Iraq is still redeemable p8
College’s Boxing Club takes senior varsity trophy p19
Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
Damning environmental report reveals College’s policy inadequacies
News Mayhem on Mystery Trip p2
Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Phil inaugural p3
Societies Intervarsity debating in Trinity p9
Opinion Schol institution should be retained largely as it is p12
Opinion Gmail may not be such a good move for mail accounts p10
Features Chloe Sanderson on the Saddam aftermath p12
No gold for Boat Club p20 The Power List
they first make
TRINITY NEWS POWER LIST
Gods would DESTROY
According to a PhD dissertation of a former Trinity student, Trinity College is the city forerunner in waste production. Despite over 37% of the Trinity College grounds being physically green, Joe Borza’s document exposes some negative statistics on the College’s current waste policies and output. One of the most surprising things the survey uncovers is the information on transport. Trinity’s central location renders it “the most accessible place in Ireland by public transport”. Borza’s survey found over 75 bus routes surrounding Trinity College, with the two Luas routes and train stations all less than a fiveminute walk from College. In spite of this, the amount of car parking available on-site seems to fail to take any of this into consideration. Over 20% of the staff at Trinity College can park on campus, and there is very rarely a free parking space to be found, demonstrating the manner in which some staff members commute to College. In addition, if every pupil at Trinity College decided to cycle into College, just over 10% would be able to park their bikes on campus, and 5% of those would be forced to use unofficial parking places. Based on the data collated by Borza, there
are 1,861 bike parking places on campus for 15,240 students and 2,503 staff. Jennifer Kennedy, the Chair of Trinity’s Green Society, also points out the lack of “shelter and security for bicycles.” The findings on energy usage in Trinity College are no less astounding. From information collected from the E3 forum and Kieron McGovern, the College’s energy manager, it was found that the energy usage per capita per year in Trinity College is 2,900kw. Compared to DIT Bolton Street’s 650-700kw per person per year, this is striking. Although the location of residences on campus may be argued to contribute something to this figure, Borza comments that the Trinity College buildings are “big energy users”, pointing out the constant heating being used. In addition, DIT Bolton Street’s energy manager is reported to be actively managing their energy usage and employs an exhaustive Building Management System (BMS). Borza praised Trinity College’s waste management policy to dispose of waste in an environmentally responsible manner. In 2006, over 50% of Trinity’s waste was recycled, a great advancement on the paltry 10% of 2000. However, Trinity College produces more waste per capita than any other college surveyed, with 91kg per person per year, compared to • Continued p3
Litter is left lying on campus as recycling bins are ignored. Photo: Martin McKenna
Administrators set to replace Students’ Union students in House Six demands Irish flag above Trinity
profiled and rated rful students mercilessly Trinity’s 25 most powe
• College’s 25 most powerful students profiled and rated
Trinity News has learned that plans are afoot to remove all student activities from House Six and relocate them to the former sports centre in Luce Hall. This is part of broader plans to develop a dedicated student centre within the soon-tobe vacant sports building. It is hoped that this student centre will centralise much student activity in the College. The plans are currently under discussion by the Luce Hall Planning Committee and appear to be in an advanced stage of development. One source told Trinity News that it is hoped that a design for the new centre will be finalised by May. The source has also told Trinity News that student activities are scheduled to be moved in October. House Six will be renovated for use as an administrative building. As another source put it, “the builders are basically ready to move in, closely followed by the administrators”. A College representative told Trinity News that “no decision has been taken to date but it is hoped that the process can be concluded during the current academic year”. They also went on to state that “a wide range of existing and new student services and recreational activities are being considered for location/relocation to the proposed students’ centre. The final scope of the project will be influenced by the capacity of the Luce Hall and adjoining site and by the funds that are likely to be available”. The Luce Hall Planning Committee is a subcommittee of the Sites and Facilities Committee. It is chaired by the Bursar who is responsible for the allocation of all buildings in College. Other
The student areas of House Six could soon become administrative offices. members of the committee include the Director of the Careers Advisory Service, the Director of Sport and Recreation, the Director of Accommodation and Catering Services and the Director of Buildings. Currently House Six is occupied by four of the College’s five capitated bodies as well as housing a host of other student society rooms. However, only two of the current occupants of House Six are represented on the Luce Hall Planning Committee. These are the Students’ Union and the CSC, represented by David Quinn and Joseph O’Gorman respectively. College confirmed that before any decision is taken “the student body will have already been made aware of the issues under discussion through the Students’ Union representative and Central Societies Committee representative on the
Committee”. Joseph O’ Gorman, Honorary Treasurer of the CSC, announced the proposed plans to relocate to Luce Hall at a recent Treasurers’ General Meeting of the CSC. He asked the various society Treasurers to consider how this change would affect them and their societies. The Students’ Union stands to gain quite considerably from the move to the Luce Hall, as the development includes plans for a “venue space” which could be fully utilised by Ents. However, with less space available in Luce Hall than in House Six, somebody is set to lose out. Certain societies, such as Trinity FM, have invested anything up to €20,000 in their rooms and equipment in the last few years. An enforced move to Luce Hall may see tensions running high in House Six.
The campaign to have the Irish flag flown over Trinity has reached its most advanced stage ever, after the Students’ Union officially launched its campaign. On Friday 26th the Students’ Union staged a protest in which they hung the tricolour from the window of Student Union President David Quinn’s office in House 6, attracting the attention of an Irish Independent photographer, resulting in an article being published in the Independent the following Monday. This protest was opposed by College authorities who attempted to have the flag removed immediately. Chief Steward Pat Morey explained that the display of any banner or flag on College property is forbidden. Even banners suspended over front arch for Green Week and Rainbow Week require the approval of the Senior Dean. On a personal note, Mr. Morey was dismayed at the lack of respect shown to the national flag by the Students’ Union during their protest. He explained that he, like other ex-military men, feel that the flag should not be casually displayed from windows, as it does not show proper respect. David Quinn responded by stating, “The fact of the matter is that we are celebrating the national flag and we want to ensure that the flag is given the respect it deserves – being placed daily above the College.” Currently, the national flag is flown
on a number of days each year, including St. Patrick’s Day and Easter Day, as well as when heads of state visit the College. The college communications office also states that they are “looking at further opportunities to fly the flag.” In addition to the national flag, the College and University flags are flown on event days and at graduation ceremonies. The campaign is not supported by all students, however. One student said, “The whole Trinity ethos is founded on something not Irish and not nationalist…it doesn’t make sense.” Although many other universities fly the national flag on a daily basis, it does not necessarily take precedence. UCD, for example, flies a number of flags together, not just the tricolour. The campaign has been gaining momentum since 2004, when then-first year Seamus Connor brought a motion to council to request the flying of the flag on a permanent basis, as both UCD and University of Limerick have done. The motion was approved by all but one representative at council. However, over the course of the following two years, the repeated requests met with formal negative responses. Connor told Trinity News: “There was a previous attempt to get the Irish flag flown in the 1992-1993 academic year but I believe that was crushed straight away. This is the closest the College has ever been in getting it flown and I would urge as many students as possible to get involved in the campaign and the upcoming protests”.
Discuss this edition at www.trinitynews.ie
Student grant rise denied The Department of Finance has refused a €1m increase for local authority maintenance grants, as requested by the Department of Education’s student support unit. Last July, the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, requested a 3.9% increase in the total spent on grants, in line with inflation. However, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Department of Finance granted an increase of just 3%, bringing the highest level of non-adjacent grant to just over €3,100. The Department of Finance called this a once-off concession, in view of the recent acceleration of inflation. However, inflation peaked in January at 4.9%, at roughly one and a half times the rate of increase of the grant. USI President Colm Hamrogue responded to the news by pointing out the actual cost of living for students. The last publication on this topic was by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in 2000, which gave an average of €456 per student per month. Now estimates for the cost of the college year range from €7000 to €9000. He also said that major reform is needed in the way grants are delivered. He called for a centralised system under a single government department, rather than the current method of delivery through individual local authorities, or the method proposed by the Student Support Bill, that is, of delivery through the Vocational Eduational Committee. He also stressed how little a €1m increase for grants would actually mean for the 40,000 students who receive grants. (Iain McEochagain)
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Government agrees to Saudi scholarship scheme Deirdre Roberts Saudi Arabia has added Ireland to the list of countries which will be receiving its scholarship students. The decision was made during a meeting in Rhiyadh on 15th January, when representatives met with Minister for Education Mary Hanafin to make the decision. The Saudi government will pay the full fees of the scholarship students and it has been estimated that between 500 and 1000 Saudi students will enter Ireland in the next three years under the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Student Scholarship Foundation The attraction for Irish universities is obvious as the fees for non-EU students are significant. Costs range from €2,457 for a B.Ed in Home Economics to €25,000 for Radiation Therapy or Physiotherapy at Trinity College Dublin. Other Universities in Ireland charge similar rates such as €27,390 per year to study Veterinary Medicine at UCD and €38,500 for medicine in RCSI. Saudi Arabia plans to send 10,000 students abroad each year on this scholarship in order to further develop its economy and society. Strengthening ties with a country of different culture could be seen as a benefit to, and a learning experience for, each society. There is cause for concern, however, in the relative lack of information that has been released about the Scholarship Foundation. The Press Office of the Department of Education released an article on the 15th January stating the facts of the deal and quoting Mary Hanafin saying it is “a very welcome development.” The HEA have published exactly the same article on their website and The Irish Times have printed a small piece with the same information. The news of Ireland’s inclusion into this
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern meeting Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz in Rhiyadh last month. Saudi Arabian scheme has been greeted with mixed reactions. An article in the Irish Independent on Jan 21st asked whether Ireland wanted to strengthen educational ties with Saudi Arabia, which it described as “an Islamic state, ruled (in fact virtually owned) by its autocratic royal family.” The Department of Education could not answer some of the questions put to
Podcasts to attract students Trinity has upped the ante in its attempt to lure prospective students to study here with the introduction of a podcast section on the tcd.ie website. Advertisements for the respective universities can be seen on bus shelters all over the city and radio advertisements have also grown in popularity, with both Trinity and UCD using the medium to attract students. Trinity has now attempted to pull ahead of its competitors by launching a number of podcasts in which current Trinity students detail different aspects of life in Trinity and talk about course options. So if you fancy a giggle at the likes of Dave Quinn, Barry Murphy, Daire Hickey, Shane Noone, Dave Macken, Ray Healy, Anna Linehan and Conan O’Broin then check out www.tcd.ie/podcasts/.
This is of particular relevance as Ireland would be collaborating with a country that inhibits women’s freedom. Saudi Arabia only introduced a national education programme for girls in 1960 and women are still not allowed to drive. Women are entitled to free segregated third level education but are not allowed to study subjects such as engineering, architecture or journalism. It could be that female students
sent here would be unable to attend classes with male teachers and students. When it was pointed out that the Irish Government had made this decision without knowing the full details, the Department of Education replied the scheme “is only in its infancy.” According to Mary Hanafin this new agreement will be “an attractive revenue source” for the Irish universities involved.
Mystery trip mayhem
UCD computer failure leaks exam results UCD proved last week that nothing is safe on a computer when hundreds of students received their exam results days early through a link posted on Bebo. Results of the pre-Christmas examinations were due to be posted after 5pm on the 29th January. However, by the 23rd January many students had seen or heard about the link and accessed their results. Students report finding out about the link by word of mouth: “I got it off this guy’s Bebo”, said one student. “I got the link off a guy in my year … I don’t know the original guy’s name”, said another. The link was deleted by early afternoon. When contacted, the UCD Assessment and Logistics department did not reply but passed the query to the Communications Officer, who made no comment. This follows on from IT complications in UCD at the start of this academic year when many students were left unable to register for the first week. This most recent problem could highlight difficult issues with the IT system currently in place. The problems at UCD come during a week of computer dilemmas around Ireland. CAO online applications faced severe problems this week, meaning that many students had to queue for hours to make their application. Web CT, an e-learning site used by Trinity, also experienced problems this week as history students were disconnected from the service and unable to access tutorial work. Clearly, an old fashioned pen and paper may sometimes be the safest route. (Deirdre Roberts)
them regarding the scheme. When asked whether they knew how students were going to be selected for this scheme they replied that the “details have to be ironed out.” According to the Department, women will have equal access to the scheme but it could not comfirm whether Saudi Arabian women would actually be able to avail of it and stated that it was “a matter for the Saudi Arabian government.”
Trinity students enjoying themselves on last week’s Mystery Trip
Stolen fire extinguishers, mini riots in chip shops, hospitalisations, Buckfast, and dodgy curry chips – just some of the hazy memories from this year’s Trinity Mystery Trip. SU Ents Officer, Barry Murphy, did not disappoint when he promised “the Mystery Trip is gonna be sloppy”. Indeed, sloppy was the order of the day as 550 students set off on 11 buses weighed down with alcohol for 12 hours of drunken depravity (everyone except bus number 3 – their bus driver didn’t let them drink). The first bus set out at 4:30pm for the destination of Buck Mulligan’s nightclub in The Old Darnley Lodge, Athboy, Co.Meath, a place where it seems almost everyone on the trip had had their Debs. As the busses rolled in students availed of
free food in the form of hot dogs and curry chips offered by the venue. Those who had been banned from drinking on the bus necked bottles of Buckfast in the car park until everyone was well-oiled and ready to cause some mischief. With the dodgy food having provided some soakage and having danced for 3 hours it was time to hit the road again, this time heading to The Bailie Hotel in Bailieborough, Co.Cavan. Arriving in Bailieborough tripgoers were told to bring all their possessions with them but as most had not finished their booze this led to wide-scale street-side drinking on Bailieborough Main Street. At this stage a group of students descended upon the local chipper and wreaked havoc by jumping on top of the counter demanding chips. Also around this time, stewards uncovered a fire extinguisher that had been stolen from Athboy earlier in the
evening. Early reports suggest that after arriving in Bailieborough a sister of one of the SU sabbatical officers had to be brought to hospital because of over consumption of alcohol. The nightclub in the Bailie Hotel typified everything you’d expect from a country hotel nightclub complete with dodgy carpet and a slow set which included Leona, Westlife and Leanne Rimes. The only thing that was missing was the national anthem at the end of the night. As well as the usual stories of lost mobile phones and bags, people getting sick, and urinating on buses, the most entertaining story was that of a girl who woke up in a field at 1:30 am and walked to the nearest house to find out where she was. The residents of the house gave her a lift to the nearest village, where she blagged a lift back to Dublin with a German tour bus.
Unreturned Trinity Hall deposit upset David Molloy
EU Comissioner Joaquin Almunia struggled to draw a crowd last week.
EU Comissioner fails to pull crowd while O’Leary packs them in Deirdre Roberts Two high profile guests last week delivered lectures to audiences of dissimilar size. While Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, speaking on 29th January, addressed a packed lecture theatre, EU Commissioner for Economic & Monetary Affairs, Joaquin Almunia, struggled to pull a crowd. Mr O’Leary’s visit was not publicised within the college as his lecture was to students of a Senior Sophister course in Transport Economics. Nonetheless, word of his address quickly spread through the Arts Building and resulted in a crowd of over 150 students assembling to see the Ryanair boss in a class that usually only has 45 students.
In contrast to the O’Leary address, high profile EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia’s address in Trinity had been promoted extensively throughout the week by European Movement Ireland who used balloons and lollipops to entice students to attend the lecture being given by the Economic & Monetary Affairs Commissioner on Friday 2nd February. This tactic proved unsuccessful, however, as the sparse crowd present for the Commissioner’s speech in the Lloyd Institute constituted mainly diplomats and suits with students few and far between. European Movement Ireland (EMI) delegates even attempted to move some of the students that were present up to the front so that they could be seen by TV cameras. As Mr. Almunia was giving his address large crowds of disinterested students
flocked into the theatre and sat on the aisles in a move that looked suspiciously as if EMI rustled up a group of nearby students and bribed them into filling up the theatre. While O’Leary spoke about the future of Ryanair and air travel frankly, Almunia seemed to use all his political tact to dodge whatever difficult questions were sent his way. The Ryanair CEO claimed that he would like to see the end of checkin systems and baggage carriers while also answering questions from students for over 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the EU commissioner used the lecture as an opportunity to put forward the merits of the EU Constitution and the EU as a whole, as opposed to answering questions on specific economic topics.
College has failed to return deposits to a number of students who lived in Trinity Halls last year. Several students contacted Trinity News after months of attempting to have their deposits returned to them. The deposits range from €165 for some accommodation to €200 for others. Clement Grene, JS Biblical and Theological Studies, was among those who did not have his deposit returned. After lodging a complaint, he was told that his deposit was kept as he was “continuing to live in student premises” after getting accommodation on campus as a result of attaining Schol. However, other students who are not staying in College accommodation have not received their deposits either. Thomas Morris, SF English and Philosophy, was told in October that there had been “a slight delay” and that the return of his deposit would not take long. His details were also taken so that he could be contacted. To date, he has still not received any refund or been contacted by the accommodation office. He told Trinity News: “€165 may not sound like a lot of money to Trinity Hall, but when you're working on a budget of €50 a week, it's a little bit different”. When asked about the implications of this, he said “When I worked out my budget at the beginning of the year, it was with the €165 figured in. If I don't get that money back, I'm not sure how I'll come to pay my rent at the end of this year”. Grene comments that “what's obviously going on here is that Trinity Hall has completely screwed up on returning many deposits and for the most part have no intention of correcting their mistake … they'll fob them off with whatever excuse seems plausible”. Grene’s persistence eventually led to
him being told that he could not be issued a cheque by anyone at the Accommodation Office, and instead of a refund, his deposit would be deducted from his utility bill. Another student, Frances Beatty, commented that “the deposit would pay two weeks rent for me which would be very welcome. Being a student it is not money I can afford to part with – it would go towards my food shopping and utility bills.” She also believed that being a resident in Cunningham House, the lowercost accommodation in Trinity Halls, affected the return of her deposit. She believed these residents were treated poorly, citing a “social experiment” of the Warden’s where a violent individual was relocated to Cunningham House as a punishment. “The way that residents of Cunningham were treated was an absolute disgrace,” she said. “Apparently the relationship was “not that of a landlord and tenant,” and we were “guests of the College.” If one is paying for one's accommodation the relationship should be a business relationship. Having suffered at the mercenary hands of Trinity Accommodation the least they can do is return our deposit”. The College Communications Office said: “several students resident in Cunningham House were omitted from the original list of deposit refunds … however this was subsequently discovered and cheques have issued where there are no other account queries”. Other account queries include extending the length of stay into the summer, disputed charges and damages. None of the students concerned are aware of any such circumstances, with one even saying that “there was no damage whatsoever, although I wouldn't be surprised if they ‘found’ some by this stage”. The Treasurer’s Office declined to comment.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Trinity worst offender in waste production •Continued from p1 DIT Aungier Street’s 55kg per person per year, or DIT Bolton Street’s 68kg. College is reported to use an astonishing 23,000 litres of water per person per year, compared to DIT Bolton Street’s 2,500 litres per person per year. Although again the residences on Trinity’s campus might play some part in this, Borza finds it difficult to explain this anomaly. He does point out, though, that without a water metre or awareness being raised by College, there is no incentive for students and staff to use less water. Trinity spends over €1000 a day on water and “harvests” virtually no rain water. Kennedy highlights the many “water fountains which leak when not properly maintained.” Most colleges, particularly those in the USA, have a green fund. Trinity College does not. Borza sees this as an act of administrative negligence, suggesting easy ways to begin and keep up such a fund, including utilising the donors of the Trinity Foundation. Although from 2006 Trinity College has signed up to receive all its energy from Airtricity, this is in fact motivated by financial concerns, as Airtricity, gave Trinity College the lowest quote. Borza emphasises that although this move is commendable, if ESB were to undercut Airtricity, the College would cease this contract. Borza would like to
CO2 production in tonnes
see a sustainable energy policy operated in Trinity, but expresses the feeling that the College self seems to have other priorities. Unlike Yale University, Trinity College has no targets to reduce CO2 levels or targets to incorporate sustainable energy. Yale has committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions by 43% by 2020 from 2006. Trinity has no such plan. Kennedy also adds to this that “College should prioritise setting aside an amount each year to a green fund and commit to making the campus a more sustainable one officially.” Trinity College can currently boast of 0.017 trees per person, which is impressive considering its city centre location; however, clearly there is much work to be done. Green Week runs from Monday 5th-Friday 9th February and the Provost is to attend the reception, which he has not previously done. Those co-ordinators of in Green Week will present him with their proposal for a sustainable energy policy. This fifth annual Green Week sees Duncan Stewart as a guest speaker in the Swift Theatre from 7-9pm on Thursday talking on “Colleges, Climate Change, and Sustainability.” In addition, there are two bicycles to win in the Frisbee competition at 1pm Tuesday at the Pav. Let us hope that the winners will be able to find space to park them.
Student view: Should Trinity fly the Irish flag? “I think there’s no harm in it. We’re an Irish university, so why not be proud of the fact? We’re selling tourism as part of the university so why not have the flag?” Caoilfhionn Nic Conmara SF Economic and Social Studies
“I don’t see why it shouldn’t. It flies over the other main Irish universities. It seems to be an antiquated tradition that it isn’t flown. Seeing as we are a college in Ireland, with a majority of Irish students, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be flown.” Neil O’Donoghue SS Economic and Social Studies
Energy consumption in kilowatts per person per year
US Justice at the inaugural meeting of the Phil Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the celebrated American Supreme Court Justice, spoke at the Inaugural Meeting of the 322nd Session of the University Philosophical Society on Thursday, February 1. Ginsburg, who has studied and taught at the most prestigious schools in the United States, including Cornell, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford, spoke about her personal experience as a woman pursuing a traditionally male career in the overwhelmingly prejudiced environment of the United States before the women’s rights movement. Due to the fact that Supreme Court Justices are unable to speak about subjects which are related to a pending case, Ginsburg was unable to address most of the questions that students wanted to ask, specifically concerning the Iraq war and the possibility of the overturn of Roe v. Wade; instead, she spoke about her role in the women’s rights movement and how much America has changed since the 1970s when she was unable to get a job at any law firm in New York. It was her second visit to Ireland, this time exclusively at the expense of the Phil as she does not speak at corporate-sponsored events.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Phil last Thursday. Photo: David Adamson
Ireland’s largest ever immigration study launched by Trinity researchers Deirdre Lennon The Trinity Immigration Initiative last month launched a €6 million, 4-year project concerning immigration and its effects on the country. The project will undertake detailed research into how immigrants integrate into Irish society and how they cope with
difficulties. There will be a strong focus on how institutions such as schools and workplaces react to the increasing number of non-nationals. Sharon Jackson, from the Institute of Integration Studies, is part of the Trinity team which developed the project. She claims that the immigration situation in Ireland has changed at a rapid pace, and that there is not much information avail-
able at present. The project hopes to make new statistics available to counteract the current information deficit. The findings will be published quarterly, with the intiative aiming to augment the currently available data. The project is divided into six sections, covering all aspects of the immigrant community on both national and international levels. The impact of immi-
The Provost at the launch of the Trinity Immigration Initiative
gration on national policy, particularly on the housing and social welfare budget, will also be examined. The relationship between established communities and incoming migrants will be looked at in case studies, and it is hoped this will improve relations between the two groups. UCD has launched a similar two-year project and will be working with the Trinity team on this project. “We hope to work with our colleagues at other universities and link our work with theirs to try and expand the information that is there already”, Ms. Jackson said. Census figures from last year, once released, will be used to compile more detailed information on immigrant numbers and employment. “200,000 new PPS numbers were issued last year but we don’t know if those immigrants are still here or not”, Ms. Jackson said. “We need to see how many are here and what their experience of life is.” Schools are also a prime target of the project. English is not the primary language of an estimated 26,000 school children in the country, and the initiative will provide language support for these students. This aspect of the project, headed by Professor David Little, aims to overcome these language issues before they become problematic in future years. The project aims to be a well-rounded and inclusive venture and hopes to avoid the mistakes made by other countries. The project leaders hope that the work in question will contribute to a more positive future for immigrants in Ireland.
“No. I think that the whole Trinity ethos is founded on something not Irish and not nationalist. If they were trying to fly flags to represent the nationality of every student here I could see where they were coming from, but in this context it doesn’t make sense.” Sinead Walsh SF European Studies
“I think an important part of Trinity is its English-Irish appeal so it would be a shame to break the tradition. It’s so old now, and has been around for such a long time. There is a case for flying the flag, but I think it is small-minded.” Brian Conway JS Economic and Social Studies
“It’s a tricky subject. I think most students don’t care and haven’t even noticed that it isn’t flying. 14% of this College is foreign who won’t care and even most of the Irish students don’t care. I think that universities are no place for nationalist craziness. I also think it is a way for the Students’ Union President to puff himself up.” Dominic Esler JS English Literature and Russian “I think it is a good idea. I don’t see why they shouldn’t have it. I’m not Irish, but it wouldn’t make me feel excluded. I knew I was coming to school in Ireland, so I wouldn’t be bothered by the flag. I’m not worried about nationalism in College.” Marissa Gabriel JF Law
4 NEWS FEATURES
Trinity combats cyber-bullying A recent educational programme concerning cyber-bullying in schools has been developed by the Anti Bullying Centre (ABC) and the Education Department in Trinity. It is an issue that has come to light in recent times, due to the cultural phenomenon of Bebo and other sites. A new trend of abusive comments on the web from Hateboard.com has emerged and although schools have been targeted by incidents relating to it, little positive action has been taken. Prof Mona O’ Moore, one of those who launched the programme to combat the increase in cyber-bullying, was involved in spreading the word to schools throughout Ireland. Forty-two individuals were trained by the Anti Bullying Centre to go to schools around the country, and train teachers in this programme, so that they will be adequately able to prevent it. The Department of Education funded this programme, but will not allow the teachers the allocated time-off, a half-day, to attend seminars and training days to combat cyber-bullying. In response, a DVD was introduced by the ABC to send to schools around the country, so that they could learn about the scheme in this way. This initiative cost 40,000 euro, and came from the funds of the unit itself. Responses to bullying through mobile phones and email, as well as the web, must be considered to create a more well-rounded programme. Principles nationwide are awaiting results and follow-up from both the centre and the Department of Education, who have promised to use it to help schools overcome this issue effectively. (Deirdre Lennon)
College reconsiders decision to drop Acting Studies The decision to drop the renowned Acting Studies degree course reported in the last issue of Trinity News is to be reviewed by a specially convened panel of “key stakeholders”. The College’s retreat, as reported in the Irish Times on the 31st January, allegedly resulted from complaints addressed to the Board of the College by its student representatives. The Irish Times claims that the representatives sent a letter to the Board denouncing the decision to discontinue the course as “null and void”, as it did not follow proper processes. College has confirmed that it will open a review of the decision to close the course, which has produced many renowned actors including Ruth Negga and Padraic Delaney, because of the “expressed concern of many interested parties”. These interested parties include the Director of The Abbey Theatre, Fiach Mac Conghail, who described himself as “dismayed by the news that the School of Drama at Trinity is to end its actor training undergraduate degree programme”. Although the College intends to replace the three-year vocational degree with a one-year MPhil course, this has done little to stifle the complaints regarding the closure that have filled the national press. It is also in response to these complaints the College has said that it will convene “a forum with key stakeholders in the theatre profession will be convened in order to come up with a solution”. The suggestion that the decision to scrap the course was a direct result of ARAM, the recently introduced funding system, has occurred frequently in the national press, with Trinity College Senator David Norris writing in the Irish Times that he has “no doubt that this is related to the structural reorganisation going on in College”. (Anna Stein)
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Report on the Foundation Scholarship generates more questions than it answers Deirdre Lennon The College’s review of the Scholarship is now available online, despite a broken link in the email sent out to all students. There is little resolution in the report; rather, it sets out a series of options available to College with regards to Schol Exams and invites comment. The group who compiled the report was appointed by the Senior Lecturer in Michaelmas Term 2005. The last thorough review of the exam was in June 1985. The group met six times, considering submissions from current scholars and staff. The board was instructed to not consider the possibility of a two-semester year being implemented. In 1592, the Foundation Charter of Trinity College emphasised that Scholars, meaning every student, were part of the body corporate of the College. This is carried on in a way today, with Foundation Scholars “owning” a part of the College. In 1637 the figure of seventy Scholars was decided upon, and students surplus to this number were a separate entity from the Scholars. Until 1856, the scholarship exam examined only the classical subjects. The purpose of the exams has always been to seek out exceptional ability in students, by way of setting a searching exam. The exam itself is considered by the report as a “tangible demonstration” of “the pursuit of excellence.” David Rickard, Secretary of the Scholars, puts this in a similar way, saying that the exam is about “challenging yourself to work harder and learn more than is dictated by the course requirements.” Now, however, with the great expansion of College over the last 150 years, the report finds that “familiarity with the Scholarship and what it means appears to have diminished”. This is one contributing factor toward the realisation of a varied criterion for Schols across College faculties, with exams differing enormously from course to course. In addition, it is now thought difficult to identify those of exceptional academic talent at Senior Freshman level. Although some students do sit the exam in the Junior Sophister year, it is now being questioned as to whether this is fair, and conversely whether real talent only emerges in the sophister years. The fact that the Schol papers are not anonymous might do something to negate the former statement. A point of contention for a long time has been that the voluntary nature of the exams discourages or even precludes some potentially successful academics entering themselves into the exam at all. Another factor that could dissuade poten-
The Provost announces scholars on Trinty Monday. tial Schol applicants is that the exams are held in the Easter break. There are also financial aspects of the Schol exam that the committee had to consider. The report estimates the administration costs for Schols to be €500,000 in total, and remarks that sometimes whole papers are set for one or two candidates. The only factor which seems to be proposed for a definite change in the report is the awarding of exemptions. Due to the awareness that some candidates enter the exams purely for exemptions, it is felt that the real aim of Schol is being missed. A more pressing concern for the committee is that awarding exemptions at the beginning of Trinity Term encourages non-attendance to lectures and tutorials and hence promotes a disregard for the Trinity Term course content. To counter these difficulties, the report suggests three alternatives. First, the institution of exemptions could be abolished completely. Rickard expresses a concern with this route, commenting that for many eventual scholars, exemptions were the primary reason they decided to take the Schol exams. In addition, he remarks that many fewer of staff are pleased to see their summer corrections workload reduced due to the reduced number of pupils sitting the SF exams.
Second, the announcement of candidates gaining exemptions could be withheld to the end of the Trinity Term. Finally, the pass mark for exemptions could be moved from 60% to 65%. Rickard comments on this possibility that it would “eliminate the option of learning the bare minimum in order to get exempted.” The establishment of Schol as separate exams is considered by the report to highlight these exams as something “special”. As the marks do not affect the overall grade of the student, students have free reign to be more adventurous and to “think creatively”. Schol is designed to elicit more than a representation of the student’s knowledge of the prescribed reading and lectures attended. Furthermore, the fact that students entering Schol exams must be self-motivated is a sure “test of academic commitment”. As Rickard puts it, “let’s not kid ourselves that your average SF student is in the library these days” The advantages of drawing Scholars from those scoring top marks in the SF exams are also considered by the report. With 100% participation rate, this measure would not incur those additional costs the separate exam does, and the problem of exemptions would cease to exist. Conversely, the exam would not elicit the
extra level of commitment nor entice enterprise and imagination in the same; it would according to Rickard “cheapen the institution of Scholarship”. Also, Trinity Monday would be an impossibility. To counteract this, the report proposes more searching papers being set alongside the SF exams, however, it concludes that “more candidates might be tempted to enter, including those with no chance of success.” It also considers the potential overlap of content on two papers, and that it would hardly be possible to issue TSM students anything but a series of papers. As a side note, the report adds that if the college does change to a two-semester year “there might be no alternative to integrating the Scholarship examination with the annual examination.” The final alternative proposed to level the playing field is a “General Paper” given to all wishing to have the chance of winning Schols. The report lauds this solution, not only as it ties in with Broad Curriculum, but also naming it a “return to the true spirit of Scholarship-one that is not narrowly focussed on a single discipline”. One student remarked on this point that “University is about narrowing your focus. In the sixteenth century it might have been possible to embrace all disciplines, but in this day and age the
notion is simply absurd”. Rickard is also vocal against this solution: “if a genius comes along who really does have the potential to come up with ground-breaking idea in their field, but they’re pretty useless at other topics or maybe even outright bad discussing topics that aren’t related to their field, they wouldn’t make Schols”. There would of course be major logistical problems with setting and grading such a paper. Although no major measures are to be taken at this point, the report concludes by issuing several small changes, such as alerting students to the exams at the beginning of Hilary Term, promoting the “history and ethos” of the exams, along with each department submitting a “statement explaining how their approach to the examination succeeds in identifying the qualities associated with Scholarship.” Or, as Rickard puts it, asking students to ask themselves “can you avoid going to Citi Bar for Twisted Tuesdays and instead concentrate on studying for exams you are only taking because you have challenged yourself to take them”? If any definitive change is to be undertaken, the committee emphasises at the close of the report that it should have the “broadest level of support among staff and students in College.”
Hamilton toilets scandal causes mixed reaction among students Fox Alexander
The New Square lawn. Trinity has 37% physical greenness. Photo: Martin McKenna
A story in the last issue of Trinity News revealing that the Hamilton toilets are being used as a regular “cruising” spot caused widespread controversy among the College community. The fastest response came from employees of the Buildings Office who, within hours of the newspaper hitting the shelves, were busy repairing damage caused by cruisers to the toilets in question. The partitions between each cubicle in the toilets were reinforced with wooden sheets while a thorough cleaning was also undertaken. Reaction among students was mixed. Comments left on the trinitynews.ie comment board ranged from those thankful that something had been done about the problem to those claiming the article was “clearly homophobic”. In an effort to get a broader view of the issue Trinity News contacted several different sources for comment. These included LGBT rights groups, the Garda Siochana and the Junior Dean. All either failed to respond or, in the case of the Junior Dean, refused to comment. The Communications Office reiterated its earlier position and stressed that “Notwithstanding the publicity in Trinity News, College Security still has not received a complaint from a student or staff member in relation to this issue. However, College treats all reports of threats to students and staff seriously and
responds to such allegations in an appropriate manner.” Several students have posted on the Trinity News website confirming the activities reported in the article. One engineering student willing to speak to Trinity News told us “me and the guys in my class think it’s great that something got done so quickly. If we’d known this beforehand we would have contacted a newspaper sooner. It is typical of College that they need to be embarrassed into actually doing something” On squirt.org, the site at the centre of the controversy, messages have been posted by members warning prospective cruisers to avoid the Hamilton and Trinity campus generally until “all the fuss has died down”, as one member put it. Other messages have been posted commiserating with members denied access to their regular cruising in Trinity and bemoaning the “homophobia of Trinity students”. Trinity News was able to contact Jerry Gaudet, Business Director of squirt.org, and asked for comment. Initially he was willing to talk to us and ”to respond to the recent chatter about our website”. However Gaudet broke off contact once presented with a list of queries including whether he thought it appropriate for cruisers to be encouraged to break the law by his site. He has been uncontactable since. The Hamilton toilets have reopened in a repaired state and are once again available for use by Trinity students.
If you would like to contribute, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
VISUALISE YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE :
UCD GRADUATE STUDIES OPPORTUNITIES DAY Wednesday 21 February 2007
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Trinity Arts Festival approaching Trinity Arts Festival, in its second year, is almost upon us. It all kicks off in Week Six, on Monday 12th February. The ever-popular “Campus Canvas” will be in the Arts Building and in the Hamilton all day awaiting your creative contributions. For most of the events spaces are limited and to book a place you need to register at one of the information desks located throughout campus. Monday lunchtime will be a jewellery-making course, followed at 3 by an architectural tour of Front Square. At 1pm there will also be a drama piece performed on the Arts Building ramp, an innovative way to amuse the nicotine addicts and procrastinators. The week will be officially launched in the Atrium with the DU Jazz Society providing the ambience and stunning visuals similar to last year will be produced by Rachel O’Sullivan. On the floor above the main action will be an intervarsity photography display. There will be refreshments and toasts before the party moves on to South William St. Tuesday 13th sees the return of the Bluebricks performance group with free tickets available in the Arts Building. Lunchtime will see a choral collection in Front Square and the early evening is taken up by the Literary Society’s guest speaker Simon Armitage. Tuesday night in the Sugar Club will be the night to end all nights. The theme is “I Want to Score”. DU Film-makers have been working on several short films for this showcase and live music will be performed to accompany each piece, similar to the old style of movies prior to the advent of the “talkies”. If you surface in time to embrace Wednesday’s activities they include a life drawing marathon and a maskmaking class. In honour of the romantic day, a Valentine’s quartet will be performing in Front Square at 1pm. In the evening DU Dance Society will be throwing the Carnival Ball in the Dining Hall before the Music and Media Technology postgraduate students showcase their latest works to entertain you into the early hours of Thursday. A post-Valentine’s Day maskmaking session will be on and the Boydell Singers will be performing in Front Square during lunchtime. The day will culminate in Backlash. For those who make it to Friday, there will be a “Make up for Film” seminar in 191a Pearse Street, tickets as always will be free from the TAF stand in the Arts Building. Moving away from the aural arts, the lunchtime tour will be of the sculptures of Front Square, so if you want to know more about Provost George Salmon then don’t forget to pick up your tickets which are, again, free. For more information or changes in events and times please keep an eye on the notice boards about campus and on the TAF website, trinityartsfestival.com.
More food and drink events Following on from the success of the Burlesque night in the Sugar Club just before Christmas where The Wire entertained the bespangled and ribbon-draped coterie, breakfast was rolled out at 2am with pain-auchocolat and orange juice being consumed by the revellers, DU Food and Drink began this term with a cocktail-making session. The night kicked off in the GMB with the mixologist taking us through our paces with a variety of blends and allowing us all a taste. It’s not all about boozing it up though, and as a token homage to the arrival of spring on Thursday morning we were helping you all along with your Spring resolutions to lead a better, healthier life with the lengthening of the days and the call of Nature to get outside. Therefore, we decided to give away free healthy breakfasts at a stand in the Arts Building to all our members. The weekend has passed though, and some of you will have already abandoned your resolutions, so we’re having a wine and cheese tasting this Tuesday at 4.30 in the wine cellar at Fallon and Byrne (the huge gourmet deli on Exchequer Street). A wine expert will be along to go through the art of tasting and drinking fine wines. It will last for between an hour and an hour and a half, and tickets are only €7.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
University Philosophical Society and College Historical Society
University Biological Association
Plethora of events for health students Katie O’Sullivan
Intervarsity Dean Swift trophy-winners Connie Grieve and Doug Cochrane of St Andrews University. Photo: Mark Kearney
The University Biological Association is best known for its headline-grabbing Med Day which is always a huge success but it is a much more diverse and active society than one might initially think. In Freshers’ Week they signed up hundreds of members from medicine and the health sciences. They followed this up with a book sale which gave students progressing through the years an opportunity to sell their books to freshers and this was accompanied by a talk from the Senior Dean, Professor Cyril Smyth. In late October this was followed up with a Medical Overseas Volunteer Electives night where students who had spent the previous summer on electives in places like India and Nigeria talked about their experiences and gave advice. It’s not all hard work though, with the BioSoc known to be some of the hardest party people about town They have organised events independently and in conjunction with the DU Pharmaceutical Society this year, Med Day 2006 was chaired by Tighe Crombie and ably assisted by Diarmuid Scully and Kirstie Dunne, and a committee that brought telephone and online donations on-stream this year. They had classes running about the city doing morning collections, in the afternoon Larry Gogan perched in the 2FM roadcaster oversaw competitions, races and inflatables being dragged out onto the cricket pitch in the name of fundraising and it’s more than likely we’ll see this effort being replicated in the rapidly approaching Rag Week. The whole event
coordinated by BioSoc raised over €90,000 which went to the Coombe and Rotunda hospitals’ neonatal units to buy a respirator and other vital equipment. As always the Bio Soc membership is extremely diverse and mid-way through Michelmas term Muslim students of the society spent two days preparing food for the society’s celebration of Eid in the Trinity Centre in St James’s Hospital. To roll in 2007 the Society opened with its inaugural address, presided over by the BioSoc President, Professor Fiona Mulcahy, on January 12th. With the theme of “Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll”, Richard Layte opened the evening with the stats on sex in Ireland. Professor Mulcahy followed this with the story of the “GUIDE” clinic for STDs in St James’s Hospital. Katie O’Sullivan, the BioSoc Chair, took the stage for a brief talk on the female orgasm and Dr Colm O’Mahoney, from Chester, concluded the evening with amusing anecdotes about his years dealing with sexual health medicine, but the most appreciated was the tale of delivering a baby on board the ferry en route to Chester to begin work there. Med Ball 2007 was Moulin Rouge themed. Held on January 26th in Leopardstown, over 550 society members danced the night away and are still recovering. The next major event is the Bimeetings. Carr Communications will be coming in on February 23rd to address the society and help the members prepare for interviews and perfect their CVs. The March 30th and April 27th Bi-meetings will be debates and information sessions where intern doctors will address younger students concerns about what to expect when they are out working.
DU Physical Society
Physicists treated to talks by world-renowned Nasa scientists Claire Rafferty Last Friday evening, the Physical Society played host to Nasa solar physicist, Dr C Alex Young. Senior scientist on the ESA/Nasa Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (Soho), the Nasa Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (Stereo) and the Japanese satellite HINODE/SOLAR-B, Dr Young travelled from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA by invitation of the Physoc. Dr Young, a native of Georgia, studied Physics at undergraduate level in the University of Florida and was awarded his MSc and PhD in High Energy Astrophysics from the University of New Hampshire. Dr Young began working on the SOHO satellite in 2000 and is now Senior Scientist on many different spacecraft. Stereo, Nasa’s twin satellites, were launched in September 2006. The spacecrafts, like the Earth, are in orbit around the Sun, one in a slightly smaller orbit (and therefore in front of the Earth) and one in a slightly larger orbit (trailing the Earth). These satellites will allow scientists to image the Sun in three dimensions to help us fully understand the dynamics of our nearest star. HINODE/SOLAR-B, a Japanese Space Agency spacecraft, was launched late last year. This satellite will revolutionise the way we see the sun. With a much higher resolution than the now veteran Soho, we will be able to see detail on the sun and in its atmosphere like never before. Dr Young is actively involved in the running of these instruments and will have first access to the data once it is released. “These are very exciting times,” reported Dr Young. “In the next few years, we will have an unprecedented amount of data coming in, more than we can handle right now. The development of software to handle this influx is essential. This is almost as exciting as Soho’s first light.” Young, a collaborator of the Astrophysics Research Group (ARG) in Trinity, spoke about the importance of studying the sun, the impact of “Space Weather” on mankind and some of the topical research under investigation
today. Displaying awe-inspiring images of the sun and the solar atmosphere he explained the workings of the star. Describing the physics behind magnetic fields, solar flares, and the aurora borealis his audience were eager to hear more. With the recent arrival of Dr Peter Gallagher, solar physics is now a hot topic in Trinity. Dr Gallagher has set up the first solar physics group in the Republic of Ireland and the group is going from strength to strength. Dr Gallagher is a highly respected scientist with over 40 peer-reviewed papers to his name. Having spent time at Big Bear Observatory in California and at Nasa Goddard, he has many connections in the Solar Physics community. Currently the ARG solar physics group consists of three PhD students, Claire Raftery, Paul Conlon and Jason Byrne, all of whom have spent time working at Nasa GSFC covering research topics such as coronal heating, coronal mass ejections and magnetic field extrapolations. The group is also leading the Irish effort for the International Heliophysical Year. This is an international celebration of the Sun. The group travels to schools around the country, speaking to students about the Sun and encouraging them to study science at third level. The Physical Society is also active in public outreach. Well known for their interesting speakers, the society was delighted when Dr Young accepted their invitation to speak exclusively to their members. Physoc has played host to many remarkable speakers in the past and hopes to continue its quest to make physics exciting and accessible to all students, both physicists and non-physicists alike. This term will bring Dr EC Finch speaking on “Thomas Young – From Slits and Colours to Hieroglyphics” on February 8th, Dr Stephanie Long from the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland speaking on the controversial issue of the effect Sellafield on Ireland on March 1st and Dr Gordon Wallace of the University of Wollongong, Australia who will be discussing “Intelligent Materials” on the 6th of March. Watch out for the Physoc table quiz later this term also. If you would like more information regarding the Physics Society, please visit duphysoc.org for more society events.
Alex Young, Peter Gallagher and Claire Rafferty
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
University Philosophical Society and College Historical Society
Dean Swift intervarsity competitors debate the existence of God Kevin Lynch The final of the Dean Swift Intervarsity took place on Saturday the 27th of January in the GMB, debating the motion “That this house believes in the existence of God”. The atmosphere in the chamber was electric as co-chief adjudicator Barry Glynn explained that the usual 15-minute preparation time would be doubled and that any team who didn’t argue the motion in the spirit it was intended would lose the debate. As the teams prepared, the crowd warmed the chamber with rousing chorus of some classic odes. The chair, Brian Dobson, called the house to order and invited the speakers. Tony Murphy from St Andrews University proposed the motion saying that there was a God who loved everyone, excepting, of course, the gays. This explained the complexity of the world, he argued. After all, if you find a watch on a beach you don’t just presume it grew out of seaweed and salt water. Ronan Harrington from NUI Galway laid out the case for the opposition. Holding the Holy Bible aloft, he declared it to be nonsense and begged the Lord to strike him down if he was wrong. With bated breath the crowd awaited the impending lightening bolt of displeasure expected from the heavens to smite him. It never arrived and so some began to lay bets on Harrington as a strong contender to win. Rather than the inherent value of belief which the proposition espoused, science, he said, was the best way to understand our world. The highlight for many was the third opposition speaker, Michael Clark, who was competing in his final competition after an illustrious ten-year career. Throughout the weekend Clark and his partner Irwin Gill had emphasised style over substance, thus winning much popular support. Clark didn’t disappoint and easily won the Best Speaker Award.
UCD’s Michael Clarke giving his final speech after a decade of debating. Photo: Mark Kearney Following the debate Clark treated the assembled crowd to a moving rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Tit Willow. Dobson, from the chair, wittily summed up the debate. The final was eventually won by the
St Andrews team of Doug Cochrane and Miss Connie Grieve, from Closing Proposition position following a fivetwo-two split among the adjudication panel. The Dean Swift is the second part of
the Claire Stewart Trinity IV, held annually in the last week of January. Over 70 teams from across Europe took part in the two day intervarsity. After five rounds of debates the top sixteen ranked teams broke to quarter finals where they argued
whether suicide bombing was a legitimate form of warfare. Other topics for discussion included Scottish independence, circumcision, blasphemy, welfare benefits for the travelling community and extradition treaties.
DU Law Society
Benn’s listeners at the Successful Law Ball kicks off Hist left with new society’s year perspectives Mary Clarke
The name Tony Benn meant little to me when, at the urging of a friend, I went to hear him speak at the Hist in January. “Who? Tony Bennett?” I asked, puzzled. To tell you the truth, the concept of a far left-wing establishment figure seemed like a paradox to me, or at worst someone’s skewed idea of a joke. Putting my ignorance to one side, I settle in to the GMB and, once the deafening applause from an evidently more clued-in audience begins to die down, hear him pronounce loudly, “All I need to say about myself is the Irish cause is burned into my heart!” At 81 years old, Tony Benn is standing without stick or lectern, and gesticulating vividly to the packed room. After declaring his Home Ruler ancestry, he says, “I put up a plaque in the House of Commons – I don’t ask permission at my age - in which I listed all the people who have fought for democracy. And I put the name of Countess Markiewicz on it, because she was of course the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons although she couldn’t take her seat as she was a Sinn Féiner, and she was in prison at the time.” He wants to have a discussion rather than a lecture of an “academic character”, and the audience for their part looks bursting to quiz him. Nevertheless he sets the tone with a talk centred on several “sources of power”, from military and technological powers to those of religion and education. “Your generation has the capacity to destroy the human race – and perhaps destroy it by default if you don’t do anything serious about the environment. On the other hand your generation is the first in human history with the capacity to solve the problems of the human race.” By making this the first stab of his speech he is setting out the causes dearest to his heart. Since his retirement from Parliament in 2001 he has devoted himself to questions of the environment, the
Trinity’s Socialist Workers Student Society is hosting Socialist Arts Week from the 19th to the 23rd of February. The week kicks off on Monday night at 6pm in room 3074 with a talk by David Norris on Joyce and Ulysses, followed by a reception. Raymond Deane, the composer and Aosdána member will be speaking on Wednesday the 21st at 6pm in 5025 on “Modern Music and its Audience” and playwright Gavin Kostick will wrap up the Arts Week on Thursday evening with a typically arresting performance and discussion of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, starting at 6pm in 3074. Everyone’s welcome, and you don’t even have to be a leftie to enjoy what’s on offer. Keep your eyes glued on the noticeboards for more details.
Exciting literary line-up for Hilary term
College Historical Society
Socialist week not just for lefties
preservation of democracy, nuclear disarmament and opposition to the war. He has famously said, “Retirement allows me to devote more time to politics.” He expresses himself with a cutting combination of the old and the bleedingedge. On America: “When I was I boy Britain had an empire – and now the American empire.” On religion: “When Moses went up Mount Sinai, God allocated Palestine to the Jews: that is the Zionist case. Well, I didn’t know God was an estate agent … Bush said God told him to go to Iraq. I didn’t know God had such an active interest in current affairs! … Did you ever sing that hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers?” Now if it were “Onward Muslem soldiers/Marching as to war”, they’d all be locked up!” On using a climate of opinion to prevent future wars: “I was thinking of Blair’s modernising. What he’s really doing is going back to the 19th century. But the one thing he couldn’t do was take votes away from women – nobody would accept it. So what we must do is create a climate of opinion so strong in favour of democracy and justice and peace and pensionners that no party will be able to stop it.” On military intervention he is absolute: “Would we have ended apartheid in South Africa more quickly if we’d bombed Praetoria?” His approach to politics strikes me as similar to what can be seen happening in suburban Britain at the moment. He advocates a real democratisation of politics that expects the voters to do more than simply drop a piece of paper into a box every few years; citizens are encouraged to become more aware of how they are being “managed”, by paying attention to current affairs and guiding their local MP. It is not difficult to see how this fellow has come to typify many of the convictions of the left-of-New-Labour camp; like a Labour that didn’t consider its socialist fundamentals “excess baggage” in its bid to get into government. Benn takes the view that “The Labour party has
never been a socialist party but there have always been socialists in it. Just as there are some Christians in the churches. I am a socialist in the Labour party.” What became obvious when the floor was opened to questions was the overwhelmingly socialist make-up of the audience. The room appeared saturated with young representatives from the various Irish Socialist and Labour parties. Some certainly added to the discussion, with the interesting idea of terrorism as a class or anti-colonial struggle going back and forth a few times, others with timidly vague questions of the form, “I’m Joe Bloggs from the Irish [Insert Socialist Party Here]. What advice would you give…” simply called for Benn to repeat what he had been saying for the past hour. Tony Benn’s several vain calls for “Any women?” led him to remark, “There must be something wrong with this University.” It was not until much later, after falsely identifying a few embarrassed pony-tailed men, that a girl led him to discuss China and their opening market. He considers the parallel - might perestroika have appeared in Russia in the 1920s had foreign pressure been less intense? After an enthusiastic standing ovation, the audience, myself included, left with a few new perspectives on issues that frequently become stale from over-used terminology and the dominance of wellmeaning but tedious activists that can be difficult to relate to. It’s a cliché of course, and one that was pointed out to me by a member of a socialist party in attendance, who remarked that it was a privilege to be able to talk to Tony Benn, though it took a student society he regarded as rather right-leaning to make it possible. A full recording of the talk has kindly been made available on the Hist website if you want to feel as though you’ve “Benn there and done that” – their words, not mine! www.thehist.com
The 73rd Annual Law Ball took place on Tuesday 31st January and as the classiest society ball on campus for decades, this year’s event didn’t disappoint. As the traditional venue, the Shelbourne Hotel is still a building site, Law Soc were forced to venture out to Ballsbridge to the plush Berkeley Court Hotel. After the traditional Senior Sophister Law Awards, featuring the annual George Best Award for sustainable drinking and the UN Bleeding Heart Award for thoughtful class contributions, the Camembert Quartet was on hand to keep the party going until everyone fled to Lillies till the wee small hours. The Law Society will commence their series of Law Reform debates on Tuesday 6th February starting with a forum on the Irish Prison system, sponsored by William Fry Solicitors. Given the Minister for Justice’s latest pronouncement that he intends to build a new greenfields site prison, the Law Society has decided to bring together some of the major stakeholders in the Irish Penal system to debate the merits of our current policies. Speaking on the night will be Professor Ivana Bacik, Father Peter McVerry of the charity Welcome Home, Mr John Lonergan Governor of Mountjoy Prison, Mr John Clinton, General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association, Mr Rick Lines, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust and Mr Paul Anthony McDermott, Barrister, lecturer and author. The discussion will be chaired by Senator Mary Henry. Also upcoming in the series will be the annual Law Society Sports Law Debate on liability for foul play on the field with top sports law experts and commentators and the new Environmental and Planning forum in March. The Law Society are extremely proud that in just two years, what started as a smaller Colours event has now grown into the largest Mooting Intervarsity Competition in Ireland. The competition provides a novel platform for the coun-
try’s law students to develop their skills in advocacy and legal argument and display these talents before a very distinguished court of Supreme and High Court judges. As the only event of its kind in Ireland, Law Soc are delighted to host this competition every year and although it’s been a long road of planning and co-ordination we are confident that this competition will continue to grow and provide students the opportunity to experience court room action right on campus. The College Final stages of the competition took place on Tuesday 23rd January and following a knife edge call by a distinguished panel of judges, Junior Sophisters Sinead Treacy and Oisin Tobin succeeded in winning the Law School sponsored cash prize and will go through to represent Trinity in the Intervarsity final on 1st March. Professor William Binchy, Dr Ailbhe O’Neill and Mr Hugh Mohan SC had a tough call to make and applauded both teams on the quality of their advocacy skills. Oisin and Sinead will go on to compete in the IV Final against the best of UCD, NUI Galway and University College Cork Law Societies and they have big shoes to fill. Last year’s Trinity team triumphed over UCD, clearing up both speaker prizes and overall team prize. Teams will compete to win coveted internships in the biggest law firm in the world, Holland and Knight New York, and London firm, Mayer Brown Rowe and Maw as well as cash prizes sponsored by Matheson Ormsby Prentice Solicitors. The competition is a fantastic opportunity for law students to excel in their field and take their place before some of the most distinguished legal minds in Ireland and beyond. Law Soc’s annual fundraising event will take place on Thursday 22nd February. It’s an opportunity for law students to beg borrow and steal, just as we’re taught in lectures, and this year we have teamed up with Cancer Soc to make it the biggest event yet. So get out and get sponsoring.
After a highly successful Michaelmas term, which included “open mic” nights and readings by a number of illustrious guest speakers from the world of literature, Trinity Literary Society has an even more exciting line-up of events for Hilary term. Renowned and multi-award winning poet Simon Armitage (he has even won an Ivor Novello award for song lyrics) will be visiting the Literary Society as part of Trinity Arts Week on Friday, 16th of February at 6pm in the Davis Theatre (Arts Building room 2043). He will be introduced by Dennis O’Driscoll, a friend of the Literary Society who has already honored us with a reading this academic year. This term the LitSoc will also be welcoming back some notable Trinity alumni: one of Ireland’s most successful and acclaimed writers, Colm Tóibín, will give a reading on Tuesday, 13th of February at 6.30pm in room 3074 of the Arts Building, and poet Caitríona O’Reilly will also be gracing the society with her presence later in the term. Finally, the Literary Society is currently editing its annual literary review The Attic. The Attic showcases the work of talented, up-and-coming Trinity student writers and its launch will take place during the penultimate week of this term. Visit trinityliterarysociety.com for details of all upcoming events.
This week is Rainbow week It’s that gay time of year again – Rainbow Week 2007 is upon us this week. This year there is a packed schedule of events to be enjoyed by all Trinity students, gay or straight. The main events this year are the Wilde Ball and Trinity’s Next Top Model. The Wilde Ball is a black-tie fundraiser wine reception in aid of the KAL Initiative, the legal case of AnnLouise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone to gain recognition of their marriage, to be held in the Atrium on Wednesday 7th. There will be wine, music and hors d’oeuvre, and David Norris and Ivana Bacik will be making toasts. Tickets are €25 and can be arranged through email@example.com. Trinity’s Next Top Model is a modelling competition in which Trinity students compete for a oneyear contract with First Option model agency. In aid of Open Heart House, and hosted by Anna Nolan and Miss Panti, it is not to be missed. Starting at 7.45pm on Tuesday 6th in the Dining Hall, admission €3 on the door. Other events include Coming Out Workshops, Karaoke, Rocky Horror Nights and coffee mornings. All details at trinityrainbowweek.com.
Loose on TFM Trinity FM was graced by the presence by Dublin-based funk meisters Mick Pyro and bad-ass bass-playing comrade Ben Loose of Republic of Loose during their last broadcast week January 29th – February 2nd. Chatting to them as part of his ‘Maliblue Mondays” was TFM’s very own Mark Hurst. Other highlights from the week was David Kitt in studio on Monday night playing live, followed by The Immediate on Tuesday evening and Soft Bulletin on Wednesday.
8 WORLD REVIEW
Chinese Premiere ends African tour in Sudan Chinese President Hu Jintao concluded his eight-leg tour of Africa with a controversial visit to Sudan on Friday. Mr. Hu signed a number of deals, including funding a new presidential palace, giving grants and loans and the promise of building schools and roads. China has recently frustrated many Western nations by protecting Sudan from UN sanctions over the Darfur conflict. Mr Hu signed deals in several other African nations earlier in the week, including the cancellation of $10m debt in Liberia.
Taliban retake Afghan town Taliban forces late last week retook control of the Afghan town Musa Qala. British forces had pulled out, having signed a deal with the town’s elders which stipulated that Taliban fighters be kept out of the city centre and security be run by the town’s own auxiliary police unit. The provincial governor told how the Taliban had moved in overnight, arresting some of the town’s elders and destroying part of the government compound. The incident will be seen as a major blow to the British forces latest efforts to restore lasting and self-governing peace to the region.
Fidel Castro on the mend Fidel Castro made his first appearance in public for over three months last week in a televised meeting with Venezuelan premier Hugo Chavez. Speculation was that Castro’s health, guarded as a state secret, was failing and his death was imminent after three failed operations. Regular updates and consistent denials that Castro is suffering from cancer have come from Chavez, regarded as a close friend. Though still frail, Mr. Castro appeared stronger than three months ago and commented that “this is a battle far from being lost”.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Unlike Vietnam, the Iraq war is not technically unwinnable Feargal Madigan With the announcement that 20,000 extra troops are being sent to Iraq, the comparisons between this war and Vietnam have, once again, been made publicly by its detractors on both sides of the Atlantic. The comparison is not a suitable one. There are many differences between this war and Vietnam, but the most essential difference is that Vietnam was a war that was, at least technically, winnable. The war in Iraq is not. In Vietnam, the US army had specific stated military objectives – to topple the Vietcong and Ho Chi Minh’s communist regime. Similar objectives have already been met; Saddam Hussein and his repressive regime have been removed and most of the country is occupied by coalition forces. However, the objectives for the coalition in Iraq are now vague, revolving around “pacifying the country”. This is an extremely difficult prospect for the coalition as they are now in a quagmire, a bewildered third party caught in the crossfire of an increasingly brutal civil war. Pacifying the country is likely to be extremely costly in terms of time, money and casualties and it is becoming obvious that a majority of the American public are no longer prepared to commit long-term. The escalation of the war effort is a major gamble to take. So why commit the extra troops? Why risk further alienating the American electorate? This is a gamble that the current administration can take because it has nothing to lose. It is the action of a lameduck president making a last ditch attempt to save his legacy. Often, the last few years of a president’s second tenure
are spent trying to build a reputation that will live through history. Clinton went on his environmental crusade and spent a great deal of energy trying to deliver peace in Palestine and Northern Ireland. Reagan became so colourful with his anti–Communist rhetoric that he began to resemble Joseph McCarthy. The past two years have not been good for George W. The fiasco of the Katrina relief effort, the corruption scandals in the Republican Party and the increasing hostility to his strategy in Iraq have all made Bush rather unpopular in American eyes. The administration hopes that this tactic will be the decisive victory to ensure its lasting favourable reputation. There is some sense in this position. The extra surveillance on the ground could bring a halt or at least slow down the insurgency and violence in Iraq and allow the establishment of stable democratic institutions. However, attempts thus far to stop the insurgency have resembled trying to stop a tap flow with a pinhead and there is no guarantee that extra personnel will have any effect. Furthermore, extra troops could mean extra body-bags as more American lives will be exposed to Iraqi fire. The longevity of this plan will depend on its success but is guaranteed to last until the next election. By then, it is likely to become a solid platform for debate amongst the new presidential hopefuls. If successful, the plan could save George Bush’s legacy, as a president who defied the odds and small-minded detractors to deliver on his pre-war promises. If unsuccessful, it will not damage his legacy any more.
The coalition is now in a quagmire, a bewildered third party caught in the crossfire of an increasingly brutal civil war
Bloody general strike may provoke war in Guinea
UN envoy endorses Kosovo separation from Serbia Martti Ahtissari, the former Finnish President and UN special envoy, has proposed in Belgrade that Kosovo be allowed to split from Serbia. Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since Serbian troops were forced out in 1999. With 90% of the two million inhabitants ethnic Albanian, public support for a split is overwhelming. However, Serbians see the area as the cradle of their culture and are vehemently opposed to any such move. Though not suggesting outright independence, the UN proposal is the biggest step yet in the direction of succession.
Fighting continues in Gaza Clashes continue between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza City. A ceasefire signed last Tuesday seemed to have stemmed the flow of violence; however, fresh scuffles beginning on Thursday saw at least eight killed by the weekend. Tension between the ruling party, Hamas, and the President’s more moderate Fatah party have seen conflict continuing for the last number of months. Thursday’s outbreak began when Hamas troops attacked a Fatah convoy that they claimed was carrying weapons. Fatah denies these claims saying the convoy contained only generators and trailer homes.
Diplomats in visit to Iran nuclear site A group of ambassadors has been taken on a tour of a nuclear facility in Iran on what was called a “transparency visit.” It is the first such trip since the UN imposed sanctions on Iran in December for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.
Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party is attempting to rally the nation in a bid for full independence from England
Prospects increasing for an independent Scotland Peter Doherty The 300th year of the Act of Union may be its last if the Scottish National Party have their way. Three centuries of cultural and political unity may be all that Scotland is willing to endure as Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party attempts to rally the nation in a bid for full independence. According to the latest polls, which show an unprecedented 51% support for a break from England, his countrymen appear to be behind him. This summer’s elections promise the formation of an SNP led coalition, with the party poised to win 44 seats in Holyrood, ahead of Labour’s 43. Fuelling this surge in Scottish nationalism are fifty years of profound social transformation, with the country enjoying an upwardly mobile economy in the postwar years and an increasingly young population, more inclined to dreams of a free Scotland than their older counterparts. Moreover, Salmond has been keen to exploit the country’s under-representation on the international stage, standing, as it must do, under the banner of the entire United Kingdom. With the possibility of an EU constitution looming, Scottish voters are keen to see pertinent issues such as
the fishing industry addressed at a European level, something which British representatives are seen as having neglected. The SNP also has a ready-made vote in the general disillusionment with devolved government. Promises of better schools, a stronger economy and reformed health system have failed to materialise while Westminster retains crucial powers over areas such as the Scottish oil, taxation, immigration, asylum, defence and international affairs. However, it is unlikely that applications for Scottish passports will be made any time soon. Unsurprisingly, Labour and future Prime Minister Gordon Brown have been quick to muster support for the continuation of the United Kingdom. Not only does the current debate threated to focus media attention on Brown’s Scottishness, problematic in the context of the West Lothian debate, but independence north of the border would seriously denude Labour’s electoral support. The party has the votes of Scots to thank for its recent majorities and in 2005, more English people voted Conservative than Labour. Brown, calling on voters to resist the ‘Balkanisation’ of Britain, has consistently targeted the economic pitfalls of Salmond’s scheme. Labour claims that a free Scotland
would suffer a deficit of up to £11 billion, arising from the current discrepancy between how much UK money is spent north of the border, and how much is raised in taxes there. Over half of Scots believe Brown. Salmond clearly has a lot of convincing to do and is quick to cite the success stories of other small countries such as Ireland in the EU and proposes to revitalise an underperforming economy through proper capitalisation on an educated workforce and skilled immigrants. Crucially, the SNP may simply be riding the wave of the general antipathy towards Blair and his crusade in Iraq as a number of commentators have noted that a vote for the SNP could merely register as a protest vote against Labour and not a vote for independence. Even should the SNP manage to form a government, they will face the unenviable task of persuading their coalition partners to hold a referendum on independence, which the Liberal Democrats have flatly refused to do. Then there is the underlying irony of the situation to overcome. Westminster may reserve the right to hold a referendum on anything pertaining to the Union. It may simply refuse to do so and that could be the end of Salmond’s free Scotland.
“TIA bro, This Is Africa”. Danny Archer, Blood Diamond’s veteran smuggler, finds this an adequate explanation for the cronyism, poverty and violence that sadly cripple this beleaguered continent. Archer’s quip may yet plague a surprisingly peaceful country, given its location on Africa’s anarchic west coast. That country is Guinea, which on 10th January, saw the beginning of a general strike followed by general chaos. Workers of every profession and class took to the streets in protest at the release from prison of a number of presidential allies by the decree of President Lansana Conte. They demanded that the president cede some of his powers to an independent prime minister capable of forming a government of ministers that would actually manage the country, not their stategenerated fortunes. The strike lasted two weeks and is now resolved, but the fragile balance this cripplingly poor country exists in has been thrown into harsh light. Guineans showed that they no longer tolerate being preyed upon and are prepared to endure hunger, pain and even death to get their message across. Since 1984, President Conte has ruled over this former French colony under the motto “la justice et l’etat, c’est moi” (justice and the state, its me). Though economically a little more liberal than his socialist predecessor, Conte’s methods centre around political repression and institutional corruption netting him and his circle of advisors (cronies) huge sums. Meanwhile, Guinea’s people have grown poorer. In the past number of years, the president’s age and illness have loosened his grip on power and the state has grown more predatory. Three sets of strikes in the past twelve months have resulted from increasing desperation and the price of foodstuffs soaring as the economy remains stagnant. Guinea is drenched in mineral wealth, but chronic mismanagement and arbitrary redistribution of these resources has meant that little benefit accrues to Guineans in the form of job creation or public services. A case in point is the
bauxite mineral, of which Guinea holds a third of world reserves. By exporting the mineral raw, rather than refining it, the price obtained is only an eighth of the rate possible from exporting refined alumina. Recently, the government has sponsored a number of refining initiatives that could see Guinea earn the true value of its endowments. However, given that Transparency International ranks Guinea as the most corrupt country in the world, beating such champions as the Congo and Brazil, it is unlikely that revenue will ever trickle down. It was in response to such cases of incompetence that strikes were called and change demanded. During West Africa’s gruesome civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Conte’s rule was seen as important, owing mainly to the fact that as a strong man he kept Guinea stable in spite of nearby carnage. However, his usual heavy-handed response backfired this January. As the army was rolled out to quell protestors, a high death toll (up to 100 were killed) resulted, but the strike continued and the president fell even further in popularity. Most alarming, the traditional method of keeping Guinea “stable” has proved inadequate in securing the capital, opening the possibility of state failure if disagreement between unions and the administration continues. Such an outcome, given Guinea’s location, would be disastrous. Both Sierra Leone and Liberia are emerging from a horrific past by making the transition to democracy and economic stability. Though each has experienced some success, they remain awash with arms and large numbers of idle youngsters capable of wielding them. Conflict in Guinea would prove borderless and recripple the region. As the situation stands, President Conte has agreed to the appointment of a new prime minister and hand over his powers as head of government. Business resumed in Conakry last week but only on the understanding that the strikes were “suspended”, not terminated, according to union officials. Conte has reneged before and strikes will resume if he does so again. It would be in West Africa’s best interests (and thankfully prove Mr Archer wrong) if he did not.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Retain and guard Trinity’s scholarship institution David Rickard As you read this, somebody in College is studying for Schols. The upcoming Foundation Scholarship examinations will take place during the three weeks between the standard Hilary and Trinity teaching terms, and over those weeks a few hundred students will take their seats in the Exam Hall, sign their name in the record book and take on the challenge of the Schol exams. A few weeks later, at 10.00am on Monday, May 14th, from the steps of the same Exam Hall, the Provost will announce a few dozen of those students newly elected Scholars of Trinity College. It’s been going on like that for a long, long time. Time for a change? How about awarding the Schols based on the annual exam results? For a little over a year now, I have been involved in College’s Working Group on Scholarship as a representative of the Scholars, and we have been dealing with just such questions. As the Scholars’ Secretary (a role similar to that of class rep, I suppose), I have been keeping the Scholars up to date with the goings-on, listening to their opinions on the matter and presenting their views to the group. While the opinions expressed here are my own, they agree closely with the many I have received from individual Scholars. Let me set a couple of things straight. I do not believe that the Schol system is untouchable by virtue of its history and heritage. Just because something has been in existence for an extended period does not grant it any form of infallibility. However, I do believe that just because something is old does not mean it necessarily needs to be updated and altered. I am an ardent and unreserved supporter of the current system of awarding Schol. I support it not because it is an ancient tradition, but because I believe it works. I am not against all forms of change in College, though I’ll admit I have become wary of College’s ability to implement sound, reasoned and warranted changes in light of some of the things we have seen introduced over the past few years (ARAM, restructuring, and the subsequent re-restructuring, and the recent decision to terminate the Acting Studies course all spring to mind); I simply do not believe some of the calls for change to the present Scholarship system are justified. So why exactly do I support the current system? Isn’t it a tradition with no real use anymore? Wouldn’t it be better if everyone was considered for the award through the use of the annual exams? Isn’t it a waste of time for examiners who set papers for both the Scholarship exams and the annual exams? My belief in the current system of awarding Scholarships – that of using a separate, early and voluntary set of exams – is intrinsically linked to the first line of this piece. Right now, someone in College is studying for Schols. They have already decided to put themselves forward, they have registered to take the exam and they are working hard. No one is making them sit the exams, but they have decided they want to do it anyway. It is a voluntary ordeal they will endure over the next few weeks, but they will motivate themselves and strive to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the subjects they are studying. They will sit exams that stretch them beyond what is expected of the average student, where they must show not just a knowledge of the course content but an insight into the subject, and show signs of a mind at work, mastering the material, with some originality of thought and the ability to form novel ideas. It is no small undertaking and I applaud their diligence and discipline. The sacrifices they will make will be considerable, and anyone who thinks about the amount of parties and nights out to be had in the Senior Freshman year will realise that these potential Scholars are giving up a lot socially to test themselves and see if they have the required ability academically. It can be difficult to go to the library instead of the Pav sometimes. It will be tough for these students, but it might just be worth it. It is pretty obvious why it is worth it for the successful Scholar, but is it worth it for College? Yes it is. Through the benefits it offers students, getting Schols encourages a student to remain in College as a postgraduate. Postgrads, and research students in particular, must work in a different environment to undergraduates, an environment where one must be selfmotivated and disciplined and where originality of thought and the ability to form novel ideas is prized, and where the stu-
dent must work hard at what can be a daunting and gruelling task. Sound familiar? The current system of Schols is very effective at finding, selecting and retaining ideal candidates for postgraduate study here in Trinity, candidates who will work hard, work well and motivate themselves. I know of plenty of students from my class and my year who graduated with first-class degrees and went on to do research; the majority of those who had gotten Schols stayed here while the majority of non-Scholars went elsewhere. We are all familiar with College’s aims to become a “fourth-level” institute, where postgraduate teaching and research will be the key to success. Postgraduate students are the engine of research in a university, and producing top-quality research is what sets the world’s greatest universities ahead of the rest. I would happily assert that awarding Schols to the students who show their merit under the current system is preferable to awarding it to those who find themselves in the top percentile after the Senior Freshman exams. Obviously, a university’s reputation is built not only on the quality of its research and postgraduates, but on the quality of its teaching and its graduates. Graduates are ambassadors for their university and I would warrant that graduate Scholars are among the best representatives that Trinity has to offer. The single most important factor in the current system’s success in finding these students is the self-selection aspect. Standing apart from the crowd and committing yourself to the exams says a lot about one’s character and character is more important than Senior Freshman annual exam results in determining the kind of graduate that walks out through the Front Gate a couple of years later. Critics of the current system have claimed repeatedly that it misses out on some of the best potential Scholars, those who simply never attempted it but have gone on to show themselves to be excellent students. They call for the award to be granted based on the annual exams so that everyone gets a shot, and assert that that is what is needed. The Schol system as it stands will never attract everyone, and I think that is perfectly reasonable. In their Senior Freshman year many students are (rightly) occupied with non-academic pursuits in College, be they clubs, societies, student organisations or simply socialising. A university education doesn’t just mean hours spent at a desk or in the library. That some outstanding students never attempted Schols because they simply did not want to burden themselves in their Senior Freshman year should not worry anyone. It is a cause for concern if they felt they were precluded from doing it because of certain specific demands relating to their course, or if they were not aware of the award. That some students who are truthfully not outstanding do get Schol because the papers have begun to resemble the not-too-challenging annual exams, where cramming and rote-learning can reap huge benefits, should worry people far more. The idea that having everyone sit the annual exams and granting Scholarships based on those exams would be guaranteed to award Schols to the “best” candidates is nonsense. In the first instance, advocates of this system are judging students retrospectively, asking: a Gold Medal-winner must be a great student, so why do some Gold Medal-winners not have Scholarships? Clearly, the medal system judges the student on performance in the sophister years of their degree and students do a lot of growing up in College and often work immeasurably harder when the grades they get begin to contribute to their degree mark. There is no reason to expect that those who are not motivated to go for Schols in their second year (and subsequently graduate as excellent students) would have been awarded a Scholarship based on their annual exam results in second year. The same scenario as that which currently exists, of students enjoying College for two years and then working hard for two years and emerging as a top student, will still exist and plenty of Gold Medal-winning graduates will still not be Scholars. The second problem with using this argument to encourage a move to the annual exams is that the “best” candidates aren’t necessarily those who will top the class in the Senior Freshman annual exams. As I have stated, the character of the student is what really identifies a Scholar, and the annual exams don’t measure this. A student with a good memory and exam technique, a well-practised crammer, in a senior freshman annu-
Above: Dr Hegarty announcing new scholars on Trinity Monday last year. Right: JS Mathematics student Robert Clancy after his election to scholarship. Photos: Communications Office al exam, could easily end up in the top percentile. Are they good candidates for further study in Trinity? They might have no real interest in their course, done only the required amount of work, motivated simply by the fact that they have to do the exams anyway so they may as well get a good mark, and have no interest in pursuing their studies beyond their degree. That they might eclipse the one student in the class who would have been prepared to sit the Schol exams, and who would have made a fine contribution to College as a Scholar, is the worst case scenario for the institution of Scholarship. There is a lot to be gained from the award, and students who achieve it should really be able to show they have done something to deserve it. Not everything about the current system is as it should be, though, and ironically many of those who have neglected what might be called their duty with respect to Schols are the ones calling for change because they believe what they are currently engaged in is pointless. Those who claim that the Scholarship exams represent a duplication of the Senior Freshman annual exams, and despair at this extra work, are misled and misleading others. Those who cry out that they have to set essentially the same exams twice are simply setting the wrong set of exams once. The Schol exams should be markedly different to the annual exams, and treated accordingly. Examiners who simply duplicate the papers are wasting a great opportunity and neglecting the purpose behind the Schol exams. This situation has happened before, and a 1985 report on Schols recommended that staff, particularly staff members who had not attended Trinity as an undergraduate, should be refamiliarised with the intention and ethos of the Scholarship exams. I hope something similar happens as a result of the current debate. The Schol exams are separate from the annual exams for a reason. Annual exams assess whether a student may proceed to the following year, while Schol exams ask for much more. There is no need to include questions aimed at students on the pass/fail borderline. There is no need to stay strictly within the narrow confines of the syllabus. Examiners may ask truly searching questions in an effort to find students with a real spark of innovation and an excellent grasp of the required material and more; students can show their ability to assimilate and link various parts of the course and to draw on
external knowledge without fear that straying from the standard material will be held against them. Examiners who complain of the chore of setting duplicate exams should be chastised for setting such papers in the first place. The Schol exam papers should be a real challenge and a real assessment of a student’s intellectual abilities, not an assessment of their exam technique and rote learning abilities. Currently I believe there is much room for improvement here, and a move to using the annual exams as a tool for awarding Schols may save some of these lecturers the inconvenience of setting a second set of papers, but it leaves College without the best method of selecting Scholars and is not a good solution. The examiners with a problem with the current system should realise the “problem” is of their own making. Some calls for alterations to the current system are justified. There have been complaints regarding the lack of a “level playing field” for students of different faculties when it comes to the perceived difficulty of achieving Scholarship, and they are certainly merited. Some amount of flexibility is necessary if students are not to be faced with barriers to their participation in the exams such as the timing of other examinations, clinics and assessments. I believe these situations could be remedied on a course-by-course basis; allowing departments who do not have the standard lecturing term dates (as many courses in the Health Sciences faculty do not) to set their Schol papers a couple of weeks earlier/later would help enormously, enabling everyone who wishes it to attempt the Schol exams. Those who claim that awarding Schols based on the annual exam results would be a fairer system are, I believe, misguided because awarding Schols based on compulsory exams misses the fundamental principle and advantage of the current system as outlined above, that of the self-selection of the Scholarship candidates. Perhaps one of the more emotive (as it relates directly to more people) aspects of the current debate is that of exemptions. The problems are simple enough to grasp: students take the Schol exams speculatively, with the aim of just about qualifying for exemptions and thus lengthening their summer by skipping most of Trinity term; this in turn undermines the importance of teaching in Trinity term and may lead to various problems in subsequent years. The key issue, that of students neglecting their work in Trinity term, could be fixed easily, this year, and those
who are using this situation to call for a move to annual exams as the basis for awarding Schols are being myopic indeed. Withholding the names of those with exemptions until later in Trinity term and/or raising the level at which exemptions are awarded would reduce this problem greatly and quickly, and could be done easily within the current system. Exemptions are a key draw to get people to go through the mill of the Schol exams, and it has resulted in a number of students who have underestimated their own abilities going for, and subsequently achieving, Schols, and calls for their complete abolition should not be heeded. While I welcome changes as outlined above, I believe that the institution of Scholarship in Trinity should be cherished and guarded. Not only is it a system with a purpose that works well (though it could work better), it is a powerful symbol of all that Trinity strives to represent in terms of academic excellence and the pursuit of knowledge. I’ll admit I am a big fan of some of the pomp and ceremony that Trinity employs on occasion, and the ceremonies that accompany the announcement of the Scholars are certainly among my favourites. While the loss of these trappings (as the award of Schols based on annual exams would necessitate to some degree or other) would be saddening, the loss of the institution of Scholarship through a change to the separate, early exam system would be altogether tragic. Schols would become just another award, much like the current postgraduate studentships. Does anyone know or care who gets them? Why would College want to remove something that sets it apart from the other Colleges in this country? A move to the annual exam
system for awarding Schols would be a dumbing-down of the award, and a cheapening of its meaning. Schols would fail to be something which represents Trinity so well. The last thing we need is for College to update, modernise, rename, rebrand and restructure itself beyond recognition, and the current Scholarship system is one thing that should be retained. Who wants Trinity to distinguish itself from UCD and DCU only by being the one with all the bus routes? Realistically, the biggest issue that College is currently dealing with is that of Semesterisation and Modularisation. I would hope that the interim report published by the Working Group on Scholarship would lead to a re-affirmation by College of the principles and practices that underpin the award and its current system. The next thing our group could do would be to examine the ways in which these separate exams could be facilitated if alterations are made to the term structure in College. Of course, the purpose of our interim report is to highlight the issues that have been raised and discussed and lay them out for the rest of the College community to see before adding their own opinions to the discussion. If you have an interest in what is happening, go to the website where you can read the report and comment on it. If you feel strongly about what’s going on, get involved. • David Rickard is Secretary of the Scholars’ Committee • www.tcd.ie/local/scholreview • firstname.lastname@example.org
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Switching to Google raises many privacy issues for mail users Jonathan Schachter I was surprised and disappointed to hear that College will be outsourcing our email service to Google. This is particularly shocking considering the GSU’s online survey on this matter was available until 19 January. It seems pretty quick for IS Services to have processed the survey results within a day or two! The University Record rightly notes that students seem to love Gmail; many of them already have Gmail accounts and some students opt to have their Trinity mail forwarded to Gmail. But what if I don’t want my mail to go through Google? Do I get to choose? Google is an admirable company. It has done many good things. Its corporate charter states at the top “Don’t Be Evil.” That’s good. But Google defines what it sees as evil. Here are a few things that aren’t “Google-evil”: censoring search results about freedom and democracy in China; cooperating with Germany and France to censor search results regarding holocaust “revisionism” (obviously the Holocaust happened, but the conspiracy theories of deniers could gain credibility when governments try to limit their freedoms with the aid of large corporations); keeping cookies on users’ computers that don’t expire until 2038; retaining data about your IP, your cookie number, your search terms, your mail, etc without any explanation as to why; employing officials (“spooks”) from US intelligence agencies; archiving what you write in Gmail and what people write to you. Google is a monopoly, and it gains more users and more information about these users every day. Google remains unaccountable to the public, and does not guarantee your privacy. I won’t claim that Google is evil. I don’t think it is. However, I agree with Orwell’s notion that “on the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.” So, I pose the following questions: what will happen to our data if we, as a university, decide to opt out? Who will profit off of
“Google certainly has the potential to become “evil”. All it would take is a subpoena.” quences. I, for one, love my Gmail account; it’s great. But considering that Google knows my name, my friends’ names and email addresses, my home and college postal addresses, my interests and search terms, the things I buy or want to buy, the books and articles I read, the patents that interest me, my personal photos, my news outlets, and driving directions to my house (which they will no doubt recognize from the satellite image of it), I’m glad to have a non-Gmail account. For many people, Google could know much more, including but not limited to personal financial information (from Docs
& Spreadsheets and Google Finance), credit card information (from Google Checkout), and the entire contents of personal hard drives (from Google Desktop). Now, I don’t sit in my room Googling bomb-making instructions and child porn, buying the precursors for crystal meth, searching patents for WMD components or uploading screenshots from snuff films, so I don’t really have too much to worry about; but I’m glad that at the moment I have an email address protected from the multitude of equipment Google uses to archive data, and I’m pleased that Google cannot cross-reference my college emails with
cookies from other Google technologies. I’m glad there’s one bastion of privacy in my cyber-existence – even if it is subject to Irish FOI legislation. Members of the College community have every right to want College to maintain control over the community’s data. People deserve to choose whether or not they wish for their e-mail to be handled off-site, overseas. A university thrives on intellectual freedom and protection from intrusion on privacy. And, for a college community that seems to detest Coca Cola and Nestle for being evil corporations, and for students who cherish Ireland’s neutrality and sovereignty, it seems anom-
alous and somewhat naive for us to cede control of our mail services—without due consultation and discussion—to a giant American corporation in the post9/11, post-Patriot Act world. Remember, in 1984 (1949), “Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.” Twentythree (fifty-eight) years later, this notion remains pertinent. • Jonathan Schachter is a Scholar and a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science
Coke boycott is worth keeping Carl Fox Much opposition to the Coke boycott took the form of pragmatic assumption. Arguments were most often heard to assert that Coke would simply not be hurt, not be stung into action by the students of this, or any other, college. That argument has now been totally debunked. Over the past number of months we have witnessed a colossal increase in attention directed toward Trinity students by CocaCola. How else can we explain this except as a concerted effort to buy back the hearts and minds of students who have been made aware of the awful atrocities committed against unionised workers in Coke bottling plants in Colombia and poor farmers in India? Let us look briefly at the evidence for this claim. Firstly, Coke altruistically offered to provide the financial backing for two lecturing positions in Trinity, dealing, in part, with business ethics. This has been followed by large-scale advertising in Trinity News. Finally, we must look at Coke’s involvement in student societies. Further advertising in the Philander and exceptionally generous sponsorship of the Hist, to the extent that they have taken to wearing uniform hoodies bearing the Coke insignia, essentially means that Coke has bought itself a visible share in our two largest societies and the building that functions for many students as the closest thing we have to a students’ centre. Ladies and gentlemen, have we not just witnessed a truly spectacular example of a point actually proving itself? Through our continued boycott we have, in fact, significantly altered the behaviour of Coca-Cola Ireland. They are trying to win us back with clever, targeted PR exercises. The Trinity market, irrespective of whether students can purchase Coke products outside the S.U. shops, is important enough to warrant an expensive response. So, now that we can point to these examples and show that the fundamental principle behind any boycott can be applied here too, surely we can say with
one voice: we will not be bought. Our principles, unlike those of Coke, cannot be for sale. We must continue to take on the struggle so as to convince them that it is more costly, in both the longer and the shorter term, to stand idly by in Colombia and India, and indeed elsewhere. On pragmatic terms, the boycott can win the success that is required, and in a moral sense, it must. Much is being made of the current financial downturn experienced by the Student Union shops. Less money is being made. This is, apparently, an untenable situation and our continued boycott of popular and profitable products is thus contributing to the end of the world. So, economics demands the return of Coke and Nestlé. Drivel, nonsense and obviously flawed propaganda. The first salvo in any response should point to the closure of the Buttery bar, which sold plenty of Coke, just not enough to stay afloat. The Buttery was badly managed and resourced, and failed to make money as a result of these facts. Second, the Students’ Union shops were making losses before the boycott was introduced. If the Students’ Union shops aren’t pulling their weight then we should look first to their administration rather than their stockrooms. With that said, Coke and Nestlé are hugely profitable products, and it seems fair to operate on the premise that their absence is costing the Union a certain amount of money, but what we have to ask ourselves is whether that’s reason enough to bring them back. I always thought that it was something of a given that principles sometimes involve sacrifice, that it might cost something to hold onto them. The purpose of a boycott is to go out of your way to make a point, that no matter how convenient or familiar something may be, you are not committed to it above your own sense of right and wrong. When the student body voted to boycott Coke and Nestlé products, it voted to sacrifice profits from their sale because it could not, in good conscience,
accept that money. Then we have this pseudo argument, beautifully summed up by our noble President, Dave Quinn, who recently asked Council the following question: “Is it our job to force ethical decisions on our students…or should we provide the information and the ethical alternatives and let freedom of choice reign? Well, Dave, let me see if I can make it a little clearer. Your job is to do what we tell you, and we told you to boycott Coke. You are forcing nothing on us, we are forcing it on you. That’s how it’s supposed to work, and frankly I’m a little disappointed that you don’t know that. You will undoubtedly hear at some stage that Coke has been cleared of all wrongdoing in court, that the company has legally proven its innocence of the charges leveled against it. This is a gross distortion of the truth. The reason that court cases
against Coke taken in the U.S. failed is not because they didn’t do anything, we haven’t made this up because their wasn’t anything suitably outrageous on TV. Rather, the American courts refused to hold Coca-Cola legally responsible for crimes committed on behalf of subsidiaries outside its jurisdiction. They were a long shot to begin with. Finally, I want to take a closer look at the hypothesis, again eloquently explicated by our venerable President Quinn, that if we’re going to have ethical standards then we should be consistent and apply them wherever we find injustice or corporate evil. Firstly, I find it interesting that his approach to the universal application of ethical standards seems to be sell first and ask questions later, i.e. that a stand is incompatible with freedom of choice, even if it is a democratic decision within which all students may participate, so we might as well make money off it and show how good we are at running a shop. You don’t win in a David versus several Goliaths situation by attacking all the Goliaths at once for everything you can think of. No, instead you do what you can. You chip away at a few issues, say Coke and Nestlé, and you try to build some momentum, as can be seen with the Coke campaign. Colleges, unions, city councils, international organisations and many other groups across the world are joining the boycott. It is, in fact, spreading rapidly. When you force change in these specific cases, then you move on to new grievances and you do so with more confidence and a greater baseline of support. Eventually companies will be forced to take on board the idea that unethical and downright criminal practices will come back to haunt them and in this way you gradually transform the entire playing field. It’s not a quick or an easy process, but neither is it an unimportant one. You do what you can, and we can sustain the Coke boycott because it’s more important than a quick profit and because it is a democratic expression of our freedom of choice made in accordance with principles that are not for sale. • Carl Fox is Vice-Chair of Trinity Labour
EDITORIAL AND LETTERS 11
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
To the Editor 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2 Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Convert the Luce Hall into an administrative centre The proposal to convert the Luce Hall into a “student centre”, if implemented, will only serve to further decrease the status of students in their own university. To hold that students need a building set aside for their use in an institution which, by definition, exists for students, is preposterous and patronising. The entire college is the students’ “centre”, and the attempt at near-consolidation of student activity outside of their “course” of study should be rejected. The plan suits the university’s administrators. For these employees of the College, who often seem to forget that their function is to serve the needs of students, the prospect of larger offices with bigger windows and nice views onto College Green is infinitely appealing. The Students’ Union is also happy with the prospect of abandoning House Six and moving to the Luce Hall. It seems, to them, that the College’s offer of a large student-run building is a victory following from their campaigning. But it is only a victory on the surface, as it means that student activity will be moved almost completely out of the front of College and the most attractive buildings in College abandoned to paper pushers. Trinity’s students and student societies should aim for more than modern rooms – which will, it must be pointed out, be smaller than what they already occupy in Number Six – in the Luce Hall. Better, rather, to demand that the administrators are removed from the spacious offices they already occupy all around the Front Square, where students should be. These rooms should be regained for our use, turning the whole of the front of College into the centre of student activity. Once the sport facilities in the Luce Hall are abandoned for the new sport centre, why not turn the Luce Hall into an administrative centre? The Front Square’s nine-to-four workers could be moved into an open-plan office on the basketball court floor, freeing up many rooms in the west end of College for student use.
We should celebrate our own identity and fly our own flag Those unsolicited Students’ Union emails have been dominated over the last couple of weeks with updates on the attempt to have the country’s flag flown over the front of College. What exactly this would prove is not elucidated in any of these messages, but perhaps the idea is to remind the public that this college is not part of the United Kingdom – as if they don’t know. Flying the tricolour on our national day is perfectly laudable. But Trinity’s main flag pole should not be used to validate the identities of some insecure students. We should, however, celebrate our own identity, which is already close to being eradicated in the attempt to avoid seeming “exclusive”. Our College’s own flag could be raised daily, Trinity’s ancient armorial bearings showing Dublin our pride in our own establishment. The flag of the University Senate is already flown on Commencement days, and it would surely be no great trial for someone to take on the task of raising the College’s flag daily, perhaps restricting this to term. An exception could be the flying of the Boat Club’s flag when it wins at Henley – a day which we hope is not too far away!
There are many reasons for restricting access to the College A piece in the Irish Times last week took a less than positive view of our leader in the last issue, which called for preventing our college being from used as a public playground and thoroughfare. “So much for TCD reaching out to its local community!” screamed the “Teacher’s Pet” piece. The writer might not like it, but Trinity’s students have no responsibility to “reach out” to anyone to the detriment of their own academic and student lives Others, writing on the internet, seem to have concluded that the call for restriction of access to Trinity was solely a response to the problem of deviants prowling around the College’s toilets. Unfortunately, this is merely one of the many problems caused by allowing anyone and everyone stroll around our formerly placid quadrangles. Restricting access would prevent this and other problems caused by invaders.
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Northern Ireland no longer defended from crime network Sir, – After several years of delaying what has for an almost equally long time seemed the inevitable step of signing up to support the PSNI and, by extension, the 6000 or so troops resident in Northern Ireland and what justice system we have, Sinn Féin has voted by an overwhelming majority to take this “confidence building” leap of faith in the hitherto unproven (in Northern Ireland) democratic credentials of the Democratic Unionist Party. The previous Thursday, undoubtedly after lengthy negotiations with Sinn Féin, the British government announced that Northern Ireland is to be stripped of its most effective defence against the substantial and still growing network of organised crime that continues to bully, terrorise and rob local communities and businesses (best demonstrated by an ongoing scandal in Carrickfergus) – the Assets Recovery Agency, widely regarded as one of the best such organisations in Europe, due in part to very successful collaboration with its counterpart in Ireland,
the Criminal Assets Bureau. Officially ARA is to be centralised, merging into the Home Office. This would be less worrying if I hadn’t seen or heard any news over the past twelve months covering the descent of Her Royal Home Office into utter farce. This is the surest way to paralyse and degrade any government body that is proving too effective for the liking of wealthy “ex”-paramilitaries. We are now left in the hands of the most hopelessly ineffective and inefficient police service in the EU, a force rendered almost toothless with the ludicrous decision to effectively dissolve ARA. On a weekend that would otherwise have been spent remembering Bloody Sunday, 28th January will now be remembered as the day Sinn Féin signed up to policing and justice – albeit a perverted form of poetic justice. Yours etc, Conor McQuillan SF Medicine
It is easier to sneer at tradition than to emulate it Sir, – Congratulations on two sensible and well-judged editorials on the Provost’s salary and College as a public thoroughfare (with special facilities for skateboarders). It has become increasingly clear in recent years that those running the College have little or no concern for its appearance and atmosphere. Look for example at the array of disfiguring dustbins in Front Square. Rubbish was something we used
to hide from public view. These are the outward signs of inner decline. We have lost the plot. Is it too much to hope that our student body will help in the restoration of the old values that made Dublin University great? It is easier to sneer at tradition than to emulate it. Yours etc, – Dr Gerald Morgan School of English
The Agent Bloody hell, is it that time again already? The Agent has had a busy two weeks of it trying to keep up with the witless manoeuvrings of College hackdom in this, their favourite time of the year for backstabbing and electioneering. Since last the Agent graced you plebs with her thoughts, it appears that a new player has appeared on the scene for the Students’ Union elections – (another) former Hist committee member, former Chair of the Greens, all around ladyboy about town, Andrew Byrne. Byrne could, conceivably, be a strong candidate. He ticks all the right boxes, never having done anything really whatsoever. Indeed sources in several of Byrne’s former societies and in Green Party HQ tell the Agent that his work-rate was legendary for its non-existence – looking presentable, and being gay – which always gets you far in the Students’ Union. He has to deal with the (really) small problem of the PDs, who remain incensed that Byrne voted against recognising them as a society during his tenure on the CSC – but then again, who really recognises the PDs anyway? The Agent reckons Byrne will give John Tracey a run for his money, but he won’t win. This week past saw the crowning glory of Daire Hickey’s tenure as President of the Phil. The media whore was in his element entertaining the most liberal member of the US Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The event went well, with the Phil even managing to avoid the usual criticism of their events by letting a few ordinary plebs in to hear Hickey give a paper which, in a break with tradition, touched on no subject of real importance and instead was an appraisal of how wonderful his year has been. Hickey’s never been one for modesty. The undertone of the event, of course, was that it marked the beginning of a potentially vicious fight to succeed Hickey in the golden chair. Ruth “best breasts ever” Faller set her store out at the beginning of the meeting, using her minutes to launch uncharacteristically bitchy attacks on poor old James O’Brien – who was too sick with envy to attend – and, more significantly, Andrew Campbell. Campbell, last years President, was frequently at odds with Hickey and Faller, but still retains a powerful rump of support in the Society. Faller’s attack may well have energised that base of support against her candidacy, but on the whole, the Agent feels that bashing the guys who weren’t going to vote for you anyway is a ballsy move that bodes well for a Faller campaign. Also helping her will be the lack of any organised opposition. The obvious alternative is Rory Rutledge,
brother of Students’ Union perma-hack Susan, and Hickey’s Treasurer, but unifying the old Cosgrave/Campbell faction behind him may be difficult. If you like blood-letting (and if you’re reading the Agent, you love it), this is one to watch. The Agent, as you’ll know by now, has been a little hard on James O’Brien this year. Well, no. The Agent’s been a little honest about James O’Brien this year would be a more accurate way to put it – but hey, Jamesy had a good week. Nobody resigned! The captain of the Boat Club, Gabriel “Dubya” Magee, the Agent hears, went on power trip last week when he prevented a fellow student from joining the Club – despite her having been a member for the previous four years. Allegedly Gabriel couldn’t face the possibility that a girl might take his seat in the senior crew. To congratulate himself for putting down the threat to his position, the esteemed captain put
himself forward for the Boat Club’s highest honour, Senior Colours, last Saturday. Go USA! The Agent never thought he’d say this, but Dave Walker is going up in his estimation. Walker has contested and lost many elections in his time in College, and was set to extend that streak rather spectacularly by managing Bartley Rock’s suicide mission of a campaign for the Education office. News reaches the Agent, however, that after giving Bartley a list of things to do earlier in the year to make himself electable, Bartley failed to do any of them. In fairness to Bartley, that list probably included a face, personality, and name transplant, but still, Bartley didn’t even try. As such, Walker walked out on the campaign this week, leaving Bartley rudderless and without anybody steering the campaign against Neil McGough (who, ironically, Walker was in school with – coincidence?). The Agent now fears that Bartley might do even worse than the last GMB
Ireland and Trinity College On another page we publish a letter from one who signs himself “Defender of the Faith”. The writer complains about the holding of a Ceilidhe in the Dixon Hall and demands that Trinity should be given back what he calls “our English dances”. We can envisage, though not sympathise with, the mentality which prefers the modern “shuffle shuffle” to the complicated figures of folk-dancing. Irish dancing, like all folk-dancing, requires a certain amount of effort and concentration, and also demands that dancers should mix with each other instead of moving around the room in unsociable couples. But apart from the question of the relative merits of Irish and ball-room dancing, in which we may be in a minority, the writer of the letter raises the far more important problem of Trinity’s position as regards Ireland as a whole. Naturally enough, “Defender of the Faith” has raised the question of religion. Using as a pseudonym a title that was given to Henry VIII by Pope Leo X, he maintains that the only way in which Trinity can remain Protestant is by refusing to permit the holding of Ceilidhes within its walls. We did not want, in discussing Trinity’s position in Ireland, to tread upon the white-hot stones of religious controversy. But it seems that, if we are to make the position clear, a certain amount of discussion is necessary. It is not to be denied that Trinity is pre-eminently a Protestant University. It houses the Divinity School of the Church of Ireland, and Sunday morning Service in College Chapel is obligatory for all students that are members of the Church of Ireland or related churches. There are also Deans of Residence for the two main branches of Protestants in this country – the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterians. But Trinity is as open to Catholic students as any university in Ireland. It would probably come as a deep shock to “Defender of the Faith” if he knew the Catholics in Trinity, both among the students and among the staff. But the unfortunate thing is that Protestantism is confused in the minds
reject to run for office. Although, to be fair, that guy did lose with some style. Anyway, Walker has apparently signed on with the aforementioned Andrew Byrne, but like the Agent said, he’ll almost certainly still lose. If there’s one bitch fight that always bores The Agent, but is always really nasty, it’s the fight for Ents. This, for the uninitiated, is where a special breed of people who all dream of being big time promoters and one day owning a Redz of their own, who spend most of their spare time organising gigs for the rest of us just so they can
of most people outside the University with an attitude unsympathetic to Ireland as a nation. This is all the more so as Protestantism is regarded as having a flavour of English oppression. Perhaps it would be better not to draw an immediate conclusion from these statements, but to pass on to further matter. For the past twenty-five years Trinity has been struggling to adapt herself to the conditions prevailing after the Anglo-Irish Treaty. There has been no one to help her in these struggles. Those that one would have expected to welcome a pro-Irish attitude in the senior University in this country have been strangely unsympathetic. Those that would welcome a return of the English to Ireland have been reluctant to let one of their most important outposts slip from their grasp. It now seems probable that this return is only the most remote possibility. But this has not in any way altered the attitude of those opposed to Trinity because of her supposedly pro-British leanings. These people feel that Trinity is a drag on the country and should be either closed or taken over by the Government. There can be no doubt that this attitude is biased. But the attitude of “Defender of the Faith” and his compatriots is no less biased. Neither of the two groups seem to realise the true position of Trinity, and the opinion of the majority of students in the University. We feel, and there can be no doubt that the majority of students feel, that Trinity has something to give to Ireland as a nation, just as she have it many of its heroes of former years. Trinity, because of its standing and reputation in the outside world, can act as the channel for those influences of culture and civilisation from abroad without which no nation can hope to have more than a very puny existence. Trinity can do something for Ireland, and bigoted and pig-headed resistance of those on both sides of the fence will in the end be of no avail. Trinity is first and foremost an Irish University, founded for Irishmen. It is about time that this fact was realised. The salvation of Trinity now lies in Ireland and not elsewhere, and in return the University should be given the opportunity to render to Ireland the services of which we know she is capable. From TCD: A College Miscellany, 28 February 1947.
hand out free tickets to Bess girls they want to sleep with (come on, since when do you have to give a Bess girl anything to get her into bed?) and to their cooler mates, all fight against each other for the title of Trinity’s chief waster. This years Officer, Barry Murphy, is a great example – spotty, short-sighted, bit of a waster, but hey! He has free tickets to Down Under – I’d so have sex for those. You know the type. Anyway, you all know the score – Barry Keane versus Ed O’Riordan, for the right to say they organised the Trinity Ball. The Agent is a bit bored by it all, to be honest, but expect fireworks. Keane, the Agent hears, suffered a bit of a blow last week when he got paid to get some plebs to drink vodka and red bull – by giving them free beer. Junior Dean wasn’t happy, but then again, when is she ever? Till next time.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
The world is surprisingly silent following the execution of Saddam Chloe Sanderson The dust has settled, the front page gone, Hussein is hanged, but almost a month on the world lies surprisingly silent. Suddenly the vocal, if not effervescent, Bush-Blair baby has stopped its squawking and looks just a little sheepish. After all the hyperbole of democracy that has poured from the political fountain of the West the devil in Iraq was dispatched with little humanity or respect. Of course it could be argued that the hand of corporal punishment was not attached to the West but rather the newly formed government of Iraq. One could argue that the problems in Iraq were an issue to be deal with by Iraq without interference from the West. But the use of American military bases and vehicles to transport Saddam to his demise highlights the inescapable fact that the West continues to intervene in the politics of Iraq. If you do agree that this imposition in the name of democracy was founded then surely once the bully is rounded up, it is in no way ethical to leave him tied up in the middle of the playground to be beaten to death by his victims. Perhaps Bush might have seen this had his eyes not been besmeared by an oily residue of greed and self satisfaction. Blair for his part has alarmingly failed to comment on the execution of Saddam. Perhaps the British Prime Minister hopes that by hiding back in No 10 he can pretend it never really happened. It would be understandable after all as the “war on terror” has been the spur to his spectacular decline in public popularity. Perhaps someone should point out to him that there is now a mighty fine hole, once the residence of the late Mr Hussein, in which he could now hide in. As it is his disgraceful silence serves only to point out the misalignment between British policy regarding corporal punishment and the events of December 30th. It is not to be assumed that I in anyway supported Saddam or his regime; his execution was in my opinion both deserved and inevitable. However, the brutality with which it was performed set against the silent dignity of Saddam served only to prove the legal system to be as barbaric as the man they punished.
“Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada! ... go to hell” was shouted seconds before Saddam’s execution. After such a lengthy shambles of a trial Saddam’s death followed swiftly and silently. Whilst the swift nature of the action was explained away by a need to prevent uprising Saddam’s final days smacked more of a cloak and dagger affair. Bush’s shadow looms metaphorically in the corner of Saddam’s very real, very deadly, reality show. For those of you who’ve managed to miss the horrific camera phone video I urge you to stay away, it serves only to highlight the frailty of human nature, Saddam’s, his
executioners, and even our own. Originally, hanging was not a method of capital punishment, but of inflicting indignity on the dead body of a criminal. The practice of hanging an already-executed murderer in chains on a gibbet, continued in the United Kingdom well into the 19th century. As Albert Pierrepoint, chief executioner after the Nazi War trials, famously stated hanging “did not deter them then and it had not deterred them when they committed what they were convicted for. All the
men and women I have faced at that final moment convince me that in what I have done I have not prevented a single murder.” An eye for an eye does little but make the argument hypocritical and extenuate the violence in Iraq. Hanging is not used as a method of execution any longer in either America or England. One must assume that hanging was deemed no longer to be an appropriate act for a civilised nation. Does this explain Blair’s stunning silence? This is a man who peti-
tioned in an official statement for the release of Deirdre from the fictional prison of Coronation Street, and yet makes no reply to the shocking taunts of “Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!... go to hell” shouted seconds before Saddam’s execution. Perhaps Tony is too busy wondering where all those weapons of mass destruction got to. Oh well Mr Blair at least the oil’s safe if not the people of Iraq. Unlike Blair, President Bush stuck to form in filling the space Saddam had left
with yet another ill though out and idiotic statement. Declaring the act as one more ‘step toward democracy’. The western world seems to be skipping toward a golden effigy of democracy that no longer shines nor holds the weight of meaning that salved the hearts of so many during the last world wars. Like a child toying with soldiers, Bush seems poised for his next move, far too petulant and aware of the resources he might lose, Bush seems unlikely to ever release his strangle hold on Iraq. One can only hope that someone has explained to him that just because the bad guy has gone doesn’t mean Bush has won. The US hopes that Saddam’s execution will weaken the insurgency in Iraq, but this positivism seems unlikely. Iraq’s Sunni minority are likely to see Saddam’s hanging as one more sign of Shia persecution leading to further sectarian violence and distrust in the present Shia-led government. If, as the old chestnut insists, evil requires nothing of us but to do nothing, then we, Blair, Bush ... oh and as always France, are flying toward to fiery furnace. Iraq has been ravaged, its children orphaned, its hospitals left unprotected and ill equipped by allied troops, and we in the majority say nothing. Saddam’s reality show gained less viewers, less complaints, and less comment from Tony than Jade Goody’s recent grotesquities on Big Brother. The world sits and waits and yet there is a palpable sense that already it is bored. We must face up to the hypocrisy of the last few years. Few remember that the west was a happy bed companion of Saddam’s back in 1980 when it encouraged Saddam to invade Iran, and nestled up to him by providing useful intelligence and arms during that long conflict. Added to this it was the West that provided Saddam with duel-use licensed materials that assisted in his development of the horrific chemical weapons that melted the resolve of Iran and the Kurds. Did Saddam deserve to be punished? Without doubt. But surely the West deserves to stand trial as well. Saddam throughout his reign taught us the evils of unchecked power. Sadly this mantle has now been taken up by an America bully and his weedy English sidekick.
Big Brother is the broadcasting of contrived and manipulated human behaviour Eimear Crowe “This was in danger of being the most boring Big Brother that we’d had in years – maybe ever.” Yep, Channel 4 Chief of Programming, Kevin Lygo, you’re right there. A week and a half into this year’s Celebrity Big Brother and its average viewing figure had dropped to 2 million, the lowest average for the show ever. Throw in a clash of culture and class, confined living space, a lack of stimulation, unstable personalities, aggression problems, a scarcity of Oxo cubes and cry “RACISM!” (a loaded term, which creates a frenzy-inducing effect akin to crying “paedophile!” or, as we’ve seen on these shores recently, “Nazi!”) and bam! The figure shoots to over 9 million to see the wretched Goody being pelted at the stocks during her “eviction”. But this was not intentionally manipulated or engineered insists Lygo. Of course not. I have first-hand experience with the evil force that is Big Brother: I once made it to the last 60 Big Brother auditionees for Ireland (no, I’m not proud). As a young and foolish first year I accompanied a fame-seeking friend to the Dublin auditions to witness his audition attempt (it consisting of him announcing that he had a “fiery personality” while waving around an equally “fiery” lighter. How could I miss it?). The stench of desperation reached every crevice of the RDS that day: the queue of wannabies included a man dressed head to toe in tinfoil; plenty of scantily clad men and women; and more transvestites then have ever assembled at any gay pride march. My friend’s fiery lighter failed to impress the judges, as did tinfoil man’s efforts. I had had my fill of pathetic extroverts and was ready to go home, but my obvious lack of enthusiasm and obnoxiousness had the opposite effect - I was branded with an ominous “Big Brother eye” stamp and told to “come this way” to
the advanced stages of the auditioning process. Everything suddenly got very cloak and dagger. I was brought into a back room and asked to sign a multitude of forms: “You hereby consent to answering truthfully any questions Endemol/Channel 4 ask you for the purposes of the show”, “You hereby consent to Endomol/Channel 4 disclosing any information you give during the auditioning process for the purposes of the show”, “You hereby sell your soul to Endomol/Channel 4 for the purposes of the show”. Well maybe not the last one exactly, but close enough. Following this, my obnoxiousness got me through a number of audition rounds, which consisted of speaking to a camera in a “Diary Room” and a “group interaction stage”, during which arguments were positively encouraged. Talking to my fellow finalists, I felt extremely uncomfortable. I asked the suited middle-aged man with the nervous twitch beside me why he wanted to make the show so much: “because I want to know, once and for all, whether or not people like me”. This is when the weight of the exploitative and unforgivably manipulative nature of Big Brother hit me – it is about taking the desperate and unstable, making them crack and broadcasting the results to millions. But it was about to get worse: we were all told to fill in a questionnaire and were urged to answer truthfully. This was more than a questionnaire; it was a threehour long, probing personality test. It left no aspect of one’s insecurities, memories and past actions unexplored. We were asked our best, worst and most traumatic childhood memories; to describe in detail the relationship we had with our fathers, mothers, siblings and partners; to disclose secrets that we had never told anyone; to describe the people we most disliked; our first sexual experience; our worst sexual experience. I looked around to see the incredulous reactions of my fellow audi-
Shilpa Shetty of the Big Brother house. tionees, but they were all scribbling away earnestly, no doubt giving details of that time they had robbed from their granny’s purse, or slept with their best friend’s sister. Needless to say, I left most of the questionnaire blank; but I was then subjected to yet another “Diary Room” interview where I was probed further on what I had written; or, more to the point, not written during the marathon questionnaire. When I refused to bear my soul I was given a curt “don’t call us, we’ll call you” and hurried out, with a warning not to tell anyone, “not even friends or family”, about the auditioning process. I can easily infer what the lucky few who got even closer than I did to their zlist celebrity fate were subjected to: more probing, more assessment and more manipulation. And when that lucky person has shown him - or herself to be enough of a freak to enter the Big Brother circus the fun only begins. Big Brother is anything but “reality”
television – it is the broadcasting of human behaviour that is highly contrived and manipulated. The level of conflict and aggression that was displayed in the Big Brother house this year occurs every year. Indeed, it was Goody’s aggressive ways that originally won her the heart of the British nation during her first run of Big Brother. Three working class, “common as mook” English women of the same age and from the same background and one high-caste, “posh as fook” Bollywood star – even Jade Goody herself could have figured that sparks would fly. When interviewed recently, one psychologist who had been briefly employed by Big Brother told how he left after being told that there was no ethics committee to which he could speak. When he voiced his concerns to the Endemol Big Brother producers their response was “but look how large that crowd is!” The question that this begs is: why do we tune in (in our millions, whether we
admit it or not) to see such unethical human manipulation? To see the most contrived of arguments, bitching and bullying? The cries of “bully” shouted at Jade Goody and her clan by the media and over 40,000 individuals who complained about the show are highly ironic. For starters, the bullying and explicit class prejudice that have since been directed at the bullying trio is far worse than any of the bitchy or implicitly racist comments that were uttered in the house - they have been called “semi-illiterate chavs” and “incriminatingly ugly” amongst much worse things. Moreover, the show is based entirely around bullying: we watch with glee while cruel and dignity-destroying “tasks” are piled upon housemates (who can forget watching George Galloway killing his political reputation as he wore a leotard and purred like a cat); we watch with even more joy as housemates are explicitly requested to “nominate” each other – in other words, to “bitch” about and give explicit reasons for not liking each other; and we phone in our millions to “evict” housemates to the humiliating booing and heckling of the crowd that awaits them outside. Indeed, the week before the media furore over the alleged racist bullying, the ever-friendly Big Brother crowd was chanting for eventual winner, Shilpa Shetty, to “get out”. Watching these “evictions” is the
modern day version of watching Christians being thrown to the lions. Thus, in answer to my question, we tune in because we are the bullies who derive immense pleasure from inflicting humiliation, cruelty and pain on others and then watching them suffer. It is the 21st Century’s answer to the medieval freak show. But what about the freaks? Every year Big Brother churns out more humiliated, psychologically brittle individuals, who are left trying to salvage any scraps of dignity that may have left while the rest of us promptly forget about them. Indeed, if we are to believe the tabloids, of this year’s trio of celebrity bullies, Goody is now in rehab, Jo “with tha flow” from S Club 7 is in a safe house as a result of death threats and the footballer’s girlfriend is no longer a footballer’s girlfriend Big Brother is a cheaply made, unimaginative and yet highly profitable television programme that will continue for as long as Endemol and Channel 4 can get away with it. Perhaps it will take a live televised murder to finally get the message across that enough is indeed enough. This summer, don’t be a bully. Turn the bloody thing off. Do something constructive instead. If, however, you queued for hours at the RDS last Wednesday to audition for this year’s Freak Fest and are well on your way to a career of opening local supermarkets – er, good luck. I’m sure Jade Goody will be happy to give you some good advice.
Corrections In our edition of Tuesday, January 23, 2007, the page 12 article “See you in the Second Life” was incorrectly credited. The article should have been credited to Mike Davies. In our edition of Tuesday, January 23, 2007, the page 12 article “The Cuban experience” was incorrectly credited. The article should have been credited to our Books Editor, Jago Tennant.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
A question-and-answer session with Paddy Ashdown Aaron Mulvihill “Bosnia is dysfunctional? Not half as dysfunctional as Brussels!” Paddy Ashdown, the former leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, and more recently former UN High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke with an endearingly light-hearted pessimism as he addressed a lively audience in the last Hist Question and Answer Session of the year. Paddy, or Lord Ashdown of Nortonsub-Hamdon, conscious of his audience, is quick to get the most pressing matter out of the way, and tell the story of how he came about his nickname. His father was a captain in the Indian Army when Paddy was born in New Delhi during the Second World War. The family bought some farmland in Northern Ireland when Paddy was four and left for greener pastures, so to speak. There, he tells us, he picked up a distinctive Norn Iron cant. Straining to find it, the audience are left to presume that was beaten out of him during his time in London’s prestigious Bedford School, where he was first called Paddy by his schoolmates. He was to return to Belfast during his time in the British Army as an officer. He remembers the early days of the Troubles, when he would march into Catholic or Protestant neighbourhoods alike with his squad and be greeted warmly for “keeping the peace”. “They would give us sandwiches and cups of tea,” he laughs. In later years as a politician he made occasional visits to the city. “In the Shankill Road I asked a man what he thought of the Good Friday Agreement. He said ‘The Good Friday Agreement? I have two words for you: Ri-diculous!’” After serving in the Royal Marines and seeing action in Borneo and the Persian Gulf, Officer Ashdown underwent Special Forces training. Once he had passed the tests and pledged to serve “By Strength and Guile”, as their motto goes, he was promptly dispatched to Hong Kong to take a full-time course in Chinese. He speaks it fluently. He also counts French, Serbo-Croat, Malay and numerous Slavic dialects as part of his arsenal. On hearing this, a member of the audience addressed him in what I can only guess was Croatian, and got a quick reply in his native language. Nikki, a student of languages and politics, asked the question I had on the tip of my tongue: how important is it to have knowledge of a country’s language when it comes to politics? Naturally it’s done Ashdown no harm. He gives the reply I was expecting as a fellow languages and politics student: language and culture go hand in hand. “There is a word in Malay that means let’s take our clothes off and tell dirty stories” says Ashdown. Unfortunately for members of the Hist, he never succeeded in discovering the word – the Common Room was the real loser. Following almost two years of intense study of Mandarin Chinese, Paddy returned to UK in 1970 to lead a Commando Company in Belfast. Another two years pass and he finds himself a diplomat in the British Mission to the UN. Having a reputation as a gifted polyglot, a soldier and diplomat raises challenges as well as eyebrows. When I asked him if his military career had helped him deal with conflicts as a politician – i.e. knowing what it’s like to crouch in knee-deep, bloody mud with shells flying overhead –
Shane Farragher listens to Paddy Ashdown speaking in the Hist’s conversation room. Photo: Mark Kearney I got curt “No” in reply. He reflects for a moment, then gives me a little more: “I am a liberal,” he says. His military and political career, he continues, is “the circumstance of birth and privilege”. He is suddenly reluctant, uncomfortable. He shifts in the chair as he awaits the next question, and clearly the next topic. If you glance over his career you could be forgiven for being a little perplexed. Certain dates and places seem just a little askew and questions naturally arise, such as ‘Why did the Special Forces send Paddy to learn Mandarin Chinese for two years only to return him to Belfast?’ It has been long been speculated that his years with the British Foreign Office in Geneva, described as a ‘cushy but dull job’ by the Guardian newspaper, were a cover for British Secret Service work. In 2005 a list of past and present MI6 agents was leaked to Cryptome, a US website. Among the entries: “Jeremy John Durham Ashdown (Paddy Ashdown): dob 1941; 74 Geneva (1 Sec)”. The British press is prevented from publishing the names, and the Foreign Office has kept tight-lipped about the whole affair. Paddy himself has publicly denied working for MI6. With a certain late cat in mind I decide not to press him on the topic. Iraq, the war of our moment, is
brought up by Ashdown himself; on the subjects of atrocities and state-building it is easier to relate to than Bosnia for the young audience who begin to quiz Ashdown with the same enthusiasm, but more modern examples. “Conflict of ethnicity is my life motif,” explains Ashdown, and he talks in the same terms about the Iraqi civil war as he did with Bosnia. He leans forward in his thronechair, visibly eager when the audience begin to quiz him on his views. Initially a supporter, who believed that it was “right to remove Saddam by force”, he became disillusioned along with much of the British public when it became clear that there would be “flowers in the street” after the first violent months of the invasion. He criticises the lack of planning and the short sight of the military. Whether or not he had been expecting the ham sandwiches and tea of Belfast, he regrets his initial support for what he later describes as “fuck-up”. “We have failed in Iraq”, he announces with his head lowered. The great mahogany throne-chair of the Hist, with its medieval carvings and embellishments, was not made to be relaxing; Ashdown, like all its other occupants have done before him, struggles to get comfortable. He throws his leg over
the chair’s tall wooden arm, then the other, then takes them off again. His every twitch is amplified to the audience; he is sitting on a lie detector. He sits sideways, almost comfortable, as he discusses the Bonn powers of the UN High Representative (the powers include the ability to veto cabinet choices and laws; he was a role model in reducing their use and laying more responsibility on the elected government). He is the optimistic instructor, sitting on the edge of the seat, as he gives us his views on the future of the EU. He crosses his legs and turns slightly away – “shop closed” – as he takes a quick phone call. It is a rare gesture. The topic of his private life is tactfully not raised, the only obvious fodder being an affair with his secretary while leader of the Liberal Democrats. The resulting tabloid storm held nothing back, reaching its intellectual climax with the Sun newspaper’s memorable headline, “Paddy Pantsdown”. When he speaks of conflict resolution – be it Bosnia, Iraq or Borneo – Ashdown refers again and again to a set of underlying philosophies. “The rule of law must come first” he says. Referring to the Maslow’s omnipotent Hierarchy of Needs he stresses that security must be provided as a first priority: “If you can’t, somebody
else will”. While lamenting the failure to uphold this axiom in Iraq he warns against the anti-Americanism it is fuelling. Both sides of the Atlantic rest on foundations of “broadly liberal values”, he says, and it is in their interest to maintain the “bipolar Altantic relationship”. If anti-American hostility turns the United States away from Europe, their place will be taken by China or Russia - nations less acutely distinguished by “liberal values”. On the flip side of the argument, “America must realise it has an interest in preserving the relationship”. Paddy is optimistic when the questions turn to his 11-year tenure of the Liberal Democrats leadership. “Everybody is now a liberal” he says, “but we were the first”. He believes that the voters will go for the “the real thing” if the Lib Dems package themselves as such. I’ve lost count of how many times he has said the words “I am a liberal” when he gives us his own curt definition: “Liberals are powerful citizens in an international community”. The power is, of course, somewhat limited when the citizens cannot get into government. A student points this out by way of a question on the UK’s voting system – the firstpast-the-post system currently used effectively blocks the smaller Liberal
Democrat party from government. Paddy laughs. He fought unsuccessfully for a change to a PR system for eleven years, and the Party continues to demand it to little avail – he can only answer the question by looking obliquely at the brighter side: the chance of seeing the Liberal Democrats in government has “gone from a statistical near impossibility to” – he smiles – “a statistical near probability”. With the incorporation of Bulgaria and Romania into the EU weeks away, Ashdown is asked for his thoughts on the eastward march. “The EU must grow deeper rather than wider” is his wellrehearsed answer. In recent years Ashdown has become known as a staunch federalist, who has spoken on numerous occasions in support of the now-doomed EU Constitution. The “deeper” refers to the Balkans, which he feels have been largely ignored in favour of an eastern expansion. Many analysts would argue that the Balkans are not ready for full European Union membership, highlighting racial tensions, corruption and economies in the doldrums. Ashdown looks at the situation from the other end, claiming that the EU is ready for them; only by welcoming the Balkan states into the union can they be given the support and economic advantages that will help them rebuild. Will it be to the benefit of the current EU members? Not likely, and returns will certainly not be made in same kind of timeframe envisaged for the most recent ten. Looking at the dismal economic state of affairs in the Balkans it would seem to be an altruistic rather than complimentary endeavour. But Ashcroft is adamant, calling on metaphors like “black hole” and “abyss” to colour the conflict he sees in the very midst of the EU. “You have to know when your time is up,” said Paddy Ashdown when he stepped down as UN High Commissioner for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He had entered the job with the odd goal that the man to replace him would be the last to hold the position. Likened to a colonial governor of yesteryear the UN High Commissioner was effectively leader of the nation, thanks to extensive veto powers (known as the Bonn powers) and the unrestrained ability to remove undesirable officials from government. Ashdown, with the backing of many, though by no means all players in the area, tried to make his job obsolete to allow the elected leaders to run their own country. He put extensive reforms in place, running the gamut from the judicial to the educational. An interviewer with the Guardian newspaper wrote, “he speaks with a raw emotional vigour and direct honesty for which politicians are not generally known”; this was clear to the Hist audience as he spoke without prompt of his failures in the position. With a look approaching guilt he outlines shortfalls in the education reforms and the still ongoing hunt for the main perpetrators of the area’s horrific genocide - though when held against his achievements he is the perfectionist in the confessional. At 65 his time in the limelight may well be “up” but as a Lord of Parliament he continues to air his views in the House of Lords, and maintains an interest in the politics of the Balkans. One hour after he first sat down he reveals to us where his heart now lies; a taxi is waiting outside to take him to Dublin Airport and back to his first priorities, “My garden, my dog and my grandchildren”.
How can a whole society’s attitude towards rape be changed? Sarah Montague In our society rape is considered one of the most serious crimes that can be committed. This is because of the psychological trauma that it can induce and the violent abomination of human rights that it entails. These views on rape are generally accepted in our society but whereas it is normally instinctively viewed as a horrendous and serious crime other societies have very different attitudes towards the subject. Pakistan’s laws in regards to rape until recently were known as the Hudood
Ordinance and stated that a female claiming that she was raped must present at least four adult males who were eye-witnesses to the crime and were willing to testify. Failure to produce this, which surely must be extremely difficult, could result in the punishment of death for the rape victim. Accordingly the amount of victims pursuing prosecution is radically less that the number of rape crimes that are taking place within the country because successful prosecution is virtually impossible. Also the social shame that faces the rape victim if they make their case public is a strong deterrent. Despite such unbelievably ridiculous
and out-dated rape laws the much-needed alteration of them has faced difficulty. Proposed changes have faced fierce opposition from some religious parties who threaten a walkout from the National Assembly, which would most likely lead to a destabilisation of the government. Therefore, in September 2006 it was announced by Pakistan officials that Islamic fundamentalists will be included on the panel that is to consider changes to the rape laws. The Senate in November 2006, however, did manage to pass “The Protection of Women Bill”, which alters the punishment for the rape victim that fails to win
their case from death to a five-year imprisonment term or a fine. Although this shows slight progression there is still huge defects in the attitude towards rape. Shockingly, hundreds of women supporting Pakistan’s largest Islamic political party protested against amending the rape laws. One Senator, Khurshid Ahmed, described the seemingly mild new bill as “an attempt to promote an alien culture and secularism in Pakistan.”. Clearly a more dramatic change must be made in Pakistan law and calls for this have been intensified since 2002 when the case of Mukhtaran Mai came to light and she became a figurehead for change.
Mai was ordered by her village council to be gang-raped as punishment because of the accusation that her twelve-year-old brother had illicit sex with a woman of a higher social caste. Mai has been fighting the men’s acquittal for her rape and has used the money that she has won in the case to establish schools for girls in rural villages. She has published a book of her story, entitled In The Name Of Honour and she is an important icon in campaigning for long-term changes in the recognition of women’s rights in Pakistan. Figures from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan show that in the first nine months of 2004 there were 320
rapes and 350 gang-rapes reported but yet only 39 people were arrested. A more sinister undertone to the story of rape in Pakistan is the fact that hundreds of women are killed each year in “honour killings” in which rape victims are brutally murdered by their relatives. Often there is only suspicion that the victim has been raped but this is still viewed as justification for their murder because of the shame and dishonour that it brings to the family. Although some slight progress has been made the scale of the problem is unfathomable. How is the general attitude of the society of a whole country to be changed?
Today’s lecture: Massive savings. 7UG[QWTURGEK°EGFWECVKQPFKUEQWPVVQUCXGQP#RRNGRTQFWEVU %JGEMQWVVJGNCVGUV#RRNGRTQFWEVUCV[QWT#RRNGQP%CORWU1PNKPG 5VQTG (QT OQTG KPHQTOCVKQP XKUKV YYYCRRNGEQOKGCQE
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2006
Watt: Beckett’s second novel, his last originally written in English Ben Eastham Watt was composed while Beckett was in hiding from the Gestapo in a farmhouse in occupied France in 1943. He wrote this novel, he would later claim, “to stay sane”. “Watt” itself is a pun on the Irish pronunciation of the inquisitive “What?” (other Anglo-Irish double entendres employed by Beckett include the perennial comedy favourite “third/turd”), and it is this sense of a misguided quest for reason that dominates the novel. Its titular hero is a servant who enters the employment of the mysterious Mr Knott in a house outside Dublin (modelled upon Beckett’s childhood home in Foxrock). Watt is a man entirely devoid of imagination, capable of comprehending his environment and his own existence only through logic, who consoles himself in his loneliness by creating lists, series and permutations that are absurd in their trivial intricacy. Watt arrives at the house of Mr Knott (another aptly-named character) without invitation. He works there without being provided with any reasons for the tasks he is asked to perform. He never comes face to face with Mr Knott, an enigmatic master whose existence in any conventional sense of the word is questionable. Watt is forced to leave the house, without any forewarning. The allegory of man’s life is plain. Watt is unable to deal with this life, and goes mad, because his rigorously logical mind cannot delude him into perceiving meaning in things utterly without meaning. Watt’s existence is meaningless. Beckett’s novel is meaningless. Language is meaningless. Life is meaningless. Watt is populated by peculiarly Irish grotesques: the innumerable inbreds with their hideous deformities whose sole occupation is to ensure the existence of a dog to eat Mr Knott’s leftovers; the Trinity professor who claims to have found an Irish-speaking idiot savant living in a cave on the west coast (and seeks to prove it in an hilarious scene set in the exam hall). Yet Beckett used such extreme figures not through perversity or sociopathology but because he considered them as the best means of illustrating his view of the human condition. These characters are
comic, obscene, repellent and lonely. Beckett ignores the usual subjects of literature – the interaction of individuals in terms of sex, politics, religion, class – because these superficialities merely mask the basic anguish of human existence. All that remains is humour, of the darkest, most painful and most obscene kind. Beckett laughs, and invites us to laugh, at disability, at shit, at madness, at sanity, at poverty, at meaninglessness, at sex, at domestic abuse, and at death because in doing so we recognise the humour of the funniest thing of all: life. Watt is often hilarious, very occasionally starkly beautiful, sometimes profoundly disturbing, frequently interminably boring but ultimately absolutely without meaning. Beckett mauls language to remind us of its fragility. For periods of the novel Watt recites sentences backwards, or changes word order, or substitutes certain words for others in the vain hope that this might allow him to better express himself and his world. If you’ve never read any of Beckett’s novels before and, like me, can’t be arsed to go to the theatre to feign interest all the way through Waiting for Godot, then read Watt. You might just like it and, if you don’t, at least it’ll look clever next to all those “ironic” Ross O’Carroll-Kelly volumes on your bookshelf. “As for his feet, sometimes he wore on each a sock, or on the one a sock and on the other a stocking, or a boot, or a shoe, or a slipper, or a sock and a boot, or a sock and a shoe, or a sock and a slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a stocking, or on the one a stocking and on the other a boot, or a shoe, or a slipper, or a sock and a boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a boot, or on the one a boot and on the other a shoe, or a slipper, or a sock and boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometime he wore on each a shoe, or on the one a shoe and on the other a slipper, or a sock
“Watt is a man entirely devoid of imagination, capable of comprehending his environment and his own existence only through logic” and boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a slipper, or on the one a slipper and on the other a sock and boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing
at all. And sometime he wore on each a sock and boot, or on the one a sock and boot and on the other a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a sock and shoe, or on the one a sock and shoe and on the other a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot,
or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a sock and slipper, or on the one a sock and slipper and on the other a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a stocking and boot, or on the one a stocking and boot and on the other a
stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometime he wore on each a stocking and shoe, or on the one a stocking and shoe and on the other a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a stocking and slipper, or on the one a stocking and slipper and on the other nothing at all. And sometimes he went barefoot.”
Ulster’s new blue-eyed boy Jago Tennant Nick Laird, the poet and novelist, is rumoured to hate journalists. This is understandable given the scurrilous and cynical media coverage afforded him since the publication of his first poetry collection To a Fault in 2005. Of course, this unusual level of media attention is hardly surprising given that he is the other half of the beautiful and much-fêted Zadie Smith. Then there were the rumours of the £100,000 two-book advance for his début novel from Fourth Estate. All this added to the fact he’s relatively young and goodlooking and “trendy” – leading to snide remarks about what “a marketer’s dream” he is etc. Clearly Laird has found it hard to forge an independent reputation whilst the papers continually cast him in the shade of his partner’s limelight. This has only been exacerbated by the fact that he too has decided to become a novelist, rather than just a poet so comparisons are inevitable. It would do good to remember that Laird was Smith’s first publisher––accepting a story of hers as editor of Oxbridge’s May Anthologies. He also helped edit White Teeth when they were undergraduates together at Cambridge, and has been writing as long as she has. Although upon graduation (before becoming a full-time writer) Laird worked for 6 years in a blue chip London Law firm, he was always reviewing and writing poetry at the same time. His novel Utterly Monkey received what are politely known as ‘mixed reviews’, although it did scoop the 2006 Betty Trask Prize (leading one critic to dub it “Utterly Money”). The character of Danny Williams leaves his native Ulster to become a lawyer in London. Disenchanted with corporate life, but also fascinated by London’s multiculturalism, Danny fantasises about fellow workmate Ellen Powell and feeding toilet paper into the paper shredder. All this is turned upside down on the arrival of his feckless old schoolmate Geordie, who has with him £50,000 in cash stolen from a Loyalist militia. They are both threatened by hardman Ian McAleece and later attempt to
The Laird: don’t call him Mr Smith thwart a plan to blow up the Bank of England. Utterly Monkey is far from being a potboiler, the critics’ main reserves were that it is unclear what “genre” the novel falls into, whether it is “lad-lit” or “urban satire”. The same critics were almost unanimous in their admiration for the skilled writing. So does this mean a novel must have certain attributes, obey certain laws, to garner positive critical attention? Last year Laird generously gave his time (without a fee) to come and read for the Literary Society here in Trinity. He did seem a little on edge (probably not helped by my attempt to interview him for the TNT: see the awkward mug shot above),
and in a recent interview in The Stinging Fly admitted that giving readings still absolutely terrifies him. And there is no reason why anyone should expect him to be some kind of public figure. Poets aren’t usually known for their gregariousness. He read from To a Fault, Utterly Monkey and also quite a few new poems. A lot of this edginess comes through in To a Fault. These are dark poems that often seem too derivative of Armitage, Muldoon, and Paterson––the latter two in particular. See for example the Frostian title of the poem “Cycling through Snow and Fields on New Year’s Eve” satirically undercut by the showy bravado of the opening stanza: “this time last year I
queued outside/with charlie, pills, two wraps of speed/my pupils bloomed with atmosphere/I’d smoked more than an ounce of weed”. This kind of voice may work for Paterson, jazzman and doyen of Caledonian machismo, but Laird doesn’t pull it off with confidence. Whether consciously or not, “The Given” has taken from Ted Hughes’s “The Lovepet” – but is successfully appropriated (with a political tinge) nonetheless. There is a slightly overwrought feeling to the book as a whole that suggests Laird has laboured over this collection for a very long time. His less modish poetry seems altogether more original and striking, notably his love poems such as “Done”, “To The Wife” and “On Beauty” (pilfered by Smith for the title of her recent novel). There is an amusing allusion to Smith in the puntitled family poem “The Layered”: “the one who went on to become Mrs Laird/the wife walked into my life/one night I’d had six or seven pints//and it was either that or fight/she was just the type I like/chest spilling out of itself slender-hipped/with a Nubian face closed to the public/waist my exact hand-span//poised and filmic she was drinking my usual”. The political poems in To a Fault are also very effective. Laird is from Cookstown in Co Tyrone––one of the most divided small communities in Northern Ireland. Whether Laird sees such poems as “Remaindermen” and “The Signpost’ his own oblique ‘befitting emblems of adversity”, or merely as reflections of his childhood experiences, is another matter. At last year’s Poetry Now festival in Dún Laoghaire the Dublin literati were portentously labelling Laird ‘the new Muldoon’. Well, he’s hardly as original as that––and anyway surely he’d want to be ‘the new Nick Laird’ rather than some ‘new Muldoon’. This is a vibrant collection nonetheless. And he’s clearly more assured as a poet than he is as a novelist. What is certain is that we are going to hear a lot more about Laird: and with any luck as a writer in his own right. Another novel, Glover’s Mistake, is due this year––but by the sound of his new work it will be hiss next poetry collection that will really bring him out from under his wife’s shadow.
The Signpost Knee-capped on the second Tuesday of the month by two of the stringy cunts he’d last bought a round for at Christmas put paid to the plans for ascending Everest, and playing for Rangers, even in goal (though it left open Glentoran, as his father’d suggested). * The pistol jammed and they kicked him over. They could break his legs, they offered, but he waited, and another gun was brought, and the barrel held against his calf (friends, see, so they spared his knees), and the trigger pulled and the bullet shot. * Opening fire: slitting the skin of the side of the flame. He’d held a bomb the same weight as he’d been when born. Pan back. Agree with that, the thought he had until he blacked, what with the one arm splayed under, and the other swung over the blade of his shoulder, he must, from above, make sense as a signpost. * From the Royal’s window he got a clear view. An air vent on a roof lent a heat haze to Belfast, and two cranes swung their arms low over the city, as if giving a blessing. Incredible to stay upright with all that gathered weight. He spied his father’s house, but all the lights, strange that, were out.
from To a Fault by Nick Laird, Faber & Faber (2005)
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Checking in and checking out the five-star Westbury Hotel in Dublin Mark Thompson
“The Westbury Hotel is a five-star hotel so quintessentially Dublin, so quintessentially luxurious.” Photo: Mark Thompson
As one of the “Leading Hotels in the World” and commanding an unrivalled location off Grafton Street, the Westbury Hotel is a five-star hotel so quintessentially Dublin, so quintessentially luxurious. But Trinity News is accustomed to high standards as we know your parents expect the best on their trips to visit, so we had to spend a night to test if the Westbury lives up to its name and deserves their booking. Britney Spears, Al Pacino, Bill Clinton and Bob Geldof, to name but a few, have all lavished and lounged in the famous Presidential Suite. It was therefore only right that we followed suit. With a private gym, personal sauna, and a separate bathroom for your guests, it must make a far-cry from Britney’s trailer. The room was, however, unavailable at the last minute, which was disappointing, but little complaints could be raised about the large, sumptuous and alternative suite with plasma TV and soft soft furnishings that we occupied. The bathroom was extra shiny, super clean, and there were more
bright white towels than you could ever wish for. The toiletries were Aveda, posh and plush, just how we like. It is clear that no expense has been spared to deck out these rooms. The busy lobby area and adjoining bar/café encapsulates all you would expect from a grand hotel. The coffee was good (although afternoon tea is the speciality) and the views over the busy street below made a welcome break from the bustle and chaos that we have come to know as Grafton Street. This writer invited some friends to stay in the suite, with one commenting that this lobby-café area and common areas were more reminiscent of a cruise ship than a grand hotel, and unfortunately we have to agree. It does feel a little dated although the Management are already onto this, with tens of thousands of euros being spent over the next few months to completely refurbish the area. So while the corridors leading you to your bed are a little more Stena Line than superbly divine, the newly furnished rooms are most definitely on par and provide a luxurious retreat in the very centre of our fair city.
The breakfast menu was commendable, so we recommend you try to get involved in this. The eggs were perfectly poached and the freshly-toasted brown bread was a delight in itself. The only thing we would recommend to avoid is the sausages: they were more Tesco Value than true Irish fare. The Westbury sells itself on its high class service and the staff are most certainly very attentive; maybe a little too much at times with more staff apparently assigned to our table than even the most regal of parents would expect. There is attentive ,and then there is intrusive, but is it fair to find fault in over the top polite attentiveness? Yes. Trinity students expect perfection. A leading hotel in the world? We are undecided. There is some work to be done, however this is seemingly already planned. A leading hotel in Dublin? Most definitely. The location, the lavishly furnished rooms and that Presidential suite gets our vote. Essential info: Average Standard double: €435.00. Current special offer, rooms from: €199.00. Penthouse suite for the night: €1750.00. Afternoon Tea at The Westbury: €27.50. The Westbury Champagne Cocktail: €14.95. www. lhw.com/westbury. Tel 016791122
A holiday to Israel: beyond the war-zone Beth Honig Boarding the plane to Israel in late August, against the backdrop of the newly-ended war against Lebanon, I knew that a three-week family holiday was going to change my preconceptions about the state of Israel. It is a state which was formed 58 years ago as a home for the Jewish people and has since been the subject of so many conflicts, controversies and criticisms. Putting the provocative and problematic politics of the country aside, what I did not expect was the geographic diversity and warmth that the country has to offer. Jerusalem was, unsurprisingly, one of the highlights. Located in the seven Judean Mountains covered by rich green and brown vegetation, Israel’s capital is divided into historical sections which see the white stone walls of the Old City provide its Biblical charm, and the bohemian hillside café quarters offer a contemporary edge. Home to three of the world’s largest religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – and also an Armenian quarter, its pseudo-name of the Holy City could not be more accurate. Walking on top of Table Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, Hasidic Jews in full-length suits, tallit prayer shawls and orthodox hats or wigs pray (or, in the case of one man, fall asleep) in swinging motion towards the Western Wall. Fully-clothed Muslims enter the Dome of the Rock via the new passageway rising above and to the side of the Wall that was built to make a separate entrance accessible only to those of the Islam faith, while its gold dome gleams in the rays of the August sun. Christians retreat into the beautiful Church of the Holy Sepulchre for peaceful meditation. All of this is amongst the armed security, reminding one of the violence of the recent war and a continual threat, yet with the newly-constructed wall that encloses Arab villages and runs along the other side of Jerusalem’s motorways, this city radiates a sacred sanctity radiating peace. We did a tour of the recently re-excavated Old City’s gates and walls: on discovering narrow passages and grand cave-rooms hidden deep underground, the tourist begins to comprehend the archaeological importance of King Solomon’s handy-work. A wander around the shuks (covered markets) in the Arab quarter is also essential: heckling for a good price for hand-sown patchwork wall-hangings and
pillow-cases, soft leather sandals, colourful beads and wooden carvings cannot be avoided. And no, I did not feel in danger: although my cousins insisted that we spoke no Hebrew, I felt more at risk while I was part of an accompanied armed tour group, than when I was meandering around prying for falafel with my sister. From one holy place to another, the Northern city of Haifa is also of religious significance. Over-looking the Mediterranean sea port and carved out of the slopes of Mount Carmel, the Baháï Gardens are the final destination of the Baháï pilgrimage and situate the Shrine of Báb amongst extremely stylised, symmetrical and manicured botanic patterns that lead down to the city's central roads. We visited it on its first day of opening since the war with Lebanon (around the city surprisingly little evidence of bombing could be seen, considering the media frenzy of the Western press), and so the gardens were riddled with volunteers restoring every grain of grass, flower petal and water droplet cascading down the steps of the hillside back to its immaculate status. These inconspicuous signs of neglect were invisible to the untrained eye, but the attention given to them by the professionals made the average back-garden resemble jungle territory. We also ventured into the Judean desert in search of Mount Masada, the sight of a Roman siege which saw mass suicide of Jewish defenders. Reaching 1300-feet tall into the blue skyline, the beige plateau of the mountain contains excavated palaces, baths, fortifications, look-outs and mosaics dating back to 66 CE, and can be reached by cable car. Arrogantly or adventurously, we decided to resist this lazy tourist luxury on the return to the car and walk down the mountain side instead. The desert at midday in August is hot and the air is dry: an hour and a half later, we were redder and oilier than sun-blemished tomatoes and weakened, fatigued or, in my case, rendered into hysterical laughing fits of delirium by sunstroke. A dip into the mud baths, sulphur pools and salt-concentrated water of the Dead Sea provided the perfect remedy. Submerging ourselves in sulphur spas aroused our floatatious desires and we moved swiftly onto the hysterical but uncomfortable process of covering our bodies head to toe in thick, grey, warm mud that hardened within minutes of touching the skin. Our skin purified and
our pores sweating in the desert heat, we attempted to run into the Dead Sea for some cool relief. Another bad idea: the water was scorching, and the seabed rocky, but thankfully the salty pressure forcing my legs into a horizontal position distracted my mind from these initial disappointments. I forgot the newspaper, but the smile spanning across my face upon the realisation that “yes, I really was floating” would have made a perfect front page for any Thomas Cook magazine. Back in the city, Tel Aviv was heaving with crazed drivers, rising apartment blocks and malls, and trendy beachgoers: the saving grace of Israel’s second largest city is that its humid polluted air is lightened by the Mediterranean coastal breeze. During time out of the sun, one can explore the Nachalat Ben Yamin craft, clothes and food markets where olives, dried fruit, flowers, pickles, salted fish, and animal organs are in abundance. Then, summer drummers, sun-worshippers and picnicking families gather for lemon-nana (mint lemonade) coolers, falafel, houmous, lebaneh (spiced sourcream dip) and za’atar-spiced pita bread, followed by watermelon and feta for desert. The country’s most beautiful beaches are not found here though. My favourites were further south, in-between Binyamina and Netanya, where the numbers of occupied towels are significantly reduced, ancient bridges spurt out of the sand-dunes and Bob Marley can be heard blasting from the sand-hut cafés. A country so divided by conflict, Israel is not, and must not be, defined only by its political crisis, military arrogance and suicide bomb attacks. Its landscape, climate, and historical richness provide appealing attractions, but most importantly, its socialist set-up is unique. The only country to construct itself around the principal of Kibbutz, Israel’s phenomenon of communal living is unfortunately in rapid decline, with many people having resorted to working outside the Kibbutz in order to gain a merely sufficient income. The movement is failing, however, the legacy of its ideology and a spirit of community remain intact. Even on Mayan Baruch, an exKibbutz, while the commune no longer eats collectively, people gather with family members on weekend breaks from military service, friends, partners, neighbours and pets for the most finelychopped Israeli salad ever produced and they continue life as normal. That is, surely, a lesson for us all.
Top: The Bahai Gardens in the northern city of Haifa. Right: A man falls asleep while praying at the Western Wall. Photos: Beth Honig
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
Everyone goes to California, but Boston is a vibrant, student-friendly city M Thompson The yawning months between June and October prompted me into a flurry in second year, but thankfully I had a couple of organised friends who guided me through the bureaucracy of a J1. In February, when everyone starts asking “So what are you doing with your summer?” and answering back “Umm, Wicklow?” doesn’t exactly cut it, don’t despair. A J1 work/travel visa is worth all the time, effort and queuing in the American Embassy. Boston was a slightly unorthodox choice that year, with everyone else heading to the sun of San Francisco or San Diego, but it turned out to be a vibrant, student-friendly city. Landing in Boston, we had an apartment already sorted thanks to the aforementioned super-friend. It turns out that our flat was actually the top floor of a rambling 12-bedroom home that had seen better days. Our roommates were five guys from Boston College who seemed to relish in the fact that the two Irish girls who had just arrived would be sharing the smallest room (and one bed) in their bachelor pad. Our funds didn’t quite stretch to a new bed so we took turns on the floor, the only problem being the slight mouse population. The boys turned out to be the best guides to Boston, and American drinking habits, we could ask for. Being under 21 was no problem; the house parties and barbeques meant that there was always something to do, and a well-earned keg stand after a hard day’s work was de rigeur, as were nightly beer pong tournaments, a game so highly competitive among Boston College students they had their own league. Nestled on Commonwealth Avenue, Brookline is a great place for students because although it’s technically on the outskirts of the city, it is right next to Boston College and near Boston University. The T, Boston’s answer to the Luas, is the local transport system that services the wider Boston area regularly,
and a monthly ticket is great value. Finding a job in Boston wasn’t hard. I papered the streets with CVs: don’t wait to get your social security number – our numbers didn’t come through for a month, but we found employers willing to take us on the strength of our visas provisionally. I chose to work in a clothes store in the Prudential, the main mall in the centre of the city, but would have made a lot more money waitressing. Don’t worry about finding work, offers should start pouring in when they realize you’re Irish! Heading over to one of the West Coast “San’s”, you might find it more difficult. The temperature soared around 30° so Boston is still a sunny choice, and there are beautiful beaches a short train journey out of the city, as well as out at the Cape and Hyannis. The food in Boston deserves its own article. We ate in a hundred different beautiful seafood restaurants, my personal highlight being the charming Barking Crab, overlooking Boston Harbor with amazing crab and of course, clam chowder. The Italian Quarter in the North End is worth a visit for its great restaurants, and Newbury Street, lined with classy boutiques and old brownstones, has open-air upmarket café lunch options. The literary and refined old-world feel of Boston is tangible, and an evening spent at one of the summer open air concerts in Copley Park or Shakespeare in the Park on Boston Common is a great way to soak up some culture. Less cultured, but also fun, is the New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, the Museum of Fine Art and of course, if you can get them, Red Sox tickets to Fenway Park. If you can't, Boston College American football games are later in the summer and are basically day long events, with tailgating and barbeques. Each J1 experience is unique, even within a group that travel together. All I can offer is my opinion, which is that no one should leave Boston wishing they had chosen differently. My Boston has a dignity and a grace, with a naughty Irish twinkle in its eye.
Reflections at Copley park: “The literary and refined old-world feel of Boston is tangible, and an evening spent at one of the summer open air concerts in Copley Park or Shakespeare in the Park on Boston Common is a great way to soak up some culture.”
Cracks begin to appear on the road to Peniche Emily Hogan
The beach is clean, wide and board-walked. Photo: SJ Barry
Californian Dreaming, Newport Style SJ Barry The chance to live and work in America should never be missed. The United States: the land of opportunity, the land of the free and the land of the obese, offers unrivalled opportunities for an Irish student. Since the great Gold Rush, there have been hordes of travellers making their way to California in search of newfound wealth and prosperity. The current annual migration of several hundred Irish students who make their pilgrimage to the sunnier climes of America’s west coast is just a continuation of this age-old trend. Most of these students find their way to San Diego, the most southerly point of California, just 40 minutes from the Mexican border. This border lays claim to the infamous Mexican settlement of
Tijuana, where just about anything goes. However, after watching numerous episodes of The OC and Laguna Beach, I found myself heading west to Newport Beach, the idyllic, almost surreal setting of the well-known hit series. I was determined to land myself a tanned blondehaired surfer while my travel partner, and part time financier, was in the market for an all-American college jock. We settled well, and Newport offered us a safe environment where we could tan during the days, flirt outrageously during the evenings, and fight for tips in our parttime waitressing jobs in a local pizzeria. Newport is a far cry from real-town America as the houses, gardens and overpriced eateries are as cosmetically enhanced as the residents. Think San Tropez, Val do Lobo or Aspen. The house prices reflect the staggering affluence of A-listers who inhabit this enclave of the
Californian American Dream. However, for a summer stay, Newport really can offer a lot. The Americans are fascinated by our accents, and genuinely take an interest when talking to you, which is more than can be said for many of our European neighbours. The beach is clean, wide and board-walked and the lifeguard towers add to the Baywatch setting. Accommodation is expensive, but you are paying for Newport, not gangland South Central. There are a number of vibrant bars and nightclubs, although many seem to attract an older crowd, mostly over 25s, which can prove a bit of a culture shock to those used to the lateteen antics of Tripod or Citi Bar. Newport proved great fun, although at some times rather sterile. If you are looking to find your Ryan or Marissa under the hot Californian sun, I would definitely recommend it.
There was a tangible grumble of mutiny starting to pervade the “Smart” as marked differences emerged between the Sicilian and Irish. It began with the niggley things such as restaurant choices and preferred times for eating. Rather like a child who arrives at the beach and immediately demands his picnic, by ten the Sicilian would become restless, by eleven agitated and by twelve, (clearly key tanning time if the back of the sun cream tells you to avoid direct contact during this period), he was ready to pack up and go for his lunch. He poo-pooed any suggestion of ever forfeiting or even postponing lunch, snidely pointing out that the sun was having no effect on the Irish skin anyway. He got irritated by any extended bout of reading. He demanded company on his swims. He became positively hostile when the Irish’s non-existent eye-to-ball coordination made playing with the new Smash rackets impossible. The clincher however was our differing views on where to sleep. We had hit it lucky one night with a very nice room and the first installment of Lethal Weapon on the television and from then on he kept pushing for real accommodation. He was going soft. The Irish continued to advocate stretching the budget and erecting the tent. Everything hinged on our next town of choice. Peniche was going to make or break us. Peniche is one of Portugal’s most active fishing ports which in recent years has fallen foul of the most unsightly development. While a short journey in any direction provides more pleasant surroundings; the islet village of Baleal 5km to the north has a fine beach and Ilha Berlenga 10km offshore is quite idyllic, downtown Peniche has little to recommend it. Tourism has made its mark here, leaving an insipid cheap, hurdy gurdy taste wherever you go. The streets are lined with a glut of shabby restaurants offering poor
seafood at high prices and trinket stalls aplenty. The waterfront is a sprawl of ad hoc development. The most depressing feature however is the approach by road; here a never ending line of old women sit on chairs aggressively touting private rooms in their homes. Walking around we were sporadically interrupted by OAPs jumping in front of us mumbling, “quarto quarto quarto”, like some sort of wrinkled pusher. We had not encountered this anywhere else and the Sicilian reasoned that it would be a more economic way of doing things than the normal pensão. We very intelligently decided to leave our search until late that night working on the Tesco’s remainder theory – things are cheaper at the end of the day. The Sicilian said the key was picking the right face. He went for a stooped-over specimen covered in a shawl. She babbled momentarily and then seeing our confusion led us down an unlit alley and knocked a sort of code on a door. A furtive conversation ensued; quick glances, a nod and our guide disappeared leaving us with an ageing Portuguese woman in her dressing gown. Without any introductory niceties, she used her hands to demand her price. A flash of ten fingers four times and then a
A glimpse of the Sicilian and the Irish in many years to come. Photo: Leonardo Marino five. We watched this repetitious gesture with glazed eyes. We were both too tired to bargain. The Sicilian made a token effort. Forty. The lady stood firm. The Sicilian shrugged in agreement and went to move inside the door in an effort to demonstrate our decision to stay. Our geriatric friend did not budge. She projected a wrinkled paw. Cash first. We were then led up a stairs in silence, shunted into a room and the door was closed behind us. We turned on the lights to find the Madonna staring at us from every corner of the room, perched upon every conceivable surface. There were more statues in the room than one would usually find in a gift shop in Lourdes. The claustrophobic presence of such luminaries was less than conducive to a sound nights slumber. A restless night was had, far more uncomfortable than any cold and unyielding sand. It was Ireland one, Sicily nil. We were going back to camping.
18 SPORT FEATURES
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 2007
Rocket comes full circle as Masters maturity does for Ding and atones for York walkout Connel McKenna Linger long enough on Belfast’s Shaftesbury Square and you will see Alex Higgins, the most colourful and flamboyant snooker genius of all time, emerge from the bookmakers on the corner of the Donegall Road and make the short trip a few doors down to the South Belfast Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club for a pint or a short; probably both. Like all compulsive gamblers, he is not often spending his winnings; rather he is usually increasing his day’s net loss. Alex Higgins is a classic case of a man who needed his sport. It was always thought that snooker was the only thing that could perhaps eventually fend off his personal demons, and once it became lost to him, so too did hope of his long-term well-being to his fans. Ronnie O’Sullivan on the other hand is that rarest of sportsmen, one who perhaps needs his sport less than his sport needs him. His recent victory at the Masters at Wembley, and particularly his breathtaking performance in the final, illustrated the reasons for this perfectly. After the sorry forfeit against Stephen Hendry at York in the UK Championships though, it is possible that we also witnessed a seminal moment in O’Sullivan’s career. I speak not of the incredible snooker which was every bit as responsible as the hostile London crowd in reducing his opponent Ding Junhui to a teary-eyed child, sitting pitifully in his corner. Difficult as it was to remind ourselves, we had seen this sort of form from ‘The Rocket’ before. Watching O’Sullivan’s display in the final it was impossible not to be impressed. Without question it was one of his finest ever (indeed, it was perhaps one of the finest by any player in the history of the game). To say we expect that sort of play from him is off the mark, but it is true to say that he is the player from whom we come closest to expecting consistent genius from. In this light, his performance was amazing, but not surprising. What did catch us all off-guard though, was what happened after O’Sullivan had wrapped up the twelth frame to move to within one of victory at 9-3. Ding, whose body language for the past two frames – since losing the tenth having been one ball away from clinching it – had suggested that his composure and focus had entirely deserted him, approached the table and offered O’Sullivan his hand, a gesture in snooker representative of concession of the
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s brilliance on the table was for once admirably married with maturity off it as he steered his young opponent through a harrowing Masters final match. What followed was, even in the midst of the confusion, fantastic to watch. Ronnie’s reaction was first-class, as he immediately consoled the mentally pummelled Chinese youngster and lead him, arm around his shoulder, into the midsession interval. As the BBC camera followed the two players out of the arena towards the dressing rooms, O’Sullivan
could be seen giving Ding words of comfort as the latter pointed to his temple, universal sports-sign for “I’ve lost it, guv.” Reportedly, O’Sullivan spent the interval in Ding’s dressing room, talking him into returning and playing the match to a close. Let’s not forget that at this point, O’Sullivan was one frame away from the most prestigious title in snooker, barring
the World Championship, and indeed, his first ranking event title in twenty-two months. Even in a position of utter dominance, dominance over an opponent whose resolve had been utterly broken, imperitive in the player’s mind must be the retention of focus over those crucial twenty minutes of the mid-session. Depending on the player, this will constitute visiting the practice table, hav-
ing a relaxed chat with coach or family, or something in between. Trying to deal with a disconsolate 19 year-old who speaks very little English is not exactly ideal at this juncture. O’Sullivan, however,, was seemingly more concerned about a young man for whom all the top pros have huge respect, and for the final itself, than his own preparation for the resumption of the session. Ding was blessed in that he had this particular player as his opponent at this difficult personal moment, although he could be forgiven for thinking otherwise during what Steve Davis described as “a battering.” O’Sullivan is the player best positioned to empathize with what Ding was feeling as he sat in his chair, back to a crowd that was vociferously in support of local boy Ronnie, and face to a final which can only have been gut-wrenching to watch. This is especially true given how he had played in reaching the showpiece, and indeed, in taking the first two frames of the match. Two ‘attempts’ at safety shots in the twelfth frame enlightened us to the exact frame of Ding’s mind – the situation had become too much to handle and he didn’t want to be there anymore. Getting halfway down to play the first of these and then perhaps only a quarter of the way down to second showed to the crowd that he no longer cared enough to put effort into a comeback attempt. Playing both shots so that they opened the pack up for O’Sullivan even suggested that he was setting his opponent up for the quickest possible victory. This attitude rightly drew derision from Denis Taylor, who said that he “expected better” from a younster who has been so admired for his extraordianry temperament, and from the crowd, who understood that this went grossly against the grain of snooker etiquette. O’Sullivan himself had experienced all too recently the feeling of ‘not wanting to be there.’ Having sensationally walked out mid-frame against Stephen Hendry in York only last December, trailing by a not unassailable four frames to one, he dealt with the situation expertly, and dare I say it, with handsome maturity. The natural human reaction to such an unexpected offering of the hand is surely to take it, before looking rather bemused afterwards (as Hendry had done in York), but O’Sullivan had the presence of mind neither to accept nor refuse it, and to instead remove Ding from a potentially embarrassing and even match-ending situation with wise haste. The moment was particularly important because it was perhaps the first time
that we have witnessed Ronnie, now 31, assume the role of the mature professional. Even his victory speech, in which he tactfully didn’t mention Ding’s emotional difficulties, was model. While he is not yet at the veteran stage alongside the likes of Davis, John Parrott and that other great London favourite Jimmy White, his age and experience decree that he is with Hendry, Mark Williams and Peter Ebdon in abiding in the perhaps unwanted echelon of the “seasoned pro”. However, O’Sullivan has always remained somewhat leftfield of these players, brooding and rebellious, a Higgins for the modern age. It is for this very reason, along with the downright bloody attractiveness of his game, that O’Sullivan has emerged as the most-loved player of his generation, just as Higgins was of his. For many he can do no wrong, and this reality even sometimes extends to his fellow players: witness Ali Carter’s surprising defence of his walkout, saying the game “needed” Ronnie, and that the public “love it” when he brings yet another unpredictable twist to the sport’s narrative. Whether the paying public of York ‘loved’ that midmatch walkout is debatable. It is perhaps fanciful to think that in paternally guiding Ding, Ronnie has shed his troubled past, his soap opera narrative for good, but that moment had all the hallmarks of being one of profesional and personal growth for O’Sullivan, in the same way that his incredible five minute 147 against Nick Price in 1997 did, when the full extent of his precocious talent burst onto the Crucible stage, and in the same way his first World Championship triumph in 2001 did, when that talent was finally harnessed to optimum effect. The career of Ronnie O’Sullivan will, in all likelihood, continue to meander down its so far unstable and dramatic route, but perhaps those of us who feared he would never be able to control the personal demons which eventually claimed the career, and in many ways the life, of Alex Higgins, will be proved wrong. There were after all, many who feared this incredibly gifted cavalier could never tailor his abilities well enough to claim a World Championship. If we have now seen the makings of Ronnie O’Sullivan the model pro, then let us hope that we will continue to witness the wonderful snooker which he has lavished on us for the past decade, and maybe even the four or five further world titles his talent merits. Above all let us be glad that the poor spectre of Higgins will have been removed from his future.
Italian football’s latest controversy Andrew Payne
Juventus fans attend a Series A game at the Stadio Delle Alpi in Turin. Such peaceful crowds are not always replicated here, or across the country.
The news on Friday that a policeman had been killed at the Sicilian Serie A derby between Catania and Palermo was sad news indeed. The decision made by the Italian association to indefinitely suspend domestic and international football was the correct one and will hopefully send out a message that the time has come to properly deal with the hooligan problem which exists in the world champions’ domestic game. The death of policeman Filippo Raciti occurred following the local derby, which had itself been halted temporarily earlier that evening to allow tear gas to clear from the pitch, occurred when a missile thrown by a fan exploded in Raciti’s face. This incident had perhaps become near-inevitable given the violence that mars many Italian games at every level. Just last month the coach of an amateur team was beaten to death on the pitch by opposing fans. High profile problems in the recent past at current league leaders Inter Milan are also likely to linger in the memory, such as when the Champions League semi-final against their city rivals AC Milan was cancelled two seasons ago after the game was stopped twice following the landing of flares on the pitch, one of which hit Milan’s goalkeeper Dida. Most notorious of all was an incident in 2001 when Inter fans threw a scooter from the top tier of the San Siro during a match against Atalanta. Violence and a near implausible level of influence is not unusual amongst ‘ultra’ fans in Italy.
Many fans better acquainted with the Irish and English games will have been amazed to see pictures of Roma captain Francesco Totti in discussions on the pitch with ultra leaders while the abandonment of a match was discussed earlier this season. The areas of stadiums controlled by more violent ultras are often seen as ‘no go’ areas by local police, the recent murder is likely to see this become even worse. Clubs must get to grips with this situation before more deaths occur. The strength and organisation of the ultra groups, while being a major cause of many of the problems, may also provide an opportunity to help solve some of the issues. Clubs need to meet with these groups and persuade them to join the fight against violence or else expel them, although the latter would seem a dangerous and difficult move. It must also be kept in mind that many ultras are not violent and that the baby need not be thrown out with the bath water. Players association president Sergio Campana has called for the suspension to last for up to a year. This could prove counter productive and many of the game’s top players would likely depart for Spain. A couple of weeks, however, would send out a message, and should further trouble occur further action could be taken, the expulsion of certain clubs from competitions for instance. Italy took a strong stand (though it was later diluted) last summer against match-fixing in their game, and now it is time to get a handle on violence. Italian hopes of hosting the 2012 European Championships may now be gone.
It must be remembered that problems of this nature are not exclusive to Italy. English football has generally speaking come to grips with many of its demons but problems are worse than ever in many other European countries. UEFA recently took a strong stand against Feyenoord, whose fans rioted during a match against Nancy in November, by expelling them from the UEFA Cup. In France meanwhile a Paris Saint Germain supporter was shot dead by a policeman in another UEFA Cup game, this one against Hapoel Tel Aviv. The officer involved claimed he was saving himself and a Jewish fan from an anti-Semitic attack. Racism is also rife in Spain, a trend made clear when Barcelona’s Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto’o attempted to walk off the pitch during a match in Zaragoza after every touch he made was greeted by monkey noises. England’s black players could also vouch for similar taunting when playing away in Slovakia. Intolerance, racism and violence, problems which many had perhaps assumed to be disappearing from the European game, appear to be once again its biggest challenges. Strong action needs to be taken to wipe it out now. The Italian federation’s decision to suspend play was a good start but not an adequate conclusion on its own. Bill Shankly’s famous comment, ‘football’s not a matter of life and death, it’s much more important than that’ may appeal to our romantic side and is surely true of many dreams, but sadly it often sounds misplaced when reality hits home. Life and death are much more important than it.
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
DU Amateur Boxing Club
Fighters take home Irish senior varsity trophy Edward Montgomery Last weekend, the Dublin University Amateur Boxing Club took a team of eight down to the Senior Intervarsity in Cork. Despite a relatively small team, Trinity once again came out on top, taking home the team championship by just one point. First up, Paul Noone (60kg) was stopped in the second round by Ian O’ Donovan (UCC), the eventual winner of his weight. Despite this setback, Paul went on to fight in a gutsy performance against Conor Byrne from IT Carlow, unfortunately narrowly losing again in a split decision. Next up, Okemute Numa (75kg), a late edition to the team, pulled off a very respectable performance against Toby Bermueller, a much taller and heavier opponent, losing again on points. The following afternoon Paddy O’Shea (63.5) lost agonisingly on points to Patrick Solan (UCD). Look out for the rematch at Colours next week. A similar situation then occurred with Padraig MacSuibhne (67kg) losing in another split decision in his final against a very skilled Lee Bradley (UL). James Annett (71kg) then impressed everyone with a dramatic knockout of Jarlath Cox (UCC) in the second round to be the first Trinity champion of the day. James Chan (81kg), after only one spar in the gym, took apart the UCD captain Raphael Keane in his final with devastating right hands and while clearly in the lead, he was disqualified in the second after a public warning for turning his back on his opponent. Again, the rematch next week promises to be highly entertaining. Lois James (60kg) boxed a Christine Moynihan from UCC and had a tough fight but won on points after three well earned rounds. Finally Pat “The Bear” Wheen (91kg+) entertained us all as he knocked out his terrified opponent Kevin Reid (UCC) in the second round. He had some trouble catching his man initially in the first as he danced around the ring, but when he did that was the end and Trinity had another champion. A successful and enjoyable weekend was had by all, and the Club is looking forward with eager anticipation to the upcoming Colours Match next week here in Trinity.
Dublin University Rifle Club recorded several wins at the recent NTSA 10m Airgun Open at UCD. Most notable were the wins by Mike Dunne in Class C (520 points) and Catriona Lawlor in Class D, Ladies’ 40-shot. Other good performances were demonstrated by Laura Dunne who came third in Class C (399 points) and Jean Bourke, who took second place in Class D, Ladies’ 40-shot.
Trinity’s under-20s in crucial games
A bloody match at the recent Senior Intervarsity in Cork. Photo: Paddy O’Shea
DU Football Club
UCC winners in rugby match DU should have won Kay Bowen Dublin University 6 University College Cork 13
The Ladies’ Boat Club finding their rhythm last Saturday. Photo: Martin McKenna
Lady rowers nearly a minute behind UCD The 63rd Dublin Head of River race was held last Saturday, and in perfect rowing conditions, crews raced from east of O’Connell Bridge to Islandbridge over a distance of 3.8km. DU Ladies’ Boat Club entered its novice and intermediate eights, the intermediate crew racing in the open category. In their first race, the novice eight got a taste of a racing atmosphere with crowds cheering at almost every bridge. The crew did very well, finishing the race in 20 minutes and 19 seconds. The Novice
The Croquet Club has confirmed its fixtures for the coming year as the season is set to begin. They will be looking to build on the success of last year which saw a steady improvement throughout the club and culminated in an international call-up for former Captain Conor Broderick against England last August. The Ladies’ World Golf Croquet Championships is to be held in Ireland this year for the first time. Selection for the Irish team will be determined in a qualifying tournament at the end of March and the lady members of the club will be training towards this end. We would like to encourage anyone interested in learning and entering the qualifier to contact us for coaching. Contact Captain Enda Coyle at email@example.com. For more information about this prestigious event, have a look at www.wcfcroquet.org.
A few recent wins for DU Rifle Club
DU Ladies’ Boat Club
Croquet Club looking for females for golf worlds
crew was coxed by one of the girl’s coaches, former Captain Rachel Liu. The intermediate eight left the blocks behind a strong senior crew from UCD Boat Club who were the eventual winners of the open eight category with a time of 14 minutes and 11 seconds. The Trinity eight raced a strong and steady race in a time of 15 minutes and 2 seconds, 51 seconds behind the UCD senior boat but 37 seconds ahead of their intermediate eight who finished in a time of 15 minutes and 39 seconds. These results are very positive in the run up to the Colours race as the UCD boat will be a combination of their senior and intermediate crews.
Colours should be a well matched race. One of the largest crowds gathered on the Sean Heuston bridge, which is over the chicane-like bend which luckily did not get the better of the Trinity coxes. The Colours races, the Corcoran Cup and the Moorehead Trophy, will be held on the 10th of March – five weeks’ time. DU Ladies’ Boat Club open eight at Dublin Head of the River: Maeve O’Donnell (bow), Maire Gallagher, Kate Hogan, Roisín Coary, Áine Feeney, Maggie O’Donoghue, Siobhán McNamara, Anna Sheane (stroke), Eimear Deady (cox). Novice eight: Aoibhin O’Hare (bow), Aoife Wilson, Sophie Laredo, Carlene Baskerville, Joanna Staunton, Danielle RosenbergPolak, Niamh Quinn, Madeline O’Shaughnessy-Hunter (stroke), Rachel Liu (cox).
This was a disappointing loss for Trinity in a game which they should have won or drawn. The score reflected the fact that UCC defence was better than Trinity’s attack. Not for the first time this season Trinity inexplicably came out flat and clearly not ready for action. On the other side, UCC in their Colours game with individual players wearing their old school socks were fired up and cheered on by a large home crowd. Off the kick-off the visitors made three crucial errors: they fumbled the kick off, gave away a penalty at the ensuing scrum and then failed to cover a quick tap penalty which the home team waltzed for a try from thirty metres out. The visitors were down 10-0 in three minutes when Munster back-up out-half Jeremy Manning punished them with a well-struck penalty. From this moment on, Trinity focused on the basics and basically owned the ball for the remainder of the first half. The forwards drove well off the line outs and the backs looked dangerous with out actually finishing the many half breaks that were made. The home team just tackled everything that moved and this aggression allied with fine organisation kept them ahead. Out half Johnny Watt kicked a
penalty on 13 minutes. UCC led at half time 13-3. The second half carried on in the same vein. Trinity generally controlled field position but the UCC defence and the fine line kicking from Manning kept them comfortably ahead. Trinity out half Johnny Watt closed the score to six points with a well taken penalty. The teams continued to attack with Killian Stafford, Paul Gillespie and Joey Burns all close to scoring, but Trinity struggled to beat the last line of defence to even up the score. Both defences seemed well in control of the proceedings in the second half. Trinity frantically attacked from all over the field in the closing stages, with the referee blowing his whistle for full time with Trinity camped on the UCC line. This was a frustrating loss for a developing Trinity XV who are learning the hard way this season. The players are making a huge effort in training and conditioning sessions in the morning, but they need to channel this effort into quality performances on Saturday afternoons! For UCC, this was a good win and the first over Trinity in several years as they welcomed back their Munster players Jeremy Manning and future Ireland prop Darragh Hurley for their first club games of the season. DUFC team vs UCC: 15 Paul Gillespie, 14 George Byron, 13 Brian Hastings, 12 Conor Donohue, 11 Killian Stafford, 10 Johnny Watt, 9 Eddie Hamilton (Joey Burns 45) 1 Graham Murphy, 2 Matt Crockett, 3 Andy King, 4 John Byrne (Max Cantrell 45), 5 Roger Young, 6 Ross Condren, 7 Shane Young, 8 Peter McFeely.
The Trinity under-20s rugby XVs both played crucial league games on Sunday both winning out by narrow margins. The Trinity U20s “A” with one loss this season in the JP Fanagan under-20s premier league played Lansdowne under-20s also with only one loss. Something had to give and Trinity out half Micheal Boland kicked the winning penalty in the 79th minute to win 18-17. Trinity should have been out of sight by half time but bombed many scoring opportunities. The home team dug in, defended heroically and could have won the spoils. At Coolmine, Trinity under-20s “B” team defending their JP Fanagan league Division one title won 16-13. They can thank out half David Maguire (son of first XV coach Hugh) for their last minute win when he kicked a fine 40-metre penalty to put his team back on top of the league with four games to play. Trinity forwards dominated the game, with a much depleted back line unable to capitalize on all the possession.
Boat Club Colours nominees The Boat Club captain nominated members for Colours at the Club’s annual dinner last Saturday. The welldeserved nominees were: Senior Colours: Gabriel Magee, Robert Swift, Joseph Calnan, Sean Osborne, Rory Horner, Eoghan Kerlin, Edward Roffe-Silvester, David Cummins, John McCabe, Gavin Doherty, David Keane. Junior Colours: Maria Dunaeva, Henry Tindal, Kevin Cunningham, Julian Hand, Daire Quinn, Gerard Duffy, Conor O’Shea, Dónal McCarthy, Brendan Guildea, Friedrich Wetterling. Maiden Colours: Donal Finnerty, Rory Pike, Ben Goodridge, Thomas Ormond, Neil Franklin, Nicholas Kenny, Richard Mulligan, Martin McCarthy, Peter McKenna, Jeff Soroghan, Sophie Ward, David Lorigan, James Byrne, Seamus Crowley, Paul Dunphy, Donnchada Jackson, Graham Melia, Stephen Connolly, Lauriane Bertrand, Cormac Cart It should be noted that the nominations are provisional and subject to ratification at the next Annual General Meeting of the Club, which will take place in October. In the past, many members’ Colours nominations have been withdrawn due to their lack of commitment. Other oarsmen have been awarded a Colours level below that which they had been nominated for. However, that won’t stop many members heading straight to their tailor to be fitted for a spiffing new blazer!
TRINITY NEWS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
DU Boat Club
DU Boat Club’s senior eight managed only a disappointing third in last Saturday’s Dublin Head of the River time trial through the city centre. Photo: Martin McKenna
Senior eight misses gold at Dublin Head of the River race David Cummins DU Boat Club’s senior eight managed only a disappointing third in last Saturday’s Dublin Head of the River time trial through the city centre. Competing against two composite crews containing some of Islandbridge’s finest all-star athletes, the senior crew, stroked by Robert Swift, started lively but failed to sustain their rhythm. Beginning in third position, an initial burst off the start was greeted with encouraging chants from the banks of the Liffey. But soon after the start the
crew was forced to deal with the reverberating wash from the Neptune-Imperial College composite and a UCDCommercial-Neptune-Lady Elizabeth combination. The final verdict saw the UCDCommercial-Neptune-Lady Elizabeth composite boat win in just under twelve minutes with Neptune-Imperial College and Trinity 15 and 20 seconds behind respectively. Interestingly, UCD’s intermediate eight finished 57 seconds slower than Trinity. With the Colours race, the Gannon Cup, fast approaching, this result can be looked upon favourably.
Meanwhile, the second-year novices achieved their first pennant of the season by winning their category convincingly. These eight experienced oarsmen actually overtook the other boats in their field, a feat almost unheard of in this particular time trial. It is a testament to them and their persistent efforts that they have begun the racing season on such a positive note. They commented on the professional coxing from Maria Dunaeva and lively support from the bridges as they surged past Neptune’s eight. The first-year novices also impressed, overtaking UCD’s freshers’
contingent on three separate occasions over the 3.8km course. Following two mishaps during the first attempts, Trinity’s newcomers finally managed to pull away. It was, no doubt, a major confidence-booster with less than five weeks to go until the Colours race. This squad has been making strong improvements in recent weeks and it is hoped that by combining training with the second-year novices, they can benefit greatly from the experience. It was elation for the novices, while for the seniors, lessons remain to be learned. Though race preparation and
training have been relatively sound in the weeks post-Seville, there was a definite lack of vigor evident during the race. However, it should be noted that DU Boat Club has found a very level-headed and enthusiastic coxswain in Gabriel Magee. The Club’s captain negotiated all 13 of the bridges with relative ease in this, his first competitive outing as senior cox. So while the result might suggest doom and gloom, the outlook remains positive. A chance to rectify matters is only days away, with Neptune Head of the River rescheduled to take place this coming Saturday, 10th February, in Blessington.
Looking further down the line, Lagan Head and Erne Head are two events earmarked for all squads. At the annual Trial Eights dinner, held at the Boat Club in Islandbridge shortly after Dublin Head, Robert Swift was presented with the CV Fox Memorial Cup for best sculler. DU Boat Club’s senior eight at Dublin Head of the River: David Cummins (bow), Edward Roffe-Silvester, Eoin MacDomhnaill, Eoghan Kerlin, Rory Horner, Seán Osborne, Joseph Calnan, Robert Swift (stroke), Gabriel Magee (cox). Winning novice eight: Brendan Guildea (bow), Dónal McCarthy, Conor O’Shea, Gerard Duffy, Daire Quinn, Julian Hand, Kevin Cunningham, Henry Tindal (stroke), Maria Duneava (cox)
DU Squash Rackets Club
DU Association Football Club
Squash players renew rivalry with Oxford University
Trinity winners in UCC varsity match
David Lowry DU Squash Rackets Club played Oxford University over the weekend of the 19th to 21st January 2007, 60 years after the first match between the two historic universities took place. The tour kicked off on Friday evening with Trinity men’s V against Oxford men’s seconds and Trinity women’s firsts against Oxford Women’s seconds. The girls’ game turned out to be a very close tie with Catherine Graham (ladies’ captain) pushing Anna Steynor of Oxford close but losing out 3-1 in a long gruelling game. Laura Gleeson and Harriet Johnson both lost 3-0. Katie Wilson, however, displayed excellent control in dispatching Jess Watson 3-0. There was a similar result for Trinity men’s V with David Lowry (Club captain), Kevin-Francis Humphreys, James Westwood and Robbie Woods all losing in close games. Kárlis Zauers was up against Oxford’s seconds Captain and ran out winner 3-0. Saturday morning saw Trinity men’s second team play against Balliol-St John’s combined college team. Sore heads were nursed on both sides but the standard of play did not suffer. James
Westwood played a very patient and controlled game narrowly losing out. Suresh Kumar too went very close in his match against Matt Hall of Balliol College and number two on Oxford men’s second team. In the afternoon, Trinity and Oxford’s firsts played. Both results mirrored the previous evening’s games but the phrase “so close but yet so far” never seemed more apt. Katie Wilson again won in superb style against Sarah Blakey (the Oxford ladies’ number one) but elsewhere results went the other way. Kárlis Zauers, nursing a hip injury from the previous day’s match, lost an epic 3-2 match against Sharif Ismail (Oxford men’s Captain) in a marathon match. The poor standard of squash was made up for with dramatic misses by both players and superb shot making from the Oxford player. Roland Budd lost a very close 3-0 match against Tom Bilyard having been leading in all three games and going to two tiebreakers but Tom’s trickery and disguise proved the difference. Solid performances were put in too by David Lowry and Kevin-Francis Humphreys who each took games off their opponents and forced other games to tie-breakers. Kevin-Francis was particularly unlucky
Niall Walsh Dublin University 1 University College Cork 0
Karlis Zauers (left) playing Oxford’s Sharif Ismail. losing narrowly by a single point to Melissa Flagg. The weekend was capped off in style with dinner in Christ Church dining hall (the one Harry Potter is filmed in) on Saturday evening. Also during the course of the weekend the Irish party took the opportunity, by courtesy of the Oxford
University Tennis Club, to try their hand at “real tennis” (a very old rackets game that modern lawn tennis, squash, badminton stem from). A visit to Dublin by the Oxford University squash players later in the year is contemplated. For more information about real tennis, irishrealtennis.ie should be viewed.
Following the side’s recent good form, Trinity went into this game with hopes and expectations high. The Jackie Lennox Trophy was established in 1994 and is similar to the “Colours” trophy that Trinity and UCD battle for each year. The game opened at breakneck speed and it was a while before either side settled into any sort of rhythm. Conditions at Cork’s home ground, the Farm, were not ideal, but Trinity did not abandon their passing game and went on to dominate the early stages of the match. Cork’s defence, however, were not in a charitable mood and Trinity, for all their possession, found it difficult to create any clear-cut chances. Trinity’s dominance eventually paid off, however, and they went ahead in the 35th minute. Jonathan Cummins, the Trinity full-back, picked up the ball just inside the opposition’s half and played a wonderful crossfield through ball for fresher Stephen Brownlow to coolly slot home. Cork responded with a spell of pressure but Trinity held on to take a one goal lead into half time.
Manager Jimmy Cummiskey changed things around at half time, bringing on strikers Vincent O’Mahony and Simon Cohiedy, to try and push for a second goal. O’Mahony twice came close and almost had Trinity in front when he raced on to a through ball but his low shot was saved by the Cork goalkeeper. Trinity striker, Dermot Byrne thought he had made it two-nil when he latched on to flick on by Cohiedy and placed the ball in the bottom right hand corner but the goal was disallowed for a questionable foul on one of the Cork centre-backs. Trinity had to survive some late Cork pressure but held on and the Lennox trophy is now back on Trinity soil. Dublin University were hoping to build on this performance with a game against a highly rated Tallaght IT side the following Wednesday. Man of the Match Michael McCarthy scored two, including a stunning volley, and set up the third for strike partner Dermot Byrne to help Trinity on their way to a three goals to one victory. Captain Dave Reddin was delighted with the performance, claiming it was the best so far this season, and hopes are high in the Trinity camp of making an impact at the main intervarsity tournament, the Collingwood Cup, in DCU later this month.