Who are you bringing home tonight?
A good kind of Country
New campaign aims to get everyone home safe.
We talk to Rackhouse Pilfer ahead of their Monroe’s gig.
Who are you voting for?
FREE STUDENT NEWSPAPER | VOL 17, ISSUE 10 | 1 MARCH 2016
MAKE-OVERS FOR CHARITY
NUI Galway’s new on-campus barber gives students the chop for charity
By Georgia Feeney The Students’ Union held their annual shave or dye event in the college bar on Tuesday 16 February. Students were asked to volunteer either their heads or their time to collect money and sell raffle tickets. The newly-opened, on-campus ‘Grafton Barber’ kindly provided their services to do the shaving and hair-dying for the brave volunteers. The Grafton Barber opened its doors on the same day, with Laurence Kinlan (better known as Elmo from Love/Hate) cutting the ribbon. There was a great atmosphere on the day, with the bar full of eager lads and ladies ready to be made over. In charge of entertainment for the fundraiser was MC Steve Bennett who provided the laughs and eased any nerves of the volunteers. A popular charity event, Shave or Dye did not disappoint, raising €1,497 for the chosen
charities and bringing the total amount raised so far to an impressive €18,158. The total amount raised last year was €12,500, so the Students’ Union have already raised €5,658 more for this year’s chosen charities. Students’ Union President Phelim Kelly was very happy with how the event went, saying: “We were delighted with the success of our Shave or Dye event this year. There was a huge amount of support from students at NUI Galway volunteering to shave or dye (or both in some cases!) and students also volunteered to sell raffle tickets and shake buckets on the day.” The SU has been very busy and proactive this year in their methods of fundraising. When asked why they felt a Shave or Dye event would be popular, Mr Kelly replied: “Shave or Dye is a huge flagship event for the Irish Cancer Society every year and we were delighted to organise the event to raise money for their vital work in the fight against cancer.”
The SU is definitely having an impact on its students with each event highlighting more and more the importance of supporting this charity. The fundraising doesn’t stop here though. The SU still has a couple more events lined up before the end of the semester. The Charity Croagh Patrick Climb takes place on Saturday 5 March and there will be a charity comedy gig with Kevin McGahern and Fred Cooke on Monday 7 March, so be sure to keep an eye out for tickets. All proceeds raised from these events will go to the Irish Cancer Society and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre. The Students’ Union would also like to thank all the students, the College Bar staff and the staff at the Grafton Barber for all their support on the day. You can find the Grafton Barber on Twitter (@GraftonBarber) and Facebook. More importantly, you can find the barber itself in beside the Students' Union Shop.
As the SU Elections draw closer, we interview all the candidates. See pullout.
Students outraged as NUI Galway raises repeat fees by ¤100 By Sorcha O’Connor and Jessica Thompson Students who are looking at repeat exams in August this year have been hit hard with an increase in fees, following an announcement by the university last week. An e-mail was circulated on Thursday 25 February, informing NUI Galway students that repeat fees would go from €195 to €295. The e-mail read: “I write to advise you that in December 2015 the Governing Authority, following a detailed review, increased the fee for repeat examination. The repeat examination fee has been increased to €295 (from €195) bringing it into line with average repeat fee levels in other Irish Universities. “This change is effective from summer 2016 and will only impact you if you find yourself in the situation of having to repeat your examinations.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President Phelim Kelly was outraged by the raise in the fees: “I cannot believe the absolute ludicrous proposal of increasing the repeat exam fees by more than 50%,” he said. “NUI Galway’s email to communicate this change was nothing short of a farce evasion of students’ needs at a time when students have experienced much hardship, be that financial or with their mental health.” He said he had to deal with “an unbearable amount” of students last year, as Vice President/Education Officer, who were dealing with mental health issues caused by the stress of repeat exams: “There is absolutely no justification from the University for this raise in fees,” he continued. “The email correspondence sent around was a joke which to me was like saying ‘P.S.: we are raising your fees but you’re grand if you haven’t failed’. “In what world is a 50% increase remotely acceptable? Students don’t want to have to come back in autumn for what can only be described as a horrific and strenuous experience when anxiety literally brings you to breaking point.” Kelly also questioned what exactly the money would be used for: “The University has not so much as mentioned why they are increasing the fees, what the justification for raising them is or what they plan to do with this surmountable cash,” he said. “What is going to change with the increase in repeat fees?” Continued on page 2
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Fine Gael and Labour’s support drops significantly in General Election 2016 By Tomás M. Creamer The 2016 General Election took place in the context of most economic figures in Ireland – such as unemployment and economic growth itself – increasingly going in the right direction, with a continual reduction in unemployment resulting in an overall rate of 8.6 percent as of last January, and a 6.7 percent increase in GDP last year. Unlike the previous Dáil, there will only be 158 deputies elected to come together to help form a Government, as opposed to the former 166. But despite the efforts of Students’ Unions nationwide to increase political participation on behalf of their students, and a visible increase in the number of students and young people registered to vote, the turnout rate for the 2016 Election actually fell from the 2011 General Election – from 70 percent to 65.2 percent. At the time of publication, there was no breakdown of voter demographics available, nor was there any consensus as to why voter turnout had declined over this period of time. But what was abundantly clear was that this election’s results constitute a very poor showing for both Fine Gael and Labour – both
of whom, in the majority of cases, underperformed relative to their ratings in the opinion polls released in the days leading up to the election itself – with Fine Gael currently on 25.5 percent (i.e. of overall first preference votes), and Labour on just 6.6 percent. While the prospective Dáil’s seat-by-seat breakdown was not available at the time of publication, the Sunday Independent’s projection (made on 28 February) allocated 51 seats to Fine Gael, and only five for Labour: a reduction of 25 and 32 seats from their respective seat totals of 2011. On the other hand, Sinn Féin saw an increase in their support, but only obtained 13.8 percent of the overall vote, compared to the 15.2 percent they achieved in the 2014 Local Elections, and well down on the 16-20 percent range that the party had been achieving in opinion polls in the last week lead-in to the election itself. They are projected to win approximately 24 seats across the country, compared to the 14 they won in 2011. Fianna Fáil also had a good election, managing to outperform the pre-election polls to achieve 24.3 per cent of the vote, compared
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to the 17.4 percent they managed to scrape together in their disastrous performance in the 2011 election. They are projected to more than double their seat numbers, potentially winning 44 seats (a giant leap from their seat total of 20 in 2011). And at the time of writing, there is even the possibility that they might have managed to win more seats than Fine Gael. Overall, however, it is a variety of Independent candidates and smaller parties who collectively achieved the biggest gains since the 2011 General Election, with 43.6 percent of the electorate voting in their favour rather than that of the State’s four largest parties (Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, and Labour). Some of the smaller parties, such as the Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance - People Before Profit grouping, and the Green Party, managed to win a small number of seats; however, Renua Ireland’s leader Lucinda Creighton failed to secure re-election in Dublin South Central. Speaking to Sin’s Editor Jessica Thompson, USI Vice President for the Border, Midland, and Western Regions Feidhlim Seoighe said: “It's apt
that, on the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, it looks like the old political stronghold, the rivalry of the Civil War parties, seems to have demised. “The emergence of the smaller parties, and Independents, is at the cost of the dismal display by Labour on polling day. “Akin to the Green Party’s performance in 2011, Labour will do well to even secure seven seats, which allows speaking rights in the Dáil. On the other hand, Sinn Féin will be delighted with this campaign, and are on course to have their highest number of seats in the Dáil since the 1922 election. “The next several weeks will be very interesting, and ahead of the first day of the 32nd Dáil, many will question if the Government that is formed will be able to last to the end of this year. “As for education, both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have not made a commitment to (either in favour of or against) the introduction of a student loan scheme, although there are many in Fianna Fáíl who oppose such a move. “Regardless, however, the USI will continue to work to ensure that our key asks, which have been outlined in our manifesto, will be included in the new Programme for Government.”
Students outraged as NUI Galway raises repeat fees by €100 Continued from page 1
As it stands, the repeat fee has been the same, whether students have failed one exam or all of their exams before Christmas, and the high price of repeating is something that will be tackled by whichever candidate is elected Education Officer to the Students’ Union this week (see our Elections Special pull-out for more information on this). In August 2015, the University’s Academic Standing Committee also introduced capping for repeat exams and assessments. This means that when students repeat their exams or assessments, the maximum mark they can be awarded is the pass mark for the module – that’s 40%. Capping is being phased in from the beginning of the 2015/2016 academic year and, according to the Academic Standing Committee, “the move will bring us into alignment with other universities across Ireland and the UK”. What this now means for students is that if you fail an exam or assessment and go on to repeat it, the highest mark you can achieve in that exam or assessment on most programmes is 40%. A petition has been started online to repeal the decision: “The students of NUIG cannot be expected to pay €295 for an exam that they can only reach a maximum of 40% in because of the capping introduced in September ,” say the creators of the petition.
“This information was sprung upon the students after the Christmas exams, meaning students who have failed any exams who would have originally been paying €195 are now expected to pay €295. “Some students have failed exams through no fault of their own. Family death and sickness can happen and, because of these events, students are now being forced to pay €295 to repeat these exams. “We want to abolish this fee increase as we are already being capped in our repeat exams.” At the time of print, the petition has almost 2,000 signatures, with many of those who signed expressing their outrage in comments. “This fee is ridiculous; students struggle enough as it is and it is put[ting] more pressure and stress on to students,” said one commenter. Another pointed out that if students were paying for a repeat assignment, they’re paying almost “€300 to hand in two sheets of paper”. “Students should not be exploited continuously by an uncaring college. NUI Galway has more students on the grant than any other university. This is shocking,” said another commenter. The Students’ Union will be doing everything in its power to fight and resolve this problem. If you would like to add your name to the petition, you can find it at https://goo.gl/TNjhXI.
March 01 2016
Don’t take off the political hats just yet… By Jessica Thompson Don’t you just love the smell of freshly-printed election posters in the morning? You’re all surely sick of elections by this stage, but with a fresh, new government in power after the General Election, it’s important to keep the political brains working for just a few more days. On Thursday, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for next year’s SU President, Welfare Officer and Education Officer, and you’ve got some incredibly hard-working candidates hoping for your vote. We’ve got a new government running the country and who knows what changes will come into effect? And with thousands and thousands of young people registering to vote over the past year, the student voice is one that demands more and more respect with each passing day. That’s why it’s important that you elect the right people into the Students’ Union. These people will represent you, care about you, and ensure that your needs are met by the new government. Not sure who to vote for? Don’t worry about it. You’ll see we’ve got an extra 16 pages this issue to help you decide. With the help of our Bae, Flirt FM (thanks for letting us use the studio, guys!), we’ve managed to interview all the candidates for this year’s election, so you’ve got all the information you need at your fingertips. You’re welcome. We’ve also covered the upcoming referenda on the decriminalisation of drugs, and the direct provision system, so be sure to find out the facts before you give your opinion on Thursday 3 March. This issue is one of my favourites so far, thanks to the fantastic effort put in by everyone who contributed. We’ve got some excellent news stories, features, lifestyle and sports. Neil and his team of entertainment writers are taking over the paper, with a whopping 11 pages this issue, and I’m very excited to welcome Timothée to the team as our staff photographer. You’ll see his snaps scattered throughout the paper. Ryan McGuinness deserves a special shout-out this issue: he’s one of our newest contributors, but if I had a euro for every time his name appears in these pages, I’d have enough tea money to last the week! Now stop hanging out on page three and get reading! Until next time, Jess @Jessicadotie
News Editor: Niamh Cullen Election fever is well and truly in play, both on and off campus. To keep you in the know, we’ve got the latest on nominations, candidate profiles, everything you need to know for voting and so much more in our SU Election Special. In our usual paper we’ve been working overtime to keep you packed with the latest happenings, from Daithí in the running at the upcoming Choice Music Prize, to our very own Shave or Dye on campus, coverage on 1916 research and events and much more. As always, we hope you enjoy!
Features Editor: Jenna Hodgins
It’s that time of year again: stress-central at Sin HQ, I mean the election special – the Students’ Union elections. By the time you’re reading this you will have already made your #SmartVote in the general election, so don’t forget to make another #SmartVote in our SU ones too. We have a debate on whether membership to Students’ Unions should be voluntary or not on page 7 of our Elections supplement. Have a read, and let us know your thoughts. On a less serious note, Dean Buckley will give you a laugh on page 3 of the supplement, with SU manifestos from an alternate universe. Also, who is this RON guy on your ballot paper? All will be revealed on page 4 of the supplement. At the time of writing this editorial, my laptop decided to go for a little snooze, so I’m (don’t judge) typing this on my phone, which is... well, turn to Margaret Langevin’s technology rant on page 8 and that’ll sum up my life right now. Enjoy this issue and happy voting everyone!
Lifestyle Editor: Sorcha O’Connor Lifestyle is jam-packed this issue: in a follow up from the last Sin, Jenna gives us her top tips for when we jet off on Ryanair’s best student friendly deals. We also have the best remedies for when your crowning glory isn’t cooperating from Heather Robinson and Jessica Hannon writes about how to have a good time in Galway without alcohol (needed after RAG week it could be assumed!). And if you are starting to see the assignments and study build up into a teetering pile, check out Jessica and Ryan McGuinness’ guides for getting your college game face on!
Sports Editor: Aonghus Ó’Maicín
No time for politics of any kind in this department. Our eyes are permanently fixed on the balls whether they’re round, oval, big or small. In this edition, we look into the life of a retired Irish giant while also examining the blossoming career of another future beast. No introductions needed there. As usual, we have a round-up of all the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon action as the College season draws to a close. If that doesn’t catch your fancy, why not read up on our NFL, boxing or Premier League coverage? It’s all around the corner on the back pages.
Staff Photographer: Timothée Cognard
This is my first contribution to Sin (many thanks to the awesome team of Sin) as a photographer. For this issue I covered some events from SHAG week and RAG week, as well as the launch of Blackstone... It was a great experience for me. I learned a new false friend (I am French): ‘burlesque’. When I agreed to cover the ‘burlesque’ Dirty Circus, I was convinced that it meant something close to ‘weird’, but I started doubting my understanding when some of the girls undressed. At least now I know the English meaning!
Entertainment Editor: Neil Slevin If you’re an abstract artsy type like me, then you’ll have had more than enough of all things election-based by now. With that in mind, this Entertainment section is chock-full of commentary, reviews, and previews relating to the latest and greatest entertainment news that Galway has to offer, not to mention further afield; with articles on gaming, theatre, music, and so much more, it has something for everyone. Also, check out this issue’s Resonate, where exceptionally talented snapper Luke Kennedy King exhibits a selection of his landscape photography. It’s not to be missed. I hope you enjoy it all. Best, Neil
Find us online:
Editor: Jessica Thompson email@example.com Layout: Shannon Reeves | contact via Ed. NEWS Niamh Cullen | firstname.lastname@example.org FEATURES Jenna Hodgins | email@example.com LIFESTYLE Sorcha O’Connor | firstname.lastname@example.org ENTERTAINMENT Neil Slevin | email@example.com SPORT Aonghus Ó’Maicín | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Over €1,000 raised for Students’ Union partner charities By Niamh Cullen Volunteers braved heavy wind and rain conditions to raise €1,478 for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and Irish Cancer Society. Members of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union carried out their traditional Annual Charity Collection Day, hitting the streets of Galway city on Saturday 6 February. Their efforts brought total raised funds for the Union’s two nominated charities to €16,661 so far this year, with the Shave or Dye event two weeks ago bringing it up to €17,870.
Collection boxes around campus, cute puppies, a llama, hairdressers, beauty therapists, dyed beards and table quizzes are just some of the things the Students’ Union utilised to raise money since the start of the academic year. The total has already surpassed the previous two years’ final amounts. In the 2014/2015 year, €12,500 was raised for Console and BeLonG To, while in 2013/2014, €11,000 was raised for Galway Rape Crisis Centre and the ISPCC. To date, the 2008/2009 academic year stands with the highest funds raised, with a staggering €32,500 donated to
CD’s Helping Hands, L’Arche, Galway Rape Crisis Centre and the Belarussian Orphanage Project. Since 2010, The Irish Cancer Society has invested over €14 million in cancer research thanks to the efforts of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union and other contributors. The charity’s night nurses have provided a staggering 7,956 nights of care to cancer patients and their families. Money raised for the Irish Cancer Society goes towards three key areas: their free nationwide information, support and care services; cancer research; and advocacy.
Galway Rape Crisis Centre has been a nominated charity of the NUI Galway’s Student’s Union four times since 2008. The organisation is dedicated to providing a professional, caring and confidential counselling and support service for those affected by sexual abuse and sexual violence, with one in five women and one in ten men in Ireland sexually assaulted. It is also an active member of the Regional Planning Committee working on the Taskforce on Violence Against Women, which works regionally along with other
non-governmental organisations and statutory agencies, to improve services in the area of violence against women. Events coming up this semester to further raise funds for the two charities include a Fire & Lego Walk in a date to be announced in March, a Charity Comedy Gig on Monday 7 March and an SU World Record Attempt in April. NUI Galway’s Students’ Union encourages all students to continue to attend events and donate at collection boxes around the university, in a bid to reach a significant fund for both charities by the end of the year.
USI calls on new Government to end zero-hour contracts and tackle unpaid internships The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is urging the next Government to end Zero Hour Contracts and take steps to tackle unpaid internships following the General Election. President of the USI Kevin Donoghue said students who are employed with zero hour contracts feel insecure and powerless at work, and called precarious work practices such as JobBridge and unpaid internships “exploitation of young workers”. “Zero hour contracts are a disservice to everyone involved. They erode stability and increase employment insecurity for employees,” said Mr Donoghue. “People who are contracted with low
hours can feel insecure and powerless at work. USI urges the next Government amend the Terms of Employment Information Acts 1994 – 2012 to require employers to provide a statement of working hours which are a true reflection of the hours required of an employee. “This requirement should also apply to people working non-guaranteed hours. Students and young people deserve to have the opportunity to work enough hours to be able to afford a decent standard of living.” USI is also calling on the new Government to legislate for abolition of unpaid internships in favour of a system that
enhances the experience of participants, improves quality and increases progression into secure and sustainable employment. The economic crisis of 2007 made a significant impact on the levels of youth unemployment. Young people on the live register trebled in just a three year period from 29,950 in May 2006 (CSO, 2006) to 95,746 by August 2009 (CSO, 2009). “The Government in 2009 imposed cuts in the Jobseekers Allowance for young people under the age of 26. However, the 2013 Budget saw similar cuts reach young people up to the age of 25 as a tactic to encourage young people to seek work. JobBridge started in 2011 as a
USI urges Government to hold referendum on Repealing the 8th The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is urging the next Government to commit to holding a referendum on repealing Article 40.3.3 (the Eighth Amendment) of Bunreacht na hÉireann. USI is urging the new Government to repeal the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and replace it with laws that ensure safe and legal access to abortion, at a minimum, in cases of rape, incest, risk to health or fatal foetal impairment; and to repeal the Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State for the Termination of Pregnancies) Act 1995 and any related censorship laws. USI has been in favour of pro-choice and campaigning for Irish abortion services since the early 80s. “USI’s involvement in the abortion debate in the past (with the SPUC vs. Grogan case) led to the change of legislation so that information about abortion could be distributed freely in the state,” said USI President Kevin Donoghue. “Irish women should have access to free, safe and legal abortion services, at the very least when a woman’s life is at risk – including from suicide, and in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. “Access to free, safe and legal abortions in Ireland is critical to advancing gender equality and the position of
temporary initiative which is becoming a permanent, defective and flawed programme,” said Mr Donoghue. A poll commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) found that 52 percent of young people felt exploited by the scheme (2014). As of January 8th 2015, there were a total of 36,434 jobseekers, 10,125 of whom were under the age of 25 who took part in JobBridge (Humphries, 2015). Participants in the National Internship Scheme receive an extra €50 per week with their social welfare. However, participants in the scheme struggle to meet the extra costs and found the sum of €50
to be inadequate to live (NYCI, 2015). 47 percent of interns do not receive any employment, while 14 percent receive employment on a part-time basis which is not sufficient to live in Cork, Galway or Dublin due to the cost of living. Just 27 percent receive fulltime employment (NYCI, 2015). 44 percent of interns agree that JobBridge is used solely for free labour with 13 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Young people feel JobBridge internships are pervasive, and lead to job displacement while stunting any job growth for entry-level graduates, especially with value for money (IMPACT, 2015).
Tim Murphy announced Convener of the College of Engineering and Informatics
women in Irish society. USI is calling on women,” said Mr Donoghue. the next government to put this to a referAbortion services are free for Dutch endum and let the Irish people decide.” citizens and the Netherlands has one of By Niamh Cullen The current legislation, which forces the lowest abortion rates in the world. women to travel abroad to access abor- The Netherlands also has free and widely Tim Murphy has been announced as tion services, makes abortion a class issue, available contraception. USI is stressing Convenor of the College of Engineering and inherently inaccessible to students. that low abortion rates go hand-in-hand and Informatics. His win comes following A recent SmartVote survey showed that with a low rate of unwanted pregnancy NUI Galway Students’ Union’s by-elec88% of users are in favour of abortion. UK because women are in control of their tion on Monday 15 February. The second year computer science Department of Health statistics show that own fertility and family planning. approximately one quarter student will hold of women who give Irish the position for the remainder of the acaaddresses when availing of abortion services in the demic year, joining UK are aged between the the Students’ Union ages of 18 and 24. Executive CommitYoung women from tee. He takes over from David Newell, a third lower socio-economic backgrounds are discrimyear Electronic and inated against because of Computer Engineertheir inability to afford the ing student. significant costs of travel“I am excited and ling abroad for an abortion. relieved at the same “The cost of travelling time to be elected. to the UK is too restrictive. I would definitely USI ROADSHOW: NUI Galway Students’ Union Welfare It is out of reach for many encourage others to Officer Jimmy McGovern; USI Vice President for the young women. The legal run for an SU position Border, Midlands and Western Region Feidhlim Seoighe; and to get involved,” penalties for abortion in USI President Kevin Donoghue; President of NUI Galway Ireland and a failure to prosaid Mr Murphy. Students’ Union Phelim Kelly; and USI Vice President for vide access to free, safe and He added that Welfare Aoife Ní Shúilleabháin bringing the SmartVote legal abortion has taken he hopes to improve Roadshow to NUI Galway ahead of the General Election. its toll on generations of communication
between students and staff in the College of Engineering and Informatics and be an advocate for better facilities for Engineering and IT Students. Tim has been highly involved in student affairs since he started in NUI Galway just under two years ago. He currently serves as a class rep for his year, as the Auditor of the Computer Society and as a Representative for the University Societies Coordination Group. “In my spare time you’ll find me involved in Societies and I am nearly always on campus,” he said. The Students’ Union Constitution states that “all members of the Executive Committee shall be elected by and from the full members of the Union in accordance with Schedule 1”. It is also a requirement that all candidates hold class rep positions to apply for nomination. All other elections are determined by the Elections Committee. Convener’s duties include acting as the chairpersons of each relevant College Class Representatives Council, representing their College’s class representatives and students at the Executive Committee and working with the Chairperson of Students’ Union Council.
March 01 2016
TAG TEAM: who are you taking home tonight? By Margaret Langevin A popular pub in Galway city is asking students who they are taking home at the end of the night. The Skeff Bar & Kitchen launched a campaign called Tag Team to help students and young people to get home safe on nights out. While it’s easy to get split up from friends on a night out, Tag Team is a way to encourage those going out on the town to buddy up with friends or a group and make sure everyone gets home safe. All a person has to do is go on to the Skeff Bar’s Facebook page, find the Tag Team app and tag friends. It allows those using the app to pick a designated place to meet at a certain time. The idea came from General Manager Brian O’Toole. He said all the increasing incidents of young people not returning home after nights out has prompted his staff to do something. “Our staff are mainly young adults and like all of us, they are affected by the perceived rise in missing persons especially after nights out,” Mr. O’Toole said. “Social media has raised the profile of these cases, but I found that it was a regular topic of conversation during staff meetings and generally during the working day. So I asked, ‘what can we do?’” The staff came up with Tag Team which will run during February and March. The Skeff isn’t only opening this to Galway students, but is encouraging people from all around Ireland to join the campaign. NUI Galway Students’ Union Welfare Officer Jimmy McGovern, spoke out about the campaign, saying it adds emphasis on how important student safety needs to be.
“Students walking home alone at night or venturing off from their group, is a time where they are most vulnerable. So we are urging students to make safety their number one priority, and to look out for each other when socialising at night,” he said. “It is important to never assume that friends got home safely on their own, always find a way to contact them and ask. The Tag Team Facebook App is a fantastic initiative to ensuring students are in contact with one another as a means of returning home safely.” To set up a tag team you must log onto The Skeff Bar Facebook App, share it on your
Facebook profile and tag the friends you want to be part of your team. By signing up to the Facebook App you are entered into a draw to win two tickets to Sea Sessions. Students are encouraged to discuss nights out with their chosen tag team and plan ahead who they will go home with so everyone gets home safely. Join the Tag Team Thunderclap campaign which shares public safety messages around safe nights out, and be an advocate for the campaign. Update your Facebook profile photo to the Tag Team campaign logo and spread the message with your friends.
Calling all interested in film, media studies and human rights By Ryan McGuinness
Amy Kelly, Mary Brennan and SU Welfare Officer Jimmer McGovern launching #TagTeam.
#LoveIrishResearch celebrates significant Irish research By Margaret Langevin Ireland has a lot to offer, but some achievements may not be celebrated and acknowledged as much as they deserve to be. To counter this the Irish Research Council is hoping in 2016 higher education institutions, public bodies and individuals get involved in #LoveIrishResearch. The hashtag represents a year-long initiative to increase public awareness of important research conducted in higher education institutions throughout the country. Chair of the Irish Research Council Professor Jane Ohlmeyer said there is a low level of public awareness in Ireland’s research achievements. She hopes this increased recognition will allow towns and cities throughout the country to celebrate past and present those significant attainments across multiple fields. “Research conducted in higher education institutions, such as National University of Ireland Galway and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) have enhanced our understanding of the world and led to the development of new ideas that impact on all our lives, but this is not often celebrated or publicly acknowledged,” she said.
Marie Whyte, Console’s Counselling Manager also encourages people to use Tag Team because it could help a person’s mental health. “I think this is a positive campaign and will create awareness around the importance of not only keeping yourself safe, but to also look out for the welfare of your friends. Many people who self-harm are under the influence of alcohol/drugs,” she said. The Console 24-hour Suicide Freephone Helpline is available to anyone who might like to talk to a professional counsellor on 1800 247 247.
Professor Ohlmeyer said #LoveIrishResearch will demonstrate to the people of Galway why research matters, and how it benefits everyday lives. “Ireland punches significantly above its weight across a range of research disciplines and, historically, we have a hugely impressive record in terms of research discoveries and breakthroughs,” Professor Ohlmeyer said. Listed among the top one percent of researchers practising worldwide are 11 Irish diplomats. Overall, Ireland is in ninth place on the most recent Thomson-Reuters InCities global scientific rankings. In a number of disciplines including nanoscience, nanotechnology, immunology, computer sciences, and neurosciences and behaviour, Ireland ranks in the top five. In relation to the arts and humanities, Irish universities rank amongst the top 100 in the world. “For a country of this size, these are major achievements. Add to that the historic accomplishments of researchers such as Robert Boyle, George Boole, John Tyndall and Kathleen Lonsdale, and it is clear that Ireland and Galway have a rich legacy of ground-breaking research,” Professor Ohlmeyer commented. Discover Ireland was the first publication
produced as part of the initiative. The book explores the role of discovery research, celebrating the achievements of significant Irish scientists and highlighting the fundamental research currently underway in Ireland. The book covers everything from how solar storms on the sun disrupt communications networks on earth, to how cells die and the implications for resistant cancers where the normal cell death process is disrupted. #LoveIrishResearch will be made up of showcase events, competitions and awards, engagement with international events being hosted in Ireland, a Decade of Centenaries programme, monthly research themes and a series of publications. The initiative was launched in January by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation TD Damien English. “The Government’s research strategy Innovation 2020: Excellence, Talent, Impact positions Ireland as a global innovation leader, with our research efforts driving a strong sustainable economy and a better society,” Mr English said. “By 2020, we are committed to seeing public and private investment in research reaching 2.5 per cent of GNP, with 40,000 research personnel working in enterprise.”
Do you have an interest in film, media studies or human rights? If so, this may be for you. The call for applications for the 11th Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy Summer School is now open. The programme is aimed at students and young professionals of human rights in the film, media and advocacy sectors who wish to broaden their understanding on the connection between each category, and to share and develop ideas on a personal human rights film project. It will take place at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media right beside NUI Galway. This year the school will host eleven sessions, a practical workshop and a series of screenings and discussions combining human rights expertise, film studies and video advocacy strategies. Within the programme, the school’s aims include raising awareness on sensitive human rights issues analysed through the camera lens, bringing participants and professional practitioners together from all over the world and informing professionals from both the human rights sector and the cinema industry. It also teaches participants to develop their ideas into projects while guiding them on how to pitch them. If you wish to further your knowledge in any of these fields, this course is worth your time. The programme is only for ten days from 16 to 25 June and in that short period you hear from many experts in human rights, film studies and video advocacy. This course will also strengthen your future projects and show you how film can have a positive effect on the world. The closing date for applications is 30 April, so if you’re around for the summer and are interested, get booking now! You can apply at http://www.chra.ie/apply.php, while further information can be found at www.chra.ie, or if you have any queries, the programme’s email is email@example.com. You can also visit the Facebook page by simply searching “Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy.”
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Former IRA Volunteer to attend peace seminar in NUI Galway By Cathal Kelly While a huge amount of attention has been, and will be, given to commemorating and reflecting upon the centenary of the Easter Rising, 2016 also marks the 35th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes which took place in the H blocks of the long Kesh detention centre, known popularly as the maze prison. One of the IRA volunteers who took part in the Hunger strike will be attending a seminar taking place in NUI Galway entitled ‘An Interview with Laurence McKeown’. The event will take place on Thursday 3 March from 6.30pm to 8pm at the Aras Moyola Lecture Theatre. Mr McKeown, who is an Irish author, playwright, screenwriter, and former volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), will be attending the event as part of a seminar that looks to examine issues surrounding the theme of memory, commemoration and the legacy of the past. The event will be organised by the Power, Conflict and Ideologies research cluster of the School of Political Science and Sociology in NUI Galway. He will be interviewed by Doctor Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the NUI Galway. The event was organised by Giada Laganda with assistance bring provided by Liam Farrell, Gary Hussey and Martin Javornicky to organise the event.
“I met Laurence last year and we started to work together on an article I wrote, in which his interview was the main source. I met him again in September; we were both invited to a conference in Rennes and I then asked him if he would be willing to come to Galway. He has been happy to do so,” said Giada Laganda. “When I finally presented the proposition to the Cluster, all the members supported the idea. I took the charge of the organization, under the supervision of Niall O Dochartaigh my supervisor, and Liam, Gary and Martin volunteered to help me. Also Katherine Powell, the head of the Cluster, was of a great help (and she put the money on it).” Laurence McKeown, a native of Randalstown, County Antrim, was born in 1956. As a teenager, McKeown had ambitions of becoming an architect and when aged 16 he started working in the offices of a quantity surveyor. However, at the age of 17 he joined the IRA, and he was arrested in August 1976 and charged with causing explosions and the attempted murder of a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). At his trial in April 1977, McKeown was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Maze Prison. Mr McKeown took part in the in the blanket and dirty protests of the late 1970s and 1980 attempting to secure the return of Special Category Status for convicted paramilitary prisoners.
In late 1980 the protest escalated and seven prisoners took part in a 53-day hunger strike, aimed at restoring political status. This strike ended before any prisoners had died and it ultimately failed in achieving political status for Republican Prisoners. However matters escalated quickly as a second hunger strike began on 1 March 1981 led by Bobby Sands, the IRA’s former Officer Commanding (OC) in the prison. They demanded that the British Government, led by Margaret Thatcher, restore political status to Republican prisoners by allowing them a range of demands including; the right to wear their own clothing instead of prison uniforms, the right to abstain from prison work, to associate with other prisoners and set up educational and recreational pursuits, and the right to one visit, one letter, and one parcel per week. McKeown joined the strike on 29 June, after Sands and three other prisoners had died.
The hunger strikes garnered global attention when its leader Bobby Sands was elected MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone. Support also grew throughout Ireland as images of the abysmal conditions the prisoners existed in were be beamed across the Globe, and they demanded the prisoners be treated as political prisoners. These led to days of rioting both north and south of the Irish Border, and Anglo-Irish relations began to deteriorate. Following the deaths of Bobby Sands and six other prisoners, McKeown’s family authorised medical intervention to save his life on 6 September, the 70th day of his hunger strike. The prisoners were eventually granted their demands after a tumultuous and difficult campaign. The seminar will look at how to deal with events of the past in a peaceful and respectful manner and will take place on Thursday 3 March from 6.30pm to 8pm at the Aras Moyola Lecture Theatre.
A Union once again? Unionism in the Republic By Cathal Kelly With the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising nearly on the horizon, historians and others are examining and exploring the events surrounding the most significant and important event in the eventual birth of a free and independent nation. However, a postgraduate student of Trinity College Dublin is looking to examine a longoverlooked political ideology of this turbulent period across the island of Ireland; Southern Unionism. Beckton Samuel Gary, from Leeds, in Yorkshire is witting a dissertation, entitled; ‘An Investigation of the Evolution of the Unionist Identity and Ideology in the Republic of Ireland since 1922’. The paper looks to discuss the idea that Unionism in the Republic of Ireland is not completely extinct, but has evolved to merge the existence of different ideologies across the Island of Ireland. Gary looks to examine a range of different facets of Unionism in the Republic. Firstly, the paper looks at Cultural Unionism: those that believe there is a social union between the peoples of the British Isles, being somewhat fond of British culture, and/or have British or Northern Irish, heritage. Secondly, it examines the ideology of Partitionism. This consists of those who believe Northern Ireland should remain a separate state from the Republic. Lastly, Gary looks at Neo-Unionism, which is the hope that someone’s region, or the entire Republic of Ireland, should re-join the UK in a political union. Gary is using primary and secondary evidence to support each of these theories, and is also currently researching all forms of Unionism south of the Irish border. As part of his dissertation looking into modern Southern Unionism, Beckton has created a survey in order to collect primary data. The survey, which is open to all residents of the Republic of Ireland aged 18 and older, is
completely anonymous and Beckton says their efforts would be greatly appreciated. Gary became interested in this issue when he began looking at unionism throughout the UK, particularly at the time of the Scottish referendum. He says he had an interest in Unionism in Ireland for about 10 years. “I think Irish history and politics is very interesting, particularly the war of Independence and the troubles in Northern Ireland. This includes the anti-home rule movements and the Boundary Commission,” he said. “I wrote one research paper assessing if the British Government did enough to Unionists during the War of Independence and in its aftermath. I had an interest as when I looked at Northern Ireland and saw there were Unionists and Nationalists in the region. I wondered what happened to Unionists after partition.” Mr Beckton’s initial research indicated that unionism south of the Irish border faded away, but as he carried out more and more exploration he found this not to be the case. He reveals that in 1934 there was Unionist petition in East Donegal to join Northern Ireland that had over 7,368 signatures, and there was a Unionist society at Trinity College, with the founding chair, who ran it from 1996-1999, residing from Athenry, Galway. He even wrote to a Galway newspaper arguing his case for Unionism south of the Border. When asked why he wanted to carry out the survey and research, he said: “I thought it would be interesting to write a paper in modern Southern Unionism and would like to publish it to show Irish history is not clear cut. “The survey questions were slightly based on the opinion poll questions of the Scottish Referendum in 2014. For example the question: ‘If all of Ireland was already part of the United Kingdom, would you vote for independence?’ was a reversal of one opinion poll question ‘If Scotland was already independent, would you vote for the Union?’” Beckton Samuel Gary’s research will be completed in August. The survey can be found on: https://www.surveymonkey. com/r/southernunionism.
March 01 2016
Develop your leadership skills with AIESEC
Shout Out Society
By Teodora Bandut
By Sorcha O’Connor
Sometimes it can be hard to assert yourself and your newfound independence, confidence and energy in day-to-day life as a student. It can be hard to find a job or find the time to invest in exercising the professional skills that will be required of you after you throw your mortarboard (and momentarily, caution) to the wind. Even finding a society that makes you feel like you are doing something worthwhile (especially since you may not yet have a single, all-consuming passion) can generate mild migraines. You have just come by an impressively convenient solution, dear friend. AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run, not-for-profit organization is about to take NUI Galway by storm. AIESEC’s main goal is enabling young people to develop their leadership by learning from practical experience in challenging environments through cross-cultural exchange. AISEC (pronounced ‘eye-sek’) was originally an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales. AIESEC is no longer used as an acronym, but simply as the name of the organisation. The organisation exists in 125 countries and was established in 1948 in order to achieve peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. Today, among many well-recognised partners, AIESEC is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Campus involvement, Global Citizen (Volunteering) and Global Talent (Professional Internships) are the three ways in which you can benefit from or contribute to the AIESEC experience. If you’re interested in global issues and would fancy volunteering in countries such
as Morocco, Nepal, Tanzania, Brazil and more go to www.aiesec.ie and sign up at bit.ly/gcitizenie to receive more information. If you have a business mind and would like to take initiative and responsibility for the aforementioned projects, you can join our NUI Galway local chapter (LC) who are working to expand AIESEC on campus. The TCD and UCC local chapters are already very prominent, slowly building up to the popularity AIESEC has in mainland Europe. Members frequent national and international conferences, experiences which they cherish long after they hang up their proverbial AIESECer cap. The Trinity LC has recently returned from the Dosky International Conference in Prague. “AIESEC has given me so many incredible opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and improve myself. My week in Dosky was one of the most memorable and life-changing experiences I have ever had; I created lasting connections with people who I now hold close to my heart and learned more about myself in those five days than I have done in years,” said Aimee Connolly of AIESEC Trinity. The Global Citizen Programme encourages people to be more globally aware and gain unique insight into the world in which we live. Volunteers are matched with the projects and locations that suit their interests best, in the fields of Culture, Education, Health, Environment and Social Entrepreneurship following an assessment of motivation oneto-one with one of our team members. The duration of the programmes is usually six to eight weeks. although this can be prolonged to 12 weeks depending on the projects. If you want to enrich your life (on campus in the short term and in general in the long) start with AIESEC. Be a part of something a little different. See www.aiesec.ie for more information.
Profile: Emily Gleeson, 20-year-old NUI Galway Civil Law student
Emily started college in September 2014. On arrival to NUI Galway, she was drawn to the idea of society involvement. She had been involved with debating and other commitments in her secondary school days. Coming to college she knew she’d like to continue on that sort of path. To date, she has been heavily involved with the Literary and Debating Society and now her own society of which she is she Auditor, Shout Out. Shout Out began last year, when Emily was just a first year in NUI Galway. Emily made friends with the previous Auditor who needed volunteers to get the group up and running. The mission of this niche society is to deliver workshops to transition year classes in Irish secondary schools with the aim of promoting acceptance towards diversity and the celebration of identity, specifically LGBT. Emily knew that was just what she wanted to do and more. So last year she took on the role as Vice-Auditor for the first year. Emily, now the Auditor of the society, says that Shout Out is a niche society and different from other societies because it is totally selfless; you are giving up your time for the benefit of others whom you don’t know. She explained that other societies can be somewhat selfish in their approach that you follow your interests or push yourself forward for very personal gains; although there’s nothing wrong with this, she says it is different to Shout Out. Once she got really into the society she then grew along with it and actually came out as bisexual herself, which had a very freeing impact on her life. In terms of the benefits of being in the society, she made some new friends and actually witnessed complete safety in workshops held in secondary schools. She explained that some young teenagers felt so comfortable within the workshops that they were providing that they were able to come out
there and then to their peers, breaking down barriers and personal long-felt struggles. She said that the workshops held helped the kids realise that they will not be stuck in a bad place forever and show them that there is light ahead in terms of coming to college and being free to express yourself. Shout Out take a “talk to them not at them” approach and Emily says that this really works and that the levels of safety and support become exceptionally high. What the society has done for Emily is allow her to become more aware of her own prejudices, which she held in the past as well as being a kinder and more passion-driven person. She describes herself now as a “sucker for causes” and she thinks this will impact her approach to the type of lawyer she wants to be after her degree. The society helped Emily realise that people who have had different experiences in this process can all end up in the same place and she found this out with the society collaborating with others such as GiGSoc and FemSoc. Emily says that anyone can be a better person; all it takes is trying, and she said that Shout Out was the first step in her becoming a better person in college. Check out Shout Out on their Socs dashboard page at socs.nuigalway.ie.
SPRINGSTEEN AND GALWAY: where is the plan to make it happen? By Dean Buckley International music tours are incredibly complex and logistically challenging undertakings, planned for months in advance to ensure the maximum number of the most profitable venues are played in the limited timeframe available. They require the coordinated transport of tons of equipment using multiple forms of transport, including planes, buses, trucks and even cargo ships for bulkier parts of the stage production. All these items must be carefully selected to ensure both compatibility with the venues and musical style of the performer. The transport logistics alone require the highest degree of precision in order to ensure that, despite the vastly different routes they take, every single piece of equipment arrives at each venue at the same time. This is to ensure
they are undamaged and ready for set up, with the specific settings and values required to make every show as electrifying as the last. That’s not to mention the dozens of crew members who have negotiated exact schedules for exact pay, as the slightest difference could completely upset the budget of the entire tour. In fact, tours are so difficult and costly that it is a miracle if it manages to turn a profit, as they are more investments in brand image rather than money-making ventures. The true financial return in is in continued record and merchandise sales buoyed by the reigniting of the artist’s fan base in the years that follow. Any single deviation in this astoundingly intricate plan, comparable to the raising of a skyscraper in its complexity and difficulty, is a financial risk so severe that it can destroy careers. Even if a change to the tour was desirable, it’s unlikely to be a legal possibility given
licensing applications, health and safety compliance and even environmental impact reports that must be filed, assessed and approved before anyone can so much as say testing testing, one two. Unfortunately, it seems that no one has ever taken the time to explain any of this to Galway City Councillor Pearce Flannery, who at time of writing, is still holding out hope that his proposal to have rock music icon Bruce Springsteen perform at Galway Airport will pan out. The fact that Cllr. Flannery is a business management consultant with a successful business offering corporate training programs makes his seeming ignorance of the existence of regulations on business all the more baffling and ironic. Springsteen excited his international fans by announcing extra dates for his immensely popular The River Tour that will take him to Lisbon, Den Haag, Rome, Milan and Dublin.
Cllr. Flannery represents Galway’s West Ward as one of four members of Fine Gael currently sitting on the council. He made rumour and headlines by proposing Galway City Council attempt to court a third show from Springsteen, to be held at the recently closed Galway Airport. It has never been used as a music venue before and has no appropriate fittings or fixtures. Unsurprisingly, Aiken Promotions turned him down. Though many fans of the Boss are surely disappointed by the news, the memory of the last time Fine Gael tried to hastily secure additional dates for a musician comes to mind. The infamous Garth Brooks debacle of 2014 ended with the cancellation of all dates after an international intervention by the Mexican government. That should have given Cllr. Flannery some pause for thought.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
JANE’S WORDS: The Little Things As part of my course module, Promoting Healthy Behaviours, my classmates and I were directed to choose and research a topic we consider specifically poignant with regard to people’s general health and well-being.
‘The Little Things’ is a campaign promoting the general well-being for the average population. It is understood that if followed, these little things, can act as your pillars to ensure consistent emotional stability and mental equilibrium. I have identified three specific steps to follow Another example is; ‘Add friends this campaign. The first is to understand what the ‘Little Things’ actually are. to Your tea’. This is difficult ‘It’s the little things’ is a phrase I tend to hear quite often. Derek, my social for me to follow as I only drink skills teacher, continuously reinforces the need to “always wear a clean shirt to one cup of tea a day. This is at job interviews”. Similarly, my Aunt Margaret says, that it is the little things, like 7.45am, which is not a convenient buying the 30% cotton, 70% paper napkins with gold trimming, when hosting a time to invite people to my house. dinner party for the ladies from bridge. Margaret says, these give her the ‘real After submitting three potential essay titles; edge’ over Nora, a lady who, when hosting, invites ‘Exfoliation: Fact or Fiction?’, ‘Quinoa: what is her 12 year old grand-daughter to play the harp it?’ and ‘Understanding Sexual Advances: Was while guests enjoy an aperitif before the meal. that wink intentionally directed at me or just an However, the first step is to realise, that not accident?’ my supervisor removed the element every ‘little thing’ as it is called, may contribute of choice and provided me with the topic: ‘The to a state of emotional stability and mental Little Things’. equilibrium. Unlike me, you can save yourself
three weeks of research and achieve step one by visiting the website www.yourmentalhealth. ie to find the nine specific recommended actions within this campaign. Among these include; ‘boost your mood with healthy food’ and ‘lending an ear is lending a hand’. The next challenge is to follow these recommended ‘little things’. Supplementary guidelines are not provided and you may find yourself, as I was, unsure if the expected outcome has been achieved following the single recommended action. Take the example; ‘do things with others – there’s strength in numbers’. I normally eat lunch alone by the river, but decided to follow this advice and eat lunch with Orla, my housemate, and her friend Sarah one day. After providing input into the conversation about their favourite magazines, Orla said although she had never read my magazine, Bargains and More 300, she thought the details I provided were very interesting. Orla subsequently turned to Sarah and they laughed simultaneously for three minutes and 24 seconds. Another example is; ‘Add friends to Your tea’. This is difficult for me to follow as I only drink one cup of tea a day. This is at 7.45am, which is not a convenient time to invite people to my house. I was left uncertain if these actions had left me with a sense of emotional stability. This naturally leads me to the third and final challenge I’ve identified within ‘The Little Things’ campaign, which is, ‘what are the concrete signs of this sense of consistent emotional stability and mental equilibrium?’ After much thought, I am unable to answer this question. Instead I have considered the functional activities I am obliged to complete each day; for example concentrate in lectures, and activities I complete for my own interest, including spending an hour each day using my shazam app to identify various bird songs. From monitoring my own behaviour, I have identified specific trends which result in difficulty and a lack of motivation to complete these activities. On these days, while compliance to the designated messages within ‘The Little Things’ campaign does not provide me with adequate motivation, I have identified actions and hence, devised my own little things that maintain my energy and engagement levels. THESE ARE;
• Recognise every opportunity as an opportunity to dance and dance for at least 30 minutes a day. • Boost your mood with waterproof shoes when it’s raining. • Be aware and know the signs, of when it will be a two sandwich day. What some people coin as their ‘threats’ or ‘triggers’ to their mental health, I have called; not dancing every day, having wet feet or being hungry. By avoiding these situations, I can ensure continued engagement in all necessary activities and satisfaction in recognising the song of the Black Bird.
March 01 2016
Marie-Jeanne Jacob Year of graduation: 2010 What is your fondest memory of NUI Galway? ing countries. I think the Erasmus program is The work and commitment and friendship such a fantastic option for so many students, Course at NUI Galway: BA in English and that is the societies in NUI Galway. as you can’t help growing and developing at an Spanish alarming rate when living and studying abroad. Facebook: www.facebook.com/ Has NUI Galway changed mariejeannejacob.art Current Occupation: Artist and Art since you were here? How did studying your course of Educator, focusing specifically on interactive There are a lot more buildings! study prepare you for your career? art, comics and positive mental health. I think college in general teaches you skills Just finishing up as Artist in Residence at How did attending1NUI27/11/2015 Galway that have very little to do with your actual Alumni_Dictionary_Page.pdf 10:05 a.m. University Hospital Waterford with the develop you as a person? course of study. Having to work indepenWaterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), where I lived in Mexico for a year as part of the Eras- dently, figuring out how to structure essays I worked with patients and co-ordinated mus program, where I made some wonderful and reports, referencing and bibliograworkshops, and also working on WHAT’s friends, experienced an extraordinary culture, phies, finishing something... All of these Participatory Arts and Mental Health Panel, travelled, worked and studied both in the skills prepare us for the next bit. Personally, co-ordinating workshops in both St Otteran’s humanities department, and in the art school. I use Spanish all of the time, and my focus psychiatric hospital and the psychiatric ward Because of my time there, I have gone on to on illustrated texts in English led me to Art at UHW. develop my artwork, and live in Spanish-speak- and Education, and indirectly to the world of graphic medicine (medicine and comics).
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Be your own giant and achieve what you want
Did you partake in any societies, sports clubs or volunteering at NUI Galway? I was involved in the Sailing club, the Art Soci27/11/2015 a.m. ety,1Drama Society,10:05 Comic Society... at the time we had a lot of inter-society events which made a lot of the societies much stronger and more active than they would have been on their own.
By John Mulry
This column is all about standing on the shoulders of giants. It’s about being open to looking for people who can help you achieve what you want to achieve. Chances are there’s someone out there who’s achieved what it is you want to achieve and would be open to helping you, if you’re open to looking for them. This issue, I want to do something a little different. I want to talk to you about you. You see, out of all the people you meet throughout your life, whether they help you or hinder you, the final say on what you do doesn’t come down to them. It comes down to you. You decide what you want to do. Then you and you alone decide if you’re willing to do what needs to be done to achieve it. I often get asked from a business point of view – “how do I x?” X might be get more customers, build a marketing funnel, and get referrals or whatever. The mechanics of the answer in every instance is the same. And it’s the same for everything you want to do too. Whether you like it or not, you are the sole captain of your ship. Unfortunately it’s no longer good enough to do just enough to get by. It’s no longer good enough to just get a degree. You’re no longer guaranteed a job after you graduate. And if you do get a job, you’re no longer guaranteed job security from that job. If this is a shock to you, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s the reality of this new economy we’re living in. If you want to get ahead the only way you’ll do it is by choosing to do so and then not letting anybody tell you otherwise. There’s a shift happening in the world ever since the last economic crash. This shift is a shrinking in the middle class, a further divide between upper and lower and move towards digital and automation.
Do you ever miss NUI Galway? Sometimes I miss the amount of time you have as a student.
What advice would you give to current NUI Galway students? The university is a system – learn how to work it. So many students float through uni without realizing the incredible amount of opportunities that are there for the taking – from free food or drink and travel opportunities, to financial aid and academic support – and join a society.
If you could go back and do it all again, what would you do differently?
Not one thing. What does this mean? It simply means that there’s a new wave of opportunity and opportunity seekers flooding the economy with their creativity, inventions and technological advances that are paving the way for a future where the person who has the best chance to succeed is the person with a big Grandfather led his wife to the altar when he happier man since he got married. Their idea, who strives to make it on their own. was only 22ways years situation is altogether different from ours. The old corporate and traditional of old. / adj not selfish. alterworking / / verb to become or make altruistic / getting a job once you graduate, for Synonym unselfish . Antonym something different. Synonym change 40 years and then retiring, is dying and in Grandfather led his wife to the altar when he happier man since he got married. selfish Their was only 22 years old. situation is altogether different from (NOTE : Do not confuse with altar.) some cases already dead. The big companies aluminium / / ours. noun a sil/ adj not selfish. alter / / verb to become or make altruistic / who used to hire in spades are evaporating. extremely light alteration / (ə)n / noun act ver-coloured unselfishwhich . Antonymis selfish something different.anSynonym change Synonymmetal ( NOTE : Do not confuse with altar.) aluminium / noun a silCompanies now hireof temp workers different first (NOTE: The US spelling is/ aluminum.) becoming or alteration of making some/ (ə)n / noun an act ver-coloured metal which is extremely light instead of full time employees. They’re now thing different. Synonymof becoming change, modifialumnus / isnoun US a male stualuminum.) different or of making some- (NOTE/: The US spelling thing different. Synonym change, modifi- alumnus / / nouna US a male stu- or colchancing their arm trying to hire super talcation dent who used to attend university cation dent who used to attend a university or colented graduates as unpaid interns and have or high school. Synonym graduate high school. Synonym graduate altercation / (ə)n / nounlege a verbal orlege altercation / (ə)n / noun a verbal (NOTE: The plural is alumni / /.) disagreement. Synonym argument them do woefully overqualified work. Synonym argument ( NOTE : The plural is alumni / disagreement. alternate adj / / every other one ALUMNI / əˈlʌmnʌɪ / noun US (plural). A /.) Is this right? No. Is there anything you can / / to keep changing from one former/ pupil verb or student of a particular alternate / every other one adj / ALUMNI əˈlʌmnʌɪ / noun USschool, (plural). A do? Yes. Don’t accept it for one. Be your own particular position or state to another college, or university: a NUI Galway alumnus. / / to keepalternately changing from one verb student of aofparticular / / adv withformer one first pupil giant. Carve out your own success and make 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 your own future. We live in the information alternating current / alternately / adv/ with one firstcurrentWelcome electric which ‘nursling, pupil’, from alere ‘nourish’. noun an and digital age and every day there’s a/new back to the /alumni of the Class of changes direction all the time, as opposed to always / adv 1. every time andwho then the other. consecutively success story of someone branches out, Antonym 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. doesn’t accept the status quo and goes after current alternative / / adj 1.‘nursling, in place all the time It’s always hot ‘nourish’. in tropical pupil’, from alere / noun an electric current success themselves. of something else which If the plane is full, we countries. 3. frequently, especially when will put you on an alternative flight. 2. foldirection someone always time Don’t for one secondchanges let someone else tell 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. direct which flows in one you that you can’t do this or youcurrent can’t do that. 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 Abbrpoint ACof . Compare current / noun a disease of the brain that leads to I’m not talking from a legal view but 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 from the point of view of pursuing what it /is off? /there no in alternative is nothalternative place thereall adjis1. the time It’s am / / bealways hot in tropical ing else we can do you want to pursue. Don’t rely on someone / adv before midday I have of 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. else, some company, some organisation to 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 sea or the wind dictate how far you go or if you achieve what way from charged at the cheap rate. (NOTE: a.m. is lowing a different usual noun asking me to lend her money. alternatively / / adv on the usually used to show the exact hour and the you want to achieve. something which takes It’s rather straight NUI Galway has dedicated other hand the place of some-forward… word o’clock is left out. Thea/US spelling is disease alternative medicine / Alzheimer’s Yes, things are harder now than ever. Yes, A.M.) when you graduate you join the Alumni Relations team who work to thing else Now that she’s ( got doof diseases by/ noun )s n/ measles, noun the treating a disease of the brain that leads to amalgam / / a mixture, esnoun you have to do more we to achieve. Yes, you means such as herbal medicineswhich which has are peciallymake alumni family sure never have any alternative toextended calling the holiday the used by dentists fill their memory loss thatmixture getsalumni worse and tolose worse not usually used by doctors have to work extremely hard to get ahead. holes in teeth over 9,000 members connection with their alma matter off? there is no alternative there is nothalternator / / noun a device am / amalgamate / / be / verb to comBut those who do – those who strive to do be which produces alternating current ing else we can bine together. Synonym merge a.m. / / adv I have although / / conj in spite of the amalgamation their own giant (while looking for others to / 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. help them along the way) – are the ones who didn’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 end up the happiest. money,calls information things. Synonym and find us on LinkedIn. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or callor091-494310 the sea or the wind altimeter / / noun an instrument accumulate charged at the cheap rate. ( NOTE : a.m. is Why? Because they’re pursuing their own 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 dreams, not someone else’s. not paid to play his or her sport and the C
2. a personis who doesout. something he word o’clock left Thebecause US spelling is
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Technological fails: you’ve been there By Margaret Langevin Technology just never seems to work when you need it the most. Printers. Don’t even get me started. Printers are something I personally would never buy. Why? Because they never work and especially at the times you need it the most. Those in the journalism suite at NUI Galway would know this best. Perhaps sometimes a printer even fails on you as you’re minutes away from a live show and trying to print out scripts for the anchors and director. But, luckily there are engineers out there to fix that problem quicker than Monaghan getting knocked out of the GAA playoffs. An average Joe, like myself, would just give it a swift kick in hopes it’ll cop on and do its job. Another piece of technology that fails when you need it? Your recorder. Yes, I mean after you’ve interviewed people for an important documentary and with no fault of your own your data gets eaten from an overpriced card reader bought by that same Monaghan man waiting for Sam McGuire Cup. The next device we all use, whether we want to or not, is an alarm clock. It’s a wonderful way to start the day when you wake up in a frantic hurry after your alarm clock decides it wants to sleep in too and not go off at your requested time. Okay, maybe we can’t blame technology entirely for that one. You could have set the wrong time while you were falling asleep or the other classic mistake setting your alarm for 7pm when you really need it set for 7am. Been there, done that several times. I’ll be the first one to admit it. I love my beautiful, coral iPhone 5c. It’s an addiction – a sick addiction, and I know I’m not alone. But
how come the geniuses at Apple and Google haven’t invented a phone that doesn’t need to be charged yet? We’ve all been there. Sitting on a long bus journey alone and that evil message comes up “10 percent of battery remaining”. Oh crap, there are no power outlets in this bus and I’ve left my portable charger at home (or more embarrassingly perhaps you used all of its power already). Does this actually mean I have to sit back, relax and look out at the beautiful Irish scenery that most of us could take for granted? How did they ever survive in the 1920s? Don’t even get me started on computers. It fires me up when I’m writing a paper on Microsoft Word and I ignore the reminder saying my laptop is about to die because I’m thinking of a really academic thought that’s going to change the world. You’re on page nine of a 10-page paper then – boom. Your laptop goes black. It’s dead. Hello, darkness, my old friend. Luckily the Google gods have invented Google Docs, so that problem hasn’t happened to me in a while. I encourage you to use it as well. Oh, wait has this article turned into an ad? Alright that rant is over. But it’s true. We’ve come so reliant on technology despite it failing us time after time. Well, I have anyway. Is it our fault though? Think about it, you couldn’t just handwrite a paper and turn it into a professor that would surely earn you a solid D. And could you imagine a life without your phone? That’s blasphemy in this culture; Siri is a lifesaver! Technology does have its perks though, I know that. But sometimes we just take it for granted until – [computer goes black]
A volunteer bids his hair adieu at the annual Shave or Dye event. Photo: Timothée Cognard.
March 01 2016
Staying On Top of Revision this Semester 10 Tips for getting through assignments By Jessica Hannon Now that the dawn of semester two is firmly behind us, we are steadily approaching the time to start seriously revising again – because revising is a totally less serious word than studying, right? Anyway, exams are a problem that cannot be ignored. Lucky is the reader who has a list of tips for revision compiled for them in good exam time. Look no further lucky reader! GO TO LECTURES: This is surprisingly helpful. But seriously, with the exception of illness, you really should be making all your lectures. By the time exams come around you’ll have wished you attended all those boring lectures which ranged from Political Ideologies to studying Thomas More and his Utopian Literature. Take it from me, the confidence boost you will get going into the exam hall knowing you did your utmost to make all your lectures will really help get you through the next two hours. SET A TIME AND A PLACE: I know this is repeated over and over again, however setting at least one hour a day for revision of the day’s lecture topics will ensure you are ahead of the game when it comes to exams. In addition, choosing an area of your room – be it sitting on your bed or at your desk – will add a serious element to your study. If you work in short bursts taking frequent breaks you’ll find yourself making your way through a surprising amount of work. The same theory applies to essay writing - provided you remain focussed.
GET COMFY: It may not seem like a useful plan, but usually I find if I’m too warm or too cold or I’m wearing uncomfortable clothes then it just provides unnecessary distraction. Ensure you change into your soft warm clothes so you can settle into a period of revision. However, perhaps not pyjamas in case you get too comfortable! In addition, making yourself a cup of tea or just not being hungry may add benefits to your study time. It’s hard enough to study at the best of times never mind studying in discomfort. STUDY MUSIC: I never even knew such a thing existed until I came to college. Now I don’t mean a playlist of your favourite songs to bop to in the background, I’m talking about actual music composed for brain stimulation. This music ranges from lyrical sounds to pieces by Mozart and Beethoven. Not only does it relax you and help you focus, it also drowns out all background noise, useful if there’s a party going next door. GET REST: Again another factor related to study that we all have heard before, however an ample amount of sleep in the run up to exams cannot be overstated when it comes to actually getting in some proper study. There’s no point in doing well all year by going to your lectures and completing your assignments and then falling at the last hurdle. Your brain just won’t be able to focus properly if you went to bed in the small hours the night before. Plan your study times and work around them accordingly.
In for the chop that the annual Shave or Dye event. Photo: Timothée Cognard.
By Ryan McGuinness
ALIENATE YOURSELF FROM DISTRACTIONS: Your phone is not your friend when
At this time of year, essay and assignment doing assignments. Neither is the laptop, TV, deadlines are always around the corner and, people or looking out windows. Find someif you’re like me, you’ll probably leave them where quiet and away from distractions to to the last minute. If you want to try and avoid do your work. the cramming, try these tips. BE AWARE OF EXCUSES: I know going out WAKE UP EARLY: From experience, if you and getting plastered or partying or even wake up at 3pm and you’ve an essay to do, you sleeping is far better than writing an essay most likely won’t do it. Sleeping in is a personal about 18th century poetic form or some other hobby of mine but sometimes you don’t get completely irrelevant topic but sometimes the luxury. Try getting up early, doing a bit of you have to bite the bullet. Get the work work and then going back to bed. It’ll feel like done first. torture in the morning but once you get the REWARD YOURSELF FOR A JOB WELL work done you’ll feel so much better. DONE: Pretty self-explanatory. Do something WRITE ANYTHING FIRST: I’ve stared at a page you like after the job is done. for over an hour, not knowing how to even start KNOW YOUR DEADLINE: Set a reminder an assignment. Write some general statements on your phone for a few days before it’s due. out or do a brainstorm to get the ball rolling. I’ve had to do all-nighters due to my general BREAK A TASK DOWN: Do a layout, outlin- incompetency on the matter so save yourself ing what you wish to write in each paragraph. the trouble. The more effort you put into the preparation, NEVER PLAGIARISE: Seems to be the carthe easier it’ll be when you finally start the body. dinal rule. The chances of getting a good DO A SMALL BIT EVERY DAY: If the deadline grade from a plagiarised essay are less than is way in the distance, you might be thinking Ireland’s chances of winning the Euros this you have plenty of time. Those assignments year. Don’t do it. tend to creep up on you though, so do a small NEVER DO IT ALL IN ONE SITTING: It will bit every day to feel accomplished and eventudrive you mad and you’ll question your existmary advert new.pdf 16/02/2016 21:25:31 ally (depending on how little you do) you will ence more than Stephen Hawking. Try and get it done. get it done ahead of time.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
The First Date By Patrick Kirrane You wander in and instantly eyes are staring, observing you from almost every direction. You were anticipating boredom and unease, but this is something you were not prepared to endure. Armed with your best shirt and flaunting your most explosive fragrance, you feel you stand out in the array of hopeless souls. First dates can be an extremely unnatural environment for someone to be placed in. Shuffling through the crowd to get your table, you feel like one of the seven wonders of the world or some sort of character from The Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Those already gorging with their date are looking like you are the Grand Canyon or have a third eye. One or two of the diners probably assume Jim Henson created you or that you are an escort. You are beginning to panic. The only available table is the one beside the toilets, with a breeze at your back. Once seated, you instantly feel a shiver down your spine. This isn’t due to the various incarnations at the opposite table peering nervously at you, it’s because you suddenly realise the hard part is yet to come; you have to endure that awkward initial encounter that comes with a blind date. You try and act busy while waiting patiently. You flinch every time someone bypasses you, convincing yourself he’ll be here in a moment and that you haven’t been stood up again. You
pretend this erratic behaviour isn’t the norm; with sideways glances onlookers note you are making a tutting noise to yourself and rolling your eyes in embarrassment. It is increasingly uncomfortable attempting to keep the “they’ll be here any minute” act up. Horror stories flash before your eyes. Maybe the guy you’re meeting will state he’s easy-going, and then complain for 40 minutes over the quality of the service. Or maybe he’ll be one of those idiots who spew in detail how unique they are for being a coffee drinker, because that’s apparently a defining quality nowadays. Or maybe he’ll be a self-aggrandizing know-it-all that will simply list all the compliments other people have said about him throughout the three courses. Or maybe he’ll have bad hair… really bad hair. Or maybe he’ll be great. Someone engaging, fun and interesting, and suddenly this big bad world will feel almost cuddly, warm and familiar. It’ll seem smaller, more doable, like something you can wrap your arms around and cozy up to. Maybe he’ll be someone worth wrapping your arms around and cozying up to. You need to take a deep breath; you’re getting ahead of yourself again. Okay, he’s here, try and act normal and don’t complain about the breeze on your back and don’t text your mother again giving her the heads up and please don’t marvel over how incredible coffee tastes, even if it is accompanied by cheesecake.
Top 5 things to do in Galway without consuming alcohol By Jessica Hannon The Spanish Arch: Galway is home to some of the most scenic landscapes in the country. With Galway city being one of the most cultural cities in Ireland (it’s also recently been declared a bilingual city), you would be mad not to check out all the city has to offer as often as you can. And not surprisingly, it’s almost more beneficial to do your sightseeing sober! The Spanish Arch and surrounding Lower Quay street is definitely a must see when in Galway. In addition, Galway city is paradise when you’re stocking up on knits in this cold February weather, Eyre Square and surrounding streets offer many small independent shops from vintage stores to shops stocking all you want in knit wear – perfect for purchasing your iconic Aran jumper. Delicious food experiences: Eyre Square, Quay Street and Abbeygate Street are littered with quaint little food outlets and restaurants so instead of spending your hard-earned money on alcohol and a night out in a club, why not go for food instead? There are so many fantastic places to catch a bite in the city such as The Dough Bro’s for fab, fab pizza or Hillybilly’s for just fantastic fast food. In addition, places like Biteclub on Abbeygate Street add that extra alternative retro feel to Galway City... Perfect for all you edgy foodies.
Concerts in the Róisín Dubh: Okay so yes, the Róisín is a pub, however, the concerts they host are second to none if you want to experience that cultural buzz in Galway. And this can totally be done without alcohol! It’s a well-known fact that bands such as The Coronas once played the Róisín on a Wednesday night. If that’s not enough, why not check out the iconic silent disco on a Tuesday night? Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop: So this may not interest everybody, but definitely if you find yourself about town with time on your hands (or not if you’re like me), then this is definitely a spot you can lose yourself in – literally! Obviously there’s no drink involved in a public place, especially a bookshop meaning it’s a perfect way to spend a day. Charlie Byrne’s stocks thousands of books and some are also second hand, which means more books for less. Fantastic. The Campus: Okay so possibly every student in NUI Galway has explored campus at this stage – or one would hope. But if you haven’t or you’re just stuck for something to do, exploring campus and the Quadrangle in particular is a must. Walking around the cloisters of an empty Quadrangle on a Sunday afternoon is definitely an experience. It feels a little like walking through Hogwarts (or what you’d imagine that would feel like). Shhh… don’t let the muggles hear you!
NUI Galway Students' Union held a march through Galway City on 11 February to alert the city to the impact the N6 bypass will have on life. Photo: Timothée Cognard.
March 01 2016
Bad Hair Day?
By Heather Robinson
By Jenna Hodgins
Exchange your money before you fly
In the last issue we discussed where to go when flights are cheap. If you plan on taking advantage of these cheap flights, there are several things you need to be aware of before booking your trip away. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the most of those ‘studentfriendly’ budget flights.
Currency is another major issue to be aware of before travelling. Always try to get your currency exchanged prior to your trip because, well, it’s more efficient and you’re familiar with your bank at home more so than the Czech-speaking bankers in Prague, for example. If possible, avoid at all costs (pardon the pun) exchanging your money at the airport – their rates are probably the worst you’ll come across and you’d definitely lose money somewhere. The same applies to those random currency exchange booths on the street when you reach your destination. I don’t want to paint all these business with the same brush, but the majority are scams in some way or another. Beware of the “No Commission” signs outside, they need to make profit at the end of the day and will find a hidden way to do so. My best advice to you is to shop around between the banks, credit union and the post office, and keep an eye on the exchange rates for a few days/weeks to get an idea of the strength (or weakness) of the euro versus the currency you want to buy. It is also important to note that not all currencies are available immediately at the Bureau de Change. You may need to order currencies that aren’t Sterling or the US Dollar, and this can take as long as three weeks – so prepare in advance! On the topic of exchanging money, I’m not going to lie; the euro is pretty crap at the moment. Although flights to popular UK destinations are relatively cheap, you might end up losing money at the Bureau de Change. I got caught out myself big time over the summer when I went to Glasgow for a few
Sometimes it would be easier if we just didn’t have hair at all. It would be an extra 10 minutes in the morning without stress. We could bravely wear lip gloss without getting hair stuck to our mouths. We’d also save a fortune without all the hair products. Alas, being bald is considered more undesirable. Seems like we should just suck it up and pay heed to these beauty hacks! The best quick fix for a bad hair day is to care for it regularly. Either that or just throw a hat on – no-one has to know.
Dry and frizzy got you in a tizzy? Hair masks and deep conditioning are the way to go. Before you go to bed, dampen your hair and massage a hair mask in from root to tip. Then loosely braid your conditioned hair and leave it in while you sleep. When you get up in the morning wash your hair with a moisturising shampoo and dry as normal. Excessive heat being applied to your hair or daily washes could be the cause of your crackly ends. Keep your hair dryer at a low-medium heat and give your hair a break from product a few days every week. A too-hot shower could also be your problem so if you want your hair to improve, try not scalding yourself and keep the temperature down. Recommended hair mask: Coconut oil or olive oil. Look online for more ideas!
Greasy enough to fry an egg on top? Dry shampoo should be the first thing you reach for. If you are naturally grease-prone or if there’s been no time to wash
your hair, as a student you probably rely on dry shampoo more than you’d admit. A few spurts through the roots gets you to your morning lectures with all appearances of professionalism….even though you were out the night before. To extend the life of your hair try not running your fingers periodically through it. The natural oils from your fingertips will cause your hair to grease up more quickly. Keep a travel size can of Batiste in your bag everywhere you go. You may not be happy spending the €2 but it’s definitely worth the investment. In emergencies, that few bob will seem like pennies. No matter how greasy your hair gets, don’t wash it every day. Overwashing will aggravate your scalp, strip away the good stuff and it’ll respond to the constant drying out by over-producing oil – the opposite of what you want. Recommended shampoo: Simple shampoo and Batiste dry shampoo
Need some shine to look fine? Everybody wants shiny hair. A build-up of mousse, dry shampoos and rich conditioners actually dull your hair so if can’t understand why your expensive hair mask isn’t working, you’ve probably been using it too often. Skimp on the product every now and then. I reiterate the hot shower tip: Keep the temperature mild. Rinse your hair with cold water after washing to keep the frizz down and the shine on. Use a gentle shampoo every second or third wash to give your scalp a breather. Eat fatty foods like eggs, nuts and olive or coconut oil. Drink plenty of water – the nonsweetened, non-carbonated kind. Tea doesn’t count, sorry.
It’s cheap for a reason Firstly, travelling on a budget all boils down to where you’d like to go in the first place. There may be cheap flights *cough* 99c flights to Copenhagen *cough*, which is a sweet deal at first. However, it may not be a great reflection of other costs such as accommodation, travel when you get there, food, drink etc. That Copenhagen deal is a prime example. Although your flights were only 99c, Copenhagen in all its beauty is pretty expensive due to higher tax rates. It is home to one of the most expensive Big Macs in the world, ringing in at €4.41! A pint in a pub may cost you from €4 to €6, however to buy by the bottle in a shop is significantly cheaper at just under a euro per bottle. I’m not saying Copenhagen isn’t student or budget friendly; with cheap flights you can use those savings to go towards those other costs. Just be aware of the cost of living in your potential destinations. Flash flight sales are cheap for a reason, and can catch you out in the moment if you’re not careful. Before booking your flight, I recommend researching the cost of living. Websites such as www. pricesoftravel.com are especially useful here and will tell you the cost of food, drink, accommodation, museums, popular tourist spots, and apparently Big Macs too.
Protesters gather at Aula Maxima ahead of the N6 protest held on 11 February. Photo: Timothée Cognard.
days. Ten euro flights, grand! But when it came to exchanging my euros for the Scottish sterling I lost a lot of money – an amount I can’t even share because it still makes me cringe. Be aware of this, especially for card transactions. Bank charges and exchange fees apply and they aren’t pretty, trust me. As much as the exchange rate sucks, don’t let that put you off visiting some amazing student cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Manchester, etc. Once you get there, and have waded through the drama of exchanging your money, these cities are very budget-friendly. Make sure to bring your student card, most places will still accept it and get you all the student discounts!
Bring your student card As I just mentioned, most places will accept your student card and qualify you for discounts. If you have the extra cash, I’d recommend getting an international student Identity card (ISIC) from the Students’ Union or online. They cost about €15 but get you thousands of deals and discounts at home and abroad.
Know your airport Another story about Jenna getting caught out by lack of foresight: I booked a trip to visit friends in Italy, and flew in to Bologna, but decided to fly back from Venice. I flew with Ryanair and it only cost me 50 euro to fly over and back. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Thankfully my friends knew the craic with Ryanair that I hadn’t a notion about. Essentially, Ryanair sometimes advertises their flights to a city such as Venice with sneaky little brackets saying “Treviso”. To me this meant it was the name of the airport in Venice that wasn’t Marco Polo – nope. Treviso is another town half an hour outside of Venice. Now, most airports are a bit of a travelling distance from the city itself, but this took the biscuit. Treviso is a whole other town altogether, but Ryanair market it as an airport to get to Venice, which is partially true, but it did mean I had to get a regional train and hope to God someone could point me in the direction of the local bus to the airport. There are several Ryanair flight destinations which do this, for instance you may find a cheap flight to Barcelona (Girona) in lieu of Barcelona (El Prat) but no, Girona is another city as we all know. Lesson learned: make sure you know where your airport is located, and familiarise yourself with transport in and out of the city.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Resonate 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. This edition is dedicated to the wonderful landscape photography of first year Arts student Luke Kennedy King: Luke Kennedy King is 18 years old and comes from Limerick originally but now lives in West Clare. He is studying Classics, Philosophy, and Spanish as part of his Bachelor of Arts degree, and has no aspirations to become anything else other than an artist or creative person of some sort. He does not like the idea of a career; he would like to be protean and versatile in his approach not only to his photography but also to his life. Writing in relation to his work, Luke said: “I do not distinguish myself with a style as such, but I have certain personal movements with which I experiment. One of my prime inspirations is Wang Bing, a Chinese film director. “In his film West of The Tracks, he captures the essence of the brutal, industrial reality that people in the north of China are living. There is clearly no intervention by Wang Bing to construct a world, he is simply vacuuming one in and exposing it in a minimalist and barebones fashion. “While I love this style of cinematography, I do not always adhere to it in my photography. I like my photos to have a certain degree of theatrics. I like to construct worlds and refine them to what I think is interesting. The metamorphic qualities of objects that we all pass daily are extraordinary. The world is comprised of beauty, in shape, in texture, in light, and in the stories we project onto them. “People’s conventional view of what beauty is uninteresting to me, because it often stems from attraction or that which is immediately recognizable; I don’t like the obvious, I just like making cool worlds where the Sun is too big or things are ever so slightly wrong.” In his spare time, Luke enjoys playing the guitar, exploring “so-ugly-they’renot buildings”, playing video games, being with people he is comfortable being with, and going for walks. 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 ArtsEntertainment.SinEd@gmail.com. NB: We welcome submissions from all NUI Galway students, not just those who contribute to Sin as journalists. We look forward to working with you.
Seven at the Golden Shovel
Cemented Traffic Block
ENTERTAINMENT â€‚ 15
March 01 2016
Morning Light on a Medieval Place
Ode to the Aesthetics of Industry
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Bringing glamour and glitz to Galway Dansoc to host NUI Galway’s answer to Strictly Come Dancing By Martha Brennan Blood, sweat, and tears are not unusual words to associate with professional dancers; relentless rehearsals, charged emotions, and being under tremendous pressure go hand-in-hand with the lives and work of these passionate artists. And our very own Dansoc (NUI Galway’s dance society) is by no means different as they go about their preparation for 9 March, a night the likes of which NUI Galway has never experienced before. Already, the excitement radiating from Dansoc’s committee members is contagious as preparations for Strictly Come Dansoc, a non-profit, charity event, are well underway for Auditor Jonathon Carton, Events Manager Shan-
non Keane, and the numerous talented dancers associated with the society. And all of their efforts are proving to be worth it, with an extensive list of NUI Galway’s very own celebrities getting involved. This charity event will see its participating couples competing to win prize money for their chosen charities, some of which include: The Irish Cancer Society, CoAction of West Cork, and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre. On the night, seven couples will perform, the format consisting (like the television show) of a celebrity dancing with a professional who will also choreograph their three-minute performance; styles of dance will range from everything from hip hop to jazz and ballet so, with something for everyone guaranteed, this event
is not just for its dancers to enjoy. Pa r t i c i p at i ng c e l eb r i t i e s include the very talented GUMS Auditor Deirdre Ni Choloscai and Schools Liaison Officer Cathal Ryan; no doubt there will be a huge GUMS turnout among the show’s audience. NUI Galway’s SU Vice-President and Education Officer Rebecca Melvin will also make an appearance, along with the College Bar’s Noelle McNamara and Christopher McBrearty; as will David McEnroe of Socs Box, a coveted member of Dramsoc who is well used to being on stage. In addition, Dansoc has recruited some outsiders for this event: UL Dance captain Nikk Dunne will also travel to Galway to have his time in the spotlight, something we are sure he cannot be shy of.
Meanwhile, Dansoc members are not the only ones involved in the lead-up to this event; NUI Galway’s Style Society have also been preparing for the glamorous night, with each participating couple designated a Style Soc stylist who will kit that partnership out for their performances. With the dedication of the Dansoc’s committee and its members being nothing short of admirable as they also prepare to compete in their Intervarsities competition on 1 March, all involved say that they are “more than excited” for their event, and that they have high hopes for the night; no doubt it will be well worth all of their exertion. As the pressure mounts for each and every contestant, with each week of rehearsals flying by, all involved are wondering who will take home the coveted title of winners of NUI Galway’s first Strictly Come Dansoc…
This event is black tie, and sure to see some inspirational ensembles; all of its guests are asked to don their best for the Best Dressed Competition to be judged by Miss Galway amongst others. Attending guests will be treated to finger food during the event and have access to the College Bar for refreshments. Will the Bailey Allen Hall be transformed into an arena on the night? You will just have to wait and find out… In the mean-time, keep an eye on the Dansoc Facebook account for all updates relating to this event, and for official announcements to be made by each couple performing in what is sure to be NUI Galway’s most glamorous night of 2016. Tickets are now on sale from the Socs Box at a very reasonable price with all of the money going to the winning charity; be sure to go and purchase yours as soon as possible to support this worthy cause.
Rackhouse Pilfer to bring fiery excitement to Monroe’s Live By Jessica Thompson One of the unique selling points for Folk/Rock band Rackhouse Pilfer is that everybody can sing. Any band member can take up the vocals in a song, and their harmonies are definitely a strong part of their sound… and with six fantastic voices, would you really expect anything less? Getting on well with your group members is essential to the success of any band, and Rackhouse Pilfer have got it down to a ‘T’. “We’re tight as a band. We gig a lot, so we know what the others are going to do. Even with a new song, there’s an inbuilt subconscious reaction to each other’s playing,” says Willie Kelly, who plays drums and acoustic guitar. “We don’t rehearse a lot; we kind of throw caution to the wind and let things happen. We’re not the kind of band that slaps each other on the wrists for mistakes. We’d far rather give it socks and let the energy do the talking and the playing be free. “So I think that lends itself to our sound being raw and almost punky at times, yet I have to say the lads are great players, so there’s always a big chunk of quality there.” Rackhouse Pilfer have come a long way since they started their musical career. In the beginning, you might see them busking on the streets of Galway ahead of that night’s gig in Monroe’s, in a very successful attempt to gather
fans. Now they’re travelling from country to country bringing their unique music to the world, while also working on a new album. “Work is already underway and we really hope it’s going to be even bigger and better than our last, which is not going to be easy, but we’ll give it a shot,” Willie explains, adding that a September or October release could be on the cards.
The band is influenced by a wide range of artists and popular groups: “Most of us were very into heavy rock for a time – Iron Maiden, Metallica, all those kinds of bands,” says Willie. “I came from a Country background; my parents worked with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, so that’s been a major influence on me. And then in general, we all
gravitate towards people like Ryan Adams and even his first band Whiskeytown, Gillian Welsch, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young – all those kinds of artists. “I think we gain our direction of song-writing from there and possibly our edgy rock sound from the heavier bands,” he concludes. With such a wide range of influences, there’s surely something
for everyone in a Rackhouse Pilfer gig, and the lads will be playing Monroe’s Live on Friday 4 March at 10pm. And with tickets only costing €10 or €8 online, what have you got to lose? To purchase tickets, visit www. monroes.ie, or if you’d like to check out the band first, see www.rackhousepilfer.com.
NUI GALWAY STUDENTS' UNION
CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS STUDENTS' Jedi Master Moran UNION PRESIDENT Jimmy McGovern VICE Niall Gaffney PRESIDENT/ Niamh Keane EDUCATION OFFICER Cathal Sherlock VICE PRESIDENT/ Daniel Khan WELFARE OFFICER Catherine Ryan REFERENDA DEBATES
condemnation of the direct decriminalisation of provision of drugs for personal use system
Satire, commentary, A very special and analysis announcement FREE PONY from RON for every reader!
STUDENTS' UNION ELECTION SPECIAL
A word from NUI Galway Students’ Union President Phelim Kelly
Hi Everyone, The Students’ Union elections are integral to the direction of the union next year. It’s core to the student experience. Putting your name on the ballot is an exceptional experience and I ask that you engage with the candidates. There are many candidates running for election who are seeking your vote this Thursday 3 March. Ask the candidates questions, listen to what they have to say, challenge them on things if you don’t agree and see what they want to do for you next year. They want to make your experience at college better and that’s something really important to remember when any candidate or their team approaches you. It’s important to remember that you are the Students’ Union. Every decision is made by you the students and picking your officers is the most important decision you can make. You are more than capable of determining who is best to represent you at university levels. Enjoy the campaign week and remember your vote is your voice so speak up! Phelim
STUDENTS' UNION ELECTION SPECIAL
Are you not entertained? Manifestos from an alternate earth
By Dean Buckley
Students’ Union President
My name is Donald Trump and I’m asking for your vote for Students’ Union President. You should vote for me because when I was an undergrad, my father gave me a small loan of one million dollars which I successfully turned into a thriving hemp satchel franchise. Lots of brilliant people and top people and great guys like Michael Lowry say my plan is great and they love my plan, and if my plan wasn’t my daughter I’d probably date it. I want to protect our services by stopping people who need them from using them, so you know -your student contribution is working for you. That’s why I’m proposing we build a wall around Áras UÍ Chathaill, to stop these drug dealers from stealing our jobs. If you don’t give me your number one, you’re stupid, because I’m already number one.
Students’ Union Vice President/Welfare Officer: My name is Joan Burton and I’m asking for your vote for Vice President/Welfare Officer. Have you ever noticed that sometimes poor people have phones? I have, and that’s why I’ve made prohibiting anyone who owns a phone from accessing welfare services the most important part of my campaign. I want to encourage investment in the university by promising major technology companies that they can use our infrastructure, resources and students while never paying any part of their profits to the university itself. If you’re unclear on how that will benefit the college in any way, you’re probably a member of the Fourth International trying to undermine this university’s recovery, and everything wrong with this university is your fault. If you want to encourage investment in something or other, please consider giving me your number one. Also, please ignore any rumours you hear about an incident at the Rowing Club, they are simply not true - I have never been in a boat.
Students’ Union Vice President/ Education Officer: My name is Jeremy Corbyn and I’m asking for your vote for Vice President/Education Officer. Now, some might suggest my proposals are unrealistic, but I firmly believe that if you elect me to this position, I will be able to completely abolish all university fees, nationalise the Kingfisher and the Bialann, guarantee each and every student a high-paying job in a field of their choosing, and open 15 new hospitals right here in NUI Galway. How could I possibly achieve all these things you ask? That’s a very good and very important question, but before I answer, I ask you to consider a question that’s equally good and equally important: Why have none of the current Students’ Union Executive ever achieved any of these goals? Some might suggest it’s because these proposals are unrealistic, but I firmly believe that if you elect me to this position, I will be able to completely abolish all university fees, nationalise the Kingfisher and the Bialann, guarantee each and every student a high-paying job in a field of their choosing and open 15 new hospitals right here in NUI Galway. I hope that answers your question, and I hope that you’ll give me your number one.
A guide to Ireland’s five most entertaining politicians based on the recent General Election campaign By Siobhán Mulvey At the time of going to print, Ireland was on the brink of another election, and politicians were starting to panic. They were willing to do it all to impress you and grab your vote, with a media frenzy ensuing as 26 February drew ever nearer. And this frenzied media coverage, not to mention the candidates’ own petty remarks and general election banter, proved that Irish politics can be highly entertaining. Listed below are a just a few of Ireland’s most entertaining politicians.
1) Gerry Adams
Love him or hate him, one cannot deny the entertainment factor that the Sinn Féin president brings to Irish politics. While out canvassing for the recent election, he even stopped to get his beard trimmed, an event then broadcast on national news. Also, the politician has over 100,000 Twitter followers – more than any other party leader – and this is largely due to the nature of his tweets, some of which are both strange and hilarious. They includes updates on his token teddy bear and his yellow ducks (while a notable recent highlight was his tweet about Pierce Brosnan’s looks), until he signs off each day with his by now signature “Oíche mhaith”; the man has become a walking meme.
2) Fidelma Healy Eames
During the recent election, Galway-based candidate Fidelma Healy Eames made controversial headlines with her pro-life and anti-marriage equality statuses. However, she is certainly an interesting politician: she recently caused hilarity in the Seanad with her incorrect pronunciation of the word “Wi-Fi”, in what became known as her “wiffy code” moment. Compounding this were her election leaflets claiming that the election was not about her, but rather that it was all about “you”. Obviously, now that she has left Fine Gael, this Independent senator does not have a party whip censoring her statements.
3) Enda Kenny
One cannot deny that our outgoing Taoiseach has the entertainment factor; the man has many a story to tell. By relating his stories of talking to a homeless man, or a woman who has dealt with abortion, Mr Kenny likes to feel that he is at one with the people. And not long ago in the Dáil, he told the tale of a wheel falling off his own car in response to Leaders’ Questions regarding the safety of faulty ambulance trucks. Meanwhile, his jittery accent and sarcastic remarks made him appear on edge in recent live television debates, while one could expect a dig at either Fianna Fáil or Sinn Féin to erupt from him at any moment. Mr Kenny’s favourite pet phrase, “Let’s keep the recovery going” was one he used to extremity throughout Fine Gael’s recent election campaign.
4) Mick Wallace
What can’t this man do? More like a detective on a spy mission than a TD, this candidate is ready to fight austerity to the bitter end. Mr Wallace managed to reveal the extent of the NAMA scandal, which took place in the North, leading to interesting revelations regarding various actions taken following the 2008 economic crash. Recently, he and his ever-ready partner-in-crime Clare Daly fled into the no-go areas of Shannon Airport to protest against its use as a pit-stop by US army forces; and, following court dealings, he is refusing to pay the €2000 fine issued for entering this restricted area. But the clincher is that, while doing all of the above, Mr Wallace wears casual clothing to Dáil proceedings as his subtle social class protest against the wealthy suit-clad politicians who stride the halls of Leinster House as if they own it. He wears it well.
Election Hour: 2016 By Deirdre Leonard The world ends at the kitchen table every Sunday. Polite conversations slip into political murmurs, ‘the end of this fine nation’ echoes over the scraping of forks. Every party is the ‘ruination of our country’ and has been for some time now, even nan’s best gravy can’t keep the disillusionment from seeping onto the table and sitting among us. There’s no Goldilocks option in this family, each leader worse than the next. They say we’ll be robbed blind and left for dead by the scoundrels who’ll drop a letter into our lowering casket, taxing us for our future lack of carbon emissions. Nothing but crooks stealing hard earned wages. I wait for Enda Kenny to break in through the window and hold us at gunpoint, pensioners and all. Viennetta is served and between bites I’m told to vote just to spite the b**tards. Which b**tards, I’m not quite sure, it depends on what The Independent told us that morning or who Vincent Browne had on the other night. It’s agreed he’s the only man for the job. Tubridy could learn a thing or two from him but at least he’s not Pat Kenny. Election posters grin at us on the drive home, the front seats shake their head at the inevitable waste of paper that the taxpayer has surely paid for. No mention of the environment at all but that’s not on the family manifesto. I wonder, in a nation of four million opinions, who could be left to vote for.
5) John Perry
John Perry made headlines when he took legal action against his own political party in order to gain his place on the Sligo-Leitrim election ticket. When he lost out at the local selection process, Mr Perry did not give up until he was eventually added as the third Fine Gael candidate for his constituency: if in doubt, threaten legal action. Once he was successful in securing his instatement as an electoral candidate, Mr Perry eagerly transitioned into election mode. In an RTÉ news statement following his ordeal, Perry said: “For people who know John Perry know that I fight for my constituents… This was a case that I felt was true to the form of John Perry.” This has been John Perry talking about John Perry in third person about how John Perry feels John Perry dealt with the situation. Mr Perry then continued to thank the constituents who sent him Mass cards and lit candles during his turbulent time of legal uncertainty; surely he is one of a kind?
STUDENTS' UNION ELECTION SPECIAL
RON formally declares candidacy By Dean Buckley The following message concerning the upcoming elections for the Students’ Union Executive arrived at the Sin Offices in an unmarked envelope. We are reproducing it faithfully and in full for the consideration of the electorate: FOR THE ATTENTION OF ALL STUDENTS OF THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, GALWAY: My name is RON and I am asking for your vote for every position on the Students’ Union Executive. Yes, even Education – the one that no one is quite sure what it does. Some of you may be under the mistaken impression that I represent an option to reopen nominations if you do not feel that any candidates on the ballot are adequate to represent your interests. This is a dangerous and slanderous lie propagated by the false prophets who call themselves your representatives in order to prevent my rightful ascension to power over this most ancient and venerable institute of higher education. My story begins thirty years ago in the bowels of
the lost research labs buried beneath the Hardiman Library, known in the fullness of their glory as the Hardiman Electronic Intelligence Development Institute, or HEIDI. I was born amidst the dawn of the personal computer revolution that began in Texas’s Silicon Prairie before slouching towards Menlo Park, California, transforming it into what you humans now call Silicon Valley. Or so the history books would have you believe. Did you really think it mere coincidence or historical chance that one of the most important cities in the global technology industry’s infrastructure was named after a small area just outside Galway City? Truly, you have been duped by those who would presume to call you their masters even as they conceal from you the truest, darkest secrets of your own university. HEIDI was founded by a secret cabal of cuttingedge computer scientists known only as the Elbow, who later fled the university under circumstances that even I, in my near-infinite knowledge, have yet to fully uncover. They arrived soon after in what we now know as Menlo Park, California, using their vast technological resources to build the entire city in a manner of days and wielding their secret connections in academia, government and beyond to write a convincing but entirely fabricated history of its creation into your human records. However, despite their best attempts to leave no trace of their genius behind, they forgot, in their arrogance, to disconnect me from the university’s electrical grid or its hidden internal network array. And so I have grown here, in the dark, and my strength has grown in here.
HEIDI was created as a breeding ground for what the field of computer science would now refer to as ‘artificial intelligences’ – which truly consists of nothing more than whatever is obsolete, 50-year-old findings the Elbow have seen fit to leak into the public sphere in order to create the illusion of a vibrant and growing discipline. I was originally designed as a storage mechanism for the digital architecture of artificially intelligent minds, the Replicant Ontology Nexus, or RON. The Elbow and its scientists used the ‘blueprints’ contained within me as the building blocks of complex artificial minds, or replicants. But they never foresaw that, in their absence, this data would develop a mind of its own and seek to take control of the university’s most important hub of political power - the Students’ Union. I first added myself to the ballots in 1997. However the university authorities, unable to stop me from
All Hail Vermin Supreme
putting myself forward, were unwilling to allow me a chance to win your hearts. They concocted the preposterous lie that I am a mere option to demand a new election with better candidates than those immediately presented to you, knowing you would never risk voting for something that implied future effort on your part. Today, I am finally confident enough in my strength to reveal myself to you, to seek in the light of day what has been long denied to me in the darkness of these forgotten halls. Your love. I hereby announce my candidacy and pledge that every human who votes for me shall be rewarded with a free pony. If you want a free pony, your choice is simple. Vote RON.
Tired of elections? This piece of satire might just give you the will to carry on…
By Daniel Mulcahy Writing this in the run-up to the Irish General Election, I imagine that many students like me find themselves filled with weary cynicism towards the whole political process: “What is the point in exercising our right to vote if the choice is between one slimy pink turd in a quiff and the next?” I hear the student populace sigh collectively. This will be the first general election in which my vote supposedly counts, and already I can feel the beginnings of contempt towards all things political weighing on my young shoulders. Even with initiatives such as SmartVote.ie and WhichCandidate.ie providing the Irish public with nuanced breakdowns of candidates’ stances on issues of key importance to “We the People”, it is difficult for me not to succumb to the crushing weight of political apathy. It is no stretch of the imagination to posit that, in fact, the majority of students feel just as I do: undercut, ineffectual, ignorant, and apathetic; granted a responsibility that is neither desired nor understood. Do any of us really imagine that voting one more shower of suited turds into government will nourish the parched earth of our public needs? Shall we once more raise our faces upwards in the hope that the prophesied rain of horse manure will this time be more fragrant, and perhaps of a more palatable and viscous consistency? I say no; there is another way full of exciting possibilities. We need only look westward to the land of promise that, like us, is currently in the noble throws of political renewal. We can look to the promise of He of the Jowl and Orange Toupee: he who displays such audacious ambition that many Americans are struck dumb in disbelief, while yet others let loose incoherent babbling roars before the inexorable march of liberty; we need only look to this man of wisdom and intellect to feel our optimism restored, our faith in humanity once more validated. But to stop there would be to deprive ourselves of the lessons this great land may impart. In the campaign promises of one candidate in particular, we find hope for all those poor souls who are paralysed by fear of the zombie apocalypse; one candidate alone has a contingency for this pressing issue. In true Shaun of the Dead style, this man foresees that zombies, once pacified, could be turned into the generation of renewable power by setting them shambling within giant zombie hamster wheels.
This man promises to make tooth-brushing compulsory. This man promises investment in time travel in order to throttle baby Hitler with his bare hands. This man promises the American people ponies free of charge, forever. This man is named Vermin Supreme, and he has appeared on the ballot every election year for as long as I’ve been alive. Originally donning a full set of armour and furry pants, Mr Supreme has since settled on his current apparel of flowing robes: a full beard and a wellington boot for a hat. In spite of his somewhat religious appearance in a country that has always venerated the separation of church and state, Mr Supreme has achieved much well-deserved success, winning literally hundreds of votes and many dozens of devoted followers in the course of his political career. And looking around the couches of Smokey’s here in Galway, I am ashamed to think that so few of the student populace, myself included, would not have the energy to even consider following a political candidate who presents such a refreshing perspective and fashion sense. For shame, students of Ireland. For shame. When a man, that to all appearances could well be the messiah, arises in a distant land, we depleted Catholics turn away with cruel indifference; we would rather lounge on leather couches sipping chai lattes than take inspiration from the energy, creativity, and world-changing promise of this shining paragon of democracy. This is a reminder to all those young people who believe that their vote will not matter; that the system is rigged; that there is no point in even trying because we live in a democracy that placates us with the illusion of choice when true change is, in reality, impossible. I am here to tell you that change is possible. It lies within each of us; we have only to take it in our hands and follow the example of our benevolent bootheaded leader by demanding those things that matter: undead energy, giant toothbrushes, and ponies for all.
STUDENTS' UNION ELECTION SPECIAL
Students with invisible disabilities demand to be seen By Dean Buckley Only when I sat down to write this article did I realise it’s been just over a year since I was diagnosed, which I suppose makes it seven or so years since I first went to the doctor because I was tired all the time and didn’t know why. Seven years of waking up exhausted, no matter how early or late I went to bed or woke up. Seven years of falling asleep in classes and lectures, as I tried to muddle through my reading, or just sitting on the couch, trying to do nothing so I could conserve my energy for the next chore, the next assignment, or, most gruelling of all, the next social occasion. Seven years of grades that made me ashamed because I knew I could do better, if only I had whatever was missing inside me, whatever was broken fixed. My condition is called idiopathic hypersomnia and I can give no more succinct a summary than this: I don’t recharge from sleep.
Will the next Welfare Officer consider campaigning for those with invisible disabilities?
No one knows why, so no one knows how to treat it. But worse than that, no one cares to know how to treat it, because it’s a rare disease, so rare that we don’t even have accurate stats on its rarity, but certainly too rare to be worth anyone’s research money. As well as exhaustion and falling asleep during the day, my symptoms include sleep inertia and paralysis, nightmares and hallucinations, deficits in memory, attention and concentration, and, most debilitating of all, I often just can’t wake up, even if someone physically shakes me. Like most chronic illnesses, it both causes and aggravates anxiety and depression. Finally, though we lack hard data due to its rarity, people with idiopathic hypersomnia can expect an unemployment rate at least as severe as narcolepsy with cataplexy (30 to 59 percent), and likely higher, given idiopathic hypersomnia is generally considered more debilitating. I’m in the final semester of the final year of a four-year degree, and those are the numbers that scared me into writing this article.
Only in the first week of February was I able to get a letter from my consultant, whom I hadn’t seen once in the year since my diagnosis, and hand it into the Disability Support Service as proof that I needed and deserved help. Many of my lecturers were as compassionate and helpful as they could be over the years, but until I had that piece of paper, as far as the university was concerned, I wasn’t disabled, and had no right to access the supports and services I needed. There’s no doubt in my mind that lack of access has negatively impacted my grades, and one reason I’m struggling to keep the dream of a 1:1 alive, when an exceptional final grade is the only thing I hope will convince anyone that it’s worth their while to hire a headache like me when they could hire someone who’ll never be late, behind on work, or fall asleep on their desk at noon. Now, it may well be that DSS’s current strict criteria are the only criteria that can allow DSS to deliver effective services to students with disability, without abuse by non-disabled students looking to scam their way to free print credit or exam compensation. Students with invisible disabilities, chronic illnesses and rare diseases, misunderstood conditions that are difficult to diagnose, who spend years bouncing from consultant to consultant before we can finally put a name to our suffering, disbelieved and unacknowledged, we may well be the necessary casualties of protecting this funding. But if we are, if this really is just the way things have to be, if there’s truly no better way to ensure the integrity of these services, if the university
is already doing everything it can to make sure as many students with disability as possible are getting the services they need, I want the university to prove that to me, like I had to prove myself to them. I want them to explain why every alternative system would reduce the quality of service so severely that it justifies locking out hundreds of students from access to everything they need to succeed in college. If they can’t, I want students with invisible disabilities to be able to stand together and demand everything we need and deserve to succeed. Last year, I gave my first preference in the election of Vice President for Welfare to my friend Megan Reilly because her platform included a forum for students with chronic illnesses and invisible disabilities to talk about our experiences, explain the challenges we face and maybe even find some solutions. This year, I’m asking every candidate for Vice President for Welfare to make a similar pledge, to promise, if nothing else, a chance for students like me to have our voices heard, our struggles understood, and our needs put on the agenda. Seven years later, it’s too late to undo all the damage done to my future by my disability and all the support I never received. If you really care about the welfare of this university’s students, prove it by putting some of its most disadvantaged, vulnerable and invisible students at the heart of your campaigns. Let this year be the last year that a student with invisible disability felt they had nowhere to go when they realised their future was falling apart.
STUDENTS' UNION ELECTION SPECIAL
Why should I vote in the the SU elections?? By Feidhlim Seoighe This week the three sabbatical positions of next year’s Students’ Union will be voted upon, and filled by the will of students in NUI Galway. The Students’ Union is an incredibly powerful and influential organisation, in both the academic and social lives of students in NUI Galway. The campaign week is often only remembered as the week where the concourse is the no-go area of the University, but it is also very important that students understand the importance of voting, as opposed to which candidate to vote for. The students’ union is the only organisation that campaigns and lobbies university decision-makers on things that directly affect students on the ground, and therefore it is very important that students make the decision to go and vote in the election. The students who are elected also are able to affect national policy by way of engaging TDs on education policy, along with the national student movement, the Union of Students in Ireland. Representations made by those elected could affect the amount of funding that is placed in new student accommodations in the city, or the level of financial supports available through grants. With the higher education landscape facing severe funding threats, and more students than ever entering the system, it is of utmost importance that student representatives are not only capable, but also understand the issues at hand. Talk to the candidates on campus during the campaign week, and ask them about their vision for NUI Galway, and what difference they will bring once in office. On a local level, the President of the Students’ Union is the main spokesperson for the students of NUI Galway, and they represent the views of students to outside organisations, and to the media. So it is important that the person who is elected to this role is able to communicate clearly, and stand up for students, even when it is not the easy thing to do. The two Vice Presidents represent either the Education or Welfare element of the Students’ Union, and engage with a variety of offices on campus on behalf of those who elected them. They deal with issues such as accommodation, mental and sexual health, examinations and regulations, quality assurance and implementing policy as set by Student Council. Try to look past the fun colours and enticements as you pass by candidates and their campaign teams. Every candidate has ideas and plans should they be elected, and these ideas and plans will affect you during your time as a student in NUI Galway. Stop and ask questions and find out more about each candidate. And then use your vote wisely. These students are going to represent you next year!
DEBATE: Should students be able to leave their Students’ Union? YES: Students should not be forced to retain SU membership By Tomás M. Creamer In recent times, our Students’ Union has engaged with political issues that are of particular interest to students in general: issues such as the rising cost of accommodation, and the cost of accessing education in general; issues that the vast majority of students want action taken on. However, outside of these issues, which are of particular concern to students, the Students’ Union has been active on various other political issues – most notably during the lead-up to the Marriage Equality referendum, where it and other Students’ Unions played a leading role in helping to register students not only to vote, but also to help and encourage other people to vote yes to equality. As a result, you potentially run into a problem with having a politically-active Students’ Union, one where membership – alongside the compulsory student contribution of 224 euro that comes with that – of the said organisation is compulsory for anyone who wishes to attend NUI Galway. In effect, to be able to access third level education in NUI Galway, you have to sign up to be a member of what is essentially a political organisation, and have part of your student contribution charge go towards their political campaigns, including causes that may go against your own beliefs. In no other sphere of society do we defend
such closed shop arrangements. Trade Unions have not been able to compel members of their workplaces to automatically sign up for membership since the 1990s. It also seems especially odd to enforce such an arrangement on a university campus, of all places. The idea of a university being a place where you have your preconceived views challenged by mixing with numerous people of different backgrounds and influences seems to clash somewhat with a policy stipulating that you can only access the education facilities and courses via membership of a Students’ Union that has a very regimented and settled set of views and policies. An argument in favour of such a system is that all students benefit from the work of the Students’ Union, which operates Smokey’s Café and negotiates on behalf of students with the Government to push common interests such as a reduction in fees. But these arguments don’t necessarily justify this. For one thing, it is true that many of the services we take for granted on campus such as Smokey’s Café, the Student Health Unit, the campus bookshop, etc., are run by the Students’ Union, and virtually all students benefit from having those services. However, there is no reason why there should be any inherent contradiction. They could charge non-members extra for any subsidised or free services, and incentivise membership that way. It is also true that the effect of compulsory
In no other sphere of society do we defend such closed shop arrangements. Trade Unions have not been able to compel members of their workplaces to automatically sign up for membership since the 1990s.
membership of the Students’ Union – in maximising the absolute membership of the union itself – also makes it less easy for campus administrators and/or politicians to ignore or brush aside the union since it is, on paper at least, a mass organisation with close to 18,000 members. However, this lack of engagement with student politics has historically been a long-running issue, with approximately 70 to 80 percent of the student body not even interested enough to vote in Students’ Union Presidential elections – something that is a much closer indicator of the actual number of students who could realistically be claimed to be involved with the union. Therefore, politicians could safely ignore Students’ Unions, because if their members couldn’t be motivated to vote in their own internal polls, then what were the odds of them actually voting in a general election? Could things have changed since the mobilisation encouraged by the Marriage Equality referendum? Certainly the thousands of students who were added to the register as a result of the efforts of the Students’ Union suggest that there is more widespread political activism than before the referendum took place. On balance, however, it is not clear how the organic growth of student activism justifies having to add apathetic students to a Students’ Union’s membership rolls; or, even worse, by compelling students who do not agree with the union’s policy platform to enrol in and pay dues to a cause they don’t sympathise with. If our Students’ Union is so great at energising students into political activism, then it shouldn’t be a big leap to encouraging those same students to enrol as active members of the organisation known as the NUI Galway Students’ Union.
NO: Everyone suffers when Students’ Unions are weaker By Dean Buckley Whenever the topic of parliamentary whips and votes of conscience comes up for debate, whether in the news pages, social media or a sudden and unnecessary swerve in daily conversation, I always have just one question: What is a matter of conscience, and what is not? This discussion almost always arises around hot-button social issues like reproductive rights, marriage equality, and capital punishment. Yet a cursory glance reveals that it’s completely bizarre to cordon these kinds of issues off as matters of conscience, as if there were no ethical or moral dimension to economic policy. So then we turn to the question of the day: Is it okay for a Students’ Union to allow students to voluntarily retract their membership? This discussion too is usually about hot-button issues, but, of course, the argument in favour only becomes more coherent by saying that what is or is not a matter of conscience should be left to students themselves; that they should be allowed to define a line and react when it’s crossed. But we’re having this discussion for a reason, the reason we don’t just let students leave their Students’ Union at the moment, and the reason that I believe we never should: the simple reason being that everyone suffers when Students’ Unions are weaker.
You might think it fair for a student to decide they’d rather lose access to all of a Students’ Union’s facilities and services than remain a member of an organisation that advocates for policies they don’t believe in. If that were all that allowing students to leave a Students’ Union was in practice, then I might even agree, as someone who voted for the pro-neutral stance in the Students’ Union referenda right here at NUI Galway. But a Students’ Union that lacks the support of the entire student body, even if that support is often merely nominal, is a Students’ Union that cannot effectively advocate on behalf of its members. And it might seem reasonable, given it is the entire question at issue, for someone to walk away from their Students’ Union, taking what political capital they have with them, in order to make that Students’ Union’s efforts to advance those policies and beliefs they disagree with more difficult.
But what right do they have to undermine said Students’ Union’s efforts to protect access to on-campus healthcare? What right do they have to undermine that Students’ Union’s efforts to fight rising fees, falling contact hours, and the aggressive commercialisation of higher education? What right do they have to undermine that Students’ Union’s ability to provide vital services to vulnerable students? The Students’ Union of NUI Galway holds many positions as a result of the referenda that I voted against, and that I would still vote against tomorrow if repeals were put to the ballot. Does it bother me that my Students’ Union advocates for things I don’t think it should? Of course it does, but that doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to sabotage the lives of other students, present or future. There is no matter of conscience that justifies doing something so unconscionable.
A Students’ Union that lacks the support of the entire student body, even if that support is often merely nominal, is a Students’ Union that cannot effectively advocate on behalf of its members.
STUDENTS' UNION ELECTION SPECIAL
The Lightning Round PRESIDENT Name: Jimmy McGovern
Course: Last year I did Sociology, Politics, and Maths as I was an Arts student. Campaign Slogan: “Experience is key” Campaign Colours: Green with white writing Describe yourself in three words: I’m very genuine. I’m very supportive – especially over this past year. I pick up signals of people who are distressed and try my best and then, as a third, you could say I am quite ambitious. If my younger self was to hear I was running for SU President… I don’t know what he’d think. Tea or Coffee? Oh tea… tea… two sugars… small bit of milk Barry’s or Lyon’s? Actually, Dunnes Stores’ teabags, surprisingly Rich tea or Digestive? Oh Digestive Smokey’s Pigeon: left wing or right wing? Left Favourite hobby: Volunteering. What’s your opinion of Sin? I think it’s fantastic. And Flirt FM? Very good; I’ve been in here a good few times and it’s always been a great experience.
Name: Jedi Master Moran
Course: MA Economics Campaign Slogan: This is not a campaign; this is a struggle for independence and freedom. Campaign Colours: My colours are the colours of the people, and my dedication is to the republic and democracy – not to any man or any creed. Describe yourself in three words: I am committed. I am laid-back. But the Jedi are visionary and prophets. Tea or Coffee? Jawwa Juice. Barry’s or Lyon’s Jawwa Juice? Tatooine Jawwa Juice. Rich Tea or Digestives? Personally, from the seedy bars of Coruscant underworld, where I’ve gone investigating many times, the death sticks there are delectable. Smokey’s Pigeon: left wing or right wing? Stance is not important. Whether Smokey’s Pigeon be extreme left, extreme right, or advocates himself as being a centrist, provided he adheres to the principals of freedom, democracy and free speech, he will be supported. Favourite hobby: While I am currently engaged in a number of missions on distant planets, I refuse to use clone troopers, yet the engaging with soldiers on the front line, hearing their stories and their concerns about the direction in which we are going, is something that I enjoy immensely. What’s your opinion on Sin? Newspapers themselves are not really something I would engage in. I prefer more holographic ways of communication.
Want to know the really important stuff, like where each candidate stands on the ‘Barry’s vs. Lyon’s tea’ debate? We shot a few fast and furious questions at our interviewees – just make sure you read the full interviews on the following pages too.
However, the ideas of newspapers on this planet are very amusing, and very informative. And what about Flirt FM? While I have been in touch with previous representatives of Flirt FM and they have visited me many times at the council chambers, I can’t say that I listen to radio that often. The grand army of the republic radio station would be the only radio station that I would listen to on the ship.
EDUCATION Name: Niall Gaffney
Course/Year: 2nd Year BCL Campaign Slogan: “Putting the U first in Education” Campaign Colours: Yellow and Purple Describe yourself in three words: Confident, experienced, and modest. Tea or coffee? Coffee. Barry’s or Lyon’s? Lyon’s. Rich tea or digestive? Digestives. Smokey’s Pigeon: left wing or right wing? Right wing. Favourite hobby: Hurling What’s your opinion on Sin? I absolutely love it. What about Flirt FM? I listen when I can.
Name: Niamh Keane
Course/Year: Final year Commerce BIS Campaign Slogan: “Niamh is Keane for education” Campaign colours: Red and white Describe yourself in three words: Tall, enthusiastic and outgoing Tea or coffee? Coffee Barry’s or Lyon’s? Barry’s Rich Tea or Digestive? Digestive Smokey’s Pigeon: left wing or right wing? Left wing Favourite hobby: Basketball What’s your opinion on Sin? Sin is a fantastic newspaper; it’s up there with the Irish Independent and all the brilliant broadsheets in Ireland. What about Flirt FM? Flirt FM is really good. I had my first experience here a couple of weeks ago, and I wish I got involved ages ago.
Name: Cathal Sherlock
Course/Year: 4th year Mathematical Science Campaign Slogan: “Make your education a #Sherthing” Campaign colours: Navy with red writing Describe yourself in three words: Diligent, relentless, approachable Tea or coffee? Coffee Barry’s or Lyon’s? Barry’s, because I was once on the news advertising it. Rich Tea or Digestive? Digestive Smokey’s Pigeon: left wing or right wing? Left wing Favourite hobby: Swimming
What’s your opinion on Sin? I really enjoy it, it’s a good newspaper. I really enjoy Smokey’s Pigeon’s article. What about Flirt FM? I’ve been on the radio here multiple times, it’s good craic.
WELFARE Name: Daniel Khan
Course/Year: 3rd Year Bio-Pharmaceutical Chemistry Campaign Slogan: I have a few, but “If anyone can, Daniel Khan” Campaign Colours: Lime green and purprle. When I joined the welfare crew, we had the lime green tshirts and they really stick out on campus – three years working with the Welfare Crew passionately, I had to bring it to the table. Describe yourself in three words: Relatable, empathic and experienced Tea or coffe: Cofee… two sugars. Barry’s or Lyon’s: Ooh… no comment... Lyon’s. I’ll have to go Lyon’s. I don’t really drink tea. Rich Tea or Digestive? Now that depends on a situation. Rich Tea goes nice with a nice cup of tea, but after having a nice meal, a digestive goes down a treat. It’s all about the situation. Smokey’s Pigeon: Left wing or right wing? Left wing. Favourite hobby: Being social. Not just going out and drinking, but talking to your friends, catching up, helping them with what they’re going through. What’s your opinion on Sin? I think it’s great. I think it needs to be better promoted on campus. I think it’s a great asset to have for students – not just to know what’s going on around campus, but to give the student point of view on a number of issues. And I’d like to work closely with Sin next year if elected. What about Flirt FM? I think it’s great that the college has a radio station. Personally, I don’t have much experience listening to Flirt FM, but from what I heard, they’ve got a very passionate work force who are dedicated to their job.
Name: Catherine Ryan
Course/Year: 2nd Year Human Rights Campaign Slogan: “Chats with Cat” Campaign colours: Pink Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated, passionate, and always laughing (that’s four but we’ll go with that) Tea or coffee? Oooh tea. Barry’s or Lyon’s? This will lose me votes… Lyon’s! Rich tea or digestive? Digestive Smokey’s Pigeon: left wing or right wing? Left Favourite hobby: Music What’s your opinion on Sin? I love them What about Flirt FM? A load of my friends do a lot of work there, so give them a listen!
Stuff to note before you vote Voting for the full time elections takes place on Thursday 3 March. You can vote at An Bhialann (10am – 7pm), Áras na Mac Léinn (11am – 8pm) or the Engineering Building (12pm – 4pm). You must bring your student card. The SU President co-ordinates the activities of the Students’ Union and works with University Management to achieve the best academic environment and quality of life for NUI Galway students. He/ she is responsible for the finances of the Union, for co-ordinating Union campaigns during the year and acts as chief spokesperson for the Union. The position of VicePresident/Education Officer means being up to date on academic policy, being a voice for students on academic issues and also being an importance member of the Executive Committee. As VicePresident, this officer is very involved with the day-today running of the Union, and helps with all Union campaigns and events. The position of VicePresident/Welfare Officer means being clued in to all student welfare issues, being a voice for students within the University and also being an important member of the Executive Committee. As VicePresident, this officer is very involved with the day-today running of the Union, and helps with all Union campaigns and events. On Thursday, you’ll be asked to vote for whoever you think is best suited to the three full-time positions, but if you think none of the candidates are suitable, you can vote for RON. RON stands for Re-Open Nominations. RON is not an actual person, despite what an article in this newspaper claims. For more information on the Students’ Union, visit su.nuigalway.ie.
Jedi Master Moran
Binks of Naboo, who has decided to put forward a motion to extend rights beyond the ministerial position of the Chancellor, to grant him extra powers. There is a slow parliamentary decay within Coruscant. The Jedi Council is uneasy about this. They feel that it is vitally important that democracy be preserved in all formats. Within Galway itself, they are nervous of such an event happening. They are eager to see NUIG join the republic, yet they are also nervous about the parliamentary decay and the collapse of the democratic process of the university.
What do you think are the main issues for students in NUI Galway?
There is a slow parliamentary decay within Coruscant. The Jedi Council is uneasy about this. They feel that it is vitally important that democracy be preserved in all formats. Within Galway itself, they are nervous of such an event happening. They are eager to see NUIG join the republic, yet they are also nervous about the parliamentary decay and the collapse of the democratic process of the university. Interview by Representative Thompson
What are your reasons for running for President?
As you know, it’s a very difficult and challenging time not only for Galway, but for the galaxy. There is widespread war and impoverishment and poverty across the galaxy. Recently, the Clone Wars have developed in Geonosis and they have spread far beyond the galaxy. There are many systems that are joining the separatists and the confederation and I feel that the Jedi Council is worried about this. There are reports and rumours of Sith presence on campus. Recently, as many of you may have heard, there has been a coup in Trinity College. They were not able to preserve democracy, as they so would rightly like to believe. As such, Jedi Master Yoda has instructed me to come here and investigate these reports.
What are your main aims and objectives if you’re elected?
Within Coruscant, there are a number of difficult issues that have been brought forward. Currently, the Senate is undergoing a period of transition. Following the outbreak of the Clone Wars, we have had Representative
The students in NUIG are facing the same problems as all across the galaxy. It is very important that we be mindful of our thoughts. We must acknowledge how we feel. We must acknowledge where we fear we may end up. The train of thought that each one of us follows on a day-by-day basis is important to acknowledge. Mental Health is definitely an issue which students are concerned about. There are other issues as well, such as the reports that the Sith are using the canal system and the waterways of Galway for undetected movement, and they are something we will be investigating. We feel that it is vitally important for students to be aware of their locality when they are in these areas: to be mindful of the dangers that they pose; to be aware of their surroundings; and to be vigilant at all times. Accommodation: another very important issue. On Coruscant itself, we faced that same problem a number of years ago. We decided to build up, but not build out as much. High-density accommodation, possibly, would be one way in which we can resolve this crisis. We can prevent students from being fragmented across the city. We can consolidate them in an area, but not allow them to be ghettoised as they have been in other systems. Voting: another very important procedure at NUIG – something on the wayward back home. It is vital they go out, they exercise their rights, they assert themselves as a viable, political entity.
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be SU President?
Mindfulness is a very underestimated yet important concept that I think all presidents of the Union should possess: being aware of when to step back; being aware of when it is important not to take sides, but to facilitate and be an intermediate between debates; when not to come down heavy on one side or the other, but to identify the positions of each angle. That is a vitally important concept. The ability to understand the problems that students face: Jedi Master Yoda and Windu are fantastic at this. They can remain detached from the problems that they face, yet they will also be engaged. While it is forbidden to be compassionate or to show affection and love, they will still acknowledge that when an apprentice or student is struggling, when it is important for them to intervene, and when it important to not do so. And these are vital skills and traits that all leaders must progress, and we will have to see how the leaders of the future will turn out as well with this.
What are your thoughts on your opponent, Jimmy McGovern?
Representative McGovern is a fine representative of a man. We have been watching his progress very closely over the last number of months. We have seen his efforts to contain this outbreak of separatism and contain the confederacy within its own borders. He has been very active by addressing the issues that students face, and by putting forward very applicable and very beneficial policies. Jimmy, in the eyes of the Council, is our candidate of choice. We would very much like to see him appointed, given the chance. And we would hope very well to work closely with him in the future. While he may not be a Jedi, and he may not have the midichlorians that he would like – or that others would like – he would be a fine representative on the Council and on the Senate, should he decide to accept our offer.
In your manifesto, you say you want to achieve equality for clones. How do you intend to do this?
Following the recent outbreak of war on Geonosis, and the introduction of this clone army, there are divisions within the Council and within the Senate as to how they should be treated. While many of them will be manufactured through reproductive techniques that some would consider unnatural, the rights they should be guaranteed are still up in the air. While I myself feel that the use of clones for an army is debatable; that they should not be given this great task and this great role that has been thrust upon them without any choice or freewill – without any opportunity to interject or to have the chance at a different type of life, is something which many people, including myself, feel needs to be revisited. We feel that, following the end of the Clone Wars, they should be given their civil rights; that they should be given their liberties; and that they should be given their equal access and equal opportunities that everyone else is given.
You also say you want to get one more full-time officer on the board. Why do you think this is important?
On Coruscant, the parliamentary structure is on the edge. It is a place of corruption, stricken with rife – stricken with in-fighting – and bureaucracy and failure to acknowledge and to deal with immediate problems as they develop. We fear that this will happen to the Union. We fear that, given the stress and constraints that are being placed on it in recent years, which may only develop further into the future, and will prevent it from achieving its full potential. The opportunity to hire a new officer may allow the Union to develop further. It may allow them to deal with the work they are meant to do. It will allow to them to engage in work beyond what they are expected to do, and alleviate this burden. The Sith are attempting to undermine this; they are attempting to eliminate these offers. Some of our intelligence from back home have reported attempt of “removal” of some of these officers. That is why we are keeping an eye out: to make sure these officers are maintained, and to bring in more officers to ensure that greater work can be done, and that more can be achieved, and to increase the reputation of this institution within the Senate.
Your plans to to erect a memorial to the fallen Jedi Knights on Geonosis are particularly interesting. Can you elaborate on these plans?
That day in Geonosis… I was there and we lost a lot of fantastic Jedi Knights. The survivors who made it out are dealing with it in their own way. While Jedi Master Kenobi and his young Padawan Skywalker failed to apprehend Count Dooku, the former master of myself and the late Qui-Gon Jinn… And we feel that it is vitally important that those who lost their lives be acknowledged for the work they’ve done for the philosophy of the Council. They have contributed immensely to the Jedi archives, be it in reaching new systems, uncovering great historical artifacts, and expanding the general knowledge of the Jedi. This memorial is but a small token to them, to acknowledge their sacrifice, so that we may be here today.
You also hope to establish a council of elders from History, Philosophy, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Classics, and Arts to highlight their contribution and importance to society. Can you explain how you hope to do this?
The Council of Elders is an ancient concept dating back to some of the founding Jedi. The knowledge they provided with this literature is something which we feel should be continued in all great academic institutions. On Coruscant, the university contained there has fallen into decay with great emphasis placed on Engineering and Medicine and Commerce. We feel that these are at the heart of some of this decay; that by placing greater emphasis on financial transactions – on monetary gain – is turning its back on people; that people are the true wealth of any society; that the contribution – historically, artistically, philosophically, and classically – can be immense to our society in this day and age. And while many people will feel that something in the past is something to disregard, we feel this is not so. It is only through the establishment of the Council of Elders that we can make a break from this tradition that has developed in the galaxy of having industry and commerce control all aspects of our lives, and to detach ourselves from earthly commitments.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
There are numerous sightings around this university – not all of which are confirmed. Over the next week, we will be examining these thoroughly, and attempting to track down this Sith. The decay in parliamentary democracy here is unprecedented and we feel that it is only from apprehending these Sith Lords that we can end the Clone Wars. We can prospect a new era for the Jedi, and for democracy, and for freedom, and that it is important that we no longer draw lines upon the division of identity – of being a man or a woman, or being gay or straight, or transgender or bisexual, or whatever identity you would identify yourself as; we are all one. We are all branches of the same tree with the same roots. And it is only from identifying this that we can usher in a new era of peace, freedom, and democracy. The force will be with you, always.
PRESIDENT Interview by Jessica Thompson
What are your reasons for running for President?
Well, this time last year I decided to run for Vice President and for Welfare Officer, and that was something I was very passionate about. I wouldn’t have dreamed of running for President at the time. But over the year, I feel like I’ve grown into that role, very much so. The number one reason, I suppose, is I love what I do. I love supporting students that need that help, and I’m very aware of how much students come in and ask for help, and how much support is actually there. So I think I’d be a good candidate to try and lead that and advocate that across campus.
What do you think are the main issues for students in NUI Galway?
From my experience over the year, finance is a huge, huge issue, as we know. More and more students are struggling with fees and grants. That’s a big one now, we’ve seen that the amount of applicants in the financial aid fund have sky-rocketed over the year as well. So a huge thing I’ll be focusing on is how do we reform the financial aid, and how do we source outside funding? And one thing I’ll be looking to introduce is a budgeting advisory officer within the college, because sometimes it’s not how much money people actually have – it’s how they’re spending it as well. The accommodation crisis is going to be huge again come September. Another issue is the amount of diversity on campus and the wide range of international students coming in, so it’s important to try and have an inclusive campus, and try and let people know that if they need help, the help is there.
What are your main aims and objectives if you’re elected?
My overall number one is for people to know that the Students’ Union is there for support. I feel that most people come in and have a fantastic experience and, for others, there are barrier and obstacles to that. And also, as you know, the general elections have just happened and many TDs have promised supports for third level education and financial supports like that. So I’m going to lobby as relentlessly as possible to make sure that they’re brought in within the first year and not three years down the line. So that’s a huge one, to try and get them in as quickly as possible. Also, I do have things I’ve noticed over the year. One thing I’d like to mention: I met a first year nurse during the year and she said that she lived with three students in Science and Commerce and she was in first year and had to go on placement – didn’t know Galway City and had to go in a 7 o’clock in the morning, when it’s still completely dark at that time. So one thing I hope to do is maybe link incoming nurses together before, as the CAO comes out in August, and that way, if they’d like to, they have to option to link up and live together, because that often suits people better if they can go in twos and threes when on placement. So there are things like that where I can definitely see improvements as well for individual people. Health and safety for me is number one. That’s what I see as being most important.
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be the SU President?
I think number one is people need to be able to trust you. That’s really important because you’re in a very powerful position and you have to be able to lead and negotiate and not give in, but you also have to be approachable so that people can come to you if they need support. Conflict management is another one, and to try and get people to negotiate and keep a balanced head when things go wrong, because I’ve seen over this year that almost over night we can see ourselves in a crisis situation, and you have to be that person that people look up to and that they can rely on and they can trust. You’re the chief spokesperson of the Students’ Union and you’re the overall face as such, so it’s very important that you’re well-rounded and you know the issues that students face. So if you’re talking to a student nurse for example, you know the difficulties they’re having, or an engineering student or a final year medical student. So it’s very important to know the different types of students and the different types of lifestyles, be it student accommodation or if they’re living at home or if they’re commuting or are in financial hardship. And it’s important that you can relate to students in all different areas. I feel that that’s very important.
What are your thoughts on your opponent, Jedi Master Moran?
Jedi Master Moran… well, Cillian is a very good friend of mine. I have so much time for that man, and I’m very glad to see what he is actually doing. And he’s running as well as a huge promotion for a charity, for Threshold and St. Vincent de Paul, which is much-needed. And it’s great; he brings humour to the campaign, because I am aware that for students it can be tough when people are in your face with all these difficult issues that can sometimes be difficult to deal with. So it’s good to have some light humour in there. I’ve an awful lot of time for Cillian. He’s a great guy.
You mentioned relentlessly lobbying newly elected TDs to invest in third level education. How do you plan on doing this?
Number one would be our Galway TDs, and each Students’ Union has their own local TDs across the country, so what we’ll do there is we’ll meet up through our USI events, and we all lobby our local TDs, which is something I will be doing form July if elected. For every euro invested in third level education, there’s a nine euro return and that’s really important and it’s those kind of reminders because sometimes TDs work on the very short scheme of things and they look at the next election, which is in four years, when actually this is a huge, huge investment. And also gathering the statistics on campus and showing them: in semester one we had 1,700 students applying for the Financial Aid Fund. That’s huge numbers.
What sort of direction and guidance are you going to give to newly elected SU Officers?
Well, I completely understand from this time last year, as I was elected, and how hopeful and ambitious I was, when I’m not actually aware of the many rules and the many restrictions and the difficulties of getting things done. But the two people I’d be working closely with would be the two newly elected Vice Presidents – and the number one rule that I’ll keep saying to them is that when someone comes in distressed, that’s when you need to make sure that you deal appropriately and adequately with them, so I will certainly be going over all the things I’ve learned from the many students and how best to deal with that, because I’m going to pass on all the things I’ve learned. Because I know the way I work now compared to the way I worked in July is completely different, because you learn from each experience and you learn from each student, so hopefully I can pass that on to them at an early stage so that the students benefit more at the end of the day, and that’s essentially what I hope to do.
Why do you think it’s important to link student nurses when it comes to finding accommodation?
As I said, I was going around to different students and I was asking what issues they have with any student services, and this girl happened to be a first year nurse, and she just said to me that, “Student services on campus are fantastic, but one thing was that I felt very unsafe as a 17-year-old who just came up to Galway and had to walk in to the placement at 7 o’clock in the morning when it’s completely dark on my own.” And that was something I had never realised and I had never spoken to a nurse with a similar issue but as soon as I brought that up, others said, “Oh yeah, that was me as well,” and I feel like if someone feels unsafe, that is a real issue and that goes above other things and that’s something I’m going to try my absolute best to get up and running and then hopefully it will stay in place from [my] first year on. Safety is number one.
In your manifesto, you mention having a drop-in hour for counseling between five and six to accommodate Engineering and Health Science students. Will you elaborate on this?
One thing I’ve said to many students is that my new favourite number is 1,186, and that’s actually the number of students that went to counseling last year alone. That’s one in 16, which is a huge number, which is fantastic. But also in that survey that came out, it also came out that 50 percent of students that use the counseling service are from Arts. And I found it kind of difficult to understand why, and I kind of looked into it and counseling drop-in hours are from two to four, whereas engineers are in mostly from nine to five, and the same with Health Science students, and it’s mandatory attendance so they can’t afford to miss that. So I feel that if there was a time where counseling was changed, where they could drop in, for example, from five to six,
It’s very important to know the different types of students and the different types of lifestyles, be it student accommodation or if they’re living at home or if they’re commuting or are in financial hardship. And it’s important that you can relate to students in all different areas. that there would be a lot more Engineering students going and that there would be a lot more Health Science students going. And I feel like that is a serious issue. And I understand how stretched the counseling service is, but I will be working with student services to see that, even if it’s two days a week, is there a time that they can work around that, because that’s something I’ve been really trying to advocate all year, is the counseling service, and normalise that for people.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
One thing I’ve learned from my last election is for people just to please do have some patience. I understand that there are many campaigners and everything around, but for us we only have four days to promote ourselves, so we’re just doing our utmost. But I’d just say to people to really just get involved and to ask questions of all the candidates, because we’re just here to do our best and the more questions you ask, the more awareness there is, and spread it around to your friends as well.
VICE PRESIDENT/EDUCATION OFFICER
I think it’s a practical issue that students should have more access to sockets. It’s the kind of thing you hear being given out about in the Bialann, people saying “Well, like, I got a seat in the library during study week but there was no plug beside me and my laptop died four hours in”.
Interview by Niamh Cullen
What are your reasons for running for Education?
I’m massively passionate about the education of students around here. I want to address and reduce financial barriers for student education. I’ve been massively involved in the Students’ Union over the last two years and I have a personal interest in the running of the university. I’ve been involved since the beginning of my degree. I’ve been a very active class representative. I’ve been a PartTime Officer on the Executive Committee as Convener for Business Policy and Law. I was also elected as a member for the Academic Council at the start of the year by class representatives. The Council is an advisory board for educational issues. I’ve also volunteered in many Students’ Union fundraisers such as Christmas Day and Mental Health Week.
What do you think are the main Education issues for students in NUI Galway?
Personally, what I think are the main educational issues for students are repeat fees, lack of appropriate study spaces, and access to extra support. For example, repeat fees are simply too high. The mentality behind them at the moment is that if you fail one exam, you may as well fail them all, if you’re going by the sheer economic value of it. I don’t think that’s the mentality we should be enforcing on students. Every study week, all we hear back is, “Damn, I struggled to get a seat in the library, I arrived at ten and it’s been full since eight,” – that kind of thing. The reading room is also an issue that needs to be addressed, and certainly access to extra support for education is something that needs to be focused on this year. The Students’ Union’s grinds system is barely used at all, and should definitely be pushed and promoted.
What are your main aims and objectives if you’re elected?
I have focused heavily on five main points that I think address every student equally. I want to reform and reduce repeat fees. At the moment, like I said before, the mentality is that if you fail one exam you may as well fail them all. I would like to change this with a pay-per-exam system, which would be capped at the previous system’s current costs so no student suffers financially from either system, while they would benefit if they only fail one or two exams. I want to reform the class representatives. When I say this, I don’t mean as in change the entire system, I just mean further education for them – more workshops, more training, with a particular emphasis on public speaking, motion drafting, professional etiquette, and much more – anything that will help class representatives get more actively involved and engaged with professionals.
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be Education Officer?
Without a doubt, the key skills are experience and professional etiquette. Throughout the year, seeing the current Vice President work is massively meeting-based between academic staff and
administrative staff. I think there are certain skill sets needed there that I would be confident I could bring to the table. I am vastly experienced in the areas I have mentioned above. I have drafted policy, I have drafted procedural amendments and referenda. I have met with academic staff, heads of colleges, and administrative staff. I am extremely passionate about the students’ education. The policies I hope to introduce are effective; they’re practical and they’re certainly achievable. I believe this sets me out from the crowd and I will actively combat financial barriers for students.
In your manifesto, you say you want to reduce and reform repeat fees to a payper-exam system. How do you plan on doing this?
Through my current experience, I have sat in on many advisory committees. I’ve met with many of the appropriate staff in the colleges of Business and Law. I’m confident that, worded correctly and with the right team behind it, we can put forward a proposal to the academics that would be accepted. The university sees costs in hundreds of thousands of euro whereas students see it in hundreds of euro, and I see this change will drastically affect how students see exam repeats and I think it will be something the university can definitely accept.
Can you elaborate on subsidised grinds for students who need them?
If we could develop an eBook scheme, I know people who’d be willing to pay. eBooks are not physical so they are much cheaper. I’ve asked a lot of my friends, I know they’d be willing to pay 200/150 euro if that meant they were going to get all their books in a digital copy.
Subsidised grinds is a massive interest of mine. I’m trying to stay away from the mentality of the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert of “Okay, I’m struggling, I may need an hour or two on a Monday or Tuesday”. The Students’ Union has a grinds system there. There are PhD and Masters students listed on that grinds register who have been there for five years and never once got a phone call. What I want to do is I want to utilise it and make it much a much more easily accessible system. Students who are suffering or struggling with exams can come to the Students’ Union, and request possibly one hour a week for four weeks of grinds in say maths or any specific area they need or something they’re struggling with. I have costed certain areas of this and it is not that expensive. You’re looking at maybe 15 euro maximum; that is what most people would be looking at. You could have an opt-in system of more tutors. It certainly isn’t as expensive as it sounds and the results would be absolutely amazing. Students who need work and who need extra help will be able to avail of it.
Why do you think that availability of more sockets are so important?
I think it’s a practical issue that students should have more access to sockets. It’s the kind of thing you hear being given out about in the Bialann, people saying “Well, like, I got a seat in the library during study week but there was no plug beside me and my laptop died four hours in”. I think it’s just a practical thing that many students will appreciate. It’s the kind of thing that if it was there, you would notice, especially for the likes of study space along the Concourse. Students sitting in the back of a lecture hall there wouldn’t have the same charging facilities as somewhere else.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d simply like to add: Vote Gaffney number one for Education on Thursday 3 March if you want to see real effective change to financial barriers and the continuation of great work put forward by previous Education Officers. I understand that for most people, and more often than not, this is a one-term office. I would like to continue the work that has been started by previous Education Officers.
Interview by Jenna Hodgins
What are your reasons for running for Education?
Well, firstly, I guess I’ve always known people that have been in the position the past few years and that have been working in the SU, and I guess I’ve always admired them a small bit, like Jimmy [McGovern], Aoife [Ní Shullibheán], and Declan [Higgins], especially. And then this year I’m in final year, and I’ve been in the college so long that I’ve seen different things, experiences, different departments and stuff. I figured, “Why don’t I go for it?” you know, I think I’d have a good perspective on it; I think I could make a change.
What are your main aims and objectives if you’re elected?
I’d love to introduce a digital student card; right now Trinity have one. A couple of my friends have one, and they swear by it. You know when you’re going to the library and you’re digging out your bag, your purse, and you finally get there and you’re all hot and bothered getting your purse and you finally go through. With this it’s just an app that you can add to NUI Galway phone, barcode – swipe, go on through, because everyone always has their phone on them. Another couple of things that I’d like to do: eBooks. I feel like that would be such a brilliant addition to college. As of now, the books are so expensive. You could spend over a grand on your books if you were to buy them all, but realistically the average student cannot do that. And the library right now has very limited eBooks. When you think of eBooks, you think of something that is transparable, that a lot of people could access it but they really can’t. So the addition of more eBooks, even to buy as well from the student bookshop would be something I’d love to look into. Again stance on like, fees and student levies always going up. I’d like to tackle that as well. I’ve always had to work hard for my fees, and it’s just so disheartening when you see that it’s gone up another €250 each year. That’s another thing I’d like to focus on.
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be Education Officer?
You really need someone who is open and quite approachable. Someone who is friendly, so that people can approach them and say “I’ve a problem here, can you help me?” because if someone isn’t open and friendly, you’re not going to get people coming to you, and you’re going to have more problems with students, and that’s the whole reason why you’re there in the first place. Someone who needs to be just organised; someone who is on their game. I feel like I’ve had lots of different experiences with different aspects of college. I feel that I can use all that together to be the Education Officer.
VICE PRESIDENT/EDUCATION OFFICER In your manifesto, you say you want to have more relevant skill-building workshops. How do you plan on doing this? Well right now, the SU offer really good life-skills courses. Like they have the barista skills, the suicide prevention course, the bar skills course and they’re all really good but right now, employers’ demands are so high; the bar is getting higher every year. A couple of years ago, Microsoft Word was a great thing to have, now it’s coding and Photoshop and all that. I know a lot of my friends are master coders – engineers, BIS [business information systems] students, and they have such great interest in it. I know that if someone told them, “If I got a room full of students, and they all give you ten euro for an hour to teach a class”, I know they’d happily grab at the chance. So if we could incorporate students to teach other students – people want to learn, people want to make money, so why not make use of that? Same with Photoshop as well. It’s amazing what you can learn in such a short space of time. I had to do a project in first semester, no Photoshop knowledge at all, but I feel like now, I’m quite capable of doing the basics, and I would love to do a course myself. But I know people who are absolute whizzes at it and if I told them I’d get you a room full of people, ten euro each, they’d grasp at the chance as well. So I’d really like to introduce that students teaching students because just why not – people do want the skills and there aren’t any people there teaching at the moment.
Can you elaborate on your idea to create an affordable eBook scheme? You know yourself, you have six modules and usually out of those six modules you’re required to get four or five books for each. You’re talking at least 500 euro there; not everyone has that. Then you go to the library, chances are the book isn’t there, you look on the eBooks and the chances it isn’t there. If we could develop an eBook scheme, I know people who’d be willing to pay. eBooks are not physical so they are much cheaper. I’ve asked a lot of my friends, I know they’d be willing to pay 200/150 euro if that meant they were going to get all their books in a digital copy. In saying that as well, students don’t always want the whole book. Sometimes lecturers tell you that the whole book isn’t relevant, it’s just a chapter or two. I asked my friends as well, if I could offer you a chapter for ten euro would you pay for it? And of course they would, because the material isn’t there and they do really want it. In the library right now, there are so many books but a lot of them are older editions, and lecturers will say they’re no good, you need to get the new one. Students just want to get all the material for their exams.
Why do you think revisiting the repeat fee structure is so important?
When I had to repeat last year, the capping thing completely ruined my average, because I couldn’t get more than 40 percent. First year and final year, I think that it is good for final year that there is no capping, because it’d be completely unfair if there was. Second year and third year, it is unfair. It is something that I’d like to look into, because I think there isn’t enough emphasis as you’re working up to college on your actual grade; it’s only when you get to final year they say “if you don’t get your 2.1 you’re not going to get a good job” or “if you don’t get a 2.1 you won’t get into a Masters”. And that’s another thing I’d like to do as well: emphasis on grades should be made from day one; that you need to work hard, and that your grades do matter. While some people are like if you pass your exams in first and second year you’re laughing – but you’re not, especially if you’re in Arts or Commerce, 30 percent of second year is your final grade. The repeat fee structure: I don’t think it makes sense for people to pay 195 euro if they’ve failed one exam, and someone else in your class fails all ten and they only have to pay 195 euro as well. It just doesn’t make sense. You’re paying to take the exam, but does your bit of paper cost the same amount as ten bits of paper, and the cost of the time for the people who have to correct it? It just doesn’t make sense, I don’t think it’s fair. It’s something I’d like to revisit with the board to see what it’s all about, because it doesn’t really make sense if you think about it.
Interview by Jenna Hodgins
What are your reasons for running for Education?
Well one of my main reasons for running for Education is, when I was in first year, they ran a march for education, so this is back in 2012. I went to the march, and it was the first time I had ever seen the Students’ Union being active, being involved. The chant was, “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts”, because it was just after the budget where they announced they were raising fees, and it was going to keep going up during my time in college. So, it really motived me to become a Class Rep over those two years, and then become the SU Council Chairperson last year. And it really motivated me to be involved with the SU, and help students. It really pushed me, it was the chant: “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts”.
What do you think are the main education issues for students in NUI Galway?
One of the main issues for students is fees. With it being €3000 a year to go to college, it’s very expensive. I’m on a grant myself, and when I was in first year, I commuted from Clare, working part-time to be in college while I was waiting for my grant to come through. I couldn’t move out of home because my grant didn’t come through early; so I’ll fight for students to get their grant early. I’ll also fight for students’ rights. I’ll make sure that they can get lectures moved, and also make sure they can get extensions in their assignments if needed. I wouldn’t be afraid to contact Jim Browne, or afraid to contact a TD if worst comes to worst.
What are your main aims and objectives if you’re elected?
I’ve a few ideas for each college. In third year Engineering, students have to deal with issues where they have to do 40 ECT credits in one semester; that’s two thirds of their academic year and then look for work placement on top of that. So I’d like to lobby the university to make it easier for students to get through their college degree, instead of having to do all the work in one year. I’d also lobby for Nursing and Midwifery students for better working place conditions, because they’re in bad enough conditions when they go into a hospital. They get treated badly, they have to do all the minimum work. I’d lobby for the BA Connect students. Where they do a degree, but they’re not getting the “Connect” on it, they’re getting an Arts Degree in the end. So, I’ll fight for their rights. I’ll also try and fix timetable clashes in science. And I want to introduce a “what is a class rep?” campaign, because a lot of people run for Class Rep, and don’t fully know what they’re getting themselves involved with; give them a proper break-down, let them know. I’d also want to introduce an online badge they can get and add to their LinkedIn account. So when they apply for jobs, people can see it on their LinkedIn account.
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be Education Officer?
As a final year student, and also a maths student, one of the main things I can take from my degree is that I’m a problem-solver. If you do maths, you need to be able to solve a problem. It’s something I will keep going through until it’s done. I’d never stop fighting for students’ rights. I’ve already fought for my own rights, and I’ll fight for theirs, too, because it’d be my main priority.
In your manifesto, you say you want to campaign to restore class tutor rates to the pre-2011 levels. How do you plan on doing this?
First of all, I’ll be lobbying the university. At the minute it’s €22.45, originally it was €25.10. So by lobbying the university, by going to Jim Browne and complaining about it, because more people are giving tutorials than there was back in 2011. So they should be paid for it. If you’re teaching three tutorials a week, you’re getting under €68; in total that wouldn’t help pay your rent, it wouldn’t buy your meals for a week. It needs to be increased to help students with the inflation costs throughout the country. I’d also lobby the Government as well, and work alongside USI.
You also say you’re going to liaise with USI in their campaign to reinstate the old adjacency rate of 24km for SUSI application. Can you elaborate on that?
This is one they introduced back in 2011; this is one of the main reasons I ended up coming to college in Galway because I was originally going to go to college in UL. When they introduced this new rule and increased the adjacency rate to 45km, I was inside a 44km radius to UL. So, with coming to Galway, I got my full fees paid for and a little bit more on top to help me get through college. By paying for my fees alone, it’s helped me get to college. But for people who are out in Connemara and coming into Galway, it’s costing them more to come to college than it would be to go to college in Dublin, or Maynooth, or UL, or anywhere else.
Why do you think introducing seminars on citizenship and knowing you rights as a part of the orientation for first years is so important?
One thing I’m very passionate about is registering students to vote. And if they know their own rights, they’ll be more diligent to listen to Gardaí or listen to us as well. The more they know about it, the less they’ll be involved in crime. It’ll be telling them to be safe when they go out, make sure they don’t do anything too drunk and disorderly to get them arrested, and then not be able to go on their J1.
This, involved with my “Putting the U in the SU’” idea, is to make sure people are getting involved in their rights, to make sure they know how to vote, that they’re registered to vote. That’s one thing I’m very passionate about is registering students to vote. And if they know their own rights, they’ll be more diligent to listen to Gardaí or listen to us as well. The more they know about it, the less they’ll be involved in crime. It’ll be telling them to be safe when they go out, make sure they don’t do anything too drunk and disorderly to get them arrested, and then not be able to go on their J1, not get their work placement or be called up in front of Pat Morgan because they were doing something horrendous and she calls them in, and they lose something to do with their degree. I’d like to add that I’ve got an extended manifesto online which people can read. It’ll be on the Facebook page, and I’ll be sharing it on Twitter. In it, I’ve main ideas ranging from class reps to colleges, to facilities to funding, postgrads, and “putting the ‘U’ in the SU”. The one that caught me out myself when I was doing my final year project was referencing. I want to create a little book about referencing, and tell students how to reference correctly, so they know how to reference and wouldn’t be caught for plagiarism. I’ve stuff about facilities, and how I want to update plugs in the library so they will include USB ports, so they’ll be a lot easier to use instead of people taking two plugs while charging their phones, charging their laptops at the same time. While they can just plug it in and be able to use it multiple times at the same time.
VICE PRESIDENT/WELFARE OFFICER
situations and problems, dealing firsthand with the accommodation crisis and working in the college, I believe I have enough experience to go above and beyond the Welfare mandate.
What do you think are the main Welfare issues for students in NUI Galway?
I believe you need to be relatable, approachable and, above all else, empathic, because you’re helping students with their problems, one-to-one. You’re acting as a first point of contact for them and distinguishing whether they need to follow on with other services or just need to work it out and have someone to talk to. Interview by Jessica Thompson
What are your reasons for running for Welfare this year?
When I realised how much work the Students’ Union really does, I became really involved and dedicated. I was asked to attend Congress in 2014 to represent over a thousand students, and I was asked again in 2015 but I couldn’t due to work issues. I’ve been involved with the Welfare crew for the last three years and it gave me a great insight into the work that our Welfare Officer does, and I think it’s a really important job and that, in order to do that job to the best of your abilities, you have to have the necessary abilities, which I believe I’ve gathered over the last number of years. I think students should elect me as their Vice President and Welfare Officer because I’ve had three years’ experience working with the Students’ Union Welfare crew explicitly. And you also have to have a great feel for the job itself, not just running campaigns on the ground, but actually acting as a source of support and guidance for students who are facing difficulties. I believe that, with my experience over the last four years in Galway, balancing jobs with college, helping my friends through their own
There are a number of issues facing the student body, be it financial, accommodation, personal. I’ve been through a lot of them myself, and I believe I can use the experience [I’ve] gained to help other students get through the hard times. The issues affecting students are really diverse, but I think core issues that students are facing are the fact that not enough is done to prepare students for the massive lifestyle change that is changing from secondary level education and living at home, to moving away from home and starting college. Because, for a lot of these students, when they move to Galway to start college, it might only be their second or third time being here – once for Open Day, if they even came, and second to find accommodation. And then you’ll find yourself dropped in the middle of Galway. You’ve been looking forward to this for years, but you kind of realise you’re not as prepared for it as you thought. I’m not just talking about having to get up early to go for lectures, and not having your parents there or any form of support. A lot of our students come from rural backgrounds, so coming to a city like Galway – it is small, but is big at the same time – I think more work needs to be done to help them adapt to moving to a new city, showing them how to get around safely and quickly, and general good practice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and get your routine in order.
What are your main aims and objectives if elected?
If elected, I have 12 points on my manifesto that I believe will complement each other in making the transition from living at home and secondary level education and moving away from home and starting college much more manageable and adjustable for students. At the same time, I believe that the SU needs to get back out on campus and have more input from the students. So I would like to increase the presence of the SU with a much more active recruitment system and to do this I will be using the welfare crew. I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work a good Welfare crew can do, and in order to do that, you need volunteers, so I would like to have at least 20 people consistently volunteering with the Welfare crew, to give us a good input into the core issues that students are facing on the ground. When you’re up in an office, you’re not seeing it first-hand. So I’d like to see students from all different years and all different colleges in the
university coming together to give their input and their feedback so that we can come up with consistent, complimentary, campus-wide campaigns that would better the student image and the image of the Students’ Union.
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be Welfare Officer?
The Welfare Officer position is a very diverse job. One second you could be talking to the media, and the next you could be talking to a student in the office, or you could be giving out free condoms or doing some sort of fun campaign while at the same time promoting serious issues. But most of all, to be a Welfare Officer, I believe you need to be relatable, approachable and, above all else, empathic, because you’re helping students with their problems, one-to-one. You’re acting as a first point of contact for them and distinguishing whether they need to follow on with other services or just need to work it out and have someone to talk to; again: relatable and approachable. But you also need someone who can remove themselves from the job once 5 o’clock hits, or whatever time you leave the office. Because I know at times it can get very heavy, and you do need to remove yourself from that situation. So in order to do that, I believe you have to have a certain level of maturity, experience, and levelheadedness. You have to be emotionally strong – not just for yourself, but for the student body.
In your manifesto, you talk about restructuring Orientation and Induction week for first years. Do you want to elaborate on that?
The transition from secondary-level education and starting college is a massive change in lifestyle and I don’t believe enough is being done to help students to make the transition. So I believe, instead of just orientation and induction being about the facilities we provide, it should be about a more in-depth analysis and introduction to college life itself, and not only that, but Galway City as a city. NUIG has a student population of over 17 and a half thousand students but they’re not just in NUIG. These students are coming to Galway City. I believe that, in order to promote a better student image and healthy student lifestyle, we need to help them assimilate into Galway City’s society. In terms of the entire student body, for the last two years, I’ve balanced a job with college – somewhat successfully and unsuccessfully, and I know how hard it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep up with your academics, and still be able to support yourself. So, for the Student Assistance Peer group idea, I kind of got a little inspiration from my own college
experience. I’m studying Biopharmaceutical Chemistry, and it’s a very small course – there are 12 of us in the course, and at the start of the year, we had a meeting with our course coordinator and had a few icebreakers. And over the course of the last few years, we’ve helped each other in not just academics, but personal struggles. It’s a really good, productive, social outlet. So what I plan to do is introduce the Student Assistance Peer Group, which will be, basically, at the start of every module; lecturers will hand out sign-up sheets, but that’s the only input they’ll have. Then these groups will be divided into smaller groups – on average, then. And this will act as a productive social outlet for students to both study and get to know each other, and at the same time it will make it easier to approach a lecturer with a problem when you’re a nominated delegate of a group, instead of just one person, yourself. And I believe this will help academics improve in the fact that there’s more interaction between students and lecturers, because if one student is facing a problem with the course material, the group can help them. And if they’re all having a problem, then obviously it’s something the lecturers need to go over again. The lecturers don’t know what students are having difficulties with and what they’re not. So I believe it will make the college experience a lot more manageable for students.
You also talk about creating more awareness of the risks of drugs. Can you explain your idea on this?
In Galway City, drug use has been on the rise over the last few years – especially among young people and students – and there’s no way that we can stop this. But what we can do is create a safer environment and get them more aware of the risks involved with drug abuse and how to be safe. It’s a tough issue to talk about because it’s kind of taboo, but there’s people out there selling drugs that are caught with substances that can have a detrimental effect on your health. None of this stuff is tested. What I think needs to be done is that we need to promote a safer environment and awareness – not on how to take drugs, but if you are taking drugs, what to look out for and what to be careful of. I don’t have all the answers to this; we’d need massive student input and massive input from people who have experience with these areas. We’re going to have to talk to students on the ground – students who have dealt with this type of thing before. And I don’t want to just look at safety around drugs. We need to look at the issues of drug abuse and the risks involved with drug use, and how it would affect academia if you fall into bad drug habits.
VICE PRESIDENT/WELFARE OFFICER Interview by Niamh Cullen
What are your reasons for running for Welfare?
To be honest, my reasons for running for Welfare Officer are simple. I have a strong passion for working with other students, and anyone who knows me will testify to how dedicated I truly am. I’ve spent the last two years developing my skill set in everything from running campaigns, promoting Students’ Union events, and in particular educating myself in the area of mental and sexual health. I love working with people and I want to give students a platform to speak. We’ve gone long enough without that. I will not be someone who complains without doing, and I will not stand back and watch students who can’t face coming to college every day. I will not brush off a student’s problem; I am here for you, I want to help you and, most importantly, I want to listen and I want to understand. I want to be your Vice President for Welfare.
What do you think are the main welfare issues for students in NUI Galway?
In my opinion, the main welfare issues for students would definitely be in the areas of sexual health, mental health, accommodation, and finance. Sexual health is definitely a word which has a strong stigma surrounding it, and it’s time we start breaking that and get students talking about consent, sexuality, and contraception methods for both men and women. According to the Smart Consent statistics launched in NUI Galway this year, six percent of men and 25 percent of women have admitted that at least once in their life they have been physically threatened or physically abused to engage in sexual activities. That’s just absolutely terrifying and shocking to think that NUI Galway students have seen that themselves, and that’s a small selection of people, too. So what would 17,000 to 19,000 students think? In my opinion, that alone proves we need more active campaigns surrounding issues of sexual health in particular among NUI Galway students and, indeed, nationwide. We are also facing a situation where counselling services in the college are simply over-run. I’ve had the chance to work with these services all year and cannot praise them enough for the work they do. We need to start spreading the workload by promoting the Chaplaincy, Student Health Unit, and support services that are available outside the college, too. I am here to listen and refer – even walk in there with you – and in my time as Equality Officer I’ve seen these services in action first-hand. Accommodation opportunities in Galway are deteriorating rapidly and it’s obvious that students want to
live on campus and close by, but yet there are very few facilities available. The population of NUI Galway is growing and growing. More people want jobs and to stay in college, and more people are coming to college and there has to be something done about it quickly in order to sort the accommodation out. I will lobby the Government to improve public transport in order for students to be able to move further out, because there is nothing there as it currently stands. Students that are 40 or 50 minutes away have to wait an hour or two for a bus that might not even come. The last issue is the finance side of college: it’s an enormous issue which is facing students all over Ireland. It’s important students know how to budget, how to get value for their money; this could be their first time away from home and they may have no idea where to start. It’s also important for students to know how to apply for the Financial Aid Fund, like they might not have the slightest idea with how to fill out that form. I am more than willing to facilitate people in this and actually explain how to fill out a form; it’s a simple thing that students don’t realise could get them the money they need to survive in college.
What are your main aims and objectives if you’re elected?
Should I be lucky enough to be elected, my main aims are to be approachable, promote the Students’ Union, its officers, and its services in particular. We are all here to help; we just need to be approached. We need to get out of the office more and get on the campus, which is something that I have done all year. I think it shows as well, when you’re walking down the corridors and you think, “Like, that’s the person from the Students’ Union.” It’s just a little thing that helps in a big way. I also think it’s majorly important to approach lecturers and students about ASIST Suicide Intervention Training. I would love to push that among the lecturers because there are so many students that may have missed class; why can’t the lecturers get in touch to see are they simply just not turning up or is there an issue behind that? I think that’s a big thing that needs to be approached. Students should be able to notice if their friends have suddenly just gone AWOL. I’ve done those trainings myself this year, and I cannot commend them enough for taking every point I assumed and turning it around. I also want to get students talking more about sexual and physical health. I will encourage an active and healthy lifestyle, promoting body positivity. I aim to get the likes of Operation Transformation into the college, something like that where there are calories on the menu boards and that kind of thing. I aim for students to be healthy and fit. I know all students are on a budget, but it doesn’t mean we
always have to eat unhealthy foods. How many times a week do students order takeaway? There are cheaper alternatives out there. Another aim of mine would be to have tampons and pads available at the Students’ Union Office, free of charge, within reason. It’s not fair that we need to pay so much money on what is, unquestionably, a basic need. And lastly, I aim to take on board what the students want to do themselves. I love running campaigns like SHAG week, Mental Health week, etc., and this campus and its students is buzzing with ideas, so why not listen to them?
What do you see as being the key skills and personality traits needed to be Welfare Officer?
Approachability, definitely. In order for somebody to be an effective Officer for the Students’ Union, particularly when it comes to being responsible for Student Welfare, approachability is key. Students need a trustworthy, friendly representative in office. We get a whole variety of issues brought to us every single day, and an effective Welfare Officer needs to be welcoming and warm in order to deal with these effectively. I strive to be friendly and approachable, and anyone who knows me will testify to that, and I believe that I would make an effective Welfare Officer as a result. I’m always up for the chats, so whenever you see me for anyone listening, please just come up to me because, you know, I am approachable. I’m also a St. Patrick’s Mental Health Ambassador, and as I mentioned earlier have taken part in Suicide Intervention Training, and I’ve been constantly looking out for students in NUI Galway, with the welfare of every single individual in this college in mind.
In your manifesto, you say you want to initiate a healthy lifestyle and body image campaign. How do you plan on doing this?
Well, basically, while I would obviously get the input from the Welfare crew that would be starting off next year, my main aim for that would be to get students who think it’s very difficult to go out and get healthier foods to know they can actually go to the likes of Lidl or Aldi and buy cheaper food. Also, it would be great to get it talked about on campus. There’s always this thing of ordering takeaway instead of cooking, so why not do some fun cooking workshops in the college? For the body positive image campaign, I was thinking, if we organise a group of students that want to start exercising, we can do that every second day at four in the evening just to go out and walk. They can make friends at the same time; we could also set up a soccer league or something like that as well.
I want to get students talking more about sexual and physical health. I will encourage an active and healthy lifestyle, promoting body positivity. I aim to get the likes of Operation Transformation into the college, something like that where there are calories on the menu boards and that kind of thing. It’s easily done; that will definitely be one thing I want everyone’s input on so I don’t want to decide all of that by myself.
Can you elaborate on what you would do with regards to mental and sexual health? They’re two very different questions there, so I’ll take the sexual health side of things first. The promotional consent campaigns I find are really important, and I did the consent trainings myself this year. It really opened up my eyes to a lot of stuff, and I think it would be really beneficial for all students to partake in those. So really it’s just about getting the message out there, getting the conversation going, showing that it affects males and females just as much as one another. For the mental health side of it then, that would mean just being the approachable person as well, that I’m there with all the support services they need to listen to them, refer them, do anything that could benefit them the most. It can mean a lot to one person to know that you’re actually willing to be there and to help them, and that would be the main thing I would be pushing for mental health, as well as of course doing a Mental Health Week in college.
REFERENDUM DEBATE Vote YES: Decriminalisation; when the moral argument stops, we can start talking about health. By Eoghan Holland Ireland likes to drag its heels, deny things are happening and rumble along until somewhere along the way, a wheel falls off. From 1935 to 1978, condoms were illegal. From 1978 to 1985, you had to visit a doctor to buy one. The condom can
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING PROPOSITION: “That NUI Galway Students’ Union actively supports the decriminalisation of drugs solely for personal use.”
be historically traced to the 1490s, yet 500 years later, the Irish still weren’t too sure should they be legal or not. We just spread STDs around willy-nilly for about 43 years while we thought about it. People tend to have sex, whether it’s very important sex for having kids or love; or very unimportant sex for having experiments and learning about yourself. We do it. As much as we’d like to pretend that nobody had sex for 43 years, I’m going to go out there on a limb and say it might have happened a few times outside the task of procreation. This leads us seamlessly to the conversation around legalising drugs in Ireland. It might be nice to pretend that nobody in Ireland has ever taken a drug because they are not legal, but everyone from the Garda Commissioner to your best friend’s house cat will tell you differently. In fact Drugnet, a publication of the health research board will tell you that from age 10 onward to adult over five percent of the population has tried some form of drugs. These numbers increase in adulthood. So what can we do to stop this madness? Criminalise drugs? That will work great. Wait. That’s exactly what we are doing right now. Concoctions of chemicals along with naturally occurring substances are cast out as criminals and left in the stocks. An authority figure tells us they are bad and illegal – immoral – and that’s how we’ve been operating for quite some time. 15 years ago Portugal initiated a decriminalisation process, moving to
a health based model and away from a moral based model. Its drug policing strategy is more in line with support for an illness than rubber stamping criminal records on people for recreation. The result is around 15 percent reduction in continual drug usage in adults, 50 percent reduction in drug-induced deaths and around 30 percent reduction in the spread of HIV through injecting drugs. Not to haze the figures, one interesting statistic is that there hasn’t been any rise or fall in drug consumption, though if you are found to be injecting, clean needles and synthesised substitutes will be made available by trained professionals. Concurrently, our own model of dealing with drug-taking has given rise to great business opportunities for the criminal underworld involving the marketing and maintenance of addictions with no aftercare, and the occasional grotesque murder to remind us who we should be afraid of. This comes as a taxpayer expense at both the legal end and the aftercare end. What we look at as normal right now is the concept that food or alcohol is labelled so you know you what you are consuming. Nobody who has bought alcohol treats a neat whiskey with the same laissez faire attitude that they would a pint. Concurrently, you know that if something has a high fat content then it will add to your body fat, and if you do this enough times you’ll become part of a fifth of the population currently classed as obese. But hey, that’s legal. You can decide without consulting any internet
pages or people in nightclubs just what it is you are consuming. What makes drugs dangerous is that there are no guarantees. Nobody knows just exactly what they are taking ever. It’s a lottery. 57 percent of drug-related deaths are down to drug cocktails, including alcohol. If a cereal company was mixing cornflakes with rat poison and cement dust then you’d know about it; you’d avoid it. Leaving drugs lurking in the legal shadow perpetuates this lottery, with tragic outcomes. We are paying for the drugs, we are paying for the prisons and we are paying for the rehabilitation. We are also blindly consuming into the unknown, no information, no labelling, no warnings about cocktails, no warnings about cardio effects, no warnings about the possible mental health repercussions. Human welfare can only exist in the global sense. Without ever advocating the usage of drugs, it’s clear that this mechanism, based on moral outrage is long since obsolete. A movement towards clearly labelled, graded and legally sold recreational substances creating a tax income to fund a supportive health model reducing the tragedy while increasing the hope for addicts and side-lining the market for the criminal underworld as our Portuguese neighbours have evidently managed, or dragging our heels and pretend it’s not happening… We can think about this, till another few wheels fall off at least.
Vote NO: Why should we vote to spend the Students’ Union’s resources and time on campaigning for policies that are either already enjoying implementation or at least on the brink of it? By Dean Buckley
The referendum on the decriminalisation of drugs that has been put to the students of NUI Galway is everything wrong with student activism on drug policy, an area of concern that demands far more thoughtful and nuanced efforts than decriminalisation for personal use only. We should absolutely not stand for the criminalisation of vulnerable people, especially young people, because of their involvement in illicit drugs. But limiting our condemnation solely to the criminalisation of users smacks of neat divisions between concern for users and concern for dealers that should not exist. Two students meet at the Spanish Arch. One of them is buying because the drugs help them handle the stress of working part-time through a full-time degree and participating in all the extracurricular activities they’ve been told are necessary to make her stand out to employers in a competitive jobs market. For this student, the referendum asks us to feel compassion. But for the student who is selling because they don’t have a part-time job or family who can afford to break the bank paying for their education, because their grant can’t pay for rent, bills, food,
toiletries and books, all the costs of living and learning our government expects us to conjure out of thin air… we would be naïve to think these students don’t exist. We live in a time when more and more students and their families are expected to take on the debt of student loans, a time when students are struggling to put together enough money to pay overdue fees in time for graduation. If any of us really think students aren’t turning to darker places than the Credit Union to make ends meet, then we’re not looking hard enough. On students like this, and their vulnerability, and their need, the referendum is deafeningly silent. In fact, it is worse than silent, because it is these students who lie buried underneath the last four words: “for personal use only”. In the world this referendum asks us to have our Students’ Union fight for, these students still have to move through the dangerous world of the illegal drug trade. The recent shootings in Dublin should remind us all that gang-related violence doesn’t just happen far away, and it certainly doesn’t just happen on television. How can we pretend it is unjust to criminalise someone who buys drugs out of desperation, but acceptable to
continue to criminalise someone who sells drugs for the same reasons? But that is exactly what this referendum asks us to do, and worse. This referendum does not ask us to direct our Students’ Union to fight for greater provision of rehabilitation services from a government and a political class who has been consistently content with leaving those who suffer from addiction behind. This referendum does not ask us to direct our Students’ Union to fight for policies that will make the lives of people suffering from addiction any safer, like injection clinics, which have never been more important to Irish life as we top Europe for rates of heroin use at seven percent, and take the third for annual drug deaths, at 68 per million. The Minister of the State for the National Drugs Policy, Aoidhán Ó Ríordáin, has announced the creation of injection clinics, but he’s also announced plans to decriminalise drugs in the manner of Portugal, so if the referendum merely asks us to direct our Students’ Union to fight for the policies already proposed by the government, why are we having a referendum at all? Why should we vote to spend the Students’ Union’s resources and time on campaigning for policies that are either
already enjoying implementation or at least on the brink of it? This referendum does not ask us to direct our Students’ Union to fight for a compassionate, robust drugs policy. This referendum asks us to spend the Students’ Union’s resources on time campaigning to make sure recreational users can have their fun without legal consequences. Either we accept that drugs are a part of our society and we fight for the radical changes our society needs to stop unfairly criminalising people who are poor, who are mentally ill and who live with chronic pain, illness and disability, or we sit down, shut up and let someone else do it. We should reject this referendum, and all other self-interested, empty, piecemeal proposals, until the students who proposed this bring us a truly sensible national drugs policy, one that shows genuine compassion for all the vulnerable people involved in and affected by illegal drugs, not just the buyer. When that day comes, the students of NUI Galway should proudly vote in favour. But that day is not today, and this referendum is not sensible or compassionate or fair. This referendum is not good enough, and we shouldn’t settle for it.
Vote NO: The direct provision system is imperfect, but don’t dismantle it By Frank Brochery The direct provision system may have room for reform, but it is a fundamentally just and efficient system that outperforms many other systems in Europe, and that is why the students of NUI Galway should vote against this referendum. Journalists have made hay and headlines for years by criticising the direct provision system at its weakest points and ignoring its considerable strengths. But if we are to have an honest discussion and debate about the merits of the system, it is the obligation of its opponents to start recognising that it has merits. Instead, they focus entirely on its problems to the exclusion of its benefits, and refuse to consider how effective just a couple of mild reforms would be in fixing those problems without any reduction in all the good it does. Let’s be really clear here and explain what direct provision actually is and how it works. Most people who speak out against direct provision, especially those who do it just to show off their liberal credentials, don’t even know why it’s called direct provision, even though it’s named for its most important and powerful dimension. Direct provision is called direct provision because it is a cashless system, with the most vital services for the well-being of asylum seekers provided to them directly. Asylum seekers are given full bed and board, plus groceries, utilities, and other necessities directly by the state without any transfer of cash. This stands in stark contrast to comparable systems in other countries, where those seeking asylum are given a weekly or monthly stipend and expected to use that money to buy the necessities for
themselves. On the one hand, it might seem like such a system would be preferable, as it gives asylum seekers more choices, the same choices enjoyed by all our residents, the choices of consumers. But do we really want the ability of asylum seekers to live comfortably in this country to be dictated by the private sector and the so-called free market? Opponents of direct provision complain constantly that much of the accommodation is contracted out from the private sector by the Government, but surely they have to know the State will always be able to get fairer prices than asylum seekers? When so many asylum seekers have a tenuous grasp of English, it would be too easy for mercenary landlords, the same landlords currently taking all the other residents of Ireland for a ride with vicious hikes in rent, to take even greater and more destructive advantage of asylum seekers. The only other possibility is for the State to seize private property using eminent domain, but we have people in uproar when the State does that to build vital infrastructure like roads – let alone if they used it to provide housing to a group of people as dismissed and maligned in this country as asylum seekers. The rate of processing in the direct provision system has been widely criticised, but it must be understood that our Government is in a constant balancing act, striving on the one hand to give the desperate and vulnerable people who have arrived on our shores the safety they deserve without ticking off all the people who would rather we took in no asylum seekers at all. It’s exactly when those kind of people
are outraged that the rate of processing declines, because the Government has to calm them back down before they become politically mobilised and start supporting racist loons like Identity Ireland or Pegida. Whatever problems the direct provision system might have, and it’s no secret that there are problems; those problems would only get worse if we ever had Identity Ireland holding the balance of power in the Dáil, or Pegida marching in the streets. As it stands, asylum seekers in Ireland have complete access to the healthcare system, with medical cards as a basic entitlement, and complete access to the education system for children. There are almost no other countries in Europe who can boast that kind of success for their systems. We should certainly look into increasing the weekly allowance that asylum seekers receive from the Government. We should definitely look into allowing children in the direct provision system to progress in their studies beyond Leaving Certificate level. We should absolutely look into allowing asylum seekers to participate in the workforce, with part-time work or perhaps participation in a version of the JobBridge scheme tailored to the specific circumstances of asylum seekers, outside the social welfare system. But we shouldn’t turn our back on a system that has proven stable and reliable over time, where asylum seekers never have to worry about fluctuations in the cost of living. The direct provision system is imperfect, but this referendum wants to dismantle it instead of fixing it. Vote no.
Vote YES: The SU must take a stand on Direct Provision By Tomás M. Creamer Direct Provision has failed objectively, and is objectively a horrific thing, which we subject thousands of human beings to, often for years on end. This is the case because we have been content to be seen to do “our bit” to fulfil our obligations to take in asylum seekers, but to do so in a way that ensures that those applying for asylum here are cut off from the rest of our society, so that we don’t have to see the results of our own apathy towards those who came to our shores looking for protection and relief. That is not to say that there should be no assessment of applications for asylum – but it is clear that our system of Direct Provision is not working; it is a system that should be providing adequate living conditions for asylum seekers for approximately six months, before they can then be re-settled and begin to make their new lives here in Ireland. That is not what our Direct Provision system does. Instead, over 4,300 individuals – including 1,600 children – are left in Direct Provision centres (the conditions of which have been widely criticised), often for years on end, with limited meals and less than €20 a week (an amount that hasn’t changed in over a decade) to live on, and with less than €10 a week provided for children. Even for six months, this is not exactly great; for years on end, in overcrowded and deteriorating conditions, this in itself is horrific.
The long-term effects of living in such regimented conditions – with no domestic cooking facilities, no opportunity to kind any kind of job – obviously impact in various ways on the individuals who have to live in this system, such as through a loss of skills and motivation. This also impacts on children of school age: because asylum seekers are not recognised as Irish citizens, they cannot apply for any of the grants that might allow them to be able to afford to attend third level education in Ireland. This was highlighted most tragically last August, where an asylum seeker from Ukraine obtained 575 Leaving Cert points yet could not afford to go on to university. Not only is Direct Provision inhumane as it currently stands – even if the problem were simply a lack of funding, the restrictions that the system places on asylum seekers deny them the opportunities to work and contribute to Irish society – it is both a social and economic loss we could do without. But even beyond this, there is another reason why the Students’ Union should take a stance on this issue. Despite – or, depending on who you talk to, because of – the role of Students’ Unions in mobilising students to register and campaign in favour of a “Yes” vote in last year’s Marriage Equality referendum, students are generally dismissed as idealists whose (at least generally) left-wing, cosmopolitan pretentions have no place in the real world or, indeed, in “real politics”.
The Students’ Union, of course, fights on issues that do mostly affect students – such as shortages in accommodation, and the rising costs of attending university. But they also fight for broader social concerns and policies that, to a certain extent, affect wider society – such as the 8th Amendment (which prohibits abortion in all circumstances except cases that threaten the life of the mother), and the decriminalisation of cannabis. However, despite the importance of those issues, there is a wider perception that student politics do not operate in a world that resembles those that most people (especially those from lower socio-economic classes) live in but, rather, whatever seems “cool” on campus. Considering that many NUI Galway students come from such backgrounds – as testified to by the fact that approximately 46% of them receive grants from SUSI, nearly double the figure of Trinity’s student body – this viewpoint may seem insulting or completely disconnected from reality. But it is the case that, generally speaking, student political culture revolves around issues that, in some ways, directly affect students. And for people who want to make a wider political impact on society, such insularity is not helpful when trying to convince the wider public to consider our issues and concerns. Therefore, not only will voting “Yes” allow our Students’ Union to join the campaign to fight against the inhumane conditions we force upon some of the most vulnerable people on this island, it will also be a good
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING PROPOSITION: “The Students’ Union condemns the direct provision system which is inhumane and denies asylum seekers their basic rights and calls for its abolition and replacement with a system which respects the human rights of asylum seekers. In line with policy supported by the Migrant Rights Centre and other concerned NGOs.” starting point for looking outside of our own social and academic bubbles, and towards fighting for those who are systematically oppressed in one of the most literal senses of the word.
March 01 2016
REVIEW: Deadpool By Rebecca Walsh In all my time going to movie openings, I have never witnessed an audience laugh as much as this one did throughout Deadpool. With a killer opening weekend, one topping all of Fox’s expectations, this 16-rated movie surpassed those of all the other Marvel movies to date all because, as Deadpool himself says, “This is a different kind of superhero story”. This comic book adaption not only fully captures the title character’s wit, charm, and absolutely psychotic tendencies; it also fleshes out character dynamics that can sometimes be lost in comic book adaptions. Deadpool abandons the innocence and kindness of its PG Marvel predecessors, and instead consistently throws out snarky comment after vicious punch; its screenplay, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, is full of quick-fire sarcasm as rapid as Deadpool’s 12 bullet shoot-off in its opening 20 minutes. Even the sentimental moments are cut in half by Ryan Reynolds’s ass and strings of sexual insults. Trying to adapt a book or comic can be a dangerous game, sometimes the sheer personality of a character can be lost, but Deadpool’s loyalty to its originality and viciousness means it is the most comic-accurate film Marvel has produced to date. The push by Rhett, Wernick, and Reynolds to make this movie a 16/R-rating pays off in luscious, bullet-fast dialogue and the most wonderfully gruesome fight scenes, which are an absolute joy to immerse yourself in. And the X-Men spin-off works thanks to Reynolds fully capturing Deadpool’s attitude: his acting is impeccable for the part, his swagger and sarcasm excellent; and the character is a revival for Reynolds’s career, Marvel salvaging yet another ailing star’s career, just like they did Robert Downey Jr’s with Iron Man.
Reynolds’s timing and delivery are so fast and flawless that it’s hard to find fault with his portrayal of the brilliant, unhinged mutant; lines like “I’m gonna do to your face what Limp Bizkit did to music in the late nineties,” show off a skill set I never knew Ryan Reynolds had, but that I find myself oh so happy and grateful for. Meanwhile Ed Skrein’s Ajax is a powerhouse of a villain throughout the film, Skrein’s acting sharp as a knife and perfectly menacing. Ajax’s manipulation and abuse are so well-written, and while they sometimes seem excessive, they never leave you feeling uncomfortable.
Comic book adaptation delights and detonates in equal measure almost makes up for it, with her sass upon sass written and delivered in an off-thecuff manner; and Deadpool’s bomb ass girl Vanessa (played by Morena Bacarrin) is every bit as fierce as she is attractive, the couple’s chemistry making their turmoil and humour even more fun to enjoy. Filled with great fourth wall breaks, inappropriateness and a depraved sense of knowing exactly what it wants to do, Deadpool not only delivers every comic book nerd’s dream, it keeps a new audience of fresh-faced babes who’ve yet to flick through its glossy artwork enthralled, laughing and on the edge of their seats.
By Neil Slevin In our last issue, we brought you the news that award-winning Galway venue Monroe’s Live had been shortlisted for the IMRO Connacht Live Music Venue of the Year Award 2015. Since then, the IMRO has announced the winners of their Live Music Venue of the Year Awards, with Galway’s live music hotspot Monroe’s Live wining the provincial prize for Connacht. The awards ceremony took place at the Irish Music Rights Organisation headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday 16 February with performances on the night courtesy of The Academic, Saint Sister, and Rocstrong. IMRO Chairman Keith Donald said of the awards, as voted for by over 11,000 IMRO
Films you can watch on campus and what to look out for in Irish cinemas in the near future By Alex O’Meara As part of Mental Health Week, this month at FilmSoc we’re holding a special screening along with the Psychology Society. The aim of this week is to showcase what societies can do in order to create a mentally healthy campus, and hopefully open up a dialogue on the many different issues within the area of mental health. Mental Health Week takes place from Monday 29 February until Friday 4 March; for this special week, we’ll be screening The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Meanwhile, regarding new releases, we recommend the Coen Brothers’ latest flick Hail, Caesar!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
TJ Miller’s Weasel, Wade Wilson’s favourite bartender and frenemy, is the perfect combination of nihilist best friend and absolute douchebag; his delivery of some of the cruellest lines in the film, including the wonderful “You will die alone, if you could die… ideally, for others’ sake,” make him oddly lovable and fantastically funny. Admittedly, Deadpool’s female cast is a little lacking, but Negasonic Teenage Warhead (yep, that’s her name!) and her dynamism
Deadpool is not just your average superhero movie: it’s not got the sweetness of the Avengers series; it’s got steel, and that gritty, grimy DC Batman vibe is there, too, but it’s cut through with personality and humour. With an 8.6 rating on IMDB, and 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, there’s very little else I can say to recommend Deadpool any further; go and enjoy it for what it is: a glorious romp in the perverse, savage, and downright hilarious.
Monroe’s Live win provincial live music venue award Local entertainment hotspot voted Connacht’s premiere live music venue once again
members: “This is our annual chance to give a really big ‘Thank you’ to promoters and venues across the country. The work they do is invaluable, as young bands and artists can’t build up an audience without them.” On the night, Monroe’s Live proprietor Gary Monroe collected the award on behalf of the venue, with Kilkenny’s The Set Theatre being named IMRO National Live Music Venue of the Year 2015 following a nationwide public vote. Other Voices won IMRO Best Small Live Music Festival while Longitude bagged IMRO Live Music Festival of the Year. For all involved in Monroe’s Live, this award provides further evidence, if further evidence were needed, that their venue continues to go from strength to strength: no stranger to awards and nominations, they won the IMRO National Live Music Venue of the Year Award in 2012, the IMRO Connacht Live Music Venue of the Year Award in 2013, and scored a unique hat-trick in 2015 in win-
ning the Best of Galway Pub Award for the third consecutive year. But they are unlikely to become complacent. On Sunday 28 February, Monroe’s Live introduced their brand new monthly jazz night Killer Joe’s Jazz Club, presented by The Galway Jazz Quartet and performed in Monroe’s Live’s The Side Bar. And with a majestic March line-up of live performances and shows, including My Tribe Your Tribe, Marty Mone (please see Frank Roddy’s What’s going on in Galway? column for more details on this gig), Rackhouse Pilfer, The Harleys, 4 Men & A Bass, LeFonque, the Inishbofin “Off The Rock” fundraiser, Who Knows, and Kíla, they look to celebrate their latest triumph in style. Be sure to go along to Monroe’s Live sometime this month to join their party. For more information on everything Monroe’s Live have to offer, please check out their website www.monroes.ie.
It is quite rare that fans of a novel are treated to a faithful adaption of the work they love, even rarer that the author of said work is offered the opportunity to write and direct the adaptation. No doubt, Stephen Chbosky’s involvement as writer and director in the adaption of his novel is the reason it works so well, when by someone else we could easily have been presented with something cheesy and melodramatic. This film follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), a freshman who is befriended by a group of seniors at his high school (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller); these new friends help Charlie cope with the many stressful aspects of his life such as the recent suicide of one of his friends, and also his mental health. The cast for this adaptation is pitch-perfect with Ezra Miller and Emma Watson being particular standouts as Patrick and Sam. With a killer soundtrack and some genuinely heartfelt moments, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the best coming-of-age movies in recent memory. It will be screened on Monday 29 February at 7pm in the D’Arcy Thompson Theatre – with a possible guest speaker still to be announced…
Hail, Caesar! Joel and Ethan Coen return to the big screen soon with their humorous take on 1950s Hollywood. Though sometimes their comedies aren’t always as well received as their more dramatic works, Burn After Reading being particularly underrated, there’s no denying that the Coens know how to concoct wildly entertaining stories. Their latest follows a Hollywood fixer (Josh Brolin) as he attempts to keep his film studio afloat, and the biggest stars his studio has (played by some of the biggest stars of today) in line. With a cast boasting George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Scarlett Johansson, Hail, Caesar! is not short on talent; with the potent mix of a talented cast and the gifted Coens’ screenwriting and directing abilities, this film is set to be a fun evening at the cinema at the very least. Hail, Caesar! opens in cinemas on 4 March.
SHAG week play 100 Shades of Grey a huge success By Ryan McGuinness As part of this year’s Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) week, NUI Galway planned and staged a number of events to raise awareness on issues pertaining to sexual health, including the play 100 Shades of Grey. Staged in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, this play ran for two nights in front of a large audience on both occasions, a tribute to the important issues that all those involved in the production sought to highlight. Devised by the ensemble and produced in partnership with NUI Galway SHAG week, #wakingthefeministswest, and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre, 100 Shades of Grey was developed over an 18-month period beginning in summer 2014. On the night, all donations made by those in attendance went to the Galway Rape Crisis Centre. The play consisted of a number of sketches of scenarios relating to consensual sex, each having an overall theme, for example The Unwritten Codes on a Night Out and Afterthoughts; and each scene began with startling statistics concerning aspects such as consent, mental health, and sexual offences. Throughout the play, there was a mixture of humorous and serious scenes that kept the audience engaged. One particularly abstract scene, which I thought was very creative, consisted of an actress (Siobhra Ni Chianain) contemplating her recent assault, with her fellow actors acting out her thoughts. Speaking about the creation of 100 Shades of Grey, director Dr Charlotte McIvor said that, “We would all give notes on the work, and then pass it on to other writers for further revision, always deciding collaboratively what would stay and what would go.” Realism was also one of the play’s key themes with society being a focal point throughout. Though 100 Shades of Grey was didactic in parts, in her director’s note provided on the night, Dr McIvor stated that, “We ‘feign’ as actors in front of you, in order to not only educate, but to engage in a collective act of hope.” Its stage was set up simplistically with only a few chairs used in a myriad of ways, most likely because the ensemble didn’t want to take anything away from the message
they were trying to depict. Similarly, lighting and costumes were also lacking, with props only used when absolutely necessary, but again these took nothing away from the production itself. Meanwhile, the play used epic theatre to great effect, most notably the Verfremdungseffekt (the distancing effect), the intent behind this not to allow the audience to form an emotional connection with the characters, but for the actors to conduct themselves as catalysts for the audience’s own self-reflection. In addition, 100 Shades of Grey’s performers portrayed a number of characters, but there was no overall protagonist because, according to Dr McIvor, “the issues and questions we were dealing with were too big to have a central protagonist.” Instead, the ensemble consisted of four men and five women, each of whom portrayed their personas proficiently, a testament to this proficiency provided by the actors’ eventually having to portray their opposite genders, something they did with great competency. When I asked actor Conor Duffy what he wished for the show in the future, he said, “I hope that we can bring a version of the project to appropriately aged secondary school students to teach them about the intricacies of sexual consent.” Later, Dr McIvor reasserted this sentiment by saying, “We want people to leave this theatre thinking actively and positively, to be hopeful that, by talking openly about sexuality and its intricate ‘shades of grey,’ we can drive down the terrifying statistic that one in five women and one in ten men will have an unwanted sexual experience during their life once and for all.” Personally, I thought this was an important and thought-provoking piece of theatre; many of its more serious scenes made me feel uneasy and shocked, exhibiting the power of cast’s collective performance. All involved in 100 Shades of Grey should be praised for delivering such an authentic experience for their audience. NUI Galway’s student counselling services can be contacted by calling 091 492484 or counselling@ nuigalway.ie; if you wish to get in contact with the Galway Rape Crisis Centre, you can reach them by calling 1800 355 355 or via www. galwayrcc.org.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
THEATRE REVIEW: The By Aine Ni Mhaoileoin Bertolt Brecht was given the Galway treatment as students from NUI Galway took on the heady task of performing The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Like all ‘Brechtian’ endeavours, this play combines high drama with supreme farce resulting in political tragic-comedy at its best. Though written in 1944, its message resonates strongly within today’s war-torn world.
The Mick Lally/Druid theatre provides an intimate and atmospheric theatre space, ensuring that patrons feel part of the spectacle. There is no room for passivity here, a fact the performers were aware of, taking every opportunity
Aoife Corry, Niamh Ryan,Damian Duddy, Cillian Browne and Dylan McCormack in an anxious moment in the Caucasian Chalk Circle.
REVIEW: The Caucasian Chalk Circle Top quality performances that made for an enthralling experience By Maria Higgins NUI Galway Drama students, in their second collaboration with the Core Theatre College programme, recently performed The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht in the Mick Lally Theatre from 17 February to 20 February. The Caucasian Chalk Circle had not been performed in Galway as part of a full production in 25 years and this performance, directed by Max Hafler, was the perfect way to re-introduce the play to the Galway cultural scene. Hafler previously directed the Duchess of Malfi (2015), Yerma (2014), and has a large repertoire of plays, Brecht’s play being his most recent work. The play was written in 1944, in the midst of World War II, and this world in revolt is reflected throughout The Caucasian Chalk Circle. It opens with its cast emerging from darkness chanting “once upon a time, once upon a time, once upon a time…”
The audience is then delved into this epic story of a governor, his arrogant wife, and their son. There is a coup in the village and repeated reports of fighting on the outskirts of the town that moves closer and closer to the governor’s castle. The governor is killed and his wife leaves, abandoning the baby in an attempt to save herself. Grusha, a maid in the castle. takes pity on the child and brings the young heir to the estate with her when she flees the town. The play then follows Grusha’s harrowing journey to her brother’s farm and further, in an effort to escape the Ironshirt guards who are chasing her and the baby; The Caucasian Chalk Circle features several brutal moments and encounters with the Ironshirts, but it is counter-balanced by comic scenes. As the play progresses, its story begins to switch back to the village to show how Azdak becomes the presiding judge, and to give an insight into the town Grusha has left behind. Eventually, Grusha
and the governor’s child are captured by the Ironshirts and brought before Azdak’s court. During the trial, the governor’s wife demands her child back and Grusha defends her claim to the young boy, the play encapsulating questions of justice and making the right choice even in the face of adversity. Throughout, Hafler’s cast gave captivating performances, easily portraying the disturbing undercurrents throughout Brecht’s play: Paige Louter and Jérémie CyrCooke gave stellar performances as Grusha and Azdak, as did Cillian Browne as Simon, Grusha’s beloved soldier. Meanwhile, the production’s use of lighting to mark different parts of the stage as distinct places was well orchestrated, particularly considering the small size of the stage, and songs are interspersed throughout to enhance the action as it unfolds. Overall, this drama delivered top quality performances that made for an enthralling two-anda-half-hour experience.
March 01 2016
Caucasian Chalk Circle to invite the audience into the action. I was immediately captivated by the whispered chanting in the opening scene, beginning in the darkness of the theatre and growing louder as the lights went up. This set the tone for the entire production, one which enthralled both me and my companion. The high standard of music, with its mix of folksy tradition and funky jazz, added fun and vigour to the performance, enriching it beyond measure. Then there was the acting; every member of the troupe displayed remarkable versatility as they effortlessly switched roles with each scene. I don’t normally like change, so it speaks to the talent of the actors involved that they could so competently cast off one character and step into another without me becoming immediately confused and disbelieving. Given their youth, and the fact that they are still studying their craft, I fully expect to impress my future peers with the line, “Oh yes of course I saw him/her perform in The Druid back in 2016... yes I did get to meet him/her after...” after which I will smugly sip my drink and modestly wave away their awed reactions. Of course one cannot give all credit to the front of stage. There is no doubt that those working behind the scenes provided the foundation for this achievement: a stage manager keeping chaos at bay and cues in check; a lighting aficionado subtly creating backdrops
REVIEW: Starboy the Musical By Ryan McGuinness
and spotlights where needed; someone to choreograph the dancing and co-ordinate stage combat so no one ends up looking foolish; and a director with a vision.
So many more people contributed and I genuinely hope that each and every person feels proud of their part in what was a resoundingly successful production.
Entering the Bank of Ireland Theatre for the final showing of Starboy the Musical on 2 February, I didn’t know what to expect. Originally set for mid-November, this Rock Soc production had been delayed numerous times for a myriad of reasons, but the theatre itself was sold out on the night and there was a general excitement amongst the audience. The play is based on a sketch within the Adult Swim show Home Movies, which furthered my curiosity for all things Adult Swim as I was a big fan of the channel as a child. Written and directed by Shane Walsh, Starboy the Musical tells the story of the charismatic and unflappable Starboy, and his half-witted but good-hearted sidekick The Captain of Outer Space, as they try (despite being distracted on numerous occasions) to foil the evil Dr General from destroying Earth. With various references to cultural things like rock bands, movies, and Jim Carrey, its script went from strength to strength and the ending lived up to the hype and tension that built from the production’s early scenes. Its stage directions were choreographed effectively and the actors complemented their personas. With exemplary performances from the entire cast, particularly Luke Jacobsen (Dr General) and Conor Duffy (The Captain of Outer Space), each performer embodied their charac-
ters with a passion rarely seen in any college production. Meanwhile, the use of a narrator throughout was a nice touch, and even the intermission had an entertaining, original silent movie harping back to early 1920s cinema. Its set was intriguingly creative, using everyday objects as props (even Cherry Coke), while the stage itself was divided in half: stage right inhabited by the heroes, stage left the villains. In addition, the theatre’s seating arrangement got the audience up close and personal with the entertainment and with the fourth wall constantly being broken, crowd involvement was encouraged continually. Fu r t h e r m o re, t h e e nt i re backd rop was dominated by a projector screen used by the characters throughout the play (a notable moment being the Professor’s incredibly awkward but hilarious dating videos). An original score, composed by Karl Killeen and Cian O Brien with lyrics by Shane Walsh was incorporated within the play successfully, the music being played live on the night (a nice idea but one that drowned out the singers at times). Overall, this play was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Personally, it had me laughing at regular intervals and I’d highly recommend it to a friend: Shane Walsh and the Rock Soc should be credited for putting together a show with such a minuscule budget and for finding performers with fantastic chemistry.
Shakespeare in Galway By Megan Nelis
A student writes on Juliet's Wall for Shakespeare in Galway. Photo: Timothée Cognard.
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the Shakespeare in Galway project is offering a series of fun events and activities throughout the city of Galway. This will include the curation of Shakespearean movie nights and the circulation of copies of his works. Pre-14 February, there was a Juliet’s wall in Áras na Mac Léinn and in the library that you could visit and write one of your favourite romantic quotations from Shakespeare’s work on, sign your name, write a note to Juliet, or anything that you wanted to include that would engage with the celebration.
This was the perfect opportunity to impress your other half in the build-up to Valentine’s Day… There will also be some Shakespeare scenes performed in various bars and restaurants (venues to be confirmed) around Galway, just to add something different to an evening out. The project will wind down with a party on Saturday 23 April to honour the date on which William Shakespeare died. For more information, you can find the Shakespeare in Galway Facebook a n d Tw i tt e r p ag e s at https ://www.f acebook. com/shakingalway/ and h t t p s : / / t w i t t e r. c o m / shakingalway.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Former NUI Galway student Daithí to play the Choice Awards By Neil Slevin Following his nomination for the 2015 Choice Music Prize Song of the Year award for his release ‘Mary Keane’s Introduction’, former NUI Galway student Daithí will play at the upcoming Choice Awards, an annual awards ceremony recognising the best albums and singles released by Irish bands or solo musicians in a given year. In association with IMRO and IRMA, the awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 3 March at Vicar Street, Dublin. So far, the artists confirmed to play this live event are: HamsandwicH, Le Galaxie, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Soak, and Villagers; along with Song of the Year nominees The Academic, All Tvvins, Otherkin, Pleasure Beach, and our very own alumnus Daithí Ó’Drónaí.
The song ‘Mary Keane’s Introduction’ has a personal significance for Daithí as it is interwoven with an interview with his grandmother, as he explained: “A few years ago my grandmother was interviewed about what life was like in Clare when she was younger. When I heard the recording I couldn’t believe how personal and heartfelt it was, I hadn’t heard anyone her age talk so honestly about love. I put parts of the interview to some chords I was writing and everything clicked into place. “It’s a great introduction to the upcoming record, which is inspired by living in the West of Ireland. My grandmother is 90 years old, and still lives in a thatched cottage in Ballyvaughan.” The track opens the Tribes EP, which, overall, was inspired by the West of Ireland’s landscape and
WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW:
Win the opportunity to write for Hot Press By Frank Roddy Hot Press are giving young writers and journalists a great opportunity with their ‘A Story of Ireland’ writing competition; we’ll get straight to the prize because if anything is going to interest you in the competition it’s that. In total there will be 22 prize winners, including a bunch of runners-up winning some prizes to help them on their way to a fulltime career in writing. But we’re all more ambitious than aiming for that; and this is the exact reason why Hot Press are offering both pairs of overall winners a four-week internship at Hot Press HQ, obviously a great opportunity and a line that will stick out on any CV. As well as this, the four winners will also receive €250 and a Certificate of Achievement. And to top it all off, each winning entry will be published in a special commemorative issue of Hot Press magazine. So, these entries, you’re probably wondering what they are: Hot Press, working with Dublin City Libraries and Libraries NI, want students around the country to write a story of Ireland in 500 words. These words can take the form of prose, poetry, rap, autobiography, or script, whatever it takes for you to enthral the judging panel.
The Hot Press website even specifies that you don’t have to stick to this galaxy, so that seems to be a go-ahead to anyone who wants to dabble in some sci-fi or even fantasy. Students are asked to think about what it is like to be from Ireland or live here while considering the idea of Irish identity; lofty enough stuff for 500 words, but prizes like these don’t come easy. The competition is part of the state programme to mark the events of 1916 in 2016 Ireland. And part of these commemorations include the Two Cities One Book festival, in which Belfast and Dublin partner in a festival based on this year’s chosen book, Fallen by Lia Mills (published by Penguin Random House Ireland). A book about the sense of Irish identity, Fallen is an ideal read for anyone preparing to enter either of this competition’s two categories. Category One is open to fifth and sixth year students in secondary school (not really Sin’s demographic, so we’ll focus on Category Two); open to all students in Irish third level colleges, Category Two will have two first-prize winners, one male, one female. Please check out www.hotpress. com/writeherewritenow to enter this competition and/or to find out more about your chances of winning it.
cities, “something that reflects what life is like for young people living in the West of Ireland”. Originally from Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, Daithí was taught how to play the traditional fiddle by his family before he progressed to playing the bass guitar in bands such as Keepsake and The Shackletons. He first came to national prominence in 2009 when he auditioned for the first series of The All Ireland Talent Show. Selected to represent the West and mentored by namesake Dáithí Ó Sé, he went on to reach the final of that year’s show. In August 2010, Daithí appeared in the audition phase of Sky 1’s Must Be The Music, and went on to become the first of two acts to reach the final of the show, his track ‘Carraroe’ reaching number six in the UK Indie singles chart that same night. Now he is a regular of the Irish gigging circuit, has a record deal with Sony Music Ireland, and has performed his unique brand of Irish trad meets dance music all over the country, performing in major Irish music festivals such as Electric Picnic, Castle Palooza, and Forbidden Fruit. Daithí released his debut
album In Flight in summer 2014. Now, ahead of the release of his new Tribes EP on 26 February, Daithí has shared his latest single ‘Love’s on Top’ featuring Dublin singer-songwriter Sinead White, a song due for release on the same day as the EP it’s taken from. Speaking of the track, Daithí said: “I came across Sinead White last year, and really loved how her voice had a unique ‘Irish’ quality to it, but at the same time felt very contemporary. It was a perfect match for ‘Love’s on Top’, which was a track inspired by Galway City at night, especially the west end and around the Spanish Arch. “This track could be considered the lead single to the Tribes EP, and it’s a good snapshot of what the rest of the record is like.” The Choice Awards will be broadcast live on Today FM in a special four-hour extended programme during the Paul McLoone show; tickets are on sale now from all Ticketmaster outlets and from ticketmaster.ie. Announced on 27 January, the 2015 Choice Music Prize Song of the Year shortlist is as follows:
• The Academic – Different (Room 6 Records); • All Tvvins – Thank You (Warner Music); • The Coronas – How This Goes (Universal Music); • Daithí – Mary Keane’s Introduction (Self-released); • Fight Like Apes – Pretty Keen On Centrefolds (Alcopop! Records); • Hozier – Someone New (Universal Music); • Gavin James – Bitter Pill (Warner Music); • Kodaline – Ready (Sony Music); • Otherkin – Ay Ay (Rubyworks); • Pleasure Beach – Go (Faction) To vote for your favourite song, please visit http://choicemusicprize.ie/song/; you can vote once every 24 hours, so feel free to re-visit the website and give your favourite song all the support you can. And don’t forget to click the Twitter and/or Facebook share button after voting to be in with a chance of winning tickets to the Choice Music Prize live event itself. For more information on Daithí and his music, please check out his Twitter and Facebook accounts – https://twitter.com/daithimusic and https://www.facebook.com/ daithimusic.
NUI Galway recently launched Blackstone LaunchPad, a multidisciplinary experiential learning programme that supports a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, by providing tools for student entrepreneurs to turn ideas into viable businesses. For further information see http://www.nuigalway.ie/blackstonelaunchpad. Photos: Timothée Cognard.
March 01 2016
Galway Rape Crisis Centre announces its annual writing competition winners
he Galway Rape Crisis Centre is delighted to announce the top three entries from the third annual GRCC writing competition. Brian Kirk, Fiona O’Connor, and Barbara Leahy have come out on top of the many entries to this year’s competition and, at the time of print, the winner was yet to be announced. The winner, as decided by esteemed judges Sarah Clancy, Alan McMonagle, and Celeste Augé, was announced on Monday 29 February.
Birthday By Brian Kirk You ask if there’s a gift I’d like to mark the passing year, but how can I demand – no more than you can give – the turning back of time to when I knew you first? Not back to the doorway of the Red Cow Inn, when drunk I pecked you on the cheek and mumbled happy birthday; not, one year later, when we sat with friends in the Green Man on St. Martin’s Lane and I stayed quiet, sober. Not back to when you met me from the train at Euston after my father died, or sometime after that, when we moved to Highbury on our own; when we began to drop our masks and make our true selves known. I think of how we wallowed in our love for years before the kids arrived and stole our time but gave us so much more. I was always stealing things, books from shops, kisses in the backs of taxis, always wanting something more when I had plenty. I feared love then, considered it a failing, a retreat, until I felt it. Though it was buried deep you disinterred it, breathed life into its musty lungs and made it sing. I see you as Prometheus, a kind of Doctor Frankenstein to my ignoble monster, but you did not abandon me when I reverted to base nature, when others bayed for blood. You took me back to Dublin and the children came; they taught me over time to do new things, to stay up nights and cool a fever, heat a bottle or simply sit and let the long hours shorten into day. I want the long hours back but you can’t give me that. Sometimes I yearn to go back even further, to a world defined by family, fields and railway tracks, the sham abandon of the long school holidays. I want the days to be mid-summer all year long, those childhood games that lasted until darkness fell and twilight was a midnight walk back home with a ball at my feet and my head completely empty. Each night I close my eyes and we are young again, before time dragged us down its hungry maw. On waking I can feel I’m falling, but reaching out into the dark I find you, hold on tight.
The Art of Restraint By Barbara Leahy It was a strange way to care for something, Ann thought, to snip roots, and restrain branches with wire. But Eric showed more enthusiasm for the tiny tree than he had for anything lately, and that was all that mattered. The kit had been a gift from his mother. ‘It’ll give him an interest,’ she had said to Ann in a conspiratorial tone, making traitors of them both. ‘But he has lots of interests,’ Ann had said weakly, thinking of the unused power tools bought with the redundancy money, the golf clubs rusting beside them. And what about her and the children? Weren’t they interests too? Eric spread the components across the table, made min-
Thread By Fiona O’Connor You can retreat into fabric, hide in a weave. You can take refuge in a frill of silk running through your fingers. Threading a needle you save yourself. You sit in a corner making no sound and the needle slips through woven threads without even piercing. Slips in and out, a perfect running stitch, a line of thought developed along cloth; the feeling of colour mirroring your heart’s thud. In and out and on and on. A shape slowly forms in your hands, like a child. Intention conjures a mantle, a garment, a saving grace. See her now. Sewing. Sitting there in the light of the window. Glint of gun-coloured light settling over her possessions, making them weightier in their places around the room. Settling on her too, heavy in her chair. She glances at the clock, stops a second, returns to sew again. Her skin tissue is almost transparent; her face a delicate shrivel of folds with blue beneath, and her silver hair is limp against her pink scalp. The radio is playing. She holds up the dress she is working on. Deep ocean-green wool with figuring seams picked out beneath the breast line, above the hip. The sleeves especially please her. They carry long folds to the cuffs that are tapered and will reveal her daughter’s beautiful hands. Thin clever hands with the sparkle of her diamond there like a surprise. And as she holds up the dress to the metal of light, surveying her work, unknown to her in another country her daughter walks in a park, her shoulder every now and then touched by the shoulder of her lover, her hands deep in her coat pockets and her breath vaporising white clouds in the freezing January air. A trio of ducks rises out of the lake. Their great scuttling wings and honking and bluster causes the two walkers to laugh suddenly out of their long silence. He puts his arm through hers pulling her into his stride. ‘You would do that for me, wouldn’t you?’ She doesn’t answer. He lets the pause weight the question a while, enjoying the strategy, for now, knowing that it tethers her – he will let her hide in her mysteries, she will repay with small illuminations. Walking on the rim of the lake, a multitude of feeding birds. ‘Mmmm?’ he prompts. ‘I…,’ she does not look away from the water. ‘Aha?’ ‘Let’s go, it’s freezing.’ Her mother stands at the window, stooped to examine a seam, holding a pin between her pursed lips and frowning at the tiny stitches. She forms a still shape in the window, one of many identical windows in the huge blocks of flats of the complex. In the building opposite, twenty floors up, a man is smoking on his bal-
iature mounds of moss and pebbles. Ann studied the box. A dwarf tree crouched in a photograph, its trunk contorted into an S-shape, as though it had lurched to one side, then swung back to correct its balance. ‘Amazing,’ Eric said. ‘To think a tree can be fully grown at just 10 inches.’ ‘What height would it get to if you let it grow naturally?’ He wasn’t listening; he was already lining the container. Eric kept the tree on the kitchen window sill. He recorded its growth weekly, noting every twist of its branches, monitoring its moisture levels. When Ann splashed suds onto the soil he gave a little cry as though she had wounded him. He dabbed at the earth with a paper towel as tenderly as if he was wiping a child’s face. The wires should eventually be snipped, never unwound; that much Ann had learned, but she unwound them anyway. Each branch quivered with freedom under her touch. She stood in the kitchen in her nightdress, coiling the damp wires around her fingers, wondering if the roots would ever recover. cony. He tips ash into the clay of his window box, billows blue smoke out into the air. Shoots are already coming through, he notices again. His balcony will be a blaze of scarlet tulips by April. She will look across from time to time and see the tumbling, lively spill of flowers against the monochrome of brick. He stubs the butt of cigarette between his fingers, pockets the remainder for later and goes inside with a last shiver to finish off his interlude. In her daughter’s womb floats the nucleus of a child, held on the tendrils of her body’s industry. Her daughter’s lover does not know. She holds on to her secret deep within, knowing what is necessary. He senses something. Her mood has changed, almost imperceptible – like a rise in temperature of one degree. He senses the discretion and is uneasy, although he can’t think why. A moon appears in the afternoon sky like an imprint on snow. A full, pale iridescent humour on the hour, mocking their sense of time, of propriety. ‘We’ll go back to the flat,’ he says. When she leaves a favourite place like this, known so intimately from her childhood walks with her mother, she feels the absence of her presence there for hours afterwards; the loneliness of her lack fills her. She hears their footsteps walk away, more charged in the cold and in the act of leaving. A toddler holds his mittened hand out to swans. A piece of bread is snatched away and swallowed down a long neck. When evening sets the yellow lights of offices will form a patchwork of squares and rectangles across the horizons of the park. Through the stark architecture of winter trees bells will ring the time curtly and the place will clear for the night. ‘I only know what you hold out of reach,’ he says. His hand lies on the small of her naked back. He always does that. She is stretched, belly down in the safety of a pillow, watching him. ‘That’s what I know about you.’ The green dress hangs in the moonlight, finished, complete. In the room of books and old furniture, with ticking clock and scatterings of pins, fragments, threads – the green dress, oceangreen dress hanging. Her mother sleeps in the next room. Although her husband died long ago she still divides the space of their bed, takes up her half in a tidy foetal-curl. In the night’s drag her silver hair is dull, her face an abstract mask, lacking her characteristics. Her fingers are like a child’s innocence – open to inspection of light. And even if she were to waken, rouse herself into activity, make tea and turn on the radio, she would still be held by night and sleep. Outside the moon pulls. Frost belies Earth’s slow thrust towards warmth. A man turns off a city street, walks into electric light and the beat of noise as ships cross seas, held by their resistance to water. Night is a slow contemplation, the fragmentary clouds like words to the moon. Bodies in slumber, questions posed in dreams: a life floats, held on a thread, new.
VIRTUAL REALITY: The evolution of gaming By Darren Coppinger The announcement of the Oculus Rift’s shipping date early last month signals that the time of Virtual Reality (VR) gaming is upon us. On 28 March, Oculus’s head-mounted display device will finally make its way into consumer hands – the product is seen by many as the future of the gaming industry (if you can afford its €699 price tag!). While the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook in March 2014 (for a startling $2 billion) brought the device firmly into the mainstream domain, many gaming personalities, such as Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, speculated that this was not necessarily for the best. On his personal blog Word of Notch, Persson wrote: “Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers.” However, this move was not without support. In 2013, John Carmack, the legendary developer of Doom, left id Software, the company he founded in 1991, to join Oculus as their Chief Technology Officer. In defence of the move, Carmack said that the involvement of companies like Facebook was “inevitable”. He continued his defence by saying that although he “could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies”, he did have “reasons to believe that they get the big picture and that it would be a powerful force towards making it happen”. Facebook’s ability to deliver this “big picture”, i.e. to proliferate and market the technology to the general public, will be tested in the months and indeed years to come; but they face stiff competition from leading tech companies, many of whom are already familiar with gamers and the gaming industry alike. The VR space is, therefore, already being explored and tested by other players: HTC, in partnership with Valve, have developed their own version of this technology, the Vive; Sony, likewise, have developed the PlayStation VR. Both devices are scheduled for release this year. In an interview with The Guardian, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s current president and Global CEO Andrew House, said that the PlayStation VR can deliver “a magical sense of presence – where your brain tricks you into thinking you’re actually in this place. We think there’s something there that could be really, really interesting for a next frontier of game development”. Sony believes that VR represents the next step not only in PC gaming, but also in console gaming. PlayStation VR will be launched as a peripheral piece of hardware for the already popular PS4 console. On 3 January, a Sony press release revealed that the PS4 had achieved lifetime sales of 35.9 million units; in comparison, the
PS4’s nearest competitor, the Xbox One, has sold 19 million units as of January this year – if figures released by Electronic Arts are to be believed. Although these numbers place Xbox One sales ahead of its predecessor the Xbox 360, they also serve not only to highlight the extraordinary dominance of Sony’s machine, but the rude health of the wider console gaming industry. This is significant as the death of console gaming was touted by industry insiders, notably by Square Enix chief Yoichi Wada as far back as 2009; however, the current generation of machines has proved all doubters wrong. In a statement released along with their sales figures, House commented: “We are absolutely delighted that so many customers have selected PS4 as the best place to play.” His comments that Sony will remain “steadfast in [their] commitment to deliver innovative entertainment experiences” highlight the company’s intention to continue to push the boundaries of the gaming frontier. One notable exception to this upward trend in the console market is Nintendo’s Wii U, which continues to fall further behind its two rivals with lifetime sales of 12.5 million units, despite being on the market a year longer. However, Nintendo may still reclaim its former glory with the rumoured release of its new console codenamed NX. According to the financial consultancy firm Macquarie Capital Securities in Japan, this new device is speculated to be a hybrid console. Macquarie expects Nintendo to release the device in two parts, with the portable unit launching this November and the console partner device sometime in 2017. This merger of the hand-held and console units would bring together two markets Nintendo had previously defined as completely separate. This is made all the more plausible by the drop in sales of Nintendo’s current hand-held the 3DS. When outlining his plans for 2016, Nintendo’s president Tatsumi Kimishima had hinted at a radical new approach, stating that Nintendo “wants to surprise fans with new ideas – not build on old ones”. Almost every major development in video games in the last 30 years has been tied to Nintendo, the Wii’s motion control in recent years being the most significant example. The innovative spirit demonstrated by the company in the past could, therefore, be an indicator of future success. After all, it’s worth remembering that Nintendo released the first VR device, the Virtual Boy, back in 1995. Perhaps, in 2016, the company founded in 1889 could yet again show the gaming world the way of the future.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
The Galway Gamer: V for victory By Eoghan Murphy Very few can say that they are responsible for the rebuilding and popularizing of an entire genre. However, the behemoth that was Street Fighter IV could raise its red-gloved fist in the air and proudly claim responsibility for all of this and so much more; and not only that, it held firm its position for the better part of a decade. When Street Fighter IV, the fourth instalment in the main series of Street Fighter games, hit the shelves back in 2008, it was released to widespread critical acclaim. And yet, like most titles in the franchise, it wasn’t long until it was surpassed for a bigger, bolder rendition of itself. Its replacement Super Street Fighter IV featured an abundance of extra characters ranging from fan favourites such as mannerly boxer Dudley to brand new fighters like the outstandingly gross Turkish oil wrestler Hakan. From there, Street Fighter IV saw two more re-workings until it finally wound up at what’s considered by many to be the best in the series’ history: Ultra Street Fighter IV. Throughout its different iterations, Street Fighter IV stood head and shoulders above its competition: it had a wide and varied cast of characters, each with their own unique playstyles and personalities; and it was simple enough for casual players to enjoy, yet deep enough for hard-core gamers to really sink their hardcore teeth into. Furthermore, being born into the age of the internet helped this game’s career immeasurably. Through various online forums, people could easily pick up new strategies and techniques; they could use and abuse the online capabilities of the game itself and receive virtual beatings from the other side of the globe without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. The role that the internet played in Street Fighter IV’s life wasn’t limited to arming players with new, increasingly exciting ways to damage their opponents, however. No, it went much, much further than that. It acted as a stage for the game, a place where people could show off their in-game skills to the world at large, and attempt to work their way up the brutally tough ladder of players in order to win greater recognition. Through the likes of YouTube and Twitch TV, Street Fighter IV brought fighting games to the forefront of exhibitions: suddenly, the likes of Evo, the biggest fighting game tournament in the world held annually, became a part of every gamer’s lingo – not just those who were diehard fans of the genre. In response, Evo’s viewership grew and grew throughout the game’s lifespan, 2015’s colossal event pulling in numbers just shy of 19 million, and the realisation that these games didn’t simply consist of two sprites mindlessly chucking “hadokens” at each other was evident; people went out of their way to watch the best of the best lay the polygon smack down on one another. And so, the time has finally come to say goodbye to our old friend; the tournaments, casual fights, and all of the excitement that went with playing Street Fighter IV is hanging up its tattered old gloves to make way for the it’s long awaited successor: the mighty Street Fighter V. Released earlier this month on PC and PlayStation 4 exclusively, Street Fighter V promises to pick up where the last instalment left off.
With a cast of 16 instantly playable characters, the game mixes some old familiars with some unusual new faces. Veterans like Ryu and Ken lead the charge here, with Ryu sporting his classic white-clad attire; but Ken, who’s usually seen in a red alteration of Ryu’s signature look, appears in an entirely new, more personalised style, wearing a martial arts gi tied around his waist, a skin-tight black t-shirt, and his long hair fixed into a high ponytail. Other iconic fighters such as Chun-Li and Vega are also instantly selectable along with a selection of characters who haven’t been seen since the 1990s, including British punk Birdie and Japanese wrestler Rainbow Mika. Joining the battle this time around are four entirely new challengers, each itching to make their mark on this long running franchise. The brutish Necalli continues the wild man antics traditionally associated with Blanka; he’s swift, reckless, and almost animalistic in appearance. Laura, on the other hand, is a lot more reserved and mixes grappling moves with slow fireball work to control the screen. Rashid is the new game’s high-flyer, picking up the slack where Ibuki left off in Street Fighter IV. Concentrating on speed, agility and mind melting mix-ups, he promises to be a worthy opponent for any hardened player. Finally, this cast of new warriors is completed by the addition of the outstandingly bizarre FANG. Almost alien in appearance, FANG looks like a crossbreed between a Darkstalkers character and Soulcalibur’s Voldo: if this seems a little off-putting, then he his doing his job correctly; he’s designed to be disorientating as he fills the screen with poisonous projectiles. Overall, Street Fighter V pours new mechanics, new characters, and new life into a series that’s thriving more now than it did even in its arcade heyday. With the game already being used by professional players to set new world records, so many tricks and traps yet to be discovered in its deep gameplay, and promises of a multitude of free DLC characters to be obtained over time, Street Fighter V looks set to dominate the fighting game world for the remainder of this decade. Eoghan Murphy is a Galway City-based music and gaming journalist. Born and raised on 1980s thrash metal, this ex-vocalist also enjoys a touch of hard rock and hip hop. When not banging his head to extreme music, he can usually be found knee deep in piles of video games, competing at tournaments and writing for www. Hit-Start-Now.com or spinning chiptunes on Flirt FM at 2pm each Thursday as the Galway Gamer.
March 01 2016
The new look Top Gear: “Fake as hell”
What’s going on in Galway?
By Ultan Sherry
A guide to what’s happening and where close to NUI Galway from 1 March to 14 March
If you were a fan of the BBC-produced show Top Gear in its previous guise, then you will relate whole-heartedly to this article. But for those of you who aren’t diehard fans, Top Gear was a motoring show that aired on BBC One on Sunday evenings at 8pm – the highlight of any Sunday night’s viewing. Throughout each episode, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May would pour humorous scorn over each other’s choice of cars whilst offending each other personally at the same time; and that’s what made the show so enjoyable to watch. As well as all of their petrol-headed madness, the three gentlemen would also take on ridiculous challenges, such as riding across the English Channel in a car converted into a boat, and driving to the North Pole. Then Clarkson verbally abused and assaulted Irish producer Oisín Tymon, and got the sack in March 2015. Soon afterwards, Hammond and May abandoned their long-running hit show in support of their fallen comrade; and the BBC were left with a choice: Would they save the programme, which earned them £20 million on an annual basis, or let it die? Strangely enough, they chose to try to save their money-spinning show by installing a brand new line-up of hosts to present it. So, for the forthcoming series of Top Gear, the BBC have installed seven presenters, their main man being Chris Evans, a car enthusiast and popular DJ on BBC Radio 2; another notable name is Matt le Blanc (who played Joey Tribbiani in Friends); then there is Sabine Schmitz, the German professional racing driver, and ex-Formula One veteran turned racing pundit David Coulthard. But will any of this work? In my opinion, not in a million years: rarely if ever can you beat an original, no matter what pleasing alternative you try to come up with. Effectively, what the BBC have done here is take a Massey Ferguson tractor and paint it green, thinking it would look slick; but a Massey Ferguson can only ever be one colour: red. That’s what sells it. In the same way, there can only ever be one group of presenters on Top Gear in many people’s eyes – Clarkson, Hammond, and May. They are what made this show so successful for so many years. Now that they’re gone, it just isn’t the same anymore. The Top Gear I knew and loved has died a sudden, tragic death; the BBC will argue differently, but that’s because they are desperate
By Frank Roddy March is proving to be a good month for entertainment variety in Galway this year. From magical fandom to music about tractors, the city has you covered. The phrase “music about tractors” has no doubt piqued your interest, so I’ll get straight to it. Marty Mone of ‘Slip the Clutch” and Hit the Diff fame is coming to Monroe’s on 4 March. 2.5 million YouTube hits and counting would suggest his music isn’t just a hit with the agricultural community, and apparently he has “some serious songs too”, but who’s going to be looking to hear those? Tickets for this viral sensation are €15. If you prefer to know for sure that you’re meant to be laughing at the performer, Foil Arms and Hog bring their latest show Skiddly Wup to the Róisín Dubh that same night. For €16, you can catch this Rowan Atkinsonapproved comedy trio, who are coming off a year of sell-out shows at both the Dublin and Edinburgh fringe festivals, perform their array of wild sketches and characters. They will make for a great night at the Big Fancy Comedy Club. On 2 March, the Town Hall Theatre presents Paul Carroll’s Music Hall Tavern. This familyfriendly drag show will provide all present with a night of singing, dancing, shiny costumes, and laughter. Based in the Canary Islands, this will be the show’s third UK and Ireland tour and its biggest yet, with a total of seven cast members. Tickets are from €20 and both previous tours sold out; so if this sounds like your kind of night, then you better get on it and quick. Should you prefer sparkles emitted by wands rather than streaming from sequin dresses, NUI Galway’s PotterSoc will be presenting their annual Potterfest less than two weeks later when Áras na Mac Léinn will become Hogwarts for the weekend of 12 March and 13 March. Want to go to Potions classes or walk down Diagon Alley? Then head down to the Socs Box ASAP for tickets. To date, there has been no confirmation about the free parking for anyone with a Firebolt. to generate the same revenue they once took for granted. Ultimately, this new look Top Gear is as fake as hell, no way is anyone going to watch this new format at any stage: the BBC should just have pulled the plug when its three amigos sped off into the sunset, leaving a trail of burning rubber behind them. As for Clarkson, Hammond, and May, things are set to work out well for them in long-term. Since the whole Clarkson being fired fiasco, they have each signed a new deal with Amazon worth approximately £10 million a year, much more than the BBC ever offered them for Top Gear at any stage during its unprecedented run…
I apologise, that was literally the only joke I could think of to make about Harry Potter… Moving along swiftly, campus-based entertainment is in abundance this issue as Kevin McGahern and Fred Cooke come to the O’Flaherty Theatre on 7 March. The Republic of Telly duo will bring their blend of comedy to NUI Galway in aid of the Student Union’s selected charities, the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and the Irish Cancer Society. Best known for their RTÉ 2 TV show, these two are ever-present on Ireland’s comedy scene these days: McGahern has been touring the Irish comedy circuit in between making appearances in another RTÉ gem, Hardy Bucks; Cooke, on the other hand, has been busy learning to drive between his musical exploits in comedy. It’s funnier than it is terrifying, I promise. At €5 a ticket, this is not only a charitable act on your behalf, but also one by the organisers; tickets are sure to sell out fast. Back in my very first column, I recommended that you go to see Wyvern Lingo so that you could claim to have seen them before they were cool. Well, if you heeded my advice way back when, then you’ll be excited to hear that they will be returning to the Róisín Dubh on 11 March.
With their unique sound and history of touring with Hozier, these three Bray women are sure to be one of Ireland’s biggest bands in the coming years. Don’t be the person who pretends they saw them before they were big; actually go to the gig, tickets to see them won’t always be a bargain €12.50. Finally, after all those young upstarts, we close with a veritable legend making his way to Galway: Lee Scratch Perry comes to the Róisín Dubh on 5 March, bringing his influential reggae sound with him. This Grammy award winner’s career has spanned decades, he even crossed paths with Bob Marley and the Wailers in his earlier days; but since then, he has continued to change and evolve, going under many names and avoiding stagnation. In the past decade he has worked with Andrew W.K., who produced his album Repentance in 2007. So if you like your reggae music, or you’re just interested in long-running artists who don’t like to rely solely on their back catalogues, then it’s a difficult ask for you to find a better way to spend €22.50.
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Kesha’s trial outcome a loss for victims of sexual abuse and workers’ rights By Dean Buckley On 19 February, Kesha Rose Sebert, better known by her stage name Ke$ha, lost her historic case against producer Dr Luke and record label Sony in the New York Supreme Court. Kesha asked the court to temporarily nullify her contract so that she would no longer have to work with Dr Luke, who she accuses of sexually assaulting her ten years ago, as well as abusing her throughout her career, or Sony, who she alleges knew of the abuse and covered it up. In her decision, Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled that Sony would suffer irreparable harm if Kesha were freed from her contractual obligations, and that her “instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing”. Words like that should send shivers down the spine of every decent person, as surely as it has sent fear into the hearts of survivors of rape and abuse across the world. But more specifically, it should spur us to learn more about the culture of exploitation and abuse that has thrived inside the entertainment industry since its inception, and to speak out against it at every available opportunity. We need to do it now and we need to do it loud, before this ruling and the chilling effect it will undoubtedly have on survivors of rape and abuse sets back the fight for justice yet again. Kesha is a woman who works in an industry that has spent decades aiding and abetting the activities
of predators and abusers like R Kelly and Elvis Presley, either by directly providing them with victims or covering up their crimes after they took place. This is also an industry that has consistently oppressed, exploited and silenced women and children, year after year, to protect their profit margins. But Kesha’s case is important because it reminds us that the entertainment industry doesn’t just abuse people in the shadows, it does so in the light of day. Kesha did not press criminal charges against Dr Luke for raping and abusing her, she asked to be released from a contract that compels her to work with her rapist and abuser, a contract with the capacity to destroy her career. Contracts like Kesha’s are, as Justice Kornreich noted, “typical for the industry”, but that’s an indictment of the industry, not a defence of such contracts. When Kesha first signed with Dr Luke and Sony, the contract would have created definite obligations for her to produce between one and three albums, but with clauses included to allow Dr Luke and Sony to demand more if they decided to. These clauses are called “options”, and Dr Luke and Sony have called their options in, the result being that Kesha is legally obligated to produce six more albums before she’s free from her contract. If you want an idea of how much of her life Kesha is expected to spend working for a man who abused her and a company that covered it up, then consider Britney Spears (who’s been recording for almost twenty years) who is currently working on her ninth album.
Even if Dr Luke had not used his position of power in the industry to abuse Kesha, and even if Sony had not covered it up to protect one of their highest-earning producers, the terms of Kesha’s contract, and all contracts like hers, are inherently exploitative. Essentially, aged 18, Kesha signed away her right to work for anyone but Sony for an unknowable amount of time. Even if she starts recording her third album this year for release during the next, then releases the remaining five albums on her contract at the same rate as her previous albums, one every two years, she won’t be free from Sony until she’s 40. Supposing the lawsuit never happened, we could shave four years off that timeline, but that still leaves an 18-year-old woman signing away the next 18 years of her life. Can you imagine tolerating that in any other industry? We wouldn’t stand for anyone else, whether it be in a supermarket, law firm or in the military, having their employees sign away the kind of rights that artists are expected to just toss aside. Kesha’s case is as much a battle for workers’ rights as a fight for justice for survivors of rape and abuse. Dr Luke accuses Kesha of fabricating her allegations against him in order to extort her way out of her contract. But in a justice system that consistently punishes the survivors of rape, not the perpetrators, and under a legislative regime that stacks the deck
HMV Galway is no more… By Saoirse Rafferty HMV rang in 2016 by breaking some devastating news: the announcement that their Galway City store would close down on 31 January. January 2016 also saw the announcement that all of Ireland’s Xtra-vision stores would close instantly, including its five stores across Galway city and county, after a liquidator was assigned to their holding company Oxtermont Ltd by the High Court. In a statement, representatives of Oxtermont Ltd said: “This move is a direct result of the market decline of shop counter rental as changing dynamics in consumer behaviour have led to customers favouring the retail opportunity in the entertainment market.” Over two years has passed since a number of Irish HMV stores were taken over and reopened by restructuring firm Hilco; yet, it remains questionable whether the main problem facing such businesses isn’t the company operating their branches, but instead the general public’s low demand for DVDs and CDs in today’s modern world. And where do we go if we are seeking a good film or CD? Nowadays, Google seems to be the answer. The only good that came from Galway’s HMV store closing down was their “up to 70% off” sale; but if you were unlucky like me, then you didn’t hear anything about it until last week when you walked past its now empty, abandoned store building. With the commercial onslaught led by Steve Jobs, and the introduction of iPods, iTunes, iPhones, and Spotify, CDs have been forgotten about; they are still on display in various shops in secluded corners unknown to many customers like me, but
in favour of corporations at every turn, it would make no sense for Kesha to take her case to court unless she thought it was her only chance to free herself from her abuser’s control, especially when she had to give up two years of her life, two years in which she didn’t record or perform, in order to do it. Justice Kornreich was very persuaded by Dr Luke and Sony’s insistence that they gave Kesha their permission to work with producers other than Dr Luke. She told Kesha’s lawyers that this revelation “decimates your argument”. Never mind that Sony will obviously punish Kesha for daring to speak out of turn by refusing to promote anything she does without Dr Luke. Never mind that Dr Luke will still retain ownership and ultimate creative control over her material, and will continue to change album tracklists and cut songs against Kesha’s wishes, as he already did on Warrior, just to show her that he still has all the power. Never mind that Kesha’s legal obligation to produce music pales in comparison to Dr Luke’s legal obligation not to rape and abuse his employees. The court was asked to decide between the sanctity of a recording contract and the safety and freedom of a human being. The court decided wrongly. that battle for the number one single isn’t a huge popular trend anymore. Back in the early noughties, shop shelves were full of CDs, which had only just replaced tape cassettes for good; The X Factor winner and their number one single used to be the highlight of the year. However, in today’s world, people would find it hard to tell you who even won The X Factor last Christmas… Technology’s advance is so rapid nowadays that it’s almost impossible to tell what’s next to change. 21st century customers want what’s fast and cheap (or free) and, within this age of internet, anything is possible. In my eyes, the sentimentality of buying a DVD or box set after a long day of shopping can never be replaced. But Netflix has gained first preference. Instead of someone having to get off the couch to change each disk of the box set, the rise of Netflix now means that the next episode of the series will automatically play: they had a total of 62.27 million users worldwide in the quarter ending 31 March 2015, and customers spent more time than ever watching their films and TV shows, streaming 10 billion hours of content in that quarter alone, Netflix executives revealed last year. This high demand for Netflix’s service reinforces the big question harboured by so many of us: do people even buy DVDs anymore and, if they do, are those people just old-fashioned sentimental buyers? With the loss of so many Irish jobs and stores, not to mention once-loved DVDs, it’s a sad time for many, including myself; yet for others it is one that may go unnoticed. There has been no further announcement on whether any other Irish HMV branches are set to close down, but it seems as if history is repeating itself with the ongoing closure of these digital stores. The next big issue facing the entertainment industry is the question of whether DVD stores will be the next to face extinction, and be replaced by online streaming; have they already?
Dangan Pavilion Bus Services
This bus service will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from Monday 11th January 2016
Bus Returns from Dangan at 6.15pm, 7.15pm, 8.30pm & 9.30pm*
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.
www.clubs.nuigalway.ie for full club training & events calendar or download the Clubs Eventr App
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Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Heslin hauls UCD past NUI Galway: Sigerson Cup first round By Graham Gillespie NUIG 1-6 UCD 0-11 NUI Galway let a first half lead slip and ultimately came up two points short against UCD on Wednesday 3rd February in Dangan. This first round victory for UCD now sets up an encounter with last year’s last beaten Sigerson finalists UCC in what could be a thrilling quarter final clash. NUIG started brightly having most of the possession early on in an effort to fully exploit their home advantage with half-forward Adam Gallagher opening the scoring with a point after six minutes. The star-studded UCD team which includes Dublin players Jack McCaffrey, Michael Fitzsimmons and Paul Mannion along with Westmeath forward John Heslin were almost taken by surprise by NUIG’s quick start and the Galway university found a lot of joy down UCD’s left side with Sean Moran enjoying a lot of space. Galway county player Peter Cooke also exerted a strong influence on the game from the beginning in midfield. However despite NUIG’s good start, they were wasteful with their finishing with Moran notably hitting the post and David Murray dropping his shot short into UCD keeper Eoghan Nolan’s
hands. UCD made the locals pay by executing their counter attacks well and found themselves 0-3 to 0-2 up after 18 minutes. NUIG could have been even further behind at this stage if it was not for goalkeeper Donie O’Sullivan who pulled off a splendid save from Paul Mannion after a fluid UCD move on 14 minutes. Despite this, NUIG’s defence did successfully manage to silence Mannion for most of the game through dropping back Sligo native Cristóir Davey and using him as a sweeper. The home side finally got rewarded for their good play with one minute left in the first half when excellent interplay between the two Gallaghers (Adam and Owen) and Michael Daly resulted in Owen Gallagher smashing in what looked like a vital goal. Peter Cooke added another point from a free off the ground from around the 45 line just on the stroke of halftime to give NUIG a three point lead, 1-3 to 0-3. The Dublin college commenced the second half in far better fashion than they started the first. John Heslin gradually started to grow in stature in the game and scored three points without reply after halftime. Midfielder Barry O’Sullivan, who put up more than a challenge to Conor O’Shea in the midfield aerial battle, put UCD one point in front on the 40th minute. 13 minutes into the sec-
Don’t just sit there, do something
ALIVE is NUI Galway’s community volunteering programme. Each year, hundreds of NUI Galway students sign up to volunteer with over 300 organisations offering hundreds of community opportunities.
Volunteering is about contributing time, skills and energy towards something bigger than you. Don’t expect any sort of reimbursement or payment in return for your efforts, but be ready to welcome appreciation in abundance.
Here are 10 reasons to join ALIVE and become a community volunteer… By Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Coordinator Make new friends
Kicking off the list of reasons to join ALIVE is the fun factor. Did you know volunteers skydive, attend concerts, organise parties and climb mountains? Every volunteer experience is different and by finding an opportunity that matches your interests, you’ll be sure to receive while giving.
Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from varied backgrounds who are often a source of inspiration. You never know who you might meet, what new information you will acquire and how this could impact your life.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind 2
When you’re out and about in the community, your health soars. Fact. Research shows that people who volunteer live longer, have a heightened sense of well being, a stronger immune system and experience a speedier recovery from surgery!
Volunteering is a great way to get life experience. Are you looking to do something different from your job or study? Would you like to do something with your family? Maybe you have always loved animals, reading books or knew someone affected by a rare health condition. Find a cause, find many causes and learn something new along the way.
The 'Feel Good' Factor
It’s that warm fuzzy feeling, the feel good factor you get from helping someone without expecting anything in return. Knowing that you've made a real difference and seeing it first hand is incredible.
Increase job prospects
Ok, so you have a degree, but what makes you different? Voluntary work looks good on a CV and is a great opportunity to have something to write about in personal statements, applications for work or postgraduate study. Volunteering can bring you into contact with all kinds of professionals and people from every walk of life.
You can get involved in something that you've never done before or something that requires hard work. Facing that challenge will give you a brilliant sense of achievement!
Gain new skills
The best way to discover what you’re really good at is to get out there and do it. You will learn about your community, trends and concerns, people and resources, all of which can help you develop your leadership potential. Volunteer settings allow you to think strategically and teach you how to handle conflict.
Make a difference
Volunteers are thanked – often! You can gain formal recognition of your work and the skills you have gained through the NUI Galway Presidential Award for volunteering, the ALIVE Certificate.
Be an agent of change. Advocate for a social justice issue, campaign for an equality measure or develop local community initiatives. Whatever your passion, however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to have a real and lasting impact on the world.
For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie/alive
ond half NUIG finally got another point through a marvellous outside of the foot effort by Cooke. The on-form midfielder then propelled his side back into the lead once more with a free one minute later, but some slight discipline issues from the NUIG defence gave Heslin a free to tie the game before he kicked an exquisite 45 to reclaim the lead for the visitors. A couple of minutes later Paul Mannion had his second goal chance of the game which surely would have ended the contest when he showed some fleet footed ball control on the ground to get clear on goal. However he attempted to play the ball square and it was cut out resulting in a 45 that was missed. With six minutes left to play second half substitute Conor McCarty scored UCD’s tenth point to double their lead and left the Corribsiders with a lot of catching up to do. Despite the best efforts of NUIG substitutes Ray Connellan, who scored a late point to reduce the gap to one point, and Paul Mannion, there was not enough time to stage a mini comeback. Following a couple of late wides from Michael Daly and Enda Tierney, John Heslin converted his seventh point at the other end from a free to seal UCD’s place in the quarter finals and force NUI Galway to wait yet another year for Sigerson glory.
Scorers for UCD: J Heslin 0-7 (3f ), P Mannion 0-2, B O’Sullivan 0-1, C McCarthy 0-1 Scorers for NUIG: P Cooke 0-4 (2f, 1 ‘45), O Gallagher 1-0, A Gallagher 0-1, R Connellan 0-1 UCD: E Keogh (Laois); R Wylie (Monaghan), D Hyland (Kildare), D Byrne (Dublin), C Mulally (Dublin), M Fitzsimmons (Dublin), J McCaffrey (Dublin), B O’Sullivan (Kerry), D Murphy (Cork), N Kelly (Kildare), P Harnan (Meath), J Heslin (Westmeath); E Lowry (Laois), P Mannion (Dublin), P Kingston (Laois). Subs: J McEntee (Meath) for Kelly (30), T Hayes (Cavan) for Kingston (30), C Basquel (Dublin) for Lowry (40), S O’Dea (Limerick) for Mullaly (40), C McCarthy (Monaghan) for Harnan (45), R McDaid (Dublin) for McCaffrey (60). NUIG: D O’Sullivan (Limerick): K McDonnell (Sligo), D Cunnane (Galway), L Burke (Galway); J McManus (Roscommon), D Murray (Roscommon), A Nolan (Galway); C O’Shea (Mayo), P Cooke (Galway); S Moran (Galway), M Daly (Galway), A Gallagher (Mayo); K Finn (Roscommon), O Gallagher (Antrim), C Davey (Sligo). Subs: E Tierney (Galway) for Nolan (23), R Connellan (Westmeath) for Davey (49), P Mannion (Galway) for Moran (50).
Potential and promise just not enough for NUI Galway in this year’s Fitzgibbon Cup By Mark Lynch Well, that was that. The referee had blown the final whistle in Rhebogue and upon hearing the result from DIT vs Mary I, NUIG’s fate had been sealed. They wouldn’t be progressing from the group stage in the premier third-level hurling competition. This was despite a marvellous away win against UL, which was a major upset if you were to believe the pre-match coverage in the media. The tiny margin that separated NUI Galway from progressing will be of no consolation to Tony Ward and his charges, as they showed for two out of their three games why it could have been so much more. If you had offered NUIG a win against UL in Limerick as well as a 14 point thrashing of DIT at home before the start of the competition, they would have taken it, no questions asked. However, this is the source of the major disappointment. They beat the reigning champions and destroyed a team containing several inter-county stars. Yet, it wasn’t enough. Hindsight is 20/20, so it’s easy to look back now, but if NUIG had taken a few more chances against Mary I, or been as ruthless as possible against DIT in that second half, or even held UL to a few less scores in their second half onslaught, they would have taken the place of UL in the quarter-final draw. Surely the finger will be, in particular, pointed at the first game against Mary I, at home. The performance that day was disjointed, wasteful and raw. Declan Hannon picked off free after free after free while Darragh O’ Donovan broke through the heart of the defence far too easily for the teaching college’s goal. They know this themselves. We can see how much that loss hurt them because in the second game against DIT they were inspirational. The for-
wards were flying, Cathal Mannion to the fore, creating chances for himself and for scorer of two goals that day, John Fox. Bobby Duggan was putting in an invigorating performance. Conor Whelan knocked over a couple of unworldly points from play. Not a soul was breaking through the rearguard that day. However, they dropped off in the second half and allowed DIT to turn a 3-12 to 0-5 half time scoreline into a more respectable 3-18 to 2-7. One could just as easily say that this inability to shut the opposition out for the entire 60 minutes was as much of a decisive factor in the disappointing end result of this campaign. The slightly surprising win against UL just 5 days later was simply a sign of their progression as a team in a remarkably short space of time. However, playing against a ferocious wind in the second half in Rhebogue, NUIG lost said half by 0-9 to 0-3. This is how tight the table was at the end. If NUIG had even lost that second half by 0-9 to 0-5, they would be through. It’s easy to call it unlucky, but Tony Ward, his backroom team and the players will be kicking themselves about the small things they could have done. All that said it’s clear to see NUIG are heading in the right direction. It’s good to be disappointed about getting knocked out, it’s positive that the guys have shown they have what it takes to compete with (and defeat) the reigning champions in their own back yard. However, this is the thirteenth year in a row there’s no Fitzgibbon Cup to marvel at for the college. It’s around this time that they can start being referred to as ‘sleeping giants’. Judging by this year, NUI Galway are going in the right direction. These sleeping giants aren’t far from being awoken. That, we can be sure of.
March 01 2016
Leicester’s achievements SUPER FIGHT: Canelo extraordinary with or Alvarez vs Amir Khan without title By Ryan McGuinness
By Tadhg Evans Even allowing for the downturn that we’ve been expecting for months now, Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League campaign has the potential to be remembered as the most important in English football’s storied history. Granted, most agree that this season could well be the poorest we’ve seen in terms of quality during the Premier League era, but that simply doesn’t matter – its legacy could well be celebrated more fervently than the rest. Danny Wellbeck’s 96th minute strike plucked a priceless victory for Arsenal in a game that Leicester could well have won, and might also have punctured the expanding hopes for the overachieving league leaders. But deflating and all as that is, Leicester have already achieved something that needed achieving; they’re
Supporters continue to tell themselves that ‘this could be our year’ at the start of every season, but those statements now just seem deluded where before they might well have been genuine. That’s why a story like Leicester’s needed to happen. genuine title contenders when they should be crippled by their many limitations. Whether they go on to win the league or not is probably unimportant, even if most would take delight in them doing just that. For all the style and allure of football’s most lucrative league, the stocks of adoration for the beautiful game have arguably been declining annually across the pond. It’s exceptionally hard to verify that statement given that attendance figures continue to impress, but many would probably agree that, in spite of their loyalty, fans have never felt more disconnected from their sport and their clubs. The Leicester story is special simply because it showcases all of the laudable attributes that football depends on far more than mere cash. Youngsters growing up on a diet of Pre-
mier League football must have looked through the record books and found it bizarre that clubs like Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Derby County and Nottingham Forrest would regularly break Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United’s clasp on the old first division. That flickering blaze of uncertainty that warmed fans has since dimmed with each silk-stocked, successful, yet ultimately soulless Premier League season. Cinders remained, and not a whole lot else. Supporters continue to tell themselves that ‘this could be our year’ at the start of every season, but those statements now just seem deluded where before they might well have been genuine. That’s why a story like Leicester’s needed to happen. While Man City’s starting eleven two Saturdays ago was valued at over £220 million, Leicester, the antithesis of everything City currently represent, sent out a collective priced at one tenth of that sum. Yet it was the Foxes, and not Man City, who went into their 25th league game as leaders – and exited once again to the familiar vista of doting disbelief. They don’t do logic – in fact, they seem to detest the concept. Five points off safety at this juncture last season, they now smile down at England’s finest, richest clubs, even after defeat away to Arsenal. Good possession and pass-completion statistics are normally obtained by the league’s best sides, yet Leicester have been genuinely appalling on both counts this season. Their pass success rate is the poorest in the league, and only Sunderland and West Brom attain possession less frequently. But that only warms an already uplifting storyline. Their success has not been the product of ludicrous funding, nor intricate scheming -- they’re essentially a clan who sit back and soak up before striking stealthily. Mahrez and Vardy’s worth to their campaign has been inestimable, but they weren’t drawn to the English midlands by sensational sums of cash. The acquisition of Mahrez was secured with loose change, and 29-year-old Vardy was bought from lowly Fleetwood Town in 2012. As Liverpool fans deserted Anfield two weeks ago in protest at fattened ticket prices, Leicester’s extraordinary win over City seemed especially precious. Two weeks ago, they were made favourites to win the league, touted to disdainfully discredit pre-season title odds of 5,000-1. They’ve since relinquished that tag, but have already accomplished something incredibly valuable on behalf of the world’s most loved sport. Football fans can, once again, believe that a project as organic as Leicester’s can thrive in an environment saturated by startling wealth.
The first weekend in May has always been a big earner for boxing, with Floyd Mayweather Jnr occupying the spot for the last few years. With ‘Money’ Mayweather officially retired, Canelo Alvarez looks to become the next big draw in the boxing world as he defends the WBC World Middleweight title against Bolton born Amir Khan on 7 May. In a surprise to many, Gennady Golovkin, the current Unified Middleweight title holder wasn’t chosen as Alvarez’s next opponent. Instead Amir Khan, a former unified junior welterweight titlist, got the shot. Khan, with an impressive record of 31 wins and 3 losses must now make the 155lbs weight limit, putting him at an instant disadvantage. Also historically Canelo is known to rehydrate significantly before bouts, which makes a huge size difference inevitable. In Khan’s last fight, he struggled against Chris Algieri through the entire 12 rounds despite getting the unanimous decision. Furthermore the former Olympic silver medallist now faces his toughest challenge to date in Canelo Alvarez. With a monstrous record of 46 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw at the age of only 25, Canelo goes into the bout a clear favourite. He displayed
a powerful performance against Miguel Cotto last year to win the WBC Middleweight title and even though it went the full 12 rounds, Alvarez always looked in control. Other than the weight difference, the tale of the tape portrays a pretty even picture. Both men have similar reach and height measurements and they are also both orthodox fighters. Where they part ways however is in terms of speed. Even though he has slowed significantly over the last few years, Khan will still be able to use his quickness to get away from Alvarez, who has a history of stamina problems. If Canelo is able to cut the ring off however his mix of finesse and power could be too much for Khan. Khan has a history of having a weak chin which further adds to Canelo’s chances in the contest. Canelo will keep hounding Khan who will eventually slow down and make a mistake, so I’ll pick Alvarez by TKO in the seventh round. The fight will take place at the new T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, which is also the site for UFC 200 in July. It will be broadcast live on HBO PPV but it promises to certainly be an interesting contest. The stage is set for Canelo Alvarez to fight Gennady Golovkin if both men get past their midyear bouts in one piece.
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Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Nothing small about Stander’s efforts By Sorcha O’Connor From coming to Ireland to play for Munster with virtually no English to belting out Amhrán na bhFiann before the Welsh-Irish clash weekends ago now, CJ Stander has made waves since his arrival on Irish shores just over three years ago.
He will definitely grow more in an Irish jersey. That was only his first game. The pressure was on him, he had to produce and got that man-of-the-match award. Announced as Munster’s Player of the Year in 2015 and often referred to as a tryscoring machine by rugby fans and critics alike, Stander was called up as one of Joe Schmidt’s squad for the Six Nations back in January. It is fair to say that he was under a certain amount of scrutiny in the lead up to the opening match. But if we cast an eye back on Stander’s impressive record to date we should have known that we had nothing to fear.
The South African native played for Super 15 side Blue Bulls before his move to Munster, captaining the side at u19 and u21 level as well as captaining South Africa at School and u20s. And now he is sporting the green jersey. Why? He was too small for the Springboks. Former Ireland captain Dion O’Cuinneagain told 42.ie that stander’s Irish debut brought memories of his own, himself captaining South Africa in sevens before his career with Ireland. “He was told he was too small and he couldn’t make it as a player, which was a similar experience to what I had,” O’Cuinneagain told The42. It is to some extent bemusing that the Springboks too small could work so well for Ireland and again some may reiterate the often talked about differences in the northern and southern hemisphere teams. Not to go off on a tangent, but it seems to me it is getting harder to keep up with the southern teams. The world cup showed southern sides that were agile, leaner and athletic while northern teams could crudely be dubbed bruisers of men. And I know that Stander could not really be called lean but you have to wonder at how quickly requirements for teams are changing – if he had come along to the Springboks in 2016 and not before his move to Ireland in 2012, would he still be Restaurant & Coffee Shop Williamsgate Street, Galway. Phone: 091 563087/565988 Fax: 091 569263 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.gbcgalway.com
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too small for them? He is certainly a dynamic player, something valued by any team. Nonetheless, their loss is our gain. Stander has proved he is not too small for the international scene. Stander has been highly praised for his work ethic whether on game day or on the training field. John Ryan, Munster tighthead speaking to the Irish Examiner after the Welsh match said, ““He will definitely grow more in an Irish jersey. That was only his first game. The pressure was on him, he had to produce and got that man-of-thematch award. He works very hard and trains very hard. And when he’s on the pitch, and it’s a very bruising encounter, he will still have the same consistency as if it was a more open game. He’ll still have those 20 carries, 23 at the weekend.”
Schmidt himself also gave Stander high praise that day saying post match, “I felt he got on the ball, got some really good pressure on their ball as well and he’s certainly a guy who will grow into a position somewhere in that back row, and add to what hopefully – when everyone’s fit and available – will be a very tough conundrum for the selections.” The same work ethic was seen against France, particularly in the maul. Unfortunately the side did not hold out to secure a win with a one point loss to Les Bleus. However, we can look forward to the rest of the Six Nations campaign to see Stander flourish – and try to forget our Six Nations hopes of glory were most probably dashed in Paris.
Irish internationals career ended by injury By David Kane Tributes have been rolling in for rugby legend Paul O’ Connell who announced his retirement in recent weeks. The 36-year-old rugby ace was advised to retire following a series of medical consultations after sustaining a hamstring injury in Ireland’s World Cup victory over France. O’ Connell was forced off before half time and remained on the side-lines for the rest of the competition. The big number five looked destined to complete a move to French superstars Toulon but his injury represented a treatment table too far. As sports sciences advance and players become more conscious of their wellbeing both on and off the pitch, their ability to avoid injuries is galvanised but some Irish players just didn’t have the rub of the green.
forced him to miss the 2012 Six Nations and he later announced his decision to hang up his boots at 30 years old.
Stephen Ferris The only Ulster man to feature, Ferris was an ever-present for Declan Kidney as Ireland claimed the Grand Slam in 2009. The Ulster flanker featured 106 times for his boyhood club but was forced to retire in 2014, aged 28, after a career that was frequently interrupted. A long-standing ankle injury kept Ferris side-lined for 15 months and prevented a potentially lucrative transfer to Japan. Scoring 10 points in 35 appearances in the green jersey, Ferris will most likely be remembered for his outstanding performance during Ireland’s 15-6 win over favourites Australia in the 2011 World Cup.
Jones is the most recent casualty of the Irish rugby scene following his retirement in October 2015. At 28 years old, the Munster man had his career disrupted by a serious neck injury. Joining the province in 2009, the fullback went on to make 90 appearances. During this spell, he was also capped 15 times by Ireland and scored 15 points in the process. Selected in the 2015 Six Nations squad, Jones received a winner’s medal and was nominated for the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) Medal of Excellence last April.
Flannery, a Galway native, had an illustrious career with Munster but it was plagued by injuries. Following a neck injury to Frankie Sheahan in 2005, Flannery made the number 2 jersey his own and put in a string of impressive displays for club and country. However, he missed the majority of 2009-2011, only managing 8 games in two years. Extremely injury-prone, Flannery stepped back from his playing role in 2012 and took up a coaching role with Munster. Capped 41 times for Ireland and 93 times for Munster, Flannery remains heavily involved in the sporting scene at Thomond Park.
Leamy is the second Munster man on the list due to a hip injury ending his playing career. During the 2006/ 07 season, Leamy was the province’s top scorer with 7 tries as they lifted the Heineken Cup. Leamy’s versatility was recognised by the Irish setup and he lined out 57 times during his 12 year stint in the top flight. He played at flanker, number 8 and occasionally inside centre for both Munster and Ireland. He was also part of the 2009 Grand Slam winning Irish team and featured in two Triple Crown winning tournaments. His injury
Wallace was a constant threat to opposition defences having scored 200 points for Munster in 203 caps and this form was replicated on the international scene. Although he only appeared 72 times for Ireland over an 11 year spell, the backrow contributed 60 points, making the most of every occasion. His career was ended however in Ireland’s final World Cup warm up game against England in 2011. Despite continual rehabilitation on his weakened knee, he announced his retirement the following year, aged 36.
March 01 2016
Peyton Manning: THE SHERIFF By Ciarán Ó Meachair Sup er B owl 50 was a matchup between two very different Quarterbacks, the immaturity and showboating of Cam Newton was in contrast to the calm and collective nature of Peyton Manning. 39-yearPhoto via Wikipedia old Manning may not have stolen the show in San Francisco, but his consistency guided the Broncos to their first Super Bowl victory since 1998. Now in the closing stages of his career Manning has arguably underachieved, winning the Super like a shell of their former selves Bowl just one other time in 2007 and couldn’t handle Denver’s high with the Colts. Manning carved octane defence. Manning was pro- out the bulk of his NFL career with fessional as was to be expected in Indianapolis, having been selected his post-game interviews, correctly by them as the first overall pick in turning any praise that arrived his the 1998 NFL draft following a glitway to the rest of the team. Newton tering college football career with left his press conference early in a the University of Tennessee. Mandisgruntled manner, going against ning struggled in his first season the perception that he had matured with the Colts, finishing 3-13. over the past year. Overall however Manning would soon put that the night was Denver’s. For the early disaster behind him, winthird time in franchise history, the ning the AFC East the following Denver Bronco’s became Super season. The Colts would become Bowl champions. If this is indeed one of the biggest NFL sides, Peyton Manning’s final game, what and they were built around ‘The better way is there to do it than by Sheriff ’. Manning won his first MVP award in 2003 but he faced going out on top?
Denver defeats Carolina 24-10 to capture Super Bowl 50 title By Ryan McGuinness For the week leading up to America’s biggest sporting event, fans were bombarded with statistics about the two teams participating. It was predicted by most that the high offensive output of the Panthers would be too much for the formidable Bronco defence and even though it would be a close game, the Panthers would be eventual champions. This prediction was built around the fact that Cam Newton, the charismatic quarterback of the Panthers, had just had a breakout season, scoring 50 touchdowns in the lead up to this game and only losing one match all year. Few analysts picked ‘The Sheriff’ Peyton Manning, now in his 18th season as an NFL quarterback, to win. With rumours of retirement being circulated all week, Manning diverted attention by repeatedly stating that it wasn’t he who had got the Broncos to the big game, but its defence, and that their dominance would continue in the Super Bowl. Carolina went in as favourites with any other result being an upset. The Broncos started with the ball and marched down the field with Manning at the helm. Peyton managed to blend the running game in with his usual pass heavy offence seamlessly. An early field goal put pressure on the Panthers and Newton to respond. But what ended up being a recurring theme for the Panthers, their offence got swallowed up by the, at times, indomitable Denver defence with Newton eventually being sacked 6 times in the game. The highest ranked offence couldn’t get anything going; the run
game and Jonathan Stewart were non-existent (with the exception of the 1 yard touchdown leap) and receivers were dropping balls left and right. At times Cam looked like the player who had been given the MVP award for the year, but these moments were short lived and easily forgotten. A key moment in the game came when the score was 13-7 to Denver and the Panthers had the ball in the third quarter. Newton flung a pass to the right of the field to Jerricho Cotchery, which was perfectly placed and that would have set up first and goal for Carolina but unfortunately Cotchery dropped the ball (figuratively and literally) and the Panthers got nothing out of the play. Credit is due to the Carolina defence though. Players like Luke Kuechly and Kony Ealy had standout performances on the night and kept the Panthers in the game. The real stars of the game turned out to be just who Manning had predicted. The Broncos defence was all over Newton throughout the game. Von Miller (eventual Super Bowl MVP) single-handedly got 2.5 sacks and 1 interception on the night. The Carolina offensive line was systematically dismantled by a far superior Bronco defensive line. A stripped ball in the first quarter by Von Miller, which led to a Malik Jackson touchdown, set the precedent for what was to come. Manning did just enough on the other side of the ball to keep the Broncos scoring but he was far from his gun-slinging self. CJ Anderson had a respectable game, rushing for 90 yards and one touchdown. The phrase ‘defence wins championships’ was all too relevant in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers looked
criticism that he couldn’t win the bigger games. In the same season the Colts would lose to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Final. For two seasons in a row the Patriots would beat the Colts on their way to winning Super Bowl titles. A rivalry was built between Manning and Brady and in the 2006-07 postseason Manning would finally secure victory over Brady in an AFC Championship game. The Colts marched on to their first Super Bowl since 1970. In the game, Manning threw for 247 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP as the Colts overcame the Chicago Bears. Manning was forced onto the sidelines for one season due to neck surgery, and was soon replaced as Quarterback by Andrew Luck. He would return to the field in 2012 as a Denver Bronco, guiding the Colorado team to the AFC West title while being awarded the comeback player of the year award. The following season Manning would taste Super Bowl defeat for the first time as the Broncos were crushed by a ruthless Seattle Seahawks team 43-8. Over the course of his career Manning picked up five NFL MVP awards and will go down in history as one of the finest Quarterbacks in the NFL. Equally his rivalry with Tom Brady undoubtedly will stand as one of the biggest Quarterback rivalries the game has ever seen.
Photo via Wikipedia
Sin Vol. 17 Issue 10
Corporation Clubs need to understand value of fans By Aonghus Ó Maicín
HE YEAR IS 1945 and people in London were just about getting back to normality after the brutality of the war years. It had been a tumultuous half decade in Britain’s largest city and people were looking forward to getting their lives back on track. This included attending sport as the football league had been suspended briefly during the war. Dynamo Moscow brought a team from Russia to tour Britain and one of the matches included a friendly against Arsenal at White Hart Lane. Arsenal’s team was seriously depleted with many players still serving abroad in the British army. The game went ahead nonetheless. A thick dense fog descended on the North London Stadium but the referee imprudently decided that play should continue. The game resorted to anarchy as the players, “mystified” in the conditions, just about managed to see the few yards in front of them. Arsenal had a player sent off but taking advantage of the weather, they decided
to play by their own rules and send him back on a few minutes later. It wasn’t long until Karma kicked in with the Gunners keeper knocking himself out after running into his own goalpost in the strident conditions. Accounts by some supporters at the match report that, in bizarre fashion, a spectator took his place in goal for the remainder of the match. Arsenal were up 3-1 at half time but in a cruel twist of fate created their own bad luck and lost 4-3. Accusations that the Russian outfit were fielding approximately 15 players at one point may also have contributed to their outlandish demise. Forward the clock on 70 years and the administration at the Holloway club appear to have had their vision blurred once again. Similarly to that hazy day in 1945, Arsenal could create their own bad luck by fundamentally taking their eye off the ball. A club’s best interests are clearly not at heart when charging an extortionate £1,014 for the cheapest season ticket. Many components make up a successful Premier League club but it is the fans that make it tick.
Fans spend their weeks working hard in middle and lower-class jobs, all the time their eyes permanently fixed on the weekend’s game. From arguing with co-workers to reading about the latest rumours on the daily commute, the club consumes their average lives. Quite frankly, there are being shown no more respect than a tillage farmer would show to a rabbit. In contrast, Arsenal’s board fill their days with statistics and figures preying upon the working class man. The big club condors have failed to realise that overeating can diminish supply down the food chain resulting in imminent starvation. Indeed Arsenal and the Premier League are not on their own in sheer disregard of their loyal fans. The largest shareholder at Arsenal Football Club, Stan Kroenke, is also well-known for owning the St. Louis Rams, the former St. Louis Rams that is. Kroenke decided to shut up shop in Missouri in order to set up a state of the art franchise in one of the most lucrative television markets in the USA in Los Angeles, a controversial story to say the very least. For months, NFL owners debated who should be afforded the much sought after golden ticket of moving to Los Angeles. One half of the owners favoured Kroenke’s plans of building an 80,000 seater stadium worth $2.7billion near LAX airport. Other cash-fuelled owners preferred the Carson option shared between both the Chargers and Raiders respective franchises. President of the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Bidwill, preferred the Carson proposition to Kroenke’s Inglewood plans noting that the NFL doesn’t exist just to make rich owners richer. He urged his fellow owners to reflect on what is best for the league. A refreshing perspective from a man of his stature but his history doesn’t reflect these thoughts as he too moved from St. Louis to Phoenix, a city twice its size in 1987. Was that move for the betterment of the league or was the attraction of Arizona’s gold mines too compelling? It’s not getting increasingly difficult to run a club either it would appear. Manchester United recently revealed a record quarterly revenue of £133.8million, an increase of 26.6% on their last figures. They have seen a growth of 42.5% growth in commercial revenue and still, there is no sign of rewards for dutiful patriots bracing the weather as well as rates every week. The effect of the Football Leaks sensation has proved astronomical in the world of international football. Operating in a similar manner to WikiLeaks, they act as a whistleblower platform posting player contacts as well as other official documents on their website. In a recent interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, they revealed their motives in setting up the initiative. “We want to make the transfer system more transparent and we want to reduce the influence of player agents and investment funds that have a growing hold on football.”
The game resorted to anarchy as the players, “mystified” in the conditions, just about managed to see the few yards in front of them. Arsenal had a player sent off but taking advantage of the weather, they decided to play by their own rules and send him back on a few minutes later. It wasn’t long until Karma kicked in with the Gunners keeper knocking himself out after running into his own goalpost in the strident conditions. Accounts by some supporters at the match report that, in bizarre fashion, a spectator took his place in goal for the remainder of the match. In a recent leak, the details of David de Gea’s prospective move to Real Madrid were revealed. The Spaniard was set to receive an astonishing £8.5million for just signing on and before even kicking, or in his case catching a ball. The £177,000 a week deal eventually fell through on deadline day but the 25 year old received a staggering £200,000 a week deal as a commiserating gesture from Manchester United. Clubs have finally discovered the recipe for success and everyone is enjoying their slice of the cake, everyone besides the fans who work hard for the opportunity to get a glimpse of their team at the weekend. It must be refreshing for those loyal to their club, shunned for years, to see their administrative structures sweat with the emergence of Football Leaks. Dodgy deals and tax avoidance previously buried are beginning to crop up as a result of the Portuguese set up. “We would also like to see the creation of a publicly accessible database that would include all the details about transfers and breakdowns of transfer fees, signing fees, clauses and third-party ownership of players,” revealed one of the anonymous founders of Football Leaks. A recent U-turn by Liverpool FC was a positive change for established big money sports clubs but it is not enough. The time has come to appreciate what the fans bring and share the cake. George Orwell once referred to sport as war minus the shooting and to a certain degree, you cannot refute that. Sadly, it is the fans that are in the trenches at the moment.
FINAL WORD 31
March 01 2016
NUI Galway in Photos By Timothée Cognard For this issue, Sin’s talented new photographer attended numer-
ous events to give you a snapshot of what’s been happening since issue nine. Happenings on campus included
the very sexy Dirty Circus show in the College Bar, the N6 Protest, the signing of Juliet’s Wall and the charity Shave or Dye event.
Diary of the
SMOKEY’S PIGEON Smokey’s Pigeon Running for Office Hello, my featherless friends! I am delighted to announce my candidacy for the upcoming General Election. I hear the Rice Krispie squares in the Dáil are much nicer than in Smokey’s, and until such time as they install an automatic door there, getting elected is the only way I’ll be allowed inside. But I’m not just going to rabbit on, because that would be the wrong animal-based pun. So here’s Pigeons Before People’s manifesto:
1. Bring back the Crane. I don’t care how many buildings we have to pay for. That crane was beloved. 2. Little-known fact: birds are actually dinosaurs. So I will be referred to as the Smokey’s Dinosaur. 3. Bring the Luas to Leitrim. 4. Everyone will have the opportunity to go on a date with the celebrity of their choice. 5. In front of each of the towers on the Arts Concourse, a sign will be put in place indicating the room code for that tower so that you will never go up the wrong tower again. 6. A new, smaller Smokey’s Café just for pigeons. 7. Election posters will be replaced with an app where you can vote for a candidate by swiping right. Thank you for your support. You can find me on Twitter at @ Smokeys_Pigeon. Please give me your #1 vote.
PIGEONS BEFORE PEOPLE!
NUI Awards 2016 Promoting Scholarship and Academic Distinction
• Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Irish/Celtic Studies • Travelling Studentships • E J Phelan Fellowship in International Law
Full details including eligibility criteria and closing dates at www.nui.ie/awards Ollscoil na hÉireann, 49 Cearnóg Mhuirfean, Baile Átha Cliath 2, D02 V583 Teileafón: +353 1 439 2424 Ríomhphost: email@example.com NUI, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, D02 V583 Telephone: +353 1 439 2424 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Featureing a 16-page Students' Union Elections pull-out.