11th March 2014
NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2013 Photo: Atalanta Copeman-Papas
Merkel to students: Europe holds promise of “freedom, peace and prosperity”
P James Wilson Staff Writer
Chancellor champions EU project, claims to have “every respect” for Ireland’s trials Taoiseach accompanies German delegation, says he wants to “listen to young minds” rotesting members of the Trinity Socialist Worker Student Party (SWSS) were moved away from the entrance of the Graduates’ Memorial Building (GMB) by campus security in time for the arrival of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Enda Kenny at the yearly inaugural event of the University Philosophical Society (The Phil) on Friday. The two European heads of government arrived with a heavy Garda escort late in the afternoon having attending the centre-right European People’s Party Congress at the Dublin Convention Centre earlier that afternoon. Opening the carefully choreographed event, Vice-Provost Linda Hogan praised Ireland’s deep and historic links with Germany, saying that Trinity’s Chair in German dated back to 1776 and was thought be the oldest in the world. Following the Vice-Provost was An Taoiseach who prefaced his remarks with what seemed like a gentle dig at the Chancellor by repeatedly emphasising the Gaelic name of Phil President Rosalind Ní Shúilleabháin in response to Merkel’s earlier refusal to try her hand at a cúpla focail at a press conference that day. Kenny continued by paying a fulsome tribute to Germany as the “power house of economic development, not just in Europe but on the world stage.” He went on to stress his desire to “listen to young minds”, which he insisted were “the most important in the world.” In a brief speech delivered in German, but translated into English for audience members, Chancellor Merkel sought to un-
derline the benefits that the EU has brought to the continent over the recent decades. “Europe,” she insisted, “holds a threefold promise; freedom, peace and prosperity.” Turning to the economy, she voiced her concern that Europe was losing its competitive edge in manufacturing to the United States and emerging markets in Asia, before emphasising the benefits that European integration had bought the continent in terms of trade and human rights. She finished by touching upon Ireland’s economic crisis and congratulated the Irish people on surviving the tough times of the past few years, claiming that she has “every respect for [Ireland] and the trials you have been through.” A question and answer session followed, moderated by Rosalind Ní Shúilleabháin, in which audience members raised a diverse number of issues. In response to a question of the rise of eurosceptiscism in Europe, Merkel admitted that, “People turn inwards… but I must say I am optimistic [about the European project] and I will always stand up for Europe.” EU membership guarantees freedom of the press, travel and movement, she stressed. When pressed further upon how she managed to balance Germany’s national interest with the interest of individual European nations, she said that the decision making process in Europe was becoming “more and more democratised.” Merkel also used the opportunity to give advice to women in the audience. She told a female audience member that there were
“On the vexing issue of the Ukrainian crisis, Merkel told a Polish questioner, “I don’t think we need to be fearful in the sense of war and peace” before casting doubt of the legitimacy of the “so-called referendum” in Crimea.”
“zero reasons [for] not being confident that you [as a woman] can make it in the same way as a man” and that “a man who has been sitting for 40 years behind a desk may not be a successful as a woman who has children and then goes back to her professional life.” Additional questioning, this time on the subject of NSA hacking of her mobile phone revealed a lighter side to the Chancellor as she joked that she could not imagine how her phone could be “the focus of much interest”, before adding that she wanted to see “strong protection of our personal and private life” on a European level. Kenny interjected that excessive surveillance of the citizenry was like his neighbour back in Mayo who used to listen in to people’s telephone conversations back when faulty technology meant the easy interception of personal calls. “Put your phone down, Mary,” was his suggestion. On the vexing issue of the Ukrainian crisis, Merkel told a Polish questioner, “I don’t think we need to be fearful in the sense of war and peace” before casting doubt of the legitimacy of the “so-called referendum” in Crimea. The final question of the session related to the Chancellor’s favourite book. After a short pause, the Chancellor – the daughter of an East German Lutheran minister – said that it was the Bible, adding that “Reading has influenced my life considerably… For me it’s very nice to get lost in books… in a different world, not to get lost in the day-to-day of politics.”
NICOLAS JAAR TALKSABOUT DARKSIDE // WE EXPLORE ANTI-MAFIA HYPERREALISTIC SCULPTURE // THE COSTS OF AMAZON.
Angus Lloyd reports on DUFC’s match against UL Bohemians. Who are the Planning Group that run Sive Finlay reviews the new Fail BetCollege? D. Joyce-Ahearne investigates. ter exhibition at the Science Gallery.
Niall McGlynn skewers the hypocrisy of western posturing over the Ukrainian crisis.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
What They Said
“ “ “ “ “ Angela Merkel’s politics have entrenched disadvantage across Europe. But fangirl/ fanboy away. Jack Leahy, Education Officer
“I have heard better singing in drunken karaoke renditions of Diana Ross than I am seeing on @RTETheVoice right now. My. God.”
An Taoiseach: “I do detect a great sense of education and academic prowess here.” @tcdphil
Japan has started clamping down on dancing? Cue swarthy Osakan Kevin Bacon, teaches grownups to feel alive again”
It’s really flattering how much press and security there is around college for the launch of the Attic tonight. @tcdliterarysoc
Tommy Gavin, Deputy Editor
women hired to strip at maynooth student night Sabbatical officers watched male students receive lap dances Publication of MSU accounts scrapped as officer steps down Catherine Healy
News Editor Two women were hired to strip naked at an event organised by a sabbatical officer of Maynooth Students’ Union (MSU) last Monday, Trinity News has learned. It is understood that both Ben Finnegan, the incumbent MSU President, and Mal Callan, the Vice-President for Services, Events and Communications, were present as the women removed their underwear on stage, danced around an Irish flag, and gave lap dances to a number of male students in the audience. Callan organised the event in question after having agreed to take part in a charity mock wedding with the Welfare Officer of DCU Students’ Union (DCUSU) on Wednesday. He created a Facebook event for the mock wedding on 25th February and used the page to promote the Monday night event as a “stag night with
strippers”. Though a source close to the officer has claimed that the stag night was held independently of MSU, the event took place in the union bar on campus and was marketed as a precursor to the Wednesday wedding which Maynooth students could purchase tickets to through MSU. In a private Facebook post published hours before the stag night, the Vice-President for Services, Events and Communications wrote, “Please come along to my stag do in the SU from 9. Or if you want to see the scantily clad ‘exotic dancers’, skip straight to 10 o’clock. This is my last big night of debauchery until the ball and chain of misery that is my wifeto-be Lorna Finnegan [DCUSU Welfare Officer] enslaves me in a life of bitter regret.” He had previously stated on the public Facebook event page for the mock wedding that the date for the stag night had not yet been confirmed as he would “need to see when my strippers are free”. Trinity News understands that campus security
was not made aware of the performance that had been planned for the stag night, despite the fact that the event’s organisers spent the day erecting a stage in the MSU bar. Pictures and videos of the women were subsequently posted online by both students and bar staff present on Monday night. It is understood that a sabbatical officer subsequently requested that a video posted on Facebook be removed. Callan has since stepped down from his sabbatical position to manage to the re-election campaign of the incumbent MSU President, who is seeking a second term. Maynooth students head to the polls this Wednesday to elect four full-time sabbatical officers. Though Callan has claimed that the women were paid by “groomsmen” for the event, repeated student requests to view MSU accounts were denied last week and the student newspaper that Callan edits – which was due to publish details of the union’s accounts
Referendum on direct provision could be put to students this month Referendum could result in first SU policy on asylum rights Campaign signatures gathered on campus in hours Eva Short
Staff Writer A motion on whether to hold a referendum that could mandate Trinity College Students’ Union (TCDSU) to campaign for an end to direct provision centres for asylum seekers in Ireland will be put to class representatives at SU Council this Tuesday. If the motion is passed, the referendum could be reaching students as early as 19th March, Education Officer Jack Leahy has told Trinity News. This would be the first time for the union to adopt a policy concerning the rights of asylum seekers, according to Leahy. The campaign to hold a referendum on the issue, headed up by student Peter Gowan, progressed quickly last week, with a petition containing the requisite 250
student signatures handed up to the Electoral Commission on 5th March. The signatures were collected within three and a half hours. The term “direct provision” refers to the reception centres where asylum seekers are held upon entering the country. Asylum seekers are provided with a stipend of ¤19.10 a week for adults and ¤9.60 a week for children, but are barred from gaining employment during their time in the centres. Over 5,000 people are currently housed in the Irish direct provision system, with 30 to 40% of these having been resident for over five years. Between 2000 and 2010, it is estimated that the state paid about ¤655 million to private businesses were awarded contracts to run accommodation centres. Speaking about the issue, campaigner Peter Gowan
told Trinity News that the system Ireland has in place is “regarded internationally as being insufficient”, explaining that people who go through the system find the experience very degrading. “The system in this country goes far beyond the legal norms, “ he said. When asked about his motivation for organising the campaign, Gowan cited the short documentary film, “An Open Prison”, directed by DIT student Rich O’Mahony, as a source of inspiration. “It is one of the most heartbreaking films I have seen about my country,” he said. He added the issue is also relevant to the student body due to the number of Trinity students who have been through the system themselves. “There are people in this college who have been affected by this system in a serious way,” he said.
Senior lecturer criticises “paternalistic” X-case legislation Psychiatrist says colleagues should not venture into area of abortion Pro-life stance is “a very strange, extreme position” Lia Flattery
Staff Writer Professor Veronica O’Keane, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and consultant psychiatrist at AMNCH Hospital (the Adelaide and Meath Hospital), has criticised the X-case legislation for its “paternalistic view” that doctors should choose whether or not a woman is allowed to have an abortion. In a talk organised by ‘Medical Students for Choice’ and ‘Doctors for Choice’a during International Women’s Week last Wednesday, Professor O’Keane condemned the fact that doctors have become “so involved in the legislation [that] they have trumped the woman’s right to choose.” She said she did not think that psychiatrists should venture into issues of pregnancy and abortion, in which they have no expertise, and that the same goes for obstetricians who venture into the territory of psychiatrists and issues of mental health. Addressing students, O’Keane said she particularly disapproves of ‘pro-life’ terminology, saying that the ‘pro-life’ language needs to be “hit on the head.” “All doctors are pro-life…The idea
that I would be described as not pro-life is very offensive to me,” she said. Describing the pro-life stance as “a very strange, extreme position”, she went on to criticise the “love them both” approach taken by the pro-life side in recent years, i.e. striving to preserve both the life of the mother and the child equally. “I don’t think loving a woman is compatible with forcing a woman to endure” a pregnancy that causes her harm, she stated. Of pro-life supporters, she asked, “did they love Savita [Halappanavar] and did they love X? I don’t think so.” O’Keane also criticised the manner in which Irish society and media have polarised the debate and portrayed each side as extremists. She sought to clarify that the prochoice spectrum is “a very wide spectrum.” “The vast majority of people are pro-choice, they may not define themselves as prochoice but they are,” she told the audience, going on to say that even those who condone abortion only if carried out in the first trimester of pregnancy or only if a foetal anomaly is detected are still pro-choice just in a “restricted way” as they are nonetheless handing the decision over to the woman. In response to fears that by legalising abortion the “flood-
gates” will be opened, O’Keane remarked that “the floodgates are open” and have been for many years, with Irish women either having abortions in “a secretive way” or by going abroad. She said that preventing women from receiving abortions in a safe way has forced many to seek unsafe or illicit means of doing so, for example by purchasing illegal and potentially hazardous abortion pills online or even by resorting to infanticide. “Infanticide does happen,” she said, “it doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.” The fact that abortion is not permitted in Ireland for women who are the victims of rape or incest is particularly “unusual” by European standards, she said, as the only other European states following such a policy are Andorra, Malta and the Vatican. O’Keane is among a group of medical professionals calling for the introduction of “extensive training” for psychiatrists in the area of abortion. Under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill Act 2013, a request for abortion by a woman at risk of suicide must be reviewed by two psychiatrists and an obstetrician before a decision is made.
last week - has been cancelled as a result of his resignation. The Maynooth Board of Trustees met
Callan along with campus security on Wednesday, but no statement has been issued by either
Callan or Finnegan since Monday. When contacted by Trinity News over the weekend, Finnegan said
he was not able to speak to us. Callan said he could not comment on the record.
Gowan said that while his goal is to stop direct provision, he is happy that awareness will be raised about the issue irrespective of the results of the proposed referendum. TCDSU would be “an incredibly powerful tool” in the campaign against direct provision, he said. He said the campaign team have been in contact with Sue Conlan, head of the Irish Refugee Council, with regards to the issue, as well as having contacted USI Vice President for Equality Laura Harmon about submitting a draft motion to the USI national council. With potentially less two weeks to prepare material for the referendum, the campaign team is confident about the outcome of the proposed referendum. “The response from people shows that students really care,” Gowan told Trinity News. If passed, he said he is “prepared to hold the SU to account”, with regards to campaigning, though he is quietly confident about the abilities of incoming sabbatical officers to lobby for the end of direct provision. Incoming SU President, Domhnall McGlacken-Byrne, declined to comment when contacted for an interview.
President of the Phil recalls history of society women for International Women’s Week Rosalind Ní Shúilleabháin, President of the Phil, presented a paper to the Bram Stoker Club Paper addressed structural difficulties in college societies for women Fionn McGorry
Staff Writer Billed as one of the headline events of International Women’s Week, Rosalind Ní Shúilleabháin, President of the Phil, presented a paper to the Bram Stoker Club last Wednesday on the topic of women in the society. Ní Shúilleabháin was one of the women featured in the Equality Office’s “Inspiring Change” poster series for International Women’s Week, and is only the fourth female President of the Phil since women were admitted in 1968. The paper, entitled “The Morning After Phil”, addressed structural difficulties in college societies for women, as well as the constraints of perceived tradition, and was followed by an open discussion on the topic, which allowed members the opportunity to air their concerns and experiences related to sexism in society activities and competitive debates. Ní Shúilleabháin discussed her own experience of sexism in debating, such as being advised to stand for election to a role deemed suitable for women,
due to a perceived masculinity in the office of Secretary which she eventually won last year. She also discussed methods of overcoming the traditional lack of female representation in debating with audience members, with the recent efforts of the Historical Society in setting quotas on speakers in debates and establishing the position of Equity Officer being declared at the very least interesting. Ní Shúilleabháin went on to examine the history of Elizabethan
Society, which existed until 1982 as a women only debating society, and one of the biggest campus societies before women were admitted to the GMB societies in the 60s and it merged with the Phil in 1982. The highest ranking female officer of the Phil, Ní Shúilleabháin herself, is designated the Auditrix of The Eliz. Discussion then digressed into recent events in other societies, and how to deal with guests of the society. Lord Monckton’s request for Hist Pro-Librarian Dee
Courtney’s mobile number during a debate, and the use of highly gendered terminology to refer to one’s opponents in a debate, were both criticised by the audience. The sexism present at intervarsity competitions was a topic of clear concern on the part of many present. The advisability of attacking such behaviour head-on was counselled, and the meeting adjourned with a strong sense of the importance of the topic for a college where 60% of undergraduates are women.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Nurses protest for higher pay Hundreds of nurses demonstrate against poor wages and working conditions Students speak to Trinity News about their fears and frustrations
O Elaine McCahill Editor
ver 700 student and graduate nurses were among those who attended a demonstration held last Thursday at St. Steeven’s Hospital, opposite Heuston Station, Dublin. The demonstration was held in protest against the working conditions and payment of nurses and midwives once they graduate. The demonstration, organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), was attended by numerous student unions from across the country and many student and graduate nurses from different colleges spoke about their experiences working as interns or as part of the graduate scheme. The USI has organised the campaign to highlight the deficiencies in pay and working conditions that affect graduate nurses and midwives in Ireland. They are requesting an increase in pay for those on the graduate scheme and want to engage in talks with Minister Reilly regarding the payment of nursing and midwifery interns. USI President Joe O’Connor has said that, “The majority of 2013 graduate nurses and midwives have left Ireland to work abroad. This unfair treatment cannot continue. If it does, we will be left with a problem of epidemic proportions: no nurses or midwives left to work in our hospital wards… James Reilly needs to understand that when he said “emigrate or work in a fast food service if unhappy”, many graduates took him at his word – and now the situation needs to be rectified”. Fully qualified graduate nurses and midwives are currently paid ¤6.49 an hour for the first three months of the training course, rising to ¤6.92 for the next three months and capping at ¤7.72 for the final trimester. At most, these graduates are paid 90% of the
national minimum wage. After their internship, nurses may be offered a two-year contract with the HSE as part of the graduate scheme, under which they will be paid ¤23,129 as a starting salary for the first year. This is 85% of the staff-starting pay and this rises to 90% in the second year of the graduate scheme. However, under this contract, the HSE can move nurses to any hospital in the country depending on where they are needed. Trinity News spoke to a number of student and graduate nurses at the demonstration, who spoke about the need for a pay increase for graduate nurses and midwives, their fears for the future and the unsustainability of the current standards in Irish hospitals. Orla Daley, a first year nursing student in DCU, told Trinity News, “I don’t think I’ll stay in Ireland and work as a nurse once I graduate even if there was a pay increase, I want to go London to work. You’re just better off moving somewhere else, where you’ll get more pay and better conditions and not just survive like nurses have to do here.” Ciara Gorman, a third year student in Waterford, told Trinity News, “It costs ¤250,000 to train a nurse and yet we are all forced to leave the country. The pay that I’ll be on once I graduate is a ¤20,000 per year drop from my previous job working in a shop. It’s absolutely scandalous. The current internship or training course wage of ¤6.49 per hour is a 40% cut from what nurses were being paid a few years ago. It’s not like we’re newly qualified either, by the time we enter the graduate scheme, we’ve worked thousands of hours for free and we’ve done the internship during which we’ve been managing wards ourselves. You’re a paid member of staff during
“They might think that ¤23,000 is a decent wage for someone who’s graduated out of college but for the work that we put in, it’s not fair. Irish nurses are very highly valued in other countries, and preferred in some ways to their own graduates, because they know we’re trained to a very high standard and yet our own country doesn’t value that training or how hard we’ve worked.”
your internship, you’re on the roster, someone else is not in because you are there except you’re work for ¤6.49.” Dawn, another third year student in Waterford, told Trinity News, “I feel it’s very frustrating to think that the government puts a lot of money into the training of a nurse and yet the other side of it, the pay is so bad when you qualify that many decide to emigrate. Also as a mature student I’ll spend four years training still trying to pay bills, still trying to make ends meet and then come out the other side and to basically be faced with, as Minister Reilly put it ‘you can either work in a fast food outlet with your degree or you can leave the country’. That’s a very poor attitude for a minister who basically is the face of the health care system to have. Really, if they’re going to put the money in on one side to train us up, and then basically have the attitude of leave the country if you don’t like it, it’s a complete disgrace.” She said, “They might think that ¤23,000 is a decent wage for someone who’s graduated out of college but for the work that we put in, it’s not fair. Irish nurses are very highly valued in other countries, and preferred in some ways to their own graduates, because they know we’re trained to a very high standard and yet our own country doesn’t value that training or how hard we’ve worked. Obviously a lot of us would like to stay in the country that we’ve been born and raised in but to think that we will be pushed out because you can’t survive on that wage for two years post qualification, especially if you studied as a mature student. It’s a complete slap in the face really.”
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
Dr. Sandrine Brisset and Trinity News Photo: Atalanta Copeman-Papas
Leahy makes a late bid for USI position Lenihan defeated at Galway hustings, says he pulled out for personal reasons Candidates in hotly contested presidential race to address SU Council
A Aonghus Ó Cochláin Student Affairs
s the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) election approaches, nominations for all positions have closed with at least one nomination for each position. Among the candidates vying for a position on next year’s officer board is Education Officer Jack Leahy, who put his name forward for the position of USI Vice-President for Welfare hours before re-opened nominations closed on Friday. The race is being contested by two other candidates, Saoirse Nic A’Bhaird of NUI Galway Students’ Union and Greg O’Donoghue of the National College of Ireland Students’ Union. According to the USI, a fourth candidate received a nomination from one member organisation but failed to receive the required second nomination from another member organisation to be nominated to contest the election. Leahy is now the only Trinity candidate in the race after SU President Tom Lenihan pulled out of the election for Vice-President for Campaigns on Wednes-
day. Stephen Garry was originally nominated for Vice-President for Welfare by two member organisations but requested for them to be withdrawn before the closing date. In his manifesto, which he sent to Trinity News before stepping out of the race, Lenihan reiterated the point that while he “[had] no ambition to run for national politics,” he enjoyed working in a union and being part of a service for students because he did not have to compromise on his beliefs. “Successive government, political parties and individual college boards and governing bodies have let students down,” the manifesto reads. “We are paying more for a product that often does not improve on the student experience, doesn’t listen to student needs in education and treats the individual as consumers. Student leaders often feel powerless to curtail the war of attrition that decision makers make them endure… I want to represent another choice. That choice is to unite and build
on the foundations of the student movement. Lobbying against privatisation, fighting against fees and protecting the grant are all things that are communicated best to the public through the medium of campaigns. We need the public to see higher education as an investment and for political parties to act on it.” At a husting session in NUI Galway on Tuesday night, which Lenihan spoke at before pulling out the next day, Fitzpatrick received the support of Galway students by 66 out of 81 votes. Speaking to Trinity News after withdrawing his name from the election, however, Lenihan said the decision was not related to how he felt the campaign was going. “I made the decision to pull out because I couldn’t find the time to campaign without it affecting my job,” he said. “My job is to represent Trinity students and that is my focus. There are things I want to get done with the time I have left and campaigning for USI would take away from
that.” His withdrawal from the race means that DITSU President Glenn FitzPatrick is now running uncontested. By far the most contested race is between those running for USI President, with nominees Kevin Donoghue, Stephen Fleming, Laura Harmon and Denise McCarthy all edging for the position. Three of the four candidates in this race already hold positions on the USI officer board, with Kevin Donoghue as Vice-President for the Border, Midlands and Western Region, Laura Harmon as Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship, and Denise McCarthy as Vice-President for Welfare and Deputy President. Stephen Fleming is currently an officer of Maynooth SU. With elections at the start of April 1, hustings are currently underway throughout USI member unions. Hustings are due to take place in Trinity this Tuesday at SU Council.
The Press Ombudsman has decided to uphold a complaint by Dr Sandrine Brisset that an article published in Trinity News on 16 October 2013 breached Principle 1 (Truth and Accuracy) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines. Dr Brisset complained that the article had inaccurately described her, in a headline on its front page, as a “former TCD lecturer,” when she is in fact employed in Trinity College Dublin as an Adjunct Assistant Professor. The article reported on a number of matters centering on events surrounding the publication by Dr Brisset of a biography of Brendan Kennelly. The magazine,
in its response to Dr Brisset’s complaints, offered to publish a correction of the headline, but stood over its reporting of the other matters complained about, as it said that the article was fair in its reporting. Although the magazine offered to publish a correction of the headline, the Press Ombudsman’s view is that the seriousness, significance and prominence of this error, and its probable widespread distribution, required him to uphold the complaint. A number of other complaints about the article were not upheld. The full decision can be accessed at www.pressombudsman.ie
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Eva Short goes backstage at the New York Stock Exchange. InDepth -p.7
News In Brief
Unprecedented success for Cumann Gaelach at CSC awards Johnny Byrne Staff Writer
An Cumann Gaelach swept the boards at the annual Central Societies’ Committee (CSC) Society of the Year awards last Wednesday in the Alexander Hotel. The Irish language society took home three awards, beating Food and Drink, Law Soc and Players to win best large society and also taking home the prestigious plaque for best overall society. Niamh Ní Chróinin, the society’s auditor, was presented with the award for individual of the year. Speaking at the event, James Wilson, debates convenor for the society, praised Ní Chróinin for her stellar leadership and workethic throughout the year. He put the society’s success down in part to the solid foundation laid
by previous committees and the advice the current committee received from Trinity’s Oifig na Gaeilge as well as Conradh na Gaeilge. DU Players and An Cumann Gaelach stood out as the only societies to win in three categories. The award for the best fresher went to Ursula McGinn from Players and the society also won best poster, and best publication for ‘The Player’. Trinity Arts Festival (TAF) scooped up the prize in the best event category for ‘Through the Looking Glass’. It beat ‘Jailbreak’, organised by Law Soc, VDP and Amnesty, and the Trinity Economics Forum to the award. In the shortlist for the best small society, it was the Student Managed Fund that emerged victorious. Maths Soc won best medium society, and TTV took home the societies’ choice award. The Society for International Af-
fairs (SoFia) was deemed Trinity’s best new society at the event. This ambitious and already accomplished society’s schedule of events this year included an Aid and Trade Panel Discussion and a visit from the French Minister for European Affairs. JF Law and Political Science student Matthew Nuding, who was recently elected secretary of the society, said of SOFIA’s success: “SoFIA was an incredible society to have been involved with this year and the ‘Best New Society’ award is a true testament to the dedicated few behind all the fantastic events.” The CSC awards serve to recognise excellence within Trinity’s vibrant landscape of over 120 student societies. CSC will soon select the societies which will represent Trinity at the national Board of Irish Societies Awards.
James Wilson Staff Writer
Cuts to capitated bodies likely to be reduced Elaine McCahill Editor Following a meeting of the Capitations Committee last Tuesday, it has emerged that College is prepared to reduce the cut to the funding of the capitated committees to 3.75%. The capitated committees include the SU, the Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC), the Central Societies’ Committee (CSC), Publications and the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU). Previously, there had been a planned 10% cut, with two annual cuts of 5% but the Capitations Committee protested against these cuts on the basis that the appropriate protocol had not been followed when passing the cuts. It had previously been decided that the capitated bodies would not be allowed to drawn down the final quarter of their
monies until the potential cuts had been finalised. As such, the funds available for the rest of the year will be minus 3.75% of the overall total the committees are individually allocated for the year. In real terms, if the new figure is accepted by the capitated bodies, DUCAC will be cut by ¤13,267.50, the CSC by ¤13,437, the SU by ¤12,171.75, Publications by ¤1817.25 and the GSU by ¤2248.50. As previously reported in Trinity News, the cuts had been decided during a meeting on the 26th June 2013 of the Planning Group, which meets fortnightly. The Planning Group is responsible for implementing and developing the Strategic Plan 20142019 of the College, though there is no student representation in the group. The Strategic Plan 2014-2019 is focused on attracting more students from out-
side Ireland. Minutes from the June meeting under the heading “Planning Group Report No. 9” note that the College requires “further income to meet its expenditure,” but makes no mention of reductions to the budgets of the 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 to the capitated bodies 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. In an interview with Trinity News in January, SU President Tom Lenihan refused to rule out the possibility of a student occupation if funding to the capitated bodies is cut.
SoFia hosts French minister and diplomats Radou Emilie Contributor The Trinity Society for International Affairs hosted Minister Thierry Repentin (minister délégué chargé des affairs européennes), the French Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Jean-Pierre Thébault, and the First Secretary to the French Embassy in Ireland, Ms. Marianne Ziss, last Monday at an event to celebrate the historic relationship between France and Ireland.
Irish graduate salaries shrinking at a disproportionate rate
Speaking to students, Minister Repentin said that the burning Ukrainian issue was an indication of the far-reaching objectives of the European agenda yet to be realized regarding foreign policy. However, he stressed the importance of solidarity, which, in his own words, is “the whole meaning of the economic and monetary Union”. He went on emphasise the importance of creating as many new jobs for Europe’s “new generation”. Other than economic solidarity, Repentin outlined the importance of environmental protection, and in particular of
the need for a common energy strategy, with binding requirements, geared to lessening the overall greenhouse gas emissions. On the whole, he proposed an optimistic view of Europe, underlying the necessity “to do more for the euro zone”, to “set up a government at the European level”. Acknowledging the skepticism that exists towards the European project, he also argued that nowadays, the problem is not so much the one of euro-skepticism but rather the one of “euro-ignorance”.
Starting salaries for Irish graduates have fallen to 2004 levels, according to a new report from the Central Bank of Ireland. After rising by 11.8 per cent from 2004 to 2007, the weighted average salary for graduates fell by 11.7 per cent to ¤23,777 in 2012. Graduate salaries have declined much more than pay in the overall economy, which shrank by 2 per cent in the four years to the third quarter of 2013. Architecture students have suffered the worst declines, with salaries falling by 31% from 2007 to 2012. Next worst hit are graduates of the arts, humanities and social sciences whose salaries have fallen by 19.1 per cent to ¤19,748. Agriculture and Science students also were hit by greater than average declines,
with salaries tumbling since 2007 by 15.4 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively. Business and commerce graduates have fared best, suffering only a 5 per cent decline to ¤23,860 in 2012. The declines across the remaining faculties range between 7.7 and 11 per cent. However employment growth in recent years for graduates has been slightly stronger than that of the economy as a whole. While graduate employment rose by an average of 2% annually between 2007 and 2013, overall employment declined by an average of 1% each year. Half of the 58,000 rise in the numbers at work in the year to the third quarter of 2013 was accounted for by third level graduates. This concentration of employment gains among third level graduates, means that the decline in graduates salaries could “exert downward pressure on aggregate wages in the econ-
omy”, the Central Bank claims. It suggests that the failure of wages to decline is responsible for high unemployment. “Although the evidence is not conclusive, theory suggests that a failure of nominal wages to adjust downwards could result in persistently high unemployment”, it says. It claims that the greater reduction in graduate salaries here compared with France and the UK “points to an improvement” in Ireland’s “relative competitiveness position”. According to the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) graduate survey, the number of graduates in employment abroad doubled from 5 per cent in 2008 to 10 per cent in 2013. Last year a report conducted by University College Cork and the Irish Research Council found that 62 per cent of emigrants hold a third level qualification.
Trinity brand lags behind global competitors James Predergast Deputy News Editor No Irish university has been named in a top 100 list of the “most powerful global university brands” released by Times Higher Education. Trinity College Dublin is the highest placed Irish university according at about 200, with UCD, DCU and UCC coming in at about 300. No Irish university has made the top 100 in the four years since the survey began. “This is a challenge for the Irish institutions. It is important because you need to stay competitive internationally, there is a risk of falling into a vicious circle, Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, told The Irish Times. In a statement to The Irish Times, Trinity College pointed out that it was ranked as Ireland’s leading university but that it competes against strong global competition, affecting its posi-
tion in rankings. The list, which is topped by Harvard University, is dominated by American and British Universities. Eight American universities and two British universities make up the top ten. The top 100 includes 46 universities from the US, 10 from the UK, 6 from Germany, 5 from Japan, 4 from the Netherlands, 3 each from Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong and 2 each from Switzerland, Singapore, China and France. The highest ranked university from outside the US and UK is the University of Tokyo at number 11. While Times Higher Education conceded the list “is based on nothing more than subjective judgement” it said that “it is the considered expert judgement of senior, published academics the people best placed to know the most about excellence in our universities.“A university’s good name is the prime consideration” for students”, while it is a “top consideration for academics when moving jobs”, according to Phil Baty. Times Higher Education called the survey “the
world’s largest invitation-only academic opinion survey”. It asked 10,536 academics to name what they thought were the top 15 institutions in their disciplines. A university’s reputation for research is given twice as much weight in the ranking as that for teaching. 25 per cent of survey responses came from North America and 19 per cent from Western Europe. 10 per cent came from Oceania compared with only 13 per cent from East Asia, 10 per cent from Eastern Europe, 5 per cent from the Middle East and 4 per cent from Latin America. In the latest Times Higher Education overall university rankings Trinity College slipped 19 places to 129th. However in the latest QS rankings it rose six places to 61st.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
As Gaeilge: Identity theft is a crime which deeply affects its victims, but are we making ourselves vulnerable by providing personal details to social media sites? Frances Mulraney investigates this new-age phenomenon.
Illustration: Marina Pearl
Decapitated Bodies D. Joyce-Ahearne investigates the cuts to Capitations and the Planning Group behind them.
O D. Joyce -Ahearne InDepth Editor
n 14th November 2013, Professor Moray McGowan, Senior Dean and Chair of the Capitations Committee, was informed that the Capitated bodies, the organisations primarily responsible for student services, were to have their budgets cut by 5% for the year 2013/2014 and another 5% for the year 2014/2015. This was the first that the Capitations Committee had heard about such cuts, two months into the year and having already budgeted for 2013/2014. The Capitated bodies are the Students Union, the Graduates Students Union, Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC), the Central Societies Committee (CSC) and Trinity Publications. The cuts will mean a reduction of ¤17,690 for DUCAC, ¤17,916 for the CSC, ¤16,229 for the SU, ¤2,998 for the GSU and ¤2,423 for Trinity Publications. Though it was initially reported that the decision was made by Board, the body charged with the general governance of College, on 26th June 2013, in fact the decision was made months earlier. Trinity News has learned that at a meeting on 9th January 2013 between the Provost, Vice-Provost and Chief Financial Officer, Capitation cuts were discussed. Following the meeting, the CFO, the Treasurer of College, presented a memorandum to the Planning Group on 22nd January 2013 where cuts of ¤822,000 to Non-COO/Non-Faculty Costs (of which Capitations is a part) were agreed. Non-COO/Non-Faculty Costs are expenditure that do not come under the purview of either the Chief Operating Officer or faculty as a whole. The Planning Group is a subgroup of the Executive Officers. It was established by the Executive Officers in 2008 to address the financial difficulties facing College due to the recession. Following their recommendation in their report to the Board in February 2009 the Planning Group was made permanent. The Group is charged with implementing College’s Strategic Plan. The members of the Planning Group are the Vice-Provost, the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Dean of Research, the Dean of Faculty
"As long as students are not part of the decision making process on a meaningful level then student services will continue to be the aspects of College life that suffer in this climate of austerity and emphasis on profit, driven by a Planning Group unconcerned with students’ views on what makes Trinity worthwhile."
of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, the Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Dean of Health Sciences, the Vice-President for Global Relations, the Director of Human Resources, the Bursar/Director of Strategic Innovation, the Director of the Trinity Foundation, the Academic Secretary, the Manager of the Academic Services Division and the Financial Resources Manager. In a Memo sent to the Finance Committee from the Chief Financial Officer dated 14th March 2013, it was reported that College was projecting a ¤7.7 million deficit for 2012/13, ¤1.7 million more than the ¤6 million planned deficit agreed by Board in June 2012. The Memo also contained a “reconciliation” of the differences between the estimates prepared in June and the estimates arrived at in March, the time of the meeting of the Finance Committee, 20th March 2013. These reconciliations deal with the period of 2012/2013, however under NonCOO/Non-Faculty Costs, cuts for 2013/2014 are mentioned. These are the only budgetary figures for 2013/2014 mentioned in the memorandum. The Memo mentioning the agreed cuts appears on the meeting’s agenda as concerning the Consolidated Financial Estimates for 2012/2013. The committee recommended the 2012/2013 Estimates to Board, however there is no mention to Capitations cuts in the minutes of this meeting of the Finance Committee. At the Board meeting on 27th March 2013, it was noted that Non-COO/Non-Faculty Costs were higher than projected, although again no specific mention of Capitations or the agreed cuts to Capitations were made. The Board approved the Consolidated Financial Estimates for 2012/2013 and according to the minutes seen by Trinity News, “noted the 2013/2014 Projections as presented”. At the meeting on 26th June 2013, Board approved the budget presented for 2013/2014, which was proposed as part of the Planning Group’s Report No. 9. The report, obtained by Trinity News, has only one area of expenditure under the
heading “Reducing Costs, Driving Efficiencies”, that is Non-COO/ Non-Faculty. In the area of NonCOO/Non-Faculty, three areas are considered for cuts: Postgraduate Awards, Entrance Exhibitioners and Scholarship. There is no mention of cuts to Capitations in the Report. In the minutes for the meeting, under the heading “Cost Management”, it says that “the proposals will be presented once a review of fee levels has been undertaken and that other areas outside of the faculty and admin areas will also be examined.” Again there is no mention of Capitations cuts. The Capitation cuts have been snuck under the radar and College has seemingly gone out of its way to keep the subject as grey as possible. Though the cuts were being discussed as early as January 2013, the Capitated bodies were not informed until ten months later. There has been no mention of Capitations at a Finance Committee or Board level outside of the Memo at the 20th March meeting of the Finance Committee. Whenever Non-COO/ Non-Faculty costs are being discussed it appears that Capitations are deliberately not mentioned. Students, through the Capitated bodies that represent them, have been completely shut out from the process that led to these cuts. They were agreed upon before any student representatives even knew they were a possibility. The body ultimately behind the cuts, indeed behind any decision made by College today, is the Planning Group. There is no student representation on the Planning Group. They do make neither their agendas nor minutes available to the public. The Higher Education Authority’s General Principles set out in their Framework of Good Practice the “need for meaningful consultation with students in relation to the allocation of funding to student services.” The Student’s Union passed a mandate in January of this year calling on the “SU President to lobby the Planning Group to make their minutes available upon request.” As long as students are not part of the decision making process on a meaningful level then student services will continue to be the aspects of
"The Planning Group is the result of a decision by the few to further concentrate power in the hands of the few, an unaccountable body with airs of being accountable to themselves.. The suggested three month concession offered to the Capitated bodies is a sign of the contempt in which the student body is held by the College machine."
College life that suffer in this climate of austerity and emphasis on profit, driven by a Planning Group unconcerned with students’ views on what makes Trinity worthwhile.All information concerning our College should be made available to us. All decisions that are going to affect us should include out input. There are still questions to be asked about the “due process” followed in deciding upon these cuts. The language used in the official records is incredibly vague and difficult to interpret, not to be easily accessed by those not already in the know. The Planning Group is the result of a decision by the few to further concentrate power in the hands of the few, an unaccountable body with airs of being accountable to themselves.. The suggested three month concession offered to the Capitated bodies is a sign of the contempt in which the student body is held by the College machine. Having been locked out of the decision-making process, we have been thrown a bone because we managed to do the very least and question the institutionalised marginalisation of the student body. The student services provided by the Capitated bodies are an integral part of the Trinity experience and for many students are the aspect of College that they engage the most with in their day to day experience of what it is to be a student at Trinity. It’s also a side of College that nobody on the Planning Group has anything to do with and therefore shouldn’t come as a surprise to us when they decide to cut it and not feel the need to consult with those who do provide or use the services. Unless we insist upon real and effective student representation and input at a decision-making level then the students of Trinity will continue to go unheard in their own College. The planned cuts of 5% for 2014/2015 are going ahead and will set a precedent that shows that a select few can run College as they see fit, unopposed by the majority who are affected by their decisions.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Very NYSE Eva Short goes behind closed doors and sees what makes Wall Street tick.
G Eva Short Staff Writer
etting into the New York Stock Exchange is not an easy task. This is what I couldn't help but think as I peeled off my jacket and placed my handbag on a conveyor belt, before being motioned through a body scanner by an imposing looking but surprisingly affable security guard. It echoed the same tedious procedure I'd had to go through to gain entry to America in the first place, which in my mind implied that the two were of tantamount importance. In the past I would have been required to send along my passport number in advance of a visit, but now all that's needed is a willing employee to sponsor one's entry. The reception room gleamed with marble and wall to wall mirrors. I found myself blinking repeatedly at the incredible whiteness, which probably accounts for the utterly unflattering photo that was taken of me and affixed to a temporary yellow day pass. The Stock Exchange has come a long ways from its humble origins. In 1792, 24 brokers signed an agreement to trade a mere five securities under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. For all intents and purposes it was their very own Bodhi tree, for the building buzzes with a reverence, bordering on religiosity. The board rooms are, in a word, palatial - high ceilings, gold-gilded cornices, even a stained glass roof. A mahogany table stretched lengthways down one of the rooms, around which three of four clusters of navy suitclad brokers orbited, speaking in hushed tones as they waited for a meeting to begin. The floor is sound-tracked by incessant, constant bleeping, a do-da-leep which rings through every time a trade is processed at a trading desk. $2.5 trillion worth of transactions are processed every day, equivalent to an average 800 billion shares. For a point of reference, that is the GDP of the United Kingdom. The actual trade value is a little less impressive - $169 billion, for it is often the same sums money that are being volleyed back and forth in series of trades. While the floor's trading capacity has increased in tandem with the move towards digitised transactions, I still couldn't imagine what it must have been like before the trading technology came to the fore. In former years, by 3pm the stock exchange floor would have been littered - absolutely littered - with paper. Securities were traded hand to hand, with young and presumably stressed out employees called runners darting around to process these trades. Though this practice may sound archaic, things were done this way as recently as 2006, when only 14% of trades were completed online. The application of digital trading
“The Stock Exchange has come a long ways from its humble origins. In 1792, 24 brokers signed an agreement to trade a mere five securities under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. For all intents and purposes it was their very own Bodhi tree, for the building buzzes with a reverence, bordering on religiosity. The board rooms are, in a word, palatial - high ceilings, goldgilded cornices, even a stained glass roof.”
systems caused this number to shoot up 80%, leading to (among other things) a cleaner floor. I did spy the odd empty carton of aspirin and even a pack of cigarettes on the ground; it seems that the traders were enjoying varying degrees of success that day. The exchange floor was not near as frenetic as I had been hoping for. Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" has drawn attention to the financial sector of late and painted society's view of it with a touch of glamour. It was portrayed as a never-ending thrill ride of high stakes, obscene wealth, emotional zeniths and nadirs, and (of course) cocaine. With this expectation in mind, it was a tame place. Day trading can be done from home, and a considerable portion of trades are instigated by foreign clients; there isn't the same need to have the place bursting with people as there once was. I had in the past heard rumours of businesspeople loosening their ties and flat out punching each other with frustration at points during the trading day, so much so that the Stock Exchange had to introduce a system of fines, but no one I spoke to had ever witnessed such an event. They were aware of the fines however, and none saw the possibility of anger manifesting in fisticuffs as unreasonable. The closest thing I saw to a fight that day was a tense interaction between traders. With a Bluetooth headset clipped to his ear, a man came out of the woodwork and approached another trader who was watching a screen and anxiously awaiting the announcement of the value of Verizon shares. "Kevin" the conversation began, the trader's voice peppered with irritation "Did you put through those fifteen million shares?" Kevin clenched and unclenched his fingers, not quite knowing what to do with his hands. "I did, yes, they may not have been transferred yet but I got them through." "They went through before four? Before the market closed? Because my client is asking about them." Kevin agreed to look in the matter and the trader walked away as brusquely as he had entered. The room may have been sparsely populated, but there was still a dizzying buzz of activity that I couldn't quite acclimatise to. There must have been at least twenty giant computer screens, all covered with neon numbers which fluctuated constantly. Company logos whizzed by with the relevant NASDAQ figures beneath them - more of them were familiar to me than I'd expected, for tech startups and social media companies dominate the market these days. I was nearly scalped by a pass-
ing news camera propped on a reporter's shoulder, who barrelled past me as he went to approach the CNBC news desk that has become a permanent installation on the floor. The hub was running a news report on the events of the Exchange, with coiffed female news anchors teetering by in platform heels and fitted dresses as they regularly switched shifts. There were cell phones, headphones, tablets, computers and Tungsten lights, and I could only imagine the stark silence and darkness that would have enveloped the place in the event of a power cut. I think I'd expected the floor to be more chaotic for a number of reasons, the first being that quintessential stereotype of the Stock Exchange in the throes of panic after the 1929 Wall Street Crash. The place, I have heard, was thrown into disaster, a hotbed of human despair; one retired Solomon Brothers securities trader recounted to me, with a laugh, a classic joke about how the perimeter of the Stock Exchange building was a no-go after the crash, lest you be crushed by recently bankrupt financiers throwing themselves off the roof. It had been the financial equivalent of an apocalypse, with trading slips raining down as the faith so many had placed in the stocks was thrown back in their faces and the market revealed her true precarious nature. Furthermore, the people on the stock exchange floor - to state the obvious - are the people most heavily invested in how the market fares. Not just from a professional perspective either; the traders I spoke to talked about plugging portions of their salaries into stock investment plans to produce the capital for their children's college tuition. Granted these people are very well versed in how the market works, so have most likely investigated these schemes and insured that they are only low and medium risk securities, but nevertheless I was perturbed by that element of risk. A market crash would send one's savings into the ether, in an instant, and it's not unheard of that even sure-fire securities suddenly bottom out. The devastation of a modern market crash is an invisible one, summed up by dipping graphs and ticking numbers on a screen. There is no tangible destruction, no fire, explosion or wailing of sirens, but people's entire lives can go up in smoke. This is how I envision the 2008 crash being received - though not the greatest crash in Wall Street history, it was the quickest, with the markets declining 50% over 17 months as opposed to the 80% dip the markets took between 1929 and 1932.
“$2.5 trillion worth of transactions are processed every day, equivalent to an average 800 billion shares. For a point of reference, that is the GDP of the United Kingdom. The actual trade value is a little less impressive - $169 billion, for it is often the same sums money that are being volleyed back and forth in series of trades...I couldn't imagine what it must have been like before the trading technology came to the fore.”
Institutions crumbled; the companies that people thought were reliable investments fell apart before their eyes, calling into question whether it's truly possible to know anything about how the markets will go. If that didn't convince you of the unpredictability of the financial world, consider 2010's May 6th "Flash Crash", in which the markets plummeted 9% in the space of a day, only to bounce back to pretty close to their original levels within hours. The debt crisis in Greece had negatively impacted the market - it was down 300 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of many closely watched stock market indexes. Suddenly, the market went down another 600 points within five minutes. Well known securities were shadows of themselves, trading at prices that were practically unheard of, only for the 600 points to revert over the next twenty minutes. At a congressional review, the error was chalked up to - amazingly - the market's reliance on technology; the computers had misinterpreted information that led to completely incorrect trading prices. "Human involvement," said S.E.C chairwoman Mary Schapiro at a hearing over the matter "would have prevented these orders from executing at absurd prices." I have consigned myself to never quite understanding the ways of the market; though I think what baffles me most about the day was the ringing out of the stock exchange bell as the markets closed at 4pm. Atop a marble balcony, a gathering stood and pushed the button which set off a loud, tinny ringing that reverberated through the room. Over the heads of the tech hubs, bleeping happily, were the oddly ecclesiastic gold awnings and beige pillars. Traders turned to attention at the familiar sound and greeted it with a smile, gazing up at the bell and clapping along to the ceremonial ring. This is something I presume happens every day at the market, for the trading day hadn't been in any way extraordinary to warrant special applause. Shortly after, people began to file out, leaving their buzzing machines behind them as they poured out into Lower Manhattan. This market never sleeps - it has only been closed on a handful of occasions, the most recent being in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, though that only shut the place up for two days. In hell and high water, these people will return again to watch the screens with hawk eyes, their lives depending on the vagaries of an intangible, electric, American God.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Illustration: Natalia Duda
Stripped Bare Michael Lanigan talks to “Anna”, a former sex worker, about her experiences in Dublin and the US.
I Michael Lanigan Deputy In-Depth Editor
n the immediate aftermath of my article looking into Dublin’s escort services, I received an email from a woman offering to talk with me about her experience as a sex worker, from which she had now fully retired. After briefly corresponding online, we set up an interview on the condition that I would withhold her identity, so I shall refer to her as Anna from hereon in. We met in a small café on the outskirts of the city to talk and over the course of three hours she opened up in great depth, divulging her own life story and those of the people surrounding her, both inside and outside the trade. Spanning a decade, she lived between Dublin, New York and San Francisco, working as a lap dancer, exotic masseuse and dominatrix, before managing to leave it all behind and return to Ireland permanently. The initial decision to try her hand at lap dancing came at the age of eighteen, when the prospect caught her attention while working in a Dublin-based clothing store. Anna was introduced to the concept by a co-worker’s wife, who dealt with financial transactions in Strings, a Leeson Street club run by Mary Cullen, the spouse of convicted murderer and rapist John Cullen. Her choice to take up the offer stemmed as much from fascination as it did from issues with money. “I had a skewed way of thinking about it”, she said. “There was something appealing about the idea and since I had a lot of issues with my body, if I could be in a place where I was comfortable in front of that many people, then I figured it would help me in some way.” Spending six months in Strings, Anna maintained a degree of openness with her friends as to her experiences, defending her right to such work wholeheartedly. Yet, looking back, she admits to being naive for not questioning her motives properly. She saw it initially as a liberating act, almost “like an art” that helped to build a close bond of understanding with the other women involved, despite the language barriers. For her, these women and almost every person who was involved in the sex trade that she would later encounter “had the same story of a family background missing something important.” Anna’s teenage years were dogged by her parents’ contempt towards one another and her dire relationship with her
“she moved into an erotic massage parlour and began adopting different characters in order to disassociate herself from the stark reality. At this point, while still mentioning her work to outside friends, the descriptions had been pared down to the minimal facts, something which she states was more of an attempt to deny the actuality of her situation to herself. This coping mechanism became a serious issue as her work life began to overtake her external life. Her sense of self-worth was virtually nonexistent.”
mother, who verbally abused her throughout her teenage years. She overheard her mother’s friend sexually abusing her sister one night and on another occasion she was molested herself. When she told her parents they brushed her off as a nuisance, saying “you should be used to that shit by now.” She now attributes her choice to enter the trade to her sense of inadequacy and desire to take control in the aspects of her life where she once felt useless, a motive that she says has influenced most of her fellow workers: “They had different characters, but in essence, it was the same story. That was something nobody else understood, besides those of us involved. It was a seizing of control and liberating in that sense, but even liberal feminists make such bad choices.” However, in Strings, the positive attitudes of the close-knit circle quickly eroded once an influx of Eastern European women came into the club, raising the competition for servicing clientele with acts of an increasingly extreme nature. Considering the Cullens’ strong links with several Dublin criminal gangs, who in turn were suspected associates of Russian and Albanian mafia organisations trafficking women across Western Europe back in the early 2000s, there need not be much speculation as to the backgrounds of these women. Indeed, Anna herself noted that the signs of trafficking were more than clear in their lives, which came off as their being the property of a small number of men constantly in their presence. This intimidation worsened following an incident during which one of her co-workers spotted one of the new women performing oral sex upon a client in a back room. In the midst of the established dancers reporting the case to an indifferent management, protesting that this was in no way what they had signed up for, the vicious nature of the business became clear to Anna. “Our management didn’t give a shit as to what went on behind the curtain, provided the man pay for his time.” “It was because of the framework of the women employed there at the beginning, probably fifteen in all, setting the standards of conduct, many of whom had boyfriends that they couldn’t go home to if they crossed that new line.” So when the new group
arrived, upping the ante of services provided, the unified spirit collapsed under the pressure and Anna quit, before taking work in Angels down the road. She found the new job was no different, labelling the behaviour inside as “mental”, again with many European women, pushing the limits further away from any tolerable standards. “They were so adamant about their purpose, to make X amount of money before the night was out, to the point that I could not cope. “ These women, she mentioned afterwards were by in large present in the club for the sole purpose of supporting their families back in their home countries. Soon thereafter, the intensification culminated in her decision to up and leave Ireland to pursue a similar line of work in the US. Across the Atlantic however, expectations were even greater in terms of the management’s insistency upon dancing onstage fully unclothed and crawling about to pick up dollars, before offering further services in private rooms. Even now, she expresses dismay at the general deficit of protective measures in place for dancers working in the States. While Strings would make money regardless of special requests, “the set up [in America] was simple: You have to do these extras and even if somebody crosses a line, provided they were still feeding money, then everything was fine from a managerial point of view.” The only trouble was how blurred these lines could get. Especially in the case of volatile clients, whose violent tendencies might overlap with their fetishes and role-playing requests should the woman refuse to meet a demand. “If I was to say “no”, then these men would not hear that. As far as they’re concerned, that is a turn on and part of the whole fucking act. It was not rape in the actual sense of the word, because we went along with it, thinking that this should only last a while. Sometimes you would grit your insides and cope, but at other times, it disturbed me deeply. I would meet a normal man who might walk in wearing a suit, but in the next moment, he wants you to act as if he has murdered your boyfriend and intends to exact the same on you. The other workers would brush it off, but initially it shocked me.” Due to a burden of debt from tuition fees, it was unlikely that
“Anna’s teenage years were dogged by her parents’ contempt towards one another and her dire relationship with her mother, who verbally abused her throughout her teenage years. She overheard her mother’s friend sexually abusing her sister one night and on another occasion she was molested herself. When she told her parents they brushed her off as a nuisance, saying “you should be used to that shit by now.”
Anna was going to be able to return home anytime soon. As a result, she moved into an erotic massage parlour and began adopting different characters in order to disassociate herself from the stark reality. At this point, while still mentioning her work to outside friends, the descriptions had been pared down to the minimal facts, something which she states was more of an attempt to deny the actuality of her situation to herself. This coping mechanism became a serious issue as her work life began to overtake her external life. Her sense of self-worth was virtually non-existent: “Every time I had to step into that situation, I had to diminish myself and move one step further away from who I was.” “Once I had managed to prioritise my real life, I could not believe how lost I was. You see, the more you do it, the less you feel, so the more you can do again. It became a vicious circle. I needed to feel numb, otherwise I would have melted and eventually it became an addiction, watching myself from the sideline. It was such a negative feeling to remove myself from the truth of my own feelings and my body’s emotions, because when you keep doing that to yourself, you start to feel as if you’re not alive.” “It’s hard enough when you know that society thinks equally as little of you. For example, in LA if a prostitute is murdered, the police put it down as a case of No Human Involved, just another dead one on the heap. Eventually, you start to look down upon yourself in the same way and it got to the point that I didn’t care what happened to me. I would tell myself if it is time to go then that’s it. I think having that little selfworth allows you to work in those situations.” Upon sober reflection, she now regards these negative aspects as having outweighed the positive benefits of the trade. Although one of the fortunate few to have rebuilt her life successfully, the damage it has done to her psyche led to her casting doubts on any future abilities to maintain an intimate relationship, having spent so long separating sex from emotion. “I no longer know how you can make this right. Outside voices can look at any concept, even something like paedophilia and justify it, because they have separated themselves from empathy. But how would they feel if it was their own daughter, or sister?”
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Rachel Lavin looks at the issues surrounding paternity leave in Ireland and argues a father's right to equality in the home.
Ainm agus anam an duine
Coir ar leith é an ghoid aitheantais a théann i bhfeidhm go mór ar an íospartach - ach an bhfuil muid dár gcur féin sa bhearna bhaoil trí sonraí pearsanta a chur ar fáil do leithéidí Facebook? Fiosraíonn Frances Mulraney an scéal.
T Frances Mulraney Staff Writer
á cumhacht ar leith ag baint le hainm an duine. Is leor ainm cáiliúil nó ainm míchlúiteach a lua le cur síos a dhéanamh ar eachtra, ar thréimhse staire, ar mhothúchán, ar dhearcadh saoil nó ar dhearcadh creidimh. Is leor Hitler, Gandhi, Cromwell nó fiú ainm ficseanúil cosúil le Voldemort a lua le go dtuigfidh daoine ar an bpointe boise cén rud a bhfuil tú ag labhairt faoi. Is minic a chuireann muid tábhacht ar leith lenár n-ainmneacha féin sa tslí chéanna. Tugtar stádas ar leith d’ainmneacha a cheapann daoine a bheith cumhachtach agus tá sé tar éis éirí níos coitianta anois do mhná a gcuid sloinnte réamhphósta a choimeád i ndiaidh a bpósta ar an ábhar go bhfuil gairm bheatha agus saol proifisiúnta bainte amach acu faoin sloinne sin. Is fada siar a théann an nós le daoine atá ag iarraidh saol proifisiúnta a bhaint amach i ngnó na siamsaíochta go n-athróidís a nainmneacha ionas go mbeadh siad “níos suimiúla” nó le go mbeidh sé níos fusa ar an bpobal cuimheamh air. I measc na gcultúr éagsúla, feictear iliomad bealaí le páistí óga a ainmniú ó lucht na leabhar ainmneacha agus an bhaistidh i gcreideamh áirithe go dtí na cultúir ina mbíonn rialacha diana agus córas leagtha amach le duine nua a ainmniú i ndiaidh a shinsearachta nó de réir eachtraí a tharlaíonn le linn toircheas na máthar nó go luath i ndiaidh bhreith an pháiste. Is é an tábhacht seo a thugann muid d’ainm an duine atá mar phríomhchúis leis an imní agus an eagla nuair a dhéanann duine iarracht (nó nuair a éiríonn leis) ár n-ainmeacha féin a ghoid agus iad a úsáid ar mhaithe lena leas féin. Cé nach fíor an scéal é do chuile duine, is minic a mhothaíonn muid gur linne ár nainmneacha agus go dtugann siad aitheantas éigin dúinn. Mar sin, sa chás is go ngoidtear aitheantas duine, is mearbhall agus anbhá a mhothaítear de ghnáth. Is maith is cuimhin liom an scéal níos mó ná bliain ó shin gur éirigh le duine anaithnid mo chuid sonraí bainc a aimsiú agus cé chomh neirbhíseach agus a mhothaigh mé go raibh duine eile, strainséir, áit éigin i gceantar iargúlta ar an taobh eile den domhain nó fiú comharsan liom a gcasainn leis gach uile lá ag teacht i dtír ar m’ainm (agus ar mo chuid airgid dár ndóigh). Ar deireadh fuair mé an t-airgead ar fad ar ais ach is iomaí duine a bhfágtar fiachais ollmhóra air mar thoradh ar ghoid aitheantais nó go dtuigtear don bhanc go raibh an duine ag caitheamh a chuid
airgid go místuama mar gheall ar na heachtraí seo agus fágtar é le droch-chlú. Is féidir leis tarlú do dhuine ar bith, comhbunaitheoir Microsoft (agus billiúnaí) Paul Allen, mar shampla, ar goideadh a aitheantas dhá bhliain ó shin. Is annamh nach gcuirimid locht éigin ar fhorbairtí teicneolaíochta ach is léir i gcásanna mar seo go bhfuil an teicneolaíocht ag cur go mór leis an bhfadhb. De réir taighde a rinne Rannóg na gCeartas Coiriúil in Ollscoileanna sna Stát Aontaithe, tá seans 50 faoin gcéad níos mó go ngoidfí aitheantas duine a bhíonn ag siopadóireacht ar líne, ag plé le baincéireacht ar líne ar líne nó a bhaineann úsáid as an ríomhphost go minic ná duine nach mbaineann úsáid as na rudaí sin uile ar chor ar bith. Dar leis an suíomh idirlín teicneolaíochta The New Republic, ní thuigeann muintir na hÉireann an chontúirt ina bhfuil muid agus rochtain idirlín gan sreang (Wi-Fi) nach bhfuil cosaint ar bith uirthi in úsáid againn in áiteanna poiblí. De réir taighde de chuid Smarttech.ie, tá sé contúirteach a bheith ag baint úsáide as an gcóras idirlín seo. Rinneadh an taighde seo i ndeich n-óstán éagsúla ar fud chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath agus ba é an toradh a bhí air ná go raibh haiceálaí ar bheagán taithí in ann na gréasáin seo a haiceáil agus sonraí tábhachtacha idir phasfhocail chuntais ríomhphoist agus uimhreacha chártaí creidmheasa a ghoid. Glactar leis anois go mbeidh Wi-Fi ar fáil i nach mór gach aon áit a théann muid, ach cá bhfios céard a bheidh le feiceáil ag na daoine eile ina suí san fhorhalla leat. Is féidir leis na hóstáin seo Prótacal Idirlín slán a chruthú ar bhealaigh éagsúla ach go mbíonn orthu eochair rochtana a thabhairt dá gcuid custaiméirí, rud dar leo nach bhfuil ar a gcumas acu a chur i gcrích ó thaobh acmhainní ama agus daonna de. Níl na meáin shóisialta pioc níos fearr ó thaobh chúrsaí slándála de. Tá meáin nua ann anois le teacht ar eolas faoi dhaoine go héasca agus tá go leor againn ag cabhrú leo. Bíonn dáta breithe, áit bhreithe, áit chónaithe agus uimhir theileafóin le fáil ar na gréasáin shóisialta seo chomh maith le go leor eolais eile faoi do shaol laethúil. Is féidir le chuile duine cartlann a chuntais Facebook féin a íoslódáil de réir bheartais phríobháideachais Facebook agus na sonraí ar fad atá ar taifead ag an suíomh a fheiceáil. Tá sonraí ann faoi gach aon uair agus áit ar logáil tú isteach, ach níl ansin ach
tús an scéil. Tharla sé le déanaí gur déanadh haiceáil ar shonraí Snapchat, meán sóisialta eile, agus gur goideadh sonraí na núsáideoirí. Dá dtarlódh a leithéid le Facebook bheadh sonraí pearsanta le fáil ag na haiceálaithe seo a chabhróidh leo mí-úsáid a bhaint as d’ainm féin. Le blianta beaga anuas, tá fógraithe ag Eagraíocht na hÉireann um Sheirbhísí Íocaíochta go raibh laghdú 21 faoin gcéad ar luach na gcaillteanas calaoise sa tír seo. Ar an drochuair, áfach, is é an fhadhb is mó a bhíonn ann fós ná na cásanna siúd nuair nach mbíonn an cárta i láthair, mar shampla, siopadóireacht ar líne nó ar an bhfón. Baineann 79 faoin gcéad de chásanna calaoise leis an mí-úsáid sonraí sin. Cé gur goid airgid atá i gceist leis an gcuid is mó de na cásanna ghoid aitheantais sa tír seo dar le Comhlachas Tomhaltóirí na hÉireann, tá saghsanna eile ann chomh maith. Is féidir le daoine d’aitheantas a ghoid agus coir déanta nó á dhéanamh acu nó d’aitheantas a úsáid le cóir leighis a fháil freisin, rud a chiallaíonn
nach mbeadh cur síos ceart ar do stair liachta agus tú ag dul go dtí an ospidéal nó go dtí an dochtúir. Léiríonn an taighde atá déanta ar ghoid aitheantais go mbíonn tionchar leanúnach aici ar na híospartaigh ach go háirithe mura bhfaigheann siad amach cé atá taobh thiar di. Fágann sé a lorg orthu i bhfoirm siomptóim shíceolaíocha mí-oiriúnaitheacha i ndiaidh na heachtra agus bíonn na siomptóim seo i bhfad níos láidre i gcás na mban ná mar a bhíonn nuair is fear atá i gceist. Chomh maith leis sin, is mó i bhfad a dhírítear ar mhná agus an saghas seo coire i gceist ná mar a dhírítear ar fhir. Sa bhliain 2009, rinneadh suirbhé don iris chuntasaíochta a thaispeáin go mbíodh tionchar i bhfad níos measa ag an ngoid aitheantais ar mhná agus go mbíonn drogall orthu dul chuig na póilíní faoin bhfadhb. Anuas ar sin, fanann roinnt mhaith dóibh as póca níos minice ná fir mar gheall ar an drogall seo. Dúradh go stopann 7 faoin gcéad de mhná ag déanamh siopadóireachta ar líne ina dhiaidh na coire agus dúirt
The Grand Voluntour Jack Hogan separates the volunteering wheat from the voluntouring chaff.
I Jack Hogan Staff Writer
t’s that time of year when students begin to plan their summer break. For some, this involves booking flights and visas to work in the US. For others, it requires securing a job in their hometown in order to pay college fees. More and more students, however, are opting to spend their summer months volunteering overseas in developing countries. In August 2013, Comhlámh (an Irish organisation promoting ethical overseas volunteering) produced a report which revealed that of the estimated 4,500 overseas volunteer placements carried out by Irish people in 2012, students accounted for 40%. This figure has been increasing year after year as the possibility of combining volunteering with travel has become more attractive to students. So it’s not surprising then to see more and more adverts for volunteering opportunities, whether it’s on your Facebook newsfeed or on campus notice boards. However, I have also read and heard increasing criticism of overseas volunteering in online articles and from my fellow students. It’s argued that volunteer placements are designed for the personal fulfilment of Westerners, rather than to affect change in a developing community and that it would be better to employ local staff rather than hiring unskilled foreign volunteers. Much overseas volunteering has been branded as voluntourism. The arguments behind this are valid and important to bear in mind – having a critical view is very important in the context of global development practice. However, there is a danger in labelling all overseas volunteer placements as counter-productive voluntourism. To do so ignores the sustainable, beneficial and worthwhile work that is carried out by Irish students every summer in ethical, responsible volunteering programs. We need to be more precise about what is meant by voluntourism and to be careful not to group all volunteer-sending organizations as self-serving companies. As I understand it, voluntourism is the
industry of fabricating volunteer placements to meet the demands of Westerners. Such placements generally address no skill gap in the local community, charge a very high fee to the volunteer, and are advertised as a commodity that benefits the volunteer rather than the host community. A voluntourist-sending organization is a business – a for-profit volunteering agency rather than a charity. Its projects can be ineffective and even damaging. In contrast, there are organizations in developing countries that affect sustainable change in the local community and welcome volunteers to contribute to the work that is already being done. These organizations are non-profit, forimpact, and shouldn’t be overlooked. I was lucky enough to volunteer for one such organization, the Umbrella Foundation, for three months in the summer of 2012. Umbrella is an Irish-registered charity based in Nepal that cares for conflict-displaced and trafficked children and seeks to re-integrate these children with their families. For a long time, I had wanted to volunteer overseas but struggled to find an organization and a cause I truly believed in. When I read Umbrella’s volunteering guide, I was pleased to see learn about their ethical considerations. Volunteers are asked to raise funds and awareness for the charity in their home country. Every cent raised goes towards continuing the work of the organization, putting food on the table and a roof over the heads of the children, with full financial transparency and low administration costs. My intention in this article is not to glamorize my volunteering experience as better than another student’s summer plans, rather, it is to highlight that there are ethical, responsible volunteering placements out there for Irish students that should not be dismissed with the negative connotations of the catchall term voluntourism. The Umbrella Foundation is just one – others
are listed in Comhlámh’s Code of Good Practice. My advice to a prospective volunteer is not to be discouraged by cynical generalizations about all overseas volunteering being unsustainable and damaging. It has become quite popular to badmouth overseas volunteering but this view is short-sighted and doesn’t consider the wide range of effective volunteering placements out there or the beneficial impacts that volunteers can make on the ground. However, in choosing a sending organization, be sure to closely examine its pricing information. A study by the Journal of Sustainable Tourism has found that those organizations with the highest fees are often the least effective so they recommend looking at transparency reports and accounts rather than just the cost. These should be available upon request. Second, look for an organization that needs a skill that you possess. For example, if you are volunteering with children, the sending organization should require you to have experience in this area. Third, it is recommended to contact previous volunteers who have experience with a particular organization. Responsible sending organizations should offer past volunteer testimonials and contact details. You are not going to ‘save the world’ in one summer but by contributing to the work of an ethical charity or non-profit, you can make a positive impact on the life of the local community and gain a first-hand global perspective on development issues and a cultural awareness that would not be achieved otherwise. That is why I believe ethical overseas volunteering is one of the best things you can do during your time in college. To those considering volunteering, I advise thinking and planning responsibly about why and how you are going to volunteer and be sure to read the Volunteer Charter produced by Comhlámh. To those volunteers who have decided that they are going overseas this summer – good luck and enjoy!
ceithre uair ar mhéad d’fhigiúr na bhfear go gcoimeádann siad gach rud i dtaisceadáin ina dhiaidh na coire. Go ginearálta, feictear go mbíonn an-tionchar ar na híospartaigh mar gheall ar choireanna mar seo. Go luath ina dhiaidh, is iad na mothúcháin is coitianta ná fearg, frustrachas agus eagla ach éiríonn na mothúcháin níos measa fós le himeacht ama. Sé seachtainí is scór i ndiaidh dóibh fáil amach faoin ngoid, deir an chuid is mó de na híospartaigh ar cuireadh ceist orthu mar chuid den suirbhé gur mhothaigh siad cráite agus éadóchasach faoi. Téann an imní seo i bhfeidhm ar a shláinte na ndaoine seo, agus d’admhaigh an tromlach go raibh fadhbanna codlata acu, gur mhothaigh siad neirbhíseach i gcónaí, nach mbíodh fonn ithe orthu, go raibh athrú meáchain acu nó go mbíodh siad ag fulaingt le tinnis cinn. Cé go laghdaíonn na fadhbanna maidir le heaspa codlata i ndiaidh na sé seachtaine is fiche, ardaíonn na mothúcháin imní. Molann safecard.ie, suíomh idirlín a bhunaigh Eagraíocht
na hÉireann um Sheirbhísí Íocaíochta, gur chóir dúinn ar fad ar bheith ag faire amach i gcónaí dár gcuntais bhainc le muid féin a chosaint ar an gcontúirt seo, agus a bheith ar an airdeall ach go háirithe faoi íocaíochtaí beaga a bheith ag teacht amach as cuntas, rud a bheidh níos deacra a aithint amach anseo agus muid anois in ann costais bheaga a íoc gan uimhir aitheantais phearsanta, fiú. I saol seo an lae inniu, agus iad ag súil le leanbh, bíonn tuismitheoirí ag caitheamh seachtain i ndiaidh seachtaine ag breathnú trí leabhair ainmneacha leis an ainm “foirfe” a roghnú. Ní chabhróidh ainm “foirfe” leat áfach má éiríonn le strainséir do chuid sonraí agus d’aitheantas a ghoid. Is bocht an scéal é go gcaithfidh muid a bheith chomh hairdeallach céanna faoin a ndéanaimid, go háirithe agus sonraí pearsanta i gceist, ach is cinnte gurbh fhearr liom é sin a dhéanamh na Frances Mulraney eile ag bheith ag siúl thart.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
William Foley explores the polarised reaction to Julian Assange and argues that both sides are wrong.
In the name of the father Rachel Lavin pleads the case of the father and his right to equality in the home.
A Rachel Lavin Staff Writer
glass ceiling exists in Irish society for women climbing to the top of their careers. Women are consistently under-represented on boards of management and in politics, and earn less than men in general. In 2010 women were only 22% of business leaders and are currently only 15% of the Dáil. While initiatives, such as gender quotas, help women get to the top (i.e. the Electoral Bill 2011, which incentivizes a 30% quote for female party politicians) they fail to address on a broader scale why so many men can climb higher than women and why those women fall behind men mid-career which ultimately leaves them trapped under the glass ceiling in the first place. We cannot help women to advance without examining the wider structural difficulties preventing women from closing the pay gap or breaking the glass ceiling. Aside from cultural gender constructs and prejudices being tackled we also need to deal with the unavoidable issue of biology. Pregnancy and motherhood take an unequal toll on a woman’s career and how we deal with this disadvantage needs to be taken into account when tackling the gender imbalance for women in the workplace. Currently women are entitled by law to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave under Irish Law. This means that women take up to ten months out of their careers for maternity leave per child. There is however no male equivalent. Paternity leave is not recognized in employment law and employers are not obliged to grant male employees special leave on the birth of their child, either paid or unpaid. At most, fathers in the civil service are entitled to just 3 days leave with pay but outside of that paternity leave is entirely at the discretion of the employer. Maternity Leave is essential to women, from the perspective of their medical recovery after the birth and breast-feeding. However, after an initial period of recovery, maternity leave only exists to allow to bonding time with her child and the special care newborn babies require. So why is this extended leave exclusive to women? Aside from the initial biological aspect of recovery, there is no clear reason why women should be the sole beneficiaries of bonding time with their child, or why they should have the sole responsibility of caring for their child. Here biological differences end and gender constructs on parenting roles begin. The early patterns of childcare, and associated housework, that emerges in the first few months are surprisingly permanent. A study in 2010 by the European commission found that the employment rate of women with children drops 18.8% lower than those without children. Instead, women’s working roles are transferred to the domestic sphere. A recent Europe-wide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that women on average spend almost five hours doing unpaid housework, more than double that of men. Meanwhile as women drop out of the work force, men start to work more, as it was also found that men do paid work for six hours per day, which is double that of the woman’s average. When women become the primary carers of both their children and their homes, this affects their personal career potential while leaving men more free to pursue career goals. Thus, when women become pre-occupied with the
Editorial Elaine McCahill Editor
Last Saturday most of us gazed misty-eyed at television screens as an emotional Brian O’Driscoll was named man-of-the-match and walked laps of the Aviva with his daughter Sadie in tow. Whether you have an avid interest in rugby or not, O’Driscoll is a ubiquitous presence when it comes to Irish sport. He has such a likeable and endearing demeanour that many of us feel we have shared both the heartbreak and the joy of his incredible sporting career. He leads a fascinating life, all the more so for his seemingly perfect family life with his actress wife, Amy Huberman and their adorable offspring. However, while many of us were still indulging in nostalgia and discussing his best moment, the Irish women’s rugby team and current Six Nation Grand Slam title holders as it happens, also lined out against Italy at the Aviva Stadium. Saturday also happened to be International Women’s Day, yet the ladies game
Gender constructs dictate that men are the breadwinners and part of the lack of paternity leave in Ireland is the stigma that somehow being a ‘stay-at-home’ dad makes them ‘less of a man’. When the new child comes, the imbalance in housework and childcare roles resulting from new patterns established during maternity leave can cause a strain on parents’ relationships, particularly if their lives before children had involved more equal domestic roles. Overall men deserve a chance to enjoy their new fatherhood just as much as women deserve not to be disadvantaged by motherhood."
"The pomp and spectacle, the sponsorship, the money, the journalists, the television networks all push male sports to the forefront and thereby dictate what is presented to the masses."
majority of housework and childcare at the height of their careers, this contributes to both the pay gap, in that they work less and the glass ceiling, in that they struggle to climb higher. This disadvantage of the responsibilities of childcare and housework that maternity places on a woman don’t just limit women at the height of their careers, it has a trickle-down effect to those women just starting out. If an employer is presented with a young woman and a young man of equal ability at interview for a new job, and the woman has an engagement ring on her finger, this signals future marriage, and probably maternity leave and thus alarm bells to the employer. It is in the employer’s best interest to choose the man, as if he hires the woman he can expect to have to pay maternity leave possibly multiple times within the first few years of employment. Not only is paying maternity leave costly and disruptive to the work flow but replacing that woman is an added cost too. Therefore it is not merely discrimination to hire the man over the woman who will not be taking time off when a new baby comes along, it is simply good business sense. However, the discrimination associated with maternity leave does not just affect women. While women are disadvantaged in their careers by this imbalance, men are also severely disadvantaged in their personal family life when not entitled to paternity leave. They miss crucial bonding time with their newborn baby as well as learning how to take care of that child in the same way the mother does. Gender constructs dictate that men are the breadwinners and part of the lack of paternity leave in Ireland is the stigma that somehow being a ‘stay-at-home’ dad makes them ‘less of a man’. When the new child comes, the imbalance in housework and childcare roles resulting from new patterns established during maternity leave can cause a strain on parents’ relationships, particularly if their lives before children had involved more equal domestic roles. Overall men deserve a chance to enjoy their new fatherhood just as much as women deserve not to
be disadvantaged by motherhood. The effects of these seemingly personal domestic balances in family life have far-reaching consequences. An equal amount of paternity leave to maternity leave would be an important step in deconstructing gender pay gaps and glass ceilings as well as offering men and women a happier home life and equal roles as parents, so that neither are missing out. There is a demand there too. A survey by the Family Support Agency reported 86% of respondents agreed that fathers should have the right to take paid paternity leave on the birth or adoption of a new baby. Both the Irish Men’s Network and the National Women’s Council of Ireland are actively campaigning to bring about paternity leave in Ireland and there are many international models to follow as well as methods to avoid. In an effort to help women, Sweden and Germany offered women more than a year of maternity leave but over time this proved to reinforce the glass ceiling as managers became more and more reluctant to hire women fearing their disappearance to motherhood for long periods of time. Some countries offered a ‘neutral leave’ that could be taken by either parent but this always became maternity leave regardless. Some countries decided to offer more money to men to take paternity leave which helped men maintain their ‘breadwinner’ image of themselves. Many also chose a ‘Use it or lose it’ tactic, offering men specifically a certain amount of extra leave. This proved a strong incentive because in refusing that paternity leave families felt they were losing out. Perhaps the model adopted by Quebec and California could offer Ireland the best results, both personally and socially. Both made it legal that 5 weeks leave without pay and 6 weeks leave with pay respectively could only be taken by the father. Since the law came into place both have seen radical shifts in parenting leave. While in Quebec in 2001 only 10% of fathers took paternity leave, by 2010 that had risen to 80%. California saw similar results. Paternal leave was 18.7% in 2005/06 and rose to 31.3% in 2012/13.
did not follow that afternoon, instead RTE offered live coverage of the Scotland v. France game. I’m sure many will throw out the usual arguments when the lack of coverage for women’s sports gets mentioned: lack of interest from both men and women, less skill and aggression and overall less physicality. When discussing the lack of interest in women playing sport, many tie it to preconceived gender roles. Society and the media for the most part, dictate what our interests are and what receives coverage as a result, and unfortunately the success of the male is still of the utmost importance to society. The pomp and spectacle, the sponsorship, the money, the journalists, the television networks push male sports to the forefront and thereby dictate, for the most part, what is presented to the masses. If there is no female soccer, rugby or camogie games shown on the major television networks or written about in the national papers, then it so much less like to pique your interest and only the resolute fans will seek out the coverage online or through smaller tv channels. Of course, the most recent exception to this
argument is the meteoric rise of boxer Katie Taylor. She was the sporting heroine Ireland was crying out for. She is dedicated, talented and most importantly she brought us to the forefront of international glory through her incredible Olympic win. It’s been a long time since any female sports star caught the public’s imagination like she did. It’s fantastic that young girls and teenagers have a powerful, talented athlete to look up to and aspire to replicate. However, she had to achieve the absolute best before she garnered much attention or recognition. Thinking back on my childhood when I was an avid swimmer, Michelle de Brun was my idol until of course, it all went sour. I played numerous sports but yet it was posters of the male Tipperary hurling players that covered the walls of my childhood bedroom. Even if you look at one of the biggest hits of the early 2000s, Bend It Like Beckham, a movie that is dominated by women and their desire for independence, the female lead, Jess, aspires to be like David Beckham and her bedroom walls are covered with his picture. There is no female alternative. While I admit that there is less
"An equal amount of paternity leave to maternity leave would be an important step in deconstructing gender pay gaps and glass ceilings as well as offering men and women a happier home life and equal roles as parents, so that neither are missing out. There is a demand there too. A survey by the Family Support Agency reported 86% of respondents agreed that fathers should have the right to take paid paternity leave on the birth or adoption of a new baby."
interest among women in general about soccer, there are blatant inequalities in sports that interest men and women equally. For example, for years there was a striking difference in the prize money awarded to the female winners at Wimbledon in comparison to what was awarded to the male players. From 2007, the decision was made to award the same money for both events although many still argue that women should win less money as they only play three sets. This issue is one that is often debated during panel discussions about inequality in sport. At the National Media Conference held last November, Cliona Foley of the Irish Independent noted that there needs to be a change in the societal perception that men know something about sport that women don’t. She also noted that women are very rarely assigned to cover or analyse men’s sports and this makes it even harder for women to break into sports journalism. A similar point was made at the UCC Journalism conference held last month, where the current Interiors Editor of the Irish Examiner, Esther McCarthy, spoke about how she was always
Not only are more fathers getting to spend time with their families but it’s changing the way men and women live. Domestically, men who take paternity leave are found to be more involved in their child’s care, such as bathing them, changing their nappies and putting them to bed. Overall it benefits both the workplace and the home. As women can spend more time on paid work, men can spend more time with their family and the domestic/workplace balance becomes more equal for both men and women. Women with partners who take paternity leave were more likely to return to work and work full-time, even coming to spend considerable more hours on paid work than those whose partners had not taken paternity leave. So even on a wider scale paternity leave puts men and women on an equal playing field later on in their careers when it comes to advancing to senior positions. Thus in helping women work longer, they can move up higher and thus it can help close the gendered pay gap and break through the glass ceiling. These measures will ultimately have a positive trickledown effect when it comes to the engagement ring problem. If both men and women are expected to take equal time off as parents when children come along, an employer will look at prospective male and female employees equally, rather than having to take into account the extra cost a woman could incur over a man. Thus overall, with equal amounts of maternity and paternity time motherhood no longer has to come at the cost of one’s career, and being a man doesn’t have to cost one to lose precious time with their newborn children. As Lisa Mundy of The Atlantic Magazine commented ‘“It makes men more involved at home, women more involved at work, and workplaces friendlier for all parents.”Ultimately if both men and women, as fathers and mothers, work the same amount of time and have equal responsibilities in the home then pay gaps should narrow and maybe then we’ll start to see the glass-ceiling crack.
pushed to write ‘pink’ features such a beauty or fashion pieces even though she repeatedly asked to cover sporting events. She played five-a-side soccer and had an avid interest in both the local and international leagues and yet was never allowed to cover them. It can’t be that there are tiny numbers of women who are interested in sport and want to watch other women play or even report on it. It should not be about comparing female athletes to their male counterparts, their should be a recognition and respect for what they achieve within their own leagues. For the most part, the lack of interest in female sports teams or individuals is due to the constructs of gender in our society and how this structural inequality is then disseminated by the media and society across the board. If the same machinery was put behind the Irish women’s rugby team, I don’t believe we’d be switching over to the France v. Scotland game and wouldn’t it be great to see the same send-off that Brian O’Driscoll received on Saturday awarded to a woman and she was able to walk laps of the pitch in pride with her child in her arms.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Conor McGlynn bemoans the dreariness of postmodern manifestos in comparison to the modernist ones of the early 20th century.
Is Fairtrade really a fair trade?
“I Rachel Graham Staff Writer
Rachel Graham ponders whether Fairtrade is a worthy cause or a marketing scam. f we could just convince every family in the country who shops in our supermarket to put a few Fairtrade products in their shopping trolley over the next few years…”, droned the radio guest, and the presenter agreed. What a great and important cause it was – sure wouldn’t the world be saved if we could just get every schoolchild eating Fairtrade bananas on their lunch break by the year 2020? I was coming home from Leitrim in the rain, which perhaps only sharpened the cynicism drawn forth by listening to Irish radio, so I admit that my reaction to the lovely, well-meaning, Fairtrade banana-eating people on the radio was pretty harsh. But it did make me wonder about the business of Fairtrade, something I hadn’t looked into too much since school when we were told something like “there are poor farmers in poor parts of the world and we get most of our goods from them but we’re not very nice to them, and Fairtrade makes it better”. Sounds good, right? Sure does. As I got a bit older Fairtrade started to develop connotations of fashion and wealth (the Western variety). Starbucks sells fair-trade coffee – which adds some ethical chic to the exorbitantly priced, cosmopolitan vibe – as does Insomnia, Bewleys, and upmarket supermarkets such as Marks and Spencers. The label has essentially come to denote high quality and high-priced goods, packaged with a moral freebie. So what is fair trade? It’s not one charity or organisation; the term describes a social movement that concerns itself with establishing trading partnerships with poor farmers in developing countries that assure them a better price for their raw goods than they would receive on the open market, and a more transparent trading process with buyers in the West. The idea is to do something to make up for the fact that many producers of primary goods worldwide are in poverty and work in terrible conditions. Their livelihoods dangle at the whim of the international markets by which they are perennially exploited and exposed to disruptive instability through the rising and falling of prices. In practice, the movement is made up four major networks that act as certifying organisations. The group which we see at work in Ireland and the UK, and indeed the most prominent organisation
“As I got a bit older Fairtrade started to develop connotations of fashion and wealth (the Western variety). Starbucks sells fair-trade coffee – which adds some ethical chic to the exorbitantly priced, cosmopolitan vibe – as does Insomnia, Bewleys, and upmarket supermarkets such as Marks and Spencers. The label has essentially come to denote high quality and high-priced goods, packaged with a moral freebie.”
internationally, is Fairtrade International, FLO. This is the group which licenses the products you see with the blue, green and black logo on them to call themselves Fairtrade-certified. The Fairtrade Foundation sets minimum environmental, political and workingcondition standards that producers must prove adherence to in order to gain permission to use the Fairtrade label. These producers are usually large cooperatives. Packaging firms in the importing country then pay a fee to the Fairtrade Foundation to use the brand and logo. Are there problems with Fairtrade? Many critics think so. Most worries stem from issues relating to the lack of adherence to standards, the lack of proper impact reports, the lack of transparency in the Fairtrade Foundation, and economic issues to do with the business and marketing model. Let’s look at a couple of them. Firstly, there is great uncertainty as to whether or not individual farmers’ wages actually do increase when they sell their products as Fairtrade. If not, it would seem that reality is at odds with the basic tenet of the movement – that producers get a fair price for their produce. The issue is that the Fairtrade Foundation license cooperatives – not individual farmers – and it is the cooperative that gets paid a standard premium per unit of coffee that they sell. This premium can go towards a number of things: social projects, covering costs incurred by meeting production standards stipulated by Fairtrade, or increasing farmers’ wages. There is little or no evidence to suggest that the premium goes towards boosting farmer’s production. In fact, the wages of individual farmers may decrease when they sell their products through Fairtrade certified cooperatives, due to inefficiency of the cooperatives or due to the cooperatives’ prioritising of other projects. There is evidence to suggest that a significant amount of the premium may go towards covering the costs incurred by meeting Fairtrade’s production standards. Though only some of the produce that a cooperative sells each year can be sold under the Fairtrade scheme (depending on the particular level of demand that year), but all of what they produce must meet Fairtrade standards. This means that in some cases cooperatives end up selling produce with a
relatively high production cost on the open market for no extra benefit. Much of the burden of these extra costs are also incurred down the line by the individual farmers who supply the cooperative but who can only sell a small fraction of their produce as Fairtrade in any given year. In fact, some farmers are faced with the possibility of earning less than they would have if they sold directly to private traders, leaving them less well off than they were before they started selling to Fairtrade cooperatives. A second qualm that might arise relates to how Fairtrade operates on the other end of the chain. When you buy a Fairtrade chocolate bar from your local shop, you’re probably buying it because you want to benefit poor farmers in a way that you wouldn’t be by buying a multipack of imitation Milkyways, and you think it’s worth the considerably higher price to do so. But where is the profit from that extra-large mark up going? The simple answer is: you don’t know. The likelihood is that almost all of it is going to wherever you happen to be buying your Fairtrade treats. Fairtrade doesn’t monitor how much more certified goods are sold for than identical un-certified goods in the importing countries, which allows shops to charge you hugely inflated prices for products which are only benefitting the producer a small fraction more than much cheaper items being sold in the same shop. This lack of monitoring means importing firms in the West can make huge profits from Fairtrade goods while passing on only tiny fractions of that profit to the cooperatives in exporting countries. When you take into account the possibility of the exporters not always being paid the agreed Fairtrade price for their goods (something which researchers in Berkeley found substantial evidence for), this begins to look like a pretty big problem. Even if buying Fairtrade products is a consumer choice that means more money gets back to poor countries, it still appears to be a consumer choice that benefits wealthy MNCs and suppliers in developed countries to a hugely disproportionate degree. Even the Fairtrade Foundation itself, which most consumers probably think of as a charity, is constituted of a non-profit and for-profit arm. The for-profit arm, FLO-CERT, handles inspections of exporting
“There are many other problems people have with Fairtrade, such as creating distortions in the market, a lack of transparency, the fact that it works with farmers in the middle income bracket and excludes the poorest farmers (due to the costs involved in becoming Fairtrade certified), they sapping of social capital away from more radical projects, and the complaint that it simply reconciles poor farmers to their conditions without helping them to gain real mobility or independence.”
cooperatives and licensing fees, arguably acting as nothing more than a large and profitable marketing organization. FLO-CERT is predictably not the arm of Fairtrade International that you come across if you google search ‘fairtrade’. There are many other problems people have with Fairtrade, such as creating distortions in the market, a lack of transparency, the fact that it works with farmers in the middle income bracket and excludes the poorest farmers (due to the costs involved in becoming Fairtrade certified), they sapping of social capital away from more radical projects, and the complaint that it simply reconciles poor farmers to their conditions without helping them to gain real mobility or independence. All of these issues are worth looking into if you are a regular consumer of Fairtrade products. But at the end of the day, are Fairtrade deniers just desperate to rain on the parade? Is the wealth of Fairtrade criticism just another manifestation of our desire to be critical, cynical and superior about things going on in the world, even when good things are happening? Perhaps. Even if the criticisms listed above are valid, most agree that Fairtrade has brought monetary and social benefits to places where it is active. Even if farmers’ wages don’t increase - or don’t increase by much - under Fairtrade schemes, cooperatives being able to sell their produce at stable prices is arguably more important than them being able to sell at high prices. It is the income stability that allows for longterm planning and development, which can benefit the community at large when educational and sports facilities are invested in by the cooperatives. Even if the West benefits more from Fairtrade than the countries it purports to help, that doesn’t cancel out the help that is being provided. Whatever your conclusion, I suppose it all depends on what carries more weight with you when you’re sipping your Starbucks coffee: that you’re buying into the successful and arguably misleading marketing scheme of a Western multinational company in the name of charity, or that in a very small way you’re helping a poor farming community to make a little more money than they did before.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Are we gendering rape? Peter O’Donovan questions perceptions about sexual violence against men.
I Peter O’Donovan Contributor
’m sure many current Trinity students recall the “Don’t be that guy” campaign that was run last year to try to reduce rates of sexual assault among college students. For those who weren’t here at the time, or who don’t remember, the campaign involved a series of posters discouraging men from taking advantage of drunk or incapacitated women (or occasionally other men) for sex. As a first year, I liked the simple, straightforward message the campaign had, as well as the way it focused on changing the behaviour of perpetrators rather than victims of sexual violence. But something about it always bugged me. It was only after the posters were taken down that I worked out what my problem with the campaign was: why, exactly, were all the perpetrators depicted as male? One of the man y reasons I’m so grateful that my parents sent me to a mixed secondary school was that growing up alongside the “opposite sex” gave me a chance to learn, early on, just how wrong modern stereotypes about male and female sexuality are. In my experience, how an individual feels about sex and sexuality typically has little to do with their gender and much more to do with who they are as an individual. Some people are hypersexual, others are chaste, most people fall
somewhere in between. Societal pressures may make men somewhat more assertive than they would otherwise be, and women more passive, but there is only so big of an impact that societal narratives can have on people’s actions. So the idea that sexual assault and rape were almost solely male perpetrated (I’ve had figures like 98% or 99% quoted at me) always struck me as a little weird. Recently, I did a bit of research on the issue, and discovered something that I think most people would find shocking. The gender split on sexual violence perpetration may have nothing to do with men being, on average, stronger than women. It may have nothing to do with patriarchal gender norms telling men to be aggressive and women to be submissive. It might all be down to the legal definition of the word rape. Commonly quoted rape statistics are usually based on anonymous surveys, rather than actual reports of the crime, since rape is widely acknowledged to be a vastly underreported crime. The problem is that these surveys are still often founded on the legal definition of rape – a definition which, in many countries (including England), explicitly excludes the possibility of a female perpetrator. A more gender neutral, but still problematic definition used
The gender split on sexual violence perpetration may have nothing to do with men being, on average, stronger than women. It may have nothing to do with patriarchal gender norms telling men to be aggressive and women to be submissive.”
by several countries and bodies, including Ireland and the FBI, is that rape is about the “penetration” of the victim’s body. This definition unfortunately leaves out cases in which a victim of sexual violence is “forced to penetrate” their attacker (if anyone is confused about the mechanics of this, it’s worth noting that male erections are, contrary to popular belief, involuntary reactions to physical stimuli, and an unwilling man can be forced to maintain an erection). Some studies, however, do use a genuinely gender neutral term, that term being “sexual coercion”. The most detailed resource I have been able to find regarding female perpetrated sexual violence is a paper entitled “References examining men as victims of women’s sexual coercion”, by Martin S. Fiebert (which can be accessed via link.springer.com). This paper lists forty previous studies from the last thirty years, some of which asked women about whether they had ever committed an act of sexual violence and some of which asked men about their experiences of being sexually coerced. Some of the papers also detail the methods of sexual coercion used, which include verbal coercion, physical force, drugging, blackmail and threats with a weapon (verbal coercion is the
most common method, weapons the least common method). Their results often stand in contrast to common perceptions of how sexual violence occurs – one study found that 14% of men (compared to 29% of women) in a sample taken at Rutgers University had been “forced to have intercourse against their will”. Another found that 9.3% of women admitted to “using aggressive strategies to coerce a man into sexual activities”. Also worth looking at is a study entitled “Predictors of sexual coercion against women and men: A multilevel, multinational study of University students” by Denise A. Hines. This study found that 2.1% of male college students reported “being forced to have vaginal sex”, compared to 1.6% of female college students reporting the same (it’s worth remembering that roughly 60% of college students are female, so higher rates of male victimisation are actually to be expected). Unfortunately, the studies quoted above only look at men who have been raped by women (under the colloquial definition of rape as “forced sex”). They contain little information about how often women are victims of sexual violence from other women. Little research appears to have been done on this subject outside of women’s prisons, though the work that has been
done in maximum security womens’ prisons in the US suggests that rates of inmate-on-inmate sexual assault are equally high in women’s and men’s prisons. Studies on “sexual coercion” do usually (though not always) find that the majority of sexual violence is male perpetrated and that the majority of victims are female. The extent to which studies conducted in other countries on female-penetrated sexual violence apply in an Irish context is unclear. But the split is clearly not in any way as big as it is usually assumed to be. And in light of evidence suggesting that perpetrators of sexual violence often have a history of being sexually abused, analysing rape and sexual assault as solely a “male” problem may actively impede efforts to reduce rates of sexual violence. Caring for victims of sexual violence and providing them with effective legal recourse, regardless of their gender or the gender of their attacker, may well be a key step in making a real dent in the unacceptably high levels of sexual assault that occur on college campuses throughout the world. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the following organisations may be able to help: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Niteline.
Winter in Kiev Niall McGlynn skewers the hypocrisy of western posturing over the Ukrainian crisis.
I Callum Jenkins Staff Writer
n the recent discussion and analysis of the situation in Ukraine regarding how to “punish” Russia for violating the country’s sovereignty and for its military aggression in the Crimea, the arguments have painted the crisis as a test of strength between the West and Russia. The questions are all about how will the West, how will America, how will Barack Obama appear to Russia if they back down? What will happen to the West’s credibility in other situations if we allow Russia to “win” in the Ukraine? How can we claim to be a bastion of democracy and freedom if we ignore the new Ukrainian government’s pleas to move closer to us, to join us? All of these questions ignore the most important aspect of the crisis in Ukraine: the consequences of any action for the Ukrainian people themselves. It is true that people have risen up and overthrown their corrupt and proRussian government, but this does not make them pawns in a geopolitical chess match, nor does it mean that a full drive towards EU/NATO membership and other tokens of being in the West is necessarily the best course for their country. The fact remains that all of Ukraine’s energy imports and the larger part of its trade come from Russia. It
“It is true that people have risen up and overthrown their corrupt and pro-Russian government, but this does not make them pawns in a geopolitical chess match, nor does it mean that a full drive towards EU/ NATO membership and other tokens of being in the West is necessarily the best course for their country.”
might be easy now to encourage the Ukrainians to defy Moscow, but what about in eight months’ time, when temperatures start to fall below zero and the Russian’s turn off the lights and the heat? They have done it before, and they will not hesitate to do it again. In Kiev, where winter temperatures average -6 degrees centigrade with record lows of -27, cutting off heat and electricity could literally be fatal, to say nothing of other more remote areas of the country. Ukraine’s economy is already heavily in debt and struggling. Breaking trade and economic links with Russia, which has been the country’s traditional financial backer, could cause a massive slump, with associated drops in income and employment. Long lines at shops and welfare offices coupled with no power or heat are real world problems which are utterly divorced from the calculations of politicians in Moscow, Brussels and Washington. They are also far more important. The West’s credibility and standing in the world are simply non-issues when compared to the very real and very likely human suffering that will be caused if relations between Russia and Ukraine continue to deteriorate. The fact of the matter is that this
crisis must be resolved through dialogue between the Ukraine and Russia, without outside interference. The two countries are too closely linked economically, culturally and socially for them to have a clean separation of paths and goals. For better or for worse, the Ukraine and Russia will have a close and complicated relationship for the foreseeable future. Attempting to completely restructure this tangle of economic, political and social ties in such a short period will lead to hardship and suffering for ordinary Ukrainians. Intangible international relations goals are simply not worth that price. If the Ukrainian people want to chart a path towards the West then they can and will chart that path themselves, but they will have to keep in mind their relationship with their neighbours to the east. Their efforts will not be helped by inflammatory rhetoric from western national leaders, and policies that can only worsen relations between the west and Russia and between the Ukraine and Russia. What Western, and particularly European countries now need to do is focus on helping to construct a dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, and avoiding precipitous moves like sanctions or economic retaliation against Russia. It goes
“Breaking trade and economic links with Russia, which has been the country’s traditional financial backer, could cause a massive slump, with associated drops in income and employment. Long lines at shops and welfare offices coupled with no power or heat are real world problems...”
without saying that all economies are fragile, but the economies of Europe and Ukraine are particularly so. Starting a round of economic tit-for-tat with Russia is going to hurt everyone and achieve nothing except inflict a very cold winter on a lot of people. The Russians may be aggressive, militaristic and expansionist neighbours, but they are our neighbours. We cannot afford to start pointless disputes with them over issues of appearance or credibility. This of course goes doubly for the Ukraine. This crisis will be, must be settled by diplomacy. The consequences if it is not may be far more dire than imagined. The only question is, how long will it take for everyone to stop posturing and sit down to deal? For the sake of the cold winters in Kiev, we can only hope that the answer comes very soon.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Oisin Coulter, argues that the SU should support a boycott of Israel.
Being against same-sex marriage isn’t homophobic Ciara O’Rourke questions whether it is tactically and morally best to condemn opponents of same-sex marriage as homophobes.
Ciara O’Rourke Contributor
few weeks ago, I was Googling same-sex marriage when I came across a piece by Yasmin Nair. In it she says: “Denying marriage to some is denying them their ability to love or to have their love affirmed? If your love depends upon the recognition of the state, your relationship is in greater trouble than you think. Poor people will somehow benefit from marriage by accessing healthcare through their partners? Poor people’s problems don’t arise from their inability to get married, and in a country without universal healthcare, marriage only compounds your poverty.” According to her and others who agree with her, marriage equality is a cause that is shaped by an inegalitarian, heterosexist society. This raises a few questions. Would supposedly heteronormative goals make you homophobic? Am I homophobic because I am in favour of marriage equality? Is Nair homophobic because she is against marriage equality? What is it about arguments against same-sex marriage equality that make them fundamentally homophobic? I think that these questions are interesting in the light of recent events in Ireland. In spite of my own convictions on marriage equality I’ve grown increasingly ill at ease with the tone of the debate, whereby those who take a stance against marriage equality are denounced as homophobes. The antagonism that has been generated in tandem with this trend is unnecessary and should be avoided. Most of the views to which I object do not come from participants in public debate – I find them instead among the onlookers. Although these views are neither accepted by the majority of the population, according to polls, nor endorsed by many gay rights activists, they have gained enough traction to be worth addressing. In addition to this, there has also been a shift towards an ‘us and them’ dynamic in the mainstream media. Rory O’Neill
Now, one of the main group advocates of this stance is a collective provocatively named “Against Equality”. Its founder, Ryan Conrad, objects to gay marriage for reasons similar to Nair’s: gay marriage just feeds inequality by reemphasizing the importance of marriage and its supposed superiority over other kinds of relationships, and further strengthening economic inequality and marriage privileges.”
has gone from saying that everyone’s a little homophobic but being homophobic doesn’t make you a bad person in his Nobel Call speech, to saying, in this newspaper, that same-sex marriage is something supported by “decent ordinary Irish people” and opposed by “ideologues”. He has called for a ban on the publishing and airing of anti-same sex marriage arguments. Una Mullally has said that anti-marriage equality rhetoric has been “directly responsible for physical and verbal attacks on gay people.” Opposing gay marriage is seen by some as being tantamount to saying that gay people deserve less than straight people, or even to saying that they are lesser beings. One writer, Joe Muneely sums up what, I believe, many people think: “By standing against same-sex marriage, by standing to oppose the freedom to love whomever we choose – you are a hypocrite if you declare the want and need for equality as you restrict others from their right to a life with love.” In conversation people go further, saying that these arguments are inherently hateful, and that the people who believe them a wish that LGBTQ people didn’t exist. But, in fact, we might find that there are legitimate questions to be debated. Since when has getting married been the only way to have a “life with love”? Is marriage a human or civil right? When people coming from a conservative perspective say “no” to both these questions, this is seen as a cover-up for homophobia. But the idea that marriage isn’t and shouldn’t be a right is perhaps more credible when it comes from the mouths of a radical minority in the gay-rights movement in the US. Opposition to gay marriage within the LGBTQ activist community was common enough in the 70s and 80s. It has since become much rarer. Now, one of the main group advocates of this stance is a collective provocatively named “Against Equality”. Its founder,
Ryan Conrad, objects to gay marriage for reasons similar to Nair’s: gay marriage just feeds inequality by reemphasizing the importance of marriage and its supposed superiority over other kinds of relationships, and further strengthening economic inequality and marriage privileges. He argues that LGBTQ people should be respected not because they are “just like every else”, but because it is possible to be different and to be equal anyway. There are others who have similar views although they don’t necessarily oppose the marriage equality movement. Arlene Stein argues that gay marriage will “benefit some queer people, diminish many of those who cannot and do not wish to marry, and have a negligible impact upon others.” Lynne Huffner, who wrote in the Huffington Post that “the marriage-equality movement produces new categories of discrimination, sanctifying ‘good’ gays and lesbians and legitimizing some relationships at the expense of others”. According to her, “Those others - the new deviants, the new abnormal - have all but disappeared from our political landscape.” She uses the example of a single lesbian mother, two 60 year old gay men in an unromantic friendship who share a flat to make ends meet, and a young transgender teenager and asks how marriage equality is going to help them. Arguments like these have already been briefly acknowledged by Rory O’Neill on BBC World’s ‘Have Your Say’ when he said that people who are against gay marriage are homophobic but not people who are against marriage. The group of people I have been discussing definitely fall into the latter category. Their arguments are different in most respects from those being discussed in Ireland today. But there is, perhaps, one common point: that marriage shouldn’t necessarily be a right, and that it is not a prerequisite for respect. These critiques highlight the conflation of
respect and equality with having access to marriage, and remind us that it is possible to believe in ‘different and but equal’ arguments without being insane. If the two really aren’t one and the same, then it is not incoherent to be against same-sex marriage and be in favour of gay people and gay rights. This gives some credence to the claim that those advocating against same-sex marriage are not trying to deny gay people human rights, and that there are other ways of bringing equality for LGBTQ people that wouldn’t involve marriage. It is surely therefore possible to be fully in favour of LGBTQ people, their sexuality and their love for their partners without being in favour of same-sex marriage. Shouldn’t we consider individual arguments rather than asserting that a conclusion necessarily stems from dark and dubious motives? Yet, among some people, the general consensus seems to be that it isn’t. At best you are a good person being influenced by hateful ideas, or someone protecting institutions that are fundamentally unequal purely because of an unconscious prejudice. This could end up creating an ‘us versus the homophobes’ scenario, which I think is harmful. Anyone can be LGBTQ; anyone can be ‘one of us’ and be ‘their’ friend, ‘their’ neighbour. These relationships shouldn’t have to be sacrificed if there is another way of doing things. Isn’t it important to emphasise to a young gay man whose parents are against gay marriage that they do not have this stance because who he is and what he does ‘makes them uncomfortable’? It is possible to avoid this and still say that they are wrong. Then why don’t we do that instead? Isn’t the best response to engage with other people’s arguments? If people who oppose same-sex marriage are manoeuvred into a defensive position, they are less likely to change their minds. Once it has been decided by your opponents that you are directly responsible
for gay people being beaten up on the streets, you are less likely to remain in dialogue with them. Many of the people saying that anti-same-sex marriage advocates should admit their mistakes are also saying that they should realise that they are homophobic, opposed gay people’s right to love and the very existence of LGBTQ people. Many of the accused know that this is not true, and these accusations will only make them less likely to doubt their views or take warmly to organisations such as LGBT Noise. If we are worried about allowing institutions like the Iona institute to access the media because they might be given too much control over it, then surely the best response is to make sure that marriage equality advocates get equal amounts of access to the media, rather than try to take the platform away from them. Rather than condemn their views as groundless, it would surely be better to really argue against these views, to show that gender doesn’t play a particularly important a role in parenting, and that surrogacy and artificial fertility methods are different issues from gay marriage. As I see it, the debate on marriage equality could go one of three ways. Same-sex marriage could remain illegal because of a majority vote against it, it could be legalised as a result of a campaign that maintains that people who disagree with us are homophobic, or marriage equality campaigners could ditch that tactic altogether and simply try to explain why they are right and change minds. If there is actually a possibility that the same-sex marriage referendum will not pass, engaging with people’s arguments and taking them in good faith is really the best way forwards. In this case, changing minds would be a necessity. In either of the two latter scenarios, it will be passed and LGBTQ couples will be able to marry. Shouldn’t we opt for the one that does not hurt people unnecessarily?
if anything. On the subject of lobbying, these incoming officers are due to enter into a deeply politicised year. The referendum mandating the SU to campaign on behalf of the legalisation of abortion in Ireland passed, and with a referendum about to hit the floor concerning direct provision for asylum seekers, Domhnall and co. will have plenty of campaigns to run. They will also be expected to lobby intensively for the Marriage Equality referendum being put to the Irish public in 2015. It’s a lot to handle; these are all important social issues, and clearly there are a number of students who feel the SU can mobilise and help to instigate change. Incoming president Domhnall McGlackenByrne repeatedly explained that he was “not a megaphone person” throughout the election, a stateent that may be troubling to those hoping that he will promote these mandated issues
(which will, probably, require a megaphone.) All SU candidates will undergo training on how to lobby issues during the summer. Hopefully, between now and September, they will have all become “megaphone” people. The dust has already settled on the elections. As quickly as the whole thing began, it suddenly ended, with posters seeming to disappear into the ether and campaign t-shirts most likely being burned on a post-election pyre. The people who become the focus of our attention over the course of two weeks return to their classes, lectures and the other banalities of college life, as can we. It’s all over folks, we can officially put the SU elections to bed. I am sure there are plenty out there who are letting out a sigh of relief.
Reflections on the SU elections Eva Short bemoans the chronic lack of politics in Trinity’s student politics
M Eva Short Staff Writer
y bedroom is, somehow, still littered with campaign literature. Weeks after the fact, after the votes have been counted and the future sabbatical officers decided, I still find myself almost slipping on manifestos and images of the hopeful candidates as I sleepily stumble from the bed to the bathroom at night. For a surreal two weeks, campus is subject to an almost hostile takeover by flyers and campaigners, vying for – no, in fact, demanding – your attention, and it is almost impossible to ignore them. Even those wholly indifferent to student politics are at least aware of what’s going on. Upon reflection, the elections this year were a tame affair. This is excepting, of course, the discussion surrounding the infamous picture of presidential candidate Jasper Pickersgill posing with a dead deer which graced the cover of the Piranha (which I have dubbed “Huntergate”). The picture, taken from Jasper Pickersgill’s Face-
book page, sparked controversy – though Pickersgill seemed to take the entire affair entirely on the chin, even making casual jokes about it. Nevertheless, these elections generally ran smoothly, to the detriment of those of us attempting to write about the subject. The results were, for the most part, utterly unsurprising. All successful candidates touted some sort of previous experience with the Student’s Union, be it as a faculty convenor, peer mentor, class rep or University Times section editor. These elections were, for the most part, merely a stepping stone along the paths they were already forging for themselves. The one surprise was the turn out - higher than ever, exceeding the TCDSU’s steady average of 4000 students. Were I to take a stab at guessing what caused this, I’d chalk it up to the two special interest referendums on the smoke free campus and abortion issues also taking place at the same time.
If I were an optimist, which I am not, I could interpret the quiet and painless election weeks as an entirely good thing. With no huge scandals, incendiary revelations or particularly heated hustings, it seems the candidates this year all approached their campaigns with professionalism and determination while maintaining friendly relations with their opposite numbers. This is true, but it does not mean there’s no room for concern. Excitement during election season can seem showy, even tacky, but it also is indicative of an exciting and dramatic political year. There is something enticing about the idea of a huge deviation from the status quo, of restructuring on a large scale, so it’s a little disappointing to see that the SU probably will not undergo much change this year. Proposed policies all aligned with the union’s typical trajectory and consist largely of tinkerings with pre-existing systems, small on the
ground tangible changes and - of course - a four year strategic plan. All positive, but not exactly a revolution. While the past experience of the candidates is definitely not a bad thing, it does call into question their ability to conceive fresh ideas and approaches. Successful Ents candidate Finn Murphy did, however, cause a stir at LGBT hustings when pointing out that a lot more could have been done by the Student’s Union to campaign in the lead up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, given the number of people sitting on the International Olympic committee. This was said in response to an audience member questioning the effectiveness of the TCDSU’s temporary ban on the sale of Coca-cola products on campus during the duration of the games. Whether he’ll continue to critically analyse and propose alternatives to the way the Student’s Union lobbies for issues is a different one entirely, but it inspires hope,
Tuesday 11th March 2014
The lost art of the manifesto
“W Conor McGlynn Deputy Comment Editor
Conor McGlynn bemoans the dreariness of postmodern manifestos compared with those of the great modernist movements of yesteryear. e stand on the last promontory of the centuries! […] Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed.” These are the words of the Italian poet Marinetti, written in 1909 as part of the Futurist manifesto. Futurism was the defining Italian art movement of the early 20th century, and it glorified in painting, sculpture and architecture the seemingly boundless possibilities offered by modern technology. While the legacy and influence of Futurism is undisputed, as a movement it fizzled out in the 1940s. It has since had a mixed response, mainly due to its support of fascism, and its identification with propaganda for Mussolini. One of its biggest contributions, however, was that it introduced the manifesto into the world of modern art. Manifesto writing was one of the hallmarks of avant-garde modernist art movements in the 20th century from the Futurists working in the 1910s and 20s, right on through to the experimental Dogme 95 film-making movement of the 1990s. Usually these manifestos declared the arrival of a new approach to art or a new motive for practicing it. The more ambitious would declare that their movement offered the hope for political freedom, emancipation, or even world peace. The underlying theme, however, was always the same: out with the old and in with the new. The first manifesto for Dada, the influential avant-garde art movement born out of the horrors of the First World War, was written and delivered by Hugo Ball in 1916. This manifesto reacted to the darker side of the mechanisation and technology espoused by the Futurists by embracing absurdity and mischief. A nonsense word, ‘Dada’ meant yes-yes in Russian and was French for hobbyhorse; it perfectly expressed the irreverence of the movement: “Dada m’dada. Dada mhm dada
da.” Dada was to influence another great art movement of the early 20th century: surrealism. The surrealists distributed two manifestos, one in 1924 and one in 1929, both written by the French poet André Breton. Like Dadaism, surrealism adopted absurdity and alienation as a political position. It further aimed to capture and to represent the actual workings of thought and thought-process, unmediated by imposed strictures of rationality. Characteristic of modernist movements the manifesto emphasised non-conformity and contrarianism for their own sake, and declared the movement exempt from moral and aesthetic standards. Later movements followed along similar lines, releasing manifestos which railed against that which had gone before (including some aimed at artistic movements which had previously produced manifestos railing at what had come before). The counterculture of the 1960s and 70s saw a blossoming of art movements, and consequently of manifestos. Feminist art movements such as SCUM (Society for Cutting up Men) and WAR (Women Artists in Revolution) produced some of the most incendiary and alternative manifestos, attacking both the current practice of art and art appreciation: “Absorbing ‘culture’ is a desperate, frantic attempt to groove in an ungroovy world, to escape the horror of a sterile, mindless, existence. `Culture’ provides a sop to the egos of the incompetent, a means of rationalizing passive spectating”. Cyber-punk and transhumanist manifestos became common in the 1980s, reflecting a broader cultural shift. Donna Haraway’s ‘Cyborg Manifesto’ embraces modern science as a way of overcoming societal problems such as gender inequality, and eerily echoes the Futurist manifesto 75 years before in its exuberant celebration of the human benefits of technological advancement. The last decade of the 20th century saw a manifesto advocating a return to traditional forms of film-making by the Dogme 95
film movement, co-written by Danish director Lars von Trier. The stated aim of the manifesto is to purify film-making by returning it to the basics of story, acting, and theme, and eschewing the use of elaborate special effects or editing. In many ways the goals and aims articulated by these different movements are extremely similar. They all express the same idea that they have a better, more honest, or simply a different way of making art. They strongly believed their art to be revolutionary, to be new, original, and able to effect change both in the world of art and society at large. This belief is recognisable in the polemic and impassioned wording of their manifestos, in the energy of the prose and the content. While it is questionable whether these movements had any impact outside of the art academies, the fervour and commitment of their proponents is not in doubt. Some new art movements do still release manifestos, using the internet as an easy means of dissemination, but in truth manifesto writing is a 20th century phenomenon. Relativism and tolerance are difficult notions to align with the unrestrained belief that only your approach is right, and that it is inherently better than what came before. The postmodern refusal to commit is an uneasy bedfellow to the modernist tendency towards grand statements and passionate selfbelief. This tension is reflected in the ironic, detached tone of many more recent art manifestos. The OK Art manifesto from 2001 opens with: ““OK art” is an OK idea, --not great, but not bad either.” The Manifesto of Virtual Art of 2010 closes on a similarly noncommittal note: “Contemporary art will be virtual, or it will not be.” As it was practiced in the 20th century, as a genuine expression without irony of an artist’s or a group of artists’ aspirations, manifesto writing is probably dead. A group who, like the Futurists, wrote zealously about the beauty of the internal combustion engine
and who sought to glorify war and revolution would appear to us as plainly silly. Even the Dadaists, whose only goal was absurdity, would seem naïve in their belief that they could break completely with the past. Contemporary art implicitly acknowledges the impossibility of genuine novelty and originality. It produces “new” artworks with the ironic recogni-
tion of how much they are just a reworking of past ideas. Perhaps this is a good thing – the singlemindedness of the Futurists resulted in their support of fascism in the run up to World War Two. With its acceptance of different viewpoints and it rejection of ideology, perhaps the postmodern position is the best, the most human position we can take. How-
ever, reading the Futurist manifesto you can’t help but feel that something has been lost as well. The energy and purpose of the writing is absent from discourse today. Without this single-minded political or artistic belief, 21st Century manifestos are soulless and dull.
The tale of the Duke porn star Elaine McCahill looks at the recent case of the Duke freshman student who was outed for appearing in adult movies in order to pay her college tuition.
Elaine McCahill Editor
y now I’m sure most of you will have heard of the Duke porn star. ‘Belle Knox’ is a freshman student of the prestigious American university and has garnered international fame or infamy, depending on your view, by starring in adult films in order to pay her $60,000 per annum tuition. But is this a case of an enlightened and empowered young woman embracing her female agency and making informed choices about her body or is she a ingenue who has been taken advantage of by the porn industry and doesn’t realise the ramifications of her life choices? Her classmates, the media and the general public in the guise of internet forums, naturally have plenty to say on the matter. Many insist that we should respect her choices and that she free to do with her body what she sees fit. Others, such as Time magazine, claim her choice to work in the porn industry will be one that will affect her for the rest of her life and not in a good way. It all began with a $20,000 bill for a semester’s tuition. Belle told Duke University’s daily student newspaper, The Chronicle that she googled ‘how to become a porn star’ and quickly began working in the industry, using her spare time during college holidays to film in Los Angeles. However, the unthinkable or not so unthinkable if the current data relating to porn use is to be believed, happened when a fellow student was watching a porn movie and recognised her in it. The figures relating to the porn industry online are incredible with sites receiving approximately 450 million visitors per month and the industry being worth over $13.3 billion in the US alone. Thomas Bagley, Belle’s fellow freshman who happened to recognise her and later revealed her secret, asked if it was her and she confessed and swore him to secrecy. Unfortunately, he later got drunk at a Frat House and spilled the beans to to those present. Word quickly spread and by the next morning, Belle had received 230 Facebook friend requests and her alter-ego, Aurora’s
Twitter account was overloaded with new followers. However, with the new followers also came a tirade of online abuse. Tweets such as “I found out a girl in our freshman class is a pornstar. I’ve now made it my goal to fuck her before I graduate”, quickly appeared alongside comments decrying her behaviour such as: “So being choked, spit on and degraded is now empowering? Feminist logic…I’d rather have my dignity and loans than work as a prostitute. I’m sure Daddy’s proud”. The Chronicle quickly sought an anonymous interview with her, which she immediately agreed to and in which she spoke about a variety of issues varying from tuition fees to feminism to female agency and her sexuality. In relation to Duke’s $60,000 per year tuition fees, she claimed that “she turns to to the adult film industry
to help supplement her financial aid.” In her interview with Playboy, the question of whether her choice to work in the porn industry was really because of the cost of education, she remained adamant that it was declaring that her “story is a testament to how fucking expensive school is. The fact that the only viable options to pay for college are to take out gigantic student loans, to not go to college at all or to join the sex industry really says something... We also need to stop looking at loans as a solution to fix our education system, because they’re crippling our economy.” She also spoke about her sexuality, admitting she’s bisexual and feels stifled at Duke: “I feel like girls at Duke have to hide their sexuality. We’re caught in this virgin-whore dichotomy,” she said. “Gender norms are very in-
tense here and I feel like that’s particularly carried out by frats. I think that being a woman at Duke is extremely difficult. I think that being a sexual woman at Duke is extremely difficult.” When asked why she didn’t work as a researcher or at a store, she claimed that she felt more empowered working in porn than she previously had while working as a waitress: “I worked as a waitress as a job for a year... but I was making $400 a month after taxes. I felt like I was being degraded and treated like s—t. My boss was horrible to me...To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum wage, blue-collar, low paying, service job than I ever did doing porn.” Following her interview with The Chronicle, she wrote a personal essay on the popular feminist site xojane.com. She claims that she
wanted to take control of the conversation as she felt she had been misrepresented by the student newspaper, who portrayed in part as caring as much about ipads and designer handbags as her college tuition: “...if people are going to talk about you, you might as well control the conversation and use it to start a dialogue, which in this case is about the abuses we inflict on sex workers.” While Belle has claimed that she “vehemently” wanted to have her privacy respected, she has gone on to do interviews with Playboy and Piers Morgan and has adopted the name Belle Knox to protect her identity. However, many are still questioning whether her choice is an inherently feminist one or a regressive one. Some commentators have noted that her case is a tough one for feminists, do they support her auton-
omy and female agency to do as she pleases or do they detract her for working in what is an inherently sexist industry that is know for degrading women. Ultimately though we can discuss her choices as much as we like and how they relate to feminism but the fact is that there has been a distinct inequality in all of this. Bagley, the boy who outed her secret profession, is lauded and has reportedly been offered $10,000 to appear in his own x-rated movie. No one has brought up the fact that he was watching and presumably enjoying the very porn that Knox has been demonised for appearing in. Yes she does things as part of her job that may not to be everyone’s taste, including rough sex and choking, but while she is on the end of a barrage of abuse because of it, the greater issue of the madonna-whore dichotomy is being lost. Many would argue that people enjoy this type of porn but they don’t like being confronted with the reality of female sexuality and individual female agency. The women in these movies are to remain objects of desire, unrealistic versions of the real thing but when the previously objectified women manifests herself in real life, she is suddenly the shedevil or a naive girl who has been taken advantage of. One thing that must take precedence in this discussion though is that she is still a young woman and deserves respect, not to be abused and torn apart by online commentators. As a later statement released by The Chronicle states: “Porn actress or not, Lauren should never have experienced vicious namecalling, strangers’ sexual claims to her body or the threat of sexual violence. No woman deserves such treatment, and yet too many Duke women experience it every day.” Lets remember that the next time we debate or denigrate someone else’s choice.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Luke McGuiness talks to the students behind the new campaign for Irish membership of Cern.
Boycott Israel Oisín Coulter argues that the TCDSU should support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel oppression of Palestinians.
N Oisín Coulter Contributor
elson Mandela once said: “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. One of the features of the mythologising of Mandela that surrounded his funeral was the manner in which any vaguely controversial ideas he held got airbrushed. His views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were not spared this treatment, most likely because the conflict is one of those odd issues whose discussion usually leaves people clearly split into two groups: those who feel they know about the issue, and therefore have strong opinions one way or another; and those who feel they don’t know about it but understand that it’s a divisive discussion and so avoid talking about it. I fall into the first group, and would bet that within a month the number of Trinity students in that camp will grow considerably. That’s because I’m attempting to collect the 250 signatures necessary to have the Students Union hold a referendum on the issue of Israel and our involvement with that state. But wait! While I can almost hear the sound of hundreds of students angrily turning the page at the thought of yet another referendum on some random issue the Students Union shouldn’t have a stance on, there are some compelling reasons why this issue is different. First, a statistic: between 2008 and October 2013, 911 Palestinians have been killed by drone strikes, many of them during Israel’s invasion of Gaza (Operation Cast Lead). So what, right? People get killed all the time in different countries, and while unfortunate, it’s none of our business. Except this time, it is our business. Catherine Healy of Trinity News recently reported that Trinity academics have participated in “aerospace” and “security” projects with Israeli companies, including Israeli drone manufacturers Elbit Security Systems. We, Trinity College Dublin, have assisted Israel in building the drones they use to kill Palestinian civilians and children. I don’t think there are enough degrees of separation there for me not to feel like there is blood on my hands, as someone who funds Trinity and the research it’s involved in with my student contribution each year. In broader terms, Irish universities worked with Israeli institutions on 257 academic projects, seven of them listed as “security” and 13 as “aerospace”. We cannot pretend that this conflict doesn’t have anything to do with us. And once we accept that, we need to ask ourselves some difficult questions about our connections with Israel. Imagine living every day of your life knowing that at any minute, someone you’d never met, far away from you, could fire a missile that would kill you and your family. This is the reality of living in Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan. It’s also true for those living in the Gaza Strip, a tiny enclave of Palestine, under siege
““Palestinians are tried by unaccountable military tribunals and are often convicted based upon evidence supplied by local military commanders. When in detention, even some of the youngest Palestinians (held for stone throwing) face torture and abuse. One, who was 14 when detained, describes what happened to him: “he grabbed my head and started banging it against the wall. Then he punched me, slapped me and kicked my legs. The pain was immense, and I felt like I couldn’t stand any longer […] He threatened to rape me, or perform sexual acts on me, if I didn’t confess to throwing stones.”””
by Israel. The siege is medieval in nature. The Israeli’s having built a “separation wall” that runs the entire length of the border, while the Egyptians have their own smaller wall. The situation in Gaza itself is awful. Power cuts are ever-present, with the sewage system broken as a result. Raw sewage floods the streets, and the Israeli blockade causes shortages of essentials such as fuel, food and medicine. Then there are the drones, a constant presence overhead. The Palestinians have nicknamed the constant buzzing they cause “zenana”, an Arabic term for a wife’s nagging. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, writing about the use of drones in Yemen and Pakistan, have suggested that their very presence could constitute a war crime due to the extreme psychological damage caused by the fear they create. But sadly for those living in the Gaza Strip, they don’t just fly overhead. They also fire missiles that kill, often indiscriminately. During another attack on Gaza in 2012, Operation Pillar of Defense, dozens of civilians were killed. Two-thirds of Palestinians killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) drones in November, 2012 were civilians. The justification for such killing is consistent: Israel is under threat from Palestinian terrorists that want to wipe it off the face of the earth. However, such arguments are not borne out by the facts. More Palestinians were killed by drones alone in eight days during the 2012 attack than Israelis were killed by rockets in eight years. The quantity and effectiveness of Palestinian attacks are so slight that Israel relies upon creating a perception of threat fostered by a pliant media in order to justify its repression. The response of the Israeli military to real or perceived threats is ridiculously disproportionate. According to B’Tselem (an Israeli human rights organisation regularly cited), in the past five years, Israeli security forces have killed 549 Palestinians. 81 were ‘minors’ (children), and a disputed but certainly high proportion were civilians. This dispute arises due to the objectively nebulous nature of Israeli definitions of ‘combatant’, often boiling down to being a male Palestine youth near suspected ‘militants’. But the crimes of the Israeli security forces are not limited to who they kill. Again according to B’Tselem, there are 6,499 Palestinians being held by Israeli security forces, 183 of them are minors, with 20 under the age of 16. Another 175 are being held in administrative detention, which allows for indefinite imprisonment without trial or reason given. Palestinians are tried by unaccountable military tribunals and are often convicted based upon evidence supplied by local military commanders. When in detention, even some of the youngest Palestinians (held for stone throwing) face torture and abuse. One, who was 14 when detained, describes what happened to him: “he grabbed my head and
started banging it against the wall. Then he punched me, slapped me and kicked my legs. The pain was immense, and I felt like I couldn’t stand any longer […] He threatened to rape me, or perform sexual acts on me, if I didn’t confess to throwing stones.” B’Tselem states: “The high number of reports B’Tselem has received regarding violent interrogations, and the fact that they span several years, gives rise to heavy suspicion that this is not a case of a single interrogator who chose to use illegal interrogation methods, but rather an entire apparatus…” Israel is repeatedly condemned by human rights organizations across the world. A major and growing source of concern is the system of effective apartheid in existence both in the occupied West Bank and Israel itself. The website of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions tells us: “The backbone of Israel’s apartheid is formed by a set of discriminatory laws, including the 1950 Law of Return (1950), Absentee Property Law (1950), Citizenship Law (1952), World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency “Status” Law (1952), the Jewish National Fund Law (1953), and Basic Law: Israel Lands (1960), which reserve the full rights of “nationals” in Israel to the state’s Jewish citizens and confers public status on Zionist “national” institutions which work for the exclusive Jewish benefit. The same laws exclude the 1948 Palestinian refugees from citizenship, confer second-class citizenship on Palestinians who have remained in Israel, facilitate confiscation of Palestinian land and its transfer to Jewish ownership, and bar Palestinian restitution claims. In the OPT since 1967, Israel has used its authority as the Occupying Power for establishing a similar apartheid regime by means of military orders. The apartheid-character of Israel’s rule in the OPT is amplified by the fact that Israeli civil law is applied to the (de facto) annexed Jewish settlers and colonies, whereas martial law is applied to the occupied Palestinian population.” The manifestations of this effective apartheid are too numerous to cover in one article, but one of example is the continuous bulldozing of Palestinian and Bedouin homes and villages. This is made all the worse by the fact that in 60% of the West Bank territory building requires an Israeli permit for which 94% of applications are rejected. Then there is the institutionalized discrimination against mixed marriages that make it very difficult to live for an Israeli citizen to live with a spouse from the West Bank or Gaza. When defending an Israeli High Court decision on this, Justice Asher Grunis says “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”, indicating the fear that allowing equal marriages could lead to a dangerous demographic shift. Palestinians make up 80% of the population of the West Bank, but
“We, Trinity College Dublin, have assisted Israel in building the drones they use to kill Palestinian civilians and children. I don’t think there are enough degrees of separation there for me not to feel like there is blood on my hands, as someone who funds Trinity and the research it’s involved in with my student contribution each year. In broader terms, Irish universities worked with Israeli institutions on 257 academic projects, seven of them listed as “security” and 13 as “aerospace”. We cannot pretend that this conflict doesn’t have anything to do with us. And once we accept that, we need to ask ourselves some difficult questions about our connections with Israel.”
are restricted to 20% of the water. Israeli companies operate in the West Bank, exploiting Palestinians for cheap labour and using the area’s natural resources. Perhaps the most visible part of this system is the segregation walls that cut through and divide dozens of Palestinian towns, forcing them to spend hours each day queuing to get through military checkpoints. This brings me to the most important question in this article: what can we do? The usual answer given when that’s asked about the humanitarian disaster of Syria, or the oppression of Tibet, is usually: nothing. But Israel is different. It relies upon economic, cultural and academic links with the West in a manner that makes it vulnerable to a very particular kind of peaceful pressure – the boycott. Above I quoted from the website of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, an international movement to put pressure on Israel to respect international law and Palestinian rights. They target Israeli companies and institutions, especially those that profit from exploiting Palestinians or are part of Israel’s military industrial complex. You’d be surprised to know that you’ve been indirectly funding the Israeli military every time you buy products from Intel, Motorola, L’Oreal and the Body Shop. Every time you ride the Luas, you fund Veolia who operate transport links to illegal settlements in the West Bank. I want the Students Union to adopt BDS as part of its long-term policy. That means making sure we don’t stock any Israeli products, but perhaps more importantly lobbying college to adopt an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. Remember those Israeli drones we helped build? I think it’s time we stopped doing that. We’d join a growing number of universities and academics, with NUIG adopting BDS last Thursday. Internationally, the American Studies Association adopting it last year. Trinity took part in a similar effort back in the 1970’s, boycotting South Africa in order to protest against apartheid. That’s why House 6 is called Mandela House, and the international boycott against South Africa undisputedly helped to end apartheid. Considering this past success, the facts themselves as outlined, and our own involvement with Israel, I want to ask anyone reading this to vote yes in the (hopefully) upcoming referendum. There was an article in the University Times that asked why Irish people were obsessed with Israel. In response, I’d say that I struggle to understand how to justify not caring about what happens to people in other countries. This is especially true when we are directly contributing to that injustice, through our money and our acceptance of cooperation. If we do care, then surely we have a duty to try and stop it.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Julian Assange: only human William Foley condemns the false dichotomy seen in the public treatment of Julian Assange.
W William Foley Comment Editor
hat does it mean to say that Julian Assange is not a very admirable person? Is it true? In fact, the statement is fundamentally ambiguous because it depends on whether we are considering Assange the public figure, or Assange the private individual. Deservedly, Assange has won many plaudits for his courageous exposure of the dirty, unscrupulous dealings of western states and their allies. Wikileaks has done much to expose the rottenness and brutality of US imperialism since it began leaking files on the subject in the spring of 2010. The leaked files, including 250,000 diplomatic cables, present a picture that is at odds with the benign, humanitarian image the US likes to portray of its “interventions” in the Middle East and elsewhere. Wikileaks revealed the existence of 15,000 unreported civilian deaths in Iraq, the torture and abuse of prisoners in detainment facilities and a nexus of corruption, manipulation and systematic violence linking the US to its puppet regimes. But when it comes to interpersonal – rather than international – relations, Assange is less than heroic. A steady stream of defectors, disabused of their admiration for the Australian hacker, have fled from the Assange camp with a basket of his dirty laundry to air in the pages of prestigious broadsheets and tell-all memoirs. Bill Keller, the former editor of The New York Times with whom Assange had worked with in publishing many of the Wikileaks documents, described Assange as “arrogant, thin-skinned, conspiratorial and oddly credulous.” Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former collaborator accused Assange of being indifferent to truth, ruthlessly exercising absolute control over his collaborators, incapable of seeing criticism as anything other than betrayal, and childishly selfish in his dealings with supposed comrades. On one visit Switzerland to install a computer server, Domscheit-Berg spent his remaining money on supplies of Ovaltine to take home with him. For the rest of tour he “couldn’t wait to get back home and make myself a huge cup of cocoa.” But when they returned, he discovered that the Ovaltine was all gone. “Julian had at some point torn open the packages and poured the contents straight into his mouth.” The list of those who have fallen out with Assange is lengthy and continues to grow: Alan Rusbridger, Vaughan Smith, Jemima Khan, activists in Iceland and Australia, and many WikiLeaks collaborators who refused to yield to his authority.
The latest turncloak is Andrew O’Hagan, a Scottish novelist, essayist and Fellow of the Royal Society. In a monster twentyfive thousand word article for The London Review of Books, O’Hagan sketched a revealing account of Assange, gleaned from and intensive half-year of intimate contact. Though O’Hagan is ultimately sympathetic, the portrait that emerges in the article is not a flattering one. O’Hagan’s piece revealed that there is a hierarchy of unpleasantness in Assange that ranges from the trivial to the morally repulsive. Assange reportedly has an imperious disregard for common niceties: “Julian had a way of making himself, in his own eyes, impervious to the small matters that might detain others. If you told him to do the dishes he would say he was trying to free economic slaves in China and had no time to wash up.” He is incredibly narcissistic – he describes Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter, and Brigitta Jónsdóttier, the Icelandic politician, as being “in love with me”, and reports that the local ladies were pleased by his presence in the pub – while also being deeply insecure and jealous – he exploded at his girlfriend, Sarah Harrison, for hugging another Wikileaks member, yet openly admires 14-year old girls in front of her and, she claims, “openly chats girls up and has his hand on their arse.” His hubris is immense and indomitable; his “favourite activity was following what people – especially his ‘enemies’ – were saying about him on the internet”, and when his girlfriend secured £20,000 for an interview with some executives, he demanded more: “‘Well,’ Julian said, ‘if Tony Blair – a war criminal – can get £120,000, I should get at least £1 more than him.’” And like many egotistical and self-important people, Assange is also massively paranoid – he gets Harrison to check the bushes for assassins and assumes that taxi drivers are clandestinely tailing him. These foibles are minor. But what might give even his most ardent supporters pause for thought is his hypocrisy and his, putting it mildly, unpleasant disposition towards women. Assange likes to position himself as a champion of openness and transparency, indeed he holds these principles in such high regard that he often gives them priority over the endangering the lives of informants, railing against the redaction of their names in published diplomatic cables. But he is shockingly hypocritical when he applies these principles to his own organisation. He secretly records
conversations with his friends, and later uses them to prove their “duplicity”. He made WikiLeaks employees sign contracts leaving them liable to £12m lawsuits if they reveal information about the organisation. He makes deals with major international newspapers for exclusive rights to publish the documents. In other words, while he constantly rails against the operational practices and ideologies of powerful states, he himself rigorously imposes such frameworks on his own organisation. As O’Hagan puts it “he can’t understand why any public body should keep a secret but insists that his own organisation enforce its secrecy with lawsuits.” At best, as Slavoj Zizek and Saroj Giri have pointed out, this portrays a naïve understanding of power as something that merely perches at the top of society rather than being distributed throughout it. Worst of all, perhaps, is his treatment, alleged and otherwise, of women. Assange is currently wanted for questioning by the Swedish Prosecution Authority on charges of the “sexual molestation” of one woman and the rape of another. It is alleged by Swedish authorities that, among other things, Assange held down one woman with his own body weight “in a sexual manner”, having intercourse with a sleeping woman, and trying to rip off a condom during sex. These are very serious allegations, and the fact that Assange has done everything in his power to avoid facing trial in Sweden shows a repugnant disregard for sexual abuse sufferers. One cannot know the truth of the allegations until Assange stands trial, but there is plenty of evidence in O’Hagan’s piece of Assange’s unpleasant attitudes towards both his accusers and women in general as evidenced by his suggestion for an autobiography title: “Ban This Book: From Swedish Whores to Pentagon Bores.” It is clear that Assange is not an admirable person – though there is no reason to justifiably believe that he is the monster that he is sometimes portrayed as being. How can we reconcile this with his courage in standing up to US imperialism, and the great service he has rendered through his leaks? Many cannot, preferring to trivialise the allegations against him. The left-wing MP George Galloway described Assange’s actions as being merely “bad sexual etiquette”. Naomi Wolff, self-described as a “longtime feminist activist” raged at how “the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings.”
Seventy years ago, George Orwell published an essay that tackled just this type of blinkered approach. In the essay, “Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dali”, he analysed a split in public opinion over the Spanish surrealist. One camp thought that Dali’s talent excused his immoral behaviour, while the other camp felt that his unpalatable personality rendered any artistic merit void. Orwell felt that neither opinion was correct and determined, in his usual judiciously commonsensical manner, that “one ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dali is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being”. Seemingly however, neither Dali’s critics nor his detractors were able to accomplish this mental feat. We see the same split in public opinion today over Assange. His apologists on the left who would summarily absolve him wish to
extend to Assange the “benefit of the clergy”. Here we see how Assange’s egoism is always in danger of irredeemably tarnishing any cause which he is attached to because in his mind he is not only above the cause, he is the Cause. Like a Hegelian superhero, he is the one who sees the necessary historical tasks of each epoch and ruthlessly accomplishes them. In the visiting book at Ellingham hall, where he resided under bail in England, he wrote “today with my friends we tried to bring modern history to the world.” In this sense, he needs to relearn some good old fashioned Communist humility, such as that displayed by the Communist revolutionary Eugen Leviné when sentenced to death for leading a Bavarian insurrection. When the Soviet Republic fell, Leviné was captured and court-martialled. He was told “You are under sentence of death.” Leviné answered “We Commu-
nists are always under sentence of death.” Assange should follow this exemplar and be prepared to face the (unlikely) possibility that the Swedish allegations are really just an American ruse and be willing to sacrifice his freedom for the principles upon which he likes to pontificate. At any rate, Assange’s failings should remind us of a simple truth. Reality is not binary. Assange is not either a heroic whistle-blower or a depraved rapist: he may be both. Only a fair trial can determine the truth. Opponents of US imperialism should not conflate an admiration of Assange’s work with a blanket defence of his actions. Doing so damages the anti-imperialist movement and trivialises the anguish and humiliation of women who daily suffer sexual abuse at the hands of men who are not internationally famous enemies of power.
The Student’s Guide to Apathy Tommy Gavin defends the much maligned but understandable apathy of the Irish.
Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor
pathy, indifference; the weariness that begs the question of whether it’s even worth the effort of paying attention, and ultimately concludes that it’s not. Apathy allows the voter an escape from the compromise of trying to pick the least-worst option, or having to wade through the endless cycles of spin-doctoring. It allows the elected to expect compliance on one hand, and to shift the blame onto those same apathetic voters for their own exclusion on the other. It is the oil that lubricates the engine of the modern democratic state. There is no middle ground on the apathy question, you either see it as reckless civic irresponsibility, or the rejection of naïve and idealistic posturing. Even in student union elections, addressing apathy about student politics is one of the most reliable talking points for candidates, because people who care want everyone else to care, and people who don’t care; don’t care. Apathy is not exclusively an Irish phenomenon, but it is one the Irish seem to excel at. There is a perception about Ireland, especially in continental Europe, that since people here aren’t rioting in the streets, they’re basically happy enough with how things are going. This fails to recognise that the apathy even seems to extend to civil disobedience (and surely using the relative breakdown of social order as a scale for assessing approval ratings is more cynical than apathy could ever be). But what if apathy is a logical response? What is there to be apathetic about? The Culture of Executive Secrecy There has always been a notorious and deeply ingrained culture of secrecy in Irish governments and public institutions since the foundation of the state. This can partially be traced back to the context in which the state was formed, of a bloody civil war between different sides of the independence movement, and extreme secrecy at a cabinet level was one of the consequences of the Martial Law regime enacted by the Dáil in November 1922. There was already a pre-estab-
lished deference to the views of established leaders though, with intolerance and suspicion accompanying any deviation from those views. The Official Secrets Act in 1963 further entrenched those tendencies, banning the release of all official documents without the express permission of the Minister responsible, and carried a jail term of up to seven years for breaches on indictment. The first big break towards transparency came with the Freedom of Information Act in 1997, having been pledged by the so-called ‘Rainbow Coalition’ of Fine Gael and the Labour Party. The sponsoring minister, Eithne Fitzgerald said that it would “turn the culture of the official secrets act on its head,” as it gave citizens new legal rights to access official documents. This cause for optimism was short lived, only six years after the introduction of the Act, the
Fianna Fail government affected severe restrictions on it with the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act of 2003. The amendment introduced an upfront fee for FOI requests, causing the number of requests made by journalists between 2003 and 2004 to drop by 83%. Fine Gael and the Labour party were both duly outraged, and promised to legislate to restore the Act to remove the restrictions. Enter the Freedom of Information Bill 2013, initiated by the current Fine Gael and Labour party government. It extends the definition of public bodies open to requests, but The Gardaí, NAMA, the Equality Tribunal, the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court will be only ‘partially included’ in the new system, and what ‘partially included’ actually means remains to be seen. Furthermore, not only does the bill retain upfront fees, but multiplies them where there
are multiple questions in a single request. In November, when Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin appeared before the Dáil subcommittee on public expenditure to discuss the Bill, he was questioned by Fianna Fail TD Stephen Donnelly about how much money the government expected to raise. When Howlin admitted that his department couldn’t provide an estimate, he added that it was his “principled position” that people be charged “in the current climate.” Ireland is one of three countries that charge upfront fees for FOI requests. Censorship and the Lack of a Right to Free Speech The culture of secrecy in government goes hand in hand with the lack of an established freedom of speech. One of the first acts on the statute books of the fledgling Irish state was the 1923 Censorship of Films Act which gave the power to an appointed censor to
prohibit films thought to be “indecent, obscene or blasphemous.” The outbreak of World War II in 1939 lead to the creation of the Emergency Powers Act which empowered the government to censor all broadcasts and newspapers in the country, and set a troubling precedent. The outbreak of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s saw a return to that strict impulse of censorship through the infamous Section 31 of the 1960 Broadcasting Act. The law was implemented in 1971 and was used to prevent media in Ireland, principally Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) from broadcasting “any matter that could be calculated to promote the aims or activities of any organisation which engages in, promotes, encourages or advocates the attaining of particular objectives by violent means.” It meant that spokespersons for the Provisional and Official IRA could no
longer appear on air. RTÉ journalist Kevin O’Kelly was jailed for contempt of court for having interviewed a member of the Provisional IRA, and refused to identify the person speaking on a tape seized from him by Gardaí. Subsequent amendments made it illegal to report on interviews with any member of Sinn Féin either. While there were similar laws in Britain, they were far less strict, and did not apply at election time. The Section 31 broadcasting ban lapsed in 1994, not having been renewed by the then Minister for Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht Michael D. Higgins following the declaration of an indefinite ceasefire, but regardless of the politics of the Troubles, that the state would see fit to limit press freedoms for political reasons should be a harrowing thought. The biggest barrier to free speech in Ireland at the moment is the extremely stringent defamation law. For one thing, blasphemy is still illegal under the Defamation Act of 2009, with a possible fine of up to ¤100,000. More practically though, it is generally very easy to take libel action if you can afford it, and generally very hard and very expensive to defend against. For that reason, the threat of legal action is often enough to shut down any debate, and it’s what prompted RTÉ to pay out ¤85,000 to John Waters, Breda O’Brien, David Quinn, and other members of the Iona Institute after Panti Bliss convincingly suggested that they are homophobic. The station immediately apologised and settled the compensation out of fear that a lawsuit would expose them to risk of having to pay out hundreds of thousands of euro. If we can accept then that there might be good reasons to be apathetic, then it might follow that it would be a more productive exercise to do something about the sources of apathy, rather than just complain about how apathetic Irish people are. But that would require doing something, and that wouldn’t be very apathetic.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Science in Brief Conor O’Donovan
Trinity astrophysicists launch citizen science project, Sunspotter A group of astrophysicists, led by College’s Dr Paul Higgins, have launched sunspotter.org – an online project developed in conjunction with the pioneering citizen science organisation, Zooniverse. Public volunteers are invited to aid researchers analyse thousands of satellite images of sunspots – enormous solar storms that emit large amounts of electromagnetic radiation, and can potentially threaten Earth’s satellite, radio and power systems. The project is based on a simple idea: crowdsourcing human brainpower to rank images
by their complexity, a task which even powerful computers cannot yet complete accurately. Public help has been enlisted to deal with the large volume of data that remains to be analysed. Sunspotter.org gives individuals with no scientific training or expertise the opportunity to casually take part in new astrophysics research. In a press release, Higgins said, “Sunspotter volunteers will be the ones to thank for putting in the hard work and improving our ability to classify sunspots and predict solar storms”.
Mark Pollock with Christopher Reeve’s original wheelchair at the Fail Better exhibition at the Science Gallery.
Fail Better: a success? Sive Finlay guides us through the eclectic mix of ideas, inventions and events that is the Science Gallery’s latest exhibition: Fail Better.
W Sive Finlay Staff Writer
e all know what comes next. Try again, learn from your mistakes, don’t be afraid to mess up or as, Nemo’s friend Dory so eloquently put it, “Just keep swimming”! No matter how many times we are told these things it’s still hard to see the positive side of failure. However, Fail Better at the Science Gallery challenges our negative reactions towards failure and inspires us to use failures as instructive experiences. Each item in the exhibition was put forward by an individual contributor; an impressive collection of people including respected scientists, entrepreneurs, sports stars and adventurers. The result is an eclectic mix of ideas, inventions and events which all involve some form of failure, from laughable absurdity to significant representations of stages on the road to success. Let’s take the funny ones first. The Mars Climate Orbiter is represented by a toy replica of the unfortunate space probe. The original was launched by NASA in December 1998 with the mission to study the Martian environment and to act as a communications device. However, less than a year into the mission, NASA lost contact with the spacecraft. What went wrong? A rather spectacularly public failure of communication. The controlling software on the ground generated navigational instructions in Imperial units while the system that used those results expected them to be in metric units. Ooops! The result
was a disintegrated probe, an embarrassing PR disaster and warehouses full of unsaleable replica toys. In contrast to the unfortunate failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter, the “apparatus for facilitating the birth of a child by centrifugal force” represents a failure on two levels; in the practical application of its use and a failure of sanity in its inventors. The idea is for a woman in labour to be strapped down on her back on a circular table which then rotates at high speed, generating centrifugal force which aids in the delivery of the baby. There’s even a small net to catch the propelled infant. The devices’ inventors got the idea from watching a zoo elephant spin in circles before giving birth. Extrapolation to sending pregnant women into a spin was the obvious next step for the (childless) husband and wife team of George and Charlotte Blonsky. Unsurprisingly the idea didn’t catch on. The failures represented by many of the other items are more inspirational than laughable. Sometimes failures can bring about unexpected benefits. The striking mauve-coloured threads which feature beside the gallery’s staircase represent William Perkin’s accidental invention of the colour in 1856. Perkin was trying to develop a synthetic version of quinine to treat malaria. He kept failing but his experiments with coal tar led to the discovery of the beautiful colour, mauve. The colour started a trend in
fashionable society and led to the foundation of the synthetic dye industry, development of the chemical industry and contributions towards chemicals for the photographic industry. Not a bad outcome from an initial failure. Sonia O’Sullivan’s accreditation pass from the 1996 Olympics represents a very personal and public failure for the athlete. Entering the games as the reigning world champion over 5000m, O’Sullivan failed to live up to all expectations when she did not complete the race at the Olympics. However, once she accepted the failure and “took the decision to walk away from everything in [her] past”, she realised that her previous failure did not define her future. Her efforts were rewarded when she took home the silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games. It’s difficult not to be inspired by such an honest and open admission of defeat and her steadfast refusal to let such a public failure destroy her subsequent career. One of the most poignant pieces in the exhibition is “Superman’s Wheelchair” on loan from the Christopher & Dana Reeve foundation. At one level, the chair represents actor Christopher Reeve’s failed attempts to find treatments for paralysis which would fulfil his dream of a world full of empty wheelchairs. However, the chair also represents the years of dedicated research into spinal cord injury which Reeve championed and the progress which contin-
ues to be made in the field. The chair was contributed by Trinity alumnus Mark Pollock, a truly inspirational athlete, adventurer, author and motivational speaker. Left paralysed in 2010 after falling from a second story window, Pollock is now exploring new frontiers in spinal cord injury, in many ways picking up the struggle where Christopher Reeve left off and using the many “failures” of the past to progress towards the promise of future success. These are just a taste of the many inspiring, surprising, poignant and sometimes just plain weird stories underlying each of the pieces. The exhibition is not as hands-on as most of the gallery’s other recent shows but visitors are still encouraged to get involved via twitter (#FailBetter) and also by writing their own failures on the wall and leaving them for other visitors to see. The result is an interesting mixture of failed driving tests, exams and more than a few embarrassing situations. Fail Better shows that failure, whether it be funny, inspirational, tragic or instructive, is a fundamentally unavoidable feature of human endeavour. The exhibition encourages us to lose our fear of failure and to embrace the opportunities that it may create. A worthy and inspiring message. It still doesn’t mean that I’d like to try out the philosophy when sitting my next exams… Fail Better runs at the Science Gallery until 27th April 2014. Admission is free.
Anti-homosexuality bill twists scientists’ words Widespread condemnation by members of the scientific community has followed the signing into law, by the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, of an antihomosexuality bill. The bill will permit life imprisonment for acts of “aggravated homosexuality” (such as sexual acts with a minor) or sentences up to 7 or 14 years for attempted or actual homosexual acts, respectively. The president’s administration has been accused of misrepresenting the findings of a Ministry of Healthcommissioned report, compiled by government health officials, scientists and mental health researchers, into the causes of homosexuality. The authors of the
report have stood by their conclusions that there is no definitive genetic cause of homosexuality, that it is not a disease or abnormal, and that it can be influenced by such environmental influences as culture and peer interactions. The ruling National Resistance Movement party has, however, used the report to justify the government’s anti-gay bill, declaring that homosexuality is a behaviour that “could be unlearnt”. Several scientific members of the report’s committee have resigned in protest over the government’s misinterpretation and inappropriate application of the report’s findings.
“Ireland for Cern” campaign spearheaded by Trinity students Luke McGuiness talks to the students behind the new campaign for Irish membership of Cern.
Luke McGuiness Staff Writer
n the 30th of January this year, the “Ireland for Cern” campaign was launched as students, academics and politicians joined forces to campaign for Irish membership of Cern (European Organization for Nuclear Research). The event was held in the Science Gallery, and was attended by high profile speakers, including Sean Kelly MEP, a strong advocate of the benefits of membership. Established in 1954, the Cern laboratory came about following the work of the European Council for Nuclear Research, after which the lab is named (French: Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire). The Council itself was set up in 1952 with a mandate to build a world-class fundamental physics research organisation. Cern was one of Europe’s first joint ventures, and has been a huge success, still pushing the boundaries of science sixty years later. Almost every country in Western Europe can claim to be somewhat involved in Cern either through membership, observer status or a cooperation agreement. Twenty-one countries are full members, giving them access to the facility, a place on the Council, and the chance to have their say about the activities of the organisation. In return, they pay for the capitol and overhead costs needed to keep Cern running. Member states include France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Ireland is currently the only western European country to not be involved in any way in the Cern project. The last review of membership, carried out by Georgia Tech in 2001, recommended that the membership was too costly for the benefits it would bring and that the re-
sources could be better employed elsewhere, leading to the plan to apply for membership being scrapped. More recently however, on the same day as the “Ireland for Cern” launch, Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock announced that the Government was going to carry out a “review of Ireland’s international engagement on research and innovation, in particular the costs and benefits of membership of international research organisations including Cern”. Associate level membership of Cern would cost the country approximately ¤1 million per annum, and would not entitle Ireland to all the benefits of full membership, but according to Aoibheann Brady, current Chairperson of DU Mathsoc (Mathematical Society) and one of the founding members of the campaign, it would be a great place to start. “Associate level membership is almost like a stepping stone to being a full member once the Government get a firsthand look at the benefits of Cern membership, I’d be shocked if they turn it down” she told Trinity News. Also working on the campaign is Colin O’Callaghan, a final year Theoretical Physics student in Trinity, who held the view that circumstances had changed dramatically since the last review: “A lot can change in 12 years. For example, the Large Hadron Collider was only being built when the first review into membership took place. There is now more reason than ever to seriously consider membership.” Speaking to Trinity News, Brady and O’Callaghan also highlighted the advantages of membership in terms of economic, research and educational benefits.
“One of the biggest benefits, and probably the most important to the Government, would be the chance to tender for contracts” said Brady. Cern annually offers over ¤500 million in contracts, which only member states can tender for, meaning Ireland is losing out on a massive potential revenue source. Aiding this fact is the pulling power Ireland would have in terms of winning these contracts, as many of them are in areas where Ireland excels, such as civil engineering. Also important in relation to the contracts is the fact that many of them are for “Big Data” handling and processing, an area the Irish Government has specifically aimed to become a world leader in. According to O’Callaghan, “there is no better source of Big Data in the worldCern generates over 15 petabytes (15 x1015 bytes) of data yearly, and as a member we would have access to it.” In addition to the economic benefits, and hugely important to the studentled campaign team, is the educational benefits that membership would bring Ireland for both second and third level students. Cern offers fully-funded teacher training courses for participants from member states, which aims to promote the teaching of physics in schools, and inspire students to go on and study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses at third level. Teachers are afforded the chance to visit the facilities, participate in workshops and to produce teaching resources with help from Cern’s outreach experts to take home and aid them in teaching their classes. Cern also offers university students the chance to apply for summer internships, where they would work
with research teams on a daily basis, as well as participating in lectures and workshops. While there is currently an application allotment for non-member states, it is small enough to mean that usually only one Irish student would have the opportunity to go in a given year. Membership of Cern would allow more Irish students to participate, allowing them to rub shoulders with international experts and helping future Irish researchers to continue to make a disproportionate impact on the world of physics. While the campaign members were delighted that the review had been announced by the Minister, they don’t believe their job is finished just yet. “We want to ensure we don’t have a repeat of the last time a review was undertaken, where just one point of view was considered. This time around we want to have a broad range of opinions on membership from all the areas that would be impacted by it”, was O’Callaghan’s take on the campaign’s next steps, while Brady spoke about reaching out to the public. “We want the public to care about physics, though we realise it won’t be in the same way we as researchers would” she said, going on to add that members of the public are often unaware of the origin of a lot of new technology. “Even if we don’t succeed in getting membership from this campaign, at the very least we will have an informed public and a better platform from which to lobby in the future”, she said. More information about the campaign, the benefits of Cern membership for Ireland and the people involved can be found on the Ireland for Cern website, www.irelandforcern.org.
Young Life Scientists Ireland inaugural meeting held at Trinity Saturday 1st March saw Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute host the first symposium of Young Life Scientists Ireland. Organised by a motivated committee of postgraduate students from third-level institutes across the country, the meeting began with a keynote talk by Prof Kingston Mills – director of the Immunology Research Centre at Trinity – on the potential of novel therapeutic approaches to human disease founded on new understandings in basic immunology. Poster presentations, parallel oral abstract sessions and
career-focused workshops took place throughout the day. Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly – director of the Metabolic Research Laboratories at Cambridge University, and a Dublin native – delivered a captivating talk in the evening. He discussed his work and that of his colleagues, which has shed new light on the genetic causes of obesity and metabolic disease. Both keynote speakers, and the prizewinners for the best oral and poster presentations, were handsomely rewarded with stuffed microbial toys.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Illustration: Natalie Duda
Canada’s oil sands – bountiful blessing or cruel curse? Patrick Hull shares his take on the controversial oil sands of Alberta – a matter close to the heart of singer-songwriter Neil Young.
T Patrick Hull Staff Writer
his month sees the 15th anniversary of the release of the iconic science- fiction motion picture “The Matrix”. The film tells the story of a world in the near future where humans believe that they are living full and worthwhile lives, when in fact this vision is being projected into their brains in a bid to subdue them as energy is harvested from an enslaved population in order to power a sentient robotic ruling class. However a small group of people have managed to break free of this illusory world and live as outcasts, trying to bring down the system and restore the freedom of the human race. In one scene Morpheus, the leader of the rebels, is about to show someone the reality of their world with the following disclaimer: “Remember that all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.” These words were echoed by the Canadian musician Neil Young in an interview earlier this year. “I’m never going to tell you what to believe… what I do attempts to show things, it brings light to things… I don’t tell people what to think”, he said, speaking to the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi. The interview was organised to promote Young’s pan-Canadian tour entitled ‘Honour the Treaties’, a series of concerts to raise funds for the aboriginal Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) people and their efforts to fight against the expansion of oil sands
production in their region. Oil sands are deposits of sand and clay that are saturated with a form of crude petroleum called bitumen, known colloquially as tar. Bitumen can be upgraded to crude oil through a refining process, where it can then be used in much the same way as conventional oil sources. Canada possesses the world’s largest accumulation of bitumen and the single biggest deposit exists in Athabasca in north- eastern Alberta, home of the ACFN. The issue of the extraction and use of oil sands bitumen is a hugely polarising one, not just in Canada but across the world, as economists and environmentalists engage in a head-on collision over the true benefits and costs of production. For those against the further development of oil sands, the exploitation of the bitumen stocks represents an unacceptable risk to the environment. The huge energy costs associated with extraction are cited as one major objection. As the vast majority of the deposits are buried too deep underground for conventional mining, in situ methods have been developed including steam assisted gravity drainage and cyclic steam stimulation. These mostly involve pumping steam into the ground to make the bitumen more viscous, thus allowing it to be pumped to the surface. To generate the steam, huge amounts of natural gas and water are used
“Perpetuating the use of fossil fuels is never going to be a long-term solution and the quicker that governments recognise this, the better. Investing in a switch to renewable and sustainable energy sources may represent a step back in the short run, but it is the only chance we have of creating a future fit to live in.”
with Greenpeace Canada claiming that three to five times more water and energy are required to generate a single barrel of oil than any other energy source currently in use. The group ‘Oil Sands Reality Check’ state that three to four times more greenhouse gases are emitted by the extraction of oil from Alberta’s oil sands compared to conventional oil production. The more immediate and visible cost to the natural surroundings is also a factor that draws great criticism. Neil Young caused controversy with comments made at a National Farmers Union event in Washington D.C. where he compared the Athabasca production site to Hiroshima. He stuck to this line in the CBC interview. When asked to describe his arrival in the oil sands area, often referred to as Fort McMurray – the name of the main town in the region, he stated that “when I got to Fort McMurray… the first thing I smelled was fuel, and then I realised that was the air… 25 miles away from the nearest site… it was burning my eyes and I could feel it in my throat.” He went on to say, “it is the ugliest environmental disaster… that I could even comprehend.” Unsurprisingly, these kinds of criticisms have been strongly rebuffed by the Albertan government. Their website has a large section dedicated to the oil sands which goes to great lengths to detail how the increased develop-
ment is having a negligible impact on the environment. They claim that “while Fort McMurray is growing, air quality is not being substantially affected”, that “water use per barrel is comparable to other energy resources” and that “Alberta’s oil sands industry continues to operate under some of the most stringent regulations and standards in the world that hold industry accountable for environmental performance at all times.” However the crux of the pro- extraction argument is the economic benefit. The government claims that around 173,000 Albertans are employed by the industry and that over the coming 25 years the Albertan government can expect to claim $350 billion in royalties, the government’s share of the revenue, from oil extraction. The issue is not just a Canadian one, as the British Conservative Party have recently indicated a strong interest in exploiting unconventional energy sources in a similar way by pushing the controversial process of fracking, with financial rewards to councils who engage in the development of fracking sites. While there are strong arguments to be made in favour of oil sands development, Neil Young managed to produce the best rebuttal in his CBC interview. It’s unusual that the most telling part of a radio interview can be a period of silence but that was the case in a short exchange that followed
Jian Ghomeshi leading into a question as to whether producing home-grown oil was better than importing it, saying “we have a cultural dependence on oil, we have a system based on oil…” “Why?” shot back Young, and what followed was a very long pause as Ghomeshi struggled for an answer, leaving Young to continue. “Because it exists?... That’s not a good enough reason for me. I disagree with the reason behind us feeling we’re dependent on oil. That’s a basic problem for me, as a thinking person, as a person who’s looking into the future, who’s looking out for my grandchildren.” In “The Matrix” those who choose to break free do so not to enter a better life, indeed the reality they find themselves in is much more hazardous and uninviting than the one they left behind, but in the hope of creating a better future. Maybe this is the kind of approach that we should consider when it comes to future energy supplies. Perpetuating the use of fossil fuels is never going to be a long-term solution and the quicker that governments recognise this, the better. Investing in a switch to renewable and sustainable energy sources may represent a step back in the short run, but it is the only chance we have of creating a future fit to live in.
The power of negative results: how the pharmaceutical industry’s failure to report findings is costing lives David McCormack explores the devastating consequences of not reporting clinical trial findings and asks what can be done about it.
I David McCormack Contributor
ndustry funded research is more likely to yield positive results than trials funded independently. This has been the conclusion of innumerable studies comparing the published results of trials across many diverse areas in academia. On the back of this statement, one would be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that private companies invest in research that stands a good chance of producing encouraging results and therefore the potential for successful marketing. The truth however is that private industry unfortunately lacks this clairvoyant sense of what trials will produce positive results. Instead, industry funded trials bearing unflattering results are often simply not published. This, on the surface does not seem like the most heinous of crimes. Indeed in some of the more abstract avenues of academia, little harm is caused by the practice. However, when vital research into lifethreatening diseases goes unpublished, the results can, and have, been devastating. In the 1980s it was hypothesised that prescribing anti-arrhythmic drugs to patients who had previously suffered a heart attack may be beneficial. This was
based on the fact that heart attack sufferers often develop abnormal heart rhythms that are difficult to detect following a heart attack. This seemingly reasonable postulate was in fact flawed, and due to the prevalence of heart attacks, lead to the unnecessary deaths of over 100,000 people. These untimely deaths could have been avoided were the results of another trial simply published. The drug concerned was Lorcainide, a new anti-arrhythmic treatment. Lorcainide was used to test this premise in 1980, prior to the practice of widespread prescription. In a small trial of 95 men who had suffered a heart attack, 9 out of 48 men taking Lorcainide died compared with 1 out of 47 men taking a placebo. The drug was clearly commercially unviable. The trial results were never to be published. And indeed they weren’t until 1993 after the damage caused came to light. This was obviously scientifically inexcusable as the researchers withheld vitally important results. However, as Lorcainide was never marketed for this purpose some could argue that this was an unfortunate yet unintentional sin of omission. The case of reboxetine brings us down a much darker avenue. On the surface,
“The pharmaceutical industry is not an isolated one with free reign to abandon all ethics in pursuit of profit. It is a network that depends on universities, private clinical research organizations, academic journals, ethics committees and governmental regulatory agencies.”
reboxetine appeared a perfectly viable option in the treatment of depression. The published trial results of this drug showed that it performed better than a placebo and just as well as any other available antidepressant. Indeed it was and is prescribed by thousands of doctors and taken by hundreds of thousands of patients annually. Yet reboxetine’s efficacy has been wildly exaggerated. The cause of which was failure to publish the results of a further 6 trials all of which showed the drug to be no better than placebo. In fact these unpublished trials also demonstrated that reboxetine had the potential to cause serious side effects. This is a stark example of the kind of efficacy distortion intentional failure to publish trials can create. Reboxetine is still on the market. The pharmaceutical industry is not an isolated one with free reign to abandon all ethics in pursuit of profit. It is a network that depends on universities, private clinical research organizations, academic journals, ethics committees and governmental regulatory agencies. All of which have the power and duty to prevent important data going unpublished. The simplest remedy for this issue has been the idea of pre-
registering trials complete with full trial protocol. This would at least indicate the amount of trials going unpublished as well as identifying the guilty parties. Indeed several attempts by both the EMA (European Medicines Agency) in Europe and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America to set up such registers have been made. However in the past the terms of these were either insufficient or else the proposed penalties never enforced. They were therefore largely ignored. These regulatory bodies are also often reluctant to release the data they do have for fear of media scaremongering and misinterpretation. Similarly, ethics committees, academic journals, and even university researchers who often sign contracts giving the industry sponsors full control over the publishing of trial data, are contributing to the problem. These behaviours must be permanently reversed to in order to force a change. The problems associated with hidden trial data have been clear for 30 years yet an attitude of internalising the issue seems to have pervaded the industry. However, the recent swell in public awareness appears to be making a real difference. This has been
evidenced by the EU’s new clinical trials regulations, which were agreed upon on the 20th of December 2013. These regulations, soon to be ratified, will introduce a publicly accessible register of all trials carried out in the EU. They will also impose fines on parties failing to extensively publish the results of these trials within one year. Pharmaceutical giants such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) also appear to be taking steps in the right direction. GSK last year became the first “Big Pharma” company to launch an online portal where researchers are free to request data published from 2000 onwards. It has since been joined by companies such as Roche and Sanofi, who on the 2nd of January agreed to release trial data published from 2014 onwards. These are real omens for change. Yet these omens have been seen before. New regulations and positive Industry rhetoric are nothing new. In the past they have merely diffused the argument temporarily while doing little to impede the unethical practice. This is why public and political pressure must be maintained until there is undeniable evidence of promises being kept and legislation obeyed.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
David J. Fanagan reports on the annual Colours rugby match between DUFC and UCD.
Learning curve for Ladies GAA at high level inter-college championships Sarah Burns reports on the Ladies Gaelic Football first and second teams experience at the recent Giles and Donaghy Cup Championships.
T Sarah Burns Staff Writer
rinity Ladies Football teams’ championship campaigns finished early for the first time in four years as the step up to Giles Cup championship proved too much to achieve qualification from their group. After reaching the semi-final of the league early in the year, the senior team had high hopes of placing within the top two teams of their tough group which included NUIM, Mary Immaculate and UUJ. College’s large and competitive panel facilitated the entry of a second team into the Donaghy Cup championship but they failed to pass through the first knock out round after which, these players then competed for places on senior team panel. Firstly, we’ll look at how the first and second team fared at the Giles Cup Championship. The first team included Ciara Donoghue, Roisin Boyce, Amie Giles, Rachel Coleman-Horgan, Petra McCafferty, Sarah Cotter, Ellen Beirne, Emma Jones, Sarah McCafferty, Aife Kavanagh, Aisling Reynolds, Caitriona Smith, Maebh Downey, Lucy Mulhall and Mairi Ni Mhuineachain. Subs used were Nicole Owens, Marie Murphy and Aoife McGovern. The first team started their Giles Cup Championship campaign with a loss to NUIM in freezing conditions at home on the 11th of February. Hoping to repeat their success against NUIM in the league, College started strongly with Sarah McCaffery getting them off the mark with a point and Lucy Mulhall adding a goal in quick succession. College looked set to dominate the first quarter but NUIM recovered from their sluggish start to blast two goals past the home side’s keeper Ciara Donoghue. College added further points from Maebh Downey and Caitriona Smith to keep in touch with NUIM and defended well to force their attacks wide. NUIM dealt a blow with two goals in quick succession towards the end of the first half, while the NUIM keeper continued to deny College’s attempts to score. The home side trailed by eight points at half time, reminiscent of the meeting of these two teams in the league this year in which two goals separated them at half time. The score at half time was 1-8 to College and 4-7 to NUIM. As in the previous match, College came out fighting in the second half and were awarded a penalty within the first quarter, converted by Aisling Reynolds, with a subsequent yellow card for NUIM. College closed the gap with another goal created by skilful attacking play
“From an early start to the second half which saw UUJ and TCD score at either ends of the field in quick succession, UUJ quickly took control of the game, wearing down the TCD defence and converting numerous goal scoring chances. TCD could only respond with points as the UUJ pulled off two diving saves to deny TCD’s full forwards. Substitutes for UUJ greatly added to their power up front and TCD were forced to pull back their wing forwards to bulk up the defence, leaving them little chance to add to their score. UUJ continued to attack beyond their targeted winning margin, the possibility of qualification a strong incentive to keep up the pace.”
by Nicole Owens in the window of opportunity afforded by their extra player. The difficulty of the playing conditions were evident as the home side’s forward momentum decreased and they were forced to defend against NUIM attacks with the wind at their backs, the away side again with their full complement of players. NUIM’s desire to repay the result from the league was evident as they converted an opportunity on goal and sadly the away team then put the result beyond the reach of College with a further goal in the last five minutes. The final score was College at 3-9 and 5-11 to NUIM. The result of the other game in the first round of the Giles Cup Championship, a draw between UUJ and Mary Immaculate College, meant that TCD2 could still qualify with a win away from home against Mary Immaculate on 26th February; however this was not to be. TCD2 kept in touch with Mary I until the final quarter when Mary I’s experience at Giles Cup level became evident as they raised their game to ensure victory. TCD2 started the game with sharp passing out on the wing as Petra McCafferty linked up with Marie Murphy to score the first point of the game. Mary I made their mark on the game early on with unerring points taken from the centre forward and forced TCD to fight their way out of defence. Aisling Reynold’s pace contributed to attacks from the midfield for TCD but they couldn’t break through on goal to bridge the gap. TCD trailed at half time and needed a massive effort to fight their way back into the game. TCD kept hopes alive with a goal in the first quarter and piled on the pressure to draw within two points of Mary I. Mairi Ni Mhuineachain broke through but was denied on goal by the Mary I goalkeeper, converting the resulting 45’ to a point. TCD received a yellow card and Mary I took advantage of the extra player, winning their kickouts and keeping possession in the dying stages of the game, adding two points and keeping control of the midfield to staunch any further TCD attacks. Mary I sealed their victory with a goal and a point, aiming to maximise their score difference to aid their chance of qualification in the final round. TCD finished their group games away to UUJ on 6th March. While they could not qualify from this game, TCD’s experience from the previous high standard games was evident in the first half as they forced UUJ to take their points from the centre half; Amie Giles and Faye Kearney linked to skilfully work the ball out of the TCD defence. Lucy Mulhall put
TCD in the lead with a brilliantly placed goal, although UUJ were never out of sight, drawing fouls as they kept possession in attack and converting the resulting frees. TCD got another goal and Mairi Ni Mhuineachain scored a point from the wing forward position. UUJ continued to put pressure on the TCD defence, eventually converting their repeated attacks to a goal from their corner forward just before half time. With UUJ seeking a wide margin of victory to place themselves in a position to qualify from the group (depending on the other result of the day; NUIM vs. Mary I), they brought all their Giles Cup Championship experience to bear with wave upon wave of co-ordinated attacks on the TCD defence. From an early start to the second half which saw UUJ and TCD score at either ends of the field in quick succession, UUJ quickly took control of the game, wearing down the TCD defence and converting numerous goal scoring chances. TCD could only respond with points as the UUJ pulled off two diving saves to deny TCD’s full forwards. Substitutes for UUJ greatly added to their power up front and TCD were forced to pull back their wing forwards to bulk up the defence, leaving them little chance to add to their score. UUJ continued to attack beyond their targeted winning margin, the possibility of qualification a strong incentive to keep up the pace. For TCD it is an unwelcome early culmination of the season, but all to play for next year. Having had their first taste of the intensity of Giles Cup Championship they have gained experience to build on both in league and championship the next time around. Quality individual performances seen over the course of the group games from players returning next year ensure that this team will have much to contribute to the Giles Cup in the future. Onto the Donaghy Cup Championship where unfortunately, College’s second ladies gaelic football team were knocked out of the championship in a ‘fightto-the-finish’ game against UUC at home on the 19th of February. CD2 were knocked out of the Donaghy Cup Championship in a ‘fight-to-the-finish’ game against UUC at home on the 19th of February. UUC made their intentions clear from the beginning with an early goal and point to race into the lead. TCD2 recovered quickly and set to dominate play in UUC’s half as Claire Turner got her name on the score sheet with a goal blasted into the bottom corner of the net. Sarah Dempsey and Michelle Peel fought hard on the wings to intercept the UUC kickouts and set up the
“NUIM dealt a blow with two goals in quick succession towards the end of the first half, while the NUIM keeper continued to deny College’s attempts to score. The home side trailed by eight points at half time, reminiscent of the meeting of these two teams in the league this year in which two goals separated them at half time. The score at half time was 1-8 to College and 4-7 to NUIM.’
forwards to score more points. Attacks from the strong midfield pair of UUC were always a threat to TCD2, preventing them from pulling away entirely in the first half. TCD2 kept their lead as Kate Heffernan intercepted UUC’s attack and cleared the ball to set up Orla McLoughlin on the wing. TCD2 went in ahead at the break, anticipating a determined response from UUC in the second half. The home side battled hard in the second half against renewed probing attacks from UUC that yielded a quick goal to keep them in contention. TCD2 pushed forward and apply pressure in the box with Sarah Dempsey winning the ball in midfield to set up Ailbhe Finnerty for a long-range point. TCD2 notched up two more goals and looked set to hold onto their lead. TCD2 were dealt a blow as Aine Haberlin had to be substituted due to injury and were forced into their own half with repeated waves of attack from UUC. The away team’s wing forward intercepted the TCD2 kick out and made a punishing run into the box with a resulting goal. UUC closed the gap in the final quarter and staunched the supply of the ball to the TCD forwards, limiting their capacity to keep up with UUC’s increasing score tally. TCD2 couldn’t make up the deficit created by UUC’s ample scoring opportunities with the final score resulting in their exit from this competition. Unfortunately, the home side couldn’t make up the deficit created by UUC’s ample scoring opportunities with the final score resulting in their exit from this competition. Despite the result, strong individual performances ensured the contribution of this panel of players to the successive games for the senior team in the Giles Cup Championship. The final score was 5-6 to College and 7-9 to UUC.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Sport as war Niall Brehon, reflects on the magic of the Six Nations tournament and attending matches at the Aviva Stadium.
G Niall Brehon Staff Writer
eorge Orwell was one for theorizing. Though his bad lungs prevented him from partaking in the Second World War, he nevertheless expressed a partisan anti-Fascist interest in the Spanish Civil War – an interest strong enough for him to pack his bags for Catalonia and eventually see action on the battlefield against Franco’s troops. Famously sport-phobic, the author of 1984 and Animal Farm wrote in an article entitled ‘The Sporting Spirit’ that serious sport ‘has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting’. There is unquestionable value in this theory of sport as war, minus the shooting of course (with the notable exception of the nine varieties of current Olympic competition based directly on the act of utilizing a shotgun, pistol or rifle – or to be further pedantic, any International Shooting Sport Federation event). In previous articles I have commented on the subset nature of sport. Sport simultaneously divides and unifies; sport is what allows a Hull City supporter from Howth and a Haitian who nightly experiences orangey-black HD dreams of Longy setting up Jelavic at the Smith &
Nephew end in a vital relegation six-pointer to have an unlikely but fruitful chat in a small, smoky Haitian bar about Assem Allam’s club rebranding decision, perhaps over a couple of plates of diri kole ak pwa, though to be honest I much prefer tchaka, as do all reasonable human beings. Just as sport can unify the most unlikely of people, so too can it be divisive. A recent Guardian article on the poor state of Brazilian football attendances included the fact that football-related killings have hit a new record there, with 30 deaths in 2013 – including a bizarre incident last July wherein a referee stabbed a player to death and was promptly stoned and beheaded by the crowd. Clearly sport is capable of arousing quasi-religious passions. In conjunction with subsets which attempt to divide people by place of birth, bad things can happen. The football-related fictional violence of Green Street, Football Factory and the early scenes of Rise of the Footsoldier show how sports-related subsets can be set in physical conflict with one another as groups of uneducated young men find an outlet for their frustration and anger in the form of violent acts against the young men in opposing subsets. In these films the healthy expression of competition through sport is
mangled and deconstructed into a rule-free, subversive free-forall. The tagline for the 1995 football hooligan film I.D. (not to be confused with 2013’s One Direction: This is Us) reads: ‘When you go undercover, remember one thing… who you are.’ The premise of I.D. is of a man who, undercover in gangs of Ultras, begins to get sucked into a sympathetic view of that lifestyle. Such conflicts between sporting subsets can traverse the physical into the realm of the political and national. On a macro scale, the Olympics are perhaps the greatest auditorium for nationalistic expression in sport. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, Haiti won a bronze medal in the Team free rifle event. Twenty-one years later, George Orwell wrote of the irrevocable interlinking of sports and nationalism. The 1936 Olympics exposed this intertwining of sports, nationalism and political ideologies through the juxtaposition of fascistic Nazi Germany and the democratic principles of the USA. The Nazi party paper, Völkischer Beobachter, espoused anti-Semitic and racial-supremacist opinions in the build-up to the 1936 Games, calling for Jewish and Black participants to be banned, and though all races and creeds were allowed to compete, only one German Jew, Helene
Meyer, took part in the Games. The 1936 Olympics showed a far from tenuous link between sport, politics and nationalism – how subsets can be placed in political and social opposition with one another, and how sport can serve as a micro-metaphor for macro-narratives. Nonetheless, it is reductive to maintain Orwell’s view on sport without question; clearly, sport is not just simply war minus the shooting. The contrast between the political ideologies of Germany and America in the 1936 Games found its greatest expression in the lithe figure of black-skinned American Jesse Owens sprinting and jumping his way to four gold medals, setting three world records in
the process. Owens starred in the Games as a poster-boy for American ideology and democracy, flaunting success in the face of fascism. Not many are aware of one of sportsmanship’s greatest moments, but it occurred in the longjump competition (or broad-jump as it was then known) between Owens and a German, Luz Long. Long broke the Olympic record in the preliminary round as Owens fouled on his first two jumps. Owens needed to succeed on his third or be eliminated. Long, seeing this, told him to place a marker a foot before the line, giving Owens something to concentrate on. He was the first to congratulate the American when Owens
made the jump; Owens went on to win gold, Luz Long silver. Sport is a place for the healthy expression of competition, a medium of emotion containing the highest peaks and the lowest lulls. It is important to remember this, whether you are a Haitian Hull supporter with a hankering for diri kole ak pwa or even a One Direction fan (and this writer wishes the best of luck to Louis Tomlinson in his Doncaster Rovers reserve team career). Orwell, shot through the throat by a sniper in the Spanish Civil War, had a point. But silver-medallist Luz Long, the first man to congratulate the successful Owens, shows there is more to sport than ‘war minus the shooting’.
Why are Premier League teams under-performing on the Champions League stage Louis Strange analyses the fortunes of English clubs in Europe.
D Louis Strange Staff Writer
avid Cameron will have something to celebrate in the coming weeks: it looks like English football clubs, at least, will be out of Europe in the very near future, aligning perfectly with the British Prime Minister’s Eurosceptic agenda. Despite making it through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, there is a real possibility that not one of the four English clubs will make it any further. After Arsenal and Manchester City suffered home defeats to Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively,Chelsea and Manchester United brought back little from the Eastern reaches of the Mediterranean, with José Mourinho’s side less than “special” as they failed to beat Galatasaray and David Moyes’ team slumping to defeat at the hands of the mighty Olympiacos. Cue sweeping generalisations in the media about English football’s fall from grace: a potent cocktail of nostalgia and thinlyveiled jingoism fuelling a postlapsarian narrative obsessed with the “good old days” of Champions League Finals – you know, John Terry parading around the pitch in full kit despite not having played a minute, that kind of thing. But, if this doomsday scenario does come to pass, will it really herald the symbolic “end” of English football? Manchester City and Arsenal had very simi-
“Cue sweeping generalisations in the media about English football’s fall from grace: a potent cocktail of nostalgia and thinly-veiled jingoism fuelling a postlapsarian narrative obsessed with the “good old days” of Champions League Finals...”
lar experiences as they took on two of the most feared clubs in Europe, and both succumbed to 2-0 defeats. Just as Thomas Müller’s goal in the dying moments in North London represented a crushing blow to Arsenal’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-final stage, Dani Alves’ 90th minute strike at the Etihad left City with a mountain to climb in Barcelona. If only, supporters of both clubs lamented, those late goals could have been avoided, the results might have seemed passable, particularly given that both teams had almost managed to limp to the final whistle with only ten men. As things stand, however, their chances of progressing are almost non-existent, unless Arsenal can not only repeat, but better their surprise victory in Munich last year and Barcelona crumble against a City reinvigorated by their returning saviour, Sergio Agüero. Meanwhile, Manchester United and Chelsea can be slightly more optimistic. For United fans, although the 2-0 defeat in Athens was something of a low-point (of this season? of the last twenty years?) the fact remains that Olympiacos are not of the same calibre as Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and will be more brittle than either in the second leg. Whether they will be brittle enough to facilitate redemption for a toothless Unit-
ed remains to be seen, but the Greeks’ visit to Old Trafford will be possibly the most interesting fixture to come. That said, Didier Drogba’s glorious return to Stamford Bridge will also be eagerly anticipated, although if he manages to tip the balance his side’s way during the second leg then the home crowd may be less than happy to see him come the final whistle. With the advantage of an away goal from the 1-1 in Istanbul, it is fair to say that Fulham’s finest are probably the best positioned of all the Premier League clubs to make it through to the quarterfinals, even if that would mean the exit from the competition of the only striker in recent memory to score goals for Chelsea on a consistent basis. Arsenal, City and Chelsea are wrapped up in a manic scramble for the Premier League title, a fact which might be used to explain their Champions League weariness. Bayern Munich and others, such as PSG (4-0 winners away at Bayern Leverkusen), seem to have their domestic leagues already won, thus lacking the distraction which burdens Premier League clubs. However, all three La Liga clubs have been impressive in Europe (Real Madrid annihilating Schalke 6-1 in Gelsenkirchen and Atlético coming away from the San Siro with a 1-0 win over Milan)
“So why are they falling short? Mesut Özil’s tired penalty miss against Bayern Munich might provide an answer: Özil’s recent poor form has been put down to fatigue by many, and it may be that the lack of a winter break (which Özil enjoyed both in Germany and while playing for Real Madrid)...”
despite the Spanish league being a three-horse race for the first time in a long time, with only 3 points separating Madrid in first and Atlético in third, either side of second-placed Barcelona. Premier League clubs simply cannot use the league as an excuse. So why are they falling short? Mesut Özil’s tired penalty miss against Bayern Munich might provide an answer: Özil’s recent poor form has been put down to fatigue by many, and it may be that the lack of a winter break (which Özil enjoyed both in Germany and while playing for Real Madrid) is not only behind the Arsenal playmaker’s downturn since Christmas, but the reason for the struggles of Premier League clubs more generally. Increasing the strain on clubs at a crucial point in the season may be having a significant impact on Premier League performance in the Champions League, in stark contrast to the restorative month of siestas enjoyed on the continent. Yet the faintest hint of a winter break is enough to send the media into uproar, raging about the tradition of festive football (a tradition which, coincidentally, keeps the media machine rolling on and selling papers). To winter break or not to winter break? Either way: cue media hysteria.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Relay for Life event huge success Dylan Brockmeyer recounts Trinity Cancer Society’s annual Relay For Life, where teams relay for 24 hours to raise money for the charity.
O Dylan Brockmeyer Staff Writer
rganized by the dedicated committee members of Trinity College’s Cancer society, the first ever Relay for Life in the college’s history took place on Wednesday, March the 5th. The mantra of Relay for Life is “celebrate, remember, and fight back.” For 24 hours, about 20 spirited teams walked, ran, skipped, hula hooped, bounced around on bouncy balls, played tip-rugby, and raised awareness to the tremendous struggles and amazing feats that come from fighting back against cancer. In tradition, the Relay begins with celebrating life. Survivors of cancer are honored and praised for their strength and strong will to have outlived the horrible disease by giving speeches and commencing the relay with the survivorship lap, the first lap. Trinity’s relay began with a speech from a survivor diagnosed at age 42, Bronagh McAvinchey. She spoke a few brief words on her family’s personal battle with cancer and amidst some light jokes and encouraging words of thanks to the participants, she gave inspiring insight for how to keep positive. In her unique case, she and all five of her sisters tested positive for the BRCA1 gene and each underwent breast cancer treatment simultaneously. Despite the hardships they went through, Mrs. McAvinchey related a story and said, “In many stages of your life you’ll find there’s sometimes not a light at the end of the tunnel at all and sometimes you’ll not even be able to find the freakin’ tunnel.” She had relayed these words to a friend and upon seeing this friend again years later, Mrs. McAvinchey said, “She couldn’t see any good way out of it. She saw me walking along the road and said to herself, there’ll be a light at the end of the tunnel, I just have to find the tunnel again.” After her words, herself and a few fellow survivors took the honorary first lap cheered on by all the participants to kick-off the event. From the first lap to the last, the energy and motivation of the relayers never died. For eight hours students tagged in and out for their fellow team members, even through the few spits of rain and the chilling wind that rose as the sun set the relayers were relentless. The hourly deliveries of pizza from Dominos, hot chili in the marquis tent and live music helped greatly to keep spirits up as well. The live performances featured some original songs on acoustic guitar by Jake Nice – an exchange student from Denver, Colorado – and the Trinitones. The smiling, laughing, and fun
At 9 PM, the Relay moved indoors to the third floor of the sports centre for the Candle of Hope ceremony. During this stage of the event small candle bags are illuminated and relayers walk in silence to commemorate the lives of those lost to cancer... The Trinity Cancer Society created their own unique touch on this tradition by lining a small court in the sports hall with bags lit up by glowsticks. A few speeches and stories were told of family and friends that had been deeply loved yet taken by cancer.”
never stopped. There was a tiprugby game along-side the relay circle, dancing to some of today’s hits as they blared over the speaker, and a general feeling of camaraderie and respect as everyone kept in mind what the event was all about. First year Hannah Gilmartin said, “I think it’s important to have events that a lot of people take part in because it kind of gets a good spirit going and it’s nice to get a bit of hopefulness because cancer affects a lot of people and it’s a big challenge, and it’s nice to be a part of something where a lot of people are involved.” At 9 PM, the Relay moved indoors to the third floor of the sports centre for the Candle of Hope ceremony. During this stage of the event small candle bags are illuminated and relayers walk in silence to commemorate the lives of those lost to cancer. Often the Candle of Hope Ceremony takes place on an outdoor
track where thousands of candle bags, decorated with loving messages or happy pictures, are lit by the relayers so as to light the path overnight. The Trinity Cancer Society created their own unique touch on this tradition by lining a small court in the sports hall with bags lit up by glowsticks. Relayers took a few minutes pause from walking to each stand by a bag as president of the society Sarah McAvinchey asked them to light a glowstick and sit to honor the person for whom they were relaying. Slowly, the candle bags were lit and the entire room of about 70 people took a seat. A few speeches and stories were told of family and friends that had been deeply loved yet taken by cancer. To further honor deceased loved ones the Trinity Choral Society sang “Arms of the Angel” and then a few laps were taken in silence as committee members read aloud for what people were relaying. “I relay for my mother, my father,
my brother, my sister, my aunt, my uncle, my grandparents, finding a cure…” After such an emotional period, and to keep the energy level high, the tunes kept playing and at the halfway mark people formed conga lines, walked backwards, walked blindfolded, made McDonalds chip runs, even Pitch Perfect was put on. Into the late night/early morning there were always at least 20 people walking, no team ever quit. Those that were on break took naps and camped out on the courts in sleeping bags and blankets or whatever else could be used to camp. Although everyone seemed groggy and tired when the Relay moved back out onto the cricket pitch at 8 AM, the scones from Avoca and sandwiches from O’Briens helped keep stamina up for just a bit longer. The determination to walk for 24 hours and show the support for all those affected by cancer was impressive to say the least.
Overall, the turnout for the first ever Relay for Life at Trinity was outstanding. Sarah McAvinchey, now a third year, had taken up the task and been working on this event since her election as secretary in second year in the society. Last year an event was held off campus, but she said that this year the society worked to jump through whatever hoops necessary to raise awareness on campus and get the student body more involved. When asked if she was happy with the results Sarah said, “It’s so good seeing everyone coming together to do it. I couldn’t be happier. For the first time we had huge numbers… a lot of money raised for cancer research.” For anyone that missed it this year, don’t worry. I got a big “Hell yes!” from the president that next year the Relay will be bigger and better and loads of fun. Trinity will keep kicking cancer’s ass one step at a time.
early penalty offence from Trinity, enabled Thornton to step up to the mark yet again to put another three points over. At 16-7 and with their backs to the wall, Trinity refused to lie down and roll over. As they continuously went through the phases, UCD were visibly being broken down. With a yellow card for UCD No.8 Joyce for a deliberate slap-down just outside their 22, Trinity looked to capitalise immediately with the numbers mismatch between the packs as they opted to kick for the corner. A line-out move straight off the training pitch, with the incorporation of a clever transfer on the ground saw Trinity steamroll the UCD pack over their line, with substitute Nick McCarthy grounding the ball at the bottom of the pile. Despite the missed conversion, the Trinity side was now instilled with confidence as they pressed on into the last 20 minutes. With heavy legs and
empty lungs across the board both sides emptied their respective benches in order to throw the gauntlet down in the closing quarter. Despite the conveyable intent and desire of Trinity in their attack late on, UCD through their experienced and dogged nature which they have been accredited with from their season in 1A, remained relatively impenetrable in defence. As the clock ticked to a dying close, UCD put over one more penalty kick following a ruck offence to put the nail in the Trinity coffin. With the sharp blast of the referee’s whistle, this energy-sapping game was brought to a close. Although UCD prevailed as victors and retained the colours trophy, Trinity can keep their heads high after an incredible 80 minute effort from all 23 squad members involved. Sadly, it proved to be a case of “so close but yet so far” for DUFC. On a personal level, I was so proud to be part of this College squad on such a memorable occasion despite being on the wrong end of the scoreline. In true colours fashion, as we started off in Kiely’s Bar of Donnybrook at 10:30pm post match, the following 48 hours proved to be just as monumental a challenge for all involved. On a closing and more nostalgic note, the accolade and pride of representing College in the rugby colours is something that I know will stay with me and all involved for many years to come. As Trinity look to close out the rest of the season and maintain their rightful spot in Division 1B, one would hope that off the back off such a fantastic performance from this young side that we will do ourselves justice in the process. Roll Tide.
Colours rugby match report David J. Fanagan reports on the annual battle between College and UCD for the Colours title.
T David J. Fanagan Contributor
he 62nd annual Colours match was played last Friday in front of a noticeably vocal crowd at Donnybrook stadium, with the spoils going to UCD in a tightly fought 19-12 scoreline in what was truly and end-to-end game. By nature, the colours match is a unique fixture steeped in history which always provides a great display of running rugby; it is fair to say that this game did not disappoint. In the end the UCD team who made less errors came out on top, which is often the case at this level and at higher levels for that matter. However, it would not have been an injustice had DUFC won as they arguably played more with ball in hand on the night. With Trinity outscoring UCD by two tries to one, it was only the kicking that separated the sides; UCD converting their try and a further four penalties in comparison to one converted try for Trinity and 3 missed penalty kicks. In saying this, it was not the missed kicks that cost Trinity, but arguably the unforced errors with the last pass not going to hand on numerous occasions. The ascendancy was set down early on with UCD full-back Tom Fletcher crossing in the left hand corner after accurate wide passing got them outside the Trinity defense all too easily after only a few phases. Thornton converted from out wide to provide significant confidence to UCD early on, but the Trinity side were calm and composed in their responding efforts in the 15 minutes that followed. After a post whistle tussle early on involving 20 plus players, the precedent was established that neither of these teams were going to take a backward step. Both sides looked very sharp on the ball and were willing to go from anywhere on the pitch. The larger UCD pack made valiant efforts to suppress the Trinity pack initially, but DUFC were resilient and stood their ground in response to this formidable challenge. Captain Jack Kelly led from the front alongside his dynamic second row partner Will Scott. George Walsh, Richard Halpin and Andy Keating were completely solid in coal face of the front row whilst the back row of Du Toit, Dargan and Dilger covered huge amount of ground across the paddock. Dilger es-
pecially with a talismanic performance carrying more balls then a Gilbert truck on the night. With the pack providing a solid platform, the backs were given free reign. Angus Lloyd and Sam Windsor at half-backs provided slick service and tempo throughout, leveraging their outside backs to continuously probe at the UCD defense. Patrick Lavelle displayed his stalwart role at 12 going forward at all times whilst his outside centre Ed Barry was electric as he scathed through the UCD back-line on countless occasions. The back three in the form of Adeolokun, Robles and Fitzpatrick all looked sharp on the ball they received. Credible mention must also be given to all the substitutes’ respective contributions when they came on. With UCD converting another penalty through Thornton on the 20 min mark, it made it 10-0 and left it at a two score game. Then
“By nature, the colours match is a unique fixture steeped in history which always provides a great display of running rugby; it is fair to say that this game did not disappoint.”
on the 25 min mark, a moment of genius from man of the match Angus Lloyd sparked the game to life and brought Trinity back into it. As UCD went through the phases and entered the opposing 22, Lloyd intelligently intercepted an inside pass and set off for the try line at the Wesley end. Despite the UCD cover defense getting back to him, he managed to spin it wide to his supporting fullback Fitzpatrick who then saw the final pass onto Ariel Robles who was clinical with his finish at the right hand corner flag. Windsor converted superbly to leave it at 10-7 in UCD’s favor. However, UCD were quick to respond with another penalty kick after a cynical ruck offense by Trinity, putting the score to 13-7 just before the half time mark. The second half began as the first ended, with huge tempo and with both sides looking to put their stamp on the game. Another
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Sarah Burns reports on the Trinity Ladies Gaelic Football teams’ efforts at the Giles and Donaghy Cup championships. p.21
College hurlers seek Ryan Cup glory Jesse Kennedy reports onthe Senior Hurling team’s recent encounters and their hopes for Ryan Cup gloery in the weeks ahead.
T Jesse Kennedy Contributor
he College Senior hurling team of 2014 traveled to Belfast to face Tralee IT, seeking revenge for the heartbreaking single point loss they suffered at the same juncture against the Kerry side last year. Recent promising displays had the team convinced that, as the old adage goes, this will be their year as they easily disposed of a lacklustre Queens University team by 11 points in the group stages. Despite losing to a much-vaunted Maynooth team as well as LIT Tipperary, the team secured their place in the prestigious Ryan Cup weekend by virtue of their superior scoring difference, a sure- sign of the exciting attacking verve and creativity coursing through the team. The championship sea-
“The match against Queens marked the return of the All-Star Dublin Hurler Danny Sutcliffe and Meath superstar Mark O’Sullivan to the College line-up...”
son started for the College side in January, playing Armagh in the Kehoe Cup. In a hard-fought encounter, College prevailed by the slimmest of margins, with veteran Colm Gleeson showing unerring accuracy and no little courage from placed balls to drag his team over the line. Captain Jesse Kennedy led by example, repeatedly repelling the stubborn Armagh onslaught. Next came Derry, who marked a significant leap in class. The team fought valiantly, with Waterford U21 County player Paul Coughlan netting an exquisite goal, but fell short of the precious victory. The team was not at full strength however, missing several vital cogs that would return for the all-important Ryan Cup
Heartache for DUFC against UL Bohemians Angus Lloyd reports on DUFC’s unfortunate loss against UL and the team’s potential for the season ahead.
O Angus Lloyd Staff Writer
n Saturday the 1st of February DUFC took on UL Bohemians at their home ground in Sydney Parade in the 1B Ulster Bank league. For the students all league games are becoming ‘must-win’ matches with DUFC only 3rd from bottom with five league matches remaining, following this fixture. It was UL who got off to the better start of the two teams. Straight from the kick off Trinity gathered possession but immediately conceded a penalty for not releasing on their own 10 meter line. This penalty was converted by the young left footed outhalf of UL. But DUFC responded positively with a penalty of their own through the boot of Australian born outhalf Sam Windsor. College were beginning to get a strangle hold on UL as the first half progressed and began to dominate the physical exchanges. A sixty meter break from outside centre Ed Barry, created by fullback Jack Fitzpatrick, led to DUFC unfortunately knocking the ball on just one meter short. But through the hard work of the DUFC front row, the home side received a penalty from the resulting scrum which was convert-
ed again by Windsor. With fifteen minutes left until the break DUFC looked in complete control when Windsor broke the line but the chance again went begging due to an unforced error. UL regained possession and worked their way into DUFC territory and forced the penalty to bring the scores back level at six a piece. A huge swing in momentum was seen five minutes before half time when DUFC scrum-half Angus Lloyd gave away a silly penalty for being offside which resulted in him being sent to the bin for ten minutes. This allowed UL to get deep into opposition territory where they were rewarded a scrum, from which they were a rewarded a penalty try. The score was 13-6 to UL at the break. With the second half underway the students struggled to implement their pattern and were unable to gain foothold in the opposition half. UL played a smart kicking strategy and kept the students deep in their own half. The home side pulled back a score with 20 minutes to go reducing the deficit to four, but UL quickly responded with another two penalties of their own to give
them a comfortable 10 point lead with five minutes to go. DUFC regathered the ball from the restart and through a surging run from replacement hooker Jack Boland Trinity were rewarded with a penalty under the posts. This was converted by Windsor to bring DUFC back to within a try. Unfortunately the home side were unable to gain momentum in the closing minutes and UL closed out the game. The away team were deserved victors on the day in what was overall a very poor performance from the students. However the bonus point may prove to be very important as the we get closer to the business end of the season. It is in no doubt that a corner is being turned by College’s rugby club, but the real question becomes how soon can they turn it, as relegation threatens on the horizon.
battles. The team, despite the loss, were even more determined, and remained convinced of their Ryan Cup credentials. The match against Queens marked the return of the All-Star Dublin Hurler Danny Sutcliffe and Meath superstar Mark O’Sullivan to the College line-up, which buoyed their team mates and added a touch of class and all-important intercounty experience to the line-up. College proved much too formidable on the day, leaving Belfast with the spoils and a 1-19 to 1-8 victory over their northern adversaries. The match against NUI Maynooth was played in blizzard conditions, and the Kildare college adapted better to their surroundings and ran out winners. In the final group game against
LIT Tiperary, the team fell to a one-point defeat despite Dublin Under 21 stalwart Conor McDonnell netting a goal. Due to some administration confusion with the Higher Education GAA board, it was unclear whether the team had progressed to the semi-finals. In the end, they were forced to rely on their old friends in Queens, who had to win against LIT Tipperary for the lads to progress. Queens duly obliged, and much to the jubilance of the team and their Coaches Eoin O’Leary, Paschal Conboy and Brian Dervan, they secured the final berth at the finals weekend on the 28th February. College face Tralee IT on Friday at 2pm in Queens University, seeking the glory of winning what is a very testing com-
petition and one that has eluded the college for many years. Captain Kennedy and his hardened troops are a well-coached, closeknit group who are determined to hoist the prestigious trophy. Should they defeat Tralee, the final will be played on Saturday, also in Queens. The team have done the college proud so far and no matter what can look back on what was a most successful season.