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THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS

ISSUE 16 • SPRING 2012

GRE A BEN T NEW FOR EFITS I MEM MPACT See BERS page 14.

BABY BOOM WORKERS’ WHISTLEBLOWING WOES LEAVE STANDARDISATION OLDER WORKERS DUBLIN 1911

It’s raining twins and triplets in Ballymun

ALSO INSIDE CORK KARATE. PRESIDENTIAL PEOPLE. CLARKSON OUTBURST. TIME MANAGEMENT. YOUR LETTERS. BRILLIANT BOUTIQUES. MID-LIFE CRISES. FEELING FRUITY. EAST CORK BECKONS. FILM CENSORSHIP. SPRING GARDENS. X FACTORY. BOOKS. ALL THE NEWS. COMPS AND QUIZZES. www.impact.ie


In this issue

work& & life – Spring 2012 WORK

3. 6.

PUBLIC SERVICE BASHING Clarkson’s rant sounds familiar. WHISTLEBLOWING

4. 24.

26. John Bagge is out of work after uncovering massive financial fraud.

10. 14. 16. 19. 21. 22.

WORKING LONGER Are Irish workplaces geared up for an older workforce? MORE FOR MEMBERS A great new package of benefits for IMPACT members. QUALITY RADIO IMPACT’s radio officers celebrate 75 years. TIME PRESSURE Better time management reduces stress and improves performance.

28. 30. 32. 34. 36. 38.

LETTERS Health reform, SNAs and increments. LEAVE ARRANGEMENTS Changes protect most workers.

Work & Life is produced by IMPACT trade union's Communications Unit and edited by Bernard Harbor. Front cover: IMPACT member Jane Egan with twins Christian and Leon. Story, page 2. Photo by Conor Healy. Contact IMPACT at: Nerney's Court, Dublin 1. Phone: 01-817-1500. Email: rnolan@impact.ie

NEWS

LIFE

44.

CORK KICKER Joan Sheehan won gold at the world shotokan karate championships. FASHION The second capital’s brilliant boutiques. HEALTH Preparing for the inevitable mid-life crisis. TRAVEL East Cork calls.

41. 41. 42. 42. 42. 42. 43. 43.

CARE STAFF BUDGET BLUES CUTS CHALLENGE CROKE PARK OVERTIME SICK LEAVE INCREMENTS PENSIONS

PRIZES

21. 25. 39.

FOOD Feeling fruity. GARDENS Spring into action.

Win €50 by writing to us. Win a €100 gift voucher for Amity boutique. Win a copy of Dublin 1911.

FILMS The changing face of Irish censorship. MUSIC X Factor’s wobbly legacy.

46. 47.

BOOKS IMPACT member Catriona Crowe’s fantastic book on Dublin, 1911.

Win €50 in our prize quiz. Rate Work & Life and win €100.

SPORT Irish Paralympian Jason Smyth aims for both Olympics. 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

Designed by: N. O'Brien Design & Print Management Ltd. Phone: 01-864-1920 Email: nikiobrien@eircoml.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% recyclable.

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

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 1


The BIG picture

Photography: Conor Healy.

Ballymun baby boomers

THERE MUST be something in the water down at Ballymun health centre in Dublin which, recently, has been very productive indeed. And we’re not talking about the Croke Park agreement. Three staff members at the centre have celebrated multiple births in the last while.

IMPACT member Jane Egan, (centre) had twins Christian and Leon, as did Mary Devine (left) pictured with sons Dylan and Cian. Meanwhile, nurse Colette Cullinan (right) went one better and hit the jackpot with triplets Tadhg, Siún and Cian. Congratulations to all l

Presidential people FORMER IMPACT official Kevin O’Driscoll was the election agent for Michael D Higgins’ highly successful presidential election campaign. President Higgins received almost 40% of first preference votes and secured over one million votes at the final count. The two go back a long was as Kevin took a career break from the union to work as Michael D’s programme manager when he was Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht between 1993 and 1997. He worked with the then-minister for two terms. During that time, the duo worked to scrap the controversial ‘section 31’ of the Broadcasting Act, which censored Sinn Fein members. The then-minister also re-established the Irish Film Board and set up the TV station now known as TG4. Among other things, Kevin led the health and civil service divisions at different times during his stint with IMPACT l That’s Kevin on the left. 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 www.impact.ie

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That was then… 30 years ago

STRANGE WORLD Photo: getty.com

Driven demented “I WOULD take them outside and execute them in front of their families.” A message to the state-terrorised people of Syria? A senior army officer to the protesters in Tahrir Square, perhaps? Or the Taliban’s latest threat to the people of Afghanistan? Afraid not. This was Jeremy Clarkson, chum and Oxfordshire neighbour of British Prime Minister David Cameron and disgraced former News of the Screws editor Rebekah Brooks. The outburst must surely have been a response to some heinous crime or injustice. Had someone robbed his parking space, or cut him up at the lights? Wrong again. The Top Gear bore hit full throttle after health staff and dinner ladies had the temerity to join a one-day strike against proposed cuts to public service pensions. “How dare they go on strike when they’ve got these gilt-edged pensions, while the rest of us have to work for a living,” moaned the well-wheeled broadcaster, whose multimillion lifestyle is heavily subsidised by the (public service) BBC. Not unlike our own experience in 2009, the criticism of British strikers was as confused as it was intemperate. The Tories accused Labour of treacherously supporting public service disruption, while simultaneously describing the strike as a “damp squib.” And in a move that will be familiar to Irish public servants, the day was described by some newspapers (remarkably, others were more balanced) as a public service “shopping day.” Remember RTÉ’s made-up story of Irish strikers heading to Newry with shopping bags in hands – despite the broadcaster failing to identify a single public servant among the supermarket aisles of the six counties? l

On 20th January 1982, in perhaps the worst recorded incident of rock star catering excess, Ozzy Osbourne bites the head off a live bat thrown at him during a performance in Iowa. The next day a Kildare TD called Charlie McCreevy is expelled from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party for criticising Charles Haughey. Corporal punishment is banned in schools in the Republic on 1st February, although my old Latin teacher clearly hadn’t read the memo. Things continue to go badly on Ozzy’s US tour. He’s arrested for urinating on The Alamo in February and, on 19th March, lead guitarist Randy Rhoads is killed in a freak flying accident in Florida. Ozzy told wife Sharon: “I don’t think I want to be a rock ‘n’ roller anymore.”

50 years ago Raymond James “Ray” Houghton, was born in Glasgow on 9th January 1962, a week after Z-Cars premieres on the BBC. The long running public service docu-soap became a staple of British TV until 1978. Chicago school economist Milton Friedman’s book Capitalism and Freedom is published. The influential book concludes that “Most good things…come from the free market, not the government, and they will continue to do so.” What would he have to say about the bank guarantee I wonder?

100 years ago Frankly, 1912 was not a great year for Irish international football. In February Ireland are beaten 6-1 at home by England. In March the Scottish beat us 4-1 in Belfast. Only the Welsh offer any comfort, going down 3-2 in Cardiff in April. 1911 had been a better year as we nudged up a 2-2 draw with the English. But for a more detailed account of that period in history, have a look at our special feature on Caitriona Crowe’s book Ireland in 1911 on page 38. Niall Shanahan.

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IMPACT people

IMPACT’s JOAN SHEEHAN has successfully defended her gold medal at the world shotokan karate championships in Berlin. The Cork branch member won gold in the ladies’ veteran category.

A kick start Tell me about yourself I married young and have two sons. My husband died when I was 26 and the boys were eight and five. It was tough but the boys got me through. What’s your earliest memory? When I was 13 my parents separated and I moved with my mother to Ballyporeen the same year Ronald Reagan visited. There was great excitement and fun. I moved to Kildorrery after I got married over 20 years ago and have lived there ever since.

Photography: Michael Crean

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you? Apart from having my children, winning the world championships. So far. What was the worst thing? My husband died by suicide in 1996, by far the worst thing that ever happened to me. Since then I had to achieve so much on my own that I realised there was no point in feeling sorry for myself. When something like that happens to you – and you get through it – you realise that anything is possible and nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Tell me about work I’ve been a clerical officer with the HSE since April 2000. I recently transferred from Mallow to Mitchelstown. I’m clerical support to the primary care team, working with the public health u

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“As I progressed I just got to love it. Each time I achieved a new grade my confidence grew.” nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and dietician. I love it. There’s great variety and we have a great team. How did you get involved in karate? My son Martin started a class in 2005 and I decided to join, purely to get fit. But as I progressed I just got to love it. Each time I achieved a new grade my confidence grew. I won a couple of All Ireland titles and in 2009, the year before my 40th birthday, I got my black belt. The following year I won the gold medal in the veteran category.

in life Are you involved in the union? I’ve only become active in the union recently. I’m on the Cork branch executive committee. I guess I was so busy when the children were younger I really didn’t have time. There’s no point complaining about your lot if you’re not willing to stand up and do something about it. What do you do in your spare time? What spare time? What makes you happy? Family gatherings at home and spending time with my sons and my nephew and godson Jake.

t o

What makes you laugh out loud? The boys telling stories of what they got up at the weekend.

What do you feel passionate about? I don’t think any child should die for lack of basic needs, like food, in a world where many of us have so much. There’s a recession at home and it’s tough. But there are houses with more phones and laptops than people.

What do you do to relax? Light the fire and watch a good movie. What’s the nicest thing someone’s done for you lately? People are really good to me. But the most memorable was when my sons treated me to a trip to Paris for my 40th birthday. Amazing. Who would you like to go for a pint with? Nelson Mandela. His ability to remain true to his beliefs through the injustice he suffered, and still come out in defence of his countrymen, amazes me. What music are you into? My favourite artist has always been Meat Loaf, but I like most stuff I can dance to. Yes, I sing when I’m on my own and, no, I’m not any good. What’s your favourite meal? Italian, though there’s nothing like a plate of bacon and cabbage on a winter’s evening. Where would you like to visit? I was in South Africa in 2003 when my son Martin represented Ireland in the world championships. I loved it. It’s an amazing country. The view of the sun rising in the morning was breathtaking. The vast divide between rich and poor is very obvious, but many of the poor are still positive. We watched a crowd of men and women get out of a van, put a CD player on the ground, turn up the volume and dance their hearts out. Yet around the corner in the same week there was a driveby shooting involving rival taxi firms. You’d watch surfers at the beach in the morning but, later that night, children were sleeping on the same beach. What’s your worst feature? I’m impatient and a little too forthright with my opinions. What really annoys you? People who give up too easily. And those who are intolerant of other’s beliefs and cultures. What gets you through when the going gets tough? Remembering that everything passes. What seems terrible today won’t seem half as bad in a month. What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? Accept more help and appreciate it when you get it. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Keep your head up! It was one of the things I kept doing wrong when I started karate. But I think the same advice can transfer to life. Interview by Martina O’Leary l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Whistleblowing

Blowing the whistle could cost you dear IMPACT member John Bagge chose to do the right thing when he discovered large scale fraud in his workplace. That didn’t stop him losing his job. The same could happen to anyone, now that a new law has taken away our choice over whether or not to blow the whistle. By BERNARD HARBOR and NIALL SHANAHAN.

PEOPLE OFTEN ask John Bagge what reward he got from Vodafone after he blew the whistle on almost €4 million of theft from the company in 2007. His response? “I tell them I lost my job.” A middle-ranking administrator, John knew the stakes were high when he noticed some strange payments being authorised by a senior manager, including some to the south Pacific tax haven of Vanuatu. “I spent weeks and weeks turning things over in my head. You lie in bed at four in the morning wondering if you’re doing the right thing. You do that for weeks. I was about u

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“You lie in bed at four in the morning wondering if you’re doing the right thing. I was potentially going to destroy someone’s character and, if I was wrong, I’d be destroying my own character too.”

to report my manager’s manager. I was potentially going to destroy someone’s character and, if I was wrong, I’d be destroying my own character too. I had to be 110% certain,” he says. Having gathered and checked a mass of paperwork to back the suspicions that had now crystallised into certainty, he reported the fraud to his line manager. An investigator was called in. Ten days later detectives escorted the culprit off the premises and, although the Gardai didn’t press charges at the time, they are now believed to be preparing a file for prosecution. In the meantime, Vodafone has won a €2.2 million civil case against the perpetrator.

Worryingly, that choice is no longer open to workers – no matter how junior. New legislation passed last August means those who discover financial malpractice in their workplace can now be prosecuted if they fail to report it. Yet protections against victimisation remain weak and whistleblowers can even be prosecuted themselves in some circumstances. The 2011 Criminal Justice Act, understandably fast-tracked to confront difficulties in the investigation of ‘white collar’ crimes, introduced a mandatory requirement to report workplace theft, fraud, bribery, corruption and other financial Continues on page 8

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Photography: Conor Healy

But what should have been a happy ending marked the start of a four-year ordeal, which John believes was prompted by his whistleblowing. It culminated in his sacking last September. “Given what I now know, I’d advise the John Bagge of 2007 to walk away and let someone else find it,” he says.


Whistleblowing malpractices to the Gardai. Those who fail to do so can be jailed for up to five years and fined €5,000. But employees who are wrongly dismissed after they report suspected malpractice can only seek redress under unfair dismissal legislation which, even if you win, hardly ever means getting your job back. IMPACT national secretary Matt Staunton says that, at the very least, redress

leaves workers totally vulnerable. “In John’s case, a multinational company has taken on an individual and tried to destroy him for doing something right. This is the corporate reflex; whistleblowers are marked as trouble and seen as a threat,” he says. John says that, at first, management seemed happy enough that he’d acted on the evidence of wrongdoing. But Vodafone waited until he was cleared

But this didn’t stop the company taking disciplinary action against John and eventually charging him with gross misconduct for not having blown the whistle sooner. IMPACT again took up the case and, in July of this year, a Rights Commissioner ruled that the disciplinary action should stop and records of a verbal warning were struck from John’s files. But in 2011 the ‘poor’ performance

“Those who discover financial malpractice can now be prosecuted if they fail to report it. Yet protections against victimisation remain weak and whistleblowers can even be prosecuted themselves in some circumstances.” should be closer to that in the equality legislation, which can force employers to take back staff they wrongfully dismiss. But that’s not all. Unions say the law leaves staff doubly vulnerable because it makes it illegal to report a “supposed” offence that they know to be false – or if they are “reckless” about it being false. The Irish Congress of Trade Union’s (ICTU) legal affairs officer Esther Lynch says this creates a catch 22. “If workers hesitate, or aren’t sure, they could expose themselves to criminal charges by not reporting. But they also face a criminal charge if they report and the information is wrong,” she says. The IMPACT workplace rep who’s dealing with John’s case, says this

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

by the fraud squad before openly accepting that John was not involved in criminality.

ratings reappeared for no apparent reason and John was again signed off with stress-related sickness.

Anxiety over whether the company might take action against him (even as a relatively junior administrator, John’s name appeared in the damning paperwork) resulted in a 14-week stress-related absence from work. Shortly afterwards he unexpectedly received a poor performance review.

On doctor’s advice, he booked a short holiday and, while he was away, he was taken off the payroll, allegedly for taking a holiday when on sick leave. He heard he was sacked on the Friday of the August bank holiday. “I was absolutely devastated. “The cost of whistleblowing is far too great and it affects your family as well. It’s too heavy a burden to carry. You’re not protected and I have absolutely no doubt that everything that happened to me was a result of the whistleblowing,” he says.

IMPACT took up John’s case with a view to amending his performance rating, getting him back to work, and improving the company’s whistleblower protection. By April 2009 the Labour Court had agreed that Vodafone’s protections were deficient and it awarded John substantial compensation.

Having done the right thing by Vodafone, John found himself out of work with absolutely no income. No u

€4,000 FREE CRITICAL ILLNESS COVER IMPACT members aged under 65 who contract a defined critical illness are now entitled to a payment of €4,000.

Find out more from www.impact.ie You must have been an IMPACT member for at least six months to qualify for this benefit. Not every illness is covered. Pre-existing critical illnesses and some medical conditions are not covered. These restrictions are in line with standard insurance industry norms. Details of the illnesses covered and excluded, definitions of pre-existing critical illnesses, and other conditions are available from www.impact.ie.

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“A multinational company has taken on an individual and tried to destroy him for doing something right. This is the corporate reflex. Whistleblowers are marked as trouble and seen as a threat.” wages and no entitlement to benefits. The family savings are used up and he’s struggling to pay the mortgage on an interest-only basis. IMPACT issued a financial appeal to its branches who responded generously and the union’s executive agreed to find some financial support while the union again takes up John’s quest for justice. As we went to print John was awaiting yet another third party hearing in early January, this time on unfair dismissal. His union rep has no doubt that John’s predicament is rooted in his whistleblowing. “We’ve tried to get fairness and due process and we’ve had superb support from the union as we’ve sought to give John practical and emotional support. That’s what being part of a union means. You have friends there to support you,” he says. Meanwhile, the campaign for stronger whistleblower protection is intensifying. Unions believe it is needed to fight corporate wrongdoing in financial matters and a range of other areas like consumer protection, health and safety, workers’ rights and environmental damage. It’s also essential to protect workers like John who take the brave decision to blow the whistle. “John has a very strong moral compass and would always do the right thing. He’s paid a very big price for that,” says his IMPACT rep l

Unions want whistleblower protection THE IRISH Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is stepping up its campaign for comprehensive legislation to protect whistleblowers who reveal fraud and other illegality in their workplace.

Esther Lynch.

Ireland falls behind many other countries on whistleblower protection. Comprehensive protections exist in most EU states, the USA and Canada. But Irish workers who blow the whistle on wrongdoing and malpractice are currently offered little protection from reprisals. Before ICTU intervened last summer, the draft legislation contained no staff protections at all. Unions also want more comprehensive whistleblowing laws. The legislation passed in August only deals with financial wrongdoing, leaving all other unethical and illegal activity outside its scope. ICTU’s legal officer Esther Lynch says there’s no reason to limit the scope of the law to financial wrongdoing.

“Whistleblowing protection should apply to workers for making disclosures about failures to meet other legal obligations. These should include any abuses of workers rights, safety failures, public health or environmental damage,” she says. The Government has signaled its intention to publish a comprehensive whistleblowing bill shortly. Unions are insisting that it contains adequate provisions to protect all workers from detrimental treatment for good-faith reporting. “Protections have to work in practice and workers need to be protected from less favourable shifts, dismissals, black-lists and all other imaginative ways employers and agencies could retaliate,” says Esther l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Working longer The retirement age is increasing and we’re living longer. But are Irish workplaces really geared up for an older workforce asks MARTINA O’LEARY. AVERAGE LIFE expectancy was under 50 years when the state pension was first introduced in the early 1900s. Today it’s around 80. It’s good news that we have more time to enjoy life. But the fact that more of us are living longer means more of us will have to work longer if current levels of productivity and pensions are to be maintained. New legislation is already set to increase our state pension age to 66 in 2014, 67 in 2021, and 68 in 2028. France, Germany, Denmark and others are also either increasing the retirement age or making people wait longer before they receive a state pension. A decade ago, most of us probably thought we’d be taking things easy by the time we reached 60. Instead, we face the prospect of working well into our sixties.

Solidarity Employers can expect to benefit as they draw on the expertise and experience of older staff for longer. But is it realistic to expect workers to keep up the current pace of work as they naturally slow down with age? How will employers protect staff from burn-out and apathy while, at the same time, motivating younger staff with the prospect of career progression as their older colleagues hang around longer? This year is the European ‘year of active ageing and solidarity between generations,’ a European Union effort to raise awareness of these issues. The EU says politicians and stakeholders face the challenge of improving opportunities for active ageing and independent living in areas as diverse as employment, health care and adult learning.

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

Life in t A debate is raging. An informal meeting of European ministers for labour and social affairs last July discussed whether people were able and willing to work much longer than the current retirement age. “Jobs must be designed so that people are able to work at least up to the statutory retirement age. This would entail radical changes in working life,” said Leila Kurki, of the European Economic and Social Committee.

“We thought we’d be taking things easy by the time we reached 60. Instead, we face the prospect of working well into our sixties.” The Dublin-based European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions says tackling age barriers and discrimination will become an economic as well as a social necessity in the context of an ageing workforce. There’s a whole lot of issues that need to be looked at in relation to work: recruitment, training and life-long learning, career development, flexible working, health. ergonomics, redeployment and transition to retirement, among them. Work will have to be organised in a way that accommodates ageing at all stages of a person’s career, while working environments must be able to suit workers of different ages. u

€4,000 FREE DEATH IN SERVICE COVER IMPACT members aged under 65 now have €4,000 death in service cover.

Find out more from www.impact.ie You must have been an IMPACT member for at least six months to qualify for this benefit. Details of the life cover and limitations, definitions and other conditions, which meet standard insurance industry norms, are available from www.impact.ie.

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he old dog yet The European Foundation’s ‘guide to good practice in age management’ says companies often have a dual goal with regard to their older staffs’ learning and training opportunities.

Good practice

Facilitating an older workforce also requires flexible working time, both in the number of hours worked and times of working. Many companies across Europe have introduced flexibility to meet the needs or preferences of older workers who may want to work less and have more autonomy over when they work. Continues on page 12

They want to ensure that experience and knowledge is passed to younger colleagues. At the same time they want employees of all ages to upgrade their skills and competencies. It says a regular and individualised assessment of career options and development opportunities is the starting point, which should lead to tailor-made training and peer-to-peer learning. Its report found that mentoring programmes involving older and younger employees are a tried and tested way of promoting knowledge transfer between the generations.

Photo: Dreamstime.com

Rather than being neglected, older employees should be provided with opportunities to progress and enlarge their skills and knowledge, it adds.

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Working longer

Photo: Dreamstime.com

“In the past we retired at the pinnacle of our careers. With a longer working life, it might suit staff and employers to change down a gear in the years before retirement.”

The European Foundation also says workplaces are increasingly taking account of their employees’ general state of health, rather than just occupational safety. Some companies promote general physical and mental health to help ensure that the capacity to work is maintained. London and Quadrant Housing Trust encouraged the take-up of wellbeing programmes to help create an environment where older employees were valued. We might also need to change the type of work that people do as they get older. In the past, people worked up to more senior positions and retired at the pinnacle of their careers. With a longer working life, it might suit staff and employers to change down a gear in the years before retirement. Workplace demands can be coordinated with the capacity of the older employees. For instance, older firefighters in Spain have been redeployed to education, communication, fire prevention and other crucial support roles. With European and other governments now legislating for a longer working life, it’s time to address some stereotypes and negative assumptions about older workers and think about how work is going to be organised in the future l

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Photo: Dreamstime.com

A wide range of work schedules has developed to reflect different balances of work and external commitments. Some companies offer flexible retirement options and part-time arrangements for employees approaching retirement.


Safer in IMPACT

IMPACT members now get more benefits ON 1st JANUARY IMPACT launched a new range of benefits for its members. They include €4,000 critical illness or deathin-service cover, a free legal advice helpline, a free confidential counselling helpline and free legal representation in bodily injury cases. The centrepiece is a €4,000 payment now available to qualifying members who suffer a critical illness or death-in-service. “If someone suffers a critical illness it’s a very difficult and costly time in their lives. This is an opportunity for the union to use its collective purchasing strength to provide tangible support at a time of great difficulty,” says IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody. The deal was agreed with suppliers after a tendering process, in which the union was able to use the bargaining power of over 63,000 members. The result is a package that would cost far more for individuals to buy. Union President Kevin O’Malley says the deal substantially enhances the value of IMPACT membership. “Members pay has been cut and they’re under pressure. We’ve come up with a range of services that are much more valuable than a similar percentage cut in the union sub. It’s also a ‘thank you’ to the vast majority of members who’ve stuck with us,” he says.

The bodily injury benefits means that IMPACT members who suffer immediate bodily injury in an accident, anywhere in the world, can get free legal assistance and representation to seek compensation. A new legal advice helpline puts a team of qualified lawyers on hand to provide practical legal advice on non-workplace issues over the phone. There is no limit to the number of calls you can make to it, or to the free confidential telephone counselling service, which is also available to immediate family members. This line, with total anonymity guaranteed, can help with marital or relationship problems, bereavement, family

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Pay back Because IMPACT subscriptions are a percentage of salary, most members saw a slight reduction in their subs when public service pay cuts were imposed at the start of 2010. But the earlier ‘pension levy,’ which is effectively an additional tax on public servants, did not have the same effect because it was not a direct cut in the pay rates.

“It’s never been more important to have the protection of your union. We appreciate peoples’ loyalty to IMPACT, because our ability to protect members depends on maintaining our membership strength.”

The benefits are only available to IMPACT members and you must be a member for at least six months to qualify.

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concerns, bullying, alcohol or drug abuse, and many other problems.

This led the union to seek ways of reflecting what, in reality, was another pay cut. At IMPACT’s 2010 conference, union branches backed a proposal to give the executive discretion to reduce the subscription to a rate not below 0.75% of basic salary, instead of the current 0.8%. It was felt that this would give scope to reduce the cost to members without undermining the union's financial viability.

The problem was that, although this would reduce the union’s income by up to €750,000 a year, it would only amount to a modest 6% reduction – or an average of €16.50 a year – in the price each member pays to the union. So the executive decided to explore alternative options, which would leave the sub unchanged but substantially increase the benefits of IMPACT membership. The union then undertook a random survey of members, who were asked whether they’d prefer a 6% reduction in subs or a range of options including free life insurance and free critical illness cover. The critical illness option emerged as the preferred choice. ‰


“This is an opportunity for the union to use its collective purchasing strength to provide tangible support at a time of great difficulty.”

Photo: Dylan Vaughan

2012 is sure to be another challenging year, according to IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody. “This year will bring its own challenges and uncertainties, and we know that many IMPACT members are struggling to cope with the financial impact of the recession. We’ve put these new benefits in place to enhance the value you get from IMPACT membership. You’re safer in IMPACT, and now it’s better value than ever before,” he says l

Union members backed the approach at IMPACT conferences and a members’ survey favoured critical illness cover over other possible benefits.

The executive sought and received the support of the union’s five divisional conferences for this approach at their 2011 conferences.

Collective strength The union then set about using its collective membership strength to negotiate a better set of benefits to include, not just critical illness cover, but death-in-service benefit, legal assistance in personal injury cases, and the free legal and counselling help lines, which are now live. The new benefits come in addition to the existing benefits of IMPACT membership, which include the job and income protection negotiated through Croke Park and similar agreements, and professional representation on redeployment and other workplace changes or when problems arise at work. Existing financial services, agreed between the union and private suppliers on salary protection, life, motor and travel insurance, remain in place. Kevin O’Malley says 2011 was another difficult and uncertain year for IMPACT members across the public, private, semistate and voluntary sectors. “It’s never been more important to have the protection of your union. We very much appreciate peoples’ loyalty to IMPACT, because our ability to protect members depends totally on maintaining our membership strength,” he said. The union recruited 2,000 new members in 2011, although the total number of members is likely to fall slightly in line with staff cuts in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

You benefit €4,000 free cover for eligible members who suffer critical illness or death-in-service A free legal advice helpline for non-workplace issues. The union continues to handle workplace issues (lo call: 1850-77-66-44) A free confidential counselling helpline for members and their partners and immediate family members (lo call: 1850-77-66-55) Free legal representation in bodily injury cases (lo call: 1850-77-66-44) A free domestic assistance helpline (lo call: 1850-77-66-44).

Terms and conditions apply. See www.impact.ie for details.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 15


Public service

Shanwick radio calling NIALL SHANAHAN talked to radio officers in County Clare to find out how a modern Irish public service is also part of our aviation history. THE VAST airspace west of the river Shannon stretches north as far as the North Pole, west as far as New York and south as far as the tiny Portuguese island of Santa Maria.

Michael O’Connor, now 98, joined the service in 1942 and is the oldest surviving retired member. He had the honour of unveiling the commemorative plaque at the original site of radio hut B last December as a ferocious winter storm howled in from the Atlantic. Michael retired as operations manager in 1979.

Irish public servants are helping to guide huge volumes of air traffic as it catapults from east to west and back again. There’s a constant voice on the radio to help guide each pilot of every flight, advising on weather and turbulence, and broadcasting vital information about who else is in the skies.

Photos: Supplied courtesy of IMPACT Radio Officers branch

The radio signal is open. They never close. And they've been doing it now for three-quarters of a century.

Radio Officers branch secretary Paul O'Shea.

Last December, IMPACT’s Aviation and Marine Radio Officers branch (AMROB) celebrated 75 years of the aeronautical communications service, which guides aircraft flying over the north Atlantic. The occasion was marked with a book detailing the history of the service and a plaque at the site of one of the three modest radio huts at Ballygirreen, Newmarket-onFergus, county Clare, where the service started on 2nd December 1936.

The 60 radio officers of the Irish Aviation Authority's (IAA) north Atlantic communications division, or Shannon Aeradio, still operates from Ballygirreen. Along with engineering and support staff, they keep the service running seamlessly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Flying boats The first four radio officers arrived on site in October 1936. They were there to provide communications, direction-finding and vital meteorological information to fledgling transatlantic services and the flying boats that flew in and out of Foynes in county Limerick.

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Paul O’Shea, secretary of IMPACT’s Radio Officers branch, says the service has had to move with the times to become one of the largest and most modern in the world. “We are, after all, the longest running chat show on the airwaves, and it was a real honour to have Michael with us on the day. There’s a proud history there, which reaches all the way back to the earliest days of commercial flight,” he says.

Flood The huts remained in operation for 16 years until a severe flood hastened a move to the existing building in 1952. “Around this time radio communications changed from Morse telegraphy to radio,” says Paul. In 1966 Shannon Aeradio become the sole designated airground communications centre for the eastern half of the Atlantic. The Oceanic control function was transferred to Prestwick in Scotland and the two stations continue to work as one unit today, hence the radio call sign ‘Shanwick’. In 1994, the aviation service was split from marine and Shannon Aeradio became part of the newly formed IAA. “We provide a radio communications link between flights and flight control, delivering clearances, receiving position reports, handling requests and dealing with emergencies. All communications are sent to Prestwick and other Oceanic

Main pic: The radio masts at Ballygirreen, County Clare. Transmitting and receiving the Atlantic broadcast for 75 years.


“We’re the longest running chat show on the airwaves. There’s a proud history, which reaches all the way back to the earliest days of commercial flight.”

The original transmitter hut 'A' in 1937.

centres, as well as domestic air traffic control centres in Scotland, Shannon, France and Spain. Replies are relayed to the flights and flight crew responses are relayed back to Prestwick,” says Paul. He describes a smooth-running, precise, highly technical process built on years of pioneering work. The team also relays flight plan, aeronautical and weather information and is monitored on a 24-hour basis by radio officers in the operations room.

Michael O’Connor unveiled the commemorative plaque at the original site of hut 'B' to mark 75 years of continuing service.

Alert

degrees north right up to the North Pole and extending well out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Weather reports and forecasts are broadcast on designated time slots, with urgent additional weather alerts to aircraft whenever necessary. It’s no coincidence that Met Eireann also celebrated its 75th anniversary last December. The two services started just a week apart in 1936.

“Last year, Shannon Aeradio provided communications for close to 400,000 flights transiting the north Atlantic. The busiest day in the history of the service was 21st July 2010 when 1,484 aircraft crossed the Atlantic in a 24 hour period,” says Paul.

Another milestone was marked in 2006 when joint operations between Shanwick radio and Iceland radio began. They now operate as one ‘virtual’ centre, providing cover from 45

Rest assured, the radio officers’ careful attention to detail means that, even in these busy skies, the airspace is in very able hands l

FREE legal representation in d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

BODILY INJURY CASES Phone: 1850-77-66-44

IMPACT members who suffer immediate bodily injury in an accident anywhere in the world can get free legal assistance and representation to seek compensation. Find out more from www.impact.ie You must have been an IMPACT member for at least six months to qualify for this benefit. The phone number is a lo-call number when calls are made from landlines. For some mobile packages it may be cheaper to phone 01-881-8064. Calls may be recorded. Details of limitations, definitions and other conditions, which meet standard insurance industry norms, are available from www.impact.ie.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 17


Your career

Hands on your time It’s not that hard to improve your time management. And ISOBEL BUTLER says it’ll reduce your stress and improve your performance. OUR TIME is a limited and precious resource and there are many conflicting demands upon it. Like our priorities, those demands change throughout our lives. What’s important when we’re young changes when we’re juggling career and family. In our middle years we may be balancing career demands with those of helping elderly parents and living with teenage children. We may think we know what our priorities are, but they can change drastically when circumstances dictate. We have no problem working long hours when we’re trying to climb the career ladder, but personal and family time become top priority if we’re recovering from a life changing event. ‘Time bind’ – the competing emotional and time demands from home and workplace pulling in different directions – is a significant source of stress. That means time management is an important skill at every stage of our life and career. It’s useful in the workplace and valued by employers. It improves our work quality by ensuring it’s carried out in a planned and focused manner, and it reduces stress by giving us a sense of increased control. But it’s equally important in our personal lives because it enables us to get more done, and frees up time we might be wasting.

“Time bind” is the competing emotional and time demands from home and workplace, which pull in different directions. It’s a significant source of stress

Think first Time management means improving how we think about and spend time. Do you know how you currently use time? Is it effective? If you don’t know the answers, it’s time to invest in analysing your time management.

Image: dreamstime.com

Keep a time diary. Break the day into half-hour slots and record the activity you were engaged in, how long you spent on it and whether this was a high, medium or low priority. Stand back and review it. See how good you are at managing time and what your problems and bad habits are. Are you spending time on your high priority tasks? Do you even know what your priorities are? When you take on board a new task or activity do you ask how high a priority it is? ‰

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 19


Your career Do you spend time planning? Are you stressed about workloads and deadlines? Are you constantly being interrupted? When are your high energy times during the day? When are your low energy times? What tasks are you doing that someone else should do? You need to be aware of these things.

Time matters Why it pays to manage your time. Time is limited. Once spent it can’t be recovered. It improves the quality your work.

Priorities

It tackles procrastination.

Establish your personal and workrelated goals to help prioritise tasks and activities. Similarly, identify activities that are of low value or priority; these can be eliminated or postponed to a less busy time. Focus on achieving goals and results rather than being busy. Create a to-do list and prioritise it. Writing down all the important things that need to be done reduces the likelihood they’ll be forgotten or left until deadlines loom. This improves efficiency and reduces stress. Once a job is completed, tick it of the list. It will motivate you to move onto the next job.

Image: dreamstime.com

Create a personal schedule according to priorities, deadlines and your daily energy levels. Do high priority and least appealing tasks first. Schedule challenging tasks for high energy times of the day and easy tasks for low energy times. Put aside a block of time that will enable you to complete a task or a significant part of it. And try to avoid switching between tasks and activities as

It frees up time you might be wasting.

far as possible. Help avoid procrastination by breaking large tasks down into smaller steps. You’ll find it helps to spend a short amount of time tackling each one, putting off to another time what you can’t do now. Then tick it off your list and reward yourself with a short break. Concentrate on one task at a time. Doing more can have a negative impact on the quality of both tasks and leads to mistakes which waste time in the long run.

Interruptions You’ll get more done in less time. You’ll feel a greater sense of control. It helps you confront necessary tasks you don’t like doing. You’ll feel less stressed. It keeps you focused on your goals. Because life is to short!

Manage interruptions and disruptions. Tasks that need your full concentration should be scheduled for a time when there will be no interruptions. If you need uninterrupted time to do something, tell people that you can’t be disturbed. Know your limits and avoid taking on too much work. That means learning to say no. If you’re being overloaded with work, ask your manager what their high priority tasks are and which should be left until last. Finally, expect the unexpected. Be flexible and be prepared to change if priorities change l

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.

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

FREE 24/7 LEGAL ADVICE HELPLINE Phone: 1850-77-66-44 IMPACT members now have a free legal advice helpline, with a team of qualified lawyers on hand to provide practical legal advice on non-workplace issues over the phone. There is no limit to the number of calls you can make. Find out more from www.impact.ie. You must have been an IMPACT member for at least six months to qualify for this benefit. The helpline does not deal with workplace problems. If you have problems in the workplace you should continue to contact your IMPACT branch or an IMPACT office. The phone number is a lo-call number when calls are made from landlines. For some mobile packages it may be cheaper to phone 01-881-8064. Calls may be recorded. See www.impact.ie for other conditions.

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Your say

Sttatrer Le 5 0 €

Thinking about reform

HAVING WORKED for many years in the health sector, I have witnessed several cycles of change. While most have been well intentioned and have achieved positive outcomes, there have been some initiatives that were wasteful and did not achieve their desired effect. When I read Brendan Howlin’s interview in the Autumn-Winter issue of Work & Life in relation to Croke Park, he mentions that there are going to be people who are reluctant to change and people who will try to disrupt the process. Public servants have accepted change in various guises for years. For example, we’ve seen temporary staff contracts terminated, we’ve seen staff relocated to other departments and there have also been changes to work practices. Most of us really do enjoy what we do and want to continue doing our job as best we can. Accepting change has been part and parcel of our role within the public sector, but it is crucial that any future changes are fair and reasonable and well thought out. Louise Williams Cork Branch

then another three years for their second. This leaves them with a salary of €465.35 a week before tax – their total and final salary after eight years. My point is, how can you justify calling for a freeze on increments for the lowest paid civil servants, like our cleaner? They receive the second lowest amount of increments, with only secretaries and deputy secretaries, who start on a salary of more than €100,000, receiving fewer increments.

Harder school life I WORK as a full-time special needs assistant. From January 2012, my hours have been cut to part-time. So, thanks to the Government, more students with special educational needs will find it harder to cope with everything in school. Mike Casey SNA Branch

Throw in the VAT increase, which will raise the price of goods, the increases in the cost of third-level education, the future rises in tax, child benefit cuts, and god only knows what else the Government plans, and increments for the lowest paid civil servants are vital.

write, hone... r e v e You n ou never p letter y st rest. he be

A cleaner working in the civil service before 1st January 2010 started on a salary of €397.64 a week before tax. This cleaner is entitled to two increments over the next two years which would bring them up to a salary of €433.97 a week before tax.

Mr Finlay says he’s prepared to live with cuts provided every low infor t r the s €50 nd €30 fo the y a p come family is protected. a ut & Life issue think abo Well the cleaners, service Work ed each u o y e h t v s publi know wha ssues we’ attendants and service i us t of it, e r the g L officers are the lowest paid ine o e to think n anythin z a g o m r ma o s e workers in the civil service. C pap view ed. cover now your r pen and ep it These are the civil servants k u e let us Get out yo orget to k you don’t hear about in the f ! t l ’ l n a do at papers. They don’t receive . And , today d shor t. & Life big pensions or golden handn Work in 1. , ice a n n a l l o b shakes. t, Du isin N to Ro ey’s Cour t.ie. e t i r n c W er To low paid civil servants, like impa CT N d IMPA il rnolan@ the cleaner who only has three signe blish ema y u r a p O m y l e years service, an increment We on Work & Lif size. r s. freeze is another pay sacrifice – ter fo letter ur let o y and it is “too big to ask." t i ed

They will then have to wait three years for their first long service increment and

John Collins FGE Branch

Increments vital for low paid civil servants Fergus Finlay and others have called for a freeze in public service increments. Mr Finlay refers to this as "a pay sacrifice that’s not too big to ask.”

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

Photo: Conor Healy.

Leave proposals leave most untouched

Public service leave is to be capped at 32 days a year. But new leave standardisation proposals protect most public servants. DUBLIN CITY Council worker Aisling Browne and her colleagues were worried last spring when management proposed to reduce their leave entitlements. As a grade four admin worker, she didn’t think it was fair. “You can’t defend 40 days leave for those at the top, but I don’t have anything like that and neither do my friends. Yet the so-called standardisation proposals would have standardised us down,” she says. She was much relieved when new proposals were issued at the end of last year. “There was a lot of concern, but most of us are not going to be affected now. We’re happy enough with that,” she says. 22

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While the new proposals mean that nobody will get more than 32 days leave from this year (the cap falls to 30 days for those who joined the public service after 1st January 2012) most public servants will see no change. Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin instructed his officials to draw up the standardised leave package last year, following controversy over local authority employers’ plans to slash leave for all staff from April 2011. The local government proposal, which was successfully resisted by IMPACT, led to huge public controversy over high leave entitlements for some public servants. The new package is far more reasonable. The Croke Park agreement, which was accepted in a national ballot of IMPACT members by a margin of 77% to 23%, required unions and management to reach agreement on standardisation of leave arrangements across the public service. Under the new package, current leave allowances will not change for staff who currently have between 22 and 32 days leave a year. The only exception is that staff due to move to an annual leave allowance of 23 days once a service requirement is met will immediately see their leave increased to 23 days with effect from January 2012. ‰


However, the 32-day ceiling comprises all leave including annual leave and ‘privilege days.’ In the few places it exists, leave associated with ‘business closures’ – like Christmas closing – is also included. Staff whose total leave currently exceeds 32 days will see their entitlement reduced to 32 days starting in their 2012 leave year. Those who lose out will receive a one-off ‘compensation’ of 1.5 times the leave lost.

Who’s covered? All IMPACT members in health (including voluntary hospitals), local government, the civil service, education and non-commercial semi-state organisations.

What are the changes? No less than 22 and no more than 32 days leave for existing public servants. Your leave won’t change unless you now have less than 22 or more than 32 days leave a year. The 32-day ceiling is reduced to 30 for new entrants.

What’s included?

Existing staff who take promotion will be treated as new entrants for leave purposes. In other words, they will get a maximum of 30 days leave, rather than 32.

The 32-day ceiling comprises all leave including annual leave and ‘privilege days.’ In the few places it exists, leave associated with ‘business closures’ (like Christmas closing) is also included in the 32-day ceiling.

Where privilege days still exist, they will be abolished and subsumed into annual leave. Leave for local festivals will be abolished in the few places it still exists, with those affected getting a one-off ‘compensation’ of 1.5 times the leave lost.

What happens to privilege days?

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said the package was a reasonable outcome because it protected the great majority Aisling Browne, who works in Dublin City Council, was relieved of public servants. “This at the outcome of leave package must be judged standardisation talks. against the original proposals, which aimed to slash leave for every single public servant. It addresses the high levels of leave for some managers – over 40 days in some cases – which were untenable and provided ammunition for critics of the public service. And it protects the great majority of public servants who will see no change to their leave arrangements,” he said l

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

Proposals in brief

What if I lose leave? You get a one-off ‘compensation’ of 1.5 times the leave you lose. They are subsumed into annual leave, as has already happened in the civil service.

What about local festivals? The rare leave days for local festivals are abolished with a one-off ‘compensation’ of 1.5 times leave lost.

What about public holidays? Staff continue to get public holidays on top of their annual leave.

What happens if I take a promotion? You’ll get the ‘new entrants’ leave entitlement for the position that you are promoted to.

Is shift work or TOIL affected? No.

Is leave still based on length of service? Existing arrangements won’t change unless your total leave exceeds 32 days. There’s more detailed information on our website. Go to: www.impact.ie/iopen24/public-service-leavecapped-days-n-443.html

FREE 24/7 CONFIDENTIAL COUNSELLING HELPLINE Phone: 1850-77-66-55 IMPACT members, and their immediate family members, now have a free confidential telephone counselling service, which can help with marital or relationship problems, bereavement, family concerns, bullying, alcohol or drug abuse and many other problems. There is no limit to the number of calls you can make. Total anonymity is guaranteed. Find out more from www.impact.ie. Totally confidential. Calls are not recorded. No information is passed to the union or anyone else. The number is a lo-call number when calls are made from landlines. For some mobile packages it may be cheaper to phone 01-881-8065. See www.impact.ie for other conditions.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 23


Looking good

Cork’s boutiques beckon What the Southern capital lacks in chain stores it makes up for in boutiques, says TRISH O’MAHONY. CORK MAY be a tad deficient in some of the great high street shops afforded to Dublin shoppers. It has no Urban Outfitters, BT2 or Top Man, while Brown Thomas and Top Shop are small compared to their flagship stores in the capital. On the upside, Irish-owned Carraig Donn recently announced 150 new jobs nationwide (it’s Cork outlet is at 5 Cook Street) while Kinsale designers Charlotte & Jane supply their own individual vintage inspired creations to a small number of boutiques around the country. And award winning Glanmire designer Joanne Power has recently returned from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martin’s to set up her own business in the city. The recession has taken its toll on Cork and some of the boutiques that were flourishing ten years ago are now gone. But it still boasts plenty of outlets that help you express your individuality by discovering labels that are not everywhere. And, from a practical viewpoint, the city is compact so you can cover all of them in a day if you want to. ‰

Photos: Miki Barlok.

am shirt Sheer cre r peter e with leath 69. ar € pan coll a black Ballerin t €59 – ir k s net outique. B Amity

Cream Lace Dress with nude underlay €98 – Amity Boutique. 24

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Rag Doll cre wool card am igan €56 . String d ress with overlay d etail €54 . Cream a cco ballerina rdion ne €59. Burg t skirt undy wedge a nkle boo ts €46. Am ity Boutique .

Want an excuse to visit the English Market? Miss Daisy Blue is it. It’s a small shop, stocking genuine vintage pieces, hats, blouses, even coats sourced from Paris and the like. Even if nothing fits it’s worth a look if only for a touch of real nostalgia. I found the prices very good – €50 for a lovely short fake fur coat. Pity about the size. Nearby, Peacock & Ruby stocks a mixture of vintage, and vintage-inspired jewellery and accessories. Samui at 17 Drawbridge Street, just around the corner from Cork opera house and Crawford gallery, is at the exclusive high end of the market. Described as “a style haven housing a se54. Red € t lection of the most exciting directional ir k s ck pencil ity Boutique. €59. Bla labels,” Samui would be considm e A s u . lo 9 9 B Red k dress € ered one of the best boutiques in and blac the country by those in the know.

Treasure trove

“Vintage is often overpriced but Patricia’s offerings are not. Watch out for flash sales of Irish designer pieces from the likes of Eilis Boyle and Mary Gregory.”

Amity in French Church Street is a treasure trove in the trendy and fashionable Huguenot Quarter. The Sunday World voted it Favourite Boutique in 2010, its first year in business. Amity stocks affordable labels from all over the world and the collection comprises 30 unknown independent designers. Nothing is mass produced. They stock around eight pieces of each style and, in the words of Homestore and More, when it’s gone, it’s gone. The majority of labels are exclusive to their shop, which also stocks handmade jewellery, footwear and accessories. According to the shop’s co-owner Tina, they mainly cater for people from their twenties to early forties, but that spills over into younger and older depending on what age you think you are! Why be restricted by numbers? Their prices will appeal to everyone, regardless of age and there’s another store in Clonakilty, west Cork. Go online at www.myamity.ie if you can’t go in person.

Adrenalin The adrenalin rush from spending, or over spending, can be exhausting. I trust you know what I mean. Take a break in Fellini’s tea rooms, Carey’s Lane in the Huguenot quarter. When I lived in Cork, designer Patricia Haydens eatery throbbed with lunchtimers. The same beautiful Italian styled building, with exquisite, high ceiling, is still an eatery with the best teas, cupcakes and chocolate brownies around and a sort of Victorian chic feel going on. But that’s not all. It has a small, eclectic collection of curios and interesting pieces as an aside. Enjoy rummaging through vintage clothes, antique lace, ceramics, jewellery and art. Vintage is often overpriced, but Patricia’s offerings are not. Watch out for flash sales of Irish designer pieces from the likes of Eilis Boyle and Mary Gregory with big discounts.

But prepare yourself for serious price tags. The most versatile labels are HIGH, Marithe & Francois Girbaud, and Transit, but it also stocks Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania and Irish designer Lucy Downes. Appreciate Samui as a special occasion and inspirational boutique, and buy now while the sales are in full swing. Even if you never buy in boutiques like this, it’s no harm to look! Discerning male shoppers should head for Saville in Patrick’s Street and Gentlemen’s Quarters in Oliver Plunkett Street. Two separate stores, one owner. Reviewers say it’s as good for business and formal attire as it is for smart casual wear. It could suffice as your one stop shop and that’s a winning formula for most men. Prices range from reasonable to expensive l

Mens clo thing by Jack & J ones a Gentlem t ens Quarters .

Competition Amity Boutique, French Church Street, Cork are offering Work & Life readers the chance to win a GIFT VOUCHER WORTH €100. Just answer the following question and send your answer to Trish O’Mahony, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1 before Tuesday 21st February 2012. You must be an IMPACT member to win. Multiple entries won’t be included.

€1

00

QUESTION: What newspaper voted AMITY Boutique Favourite Boutique 2010? WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 25


Be good to yourself

From mid-life Your mid-life crisis won’t hit so hard if you prepare says KAREN WARD. YOU MIGHT think the mid-life crisis is a myth. Or that it only happens to people who are past it, settled into a boring routine, or focusing solely on their career or their children. But we all reach this time of life, so let’s explore the concept and prepare as best we can. Most of us see life as exciting and developmental until we hit our mid-forties and fifties, after which we face a long vista of nothing, followed by old age and death. There are amazing milestones in early life from childhood to our 40th birthday. School, first job, a career, relationships, first love, first home, ‘significant’ birthdays, holidays, perhaps marriage and children. There are an awful lot of life events to look forward to. But what’s left after 40 or thereabouts? Your 50th birthday, retirement and a pension, illness, frailty and death. Not exactly appealing, eh?

Photo: Dreamstime.com

We’re lucky in the western world where the majority of us are living longer than our ancestors. Before the First World War, German Chancellor Von Bismarck set the age of retirement

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at 65. The average age of death was 67 and he figured two years was enough time to get your affairs in order! The world we live in now is very different and most of us can expect to live into our eighties and nineties. At mid-life many men may feel threatened by younger workplace hotshots winning the accolades and chasing the promotions. By middle age they may feel they’ve gone as far up the career ladder as they ever will. Many of my female clients see their children pursuing their dreams and feel the effects of not having had the time to look after themselves physically. Is it any wonder that some of us have that flat, ‘is-that-it’ feeling? Like ‘spinster,’ mid-life is one of those terms that’s just not sexy enough for us today. Maybe we could start by changing it both verbally and mentally to a ‘half way point.’ We could regard it, not as a negative, but as a potential positive. At this stage most of us have lots of life experience and a little diposable income. u


Happy Days ahead

to new life I’ve listed five things that we can look forward to if we start to feel this way. See the box. We don’t have to vegetate or live life through our children. We all have the opportunity to change the way we view the second half of our lives and see it as an exciting chance to do things we’ve always wanted to do, or make new milestones and life events that excite and thrill us.l

Exciting second half

Wouldn’t it be great if, at 65, we all took a ‘gap’ year, just like the Leaving cert students, and travelled to the places we’ve always dreamed about? Maybe the hobby we let go of when we juggled children, career and relationship is worth having another look at, with fresh eyes. We might have the chance to turn that hobby into a job. Soon we may all have the opportunity to have two careers in our lifetime. The ‘mortgage’ job after school or college and then a more relaxed ‘retirement’ job. Although we might think it would be wonderful to retire and do nothing, most wealthy people fundraise or keep busy in some way to give purpose to their lives. So a hobby of golf may morph into fundraising for the new club house. Or going to yoga class could mean deciding to teach it.

Photo: Dreamstime.com

Take a new look at your relationships and give them a new lease of life. Do a friendship test and see whether your friends call you if you don’t contact them for a week or two. Is it a ‘duty’ friendship or one that morphs and changes as we grow and our circumstances change? l 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

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

FREE 24/7 DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE HELPLINE Phone: 1850-77-66-44 IMPACT members can now access our helpline, where they’ll be put in touch with approved repairers and contractors throughout the Republic of Ireland to deal with a wide range of home-related emergencies like plumbing, heating, glazing, building repairs and many more. You must have been an IMPACT member for at least six months to qualify for this benefit. The phone number is a lo-call number when calls are made from landlines. For some mobile packages it may be cheaper to phone 01-881-8064. Calls may be recorded. See www.impact.ie for other conditions.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

27


Page title Travel and trips

Eastern promise

West Cork is world famous for its unique beauty. But TRISH O’MAHONY says you’d do well to check out the east of the county. I’LL OPENLY admit to having a bias when it comes to county Cork. Having lived in the east of the county for almost 17 years I’m entitled to this indulgence. Things have changed since I left almost nine years ago. Restaurants have come and gone, others have reinvented themselves. But the beauty of the area remains a constant.

Photos: dreamstime.com

Everyone knows and appreciates the unique beauty of west Cork. Watch knowing faces light up at the mention of picturesque Glandore, Union Hall and Baltimore. The east or south east of the county is certainly not as well known and attracts fewer tourists. But that adds to its appeal. If you wander off the beaten track, foraging through lesser known places like Ballymaloe, Ballycotton and Shanagarry, you’ll find beautiful scenery, quaint villages, blue flag beaches, lively traditional pubs, friendly relaxed people and top quality restaurants. People going about their daily lives in ‘real Ireland’ is the subliminal attraction of this place. The cliff walk in Ballycotton is a must do. It’s spectacular on a sunny day with views of Ballycotton lighthouse, the fishing pier and the Atlantic to feast upon. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve discovered a best kept secret, shared only with the locals. And it’s only 25 miles from Cork city. 28

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The reward at the end of the five-six mile circle via Ballytrasna is a pint in the Blackbird pub. Impromptu music sessions at any time of the day are a feature of Ballycotton pubs. If you want a shorter walk, secluded Ballybrannigan beach or nearby Ballycroneen are the most popular. Shanagarry design centre and workshops are just up the road from Ballymaloe. Originally the home of Stephen Pearce’s pottery shop, it brings groups of artists together to display their works. And you can sign up for classes if you feel there’s a budding artist waiting to emerge.

Pub life As Limerick man Terry Wogan says in Wogan’s Ireland: “It’s no wonder that it was from here [Cork] that the great temperance reformer Father Mathew began his Herculean task of prising the Irish away from the demon drink.” Pub life is alive and well across the county. East Corkonians are passionate about their hurling and the pubs are heaving if you’re around after a victorious match. Mind you, it’s not limited to hurling. Wallis pub in Main Street, Midleton has live music every Wednesday and you’re sure of a great pint of Guinness in McCarthy’s bar, just across the road. ‰


There’s plenty of choice of accommodation. Choose from a selection of bases like Midleton, Ballycotton or Garryvoe. You can go top of the range and stay in Ballymaloe Country House. The cookery school is the only one in the world located in the middle of its own 100 acre organic farm. As a day tripper the Irish designer craft and kitchenware shop is well worth incorporating and light lunch is served in the cafe.

“The cliff walk in Ballycotton is a must do. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve discovered a best kept secret, shared only with the locals.” Four-star Garryvoe hotel and leisure centre is superb. The sound and sight of the sea from your generously sized bedroom is complimentary. Very good quality, down to earth food is guaranteed and Garryvoe’s blue flag beach is a two minute walk. Its cosy sister hotel, the Bayview in Ballycotton, also has spectacular views over the Atlantic and is only a short stroll into the town (it closes for the winter months). The bustling, thriving town of Midleton is well placed and the three-star Midleton Park hotel won’t disappoint. Again, the food is unpretentious but very good. For self catering options try Barnabrow House, Cloyne.

The tradition of whiskey distilling in Midleton dates back to 1825. Exports are on the increase, creating 60 new jobs and extra work for local farmers. Take a tour of the old Midleton distillery. If you can dedicate a half day, and the weather’s favourable, Fota wildlife park is worth visiting. If time is scarce visit Fota house and gardens instead. It’s open to the public since 2009 with hourly guided tours of this classical style 70-roomed mansion, containing one of Ireland’s most important art and furniture collections. Or stroll around the gardens. The renowned arboretum was established in 1840s with rare trees collected from all over the world. Have lunch in the cafe, Fota golf club or Fota Island Resort hotel. Cork’s also renowned for its music scene. Rory Gallagher, Finbar Wright and Jimmy McCarthy have strong links to the county. Cork City Jazz Festival is an annual international attraction. And Ballymaloe has added another string to its bow with music weeks twice a year in the Drawing Room and the Grain Store, a converted 17th century farmyard building where you can savour Irish and international music in a relaxed and unique setting.

Places to eat There are plenty of good quality restaurants in the area. Midleton’s Farm Gate restaurant, bakery and country store is the original sister restaurant of Farm Gate in Cork city’s English Market and has deservedly won numerous awards. It’s open all day (except Mondays) and does excellent lunch, with the adjoining country shop selling its own delicious breads, cakes, preserves and artisan products. Raymond’ restaurant in Distillery Lane is great for families, with a healthy kids menu. The food is high quality and their early bird menu (Tuesday-Saturday) offers two courses for €20 or three for €25. I’m reliably told O’Donovan’s restaurant in Midleton is as good as it was ten years ago, with a great value set evening dinner menu €25 for three courses l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 29


In the kitchen

Smooth operators MARGARET HANNIGAN advises on how to get your five-a-day the nice way. A NEW Year arrives full of promise. A big fat notebook of blank pages. A clean sheet on an unwrinkled bed. An empty plate. A clean glass, waiting to be filled. You get the picture. Imagine that at least one in four of us have sworn a solemn oath (again) that our plate and glass will be a little less full and much more strategically filled than last year. To this end, rather than challenging yourself to a triathlon up Kilimanjaro by Easter, why not start with changing just one thing and eat more fruit. Fruit loves dieters and hates cholesterol. It’s packed with vitamins, which it robs from the sun and, when ripe, has its own sugar and juice pre-packed. It also fosters an atmosphere in the body that is inhospitable to cancers and other horrors, hence its inclusion in the magic five portions a day mantra. There are certain key elements to enjoying fruit, which if unobserved, could put you off for life.‰

s

p o t 10

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tips

Photos and images: dreamstime.com

t’ e r a g Mar

1. 2.

Keep two apples in the car for traffic snacks. One on the way in and one on the way out.

3. 4.

A bowl of washed grapes left on the kitchen counter vanishes after a few days.

Put little bowls of cut up fruit and cocktail sticks on the table before dinner to encourage healthy grazing. Works well with spare pineapple on pizza night.

Raisins, apricots, dates or figs can be added to cereals, or taken in snack packs. Add some nuts for extra energy if desired. Much better than a cereal bar!


Fruit must be ripe or the flavour will be underdeveloped and the flesh hard and uncomfortable to eat. Some fruits ripen only while still attached to the plant (strawberries, grapes and melons, for instance) and need to picked and eaten quickly. Thus, supermarket strawberries are often tasteless disappointments as early harvesting makes them tough enough to fly long distances in a crate. Other fruits continue ripening after picking. Apples, pears, bananas and pineapples all have a grace period when flavours improve. Most fruits are best eaten at room temperature and most can be cooked into some kind of dessert. Lacklustre plums or tart gooseberries are given a new lease of life when tossed in sugar and covered in biscuity crumble. A smell test is always useful. If it doesn’t smell like a pear, chances are it won’t taste like one either. Look for locally produced fruit, in season, and try different varieties. Farmers markets, or dedicated green-grocers often have a better selection than the supermarkets, which are ruled by discounts and the logistics of mass production. Fruit should advertise itself. Glowing colours, smooth skin, plump with juice and fragrant. Don’t forget frozen fruits, which will dissolve a little on defrosting but still work brilliantly, as will dried fruits. Both can be added to porridge, muesli, yogurt, cakes and all kinds of desserts. Citrus fruits offer invaluable assistance in the kitchen. A glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice counts as one of your five a day and will wake up your insides as well as your taste buds. It can be cold (keep your oranges in the fridge) or warm from the microwave with cinnamon and honey. Freeze lemon juice if the fruit might spoil, and homemade lemonade tastes good any time of the year. If you have a blender, fruit smoothies are a habit worth acquiring. A successful smoothie uses fresh ripe fruit (keep those speckled bananas for banana bread) yogurt, milk, juice and possibly honey or a hint of vanilla. A small spoonful of good jam can also be used as a sweetener. Crucially, all ingredients must be icy cold. Add ice to the mix if necessary or keep your smoothie fruit in the fridge or freezer. Drink immediately as the mix will spoil quite quickly. The golden rule is to make just a little to start with, then add and subtract until you get the taste you want. Remember to switch off the plug and remove the jug whenever you stir, add or taste. You can put the liquid through a sieve, to remove seeds or any stringy bits l

5. 6. 7.

Always wash out the blender after making a smoothie, or you will grow to hate it.

Tender berries and grapes can be safely transported in a packed lunch in old cream cheese and similar containers.

Try porridge or muesli made with orange juice for a sunny start on a cold day.

Mixed berry smoothie Place 225g/8oz fresh or frozen (and defrosted) mixed berries and one peeled and chopped banana in a blender, pour in 300ml/half pint fridge-cold cranberry juice and add 12tbsps honey (optional) then whiz until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Pear, apple and ginger smoothie Place two peeled, cored and roughly chopped pears and half tea spoon of finely grated root ginger in a blender, pour in 200ml/7fl oz very cold apple juice and 50ml/2fl oz natural yogurt and blitz until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Pineapple, coconut and lime smoothie Place four rings (about 500g/1lb 2oz) fresh, peeled and cored pineapple (tinned won’t work) and two peeled and chopped bananas in a blender. Pour in 100ml/3 and a half fl oz fridge-cold orange juice, 200ml cold coconut milk and the juice of one lime and blitz until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

8. 9.

Bring clementines and easy-peelers by all means, but bring some travel wipes along with them.

10.

Try cutting back on salt as a seasoning by using a squeeze of lemon juice instead.

Berries, except strawberries, will freeze successfully. Cooked apple and pear can lose some texture.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 31


Green fingers

Spring in As new life begins in the garden this spring, JIMI BLAKE gives tips on early spring flowers and beautiful evergreens. THERE’S NOTHING quite as nice as the first sight of snowdrops peeping out of the grass. A sure sign that spring has arrived. Galanthus ‘Magnet,’ a robust old cultivar still retains a charm due to its pedicel, which causes it to swing in the wind like a Dierama. Galanthus Elwesii ‘Mrs McNamara,’ is an exceptional snowdrop, which started to flower for me last November. Originating from the mother-in-law of Dylan Thomas, it’s a tall handsome, elegant snowdrop and a firm favourite of mine. Galanthus ‘Spindlestone Surprise’ is a strong a vigorous yellow hybrid. Found in 1997 in a garden called Spindlestone in the UK, this is bulking up well and one of the most asked about snowdrops in Hunting Brook. My favourite evergreen shrub is Daphniphyllum Macropodum. Though its name suggests that it should resemble a daphne, it actually looks like an exotic rhododendron. From November to March it’s the best evergreen plant in the garden, with its long, broad, glossy leaves hanging down to show off their crowns of bright red petioles (leaf-stalks), as cheering as any winter display of flower or berry. These red leaf-stalks are essential to the overall appeal of the shrub, and are not universal within the species. So make sure you buy a plant that displays this characteristic.

Colourful The spring leaves are colourful and point upwards in very effective contrast with last year’s drooping foliage. During the summer the shrub is not quite as distinctive but it takes centre stage in the winter months. Daphniphyllums are woodland shrubs and enjoy a moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. They should not be expected to grow in deep shade, but will be happy in either partial shade or full sun, with some shelter from harsh, drying winds. The plant resents root disturbance. Seed should be sown in pots or trays as soon as ripe. Scrape the juicy outer casing of the berry off the hard seed before sowing. Cover the surface of the pot with a thin layer of grit and put outside. To minimise root disturbance the seedlings should be pricked out as soon as they are showing their first true leaf. Alternatively, you could try semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer, which I always find difficult. u

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to action Fruity Some gardeners never feed their fruit, but it makes an amazing difference. Feed fruit trees and bushes at the end of February before growth starts. Different fruits have specific requirements for nitrogen, potash and phosphate, but any general balanced fertiliser will give crops and plant health an incredible boost if you don’t have time to treat each one differently. I like to give my fruit a good mulch of well rotted manure in spring too. Finish winter pruning by the end of February, before the sap begins to rise. But plums, cherries and damsons should be left until April. These fruits are less susceptible to attack by the fungal disease silver leaf if they are pruned when the sap is rising. Prune autumn fruiting raspberry canes at the end of February also. All canes should be cut down to ground level and lots of well rotted manure added. l

Dhu Varren gardens Mark and Laura Collins garden near Milltown in Kerry is one of the most exciting and fascinating new gardens in Ireland. I first visited about four years ago and was blown away by its eclectic mix of plants from all over the world. Two large landscaped glass houses, with tropical and desert plant collections, are heaven for anyone interested in tender plants. The new greenhouse is home to tropical butterflies in summer. Further exploration will reveal a Japanese garden,  palm and yucca garden, herb and nectar gardens, a water garden and an arboretum of rare trees, shrubs and bamboos. A new feature for 2012 is a large alpine rockery. The Japanese teahouse overlooking one of Ireland’s largest koi ponds provides an opportunity to appreciate the fish and surroundings.   Mark and Laura get their gardening high from pushing the boundaries of cultivation and are constantly starting new projects. I always make a point of visiting when I visit Kerry, and come away inspired to keep the excitement in gardening – and a shopping list a mile long! l Dhu Varren is open 11am-6pm, FridayTuesday, May-August or at other times by appointment. www.dhuvarrengarden.com

That time of year

The Giant Himalayan Lily: February is the perfect time to divide mature clumps of bulbs as they start into growth. I experimented by digging up clumps of bulbs, carefully pulling them apart and replanting the individual bulbs in good garden compost and leaf mould. They will flower again in two years time. My plan is to have the woods at Hunting Brook full of these stunning giants when I’m in my older years. Grasses: I start moving and dividing the ornamental grasses at the beginning of February. A pick axe is the only thing to break up the large clumps of Miscanthus. Then I pot up the divisions into pots of 50% potting compost and 50% soil, as they dislike rich compost. Water the pots of divisions and then cover with a clear sheet of plastic and wait till the leaves of the new plants start pushing up the sheet of plastic. Then remove the plastic and you should have plants ready for planting out by June or July Trees and shrubs: Finish planting trees and shrubs, especially bare-root plants by the end of March. Barerooted plants work out so much cheaper. If shrubs or young trees are in the wrong place, they can be moved now while still dormant. Once leaves start to appear on any plants in the garden, it is time to finish transplanting. Slugs: Keep your eyes out for slugs feeding on new growth on bulbs and other early flowering perennials. I use ferromal pellets, which are safe for birds and other animals, available by mail order from Fruit Hill Farm in Cork (www.fruithillfarm.com). 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


At the movies

Sensible censorship shifts burden to parents Irish film censors are more transparent nowadays says MORGAN O’BRIEN. THE IRISH film censor’s role as moral arbiter, with an emphasis on cutting, editing or even banning films, has given way to a focus on an advisory role that informs and classifies films into age-appropriate categories. This shift is perhaps most manifestly evident by the rebranding of the IFCO in 2008 as the Irish Film Classifications Office, rather than the previous Censor’s Office. 34

SPRING 2012

The early decades of film censorship and classification in the Irish State reflected the particular mores of the period, with content relating to sex, divorce, birth control, religious profanity, violent behaviour and – curiously – dancing, excised from the view of the cinema going public. The list of banned or significantly-cut films makes for interesting, and at times somewhat amusing, reading. For example, the Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business was initially banned for its apparent anarchic tendencies, while Brief Encounter and Casablanca were censored for their permissiveness towards adultery. But violence has been the most notable focus of censorship rows in Ireland. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was cut in the early 1960s, while Peeping Tom was banned. This mirrored the response to the film in the UK, which effectively ended the career of director Michael Powell. ‰


“It was difficult for parents to assess the suitability of the latest Twilight film. No doubt many disappointed ‘Twi-hards’ were left sullenly mimicking the world weary ennui of Kirsten Stewart.”

More recently, bans have become increasingly rare. The IFCO has become more engaged in facilitating freedom of choice for film goers, and offering greater transparency around the classification decisions it makes. For parents in particular, the IFCO website – and that of its British variant the BBFC – provides an excellent resource on the content of films that allow informed decisions on what may or may not be appropriate. But this shift in emphasis brings problems of its own. Classifying films, while allowing them to be seen by a relevant audience, is often a difficult path to tread. Earlier this year, the IFCO indicated that the certification for The Lovely Bones, passed as a 12A, received public complaints. But the IFCO defended its decision on the grounds that it did not contain ‘explicit detail of the murder.’ Interestingly, the film was originally classified as 15 but was amended on appeal by Paramount Pictures. Studios and distributors are under increasing pressure to get their films to as wide an audience as possible, and will often agree to minor cuts or edits to receive a 12A rather than a 15 rating.

Twilight Many films occupy this difficult borderline territory, with the recent release of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part One a case in point. While the film was passed as a 12A certificate, it was given with the proviso that ‘this is not suitable for younger children,’ with particular emphasis placed on the ‘intense and bloody’ childbirth scene. The fairytale love story at the heart of the Twilight series is one that appeals primarily, although not exclusively it seems, to younger filmgoers. This presented a difficulty for many parents attempting to assess the suitability of the film and left, no doubt, many disappointed ‘Twi-hards’ sullenly mimicking the world weary ennui of Kirsten Stewart. Quite what the original censors would have made of Twilight is anyone’s guess. However, in putting relevant information on their websites, the IFCO and BBFC are explaining the reasons behind the age certificates, rather than operating as an anonymous body behind closed doors. This information also allows parents with specific worries about the movie depiction of sex or violence to make informed decisions, and effectively pushes them to take more responsibility for what their children watch l

Oscar wild cards vie Oscar wild cards with with big names vie big names AWARDS SEASON is beginning in earnest leading up to the annual dog-and-pony show that is the Oscars in February. While it can be hazardous to one’s reputation to make predictions, a number of the probable main contenders will be hitting Irish screens in the coming months. A number of films already on release look likely to get various nominations, including civil rights-era drama The Help, Woody Allen’s frothy romantic confection Midnight in Paris, Martin Scorcese’s children’s adventure Hugo, apocalyptic tale Take Shelter, and baseball drama Moneyball. However, the surprise frontrunner at this stage is Michael Hazanavicius’ silent film The Artist (30th December), a 1920s-set drama about the golden age of the silent movie. Its leading cast members, Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo also look set for acting nominations. More traditional Oscar bait is Steven Spielberg’s War Horse (13th January), a lushly shot drama about a horse who’s owner follows him into battle in World War One after it’s sold to the cavalry. After winning a screenplay Oscar for Sideways, writer-director Alexander Payne looks set for further nominations for The Descendants (20th January). The comedy-drama stars George Clooney as a father looking to reconnect with his daughters after his wife is left in a coma following an accident. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (3rd February), an adaptation of Jonathon Safran Foer’s bestselling novel, looks set for a number of nominations including best picture, best director for Stephen Daldry, and supporting actress/actor for Sandra Bullock and Max Von Sydow. Elsewhere, other strong contenders in the best actor category include Brad Pitt for Moneyball, Michael Shannon in Take Shelter and Michael Fassbender for Shame. Serial Oscar nominee Meryl Streep is a certainty for a best actress nomination for The Iron Lady, although she could face strong competition from Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn, Viola Davis in The Help, and Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin. Finally, two venerable actors will potentially go head-to-head for best supporting actor, with nominations likely for Christopher Plummer as an elderly widower who comes out to his son in Beginners and Max von Sydow as a survivor of the Dresden bombing in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 35


Photos: Getty Images

Play it loud

X Factory bequeaths warblers X Factor is dead says RAYMOND CONNOLLY. But it’s dodgy legacy remains. 36

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AUTHOR Nick Hornby, an admirably committed fan of The Arsenal, once said he no longer knew what age he was because he measured his life in soccer seasons. I was reminded of Hornby’s method of time measurement while unsuccessfully trying to avoid the most recent series of X Factor. Although it’s just run its eighth season, there’s been an encouraging shift in public opinion towards the view that the ‰


show is clapped out. This leaves me full of optimism that we will not have to endure a torturous ninth season.

No Weez PLEASE

Many say Simon Cowell’s absence accounts for the spectacle’s satisfying ratings plummet. This calls to mind Einstein’s observation: “Two things are infinite. The universe and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the universe.” I believe the programme’s fall in fortunes was caused by its failure to respond to modern demands, unlike this column. Should the fumbling Factor fail to return to our screens next autumn, its enduring legacy will be the consolidation of warbling as the bog standard pathway to pop success. To warble is to “sing with trills, runs or other melodic embellishments,” which is all well and good when occasional and effective. But, as the show directly produces many of the acts who populate the pop charts, the residual effect is that we are left with a bunch of warblers. And for those acts which have not come through the X Factory, the key to success is to imitate those that have. Take highly rated young singersongwriter Ed Sheeran for example. His 2011 singles You Need Me I Don’t Need You, Lego House and, in particular, The A The Team are nice decent tunes. warbling women Add a pleasant voice to the mix of Little Mix. and we’re getting there. Top it off with the warble and you have the key to modern success. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse than Craig David. The 1964 clashes between Mods and Rockers, albeit deckchairs at ten paces, remain an iconic image of British pop culture. At the time it was cutting edge. Today I envisage the potential pop culture clash among the kids. Outbreaks of violence between “shufflers” and “warblers.” It doesn’t quite have the same ring. Just sing the song l

Spring 2012 solutions (From page 46.)

2 1 9 6 5 3 8 4 7

3 5 8 4 7 2 9 6 1

4 7 6 9 1 8 2 3 5

9 2 3 1 4 7 5 8 6

1 6 4 2 8 5 3 7 9

5 8 7 3 6 9 1 2 4

6 3 2 7 9 1 4 5 8

8 4 1 5 2 6 7 9 3

Soduko easy solution

7 9 5 8 3 4 6 1 2

8 5 1 6 4 2 7 9 3

2 7 3 5 9 1 4 6 8

4 9 6 7 8 3 1 5 2

3 2 5 8 6 4 9 7 1

1 4 7 2 5 9 3 8 6

9 6 8 3 1 7 2 4 5

7 8 2 9 3 5 6 1 4

5 3 4 1 7 6 8 2 9

6 1 9 4 2 8 5 3 7

Soduko difficult solution

AND SO it came to pass. Take a bow Mr James Burns, following a doughty campaign to raise €10 million from fans of California rock band Weezer as an incentive for the band to split up for the good of humanity. Sick and tired of hearing that the band had changed direction, the opening pitch of Burns campaign went as follows: “I have never been a fan of this band. I think that they are pretty horrible and always have been. Even in the early nineties. But this isn’t about me. This is about the Weezer fans. They are our brothers and sisters our friends our lovers.” Burns recently closed his campaign, overwhelmed by the responses despite not having raised the dough. “Well I didn’t raise €10 million and Weezer are still a band, but I accomplished everything I ever hoped to. I figured since the internet wasted so much of my time with all the ridiculous articles about the new Weezer album, I’d return the favour and waste some of the internet’s time.” Good man James. Not quite Mark Chapman, but definitely a little over the top. Pour some lavender on your bath.

You too The aforementioned Burns ought to move to Dublin and turn his focus on U2. Ten million mightn’t do it, however, even if it was tax free. Hans Anderson once said “Where words fail, music speaks.” With Bono, the complete opposite applies. His recent questioning of whether U2 was still relevant strayed into interesting territory. I recall a radio interview with BP Fallon in 1982 wherein Bono pronounced that U2 would never stay around long enough to be considered boring old farts. An early career example of his undoubted potential for “foot in mouth” strains? He should have known that the shinbone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room. Maybe Bono has come to the point of reflection. Or was it that his comments coincided with the re-issuing of 1991’s Achtung Baby? More Swiss spondoolicks. Meanwhile the Edge must have been taking lessons from Paul “I don’t make predictions and I never will” Gascoigne when he revealed: “It’s quite likely that you might hear from us next year, but it’s equally possible that you won’t.” Such suspense.

Winter 2011 Crossword Solutions See page 46 for the competition winners from Issue 15.

ACROSS: 2. Bach 4. Jumper 8. Tolstoy 9. Boxing 11. Goat 12. Tea 13. Phil 15. Iodine 18. Arts 20. Opus 21. Ward 24. Fiat 25. Stage 26. Lake 27. Static 29. Enter 32. Me 33. Cure 35. Doe 36. Try 37. Story. DOWN: 1. Rates 2. Bald 3. Catholic 5. UFO 6. Printer 7. Mystic 9. Bind 10. Grass 11. GI 14. Hesitate 16. Nadal 17. Confused 19. Turkey 22. Adept 23. Water 25. Soccer 28. Amen 30. Neil 31. Rest 34. Boy. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 37


From the author

Dublin in the rare auld times THE BEAUTIFUL Dublin 1911 edited by Catriona Crowe, who’s head of special projects in the National Archives of Ireland, really captures the spirit of the time with newspaper articles, advertisements and records of the era. A long-time IMPACT activist, Catriona says the website and the book are both products of a public service that’s often vilified. “It was very cheap to produce. People are enjoying it. They’re getting a sense of their own history, which is hugely important and something that should always be cherished and provided,” she says. Dublin 1911 conjures up clear mental images of a vibrant Dublin with Maude Gonne sweeping around the streets looking fabulous, while Labour leaders Larkin and Connolly and 1916 signatories Pearse and McDonagh are also among the famous names featured. Pearse and McDonagh were heavily involved in the Gaelic language and literature revival and the book also provides a stage for the Abbey Theatre, opened in 1904, with Yeats and Lady Gregory writing plays full of nationalist fervour. The first royal visit by King George V and Queen Mary comes to life and gives Dublin’s women an excuse to dress-up. “Women had their clothes made by one of the city’s thou38

SPRING 2012

The militant suffragette's movement was emerging in 1911 and women boycotted the census. A lot of women moved into unoccupied houses, so that they couldn’t be counted. This and other more aggressive actions succeeded. Irish women got the vote in 1918. French women didn’t get it until 1944.

sands of dressmakers, rather than buying them in a store like Clerys, Arnotts, Switzers or Brown Thomas. Hats were in trend and milliners throughout the city would make the hat entirely to your specification. It was highly skilled work that paid very little,” says Catriona. ‰

Courtesy: RIA

IMPACT activist CATRIONA CROWE led the phenomenally successful initiative that put the Irish census of 1901 and 1911 online. Now she’s edited a beautiful new book about Dublin one hundred years ago.


“People are beginning to talk openly about coming from tenement backgrounds. They are so anxious to find out about their forebears that they’ve forgotten this was a source of shame. People are proud of their ancestors, who struggled through poverty. That’s how it should be.” places where you took your life in your hands. Large families were head-to-foot in beds, with contraception forbidden by the Catholic Church.”

Photo: Conor Healy

This thriving city comes to life on the page. You had fabulous Victorian pubs with big mahogany bars, where you could get free pickled eggs to go with your pint. The women were segregated into snugs, where the shawlies would come in for their half glass of stout or port after a day’s work. Yet times were changing and Dublin’s inhabitants of 1911 didn’t know what the future held for them. “The following year saw the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in reaction to what would have been a successful Home Rule bill. Then the outbreak of the First World War changed everything,” says Catriona. “We were also facing into the defining moment in trade union history – the 1913 Lockout – and the 1916 rising. The 191921 war of independence and the civil war were just around the corner. They changed Ireland completely.” Like today, the Dublin of 1911 was divided by wealth or the lack of it. While the better-off were moving to the suburbs of Rathgar and Blackrock, 26,000 working poor families lived in inner-city tenements. Thousands survived on casual labour and there was high unemployment. TB was rampant, killing 12,000 people a year – germ theory was just being discovered – while child mortality ran at 50% or more in the tenements. Children were seen as an economic asset and, despite compulsory primary schooling, many left school as young as 13 or 14. Catriona describes how people shared a single tap at the back of the house, which had no bathroom or washing facilities. “People used chamber pots because, in terms of hygiene and sanitation, the so-called water closets out the back were

Catriona identifies an interesting off-shoot of the online census. “People are beginning to talk openly about coming from tenement backgrounds. Before, they were ashamed. But now it's no longer seen as a terrible thing to have a grandmother who reared 12 children in a tenement room, or a small rural two room dwelling.

“To me that’s one of the consequences of digitising the information and putting it on the web. People are so anxious to find out about their forebears that they’ve forgotten this was a source of shame and are openly discussing it. People are proud of their ancestors, who struggled through poverty. That’s how it should be,” she says l Interview by Martina O’Leary

Win a trip down memory lane Catriona Crowe has given us a signed copy of Dublin 1911, which is published by the Royal Irish Academy. To be in with a chance to win it, answer the question below and send your entry to Roisin Nolan, Dublin 1911 competition, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1. Entries must reach us by Friday 9th March 2012. What year did the Abbey Theatre open? WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 39


Book reviews

Hasn’t a Cluedo THE FLOATING ADMIRAL

By Members of the Detection Club including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and GK Chesterton (Harper Collins, £7.99 in the UK). HAVE YOU ever played the board game, Cluedo? It’s the one where various characters gather in a mansion, someone is murdered and the game revolves around solving the crime. There’s some dice-throwing and rumourmongering and a lot of wild guessing about whether it was Miss Scarlet in the guest house with a pistol or Mr Green in the observatory with an axe. For reasons that are never explained, flat-out accusations can only be made in the pool room. It’s all good clean fun, wildly exciting for eight-year olds keen on outfoxing their adult relatives – and no horrid autopsy details or psychological profiling to furrow the brow. This book is a sort of ‘member’s only’ version of Cluedo. A slightly self-indulgent crime writer’s game of Chinese whispers, produced by the best-selling (in their time) authors in the genre. Overall, it’s reasonably successful, but it’s hardly a classic of the genre.

It begins with the discovery of a corpse in a boat meandering down a country stream. In a refreshing change from so much contemporary crime fiction, the late Admiral Penistone (hence the title) has been cleanly stabbed through the heart and left, entirely clothed and free from mutilation, to his demise. It’s left to the redoubtable Inspector Rudge, a pipe-smoking bachelor of no particular origin, to solve the crime. He has to contend with a recalcitrant niece, an uneasy vicar and some ruddy-faced youths who love messing about in boats. It’s quite a quaint little book, but not as satisfying or as clever as it would like to be. There are some odd jumps in the plot and the ending is a little ham-fisted. It would perhaps have benefited from a re-edit; modern readers can get the overall picture without having every single piece of the puzzle laid out for them. This book was first published in 1931 and this is the 80th anniversary edition. Why? I have no idea. Margaret Hannigan

Midnight demons

Doctors’ lot

MIDNIGHT

CONFESSIONS OF A GP

Josephine Cox (Harper, £7.99 in UK)

Dr Benjamin Daniels (Avon, £7.99 in UK)

LAST YEAR Josephine Cox was again the most borrowed UK adult women’s fiction writer from libraries. One reason is that fans know what they want; true romance, hidden secrets, roots, and sympathetic characters. This has all of the above. Young car salesman Jack Redmond is in love with Molly and, on the face of it, life is good. But he’s haunted by terrifying nightmares that are ruining their relationship. He decides to return to his home town to seek information that might unlock his memory and enable him to confront the demons. His closest friend Libby still lives there where she cares for her mother, Eileen, who sinks deeper into mental illness on Jack’s return. What was the horror in Jack’s past? And what is the connection with Eileen’s mental decline? Will Jack leave the awful Molly and find love with Libby, the only person who ever really cared for him? These questions will keep readers turning the pages.

THERE’S NO denying our endless appetite for the intimate details of other people’s lives. But if you’re bored of vacuous celebrities, here’s some real life drama. English GP Benjamin Daniels shares the challenges he deals with in the course of a day – telling a mother that her nine-year-old daughter is overweight, understanding the emotions of a transsexual man, dealing with battered wives and telling a patient with a nasty infection that his young bride is clearly being unfaithful. There are some things which cause Dr Daniels great frustration; having to meet inappropriate targets, fit patients seeking sick certs and parents who won’t vaccinate their children. This book raises many issues about modern life and what we expect from a health service. There are clearly advantages to having a free GP service, but this book reveals some disadvantages too.

Midnight is unlikely to win any major literature prizes, but that doesn’t matter to the 30,000 people who subscribe to the author’s website or the 15 million who have already bought one of her books.

In turns funny, exasperating, and heart breaking, Confessions of a GP is a must read for any young person thinking of doing medicine or social sciences. And a very interesting book for anyone interested in humanity.

Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith

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Photography: Conor Healy.

Union business

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald joins IMPACT official Christina Carney at the union’s ‘children first’ conference.

Care staff needed CARE STAFF working with vulnerable children should be exempt from the Government’s public service recruitment embargo, according to IMPACT. The union says that, with over 6,000 children in care, managers are forced to hire expensive agency staff to maintain child protection and foster care services because they are not allowed to replace professionals who leave. IMPACT official Christina Carney said agencies charged up to €5,000 a week to provide residential care for a single child, with fees of up to €1,790 a child each week for private foster care arrangements.

HSE travel u-turn IMPACT ACTION forced the reversal of an HSE decision to defer the reimbursement of transport costs incurred by its staff. The u-turn came the day after the union wrote to health minister James Reilly urging him to instruct the HSE to think again. In early December, the Department of Health announced that, contrary to an earlier HSE statement, travel and subsistence payments would be paid “when they fall due.” IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell said members could now continue to travel on HSE business in confidence that their expenses will be reimbursed.

Jobs budget blues IMPACT expresseo disappointment at the lack of Budget measures to tackle unemployment. But unions welcomed the Government’s promise to explore union suggestions that existing pension fund resources could be invested in job-creating infrastructure projects. A similar measure was recently announced by the British Government. Although it was a harsh budget, IMPACT welcomed the increase in the universal social charge threshold, which means 330,000 people earning less than €10,000 will no longer pay. The threshold was previously €4,000. Although increases in capital gains tax and capital acquisition tax were welcomed, IMPACT said the Government had missed an opportunity to introduce a wealth tax and other measures to shift the burden of recovery onto wealthier people. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) continues to oppose the Government’s austerity policies because they are depressing demand and failing to generate jobs or boost economic recovery. Nevertheless, prior to the Budget, ICTU put forward fairer alternatives available to a Government that is following the austerity path. These included an investment stimulus, rebalancing of the universal social charge, tax changes targeted on the wealthy rather than poorer households, a wealth tax, other fairer tax reforms, and measures to address unemployment.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Union business IN SHORT Overtime costs THE GOVERNMENT wants to cut 10% and 5% respectively of spending on public service overtime and premium payments this year. But this won’t mean cuts in the rates paid to staff. Overtime costs have fallen substantially since 2008, including a 5.2% reduction in the first year of the Croke Park agreement. It’s been done mainly by changing work arrangements to reduce reliance on overtime.

Sick leave talks PUBLIC SERVICE management has invited unions to discuss revised sick leave arrangements, following the Budget announcement by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin. Mr Howlin’s earlier public service reform document set out the Government’s intention to “review and revise” public service sick leave arrangements between the first and third quarters of 2012.

Tipp merger CONSULTATION ARRANGEMENTS for the merger of Tipperary North and South county councils have been agreed. Steering and operational groups are being established and management has agreed that staff protections in the Croke Park agreement will apply during and after the merger. Management will also consult unions before sending progress reports to the minister.

PMDS changes CHANGES TO the civil service performance management and development system (PMDS) have been agreed and will come into force this year. New guidelines aim to ensure that all staff are reviewed under the system, with sanctions for managers who fail to fully conduct PMDS for all staff.

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Cuts challenge for 2012 IT WILL be difficult to maintain public services with 6,000 fewer staff and €1.4 billion less current spending, especially as demand for services is growing. That was IMPACT’s reaction to the Government plans to reduce staffing by a further 6,000 this year. IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said planned cuts of €400 million in pay costs came on top of a 15% reduction in public service payroll costs since 2009. He said the Croke Park agreement had directly delivered annual savings of over €680 million in the year up to June 2011, with more to come. Ministers were clear that the reductions would be implemented in line with the Croke Park deal, which protects against compulsory redundancies or further pay cuts. “We are currently about half way through a difficult reduction in public service numbers from over 320,000 to less than 280,000. By far the biggest reductions have been in management and administrative areas. The Croke Park agreement acknowledges that this cannot be done without substantial reforms in the workplace and in the delivery of public services, and public servants and their unions are working daily to deliver those reforms,” he said. IMPACT gave a cautious welcome to the announcement that there would be some recruitment in the public service next year. The union said it was crucial that any new recruitment was concentrated on core areas like primary health care, special needs, child protection and social care. IMPACT acknowledged that the Government intended to honour the Croke Park agreement and had ignored calls for compulsory redundancies, further pay cuts or a freeze on increments. Indeed, Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin acknowledged that public servants had suffered pay cuts and were working to deliver reform while meeting growing demand for services with fewer staff. Mr Howlin said delivered and planned staffing cuts would deliver savings of €3.5 billion by 2015.

Croke Park is delivering IMPACT HAS written to all TDs and senators to tell them about the savings and reforms being achieved under the Croke Park agreement. The initiative followed the publication of a progress report from the Croke Park implementation body last November, and aimed to counter criticisms by a small number of backbenchers, mostly on an anonymous basis. The IMPACT letter pointed out that public servants had so far exceeded the agreement’s targets for savings and staff reductions and were on course to deliver more. Mr Cody pointed out that Croke Park progress had been acknowledged by the EU-IMF ‘troika,’ while the OECD had said it had “contributed to social cohesion by providing a collectively agreed basis for reform in the [public] sector.” The union highlighted the scale of past public service pay cuts and pointed out that public servants were affected by past and future budget measures in the same way as everyone else. A recent OECD review found that Irish public service pay was on a par with OECD and EU averages. “Far from being out of step with other countries as is frequently alleged, the relative purchasing power of Irish public servants is about average except for a very small number of senior grades,” said Mr Cody.


New entrants’ pensions change THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed that there has been no decision to change pension arrangements for current public servants. This came in a departmental response to a letter from ICTU’s Public Services Committee, which was prompted by a clause in new legislation that makes it possible for a minister to change the current link between public service pay and pensions at some time in the future. The new legislation is introducing less favourable pension arrangements for new entrants to the public service. The changes will have most impact on those earning over €45,000 a year throughout their careers. The department confirmed that there would be no changes to pension indexation arrangements for existing staff and pensioners during the lifetime of the Croke Park agreement, which expires in 2014. But it did note that the agreement allows for discussions about possible future changes. It said the enabling clause in the new legislation would allow a minister to implement any future changes without primary legislation. Public service unions has met the minister to discuss a range of problems arising from the new legislation, which was a condition of the State’s deal with the EU-IMF-ECB ‘troika.’ It will see new entrant’s pensions calculated on the basis of career average earnings instead of earnings at the time of retirement, introduce a minimum retirement age of 68 for most new entrants, and link pension increases to inflation rather than the pay of the grade from which pensioners retire.

Increments under attack THE BUDGET didn’t target public service pay increments, despite calls from Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay and others. IMPACT’s young workers committee had previously reacted to a series of calls for an increments freeze in Finlay’s weekly Irish Examiner column, where he argued that the move would be preferable to any reduction in social welfare or child benefit. The union’s young members’ committee response was published in the Irish Examiner’s letters page. Committee member Brian Furey said: “Mr Finlay argues that it’s wrong that the poorest people in Ireland should have to shoulder any more of the burden. But he then says the Government should do just that and place more burden on one group of workers within the public sector.” Responding to media calls for an increment freeze, IMPACT explained to departmental officials that such a move would hurt the lowest paid, especially younger workers, while leaving top public servants untouched. That’s because those at the very top of the public service have single point pay scales and, therefore, no increments to lose. Other more senior grades have short incremental scales, but most of them would be unaffected because they are already at the top of their scales. The lower paid, with very long scales, would be the ones most affected. IMPACT’s young members’ committee said they supported Mr Finlay’s call for greater equality and fairness in society but said his proposal was itself deeply unfair.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

43


Sport Less than half a second is the qualifying gap that Irish Paralympian Jason Smyth must beat to realise his goal of competing in both the Olympic and Paralympic games this summer. KEVIN NOLAN profiles the Derry athlete who has the form and self belief to do it. OSCAR PISTORIUS, also known as the Blade Runner, is dominating the headlines in his bid to become the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and the Paralympics in the same year. But Ireland’s Jason Smyth is in hot pursuit and training hard to achieve the same goal. While the Derry athlete aims to compete in both London 2012 games this summer, he’s pursuing his goal without the fanfare. Smyth’s base is in Florida, where he trains under famed sprint coach Lance Brauman. Alongside Jason Smyth are some of the top athletes in the world including Tyson Gay, the second fastest man in history, who has become something of a mentor to the Irishman. Smyth qualifies for the Paralympics because he lives with a hereditary condition known as Stagardt’s disease, which causes progressive vision loss. He could see perfectly until he was nine but then his sight started to deteriorate and he had to make adjustments to his life.

Ambition For Smyth it wasn’t a sudden loss of sight. He could see things around him but, as he moved further away, everything

Zero Po At that time, facilities for sprinters in Ireland weren’t ideal. Smyth didn’t have many people to train with and the Irish weather isn’t conducive to the type of training he needed to do. Before Beijing, Maguire had been in touch with Lance Brauman. They’d swapped emails and the American advised Maguire on Smyth’s training. After the games Brauman invited athlete and coach to spend some time at his training camp in Florida. Brauman’s impressive list of athletes includes several sub-ten second athletes like Keston Bledman, Travis Padgett, Nickel Ashmeade and the second fastest man in history, Tyson Gay. So in 2009 the Irish pair moved to the sunny state for a twomonth stint to try their luck in a new regime.

“I honestly think that his running technique is better than mine. He would be in my top five when it comes to technical guys running.” Tyson Gay, the world’s second fastest man. became less clear. But he never let it affect his sporting ambitions and he regularly lined out on the school’s football team. He may have found it hard to pick out his team mates during the game, but the young athlete had speed, which he used to his advantage. In 2003, a 16-year-old Smyth encountered athletics coach Stephen Maguire. It was a chance meeting and one that ultimately set him on the right sporting path. Maguire saw talent in the young Derry teenager and began to coach him. Within the year he was Irish schools champion.

Photo: Sportsfile.com

By the following summer Smyth was a double European Paralympic champion, taking gold in the 100m and 200m events. That success allowed him to become a full-time athlete, courtesy of an Irish Sports Council grant. Two years later he won another two gold medals at the World Paralympic championships and headed into the Beijing Paralympic games as a favourite to do the double. Smyth didn’t disappoint and he won both events with times of 10.61 and 21.43, smashing his own records in the process.

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It wasn’t an easy transition for Smyth. The training group was a tight knit environment where lives revolved around training sessions unlike anything he’d ever done before. Overall it was an intimidating experience, but Smyth worked hard and earned the respect of his fellow athletes. It’s an isolated existence but Smyth fitted in and the other athletes embraced him, Tyson Gay in particular. “I honestly think that his running technique is better than mine. He would be in my top five when it comes to technical guys running,” Gay said of Smyth. In many ways Gay has taken the Derry man under his wing. He gives him advice, pushes him in training and regularly tweets him to wish him well in his races. For the last two years Smyth has spent over half the year in Florida, working hard and following his dream. His dedication paid off in 2010 when he became the first Paralympic athlete in history to compete at the European championships. Smyth ran 10.43 seconds, finishing fourth in his heat, and just missed out on the final by finishing fourth in semi-finals in a time of 10.47. u


Point Zero Four Last May he followed up his success by running a personal best of 10.22. In August he took it a step further by becoming the Irish 100-metre champion and, in turn, qualified for the World Championships in Daegu. Although Smyth is yet to qualify for the London games he is not far off. His time of 10.22 is well inside the B standard but he must run 10.18 if he wants to make the grade because the Olympic Council of Ireland is only sending A standard athletes. That’s just 0.04 seconds, and Smyth radiates a quiet confidence.

Smyth knows that believing you can do it is half the battle. Tyson Gay rates him in the esteemed company of all time greats, “Sometimes, when he runs, he reminds me of Maurice Greene who would probably be No 1. I think Carl Lewis may be in there, Asafa Powell, Leroy Dixon and then Jason.” Smyth knows that believing you can do it is half the battle. With that in mind, and the unshakable belief of those around him, there’s no doubt he’ll make history this year l

Jason Smyth has unshakable belief

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

3 1

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 9th March 2012. 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. In 1911, child mortality rates in Dublin’s tenements exceeded: A 30% B 50% C 100% 2. The Marx Brothers’ film Monkey Business was banned in Ireland for its: A Anarchic tendencies B Cruelty to animals C Unrelenting brilliance 3. A B C

Ballymaloe is in: Ros na Rún East Cork West Cork

4. Failure to ‘whistle blow’ on financial wrongdoing at work can mean: A A nasty case of tinnitus B The collapse of the offside rule C Five years in jail and a €5,000 fine 5. What will the state pension age be in 2028? A 68 B 66 C What state pension? 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 9th March 2012. The editor’s decision is final. That’s it! 46 46

SPRING SPRING 2012 2011

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win

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Difficult

Across 1. Midland town, centre of Ireland (7) 5. Estimates worth or value (5) 8. Traveller or wanderer, particularly in eastern lands (5) 9. Capital town of Somersetshire, England, famed for its race course (7) 10. Stem decay (7) 11. Irish patriot renowned for his Speech from the dock (5) 12. Their dozen is proverbial (5) 14. Weariness, boredom (6) 17. Corridor (5) 19. One more (7) 22. Midwestern USA state (7) 23. Optical evidence or sadness (5) 24. Totted up (5) 25. Feminine forename particularly popular in Italy (7)

50

PRIZE CROSSWORD

Down 1. The girl in Charles Kickham’s song lived beside the river (5) 2. Poisonous plant (7) 3. More aged (5) 4. Large land holding, property (6) 5. How French people say red (5)

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Crossword composed by Sean Ua Cearnaigh

6. 7. 12. 13. 15. 16. 18. 20. 21.

Red Indian tribal object (5) Sacred place (7) Mayo town, Tipperary village (7) What a cunning animal is the Maidrin rua! (7) Abraham’s son symbolises an outcast (7) The Spanish/Mexican tomorrow (6) Predicted, forecasted (5) River creature (5) O’Donovan _ _ _ _ _, Cork Fenian patriot (5)

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 9th March 2012. We’ll send €50 to the first correct entry pulled from a hat.

Winners!

The winners from competitions in the autumn/winter issue were:

Crossword: Fiona Dolan, SNA Book Competition: Assumpta Fergus, Mayo

Quiz: Eugene Boyle, South Dublin HSE. Survey: Edel Dunne, Dublin City.

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 spring 2012 issue of Work & Life? Excellent

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Good

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Okay

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Bad

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Comments ________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ 2. What did you think of the layout, style and pictures in the spring 2012 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

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I want more union news

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I want less union news

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7. Any other comments? ______________________________

Good

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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 9th March 2012. The editor’s decision is final. That’s it!

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 47


Commercial membership services MPACT has facilitated the provision of a number of national membership services and discount schemes on behalf of its members. These include Additional Voluntary Contribution Schemes (Pensions), Life Assurance, Salary Protection in the case of illness and Car, House and Travel Insurance Schemes. A number of local discount schemes are also negotiated by local branches.

I

The Union uses the size and composition of its membership base and, where possible, competition between the various service providers, to seek the best possible deals for the widest possible sections of our membership. It is probable that the majority of members will get better value from these schemes than if they sought the same service individually. However, this will not be true in all cases and there will be occasions where individual members may, because of their specific circumstances, be able to get better value elsewhere. It is not possible always to ensure that all schemes will be accessible equally to all members and the scheme underwriters will not depart totally from their normal actuarial or risk assessment procedures and rules. IMPACT does not make any claims as to the quality or reliability of any of these products/services and while advising members of the availability of the National Membership Services and Discount Schemes does not endorse or recommend any particular product or service. IMPACT's role is that of facilitator to ensure that such schemes are available to its members. All contracts are directly between the product/service provider and the individual member. IMPACT is not in any way a party to these contracts and will not accept any responsibility or liability arising from any act or omission on the part of the product or service provider. Neither IMPACT nor any member of its staff receives any fees or commissions or other rewards from these product or service providers arising from such schemes. While IMPACT does occasionally provide such product/service providers with limited information regarding IMPACT branch and/or workplace representatives for the purpose of advertising such schemes, the Union does not make any personal data relating to individual Union members available to them for any purpose. The Union requires that product/service providers agree to ensure that all such schemes comply with all lawful requirements including the Equal Status Act 2000. Advertisements for agreed membership services will have an

FACILITATED

logo on them.

Some of the companies providing agreed membership services may offer other products or services (that are not as a result of any agreement or arrangement with IMPACT) directly to IMPACT members. The Union has no role whatsoever in relation to such products or services. Likewise, other product or service providers may make offers directly to IMPACT members through advertisements in the Union newspaper or otherwise. These do not arise as a result of agreements or arrangements with IMPACT and the Union does not ask members to consider availing of such products/services and accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any such offers. The product/service providers with which IMPACT has agreed the provision of membership services and/or discount schemes are as follows: Brassington & Co. Ltd.

Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd.

Travel Insurance – all Divisions.

Car Insurance – all Divisions. Salary Protection and Life Assurance –

Local Government and Health Divisions only.

Group Insurance Services (GIS)

Marsh Financial Services Ltd.

Car Insurance – all Divisions.

AVC Schemes – all Divisions excluding Municipal Employees.

House Insurance – all Divisions.

Salary Protection and Life Assurance – Civil Service and Services & Enterprises Divisions only.

December 2004

DISCLAIMER (Approved by CEC 10th December 2004) 48

SPRING 2012

Work & Life - Issue 16  

Work & Life - Issue 16 Spring 2012

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