Sin Volume 17 Issue 8

Page 1

the Love debate Has internet dating ruined the art of courtship? Page 10

We could be Heroes

Surf’s Up

Our tribute to the stars we lost this week.

Read all about NUI Galway Surf Club’s recent trip.

Page 21-22

Page 27

NUI Galway becomes Ireland’s first partially smokefree University FREE STUDENT NEWSPAPER | VOL 17, ISSUE 08 | 26 JAN 2016

Annual Teddy Bear Hospital makes doctor visits more bearable for children Hundreds of sick teddies brought back to health By Niamh Cullen If you made your way down to Bailey Allen Hall last week, you were sure of a big surprise… Over 1,400 sick teddy bears, from penguins to pandas and everything in between, were admitted to the 11th annual Teddy Bear Hospital on 21 and 22 January in Arás na Mac Léinn. This year a record-breaking 30 local primary schools attended the cutest event to take place in NUI Galway. Health-Promoting teddy bear extraordinaires, Sláinte Society and medical and science students diagnosed and treated teddy bears utilising special X-ray and MRI machines, stethoscopes and otoscopes, amongst a variety of other medical contraptions. NUI Galway’s first Teddy Bear Hospital was organised by medical students of NUI Galway in January 2006. The two mornings have become Galway’s yearly fixture in a bid to help children feel more comfortable with the concept of doctors and hospitals alike. Children of students and staff members and primary school students showed doctors the many ailments their teddies suffered from, including tummy aches, broken bones and other wonderfully imaginative ailments. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital, children entered what was arguably the most exciting “waiting room” out there, with jugglers and face-painters ready on hand to entertain their guests. Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses then called teddy bears and their young minders in, before examining and diagnosing them. For those especially sick teddies, the Teddy Bear Pharmacy was ready on hand to provide all medical essentials. The tailor-made chemist was stocked with fruit from Burke’s Fruit and Veg, and medical provisions courtesy of Matt O’Flaherty Chemist. As a treat for minding their beloved teddies so well, children then got to jump the bouncy castle as they were reunited with their furry loved ones. A photographer on the day also took photos of both minders and their teddy bear patients to mark the unforgettable occasion. The events and entertainment came courtesy of Electric Garden and Theatre, MPS, NUI Galway’s

Chloe Connell (7) from Scoil Bhríde National School, Menlo, Co. Galway with her teddy at the launch of NUI Galway’s 11th Annual Teddy Bear Hospital which took place on campus from 21 to 22 January. Juggling and Art societies and Childsplay Creche Riverside. Co-auditor of Sláinte Society Hannah Kielty said; “We are celebrating the 11th year of Teddy Bear Hospital. Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more schools applying to attend. We had over 1,400 children attending over the two mornings. We are thrilled to be able to create a fun, friendly and relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved.” Co-auditor of Aoife Murray said; “After a very busy two days, sick teddies with broken arms, broken legs and even a few broken hearts have just been cured at our 11th annual Teddy Bear Hospital! It was a great day out for all the children and a huge success once again. Thanks to all our brilliant volunteers!” Much preparation was underway in the lead up to the days, with over 200 students and volunteers gathering at an Information Meeting last Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss house rules for the event, create their specialised equipment and set up the hospital environment. Volunteers who participated in the event received a t-shirt as a thank you for their efforts from the Sláinte Society. Over twenty people manned the X-rays at all times, while other volunteers held consultations with the children and even sewed back very sick teddies who had some of their stuffing missing. The event is seen as a great opportunity for medical and nursing students to improve their paediatric skills. Recommended remedies advised by medical

officials at the Teddy Bear Hospital included resting teddies well and ensuring they get lots of good nutrition and exercise. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer said; “The Teddy Bear Hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programmes and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” Sláinte Society was established as NUI Galway’s branch of IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Societies) with a core aim in promoting physical and mental health. In addition to the Teddy Bear Hospital, the society is also known for organising blood donation drives, Movember events and Organ Donation Week campaigns. Other campaigns previously organised by Sláinte include Healthy Living Week, Cancer Awareness, and SHAG week. Last year, the Paediatric department at University Hospital Galway were presented with a cheque for €3,000 from the society as a result of donations received during the event. Applications for schools to attend Teddy Bear Hospital in 2017 will open this November.

Two new smoke-free zones launched outside some of the University’s busiest buildings NUI Galway has introduced two smoke-free zones on campus. The new smoke-free zones are centred around two designated smoking shelters in the north and south campus, and cover some of the most popular buildings on campus, including the James Hardiman Library, the Arts Millennium Building, the Engineering Building, Áras Moyola and the Cairnes Building. In 2013, a University-wide survey was carried out to gauge the campus community’s attitudes towards smoking at NUI Galway. While an outright ban on smoking was rejected, a majority of staff and students expressed their preference for restricting smoking to designated areas only. Since then, a working group of University staff and Students’ Union representatives has been working on designing and implementing the smoke-free zones. While it will take some time to build awareness about the new smoking restrictions, there is already a marked reduction in smoking at many building entrances. The new smoke-free zones are supported by both the University and the Students’ Union, and members of the Student Cancer Society are helping to grow awareness around the campaign. “Our committee and society strongly encourage the adherence to the newly implemented Smoke-free Zones throughout campus, as our close link with the Irish Cancer Society teaches us how much of an impact smoking first and second-hand can have on our health. Join us in our fight against cancer,” said Cancer Sociery Auditor Ashita Dutta. Like many public places, smoking creates second-hand smoke and litter on the campus, in particular at the entrances to buildings. The new smoke-free zones are aimed at making the University a cleaner and healthier place for everyone to work and study. Signage on the new designated smoking shelters includes information on supports to quit smoking. Commenting on the new smoke-free zones, Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan said: “A healthy campus will deliver long-term benefits for all our community. One of the first steps is to establish smoke-free zones. Students and staff are united in this particular initiative.” For more information on why and where NUI Galway is going smoke-free, visit: www.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

NUI Galway to welcome new student accommodation complex By Claire Stone NUI Galway has been granted planning permission for a new student accommodation complex. Located north of the campus, the development will provide bed spaces for around 450 students, along with communal areas, covered cycling facilities and office accommodation. The development will join the university’s only on-site accommodation. Corrib Village. Student’s Union President at NUI Galway Phelim Kelly said; “I welcome the decision to allow the planning to progress on the new student residence.” However, Phelim is not convinced this expansion is enough to tackle the accommodation crisis currently facing students in Galway City. “Although this will help a lot of students, I fear that it won’t be enough by the time the residence is built. Back

in November there were still over 400 students not in adequate accommodation and they were the only ones that the Students’ Union and the Accommodation office had seen. We can only assume there were more. “ Phelim points out that the problem is much bigger than the lack of availability of beds on campus: “The problem we are facing is that the private rental sector accommodation is depleting year on year for students. While we may have an extra 429 beds for September 2018, assuming everything will be ready for then, we will still have a mass shortage in accommodation if the private rental sector continues to decrease every year until then. “I am grateful to NUI Galway for pushing this but more will be needed if we are to adequately address the accommodation shortage in Galway.” While The University aims to add over 1,200 additional bed spaces in

the future, there is clear concern of what amount of accommodation will be available to students later this year. Student Cillian Macintosh said; “I’m already starting to stress and panic about it.” The recent development is part of the University’s five-year strategic plan ‘Vision 2020’, in which it is hoped that NUI Galway will rise to the top two percent of universities in the world. Home-owners in the Newcastle locale have previously expressed concern over the university’s plans of expansion in the area, claiming the building will be unsightly and contribute to noise pollution. The complex will be built between the existing Corrib Village campus accommodation and houses on Upper Newcastle road. The project design consists of four buildings: one five storey block fronted by three four story blocks.

Launching the new smoke-free zones outside the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway were, from left, Phelim Kelly, NUI Galway Students’ Union President; Rosemary James and Ashita Dutta, NUI Galway Student Cancer Society; Jimmy McGovern, NUI Galway Students’ Union Welfare Officer; Nadia van den Berg, NUI Galway Student Cancer Society; and Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience.

USI extends condolences to the families of the students killed in in Charsadda The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) extended their condolences to the families and friends of the young people who lost their lives in Bacha Khan University in Charsadda last week. At least 21 people have been killed and over 60 injured as unidentified gunmen stormed the university. USI stands in solidarity with the students affected by these unwarranted attacks and shares in the sorrow of all who are grieving.

“Our deepest condolences are with the families and friends of the young people who lost their lives this morning. The deaths of so many young people can only be described as a tragedy,” said USI President Kevin Donoghue, speaking on the day of the attacks. A security official told Reuters that the death toll could rise to as high as 40 as the army cleared out student hostels and classrooms. A spokesman

for the rescue workers said the dead included students, guards, policemen and at least one professor. Vice Chancellor Fazal Rahim told Reuters that the university teaches over 3,000 students. USI urges all governments to oppose all forms of terrorism and to ensure that educational institutes are protected in dispersing knowledge and cultural understanding and diversity. Ar dheis Dé go raibh n-anamacha

Sisters Abbie (5) and Chloe Connell (7) and from Scoil Bhríde National School, Menlo, Co. Galway with second year NUI Galway Medical student Hannah Kietly ahead of NUI Galway’s 11th Annual Teddy Bear Hospital.

One of the smoke-free zones, located outside the Engineering Building.

One of the smoke-free zones, located near the Hardiman Building.

NEWS   3

January 26 2016

By Jessica Thompson Since I last put my ink on page three, I’ve mourned the loss of one of my heroes: David Bowie. It seems the past couple of weeks have brought us tragedy after tragedy: Bowie, Rickman, Frey; the shootings at Charsadda (see page two); dangerous designer drugs (see page four). 2016 has gotten off to a bad start, and as Blue Monday approached last week, USI even released a six-step guide to looking after your mental health (see page five). But there is some good news in this issue too. 1,400 teddy bears were cured of 1,400 illnesses and ailments last week at the cutest event of the year. Planning permission has been granted for NUI Galway’s new student accommodation. February is coming, and with it Valentine’s Day (or if you’re not into that, there’s also Pancake Tuesday – delicious!). New Year’s resolutions may be broken (two issues in and I’ve struck ‘no more all-nighters for Sin’ off my own list), funds may be tight after Christmas, and heroes have been lost, but let’s keep our chins up. Things can only get better. And speaking of heroes, let’s hear from five local heroes – the editors who made this issue possible. Until next time, keep those chins up, Jess @Jessicadotie

News Editor: Niamh Cullen We’re almost approaching February, which I find absolutely bizarre. That being said, plenty has been going on the past fortnight which means our news section is packed with lots of notable happenings! Our front page covers the 11th annual Teddy Bear Hospital, which saw well over a thousand children and their cuddly toys enjoying a funfilled day in the Bailey Allen Hall. We also have coverage on USI’s Election Manifesto, reports of €4 million in fees owed to NUI Galway, a new student accommodation complex underway for the university, Operation Transformation’s bid to get Ireland losing a million pounds this year and much more. We hope you enjoy, and of course if you want to get writing with us feel free to get in contact!

Features Editor: Jenna Hodgins

I always find January to be an incredibly slow and lazy month, and my motivation to do anything but eat junk and watch Julia Roberts films is next to none. Productivity and brain power are minimal for some; thankfully our first world privilege means we don’t have to use our brain for such things, as we have mobile apps that can do it for us! Niamh Cullen tells us about the essential apps for students on page 14 which will reduce all efforts but maximise productivity – and tell you where the good gigs are at! We have a little bit of a technological theme going on in this issue, with Sorcha O’Connor’s feature on SmartVote, an app dubbed ‘the Tinder of Politics’ with a familiar interface matching you with the most fitting electoral candidate according to your political preferences. On politics, Jessica Hannon talks us through the USI 2016 general election manifesto and explores whether or not it is a fair representation of what students really want.

Lifestyle Editor: Sorcha O’Connor

So we are nearing the end of January and edging ever closer to the massive love-fest that is Valentine’s Day. In this issue, the Lifestyle section is warming up for the season of lurve with some tasty recipes from Heather Robinson for you to get practising before V-Day (be that to impress your Valentine or simply to treat yourself!). And fear not if you aren’t exactly Master Chef material as Rachel Brownlow gives us her pick of the best restaurants in Galway for a romantic meal for two. Meanwhile Martha Brennan provides food for thought about the fashion industry and Malcolm Hanley discusses whether the parka jacket has had its day.

Entertainment Editor: Neil Slevin

Death dominates this Entertainment section: throughout, we feature Sin contributors’ varied goodbyes to music legend David Bowie, a tribute to renowned actor Alan Rickman; and we remember Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey and his musical legacy. RIP, gentlemen; now you are with the stars. On a lighter note, our “What’s on in Galway?” guru Frank Roddy returns with a

comical preview of Galway’s best entertainment events during the next fortnight while, as just one part of a varied Resonate column, poets Patrick Anthony and Iris M. Mora ready us for our upcoming Valentine’s Day–themed edition – for which we would welcome submissions in all genres (please see Resonate for more details). I hope you enjoy it all. Best, Neil

Sports Editor: Aonghus Ó’Maicín

In this issue, we look forward to an embarrassment of riches within the sporting sphere. While others attempt to prognosticate the outcome of the forthcoming general election or bemoan the typical Galway weather, we parade forward with excitement at the year of sport that lies ahead. We look for ward to the likes of the Rio Olympics and analyze the athletes that hope to bring home a record haul for the country. Football, as always, is discussed in detail in this issue as we look back at Messi’s day in the sun in Zurich as well as mediocrity across the Irish Sea. Closer to home, Galway United are getting set for another season of top flight football.

Find us online:

Editor: Jessica Thompson Layout: Shannon Reeves | contact via Ed. NEWS Niamh Cullen | FEATURES Jenna Hodgins | LIFESTYLE Sorcha O’Connor | ENTERTAINMENT Neil Slevin | SPORT Aonghus Ó’Maicín |


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

The Union of Students in Ireland is urging Students owe NUI Galway over €4 million University College Cork (UCC) is due students to stay away from the 2CB drug By Margaret Langevin The Union of Students in Ireland is urging young people to stay away from the ‘designer drug’ 2CB after the death of 18-year-old Cork student Alex Ryan, and the hospitalisation of five others following its consumption at a house party in Cork last week. According to the 2015 National Student Drug Survey, 82% of students have at some point used illegal drugs. 94% of the 2,701 people surveyed who said they have used drugs in their lifetime have shared drugs with another person. USI said that we need to acknowledge that drug use happens but the key to keeping young people safe is through education. “We need to recognise that drug use happens and young people experiment. We need to ensure that young people are being educated on the risks in a way that is relative to them. That is how we keep them safe – by arming them with information,” said USI President Kevin Donoghue. “The ‘just say no’ campaign simply doesn’t work. Young people don’t connect with it. We are urging students to stay away from the 2CB drug because it can have serious side effects, both psychologically and physically, such as paranoia, hallucinations, kidney problems and gastrointestinal effects.” The HSE issued a statement saying the full details in relation to the 2CB drug are, at the time of print, not yet available but it is thought to be one of the new psychoactive substances similar to those products previously sold in ‘Head-shops’, like an ecstasy substitute. According to the 2015 National Student Drug Survey, the majority of students reported taking drugs at a party or with friends but the Union of Students in Ireland is urging students to be ‘vigilant’ when they’re at parties or nightclubs for dangerous substances.

“Young people are advised that there is no quality control on these drugs. There are problems with purity and contaminants, and there is no way of checking that what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance,” The HSE said in their statement. “Given the serious side-effects experienced by the young people in Cork, the HSE Addiction services are issuing a warning about possible contaminated ‘party pills’ and advise people to not consume any unknown substances that they are offered at this time.” Further survey results have shown that 82 percent of students have tried illegal drugs. While it is common for some students to try illegal drugs at least once in their lifetime, recurring drug use is lower for illegal drugs compared to alcohol. When taken over the past 12 months, 49 percent of all respondents have consumed normal strength cannabis compared to 44 percent who have used high potency cannabis. Respondents also reported that the common reason why they do not use illegal drugs is 16 percent health consequences and nine percent due to criminality. The most common reason why students are consuming drugs is fun (27 percent), curiosity (19 percent) and “switching off ” (13 percent). Among the lowest is peer pressure at six percent. Furthermore, 35 percent of people that have used illegal drugs in their lifetime have sold illegal drugs, and 94 perc of people that have used drugs in their lifetime have shared drugs with another person. Under Irish law this breaks Section 15 the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Student Summit 2016 to launch in February The Irish Student Summit 2016 will take place on 4 February in Dublin Castle. The event will have over 600 students, more than 40 start-ups, 22 workshops and powerhouse business speakers from Silicon Valley and Ireland, with speakers from Twitter, Paddy Power, Silicon Republic, Ireland AM, Mór Gin, Cool Beans and Humans of Dublin. One Student Start-up will walk away with a €1,500 investment in their business idea. Enterprise Ireland is sponsoring a €1,500 prize for the winner of the Student Start-Up Pitch. A panel of judges will narrow down applications to the ten best from the online submissions and the public will be able to vote for their favourite two on Twitter and Facebook. At the Student Summit, the final two applicants will go head-to-head in front of an audience and a panel of judges, who will vote for the winner.

Submission rules: To submit your start-up, upload a two-minute video to YouTube with your business pitch and send the link to Please note: applicants must put ‘Student Summit 16’ in the video title before their name and ‘application’ at the end. For example, ‘Student Summit 16 John Smith application’.

What we are looking for: New product ideas, new business ideas or new service ideas – either at infancy or development stage.

Rules of Application: 1. All applicants must be second or third level students. 2. All applicants must be the owners or founders of the company that the application is for OR they must own the intellectual rights to the product idea they have. 3. All applicants must follow the format of the submission rules. 4. All third level applicants must be a member of a USI college. The Student Summit has hand-picked some of the most influential speakers to help inspire the generation who will shape the world of tomorrow. This year the Student Summit has taken a tailored approach to focus on purely the entrepreneurial capacity, showcasing personal stories, interesting tips and facts to equip students with all the right ingredients they need to start something special. Many speakers will be giving workshops with the aim of giving students an advantage on their own entrepreneurial adventure. Sponsors for the Student Summit include Just Eat, Bank of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Azon, Grad Ireland and Twitter. The official media partners are SpunOut and The Journal. You can book tickets to the Student Summit at

Students of NUI Galway owe more than €4 million to the university, but it isn’t the only university waiting for students to pay their fees. According to figures released to the Irish Independent, seven universities across the country are owed a total of €17,028,490. Despite the debt, most universities have decided not to use debt collection agencies against their students. However, university officials said the unpaid fees is adding pressure to their day-to-day running costs. Student groups have claimed the reason debt is climbing higher is because fees have increased from €1,500 to €3,000 since 2010. President of The Union of Students in Ireland Kevin Donoghue said the current fee is too high for students: “People are not paying the debt because they can’t afford it. At €3,000 our fees are the second highest in Europe. With such high fees of course we will have those who can’t pay.” NUI Galway is owed €4,134,000 which has added up over the past five academic years. A spokesman said when a student refuses to resolve the debt, the university may refer the matter to legal advisors. The University of Limerick (UL) is owed the most money out of the main universities in Ireland which has been described as historic debt. Its students owe over €5.2 million. The total fee owed in 2015 was over €2.3 million, while debt exceeding two years old results just under €1.6 million. While 2,360 students owe money, the university does not use debt collectors. Trinity College is owed €2.6 million despite offering students the option of paying fees in two instalments during the year. The university has not issued proceedings against any student for unpaid fees.

€1,853,000 from its students. A total of €1,747,000 of that figure comes from fees owed between September 2014 and July 2015. The remaining €106,000 is owed from the previous academic year. UCC said “access privileges to student services” such as the library are removed if students fail to make payments. A spokeswoman stated while they don’t use debt collectors, students who fail to pay fees will be charged with late fee penalties amongst other measures. “Students with outstanding fee liabilities are not permitted to graduate with their class until fees are paid in full,” the spokeswoman added. Maynooth University’s outstanding tuition fees add up to more than €1.3 million with its debt ranging from two to five years. The university also doesn’t use debt collectors although a staff member has been “specifically resourced to resolve all cases over the next 12 months”. University College Dublin (UCD), the largest university in Ireland, has outstanding fees of €1.2 million. The university uses debt collectors, which might push students to pay their tuition. “The outsourcing of the collection of outstanding monies was the result of a lack of internal resources to conduct the service. It is expected that a percentage of outstanding monies will be recouped as a result of this process that might otherwise be lost,” said a UCD spokesman. Dublin College University (DCU) is owed the least out of the main universities. Its students owe €591,931. It confirmed it utilises a “third party agency” to follow up on outstanding fees.

NUI Galway achieves ranking in Top 200 Most International Universities By Meda Balciunaite NUI Galway and eight other Irish higher education institutes have made it on to the list of top 200 most international universities in the world. The 2016 ratings developed by Times Higher Education (THE) gave a joint 139th place on the list to the college along with University of Limerick. The rankings were developed and presented considering two main factors that the university possesses. THE have considered the diversity of a university’s student body, looking at the numbers of international students attending the university. Additionally, they considered the number of international staff collaborating with their students and colleagues in the university. These two factors distinguish how global the university is and determine its position on the top league table. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne said; “This is a significant achievement for NUI Galway and reflects a sustained upward trend in these very competitive global rankings. This consistent improvement in NUI Galway’s Times Higher Education World University rankings is an affirmation of our focused approach to developing our international reputation.”

Other Irish universities placed in the top 200 has brought Ireland’s reputation on the international level to a rise. Trinity College Dublin placed 40th on the list while UCD secured 74th on the list. DCU came just before NUI Galway, putting their position in the 138th place. At the top of the list, Qatar University was named the most international university in the world. Phil Baty of Times Higher Education said; “An institution’s global outlook is one of the key markers of a prestigious university. The top institutions hire faculty from all over the world, attract students from a global market of top talent and collaborate with leading departments wherever they happen to be based. It is great news for all the institutions in the list of the most international universities in the world. It is a sign of great potential, competitiveness and dynamism.” Great achievements by NUI Galway are on the rise as the university also recently won the Excellent International Student Satisfaction Award 2015. The college also ranked as the second best institution for the International Student Experience 2014/2015. NUI Galway is quickly securing an international place name for Ireland. This will hopefully attract more prospective students abroad for the university.

NEWS   5

January 26 2016

63 percent of students said mental ill-health affects their college attendance Ahead of ‘Blue Monday’ last week, The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) released survey results about students’ mental health as well as a sixstep guide to overcoming stress or anxiety. Last Monday was dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ because of multiple factors: miserable weather, broken resolutions, post-Christmas debt and weight anxieties. At the end of January families are also finding themselves in the red and stress levels rise before payday at the end of the month, and USI’s new research shows that students can be particularly affected by depression or anxiety around this time of year. 63 percent of students reported that lecture attendance has been affected by their mental ill-health, according to research col-

lected by USI and ReachOut. 15 percent of students rated their mental health as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. “In 2014, 393 people under the age of 30 died by suicide in Ireland. 619 young people between the ages of 15 and 29 died by suicide between 2010 and 2014,” said USI President Kevin Donoghue. “The research shows that 71.7 percent of students regularly feel down; 36 percent of students feel down every day and a further 35.7 percent feel down every week. We are encouraging students across the country to follow our six-step guideline to overcome stress and anxiety, particularly at this time of the year.” Further survey results reveal that 49 percent of students reported having previously used

USI fears new Loans Scheme proposals will affect those from rural and agricultural backgrounds The new proposed loan scheme will disproportionately affect those from rural and agricultural backgrounds, according to the Union of Students in Ireland and the Irish Farmers Association, who met last month. Commenting on the proposals USI President Kevin Donoghue said; “Any implementation of the new proposed loan scheme for students would disproportionately affect those from rural and agricultural backgrounds, deter them from applying to college, and widen the gap between urban and rural opportunities. People from rural backgrounds are more likely to be on 3rd level grants and so are more likely to be affected by the new proposals.” Mr Donoghue added; “Introducing things like asset testing for grants and replacing grant payments with loans will disproportionately affect those in rural backgrounds and farmers. Students from rural and agricultural backgrounds already face higher costs than those who are from urban areas, especially with expenses like accommodation and transportation.” Commenting on the proposals IFA Farm Business Chairman Tom Doyle said; “The farming community would not tolerate any changes which would result in children from

low income farm families being excluded from third level grants.” There are currently 56 third level agricultural courses on offer, covering a range of cutting-edge contemporary technologies and approaches to modern farming in Ireland. Mr Doyle added; “With a 45% increase in the value of food and drink exports achieved since 2009, Ireland’s agri-food sector has been a driving force of export growth and national economic recovery. The sectors performance and associated increased employment opportunities have resulted in a huge surge in enrolment numbers for agricultural and agri food courses. The Irish government needs to ensure equality of access to third level education for low income farm families to fully deliver on the potential and growth opportunities in the sector.” The agri-food sector in Ireland contributes a value of €26bn (gross turnover) to the national economy, generates 7.6 percent of gross value added (GVA), almost 12.3 percent of Ireland’s exports and provides 8.6% of national employment. Due to low levels of import dependence, and profit repatriation on one hand and high levels of investment in the local economy on the other, the sector provides balanced growth which is been felt throughout the country.

‘Lectures in the Library’ to Commemorate 1916 Rising As part of its programme of commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will present a series of public lectures in Galway City Library. ‘Lectures in the Library/Léachtaí sa Leabharlann’ will explore the lives of individuals who were involved in the Irish revolution, including Peadar Kearney who wrote the ‘Soldier’s Song’, the anarchist Captain Jack White, Éamonn Ceannt, and Fr Richard Henebry, who is best known for his pioneering work on Irish traditional music. The first lecture in the series will take place on Tuesday, 26 January and will focus on Liam S Gógan (1891-1979), who coined the term ‘poblacht’, the first word in the proclamation of the Irish republic. Gógan was directly involved in the revolutionary politics that led to the Easter Rising and remained an unregenerate Irish republican

throughout his life. He was also the most significant poet writing in Irish between 1916 and 1945. Liam S. Gógan ‘Liam S Gógan: The poet, the pedant, and the revolutionary’, will be delivered by Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the University’s Centre for Irish Studies, and will explore the life and work of one of the most accomplished and unusual Irish poets of the twentieth century. The lectures will run each Tuesday for six weeks from 6.30-8.30pm at the Galway City Library in Augustine Street. For more details on each of the lectures visit the Centre for Irish Studies Facebook page at

the internet or technology for support and information for their mental health. Reported causes of stress included the high cost of college (73 percent) and struggling financially to stay in college (72 percent). 83 percent of students surveyed said talking to someone helped them when they were feeling down. When asked what the worst part of feeling down was, 43 percent of students said ‘feeling isolated and hopeless with low self-esteem’. Other issues included feeling anxious, sad or bored (23 percent), not having energy to do anything (15 percent) and ‘loss of interest in hobbies, family or life’ (20 percent). To help students with feelings of stress and anxiety, USI have released the following six-step guide: 1. Take time out: It feels impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety. Palpitations, sweating palms and feeling panicky or confused are the result of adrenalin so the first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down. Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by going for a walk or a jog, making a cup of tea or having a bath. When you’ve physically calmed down, you’ll feel better able to decide on the best way to cope. 2. What’s the worst that can happen? When you’re anxious about something it can help to think through what the worst end result could be. Even if a presentation, a call or a conversation goes horribly wrong, chances

are that you and the world will survive. Placing the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathing slowly and deeply (no more than 12 breaths a minute) helps soothe the body. Eventually the panic will go away on its own. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away. 3. Visualise: Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm – it could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed. 4. Talk about it: Sharing worries takes away a lot of their scariness. If you can’t talk to a friend or family member, call a helpline such as the Samaritans (116 123 - open 24 hours a day) for free. And if your worries aren’t going away, ask your GP for help. GPs can refer people for counselling, psychotherapy or other help. 5. Go back to basics: An eight-hour sleep, healthy food, slow breathing and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety. 6. Reward yourself: Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve done that essay you’ve been dreading or finished the research you were putting on the long finger, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a candlelit bath, a massage, a country walk, a coffee with a friend, a book, a DVD, a game of Xbox or whatever little gift makes you happy and relaxed.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

AIDS West World AIDS Day 2015 Solidarity with all people living with HIV was the key message delivered at the AIDS West World AIDS Day Memorial concert on Tuesday 1 December – solidarity with both those who know they are living with HIV, and those who don’t. This year’s annual event in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Galway was attended by over 300 people including the Mayor of Galway City Frank Fahy and keynote speaker Fr Tony Flannery. Those gathered were treated to a selection of wonderful hymns and carols performed by Cois Cladaigh under the musical direction of Brendan O’Connor as well as the beautifully blended and magnificent voices of Bel Canto featuring Delia Boyce, Sandra Schalks, Hildegarde Naughton and pianist Mark Keane.

In his speech Fr Tony Flannery praised the staff and volunteers of AIDS West for their invaluable work supporting people living with HIV in the West of Ireland; “The work of AIDS West must continue; it must be done with holiness (in the broadest sense of that word – meaning love), with a certain degree of boldness, and with persistence.” He further congratulated them on the delivery of their Sexual Health Education Programmes in Schools, Colleges and other community groups in Galway City and County stating “these excellent programmes play a major role in increasing awareness around HIV and sexual transmitted infection within our community. “Often teachers and parents feel inadequate or embarrassed, so people who can deal with these subjects in a language that young people

AIDS West World AIDS Day Concert - Bel Canto and Cois Cladaigh join forces for a rousing rendition of ‘Angels We Have Heard on High’.

understand are important in helping them to grow to maturity without hurting themselves or others.” The previous weekend, the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar launched the first ever five-day national World AIDS Day campaign in Ireland. This campaign was supported by AIDS West in partnership with the HSE Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme. The World AIDS Day campaign aims to raise awareness about the many issues that present themselves for people living with HIV, and those at risk of contracting HIV in Ireland today. In support of the campaign, Joe McDonagh, Manager of AIDS West highlighted “the need to support people living with HIV in Ireland”. “We all have a part to play in doing so – to start a conversation about HIV can help to demystify some of the myths and misinformation that surround HIV, to challenge discrimination and break down the stigma that still surrounds this condition,” he said. Mr McDonagh further stressed that regular testing for STI’s is essential “as undiagnosed infection is widely recognised as a key factor driving the HIV epidemic, as someone who remains undiagnosed is much more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly than someone who has tested and is on treatment”. It is estimated that approximately 3,500 people are knowingly living with HIV in Ireland today. Worry-

ingly, the World Health Organisation estimates that 30 percent of people living with HIV don’t know they are HIV Positive. While there has been a significant and welcome improvement in treatment for HIV, concern remains regarding the rising numbers of newly diagnosed cases in Ireland. The 2014 report by the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows an increase of 11 AIDS West World AIDS Day percent compared to 2013. Concert - Brendan O’Connor leads Worryingly, the latest HPSC Cois Cladaigh and Bel Canto (Delia reports for 2015 indicate Boyce, Sandra Schalks, Hildegarde an additional 30 percent Naughton and Mark Keane) with increase in new diagno‘Hark! The Hearld Angels Sing’. ses over and above of the reported figures of 2014. Earlier this month, Irelands first dations within the Strategy aim National Sexual Health Strategy was to address these issues through published providing a national the promotion of positive cultural framework for sexual health & well- change regarding sexual health. We being. HIV prevention and working all have a part to play in achieving together to achieve this is an impor- these recommendations”. tant aspect of this strategy. AIDS West provides support, Dr Fiona Lyons, the HSE’s Clini- education and information in relacal Lead for Sexual Health Services tion to HIV/AIDS and all aspects stated; “The strategy highlights the of sexual health across Galway City need to address stigma and dis- and County and is grateful to the crimination for those living with HSE West for their continued fundHIV and the negative impact they ing for this essential work. can have on HIV disclosure and AIDS West is contactable on T: people accessing HIV treatment 091 566266, e:, and support services. Recommen- website:

Tipping the scales with Operation Transformation By Sam Kelly Weight issues in Ireland have seriously escalated over the past number of years. Ireland’s population has overweight and obesity levels in excess of the European average, according to a comprehensive global study of the problem. About 26 percent of Irish girls and 16 percent of Irish boys under the age of 20 are classed as overweight or obese. A massive 66 percent of Irish men over 20 are also considered overweight or obese, as are 51 percent of Irish women over 20 years. This is well in excess of the western European average of 48 percent Operation Transformation is setting a massive challenge across the country to collectively lose one million pounds in one year. As part of the Operation Transformation Million Pound Challenge, the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) is encouraging members of the public to visit a participating pharmacy to get their weight measured and to get the appropriate healthcare

advice to assist them in reaching their weight loss goals. Over 900 pharmacies are participating in the 12 month initiative, which aims to reverse the current trend that sees Irish people on course to be the heaviest in Europe, unless urgent action is taken. The challenge is inspired by an initiative from Oklahoma where Mayor Mick Cornett decided to take action in 2007 after a fitness magazine ranked his city as one of America’s most obese places to live. Shocked, Mayor Cornett announced that the city was “going on a diet”. Admitting his own obesity, he challenged the citizens of Oklahoma to join him on a weight loss programme to collectively lose one million pounds. Mayor Cornett lost three stone and the city joined him with more than 50,000 citizens registering to track their weight. Local restaurants and gyms were encouraged to support the campaign through healthy menu choices and discounts. Oklahoma City was redesigned to make it more ‘walkable’. Five years later,

the city hit its million pound weight loss goal and landed a spot on America’s Top 10 fittest cities. Kathy Maher, President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), said; “As the most accessible part of the healthcare system, pharmacists are, once again, partnering with Operation Transformation to promote a healthy lifestyle and to encourage members of the public to achieve

and maintain a healthy weight. Increasing levels of obesity are a serious concern, not only for the health of individuals but also for our overstretched healthcare system. “Pharmacists are delighted to be part of this important and exciting initiative, which aims to get people living in Ireland to lose 1 million pounds in combined weight over the course of the year. We encourage everyone to

visit their nearest participating pharmacy to help us achieve this goal.” Operation Transformation is challenging the people of Ireland to go one better by losing that million pounds in just 12 months. Last year, news broke that Ireland is on course to become the fattest country in Europe with at least half of the population overweight or obese. It’s time to take action and what better way than to work together to lose one million pounds? In the past two weeks Ireland has already lost 8,536 pounds, encouraging others to join the challenge. For anyone who is interested in getting involved all you need to do firstly is decide on whether you want to do this challenge on your own or in a group. Each week you will track your weight loss. Throughout the campaign, helpful tips will be given on how to make the small changes in our lifestyles that will help us build toward that ultimate million pound goal. By the time Operation Transformation will run again in 2017, the country will hopefully be one million pounds lighter.

NEWS   7

January 26 2016

Oscars of Student Media to go from strength to strength with the support of KBC Bank Ireland KBC Bank Ireland is delighted to return as title sponsor of the National Student Media Awards (Smedias) for a second year. Now in their 16th year, the Smedia Awards celebrate gifted media students from across Ireland and act as a key launch pad for those students who are looking to fast track their careers in the media industry. Receiving an award is a huge distinction and over the 16 years the Awards have provided Ireland’s hardworking young people with a unique platform from which they can announce themselves to the world. Last year’s awards had over 1,000 entries and an exceptional turn out on the night with over 600 students, sponsors, celebrities, and media icons in attendance. Aidan Power, Director of Customer, Brand & Marketing at KBC Bank Ireland said; “KBC Bank is delighted to return as the title sponsor of the Smedia awards for a second year. The Awards provide a great platform for the next generation of journalists, filmmakers, photographers and producers to grow and develop. “As Ireland’s retail bank of the future, we understand the importance of supporting and encouraging students on their chosen

career path from an early stage. We look forward to celebrating with this year’s applicants and winners at what promises to be a fantastic event for all involved.” National journalists and broadcasters judge the awards each year. 2015’s judges include Editor of the Irish Independent, Fionnan Sheehan; Editor of the Irish Examiner, Tim Vaughan; Cathy Fox, Executive producer of The Late Late Show; multi-award winning director, Lenny Abrahamson; and Founder of Brown Bag Animation and Multi-Academy Award nominee, Darragh O’Connell . This year’s panel promises to be even more impressive. Organiser Colman Byrne said; “We are delighted to once again be returning to the Aviva Stadium for the awards. The venue is so iconic and is a fitting setting for awards which announce the media stars of tomorrow. Thanks to the generous support from our title sponsor KBC Bank Ireland we hope that this year will be the best year yet for the Smedias.” Entries open on 1 February with a deadline for receipt of 3 March. The awards will be presented in the Aviva Stadium on the night of 7 April.

Tim to renew your Student Leap Card Students with last year’s 2014/2015 Student Leap Card will find their card expired on 31 December 2015. It’s that time of the year again, to renew your card and get the new 2015/2016 red Student Leap Card. It’s available here on campus from the NUI Galway Students’ Union office, which is open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Students in Galway can avail of the student discounts on both Bus Éireann and City Direct bus services (20% off cash fares). Students can also avail of up to 66% off public transport fares nationwide with their valid Student Leap Card – as well as many great discounts across leading brands. Student Leap Card – The National Student Travel and Discount Card – is available from your NUI Galway Students’ Union. for details.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

NUI Galway and Galway Clinic USI joins forces with the form medical education partnership Teachers’ Union of Ireland By Sorcha O’Connor NUI Galway has announced Galway Clinic as its new teaching hospital. Final Year medical students will be offered placement in the clinic as part of their Final Year Training Programme. The partnership effective since January 1 is extending the university’s use of the clinic, with its student nurses currently training in the facility. According to the Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Professor Timothy O’Brien, the placements provided by the partnership will be highly beneficial to medical and nursing students. “The partnership with Galway Clinic will provide our medical and nursing students with excel-

lent exposure to clinical practice in the private hospital setting and also greatly facilitates enhanced educational and research opportunities across both organisations,” he said. CEO of the Galway Clinic Joe O’Donovan said the clinic was proud to be recognised as a teaching hospital of NUI Galway and highlighted the facilities the clinic provides to patients. He said the clinic was home to “impressive, state of the art, clinical and diagnostic facilities” and students will be exposed to the extensive specialist patient services the clinic provides. These include joint replacement, cardiothoracic and robotic prostate surgery, interventional cardiology, CT and MRI scanning, medical oncology/ radio-

therapy and emergency medicine. Galway Clinic is a community hospital and provides 24 hour health care services. It has 146 inpatient beds; eight of which are ICU beds and the remaining 138 are on five in-patient units. According to NUI Galway the use of the clinic is in line with providing an innovative curriculum to its students. The medical curriculum at NUI Galway is a five-year programme with an annual intake of approximately 180 students. The college strives to work closely with clinical partners to provide programmes that are grounded in clinical expertise and cutting-edge research, to best prepare students to meet the challenges of a changing healthcare environment. An emphasis on early patient exposure and extending preparation for internships are main focuses for NUI Galway’s medical curriculum in 2016 and the use of Galway Clinic is “consistent with the strategic plan of NUI Galway,” according to Professor O’Brien. “The College welcomes the opportunity to integrate more from an educational and research perspective with public and private healthcare providers within our region, consistent with the strategic plan of NUI Galway,” he said.

NUI Galway Working and Travelling Abroad Fair 2016 By Siobhán Mulvey NUI Galway’s Working and Travelling Abroad Fair 2016 will take place in Áras na Mac Léinn from 12pm to 3pm on Wednesday 26 January. The fair is a worthwhile event for students who are interested in exploring options to travel and work abroad. Various exhibitors will be present at the fair including J1 visa companies, travel companies, volunteering/adventure companies, and internship training companies. Confirmed exhibitors for the event consist of ALIVE NUI Galway, Bank of Ireland, Junior Chamber International, Partnership International, SAYIT J1USA, and TaxBack. com. Food stalls will also be available

at the fair. Confirmed food vendors consist of The Pancake Factory, Dough Bro’s Wood Fire Pizza, Boxty’s Load It, Brown Bag Donuts, and Men at Wok. Information will be given at the fair to help students to make decisions on travel this summer. NUI Galway’s Students’ Union hopes the fair will help students to “start planning the best summer ever!” Due to new legislation that enforces that J1 students must find job placements before leaving for the US, it is imperative that students begin considering and planning their adventures abroad as soon as possible. Attendance at NUI Galway’s Working and Travelling Abroad Fair is one of the first steps to making that important decision. In Sin’s previous issue, USI

President Kevin Donoghue commented on the benefits the J1 has for students: “The J1 is a fantastic opportunity for personal development through refining independent skills and experiencing another culture,” he said. J1 application paperwork is known to take roughly three months to process, and it has been strongly advised by many different companies that contacts should be utilised as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. The fair provides a perfect opportunity to access and use such contacts. NUI Galway does not endorse or affiliate with external companies that may be present at the fair. Further updates on the fair can be received online or by contacting

and launches ‘I Value Higher Education’ Petition The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has joined forces with the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) as part of its #EducationIs coalition to campaign against the erosion of the publicly funded higher education system, and safeguard higher education for the next generation. The ‘I Value Higher Education’ campaign invites students, their families and teachers to sign the petition on “USI is proud to join with TUI on the ‘I Value Higher Education’ campaign which seeks to promote the value of higher education in Irish society,” said USI President Kevin Donoghue. “The campaign acknowledges higher education as a central function within the social, cultural and economic fabrics of Irish society. It recognises the contribution already made to the Irish economic growth and social development through the provision of publicly-funded higher education; promotes free higher education as a public good; calls for equality of access to higher education opportunities and the provision of clear progression routes to enable lifelong learning; and advocates for the resourcing of a higher education infrastructure which can best meet contemporary national and international challenges and demands.” Today, the Irish state funds 14 institutes of technology, seven universities and six colleges. While the public higher education sector has expanded to meet growing demand, funding has not kept pace with this development. Regrettably, it has decreased significantly. In the last seven years funding in the higher education sector was cut by 32% (over €428.3m). Aidan Kenny, Assistant General Secretary at TUI, welcomed the joint campaign by USI and TUI in support of free publically funded higher education; “It is vital that students and lecturers work together to achieve the aim of free quality higher education which is accessible to all.

“Higher education as a public good should be funded collectively by society through general taxation, corporation tax and a higher education levy. The market model of student loan schemes is not appropriate; it places an unacceptable individual debt burden on students and commodifies higher education into a product which can be sold.” The magnitude of the funding cut over a relatively short period of time is having a profound impact on the sector’s capacity to function. In addition to the budget cuts, student tuition fees for undergraduate programmes have increased to €3,000 per year. The new proposed student loan scheme would deter students from applying to college and place a significant individualised debt on each student when they graduate and commence their careers. The demand for places in the higher education sector has grown considerably, with an increase in student numbers of up 20% between 2008 and 2014. Presently, there are just over 200,000 students attending higher education programs (undergraduate and post-graduate) in the Republic of Ireland. At the same time, staffing levels have been reduced by 2,000 between 2008 and 2015. The funding cuts, rising student numbers and reduced staffing levels are pushing the higher education system to breaking point. The established quality and standards of the Irish publicly funded higher education system are being put at risk. If the current situation prevails much longer, irreparable damage will be done to the educational future of the next generation. As the general election approaches, the ‘I Value Higher Education’ campaign invites people to raise higher education as an issue with candidates when they canvass and sign the online petition to campaign against the erosion of the Irish publicly funded higher education system, and safeguard higher education for the next generation on - http://chn. ge/1R6NBXz.

NEWS   9

January 26 2016

NUI Galway gets transition year students interested in IT By Margaret Langevin NUI Galway’s business college has taken the initiative to draw young females toward the technology world. The discipline of business information systems (BIS) welcomed thirty transition year girls from various schools around Galway on 15 and 16 January to participate in a workshop hosted by BIS professionals and PhD students to educate, inform and engage the transition year students in information systems. Students from Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew, St. Brigid’s in Loughrea and the Salerno Secondary School Salthill in Galway participated in the weekend event which was funded by the Google RISE Awards and the Irish Software Research Centre (Lero).

The transition year students were put into teams of three or four and were challenged with the same scenario: to develop an app for a gym hoping to keep its members, as well as attract more people to the gym. The task forced the students to be innovative, to problem solve and design, as well as teaching them prototyping, programming and collaborating with business leaders and teammates. The transition year students were put in a professional situation to brainstorm what should be featured in their app. Each group thought of new and useful features to put in their product with the help of their female mentors who were all professionals or 4th year BIS students. After organizing what was needed to make the app successful, the groups worked in a computer lab to create their prototype. The students were engaging with how to design the app and making it easy for a consumer to use, along with working against a strict deadline. They worked diligently and seemed to grasp the idea of putting together a product while using their new innovation skills. Creating an app allowed the participants to think as innovators, and not just consumers. They learned first-hand the work that goes into making the technological device. The students listened to female speakers throughout the workshop who guided them

Students back Fossil Fuel divestment By Ciarán Ó Meachair Over recent months, the fossil fuel divestment campaign in Belfast’s Queens University has attracted considerable attention. The campaign follows similar ones emerging in universities across Europe and North America, with the aim of universities divesting from shares in companies involved in the oil and gas industry. The fossil fuel divestment campaign has been endorsed by a number of major figures including Desmond Tutu, Edward Snowden and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson who remarked, “We can no longer invest in companies that are part of the problem of the climate shocks that we’re suffering from. And so, I speak openly and encourage students and colleges to be part of that. It’s, to me, a little bit like the energy that was behind the anti-apartheid movement when I was a student.” Queen’s University has invested roughly €7.5 million in the fossil fuel industry, including stakes in Shell, Exxon Mobil and BP. “As a place that is supposed to be about learning and liberation it is deeply disturbing that it is attempting to make personal gain whilst ignoring scientific consensus and dooming us all to a future of climate chaos,” said Bradley Allsop, a Queen’s student. “As students, scholars and citizens we’ve had enough- the time for action is now.” While the campaign has made significant ground it still has much work to do in 2016. It may be bolstered by the fact that the campaign has been taken up by students in other Irish universities, including NUI Galway. The campaign in NUI Galway is led by the CCAFS (Climate Change Agriculture & Food Security) Society. NUI Galway’s investment in fossil fuel com-

panies stands at €3.4 million, considerably less than other universities. But as Colm Duffy, a PhD researcher in Climate Change & Agriculture and a member of the CCAFS Society argues, “it is important that all of us, not just staff, students and parents, but everyone in the wider community, recognise that the University here has a responsibility to invest ethically”. The society currently has a petition running which can be found on their Facebook page and has met with Students’ Union officials. However since they only became aware of NUI Galway’s investment in December, much of their campaign efforts will take place over the course of this semester. In 2014, Shell’s total equity stood at roughly €158.2 billion. The level of investment education institutions like Queen’s University or NUI Galway might be insignificant when you look at the value of each company alone, and the benefits of NUI Galway alone divesting might be miniscule when you see the overall picture. But the fossil fuel divestment campaign is worth much more than that. It has the potential to raise consciousness in people, and change cultural habits which can impact our dependence on fossil fuels. Many people believe that the responsibility to mitigate climate change lies with China or the United States, but it must be noted that Ireland has the highest proportion of emissions of any EU member state. The EU requires a 20 percent cut of 2005 emission levels by 2020 for each country. If efforts continue in Ireland as they currently are it will have reduced by just 5 percent by 2020, well below the EU target. Numerous issues, movements and campaigns will come and go within our lifetimes. But unless action is taken, the negative effects of climate change will linger on this planet for generations to come.

through the weekend, while hoping to make them think more deeply about their product. In the end, each group presented their work and certain groups were rewarded based on the success of their app. Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, Kieran Conboy, said the college created this event for three reasons: firstly, for students to engage with each other and to meet new people, secondly to see what life at university is like, and finally to tackle the talent crisis in technology. Mr Conboy said even though women make up 50 percent of the workforce, they constitute less

than 25 percent of those employed in software, engineering and science. The idea of the event was to get young girls involved in technology, hoping that it will inspire them to pursue a career in it. “We’re trying to create more of a balance between males and females. Certainly the employer’s initiative is to do likewise, but still that number is lower and shouldn’t be where it is,” Mr Conboy said. This was the first time the college ran a workshop of this kind. They hope to run it again next year and potentially invite more schools to participate.



TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM Bus Éireann Travel Centre, Eyre Square, Galway. and Henchy’s Shop, Eyre Square, Galway. Tel: 091 562000 Email:


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

the love debate THE NEW AGE OF LOVE: have the likes of mobile dating apps such as Grindr and Tindr destroyed the art of courtship, or are they just the game changers in a new age of romance?

The next time you open your inbox, you won’t find love waiting for you… By Neil Slevin Although the onset of mobile dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder is yet to destroy the art of courtship completely, it is well on its way to doing so; and in time it will, if society allows it to continue unabated. Courtship cries out for a person’s ability to converse with the person whom he or she is courting; a courtship, and anything that may blossom from it, can only be built from the time two people spend with each other, from each courter learning about the other in real life, from uncovering the parts of that person that lead to love. Some may argue that the term “courtship” is outdated, but surely, even in our brave new world, our new epoch of love, “courtship” is what we aspire to once we move beyond looking for looks to trying to see people for who they are, who we could be with them; for us to find that person – or people, depending your understanding of love and all that goes with it – we have to begin with a real-life connection, some level of intimacy. That cannot be found in an inbox. More than anyone, I recognise that connecting with someone online through messaging, indulging in exciting conversations, arranging to meet, etc. may lead to that first date, to something more; but the distinction between getting to know about someone online and getting to know them in the real world, in reality, is crucial. As an introvert, I like nothing more than communicating with people through my writing, but experience and time have taught me that this doesn’t work out in the long-term: in life, you don’t have time to proof-read your

thoughts, to gauge and time your actions, to paint a portrait of yourself (though we all try, especially starting out!); and even if you do succeed in doing so, in the longterm, what is the point of that, of being someone you’re not with the person you love? And I have done the above. I’ve met people online, gotten to know them reasonably well (or at least well enough to know that they are not a typing robot or some sort of raging lunatic), but few if any of those dates led to something meaningful. I accept that this may be because of who I am, because I have an idealistic view of courtship, of what leads to love; but I am not alone. I’ve wooed through the media of flattering profile pictures, varied openers, thoughtful questions –even charmed myself with some of my responses – but meeting that person (the same person I’d interacted with so well from my end of a computer screen) for the first time always felt that little bit flatter, as if it were missing something. Because it was. Getting to know the person you are courting, interacting with them, developing a dynamic, a chemistry between you both are all essential to your courtship; how can you begin to do any of these if the first date you have with someone is an awkward rehash and replay of everything that’s gone before? Furthermore, though you could argue that dating apps give us the opportunity to meet people we may never encounter in our everyday lives, to broaden our horizons as well as our odds, I believe they lengthen the odds of a courtship becoming something more. Think of those somewhat clichéd wed-

ding speeches – the ones where we learn how X met Y for the first time, the instant when X knew Y was the one, where “birds suddenly” appeared… Courtship, love, life are all clichés. For good reason: the moment you first meet that special someone, when you realise that they are the one, will never be the moment you saw their photograph, when you worked out how much older, lighter – you get the gist! – they were when you first met them in comparison with the profile picture that lulled you into giving them your approval for the first time. Connecting online initially makes it less likely that a courtship will progress because the majority of us need that element of surprise and wonder, of not knowing exactly what we’re doing and who we’re with, those butterflies, when seeing someone early on; to have all of that in common. Dating apps strip these from us, the opportunity to form the bond that courtship presents us, to build on what we may have established already with someone through acquaintance or friendship in our everyday lives. At best, dating apps enable us to meet more people from places we’ve never been; at their worst, they feed and fuel a modern society where people are increasingly unable to communicate and simply be with one another in any meaningful capacity without resorting to some form of cyberbased ‘safety’ for any reasonable length of time. We should resort to them only after exploring all other options first. Do things; go out; meet and talk to people; take chances. Let the rest take care of itself.

The assistance of dating apps should be considered an advantage By Patrick Kirrane If we can meet people in the library, at a bus-stop, through a college society, then why can’t we do so on the internet? There are plenty of arguments to say why we can’t and how we should feel guilty for doing so. Some argue that dating apps are merely satisfying our millennial desire for ease, catering for a generation that demands instant gratification and they are killing relationships with their absurd, unrealistic standards. A lot assert that strangers online can deceive us with something as basic as their appearance and a few years ago, when these apps didn’t exist people didn’t have to worry about swiping, matching or playing the numbers game. Many contend that the shallowness, narcissism, and inability users have to deal with anything outside their comfort zone has turned dating into a hollow shell of its former self. And yet we all do it. We have to accept that the reason that they do exist is that meeting and connecting with people is what we do as humans. Like most things in 2016, dating has just changed and these apps are a reflection of that. The market for matchmakers and panders exists because the promise of love endures every attempt to demolish it; everyone wants to find the right life partner. With multiple dating apps at our disposal, we can go on as many dates as possible per week, per month, per year. Living in a society that is notoriously bad at dating, this shouldn’t be a bad thing. The extra assistance should be considered an advantage. These apps only allow you to narrow down the field, then after meeting in person, you can see if there’s chemistry. You can gauge

before going on a date if someone is only interested in talking about the superficial things or if they don’t fit your needs; your ability to filter out prospects is a bonus, not a loss. The first step in ending up with the right person is meeting the right person, and for something so important in our lives, we’ve had no real system for doing it intelligently and efficiently. For shy or socially anxious people, trying to meet a stranger in public is an ordeal, and even for someone charismatic and outgoing it can be a gruelling task that requires a lot of luck and can waste a lot of time. Effective dating still takes place in person, the same way generations before us did it, there’s no good reason why meeting people to date in the first place can’t be partly systematic. Yes, there is something special about the romance of meeting someone in public and hitting it off right away, but that rarely happens, and for the most important mission in most of our lives, it makes no sense to crush our ability to meet great potential partners because some might disagree with our method of doing so. The alternative is finding someone through friends, this can work sometimes, but it is limiting us to single out people that our closest acquaintances and family happen to know. Right now we are not somewhere avant-garde or profound, today’s singletons do not have new cutting-edge ways of finding love, the only difference is they are optimizing the process of getting that right person on first dates. People still meet in person. People meet a million different ways. No one is changing their values. An app won’t reform anything; it will always be down to the mindset of the individual. The courtship is still there, because it never went anywhere.


January 26 2016

USI launches General Election manifesto, but does it represent what students really want? By Jessica Hannon As the Union of Students in Ireland launches its 2016 manifesto for the General Election, we’ve dissected some of the points we consider most important for students in Galway in 2016. With each proposal to the government made by USI on behalf of the students, there are pros and cons; is the manifesto really representative and inclusive of what students want and need? When reading the manifesto, the first issue to turn heads was the issue of ‘Funding of Public Education’. According to the manifesto, “USI has campaigned for the introduction of fully publiclyfunded education since it was founded in 1959”. USI believes that a “fully state-funded third-level education is the most sustainable and equitable solution to the current un-sustainable model”. In addition, USI wants an education system that is free of financial and social barriers for all on society. In the manifesto USI “urges the next Government to reject any proposal to increase third-level fees”. While campaigning for a reduction in the cost of third level fees will be welcomed across the board, there are negative aspects of the campaign to abolish fees altogether, and introduce free third level education for all.

Firstly, allowing the removal of financial and social barriers to education will result in a flow of students into every university and college. This will result in a greater amount of qualified students emerging into the employment sector each year. Unless the economy makes major improvements, there will not be the demand for so many highlyskilled workers. In addition, the cost to the government alone in creating free education for all will reduce the amount of funding for job creation. This in turn will create a vicious circle of having too many qualified young people and no jobs to give them. Possibly, and more importantly is the devaluation and a reduction in the value of third level degrees that may occur if everybody can afford to go to college and attain a degree. However, it is most likely that in this case, like always, a natural filtration process will occur as a result of many students not being able to handle the workload or who are just not suited to third level education and student numbers will decrease anyway. Therefore we may see the possible return in college courses being allocated to those who can meet the demands of third level education, skilled labour, and the revival of the ‘elite’ - in some cases progressing to the highest positions of power.

Although free education for all citizens sounds idyllic, perhaps in the long run it would cause more serious problems such as a lack of government funding for other issues, like healthcare and job creation. The USI has also taken a stance on the issue of the Eight Amendment. The USI states that abortion is a class issue and due to this, abortion is “inherently inaccessible to students”. The USI urges the government to commit to holding a referendum on the Eight Amendment. As with any debate there will be a Pro-Life and ProChoice response to USI’s urgings however, I think students will want a referendum held on the issue of abortion in the lifespan of the next government. The issue of abortion in Ireland is a major growing concern and one that needs to be effectively dealt with by the next government. Furthermore, the cost of emergency contraception is becoming a problem for students in particular. In the event of requiring emergency contraception, prices can range from €10 to €50. The USI is urging the government to place a minimum price on emergency contraception. With the issue of the Eight Amendment being such an important topic in the forthcoming election, this proposal may be a welcome one for the government.

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In addition to this, the USI urges the next Minister of State for Mental Health, Primary Care and Social Care (Disabilities and Older People) to increase funding given specifically for the provision of adequate counselling services to all third level students. The USI’S urgings on the issues of mental health are a very welcome development to the students of NUI Galway. These crucial services need to be ring-fenced and the importance of mental health, to men in particular needs to be addressed. The issue of male stigmatisation surrounding mental health is a serious problem where particular importance should be placed on an increase in funding in male counselling services and an increase in awareness of mental health issues for men in third level education. The proposal for the government to ease the accommodation crisis in Galway is a welcome one to both the students and citizens of Galway. On the back of an announcement for a 10 million student village to be built in Newcastle accommodating around 430 people, the USI suggests the government prepare a further short-term solution “such as the use of NAMA-owned properties to temporarily ease the accommodation burden”.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

#MakeASmartVote: Tinder meets politics By Sorcha O’Connor How will you decide who to vote for come General Election time? Perhaps you’re planning to use the trusted strategy of voting for the person who dropped the most amount of flyers in your door or maybe you’ll simply close your eyes in the polling booth, wave your pen around and vote for whoever it lands on, Grand National Style. Well, neither has to be the case thanks to a new app SmartVote, dubbed the ‘Tinder of Politics’. As students, many of us have had our fun on the dating app and whether or not you yourself are a Tinderella who found her Prince Charming in one foul swipe right, it is undeniable how quick and easy the app is to use. So it is quite appropriate that an app has been developed for students to use those Tinder skills in other instances – such as voting this spring. So how does this all work? The SmartVote user simply types in their street or town and SmartVote will tell them their constituency and their candidates. SmartVote will then ask all political candidates their opinion on 30 topical issues. The user then gives their opinion on the same issues. The app will soon match the SmartVoter with the candidates who best represent their views. The Union of Students in Ireland has teamed up with the app to ensure all the pressing concerns of us students are highlighted and included in the questions put to the political candidates. “The Union of Students in Ireland is extremely excited to be working with SmartVote,” said President of USI Kevin Donoghue. He believes it will be highly beneficial come election time. “It will revolutionise the General Elec-

tion and the voting process. It’s quick, simple, easy-to-use and will educate the public on who their political candidates are, what they stand for and why they’re worthy of their vote.” The SmartVote app is similar to apps used by young voters in Europe. Stemwijzer in Holland is used by 80 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds when deciding which way to vote. SmartVote was the brainchild of University College Dublin student Keith Moore and his app was used during UCD student elections last March. For Keith, there was no one place he could go to easily compare the 23 candidates in his constituency during the last local elections. “For the first time in my life I didn’t vote. I thought to myself: ‘There has to be a better way to make an informed voting decision than posters and flyers’,” he said. Over 2000 UCD students used the app in March, with 83 percent of those who gave feedback on it saying they’d use it again for the General Election – something NUI Galway students will hopefully do too. President of NUI Galway Students’ Union Phelim Kelly feels encouraged by the number of new voters registered in the past year and believes Galway students will support the new app. “SmartVote will enable students to really inform themselves before going to the polling station for the general elections,” he commented. “With the 4,000 or so new voters from last year coupled with the 2,000 plus voters we registered this year, we firmly believe that the student vote will have a massive impact on the general elections this year. Students are ready to #MakeASmartVote.”

USI Manifesto is launched and the ball is in your court By Eoghan Holland The Union of Students in Ireland (USI)’s election manifesto has been launched ahead of this year’s election. Like any other lobby group at present, not knowing the election’s date has put them in a position where they are best to get the campaign moving and work out the strategy when Enda Kenny finally dissolves the current government. When he might do this is anybody’s guess, but unless we are transitioning into a dictatorship, the Dáil will dissolve by 9 March, with the election taking place 8 April. This also brings it pretty close to St. Patrick’s Day and Easter so my guess is sooner. At the campaign’s forefront is accommodation, third level funding and repealing the 8th Amendment, which we will see take prominence in USI media. A closer look at the manifesto reveals a wide reaching policy document. Funding has been a part of USI’s representation since 1959, and this is continued through this term’s document addressing funding, grants, adjacency rates and student loans. While funding fills up about half of the core asks, the other half seems to be devoted to the issues based around welfare and rights of students. Zero hour contracts, JobBridge, accommodation and repeal the 8th will be the first things politicians trying to grab the student vote will lay their eyes on. While from one locality to the next the student vote may not decide the fate of individual politicians, what is notable this time round is that 80,000 students have registered to vote, significantly more than would have in the past. If that vote is mobilised, no political party can afford to ignore such a number. President of the USI Kevin Donoghue is aware of this: “We are working with institutions and staff to make sure students have

the opportunity to vote. We’ll be running a voter-motor, basically making it easier for students to travel home if they need to do that,” he said. 80,000 votes in an election is a very powerful number of people, which might seem small compared to our population, but a closer look would suggest differently. Ireland has a population of roughly six million. Now we can just forget about three and a half million of those people immediately. Why? Because the highest ever voter turnout in Ireland was less than two and half million. For all practical purposes, Dáil members look at this country with the latter figure in mind. Suddenly 80,000 represents 3% of the country. That may not seem like much, but if you are willing to take a look at voting data in Ireland you’ll see that our current government was elected using just about 56% of the vote. If either party had misplaced 3% by ignoring a group of people, we’d be looking at a different government right now. The dark arts of proportional representation mean that what politicians are really going to fight for in the next two to three months are one percent, two percent and three percent groups, because without these the risk of not “getting the job” will be too high. The USI has cast the net wide. Reading through the 25 plus pages they will be delivering to candidates around the country, one may suggest they have come very close to accurately representing students as a tangible group with real life needs (part time education support, lone parents, apprentices, traveller ethnicity, cross border mobility, students in governance of third level, mental health, suicide prevention, drugs reform, emergency contraception, voting for 16-year-olds, living wage introduction, climate change and so on.) Whether students represent themselves come polling day we have yet to see and on that note, the ball is in your court.

A gentle reminder… Look after your relationship with you By Teodora Bandut Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. I was made aware of the fact when the Sin article ideas went up and I vacillated for about two hours, weighing and reweighing the extent of my desire and competency to take on the prompt that I thought I could do most justice. Hours later, when I’d made a plan and catalogued the ideas I thought were most relevant and ways to hit them best, I was about to put my name down when, with milliseconds away from entering my own name, someone else’s had appeared and it was game over. I wouldn’t normally pay much heed to life’s little misfortunes but this was clearly self-induced for one, and secondly, just a small example of the many manifestations of an intermittent inferiority complex with

which I dare say many of us are plagued. I was not bold enough to think I’d assemble the article aptly straightaway, and I still think the person who took it will probably do a much better job than I ever could. This got me thinking about the undoubtedly painful cliché piece to follow. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, regardless of your social ties, it’s good to remember that the most important relationship you have in this life is with yourself. If this is an unhealthy one, consequently, all the others will be too. College has the potential to be a terrifying place, and “real life”, for which some of us are supposed to be preparing, even more so. One way or another, the skin you donned in secondary school, be that of the popular kid or the girl with three friends (Hey, Mabel, Hazel and Aimme) needs to be shed.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, regardless of your social ties, it’s good to remember that the most important relationship you have in this life is with yourself. If this is an unhealthy one, consequently, all the others will be too.

This is the stage of exponential evolution, and that can only be achieved by letting yourself drift or be shoved out of your comfort zone. This takes courage, but courage will also emerge as a byproduct once you decide to believe in yourself. There are very few universal truisms that can be written, but the encouragement of self-assurance is unequivocally one of them. And here I’m solely concerned with those cases in which a voluntary, light push from behind will do. A lot of things in life are ‘mind over matter’ and an unnecessarily timid view of self equates to shooting yourself in the foot. This Valentine’s Day, let’s appreciate, support, nurture and befriend ourselves. Let’s have the courage to leave the complacent comfort behind, learn and sometimes fail in the process because that is living. Happy Valentine’s Day.


January 26 2016

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Never stop learning… By John Mulry

In the last issue our giant was locally-based ‘Go Giver’ Liam Bluett and in this issue we’re staying local. This time around, the giant I want to share with you is someone who is actually a client of mine. He’s also someone I’ve done quite a lot of charity work with through the Corrib Lions Club. Corrib Lions Club is the East Galway City and hinterland chapter of Lions Club International, The world’s largest Service Club Organization. We conduct various activities which raise funds and awareness of many causes in our local community.

helping others. Getting involved in grass roots organisations will lead to doors opening for you and will lead to more opportunities that might not have come your way otherwise. There are tonnes of different clubs, societies and organisations you can join – get involved!

2. He’s an action-taker, leader and takes on responsibility Derek always put himself forward to lead events and fundraising activities and from a business point of view has sponsored and been involved in many charity functions. He’s the current president of the Corrib Lions Club which comes with its own realm of responsibility but Derek’s happy to do it because it’s all for the greater good. Don’t shirk from responsibility – when you get the opportunity to shine, take it!

3. He’s a calculated risk-taker Starting a new business is never easy, it’s most definitely has its associated risks. Derek’s new business e-Bike Tours Wild Atlantic Way is a new venture and comes with challenges but Derek is determined to provide an amazing experience for people of all ages to enjoy and experience the Wild Atlantic Way, without restrictions. Taking risks is scary but not doing something because of maybes is even scarier.

4. He’s surrounds himself with like-minded people The giant I wish to share with you today is the current president of the Corrib Lions Club – Derek Kerrigan. I first met Derek at a Corrib Lions Club meeting; we meet every first Tuesday of the month in the Maldron Hotel at 8.30pm. Unfortunately I don’t always get to attend the meetings but I always make a point to help out where I can in the events and fundraising activities we hold throughput the year. Derek was someone who I instantly gelled with; when I first met him he was running Supervalu out in Inverin and has since gone to start a brand new venture – an electric bike tour company which allows people of all ages to enjoy the adventure, experience and beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way between Galway and Westport. So why do I consider Derek to be a giant? Well, there are five specific reasons, each of which you can and should apply to yourself, and each of which will lead you to achieving more, doing more and being more.

1. He’s a member of an organisation centred around helping others I met Derek at the Corrib Lions Club and from there we’ve gone on to do a lot of great work together from a business point of view but also from the point of view of

Derek is a member of my private business group (GKIC Ireland) where he gets to share, collaborate with, work with and learn from like-minded business-owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. Obviously I’m biased but there’s no group in Ireland that provides this the way I do and Derek has the foresight to see the value in the group even though he has many years of experience in business himself.

5. He’s open to learning new things Leading on from my last point, Derek has a wealth of business, professional and personal knowledge and experience but still actively seeks to learn new things and develop himself personally. The day you think you can just rely on Google, Siri or a gadget for everything is one you want to avoid. Having a deep, thirst for learning (not instant-answer-itis) keeps you in demand, in tip top form and performing at your best. Never stop learning. Derek has all of these five characteristics and it’s for this reason he’s a giant I learn from every time we speak, even though he’s often times coming to me to learn new things. Strange how that happens eh? If you’d like to get in contact with Derek about e-Bike Tours Wild Atlantic Way you can reach out to him via or


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

WHATIFI: The Ultimate Social Connection App By Sorcha O’Connor

arty and Ken FitzGerald, Whatifi works by remembering all the places you visit and it updates the user’s private social timeline the next day. Users can then review the places they visited the night before by tapping the venue on the timeline screen and then they can see all the other users that attended that venue at the same time. They are then free to send an introduction and begin a conversation.

There is a viral photo I’ve seen many times on my Facebook timeline, saying hi to all the momentary best friends you’ve made in a club bathroom as you fixed your lippy and pep talked a crying girl whose fella ditched her for the lads. “Sucky, sucky lollipop, you don’t need no boyfriend,” you chant with the bathroom attendant (and the five other girls squished Thousands of people shared a social into the bathroom), and off you go on your merry experience at a venue but didn’t get to way into the cattle mart that is Carbon nightclub. meet many of the fellow attendees that You never see the obviously like the same band, music girls again but every once in a while it crosses or DJ. Whatifi solves that problem your mind how they may have been good craic to have as friends in real life too. No longer will it be the case that the And boys, I know there’s times when stolen glance at some hot lad at the you wish you could contact those lads bar who didn’t pluck up the courage to you randomly sessioned with at Electric come talk to you is all that will ever be Picnic from Carlow – or was it Kilkenny? between two people. That boy may wake So, what if I told you there’s an app up regretting he didn’t approach you and for that? Because now there is – ‘Whatifi’. now Whatifi can solve his problems. You The result of 18 months’ planning and will be cosying up for a date in Java’s in development by Dubliners Conan Mori- no time! Register Now

THE BRAIN CAFÉ: N UI Galway’s Second Annual

Undergra duate Research Conference

23rd March 2016 Aula Maxima Lower, Quadrangle 11.00 am - 14.00pm





All undergraduates are welcome to attend and present.

According to founders Ken and Conan, the events we attend tell the strongest story of who we are as people. In terms of clubs, concerts or festivals, historically thousands of people shared a social experience at a venue but didn’t get to meet many of the fellow attendees that obviously like the same band, music or DJ. Whatifi solves that problem as it allows people to connect post attendance; “Hey great gig last night, what did you think?” The name itself is very clever – a play on the words ‘What If I?’ “What If I had stopped?”

“What If I had said something?” “That What if I moment could have changed my life.” These are all questions Ken and Conan believe we have all asked ourselves many times after events and nights out and so the idea of Whatifi was born. Currently, Whatifi is funded by the founders themselves and they are working with another graduate, Gavin Delaney. They plan on expansion to the UK and Europe in 2016 and are currently seeking seed investment. The app is available on the App and Play Stores.

Five essential apps for students By Niamh Cullen You all know that student. Every page in their notes are perfectly bookmarked, they know the exact date of each assignment, test, and gig ahead, they’re on some cool new social media site you’ve never heard of and well… they just make us all downright jealous. Perhaps they’ve more than a photographic memory, and an absolute love of organisational stationary under their sleeve… The humble app, maybe? Often downloaded and left solitary in the corner of your phone’s screen, it cries for attention only to be ignored in favour of the Blue Screen Boys (Facebook and Twitter are soooo 2008 you guys, come on). Our essential guide is here to curb that issue and leave you with a superteam of apps that will make you the coolest kid on campus, minus the shades in winter.


Whatever you upload can come in the form of ‘sticky notes’ which you can affix to your laptop, tablet or phone’s desktop, or you can pop each item into a ‘notebook’. Each notebook can be titled, colour-coded, arranged in alphabetical order – you name it. What a game-changer.

DROPBOX If you’re sick and tired of being unable to attach massive files to your email, Dropbox is the app for you. With virtually limitless memory, Dropbox quickly uploads large files, which can then be shared with other Dropbox users or opened on separate computers, phones and devices. It’s also a handy place to store assignments, songs, movies, notes, you name it. Files can be categorised into folders, and you can rename and move around files from within the cloud. It’s basically a USB, but online.


Our Features Editor Jenna Hodgins stated, If you’re a gig-lover, this is just the thing “I’m not sure if YikYak is still cool” so I’m here for you. Two Irish lads created the app and to set that record straight. For those of you launched it back at last year’s Body and Soul that haven’t yet heard, YikYak is not a long- festival. Artists can set up their own profile haired cross between a ram and a bull, but and add their own gigs, so whether you’re a rather is the student’s answer to social media. budding musician or you want to track your Founded by college students Tyler Droll favourite tune-makers, then Muddy will do and Brooks Buffington, this app takes your just the trick. Like Tinder, it gives you a list community and provides you with statuses of gigs within whatever parameter you set or “Yaks” in that area. The wonderful perk? it to- say 10 kilometres for example. You can They’re all anonymous. So whether you want even message your favourite bands and avail INFOGRAPHIC ELEMENTS to moan about that lecturer who hasn’t replied of discounts! Sure isn’t a decent gig the true to your email in months or confess your dying way to look for love. love for that heartthrob in your class, it’s still your little secret. FEED.LY Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, You can up-vote favourite Yaks and downconsectetuer adipiscing elit, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh. vote the ones you don’t want to see, resulting Lovers of news listen up! This isnonummy an absolute sed diam nibh. in a feed tailored to your style. You can also must if you want to stay ahead of the times. of course comment away on Yaks so do that is basically a single RSS feed aggregapoor one a favour and give them some advice tor that lets your organise all your favourite on their crush, won’t you? news sources, online publications, podcasts, YouTube channels into one big page tailored to you. Think of it as a media Jesus, even EVERNOTE integrating your Facebook, Twitter, EverSome of us at Sin have been discussing the joys note, Pinterest and LinkedIn soipsum that you can Lorem dolor sit amet, Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer offered adipiscing elit, consectetuer adipiscingaround elit, of Evernote and after finally coming share your newly found content to sed diam nonummy nibh. sed diam nonummy nibh. to downloading it, I must say it’s a wonder for you by the unicorns* living inside organisation. The app saves all your notes, your app. ideas, photos, recordings, graphs – basically almost anything you upload- in its cloud so that * unicorns may not come with app withyou can access them from virtually anywhere. out an advanced functioning imagination.


January 26 2016

Dan Colley How did attending NUI Galway develop you as a person?


and I set up the Food and Drinks Society. I wonder if that’s still going… I even took a COURSE AT NUI GALWAY: It was like a sandbox. You could create year off between second and third year just things and try out ideas and put on events to work on those societies because I felt I BA English and Philosophy and you were free to fail and be wrong. It wasn’t going to get done all that I wanted CURRENT OCCUPATION: Director of all felt like a big deal at the time, but look- in the three years of college. That may seem ing back on it I realise that the safety net like a weird choice to some people but it was Collapsing Horse Theatre Company, was right under you. think I developed absolutely freelance dramaturg and facilitator. Alumni_Dictionary_Page.pdf 1 I 27/11/2015 10:05 a.m. right for me. a kind of confidence in NUI Galway, speWhat is your fondest memory cifically the confidence of faking it - which Do you ever miss NUI Galway? of NUI Galway? is an underrated skill! Later I learned the No, and that’s nothing against the place, I’m Some of my best friends were made in NUI confidence to say “I don’t understand” but not a very sentimental person. I feel like I’m Galway and I have a lot of memories of them. that’s a different story. hitting my stride in my work and personal But the first thing I think of when I think of life right now. They were NUIG is when the first nice day of spring comes How did studying your course of great years, but I wouldn’t and you ditch whatever you’re doing because study prepare you for your career? want them back, no. someone says “College Bar?” and you sit out by I studied English and Philosophy and now the canal for the afternoon with a pint. I work in theatre, so I use the skills and the What advice would you ideas all the time in my work. I see they now give to current NUI Has NUI Galway changed have a fully-fledged Drama Department, Galway students? since you were here? they do practical work, they’re building a I would say get involved Alumni_Dictionary_Page.pdf 1 27/11/2015 a.m. Yeah, physically quite a bit. I got a chance new theatre and they have actual Drama- in the amazing 10:05 clubs and to wander around the campus recently. turgs on staff! It wasn’t like that in my day. societies that are there. It’s When I graduated, the Baily Allen had just never too late. If you don’t opened, they had just turned the sod for the Did you partake in any societies, sports fancy what’s on offer, then engineering building and the library exten- clubs or volunteering at NUI Galway? set something up with a few sion was a pipe dream. I don’t know if it’s Yeah, Societies were a huge part of my col- friends, and see about getting changed culturally, I have so little contact lege life. I was involved in DramSoc and yourself a club or society staLit & Deb (I was Auditor in my final year) tus. It’s really satisfying and with it now.

The Student Summit 2016 By Feidhlim Seoighe








The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) will once again host The Student Summit in 2016, which will take place on 4 February in Dublin Castle. The event will have over 600 students, more than 40 start-ups, 22 workshops and powerhouse business speakers from Silicon Valley and Ireland, with speakers from Twitter, Paddy Power, Silicon Republic, Ireland AM, Mór Gin, Cool Beans and Humans of Dublin. Past contributors to the event have included speakers from Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google, including many others. This year the Student Summit has taken a tailored approach to focus on purely the entrepreneurial capacity, showcasing personal stories, interesting tips and facts to equip students with all the right ingredients they need to start something special. The aim of the event is to give the students of Ireland an event that can provide an insight into the start-up ecosystem and the tools with it to gain access into the lovely land of entrepreneurship. The event will be a promotion and exploration of innovation for second and third level students across Ireland. It will

it’ll stand to you. Also, stay in Galway at the weekends. What’s in Roscommon for you, really?

If you could go back and do it all again, what would you do differently? I would go to more lectures and do more of the reading. I said this every time the exams came around, “oh this course work is really interesting. I wish I’d been studying it”. College is for lots of things but maybe it could have been about more actual course work for me.

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Synonym argument and the public will be disagreement. able to vote for their ( NOTE : The plural is alumni / Synonym argument alternate adj / / every other one ALUMNI / əˈlʌmnʌɪ / noun US (plural). A /.) favourite two on Twitter and Facebook. / / to keep changing from one former/ pupil verb or student of a particular alternate / every other one adj / ALUMNI əˈlʌmnʌɪ / noun USschool, (plural). A The Student Summit has hand-picked particular position or state to another college, or university: a NUI Galway alumnus. / / to keep changing from one verb student of aofparticular alternately / / adv withformer one first pupil some of the most influential speakers Welcomeor back to the alumni the Class of school, andtothen the other. Antonym consecutively particular position or state another 1995. Origin: Mid 17th century: from Latin,alumnus. college, or university: a NUI Galway to help inspire the generation who will alternating current / alternately / / adv/ with one firstcurrentWelcome electric which ‘nursling, pupil’, from alere ‘nourish’. noun an shape the world of tomorrow. Included back to the /alumni of the Class of changes direction all the time, as opposed to always / adv 1. every time and then other. Antonym consecutively in the line-up are speakers suchthe as Feilim direct current which flows in one direction. She is always late for work. Why does it al1995. Origin: Mid 17th century: from Latin, Abbr AC. Compare direct current alternating / ways rain when we want to go for a walk? 2. Mac An Iomaire, the PR and Media Rela- current alternative / / adj 1.‘nursling, in place all the time It’s always hot ‘nourish’. in tropical pupil’, from alere / noun current tions Manager at Paddy Power; Peteran electric of something else which If the plane is full, we countries. 3. frequently, especially when will put you on an alternative flight. 2. folchangeswho direction someone always time Varga, Humans of Dublin, will be all the time, as opposed to always / finds it annoying / adv She’s 1. every lowing a different way from usual noun asking me to lend her money. current which flows in one doing a workshop ondirect capturing people’s something whichdirection. takes the place of someShe is always late disease for work. Why does it alAlzheimer’s / thing else Now that she’s got measles, do Abbr ACPublic . Compare current / noun a disease of the brain that leads to imagination; Rónán Costello, Pol- direct when we want to go for a walk? 2. we have any alternative to calling theways holidayrain memory loss that gets worse and worse icy at Twitter, and manyalternative more. off? /there no in alternative is noth/ place thereall adjis1. the time It’s am / / bealways hot in tropical ing else we can do After the workshops speeches in / adv before midday I have of and something else If the plane is energy full, we / countries.a.m.3./ frequently, especially when alternative to catch the 7 a.m. train to work every day. Dublin Castle, a networking event will energy2.produced the sun, Telephone will put you on an alternative/ noun flight. fol- bysomeone calls made before 6 a.m. are always finds it annoying She’s the searather or the wind It’s straight forward… take place in Dublin lowing City Centre for stu- way from charged at the cheap rate. (NOTE: a.m. is a different usual noun asking me to lend her money. alternatively / / adv on the used to show thehas exact hour and the Alumni you graduate you become an usually NUI Galway a dedicated dents to discuss ideas, and ask questions other hand something which takes when the place of someword o’clockdisease is left out. The /US spelling is Alzheimer’s alternative medicine / alumni. You join thedo extended of the speakers, in anthing informal A.M.) Relations team at who work to else environNow that she’s ( got )s n/ measles, of diseases by noun the treating / a disease of the brain that leads to noun amalgam / / a mixture, esnoun ment. This may prove invaluable to Galway alumni familywhich which sureused alumni nevertolose their means such as herbal medicines are peciallymake we have any alternative toNUI calling the holiday the by dentists fill memory loss thatmixture gets worse andalma worse not usually used by doctors the student who hasoff? an idea, and only holes in teeth 9,000 members matter has over connection with their there is no alternative there is nothalternator / / noun a device am / amalgamate / / be / verb to comrequires the know-how to turn it into which produces alternating current ing else we can do bine together. Synonym merge a.m. / / adv I have although / / conj in spite of the amalgamation reality. / before midday ( )n / noun alternative energy / Although it was freezing, Stay fact that Connected she the act 7 of combining together to catch the a.m. train to work every day. A limited number of tickets are availdidn’tAlumni put a coat on. been into / noun energy produced by the I’ve sun, Like Relations onnever Facebook by searching amass / ‘NUI/ Galway collect a lot of verb to Alumni’ that shop although I’ve often walkedTelephone past it. made before 6 a.m. are able now on EventBrite, and more money,calls information things. Synonym and find us on LinkedIn. Email or callor091-494310 the sea or the wind altimeter / / noun an instrument accumulate charged at the cheap rate. ( NOTE : a.m. is information on the event can be found for measuring height above sea level amateur / / noun 1. a alternatively / / adv on/ noun the height usually usedwho toisshow the exact hour altitude / above person on not paid to play his or her sport and the C








sea level


January 26 2016

With Valentine’s Day only weeks away, it’s time to get ahead of the game and either book a table or plan your romantic night in.

Look out for more Valentine’s Day articles in issue nine on 9 February.

Just add a pinch of… Love By Heather Robinson Treat yourself or your significant other to a Valentine’s Day full of good food. Here are three recipes to get your ideas flowing. FRENCH CINNAMON STICKS: It’s all in the

name; a creative variation of French toast that looks great and tastes better. You’ll need: thickly sliced bread, eggs, maple syrup or honey, cinnamon. How to: Cut each slice into four even strips. Mix the egg, syrup and cinnamon into a bowl and soak the bread ‘sticks’. Heat a pan on medium heat with butter and allow it to melt. Place however many strips will fit onto the pan and remember to turn regularly. They cook

very quickly so don’t leave them unattended. Serve: with fresh fruit, cream, and syrup. CINNAMON ROLLS WITH A SURPRISE: Another

breakfast recipe that doesn’t stray too far from French toast. This one is a lot more fun though because of the surprise chocolate-y centre. You’ll need: Sliced bread with all the crusts cut off, eggs, chocolate spread, chopped strawberries and cinnamon. How to: Flatten each slice of bread. Spread a dollop of chocolate spread onto one side, place a few pieces of strawberry with it and roll it up. In a bowl, beat around three eggs. On a plate, spread the cinnamon dust out. Take each roll, dip it in the egg, roll it in the cinnamon and then place onto a medium heated pan. Take

Valentine’s Day Meal: the best Galway has to offer By Rachel Brownlow Valentine’s Day is sneaking up and for the romantics out there the pressing question remains: where to have the Valentine’s meal? While the standard Boojum is probably not what you’re going for (though when is Mexican food ever not a good idea?) you probably also don’t have the dosh to splurge all that much. Here we have a list of all the delicious yet not pocket-draining restaurants in which to share your Valentine’s evening with that special someone. CACTUS JACK’S: If you’re feeling something Spanish, a bit different from the standard student grub and just enough to make you feel fancy, Cactus Jack’s is ideal. From tapas to chimichangas, they have any Spanish food you could dream of and an early bird menu of a three course meal for only €19.95 –which on a normal day lasts from 5 to 7pm but since Valentine’s conveniently falls on a Sunday this year, it lasts all day! QUAY STREET KITCHEN: The restaurant itself may be small (in the cosy and quaint sort of way) but the menu choice itself is huge, catering for all dietary requirements (a relief to all those who are coeliac, vegan, lactose intolerant, they cater for the lot). There is a lot of hype surround-

ing the seafood dishes and prices are all set at a reasonable rate. There is a great variety of food, with salads to standard mains, Quay Street Kitchen has a range of choice that is bound to have something for everybody. ROUGE: If you want to pull out all the stops and get truly fancy, then Rouge is the place for you. What could be better than candlelight, wine and an impressively prominent French ambience? This French restaurant on Dominick Street boasts a relaxing atmosphere complete with a pianist as the background noise of your meal. At a very reasonable €19 for both a starter and main course, this restaurant will make a perfect location for your romantic meal. Even if you’re not feeling the full hog, there is the alternative of either a cheese or meat platter for only €9. VINA MARA: For a slightly more expensive option Vina Mara offers a host of wonderful meals for the eager couple who truly want to celebrate in style. Main courses options include a wide range of foods, including a number of vegetarian and vegan choices. One of their highest selling factors are the frozen beverages selection from the desert menu which is a fabulous mixture of what seems like sorbet as well as the beverage - a winning combination for any student!

care to turn them so all the sides cook properly. Serve: with fresh fruit and cream. Alternatively you can roll them in sprinkles, desiccated coconut or cocoa powder if cinnamon isn’t your thing. I CALL THIS ONE… PAP’ POTATOES ‘N’ EGGS:

This lovely dish can be either lunch or dinner and it takes very little preparation. It’s tasty, it looks impressive and anyone could do it. You’ll need: five or six largish potatoes, real butter, heavy cream or mayonnaise, paprika spice, garlic and eggs. How to: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Slice the potatoes into wedges (peeling the potatoes isn’t necessary) and put into a baking dish. Mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise

or heavy cream into the wedges. Chop up some garlic and throw it in. Heavily dust the wedges with paprika. Flavour with salt and pepper. Throw a couple slices of real butter on top and throw into the oven for 10 minutes. Take it out, stir the wedges a round for a bit and then put them back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. When they’re done, take the dish out, make a well in the centre and crack a few eggs in. Leave the dish in the oven until the eggs are cooked to your preference. Serve: Eat it on its own or as a side dish. You could include some cooked meat and chopped vegetables into the dish when incorporating the eggs. Chives, spring onions and peppers would go well. For cooked meat; strips of chicken breast or diced bacon.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

FOLLOWING THE TRENDS IN IRELAND: Are we really all starting to look the same? By Martha Brennan Recently I was asked to point myself out in a picture to one my male colleagues. While I found it odd that my own friend couldn’t pick me out of a group photo, he informed me that apparently men today are finding it quite hard to distinguish their female counterparts from each other in large photos, especially of the infamous ‘girls night out’ Facebook post. He went on to tell me how he was starting to feel that all young women in Ireland were starting to resemble each other – the hair, the eyebrows, the black ankle Chelsea boots (guilty as charged!). This view really got me thinking, and as I walked through campus, I couldn’t help but notice how many of us were wearing similar outfits; the dungarees, the top-knots, the rolled up jeans illuminating the bright white converse. My mother apparently had a similar experience, sharing my view on the revival of corduroy pants and wrap around dresses that she felt her age group were flaunting. So why is it only coming to attention recently? Yes, us women have always been known to follow trends but for

some reason I feel 2016 may bring it to a new level and I am not alone in this. Obviously social media can probably be charged as number one suspect. With more people using the Internet than ever, especially with Apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, it’s inevitable that we start to follow the way certain people look. The amount of fashion pages you can follow on these sites is endless and while some differ greatly from one another a lot of the more popular ones are eerily similar. What’s interesting here is how young the age is of some of these users, who can probably be influenced more easily by Kylie Jenner’s lip plumping. My own fourteen-year-old cousin recently stepped out in the recently ever-so popular ensemble of the infamous crop top that angers mothers everywhere and low hanging, blast from the past, boyfriend jeans. The clothing being promoted by these online pages are being sold by so many of the same companies and huge retail chains are continuing to pop up everywhere, especially in Galway. It’s starting to get to the point where peo-

Why I am okay with not being a model By Martha Brennan The world of the Irish semi-fashionable young woman is not for the faint of heart. These days it seems that everywhere you turn there is always a photo-shopped picture of someone breathtaking looking back at you. You know what I mean; that young size six perfectly pampered model slapped right there at the checkout aisle taunting

you – a glanced reminder that you can’t even manage to condition your hair. These are the enemies of the majority – the sometimes dishevelled, under eye-bagged, size ten to twelve women of the world. Lately it really does seem like these enemies are popping up everywhere doesn’t it? From Pippa to Roz, to your own cousin and even Anne from up the road. With all of these new agencies and competitions (I think I’m not alone in


ple are able to tell whether someone’s outfit is Topshop inspired or from the racks of River Island. Then of course we have the best friend and number one enemy of the Irish fashionistaPenney’s, the number one culprit of fashion matching everywhere. I had a quick chat recently with some of the Fashion Design students in NCAD, Dublin. I wanted to know about their opinions on this ‘fashion matching’ and seek advice on how not to be swept away by this 1990, Jennifer Aniston inspired, Topshop tsunami. Siranee and Caoimhe let me into a few insider secrets, such as that what we see in the stores aren’t the real intentions of designers. “The trends you and me see in the shops are only elements of the initial trends. For example, the fluffy embellishments of 90’s inspirations are only aspects that retailers are pulling from what they see on the catwalk,” says Caoimhe. They also explained to me about the ever-so changeable timeline of trends which are apparently based on pop culture; “This is why trends change so quickly,” they said.

It can also be down to the recent addition of ‘pre-season’ lines. So how do we avoid being consumed by following the trend? Siranee says charity shops and thrift stores (“these are so underrated,” she remarked) and Caoimhe includes the value of boutiques and also some big brand names such as Urban Outfitters, who stick to their morals of production rather than following the competitors. Siranee also adds that the women of Ireland need to “be fearless and unafraid of challenging the norm”. Caoimhe adds that “the thing about Ireland is that everyone shops where everyone else does. Choose quality over quantity”. You also can’t help but notice that this mass flocking to similarity not only applies to clothing but hairstyles and make up also. I spoke to local Inglot Makeup Artist, Aoife Donegan who explained to me the only main significant difference in the looks people ask for was age. “Depending on how old the person is, the majority of people go for similar looks, which would be dewy skin, brown smokey eyes and a nude lip or a flicked eyeliner and red lip,” she said. Sound familiar anyone?

She also told me about how ever since Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist featured in a tutorial about how he transforms the notorious Mrs West into a bronzed goddess; “everyone wants a strong contour and defined eyebrows.” So that’s who we can blame for our generations strobe light obsession. According to Aoife not only are we all asking for similar looks but we are willing to spend over €50 on some products to achieve it. And while the broke under-thirties of Ireland are becoming obsessed with “darker eyes, longer lashes and fuller coverage”, Aoife describes how her older clients usually want something “more subtle”. So clearly, I’m not alone in the opinion that our generation and those younger than us can take this cue from our mothers, aunts and colleagues. Subtle is better and classic will never go out of style. The fashion students of NCAD warn that “trends are there to make us buy pieces we don’t need, it’s the industry’s way of keeping us purchasing”. But also a last piece of advice; hold onto those denim jackets ladies, they may come back sooner than you think.

asking ‘Gosh Girl 2016’ to kindly step off my home page), where do we stand as the women who get overlooked? As the ones who can try as hard as they want but Andrea Roche is not going to be picking them up in Brown Thomas, no matter how much fur we wear. And for all of these wannabe models, getting younger by the headshot, how do they learn to draw the line between losing the pounds and losing themselves? For some of the ungroomed, twentynine-inched waists of young Ireland, the aspect of modelling is less appealing (and this is coming from someone who has worn the sashes and backcombed the hair) but no one can deny that these women are beautiful. However, are their

other talents being masked by being seen as professionally good-looking? Most of the young women on our magazine covers today are becoming known and judged only for their exterior features and not their abilities. Some of them are trained nurses, teachers, even journalists. How many people are aware that the current Miss Universe Ireland is actually a broadcast journalism student? Or that last year’s winner is really a dentist? Even high fashion names, such as Lyndsey Scott and Karlie Kloss, who have walked for the likes of Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret and Gucci, have their intelligence and ambition overlooked in favour of their bodies; few headlines are written

about Scott’s computer science degree or Kloss’s classical ballet training. So why is it that many young women in Ireland would still rather look up to Gigi Hadid over Suze Orman? Now would anyone really turn down the opportunity to professionally flaunt their fabulousness? Of course not. But with everyone and anyone taking a crack at strutting down the function room-based runways of amateur fashion Ireland, is it time that we take a step back and realise that not everyone needs to be signed to be recognised? Because actually, not being a model is pretty great. We can have our cake and eat it – that and everything else that makes our size twelve bums look great!

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January 26 2016

Has the parka had its day? By Malcolm Hanley We are all now feeling that extra chill January has brought us as the unfamiliar sights of onesies, electric blankets, small heaters and a constant fire become a lot more popular in student houses. But sadly if we are to attend lectures or chill in the Bialann in our onesies it is slightly frowned upon and you may receive some shocked stares. So what are our options? Generally our go-to jacket seems to be the parka, coming back into style and fashion for both sexes in the past two years. In my opinion it has had a good run for its money and its shelf life is expiring. Stemming from the days of the die-hard Oasis fans making a copycat purchase of the long green parka with a fur hood looking up to their role models Liam and Noel Gallagher, the parka developed the image of the cool, rebel teenage

mod-culture in England and also became a common clothing choice for football hooligans with the long jacket zipped right up to their teeth. However, then the parka took its leave of absence until about two years ago when Topshop, Penneys and New Look were flooded with them – and not just the classic green but black, maroon, fur, no fur, extra length, the full works. But in my opinion as soon as it rushed, in the quicker it is rushing out. Without a doubt the parka will keep you warm for those nights out and hungover strolls to college but will you still be the coolest kid on the block when wearing one? I don’t think so. We are fast embracing the vintage style and I believe that’s where we are going with jackets. Copying the cool alternative cities like London and Berlin, we have come to appreciate the second hand shops and charity shops finding a treasure of vintage goodness.

Image via Pixabay.

The styles of large, baggy leather jackets, large thick check shirts and denim jackets are all coming into to style fast. And to connect all those jackets together is of course fur, lining the inside of the body of the jackets and the shirts up to the collar – it’s a really “in” cool, alternative style that I am glad to say is becoming popular.

If you are not into that style, another trend coming back is the old Adidas original jackets, as well as brands such as Ellesse and Asics. Portrayed slightly as a rave jacket/buzzer jacket as short as a year ago it is really coming into style and now accepted as a normal day-to-day jacket rather than a one-night 80s dress up! If you look in the right shops such as Abbeygate Street’s Public Romance or ASOS

marketplace online, you are sure to pick up one that can keep you dry, warm and looking quite cool outside Supermac’s this winter for a pretty reasonable price. So maybe hang up your furhooded parka for 15 years and go out and buy some vintage baggy jackets or buzzer jackets until Oasis re-join and the parkas make their long awaited come back.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

And the award for being described incorrectly as British goes to… By Siobhán Mulvey Recent weeks saw a further outpouring of disgust in Ireland as mainstream British media channel Sky News claimed Oscar-nominated Irish actress Saoirse Ronan as one of their own. Presenter Richard Suchet proclaimed Saoirse Ronan as British, then proceeded to deny that his comment was even remotely incorrect when challenged on his mistake. After all, it’s easy to get confused. When it comes to Oscar-nominated actresses, you might as well try to lay claim to any celebrity of such prestigious talent you can; you might as well lose all sense of geographical, historical, and common knowledge, as Richard Suchet did in that moment. However, describing Irish celebrities as “British” is an increasingly worrying epidemic among British journalists and news reporters. Repeatedly, we must endure a national groan of frustration when presenters, reporters, and/or critics make illegitimate claims as to the nationalities of our beloved celebrities. But, why do they do so? Why does this happen continually? Perhaps the British are insecure, but that wouldn’t make sense. There’s plenty of internationally successful British actors; why do they want ours, too? Maybe we need to face the fact that we’ve

always been aware of: everyone wants to be us. The lure of our bogger accents is too much for the British media to handle. They are enticed by our wild, wickedly-bankrupt ways, our delicious freedom from over-stuffed monarchies, and hope that, at least one day, they can live in our land of vibrant incivility. What’s cooler than being Irish, and enjoying our promotion of a toxic drinking culture as a national stereotype? Who wouldn’t want that? No one, that’s right. But wait, although this is a self-flattering angle, it’s hard to believe in its truth. A third option is slightly more disturbing: British media claim Irish figures as their own because they want to make us angry. Could they be so cruel? Every time this occurs it becomes a national storyline of disgust; this Saoirse Ronan story was featured by all prominent Irish media outlets, including RTÉ, The Irish Times, and TheJournal. ie, and met with uproar nationwide. Consider this: if the British media made correct assertions regarding Ronan’s nationality on a consistent basis, then we would have no reason at all to pay any attention to British reports on successful Irish stars. Instead, when we are angry, and resort to posting links to articles outlining the British media’s inaccuracies on our social media pages to express said anger, we generate revenue for those same

publications; for instance, now I know the name of Richard Suchet, when I did not know his name previously. When we click into their fabricated reports, we generate further publicity for their websites – which is what every business wants. Lads, it’s all a conspiracy. However, the fourth and most terrifying explanation is genuine ignorance. Perhaps people just don’t understand the concept of nationality in the manner that we do. To some, everyone is British (your right foot probably had a British phase at one stage), while many European countries blur into one, maps do not exist, and everything west of the iron curtain is “possibly British”, or predominantly British with a mild mix of unimportant technicalities. After all, it was easy for Suchet to be confused: a woman with an Irish name, Irish parents, who hails from Carlow, is liable to be proclaimed as British; there’s always a grey area in everything, if you search hard enough for one. And though the name “Saoirse” is the Irish word for “freedom”, the British media do not appreciate the riveting irony of their comments. But this meaning has been lost in translation all-too-literally: much of the Oscars campaign for Saoirse Ronan focuses merely on the pronunciation of her name. I swear, if I have to listen to Ellen DeGeneres ponder the pronunciation of “Saoirse” one more time… It appears as if it has never occurred to these American presenters that other languages have different pronunciations, a fact understood by

humanity for many years; and despite the efforts of numerous American TV presenters to bring clarity to the supposed hilarity surrounding Irish names and their correct pronunciation, Suchet was still unable to distinguish her nationality accurately. Sport is a further category where national borders and identities are open to debate. Conor McGregor has also been claimed by the British: despite his rough accent, extravagant “Irish” swagger, and repeatedly fond remarks regarding his home country, the Brits have found him out, too. McGregor’s walking out to the tune of “The Foggy Dew” is, apparently, not enough clarification of his national identity. But “The Notorious” is not alone in being considered as British; the BBC described Katie Taylor as British at the height of her Olympic gold medal– winning campaign at London 2012 – another Irish national icon with zero British connections. Returning to the case of Saoirse Ronan, however: ultimately, Suchet resorted to using the definition of the “British Isles” to defend his previous offensive comments. The British Isles is a geographical term with colonial origins; and, like the common practice of the British media of describing notable Irish people as British, it is rather outdated, and one of controversy. Even the generalisation of “British” is controversial, because Great Britain comprises England, Scotland, and Wales: if someone does resort to saying that Saoirse Ronan is British, then which is she: English, Scottish, or Welsh? Most alarmingly, she is still none of the above.

REVIEW: Creed By Dean Buckley

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Sylvester Stallone might insist that this is the first Creed movie, not the latest Rocky movie, but it’s still one of the best in the franchise, maybe the best of them all. I know it’s hard, but let’s all take a minute to remember that the first movie was a sombre drama nominated for 10 Oscars and winning three, including Best Picture. After that, each sequel journeyed further and further into camp until the franchise imploded with Rocky V, a failure which led Stallone to pour his heart and soul into a proper ending in the form of Rocky Balboa, which redeemed both himself and the series. Regardless of its relationship with the rest of the franchise, Creed is a sequel to Rocky Balboa, and, like that film, honours the entire franchise while taking the lion’s share of its inspiration from the original film. The first striking aspect of Creed is how visually different it is from the previous films, early proof of director Ryan Coogler’s commitment to making his own film, not just another sequel. Contra the often gloomy and grubby visuals of the original films, Creed is sleek, crisp and bright, a modern film without the 1970s hangover of suspicion of urban space. The second is how immediately Michael B Jordan, in the lead role of Donnie Johnson, grabs hold of the movie. “Intensity” is an easy word to throw around in film reviews, especially in sports movies, but

there’s no better word for what Jordan brings to managing the almost impossible task of showing all the resentment and anger in a character who never wants to let those things be seen. Donnie, the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed (deceased friend and rival of Rocky Balboa), wants to be a boxer, even though his father was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. His father’s former trainer is unwilling to send another Creed to his death, so Donnie quits his job and moves to Philadelphia to seek training from Rocky, who initially refuses, but eventually relents. Stallone is outstanding as Rocky, but Coogler is careful to make sure he serves appropriately in a purely supporting role, never dominating the film or overwhelming Donnie’s central place in the narrative. Rounding out the main cast is Tessa Thompson of Dear White People and Selma as Bianca, an up-and-coming musician and songwriter with progressive hearing loss who serves as Donnie’s love interest. Though the film’s main narrative thrust is the collision course between Donnie and Pretty Ricky Conlan, the world light heavyweight champion, who’s about to be sent down for assault, the heart of the film lies in the domestic scenes of Donnie, Rocky, and Bianca. This is where the real human drama of the film lies, a testament to Ryan Coogler’s deft hand at the helm; Coogler infuses the film with so much of the organic minimalism the series lost over the years without ever diminishing his overall vision for the project.


January 26 2016

Gordie Tentrees brings Yukon Roots Music all the way from Canada By Jessica Thompson It’s never too late to get into music, as talented artist Gordie Tentrees proves with six fantastic albums. The Canadian musician began playing the guitar at the age of 24, but that didn’t stop him from building a reputation in Canada and elsewhere. And as he prepares for a Monroe’s gig, he’s hoping to leave his mark on Galway’s unique music scene. Gordie hails from Yukon in Northern Canada – a place “where song-writing and music are prevalent” in the community: “It’s a supportive environment for those starting out and a great area to get exposure to stages, touring and making records,” he says. Gordie has a unique style of music, which he called ‘Yukon Roots Music’. Influenced by the music of his home, he performs a combination of folk blues and bluegrass, “where song-writing and storytelling are equal in their significance”.

“I would like to think the music I make is a hybrid of these influences where the song itself carries the most weight. It has always been my goal to give the audience a taste of everything I would want to see in a concert, ranging from delta blues to high energy country twang, including comedic stories to dark insights into the human condition,” he explains. “I want them to feel every emotion and leave with an unexpected experience. We play eight instruments between myself and my sideman (Jaxon Haldane): banjo, cigar box guitars, lap steel, mandolin, harmonica, porch board bass and fiddle saw. It’s a show for everyone and not something most audiences expect.” With a unique selling point like that, it’s no wonder Gordie has experienced success: “I’m six records in and really feel like I’m just getting started in learning my craft, with so much more ahead of me to learn. “Performing live has become much more comfortable than in the

early days and each show inspires me to grow even more and give everything I can to anyone who decides to spend their night with us.” We could decide to spend our night with Gordie on 29 January when he performs in Galway for the first time: “This is my first concert in Galway having only performed in Dublin before; I have family history in the Galway area so this will be my first step back in time to see for myself what it’s really like.” It’s certainly a long way to travel from Canada, and Gordie says that travelling is one of the best and worst parts of being a musician. “I was never much of a world traveller before touring, so I’m thankful for all the faces and places I have crossed. It’s something I never planned on doing as a profession, so every moment is a bonus. Being apart from my family makes it difficult at times and I wish often they were with me,” he says. But one thing about travelling to Ireland is the fact that he’ll experience

some proper Irish culture and traditional Irish music. “I think Ireland and the Yukon, where I live, would be quite similar in that music is a way of life; it’s something you don’t always have to be a recording or performing artist to do, yet it’s an everyday expression of

our culture. Sharing stories through song and string-based instruments I imagine would be quite similar. I’m excited to find out.” Gordie Tentrees will perform in Monroe’s Live on 28 January. Doors open at 8pm and tickets cost €15. For more information, see

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Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, Music legend David Bowie dies aged 69 By Laura McGettigan

Album review – Blackstar By Dean Buckley Blackstar is not subtle in dealing with its themes of death and mortality, which seems appropriate for the final album by possibly the least subtle man who’s ever lived. After his comparatively tame return to recording in 2013 with The Next Day, this is a more brazenly strange album, particularly as far as its titular opening track goes. Much like ‘Station to Station’ from Station to Station, ‘Blackstar’ is one of those rare rock achievements, the very long but absurdly successful single, though, musically, it owes more to 1. Outside than Station to Station. ‘Blackstar’ is also a perfect album opener, if only for how reassuring it is to hear Bowie pull off such a feat of songwriting; keeping a song that lively for that long is no mean achievement, and it gives the listener high expectations for their listening to the rest of the album. ‘Lazarus’ is the song that will get the most attention for the foreseeable future, dealing as it does with Bowie’s death more directly than any other and, certainly, it’s outstanding. If Blackstar is an attempt, at least in part, to tie together all the strongest threads from his back catalogue, hardly a straightforward task for the man who invented reinvention, ‘Lazarus’ weaves Bowie’s jazziest art-rock songwriting with his most old-fashioned crooner vocals. However, the one-two punch of ‘Dollar Days’ and ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ at the album’s close is the perfect end to an imperfect

career: two final haunting roars into the ocean; roars of pain, regret, and even hope. This album moves me to tears, and these are the songs that push me over the edge. On the other hand, Blackstar’s most interesting inclusions may be ‘Sue (or in a Season of Crime)’, originally released as a single from his November 2014 compilation Nothing Has Changed, and its B-side, ‘’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore’. Knowing, as we do now, that Bowie’s battle with cancer began 18 months before his death, circa July 2014, we can speculate as to those songs’ relationship with his diagnosis. And yet, it would be much more enjoyable, I think, to smile at the wry humour of ‘’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore’, a song exemplary of a surprisingly tongue-in-cheek undercurrent to the whole album. After all, the lyrics of ‘Girl Loves Me’ are mostly in Nadsat, the fictional slang from A Clockwork Orange, and Polari, an extinct cant last used as part of late 1960s gay subculture. Furthermore, the refrain in ‘Dollar Days’ of “it’s nothing to me” seems to crib very consciously from Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’ in what I am tempted to call a final parting shot at the new wave bands which Bowie so despised in their heyday. And honestly, we shouldn’t be surprised that a man who spent his entire life rejecting propriety and poking fun would treat even his own death with some moments of less than appropriate seriousness. I can’t think of any better way for David Bowie to say goodbye than with a chuckle.

On 10 January, following his 18 month–long battle with cancer, the end of David Bowie’s era came and the world lost its stardust. The death of music legend David Bowie struck a chord with many, as he touched the hearts of millions around the world with his creativity and genuine love for music. The singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, and all-round eccentric-genius leaves behind a legacy of 27 studio albums, 25 UK Top 10 singles, and an impact on the music industry like no other. As Vice Magazine’s Maura Johnston said, “Removing David Bowie from the last half-century of pop would result in its edges being less pointed, its colours being less vibrant, its playfulness being reined in sharply”.

His impact on the world of music has been astounding, influencing numerous artists such as Lady Gaga, Nirvana, and Madonna to name just a few, throughout his many periods and eras of new, inventive sound. Therefore, compiling a definitive list of David Bowie’s top five songs is incredibly difficult, because his music has affected everyone in different ways; it wasn’t always his most commercially successful songs that made the most lasting impact worldwide…

groom’s trip to the chapel throughout the 1980s and 1990s, ‘Modern Love’ became a popular encore tune of Bowie’s worldwide tour. Let’s Dance, of which ‘Modern Love’ was such an integral part, was the album of David Bowie’s New Wave and pop era punctuated by hard rock edge and guitar synthesisers, and collaboration with Chic’s Nile Rogers; for Bowie, it represented a new commercial peak which saw it top both the UK and US album charts, and is his bestselling album worldwide.

5. Modern Love (1983)

4. Starman (1972)

At number five, ‘Modern Love’ was the first track of David Bowie’s hugely successful, pop-flavoured album Let’s Dance in 1983. As its lyrics [“(Modern love) gets me to the church on time…”] became the soundtrack to every

Number four sees David Bowie’s ‘Starman’ emerge as his fourth best single. When Bowie created his alterego Ziggy Stardust, the world saw the lines between female and male blur for the first time; Ziggy Stardust,

There’s a rainbow above you now, Glenn By Teodora Bandut The rock world has been profoundly shaken in the last while with the passing of indisputable greats such as rock ‘n’ roll’s most infamous chameleon and Motorhead’s unabashed frontman, but a less provocative, and perhaps less recognised music influence has also perished recently. “Complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia” have brought down the enduring Glenn Frey, guitarist and founding member of The Eagles at the age of 67. The band is an American staple formed in the 1970s which still boasts some of the best-selling records of all time, with their Greatest Hits and Hotel California. Despite subscribing to their fair share of debauchery associated with rock ‘n’ roll, the Don Henley and Glenn Frey-led team never quite made it to the universally-appreciated status that a long list of their contemporaries hold. My mother even starts humming along when I play them and that’s sufficiently telling. Joel Cohen, director of the beloved The Big Lebowski hits hard by dedicating a gag sequence in the movie to The Dude’s hatred for The Eagles which allegedly very much displeased Frey. The playful derision towards the band has become embedded in popular culture. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen captured it in one line: “the Eagles were suburban conformity, writ large — the music your mom and

dad would let you play on the living room hifi (you could go upstairs and listen to the Clash after dinner)” reads an article by Gersh Kuntzman of New York Daily News. But this doesn’t change the fact that the band generated a plethora of great songs most of which unsurprisingly became bona fide hits. To me, their sound had a quality that just fit; a perfect blend of rock and country, which does exactly what music is supposed to: make you pause, reflect on and take delight in your aliveness. The innocuous, sometimes generic, possibly “too peaceful, too easy to like” melodies and lyrics, the countrified guitar and Henley’s occasional twang may not sit well with some. However, The Eagles are, and will continue to be, inescapable. This is a testament to the late Glenn Frey’s song-writing abilities for which he undoubtedly should be credited.

When the band broke up in 1980, Frey’s musical output was very much consistent with his rock groove while he also pursued what cynics may define as another outlet for his proud narcissism through acting (Miami Vice, Jerry Maguire). By 1994 Henley had enticed Frey towards an Eagles revival and they reunited to produce another album, which immediately topped the charts. Frey’s death, as much as Bowie’s or that of Lemmy, reminds us that not even rock and roll, the legendary elixir for eternal youth, can exempt us. These are people who managed to touch millions through their talent, integrity and lust for life. Their music was a reflection of both their innermost tumult and their societal as well political engagement. We are now but left in a collective, stupefied grief, with the hope that they have inspired the next generation of their breed to assert themselves. May they rest in peace.

Steve Alexander Flickr


January 26 2016

but I promise it won’t be boring…” the rock star who acted as a messenger for extra-terrestrial beings, was renowned for his sexual ambiguity. At that point in his career, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spider Mars was David Bowie’s most successful album, leading to the emergence of a cult following for the new gender-transgressing alter-ego challenging the artificiality of music in 1972.

3. Changes (1972) At number three, ‘Changes’ was released as a single from David Bowie’s fourth album Hunky Dory in 1972. Somewhat surprisingly, this song didn’t enter the UK Top 40 charts until the week following Bowie’s death. Though not a success at first, ‘Changes’ became one of David Bowie’s most requested and wellknown songs, a song reflecting his inventive personality, and highlighting his musical creativity and image from his early years as a musician.

The song’s lyrics are a true reflection of Bowie’s attitude to life, who often stated that he had always felt like a 20 year-old – until one day he turned 56; his spirit was that of a young adult throughout his artistic career: “Time may change me / but I can’t trace time”.

2. Space Oddity (1969) ‘Space Oddity’, from David Bowie’s self-titled album released in 1969, takes its place at number two. Released at a time when people intrigued by space, the song’s lyrics, “Ground control to Major Tom…” refer to the launch of the fictional character Major Tom as an astronaut. ‘Space Oddity’ was Bowie’s first ever UK Top 5 hit, and went on to be his second best–selling song ever. In 2013, it became the soundtrack to the first ever music video shot in space when it was covered by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

1. Heroes (1977) At number one, ‘Heroes’, the title track of David Bowie’s 1977 album takes its place as Bowie’s best song. Though ‘Heroes’ became David Bowie’s most successful single, it did not even crack the Top 100 when first released. Heroes the album, titled in italics at Bowie’s request in order to reflect the irony of the word, was written when he moved to Berlin in order to beat his drug addiction and separate himself from the fast tempo lifestyle of LA; this period, titled “the Berlin period”, was one Bowie described as his most productive as an artist. During this era, David Bowie produced three albums, Heroes, Low, and Lodger, and worked with numerous other likewise artists taking sanctuary in Berlin in order to beat drug addiction. Bowie’s 1987 performance of ‘Heroes’ at the German Reichstag in Berlin was considered a

significant contributing factor to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall; following his death, the German foreign office paid tribute to David Bowie, acknowledging and thanking him for his role in helping to take the wall down. David Bowie changed the way people perceived music, the way music was presented, his work leading to the demolition of perceived boundaries, and the infusion of a whole new palette of colour and life in both music and fashion. Through these five singles, and other enormously popular songs such as ‘Let’s Dance’ ‘Jean Genie’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, and ‘Under Pressure’ (where he collaborated with Queen). David Bowie’s image and sound continued to be ever-changing, never boring; that of a creative genius. Responding to his comparison with a chameleon, Bowie famously stated, “A chameleon would change

the colour of his skin to fit into its environment. I think I’ve done quite the reverse”. Undoubtedly, David Bowie went against the musical grain, injecting new life into music and fashion during every era he was part of. “He assured his fans we didn’t have to give up on life, didn’t have to play it safe, didn’t have to fall into a rut,” Rolling Stone magazine’s Rob Sheffield commented after David Bowie’s death; “Somehow I really thought he’d outlive us all”. Even Bowie’s death was constructed as a piece of art ; he released Blackstar just days before his death, leaving us his last words through new single ‘Lazarus’, “Look up here, I’m in heaven”. David Bowie’s legacy goes far beyond his own work, and as the world continues to mourn his death, we remember his influence and legacy. After all, David Bowie was a hero, for much more than one day.

strains of Joni Mitchell, when she realizes he has been unfaithful to her; now we understand her grief. And in the future, when our children and grandchildren enquire,

as we watch the Harry Potter series with them, if we still love the man who played Professor Snape so poignantly, what will our answer be? “Always”.

Remembering Alan Rickman By Sinéad O’Callaghan Alan Rickman, one of England’s most acclaimed and talented actors, died on 15 January, aged 69. He had been suffering from cancer. It was a week of lost talent, with the stars gaining not one, but two new bright lights in the form of Mr Rickman and music legends David Bowie and Glenn Frey. Alan Rickman’s languid voice was his trademark, the sound of velvet catching in mid-air; it was a voice that managed to make even the most trivial lines sound considered and meaningful. Mr Rickman rose to fame through his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, most notably his duplicitous performance as the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. This performance captured the attention of Hollywood, Rickman’s raw talent exemplifying him as one of the great villain actors in contemporary theatre. Throughout his career, Alan Rickman added another dimension and incredible depth to each and every character he portrayed, raising the argument that there is more than just good or bad in everyone; his ability to create a character entirely within this grey area of being allowed him to display his astounding ability so profoundly. Perhaps most known for his portrayal of Professor Snape in the Harry Potter film series, (Spoiler

alert: He ends up being the hero!), for many he was the voice of childhood, including my own. Mr Rickman made Severus Snape the man he was in JK Rowling’s books: a man layered contradiction and mystery, but guided by the only pure force there is, love. He took the limited information JK Rowling afforded him in relation to Snape’s destiny, and built an iconic character on this foundation. He gave the character a depth present elsewhere only in the roles of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, creating a character whom everyone hated but loved simultaneously, while highlighting the importance of literacy for children through his celebrity status. Speaking on this importance, Mr Rickman said, “When I meet children and I ask, ‘Have you read the books?’ and they say, ‘No, no, we just watch them on TV.’, then I say, ‘Well, you’ve got to start reading the books.’ And, of course, many of them do and become hooked in a very different way.” However, Alan Rickman is celebrated for more than one beloved character; who could forget his portrayal of the iconic criminal mastermind Hans Gruber in Die Hard, or the antagonist The Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? He was a man with a voice that abetted his portrayal of villains so significantly that audiences simply loved to hate him.

On the other hand, there was a much softer side to the actor who seemed to swim only in villainous waters. He was often loved as a character, this being most evident in his portrayal of Harry in Richard Curtis’s romantic comedy Love Actually. Despite the fact that Rickman’s character embarked on an affair behind his loving wife Karen’s back, we still found it hard to hate him, realising the human error behind his wicked deed; he was an actor whom it was impossible not to love. Mr Rickman was also recognised widely for his talent as a director, and his ability to orate a room with complete humor and geniality. He worked frequently with fellow actor Emma Thompson, having directed her, been directed by her, and acted with her on various occasions. Alan Rickman is a man remembered for his unwavering loyalty and friendship by his peers and those who admired him. He is survived by his wife Rima Horton, who he met as a teenager in high school; they were together for 50 years before marrying in New York in 2015. Ultimately, Alan Rickman leaves behind a void in the filmic world which will be impossible to fill; he was a fantastic villain, but an actor who was so easy to love. Just watch Emma Thompson in Love Actually, sobbing to the


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

What’s going on in Galway? A guide to what’s happening and where during these bleak wintry days… By Frank Roddy Maybe it’s the weather and the dark evenings, but something about the end of January seems incredibly fitting for a Villagers gig; so if you like your folk music indie and your lyrics eerie, this Conor O’Brien project is for you. Where Have You Been All My Life? was released earlier this month and comprises re-recordings of tracks from each of Villagers’ previous three albums, older songs restructured to complement tracks from last year’s Darling Arithmetic. You can expect this show to feature tracks from all of Villagers’ discography, revamped to fit together; it could almost be considered “a Greatest Hits Tour” – almost. Supporting Villagers on the night will be Somerville: Galway’s own Maria Somerville performs under her surname and includes gigs at Electric Picnic among her recent accomplishments. Despite receiving great reviews, Somerville’s onstage shyness is still apparent and has become an endearing part of her performance – all the more reason people should go out to support both her and Galway music when her tour comes to the Black Box Theatre on 29 January. Not bad for €25. Continuing the theme of bleak lyrics, John Grant will play the Seapoint Ballroom on 30 January. Formerly of American alt-rock band the Czars, Grant struck out on his own in 2010, part of which included him moving to Reykjavík, Iceland. Since then he has released three albums, one of which included a duet with our very own Sinead O’Connor.

With his dark lyrics and unusually-paced vocals, this probably won’t be a night for sing-a-longs, but with his 1980s pop-synth influences coming out to play on his latest album, surely there will be ample opportunity to dance. Tickets are €30 for the show, which is part of John Grant touring Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, his third album release. With all those heavy lyrics being thrown around there at the end of January, you may be in need of a laugh: luckily, Jason Byrne will be celebrating two decades in stand-up comedy with his latest show 20 Years a Clown in early-February. 20 Years a Clown comes to the Town Hall Theatre on 5 February; for €22, you can see a show that is unlikely to be the same as any of rest of Jason Byrne’s tour due to his tendency for conversational tangents and interaction with his front row. He’s never cruel, but he can be embarrassing. Good luck, front row! Now if you are reading this and trying to remember if Jason is the Byrne fella from RTÉ’s The Panel and BBC’s Mock the Week, he’s not; that’s Ed. Jason is the Byrne who refereed the All Priests Five-a-Side Over-75s Challenge Football Match between Craggy Island and Rugged Island in 1998. He should be commended on his great eye for spotting “fake arms”… Also celebrating 20 years is the Town Hall Theatre itself: after its extensive refurbishment in 1995, the Town Hall Theatre was re-opened on 1 February, 1996 by then Minister for Arts,

Culture, and the Gaeltacht Michael D Higgins (now President of Ireland!). For €20, you can celebrate the 20th anniversary of its reopening. Your ticket won’t just put you in the company of other celebrators, many of whom have graced the stage themselves; you will also be treated to a night of performances by John Spillane, Frankie Gavin, and De Danann as well as the trio of Brendan O’Regan, Dermot Byrne, and Floriane Blancke. To top all of that off, MC for the evening will be Little John Nee, who will no doubt have plenty to say for himself. On 6 February, Monroe’s will be hosting two gigs, the first being Erisa Rei from 8pm. This singer-songwriter started off writing choir songs in her church, an influence still seen in her soul/Americana music. That deep, soulful voice must come in handy as she homeschools five children; unrelated to the gig, that maybe but, all the same, she must be relieved to be touring again! However, if soulful Americana is not your thing, then perhaps Top of the Popz later that night will sort you out. A cover band playing the latest chart toppers and indie hits along with a few classics, they can be your alternative to Erisa Rei, or perhaps a nice change of pace immediately afterwards. Both gigs are €10 each. Finally, Monroe’s hosts AC/DC tribute act Whole Lotta Voltage on 29 January. People say that it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll, but there isn’t really that many stairs to Monroe’s venue to see this band cover some classic rock tunes.

NUI Galway to host second Annual Writers’ Convention NUI Galway’s Writers Society will hold their Second Annual Convention from 11am to 5pm in the Arts Millennium building on 30 January. Tea, coffee and other refreshments will be provided throughout the day. This event is open to everyone and will include workshops in different styles of writing such as fiction, speech and drama. There will be a competitive poetry slam which serves as the preliminaries to the National Student

Poetry slam that will be held in Dublin this March. There will also be an open mic for anyone who wishes to showcase their work. Local guest speakers include Kevin Higgins and Anne-Marie Kennedy, accomplished authors in their fields, as well as special guests like full time blogger Fanella Fox from Tipperary and others. “With over 40 people enjoying the event last year, this year we want to step it up a

notch and make this day a fun event enjoyed by all that celebrates creativity amongst us,” said Writers Society Auditor Cathy Lee. The entry fee of €2 is payable at the door. This is an event suitable for all ages but parental supervision of children is appreciated. Writers Society would love to welcome you to a day that promises to be entertaining, relaxing and full of fun for all budding writers in Galway.

ROPES 2016 to launch in April Annual Literary Journal received over 500 submissions By Sam Kelly ROPES (Review of Postgraduate English Studies) is a literary journal published annually by the students of the MA in Literature and Publishing (MALP) course at NUI Galway, this year’s theme being independence to coincide with the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

All proceeds raised through the sales of ROPES 2016 will be donated to the Simon Community, a charity providing homeless support services across Ireland; the MA students involved receive no payment from or assessment on this project, aside from a free copy of the journal and personal fulfilment from helping those in need – this really is a labour of love. The journal’s launch will take place in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on 22 April at 5pm, followed directly by a specially-arranged after-party in An Púcán, these events taking place during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature (details of which appeared in our last issue). The deadline for submissions was 11 January and, after just a three-week submissions period, ROPES 2016’s editorial team received over 500 submissions, ranging in genre from flash fiction and photography to poetry, short stories, and essays. Currently, the editorial team is selecting the content that ROPES 2016 will consist of from all of the submissions they received; all authors and/or artists who submitted will receive a response and feedback regarding their submissions in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the design team is considering cover designs, with the marketing team finalising this year’s advertisement sales. The production team are yet to finalise a printer for this year’s edition of ROPES, though they are working to secure one as soon as possible; all involved in ROPES 2016 are striving to select a printer with a reasonable production price so they may donate as much money as they possibly can to the Simon Community. Finally, all eleven MALP students involved in ROPES are continuing to work hard within their everyday studies in addition to their respective roles in ROPES 2016’s production, design, editorial, and marketing. It’s shaping up to be a very successful year for all concerned.


January 26 2016

Little Show in Death Resonate David Bowie’s recent death was met with mourning on a truly global scale. For instance, on Monday, 11 January, his YouTube videos alone were viewed a record 51 million times. And it does feel as if our society becomes too wrapped up in and enthralled by the lives of the few, the lives of the famous: on the same day as a David Bowie dies, many hard-working, equally noble people will also die, and their deaths will constitute barely a ripple within the world’s conscience, something in stark comparison with the furore that accompanied the news of Bowie’s passing. However, I believe that David Bowie would be the last person to even consider an attempt to justify that his death deserved such universal grief; to the very end, he remained humble and aware of his own insignificance in the grand scheme of the world – and its “stars”.

David Bowie died after an 18-month battle with liver cancer, a struggle he never allowed to become public knowledge. To the outside world, he was in the midst of one of his most productive periods in music, having released the critically-acclaimed album The Next Day in 2013 before following it with 2016’s Blackstar (which was released just two days before his death). Cancer, he knew, was killing him, and he could have sought the sympathy and support of his millions of fans, who would have been happy to offer it. Besides, you could not blame anyone for bemoaning his or her luck in such a situation. Instead, however, he refused to lament his misfortune and indulge in self-pity; instead, he continued to do what he did best: create. Indeed, even after his death he remained self-effacing, as at his own request, his cremation took place without the presence of family or friends, and only a private memorial service arranged.

The River Rapture

Mayan Slave

By Patrick Anthony

By Iris M Mora

The Corrib’s swollen cur-

You tore it out

rent and the weir

like the heart of a Mayan slave.

By Eamon Doggett

thunder the epic lyrics of the lake: the meter speeding through my bones

Don’t you know

projects into the cinema of dreams;

you’re the cause of all my pain?

dreams of a couplet of delight

Live no more

crossing the cold prosaic bridge,

as I cannot bear the shame.

your hot hand all a-glove in mine, your soft lips murmurs poetry in my ear

My wounded soul is deep in a hole, filled with blue water.

until the archetype of ancient urge sweeps us a-throb into bucolic joy

A life in the mist of pyramids hangs,

to frolic in a fern-flecked cave

where you sacrificed me, all over again.

without caesurae to our consonance, and in aesthetic sighs of thrilling joy borne by our rhythm’s twitching bliss, like Corrib’s torrent teeming to the sea, we sing our anaphora to the stars.

Edited by Neil Slevin Resonate is Sin’s culture section seeking NUI Galway students’ creative work to showcase and share with our readers in each edition. We welcome submissions in all genres of writing and/or visual art, and select the work that we think will reach out to and resonate most with our student readership. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, this edition features some love-themed

He could have had a colourful, carnival-style funeral service that toured the world, but it’s clear that he didn’t want any fuss. He may have worn some of the most outrageous costumes and make-up to ever grace a stage; but, in death, a time when quite naturally we alert the attention of others, he didn’t want any show. The concept of “cool” is ever-changing and understandably subjective, but

poetry from Patrick Anthony and Iris M. Mora, as well as a non-fiction piece reflecting on the unexpected passing of music legend David Bowie by Eamon Doggett. Our next Resonate coincides with 14 February, so please keep your love, anti-Valentine’s Day, and everything in between–themed submissions coming our way. If you are interested in having your work featured in Resonate – or if you have requests for further work by any of our contributors – please contact Neil at We look forward to working with you.

David Bowie to me was its most powerful ambassador. To die just days after releasing another unique album, to die whilst never having lost his all-consuming passion to create and entertain, to die with dignity, in full possession of his wits, and, most of all, to die with such humility – I reluctantly put the words “cool” and “death” together: only David Bowie could die in such a cool and dignified way.

Dangan Pavilion Bus Services

This bus service will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from Monday 11th January 2016

Leaves Orbsen


Bus Returns from Dangan at 6.15pm, 7.15pm, 8.30pm & 9.30pm*

Monday Hockey (6.30-8pm)

Tuesday Hockey (6.30-7.30pm)



Hockey (6.30-8pm) Boxing (6-8pm)

Boxing ( 6-8pm)



Athletics Distance (6pm)

Athletics Sprint (6.30pm)

Athletics Sprint (6.30pm)

M.Rugby Weights (6.30-8pm)

M.Rugby Weights (6-8.30pm)

Ladies Football (6.30 - 8pm)

Athletics Circuits (7-8.15pm)

Rugby - Ladies (7.30-9pm)

Athletics Circuits (7-8.15pm)

Fresher Football (7pm - 8.15pm)

Rugby - Mens (7pm)

Fresher Football (7pm - 8.15pm)

Rugby - Mens (7pm)

Rugby - Ladies (7.30-9pm)

Athletics Distance (7pm)

M. Rugby Weights (8-9.30pm)

Mens Soccer (7pm)

Hockey Weights (8-9.30pm)

Bus Returns from Dangan at 6.15pm, 7.15pm, 8.30pm & 9.30pm* Last bus on Thursday departs Dangan Pavilion at 8.30pm. for full club training & events calendar or download the Clubs Eventr App

Futsal Blitz!! Futsal Blitz

In the Sports Hall, Kingfisher Monday 18th Jan 8-10pm

Futsal Blitz Monday 18th & Monday 25th January

Monday 25th Jan 8-10pm

League starts February 1st!! 50 EURO per squad of 10

ALL LEVELS OF ABILITY GREAT PRIZES FOR PARTICIPATION AND COMPETITION Just turn up for the Blitz Further information contact: Tel: 086 1772589

In the Kingfisher See you there!!

SPORT   27

January 26 2016

NUIG Surf Club explore Taghazout By Ernan Geraghty The fact that it’s an El Niño year – a phenomenon which only occurs every seven to ten years, bringing more storms (six in the past three months) and bigger waves to surf breaks around the globe – there was consistent swell and a plentiful supply of waves for the group of budding surfers, members and friends of NUIG Surf club, who travelled to a little town called Taghazout on the west coast of Morocco to kick of the new year. Taghazout has a number of surf breaks which cater for all abilities and levels of surfing and the group of about sixty strong were frothing to get some time in warm water surf. Over the course of their week-long stay most surfers were averaging around two surfs a day combined with evening Yoga sessions with ‘the dude’. The balcony of the Surf Taghazout holiday apartments overlooked Hash point, a mellow right-hander for surfers new to rocky breaks. The more experienced surfers of the group paddled out to surf Anchor point the ‘holy grail’ of long curling right breaks and Killers a fun-looking wedge. Another destination the group visited was the golden brown beach break Panorama, a long stretch of coastline with a number of peaks. The beach was littered with surfers, locals selling munchies, nuts and scrumptious doughnuts, horses and even camels available to rent, ideal for a romantic stroll. Indeed there is an abundance of point breaks, beach breaks and secret hidden gems along Taghazout’s stretch of coastline that allows every surfer to find a wave that is perfect for their ability. The trip went smoothly for all involved with the exception of the infamous Taghazout tummy bug that passed after twenty four hours and was aided by dips in the

ocean, Sunset Yoga sessions to improve balance and flexibility, beautiful food and Ice cold mojito’s to relax both mind and body. The Muslim concept of paradise is a place of abundant cool water and shade which was just what was in store for the groups who visited ‘Paradise valley’ on a day trip. On the way to the Oasis, the group stopped off at a wonderfully vibrant Botanical garden where they learned about the local production of Argan oil, its properties and uses and got some gifts and free samples to boot. Paradise valley, high up in the mountains, is like the Grand Canyon of Morocco. Our local guide took us on a trek down along a path leading through a tropical rainforest of palm trees, with Café shops selling freshly ground coffee of the highest quality and local freshly squeezed OJ scattered along the trail. Hiking up through a kind of rocky gorge we reached a blue lagoon with a couple of pools of various size and depth, perfect for swimming, jumping and diving. Friday was market day and the gang drove to the Souk el Ahad in Agadir. The Souk is the third biggest market in North Africa after fez and Cairo medina’s and is roughly 3km in size. The Market stocks a vast range of Items; fresh fruit and vegetables, large amounts of herbs and spices, natural medicines, clothes, hats, cloth etc. But strangely enough, no ice-cream, which is just what we needed in such sweltering heat. Craftsmen trade in leather, carpets, wood, jewellery and spices. Aromatic whiffs of spices, succulent kebabs, fresh bread and cakes made everyone’s mouth water.

Preparations in full swing for Galway United ahead of the new season By Paul Corcoran

We lost ourselves in the labyrinth of ornaments, trinkets and multi-coloured garments to emerge a couple of hours later with empty pockets, broad grins and tales of misadventure in the Souk. Locals are friendly and hospitable people and they seem to enjoy the Irish, inviting us into their shops for tea. It was fun to haggle with them and bargain them down and they certainly have the lingo too, happily toasting Sláinte at every opportunity. A sunset surf session, a bonfire at the beach and a few cold ones topped of an excellent trip to Taghazout. Departing with heavy hearts, the trip back to Ireland was a sleepy one I’m sure with many of us still daydreaming of the Idyllic Emerald waves and crisp Moroccan landscape. The gang collected some brilliant GoPro footage, the viewing of which will be as eagerly anticipated as next year’s World Surf Tour and the remake of the classic movie Point Break. There is lots of events coming up for NUIG Surf club in semester two and plenty to look forward to with daytrips, surf Instructor courses and Intervarsity’s all on the horizon.

Galway United have begun pre-season training in anticipation of the 2016 SSE Airtricity League Season. United have announced four friendlies to be played in February against UCD, Shelbourne, Longford Town and Limerick. The games will take place on the 13th, in Fahy’s Field, 20th in Eamonn Deacy Park, 23rd in City Calling Stadium and 27th in Markets Field respectively. More friendlies are to be announced at a later date. Leo Tierney has re-joined Tommy Dunne’s backroom staff as assistant manager. The Mayo man held the position in 2014 but vacated the post in 2015 due to personal commitments. “Last year I had my PRO Licence course and there was a lot of commitment required for that, as well as my day job, so I didn’t have the time. I thought Galway United deserved more, I wanted to be fully committed to the job,” said Leo Tierney, speaking to The squad has started to take shape and 15 players have been signed during the off-season, so far, and Dunne will be looking to add to that. “I’ve organised for some players to come in on trial over pre-season so we can get a closer look at them. I’ve a couple of players coming in from England, one from Holland and possibly an American player and there are one or two other possibilities also. There are on-going negotiations with a number of players right now,” Tommy Dunne told Dunne further hinted that talks are currently being held with Alex Byrne and he expects he should sign in the coming weeks. The core group of Tommy Dunne’s side from last year has been retained. Former Newcastle United, Cork City and Limerick defender, Stephen Folan, has returned to his native Galway to sign with his hometown club. Journeyman midfielder John Sullivan also joins up with the squad for the 2016 season after being released by Bray Wanderers. Veteran striker Vinny Faherty returns to the fold for his third stint with the club. Faherty is coming off the back of an excellent season scoring 12 goals for Limerick, however, his goals were not enough to keep the Super Blues in the top flight of Irish Football. Galway United kick off their SSE Airtricity League campaign away to St. Patrick’s Athletic on the 4th of March.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

Irish athletes to look out for at Rio 2016 By Graham Gillespie Our athletes are currently in the process of putting the finishing touches on their preparations ahead of August and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. With a significant number of medal contenders amongst Ireland’s Olympians (especially in boxing) there is a strong possibility of acquiring a record medal haul for the country surpassing the previous record of five medals. Here are some of the key names to look out for in Ireland’s delegation in Rio:

MICHAEL CONLAN Seemingly a sure-fire bet for a medal, Michael Conlan has totally dominated the amateur boxing scene at the Bantamweight weight class. In 2015, he won World and European golds to add to the Commonwealth gold he won in 2014 competing for Northern Ireland and is ranked by the AIBA as the best boxer in the world in his division. The 2012 Olympics bronze medallist now wants to enter professional boxing, but not before leaving the amateur circuit on a high by filling the gap in his medal collection by winning gold in Rio.

NATALYA COYLE AND ARTHUR LANIGAN-O’KEEFFE Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe both compete in the modern pentathlon and could well become household names in Ireland during the Olympics. Coyle competed in London four years ago and has taken great strides forward in her career in the meantime. Her main achievements have come in the relay with her partner Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe with whom she has won two World Cup silvers along with a fourth place finish at the World Championships. U n l i k e C oy l e, L a n i g a n O’Keeffe has had major tournament success individually winning the European Championships in Bath last August. If this coming August also brings triumph then a lot of Irish people may know more about this sport, which involves competing in swimming, fencing, show jumping, cross-country running and shooting.

medalled in both the outdoor and indoor variants of the European Championship. He has yet to earn a place in a world final but the Letterkenny native will be certainly be aiming for an Olympic final come summertime. This would be a remarkable achievement as along with being an elite level athlete, he is also currently studying for his full-time degree in medical studies in UCD.

The World number 3 had a mediocre 2015 partially due to his cruciate ligament injury and also because of the remarkable form of Jordan Spieth. After finally making the decision to represent Ireland at Rio, McIlroy may find himself under a substantial amount of pressure, but a golfer of his unquestionable ability will always be competitive no matter what tournament he enters.



Like Conlan, Heffernan has been a World Champion and may well receive a retrospective bronze medal for his fourth place finish in the 50km walk in London 2012 due to the winner of that race getting banned for doping. Although 50 kilometres is his best distance the Cork man also has pedigree over 20km meaning he will have two chances of success this year. However, his recent injury issues might well be his biggest obstacle to putting on a good display in what could be a last hurrah for the 37 year old.

After coming agonisingly close to medal in London four years ago only to finish fourth in the Laser Redial discipline, sailor Murphy will be looking to make amends in Guanabara Bay this summer. Following the disappointment of 2012, the 25 year old Murphy picked herself up to win gold at the 2013 European Sailing Championships in her native Dublin. Although she has suffered some dips in form in the intervening period finishing only 20th in the 2014 World Championship, she has not yet guaranteed her position in Rio with the Irish Sailing Association’s trail series not reaching its conclusion until April. If she does make it as expected, it would be of no surprise if Annalise Murphy is in



As he mentions in his twitter bio despite his name, the 800 metre runner is actually Irish and has

In golf ’s first appearance at the Olympics, McIlroy will come to Brazil as one of the favourites.

contention to go one better than London and take home a medal.

KATIE TAYLOR Her record speaks for itself and it would be a foolish individual who bet against Katie Taylor extending her dominance in Women’s boxing by adding another gold to her medal collection which contains a baffling 5 World and 6 European titles along with her previous Olympic gold.

JO WARD The light heavyweight Jo Ward was somewhat unfortunate not to qualify for the previous Olympics but despite that disappointment the southpaw boxer has moved from strength to strength in recent years. A former World Youth Championship gold medallist, Ward became Ireland’s youngest ever European amateur boxing champion in 2011 at just 17 years old and is also the current reigning European Champion. On the world stage, he has gained a bronze medal in 2013 and a silver last year. There is no reason why he cannot match or even better these results at the Olympics.

Messi Wins his Fifth Ballon D’Or but Jimmy’s Hair is the Highlight By Padraic Ward A penny for Wayne Rooney’s thoughts, as he watched (yet again) the Ballon D’Or ceremony from the comfort of his luxurious Cheshire home earlier last week. For Wayne, the saddest part of last week’s ceremony was not the fact that he (yet again) failed to win the coveted prize but that Jimmy Nesbitt – our

A few days earlier Nesbitt made a guest appearance on a popular British chat show sporting his usual look of greying hair and receding hair line. In Zurich, before our eyes, Jimmy’s makeover came complete with a jet black mane atop of his temple that any virile, hormonal teenager would have been proud. The fact that an actor from Northern Ireland (with a new

Fear not, as overtly rich footballers with nonsensical fashion sense turned up in their droves, in garish garb to put all our minds at ease. Paul Pogba’s golden floral ensemble was a particular favourite of mine this year. host for the evening – has a better hair transplant surgeon that he does! And to add insult to Wayne’s long list of injuries this season, I bet it didn’t cost Jimmy £300,000. It was indeed a miraculous transformation.

hairstyle) was given the job of co-hosting only seemed to accentuate the strangeness of this year’s event. It was a FIFA event in name only. None of the usual FIFA protagonists attended – Sepp “I am

still FIFA President” Blatter and Jerome Valcke may have, ahem, misplaced their invitations. As a result, the audience both watching and in attendance may have felt a little uncomfortable as if though something was not quite right. But fear not, as overtly rich footballers with nonsensical fashion sense turned up in their droves, in garish garb to put all our minds at ease. Paul Pogba’s golden floral ensemble was a particular favourite of mine this year. The most unsurprising element of the evening came with the announcement of Lionel Messi as the best footballer in the world for 2015. In truth we’ve known this fact for some time. Not even the undoubted wizardry of Ronaldo or Neymar can dispute his genius. With his quintuplet of wins in the Ballon D’Or he is without equal, underlining his greatness and reemphasising his claim to be the greatest footballer the world has ever seen.

Anyone who was privileged to watch Messi in the first half of 2015 will attest to his greatness. One particular moment stands out of course; his wonder goal in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich. Lest we forget, Bayern are no slouches boding a number of World Cup winners in their ranks. Yet they were made to look like schoolboys by the Argentine’s brilliance. With a swift shimmy and side-step he left a hapless Jerome Boateng on his backside before deftly dinking the ball over a seated Manuel Neuer. As Messi wheeled away in celebration the Bayern defenders looked like novice ice-skater floundering on an ice rink. This year’s award is a personal triumph for Messi himself. He has regained his rightful crown as the world’s best footballer having lost the title to Ronaldo in 2012. He has experienced, by his own standards, a chastening time following Argentina’s loss in

the World Cup final and come out bigger, brighter and better on the other side. While his performance against Munich may be the performance that springs most easily to mind when we think of a vintage Messi in 2015, his performances throughout the first half of 2015 were simply mesmeric. In a team of absolute superstars he is the beacon that shines brightest, the essential cog in that silk Catalonian machine. It’s his all-round game that marks him out as the best – his passing, his dribbling, his speed, his control in tight situations and his unnerving ability to flummox the most experienced defenders. This year and indeed in many other years he is simply without equal. Messi will be 29 in June and although it may not seem so at the minute, he is immortal. As such, we should kneel at the altar of his brilliance whilst we still can. But what about Jimmy’s hair?

SPORT   29

January 26 2016

ITV deal needs to bring back the fun in Horse Racing By Tadhg Evans They say facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable. Never was this truer than when graphs and pie charts were placed before the men and women that have orchestrated Channel 4’s racing coverage since 2013. A more desperate exhibition of cherry-picking is unlikely to be seen so vividly again, and with a US presidential election looming, that’s really saying quite something. Remarkably, not all of the recorded data suggested that Channel 4 Racing’s product was in need of instantaneous, boundless surgery. More remarkably still, their public relations team managed to find these positive details, buried under a waste pile of conclusive, damning indicators. There’s no point in relaying these silver linings, as they would only complicate a pretty straightforward story. Channel 4 Racing’s popularity had plunged since the management of its production was snatched from Highflyer and transferred to IMG, and it was this switch that apparently aided ITV’s bid to secure racing’s TV rights from 1 January 2017. Ratings disasters became a constant over these last three years, never more evident than on racing’s biggest days. The BBC attracted 1.1 million viewers to its last broadcast of the British Champions Day, a fig-

ure that almost triples what Channel 4 roped in for the 2015 edition of the end-of-season highlight. The bar charts illustrating Royal Ascot’s viewing figures on its new televisual home were only half as tall as those recorded by the BBC, while the 2015 Derby had never been watched from fewer sofas in all the years of TV cameras rolling into the Epsom Downs. Statistics are pliable, but not that pliable. A dip on these days would have been expected following the complete handover of terrestrial rights to the channel. Humans are creatures of habit, and turning to the BBC is a natural tendency for most Brits. But an absolute collapse could only have been predicted by scaremongers who were right through fluke rather than any expertise in fortune telling. Despite a lack of blanket coverage until 2013, Channel 4 has been the home of British horseracing since 1984. In that time, the public regularly engaged with pundits and presenters who could provide insight and fun in equal measure, in a restoring contrast to the stuffy approach of BBC coverage that did little to paint the sport in a light that suggested it belonged to the people. But just as the channel secured a coup in 2012 that shook the sport by ending the BBC’s long association with horse racing, capitulation followed almost immediately.

Jim McGrath’s brilliant comrade Channel 4 has been hurtling the challenges facing a game that John Francome was jocked off in towards its finish line for three years was able to enjoy remarkable covfavour of the universally unpopu- now, and it really needn’t have hap- erage in an era where most sports lar Graham Cunningham, Derek pened. Though ITV offered £30 only had their premier events made Thompson’s bumbling brand million pounds in order to secure available to TV audiences. of fun was silenced indefinitely, coverage without competition, Irish racing fans are also largely while renowned journalist Alastair Racecourse Media Group’s Richard dependent on what UK terrestrial Down and the excellent Mike Cat- Fitzgerald claims that the decision television can provide given RTÉ’s termole met the same fate as the to award them all of racing’s TV far less extensive coverage of racing. channel saw fit to guillotine a win- coverage was not based entirely Eamon Doggett of NUI Galway’s MA ning docket. on financials. in Writing explained that he is fearThe decision to shear themselves of John The bar charts illustrating Royal Ascot’s viewing McCririck’s wild side locks may have been figures on its new televisual home were only half as forgivable, given the tall as those recorded by the BBC, while the 2015 shamelessly outdated pundit’s obnoxious lack of manner, but sadly sex- Derby had never been watched from fewer sofas in ism and bigotry don’t all the years of TV cameras rolling into the Epsom always turn viewers away in clusters. The channel’s Downs. Statistics are pliable, but not that pliable. new appointments managed just that. Informative, intelligent comThough that strikes as some- ful of the fact that providers such ment never suffered under the likes thing of a novel concept in today’s as Virgin don’t include ITV in their of Nick Luck, Clare Balding and world, reports suggesting that SKY packages, while ITV4 is even less Rishi Persad, none of whom could offered even more cash but were accessible to viewers on this side ever face allegation of having no hampered by their lack of audience of the Irish Sea. love for the sport. But considering pulling power tells us that maybe, For the sport’s dwindling selfthat the audience of racing ano- just maybe, you can still find some esteem to be boosted at all, the 34 raks was already being catered to morals in top level sports manage- days of premier coverage available by the devoted duo of At The Races ment. on ITV’s main channel from 2017 and Racing UK, IMG’s decision to The ITV deal has been met with urgently needs to at least trounce replace the proven old combo of understandable apprehension the ratings reeled in by Channel knowledge and fun with an over- given that 60 of their 94 days of 4 since 2013. They can begin that powering serving of information broadcasting will be screened on process by restoring some much without mixer was always predes- the traditionally less magnetizing needed fun to terrestrial coverage tined to fail. ITV 4. That’s largely indicative of of UK racing.

Premier League Needs to Stop Playing ‘Bop It’ By Maurice Brosnan There is a children’s electronic game that many will be familiar with called ‘Bop It’. It is essentially a controller which gives the user various audio instructions to perform some act on that controller, twisting or pulling or ‘bopping’ it. A user does not know the order the instructions will be given or how many times each input will appear but the number of options is finite. We know what we’re going to get but not when or how many times. Premier League managers are a lot like bop it. If we take clubs outside the top five or six, the medium clubs, it seems that every time there is a job vacancy the same names are touted as replacements. Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes, theses English managers who periodically enjoy good runs but generally operate in mediocrity are fired and hired year by year by clubs of similar stature and size.

Crystal Palace part ways with Ian Holloway (also English and regularly linked with ordinary

Redknapp have actually successfully developed a club beyond relative expectations.

If we take clubs outside the top five or six, the medium clubs, it seems that every time there is a job vacancy the same names are touted as replacements. Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes... English managers who are fired and hired year by year. clubs, perhaps a feature on a lesser, bargain buy Bop it) and hire Tony Pulis. Pulis leaves, so Neil Warnock is hired, Warnock leaves and Bop It screams ‘Pardew it’ so Alan Pardew moves from Newcastle, and is subsequently replaced by another familiar face Steve McClaren. These managers are as common as rain in Galway and do a fine job for clubs like these, but none of them, Allardyce, Steve Bruce, Harry

This seasons demonstrates the kind of manager who is capable of that. Leicester, Spurs and West Ham abandoned the managerial merry go round and looked to appoint similarly unproven yet as it currently stands successful appointments. In came Claudio Raneri to the dastardly delight of the English media who saw it as an utterly moronic appointment, yet they currently stand tied on points with Arsenal at the top

of the table. Tottenham Hotspurs hired Maurico Pochettino and he transferred them into a defensively sound, consistent and hard working side, the most ‘un-spurs like’ team ever. He was hired by Southampton who faced much criticism for firing Nigel Adkins and hiring an Argentinian who didn’t speak English. West Ham get rid of Sam Allardyce and appoint Slaven Bilic. Each of these managers in turn is good for the English game, under Raneri Jamie Vardy excelled and his remarkable improvement elevated to another level. Pochettino’s influence has seen Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Ryan Mason all develop. At West Ham Aaron Cresswell has flourished to become an extremely talented left-back. Much of the current English stock are stereotypically English football produce. Reliable, working class football men who can forage admirable consistency but incapable of mustering a challenge to real stardom.

Interestingly, if one was to look at the pass completion success rate for the entire history of the Premier League, the bottom 24 teams are all managed by British managers. Tony Pulis, Steve Bruce, Sam Allardyce, Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp all feature. This is not necessarily a bad thing it demonstrates a certain style of football that is prevalent amongst these Bop It features. It is a style that can grind out results but no team will ever truly excel from it. Swansea look set to stick with Alan Curtis as their next manager, in a similar move as Norwich who hired Alex Neil, promoting a young coach to the top job. It is certainly a gamble, but the drawback of Bop It has and always will be that you know exactly what you’re going to get, it can never improve on that. If these middling clubs want to truly capitalise on the increase revenue available via television deals, a unique approach at the helm could well be the answer.


Sin Vol. 17 Issue 08

Much in store for sporting fans in a jam-packed 2016 calendar By Tadhg Evans As if a summer offering Olympic and European Football Championship action wasn’t enough, 2016 maintains the usual highlights from the worlds of tennis, rugby, snooker, GAA, golf and horseracing, amongst many more helpings besides. Here’s the best of what we can look forward to over the coming year. FEBRUARY: RUGBY (SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP)

It’s almost compulsory to note European Rugby’s principal international tournament as the sporting highlight of the spring, but in the aftermath of a World Cup dominated by Southern Hemisphere nations, the build-up period to the Six Nations Championship of 2016 is set to provide a more sombre experience than usual. Though the competition could reasonably be seen as a drawnout play-off to decide who the fifth best team in the world is, it will be intriguing to see what the North’s abysmal World Cup travails will have on its oft-conservative brand of rugby. It would be disappointing if some harsh lessons won’t have been soaked in for the betterment of European Rugby. The Six Nations commences on 6 February, with the fifth and final round of matches taking place on March 9th. MARCH: HORSERACING (CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL)

Willie Mullins’ dominance of the 2015 extravaganza bordered on outright ownership of jump racing’s foremost festival, and if his stranglehold loosens even slightly in 2016, Prestbury Park’s concrete might crack under the strain of bookmakers collapsing to their knees in jubilation.

Mullins will saddle the favourite in the vast bulk of the festival’s most lucrative races, while the sport’s premier trophy, the Gold Cup, might finally schedule an overdue trip to his base in Muine Bheag, County Carlow. While the fabulous Vautour may now swerve the demanding race in favour of a tilt at the Ryanair Chase, Djakadam and Don Poli both look like potent candidates to take one of the few crowns that has continued to elude their decorated trainer. APRIL: SNOOKER (WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP)

Few sporting venues are as venerable as Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, and nowhere is better equipped to showcase this unparalleled test of both skill and nerve. Though the build-up will inevitably be at the mercy of perennial media favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan, the Englishman will be hard pressed to ward off the intensity of Mark Selby, Judd Trump, UK Champion Neil Robertson, and even a resurgent John Higgins. Defending champion Stuart Bingham’s form this season has been less than ordinary, and a replay of his fairy-tale win in 2015 looks less likely with each clatter of a cue ball. MAY: FOOTBALL (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL)

The Champions League is the greatest of football’s many money spinners, but its lucre has at least been built on a foundation of breath-taking excitement and quality. Barcelona’s sumptuous footballing product would make them a relatively popular set of winners should they defend their title, with their sternest examination

likely to be provided by Bayern Munich. The Champions League has cruelly exposed the shortcomings of England’s top teams over these last few seasons, and the unlikely scenario of a European Champion emerging from the Premier League would be well paired with the sight of pigs soaring across the skies of Milan on the night of May 28th. JUNE – JULY: FOOTBALL (EURO 2016)

The World Cup is a week too long for anyone sane-minded and accommodates about eight teams too many. Conversely, the European Championship was ‘just right’, to quote the infamous Goldilocks in the minutes before she was brutally murdered by three bears. Enter Michel Platini, who spearheaded the move towards a new 24-team format that debuts this coming summer, thus ensuring that the European Championship is a week too long for anyone sane-minded, and accommodates about eight teams too many. But all that hardly matters as the Republic of Ireland have qualified. The draw for the finals was even more exasperating than what was faced in order to make it to France in the first case, and anything less than a victory against Sweden in our first game might very well sign our death warrant after just ninety minutes of action. But as EURO 2012 proved, failure will never stand in the way of the craic, and though an early exit will be difficult to swerve, the feverish build up will be followed by a terrific month of football, with or without serious Irish contention.


The Olympic Flame will dock at a South American base for the first time this summer as the world’s grandest sporting spectacle unfolds in the legendary Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. As is the case at every Olympiad, most fanaticism will be centred on the track and field, and the most recent set of scandals served up by the incompetent IAAF will test our trust in every single medal awarded at Rio’s Joao Havalenge athletics stadium – suitably named ‘in honour’ of a former FIFA president scarred by allegations of corruption. RTÉ will surely devote many hours of coverage to events in the boxing ring, wherein most Irish interest will understandably lie given our laudable exploits in major championships gone by. SEPTEMBER: GAA (ALLIRELAND SENIOR FINALS)

The football championship is a depressing afterthought in comparison to what it was as recently as five years ago, and the likelihood of Kilkenny’s hurlers being outfought and outthought looks as remote as it has at any point over the last three years of their latest commanding generation. 2015 handed us a particularly mundane summer of inter-county fare, and the many neutrals who love the GAA might secretly be praying for a Mayo triumph in the football championship, as well as a hurling season akin to 2013’s. The ‘dreams versus reality’ illustration drawn up by Father Ted Crilly comes to mind, and chances are that reality will have Dublin and Kilkenny signing another twelve month lease of our sport’s main trophies come September.


Darren Clarke will be captaining a European team bidding for an eighth victory in nine stagings of the beloved contest. Professional golf is an overwhelmingly solitary venture, making the Ryder Cup something of an oddity, but that only cements its reputation as one of the most enjoyable events in golf, and indeed sport as a whole. Europe’s last raid on American soil concluded with one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history, as the visitors overcame a 10-6 deficit ahead of an absorbing final day to claim victory by a single point. Many bridges need to be crossed before both teams are named, but with the sides currently inseperable in the betting, similar drama can reasonably be expected. The 2016 staging of the biennial battle takes place at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota, with the opening matches of the three-day duel teeing off on September’s last day. THE WINTER MONTHS: RUGBY (THE NOVEMBER INTERNATIONALS)

Amidst the usual heady mix of horse-racing, Premier League football, darts and club championship action that enlivens the darkest days of the year, a visit in November by the superlative New Zealand All-Blacks peers first from under the blanket. The form of rugby’s national teams ebbs and flows with regularity, but All-Black brilliance is one of its few constants. The most unenviable of unenviable tasks will be preceded by a test against modest Canadian opposition, while the series concludes against an Australian team who impressed so notably at the recent World Cup.

Can the underdogs prove fruitful this sporting year? By Aonghus Ó Maicín There’s no doubt that 2015 was a year to remember in sport. From Shane Long sending shockwaves down the Rhine to arguably the best Rugby World Cup of all time, 2015 had it all. Moving onto this year, we are sure to have yet another year of aching groins, whether it be leaping off your sofa or bouncing up and down in the stands. Many of us are susceptible to the odd bet from time to time but who can we rely on to deepen our pockets this year? In this article, we take a look at some of the underdogs worth noting in some of this year’s biggest events.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place on 18 March and indeed the field is bustling with talent. Djakadam, Don Cossack and Don Poli are early favourites in the betting but Cue Card is a force to be reckoned with and deserves consideration. He has been in tremendous form as of late, most recently winning the King George VI Chase on St. Stephen’s Day. He beat the well-respected Vantour, trained by Willie Mullins, in a photo finish. Vantour is also running in the Gold Cup this year and it might also be worth throwing an eye over him. In the All-Ireland Hurling Championship, Kilkenny and Tipperary are expected to dominate and probably

go all the way. Donal Óg Ó Cusack is sure to re-energise a vibrant Clare panel and along with Davy Fitzgerald’s charisma, they could go a long way late in the summer. In the All-Ireland Football Championship, it is hard to look past either Dublin or Kerry. Tyrone reached an All-Ireland semi-final last year only to lose out to a very mature and efficient Kerry team. It was probably just a little early for the Ulster men but they proved that they have the ingredients to go all the way in the future; tied in with the fact that they have one of the most successful GAA managers of all time in Mickey Harte at the helm.

Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the two biggest names by a considerable distance in Golf. As they battle it out at the top of the World Rankings, we are likely to see many duels this coming year. The Open is the highlight of the year for many golfing enthusiasts this side of the Atlantic and the two youngsters are as expected favourites to take home the Claret Jug. Outside these two, Irishman Padraig Harrington is worth following. The two-time winner knows exactly what it takes to win a major on a links course and is hitting some good form with a solid start to the season.

Let’s face it; the Boys in Green probably won’t be coming home with silverware from Euro 2016. Many of us have already come to terms with this well-established fact but if you want to ease the frustration a little, the Azzurri may prove profitable. Italy last won the European Championship in 1968 but the four-time World Cup winners understand that they have a tradition to maintain. The finalists from 2012 will be determined to go one step further this year. There’s no denying that we can bank on an exhilarating year of sport.


January 26 2016


Chasers of Little Consequence in the Modern Game


rounds have been completed, just 15 remain, and Hufflepuff sit six wins clear of their nearest challenger, Slytherin. The long-suffering Badgers haven’t been champions at Hogwarts since 1975/76, and historically stand out as by far the weakest of the four houses in terms of Quidditching tradition. But for all that, it’s hard to feel enthused by their march towards only their fifth championship. It bugs me that a team with the weakest stable of chasers in the league can be so utterly dominant. With Quaffle-in-hand, Hufflepuff have been truly awful this season. Their chasers have so far registered a pass completion rate of 0.610 in 2015/16, the lowest in the league by a distance, while their throwing has been little better. In terms of shooting, Hufflepuff also prop up the league in pre-snitch points scored, and shot accuracy (which stands at an appalling rate of 0.581). Conversely, Ravenclaw’s red-ballers have been a revelation, topping the league on all the aforementioned counts. Yet it’s counted for precious little, as the Ravens have lost 23 of their 27 fixtures so far, and even a clean-sweep of their last fifteen matches would not land them a first title since 2011. If we’re being honest with ourselves, chasers are redundant in today’s game, and will remain so for as long as the

Quidditch Association bury their heads in the sand. Barring a spate of epic matches between now and April, 2015/16 will set a record for the shortest match length average in the competition’s history, and the eleventh consecutive seasonal drop in average match length. Brooms are getting faster, the snitch isn’t, and it’s taking less time than ever for seekers to grab their target. Go back ten years, and an uninterrupted night of Quidditch would have required its viewers to free their schedules for at least three hours. In 2015/16, only three of 54 matches have exceeded the three-hour barrier in duration. On average, just over 220 combined points have been registered by the time the snitch is captured across 2015/16’s games, rendering the contest between opposing sets of chasers virtually pointless. The 150 points awarded to team who grab the snitch was a figure that made sense in a bygone era where teams were consistently capable of building leads well in success of that mark. In short, chasers mattered. Nowadays, if they didn’t take flight at all it would hardly impact on the shape of a season. The Badgers’ first choice seeker Gerry Diggory has remained injury-free, and his conversion rate of 0.917 in terms of catch/chance completion at this point of the season is ludicrously brilliant. But

while it’s an impressive stat, it’s never been easier to be a seeker than it is in today’s game, and the old saying that ‘anything above a 0.600 rate will set you apart’ is laughably outdated. With the brooms they fly nowadays, anything less than 0.750 just won’t cut it. So what are the consequences of all this? Ten years ago, it would have been unimaginable for a team with chasers as mundane as Hufflepuff’s current batch to be part of a table-topping side, let alone a team that’s six games clear with just 15 remaining. Young players with crisp passing and excellent throwing accuracy are reluctant to take up the chasing role that they’re clearly suited to, knowing that wages for top level chasers are falling further and further back from what seekers and even keepers and beaters can earn. Chasing is a dying art. The solution? A reduction in value of the snitch seems more feasible than an enforcement of speed limits, while a faster snitch might be disastrous for a game that’s becoming so quick that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to follow for viewers. Whatever’s the best remedy, if nothing is done then surely we’re heading into an era where Quidditch is effectively a four-man game in which chasers are little more than an annoyance. That would be the greatest shame in the game’s lengthy history.

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It’s good to be back after the Christmas holidays, isn’t it? I’m a little bit plump on mince pie crumbs, which I stole from poor PhD students who remained in the college over the Christmas period to catch up on their theses and what not. But now we’re trying to stick to New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided I’m going to walk across Smokey’s instead of flying; I’m going to swap the Tayto crumbs for popcorn kernels where I can find them, and apple seeds if I can get hold of them. Most importantly, I’m going to do a bit of travelling. I hear there’s a lovely café called Zinc over in the Engineering Building. I’ve never been to ENG – I hear it’s a lovely continent, so I might take a trip there for a weekend.