Issuu on Google+

THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS

ISSUE 15 • AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

BRENDAN HOWLIN ON CROKE PARK HOSPICE WORKERS CLOSE TO OUR HEARTS LOOMING RETIREMENT DEADLINE IMPACT’S INDIAN CONNECTION

CONVINCING KIDS Connecting with trade unions has never been more important for young people.

WI MAK N A FRE WITH E-UP LE E SSO BO plus BBI BR N OW an colo ur co Arnotts N See nsultati on. page 25.

ALSO INSIDE

SOCCER STRIKES. USE YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. ACCENT ON FILM. PUB ROCK’S SAD DEMISE. PERSONAL SHOPPERS FOR ALL. LONDON CALLING. PARTY FOOD. OLYMPICS. WINTER GARDENS. ALL THE NEWS. LOTS OF PRIZES. www.impact.ie


In this issue

work& & life – Autumn/Winter 2011 COVER FEATURES

REGULARS

MORE REGULARS

6

4

34

HOWLIN TALKING We interview Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform BRENDAN HOWLIN.

IMPACT PEOPLE Physiotherapist PADRAIG DOHERTY works with Ireland’s successful under-19 soccer team.

19

AT THE MOVIES MORGAN O’BRIEN on some awful film accents.

YOUR CAREER Take your emotional intelligence to work, says ISOBEL BUTLER.

24 10

CONVINCING KIDS

BOOKS A great new short story collection hones in on Dublin.

44 26

28

David Gillick faces a tough runin to Olympic qualification says KEVIN NOLAN.

BE GOOD TO YOURSELF

NEWS

41 CROKE PARK AND PAY 41 JOINT LABOUR COMMITTEES 41 TEAGASC 42 RETIREMENT WARNING 42 AGENCY WORKERS 42 FIRE FIGHTERS’ VICTORY 42 PAY GAP WIDENS 43 REDEPLOYMENT 43 COUNTY MERGERS 42 AER LINGUS SALE

TRAVEL & TRIPS Swinging? Calling? Rioting? Yes, it’s London.

RETIREMENT DEADLINE What you need to do before the February retirement deadline.

30

FOOD MARGARET HANNIGAN’s recipe for avoiding dinner party disasters.

32

GREEN FINGERS Enjoy those winter garden chores with JIMI BLAKE.

Win Win Win…

SPORT

KAREN WARD outlines techniques to put those worries into perspective.

HOSPICE HEARTS IMPACT members help hospice patients smile in the face of death.

22

38

INDIAN CONNECTION Your union is helping Indian workers access their rights. NIALL SHANAHAN reports.

16

MUSIC A pub + rock = Pub Rock. RAYMOND CONNOLLY on the genre’s sad demise.

TRISH O’MAHONY finds that personal shoppers can help.

MARTINA O’LEARY on pitching trade unions to young workers.

14

36

FASHION

25

46

47

Win a free colour consultation and makeup lesson at Arnotts.

Win €50 by answering five easy questions.

Tell us what you think and win €100.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 1


THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS

work life Cartoon crisis KEEN READERS will notice something missing from this issue of Work & Life. Donal Casey’s cartoon, which usually runs opposite this page, has been replaced by Martyn Smith’s work this time. Donal suffered a setback in his preparations for an exhibition of his work at October’s Athlone literary festival. He was travelling by train when his large black Samsonite bag, containing original cartoons from the last few years, was stolen somewhere between Kildare, Newbridge or Portarlington stations. He reckons the pictures aren’t of any real use to anyone else (not so sure about that, Donal) and says they may have been abandoned somewhere. So let us know if you hear or find anything. Donal’s cartoon will be back in the next issue. This issue carries an exclusive interview with public spending and reform minister BRENDAN HOWLIN who talks frankly about pay, modernisation and pensions. We also have an interview with physiotherapist PADRAIG DOHERTY who is physio to Ireland’s under-19 soccer team in his spare time. And our books feature features a chat with IMPACT member JEANETTE REHNSTROM who’s just contributed to a sell-out short story collection. MARTINA O’LEARY reports on ICTU’s new campaign to bring information about trade unions into schools, and she’s also spoken to some IMPACT members who are easing the pain for patients and their families in a Dublin hospice. Our rights at work section outlines what you need to do if you are thinking of retiring in time to avail of pre-pay cut pension arrangements. Don’t miss the deadlines if you think you might benefit. Meanwhile, NIALL SHANAHAN reports on a fantastic Indian project that’s being supported by IMPACT members through the union’s developing world fund. TRISH O’MAHONY’S column is a must for those who think personal shoppers are ohso-noughties and MARGARET HANNIGAN has advice for anyone brave enough to be planning a dinner party as we approach the festive season. How many shopping days?

IMPACT trade union IMPACT trade union has over 63,500 members in the public services and elsewhere. We represent staff in the health services, local authorities, education, the civil service, the community sector, aviation, telecommunications and commercial and non-commercial semi-state organisations. Find out more about IMPACT on

2

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

www.impact.ie

Work & Life is produced by IMPACT trade union’s Communications Unit and edited by Bernard Harbor. Front Cover: Laura Dooley is one of ICTU’s school’s champions, who’ll be pitching trade unions to young people this school year. Photo by Conor Healy. Contact IMPACT at: Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1. Phone: 01-817-1500. Email: rnolan@impact.ie. Designed by: O’Brien Design & Print Management. Phone: 01-864-1920. Email: nikiobrien@eircom.net. Printed by Boylan Print Group. Advertising sales: Frank Bambrick. Phone: 01-453-4011.

Unless otherwise stated, the views contained in Work & Life do not necessarily reflect the policy of IMPACT trade union. Work & Life is printed on environmentally friendly paper, certified by the European Eco Label. This magazine is 100% recycable.

Work & Life Magazine is a full participating member of the Press Council of Ireland and supports the Office of the Press Ombudsman. In addition to defending the freedom of the press, this scheme offers readers a quick, fair and free method of dealing with complaints that they may have in relation to articles that appear on our pages. To contact the Office of the Press Ombudsman go to www.pressombudsman. ie or www.presscouncil.ie.

All suppliers to Work & Life recognise ICTU-affiliated trade unions.


That was then… 10 years ago

STRANGE WORLD

Strikers of the world down tools AT THE peak of the 1984-85 miners’ strike, you could get lapel badges with a picture of Arthur Scargill’s head in a football and the caption ‘Britain’s No.1 Striker.’ Who’d have thought that, a quarter of a century on, soccer itself would have become Europe’s industrial relations powder keg?

15 years ago

The last Magdalene asylum in the Republic of Ireland closes on 25th September 1996. In Afghanistan, the Taliban capture Kabul. Ireland’s first Irish language TV channel Teilifís na Gaeilge (now known as TG4) is launched On 31st October and Neil Jordan’s film Michael Collins is premiered in Cork and Dublin five days later.

An August strike by the Association of Spanish Footballers disrupted La Liga’s first weekend as players protested over unpaid salaries at insolvent clubs, with over 200 players owed an average of €250,000 at the end of the previous season. Fans of the domestic game won’t be surprised to hear that a resolution was reached after intensive all-night talks. Serie A’s new season was similarly delayed in a dispute over Italian clubs forcing unwanted players to train away from the first team. Strangers to the spirit of the Tolpuddle XI, the elite purveyors of the once working class game were also resisting plans for a ‘solidarity tax’ on the league’s top earners. The magic sponge was applied in the form of a temporary deal, but expect more trouble when extra time expires next year.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is established on 4th November 2001. The GAA votes to abolish its controversial Rule 21 two weeks later, which allows members of the British army and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to play.

40 years ago Keane: Least said.

Earlier, nearly 100 top-flight Norwegian stars downed tools in a row over boots and goalies’ gloves, with clubs insisting they only wear gear supplied by official sponsors. With their last strike as recent as 2002, the Norwegians were starting to notch up more stoppages than Packie Bonner. And they know about international solidarity too. Unlike some (whose names have been withheld to protect the innocent) Norwegian and Irish referees were among those who refused to stand in for Scottish counterparts during their 2010 strike over spectator abuse. This the same year as the French national team placed pickets on the South African world cup finals Here in Ireland, we have some form too. The less said about Keano’s unofficial action, at the 2002 world cup in Japan, the better. But the damaging Cork GAA players’ strike of 2007-2008 was long and almost as bitter as the aforementioned miners’ strike. This before Labour Relations Commission chief Kieran Mulvey came from nowhere to seal the points in arbitration l

The Troubles’ death toll reaches 100 with the death of 14-year-old Annette McGavigan, fatally wounded in crossfire between British soldiers and the IRA on 7th September 1971. A Dublin rally calls for a campaign of civil disobedience in Northern Ireland on 25th September and prime ministers Edward Heath and Brian Faulkner meet Taoiseach Jack Lynch at Chequers two days later.

85 years ago

At his wife’s behest Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw finally agrees to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature prize money in September 1926, but asks the Nobel Trust to use it to finance translation of Swedish books into English. He was made a Nobel laureate in 1925 but initially refused the prize as he had no desire for public honours. Éamon de Valera addresses the first Fianna Fáil Árd-Fheis in Dublin On 25th November.

100 years ago

On 26th August 1911, Wexford foundry workers are locked out for attempting to join the ITGWU. The lockout continues until February 1912. The monument to Charles Stewart Parnell is officially unveiled in Dublin’s Upper Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) on 1st October.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

xx 3


IMPACT people

Healing hands PADRAIG DOHERTY of IMPACT’s Kildare health branch puts his skills to good use as the physiotherapist for Ireland’s under-19 soccer team, which reached the semi-finals of the European championships before crashing out to Spain this summer. Tell me about yourself I’m from Letterkenny in Donegal. I have a big interest in sport. I played mainly soccer and did athletics when I was younger. What’s it like working with the soccer squad? It’s fairly intensive with a lot of preparation for training camps and championships. Some players were picking up knocks as the European championships were approaching and I knew I was going to be asked to make big decisions about whether players were going to make it or be sent home. There was a little bit of pressure there to get those calls right.

Tell me about your involvement in IMPACT I’m on the branch committee. I didn’t have any great insight into the way the union worked but I said I’d give it a go. Three years later, I’m still here. My perception before was that the union wasn’t doing a whole lot during the good times. But you have to appreciate there were a lot of pay rises during that time, and conditions of employment certainly improved. I don’t think the union got the credit for that. When things started to go wrong, people asked ‘what are you doing for the subs we’re paying?’ But there’s an awful lot of work being done behind the scenes. Maybe that’s a challenge for the union, to get that information out to the members a little bit better. What do you do in your spare time? I try to spend a good bit of time at home as I’ve been away a lot with the team. I’ve tried to spend time with my wife and kid, who’s just one year old. I’ve got back into running, which I hadn’t done since I was under age, and I’m doing some gym work. u

What’s the physio’s job? It goes beyond pure physiotherapy. You have responsibility for players’ nutrition and hydration. You could see an injured player three or four times a day for different rehab sessions. The plus side is that you see results straight away. Here in the public service you obviously wouldn’t have the opportunity to see someone that often and you don’t see the extra benefits this intensive treatment can offer.

How about life as an HSE physio? It’s brilliant working as a physio, full stop. But the day job is obviously very different from the sports end of things. I enjoy it, but there are great opportunities to make changes. Management are a lot more receptive to ideas that might save money or lead to a better service. What attracted you to this career? There are a huge number of fields to specialise in, but it was certainly the sports end of things that attracted me.

4

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

Photography: Michael Crean

What’s the best sporting event you’ve attended? The recent European tournament was unbelievable. We were away for 22 days, first for a week in an Italian training camp and then the tournament in Budapest. The UEFA championship set-up and atmosphere were at a different level. Everyone was a little nervous going into the first match, but the last group match was a particularly big one. We needed the result and we got it. The team effort between players and staff shone through.


“In the public service you wouldn’t have the opportunity to see someone that often and you don’t see the real benefit of intensive treatment.” What’s your earliest memory? The biggest stand-out memory growing up was when Dad got me and my brother tickets to the all-Ireland final when Donegal beat Dublin back in 1992. That was a huge thing. I was only 11. It was unbelievable. What makes you happy? Spending time at home, you cherish it a bit more when you’re away a lot. What makes you laugh? Anything with Vince Vaughan or Ben Stiller in it. Something About Mary or Wedding Crashers. What’s the best book you ever read? I’m reading Googled at the moment. Two lads with a simple enough idea who were dedicated, made a go of it, and built this multi-billion dollar company. What’s the most exotic country you’ve visited? I really enjoyed Bali. We went there on honeymoon and we took some mountain bike treks. It’s a gorgeous country and has a really interesting history as well. What is the worst feature of your character? I can be a bit impatient at times. I want everything done straight away. You have to pinch yourself sometimes to know it is going to take a bit of time. What really annoys you? People who like the sound of their own voice. People who talk and talk and talk and don’t necessarily say anything. They tend to eat up a lot of your time. Tell us something few people know? I have a couple of all-Ireland bronze medals for under-age relays. There were a couple of my mates together. It was huge achievement at the time. Right up there with the dream stuff. We worked hard and it paid off. What gets you through when the going gets tough? Family. Having a son adds a bit of perspective. You tend to worry about the less important things a little bit less. What advice would you give your 18-year old self? Don’t doubt yourself. Have confidence in your own ability and enjoy life. You can wish away certain parts and want the next phase of your life to start. But enjoy it as it comes. Interview by Martina O’Leary l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

5


Interview Public expenditure and reform minister BRENDAN HOWLIN says Croke Park is about rebuilding pride in public services.

Fit

SIX MONTHS into his new job and it’s the little things that irk Brendan Howlin. “Small pockets of people reluctant to make the changes that are self-evidently fair and necessary. The reluctance of some to make small changes that, from the outside, are no brainers,” he replies when asked what really makes him mad. So far, so careful to avoid specifics. But then: “And you have revelations that cause, not just media headlines, but real annoyance among taxpayers when they see individuals on 45 days annual holidays. We need to have some common understanding that it’s not acceptable anymore,” says the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. But the reference to generous leave for top managers in parts of the public service is not a blanket criticism of public servants. When asked if he’s been surprised in any positive ways, Howlin says no. “Not surprised. We are very fortunate to have people of great ability and great calibre in the public service. I want to hold on to them and I want to attract more people into it when we get back to recruitment again,” he says. During the general election campaign he came across many “bruised and battered” public servants who’d been treated as if they were responsible for the economic collapse. He rejects the view, held in some quarters, that all public servants are somehow culpable. “Part of the recovery process of the country is to recover a sense of pride in the public service,” he says.

Stifled Could this be the same Wexford TD who famously deemed the public services unfit for purpose? “I think I only used the phrase once, but it’s been repeated and rehashed a lot. And I did say ‘some elements’ of the public service,” he counters. “When I used that phrase the first group to identify with it were public servants themselves. There’s almost a cry for change from people at the coalface. They know there’s huge waste. They are frustrated in what they want to do. And old mechanisms that, in some instances, have been bedded down since the 1920s just stifle initiative and don’t allow for creativity,” he says. “I respect public service and I respect public servants, but public servants are also taxpayers. They want value for money and they don’t want waste.” Howlin sees the Croke Park agreement as a critical part of the Government’s recovery strategy and seems impatient with its critics. The Government’s guarantee of no compulsory redundancies or pay cuts is a quid pro quo for reforms

6

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

and flexibilities, which also contributes to the pursuit of economic stability. “We want some stimulation in the domestic economy, and security that pay won’t be reduced is an encouragement for people to spend money,” he says. But the main prize in Croke Park is the flexibilities, including staff redeployment, which have allowed a very ambitious downsizing of the public service. The minister is clear that downsizing will become “more biting” as the Government presses its target of cutting public service numbers by up to 21,000 by 2014 and another 4,000 the following year. “Croke Park gives us the flexibility to fill gaps without impacting on frontline services. It’s a great challenge for u


for purpose

Photography: Conor Healy

“I respect public service and I respect public servants, but public servants are also taxpayers. They want value for money and they don’t want waste.”

managers, but we have the flexibilities to ensure we can downsize and make the payroll savings we need without impacting on frontline services.

fell by almost 3,200 in the first half of 2011, which means we’re well on target to meet the Government’s objectives for staffing and payroll costs.

“There are going to be people who are reluctant to change. There will be people who try to disrupt the process. But there is a community-wide understanding of the dilemma this country is in and a common purpose to make the changes that will get us out of it,” he says.

Another big exodus is expected next February which is the deadline for retiring with a pension based on pre-pay cut salaries. Howlin is clear that this incentive is expected to deliver significant staff cuts. And he says his insistence that people who intend to retire next February give three months notice is essential to plan to fill gaps left by retirees.

Be warned Official figures recently released to the Croke Park implementation body show that the number of public servants

“I hope there’s sufficient flexibility and I know there’s sufficient talent within the public service for people to step up into that breech. If people go before the end of February, Continues on page 9

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

7


Interview they will retain the pre-cut level of pension and lump sum. I’ve required people to give us three months notice so that we can plan for that.” But there’s a warning too. “If people are genuinely interested in both going and ensuring that they get the pre-cut pension level, they must give us three months’ notice. If they don’t give us three months notice, they may not be processed in time to take full advantage of the end of February arrangements,” he says. When pressed, he repeats: “If they don’t give the three months notice, we can’t be certain that we’ll be able to process it before end February.” Along with this clarity of purpose and determination to implement the Government’s staffing and spending targets, the minister is dismissive of calls to set aside Croke Park in favour of more pay cuts. But there are no unconditional guarantees.

Photography: Conor Healy

“All of this is contingent on delivery of the Croke Park agreement. If we can’t get the flexibilities we require, then all bets are off. But both sides have respected the agreement so far. It’s delivered and the Government will continue to honour it so long as it’s honoured by all parties,” he says.

Sacrifice Howlin’s father was a union official and he’s conscious of the sacrifices that public servants have made. “We’ve taken significant reductions in pay across the public sector. We’ve introduced the levy on pension and people’s living standards have disimproved. We want to ensure that people have a decent standard of living and that the public service is a good career option for people. That means having a decent standard of life available to people who become public servants into the future,” he says. The summer saw a series of positive reports on Ireland’s progress under both Croke Park and the Government’s agreement with the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank. Positive assessments by the IMF-EC-ECB ‘troika’ have encompassed payroll savings, reforms and staff reductions implemented under the Croke Park agreement and none of them have expressed any dissatisfaction with what public servants are delivering under Croke Park, which generated payroll savings of €290 million in its first year – 30% above the €223 million target. In total, Croke Park delivered savings of €650 million in its first year, when €275 million of non-payroll costs and €86 million in ‘cost avoidance’ measures are added to the payroll savings.

More needed The minister recognises that it’s difficult to manage change on this scale, but seems broadly satisfied with progress so far. “The report on the first year of Croke Park was an early snapshot. It showed that the mechanism is robust, but it’s also clear that we need to go an awful lot further.” The minister’s comprehensive spending review is expected to go an awful lot further when it’s published later in the year. He’s adamant that it’s not just about number crunching. It’s a completely different way of doing the annual process

of agreeing expenditure – and cuts – in each Government department. “It’s not simply the old ‘salami-slicing’ process, where a percentage is cut from everything. It’s a root and branch look at how we spend money to eliminate waste and suppress activities that are not essential, so that we’re resourcing what’s required for the recovery of our economy and the sustainability of core public services,” he claims. Does that mean that the state will simply stop doing certain things? “That’s my ambition. I don’t want a situation where the good and the bad are dealt with equally. Where things that are not core public services get a percentage reduction and really valuable efficient services get the same reduction. I hope we’ll even be able to supplement core and important areas as well as eliminating activities, agencies or spending that are not so important or that are not core,” he says. This requires a “new paradigm” of thinking among public service managers and staff. “I’m not suggesting we can reform things, change people’s habits, or bring about really radical change in one fell swoop. It will be incremental. More and more reforms are coming from people in the public service, from the HSE and the army to teachers. Good ideas. And all these have been fed into the mix too.” It’s been a frantic six months in the new ministry. And it looks like the next half-year will be just as action-packed. Interview by Bernard Harbor l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

9


Campaigns

Convincing the kids MARTINA O’LEARY finds out about ICTU’s new YouthConnect programme, which is coming to a school near you. ASK ANY teenager about trade unions and they’ll most likely stare at you blankly. Ask any trade unionist ‘what’s our biggest problem’ and, chances are, they’ll tell you we need to attract more young people into our ranks. With minimum income protection under attack and youth unemployment soaring, connecting with a young workforce has never been more vital for trade unions. And connecting with trade unions has never been more important for young people. Now the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) YouthConnect project is set to take

trade unions and the world of work into classrooms across the country. With a student-focused resource pack and accompanying supports, YouthConnect aims to raise young peoples’ awareness of the role and activities of Irish trade unions. It also promotes collective action and the value of participating in schools, communities, unions and other organisations. ICTU’s project coordinator Fiona Dunne says eight out of ten kids have never heard of a union. “They don’t know who we are. They don’t know what unions do. If there’s no family connection fewer and fewer young people are becoming union members. YouthConnect is about getting into schools and making young people aware of what we do,” she says. Initially funded by IMPACT’s former Tax Officials branch, the programme is being launched for the new school year. It centres on a fivemodule teachers’ resource pack. Fiona and her team are offering schools an introductory session on how best to u

Trade union schools champions Grainne Murphy, Yvonne O’Callaghan, Colm Flaherty, Seamus Dowling and Laura Dooley.

xx 10

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011


of today use it, along with two copies of the impressive pack – one for teaching and one for the library. To this end, ICTU has established a group of 15 ‘schools champions,’ graduate teachers who are trained to present the resource pack to teachers and students. So far 100 schools have signed up for visits, a positive start towards ICTU’s ambition of reaching all 750 secondary schools over the next two years. “Initially we planned to target transition year students. But a pilot project, consultation with teachers and engagement at the teacher union’s conferences made us realise that teachers in a wide range of subjects – business, economics, religious education, CSPE – wanted to bring trade unions and the world of work into the education mainstream. It will get kids thinking about the whole collective idea that you aren’t alone at work and learning about what trade unions can do for them,” says Fiona. Schools champion Laura Dooley agrees. “I know myself from being in school. If you did business you might know a little about your

rights at work. But there was no one to tell you ‘these are your rights, unions do this, they look after you’ when you first went to work. The YouthConnect project is about getting into schools and giving the kids the information they need,” she says. The easy-to-use YouthConnect resource pack includes information for teachers, lesson plans, students’ information handouts and worksheets – all bound together with clear teaching and project objectives. Its five information-packed modules cover the world of work, unions and solidarity, rights at work and school, globalisation and equality and inequality in society. A new YouthConnect website – www.youth-connect.ie – is designed to work hand in hand with the pack. It contains news and information on the five module themes, a section for teachers, an e-zine and a platform for students to discuss and explore the issues that interest them most. ICTU’s YouthConnect project is working closely with the Irish Second-level Students’ Union (ISSU), which is Ireland’s representative body for second-level students. Both aim to encourage students to become more aware of their rights, and to assert those rights in school and the workplace. u

Photo: Conor Healy

“If you did business you might know a little about your rights at work. But there was no one to tell you “these are your rights, unions do this, they look after you” when you first went out to work.”

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

11 xx


Campaigns One of the themes of YouthConnect is about encouraging students to be more active in their own lives; to understand and stand up for their rights, including in school. ISSU has already established 40 school councils and hopes that exposure to YouthConnect will help generate more. The schools visits will also showcase the iConnect card, jointly developed by ISSU and YouthConnect, which entitles holders to a range of discounts.

so we need to explain that it’s part of what it means to be a union member,” says Fiona. Schools champion Grainne Murphy, who teaches CSPE, thinks the programme will feed into young people’s sense of social justice. “They feel so passionately about things. They really want to do something when they hear about awful things that are happening to people. That’s why the YouthConnect project was something I could get behind and feel passionate about,” she says.

Fiona and her team are buoyed by positive feedback from a pilot scheme, even though it revealed that few kids are currently aware of unions and what they do. She believes schools will be clamouring for the resource once word gets round. “The most important thing for us is to get into schools and make contact with teachers,” she says.

A lot of work and preparation has gone into the project, well before it hits the classrooms. ICTU is determined that the resource won’t end up gathering dust on Grainne Murphy: Passionate. shelves. “My ambition is that this will be permanent. It will be something that Congress continues to do “In the pilot I was struck by the negative views that young so that young people leave school thinking it makes sense to people have. They think unions are all about strikes, giving join a union,” she says. out and negativity. They know nothing about the positive day to day stuff. Helping people who have been unfairly fired, or For more information contact Fiona Dunne at fiona.dunne@ are underpaid or bullied at work. That doesn’t make the news ictu.ie l

Well-organised young people Students join forces with YouthConnect. “YOUTHCONNECT is about young people and their rights in the workplace. But it’s also about gaining experience and knowledge for the future,” says Leanne Caulfield, president of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU). The national representative body for second-level student councils is assisting with the roll out of the YouthConnect programme, which it hopes will encourage active citizenship and help young people become more aware of their rights. “YouthConnect will enable us to extend our reach into more schools and broaden our services to a wider number of students,” says its general secretary Niall Dennehy.

ISSU is now receiving income from the iConnect card, which has been incorporated as part of the YouthConnect programme. A percentage of the profits generated from the €13 card, which doubles as an ID and discount card, is reinvested into support services for students. That’s a real boost for an organisation run on a shoestring, albeit with some financial support from IMPACT.l Niall Dennehy.

12

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

Photography: Conor Healy

Last year the ISSU hosted the sixth European student convention on behalf of the organising bureau of European School Student Unions. Young people from across Europe assembled in Dublin to discuss a “healthy, safe, and sustainable school environment”. Closer to home, ISSU regularly hosts training sessions for student councils and facilitates student working groups. Its national student executive reviews policies and develops strategies on issues affecting young people.


Developing world fund

Where information is power IMPACT members are funding a unique project that helps members of an impoverished Indian community access their rights to paid work, food and pensions. NIALL SHANAHAN reports. OVER A quarter of India’s population, or 320 million people, live below the poverty line despite the country’s impressive double-digit economic growth. The figure rises to a staggering 47% in Orissa state on the east coast of this massive sub continent, where families earn less than $1.25 a day. Central and state governments have introduced a number of schemes to provide minimum supports for the poorest people in the region. Apparently impressive initiatives include measures to get subsidised food into the hands of the poorest and an employment guarantee scheme that offers 100 days of paid work a year. It sounds good. But Concern Worldwide, which has been working on social protection issues in the area since 2002, says the people who most need the schemes are missing out. “In most cases it’s because they don’t know about them,” says Concern fundraiser Derval O’Brien. “It’s often blamed on illiteracy. But those responsible for delivering the schemes systematically suppress information about these basic entitlements,” she says. That’s where you come in. Last year, Concern asked IMPACT to support their efforts to inform local people about their entitlements to state assistance. The imaginative initiative recruits local young people with basic literacy skills who collect information on the status of the schemes and feed it into a central database, which can be used by the whole community. They use a simple, accessible and hand-held piece of technology: A mobile phone.

14

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

Gaining access to rights means better water management.

Concern’s agricultural advisor Paul Wagstaff explains the advantages of the technology. “The phones are cheap and even the semi-literate can use them. Mobile phone technology has made it feasible, fast and cost effective to track the disbursement of food, pensions and employment to more than 46,000 households,” he says.

Casual labour As a result, Concern and its local partners can inform the authorities about distribution problems even before their own staff send in reports. A new online system currently being developed will get the information onto a website in real-time. IMPACT’s central executive committee agreed to allocate €60,000 to the project over three years, starting in one of the least developed districts, Keonjhar in northern Orissa. With a large tribal population, the area’s well known for its supply of casual labourers to other parts of India. u


to access their rights. “The key to it is information and information is power,” says Derval. “If we can improve the level of knowledge, access and ‘entitlement literacy’ for the people who need these schemes it should improve the level of social protection for entire vulnerable communities.”

Photos: Courtesy of Concern International.

It must be acknowledged that the state schemes that the project is informing communities about are impressive. A bit like our own public health service, they are great once you get access to them.

Villagers demonstrate livelihood activities before and after accessing state assistance.

This is just one of many projects funded by IMPACT members through its developing world fund, which is made up of 3% of every members’ union subs. Since its establishment in 1981, the fund has donated over €5.5 million to projects in the developing world, with over €500,000 allocated in 2010 alone. Most of the money goes to medium and long term projects aimed at supporting education, equality, community development and trade unions in the developing world, although the union also responds to emergency initiatives like the recent East Africa famine appeal. Crucially, most of the money supports medium and long term projects aimed at supporting ordinary people through education, health and workers’ rights projects. The bulk of the projects are managed in partnership with the international trade union federation Public Services International (PSI), which has a network of trade union organisers in every corner of the global map. Through PSI, IMPACT has supported workers’ rights campaigns, equality initiatives and union capacity building projects in the Middle East, Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Brazil and many other countries last year.

Power By and large, these are not charitable donations as the fund focuses most of its resources on projects that involve and empower local communities or trade unions. The Concern project in Orissa is a prime example. It’s about informing people of their rights and helping empower them

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which was introduced in 2005, addresses the causes of poverty by improving rural peoples’ livelihoods. The scheme provides at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment a year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

“Because of IMPACT’s developing world fund, trade unionists in Ireland are helping to empower people living in extreme poverty in India.” “Apart from the work scheme, there are a number of other Orissa state level schemes to address problems of food security, casual labour migration and other poverty-related issues,” says Derval. But the outreach of the schemes tends to be weak. “Many people have not been able to get their entitlements. A lack of awareness of their entitlements and benefits is perhaps the single biggest problem, but that lack of awareness can also be exploited, and malpractices that deprive poor people of their entitlements are unfortunately commonplace,” she says.

Poverty The state schemes Derval talks about include a targeted public distribution system for poorer households to access basic necessities like rice, sugar and kerosene at nominal prices. Another ensures that households living below the poverty line get access to a monthly supply of subsidised rice, while another targets destitute households who are entitled to free rice each month. The Orissa government also has a pension scheme providing approximately €3.25 a month to older people, those with disabilities, widows, and people living with HIV and AIDS. There’s a huge multiplier effect because IMPACT members support is helping families and communities access supports worth vastly more than the union’s cash contribution. “Migrant and casual labourers and their families lack the collective bargaining power to demand their entitlements. This ultimately affects the whole governance system and benefits don’t reach large numbers of the people they were designed to help. Because of IMPACT’s developing world fund, trade unionists in Ireland are now helping to empower people living in extreme poverty in India,” says Derval l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

15


Public service

IMPACT members are there with sensitivity and support when you face the terrifying prospect of losing a loved one or leaving your family and friends behind. MARTINA O’LEARY spoke to some of the staff at a Dublin hospice.

Smiling

OUR LADY’S hospice in Harold’s Cross is a place close to my heart. My mum passed away here five years ago and, like thousands of others, I faced a difficult and scary prospect when she was referred to its palliative care team. But I found that the reality of hospice care can be very different from the picture you build in your mind. It’s sad. But there’s so much relief when the person you love is safe, comfortable and in the best possible hands, being looked after by professionals in a caring and loving way. The amazing atmosphere also benefits from lots of volunteers. When I was visiting mum, you’d never know who would be at her bedside. It could be the medical team or care staff having a chat and a laugh. Or it might be the aromatherapist, the lady who massaged her hands and painted her nails, or the man offering the odd tipple from his drinks trolley. The atmosphere is sad yet happy. Caring but not patronising.

Dignity IMPACT member and physiotherapist Jide Afolabi is clear that the hospice is not just about dying. “People don’t normally associate dying with being active and rehabilitation. But a lot of people who come through our doors are living full and active lives despite being diagnosed with a terminal condition. The individual’s dignity is paramount. We recognise them as human beings, not as diagnoses or conditions,” he says.

Jide Afolabi, Physiotherapist: The hospice is not just about dying.

get a great deal of help and support with friendly chats and advice from Anthony and all the staff. “We’re really intent on focusing on helping people live with their illness. But we do an awful lot of direct work with family members too and we often sit down to have a family meeting with the patient and their family. The more they can communicate during what is a time of severe emotional distress, the easier it is at the time of death and bereavement,” says social worker Neil Byrne. Our Lady’s is home to the largest specialist palliative

“The individual’s dignity is paramount. We recognise them as human beings, not as diagnoses or conditions.” IMPACT representative Anthony Carroll is a great example of the friendly and caring atmosphere in the place. “It’s like a family. You get to know the patients and you get to know their families. It’s sad when they pass away. It’s a friend passing. But there’s a real happy buzz around the place. We look out for each other and it seems to rub off on the patients and their families,” he says. As the supplies officer, Anthony keeps the wheels of the hospice well oiled as his team supplies all areas from household to stationery, dressings and some pharmacy. Patients’ families also

16

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

care centre in the country, providing in-patient care to 450 patients and making 6,500 home visits every year. There’s also a 100-bed long stay residential unit, which incorporates a community reablement unit caring for 320 older patients a year, and a major centre for rheumatology rehabilitation, which treats 800.

Care Another IMPACT rep, care assistant Phil Kelly, works in the extended care unit with its 75 long-term residents. She’s u


Photos: Conor Healy

in the face of death illness. It’s about caring for the whole person, giving them emotional, psychological and spiritual support,” she says. It might sound strange, but the staff obviously get a lot out their work. “It can be very enjoyable and very challenging work. We are very lucky that people often accept us into their lives in a very difficult time, when time is very precious for them,” says Neil. Everyone works hard as a team to make this amazing facility operate so well. It’s a unique part of the public and voluntary sector, which is duplicated throughout Ireland’s many hospices. Along with many thousands of people who benefit from the hospice service, each year, I'm very glad they are here during very difficult times l

Anthony Carroll, Jide Afolabi, Phil Kelly and Neil Byrne.

responsible for patient care, assisting residents with their personal hygiene, dressing, grooming and helping patients with their meals. She sometimes accompanies residents to other departments or hospital appointments too. “I love the work I do. Most of our residents are with us for a long time. It’s their home. We have an individualised holistic care approach. It’s not just about treating the

You can help Like all our hospice’s Our Lady’s depends on voluntary contributions to keep up its vital work. You can get more information, get involved or make a donation by visiting www.olh.ie” Or contact the Irish Hospice Foundation at www.hospice-foundation.ie to help a hospice near you.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

17


Your career

Get intelligent. Emotionally, that is ISOBEL BUTLER says time and energy spent on improving your emotional intelligence can pay big dividends in terms of career development and job satisfaction. THE IMPORTANCE of healthy social relationships and organisational effectiveness has been much researched since the term ‘emotional intelligence’ was first coined in the 1970s. The theory argues that the conventional concept of intelligence, as measured by IQ, is too narrow because other factors influence our success. Indeed Daniel Goleman, whose 1990s work brought the phenomenon to a wider audience, has argued that emotional intelligence is a greater predictor of career success than IQ and is essential for workplace effectiveness, leadership, problem solving and team working. We can all think of some very intelligent people with high IQs who lack social awareness and have difficulty relating to other people and getting on at work. So what is emotional intelligence and how is it relevant in the workplace? Traditionally the workplace is seen as a place for rational and logical thought, with emotion viewed as something for our personal lives. This ignores the fact that humans are emotional beings who must contend with their feelings, and those of people around them – colleagues, managers, customers, clients – at work as well as at home. Photos: dreamstime.com

In fact the workplace is an emotional minefield and unmet emotional need is the source of many workplace problems. ‰ WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 19


Your career There are three key aspects to emotional intelligence. First is the ability to monitor your own feelings, goals and motivations and those of the people with whom you interact. Understanding your own emotions requires an ability to reflect, selfappraise and accurately express your feelings in words, facial expressions and body language.

Empathy Empathy is the key to relating to others and involves recognising and experiencing what others are feeling and using that insight to choose appropriate responses and behaviour that suits the situation. For instance I recently encountered a man who acted as devil’s advocate in every situation, constantly interrupting and putting down suggestions. I recognised that his behaviour made me feel defensive, frustrated and occasionally angry. But, by adopting an empathetic stance, I recognised that he was genuine in his views about proposed workplace changes and was probably feeling fear and anger himself.

The workplace is an emotional minefield and unmet emotional need is the source of many workplace problems.

using emotional knowledge to solve problems. Mood affects what we do. Viewing problems as oppor tunities typifies how those with a high level of emotional intelligence might reframe a difficult and challenging situation and identify a wider range of possible solutions. Positive moods lead to greater persistence and motivation even in the face of what may seem insurmountable problems. Appearing positive in the face of challenges also instils confidence in those around you, inspiring and motivating them to greater effort.

Benefits Intuitive and empathetic thinking enhances decision making and leads to a greater understanding of the diversity of perspectives and opinions in the workplace. This lends itself to a culture of self-development and personal growth, and can improve customer or service orientation through an enhanced ability to recognise and anticipate service users’ needs. Self-awareness and self-regulation can also improve communications and team working, increasing the likelihood that conflict can be managed constructively while engendering positive workplace emotions. Positive emotions are linked to greater job satisfaction, achievement of organisational and personal goals, and a higher quality of work life.

This insight allowed me to acknowledge his suggestions even Negative emotions like fear, anger, hostility, frustration and when I disagreed with dislike are associated them and recognise with stress, interperthat some of his sonal problems, agginputs were valuable. ression, destructive Consequently he felt conflict and decreased he was being listened workplace effectiveto and taken seriously. ness and commitHe became calmer, ment. interrupted less, and Lack of sensitivity and our meetings became poor attention to the Strive for Distinguish between Recognise and respect more constructive and feelings of others is self-awareness your feelings and learn the emotions and less stressful for all often the root cause of and know your to express them feelings of others. concerned. poor and inept feedown emotions. effectively. back on performance Moody between managers and staff. This leads to This also illustrates a resentment, stress second aspect of and conflict and preemotional intelligence; vents staff from learnthe ability to change or ing and improving. Strive for self-control Manage your Use your emotional regulate our moods and stay calm in relationships by trying to insight to motivate, plan No matter what your and the moods of challenging situations. positively impact on and make decisions. job, or what stage of others. We can all other people’s emotions. your career you’re at, identify someone in a paying attention to leadership role who your own emotional has the ability to rouse intelligence pays diviand motivate their dends for you, your followers and spur team, your organisatthem on to enhanced ion and your family. A performance. It’s callhigh level of emotional ed charismatic leadBuild your Stay focused on goals intelligence is a core ership. trustworthiness by even in the face of competency for all Be optimistic! acting ethically with challenges. Finally emotional incareers l integrity and honesty. telligence involves

Images: dreamstime.com

Fruitful feelings

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

Isobel Butler is an independent organisational psychologist who works with people on a wide range of workplace issues including conflict management, dealing with change and solving problems. If there are specific issues you’d like her to tackle in these articles send them in via the editor, Work & Life magazine, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1 or info@impact.ie.

20

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011


Your say

Sttatrer Le 5 0 €

A line in the sand

WHEN CYNICISM becomes the norm you know there is a problem unfolding before your eyes. Everywhere I meet health care workers, from all sectors across the whole of Ireland and across all the professions, I see signs of serious stress and sometimes outright burnout. Humour is often used to mask the desperation of those who seek to provide the best care possible.

Many years ago I presented a paper at a student nurse conference called ‘who cares for the carer?’ It touched on some ridiculous outdated practices that prevented nurses from doing the best job that they could do at that time. Sadly the issue of caring for health care staff is more relevant today. Stress is a growing silent epidemic in our health care system that is being ignored. When good people lose the love and motivation for the job they trained for it should be a major concern for all of us in society. Working in health care is challenging, rewarding and difficult at times. It’s never an easy job to face head on the despair of a family whose child is terminally ill, provide that support for the whole family, and nurse their child to an easier death. It is never an easy job to give evidence in court case after case for each child that is hurt by physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It is never an easy job to perform surgery on a person when it’s the only option which may give relief from a painful condition yet the outcome may not be guaranteed. It is never an easy job to see anyone on a trolley in A&E nor indeed to turn some-

one away at the door because there is no room at the inn. (But then we don’t ever do that do we?) Health care professionals want to do what they do best. That job is to facilitate healing and support people to die if healing is not possible.

Veronica O’Doherty Psychologist. A longer version of this letter appeared on the Politico.ie website. Veronica is a member of IMPACT, but wrote this in a personal capacity.

Since the inception of the HSE, and for many years beforehand, there have been so many change documents, one would think we should have managed this ‘transformation’ by now. I am not knocking those who worked tirelessly on producing these nor am knocking those charged with effecting the alleged ‘transformations.’

write, hone... r e v e You n ou never p y

What I am saying is that the years of transformation have not incer t lett e bes the rest. luded a planned change h t r o 0 for €50 f management strategy pays ue and €3 out the e f i L ab & iss that realises that health think Work ed each u o y e h t v s care workers are human publi know wha ssues we’ i t s i e beings too. When it gets to u of , r th g Let ine o e to think n anythin z a the point that health care g o m r ma o s e C pap view ed. professionals begin to cover now your r pen and ep it k u e suffer the effects of long let us Get out yo orget to k f ! t l ’ l term stress we have a major n a do at . And , problem that needs to be today d shor t. & Life an Work in 1. addressed. , n nice a l l o b t, Du isin N to Ro ey’s Cour t.ie. e Motivation and a vocation for t i r n c W er impa CT N this type of work is essential d IMPA il rnolan@ signe a for good health care. Unless we blish y u a p Or em m y l e We on Work & Lif size. wake up to that fact we will r s. ter fo letter regret the loss of the legacy of ur let o y t i ed caring which has been a cornerstone in Irish health. Just don’t say you haven’t been warned.

PS

Work & Life Work & Life is the magazine for members of IMPACT trade union. It is posted on our website and IMPACT members can have it mailed to them by contacting Work & Life at IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1 or by emailing rnolan@impact.ie. Or call Roisin Nolan on 01-817-1544. IMPACT also produces a monthly e-bulletin with more detailed information about the union’s activities and campaigns, and developments in your workplace. Sign up via the website on www.impact.ie. IMPACT is Ireland’s largest public sector union with members in health, local government, the civil service, education, the community sector, semi-state organisations, aviation and telecommunications. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 21


Your rights at work

Should I stay or should I go? Many IMPACT members are considering their options as the deadline for retiring with a pension based on pre-pay cut salary scales looms. IN AN interview in this issue of Work & Life, public expenditure and reform minister Brendan Howlin gives a clear warning that public servants who want to retire with pensions based on pre-pay cut salary rates should give three months notice of their intention to leave their jobs before 29th February 2012. Otherwise they may find that their pension is worth a lot less than they’d hoped. Public service pensions are based on your salary at the time you retire, so the introduction of pay cuts in January 2010 meant the value of pensions would also fall considerably. IMPACT and other unions successfully convinced the Government to extend the deadline for calculating pensions on the old pay rates until the end of February 2012, saving thousands of Euro for thousands of public servants. But the Government has been clear that the deadline will not be extended again – and equally explicit that they see this as an incentive for people to leave the public service. Eligible staff who may want to take advantage need to act now and investigate what staying or going means for them. Because 29th November is now effectively the final deadline for giving notice of your intentions.

Check your figures

Image: dreamstime.com

The first and most important thing to do is to find out what the options mean for the value of your pension and the lump sum payment you’ll receive on retirement. It’s important to understand that this is not an early retirement scheme. If you retire before minimum retirement age you will incur actuarial reductions in the value of your lump sum and pension payments, which, depending on your age, could leave you far worse off than having your pension calculated on the new lower pay scales. ‰

22

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

Reductions in Public Service Pensions Pension before Reduction (€)

12,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 90,000 100,000

(A) % reduction Under 2011 pension cut

Difference between (A) and (B)

0% 1.2% 2.4% 3.2% 4.2% 5.4% 6.1% 6.6% 7.4% 8% 8.4% 8.8%

5 3.8 3.2 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.4 1.3 0.6 – 3.6 6.2

(B) % reduction after 29/2/12 (based on Budget 2010 pay cuts) 5% 5% 5.6% 6% 6.3% 6.9% 7.5% 7.9% 8% 8% 12% 15%


This is a decision that could affect your income for the rest of your life and you need the full facts before you make up your mind.

Notice The July announcement that a three-month notice period was being introduced came as a surprise as most public servants are contractually obliged to give just one month’s notice. But in practical terms, the main effect is to reduce the time available to find out what the options mean for you. Under the new rules, it’s not possible to withdraw your notice of intention to retire on or after the date you’ve indicated as your last working day. But there is nothing to stop you withdrawing your retirement notice before that date. On the plus side, the extended notice requirement will help the thousands of IMPACT members who remain in work after next February. The HSE’s rushed early retirement scheme in 2010 put intense pressure on those considering leaving, but also put a massive strain on those who remained because it was virtually impossible to plan to fill the gaps when people left.

The existing ‘cost neutral’ arrangements for retiring early allow you to retire and receive a pension before age 60. But any actuarial reduction is borne by you. For those retiring at, say, 55, the loss is likely to be considerable. Depending on their individual circumstances, those nearer age 60 may find it makes financial sense to leave before next February’s deadline. The February 2012 changes will have a bigger effect on low incomes than the 2011 cuts for existing pensioners, which were lower than the 4% average for those on very low pay. The table shows how big the difference can be. It means that some low paid staff may find that leaving next February works better for them. The Department of Finance and HSE websites both have pension calculators that will give you at least a rough idea of your options. But, before you make a final decision you should get your employer’s HR department to give you definitive calculations of all the options based on your personal circumstances. You do this by telling them that you’re expressing an interest in going by the deadline. This is not a firm commitment on your part and it’s in no way binding. But don’t leave it too late. During the rushed HSE early retirement scheme this time last year, a number of employees found they were given the wrong figures. Leave yourself and your HR people plenty of time to make and check the calculations. Don’t feel bad about asking as many questions as you need, particularly if you think the figures look wrong. This is a decision that could affect your income for the rest of your life and you need the full facts before you make up your mind.

The new three-month retirement notice period is meant to allow management and unions to anticipate the number of departures and make plans for work allocation, particularly in areas that see a lot of people leave. It’s also meant to help them report to the IMF-EU ‘troika’ on progress under the Croke Park agreement.

Other issues The Croke Park agreement also says there must be discussions on “the method for determining pension increases for current public servants.” This relates to a Budget 2010 announcement that the Government was considering proposals to alter the current link between pay increases and pension increases, and move to inflation-based pension increases for both existing and future pensioners. Existing pensioners have seen their pension income fall by an average 4% since the start of this year, although their pensions continue to be based on pre-pay cut salary scales. This cut does not affect public servants whose pensions at retirement are calculated from pay scales that include the pay cuts introduced in January 2010. Meanwhile, the Government has said legislation to introduce a different pension scheme for new entrants will be published soon. This will give new staff pensions based on career average salaries rather than the salary from which they retire, introduce changes to the retirement age, and see pension increases based on inflation rather than wages l

This article is for information only and is not intended as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or individual pension entitlements. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 23


Looking good If the endless racks of clothes leave you bamboozled and empty-handed, it’s time to try a personal shopper. And it’s free, says TRISH O’MAHONY.

Get

personal

IT’S EASIEST buying clothes when we want to. Because we like something on us, or because it’s an irresistible bargain, or when we just need a bit of retail therapy. But sometimes we’re obliged to invest in something new, for a family occasion or work event perhaps. That’s when the pressure is on and shopping can get tricky. That’s when the ‘personal shopper’ comes into her own, according to Arnotts’ Clara Halpin. “Sometimes customers panic because they’re so overwhelmed with having to choose an outfit. Others have low self esteem and just need direction,” says the dedicated personal shopper. This is where you’re thinking it’s going to get expensive or far too Celtic Tigerish. But trust me, it’s not. The personal shopper service in most department stores is not only free, but it can actually save you money while taking the stress out of shopping. There are two types of personal shoppers. The in-store personal shopper is an employee of the shop and provides a complimentary and complementary service to you. A freelance personal shopper is engaged, and paid, by you.

Image: dreamstime.com

And the service is available to men too.

Try it Not sure what shape you are (remember apples, pears, inverted triangles and rectangles from issue eight? Check it out on the IMPACT website)? Do the endless racks of clothes leave you bamboozled and empty-handed? Then it’s time to 24

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

“They’ve seen that suit on other shapes. They know the emerging trends. They’re not bogged down with your preconceived ideas of what suits you and what doesn’t.” relax in the comfort of private rooms and let trained staff assist you. These people aren’t just skilled in finding clothes to flatter every shape and colouring, they know their stock inside out and can pick the best from different collections. Unlike you, they’ve seen that suit on other shapes. They know the emerging trends, so your purchase will be fashionable for longer. They’re not bogged down with your preconceived ideas of what suits you and what doesn’t. The personal shopper will see you, minus the limitations, and get you to try outfits you wouldn’t usually


consider. If you become a repeat customer they can build on your previous purchases. All you have to do is make your appointment. Allow 60–90 minutes, keep an open mind and let the professionals do the rest.

No budget too small I told Clara that people are reluctant to use personal shoppers for fear that they’d need a substantial budget. But she assured me that there’s no minimum budget and no pressure to spend. Indeed, it’s easier for them to stick to your budget because they know where the store’s bargains are hidden. And, from a commercial viewpoint, they depend on positive word of mouth recommendations.

“If you have trust issues, bring along your partner or friend for the final say. That way you won’t be getting carried away either, buying all round you and then suffering the guilt of overspending.” They’d rather have a happy customer than sell you loads of stuff you don’t want. If your experience is good, you’ll be back and you’ll tell your friends. So don’t feel pressurised; if in doubt, buy time instead. It’s better to choose a department store with collections that you like and that are within your budget. Don’t go to Brown Thomas if you know you can’t afford their stuff. If you have trust issues, bring along your partner or friend for the final say. That way you won’t be getting carried away either, buying all round you and then suffering the guilt of overspending. With Christmas coming to an office party near you, it might be time to think about a date with a personal shopper. Come to think of it, a personal shopping voucher might be just the present to give too l

FREE COLOUR CONSULTATION Arnott’s in Dublin are offering Work & Life readers the chance to win a free colour consultation and a free Bobbi Brown makeup lesson – worth €200. Just answer this easy question and send your answer to Trish O’Mahony, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1 before Tuesday 1st November. You must be an IMPACT member to win. Multiple entries won’t be included. Question: What is the name of the personal shopper in Arnotts?

Where to go MAHON POINT shopping centre in ARNOTTS: Clara Halpin Cork has earned itself a reputation for its works by highlighting her style advisor service, headed up by Dee clients’ best features. “They might Kelly Morgan who has a very keen sense not like their tummy, but have great of style herself. Again the service is free legs. So I zone in on the positive.” She takes into account your ‘style personality’ – but Dee can choose from every store, classic, casual, dramatic, bohemian – as well depending on the client’s taste. Use the as skin and hair colouring. If you want, she can convenient online booking system on dress you from the inside out, from lingerie to www.mahonpointsc.ie. Clara and Jane, accessories and footwear. She’ll even advise on Personal Shopping Department, Arnotts. ANOTHER LEVEL: You can take skincare and make up. Contact Clara to make an personal shopping to another level by appointment on 01‐804‐5842 or email personalshopping@arnotts.ie. engaging an independent personal stylist. She’ll weed your wardrobe, DEBENHAMS currently have ten stores in the Republic alone and each leaving only clothes that flatter and can be co‐ordinated with future one provides trained personal shoppers. An appointment lasts app‐ purchases, which she’ll choose with you. roximately 90 minutes. Ask about a complimentary mini makeover when RUBY SEVEN IMAGE CONSULTANTS offer customised packages. A you’re booking. Go to www.debenhams.ie to pick an available time slot standard 60‐90 minute consultation in your own home costs €75 and that best suit you. includes body shape, colouring and wardrobe analysis. A half day personal Try TOP SHOP on Saint Stephens Green for group bookings. Particularly shopping trip costs €250. www.rubyseven.ie. appealing if you’re all going to the same function. Book an appointment on 01‐633‐4803. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 25


Be good to yourself

Holistic problem KAREN WARD uses the ‘ten-minute moan’ and other techniques to put those worries into perspective. PROBLEMS ARE part of life. Yet most of us don’t have any formal training in how to deal with them. The holistic approach is simple and highly effective, especially in these difficult times when our problems can seem huge.

Worrying itself is often worse than the actual problem. Did you ever worry for ages about failing an exam only to pass it and wonder why you wasted weeks ruminating about something that never happened?

When faced with a problem our minds often rush immediately to the big scary end result. Much better to stop and think what can you do right now. That might mean finding out the extent of the problem, listening to two sides of the story, or just breathing deeply to give yourself space to think about what to do next.

Brain power

Practice being ‘in the moment,’ experiencing how you feel right now in your body rather than rushing off in your head to wild future scenarios. Stay with the panic or anxiety. Feel it and breathe through it. Trust that it will go away after a few unpleasant moments and be released. If you bottle it up it will come back when you least expect it. It helps to think of a mentor – a wise friend, parent or partner – and ask yourself what they would do in this situation. You might be very surprised when you realise what they might say or how they might act. Usually it’s “you’ll be fine, relax, stop and think,” or simply “calm down.”

Anyone who has the habit of worrying has amazing brainpower, but they are using it negatively rather than positively. It will wear you down causing tiredness. Then, to get your attention, your body’s physical weak point (sore back, tense shoulders, migraine, etc) will play up. Now your body is valiantly trying to tell you to stop the worrying. Listen. We usually pick up the worrying habit from a parent or sibling. It will take a while, but you can change it. So how do you do this? Awareness is the first thing. Catch yourself doing it. It helps to jot down the things you are worrying about. Then the next time, distract yourself from the worry by phoning a loved one, walking or listening to music. Finally set up a ‘worry half hour’ each day where you sit down and think rationally about all the worries you have saved up during the day. By the time the designated time arrives you’ll probably find that you don’t feel like worrying at all! Once you’ve looked at the problem in hand, you can break down the solution into small manageable chunks and either delegate or do one every hour or day until the problem is solved. This will give you a sense of achievement, rather like striking something off your daily priority list.

Photos: Dreamstime.com

At that stage you’re ready to really look at why you are worrying. Is it purely a habit? Is it what you think parents and colleagues do? Go beyond the negative thought to u

26

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011


solving

a positive one that’s always there behind it. Don’t let the negative one spiral you down.

Take ten Of course you’ll want to talk about the problem and get it off your chest, but don’t bore your colleagues and loved ones by going on about it incessantly. Tell them about it for ten minutes then explain about your action plan to counteract it. If you feel angry or frustrated then work that out of your system. Tennis or squash are highly recommended! This also works if people try to dump their problems on you. Laugh and explain the ten-minute moan. You must stick to it, though. You’re sending mixed messages if you insist on it one day but invite them to moan on next time.

So when the old inner critic strikes, talk back to it! “I’ll do a great job on this one.” “I often get things right.” “The team will see how well I tackle this job and appreciate me for it.” Basically you are inventing a positive self-talk sentence to counterbalance the inner critic’s negative one. No need to dwell on it; move on. We live in a busy, competitive world and striving for the best is often drummed into us from childhood. It’s great to aim high, but you must allow yourself to fall short too. Don’t beat yourself up mentally if you haven’t achieved perfection. Few people do. Eighty per cent is terrific and most of the world runs on that level l

We all have that little negative voice that tells us “you’ll never do it,” “you’ll mess it up again,” or “they’ll notice you aren’t up to it.” This inner critic is reminding us of past mistakes, not to berate us but so that we’ll do something different this time.

Holistic therapist KAREN WARD presents RTE’S Health Squad and is the author of Change a Little to Change a Lot . Visit www.karenwardholistictherapist.com

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

27


Page title Travel and trips

London calling In the sixties it was swinging. In the eighties it was calling. Now TRISH O’MAHONY finds London is more than a riot.

LONDON MAY not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about a family break. And the city’s August riots didn’t do it any favours in the holiday ratings. But after 2009’s success in New York, I set my adolescent crew for destination London. And we weren’t disappointed.

Photos: dreamstime.com

Anyone who’s been to London knows its many tourist highlights. Add the shopping, restaurants, West End shows, galleries and a host of football teams to lure the men and you certainly won’t be bored. With August temperatures rising to heat wave status, we leapt at a spontaneous suggestion of a boat trip on the Thames, and it proved to be a highlight. A family ticket cost £33.00. You can buy them on the boats, which depart regularly from Westminster Bridge, the London Eye, Tower Hill and Greenwich. 28

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

As well as views of famous landmarks like the Millennium Eye, Tower Bridge and Big Ben, you’ll also see Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of the open air playhouse which daily shows the Bard’s works at bargain prices. Greenwich, of GMT fame, was our final port of call and was well worth exploring after lunch and a glass of wine. Wander the winding streets and visit the royal park, old historic buildings and two free world-class museums. Or just stroll around the many shops and restaurants. If you have more time you can go up river to Hampton Court, the playground of Henry VIII. Mind your heads! ‰


Take in a show London and the West End go together like the story of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, in Jersey Boys. With reviews lauding “the best West End musical for years” (BBC Radio 2) we felt we’d really hit the jackpot with this true life rags-to-riches story. We might well have been at a live concert, with people dancing and singing along to hits like Oh What A Night and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. If you don’t pre-book, you can get up to half price off this and other top shows in the Leicester Square ticket booth.

Til you drop London overtook New York as the fashion capital of the world this year, according to a recent survey by Global Language Monitor. If you can’t check out London fashion week (in September) the Smoke has year-round shopping to suit all tastes.

The downside of city centre hotels is that you have to buy all your meals out, including breakfast. And London food can be expensive. Consider a city centre apartment where you can cook for yourself.

Eating out You could write a book about London’s zillions of restaurants offering every kind of cuisine. We explored the cluster of restaurants on Imperial Wharf and Marina, set in its own riverside park on the Thames, just two minutes walk from the hotel. Choose between Thai, Indian, Japanese, Lebanese or traditional English. Weather permitting, you can dine al fresco on the Mediterraneanstyle boulevard, with views of the Thames and marina. If you’re going to a show, almost all restaurants in Covent Garden do pre-theatre menus, with typical prices of £15.00 for two courses or £19.00 for three.

Head to New Bond Street for serious spending. You’ll find all the top designers clustered together in close proximity. Look for Fifi Wilson, Covent Garden and Chelsea Green for quirky, interesting labels and a good sale rail. Primark on Oxford Street didn’t disappoint, with prices and variety suitable for student budgets. Be entertained by free street theatre in Covent Garden, then while away some time in any of the excellent coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques in this Italian style piazza. Enjoy your breakfast to the sounds of live classical music.

Browse Notting Hill’s curiosity shops, vintage boutiques and antique shops as you make your way to Sunday’s Portobello market, which is probably more appealing to the teenagers. But there are plenty of places to sit down for a smoothie or coffee while they rummage through the market stalls.

Accommodation London accommodation isn’t cheap but the public transport is good. So stay a bit outside the centre if you want good value. We stayed in Jury’s Inn, near Chelsea Harbor, King’s Road and Sloane Square. It’s a relaxed area with a neighbourhood feel.

Getting around

The hotel was basic, but adequate and good value. Avail of special offers, including shopping and family packages via the web.

Aer Lingus alone have 13 daily flights to Heathrow and five to Gatwick. But be sure to book well in advance for value. Save money by avoiding the Heathrow or Gatwick express. The tube or regular trains are easily good enough.

Kensington is a good base if you want to be more central. Kensington Close Hotel, Wrights Lane, just off Kensington High Street is great if you want to be in the thick of the action and it’s a very pleasant walk to Knightsbridge via Hyde Park.

In the city, a one-day travel card - valid on buses, underground and trains - costs £6.60 per adult (depending on the zone). Much better value than single trips, which cost £4 on the tube. The underground is great for getting around speedily, but the bus is by far the best way to see the city l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 29


In the kitchen As Christmas approaches and many are trying out Come Dine With Me dinner parties at home, MARGARET HANNIGAN gives some advice on how to be the perfect host. THE DINNER party, as a concept, is a polite, civilized notion. It is a place where one eats perfectly nice food off clean plates, engages in lively conversation, sips a glass or two of wine, scarf’s down as much dessert as possible, then slips off home to bed. Unlike certain other evenings, where food did not feature but wine certainly did, one can be secure in the knowledge that at no time did one put one’s shoes in a blender or pretend to be Susan Boyle on X-Factor. One’s trousers are not on back to front and there are no new embarrassments lurking on Facebook. Dinner parties, as a rule, are not like that. In fact, the dinner party template has remained pretty much unaltered since it first emerged during the reign of the last Empress of India, Queen Victoria. It was the middle class answer to the banquets and balls of the aristocracy and provided a nifty forum for socialising, networking, and screening prospective suitors. While we still follow the three-course formula, there are occasional reckless forays into the realm of the fondue, and the casual get together for supper. The common denominator is a desire to meet and share with friends, combined with the blind bravery of a bungee jumper. For truly natural cooks or super-organised people, cooking for a group is apparently no big deal. For the rest of us non-Nigellas, it’s death by lumpy gravy. A personal episode of Come Dine With Me, but with people you actually like. For what it’s worth, and with an eye to the festivities of the winter season, here are some tips on how to best manage your own experience.

It’s my party... and I’ll cry if I want to

The three Ps: preparation, preparation, preparation This is crucial. Count chairs, glasses, cutlery and plates. Check you have the right pots and pans and all the necessary ingredients. Is there room at the table? How will you keep things hot? How will you serve?

Atmosphere No one expects showhouse perfection, but anywhere your guests are likely to venture should be clean and tidy, and as welcoming as you can make it. Lighted candles or fairy lights, fresh flowers, nice napkins, all help set the mood. Bathrooms should be beyond reproach. 30

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

Food Do as much as possible in advance! Seek out and perfect onepot dishes, where protein (meat/fish/pulses) vegetables, and sauce happily cook together. Casseroles like Boeuf Bourgignonne, chilies, curries, sauces for lasagne and many other dishes improve by resting overnight and require only assembly and the addition of rice or pasta, salads and bread to finish. Tarts and crumbles can be gently re-heated, meringue will keep in an airtight container and sauces for ice cream will sleepover in the fridge till needed. Remember to let cheese, fruit and salad leaves come to room temperature before serving, or they will just taste of cold. Check for food allergies and vegetarian or vegan preferences. Avoid experiments. ‰


Lamb tagine with lemon and pomegranate cous-cous Can be made in advance and reheated, but make cous-cous just before serving. serves 10-12

Lamb tagine l

4Tbsp olive oil

l

8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

l

4 onions, chopped

l

4 tsp grated fresh ginger

l

1.5 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed

l

3 tsp ground cinnamon

l

salt and pepper

l

3kg shoulder of lamb, fat removed, boned, in 4cm cubes

l

2 tbsp tomato puree

l

4x400g tins tomatoes, coarsely chopped

l

4-5 tbsp honey

Cous-Cous l

1 large or 2 small pomegranates (use chopped apricots or raisins if not available)

l

800g cous-cous

l

6 tbsp olive oil

l

juice of 2 lemons

Drink

l

1 litre boiling chicken stock

Have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic available and both red and white wine regardless of what you’re serving. There are diehards everywhere who will not crossover.

l

salt and pepper

l

4 tbsp chopped fresh mint or coriander

l

preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 2

Themes Unless it’s Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or Hallow’een, why would you do that yourself? Finally, relax. People are generally delighted to have an opportunity to get together and in the best possible way, the food is incidental.

Add the lamb, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and honey, stir thoroughly. Bring to simmer, and place in oven. Remove lid after 45 mins to let sauce reduce and thicken, then cook for another 45 mins – check after 25 mins or so that it’s not all burning off. If sauce is still thin after the full 90 mins, take out of the oven and put on hob on a medium heat, and let the liquid reduce until a thick sauce begins to appear. Turn off when you’re happy with the consistency. For the cous-cous Cut Pomegranate in half. Turn upside down over a plate, and bash with a dessert spoon to dislodge the seeds Place cous-cous in a bowl, mix in olive oil and lemon juice. Pour stock (or boiling water) onto the cous-cous, season with salt and pepper. Leave in a warm place for 5-10 mins, until liquid is absorbed, then stir in the chopped herbs and pomegranate seeds. To serve, place the tagine on serving plates with cous-cous and a wedge of lime. Serve alongside a bowl of thick greek yogurt. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 31

Photos: dreamstime.com

One last thing that has nothing to do with dinner parties. My top tip for winter cooking is learn how to use the timer programme on your cooker. Download the handbook if you have to and keep it somewhere safe. Assemble your casserole or roast or tray of vegetables (or chops) and set the times you want the oven to come on and when you want it to switch off again. Dinner will be ready when your key hits the lock on the front door, with perhaps just some gentle steaming of spuds or simmering of rice left to do. I can live with that l

Heat large ovenproof casserole or heavy saucepan on medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, onions, ginger, spices and seasoning. Stir then cook covered for about 10 mins until onions are soft.


Green fingers

Crew cuts and mu JIMI BLAKE is going to enjoy his winter garden chores. VERY SOON now, the leaves will have fallen from the trees and we’ll be entering the planting season. It’s a good five months that extends through the dormant period until the end of March. This is the time when I like to do my woody planting. By that I mean trees and shrubs, and in particular deciduous varieties. Getting the majority in before Christmas is ideal, as the roots will have time to settle in before spring. This all depends on the winter weather. With increasingly wet winters, freezing, and erratic rain in summer, this is now my favourite route to save energy and ensure success come the next growing season.

Short back and sides As soon as the leaves are down you can start to winter prune fruit. This is a reasonably complex exercise, but the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit Garden Displayed is an excellent guide. However, stone fruit should never be pruned in the winter as the sap is being drawn back into the trees and the airborne spores of silver leaf can be drawn back into the vascular system at the same time. Buddleia, clematis, wisteria and anything potentially tender should also be left until the back end of winter to avoid die-back in hard frosts. In wind-prone areas, where wind rock is an issue, recurrent flowering roses can be reduced in height by a third to prevent the wind catching them, and then re-pruned in March.

Working leaves Leaf mould is a valuable commodity and a great addition to compost or mulch for cool woodland plants, so separate it from the compost. A leaf heap need be no more complicated than a post and wire enclosure, but leaves can just as easily be bagged into bin liners to rot in a quiet corner for a year. Puncture the bags, as the bacteria that break down the leaves need air to do their job. This beautiful leaf mould is always kept for my very special plants.

Bulbs Photo: Dreamstime.com

Tulips are quite happy to be planted through to the end of December, but other bulbs should be in the ground before the freezing weather kicks in. Winter wet in combination with cold is the biggest killer on heavy soils of bulbs. This year I bought my bulbs from Beech Hill Bulbs (www.bulbs.ie), Jacques Amand Bulbs (www.livingcolourbulbs.com) and Dejager Bulbs (www.dejager.co.uk).u

32

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011


ushy leaves Lift cannas and dahlias if your garden is prone to freezing. Pot cannas into just-damp compost and store somewhere cool. I stored my dahlia tubers in a cool room in the house last winter. Mulch heavily if you want to take the risk and leave them in the ground. If you’re pushing the boundaries and have subtropical plants like banana and melianthus, they may need protection if you live in a cold area. Mound up straw around the base, bubble wrap and fleece bananas, but leave it as long as you can to make the most of the wind-down. Last winter I brought my banana plants into the house for the winter and planted them out in the second week in June and then they were frosted! We gardeners always want to grown what we can’t grow l

The winter vegetable garden never sleeps

LIFT AND store all remaining root crops – carrots, swede, beetroot and turnips – that are still in the ground. Make sure that bare ground is covered. Autumn leaves make good winter mulch spread over the soil, protecting it from heavy rainfall. You can use leaves collected last autumn or those that fall this year. I usually use well rotted manure placed over the vegetable garden and cover with black plastic till next spring when you’re starting to dig the beds again. You can plant garlic in November or even later on light soils. The sooner the better for the best crop. It’s preferable to plant named varieties like Thermidrome and Printantor, rather than using left-over cloves from garlic bought in the supermarket. This avoids the risk of introducing disease and helps ensure that you’re growing a variety suited to Ireland. Some varieties of garlic, such as Printantor, can also be planted in early spring, but will give much better yields if it goes through a cold period over winter. Broad beans are traditionally sown from late October to early December for an early summer crop. Autumn sown plants are also less attractive to blackfly. But their success can be variable. Mice and wet conditions can cut plant numbers considerably.

Photos: Dreamstime.com

Photo: Jimi Blake

The vegetable garden

Sow in November in a well drained spot. Use extra hardy cultivars such as Super Aquadulce, Aquadulce Claudia, Imperial Green Longpod, or the Sutton (a bush variety good for small gardens under a cloche). Don’t despair if autumn sown crops tend to fail in your garden. Some of the spring sown cultivars can produce a crop that is almost as early. Round-seeded, hardy peas can also be sown now for a June crop. Suitable varieties include Douce Provence, Feltham First, Meteor and Pilot. They can also be sown in the spring. Pea seeds are a favourite with mice, so it is not worth sowing them now where mice are a problem l Jimi Blake is available for gardening consultations. Contact him on 087-285-6601 or Email: jimi@huntingbrook.com Or visit www.huntingbrook.com

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

33

Photo: Jimi Blake

Winter protection


At the movies Photo: Terry O'Neill / Getty Images

An accent on Oirish and Mockney RECENT REVIEWS of One Day, the adaptation of David Nicholls’ bestselling novel, made much of Anne Hathaway’s performance and, in particular, bemoaned her laboured Yorkshire accent. But how important is accuracy in film presentations of local inflections? It certainly appears a point of honour among actors. Last year Russell Crowe, no stranger to bad behaviour, was so unimpressed with critics focusing on his accent in Robin Hood that he stormed out of a BBC radio interview. But at least it was an improvement on Kevin Costner’s drawling Robin in Prince of Thieves. The trend is often for actors to adopt fairly broad caricatures without due attention to nuance or subtlety. In comedies this is often an effective – or, at least, understandable – approach. Peter Sellers built a career on this device.

Robbed

MORGAN O’BRIEN surveys some appalling accents in recent film history. Sellers: Built a career on a dodgy accent.

34

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

But a poorly delivered accent can undermine the overall impact of dramatic films. The lack of suitable vocal authenticity can sunder a movie by distracting the audience and robbing it of its ability to believe in and engage with the characters. While a well captured accent is rarely commented upon, a poorly registered one can often become unintentionally memorable. Sean Connery has been a serial offender. Rather than attempting to mimic the appropriate accent, he steadfastly intones in his own distinctly Scottish inflection. This was perhaps most notably evident in his performance as a Russian submarine captain in The Hunt for Red October. ‰


This proclivity, however, didn’t stop Connery capturing an Oscar for his performance as an Irish cop in The Untouchables. The less said about his turn as Michael McBride in Darby O’Gill and The Little People the better. The Irish accent has been particularly roughly handled on screen, with the broadest of ‘Oirish’ brogues becoming the default setting. Who can forget Tom Cruise’s blarney and begorrah performance in Far and Away or Gerard Butler’s bizarre vocal confection in the more recent PS I Love You?

Royal Yet, some of the most amusing attempts at Irish accents have been reserved for actors playing Irish paramilitaries, with Richard Gere in The Jackal and Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own particularly unconvincing. In contrast, we should acknowledge that Daniel Day Lewis provided a more credible Belfast accent in both In the Name of the Father and The Boxer. Not that English accents have fared much better, with frequent tonal touchstones apparently being the cast of Eastenders or the royal family. From Don Cheadle’s risible mockney accent in Ocean’s 11 to Natalie Portman’s plummy vowels in V for

Who can forget Tom Cruise’s blarney and begorrah performance in Far and Away or Gerard Butler’s bizarre vocal confection in PS I Love You? Vendetta. And, of course, who can ever forget Dick Van Dyke’s cockney chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, the greatest of all bad accents. While one obvious solution would be to have native speakers in relevant roles, there are plenty of actors who’ve displayed their dialogue skills over the years. A recent example is David Cronenberg’s excellent Eastern Promise, which featured leads Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts carrying off Russian and English accents respectively. Looking ahead to next year, Meryl Streep, perhaps the most adept performer of accents, will once again show everyone how it’s done when she channels Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. While later this year audiences will get to see how Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who has shown he is adept at English, American and northern Irish accents, handles a Swiss accent as psychiatrist Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method l

Autumn sees a number of notable releases. Here’s a selection of big features coming your way.

Real Steel (7th October) Adaptation of Richard Matheson’s futuristic short story where robots have replaced humans in the ring. Hugh Jackman stars as a pugilist-turnedpromoter who helps train a robot for competition.

Contagion (21st October) Steven Soderbergh’s thriller about a worldwide pandemic features ensemble cast with Matt Damon, Marion Cottillard, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet.

Big Year (11th November) A comedy about friends and birdwatchers in which Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson compete to outdo one another over the course of a ‘big year.’

Footloose (14th October)

Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (28th October)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (18th November)

Remake of an eighties curio that is best remembered for a Kenny Loggins title track and Kevin Bacon dancing on a tractor. Will attempt to capitalise on the recent popularity of dance films.

The Thing (14th October) This prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic of the same name deals with the scientists who first discover the alien.

Steven Spielberg directs this long-awaited adaptation of Herge’s well-loved comic book series. Filmed in ‘performance capture 3D,’ it’s scheduled as the first of three and features Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Moneyball (4th November) Based on the true story of baseball manager Billy Beane and his use of statistics to assess the worth of players. Brad Pitt stars alongside Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

The new instalment of the ongoing melodrama finds Bella married with a daughter and the usual mix of pouting, yearning and vampires.

Hugo Cabret (2nd December) Martin Scorsese makes a foray into 3D with this family adventure about a young boy living secretly in a Paris train station.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 35


Play it loud

Between a rock and a hard place RAYMOND CONNOLLY explores the strange case of pub rock. The genre that collapsed before you’d ever heard of it. Nick, who, judging by his most recent publicity shots is morphing into John Pertwee, could certainly be considered as the man at the helm of the ‘good ship pub rock’ which, for all its failure to register record sales, was the early breeding ground for some of the best acts of the seventies and beyond: Ian Dury, the Stranglers, Graham Parker, Dr Feelgood, Mick Jones of the Clash and Mr Lowe himself. To name but a few. At its zenith the genre was so cool that its top act Dr Feelgood became the first band to grace the front cover of a then-phenomenally-trendy NME before securing a record deal. That was when, and why, the NME mattered.

Boozer

Photo: Nick LOWE/Redferns/Getty Images

Although best known for his late-seventies hits Cruel to be Kind and I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass, Lowe was heavily involved in production work with the likes of Elvis Costello, The Damned and Graham Parker. He even co-wrote Dr Feelgood’s huge hit Milk and Alcohol. That’s the pension sorted, then. AVID READERS will be familiar with my contention that alcohol and this column are not co-dependent, although they frequently cross paths. I have to confess that the rehab suffered a bit of a setback when I was shooting the breeze with an old mate of mine recently, and he suggested that I do a feature on ‘pub rock.’ I had to yield to his numpty-like enthusiasm for the subject and, thus, take a savage blow in my quest to remove boozerelated references from these pages. Let’s take it one day at a time, eh? Our rekindled enthusiasm for the gritty genre was mostly due to the announcement that one of its finest exponents, Mr Nick Lowe, is set to play in Dublin next February.

36

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

As a trivia golden nugget, you should also know that his middle name is Drain, which could explain why he never ended up in the gutter. Anyway, back to the boozer. The pub rock genre developed in the UK in the mid-1970s as a reaction against the boring bombast of glam rock (think Glitter Band, Sweet, Barry Blue and a youngish Alvin Stardust) and prog rock (think Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and the Floyd). As big name bands upped sticks for theatres and stadiums – with ticket prices to match – pub rock’s raison d’être was to return fast, live and gritty rock to the small pubs and clubs. Mostly pubs. I was in its most famous venue, Islington’s Hope and Anchor, recently and can happily report that the venue remains steeped in history and mildew. ‰


Pub rock was deliberately nasty, dirty and post-glam and (it says here) its acts disdained any form of ‘Flash.’ In 1974 it was the hottest scene in London, where it seemed that nearly every large pub was supplying live music along with hot snacks and the occasional stripper.

In 1974 it was the hottest scene in London, where it seemed that nearly every large pub was supplying live music along with hot snacks and the occasional stripper.

Arsenal It’s no small wonder that attendances at my beloved Arsenal were very low at that time. The team was mule and every Thomas, Richard and Henry in Islington was saving his spondulicks to watch the likes of Roogalator, Eddie and the Hot Rods or Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers playing down the George Robey. No doubt aided and abetted by warm lager, pork scratchings and a pie. What is it with English people and pies? But the strangest element in the strange case of pub rock is that the genre had collapsed before most people had even heard of it. Just as it threatened to break out of the Bermuda triangle of Islington, Camden and Essex, most of its bands haplessly discovered that they suffered from U2 syndrome: They never really transferred well onto vinyl. A great night out, but nobody bought the records. Nowadays, music in the pub is all about karaoke wannabees who see their futures as X-Factor stars and the days of the pub band have long since peaked. Where they still exist, it’s the same bands that were at it back in the halcyon days. Raise your glass to them all. Mine’s a light ‘n’ bitter l

Lost music genres you’ve never heard of

1 1.

2 2.

ZEUHL French blend of progressive rock, symphonic rock, fusion, neoclassicism, avant-rock, vocal elements of African-American spirituals and western military call and response. Confused? You should be. KRAUTROCK Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk et al. Moniker obviously coined by the British musical press.

Winter Solutions (From page 46.)

1 4 3 9 6 2 8 5 7

6 7 5 1 8 4 9 3 2

2 9 8 3 5 7 4 6 1

3 1 4 2 9 5 7 8 6

8 2 7 6 3 1 5 4 9

5 6 9 7 4 8 2 1 3

9 5 1 8 2 3 6 7 4

7 8 2 4 1 6 3 9 5

Soduko easy solution

4 3 6 5 7 9 1 2 8

2 7 3 6 4 5 8 9 1

1 8 4 9 3 7 5 6 2

5 9 6 1 2 8 3 4 7

4 2 8 7 1 6 9 3 5

6 1 9 3 5 2 4 7 8

7 3 5 8 9 4 1 2 6

8 4 1 2 6 3 7 5 9

9 5 2 4 7 1 6 8 3

3 6 7 5 8 9 2 1 4

Soduko difficult solution

3 4 5 3.

HAIR METAL Los Angeles concoction of leather jeans, spandex and headbands. Intelligence quotient zero.

4.

KAYOKYOKU Not based on emotional displays of effort while singing, as is obviously shown in Momoe Yamaguchi’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Window.

5.

ADULT ALBUM ALTERNATIVE Radio format alternative to hard rock and rap. Also known as AAA or Triple A. Don’t tell Standard & Poors.

Autumn 2011 Crossword Solutions See page 46 for the competition winners from Issue 14.

Across: 1. Cavan 5. Spain 8. Element 9. Curse 10. Aides 11. Dragons 14. Evens 17. Hades 20. Brandon 21. Saul 22. Rory 23. Inisealga 24. Snake 28. Ant 30. Nirvana 32. Savin 33. Yearn 34. Ivanhoe 35. Ellis 36. Roman. Down: 1. Cycle 2. Verse 3. Needs 4. Smog 5. Stash 6. Added 7. Noses 12. Afon 13. Ottoman 15. Venal 16. Niblic 18. Ararat 19. Everton 24. Sedge 25. Anvil 26. Ennis 27. Mayer 28. Alarm 29. Tenon

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 37


Photo: Conor Healy

From the author

The long road home “THE UNIVERSAL dilemma of divided loyalties, the exile, a migrant in both places, two homes, but not fully at home in either.” Writing in the introduction to a fascinating new collection of short stories by immigrants living in Dublin, former SIPTU chief Des Geraghty interprets IMPACT member Jeanette Rehnstrom’s tale in this way. Jeanette left home, a suburb of Stockholm in Sweden, when she was 17. She lived in New York, Los Angeles and London before settling into a new home in Dublin five years ago. But what is home? Where is it? Where does the immigrant belong? These are among the themes in Dublin: Ten Journeys, One Destination, launched this year to coincide with UNESCO’s naming of Dublin as a ‘city of literature.’ “Writing is a way to find home. To find that little space for yourself. A non-specific space that means borders are not the main thing,” says Jeanette, who works in Dublin’s Foyer young homeless project where she’s the IMPACT rep. With stories by writers from Ireland, Nigeria, Canada, Germany and other far-flung places, the book shines a new light on a capital city with long experience of emigration and a short history of immigration. It featured in the Dublin writers’ festival and on RTÉ radio, and it won a Dubliner magazine five-star review. Un-

Win a copy 38

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

A great new collection of short stories focussed on Dublin looks set to develop into something bigger.

usually for a book of its kind, Ten Journeys is about to go into a second print run. Cash-strapped Dublin City Council has even earmarked funding to take a related project on integration and writing into the city’s libraries and schools. “It’s great that it took off and our work’s paid off. You know you’re doing something right,” says Jeanette. The book was conceived, produced and published over 18 months by the Irish Writers’ Exchange which, appropriately, meets in the Writers’ Bar in the Gresham Hotel. “The theme was obvious because we were all immigrants. Roslyn Fuller had the idea and we gelled it,” says Jeanette who began writing when she was four. She’s now hoping to have her first novel published. “I love my job, but writing’s always been the main focus of my life. I like it if it’s a challenge. I want language to be something interesting and something you can play with. A tool for the imagination and learning new things. Writing’s about that,” she says. With embryonic plans to produce another collection based around a different Irish city, this successful volume is developing into something bigger. Watch out for readings in the ILAC Centre and Ballymun libraries soon. Order a copy of Dublin: Ten Journeys, One Destination from www.irishwritersexchange.com or buy from good bookshops l To be in with a chance to win a copy of Dublin: Ten Journeys, One Destination send your name and address to Roisin Nolan, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1 (or email rnolan@impact.ie) by Friday 2nd December.


Book reviews

That’s life THE TIME OF MY LIFE By Cecilia Ahern (Harper Collins, €16.99).

FORGET KATIA, Irene, Maria, and all those other windy whirligigs rushing around the weather maps, and brace yourselves. Hurricane Cecilia is back! Here she comes, only 29, over ten million books sold worldwide, a TV series (Samantha Who) a play (Mrs Whippy) a movie (PS I Love You) two more movies on the way (novels three and four) a daughter (Robin) a husband (David) and her eighth book about to be released! To describe her as a natural phenomenon is merely to hint at the extent of her achievements. I have to confess, I was one of the cynical snickerers who muttered catty asides when Cecilia’s first book PS I Love You was published. A nine-day wonder, I opined. Just look at the last name I sneered. Who would turn that family down, I asked beneath my breath. But reader dear, not for the first time, I was wrong. Cecilia has earned her place in the pantheon of Ladies Literature Lite, and has clearly established her own identity. It’s romantic, comedic, and unreservedly optimistic – if she were a musical, she’d be Annie – but always with a quirky twist. Each book takes a huge leap into another dimension and the reader is asked to embrace some downright unbelievable concept that can only exist in a place where reality does not live. It could be a diary that tells you what happens next (The Book of Tomorrow) a device that manipulates time (The Gift) or, as in this new book, a face-to-face meeting with Life for our heroine Lucy Silchester. And just to be crystal clear here, we’re not talking about a life coach. We’re talking about her actual Life, taking shape as a small, rash-ridden, disheveled little man who’s feeling sadly neglected. Lucy is responsible for his unhappy state, which started when she broke up with her perfect boyfriend Blake, escalated when she changed jobs and hit rock bottom around the time the Christmas tree lights set the shag pile rug on fire. When Life is quite firm about taking matters into his own hands, Lucy embarks on what is not quite a twelve-step programme of rehabilitation, but a process where self-examination occurs, and amends are made. (I’m really trying to avoid using the word ‘journey’ here.) Ahern’s light touch and energetic pacing keep the unreality frothing along, and after all, if you can be engrossed in teenage vampires and werewolves, then you can suspend disbelief for this stuff too. Whatever she has, it works, and I have to say, good luck to her. Margaret Hannigan

Stubborn courage THE LAST KESTREL By Jill McGivering (Blue Door, €7.99).

THIS BOOK will open your eyes if you’re one of those people whose knowledge of Afghanistan is limited to what you see in the Help Our Heroes appeals. It tells the story of Ellen Thomas, a war correspondent embedded with the British troops in Helmand province. The book opens with the brutal murder of a young man who worked as Ellen’s translator and the journalist becomes determined to find out why he died and who killed him. The story is also told from the point of view of Hasina, a woman who lives in one of the small mountain villages that will soon be taken over and used as a base camp by the advancing soldiers. Hasina’s only son Aref, has become involved with a group of fighters and she’s determined to somehow get him to leave and then protect him against enemies from all sides. Both women are incredibly strong and brave enough to face down opposition in what is very much a man’s world. While poles apart in terms of background, education and life experience, each woman recognises the streak of stubborn courage in the other. Despite the simplicity of their hard lives, the Afghans are in the bewildering position of mistrusting their rescuers as much as the Taliban. The fear of the young British soldiers, facing real and present danger, is matched by the anguish of the villagers as they see their homes and livelihoods destroyed by the advancing army. This is a well-written, balanced and compelling read. The only pity is that, despite all she faces, Ellen is surprisingly inscrutable. You have to be tough in a world where a split-second decision can mean the difference between life and death. But it would have been nice to like Ellen a bit more. Kathryn Smith More reviews on page 40 ‰

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 39


More book reviews

Testing faith

Family affairs

FAITH

ONE KISS IN HAVANA

By Jennifer Haigh (Harper, €9.99).

By Michelle Jackson (Poolbeg).

THE STORY of the horrors inflicted on children by Catholic clerics, and the accompanying systematic cover-up, continues to unfold in this country and elsewhere. Confronted almost daily by accounts of rape and torture, you might well feel, as I did, that reading a novel about a priest accused of child abuse is something you could easily live without. In this case, that would be a mistake. This book has all the suspense of a thriller combined with the philosophical insight of a literary classic. While it investigates the accusation and the characters at the heart of the story, its broader theme is the nature of faith – in our god of choice, and also in each other. Narrator Sheila McGann and her brother Mike are half-siblings to Father Art Breen, the accused priest. He joined the seminary at 14 to live in a series of dormitories and rectories, shielded by collar and creed against most of the complex demands of adulthood. Sheila is divorced, childless, mid-thirties, a high-school English teacher, and a person who lives a little outside the mainstream. Her brother Mike is more straightforward; father to three boys, a realtor, and a former cop who is very clear about his beliefs and his place in the world. Their mother Mary is an old school, lace curtain Catholic, firm in her unwavering belief in her son, the priest. Sheila and Mike’s father Ted is destroyed by alcohol or Alzheimer’s or both and is lost to the past, unable to remember anything of the last 15 years. The Boston diocese is reeling from an onslaught of criminal charges, and is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in legal expenses and redress when the accusation against Art is made. Can they keep faith with this half-known brother of theirs against this background? Or do they believe the eightyear old boy who has made this accusation through the mouth of his mother Kath, a recovering drug addict. From this point on, a cascading series of crises of faith occurs – in each other, in their shared history, and in their common and singular identities. Jennifer Haigh holds it all in her calm, clear gaze, and unswervingly follows the threads of several overlapping truths through the morass. More impressively, she keeps faith with her characters while never, ever compromising on the central issue of whether or not a sacred trust was irrevocably broken. This is a complex, rewarding read, which will stay with you long after you turn the final page. Absolutely brilliant. Margaret Hannigan

40

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

THIS IS the story of three very different sisters, Emma, Louise and Sophie. Tragedy strikes when Emma wakes up one morning to find her young husband has died. Grief-stricken, she must now move on and care for her son Finn. Some weeks later, tickets arrive in the post and Emma is delighted to discover that Paul had planned to bring her on a surprise holiday to Cuba, a country she has always wanted to visit. She invites her beautiful and spoilt younger sister Sophie to go with her, but doesn’t realise that the ticket she thought had a misprint was in fact intended for Sophie all along. Meanwhile, Louise who is bored with the drudgery of caring for her three young children, bumps into her lost love Jack Duggan on the Dart. Each sister must face decisions and heartbreak to move their lives on from where they now find themselves. Emma is shattered when she discovers that Sophie was having an affair with Paul. Louise risks her marriage to keep in contact with Jack, who in turn loses his fiancé Aoife. Sophie, who has always had everything her own way, soon discovers the emptiness of her life when she realises the trail of destruction she has left in her wake. Through family troubles, marriage problems, romance and disaster, the young women work together and help each other. This is all standard fare. But using Cuba as a backdrop for much of the story gives it another angle. The music, sunshine and the vibrancy of the culture are lovingly described. It is here that Emma meets and falls in love with Felipe, who shows her the Cuba of Ernest Hemingway as well as the reality of life under a Communist regime. This is an enjoyable easy read for those who love romance. Kathryn Smith


Union business

Howlin agrees on pay IMPACT’S BELIEF that further pay cuts are off the agenda so long as the Croke Park agreement continues to deliver reforms and savings has been reinforced by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin in an interview in this issue of Work & Life. The interview was conducted after IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said further public service pay cuts were both unwarranted and unlikely while the Government’s demanding spending and staffing targets are being met. Mr Cody was speaking after media reports highlighted calls for more pay cuts in the public and private sectors, along with cuts in social welfare benefits, by a former European Central Bank (ECB) board member and other businessmen and economists. Mr Cody said the IMF, ECB and European Commission ‘troika’ had published positive reports about Ireland’s progress on public spending, including payroll savings, reforms and staff reductions under Croke Park. “None of the assessments from the troika has called for pay cuts or expressed any dissatisfaction with what public servants are delivering under Croke Park. This is not surprising

Low pay law soon PROPOSED LEGISLATION to introduce a new wage setting system for workers in low-paid sectors is expected soon. The law is expected to allow employers to claim an inability to pay minimum rates and to scrap Sunday premiums for workers currently protected by ‘employment regulation orders’ (EROs) set by Joint Labour Committees (JLCs). Unions have accused the Government of facilitating a further downward drive of wages for low-paid workers. It is feared that the new system will herald pay cuts for thousands of vulnerable workers in retail, hotels and restaurants. Earlier this year a High Court ruling said existing EROs were unconstitutional. The EROs, which set wage minimums and other employment conditions in low-paid sectors, were effectively rendered useless by the ruling in a case brought by owners of fast food outlets in Cork. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has long acknowledged the need to reform JLCs and EROs and says draft legislation published, but never adopted, by the previous Government could quickly form the basis of a legal and constitutional solution.

Numbers add up Official figures recently released show the number of public servants fell by almost 3,200 in the first half of 2011. The figures show that the public service is well on target to meet the Government’s revised estimates for public service staffing and payroll costs.

when, in its first year, the agreement has delivered payroll savings of €290 million – 30% above the target of €223 million,” Cody said. In total, Croke Park achieved savings of €650 million in its first year. Mr Cody said media organisations were wrong to present former ECB board member Jürgen Stark’s views as simply an attack on public service pay. “This career civil servant from the German finance ministry is calling for cuts in pay across the Irish economy – in the private and public sector – plus social welfare reductions. In his view, this is essential to protect bank Anglo-Irish bondholders who he says should not be touched under any circumstances,” he said. Read the Brendan Howlin interview on page 6.

Teagasc troubles THE LOSS OF another 109 posts at the state agriculture and food development authority Teagasc will affect its support for Ireland’s agri-food industry, a key growth sector, IMPACT has warned. The union’s assistant general secretary Shay Clinton pointed out that 280 Teagasc posts have already been lost since 2008 and that €16 million of additional payroll savings had been achieved in the first year of the Croke Park agreement. Shay Clinton

The Government has said additional staff reductions will be achieved by a voluntary early retirement scheme or redeployment to the civil service or other state agencies. “These staff have made real sacrifices and responded very positively to change. We are calling on the Government to rethink the number of job losses because the growing agri-food sector needs support and expertise,” said Clinton. Teagasc colleges are currently full and its courses are oversubscribed. Student numbers at Kildalton college almost doubled between 2002 and 2010, with a further increase expected this year. But the number of teachers has fallen. IMPACT also says Teagasc advisors now deal with an average 160 clients each, compared to 110 in 2008. “There are cases of more than 200 clients per adviser. Some administrative staff have been upskilled in order to assist with this heavy workload,” said Clinton. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 41


Union business IN SHORT Pay gap widens WOMEN NOW earn an average of 12.8% less than men every hour according to the latest national employment survey. That’s an increase of 0.4% in the Irish gender pay gap. Meanwhile, research from the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) found that public service cuts are likely to increase the gender pay gap.

African response IMPACT BRANCHES have responded to an appeal by the union’s executive to support Concern’s emergency appeal for East Africa, established to fight the famine in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The executive agreed a €60,000 donation to the appeal from the IMPACT developing world fund and a number of branches have made additional donations. These include the School Secretaries, Waterford City, Agrilabs, Roscommon and Professional Agricultural Inspectors branches.

Fire victory IMPACT HAS welcomed a Labour Court decision in a dispute about cost savings in Dublin fire brigade. The union had disputed Dublin City Council’s attempt to introduce new cost saving measures on top of plans agreed under the Croke Park agreement.

CWOs protected IN AN important IMPACT victory, the Labour Court has ruled that community welfare officers and related administrative staff should retain their existing pay and conditions following the transfer of their service from the HSE to the Department of Social Protection. The Court also said that transferring staff in acting positions should be regularised. But it ruled against IMPACT’s claim that individuals should be allowed opt out of the transfer. 42

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011

Minister warns on retirement PUBLIC EXPENDITURE and reform minister Brendan Howlin has given a clear warning that public servants who want to retire with pensions based on pre-pay cut salary scales should give three months notice of their intention to leave before the 29th February deadline. IMPACT has subsequently warned eligible members who may want to retire next February to act now and investigate what staying or going means for them, as 29th November is effectively the final deadline for giving notice of an intention to retire before the deadline.

In his interview in this issue of Work & Life the minister says: “If people go before the end of February, they will retain the pre-cut level of pension and lump sum. I’ve required people to give us three months notice so that we can plan for that. “If people are genuinely interested in both going and ensuring that they get the pre-cut pension level, they must give us three months’ notice. If they don’t give us three months notice, they may not be processed in time to take full advantage of the end of February arrangements.” The change is coming because public service pensions are based on salary at the time of retirement. So the introduction of pay cuts in January 2010 meant the value of pensions would also fall considerably. IMPACT and other unions successfully convinced the Government to extend the deadline for calculating pensions on the old pay rates until the end of February 2012, saving thousands of Euro for thousands of public servants. But the Government has been clear that the deadline will not be extended again. Read about your options on page 22. Read the Howlin interview on page 6.

Govt seeks agency deal RICHARD BRUTON wants talks with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and employers’ body IBEC to explore the possibility of agreeing a ‘derogation’ from aspects of the EU agency workers’ directive, which must be written into Irish law by 5th December. Ireland is the only EU country yet to implement the 2008 directive, which insists on parity of basic working and employment conditions – including pay, leave and other conditions – between agency staff and directly-employed workers. The jobs and enterprise minister says he wants Irish legislation to allow a sixmonth wait before agency workers get the same workplace protections as di-

rectly-employed staff. But, under EU rules, this can’t happen unless the unions and business organisations reach agreement with the Government. ICTU, which effectively has a veto on any derogation from the EU legislation, has not yet indicated what it might seek in return for agreeing to the minister’s proposal, which is supported by employers. Meanwhile, IMPACT’s Health and Welfare division is to prepare a paper on recruitment of agency staff for consideration by the union’s executive. And the ICTU public services committee has opened talks with management to address practical operational aspects of the directive in the public service.

HEAR IT FIRST IMPACT members get news first through our website and members’ e-bulletin. Check it out at www.impact.ie


Union business New redeployment standard SHORT CUTS AN INDEPENDENT adjudication report on the first ‘compulsory’ staff redeployments under the Croke Park agreement could help establish standards for handling similar situations in other parts of the public service. It also made recommendations for handling future appeals against compulsory redeployment.

Published in the summer, the report relates to 23 individual appeals over redeployment to a new centralised location for administering medical card applications. After 80 staff agreed to redeploy voluntarily, the HSE needed 70 more staff to move to the new operation in north Dublin. IMPACT, which represents most of the staff, won ten of the 23 appeals. The union highlighted the individual circumstances of appellants, including family commitments, commuting times and additional costs. It also made a general case that management had moved to compulsory redeployment without properly exhausting the voluntary option. IMPACT national secretary for health and welfare Louise O’Donnell said the comprehensive adjudication report would likely set standards for other redeployment appeals. “There is no guarantee that its recommended criteria will be applied across sectors, but it would seem to provide a useful template for managing redeployment and future appeals,” she said. The Croke Park agreement sets out detailed parameters for any compulsory redeployment, with slight but significant differences between redeployment arrangements in different sectors. The Labour Relations Commission has also said that redeployment must be conducted in a “reasonable manner” with “due regard for personal circumstances.” The new independent adjudication has now outlined new requirements for better communications with staff, unions and other managers, with realistic timescales for informing and redeploying the staff involved. It also calls for written plans to address concerns expressed by individuals being redeployed, which should cover family and personal impacts, commuting times and potential additional costs “where necessary and appropriate.” The adjudicator also made comments on the issue of ‘reasonable commuting times” and acknowledged the affect that relocation has on staff, particularly lower paid women with family responsibilities. For more on this story, visit the Croke Park pages on IMPACT’s website. www.impact.ie.

Protest special

County mergers IMPACT BRANCHES in Tipperary and Limerick have formed ‘merger committees’ to deal with the fall out of proposed local authority mergers in each county. IMPACT has told management that services must be protected, staff consulted and Croke Park commitments respected as local authority mergers are implemented. You can read more on the local government pages of the IMPACT website.

Professional breach HEALTH MINISTER James Reilly is yet to reply to IMPACT’s demand for clarification of the Government’s recruitment policy for child protection staff and other essential frontline professionals. The union says an HSE decision to override exemptions from the recruitment embargo breaches Government policy.

Photo: Paula Geraghty.

Redeployment move UNIONS AND management have agreed new guidance on handling redeployment in the civil service. In line with recent IMPACT demands, the guidelines place a new emphasis on tracking where service demand is increasing and decreasing, and matching skills to vacancies.

Flight of fancy

IMPACT's SNA's branch supported parents of children with special needs in thier summer protest. At least 700 special needs assistant (SNA) posts have gone since 1st September and over 1,300 schools have seen reductions in SNA support from the start of the academic year.

IMPACT HAS warned against a sale of the Government’s 25% stake in Aer Lingus, saying the move risked increased business costs across the economy, a blow to the tourism sector, and higher prices and longer journeys for Irish travellers. In a letter to the transport minister, the union said the Government would be unable to enforce protection for Ireland’s strategic economic interests on the company if it gave up its stake.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 43


Sport

Can Gillick get back KEVIN NOLAN says runner David Gillick is no stranger to doing things the hard way. IRISH 400 metre athlete David Gillick wasn’t one of those kids who regularly won gold medals at the community games. Growing up, he was a member of Dundrum Athletics Club but he also played Gaelic with Ballinteer Saint John’s. The extent of his running talent didn’t become evident until he started winning Irish schools titles in his later years at St Benildus College. Back then he still wasn’t sure about pursuing a career as a professional athlete. He enrolled in the Dublin Institute of Technology and tried his hand at combining college and training. It all went well at first and in 2005 he burst onto the international stage, winning European championship gold with a personal best of 46.3 seconds. The following year didn’t yield the same level of success. Injury hit and living in a Dublin culture that didn’t suit an athlete’s lifestyle proved challenging for the national champion. In the end something had to give and Gillick decided to relocate to Loughborough, England to train full-time under renowned coach Nick Dakin. He settled into the life of a full-time athlete  immediately  and found himself training with some of the best 400 metre runners in Europe. His training partner was Martyn Rooney, a finalist in the 2008 Olympics.

Relish Gillick relished the competition and his improvement was swift. After just a few months in the new set up he was breaking  Irish records and running some of the world’s fastest 400 metre times. In March 2007 he captured the  European  indoor title for the second time, recoding a 45.52 time, which was not only an Irish record but was the ‘A’ standard for the Beijing Olympics. Gillick’s upward graph continued and he went on to record some of his best times at the world championships. When the Olympics came around he was one of Ireland’s great prospects. Yet things didn’t go to plan and he failed to get out of his heat. But if Gillick didn’t run as well as expected, his times still improved and the following year in Madrid he joined the elite group of athletes when he broke the sub 45-second barrier. His Irish record time of 44.77 put him in the history books for being the only Irish man to run sub-45 seconds.

Photo: Sportsfile.com

He went on to run well in the European and world championships and at the end of the year finished the golden league series with 30 points in fourth position in the diamond league series. u

Gillick: Hard road.

44

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011


on track? Contender In 2010 the southside Dub didn’t reach the heights of the previous year. Gillick was a medal contender at the world indoor championships but finished fifth in the final and was later disqualified after a collision with Bershawn Jackson. That year he finished fifth after cruising to the final at the European outdoors. It was a disappointing meet for Gillick, who had been hotly tipped for a medal, and there was controversy after he decided not to run on the Irish relay team. After an unsatisfactory season, and with the Olympics just two years away, Gillick felt he needed a change. He decided

to leave Nick Dakin and Loughborough behind and moved to Florida to train under Lance Brauman. Brauman had some of the best sprinters in the world on his books including Tyson Gay, the second fastest man in history. Unfortunately Gillick suffered a calf injury early this year and was out of action for almost eight weeks. Despite recovery, much of the season was lost and Gillick  ended up with a season’s best of just 46.64, almost two seconds off his own fastest time. He never really settled in Florida and the year away wasn’t as productive as Gillick had hoped. After much deliberation he returned to Nick Dakin. The London Olympics are only ten months away and Gillick needs to run the ‘A’ standard time this season if he wants to qualify. He has settled back into his old routine in Loughborough and is training hard. It will be a long tough winter for Gillick who has a lot of ground to make up. But he’s back on track and no stranger to doing things the hard way. l

King of the road MARK ROHAN has continued a series of blistering performances in 2011, building on his achievements since becoming Ireland’s first paracyclist to win a gold medal at European or world level when he took gold at the European hand-cycling championships in April 2010.

Rohan has always shown the kind of relentless determination and focus that wins medals. In June 2010 he took silver at the UCI paracycling world cup road race, and two months later became the world road race H1 hand-cycling champion in Canada.

Photo: Cycling Ireland

He’s the first Irish Paralympic athlete to win gold in cycling, and only the third Irish person ever to wear the famous ‘rainbow jersey’ presented to world cycling champions. He repeated this feat in style at the UCI championships at Roskilde in Denmark in August, making it a double as he scooped the gold medal and the rainbow jersey at the time trial and road race events after seeing off stiff competition from France and Israel. Mark created an additional record by winning all six races in the 2011 world cup series earlier this season and has now confirmed his position as one of the world’s top paracyclists. With the London 2012 Paralympic games on the horizon, Rohan is peaking at just the right time. Team manager Denis Toomey said: “Mark is an incredible athlete. The form and consistency that he’s shown this season has been incredible. Mark promises to be a dominant figure in paracyling for some time.” Such winning form saw the Ballinahown native, who combines his heavy training schedule with working for the ESB in Dublin, named Athlone person of the year last April. Accolades aside, all roads lead to London 2012 where Mark looks set to make an impression. Prospects for the Irish team look good too. Niall Shanahan l

Mark Rohan and Irish team mates celebrate his stunning double victory in Roskilde, Denmark at the World Championships in September. Pictured with Mark are mechanic Gerry Beggs, team manager Denis Toomey and coach Brian Nugent.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

45


S UD OKU

Win Win Win

win0

HOW TO PLAY: Fill in the grid so that every row, column and 3x3 box contains the digits 1–9. There is no maths involved. You solve it with reasoning and logic.

5

9 5

Prize quiz Just answer five easy questions and you could win €50. YOU COULD add €50 to your wallet or purse by answering five easy questions and sending your entry, name and address to Roisin Nolan, Work & Life prize quiz, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1. Send your entry by Friday 2nd December 2011. We’ll send €50 to the first completed entry pulled from the hat.* You’ll find the answers in this issue of Work & Life. 1. The only Irishman to run 400 metres in less than 45 seconds is: A. Michael Fingleton B. John Merrick C. David Gillick 2. Which of the following have NOT had soccer strikes this year: A. Norway B. France C. Spain 3. The deadline for public service retirement with pre-pay cut pensions is: A. 29th February 2012 B. 29th November 2011 C. 14th February 2012 4. Who was the first act to feature on NME’s front cover without a recording contract: A. Dr Funkenstein B. Dr Feelgood C. Dr John 5. Youth Connect is teaching young people about: A. Facebook B. Suspension bridges C. Trade Unions The small print* You must be a paid-up IMPACT member to win. Only one entry per person (multiple entries will not be considered). Entries must reach us by Friday 2nd December 2011. The editor’s decision is final. That’s it! 46 46

AUTUMN/WINTER 2011 SPRING 2011

4

3

8

7

2

1 1 7

2

1

4 5 8

4

5

2

2

5

7

5

4

7 6

5

3

8

8

5

9

6

1

6

7

1

6

Easy

9 4

7 9

5 7

8

6

6

2

3

5

9

8

7

2

2

win

1 3

Difficult

Across 2. Composer (4) 4. Pullover (6) 8. This author can be found among a lot of toys (7) 9. The only kind of square ring (6) 11. Part of animal cargo at the farm (4) 12. Eat this drink (3) 13. Could be Collins or Hogan (4) 15. This element looks as if there is 10 for dinner (6) 18. College course for confused star (4) 20. A body of work (4) 21. Drawback in hospital (4) 24. Have some faith in this car (4) 25. My first agenda is to build a platform (5) 26. Large pond (4) 27. Electricity in the attics (6) 29. Come in (5) 32. I (2) 33. Remedy (4) 35. Lady deer (3) 36. Scoring attempt (3) 37. Tale (5) Down 1. Assesses (5) 2. Follicly challenged (4) 3. Universal (8) 5. Alien spacecraft, initially unsure (1,1,1) 6. Machine that does this (7) 7. I see my saint says the holy man (6) 9. Tie up 500 in the trashcan (4) 10. Cattle get high on this (5) 11. Initially an American soldier (1,1)

50

PRIZE CROSSWORD 1

2

3

4

5

6

7 8

9

10

11 13

12

14

15

16

17

18

20

21

19

22

23 24

27

25

28

26

29

32

30

31

33

34

35 36

37

Crossword composed by Seamus Halpenny

14. 16. 17. 19. 22. 23. 25. 28. 30. 31. 34.

Proverbially, doing this will get you lost (8) And Al lost this years final (5) DUNFOSCE? (8) Edible state (6) Competency in a civil service workplace (5) HIJKLMNO (5) Two hundred roses continue to create a beautiful game (6) Pious approval (4) Man on the moon (4) Respite is the same without the fix (4) Young male (3)

Win €50 by completing the crossword and sending your entry, name and address to Roisin Nolan, Work & Life crossword, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1, by Friday 2nd December 2011. We’ll send €50 to the first correct entry pulled from a hat.

Winners!

The winners from competitions in the autumn issue were:

Crossword: Anne Crawford, Fingal Co. Council. Book Competition: Anne Deasy, Cork.

Quiz: Niamh Carroll, Louth. Survey: Maryrose Browne, Galway Co. Council.

Lots more competitions to enter in this issue!


Your view

n i w100 €

How do you like Work & Life? WE HOPE you enjoyed this issue of Work & Life, the magazine for IMPACT members. We want to hear your views, and we’re offering a €100 prize to one lucky winner who completes this questionnaire.

Simply complete this short survey and send it to Roisin Nolan, Work & Life survey, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1. You can also send your views by email to rnolan@impact.ie. We’ll send €100 to the first completed entry pulled from a hat.* And don’t forget, we’re also giving prizes for letters published in the next issue. See page 21.

The survey

4. What were your least favourite articles? 1 __________________________________________________ 2 __________________________________________________

1. What did you think of the articles in the autumn/winter 2011 issue of Work & Life? Excellent

o

Good

o

Okay

o

Bad

o

Awful

o

Comments ________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ 2. What did you think of the layout, style and pictures in the autumn/winter 2011 issue of Work & Life?

3 __________________________________________________ 5. What subjects would you like to see in future issues of Work & Life? 1 __________________________________________________ 2 __________________________________________________ 3 __________________________________________________ 6. What did you think of the balance between union news and other articles? The balance is about right

o

I want more union news

o

I want less union news

o

Excellent

o

7. Any other comments? ______________________________

Good

o

__________________________________________________

Okay

o

__________________________________________________

Bad

o

__________________________________________________

Awful

o

__________________________________________________

Comments ________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ 3. What were your favourite three articles?

Name ________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

1 __________________________________________________

Email ________________________________________________

2 __________________________________________________

Phone ________________________________________________

3 __________________________________________________

IMPACT branch ______________________________________

The small print* You must be a paid-up IMPACT member to win. Only one entry per person (multiple entries will not be considered). Entries must reach us by Friday 2nd December 2011. The editor’s decision is final. That’s it!

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 47


Work & Life Issue No 15