking to their colleagues and they’re making the changes, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.”

Irish Women in Harmony: We began to see that change this year, when it emerged that a group of Irish female artists would be banding together under the instruction of Ruth Anne to sing a cover of ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries to raise money for SAFE Ireland. The song was an instant hit, with many people’s attention drawn to the fabulous range of female Irish artists that exist around Ireland. SIN spoke to Eve Belle, who was one of the Irish Women in Harmony (IWIH), about her debut album, her career so far, and the importance of showcasing Irish female artists in Ireland. “It’s been a really strange year for all creatives this year. It’s been an unprecedented year for us all really to be releasing music or to be working on new projects when we can’t do live gigs,” she told SIN over zoom. “The silver lining on the other hand, if you want to see it like that, is that the thirst for the arts in Ireland has skyrocketed this year. The shape of the demand for the arts in Ireland has become a little bit clearer, and that’s been really good.” Eve’s album, In Between Moments, came out in October and she speaks about how she spent most of the debating whether to release it or not. “I kept pushing it back, but it got to the stage this year where I had a choice- to postpone the album indefinitely, or just to go ahead with it? I decided to go ahead with it, but it was nerve wrecking releasing an album at a time like this.” The album feels the story of Eve’s journey to date, which includes previously released songs and some

brand-new ones. “It’s a mixture of songs that have been put out before and some new ones. I think the album shows how I have changed over the last two years. I think that is the fun part of the album for me, is seeing my progression as a singer-songwriter. That said, it has been nerve wrecking to release an album at a time like this. It’s certainly been a unique time,” she laughs. Eve was also asked to join in the Irish Women in Harmony group this year for their Christmas single,

Eve Belle

Together at Christmas which she says was comforting. “It’s difficult to be a woman in the Irish music scene, and it comes with a lot of difficulties that sometimes feel unique to you, and that you can internalise a lot. It is an intensely vulnerable art form, and to be met with adversity, it can be detrimental to your confidence. As a woman to be constantly met with these challenges, it can chip away at you,” she states. “But suddenly to be a part of this collective and discussing our experiences and how we have dealt with some of the same challenges, you suddenly realise these aren’t unique experiences. “The extent of how systemic this issue is becoming apparent- a lot of reasons for not being chosen for festivals or being considered for radio play is put down to coincidence. You are told there aren’t enough female artists to be played on the radio, or to be booked for festivals. “But then what you have is a wall of female artistsand there’s forty odd of us- that people can look at, and you’re telling me that there is no one there suitable for radio play? I think how you dismantle an idea like that, is you demonstrate how absolutely ridiculous it is.” Dreams by the IWIH is the first song by an Irish female artist in twenty years to reach the top 10 in the Irish charts, and Eve Belle says being a part of the group has been so validating. “When I was starting out in music as a young woman, it is very disheartening to have a bad experience, and it is very easy to not want to put yourself out there again after that bad experience. You begin to think you’re not good enough, and you become afraid. It’s easy to get a chip on your shoulder when you don’t have a support system to guide you through those experiences,” she says. “But when you increase visibility, you allow younger people to see themselves as what you’re doing. I know myself if I were a 15-year-old musician again and saw Irish Women in Harmony and what they were doing, that would be so incredibly encouraging to me. To see this group of women who are so driven, and to see the support people have for them, it is encouraging, and I sincerely hope that’s the effect this project has on young people. “I hope the conversation continues, too, now that we have pushed past the façade of “there are not enough women in Irish music”. We can objectively see that that’s not true, and I hope we are actively inspiring the next generation of musicians,” she finished. Sibéal features on both Dreams and Together at Christmas, and she spoke to SIN about her experience with the Irish Women in Harmony Group. “I got an Instagram message from Ruth Anne, and she asked me ‘Would you like to be part of a group of Irish female artists who are going to record a single for charity?’ “I had no idea who the other artists were going to be,

but to be honest I was thrilled to get a DM from Ruth Anne, so of course I immediately said yes I’ll do it, whatever song it is, I’ll do it,” she says, laughing on the phone. “Two weeks later I got an email and everyone else was cc’d, and the list of artists attached was phenomenal. I couldn’t believe it. So many people came together to the cause, and it was open to suggestions and ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries was the song we chose. SAFE Ireland also seemed to be the perfect cause for the single too, and I was really honoured to be a part of it.” Sibéal also speaks about her musical background, how she grew up in the Gaeltacht in Meath, and how getting the chance to sing Mise Éire for the 2016 centenary was such a wonderful experience. “There’s such a strong culture of Sean-Nós in Meath, of traditional Irish music and I grew up surrounded by that culture. I come from a musical family and my dad had a band when I was growing up, and I used to go on tour with them, see how they practiced and performed, it was great. “To sing Mise Éire I think was a wonderful experience,” she continues, saying, “I grew up studying classical music and the mixture between Sean-Nós and classical music on the track came naturally to me.” When asked did she feel pressure about performing for the 100-year celebrations, Sibéal says she had more of a stoic feeling about the performance. “I never thought about more than what I was doing in the moment. I didn’t think about how so many people were going to be watching the programme, or anything like that. “It was supposed to be for background music for a documentary on RTÉ and I never really thought it would become a song in its own right. I took it one step at a time, and it was very much a natural progression.” Sibéal’s approach to music and studying medicine in NUI Galway are very similar- she must focus on the task at hand and put all her focus into what she is doing in that moment in time.

Sibéal “When I’m in a lecture, or studying for an exam, I focus on that and not music. You can’t be constantly juggling the two, so you need to just allocate the time and do one to the best of your ability. The same goes for music- if I have a performance, and I have an exam the next day or something, I just put all my energy in the music in that moment.” As well as that, Sibéal had the opportunity to collaborate with composer Eimear Noone on the soundtrack for the film ‘Two by Two: Overboard’, which is currently playing in Irish cinemas. She says the experience was a dream. “Eimear is such an amazing woman, and she actually composed one of the songs on my album as well. Her husband Craig Stuart Garfinkle is an American composer and he composed some songs and co-produced for my album too, so there’s been a working relationship there for years.” “They are both so incredibly talented and I was so excited when they asked me to be a part of the song ‘Stand for Hope’ for the movie. It is surreal to think if you go into a cinema at this moment in time, my voice on a song will be heard at some stage. “As well as that, I am incredibly lucky that despite the pandemic, I got to collaborate with Eimear for that song. I feel like it translates to the times we are living in, that feeling of despite everything, there is still hope out there now,” she finished.

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8 F E AT U R E S

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

Failte Refugee Society Organises Christmas Swim in Aid of Direct Provision By Niamh Casey Fáilte Refugees NUIG held their annual festive swim, which started November 10th, to raise money for children and families in Galway Direct Provision centres. Large gatherings at Blackrock were not possible due to Covid restrictions. So participants were asked to do the challenge with someone in their household at their nearest body of water, with pictures of people swims being posted on the society’s social media platforms.

Fáilte Refugees NUIG Public Relations Officer, Cian Mortimer, said “The festive swim is an annual tradition in the society, and it’s a really great thing for people to rally together around. It’s fantastic unifying people in solidarity with asylum seekers in the Direct Provision system and helping kids in DP have a nicer holiday season”. The swim, which was running throughout the whole month of November, has raised a total of €650, all of which will go towards aiding people living in Direct Provision. The Direct Provision system has

come under much scrutiny and criticism by the Irish population in the past year, with many calling out it’s inhumane living conditions and in particular how long it takes for refugees to be processed and made live in the ‘temporary’ accommodation. Cian says that the purpose of the Fáilte Refugees Society is to help ease these harsh conditions in which people are made to live in. They do so by raising money and awareness for refugees living in the centres. “The Direct Provision system really is horrific, and a major human rights violation, so it is so

important that people stand out against that and fight to end that. It’s also important to show solidarity to its residents and help them however we can, because they live in such difficult conditions.” Another purpose of the society is to help the communities in the Direct Provision centre feel more included in Irish society by means of showing support and solidarity towards their position. This is why the Fáilte Refugees Society holds fundraisers around Christmas in particular. “It can even be a nice thing for morale to give people a boost around the holidays, and to let people know that in spite of all of the hatred that can be spewed, there is an overwhelming amount of support for and solidarity with them. That’s really the aim of the society, to challenge racism and make it clear that refugees are welcome here”. The society also supports other fundraisers, such as the one the Galway Anti-Racism Network is running to help children in Direct Provision have a happy holiday season. The fundraiser hopes to give the 110 children and teenagers living in Direct Provision in Galway City a €15 One4All voucher, with each child also receiving a holiday bag filled with small goodies appropriate for their age range. The Fáilte Refugees Society are committed to ensuring the social integration and fight for rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland. With every holiday and occasion that we celebrate, they work hard to include DP communities in Ireland’s celebrations in order to ensure that refugees find true asylum and can fully adapt to life in Ireland once they are freed from the restrictions of the state’s processing system.

A group of Leaving Certificate students from Galway are setting the tone on what our conversations should be revolving around when we talk about activism. By Ilka Denker SIN interviewed members of a group called ‘Galway Activists’, which was formed by Kim Lamers in July 2020. “I have a huge interest in politics, especially issues regarding the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, feminism and the LGBT+ community. I thought it would be important to start a group of people who would have the same interest, who would want to take time to educate themselves and educate people around them,” says Kim.

So, what’s up with the education system? “The reason why we have so much ignorance is just due to a lack of education at its core and it’s just learnt behaviour,” says Annie Flinn. Charlotte Dowzard-Mee says, “If I didn’t take history, I don’t think I’d know as much as I do, or be as opinionated as I am. All the information we have gathered as a group has been from social media. I don’t think I could credit my school for the knowledge I have regarding BLM or anything.” “In Junior Cert History we learned about the Second World War; nothing about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism,” recalls Ruan O’Dowd. Charlotte adds that anything “about anti-Semitism was very brief, very glossed over and you

didn’t really understand it unless you did you own research of it”. Kim assigns this to the fact that in Ireland “lots of topics are seen as taboo”. “It is avoidant behaviour where we want to avoid anything that is being seen as controversial. People don’t want to discuss or think about it because if you don’t think about it it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist,” she says. Do these young adults just accept the education system? No, they try and convert it. “I did bring up the idea a while ago to have assemblies, talks and classes about Black History and learning about BLM. It feels like I really have to fight to get the topic brought up,” says Kim. She adds that, “If it was taught more and if we had teachers who were people of colour who could educate and help spread awareness, it would most likely be better.” The group is now creating a PowerPoint about Black History and are trying to get their school to show it to the students.

A word, or two, on feminism. Especially with recent news surrounding ImageBased Violence, Galway Activists are also very vocal on feminism. “I know from my own experience from the past there are so many false, negative connotations

thrown around about all these groups,” says Annie. Feminists are one of those groups. Annie says that she is a feminist herself but would never label herself as one in the past because of “all the negative connotations that are being pushed by the media and by people our age and people older than us. It made you feel shameful for wanting that equality for yourself.” Charlotte recalls, “I was having a discussion with someone about [feminism] once and they were like, ‘Oh my goodness, why are you so opinionated? Get back in the kitchen’. “I’d love to live in a world where you would say something like that and it would be shocking but unfortunately, in the world that we live in, statements like that aren’t treated as shocking because so many people still throw them around so casually.” Referring to the images of Irish women leaked on Megashare, Annie says, “It is disappointing because you see support for feminism growing a bit, but then you realise how deeply Ingrained these patriarchal ideas are in Irish society. Those conversations aren’t being held because I don’t think there is enough inclusivity within the government. We’re seeing uproar about this now because it hasn’t been discussed and hasn’t been taken care of.” Kim furthers this statement by citing the importance having a diverse top table at government level telling SIN.

“I think it is so important to have diversity in governmental positions, because it is important to have people of different backgrounds and different experiences being able to make decision for a country. Also teachers; the majority of my teachers in school are white which makes it difficult to have someone to go to talk to for certain issues, knowing that they don’t know exactly what I am talking about.”

What is activism? The young leaders show how activism is a unique thing as they give their definitions of activism. “Activism is trying to do more to change the actual systems, rather than spreading awareness,” says Kim. Annie voices, “Activism is about understanding why what you say reflects your mindset, regardless of the context.” “Signing up to a BLM protest, saying I am a feminist, believing in climate change. That it isn’t being seen as being radical, but as normal,” adds Charlotte. Ruan states that, “getting people who can change the world to actually change the world. People in power. Especially elected people to just realise that they can make a change.” “We are going to be the adults of the future,” says Kim. “I think it is important that we make our mark.” Sounds like they already did.


December 15 2020

Women’s Aid on the abuse of young women By Rachel Garvey Women’s Aid, a national organisation who support women affected by domestic violence, recently released a report that “over half of the young women abused were under the age of eighteen”. The organisation released staggering statistics of intimate relationship abuse of young people, who were aged between 18 and 25 while three out of five young people have either personally experienced or know someone under the age of 25 who has experienced abuse by their current or former partner. The statistics also presented show that a fifth of young women had experienced some form of abuse from their current

or former partner with a percentage rate of 51% who were under 18. One in every two abused women also experienced abuse online which included the taking, sharing and the threat to share intimate images without their consent. This last statistic has surfaced in the headlines on social media recently with the discovery of thousands of nudes leaked on a Discord server. The report also shows how gendered this form of abuse is among younger people including minors, in line with international figures on all ages. It was found that 1 in 11 young men experienced abuse in the same survey. Sarah Benson, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, spoke out saying “The findings of this national survey show us that we have particularly alarming levels of intimate relationship abuse experienced by young women in this country. One fifth of young women said they experienced abuse which included emotional abuse, physical violence and sexual assault, stalking and harassment. Based on our 2016 CSO data this is

as many as 44,540 young women (18-25) which is shocking. Even more troubling is the fact that 51% of young women who had suffered abuse said that it began before their 18th birthday, with just 18 years old being the average age at which the abuse began.” Following the recent surfacing of nudes being leaked online, Women’s Aid has grown more and more concerned about image based sexual abuse with research showing that 1 in 2 young women being abused online with constant messaging, hacking of accounts and the threat to share intimate images online. Ms Benson stated that “We know that the abuse that takes place online can be particularly devastating given the ‘always on’ nature of life online. It is draining, can often feel inescapable and can be difficult to block a persistent abuser from making contact. It is not a reasonable solution to ask a young person being abused to ‘opt out’ or ‘switch off’. This only isolates people even more and they should never suffer or be further excluded because of the actions of the perpetrator.” Women’s Aid launch has launched its ‘Too Into You’ public awareness campaign which highlights the signs of unhealthy relationships and encourages young people to reach out for support. The campaign website has a number of useful tools including a relationship health check quiz and a guide to protecting yourself online. Ms Benson concluded that “Our report launched today has only scratched the surface of this huge problem in Irish society. We need regulation, we need legislation, we need more in-depth research and extensive education and awareness campaigns – including in schools. Most of all, as a community we need to ensure responsibility lies with the perpetrator and to say loudly and clearly to anyone affected by intimate relationship abuse that yes, it’s abuse; it is never okay; it is not your fault, and you will be believed and supported.” The organisation encourages anyone affected to reach out to the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341900 or use its instant messaging service on www.toointoyou.ie or www.womensaid.ie.

Image-based Sexual Abuse: What is happening? By Rachel Garvey It was recently discovered that a Discord chat containing thousands of nudes, without the knowledge or consent of the women, was leaked. Its headline presented itself on people’s social media feeds across Ireland, the majority of people reacted in anger and disgust and some reacted in confusion as to what image-based sexual abuse is. Image-based sexual abuse is taking someone else’s picture without their consent or knowledge and sharing it, or threatening to share it, online. The pictures involved were taken from numerous online platforms like Tinder, OnlyFans, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instagram. What followed can only to be described as an overwhelming sense of hope for the women who had been affected by the leak as various organisations like Plan International Ireland, individual activists on Instagram and Twitter and TDs such as Social Democrat Holly Cairns took a stand against something that could destroy the lives of anyone affected. What also followed was online petitions; ‘Justice for Irish Victims of Image-based Sexual Abuse’, ‘Make Revenge Porn a Criminal Offence in Ireland’, and ‘Equality for Students of Presentation College

Carlow’ to name a few. The petitions proved popular with the numbers rapidly rising into the tens of thousands. Cairns called on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to act fast, “we can, should, and need to move immediately to protect the victims. Image-based sexual abuse needs to be recognised as a crime”. An article in the Irish Examiner stated that Gardai commenced enquiries into an image-based sexual assault incident. “It comes after tens of thousands images of Irish women and girls were shared on a number of online forums”. Victims Alliance confirmed they have been advised by the Gardaí to take a step back from trying to remove the files and forums stating that, “We are happy that they are committed to doing so. If you become aware of a link then please let us know and we’ll pass it on. Do not open any files!” Activists on Instagram and Twitter reached out to their followers and encouraged them to take a stand against image-based sexual abuse as well as encouraging them to speak out and tell their story if they were affected by the recent leak, or if they had ever experienced online sexual abuse in the past. No one stands alone and one activist on

Instagram even offered to accompany to a Garda station anyone who wanted to come forward. The amount of support, from one woman to the next was huge and heart-warming. Anyone affected is encouraged to reach out to the Women’s Aid 24hour National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341900 or use its instant messaging service on www.toointoyou.ie or www.womensaid.ie.


Mól na Meáin: Mary Kennedy Eímear Nig Oireachtaigh Nuair a thagann sé chuig láithreoirí baininscneacha na hÉireann, tá roinnt daoine ag barr an liosta sin – Sharon Ní Bheoláin, Caitriona Perry, agus, i mo thuairimse, Mary Kennedy. Is gné lárnach í den meán in Éirinn le fada an lae. Thosaigh a saol proifisiúnta leis na meáin i 1978, nuair a thosaigh sí mar láithreoir leanúnachais. Mar atá a fhios againn anois, chuaigh sí ó neart go neart ó shin. Mar dhuine a rugadh ag deireadh na nóchaidí, tá aithne agam uirthi mar gheall ar ‘Nationwide’, agus níor cheap mé go raibh mórán eile déanta aici. Ach tar éis taighde a dhéanamh, táim faoi dhraíocht aici. Nuair a tháinig Eurovision go hÉirinn, bhí sí mar láithreoir ann. Nuair a bhí duine uathu chun ‘Up for the Match’ a dhéanamh, bhí Mary Kennedy ann. Agus an ról is fearr a líon sí go dtí seo – damhsóir ar ‘Dancing with the Stars’ i mbliana don ceathrú sraith. Chuaigh sí ann díreach ó ‘Nationwide’- bhí sí seasca cúig agus fós bhí sí sásta páirt a ghlacadh! Agus mé ag a labhairt faoina haois, chuir sí a tuairimí faoin riachtanas i RTÉ go bhfuil ar ghach duine éirí as a bpost ag seasca is a cúig in iúl go neamhbhalbh i mbliana freisin. Cheap sí gur riail gan chiall é, d’fhéadfá a rá, dá mbeifeá ag iarraidh a bheith béasach. Bhí sí soiléir nach raibh sí réidh go proifisiúnta, nó ó thaobh airgid de. Ní raibh sí ag iarraidh go dhéanfaidís eisceacht di, ach go n-athróidís an riail ina iomláin. Cé nach ndearna siad é sin, tá an-tóir uirthi tar éis a bliana ar fad ag RTÉ, agus ní dóigh liom go mbeidh sí i bponc! Anois, tá sí éirithe as ‘Nationwide’ mar gheall ar an riail sin, agus tá clár nua aici atá an-tábhachtach faoi láthair – ‘Guaranteed Irish’ ar TG4. Labhraíonn sí leis na daoine atá taobh thiar de na comhlachtaí móra Éireannacha, cosúil le ‘Brooke & Shoals’ agus ‘Hope Dublin Brewery’. Ar ndóigh, tá comhlachtaí Éireannacha curtha chun tosaigh an Nollaig seo, agus dar liom is smaoineamh iontach é chun aird a tharraingt orthu. Ba bhreá liom é má phléann siad comhlachtaí Gaeilge, inar féidir leat do ghnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge, ach ní féidir leat é a bheith ina ghruth agus ina mheadhg agat! Tá na heagráin go léir go dtí seo suas ar Sheinnteoir TG4, agus molaim go mór iad.

10  F EATU R E S

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

NUI Galway lecturer talks how Covid-19 has affected her teaching “It is lonely for students, but it is so lonely for us too. We don’t see our colleagues anymore, we don’t go for cups of tea with them, we don’t come out of a class and go, ‘I absolutely bombed that session’. We don’t have that. Instead we’re just in our own house, in our own kitchen and your own life is just waiting there behind you.”

By Ilka Denker Sometimes it can be easy to give out about lecturers and the delivery of online classes, but it is important to take a step back and consider what work goes into being a lecturer. Jacqueline Murphy, lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology, gives an account of how the year 2020 has impacted lecturers. She calls the summer of 2020 a “summer of uncertainty”. From early June onwards lecturers were busy preparing and “trying to consider all eventualities”. Not only was there all this planning going on, but many lecturers had to upskill and become familiar with online teaching. “We had all engaged in Blackboard already, but using Blackboard as a repository of information and using Blackboard as a teaching tool are two totally different things,” says Jacqueline. “All through the summer we had emergency training hosted by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). The difficulty was getting used to all the different collaboration tools that we had on Blackboard.” Lecturers also had to rethink their delivery of their lectures, as Jacqueline says, “Material you would use in a classroom was not the material you could use in an online space. For every module you would have delivered for years and had your experience in, you now had to come back and look at your material and see what is the best way to present this.” “We all have our passions about how it is that we like to communicate our subjects. That has all been taken away from every lecturer this year. You

get this blank canvas which is nice, but it is also daunting and intimidating,” she says. Once the ‘Online Term’ had started, it turned out that after all the organising, it was still difficult. Jacqueline compared preparation this new method of teaching to jumping into the ocean, telling SIN; “It was like jumping into an ocean. It was like I was prepared for it, I knew what was coming. I had my armbands; I had CELT and I had Blackboard and the support of my colleagues. But jeez, once it started it was lonely. “It is lonely for students, but it is so lonely for us too. We don’t see our colleagues anymore, we don’t go for cups of tea with them, we don’t come out of a class and go, ‘I absolutely bombed that session’. We don’t have that. Instead we’re just in our own house, in our own kitchen and your own life is just waiting there behind you.” Lecturers miss in-class lectures too. Jacqueline says ‘live online classes’ are “nerve-wrecking as a lecturer. When you get into the physical classroom you’re working with your students and you’re vibing off them. You know how to pitch it. But now, because of Blackboard, all we are seeing is little chess pieces. Little logos, we do not even have pictures of people in front of us. Until we go, ‘throw up a comment’ or ‘throw up an emoji’, it is really hard for us to gage where the class is.” Jacqueline says, “After you teach a class you get this high, because believe it or not, we love when we see learning. When you got a class and they get what you’re talking about and they present something brilliant back to you, you are like ‘yes’! This is fantastic, this is brilliant. Then you get onto campus and you got lots of places to burn off all your energy. Now you just

turn off your camera and you’re just like ‘OK, I’ll make another cup of tea so’. It’s so, so lonely in that regard.” Jacqueline says that the workload has increased this semester. She says, “I’ve never been so tired and this is across the board.” She says that she gets a lot of emails from students. “They’re worried and they are concerned and you know that if we were all on campus we’d have the chance to share all of those things, but we’re not and we’re not getting the opportunity to do that.” “Personally, I feel like this learning environment has put more of a responsibility on my shoulders. I reach out to my students as soon as possible, to let them know that they’re not on their own, that their emails are not flying into space, that there is a real human being at the other side, wanting to hear from you and wanting to help you, and all of our support services are like that in college. “That is not in any way saying that that is a drawback or a negative thing. I feel really lucky in my life that I have this opportunity. That I have a role to play in helping somebody succeed and achieve in what they want to do in the middle of this pandemic that is screwing up everything else and everyone.” Jacqueline empathises with students, but she also urges them to remember that, “For every class that you come to there is a human at the other side of the computer busily preparing and hoping that they actually have enough to deliver a very interesting and engaging session for their students and that we’re here to support you in any way we can. Some might be really good at it and some of us might not do that so well, but at the heart of it is our ability and our continuing work to try and achieve that. We know it’s hard, because it is hard for us too.”

Shop Local and Pamper Yourself with Francis’ Soap Shop By Sophia Hadef This Christmas, give your skin something that will nourish and care deeply for it. Francis’ Soap Shop is a beautiful little boutique, full of natural and organic skincare products. These products are a functional need for most of us, but they can also feel like a luxurious treat. The kind and expert staff at Francis’ Soap Shop will help you find specifically what you are looking for, whether you are buying for yourself or choosing the perfect gift. They have a vast assort-

ment of lovely soaps, creams, lotions, and oils to meet all of your needs. Delicious fragrances meet all-natural products like cold-pressed oils, moisturizers for sensitive skin and many more. SIN had the opportunity to learn more about their shop and to ask them a few questions. Francis’ Soap Shop is a large franchise (over 150 shops) based in Poland with over 18 years of tradition. Monika owns the shop located in Galway; she is a lash technician with ten years of experience. In her work, she came across so many women who became allergic to such numerous random substances. As

we know, the skin is the biggest organ in our body and what we put on it matters. “Products come from all over the world. We have coconut oil with gardenia flowers from Tahiti, Aleppo soap with 2000 years of tradition from Syria, olive oil soaps from Italy. L’Orient brand uses the best ingredients (Moroccan hammam tradition like Savon noir, Dead Sea salts are one of the ingredients of dead sea range of products). Cosmetics are produced mainly in a French laboratory. They are tested on humans and have all the certificates needed for natural cosmetics. “We promote to use healthy skincare because, like I mentioned before, people use way too many chemicals (in processed food and cosmetics), and their skin becomes more sensitive and react to random things.“ Monika also spoke about how her shop has been coping in the pandemic; “At the end of the first lockdown, we had to make a tough decision and move the shop to my salon in Terryland. We closed the city centre location as we had an online shop set up the year before which meant we were able to continue selling the products to our loyal customers and survive. Hopefully, when the situation is steady again, we will be able to come back to the city centre and operate as normal. “Over the last three years, we built a great relationship with our customers. They were very supportive, and they continued to buy from us online. If you visit our social media profiles: Francis’ Soap Shop, we put many photos of gift hampers for everyone. We also understand that every skin is

different and every person likes different things. So, the best way is to contact us and after consultation we can create a unique setting for you matching your budget and gifted person preferences. We will also wrap it for you, so you have one job less to do! “ Buy their products at https://francissoap.shop/


December 15 2020


Can everyone afford to be green? By Kelly Flanagan The climate justice project is a project by the NYCI(National Youth Council Ireland), is a collaboration between youth communities all across Ireland. It gives young people a space to learn, share and express their views. It wants to give everyone an equal opportunity to act more sustainably and be green. Climate justice looks at the climate crisis differently than what people are most familiar with. They focus on a perspective regarding equality and human rights. Climate Change is not just an environmental issue, it is also a justice issue. The question discussed was “Can everyone afford to be green?” What made this topic so interesting is that each participant got the chance to spread their ideas and to hear from young people from the steering group committee on why the affordability of a sustainable life is important to them.

Firstly, are you surprised to hear that Ireland is ranked the worst country in the EU for performance on climate change action? This call discussed the efforts needed to change this and achieve better climate action goals. Many different speakers got the opportunity to express their views on the topic. The organisation felt farmers were being excluded from the discussion so Thomas Duffy, the national president of Macra Na Feirme made a special appearance and a rather significant contribution to the conversation. Climate change poses a real threat to farmers around the world. Agriculture is highly dependent on good weather, and many other variables. Farmers need the climate to remain without damage. Saying this, a lot of blame is being put on them for the use of fertilizers, extreme carbon emissions etc. On behalf of the farmers he expressed that they are trying to make a change. Mr Duffy said that car-

bon assessments have been introduced and it’s important to encourage farmers to take the test to try to lower their negative impact on the environment. Can our farmers afford to leave some land untouched if it means losing some needed income? This tricky question was brought up by the NYCI. Maybe this is not the question we need to be asking. Maybe we need to start asking ourselves why this is a question, and why aren’t people educated enough to already know the answer. A poll was held to get every individual’s opinion on things. Do you think everyone can afford to go green? The majority voted no, but a small percentage said yes claiming that anyone can make it possible if they truly wanted to act in a more sustainable way. Secondly, fast fashion. Fast fashion is something everybody pretends not to hear about. We turn a blind eye

when it comes to anything regarding spending more money. Wo u l d i t surprise you if I said that fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world? It’s coming second to the oil production industry. Fast Fashion has a major negative impact and people need to stop and listen. It may be affordable but can you really put a cost on the human race? Can you really put a cost on your future generations? The fashion industry is also the second largest polluter of clean water on this earth after agriculture. It produces 21 billion tonnes of waste each year. The industry emits up to 10 percent of the global carbon emissions. This is much more than international flights and maritime shipping. Do you recognize the brands Victoria’s Secret, Primark, Topshop, Gap, Fashion Nova, Boohoo, PLT, Newlook, Zara? These are all massive culprits to the fast fashion industry. A change needs to be made, and made now. In addition, this whole idea about going green being expensive is arguably true. For example, some eco-friendly products are indeed a little bit more expensive than the regular ones. People may not have the money to invest in these products and even if they do they see the money being better spent elsewhere. Initial costs come into play as well. For example getting proper insulation in your home would cost a lump sum but in the long term is more affordable and a greener choice. There are also other costs involved in going green, such as making significant lifestyle changes.

Furthermore, an issue we face everyday is how to eat cheap, healthy and green. It’s currently a serious challenge and virtually impossible. We also need solutions on how rural Ireland cannot get access to public transport and young people cannot get second hand hybrids. Lastly, the NYCI talked about products being falsely advertised by claiming they are green and that we need to know how to make a true green choice. This is why the menti polls showed the results they did. The question was…”what needs to be done to take steps in the right direction?” Interesting enough the most frequently answered was better education. Everyone being educated on how to be savvy with their money while acting sustainably is the key to changing how we live for the better. To conclude, this talk was really effective because it gave each participant the opportunity to discuss with policy makers and other youth activists about issues of inequality within the green transition. It was very engaging because everyone got to participate interactively using Menti and Kahoot to give their opinion on the topic. Everyone got to hear about future opportunities to engage and make a positive difference on this planet.

Let’s talk about SHAG Week, was it a soaring success? Or was it a mess? By Neasa Gorrell In recent years, the NUI Galway Student’s Union has taken to organising and dedicating a week of events and talks all about the issues of sex that we as young people will encounter, so that we can have education and awareness of all things involving the topic of sex. This year, in particular, the events were held online, in webinars, talks and games nights. Some of the issues discussed are very poignant topics and very informative, even practical. Students who took part in any number of these webinars, can take the information discussed there and apply it to situations they may encounter in life, and this may protect them from harm. Many of the topics addressed by this year’s SHAG Week were consent campaigns such as “Not asking for it”, webinars on Period Poverty, Active

Consent Workshops, Queer Sex Ed Workshops, STI Awareness talks, Image-based Sexual Assault Workshops, and discussions on the signs of dating abuse. All of these are very educational, informative and can provide practical skills and awareness to the student community, which is a benefit to all students. The Student’s Union organised several speakers for these webinars and workshops, who have advanced education in these topics. Take, for instance, Caroline West, who gave the talk on Image-based Sexual Assault, which is a massive issue here in Ireland affecting young people in recent times. Students who attended this talk stayed on for discussion once the webinar had officially ended, and they discussed and vocalised the main ideas brought up by Caroline. The students found the discussions of victim-blaming

and the existence of rape culture in Ireland to be a very prominent issue. Yet, Caroline gave the students many lines to use to counteract victim-blaming, something that the students found very helpful and informative. Take, for example, if someone blames a victim of assault from a night out by saying a statement like, “Sure what did they expect to happen to them drinking and going out”. Caroline told the students that they could counteract this type of victim-blaming by saying, “They expected a hangover, and to dance and have fun; that’s all they expected.” Caroline also discussed societal and cultural ideas of needing to move from a place where rape culture is accepted to a consent culture, where asking for consent is the norm in everyday activities, and calling out people for their inappropriate actions is accepted.

Students felt that this idea was very insightful, and they reiterated the need to tackle rape culture and victim-blaming. The students felt it was essential to be vocal, speak out and back up people who call out the inappropriate behaviours of others. The students also said that we shouldn’t be silent or afraid to make others uncomfortable for their toxic behaviour. They thought these ideas were fundamental. On working with the students here at NUI Galway, and the Student’s Union, Caroline West told SIN: “I’ve really enjoyed teaching hundreds of students across the country for SHAG weeks, on topics ranging from porn literacy, menstruation education, image-based sexual abuse, and healthy relationships. I thought the line-ups for the week were amazing, and it is great to see such a focus on including sexual wellness as part of overall wellness. I

think the Welfare Officers have really knocked it out of the park in providing engaging events that also provided education,” said Caroline. Aside from all of the informative talks and webinars, we also had some competitions and games nights. The Student’s Union ran a competition of guessing how many condoms were in the jar, in order to win the entire jar. It turned out there were 187 condoms in the jar and a lucky third-year student won that lot. The Hump Day Hoolie ran again this week and was, as always, a brilliant success! And, finally, Friday night saw a massive turnout to Sex Toy Bingo, which was a great laugh and saw students win several sex toys and items. So, overall, this year’s SHAG Week was a roaring success and the Students Union, who organised all of the events deserve tremendous thanks from all of us students here at NUI Galway.

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December 15 2020


NUI Galway Lecturer talks Student Mental Health, Psychotherapy and Podcasts. By Sarah Slevin While gently swaying on his swivel chair, local psychotherapist Chris Place laughs kindly while contemplating how best to explain his work in layman’s terms. Chris occasionally lectures in NUI Galway, but also owns Galway City Counselling, which was set up almost 10 years ago. In recent months, Chris and his colleagues have noticed a massive surge in those reaching out for therapy and he says he is currently the “busiest he has ever been”. It worries Chris as, although it is great for business, it is a sign that people are struggling more with their mental health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. So, what is it exactly that Chris does? Eager to break down the walls and get into what psychotherapy really is, Chris brings a sense of accessibility to the process of therapy.

He has a simple way of doing this; he shares his journey. “I suppose with my own experiences of kind of, I guess quite an anxiety when I was probably in my late twenties led me to sitting in front of somebody” says Chris. It was after this experience of going to therapy that led Chris to discover, as he says, that it “ticked a lot of boxes” in terms of career path. “I’m driven by the relationship and by a connection with another human being because that was my experience of what helped me the most; that relationship. Somebody who could kind of understand me” he says. And, so far, it has been quite a varied path. From university counselling to working with the HSE and now to lecturing in NUIG while running his own practise, Chris is well-rounded when it comes to the field of psychology and therapy.

Final Year Diary Welcome to the sixth edition of this year’s Final Year Diary, the final edition of the first semester and the final edition before Christmas. It’s December, believe it or not. Lockdown 2.0 is over, and a vaccine is on the way. Things are looking up! I’m happy to say I’ve almost finished shopping for presents. It was a strange experience this year doing almost all of it online. I did, however, manage to venture into Limerick city this weekend for a while and, I’m pleased to report, there is in fact a Christmas vibe in the air. Covid-19 can take our nightclubs, but it can’t take our Christmas. In bad news, makey-uppey fake laptop college is becoming a drag again. I sometimes feel like I’m physically unable to make it through an online lecture. I was procrastinating so badly at one stage that I was over the moon to be asked to clear some dog poo from the backyard. Honestly, you’ve never seen someone shovelling dog poo so enthusiastically. Speaking of Christmas, I’m sure you tuned into the Toy Show this year. I watched it for the first time in about ten years and, fair play to Tubridy and RTÉ, they made a great job of it. Myself and herself made sure we put the tree up in time for it and had

a good supply of cans for the television event of the season. All of the kids involved were great, but how great was little Adam and his virtual hug? This being the final edition of my Final Year Diary for 2020, I feel it’s appropriate to reflect on an unprecedented year. 2020 will go down in history as a bad year for most people. Loved ones were, at the best of times, out of reach and, at the worst of times, lost to this horrible virus. Maybe it’s the optimist in me but I feel like I’ve grown immeasurably as a person in the past 12 months. The first lockdown last spring forced me to learn some important life lessons, the main one being not to let my life happen around me but to get involved and recognise a good thing when I see it. I have one particular person to thank for helping me along the way and I always make sure to tell her regularly how grateful I am. Amid this global pandemic and collective suffering, one way of keeping sane is reminding yourself of all the good things in your life, being thankful for them, and making sure not to take them for granted. Wherever you are, whoever you’re with (or not with), I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a hopeful new year. Stay safe!

First Year Diary Hello everyone and welcome back to my first-year diary. It’s time for another issue and another round of me complaining. I will try my best to include some positivity for all you optimists out there. I can’t write this and not mention the Toy Show. It was the perfect example of positivity which is hard to come by right now. I expected the show not to live up to how it has in the past but I was proved wrong. I can now say I have one reason to be proud to be from Tullamore and that is all thanks to the little lady, Annie. With her ACDC t-shirt and leather jacket and thankfully no thick Midlands accent! She represented us perfectly. We can’t forget Adam, the future space commander. I think I can confidently say he stole all our hearts and was the star of the show. I always saw the Toy Show as the beginning of Christmas and I think this year’s was a great start to what I’m hoping will be a good end to the year. Black Friday has come and gone and I surprisingly bought very little. I of course had to indulge in some of the book bargains to add more to my shelf. I inevitably also decided I needed a new pair of shoes and when I saw a pair of rainbow Vans I couldn’t pass that up. Now that Penney’s is opened for a limited time, I need to go and stock up on a few

by Tom Molloy

By Aine Fogarty

pairs of pyjamas. Nothing beats Penney’s pyjamas! A topic I’m very excited to mention is the possibility of a vaccine in our near future. With the UK having approved a vaccine and looking to start rolling it out in the weeks to come, it’s looking like Ireland might not be far behind. To say I’m excited would be an understatement but I know many of you, including myself will be worried about the possible side effects. Daily, I go from being thrilled at the possibility of getting the vaccine, to nervous and paranoid about the possible problems it could cause. This causes much anxiety for me and I’m sure it does for some of you too. What I’ve found that helps me is keeping up with all the new information on the progress and keeping myself well informed. All that science jargon can go over my head a lot of the time but Twitter has been my saviour with people explaining it in simple English! My tip for you is to keep informed but take breaks from all this news whenever you need to. At the end of the day, your mental health is the top priority. To end this issue on a happy note, I’m glad to say that we’ve made it through our first semester in college! Take this time to relax and reboot and I hope you all have a very merry Christmas.

Chris, though, would likely hate to be called an expert in any way as he understands on a personal level that it could easily be him that is the client rather than the therapist. “What I think when I’m sitting in front of a client, I’m always reminded it could be me. We could swap roles. You know, the point is, I’m a human being too and we’re all human and we all have our challenges and being a human isn’t easy at the best of times” Chris says. As we live through 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, or what Chris refers to as an “existential crisis”, Chris was motivated to break down therapy to what he saw it as: human conversation. He is doing this by creating his own podcast, ‘TherapyTalks’. “The idea was to simplify therapy. I think we complicate it a lot of the time, so just to kind of strip it back to ‘what is it?’ and ‘what do we do?’ and how might this work for somebody and how might this other therapy work for somebody else” he says. The podcast is somewhat educational in that it is informing the audience of the different forms therapy takes but each episode, at its core, is just a conversation between two people. This sums up Chris’ style when it comes to therapy. One of his guests on the podcast is Casey Donaghey, lecturer of psychology at NUIG. Casey met Chris four years ago when he taught her in the university and was instantly taken with his presence and the way he spoke about therapy. “He’s quite charismatic… He is good at connecting with people and I always sat at the front of the

lectures. So, I was watching him do his thing, full of knowledge, all psychotherapy based and I just got pulled in with that kind of connection” she says. Feeling comfortable with who you are speaking to was important for Casey when it came to sharing her story on an online platform and she says Chris made it feel easy and natural. “The thing is with Chris, he’s very easy to talk to… and he checked in whatever I was comfortable with beforehand” Casey says. For Chris, the podcast helps him tap into his creative side and his passion for communication. “I actually enjoy the whole process… and when you look at the whole piece and then you’re putting it up on the podcasting host platform and then it’s like, wow. There is something really exciting about that” he says. Chris is aware of the challenges people are now facing in that there is a hinderance on simple human interaction and connection. “There’s been this other feeling of being restricted and controlled, feeling that there’s this weight, this heaviness” he says. While Chris and his colleagues have long waiting lists and full schedules, Chris keeps his eye sharply on the objective of his profession: “Our job is to make ourself unemployed, our job is so that people don’t need us” says Chris.

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SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

Pantomime – “The Santa Claus of the Theatre” is missing from 2020 By Alice O’Donnell Arts and Entertainment Editor What does the pantomime mean to you? Was every Christmas marked by a trip to the local theatre, either with relaxed parents or with a few stressed teachers trying to herd your classmates into seats? Is it a foreign term, or does the word pantomime stand for glitz and glam, characters bursting into song, puns in near every sentence and the classic throwing – Cadbury – Roses – into – the - crowd move at the end of the show? SIN got to talk to the team behind Renmore’s Pantomime Society, the local Galway pantomime group that delights children each year. Chairperson Chontelle Kenny discussed what made the pantomime such a magical event, saying that “Through the staging and the script a new world is created with characters the children know and love.” Another key member of the group, Joe McCarthy, believes the interaction level of the show is part of it’s magic, telling SIN, “Kids feel free to cheer the hero and boo the baddie, while adults take as much pleasure from watching the kid’s reactions as they do from appreciating the professional on - stage performances.” But why have pantomimes stayed relevant in the age of computer games, films and TV channels all battling for children’s attention? Chontelle believes that the interaction between the audience and the cast is key; there is less of a strict divide between those on the stage and those watching the stage. “Children can sing along and are encouraged to take part responding to the different characters greetings… [the experience] is even more exciting than watching a movie on TV or in a cinema…

[The] pantomime is a live event which fills the auditorium with energy that children can absorb which is a unique experience for them.” she said. While some pantomimes across the world have managed to stay open, such as Panto.ie’s Dublin production of ‘Peter Pan’, which will work as a sort of drive through production with the audience staying in their individual seats at all time, Renmore Pantomime Society did not see a viable option to saying open, citing social distancing guidelines as a key reason behind this. “We decided to cancel the production because we felt it would not be possible to produce our Pantomime with a cast of eight (due to social distancing) when typically we would have approximately 75 on stage. Also, with only 10% capacity available in the auditorium we felt the audience would not get the same benefit from attending a Pantomime during Covid – 19.” Chontelle Kenny summed it up – “The magic of Pantomime just wouldn’t be there.” Is the cancelling of pantomimes in 2020 a look into the future? A future where pantomimes are left redundant in the face of the ever – progressive and invasive spread of technology into our lives? As far as Renmore are considered, the answer is a sure no. President of the society, Joe McCarthy, believes part of the magic of the panto is that it is not just a show for children, stating, “Parents and grandparents love the opportunity to share in the joy and excitement of their offspring… Children who had happy experiences of going to the Panto with their parents tend to re - cycle the practice when they have children of their own. Tradition is an important ingredient in the continuing appeal of pantomime. The Panto is a much prized inter – generational platform.”

The folks at the Town Hall Theatre also love their Christmas show. Fergal McGrath, Venue Director of the Town Hall Theatre Galway, believes that Renmore Pantomime proves to be one “of the busiest and most enjoyable times of the year for Town Hall audiences – and staff!... There is nothing to compare to the excitement and electric atmosphere of the Renmore Panto audiences. Nothing!” And it’s not just the show that livens the Town Hall Theatre. Fergal says that the “backstage buzz of the preparations and performances [are] equally energising, inspiring and uplifting! We just love it!”

It seems that the magic of Panto is based not just in the show, but in the entire experience of the performance. The electric energy of excited children, the plush seats, the exaggerated makeup, the dresses, the irreplaceable, hilarious pantomime dames, the interaction with the audience, the list goes on. The personal traditions are also an important element of the show, the act of parents accompanying their children, who in future accompany their own children to shows. Joe summarises it perfectly – “Tradition, engagement and family entertainment are important aspects to the continuing appeal of pantomime.” It is a mixture which, he believes “is a sure fire winner”.

So, it seems that despite this lapse of the annual ritual, the annual trip to the pantomime will be back and as strong as ever in 2021 (once this pesky pandemic is out of the way). Pantos represent so much more than just a show; they’re a tradition, an integral part of many familial customs. They’re a chance for children to be whisked away to another world, and for the adults to return to child - like wonder, even just for a few hours. To repeat Joe McCarthy’s statement from earlier, “Panto is the Santa Clause of the Theatre’’, and holds all the same mystery, magic and wonder as the man himself.


December 15 2020



The Late Late Toy Show Review By Saoirse Higgins The Late Late Toy Show is a staple of most Irish Christmases for the past few decades. From Gay Byrne to Pat Kenny (we can’t forget him breaking the toys every year) and now to Ryan Tubridy. This year, of course, the Toy Show faced a unique challenge: Covid - 19. The virus has been a prominent fixture in our lives since March. We went through two lockdowns, a lot of social distancing, hand sanitising, and mandatory €9 meals in our favourite pubs. So, I think it is safe to say, morale hasn’t been the best this year and we all needed a little light -hearted fun to help bring us into the Christmas spirit. The Late Late Toy Show was the answer we needed. The theme this year was Roald Dahl and with his furry tail and whiskers Tubridy certainly brought the magical wonder of Dahl’s books. The set was colourful and homely at the same time making everyone at home settle easily into the show. The absence of a studio audience this year was actually refreshing. The kids were able to just play and laugh with Tubridy without the shyness that comes from two hundred adults staring at them. It brought a lovely sincerity to the show. So, let’s talk about the kids. The kids this year were just remarkable. From Supervet Saoirse with her witty comments about the HSE backlog and the schools being open, to local hero Saoirse Ruane who


Warner Bros to stream all their 2021 film releases By Alice O’Donnell

brought tears to all of our eyes. A remarkable story that left me struggling to contain the sobs. While we mention Saoirse Ruane, we cannot forget the remarkable thing the people of this coun-

try did then. After the Toy Show started a charity appeal, €6 million was raised in the course of two to three hours. It was a beautiful sight. Also, can we talk about Adam? His virtual hug tugged on all of our heartstrings. His joy - filled face when he saw his favourite hospital porter come out lives permanently inside my mind. The trend of celebrities coming on the show to surprise the kids has always been a sweet one. However, there’s something heart - warming and pure seeing a child’s face light up to see an ordinary person walk out on stage. In this pandemic, it has been the work of ordinary people, nurses, doctors and hospital porters who have carried the burden of Covid - 19 and it’s lovely to see how much that means to a kid like Adam. I guess we have to mention the F - bomb. During a play meal with one of the kids, Tubridy opened a Fanta bottle that spurted causing Tubridy to, shall we say, express his frustration. Honestly, I don’t think it was an issue. How many of us have heard our parents curse like sailors from when we were children? These children have heard them all before. It was a genuine mistake which didn’t particularly offend anyone and, if anything, was actually quite funny as we saw Tubridy’s guilty look into the camera. I also thought the part with Gabriella was very sweet. She came out with her dolls and made the comment “this one looks like me”. In light of the struggles that have gone on this year, it’s a reminder of the value that comes with cultural representation in media and I’m happy to see that this girl in Ireland can find a doll that looks like her. I haven’t even spoken about Dermot Kennedy. When that young lad started singing ‘Giants’ I’m sure most of us were sitting around the television going “Dermot Kennedy is definitely showing up, I’d bet money on it.” And he didn’t disappoint with a lovely surprise duet with Michael. If you didn’t like Dermot Kennedy already you certainly did after that. And to end the show of all shows, we were blessed with the wonderful creation “rock is the best medicine.” Yes Noah, it really is. This year’s Toy Show was unforgettable. I’m sure I’ve left out some iconic moments but there were so many it’s hard to keep up. This Toy Show was a light at the end of a bad year. We all needed some fun to give us hope coming up to Christmas and Tubridy and all the staff of the Toy Show certainly delivered. Definitely my favourite Toy Show ever.

Film company Warner Bros have announced that all their films scheduled for release in 2021 will also be available for online streaming the same day they come out in the cinema. This move has greatly shaken the film industry, with some believing this will have little impact on the cinematic world, while others believe that it is the beginning of the end for cinemas and theatres. The one - year plan will commence with the release of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and will be in play for the entirety of 2021. Although it seems to be an unprecedented move, it is hardly an unrivalled one. Film distributors such as Netflix have been producing films for years, and bypass cinemas completely by releasing them on their streaming services. In recent times, Disney also bypassed theatres with their release of ‘Mulan’ (2020), which was only available for watch on their streaming service Disney+. But why have Warner Bros followed a similar approach? Many believe that the move was prompted by the release of ‘Tenet’ (2020), famed director Christopher Nolan’s latest film. However, unlike his previous blockbusters such as ‘Inception’ (2010), ‘Interstellar’ (2014) and ‘Dunkirk’ (2017), ‘Tenet’ failed to impact box offices, with Warner Bros expected to lose between $50 million to $100 million on the project. While this could partly be due to unimpressive plot (the film scored 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, noticeably lower than Nolan’s other film), the closure of movie theatres due to Covid - 19 also unquestionably impacted the profits the film made. Ann Sarnoff, chief executor of WarnerMedia Studios, called it a “unique one - year plan”, and the move done simply so the studio can “support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world - class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theatres, or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies, the chance to our amazing 2021 films.” And what an impressive list their 2021 films are. Included are: ‘Dune,’ ‘Matrix 4’, ‘The Suicide Squad’, ‘Sherlock Holmes 3’, ‘Batman: Soul of the Dragon’, ‘The Conjuring’: ‘The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights’, and even a live - animation feature film of ‘Tom and Jerry’, the classic cat and mouse duo. The films will all be available to stream on the day of their theatrical release on the streaming platform HBO Max. Currently the platform is only available in America, and costs the pricey sum of $14.99 per month. In comparison to the cost of Netflix, which in its basic package is $8.99 per month, the cost seems especially expensive considering Netflix has so many more films and shows on offer than HBO Max have. However, when compared to the average cost of going to the cinema, which in America is between $9 and $18 depending on your location, the appeal of HBO Max becomes clearer. As of writing this article, it is unclear how much this decision will impact the future of film. Some critics believe that it will decimate theatres, and is the beginning of the end for cinema and the next big conquer for streaming platforms. Others believe that the move will only be temporary, and theatres will recover from it by 2022.


CREATIVE CORNER Beggar on Shop Street By Ilka Denker I was standing there, window - shopping after hours. Behind the triple - glazed glass were three Christmas trees, arranged from smallest to tallest, against the backdrop of dozens of décor which was bought, never to be sold. My eyes welled up. Because there was me, reflected in the triple - glazed glass, Three times, threefold, life unsold And the Christmas trees glared back at me Smiled at me, mocked me. They knew well that through it all They were inside the stuffy, dark place And safe. Sold, unsold, they had it warm. I wish that I was an object on the window display, Upon which by - passers glance and yearn For emotional satisfaction for a better future Whilst all the emotion I feel, looking at the Christmas trees Is to feel the warmth that they must feel.

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

Dear Students, dear Readers. After a long and difficult year we are finally nearing Christmas season. As a new society, we cannot believe how much support we have received from the campus community and our members this year. There is no better feeling than looking back at so many nice events with our amazing members, society collaborations and competitions. For this Christmas, we prepared a very special present for you. Gabriel Baños with the story The Distance between Two Freezing Hearths has won our festive - winter - story competition and it is free for everyone to read below. So get yourself a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate or any other drink of your choice, cuddle into a warm blanket and enjoy this story of Winter and Wonder. We hope to see many of you next year and remember, it is never too late to join the Book Club!

The Distance between Two Freezing Hearths By Gabriel Baños The main door of Agnes’ house at Pecan Street would not have looked as extraordinary twenty years before as it did on that year’s cold, last morning. It was the last wooden door in an otherwise steel and cement street, its hinges brimming with fresh oil and a feeling of wholesomeness that permeated the whole house. Many were the pedestrians who felt this coat of warmth mantling its façade, then flowing upwards, slowly, enfolding the roof like a soft bed cover. And despite all the maintenance, the door had always creaked happily, knowing it was the reason the innermost layers of its owner’s home stayed as warm as its outside, if not more. In fact, had those same curious pedestrians been nosy enough to walk through the small garden and up to the entrance of the house, they would have noticed the heat fleeing through the narrow gap left between the forced lock and the recently burnished, splintered frame. I am sure Agnes herself would have been eager to wilfully share a few of her indoor secrets to anyone who happened to stand at her door, especially then, during the winter holidays; but she was not at home. And as cold as that last morning of the year was, it made no sense to think that anyone would have been standing in front of her house that early, only to admire it. The day was slowly passing by, and a few hazy rays of sunlight managed to peer over the high roofs of the surrounding buildings, making their way through the fresh wound and crashing into the hallway, illuminating a pretty plant now exposed to the elements. Where was Agnes? The previous evening her old telephone had rang loud, so loud that it could be heard from the street, almost a wail. She had promptly left by car, probably to visit a friend, or to

spend the rest of the holidays with some beloved relatives. At any rate, she was not at home when the cold had started to creep into the house, in the middle of the night. Now the sun was at its highest point on that clear blue sky however, and there were some people on the street. They could have noticed the cold entering the house. They could have noticed that the wooden door had been weeping, its stiff tears laying over the doormat, one of its brass arms broken, its teeth missing. But they did not. Perhaps it was because of this very cold that they did not notice. Why would they? Its guardian maimed, the house was slowly shedding its magical coat, and hour by hour it resembled more and more the rocky and barren neighbouring buildings. A snowplough rumbled through the narrow street, startling a couple of brave birds perching on one of the skeleton trees. A far ambulance hustled through the city. Then silence fell again. At evening, clouds of grey smoke towered over the high skyline surrounding Agnes’ home; lonely individuals and gathered families, both hopefully warming their cold shelters, getting ready for the new year that was about to begin. But where was Agnes? It was unusual of her to leave for long, and even more so to do it by car; her sight had not been at its best for a while. She had probably decided to wait after New Year’s Eve to return from wherever she was. The door had not cried due to her absence, or even its wounds. There are far more valuable things a house can lose than some old silver cutlery and a handful of jewels. Had Agnes known, she would not have missed them for long. But the heat, that heat that no chimney or heating system can provide, the heat that comes from the dwellers of the house themselves, that heat that never wavers, not even in the coldest of winter nights, which covers the house from garret to cellar, from the facade to its innermost beams; that heat is irrecoverable. And for some reason, Agnes’ home had lost most of it. Mere hours away from midnight, the outlines of the day had already mingled with the coming shadows. A handful of stars could be spied, briefly, over the narrow piece of night sky squished between the two lanes of buildings, before being eclipsed by the electric brimming of streetlights. Two shadows walked stealthily through the deserted street. Reaching Agnes’ house, they stopped for a few moments and stood holding hands in front of the small garden that led to the entrance. It was only a couple of minutes before midnight. One of them kissed the other on the brow, and together they opened the door, knowingly, caressing its broken but still beautiful features. Once inside, as they closed it, its hinges made one last low shrill of happy recognition, before the remaining breath of warm air left the house. The bells of a distant church tiredly tolled twelve times.


December 15 2020




Get ready for the Winter spirit By Sophia Hadef When the cold weather sets in, even if we like to do fall and winter activities outside, we spend most of our time indoors. The cold, and the sun setting earlier limit what to do, and so indoor activities are gaining popularity again. Board games, movies and books are what we are craving , it’s Netflix and Hot Chocolate season, which is perfect with some Christmas movies and Winter books to warm the hearts of romantics.

1. ‘The Father Christmas Letters’, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Particularly moving, this book takes up Tolkien’s correspondence, sent to his four children, in which he puts himself in the shoes of Santa Claus. We take from it a collection of enchanting tales that transport us to the intimacy of this great and unique writer.

2. ‘A Christmas Carol’, by Charles Dickens. What a beautiful classic and timeless Christmas story that will delight young and old. Certainly Charles Dickens’ most famous, it features the character of Scrooge, a stingy and grumpy old man who avoids Christmas like the plague, until the day he receives the impromptu visit of three ghosts: the spirits of Christmas past, present and future.

3. ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’, by Agatha Christie. Queen of literary crime, Agatha Christie transports us to a closed - door of which she alone has the secret.

Under her pen, Simeon Lee, a cynical and wealthy old man, decides to reunite his entire family for the holidays. However, on December 24th, his body is found lifeless. A wonderful opportunity to call the famous detective Hercule Poirot for a new enigma brilliantly conducted.

4. ‘Skipping Christmas’, by John Grisham. Luther and Nora Krank have decided to not celebrate Christmas this year. Their daughter has just left the family nest, and they have only one desire: to escape these gruelling traditions and save for a well - deserved luxury cruise. A good resolution that was without counting on their neighbours.


ow let’s talk about Christmas movies! I’ve prepared a small selection of my favourite movies for you to watch this time of year as well as some that have been recommended to me. I’m sure you already know some of them, but I hope you will discover more.

1. ‘Home Alone’, by Chris Colombus with Macaulay Culkin. If I had to keep only one Christmas movie, it would be that one. It is the classic of Christmas, in my opinion. Kevin McCallister was an absolute idol when I was a child, and I have a feeling it’s one of the main reasons I love this movie.

A modern classic that immediately landed in my favourites list. It is so touching, and the Christmas spirit is totally in. Perfect for watching with your family. The soundtrack of the film is incredible. A must see!

4. ‘It is a Wonderful Life’, by Frank Capra. It is hard to imagine the holidays without ‘It is a Wonderful Life’. This film has become a quintessential watch with generation after generation discovering and embracing it. It is a beautiful movie full of meaningful messages.

5. ‘An Irish Country Christmas’, by Patrick Taylor. Christmas in 1964, it’s Doctor Barry Lafferty’s first holiday season in Ballybucklebo. In this little country town, everyone knows each other. Barry is liked for his caring and healing skills. He has acquired the characteristics of country folklore and adjusted his demeanour and works accordingly. Barry enjoys living and working with older doctor Fingal O’Reilly. Their housekeeper Kinky Kincaid watches over them in a protective way, and she cooks sensational Christmas feasts. Fingal has been grieving his deceased wife, Deidre for 25 years. He rekindles an old friendship with Kitty O’Halloran and starts opening up his heart along with the Christmas spirit.

3. ‘The Polar Express’, by Robert Zemeckis with Tom Hanks and Chris Coppola.

5. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, by Tim Burton with Danny Elfman and Chris Sarandon.

A “feel - good movie” that warms the heart every time. The parallel stories of Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet between London and Los Angeles are extremely touching and moving. Iris’s little cottage is my dream place to spend the holiday season.

I had to mention this masterpiece. A true miracle of animation by Tim Burton, this film has fascinated me since its release in 1994. It is the perfect movie for the Gothics who still want to enjoy Christmas with a touch of spookiness. A film a little different from the others on my list but whose eccentric universe is exceptional. Get yourself comfortable, enjoy a delicious cup of tea or a tasty hot chocolate and enjoy.

unnerving questions about our own complicity in the entire macabre spectacle. When it comes to generational trauma; Elena Ferrante has few peers. The arrival of a new Ferrante novel in five years was hailed as a rare highlight in an otherwise dismal year. Released in Italy in November 2019, the English translation was delayed by seven months due to Covid- 19. ‘The Lying Life of Adults’ follows the end of childhood of Giovanna, a middle - class girl from the ‘good side’ of Naples. She is the only child of loving academic parents. Her comfortable life changes when she overhears her father unkindly likening her image to her aunt, the diabolical outcast Vittoria. Vittoria is the crazy aunt par excellence; she smokes like a chimney, drives with a death wish and terrifies people with her bellwether emotions. She is the antithesis of the genteel class of adults that Giovanna had grown up

under. The most shocking departure for Giovanna is her devastating honesty; she cuts right through to the truth, no time for niceties or nonsense. It’s this relentless truth seeking that causes our protagonist to break from her parents. Once the link is severed, she enters a strange new world of adolescence replete with confused sexuality, divided loyalties, and predatory figures. As with ‘My Brilliant Friend’, the Neapolitan Quartet Ferrante has written brings into life the cerebral interiorities and realities of young women. Weathering lockdown with an enjoyable book is more essential than ever before. While 2020 has been a calamitous dumpster fire, we are lucky that fantastic books are still being published. There is still excitement in being transported out of the humdrum reality of now, to travel to all over the world without having to leave the house.

2. ‘The Holiday’, by Nancy Meyers with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz.

Books in lockdown By Caroline Spencer At the beginning of the first lockdown, all those decades ago, I had the pleasure of reading ‘Winter in Sokcho’, by Elisa Shua Dusapin. The short novel takes place on the North/South Korean titular border town. Our unnamed narrator works in the local B&B as a receptionist and cook, a recent graduate living in her hometown working in a dead - end job. (Whom amongst us?) While the town differs from the bright lights of Seoul, our narrator has pride in her surroundings. She is French Korean, her father a mysterious westerner whom she never knew. Her mother works at the local fishmongers. She makes backhanded compliments about her daughter’s body shape and career prospects. (Again, relatable). The monotony changes when a mysterious French artist arrives at the hotel. He claims to be looking for the ‘real’ Korea yet turns down most

offers from our hero to experience her hometown on her terms. In trying to convince this man about the wonder of her town, she learns to love and appreciate not only her country but her own identity. When he makes yet another meritless comparison between South Korea and his native France, she lets him have it, in doing so waking up herself; “Our beaches are still waiting for the end of a war that’s been going on so long people have stopped believing its real...we’re living in limbo. In a winter that never ends.” The noir like quality of the book put me in the mood for a good old fashioned murder mystery. However, the book I ended up reading had nothing traditional in its form or scope. ‘The Red Parts’ by Maggie Nelson is not so much a murder mystery book, as a minute dissection of generational trauma in the story of one family affected by a senseless murder. With the success of her 2015 book ‘The Argonauts’, this earlier text was re - published and rode a second wave in 2017. Jane Mixer, the aunt of Nelson was murdered in 1969 by an unknown man, three years before the birth of the author. Nelson has lived her life under the shadow of this monumental loss. 35 years after the murder, the killer is miraculously found. At his trial Nelson, her mother and grandfather face the man, a retired nurse and father of two daughters, who mutilated and murdered Jane. The book extends beyond the trial and into the author’s psyche; placing her aunt’s life in the context of an entertainment industry that profits off misogynistic violence, a fascination with murderer profiles and the fallout of familial trauma. We the reader are the morbid bystanders looking through all this darkness with her. It raises

18  A RT S & E N T E RTAIN M EN T Grammys have progressed but 2021 shows more change is needed By Darragh Nolan The nominations for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards threw up their yearly share of controversy. Snubs are inevitable every Grammy season and while there are very few this year, the shutout of The Weeknd after he dominated 2020 with ‘After Hours’ is glaring and for some, a step too far. To the Academy’s credit, strides have been made in recent years to improve representation at the Grammys. In 2018, the Black Music Collective was established with the aim of giving Black artists a bigger voice in the Academy and the music industry at large. The need for change has been acknowledged and there’s no doubt this year’s awards bear fruit for the effort towards a more representative show. K - Pop giants BTS scored the first ever nomination in the genre for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Every Best Rock Performance nominee is a woman or woman - fronted band. Beyoncé leads all artists with nine total nominations. Aside from representation, cultural relevance has been an issue for the Academy too. This is something of a mixed bag for 2021. Taylor Swift’s triumphant folklore, Billie Eilish’s smattering of singles and Megan Thee Stallion’s breakout year all bagged multiple nominations, showing that the Grammys are keeping up to an extent at least On the flipside, the omissions of ‘After Hours’ and its #1 single ‘Blinding Lights’ in particular, are frighteningly tone - deaf. The Weeknd took over the music world in 2020, the aforementioned single being the definitive TikTok anthem. This move shows just how out of touch the Academy continues to be. Record of the Year is a category made for ‘Blinding Lights’ to receive a nomination for at the very least. The organisers claim the category has nothing to do with chart performance or popularity, but it’s routinely won by huge pop hits, like Eilish’s win for ‘bad guy’ in 2020. That ‘After Hours’ lost out to an entirely forgettable Coldplay album for an Album of the Year nomination in 2020 is laughable. The Weeknd’s latest effort is introspective, slick and innovative. Abel’s vocals are at their sublime best. The mixture of 80s synth, hard bass and echoing keyboards is musical miles beyond Chris Martin and co.’s latest drab pop - rock effort. There’s just no viable argument in favour of Coldplay getting the nod in this category. Recent years have shown the Recording Academy has made positive strides but the 2021 slate of nominees has shown us that problems remain. Onlookers could well say those that missed out are little more than sore losers, but the reality is that many artists remain unhappy and without the artists, the prestigious event doesn’t exist. Drake called for artists to come together to establish a rival following the latest round of Grammy exclusions. Only time will tell if it’s possible to replicate the prestige of the awards show that has long been dubbed music’s biggest night. Be that as it may, the Recording Academy has a responsibility to solve the problems prominent artists continue to call them out over. Halsey, who endured her own Grammy snub this time around, couldn’t have summed it up better; “it’s not always about the music or quality or culture.” If it was, The Weeknd would be in line for some well - deserved recognition. And he himself rounded off Halsey’s sentiment quite aptly by demanding the Academy be more transparent about the selection process. When it’s so clearly not about music, quality or culture, what could it possibly be about?

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

The Crown is far from the first on-screen inaccuracy and it won’t be the last By Darragh Nolan The release of the latest season of Netflix’s hugely popular series ‘The Crown’ has brought a host of questions surrounding the morality of on - screen portrayals of real people. While the show has been watched by over 100 million households since its debut in 2016, some have begun to consider where the line between fact and fiction ought to be drawn. Concerns over the British royal family’s depiction have extended all the way to Westminster Abbey, with the UK Culture Secretary insisting Netflix should clearly warn viewers that ‘The Crown’ is a work of fiction. Perhaps the label that says “Drama” alongside “starring Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham - Carter” isn’t enough of an indication that this television show isn’t historically reliable. ‘The Crown’ is a brilliant show. And it’s allowed to be just that and nothing more or less. It is a work of fiction based on real events and people. That it doesn’t depict history to the last detail is not a problem, nor does it require a “health warning” at the beginning of each episode. Viewers are fully capable of making the distinction between fact and fiction on their own. For some though, the issue seems to go beyond a desire for accuracy and into clamouring for keeping up the royals’ sterling reputation. A friend of Prince Charles told the Daily Mail the series was driven by “sinister” screenwriting, peddling a “republican agenda” and “propaganda”. Responses like these beg the question; When did dramatization become such a sensitive subject? Since there have been films

and TV shows, there have been films and TV shows based on true stories. That has always been the case and it will continue to be so long into the future. ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Steve Jobs’ (both, incidentally, available on Netflix) are excellent films depicting real - life events. Where are the calls to clearly label these (clearly fictional) films as fiction? And as for reputations, suffice to say neither do any favours for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg or the late Steve Jobs. The argument that the lives of Diana and Charles or indeed William and Harry are too fresh in the mind to play out on - screen just doesn’t hold up. ‘The Social Network’ was released in 2010 and covers events that took place from 2003 onwards. We’re in 2020 now and ‘The Crown’ is likely to extend no further than the late 90s or early noughties. In January 2019 the possibility of a sequel to ‘The Social Network’ was considered by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Safe to say it wouldn’t paint Zuckerberg in a flattering light given the path Facebook’s founder has gone down in the decade since the first film’s release. Either he deserves as much sympathy as the Windsors are getting or this is much ado about nothing. Any upset caused by The Crown seems

to be symptomatic of the world’s royal obsession. Those inclined have decided to leap to their defence, worried the events on - screen will tarnish the legacies of real people. Again, that has always been an unavoidable aspect of depictions of true events. There is a trade - off between fact and entertainment value. The same rules apply to tech billionaires as they do to British royalty. There appears to be an added sensitivity when it comes to dramatising the monarchy, but for what reason? The culture around celebrity has long since been established and assuming it’s here to stay, film and TV is far from the worst aspect of it. There’s a demand for media based on real life and there’s plenty of people in Hollywood willing to satisfy it. Those actors, directors and screenwriters deserve the creative license to tell those stories in a way that makes some effort to be accurate while also making them entertaining. It is drama after all.

If Anything Happens I Love You review By Niamh Casey For a short film that’s only twelve minutes long, it certainly leaves a lasting impact. The way the feature plays out and the emotional effects it has are very reminiscent to that of the first ten minutes of the Pixar movie ‘Up’; a complete rollercoaster of emotions with a gut - wrenching drop at the end. The film, that is so alluringly called ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’, is directed by Michael Govier and William McCormack and has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There is no speaking, only music that skilfully helps add to the overall

tone and style of the animated short. Dialogue is shown to be unnecessary as the story is wonderfully depicted and easy to follow through the scenes that unfold. It follows two grieving parents who are struggling to manage life after tragically losing a child. The audience watches how both parents respectively cope with the loss of their daughter, and examines how certain things trigger memories that become flashbacks that people watching can use to better understand what happened. The film focuses on the struggle of processing grief as well as the overall impact a tragedy has on loved ones. Nothing

is spoken, but everything is very clearly seen and felt by both the characters and the audience. Throughout the film it is revealed how the daughter came to pass and I would highly recommend not looking up any more information as the story and how things get played out and revealed are much more impactful that way. It is beautifully animated in a sketch - like style that is really appealing to the eye and is mostly in black and white, apart from the odd appearance of light blue, which is symbolic of the daughter in the film. She was the literal light in their lives, which is why everything is so grey to start with. With the film being so short, it doesn’t display the entire healing process, but we the audience still get a sense of grief and shock that the parents are in, and by the end of the film we see their first step towards healing. It is brilliant for a number of reasons, with the main one being the simplistic yet deep depiction of grief and the sequential methods of coping, which is what makes the audience so empathetic to the characters. It’s not hard to understand what they’re going through, and that makes for a very engaging and impactful movie, no matter how long or short the time duration is. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you are in any way sensitive to very emotional films, as it is admittedly quite a heavy watch. Otherwise it’s definitely worth watching, just have a feel - good film lined up to watch after.

Ranganna Gaeilge Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn Beidh Ranganna Gaeilge á reáchtáil againn ó Dé Máirt an 12 Eanáir go dtí Dé Máirt an 2 Feabhra 2021. Is cúrsa 4 seachtaine é, de chuid Chonradh na Gaeilge, a bheidh ar siúl ar Zoom. Bunleibhéal 6 pm – 7pm agus Meánleibhéal 7 pm – 8 pm. Gearrfar táille €40 ach aisíocfar €20 leat má fhreastalaíonn tú ar gach rang agus má fhaigheann tú teastas. Spriocdháta chun d’ainm a chlárú: an 21 Nollaig. Chun tú féin a chlárú déan teagmháil le: studentsunion@nuigalway.ie @nuigsu

NUIGalwayStudentsUnion www.su.nuigalway.ie

20  FA SH IO N & L I F EST Y L E

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

How to Self-Care – Pandemic Student Edition By Neasa Gorrell This year, 2020, has been one for the books; the history books and the students desperately diving headfirst into their books while self-directing their online studies. We all owe ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back to have made it through this academic semester, as we have had to compromise greatly, and miss an entire year of college that we can’t get back, one of the few years adults call the “best years of your lives.” So it makes sense that we need to take extra care of ourselves during these winter months, just in case things get too difficult, especially with the second round of deadlines and exams coming up at the end of this semester. So, I am going to give you guys a quick list of my go-to self-care tips and tricks, all of which have helped me during this academic year. We all need different forms of self-love from time to time, and it is always important to remember that the dark days will pass; we will overcome, and so we need to take care of ourselves in the meantime.

Morning Self Care Tips Doing small things to start your day off right can make all the difference in how you feel throughout the day, and again when you come home to settle at night. When you get up in the morning, try your best to make your bed, doing so can be the first achievement of your day, and if nothing else works out well for you during the day, at least you have a nice, tidy, organised bed to fall into at the end of the day.

When getting up, try to wash your face and brush your teeth. These are small things to remember, but they are essential in affecting how you feel about yourself throughout the day. Sometimes, if you have time to spare, taking a morning shower can be very relaxing and rejuvenating, so keep that in mind. Try to have a fresh and filling breakfast. Starting the day with good nutrition, and a pint of water or a soothing cup of tea can affect your mood throughout the entire day. Finally, try to get up at a reasonable time, especially during winter. If you sleep in too late during wintertime, there will only be a few hours of brightness and light before it gets dark again, and this can affect your mood significantly. With this in mind, depending on when you get up and organised, try not to set too many goals for yourself during the day, that may not be feasible. Try your best to get things done, but don’t be upset if you didn’t do everything you had in mind; any bit of productivity is still good productivity.



Táimid ar oscailt!

The SU Office will be open 4pm-8pm on the following dates:

Beidh Oifig an Chomhaltais ar oscailt ó 4 i.n. go 8 i.n. ar na laethanta seo a leanas:

• Mon 14th Dec • Dé Luain an 14 Nollaig • Tues 15th, Weds 16th + Thurs 17th Dec • Dé Máirt an 15 Nollaig, Dé Céadaoin an • Mon 21st + Tues 22nd Dec 16 Nollaig agus Déardaoin an 17 Nollaig • Dé Luain an 21 Nollaig agus Dé Máirt an Call in to get your new Student Leap Card 22 Nollaig or to collect your free NUIG face masks + SU Diary Buail isteach le do Chárta Leap Mic Léinn a fháil nó le do mhasc aghaidhe agus dialann saor in aisce a bhailiú




NUIGalwayStudentsUnion www.su.nuigalway.ie

During the day Self Care Tips Having a clean study space with adequate ventilation can make all the difference in your productivity, so try to keep your desk organised. Ensure you have good lighting, as straining your eyesight will distract you from your work. Make sure your study space is well lit so that you can study efficiently. As well as this, try to limit the number of hours you spend scrolling on your phone, as this will distract you from your studies. It may be a good idea to leave your phone somewhere out of reach, and on a Do Not Disturb setting. Remember to take a break from studying, get some fresh air, grab some lunch, go for a walk, have a chat with a family member, or play with your dog. It is okay to relax for a while.

Evening Self Care Tips The evening is the best time for self-care because you can completely wind down and relax. When I need a self-care evening, there are several things I like to do to relax. I try to tidy my room from working throughout the day so that it can be a positive space for the evening. I light some scented candles, burn some incense, and turn on my fairy lights. It is also an excellent idea to buy some facial scrubs or sheet masks and giving your skin some much needed TLC, especially if you have tired or

dry skin, as you can give yourself a healthy glow again. So doing a skin cleansing routine is always satisfying. Depending on your mood, get some healthy snacks, or sugary treats. If you think eating a particular food will make you feel guilty after, like chocolate, pizza or crisps, then avoid them and treat yourself to a fruit salad instead, with some light popcorn, or your favourite food. It is always an excellent idea to have a pot of fresh herbal tea as well that you can sip at, refill your mug, and sip some more. It is a good source of water, is very hydrating and often a good antioxidant for your gut. To entertain yourself – you can watch Netflix or YouTube, or try something different. Sometimes I like to write. I can journal my thoughts from the day, acknowledge my feelings, manifest new ideas, or even do some creative writing like working on poetry or a short story. Recently, I started trying to draw and paint; although I wouldn’t consider myself artistic, it has been nice to try new things. When drawing or writing, I like to play music in the background. Sometimes I go for my favourite songs, but other times I just play meditation sounds. Finally, make sure you go to sleep at a good time so that you can get a fair amount of rest and feel good the next morning. It seems like something simple, but sleeping at least eight hours a night can have so many benefits, so make sure you get enough sleep.

Staycation, the beautiful and colourful Kinvara By Sophia Kinvara is a small fishing village, located 30km south of Galway City Its port and its colourful houses make it a charming village, whose peace is met by its picturesque charm. Built at the base of the picturesque Burren, Kinvara lives with the Irish tides and seasons. Its fishermen spend their days aboard hookers (small sailboats that have been used for centuries by the people of County Galway). Meanwhile, the Dunguaire Castle silently towers over the village harbour. Its colourful houses and streets are few, but the scarce shops give the village all its dynamism. You will find a warm atmosphere in a picturesque setting. Note also the presence of a music store, and a few craft workshops. Do not hesitate to push the door: people are welcoming and love engaging with tourists. Do not miss the small fishing port of Kinvara either: the walk is delightful and offers you a glimpse of the life of the fishermen of the village. It is not uncommon to come across a few of the iconic Galway hookers docked in the quay, loyal Galway sailing ships used by sailors in the region. The landscape of the bay is breathtaking in cloudless weather. From Galway city, it’s about 40-minute drive to Kinvara. Where you enter the village, be certain to drive past Dunguaire Castle on your way, its position right on the village’s shoreline makes it one of the most sumptuous seascapes in the west. If you prefer to take the bus, Bus

Eireann’s 423 route provides daily transport to and from Galway city. In Kinvara, Traught Beach is settled in a rural farming landscape of tiny fields. The beach and car park face west to the wide Atlantic and views to the City of Galway are possible on a bright day. A restaurant I recommend is Ishka, they serve delicious meals with fresh products. They are also very friendly and I can assure you that you will spend a nice and unforgettable moment there. Not far from Kinvara, you can experience a guided factory tour of the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory and taste the best Irish chocolates.


December 15 2020




Back in the day before 2020 By Rachel Garvey When people say the phrase “back in the day...” we assume they are reminiscing on the old times dating back to centuries previous and that assumption proves to be true. However, if people were to say it nowadays, then this generation would be aware that people are referring to a time when Covid-19 didn’t have the world in its clutches. We have now learned that there are two types of generation; the ones who refer back to the 1900’s and the ones who refer back to the beginning of 2020. You can hear it in conversations as you pass by strangers on the street as they converse with their friends and poke fun at how back in the day there was no social distancing and no need to wear masks. When we grow older, we will still be saying the phrase, in front of our grandchildren as we tell the tale of 2020.

No Social Distancing We all miss having contact with people, be it physical or verbal contact. There’s the urge to hug people and shake hands, or put your arm around your best friend, but nowadays

it’s frowned upon. Pre-Covid-19 times were taken for granted when we were able to make all those small gestures, even if that small gesture was offering someone a seat beside you on the bus, but now, people tend to squash themselves up against the window if someone sits beside them, not that it happens often because of reduced capacity on buses. We miss going to the pubs for a night out or a quiet drink, we miss going to the cafes and having a catch up chat with a friend we haven’t seen in a long time or the need to not have to queue when going to a clothes shop. We take the little things for granted, but maybe now we’ve learned our lesson to not take anything for granted again.

eyes because eyes always seem to reflect what a person is feeling whether they’re happy, sad or angry. Thankfully, we can see a person’s eyes when they have a mask on, but we miss seeing a person’s full face!

Facial expressions

This is everything rolled into one category. The huge sadness that has been dumped upon us when we are told we can’t do this or that and these things are usually part of our daily routine, things that keep us grounded. As human beings, seeing and having contact with people is a big thing for us, we need to be able to browse in shops just because, we need to be able to go to a pub and have a drink to de-stress after work or college, we need to be able to go out and have a good time with friends, we need to be able to breathe freely without some flimsy piece of material covering half of our faces. The life we once knew has temporarily disappeared, but we need to be able to be hopeful that someday we will all be able to get our normal lives back! In times of uncertainty, hope is a saviour!

There’s a big part of us that enjoys reading people’s facial expressions, but some people perfect the whole concept of not showing emotions while others read like an open book to some. Pre-Covid-19 times meant we could see people’s smiles and seeing them smile made us smile, smiling was indeed contagious! Nowadays, we hide behind the material of a mask and our facial expressions are quite literally masked behind the curtain. We smile, but no-one really sees it, we grit out teeth in anger, but no-one sees that either! We’re trying to talk to our friends and family members and sometimes we have to repeat what we just said because the mask muffles our voices, it’s sad. However, we have learned that you can see a person’s true smile in their

Travelling Whether it was travelling to a different county or country or even 25 kilometres away from our home, we could do so with no problem, but now there are restrictions on wherever we go. The fear of getting stopped by the Gardaí at numerous checkpoints has stopped people from going places; for fear of getting a hefty fine or worse.

Living life

Lol guys look it’s my turn to teach you how to eat some yummy yum yums for a bargain price and tasty spice. I’m a vegetarian so my diet consists of things you’ll find on a rabbit’s menu, but I assure you, just because its green don’t mean it ain’t tasty! I went through my first couple of years living completely alone by teaching myself how to eat nice food for cheap, so here we are. Today’s menu is super simple but very much easy and delicious so let’s go!

Basic vegetable soup:

STEPS: 1. Fill a pot of any size with cold of boiled water and let it sit on the stove comfortably on a high to medium heat. 2. Add salt and let it boil. 3. Cut up vegetables, potatoes and carrots go in first! Then followed by the fusilli or rice, and then add the other vegetables. Set the egg aside! 4. Once everything is in the pot add some spices and more salt until you are satisfied with the taste. 5. After about 15 minutes check the softness of the potatoes and carrots if they are semi soft it’s time to add the egg. 6. Crack the egg gently into a bowl or cup and beat well.

Feeling jolly yet? Christmas is just around the corner and we all know what that means, it means money is going to fly out of our wallets like it’s nobody’s business! Of course, we want to spoil ourselves and our loved ones this year (considering it has been an awful year) but we also have to be mindful of the fact that everyone has had a tough year and there is no reason to make it tougher for yourself by spending all your money and eating unflavoured noodles for the first few months of 2021. So today I come to you with some budgeting advice in relation to Christmas shopping!

Shop affordably

7. Once the egg is beat slowly add it to the soup, it should create a topping off stringy egg into your soup which is a great source of protein.

Not only affordable but cute and unique Beautonomy is one of those great places where you can make customized gifts for your beloved bestie! You can not only edit the outside of the palette but also handpick the shades and the names of said shades! If you really want to get high quality gifts, get gifts that are customized and personal. One small personal gift is so much better than a million little meaningless bits! If you know websites that offer bits you can put your face on do it! Make matching t-shirts with Weprint. ie or any other company you know! Make your gift stand out.

EXTRA ADVICE: If you’re a meat eater you can add cheap Lidl sausages into the soup and let it cook in the soup/ maybe even chicken. That all depends on you. Also, the egg is not necessary but it’s nice to try!

Simple tomato and cucumber salad! INGREDIENTS: • 1 cucumber • 3 large tomatoes

Don’t go nuts

• Mayonnaise • Salt

INGREDIENTS: • 4 small carrots • 1 onion (red • 1kg of baby or white) potatoes or about 5 • 1 Egg (not boiled) regular big potatoes • A handful or two • 2 scallions of rice or fusilli

By Anastasia Burton

What do I mean by shop affordably? Well, it means only shop in the stores that you know you can afford. Do not go into Brown Thomas knowing you’ll spend your entire weeks wages on a tiny little eyeshadow or a coin purse. There is no shame in buying online and shopping in Penney’s or other “cheaper” stores. It’s not the amount of money you spend on a gift it’s the thought and love you put into it! You can buy something small and insignificant but it could relate to your inside joke or maybe even just something you know your friend will love. The reduction sections are always great since you can find lots of great bits for sale and you would be catching a bargain.

Cheap and easy recipes By Anastasia Burton

Budgeting advice

STEPS: 1. Cut your vegetables! You can add onion if you like it’s really up to you, it’s a very quick and easy salad! 2. Add them into a large bowl and add salt and mayonnaise 3. Mix it all until you are happy with the taste 4. Voila you are fed!

Delicious and easy fruit porridge INGREDIENTS: • Any type of porridge • Strawberries, or any fruit of your liking • Chocolate chips (dark or milk chocolate)

STEPS: 1. Make the porridge add sugar or jam if you wish

2. Cut up your strawberries or whatever fruit you have and drop them into the porridge

3. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips to your porridge

4. Enjoy!

Listen, getting a load of bits for your loved ones is great and all but if you get too many gifts you’re risking getting them a load of crap they don’t need. There is nothing worse than thoughtless little gifts or too many gifts all at once. A gift is special because it holds meaning and it sparks a memory of you, why do they need 40 mini memories of you when it can be one very nice memory? This way you’re not only saving your money but also saving their space, which is very important. Now that you have money to spend on yourself don’t get bits just because there is a sale, get things you know you will need or you have wanted for a long time!

Check your charity! Charity shops often have amazing pieces for sale. Whether it be books, décor or clothing you can always get something awesome that is probably in great condition and would be happily worn. This way you’re not only making your friend happy but you are also donating to charity and slowly converting your pal or family member to a more sustainable life! Sustainable life is a cult and we need more followers! You’re welcome for the advice.

22  FA SH I O N & L I F EST Y L E

Hello everyone By Ellen O Donoghue Happy week 12 out of 12! For me, this is the last week of my first semester of final year and honestly, it’s a no from me. I wish I was excited about it but honestly I’ve been in that mid semester slump since week 7 or 8 and haven’t quite been able to shake it. The workload this semester has been overwhelming, not even taking into account the difficulty of the transition from in person to online class. I feel like there’s no down time, if I’m in college I’m staring at a screen, if I’m communicating with friends I’m staring at a screen, if I’m watching TV to try to relax, then I’m staring at a screen. I’d go for a walk, only the Donegal hills are a bit much and the rain is a bit too much for me, and when I’m reading, I can’t relax either because this year, any novels I get the time to read are novels, you guessed it, for college. It’s fun. It really is. The stress from this semester is taking a toll, as I am sure it is on everybody. Christmas is looming, and among the festivities are finances that some may struggle to afford, but I think that this year the whole presence instead of presents thing is lovely. I for one, cannot wait to spend even more time with my family that I cannot escape from one day to the next. That was my bad attempt at a joke, sorry. Christmas will be fun. Restaurants are open now and we can enjoy a substantial meal and as many as possible substantial pints within 105 minutes. What more could you want? Other than a vaccine and for life to go back to normal, of course. But that is on its way too. I like to think that we’re going to roll out the vaccine soon. And genuinely, can we all just remember that this vaccine is not a microchip, and was subjected to all of the trials other vaccines must go through, it was just bumped to the front of the queue at each stage. So kindly, shut up if you’re against it. I haven’t seen my grandparents in a year and won’t be able to see them until this is all over, so I’d like for that to happen soon. It’s just important for everyone to try to remember that, although this Christmas will be different, different doesn’t always mean bad. There will be positives, when was the last time you spent a Christmas Eve in, with family? I was going to write sober but honestly, I don’t think I will manage that part this year, there will be wine in the fridge and it’d be a sin not to drink it. At least I’ll be in the house though, at home. I don’t know. The next time I write this column, it’ll be 2021. 2020 will have passed. Life could be so much more different to how it is now. We could be in unprecedented times, as we are now, but unprecedented for a completely different reason, for a positive reason. The RSA advert always sticks out to me when I think of unprecedented times. “Expect the Unexpected”. Like, who’d have expected this? I really hope those of you reading this have a magical Christmas. It can be tough sometimes. Families come together, but sometimes the togetherness makes us realise who’s missing. I get that. We just have to appreciate what we have, who we have, and the time we have together. These times are unprecedented alright, but our love for ourselves, for life, and for each other, never will be. I’m going to finish up this column this week with a quote I’ve stolen from an article in the last issue: “Stay Strong Stay Safe Stay Festive”. Have a wonderful Christmas, a blessed New Year, and warmth in your heart. I’ll talk to you in 2021.

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

Beauty bag review:


By Anastasia Burton Can you believe you have been decluttering/ panning products with me for six issues now? Crazy to think how time flies and how committed we are to each other isn’t it? Now today will be a little different, since I have been working a lot I haven’t been making as much progress as I would have hoped with my project panning. But never fear! I have decided to create a prediction beauty bag review for you today! Basically talking a bit about the products I am using now (some of them at least) and the products I will be using as their replacement since I am either close to using them up or already have used them up!

Elf hydrating face primer I have been avoiding primer ever since the Essence healthy primer instead using a hydrating spray and moisturizer. I’m excited to try the elf primer I’ve heard a lot of good things about it!

one I’m currently using is just about to run out and I am excited as hell for it to do so. I’m finding myself going for the more natural look recently and avoid foundation to give my skin a breather.

Essence lash princess False lash effect mascara

TheBalm sexy mama antishine translucent powder

Topshop chameleon highlighter sea witch I have been using the Topshop mother of pearl for months! It’s a beautiful highlight don’t get me wrong, but it is falling out of the pan and I honestly think I used it as best as I could, I am ready to move on to something new. Sea witch is a very pleasant iridescent kind of sparkle and I’m honestly just excited to try a new shade of highlight!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette

I am currently using the powder in my SOSU contour palette, but I am expecting to stop using it very soon as it is quite old and I am hitting pan on most of the shades, which is very exciting for me. Going from never hitting a pan or using up a product to using up an entire contour palette is very exciting to me. This powder I have used before to set my foundation and it was a little pink/ orange so I’m not too sure if I’ll enjoy it as much as I have hoped.

Rituals miracle bronzing powder

Essence eyeliner pen- 07 jump & swim

Rituals miracle light weight foundation

I don’t know what to say to you I’m just really digging the blue eyeliner look recently. I’m actually using a yellow eyeliner too from the same brand and collection and I’m in love! So easy to use and look very cute on the eyes.

I am so excited for this foundation you have no idea! It looked fabulous when I checked it out in the store and can’t wait to finally use something more light weight. This is the newest foundation in my collection since the

So there you have it a few new products to use up in 2021, have you started your own project pan yet?

So, this is a replacement for my essence lash princess volume mascara. I really hated the wand on the volume mascara, so I decided to pick up the false lashes one and see if it’s any better. So far, it’s a lot easier to work with and really works with my lashes.

I love this little bronze palette it’s very beautiful and subtle and as I said I am going in the more natural direction with my face makeup, so this is right up my ally!

I have been using this bad boy since August I think and it’s a beautiful palette but I’m really getting bored of the colour scheme. I have hit pan on five shades out of the fourteen, but I feel like I will try and make a larger dent into the shades in the next coming months and hopefully move on to a new palette by February! I am very close to hitting pan on five more shades and I think I will focus on those shades for the remainder of this month.

December 15 2020





A Sign of the Styles How a Harry Styles cardigan has created waves on the internet during lockdown By Laura Quinn If every internet user over 16 and under 25 was to play a game of quarantine bingo, they would all tick off at least one of the following boxes: banana bread baking; cloud coffee making; Zoom dating - or spending hours painstakingly recreating a garment worn once by Harry Styles. This is not just any old piece of clothing, however. The cardigan, which Mr Styles wore in February before appearing on the Today show, is a one-off piece created especially for the pop star by British fashion house J W Anderson. A slouchy masterpiece composed of individually knitted squares in red, yellow, green, orange and black; it has managed to capture the zeitgeist of fashion in 2020 - ethically-made, individualistic, technicoloured and (most importantly) Harry Styles endorsed. Cardigan fever has taken TikTok by storm since March, with many fans utilizing the extra spare time brought about by global lockdowns to learn a new skill, and pay homage to their idol in the process. The hashtag #HarryStylescardigan has amassed 38.6 million views on TikTok, along with hundreds of videos; users either showcasing their attempts, or curiously following the progress of others. American teen, @marjorietyrell, documented

her own (very successful) stab at Styles’ garb and her video has racked up 183,500 views as of November 14th. ‘But I want one sooo bad,’ commented one viewer. ‘CALLING MY NAN TOMORROW TO ASK HER TO HELP ME CROCHET THIS,’ said another; her plan of action in place. Such is the popularity of the trend, and the power of TikTok, that it has made its way back to J W Anderson HQ. Rather than suing the fervent amateur knitters for theft of intellectual property, Jonathan Anderson (founder and chief designer of JW Anderson) decided to publicly release the cardigan’s pattern to aid the endeavours of its admirers. A statement on their website reads: “A gift from Jonathan to all our TikTok Cardigan fans: ‘I am so impressed and incredibly humbled by this trend and everyone knitting the cardigan. I really wanted to show our appreciation so we are sharing the pattern with everyone. Keep it up! x – Jonathan’,” accompanied by a PDF to download the pattern. However, having a piece of Styles in how you dress is no mean feat. Despite Anderson’s handbook only requiring a ‘Beginner/Intermediate’ skill level, the cardigan takes weeks to make, which has deterred many from making their own (and pre-

Beginner’s guide to goth fashion By Tobias Buckley If you think you know anything about the goth subculture you may be thinking of these words – dark, broody and a bit scary. In reality, it is a music-based subculture, it just happens that some of us are a bit broody and scary but not all of us – we have personalities among all the black! I’m writing this to tell you about some tips about goth fashion, and alternative style in general, that I have picked up in my time of exploring the style and the subculture. The first thing I wish I knew at the very start was that not everything has to be expensive! You can get great finds in charity shops and find basics at your local Penney’s. Wherever you are, even if you don’t think you’ll find anything, keep an eye out for items you like and you think you could coordinate into an outfit. I’ve actually found some of my favourite items in charity shops and you can get basics such as black t-shirts and fishnet tights from Penney’s. Same goes for makeup – makeup from the pharmacy or Penney’s can often suffice instead of spending €20 on a single lipstick or six shades of eyeshadow. These places also had the advantages of swatches before Covid-19 and I hope it will be the same after we beat this virus! On a similar note, don’t think everything has to be black. You can put in a pop of white or certain colours into an outfit and it won’t detract if you don’t go over the top with colour. Be it a statement tee (such as a band one), a cardigan with some red, dark blue or purple on a skirt or even just some statement shoelaces it can still fit under goth fashion.

This is a tip for everyone this winter, however you dress but layering up is common in goth fashion. If you have a couple of t-shirts or shirts, a cardigan or two and a coat there are numerous options. On the bottom half you can wear fishnets, tights or leggings under a skirt or dress and you have layers there too (not that fishnets will keep the cold out but it’s just an example). From the outset of the goth subculture, a staple activity was, and still is, DIY. Be it getting a fabric marker or some fabric paint and DIY’ing a custom tee, getting a long sleeved top and cutting thumb holes in it, or even changing the shoelaces in your favourite boots, there’s lots you can do to make something your own. Also, if you can sew you can do great things in this style! I’m personally hopeless at sewing but I try sometimes. I suppose it’s a case of practice makes perfect even if I don’t practice! One final point – some statement pieces you see advertised on the likes of Instagram are super expensive. However, you may get savings if you shop small. For example, there are many small Etsy stores that do alternative jewellery and headpieces at a fraction of the price of similar items on the bigger stores. Another benefit of this is that you’re supporting people who are doing their own thing and showcasing their creativity instead of pumping money into big corporations. A win all round! These are some of the tips and tricks I have found and used in order to explore goth and alternative fashion a bit. Goth doesn’t have to be expensive – you can find some lovely items on alternative fashion websites, but if you’re strapped for cash you’ll probably do just as well in a charity shop, or maybe even from making your own if you’re feeling adventurous. Over my time in the alternative scene charity shops have become my best friend for everything from that pretty statement dress to the perfect pair of boots. I’m also still developing my style but I hope these tips help at least one baby bat as they adventure forward.

sumably led to piles of 14x14cm knitted squares collecting dust across the globe). Luckily for those who want the look without the labour, the talented knitters of Etsy have come out in their droves; with a search for ‘Harry Styles cardigan’ on the site yielding almost 200 results. The prices go from €80 all the way up to €350, and on average buying the dupe on Etsy will set you back about €250. Although steep, the price is a reflection of the time commitment and craftsmanship that it takes to make the cardigan. “They (the cardigans) are very large and take many hours of knitting. I would approximate the knitting time is 80-90 hours”, Etsy seller Jennifer, ‘JennitsDesign’, explains.

For Izzy of ‘BebeBucketHats’, creating the cardigans is a labour of love, as she is a fan of Styles herself. “Making the cardigan made me feel connected to Harry,” she says. The impact of Harry’s cardigan has not been lost on those outside TikTok’s sphere of influence. In a recent Vogue interview, Styles’ stylist revealed that the Victoria and Albert Museum in London intends on permanently exhibiting the garment, to “showcase how people got creative during the Covid Era”. Nonetheless, if you can’t knit, can’t afford to fork out a week’s wages on a piece of clothes, or can’t make it to London in the near future; there is no need to fret - Penneys will surely have their own version in the near future.

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SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

Dealing with me; Grieving in lockdown by Edel Cronin 2020 really is just not it. You know when New Years comes around and everybody goes ‘this year is going to be it’ or ‘this will be great, new year!’. Maybe it’s a comforting thing to reassure ourselves before we are neck-deep in the opposite to what we thought in the first place. When New Years came around, did we really think we would be sitting here today on a December evening scared to even look at another person. If you aren’t already sick of a pandemic and being isolated from the world in the mean time, I don’t know what to tell you. It makes you wonder, how many more will there be, crikey. Anyways, I’m here to talk about dealing with myself during lockdown, my life, my events, my losses. I’m just dealing with me; everyone is different; I’ve just grown up to believe that my case was never bad in comparison to others but I want to talk about that for a minute. I don’t think that that is a valid excuse to tell a child that they are ‘better off’ than X, Y and Z because eventually, something will spark in the long run. It might not be hunger, it might be. It might not be loss, it might be. It might not be an arm or a leg gone, but it might be. But what it also might be is the constant reminder and torture of questioning your mental stability. I am one of those people and I’m calling it out more than ever now.

For years, I’ve had lumps, bumps and warts in the road that I’ve ignored and just carried on driving. That’s my problem, I tend to ignore things until one day I lose my cool. It’s a great party trick of mine. I don’t recommend it. I’ve had and have the most amazing people around me which I will be forever grateful for. Especially the main women in my life, my mother and my grandmother. The three of us were inseparable one way or another. When you are told to stay at home, be good and don’t bat an eyelid at anyone else outside of your house, your dynamic changes a lot. It certainly changed for me. My mother and my grandmother are the most active, mobile, stubborn, kind, generous, grateful, beautiful women in the world. They are practically twins. We all did what we could to make this gloomy pandemic lockdown world somehow work. I’d say we all did in our own ways too. We protected each other. I want to get at the dynamics of my life changing overnight. It wasn’t pre lockdown, It wasn’t lockdown one. It wasn’t the break between lockdown one and two. It wasn’t pre-lockdown. It was lockdown two. I cracked and am still trying to glue myself back together. If you open the door to questioning yourself, it’ll flood. I have only learned this recently and I have learned how to deal with thoughts, passing thoughts and letting them go. Grieving is a whole new world to me. Yes I have had losses at a younger age but, there comes an age


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Grieving is a whole new world... There comes an age in your life when you lose someone you loved dearly and you realise that that person was a person. you loved, spoke to, asked for advice, drank tea with, went on drives with, sang with, cried with, laughed with, argued with, loved with. in your life when you lose someone you loved dearly and you realise that that person was a person. you loved, spoke to, asked for advice, drank tea with, went on drives with, sang with, cried with, laughed with, argued with, loved with. You know who to reply to, you know who to nod to, you know who to send an emoji to. You know who has or has not felt the same way you do. This is grieving itself but, grieving inside, in a lockdown, in a pandemic, stuck in your own mind 24/7, no this is new. We were even lucky enough to have a normal-ish send off because I feel as though it is worse for people who could not even do that in today’s world. Dealing with losing my Nanny, my closest grandmother, basically my second mother, no one can tell me how to feel. Dealing with losing her in a lockdown, stuck inside with me, myself and I, well, it’s a whole other planet. I’ve thought about how to put to words how everything has been since it happened or even during and no words can really describe it. First you deal with the sickness, then the passing, then the family, then the send-off, then the life of that person, then being the support for everyone else, then phone calls, then fights, then more fights, then eventually, your own wellbeing. It is right down there at the bottom. People think that looking after yourself is the first thing you do, no. Maybe for some people but, not for most. One of the hardest parts of this experience is trying to hide your moments from the people you are meant to support. You know in your heart where you stand with them. For example, someone could compare their grandparents to yours. What I mean by this, they may have lost their grandmother or grandfather when they were nine and you just lost yours at 20. It does not mean that the love is not the same, it depends on the situation of course but, I’m going to be honest, I don’t want to hear ‘I know’ when I know already. There are even grown people I’ve encountered during this weird time that has never had such a huge loss. So much so, they actually do not know what to say to me, weird right? A grown man or woman for example who has never lost someone constant in their life, never met whoever has passed in the first place, does not know the feeling of literal grief. It’s mind-boggling to me. My Nanny lost a lot in her life and I could never understand how she dealt with it all. Of course we have our moments, our derailing, we are only but human. But, she did have so much joy come into it also. I wish a little more did. I also wish I had her strength to deal with some things. All the losses in her life are enough to break an entire country so why does mind feel like it can break the entire world with one? I always knew that I never needed to explain myself, explain why, explain how or explain our relationship. The love is there what more can I

explain to you? People who know me of course knows I was reared, joined-to-the-hip and even lived on a couple of occasions in my life with my Nanny. It’s hard and tiring to explain to someone you have lost your grandmother. You get an ‘I’m so sorry’ message and you’re then expected to be ok in the next five minutes. I’m sick and tired of explaining myself. I’ve had to isolate myself from some people, even my own family and friends. It has made me feel guilty. This wasn’t a problem I had with my Nan, I could tell her anything and she would just know. She always knew, we were literally the same person. Mental stability has fluctuated in ways I didn’t think existed. I never was bothered by my mind as a child or as a teenager, but only the last two years. Maybe it’s because I’m making up for everything I should have thought or acted on before, I don’t know. I have been a very happy person since forever, it’s something I was always told. I was the one to make you laugh when you were down and out or just for no reason at all, just to see a smile. So, how does a joker like me deal with all of this? I don’t, and I’ll be honest, it is very difficult. Yes, I still use humour to get on with it, but so did my Nanny. I am really like her. There is so much we can do to distract ourselves, which I have learnt the hard way. Distraction doesn’t last long. However, if you steer yourself in places you’d like to end up, by all means do it because it works wonders. For example, doing well in college for me and picking up other hobbies on the side has steered me here, to talk about it. Everything behind a screen certainly does not help one bit. That’s a distraction. If you stay so long behind a screen doing work etc, you will drive yourself mad. Another thing I find funny is the expectance of normality straight after grief There is an expectancy that people get over their hurting in a flash. I’ve also experienced this. Maybe it’s to do with my age I’m 20, going on 21 so maybe it’s because I’m expected to be happy and live my life in sparkles and unicorns? Or is it that people my age or older don’t understand what the feeling is like? I will never know. You’re always going to have someone trying to impose their ways on you. Don’t be that person please. What I really want to say is, dealing with all of this is just a fraction of my mind screaming out. I’m not a total train-wreck but I have my days you know? I’ve learnt how to deal with myself internally. I have my anxiety attacks, panic attacks, but they come and go. They say time is a healer, we’ll see. They also say it gets tolerable, not better, we’ll see. One thing I do know is, my connection will never go. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I can keep a spiritual connection alive. We will have better days. I am so thankful for the good people in my life that surround me.


December 15 2020

And the award for the “Worst Year” goes to... 2020? If 2020 was a movie, it would be ‘Final Destination’; fires, explosions, viral infections, protests, impeachments, toilet paper hoarding, the list goes on and on. Life has taken a drastic change from what we once knew it to be. Staying in is no longer a form of self-care it’s now a requirement, we’ve had to learn the hard way when it comes to doublechecking whether our mics are off during a Zoom meeting, bingeing shows on Netflix has become part of our routine not just a once in a while indulgence, many of us have become master bakers of banana bread, and as we watch the days blend into each other we start to realise that this has become our new normal. It’s already December and I can’t really recollect what I did during May or June. As we approach the end of 2020, let’s take a moment to revisit what has been one of the most chaotic years of the human existence. The year started off hot, literally, with the continuation of the damaging Australian wildfires that spread across 47 million acres, killed an estimated 1 billion animals, and about 75 people. Wildfires seemed to be having a 3 for 1 special as the Californian wildfires and Amazonian wildfires, followed suit having one of the worst records in history. Reportedly these fires burned around 10.3 million acres and more than 3 million acres respectively. Another tragedy that was inherited from 2019 is the Coronavirus, aka Covid-19. It started off

in the small city of Wuhan, in China, and now it’s a global sensation, unfortunately not the one you’d ever want to watch live. The Chinese health authorities first reported the presence of the virus on 31st December 2019. The first death related to the virus was reported 10 days later, on 9th January 2020. By 13th January, Thailand had reported their first-ever Covid-19 case, making it the first case outside of China. The virus went on a speedy world tour, and by February had hit six of the seven continents. By April, a majority of countries had imposed either a partial or total lockdown. This catapulted an influx of unemployment due to lack of business, a stock market crash and the threat of another world recession. The greatest effects weren’t only felt in the economic sector, but also in the wellbeing of those who suffered and continue to suffer as a consequence. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, lockdown had adverse effects on mental health, substance use, and suicide ideation on the population. Although there are prospects of having a vaccine by the end of the year or the beginning of the next, it will be a while until we are able to get back to life as it was pre-Covid-19. Oh and remember that time we thought World War III was upon us when President Trump decided to greenlight the strike on Major General Qassim Suleimani, a top Iranian leader? Unfortunately, the pandemic wasn’t the only

thing killing people. On May 25th Mr. George Floyd took his last breath on this world but gave life to a whole movement against systematic racism in the US police system. More than 2,000 cities and towns in the US took to the streets to protest against the evident disregard for black lives. Thousands chanted “I can’t breathe”, the same words that were uttered by George Floyd over and over again as a police officer held him down with his knee. The US protest inspired protests all over the world— France, Sweden, and the UK, as well as Germany, Ireland, Kenya, and Australia. It’s been a hard road, a lot more downs than ups, however, we have made it through the many struggles that this year has graced us with. Take time to thank yourself and thank your body. Enjoy and celebrate the minor achievements that carry you through to the next day. 2020 will definitely be one for the history books, just maybe not as the worst. I think many would agree the year that a dense fog covered half of the world in darkness, which led to mass famine and starvation, would take the award. In that case, the award for the “Worst Year” would go to 536 AD. Also, things are now starting to look up; we’re finally saying goodbye to the Trump reign, some countries, such as Scotland have started vaccinating, and soon others will follow, and now as the Christmas spirit is among us, we can relish in it as it carries us through to the next year which will hopefully be better.

Would You Like Another Minute? How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed My Perspective on You. I remember Thursday the 12th of March, I was sitting in one of the good seats on the first floor of the library (you know, beside the window with the personal divider and socket). I remember receiving a message about the closure of the university and shortly after, the closure of the country. I remember feelings of disbelief, bewilderment, but also excitement. I was excited I got to stay home, refresh Twitter and indulge that for once, you were as lost as I am. It was one of those rare times where we shared the same feeling, a population under one umbrella. Hopeless, frustrated, and lonely. Naturally, you decided to use your time wisely and try to improve yourself, become a better you. Zoom calls, baking, even botany to some extent. You loved it! Then the original buzz from your creative burst fizzled out… but it wasn’t long until the sun came out in May and gave us our daily dosage of vitamin D. May, June and July came, and just in time, our 2 kilometre radius has been extended to 5 kilometres, like we were a well-behaved dog. Summer was the easiest, our minds must have associated this time with long summers off from school. No work, no responsibilities (besides those tomatoes you have to water twice a day), only you and the sun. I remember how I spent my days; my routine was simple and unaffected by what day it was; exercise, reading, walk the dog and then late dinners culminating at 21:00 every night. Afterwards I would head down to the living room, where I used to skull Coronas as if each bottle would cancel out a coronavirus patient. I remember thinking of this time as a “trial retirement”. I loved it, until I didn’t.

There’s only so much exercise you can do on a yoga mat and polyethylene weights for the elderly. My walks that were once refreshing, were now exhausting. All the bottles of Corona were gone, and all I had to show for it was a saggy piece of abdominal fat. If this is what retirement was, what we were

library. I miss having to reluctantly sit beside you when the bus is full. I miss seeing you rush by and wonder where you’re going. I even miss you holding up the queue at the post office while you count out your change individually (this one, to a lesser extent). I distinctly remember in February, when I

Afterwards I would head down to the living room, where I used to skull Coronas as if each bottle would cancel out a coronavirus patient. I remember thinking of this time as a “trial retirement”. I loved it, until I didn’t. working towards, then why was it so unfulfilling? I wouldn’t describe myself as an extrovert. Hell, I would only describe myself through my hair and eye colour. I always saw you as an inconvenience. I always thought the appeal of buying a car, was so I didn’t have to ride with you on the bus. I always thought the appeal of buying a house, was so I didn’t have to rent accommodation with you. I always thought the appeal of working hard and earning money, was so I didn’t have to deal with you. You always got in my way, you always made me late and you always knew how to rub me the wrong way. I always thought, a life of convenience is a life without you. Now, as a man who has been living a life of convenience for the past nine months, I can tell you, a life without you is a life not worth living. I miss awkwardly locking eyes with you in the

first heard about the coronavirus, I thought it was no big deal. I don’t know if this happened just to spite me or to prove me wrong, but the coronavirus ended up being like the biggest deal ever. The Covid-19 pandemic has set my life into a different perspective, it’s given me an appreciation for what I have. It makes me grateful for the memories I’ve made. More definitively, it’s given me time to think and reflect on what’s important to me, and what’s important to me, is you. I hope you didn’t throw away those months of your life, although unpleasant, it was a unique blip in history that can’t not change who you are. I just hope, for your sake, you used your time wisely to improve yourself and put what you think is important into perspective. As the second lockdown ends, I must ask you reader, would you like another minute?


New resolutions for 2021 ? By Sophia Hadef 2020 is coming to an end. And oh what a year it has been. But we did it! We can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. We can finally think about a new year with new perspectives and hopes. A hope to return to a normal life thanks to the vaccines which give us so many thoughts about our plans for next year. We may be able to travel abroad again, to meet our family, to party again, to go to concerts, to do everything we missed so much this year. All these things we took for granted before this Covid-situation. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate our luck to still be alive, to be able to see the light of a new time coming. Maybe it is also the time to not plan too many things, to not pressure ourselves and to take it easy. To remember to not take things we love for granted, and to be thankful day by day. 2021 should be a year of kindness, a year of reunion, a year of taking care of ourselves and the ones we love. A new time to be patient, to savour every second. “Good resolutions” are not necessarily individual. They can be taken as a couple or as a family. And this year, it could be a good time for sharing. The new year is an appropriate occasion to celebrate moments of sharing, of complicity, and of reunion. The goal is to exchange with the other, to get out of the ambient melancholy by projecting oneself towards the future. It can become a game. For example, we can set good achievable resolutions. Let’s seize this opportunity to dream. This moment of exchange is also a good way to take a fresh look at the person with whom we live, with our friends and to take advantage of what we have learned and understood together about the other because they are real resources for the future of our beings. What if we do not keep our “good resolutions”? These challenges are a bit like believing in Santa Claus. They are almost made not to be held. There is, therefore no need to be too demanding of yourself and others. You have to accept in advance that you cannot keep all your “good resolutions”, that the other will not. The worst part about a relationship is to expect to be disappointed by the start. So, no pressure. It is a challenge; you have to take it as such. So let’s all make 2021, a truly happy new year. A year of kindness and sharing focused on mental health and breathing.


SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

The Leaving Cert is not fit for purpose Practical learning is more beneficial to students in the long term as well, as nowadays very little to no jobs will require you to write long amounts of text with a pen and paper, nor will they time you to write about something you’ve never seen before

By Daniel Falvey It is evident that at least 90% of people who have done their Leaving Cert in the last 10 years, will agree that it is not fit for purpose, and it is in need of drastic reform. This statement has been made many of times before, and the challenge we have is what system would work better than the Leaving Cert, in the best interest of students.

More ‘Practical Learning’ is needed The main problem with the Leaving Cert is that there is very little to no practical learning involved in most subjects taken. English, Maths, and all Science and Business-based subjects are centred on one or two 2-3-hour exams done in the summer, meant to sum up two years of intense learning and study. This is not in any way fair for students, and it is in no way beneficial for students either. Subjects that have more practical learning such as Home Economics, Geography, History, Agricultural Science, have a

project that is worth 20-25%, of their overall grade, which is still very low as a 2-3-hour exam in the summer is still what the subjects are overwhelmingly based on. In Australia their ‘Higher School Certificate’ focuses much more on practical learning and in school assessments, and in every subject studied, 50% of their overall subject grade is based on these two factors, meaning the pressure is nowhere near the same for Australian students as it is for Irish students. This could be a good model for replacing the Leaving Certificate, as it not only eases pressure for students, but it also rewards students who do better with continuous assessment and learning, rather than the unnecessary stress of one big exam that might not go to plan. Practical learning is also more beneficial to students in the long term as well, as nowadays very little to no jobs will require you to write long amounts of text with a pen and paper, nor will they time you to write about something you’ve never seen before in three hours,

whether that be a job in media, business, healthcare, engineering, etc, all of these sectors would much rather you were more skilled in practical learning, and this is why university degrees focus more on this area .

More focus on students ability is needed The Leaving Certificate does have a relatively broad choice of subjects available, however the system in which they are presented to students is quite flawed. Making subjects such as English, Irish and Maths, compulsory for the Leaving Cert is not very fair on students as some students may be very bright at maths oriented subjects, although they may not be good at writing or languages and vice-versa. These mandatory subjects leave many students worse off for the Leaving Cert, as if they are not good at a subject they are doing, this then affects their CAO points, which determines which college course you can do. The A-Levels in the UK allow students to select any three to four subjects they would like,

and no subject is compulsory. This allows students who are mathematically minded to complete subjects they believe they can excel in, and students who are more skilled in writing and languages can choose subjects they can excel in. It is also important to remember that for subjects such as maths, you have to attempt every question and there is no choice in the exam. When it comes to other subjects such as Biology, Chemistry and Business, even though there is some choice within the exam, you have to learn the vast majority of the course, and you can’t specifically specialise in something that interests you more. We can all very much remember the study and pressure for the Leaving Cert, and many of us still get nightmares from it. All systems are flawed, but the way the Leaving Cert is carried out, it is a very flawed system that is not fit for purpose, and even though people have been saying it for years, this pandemic has made it even more clear and it is very probable that real change to the system may be on the horizon.

The easy way or the ruff way? How to deal with animal cruelty in Ireland’s Greyhound Industry. By Eoin Gallagher. President Barack Obama came under a considerable amount of fire recently, after he criticised BLM and ‘Defund the police’ activists, minimal though his challenge was, suggesting that their

rhetoric would not help their cause, instead saying that calls for reform would be a better road to go down for progress. The trend of calling for governments to defund questionable organisations has also arrived in Ireland of late, after

the Greyhound Racing Association of Ireland was deemed to have acted unethically towards animals in its care. Despite this harshness of these claims, it is hard to imagine the government defunding this organ, or that that would improve things.

The calls came after a damning documentary, filmed by RTÉ, found that around 6,000 greyhound puppies were euthanised in 2018 because they couldn’t run fast enough to compete. These are unsightly revelations, but are generally known and mirrored in other sports like horse racing. Many regard horse and greyhound racing, along with hare chasing as grotesque blood sports, but they are also some of the oldest games in Ireland and hold much cultural value for minority groups in the country. Moreover, they provide the livingsa living for those who work in the industry and the passions of those who enjoy them. The removal of government funding to the organisation, which was called for by TD Holly Cairn, among others, would cost the industry about €2.4 million in 2020. This would show a hard stance forby the Irish government s against animal cruelty, but it will not solve the problem of unethical practices in the field. It is faulty logic to assume, that making the Greyhound industry poorer will raise their ethical standards, in fact it may make the problem worse. Surely it can be assumed that the less money they make the more they will have to breed and the more pups that will have to be culled. It reminds me of Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ documentary, it showed how Tigers were killed in private zoos, when they began to produce losses for the business, or just became too expensive to keep. With 1,600 dDogs born every year in

the greyhound industry, maybe it is a bad idea to try and remove its ability to look after them. We have also heard calls to outlaw dDog racing totallycompletely, which is unlikely to happen when you consider the revenue that it generates for the tourism sector. I would also ask the question of what will happen to the dogs if the industry that looks after them disappears? Its hard to imagine homes being found for thousands of refugee abandoned dogs. In any case, if the purpose of all this is to stop animal cruelty in the industry, then it is not a good idea for the government to remove its funding and relinquishing its only bargaining chip over the industry. Instead maybe it should levy its’s influenced to change, or reform, the industry standards instead of just simply defunding it. Could a more sophisticated approach to the problem not be taken? Could a compromised solution be agreed upon, that when a dog is not up to standard then dogs are not killed but moved to industry sponsored kennels or lower caps put on breeding quotas. In return the industry could keep its government funding, gain tax cutsearn tax incentives and assume a more ethical appearance in the public eye. An idealistic view of what could happen, I know but still, a dynamic approach to the problem would yield better results than pure force. maybe we should be looking to use the carrot instead of the stick in this case. After all, the stick is always an option too, if needed.


December 15 2020


Period poverty (the cycle of inequality) Nina Deacon

Introduction When people hear the term “period poverty,” they often think of developing countries, when in fact the impact of this is overlooked and often ignored deprivation is ever present-even in progressive countries such as Ireland. As approximately 800 million people menstruate every day, the amount of shame and stigma surrounding this very natural process is extremely unsettling. Shame surrounds the very period itself, to not being able to afford products that are so essential. As Scotland has recently become the first country in the world to make period products essential, it is high time the rest of the world follows suit-as this should be the norm not the example.

What is it? Period poverty is described as the lack of access to menstrual products such as pads, tampons, liners, or pain relievers due to financial reasons, as well as the associated stigma around menstruation. Many people don’t see this as an issue as products cost about €2-6,

and can be cheaper. However, as most women and girls have 13 periods a year, and need products as well as pain relievers, everything adds up, with an estimated cost of €8,100 in a lifetime. According to research by Plan International Ireland, half of women between 12-19 struggle to afford sanitary products. The same survey indicated that 61% of schoolaged girls in Ireland have missed school due to their period, which is more than school absence due to the flu or holidays. This can lead to heightened anxiety and stress from falling behind, as well as feelings of isolation. Many women resort to alternative ways to manage their period, using toilet paper, socks or towels, which can lead to discomfort and irritation, and even infection in some cases. The issue lies with the demonizing portrayal of menstruation in society. Society teaches girls from a young age that menstruation is shameful and dirty. The very word “period” is often whispered, as if it is a curse word. In parts of India, women on their periods aren’t allowed to handle food as some people believe they will spoil the food. In parts of Bangladesh women are discouraged from leaving their homes on their periods to avoid being attacked by spirits that

Old uniform debate rears it’s head in Carlow school. By Eoin Gallagher. We all remember them, don’t we, chilling March mornings in secondary school. Frost on the grass, overcast skies, the air outside is freezing and inside the building it is somehow colder. You keep your hands firmly in your jacket pockets and watch the cloud your breath makes as you walk to your locker. Worst of all, soon you will be made take off your coat by some well wrapped up teacher. It may be freezing but a toasty jacket is not part of the school uniform. There is a universal feeling for anyone who attended an Irish secondary school, that uniforms are a largely pointless artefact, causing annoyance for the students who must wear them and teachers who must ensure they are worn. A tired and worn-out old conflict that helped make up an average day in school. Recently however that aged internal battle spilled out of the aptly named Presentation secondary school in Carlow and into the public eye. Accusations of sexism were levelled at the school after it supposedly restricted female students’ rights to wear legging to P.E. With a petition against the school garnering over 8000 signatures online and a Dáil report into the incident incoming, I am left to ponder whether, if they cause this much trouble, would we not be better off without uniforms all together? Of course, it is not the uniform code but the way it was enforced that caused so much upset among students. It was alleged that students were told not to wear tight leggings for P.E. class, some claiming that the reason was that it made the ‘’male’’ staff of the school uncomfortable. Students reported feeling body shamed and unsafe in the school environment. Speaking on RTÉ radio after the initial furore, Principle Murphy stated that the school’s uniform policy has remained unchanged since last year and has never allowed students to wear leggings and also categorically denied that the rules on leggings were implemented because male or female staff were uncomfortable. He then suggested that the accusations caused both ‘’bemusement and annoyance’’ for the staff. Furthermore, chairwoman of the Parent’s Council, Mary O’Driscoll, backed Principle Murray’s account

and added that most of the girls she had spoken with had told her that they were not told anything about staff feeling uncomfortable at all. The school was also scrutinised for singling out female students on the issue of uniform. The school claimed that it was solely because it was a girl problem and that boys are held to the same standards as their classmates. With some of the male students suggesting they would begin wearing leggings in protest, I suppose we will see if it is the case. I would also imagine it unlikely that a male teacher would raise this sort of issue at all, regardless of the discomfort he may be feeling, assuming that he has even a modicum of self-preservation. Afterall, to bring it up would suggest that he was paying the girls leggings considerable attention to begin with, casting himself as unprofessional and considerably creepy. Regardless, as of right now, it is impossible to tell who is right on the matter and what, if any, rules have been broken, that is for the government enquiry into the incident to decide. Though, whether it is Inappropriate teacher behaviour and causal sexism or simply over blown misunderstanding there still lies a fundamental problem, school uniforms are more of a headache than they are worth. Maybe it is about time the Irish school system embraced a less formal approach and to dispense of uniforms altogether. Surely allowing students to attend school without uniforms would help avoid issues like this in the future. Afterall now the issue has raised its head, it will surely happen again somewhere else. I see no benefit of uniforms in schools, I don’t remember them being a unifying force for the students or facility, only the subject of collective grumbling. Young people would benefit more from having the chore of dressing themselves, a means of self-expression would go a long way in brightening up a dreary secondary school existence. Moreover, I can’t help imagining that the Irish youth of today, would be more fashionably inclined, myself included, if they had been let make their own choices about what to wear to school. It would at least make it a more comfortable experience for students. Maybe it would also help avoid any more faux pas sexism from staff and feelings of upset for students.

can lead to infertility. In Ireland some shopkeepers provide discreet paper bags to conceal these products, and many girls report hiding their tampons in their pocket or sleeve on the way to the bathroom out of embarrassment, which perpetuates a cycle of shame.

What is NUIG doing? Students at NUIG are fortunate, as the university has taken strides towards addressing this issue. Students are able to get free products from the SU office (prior to Covid) and in two public bathrooms on campus. During NUIG’s biannual SHAG week which is a campaign run across colleges to promote a safe and responsible attitude towards sex, they offered a workshop on period poverty which was hosted by a group of students from the University of Limerick who created an organization called Anytime of The Month in 2019. This student-led social enterprise aims to alleviate the effects of period poverty by creating a network of friendly strangers, and hope that their symbol will become recognizable nationwide so that those in need of products can approach someone or somewhere displaying the symbol. The SU shop in NUIG agreed to display this symbol on their window in support of this movement.

What can we do? Fortunately, Ireland is very progressive on the issue of period poverty, and recently set up a committee to deal with period poverty chaired by the Depart-

ment of Health and includes representation from many departments including the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Department of Finance. Ireland is also praised for being the only EU country (besides Scotland) to have a zero-value added tax (VAT) on women’s sanitary products, but new products are still subject to tax-some as high as 23%. Despite these major advancements in Ireland, these products are still not free and there is still a culture of taboo surrounding menstruation that needs to be addressed urgently. A crucial starting point is through education. Plan International Ireland found that nearly 60% of Irish women surveyed reported that school does not adequately educate them about menstruation, and 80% young women felt shame about discussing menstruation with a teacher. Boys need to be brought into the discussion, as well, to destigmatize the concept of menstruation and make it a normal conversation topic among any gender. The Anytime of the Month workshop mentioned how challenging the language we use around periods by encouraging people to say it for what it is and avoiding discrete euphemisms such as “time of the month,” “lady time,” or “code red” is another way to end the stigma. By pressuring the government to make products free and accessible, ensuring objective menstrual education in schools, and changing the way we discuss and portray menstruation in society, we can de-stigmatize this normal bodily function and work towards promoting gender equality.



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28  SPORT From Garda during the week to GAA commentator at the weekend By Louise Toal Ballinrobe Garda Aoife Donnelly and now GAA Sports Commentator for Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo shares her journey in broadcasting to the community for both home and abroad. Per the sports commentating novice, her maiden commentating role began over a phone call from Ballinrobe clubman Liam Horan. “I got a phone call from one of the pillars of Ballinrobe GAA, Liam Horan who was looking for female commentators. He pointed out that it would be a collective effort and that I would be covering both the men’s and women’s matches”. She modestly says, “I thought I was being asked on who would be good for the role. I didn’t think I would be asked. I said yes, let’s give it a go”. Aoife goes on to say she started out at one of the junior matches to see how the commenting worked and before she knew it, it was half time, and a mic was put in front of her and she started talking. “It’s such a great idea. More clubs should look into it, because it’s so easy to do. I’m delighted I got involved. It’s been a real honor to be thought of and to be respected”. She says whilst broadcasting on Facebook Live, “There’s such a buzz about it, it’s nearly as good as being on the sidelines or pitch itself. So thrilling! You’re trying not to get caught up in the match but at the same time let everyone know at home what’s happening”. Speaking to SIN, Donnelly referenced the admiration she has received from all corners of the local GAA community on her efforts. “There’s been huge praise for the commentating for the club with parents contacting the club saying their children have listened back to the matches on the clubs Facebook page and were delighted to hear their names being mentioned. You start to get to know everyone and it really is what makes a club a club”. When asked if she would be interested in commentating for an All-Ireland Final down the tracks, she offered a grin while saying, “I’d love to hear and see a female for an All-Ireland Final. I would 100% commentate. Any game is a privilege to do. If there’s an All-Ireland going sign me up!” The local guard rounded up by encouraging women to pick up the mic more often, and get involved in commentary whenever they can. “It would be great to see more women involved. Women should consider commentating in their club, you don’t have to win an All-Ireland to be able to commentate. “Commentating is knowing the basics and adding the excitement. If anyone is thinking about doing it, do it! You won’t regret it. If anything, it’s a bit of craic”, She reminisces a time where she commentated at an U14 A Final, “I honestly thought we’d just been through an AllIreland Final in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Some of the lads on one of the teams, I would have babysat”. “We’re lucky we’ve got our foot in most of the matches with semi and county finals. We’re lucky to have seen those days and I was lucky to bring those matches to people’s homes. I couldn’t believe the Facebook stats of people engaging and listening in”, she says. When asked if she had a ritual before going live Aoife replied, “Having the GAA President of South Mayo, Padraic Costello by my side as my co-commentator. The calmest man in Co. Mayo. He’s been there since day one. We went to cover a match in Westport. My brother was in goals on the day and we were on the sidelines. I told him I was absolutely bricking it. “The club has been nothing but supportive to me and very encouraging. I’ve never one bit doubted myself because they were always there to give me a hand or push me into the deep end when I needed it”. With Covid-19 playing havoc on sporting events Aoife says, “It’s been a strange time to get involved but there has been much praise. I didn’t realize the amount of people who listen into the games, who weren’t able to attend because of the regulations or people from Ballinrobe now live abroad”. However, for Donnelly, it’s all about looking ahead to happier times down the tracks. “It’s a tough time for people, the club is the social scene, but we’ll have brighter days ahead. I look forward to the day we’re back in action”.

SIN Vol. 22 Issue 06

OPINION: While the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association stay separate, problems like the Galway ladies’ will never end. By Oisín Bradley Sports Editor The All-Ireland Ladies SemiFinal on December 6th was the scene of a bizarre chain of events which saw Galway ladies gaelic football team arrive onto the pitch to warm up seven minutes before the throw-in in Croke Park. Ultimately, on the day the women in maroon fell to a 2-17 to 0-13 defeat at the hands of a strong Cork side at HQ, but the events of the game have had a huge shadow cast upon them by the events pre-match. In the week in the build-up to the game, the fixture was subject to a change in venue from the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick to Parnell Park in Dublin in order to facilitate a Limerick men’s hurling training session. The decision to do so was bizarre in itself, however as the Gaelic Grounds is property of the GAA and not the LGFA the organisation was forced to look elsewhere. From then until the morning of the last-four clash, that was how the situation remained. However, as the Galway players were en route to the capital and 90 minutes from their destination, another layer of farce was added to the story. Due to the frozen pitch in Parnell Park, the game was relocated to Croke Park, and the throwin time brought forward 30 minutes so as not to impact the men’s All-Ireland semi-final time. This left Galway with a grand total of 20 minutes to throw-in as they arrived in the car park behind the Hogan Stand. This decision

is one which has sent ripples throughout the Irish sporting sphere, and asks serious questions of the LGFA top brass. How was the decision not made earlier when it must’ve been apparent that the Parnell Park pitch would’ve clearly been unsuitable from well out? Were any other grounds considered where the existence of another fixture wouldn’t have been a problem? Was the welfare of the Galway players, who didn’t have any time for a sufficient warm-up and pre-match preparations after travelling the breadth of Ireland to play, considered? Ultimately, the optics are terrible for the governing body of the sport. However, whilst the LGFA, GAA and Camogie Associations don’t operate under the same umbrella these problems of disjointedness will continue to rear their heads. Whilst both female organisations exist, they will unfortunately never have parity with the men’s teams in football and hurling regarding availability of facilities. Very few LGFA or Camogie Association county boards, or clubs for that matter, have a ground they can call their own. As someone who is involved with my local club’s ladies’ team, the players spend many Sunday mornings on a bus in the early hours on an away trip to play. Meanwhile, the men’s club team are tucked up in bed, possibly as the ladies’ game is throwing in at some far-flung pitch. This is a problem from the bottom to the top of the ladder; from the Junior club games on a frosty March morning to the All-Ireland semifinal on one of the biggest days of the calendar.

Too often, ladies’ games are shunted in wherever they can be. Because it’s not their pitch, and they essentially borrow it from the GAA, the GAA have priority. But it doesn’t have to be this way. For many years, the notion of amalgamation of the three Gaelic Games Associations has been bandied about. Since the debacle of the Cork-Galway game, former GAA President Liam O’Neill has been speaking to multiple media outlets on his wishes to bring all codes under the one umbrella back in 2015. The offer extended was declined by the LGFA. These venue issues rear their head every single week, with some of the biggest games in a club’s season not even having a venue the evening before. Ultimately, the grounds are the GAA’s, and there is little that can be done about that in the current environment. There are many issues within the LGFA and the Camogie Association, but those are for another day. If they were to come into the GAA, a lot of issues would be gone. No more being treated like second-class citizens when you’re looking for a pitch. No more setting the alarm for seven o’clock to get up and get the bus to a match. No more farcical scenes like Galway’s, frantically weaving their way through traffic in one of the biggest days on the calendar 30 minutes before throw-in. The sooner the ladies’ associations come under the GAA’s umbrella the better, it’s as simple as that. Even if only for my own sleep schedule on a Sunday morning.


December 15 2020


Cause for optimism in 2021 as Galway bow out to excellent Treaty By Darragh Nolan A loss in Croke Park is bound to bring its share of disappointment and it’s no different after Galway’s senior hurlers bowed out to an excellent Limerick side in their All-Ireland semi-final. While the Tribesmen will rue their shortcomings this time around, there’s plenty of cause for optimism heading into the 2021 campaign. A common thread for Galway through the Championship run has been unforced errors. The trend continued against Limerick with moments of sloppiness over the ball, mistakes in the puckout and loss of possession at crucial moments surely concerning manager Shane O’Neill.

Yet despite the errors, Galway ran Limerick close and have put together a 2020 campaign that showed encouraging signs. Mistakes can easily be cleaned up when you’ve got the level of hurler available on this panel. Perhaps more importantly, O’Neill has put something of a stamp on the team while maintaining the foundation laid under Micháel Donoghue. There appears to be more willingness to hold on to the ball now, at times a free-flowing attack that can stitch the play together and work an easy score. A more direct approach was necessitated as Limerick went ahead but Galway were at their best in prolonged periods of possession in the early stages of the contest. Although the final margin was just three points, Limerick looked poised for a victory from the first water break onwards. They imposed their will, forcing Galway to change their gameplan. The Treaty’s biggest strength is their ability to impose themselves physically and that played out on November 29th. If Galway can dictate the course of hurling

matches over 70 minutes, they will surely go one better and reclaim Liam McCarthy under Shane O’Neill. Many of the leading men were not at their best at times this year, whether it be in the Limerick game, the Leinster Final loss to Kilkenny or the nail-biter against 14-man Tipperary. New goalkeeper Éanna Murphy is a good measure of how Galway stacked up as a whole this year; a mixed bag with many reasons to look forward to the future. The Tommy Larkin’s clubman produced one of the highlights of the year with his stunning save from Séamus Flanagan. With the highs against Limerick came the lows though, as their half-forward line harried his puckout and scored 0-05 directly from it. Daithí Burke grew into the Championship after a rocky start against Tipp. The usually dominant Gearóid McInerney struggled to get a foothold in the semi-final defeat while the midfield pair of Johnny Coen and Pádraic Mannion will have greater influence on both sides of the ball after quiet days at Headquarters. Further forward there are encouraging signs as well as room for improvement. Joe Canning was at his talismanic best, cutting an unprecedented four sidelines over the bar to go along with 0-08 from frees. The management team could perhaps do more to get the Portumna legend involved from play, but there’s still no doubt that Canning is Galway’s most important player and continues to rank among the best in the country. Elsewhere, Conor Whelan has further established himself as a premier inter-county forward while Brian Concannon enjoyed a breakout year in the other corner, contributing 2-08 across the four Championship outings. Conor Cooney will be bitterly disappointed after a number of quiet games but has the ability to bounce back. Bench options are aplenty for the Tribesmen as well. The likes of veteran back Adrian Tuohey and the towering Jason Flynn, once first-XV regulars, provide depth at a level Galway have perhaps never had before. At just 22-years-old, Clarinbridge man Evan Niland could be in line for a huge 2021, having already shown his impact off the bench this season. His ability from the placed ball was on full display in the memorable National League comeback over Tipperary as he dispatched 0-14 including 0-13 from frees. Overall, Galway have enjoyed a successful 2020 despite the end result. The League campaign was one to forget after a decisive loss at the hands of

Limerick and a razor thin defeat to Waterford. There was however, that rally against the Premier, a routine 17-point victory over Westmeath and an impressive win over Cork considering Joe Canning was absent that day. The Championship showed Galway to be a cut

above the likes of Wexford and well in the mix with the elite in contention for All-Ireland glory. There’s every reason to believe a Galway man will be climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand in 2021 but just as I said in review of last year’s Championship; there’s hardly a puck of a ball between the top counties.

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Seachtain na Gaeilge Irish Language Week Dé Luain 14 Nollaig / Mon 14th Dec

Déardaoin 17 Nollaig / Thurs 17th Dec

• 19:00 Oíche fhéin-chúraim / Self-Care Night - Think pyjamas, face masks + chats!

• 17:00 Oga Yoga as Gaeilge / Yoga in Irish

Dé Máirt 15 Nollaig / Tues 15th Dec

Dé hAoine 18 Nollaig / Fri 18th Dec

• 16:00 Among Us Trí Ghaeilge • 19:00 “I wish I could speak Irish, but…” Bilingual event for people learning Irish, discussing ways to learn the language, tips, resources and the benefits of learning Irish.

• 10.30 Maidin Caifé / Coffee Morning • 15:00 Ciorcal Comhrá / Irish Conversation • 19:00 Scannáin agus Scíth / Movie Watch Party

Tuilleadh eolais ar fail ó / More information from su.welfare@nuigalway.ie

Dé Céadaoin 16 Nollaig / Weds 16th Dec • 12:00 Tae agus Plé / Virtual Tea and Chats • 17:00 Conversation with Irish language rights activist Linda Ervine from East Belfast about how she grew to love the Irish language. • 19:30 Cóisir na Céadaoin Crua / Christmas Hump Day Hoolie

NUIGalwayStudentsUnion www.su.nuigalway.ie



December 15 2020


The Tribesmen abroad, Galway’s footballing prospects reviewed By Oisín Bradley The Christmas period is a notoriously hectic time for footballers in England, as the season becomes congested and every side is battling for points while trying to rotate their squads to keep fitness up. In this article, we will be examining the form of the men from Galway plying their trade in England’s top tiers, and the impact we can expect to see from them over the festive period.

Aaron Connolly – Brighton and Hove Albion: The young attacker has struggled in recent times due to injury, however returned to Graham Potter’s squad for the visit of reigning champions Liverpool to the AmEx Stadium. Connolly did struggle in his return to the starting XI off the back of his niggle, and was substituted 63 minutes in for ex-Red Adam Lallana,

however a last-minute penalty earned the hosts a share of the spoils. Potter did show faith in the Ireland international last week against Southampton, but unfortunately it was a similar result. This time, Connolly made way for Neil Maupay in the 64th minute of the 2-1 loss at home. However, as we enter the festive period, it is likely he will get plenty of minutes as one of the core members of the Senior squad. Come January the Seagulls will be hoping to push themselves nearer to the top half of the Premier League table.

Daryl Horgan - Wycombe Wanderers: Wycombe sit just inside the relegation zone as the festive season beckons, and they will be looking to make the most of their run-in over the Christmas period to avoid the watermark. One would sense that Daryl Horgan will be crucial to that happening. Horgan has played a key part

in recent weeks, having played his part in the last five fixtures for Gareth Ainsworth’s men. Horgan was subbed off on 78 minute in a recent 2-2 draw against Preston North End. That being said, he had a more than sufficient impact on the pitch, providing the assist for Gareth McCleary’s strike in the 48th minute to tie the game at 1-1.

Unfortunately, Cunningham did not feature in the 2-1 victory for the Bluebirds on the road. That said with fixtures coming thick and fast in England’s second tier, the Galwegian will get plenty of chances to put himself in the shop window as Cardiff’s left-back.

Greg Cunningham – Cardiff City:

There is no easy way of saying that the opening half of this season has been a disaster for the youthful Manning. The Ireland international has struggled for game time since his move to Swansea at the start of the season. Manning will be hoping that the gruelling Christmas campaign tests Steve Cooper’s sides strength in depth and give him a realistic chance of minutes. However, should his impact be minimal before the New Year, perhaps a move away from South Wales could be necessary to rejuvenate himself,.

Cunningham has endured a torrid time since his move to Wales on the injury front, and his hamstring injury during Cardiff’s 1-0 Preston North End win would’ve been likely a cause for concern. That said, Cunningham will be looking to put his injury woes behind him having returned to full first-team training in recent weeks, and was an inclusion in Neil Harris’ match-day squad as they travelled to the bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City.

Ryan Manning – Queen’s Park Rangers

Manning returns to Terryland Oisín Bradley The new signings seem to keep on coming for Galway United, as Ronan Manning became the most recent player to sign for the men in maroon for the 2021 campaign. 20-year-old Manning put pen to paper on a deal to join John Caulfield’s charges last Wednesday, having made the move from local rivals Athlone Town. Manning has been in prolific form for the town in the 2020 League of Ireland First Division campaign, notching nine of Athlone’s 21 goals for the campaign. The youngster is also an underage international, having played at Under-17 level for the Republic of Ireland. The transfer is a huge signal of intent from John Caulfield and the club, as the fleet-footed goal machine had caught the eye of many teams in the division given his prowess in a struggling Athlone Town side. This is Manning’s second stint at Galway United, and he’ll be hoping to hit the ground running and show the Galway faithful what they were missing when he was away from Eamonn Deacy Park for two years. Speaking to Galway United’s internal media, Manning expressed his desire to build on an impressive 2020 on his return to the banks of the Corrib.

“I can’t wait to kick on with Galway United next year. Last season was by far my best season in terms of appearances and goals, I think I scored 8 or 9 goals and had 7 assists, and I want to build on those figures next year with Galway United. “It’s exciting what John is doing with the club, I feel it’s heading in the right direction and I can’t wait to get started.” Caulfield spoke of the new man’s potential also. “I believe he’s got magic in his boots, but at the same time, you need to focus and show desire and commitment that highlights your ambition to go to the next level. I’ve had a couple of meetings with Ronan and I’m really delighted that he’s signed, he wants to go another level with us. He did exceptionally well with Athlone Town last season, but now he really wants to push on with his hometown club.” Manning follows new signings Conor O’Keeffe, Ruairi Keating and Gary Boylan through the door in recent weeks, while Christopher Horgan, Francely Lomboto, Kevin Horgan and Shane Doherty have all penned new deals at the club for the upcoming season, when John Caulfield will be looking to build on an encouraging start to life in the hotseat in his first full season at the helm.


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SIN Issue 6  

Issue 6 of Student Independent News, Galway's only student news outlet

SIN Issue 6  

Issue 6 of Student Independent News, Galway's only student news outlet

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