Trinity News Issue 8

Page 1

Irish Student Newspaper of the Year 2008



Is it possible that we are still evolving?

The lustre of diamonds fades quickly in the arms trade

PAGES 12 & 13


Every candidate profiled Bacik recalls her presidency Our readers’ biggest issues

Tuesday 10 February 2009



Issue 8, Volume 55

SU defends campaigning rule changes » » » »

TRINITY IS a sheltered enviroment, to be sure, with College Security ever vigilant against any unpleasant elements that might cause disquiet in the cloistered halls of academia. High up on the hit list are students, an irritating distraction from the vital functions of research, administration and attracting tourists that constitute the real business of a Modern University. The men in the yellow jackets were however powerless to prevent the snow that malingered around campus all week. Loitering on the inviolate lawns and scaling the roof with no fear of man or Junior Dean, it ensured that even to nip across to the Buttery for a cup of coffee and a three-hour chat was to run a gauntlet of ceasless intimidation. The student body made the best of it, wrapping up warm and teaching Erasmus students how to talk about the weather. Or was it the current economic climate...? Photo: Martin McKenna

Credit system introduced Campaign orders must now go through SU Objections at SU Council Meeting Sullivan apologies for “cheating” comment

By Lisa Byrne Deputy College News Editor THE ELECTORAL Commission, the Student Union’s governing body for the Sabbatical Elections, has introduced new rules to regulate this year’s election. In a bid to combat what Education Officer Hugh Sullivan, deemed the “falsifying of expenditure”, candidates must now order all campaign materials through the EC. Candidates will also be subject to a budget of €600. In previous years, candidates were allowed to order their own materials but had to provide receipts showing adherence to the budget. However, according to Mr Sullivan, receipts were often falsified in a bid to ‘enhance’ their budgets. In an attempt to prevent this practise, which can see candidates’ names struck off the ballot, all material and clothing must be ordered through the Electoral Commission. Flyers, manifestos and posters will be subject to the previous stringent limits and conditions. Flyers may be a maximum size of A6 and are limited to 4,000 per candidate, with posters printed on A3 with a maximum of 2,000 per candidate. Manifestos, setting out candidate’s campaign pledges, are limited to 2,000 per candidate and must be size A4. The quantity of printed clothing has

not been set, however, candidates must keep within their €600 spending limit. Candidates are permitted to use handmade clothing but must keep within the budget and all clothing must be stamped by the EC before use. The EC has promised to ensure that all campaign designs will be kept in the strictest of confidence before the campaigns begin. Stunts, a common feature of previous election campaigns, will also be subjected to this strict budget. While the EC have said that they encourage “inventive and ‘2 or 3 days of campaigning could make all the difference’ Hillary Allen original stunts”, they have warned that these stunts must be in accordance with the election regulations and must be pre-approved by the EC. Another new addition sees the introduction of a credit system, which abolishes the previous fine system. Instead of paying a fine as result of breaking the election rules, candidates will now be subject to a credit system, which sees them begin the campaign with 60 credits. Should a candidate be in breach of any rule, the EC will continued on page 2

Ambassador gives secret lecture By David Molloy A RECENT visit to the college by Israeli Ambassador Zion Evrony was kept secret from students at the request of the Israeli embassy, it emerged last week. The visit took place at 3pm on Thursday the 29th of January, in the form of an address given to a Junior Freshman class in the Department of Political Science. The visit had been organised by staff in the department, according to the college communications office. “It was agreed by Prof Kenneth Benoit, Head of the Department of Political Science and arranged by the lecturer responsible for the ‘Introduction to Politics’ course, Dr. Jacqueline Hayden,” a spokesperson said. Professor Benoit confirmed that the visit had not been announced at the insistence of the Israeli embassy. “We were asked by the ambassador, indeed this was a condition of his visit, not to announce it beforehand. If we had announced it beforehand, the embassy

Israeli Ambassador Evrony in the Edmund Burke. Photo: Andrew Booth would have wanted security checks in place at the entrance to the Burke and we did not feel this was either desirable or even feasible.” During the course of his address, Mr Evrony asked students to “forget about what you have read and listen to another point of view,” citing “a lot of misinformation in the Irish media and

Students march on Dáil Kasia Mychajlowycz International News Editor 15,000 STUDENTS marched on the government buildings in Merrion Square, according to Garda estimates, last Wednesday to protest the reintroduction of fees for third-level education, which has become a real possibility in the present economic crisis. Students from many colleges in the Dublin area and beyond marched from the Garden of Remembrance to Leinster House, where they were addressed from a platform by Brian Hayes and Ruairí Quinn, the Fine Gael and Labour spokesmen on education, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty, former Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and the general secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers Mike Jennings. Not all students were willing to listen to the speakers however. One group broke off from the rest, marched against traffic down Leinster St., turn on to Kildare St. and staged a sit-in in front of the Daíl. The group was lead by Free Education for Everyone (FEE), who have been present at USI and Student Union rallies across the country. Armed with a megaphone and a sound system on wheels pumping electro music, FEE lead about 100 students to the Daíl,

biased coverage”. He further reiterated his previously expressed opinions that Israel’s recent operation in the Gaza strip was a “war of self defence” and that “Hamas has cynically used the civilian population as human shields”. Andrew Booth, SS Philosophy and Political Science, was one of the attendees. He had learned of the visit

Exemptions abolished By Conor Sullivan

Left: Marchers on O’Connell Street. Photo: Andrew Booth. Above: The Trinity contingent leave Front Square. Photo: Andrew Holohan where they chanted slogans, demanded, at one point, for Brian Cowen to come out and speak to them, and gave speeches through the megaphone to the crowd. The gates of the Daíl were protected by at least a dozen Gardaí on foot, and two on horseback. The student halted traffic from Kildare and Molesworth St. Aiden Beatty, a fourth-year Law student at Trinity, is one of the coorganisers of FEE in Trinity, and one of the two delegates from Trinity on FEE’s national council. He explained that the group had decided that the

break-off march had been planned in the event that “there was a sufficient mood to go a little further than USI.” In regards to FEE’s relationship with the USI, Mr. Beatty said: “We’ve met with Dave Curren a number of times, there’s definitely a difference of opinion, we are all members of USI and our position is to push USI in a more activist direction.” Students from Trinity marched from Front Square at around 1 p.m., on to Westmoreland St., up O’Connell St., and west around Parnell Square, where they met up with the rest of the

college’s students. A TCD security guard estimated that there were “well over a thousand” Trinity students gathered in Front Square, taking up about half the square and making a racket with the whistles handed out by members of the Student’s Union. Many were clad in either Trinity Student’s Union or USI anti-fees T-shirts, and still more were holding the “No to Fees!” posters that were given out, while some had fashioned their own placards. continued on page 2

at Dr Hayden’s SS lecture minutes beforehand, and described the content of the Ambassador’s address as “a one-sided account of the Arab-Israeli conflict, from the foundation of the Israeli state to the modern flare-ups in Gaza”. Booth estimated that there were more than two hundred students in attendance. He also provided details of the security at the event, reporting there there to be approximately eleven members of the Israeli embassy security staff present, in addition to at least one member of the Garda Síochana and members of college security. Booth also claimed the Israeli security staff had used a device to scan the lecture theatre for security risks. Chief Steward Pat Morey declined to comment on the visit, though the communications office confirmed the presence of Israeli security staff. Mr Evrony made his entrance and departed through the access door at the rear of the Arts Building lower concourse. The Israeli embassy was unreachable for comment at the time of writing.

STUDENTS TAKING Schols this year will be the last to enjoy exemptions from their Annual examinations, under changes that will be introduced from next year. At present, students who score a II.1(60%) are exempt from their annual exams, effectively a six month summer holiday from April to October. Lecturers from across College have complained that the current system leads to students sitting the exam just to get exemptions, and these students rarely attend lectures in Trinity Term, as they are supposed to. This has led to problems as Trinity term coursework is neglected. The change follows a review of Schols that has been ongoing since 2005. Under the new academic year structure there will no longer be a break in March between Hilary and Trinity Term, where the exams are usually held. Instead they will be held over the Christmas break. The exam itself is also to be ‘significantly shortened’ to around 3-4 papers over 8-9 hours of examination.

This is a big departure from the present - BESS students currently sit 7 papers over 21 hours. The review found wide variations across College in the exams themselves and the proportions of students being successful in getting Schol - 44% of students in the Faculty of Health Science who sat the exams got Schol in 2004-2006, compared to only 16% of students in Engineering or Science. Last year there were 5 Scholars in the School of Law, with about 120 SF students, while there were 7 Scholars in Theoretical Physics, with 35 students. Each course will now have to prepare statements justifying how the examinations they set are consistent with the institution of Scholarship, and a College committee will oversee this. There was concern that talented students do not enter Schol but acheive First Class honours and Gold Medals in their Final exams. It was proposed to integrate Schols with the Annual exams in the SF year. This met with much resistance, however, as many see voluntarily opting to sit the demanding exam a central element of the institution.

“I would start by brushing my teeth”. Musician Pete Doherty’s response when asked what he would do differently in life if given the choice.


“Get charmed by India!” The tagline for the College’s newest society, the Indian Society. “The traditional safety wave of emigration is effectively closed”. The Provost, Dr. John Hegarty, speaking recently on the post-education options available to Irish students “They want on cheating” Education Officer Hugh Sullivan objecting to the protesters against the new SU Election rules.

Compiled by Lisa Byrne “How come they’re allowed on the pitch?” An unknown student’s reaction to the sight of the French rugby team training in College Park, otherwise out of bounds to students untill the spring


“The EC is there not to fine people or kick people off the ballot, we are there to make sure that each candidate participates in fair election campaigning process.” Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem, chair of the Electoral Commission, defending the introduction of new rules governing the upcoming SU elections. “Misinfomation in the Irish media and biased coverage” Israeli Ambassador, Zion Evrony, condeming the media coverge of the attacks on Gaza , at his recent visit to the College.

“I can assure you that civilians where not directly targeted.” Israeli Ambassador, Zion Evrony again defending Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. “This initiative is really about empowering more people to use the ‘cupla focal’ in what is the communication age.” Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge, on a new initiative to make Irish language text messaging possible. “Madness? THIS… IS… COLOURS!” The reply that came from UCD when DUHC players questioned the ability to play in the weather conditions.

15,000 students protest

Compiled by Lisa Byrne continued from page 1

15,000 » The estimated number of students who attended last Wednesday’s fees protest

€600 » The entire budget that candidates running in this years SU elections cannot exceed.

60 » The number of credits each candidate has at the beginning of the campaign.

44% » The percantage of Health Science students who got Schol in 20042006.

16% » The percentage of Engineering and Science students who got Schol in the same period.

11 » At least, the number of security guards seen by a witness at the visit of the Israeli Ambassador to the College.

INFORMATION Editor: Deputy Editor: Website: Business Manager: Copy Editors:

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At one point, the Trinity procession stretched from the Front Gate to the Liffey. The vast majority of on-lookers seemed to support the protest, and many cars and buses beeped approval at the students. Two older men were jumping up and down, applauding the students; “Education is a benefit to all of society, I support them 100%. Education shouldn’t just be for the rich”, one of them said. Another woman waiting for a bus on O’Connell St. said the government were “ruining this country” with the cutbacks. As for her bus, which would be quite delayed by the procession, she said good-naturedly, “what the hell, as long as they get their rights. It’s a disgrace”. As the Trinity students passed the Rotunda Hospital on Parnell Square West, one woman dressed in scrubs ran out of the front doors of the hospital, fist pumping in the air, screaming “Power to the people!” She said she was very happy to see the students marching, and that she had a vested interest in the protest as a post-graduate student at the Royal College of Students in Ireland, before running back into work.

Scenes at last week’s protest. Photo: Andrew Holohan The noise was deafening at the Garden of Remembrance, as the students were packed thickly on one street, as the traffic had not yet been blocked at Parnell St. The march was held up for about half an hour after the Trinity contingent joined the rest,

with rumours that the representatives from first University College Cork, then National University Ireland, Galway, were late because of traffic (Trinity News saw students from each institution in the march). There were approximately two dozen Gardaí at the

front of the crowd at Parnell St. During the delay, Trinity News overheard one guard tell another that “there’s no one in charge here, it’s an embarrassment”. When Trinity News photographer Dave Malloy asked the guard what he meant, he declined to comment. Also during the delay, a disagreement between USI education officer Bartley Rock and TCD student Dillan Haskins broke out over an email allegedly sent to the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), telling their Student’s Union to make sure that no joke signs were taken to the protest (Trinity News was unable to obtain a copy of the email). Mr. Haskins was visibly upset, saying that “the USI have no right to tell students what they can have on their signs, it’s our protest”. Despite this, humourous signs abounded: “Biffo don’t be acting the maggot”, “Shove your fees up yer Gees”, “Careful Now” and “Down with that Sort of Thing” (of Father Ted fame) were among the more inventive signs. When the march did get going, it proceeded swiftly down Parnell and O’Connell St., around Trinity and towards Merrion Square to Leinster House. Despite being described by some media as “the student army” and “an emotional crowd”, the march was nonviolent, and no arrests were made.

Provost requests pay freeze By Seamus Donnelly WHILE COLLEGE departments are being forced to make large cutbacks to balance their books, it emerged last week that a pay increase for up to 300 of the country’s leading professors is imminent. The Department for Education and Science, is reported to have sanctioned the €3 million increases. The pay rises of 7.5- 8% come at a time when some senior college staff have been asked to take cuts of as much as 10%. If the pay rise were to materialise, it would be backdated to September 2007. Professors salaries start at €123,449 and can rise to €158,644, which means many professors can expect as much as €10,000 extra. These rises came about as a result of the last national pay agreement which agreed a 2.5% pay rise and the O’Brien Review Group on Higher Renumeration in the Public Sector which recommended a 5- 5.5% increase. However, while other groups within the public sector have received this payment, the delay in awarding this increase to lecturers is due to the unauthorised allowances paid to some leading academics. It is understood Provost John

Hegarty convened a special meeting of senior academics on Tuesday 27th January. During the meeting, he put forward a proposal that lecturers forego the pay rise at least until issues regarding unsanctioned payments have been resolved. However reports suggest that this proposal was rejected by those present. One academic source has stated that the pay increase is an embarrassment coming as it does at a time when some lecturers are not having their contracts renewed and others non academic staff are seeing their pay cut. The Irish Federation of University Teachers, the representative body for University lecturers in Ireland, has stated that they do not believe that all lecturers should be punished as a result of those that have received unauthorised payments. Michael Jennings of IFUT stated, “it’s one thing to impose collective punishment on people for almost 18 months but it is appalling to expect that kind of collective self-sacrifice”. The IFUT general secretary went on to state “appeals to the spirit of collegiality have to be met with a wry smile, especially when they come from people who push the corporate agenda in the university”.

Provost John Hegarty. Photo: Caroline O’Leary

Objections raised at SU council continued from page 1 determine its severity and in accordance will deduct credits. Should a candidate reach zero points before the end of the election, the candidates name will be struck off the ballot paper. According the Mr. Sullivan, candidates can appeal an EC decision “if they have been struck from the ballot as a result of the decision.” While the EC believes these new measures to be necessary, the new rules have been met with criticisms which were voiced at the most recent Council meeting. The objections, however, were met with some hostility, with Education Officer Hugh Sullivan saying that those who objected did so because they “want on cheating”. Sullivan has since apologised to those he branded as cheaters and has met with all of the potential candidates, saying he is

Education Officer Hugh Sullivan announces this year’s SU election candidates last Friday evening. Photo: Martin McKenna “confident that everything will run smoothly.” Hilary Allen, who ran for Education Officer last year, was one of those who voiced their objections, believing the removal of the “with discretion of the EC” clause to be one of the most dangerous. While the amounts of credit deducted will be at the discretion

of the EC, the removal of the candidate from the ballot once they reach zero credits is not. According to Ms. Allen, “the candidate can go to the appeals board, but they may not campaign during the time for the appeal. 2 or 3 days of campaigning could make all the difference.” Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem, chair of the

EC, has defended the EC saying it “is there not to fine people or kick people off the ballot, we are there to make sure that each candidate participates in fair election campaigning process.” The purpose of these new rules, he believes, is to enhance the quality of the campaigns. “With the focus on people using their resources to the max potential will create a better election where people will actually interact with the student body and their campaign team rather than relying on having a massive number of t shirt and flyers to win an election.” Campaigning officially begins at 11pm on Sunday February 15th and runs until 4pm on Thursday 26th. Results will be released on the night of the 26th. Full election preview inside on pages 12 & 13: Every candidate profiled; Senator Ivana Bacik recalls her time; plus your biggest issues


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Staff warn against Trinity welcomes suspicious exhibit Indian Society




Provost, Dr John Hegarty, Indian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency, P. S Raghavan and founding member of the society, Shyam S. Sathyanarayana Trinity has advised students to “consider the ethical implications” of the Bodies exhibit By Brian Barry THE HEAD of Medicine has issued a warning to students and staff in Trinity to consider the ethical implications of attending the controversial ‘Bodies’ exhibition which opened recently in Dublin. Meanwhile medicine, physiology, and occupational therapy students have snapped up free tickets to the exhibition from the Students’ Union. SU President Cathal Reilly admitted that 120 tickets were freely distributed to the students. It emerged last year that some of the bodies used at the exhibition - which has attracted some 11 million visitors - were unidentified and unclaimed. An investigation carried out by the New York Attorney General stopped this practice. During the investigation, allegations made by advocacy groups and media reports had suggested that some of the bodies on exhibit were Chinese prisoners who were executed. The exhibition still includes the remains of foetuses which were obtained without the consent of the next-of-kin. Professor Dermot Kelleher, Head of of Medicine and Dr Paul Glacken, Head of Anatomy, sent an email to all students and staff in Trinity’s Faculty of Health Sciences asking professionals and students to “reflect on the ethical implications of attending this exhibition”. The email states “the company running it could not demonstrate the causes of death of the individuals dissected nor establish that they consented to their remains being used in this manner”. The email also contains links to two articles strongly criticising the exhibition. The SU were given tickets for Natural Sciences students by the promoters in advance of the event. Cathal Reilly said “there was a very high level of

interest so they were all taken up. The Students’ Union didn’t have a stance on it. We were simply given the tickets to distribute and we did. I’m not going myself”. Mr. Reilly also claimed that some medicine students were in fact having specific lectures about anatomy in the exhibition itself. Trinity is not the only educational instution to express concern with the exhibition. The Joint Managerial Body for Secondary Schools in Ireland urged “schools not to support such a questionable commercial activity”. Professor Peter Dockery, Head of the Anatomy Department in Galway also expressed his concerns on the exhibit. “Professional anatomists train people in the medical and allied health sciences and have a duty to instill respect for the human body. Anatomically prepared material is not, and should not, be treated as mere entertainment nor as a source of private income.” However, Cheryl Mure, director of education for the show’s operator Premier Exhibitions defended the educational and ethical merit of the exhibition. “We’ve done due diligence, working closely with our partners, and we stand firm and are 100 per cent comfortable with the origins of the specimens”. Jelena Ivanovic, a Masters Neuroscience student said “I personally won’t be attending. I’m all for body exploration and fully acknowledge the important role that anatomy has in physiologicalbased sciences. However, consent is fundamental in all scientific research, and in this day and age, where ethics are ever influencing how scientists conduct themselves, I question how condoning an exhibition like this is justified. I personally question how Ireland, as an EU member can agree to host this.”

By Lisa Byrne Deputy College News Editor THE COLLEGE’S newest society, the Indian Society, was officially launched last week in the Provost House by the Provost Dr. John Hegarty and his excellency, P.S. Raghavan, the Indian Ambassador to Ireland. The society, which was set up by student Shyam Sathyanarayana, aims to increase interest and knowledge in Indian culture. It is hoped that through this society, social and educational links will also be formed between Ireland and India. Aware of the absence of any Indian society when he first entered the College, Mr. Sathyanarayana became determined to create a forum where Indian students could meet while also teaching Irish students about some of the more popular aspects of Indian culture. Mr. Sathyanarayana, an Erasmus student studying for a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering, vowed not to let the society go down as a by-gone in Trinity’s history books but to make it “stand out as one of the best”. He also hoped that by creating the society he would ‘open India to the world’. Mr. Sathyanarayana also acknowledged the hard work done by Dr. Helen Kelly of the International Office, who was a key member in the establishment of the society. Speaking at the event, the Provost noted “Trinity trained large numbers of doctors and engineers who played important roles in the Indian colonial services, including the geological survey of India and the medical services”. Dr. Hegarty also spoke of the importance of maintaining and re-energising the current links between the College and India, calling the society a “good mechanism” for doing so. The Provost

continued by saying that he hoped that the society would add to Trinity’s goal of being the centre of South Eastern studies in Ireland. Mr. Raghavan, Indian Ambassador to Ireland, welcomed the renewal of links with India and believed Trinity’s Indian student body to be too low, hoping it would increase to 500 in the coming years. Having been presented with the ‘Royal Baton’ by Bollywood Screenplay writer Atul Tiwari, the Provost promised to walk around the college yielding this ‘symbol of power.’ Speaking to the Trinity News, the Provost emphasised the importance of understanding culture both ways. He spoke of his delight at having received an honourary life membership to the society and said he was looking forward to the cooking lessons. Student Union President Cathal Reilly, who also attended the event, said he was delighted to see another worthwhile society joining the College and he was personally most looking forward to the Bollywood nights. Robert Kearns of the Central Societies Committee welcomed the new society saying it “will be very advantageous for both Indian students who are trying to keep a strong connection to their culture and those around college who have an interest in Indian culture”. Among the future events planned, the society hopes to have a ‘Bollywood Gala’ towards the end of March and will be offering classes in Indian cooking along with Bollywood movie nights. The society also hopes to invite speakers from the entertainment, educational and political sector of Indian society to come to address the society. The society is open to both members of the staff and student body in the College. Anyone interested in joining should get in contact with the Central Societies Committee.

BANK OF Ireland are offering aid to students facing financial difficulties in the form of its £12.5m scholarship scheme. BOI’s Millennium Scholars Trust is an initiative providing access to third level education for disadvantaged students. The scheme is reaching its final year, with up to 100 scholarships worth up to £40,000 available for the next academic year. As the deadline of 2nd March 2009 approaches, the Trust is encouraging applications from those who face significant barriers to achieving their educational potential, such as disability or economic circumstances. Students should contact BOI Millennium Scholars Trust office on (01) 4498500. Kate Palmer ASTRONOMY

NEW ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY THE SCHOOL of Physics is continuing to celebrate the “International Year of Astronomy 2009”, having just opened its new astronomy observatory. Astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who received an honourary Doctorate for Science in December, was invited to officially open the new observatory. Dr. Brian Espey, Senior Lecturer in Physics and Astrophysics Course Director welcomed the new observatory and was keen to stress the benefits of such a telescope. The observatory can be found on the roof of the College’s Fitzgerald Building. Lisa Byrne

Q&A Thinking of furthering your studies in business? UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School awaits you. Come to our Open Evening on Wednesday the 25th of February from 4pm at our Blackrock Campus. It’s your chance to meet with top professors, alumni and current students. They’re ready to answer your questions on any subject in our wide range of programmes.

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‘THE HUNT’ BEGINS IN TCD TRINITY’S FIRST reality television show, ‘The Hunt’ was launched for the media on Friday 30th January. The show, created by JS English student, Ian Kinane, involves 10 contestants competing to win a €5,000 prize that was donated by several anonymous benefactors. The contestants are all students or ex-students of Trinity. The first episode was shown in Filmbase, Temple Bar. One student was voted out in the first round following a competition between the two teams. All filming has now been completed but the winner has been warned that they will be liable if they reveal themselves before the last episode is shown. The same episode was due to be shown to the general public on Wednesday evening but due to technical difficulties it had to be cancelled. It will now be shown this Wednesday, 11th February at 7pm in the Robert Emmet Theatre in the Arts Building Deirdre Robertson CHILDRENS BOOKS

NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK INITIATIVE TRINITY ACCESS Programme has teamed up the Ark, the Cultural Centre for Children, for the Annual Bookmarks Programme. Three schools that were deemed disadvantaged were chosen to take part in the programme, which aims to help encourage children to read and create their own stories. 63 students from Scoil Cholmcille National School, Ballybrack, Our Lady of Lourdes National School, Goldenbridge and Marist National School, Crumlin. will learn how to write, illustrate and bookbinding at the Ark in Temple Bar. The programme was officially launched in the College on January 30th by children’s author Aubrey Flegg. Having taken a tour around the College, the students were encouraged to gain some inspiration from the Book of Kell’s. This inspiration will then be chanelled in February when artists from the Ark visit the three schools to help the students create their own stories. The students will get the chance to showcase their new art in March, when it goes on display in the College’s Long Room situated in the Old Library. Lisa Byrne

TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

New structure for College year By Jelena Ivanovic A NEW academic year structure has been approved by the Council and Board and will take effect from autumn 2009. Anyone planning extended holidays over the summer break will need to rethink their plans as Michaelmas term will now begin two weeks earlier than usual. The announcement reached students on the 4th of February by means of a joint email from Vice-Provost Patrick Prendergast and Chief Academic Officer Chris Lyons. The decision follows a long consultation process with staff and students and was finalised at a Board meeting on 28th January 2009. The recommendations were based on “the need for coherence in the timing of the College’s academic activities and the efficient use of college resources,” according to Board meeting minutes. The new structure will see the current teaching system replaced with two 12 week teaching terms and an exam term. Michaelmas term will begin on 31st August with teaching commencing from 28th September through to 18th December 2009, a slightly earlier start and later finish for most students, but

with the Christmas break remaining at four weeks. Hilary term will also consist of 12 taught weeks and will begin slightly later than usual, with no break in March. Two ‘revision weeks’ have been allotted as opposed to the usual one between the start of the Trinity term and the exam period, which will run through weeks three to six of this term. This third 12-week term then will host annual examinations, research, and supervisory contact with postgraduate students. Some students have expressed concern at the changes, from losing two weeks from the summer break to only having two weeks to revise the whole year before exams begin. The timetable suggests the end-of-year exams will cover both teaching blocks, but Board meeting minutes imply that there may be scope for supplemental examinations but only subject to Council approval. In addition, departments may choose to include a reading week during each term, but such arrangements and those for field trips and professional placements should be determined by individual schools in advance to ensure no timetable clashes with teaching requirements. Dean of Postgraduate Studies,





31st Aug-7th Sept

Supplemental Exams


21st-25th Sept

Freshers Week


28th September18th December

Michaelmas Term (12 weeks in total)


19th Dec-17th Jan

Christmas Break (4 weeks)


18th Jan-9th April

Hilary Term (12 weeks)

33 & 34

12th-25th April

‘Revision’ week and Trinity Week


26th April22nd May



24th May18th June



21st-25th June

Academic Appeals

Professor Carol O’Sullivan, told Trinity News the move was “a very positive development for postgraduate education in the university,” adding

“we are moving towards international standards with the new semester structure - thus enhancing student mobility.” She stated that “any impact

of the new timetable on postgraduate students should be minor.” Roughly 10,500 undergraduate students in Trinity take BESS or TSM courses at the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. In preparing for the transition, Director of the TSM programme, Prof Johnnie Gratton told Trinity News that “all in all, it’s been a hectic term. Most of us feel we’re getting there, but some of us aren’t so sure.” He added that “All departments contributing to the TSM programme have been working hard to prepare for semesterisation, including many who have taken the opportunity to rethink and restructure their undergraduate curriculum.” Among some problems associated with the move, Prof Gratton said the most difficult have been coping with the implications of the Schol exams taking place the week before the start of the second semester, reaching agreement on a common reading week with other big programmes such as BESS and the Science Course, and trying to get it across to departments not to “freeload” the first term, that semesterisation requires an even balance between the two teaching blocks in terms of student workload and module credit value.

Doherty meets his people at Phil event By Meadhbh McHugh CONTROVERSIAL PETE Doherty certainly didn’t disappoint when he visited the Dublin University Philosophical society last week. Doherty arrived at Trinity on Friday 6th February in suitable rock-star fashion over two and a quarter hours late to rapturous applause from the 300 or more patient fans and media that awaited him at the Phil’s memorial chamber. Even more students waited outside, despite the cold, to catch a glimpse of the notorious musician’s arrival with Phil council members describing ‘a scrum’ as he made his way up the steps and into the GMB, surrounded by the screams of music fans and the glare of the paparazzi flash. Donning his trademark black hat he also wore a white shirt, grey waistcoat, skinny jeans and a splattering of silver jewellery. Accessories included a Jack Daniels acoustic guitar, a bottle of Bavaria and a cigarette in hand, one he would later light up illegally midinterview, with no opposition. The star’s popularity was evident as crowd numbers were only second to those experienced when Al Pacino visited the Philosophical society in 2007, according to Hot Press journalist and interviewer at the event, Stuart Clark. At an almost inaudible volume, the softly spoken musician answered questions posed to him by Clark and audience alike on - as the Phil had promised - ‘life, love and much more.’ With a loose posture, Doherty charmed the audience at the Phil chamber with stories from his life coupled with occasional musical interludes and one liners. He spoke of his friendship with Shane McGowan who once called him ‘the most obnoxious man in pop’ and got a laugh saying ‘I’m not name-dropping am I?’ Doherty covered a range of topics including his twelve cats that he admits actually disliking and his intention to invest in a ‘toastie’ machine. He

Pete Doherty at the Philosophical Society with Orla Marnell, Phil Steward. Photo: Anna Laine spoke of his ‘dead friends, friends he has known for hundreds of years’ in an elusive, poetic statement that reinstated his artistic sensibility, if not his narcotic habits. Asked what he would do differently in life if given the choice, he responded ‘I would start brushing my teeth.’ Asked about fatherhood, Doherty was visibly reluctant to talk about his relationship with his son Astille, by ex-girlfriend Lisa Moorish, something

that is evidently a difficult topic for him. He said he ‘doesn’t spend enough time with him or do enough for him’ but the visible tattoo of Astille’s name on his neck was a ‘symbol’ of his love for him. He didn’t speak about any other personal relationships other than former libertines partner Carl Barat, a relationship that ended on bad terms last time they met when Carl arrived drunk at his doorstep in Paris, a city in which Doherty has decamped for

the past four or five months. His wellpublicised previous relationship with Kate Moss was not brought up but fans were delighted to hear that he is still single and invitations and pleas for an after party or guerrilla gig were thrown up excitedly from the floor. At his most passionate, Doherty stood up from his chair as he spoke of his vision of a utopian place called ‘Arcadia’; a constant theme in his music, visual arts and notebooks. He

spoke of ‘Arcadia’ as a place of liberty and freedom, ‘where no one infringes on you and you infringe on no one.’ This personal philosophy was in his words ‘why I’m here today’ and asked if it were truly possible replied ‘Yeah, it has to be. Otherwise it’s all for nothing’ adding that in dark and troubled times ‘you have to believe in goodness.’ His message of hope concluded with ‘it takes guts to be gentle and kind’; a quotation from I Know it’s Over by The Smiths. Audience members questioned Doherty about his time in the Libertines, in Babyshambles and his new album Grace/Wastelands. He discussed previous collaborations with various artists, his management, his influences and musical highlights. He mentioned The Libertines Don’t Look Back into the Sun and Babyshambles Down in Albion as the two songs he returns to again and again for inspiration and enjoyment and recalled a rehearsal with Elton John for their Live 8 2005 collaboration as a musical highlight. When asked, Doherty described Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell as ‘a white jeans wearing ponce’ but acknowledged Borrell’s ‘amazing’ songwriting ability and hoped he would return to his ‘bluesy’ guitar style someday. Doherty played a selection of songs at spontaneous intervals, including his new single Last of the English Roses and finished up with Down in Albion to a captivated audience. He lovingly held his guitar against his torso puffing almost rhythmically on a cigarette all the while. Earlier in the interview the subject of romanticising certain poverty-stricken London districts arose and likewise it is almost impossible not to romanticise Doherty himself. He spoke of the ‘evil twin’ that is his distorted media portrayal, as he sees it. If there is a dual personality or double-sided character to the figure of Pete Doherty, he had his good side on display at the Phil on this cold February evening; Elusive, erroneous and utterly entrancing.









No because exemptions are such an incentive. The rest are amazing too but not having to worry about your end of year exams after all that work is important.

I think it’s a bad idea to abolish exemptions because you put so much into Schols that the risk is too high without them.

I wouldn’t do them anyway but if I was doing them, I’d like to have a bit longer off in the summer if i had put all that work in. The exemptions are pretty important.

I think I would. I think the big issue with the new system is that they’re over the Christmas holidays which will stop a lot of people from doing them. Exemptions are really just a pat on the back.

Well I did them last year and I got exemptions but not Schols so I probably wouldn’t do them if there were no exemptions.





TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Security stop gay kiss in UCD bar By Lillian O’ Sullivan UCD’S LITERARY and Historical Society (L&H) are to lodge a complaint with Pulse Security after a homosexual couple was ordered to stop kissing. The incident took place last month at a Literary and Historical Society function held on campus in the Forum bar. The male couple was confronted by a member of Pulse Security, who demanded that they stop being intimate. A disturbance erupted between the security member and several students attending the function, but the situation was soon brought under control without aggravated altercation. The students involved are not UCD students but were on the Belfield campus attending a debating competition hosted by the L&H. Manager of the Forum Bar, Declan Hyland was adamant that the security member involved was not part of the Forum bar staff and insisted that he

“wasn’t under the instruction of any of the bar staff”. He affirmed that “malefemale or gay couples are treated equally, if a heterosexual couple were behaving in a certain way they may be asked to tone it down also”. Mr. Hyland deemed the actions of the security as understandable, believing that the man in question “was being overcautious”. It is unclear as to what hazard or risk the security guard felt he was averting. Ian Hastings, Auditor of the L&H society described the incident as “thoroughly, thoroughly unacceptable”. Speaking of the complaint to be lodged, Mr. Hastings said “it is probably going to be a joint [complaint] from the L&H, and the university”. News of this incident comes as a study, Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People was published by Minister for Health Mary Harney. The report found that almost 20 per cent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and

transgender people have attempted suicide and almost all saw this as related to their sexual identity and the experiences of being abused and feeling isolated. The research conducted by the Children’s Research Centre in TCD and the School of Education at UCD is the biggest study carried out in the Republic into the mental health of gay, lesbian and transgender people. Some 80 per cent of respondents say they have been verbally abused, while 40 per cent say they have been punched, kicked or beaten. Most bullying or verbal abuse was experienced in the education system, with almost 60 per cent reporting homophobic bullying in their schools. Equally alarming, almost one-third of respondents had selfharmed at least once. The study also found the majority (81 per cent) of the gay community are now comfortable with their identity, with over two-thirds of respondents coming out to all their immediate families.

Launching the report last week, Minister for Health Mary Harney said she hoped the findings would help provide an evidence-base for the kind of services needed to help people in distress over issues such as sexual identity. But she also stressed that the wider society has a crucial role to play in tackling discrimination against members of the LGBT community. She highlighted the importance of the support and understanding of family members for those faced with discrimination. One attempt to foster a more positive approach to diversity in universities is the Challenging Stereotypes intervarsity competition. The creative competition highlights the continued need to challenge stereotyping. It is being run by the 7 Irish universities and is now open to entries, which are accepted in the form of art, photography and written pieces. The equality project aims to combat discrimination in relation to the nine equality grounds, one of which is sexual orientation.

WHETHER YOU are a fluent Irish speaker, frustrated by the inability to text in your native tongue, or an occasional user of the cupla focal you picked up at school, it is now possible to send text messages in Irish. The service has been further enhanced by a Tralee Institute of Technology academic who has set about compiling a database of the most commonly used phrases. The predictive text service means that Irish has joined the elite group of fewer than 80 of the world’s 7,000 languages which are available at the user’s fingertips. Vodafone customers can now download the texting software directly to their handsets. The service is available across all networks by downloading Téacs from Launched on January 26th in Dublin by native Irish speakers Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabhán and Kerry football team captain Dara Ó Cinnéide, the new service has been described by consumer director at Vodafone Ireland, Carolann Lennon, as making a hugely positive impact on the language. Speaking at the launch, Ms Lennon expressed hope that the new software, available free of charge to all Vodafone users, will be of particular benefit to young people who use texting as their primary means of communication. Vodafone is one of Ireland’s leading mobile phone service providers, with a customer base of over 2.3 million, including business and personal subscribers. The mobile phone

company has collaborated with Foras na Gaeilge, an organisation responsible for the promotion of the Irish language in Ireland. The launch of the sms service has been the result of a joint scheme lasting several years. Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge, stated that his company’s approach to the development of the language is to encourage access to and usage of the language. “This initiative is really about empowering more people to use the ‘cupla focal’ in what is the communication age”. Indeed the new software, comprising over 25,000 Irish language words and phrases will be a welcome resource to the country’s growing number of Irish speakers. TCD’s Cumann Gaelach representative, James Pelow, pointed out that Vodafone’s new software is a necessary response to a generation more familiar with our native language thanks to the Irish language television channel TG4 and the increasingly popular Gael Scoileanna. “As we are now seeing, the children who were first influenced by TG4 have reached maturity and are entering college and the workforce and collectively pushing enthusiastically for more and more things in Irish”. Pelow also indicated the growing popularity of Irish on campus, referring to a surge in membership of Cumainn Ghaelacha around the country. Trinity College now has the largest Irish speaking student society in the country, and the enthusiastic reaction to the predictive text service, or Téacs as

» 2- 7% of the human population is homosexual. » In Ireland homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is now outlawed. » Ireland is the only country in the EU that refuses to legally recognise gender change. » Studies have found same-sex and opposite-sex couples to be equivalent to each other on measures of relationship satisfaction and commitment. » Trinity’s own LGBT was founded in 1982 making it the oldest LGBT college society in Ireland.

“I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserable weary splitup and my feeling that everything was dead.” So begins Jack Kerouac’s second novel On The Road, one of the most famous American books of the twentieth century. The original manuscript of this hugely influential novel will be on display in UCD from the 4th - 27th of February. It is composed of eight twenty-foot strips of teletype paper, taped together to form a continuous scroll. Using a manual typewriter in the loft of his New York home, Kerouac spent three physically exhausting weeks in the spring of 1951 composing the work. It was to become one of the seminal novels of the era and propel him to unwanted fame and notoriety. The typed text is single-spaced and contains the author’s

own alteration in pencil. Owned by a private collector, the scroll has toured around US colleges since 2004. This is the first opportunity to see it in Ireland, where it will be displayed along with multiple original editions of the novel, maps, photographs, records books and other memorabilia exploring the novel’s creation and context. Kerouac reputedly composed the novel over twenty drug-fuelled days of continuous typing, attempting to move away from the stilted, clichéd prose of his early literary efforts. He explained in an interview with the Paris Review that “I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing, speculation and deleting and got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no FEELING. Goddamn it, FEELING is what I like in art, not CRAFTINESS and the hiding of feelings.” The novel, based on the adventures of Kerouac’s lifelong friend Neal Cassady, can be read as an exploration of the


IPHONE STORE IS A “GOLDMINE” DCU STUDENT Steven Troughton-Smith has hit it big with his recent business venture, designing applications for Apple’s iPhone. The first year student of Digital Media Engineering has created a number of applications which can be bought on the computer giant’s “App Store”, an online system which allows owners of the iPhone or iPod Touch to download games and other programmes onto their personal devices. One such programme called “Speed”, which was designed by Troughton-Smith, can be purchased online for €0.79. The programme uses the iPhone’s GPS to calculate the speed at which one is travelling. In the first six days it was available, the programme was downloaded 36,000 times, contributing to TroughtonSmith’s $1000 a day revenue. Troughton-Smith claims it is the power of the iPhone which has led to the success of App Store “It is a very powerful device because it is the same system that runs on Apple desktops” James Arthurs POLITICAL ARCHIVES


Oisín, a 1 year-old Irish Wolfhound helps launch the new service with native Irish speakers Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabhán and All Ireland winning Kerry football captain Dara Ó Cinnéide. Photo: Maxwells Dublin Gaeilge, has already inspired further research and advances for the thirdlevel sector. A Kerry-based linguist, Dr. Muiris O’Laoire began compiling a list of the most commonly shortened phrases in order to promote the language and make its use more practical for the mobile-phone generation. As the project is only in its infancy, Dr. Muiris, of Tralee Institute of Technology, Dr. O’Laoire of Tralee I.T. is compiling a database of Irish text phrases has indicated that a research post may also be offered for a student to record how people text in the Gaeltacht areas. Those already familiar with textspeak have become accustomed to code-like abbreviated phrases, and Irish words can now be used in more concise spellings. For example GRMA = Go raibh maith agat = Thankyou. Irish texters will also be able to suggest phrases online. By logging onto a British-based website suggestions for ‘txt spk’ can be submitted to www. Dr. O’Laoire points out that the evolving use of Irish can only have a positive influence on the survival of the language. However criticism is inevitable from those who regard text speak as disfiguring the language. In response Dr. O’Laoire insists that the project is creative and is an effort to make the language more vibrant.

Echoing the sentiments of Foras na Gaeilge, he maintains that it is important to tap into youth culture. While technology-based advances in Irish have been welcomed by the Irish speaking community, huge advances have also been made in the academic field. NUI Galway and Letterkenny Institute of Technology recently outlined proposals for future collaborations between the two institutions. The anticipated partnership is the outcome of three years work, involving a multi-disciplinary task-force. The work between staff and management of both colleges was aimed at identifying ways in which the relative strengths of each institution could be used for the benefit of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht community. The product of this joint initiative was announced last week, when Presidents of both institutes signed a Memorandum of Understanding, paving the way for a joint-degree programme in Irish. It is hoped that the new degree programme will meet the recognized need and increased demand for highlytrained, professional services in Irish. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in positions for third level graduates who can function effectively in a bilingual environment. The new BA Riarachán Gnó (Business Administration) is a four year degree programme, which will be taught through the medium of Irish at NUI Galway’s external campus in Ghaoth Dobhair, County Donegal. The

course will be facilitated by staff from both LYIT and NUI Galway. The aim of the degree is to provide bilingual graduates with the practical and analytical skills necessary to work effectively in a business and administration environment in which Irish and English are used. The programme will involve a combination of academic studies and training, with the prospect of developing well educated and highly trained young graduates, who are capable of aspiring to professional level in Irish and English. The outlook for the future of the Irish language looks positive, as significant steps are taken to integrate its use into the daily and professional life of 21st century Ireland. However Trinity’s Cumann na Gaelach representative, James Pelow, claims that more organisations need to adapt their services to Irish speakers. “The plethora of services ‘as Gaeilge’ that have come on stream in recent times are very welcome, but we need more and more companies to wake up to the Irish language.” When asked if he saw texting in Irish as a threat to the purity of the language, Mr. Pelow was adamant that such modern advances are far from damaging. “Using short-hand in Irish is nothing new and can be seen in even the earliest manuscripts where space on velum was at a premium. In SMS we only get 160 characters, txt speak is a practicality, not an attack on the language!”

Kerouac manuscript on display in UCD By Fearghus Roulston



Text ‘as gaeilge’ venture A joint initiative by Vodafone and Foras na Gaeilge has developed software making texting as Gaeilge possible, writes Kate O’Regan, Deputy National News Editor.


American Dream and the possibilities it offered- the archetypal ‘road-trip’ novel. Influenced by the rhythms of jazz and by Buddhist philosophy, it contains vivid portraits of many of Kerouac’s friends, including the poet Allen Ginsberg and the writer William Burroughs. Although the edited version of the novel replaces these names with pseudonyms, they remain intact in the manuscript version, showing the autobiographical intensity of Kerouac’s most popular novel. It became synonymous with the so-called ‘beat’ generation, a group of artists coexisting in the 1950s subculture of urban America, although Kerouac himself rejected the notion of such a cohesive group. He dismissed the ‘beat’ generation as “just a phrase I used in the 1951 written manuscript of On The Road to describe guys like Moriarty who run around the country in cars looking for odd jobs, girlfriends, kicks.” The novel’s eventual publication in 1957, six years after its completion, attracted huge interest- Gilbert Milstein

ON THE ROAD » The physical effort required to write On The Road in three weeks was such that Kerouac sweated his way through several t-shirts a day. » Before becoming a writer he held several jobs, including merchant seaman, rail-road brakeman, and personal secretary. » The novel was inspired by a forty-thousand word letter written to Kerouac by Neal Cassady which they later lost on a houseboat. » It is often seen as the prose accompaniment to Allen Ginsberg’s era-defining poem, Howl.

said that it was “a historic occasion insofar as the exposure of an authentic work of art is of any great moment in any age”. Not all reviews were so kind; Kerouac struggled to cope with the glare of the media attention suddenly focused on him and the vicious critical attacks on his work. Truman Capote reportedly sneered that composing a novel in three weeks was merely typing, not writing. Although Kerouac never stopped writing, a lifetime of heavy drinking took its toll and he died in 1969 at just 49. Kerouac has had a huge influence on popular culture, cited by figures as diverse as Bob Dylan and the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. His reaction against the conservative materialism of 1950s culture remains clearly relevant, and the electric zest and enthusiasm for life he displays have inspired generations of readers. The manuscript is to stop touring in 2009. This could be a final chance to see the genesis of a vital and exuberant novel.

IT APPEARS the competition between the University of Limerick and University College Dublin exists not only on the sports field but in the political arena too. Since the Progressive Democrat party’s decision to dissolve, both universities have delivered presentations to the party national executive in the hopes of receiving the donation of the party’s archives. The final decision will be made by the party’s four founding members, one of whom hails from Co. Limerick as Prof McCutcheon, deliverer of UL’s presentation, touched upon. UCD however has the archives of FF, FG and the papers of Eamon de Valera and others to put into the ring. Both universities are eagerly awaiting the announcement expected later this month. In other archive news 350 boxes of private papers and correspondence of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey were donated to DCU last Tuesday by members of the Haughey family. Under state regulation however the papers will remain unavailable until 2022. Aine Pennello MUSIC

QUB MUSICAL INVENTION A VIDEO of a new musical instrument invented by a Queen’s student has received over one million hits on YouTube. Peter Bennett (26) from Stevenage, England, created the BeatBearing as part of his PhD project at the Sonic Arts Research Centre. He is investigating the use of ‘tangible interfaces’ for new musical instruments. The BeatBearing is an electronic instrument that uses ball bearings to produce a variety of drum patterns. It is constructed from chrome, transparent Perspex and computer graphics. It operates as a rhythm sequencer; a red line sweeps across a grid and emits a sound whenever a ball bearing is encountered. Mr. Bennett described the instrument as similar to “an updated version of the old piano-roll”. He added, “It started out as a weekend project when one of my colleagues left ball bearings lying around the lab and I wondered how you could make music with them.” His ‘make-your-own BeatBearing’ guide is soon to be published in US magazine Make. Una Geary


Global Campus



UNI DEMANDS U.S DOLLARS ON TUESDAY February 3rd, hundreds of students from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare and Midlands State University in Gweru took to the streets in protest against the ‘Dollarization of Education’. Students marched outside the ViceChancellor’s office on the UZ campus, where armed riot police intervened with dogs and tear gas, arresting sixty protesters and injuring at least five. Their demands seem relatively simple: that they be able to pay their university fees in their own currency. Since January 1st, old Zimbabwean dollars have not been legal tender. This is the culmination of an official directive by the Zimbabwean government, released in August 2008, to redenominate the currency so that 10 000 000 000 old Zimbabwean dollars(ZWD) equals 1 new ZWD. However, no new currency has yet been issued so Zimbabweans are still paid in old ZWD and currently, one ZWD is only worth 0.04 U.S Dollars. This has presented problems for third level students who were told at the start of January, via a communication on a university notice board, that in order to sit their exams, they would have to pay a fee of US$400. Furthermore, they would be required to pay upwards of US$1000 to return to college for the second term. Midlands State University has also advised first year students that fees paid last year are no longer legitimate and that they will be required to pay the revised fees in full. The move has been described as ‘academic genocide’ by the Zimbabwe National Students Union(ZINASU). The country is currently in the midst of an economic catastrophe with reports of unemployment reaching 90%. The situation has been exacerbated by the ruling government’s refusal to accept its own currency. All official monetary transactions, including university fees, are required to be paid in foreign currency typically US Dollars. Along with the sharp increase in fees, students are now required to fund their education with a currency which neither they nor their parents, are paid in. According to Clever Bere, President of the ZINASU, the Union has launched the National Campaign Against Dollarization of Education(NACADEZ), so that Zimbabwe can avoid ‘a situation where we are forced to pay for our studies in United States Dollars when most of our parents are not getting that as salaries’. The union is afraid ‘dollarization’ will make education a pursuit of the wealthy as the exorbitant fees are well out of reach for much of Zimbabwe’s population. It would seem that the only option for young Zimbabweans seeking tertiary education would be to go abroad. This is generally the preferred course for children of senior Zanu-PF members President Mugabe’s daughter is a student at the University of Hong Kong. Other Zimbabweans have been availing of scholarships in neighboring African countries. However, this number seems likely to dwindle as the government has introduced new prices for passports, the required document for obtaining a student visa. Previously, the listed price for a passport was approximately US$200, a difficult but not insurmountable sum. But this fee ha risen without warning to US$670 and applicants are now required to pay a further US$20 just for the application form. This has caused massive problems for students such as Golden Gutu, who is unable to pay for a passport and therefore cannot be issued a student visa. Gutu, a recipient of a scholarship to the University of South Africa, claims that due to the price increase, he is only able to procure a temporary passport which means he will not be allowed study in South Africa. Jennifer Doyle CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, UK

CLUB ‘DEGRADES’ DWARFISM A NIGHTCLUB in Cambridge which used dwarfs to promote a ‘Willy Wonka’ themed student night has come under fire, accused of ‘degrading’ dwarfism. The club, which dressed the two dwarfs up to look like Oompa-Loompas, defended their actions by saying that the men ‘had been happy to pose for pictures’ and were paid for the job. However many of the students of Cambridge University for whom the ‘Willy Wonka’ night was organised, criticised the club, stating that they had been offended. Steve Burdus, the coordinator of the event, denied this, stating that only “one girl said she thought it was degrading, but she hadn’t even spoken to them”. He also defended himself by saying that “if we hadn’t had dwarfs, who could we have had as Oompa-Loompas?” Burdus also seemed to believe that the dwarfs had increased the success of the night, claiming that 700 people turned up, an increase on previous years . He takes the figure to mean that people liked the Oompa-Loompas. This is not the first time the use of dwarfs at student events has come under fire. Robinson College attempted to cancel a performance of ‘Captain Dan the Devilish Dwarf’ during a Fresher’s week programme, fearing it would offend a student who suffered from dwarfism. Caitriona Murphy

TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Campus gossip site shut down By Richard Oviatt The Lantern, Ohio State Univeristy “JACKIE KINGSTON is the biggest s--EVER.” “I know for a fact she got implants, she told me about them.” “The way she dresses when she goes out make me nauseous. Honestly hunny, are you that desperate? People see you as a sex icon and nothing else. keep [sic] snorting that coke, you’ll get far. F--- you, you’re worthless.” All of these comments come from anonymous sources posted on Juicy Campus, a Web site marketed toward college students who want to gossip about their campus. The site encourages students to “spill the juice about all the crazy stuff going on at your campus,” and ensures anonymity - there is no registration, login or e-mail verification required. Juicy Campus was created less than a year-and-a-half ago, but already supports 505 campuses. One of the most popular sections on the site is the Ohio State section, and one of the most popular topics, with more than 2,700 views, is simply titled “Jackie.” The title refers to Jackie Kingston, a sophomore in arts at OSU. “I first heard I was on Juicy Campus from a friend,” Kingston said. “She called me and was like, ‘Hey did you see that post about you?’ And at that moment my heart dropped.”

Her heart dropped for good reason. The attacks came quickly and viciously. Occasionally someone would defend her, but the majority of the more than 100 posts criticize her character, appearance and morality. “I find it so cowardly of these anonymous posters to sit behind their computers and write terrible things, but refuse to say a word to me when they see me,” Kingston said. While most Internet message boards are anonymous, Kingston said Juicy Campus’ Jackie Kingston, a sophomore at OSU, has been the target of constant abuse encouragement to gossip anonymously has caused most of her problems. “It was just disappointing to know how cruel people can be when given the opportunity to say things anonymously and not have to deal with the repercussions of their words,” she said. Vincent Cicchirillo, a graduate teaching associate in the School of Communication, has studied and researched the topic of cyber bullying. He says anonymity has helped cause the surge in online menacing. “There is a lack of fear from retribution on the Internet. In traditional bullying, it’s been

somebody who is physically stronger bullying the other person. Whereas in cyber bullying, it can be anyone, it has leveled the playing field,” he said. The nature of the attacks bother Kingston so much that she actually prefers the rare face-to-face confrontation. “The closest thing I have come to any sort of confrontation was having a glass of eggnog poured on my head and a pumpkin thrown at me by members of a female sports team here at OSU,” she said. “But hey, at least they made me aware they had a problem with me rather than writing about me online.” The Internet attacks have hurt Kingston far worse than any flying pumpkin could have. “I feel like my life is under a microscope. Everything I do is discussed, everything about me is insulted. When I walk into public places and people look at me, I feel self-conscious and automatically assume I’m being gossiped about,” she said. After the deluge of criticism, Kingston simply wants to know why people care about what she does. It’s a question many would likely ask. Kingston is not an athlete, nor is she a student organization president; she doesn’t even belong to a sorority. But she is more talked about than any other individual or entity on Juicy Campus. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have an answer for why she has taken on a pseudo-celebrity status at OSU.

“Everyone I talk to says it’s jealousy, which sounds conceited so I don’t like to say that, but I really can’t figure out what I have done that is so horrible,” she said. While the attacks clearly bother her, Kingston has learned to deal with them. “Luckily I was raised to be confident, and early on learned to not let people get to me,” she said. “I know what I have done and what I have not done. I have no regrets … It’s just obnoxious reading the slander and constant defamation of my character.” While slander and defamation of character are strong terms to throw around, Cicchirillo says the claim isn’t unreasonable. “The potential for lawsuits is definitely there. It’s just a matter of finding out the source and how our own justice system is going to regulate it in terms of laws and regulations,” he said. When Kingston tried to contact Juicy Campus administrators about her bullying, she initially got no response. But her answer came Wednesday afternoon when CEO and Founder of Juicy Campus Matt Ivester announced in an e-mail that the site will close today.He cited decreased advertisement revenue and failed funding as primary reasons for the shut-down. He acknowledged that there are aspects of Juicy Campus that no one will miss, but insisted that his side “provided a platform that students found interesting, entertaining and fun.”

Court case for Pro-life group By Monica Urbanski Staff Writer A GROUP of pro-life student activists are heading to court this month after the University of Calgary, Canada, charged them with trespassing. According to the Canadian National Post, over the past few weeks Calgary police have been turning up at homes of antiabortion university students. The University administrators and the student group have been locked in an ongoing dispute over the biannual protests that feature billboards showing violent images of genocide victims next to graphic depictions of aborted foetuses. Last week, members of Campus Pro-Life visited the University of Calgary once more, announcing that the charges would not stop them from continuing their abortion awareness campaign and calling the charges a “blatant attack on free speech”. Before the first controversial anti-abortion display, called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), was put up last November the University warned students that if they held their protest without turning billboards inward, so people could choose whether they wanted to view the images, group members could face legal action. “We issued our own warning at that time that if they were to violate any University policy, we would not be defending them and would be putting in some sort of sanctions” Students’ Union President Dalmy Baez said. Now, more then two months later, some of the students behind the project have been charged with trespassing and received summonses to court on February 27th. “It’s surprising, to say the least, as well as disappointing,” said Campus Pro-Life President Leah Hallmann. “I agree we were warned. But we had a lot of hope, now a lot of that hope has been crushed.”

It is not the first time that a controversy has arisen because of the protest run by the GAP. The project is produced and managed by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), which is working to establish prenatal justice and the right to life for the unborn and is a privately funded, non-profit educational corporation that was founded in the early 1990s. The GAP is a travelling photo-mural exhibit which compares the abortion procedure to historically recognized forms of genocide. It has been temporarily installed on multiple university campuses in the United States and Canada since 1997. The GAP homepage explains how they want to place their images in the public square for all the people who will not take the time to be educated about abortion themselves. “By placing abortion images among traditionally recognized forms of genocide we are expanding the context in which people think about abortion.” The organizers maintain that the display stimulates dialogue among students and others who ordinarily would ignore the abortion issue. Nevertheless the controversy around the project is very high. The posters were described as discriminatory and inciting contempt towards women. Others say that to compare women who have an abortion to Nazis and terrorists is hateful and offensive. In many places students protested the alleged abuse of the words genocide and Holocaust in this context. At the University of Maryland over 500 students signed a petition “I am insulted by the Exploitation of the Holocaust for Political Gain.” During the last couple of months, Pro-life members at the University of Calgary faced a lot of opposition to their graphic posters. University administration has received complaints from students and staff the last five times the display was on campus. According

One of the displays from the controversial GAP exhibit that has upset many students to the University of Calgary Gauntlet, Kat Lord, the President of Feminist Initiative Recognizing Equality (FIRE), said that while the group understands that the University has its “hands tied”, they would have liked to see more done. “You can’t speak rationally to irrational people,” she said. “We’ll have a petition signing happening throughout the entire semester which will be given to the university at the end of the semester in hopes that next year GAP won’t be allowed on campus.” Apart from the opposition arising in Calgary, Pro-Life supporters and the GAP had to face a lot of protest from many other organisations. The Women’s Center, a non-partisan organisation, denounced the GAP and its use of the term “genocide” to describe abortion. Furthermore the displays, including posters showing aborted foetuses alongside victims of the Holocaust and September 11th, outraged Shelley Shapiro, Director of Community Relations for the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York: “We’re horrified at such a huge display which basically incites hatred. Some extremist group has decided to exploit the memory of all genocides, including holocaust and racism for purpose of inciting hatred against women.”

Pro-Life supporters also have to face huge political changes with the election of President Obama, who signed an executive order in January reversing the ban that prohibits funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions, as reported by ABC News. Under the hotly debated “Mexico City Policy,” the U.S. government could not provide funding for family planning services to clinics or groups that offered abortionrelated services overseas. The new order will likely draw heavy criticism from Republicans and anti-abortion groups. But Obama “remains committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and government should not intrude on our most private family matters”. Pro-Life students in Calgary see the charges they have been threatened with as an attack on free speech. Why wouldn’t they be able to display their opinion on abortion? Why not challenge the students? But with this argument another question arises which was put by a reader comment in the National Post: “I do not understand how pro lifers became so distorted away from reality… pro-abortion does not mean you’re Hitler. In fact abortion is the best way to stop women from going to a back alley abortionist and dying. Seriously, if you are using the free speech argument… what about the free choice?”

Unis drop Russell Athletics contracts By Gabriele O’Connor Staff writer BACKLASH AGAINST Russell Athletics amidst allegations of labour rights violations has culminated in several American universities severing ties with their former apparel provider. Such universities as Georgetown, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rutgers, University of Miami and University of Houston have withdrawn their respective contracts with the company, citing a violation of their codes of conduct, with calls for other universities to join. The action came as universities responded to Student Unions’ protests against the provider, after extensive evidence of abuse of workers rights emerged in a report by The Worker’s Rights Consortium (WRC). Human rights groups alleged that the closure of a Honduran factory, in which 1,800 jobs were lost, was retaliation by Russell Athletics against workers’ efforts to unionize. The report by the WRC ,an independent monitoring agency, stated findings of “substantial credible evidence that animus against workers’ exercise of their associational rights was a significant factor in Russell’s decision to close the Jerzees de Honduras plant”. Russell Athletics has contended that the closure was due to strictly economic factors, a claim that, in an independent investigation

Protests against Russell Athletics. by the Fair Labor Association, was deemed acceptable if not entirely forthright. “Russell has denied incorrect assertions alleging unfair worker rights at the Jerzees de Honduras facility,” said Russell in an e-mail statement. “Within the past year, the company announced the closure of seven facilities in response to declining demand in the market. Of the seven affected facilities, all but one were non-union. Russell Athletic is committed to the fair treatment of its workers.” Student action has, for many years, been integral in prompting universities to adopt and enforce codes of conduct for their apparel licensees, supporting the improvement of working conditions and eradication of sweatshops. However certain prominent economists and journalists have labeled such

ideals as “self-righteous” and “not having thought the matter through”. In a recent article for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof cautioned against Barack Obama and his team’s talk of labour standards in trade agreements, offering them a tour of the “vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh”. For many Cambodians, working in sweatshops is a “cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty” in a country where the alternative is often prostitution or scavenging toxic-smoke-choked garbage dumps for old plastic cups that will bring in five cents a pound. Sweatshops, Kristof writes, are “only a symptom of poverty, not a cause, and banning them closes off one route out of poverty”. Ten years earlier, economist Paul

Krugman wrote that despite terrible working conditions in impoverished countries, “the growth of manufacturing -- and of the penumbra of other jobs that the new export sector creates – has a ripple effect throughout the economy.” “The pressure on the land becomes less intense, so rural wages rise; the pool of unemployed urban dwellers always anxious for work shrinks, so factories start to compete with each other for workers, and urban wages also begin to rise.” Why then, Krugman asks, does the idea of the sweatshop provoke so much more outrage than the image of a family scrabbling for subsistence on a garbage dump or tiny farm? The main answer, he postulates, “is a sort of fastidiousness”. “Women and children in the sneaker factory are working at slave wages for our benefit – and this makes us feel unclean. And so there are self-righteous demands for international labour standards”. Yet insisting that impoverished workers’ wages be raised may actually make their lives worse, by removing their opportunity to work in factories at all. As Krugman points out, “the only reason developing countries have been able to compete with those industries is their ability to offer employers cheap labour. A policy of good jobs in principle, but no jobs in practice, might assuage our consciences, but it is no favour to its alleged beneficiaries.”


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009


Post-graduation: Where do we go from here? This year will see the graduation of final year students in a time of a recession. Is the outlook as gloomy as it seems or can we retain some of the positivity to sustain our future plans, asks Deirdre Lennon?


RADUATES OF the Celtic Tiger era are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that they are not this year’s university graduates. This is the time of year where final year students begin to consider their future away from the cloistered realm of Trinity, but what are the prospects for this year’s graduates in time of recession? Undoubtedly, this worsening economic situation will lead to greater difficulties in finding jobs. What are the options that students can expect to find besides postgraduate studies? Emigration? A year out before pursuing further study? Moreover, this will be an issue for not only the Senior Sophisters around college, but for the subsequent graduating years, who will also be leaving college in time of economic hardship. In Michaelmas Term, Trinity News reported on the how graduate careers would be affected by the continually shrinking economy, but said that the atmosphere was not as gloomy as it seemed, with companies willing to take on as many graduates as in 2007-2008. Indeed, the graduates of specific schools, such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Law or Engineering are trained for a particular profession and will need to form a concrete plan to ensure they can utilise their skills. Arts graduates may emerge as the more adaptable, but this is not to say that finding a masters or deciding to take a year out won’t take a great amount of careful planning. Demand for those applying for postgraduate programmes will undoubtedly rise, with

many students expressing a desire to remain in college for as long as possible, and the media urging us to stay in our studious microcosm for as long as possible. As for emigration, we are hearing conflicting views on the benefits of skilled workers leaving to enter into countries with more stable economies, only to find that the country may have an excess of such workers. The Provost’s e-mail message of last week indicates that this may not be as easy a route to take as it was in previous years. He stated: “the traditional safety valve of emigration is effectively closed”. The emigration of skilled workers and young professionals from Ireland is called, in modern parlance, “the brain drain,” going back to a time in the 80s, when Ireland lost many of its bright minds as they went to search for work abroad. It emerged in a report from the Higher Education Authority in 1987 that half of all engineering students and 70% of architecture students emigrated within six months of leaving college. It was also reported at the time that foreign companies set up recruitment drives for prospective graduates, ensuring that they had employment early on in their final year. Might this be the case for some of this year’s graduates? In interviewing students from different faculties, all have stressed the importance of trying to upskill in this phenomenally competitive year, and of how crucial it is not to leave any blanks on a CV when applying for jobs, internships or masters degrees.



The Careers Advisory Service (CAS) Director Seán Gannon urges students to remain positive and confident when it comes to making plans for next year, despite the fact that the market is difficult for upcomg graduates. There are still employers actively recruiting graduates in disciplines that one might find unthinkable for any recruitment to be taking place at all, such as banking jobs and engineering jobs. “Students have to make the most of the opportunities that are there and make their degree as flexible as possible.” He acknowledges that competition will be fiercer for postgraduate courses, stating that roughly 30% of students apply for them. 40% of jobs that are on offer are available to graduates and there are organisations who are willing to take people on and train them as long as they meet recruitment requirements. The facilities of the CAS are avaliable to students after the exams in June, and for two years after they graduate. The postgraduate fair will take place on February 18th in the RDS, with a broad range of exhibitors from all over the world.

Although Thomas is not in final year, he is well aware of both the challenges and potential merits that his Pharmacy degree will pose after he graduates. Thomas outlines that once Pharmacy students graduate, they must complete a pre-registration year before they can register with their respective regulatory bodies. Despite the fact that traditionally there has been an excess of places for this pre-reg year, it remains to be seen if this will continue next year. “Due to uncertain economic times, many pre-reg places associated with chains and independent pharmacies may go when the pharmacy changes hands.” Competition for these places is set to become quite fierce, and places are usually obtained on the strength of experience and enthusiasm, not on the basis of grades. Thomas is keen to stress the difference a year makes, all of last year’s School of Pharmacy graduates attained pre-reg places, but many newly qualified pharmacists find themselves having to wait twelve months for a job. He asserts that this is down to an increase in competition following registration, and thus makes performance in the pre-registration year all the more important. “The current students in the school will find a correlation between how hard they apply themselves during pre-reg, and the length of time they sit on the side lines waiting for a job.” In addition, he believes that students may have to work voluntarily to gain the necessary experience to make themselves more employable for this pre-reg year. This will not be as readily available as in previous years, as the government is intent on cutting the health budget.

EOGHAN HAS been studying the options available to him with an Economics degree, and has settled on taking the postgraduate route by applying for two masters and the HDip, rather than embarking on a graduate programme. Among the jobs that appeal to Economics students are posts in consultancy firms, accountancy and tax firms and banks, but Eoghan believes that the most common route for himself and his contemporaries is to take a year out or pursue a masters, as he plans to. He acknowledges the gravity of the potentially jobless Ireland that this year’s graduates will face. He told Trinity News: “It’s hard to know exactly because we’re the first bunch out in the thick of it, but it seems, from glancing at a newspaper or any of the predictions, that 2009 will be a pretty tough year for everyone.” The process of moving abroad isn’t as accessible as it once was, and he echoes the words of the Provost by saying that it will not relieve the current pressures of the Irish social system. The countries that were once seen as places to escape, such as Australia and New Zealand, are beginning to show signs of strain due to the slowing of the Chinese economy and large migration inflows. Eoghan believes that his degree gave him a good deal of flexibility and provided a good deal of career prospects so that he can apply the skills he has learned to potential masters courses. Economics as a subject at university level is easily adapted as Eoghan says: “The fact that economics is a subject taught and discussed under the same assumptions across the world, it means that it is relatively easy to travel with it.”




SENIOR SOPHISTER Law student Paula McNamara decided that she didn’t wish to pursue Law any longer, and is set to take up a position with KPMG in auditing, having completed a placement there over the summer. She is hopeful that it will still be around next year. Paula realized that Law wasn’t what she wanted to do, and believes that jobs in the sector will become increasingly competitive, more so now than in previous years. She alluded to the fact that there are waiting lists to get into the various Law related postgrads: “No one is taking anyone on”. She says that many of her friends will be applying for these postgraduate courses, and some will pursue the King’s Inn route, which takes about two years to complete. Before pursuing this route, it is necessary to sit exams. Paula thinks that getting a job may be dependent on who one can connect with in the world of law itself, claiming “you need as many contacts as possible”. Not only are Law graduates competing for places and jobs with their college contemporaries, but they are competing with many other Law faculties around the country. She believes that competition is worse this year, seeing a change in the level of jobs offered from previous years, but acknowledges that next year may be even tougher. Referring to the importance of internships as a worthwhile way of gaining experience within the field of Law, Paula says that with applications, the candidate with the best grades may not gain a position, rather, it is other attributes making up a form that stand out from the rest of the field.

NICOLA IS certain about the necessity of doing further study after her Psychology degree. “If you’re a psychology student, you need to go and do a postgrad, in that sense nothing has really changed and they haven’t reduced the number of places for it this year, just decreased research grants.” Nicola attended the Eddie Hobbs talk and mentions the CRAB programme, where there is potential to emigrate to Canada, Russia, Australia and Brazil. She is interested in the research aspect of psychology and would hope to enter into this field after her year out, in which she will plan a research proposal to compete with those who are in similar situation. She plans to work for the year and on finishing this proposal, to apply for a masters course afterwards. It is too early to specialize in a particular brand of Psychology, she says, unless you’re really driven and know that you want to go into the education aspect or the forensic aspect of it. Disagreeing with the policies that the British government have regarding new college graduates, she believes they merely urge them to enter into masters courses without any financial aid, thus they accrue more debt on top of tuition fees. Nicola feels that the country has too many skilled graduates, with a limited supply of work: “It’s really a dog-eat-dog world out there; the market is just too full. I did psychology because I thought at the end of the day that I’d have a proper skill.” Nicola likens the current economic situation to a house of cards which has fallen to our detriment, and that something needs to be done to find a solution to this boom-bust cycle.

AS THERE are endless possibilities for an English graduate, Niall believes that it is beneficial to have a plan in place for the few years after leaving college. Although unsure of what he wanted to do at the beginning of his final year, he is currently heading in the direction of social entrepreneurship and development, thus gearing his future plans towards his own interests. “If you get one of those graduate training programmes you’re really going to pick up a lot.” Niall plans to travel, learning Spanish in Barcelona and then moving to Buenos Aires to teach. In Barcelona, there’s actually more work than there is TEFL teachers, so that potentially seems like a starting point. With the economy as it is, Niall feels that broadening out his English degree to encompass learning a language and working on the TEFL programme would be a way of sustaining himself and improving his prospects. Niall says: “An area you can always get work in is TEFL, and the idea would be to upskill yourself in this increasingly competitive time,” He has gained some previous experience teaching English, and plans to do this for at least a year. Niall believes that doing a masters is a way of consolidating everything one has learnt over the course of a degree, thus making it more applicable to the real world. He thinks those who are planning on taking a year out should monitor the situation, as you never know what way the jobs market will go. As for himself, he is attempting to increase his skills base and hopefully enter into the development sector.









TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is? THE PSYCHOANALYST Jaques Lacan proposed a theory about one of the stages in

human development which he called ‘The Mirror Stage,’ a stage in between the Real and the Symbolic. A baby aged six months begins to recognise itself as a separate entity, even before it is able to co-ordinate its own body. It identifies with the image because it feel threatened by it, and gradually as it becomes older, it begins to recognise its reflection as being of itself, even though the image in the mirror is an illusion. Lacan believed that one’s first encounter with a mirror is one of the most important events in one’s life, as it is the first time an infant recognises itself as a whole being, acquiring self-awareness. Up until that point, a child only sees itself as an extension of its mother, or as a fragmented body. Without reflections or photographs, it would be impossible to know what your own face looks like. It has been suggested that people who were born blind but have had their sight restored, when presented with a mirror image of their face, would initially view the reflection as if it were of another, different person. Similarly, Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli believed himself to be a wolf-cub until he saw that his reflection differed from the wolves who had brought him up. And even for those who have been in possession of their sight all their lives (or have not been brought up by jungle animals), the self that they have defined has been partly developed through the judgment

Clare Hammond questions how well we can know our self from mere reflection and asks what does your face really mean to you? of others as well as how they imagine how they must appear to others. The ‘face to meet the faces that we meet,’ that is presented before us in a mirror or the camera, differs from our own faces when, for example, we are overcome by intense emotions such as pain, sadness, or laughter. We can never see ourselves as we sleep, for example, or know what we look like from the back, or doing any of the millions of everyday things that we are so used to watching other people doing. Even when we are caught unaware, and photographed behaving naturally, we are only shown a glimpse of one moment, one frozen snapshot of the face that others see liberal amounts of every day. In addition to this, the face we perceive in a mirror is a simplified, limited form of the self, devoid of chaotic perceptions, feelings and other confusing additions that make up our self. The moment of realisation that the person standing before you in the mirror is you, is a perplexing, frustrating yet pivotal moment. As we grow older, we become more aware of the discord between the ideal mirror self in reflections, the self as seen by others and the self as an ego or conscience. When I was set a self-portraiture project by one of my art teachers, I stood in front of the mirror, and looking at myself with a pencil in my hand, my thoughts ran

similar to the following: Look at the girl in the mirror. The shadows beneath her eyes mirror her eyebrows. What colour is she? Red and white and brown. The tip of her nose is shiny, and her expression is solemn. If she bares her teeth, her face wrinkles outwards. Stretchy. She is stretchy. As I continued to look at my reflection, I began to run through all the facial expressions I could think of; pushing and pulling and kneading my face into every contortion imaginable. By this point, the face which ought to be so familiar, looked entirely foreign, and eventually a bizarre conversation with my own reflection ensued. There is probably a link between the time spent looking at our own reflections, and the degree to which we like what we see. Narcissus famously fell in love with his twin sister, and by extension, with the reflection of himself he saw in the water, and he spent all of his time gazing into the mirror image of his own face. But it is not beauty alone which can lead to self-obsession with regards to mirrors, it is also the development of self consciousness. As we become more aware of ourselves, and arrive at the realisation that, whether we like it or not, how we look is the key to how the rest of the world views us, we tend to spend more time checking that our faces look exactly as we wish and as we expect them to look. The link between the self

as I (the subjective know-er) and the self as me, (the object that is known to others) is strengthened by the constant linking of the two through mirrors and photographs. This all seems utterly illogical in view of the fact that we are ourselves, and will never know anything more intimately than our own selves for the entire duration of our lives. We are constantly surrounded by faces of all shapes and sizes, and grow to know every detail of the faces of those whom we love, without being able to see ourselves as they see us. Therefore it is natural that everyone should go through (at least) a period of being fascinated with the mirror reflection of their own face. Babies and animals are both intrigued by mirror reflections of themselves, and looking in the mirror is an integral part of our day-to-day lives, and in some cases can even begin to become obsessive. It is an age-old question as to whether the self we know can ever be the same as the self as seen by others. As we develop, we aim to lessen the gap between our ideal self and our actual self. If it were possible to make the two synonymous then it is possible that there would be no need for mirrors at all. Our culture has become obsessed with its own reflection, when perhaps we ought to focus more on developing the actual self rather than on a twodimensional airbrushed, idealised

representation of it.

Tintin: not a gay over 80 Recent critics have suggested our favourite fresh-faced explorer was homosexual. Domhnall O Sullivan asks whether we can ever really know and does it really matter?


S A child, how many of you fell asleep with Tintin by your side? Despite our fresh-faced hero never becoming quite as popular in Ireland as mainland Europe, I’m sure that plenty of you are guilty as charged. Yet would you be as free to admit it if you discovered that the intrepid Belgian explorer was in fact also an intrepid homosexual? Probably not, although don’t go phoning the student counselling service to get over this childhood trauma just yet. The death of Tintin creator and comic-book legend Hervé in 1983, coupled with the character’s unwillingness throughout h i s

twenty-four editions to display any more romantic urge than a doorknob, mean that nothing is or can be proven. So why the now commonplace rumours that everybody’s favourite boy scout was attracted to men? Indeed, does it even matter what the chap liked to do in his spare time, or are we just nit-picking at what should remain a timelessly asexual character? As a birthday tribute(?) to Tintin and his sexual legacy, I decided to explore these questions and to examine whether you really should be worried about sharing a bed with this octogenarian... I n fact, when one considers the ‘evidence’ suggesting that Tintin (an alliterative moniker w h i c h hardly conjures images of ubermasculinity, bad start) was actually a homosexual, the first thing that comes to mind is bafflement at how more people havn’t picked up on it before. The character’s saving grace is perhaps the innocence of youth that can cloud later judgements, because to an inquisitive adult he appears to be as gay as Christmas. From page one, his

appearance as a quiffed and slighty foppish reporter dressed in threequarter length pants does nothing for his heterosexuality, and though it might be prejudicial to discuss his flimsy physique he’s not exactly Jason Bourne. And perhaps it would have been more advisable to have bought a rottweiler or a boxer in the local pet store, rather than a fox terrier with the unfortunate title of Snowy. In addition Tintin is as youthful looking at 80 as he was back in his debut days, an impressive feat which nevertheless points towards careful moisturising and rigourous spa treatments. But as we all know appearances can be deceptive, so we read on in the hope that Tintin’s forceful and unaccommodating detective’s personality will redeem his pansy-esque demeanour. Sadly not. Again not wishing to impose any stereotypical group of mannerisms onto the gay community, Tintin is disappointingly unconfrontational, sickeningly optimistic and basically a big girl’s blouse. Despite one overwhelmingly out-of-character moment in his first edition (Tintin in the land of the Soviets) in which our hero manages to somehow beat off a bear with his bare hands, Tintin lacks the chauvinistic and aggressive masculinity of contemporary investigator James Bond, while when in Tibet he refuses to label the Yeti which he encounters as ‘abominable’, instead preferring to take pity on the misunderstood creature on the grounds of its lonliness. Ahem. If his character isn’t argument enough, one only has to examine the facts of the Tintin series to reinforce the image. Female characters? Next to none, the lad’s friends are all single males except for an ebullient Italian opera singer, Bianca Castafiore. Living situation? Dodgy to say the least, Tintin lives with retired sailor Captain Haddock in the lush, inherited country home of the latter, where the idealistic and implausible heroism of Tintin

combined with the dry cynicism and alcoholism of Haddock creates quite the matrimonial situation. Love interests? None, apart from Haddock and Chang Chong Chen, the young Chinese boy who (apart from having a borderline racist name) has appeared in Tintin’s dreams and has been rescued by the reporter on at least two occasions. Suspect character origins? Again check, Tintin was based on an earlier character of Hergé’s, Todor, who was leader of the brilliantly named “Cockchafer” boy scout patrol. No joke. Nevertheless, many Tintin fans have come running to their idol’s defence, although the material they have to work with is much less damning.

mundane as Brian Cowen making a cup of tea. Tintin’s sexual preferences, in addition to never being explicitly revealed, are not in the least important to the unfolding of the stories. Plus, they validly claim, if Tintin is gay then what about the inseperable Asterix and Obelix, the spandex-wearing Batman and Robin, and the Teletubbies? Even poor Spongebob Squarepants, the college student’s favourite afternoon character, has been labeled a mansponge-lover by some elements of the US media. Unfortunately, no longer is any cartoon exempt from the sexual inquisition. So what is Tintin? Straight, gay? Stray? We can never know. He himself

“Take a step back from the over analytical and prying mentality of the modern world and just revel in Tintin’s travels to exotic foreign lands, his often death-defying adventures and yes, his metrosexual habit of wearing a fetching scarf.” True, Hergé never actually depicted the character in any comprisingly homosexual positions, but then again the not exactly child-friendly Tintin in Thailand would never had made it past the censors in any case. Plus, we never saw Tintin brushing his teeth, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Indeed, perhaps the best claim the character can make to heterosexuality is that in a world increasingly similar to that seen in Will and Grace, not having many female friends is probably evidence that he’s not gay. As for his androgynous character, the members of Motley Crue all looked like women. And tales of their heterosexual promiscuity are all-too graphically legendary. Tintin’s defenders have also pointed out the increasing unwillingess of the modern, internet-driven world to simply accept things at face value and its ability to look for conspiracies in affairs as

never admits anything, his creator and artist is dead, and Snowy, the one character whom we could depend on to tell us all the sordid details, is a mute dog. Anyway, does it even matter? Perhaps it would be better to simply view Tintin as the asexual and romantically detatched character that we loved reading about as kids. Take a step back from the over analytical and prying mentality of the modern world and just revel in Tintin’s travels to exotic foreign lands, his often death-defying adventures and yes, his Metrosexual habit of wearing a fetching scarf. On his 80th birthday, lets remember Tintin not as that guy who goes to the George every thursday, but as that legendary investigative reporter who inspired a curiosity for travel and a lust for adventure in generations of young readers. And try to sleep well.


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Harry Hallowes: slumdog millionaire A tramp has been offered rights and £4 million for his landplot. He talks to Emily Monk about apple trees, Monty Python and why he will never sell it FOR ALMOST everyone worldwide, times were better before the crunching of credit; many were undeterred by a falling housing market and the then meek predictions of a disintegrating world economy. Four years ago a mystery Middle Eastern businessman bought Athlone House for over £16 million; a large 19th - century building majestically shadowing a western corner of Hampstead Heath in North London. He has never lived there but the planned embellishments have an estimated value of £130 million, thus making it the world’s most expensive home. Neighbours include the cream of the world’s super rich: Russian oil billionaires, African former dictators, Middle Eastern royalty. And at the end of its beautifully manicured gardens, beyond the sweeping staircases, abstract phallic shaped fountains and bizarre, apparently impressive, sculptures will be Athlone House’s most extraordinary feature: Britain’s wealthiest tramp. Harry Hallowes, originally from County Sligo is now 71, but looks debatably younger. In 2007 he was awarded squatters rights to a 60ft x 20ft plot of land at the southern boundary of Athlone House, merging into the beautifully disguised juxtaposed countryside of the heath and Highgate s affluent concrete residences. The plot has

been valued at up to £4 million but Hallowes says he has no desire to sell . ”Why would I want to leave all this?” he said, casting a bare, weather beaten arm across his home, ”I have everything that I need .” Taken aback by the lucidity of his expression and well-spoken English accent fringed with a hint of his Irish roots, I followed his gaze and outstretched arm. All this? All this consists of two tents, a washing line, a small orchard comprised of about twelve apple trees fetched from the Isle of Wight , a huge 8 feet high heap of rubbish, six or seven wheelbarrows rusted to the base so that only handlebars remain, and a blue tarpaulin mat delicately hitched up to some trees, under which hovers a decrepit camping stove, a saucepan and a very old calor gas can. Admittedly, more than most vagrants, but most vagrants haven t been offered £4 million pounds for their dwellings. I nodded and smiled, in the same way one might respond if asked in a full lecture hall whether you understand the complex formulas on the projector and blatantly don’t. “I’ve lived here for 21 years, and it’s very pleasant”, he said defensively. He wasn’t too happy about being interrupted on a Friday afternoon, especially not by “another bloody journalist”. “I can’t see what all the fuss is about, to be honest,” he

Above: Harry Hallowes mumbled with a grunt whilst bending over to weed his orchard. I showed him an artist’s impression of the planned developments and asked what he thought. A little whistle and raised eyebrows immediately preceded a smile. “I didn’t know it was going to be a palace, I thought it was going to be a conventional concrete block”. He added that he was looking forward to getting to know his new neighbour, complaining that most of the other houses in the area were too far away to strike up friendship but insisted that he “gets on very well with the people who pass by on Hampstead Heath” and the Monty Python star, Terry Gilliam, has been a friend for years. We talked about the plans for the house, comparing it to Blenheim Palace and as one critic described it, “a cross between a Stalinist palace and a Victorian Lunatic asylum”. Harry was beginning to soften, laughing about the possibilities of using the underground swimming pool, tennis courts (plural) or hiding in the “ridiculous looking

hedges” in the five acres of landscaped garden inspired by the palace at Versailles. I was struck by his knowledge of the world, eloquent conversation and particularly his avid interest in gardening and nature. I listened to a story of hitchhiking to the Isle of Wight with his “very good architect friend”. A very good architect or a very good friend? I decided better not to question. They found several apple and cherry trees, “at a very reasonable price”, and so bought them back and planted them. What about the garden centre on the corner? “No no no, these ones are special”, he stressed, appalled at my suggestion. To get food, a little money and water, Hallowes gardens for two of the families in Highgate during the week and spends the rest of his time “wandering around” or just “being with nature… I like to keep myself busy you see”. More time passed, conversation flowed, ebbed, continued, paused. The sun began to dip slowly, behind the tree-embossed horizon and I felt absolutely and completely content. Here I was perching in the shadows of a vast oak tree on dusty, stoney ground, flints piercing into my now-numb legs, debating the importance of keeping oneself entertained with a septuagenarian vagabond, in one of the most hectic, busiest cities in the world. And he was right, what would he do with 4 million pounds? He wants to live amongst nature, watch the birds, feel the wind, plant his trees, but one thing is missing he said. “All I want, all I need in the whole world, well it would be nice at least, is to have some running water. Then I’ll have it all.”

Art? Drama? Performance


Your rights as a consumer expressed and explained By Claire Cregan Free Legal Advice Centre A CONSUMER by definition is a person who buys goods and services for personal use. When a consumer purchases goods from a retailer, a contract is formed. The formation of the contract is an agreement between the retailer and consumer for the provision of goods or services at a certain price. Most consumers’ rights and obligations under such contracts are contained in the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. Under this Act, anything purchased by a consumer must be of merchantable quality, fit for its normal purpose and reasonably durable and as described, whether the description is part of the advertising or wrapping, on a label or something said by a salesperson. Furthermore, under the Liability for Defective Products Act 1991, producers are liable for injury or damage caused by their defective products or defective components, irrespective of whether the manufacturing process was in any way negligent or otherwise. It is necessary to demonstrate that an injury was sustained as a result of a defective component of the product or the product itself. » What can I do if goods I have purchased are defective? The retailer, not the manufacturer, is responsible and is obliged to deal with any complaints. You are entitled to a refund, repair or a replacement. Shop notices such as “No refunds” or “No Exchange” cannot diminish the consumer’s statutory rights if the complaint is genuine and concerns defective goods. However, you have no remedies if the defect is due to the misuse of the product after purchase or if the defect should have been noticed on examination or was pointed out at the time of purchase. » I bought an item but I no longer like it - What are my rights? The consumer has no rights under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 in this instance. The retailer is under no obligation to accept the return of goods that are not in some way defective. » I received gifts that I wish to return. Can I do this? The person who purchases goods from a retailer is the party to the contract and is therefore the person with whom the legislation is concerned. However, most retailers will let you return the product. » I wish to return an item I purchased but I’ve lost the receipt?

There is a plethora on Grafton Street, indeed in every city in the world, but what is the point of street performance? Victoria Nellis describes the derivation, drama and delights


VERY SHOPPER or stroller, at some point in their life has been drawn to watch a street performerpulled in by their unusual skills, costume or movement. Their performances include anything from traditional street acts, dancers, mime artists, character actors, puppeteers, musicians and performance artists of every kind. Impromptu crowds, children and adults alike, circle round them to marvel at their bizarre and wondrous talents. Some performers simply busk to make a living; others are part of organised companies. Sometimes they are commissioned- particularly for street festivals, children’s shows or parades. The Edinburgh Festival is a perfect example of such - the city full of street performers advertising shows that are taking place- offering a taster of what can be seen. However, most street performers are unpaid and gather some income through the dropping of a coin in a hat by an audience member. Although street performance is not a new phenomenon - it dates back to the medieval times when mime artists, bards, storytellers, and jugglers traveled in search of new audiences and financial support. It is now becoming recognised as a modern art form. Festivals and championships are held around the word celebrating street performance. The Edmonton Street Performers Festival in Canada has been running for fifteen

years. Dick Finkel, who set it up and still produces it, believes the mission of the festival is to “present and celebrate street performance as an art form”. The heart of the festival still remains in the old traditions of busking- performers doing all they can to enchant and entertain, so that when the hat is passed spectators will give generously. Dublin is also host to the Street Performance World Championship. For the past three years, for one weekend in June, Merrion Square has hosted the event in which the bizarre and the talented battle it out for the most coveted title in street performance. It draws performers from all corners of the world demonstrating their wacky talents- sword swallowing, contortionists and magicians- wowing the audience. The success of a street performance often depends on the creative use of the human body. Living statues- mime artists who pose like statues or mannequins- are a common feature in the world of street performance. They stand for hours- frozen- mesmerizing audiences by their stillness and their imagination. Some pose as imitation bronze statues, even as the Statue of Liberty. The greater the creativity the bigger audience they draw in. There are hundreds of places across the world where street performers can be seen. You can’t escape them on The Ramblas in Barcelona. Each one does something different- whether still or moving, your eyes wander over them.

In Buenos Aires street performance is everywhere- street corners, shopping centers, market squares. From Charlie Chaplin impersonators to tango dancers, crowds of tourists form in small antique markets as a couple switch on some seductive tango music and begin to perform the traditional Argentinean dance. It could be argued that a lot of street performance represents the city or country in which it is performed. Tango dancing in Argentina is going to attract a huge number of tourists- guide books even suggest places to go to capture some of this seductive dance. Yet street performance is increasingly cosmopolitan- on occasion a man with a large female puppet can even be seen doing the tango on Grafton Street and Native Americans can be found performing their traditional songs from Croatia to Scotland. Street performance is not just entertainment. Pe r f o r m a n c e can be used as a means to promote a message not just to give people a taster of ‘legitimate theatre’. It is available to everyone who wants to watch it and can be afforded by all. So it appeals to preachers who want to tell the crowd that Jesus is coming again and also to politi-

Above: street performance on Grafton StreetPhoto by Daniel Ryan. Below, A “living statue”photo by Daragh Owens

cal activists who want to promote debate about the issues of the day. The Mischief Makers are a group of activists and artists based in Nottingham, England, who develop creative responses to social, political and environmental issues and then take to the streets to promote their cause. The group aims to “inspire people and empower them to identify challenges and take action in their local environment”. Invisible Theatre- originally developed by Augusto Boal- an influential Brazilian theatrical Theatre director, writer and politician- is most often performed without the knowledge of the “audience”, which in such a scenario would consist of whoever happens to pass by. This enables actors to make a point publicly in much the same motivational vein as graffiti or political demonstrations can provoke reactions in those that see them. This type of theatre is performed in public on unexpected bystanders, whom the actors will try to make complicit in the scene. Street performance makes shopping a more convivial business. We expect to find these people on our streets now. Their colorful theatricality might amuse us or make us think but either way they enrich our lives.

The main purpose of a receipt is to prove you bought the goods from a particular store so it is reasonable for a retailer to ensure that they were responsible for selling the goods before rectifying your complaint. If you don’t have a receipt; you may have another proof of purchase such as a cheque or a credit card statement. If you can’t produce any proof of purchase you won’t be able to return the item. » I want to buy an item in the sales but there are signs in the shop that claim “Sale goods will not be exchanged” and “Goods on sale cannot be tried on”. Can the retailers do this? The consumer’s right when buying in the sales are the same as at any other time. Your legal right is to a replacement or refund in the case of a defective item, therefore it is an offence for retailers to display notices which say “No cash refunds”, “Credit notes only” or “Sale goods not exchanged”. Such signs cannot affect your statutory rights. Unfortunately there is no obligation on the retailer to take back goods that are not defective. Many retailers will still exchange an item once you have a receipt but they don’t have to. Likewise, retailers are not required to provide facilities for trying on clothes. However, where possible insist in order to detect any possible defects. » What rights do I have when buying from an overseas website? When making a purchase in Ireland or another EU member state, a consumer buying from an overseas website is protected by EU Consumer legislation. The European Directive on Distance Selling and the EC Regulations 2001 aim to ensure that consumers receive a certain minimum standard of protection whether a supplier is based in the European Union, European Economic Area (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland. Under the legislation a supplier is liable if the goods in question are not genuine. If the goods are not of an acceptable standard, you may be entitled to a replacement, repair or a refund. This is the third in a series of columns provided by the Free Legal Advice Centre.



TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009


Guns and gems clash in DR Congo Arms for diamonds: Alison Spillane examines the cost of Israeli interests in the DR Congo, and the unrelenting spectre of the Rwandan genocide.


HE SECOND Congo War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may have officially ended in 2002 but this has done little to damage the trafficking of arms and munitions into the country, due in no small part to the presence of arms-fordiamonds agreements between the Congolese government and companies in Eastern Europe and Israel. Despite the presence of a UN arms embargo, first imposed on the country’s most unstable regions in 2003 and widened to include the whole country in 2005, it is estimated that between thirty and forty thousand illegal arms are still in circulation in the DRC. An Amnesty International report, published in 2005, claims companies from as far apart as Albania, Israel, Rwanda, South Africa, and the United Kingdom among others are responsible for arming rebel groups in the east of the country. In 2006, bullets from Greece, Russia, China, and the United States were also found in the possession of rebels. However, the UN embargo does not apply to military supplies purportedly intended for the national army and police of the DRC and so the government has been importing vast quantities of arms and munitions, mainly from Eastern Europe. Neighbouring Rwanda, with which the DR Congo has had, until recently, an extremely volatile relationship, has also imported large supplies of ammunition, as well as grenades and rocket launchers from Albania. A genocide fifteen years ago in a bordering country may seem all but irrelevant to the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo but the mass killing of Tutsis carried out by Hutu militia in Rwanda in 1994 is a spectre the DRC just cannot shake. Millions of Rwandans fled the country as the horror unfolded, the majority of which headed for the DRC, then called

Zaire. Among the refugees were members of the Interhamwe and government officials who carried out the genocide. However, identifying the perpetrators was an intensely difficult task as many of the refugees were Hutus fleeing from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the group responsible for ending the genocide. Humanitarian aid agencies left the area in their droves with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) labelling the situation a “total ethical disaster.” Since then, Rwanda has backed the predominately Tutsi group CNDP (National Congress in Defence of the People) in the area fighting against Hutu militia with arms from Europe and elsewhere. The Congolese government in turn has been held responsible for backing the Hutu FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). Both governments stand accused of supplying the rebel groups with arms and ammunition in an ostensibly ethnic war but one which is, in reality, a power struggle for control of the country’s vast mineral resources including cobalt, copper, and diamonds. With regard to diamonds, one name comes to the fore again and again – that of Israeli-American Dan Gertler, President of DGI (Dan Gertler International) Diamonds. In 2000, then-President of the DR Congo, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, negotiated a deal with Gertler offering control of the country’s diamond mines to Emaxon Finance Corporation (a company controlled by Gertler and his close associate and spiritual advisor Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Leibovitch) in exchange for Israeli military assistance. Though Kabila was assassinated before he could reap the benefits of such a deal, Gertler was not to be dissuaded in his quest for power by the trifling matter of presidential murder, and by 2002 his company was the biggest exporter of

AROUND IN THE WORLD IN ARMS The four countries that profit most from the international trade of arms are all permanent members of the UN Security Council—the USA, UK, France and Russia. Together, they are responsible for 76% of global conventional arms exports. Here’s a rundown of what the industry is worth to each of them. by Sean Doyle

M16 U.S.A.

wages a n d

diamonds from the DRC. In 2003, stateowned mining company MIBA signed a deal with Emaxon, and Israel’s Foreign Defence Assistance and Defence Export Organisation (SIBAT) was a major player in the agreement. Emaxon itself is a bit of an enigma, a Canadianregistered company that doesn’t leave much of a paper trail; it no doubt consists of a myriad of subsidiaries and holds numerous offshore bank accounts designed to protect “businessmen” heavily involved in the illegal arms trade, money-laundering, and the funding of terrorism. So how dirty are Dan Gertler’s hands? He may have the mining rights to some of the richest diamond deposits in the Democratic Republic of Congo but the majority of these are located in rebel-controlled regions such as North Kivu and Katanga province in the south. However, as a general rule, most rebel groups are easily pacified by the supply of arms and necessary provisions. Dirty diamond deals, military assistance, illegal arms, and an ongoing conflict. All this begs the question: how do the Congolese people fair in this kind of environment? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not very well. Armed to the teeth, gangs of deserters-turnedbandits, as well as members of the rebel groups themselves, roam freely in the east of the country, looting at will and extorting money from civilians. More than five million people are thought to have died since the outbreak of the war in August 1998. The killings did not end with the peace agreements signed in 2002; on the contrary, one could almost argue that things got worse. Former militia were legitimised by their integration into the Congolese army but they soon became frustrated with low

corruption w h i c h benefited only their superiors. Returning to their old ways, they joined the estimated 70,000 armed militia who declined the offer of integration, preferring to make their own laws with the barrel of a gun. With the conflict over in official terms, many of the rebel commanders were absorbed into the new government leaving their units with no leaders, no direction, and no one to answer to – rebels as young as seven became a law unto themselves. Tens of thousands of children have been abducted, subjected to rapes and beatings and forced to fight in a conflict where gross human rights violations are a daily occurrence. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and entire villages devastated. The situation in the DRC may very well be the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. In terms of human lives it has certainly been the deadliest, yet big businesses such as Emaxon are thriving as diamond revenues from the DRC provide it with around $US 1 billion annually. Essentially, companies like Emaxon reap a huge profit from a country where crimes against humanity are commonplace. Should Dan Gertler and others have to answer for this? Or are they simply astute, if ruthless, opportunists? While it may be true that the conflict would continue if Gertler was not a player, the links between Dan the diamond man, Israeli military assistance, and the Congolese government are just a little too close for comfort.

The U.S.A. pips Russia to pole position, supplying in the region of 38% of the world’s arms and weaponry. It provides Asian and Latin American countries with the bulk of their arms. In 2007 the U.S. sold developing countries weaponry and military ordnance to the value of $12.2 billion. Between the years 2000-2007 U.S. based firms made agreements to the value of $132 billion dollars Employment: The arms industry is one of the most highly subsidized sectors of the American economy and employees up to 2.4 million people in the U.S. Supplies: Air Force, Land Force, Navy. Flag bearer: Lockheed Martin Main Customers: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Colombia among others.

Famas FRANCE The world’s 3rd largest exporter. France sells a marginally higher percentage of its arms to industrialised countries than any other member of the top 5. Between the years 2000 and 2007 the French economy earned $32 billion from the sale of weapons systems. Weapons production is seen as a key industry by the French government. A recent spurt of growth in arms production has even been put down to President Sarkozy’s personal involvement in the development of the sector. Employment: Estimated at 166.000 -250,000 sources differ. Supplies: Everything, but with an emphasis on fighter planes and helicopters. Flag bearer: EADS (FrancoGerman firm, based in the Netherlands) Main Customers: EU nations (including Britain), North African states.

AK-47 RUSSIA Russia is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of arms and weaponry. Together, Russia and the USA account for more than half of world armaments transfers annually. Russia completed $9.7 billion worth of contracts with developing countries in 2007 (down from $14 billion in 2006) Employment: As in the U.S, the Russian arms industry is heavily supported by the government, and income from exports significantly adds to state coffers. The arms industry also accounts for the direct employment of between 800,000 and 900,000 people. Supplies: Everything including guns, tanks, fighter planes. From 2000-2007 Russia made agreements to the value of $67 billion. Flag bearer: RosOboronExport Main Customers: India, China, Venezuela.

L85A1 Automatic U.K. While Britain is overall 4th, it is second only to the U.S in its exports to Developing Nations. The U.K made $9 billion worth of arms agreements in 2007. From 2000-2007 U.K based firms made agreements to the value of $27 billion. Employment: Between 49,000 and 90,000, depending on the source. Supplies: Aerospace equipment accounts for over 80 per cent of total UK military exports. Conventional arms sales also take place, but in lower numbers. Flag bearer: BAE Systems Main Customers: Saudi Arabia, India.

Meet Viktor Bout, Merchant of Death American DEA agents last year announced the capture of the world’s most feared international arms dealer. But Russia claims its citizen was framed, writes Aaron Mulvihill “THERE ARE over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: how do we arm the other 11?” asks a cynical Nicholas Cage in the 2005 blockbuster Lord of War. Cage plays an astute Ukrainian immigrant to the United States who works his way up from selling Uzis to local gangs in New York’s Brighton Beach to running a global arms empire with his knife-sharp business acumen that leaves no room for politics or prejudice. The shrewd, smooth broker buys up ammunition left to rust after the fall of the Soviet Union and lands it on the shores of warring African nations, and peppers every negotiation with his warlord clients with pithy quips like “I sell guns to every army but the Salvation Army”. The film, which was was commended by Amnesty International for highlighting the global arms trade, is apparently a loose – like a freshman nursing student – adaptation of the life and career of Viktor Bout, an overweight Tajik-born former Soviet Army interpreter currently languishing in a Bangkok jail. Tracking down the elusive entrepreneur took years of work and thousands of frequent traveller miles, as he was trailed from country to country by Interpol agents and the intelligence services of many of its 186 member nations. It didn’t help matters that his hunters occasionally also happened to be his best clients. Bout flew munitions into Baghdad for American troops in 2003 when no other dealers, illegal or

otherwise, would dare go near the place. In 2006, four planes carrying 200,000 assault rifles bound for Coalition forces in Iraq mysteriously disappeared after taking off from a Bosnia airstrip - it later transpired that one of the carriers involved was owned by Viktor Bout. Meanwhile, allege American prosecutors, he was supplying insurgent forces with economy versions of the same weaponry. Even the Brits were left red-faced when it emerged in 2005 that Bout had been operating RAF charter flights for the Ministry of Defence. The hardy former KGB officer was christened the “Merchant of Death” by Peter Hain. The nom de guerre stuck, as newspapers reported on his shady sales of helicopters, tanks and all manner of smaller weapons to terrorists and warring factions in Angola, DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Colombia and other bad neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, the Kremlin defended his innocence. And Russia had an altogether different take on Bout - more ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ than ‘Lord of War’... Viktor Bout was born in Dushanbe, the capital of the Tajik Soviet Republic (now Tajikistan) to Russian parents in 1967. He graduated from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow and joined the elite 339th regiment of the Soviet Union Air Force as a translator. His regiment was based out of Vitebsk, Belarus and operated in Angola as part of a UN peacekeeping contingent until 1991. When the regiment was disbanded after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bout

moved to South Africa. The young first lieutenant turned a page on his military career and began to put his skills to use in business. His mastery of languages, knowledge of Africa and experience with aircraft gave him a good grounding for a career in the aviation industry. The venture was perfectly timed: after the Soviet Union crumbled, thousands of rickety aircraft with ‘CCCP’ printed in big red letters on the fuselage were going cheap. Apparently he began his empire with the purchase of a single An-12 ‘Antonov’ turboprop transport aircraft. As Bout himself likes to recall in interviews, his first regular trades were in the lucrative African and Middle Eastern flower industry. He bought frozen flowers in the Persian Gulf and flew them to markets in Europe. When he had saved up enough capital, he built a refrigerated storage facility in South Africa and began transporting tulips from there to Nigeria, and then expanded further afield. Like any good businessman, he realised the need to diversify, and was soon packing

cargo holds with frozen chickens and pencils as well as his staple flowers. His enterprise quickly ballooned into a global airline network, with a chartering company in Florida, an aircraft repair depot in Dubai, and a fleet of aircraft large enough to make Michael O’ Leary hot under his check shirt collar. Bout’s floral dreams were shattered, however, when in 2001 Human Rights Watch, seemingly out of the blue, accused him of providing Liberian warlord-cum-despot Charles Taylor with a planeload of AK-47s to prop up his new dictatorship. Taylor’s presidential campaign slogan was “He killed my Ma, he killed my Pa, but I will vote for him.” No, really. Then the Americans accused Bout of keeping the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see above article) supplied with arms in exchange for precious minerals. His detractors in the United States would have you believe that Bout, far from transporting tulips, was actually flying guns to Africa and loading up the plane with diamonds for the return trip. Absurd, right?

This was all a little too much for Bout to handle, and he promptly fled to his native Russia, whose constitution protects its citizens from extradition to a foreign country. While charges against Bout mounted abroad, he lived in a plush apartment in Moscow, from where he continued to protest his innocence. In an interview with the radio station Echo Moskva, which introduced their guest as a “businessman”, Bout laughed at the “ridiculous situation” and said that, far from the numerous aliases and false documents that the UN accused him of keeping, he had “never hid anything from anyone, and never been a citizen of any country other than the Russian Federation.” In the same interview in 2002 he said “As far the accusations of having dealt with Osama Bin Laden are concerned, it sounds more like a Hollywood action movie!” In fact he had to wait a full three years before he could see the Con Air star give a stylised rendition of his career. Meanwhile he was making plans to buy a helicopter and make nature films in the Siberian Arctic for National

Nicholas Cage in ‘Lord of War’, left, plays an arms dealer likened to Viktor Bout, right.

Geographic, he told the New York Times in an interview. So far, so evil? At least most governments agree on the basic facts. He was a major in the KGB (or a lieutenant in the Air Force) who was discharged (or quit) after the breakup of the USSR. He bought a ramshackle old Soviet plane (or was given a military cargo jet) which he used to transport guns (or Dutch tulips) anywhere in the world for a price. He fuelled bloody West African diamond wars (or the War on Terror) which led to thousands of civilians being killed (or protected by peacekeepers) in the calculating pursuit of profit. Well, at least everyone is on the same page about his motivations. The gun runner, or, if you prefer, successful florist, was lured to Thailand in early 2008 by American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officers posing as high-roller customers. Nobody outside the DEA had knowledge of the sting – the CIA, which usually handles cases like this, was apparently reluctant to pursue Bout because of his embarrassing dealings with the American military, so they were effectively shut out. The Bangkok meeting was the culmination of a series of negotiations which began on the Caribbean island of Curacao in the Dutch Antilles, moving to Denmark, then Romania. In Bangkok, Bout was taken into custody by local police and the United States has since charged him with crimes ranging from terrorism to murder in an effort to extradite him to face trial in the U.S. Almost one year on, Viktor Bout maintains he never carried so much as a flare gun on his planes. He still gives occasional interviews from his Bangkok jail cell, and still claims he was simply a successful businessman who was framed by foreign governments to hide their own illegal arms deals.


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009


Trapped in Sri Lanka crossfire Sri Lanka’s assault on the Tamil Tiger rebels threatens the lives of 250,000 civilians caught up in the fighting, reports Sinead Walsh


HE ISLAND of Sri Lanka was once known as Ceylon. It’s smaller than Ireland, but with over five times the population, and less than an eighth of the GDP. The average yearly temperature is 29 degrees Celsius, but the island is prone to cyclones and flooding, and is still recovering from the 2004 tsunami. It achieved independence from Britain in 1948, trailing India by a year, but unlike its bigger neighbour it failed to win a single medal at the Commonwealth Games between 1954 (when it won three) and 1994. It’s famous for producing most of the world’s tea, and infamous for giving the world its first ever suicide bombers. And it’s in the headlines again because of another outbreak of violence between the Sri Lankan government and the deceptively cutely named Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who are fighting tooth and claw to retain a grip on the northern part of the island, where they’ve been trying to create an independent republic by means of a civil war which celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary last July. This is a war that has been going on for longer than most of us can remember. In fact, it began before most of us were even thought of, and maybe that’s why we so rarely think of it. For the thousands of Tamils and Sinhalese born into the conflict, the impact it has on everyday life means everything. We have the privilege of a historical view, which is good, because we need it. What happened, roughly, was this: during Ceylon’s stint as a British colony, English was the official language of the island. A disproportionate amount of schools were built in the north of the island, i.e. the part inhabited by the Tamils. And so

a disproportionate amount of the Tamil minority held good, stable civil service jobs. In 1951, a party called the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, preaching nationalist slogans to the Sinhala majority, began its campaign to make Sinhalese the official state language. The “Sinhala Only” Act was passed in 1956, prompting a peaceful protest by Federal (Tamil) MPs. Government authorities failed to prevent this protest from being broken up by a nationalist mob. And there you have the beginnings of a politics of physical confrontation which has haunted Sri Lanka ever since. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) came onto the scene in 1976, the same year that the Tamil Tamil Tigers chief Vellupillai Prabakharan is thought to have fled Sri Lanka United Liberation Front voiced the first demand for a fully independent Tamil Eelam. On July 23, 1983, the Tamil Tigers ambushed a Sri Lankan military convoy, leaving 13 dead. This sparked a wave of brutal anti-Tamil riots in which hundreds of Tamils were murdered, and from then on Sri Lanka is widely considered to have been in a state of on-and-off civil war. On July 24, 2001, in an attack on the international airport, LTTE suicide bombers destroyed half the Sri Lankan Airlines fleet. Norway managed to broker a peace deal between the two sides in 2002, but tensions remained high, and lip-service stopped being paid to the ceasefire from August 2006 onwards. By now, an estimated 230,000-

Funeral procession of a Tamil Tiger commander killed before this month’s fighting began 300,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in the north of the island. The first reason it’s so hard to get an exact figure is that no one knows how many people may have been counted twice by officials, because so many of them have had to flee their homes – homes in this instance could mean a temporary shelter made from palm leafs - more than once in the time that the count has been going on. Natural disasters have played their part in this as well, forcing the relocation of upwards of 60,000 people in the aftermath of Cyclone Nisha, which hit the region last November, as ruthlessly as any military campaign. The second reason why reliable sources are hard to come by is the media blackout imposed in mid2007 and a similar ban on humanitarian agencies since September 2008. The UN and other international aid organizations didn’t waste time leaving the Vanni region when they received their marching orders from Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They still remember the executions of 17 Sri Lankan aid workers from the NGO Action Contre La Faim, who remained in the town of Mutur despite pressure to leave it in 2006. So too does Rajapaksa, and in his warning to the international aid community in the Vanni he said that these measures were being taken to avoid a repeat incident. The Red Cross has maintained

its presence, some NGO workers remain as official government volunteers, and food convoys are reaching the region, but the government alone does not have the capacity to cope with the sheer numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on its hands. The escalating IDP problem was matched by the government in March 2008, when a series of new camps were established for those fleeing from

under strict police supervision. The alternative – in many cases a forced alternative – is to retreat into the jungles with the Tamil Tiger rebels, who have by now lost control of all the major towns in the Vanni. The LTTE has longstanding policy of forced recruitment in the region, and while it was once understood that each family would send one of its members to the rebel ranks, in the past year they have begun

Though the problem of child soldiers has diminished, the Tamil Tigers still stage rallies in towns and schools to attract the 14-17 age group the shelling and bombing of the Vanni region. Any and every one leaving the Vanni is considered to be a “security threat” and detained in these camps, including even the most harmless civilians and children. On the one hand, this prevents Tamil Tiger fighters from entering the government controlled area. On the other, it prevents the extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance and long-term detention which may face those who are caught escaping from the LTTE-controlled area without passing through one of the camps. “Passing through” is a little optimistic a term, however, seeing as how the vast majority of entrants since the opening of the camps remain there even now,

demanding two or more recruits per family. Although the problem of child soldiers has been reduced in recent years, the LTTE continue to stage rallies in towns and schools which are aimed at attracting the 14-17 age group. And in September of last year, the LTTE announced that for every person who attempted to flee recruitment, up to ten members of that person’s family would be used for forced labour on the front lines. The Sri Lankan government likes to portray its handling of the Tamil Tigers as a “war on terror”, and given that this is the organization which gave Hamas and Al-Qaeda the idea of the suicide bomb, it’s perhaps surprising that the

whole thing hasn’t sparked more of a propaganda war. You’ve got to admit that compared to other long-running conflicts on the Asian land mass, when it comes to Western media attention, Sri Lanka doesn’t get a look in. Maybe the press does not care about a terrorist movement that is not threatening to unleash Islamic jihad on the world at large. Maybe it just cannot take another round of genocide accusations and war crime intrigue after last month’s war on Gaza. Or maybe the Sri Lankan government’s ban on journalists in the Vanni region, which came into force well over a year ago, has simply been more effective than its Israeli equivalent was. Perhaps it’s the casual way in which a newspaper editor could be shot dead while driving to work in the peaceful capital of Colombo on the morning of the eighth of January, having written in his final editorial “When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me,” that puts people off. Maybe it’s just that the idea of a quarter of a million citizens caught in the crossfire in the Sri Lankan jungle is less appealing to us bloodythirsty news junkies of the West than were the hundreds of souls who had to die in Gaza before we paid attention to the fate of Palestinians. Whatever it is, the world is turning a blind eye to the conflict in Sri Lanka, and hundreds of thousands of lives are left hanging in the balance.

Bolivians welcome popular constitution 62% of Bolivians voted for the new document which promises greater freedoms for indigenous minorities, writes Andrew McKenzie


HE RECENT ratification of a new constitution in the Latin American country of Bolivia may not strengthen Evo Morales and his country’s fraught relationship with the U.S.A, but there are reasons to persuade many his victory is one to savour. The new constitution granted sweeping rights to the indigenous majority of the country as well as restructured the judiciary to ensure judges are elected rather than chosen. Government control of natural resources was reinforced and rules to prohibit discrimination were introduced. Limited autonomy was extended to state assemblies that control local issues and tribal punishments were allowed on tribal lands. On referendum day, when the news spread that the constitution had been approved, fireworks, cheers and horns sounded off sporadically across La Paz, the capital. By evening, Morales was already giving his victory speech: “I want you to know something, the colonial state ends here. Internal colonialism and external colonialism ends here. Sisters and brothers, neoliberalism ends here too.” While the new constitution is a move toward giving the indigenous majority of the population the ability to participate more comprehensively in Bolivian politics, it does not mark the healing of the country’s deep political and ethnic divisions. During the course of last year the country tumbled towards an undeclared civil war, with violence erupting

in many cities and rising to a violent crescendo in September, when 18 people, mostly indigenous famers, were killed and many more wounded by opposition supporters in the northern town of Pando. Many feel the attack led to Bolivia’s right wing losing legitimacy and support. Manfred Reyes Villa, an opponent of Morales and an ex-governor of Cochabamba, told the Washington Post: “Today, there is not a serious opposition in the country”, highlighting the impact the attack had on support. The opposition, led by state governors in the country’s more prosperous east, are concerned by Morales’ leftist ideals and fear he is taking Bolivia into the orbit of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president and vocal critic of the U.S.A. Many of these people are descendants of white settlers to the country and have a racist and fascist mentality. After centuries in control they appear to dislike the prospect of their future being dominated by a formerly suppressed indigenous majority. Many others however just fear the further economic ruin of South America’s poorest state with inefficient state nationalizations. Close ties with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez have strained relations with America. The Bush administration had long been opposed to Morales, even before he was first elected, regarding the former leader of the coca-growers’ union as a political firebrand and not much better than a drug baron, but fears of a growing number of anti American Latin

American leaders had led to American opposition increasing. This came to a head last year when the Americans worked so openly with the opposition behind the scenes that Morales was obliged to expel the U.S. ambassador and Drug Enforcement Agency officials, accusing them of espionage, a gesture that was immediately imitated by Chavez. Morales played the same card this year when he expelled the Israeli ambassador from La Paz during the Israeli assault on Gaza in the wake of a similar move by Venezuela. Chavez organized the re-writing of the Venezuelan constitution shortly after his election in 1998, and used it as a springboard for reformist measures in many areas of national life. The reforms proposed by Morales are comparably radical, yet many people would argue that they are long overdue. Unlike Chavez, who seeks a constitutional reform in February that would permit a

president to enjoy permanent re-election (if actually re-elected), Morales agreed during negotiations with the opposition that the constitution would require presidents to stand down after two terms. Although as an indigenous candidate representing the majority population he will almost certainly win a second term in elections later this year, extending his rule to 2014. American opinion has been harsh. USA Today likened Morales to a “cigar-chomping, camouflage-clad, Latin American dictator”. A hark back to Latin American caudillos or strongmen who seek to hold onto power for as long as possible. They point to Morales’ original intention to be eligible for permanent re-election, only changed on at the behest of opposition in negotiations following the massacre at Pando in October. However, like the rest of America’s future foreign policy, everything rests

on the decisions of Barack Obama will take as U.S. president. He may wish to distance himself from the legacy of George W. Bush and the relative quiescence of the Bolivian opposition since the Pando massacre suggests that they are unsure what future assistance they will get from Washington. The traditional allies of Bolivia’s white minority - their close Latin American neighbours Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay– are on a leftist path and have all expressed their support and solidarity for Morales. The new constitution allows even greater control of the economy, with articles that could forbid foreign firms from repatriating profits or resorting to international arbitration to resolve nationalization disputes. Bolivia’s economic outlook is dark. Mr Morales scared off investment by nationalising the natural-gas industry, telecoms and parts of mining. That boosted government revenues


Under the new laws President Evo Morales could remain in power until 2014

» Indigenous rights: Recognition of self-determination of 36 ‘nations’ and sets aside seats in Congress » Natural resources: State control for all gas, oil and mineral reserves » Local autonomy: Gives authority to state assemblies that control local issues and self-rule for indigenous groups on traditional lands » Justice: High court judges to be elected rather than appointed » Equality: Prohibits discrimination on sexual orientation and guarantees freedom of religion

We want your take on the burning global issues Write for Trinity News:

in the short term, but is now jeopardising them. Miners are being laid off because of plunging mineral prices. The price of gas exports has fallen too, while Brazil (the main market) has cut imports by a third because of a slowing economy and plentiful rainfall for hydroelectricity. The public finances are set to go into deficit this year. Commodity prices that have been high since Morales took office have begun to fizzle. And to make matters worse, Bolivian migrants are returning from recession-hit Spain, cutting remittances. All of which will test Morales’ ability to maintain his popularity. Some Catholic and evangelical clerics have also opposed the ratification of the new constitution. They fear that the articles prohibiting discrimination on sexual orientation and guaranteeing freedom of religion will pave the way for abortion rights and gay marriage. The constitution also gives official recognition to “community justice” imparted by elders, and introduces the popular election of judges and members of a judicial council. These measures are intended to clean up a corrupt judiciary. However opponents say they will politicise justice, and legitimise mob justice in the form of lynchings and stonings, which have become more common over the past two years. Whatever the eventual outcome of Morales’ reforms, the newly approved constitution is a major landmark in Bolivian history, providing for the longneeded re-shaping of the judiciary and more importantly the strengthening of the rights of the country’s indigenous peoples. The empowerment of a native people is not something to shrug at, but Morales must be wary that he does not set his country on a path of chaotic conflict, government paralysis and continuing economic backwardness.

! Every candidate in profile 12


By Lisa Byrne, Meadhbh McHugh, Martin McKenna, CJ McKinney, Kasia Mychajlowycz, Naomi O’Leary, Kate O’Regan & Thomas Raftery DANIEL CURRY describes himself as a “Union outsider”. Though he has sat on the Hist committee, he has never been a class rep, a position that he claims gives him a “fresh perspective”. He claims the union has never done a good job and says, “Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and improve the union.” Fees are the major issue for C Curry. He is “strongly against fe fees” and claims recent marches “h “haven’t been very effective”, He p points out that the Government in intends to make extensive cuts,

and that other groups employ professional lobbyists – something he would consider for the Students’ Union. Curry would also consider abolishing the University Record. “The Record is a waste of money when Trinity News is here”. If elected, he will put the matter to a referendum. “I see the Union not accomplishing what it could. The Union cannot expect students to come to it: The Union must go to students and make them care.” M McK

DAVE PRESTON is a Junior Sophister student of Philosophy and Classics. His first priority “when, not if” he is elected is clear: rid Trinity of ghosts. He points out that several buildings have been left in a haunted state for many years, adding “the Provost is aware of this but he hasn’t done anything”. He says that “if I get elected, I want to exorcise the necessary buildings”, citing an acquantaince who was forced to drop out and do Arts in UCD as an example of the huge problems this infestation

is causing. Preston is also keen to highlight his credentials in safeguarding the welfare of the student body, having only last week “fought a dinosaur that was attacking Trinity”. With further commitments to turn the Provost’s house into a giant game of Screwball Scramble and install a Crazy Golf course on College Park (“no-one really plays cricket, fuck cricket”) marking him out from his “extremely goodlooking” rivals for office, Preston’s campaign looks set to be, as promised, “a lot of fun”. CJ McK

HAILING FROM Killaloe in Co. Clare, Emma Keaveney is running for Deputy President. She has spent the last two years getting to grips with the Student Union, as class rep and as a part-time officer at the SU Executive Committee. A student of TSM Film Studies and English, she cut her administrative teeth as secretary of th the Filmmakers society. If elected, Keaveney would ta tackle a communication gap she p perceives between the SU and the st student body, making full use of th the SU website and increasing hits.

“It’s not just about The Record” she says, but The Record is part of her scheme; Keaveney would like to see the content of the publication reflect the student line, and themed according to the initiatives of the moment. She’d like to see a more integrated college community, and hopes to realise the potential of The Record in promoting Ents events. She hopes to receive good news about her campaign in time for her mother’s birthday, which falls the day after votes will be counted. N O’L

AS A fourth year mature student, Simone Cameron-Coen feels she has the necessary experience and motivation to run for Welfare Officer. Since entering college through the Trinity Access Programme, this film studies student has been involved in welfare issues. She has been working on the welfare co committee for the past two years an and is an active member of the SU (a (as Mature Student Officer) and cl class representative. Cameron-Coen aims to p promote and develop welfare

services on campus, believing that students need to be made more aware of the services available to them: from help with student finances to LGBT, sexual and mental health awareness. She intends to tackle these issues in a practical manner and is keen to underline the fact that college is “not just about academics”. Cameron-Coen believes the Welfare position is vital to the well-being of students. She aims to campaign as a candidate who is approachable and understanding. K O’R


MICK HAS been involved with College Ents since 2006. He acted as Ents crew coordinator last year and organised the 2007 Ents Mystery Tour, the Freshers’ Week Silent Disco as well as being a key organiser of this years Snow Trip with DUSSC. Currently Ents Officer with the Comedy Soc he is responsible for booking comedians. His many aims for the office of Ents include increasing the number of tickets sold for the Trinity Ball, introducing a wine offlicense on campus, and increasing

the number of class parties. Other proposals include summer barbeques at the Pav, monthly Casino nights and the creation of a series of Electro Ents nights. Mick has already set up his own weekly night MUZIK in the Button Factory and has worked closely with the music industry. He is confident he can secure bigger, better and more diverse acts to play in College having previously secured the likes of Felix the House Cat, New Young Pony Club and Republic of Loose. L B


AMY, FROM Mullingar in Co. Westmeath, was elected JCR Ents officer in 2007, and has since worked hard on improving the quality and value of the Trinty Halls social scene, where she’s lived for the past two years. In this role, Amy has arranged everything from theme nights to DVD get-togethers. She is keen to run Ents in a way that encompasses the needs of college’s diverse societies. By developing Trinity’s relationship with other universities in Dublin, she aims to create a city-wide

entertainment scene. Amy also wants to crack down on the number of promoters who she sees as ripping off students. Her quest for better value student nights is motivated by growingly extortionate entrance prices to clubs. None of the Hall’s nights out this year have cost members more than 5 euro, proof of her desire to provide better-value party ngihts. Aware of the teething problems that have occurred this year, Amy wants a more coordinated approach to increase the efficiency of the Ents set-up. T R

Daniel Curry SS BESS


Dave Preston



Emma Keaveney



Simone Cameron-Coen SS FILM STUDIES


Mick Birmingham JS ECONOMICS

Amy Dunne SF LAW

TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

FOURTH YEAR theoretical physics student, Ashley Cooke, is the only candidate for Education officer. A member of the Students Union for the past two years, he started off as class representative, progressing to school convenor where he became interested in educational issues. He was convenor for the SU Education committee in 07/08 and sat on the education committee again this year. He also holds the position of Environmental officer with the SU and was elected to the Undergraduate Studies

Committee. Cooke is aware of the challenges he faces if elected. His main issue of concern will be ensuring the semester changes resulting from modularisation run as smoothly as possible. Another worry is the dramatic change to the scholarship examinations, in particular the proposed removal of exemptions. He will ensure students are not discouraged from attempting the scholarship examinations or overworked by the new structure. M McH

THIS CANDIDATE for SU President is a mother tongue Gaelgoir from Clondalkin. His well-planned campaign has identified four major thrusts; opposing the reintroduction of fees, supporting students during the crossover into semesterization, making the SU more approachable, and improving the running of Trinity’s sp sports clubs. As former head of Trinity GAA, sp sport is a subject close to Ó Broin’s h heart. He wants to bring the heads o of all the sports clubs together to b brainstorm on improvements.

He would like every student to feel they can seek assistance from the SU, no matter what their problem is. He is most passionate when asked about the reintroduction of third level fees. “The government is looking for a soft target to pay for its own mistakes. We cannot let ourselves be that soft target.” Marching, he says, is fantastic as a demonstration of discontent. But it can only go so far. Ó Broin wants to call on students, and their families, not to vote for a party that would bring in fees. N O’L


CATHAL HORAN has been involved in student politics since first year, when he was class Representative and School Convenor. He is currently the CSC’s Amenities Officer, and assistant faculty convenor for the EMS faculty. He was also in charge of the Science Ball at Clontarf, which he rated as “ a huge success” that exceeded his expectations. Last year he was general officer for the DU Comedy Society and chair of the SU Council and Electoral Commission.

If elected, Horan hopes to get information to the students quicker, citing the delay in releasing information about semesterisation. He would also push for more consultation with students on academic issues, claiming not enough students were asked for their opinion about the introduction of as a way of submitting essays. As President, he would not rule by decree, rather act upon decisions handed down from the Student’s Union. K M


ROB DONOHOE, a fourth year Law student, claims his six years in college have given him a real advantage. “I’ve been in trouble with the Junior Dean, I’ve had to do supplemental exams, supersupplemental exams…I know how to sort out these problems.” Through managing the Junior Common Room, he has experience of dealing with college finances. He maintains each campaign run by the SU should have targets or goals, which, if not met, need to be examined. Donohoe has been a Comedy

Society Committee member, and is a regular columnist for The Record. As President he would like to do more to inform students of their rights concerning labour, accommodation, and consumer issues. He says “life doesn’t begin and end at the Front Arch”, and the SU should be helping students outside of College. He has successfully taken Tommy Hilfiger to task for not paying him time and a half on Sundays, and he hopes to channel that energy into fighting for the rights of the student body. K M

CORMAC CASHMAN is a third year BESS student and has been involved in every welfare campaign in the last two years, including SHAG Week, Mental Health Week, and Rainbow Week, which he ran last year. He has also been in charge of establishing a student-to-student counseling service, resulting from the LGBT buddy-to-buddy system he helped establish. If elected, Cormac’s aim is to establish an office in the Hamilton, since “the science end of College has zero Welfare presence”. He

would rent a room, and have staff in it for 2 or 3 hours a week. As for accommodation, Cormac feels students need more support when searching for a room. “Letting a student find a flat on their own is irresponsible especially if they don’t know Dublin, and don’t know if they’re getting ripped off.” He proposes a more efficient Accommodation office that would do more than simply provide students with a list of websites that have postings for accommodation. KM


FRANZI HENSEL is a fourth year TSM student, majoring in Theology. She’s been working with the Ents crew the whole year. “I’ve come to the position of second in command for Nick [Longworth, current Ents Officer], and I think that qualifies me uniquely for the position. I’ve learnt from Nick’s successes and failure, and I think that gives me an extra advantage.” Her goals for next year, if she’s elected Ents Officer, would be to continue with the diversity she’s seen in the events this year, and build on it. Franzi wants to see

more students out at events by Ents; “I don’t just want to focus on single nights out at night clubs. I want more pub-oriented events… I want to have more gigs, more student gigs, to help student bands out. I want to do a lot more cinema screenings, I think that’s an untapped resource, because people want to see up-to-datemovies. With regards to nights out, I don’t just want the same old things, for example at clubs like Purty Kitchen and Citi Bar, I want more themed nights so it’s not the same thing every night.” K M


CANADIAN PADDY O’Mahoney has plenty of experience promoting nights out in venues like the Button Factory and Kennedys, and is is keen to use his contacts to bring a more varied offering to the student body. “I want to go against the grain… I know the importance of nights out being cheap but it shouldn’t take away from originality.” he says, In planning a broad array of events, he stresses the need to gauge what students want. “I want to get some more student involvement, have constant

polling throughout the year”, explains O’Mahoney. “It’s such a diverse campus, you can’t cater for everyone but you can at least try and have something for every interest”. He also thinks that there’s a lot of talent within these walls that should be encouraged, and wants to give students a chance to showcase their skills. Consistencey would be a priority for him: “I want to emphasise regularity and quality of gigs rather than these cookie-cutter events that simply take over the calender”. CJ McK

Ashley Cooke



Conan O Broin SS BESS


Cathal Horan


Rob Donohoe SS LAW

Cormac Cashman JS BESS


Franziska Hensel SS THEOLOGY

Paddy O’Mahony




TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009



Read by Kate O’Regan

This year we asked our readers what issues are most relevant to the 2009 SU election campaign. You told us what you look for in your SU officers, plus how you rate the achievements of the TCDSU and USI.

Cormac Cashman, candidate for Welfare Officer (left) squares up to Cathal Horan, running for President, on the moonlit evening of the announcement from the steps of House 6 of the candidates on Friday. Photo: Martin McKenna

From House 6 to the Seanad Senator Ivana Bacik recalls her time in the SU, when she was only the second ever female elected president of the union, and all four officers were brought to court for their campaign to educate students on sexual health issues.


ACH YEAR, seeing the Students’ Union election campaigns in full swing reminds me of my own SU experiences, exactly twenty years ago. I began my undergraduate studies at the Law School here in 1985, at what was a very exciting time to be a student. The Union was very active then, with regular protests against fee increases, and occasional occupations of campus buildings. Political activism was not confined to the student body. Among our lecturers in Law were Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, both of whom were prominently involved in national politics, and were subsequently elected Presidents of Ireland. Another inspirational figure, Kader Asmal, taught Human Rights law. At the time, he was a leading light of the Irish AntiApartheid Movement. After the ending of Apartheid, he became Minister for Education in the ANC government in South Africa. So we had a wide range of role models, both women and men, and a healthy diversity of political viewpoints represented among the staff in the Law School. Some things don’t change… I became involved with both the Women’s Group and the Labour Society during my first year, and in my final year, was elected President of the Students’ Union on a feminist and socialist platform. I was only the second woman ever elected to be President the first had been Aine Lawlor, now a presenter on Morning Ireland, RTÉ radio’s flagship morning current affairs programme. The year I spent as SU President

(1989-90) was highly charged politically. Within a month of taking office, we four Union officers were threatened with prison simply for handing out SU guidebooks on campus. The books contained information on abortion, along with information on all sorts of other issues useful to students. SPUC (the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) wanted to stop that information being provided anywhere in Ireland, so they took us to court. Our lecturer Mary Robinson defended us, and we avoided being sent to jail, but the rest of the year was spent fighting the cases taken by SPUC, as well as campaigning against increases in fees and cuts in student services. We even managed to fit in a short occupation of the Buildings office. We made headlines frequently during the year, and I firmly believe that our principled campaign to keep providing information to women with crisis pregnancies, in the face of a vicious campaign by the anti-abortion movement, played an important part in

The year I spent as SU President (1989-90) four Union officers were threatened with prison simply for handing out SU guidebooks on campus.

changing public opinion and liberalising the laws. We finally won our case several years later, and information on abortion is now available legally to anyone who needs it; but unfortunately women still have to travel to England to obtain legal abortion. Following my time as SU President, I emigrated like many of my contemporaries and spent some years studying and working in London. In 1995, back in Dublin, I took up a lecturing post at Trinity Law School. It is great to be back here as a lecturer, but I have noticed that despite the progress that has been made for women in College, there are still obvious problems. At senior levels, men dominate disproportionately; gender equality is a relatively recent phenomenon. Mary Robinson, now Chancellor of the University, recently returned to campus for the official celebration of the 50th anniversary of women’s entry to the Senior Common Room. Many of the older academics present recalled the

discrimination women suffered both as staff and students right into the 1980s, and agreed how greatly things had improved. Since 2007, having been elected as a Senator for Dublin University, I am now honoured and delighted to be representing Trinity graduates in the Oireachtas. But I am also conscious of the small numbers of women in both the Dáil and Seanad. Only 13% of our legislators are female, and we rank very poorly in Europe and internationally in women’s representation levels. I am always delighted to see women running for positions in the Students’ Union – because I know from experience that student activists often become national politicians later in life, and I also know that the intense experience of being an SU officer is truly invaluable in the bearpit of national politics! Good luck to all the candidates this year. Ivana Bacik is a Senator and Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Trinity


N WHAT has been one of the most politically turbulent years of recent times, it is not surprising that the prevalent issue concerning TCD students is the issue of third-level fees. Our survey provoked a varied response to some questions, however the topic of fees was high on nearly all our reader’s lists of big issues for this SU campaign season. The issue of proposed third-level fees permeated the entire survey, rated as a failed campaign on the part of the current administration by some, to one of this year’s SU’s big achievements. It was also one of the few issues that you thought the SU had any influence on. Other major issues concerning students included the promised student centre and the recurring demand for increased library opening hours. Some participants highlighted the need for extended weekend opening hours, while others suggested the library stay open 24 hours a day. Campus accommodation, the lack of it and its perceived excessive cost was mentioned several times as an issue of concern. There were also remarks on the new system of modularisation. However it seems this year’s officers would do well to take on the cause of the much-needed student centre as a campaign issue. It and fees were the two issues that appeared most often in the survey. When asked what they are looking for in a candidate, most students emphasised the need for “genuine interest” in the intended office. Experience, and “In what I deem a battle intelligence direct action were also recurring beyond our reach, desired traits. TCDSU has put up a This year’s candidates will sterling fight”. need to be realistic, hardworking and willing to work for the benefit of every student, rather than for their own career advancement according to our survey. There appears to be a lack of support for those candidates who run simply to improve their own C.V.’s and with “careerist” intentions. “Action over rhetoric” is needed, as well as leadership and lateral thinking in order to deal with the major issues concerning students, specifically fees and college funding. The election survey revealed mixed responses regarding the current SU administration. TCD students are not immune to financial concerns, and considerable dissatisfaction was expressed with the suggested cost in-effectiveness of this year’s union. The Ents office was particularly singled-out on this issue. The unnecessary expense of class parties, alcohol for class reps and over-postering were lamented. Other responses were less solicitous, simply stating that TCDSU was “entirely irrelevant”, and “full of hacks”. Nick Longworth (Entertainments Officer) was the person most people identified when asked to name as many current sabbatical officers as they could. Cathal Reilly (President) and Orlaith Foley (Welfare) also featured regularly. Overall the SU was deemed relevant because of the important issues it campaigns for, however the dominant sentiment was that they had little power to exact effective change. It was not all bad news for TCDSU, some students noted that the SU did more work behind the scenes, sitting on various committees and representing the student population at an administrative level. The USI received less positive remarks, with a high percentage of respondents claiming that they were not even aware the USI existed. It rated higher than TCDSU with regard to public image however, with some students referring to its prevalence in the Irish media, as opposed to TCDSU’s lack of coverage in the media. Once again the fees debate was omnipresent in the survey’s questions on the achievements and influence of the SU. Responses ranged from favourable, noting that the SU had been successful in making students aware of the fees debate, to ominous, with adjectives such as “marginal” and “terrible” being used to describe the influence of the SU. Worth noting were several remarks against the anti-fee campaign. Some students feel a more diplomatic action on the part of our elected officers would be preferable, as the re-introduction of fees now seems inevitable. There were suggestions that the SU could negotiate a better deal for students rather than continue to fight a losing battle.

Social & Political Review T ri n i t y C ol l e g e D u b l in


Su b m i t a n e s s ay or review [s\


Call for Papers [s\ www.spr.t c dl i f e.i e


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TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009


Tell the truth and shame the devil Unlike many weak-kneed politicians, David Norris refuses to kowtow to public opinion, instead insisting on raising the issues as he sees them. Aoife Crowley finds out why the independent university Senate seats are so important. MANY STEREOTYPES of politicians abound in the public imagination. Images of brown envelopes, greasy handshakes, and general incompetence have been etched into our minds by a small amount of morally bankrupt people. Senator David Norris is the antithesis of the grubby, grasping stereotypical politician. Apart from anything else, he is a genuinely nice man. Seemingly delighted by every person he meets on the corridors of Leinster House, he exudes an aura of warmth and joviality. He compliments Beverly Cooper Flynn on her dress, giggles with Ivana Bacik, and stops to discuss the new Harvey Milk biopic with Eamon Ryan. It is also clear that he will not compromise his views for political gain. “I believe in being honest, and if it’s unpalatable, that’s too bad. I will continue to tell the truth as I see it no matter how many votes I lose.” Norris believes that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is prevalent in politics. “Look at the European Union. I mean there’s a clear prima facie case of war crimes in Gaza. They refuse to support a move by Ireland, Cyprus, Sweden and Portugal to establish a war crimes inquiry. They don’t want to know.” He asked also for monitoring of human rights protocols which were attached to the external trade agreement between the EU and Israel. It wasn’t done. “The European Union could have stopped the war like switching off a light. All they need to do is ban agricultural produce being imported. 75 percent of Israel’s agricultural produce is imported into the European Union. They’ve only got to threaten to cut that off, and the war would stop. They didn’t do it, and I think that’s grossly immoral.” The constant focus on the economy is pushing human rights off the agenda. “But,” as Norris points out, “we never needed them more. Abolishing Combat Poverty just when we were going

into the economic whirlwind was unconscionable”. He believes that the economic climate has “provided a screen under which the government has been able to destroy almost all the voices of advocacy for the underprivileged or marginalised. They’ve abolished Combat Poverty Agency, they’ve spanceled the Human Rights Commission, they’ve destroyed the Equality Authority, and they’ve absorbed the National Council on Racism and Integration.” Tomorrow, Norris plans to put human rights back on the agenda, by presenting a Bill asking the government to affirm publicly its commitment to human rights both domestically and internationally. For those whose knowledge of the Oireachtas is hazy, the Seanad is made up of sixty members, of which three are elected by the graduates of Trinity, and three are elected by graduates of NUI. The Taoiseach appoints eleven directly, and an electorate consisting of TDs, senators and local councillors appoint the rest. The charges of “undemocratic and elitist” are often levelled at the University seats, which irritates Norris. “Balls! If you’ve any sense you’ll ignore that rubbish and stick out to preserve those seats. Look at the people they’ve provided: Owen Sheehy Skeffington, Mary Robinson, Noel Browne. We have made a disproportionate contribution.” “Independent university senators are the only independent element in the whole place. We are the voice that speaks out on issues. We are the ones that are vocal and that cause trouble. That’s what we should do. Of course the government would like to stifle that little voice, the way they stifled the Equality Authority, the Human Rights Commission and all the rest.” Norris does not support the USI and the SU’s free fees crusade. “There is an absurd and ugly phrase “free fees”. That is ungrammatical, nonsensical rubbish. Education is either free or it’s paid

“The current economic climate has provided a screen under which the government has been able to destroy almost all the voices of advocacy for the underprivileged or marginalised.”

for by fees, and it’s always paid for by somebody. It’s paid for by the taxpayer, and not entirely adequately paid for by the taxpayer.” He believes that the current system does not benefit disadvantaged students. “The so-called free education system may appear to allow people from marginalised families in, but they don’t go because there’s no allowance for books. They’ve now introduced this registration fee system – they’ve already started charging the fees. How can someone from a marginalised, working class area possibly afford that? And then there’s the books, then there’s the food, then there’s the accommodation. So you’re actually using taxpayers money to privilege people who are already privileged. I don’t think comfortable middle-class people should be excused for making some form of sacrifice for their children. People value things more if they have to pay for them.”

Trinity has changed hugely since his own time as an undergraduate. Back in the sixties, female students were just about tolerated until six p.m., when they were promptly ushered off campus. “They might contaminate the boys!” he laughs. Catholics were also in short supply, as Archbishop McQuaid was enforcing a ban on their attendance, for fear that Trinity would corrupt them. “Of course it would!” declares Norris gleefully, “That was the whole point of Trinity. It was established by Queen Elizabeth I to civilise the barbarians and introduce them to the joys of Protestantism. It has always been Trinity’s mission to open people’s minds to revolutionary ideas.” But it wasn’t just the student body that has changed dramatically. Today’s Trinity Ball is notorious for many things, but roast venison and seamstresses are not numbered among them. Norris recalls his Trinity Ball experience:

BIOGRAPHY » Norris was born in the Belgian Congo in 1944. » During his time in Trinity, he was elected Foundation Scholar in English. He also edited Icarus. » Norris won his battle to decriminalise gay sex in Ireland. The European Court of Human Rights found that the Irish law was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, and it was repealed in 1993. » Norris has been a Senator since 1987, representing Trinity. “They roasted a venison in the Provost’s garden, which is now gone because they built the Arts Block on it. And there was a note in the programme saying ‘seamstresses will be available in the Elizabethan room in House Six to mend ballgowns’. What a different world! But it was fun.”

The darker side of Saint Valentine’s day OLIVIA MAY RUSSELL I WOULD like to first say, given the ominous nature of the title, before you go thinking this is simply another one of those rants about how sickeningly lovey-dovey or depressing Valentine’s Day is, it is not. While I wouldn’t say it is my favourite holiday, I certainly appreciate it. I mean, clearly it is better if you are in a relationship, but it can be pleasant if you are single as well. After all, a day dedicated to love can’t be that bad, can it? Of course, if you approach it as a day of self-realisation, where your epiphany consists entirely of the thought, “I’m single and am going to die alone”, then yes, it is going to suck. Instead, if you approach it neutrally and with an eye for possibility, it can actually be quite fun (even for the relationshipimpaired). But the popular status of Valentine’s Day is not what I want to discuss here. Rather, I want to illuminate a darker side to the holiday-of-hearts that has nothing to do with crippling self-pity or exploitation by Hallmark. The shady

side of this otherwise romantic holiday only emerges when its incidence coincides with the beginning of a new relationship. This can be very dangerous. How one reacts in such a situation can determine the course of their sex-life, or lack thereof, for months to come. One overzealous gesture or clingy deed can damage a fledgling union irreparably. Even worse, if you do find yourself single again, post-V-Day, the things you did to cause this will haunt you for months to come. That creepy “I love… (long pause) spendintg time with you,” you felt it was appropriate to unleash after three drinks will continue to make you cringe long after you sober up. So, if you don’t want to wake up at dawn on February 15th to the slamming of your front door and a very cold bed, you should probably take it easy on Valentine’s Day. This doesn’t mean doing nothing, but simply don’t get carried away. An example may help to illustrate this advice. For instance, if you have been in a relationship with someone for only a few short weeks, it is probably not appropriate to let yourself into their house, stuff rose petals everywhere you can reach your hand, and set up a candlelit vigil the size of Princess Diana’s in their bedroom. A simple card and a meal would be much better, and less unhinged. Not only are the candles overkill, but they are also dangerous. No

one wants to come home on Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter) to find their apartment in flames, and the girl they met three weeks ago sobbing outside, clad in lingerie that looks like red fishing wire, numerous third degree burns and repeatedly wailing, “I thought it would be romantic!”. This would be awkward for both parties. A nice meal out is definitely better. The lethal concoction of Valentine’s Day with a side of alcohol can also be a powerful catalyst for ushering in the “where-is-this-going” talk prematurely. This is definitely something to be avoided. No-one wants to have this interrogation while surrounded by red and pink heart-shaped balloons and set to an excruciating soundtrack of “slow jams”. This talk, I would presume, is better to be avoided at all costs on Valentine’s Day, regardless of how fitting it may seem. Posing the question, “so are we exclusive or wa’?” (usually done aggressively after the fourth drink) is not only unbearably cliché but can also have catastrophic consequences. As most are punch-drunk on simple sugars and romantic daydreams on Valentine’s Day, it can often be difficult to see the implications of having this talk, too early, and in public. I will just remind you, there are TWO responses to the exclusivity query. You get a yes, and you’re in for a pretty

good post-dinner night. You get a no, and the rest of the dinner is going to be pretty awkward followed by a passiveaggressive walk home. It is very hard to bounce back after a public Valentine’s Day shut-down like this, especially as one rarely anticipates a response in the negative to this question, so it can come as quite a slap in the face. Just avoid this talk. You can have it at another, less ridiculous, time. I alluded earlier to the temptation to say those “three little words” on Valentine’s Day. While it is certainly a nice gesture to profess your love, and quite admirable, it should not be uttered pre-emptively. While it is different for everyone, I would venture to suggest that it is probably not a good idea to confess your love to your new partner in public, specifically on Valentine’s Day. Unless, of course, you are quite sure it is reciprocated. But if not, you run the risk of a private meltdown in a public place. Not fun. It is usually better to hide emotions of that magnitude from the public eye, plus it is simply awkward for anyone who witnesses it. Although the symmetry of professing love on Valentine’s Day can prove alluring, it is probably better to simply postpone. A new relationship is delicate and can easily be squashed, by a pre-emptive (and slurred), “I love you.”

All things considered Valentine’s Day is a great holiday, but it does have somewhat of a barbed tip for newlyformed couples. As I cannot sketch all the possible problems here, a simple pause and reflection will save you a lot of heartache. If you find yourself

in a new relationship on this holiday and are planning anything festive, you should ask yourself two important questions before you commit yourself to any gesture, or confession. The first is, “Could what I am about to do be considered clingy?” If you answer in the affirmative, abort the plan immediately. Second question, and much more important than the first: “Could what I am about to do be considered creepy?” An affirmative to this question means you should not only abort the plan, but also consider spending the night sober and possibly feigning illness and staying in. Because if you are already planning creepy Valentine’s Day gestures, God only knows what you are bound to say and do on the night. Better to keep a clear head and revert to the two questions above if you find yourself in a pickle. Happy Valentine’s Day!


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Time to pay your own way


CORK CITY SHOWS NO GRIT THE SNOW last week may have come as a shock, but Joseph E. Mason, writing in the Irish Examiner, thinks that Cork City should have been better prepared. He writes, “a little bit of grit would have stopped two elderly Cork citizens falling flat on their faces on their way to Mass last Wednesday morning.”

Though Brendan Curran agrees that reform is needed in how our education system is funded, the blind insistance on free fees is both misguided and presumptuous, he says


WAS tricked into joining Wednesday’s protest march. I may only have been involved in Ireland’s largest ever student demonstration for about five minutes, but it was more than enough. I departed the heaving mass of impassioned and uncharacteristically politicised twenty-somethings transformed, imbued with a new sense of energy and purpose. I had seen the star on which our country had set it sights and I was not a fan. This little column is my way of doing something about it. I was strolling across Front Square with a friend (to whom I will refer, for the sake of anonymity, only by his initials – BOB) having a fairly typical college conversation about sandwich fillings, boobs and deontological reasoning when, from nowhere, he said: “Let’s go look at the protest.” Not caring enough to object, I followed him to Nassau St., where he promptly plunged into the crowd. I followed confusedly in his wake. As we turned onto Merrion Square, I asked: “What are we doing?” “Marching against fees”

“Somebody please think of the children” “But I support the recovery of tuition fees through a system of equitably applied taxation on graduate salary with exemptions for incomes below a certain threshold! Or possibly a well run loans scheme. Where does that leave me?” “Dunno, but that TV crew over there have you opposing fees.” “You’re a jerk BOB.” On that note I left. But not before I saw some things that made me think. They were a bunch of puzzled looking schoolchildren and some cheering French tourists. To those I’m also going to add the statement of USI President Shane Kelly in Irish Times which was, in essence, “Don’t pick on students.” I took these as signs that change was necessary and here’s why: “We’re not going to stand by and allow the Government to use us as

scapegoats” were Mr. Kelly’s exact words. The real culprits, according to the USI President, were either the university heads who had mismanaged funds or the Government who simpy weren’t being generous enough. Undergraduate education should be free for those who avail of it and should be paid for out of central funds. This is what bothered me the most about Wednesday’s protest. 15,000 students took to the streets on the basis of a principle – that those who benefit the most from undergraduate education shouldn’t have to make any more contribution towards its cost. They weren’t contesting the introduction of an inequitable or poorly managed system of payment, but rather the introduction of any system whatsoever. College is an incredible experience and probably the single most rewarding investment that any individual can make. It increases your earnings, reduces your chances of unemployment, puts you in touch with new friends and future bosses and stretches your mind to fit more of the world than you dreamt possible. Why should we presume to have it for free? The USI and I agree on at least one thing though – it’s the schoolkids, the ones that’ll be thinking about college in a year or five or ten, who will be most affected by any change on fees. At a Phil debate on this subject, USI Education Officer Bartley Rock told us that the reintroduction of fees would create a barrier for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and would result in a psychological and social block on the progress of the less well off. Coupled with the genuine financial difficulties that would result, the policy would decimate the uptake of higher education by the poor in our society. This ignores the fact that the biggest obstacle to the participation of disadvantaged people in third level isn’t in the gap between the leaving cert and college, but in early childhood education and in primary and secondary schools. The social returns on this kind of investment absolutely dwarfs that of university education. Those who fail to make to third level may be more likely to be unemployed, but school dropouts



Students protest last week. Photo: Andrew Holohan

are more likely to go to prison. Barnados reports that in disadvantaged areas where they work literacy problems are three times higher than the national average and the average number of days missed is almost twice as high. Every year one thousand students even fail to make the transition from primary to secondary school. Given the profile of the average university student, most of the money in the free fees scheme goes to subsidising the children of already quite well off families. Even if our universities were satisfactorily funded, it seems odd that they should receive seventeen or eighteen years of the highest quality education cost-free, while there remain people in our society who leave school with effectively none. Of course, the palpable anger on display on Wednesday is understandable. For years the Government had the

“Do you really want to live in France?” resoures necessary to do all these things and chose to piss it away on the property bubble and populist tax breaks instead. The students now studying in our universities worked hard to get there, work hard to support themselves through it and will continue to work hard to defend their interests from College bureaucracies and Government interference. We all have friends who stand to lose it all if reforms proceed in a cack-handed manner. Some system of

deferred payment will be necessary to ensure that nobody’s financial standing at the age of eighteen keeps them out of college for life.

“The social returns on investment in primary and secondary education absolutely dwarfs that of university education. “ But reform is necessary. The blame for the shortfall in public funds may lie with the Government, the banks and all those guilty of low standards in high places, but we all carry the responsibility of solving it. The USI is in good company – plenty of other big unions are drawing lines in the sand in their absolute defence of their member’s entitlements. Which is all a bit French. And not in a good way, with good food, red wine and a long lecherous life, but in a bad way, with a creeping economy, endemic strikes and a laughingly underfunded university system. It’s unlikely our unions could turn Ireland into an oversexed, continental-style paradise, but they could very easily make it a continental-style basket case. I hope BOB likes living in France. Brendan Curran is the Hon. Secretary of the Philosophical Society

Nil all to Ireland and Leeds Utd There are striking similarities between how Ireland and Leeds United acted during their glory days, writes Bloxham analysist Alan McQuaid. Pity then that they both acted so irresponsibly.


HAT HAVE the Irish economy and Leeds United got in common? Well for a start, they are both very close to my heart. I’ve followed the ups and downs of Leeds since I was a youngster, with last week’s news of the managerial sacking of former player Gary McAllister the latest calamity in the downward spiral of what was once a great football team and club. To but it bluntly, Leeds fall from grace in recent years has been nothing short of staggering, and there are alarming parallels with the “Celtic Tiger” economy, which too has seen a sharp turnaround of fortunes in the past twelve months or so. It is not that long ago that Leeds were playing in the Champions League semi-final, 2001 to be exact, but seven years on the club is languishing in the third tier of English football, with no indication that it is going to return to the top table of the Premiership any time soon. One thing is clear from the demise of Leeds is that the club spent money it didn’t have, or wasted any funds it did have on things like exotic fish tanks in the boardroom. Leeds assumed the good times would last forever and then paid a heavy price for not having a contingency plan in place if things


took a turn for the worse on the playing field, as they duly did. This lack of forward-planning could also be an accusation thrown at Irish governments. Leeds put all their eggs into one basket, betting that they could regularly qualify for the Champions League and borrowed against the expectation of higher gate receipts and television revenue. As it turned out, Leeds only qualified for the Champions League once. The glory days of 2001 are now well and truly gone and the supporters are the ones paying the heaviest price for the mismanagement of the club during the good times. Ireland too put all its eggs in one basket in recent years, namely the property/ construction sector, and with the building industry now in the throes of a significant slump, the Irish economy is headed for a serious downturn in 2009. Just like Leeds, Ireland spent money as if it was going out of fashion, and where the supporters are bearing the brunt of the football club’s demise, it is the Irish taxpayer who in the main is paying the price for the death of the “Celtic Tiger”. It is not that long ago that Ireland was topping the GDP league table within Euroland. Indeed, in 2007 we were head of the class with real economic growth of six percent.

But it is likely to be a long time before we will be at that level again. The fact of the matter is that just like Leeds, the Irish economy will be operating at a much lower level over the next few years, at the bottom rungs of the Eurozone. And lack of forward planning by previous governments has probably put the economy into a deeper hole at this stage than it needed to be in. As Leeds slipped out of the Premiership its best players were sold, making it that much harder to get back to the “promised land”. The same could be said of Ireland, with the news that nearly two thousand jobs have been lost at Dell. As one of the Celtic Tiger’s best players in recent years, this will hamper Ireland’s future recovery. The story of Leeds in the past few years has been dominated by its debt problems and the managerial merrygo-round with mangers being hired and sacked at a whim. Now we’re not suggesting that we will see constant changing of government in these tough times, but there is no doubt that the country’s mounting debt problems are likely to feature prominently on the front pages of the newspapers in 2009. After its initial slide into the lower echelons of English football, Leeds

appear to have found their level now. While they continue to endeavour to try to get back to the Premiership, it is likely to take some time yet before their goal is achieved. However, in my heart I believe they will be eating at the top table again within the next five to ten years. I think a similar story is likely for the Irish economy. Like Leeds, the country will have to cut its cloth accordingly over the next few years, and put in place the right financial structures to enable the economy to survive and thrive when we do get back into the top level of the Euroland GDP league. And return we will, mark my word, but for now we are going to have to get used to a diet of ever gloomier economic news. The reality of the situation is that the ‘Celtic Tiger’ is now a distant memory, but it was good while it lasted, just as the Champions League voyage of Leeds was worth savouring at the time. But, it is now more like “Yorkshire Pudding” or “Irish Stew” than “Celtic Tiger”, something we will have to put up with in the short-term at least. That said, those courses can often be quite appealing and edible when choosing from the cost-saving menu. Alan McQuaid is Chief Economist with Bloxham Stockbrokers

IN LINE with the general belt-tightening mood that seems to be prevailing at the moment, the Government this week was engaged in talks with the Social Partners in an effort to cut 2 billion from public sector spending over the next year. These talks ended without agreement, leaving considerable questions as to the future of Social Partnership. Sarah Carey writing in the Irish Times did not seem too worried by that particular prospect, writing “social partnership has turned thousands of public servants into rich men and women in expensive coats while the hospital porter rots on his EUR 91.... Let partnership fall and with it the rules by which pig and man divided the spoils of the farm.” Stephen Collins, writing in the same paper, finds the concept slightly more distressing: “The collapse of that consensus strategy at the final hurdle is a cruel blow for a leader who placed so much faith in it. If his continued commitment to the partnership process is taken as a sign of weakness ... the country will pay a very heavy price for the past two months.”


WILL THE REAL MR. COWEN PLEASE STAND UP THE GENERAL public trust in the government, optimism about the future, and mood in general has been fairly dire over recent weeks and months. Elaine Byrne writing in the Irish Times attributes this to political failures. “Trust is fragile. A perception of political failure has the snowball effect of amalgamating unconnected issues to collectively undermine the most robust of democratic institutions.” The Irish Examiner appears cautiously optimistic, claiming that “Mr Cowen has far more support than he imagines - if only he confronts the issues we all know need to be resolved. What is the problem? What is he waiting for?” and asking “Will the real Mr Cowen, or the real leader, please stand up.” Maybe if that’s all it takes, things will be getting better sooner than expected.


DEMPSEY’S TRANSPORT PLAN GENERALLY WELL RECEIVED MINISTER NOEL Dempsey published a new transport plan this week, and, while it has generally been well received, the consensus seems to be that it is also extremely ambitious. Harry McGee writes in the Irish Times: “The plan, as has become the norm for this Minister, is hugely ambitious.” but he also concedes that “the rationale behind the report is commendable.” The editorial in the same paper agrees “The ideas contained in a Smarter Travel policy document published yesterday by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey are progressive, ambitious and worthy.”


NO MORE MIDWEEK NITELINKS THIS WRITER is amazed at the lack of media coverage given to the cancellation of the midweek nitelink bus service. There has been to date just four articles nationwide that even mention this development. One can only presume that everyone is so poor they cannot afford to go out anymore, and so haven’t noticed.



TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

What to do when deflation breeds deflation JASON SOMERVILLE WITH RECESSION now a reality being faced by most of the world’s major economies, deflation looks set to become one of the “hot” topics of 2009. Central banks are very aware of the devastating consequences of deflation and in recent months have been scrambling to cut rates to historically low levels in order to combat this risk. The problem with deflation is that it’s difficult to shake off. Unlike most economic evils which tend to be self-correcting, deflation is

self-reinforcing. When an economy has fallen into deflation, demand from consumers and businesses dries up because they expect to pay less in the future. Businesses struggle in this environment and many go bust, which leads to rising unemployment and hence demand is crippled further. This can in turn lead to a deflationary spiral in which deflation breeds deflation. Japan’s experience of the “lost” decade of the 1990s serves a stark reminder of just how destructive deflation can be. When there is constantly the expectation of further price declines consumer and business sentiment becomes depressed and the fundamental driving force behind any economy at risk. The “Great Depression” was spurred on by such a spiral and has had a significant impact on the psyche

of Fed officials over the past year. The US knows too well how detrimental deflation can be and so have opted for a policy of “fighting deflation with inflation.” The Fed has already slashed rates to close to zero and is currently exploring more quantitative easing measures. President Barack Obama has also unveiled a massive stimulus plan for the economy worth nearly $900 billion. While these measures may prevent deflation in the short term, they will inevitably cause inflation to rise. The general sentiment in the US seems to be that you can always control inflation, but deflation can be unmanageable and detrimental to growth. However this doesn’t seem to be in line with the economic philosophy of the ECB. Since its establishment in 1998 the ECB has focused exclusively

on controlling inflation as its primary objective, citing economic growth as only a secondary goal. This is what prompted officials to raise rates by 25bps in July in order to combat what it referred to as ‘second round effects’ at a time when the cracks had already began to appear in the Eurozone economy. While rates have been coming down in recent months, ECB policymakers have certainly been less aggressive than the Fed or the Bank of England and insist that deflation is not a risk. It will be interesting to see which philosophy holds up best given the current economic climate, however the ECB is certainly playing a far riskier game by keeping its commitment to controlling inflation. Only time will tell however it is individual nations that may suffer the most from such a staunch economic

philosophy. With Eurozone Inflation set to fall well below the ECB’s 2% target in the coming months such a small margin will undoubtedly see some countries in the Eurozone slip in deflation. No country is more at risk than Ireland. The current deflationary spiral being experienced in the property market highlights just how destructive deflation can be. Ireland was the first European economy to enter a recession this year and so finds itself deeper into this economic downturn that most. The National Accounts to date for 2008 have already indicated that domestic demand has contracted significantly in 2008. Furthermore, the worse may yet to come in the final quarter with early indicators already pointing to a sharper decline. What the Irish economy needs in order to avoid a deflationary spiral is to

follow the US model and fight deflation with inflation. However public finances are already under substantial pressure, therefore any chances of a major stimulus plan are bleak. Furthermore, at this stage it looks like the ECB will be easing rates gradually, as opposed to slashing them dramatically as the Bank of England has. All this could see deflation hit Ireland in the coming months with the consequences for growth being disastrous. Indeed, the latest Reuters poll of Irish economists forecasts an average 2% fall in prices in 2009. While this is good news in terms of boosting disposable incomes and improving the competitiveness of the Irish economy, the threat of a deflation spiral remains a serious cause for concern.



LAST WEEKEND, I saw Milk, the newlyreleased biopic of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. While a Supervisor in San Francisco, he led the campaign against Proposition 6, which would have banned gays or lesbians from teaching in the California’s public schools. It seems far removed from modern Irish society, but Irish legislation allows for such a situation. Under the terms of equality legislation, religious organizations are given exemptions on moral grounds, so that a school board could refuse to employ someone who did not comply with their ethos, including a matter of sexuality. In calling for a secular society, it is not then simply an abstract philosophical position, but a call for the state to be neutral on religious grounds, granting no particular privilege or status to a belief because it is a matter of faith. Though discrimination might be distasteful, I have no strong objection to the right of religious organizations or any other private group to do so on whatever basis they choose. What matters is when such discrimination is allowed in the public sector, in this case in schools. However infrequently such privileges are exercised by the religious, the fact that they exist does create a burden for some people, restricting the areas they feel confident that they could look for work in. The state has progressed a long way since there was significant collusion between those in political and religious power in shaping policy, with particularly shameful episodes such as Magdalene laundries, with girls taken away from their families and children for not conforming to the Roman Catholic Church’s view of morality. Thankfully, such situations no longer occur, and it would be unhelpful to make too much of a point of these past events. But they do highlight the problems that can emerge when power is given to an organisation which is not accountable to the people. Equally, there should not be particular consultation with religious officials when drafting legislation that has ethical implications. I have no objection whatever to priests preaching politics, but it is only by the electorate subsequently contacting their TDs that they should expect to effect change in a republic. It is not my desire as an avowed atheist and

secularist to encourage those who have religious faith to abandon it, as it is fundamentally a very personal matter. I do think, however, that those who lack a belief in a god should recognize the significance of such a position, and that some level of the promotion of the rationality of nonbelief is a good thing in the context of the presumption of belief that often exists. This should not mean railing against religious faith as irrational, as this serves only to make others feel uncomfortable, including many atheists who have no desire to be aggressive. It is precisely because religious faith or the lack of it is such a personal matter that I would advocate a secular state. It was not originally as an atheist that I first became a committed secularist, but as someone who had received a Roman Catholic primary education, including the administration of sacraments, but found my beliefs and religious sensibilities more akin to Protestantism. It was only when I read the work of Thomas Paine at 19 that I questioned religion wholesale. Even leaving aside cases of conversion or apostasy, there are many who receive sacraments through their school system who are not fully aware of their religion’s doctrines. While the various denominations do not want their nominal figures to decline, so might see removing religious instruction from classrooms as against their interest, if such instruction took place only in religious settings by those who have trained for that specific purpose, their faith would surely be more sincere. It is in the classroom that I think that a secular society matters most of all. It is not just that at times the teachings of religion can conflict with educational value of teaching objective truth; it can be an issue, but the nature of religion in Ireland is such that there is little reason to fear teachings such as creationism or, what is a more modern version of it, intelligent design. It is because there will be one child in that classroom who questions religion, either from their own reflection or because of family background, or one of another religion. As Toby said to Leo in Season Two of The West Wing, on the reason the state should maintain objectivity in religious affairs “It’s not religious freedom, it’s church and state, it’s not abstract...It’s the fourth grader who gets his ass kicked at recess because he sat out the voluntary prayer. It’s another way of making kids different from other kids.” The state should be secular because of this real difference it makes to individuals’ lives, and this objectivity is then the proper stance of a republic. William Quill is the Public Events Officer of Atheist Ireland and an economics student at TCD

“FUNDAMENTALISM IS THE REAL ENENMY” DARREN MCCALLIG WHEN YOU get right down to it, all fundamentalists are the same. They hate complexity. They know it doesn’t sell. Neither the millionaire televangelists nor the fundamentalist atheists are interested in complex and nuanced debate. Instead, like all advertisers, they trade in simple and seductive dreams. On the one hand you have those who claim that the six-day creation story in Genesis is historical fact and that the great majority of the world’s population is destined for hell. And on the other, you have those who distort the scientific theory of evolution to explain every aspect of human existence and want to ban all forms of religious expression. In their shared absurdity they show us that the danger is not religion or atheism per se. The danger is fundamentalism. Take, for example, the fundamentalist atheist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith. In that best selling volume, he calls for the killing of all those who have, in his view, dangerous beliefs. “Some propositions are so dangerous,” he writes, “that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” He goes on, “… it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world.” New York Times journalist, Chris Hedges, sums up Harris’ view: “Harris mistakes a tiny subset of criminals and terrorists for one billion Muslims. The passions of atheists like Harris, hidden under the jargon of reason and science, are as bankrupt as the passions of Christian and Islamic fundamentalists who sanctify mass murder in the name of their utopias.” Author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins is also a close cousin of religious fundamentalists. Dawkins sees no moral worth whatsoever in religious belief, just like religious fundamentalists see no moral worth in those who do not share their world-view. Dawkins dismisses Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi and millions of others who, inspired by their faith, have fought for justice and compassion as dangerous dupes; just as Christian fundamentalists dismiss all those who do not profess a personal faith in the Lord Jesus as irredeemably lost. Again, Chris Hedges sums it up succinctly: “Dawkins, like Christian zealots, reduces

the world to a binary formula of good and evil. Religion is a force of darkness. Reason and science are forces of light. He, like the fundamentalists he despises, views the world through this childish lens.” The extent of Dawkins’ childishness is probably best displayed in his treatment of various world conflicts. In a breath-taking piece of ignorance he claims that without religion there would be “… no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as ‘Christkillers’, no Northern Ireland troubles …” Is he really so ignorant of the multitude of social, economic, political and other causes behind these conflicts? But then again, as I said, fundamentalists of all types hate complexity. And simplicity and ignorance are virtues when you are determined to paint all wars as caused by religion. So where do we go from here? How do we avoid both religious and secular fundamentalism? Well, the first thing we need to do it stop the sloganeering and the soundbites. Ridiculing all people of faith as deluded and dangerous is as unhelpful as condemning all non-believers to hell. As philosopher and theologian, Keith Ward puts it, “Which is the more dangerous: tolerance of and engagement with views you take to be absurd, or the suppression of views that are opposed to what you believe to be certainly true? The latter is the view of the Inquisition. The former is the hard-won consequence of the reformation acceptance of critical thinking and tolerance of diversity.” The second thing we could do is learn to value the positive contribution of both faith and non-belief. People of faith, for instance, would do well to remember that atheists, including those who brought us the Enlightenment, have often been a beneficial force in the history of human thought and religion. Very often, they have challenged empty religious platitudes and have also opposed the moral hypocrisy of some religious institutions. Conversely, atheists would do well to remember the positive contribution of people of faith in, for example: the provision of health and education services; the struggle for civil rights; the development of ethics and philosophy and the inspiration and support of art and music. And the third thing we can do is band together again the fanatics, both religious and secular. Because the danger we face in the twenty-first century is not faith or atheism per se. The danger is fundamentalism. Darren McCallig is the Church of Ireland Chaplain, TCD

Live music pushed aside for dead beats By Sarah Edwards AS I queue in the Ham cafe for one of my daily seven cups of tea, headphones blaring, the next customer comments on how much he likes the song I am listening to. Music is a connection, a bond, a conversation starter and brings people together through one common thing, their love of it. There is exceptional musical taste in Trinity College but a year and a half in and I am yet to see a live band on campus. Despite all the hype over rag week it was horribly disappointing to see a nearly complete lack of live music surrounding what should be the entertainment highlight of the college year. Credit is due to the Trinity Hall’s JCR in organising a covers contest for student bands of Trinity in the Sugar

Club. This however sparked my interest in the subject. Are there any original bands in Trinity or are they just being suffocated in our student’s fanatical obsession with Citibar and the banal tunes entwined with that? For a college filled with so many interesting, talented, original individuals, of whom a considerable number are musicians and avid giggoers, the lack of suitable venues around college is rather shocking. We have our student bar, the Pav and several rather large restaurants, the Buttery, the JCR, and the Dining Hall yet there is no music. I am well aware that we are literally walking distance from some great live venues such as Whelan’s, The Olympia, Vicar Street and so on, but with ticket prices on the rise, shouldn’t the Ents committee be trying to make more of an effort to bring gigs to us at student

prices? “Preposterous nonsense!” I hear you cry, but in other rival campuses this is the case. Last term with a friend, who attends UCD, I rather sneakily attended a number of free gigs, including Cathy Davey and Fight Like Apes, which were held in their student bar. And yes, they were totally free. Cathy Davey played an free hour long set in UCD which I paid twenty five precious Euros in The Olympia to see. Are we not completely missing out in an essential element of extra-curricular activities and social networking, music? Perhaps I am being biased and there is actually no genuine interest in gigs on campus. Last year Trinity’s “Battle of the Bands” had such an appealling turn out that I wonder will such events be scheduled again. A handful of people, mostly friends or groupies of a flamboyant guitarist, showed up for the event held practically on campus, in

Kennedy’s of Westland Row. Was the event horribly overpriced? Hardly, as there were heavily subsidised concessions and no taxi fares needed. Were the bands awful? No, a rather high standard of musicianship must be noted. Were the drinks extortionately priced? God no and as students we have developed skills to plan for pre-event soirees. The simple answer is that the event was not promoted aside from a couple of lonely posters in front arch. In a rival university they promoted a similar event in all the college papers, the radio, and Phantom FM. It subsequently was a rather successful night for young bands, and a final in Tripod was held which sparked major interest throughout the college and raised a huge profit for subsequent gigs. Far be it from me to criticise the organisation of the Ents budget for

advertising, but I feel they are only pleasing a select group of people in college with constant club nights out or pub crawls or vomit competitions in front square. We are all aware that they have tried in the past to provide gigs but it baffles me how Vengaboys in the Button Factory in Michaelmas term constitutes as a serious gig for people with an avid interest and appreciation in live music. I will be rebutted in the fact that sure we have a big extravagant ball at the end of the year with many famous artists such as last year’s Mark Ronson and Vitallic, but I don’t believe they appeal to all musical tastes or compensate for the deficiency throughout the year. And of course, as we are all students, the price of Trinity Ball tickets are simply just not accessible to everyone. The current Irish music scene is buzzing with artists and bands more

than willing to play for colleges. The Blizzards, Ham Sandwich, Aslan, Republic of Loose, and The Delerentos have all become regulars on the bill in other colleges around the country. Many students have great connections with friends in popular “up and coming” bands. Should we not be trying to promote our peers’ music? I’m convinced that among the fifteen thousand of us there has to be some roaring talent. Open mic nights and college student bands would also make a welcome change in the Pav from pub quizzes and the appalling karaoke, which is only ever undertaken by the drunkest of the drunk. I look forward to Mr.Longworth’s team’s plans for the Trinity Ball, and I hope that perhaps this music lover will find some solace in another venue in the coming year, as Trinity just simply isn’t cutting it.


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

TRINITY NEWS Issue 8, Volume 55 Tuesday, 10 February 2009 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2

TRINITY JOINS RANKS OF PRIMARY TEACHERS READERS WILL perhaps recall going on school trips in primary school. On such trips, it is common for teachers to tell their charges that they are “ambassadors for the school” or some such, and that they should behave themselves out of the school as they would in the school while on the trip. Such admonishments are perfectly sensible when dealing with children. After all, they are simply not capable of making complicated decisions about their behaviour. This is the reason why teachers are justified in telling children what to do. The manner in which Trinity College and certain individuals have commented on the ongoing Bodies exhibit (as reported on page three, and reviewed in our last issue’s Science section) is absurd. Adults, most especially students considered sensible and intelligent enough to be admitted to this particular academic institution, will of their own volition “reflect on the ethical implications” of what they do; they do not need to be told. To order them to do so in their own private time, outside Trinity’s walls, is a comical infraction. Perhaps a few individuals could be forgiven for piggybacking on the name of Trinity College, as the two department heads did in their email to students. Sensible readers conclude that the email constitutes the views of two individuals. However, for a spokeswoman for the College to tell the Evening Herald on January 26th that “students should reflect on the ethical implications of attending this exhibition” is patently ridiculous. In doing so, Trinity College has stood itself firmly among the ranks of primary school teachers the world over in fingerwagging to its charges. This paper did not think it necessary to say it, but apparently the College does: students are capable of making their own minds up and they do so. What they do in their private time is their business, and theirs alone. It is yet again difficult to avoid becoming cynical about the College’s attitudes to students given this latest overstepping of bounds. How are students meant to respect the College’s communications with them on the genuinely more serious, more important matters, such as semesterisation, modularisation, changes to Schol (all of which are reported on in this issue) when clearly they take an extremely dim view of students’ ability to think for themselves?

ELECTION PROMISES WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN THIS YEAR’S thirteen SU sabbatical election candidates are profiled on pages 12 & 13. The candidates would do well to heed the views expressed in our reader survey. Fees and the student centre emerged as the major issues for readers of Trinity News, and rightly so. Last issue, this column bemoaned the resetting of the plans for the Student Centre back to square one, and wondered if an annually-changing Students’ Union could be effective. That the Students’ Union officers will change is immutable; now we have gotten a glimpse of what the nature of the next incarnation of the Union will be. That glimpse is, of course, full of promises, and many more will be forthcoming when campaigning begins next week. Promises are cheap, and this was not lost on some of the respondants to the survey who had not forgotten the issues on which our current representatives were elected. Accordingly, the challenge which faces the thirteen hopefuls is less making the right promises – students will not be shy in expressing their views – but convincing them that indeed the promises are acheivable and that they will be acheived. This is a much more difficult proposition; yet it is needed now more than ever. Efficacy is now undoubtedly a major issue for the Union.

Trinity Publications invites applications for positions on next year’s committee. This includes the Executive Officers: Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Amenities Officer and Alumni Officers, and the editor representatives of the Recognised and Provisionally Recognised Publications: Icarus, Piranha, TCD Miscellany, Trinity Film Review, Trinity News (and any additions before the AGM). For more details or for a copy of the application, email Secretary Luke Maishman at Applications are due before 23rd February 2009.


LETTERS TO THE Editor should be sent to or to Trinity News, 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2. The Editor reserves the right to edit submissions for style and length. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Trinity News, its staff or its Editor.

Fees issue unites all demonstrators IT WAS refreshing to take part in a street protest that was not dominated by the usual motley of communist eco-warriors waving hemp placards and wailing folk chants to the accompaniment of a brush-haired acoustic guitarist. The commune dwellers have spent the past thirty years giving protesting a bad name in this country. Ordinary people scoffed at street protests that were more a ‘parade of the pansies’ than ‘power to the people’. But anyone who looked at the Fees protesters could see they were drawn from all sections of society. And not just university students, but there were big contingents from most of the country’s IT colleges.


And though there were of course socialists there, there was no anti-system feeling in the crowd. A shop owner on O’ Connell St. popped outside to hold up a ‘SALE’ sign to the protestors filing past. It won him a huge cheer from the students who then began chanting the name of his business in unison. This isn’t some abstract debate. People’s careers and livelihoods are directly threatened. Now that there is a real popular issue that can unite demonstrators from all backgrounds maybe the word ‘protest’ will once again send chills down a politician’s spine. Aidan Matthews

THERE IS no more appropriate symbol of the ineptitude of our college’s administrators than the multicoloured plastic barriers which encircle Pomodoro’s “Sphere Within Sphere” outside the Berkeley Library. These eyesores were erected in an attempt to prevent aesthetic damage to the sculpture. Ironically, the barriers themselves are infinitely more aesthetically displeasing than the trivial engravings they were designed to stop. The souvenir photographs of thousands of Japanese tourists have been ruined as a consequence. The barriers are not only grotesquely ugly but entirely ineffective. Any skateboarder or Dublin lout of respectable height can still reach over and carve his initials into the sculpture at will. I encourage anyone over five foot five to chisel his objections to the barriers into Pomodoro’s sculpture. Maybe this will hasten their removal. Edward Francis Grant, Sch JS Mathematics

Our forgotten student gown


HE DISAPPEARANCE of academic dress has been one of the many casualties of modern arrogance. A cap and gown was the uniform of all students and academic staff members from the foundation of this university until the lamentable 1960s. While the bachelors’ and masters’ gowns have not been completely abandoned thanks to their use at Commencements, the undergraduates’ gown, unique to this college, is now an extremely rare sight. When a tradition has been erased, we are forced to turn to books. Shaw’s Academical Dress of British and Irish Universities preserves a description of the Trinity College undergraduates’ gown, which students here once donned daily. It is a sleeveless garment with a flap collar, each armhole having a broad flap decorated with three rows of tassels. The side of the gown, beneath the arm holes, is also decorated with tassels. This gown is prescribed for almost all undergraduates in Trinity. Scholars, upon their election, become entitled to the more ample bachelors’ gown. In the 18th century it was the privilege of Trinity College students to be admitted to the Irish House of Commons on College Green. “The student’s passport was his gown” says Ireland Ninety Years Ago, in which the author gives a personal account: “When I first entered College, I was very fond of using this privilege. It was a proud thing for a gib to present himself to a crowd round the door, [and] hear many a cry, ‘Make way for the gentleman of the College!’” That century, the same gentlemen were advised to have contempt for their gowns by the disrespectful but entertaining pamphlet Advice to the University of Dublin: “When first arrayed in your academic dress, I suppose you were very proud of yourself, and frequently sported your new gown, even beyond those limits prescribed by the statutes; but one month’s experience, I hope, has convinced you that this is an unfashionable and ridiculous practice.” And, to help the new student appear to be an old hand, Advice recommends abusing the garment: “You can let it sweep the ground after you like a lady’s train; cut most of the tassels off; and twisting it frequently like a rope, pelt it against every corner you meet. By this means you will probably pass for a sophister and avoid that reproachful term gib, so constantly applied to young freshmen.” Undergraduates, clearly, were never particularly fond of their gowns. The narrator of the pleasant novel O’Grady of Trinity: A Story of Irish University Life, published in 1896, recorded the sentiment: “The Dublin undergraduate gown could not by any stretch of the imagination, however elastic, be considered a graceful or even dignified garment ... I yearned, therefore, for the comely gown and velvet cap of the Scholar.” Whether by accident or design, the student’s gown was often a pitiful item. A College Historical Society subcommittee attempted to prevent “academic nudity” in the early 1930s. Bachelors and Scholars, said the committee’s report, “should wear a full, seemly gown,” while Pensioners and Sizars “should wear the customary, lesser gown, commonly called the jib’s gown.” (Most students are ‘Pensioners’: that is, undergraduates other than Scholars and Sizars. ‘Sizars’ are poorer students – these days Sizars receive free Commons.) The Hist report continued: “Furthermore, the gown must be a gown. A collection of black rags held together by pins, or a concentration of dark-coloured ribbons assembled by cords, is not a gown.” A piece in TCD: A College Miscellany in 1949 noted the gown’s often unattractive appearance: “Ostensibly a sable drapery, it is more often green, fusty and ripped, having no kin even in pattern with its neighbour in lecture.” The

The Trinty College undergraduates’ gown


student scribe was pessimistic: “If the gown is rendered extinct by the fulfilment of its present apathetic decline, it will be a good thing.” The decline in standards of academic dress did continue, with official approbation. In 1958, ignoring St Paul’s instruction on head coverings in his first letter to Corinth, lady students were given permission to attend College Chapel without wearing mortar boards. Trinity News reported that gowns remained obligatory. Eventually the undergraduates’ gown fell out of use, despite rules to the contrary. Even today the statutes prescribe a gown for each student and academic staff member, who “shall wear

it while performing his academic duties”. The rules of both the Phil and the Hist also require academic dress for meetings; a requirement now never observed. Other ancient universities retain and enforce academic dress requirements for students dining at hall, attending matriculation or taking finals. It is our loss that we have abandoned such a venerable tradition – even if it was not always loved by every student. However, those students keen to restore the collegiate spirit can order Trinity undergraduates’ gowns for a reasonable price from Shepherd and Woodward in Oxford. Commons, examinations and GMB debates are particularly appropriate occasions for the eager restorationist to wear his Trinity gown, and do so proudly. CONGRATULATIONS TO the Boat Club men who were awarded Pinks recently for their victory at last year’s Irish senior eights championship: a well-deserved recognition of a once-in-a-generation win. The college weekly TCD in 1936 reported that students with University Colours would attend college functions “swathed in this antisepticseeming material”. I have not encountered a record of the design of this Pinks blazer, despite its former popularity. Does any reader have a description or photograph of it?


Future Calling


DARRAGH MCCASHIN WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU FINISH COLLEGE? WHETHER YOU are a panicking fourth year who has just realized that the real world is the only module for next year or a happy-go-lucky undergraduate unaware that post-college life does actually exist, this article hopes to inform you of the post-graduate education routes worth considering in the current economic climate. If your course does not provide a professional qualification which virtually guarantees employment, if you genuinely adore your subject and wish to remain studying, or if you hold understandable doubts about making life-defining decisions, then read on. There are various resources available on this topic ranging from Trinity’s own (and very useful) careers advisory service to an array of websites and career fairs. Wishing to stay in the somewhat comfy environment of academia is quite common for obvious reasons. However, this should not cloud your judgement when intending to go down the postgraduate route. Without doubt, and from my experience trawling through the endless postgraduate advice pages, a sufficient amount of clarity is needed on your part before you start committing years of your future to something that is probably a bit more specific than you might have initially imagined. You should ask yourself how the postgraduate route will benefit you and what you hope to specifically gain from it. Comparisons are frequently made between the CAO and postgraduate decision-making processes but there are considerable differences. For example, fees (at least currently!) are not an issue for Irish students entering third level but they are a core issue for postgraduates. On top of this, it is widely recognized that it is almost common practice to have a degree nowadays thereby encouraging certain types of people to go to college for the sake of it, without any specific intentions. On the other hand, such specific intentions definitely need to be evident for the postgraduate student to be a success. This is all tied into one point: “...such specific competition. We all know intentions definitely to some extent need to be evident that fourth level education is an for the posteffective way of making you more graduate student marketable in to be a success, this the now-fragile market, at all converges at one labour home or abroad. point: competition.” A physiotherapist with a sports medicine qualification will get the nod from a sports body over the recently qualified physiotherapist; the examples are infinite. Therefore, there is bound to be increasing competition for places in post-graduate courses which in turn leads to greater requirements for acceptance. For example, some of Trinity’s postgraduate psychology courses once specified a minimum of an upper second class honours degree for entry consideration, whereas now they state that a first is the norm. Having clarity is crucial but it is certainly not easy to obtain, so you should make best use of the resources you have immediately, no matter what type of student you are. The happy-golucky undergraduate mentioned at the offset should keep a consistent standard in grades and actively engage with their course to maximize the impression they give to their department because reference letters can be deciding factors for jobs and postgraduate entrance in the future. The stressed out fourth year should go to their college tutor and use this indispensable facility fully; they are paid to be your tutor, so don’t be shy! Use them to make referrals to other postgraduates so you can chat to them, or to guide you through applications, deadlines and so on. This can really save time. Talk to people who have gone down the path you are thinking of and try to get a good insight so as to allow you to envisage yourself in their shoes. On a more practical note, if you are in your final year, you should need no reminding to be aware of closing dates for applications to courses, which can be found through the department websites usually or by directly contacting the office itself. Money of course needs care and attention; one third of post-graduates are funded by parents initially. Other funding comes from grants, companies paying for students in return for a guarantee of future service, awards from universities, or the state. Because there are many differences between the various fields, you should consult some of the resources below to find out what your options are in your particular field. Loans are another common funding source where students can claim that money can be repaid within the near future due to their enhanced employment prospects. Although this area may change due to recent crises, it is by no means a lost cause for students, unless they have lost all confidence in the banking system. This article cannot give you the clarity in direction you need but hopefully it will get you thinking of one. postgraduate_study.php

TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Obama: The hero or zero? Aisling Deng discusses the U.S Presidents plans for the road to economic recovery and stability. How will he fare against a real but volatile villian: the recession as it strikes back? HE BRANDED Wall Street ‘shameful’ with a striking iron fist and refuses to let the U.S economy succumb to the unvaulted downcast sky; Barack Obama, U.S president is adamant that his country won’t be another one to bite the dust. He says of the problems facing his administration and beyond “They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.” Cleaning up the banking system is kind of like detoxifying one’s body; it’s not all pure and simple, it’s bloody excruciating and draining. It has knock on effects, that not only shiver through the United States but throughout the world. Not only are President Obama’s hopes pinned on a new era of change, they are seen right through to those of Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal reserve who believes that both

“Cleaning up the banking system is kind of like detoxifying one’s body; it’s not all pure and simple, it’s bloody excruciating and draining.” a new “fiscal stimulus” of U.S state spending and tax cuts will be essential to coaxing the American economy back onto the road to recovery. Neither man suffers fools easily. They are both ringingly clear and steadfast that, whilst this plan is a map, there sure as hell will be a lot of driving to be done to get from a to b. Bernanke fears that Obama’s stimulus package alone will not save the economy and at a speech in London last month stressed this point, lacing fears with a warning that the second stimulus from the Washington Administration will not buoy the economy by itself. This directly echoes Obama’s presidential inauguration speech that sources the current crisis from the “failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age” President Obama’s $825 billion plan to revive America’s economy passed the House of Representatives last week. His ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment’ plan consists of about $550 billion

in spending on building projects, aid to states, expanding unemployment benefit and the government-run health programme called Medicaid, along with $275 billion in tax cuts. In an ironic turn of events, with regards to this cash injection, senior Republican senators last week called for more major changes, in particular additional tax cuts, which their presidential hopeful John McCain’s campaign policies had veered away from. However on that precise point, we see that Obama appears ready to make a concession: more tax breaks for small businesses. Last Wednesday, he met with Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, Bernanke and Sheila Blair, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp in Washington to discuss a new bailout for Wall Street with the view to unveiling another action plan this week. Obama and his advisors must decide how to value an estimated $600 billion worth of toxic assets based on mortgages and other loans. The heavily-anticipated rescue plan is expected to include a twopronged approach to relieving banks of troubled assets which are dragging down their results. The Government is likely to buy some of the assets so that they can be held in a state-controlled so called 'bad bank' until the market improves and they can be sold. One of the main threads of the proposal, the creation of a so-called “bad bank”, run by the FDIC, which would buy troubled mortgagebacked securities which are stagnating on the books of Wall Street’s big lenders. These troubled assets would be those that have already been heavily discounted, so the purchase by the ‘bad bank’ would not trigger a large writedown by the lender. In America, the US Treasury would also guarantee lenders’ remaining distressed debt which has, as yet, been unvalued. The dual measures would allow the lenders to either dump or underwrite their troubled debt, without crystallising a new loss. It is hoped that such a bailout, whose cost would be met by the American taxpayer, would encourage banks to lend again. John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency, who is working on the rescue plan, admitted that pricing the toxic assets correctly was key to the success of the Government's financial rescue plan. "The biggest challenge is how to

Obama met with Geithner, Benanke and Blair last week at the Wall Street bailout meeting.

pick and choose which assets to take from open institutions and how much you pay for them," Dugan said. Banks use three main methods to account for their assets. Some assets are kept on the banks' trading books, which means that they must be accounted for at their current market value. This is called marking to market. In some cases, the lack of viable market results in assets being rendered valueless. Banks wrote down more than $500 billion last year after their loan-based assets were hit by impairments and marked to market. Other assets are held in the banks' available-for-sale books, which means that the assets are marked to market but any depreciation is recorded only on a bank's balance sheet, not on its income statement. Banks can also hold their assets to maturity. This allows the bank to wait for the market for such assets to improve, instead of having to record a depreciation hit to its balance sheet. Analysts have argued that the sector hasn’t taken an uniform approach to the treatment of assets, nor are their assets always directly comparable as not all these assets are homogenous. This has made it difficult for the Government to decide what value to attribute to assets taken into the bad bank. Last September, Bernanke said that the Government should buy troubled assets at their hold-to-maturity value rather than at "fire sale" mark-to market prices. His plan, which has yet to be finalised and signed off, is not only expected to include the creation of a “bad bank” that will buy some of lenders’ distressed debt and underwrite

the remaining billions of dollars worth of troubled assets. It is also believed to include caps on executive pay for banks benefiting from federal help. Obama declared: “We’re not forgetting the poor. They are going to be front and centre, because they, too, share our American dream. And we’re going to make sure that they can get a piece of that American dream if they’re willing to work for it.” Obama’s remarks represent part of his vision of economic populism, echoed this week when he criticised the $18.4 billion in bonuses paid to Wall Street bankers in 2008, as the lenders were bailed out by US taxpayers. The US Commerce Department revealed that the world’s biggest economy had contracted at an annual rate of 3.8 per cent between October and December, marking the fastest decline for 26 years, a portent of by far one of - if not the worst recessions- not only America, but the world has ever experienced. A nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights, pervades. When putting the pieces together, the crucial components are the glue that binds them. It’s package - neat rhetoric must contain the active ingredient of action. Change must not only occur but essentially evolve from it. There is no superhero in this tale, no sweep of a soaring solution or antidote. This is no time to be heroes just for one day, we have to don the plaid shirt of the working class heroes’ ethic, roll up our sleeves and bake some humble pie; there’s plenty to go around.

Ireland’s Cinderella fairy tale In light of Professor Frances Ruane’s statement, “Doing nothing is not an option”, Grace Walsh investigates the decline of the celtic tiger days IRELAND’S FAIRYTALE story has finally come to an end. Just six months ago the faint whispers of recession were being hushed up or dismissed as melo-dramatic rumours. In the mean-time however, the story has gone horribly wrong and January 2009 sees us reacting to a severe recession hinging on depression, pathetic government guidance and chaos in nearly every industry. Is this just a blip in our protracted tale of economic boom to bust or is it the gruesome end? As a romantic and eternal optimist I firmly believe that Cinderella-Ireland will escape her wicked stepsisters and marry Prince Charming. But if so which part of the story are we at? Considering Ireland’s disastrous economic history I will hazard a guess and say somewhere in the middle between meeting Prince Charming and actually marrying him. As with all fairytales there is a very bad beginning. In 1987 Ireland had been suffering from negligible economic growth since 1982 and the country was struggling to avoid bankruptcy. Prospects were so poor that 90% of the 1987 BESS class emigrated and unemployment was hovering around 16%. Indeed it is speculated that unemployment would have hit 20% if people had not emigrated in their droves

to wealthier, better-performing economies. There was only one thing left to do: slash public sector spending, take control of the economy and force it back on it’s feet by hook or by crook. During this period the rest of the world was enjoying a period of high-economic growth and Ireland was caught in the global up-swing of boorish economic performance. By means of Ray McSharry’s brutal but genious 1987 budget and the global up-swing economic growth resumed, confidence and investors returned and exports boomed; Ireland was soon a force to be reckoned with. In the 1990’s despite suffering from a period of jobless growth Ireland increased competitiveness due to the continued wage constraint, the favourably low corporate tax rates, membership of the EU which allowed indigenous and Irish based firms to trade freely with other European countries and the recognition of the importance of human capital. The late 1990’s and early 2000’s are categorized as a period of export led growth. Emigrants returned, labour shortages in certain industries emerged and skilled migrants flocked to Ireland’s shores. There was an unquestioning belief in continuous growth which, with the benefit of hindsight,

seems foolish as there was an over-whelming failure to recognise the catch-up game Ireland was playing with the rest of the developed world. Looks like CinderellaIreland should have copped herself on. Clearly over-enthuasiastic and relishing her new prospects CinderellaIreland encouraged the development of the construction industry. Ireland was infrastrucurally under-developed and a natural growth in this industry was needed to improve basic infrastrutural standards however prudence soon retired in the face of a bumper paycheck as the industry rapidly expanded. This growth soon spilled over to the housing industry where a fiscal stimulus arose from the narrowing of the tax base and a series of lucrative tax breaks. This combined with the free-flowing credit made available by financial insitutions created an enviable but lethal bubble. House prices became a national obsession. At the same time manufacturing was declining, private debt was increasing and the public sector were “benchmarking” on a regular basis. Talk about a recipe for disaster. Finally Cinderella-Ireland worn out from economic debauchery and the good times came to an end. An interesting point to note is that this recession would have occurred regardless of global conditions. The construction industries and financial instiutions were so over burdened and in-debted to each other that their downfall was inevitable. These were local crises that were compounded by the separate issues

occurring in other financial systems and economies across the globe. For Ireland this recession entails a collapse in tax revenue, rapid growth in unemployment, limited credit for businesses and an absolutely necessary cut in public expenditure. And by that I include a cut in public sector wages. The Social Partnership will never come to an agreement with the government and the talks will fall flat simply because the unions will refuse a pay cut or any change in their contracts. I recommend suspending the Social Partnership and letting the government continue with their attempt to re-establish competitiveness and economic growth in Ireland by whatever means necessary. Even if that does mean nationalisation, recapitalization or pay cuts. Cinderella-Ireland is at her lowest point yet, the rows with Prince Charming are only just beginning and it is cold comfort that the rest of the developed world is also in this situation. The option of emigration is no longer viable and employment prospects are slim given the numbers of companies going into liquidation. We must develop a competent economic recovery strategy, regain confidence and regain competitiveness , only then will we regain economic growth. It is not about lowering expectations it is about being realistic. Ireland has many strengths and opportunities and it is up to us to fulfill them. A return to economic prosperity is only a recession away. And as for fairytales, they do have a happy ending we just need to find one.


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Humans: done evolving? “WHERE WOULD you say there are more births to older fathers? In Europe and developed countries, or in the developing world?” “The rate is actually higher in developing countries, as in developed countries we have more access to contraception and other preventatives.” As the memory fades I can still feel the surprise that I felt back in September on hearing the answer to that question. It is just one of the revelations pronounced by Steve Jones. Jones is a world class geneticist and famed for his ability to convey scientific ideas. Head of the biology department and a professor of genetics at University College London, he is also a television presenter, newspaper columnist and prize-winning author on the subject of biology, especially evolution. In September 2008 he came to Dublin and gave a seminar on ‘The Future of Human Evolution’ as part of the 50th anniversary celebration for the School of Genetics in Trinity. The ballroom of the Ballsbridge Inn, which had been converted for the day into a large lecture hall, was packed when I arrived. From what I could see the audience was mostly of the general public, with a large smattering of professional reporters and a small sprinkling of students. All this became irrelevant, however, as the lights dimmed and Jones, after a quick introduction, began telling us about the first ever science text book, the Old Testament. The seminar moved quickly from that bombshell onto more recent history. Jones noted a turning point in science fiction at “The Time Machine” by HG Wells, the start of a trend for description of a future where the human race is biologically different from today. Next we are told about the obsessions of Francis Galton, half cousin of Charles Darwin and possibly the only man to ever make a “beauty map” of the UK. “Probably the most cynical scientific experiment of all time” is Jones’ comment on the little known activity that followed the Hiroshima bombing near the end of World War II. Apparently a team of scientists landed within a week of Japan surrendering to measure the

effects of the radiation on the DNA of survivors. What they found goes against many of our common conceptions of the effect of radiation. In cartoons a short blast of radiation is normally enough to turn characters into extraordinary mutants. However the experiment that Jones describes tells a totally different story. Apparently, apart from those who had died of radiation poisoning, little alteration of DNA was seen immediately after the fallout. However as the experiment progressed the scientists did find of mutation of the subjects’ DNA. Crucially, however, a similar rate of mutation was seen in the DNA of the ‘control group’ – people who had not been subjected to any abnormal radiation! So although the experiment did not find what it was looking for, it did show that human DNA mutates constantly over time. It is clear that the concept of evolution is not in question here, as Jones jokes “Evolution is just genetics plus time, it could almost be physics”. He also gives the example of artificial selection, which is widely used in industry to find solutions to problems where design is not much help. Artificial selection has been shown to work and relies on the same theory as natural evolution. What is the major cause of genetic mutation between generations in humans? According to Jones it is mostly men. Mistakes in making sperm are, he says, the biggest cause of mutations. Girls are born with all the eggs that they will ever need. Not so for the man, who makes several miles of sperm DNA ever hour according to Jones. Quite a feat, no wonder some mistakes slip in there along the way! Older fathers, Jones explains, mean older biological machinery, which means more mistakes. Therefore, he tells us, the age of fathers is a major factor in the rate of evolution in different human populations. The impact of an older father in the developing world is o n e ,



Mistakes in making sperm, above, are the biggest cause of mutations in humans. Right: Steve Jones. Below: The frontispiece to Thomas Henry Huxley’s Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature (1863): the image compares the skeletons of apes to humans.

but by no means the only, factor that means human evolution occurs much faster in those areas than in developed countries. Jones tackles the difficulty that many have envisioning evolution actually happening in Homo sapiens with an example from relatively recent history. As mankind roamed away from the tropics and into the cooler latitudes, he tells us, white skin developed as a direct result of vitamin D deficiency. It transpires that while our skin can make this essential nutrient, this ability is reduced by the darkening of the skin by excess melanin (which causes a tan and is hereditary in dark-skinned people). In the diminished light intensity at higher latitudes Homo sapiens evolved lighter and lighter skin to escape the negative consequences of rickets, which is a major effect of a lack of vitamin D. So, evolution continues in humans. Or does it? Natural selection, the cause of evolution, is a two part exam. The first part is life – any selective disadvantage that increases the chance of death is eradicated by this test. However in most of the world we have largely eliminated this. Modern medical care means that even the most debilitating disadvantages do not mean death, and as such are not ‘weeded out’ of the collective gene pool. The second part of the natural

RENEWABLE GAS from landfill sites and sewage works could heat almost half the homes in the UK, according to a new report from National Grid. It says obtaining more gas from waste will help cut carbon emissions, improve energy security and compensate for the shortage of landfill sites. This source already provides 1% of the UK’s gas at present. A report released on 2nd February by the National Grid in Britain says an extra £10 billion investment could increase that to between 5 and 18%.


“EUROPE WARMING” IS LIKELY IN NEXT 100 YEARS selection exam is to have children. More children means more copies of the parents’ genes, a good score in evolutionary terms. Those who are unable to find a mate or support children cannot pass on their less successful genes. In the developing world this test continues today, with rich, successful men often having tens of children (Jones gives Osama Bin Laden and his father as two examples – Osama was 17th of an estimated 54 children by Mohammed bin Laden, and is reputed to have 26 children of his own). The average of three children in the developed world, however, is rarely deviated from, with families as large as five children being a rarity. Another startling fact – the natural human population of the planet is about that currently resident in Ireland. This means that the population would be much more thinly spread, increasing inbreeding which leads to much higher rates of mutation and so evolution. In a densly populated world such as human civilisation today, mutations are much rarer and advantageous traits take much longer to spread through the population. All in all, although evolution may be alive and well in Homo sapiens today, it is likely working at a much lower rate than when our ancestors first moved out of Africa, and is further reduced in developed regions such as Europe.

Who says the energy isn’t out there? By Sonia Mary Buckley Contributing Writer LOOKING THROUGH past editions of the Irish Independent (or the Irish Times, or the Herald AM, take your pick), it’s impossible not to notice the increasing incidence of the word energy. “Energy ratings compulsory from today” tells us that all homes built from now on must get a rating for energy efficiency. “€200m in energy savings” outlines how Irish businesses can do just that. It’s obvious that we’re all worrying about energy, but do we actually understand what energy is? Strange as it may seem, there was a time not so long ago when people had no idea of that there was such a thing as energy. It was not until the advent of the steam engine that people really began thinking about the branch of science known as thermodynamics, and began realising that there was some quantity that always remained the same, no matter what process

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH has managed to bring the wonders and plight of the natural world to millions of people around the world. He has a unique ability to reach general audiences with his inspirational whispering narration. Animal and plant subjects are the stars, yet Attenborough is the master


The million dollar question: are we still evolving? And if so, into what? Steve Jones, popular science writer and geneticist, spoke about Human Evolution in Dublin last September. By Luke Maishman Science Editor


you went through. Nowadays, anyone who has suffered through Junior Cert science has had to learn off the first law of Thermodynamics: energy is neither created nor destroyed; it is simply converted from one form to another. But at the turn of the 19th century, this was the cutting edge of science. So what then is energy? If it’s neither created nor destroyed, why is it that we are worried about running out? Heat is a form of energy. Why can’t I invent a machine that converts the heat energy from the air into electricity to run my house? This seems like a much better alternative to the power hungry air conditioners people use. The problem is not a lack of energy. There’s more than enough energy in a hot room to power a dishwasher, if you could convert it efficiently (as is evidenced by how much your electricity bill costs if you run electric heaters and hairdryers all day). No, believe it or not, the problem is intimately



of ceremonies who introduces the acts for our wonder and amazement. But his

related to the mess in your room, the one that would take far too much effort to clean up. When your room is clean, with each teddy on its allotted shelf, it is really orderly. It’s very difficult to keep it that way though, and the reason is simply that there are far more ways for it to be messed up then there are for it to be tidy. The probability that if you drop a shirt in your drawer it will end up neatly folded is much, much smaller than the probability that it will end up some other “messy” way. In fact, it will always take energy to make it tidy, which is the “effort” that you really don’t want to put in. It can be shown (using a thought experiment involving a refrigerator and an engine, invented in 1824 by a Frenchmen named Sadi Carnot) that the level of disorder or “messiness” of the universe is necessarily always increasing. When you tidy your room, the extra tidiness of the room must be less than the “messiness” of the extra

heat your body produced. This is the second law of thermodynamics, except that we use the technical term “entropy” rather than “messiness”. In the case of energy, the second law of thermodynamics puts a sad stop to our thought of an air conditioner that also creates electricity. Since the level of disorder of the universe is always increasing, putting an air conditioner in a hot room will decrease the disorder of the room. This is only possible if we increase the disorder somewhere else. So we have to throw all the heat out of the window, plus some extra heat because it takes more heat to make outside messier than it took to make the inside messy. This extra heat is made from the electricity used by your air conditioner. So now you know. We’re not worried about running out of energy, we’re worried about running out of useful energy. Now go tidy your room, and make the universe a slightly messier place.

ACCORDING TO latest predictions from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, in a century’s time Spain and Italy will be enduring baking, parched summers while residents of central Europe will enjoy what we now think of as Mediterranean warmth. Reindert Haarsma and his team at the Institute used existing computer models to study changes in weather patterns resulting from the expected global warming. These indicated that summer temperatures in southern Europe would rise by 2 or 3 °C.


IS IT YOUR DIET THAT’S CAUSING THESE GASES? ACCORDING TO a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry. THE REPORT found that current production levels of meat contribute between 14 and 22 percent of the 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases the world produces every year. It turns out that producing half a pound of hamburger for someone’s lunch releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 milesa


PUFFER-FISH THIS TROPICAL marine fish is the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world. The skin and certain internal organs are highly toxic, a defense mechanism evolved to discourage predators. Despite the dangers puffer-fish is considered a delicacy in Japan (fugu) and Korea (bok-uh). Another defense mechanism is it’s ability when in danger to swell up until almost spherical in an attempt to intimidate predators. The puffer-fish achieves this by forcing water or air into it’s highly elastic stomach.


KURT GODEL AN AUSTRIAN-AMERICAN logician, mathematician and philosopher and one of the most significant logicians of all time Godel lived from 1906 to 1978. His legacy includes Godel numbering, two incompleteness theorems and important contributions to proof theory. His friendship with Albert Einstein was legendary, with Einstein towards the end of his life admitting that his “own work no longer meant much, that he came to the Institute merely…to have the privilege of walking home with Gödel”.

ON THIS DAY (10 FEBRUARY) … scope extends way beyond the birds and the bees. What is remarkable is that Attenborough has managed to do it for so long without changing his style too much. He has not had to because the technology has changed and so he has constantly been able to give new views and insights into the details of life on Earth. His voice is instantly recognizable with his dry sense of humor, curiosity and gentleness coming through all the time. One of the linchpins of television, he is a master story-teller who displays an engaging fascination with the natural

world. He is driven by a unique moral and ethical consideration for the natural world. He tries to educate people on the importance of biodiversity and promote consideration in this way. His commitment and enthusiasm has never wavered over the 50 years he has been involved in TV. He has been knighted, received several honorary degrees and prestigious awards. Attenborough’s accent and hushed, excited delivery will be difficult to replace as will his consideration and love of the natural world.

» In 1863, Alanson Crane was granted the first U.S. patent on a fire extinguishing system for buildings » In 1961, the Niagara Falls hydroelectric project began producing power. » Agnes Mary Clarke was born, in 1842. An Irish astronomical writer, she became an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society and contributed to Encyclopaedia Britannica.



TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Trekking the highest of Himalaya Climbing Everest is beyond most peoples abilities but a trek to the Base Camp can be undertaken by anyone and offers unparalleled rewards, writes Derek Larney


FTER A quick couple of days of scouting around Kathmandu for a trekking permit and flights I was ready to depart and travel high into the Himalaya. Kathmandu is an energetic city overflowing with culture and sights; from the temple-rich 16th century Durbur Square to the public cremations by the banks of the holy Bagmati River the city offers visitors a wonderful insight into the Hindu religion. But I was more interested in the holy site of Chomolungma, revered by Tibetan Buddhists and commonly known to us as Mount Everest. Chomolungma means ‘Mother, Goddess of the World’ and the Sherpa people of the surrounding Solukhumbu valleys afford the mountain a divine and matriarchal respect. Our tiny twelve-seat Twin Otter aircraft circled the lush green peaks of northern Nepal in an attempt to land on a narrow mountainside landing strip which has a sharp incline to help the plane come to a halt before the runway ends. The pilot, who was seated in full view of all passengers, used a steady hand to introduce the rubber tyres to the asphalt and soon thereafter I found myself walking from the runway of Hillary-Norgay airport to the trailhead of the Everest Base Camp trek in the small traders’ village of Lukla. Outside the airport there was a hubbub of activity as local porters scrambled to find their loads and children pressed their noses against the chain l i n k fence gazing a t a n o t h e r l a n d i n g plane. Despite s e ve r a l offers of assistance f r o m load-free porters I

opted to do this trek independently. After studying my map I was soon on my way into a two-week walk along the rugged trails of the Khumbu valley. The first day was an easy three-hour stroll that crossed many streams and waterfalls to end in the small hamlet of Phakding. It served as a pleasant introduction to the longer challenge ahead. In Phakding I found a delightful little teahouse and settled in for the evening with a pot of Sherpa tea and some egg fried rice. The following day brought the first true test of the trek, a long arduous ascent of over 700 meters to Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Khumbu region. Along the way the trail was shared with porters struggling under the weight of massive loads. I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I passed out a porter carrying a cardboard box that was taller than him and which contained a brand new fridge freezer. After nearly six hours of walking uphill inside a cloud it was a relief to turn a corner and be greeted with a welcoming “Namaste!” from a policeman who was there to check trekking permits. Despite being populated by less than 3,000 inhabitants Namche Bazaar is the largest settlement to be found anywhere on the trail. The town is decked out with handcrafted stone cottages and a plethora of trekking shops, internet cafes and German bakeries. At an altitude of 3,440 meters the town is an ideal spot to have an acclimitisation day in order to help fend off any threat of altitude sickness. Rather than resting as many trekkers do, I opted to take a day hike to nearby Khumjung and return to Namche later that evening. The village of Khumjung is perched high on a mountainside nearly two hours walk from Namche. The village itself has undergone enormous changes in the last fifty years, namely because of the work of the late Sir Edmund Hillary. After h i s


Me 6ft, Mount Everest 29,029ft

Tibetan prayer flags flying at Everest Base Camp. Photo: Emily Faulk successful ascent of Everest, Hillary spent much of his time working tirelessly for the Sherpa people who had helped him to summit the world’s highest mountain. Nowadays the village boasts the Hillary school and the Hillary hospital as well as a statue of the man himself. I spent a pleasant lunch in Khumjung and then visited the local Buddhist monastery to see the purported skull of a yeti or abominable snowman. To Sherpa people the bloodthirsty yeti is a very real threat and although many sightings have been reported this elusive predator has yet to be photographed. Zoologists have been unable to reveal the skull as belonging to any known animal; therefore the legend of the yeti lives on. The next day I ambled further up the trail whilst peering down into a lacuna over 1,000 meters below to the raging Dudh Kosi River. The river was resplendent with glimmering sunshine that was bouncing off its’ rapid torrents. My peregrination would soon take me to the sacred monastery of Tengboche, which is lionised as one of Buddhism’s most holy shrines. Visitors are welcome to the monastery provided footwear is left at the front door. A monk showed me the iconic golden statue of Buddha before guiding me to the prayer hall where the lamas were playing music and chanting homilies. The serenity of this monastery, which is facing Everest like a mosque faces Mecca, is overwhelming. Monks in flowing robes sit in the lotus position meditating for hours on end in their quest for salvation. As I absorbed the view of Everest and the spectacular 6812m snow capped peak of Ama Dablam it felt akin to standing inside a

postcard from nirvana. Shortly thereafter I encountered my first yak caravan on the trail. I quickly moved to the high side of the trail for fear of being knocked off it by these beasts of burden. Yaks are a cross between a cow and a buffalo and are a marvelously versatile animal. Their multifarious uses extend to carrying heavy loads across high mountain passes, producing milk, cheese, wool, fuel in the form of dried yak dung and eventually, at the end of their lives, meat.

As I absorbed the view of Everest and the spectacular snow capped peak of Ama Dablam it felt akin to standing inside a postcard from nirvana The next few days saw my fitness improve dramatically as I passed through the villages of Pangboche, Dugla and Pheriche where the doctors at the Himalayan Rescue Association run free lectures on altitude sickness. At Everest Base Camp there is only half the oxygen available to your grateful lungs as there is at sea level so I took the doctors’ advice and spent another acclimatisation day before the final push to the top. In Pheriche I stayed in the lodge of Ang Lhamu Sherpa who is a relative of Pasang Lhamu, the first Nepalese woman to summit Everest. Pasang is a national hero in Nepal due to her gritty determination, characteristic

of the Sherpa people. She conquered Everest in 1993 on her third attempt having sworn to never give up on her dream of climbing it. Sadly she became yet another victim of Everest on her descent as she slipped and perished into the void below. We laughed over a pot of tea as Ang jocundly recollected her habit of climbing onto the roofs of stone cottages at the tender age of six. By the following evening I had made it to the last settlement on the trail, that of Gorak Shep which is a desolate expanse of glacial moraine surrounded by intimidating peaks. The next morning saw a sprightly rise out of bed at 4am for an assault on the nearby peak of Kala Patar which offers the best view to be had of Everest without actually climbing it. After a two-hour ascent to the top of this 5545m peak I was completely breathless, both physically and emotionally, due to the hike and the utopian vista that was enveloped all around me. The jagged peaks of Lhotse and Cho Oyu, the fourth and sixth highest mountains in the world, stood proud and tall like a four star general after winning a battle. As the sun rose up and over the pyramidshaped silhouette of Everest the true scale of this gargantuan colossus was revealed. It is hard to fathom that a mountain could be so high, 8848m to be exact, which is quite close to the cruising altitude of a jumbo jet. After nearly two hours at the summit spent gazing at Everest I descended and blazed a trail to the nearby Base Camp. This is a rocky outcrop where expeditions prepare for their assault on the mountain. It is at the base of the mighty Khumbu glacier and icefall, a maze of tall and unstable ice seracs

IT IS possible to trek to Everest Base Camp for most of the year except the peak of winter when heavy snow makes the trail impassable. Nepal’s monsoon falls between June and midSeptember; these months are best avoided as the rain can lead to a muddy track. The ideal time to go is either April and May or October and the first two weeks of November. During these periods you can enjoy blue-sky days with few clouds to obstruct the views. TREKKING COSTS The Everest Base Camp trek is excellent value for money. A bed in a teahouse will typically cost between €0.50 and €2 per night. Meals range from €1 to €3. Luxuries such as beer, chocolate and Pringles are available and typically cost the same as in Ireland. Prices rise with altitude due to the costs of hiring porters to carry the goods along the trails. If you wish to hire a porter to carry your bag they will cost between €5 and €10 per day, depending on their level of english and your level of negotiation skills. which have claimed many lives over the years. I spoke to a Slovenian expedition who were preparing themselves for an attempt at climbing Everest. The leader of the group, Henrik, told me how the glacier occasionally spits out a frozen mountaineer as the glacial ice melts. Upon talking to the Slovenian mountaineers I realised that Everest Base Camp is where the trekking stops and the climbing begins. I had trekked as far as I could without donning crampons and risking life and limb. The view from the top of Kala Patar offered four of the world’s nine highest mountains and must rank as one of the most scenic tundra’s to be found anywhere on earth. With that, I turned on my heels and started the long trek back to the bustling streets of Kathmandu. On the way back I mused to myself that the next six natural wonders of the world would be nowhere near as difficult to get to as the first.

Rwandan wedding gate-crashing frolics By Jimmy Lee Travel Reporter WHEN YOU’RE on vacation, it’s always a devastating, and usually unexpected, shock to realize you’re at the end of your rope financially. With so many things you haven’t seen yet, it’s natural for buyer’s remorse to settle in. Thoughts of, “Did I really need that hilarious T-shirt?” and “Maybe I shouldn’t have opted for the luxury-AC hostel” seep through into one’s inner monologue. As I stood there holding my ATM receipt in Kampala, Uganda, it quickly became apparent to me that I was going to have to be thriftier in my decision-making if I was to make the most of my remaining time in East Africa. Beyond the exorbitant costs of trekking mountains in East Africa, we had done very well on a marginal budget. This led us to expanding our inventive faculty to experience as much as we could in “the cradle of life”. With the limitations of low funds, we went in with no real expectations. What we didn’t realize was just how much of a perfect combination these financial “limitations” would be with a welcoming and friendly country like Rwanda. It took about 24 hours before we met our first friend, Ali, who promptly invited us to a wedding reception he was to attend that evening. The amiability of Rwandans will never cease to amaze me. This is a country that has seen visitors exploit and divide their country time and time again. And yet, there we were, off to a wedding, after one evening in Kigali. Freshly dressed in only the latest

market fashions donated from Europe, we made our way to the wedding reception grounds. It didn’t take us long to realize that we were slightly out of place. The Secret Service-like security made sure of that. After having myself, my camera, and my loose connection and non-existent wedding invitation carefully scrutinized, we were somehow allowed in to the grounds. Upon entering, my Converse shoes and market-wear suddenly looked beyond tacky and out of date. My compadres didn’t fare much better at the market either, ranging from a Biblesalesman look to a cowboy. Nervously, we took our seats in the back of the colossal tent, and began to investigate just who’s wedding we were crashing. Small talk of “So how do you know the groom” and “Do you remember when they met?” was the scene amidst awkward laughter and even more awkward cover stories. Thankfully, distractions were amply available, with a beautiful Ugandan pop star as the entertainment, and a drum and dance crew that we would later join up with. Our uneasiness was immediately relieved as soon as Ali found us and embraced us like brothers. Being Muslim, he was not allowed to drink, but that didn’t stop him from giving us doubles of just about everything the open bar had stocked. After a few more shots of “confidence”, we were the belles of the ball, joining up with the drum and dance group, with even myself jumping into the fray, posing as a wedding photographer. The absolute highlight of the evening was our awakening to the true VIP of

Our correspondent gets into the swing of things at the wedding the evening. Not the groom, not the bride, but his Excellency, President Paul Kagame. This is the man who led his people out of the 1994 genocide, and even the troubled years leading up to it. Apparently he is a friend of the family; seeing such a fabled personage was something I won’t forget. I’d like to say I handled myself like a gentleman, but my composure crumbled under the influence. I rushed full-speed to shake the man’s hand, like a tweenster after Zac Efron, only to have him quickly exit stage left. But not before I was able to snap a couple grainy out of focus shots that I have since photoshopped myself into. After a party like that, we decided that it was probably best to get out

of the city for a while, and take in the rest of Rwanda. Looking at a road map, we decided a random lake in North Ruhengeri was the perfect destination. Unfortunately, there weren’t many options for a band of drifters not looking to spend. There was only one solution for us - we had to convince a taxi driver to lend us his taxis for a couple days to drive to an inconspicuous lake that looked pretty on a map. The only problem with this was that taxis in Rwanda are actually motorcycles. The other problem with our proposed motorcycle gang idea was that only one of us actually knew how to drive a motorcycle. But after some serious haggling, we had worked out an arrangement for roughly 20,000 Rwandan Francs (€25) per day. The

next morning, a carefully handwritten “contract” was conjured up and we were set with two motorcycles, complete with four helmets. As for the driver predicament, this was easily solved by a half hour crash course from our sole motorcyclist, followed by a 5-minute tutorial given to me by the aforementioned pupil. The ride was truly on a road to nowhere. There were no hostels, no ATMs, not even mbuzi (goat meat) vendors. Our navigational decisions were based on whims, and were made or undone by fateful matches of “paper, rock, scissors”. As luck would have it, we decided to make a random right turn based on the sighting of a little boy wearing a Montreal Canadians sweater, the kit of the ice hockey team of the city where we’d all met. This led us down the path to the village health clinic, an old haunt of Medecins Sans Fronieres. After stashing our bikes at the clinic, we made our way (accompanied by the entire youth population of the village) to what was truly a sight for sore eyes. A lake. And what a lake. The small fishing community of the lake found our presence amusing enough, but got a real laugh at our request to take out one of their rickety wooden canoes for an overnight paddle. Nevertheless, we agreed on a fair price and paddled our way into the lake. There wasn’t a motor to be heard, nor seen; leaving a tranquil silence that would inspire the most zen of monks. With the sun setting, it was clear we needed to find an uninhabited island to pitch our tents and muster up some nourishment. As the sun finally faded,

as if on cue, two boats paddled their way to intercept us as we approached what we thought would be our unoccupied resting place. After finding someone to interpret to the island chief our tale, he welcomed us to stay on his island for the night. The fascination in which the villagers watched our every move was something none of us had ever really experienced before. From our cooking tools to our pocket knives, we were truly foreigners in every sense of the word. No one from the island had ever seen anyone born of Asian descent, and it had been over a decade since there had been any sighting of a white man. The next day we made our way to the top of the island where we found a small village community awaiting us. Bonhomie transcended the language barrier, as we shared laughs over cups of sorghum tea. Not wishing to overstay our welcome, we said our thank you’s and goodbyes shortly thereafter, and paddled our way back to the clinic to gather our bikes. The name of the island has since been lost, but the kindness of the people combined with the scenic splendor made it truly an oasis of serenity we won’t forget. We returned to Kigali completely invigorated and rejuvenated. Rwanda has much to offer, for those on large or small budgets; from gorillia trekking to wild camping on pristine islands. So whether you’ve got a trust fund to blow, or simply find yourself in newfound despondency from an ATM receipt, Rwanda has it all. It’s just up to you to open your eyes to the possibilities.


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Give Irish athletes a break

Conor James McKinney


Erasmus student Domhnall O’Sullivan reflects on the unrealistic expectations attached to sportspeople back home, and argues that we don’t do too badly, all things considered


HEN DUBLIN boxer Kenny Egan and his silver medal were welcomed home from Beijing by hordes of Guinness-fortified fans and a for once appreciative media, one had to wonder what exactly we were celebrating. Were we genuinely astounded by the Clondalkin native’s impressive feat of reaching an Olympic final and his eventual runner-up placing? Or were we simply relieved that he (and the Irish boxing team) had saved us as a nation from being booted back across the

The [French] university I’m currently studying in has at least as many sporting facilities as Trinity, yet it’s just one insignificant university in a... medium-sized town planet with nothing but a few souvenir chopsticks as mementos of a triumphless games? Indeed, what does Ireland demand of its sporting heroes, and are the expectations we throw upon their shoulders realistic? First of all, Ireland is a small country. Despite our prominent international reputation, which has more to do with whiskey shorts than running shorts, we’ve always been that little bit of bogland that was placed in the Atlantic by God to piss off the Brits. With a population of about 4 and a half million souls, why do we always expect to beat the arse off the rest of the sporting world? Why do we whine when Steve Staunton doesn’t qualify us for the European championships and when Fionnuala Britton fails to light the Olympic steeplechase final on fire? Irish pride? Perhaps. Irish naivety? Probably. It’s also no doubt due to the (over)

achievements of many Irish athletes of the past 30 years, which resulted in us becoming dangerously used to the feeling of winning things. Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche started the proverbial ball rolling in the 1980s, with the pair reaching a point where, between them, they almost dominated the European cycling scene. The latter’s win in the Tour de France of 1987 was miraculous considering that the only thing Irish people and bicycles previously had in common was the need to be pumped every so often. The trend of success was continued by, among others, boxer Michael Carruth, who won Gold in Barcelona ‘92; swimmer Michelle Smith, who was definitely innocent; and our golden girl of athletics Sonia O’Sullivan, who was the preeminent force in female longdistance running in the 1990s. However, it was Jack Charlton’s soccer team of Italia ‘90 that really made us feel as if we had a right to play with the big boys of world sport. A motley crew of English mercenaries and a generation of supremely talented and tenacious Irish players blended together perfectly to reach the quarter finals of one of the most important sporting tournaments in the world. We reached a stage that we had never before even dreamed of reaching. The public lapped it up, the players basked in the triumph, and then we demanded more. The glories of Italy became the benchmark upon which each Irish team has been based since. Which basically implies that whether your name is Kerr or Trappatoni, your job future is more ill-fated than an attempt by George Lee to report on the joy of life in a bunny costume, ie doomed. We have taken successes such as the Charlton era as the norm, and treated all subsequent ‘failures’ as regretful anomalies. Whereas it would be much more rational, not to mention better for the blood pressure, to look at things the other way around. Indeed, for a nation with such a limited population we actually over-perform more often than not.


Your average below-par Irish sporting facility, aka Santry. Photo: Martin McKenna Take Beijing for example; Three medals, one silver and two bronze, hardly need a wheelbarrow to cart the precious metals home, especially compared to them across the water who brought back 47 from their travels. But look at the statistics - the British medal haul was almost 16 times the size of ours, yet their population of 59 million is nearly the same amount larger than our 4.5 million. Add to this the fact that our cross-channel chums took the games a lot more seriously than

With a population of about 4 and a half million souls, why do we always expect to beat the arse off the rest of the sporting world? ourselves (remember the ridiculously peppy TEAM GB! moniker that you couldn’t turn on BBC for 5 minutes without hearing?) and that 12 of their medals were won in the arguably pointless sport of riding a bike really fast around a little track, and we don’t really have much to be ashamed about at all. As well as lacking in human numbers, we also have to factor in the huge range of facilities that other nations have at their disposal. Britain have their cycling tracks, we don’t. We have two Olympic

Golfing glories By Peter Henry A HUNDRED YEARS of Trinity graduate golfing is chronicled in this impressive new book. From College Courses to Lasting Links, which was launched last Thursday evening in the Provost’s House, charts the successes of Dublin University Golfing Society since its foundation in 1909. Dublin University Golf Club had been founded in 1894, catering for all members of the university, including graduates. The increasing popularity of golf in college led to the need for a club primarily for graduates, and Dublin University Golfing Society came into being on February 5, 1909, with

2 1 21

Provost Anthony Traill as its first president. The new history of DU Golfing Society is taken up with interesting profiles of the club’s illustrious members. The members’ impressive achievements are noted, along with amusing personal anecdotes and descriptions of the proceedings at dinners and drinks receptions over the years. Many of the members profiled, such as JP Mahaffy and Samuel Beckett, are well known for their non-golfing achievements. The book also covers many of the exploits of the students’ club, the DU Golf Club, as the histories of the two clubs have always been linked. Trinity’s third golf club, DU Ladies’ Golf Club, also gets a mention. Fro From College Courses to Lasting Links is gen generously illustrated; photographs of old teams and club characters grace almos almost every page, including some partic particularly interesting snaps of club troph trophies and other memorabilia. Th The reader is spared the task of wadin wading through pages of statistics, as the aauthors’ focus is on the interesting perso personalities of the club’s past. Those inter interested in the smaller details of past comp competitions are provided with a very usefu useful appendix and bibliography. A Authors Michael Halliday and Gavin Cald Caldwell have done an excellent job reco recording Dublin University Golfing Soci Society’s first century. The beautifullyprod produced volume is a worthy addition to th the canon of Trinity sporting books and will be extremely valuable to thos those interested in the history of golf in Ir Ireland. From College Courses to LLasting Links: A History of Dublin University Golfing Society is a available to order from the club’s honorary secretary Dr Huntly Lauder for €30 plus postage. P Please email for more information.

sized swimming pools (50 metres) in Limerick and Blanchardstown, while France (a country which won 6 medals in the waters of Beijing) has so many that Google couldn’t even furnish me with a definitive list. The university in which I’m currently studying in Grenoble has at least as many sporting facilities as Trinity, yet it’s just one insignificant university in a ‘city’ that most French people would probably regard as a medium-sized town. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. For the limited number of athletes it serves, Trinity is more than adequately equipped. Despite the fact that UCD have an athletics track and we don’t, Trinity boasts facilities for every sport going. We even have a pointless climbing wall. Similarly, Ireland as a nation isn’t exactly the deprived child of the sporting world either. Croke Park is the 4th biggest stadium in Europe, and the new Lansdowne Road venue is shaping up to be fairly sexy indeed. And would a third Olympic sized swimming pool suddenly engender a horde of new Irish superswimmers? Hardly. The key word is realism. Is there any point in investing billions in brand spanking new sporting facilities and rigorous training programmes just so that we can show the world that we’re not simply alcohol-attached and fun-loving couch spuds? Not really. We manage to pull a world class athlete out of the bag every few years, so it’s just a matter of waiting. In the meantime however, take it easy on our boys in green, alright?

Boat club pinks

Last year’s National Championship winning crew. Photo: Peter Henry By Conor James McKinney College Sport Editor SIX OF the DU Boat Club VIII that won an historic victory in the Senior National Championships last July were awarded Pinks by the Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC) at a meeting held last week. Eoin Mac Domhnaill, Sean Osborne, Henry Tindal, Paul Laird, Robert Swift and Eoghan Kerlin all received the prestigious prize, awarded for exceptional sporting achievement while competing for a Trinity club. SS Geology student Swift described it as “a huge honour”, but it was naturally somewhat disappointing for the club that the entire crew did not get Pinks. Each candidate for a Pink is voted on individually by the Captain’s Committee, so even those involved in a team triumph are not guaranteed the award, as has been the experience of the Sailing Club in the past. Missing out were Peter Heverin,

Alexander Floyd and cox Gabriel Magee, all of whom were in the Senior crew for the first time. Heverin was one of those selected to row for Ireland at the Home International on the back of the historic win, DUBC’s first in this competition since 1981. The Senior VIII will seek to defend its title this summer without graduates Tindal and Osborne, and will be hoping for a repeat performance to earn the unlucky three their Pinks. The decision only to allow full-time Trinity students to row for the boat club has been put forward as the reason for Trinity’s 27-year drought at Senior level, given that the experience and standard in competing crews has increased greatly over the years. Meanwhile, DU Ladies Boat Club are holding a fund raiser this Saturday, February 14th, in the Purty Kitchen to raise money for new boats. Tickets are 8 euro and will be on sale in the Arts Block on Friday.

YOU MIGHT have noticed that it’s been a rough couple of weeks out there in the uncomfortable world outside the library, rooms or indeed the permanently overheated confines of the Trinity News office. The snow last week was the most spectacular example, but even before temperatures dipped that low college sports teams were being confounded by the elements. The rugby match against Highfield, scheduled for 31 January, was called off (much to the chagrin of our rugby correspondent, who hauled himself in to College Park after a rough and particularly obnoxious night out only to discover that he was wet, hung over and unhappy for nothing). The Association Football crowd had their game cancelled the following Saturday, which didn’t do much for their preparations for Colours next Wednesday (see page 23 for our preview of that game). The Ladies’ First XI were meant to play a vital league match in Bray last weekend, but that too was called off as the purported venue was covered in a perfectly even blanket of snow. The Men’s cup tie with Suttonians was abandoned immediately prior to tip-off on the basis of a significantly more minor patch of ice that the umpires nevertheless didn’t like the look of. Hockey Colours went ahead, but in conditions that made one long for the warmth of a double equity lecture, which would have been your correspondent’s fate had the clubs succumbed to the elements. The fledgeling lacrosse club had to cancel their training, as all the pitches out in Belfield were closed. And if the croquet club had entertained any notions of a spot of practise over on New Square, they were presumably a bit put out to find it covered with two inches of snow, and a rather poorly constructed snowman, as the rain, sleet and hail gave way to the genuine article on Thursday. Irrespective of weather, it just wasn’t a great fortnight for sport in the college, as Trinity teams lost Colours events right left and centre (Sports Centre, in the case of the Trampoline club). The boxers were just about pipped by the hated Belfield foe in the Exam Hall, and the Hockey clubs were hockeyed. Even the Law Society XI that trotted out to face their more modernist counterparts from Lawsoc were beaten, despite winning the battle of the geeks last year. Set against this backdrop, the rugby team’s achievement in November looks all the more remarkable. It was, in short, Joe Quinn, a a week to revisit Trinity med past glories rather than dwell on student at the the mediocrity of time, scored a the moment. The hockey team hat-trick against Trinity that performed temporary miracles the French in against Three Rock the test match of Rovers last weekend, for example, were 1913 up against more than just their hangovers: Three Rock, the second oldest hockey club in Ireland having been founded by players from the oldest (no prizes for guessing who), is coming down with Ireland internationals who got their first call-ups while playing for Trinity. Peter Blakeney and Phelie Maguire, DUHC stalwarts of old, were instrumental in putting the students to the sword, while Liam Canning, who was capped as a Trinity player back in the 80s, also appeared on the team sheet. As no 40-somethings were visible on the day, we may assume that he was part of the coaching panel or something of that nature, but it served as a telling reminder that Trinity hockey has produced some gems down through the years. My match programme from the Ireland-France Six Nations game records that Trinity men excelling against the French is nothing new (for those of you who spent the weekend tripping, former DUFC No. 8 Jamie Heaslip scored a sensational try and was voted Man of the Match). Joe Quinn, a Trinity med student at the time, scored a hat-trick against the French in the test match of 1913 which was played in Cork in front of a crowd of 8,000 souls. This was close enough to the primordial days of international rugby that he was only the second Irish player to have achieved this feat against any opposition; his side were only awarded three points per try, in contrast to the five now given. It was some 87 years before another player repeated the feat, and that was the eminently forgettable occasion when Brian O’Driscoll of UCD (before they added the extra D) got over for a few soft scores in Paris. Apparently he’s still around. So there have been good times. We need to look upon them not as exhaustive, but as exhortations; not as defining the limits of what our college can achieve, but as setting the standard for others to surpass. Insofar as amateur sporting success is still possible in a time of remorseless professionalism in so many of our major sports, Trinity athletes have the strength of character to battle against the odds. A couple more Colours victories would be a good start. Should any of our clubs be up to the challenge, I’ve got the perfect pretentious headline lined up: “Now is the winter of our discontent/ Made glorious summer”.



TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009



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IN A game that was surely the highlight of the Trinity effort, the Second XI went ahead early on the sand-based pitch. With a small knot of supporters in attendance to boost the team’s spirits, a team that was expected to struggle against strong UCD opposition took the initiative, giving the Trinity faithful hope that this could be their year. Good defensive work from Rebecca Tyrrell and Anna Egan in goal kept UCD out, and their teammates up front were in similarly ruthless form. An up-field raid left Anne Cunningham in a good position; her shot came off the UCD goalie and went in to give Trinity a lead they never looked like giving up before halftime. After the break, UCD came back strong with the aid of a few players from the First XI, who didn’t even bother to hide their unsporting appearances in second-string jerseys, instead running on in the white-and-blue of the UCD Firsts. It took them several short corners before a breakthrough came – thanks in large part to the sterling work of the passionate Darina Errity and her teammates in defence – but eventually the dam wall burst and one of the whiteshirted interlopers pulled a goal back. UCD piled on the pressure, and Trinity seemed to be losing the plot a little, frustration setting in as they conceded a host of frees. In a remarkably experienced Trinity Second XI, fresher Clara Coakley provided the new blood, and it was she who finally put the matter beyond doubt right at the end. The UCD siege miraculously lifted, and Coakley, who

Aengus Stanley in action at Belfield. Photo: Jessica Packenham-Money had had a decent chance blocked on the line earlier in the game, was in no mood to pass up a second opportunity. Trinity swept upfield, and Coakley ignored the ball to Cunningham in favour of a thundering shot from a fair distance out. There was no stopping its passage into the right hand corner; just desserts for all concerned.

LADIES SECOND XI Anna Egan, Alice Delahunt (c), Aoife Freyne, Ashley Cantrell, Darina Errity, Megan Duffy, Fiona Burke, Helen Taaffe, Juiliette Gilligan, Anne Cunningham, Kate Stewart, Lucy Dockerell, Martha Purcell, Clara Coakley*, Nicola Costigan, Rebecca Tyrrell *Denotes Colours debut



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AS THE players went to warm up on the main pitch, one could follow their progress around the pitch by the footprints in the snow. “This is madness”, muttered one DUHC player as he watched the ladies struggle through the slush. “Madness? THIS… IS… COLOURS!!” came the retort, to general satisfaction. Thankfully the spectators were doing their collective best to support in the spirit of Sparta undeterred by the weather – not least because most of them had just finished playing in it. Unfortunately the standard of play wasn’t up to much. Trinity showed early promise as Rachel Scott, the hero of the weekend’s victory of Glenanne, won a short corner, and Meabh Horan

was doing her best to bully UCD into submission in the midfield. But there was simply no disguising the gulf in quality between the sides which led all to soon to the telling scores; a sustained bout of UCD pressure led to the opener; a sideline ball bobbled awkwardly and Elliott was beaten at the second attempt. The second goal came from the set piece. The short corner was sent hard and low by Orla O’Shea with the onrushing Horan and Elliott unable to cope. The rest of the game was even, if a little dull, as UCD took their foot of the pedal and Trinity proved unable to break them down. Elliott pulled off a couple of blinding saves to keep them in it, but at the other end there was little to report. Claire Hearnden was their most effective player, with the normally threatening Horan and Gorman nullified by either the opposition or the conditions. Hearnden got the ball in the net midway through the second half, but had succumbed to the temptation to raise her stick illegally in order to do so and was awarded a green card instead of a goal. The only other decent chance fell to Danielle Costigan, to whom the ball fell kindly in the circle, but she was just unable to get it out from under her feet before the defence swallowed her up. Two-nil was the final score.

LADIES FIRST XI Jessie Elliott, Ailbhe Coyle, Vanessa Buckley, Caroline Murphy, Katie O’Byrne, Caoimhe Costigan, Nadia Douglas*, Rachel Scott*, Maebh Horan, Claire Hearnden (c), Danielle Costigan, Lucy Small, Irene Gorman*


A. O’Reilly, H. Jones, A. McGuinness*, S. O’Donohue, J. Burns, A. Raftery, A. Murphy, J. Cooper, A. O’Reilly*, L. Godfrey*, L. Symonds*, A. Lim, L. Cawley*, S. Reynolds*, Z. McElligott, S. Sheerin, R. Foley, J. Fair*

A. Jolley (c), J. Bryan, S. McKechnie, D. Montgomery*, H. Butler, W. Wilshere, H. Sutherland, T. Humphreys*, L. Jamieson*, A. Beverland, C. Nairn*, C. O’Reilly

LADIES FIFTH XI C. Coakley, L. Ferguson, O. Flanagan*, R. Gregg*, C. Hall*, C. Kennedy*, A. Larkin, D. McCollum (c), S. Moran, M. O’Dea, M. Ozaki, J. Pakenham-Money, S. Quinn

THE FIFTH XI were hard pressed from the off due not only to the weather conditions but also to the prevailing economic climate, which left the majority of the forward line unwilling to skive off work in order to attend the mid-morning fixture. An emergency goalkeeper had to be drafted in from the Fourths, while key defender Niamh Fox was also unavailable. A goal down at halftime, a lack of substitutes meant that a bare eleven were worn out by the middle of the second half, when a further two goals were notched up in the face of a brave but hopeless defensive effort. The Thirds had already succumed over on the new

pitch, their opponents sealing a 2-1 win in the final minutes of the game. Coach Jack Hegarty was in rumbustious mood ahead of the Fourth’s encounter, going so far as to claim that his charges were “going to absolutely destroy UCD” in his pre-match comments. A spirited display from his side, staffed primarily with girls making their first appearances at Colours, saw them stick it to their outlandishly clad opponents in the first half, putting in a goal courtesy of Eavanna Mills. Rookie goalkeeper Suzanne Buckley and her defensive line ensured a clean sheet to keep it 1-0 at the break, giving the Trinity some hope that they could cancel out the


AIL DIVISION 2 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Team Lansdowne UCC Ballynahinch Bruff Bective Rangers Old Crescent Greystones Malone Dublin University Belfast Harlequins Highfield DLSP Thomond Wanderers Clonakilty Instonians

P 10 9 9 9 9 8 9 9 9 9 8 10 10 8 8 10

W 8 7 6 9 5 5 5 4 3 4 4 3 2 2 2 1

D 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 1 1 1 0 2

L 1 1 3 2 3 3 4 5 4 5 3 6 7 5 6 7

F 195 188 247 120 155 128 152 106 130 118 86 132 109 82 86 135

A 101 110 111 88 143 113 181 102 125 141 120 159 160 137 105 227

TB 2 2 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1

LB 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 5 3 2 0 2 4 3 2 1

Pts 37 33 30 29 26 22 22 21 19 18 18 17 14 13 11 10

No change from last week in the rugby team’s standing, since the match with Highfield was called off. Not now in action until the end of the month, the First XV will make do with a friendly game against Clontarf on Saturday. 31/01/09 Dublin University 21/02/09 Malone

P P v

Highfield Dublin University

BADMINTON Congratulations to Andrew Hogg and Aoife Aherne, who won the Mixed Doubles title at the 2009 Leinster Badminton Open. MEN’S SQUASH


Team Fitzwilliam A Fitzwillam B Sutton A Westwood A Curragh A Mt. Pleasant A Old Belvedere A Trinity A

P 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 8

Pts 127 119 114 98 79 78 62 12

11/02/09 Curragh A v Trinity A 18/02/09 Trinity A v Mt. Pleas A

Pos 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Team Total Fitness Trinity A Mt. Pleasant A Fitzwilliam B Westwood B Aer Lingus A

P 10 10 10 10 10 10

Pts 109 101 76 69 67 35

11/02/09 Westwood B v Trinity A 18/02/09 Trinity A v Mt. Pleasant A

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BY THE time the Firsts were put through their paces there was only pride to play for, with UCD winning five out of the opening six matches to seal Colours by lunchtime. Still, the idea of beating the hosts in the fixture at the top of the billing was enticing for players vocal supporters alike. Those latter did their part with some good natured heckling of whatever UCD player came within range. Onfield, however, Trinity were in trouble, finding it hard to work the ball out of the corners. Big Jack Hegarty had to be alert to keep UCD out from a couple of early short corners, one of which was the result of a long ball that left Glavey and Odlum at a loss. Brian Cleere prevented an immediate goal at the price of the shortie, which looked goal-bound before Hegarty got his left glove to it in a stop born of pure reaction. It was assuredly the save of the afternoon, but life being profoundly unfair the goalie’s heroics were soon to be undone. A ball into the circle was angled wickedly at goal by a UCD forward, and although Hegarty got a boot to it he was powerless to stop the rebound being buried by expert poacher Robbie McFarland. There was similarly nothing that could have been done about the second goal less than a minute laster (although better defence might have helped). UCD drove up the right flank and the cross crashed off the near stick and Hegarty’s helmet before dropping at the feet of Luke McSharry at the far post, who didn’t have to be told twice.


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THE MEN’S Seconds got things rolling on the main pitch, with the full misery of the day yet to reveal itself. With the XI just about assembling themselves in time for the strict 10am tip-off, it didn’t take long for them to make hard work of their task. Veteran Jason Bryan put in an animated performance, if a little too passionate for the umpires at times, but his defence was under enormous pressure for long periods. UCD had what looked like a perfectly good goal

defeat simultaneously being inflicted on the First XI on the adjacent pitch. Dave Adley called it right during halftime: “It’s a tight match, we’ve got to give it everything we’ve got”, but despite all the advice stressing the dangers of complacency, the team eventually went down in a similar manner to the 3rds just an hour before. UCD pegged one back before netting a late winner to rapturous applause.


Pos 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.


SAT MAJOR 1D Team DUAFC Brendanville FC Templeogue United Swords Celtic Clonee United Garda FC Verona FC Dunboyne AFC Confey FC Rush Athletic Boyne Rovers Rathcoole Boys Greenhills AFC Loughshinny United

14/02/09 Swords Celtic

P 15 13 13 12 10 14 14 13 12 14 13 13 12 12

W 13 9 8 8 7 5 5 4 4 3 2 2 1 1

D 1 1 3 1 2 2 1 3 3 4 4 3 4 4

L 1 3 2 3 1 7 8 6 5 7 7 8 7 7

F 64 34 35 34 39 27 27 25 14 31 19 17 19 15

v (Joe Tynan Cup)


Takes place over the weekend of February 14/15. TENNIS

WINTER LEAGUE Ladies: 15/02/09 22/02/09 Men’s: 01/02/09 15/02/09 22/02/09

Sutton 1 Leopardstown 1 Brookfield 1 Glasnevin 1 Trinity 1

v v 1 2 v v

MEN’S FIRST XI Jack Hegarty, Brian Cleere, Barry Glavey, Daire Coady, Nick Odlum, Aengus Stanley, Ian Gorman, Andy Gray*, Stuart Cinnamond, Johnny Orr (c), Ben Hewitt, Chris Tyrrell

disallowed and replaced with a short corner, much to the bemusement of the forwards. Club captain Aaron Jolley did his bit for club and country with a smart double save. He couldn’t keep them at bay forever, not with all the pressure being exerted by the home side. A nice bit of skill to evade Montgomery allowed a UCD attacker time in the box to wind up, and a blunderbuss of a shot nearly fractured the backboard and put UCD in the lead. The Seconds couldn’t seem to gel as a side, never getting their passing game going. Sutherland had a couple of half chances but never seemed likely to trouble the blackclad UCD goalie, Darth Vader-like in his unflappable and somehow menacing clam under pressure. An effort from Will Wilshere, hauled off the tennis courts to make his contribution, was swallowed up and UCD went for the sting operation, rattling down the pitch to scramble in a second goal with the ball beating Jolley close to the body. Then the hail started. It didn’t relent, and nor did UCD. A Humphreys reverse from range was all Trinity could muster by way of reply and 0-2 was the final scoreline. “What’s disappointing is the fact that we played a very similar side earlier in the year and beat them 8-1”, said Jolley. “We lost to an inferior side”.



Results and fixtures to February 24

Pos 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 9. 11. 12. 13. 14.

The floodlights came on during the second half – it must have been all of 2pm – but unexpectedly it was Trinity who lit up the stadium with a stunning goal out of nowhere. Beginning with Cleere, seven or eight pinpoint passes swept the ball from right to left and almost the full length of the pitch before Andy Gray gave it the finishing touch from close range. It was wonderful hockey, and set the game alight. Ben Hewitt came to life up front, embarrassing his marker time and again as Trinity pressed for the equaliser. A typically powerful Glavey free from the edge of the circle lacked only a touch to send it in, and a short corner opportunity was wasted as Gorman failed to control at first instance. Chris Tyrrell hurled his stick at the dugout as he was substituted, evidence of the frustration sweeping through the ranks. Aengus Stanley, making a penetrating run up the wing, set up Orr for yet another missed chance, and when Hewitt left his man sprawling in the snow and rounded the keeper only to be illegally denied one felt the game was surely up, especially when the resulting set piece came to nothing. But there was one more sting in the tail: a short corner heralded the last play of the game. Crowd buzzing, ten men around the circle, Trinity looked for a famous equaliser. They didn’t get it. Well, there’s always next year.



PREMIER DIVISION FIRST DIVISION Pos 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

S. Buckley*, K. Smith (c), L. Hogan*, R. Wood, J. Geraghty, S. Lewis*, N. Barnwell*, L. Headon*, N. O’Donnell*, A. Davidson*, C. Walsh, K. Ryan*, L. Tully*, E. O’Hanrahan*, E. Mills*, E. Flahavan, M. McDonald, C. Mullins*, J. Orr, K. Hogan*






A 11 20 14 18 19 43 38 26 15 36 41 42 36 41

Team Clontarf Skerries Bray Suttonians Dublin University Avoca Weston Navan Naas

P 9 9 8 8 9 7 9 9 8

W 9 6 5 5 4 3 3 1 1

D 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0

L 0 3 2 3 5 3 6 8 7

F 53 31 19 42 24 12 14 8 5

A 9 18 12 13 23 12 30 47 44

Pts 27 18 16 15 12 9 9 3 3

Pts 40 A routine win over Naas puts Trinity back in mid table, 28 which their performances this year deserve. Next week’s 27 match against another set of no-hopers will be an easy ride; 25 the target should be a performance against Skerries. 23 17 31/01/09 DUHC 3 1 Naas 16 14/02/09 Navan v Dublin University 15 21/02/09 Skerries v Dublin University 15 13 LADIES HOCKEY 10 9 7 Pos Team P W D L F A Pts 7 1. Railway Union 11 9 2 0 22 3 29 Loreto 12 7 4 1 28 6 25 DUAFC 2. 3. Hermes 11 6 3 2 28 12 21 4. Pembroke 11 6 3 2 22 16 21 5. Old Alexandra 12 5 4 3 23 19 19 6. UCD 11 5 3 3 13 8 18 7. Glennane 12 4 2 5 19 23 15 8. Bray 12 2 3 7 11 20 9 9. Trinity College 13 1 2 10 13 36 5 10. Corinthian 13 0 2 11 10 45 2


Victory, no matter long and hard the road may be... It finally arrived for the First XI on the last day of January, Rachel Scott scoring a hat-trick against Glennane. A result against Alex at Santry would keep the momentum going nicely as Trinity 1 the battle to reel in Bray begins. Trinity 1 31/01/09 Trinity College 3 1 Glennane Trinity 1 07/02/09 Bray PP Trinity College Trinity 1 21/02/09 Trinity College v Old Alexandra Shankill 1

D. Hacking*, D. Adley, C. Pearmund*, J. Mills, C. Denham, M. Sexton, R. Murtagh, P. Collings, A. Bell, R. Woods, J. Charlesworth, P. McCutcheon*, S. Kelly, J. Hackett*, A. Stevenson*, C. Gray, D. Ryan*, M. Connellan, M. Muhler*, D. Mangan*

THE FOURTHS match didn’t actually count towards Colours due to UCD, whose strength traditionally lies in the men’s club, deciding that they didn’t actually have a Fourths team, the crafty devils. Loath to be deprived of a chance for at least a moral victory, the Fourth XI demanded satisfaction by means of a duel, or, failing that, penalty strokes. With one stroke to go and UCD one ahead, the goalkeepers were called into action. Moritz Muhler stepped up and buried his to leave things even, then executed an abrupt about-face to try to deny his UCD counterpart. Wrongfooted, the German could only watch in dismay as the shot sailed toward the bottom corner, only to come off the post to leave matters at 2-2. Fittingly, the UCD mob turned out to be unable to master such complex mathematics and heartily congratulated the Trinity XI on their victory. The Men’s thirds were, therefore, the sole side able to boast a proper win. Goals from defender Doug Montgomery and veteran Cian Denham set the Thirds up for victory.


TRINITY NEWS February 10, 2009

Trampoline Colours ‘09





Trinity captain David Fitzpatrick soars majestically towards the ceiling of the Sports Centre; his side ultimately conceded Colours by 3 points. Photo: Jessica Pakenham-Money By Conor James McKinney College Sport Editor KATIE PERRY tunes blasted into the 3rd floor hall of the Sports Centre as the Trampoline Clubs of Trinity and UCD prepared to do battle last Saturday, but as soon as the competition proper started they were all business. An unnerving hush fell over the arena as each competitor started his or her routine. Since description of a trampolining event would require sufficient mastery of technique and terminology to be able spot a perfectly executed Miller (tripletwisting double back somersault) or Bomb (back pullover from tucked seat drop position), it must suffice to say that it is essentially a gymnastic discipline, requiring similar levels of precision, coordination and flexibility. The addition of the trampoline serves to make it more spectacular, and presumably more dangerous, than a mere floor exercise. Competitors in the Elite category on Saturday scaled heights of 6-8 feet before launching into their routines. At its most prosaic, as with the novice events, watching all that bouncing is pretty hypnotic; at the highest levels, it is exhilarating. Apart from anything else, to hear someone halfway through a tumble while five feet up and descending rapidly exclaim “oh shit” is both impressive and deeply worrying. DU Trampoline Club has couple of hundred members to its name, and was able to cajole about 25 of those into competition against UCD. The Colours

Plate, awarded since 2004, is awarded on the basis of the six best individual scores matched against the six best of the opposing team. A panel of five judges representing both universities awarded marks out of ten in each category. Jumpers went through two routines, one a standard “set” and the second a personal “vol” performance. UCD had an advantage from the off, able to bring more competitors onto the beds in all categories apart from Novice Women, in which Trinity took all the medals. UCD competitors dominated most of the other grades, sweeping the Elite category and only thwarted by Stephanie Fisher from winning both of the Advanced. Katie Hughes and Jim O’Hagan both took runner-up medals in the Intermediate, as did Fergus Poynton as the sole male Trinity Novice. As for the overall title, based on the top six scores of each, UCD were perhaps unsurprisingly victorious given their higher medal haul, although only by 3 points. The medals and plaque were presented at a good-natured ceremony in the Pavilion Bar. The UCD contingent, typically, were in boisterous form as they celebrated taking their third Colours in a row. All the sweeter for coming on Trinity turf, no doubt, but your correspondent couldn’t help but hold onto an unworthy hope that they’d all be kicked out and sent back to Belfield where they belong. DU Trampoline Club trains on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. More information can be found at










COLOURS COMES to College Park next week, with Dublin University Association Football Club hoping to exact revenge on their Belfield rivals after losing out in the previous two engagements. Trinity lost the Davy Faiers Memorial Trophy to University College last year, going down 3–1. The annual Colours match is one of the oldest derbies in Irish soccer, the first match between the two universities having being played in 1894. DUAFC players who are selected for the Colours match are eligible to be awarded Club Colours, as is the case with many of the older clubs. The soccer club was founded in 1883, in fact, which makes it the oldest soccer club in the country still in existence, and it would be fitting for the club to celebrate its 125th anniversary with a Colours victory. This is no easy task. Seven of UCD’s panel that will take to the field for the Colours game are on Scholarships, and some also play for the college in the likes of the Eircom League U-20 division, the Eircom League ‘A’ Championship, and even the Eircom League proper. Experienced postgraduate Evin McMillan anchors the side; Trinity will also need to keep an eye on his younger brother David up front. Other key players include John Dineen and Robbie Creecy, who bring with them League of Ireland experience, while Gareth Mathews is formerly of Norwich City. Trinity will be up for the challenge, however. In 2005/2006, within the memory of many at the club, they recorded a convincing victory, and after a highly successful season in the Leinster Senior League, to which DUAFC this year returned after a long absence, the side are confident that they can repeat this feat. The club is currently top of the LSL Saturday Division Major 1D, and currently leads the LSL’s 300 teams in terms of goals scored, with enough left over to see them into the quarterfinals of the Joe Tynan Cup, recently beating Postal United by three goals to nil in the last sixteen. The story is not quite as rosy in varsity competition. After a convincing 4-0 win over DCU and a 1-1 draw away to Colaiste Ide, Trinity were knocked out of the CUFL after a last minute penalty saw them edged out by DIT 2-1 at College Park. On the whole, though, there rarely can have been a better build-up to Colours for a Trinity XI. The confidence running through the side is undeniable and the team has had five wins on the bounce since Christmas. In total this season they have played 20 games, winning 15, drawing 3 and losing only two games. John Hudson, part of the Trinity management team, was effusive in his praise when asked about the team’s chance of causing an upset. “There is no doubt that UCD are favorites coming into this game”, he said. “However, there is no doubt that our lads have improved massively this season. The decision to move to LSL Saturday football has meant that the players have been playing week in, week out this season and the performances have been improving game by game. Whatever the outcome, UCD will not have an easy game in college park this season.” The game is provisionally scheduled for Wednesday the 18th, for a 2pm kick-off. A sizeable home crowd is expected to cheer on the boys in black and red.


DANIEL TRIMBLE (CB) THE TRINITY captain had a slow start to the season, recovering from a leg injury that kept him out of the side until November. His return to fitness before the Christmas break was brief however as a groin injury meant he had to wait until the New Year to begin his season afresh. Since then his form has been a revelation. Trinity have conceded just two goals in four games under his captaincy and he will be hoping to keep another clean sheet against UCD. The postgrad student is ferocious in the tackle, superb in the air and an intimidating prospect that has terrified even the most seasoned striker in the Leinster Senior League. When fit, perhaps the best centre half in University football.

EVIN O’REILLY (CM) O’REILLY IS Trinity’s vice captain, and indeed has spent much of the season deputising for the injured Trimble. He has been an ever present in Trinity’s midfield this season, playing almost every minute of every game, and it is easy to see why his teammates rate him so highly. Surprisingly good in the tackle, the lithe midfielder also has a huge array of passing in his repertoire and is always eager to get forward and join the attack. He has chipped in with almost ten goals from midfield so far this season and Trinity will be hoping he can add to his tally against bitter rivals UCD. IT’S NOT that College Park is unused to rugby superstars strutting their stuff on its hallowed turf. Jamie Heaslip, who played No. 8 for Ireland on Saturday, is a former DU Football Club player, as were Heineken Cup winners Devon Toner and Byrn Cunningham. It’s just that we don’t generally play host to more than one at a time. There’s certainly no precedent for the influx of sheer brawn that loped out in front of the Pav on Friday, just 24 hours before their clash with Ireland, to run through their drills. The France team had been staying in the Merrion Hotel, but the IRFU had allocated them pitch space in Blackrock for their training. Rather than travel so far away, the manager got in touch with Tony Smeeth of DUFC to see whether the team could have their run-out in the city centre. The Trinity authorities were happy to oblige, although Terry McAuley and the

soccer crowd may not be best pleased that it was the area in front of the Pav, rather than the rugby pitch, which ended up taking the brunt of twenty-odd rugby players on a surface normally off-limits until March or April. Indeed, a rogue snowman had to be gently but firmly escorted off the pitch by a French coach. It was a day of celebrity on campus, in fact, with a queue already forming for Pete Doherty outside the GMB as students hurried towards the Pav to join the even bigger crowds in attendance at the cricket pitch. Captain Lionel Nallet caught the eye, holding court from the midst of the huddle and directing his team’s efforts. Cedric Heymans practised fielding his kicks, warming up for Croker by booting each ball received in the direction of the Moyne Institute. The improbably good looking Clement Poitrenaud

was the big draw as the team finished and headed for their bus at the back of the Pav, but Benoit Baby was the star attraction for the more discerning French fans who had congregated, berets and blue scarves firmly in place against the cold, like moths to a flame. Sebastian “Caveman” Chabal stood out, naturally, that brooding bearded presence even more menacing in the flesh. Dimitri Szarzewski and a front row colleague, trailing in his wake, smiled wryly as they sauntered unacknowledged past a knot of onlookers drinking in their more famous colleague. There wasn’t much to smile about the following evening, mind you: it was our Jamie, a man who knows College Park far better than these ephemeral Gallic visitors, who had the last laugh. CJ McKinney Photo: Jessica Pakenham-Money

CHRIS ALLEN (AM) THE FULCRUM of Trinity’s attack is key to Trinity’s hopes of beating UCD next Wednesday. Allen has just returned from a three-week lay off and his arrival back in the team could not be more timely, with the colours game and the annual intervarsity tournament, the Collingwood Cup, looming on the horizon. The Trinity man’s exceptional close control and eye for a through ball have helped create numerous chances this term and he is not shy in front of goal either. The former Man United trialist has also been capped by the Ireland Futsal soccer side, the only non League of Ireland player in the team. The game against UCD is of particular importance for him, having missed a penalty in last year’s defeat. Niall Walsh


Will this be Trinity’s year ear to bring g home the Davy Faier Trophy? We preview the big clash with UCD


TRIN RINITY NITY NEWS Tuesday, Tuesd day, February 10, 2009

UCD snatch Colours in Hall Brawl MATCH STATS THE TEAM:


Fighters square off in the Exam Hall as a capacity crowd looks on; a close Colours competition was eventually won by UCD. Photo: Mark Carroll By Gregg McGibney TRINITY WENT down to UCD in the most dramatic of fashions in the Exam Hall last Tuesday. With the score tied at four apiece, Colours was decided by the final bout of the night, with rookie Peter Linney pitted against UCD captain Jack Matterson in the 75kg class. Unfortunately there was to be no fairytale ending, as the less experienced man was roundly trounced and the towel was thrown in before the end of Round 1 to

signal a UCD triumph. It had all started so brightly for Trinity, with victory in the opening three bouts going to the man in the red corner. Duffy got things off to a good start for the hosts by defeating John Hustaix, with the combo to the body proving effective in seeing off his opponent. Following him was Ronan Murtagh, who had the reach on UCD’s Patrick Maguire, in the first of three 67kg bouts but was initially discomfited by the southpaw’s energetic start. The UCD man burnt himself out quickly, however, and it was a clear and

impressive win for Murtagh in the end. The aggressive Hugh McGeady was up next, and set out his stall early by putting his opponent on the canvas midway through the first round. The UCD man recovered well and had an effective hook that kept things interesting, but by the end it was 3 and 0 for Trinity. The fourth bout pitted Gibbons and Claudon, the lightest of the competitors at 60kg apiece, against each other in what proved to be a gripping encounter. Gibbons lost his headgear in the first but came back

strong in a tough second round in which both fighters boxed superbly. Claudon just about edged it come the finish to give UCD their first win of the night. The big guns were up next, with Patrick Kerr coming up against the intimidating bulk of Greg Foley, whose cheeky cigarette just prior to his fight didn’t make the task of beating him seem any less formidable. A brave performance from the Trinity man couldn’t hide the fact that he was overmatched by the Belfield man, and the fight had stopped at the end of

Trinity squash goes on tour By Patricia Burns JANUARY 2009 proved a busy month for DU Squash Rackets Club. On the weekend of the 9th-11th January, the club played host to Oxford University following from a successful tour to Oxford from the Trinity Squash Club two years ago. The event kicked off on the Friday afternoon with a Trinity team, comprising of all members, both students and graduates, taking on the tourists which included five Oxford Blues. Trinity’s number 1 Rory Byrne got things off to a good start, taking down Oxford number 1, 3/0. John Dillon also came out of a close tie against Oxford number 2, Alex Iltchev winning 3/2. Karlis Zauers demonstrated his fine array of strokes (and some trickshots - notably the corkscrew lob!) and succeeded in beating number 3. Play continued with Oxford gaining revenge for earlier losses by winning the majority of the other matches. Seán Reilly and Trish Burns put on notable performances and were unlucky not to pull off a win. Trish Ryan showed determination, high speed and high fitness against Henry Taylor. Her opponent had to dig deep to close out the fifth and gain a win. At the end of the evening, it was Trinity who emerged victorious. With the top 3 players winning on the Friday the tie was taken by Trinity. Following the day’s exertions, the Trinity players treated the Oxford boys by taking them to Commons dinner. The Knights of the Campanile were kind enough to hold a reception for the visiting Oxford team in

Trinity & Edinburgh ready to go college after the meal - thanks to them for helping entertain our guests. The tourists then familiarised themselves with the Pavilion Bar before heading to more palatial surroundings on Camden Street. Saturday morning saw the tie continue with only current students of Trinity taking part. This time Oxford were not to be denied. A strong team eager to restore pride following the previous day’s loss were on top form and dominated the matches in the higher orders. However, some notable performances were put in by Ed Miles and Suresh Kumar who were unfortunate not to win in two close battles. Trish Burns managed a 3/2 win against Alex Gilmore. Saturday’s efforts were rewarded with a dinner in Little Caesar’s, followed by an entertaining pub crawl involving some impromptu traditional music and dancing and ending in Doyle’s in the

early hours. The weekend was a huge success. Trinity v Oxford matches are becoming a regular event and the club plan on making efforts to keep this tradition going. On the weekend of the 23rd-25th January, a small group of DU Squash Rackets members made their way to Edinburgh for the annual squash tour. On Friday night the team took on Heriot-Watt University in some of the best squash facilities in Scotland. Trish Ryan was in top form in both her games, dispatching Robert Wallace 3/0 and William Bruce 3/2 in a gripping match on court number one. There were wins all around. Andy Hogg impressed with a highly convincing 3/0 triumph over the Heriot-Watt number 1. Alex Penney had a comfortable 3/0 victory against Chris Pillows and Trish Burns had a tight game against Angus Scott, just managing a 3/2 win. Men’s Captain Robbie Woods also ran out winner 3/1 in a close match against Pat Baker. To finish off the evening’s matches, Robbie

and Alex took on Pat and Chris in an exciting game of squash doubles. They came out the winners, 3/0. On Saturday, the team tried to maintain their focus. They were up for a challenge against a strong University of Edinburgh team. Catherine Graham started things on a good note by recording an impressive victory against U of E’s number 1, showing strength and determination to win the contest 3/2. Mary Bohan and Alice Bentley ran their rivals close and were unlucky to lose out to numbers 3 and 4. In the men’s games, Andy Hogg showed talent and fitness against Edinburgh’s Nigel Anthony. He was unfortunate to lose 3/2. Robbie Woods lost in a tight match against their captain, having being 8-3 up in the third game! Matches finished late on Saturday evening. Despite Trinity producing competitive performances, they were unable to pull out a victory on this occasion. After building up a hearty appetite, it was off to Oddfellows bar and restaurant for dinner. A visit to a local take-away to sample the Scottish delicacy of battered Mars bar was an all round hit. The group spent the rest of the evening in the fantastic Student Union venue of Potterrow where resident Scot Andy and club captain Robbie attempted to teach the group some memorable Scottish dancing. An enjoyable weekend was had by all. Team spirit was high and players competed well against high standard opponents. The combination of experienced players and new faces ensured a weekend of exciting and challenging squash.

Round 2. After the intermission, Ladies captain Mikaela Kotschack took to the ring in the only female bout of the event against the equally intriguingly named Grushenka Arnold. The Trinity woman had the reach and displayed good footwork to demolish her opponent in the first round. Her victory was assured with further dominance in the second, with Arnold having reply to a number of punches to the body. At 4-2 with three bouts remaining, Moss Dempsey could have sealed the deal in his fight but

had to contend with an opponent with superior reach, obliging him to go close in and work the body. He used the tactic effectively in an even contest but the UCD man had that extra bit of stamina that allowed him to get some vital shots in just before the bell and snatch victory at the death. Donnchada Jackson (no, it’s not a typo. We checked.) was faced with another tough opponent, and again inexperience told as he ultimate succumbed to Mernagh of UCD. That left things at 4-4 when Linney stepped into the ring. It was an unfortunate end to the Trinity effort, but Colours head back to Belfield this year, in the company of a team who no doubt boasted sore heads for more reasons than one the next morning. DU Boxing, meanwhile, will hope for better luck when they play host to Oxford in the same venue on February 20th. Additional reporting by Ayo Onamusi



I USED to work in a newsagent. It was a lovely job, but one which tends to confirm one’s suspicions that Irish people always talking about the weather is a unbending universal law. Looking back on some of the previous issues, in fact, it seems as though I always start a match report with a mention of the conditions. Well, here it’s justified. Colours 2009, held in Belfield on February 3rd, was played out amidst hail, snow and a wind with more teeth in it than a mad dentist’s basement. The hosts went and made matters worse by winning the thing. Only the Ladies 2nds and Men’s 3rds managed to upset their rivals, with UCD taking bragging rights in a similar style to last year by a convincing 6-2 margin. The ninth encounter, the Men’s 4ths game, was booted out of the competitive arena due to UCD conveniently not having a 4ths team. For all that, Colours was as ever a well-spirited and enjoyable affair, with the Trinity supporters making most of the noise. In the first round of fixtures, played at a deliberately sobering 10am in the morning, only Brian Cleere and his trusty whistle were there to urge the players on, but by half eleven when the Ladies Firsts, Fourths and Fifths were in action the hockey faithful had bestirred themselves and braved the security checks at the entrance to

the stadium to cheer the teams on. The reference to the corpse of a polar bear at the beginning of the Trinity hockey anthem is probably the most pleasant image in the whole of that macabre ballad, while in between the renditions came lusty roars of “TRINITY – SHITE!”, which seems to have been neatly appropriated for our own use over the years. On the pitch, things weren’t looking too good, with UCD going 2-1 up overall thanks to an unexpected victory for their Men’s Seconds and a late winner in the Women’s Thirds game. The Trinity Ladies Seconds, their duty done with an emphatic 3-1 win, settled in to watch a poor First XI performance on the main pitch, no doubt ambitious but disloyal thoughts about how much better a job I could have done out there creeping into a few heads. Elsewhere, the Fourths threw away a 1-0 halftime lead to go down 2-1 and the Fifths were comprehensively outclassed, leaving the final round of Men’s games an irrelevant but entertaining spectacle. It would have been, at least, had it not been too cold to have feelings by then. Still, it could be worse, we told ourselves as we trudged out of Belfield in search of a frostbite clinic. At least we get to leave. CJ McK Full coverage inside on page 22

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