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.