10th December 2013
NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2013
Photo: Samuel Verbi
College departments facing crisis over staff shortages Lecturers “almost irresponsibly responsible” in covering up shortages – IFUT Increasing importance of private funding likely to affect arts and humanities
T Catherine Healy News Editor
here are fears for the future of Arts Building departments as College plots to continue trimming staff numbers, Trinity News has learned. The decision not to replace retired staff is a practice that was approved by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in 2011. Under the HEA’s employment control framework, thirdlevel institutions are required to reduce their staff number by 2014. Speaking to Trinity News, Mike Jennings, General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), described the failure to replace retired staff in College as a “regrettably familiar” feature of government policy. He said that the situation has resulted in a “huge amount of dislocation” for many academic departments and has led to increased competition for funding between disciplines. Though a number of academics vacancies in College have been recently filled with help from private funding and endowments, the increasing role played by private donations in staff hiring and replacement since 2011 also raises questions relating to the independence of incoming academics. “I would be very concerned at how this would affect the duty of academics to tell and seek the truth in all cases,” Jennings told Trinity News on Sunday. “Does anyone believe, for instance, that a pharmaceutical company would sponsor research into new treatments which do not need their products, or that banks would finance social research into alternative community financing?” In addition, increasing privatisa-
tion of staff hiring puts funding for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at particular risk, as private sponsors are more likely to favour funding disciplines such as science and medicine. A high-ranking academic within the School of Drama, Film and Music has told Trinity News that it is unlikely that a number of its older staff will be replaced when they leave. The imminent retirement of four senior staff, he said, will mean that the School is likely face significant staff shortages within the next two years. The Department of Music will shortly lose two lecturers, while the Department of Drama will lose one staff member. The Department of Film Studies is also expected to lose one lecturer, reducing its number of staff from four to three. However, it is understood that the Department of Film receives private funding from one particularly wealthy benefactor, which may assist it in hiring another lecturer. Unions have long identified staff shortages in third-level education as an area of major concern. Speaking to Trinity News, Jennings said that lecturers in Ireland have been “almost irresponsibly responsible” in managing to cover up their increasing workload in recent times. The union leader, who recently launched a public campaign against the increasing marketisation of thirdlevel education, also said that “it would have been better if we been more militant in the past.” In a speech at the Trinity Global Graduate Forum on 8th November, Provost Patrick Prendergast
“In addition, increasing privatisation of staff hiring puts funding for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at particular risk, as private sponsors are more likely to favour funding disciplines such as science and medicine.”
indicated that he would consider privatisation as an option for the university. Its current public nature, he said, meant that College is “subject to the same restrictions and controls as other public bodies.” In particular, Prendergast expressed concern that “different pieces of legislation” may “tie our hand and limit our independence” in relation to “decisions on hiring, promotion, remuneration, research funding, and tuition fees.” The provost also suggested that he would view the ability to enforce compulsory redundancy on staff as a benefit of future privatisation. College “staff are now public servants, and redundancy can only be voluntary,” he said. In a statement to Trinity News later that week, the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) noted that that the provost “seems to be very agitated by his inability to make staff redundant.” The union’s position, Jennings said, is “that we have conceded substantial reductions in pay in return for job security and insist on both sides of that bargain been kept.” IFUT last clashed with College in November of the previous academic year, when it threatened to withdraw its co-operation with the terms of the Croke Park Agreement over College’s refusal to reinstate three workers who were made compulsorily redundant. The move came two months after the Department of Education ordered that College immediately implement the Labour Court ruling that three staff members, one library worker and two lecturers, be reinstated.
SOPHIE KENNEDY CLARK TALKSABOUT NYMPHOMANIAC, BORGEN STAR TALKS POLITICS AND WE SHOWCASE WINTER’S TO P KNITWEAR.
Angus Lloyd reports on DUFC’s match against Malone FC. D. Joyce-Ahearne looks at the ignored mental health issue of paedophilia.
Dylan Lynch explores the science behind a white Chritmas.
William Foley urges students to unite with the labour movement and oppose its enemies.
>> Comment -p.14
Tuesday 10th December 2013
What They Said
“ “ “ “ “ What will the hashtag for my wedding be???? #lifedecisions Matthew Mulligan, Online Editor
Why when I spell analysis I think ‘Anal! why sis?’ ...I don’t have a sister #strange” @Fionn Rogan
Occupy Coleraine protest enters its second week Sit-in coincided with UK-wide industrial action last week
Student protesChoice between “education for society and education for economy” tors took over the Catherine Healy and societies, and hosts commu- facilities for staff and students on nity functions organised by local the campus.” The Coleraine occu- room last Monday business. The SCR also has his- pation coincided with industrial torical significance for Coleraine action taken by lecturers across night in a bid to News Editor students. During the Troubles, a the UK last Tuesday after univerStudent activists have vowed to spokesperson for the group has sity managers failed to come to save what they continue their occupation of the said, it was “a beacon of neutral- an agreement with UCU, Unison Senior Common Room (SCR) at ity” and “allowed students from and Unite over the issue of lectur- describe as “the the University of Ulster, Cole- either side of the sectarian divide ers’ pay, which has failed to rise in raine, in protest against its immi- to come together in a space they line with inflation in recent years. last non-commerJimmy Kelly, United Regional nent closure. The sit-in is to con- could call their own.” tinue until the group’s “demands It is understood that the SCR will Secretary, praised the sit-in last cialized public are met”, Chloe Gault, a spokes- function as a private dining area week for having provided “a masperson for Occupy Coleraine, has for the use of college executives terclass in solidarity”. from the end of December. Its The protest has also been com- space on camtold Trinity News. Student protestors took over forced closure, the University and mended by Terry Eagleton, who the room last Monday night in College Union (UCU) comment- joined the student occupation on pus”. a bid to save what they describe as “the last non-commercialized public space on campus”. The room is regularly used by clubs
ed last week, is part of “a systematic drive by the Senior Management Team to downgrade, or do away with completely, any of the
Wednesday. “What you’ve done here - whatever the outcome of this event - is you’ve transformed yourselves from recipients to
Journalist dismisses bailout exit as “purely political move”
Staff Writer The government’s decision to exist the bailout programme is premature and a “purely political move”, according Dan O’Brien, the former economics editor of The Irish Times. In a talk to the Student Economic Review last Wednesday, he described the move as having been calculated to avoid losing support to the “Shinners and Fianna Fail”. He claimed a “backstop” provided by the bailout programme is still necessary for the Irish economy. O’Brien also told students that the crisis was a failure of “finance as opposed to capitalism” and described the left-right division as “totally outdated”. Decisions should be made on a “what works basis”, he said. When asked about the economic consensus existing in mainstream media, he dismissed the argument as coming from a “leftist” perspective. O’Brien argued that the global
bubble was caused by an explosion in cross-border capital flows rather than low interest rates. He also claimed that Ireland’s bubble would have been even bigger if it had its own currency, since higher interest rates would have attracted more capital from abroad. Outlining the steps he sees as necessary for a European banking union, O’Brien said that regulation needed to be taken away from national capitals, and given to a single European supervisor. A single European resolution mechanism is essential, he claimed, to “break the link” between sovereign debt and the national banking systems, while a single Europe-wide deposit insurance scheme would be required to prevent bank runs. He also described those people running Germany’s regional Landesbanks as “morons”. O’Brien, who was one of the most optimistic commentators about prospects for the Celtic Tiger, admitted to having been “crap” at forecasting during his time with The Irish Times, but claimed that
“everybody got it wrong”. He dismissed the idea of economics as a science and rejected proponents of both austerity and stimulus for their “certainty”. In economics “we just don’t know”, he said. O’Brien joined The Irish Times as economics editor in 2010, before leaving last summer to become chief economist at the Institute for International and European Affairs. Before becoming an editor with The Irish Times, he was an opinion writer for the paper and one of the most optimistic commentators about prospects for the Celtic Tiger. During this period, his contributions included a 2006 piece headlined, “Next Ten Years Augurs Well for Celtic Tiger”. In another article from November 2005, he also wrote that Bertie Ahern “fits the bill” to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations.
I figure Miley Cyrus will probably live another seven years, but that’s it.
Matt Taylor, NMC Director
How low do you go Elaine? Henry Longden, Tn2 Editor
D. Joyce-Ahearne, InDepth Editor
agents, to actually taking control of the situation,” he said. “That’s the first step in any kind of radical politics. You’re here to defend not just this space, but this space as symbolic of the very ideal of education, of the very idea of the university, which is in danger of sinking without trace.” Eagleton defined the option facing universities as “a choice between education for society and education for economy.” Increasingly, he said, “the production of knowledge is being incorporated into institutions of corporate capitalism.” University bureaucrats and “technocrats of the mind” have turned universities into “mind factories which sell commodified knowledge.” Occupy Coleraine, he said, represents “the real university - which the philistines who run places like this would not recognise were it to drop straight into their laps.” Occupy Coleraine is one of a number of sit-ins that took place last week in solidarity with striking university staff. On Wednesday, students at London University’s School of Oriental and
“Eagleton defined the option facing universities as “a choice between education for society and education for economy.”
African Studies (SOAS) occupied the offices of its senior management over demands ranging from better pay and conditions for outsourced cleaners, to a maximum pay ratio of 10:1 between the lowest-paid and highest-paid staff in the university. Their protest lasted only for a number of hours, after they were forcibly expelled by security staff onto the streets, where they clashed with police. A video which has since appeared online appears to show a policeman punching a student. Students at the University of Sheffield also occupied a campus room last week in a protest organised by the Sheffield Revolutionary Socialist Society. “Government and management are increasingly motivated by market forces and austerity rather than any commitment to education,” the society said in a statement last week. “We see solidarity as a weapon, not a word, and we will continue to take action in support of staff forced to provide services for ever-diminishing returns, while those at the top continue to line their own pockets”.
Former NATO commander concedes US mistakes
Journalist who defined Celtic Tiger optimism admits poor forecasting Students told crisis a failure of “finance as opposed to capitalism” James Predergast
Ask not what your paper can do for you, but what you can do for your paper. I’m gonna get that tattooed on my chest.
New strategy: US to seek out “zones of cooperation” 21st century security to combine “hard” and “soft” power James Predergast Staff Writer
The former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis has conceded that the United States has often tended to “leap into action” before it has “listened” in the past. Speaking to members of the University Historical Society (Hist) last Thursday, Stavridis said that “a broad support base” should always have been sought for military action, when emergency action was previously taken without authorisation. However, the former admiral, who oversaw US military operations for four year until May 2013, went on to defend NATO actions in Afghanistan. In particular, he praised the literary classes being provided by the United States to soldiers in the Afghan Army. He also describes NATO’s actions in Libya as part of “a good mission”, although Gaddafi’s punishment was, he said, not done “in the way NATO would have liked”. It was the first war to end of Twitter, he quipped, after he tweeted the announcement that the conflict was to cease.
The United States, Stavridis claimed, no longer wishes to be the “dominant actor” in global security and will instead actively seek out “zones of cooperation”, involving governments, agencies and both private and public companies. He emphasised that security in the 21st century should about “building bridges” and a combination of “hard” and “soft” power. While conceding that Nicaragua had “good reason to dislike” the US after it had mined the country’s harbours, he claimed the visit of another “hospital” ship there had helped improve relations. He also said that he remains “hopeful” about relations with Iran. Social media, online courses like MOOCs, and websites like Wikipedia would be crucial in spreading education and “Western values”, he said. Stavridis denied that China was a “threat” to the US and said that tensions over the islands in the East China Sea were the result of disagreement over the legacy of the Second World War, and of millennia of distrust. He said he
remained sceptical of an EU solution, given the strength of nationalist feelings in the region. The Korean peninsula will, he predicted, eventually be reunified. The “proxy war” in Syria, Stavridis went on to caution, is “potentially catastrophic,” but he said that the American focus was on bringing the warring parties “to the table” in Geneva rather than on military action. He said that Russia feels the US and NATO went “too far” in Libya, and wants to avoid a similar outcome in Syria. Stavridis was in Dublin to receive the Hist’s Gold Medal for “Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse”. He is currently the Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University, Massachusetts.
Tuesday 10th December2013
Q Soc celebrates anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality Amnesty director criticises lack of transgender rights Speakers confident of victory in same-sex marriage referendum
I Aonghus Ó Cochláin Student Affairs
reland’s history of institutionalisation means the country should “know the consequences of pretending people don’t exist,” Colm O’Gorman, the director of Amnesty International Ireland, has said. He made the comment in relation to trans right at the 20th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality last Wednesday. The event, which was held by Q Soc as part of their “Allies’ Week” festivities, celebrated the historic involvement of LGBTQ allies in the struggle for equality. Speaking at the occasion, O’Gorman stated that there are “still significant challenges” to be overcome by the LGBT community in areas such as children’s rights and trans rights. In particular, he criticised the legal situation which means people “have to give up on the idea of being a parent” once their gender is recognised. He addressed the failure of both law and culture to fully accept trans people in Ireland, while praising the work done by organisations in Ireland such as BeLong To and Front Line Defenders. O’Gorman also discussed the significance of decriminalisation in 1993 and remarked that this year
coincides with the 30thanniversary of the first Irish pride march in 1983, which took place in the place in the wake of the homophobic murder of Declan Flynn and controversial acquittal of the gang members who had been found guilty of his murder. 1983, O’Gorman said, was “an extremely isolating time”, when gay people had few role models. O’Gorman went on to welcome the change in attitudes in recent years and expressed confidence that the upcoming referendum on marriage equality would be won. He described the 2009 March for Marriage Equality and its impressive turnout as the moment he realised equal marriage was “inevitable”. However, he also discussed his own personal frustration in trying the go through the civil partnership process and stressed the importance of establishing legal precedents in a society often resistant to change. The continued reluctance to “call it anything but marriage” is disappointing, he said. Senator David Norris, who founded Q Soc in 1982 and was a major figure of the Sexual Liberation Movement in Ireland, also pre-
“Speaking at the occasion, O’Gorman stated that there are “still significant challenges” to be overcome by the LGBT community in areas such as children’s rights and trans rights.”
dicted that the referendum could be won. The senator was unable to attend the event but his letter to students was read out by Katie Biggs, the society’s auditor. In his correspondence, Norris, who brought the decriminalisation case to the European Court of Human Rights in 1988, expressed delight that there is now “a whole generation of vital, positive, high achieving and happy young people” among the LGBT community. Ciara Conway, Labour TD for Waterford, was also scheduled to speak at the event, but was unable to attend due to matters relating to the finance bill. Q Soc celebrated its 30th year on campus in a special commemorative event last year. It was established in 1982 as Trinity Gay Soc, renamed LGBT Soc in 1994, and rebranded in 2011 as recognition of its members’ increasing diversity of sexuality and identity. In an act of solidarity, the officers of Trinity College Students’ Union (TCDSU) acted as the society’s first committee members, due the reluctance of gay students to become publicly visible at the time.
Irish Copy Editor
Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill
Aonghus Ó Cochláin
Printed at The Irish Times print facility, City West Business Campus, 4000 Kingswood Rd, Dublin 24. Trinity News is partially funded by a grant from DUPublications Committee. This publication claims no special rights or privileges. Serious complaints should be addressed to: The Editor, Trinity News, 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2. Appeals may be directed to the Press Council of Ireland. Trinity News is a member of the Press Council of Ireland and supports the Office of the Press Ombudsman. This scheme, in addition to defending the freedom of the press, offers readers a quick, fair andw free method of dealing with complaints that they may have in relation to articles that appear on our pages. To contact the Office of the Press Ombudsman go to www.pressombudsman.ie
Unprecedented Cuts to Student Services College Board waits five months to reveal landmark reductions to student service budgets No student representation on planning group for Trinity’s next five years No mention of cuts in minutes of College Board meetings where they were decided
T Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor
rinity College is set to cut funding allocations for capitated bodies in Trinity by 10% over two years, with two annual cuts of 5%. As outlined in a draft budget document obtained by Trinity News, there will be a reduction of nearly ¤60,000 in overall allocations for Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC), the Central Societies Committee (CSC), the Trinity College Students Union (TCDSU), the Graduate Students Union (GSU) and Trinity Publications; which includes Trinity News. Each capitated body has representatives on the Capitations Committee, which is chaired by the Senior Dean Prof Moray McGowan. The money in the capitations budget comes from the annual student contribution charge, otherwise known as the registration fee which is paid by all students, undergraduate and postgraduate. Before 2002, students paid a direct “capitation fee” which went straight to the capitated bodies for the provision of services and extra-curricular activities for students. This was streamlined into and made part of the overall registration fee in 2002, though with the same amount of money going to the Capitation Committee. Sources within the committee acknowledge that they were expecting cuts, but along the lines of 3-5%, not 10% over two years which they say are “precedent setting.” The cuts had been decided during a meeting on the 26th of June 2013 of the Planning Group which meets fortnightly. They
“There is no strategic plan for student services, the student experience or the capitations process.” - SU President Tom Lenihan are responsible for implementing and developing the Strategic Plan 2014-2019 of the College, though there is no student representation in the group. The Strategic Plan 2014-2019 is focused on attracting more students from outside Ireland, “harnessing the disruptive potential of technology in delivering education,” and rebranding the college. Minutes from the June meeting under the heading “Planning Group Report No. 9” note that the College requires “further income to meet its expenditure,” and that Schools are being asked to “deliver more programmes with less resources.” It makes no mention of reductions to capitated bodies. Senior Dean Prof McGowan was neither at the
meeting nor is he on the Planning Group. The cuts were disclosed in an email from Prof McGowan who noted that he received “no formal notification of the decision” until the 14th of November, and that it was one of many financial decisions made during the June meeting under recommendation of the Planning Group. Minutes from the Finance Committee Meeting of 19 September 2013 reference Planning Group Report No. 9 and note that “budgets had been communicated to Schools and Administrative and Support Areas, with a detailed breakdown of planned expenditure to be provided by each are over the coming weeks,” but they also make no mention of cuts to capitated bodies. In real terms, DUCAC is to be reduced by 17,690, CSC reduced by ¤17,916, TCDSU reduced by ¤16,229, GSU cut by ¤2,998 and Publications by ¤2,423. Sources in the capitated bodies have told Trinity News the lack of any kind of consultation or communication is the most insulting aspect of the cuts, as they were revealed five months after they were decided, which massively unsettles their own internal budgeting. Similar sentiments are found throughout the academic environment, as department heads are increasingly feeling alienated from decision making processes and strategy within the College. Speaking to Trinity News, President of the Graduate Students’ Union Ryan Kenny said that “one of our biggest projects every year is Postgraduate Orientation Week,” the success of which
is noted in the appendix to the minutes of the June 26 meeting. “Over the last two years, the GSU has developed a comprehensive orientation programme for postgrads. This welcomes thousands of newly-arrived postgrads to College every year, and is organised and delivered solely by the GSU. In other words, the College relies on the GSU to make good on its commitment to provide an adequate orientation to the students. This year, our orientation programme cost us about 5% of our annual budget - precisely the amount we stand to lose for the coming year.” Students Union President Tom Lenihan said that “the decision taken is a cynical one, and was taken without students’ consultation. That is very worrying because the Higher Education Authority (HEA), in their framework for the allocation of student services, emphasise the need for student representation and identify them as a key stakeholder. If we’re going to talk about good governance in Trinity, we need to include key stakeholders. There is no strategic plan for student services, the student experience or the capitations process.” Trinity News has learned that the capitations committee has sent a letter to board, outlining their opposition to the cuts and to having been excluded from the decision making process. Trinity News has also learned that the Students Union has sought legal consultation on the matter.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Activism has moved online but for better or worse? Eva Short investigates the pros and cons of online advocacy.
News In Brief
Trinity senators sponsor bill that would imprison striking workers Catherine Healy News Editor A bill which could result in prison sentences for striking workers is to be co-sponsored by Senators Sean Barrett and David Norris in the Seanad this week. The legislation is to be proposed on Wednesday following fears last week of a countrywide power cut in the event of ESB workers going on strike. The blackout was prevented on Sunday night after the ESB reached an agreement with unions over the issue of pensions.' The Criti-
cal Utilities Bill will be brought forward by Feargal Quinn, the independent senator and Superquinn magnate, in an attempt to legislate against industrial action which causes an interruption to the supply of a critical utility, which the bill defines as water or electricity. Under the provisions of the proposed bill, workers found guilty of engaging in industrial action relating to the supply of water or electricity might face up to five year in prison. A person who is found guilty of inducing someone to interfere with the supply will be also be liable to a prison
sentence of up to five years or a fine not exceeding ¤250,000. However, Pat Rabbite, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, has said that the government will not be supporting the bill. "The success of our industrial relations machinery is due in no small way to the fact that it is voluntarist in character," he told The Irish Independent. Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy has said the bill is “an affront to the right of workers” to protect pay and conditions by going on strike.
TCDSU pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
Catherine Healy News Editor
A motion to incorporate Mandela House, the alternative name of House 6 since 1988, into
all SU communications will be proposed at today’s SU Council. The motion comes after the union paid tribute to "a great world leader that captured the hearts of the students of TCD" on Friday. When he spoke in Trinity College after being conferred with an honorary degree in 2000, Mandela thanked the
Irish people for having been "at the vanguard of the international community's response to isolate apartheid South Africa." The original sign that the SU displayed in support of the anti-apartheid campaign can still be found above the doorway to Front Office.
Legion of Mary suspended in NUIG
Conor Kenny Deputy News Editor
NUI Galway has suspended the Legion of Mary society from campus following the circulation of an offensive poster. The poster, one of which was displayed outside the college library, contained the headline, “I’m a child of God. Don’t call me gay.” It had called on students with samesex attractions to “move beyond the confines of the homosexual label” and “develop an interior life of chastity”. The poster was credited to a “Purity Matters Initiative in conjunction with the NUIG Legion of Mary Society”. Although over 70 complaints were made about the posters to campus officers, the college is
now facing accusations of censorship for banning the society. The Index on Censorship has commented that, “While the view expressed in the flyer may seem archaic on a modern Irish university campus, it doesn't constitute intimidation nor threats. NUI Galway claims it is 'committed to protecting the liberty and equality of all students', but I don't think they've given any serious thought to the religious liberty or free speech of the Legion of Mary students." The university has responded by noting that the suspension of the Legion of Mary (understood to only contain a handful of individuals) is in the interests of protecting the feelings of those students targeted by the posters, referring to the college policy on harassment. It has noted that a number of complaints involved
students remarking that they felt threatened by the aggressive tone of the material. In an official statement, NUI Galway noted that the college “has a pluralist ethos and will not condone the production and dissemination of any material by students which discriminates against other students. Discrimination or implied or direct harassment, on the basis of sexual orientation and /or religion, is contrary to Irish and European law.” Compared by Guardian journalist Henry McDonald to the extreme and fundamentalist Catholic organisation Opus Dei, The Legion of Mary is still active in campaigning on a range of contentious social issues in Ireland. On Friday, it denied any knowledge of the posters and said it had “no contact” with the college’s branch on the issue.
Trinity placement students report abusive practices James Wilson Staff Writer A number of Trinity students on placement are alleged to have raised concerns over care practises bordering on abuse, according to The Irish Times. The instances of malpractice were witnessed whilst assisting in the care of people with intellectual disabilities. Staff at the StewardsCare organisation are alleged to have engaged in highly unprofessional behaviour, such as locking the individuals in their care out of their homes, gossiping about them as if they were
not there and neglecting to afford them proper privacy whilst showering. The alleged incidences witnessed are thought to have occurred in late 2012 or early 2013 and the parents of a number of the younger patients looked after by Stewards are also thought to have complained about the standard of care offered by the organisation’s staff. Stewards, an organisation founded in 1869 to support children and young adults with mental disabilities gain an education or training and whose main facility is based in Palmerstown, Co. Dublin, has acknowledged that it is “in receipt of reports/observations that
contain allegations of neglectful or abusive practices in relation to the way services are delivered to a number of service users”. It added that it had informed the Health Service Executive and Health Information and Quality Authority of the allegations and that “an investigation process has been initiated and further developments will be predicated on the outcome of this”. The HSE has said that its head of operations of disability services, Marion Meany, had been in contact with Stewards and was “fully briefed as to their action plan”.
Scholars and lecturers strip off for charity calendar Catherine Healy News Editor
Anticipation for this year’s newest nude calendar reached feverpitch last week after the release of this teaser photo from The Scholars and Fellows Charity Calendar. It was taken in the same “tableau vivant” as the calendar’s other shots, according to
the event’s Facebook page. The calendar was launched yesterday and all proceeds will be going towards the Trinity Access Programmes and the Community After School Project.
UCD student may not be allowed to leave union over abortion issue Conor Kenny Staff Writer It has come to light that Samuel O’Connor, the official spokesperson for UCD Students Against Abortion, may not be allowed to leave the UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) after a technicality was discovered in its constitution. O’Connor had handed over a request to Michael Gallagher, President of the UCDSU, asking to leave the Union over its current stance on the issue of abortion. UCDSU officially supports a woman’s right to choose since
a preferendum found most students in favour of the legalisation of abortion. Gallagher has defended UCDSU taking a stance on the issue, remarking, “UCDSU, as fundamentally stated in its constitution, is a democracy. Students make decisions on all issues, and in such cases the referendum is the supreme decision making structure. This democracy is reflected through all structures in the Union”. However, some students opposed the union taking a stance on a divisive issue. Trinity News understands that Gallagher has written to O’Connor, informing him that until the
constitution is amended, a request to exit the Union would not be possible. The article in question states: “The membership of the Union shall be as follows: All persons registered as students with the University”. This would suggest that the only way O’Connor could disaffiliate himself from UCDSU would be by leaving the college. O’Connor has stated publically that he is strongly considering pursuing legal action against UCDSU over his inability to leave the union. It is a “flagrant disregard for (his) constitutional rights,” he has said.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
As Gaeilge: Despite the fact that social media means that we're more connected than ever, Frances Mulraney finds that loneliness is still one of the biggest problems in contemporary culture.
Illustration: Natalia Duda
Paedophilia - The Mental Health Issue We Choose to Ignore
The word paedophilia sets alarm bells ringing like few others. D. Joyce-Ahearne looks at how, as a nation, we’ve refused to acknowledge paedophilia as a mental health issue, with dire consequences for the fabric of our society.
I D. Joyce -Ahearne InDepth Editor
n October, the government announced that it would not be opposing the Child Sex Offenders (Information and Monitoring) Bill 2012 proposed by Independent TD Denis Naughten. The Bill calls for “an Act to provide for the establishment of a scheme to allow the parents or guardians of a child or vulnerable adult to make an enquiry to the Garda Síochána for the purpose of ascertaining whether a person with whom their child is in contact has been convicted of a sexual offence or is otherwise likely to pose a serious danger to children.” The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is also going to publish the General Scheme of a Sexual Offences Bill in the coming weeks, which will address a broad range of issues relating to sexual offences. Shatter said that this draft legislation will provide a statutory basis for disclosures to members of the public. The discussion around child abuse and how we think it best to combat it in Ireland today is reflected in both proposals. As a society and a state, we are concerned with repeat offenders and minimising the threat posed by those who we already know are a threat. In his speech made on behalf of Alan Shatter, concerning Naughten’s proposed Bill, Brian Hayes TD highlighted some of the key points of the situation of child abuse in Ireland. Most sexual crimes committed against children are committed by people who they already know and trust. Hayes also said that the most up to date studies show that the recidivism rate (repeated relapse into criminal behaviour) for sex offenders is actually lower than that for the average offender. Less than 5% of those released committed a further sexual offence within the three year study period. If neither “stranger danger” nor repeat offenders are the most serious issue in the sexual abuse of children, how can the state manage the problem? The approach of Naughten’s Bill points the focus onto both these issues, neither of which appear to be the crux of the matter. Speaking on the recent case in Athlone (where two girls, both under the age of ten, were raped by a thirty year old man visiting the area), Fiona Neary, executive director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland, told The Irish Times that public access to a sex-offenders register would not have prevented the crime, given the random nature of the attack. Hayes said that “Recent events have shown that we have to be ever mindful of the dangers posed to our children and must explore all avenues that will enhance their safety.” So what are the other avenues?
The World Health Organisation, a body to which Ireland fully subscribes to as a member of the UN, is responsible for publishing the International Classification of Disease (ICD), the worldwide standard diagnostic tool for “epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes.” The reason behind the production of international classifications is so there is a “consensual, meaningful and useful framework which governments, providers and consumers can use as a common language” when discussing health. According to the ICD Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, paedophilia is a sexual preference disorder. The disorder is characterised by “a persistent or a predominant preference for sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children.” Another feature for the disorder is that the individual “acts on the urges.” Mental health has never been more prevalent in both the public and the state’s eye than it is in Ireland today. As a state and as a society, we are supposedly tearing down the stigma that has long been attached to the issue. The subject is, as we can see here in College, the darling of the public consciousness. Nearly everything it seems has been discussed in terms of mental health. If you are depressed you can contact Aware. If you are suicidal you can call 1life. I don’t mean to be flippant. These are fantastic services that improve the fabric of society we live in. They should exist and they do. But not all mental health issues are being addressed. Paedophilia, the disorder as defined by the WHO, is not and cannot be illegal, in the same way that being depressed or suicidal is not and cannot be illegal. You cannot make it illegal for someone to think something after all. Child abuse, however, is and, of course, should be illegal. However when the WHO definition of paedophilia includes that a sufferers “acts on the urges”, immediately, the issue becomes greyer. But it is obviously an incredibly complicated issue and the problem is that we are ignoring the nuances. As a result, we are harming countless children and, to use the medical term for someone suffering from a particular medical disorder, paedophiles. There is a huge problem with definitions when it comes to the subject of paedophilia and child abuse. As stated, paedophilia is a recognised medical condition by the authorities by whom we abide in the area of health. Once a term has been defined as a medical condition then it must not be used to describe something nefarious that it can be related to but is not synonymous with. The term paedophile does not
“The term paedophile does not imply the abuse of children or that any crime has been committed. In Ireland, unfortunately, the term paedophile is synonymous with child abuser and, if you read The Sun, “monster”. This has crippled any debate on the subject in mental health terms.”
imply the abuse of children or that any crime has been committed. In Ireland, unfortunately, the term paedophile is synonymous with child abuser and, if you read The Sun, “monster”. This has crippled any debate on the subject in mental health terms. If we really want to combat the issue of child abuse in Ireland, we need to need to acknowledge the fact that we are ignoring the real crux of the matter because we find it difficult to discuss. Do we, as a country, first of all, accept that paedophilia is a mental health issue and, if so, do we actually want to help people who suffer from it? Currently, there are no structures in place to accommodate individuals who seek help over paedophilia. The condition must go unsupported until it manifests itself in a criminal offence. Once there is a victim and a conviction then the state will intervene and offer the individual, who is now a sex offender, support in the form of the Sex Offender Management Policy. The safety of children is currently being protected by preventing child abusers from repeating offences, which is a very small proportion of cases. The safety of children, alien as it may sound, is to be improved by helping paedophiles. If we really want to combat the sexual abuse of children, then paedophilia, which is not synonymous with sexual abuse, needs to be dealt with for what it is, a mental health issue, not as a crime. It becomes a crime when a child is affected and children are being affected because the problem is going unchecked. Putting structures in place to help paedophiles deal with their issues before it manifests itself in child abuse is the first step. A precedent exists in the UK with Stop it Now! (a group supposedly catering to the UK and Ireland yet without an Irish office or Irish specific contact information) and Germany with Don’t Offend. I asked TD Denis Naughten, who is proposing the Child Sex Offenders Bill, what he thought of the way that paedophilia was currently being dealt with. “There’s absolutely no doubt about it that there needs to be a far more rounded approach taken with the issue. It’s not just a criminal adjustment issue. If there are people who find themselves in that situation they should be able to access support without having to end up in prison before supports are offered to them. I think it is an area that needs far more resources. The whole sexual offences area needs far more resources, both from a mental health point of view and in relation to prevention.” However, the solution is not as easy as simply putting structures in place. Do we really believe
that anyone would use them? The stigma that’s attached to suffering from paedophilia is one of the most entrenched and hate-fuelled in Irish society today. If we want people to seek help with it as a mental health issue then it has to be normalised. It’s not talked about as an illness largely due to how the media tackles it, which is strictly in criminal terms. Currently this is also the only way the state deals with it. One of the biggest mental health stigmas we’ve dealt with (and are still dealing with) in Ireland is suicide. Suicide, regardless of the causes, was a criminal offence in Ireland until 1993. Before 1993, an individual suffering from depression in Ireland was doing so in a society largely unwilling to acknowledge their problem and in a state where adequate services were not in place to deal with the issue. If the depression ultimately ended in suicide, the individual became a criminal and was, unfortunately, often seen as a source of shame. Suicide could never have begun to be combated if the stigma was not tackled first. And stigma cannot be tackled without public discussion. Denis Naughten, although he agrees that systems should be put in place, does not think that paedophilia as a mental health issue should be introduced to the public forum. “In relation to suicide, the reason why it’s so openly discussed is because people have been afraid to talk about it and talk is very important, particularly in relation to depression and suicide. I don’t see anyone who has paedophilia-type tendencies openly talking about that to their neighbours or relatives. What is important is that the treatment systems are put in place.” “People need to know that those supports are available out there, but to compare it to the issue of suicide, to normalise it is the wrong word, but to openly discuss it in the way suicide has been discussed, no. And I would not like to see resources being used in relation to that.” But again, what is the use of having resources if the stigma means no one will use them? “There’s huge stigma attached with mental illness anyway and I think that is something that needs to be dealt with in the broader context of mental illness. I would be very wary of picking this particular illness and isolating it from general mental illness. It has been done in relation to suicide. There was a strong justification for it in relation to suicide.” Is there not a strong justification for discussing paedophilia? I would have imagined protecting children and people with mental health disorders would be a strong justification. Part of Naughten’s reason for supporting
the introduction of a structure to deal with paedophilia was that “If you take the focus on protecting children, then there’s absolutely no justification for not putting those supports in place.” When asked if the systems should be in place to help the actual individuals suffering from paedophilia he said that “They are coming forward hopefully as seeing that they themselves are risks to themselves or to someone else.” He stopped short of saying that the introduction of a system would also be positive because it helped the paedophiles themselves, that is to say, helped them with a mental health issue and from becoming sex offenders. Naughten himself demonstrated why we need to turn the mental disorder paedophilia into something that can be discussed; by sufferers, their families and by the media. At the moment, despite our 21st century romance with promoting mental health, we don’t want to help sufferers of this particular condition because it’s politically toxic. Naughten was reluctant to even say the word, instead preferring “this particular issue” and the bizarre “paedophilia-type tendencies”. It’s clear then that there needs to be a serious discussion had about paedophilia and child abuse in Ireland, but not along the line that are being touted today. There are currently two huge problems. The first is the non-existence of a framework to deal with one of the most pressing mental health issues in Ireland today and the second is child abuse. We’re currently ignoring the principle of cause and effect. If we don’t address the former then we won’t be able to combat the latter. Normalising paedophilia does not mean normalising child abuse. The first step is putting a system in place as exists in other countries, but if we want people to avail of these services then we can’t continue to use the word paedophile, or worse paedo, as synonymous with child abuser and monster, because it’s just factually incorrect. People are wary of accepting paedophilia as a mental health condition for fear of it offering an excuse for child abuse. Some might wish to see paedophilia unrecognised as a mental health condition. This would leave us back where we started. If people can’t seek help, then their condition will worsen and, for paedophilia it worsens in an environment wherein even if they tried to seek help they would be ostracised. The only way to improve the situation, from both a child safety and a mental health perspective, difficult and all as it may be, is with public discussion.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Slaving away Michael Lanigan looks at the everyday factors that facilitate modern slavery in the society we live in.
I Michael Lanigan Deputy InDepth Editor
n the wake of the Lambeth scandal, it is evident that a misguided perception of modern slavery is being conveyed by the media, skewing vital facts for the sake of an attractive scoop. In a case that saw three women kept in bondage for thirty years, the British press focused on the purported political collective aspect of the story, while ignoring the crux of the matter: slavery and the legal systems stimulating its growth. Their eye for a great headline reassured unsettled readers into thinking that exploitation is scarce in our society, only conducted amongst cults and extremists. This has been an immoral calming of nerves, allowing us to believe that such a repulsive act is alien to our society and that we would never allow it to occur without taking appropriate action. Yet we permit it to pass under our radar daily, blind to the fact that it is here on our doorstep and in the institutions that we lovingly support. What surprised everybody is how the detention of the women in Lambeth evaded local attention for so long. However, in order to write an eye-catching tale, major news outlets omitted any explanations or details which would inform viewers as to the actual facts behind forced labour. The truth is that detainment comes through debt bondage, withholding identification, physical threats and psychological manipulation, such as insisting that the victim cannot seek justice in their new country due to an illegal status, or lack of work permit. These are the basic factors which sale conscious tabloids ignore in their coverage of the issue. As a result, there is no dissemination of sufficient information to help prevent further cases from occurring. From an Irish viewpoint, prior to 28th June, the topic’s latency caused many to deduce that it was a non-existent subject in a contemporary Irish context.
However, this date witnessed the revision of a legal loophole in the Employment Permits Act of 2003, in accordance with the International Labour Organisation’s Forced Labour Convention of 1930 (No. 29), and led to a brief period of interest. However, once the legislation came into being, although not properly implemented, we assumed that there was no longer any reason to be concerned about that which we never really were to begin with. As a result, 28th June was not a day of abolition, despite the news depicting it as such. Hence, the matter petered out without any change to standards of practice in the workplace. Actually, the problem is worsening in Ireland. The reason for this is that we continue to ignore key factors contributing to the cesspool of modern slavery. Irish racial and cultural divisions help its effective concealment in plain sight. Rampant consumerism tries to embellish mass production with a façade of benevolence, while companies such Urban Outfitters and Starbucks utilise exploited labourers, despite charitable fair trade banners. These are inconvenient items to tackle, because they are crucial luxurious factors in established capitalist society. Thanks to this complacency, slavery is rife in Ireland, from the entertainment industry to restaurants and especially amongst domestic workforces. Yet why are we so willing to wave off the idea that slavery is still alive in our country? In truth, we know it exists, but shamelessly accept its economic viability, turning a blind eye out of inertia. Like Pontius Pilate, we absolve ourselves from direct associations in order to continue our standard routine. Playing upon this reluctance, the term “slavery” became overly sensationalist according to shamelessly pompous media sources. Sensible analysts scorn the word, if not the idea, strip-
“Rampant consumerism tries to embellish mass production with a façade of benevolence, while companies such Urban Outfitters and Starbucks utilise exploited labourers, despite charitable fair trade banners.”
ping it down to diluted semantics, straying from the core subject and misleading the public in the process. Our passive attitudes and obsession with consumerism encourages major businesses to carry on exploiting voiceless victims. Take for example IKEA, the internationally adored company who have turned affordable shopping into a large subculture. This is a company guilty of using slave labour in East Germany during the 1980s. Yet we still flood to their stores, especially with Christmas looming, satisfied by their public statement of regret, accompanied by a donation to research on the subject (research, not action). It is hardly a commendable act of penance, considering IKEA were more than aware of these unpaid prisoners and made pathetic efforts to ensure they received their entitled wages. The obvious question is what can we actually do to fight corporate exploitation? We all know the answer, but unfortunately it’s not convenient. Despite what they might lead themselves to believe, most people do not care about methods of labour, provided the furniture is cheap. Forgive and forget. It’s too late to let IKEA’s shady past hinder modern consumerist requirements. Donate a few coins to charity, reassure yourself that you can make a difference that way and then sleep at ease in an IKEA MALM bed (only ¤98). Then there is Qatar and its successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Due to erect twelve stunning venues for the event, Irish corporations are seizing the lucrative opportunity through the Project Qatar campaign, while promising to honour workers’ rights. This is despite the notorious kafala system, which allows visa-sponsoring employers to withhold migrant workers passports, giving these labourers no hope of seeking fair justice. This is not a niche strategy; this is 1.3 million unskilled migrant work-
ers, 94% of the labour force in Qatar alone. Nevertheless, hazard a guess as to what the controversial debate of the Qatar games is: Which season will suit playing conditions, winter or summer? Major networks will broadcast the games. There will be no boycott, but we do have the Irish contractor’s word on protecting rights in a country where the odds are stacked against social justice. The International Trade Union Confederation estimates 4,000 workers will die before the opening game with a current average of one death per day, typically heart attacks attributed to the intense weather and workload. But how will the healthy, well-paid footballers fare in the punishing heat? That one really keeps me awake at nights, even in my handsome MALM bed (still only ¤98). The fact of the matter is that this heinous violation of human rights does not need to conceal itself, because we allow ourselves to wallow in blissful denial. Why stop if nobody is expressing concern? There is no altruism because our desire for trivial entertainment prevails, proven for every country investing in the turgid Project Qatar. The truth is that Ireland has attempted to challenge overseas exploitation in the June amendment by writing in a clause to indict perpetrators outside our jurisdiction. This is however, a token gesture. If our government can’t deal with internal exploitation, then what hope do they have internationally? Though Ireland ranks 160th in the 2013 Global Slavery Index, and the forced labour bill passed in June theoretically eradicated migrant exploitation in Ireland, there are currently 340 documented cases of non-Irish workers in illegal servitude and over 24,000 more vulnerable to this scourge. What does this say about a modern and progressive Ireland? It says that we are little better than the ante-bellum slave
states of America and far worse than a 21st century nation ought to be. Considering Muhammad Younis still awaits compensation for seven years of forced labour, we can hardly congratulate ourselves. He is but one of many similar cases, having worked as a tandoori chef in his cousin, Amjad Hussein’s restaurant Poppadom in Clondalkin under threat of deportation. With his passport seized by Hussein, Younis earned 51c per hour, working over 77 hours per week, with his only holiday being Christmas Day. After finally managing to escape these conditions, Younis went before the Labour Court and won his case, with ¤92,000 in compensation due. However, in August 2012, the High Court revoked the ruling under the 2003 Permits Act, which does not legally require Hussein to hand over the reparations. At present, Younis is pending an appeal to the Supreme Court, which will likely occur in 2014 and even at that, might require a further appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Meanwhile, a recent Google search reveals that Poppadom is still going steady in their business. While the Oireachtas initially stated outright that this violation of human rights meant an effective scheme was in dire need of rapid devising and implementation, today our government has demoted the issue to that of a lesser priority. Now, six months onwards, the purported legislative change remains a promise, but nothing exceptional has come to volition. The bill to protect migrant’s work permits arrived, but the problem of forced labour remains an ever-present matter glossed over. If we are not motivated to take issue with this now, then how many more cases along the lines of Younis’ will it require before we feel moved to action?
Tidings of comfort Christmas can be a testing time for many. Michael Stone offers some guidance on how to stay mentally healthy the whole year round.
A Michael Stone Staff Writer
friend of mine approached me recently to talk about their ongoing difficulties with mental health. It was an upsetting revelation, not only because it hurts to see a friend going through a tough time, but also because it brought back memories of my own struggle with mental health. This time last year, I was in a very different position mentally. A personal crisis, coinciding with the challenge of adapting to life at university, manifested itself in a crippling depression that often reduced my capacity to engage socially and academically. It’s good to look back at the work done in the past year. I’ve improved my mental state and come to a place where I enjoy and am relatively satisfied with life. Of course, the journey is not over yet and the dark clouds rear their heads from time to time but the progress is encouraging. However, with my friend’s disclosure, it occurred to me that I’m in a position where I have something to offer people in such a difficult place. This year, I have been heartened by the volume of work done to destigmatise mental health in College - between publications, the SU and online initiatives. But there is always more to be said. The recent startling statistic that half of Irish youths experience mental health difficulties at some stage suggests that many of you reading this paper are suffering. I feel it’s worth passing on a combination of reflections on my own experience and the best advice offered to me at the time. When I was struggling with mental health last year, I began to withdraw from the social world and became very selective and conservative about whom I spoke to. This was a mistake, as it only served to increase my feelings of isolation. It’s much more beneficial to treasure time spent with friends, as it will give you a better lift than anything else. Your true friends are those who accept you for who you are and who offer confirmation of this with every encounter. If you feel better about yourself after spending time with people, then they’re great friends.You have no obligation to people who make life difficult for you, who lower your self-esteem, who do not appreciate you. You owe them nothing, so do yourself a favour and move on, you’ll be far better off. In contrast to that, revisit old friendships. In university it’s a common thing for people to feel it necessary to detach themselves from relics of their past – secondary school, hometown, sports teams. This excommunication has unfortunately become associated with ‘embracing college’ but in reality, it reflects poorly on the rejecter and raises questions as to how long-lasting their new friend-
ships will be. Instead of rejecting, resolve differences and embrace the company of those from your past who represent true friends and make you feel comfortable in your own skin. Surrounded by such people, new and old, you will feel safer and more secure at the centre of a network of support. Just as important as time spent with friends is time spent alone. In the helter-skelter world of classes, deadlines, countless opportunities and change, it’s easy to forget the person at the centre of the experience: your good self. Take time to yourself where you are not worrying or fretting. Every Monday at 5pm, the Student Counselling Services (SCS) do an excellent drop-in Mindfulness Meditation. For anyone struggling to find time for themselves, attending even one of these can help you with the wonderful skill of Mindfulness, which can be enacted in a short period of time in the morning, before bed, or even on the bus. Alternatively, spend your free time doing something you enjoy - listening to music, reading, writing, painting, whatever. Your own company should be cherished, not avoided. Central to this is a love of self. Remember that you have a lot to offer and that although you may have faults, they are negligible in comparison to the positive contribution you make. I have found a by-product of depression to be a lack of care for oneself, which only serves to create a self-propagating cycle. Look after yourself through healthy eating, exercise and positive social interaction. By treating yourself better, you can learn to appreciate yourself more and take more pleasure in your own company. It is proven that engaging in an activity that you find enjoyable increases your sense of contentment with life. This seems selfevident but it’s easy to just engage in activities with an end goal in mind – a CV, a sense of obligation an ongoing commitment – but without having an inherent interest in the act. The foundation of an optimal experience is that it’s an end in itself. Enjoying the experience of an activity adds richness to life. Particularly with the onset of the dreaded winter, it’s easy to stay at home, brooding under the covers, passively browsing Facebook and feeling sorry for yourself. However, this is the time to lift your outlook by getting involved. It could start on a personal level; engage positively with yourself by getting out for a walk or a run. Following this, you’ll find a whole world of opportunity in college life; don’t let this overwhelm you. Go to a few different club/ society events and play to your strengths. Try a drop-in debate with the Phil or Hist, go to a Tech Workshop in Players, téigh go
“With the onset of the dreaded winter, it’s easy to stay at home, brooding under the covers, passively browsing Facebook and feeling sorry for yourself.”
dtí Anraith & Arán i seomra na nGaeilge, volunteer with VDP or VTP, go on a day hike or river trip, I could go on. Committees exist in part to welcome new members and people, in general, are social creatures – they’re not going to shun you. Everyone else is not infinitely more settled and grounded than you are. If you’re finding it hard to make friends then engagement is a solution. If you actively participate in something you enjoy, you’ll find you have countless similarities with others doing the same. You’ll hardly notice how quickly friendships fall into place as a result. When you go about changing your approach to life you‘re always going to encounter setbacks. Depression is cruel in how it robs you of your ability to function, making even leaving the house seem like a haunting thought. In order to combat this, you need to congratulate yourself on every little achievement you make in a day and take a positive, adaptive approach to anything that may not have gone your way. It may sound lame but when I set about trying to engage more with life, I started spending my bike journeys home recounting
Illustration: Reed Patrick Van Hook
all of the good things that happened that day and gave myself an internal pat on the back for each one. If things hadn’t gone so well, I would chalk them down to experience or think about how I could avoid the same thing happening again in the future. Depression can exaggerate the size of a problem but adopting mental tactics can counteract it. An approach such as this will make you feel much more optimistic about how life is going. Above all else, try to lessen the burden by talking. I would say the first port of call is your friends; you’ll be surprised at how many of your problems they share and how much of a relief this knowledge will be. Your family care about you immensely and sometimes the detachment college brings – both literal and figurative distances – can make you forget this. If you find it difficult to turn to friends or family, you are not lost; there is a wealth of resources at your disposal. The SCS provide an invaluable service; you will never again have a free counselling service to avail of so no matter what your problem is, take advantage of the workshops and one-on-one
sessions that they offer. They are open, confidential and nondiscriminatory. In the past I have found both their practical approach to life and the provision of an independent wall to bounce ideas off incredibly beneficial. As well as this we have the massively under-utilised S2S, Niteline, tutors and Welfare team, as well as non-College bodies such as Samaritans, turn2me, Pieta and more. There is always someone to talk to so do not hesitate to do so. I hope it doesn’t sound like I am handing out advice from a deep-seated, well-grounded position. I am still trying to follow each of these approaches in my day-to-day life – they’re certainly not gospel, but they help. I do feel that if I had had a clearer vision such as this presented to me this time last year, I would have been able to get myself out of the hole of depression much quicker. The key thing is in starting straight away and not allowing your difficulties to fester and grow. It’s not without difficulty but it’s easier than silent suffering.
Tuesday 10th December2013
Internet: The opiate of the masses? Does the internet strengthen or destroy the will of the activist? Eva Short makes the case for clicktivism/slacktivism.
T Eva Short Staff Writer
he internet’s reach is so infinite that it seems no aspect of human existence can go untouched or unaffected by it. Activism and political movements are no exception. With its ability to enable the rapid and almost uncontrollable dissemination of information, as well as how it can unify people irrespective of geographic location, one might think that the internet would serve as an invaluable tool to the people of the technological age gunning for change. Yet there are those that fret over the rise of the internet. Of the many complaints raised about it, one that is most relevant to activism is the internet's contribution to the ever shortening attention span of our generation. There are now aggregate news sources devoted to taking stories and compressing them into easy to consume sound bites. Information is collated into snappy bullet points containing key figures, quotes and facts, the CliffsNotes of current affairs. A deluge of information can flow through people's RSS feeds and wash over them. The internet user does take it in, but only semiconsciously, and this information overload can have a desensitising effect. Stories fail to shock - and some even go so far as to claim that their unflappability in the face of violence, human rights abuses and devastation is a victory, proof of how hardened to the world they are. It is this unflappability that lends itself to people hopping between “causes” - the internet user observes, drums up a superficial level of sympathy and passion, and with minimal effort can “contribute”. Participation is only a matter of twitching a finger, a simple and inconsequential click. All one has to do is enter some information into social activism websites such as change.org - a name and an email address, neither of which even have to be real. If one does opt to impart their actual name and address, they may feel as if they've truly committed themselves as they cross their fingers and hope that providing this information won't leave them prey to being plagued with follow up emails concerning the cause to
which they’ve half-heartedly subscribed. For those not willing to take such a risk, there's always Twitter. A hashtag is all that stands between a person and involvement in a wider movement. In 140 characters, they can join the dialogue and do their bit towards attaining the coveted 'trending' status. They will instantly be linked to every other person involved. Is this ease to be celebrated, or regarded as the baleful mother of laziness? There are cases for either side. The most notable case study in the arsenal of those in favour of internet activism - sometimes dubbed 'clicktivism' or 'Activism 2.0' - is the case of the Arab Spring. A revolutionary wave that is said to have begun on 18th December 2010, the movement has led to leaders being forced out of government in Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt as well as civil uprisings in a number of other Arab nations. These incredible outcomes can, in part, be credited to online activism. It is said that the internet allowed people to unite, express their views without censor (to an extent), and organise themselves efficiently. The mobilisation of ideas was merely a matter of having a broadband connection. Insurgents, normally limited to clandestine underground interactions, could easily connect and recruit fellow rebels. While this is undoubtedly an achievement, it is important that we do not confuse the contribution of the internet with the internet being the actual impetus for uprising - the distinction is important, for it reminds us that while it the internet is a valuable tool, it has not yet proven useful in instilling passion in the hearts of those not already involved. The web crusaders of the Arab Spring already had reasons to be angry; authoritarianism, political corruption and the egregious flouting of human rights. These people's protestations would have undoubtedly manifested into tangible, real world acts regardless of whether internet activism came into play. Social media did not found the movement, but merely bolstered it. American political
“In our age, the average life expectancy is quickly and steadily increasing, yet people are increasingly pressed for time. This is the on demand generation - people mould life according to their schedules, as opposed to the other way around.”
activist Ralph Nader has claimed that the internet "doesn't do a very good job of motivating action". In light of this statement, the instances where change is affected by movements whose roots can be traced back solely to the internet, without any corresponding real world action, seem perplexing. Such is the case of social activist website change.org, a Delaware-based corporation that has become the fastest growing social activism site since it was founded in 2007. At ten million members strong and averaging 500 new petitions a day, the website has become a tour de force that has resulted in real world change, despite the seeming insignificance of one person signing a name or sharing a link via Facebook or Twitter. The case of Trayvon Martin, the seventeen year old Florida male that was shot by George Zimmerman, a man claiming to be acting in self defence, springs to mind. Having been released the same night as he was taken into custody and without a charge, 2.2 million people signed a petition calling for the man's prosecution. It was, at the time, the greatest number of signatures that had ever been collected for one cause in the site's history. A little over a month after the petition was created, Zimmerman was again arrested and subsequently stood trial. There were undoubtedly real world protests in response to this criminal case; people took to the streets, but not 2.2 million of them. Logic would dictate that this number of people, hailing from all different parts of the world, could never conceivably come together. Yet the fear of this number was potent enough to spurn Florida law enforcement to double back on their initial decision and pursue Zimmerman. It is this that complicates the argument - if this internet-only action, this 'slacktivism', is so ineffectual, then how could it inspire such fear? Slacktivism is the pejorative term for the aforementioned Activism 2.0 - it is inherently critical, hitting upon the
perceived laziness of internet petitions and keyboard crusading. Slacktivism scares those gunning for change - the idea that the internet can enable people to retreat into themselves and make paltry contributions to various causes without having to actually be involved. The response to the 2010 natural disaster in Haiti has drawn much criticism. In the space of two days, thanks to social media plugging, the Red Cross raised $5 million dollars (roughly €3.65 million) via text donations. While this may seem an extraordinary and commendable amount, critics pointed out that this was just a matter of people throwing money at an issue in the absence of doing something that would require effort. The act was simple and thoughtless. It’s very easy to coax people to part with their cash when it promises to alleviate guilt with minimal exertion. The transaction was completely invisible. It could be done from people's own homes and was over in seconds. One message could allow someone to clear their conscience and not think about the people in Haiti again. Those in the Activism 2.0 camp would think differently. They would claim that it is not that people don't want to make an effort, but that they simply find trying to get involved too daunting or don't have the time. In our age, the average life expectancy is quickly and steadily increasing, yet people are increasingly pressed for time. This is the on demand generation - people mould life according to their schedules, as opposed to the other way around. If all the time they can honestly spare for causes is a few seconds to give a donation, then surely they cannot be criticised for that. This camp believe in the inherent altruism of humanity; people are giving what they can, and some can only give mere moments, but they're doing it out of compassion. The question one must ask is: where does altruism end and guilt begin? Though in the developed world we perceive the internet to be a ubiquitous and omniscient force, in reality a mere 39% of the world
is on the web. Internet users are the minority, or perhaps more accurately the elite. 31% of the developing world has access to the internet, versus 77% percent of those living in developed regions such as America, Australia and Europe. So it stands to reason that these internet activists are primarily of the upper strata of society - information is being spread at incredible rates, but it is being shared amongst a certain type of people. The internet's ability to bring people together and allow them to share information is, without question, extremely valuable. The nature of the internet makes it incredibly difficult for governments or oppressive bodies to control the spread of information and the importance of this cannot be overstated. The internet, in this respect, is the friend of the activist. However as it stands, the internet can’t exactly be labelled the bastion of democratic values and freedom of information that it is made out to be. It is only relevant to a limited minority, and the things it enables this minority to do aren't always good. That being said, the age of social media is in its infancy - its involvement in activist campaigning is only beginning, and the role it plays will undoubtedly develop and change over time. Global internet usage has more than doubled in the last five years. At that rate, internet usage will become next to universal within our lifetime. We are inching closer to being entirely unified online. As the user demographics change, so will the entity itself, and with that so will its role in social and political matters. It could be called a force of nature; it’s with us now and can never be taken away. We have endowed it with such power that it is practically beyond our control. Let us just hope that this wild and awesome power continues to be an ally of the underdog and of the revolutionaries trying to protect them.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Are women funny? Valerie Ní Loinsigh gives an account of her experience as a female stand-up.
Uaigneas i Lár an tSlua
Is fusa anois dul i dteagmáil le daoine ná riamh cheana, ach an uaigní sinn de bharr na meán sóisialta? Tionchar na meán sóisialta atá faoi chaibidil ag Frances Mulraney.
N Frances Mulraney Staff Writer
íl aon rud is fearr liom ná na huaireanta a chaitheamh ag cur amú ama ar Facebook. Bhí lá cúpla bliain ó shin, agus is cuimhin liom srathfhéachaint a thabhairt ar leathanach Facebook mo dhearthár atá sé bliana níos óige ná mé féin. Bhí iontas an domhain orm a fheiceáil go raibh cúig chéad cara aige agus shiúil mé díreach chuig a sheomra le tabhairt amach dó faoi bheith ag seoladh cuirí chun cairdis chuig daoine nach raibh aithne aige orthu. “Ach tá aithne agam orthu”, a dúirt sé liom ag breathnú trína a liosta cairde agus ag míniú cé hiad. Chuaigh mé ar ais go dtí mo sheomra féin agus mearbhall orm. Conas mar atá cúig chéad cara ag mo dheartháir nuair nach bhfuil agam féin ach sé chéad? Caithfidh sé go bhfuil aithne agam ar i bhfad níos mó daoine tar éis sé bliana sa bhreis a chaitheamh ar an saol agus na cairde nua ar fad ar bhuail mé leo san ollscoil. Nach gcaithfidh? Bhreathnaigh mé tríd mo liosta féin agus mearbhall orm fós faoi na strainséirí seo a bhí ar an liosta i measc mo dhlúthchairde agus mo mhuintir. An raibh aithne agam ar an gcailín seo? Ní cuimhin liom í. Ar casadh orm an buachaill seo cheana? Ní dóigh liom go n-aithneoinn é dá mbuailfinn leis ar an tsráid. Agus cé mhéad daoine ar an liosta ar labhair mé leo an tseachtain seo a d’imigh tharainn? An mhí seo? Le cúpla bliain anuas? Bhreathnaigh mé ar fhís de chuid Shimi Cohen le déanaí darb ainm ‘The Innovation of Loneliness’ a chuir an t-eachtra seo i gcuimhne dom. Tá sé bunaithe ar alt den ainm céanna ó pheann an Dr. Yair Amichai-Hamburgers agus baineann sé úsáid as TED talk a thug Sherry Turkle darb ainm ‘Connected, But Alone’. Breathnaíonn Shimi ar an nasc idir an uaigneas agus na meáin shóisialta. Cuireann sé muid i gcomparáid le moncaithe agus leis na grúpaí cairde a bhíonn acu. Bíonn siad ag fanacht i ngrúpa de 20 go 50 moncaithe de ghnáth. Má ardaítear líon an ghrúpa thar an 50 moncaí sin, scarann siad ó chéile agus cruthaítear grúpa nua. An fáth atá leis sin ná go gcaithfidh siad aithne cheart a bheith acu ar a chéile agus sa chás nach mbíonn, titeann struchtúr na sochaí as a chéile. Má bhreathnaímid ar an duine daonna sa chaoi chéanna, léiríonn an taighde nach féidir linn aithne cheart a chur ar níos mó ná 150 duine. Ina dhiaidh sin, ní féidir linn caidreamh ceart a bheith againn leo. Is ainmhithe sóisialta muid nach maith linn a bheith inár n-aonar, ach buaileann tú le cairde nua, éiríonn cairdis áirithe lag agus sin é an saol. Bain triail
“Le cúpla bliain anuas, tá curtha ar ar súile dúinn a mhéid fadhbanna is a chruthaíonn na meáin shóisialta i measc an aois óig, ó thaobh na cibearbhulaíochta ach go háirithe.”
as anois. Breathnaigh ar liosta do chairde agus cairde do chairde ar Facebook má tá sé agat. Cé mhéad daoine atá ar an liosta sin ar a mheán? Níos mó ná 150? An tseachtain seo caite chaith mé lá iomlán ag ceardlann agallaimh agus CVanna agus ag deireadh an lae bhí mé in ísle brí. Conas gur féidir liom seasamh amach ón slua? Conas gur féidir liom an post is fearr a fháil, a bheith ag tuilleadh go leor airgid agus an lámh in uachtar a fháil ar gach éinne eile, mo chairde agus mo theaghlach san áireamh? Táimid ar fad in iomaíocht lena chéile na laethanta seo agus caithimid an méid sin ama ag obair ar ár saol proifisiúnta agus ar ár bpróifíl phroifisiúnta is go ndéanaimid faillí ar an taobh sóisialta dár saol - taobh atá an-tábhachtach dár meabhairshláinte agus dár bhforbairt phearsanta féin. Bíonn muid ag caitheamh ár gcuid ama ar fad ag obair ar ár bpróifíl ar líne. Gach uile nóiméad cuirtear 3,600 grianghraf ar Instagram, seoltar 104,000 ghrianghraf ar Snapchat, seoltar 278,000 tvuít agus brúitear ‘is maith liom é’ 1.8 milliún uair ar Facebook. In ionad a bheith ag cothú na gcaidreamh cearta atá ag teastáil uainn, bíonn muid ag cur luacha ar líon na gcairde atá againn ar Facebook, líon ár lucht léanúna ar Twitter, líon na ndaoine atá tar éis amharc ar fhíseán dár gcuid ar Youtube agus líon na ndaoine a deir gur maith leo grianghraf dár gcuid ar Instagram. Is féidir linn grianghraif nach dtaitníonn linn ar na meáin shóisialta a scrios, ach is féidir linn a bheith cinnte go mbeidh duine i gcónaí ar líne gur féidir linn labhairt leis agus nach mbeidh muid inár n-aonar go brách. Bíonn ar a laghad duine amháin den chúpla céad cara sin i gcónaí ar líne. Cuirtear an-bhéim ar íomhá duine ar líne agus bíonn daoine ag caitheamh go leor ama ag cruthú pearsantachta (seans nach bhfuil sé cosúil lena bpearsantacht féin, seans go bhfuil). Bítear ag iarraidh daoine eile a bhailiú ar mhaithe le stádas a bhaint amach tríd a bheith ag cur le líon na gcairde atá ag duine ar líne agus cuirtear grianghraif ar líne a thaispeáineann an saol iontach spraoiúil atá ag duine. Bíonn muid dár gcur féin i gcomparáid lena chéile trí na meáin shóisialta. Ag deireadh na dála, an bhfuil aon dochar á dhéanamh againn? Agus borradh ag teacht, bliain i ndiaidh bliana, faoin méid daoine atá ag rá go bhfuil fadhb acu leis an uaigneas agus tuilleadh daoine ag baint úsáide as na meáin shóisialta i rith an ama, an bhfuil fadhb againn i ngan fhios dúinn féin? Cé go bhfuil go leor “cairde”
“Léiríonn taighde a rinneadh sna Stáit Aontaithe go mothaíonn daoine óga uaigneach tar éis dóibh a bheith ag labhairt le daoine ar líne.”
againn, an bhfuil uaigneas orainn? Le cúpla bliain anuas, tá curtha ar ár súile dúinn a mhéid fadhbanna is a chruthaíonn na meáin shóisialta i measc an aois óig, ó thaobh na cibearbhulaíochta ach go háirithe. Tar éis dúinn scéalta uafásacha cosúil le scéal na ndeirfiúracha Erin agus Shannon Gallagher i nDún na nGall a chloisteáil, ní hiontas ar bith 10% de bhuachaillí agus 12% de chailíní a bheith ag rá gur dearnadh bulaíocht orthu ar líne. De réir suirbhé de chuid Pfizer a cuireadh i gcrích i mí Mheán Fómhair na bliana seo, creideann tromlach na ndaoine sa tír seo go bhfuil droch-thionchar ag na meáin shóisialta ar ár meabhairshláinte agus ar mheabhairshláinte na ndéagóirí ach go háirithe. Tá “Slane Girl” fós i mbéal an phobail, rud a léiríonn an dochar gur féidir leat a dhéanamh le ghrianghraf amháin. Thaispeáin múinteoir sa Fhrainc cé chomh tapa agus is féidir íomhá a scaipeadh ar an idirlíon cúpla seachtain ó shin trí ghrianghraf de féin is é ag iarraidh ceacht a mhúineadh dá rang a roinnt. Taobh istigh de chúpla uair an chloig bhí 480 duine tar éis an grianghraf a athtvuíteáil agus bhí 65 “is maith liom é” aige. Is áiseanna iontacha iad na meáin shóisialta le haird a tharraingt ar fheachtais faoin meabhairshláinte agus nascanna agus sonraí teagmhála tábhachtacha a roinnt. Is áit iad, leis, ina mothaíonn daoine sábháilte go leor is gur féidir leo na fadhbanna seo a phlé. Le déanaí, chonaiceamar an tionchar iontach a bhí ag blag Conor Cusack, atá ina iarbhall d’fhoireann iomána Chorcaí, agus an bealach gur chabhraigh sé le daoine labhairt amach faoina gcuid fadhbanna féin. Baineann go leor eagraíochtaí úsáid as na meáin shóisialta ar mhaithe le tuiscint níos fearr a fhorbairt faoi chúrsaí meabhairshláinte agus le feachtasaíocht a dhéanamh. Tá taighde ann a léiríonn go gcabhríonn siad le daoine atá faoi mhíchumas agus le seandaoine agus iad ag streachailt leis an uaigneas. Ag an am céanna, léiríonn taighde a rinneadh sna Stáit Aontaithe go mothaíonn daoine óga uaigneach tar éis dóibh a bheith ag labhairt le daoine ar líne, mothúchán nach mbíonn acu chomh minic sin agus iad ag casadh lena gcairde sa saol réadúil agus iad ag comhrá leo duine le duine. Cúpla mí ó shin, labhair cailín óg a raibh búilime uirthi amach sa Huffington Post faoin drochthionchar a bhí ag na meáin shóisialta uirthi agus í ag dul i bhfeabhas. Aon uair a mhothaigh sí uaigneach, in ionad rud éigin a ithe mar ba nós léi agus í tinn,
logáil sí isteach ar Facebook. De réir a chéile, tharla sé go mbíodh sí iontach neirbhíseach muna mbíodh sí in ann a leathanach a sheiceáil go minic. Bíodh sí ag smaoineamh faoin mbealach gurbh fhéidir léi aon rud a rinne sí i rith an lae nó aon rud greannmhar a tharla di a scríobh ar líne nuair a théadh sí abhaile. Bíodh sí i gcónaí ag smaoineamh faoi bhealaigh le taispeáint go raibh sí i gceart arís. Ach ní raibh. Cé gur sna Stáit Aontaithe a rinneadh an taighde, má bhreathnaíonn muid ar staitisticí anseo in Éirinn is léir go bhfuil na meáin shóisialta mar pháirt lárnach dár saolsa freisin. Tá guthán cliste ag 1.6 milliún Éireannach faoi láthair, figiúr atá ag ardú an t-am ar fad. Tá 600,000 úsáideoir laethúla ag Twitter in Éirinn agus is muidne a bhaineann an méid is mó usáide as Facebook i measc na dtíortha a labhraíonn Béarla, le 2.5 milliún usáideoir míosúla againn. I suirbhé a rinne Eircom i mbliana, dúirt 25 faoin gcéad den dream ar cuireadh ceist orthu gurbh fhuath leo a bheith ar an duine sin nach bhfuil mórán cairde aige ar Facebook, rud a léiríonn an stádas agus an tábhacht atá ceangailte leis. Seoladh clár nua darb ainm Vir2o i rith an tsamhraidh a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige dul in iomaíocht le leithéidí Facebook agus Google+. Deir lucht a chruthaithe go bhfuil siad ag iarraidh a bheith cosúil le do theach tábhairne áitiúil nó le d’ionad pobail. Tógann siad tréithe ó shuíomhanna éagsúla, ach dar leo féin go bhfuil siad ag iarraidh a bheith níos tábhachtaí ná meán sóisialta agus gur mhaith leo áit a chruthú inar féidir le daoine leanúint ar aghaidh leis na caidrimh atá acu as líne agus iad a fhorbairt ar líne in ionad a bheith ag bailiú cairde ar nós Facebook. An gcabhróidh sé sin nó ar chóir dúinn gan a bheith ag forbairt caidrimh ar líne ar chor ar bith? Cúpla mí ó shin thug mé faoi deara go raibh mé ag caitheamh an dá uair a chloig ag taisteal abhaile gach oíche Dé hAoine ag breathnú ar Facebook agus ar Twitter, am a chaithinn ag léamh nó ag staidéar is mé sa chéad bhliain ar an ollscoil. In ionad a bheith ag labhairt le daoine eile sa seomra gach oíche, bím ar líne agus seans nach n-athróidh sé sin ina dhiaidh seo féin, ach ar a laghad tuigim anois gur fearr maitheas na gcairde ná líon na gcairde. Seans go mbeidh níos mó cairde ar líne ag mo dheartháir amach anseo ach táim sásta leo siúd atá agam as líne.
Illustration: Natalia Duda
Tuesday 10th December2013
Can women be funny? Valerie Ní Loinsigh's personal experience as a female comic shows that part of the reason the world of stand-up comedy is still mostly a man’s game is because people are still asking the question “Are women funny?”
Valerie Ní Loinsigh Contributor
ou Sanders opened her comedy act on Russell Howard’s Good News with the following. “I’ll explain what a macho gig is. Basically…hmmm…when a woman walks on, you’ll see them sort of thinking…hmmm, it’s a woman. This might be shit.” Let me preface this, my first ever InDepth article, with a note. Note: I am wary of writing an article like this because when you dissect funny, well, it’s just not funny. And also that people will think that I’m a bitter baglady who can’t land a man and that’s the reason I’m writing about misogyny on the comedy circuit. I may be an embittered baglady who can’t land a man but that’s nothing to do with this article. It’s an exploration. Let me explore. A boyfriend on the bus once told me women can’t be funny, ever. He told me there has never been one genuinely funny woman in the history of the world. I named numerous examples, he claimed they weren’t really funny. I told him I would become a stand-up comedian to prove him wrong. He told me that I was too pretty and too much of a girl to ever be funny. I told him I wanted a break and changed my number. And thus began a career in standup comedy based on a solid foundation of misogyny which still continues to endure to this day. Really, it began before the (ex)boyfriend. I was a feral child, whose communicative skills didn’t begin developing until midway through secondary school. As a result, I spent all of my time playing sports with the boys and climbing rocks and couldn’t communicate with the foreign entities that called themselves girls because I was scared of them. Their talk was so much faster and more high-pitched than mine. Their posture was so much more elegant than mine. Their hair was so much more brushed than mine. Terrifying demons. This muteness-around-women malady still haunts me to this day. I’m shit at small-talk and incompetent at femininity so my instinctual reaction to this has always been to try and turn my weirdness into funniness and somewhere along the way it began to work. Now they love me. They can’t get enough. I’m the man. Anyway, back to condemning misogyny. One of my first experiences on the comedy circuit was supporting Des Bishop at Trinity Fringe way back when. Backstage, shortly after asking me did I have a bottle to pee in due to an un-thereness of toilet, he advised me to do some club gigs. And, as with most of the advice I’ve ever been given, I listened to it and
“I’m shit at small-talk and incompetent at femininity so my instinctual reaction to this has always been to try and turn my weirdness into funniness and somewhere along the way it began to work.”
reacted in a wildly overzealous, most definitely self-destructive way. I didn’t do a few club gigs. I did all of them. Amidst this tumultuous, unpredictable assault on comedy clubs, I could rely on one thing and one thing only. Misogyny. It wasn’t my aspiration to be a beauty queen that drew me to comedy, surprisingly. In fact, it was my lack of ammunition in the beauty department that made me brush up on my humour. But no matter what club I played, I was introduced by MCs as ‘the sexy’ or ‘the beautiful’. People don’t go to a comedy club to admire the aesthetics; they can go to an art gallery for that. It was incredibly belittling and as I felt utterly powerless, I didn’t put up a fight at the time and it began to feel like my appearance was one of my only redeeming features as a comedian. The most horrendous introduction, I have ever received was from a man who is a friend of mine now and completely and utterly harmless. The fact that he didn’t bat an eyelid at the time, shows how entrenched misogyny is within the male comedy circuit. “This next comedian is great. I would know, I’ve slept with her.” Hilarious. To be sure that I wasn’t just having a bad day and being a trifling bitch, I asked a comedy friend of mine for her thoughts. She asked to remain anonymous but she is a well-seasoned comedian who has performed at various Irish festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe. “Your appearance is constantly referenced by MCs. Once, one said that I had a nice hoop (ass) after I got off stage. Very derogatory. Occasionally I have found some promoters to make comments too. It’s awkward because you may like someone and they compliment you, which is a nice thing, but then you feel a bit compromised. “It’s because comedy is male dominated that the men are used to running things without women being involved. Also comedians get a lot of female groupies coming on pretty strong, so they may have a skewed notion of how to approach your average gal/fellow female comic.” “I also had a few people presume that I was sleeping with an established comic with whom I had a professional relationship. I have been heckled for being a slut, called sugar tits, told I won a comedy competition because the judges liked tits, told I would get a gig if I sucked someone off. This of course is after people saying, “God you were funny and normally I don’t like female comics”, which I also find offensive. The same would never be said to a black, Jewish or Asian comic.
Could you imagine it? That said, it’s a good time for women. Bridget Christie won the Edinburgh award for a show about feminism.” It took me a long time to realize that the emphasis on my appearance was not due to my lack of comedic ingenuity, but theirs. It should never be a necessity to comment on a woman’s physical appearance when introducing her. Unless she is wearing her jokes. Or, I guess, if she’s naked, then it would probably be necessary. But are women even funny? What a funny question! I cannot speak on behalf of an entire gender. I despise when people do, especially when they are speaking on behalf of the other gender. Such as when a man says “women aren’t funny”. What a lucky man you are, to have met every woman in the history of the world and also to be able to offer a qualitative definition of what “funny” is. Please, tell me, I would love to know. Inject me with your humour. But wash the needle before you do so, I wouldn’t want to catch your delusional sense of grandeur. Some men are stubborn and narrow-minded and actually believe that women aren’t funny. I believe that negative, exclusive attitudes come from a personal insecurity. I believe that if a man tells you that you aren’t funny because your gender is not funny that that very statement is not coming from a database of research that he has carried out on the subject but rather from his need to assert his dominance over you, due to the his own lack of talent. Some women are stubborn and narrow-minded and believe that women aren’t funny too. A man I once did a show with claimed “Valerie, you find all women funny. Why don’t you find ‘insert-a-female-comedianwhose-name-I-can’t-remember’ funny? She’s the one who is actually funny.” This statement assumes a few things. Firstly, that based on my appreciating the humour of women I was doing a bad thing. And secondly, that the woman he referred to was funnier than most women because even he, a man, found her funny. To say that men have one taste in comedy and women have another taste would be completely reductive. There are so many types of humour. Really talented comedians can perhaps tune into more of these than the average person, but everybody has a sense of humour. Everybody is capable of being funny. I have never known a successful male stand-up comedian, with full mental health intact, to make the qualifying statement that women aren’t funny. This summer, I was appointed Head of the Comedy Department
“But are women even funny? What a funny question! I cannot speak on behalf of an entire gender. I despise when people do, especially when they are speaking on behalf of the other gender.”
of Long Lake Camp for the Arts in New York. This involved me inventing my own curriculum and running it with three different sets of teenagers over the summer. We had three full-length shows, a weekly radio show and a satirical magazine. I found it extremely refreshing to mentor young teenagers on stand-up comedy and I really hadn’t expected this to be the case. Most refreshing of all was the realisation that some of them were completely unaware of the notion that there is a divide between the abilities of male and female performers. It was an amazingly supportive environment. Not once was there a reference to there being a “token woman” at the comedy show, which is a key feature of any Irish adult comedy gig, a heavy insinuation that you’re there because you are a woman and not due to your merit. What I think I found most uplifting was finding girls who could approach comedy without the impression that they were doing something that was unnatural for their gender, without being made to feel like they were up against it and, most importantly, without feeling like whatever they did well or badly would be considered a precedent for their entire gender. There was no insinuation that the future of the gender was resting on their petite shoulders. That said, there were a lot of female students who I believe would not have even considered trying out comedy had I not been female myself. They didn’t have any preconception of not being funny because they were gals but it simply may have never occurred to them to try it out had I not been there promoting it, as a gal. This highlights the needs for role models. Plural. Not just one example of one funny woman who every other girl tries to emulate, but several women doing their thing, in their own style, to their own taste, so that youth are presented with possibilities. Because there will always be people who make statements like “women are not funny” and then name ONE example of ONE woman who has done something tasteless/offensive to back up said statement and we must always be able to throw back examples of funny women at them. And if that fails, then ask them this, “Who the fuck are you to say women aren’t funny?” and secondly “Who the fuck are you FULL STOP?” I’ll end on a joke: I read a fact recently that said that Irish women are the most selfdeprecating women in the world. Isn’t that surprising...that I can read.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Conor McGlynn looks at the Turner Prize which was held in Derry-Londonderry.
Find a lifeline in Niteline Editor, Elaine McCahill speaks with Niteline volunteer and head of their Public Faces campaign, Aaron Watson about his experience being both behind and in front of the phoneline.
Elaine McCahill Editor
ost students recognise the name. When trying to remember where they recognise it from, it usually brings up flashbacks of sitting on the loo in the arts block toilets and reading the replies to someone’s existential crisis scribbled out on one of their posters. However, Niteline is so much more than those little blue stickers that provide a platform for often hilarious bathroom reading. It is a free, anonymous support service for all students. An organisation built upon the ethos of being a listening, support and information service run for and by the students of TCD, DCU, NCAD, RCSI, UCD, NUIM and all of their affiliated colleges. It offers nightly support through their phone lines and Online Listening service through instant messaging are open from nine in the evening until half-two in the morning and no problem is too big or too small. Volunteers don’t have any information about your identity, where you’re calling from or what university you attend and as such, both listener and caller remain completely anonymous. It is also a non-directive service whereby volunteers won’t give you advice or direct you towards making a particular decision. However, while we may all have some level of knowledge about the service, it has been for the most part, been an organisation shrouded in a level of mystery.Who operates the service? Who are the people who volunteer to take calls? Will they understand my problems? Firstly, Niteline is funded by by the SU’s of the participating universities and as such it operates as a student service. With regard to those who volunteer with them, the main piece of information that Niteline wants to put across is that all the volunteers are students from the universities involved in the service. All volunteers remain anonymous but the point remains that they are your peers. Chances are your best friend could be a volunteer and you wouldn’t know due to their strict confidentiality policy. Thhe level of ambiguity surrounding the volunteers is an issue that Niteline has decided to address through their new Public Faces campaign. They want students to know that they are more personable than the posters around college, that students just like you are there to listen to your problems and most importantly, won’t be judgemental about them. In attempting to create a more open image of who their volunteers are, Niteline has launched its Public Faces campaign with Hannah Ryan and Aaron Watson as the faces of the campaign. Hannah and Aaron have both
Editorial T Elaine McCahill Editor
he news in recent weeks that student services, through the form of the Capitated bodies, are due to be cut again is another blow to the student experience that we’ve trying to cling onto since the recession began. We’ve been paying more across the board, whether it’s for fees, rent or transport and have consistently received less in return. College has consistently cut services throughout College but when do these cost-saving measures get to a point that they stert to seriously negatively affect the student experience? As detailed in our lead news story, the moratorium on hiring will lead to some departments losing up to a quarter of their staff when current faculty members retire. It has been ruled that these staff cannot be replaced with central money, instead they can only be replaced with private money, again putting inordinate amount of pressure on the alumni community and individual donors. As such the academic experience of students is going to suffer as modules are going to have to be dropped or classes made bigger in order to accommodate having less staff. In terms of the services offered to students, as well as extracurricular activities, the Capitations committee is absolutely central. A potential 10% cut across two years would be absolutely detrimental to the services provided by these bodies. For the GSU, this would mean the potential loss of their academic journal and their orientations week, which is held annually in September. For Trinity Publications, this cut would equal the total amount given to provisionally recognised publications every year, such as the Histories and Humanities Journal or the Social and Political Review. The loss suffered by Ducac would almost definitely mean the introduction of higher Sports Centre fees. As for the SU and the CSC is would almost definitely result
previously been volunteers and came forward in order to further the the development of the service and hopefully reach and inform thousands of students. Aaron Watson expands on the ideas behind the Public Faces Campaign and the more approachable image of Niteline they want to put across: “As we’re kind of hidden away...there’s a huge distance there and that’s not something that you want when you’re talking about really sensitive issues. You don’t want to feel that these people are completely far removed from you. What’s the point in having a peer to talk to if you feel like they’re a million miles away? We’re meant to be here so we’re closer to what’s going on with you and properly empathise with it.” The plan to go forward with the this campaign led from the idea of creating a closer relationship with students and also from the need to have actual volunteers, who operate the phones and online listening service to be present at Niteline stands during Mental Health Week or Freshers Week in order to really put a face to the service. They also want to offer more opportunities to those who want to volunteer but don’t necessarily want to work the phones. as Aaron explains, “there’s a lot of people who help out that aren’t on the phones, as not everyone has the skills to be a listener and others just don’t like it and we want to expand on that.” What is possibly the most daunting part about calling a service like Niteline is the idea that one of your friends or someone you know will answer the phone. Aaron says that ‘it is always a danger and we do have policies in place to deal with those situations but the main issue is that if you feel you know someone, you don’t have the same relationship on the phone then. As Niteline is anonymous, the caller needs to feel free to say whatever they want without worrying about seeing the volunteer the next day so we do want to avoid that happening. At the same time though, we cater to five universities, which is between 60 and 70 thousand students so the chances of actually recognising the volunteer is slim to none.” The lives of students in Ireland have become much more fraught and stressful in the past number of years with higher student contribution charges, grant cuts, less part-time jobs available and the prospect of unemployment after graduation. As such, one can’t help but be curious as to which issues are more prevalent among student who phone or chat to Niteline volunteers. While Aaron must remain within the realms
"The potential loss to the SU almost equals the salary of one full-time sabbatical officer. These are not minor cuts; they are ones that will seriously affect the quality of experience for present and future students."
in a dramatic loss in services. The potential loss to the SU almost equals the salary of one full-time sabbatical officer. These are not minor cuts; they are ones that will seriously affect the quality of experience for present and future students. One can’t but help feel that the powers-at-be are helplessly disconnected from the real experience of both students and staff. The university-as-a-business view that the Provost and his ministers holds is baffling to the average student. Yes, we understand that the college needs to make money in order to survive but it appears that he is blinkered to the everyday reality that exists and sees everything in monetary value rather in terms of its meaning to students. He appears to privilege the establishment of
"What is possibly the most daunting part about calling a service like Niteline is the idea that one of your friends or someone you know will answer the phone... As Niteline is anonymous, the caller needs to feel free to say whatever they want without worrying about seeing the volunteer the next day so we do want to avoid that happening. At the same time though, we cater to five universities, which is between 60 and 70 thousand students so the chances of actually recognising the volunteer is slim to none.”
a new ‘Trinity brand’ in order to attract fee-paying students from abroad, rather than focussing on the establishment of services for these potential students. Further to this, rumours have been abound this week that Mr. Prendergast is hoping to convert all of Front Square into accommodation by the end of his tenure. The removal of offices, departments and society rooms from Front Square once again perpetuates the vision of College as simply being a money-making scheme. By removing all society rooms etc from Front Square, it would remove the student experience of attending a historic university. One of the greatest joy and privileges of attending a university such as Trinity, is that if you work your way up through our little bubble, whether through societies or otherwise, rooms with magnificent views will await you. Where else in the world can one claim that the view from their college society room is one such as College Green? The history of our city-centre campus is central to our experience and one can only fear that if the Provost has his way, he’ll have all classes moved to a bunch of Stalin-esque building’s in Santry while he runs the campus as a tourist visiting centre. That may be a tad dramatic but the policies and outlook of all the higher-ups do not lend themselves to a well-rounded experience. Since I arrived at Trinity over four years ago, I have never felt as though there was such a disconnect between the students and those in the ivory-tower/No.1 Grafton St. This feeling of uneasiness is spreading among the staff too as the running of college has become more centralised and faculty members are no longer consulted on budgetary meetings and the like. This sense of frustration is building and that level of discontent is certainly not good for the efficiency that the Provost so clearly desires.
of his confidentiality agreement, he does accede that “every call is different and as such it’s hard to tie down which issues are more prevalent among students than others. For the most part though, I find that most people end up discussing at length why they are feeling stressed. Stress is always a key issue, whether it’s brought on by exams or troubles with friends or whatever may be happening in your life at that moment.” In terms of trying to break the stigma around mental health, Aaron believes that while there is some level of stigma attached, things have also changed hugely since he started as a volunteer five years ago. “When I’m doing publicity now, people are much more open to chatting and asking questions about Niteline whereas before people were a bit more wary of being labelled for even coming up and talking to us. Campaigns in recent years have also really pushed the message that it’s okay to talk, which is exactly what Niteline is for. We want to put forward the simple message that volunteers are there
for you and that the conversation goes no further. We also want to stress that volunteers there for you to talk whether it’s for a more friendly chat or a more formulaic, structured conversation, Niteline is really just there for whatever style the caller wants. We just let callers do whatever they can to make themselves feel better.” When asked if there is a protocol for recommending certain avenues of help, such as the college counselling service, Aaron says that their training is very similar to that of Peer Support, “which is mainly active listening training and role play training so that volunteers can deal with these types of charged calls but we don’t volunteer information, if we think someone is at a point where they need info or if they ask for it, we can offer them information but everything is really left in the hands of the caller.” As with many things, Public Faces is currently a trial scheme, but as Aaron expounds, “the main thing is that we want to humanise the service and get us out there so that we can actively partici-
n the anticipation of a new five year strategic plan, Trinity is in the process of assessing its priorities and its values. The ways the College operates are being evaluated and adjusted in anticipation of a five year Strategic Plan for 2014-2019. This puts the College and everyone associated with it, especially students and academics, in a very important position. At stake is not just the future of education in Trinity, but what Trinity itself will come to mean. Literally; one of focuses of the Strategic Plan is a rebranding effort which would include changing the name and logo, partly because apparently when trying to sell the idea of Trinity in Asia, one obstacle is the confusion over whether Trinity is a second level institution, due to the inclusion of the word ‘College’. What makes this such an important juncture though is not just what will eventually make up the plan, but the reaction to what the plan will or may be. The values reflected in the current iteration of Trinity’s plan for its next five years are decidedly market based, and leave little room for either students, or the seemingly naïve role of the University as a centre of learning. With the imposition of what has been called a ‘technobureaucratic’ business model, the idea that the primary role of the University is to serve the economy, fundamentally undermines the intellectual creativity and expression that allows for true innovation and, more importantly, shouldn’t need to justify itself. Of course Trinity doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and there are running costs, not least during a time of imposed austerity when the least directly measurable facilities are the most vulnerable. But it seems hypocritical to reflect on the necessity of the College to serve as an engine for growth by focusing creating 160 start-up companies over the next three years, when those would-be en-
Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor
pate and volunteer with events like Mental Health Week and by being more involved we do get more volunteers from the likes of the Welfare Committee. We want to show that we’re personable and that we’re not just this hidden shadow that works from 9pm.” If you would like to volunteer with Niteline, they take on volunteers at the start of the academic year. The application process simply involves filling out a form online and extensive training is given to groups of volunteers thereafter. The training committee gets in touch, then there’s an interview process and if chosen there is an eight week training session. If you ever feel the need to talk, Niteline is there on 1800 793793 and the online listening service is also available at niteline.ie.
"At stake is not just the future of education in Trinity, but what Trinity itself will come to mean."
trepreneurs have nowhere to live. Dublin is facing a very real housing crisis, and students are among the worst affected. According to Daft.ie, average rental prices have increased 7.5% since last year, and properties available to rent in August dropped to 2,394, from 4212 in August 2012, having been over 8,500 years ago. The fact is that the economy also does not operate in a vacuum. If the College wants to play the engagement game, it is duplicitous to do so on exclusively economic terms and should be advocating at the same time on a social level, particularly for students. However, it is clear from the student exclusion from any plans moving forward even within Trinity, that we are at best seen as commodities to be deployed, and at worst; resource sucking parasites.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Callum Jenkins looks at why the SU will not be the solution to student apathy.
Face off: Is eating meat ethically justified? Rachel Graham and Mikey Kemp debate whether vegetarians are in the right, or whether they are two carrots short of a meat and two veg.
Rachel: The topic of vegetarianism is an odd one. At first glance, it’s pretty straightforward: animals are conscious creatures. Imposing needless pain and death on conscious creatures is a bad thing. Let’s not do it. But this is rarely how we think about it; rather, it gets complicated by many related issues: climate change, the meat industry, economics and poverty, health, and natural law. Relevant though these things are, it seems somewhat strange that the basic ethical issue so often gets overlooked. Vegetarians are so often the subject of scorn and suspicion (see the recent, ridiculous article by Ronan McGreevy in the Irish Times for a case in point) that they jump to tangential arguments to defend their position. One such popular bandwagon is that of the “eco-veggie”; the vegetarian out to save the planet by decreasing carbon emissions caused by meat production. Although defenses like these are reasonable, and important issues in themselves, they lose their relevance to the vegetarian cause with every new book explaining how the meat industry is really not as big a deal for our planet as we thought it was, and force us to move onto some new issue. I’m inclined to agree with Barbara Ellen when she implores vegetarians to “say meat is still murder”. Of course, recognizing the moral action, and realizing that moral action, are very different things, and the preachy and self-satisfied veggie-warrior is as much my least favourite person as it is almost everyone else’s. Living in the world we live in makes it almost impossible not to do something morally dubious nearly every day – whether it’s buying clothes in a high street store or buying coffee produced by exploited farmers the lengths you have to go to to be ethically sound are enormous. But the trivializing “but look at that tasty bacon!” and “sure we’ve been eating meat since time began, we couldn’t stop now” arguments one sees legitimizing a carnivorous diet are nothing more than clouded statements that we ultimately don’t care about the implications of our dietary choices. As a person living in Ireland today, there is really no defensible reason to eat meat.
“The defence of carnivorous attitudes is also an odd one. Awkward shrugging of the shoulders, puffed-up grimaces and the raising of skyward palms are the usual reaction to the occasional airing of “the meat question.” How should I defend my position without appearing to be some glorifier in the hot black steaming blood of mammal flesh?”
Mikey: The defence of carnivorous attitudes is also an odd one. Awkward shrugging of the shoulders, puffed-up grimaces and the raising of skyward palms are the usual reaction to the occasional airing of “the meat question.” How should I defend my position without appearing to be some glorifier in the hot black steaming blood of mammal flesh? Well, this might be surprising for the myopic veggie, but carnivores do feel a kind of guilt about eating meat. But why do we eat it? On the one hand, it is a nutritious aspect of a healthy diet, but on the other, the animals, which vegetarians are so keen to “protect” by living off ground nuts and lentils, have been bred over centuries to be eaten - without this function, they simply would not exist. We carnivores distance ourselves from imagining a once alive and sentient creature on our plate, notably through language (nobody has “roast cow” for Sunday lunch), but also by respecting the thought that this is of an animal that has been ethically treated towards its inevitable olfactory end. Modern farming practices - especially in Ireland - incorporate increasingly humane practices in the production of food so as to treat these animals with the respect due them and spare them as much pain as possible. Carnivores are actually all for the ethical treatment of animals: notice the rising interest in a restaurant’s supplier and how it is with joy that we observe the growing popularity of Free Range foods to the extent that sausages culled from open-field pigs are readily available in supermarkets. Thus the idea that there is “no defensible reason” for eating meat is absurd, as animals cultivated for food are treated with the respect, admiration and humanity that is often forgotten by that specimen
of the blinkered, smug and selfrighteous veggie. Rachel: To the person who cleverly points out that certain animals only exist in order for us to eat them, and asks “would you rather there were no cows in the world, you purported animal lover?!”, the answer in my view is pretty simple. Yes. If hundreds of thousands of animals exist for the sole function of being hurt (they are) and killed and put on shelves in Tesco, then it is better that they don’t exist at all. Where is the harm in not existing? There isn’t any. The harm only comes about when existing means being raised in a space so small you can’t turn around in it, or having your beak cut off so you can’t peck the neighbours who share your over-crowded pen, or being transported over long distances in dark containers with a high chance of dehydration and being trampled on. That animals suffer in the meat trade is an incontestable fact. Practices of farming and slaughter are arguably becoming more humane all of the time, but the best standards are far from perfect, and far from the norm. The recent ‘horsemeat scandal’ may have captured the public
imagination mainly because very few of us can reconcile the idea of horse with the idea of a tasty dinner, but more significantly, it illustrates the unreliability of the regulations governing meat production, and the unfortunate reality that, a lot of the time, we don’t really know the process by which what we’re eating came to be on our plate. Mikey: To address your first point, while it’s arguable to say that there’s no problem with “not existing”, the fact is, they simply exist. In no way do I see the solution to be a mass genocide of farmyard animals - which seems to be the implication of your point - but the only real solution is a continuation of current, increasingly humane practices. While I acknowledge your allusions to the barbaric treatment of animals shown in such documentaries as P.E.T.A.’s Meet Your Meat, I have to point out that ever since the revelation of these extreme (and irregular) examples, the meat industry has responded swiftly in adopting ethical treatments. The references made to de-beaking and spatial deprivation are pertinent only in that consumers as well as suppliers avoid such dis-
gusting procedures with vigour. I also have to deride the notion that the ‘horsemeat scandal’ is an example of “unreliable” regulations. Irish testing was so thorough that the scandal would not have come to light and we’d be left chowing down on equine lasagnes. In short, we’ve reached a stage where the information about our food is very much there and the onus is upon us to research and make ethically informed decisions.
they only exist because we continue to breed them into existence, for that purpose – we could not do that. Obviously you could never make the world meatless overnight, nor would you want to, due to the myriad of problems this would no doubt cause – but if demand for meat decreased, so too would the population of those farm animals in question, because producers simply wouldn’t have a reason to breed as many of them. There are also problems with calling the practices I mentioned ‘irregular’. Firstly, because comprehensive global statistics on farming practices are incredibly hard to come by; secondly, because exposés of the kind you mentioned have happened too many times to assume the things they unearthed were anomalies; and thirdly, because when you go to most supermarkets the majority of the chicken on sale is still not free range. Partly because the ethical consumers you speak of just aren’t the norm, and partly because buying ethically and sustainably produced meat is very expensive. And even for those consumers who manage to make well-informed decisions about the meat they eat (I’m dubious as to the practicality of this), the animals they’ve eaten have still been killed, at the end of the day. Humane slaughter is (humane) slaughter.
Rachel: ‘A mass genocide of farmyard animals’, if you’d like to get extreme about it, is exactly what happens every day under the status quo; I’m certainly not suggesting it, but you are advocating we carry on with it. What I mean is that it is circular and illegitimate to justify our use of animals for meat by saying that they exist only for that purpose, because
M i k e y : F i r s t l y, those are absolutely “extreme” examples, as they are propagated by an extremist organisation (P.E.T.A.) whose intention is to flog their “vegan starter kits.” Secondly, these exposés are rare in that the Meet Your Meat film is still P.E.T.A.’s only film on the topic despite it being over a decade old, and if you could specifically detail any more exposés that showed similarly irregular cruelty on a broad scale and not just similarly isolated incidents since then, I would completely welcome them. I think you’ve misread or misunderstood my use of the word “genocide.” “Genocide”, according to the Oxford English Dic-
tionary, is “the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group.”- it is a word referring solely to senseless, barbaric murder and is to be used towards people alone. My earlier use of the word was to show that merely ending the lives of animals that are an in-demand food source is a an inhumane, meanwhile your point that “Humane slaughter is (humane) slaughter” shows that you do not know that “slaughter” comes from the Old Norse for “Butcher’s Meat.” While the media uses the word blindly to refer to nightmarish wars or Liverpool’s thrashing of Norwich, it is a word that inherits dehumanising traits. Ultimately, the production of meat is humane as it is an act ending the life of an animal, not a human, for food’s sake. There is a huge disparity between the two that is often forgotten in the use of such rhetoric in debates that causes a blurring of the lines between humanity and beasts. Ethically, “Man” is not “Meat” and that should be remembered. Rachel: I didn’t know the etymology of the word ‘slaughter’? How embarrassing. I’m a bit unclear as to what point you’re making, but it seems to be something about the essential difference between man and animal. I think the essentialising of that difference is little if anything more than an arbitrary speciesism. Nothing makes “Man” not “Meat”, apart from the fact that we are disgusted at the thought of it, and so afford our own kind privileges that we do not extend to other sentient beings; either because we find them impossible to relate to, or think them sufficiently less intelligent that they are ours to use and abuse. If you base your understanding of ethics on the basic principle of not causing needless pain to others, as I would suggest most people do or at least profess to do, then animals simply come under that umbrella of beings not to be mistreated. You can rally against the extreme examples of organizations like P.E.T.A., but even if the humane world of farming that you say exists does exist, I am in no way convinced that those animals being raised and killed are having a swell time, or that that state of affairs is somehow morally neutral. At the end of the day, the nonnecessary consumption of meat (by people who have access to a wide variety of other food with which to constitute a healthy diet), is not justifiable, and our increasing preoccupation with ‘humane’ practices and regulations contributes to our ability to distance ourselves from something we know is wrong. Mikey: While etymology might seem a queer thing to obsess over, it is vital in understanding the origins and functions of languagethe one thing that truly binds us together in reality. Language is malleable, and its manipulations need to be pointed out- especially when one tries to shock by using the word “slaughter” without knowing what it actually means. The difference between animal and man is not some shaky “essentialism”, but one respected for centuries. The father of Modern Philosophy, Descartes, had famously thought of animals as being no more than soft, fleshy machines, and while I view this as ridiculous, I recognise how it’s a wonky corollary originating from his famous validation of identity“I think therefore I am”. Animals simply don’t think like humans do - while man assimilates complex information, constructs hypothetical scenarios, and plans ahead, animals live immediately, looking for kind treatment and simple pastures. Believe it or not, modern farming provides them that. The Bórd Bía Quality Mark insists upon farm animals being well fed, given shelter and open space to roam, and the scheme’s regulations are noticeably strict. Even the act of killing is done to cause as little pain possible- most commonly in Ireland, farmers use a device to render the animal unconscious before ending its life. You can have your own opinion that this is immoral mistreatment, but such a view to prize animals as equal to humans seems to come from no found rationalism, but a subjective “instinct”. The eating of meat is performed with the most ethically and humane practices possible in mind, with regulations chosen to uphold this.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
The week-ness of SU campaigns Eva Short on the failure of the SU’s equality and diversity week, and of SU campaign’s in general.
U Eva Short Staff Writer
pon passing through the Front Arch one morning last week, I saw a brightly coloured poster adorning the top of the doorway, proclaiming the issue du jour - Equality and Diversity Week 2013, a week to remind us that labels “are for jars, not people.” It was the inaugural week of its kind; a new proposition from our incumbent sabbats, with the rather vague and unquantifiable aim of “raising awareness and acceptance of diversity within the college.” I have always questioned the need for the Student’s Union to make each week of the college experience have a theme, a particular topic that the student body is suppose to collectively turn over in their minds. One week, we care about mental health issues. The next, we will crusade for the rights of those with disabilities. This week we cared about equality, cared so much that we made a short video soundtracked with an uplifting song and watched quasi-relevant films. After this, we will have a small interval during which we decide what other topic needs discussing, whatever box needs to be ticked, and for the occasion we might even go so far as to have a bake sale.
The SU put on a variety of events which were designed to get us into the egalitarian mind set. But truthfully I didn’t hear so much as a whisper from any of my peers about it. Considering that there are only one or two degrees of separation between each student at Trinity, this doesn’t bode well for the movement. No, I imagine the event schedule for this week was lost amidst a flurry of posters advertising mystery tours and guest speakers haphazardly superimposed onto each other around campus, distracting from the always relatively sparse Student’s Union bulletin board. Apparently this week saw with it the launch of a branch of the famous photoblog Humans of New York - dubbed ‘Humans of Trinity’, it exemplified less the diversity of the student body and more showed the kinds of students that can be gathered at short notice from around the Arts Block and convinced to pose for a photo (our brethren in the Hamilton, it would seem, do not qualify as humans). In case you were curious, these kinds of students are the types sporting an impressive array of winter hats and are most likely a friend or acquaintance of someone on the student council.
“So when the vanguards of any movement are too dispassionate, too lacklustre, what are we to do but imitate what we see?”
The political or rights-driven movements of the Student’s Union are deeply sanitised affairs, cleansed of anything that could be construed as a definitive stance. In the quest to accurately represent every individual within the college, TCDSU will opt to represent no one. Heaven forbid they asks our opinions on the matter in order to ascertain how the student body feels about the topics of the debate as that would only result in a low turnout and the burdensome tasks of counting ballots. There is always the possibility of free pizza though, and really, that’s what it’s all about. Political correctness hampers any potential for effectiveness. Far from igniting a passion in our collegiate hearts, these campaigns end up reminding us of that SPHE teacher that we all had in our adolescence, the unfortunate man or woman charged with teaching teenagers half-hearted ethics, trying to quell his/her quiet resentment for us all, and praying the day would never come that they open up the chapter that requires them to give us the sex talk. In the grand scheme of things, these campaigns are an attempt to fight against the spectre of student apathy that haunts us
and portends to an emerging generation of people that care so little about anything outside themselves it’s a wonder their hearts are still inspired to pump blood. While the blame normally falls on our own heads, perhaps it’s possible that our apathy has grounds. Motivation is grounded on purpose - when one feel that what they’re doing has some higher end, some sense of meaning, it’s a lot easier to drum up enthusiasm. So when the vanguards of any movement are too dispassionate, too lacklustre, what are we to do but imitate what we see? If little effort is made to engage the student body beyond screening Edward Scissorhands and calling it a day, the disappointment from a lack of response seems a little rich. I do not need to be told what to think of and when, nor do I need to have grand complex issues pigeon holed into one festival of appreciation before they are discarded and left to the wayside in the wake of whatever captures the short attention span of TCDSU next. University is purported to be the final stage of youth development, the place where we develop our critical thinking and establish our world
views. Personally, I’m fortunate that I regarded this claim with a healthy dose of scepticism, lest I be bitterly discouraged that university activism resembles less the spirited protests I’d dreamt about and more small congregations of activists who rather resemble Ted and Dougal’s “protest” outside ‘The Passion of Saint Tibulus’. I understand the good intentions behind these attempts, but that doesn’t change the fact that going through the motions just to cross off another item on the SU Council agenda not only cheapens the issues in question, but also arouses a sense of hopelessness. This is, so it seems, what activism looks like - it’s executed in a desultory fashion and ultimately attracts little attention. If that is the fate of campaigning, surely there’s little point in trying in the first place. Perhaps my only choice is to equip myself with a thick pair of intellectual blinkers, ignore the futility of the situation and ask myself whether I could convince the powers at be that a screening of Clueless is relevant to RAG Week.
Members only please Ryan Connolly questions the usefulness of the Phil and the Hist for real debate and suggests an alternative.
W Ryan Connolly Staff Writer
hat other institutions on campus could possibly be more representative of Trinity than its two resident debating societies? They are centuries old, both have played host to such historical figures as Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Edward Carson, and the two societies occupy one of the most illustrious buildings on campus, the Graduate Memorial Building. Like so many other first years, I signed up to both during Fresher’s Week, persuaded by promises of engaging, entertaining debates, worldrenowned guest speakers and free food. I also signed up to Maidens’ debating with the best of intentions, which, as usual, fizzled out after two weeks of class. Both societies are very skilled at what they do. I’ve been to a number of debates, with far-ranging topics covering areas such as Catholicism, international aid and feminism. These debates are unquestionably entertaining. Those who take part in the debates learn to speak confidently and convincingly in public. The societies certainly bring big names to speak and debate at Trinity – figures as diverse as Bob Geldof, Hugh Laurie and Antonin Scalia come to mind. And (most importantly) they definitely deliver when it comes to free food. But having said that, I’m not convinced that either society is the best place for real debate about important contemporary issues
and the problems and difficulties facing Trinity students and Ireland in general. Both the style of the debating and the fact that they are run solely through the societies themselves means that debates in the Phil and Hist are more about individuals competing at public speaking than seeking out the truth about a particular matter or resolving thorny issues. The first problem with Trinity’s debating societies is the rigid style employed in debates. Each debater delivers their seven minute long talk in turn, alternating between opposition and proposition. Although they have the option to take a point from the floor now and again, they may speak uninterrupted and then sit down, often not heard from for the rest of the debate. Sometimes the subsequent speaker may briefly address previous points, but given the short space of time they have their main focus is on getting out their own points. Rather than a two-way conversation, where ideas travel back and forth and each speaker has to respond to challenges and questions, these debates resemble long series of speeches on the same topic. Neither is there a real chance for the audience to respond at the end, bar deciding the issue with shouts of ‘yea’ and ‘nay’ to decide the winner. The second difficulty is that only the officers of the Phil and the Hist may decide what
“The first problem with Trinity’s debating societies is the rigid style employed in debates... Rather than a twoway conversation, where ideas travel back and forth and each speaker has to respond to challenges and questions, these debates resemble long series of speeches on the same topic.”
topics are to be debated and these are decided upon before the year begins. They might be willing to take suggestions or adapt their schedules given the prominence of a particular issue, but ultimately what gets debated is decided by the committees of the debating societies. As the topics change from week to week, there is no chance for follow-up of a particular issue that could be addressed again where there is demand for it. So what alternatives are there for debating on campus? The Students’ Union also organises debates from time to time, particularly during SU elections and referenda, but again from what I have seen of these debates they have the problem of a restrictive style, which consists of each speaker delivering a short speech followed by a limited time for questions and answers. They are also organised through the SU itself, and although it accepts calls for discussions ultimately the SU decides which issues to bring to debate. These debates also often receive very little publicity outside of a line or two in the SU weekly email. I think the solution is for a new forum for public debates to be set up in college. Not literally a new dedicated building, but rather the facility for students to organise and promote debates through a neutral body dedicated to that purpose. Perhaps it could be or-
ganised through a department of college and a system similar to that of setting up a society employed, whereby signatures would have to be collected to show that there is interest in having a debate around a particular topic. This way any topic may be brought up for debate at any time without requiring the say-so of a small group of students in the Phil, Hist or SU who might have no interest in that topic being discussed. Any student would be able to call for a debate around a particular issue, be it a national issue of government policy or something affecting college in particular, such as the recently mooted privatisation of Trinity or the raising of fees for non-EU students, or even party political debates between the representatives of the college’s political societies at election time. It would be interesting to see officers from Fianna Fáil Ógra, Young Fine Gael, Labour Youth and other such societies offer their own take on why to vote for their party. In terms of new approach, these debates could use the same style as the political debates we see on television: an impartial chair with two speakers for each side (or multiple speakers if there are a variety of viewpoints to be discussed) and an open format where each speaker delivers their points and argues them with other speakers free to challenge them on any point and be chal-
lenged in turn, and a substantial time for questions from the audience. Speakers would then have to defend each point they make and the audience may get a better idea of which side, if any, stands up under scrutiny. Rather than a series of relatively static speeches there would be a genuine conversation or debate going on between the sides. The Phil and the Hist, being the official debating societies of Trinity, need not be cut out of this scheme; they could provide the chairs for this debate and indeed run classes on how to debate in a more freeform style. Even if there would only be a few such debates during the course of an academic year, if college is meant to be a forum for ideas and debate, there is no reason that there shouldn’t be such a facility available. The Phil and the Hist could go on providing entertaining, engaging debates and inviting well-known guest speakers as they have always done, but for those interested less in competitive debating and more in trying to find concrete answers to current affairs questions, a more open and informal space would do greater justice to Trinity’s legacy as a genuine forum for developing original thought.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
John Kennedy examines the lifestyle of Wwoofing and its place in our modern world.
Why students should oppose Feargal Quinn’s bill William Foley urges students to unite with the labour movement and oppose its enemies.
T William Foley Comment Editor
his year is the centenary of the 1913 Lockout in which Dublin workers and their families laid down their lives, and sacrificed their health and their bodily strength in order to defend their right to union membership and, by extension, their right to strike. The workers held out for half a year against gnawing hunger, against the truncheons of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, against the condemnation of the Catholic church, and against the savagely prejudicial attacks of the media – the most vituperative of which were belched forth by the Irish Independent, owned by William Martin Murphy, the leader of the employers’ union. Eventually, the workers were forced back to work. James Connolly summed up the despondent mood: “And so we Irish workers must go down into Hell, bow our backs to the lash of the slave drive. … and eat the dust of defeat and betrayal.” But it was a pyrrhic victory for the bosses. They had seen that labour had the power to “shake or overturn the whole social order”, as AE Russell put it in his famous letter, and were reluctant to test that power again. In practice, labour had won the right to organise in unions and, as such, their right to strike. Today, workers still hold that right. For now. ESB workers recently won a victory over senior management in a pension dispute. Following failed mediation and resolution measures, the union announced that they would go on strike on December the 16th if the ESB management did not honour certain commitments made regarding employee’s defined benefit pension scheme. It was the position of the union that ESB management has failed to uphold contractual and statutory regulations in guaranteeing that workers will not have to cover any shortfall in the pension scheme. Last week, senator Feargal Quinn proposed a bill in the seanad that would criminalise workers in critical utilities such as electricity supply for going on strike. Under the proposed legislation, striking workers in those sectors could face 5 year prison terms or fines of up to a quarter of a million euro. Quinn told the Irish Independent that he had been planning on implementing the bill for some time but that recent events “have given it a real sense of urgency” – ie: he aimed to take advantage of the backlash against ESB workers to win attention and sympathy for his bill. In the face of this attack on workers’ rights, we should appropriate that well-worn rhetorical device, much beloved of the reactionary windbags who crowd out the letter pages of the respectable newspapers, in which the author decries some new modern calumny by appealing to the heroic sacrifice made by preceding generation. “A century ago, our forefathers laid down their lives for
“Furthermore, as Phoenix magazine notes, the stateowned IBRC facilitated two O’Brieninvolved deals last year by writing down debts at a cost of ¤174m to the state. One of those deals facilitated the takeover of Siteserv, a utilities company, by an O’Brien investment vehicle. “
the cause of the Irish Republic” the correspondent will splutter through their mustachios before embarking on some rant about single parents or tampon ads. This device should be reclaimed from the puffed-up armchair patriots: “A century ago, our forefathers and forewomen laid down their lives and their livelihoods to win the right to unionise and the right to strike.” Indeed, the historical parallels are apt: Feargal Quinn, like William Martin Murphy, is a wealthy capitalist and politician. Unlike the ESB workers, Quinn can confidently look forward to a comfortable retirement. Besides a substantial oireachtas pension, Quinn, whose family were placed at number 56 on the 2011 Sunday Time rich list, will reap the fruits of various lucrative investments. Furthermore, the ESB workers came under severe attack in the mainstream media. Just as William Martin Murphy’s Independent savaged the Dublin workers of 1913, Denis O’Brien’s modern incarnation has been equally eager to prejudice the public against organised labour. The paper has run several panic-mongering stories warning of the “crippling” ESB strike with headlines such as “Blackout: the price you will pay for ESB strike” and “ESB unions are holding the country to ransom”. Rush-hour commuters will face “widespread chaos” while parents will face the “crippling double blow” of ESB and ASTI strikes (as draconian government measures introduce mandatory pay cuts for the secondary school teachers). “Colour” columnists such as Jody Corcoran and Eilis O’Hanlon write painfully unfunny “humour” pieces about how “we will all end up hating” the ESB workers, warning that if “Brenadan Ogle [ESB union leader] wins, the country is finished”, and speculating that Ogle “will have a comfortable retirement on a beach in the Caribbean, cigar in mouth and glass of rum in hand, as he fantasies.” Needless to say, these columnists don’t have “the balls” (to borrow a term from Corcoran’s article) to take on their own boss Denis O’Brien who, with his investments in Haiti, almost certainly has spent time on a Caribbean beach in the company of cigars and rum. That is a pity, because O’Brien would seem to offer rich pickings to any investigative journalist worth their sodium chloride. The Irish Independent has been silent on the above issues and, as the Phoenix points out, readers of INM publications will “search in vain for references to the Moriarty Tribunal, whose conclusions included the finding that Michael Lowry, the disgraced former communications minister, “secured the winning” of the state’s second mobile phone licence for O’Brien’s Esat Digifone in 1995”. O’Brien had made payments to Lowry of al-
most half a million punt. Furthermore, as Phoenix magazine notes, the state-owned IBRC facilitated two O’Brien-involved deals last year by writing down debts at a cost of ¤174m to the state. One of those deals facilitated the takeover of Siteserv, a utilities company, by an O’Brien investment vehicle. Siteserv were subsequently awarded the contract to install water meters in Dublin. Even more interestingly, according to Broadsheet.ie, a French company, Altrad, which offered to pay 33% more than O’Brien for Siteserv – thereby reducing the cost of the write-down to the state – was told that “the Irish group was not for sale”. This year, Bank of Ireland, previously bailed out by the government, and the 99.8% state- owned AIB wrote off 141m worth of debt owed by Independent News and Media which is controlled by O’Brien and lieutenants. It would be interesting to learn the opinions of the state-appointed public interest directors on the boards of both banks regarding these huge write-downs. Sadly, the Independent has not thought of questioning them. The ESB dispute takes place in the context of a huge attack on the livings standards of Irish workers and on Irish people in general. Over the period 200811, Irish unit labour costs saw the largest single decline in the Eurozone, falling by over six per cent. Ireland is now, in the euphemistic language of bourgeois economics, the most “efficient” manufacturer in the EU. Skyrocketing unemployment has placed downwards pressure on wages and the unions have largely fought a rear-guard battle, trying to prevent wages and conditions from falling too low. According to the Survey of Income and Living Conditions carried out by the CSO, half the population would be “at risk” of poverty without social transfers. Young people have it particularly bad. Youth unemployment reached a new peak of 30.8% this February with 60,000 young people unemployed. When you factor in the tens of thousands on JobBridge, Fás courses and community work schemes, as well as the 30,000 young people who are classified as underemployed, the number of youth living precariously approaches one hundred thousand. This isn’t even counting the tens of thousands who been spat out the “safety valve” of emigration since the crisis began. This situation is not showing signs of ameliorating. According to Michael Taft, drawing on the government’s own data, it won’t be until 2024 that Irish employment returns to 2007 levels. The recent fall in unemployment is misleading about the true strength of the economy. Aside from the usual caveats raised about emigration, underemployment, training courses and other arse-covering devices deployed by the government, there are
“Last week, senator Feargal Quinn proposed a bill in the seanad that would criminalise workers in critical utilities such as electricity supply for going on strike. Under the proposed legislation, striking workers in those sectors could face 5 year prison terms or fines of up to a quarter of a million euro.”
many reasons to keep the prosecco on ice. A large amount of the net jobs created are in agriculture and tourism. Firstly these are lowwage, low value-added industries that will do little to boost domestic demand and GNP growth generally. Secondly, in the case of agriculture, Bríd O’Brien of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (quoted in an Irish Times article) has pointed out that “some people in rural Ireland who may have identified themselves as construction workers in the past may also have had farms in their family and now identify themselves as working in farming.” While, in the case of tourism, much of the boost in employment numbers is due to The Gathering which led to a once-off demand spike that won’t be repeated any time soon. This is the context in which Feargal Quinn’s bill is appearing. His bill is deliberately designed to destroy the right of unions in certain sectors to withdraw their labour. He has been fortunate in that he could time the proposition of the bill to coincide with ESB’s strike threat. The ESB workers are a prime target for union bashers. The average wage at the semi-state company is 65,000 – approximately twice that of the median Irish wage. Furthermore, the consequences of their strike action are more likely to impact painfully on ordinary people’s lives than strike measures taken by other workers. The very fact that it is more difficult to defend these workers makes it all the more vital that we do so. Hard cases make bad law, and many vested interests want to use the ESB dispute to justify the rolling back of fundamental labour rights. The reality is that all strikes, by their nature, are disruptive. As such, to criminalise the withdrawal of labour by certain workers in order to prevent disruption betrays, at best, a profound misunderstanding of how strikes work. Organised labour is the most powerful force in Irish society. It is the only force capable of resisting the imposing and oppressive march of market forces, against the overweening magnates of industry, the conceited mandarins of the state apparatus and the house intellectuals who foam and chomp on their gilded bits. If students and young people want to improve their own conditions of existence, if they want a decent living wage and a functioning economy and society, if they want to halt the trampling juggernaught of capital then they must combine and unite with organised labour. That means, for starters, opposing senator Quinn’s regressive bill. To paraphrase Jim Larkin, by God’s help, and the intelligent use of our own strong right arms we could accomplish great things.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Ulster Says Art Conor McGlynn looks at the role of art in shaping the North’s future identity.
D Conor McGlynn Deputy Comment Editor
erry is a city that is trying hard to reinvent itself after its troubled past. It wants to promote itself as a dynamic, forward-looking place that has overcome the deep historic divisions that have scarred its landscape for generations. A manifestation of this intent was seen last week when this year’s Turner Prize was awarded in Derry, part of its role as the UK’s City of Culture 2013. The Turner Prize, which is awarded annually to a living artist under 50, working or born in Britain, is probably the best known contemporary art prize in the world. It has exhibited works by leading British artists over the last 30 years. Past winners include Damien Hirst, for the installation The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, his famous shark preserved in formaldehyde. The works shortlisted for the Prize have often been controversial, most notoriously Tracey Emin’s My Bed, the artist’s dishevelled bed after she had not left it for a number of days. Such entries have attracted a considerable amount of publicity, as well as hostility. This year was the first time that the prize has been presented outside of England. This competition’s pieces, while mostly uncontroversial, included a number of quite topical works. Tino Sehgal, a one-time Econom-
“The Turner Prize has provided a rare opportunity for Derry and the North to make an appearance in the world media that is not related to the Troubles, flag-protests or sectarian violence.”
ics student and the front-runner ahead of the competition, was included for his performance piece This is exchange, a series of encounters between guides from the gallery and visitors, where participants are asked their opinions on the market economy, with a reward of £1 offered to incentivise interesting answers. The other entrants were David Shrigley, who was nominated for a retrospective piece last year in the Hayward Gallery, and portrait artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This year’s winner, however, was something of a surprise. Frenchborn Laure Prouvost claimed the £25,000 prize for her work Wantee, an installation piece about the German artist Kurt Schwitters, and the end of his life in the Lake District in England. The unlikely winner is perhaps in keeping with the unlikely setting for the prize. While the North has produced several high profile artists, including a number of those shortlisted for the Turner Prize in previous years, the association with the art world is not one that most people would make. For many, the most prominent art exhibitions in Northern Ireland are the murals depicting republican or loyalist paramilitaries. The Turner Prize has provided a rare opportunity for Derry and the North to make an appearance in the world media that is
“For many, the most prominent art exhibitions in Northern Ireland are the murals depicting republican or loyalist paramilitaries.”
not related to the Troubles, flagprotests or sectarian violence. It provides a neutral setting within the community, where religion and political allegiance are irrelevant. The staging of the Turner Prize exhibition in Ebrington Barracks, a former military base, is also significant in its transforming a potentially painful piece of history into something new, representative of a different future. It is through hosting events such as this that Northern Ireland can shed its bloody image, and turn itself into a centre of art or a digital hub, as its political leaders are trying to do. Ms Prouvost’s work deals with the destruction of art in another conflict, World War II, through a fictional friendship between her grandfather and Kurt Schwitters. Schwitters was a German born Dadaist artist whose work was considered degenerate by the Nazi Party. Schwitters fled to Norway to escape the Gestapo in 1937, leaving behind The Merzbau, a radically altered set of interiors in his house in Hanover, and one of his most important pieces of work. This work was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid in 1943. Schwitters spent the last part of his life living in England, and it is this part of his life with which Prouvost’s work is concerned. He lived out his days in the knowledge
that his greatest works had not survived. Prouvost’s piece has resonances with the Northern Ireland conflict, the Troubles’ overshadowing of art in Northern Ireland and the current efforts to reverse this effect. Art has been used extensively in coming to terms with the conflict in Northern Ireland. Works such as Hunger, the 2008 film by Steve McQueen, and the work of the Bogside Artists and poets such as Seamus Heaney, stand out in this regard. Rather than trying to bury the past, art can deal with it in a constructive way. The Turner Prize presented Derry’s best side to the world. It showcased the city as a cultural hub, a place open to change and diversity. There is a debate underway about the fate of the newly renovated barracks in which the ceremony took place. It is zoned for commercial use, but a number of people are calling for it to be turned into a permanent art gallery. This would be a fitting legacy for the Turner Prize to leave, a symbol of Derry moving on from its past in a frank and transparent way. It would be a small gesture, but would have a lasting significance.
notice the difference were it to suddenly cease. This is however not what I believe, I genuinely feel that students, just like other interest groups, deserve effect representation. However the SU is not fulfilling this function, instead, only representing the small minority who are active within it. It is obvious to me at least that something has to be done, but who is at fault for the indifference of the student population? Is it the SU or is it the students themselves? There is certainly the belief that it is students who are to blame for their own apathy and the constraints this places on the SU. However as I have already argued, the average student would be more involved if they felt it was a worthwhile cause, if they felt by protesting they may actually affect policy changes. To put it simply, students would be more involved if the SU was relevant. I know that in response to this article SU hacks may point to a number of things that they feel the SU has achieved. Does this mean they are competent? Po-
tentially, but this is not about their competency. This is about the average student, the average student who walks into the Arts block or Hamilton without ever setting foot in House 6. They don’t feel the SU is representative of them, and who is anyone to argue with them? This is the fundamental problem facing the SU and I wish I had an easy solution. Is it a style problem, i.e. they are actually relevant without anyone realising? Or is it a substance issue? I would lean towards the substance explanation. If the SU fails to address these issues, then they will continue on the spiral of student apathy followed by even less relevancy. This is not just a cyclical problem that will go away when my year is graduated; this is a long term problem that will require a long term solution. I have only articulated the problem in this article. I have no plans for a solution. I do believe it is important to illuminate this key question - whether the SU’s job even matters.
Does the SU matter? Callum Jenkins on why the SU isn’t the solution to student apathy.
I Callum Jenkins Staff Writer
Many column inches of the various publications in Trinity have been devoted to debating the competency of the Student’s Union (SU). However these inches are wasted as they miss the far more important question - is the SU actually relevant to the students it is supposed to represent? When it comes down to it, representing its members is the ultimate function of any union, whether it be a trade union or a student’s. If a union ceases to be relevant to the people it represents then it fails in this basic task. So would student life be all that different if there wasn’t a SU? Is it even that hard to imagine? I am not saying that for some students the SU isn’t very important to their student experience. These are the students who get involved and indeed are the lifeblood of the SU. As the saying goes, decisions are made by those who show up. This means that the agenda is set by these few, and, based on the turnout at Sabbatical officer elections and referenda, that we can indeed say few. Clearly the SU
“I know that in response to this article SU hacks may point to a number of things that they feel the SU has achieved. Does this mean they are competent? Potentially, but this is not about their competency.”
isn’t seen as relevant by those who don’t show up, those that don’t get involved. Tom Lenihan himself admitted as much in an interview with TN that ‘the Student’s Union never has the full backing of the students’. For me this is a damning indictment of the SU from its’ own President. If the majority of student’s felt that the SU was relevant to their everyday life then they would show up on a more regular basis. As a third year, perhaps my friends and I are overly cynical but many of us (and I’m including myself ) don’t have any regular dealings with the SU. Apart from the referendum of Lenihan’s future there has been nothing else the SU have done which has been brought up in conversion amongst us. Is it our fault for not being more involved in college life? I think not; many of my friends are fully active in student life but still have little or no dealings with the Union. Therefore, it is clear student activities could go on without the SU. It appears that the SU doesn’t need to exist, and indeed, many students unfortunately wouldn’t
“It appears that the SU doesn’t need to exist, and indeed, many students unfortunately wouldn’t notice the difference were it to suddenly cease.”
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Anthea Lacchia reviews Sean Duke’s book: How Irish Scientists have Chnged the World.
Wwoofing in the wind John Kennedy makes the case that the organic movement is a valiant but inevitably doomed resistance to industrial agriculture, drawing on his own experience volunteering on organic farms.
T John Kennedy Staff Writer
he world we live in is a dirty one. We are invited and enticed to consume daily, to consume indiscriminately and to consume regardless of actual necessity. This is especially evident during Christmas, the festival of frenzy, a celebration of consumerism, an event now as much associated with that Coke advertisement and black Friday as it is with the birth of a certain Jesus Christ. Over-consumption creates waste. It leads to bigger and bigger landfills, oceans that are more and more polluted, rainforests that are smaller and smaller, and an Ozone layer that is thinner and thinner. Consumerism has brought a crippling sickness upon our world. It is incredibly easy, especially at Christmas, to be carried along with the fanfare, to let your mind be filled with Coke polar bears, and Christmas jumpers, and pub crawls, and bouquets and chocolates, and foreign holidays, and new shirts, and new cars and Xbox games and – the list goes on. Sometimes we fall off the consumerist wagon. Sometimes we leap off, screaming. In the past ten years, more and more young people have been leaping off the wagon. Those young people aren’t chasing desperately, huffing and panting, arms out-stretched after the jingle-jangle cart and its televisions and junk food. Some are stopping, having a look about at the trampled land the cart has ploughed through and wondering if they want to get back on at all. One thing that these young people turn to is WWOOFing – worldwide opportunities on organic farms. The organisation was created to provide city slickers with an opportunity to escape the smoke and noise of the town, to learn about the environment and change perspectives. I was WWOOFing last summer in the north of France, to practise my French but also to seek an refuge of sorts. The idea that I could spend a full two months isolated from the brash din of consumerism, spend two months without seeing or hearing an advertisement, two months without consuming a product that was produced by a worker on starvation wages and then shipped halfway across the world, was attractive. I was attracted by the idea that I could enjoy that isolation, learn about the earth, and concretely
resist a system which destroyed my environment and which I had felt hopeless to oppose. The first farmer who was kind enough to let me stay with him was a native of Normandy. Francois (not his real name) was sixty five years old, a tall and wiry man with glasses and a whiff of white hair. He had a university degree in mathematics and had started farming organically when he was in his twenties. His farm was a modest operation: two greenhouses, a field for hay, three dairy cows, one cow being raised for slaughter (called Escalope), a few geese, a few chickens and cocks, a dog, cats and kittens. He lived with his wife and children in an old cottage, in a world of rusting cars, slumping wire fences, dial-
up internet, punctured buckets, hobbledy pots, dung stars, and summer storms. Self-sufficient organic farming is a difficult process where the practitioner works with nature’s cycles as opposed to forcefully manipulating them. The practice is labour intensive as manual weeding must make up for chemical cleansing. It requires time and foresight, chemically produced fertilizers cannot be simply be bought, when necessary and at short notice. Instead, farmers must make use of organic compost which takes years to produce. Thus form of farming is inherently riskier as crop yields cannot be chemically ensured, and a rough, organic product must be pitched to a market that has grown accus-
tomed to the industrially uniform produce sold in mass supermarkets. Not all organic farmers are self-sufficient. This is a vocation which requires intense discipline. Francois was nearly totally selfsufficient. The only products he purchased were those he simply could not produce himself, such as internet, petrol, and toilet paper. All food eaten on the farm was produced on the farm. The clothes worn by Francois and his family were bought from second hand shops. When Francois did purchase anything, such as tools, he did his utmost to ensure that they were produced in France. Francois was born in 1948, in post-war France. He grew up during the reconstruction, on a small farm in the fifties. During
the period, globalization had not developed in the way we understand it today. French goods were produced in France, labour wasn’t outsourced, French employers could be held to task by strong unions and, as such, workers had a won for themselves a certain standard of living. At least, this was the picture of France that he idealized – a hard-working France in which citizens could earn a decent wage through honest work. Francois certainly did work hard. Every morning we started work at nine, stopping to eat breakfast at eleven. We then worked from midday until five. At seven or eight we started again and worked until ten, when we ate dinner. Then we went to bed. I was entirely worn down by the process and actually fled the farm a week before I was scheduled to leave. Francois however had been doing this all his life. And he did it with vigour. He saw himself as well rewarded for his labour. He scowled at radio advertisements heralding the coming of the holiday season and explained to me that work could liberate me if I wanted it to. Through working his organic farm Francois liberated himself from the evils of consumerist state. He liberated himself from products produced by slaves. He liberated himself from reliance on a state that carried out imperialist wars. He liberated his mind from the rotten din of consumerist society. His work-load however, was immense, and his vocation was proving to be increasingly difficult to follow. In France the traditional marchés are becoming a thing of the past. They are frequented mostly by elderly people, to whom the event is equally if not more important as a social outing than a shopping trip. Massive supermarkets - cousins and brothers of the corporate giants who dominate the groceries markets on this island - are killing the marché. A hulking Super-U loomed over the market ground where Francois sold his produce, a steady stream of shoppers marching in and out. While the marché is in decline, the organic stall is suffering the most. In times of economic hardship, people simply cannot afford organic produce. This puts producers like Francois under severe
pressure. He often spoke bitterly about the government giving grants to industrial farmers while he couldn’t afford to hire workers because he would be obliged to pay their minimum wages, insurance and pension. Here is where the problem lies. In the farm’s creamery a newspaper article was proudly displayed in which a journalist described being on the farm as stepping back into the 1950s. Francois had created his own little world, his own corner of a vanished era in which he could struggle to defend from consumer society and industrial agriculture, from international capitalism. But this was a struggle which he was losing, this was a struggle that was crushing him. This evidently manifested itself in his warped personal perspectives. Francois was an anti-semite. When I asked him if there were any state radio stations in France he responded: “why John, of course, Jerusalem one, Jerusalem two, and Jerusalem three”. When radio advertisements heralded the coming of summer told their listeners to relax and to enjoy, Francois reddened in the face and began shouting that if the Jews had their way the French would never work again. Seeing that I was perplexed by these ideas, Francois’s Japanese wife asked whether there were many Jews in Ireland, assuming I simply hadn’t heard of them. Jews, for Francois, functioned as a way of explaining all the forces which made it so difficult for him to live his self-sufficient organic lifestyle without any genuine, searching analysis. It allowed him not to analyse the trends within international capitalism and the particularly the agriculture industry which will soon render his form of small, organic, self-sufficient farming extinct. It is only a matter of time before the jingle jangle cart crushes Francois and his ilk beneath its heavy wagon wheels. Here lies the problem with WWOOFing and other forms of environmental activism. They lack analysis – they deny the fact that their efforts are miniscule in comparison to the forces of international capitalism. Ultimately, they cannot bring themselves to the realisation that the jingle-jangle cart has to be torn apart.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Science in Brief Conor O’Donovan
Sex survey - a decade of changing habits and opinions The results of the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) in the UK, published recently in the Lancet, provide for stimulating reading. In the past 10 years, the rates of two high-risk sexually transmitted subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) fell from 11.3% to 5.8%, and attendance at STI clinics increased from 9.2% to16.9% in men and from 8.7 to 27.8% in women. Women reported increased numbers of male partners over the lifetime, and increased sexual experiences with female partners. There was expansion of oral and anal sex in the heterosexual population. Acceptance of
same-sex partnerships, and intolerance of non-exclusivity in marriage also both increased. Low sexual satisfaction and function were associated with the end of a relationship, inability to talk easily about sex with the partner, and not being happy in the relationship. The rate of “completed nonvolitional sex” was 9.8% in women (median age 18), and 1.4% in men (median age 16). In most cases, the perpetrator was known to the individual. Younger participants surveyed were also more likely to have told someone about it, and to have reported it to the police.
HIV vaccine no closer Illustration: Maria Kavanagh
Symmetrical snowflakes and chaotic crystals: The science behind the sneachta With the festive season on the way, Dylan Lynch explores the science behind a white – or perhaps yellow – Christmas..
I Dylan Lynch Staff Writer
t’s that time of year again. Grafton Street is all lit up, the woolly hats and ugly jumpers come out, and there’s a 25 minute delay getting home on the Dart: it’s Christmas. And since there’s a good chance of getting a white December this year, let’s look at some of the weird and wonderful properties of snowflakes that you might not have heard before. First and foremost, almost all snowflakes are unique. According to physicist Kenneth Libbrecht from the California Institute of Technology, finding two identical snowflakes is like “shuffling a deck of cards and getting the exact same shuffle back. You could shuffle every second for the entire life of the universe, and you wouldn’t come close to getting two of the same.” So while two snowflakes can look strikingly similar, they will never be exactly the same. Snowflakes form in the clouds from water that has been evaporated from rivers, transpired by plants and breathed out by you. The crystals form in different weather conditions, and from different water sources all over the world. However, the uniqueness of snow is barely scraping the surface of one of nature’s most beautiful marvels. Let’s talk about the shape. Most snowflakes have
six-fold symmetry, which means that the snow-crystal can be divided into six equal parts. Try and imagine cutting a snowflake using a straight line and folding it over on to itself, and you’ll get the idea. This hexagonal shape is due to the bonding of the two elements that make up water. A water molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom, and so when the water cools and freezes, the crystals grow in very specific ways from a central point or ‘nucleus’. Most snowflakes won’t look exactly like the drawing on your Christmas card, but they all seem to have six protruding ‘limbs’, and a hexagon at their core. The shape of snowflakes is also closely related to the weather conditions present in the 15 to 45 minutes it takes for one to form. Crystals being formed in high humidity and -15 °C weather will be beautiful ‘dendrite shapes’ (dendrite comes from the Greek word Dendron, meaning “tree”), while those growing in warmer temperatures and lower humidity may be in the shape of a plate or prism. From a mathematical point of view, snowflakes have been incredibly interesting in terms of studying infinity concepts, and also ‘chaos theory’. One of the most famous snowflakes in existence is known as the Koch
Snowflake, which takes its name from the Swedish mathematician Helge von Koch who studied the shape in terms of chaos theory and fractals. The shape regresses on itself infinitely, meaning that the closer we look into the snowflake, we just see the original shape but smaller. Think of placing two mirrors in front of each other and standing between them: the image of your face will become infinitely smaller between the mirrors, but no matter how closely you look you will still see your own head in the glass. This represents the idea of how snowcrystals can behave and form in a theoretical way, but your average snowflake may not be infinite itself. Is snow always the pure white fluff that covers the family car and causes the marquee out back to collapse? There is no doubt that numerous people have told you “don’t eat yellow snow!”, but oddly enough, they’ve been right all along. There have been a few rare cases of discoloured sleet and snow falling from the skies. In February 2002, yellow and orange snow fell in western Siberia. The official report concluded that the snow was in no way dangerous to humans, however the yellow crystals contained levels of nitrogen and iron four times greater than normal. A similar
case was reported in March 2006, but this time in Seoul, South Korea. More worryingly these flurries contained heavy minerals, meaning they could pose a serious health risk. In both cases, the rare occurrence of yellow snow was attributed to sandstorms in neighbouring countries and territories. One South Korean meteorological officer was quoted as saying “It’s tough to say whether it’s yellow sand mixed in snow or snow mixed in yellow sand. I have never seen yellow snow falling before.” More recently, there have been reports of brown “dirty” snow in Colorado, USA, due to high winds and dust particles being transferred into the air. So this winter when you’re having an annual family snowball fight, remember that you are taking a mathematically-influenced crystalline structure that was grown ever-so specifically and matured for almost an hour and cramming it down the back of your younger brothers jacket, or hurling it at your uncle’s face.
A trial of a potential HIV vaccine, involving 2,504 participants at high risk of contracting the virus has been halted early. Reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) the trial’s data and safety monitoring board, found no effectiveness at preventing infection. Vaccine- and placeborecipients had no significant difference in HIV-1 acquisition rate, or viral load set point (level of HIV-1 in the blood at 10-20 weeks
following diagnosis). Though the trial failed to demonstrate efficacy for this vaccine strategy, it is encouraging that negative results have been published in the NEJM. This may be indicative of the growing appreciation of the importance of publishing negative data to direct future clinical trials and prevent unnecessary trial duplication and the inherent harm to patients involved.
CARS microscopy: you can look but you cannot touch!
M Gemma-Lee -Ann Melton Contributor
Gemma-Lee-Ann Melton explores how CARS microscopy has the potential to revolutionise microbiology. icroscopy has helped shaped the modern world. Imaging at the microscopic level changed how illness is treated, prevented and cured. The concept of a surgeon washing their hands to rid themselves of microscopic dangers is a relatively recent addition to their arsenal of weapons to keep you healthy. Germ theory was confirmed by scientists using microscopes to peer into the unseen realm of pathogens, and these discoveries showed us that there is a microscopic world waiting to be discovered. Today, scientists are much more familiar with this world. The collective call from scientists now is for more sophisticated imaging techniques to facilitate more accurate data analysis. The development of improved imaging has been at the forefront of the biological and physical sciences since the first working microscope. There is a lot of debate surrounding the invention of the microscope, a kind of ‘whodunnit’ story with the leading person depending on your historical preference. It is generally accepted though, that the first person to bring the microscope from the realm of curiosity into a useful tool for analysis was Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek who lived in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch draper and scientist, crafted intricate microscopes that enabled scientists to peer into the unseen, and the science of microbiology was born. Modern microscopy comes in many flavours, from the electron microscope (which, rather curiously to the uninitiated, fires beams of electrons at things to make them visible!) to conventional lenses. Scientists today have achieved the imaging of the
smallest of matter – single atoms – and the hunt for better resolution and more accurate imaging is progressing rapidly. Conventional microscopy routinely involves the staining of a sample for imaging. Biologists call this the “labelling” of a sample. Generally, very few samples can be imaged effectively without labelling. Unfortunately staining can result in the contamination of a sample, and this can render an experiment unfit for long-term analysis. Staining can introduce artefacts to a sample which can influence conclusions of analysis. It is also a time consuming process, and costs laboratories money. Staining usually means a dead sample too, it is pretty hard to keep a small animal or microbe alive while introducing a foreign compound to colour it. Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy, or CARS microscopy, is different. CARS microscopy images samples not by labelling, but by taking advantage of molecules intrinsic vibrational contrast, which allows for completely stain-free imaging. CARS achieves this by using three separate femtosecond laser beams that are sent down a microscope to excite and relax defined parts of the molecule to be imaged. This process forces the molecule to release a light particle, or photon, and an image can be translated. CARS microscopy is virtually non-intrusive, and this allows for live – in vivo – samples to be imaged unharmed and in real-time video quality at a spatial resolution of about 300 nanometres. A research group in Ottawa, Canada has been at the forefront of research into CARS microscopy since 2009 when the National
“This technique is allowing scientists to peer into cells, viruses and other living systems with as little disturbance as possible.”
Research Council Canada (NRC) and Olympus America Inc. officially opened CARSLab. “Our microscopes here can do fluorescence imaging, second harmonic imaging and CARS. With the flip of a switch, or the flip of a filter, we can image everything in one go” says Dr. Aaron Slepkov, a research associate with NRCOlympus. “We can really build a story of what is going on inside the cell”. Images of individual cells that make up the ear of a mouse have been achieved by CARSLab using the CARS microscopy technique. This essentially means using multiple CARS simultaneously to ‘illuminate’ the molecule of
interest. ‘It blows my mind!’ says Slepkov. The CARSLab group has primarily focused on the imaging of biological systems, casting light on the intricate world of the very small with as little human interference as possible. This technique is allowing scientists to peer into cells, viruses and other living systems with as little disturbance as possible, and is paving the way for a more accurate database of knowledge concerning biological systems. The implications for disciplines such as medicine and virology are profound. The aim of a researcher is to observe and collect data while interacting with the subject of analysis as little as possible, as interaction inevitably influences the outcome of experimentation – often in ways that cannot be accounted for. The CARS technique has obvious implications for the physical sciences too. The development of microscopes and their properties generally but not exclusively, lie at the feet of physicists. College’s own Photonics Research Laboratory at CRANN, part of the School of Physics, uses and researches this technique. CARS microscopy offers the possibility of increased imaging with the potential for interaction with the sample being dramatically reduced, and many research facilities are beginning to employ this technology as part of their daily research. This technique is advancing research into the properties of light and imaging and is allowing a closer, more accurate look into biological systems. This valuable technology is a new look into the familiar world of biological structures that could have profound consequences for future research and technologies.
The power of subconscious love In the journal Science, strong evidence is presented for the power of implicit, automatic (non-expressed) attitudes towards one’s partner for prediction of change in marital satisfaction over time. 135 newlywed couples answered questions that measured their explicit, conscious attitudes toward their relationship, and underwent an assessment of implicit attitudes (association of positive or negative words with brief images of their partner or control individuals). Couples were followed up for four years. Expressed and implicit attitudes did not correlate with each other, suggesting inability or unwillingness to accu-
Illustration: Maria Kavanagh
rately self-report one’s attitudes toward the partner or relationship. Automatic measures predicted changes in marital satisfaction over time, i.e. those with net positive implicit attitudes from the start experienced less decline in marital satisfaction in the long run. This association was significant despite controlling for several other variables. These findings lend support to the theory of automatic cognitive processes, and also to their role in practical social interactions. We may be able to predict, but not expressly articulate, the outcome of our long-term relationships.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Illustration: Natalie Duda
Book Review: How Irish scientists changed the world Anthea Lacchia on why Seán Duke’s new book should be in your stocking this Christmas.
Anthea Lacchia Staff Writer
n his delightful new book, Seán Duke takes us on a voyage of discovery into the life and work of some of Ireland’s scientific giants, who, despite having left an enormous legacy to society, are relatively unknown. Until now, that is! This book is especially welcome because it serves a noble purpose: anyone who picks it up will be immediately enlightened as to the rich scientific heritage we have in Ireland. In fact, as a nation, while we collectively acknowledge the historic contributions of artists, poets and literary greats, all to often we forget the enormous contribution of our scientists, the unsung heroes of our land. Seventeen scientists, either Irish born or with strong Irish ties, are profiled in this book: from John Holland (1841-1914) who invented the modern submarine, to Ernest Walton (1903-95) who split the atom and is Ireland’s only Nobel laureate in science, to Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) who was one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, the list is a long and fascinating one. In a speech given when the book was launched, the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast commented: “It’s not always easy to communicate the fascination of science and engineering. Yes, we can point to wonderful inventions but trying to get across the maths and experimentation behind the invention – getting it across in an accessible way – that’s the tricky bit.” Effective science communication is precisely what is accomplished in this book. At the start of each chapter, the author sets the scene by transporting the reader into the historical period in which the scientist in question lived. For instance, the chapter dedicated to Charles Parsons starts with a vivid description of the moment when Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee is suddenly gate-crashed by Parson’s Turbinia yacht. Parson orchestrated this in
“While we collectively acknowledge the historic contributions of artists, poets and literary greats, all to often we forget the enormous contribution of our scientists, the unsung heroes of our land.”
order to show off the power and warfare-related potential of his patented steam turbine engines. In effect, his steam turbine would make sea travel faster and more comfortable. Pleasingly, each chapter ends with a list of bullet points that encapsulate the legacy of the scientist. Only two female scientists are included, reflecting the lack of involvement of women in science in the past, something that remains a lesser but lingering issue today. This point was picked up by the Provost: “I’m hopeful that following on the inevitable success of this book, Seán will do another book on contemporary scientists, which will feature more women, thus providing great encouragement to girls to stick with science in school and university.” One of the women featured in the book is Annie Maunder, who, along with her husband, was among the foremost solar scientists in history, contributing to our understanding of global warming. The other is Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who is also the only living scientist included in the book and who famously discovered pulsars, a new type of dense, pulsating star. Despite occasional typos, overall this is an accurate book and it makes for a very entertaining and informing read. It merits a wide readership: scientists will enjoy learning about the private lives and anecdotes surrounding their champions, while non-scientists will easily delve into scientific topics such as global warming, wireless technology and electricity. Indeed, technical topics such as the use of quaternions in space exploration or carbon dating are presented in an accessible manner, with no assumption of prior knowledge on the reader’s side. Interestingly, many of the scientists mentioned in the book hail from or have strong ties to Trinity. Go on, why not take a journey through Irish science this Christmas?
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937)
John Tyndall (1820-93)
Robert Mallett (1810-81)
Considered the father of radio, Guglielmo Marconi was the first to transmit a wireless signal across the Atlantic, from Cornwall to Canada. As Seán Duke points out, not many Italians realize that Guglielmo Marconi was half-Irish. However, his Irish ties are strong: his mother was from Enniscorthy and his wife was also Irish. He conducted many radio experiments on visits to his family in Ireland and set up a commercial transatlantic wireless transmitter in Clifden. In 1898, on the occasion of the Kingstown regatta, Marconi provided the first wireless coverage of a sporting event. In addition, he helped develop radar technology.
A fierce defender of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, John Tyndall was one of Ireland’s greatest scientists. Born in County Carlow into a family of Quakers, he was a strong advocate for the separation of science from religion. An excellent lecturer, he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He discovered what we now call greenhouse gases and showed that, without CO2 and water vapour, the heat of the sun would bounce back into space after hitting the Earth’s surface and be lost. Therefore no life would exist without greenhouse gases! Tyndall was also the first to explain why the sky is blue (atmospheric gases absorb blue light) and he is considered the father of meteorology.
Known as the founding father of seismology, Robert Mallett did much to advance our understanding of why earthquakes occur. In 1849, his interest in seismic waves led him to detonate twenty-five pounds of gunpowder on Killiney beach, during a famous experiment. After the Great Neapolitan Earthquake of 1857, he travelled to Naples to study the aftermath of the shock and he was the first to use photography as a tool for recording earthquake damage. In addition, he is credited with coining the term seismology. Mallett’s family was in the iron foundry business and the company’s work can still be seen around Ireland today: for instance, have you ever noticed the iron railings that border Trinity along Nassau Street? Look closely and you’ll see the Mallett family name inscribed at the base.
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! 2013 Sive Finlay details how Trinity scientists made a clean sweep in the highly successful science outreach program.
I’ Sive Finlay Staf Writer
m a scientist get me out of here 2013 was a highly enjoyable event and a clean sweep for College with Trinity scientists emerging as the winners of each zone. The online competition is science communication and outreach designed for the X-factor generation; school students submitted their science (or otherwise!) –related questions to panels of scientists divided across different zones of research. There were two themed zones (space and nanotechnology) and two general science zones (helium and lithium) with five scientists assigned to each zone. Based on the scientists’ profiles pages and their answers to questions, the students cast votes to keep their favourite scientists in the competition. In each round, the person with the fewest votes was eliminated (minus the tense lighting and music which normally accompanies these things) until there was a final winner left standing in each zone of the scientific jungle – and it didn’t even involve eating bugs!
Shane McGuinness, a PhD student in the Geography department won the Helium zone with his answers to questions ranging from to “why do stars shine?” to “where does the wind come from?” In the Nanotechnology zone, CRANN PhD student Sinead Cullen’s answers on topics from biomedical sciences to the age old question of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” put her in the top spot. Meanwhile, in the Space zone, the Science Gallery’s Research Projects Coordinator, Joseph Roche, beat the competition with his answers to questions on the laws of physics, how our universe works and, my personal favourite, “why are people so judgey?” In the Lithium zone, I delved into the dusty recesses of my general scientific knowledge, honed my googling skills (thank you Wikipedia!) and, most importantly, developed the fine art-form of interspersing scientific explanation with liberal sprinklings of smiley faces and emoticons. Being in one of the general sci-
Questions asked by teenagers ranged from “what is quantum mechanics?” to “what is consciousness?” and, most importantly, “do you like cake?”
ence zones left us open to an interesting and challenging array of questions; from “what is quantum mechanics?” (oh how I wish I had more than Junior Cert physics!) to “what is consciousness?” and, most importantly, “do you like cake?” One of my favourite parts of the event was taking part in live chats; half-hour sessions with school classes where we were open to anything that the students cared to throw our way. They were great fun and quite intensive; classes of around 30 students all submitting questions at the same time which meant that they were a bit like a cross between the ultimate quick-fire quiz round and an exercise in typing speed! I loved the challenge of coming up with on the spot answers to questions ranging from “are we alone in the universe?” and “how did life begin?” to “what did you like about school?” Varied topics to say the least but my favourite live chat question was definitely “what’s the average trajectory of a swallow” to which I replied
“an African swallow or one carrying coconuts?” (A reminder for Monty Python fans everywhere - you never know when an eclectic knowledge of classic comedy might come in handy!). The main aim of the event is to encourage students to take an interest in science, not necessarily with the view towards choosing a science-related career but more to spark their curiosity in the world around them. A big part of this is trying to show scientists as “normal people” – a debatable description at the best of times but hopefully at least it’s a step away from the lab-bound, crazy-haired, mad-scientist stereotype. The online format for students to submit their questions also eliminates any worries about being cast as the nerdy science geek in the corner of the class. While I hope that the students enjoyed taking part in the event, I know that it was definitely a hugely rewarding experience for all of the scientists. The variety of great, difficult questions and the students’ enthusiasm made
it a pleasure to be involved and the challenge of losing all of the jargon while trying to explain scientific concepts and ideas is an important skill for any researcher to develop. I was delighted to win my zone; I hope that my answers had something to do with it although I have a feeling that the combination of an exotic study species, a background in studying animals and a cute puppy in my profile picture may have led to some unfair advantages in appealing to the teenage demographic… This was the second year of the event in Ireland; a spinoff from the highly successful UK competition and the newly added version for engineers. It is a great event for scientists and students alike and I would highly recommend getting involved. Visit imascientist.ie for answers to some of the most burning questions from Irish teenagers, from theories about cosmic computer-programmer creators to the important distinction of whether you belong to team Jacob or Edward.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Sport’s Editor, Cal Gray, recounts Ireland’s heartbreaking loss to New Zealand.
Double cup win for DU Karate Club Nicholas FitzGerald recounts the recent successes of the DU Karate Club with their wins of both the Inter-Collegiate and O’Connor cups.
N Nicholas FitzGerald Contributor
ovember was a good month for the DU Karate Club, seeing them lift the Dublin Inter-Collegiate Cup in UCD and the O’ Connor Cup in Galway City. The competitions entailed students competing in kumite (sparring) and kata (forms) at Junior, Intermediate and Senior level. The Inter-Collegiate Cup, which was open to all Dublin colleges, was a closely fought contest and at the final count, DUKC beat their UCD rivals by a point to take the cup, with DCU finishing in third place. There was a friendly atmosphere about the whole event, with an all-inclusive training session before the competitions and food and drinks in the UCD Student Bar afterwards. The contests were officiated by instructors from the competing colleges. DUKC Captain, Clodagh Nerney led the way by winning in Senior Female Kumite. Secretary James McKeown followed suit, winning in Intermediate Male Kumite and Treasuer Ruth Gavin took gold in Intermediate Mixed Kata. Nicholas FitzGerald won in Junior Male Kumite and newcomer Kaspar Snashall won in
Beginners’ Mixed Kata. College was also represented by Jonathan Moran, Andy O’Neill, Monika Myszor, Kevin Moran and Elliott Strain, who contributed vital silver and bronze medals to the overall points tally. The students were coached on the day by instructor Steve Macdonald, whose provision of wisdom (and Jaffa Cakes) was integral to the team’s success. The points were tallied at a warm and friendly reception in UCD Student Bar where medals were awarded and photos taken. Finally, DUKC were announced overall winners and UCD captain Elizabeth Ní Threasaigh presented them with the brand new trophy, courtesy of sponsors AIB. DUKC shared a traditional toast from the cup and continued the night in jubilant mood. The celebrations were immediately followed by intense training for the O’ Connor Cup in Galway, named after Kyoshi Stephen O’ Connor, who founded DUKC over thirty years ago. The competition is organised each year by two of his students, Sensei John Ryan of Galway and Sensei Malachy Dunne of DUKC. It is contested
“The Inter-Collegiate Cup, which was open to all Dublin colleges, was a closely fought contest and at the final count, DUKC beat their UCD rivals by a point to take the cup...”
by students of TCD, RCSI and DIT and is held in Sensei Ryan’s hometown of Galway City, the destination of the weekend trip which has become something of a Karate Club institution. Here students share a hostel with their fellow karateka from DIT and RCSI and are treated to karate training from Sensei Ryan, often entailing training on the beach (and in the water!), some hot whiskey to share afterwards, and nights out in Galway City. But on Sunday it is down to business and the O’Connor Cup competition kicks off. The contest this year was closely fought with DIT fielding a very strong team. College eventually ran out winners by two points with Clodagh Nerney and Ruth Gavin taking first place in Senior Kata and Intermediate Kata respectively. First year student Andy O’Neill won gold in both Senior Kumite and Senior Kata, and there were near misses for some of DU Karate’s newest members, Elliott Strain, Kevin Moran and Monika Myszor, who competed impressively against more seasoned opposition and contributed to the bronze and
silver medal tally. There was again a convivial atmosphere to the competition, with the traditional pictures taken and medals awarded afterwards. Closing words came from Sensei Ryan, who commended the students on the standard of their karate and on the effort and spirit shown. He summarised the weekend’s training by emphasising the importance of movement and the knowing what to do next after a deliberate or evasive movement. DIT instructor Trevor Hewitt pointed out that Sensei Ryan’s emphasis on movement is particularly appropriate as the Japanese character on Kyoshi O’Connor’s crest translates simply as “movement”. Throughout the training and competitions (which were officiated by Sensei Ryan and seniors Stewart Flood of DIT, Evelyn Doherty of TCD and Trevor Hewitt of DIT), students gained the benefit of help, advice, tuition and instruction from the senior instructors. Technical aspects of karate were addressed in the competitions and the training sessions, as well as the psychological aspects of
karate, such as focus, commitment and decisiveness. Where spirit, or commitment or energy was lacking in the students’ kata (forms), Sensei Ryan was not shy to ask competitors to try again but with more involvement. A similar ethos was apparent in kumite (sparring), with points being awarded for strong, decisive techniques. Sensei Ryan brought an end to the 2013 O’Connor Cup by congratulating everyone for taking part and for their own personal achievements over the weekend. He added that it can be an achievement in itself to compete in a kata or kumite competition as you have only yourself on which to rely. Next on the horizon is the Inter-varsity Competition in March, which will also be held in Galway, the training for which begins in earnest. With two titles under their belts (no pun intended), let’s hope their good form continues and Trinity Karate Club can win the treble.
Olympic hopefuls awarded Sports Scholarships Sarah Burns profiles this year’s Sports Scholarship recipients, including 2016 Olympic hopefuls Prakash Vijayanath and Scott Flanigan.
E Sarah Burns Staff Writer
ighteen students were awarded Trinity Sports Scholarships at the college’s annual ceremony including Rio 2016 Badminton hopeful Prakash Vijayanath. The eighteen-year-old South African is currently studying Computer Science and Business here at Trinity while also training at the Badminton Ireland High Performance Centre in Marino Institute of Education. The Johannesburg native is a member of the Badminton World Federation ‘Road to Rio’ group which is a select compilation of young talent whom have been identified as potential qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games. Vijayanath was the youngest competitor to win silver in the All African Men’s singles earlier this year and was also a member of the South African team who won gold at the event. Scott Flanigan, who represented Ireland in sailing at the London Olympics, is also a scholarship receipt. Flanigan finished in fifth place in his final race at the Olympics, however, he recently decided to move from the 470 class to the 49er class. Speaking to Trinity News earlier this year Flanigan talked about the dif-
ficulty he had in fundraising for the 2012 Games. He explained “for the last campaign we had to do a huge amount of fundraising from different events to try and get sponsors. It’s the biggest thing that sailing struggles at, because it doesn’t have such wide [media] coverage. Obviously it’s getting a lot better but it doesn’t attract the big-name sponsors in Ireland that other sports traditionally might.” Gaelic Games were heavily represented with Jacinta Brady and Lucy Mulhall receiving scholarships for Ladies Gaelic Football, Paul McPadden for the Men’s football and Waterford Hurler Paul Coughlan. Brady is the current captain for the Ladies Gaelic Football team and will be hoping to steer her squad to a consecutive Lynch Cup title after their victory over Dublin’s Institute of Technology in last year’s final. Other recipients included Great Britain’s International Air Pistol Shooter Victoria Mullin, Kayaker Aisling Smith, Men’s Hockey Captain Stephen Ludgate and international paddlers Tom Brennan and Iomhar MacGiolla Phadraig. Head of Sport and Recreation
at Trinity, Michelle Tanner, emphasised the importance of the sports scholarship programme in attracting high performing students to the college stating “the rigours of competing at the top level in sport requires this level of support from the College. The talents we are recognising via the Sports Scholarship Programme continue to surpass expectations year-on-year and we must keep pace with the demands of the students and the competiveness of Trinity in this arena.” Tanner herself was a former player with the Irish Women’s Volleyball team in the early nineties. Despite covering 13 different sports the number of recipients of scholarships is down on previous years with 28 in 2010, 22 in 2011 and 20 in 2012.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Money in sport
“N Niall Brehon Staff Writer
Nicholas Brehon dicusses the brand that is Barcelona F.C. and the recent scandals that have mired its reputation. ew car, caviar, four star daydream, Think I’ll buy me a football team” – Pink Floyd, “Money” As attested to by this Pink Floyd quote, money and sport are irrevocably linked. Money is power and power is Lukaku. Flippancy put aside, the point remains that for better or worse the back pages of the newspaper have a uniquely strong bond with the Business pages. Over the last summer Real Madrid, who are funded in part by an incredibly skewed television deal which saw them net ¤140m in contrast to bottom-placed Granada’s ¤12m in 2012, persuaded Gareth Bale and Tottenham to sign the dotted line for (depending on your sources) a fee in the region of ¤91m – ¤100m. There’s an excellent website devoted to telling you precisely how much Bale has earned so far. At the time of writing, he’s earned £4,271,821.02. Since September 2nd. It is telling how so many people speak of the disconnect that the earners of such extravagant wages must feel. Imagine the scenario, they tell us, of males in their teens and early twenties earning in a month what many people earn in a year; and that’s at the lower end of things. These people expound the dangers of such a disparate proportional-
ity between wage and maturity. Though their careers are short, such is the state of the world that those select individuals with the talent and dedication to rise to the elite levels of the game are capable of making far more money than they should reasonably expect from such a seemingly basic skill as being good at football, at an age where many struggle to find a job (seen particularly in Spain, where 56.1% of youths are unemployed yet Gareth Bale earns staggering amounts). And well done to them for making the most of their talents. But why is this? Why is the earning potential within football so grotesquely exaggerated, so at odds with the rest of the world? Simply put, football at the highest levels boils down to two important and interlinked elements: tribalism and winning. For every Luton Town fan, there are thousands (quite probably hundreds of thousands) of United fans. Beyond the romance of ’99 or the joy of watching Ronaldo, Cantona, Giggs and, er, Anderson lies a simple fact. Manchester United are successful and Luton Town (relatively speaking, as they currently lie second and on course for promotion in the Conference league) are not. Manchester United are Winners with
“Over the last summer Real Madrid, who are funded in part by an incredibly skewed television deal which saw them net ¤140m in contrast to bottom-placed Granada’s ¤12m in 2012,”
a capital W, and Luton Town are not. Apologies to any Hatters fans who may be reading this. It is a vicious circle. United are successful because they have so much money because they have so many fans because they are successful. It’s not near as simple as that, but the basic gist is that money is power and again power is Lukaku. Firstly, it is important to express football’s pre-eminence as the most popular sport on the planet, both played and (more imperative to the point at hand) viewed. Indeed, an accumulated figure of 30 billion people tuned in to witness the 2006 World Cup in Germany. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the vast majority of football-watching youth flock to support the best teams and players in the game. The usual reasons for this are typically twofold: they follow their dad/brother’s team, or the team their friends support (or on occasion the rivals of the team either their dad/brother or friends support). Both of these function within the same prism of tribalism and belonging to a cohesive and aggressively defined subset of successful people, and success is the key word. Forgive the gross generalisation: people, by and large, like
winning. They like the feeling of success. They gravitate towards winners, and particularly winners who win with style, a la Barcelona, Real Madrid and the hipster’s choice Borussia Dortmund. They ally themselves with these groupings in order to achieve that element of success. When those subsets or groupings become large enough, as Real Madrid’s and Manchester United’s are (and Luton Town’s are not, God bless their little hearts), there is simply a staggering amount of potential income available to harness. Witness United’s recent, incredibly detailed sponsorship, which among other deals brands Mister Potato as its official “Savoury Snack Partner”. Mister Potato are literally paying a good deal of money to be associated with the positive feeling and successfulness of the United brand. It is thanks in no small part to deals like these that United are currently worth in the region of £2bn. To finish, here are some figures to put the levels of money in sport into perspective. Advertising and marketing are coterminous with sponsorship in sport. With such a vast global audience, advertising is inevitable. ITV made more than £10m on advertising revenue during the
2008 Champion’s League Final between Chelsea and Manchester United. That’s during just one match. The current television deal for Premier League rights from 2013-16 will net £3bn for English football over three years. With Sky’s dominance finding increased competition from BT Sports, this figure is quite probably set to rise when rights are re-negotiated in 2016. Straying briefly away from the football we know, the average price of a thirty second advertisement aired at the Superbowl XLVII in 2013 was $4m. Forbes place Tiger Woods as the highest earning athlete on the planet; over the last year Tiger earned $78.1m. Kobe Bryant, in third, recently re-negotiated a two-year contract extension worth $48.5m – a pay-cut on his previous annual salary of $27.85m. Kobe Bryant is currently not playing as he recovers from an Achilles injury. The average full-time worker in Luton earns £24,503 per annum. Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has earned £128,811.53 since I started writing this article (I admit I had quite a few games of FIFA 14 in the meantime) and over £100 in the time it took you to read this article. That’s a lot of Freddo bars.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité Louis Strange looks at the reasons behind a potential strike within the French Union of Football Clubs.
M Louis Strange Staff Writer
athieu Kassovitz’s film La Haine (Hatred), a tragicomic portrait of marginalised young men from the Parisian ghettos, includes a scene in which one character asks: “You got any more bullshit sayings?” Another replies: “Liberté, égailité, fraternité.” The French national motto, proclaiming freedom, equality, and fraternity for all, has come to serve as a bad joke, a symbol of the state’s failure to lift up the disadvantaged and the marginalised. For a country with a proud history of trade-unionism, this tradition too may be about to suffer the same fate: sullied, this time, at the hands of sport. The Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF) has ditched plans to stage a day of strikes in protest against the introduction of a 75% tax on income, the controversial new measure which President François Hollande has made one of his fundamental battlegrounds during a rocky first term as chef d’état. The leading lights of French club football – although to call them ‘leading lights’ perhaps does an injustice to lights – have backed down over the strikes, initially planned for 30th November, in the face of a tide of criticism. Their argument: that football clubs would be disproportionately affected by this new measure because many of their employees earn in excess of the ¤1 million per annum which would see them qualify for it. In other words, French footballers are unhappy because they are
too rich. Needless to say, they received little sympathy. This comes at a time when the French public’s relationship with football is, at best, strained. It must be seen in the context of years of violent confrontations between fans of the country’s two biggest club sides, Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille. In fact, when they didn’t have any Marseille fans to fight, PSG ultras would resort to fighting between themselves, à la Millwall, with rival factions squaring off against one another, sometimes with fatal consequences. Following the 2011 takeover of PSG by the Qataris (commonly known as ‘doing a Man City’), many hoped that French football would undergo something of a renaissance. And when the Parisians did eventually win the Ligue 1 title in May of this year, they celebrated in the traditional Parisian way: they rioted. Add to that the love/hate relationship with the national team – the ridiculous attempted coup led by Patrice Evra et al. during Les Bleus’ miserable campaign in South Africa in 2010 still lingers in French consciousness – and the French public was never going to embrace a strike with open arms. PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic earns a reported ¤14million per annum. Edinson Cavani, his strike-partner, ¤10million. In such a competitive market as that of European football, such sums are not uncommon – Cristiano Ronaldo earns ¤21million, Lionel Messi ¤16million – and are
“The Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF) has ditched plans to stage a day of strikes in protest against the introduction of a 75% tax on income, the controversial new measure which President François Hollande has made one of his fundamental battlegrounds during a rocky first term as chef d’état.”
viewed as necessary to attract top talent to the French capital. This has not stopped Ibrahimovic’s salary being branded ‘disgusting’ and ‘indecent’ by former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (who, amusingly, later resigned after becoming himself the focus of a tax fraud scandal, having squirrelled away large sums in Swiss bank accounts). PSG’s arrival as the new kid on the hyper-rich block instantly made them an obvious political target, a ready-made scape-goat for the Hollande administration. Despite initial mutterings of a possible exception to the 75% tax for French football clubs – a rumour, it should be said, that seemed to originate mainly from the clubs themselves – this was eventually rubbished in an attempt to reinforce the government’s credibility. The 75% tax has become France’s ‘Obamacare’ and as invincible as PSG’s oligarch backers might feel within the confines of the football bubble, taking on France’s political elite would soon expose its limitations. The strike was originally conceived as a way for the socioeconomically disadvantaged to make their voices heard. For it to be used by millionaires as a way to protest against the redistribution of wealth makes a mockery of the very concept. Its bastardisation by French football is as laughable as the once-great principles of liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
The one that got away: Ireland vs New Zealand Sports Editor, Cal Gray recounts Ireland’s heart-breaking loss against New Zealand and how it will stay with rugby fans for a long time to come.
O Cal Gray Sports Editor
n the 24th of November, I suffered the greatest sport related emotional trauma that I have ever, and most likely will ever, experience in my life. With 30 seconds to go, Ireland led New Zealand 22-17, the latter currently representing the greatest team to have ever graced the sport of rugby. All was going well, Ireland were ‘picking-and-going’ to see out the clock, looking to seal Ireland’s first ever win in the history of the game against the Kiwis, the greatest day in our country’s rugby history beckoned. But then Jack McGrath gave away a penalty at the break down for going in off his feet and from my seat in the Aviva I shared an overwhelming sense of ‘I know what happens next’ with 50,999 people. The whole stadium knew you cannot give these All Blacks an inch because they will take a mile. And they did. The visiting team then ran some of the most potent attacking rugby I’ve ever seen along with flawless ball retention and Ryan Crotty scored in the corner, taking advantage of an exhausted and heartbroken Irish side. On the controversial second attempt, Aaron Cruden converted the try and New Zealand won 22-24. This completed their unbeaten season, a feat never before achieved by a rugby side in the professional era. I left the stadium in tears, and I was not alone. I mean, to think that the heart and intensity that my country’s national team displayed in the second half was rewarded with nothing but a loss and an alleged ‘moral victory’ is too much for me to handle. When I saw Rob Kearney on his knees below his own posts, watching the winning kick go over, having put in the display of his life, scoring a try against the greatest team in the world, I shared his distress. And so did everyone else in the country. Kearney followed his visible dismay with strong words after the match. “I hope all 23 guys in that changing room are devastated. That’s been the worst finish to a game in my entire career.” The man was hurt and he wasn’t afraid to show it. We can’t blame him. To have come so close to the greatest
day of Ireland’s rugby history, and to have it snatched away by ruthless blood thirsty Kiwis, it was too much to bear. Sean O’Brien said that Ireland had “come here to win”, and being interviewed as man of the match, we could see that the strongest man in the country, the Tullow tank, would soon be in tears when the cameras were turned off. What ambition, to strive to beat the All Blacks, and to have come so close, just thirty seconds, he couldn’t handle the devastation. Gordon D’Arcy in his post match interview called this the “low point of his career”. In terms of heart break, he’s probably right. When asked if he would have taken the draw, Joe Schmidt said that “a draw would have been a loss” for his side, and it’s easy to understand what he meant. To have dominated New Zealand for long spells, only a win would have been reward enough. However, the bright side must be looked upon, Schmidt also said “the measurement of progress is
“Sean O’Brien said that Ireland had “come here to win”, and being interviewed as man of the match, we could see that the strongest man in the country, the Tullow tank, would soon be in tears when the cameras were turned off.”
whether we can reproduce it” and this is where we must try and console ourselves. To have gone 19-0 at one point against the best team in the world is a massive achievement, and one from which we must build. To have seen the likes of Devin Toner, Conor Murray and even Dave Kearney play the game of their lives, out-classing their Kiwi counterparts, is massively encouraging for the future. After the depression following the performance against Australia, this showing must at least be greeted with optimism, forgetting momentarily the result. Just look at the heart and skill that Ireland showed. Rory Best cleared out a ruck with what turned out to be a broken arm, and his try in the early stages of the game stemmed from some amazing rugby patterns and set plays. Every point Ireland scored, they earned. If Jonny Sexton had managed to shake off that eternal and inexplicable terror a place kicker faces, that silent kick, the one time in the game when everything stops and goes quiet and you do your best to put negativity and ‘what-ifs’ out of your mind, if he had not missed that penalty in the last ten minutes, we would still be celebrating. I think it speaks volumes that despite having completed an unbeaten season, New Zealand did not celebrate in the changing room after the game, they knew they had been let off the hook. And what’s more, I imagine they empathised with the overwhelming dismay of the 51,000 people in attendance, and indeed the 4 million people around the country. But here we are, our dissection of the redundant ‘moral victory’ is over, the momentary repression of the result of the 24th of November is done, and we’re back to reality. We came so close and we came up short in the face of the greatest day in Ireland’s rugby history. The All Blacks left Dublin with the lady called victory, and we went home alone, to listen to RTE’s post match montage of clichéd Amy Winehouse music. We only said goodbye with words, I died a hundred times, You go back to her, And I go back to Black.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Nicholas FitzGerald recounts DU Karate Club’s recent success in winning both the Inter-Collegiate and O’Connor cups. p.21
Photo: Peter Wolfe
Tense match for DUFC against Malone FC Angus Lloyd deatils DUFC’s nail-biting encounter against Malone FC.
O Angus Lloyd Staff Writer
n Saturday last DUFC registered their first win of the season in the Ulster Bank 1B league in a nail biting encounter with Malone RFC of Belfast. The game was played at DUFC’s temporary home ground of Monkstown Rugby Club. It was a must win game for the home side as a loss would have put them eight points adrift at the bottom of the table, a situation that would be tough to resurrect. DUFC started the game missing some key players in the backline through injury; centre Paddy Lavelle and wing Niyi Adeolokun, two of DUFC’s most experienced campaigners, both had to watch from the sideline. The students began confidently and mauled the ball close to the opposition’s line. The ball was then moved left to inside centre Colton Cariaga, who showed great footwork to beat two defenders and stretch over the line for the game’s opening try. The conversion was missed but DUFC led 5-0 and had the strong start
they were wanted. But Malone, who were also struggling for wins this season, had come to play and played an expansive style of rugby much like the home side. Their persistence was soon rewarded with a penalty just outside the 22 meter line which was converted to bring the visitors back within two points. The first half provided some exciting play from both sides but neither team were really able to convert their opportunities largely due to handling errors or infringements. Towards the end of the first half DUFC began to get on the wrong side of the referee who eventually had had enough and sent two of the home side to the sin bin in quick succession, first Richie Halpin for an alleged tip-tackle and then Martin Kelly for side entry at a maul. With the students down to 13, the visitors took this opportunity to get on the front foot. Just before the half time whistle Malone took the lead with a try from close in. They duly converted and went
into the break 10-5 up. Shortly after halftime Malone stretched their lead out to 8 points with another penalty. DUFC were struggling with their continuity and were beginning to let their heads drop. But a moment of inspiration came when the students attacked deep into the oppositions 22. After some strong carries from the pack the ball eventually found its way into the arms of fullback Jack Fitzpatrick who barrelled over the line to score DUFC’s second try of the game. Outside centre Conor Kearns converted to bring the home side back to within one point. This represented a massive confidence boost to the home side and led to a big swing in momentum. Only fives minutes later the students were on the attack again. Ariel Robles pounced on a loose ball and kicked it ahead. A frantic chase by Kearns and wing Caleb Morrison ensued, resulting in a penalty try for DUFC. Kearns was alleged to have been pushed as he tried to dive on the ball. The
“Towards the end of the first half DUFC began to get on the wrong side of the referee who eventually had had enough and sent two of the home side to the sin bin.”
infringing player was duly sent to the bin. The try was converted and DUFC lead 19-13 with fifteen minutes remaining. But much to the dismay of the crowd Malone weren’t done yet. With a man down they pressed hard and scored their second converted try of the game. This made it a one point game with ten minutes to go. As the onlookers at Monkstown RFC’s ground grew more and more anxious by the minute, the players remained calm and the experience amongst the team began to tell. DUFC worked their way patiently into the oppositions half and were rewarded with a penalty. Kearns managed to control his nerves and converted the three points. The final seven minutes of the match were not for the faint hearted. Malone put the home side under extreme pressure in the closing moments. In the second last play of the game, the visitors patiently went through 21 phases, eventually working themselves into a drop
goal position but thankfully the effort was put wide. With the last play of the game DUFC restarted with a 22 drop out and the visitors had one final attack. Again they held onto the ball and attacked with accuracy and precision but the students were not going to let this one go. The home side defended heroically as Malone went through an impressive 28 phases before DUFC finally forced the error only yards from the try line. The students’ defence in these closing minutes was a reminder of the capabilities of this young team. A sloppy performance at times but great passion and resilience shone throughout and in the end DUFC deserved the win. With another massive fixture next week against Blackrock College RFC the students will have to work on their handling errors and penalty count, but all in all there is now something still worth fighting for.
DUAFC triumph over Limerick Vikings Stephen Carton reports on DU American Football Club’s exciting 12-0 win over the UL Vikings.
A Stephen Carton Staff Writer
s current holders of the Irish American Football College Championship, Trinity Football secured a position in the finals of the annual Intervarsity competition. Travelling down to Limerick on a Saturday evening, Trinity would face the winner of the next morning’s game between The University of Limerick (UL) & UCD. UL secured a comfortable win in the morning game over UCD, setting up a rematch of the previous College Bowl in which Trinity took the title from Limerick. The game was a solid outing for the Trinity outfit that shut out a physical Limerick side in a convincing win. A dynamic defense captained by Stephen Carton (Strong Safety) wreaked havoc on Limerick’s option run game. Linebacker Gareth O’Shea forced an early fumble against a Limerick running back, the first of the Trinity defense’s many turnovers. Limerick’s offensive line had no answer for former quarterback turned defensive end Alex Gurnee who forced two fumbles and recorded four sacks on top of numerous tackles for losses over the course of the game. Gurnee
“Linebacker Gareth O’Shea forced an early fumble against a Limerick running back, the first of the Trinity defense’s many turnovers.”
also started at Right Tackle on a young Trinity offense which was sharp and effective on the day. First year Quarterback Dan Finamore was composed in the face of a reputable Limerick defense and was able to connect with receivers Daniel Murphy and Craig Marron on both of Trinity’s scoring drives. Two 20 yard catches from notorious Tight End/ Free Safety Andrew Redmond brought Trinity into scoring position on both of these drives. The first drive was capped off with an impressive rushing touchdown by dynamic first year David Lunn who spearheaded Trinity’s rushing attack alongside third year Josh Megan. Megan later ran in Trinity’s second touchdown of the day to seal the win against Limerick. To accommodate two games in one day, both were played with short quarters and a rolling clock. In the limited time afforded them, the Trinity side displayed the speed and aggression on both sides of the football which has made them one of the top teams in the IAFL.