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THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS

ISSUE 17 • SUMMER 2012

OOTS H S N GREE ntributor co N New ATTO or P A T I gf denin . r a g on eople p l a . re ge 32 a p e Se

EVERYDAY PEOPLE How IMPACT members help put lives back together. Page 16. SPECIAL DELIVERY: CROKE PARK REFORMS ESCALATE RING WRONGS RIGHTED: UNIONS SCORE OLYMPIC FAIR PLAY PEOPLE LIKE YOU: IMPACT MEMBERS GETTING INVOLVED DON’T SHOUT: GETTING ASSERTIVE AT WORK

ALSO INSIDE AGE-APPROPRIATE FASHION. TUMMY TUCKS. EASY WALKS. BUFFET FOOD. PARALYMPICS. AGENCY WORKERS. SPORTY FILMS. FINGAL RAP. BOOKS AND BOOKWORMS. FIONNUALA BRITTON. ALL THE NEWS. COMPS & QUIZZES.

www.impact.ie


In this issue

work& & life – Summer 2012 WORK

2. 6. 10. 14. 16.

CARSLBERG Probably the worst excuse.

4.

SPECIAL DELIVERY Croke Park modernisation. RING WRONGS RIGHTED Unions score Olympic fair play. JOIN US New union training can help you get involved.

24. 26. 28.

EVERYDAY PEOPLE

30. 32. IMPACT members help put lives back together.

19. 21. 22.

ASSERT YOURSELF Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy. JAIL-BREAK Help free a wrongfullyimprisoned native American activist. AGENCY RIGHTS Agency staff get new rights at work.

Work & Life is produced by IMPACT trade union's Communications Unit and edited by Bernard Harbor. Front cover: IMPACT member Aneesa Ally. Story, page 16. Photo by Michael Crean Photograpy. Contact IMPACT at: Nerney's Court, Dublin 1. Phone: 01-817-1500. Email: rnolan@impact.ie

NEWS

LIFE

34. 36. 38. 44.

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

IN THE SWIM Anne Marie Ward’s amazing long distance achievements. FASHION Time to dress your age. HEALTH Tuck in that tummy.

WHISTLEBLOWER VINDICATED COMMUNITY CUTS STATE ASSETS FOR SALE? CROKE PARK DEFENDED SICK LEAVE REVIEW VITA CORTEX EVELYN OWENS

WALK THE LINE Hill walking is fun, frugal and friendly. FOOD Dinner parties are past it. Buffets beckon. GARDENS Beautiful beds, herbs and veg.

43. 43.

WATER PRIVATISATION OUTSOURCING

FILMS Sport and films mix. MUSIC Young Finglas. Old Leicester.

PRIZES

BOOKS Condoms, cash and paraffin in Mayo libraries.

21. 46. 47.

SPORT Fionnuala Britton gears for gold.

Win €50 by writing to us. Win €50 in our prize quiz. Rate Work & Life and win €100.

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.

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WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 1


Mark goes for gold HANDCYCLIST MARK Rohan looks a good bet for podium glory at this summer’s London 2012 Paralympic Games. Pictured here powering his way to gold in last year’s UCI World Paracycling Road Championships, Mark will attempt to become Paralympic champion in his HC1 road race and time trial events. He’s one of around 40 elite athletes with a disability who will compete for Ireland at the Games. Fellow UCI World Paracycling

champion and IMPACT member, Catherine Walsh, (HSE North Dublin branch) will also aim for gold in her 3k Tandem Pursuit event. For more information on Mark, Catherine and Irish Paralympic sport, visit www.paralympics.ie. You can also support Irish elite athletes with a disability through donations or fundraising. See www. paralympics.ie/donate for full details. l

STRANGE WORLD

Time to call the complaints department CARLSBERG CAME up with what is probably the worst excuse in the world when its lawyers argued that brewing beer is an ‘essential service’ in a successful attempt to break a strike last summer. The International Union of Food Workers (IUF) launched an international campaign after Lithuanian court agreed that beer production was “vitally essential” during the “high season” and suspended industrial action for a month. Nine workers were subsequently sacked and rehired on temporary contracts after joining a picket line to protest against the ruling. In what the international trade union federation dubbed the “second worst excuse in the world” Carlsberg then argued that it had not sought the ruling. “We did not use those words. They were used by the [company-hired] lawyers,” it said.

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The move followed a strike vote by brewery workers who’d seen no pay increase for three years despite business booming. They were seeking a companylevel pay agreement, but Carlsberg went to court to have the strike declared illegal. Lithuanian trade unions understandably see the development as a major threat to collective pay bargaining and fear other employers will be encouraged to go to the courts with similar arguments. Jenny Formby, national officer of Unite trade union has weighed in to support the workers. “Many people think beer is great, but it doesn’t save lives. The decision that beer is essential cannot be allowed to stand,” she said during a protest at the company’s Denmark HQ. Is that where the complaints department is? Probably. l

Photo: Paralympics Ireland

The BIG picture


That was then… 30 years ago

Surprising public servants

Not so civil servant MAYBE IT was the pay. The tedium, perhaps? Or even some simmering resentment at a superior. Whatever it was, this turn-of-the-century civil servant shattered the stereotype of a boring, bureaucratic profession in 1897 by writing the most spine-chilling and resilient tale of the 19th century. Today everyone knows the story of Dracula. And, these days you can hardly visit a cinema, bookshop or TV channel without tripping over a teen-marketed version of the vampire legend. But not everyone knows that its author Bram Stoker started his working life as a Dublin civil servant. On graduating from Trinity College in 1870, Stoker started work as a civil service clerk in Dublin Castle, while moonlighting as an unpaid theatre critic and penning short stories in the dead of night. In 1876 he was appointed inspector of petty sessions and his first book, published three years later, tackled the harrowing subject of The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions In Ireland. Stoker resigned from the civil service in 1878, married Florence Balcombe (once courted by Oscar Wilde) and left for a new role as a theatre manager in London. Dracula was written in 1897 and, despite flat reviews, has never been out of print since. A plaque in Dublin’s Kildare Street commemorates Stoker as ‘theatre manager and author of Dracula’. Perhaps it’s time to add the words ‘and public servant’ to the accolade. l

Work begins on the 240 kilometre CorkDublin natural gas pipeline at the end of April 1982. The Satellite Channel is launched two days later on 26th April before being renamed the Sky Channel after it’s bought by Rupert Murdoch two years later. It’s now Sky One. An MRBI survey shows that 53% of us depend on television as our primary  source of current affairs information, while 20% rely on radio and 17% on newspapers.

50 years ago The final train runs on the west Cork railway on 5th April 1962.  West Side Story  wins  the Oscar for best picture on 9th April and anger management superhero The  Hulk  makes his debut in The Incredible  Hulk No 1 by  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  Irish troops leave for a peace-keeping mission in the  Congo on 8th May as RTÉ’s preparations for the first edition of the  Late Late Show are underway. Gay Byrne presents on 6th July.

70 years ago In April 1942 a Nazi extermination camp opens on the outskirts of the town of   Sobibór in  occupied Poland. At least 160,000 people are killed there between then and October 1943. In Germany the Reichstag meets for the last time on 26th April, dissolving itself and proclaiming  Adolf Hitler  as “Supreme Judge of the  German People,” granting him power of life and death over every German citizen. King  George VI  awards the  George Cross to Malta on 15th April. The period between 1st January and 24th July sees just one 24-hour period in which no bombs fall on the tiny Mediterranean island. Back home, speed levels are restricted from 2nd June to prevent wear on car, motorcycle and bus tyres.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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IMPACT people

Swimming with t IMPACT member Anne Marie Ward has just shared the prestigious Donegal person of the year award for 2011 in recognition of her amazing long-distance swimming achievements, which include 2010’s Swim Ireland open water swimmer of the year and world open water swimming woman of the year. Tell me about yourself I’m 45 and single, but very much a family woman. I live close to my parent’s home and am the second eldest of seven. I’m the bossy one. I adore my nieces and nephews but am particularly involved in the upbringing of my six-year-old nephew and godson Andy. What’s your earliest memory? I was born and bread in Portnablagh, a small seaside village in north Donegal where I live now. My brothers, sisters, friends and I played on the beaches and mountains near our home.

Photography: Declan Doherty

Tell us about Donegal person of the year I am totally humbled and honoured. Last year’s recipient was the playwright Brian Friel and other previous recipients include Daniel O Donnell, Sir Gerry Robinson, and Packie Bonar. It’s a privilege to be acknowledged by your own people.

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How did you get involved in swimming? My father taught us to swim at an early age and the north Atlantic was our playground. I gave up for many years but ten years ago I started to swim again to improve my health and work-life balance. I did a two mile charity sea swim in 2002 and it went on from there. Your toughest swim? In 2008 I set my sights on the North Channel, a notoriously difficult channel between Ireland and Scotland, which only nine people in history had swam. It’s known for its cold water, unpredictable weather, strong tides and the lion’s mane jellyfish. My first attempt saw me battle strong wind and tides for over 17 hours before my team pulled me on safety grounds a few miles off the Scottish coast. My third attempt in 2010 resulted in being stung hundreds of times in a five-hour battle with huge blooms of jellyfish. I required hospital treatment. But four weeks later I went back and successfully became the first Irish woman, and fourth woman in history, to do it after 19 hours in 12°c water. u


h the jellyfish post with the North Western Health Board 20 years ago. I left nursing and never looked back. I’m now an HSE manager of training and occupational support services for adults with disabilities in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Our former CEO Pat Harvey always told us to think of our own nearest and dearest when planning and delivering services. If we wouldn’t send our own there, then something is wrong. How do you relax? I love to walk the beach near my home, but sometimes when I just need to chill it’s a good film, a big fire and a glass of wine. What makes you happy? Being with family and friends. Sunday lunch at my mum’s is the highlight of the week. A rise in sea temperatures is also a cause for celebration.

What’s next? My ambition is to enjoy my swimming and use it to support humanitarian causes. I’ve been invited to North Africa to swim a segment of a high profile swim for peace. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to support peace efforts in that part of the world. But my big project for this year is an international relay swim across the Bering Straits. What keeps you going? My father told us that his grandmother wouldn’t let him or his siblings sit. She always told them to be doing something. This always stuck in my mind. You work in the disability sector. My younger sister was paralysed for life after sustaining a spinal injury at 21 so I naturally developed an interest in disability issues. I got involved in some voluntary disability groups and then applied for an EU disability project managers

What makes you laugh out loud? Conversations with my six year old nephew Andy. And Mario Rosenstock playing Vincent Brown. What really annoys you? Watching Dáil reports where politicians are playing political football with serious topics and then laugh when they score a point. Plus dog and horse poo on the beach. Who would you like to go for a pint with? Lynn Cox, the long-distance swimmers and adventurer. A pint with Richard Gere would be nice too! What’s the kindest thing done for you recently? I had hypothermia after a recent ice swim. The all-male boat crew helped me dress and then wrapped themselves around me for body heat on the boat journey back. It really worked. Interview by Martina O’Leary l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Savings flow from s Critics of the Croke Park agreement say its reforms are too tame and too tardy. But, as the deal approaches its second anniversary, MARTINA O’LEARY and BERNARD HARBOR report on the emergence of cost-saving reforms in organisations large and small.

Photo: Conor Healy

IMPACT MEMBERS and other staff working in three addiction clinics in north east Dublin are saving the taxpayer €500,000 a year through changed rosters and new opening hours. It might sound like a drop in the ocean of a €15 billion annual public pay bill, but it’s not a bad return on roster changes that affect about 30 staff. And it’s one of a growing number of u

“When a country is bankrupt, you have to be realistic. The money has to come from somewhere and it’s reasonable to try and reduce expenditure without a slash and burn approach. It’s a sensible approach and it needed to happen”

Michael McGoldrick and Danny Ashmore in a Dublin addiction clinic.

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Croke Park delivers

m staff efforts

examples of local reforms that add up to big savings under the Croke Park agreement. The savings come through longer daily hours for dispensing Methadone and other services, which has done away with the need for evening opening without reducing the service to clients. The big cut in the overtime bill that followed was accepted by staff once management agreed that the changes must be implemented under the protections of the Croke Park agreement. Meanwhile, staff and management are exploring other changes expected to deliver significant cost savings through better sampling and clinical waste disposal, as well as integrated stock control between the 12 clinics in the region. Pharmacist Michael McGoldrick says workloads have increased and net incomes fallen. “We’re very busy but it’s Continues on page 8

Defending the deal IMPACT has stepped up its defence of the Croke Park agreement. Following much ill-informed criticism of the deal around the time of the budget, senior officials from IMPACT and other unions have met representatives of all the Dáil political groups. The union has also initiated a regular information bulletin for Oireachtas members and local councillors, and is taking information stands at party conferences. Among other things, the union’s ongoing media work resulted in the publication of a Sunday Business Post opinion article in February.

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Croke Park delivers working out okay. A lot of staff have lost overtime. No one wanted to see that happen but we’re lucky to have our jobs and salaries guaranteed for the moment. When a country is bankrupt, you have to be realistic. The money has to come from somewhere to pay for us and it’s reasonable to try and reduce expenditure in the public service in a reasonable way, without a slash and burn approach. It’s a sensible approach and it needed to happen,” he says.

Union Local IMPACT representative Danny Ashmore says the changes didn’t start well when management tried to introduce change without consultation.

unhappiness. The long term savings are considerable and it gives people something to soften the blow,” says Michael. The big ticket savings so far achieved under the Croke Park deal have mostly come from staff reductions. Although they have comfortably exceeded targets set by the Government and the troika, critics of the agreement still complain that the reforms are too tame and too tardy. But IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody argues that the pattern is similar to that in private companies which find themselves in dire straits. “Staff cuts bring the biggest and earliest cost extractions with changed work practices, to maintain output and add savings, following later in

shows that most struggling private companies opted for staff reductions and changed work practices while using the instrument of pay cuts sparingly, if at all,” he said. Now that the deal is approaching its second anniversary, significant cost extraction is also being delivered directly through reforms in organisations large and small. The Dublin addiction service is just one example. For instance, reforms have saved almost €950,000 in just seven months at St Michael’s House, one of Ireland’s largest providers of community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities. The organisation expects savings of over €3 million once its local agreement

“It sounds wonderful. Tear up Croke Park and all our problems will be solved. But where do you go from there? I can’t really see what the alternative would be. Do you start negotiating with each union, in each sector for each discipline? It would take forever.” “The union stepped in and now we’re communicating effectively, with a new working group looking at cost containment and service reconfiguration. People have adapted to the changes and, with the economy we have at the moment, the changes have to be made. It’s the way forward in relation to saving jobs,” he says. Staff who lost overtime received some compensation under the Croke Park agreement. “It made a big difference to getting this deal accepted. Without it there would have been a lot more

d Enhancehip s r membe s benefit in 2012

the process. And unnecessary pain is avoided because companies recognise they need staff on board in tough times. So they concentrate on what’s really vital,” he said.

Oireachtas Shay recently argued this case to the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, where he dismissed claims that private companies in similar situations would cut pay rather than reduce their workforce. “Recent CSO research

on Croke Park implemented.

reforms

is

fully

The changes in Saint Michael’s include the introduction of an extended day for front line, clinical and administrative staff plus redeployment between day and residential services to help management cope with fewer staff. A new rostering system for its 170 residential and respite units will support a comprehensive review of rosters that’s currently underway Meanwhile, front line staff are now providing transport to eliminate 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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Photo: Conor Healy

duplication, with estimated savings of €400,000 in 2012. A recent review of reforms in the organisation, which employs over 1,500 people, detailed progress in 21 key change areas set out in an agreement signed by unions and management last summer. The changes cover all aspects of service delivery across all grades of staff.

Hospice In Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin, changes to rosters and breaks are expected to deliver annual savings of €220,000. The changes will free staff members for work elsewhere in the organisation, leading to an annual €175,000 reduction in spending on locums and agency staff. A further €47,000 will be shaved from spending on premium payments, with reduced earnings for the staff concerned. Other cash-generating reforms include €50 million a year from the redeployment of surplus teachers, new rosters in

Reforms mean savings Most of the savings delivered under Croke Park have come from staff reductions, while redeployment and other reforms have helped maintain services as staff numbers fall. But a growing number of local reforms are now adding savings in organisations large and small.

• €50 million a year from the redeployment of surplus teachers • New rosters in medical labs saving €7 million a year • Changes in radiography services saving €3.5 million a year • Changed prison work practices saving €20 million a year • Almost €1 million saved across Saint Michael’s House disability services • Annual savings of €220,000 in Our Lady’s hospice in Dublin, • €685,000 annual savings from redeployment and reorganisation in Teagasc • A 20% cut in local authority staffing with €16.5 million of payroll and other savings in Fingal county council and €700,000 in Galway city alone.

The Croke Park agreement provides industrial peace.

medical labs (€7 million a year), changes in radiography services (€3.5 million a year), changed prison work practices (€20 million a year), and €685,000 annual savings from Teagasc reorganisation and redeployment. New Garda rosters come into force in April. Meanwhile, local councils have also been reorganising to cope with a 20% cut in local authority staffing. Fingal county council has saved €16.5 million in payroll and other savings while Galway city has saved €700,000. Overall, the Croke Park Implementation Body has verified that the agreement directly led to annual savings of over €680 million in the year up to June 2011. The trend continued in the second half of 2011 and appears to be accelerating in 2012. The implementation body will report on the second year of progress in June. In total, the Government intends to cut the public service workforce by 38,000 and to slash €3.5 billion off the pay and pension bill by 2015 through staff reductions and reforms.

Cuts All this comes on top of average public service pay cuts of 14%, with a further 10% cut for new entrants. “While public servants understand the need for further substantial cost extraction, they are determined that it can be done without further erosion of their pay. And all the experience since the Croke Park agreement was negotiated shows that they are correct,” says Shay Cody. Michael McGoldrick agrees that the Croke Park critics have got it badly wrong. “I don’t know what alternative they would go for. All out strikes and hostility between the public sector and Government? I can’t really see what the alternative would be. It sounds wonderful. Tear up Croke Park and all our problems will be solved. But where do you go from there? Do you start negotiating with each union, in each sector for each discipline? It would take forever,” he says. l

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Photo: dreamstime.com

Workers’ rights

What unions did when the games came to town The London Olympics are almost upon us, with the Paralympic games hot on their heels. NIALL SHANAHAN finds out what trade unions did to ensure workers’ rights took their place on the winner’s podium. 10

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FOR TWO weeks 17,000 athletes will represent 200 countries, competing in 26 different sports in front of about 500,000 live spectators and a global TV audience of billions. Nothing matches the Olympics’ power to grab global attention. Another 60,000 people have been involved in its planning, organisation and construction. Thousands more will provide food and refreshment, accommodation, transport, cleaning and other services to the throng that will descend on London this summer. Many others across the globe are working to provide equipment and merchandise for the event. ‰


Promoting quality local employment during construction, and helping to create sustainable long term employment, was also at the heart of the unions’ approach. Crucially, this influenced the selection of the site for the games.

“Our argument was that a world class games needed a world class workforce. The eyes of the world would be on everything that happens, and that brings massive reputational risks for everybody involved,” she says. The unions forged a constructive relationship with the Olympics organising committee and the development authority charged with building the various Olympic sites. They agreed principals aimed at ensuring workers earned a living wage. “Ensuring that labour standards were factored into procurement policy was a key factor. It

Photo: gettyimages.ie

The unions have been busy too. Frances O’Grady, deputy general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (the TUC, which is the British equivalent of ICTU) told me that unions have worked from the outset to ensure proper labour standards in every aspect of the project’s development, with a strong focus on making sure the games leave a positive legacy in the city.

meant companies with union recognition agreements and good labour standards could compete fairly.” The agreement also covered health and safety, learning and skills. Promoting quality local employment during construction and helping to create sustainable long term employment possibilities was also at the heart of the TUC’s approach. Crucially, this influenced the selection of the site for the games. Then-mayor Ken Livingstone helped ensure that a run-down polluted site in East London was chosen. “Had a different site been chosen, this area would have remained neglected,” says Frances.

The TUC’s approach was informed by the experience of Australian trade unions at the 2000 Sydney games. “They gave us a warts-and-all briefing and advised us on what worked and what they would have done differently,” says Frances O’Grady Frances. ‰ WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 11


Workers’ rights She places great emphasis on what she calls “the practical strands” of the working relationship with the Olympic bodies. Central to this was an onsite ‘learning centre,’ a facility to deliver training and information, and provide trade union eyes and ears on the ground. As part of the agreement, union officials had good access to work sites. But these agreements were only as strong as the reps and ac-

tivists on the ground. “This is where the learning centre came into its own. It allowed us to build a trade union community on site,” says Frances. The learning centre helped unions to identify incidences of non-compliance with the living wage principle among non-unionised workers. “We were able to ensure proper labour standards and toughen up on implementation, provide training materials and ensure that the principle of a living wage was a reality,” she says l

Playing fair OLYMPIC MERCHANDISE is big business with thousands of workers across the globe producing big brand trainers, tracksuits and baseball caps as well as stuffed mascots, key rings, and all the rest. Most of the manufacturing takes place in China, India and other parts of Asia – and the profits are staggering. In a campaign jointly coordinated by the TUC and Labour Behind the Label (LBL), Playfair 2012 is working to win maximum protection for workers throughout the supply chain. Following dialogue with Playfair 2012, the London games’ organisers agreed to help ensure compliance with international ethical trading and labour standards. This included a complaints and dispute resolution mechanism, enabling workers to report violations of their rights regardless of where they linked in to the global production chain. The TUC’s Frances O’Grady explains: “This meant we knew exactly where Olympic merchandise was being manufactured, and it gave unions the opportunity to carry out inspections and research. It also helped ensure that workers were free to join unions.” The agreement means the London games have gone further and deeper on workers’ rights than ever before and the organisers have undertaken to pass on the knowledge to the 2016 Rio games. Playfair continues to focus on long-standing concerns about sweatshop labour, particularly in the production of branded sportswear. For more visit www.playfair2012.org.uk.

€4,000 FREE DEATH IN SERVICE COVER d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

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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Getting involved

Union training There’s been overwhelming demand for a new training programme for IMPACT members who want to get more involved in the union. BERNARD HARBOR reports. Members from the west training in Galway.

JUST A year ago Julie Flood had never contacted the union, let alone been to a meeting. Now she’s a local union rep for her small Dublin City Council office and three others in the area. “I had an issue at work myself and there was nobody to go to locally. I approached the IMPACT branch and, after taking up my issue, they asked if I’d be interested in being a rep. I thought ‘I can just sit on my hands and do nothing, or take part’,” she says. Julie, who’s been an IMPACT member for seven years, also signed up for a new training programme, launched by the union last year for members who’ve an interest in becoming a little more involved in union business. “I’d never been to a union meeting, let alone any training. I was an absolute novice. But the course gave me the confidence to tell people I was a union rep. I feel much more at ease now. People wouldn’t have approached me before, but now they come and ask me about the union and their issues,” she says.

SUMMER 2012

Demand for places has been little short of overwhelming, according to union official Ashley Connolly who’s been driving the project for the last year. “Our initial objective was to train around 60 emerging activists in the first tranche, but more than double that number are now participating and we’ve had to put on extra sessions. We expected strong demand but the level of interest has far outweighed our expectations and the feedback from participants has been really positive,” she says.

The course includes totally fresh material and a new style of training, aimed at those with little knowledge but plenty of interest in being part of the union. It’s based firmly on participation “I’d never been to a union meeting, let and discussion and is delivered in alone any training. I was an absolute four one-day modules which cover how the union works, basic comnovice. But the course gave me the munications skills, dealing with confidence to tell people I was a union management and members’ issues, and building union strength.

rep. I feel much more at ease now.”

The new course, called ‘Making an IMPACT,’ gives you basic information about the union, how it works, and what it does for members. Crucially, it outlines the support that local reps get 14

from their branches and union staff and stresses that they can opt to take on as much or as little as they want.

The training usually involves groups of about 12-14 members and courses have so far been run in Cork, Dublin, Galway, the midlands and the north east. More courses are planned for the second half of 2012. Seamus Ryan, a library assistant in Ennis with no previous union training, says the course really boosted his confidence. ‰


opens doors “The training was great. A real eye-opener, not just about industrial relations, but about the people involved in the union who can support you. It gives you confidence to go out and get your voice heard,” he says.

“The style and content is fresh. It’s not aimed at dyed-in-thewool activists, but at ordinary members who have the interest and ability to get a little more involved in local union activities.” While the new course is aimed at potential and emerging activists, a second more advanced set of modules is being developed for the next stage. These sessions, also designed with existing activists in mind, will be launched in the autumn.

Fresh IMPACT deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan, who has overall responsibility for the initiative, says the project has been driven by the union’s training sub-committee led by vice president Margaret Coughlan. “The style and content is fresh. It’s not aimed at dyed-in-thewool activists, but at ordinary members who have the interest and ability to get a little more involved in local union activities. Crucially, we are asking union staff to follow up to make sure

The style is fresh, with lots of participation.

those who’ve done the course continue to get support in the new roles they take on,” says Kevin. Just as demand for places has been high, the enthusiasm of participants has been really encouraging. Like Julie Flood, a number of participants have opted for election to local branch committees after doing the course while others have taken on additional responsibilities. “When you think about it, it’s obvious what the union does for you. But after the course it was very clear to me. The words ‘role play’ used to send me into a panic. But this course was light-hearted as well as informative. I’m much more confident now and feel able to deal with members’ questions,” she says. Contact mgorman@impact.ie for more information and an application form for the next round of training l

New benefits for IMPACT members €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 IMPACT members in the National Rehabilitation Hospital help put lives back together when people lose mobility, speech or cognitive faculties. MARTINA O’LEARY met some of them.

Rebuilding every d “YOU REALISE how important every day is. None of these people expected to be here. They had jobs, normal lives, and suddenly the rug was pulled from under them. It could be me tomorrow.” So says IMPACT rep Jacqui Kavanagh, who provides administrative support in the spinal service at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin. A horrific accident, a brutal attack, a stroke or a brain haemorrhage. The world around you crumbles. But this amazing team of people is providing specialist rehabilitation to help patients reach their full potential after these lifechanging events.

Interdisciplinary teams of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, dietatians, pharmacists, prosthetists and orthotists, provide personalised treatment plans to give patients every chance. Physiotherapist John Lynch, who treats people with spinal cord and other nerve injuries, says the NRH is a place to come to terms with the psychological enormity of severe injuries, as well as physical recovery. “It’s a big adjustment when you have a spinal cord injury. Suddenly all the routine things you take for granted are taken away from you. We make people as independent as possible, no matter what their disability. For some it could be driving a power wheelchair with their chin or practicing getting a wheelchair in and out of a car so they can live as normal and fulfilling a life as possible,” he says. Aisling Weyham is one of a team of occupational therapists who help patients in very practical ways, this includes basic tasks, such as, washing and dressing yourselves, preparing food and drinks. “We establish someone’s current level of function. What they are likely to achieve here and what they

IMPACT members working at the NRH Jacqui Kavanagh, Aneesa Ally, Aisling Weyham and John Lynch.

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are going back home to? What do they need to be in relation to their home set-up and work situation? That’s what you’re working towards.” “We look at driving. It brings a higher level of independence. Social participation becomes much more possible when driving becomes achievable,” she says. The OTs also offer a vocational service. “We link with employers if it’s needed and if the patient consents. There are people u

Photos: Michael Crean Photography

It’s about learning the basics again. Learning to think, remember, walk, talk, converse and socialise. And look after yourself as best you can.


But the job can be difficult, particularly when it comes to breaking bad news. “It can be heart breaking. It takes a skill, which you develop with experience, but it still hits a nerve. You really want the family to get good news. They come in hoping the patient will change dramatically, but it’s not always the case.” says Aneesa.

y day lives

Cutbacks and staff reductions don’t help either. “We try to keep as positive as we can and we have a great team here. But we feel the same pressures as everywhere else,” says John. “Staffing issues are a bit of a challenge. You are obviously trying to keep the same level of care up for the patients, but there’s a huge demand put on us. Sometimes you feel you’re running around left, right and centre,” he says.

“You’re trying to keep the same level of care up for the patients, but there’s a huge demand put on us. Sometimes you feel you’re running around left, right and centre.”

Physiotherapist John Lynch helps make patients as independent as possible.

who will get back to work and those who will not. It’s a real team effort – not just OTs but all the disciplines,” says Aisling. After a trauma many patients need the specialist care of a speech and language therapist. Senior SLT Aneesa Ally works with patients who can’t eat or swallow. “Seeing them leave here on an oral diet is a great achievement. I feel like I’m really giving back to the community,” she says.

Jacqui agrees that it’s disheartening to see services cut and people not getting what they need to enable them to go home. “The worst is when services are cut in the community. You see the problems people have trying to get the community and home care they need to achieve the best possible quality of life and independence once they leave the NRH. But a good day is when you see someone come back as an outpatient and see how well they’ve done,” she says. l

You can help Contact the National Rehabilitation Hospital to make a donation or take part in organising a fundraising event. Phone 01-235-5280, e-mail fundraising@nrh.ie or make a donation to the NRH Foundation at www.mycharity.ie.

FREE legal representation in d Enhancehip s r e b m me 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


Gaeltacht 2012

IMPACT makes a number of small grants towards members’ children’s trips to the Gaeltacht. Look out for details on our website – www.impact.ie

win To be in with a chance to

WIN ONE OF TWO HALF SCHOLARSHIPS worth up to €375 all you need to do is: send your name, postal address and the name of your school by e-mail to: eolas@gael-linn.ie and put IMPACT in the subject box.

Coláiste Chorca Dhuibhne Corca Dhuibhne Gaéltacht West Kerry

IRISH SUMMER COLLEGES 2012 Courses for 10 – 18 year olds in Ceann Trá, Feothanach, Cill Mhic a Domhnaigh, Mináird, Muiríoch, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh.

Courses in July Residential Course at Coláiste Íde on Dingle Harbour for boys and girls 10 years old up to 2nd year secondary school.

An Rúnaí, Coláistí Chorca Dhuibhne, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, Trá Lí, Co. Chiarraí

For brochure or further information please contact:

Tel: 066-915-6100 Fax: 066-915-6348 www.colaiste.ie


Your career

No whispering or shouting ISOBEL BUTLER says anyone can become more assertive at work. And it’s not about shouting others down. DO YOU tend to agree to things because you feel you have no choice and are powerless to do differently? Have you ever responded aggressively, or not spoken up, and regretted it later? If so, greater assertiveness could help you in your career. With effort and practice anyone can learn to behave assertively and improve equality in their relationships. Asser tiveness involves standing up for yourself and protecting your rights whilst at the same time respecting the rights of others. It’s about being able to comfortably, confidently and calmly express your opinion while encouraging others to be equally honest and forthright. Assertiveness is different from aggression, which stems from a belief that “I have all the rights. I am right and you are wrong.” It’s also different from a submissive stance that suggests that your opinion needs and rights don’t matter.” This attitude breeds those feelings of powerlessness. Assertive people strive to read social cues and adapt their behaviour to suit the situation and the other parties involved. Effective verbal and non-verbal communication is key.

Photo: dreamstime.com

Honestly and clearly saying what’s on your mind in a respectful, firm manner is central to assertiveness. It doesn’t involve screaming and shouting, point scoring or putting others down. Nor does it involve keeping quiet to keep the peace, or letting others make choices for you. Speaking about how you feel, in a way that doesn’t put others down, is a good way to start. “I feel quite upset after hearing that” is an effective way of asserting your feelings as opposed to “You’re an ignorant so and so,” which will certainly be perceived as aggressive and trigger defensive responses from others. Using ‘I’ rather than ‘you’ is less likely to trigger defensiveness. An assertive person strives to ensure that all parties feel they have been treated equally. Think of a group discussing lunch venues. An assertive person clearly states their own preferences and encourages others to voice theirs. “I haven’t got much money so would like to go somewhere serving a vegetarian lunch for less than €8. What about everybody else?” ‰ WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 19


Your career Non-verbal communication, expressed in tones and body language, is equally important and needs to be consistent with what you’re saying to convey an assertive attitude. Tone of voice speaks volumes and a key skill is to control your voice.

Photo: dreamstime.com

Shouting is intimidating and makes other’s defensive; whispered arguments delivered in a monotone rarely convince. A well modulate conversational tone is most likely to be taken seriously, sway others and be experienced as non-intimidating.

Getting there Recognise and record the people and situations that you find challenging. How do you feel during these situations? How do you behave? Are you happy with this? “My boss often gives me impossible deadlines late in the day. The only way to meet them is to stay late and I often miss social engagements to get the task done. I feel upset and angry but never say no. I don’t really feel that I have any choice. If I say no he might be angry, I hate a tense atmosphere.” Reflecting and keeping a record like this over a few weeks allows you to pinpoint where change is needed.

ASSERT YOURSELF

l Reflect and get to know yourself l Don’t put yourself down or engage in nega tive thinking l Practice and prepare in advance l Don’t back down if it’s important to you l Stay calm l Voice your opinion l Speak in a normal conversational tone. No whispering or shouting l Invite the other person to voice their opini on and listen to their viewpoint l Make normal eye contact and use body language to show you’re listening l Don’t try to score points.

Learn from others. Observe assertive people in your life and see how they handle the situations or people that you find difficult. Start thinking assertively. Thinking negatively about yourself or seeing yourself as being helpless blocks assertiveness. Be assertive with yourself and start thinking positive thoughts to boost self-confidence. “I can do this. I am a good team player”. Prepare yourself for stressful situations and decide how you will handle the situation. Start planning by remembering what normally happens and how you normally behave. How would you prefer to behave? Imagine yourself handling the situation differently. Can you think of a few different responses? Practice your new assertive response – use a mirror to start with or a trusted friend who can give you some feedback. Now try it in the real world. Reflect on it. What worked? What didn’t? Set realistic goals to identify where you would like to be more assertive over the next few weeks 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.

20

SUMMER 2012


Your say

Who’s Leonard Peltier? Sttatrer Le 5 0 €

Ask Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Robert Redford

IMPACT member SIOBHÁN CURRAN argues the case for a wrongfully-imprisoned native American activist.

The European Parliament has also approved a resolution calling for Peltier to be released. The incident that led to his conviction involved a shoot-out at Pine Ridge, a native American reservation in South Dakota, which resulted in the deaths of two FBI officers who had come to arrest a young man who accused of stealing a pair of cowboy boots. The death of a young native American man killed by a sniper bullet during the same incident has never been investigated. Peltier was arrested months later and was eventually convicted of “aiding and abetting” for which he received two life sentences. No one was ever convicted for the murders.

paign to have Leonard released by President Obama, which seems the last option left. Leonard Peltier has been in prison for my entire life and longer than he was ever a free man. This is a travesty of justice, a crime in itself. While delegates attend the IMPACT biennial conference in May, thousands of supporters of the campaign will be converging on Washington to demand human rights for Leonard. This will follow a long walk across America, something that Indians were forced to do for centuries as settlers banished them from their homelands. Photo: gettyimages.ie

NATIVE AMERICAN Leonard Peltier has so far served 36 years of a 70-year sentence in connection with the death of two FBI agents on an Indian reservation in 1976. Peltier has always maintained his innocence and deep concerns over the fairness of his trial have been expressed by Amnesty International, whose 1999 statement calling for his release questioned the fairness of the proceedings leading to his conviction.

Peltier is now almost 70 years old and in poor health. There is a surge in international support for calls for a Presidential pardon and his immediate release. Supporters include Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Robert Redford, 55 members of Congress and many more public and academic figures.

"A deeply moving and very disturbing story of a gross miscarriage of justice and an eloquent 'cri de coeur' of native Americans for redress and to be regarded as human beings with inalienable rights guaranteed under the United States constitution. We pray that it does not fall on deaf ears. America owes it to herself."

During the period of Famine in Ireland, Choctaw Indians collected and sent over the sum of $710 to help Irish men, women and children who were starving to death. Perhaps it is time that we repaid some of that debt to the Indian people l

Siobhán Curran is a member of IMPACT’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaking about Leonard Peltier's 1999 North Dublin HSE prison writings, collected in My Life is my Sun Dance. branch. You can find out more about the Peltier’s life long friend Jean Ann Day campaign to free Leonard Peltier – and was recently in Ireland to raise awareadd your support – at www.whois ness and support for an international leonardpeltier.info. Check out the Irish day of solidarity for Leonard. I met her campaign on www.facebook.com/ and heard first hand about the camirelandforpeltier

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

Agency workers to get equal rights New legislation means agency workers will at last be entitled to the same pay and working conditions as their directly-employed colleagues. ESTHER LYNCH reports. FOLLOWING YEARS of trade union campaigning with Irish governments and European institutions, agency workers in Ireland are set to benefit from legislation that will enhance their workplace rights.

In any event there is no exemption from agency workers’ rights to equal conditions, treatment or access to facilities. Under the new law, all agency workers – regardless of whether or not they are paid between assignments – are entitled to the same working time, rest periods, breaks, night work, annual leave, public holidays and other conditions as their directlyemployed colleagues.

The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 will turn an EU directive on the rights of agency workers into Irish law. The European legislation says agency workers must broadly get the same treatment as permanent staff in the organisations they work in.

They should also have equal access to any on-site facilities like canteens, car parks, crèches, toilets, showers and staff rooms. However, this is the only area where the legislation allows for less favourable treatment if an employer can show there is ‘objective justification’ for different treatment. In other words, employers must prove there is a good reason for any different treatment. Cost alone is not a sufficient reason and employers can’t simply cite the fact that the worker comes from an agency.

In practical terms, it means agency workers must receive at least the same pay and conditions they’d get if they had they been recruited directly by the employer to occupy the same job. It’s a protection for directly-employed staff too because it will severely limit employers’ ability to undercut pay and conditions by hiring cheaper agency staff.

Image: dreamstime.com

The new law will require agency workers to be paid the same basic pay, shift premiums, piece rates, overtime premiums, unsocial hours' payments and Sunday premiums normally paid to directly-recruited staff. There is no qualifying period before an agency worker is entitled to equal treatment – the safeguards apply to all agency workers, in the public and private sectors, from day one. However, there are some situations where the equal pay clause won’t apply. Workers who are directly and permanently employed by an agency, and receive at least half pay between assignments, are not covered. This is sometimes called the ‘Swedish derogation,’ although agency workers in Sweden are entitled to 80% of their pay between assignments. ICTU opposed this element of the legislation because we feared it could be used to circumvent equality rights in this legislation and more broadly. 22

SUMMER 2012

All agency workers must also be informed of any permanent employment opportunities within the organisation they are working in and must be allowed to apply for vacancies in the same way as direct employees. This doesn’t mean the agency worker has a right to be recruited. But it outlaws clauses prohibiting or preventing them from taking up a job offer. The Irish Government missed the 5th December 2011 deadline for writing the EU legislation into Irish law. However, EU principles of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ effect mean that agency workers are now entitled to the rights set out in the original European directive and the Government told employment agencies to make arrangements to ensure that the principles of equal treatment set out in the Bill were put in place for agency workers assigned on or after 5th December 2011. Your union will be able to help you if you think your rights have been breached as a result of the delay in implementation – or if they are breached in future. Esther Lynch is legal affairs officer at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions l


Winni

ng you r righ ts

IMPAC T taking has a long an includ cases und d successf u er th ing a is kin l track reco worke rd d of rs a c landmark legisla of o v help tion, yo u w u p l e o f ye a i c t o r y fo r rs bac i n yo u f breac k. The ixed-ter m hing t r righ he law ts if union y protec our e Agenc mploy can ting a y wo gency er rkers condi w orkers is tio w . comp ns or acce ho don’ t la ss to get e amen q month in to a Rig u a l iti p hts C s of t ommi es must us ay, h can r ssione ually ise to e date of t r with he all 12 m reason in six ege on f award or the dela ths if you d breach. This y. Tho ed up c a n sh se to two years’ who win ca ow good The ca ses ca gross s n be pay. rather e will usuall y be t than t aken a he org unless ga a detail the organis nisation yo inst the age s of th u are ation ncy wo e ha emplo yed s pay of ‘com s provided rking in, ta condit p ions w ff you co arators’ – t incorrect he dir mpare ith. ectly The co yo u r mpara p ay a tor or obviou nd co s. emplo For instanc mparators will no yees in e, if th t e allow for com the organis re are no d always be irectly a tion, t a dire pariso hir he ct ns to b e mad legislation ed definit hire. ICTU may e ions o w ‘ a a s n ts if ’ f a fina l word comparato Irish law to there was rs, bu ing. matc t we h The Eu aven’t h EU ropea yet go n dire is ba t ctiv se condit d says th e on which e io th “for th ns of temp working a e new Irish orary nd em law e d u ra a under g p t taking ion of thei ency worke loyment r , at le r they ast th assignmen s shall be h ose th t at a under a d b e e n at us ta re will u king to occ cruited d would app er ly if irectly ndoub upy th t e sam opera by tion o edly devel op ab e job.” Cas that f the c e law out t ompa There he us rator. ar e and too, w e some oth er vag h ue bit could ich leaves s in th scope go in e le favour fo anoth er rea or aga r interpre gislation tation son to inst a exper tise of th c d your u raw on the laimant. Th at nion. at’s exper ience and

Esthe

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This article is for information only and is not intended as a complete or authoritative statement of the law or individual pension entitlements.

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

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

Dress your age, not your shoe size Follow TRISH O’MAHONY’S advice and you’ll never hear them mutter “mutton.”

in our twenties we can wear pretty much what we like. A different code applies once we reach our forties and beyond. It’s about striking that balance between looking our best, expressing our personality, wearing clothes that enhance our best features and looking fashionable yet age appropriate.

Effortless VENTURING INTO the thorny topic of age appropriate dressing is a risky business. We don’t want to be dictated to by a society placing limits on us at a time when we’re feeling more confident in our own skin. Anyway, it’s a bit sweeping to say women over 40 shouldn’t wear miniskirts. Hotpants are another issue! Most of us like to express ourselves through what we wear, and we want the freedom to choose. Others play so safe they add years onto themselves. And then there are those who like to know the rules so they can decide when to break them, on a rule by rule basis. But have you stood in front of the changing room mirror and thought “Mutton?” It’s not a pleasant feeling. We want to look our feminine, fashionable best, but are conscious of how easy it is to get it wrong. When we’re Mint Embellished sweater, Raffia Wedges, Crop Jeans, Sports Watch, Next. 24

SUMMER 2012

Top New York stylist Kendall Farr, author of Style Evolution, advises: “Too old? Too young? Who cares? Take age out of the equation all together and develop a style strategy that looks ageless.” She sees the objective as looking effortless, sophisticated, current and cool as we get older. “It’s not about looking too young or like you’ve given up,” she reckons. Others say you’ve strayed into ‘mutton and lamb’ territory when you’re wearing your daughter’s clothes. But it’s hard not to when teenagers are wearing pretty bow blouses, loafers and cardigans that any self

Aim for clothes that skim, rather than cling. Adapt trends to suit you and don’t be pressurised into wearing anything you don’t feel comfortable in. respecting 50-year-old would feel is easily in their comfort zone. By all means wear them, but wear them differently than your daughter would. Regardless of our size, our bodies soften as we age. Skin changes too. And sags. Our clothes require more structure to create a good line. If your arms are toned, show them off. If not, camouflage. Same goes for legs. If you have a waist, emphasise it. Aim for clothes that skim, rather than cling. Adapt trends to suit you and don’t be pressurised into wearing anything you don’t feel comfortable in. ‰


Top stylist Kendall Farr sees the objective as looking effortless, sophisticated, current and cool as we get older. “It’s not about looking too young or like you’ve given up,” she says.

Style Long line jackets are still fashionable this year and fall into the ageless and timeless category. It’s a good look with skinny jeans, the preferred style for nine out of ten women according to the Sunday Times Style Guide. Equally good with fitted tops or fitted dresses. Warehouse and Oasis are well priced and the quality is in the fabric. Tuxedo jackets have an ageless quality for a dressier finish. Avoid the combination of too tight, too short and too low. If you want to wear short, wear a high neck top. If you want to wear a low top, balance it with length. Wrap dresses look good on any age group and flatter almost every body shape. High heels always look good but shoes you can’t walk in don’t. They only cheapen the most carefully chosen ensemble. Wedges are a great alternative option; comfortably, high, dressy and fashionable. But, above all, avoid that overly conservative, dowdy look. Cardigans used to hide a shape, dresses and skirts too long, dull and overly muted colours.

Clockwise from top: Multi coloured letter print scarf £75 Timney, House of Fraser. Yellow Colour Skinny €13, Penneys. Cream shoe, Glimmer £85/€115, Dune. Brown ‘Imogen’ cross body bag £89/€110, Linea Weekend. Red slinky jersey dress £180 Pied a Terre, House of Fraser. Lemon Lace detail blouse, Next.

And now, let the preacher practice the preach! l

BENDING THE RULES

a a a a a

Buy less, spend more. Good quality fabrics really do fall better. Dress to flatter your body first. Develop your own personal trademark.

Update your hairstyle and colour to take years off your appearance.

Use comfort as your cue. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t wear it. Avoid low cut jeans and opt for higher waistbands instead. They are more comfortable and forgiving.

a a a a a

Main Pic: Cream draped dress £50 by Label Lab, House of Fraser.

If you think coloured jeans are too young look at Michelle Obama sporting bright blues! Avoid the combination of too tight, too short, too low. Wear clothes that skim the body rather than cling. Buy lined clothes or wear a slip. High heels are always a classic but wedges are the best choice for comfort. Trench coats are your friend. Timeless, ageless and always fashionable.

Sandstone Poly Drape Jacket, €19; Chiffon Lace Collar Blouse, €15; Lace Shorts, €19; Pyramid Box Clutch, €10, Pennys.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 25


Be good to yourself

Ancient tightner w you tuck in that t It’s getting hard to hide those expanding waist lines as summer approaches. KAREN WARD says an ancient yoga tummy tightner will help you get trim. IT’S TIME to get into summer clothes and the daunting swimsuit. It’s tempting to delay if we’ve put on some pounds over the winter and our middle is bigger than before. Your waistline is your lifeline, and if you can keep it in trim the rest of your body will also stay in good shape. This particularly applies to men. Unfortunately women tend to put weight on all over. But for both genders, it is the stomach and abdomen – affectionately known as the tum – that go first. So what can we do? Here is a very simple, highly effective exercise that really works. The ancient yoga posture known as uddiyana bha is also called the retraction or tummy tightner. It’s simple to do and recommended before meals – ideally before breakfast when there is no food in your system. u

Reduce the amount of bread you eat. Especially white bread, which blocks your digestive system and bloats out your tum. If you find you start your day with your normal waist line, but it’s tight at the end of the day you should definitely experiment with your bread intake. Try Ryvita or oat cakes.

Don’t eat on the go. Your stomach and abdomen need you to eat in a relaxed way. If you eat on the run or in a rush, the food won’t have a chance to digest and will ferment producing gas and constipation. Slowly enjoy your food.

Pilates is the new buzzword for a very effective exercise regime that tones the stomach and abdomen while strengthening the low back. Basically you imagine the abdominal muscles and your lower back as a strong cylinder at the centre of your body supporting everything else. 26

SUMMER 2012

As you sit there, pull your stomach and abdomen in as • though you are zipping up tight jeans. We all know what that feels like! Breathe normally and after 40-50 seconds the tum will return to normal. But you will have started to strengthen it and remind it of how it’s meant to be! Pick a repetitive event in your day - answering the phone, going for a drink of water, stopping at traffic lights – and make it your reminder to zip up. After a week or two it will be second nature and your low back will feel great. It also does wonders for your confidence as you see your tum reduce before your eyes.

Sit correctly when you eat. Don’t slouch over the table. Give your tum room to prepare for your food by sitting up straight.

Never eat when angry or stressed. You won’t be able to digest properly. about? l

Photos: Dreamstime.com

Photo: Dreamstime.com

Keeping to simple food rules and regular exercise will help reduce the tum


Photos: Dreamstime.com

Stand or sit straight and exhale deeply. Hold your breath out by holding your nose and suck in your stomach muscles – those above the navel. If you are doing this correctly you’ll feel a slight tightness at the throat, which lets you know that the suction effect of holding your breath and sucking in the muscles is working. Hold as long as you can and then inhale through your nose. The snorty noise is the release of the suction. The stomach retraction exercise will tone your waist and stomach muscles. Five would be a terrific start to the day. But even two will add a pep to your step and tone to your tum. Don’t do it if you’re pregnant, after a heavy meal or until six to eight weeks after surgery. A separate abdominal retraction exercise will help tone your waist and abdominals. Sit leaning over with your arms folded on your knees. Exhale deeply through your mouth. Hold your breath out by holding your nose and suck in abdominal muscles. Snort your breath in through your nose and the abdomen will release itself.l

d Enhancehip s r e b mem benefits in 2012

Photo: Conor Healy

r will help tum Conference charity cycle The third IMPACT conference charity cycle, from Limerick to the IMPACT conference in Killarney, will take place on Wednesday 16th May. Previous cycles have raised €40,000 for suicide awareness programmes and cancer research. This year branches are being asked to give financial support to help raise funds for suicide prevention. Branches are also being asked to nominate people to join the event – and they don’t have to cycle the full 70 miles. For more information contact Dessie Robinson or Eamonn Donnelly at 01-817-1557 or jmckenna@impact.ie. If you’re donating, makes cheques payable to IMPACT Conference Charity. All donors will get a receipt.

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

Walk the peaks and make a point TRISH O’MAHONY says walking is cheap, fun and healthy. And a weekend trek could help beat privatisation too. AT A time when people increasingly want weekend activities that that don’t cost the earth, the Woodland League has expressed concerns that the Government’s threat to sell Coillte’s forestry assets will mean fewer facilities for walkers. The not-for-profit organisation wants the public to reclaim their local forests by walking them every Sunday until the decision is reversed. So what better time to lace up those boots and partake in the most convenient, cost efficient and de-stressing pastime of all? All you need is suitable footwear, waterproof clothing and a little bit of time.

Photos: dreamstime.com

Planning is the key to getting the most out of summer walking weekends. Pick different areas of the country for variety. Invite and cajole family members along. Bring a picnic. Preset the oven and dinner can be started by the time you get back. ‰

The Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare 28

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Howth summit


spot red squirrels on your Taking children to forest “Taking children to forest parks, lakes and journey. Walks are suitparks, lakes and mounmountains instils a love of nature and the outdoors able for all ages and fittains instils a love of nature and the outdoors that that will remain with them all their lives regardless ness levels and organised guides can be arranged will remain with them all of economic ups and downs.” too. The 18th Annual their lives, regardless of Walking Festival takes place from Friday 4th May to Monday the economic ups and downs. There’s a great social side to hill 7th May, 2012. walking, especially at weekends. And, once you get the walking bug, there’s plenty of clubs you can join if you want more chalI was recently in Ardmore Bay, west Waterford, where there’s litlenging hikes. tle except beautiful scenery, a long golden sandy beach and cliff walks. And of course the exquisitely appointed Cliff House Panoramic hotel with its Michelin star restaurant. But that’s another story. Dubliners are familiar with beautiful walks around the cliffs and Hill of Howth. Others will profit from driving the distance to savour the panoramic views of Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island and the Bailey lighthouse. When walking around Howth Head you can start from the summit car park or the Howth side. For a more challenging walk, set off from the Red Rock on the Sutton side of Howth and it takes about 90 minutes to reach the other side of the Head. The walking path between Sutton and Howth summit is less travelled and takes in great views of Dublin Bay and, on a clear day, the Wicklow mountains. Stop off in the lively village of Howth for refreshments and complete your circular walk back to the car park. Allow 2-3 hours. Head south for the breathtaking beauty of the monastic valley of Glendalough with its well-marked scenic walks around the upper and lower lakes. Don’t be put off by the hoards of day trippers that descend in good weather. It’s otherwise postcard perfect. Nearby Glenmalure is less known, but you can combine one or two day walking trips with an overnight stay in Laragh.

Remote If you want something further from the madding crowd, head to the gentle rolling hills of the Slieve Bloom mountains in Laois and Offaly. These are among the most unspoilt and least explored mountains in Ireland. The 2012 Lonely Planet guide describes them as “wonderfully free of tour buses and souvenir stalls.” Enjoy it while it lasts! Listen out for traditional music as you travel through unspoilt, sleepy little villages like Kinnity and Clonaslee, and you might

The Burren

Ardmore is the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland. Saint Declan brought Christianity to the area even before Saint Patrick made his mark. The cliff walk will take you around Ardmore Head and Ram’s Head, taking in Saint Declan's Well and Oratory and a 12th century round tower. It’s a great spot for whale and dolphin watching, with plenty of recent sightings noted. Not by us, mind you, but maybe if we had allowed the time, who knows?

Westwards Heading west, you certainly will return once you experience the unique but eerie beauty of the Burren, Mullaghmore and the stunning Cliffs of Moher, in North County Clare. Believe me. The Burren is renowned for its rare flora and fauna and it doesn’t matter if you don’t know your orchids from your mountain aven or your grasshoppers from your crickets. You’ll be immersed in pure nature in its finest form. You can choose from a selection of mapped out walks, from easy, to moderate, to climbing on fairly rough terrain. Even in the height of summer you might not see a car for miles so it’s good for road walking and cycling. The towns and villages in this area are famous for traditional Irish music and dancing. In fact, there are so many outdoor activities in North Clare you could turn this into your summer holiday and not be bored. Vasco restaurant just outside Fanore is well worth a mention for the quality of its food and views. Alternatively, Monks in Ballyvaughan serves great food and delicious seafood chowder. No matter where you live you’ll find beauty if you look for it. Whether it’s the canals of Kildare or Dublin, woodlands, cliffs or mountains, walking is free. And it’s good for you l

Glendalough

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 29


In the kitchen

Beautiful buffets save time and money Dinner parties are out. Catering for a summer crowd is all about buffets these days, says MARGARET HANNIGAN. THERE WAS a time when we complained about being time-poor. We’d sigh and have another latte, and talk about downsizing and simplifying and growing our own vegetables. Quite a lot of us are now doing that, but not through choice. Time-money parity has indeed been achieved: We’re broke in both ways. But hard times are a great incentive to rethink how we do things. We need to cook smarter, not harder. The trend is towards casual suppers rather than dinner parties nowadays. But the infinitely adaptable buffet has a lot to offer if you’re considering anything larger than half a dozen friends round the kitchen table. A buffet is simply a meal of several dishes from which guests serve themselves. After that, it’s entirely up to you. You can serve hot or cold food, or both. You can do finger or fork food, or even or have a barbecue. You can theme Asian, Indian, vegetarian, Italian, Eurovision, or whatever you like.

Image: dreamstime.com

The big advantage is that it’s bulk-cooking and self-service. Timing is not an issue and you’re free to be with your guests. When they arrive, all that remains is to pop a few corks, slide some trays of goodies into the oven, and start your favourite playlist. ‰

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Flavours are deadened by the cold and salads and cheeses especially need to be at room temperature to be at their best. Do be careful of sunny spots in conservatories and the like. They can do nasty things to mayonnaise, shellfish and cold meats, which should be kept comfortably cool but not freezing. If necessary, you can place platters of food over containers of ice, concealed beneath some artfully draped fabric.

Hot or cold? Good quality salamis and cold cuts are easily available, as are good olives, cheeses, breads, nuts, and fresh pasta for salads. You can cook a lot of food in advance, including joints of meat, quiches, savoury tarts, and desserts. Breads can be given that just-baked glow by placing them in a hot oven for five minutes before serving. Hot food should be cooked and served fairly quickly. Aim to serve in two batches if necessary, rather than having stuff hanging around or shoved back in a lukewarm oven. The bacteria that causes foodpoisoning thrives in gentle temperatures, so make sure food is thoroughly cooked – no pink in any chicken portions, please – and then served or let go cold. Vol-au-vent fillings, skewers of meat, fish or vegetables and barbequed ribs can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge.

Most important of all, the food should be portable and easy to eat one-handed or with a fork or spoon.

Desserts Guests never seem to have trouble with dessert. Buy from a good quality bakery if needs be and pre-cut desserts into easy portions. Brownies and similar confectionery can be served in a stack, or piled in baskets for handing round. Individual portions of chocolate mousse trifle or tiramisu can be served in little cups if you have time.

Tables and chairs You’ll need at least one large table, which is probably best placed in a central location so that people can approach from both sides. A smaller table or sideboard for drinks should be placed in a separate area to avoid traffic jams. Dress your table logically. Start with plates, then appetizers, finger food, mains, salads and sides, dressings, seasonings and breads, then finish with cutlery pre-wrapped inside a napkin for ease of carrying. Have appropriate serving implements beside each dish. Put some of the dishes on cake stands or upturned bowls under drapery to give height to the display and for ease of access. At the drinks table, red wine is happy at room temperature while white wine, beer water and minerals should be chilled. If you have ice available, people can sort it out for themselves. Have non-alcoholic options available, plenty of glasses, and plastic beakers and straws for children. Have plenty of chairs. Avoid paper plates, they always sag miserably and make guests nervous. Now all that’s left is the playlist and what to wear l

Beetroot, goat’s cheese and hazelnut tart Serves four as a starter or light lunch THIS RECIPE is easily doubled, possibly with a different filling in each. Don’t be put off by the beetroot, which has a sweet, mild taste when roasted and is far removed from its pickled cousins. You can substitute squash or sweet potato if desired, or walnuts for the hazelnuts. Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Roll out pastry until no thicker than a €2 piece, into square or circle. Transfer to a floured baking tray, prick all over with a fork, then bake for 20 minutes, If the centre has risen after cooking, gently flatten it. Increase oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6. For the topping, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and stir well to coat with the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of water, then season and cover. Reduce the heat to very low, and let the onions sweat for 20 minutes. Check now and then to make sure they’re not burning, add a splash more water if necessary. When ready, the onions should be completely soft. Stir in the rosemary. If the mixture is very wet increase the heat slightly to dry out any excess. Top the pastry with the onions, leaving about 4cm/1.5 inches around the edge. Arrange the beetroot and goat’s cheese on top, season and drizzle with olive oil. Return to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, scattering the hazelnuts on top three minutes before the end of cooking time. Serve immediately.

Ingredients 500g/1lb 2oz puff pastry, thawed if frozen 4 tbsp olive oil 3 large red onions, peeled and very finely sliced Salt and black pepper Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped 350g/12oz cooked beetroot, cut into quarters 250g/9oz goat’s cheese, broken into chunks 2 tbsp hazelnuts, chopped.

WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 31


Green fingers

Growing from s

Our new gardening expert ITA PATTON has some great ideas for beautiful summer beds and plenty of herbs and veg. The mild spring means growth is weeks ahead of schedule. But don’t panic if you don’t have trays of seedlings all ready to be pricked off and planted. There’s still time to sow and, if you’re pressed for time, you can buy young bedding and vegetable plants at your local garden centre.

quickly and will be far happier in a pot than planted out in an Irish garden. Pots also have the added bonus of being movable to the sunniest spot and make for easier access to the kitchen.

Traditional annual plants like marigolds, petunias, geraniums, alyssum and impatiens have served us well, but can look quite bland and staid. I’m not suggesting you completely abandon these old reliables. But why not mix it up a little?

There’s an endless list of herbs that grow well in containers. Thyme, lemon balm, coriander, dill and parsley are just a few. The latter three can be sown indoors in April and pricked out as young plants.

Photo: Conor Healy

You can add height to your borders by introducing taller plants such as cactus dahlias, cosmos, sunflowers and verbena, or by incorporating a climbing support or tepee for your sweet pea. Bamboo canes are perfect and very pliable. Mixing vegetables and herbs with the more familiar bedding plants is a great way to achieve foliage interest. Sage, rosemary, lettuce, rocket and the unsurpassed Swiss chard, are all easy to grow, add so much aesthetic interest, attract the bees, and can be eaten! Don’t worry if space is an issue, or if your garden is a balcony. Many herbs and salad leaves grow well in pots and window boxes. Basil, which should be sown indoors in April, germinates

Herbs

It’s best to sow at intervals, rather than sowing the whole packet at once and then having to dump a lot of healthy young seedlings. Also, most seeds will keep. I’ve often sown seed up to three years old and achieved decent germination. Despite the ultra-mild weather, it’s important to harden off young plants. If you don’t have a cold frame or glasshouse, leave the plantlets out during the day, and cover with glass or bubble wrap on colder nights. By early to mid-May there should be no threat of frost.

Cuttings May and June are the months for taking softwood cuttings from plants like fushia, rosemary and asters. As the name suggests, these are taken from soft shoots produced this year. Pick your – or your neighbour’s – favourite perennial or shrub and take a three to four inch cutting just above a leaf joint. u

Jobs to do

April seed sowing

Sow bedding plants like marigolds, calendula, lobelia, cosmos, cineraria, and the spectacular ‘love lies bleeding’ (Amaranthus caudatus) in trays or pots indoors. Also herbs like basil, dill, coriander and sage and vegetables such as kale, celery and lettuce. Rocket, carrots, parsnips, peas and radishes should be sown thinly in situ.

Spring bulbs

Deadhead, but never cut off the leaves. Let them die back naturally to the bulb to store up reserves for the following year. u 32

SUMMER 2012


scratch Remove the lower leaves and any flowers. If the plant has large leaves, you can cut the remaining two leaves in half to reduce water loss. You can put quite a few cuttings in one pot. Water in and cover with clear plastic (a freezer bag would do the trick) and secure to keep in the moisture. Place in a shady spot and check every so often that condensation does not build up too much. Roots should begin to appear after a month or so, depending on the plant. Not all plants give best results for this type of propagation so check a gardening book or website for a list of plants suitable for softwood cuttings.

Weeds The next three months will be your busiest weeding time. It’s vital to hoe annual weeds like groundsel or dig out perennial weeds such as dandelion before they flower and set seed. Take care when hoeing around your young bedding and vegetables. It’s better to hand weed in these areas. With longer days and fantastic weather (forever the optimist) this is the busiest time in the garden with so much to do – sowing seed, planting, feeding, weeding, mowing. But your hard work will be well rewarded when you savour the long June evenings in the garden filled with colour and perfumes, harvesting fruit and vegetables crops big and small. Ita Patton is a craft gardener in the National Botanic Gardens. Jimi Blake has moved on from Work & Life to extend his lecturing work after three years with the magazine. We wish him all the best. l

Tomatoes

Photos: Dreamstime.com

Those raised from seed or bought as small plants can be planted in greenhouses in late April. Wait two weeks before planting outdoors in a sunny position. Tie (not too tightly) to support. Water after planting and feed weekly throughout the summer.

Potatoes

It is preferable to ‘chit’ seed potatoes - known as tubers in the trade - before planting to give your crop a head start. Place tubers in a tray or egg box in a frost free spot. Small green sprouts will grow from tubers. Rub off all but one or two large shoots before planting in soil that’s well manured or fed with whatever you have to hand. As the leaves begin to emerge in early summer, ‘earth up’ the mound by pulling up soil to the neck of plant. This stops the new tubers turning green.

Lawn Care

Set the blades on the lawn mower higher for the first cut. You should tolerate some lawn weeds, so I would not advocate use of weed killers. Feed lawn with liquid or granular feed and water in well if there is no rain within 24 hours. A healthy lawn will compete more successfully against weeds. l Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

33


At the movies

Pitching a movie MORGAN O’BRIEN says the relationship between sport and movies is not as fraught as you might think. THIS SUMMER will be dominated by two major sporting events: the European football championships in Poland and Ukraine and the London Olympics, although, for those of a certain disposition, every summer is dominated by two other sporting institutions – the GAA football and hurling championships. While there is a convention of counter-programming cinema schedules for an alternative audience during major sporting events, the relationship between sports and movies is more robust than you might think. The recent success of the baseball film Moneyball signals that sport-themed films remain attractive to audiences. The film reflects the more general tendencies of sports movies to focus on the underdog triumphant in the face of adversity or to show a character redeemed in some way. American sports like baseball, basketball and American football loom large within the genre, although the best of them don’t demand a knowledge of the intricacies of the sport. The emphasis is on characters and the broader metaphorical resonance of sport taking precedence.

34

SUMMER 2012

Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham, often cited as one of the best sports movies, ignores standard clichés to examine themes of ageing and masculinity, while the more sentimental Field of Dreams offers a broader reflection on the longing for the past simplicity of American life. Similarly, Friday Night Lights, latterly the source of a successful television series, and Hoosiers use American football and basketball respectively to address not just the role of sports in small-town life but the pursuit of redemption and success by its protagonists. The best sports movies generate a narrative that appeals to audiences beyond those interested in a particular sport. Films that focus on individual characters, such as Rocky’s fairytale triumphs or Mickey Rourke’s wilful self destruction in The Wrestler, draw audiences in with their rich characterisation without requiring a passion for the explicit subject matter. Perhaps this is the reason that biopics and documentaries have proven especially successful, both critically and with audiences. For example, Martin ‰


At a cinema near you Films to watch out for in the next couple of months. Scorsese’s Raging Bull, a biopic of middleweight boxer Jake La Motta, offers a mix of the balletic and the brutal in its rendering of boxing. But it’s perhaps most powerful as a character study.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (27th April) Joss Whedon helms the year’s first big blockbuster, which is full to bursting with comic book heroes as Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor unite to save the world.

More recently The Fighter connected with audiences through its tale of a dysfunctional family life, with boxing forming a backdrop for the narrative. Equally, sports documentaries at their best can capture the human experience at the heart of sport. Hoop Dreams offers an intimate portrait of two high school basketball players situated in the broader context of issues of race and class in the United States. More recently, Senna transcended the overt context of Formula One to offer a detailed exploration of the driver’s motivations and rivalries. Curiously, given its popularity, soccer has been fairly poorly translated to the big screen. Films like When Saturday Comes and the Goal! series are glossed with a facile Roy of the Rovers quality that undercuts any attempt at realism. Escape to Victory is most significant for the novelty of Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone starring with Pele, Ossie Ardiles and Bobby Moore. However, exceptions would include the adaptation of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, which is an entertaining tale of fandom and obsession, while Bend it Like Beckham succeeds as a film about gender and race. The Damned United is most interesting when viewed as a study of male friendship. For me Raging Bull remains a personal favourite, with The Wrestler and the documentary Beyond the Mat as a companion piece also on heavy rotation on my DVD player. While a notable guilty pleasure is Tin Cup, with Kevin Costner as a washed up golfer who plays in the US Open l

Albert Nobbs (27th April) Glenn Close’s personal project, which took her 15 years to get made, earned her an Oscar nomination. Close stars as the titular Albert Nobbs, a woman living as a man in 19th century Dublin.

The Wettest County

(11th May)

John Hillcoat directs Nick Cave’s screenplay about bootleggers in prohibition-era America. The impressive cast features Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain. Oh, and Shia LaBeouf too.

Charlie Casanova

(11th May)

This debut from Irish writer-director Terry McMahon is a dark grim drama about a wealthy man who, after killing a girl in a hit-and-run, uses a deck of cards to determine his actions.

Men in Black III (20th May) After a ten year gap Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agent J and Agent K, with J travelling back in time to team up with the young K (Josh Brolin).

Prometheus

(1st June)

Ridley Scott directs this loose sequel to his 1979 classic Alien. The film stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Guy Pearce as part of a spaceship crew who encounter an advanced alien civilisation.

Casa de Mi Padre (1st June) Played in over-dramatic soap opera style this may be one of those films whose trailer contains all the best moments, but hopefully not. Will Ferrell stars in this Spanish language comedy as a man trying to save his father’s ranch from a drug lord. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 35


Play it loud

Pop and soccer just don’t mix RAYMOND CONNOLLY braces himself for a summer of sloppy soccer songs. AS SOCCER soared towards a saturation peak of popularity in recent years, it became cool for pop stars to come out and tell their gossip-hungry audience what football team they support. But this lovein between football and the cooldom of chart celebrity wasn’t always apparent. Discount Elton John (Watford FC). In all sorts of ways, come to think of it. But time was when it was completely uncool for rock and pop heads to even acknowledge the vaguest interest in the game. Before the 1990s, the football scene was grim. Just not the showbiz game it is today, and unable to provide any added value to the glitz of pop stardom.

Photo: gettyimages.ie

The culture of terrace chanting on these isles ensured that football and music recognised each other. Yet the most famous terrace chants reveal that even the modern supporter hasn't exactly moved with the times. Guide Me O Great Redeemer (You’re Supposed To Be at Home) and The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Glory, Glory Man U*@*?d) never exactly troubled the charts. No more than When The Saints Go Marching In. I know a Southampton fan (just the one) who remains highly vexed that 4-4-2 magazine eulogised this chant as When The Reds Go Marching In, attributing it to you know who. He wasn’t best ‰ 36

SUMMER 2012


pleased when the dark side of north London adopted Oh When The Spurs Go Marching in either.

Five only slightly less plausible songs for Euro 2012

Would it be far-fetched to suggest that former Southampton and now Spurs manager Arry ‘can barely read or write’ Redknapp actually copyrighted the tune and lodged the royalty cheques in an offshore account named after his pet budgerigar ‘Percy?

1 2 3 4 5

Anyway. The purpose of this piece is to warn you. This summer‘s European Championships can be expected to generate the worst of the worst when it comes to the tournament song. Will we as a nation ever rid ourselves of the mental scars inflicted by Italia '90's Put ‘Em Under Pressure? Mixed to the tune of The Horslips’ An Dearg

So You Win Again by Hot Chocolate: The England team comtemplate a possible meeting with Germany in a year that doesn’t end with the digits 66. Once In A lifetime by Talking Heads: The German team contemplates beating England. Same as it ever was. Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley: “We’re caught in a Trap” as Messrs McCarthy, McClean, Houlahan and Co discover the disadvantage of possessing skill. Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd: The Italians threaten to inflict their usual dynamic attacking flair upon us for two weeks. Let’s Gdansk by David Bowie: The Poles get in step for the tournament.

Doon, it was created by lifelong publicity seekers Larry Mullen and U2. In this masterpiece the boys come out with a loud message of encouragement for poultry farmers in need of a leg up “Oh lay, oh lay, oh lay, oh lay!” Them across the water are capable of it too. In the summer of ‘96 we heard nothing but Messrs Skinner and Baddiel with The Lightning Seeds’ Football’s Coming Home. The line “Thirty years of hurt hasn’t stopped me dreaming” should have been written in algebraic format to allow the number to be effortlessly increased every two years. But my favorite was the 1982 World Cup ditty “This Time (We’ll Get It Right). Truly a mea culpa in advance. Similar advance apologies for Euro 2012 songs will be gratefully accepted l

In the hood (Finglas-style) AS A Finglas native (proper Finglas not Bono Finglas) it brings a surge of pride to see young talent like Temperamental Miss Elayneous getting national recognition for her snappy and insightful rap musings. I never fell in love with the rap and hip-hop scene and I admit I never really understood it. Probably through my own fault (I’m Catholic). I didn’t get the revered greatness of the likes of Rakim. All a bit down in the hood for me. But our own Elayneous can certainly mix it lyrically with the best of them. For some reason my home parish has become a Dublin hotbed of the rap scene. It’s certainly moved on from Spiral Finglas: “Stash away your last can, here comes the transit van.” Although, to be fair to Spiral, he does claim that none other than Dr Dre robbed his tune. It wasn’t robbed in Finglas though. As rap is deeply immersed in poetic content, maybe we should thank Bono as an original after all. “Walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away. I will follow.” Epic.

Summer 2012 solutions (From page 46.)

3 8 6 5 4 2 9 7 1

2 1 7 6 9 3 8 4 5

5 4 9 7 1 8 6 3 2

6 3 1 8 7 4 2 5 9

9 5 2 3 6 1 7 8 4

8 7 4 9 2 5 1 6 3

4 9 3 1 8 6 5 2 7

7 6 5 2 3 9 4 1 8

Soduko easy solution

1 2 8 4 5 7 3 9 6

6 2 1 7 3 5 9 4 8

8 5 4 9 6 1 2 7 3

9 3 7 8 2 4 1 5 6

7 6 3 1 5 2 4 8 9

4 9 5 3 8 6 7 1 2

1 8 2 4 7 9 3 6 5

2 1 6 5 4 3 8 9 7

3 4 8 6 9 7 5 2 1

5 7 9 2 1 8 6 3 4

Soduko difficult solution

Hats off to Humperdinck HATS OFF to one Arnold George Dorsey. Popularly and officially known as Englebert Humperdinck, Leicester’s finest is off to represent Royaume Uni (un point) at the Eurovision Song contest. The choosing of the name has caused many parents anxious, even tetchy, moments. Open the book of names and turn to ‘E’ and there it is. Englebert. Let’s pick a surname. Oh, I know, Humperdinck. You get the point. Anyway, at the tender age of 76, Bertie (no, not that one) has been chosen to represent the UK. The oldest singer ever to participate in the competition? Wrong. Step forward Natalya Pugachyova, part of the Russian band Buranovskiye Babushki, who’s even older. The last waltz with you? A dance-off with Jedward beckons.

Spring 2012 Crossword Solutions See page 46 for the competition winners from Issue 16.

ACROSS: 1. Athlone 5. Rates 8. Nomad 9. Taunton 10. Rootrot 11. Emmet 12. Bakers 14. Tedium 17. Lobby 19. Another 22. Indiana 23. Tears 24. Added 25. Aurelia. DOWN: 1. Anner 2. Hemlock 3. Older 4. Estate 5. Rouge 6. Totem 7. Sanctum 12. Ballina 13. Reynard 15. Ishmael 16. Manana 18. Boded 20. Otter 21. Rossa. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 37


From the author

Photo: Keith Hennigan.

Condoms, cash, paraffin and increments IMPACT member MARY GAVIN’S book blows the lid on the ‘boring book worm’ librarian stereotype. The stories stack up for Mary Gavin.

WHAT LINKS a condom, nicorette patches, Viagra, and a rent book containing a wad of €50 notes? They’ve all turned up as bookmarks in volumes returned to Mayo county libraries, according to Mary Gavin’s new book. Mayo Libraries: Memories, Tales and Anecdotes contains some incendiary stories, including the one about the self-appointed censor who tore up a pile of books before producing a bottle of paraffin and a box of matches. This after repeated requests to stop defacing books by blacking out words of a sexual nature. A long-serving member of IMPACT’s Mayo branch, which helped publish the book, Mary says its main purpose was to “get our minds off the recession and encourage people to see the funny side of life again.”

Mary has plenty of stories to tell after working 27 years in the Castlebar library. “I’ve seen and heard some amusing things. I thought it would be great to put these funny elements SUMMER 2012

Castlebar library has seen its fair share of celebrities over the years. Ryan Tubridy broadcast his morning show from there, while RTÉ presenter Paddy O’Gorman spent a day travelling with the mobile library. Meanwhile, Westport library has played host to President Patrick Hillary, while Dana and Jack Charlton have also visited Mayo libraries.

The self-appointed censor tore up a pile of books before producing a bottle of paraffin and a box of matches. This after repeated requests to stop defacing books by blacking out words of a sexual nature.

Enter the student who took off his sock before paying a fine, then emptied coins from it onto the desk. Or the woman who removed the barcode page from an expensive reference book, before heading for the exit and returning red-faced when she realised the tome was security-tagged.

38

into a book. I talked to other members of staff who agreed. I’ve had help from staff members, past and present, some from as far as Australia,” she says.

“It’s been wonderful to work in the library where you get to know a lot of the public,” says Mary.

Her book also traces the changes in the library service over the years. “The branch library was originally often located in a room in the branch librarian’s house or in a press in a corner of the local town hall. Some had no telephone or kettle. Branch librarians got no paid annual leave and were paid a fixed rate. Increments weren’t introduced until 1997. Things have certainly improved since then, with the help of the union,” says Mary Copies are available from marygavin@mayococo.ie for €10 including P&P l


Book reviews

Wry wit trumps pomposity

Tom’s tale peters out

THE FINE COLOUR OF RUST

THREE LETTERS

PA O’Reilly (Blue Door, £12.99 in UK).

Josephine Cox (Harper Collins, £14.99 in UK).

PA O’REILLY, or Paddy O’Reilly to loyal fans, lives in Australia and is actually a woman. It seems to be a trend among female writers who do not wish to be shoehorned into the ‘chick-lit’ category to use only gender-neutral initials in their names. While there’s probably a doctoral thesis and an entire series of Germaine Greer lectures to be spun out of that development, in fairness, it worked very well for JK Rowling. Here we have the very engaging story of Loretta Bokovic, single mother to Melissa and Jake and her life in the small outback town of Gunapan. Loretta occasionally daydreams about checking her kids into an orphanage and driving off into the sunset with Harley-Davison Man, or possibly Mercedes Man if HarleyDavison Man is busy. But she’s actually galvanized into action by the threat of closure of her kids school.

Loretta is a vivid, warm-hearted, lively character who lives and breathes and will remind every reader of someone they know. Encouraged by her friend and next door neighbour, the grizzled, oil-stained Norm, she launches a barrage of letters, leaflets, and tea and chocolate biscuit-fuelled meetings in the general direction of the minister’s office. While in the throes of her campaign, she uncovers evidence of shady dealings in the local council offices, actually turns down a real-live date, and has to negotiate a peace treaty between her kids and a Bosnian refugee family newly arrived in town. These, however are merely the circumstances of the story. Its heart is Loretta. She’s a vivid, warm-hearted, lively character who lives and breathes and will remind every reader of someone they know. She’s short of money, influence and a fully-functioning car, but she has loyal friends and is unafraid of bureaucracy and pomposity. Equally importantly, she has a wry wit, and is acutely aware of the world around her. Her supporting cast of characters are equally well written and entirely believable, from the stalwart Norm to lippy Melissa (11 going on 23) to singleton Helen, to Tony, the laddish and completely worthless ex-husband. Marian Keyes could have written this book if she was an Australian with just a degree or two less whimsical. Maybe we’d have known her as M J Keyes or even Mario. Margaret Hannigan

WE’RE BACK in the north of England with a family tale of, love lost, love found, tragedy and redemption in this latest book from Josephine Cox. The initial premise of the story is interesting enough. Tom, a family man devoted to his wife and young son, faces an appalling dilemma. Not only is he aware that his wife, Ruth, has been having affairs, but he also knows she is unbearably cruel to their nine-year-old son Casey. Added to this he has a secret of his own, which will affect the future of all of those he loves.

A reader should be able to understand a character by what they do and say.

Without giving too much away, he brings Casey to live with his grandfather Bob and leaves three letters – to Bob, Ruth and Casey – to explain his actions and help them in the future. We discover early on that Ruth also has a devastating secret. Unfortunately, it is all downhill from there. The story lacks any clear direction despite the fact that you can guess the destination from early on. Where necessary the plot moves by a series of implausible coincidences. There is very little tension and it all wraps up far too simply. Any book by Cox will become a best seller and public libraries known her as the most borrowed writer of so-called women’s fiction. But publishers underestimate such readers at their peril. This book could have used some uncompromised editing. A reader should be able to understand a character by what they do and say. We don’t need laboured repetition or explanation. We know Tom is a good person who adores Casey. We know Casey has a wonderful talent and that Ruth is very bad until suddenly she isn’t. The reader can figure all this out given realism and a degree of complexity, which are sadly lacking here. Kathryn Smith

more book reviews on page 40 ‰ WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 39


Book reviews

Master race lacks pace PANTHEON Sam Bourne (Harper Collins, £12.99 in UK)

THE TERM ‘pantheon’, more commonly used in connection with film-making and sports, is defined as “a temple to all the gods.” A place where gods can happily mingle without fear of meeting any ordinary people. It’s a term that regularly appears in broadsheet reviews during entertainment awards season and World Cup campaigns. “A pantheon of movie stars graced the red carpet” (which generally translates as old folk whose names you don’t know) or “a pantheon of soccer greats in this stadium today, John, both on and off the pitch” (Pele, and some other people you don’t know are in the crowd). Pantheon, then, can be interpreted as a gathering of the elite, a self-regarding exclusive club. In this book, flawed hero James Zennor, experimental psychologist and injured war veteran, starts learning about the power of the pantheon one sunny morning when he finds himself abandoned by his wife and child. It’s 1940, German troops have occupied the Channel Islands, and there is a growing sense that Britain will succumb if the USA doesn’t hurry up and join the war.

It’s hard to believe that the ‘science’ of Eugenics was popular among a section of the international intellectual elite long before Hitler made it a weapon of genocide. Alternating between righteous fury and blind panic, Zennor frantically searches for his missing family and somewhat improbably, given the travel restrictions of the period, follows them across the Atlantic to the hallowed grounds of Yale University. Aided by an American lady journalist, who seems to have learned her femme fatale ways from the leading ladies of the silver screen, and a would-be mysterious whistle-blower from inside Yale, he stumbles on, thwarted at every turn by unseen forces. The forces in question are active on both sides of the Atlantic, working to prevent American intervention in the war and to facilitate the promotion of the kind of population control embraced by the Nazis. Given the horrors perpetuated in its name, it’s hard to believe that the ‘science’ of Eugenics was popular among a section of the international intellectual elite long before Hitler made it a 40

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weapon of genocide. The “science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics” was regarded as a legitimate way to build a nation. This pursuit of a perfect race is the darker sub-plot in an otherwise pedestrian thriller, in which character and plot are slack and the writing feels rushed. The novel is based on actual events, but is weighed down by melodrama and a twodimensional hero. Bourne, (who is actually Johnathan Freedland, a columnist with the Guardian) relies too much on broad brush strokes and stereotypes verging on caricature – the damaged hero, the plucky wife, the duplicitous aristocrat – to give any independent life to the story. Margaret Hannigan

Anxious romance SECOND TIME AROUND Erin Kaye (Avon, £9.99 in UK). WITH DEMI Moore appearing in all the gossip magazines looking shell-shocked and too, too skinny, this is probably not a good time to think that a relationship between a woman and much younger man won’t end in tears. In this book, Jennifer, a 44-yearold divorced mother of two adult children, is not looking for love when she meets Ben Crawford while out for a meal with her good friend. Ben is one of the most eligible bachelors in Ballyfergus; 28 years old, handsome and the only son of wealthy restaurantowning parents. Jennifer’s son Matt, a chef, has just been for an interview with Ben and bumping into his mother on the way out, introduces her to Ben. There is an instant connection between them but neither believes the other could possibly be interested. But Jennifer is an interior designer and the pair end up working together when Ben needs help decorating his new restaurant. This is a very readable and engaging book. The growing relationship between Ben and Jennifer is well written, as are the ancillary characters. Jennifer has reached a disconnect with her daughter, Lucy, who has fallen in love with a controlling Christian fundamentalist. The tension in the relationships with her ex-husband and Ben’s parents is tangible as is the hurt and misunderstanding she feels, particularly with Lucy. Telling her children about Ben becomes fraught with anxiety and outings with Ben are difficult too when even superficial things like the difference in her clothes to those of Ben’s contemporaries brings discomfort. This is an enjoyable story of love, family and modern life. Kathryn Smith


Union business

A RIGHTS Commissioner has ruled that whistleblower John Bagge was unfairly dismissed by Vodafone and should be reinstated to his job. John was sacked last August after revealing serious fraud in his workplace. At a hearing in early January, IMPACT argued that John’s sacking was the culmination of months of victimisation, which followed his brave decision to reveal over €4 million of theft by a superior in the company. The rights commissioner subsequently rejected every argument put forward by the company for John’s dismissal and ruled that he should be reinstated to the same position and on the same pay and conditions. IMPACT official Johnny Fox called on the company not to appeal the decision. “The rights commissioner recommendation is a total vindication for John and his union IMPACT. John is a courageous man whose family has been under a cloud for too long. Vodafone should do the decent thing and bring this matter to a close,” he said. Meanwhile, IMPACT has welcomed the Government’s commitment to legislate to protect whistleblowers, but says the legislation must ensure full protection and fast access to redress for staff who are victimised by their employers. National secretary Matt Staunton called for the Labour

Relations Commission (LRC) to draw up a code of practice, which should be endorsed in the legislation. “The law must contain adequate John Bagge provisions to protect genuine whistleblowers like John from detrimental treatment for good-faith reporting. The LRC is best placed to outline the necessary steps to ensure this protection is robust,” he said. Legislation passed last year 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. Those who fail to report workplace theft, fraud, bribery and corruption to the Gardai 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. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said proposed new whistleblowing measures must be backed by tough and practical sanctions.

11,000 community jobs under threat Not for sale A 35% contraction in the community and voluntary sector will result in an estimated 11,000 job losses by the end of next year, according to a new report by independent researcher Brian Harvey. Mr Harvey estimates that a further 5,500 jobs will go from the sector by the end of 2015. The report was commissioned by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) community sector committee. The first Harvey report, published by IMPACT’s Boards and Voluntary Agencies branch in 2010, estimated a loss of 5,000 jobs – or 10% of the workforce – by the end of that year. Philip O’Connor of the IMPACT branch said the report revealed the hidden consequences of austerity policies and provided evidence that indiscriminate cuts in the sector had done enormous damage. “The sector has suffered the worst possible effects of a scattergun approach to reduced funding. This report gives us an insight into the effect of that approach on organisations in the sector, as well as the communities they serve. The damage is far-reaching,” he said. The report says community organisations have gone out of their way to avoid service closures and job losses. But many have imposed short time working and significant pay cuts. Harvey criticises the arbitrary nature of the cuts, which has had a devastating effect on the sector’s delivery of frontline services to those most in need.

IMPACT HAS warned that any sale of Aer Lingus or Coillte assets would risk damage to the Irish economy. Speaking about Aer Lingus, IMPACT national secretary Matt Staunton said: “Ireland is heavily dependent on international connectivity. In addition to the transatlantic and Irish routes to London and other European cities, the airline’s Heathrow slots are among its considerable strategic assets. “Although the sale of the Government’s stake would not mean that flights on these routes would stop overnight, it would leave the Government powerless to influence future route changes or to stop an undesirable future change in ownership,” he said. Mr Staunton also expressed concerns that, if Coillte ended up in private ownership, new owners would commence an immediate assetstripping exercise to achieve a quick return on their investment. “This would raise substantial questions about the future of Irish forestry, the ethical management of natural resources, and public access to Coillte land,” he said.

Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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Photo: Conor Healy

Whistleblower ‘must be reinstated’


Union business IN SHORT Vita Cortex support IMPACT PRESIDENT Kevin O’Malley and general secretary Shay Cody recently visited workers at the Vita Cortex plant in Cork, where 32 workers have been staging a sit-in against management claims that it can’t afford statutory redundancy payments owed to staff. Kevin O’Malley said: “These workers have made themselves a barrier against employers who want to evade their responsibilities. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them, as does every trade union member in the country.”

Increments needed THE EXCHEQUER would save just €50 million if public service increments were frozen in 2012 – less than a fifth of the €250-300 million cited by some commentators. In a special update for TDs and senators, IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said any move to freeze increments would hit the low paid hardest while leaving most top earners unscathed.

No license IMPACT HAS outlined its opposition to the Department of Transport’s decision to transfer responsibility for issuing drivers’ licences from local authorities to the Road Safety Authority. Launching a union submission, national secretary Peter Nolan said there was no public demand to centralise the service and no cost benefit analysis of the proposal had been produced.

Jobs gap THE IRISH Congress of Trade Unions has said there’s “no comfort” in the recent small drop in the live register numbers, which was probably due to emigration and lower labour force participation. ICTU’s economic adviser Paul Sweeney called the unemployment level a “national emergency” and said the increase in long-term unemployed – up 24,000 in a year – was very worrying.

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Impact defends sick leave IMPACT AND other unions will defend arrangements for paid long-term sick leave when talks on public service sick leave and its management start soon. The Government has signalled its intention to legislate to revise sick leave arrangements from this year. Current arrangements generally allow up to six months fully-paid leave for certified sicknesses, followed by six months on half pay. IMPACT says a blanket reduction would do little to address any abuse of the system, but would have a disastrous effect on those who suffer catastrophic and life-threatening illnesses regardless of their previous sick leave record. There have been press reports that management could seek to halve the amount of paid certified sick leave in all circumstances. It has also been speculated that management might seek to reduce the amount of uncertified sick leave available, despite the fact that, on average, civil servants take less than two days of the allowable seven days uncertified sick leave each year. IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said comparisons between sick leave levels in the public and private sectors were not always reliable and argued that management already had the tools to deal with any abuse of sick leave that may exist.

Croke Park is working THE CROKE Park agreement provides a similar cost-reduction framework to those used by private companies fighting to sustain market share as income, investment and staff numbers fall, according to IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody. He told a Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee hearing that most struggling private companies opted for staff reductions and changed work practices rather than pay cuts. Mr Cody said public service pay cuts had cut gross incomes by an average of 14%, with a further 10% cut for new entrants. “While public servants understand the need for further substantial cost extraction, they are determined that it can be done without further erosion of their pay. And all the experience since the Croke Park agreement was negotiated shows that they are correct,” he said. He said the Government intended to cut the public service workforce by 38,000 and to slash €3.5 billion off the pay and pension bill by 2015. “Maintaining the range and quality of core public services in this context requires significant changes to working practices, some of which, like reduced dependence on overtime and other premium payments, are themselves cost-reducing,” he said. Meanwhile, IMPACT has stepped up its defence of the Croke Park agreement. Following much ill-informed criticism of the deal around the time of the budget, senior officials from IMPACT and other unions have met representatives of all the Dáil political groups.


IMPACT honours Evelyn Owens TANAISTE EAMON Gilmore recently launched an IMPACT tribute to the late Evelyn Owens, trade unionist and pioneer of women’s rights. Evelyn, a member of the union’s Dublin City branch, was the union’s first woman president before going on to become the first female Leas Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann and the first woman to chair the Labour Court.

But a small group of female clerical officers successfully mobilised opinion against the proposed change. One of them, Sheila Simmons, co-authored the IMPACT appreciation with respected labour historian Francis Devine. As a founder member of the Association of Women Officers of the Local Authorities of Ireland, Evelyn led the campaign to politicise the issue and ultimately achieved the objective of

Photo: Conor Healy

She came to prominence in 1960 when successfully resisting attempts to introduce new local authority pay scales, which would have discriminated between men and women on foot of an arbitrator’s finding. The national executive of the Irish Local Government Officers’ Union (ILGOU – now part of IMPACT) recommended acceptance of the finding on the basis that it finally introduced an arbitration scheme that would allow many other backedup claims to be processed. Co-authors Francis Devine and Sheila Simmons with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore at the Launch.

equal pay for work of equal value in a political and cultural environment that did not recognise equality of women. Go to www.impact.ie to download the IMPACT appreciation.

Union outsourcing pledge IMPACT AND other unions will insist that detailed safeguards and procedures set out in the Croke Park agreement are followed whenever outsourcing is proposed. And concerns about jobs and public service quality will dictate union reactions to any new public service outsourcing proposals. The Croke Park agreement is unambiguous on how outsourcing proposals should be treated. And attitudes have hardened since it was signed following the privatisation of domestic refuse services in Dublin councils. IMPACT has told TDs and senators that union warnings of service breakdowns, job losses, increases in domestic charges, public health issues, and the abandonment of waivers for low income families were ignored. The issue re-emerged following the leak of a letter from Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to civil service departmental heads, which urged them to list possible outsourcing “options.” The letter noted that the Croke Park agreement contains provisions “that should be followed when management decides to involve a private sector entity in the provision of a new or existing public service.” But IMPACT says this seriously understates the rigour of the provisions in the agreement Historically there has always been a mix of public, voluntary and private provision in the delivery of Irish public services and few, if any, Irish unions have taken a position of blanket

opposition to private provision. Similarly, unions reject the view that private provision is necessarily better or more cost effective than direct public provision which, as the Croke Park agreement underlines, should remain the basis of public service provision.

Water must stay public THE IRISH Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has pledged to resist any proposal to privatise the water sector. In a submission to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, ICTU criticised the failure to invest in water infrastructure and said that comparable European countries had robust standby arrangements to guarantee supply in emergencies. IMPACT’s local government division helped draw up the ICTU submission, taking account of submissions from ten IMPACT local authority branches and the union’s local authority environmental staff vocational group. The combined union submission confirms the absolute necessity of retaining water in public ownership and calls for investment and strategic planning in the sector.

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Sport

The Hunger of the long distance r Cross country runner and steeplechaser Fionnuala Britton is a household name in Irish sport. But until last December, when she won the gold at the European Cross Country championships in Slovenia, she was relatively unknown. Her performance in the race was spectacular, it was the good news story that the country was looking for. Britton dominated a field of top class athletes to take the European title and, upon her return, she graced newspapers pages front and back, taking her place in an exclusive gold medal club along with cross country runners like John Treacy, Sonia O’Sullivan and Catherina McKiernan. There is no denying that Britton deserves to be part of that elite club. She is by no means a one hit wonder. Her rise to the top of European cross country running has been a slow and steady one, albeit with plenty of bumps along the way.

Photo: Sportsfile.com

As a young girl she would awake hours before school to run laps of her small back garden to get in some extra training. That story illustrates the work ethic and determination that has helped her get to where she is today.

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Those early morning garden sessions took place over ten years ago. Since then she has been on the European and world circuit trying to make her mark in athletics. Although she began her international career in 2001 it took five years of hard work before medals started to appear, taking the silver medal at the European under-23 championships. In the following year she finished 14th in the senior race in the World Cross Country Championships and was 12th in the steeplechase at the World Championships. In 2008 she competed at the Olympic Games in Beijing but didn’t reach the final. A year later she finished just outside the top ten at the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin. In 2010 she finished 11th in the steeplechase final at the European Athletics championships. Although Britton was acquitting herself well internationally she was still not coming close to her ultimate goal, a senior medal. At the end of 2010 it all came to ahead for Britton, competing in Albuferia in the same race she won in Slovenia. For most of the race she ran well, and looked in contention for a medal, but in the last moment she was pipped at the post for third place and the bronze medal. u


e e runner

The disappointment was huge, right there and then Britton decided that when the race came around again 12 months later she was going to win gold. So she went about making it happen, with the help of her coach Chris Jones she made some changes to her routine. The Wicklow athlete got a bit stronger, and as a result her confidence grew and her times improved. She put in a tough year but the determination to win gold kept her going. From the moment the starter’s gun went off in Slovenia last December, she looked in control. It was evident that her hard work had paid off and, one, by one she burned off her competitors to cruise to victory. Britton returned to Ireland an athletics hero but didn’t waste time savouring her victory. Within weeks she’s beaten another world class field to win the Great Edinburgh Cross Country, and then she added the Antrim Cross Country gold to her collection too. The Olympics were only around the corner so she knew she had work to do. Fionnuala has already qualified for London in the steeplechase but, as is typical in one so determined, she is not satisfied with that and she hopes to make the time for the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres too. If what she has achieved in the last year is anything to go by she will make that happen l

Pushing the envelope The thorny issue of payment to GAA managers is one which has tormented the Association on and off over the past 30 years. At times some comment or attempt to address the matter has brought it centre stage but for the most part it has been a case of ‘speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil’. In fairness to current Director General Paraic Duffy he recently dragged the hotly debated subject right back into the spotlight. But when all is said and done – what ultimately will change? Very little you could argue. Even if counties had voted to implement an agreed expenses structure, who would ‘police’ what are

often referred to as ‘under the table payments’? And how? It’s impossible to monitor if county boards themselves are not prepared to admit that they have either engaged in payments of this nature or turned a blind eye. Particularily when some benign benefactor was prepared to ‘sponsor’ a particular manager they hoped would bring success to their native county. Gaelic games, at an elite level, is played by amateurs who prepare as close as they can to a professional level. One successful team are believed to have trained 40 times during the month of January. Likewise the time investment from managers is massive. Some top bosses are believed to spend 40 hours a week on the team’s involvement and preparation. This suggests that the status quo of looking after managers will continue to prevail. Some counties will pay vouched expenses while others will continue to ‘turn a blind eye’. l Work & Life: The Magazine for IMPACT Members

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S UD OKU

Win Win Win

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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. 2 8

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 1st June 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. Which of the following have not been found in Mayo libraries? A Condoms B Cabbages C Viagra. 2. How many years has Leonard Peltier spent in jail? A 16 years B 26 years C 36 years. 3. Which Irish author was formerly an inspector of petty sessions? A Bram Stoker B James Joyce C Cecilia Ahern. 4. What did long-distance swimmer Anne Marie Ward encounter? A Jellyfish B Mermaids C The Loch Ness Monster. 5. Who’ll be the oldest performer at Eurovision? A Natalya Pugachyova B Englebert Humperdink C Dustin the Turkey. 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 1st June 2012. The editor’s decision is final. That’s it! 46 46

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Across 1. If this be the food of love, then play on, said Duke Orsino (5) 5. See the caper in grant ices (5) 8. Praise after the brief application and show your appreciation (7) 9. Penalised (5) 10. To dig deep (5) 11. See glad law become a duck (7) 14. Broadcast the young (5) 17. Peggy loses a g and gains a t for the country (5) 20A, 15D, The place for trains, I guess (7,7) 21. The neat one could erupt (4) 22. This animal sounds very sweet (4) 23. Lived round data can be verified (9) 24. The peal of bells (5) 27. The beast turns and hits (5) 30. Lose oar and get the spray (7) 32. Common sight behind the bar (5) 33. Place of rest (5) 34. Relation loses its head and shows high spirits (7) 35. To mix the dough sounds like you really want it (5) 36. To warn off (5) Down 1. Ordinary out of uniform clothes (5) 2. Prince of Persia.. The _____ of time (film) (5) 3. To scrounge (5) 4. A defect in golf lawns (4) 5. The French sum can mess with your head (5) 6. Provisional count at election time (5) 7. To teach can turn nasty (5)

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Eclair in med for one who sounds off (9) Type of vegetable (9) See 20A (7,7) To clear up, decipher (7) Get the pan in Id dirge out (7) Festival in back page antics (7) The Mayo airport and pilgrimage destination (5) Steer around interior of building (5) Flavoured and fastened (5) Not so flavoured this time (5) To terminate or discontinue (5) Erse with point will scoff and scorn (5) Selects can upset the posts (4)

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 1st June 2012. We’ll send €50 to the first correct entry pulled from a hat.

Winners!

The winners from competitions in the spring issue were:

1911 Comp: Jane Egan, Wicklow Branch Crossword: Jim O’Sullivan, Irish Aviation Authority

Quiz: Fiona Doolan, SNA Survey: Marian Fogarty, Limerick

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 summer 2012 issue of Work & Life? Excellent

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Comments ________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ 2. What did you think of the layout, style and pictures in the summer 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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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 1st June 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.

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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

SUMMER 2012

Work & Lfie Issue No 17  

Work & Lfie Issue No 17 Summer 2012

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