WHAT’S UP, DOCK?
ALTERNATIVE SUMMER FESTIVALS
DUBLIN REGENERATED/FEATURES 12
THE TRINITY BALL GUIDE 36 PAGE MAGAZINE OUT ON CAMPUS NOW Featuring interviews, profiles and everything else you need to know about the 2012 Trinity Ball.
OUR GUIDE TO THE WEIRDEST EVENTS TRAVEL 18-19
Votes are in for the next SU
Trinity Orchestra don’t need no education on delivering a performance at its Pink Floyd Concert
Students spend 6
Robert Costello Staff Reporter
hours counting votes
Rory Dunne next SU President Tight race for Comms, Welfare Manus Lenihan College News Editor
NEXT YEAR’S Students’ Union, to be headed by President-elect Rory Dunne, emerged from a tense and dramatic series of counts on Thursday night. Dan Ferrick, running uncontested for Education, received 2,973 first-preference votes while Dave Whelan also trounced RON (Re-Open Nominations) with 2,805 votes. The races for Welfare and Communications, meanwhile, saw recounts before Aisling Ní Chonaire and Owen Bennett, respectively, were elected. The count, which took place in the Mont Clare O’ Callaghan hotel on Merrion Square, saw the bar and conference rooms packed with candidates, campaigners, organizers and well-wishers, in an excited atmosphere which was punctuated by sudden silences whenever an announcement was made. The battle for Welfare saw Aisling Ní Chonaire leading on the first count with 1,244 votes. However, rivals Andy Haughey and Emma Walker were within two hundred votes of Ní Chonaire, prompting a recount which confirmed her as the winner. “We have a great one on our hands,” said the defeated but buoyant Haughey. “Aisling is an absolute sweetheart and I look forward to working closely with her next year.” Continued on page 3 THE VOTES COUNTED CANDIDATE RESULTS President Rory Dunne – 1767 (count 2) James Kelly – 1520 (2) John Tighe – 326 (1) RON – 105 Communications Owen Bennett – 1489 (2) James Hagan – 1405 (2) Hannah Cogan – 980 (1) RON – 123 Welfare Aisling Ní Chonaire – 1530 (2) Andy Haughey – 1400 (2) Emma Walker – 1034 (1) RON –78 Entertainments David Whelan – 2805 RON – 604 Education Daniel Ferrick –2973 RON – 481
Trinity Ball acts revealed
Trinity Orchestra delivers an outstanding performance at its sell-out Pink Floyd concert last Wednesday in the Exam Hall. Music was arranged by James O’Leary and conducted by Matt Rafter. Photo: Tara Thomas/official photography by Sophie Murphy
GSU breaks from SU on cuts Both unions face funding cutback next year GSU faces axeing GSU vice-president 2009 funding deal to expire in September Understanding between Unions dissolved Manus Lenihan College News Editor
THE Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) has broken from the Students’ Union over a funding cutback which could see the role of GSU vice-president abolished. The current vice-president Martin J. McAndrew said he was “deeply troubled” at the prospect of this loss. “From the sheer level of casework I undertake for both my Education and Welfare briefs, it is obvious that the need for a full-time officer with responsibility for postgraduate wellbeing is not only necessary but will increase,” he said. The issue has its roots in an arrangement made three years ago between the SU and the GSU for the 2009/2010 academic year which then-SU President Conán O’Broin said would “solidify their relationship for the future.” With fears of the abolition GSU vice-president Martin J. McAndrew said he was “deeply troubled” at proposals to axe his position of the position of vicepresident, then as now: “Investigations showed that it would be sustainable for 3 years for the SU to draw €15,000 from it’s [sic] reserves to assist the GSU in its time of need,” according to an SU
statement released last week. Ronan Hodson, then-GSU President, said in 2009 that he envisaged “that it will become a permanent arrangement.” The TCDSU statement said: “From the academic year 2012/13 greater financial security will be provided through the sustainable funding directly from capitations.” The Capitations Committee comprises and funds DU Publications, DU Central Athletics Club (DUCAC), the Central Societies Committee, the undergraduate Students’ Union and the GSU. The TCDSU statement does not mention the GSU’s concerns that its vice-president is at stake following the ending of the funding arrangement between TCDSU and the GSU, and on the contrary claims that the position has been made secure: “The €10,000 increase in capitated funding, coupled with the identification of €12,150 worth of savings on current practice, provides a permanent base from which the GSU can launch its operations, free from the uncertainty of short term arrangements. “In particular, we are delighted that this arrangement secures the ability to retain a second full time sabbatical officer with the portfolio of Postgraduate Education and Welfare [GSU Vice-President].” The GSU, however, painted a much less pleasant picture in a
statement issued in response. GSU “representatives during the negotiating process three years ago have once again confirmed that the agreement was, after three years, to become a permanent arrangement.” Nor does the GSU see recent developments as positive or sustainable: “The discontinuation of this funding represents a loss of ten thousand euro in the GSU’s comparatively small income. While we acknowledge the SU’s confidence in our financial situation, we wish to once again state that the GSU cannot sustain the vital (and by no means superfluous or extravagant) pastoral or academic supports offered by the vice-president with such a reduction.” GSU President Mary O’Connor wrote on Wednesday, following meetings of the GSU Council and “The GSU has dissolved the Memorandum of Understanding between the Unions” GSU President Executive: “I am deeply concerned for the future wellbeing of our members. “Further, given that the loss in income stems from the discontinuation of funding, allocated to the GSU by TCDSU, and pending any further negotiation in this regard, the Executive Committee of the GSU has (without prejudice to the membership of TCDSU) dissolved the Memorandum of Understanding between the Unions,” O’Conner commented. “The GSU has formally assumed responsibility for the external representation of Trinity’s postgraduate students,” she finished.
FRIENDLY FIRES, an alternative dance band from the UK, are headliners for the 2012 Trinity Ball. The band joins a line-up that includes Marina & the Diamonds, Labrinth, Professor Green and Rizzle Kicks. The full announcement was made on trinitynews.ie and the Ents Facebook page in the early hours of Monday morning. “I think it has something for everyone,” Ents officer Chris O’Connor told Trinity News: “It might just be the best line-up yet.” Having released their second album, Pala, to considerable critical success last May, Friendly Fires recently ended an international tour that saw them play a series of concerts in venues including New York’s Central Park and London’s Brixton Academy that should mean the band are more than prepared to headline the Trinity Ball. UK hip-hop act Labrinth, who is set to release his debut album Electric Earth late next month, is another rising performer headlining this year’s ball. Despite his single “Earthquake” becoming the second-highest selling number two of the year, the musician is still largely unknown in Ireland. But while the headliners of previous years tended to be established and recognisable names from the UK hipscene such as Dizzee Rascal and The Streets, this year the Ball’s organisers have chosen a more diverse selection. While this does mean there is greater genre diversity in the line-up, it also means many may not have heard of all the headliners. “I don’t know a lot of songs from Marina & the Diamonds” Senior Sophister student Annelise Berghenti told Trinity News, “but I really like her song ‘Hollywood’ so I’ll probably try and see her on the night.” But not all students were as optimistic about this year’s line up. “Underwhelmed and unexcited” was how Senior Sophister student Aoife Crowley said she felt after hearing the full line-up, before pointing out that, considering the €78 ticket cost, she would like to have seen a more highprofile act on the bill. Other bands performing include Erol Alkan, rapper Dot Rotten and Dublin band The Original Rudeboys. Also joining the line-up are Trinity Orchestra, fresh from their successful Pink Floyd concert last week. “We’re delighted to be asked to play the Ball,” Peter Joyce, Auditor of Trinity Orchestra, told Trinity News: “The Orchestra is really on an upward path at the moment.” Although the previous two years have set new records for ticket sales, whether a more diverse line-up will see a greater influx or less interest remains to be seen. The Trinity Ball will be held on 20 April and the full list of acts playing along with interviews, profiles and advice can be found in The Ball Guide, produced by Trinity News and out on campus now.
Vol 58 Issue 7 21 February, 2012
2 NEWS WHAT THEY SAID
“A group of people who like to see each other as Che Guevaras”
“No government will listen to a crowded room”
Phil debater Dave Byrne on the USI, speaking during a debate on disaffiliation organised by the Phil
USI President Gary Redmond at the disaffiliation debate, calling for a united student movement
USI on the defence in disaffiliation debate
€10,000 The amount of funding the GSU is to lose, according to President Mary O’Connor
Hours of Internet downtime occured throughout college last Saturday after a powercut in a string of connectivity problems
Number of Trinity students competing in Friday’s Irish Times national debating competition
GET INVOLVED We’re always recruiting new writers, photographers, designers, copy editors and advertising executives. To get involved, contact the editor of the section you’re interested in at email@example.com
EDITORIAL STAFF Editor
Deputy Editor Trinitynews.ie Chief Copy Editor Copy Editor College News
David Barrett Josh Roberts John Colthurst Eoin Tierney Manus Lenihan Fiona Ridgway National News Claire Acton Mairead Cremins International News Jack Farrell Nilgiri Pearson News Features Molly RowanHamilton Maya Zakrzewska Business Owen Bennett Paul McAufield Features Evan Musgrave David Babby World Review Aine Pennello Elly Friel Travel Maud Sampson Sophie Fitzgerald Science Anthea Lacchia Stephen Keane Opinion Eoin O’Driscoll Sports Features Kate Rowan Sarah Burns College Sport James Hussey Shane Curtis Printed at The Guardian Print Centre, Longbridge Road, Manchester, M17 1SL. 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 and 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
Gavin Titley on journalism in the economic crisis
Redmond defends USI campaigns 59 vote for disaffiliation, 32 against motion USI’s sit-in protests the focus of critics Catherine Healy
Number of votes cast in the SU presidential elections, out of roughly 16,000 students
“The historical compromise between capitalism and democracy has rescinded”
UNION OF Students in Ireland (USI) president Gary Redmond defended both his tenure and the organisation itself in a debate held by TCDSU and the Philosophical Society on 7 February. This comes in the wake of growing discontent with the actions of the USI – SU President Ryan Bartlett has already proposed holding a Redmond says the USI impacts positively on Trinity life, citing TAF, Trinity Halls and sexual health referendum on disaffiliating from USI. Opposing Redmond was the Phil’s Dave Byrne who in the opening speech of the debate supported USI disaffiliation. Describing the USI’s recent sit-in in Government Buildings as “embarrassing” in its execution, Byrne claimed that the USI was being held ransom by “a group of people who like to see each other as Che Guevaras.” Pointing to the €750 increase in fees, he stated that this growing militancy has not served Trinity students well.
“They failed to deliver any deal we could have gotten without them,” he said. Byrne also questioned the integrity of the USI following recent constitutional changes which would effectively allow re-elected officers, including Redmond, to take a pay rise. Mentioning the USI’s failure to notify TCD GSU of its sit-in following Redmond’s election promise to re-focus attention on postgraduate students, Byrne said that USI disaffiliation would allow Trinity students to better represent themselves on the national stage. He criticised the USI’s “monopoly” with reference to the “multitude of different needs and demands” of its member unions. He pointed to the possibility of Trinity affiliating itself with students’ unions representing UL and DCU, which have already disaffiliated from the USI. “The Minister [of Education] isn’t bound to talk only to the USI,” he said. Disaffiliation, Byrne concluded, would allow Trinity students to be “that fresh voice of reason.” Following what was a well-received opening speech by Byrne, Gary Redmond, on taking to the floor, stated that all USI policies and campaigns are
“We’re not here to make our jobs easier, but work for the students” Senior Lecturer Patrick Geoghegan in response to cricitism of administrative problems surrounding the college’s off books policy
set “not by me” but at the USI Congress to which each university sends a delegation. “If you want something changed you can pass a motion at Congress,” he said. Redmond clarified that the constitutional changes Byrne criticised were sanctioned by USI membership. Responding to claims made over the issue of a The Philosophical Society speaker David Byrne described USI campaigns as “embarrassing” pay rise, he said that his own salary, as well as that of other officers, is to be tied to the civil service under the new constitution, meaning re-elected officers could very well expect a pay cut in months to come. Redmond also pointed to the positive impact of USI’s work on Trinity life, citing the Trinity Access Programme, Trinity Hall and the availability of condoms. The disaffiliation of Trinity from the USI would result in an “irreparably damaged” student movement, he stated. As the national representative body for students, the USI has an invaluable platform in its dialogue with government, a dialogue he said an independent Trinity voice risks alienating itself from. Responding to Byrne’s criticism of the USI’s “monopoly on negotiation,” he asserted that no government will listen to a “crowded room.”
“These problems are becoming the usual with nothing done about it” One campus resident’s response to connectivity problems in residences
Following Byrne and Redmond’s addresses, members of the audience were given the opportunity to remark on the arguments put forward. Then-Students’ Union election candidates Rory Dunne and Owen Bennett spoke during the debate. Dunne, the newly elected SU President, criticised USI bureaucracy and representation, calling for USI “to sit at the negotiation table, not the floor of government buildings.” Incoming Communications Officer Bennett said that “the majority of students are against USI policies and implicitly support third-level fees.” In an evening where general opinion was very much set against Redmond, TCDSU Education Officer Rachel Barry was one of the only students to speak highly of the work of the USI, describing the training she received from the organisation as “absolutely invaluable.” Student Ronan Burtenshaw maintained that the USI is “a well-respected body,” but he criticised the USI’s decision to march against fees this year, a tactic which proved ineffective with the absence of an election which would give it any kind of political leverage. The motion was put to the floor both at the beginning and at the end of the debate. Out of the 100 students present, 59 voted for disaffiliation at the end of the debate, an increase of 18 from the start. Opponents of disaffiliation also increased from 18 to 32. Nine remained undecided, a decrease of 37.
Campus residents reeling after Internet blackout Internet and water facilities down on 11/2 WiFi connectivity an ongoing issue in Trinity Residents’ meeting discusses IS Services Fionnuala Horrocks-Burns Staff Reporter
CAMPUS residents were left without water and internet for almost 12 hours after a power cut on 11 February. The outage, coming in the early hours of Saturday morning, brought College services across campus to a standstill, affecting residents on campus and students attempting to use the library’s internet facilities. Students throughout campus residences awoke to no running water and no Internet. IS Services updated their news page at 10.00, noting: “due to a loss of electrical power to College there is disruption to some IT services in College including wireless network access in some areas.” The update said staff had been working on the problem since 08.30 and would continue until normal operations were restored. Internet, accessed through smartphones, enabled some residents to communication through a Facebook group about the difficulties they were experiencing. The problem was flagged at midnight on Friday 10 February by a post that read “Air…no water coming out of the taps in House 11, anyone with the same issues?!?” Numerous other posts detailed a similar situation in other houses with some students asking for a maintenance number. Ryan Bartlett, Union President and a resident of Front Square, was on the case within six hours despite not being
on campus that weekend. A post from early on Saturday morning read: “No water or Internet” to which Bartlett replied: “Working on an Internet solution” and asked for an update on the water situation. The water in residences returned around midday, but Internet access remained disabled until the early evening. At 13.00 IS Services posted an update that read: “The overnight loss of electrical power to College has resulted in the widespread disruption being experienced today with wireless network access in College.” By 18.00 they claimed the service had been returned to 90% of the affected locations, however students living in the GMB and House 23 were left unable to connect until late afternoon the following Monday. The long-lasting implications of the power cut were just another cause for complaint about the water and Internet provisions for campus residents. Students living in Botany Bay, one of the on-campus residences that requires an Internet cable (Goldsmith Hall and Trinity Hall are also without WiFi access) have been unable to connect to the Internet on numerous occasions throughout the year. An incident in October left the ten Botany Bay houses without Internet access for two days. In addition to difficulties connecting to the Internet, complaints about the quality and temperature of the water is a major issue among residents.
Botany Bay residents were left without internet for days and have poor connectivity
These complaints were brought to the table earlier this month at the Campus Residents’ Council meeting. Resident representatives on the council used the same Facebook group to contact students and ask which issues they wanted to be voiced. Problems with the Internet and water were repeatedly posted, with one student sharing his discontent about the lack of response from College: “Water and lack of WiFi in Botany” were his complaints, and he added: “Becoming the usual but nothing done about it.” Minutes after the meeting, which took place on 2 February, College stated in relation to internet connectivity: “A problem has been noted and will be passed on to IS services.” With regards to the water complaints it was recorded
that: “They [College] had been aware of the problem in Botany Bay however didn’t seem to realise how widespread it was.” Copies of the details posted on the Facebook group were passed on to the Accommodation Office. Louisa Miller, Students’ Union Welfare Officer and the campus residents’ representative, said she would follow up these issues and contact both IS Services and the Accommodation Office in the following weeks to find out what has been done to counter the problems. However, seeing as similar issues were raised at the previous Campus Residents’ Council meeting in October with no solution found, many residents think it unlikely that they will see any major improvements this year.
SU results revealed in nail-biting count
IN BRIEF EVENTS
Continued from front page
The first count on Communications saw Hannah Cogan behind James Hagan and Owen Bennet, with only 85 votes between the latter two. Further counts reduced the gap to 35, but a full recount saw only one further vote turned in Haganâ€™s favour. Moments after his victory, Bennett said the experience was â€œvery humbling, if anything. The main hope is that I can fulfil my manifesto. The close run reflects the great candidates that were in the race.â€? The presidential count was relatively short, with no such agonising stand-offs. On the first count, Rory Dunne was ahead of James Kelly by 236 votes with 1,678. John Tighe, with 326 votes, was eliminated, resulting in a further surge for Dunne as Tigheâ€™s transfers went overwhelmingly to the frontrunner. Close to midnight, euphoric scenes of cheering and singing erupted in the bar area as the president-elect came downstairs from the counting room. A celebratory atmosphere was carried on to the Button Factory. Familiar faces abounded at the count, with former TCDSU President Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem confessing: â€œIâ€™m actually more nervous this year than I was in my year.â€? SU President Ryan Bartlett said it was â€œnice to know that thereâ€™s good people there to take over.â€?
â€œRidiculousâ€? â‚Ź200 Mystery Tour axed
Rory Dunne with his sister and father on hearing the news that he has won the Studentsâ€™ Union presidency. Photo: Manus Lenihan
â‚Ź2.35m grant to transport at Trinity
â€œAisling is an absolute sweetheart, I look forward to working with her next yearâ€? Andy Haughey The count follows a gruelling twoweek campaign which began at 11 at night on Sunday 5 February. Dunne emphasised internships and student services, while Bennett offered better communication through online forums, SU progress reports and a Week in Trinity video. NĂ Chonaire emphasises the importance of mental health awareness, including a Welfare App and better use of the SU notice boards. Ferrick promises to bring to the role of Education Officer plenty of experience of administrative and committee work, as well as promising an extra floor on the 24-hour study space and flexible timetables. Whelan brings a similar level of experience to the position of Ents along with new ideas such as a Sophister night out and a â€œPre-drinks FM.â€?
ENTS OFFICER Chris Oâ€™Connor has been forced to cancel the planned Ents European Mystery Tour, â€œhaving not met our target numbers in order to make this event happen.â€? 147 people had signed up to the event on Facebook at ticket prices of â‚Ź200 each. One commenter on the Facebook Event page claimed that the lack of interest was â€œdue to ridiculous pricing.â€? The European Mystery Tour was one of the ideas on which Oâ€™Connor campaigned in last yearâ€™s SU Sabbatical elections. A similar trip is organized annually by Dublin University Management Science Society (DUMSS), which inspired Oâ€™Connorâ€™s plans. DUMSSâ€™ smaller-scale plan will go ahead, with lower numbers and a more modest ticket price. In response to critics on the Ents eventâ€™s Facebook page, Oâ€™Connor commented â€œChill guys, we did our best.â€? Sarah White
Students taking part in the painstaking 6-hour process of counting the votes for all 11 candidates. Photo: Manus Lenihan
THE CENTRE for Transport Research at Trinity College has been given a substantial sum of â‚Ź2.35m for research by the EU under its Framework Programme 7. TCD has so far played a large role in the EcoNav project, which is aimed at developing more ecologically friendly transport. EcoNav, which stands for Ecological Aware Navigation, provides travellers with multi-modal navigation tools that allow and persuade them to travel and drive in a more ecologically friendly way. It is a involves governments and institutions, with Ireland and Trinity College playing prominent roles. TRIPâ€™s main role in the EcoNav project is in behavioural analysis and environmental impact modelling work. Currently, researchers are analysing the results from a trial of 2,000 users in the Netherlands, one of the largest international trials to examine the benefits of eco-driving. Fiona Ridgway
,$!$ '& ($"
)%%%!+%!')+%($& %& $!)))+%!$!!&,% ($&&*" %!#'&+!!!%$!+&%&!&"%! &&+!'$&$( & !$(%&'%!
$%#'!&%$&'$ $"$"$%! ' $"!$&&*% $%$%!$$&&&!"$ &"$& $!' #'" &&$ %"!$&&! "$!%!!&%"$!%%&%"$!%%% !)!$"$!% !)!$!!&%$$!$ &! &!%& $!)
21 February, 2012
4 NEWS IN BRIEF
Irish journos debate the public interest
Thirsty for a challenge
Catherine Healy Staff Reporter
LAST Monday, 13 four-person teams competed in a fundraising challenge to carry 20 litres of water for 7km around the college grounds. The fundraiser, called “The Extreme Water Challenge,” was in aid of the research project for the Solar Water Disinfection Scheme at Trinity College. The team are raising money to drill a borehole in Kenya. Even though they have already surpassed their target of €22,000, the teams raised over €1,500 for the charity on the day. SU President Ryan Bartlett took part in the challenge, along with one team of four girls who competed in high heels. For every €10 raised, competitors could leave aside one litre of water, encouraging them to raise money for the event. The event highlighted the fact that carrying 20 litres of water for 7km is something a lot of people in developing countries have to go through on a daily basis. With the money raised for the drilling of the borehole, say organisers: “This journey will no longer be necessary for the residents of one village in Kenya.” Fiona Ridgway
School of Medicine officially re-opened THE SCHOOL of Medicine has been formally transferred to the new Biomedical Sciences Institute on Pearse Street from it previous homes in a number of buildings scattered across campus. Students have been attending classes in the new building since September, but the new €21m School was officially opened by Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock on 15 February. It is hoped that the School will benefit not only from better-quality lecture theatres, seminar rooms and labs but from collaboration with the Biomedical Sciences Institute, which was opened last June and cost €131m in total. This is in line with the recommendations of the Buttimer and Fottrell Reports of 2006, which advised that pre-clinical education should take place in a “research-rich” environment. Trinity’s School of Medicine is ranked among the world’s top 100 medical schools and has contributed to research in areas such from childhood eczema to Alzheimer’s disease and nicotine patches. It recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. Manus Lenihan
THE IRISH public “very rarely stops to think about media institutions and the power they have over us,” NUI Maynooth media studies lecturer Gavin Titley argued in last Wednesday’s Hist debate, which was chaired by the Labour Party’s Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Speaking in favour of the motion that ‘THB Irish Journalism Has Failed The Public Interest,’ Titley, a former Auditor of the society, spoke of the failure of Irish journalism in the economic crisis. In an age where “the historical compromise between democracy and capitalism has rescinded,” Titley said that journalism, so tied to the very idea of democracy, must respond to the way in which that democracy has changed. Rather than investigating what the impact of this historic shift in power means for ordinary people, Irish journalism has instead focused on the drama of political proceedings. Pointing to the fact that much of the press has been more than happy to amplify the divide between the public and private sector, Titley argued that the media in Ireland has by and large
Irish journalists discussed if the media act in the public interest. Photo: The Hist
taken the side of the wealthy in recent years. Justine McCarthy from the Sunday Times, also on the proposition, pointed to a press which failed to focus its attention on corruption during the Celtic Tiger. Referring to the adulation of figures like Bertie Ahern in the media, she said many journalists became caught up in this
“culture of glamour.” The purchase of myhome.ie by the Irish Times was especially significant. “If property was the monster that brought down the economy, it was certainly the Achilles heel of Irish journalism,” McCarthy said. Markham Nolan of storyful.com opposed the motion. Casting a glance at the headlines of the day, he argued
Inaugural literary publication to launch Trinity’s first ever academic literary journal Large public launch planned for 2 April Voluntary donations to supplement grant Manus Lenihan College News Editor
A NEW publication dedicated to literary criticism will soon be available on campus following a launch on 2 April. Trinity Literary Review is about tapping into “material and talent that’s already there and making it publicly available,” says Max Sullivan, a third year English student and TLR General Manager. Pointing to annual publications such as the Student Economic Review, the Social and Political Review and the Law Review, Sullivan says it is “bizarre” that Trinity College does not already have a publication devoted to reviewing literary works. Contributing to TLR is open to all
Trinity undergraduates, postgraduates and members of staff. Sullivan describes how students of English produce a lot of critical material in the form of course essays that could be of interest to a wide readership, but that students’ talent is simply “not becoming an asset to the college.” Moreover, at undergraduate-level students would have little prospect of getting material into most academic journals, although their work is often of a very high standard. As a journal for Trinity students and staff, TLR will make it attainable for students to see their own criticism in print, and to have it read by a relatively large audience. Submissions will not be bound by
essay titles or course guidelines; the only conditions for being considered for publication are that the piece concerns literature in any language and is between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length. No doubt to the dismay of many arts students, TLR also stipulates that submissions have a comprehensive and consistent referencing system. The deadline for submissions closes on 2 March for the launch on 2 April. Sullivan says that the venue is yet to be confirmed, but will be “somewhere fancy!” Darryl Jones, Head of the School of English, will provide assistance with the launch, which will hopefully be more than “people in a room drinking,” says Sullivan. He hopes to include local second-hand bookshops, for example, to provide a literary colouring and a focus for the event. TLR has received a start-up grant of €300 from Trinity Publications and additional revenue from the alumni fund, but its committee hopes to raise
money from students and staff as well. It is among a number of start-up publications that have launched this year, including The Bull and The Siren (due to be printed later in Hilary Term). There will not be a cover price for the journal, but the committee will try to raise donations from readers according to their means- staff, for instance, being able to contribute more than students- in order to help finance the journal into the future. TLR also aims to include advertising. The journal has no formal association with the School of English, though it was mostly set up by students of English. Like the SER, SPR and LR, Sullivan believes that TLR will have an appeal far beyond the School of English, and points out that there are already contributors and committee members who are from other disciplines. The committee also plans to hold a photography competition for the cover of the journal, and details on this are coming soon.
Food for thought at the Science Gallery Coming up at the Science Gallery...
First female team win Mock Trial Law finals TWO TRINITY College Senior Sophister Law students celebrated last Tuesday night after becoming the first female team to win the DU Law Society William Fry Mock Trial final. Rebecca Treacy and Laura Cunningham began the competition as one of 36 teams, which came down to just two over a process of four rounds. The case at hand was a question of manslaughter and the girls acted as defendants against a prosecution of Eoghan O’Keefe and Ben Mitchell in front of Mr Justice Roderick Murphy. The girls told Trinity News: “We basically just proved our case by disproving the prosecution’s case; that they did not prove to the people of the jury their case beyond a reasonable doubt.” The judge also complemented the students’ advocacy and presentation skills on the night. They won a cash prize and a perpetual mock trial trophy and say they are delighted to be the first ever female team to win this competition. Fiona Ridgway
that it is the public, in its obsession with sex and headlines, which has failed the Irish media. He also pointed to the impact of recent journalistic investigations on government policy – citing the formation of a Dail committee on fish farming resulting from a Prime Time investigation on the issue as an example. Student speaker Ben Blunnie was also reluctant to condemn Irish journalism, arguing that the sense of political consensus in today’s media is in line with the consensus that has been reached by much of the Irish public. Tim Pat Coogan of the Irish Independent pointed to the invaluable work done by journalists like Nell McCafferty and Mary Raftery. During the crisis, Coogan argued, journalists like David McWilliams and George Lee have spoken out in the media. In an age of increased cynicism, he warned us not to “underestimate the power of the journalist’s question.” The Hist house debate was held two days before the final of the Irish Times national debating competition at which Trinity College was heavily represented. Adam Noonan, Ian Curran, Liam Brophy and Rián Derrig all represented the Hist. The Phil’s Ruth and Rebecca Keating also competed in the final.
The ‘Steam cells’ project inspired by stem cell research emulated Roald Dahl’s invented chocolate factory
THIS MONTH, artists, scientists and chefs have joined forces in the Science Gallery to display the future of food in its EDIBLE exhibition. EDIBLE is a scientific taste of things to come, exploring how we view the food we eat and challenging some of the common aversions to foods such as mealworms. Highlights of the exhibition include a giant inflatable stomach, called the ‘Gas Bag’ which visitors can climb through in which the sound of the stomach pumping reverberates throughout. This bouncy castle is the most striking element of the exhibition, standing at 3m tall and filled
with fake bacteria and pills which visitors can throw at the stomach lining to replicate the digestive sounds of the stomach. ‘Steam cells’, a project inspired by the current stem cell research going on in Evry, France, emulates a Willy Wonka chocolate factory by condensing meals into capsules. It was developed by seven French students using emerging technologies, who made a seven course meal which they believe could be the real not-so-distant future of the food we eat. Fiona Ridgway
THE GALLERY is host this summer to Ireland’s first mini Maker Faire, a gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, students, authors and commercial exhibitors. Dublin City of Science, NUI Maynooth, Irish Robotics Club, and TOG Hackerspace will sponsor the event, on 14 July during the Science Gallery’s ‘HACK THE CITY’ exhibition and the Euroscience Open Forum Conference. Maker Faires were created to celebrate a fusion of arts and crafts and science. The largest Maker Faire to date took place in San Mateo, California in 2008 – it featured 500 exhibits including a solar-powered chariot manned by an Arnold Schwarzenegger robot, a human-sized mousetrap board game and a giant kinetic squid sculpture. The festival has been emulated on a smaller scale around across the US, Canada, Africa and the UK. As cheaper technology is making complex and parts more accessible to DIY tech enthusiasts, paired with the easy flow of information on the Internet, DIY gadgets are becoming increasingly popular. It is this spirit which the mini Maker Faire in Trinity College is planned to celebrate. Submissions for equipment, volunteers, sponsorship, workshop leaders and the all-important exhibitors will close on 15 March. Manus Lenihan
ONE LIFE, ONE YEAR, MANY CHOICES ;YPUP[`:JOVVSVM)\ZPULZZ 4HZ[LYZ7YVNYHTTLZ MSc in Business & Management Interested in a career in business management or in becoming an entrepreneur, but youâ€™ve never studied I\ZPULZZILMVYL&;OL4:JPU)\ZPULZZHUK4HUHNLTLU[PZKLZPNULKZWLJPÃ„JHSS`MVYNYHK\H[LZ^OV OH]LHWYPTHY`\UKLYNYHK\H[LKLNYLLPUHUVUI\ZPULZZYLSH[LKZ\IQLJ[HUK^OVHYLWHZZPVUH[LHIV\[ [HRPUNJVU[YVSVM[OLPYV^UJHYLLYHUKM\[\YL;OPZVUL`LHYM\SS[PTL4HZ[LYZ^PSSJVTWSLTLU[`V\Y MV\UKH[PVUKLNYLLHUKNP]L`V\HKKLKI\ZPULZZHUKLU[YLWYLUL\YPHS]HS\LWYV]PKPUN`V\^P[O[OLZRPSSZ YLX\PYLK[VSLHKTHUHNLHUKJYLH[LPU[VKH`Â»ZJVTWSL_I\ZPULZZLU]PYVUTLU[
MSc in Finance ;OL4:JPU-PUHUJLPZHYPNVYV\ZHUKJVTWYLOLUZP]LPU[YVK\J[PVU[V[OL[VVSZHUKZRPSSZ[OH[Ã„UHUJL WYVMLZZPVUHSZYLX\PYLHUK[OH[HYLJVYL[VTVKLYUÃ„UHUJPHSZLY]PJLZ;OPZWYVNYHTTLPZKLZPNULKMVY X\HU[P[H[P]LS`ZRPSSLKPUKP]PK\HSZ^OV^PZO[VKL]LSVW[OLPYJHYLLYZIV[OPUZPKLHUKV\[ZPKL[OLÃ„UHUJPHS ZLY]PJLZHYLUH;OLWYVNYHTTLPZHJJYLKP[LKI`[OL*OHY[LYLK-PUHUJPHS(UHS`Z[*-(0UZ[P[\[L 7YVMLZZPVUHS9PZR4HUHNLYZÂ»0U[LYUH[PVUHS(ZZVJPH[PVU7940(HUK[OL*OHY[LYLK(S[LYUH[P]L0U]LZ[TLU[ (UHS`Z[*(0((ZZVJPH[PVUÂ¶P[PZ[OLVUS`WYVNYHTTL^VYSK^PKL^P[O[OPZ\UPX\L[YPWSLHJJYLKP[H[PVU ;OL4:JPU-PUHUJLJHUIL[HRLUVUHVUL`LHYM\SS[PTLVY[^V`LHYWHY[[PTLIHZPZ
MSc in International Management +L]LSVWHUKWYHJ[PJL[OLHK]HUJLKZRPSSZYLX\PYLKMVYSLHKPUNHUKZ\JJLLKPUNVUHUPU[LYUH[PVUHS THUHNLTLU[Z[HNL;OL4:JPU0U[LYUH[PVUHS4HUHNLTLU[PZKLZPNULKZWLJPÃ„JHSS`MVY[OVZL^OVOH]L HU\UKLYNYHK\H[LKLNYLLPUI\ZPULZZVYHJVNUH[LKPZJPWSPUL0[JHUIL[HRLUVUHVUL`LHYM\SS[PTLVY [^V`LHYWHY[[PTLIHZPZHUKPUJS\KLZHU0U[LYUH[PVUHS9LZPKLUJ`JVTWVULU[PUH)90*JV\U[Y`
visit our website at www.tcd.ie/business 21 February, 2012
6 NATIONAL NEWS firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardaí curb raucous UCC Rag Week
IN BRIEF DUBLIN
YouSued – DCU student in legal battle over defamation
Three-fold rise in arrests over last year Over €15,000 worth of damage Future of RAG week motion for debate Claire Acton National News Editor
McKeogh was falsely identified in a video of a man evading a taxi fare
A DCU student who successfully won an injunction against YouTube, Google and Facebook is pursuing further legal action after he was falsely accused of being filmed avoiding a taxi fare. Dublin student Eoin McKeogh has sought to prevent his name from being linked to the video. McKeogh, who was in Japan at the time of the incident, was wrongly accused after viewers commented on the video clip that he was the individual being filmed. The clip has continually reappeared online despite being banned from YouTube – and has prompted a third lawsuit aimed at the owners of YouTube. McKeogh lost an injunction against a number of national print newspapers, including The Irish Times and Irish Independent to prevent them from printing the false information. Legal costs have reportedly set the student back hundreds of thousands of euro. The case continues in the High Court. Claire Acton
UL launches Master’s in Sport programme IRELAND’S FIRST ever MSc in Sport has been launched by the University of Limerick, aimed at athletes and other sporting professionals. The programme allows participants to work with leading researchers in the field of sport science, as well as getting to experience the latest in sport performance analysis. Course Director, Dr. Ian Kenny, said the new MSc will assist the development of Ireland’s athletes and teams, by encouraging “free-thinking, insightful, competent and reflective sports performance practitioners.” Dr. Kenny added that UL’s existing training, teaching and research facilities are already world-class. Mairead Cremins
FOLLOWING the lead of NUI Galway which recently banned its own RAG Week – a week of sponsored stunts designed to raise money for charity – UCC has motioned a debate on the future of its own RAG week. Raise and Give (RAG) week is traditionally a week dedicated to charity events. However, in recent years the week has become synonymous for excessive drinking and anti-social behaviour. This year’s event in UCC was subject to a Garda crackdown after local residents complained about drunken behaviour in the city. Public Relations Officer of the UCC Philosophical Society, Annie Nevala, said the increase in Gardaí appearances on campus was due to “increased partying” and “destructive behaviour among students” during RAG Week. The debate aimed to explore whether or not RAG Week has lost its original meaning and if it is “a legitimate fund-raising exercise or a glorified week of drinking.” Nevala commented that, because of this, it is a matter “well worth raising a discussion about.” The debate stems from NUI Galway’s cancellation of its RAG week
UCC’s RAG Week charity fundraisers including “lube wrestling”, a cross between washing and sumo wrestling could be replaced
last November after the campus was left littered and Galway’s Garda division was called to curb raucous behaviour. The students’ union voted to replace it with a one-day festival and instead increase the Student Assistance Fund to €60,000. UCC students’ union president, Ben Honan, spoke in opposition to the motion, and said the week was still relevant. Throughout the debate, much time was spent arguing what the true meaning of RAG week was – an excuse for a party, or for raising money for charity. Honan said the use of student patrols and non-alcoholic events highlighted the positive aspect
of the week. Despite the aim of many students and students’ union staff to curtail the excessiveness of recent years, this year saw a three-fold rise in the number of arrests, and damages worth €15,000 are reported to have occurred. There was a “heightened level of aggression” making it difficult for the student patrol groups to intervene. Numerous complaints were logged by Gardaí, UCC students’ union and college authorities – one resident calling it a total “drinkfest”. One of the worst incidents involved up to 70 people who gathered at a party in a student house at 2am before dragging furniture onto
a public green where they continued drinking and subsequently set the furniture alight. Honan stressed such incidents were not the act of the majority and that students should not lose the opportunity to “give something back”. RAG Week organisers hoped to raise up to €32,000 from the week. The chosen charities are the Life Centre on Sunday’s Well, VdP, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children and a hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
ON THIS TOPIC SEE LETTERS 17
UCD scheme to create 300 graduate jobs
High-skilled jobs forecast over next two years 37 companies based at university centre NovaUCD Sectors include media and energy management Companies like HeyStaks, Docosoft, Tethras involved
Mairead Cremins Deputy National News Editor
IRELAND’S attempt to boost its “smart economy” credentials recently received support from NovaUCD. The university-linked innovation and technology transfer centre has forecasted that some 300 high-skilled jobs will be created by the 37 companies based at the centre over the next two years. This will more than double the number of people employed in
companies based at the University College Dublin centre, which currently stands at 205. Peter Clinch, professor and vice-president for innovation at UCD, said the 37 companies had raised more than €40m in equity investment to date. This has contributed significantly to the creation of 80 jobs during 2011, while an annual employment survey of companies based at the centre revealed further optimism for 2012 and 2013. The companies based at the Belfield campus include a mixture
of “spin-out” firms, whereby UCD researchers commercialise their research activities, as well as “spin-in” companies, that locate themselves within university innovation centres in order to collaborate more closely with university researchers. NovaUCD companies include HeyStaks, a social website search firm, and Tethras, which provides localisation services for app developers. Energy management company Wattics, a spin-out, has developed a smartmetering system for businesses and plans to employ 20 people by 2013. The centre is also home to Docosoft, headed by Aidan O’Neill, which develops software for the global insurance and financial services markets, and plans to take on at least 10
staff by 2013. Meanwhile, online languagelearning platform provider RendezVu, headed by Paul Groarke, is set to raise €500,000 in the second quarter of 2012 and also intends to add 10 staff. Commercial activities at the centre are funded through a public-private partnership that includes Enterprise Ireland. Professor Clinch said, “the development and growth of such high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies is of critical importance for Ireland’s economic recovery.” He added, “I am delighted that the facilities and supports being made available to the start-ups located at University College Dublin are helping these companies thrive and create quality jobs.”
Queen’s launches Irish version of Wall Street
Cork conquers cloud computing in Ireland UCC AND the Irish Management Institute (IMI) have teamed up with Microsoft Ireland to provide a course not yet seen in any Irish teaching establishment – this April will see the launch of a part-time course offering a diploma in Cloud Strategy. UCC President Dr. Michael Murphy said: “Cloud computing has the potential to create new business models, reduce costs and transform how work is carried out within any organisation.” Cloud strategy is expected to generate up to 80,000 jobs while annually producing €9.4 billion worth of sales. The course itself should provide its students with the capabilities to create cloud strategies at the lowest possible cost. It is anticipated that this new, innovative way of business planning will create huge numbers of jobs on both a local and national level. Katriona Fox
Installation of virtual financial trading room Mimics trading rooms in London and New York Aims to make students more employable Queen’s partners with top firm First Derivatives
Kara Connolly Staff Reporter
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY Belfast has announced the launch of Northern Ireland’s first financial trading room. The university intends to create a virtual Wall Street which will mimic New York and London trading rooms. The facility will give students a unique real-life learning experience. The Queen’s Management School will be transformed into a financial hub providing students with the opportunity to deal with equities, bonds, derivative instruments and foreign exchange systems. The environment equips students with the necessary skills and practicalities of a career in the financial services or technology industry. The project has been funded by Invest Northern Ireland, a regional
economic development agency, along with First Derivatives, a Newry-based consulting services and products firm in the capital markets industry. First Derivatives employs, on average, 30 Queen’s Management School graduates per year and offers the largest graduate training program for specialist financial services, hence their stake in the project. Its chief executive Brian Conlon says the allocated trading space will give students a platform for their courses to align more closely with the company’s requirements. He said there is an important relationship between universities and Ireland’s key graduate recruiters. He said: “From our perspective, this is an opportunity to collaborate with Queen’s on projects and develop courses in Computational Finance.” Queen’s University and First
Derivatives say this kind of partnership creates synergies between the worlds of academia, government and business – which is essential to fostering a knowledge-based economy both north and south of the border. It is hoped both students and companies in the North will benefit from the policy – not only does it provide a pool of skilled and specialised graduates, but it attracts international companies and international financial investment. Belfast’s leading position in the financial services sector is attributed to the quality of talent that its surrounding universities, including Queen’s, produce. Professor Donal McKillop from the Queen’s Management School says the practical skills learned in the virtual trading room force students to think on their feet, giving students a muchneeded competitive edge in a tough and uncertain jobs market. “There is no doubt that Queen’s is taking teaching to the next level,” he said. “It is necessary for world-class universities to mould courses to international and national demands – developing the crucial skills which
meet the needs of the industry has proved a worthwhile endeavour in Belfast, which boasts itself as a leader in attracting R&D in financial technology investments and software,” McKillop continued. Universities across the world have adopted “the trading room” approach for business students, including Bentley University in Massachusetts, the University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, Michigan Institute of Technology, Florida Atlantic University, Cornell University and Cardiff University in the UK. The combination of theory and practice gives business students a practical leg-up against their competitors for Wall Street positions. Vance Roley, associate dean for academic and faculty affairs at the University of Washington says there is one particular advantage of the trading room – that it gives students an understanding of risk metrics: “The thing students learn the most is how risky the market is.” Surely there is no better time for Irish students to gain an appreciation of the dangerous and sophisticated mechanisms of risk.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS 7 email@example.com
Morning after vending machine in US
IN BRIEF UNITED STATES
Jack Farrell Deputy International News Editor
IN A revelation that has sparked great debate in the United States, a Pennsylvanian university has sold the morning-after pill contraceptive from a vending machine for $25. The actions of Shippensburg University have attracted the attention of federal regulators, the Food and Drug Administration, and generated debate over how accessible this form of contraception should be. The drug, Plan B, is usually only available over the counter at pharmacies where people are asked for ID before purchasing the product. The vending machine has now been in operation for over two years and was only recently brought to the attention of the FDA. The university maintains that it is complying with state law which states that the morning-after pill can only be sold to females aged 17 and above. There is a fear that young teenagers will now attempt to access the vending machine by going to the university solely to purchase the pill. The university has been quick to discredit such arguments, with spokesman Peter Gigliotti saying “you cannot be a 13-year-old
The controversial vending machine sells the morning-after contraceptive for $25
and walk in and get it” and that the purpose of the vending machine is to grant students more privacy with such a delicate matter. The morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraception which in-
hibits a human embryo from becoming implanted in the uterus. Often regarded as the last chance saloon, the availability of such contraception has been a controversial topic in the US for decades. Before being made avail-
able to the wider public, Plan B was used for victims of rape. Widespread access to the pill was met with protests from “pro-life” lobby groups and the Catholic church, which feel that the morning-after pill is a form of contragestation rather than contraception and as a result should be placed in the same category as abortion. The discovery at Shippensburg comes just two months after President Obama waded into the debate on the availability of the pill and decided that Plan B should not be made available to young teenagers. Obama’s decision and his contraceptive policy in general has come to exemplify the ongoing clash between liberals and conservatives in the US. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary for Human and Health Services, has managed to introduce legislation which requires insurers to fully cover the costs of female birth control, with conservatives complaining that the Obama administration is overstepping its remit. What is certain is that the ongoing debate over the liberalisation of the pill is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Other products on sale in the vending machine included condoms, pregnancy tests and decongestants.
Occupy movement Penn State coach challenged in McGill loses cancer battle Clodagh Rice Staff Reporter
OCCUPY protests at McGill University, Canada have resulted in a new movement of students – in reaction against the radical protestors for “monopolising the political discourse of our campus at the expense of all of us.” Last week saw the culmination of months of protests in a fiveday occupation of the James Administration building which came to a peaceful end. In an attempt to gain funding for student organisations, staff were forced from their offices as both the water and electricity supplies were turned off. Only 24 hours after the end of the occupation, Provost Anthony Masi put in place a “provisional protocol” that will take effect immediately in order to ensure that a protest of this kind will not be repeated. This controversial
protocol will ban occupations in particular areas including private offices, classrooms, labs and libraries. It will also constrain all protests to remain within normal operating hours; any protests outside of these hours could face police intervention. The introduction of the new protocol led to the creation of Facebook groups including “Our McGill: It’s Time to Come Together” and “The James 6th-Floor Occupiers Do NOT Represent Me.” Discontent has already been voiced online about the methods protestors have previously used: “We reject their extremist rhetoric. We reject their radical tactics. We reject their divisive speech.” Discussions have been arranged in order to find a structure that will enable students to disagree with one another in a more respectful manner. The need for communication has been accepted but the nature of this communication remains a contentious issue.
Jack Farrell International News Editor
FORMER PENN State football coach Joe Paterno passed away on 22 January after a short battle with lung cancer. Paterno, 85, is regarded as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time and had only recently ended his tenure at Penn State. In a coaching career that spanned seven decades, “JoePa”, as he was affectionately known, won over 400 games, two national championships and three Big 10 conference titles as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Paterno’s career is likely to be remembered for the wrong reasons in the wake of the Penn State abuse scandal. Jerry Sandusky, his former assistant, was charged 5 November with 40 counts of sexual abuse to underage boys over a 15-year period, with many occurring on the college campus. The university has come under scrutiny for
Planning to InterRail this summer? Explore Europe by rail with Global & One Country Passes Youth & Senior Discounts InterRail tickets from as low as €36 Book with your local InterRail expert call 01 8665841 or online www.atts.ie/rail. ATTS, Deutsche Bahn Agency for Ireland
21 February, 2012
how it dealt with the situation, as it became apparent that officials at the university were first made aware of potential abuse in 2002. While not actually being involved in the abuse, Paterno’s handling of the issue placed him in the line of fire. Some tweeted that a moment of silence held in his honour was an insult to the abuse victims. Paterno was relieved of his position and only two days later was diagnosed with lung cancer. “You can die of heartbreak. I’m sure Joe had some heartbreak, too,” said Bobby Bowden, former Florida State coach whose sentiment was echoed by former Penn State linebacker and ESPN analyst Matt Millen: “I just can’t help but feel he died of a broken heart.” Paterno has remained a hero at Penn State with both past and present sending their condolences to the Paterno family. He and his wife, Sue, had donated over $4m to invest in the university library, a further legacy.
Suspension over “Hot for Teacher” essay A 56-YEAR-OLD student at Oakland University in Michigan has been suspended after submitting an essay outlining his critical attraction to his teacher in his Advanced Critical Writing Class. Joseph Corlett is now serving a three semester suspension and is barred from entering university property. Based on the well-known Van Halen song, Corlett wrote about how males aged between 13 and 30 were obsessed with sex and his attraction to teachers at Oakland Community College where he previously attended. After the essay was brought to the attention of the university’s authorities, Corlett underwent a hearing with college administrators. Whilst they did not find him guilty of sexual harassment, in order to re-enter the campus, Corlett must undergo counselling. The university have refused to comment on the matter but unless the decision is overturned then Corlett is likely to launch a lawsuit. Jack Farrell
UK universities may pick profitable degrees FEARS have emerged in the UK that an increase in tuition fees next year to £9,000 will lead universities to cherry pick the most lucrative courses – so that they can maximise their student intake, as well as profits. It is thought business courses and science-based courses will be emphasised over arts and humanities. State-funded universities are concerned private universities will benefit most from this policy, as they are not subject to laws regarding equality intake and equal opportunities. There are two private universities in England – Buckingham and BPP – along with several private bodies with degree-awarding powers. After the fee rise the cost of attending a private university is comparable to their state counterparts. BPP, for example, offers courses at £3,000. Kate Palmer
8 NEWS FEATURES
Obscure off books policy review is overdue Ciaran McCollum investigates the confusion surrounding students who decide to intermit their studies in Trinity and go off-books – a procedure which is currently being clarified
“As examinations approached, Jacinta had not received word on whether her application was successful. Her request was granted on 11 June, after the exam period had ended”
tudents at Trinity who wish to interrupt the normal course of their studies must get permission from the Senior Lecturer to go off books. The application must be made through their tutor. The vagaries and “facelessness” of the process have been criticised by applicants. Many, often already having to deal with distressing circumstances, have faced interminable delays and uncertainty, whilst those returning to College have complained of falling into administrative black holes. There is a perception amongst applicants that those with more experienced, competent and dedicated tutors have an undue advantage. In November of her Senior Sophister year Victoria’s father committed suicide. Wishing to spend more time with her family, she decided to take the year retroactively off books. Victoria encountered difficulties when she met with her tutor to make her application. Her tutor appeared uninformed: “She told me that ‘people don’t really go off
books in the middle of the year’ and that she didn’t know how to go about it.” Senior Sophister English student George, in contrast, said he felt “blessed” by his tutor when he approached her to make an application for a medical repeat. She reassured George: “I’m going to get this for you.” Victoria, feeling frustrated and helpless, eventually decided to bypass her tutor and approached the Deputy Senior Tutor instead. “She would pick up the phone and call the Senior Lecturer’s Office. I could see her making things happen.” Victoria’s account seems to expose a flaw in the tutor system. Claire Laudet, Senior Tutor, views the system as indispensable, saying it “ensures students across College are treated equally.” Senior Lecturer Patrick Geoghegan agrees, asserting that the system works well and that the tutors “play a valuable role in relieving the administrative burden, saving the College and the government a lot of money.” The Senior Lecturer’s Office has been criticised for the considerable delays experienced by applicants. Jacinta, a French and Classics Senior Sophister, was taken from College in an ambulance with a heart problem in October 2008. In April 2009, on
Ghosts of the Celtic Tiger Molly Rowan-Hamilton reflects on the wake of Ireland’s boom years – unoccupied houses, unemployment and non-violent protests
’ve been pestered ever since moving to Dublin by an acute desire to find that rustic, stereotypical beauty of Irish landscape, depicted by every artist from W. B. Yeats to Ken Loach. Yet driving through the country last weekend confronted me instead with something which echoes not a romanticised past, but an idealised and painfully unattained future. Ireland is littered with 300,000 unoccupied houses and over 600 unfinished “ghost estates”, all symbolically overgrown with weeds and ornamented with barbed wire and debris. They are the unfinished result of a boom in the housing market which at the time involved 25% of the workforce in the construction sector, compared to the European average of 8%. As I drove, I listened to new reports from Greece. Revolts had kicked off as the government tries to pass an austerity budget in an attempt to release funds in the bailout package they hope to get from the European Union. Cuts must be made because, unfortunately, the tax base isn’t great enough in the country to pay the interest on their debts and without this money the country will default and be declared bankrupt, threatening expulsion from the EU. These austerity measures are infuriating to Greek inhabitants, largely because they had it too good for too long. The euro created a situation that allowed countries that shouldn’t have been allowed to borrow credit from the Union, building up huge debt and creating something that now resembles a small-scale disaster. Greek prime minister, Lucas Papademos, has warned that if the budget isn’t accepted “difficult consequences” and “chaos” will engulf the country, yet the protestors have other ideas; one woman told BBC News that she advocated “overthrowing” the politicians who were “traitors”. Tempers continue to flare as fiery protests sweep the country. It seemed impossible not to compare this to the Irish situation. Once a wonderfully vibrant and affluent economy, the fourth most prosperous within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Ireland is also now in the pits of recession. The story is one overly regurgitated, and horribly familiar: 20 years ago, the “Doheny and Nesbitt School of Economics” advocated cutting taxes in half, encouraging foreign investment
and minimalising import duties within Ireland. This created affluence in the country leading directly to a housing bubble which invariably popped, unleashing cataclysm. As a direct result, in 2011 more than 40,000 left the country. Emigration is nothing new, but worryingly this is a trend that is expected to continue. With the odd exception, we’re lucky the Irish populace haven’t turned on the Dáil, leaving a flaming trail of destruction behind them in the way the Greeks have and continue to do. It’s not in anyone’s interest to take the blame and certainly the Greeks knew they didn’t deserve their lot. Perhaps the Irish have behaved so differently to their Greek counterparts because there was something about the Irish boom that has perhaps remained in the subconscious when the temptation of violent uprisings might have been appealing. Even in the face of blatant inequity (the portion of the proposed bailout for Ireland came with an interest rate of 5.83% – much higher than Greece was being charged in a similar situation), nothing that dangerous has kicked off. Though it was hard to believe when the national psyche changed from one of necessitated frugality to thinking that if you could whip out a credit card,
anything was possible, it’s as if the Irish almost knew that where there’s a boom, there follows a bust. Ireland will get out of the recession, eventually. Until then the ordinary people, those who were cruelly fooled by the boom should pat themselves on the back. It is their persistence in a time of failure, their patience with a government they are trying to accept is doing its best, and most of all their refusal to throw their toys out of the pram which must be admired. Though it is tempting to declare, like that Greek protestor, that the government and all politicians must be overthrown, what is even more venerable, ironically, is to have the grace to sit it out. Physical force is not the right way to deal with economic disaster because the solutions, history has told us, must be thrashed out in a constitutional and democratic way. We must be grateful that in Ireland, finally, this is an accepted premise; yet this isn’t the only reason rebellion and destruction is yet to properly consume the streets of Dublin. Although the people are not to be blamed, the ghosts of the half-finished housing estates and building sites are a reminder to everyone that the money wasn’t really ever there. It was, but not to stay, and almost everyone can be blamed for being sucked into this illusion. The ghost of the Celtic Tiger lingers on, a tenacious jibe and a haunting reminder of Ireland’s ephemeral hopes and still fragile nature.
Empty houses on an empty street in Belmayne, Dublin after the developer went bust
the advice of her tutor, she made an application to repeat the year. Jacinta was told it would be “no problem at all” and that she should take the time to recuperate. However as examinations approached, she had yet to receive word on whether her application was successful. Uncertain whether she should be preparing for her examinations, Jacinta found herself under increasing amounts of stress: “I was shocked. I’d been under the illusion that it would be an easy process.” Eventually, her request was granted on 11 June, after the examination period had ended. Jacinta was confused about the entire process: “The College seems to be just prepared for this year and not the next. They [the administration] seem more interested in protecting themselves than student welfare.” Geoghegan says that this is not the case: “We’re not here to make our jobs easier, we’re here to work for the students.” According to Geoghegan: “decisions are made regarding applications to go off books as quickly as possible, taking account of the need to establish work priorities on a daily basis.” Students returning to College have also encountered difficulties. Aisling O’Gara, Senior Sophister English and French, took a year off books to improve her French. In the
run-up to her return she received no information on re-applying and, when she returned, found that her name had been removed from all relevant mailing lists. Faye Dinsmore, Junior Sophister French and Classics, was told by the Senior Tutor upon her return in September 2011 that her records had been erased. She was afforded no access to the library or any other College facilities, despite paying full fees, until before Christmas. Nor was Faye able to retain the subject choices she made at the end of her SF year. Victoria claims she had to “fight for access” to basic College services such as student counselling during her year off books, despite having already paid fees for that year. Geoghegan, Laudet and Dean of Students Amanda Piesse hope that the new Genesis information system, which is under development, will resolve any problems with administrative “linkages” and record keeping. Despite all the good will in College towards students who are making these applications, they seem to have been let down by bad administration. All agree that improvements can be made. “The office here is under pressure and resources are tight,” admits Geoghegan, “but we are looking at innovative ways of improving the process.”
WORLD FOCUS CHINA
Europe should be wary of Chinese economic power Katie Ware Contributing Writer
IN THE past few decades, the threat from China was an obvious one. However, the Red Scare craze has ebbed, as countries eagerly await increasing flows of trade from a swelling China. China’s economy, currently second only to the US and projected soon to be pre-eminent, attracts business from around the globe seeking a seemingly unending resource of cheap labour and an emerging market. As China gains in economic power, it procures more and more influence in foreign governments, whose own economies desperately need the prolific growth China offers. This influence has only strengthened in the recent global recession. Disturbingly, China is manoeuvring to assert further control in Europe by guaranteeing the European Union’s debt. This poses unforeseen dangers to the EU and its member states – a danger which has been illustrated by China’s relations with the US. This is because China is waging
“Evidence exists that China is conducting intelligence espionage – thieving US scientific research” a war against the US – an economic, political, and intelligence-based one. Currently, the US is drowning in debt to China to the tune of $1.5 trillion. This stifling mountain of debt is made all the deadlier by the deliberate devaluation of the yuan, a policy developed purposefully to hurt the US dollar. Unfair subsidies have caused American jobs and businesses to suffer. On top of this, China is flooding markets with counterfeit goods and state subsidised steel – further eroding the US economy. Evidence exists that China is conducting intelligence espionage on an unforeseen scale. State-sponsored spies were caught pilfering nuclear, defence and business technology – but that has not stopped the Chinese government resorting to also thieving US scientific research. In addition to human operatives, China is using
the internet to copy US inventions. This includes, but is not limited to, the hacking of US corporations known for state-of-the-art developments in the field of technology, the Department of Commerce, nuclear laboratories, medical research facilities, and other entities involved in producing patented
“High-level US military officers complained that China was acting as an aggressor and thus should be treated as one” processes. China’s foreign policy is equally subversive. Last week, China vetoed a United Nations resolution condemning the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, for ongoing violence in Syria. China has also prevented the UN from issuing further sanctions against Iran to obstruct the nation’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. The US fears that China may provide Iran with military support in the form of advanced missiles and technology. Despite these apparent threats to US national security, on 14 February the US president, Barack Obama, warmly greeted the Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping, a political figure who is tipped to become General Secretary of the Communist Party leader later this year. While President Obama’s lexicon was one of political niceties, high-level military officers, such as Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, complained that China was acting as an aggressor and thus should be treated as one. These words may fall on deaf ears, however – economic realities tie Obama to kowtow to the Chinese rather than directly confront them. This relationship could forseeably be replicated in Europe. On the surface, member states including Ireland would be forgiven for welcoming a Chinese guarantee of €10.23 trillion in order to bail out debt-stricken nations. But an economic favour like this carries a heavy unseen undertow – as the US has discovered to its chagrin.
21 February, 2012
10 WORLD REVIEW
In wait for a Damascene conversion Ruairí Casey comments on the difficulties facing the Arab League’s intervention
he shelling of the city of Homs by Syrian forces resumed last Sunday night, focusing on the districts of Baba Amr and al-Waer, strongholds of Sunni opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The attacks came after a resolution from the Arab League that called for a peacekeeping force comprised of UN and Arab forces to intervene in the escalating conflict. Syria’s ambassador to the Arab League was swift to dismiss any international intervention, claiming Saudi Arabia and Qatar were “living in a state of hysteria after their last failure at the UN Security Council to call for outside interference in Syria’s affairs and to impose sanctions on the Syrian people”. The resolution marks the latest attempt of the Arab League to stop the violence in Syria, which has continued for the last 11 months. Last November, the League invited opposition parties to talks in Cairo and voted to suspend Syria’s membership if the government did not cease violence against protesters. The League’s call for outside intervention, which mirrors a similar resolution on Libya last year, seems to suggest that the organisation is either unable or unwilling to tackle the crisis on its own. Though the UN has yet to articulate their position, the EU has already responded positively. “The EU’s first goal is an immediate cessation of killings,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. “We are very supportive of any initiative that can help achieve this objective, including a stronger Arab presence on the ground in co-operation with the UN to achieve a ceasefire and the end of violence. “The Arab League has again made a strong appeal to the UN Security Council. We renew our urgent calls on all members of the Security Council to be constructive and act with responsibility at this crucial moment.” Other responses have been less optimistic, with some undoubtedly still concerned about the involvement of NATO forces in the fight against Muammar Gaddafi’s supporters in Libya. British foreign secretary William Hague said, “I don’t see the way forward in Syria as being Western boots on the ground in any form, including in any peacekeeping form. Of course, if such a concept can be made
viable, we will be supporting it in all the usual ways.” China and Russia have been more reticent on the issue. Both countries have already blocked a Security Council resolution calling for Assad’s resignation, and while neither has taken a firm stance on the Arab League’s latest resolution, statements from foreign ministries in both countries suggest little appetite for any kind of peacekeeping operation. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia will continue to study the proposal, but would not support peacekeeping until violence had ended, while the Chinese foreign ministry backed the Arab League’s “mediation”. The countries’ presence on the UN Security Council means that any UN action will have to be given their consent. Commentators have also pointed out that Russia’s Soviet-era naval base in the Mediterranean city of Tartus further complicates its position. The renewal of the bombardment of Homs – resulting in a death toll of over 300 since 3 February – is a dramatic reminder of the unwillingness of the Assad regime to concede to international influence. Medical supplies in the city are in short supply, with the Syrian Red Cross attempting to help civilians caught up in the violence. Marianne Gasser, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus said, “The population, particularly the wounded and sick, are bearing the brunt of the violence.” The district of al-Waer, which has seen months of pro-democracy demonstrations, had recently been under attack from the pro-government militia, Shabbiha. This attack was resisted by the Free Syrian Army, which attacked roadblocks constructed by Shabbiha. Armoured attacks on the towns of Rastan and Hama – 20km and 50km north of Homs – have been repelled by rebel forces with casualties on both sides. The main opposition The Free Syrian Army (FSA), which first announced itself via internet video on 29 July 2011, has been the main military opposition to the Syrian government. The organisation was formed by defectors from the Syrian armed forces. Colonel Riad al-Asaad, the leader of the FSA, has stated that its aims are to remove the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Having merged with another rebel group, the
Protestors in Brussels called for an end to the Syrian government’s regime last Sunday while the Arab league met in Cairo
“The renewal of the bombardment of Homs is a dramatic reminder of the unwillingness of the Assad regime to concede to international influence”
Free Officers Movement in September, the FSA attracts a large number of defectors who have abandoned Syria’s armed forces. The total number of members is unknown, with Western intelligence agencies estimating it to be 10,000 as of December, while the FSA cited membership numbers of 40,000 in mid-January. Active throughout Syria, their forces are mostly focused around the central cities of Homs and Hama. Due to a disparity in equipment and numbers, they have mostly engaged in quick, guerrilla-style attacks where possible. Riad al-Asaad has also been keen to stress the anti-sectarian nature of the organisation, noting that it contains many who share their Alawi faith with a number of high-ranking officials within the Syrian regime, including the al-Assad family itself. The significant factionalism between different tribes during Libya’s civil strife undermined the idea of merely liberating their country from its tyrant. The FSA regards its sole aim as the removal of al-Assad and wishes to keep this free from competing allegiances. They have promised no reprisals should the current regime
fall. The regime Bashar al-Assad has been president of Syria since 2000, succeeding his father who had ruled since 1970. Hafez al-Assad had come to power through the military wing of the Ba’ath Party and was ruthless in his suppression of revolt, responsible for numerous military actions against civilians, most notably the Hama Massacre of 1982 which killed between 10,000 and 40,000 Syrian civilians. Bashar al-Assad has retained the close connection between civil and military power and tolerated little in the way of dissent. Despite criticism from human rights groups about his treatment of political dissidents who speak against his regime – including torture, imprisonment and murder – Bashar said in a 2007 interview that, “We don’t have such [things as] political prisoners.” Protests in favour of increased civil rights have continued since late January of last year. Despite promising reforms last August no serious progress has been made and the situation has degenerated into armed conflict with over 5,000 civilians killed by the Syrian army in 2011.
One year on, why is post-Mubarak Egypt Aine Pennello recaps Egypt’s revolutionary year and explains why the protests are still going on despite Mubarak’s ousting
his time last year, the story of Egypt seemed almost over. Former president Hosni Mubarak resigned, his regime brought to a stunning end after eighteen days of demonstrations, in which at least 800 were killed and 6,000 injured. Protestors in Tahrir Square rejoiced, the Egyptian flag was flown and celebratory gunshots were fired. Protestors looked forward to a more egalitarian future, one free of dictatorship and the police brutality that started it all when 28-year-old Khaled Said was beaten to death for posting an online video of police officers splitting the loot from a drugs raid amongst themselves. So far, however, this isn’t quite what the post-Mubarak world had in store for its army of revolutionaries. In some ways, not much has changed since last year. A civil disobedience movement held on the one year anniversary of Mubarak’s ousting saw 40 political parties, 51 political movements, 44 universities and schools, and
more than 200 trades unions take to the streets and demand the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) step down. The SCAF, which took over from Mubarak early last February, is composed of twenty senior officers in the Egyptian military – the head of which, Mohammed Tantawi, was Mubarak’s former Minister of Defence for 21 years and was appointed deputy prime minister by the president during the early days of the revolution. Cables from the US embassy released
“Never again will Egyptians lie down when they feel their freedoms covered by the shadow of an oppressive hand” by WikiLeaks contain comments from Egyptian military officials on Tantawi’s relationship with Mubarak, calling
him “Mubarak’s poodle”. Some fear Tantawi’s loyalty to the former president will “[run] the military into the ground”, while comments from other cables say he has become “increasingly intolerant of intellectual freedom”. Not much progress has been made in terms of police brutality either. The now infamous scene of the woman in a blue bra stripped and stamped upon by police has put a firm end to that hope. So what exactly have Egyptians gained over the past year of protest, violence, death and misery? A voice. A voice so strong it brought an end to a 30-year-long dictatorship. A voice so loud its message was carried all over the Arab world and ultimately to the United States, where Occupy Wall Street protestors followed their instructions. Having found their voice, never again will Egyptians lie down when they feel their freedoms covered by the shadow of an oppressive hand. As internet entrepreneur Wael Nawara told Time magazine, “In the end, things will turn out all right because the relationship between people and authority in Egypt has changed forever. People discovered that they can change and stop authority from going too far. That self-discovery changes everything. They learned they can replace a ruler. That’s the revolution.” Indeed this is
A civil disobedience movement has been waged against Egypt’s government
the exact message subsequent protests – including the civil disobedience movement – have demonstrated. Another thing Egyptians gained is
the power to harness social media to their advantage. This new-found ability was made much of in Time magazine’s last issue of 2011, in which “The
The ongoing revolt in the desert Elly Friel brings the story of Africa’s last colony – the Sahrawi Republic – to light
he term “disputed territory” generally brings to mind well-known, much-covered conflicts such as Israel-Palestine. What few realise is that a large landmass in West Africa – the Sahrawi Republic – has been, for decades, the subject of a heated dispute between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. A former Spanish colony, the desert territory is living proof that having international law emphatically on your side and being on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for decades does not mean your plight will be solved. Earlier this month, self-declared President of the Sahrawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, sought to remedy the situation at a gathering of influential figures at the 37th European Conference of Coordination and Support to the Sahrawi People (EUCOCO) in the Spanish city of Seville. There, President Abdelaziz declared the Sahrawi people’s right to freedom, self-determination and independence as “a debt on the international community”. This claim is not a new one. Brought under Spanish rule in 1884, the territory remained a European colony until external intervention in the 1970s led the International Court of Justice to conclude there were no ties of territorial sovereignty between Western Sahara and Morocco or Mauritania. This confirmed the legal right of the Sahrawi people to a process of self-determination, with Spain agreeing to organise a referendum. Yet within months the Moroccan King Hassan II ordered a “Green March” of over 300,000 Moroccans into the territory, leading to the Madrid Agreement in November 1975, whereby Morocco acquired two-thirds of the northern part of the territory and Mauritania the remaining third. Promises of freedom went unfulfilled and the international institutions fell silent on the matter. They have remained so ever since. Meanwhile, a growing nationalist sentiment emerged as nomadic Saharans – or Sahrawis – found
their voice. The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro, otherwise known as Polisario, established itself in 1973 and claims to be the sole representative of the Sahrawis. In February 1976, the group formally proclaimed a government-in-exile, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Algeria, headed by President Abdelaziz. Following Mauritania’s withdrawal from the region in 1979, Morocco staked a claim to their remainder of the land. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Morocco's sovereignty was terminated in 1991 by a United Nations brokered ceasefire and an almost 3,000 kilometre-long defensive sand berm. Built by the Moroccans, the sand berm partitions the opposing forces, with Morocco controlling the territory west of the berm, roughly 80% of the entire area. Given this external support in the past, why the stalemate now? Following the ceasefire, the UN set up a mission with the aim of holding the long-awaited referendum in the territory to determine Western Sahara’s future. However, the first problems began when Morocco and the Polisario Front could not agree on who was eligible to vote. The Sahrawis claim Morocco has encouraged non-Sahrawis to settle in Western Sahara, because of what Morocco views as their historic ties to the land. In 2006, Morocco conceded to offer the territory a degree of autonomy, which would allow for some local administration while maintaining Moroccan sovereignty. This proposal was supported by a number of world leaders, and had the backing of the United States and France, but was promptly rejected by the Polisario Front. Consequently, the referendum has been repeatedly postponed. Since 2007 the UN has organised occasional talks between representatives of the government of Morocco and the Polisario Front, but the latter, with Algeria's support, are adamant and unrelenting in their demands for a popular referendum that includes the option of independence. The issue has divided neighbouring states. While a number support Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a majority reject the Moroccan administration, and several have gone so far as to extend diplomatic relations to the exiled SADR. As the inertia persists, Morocco continues its occupation of Western
Flour is given to Sahwari refugees at a camp in Dakhla – a desert territory disputed between Morocco and the Polisario Front
“With no bombs and few killings to propel the story to the front pages, the tedious, endless denial of justice to Africa’s last colony looks set to continue indefinitely”
Sahara and the status of the territory remains unresolved, posing a significant obstacle to the emergence of regional, political, and economic integration as part of a larger Maghreb Union. At the same time, a sizeable Sahrawi population that fled Western Sahara during the war continue to populate tented camps in the extremely harsh desert conditions in south-western Algeria. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have grown up in these camps, a situation widely condemned as a humanitarian tragedy. Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have recognised that Sahrawis inside the disputed territory are subject to varying, frequently serious human rights violations. These generally stem from the non-implementation of the Sahrawi peoples' fundamental right to self-determination. In the case of Western Sahara, it seems the situation is out of sight, out of mind for the rest of the world. The exiled party are an awkward, expensive and arduous journey away in Algeria that most Western countries recommend not visiting due to its domestic difficulties. On top of this are internet and travel restrictions imposed by the Moroccan government, which is reluctant to publicise the recent wave of Sahrawi demonstrations and
subsequent arrests. Geography aside, the lack of blood spilt means this story has stayed out of the headlines. After the 1991 ceasefire, the Polisario foreswore violence as a means to promoting their cause, knowing that further guerrilla action would play into Morocco’s hands, where a simple caricature of rebel terrorism could be conjured up nicely for the world media. While almost all diplomats familiar with the situation will admit that justice is on the side of the Sahrawis – including the UN special envoy to the region – such admissions are of little leverage in an arena where Morocco has all the influential bedfellows. A loyal ally of the US in the war on terror, Morocco is also an important partner to Europe in battling illegal immigration from the Mediterranean. Finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the dispute has led to much hand-wringing at the United Nations. The ultimate lesson of Western Sahara is that for all the trumpetblowing on democracy and human rights as fundamental cornerstones to our sovereign world system, the dismal calculus of interests and realpolitik are still the order of the day. With no bombs and few killings to propel the story to the front pages, the tedious, endless denial of justice to Africa’s last colony looks set to continue indefinitely.
turning to civil disobedience once more? Protestor” was named Person of the Year. From 2011 to 2012, the use of social media to organize protests and spread the word has been prominent throughout. Last year, Google executive Wael Ghonim created a Facebook page called
“Despite the country’s newfound voice and love of technology, the protests have waged on and Egyptians are still unhappy” “We are Khaled Said”, following Said’s death at the hands of corrupt police officers. In January, Ghonim planned a “day of rage” and met with other protestors online. Protest instructions were posted and shared on Facebook, bringing millions of Egyptians of various backgrounds together. “In my whole life I’d never seen protests like that,” 29-year-old filmmaker Mohammed Ramadan told Time magazine. “Girls! ... Christians, Muslims – I’d never seen that!” Those efforts, as we now know, culminated in the beginning of Egypt’s Arab Spring, carried to West-
21 February, 2012
Egypt’s dictator of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, was driven from power in November 2011 but this year has yet to see a stable state
ern audiences mainly by YouTube videos filmed and streamed by ordinary Egyptians – the birth of the country’s growing citizen journalism movement.
Since then, the relationship between social media and Egyptian revolutionaries has remained strong, but by no means exclusive. Egyptian protestors,
like other Arab Spring revolutionaries from around the world, have been happy to share their experiences, sending protest instructions to Occupy Wall
Street members in the US late last year. Today, Facebook remains the Egyptians’ preferred mode of organisation, with a Facebook page set up for the current civil disobedience movement. But despite the country’s newfound voice and love of technology, the protests have waged on and many Egyptians are still unhappy. Why have the revolutionaries not succeeded? Surgeon and protestor el-Ghazali Harb says of the revolution, “We handed it back to the seniors. We didn’t trust ourselves.” The protestors’ lack of government involvement is indeed perhaps their biggest flaw. As a result, the SCAF is in no way representative of the protestors or their movement, and is instead more of an unwanted remnant of the Mubarak regime. Although it is important protestors continue the movement, what is more important is that they engage with the government. Shouting and yelling can produce results, as the Egyptians have shown, but they will not produce the desired effects unless they have control over them. It is only by representing themselves in government that such control can be gained. Until the protestors figure this out, it seems all their shouting and yelling is destined to be in vain.
Development project in the Dock Evan Musgrave appraises the Dublin Docklands project, speaking to some prominent voices in the planning of the city’s great model for the boom years
o other pocket of land has represented Ireland’s turbulent recent history better than Dublin’s Docklands. Developing as part of the first wave of international economic success in the late ‘80s, to fostering skyrocketing demand for construction, to becoming a dormant building site, the Docklands exhibits the great faults and failures of the Celtic Tiger years. As the Europeanwide crisis continues, we are left questioning what to do with the vast urban spaces the regeneration project has left behind, and how to continue developing a district in which the previous assurance of a return to major construction projects seem less and less likely.
“The Irish Glass Bottle site has seen its value decrease by 85% from €412m to €50m” The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) was established under the Docklands Development Authority Act 1997, which sought to subsume the Custom House Docklands Development Authority (CHDDA) and build upon its work in establishing the IFSC on the north quays. The new committee were given powers to acquire, compulsorily if necessary, formerly publicly owned sites for redevelopment, as well as the ability to “fast-track” planning procedures in line with the newly created “Master Plan” outlined for the docklands area. Initially viewed as a facility to guarantee swift expansion from conception to completion and keep up with market demand, “fast-tracking” planning procedures enacted by the DDDA are now viewed as one of the primary reasons for its current misery. The Irish Glass Bottle site at Poolbeg is a case in point. Acquired in 2006 at the height of the boom, the undeveloped site, still requiring expensive decontamination procedures before any development, has seen its value decrease by 85% from €412m to €50m. Failed projects such as this, coordinated amidst inflated land values, have left the DDDA running a loss of €27m in recent years. Forced to survive on state support, the DDDA
has written down its assets by €186m to balance its books and accommodate for the €5m interest payments on the Poolbeg site. One can safely assume that if the DDDA were a privately run company it would have been declared bankrupt years ago. This has contributed to the Docklands’ stagnant position, in which vital facets of the Master Plan, such as the DART Underground, have now been rendered financially unfeasible. Speaking to Trinity News, Loretta Lambkin, Director of Marketing for the DDDA, confirmed there were “no specific plans for major developments in the current climate,” and that any significant projects which would further arts and culture as outlined in chapter 7 of the 2008 Master Plan would have to be put on hold, though existing festivals will seek to continue to be the driving force behind the arts in the Docklands. Speaking on the subject of fostering cultural projects in the district, Turtle Bunbury, author of Dublin Docklands: An Urban Voyage, highlighted the need for physical spaces to improve the arts in the community: “Planners need to develop growing interest in maritime and dockland history with a proper museum dedicated to Dublin’s historical role as one of the world’s major ports.” Groundbreaking projects which were planned for the district, such as the ambitious “Wire Man”, Dublin’s proposed answer to the Statue of Liberty have, for better or worse, been shelved for the foreseeable future. Lambkin highlighted some practical moves which had been made in recent years to clean up the waterfront sections of the Docklands: “We’ve completed landscaping operations
“In comparison to its counterparts in the UK, the Dublin scheme has fared relatively well” along the quays, redeveloping 2km of water frontage. In addition to this, areas along the River Dodder have seen substantial refurbishment, with walkways being created and the installation of invisible infrastructure such as new drainage facilities to cope with the needs of residents.”
The area is hugely popular with young professionals, with 90% single tenant occupancy in Docklands apartments
Despite its physically heterogeneous appearance, particular emphasis has been placed on the social detachment which has developed as a result of the difficulties involved in integrating the old and the new. The residents of the Docklands are typically single tenants, and children live in less than 10% of the apartments. Though the 1997 Master Plan stipulated a requirement of 20% social and affordable housing in all new developments, private rental to professionals remains the predominant form of tenancy in the area. Dr. Niamh Moore of UCD and author of Dublin Docklands Reinvented summarised the ideological approach of the DDDA: “The size of apartments was not conducive to encouraging people to make their permanent homes here and spiralling property values encouraged residents to speculate and make quick profits. The landscapes created by redevelopment could be considered more theme-park than city, suffering from a human deficit and becoming functional as opposed to lived spaces.” Campaigns to highlight this issue, previously stifled by the impressive economic growth of the area, now suffer from a lack of galvanised community support as a result of this change in demographics. Grassroots campaigns which proved effective in combating social concerns during the 1970s and 1980s now
struggle to gain a foothold among the populace of modern constructions. This trend of perpetuating and accentuating social exclusion has been a criticism of waterfront urban regeneration projects across Europe in recent decades. In comparison to its counterparts in the UK, the Dublin scheme has fared relatively well. It will take time for residents to learn to adapt to new surroundings and, though starkly different to the traditional population, the DDDA has acted efficiently to impose the minimum 20%
“Projects such as the ambitious ‘Wire Man’, Dublin’s proposed answer to the Statue of Liberty, have been shelved for the foreseeable future” figure for affordable housing in new developments. Though conceived of as a home for financial firms and their workers, the future of the Docklands may lie the hands of students. One resounding success of the regeneration project has been the improvement of education in the locality. Since its relocation from Ranelagh to Mayor Street in 2002, the National College of Ireland has provided third-level education to what was once one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. Further to this, the maturing of the Pearse Corridor Development Plan, spearheaded by TCD’s recently completed Biosciences Building, has spurred pedestrian and retail activity in the Pearse Street area, once seen as a dull and congested thoroughfare. Although the ambitious plan to expand the 16,000sqm Trinity Enterprise Centre site in the vicinity hangs in the balance, it is clear that education and university research is playing a key role in linking the Docklands back to
“A lot went right with the DDDA – it did succeed in transforming a part of Dublin that was a no-go ghetto”
The dark side of the Docklands – a street in the area in 1990 before development was fully under way to regenerate the area
the traditional city centre as a means of harvesting the growth potential of media and IT firms housed in the area. Lambkin maintains that there is still “huge demand for office space”, highlighting the lack of new
development potential within the district in terms of available brownfield sites. The attraction of multimedia firms appears to be driving this demand at present, with Facebook recently announcing its desire to relocate to a new site in the south Docklands to accommodate doubling its current Dublin workforce. Questions remain, however, over the efficacy of the DDDA to re-engage with the continued sustainable development of the district, having failed its citizens so spectacularly during the boom years. One feels it is perhaps necessary for the handling of planning matters to be returned to Dublin City Council (DCC) as a means of consolidating the Master Plan and to re-engage with the community. Although it began with some embarrassing tremors, the regeneration project had seemed to finally engineer a vibrant and successful mixed-use development just before the recession hit. The Grand Canal Dock area is viewed as the preferred progression for the Docklands, and the ideal model for future construction, though the jury is out on whether two decades of hasty planning and financial blunders has been worth it. Bunbury has viewed change in the Docklands as successful.
“Though conceived of as a home for financial firms and their workers, the future of the Docklands may lie in the hands of students” “The Calatrava bridge and Grand Canal Square show some essence of where things were headed,” adding, “the docklands is an amazing achievement, always has been, always will be. After all, it was all marshland about just a generation ago.” To sum up the overall effect of the Docklands project, Niamh Brennan, current chairperson of the DDDA, said, “On the urban regeneration front, I think a lot went right with the DDDA, I think it did succeed in transforming a part of Dublin that was a no-go ghetto ten years ago into a vibrant living community for both local people and all the people that work in the Docklands.” Many options lie ahead for the Docklands project. Proposals have been put forward to transform the skeleton of the Anglo Irish HQ into a new “vertical urban park” as a symbolic gesture. Although perhaps impractical, it is the attitude that is needed to breathe new life into the stagnant regeneration project.
Upon a falling star David Babby delves into the dark world of celebrity culture, which is tougher than it looks
I “A celebrity dying from what is basically sadness is unpleasant – isn’t this an absolute rejection of love from the public?
t is terribly hard to be famous. You’re constantly hounded and scrutinised and everyone always wants to catch you without make-up, cross-eyed with spots. People will go through your bins and follow you – if you’re really glamorous, you might even be stalked. Your phone gets hacked and your sexy photos are nicked. Fans think that they are your friend. You can’t even sleep with Hugh Grant without his weird Welsh housemate ratting you out to The Sun. Yes, the celebrity’s lot is a hard one; it is just difficult for us little people to believe it (Julia Roberts really did not deserve that fucking brownie). As Good Charlotte once wisely pointed out, if you’re going to moan about an overabundance of money and adoration, pass it on to someone who’ll appreciate it. Then they themselves became rich and famous and one of the twins married Nicole Richie – this shows that they are not hypocrites. They’re dropping like flies, the stars: Jacko, Wino, Whitney (Whitno?). They have departed in what seems like quick succession in circumstances where their death was utterly
avoidable. A celebrity dying from what is basically sadness is unpleasant – isn’t this an absolute rejection of our love? – but it is an entirely mild tragedy that mainly serves to remind you that you’re getting old, like seeing your secondary school teacher shopping for groceries alone, or in Coppers. “Lucky” by Britney Spears was a watershed for everyone. We had vague suspicions before; tortured otherside-of-the-paparazzi-lense glimpses were nothing new – A Star is Born is a good example of the genre – but this one, very glittery music video was the moment we realized that all celebrities were secretly in pain. “She’s so lucky/ She’s a star/ But she cry cry cries with a lonely heart/ Thinking/ If there’s nothing missing in my life/ Then why-aye do these tears come at night?” Sofia Coppola has tried to capture poor little rich girls with softer lighting many times since, and she’s done OK, but the original has never been topped. There’s Britney – and look! Right behind her! It’s Executive Daytime Diva Britney™! She can’t even see her! (It’s piles of fun watching her beat herself up in “Hold It Against Me” but this remains the undeniable zenith of Britney doubling). Executive Daytime Diva Britney™ strolls around her fabulous penthouse apartment
and answers the door to greet a blond hunk who immediately scoops her up in his arms to kiss her – but then – the intolerable twist! – the director calls “cut!”. As Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop, one would need a heart of stone. Now they’re really dying though. Should we have paid more heed to Britney’s portentous message before things got out of hand? I don’t know. Britney had her own meltdown as well, of course – but self-indulgence gets old. We expect more from our stars. A bit of deportment, or at least persistence. This is why “Gimme More” was the bomb. Britney slapped on a wig and some fishnets and got back on that horse. “It’s Britney, bitch.” That’s all she had to say because, for all her suffering, the joke – if that were the word – is on us. We’re paying. She can go off, fall apart, whatever, and we will be sitting here waiting on her. Since, the tide has changed somehow. You might say that Rihanna’s “Cheers to That” video, which is basically a montage of fans and concerts and paparazzi, is simply a no-fuss, almost underhand way to get a video out. I think there’s something more revolutionary going on. Sure, there’s a hint of the darkness – we see the endless travelling; the fans become a frighteningly blobby, headless mass, and, in particular, the incongruous split-second appearance of what appears to be Avril Lavigne serves as a memento mori of sorts – but Rihanna knows what people want: a bit of stiff
“Madonna mentions feelings and hard times and stuff in her music, but you never believe it, you just dance. In her latest tune she has given up the pretence entirely” upper lip and some serious hip gyration. (In fact, Rihanna was allegedly having her own breakdown at the time in Belfast but, in the privacy and dignity of her own dressing room, she called Beyoncé crying and Beyoncé said “you can do it Rihanna” and she did it). This is where Madonna comes in because she is the queen of Tucking Emotions Away and Dancing. There was record viewership of her Superbowl performance and sales for her new song are through the roof. Madonna mentions feelings and hard times and stuff in her music, but you never believe it, you just dance. In her latest tune she has given up the pretence of having human emotions entirely – a word is nicked from the lexicon of kiddy internet users to signify the vague fondness Madonna may feel for another useful human being: luv. Because in times of adversity and upset – such as celebrities dying and making us feel old – one must seek solace in Swagger.
Why we buy in to ready-made meals Orla McGinty considers the phenomenon of ready-made meals, and the marketing ploy behind their popularity
arks and Spencer’s food hall for the upmarket grocery shopper has got its niche cornered. A browsing of the vast cheese selection, including pick-and-mix servings of Brie and Wensleydale, and miniscule packets of grated parmesan, reveal a range and packaging of products that is a far cry from the chock-full-of-cheddar stock of the more modest Dunnes Stores and Tesco supermarkets. Products, prices and packaging do indeed indicate a discrepancy between the demographics targeted by the different chains, with Marks and Spencer retaining an aura of class that seems to operate on a similar – if less extravagant – wavelength to designer brands of clothing. Virtually the same packet of tagliatelle can be bought in Dunnes Stores
for half the price of a Marks and Spencer packet, but clearly they can count on their upper-middle class market either to not bother shopping around, or to expound the virtues of paying higher prices for a higher quality product – an argument that can certainly be justified within the domain of designer clothes, where the jump from Penney’s to Prada is significant, but that loses relevance when deployed in reference to a packet of pasta. The implications of price disparities, however, which really relate only to the discretion of the buyer, shrink in comparison with a consideration of the products actually being sold, and its repercussions on our culinary culture. The squeaky-clean, affluent atmosphere that pervades the bustling food halls distracts us from the sinister manifestation of convenience-food culture that subtly infiltrates its shelves.
Pre-prepared packaged food takes the joy out of preparing a good meal
21 February, 2012
In the vegetable section, close to the bright, waxy, peanut-shaped butternut squashes, can be found a plastic container offering a serving of the same vegetable, but already diced, to save the buyer the oh-so-tiresome struggle of having to take a knife and chop it into squares themselves. A squidgy plastic pouch with an obscenely small portion of crème patissière can be bought – so that one can make one’s very own patisseries at home, using a Marks and Spencer pastry case, crème patissière, and fruit, obviously. And then of course, we have the phenomenon of individual portions – beside the queue for the till the shelves are rowed with tiny plastic containers containing a measly five dried apricots, and the dairy aisle is crammed with single pots of yoghurt whose mildly obscure and pretentious-sounding variety of whatever the fruit may be supposedly justifies paying nearly a euro a pop. Aside from the absurd exclusion of any consideration of cost-efficiency, these products are symptomatic of an ever-growing alienation from the food we eat that is sterilising one of the greatest pleasures of life. For in chopping our butternut squashes for us, providing us with ready-made crème patissière, and selling products in tiny portions for one, companies like Marks and Spencer are draining food of its fun, its pleasure, and its social element. The practice of eating is being subjected to what amounts to a cultural castration, with the consumer being progressively disabled and demoted from a position of agency. Once growing, chopping, cooking, baking creatures, a culture of convenience now pervades our eating habits to the point of utter alienation, whereby we are fractured from the joys of food and become simply consuming agents, devouring individually packaged tiramisus and “gourmet” oven pizzas. This model of what we might call “spoon feeding” is, of course, a development to be expected in capitalist society. The disquieting element of the phenomenon is how it has managed even to creep into the culture of what we consider to be “finer” food; previously confined to patently unhealthy products that were loud and proud about their status as convenience food, the
Mass-produced ready-made meals might be convenient, but the mark-up is huge
contagion has spread, and we are invited to enjoy gourmet ready-meals from a much more tastefully decorated box, or enjoy a plastic container filled with ready-chopped melon and grapes. Clearly, though, the issue at stake isn’t confined to a consideration of healthiness, as, evidently, eating a portion of pre-chopped fruit isn’t any less healthy than chopping it yourself (although I would argue that a few more calories might be used up in the preparing process). We are also at risk of squeezing the culinary juices out of life, of pulverising the pleasure out of food
and eradicating the need for most of the population to interact with it. If for no other reason than to defend ourselves from having a diet entirely dominated by the proverbial “man”, we need to hold on to the joy of dicing our own goddamn butternut squash. No measure of convenience can compensate for the unadulterated lust of leaning over a pan of melting butter and chocolate, the pure pleasure of licking half a batch of cookie dough off the wooden spoon, or the carnal desire of plunging into a bowl of raw mince and rubbing it into meatballs.
14 OPINION PROFILE INGRID NEWKIRK
Newklear deterrent James Moran discusses the career of Ingrid Newkirk, PETA founder who has launched a number of celebrity-endorsed (and controversial) animal rights campaigns
I “Newkirk targeted the fashion industry by throwing the now-iconic red paint over catwalk models in Europe, America and China”
ngrid Newkirk was born in England on 11 June 1949. Her father worked in many different countries as a navigational engineer, her mother volunteered with Mother Teresa helping the less fortunate. At the age of seven, her father found work in New Delhi, India, bringing the family with him. She attended a Catholic boarding school from the age of seven until eighteen. During this time she spent time with her mother working on a medical team in leper colonies. In 1967 Newkirk’s family relocated to the USA. Newkirk began working with animals in her early twenties, though she was neither a vegan nor an animal rights activist. After witnessing the poor conditions in her local animal shelter, she became interested in working in the area of animal protection. In the subsequent years, Newkirk became an animal protection officer and the first female poundmaster in Washington DC. In these roles she introduced animal adoption programmes, an investigation department for violations of animal rights and a pet sterilisation programme aimed at the spaying and neutering of household animals. In 1976, she was made head of the animal disease control division of Washington DC’s Commission on Public Health. At age 22, she had herself sterilised due to the belief that it would be immoral to have her own children when there were so many in need of adoption at any one time. During this time Newkirk became influenced by the philosophy of Richard D. Ryder, a British psychologist. Ryder coined the term “speciesism” to describe the apparent relationship between people and animals. The term is defined as “the
assigning of different rights and values to beings depending on their species” and identified one of the main causes as being the underestimation of similarities between species by humans. In 1980 Newkirk established the non-profit group “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” (PETA). In 1981, PETA gained public awareness due to their investigations into animal research. In the Silver Spring monkeys case, members of the group photographed the conditions in which seventeen monkeys were kept during an experiment that would provide insights into neuroplasticity and led to the development of new therapies for stroke victims. The monkeys were kept in dirty, unmaintained conditions. They were poorly fed and their injuries were left untreated. The case led to the first conviction of a researcher in the USA for animal abuse. Although the ruling was later overturned, and the authenticity of the accusations brought into question by the scientific community, this case established the organisation as a well known animal rights group. Since this point, Newkirk has been the driving force behind PETA, giving it the personality it exhibits today. The organisation outlines its philosophy as educational and radical. Newkirk lobbies governments to impose fines on violations of animal welfare legislation and to improve upon existing legislation. They oppose factory farming and propose reform in the slaughterhouse and animal research industries. Newkirk is also responsible for the majority of the controversial advertising campaigns used by PETA. Many of these campaigns focus on specific corporations, including McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King. In 1999, PETA launched an undercover investigation of Pilgrim’s Pride, the main producer of chickens for the KFC franchise. After filming for eight months the group released a video showing severe mistreatment
PETA has been behind a number of controversial “go-vegetarian” campaigns
of animals, including mutilation and abuse. In response to the video the company fired any employees shown to be guilty in the video and introduced new animal welfare policies in the plant. Newkirk also targeted the fashion industry by throwing the now-iconic red paint over catwalk models in Europe, America and China. Both PETA and Newkirk have drawn much criticism from outside and within the animal rights movement. Many of their advertisements have been criticised as misogynistic and dependent on shock tactics and sensationalism. Newkirk has much pull in the celebrity world and so has managed to get a great number to participate in PETA’s ad campaigns. Celebrities including Iggy Pop, Pamela Anderson and Steve-O posed naked in Newkirk’s “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” advertisements. Other campaigns
have been criticised by other animal activist groups for being spurious and pointless. Among other things, PETA have recently criticised Mario, the video game character, for wearing fur to allow himself to fly, and lobbied for the renaming of fish to “sea-kittens” to promote their welfare. In 2003, Newkirk drew heavy criticism after writing an open letter to Yassar Arafat. In this letter she requested the leader to keep animals out of the conflict. She has also come into conflict with the Jewish AntiDefamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People for comparing animal cruelty and ownership to the Holocaust and slavery. She remains strongly opposed to all forms of animal cruelty to this day, saying that she would oppose it even if it were to lead to a cure for AIDS as she believes there are more viable, cruelty-free alternatives available.
Using vanity and venality to win the heart of Europe Michael Ward discusses the centrality of French-EU relations in the upcoming elections for the presidency, much to Sarkozy’s benefit
he idea of a Franco-German axis has always been linked to the continuing integration of EU member states. Now, with the onset of the European debt crisis, this partnership has become more apparent than ever. To its supporters it is the economic and political motor of European integration, to its detractors it is the bully of European decision making, often dominating the political agenda and imposing its will on other member states. Whatever your views it is undeniable that when the citizens of one half of this partnership head to the polls in late April and early
“Sarkozy is attempting to portray himself as France’s strong and decisive leader, able to function well in a crisis” May this year, there will be potential ramifications for the entire European project. The direction of the European Union has yet to emerge as a major issue in the French presidential election campaign, which thus far has been dominated – predictably – by unemployment and the state of the
economy. However, with most member states in the process of collectively drawing up another treaty to organise the Union’s political competences this issue cannot be ignored. For a country that has long seen itself at the very heart of the union, the issue of the political direction of Europe will not remain marginal for long. Each of the main candidates in this two round contest has already given evidence of their European policies. The wide palette of views on offer indicates that the decision of one of the EU’s “big two” will be scrutinised the continent over. Nicholas Sarkozy is attempting to portray himself as France’s strong and decisive leader, able to function well in a crisis and the only candidate with the ability to resolve the challenges faced by his country. Evidently his close political relationship with his EPP ally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will be crucial in this endeavour. His latest crusade on the issue of the “Tobin tax” on financial transactions has seen the UK prime minister veto British participation in an EU fiscal compact treaty and even a row within Merkel’s centre-right coalition. Sarkozy’s stubbornness is manifested in his declaration that France will go it alone should the EU choose to reject this tax proposal. Sarkozy’s view of integration is intergovernmentalist and he arguably sees the EU as a vehicle for the
extension of French power, having rejected prominent candidates for important EU posts, such as former UK prime minister Tony Blair, due to fears that they might come to overshadow political leaders. In relation to Ireland, his desires for EU tax harmonisation have caused concern on numerous occasions. While this can be viewed as merely a political stunt, it is indicative of a candidate who views the EU as a necessary vehicle for French advancement. Socialist candidate François Hollande has been accused of political opportunism with his calls to renegotiate the European fiscal pact agreed before Christmas. Whether this is the case or not, a Hollande presidency may see an increase in EU activity in markets to a greater level than simply the Tobin tax championed by Sarkozy.
“Socialist candidate François Hollande has been accused of political opportunism with his calls to renegotiate the European fiscal pact” Hollande has dramatically announced that his only true enemies are the financial markets and therefore, if elected, we can expect a push for further economic integration and regulatory mechanisms at a European level. The French Socialist Party has
a tradition of being supporters of European integration (being of course the party of François Mitterand and Jacques Delors). However, Hollande needs to endear himself to his party’s
“Sarkozy will be even more dependent on the far-right to secure victory this time around – Euroscepticism could be the issue he pounces on” left flank, which has adopted many eurosceptic stances over the years, notably on the failed EU Constitution. His recent proposals to expand the numbers employed in the public sector and reduce the retirement age demonstrate his desire to secure the party’s left wing. Whether this will extend to European policy remains to be seen. The third candidate amongst the main contenders has seen a rapid ascent in the opinion polls over the past few weeks. François Bayrou has positioned himself as the candidate of the centre and should he qualify for the second round, polls show he may be in with a shot, with French voters disillusioned by both the UMP and Socialist Party. Amongst French politicians he is easily the most europhile, stressing the need for a strong Europe, even proposing a directly elected president of Europe. Integrationists will
undoubtedly be overjoyed to see a Bayrou victory and the likely resultant push for further integration. One of Sarkozy’s main stumblingblocks will come from the far-right. The xenophobic, anti-globalization, antiimmigration National Front candidate Marine Le Pen has established a solid base of support of between 17-24% according to opinion polls over the past two years. She sticks to her party’s long-held line of returning to the Franc, withdrawing from the EU and ending free trade policies by establishing tariffs to protect French industry. While Le Pen has a chance of making the second round, her chances of becoming French president are slim. This does not mean that she will not have a striking influence on the election. In 2007, Sarkozy openly courted the far-right vote on issues such as security and anti-social behaviour. He may well repeat the trick to take Le Pen’s votes and again be elected with National Front votes. With polls showing the vast majority of Bayrou’s supporters breaking for Hollande in the second round, Sarkozy will be even more dependent on the farright to secure victory this time around. This time around euroscepticism could be the issue that Sarkozy pounces on. He has shown some signs of this with his moves against France’s Roma population. At this crucial juncture in EU history, with potentially historic treaty negotiations on the line, the result of the upcoming French election will be a determining factor for the future of Europe. Whoever the French voters choose, let us hope they chose well. TRINITY NEWS
Expand our markets – remove morality Michael Bruton argues that Ireland has no space for ethical or moral principles in order to boost its economic performance
o the average individual, morality is a term and a concept associated with religion, culture, and belief. However, the fact remains that if we employ this term when discussing issues such as those mentioned above, we are deemed to be intolerant of other means of worship, societies and individual ways of thinking. In turn, the concept of determining the difference between right and wrong does not limit our spiritual and intellectual worlds. With that being said, why is it that ethical codes limit our economic world? If we examine the current global economy, we see markets which are untapped, not due to financial limitations but due to an ever growing entry barrier that is known as “ethics”. If this barrier – “ethics” – was to be removed, we can take advantage of markets that don’t exist due to a taboolike attitude towards them. Now before I look at specific
examples, I believe it is important to mention the fact that not all “immoral” markets should be introduced. If we were to employ GDP as the only means of determining an economy’s successes, it would be hard to see why any market should be prohibited. But the truth of the matter is that GDP is plagued with faults. The fact that it does not take into account education, health, the crime rate in society, the black market and the economy of the housewife makes this means of measuring an economy untrustworthy. Most academics will argue that, in order to get a true picture of an economy’s success, one needs to look at a citizen’s “welfare”. As a result, if we recognise that both welfare and GDP are important in determining what is economically successful, we can then determine which “immoral” markets should be introduced and which should not. For example, if we use the measurement tool of Human Development Index or Stiglitz, we
We need to develop markets not limited by political-correctness and moral codes
can see that it would not be wise to introduce a market for selling children, as it would negatively affect an individual’s welfare. The same can also be said for slavery because of human rights issues.
If we look at a market such as the sale of blood, we can see a case where people would be encouraged to give blood in return for a monetary reward. This market, provided that regulations and screening processes were
introduced would lead to an increase in overall welfare of the state with health improving, life expectancy rising and the rate of infant mortality falling. The same can be said for body parts. In 2010, Prof. Martin Wilkinson stated in an interview with the BBC that “permitting the sale would mean more people could get the organs they need.” Since altruistic mentalities have failed to remove the backlog of organs required, it would be wise to consider introducing such a market (provided that it would be regulated). It would increase the health and overall life expectancy of donor recipients. In a time like this, it is important to recognise the necessity to develop markets and opportunities, which are not limited by political-correctness and moral codes. However, it is also important that these markets do not negatively affect a citizen’s welfare and human rights. Markets, which can potentially enhance our welfare and our economy, should not be frowned upon because we object to their principle basis. We should treat them in the same manner that we treat different religions, different cultures, different societies and different people – with tolerance.
Bullying and the legislative anomaly in Ireland Karl Shirran tackles the issue of bullying and how it is more common among students, yet this group is barely protected by law
t a cursory glance, bullying seems like a straightforward issue and one would be forgiven for thinking of oneself as knowledgeable on the subject. There is physical bullying and verbal bullying, and these erode a person’s sense of self-esteem. However these are only the obvious manifestations of bullying and little is known about the more insidious forms of the black art, making them all the more difficult to expunge. Traditionally, it was considered the preserve of males to bully. Later research has shown that girls are just as likely to “relational bully”. Relational bullying is an attempt by the bully to ostracise the victim from a particular peer group. It is done through the spreading of malicious rumours more appropriately termed “character assassination” behind the back of the victim: an attempt by the bully to make the target out to be a social pariah, effectively scaring persons into not socialising with the victim. Regardless of the form the bullying takes, its effect is one and the same. Heinz Leymann, a German psychologist, studied similarities
between people who suffered from bullying and a bank clerk’s reactions to armed robberies, as well as train drivers who witnessed suicide attempts along railway lines. All three groups suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder – such is the result of bullying on the victim. The effects of bullying can be physical as well as psychological. The list includes stress, lack of energy, drug abuse, depression, bed-wetting, bowel disorders, self-harm and, of course, in extreme circumstances attempts at suicide. Perhaps the real perversion of bullying lies in its ability to impact on the victim’s future life. Victims of long term bullying oftentimes have
“The effects of bullying can be physical as well as psychological – stress, self-harm, or even suicide” a more distrustful disposition when striking up relationships with others for instance. The ERSI’s study conducted in
2007 showed that 7.9% of employees felt that they have been the victim of workplace bullying, with women twice as likely as men to suffer. With children the statistics are worse. Dr. Mona O’Moore of Trinity College Dublin in a nationwide study of bullying found 31% of primary school children and 16% of secondary school students have been bullied at some time. It’s worth noting at this point that the school-going population is approximately 870,000. So how does Ireland respond by way of protection and punishment given the gravity of the situation? Well, to date Ireland has no law which specifically deals with bullying. Not one legislative instrument passed by the Oireachtas explicitly mentions the word bullying. As if this was not cause for grievance enough, it results in victims having to search for respite under other statutes. The Employment Equality Act 1998-2008 precludes nine grounds of discrimination but is of lesser relevance for victims of sporadic bullies who don’t fall under one of these limited categories. Leaving this issue aside there is an even more glaring anomaly that exists in our law. While it could reasonably be argued that our law does make a stab at combating workplace bullying through acts such as the EEA, no such similarity exists to protect students despite statistics suggesting they are more likely to encounter it. Instead what we have are guidelines
issued by the Department of Education, which are simply recommendations that a school should follow pertaining to codes of conduct and rights of parties in the event of disputes. Surely this is an affront to common sense and, more importantly, the dignity of the person. Students up and down the country are by and large dependents, oftentimes with the lack of maturity and selfconfidence that comes with youth and, therefore, more susceptible to being
“While there are workplace bullying acts, no such similarity exists to protect students” taken advantage of. The issue of bullying has gained real impetus in the media of late with high profile examples such as Phoebe Prince (15) and Carl Joseph Walker Hoover (11) leaving a tangible scar on the memory of their respective communities. There does seem to be recognition internationally of the seriousness of the issue and a movement towards legislating on the area. Sweden was the first country to pass an antibullying statute relating to work in 1994. Since 1999 all but three states in the US have promulgated anti-bullying laws. Massachusetts, having learnt harrowing lessons in its recent past,
has introduced what experts perceive to be the best example of such laws. The Massachusetts statute requires schools to meet certain stipulations found in the act. Such stipulations include: having an internal team composed of teachers and parents to deal with complaints; the reporting of all incidents within a school to an external body; dealing with complaints within one school day of the complaint being reported; and to have a code of conduct with acceptable and unacceptable behaviour outlined. The consensual approach of these types of laws is to put the school in a position of responsibility and thus liability should they fail to act when flagrant bullying behaviour has been observed or reported to a member of the teaching staff. In Massachusetts the educators, potentially, stand to lose their teaching license should they be found guilty under the statute. The framing of the law in this guise implicitly recognizes the vulnerability of the student, holding the school to account. Bullying in my view, however conceptualised, shouldn’t be something that some people have to experience and carry with them and a legislative approach with its far reaching and serious consequences would be a step in the right direction. It would be proactive and prudent for Ireland to follow the international trend sooner rather than later.
Irish prisoners of the Japanese in World War Two
he tenth Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration took place at the Mansion House in Dublin on Sunday, 29 January 2012; that is, the Sunday nearest to 27 January (the anniversary of the liberation of AuschwitzBirkenau in 1945). The logic for such commemoration is a compelling logic, for only by remembering the dark days of the Holocaust can we hope to learn the lessons of Europe’s decline into barbarity and prepare the way for a better future for the generations to come. Sadly there are many dark days in the tragic history of Ireland in the twentieth century, but sadly also we have determined to bury them in the past rather than remember them in the present and into the future. Peace and reconciliation in Ireland cannot possibly be achieved by studied ignorance of our past, and unhappy and disturbing memories, as, for example,
21 February, 2012
of the Black and Tans, are apt to bubble to the surface at awkward moments to shatter our imposed tranquillity of mind. One might have hoped that our top
A VIEW FROM NEW SQUARE
academics, now so richly rewarded in the land of saints and scholars, would have led the way in this enterprise. By and large this has not been the case. The risks have been judged too great. Thus we are indebted to the work of Robert Widders, a man who has served successively in the three branches of the British armed forces. In Spitting on a Soldier’s Grave he writes of the courts martial en masse of some 4,983 deserters from the Irish Army (in not a few cases posthumously) under the Emergency Powers (362) Order, 1945, by which the men who had liberated the concentration camps were themselves placed on a starvation list prohibiting employment and consigning their children to the rigours of the industrial schools and the taint of a criminal record. Now in The Emperor’s Irish Slaves he writes of the fate of Irish prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East (some 650 in all). That fate is graphically illustrated
by the photograph of the emaciated bodies and pained looks of five mature prisoners that adorn the front cover. It is but a token of what is to come. The fate of prisoners of war in Japan was much worse, if that can be believed, than that awaiting prisoners of war in Germany. In neglecting to remember the sufferings of the Irish prisoners of war we have not only hidden from view the barbarities of their tormentors, but also the courage and companionship that sustained them. The doctors who continued to minister to patients as best they could without medical supplies in the midst of indescribable squalor and disease. The officers who endured punishment beatings and execution in intervening on behalf of their men. We cannot believe that the Irish people had lost their moral compass when we read of such heroism that baffles credulity. Robert Widders has done us all a great service. It is time now for scholars to
follow his example in all humility and build on his work. In recovering this lost passage of Irish history, hitherto unknown to me, I must confess, we may recover a patriotism that is filled with Christian charity and untainted by sectarian hatreds. firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Widders, Spitting on a Soldier’s Grave (Leicester: Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2010). Robert Widders, The Emperor’s Irish Slaves: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Second World War (Dublin: The History Press Ireland, 2012). The Emperor’s Irish Slaves will be launched in the Long Room Hub at 6.00 pm on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 by Dr. Sarah Alyn Stacey under the auspices of the Department of French.
16 EDITORIAL HEAD TO HEAD: IRISH EMIGRATION
TRINITY NEWS Est 1953 towards some revival of the collegiate spirit, which modern conditions tend to discourage
ANCIENT GREEK EXTREMES HAVE NO PLACE IN ATHENS IN THE Greek poleis, democracy was an extremity. It was a political entity ruled by its citizens – democracy in its purest form. Unlike other ancient communities ruled by a monarch or an oligarchy, the basic principle of the poleis was mass participation. It was supposedly the archetypal expression of Aristotle’s saying – “man is by nature a political animal” – even if the criteria for citizenship were limited. Modern-day Greek politics is the antithesis of the poleis: electorally inclusive, representative, and suitable for governing an electorate in its millions. Except, that is, in one respect – it is no stranger to extremes. While it may not take democracy to its definitional edge, its politics is no less debated, disputed and passionate. The violent protests in Greece are testament to this. The rage displayed in the country’s cities against austerity measures has both inspired and shocked onlookers across the world. For those suffering the effects of the recession – for the benefit of the rich and inept financiers – it is a physical expression of widespread anger. Riot police, tear gas, petrol bombs, looting – our Mediterranean neighbours refuse to take further cuts without a fight. Their methods are certainly extreme to Irish observers – but we are all Greek. Cuts, the catalyst to violence in Greece, are no less painful in Ireland – even if the reaction at home lacks the volatility in the continent. Pension cuts, public sector job losses, pay reductions and bank re-capitalisation are all painful measures felt by ordinary Irish people. The only difference is that, while the Athenian riot police are on high alert, the Irish sentiment is one of resigned anger. Ireland has been praised for its ‘success’ in implementing bailout measures with so little fuss. Its relative peace has been put down to political culture. Professor Michael Marsh, from the Department of Political Science, explained why were are so much more quiescent: “I suppose people just have the feeling that we are in a mess. I think people recognise that we are in a mess. What’s a protest going to do? It’s going to move the deckchairs around.” Or, perhaps, it is because the Irish are more ready to assume responsibility for the country’s financial position. Out-of-control borrowing, spending beyond our means – did we simply bring this recession on ourselves, and now have to pay the price? This is a view expressed (whether purposefully or not) in Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s comments to the EU: “An essence of greed took over where people borrowed away over and above.” Brussels must surely have been delighted by Kenny’s public admission of responsibility, particularly at a time when the Greek government is proving a tough nut to crack. It is still too early to determine whether Ireland is deserving of its title as a ‘bailout success’ – particularly when abject poverty at home is so evident – but at least this country is bearing its austerity measures with an element of dignity. Protests signs in Greece which read: “We are not the Irish” and “We refuse to sell out like Ireland” are misguided, but correct – they are not like the Irish. They have not accepted the inevitability of bailout conditions, unjust and undeserved as they are to ordinary people. Its protestors should perhaps take note from Ireland, and realise that a promising future lies in compromise, not extremes.
“There is a correlation between a rise in unemployment and emigration” EANNA O’DWYER
I AM disgusted by the comments of Minister Noonan that young people emigrate out of a lifestyle preference. I am sure that some young people do leave our shores out of choice but they are few and far between and, in any case, we should be providing the opportunities to keep our young people here. Emigration was the scourge of this nation for countless centuries. The 19th century saw millions of Irish people leave our shores for a better life in Britain or in America. One of the huge failings of the British imperial regime in Ireland was that it stifled opportunities for young people. It gave the Irish (especially Irish Catholic) little choice but emigration or poverty. Our moves towards economic sovereignty, culminating in our joining of the EU in 1973, finally put a stop to this exodus of Irish youth. We were no longer losing generation after generation to live their lives and expend their talents working for the yankee dollar. Instead we saw decades of Irish people staying in Ireland, availing of the opportunities available for them here. The result was a prosperous and proud nation that held its own in the world. This is no longer the case. We are sadly returning to the sorry days of yore when, for too many, emigration or poverty have become the only choices. The idea that emigration is a “lifestyle choice” can be quickly rubbished by a quick glance at emigration figures over the past few years. There is a clear correlation between the rise in youth unemployment and the numbers of young people emigrating. Emigration is an ugly spectre rearing its head once again and its dismissal by prominent ministers is simply not on. It is one of the pressing crises of our time and the government must deal with it. A country is nothing without its people. Our
young people are our nation’s future. We spend €8.6bn, about 17% of our national budget, on education each year, investing in our country’s future, but this all goes to waste when our young people go abroad. We need our doctors, our engineers and our teachers; we need our ambitious and qualified young people to stay here. What is the point in investing over €100,000 to give our young people the training to be topclass professionals if they have to use their expertise elsewhere because we are simply not providing the necessary opportunities to keep them here? When even the likes of Eamon Dunphy are telling us that “our country is a dump”, we need to realise that we have a serious problem. We need our government to recognise and do their utmost to prevent the brain drain that will otherwise ensue. We do not want to return to the Ireland of yore where every family lost a son or daughter to foreign climes. We need to get Ireland back to work again. The government needs to work to create the economic environment whereby opportunities are available for our graduates. Other shores should not be more attractive than our own. I want the government to live up to Enda Kenny’s promise of making Ireland the best small country in which to do business by 2016; I want to see the government implement the promised internship programmes; and I want to see the government work to attract the foreign direct investment that is so badly needed to get our country back working again. If they live up to their promises things could change. However, tackling emigration must be prioritised and it must be accepted that emigration is anything but a “lifestyle choice”. It is a terrible thing thrust upon Irish families by gross economic mismanagement.
“Growing up and settling down in the same place seems very limited today” MICHAEL WARD
IT HAS often been remarked that Ireland’s greatest historical export was its children. Emigration has been a factor of Irish life since the 1800s. After a reversal of this trend during the Celtic Tiger years, emigration seems to have returned as an issue with the onset of recession. However, it is worth examining the changes that have occurred in society in the past few decades that suggest that emigration may no longer be the curse it once was. A number of weeks ago, Michael Noonan was criticised for suggesting that some people see emigration as a lifestyle choice. He was discussing the fact that his own children had willingly chosen to live abroad. The ensuing outrage failed to appreciate that he may have had a point. Our modern society has a global outlook that incentivises the search for broader horizons. The Celtic Tiger banished any remnants of Ireland as an isolated country, somehow separate from the rest of the world. Furthermore, advances in technology and travel mean that emigration is no longer the penal sentence it may once have been. In this atmosphere many people do choose to emigrate as a lifestyle choice; indeed, emigration is often positively encouraged. Ours is a culture of discovery. The media is filled with images of far-flung places and programs dedicated to exploring diverse cultures. Travel supplements accompany most major newspapers. Multiculturalism opens our eyes to new traditions and ways of living. Thus it is not surprising that people are invested with desires to experience a life abroad. The opening up of education with the increased access to thirdlevel has incentivised lifelong learning – the idea that life is a constant voyage of discovery. Emigration is arguably encouraged by our leaders. As an EU student, I am eligible for the Erasmus program; a government-supported, EU-funded opportunity to live abroad and immerse in a new culture. Evidence suggests that embarking on an Erasmus year can increase job
prospects. We are no longer a protectionist nation which seeks to isolate itself from the world. In the 21st century the “world outside” plays a huge part in Irish life. Our globalised economy operates across borders. Emigration therefore has become a vital component of the international economy; people across the world work in multinational environments and share offices with people of all nationalities. The idea of growing up and settling down within the confines of the community you were born in seems very limited today. Throughout modern Irish history emigration has been viewed as a permanent act of separation. The tragic image of the Irish boarding the famine ship for America or England, never to return, has pervaded Irish attitudes to emigration down through the years. It was reinforced by the traditions of American “wakes” for those about to emigrate, based on the (often correct) presumption that they would never been seen by their families again. However, modern developments condemns such presumptions to the past. No longer does it take two weeks for a letter to arrive from the US; instead email, Skype, Facebook and other utilities allow rapid and often visual contact. Cheap air travel means that a trip abroad no longer costs a lifetime of savings and that the return trip is never impossible. These developments have revolutionised our attitudes to emigration (though perhaps for older members of the Irish community, it may take some time to displace those long held traditional views). Localism has been hugely influential in our culture. That we live on an island has perhaps made us feel even more separate from the rest of the world than might usually be the case. However, our changed world demonstrates that emigration is nothing to fear. Many people do choose it as a lifestyle choice, and to deny that is to deny the positive benefits that living abroad can offer.
Letters should be sent to email@example.com or to Trinity News, 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2. We reserve the right to edit submissions for style and length. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Trinity News.
DUHAC SUAS TO HOLD FUNDRAISING EVENT WEDNESDAY Madam – NEXT WEDNESDAY, 22 February, Dublin University Harriers & Athletic Club (DUHAC) will host its free public running seminar, the venue being the Joly Theatre in the Hamilton building at 7pm. Following on from the success of this event last year, the club have endeavoured to step in up a gear this year. Running is the most basic fundamental movement, integral to all sports and fittingly seen as the goto activity for those keen to embark upon lifestyle changes. In Ireland, the recession has witnessed the running boom explode further with record entries commonplace at races nationwide. Accordingly, this event seeks to respond to this welcome burst of interest to offer advice to runners and wannabe runners on issues such as the key principles of training, strength and conditioning, nutrition and injury prevention. The Irish Times athletics correspondent, Ian O’Riordan, author of Miles to Run – Promises to Keep, will be on hand to offer training advice alongside diverse experiences with some of the world’s best athletes and coaches. Irish 800m record holder David Matthews will discuss how he has utilised his own running career to create his own coaching career with Cork GAA by demonstrating
the importance of injury prevention and increasing running economy. A nutritionist will present on runners’ dietary needs. To further motivate your potential running ambitions, there will be a host of running prizes on the night, alongside a limited number of goodie bags with plenty of surprises. In conjunction with Suas Educational Development, DUHAC will be significantly lowering the tone of the evening in a fundraising leg-waxing event to continue the discussions post-seminar. Kicking off at 9.30pm in Kennedy’s pub on Westland Row, DUHAC’s finest athletes will be baring their hairy secrets to a team of professional beauty therapists, who will be lashing on the hot wax for eager punters to rip off. Entry being a mere €2, sadists can pay as much as they like to see club captain Garret Dunne, sprinter Kieron Sexton, and distance runners Ger Claffey and Darragh McCashin feel the burn –all for a very worthy cause! Rumours are circling that our guest speakers may join in to pledge their support. Suas has coordinated educational programmes in less developed countries such as Kenya and India, facilitating Irish volunteers to engage in local communities and assist in furthering the development of the schools and students. All in all, this event will stimulate a very interesting discussion whilst raising necessary funds for Suas. Darragh McCashin & Rebecca Egan
THIS TIME IN HISTORY
‘BULGE BATTLE BEGINS’ Trinity News: Thursday, 13 March 1958 Volume V, No. 12 In this 1950s issue of Trinity News, the front-page story concerns growing student numbers and the need for more sporting facilities. A side article suggests that Botany Bay should be transformed into a ‘French-style coffee courtyard’, with tables and chairs outside.
“Rag” is not an acronym but a 19th-century verb
OLD TRINITY PETER HENRY
apital letters are sometimes used in casual communication to indicate shouting, or at least some form of emphasis. Consequently, when I pick up a copy of one of the student newspapers at this time of year my eyes are assaulted by student writers – many of whom seem to be still learning the English language – roaring about something called RAG Week. Why is this three-letter word almost invariably capitalised? Do the writers imagine that it is an acronym and therefore requires upper case? Or are copy editors to blame? (Student copy editors seem eager to not only ignore errors but introduce them. This column recently featured a DU Boat Club man who won a Henley medal in 1903 and went on – somehow – to become captain of the club in 1966.) Rag Week is Rag Week. It does not stand for anything. The Oxford English Dictionary gives “rag” as a 19thcentury verb, and it is from this word that our current week of idiocy gets its name. The dictionary states: “An act of ragging; especially an extensive display of noisy disorderly conduct, carried on in defiance of authority or discipline.” The word has its origin in Oxford, but by the late 19th century was used in the University of London to describe boisterous activities carried out by undergraduates at King’s College and
21 February, 2012
University College. Someone might argue that Rag Week has come to be a charitable festival, and that it is now understood that the letters stand for something – “raise a grand”, “raise and give” or something equally silly. Even if that were true, few newspapers would capitalise. Most reputable papers just use an initial capital for acronyms – think Nato, Nama, Dart. Only initialisms like GMB or DUBC are fully capped. Must Rag Week be for charity? Not according a mention of Trinity’s Rag in TCD: A College Miscellany in 1940. The Collegiana columnist wrote: “A Rag is going to take place on Trinity Monday this year, despite all rumour to the contrary. It bids fair to be a better one than last year’s, which was a rather frigid affair. “Trinity’s Rag is justly famed. If it excels the performances of other universities (we have often been assured by impartial judges that it does) the reason is probably that ours is an honest Rag – a frank ebullition of high spirits and hilarity, not joie-de-vivre harnessed to the car of charity, which we see in other places. “In many universities the students levy toll upon the passersby, and hand over the gains to charitable organisations. That is to say, their performance is one which people are obliged to pay for, and this piece of petty tyranny is whitewashed by an appeal to shamreligious cant. ”Students may get drunk, enact lamentably obscene and blasphemous scurrilities in public, badger peaceful citizens with insults and demand money from them with a high-handedness which an 18th-century Farmer General would have trembled to employ – and the answer to all is, they are taking all this trouble for the hospitals, the dear young things. “In Trinity, at least, we are honest.” THERE ARE some entertaining videos of Rag days in the 1920s in Dublin at the British Pathé Archive, including one of UCD students dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan. Go to britishpathe.com and search for “Dublin Rag”. firstname.lastname@example.org
The 1980 Trinity Rag Mag, a pamphlet of cartoons and jokes, produced in Trinity Week that year
The alternative festival: where to go 1
HOLI FESTIVAL INDIA
THE NATIONAL PLOUGHING FESTIVAL WEXFORD
A colourful but common sight in India during the celebrations of the Hindu festival
The Championships were host to the World Ploughing Contest in 2011
oli, the Hindu festival of colours, is an absolute must for any traveller to India. Celebrating the coming of spring, new life and energy, it sees the mass participation of all ages and members of society in this festival. People take to the streets and throw powder paint called “gulal” on anyone and everyone, with the aim of the game being to engulf everyone around you in as much colour as possible. The beauty of Holi, aside from the vast array of colours that cover the people and streets of India on this day, is that constraints of Indian society disappear for this one festival. Men and women openly flirt with one another and everyone is so covered in colour that it is hard to distinguish between castes, or the rich and the poor; during Holi no one cares who you are or where you come from. I saw it with my own eyes: Holi is a liberating festival that allows people to behave outrageously,
with no strings attached, no ulterior motive – just fun and celebration. The religious connotations are overridden by the sheer messiness on the day. I was in Kolkata for Holi two years ago, and being a foreigner I was sure to be made to feel involved! People weren’t satisfied until every inch of my skin was caked in every colour under the sun. In fact I think I was covered in colour twice over. You were never safe from attack – walking down the street, huge balloons filled with “gulal” mixed together with water dropped from above. Yet I never felt threatened, or targeted unnecessarily. The Indian smile and hospitality is infectious. The whole city was game, and for days afterwards the remnants of colour lingering in the city served as a bright reminder of the summer to come. Holi is particularly big in north India, and is taking place on 8 March this year. Maud Sampson
he National Ploughing Championships take place every year in September. Despite it being thought of as a “The Ultimate Culchie Event”, it attracts up to 180,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors each year over the three days of the event. Not only do competitors travel from all 32 counties, but international challengers are also drawn to it. Last year even hosted the World Ploughing Contest. This event is not just for farmers or families, and there is something for all ages. The biggest farming event in Ireland, and perhaps the biggest farming festival in Europe, the ploughing is essentially a contest for farmers to showcase their skill and precision. Judges adjudicate on the straightness and perfection of the furrows of the plough. The event has grown from strength to strength over the past number of years and is a
huge boost to Irish tourism each year. It is always fascinating to watch. I remember the excitement at school when we would get the day off to go to the Ploughing! The three-day event is not solely about ploughing. It is an opportunity to display a wide range of exhibitions, from the latest machinery to craft stalls, fashion shows, food tents, livestock and motor shows. The Ploughing Championships has it all and it is a unique experience. Live radio and television shows are broadcast from it and you can even spot the odd celebrity (Irish celebrity that is!). Last year’s event even had an axemen show and pole climbing races. The 2012 National Ploughing Championships are set to be held in New Ross, Wexford on the 25-27 September. Be sure not to miss it! Rebecca O’ Keeffe
PRZYSTANEK WOODSTOCK POLAND
Flamboyant Carnival celebrations traditonally mark the beginning of Lent in Sitges
Mud and music at the Polish alternative to the Woodstock festival in America
ne of the strangest and least expected euro-summer weekends came when I agreed to go to a relatively unheard-of festival in Poland – Przystanek Woodstock. It started as a suggestion by a travelling companion, simply because it was free, which suited our budget requirements nicely. On the train over from Berlin we befriended Ben from Berlin, a seven-year veteran attendee, who explained to us that it was a much bigger deal than we had realised. This festival attracts half a million guests for a weekend in August every year, and is hailed as one of the largest open air festivals in Europe. It is by far the largest in Poland. Due to the language barrier and lack of promotion outside of the country, it is almost unheard of. Even the Germans over the border just an hour away by train would be largely clueless to its existence. The journey to the festival was an odd experience. It is assumed that if you are going at all then you must be Polish and know what you are doing. Apart from following the crowd, there were no non-Polish signs leading the way and it was only after walking over an hour that a traffic warden came into view and ushered us in the right direction, down a forest-lined road and into the vast tent-filled space at the end. The main stage, called simply the Big Stage, was stuck by the entrance while the Small Stage was up on a hill in the distance. Our curiosity was roused on this first night before the festival had even begun when we were told that it was, bizarrely, organised by a combination of a huge Christian charity
very year, as Lent approaches, the Spanish-speaking world renounces reality and becomes, instead, the kaleidoscopic backdrop for an excess of colour, noise, feather boas, silver PVC platform boots and sequins: a plethora of all things outrageous, known to us simply as Carnival. This psychedelic week of debauchery and outlandishness is where I happened to find myself last year and the question can’t fail to fall reluctantly from my lips as a result: why can’t we party like the Spanish? Carnival is celebrated across the globe every February, most famously in Rio de Janeiro where it is the biggest popular party on the planet, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Spain’s answer to Rio, however, is Sitges: a small, picturesque town down the coast from Barcelona which, as no one there for Carnival could ignore, claims the coveted title of the gay capital of Europe. Traditionally, Sitges Carnival saw the Catholic community consume all the food and drink that would be disposed off during the impending 40 days of Lent. Today, however, the 28,000-strong population is increased ten-fold by revellers who descend on the town for a week of street music, parades, floats, tapas, fireworks and beach parties. After 40 years under a dictatorship in which the Spanish spirit was suppressed and Carnival banned, it is perhaps now more important than ever. Carnival is, aside from a religious celebration, a brazen declaration of unity, of liberty and of freedom. Social station is scorned, modesty forgotten and blasphemy implicit.
In classic Spanish fashion, the word “programme” was to be followed loosely. Very few people, organizers included, seemed to have the faintest idea what was going on. As a rowdy and inebriated crowd of Where’s Wallies, Mad Hatters, devils, mermaids, superheroes and transvestites began to wonder, two hours on, where the “Debauchery Parade” of over 40 floats had got to, the police could only assume it had “got lost”. Disregarding the vicious circle of hunger pangs, quelled only by consuming yet more sangria followed by unspeakably grim queues for the portaloos, time became immaterial. What did it matter that the parade was currently on the motorway headed for Valencia (although it did appear eventually) when people-watching opportunities were so abundant? So there it is. Having experienced the raucousness that is Carnival, I can no longer deny that the Spanish do know how to party. How could we – or any other nation for that matter – even try to compete? We don’t have the weather, the time or, let’s face it, the disposition. So, as Lent looms this year and I find myself in the desperate pursuit of a habit more feasibly given up than that New Year’s resolution that lasted all of four long days, I can’t help but think back to this time last year. My options are these: ponder a month spent weaned off Dairy Milk and hourly visits to the Daily Mail Online, or dance the conga through winding cobbled streets with 300,000 Spaniards dressed in sequins and spandex bikinis. I know where I’d rather be. The 2012 festival runs from 16-22 February. Cosima Glaister
(the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation) as a way of thanking its volunteers each year, and Hare Krishna. There were a few robed men with shaven heads and coloured marks on their foreheads to confirm the latter and various other signs to indicate the former. Aside from this odd combination of organisers, the main personality behind the festival is a man called Jurek, an apparently well-known and slightly megalomaniacal TV and radio host in Poland who had a habit of delivering speeches that could rival Fidel Castro in length. The music was essentially a combination of hard-rock/metal and reggae. Not being a fan of metal, this would have normally been enough to end my hopes for the weekend, but in fact the whole spectacle of the festival with the mixture of reggae created a playful atmosphere that took over. Every day a huge Hare Krishna float would pass through the centre, past all of the stalls and beer venues, with adoring fans dancing in trances behind it. On the other side of the stage an enormous mudbath equipped with several tall hose pipes was set up for the one-hundred-plus people trying to escape the heat of the sun. Dreadlocks and tattoos drifted around the place, hippies and punks seemed to declare peace, and the whole crowd danced together in a dust that hovered over everything for three days. The music was by and large not for me, but the hopes of the organisers to create a festival that had something of the madness and spontaneity of the original Woodstock was definitely realised. This year the festival is being held from 2-4 August. Dominique English TRINITY NEWS
LISTOWEL WRITERS’ WEEK KERRY
Revelry and drinking dominate during this world famous German beer festival in Munich
Famous speakers and contributors continue to frequent Listowel, including Trinity’s Brendan Kennelly
midst the drizzly sunshine of the close of May, transport yourself to the famous fields of what is fondly known as John B. Keane country; what ensues is a literary storm. In the forty years since its conception in the market town in North Kerry, Listowel Writers’ Week has established itself firmly as the pulse of the Irish literary scene and has written a tradition all of its own. Its speakers and contributors over the years read like a literary roll-call of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, with heavyweights including Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Booker Prize-winners Kazuo Ishiguro, John Banville and Anne Enright, Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, Brian Friel, Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, Colm Tóibín, Hugo Hamilton, Edna O’ Brien, William Trevor, Sebastian Barry, Paul Durcan and Trinity’s very own esteemed poet Brendan Kennelly among others. Listowel, described warmly as the “Literary Capital of Ireland”, offers an intimacy in which words and ideas act as currency, allowing the poetic whispers of a nation to sing their music throughout this celebrated weekend. The annual festival runs a fine programme of cultural events. The literary workshops, though held in high regard, require advance booking and, being priced at €175 for the three-day duration, may not be best suited to the slender student purse. However there are many more affordable options, ranging from lectures and readings to book launches, seminars, interviews, art exhibitions, literary tours and theatre treats in
aturday 18 September 2011, the first day of the Oktoberfest, began as it would continue. Hungover as hell from the day before, I woke up in a friend’s house at 5am, to travel to the “Wiesn”: the Oktoberfest headquarters. One thing any potential Oktoberfest reveller must know is that the Wiesn does not consist of just one massive tent. The fourteen tents each appeal to different groups of people. Tourists tend to head for tents named after beers, such as the “Augustiner-Festhalle”. However, the Germans themselves are snobbish when it comes to choosing their tents, and wouldn’t normally set foot in such places, choosing instead from the range of unofficial “deutsche” tents. The “Schottenhammel” is where all the local fraternities – and their female fans – tend to hang out. Think lots of rowdy Aryan boys and neverending drinking competitions. The “Kaefer’s Wies’n-Shaenke” is for the older crowd – one could say for the parents of said rowdy Aryans. The “Schutzenzelt”, where I had the good fortune to go, is where all the cool German dudes hang out. Legend says that this is because it is the only tent with a Schnapps bar. By the time I arrived at 6am in the morning, the queue was already crazily long. For anyone who has not seen pictures, a girl’s outfit for the Oktoberfest can be likened to a provocative milkmaid’s outfit at Halloween. The “dirndl” consists of a shirt, bodice and apron, the knot of which can be tied on the left side – indicating you are single – or on the right side – showing that you’re “taken”. The Germans themselves are generally quite conservative
when it comes to these dresses, the skirt reaching just above the knee. One can spot the tourists who are having a grand time showing off far shorter pieces of material, complemented by knee high socks and heeled boots. Boys also have their own outfits which consist of shirts, sometimes hats, and lederhosen (knee-length leather trousers). The first day of the Oktoberfest is “Anstich”, when, following a massive parade and ceremony, a tap is stuck into a huge beer keg in each tent, and everyone starts drinking. However “Anstich” only occurs at midday, meaning four hours of freezing cold waiting in a disgruntled queue, a terrifyingly aggressive rush to get a table, and another two hours wait for the beer to actually arrive at your table. This is all made worthwhile as soon as twelve “Mass Bier” have arrived at your table. These litres of delicious, light “Weissbier” are hoisted into the air as everyone jumps onto the tables and begins to sing. Things do go hazy after that, but you will never forget the atmosphere in that massive tent. Loo queues are massive, people are constantly trying to kiss you and there is drink everywhere. Yet everyone is laughing and dancing along to the traditional band playing music in the centre of the tent, joyously choking down litres of beer as fast as is humanly possible, and drinking in the surreal world of colourful, traditionally dressed people from all over the globe. Oktoberfest takes place from 22 September - 7 October this year. Daniela Matuschka
AVIGNON THEATRE FESTIVAL FRANCE
St. John’s in the heart of the town. The extensive range of literary competitions (for which the closing date is March 2nd) in poetry, prose, Irish and storytelling ensures that Writers’ Week is ever-changing, allowing the legacy of the past forty years to take new directions and evolve in an organic fashion. Writers’ Week’s biggest draw is perhaps that it allows a return to the metaphorical “field”, the rural groundings in which so much of our great literature has taken root. Its embrace is one of the shared word, the spoken word, the written word, encapsulating a cultural inheritance of sorts and allowing the contemporary literary landscape to broaden its horizons while acknowledging those small beginnings. It gives voice to the parochial poet and the urban wordsmith, inviting their words into the literary minds of its visitors. While the festival becomes increasingly international, it is still imbued with that sense of “Irishness”, coupled with a sense of informality and craic that guarantees colourful contributions from guests and audiences alike. The festival offers an opportunity for what Neil Jordan calls “crossfertilisation” with other writers. So when the exams draw to their welcome close, book a sofa with a friend in the south-west and relish in the delightful ambiance of a timehonoured festival. This year it is running from 30 May - 3 June.
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL NEW YORK
Street performances create a carnivalesque like atmosphere in the city
The film festival, set up in 2002, showcases both New York based films, and international ones alike
vignon, the small, walled city in the south of France, is famous for its medieval bridge that spans the river Rhone (Sur le pont/d’Avignon…) and as the home of the popes in the fourteenth century. The Place du Palais des Papes, with its stunning honey coloured stone, is at the heart of the city and provides a natural theatrical space for the Avignon Theatre Festival, which takes place over three weeks in the month of July. This year marks the 66th anniversary of its foundation by the actor and director Jean Vilar, whose mission was to “free culture from the grip of bourgeois and capitalist society which is crushing us”. The official festival, now known as Le In, boasts world-class theatre, opera and dance often performed in the magnificent courtyard of the partly gothic Palace. At least 35-40 productions are now on offer each year. Early booking is advised for the much sought-after seats that are also very expensive, with little reduction for students. However, more affordable and in many ways more fun is what is known as Avignon Off, with its over a thousand unofficial shows from all corners of the world. Akin to the Absolut Fringe in Dublin or The Fringe in Edinburgh, it takes over the entire pedestrian-friendly city with performances in open-air cloisters, churches, schoolyards and a variety of unexpected corners. Even park benches are transformed into impromptu performance spaces – as I saw
21 February, 2012
last year. Elaborately dressed artists, musicians, dancers and actors parade the streets creating a carnival atmosphere. The diversity of the acts and the range of ticket prices make Avignon Off accessible to all ages, pockets and interests, varying from family orientated shows with puppetry, to experimental, postmodern installation pieces. Although performances can be found in both French and English, my recommendation is to focus on the exceptional dance and mime, both of which, of course, avoid the spoken word. Each square may have its unique vibe – from a low-key Ché-inspired, socialist hangout, to an upbeat, boho vegan paradise (bio of course). The canal that traverses the city offers an escape from the prevailing bustle. Here you can find colourful food markets to purchase a tasty picnic, a much cheaper option than eating in the cafés that raise their prices during the festival. Hostels and camping sites are available from €10 a night. As temperatures can hit the mid-30s in July, I suggest light, loose-fitting and casual attire but to fully immerse yourself in the convivial – not to say bacchanalian – experience bring facepaint, glitter and a feather or two! Fly to Nice or Marseilles but get the regular train, not the TGV, as the former leaves you conveniently at one of the gates of the fortified city. The festival will be running this year from 7-28 July. Venetia Bowe
riBeCa (whose oddly placed capitals are not a typo, it’s short for Triangle Below Canal St.) is a vibrant and exciting neighbourhood in lower Manhattan, New York City. Bridging the gap between Chinatown, the financial district (i.e. Wall Street) and Battery Park City, it’s notable not only for its friendly community but also for the vast number of celebrities who call it home (most recently Jay-Z mentioned it as his hangout in the song, “Empire State of Mind”). It also used to stand in the shadows of the World Trade Towers. After 9/11 the area was in desperate need of revitalization, which is exactly what famed actor and vocal resident Robert de Niro, amongst others, did in creating the TriBeCa film festival. The first festival began in April of 2002 and has run every spring since then. Initially it was a small affair, focusing on some big-name studio films along with smaller New York-based movies. Now growing every year, it has become a colossal exhibition of the best films around, focusing both on films from all over the world as well as the ones made in the Big Apple. This reflects the self-described mission of the festival, one which is two-fold. On the one hand it hopes to highlight and accentuate the power of film by redefining the film festival experience. On the other hand it works to serve as a celebration of New York with special emphasis on the city’s all-important role as a filmmaking capital. The festival shows an average of over 1,000 films each year, ranging from documentaries, to
narratives, full length epics to ten minute shorts, and it gives out numerous awards in many categories. Not only that, but there are also panel discussions with many performers and loads of other attractions. It’s truly an exciting event. This year’s events will take place 12-29 April. Corey Switzer
MORE ALTERNATIVE FESTIVALS Sziget Festival, Budapest Music festival on an island in the middle of the Rhine river – 6-13 August 2012 Cheese-Rolling Festival, Gloustershire Watch people chase cheese down Cooper’s Hill – 4 June 2012 Wife Carrying Championship, Finland Exactly as name suggests – 6-7 July 2012 La Tomatina, Spain An oversized, gigantic food fight purely with tomatoes – 29 August 2012 Bog Snorkelling Championships, Wales 100 people competing to swim the fastest through 60ft of bog – 26 August 2012 Money Buffet Festival, Thailand A thank you feast put on by the locals for over 600 monkeys who bring tourism to the village – 25 November 2012
20 SCIENCE NATURE
Is grass the new gas?
Perennial grass could produce key fuel
THE QUEST for cleaner, renewable energy sources has been aided by new research into biofuels. The ongoing research is being conducted at the University of Georgia and it has already identified the perennial grass Miscanthus as a promising biofuel crop. Miscanthus, which grows in stalks more than 3.5m high, requires very little fertilizer and can potentially provide more bioenergy per acre than other candidate plants. The DNA of this grass is now being studied in order to help breeders of Miscanthus in their future efforts to improve the crop. MEDICINE
Alzheimer’s symptoms reversed in animals NEUROSCIENTISTS at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have discovered a drug that quickly reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. The medication, bexarotene, is already used to treat cancer, but this new research has now shown that it can speedily improve memory deficits and behaviour, as well as acting to reverse the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug not only cured instances of memory loss in the mice, but it also improved their ability to sense and respond to odours. If this drug can be shown to act similarly in humans, it would be a breakthrough in the quest of a cure of this disease. ENGINEERING
Trinity researchers clear the waters RESEARCHERS from Trinity’s School of Engineering have developed a new solar-powered water disinfection system. The system employs solar UV to disinfect water and is a lowmaintenance method: water flows through transparent pipes under gravity and compound parabolic reflectors serve to intensify UV radiation. Not only is it a low-cost process, but it could radically improve clean water supply in developing countries. It was successfully piloted in the Kenyan village of Ndulyani in 2008. However, since then, drought has severely affected water supply, and hence the disinfection system. Trinity researchers are currently raising funds to drill a borehole that will tap the water table in Ndulyani, thereby allowing the system to be used once again. Donations can be made online via fundit.ie. MEDICINE
Cannabis leads to higher rate of crashes NEW RESEARCH based at Dalhousie University has shown that acute consumption of cannabis is associated with an increased risk of a car crash, especially fatal collisions. The researchers reviewed nine studies concerned with risk of vehicle collision after cannabis consumption. Records of a total of 49,411 people were included in the study. The results show that drivers who consume cannabis within three hours of driving are nearly twice as likely to cause a vehicle collision as those who are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These findings are published in the British Medical Journal. Anthea Lacchia
The grey goo apocalypse now Stephen Keane explores the literary and scientific impact of grey goo, a fictional end-of-the-world scenario involving nanotechnology in which out of control robots consume all living matter on Earth
as graphene, the strongest material ever found. This mastery of the atomic scale is equally matched by practical applications in everything from computing to medical diagnoses, much of this research being carried out in Trinity College’s own CRANN Institute. This improved understanding has diminished the feasibility of a goo that eats the world. Physical limitations exist in the availability of consumable material and the overall size it can reach before damaging itself. Instead, a bevy of similar nano scenarios have proliferated, such as a material deployed to consume the hydrocarbons in an oil spill mutating to consume all carbon-based life. Another is self-replicating nano solar cells outcompeting plankton or larger plant life and destroying the global ecosystem.
ne of the more immediate impacts of scientific advancement is its use in speculative fiction. Real ideas allow us to expand the scope of our imaginations. Mary Shelley was one of the first writers to exploit this when Frankenstien was published in 1818. While the concept of reanimation seems farfetched now, the book itself is said to be based on real experiments performed to stimulate the muscles of deceased animals using electricity. For Shelley, Frankenstein’s monster was the logical continuation of these experiments into fiction. It was also an early instance of a scientific allegory; a warning against science for the sake of science. This kind of tale became all the more relevant over one hundred years later in 1945, when the first atomic bombs were dropped. Where tales of destruction had previously come from agents beyond our control – such as the aliens of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds or the plague in Shelley’s The Last Man – now mankind was the agent of its own destruction. During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear attack, however unlikely, was a very real concern. It’s no coincidence that the iconic tales of the day, such as Planet of the Apes, are set around a world ravaged by an atomic war. Even in television it became a popular trope, recurring frequently in speculative shows such as The Twilight Zone. This fear of our ability to destroy ourselves was mirrored by advances in other fields. Developments in biochemistry allowed for tales such as John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids to seem like potentially real events, however improbable. Now as science develops further a new kind of doomsday has emerged;
War of the Worlds is inspired by “grey goo”, a hypothetical end-of-world scenario
our accidental ending. This was epitomized in the sensationalised reports circulating around the first tests of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in 2008. The danger, we were told, was that high energy particle collisions could create a primordial black hole to swallow the earth. As with previous doomsday scenarios, this too was unfounded but remained close enough to real research to seem possible. The CERN controversy crystallizes the current trend perfectly. Whereas nuclear war was a deliberate action with a predictable result, this destruction by investigation shifts the blame from politics to science, harking back to Shelley’s Frankenstein and its warnings against reckless science. Dramatic though an experiment that swallows the world is, it makes for short work in literature, which is where the idea of a grey goo apocalypse comes to the fore. The idea behind this is that a single nano scale self-replicating machine will create duplicates of itself until it has consumed all the available material on the planet. The concept of a tiny selfreplicating machine was introduced by mathematician John von Neumann in the 1940s. von Neumann’s model was only conceptual but allowed for open-ended growth and mutation,
this coming over a decade before the discovery of DNA in 1953. von Neumann considered it to be the most effective way of carrying out large scale mining operations by converting the material into these small machines without the need for human interference. The grey goo itself was introduced by Eric Drexler in 1986 to describe what would happen if a replicating machine got out of control. Drexler was an early pioneer in nanotechnology when such an eventuality was conceivable – though unlikely – in the near future. He worked out that a single machine replicating once every thousand seconds would weigh more than the earth in less than two days. Those two days make for a much more compelling story than the instantaneous destruction presented by CERN and is already put to use in the recent remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. As our understanding of the potential behind nanotechnology continues to improve, the likelihood of complex nanomachines become more and more real. For the first time in human history we can manipulate individual atoms to create new structures and materials with properties not found in nature – such
“Organic grey goo already exists in the form of the HeLa line of cancer cells. These have not destroyed life as we know it” Organic grey goo already exists in the form of the HeLa line of cancer cells. Named after Henrietta Lacks, the woman they were taken from, these cells are some of the few that can survive outside the human body. What’s more, they are incredibly difficult to remove through sterilisation and grow by converting any healthy tissue in contact into a copy of the cell. The HeLa cells have quickly spread around the world and in the 60 years since their discovery have come to weigh several thousand times more than the body of their initial donor. Fortunately these cells have not destroyed life as we know it – they were used instead in developing the polio vaccine. So far the fears around our fictional demise by science have been unfounded, though they continue to inspire and entertain. A recent offshoot of the Cold War nuclear paranoia was the light-hearted Fallout series depicting life after an atomic war. It’s clear then that as we continue to develop so too will our impending doom. We can only hope that the associated fiction can keep pace.
One small step onto the property ladder Jawad A. Anjum Staff Writer
THROUGHOUT human history, people have written about, philosophised about, created paintings of, studied, examined and analysed the moon. From painters to physicists, it has been a source of fascination and mystery since the dawn of mankind. But it begs the question: who owns it? If, that is, ownership of extraterrestrial objects is even possible. Drenched in a deluge of legal linguistic limbo, it’s hard to get a straight answer about any aspect of lunar property. From the definition of “owning” something, to concepts of fairness and equality, the issue of property on the moon and in space is rife with puzzles and problems. The only point of anchorage in this whole debacle is the United Nations 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which has been ratified by 100 countries, and signed though not yet ratified by another 26. While this treaty does explicitly forbid national appropriation of moon property, it does not prevent private ownership. For this the 1979 “Moon Treaty” was created, which has been ratified by a mere 5 countries; none of them are space powers. Military installations, fortifications and weapons are banned outright, but nonetheless it’s hard to envision a situation where the politics of the moon would not be marred by the
Buzz Aldrin, the second person on the moon – but does anyone have a claim to it?
same international hostility, scepticism and distrust we see every day here on earth. Superpowers will struggle for control of resources, to the detriment of less powerful nations. Maybe it’s a pessimistic view, but what is theoretically deemed to be “the province of all mankind” will probably be tainted with injustice. For a glimpse of what I’m talking about, take a look back to the space race of the 60s: it was less about landing on the moon first than about not being second to another superpower. It was a matter of sovereignty not science.
The creation of the Outer Space Treaty itself was motivated by the fear of World War III breaking out (the Cold War was in full swing back then). For every fact, there’s a slew of fiction accompanying it at every turn. Take Dennis Hope for example: he has already sold over 500 million acres worth of space property as “novelties”. Buyers choose a location and Hope sells it to them, although the Sea of Tranquility and Apollo landing sites are off-limits. He claims that he wrote to the UN saying he was going to sell lunar property and they didn’t respond
– dubious to say the least. Just think: in 1980, Dennis Hope filed a claim for the entire Solar System! Yes, every last cubic metre of it. Apart from the credulous nature of some people, it shows that if given the chance, property will most definitely sell on the moon; this in spite of the fact that most owners will never have a chance to visit their plot of land. “Possession is nine-tenths of the law.” This is equally true in outer space. Here, as is the case for maritime salvage law, being present at the site is crucial to ownership. In the discovery of a shipwreck, for instance, the party who reached the site first are generally entitled to a share of the recovery. However, it is not yet set in stone whether possessions must be by the party themselves or can in fact be their robot. We have seen this already in 1989, when a remote-controlled robot made a claim on salvage in international waters on behalf of a firm in the US. At the moment, the only person on earth with undisputed property on the moon is Richard Garriott, who bought Russia’s Lunokhod-2 rover at an auction in 1993. His ownership is also cemented by the Outer Space Treaty. What used to be a fantastical academic exercise is slowly birthing into reality – the area of space law is one due for inevitable research, expansion and consolidation. For the mean time, all we can do is hope governments play nice. TRINITY NEWS
FOCUS ON FINANCIAL REGULATION
The Volcker rule is made to be broken Owen Bennett discusses the contentious bank regulation proposal by Paul Volcker, requiring banks to curb proprietary trading
T “Many worry that US competitiveness will be adversely affected, since these restraints will not apply to foreign banks in jurisdictions such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore”
he date of the introduction of the much-heralded Volcker rule is fast approaching, and global banking houses are engaging in a renewed flurry of lobbying efforts in order to kill this controversial provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Only five months remain before the effective date of the rule, which will involve major banking institutions shedding much of their proprietary trading operations by 2014. Several banks, including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, have submitted their opposition to the new regulation in a deluge of comment letters released this week. Banks are appealing to lawmakers to soften restrictions in the “public interest”. Proprietary trading is the activity of banks trading for their own account, rather than on behalf of clients. The Democratic administration has been eager to limit or even prohibit proprietary trading due to its perceived role in exacerbating the credit crunch and financial crisis. However, financial institutions and industry trade organisations are highly critical of the Volcker rule in its current form. They contend that the ability of banks to hedge risk exposure and execute client transactions will be reduced. Additionally, they argue that forbidding certain trading will diminish overall volume, sapping liquidity and driving up spreads on municipal and corporate bonds. This will raise costs across the board, distorting markets and depriving regional governments and corporates of access to inexpensive financing.
Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and President Obama on reform
Moreover, thinner trading will theoretically allow for greater price swings, potentially destabilising markets and decreasing efficiency. According to a senior Morgan Stanley executive: “The proposal, if implemented in its current form, will overly restrain our customer-facing, market-making business and our risk-mitigating hedging activities to
the detriment of our customers.” One of the nuanced criticisms of the rule is that it robs banks of the capability to use their financial firepower to maintain liquidity when fleeing hedge funds cause it to evaporate. Many worry that US competitiveness will be adversely affected, since these restraints will not apply to foreign banks in jurisdictions
such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore. This could lead to those banks relocating these proprietary trading units abroad, hastening the relative decline of New York as the world’s financial capital. Those in favour of the bill have described this argument as “superficial”. There is some truth to this considering America has a plethora of advantages for firms, such as its deep capital markets and sound regulatory environment. However, globalised finance is increasingly footloose and multinational firms are no longer averse to transferring business to the Far East. Paul Volcker, the chief proponent of the eponymous rule, has persistently defended the plan to curtail proprietary trading, saying, “Proprietary trading is not an essential commercial bank service that justifies taxpayer support.” He added: “There should not be a presumption that evermore market liquidity brings a public benefit.” It also seems Volcker is at odds with the prevailing opinion of financial analysts that additional liquidity is always beneficial. This is in tune with post-2008 observations that liquidity can easily vanish in times of turbulence – when it is most needed – and hence should not be valued. The Tobin tax, which is the principal threat to the UK’s financial services sector, is another product of this mode of thinking. It is likely that the Volcker rule will be implemented in one guise or another. It is reasonably certain, however, that the banks will succeed in having some of the more destructive elements removed from the final draft. Hopefully, these changes will result in allowing banks to fully meet their clients’ requirements and not just set the stage for yet more regulatory failure.
Unfaithful relations risk big fat Greek divorce Paul McAufield reviews the ongoing Greek bailout discussions, which have evoked so much anger among the nation’s taxpayers
ith violence on the streets of Greece, buildings being torched and marches taking place across the country, the Greek parliament has forged ahead with a fresh round of austerity measures designed to prevent the very real likelihood of the nation going bankrupt and a disorderly default. Two-thirds of the Greek parliament backed the bill and the conditions laid down by the EU/IMF, with the 43 coalition deputies who refused to do so being automatically expelled from their parties. To secure access to the badly needed €130bn bailout fund, Greece will have to adhere to a severe austerity programme which will see a over a fifth being slashed off the minimum wage, over 15,000 public sector job being cut and €3.3bn in budget reductions for this year alone. It remains to be seen whether this latest attempt to balance the budget and curb the deficit will succeed where the implementation of previous austerity programmes have failed. Unlike in Ireland, where civil obedience and stringent adherence to the bailout programme has impressed the bond markets and boosted confidence in Ireland’s future outlook, Greece has repeatedly failed in this regard. The result is that the country now requires access to the €130bn bailout fund to pay creditors debts of €14.5bn due on 20 March. The cycle of borrowing to repay debts is seen by many analysts as the road to inevitable default. With Greece entering its fifth consecutive year of recession, Greek
21 February, 2012
prime minister Lucas Papademos admitted that “the implementation of the programme won’t be easy” but that it was necessary to avert catastrophe. Furthermore, he argued that “the social cost of this package is limited in comparison with the social and economic disaster that would follow if it is not adopted.” Other politicians such as Costas Hadzidakis outlined the alternative in similarly blunt terms, describing the deviation from this programme as the “destruction” of Greece. However, some analysts say the implications of a messy default would not only spell the destruction of Greece but endanger the whole of Europe’s financial stability and could potentially have serious implications for the currency itself. If default does occur and Greece leaves the eurozone, Ireland and Portugal may see themselves in particularly vulnerable positions, being the only other countries on bailout programmes. European patience with Greece is wearing thin. Failure to implement austerity measures is now regarded as no longer acceptable. In an interview published in Welt am Sonntag newspaper, the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said “the promises from Greece aren’t enough for us anymore.” He says Greece will have to become competitive and that whether Greece achieve this “in conjunction with a new rescue programme or by another route” is “all in the hands of the Greeks themselves.” However, the German finance minister is not alone in his view, with Irish finance minister Michael Noonan agreeing that “Wolfgang talks a lot of sense.” With the threat of Greek default
Protests broke outside the Greek Parliament last week as it backed an austerity bill from the Troika demanding further cuts
“Unlike in Ireland, where civil obedience and stringent adherence to the bailout programme has impressed bond markets, Greece has repeatedly failed in this regard”
becoming ever more likely, Ireland is keen to ensure that sufficient safeguards be put in place to prevent the possibility of contagion. What is more, according to a recent survey by Grant Thornton, almost 30% of Irish business owners would like to see some countries leave the euro currency. Should Greece fail to implement the harsh austerity measures, 30% of Irish business owners may get their wish. However, the timing and nature of a Greek default and the adequacy of the EU’s firewall will determine whether Ireland is one of these countries.
“European patience with Greece is wearing thin – failure to implement austerity measures is now regarded as no longer acceptable, according to the German finance minister”
22 SPORTS FEATURES
Are you up for Swedish island-hopping? Dominique English recounts her experience as a spectator at the O to O or Island to Island race off the Swedish coast and how it is the latest extreme sports event to make a splash
s festivals seem to be springing up all over the place, so are race events. Everything from marathons to ultramarathons (anything longer than a marathon, in some cases going up to 100 miles long) and even the ironman races involving running, swimming and cycling. But for some people this isn’t enough, and it is for these that events such as O to O, or in English, Island to Island, have come about. Located in the Swedish archipelago and only in its sixth year, it seems quite obscure and far-flung. It doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page yet. Its origin, like so many good things, was apparently a drunken bet between friends. The bet was that they wouldn’t be able to run and swim across island and sea from the north of the Stockholm archipelago to the south, yet this is exactly what 100 pairs of teams did (or attempted) this year. Currently hailed as one of the most extreme one-day sporting events in the world, the race is exactly what it suggests. Starting at 6am from the hotel on the larger island of Sandhamn and ending at the hotel on another – Uto – the racers must cover a total distance of 64km: 54km on land and 10km in water. Over the course of the race they will have to enter and exit the water about 38 times on the various islands. While there are water and food
The Island to Island race in the Swedish archipelago is hailed as one of the most extreme sport events. Photo: Dominique English
stations along the way, the rules of the race state that everything else they might want they have to carry with them. This includes everything from energy gels to flippers. While the path is roughly laid out, the islands are occasionally tiny and uninhabited, so the terrain can be anything from woods, rock and road, and the routes they take are not all uniform. When it first began they used to leave bikes on some of the larger islands, but now as the race is becoming larger and with more international competitors, the rules are tightening up. Being at the outer edge of the archipelago the racers are exposed to the rough seas of the Baltic and the swimming sections can range from
“While there are water and food stations along the way, the rules of the race state everything competitors want they have to carry with them – including everything from energy gels to flippers”
between 100 and 1600 metres long. I went down to watch as they came out of the sea and on to the last island (Uto) for the final three mile jog to the finishing line. The winners scrambled up on to the rock with a smile and wave to the few spectators and photographers gathered there. As I raised my camera to take a snap one of the pair bent down to tie up his shoelace and his partner joked “you should be photographing us running, not tying our shoelaces!” I did just that a second later but slightly in awe at his cheeriness after what had been roughly nine hours of continuous racing up to that point. We waited about 20 minutes for the next pair to arrive. There were about 50 spectators in total spread out over the
rocks, for the most part either waiting for the next photo opportunity or, in the case of a few families, enjoying their picnics. It wasn’t the setting of an extreme sports event, more like a relaxed day out punctuated every now and then by some cheering. When a new team appeared on the opposite shore it would always be a surprise – appearing out of anywhere in the woods opposite for a few seconds before jumping down the rocks and into the water and battling their way through the choppy sea to where we were shouting them on. Some would hardly seem to notice us all there, others would pause for a quick chat. Back up at the finishing line later we heard the results – the winners had come in after nine hours and seven minutes. They had all set off at quarter to six in the morning. However, there were still people yet to come in and it was getting dark. A rich buffet spread awaited the competitors up at the hotel but nobody seemed to be touching it until the last man was in. Finally, after the sun had well and truly set the awards ceremony began. The winners of the men’s teams, called “Team Ekonomianalys”, had finished after 9:07:24, the female winners at 12:28:01 and the mixed team at 11:10:18. Last year they had had to cap the number of teams at 100, despite growing interest internationally. While most racers were from Scandinavia there were a handful from France, Germany and the UK and a couple from as far as South Africa and the USA. In the midst of the post-race drinking the crowd had become quite enthusiastic and the results were read to loud cheers, particularly when we were told that the year before the Swedish Navy team had beaten the Navy Seals. As the night drew to a close and people hobbled to bed, they reminded us to come back and participate next year for what would hopefully be an even bigger and better race, a suggestion I pass on.
Irish soccer is gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety Sarah Burns wonders with the approach of Euro 2012 if Irish soccer and its players will be back in centre stage like their 90s heyday
he Irish football team dominated 2002. The hot topic that summer was whether you supported Roy Keane’s exit from Saipan, or if your loyalties stayed with manager Mick McCarthy. Whatever your thoughts on that infamous bustup, everyone had a view on what was playing out in South Korea and Japan that summer. Who could forget the joy of Robbie Keane’s injury-time goal against Germany, or the hilarious reaction of McCarthy to it? Ireland made it to the last sixteen of the World Cup, only to be knocked out by ten-man Spain in a penalty shootout. The green army returned home to a proud(ish) nation, and players such as Matt Holland, Damien Duff (remember that celebration?) and even manager McCarthy still hold a place in our affections. Ten years later and Ireland has again qualified for a major international competition, the European Championships which are to be held in Poland and Ukraine this June. This time the circumstances are much different. Instead of a young, promising striker, we now have an ageing Robbie Keane who has played for ten different sides in the last fifteen years. Or even more significantly, five in the last four years, including one in America. Duff is no longer the bright spark on the wing, once part of Jose “The Special One” Mourinho’s Chelsea side, but now a bit-part player at Fulham, injuries permitting. Recognisable names such as Steve Finnan, Ian Harte
and Roy Keane are absent from the current team sheet – Glenn Whelan, anyone? Er, Stephen Ward? – and have been replaced by a largely anonymous bunch of journeymen. Over the past number of years, soccer has largely been on the backburner of Irish sport and focus has turned to the Irish rugby team instead. Who could blame us? Setbacks such as the horrific 2-5 loss to Cyprus in 2005 or Thierry Henry’s “Hand of Frog” in 2009 are just some of the distressing chapters of Irish soccer in the past ten years. After that loss to Cyprus, the Republic of Ireland team fell below Northern Ireland in the FIFA world rankings for the first time since they were introduced in 1992. The mediocrity of the Brian Kerr-Steve Staunton managerial period left much to be desired, and national affections switched to the rising Irish rugby team instead. The country now became accustomed to a new generation of rising stars in green jerseys – the likes of Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara. At last, here was a sport in which we punched well above our weight – beating teams such as England and Australia on a regular basis. Grand Slam glory in 2009, two British and Irish Lions captains in the last two tours, plus the provinces have dominated the Heineken Cup for the last six years. Here we have a sport in which Ireland wins more often than not. In the top ten sporting broadcasts of 2011, Ireland’s Six Nations match versus England at the Aviva Stadium
also apparent in Leinster’s road to the Heineken Cup final last season. Their home turf of the RDS was disregarded in favour of the 50,000 capacity Aviva, where they took on Leicester Tigers and Toulouse. Not even the newly created Carling Nations Cup in 2011, which the Republic of Ireland actually won, could get a football attendance of 20,000 spectators at the same stadium.
“How will the team cope with a tough group – shut up shop and go for draws?”
Can Robbie Keane and Ireland’s 2012 team reignite Ireland’s love for soccer?
“The mediocrity of the Brian Kerr-Steve Staunton managerial period left much to be desired, and national affections switched to the rising rugby team”
received 41,400 more viewers than the soccer team’s second-leg playoff qualifier against Estonia. An astounding statistic, given that the Estonia game determined whether the Irish football team would make it to their first major competition in a decade. In addition to this the national rugby team featured four times in the top ten while their football counterparts made it just twice. The growth in popularity for the sport was
With the winter jackets going back into the wardrobe and the evenings at last becoming that bit brighter, the countdown to Poland and Ukraine is beginning. Trapattoni’s side get the ball rolling this month with a friendly against the Czech Republic at home, and subsequent matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary. But can they win over a sceptical Irish public, which has simply never warmed to this team or their cautious style of football? How will the team cope with a tough group – shut up shop and go for 0-0 draws against the likes of Spain, or Jackie Charlton’s preferred measure of “giving it a lash”? In fact, with the rugby team appearing to be floundering for the first time in years, there is a real chance for Il Trap’s team to win us over by emulating their predecessors of 1988, 1990, 1994 and 2002. The Irish rugby team has promised more than it could deliver, especially in the World Cup of 2007. The footballers have promised us nothing, but under Trapattoni’s shrewd tutelage could deliver the lot.
COLLEGE SPORT 23
Different folks, different strokes Conor Bates and James Hussey speak to members of the Boat Club ahead of the Gannon Cup race against their UCD rivals
ublin University Boat Club’s proud history is a substantial burden to carry, especially in the run-up to the annual Gannon Cup race against Colours rivals, UCD. Weeks of friendly banter and taunting between the sides apart, the serious business of the event weighs heavily on its competitors. The peaks and troughs of activity during the rowing season mean that training must be tailored to the team’s aspirations and measured to allow the rowers to peak at the necessary time. With this in mind, we enter Captain’s Rooms in New Square to meet senior members of DUBC, all of whom are deep in preparation for next month’s Liffey-based race. Charlie Landale, last year’s captain and current admiral of the club, describes the level of training the team has undergone since the festive period, with an eye to the long season ahead. “Preparations have gone very well thus far. We had a very good training camp in Seville at the end of January where we got a good week’s work done in excellent weather, completing over 200 kilometres. We practiced in smaller boats since early in the year and it’s all been very competitive. As we near the Cup we’ll move into the eight man boat, which the Cup is raced in, and get about selecting a team for the event.” The Gannon will take place on 19 March, and Trinity will be looking to avenge three consecutive defeats at the hands of UCD. The differing levels of competitors between the colleges have done nothing to dissuade DUBC of their ability on the water. Fionn McCaffrey, a veteran of last year’s race, told us: “Obviously nobody likes to be beaten and last year was a very tall order for us. Their team is probably a senior side in any competition, whereas ours is only an intermediate. When the two crews are staffed together for this competition you can see the difference.” The team that will contest this year’s Gannon differs quite dramatically from the crew that competed last year. A
combination of incoming talent and outgoing rowers has forced DUBC’s hand in terms of selecting a side for the race. Club secretary Matthew Brophy explained: “It’s quite different from the 2011 Gannon Cup team to be honest. There are only a few of the squad left from last year, but there has been some good talent come in the door for us this year. We have a big crop of first-years and they’re a strong bunch.” Landale was quick to emphasise the commitment of the rowers in the club, including the newer members to the senior side. “We’ve got a good committed bunch of rowers in the club now and it’s important for the next few years that we all keep going. In the Boat Club, it’s all about getting people in and building for a few years at a time. For example, Patrick Hughes is one of our young stars who is currently a trialist with the Irish team. I think he’ll do very well in the sport.” The Gannon Cup, though prestigious, cannot be allowed to take over the rhythm of the rowing calendar, and must be integrated into a calculated approach towards the rest of the year. As a senior member of DUBC, McCaffrey recognised the importance of focusing on the season ahead, beyond the Colours race. “The Gannon is essentially a sprint race, just over two kilometres long. This comes at a strange time in the season, because this is usually the time of year when head races are held; a head race being around 6 or 7 km. As a result you have to accommodate different training regimes for just one race. It’s tough, and we try not to let it upset our year but we train hard and put a lot of effort in, undoubtedly.” The attraction of rowing is one the club must depend upon to provide members for its future teams. In a competitive “market” for potential rowers, the members are asked how they manage to continually produce results without scouting prospective talent. “We cast a wide net. We try to talk to everyone in Freshers’ Week, we’ll take anyone who wants to join
Dublin University Boat Club in Gannon Cup action on the Liffey in 2011. Photo: DUBC
and then that naturally funnels down throughout the year to those who really want to keep it up. We can’t really scout because not many people in Ireland row before they come to college. We’re grateful for the few who do, but we also think of ourselves as a real Trinity club; everyone who comes here learns to row with us and that’s really nice,” McCaffrey said. “As it stands we can’t really scout, because of the way the scholarships are handed out. Scouting is incentive based, and to get a scholarship from Trinity you usually have to achieve something within the college. Thus, for us to offer a Boat Club scholarship we would have to raise the money
ourselves, and that’s just not feasible at the moment. Maybe sometime in the future, though,” Landale added. The future preys heavily on the mind of every club in college, perhaps DUBC in particular, with its history of achievement and prestige. We put this to the club’s members, particularly regarding the status of rowing within college. Patrick Hughes, in his first year on the senior team, emphasised the community represented by the boat club, one that spans generations of achievement in Dublin University. “In my first year, the club has been great for me. It’s lots of fun, and has plenty of great traditions. We all get together for great dinners and events,
with guest speakers and the like. The old boys of the club come and eat with us and it’s great to meet them and talk to them about rowing. There’s a great sense of community within DUBC.” Landale further discussed this, pointing to the lasting impression that each individual can have on an integral sporting feature of college life. “As Captain last year and Admiral this year, it feels really great to be given the responsibility of something so many people care about in college. The community is fantastic, and every member gets a great sense of ownership out of it. Even when we’ve finished, there will still be bits of it that are ours. For example a great memory for me is winning the Senior Eights in my first year; I’ll never forget it.” The conversation turns, finally, to Henley, the world famous regatta that takes place in Oxfordshire every summer. Maeve Crockett, team cox, notes that, although highly alluring and prestigious, the call of Henley is something that must be attempted with extreme care, so as not to throw the team’s season out of kilter. “The thing about Henley is that the standard is exceptionally high and the timing for us is quite awkward. Henley happens in June so it can interfere with our preparation for the Nationals, and it can be difficult to disrupt a season if the projection isn’t that good. It takes the form of a knockout competition so, if unlucky, it can all be over very quickly. This can be very disruptive and ultimately a waste of time for the team. That said, if we feel we have a good chance we’ll send a team over and see how they get on.” The Boat Club’s lineage and heritage within Trinity College brings with it long-standing traditions and a determination to succeed. The increasing popularity of rowing, much in part to the Herculean efforts of Redgrave, Pinsent et al in various Olympiad, and the popular culture clout of the Winklevoss twins (they of Facebook fame), has ensured that the sport’s renaissance in the public eye is ongoing. Dublin University Boat Club will look to the Gannon as a start on their season, with a vision for the future in mind, and a year of competitive rowing ahead. The pain won’t last forever, but for DUBC, the memories will.
Trinity Camógs looking for Meachair success
e spoke with three members of Dublin University’s Camogie Club – Cork All-Ireland winner Cathriona Foley, and Dublin players Mairí Ní Mhuineachain and Jade Carey. The club is looking forward to the semi-final of intervarsity competition, the Fr. Meachair Cup. The rate of development within the college is testament to the quality of competitors lining out in red and black. How has the season been so far for the camogie team in college, and you personally? Jade: “We have qualified for the Fr. Meachair Cup, with our only loss coming in a tight game against DIT. We were unlucky to lose and the rest of the season has shown that this talented squad has the ability to go all the way in the competition.” Mairí: “We started very well, beating St. Pat’s Drumcondra and UCD 2nds in our first two matches. There has been a definite improvement, especially with the freshers coming through, we’ve shown good strength as a team this year.” Cathriona: “As a team we’ve learned to play very well as a unit and comprehend the ideology that all of us are better than one of us. Our victories in the championship thus far have been convincing, leading to our qualification for the Fr. Meachair Cup.” What are the team’s aspirations for the year ahead? Mairí: “Winning the Fr. Meachair
21 February, 2012
Trinity Camogie contest a heated throw-in in a recent qualifying match. Photo: TCD GAA
trophy is a real aim, it is a cup we are definitely capable of winning. The team has really bonded well this year, particularly with the new infusion of talented freshers so we’ll be hoping for success in that competition.” Jade: “Every player has really been pushing themselves at training. The team is definitely on track for success, we just have to keep our training and intensity going into the semi-final.” Cathriona: “As far as college clubs go there are a multitude of aspirations that a team would have in any given year. In the 2011-2012 season we aspired to increase our membership and sustain a good number of people at training on a regular basis which we have managed to do through the great work and dedication of our coach John Byrne and captain Roisin O’Grady.”
On a personal note, what are your own aims for 2012 in camogie? Jade: “At the start of the year my hopes were to earn a starting position and I’ve done that. Outside of college, my club plays at senior level now, so we hope to continue at that standard and bring new girls through the ranks to compete for positions.” Mairí: “At club level, my team has just moved up to senior A, so we hope to compete as best we can in a very tough league. Myself and Jade also represent Dublin, so we’re looking to have a good year at intercounty level. The last few years have been tough for us but we hope to move on with the current crop of girls we have.” What do you think of the GAA structures in place in Trinity? Jade: “Trinity GAA is a really good
club, it’s very friendly and welcoming. Because we were first years coming in, a special effort was made to help us feel comfortable within the team. I feel as much a part of the team in Trinity as I do in my home club.” Mairí: “There are currently five teams in the club and we are all interconnected. All of our fundraising is done together. There’s a real family atmosphere in Trinity GAA, no sense of anyone being an outsider, everybody’s welcome.” Cathriona: “Within Trinity, camogie provides a great opportunity for students of all disciplines, to meet and get to know each other. Camogie provides female students with an environment within which to experience working for a team and with a team, an entity that sometimes,
in a college scenario, may be forgotten about due to examinations based on an individual’s performances in the majority of courses.” How do you feel about the national image of camogie in terms of publicity/attendance? Jade: “Obviously camogie is still overlooked in comparison to hurling, but I think that it’s slowly getting there. The team welcomed Mary Moran, who has written a book about the sport, to speak about camogie’s role in Ireland. Over the years, publicity given to the sport has increased but there’s still room to improve.” Mairí: “Camogie will hopefully be brought under the GAA umbrella in the next few years. The increasing publicity given to the sport has certainly helped with its development. It isn’t quite up there yet but, as Jade said, it’s gradually making it.” Cathriona: “I’ve played inter-county with successful Cork senior camogie teams from 2003 until 2010 and found that in general camogie goes unnoticed for 11 months of the year. When September comes we’ll get one week of coverage in between the hurling and men’s football. It is difficult to portray an image to anybody if you’re not getting media coverage. The coverage has improved, albeit at a slow pace, since 2003, such as the O’Connor sisters from Wexford making an appearance on the Saturday Night Show in 2011. The day Croke Park is filled to capacity on All-Ireland Camogie day will be a day I hope I get to see!”
Learning lessons the hard way in Boxing Colours Gabriel Corcoran Contributing Writer
AFTER AN impressive year of titles for the Dublin University Boxing Club (DUBC), this year’s Colours team came off second-best after the much anticipated fixture against their rivals UCD in the Astra Hall on Wednesday 16 February. Renowned as the most flashy and unpredictable fixture of the year, the atmosphere was unusually sombre upon arrival, with a notable lack of the usual frills such as music and ring girls. The large crowd, including an impressive Trinity cohort, were left in no doubt that both teams meant business, with over half of the DUBC members here to prove themselves in their first fight for the club. Shane Farrell (DUBC) took on Kevin McDonnell in the first bout of the night at 71kg. Maintaining his composure and technique in the first round gave Farrell the upper hand in round two as he came out quick with a couple of lovely hooks to his opponent. With both fighters tiring in the final round, it could have gone either way, but was awarded to the UCD fighter. A wellfought fight to open the night, and an impressive debut for Farrell, showing strong potential for the future. Next up was Ben Kavanagh (DUBC) facing off against Ronan Croke in the second heaviest bout of the night at 86kg. Croke, an obvious rugby convert, had the upper hand in terms of athleticism, though Kavanagh was unfazed. After a first round of testing each other out, Kavanagh came out firing at the start of round two, landing a barrage of body shots on his retreating opponent. Croke was not finished, however, as he opened up and returned a volley of shots. The fighters slugged it out in the last round, resulting in a victory for Kavanagh, a fantastic result and well deserved.
Trinity’s team did not go down without a fight against UCD rivals during Wednesday’s Colours match. Photo: Nilgiri Pearson
Ladies captain Jillian Muirhead stepped up next to represent her club against UCD’s Marie Burchill, neither girls strangers to the ring. With Burchill’s unconventional style, twice performing a diving “Achilles”-style punch, Muirhead found it difficult to exercise her superior technique. While the bout was awarded to UCD, Muirhead can take solace in the fact that she did not resort to a brawl and displayed superior discipline and skill. The next two fights saw Cian McGrenra make his long-awaited debut, and Kishan Nayar take on his second opponent for DUBC. Both fighters had been moved up a weight for the competition, making it an uphill battle from the start. McGrenra, at 57kg, opened the first round against his UCD opponent Eoin Dunbar in
spectacular fashion, with both fighters displaying superb speed and agility, as only lighter fighters can. McGrenra eventually succumbed to Dunbar’s superior reach, but had earned his place in the ring after finishing three gruelling rounds. Nayar, at 60kg, can be equally proud of his performance, putting up a sterling performance against the seasoned Conor Dowling of UCD, in a fight that was evenly matched and could have gone either way. Next up was arguably the most anticipated fight on the programme. DUBC captain, welterweight Edward Fitzgerald faced off against UCD’s beloved bad boy of boxing George “Money” Guerra. The tension between the two boxers was evident immediately as Fitzgerald and Guerra faced off before the first round.
Fitzgerald, at home in the ring, met the intensity of his opponent head on in the first round, keeping composure and displaying his experience and technique. The second round saw Guerra take the upper hand as he landed a flashy upper-cut resulting in a count for Fitzgerald. With Fitzgerald on the back foot for the final round, Guerra, although receiving a warning as things heated up, showed himself to be more than just a showboater as the bout went to UCD. Guerra, gracious in his victory, was humble in a post fight interview, stating “(Fitzgerald) was a good opponent, I trained hard and got the better of him, who knows, it could be different next year.” Chris Bayliss, at 67kg, took to the ring for DUBC against James Wallace in the next fight. Wallace, with an effective
albeit aesthetically unappealing style, proceeded to pummel and frustrate Bayliss from the beginning. Bayliss held up well against the unrelenting barrage of blows from Wallace and showed his superior stamina as he stepped up a gear and dominated Wallace in the final round. Bayliss secured the second victory of the night for DUBC, proving that maintaining technique and composure in the ring is the key to success. Newcomer to the ring, Akash Sikka, provided the most dramatic bout of the night against the unforgiving Mark McMahon at 67kg. Sikka’s large contingent of supporters were reduced to stunned silence as the experienced McMahon served up a knock-out blow, the likes of which are rarely seen at this level, midway through the second round. Although Sikka will live to fight another day, it was a stark reminder to the crowd and fighters alike of the serious nature of the sport. Following a brief interval and a minute’s silence for two of Dublin’s boxing greats, UCD finished up the night with two more victories. Ciaran Noonan, one of DUBC’s most skilled and technically proficient fighters succumbed to James Brady at 81kg after three rounds of tit-for-tat jabbing and hooking. Edward Tate put on a good show on his debut for DUBC, closing the night in the heaviest bout of the evening against David Molyneaux at 91kg. Although Tate seemed to have the better of his UCD adversary, the result was called in UCD’s favour, much to the surprise of onlookers from both colleges. Fitzgerald offered his congratulations to UCD: “They have some very good fighters. The final result isn’t flattering but I’m personally proud of the whole team.” DUBC’s season comes to a close after Seniors next month, having won the Juniors.
Athletes enjoy record breaking indoor success 1500m walk. Having only recently returned to the discipline, a 3rd place finish is a sign of greater things to come for this motivated athlete. Nick Clarke’s 3rd place finish in the men’s weight for distance event was a particularly incredible achievement. Having never even heard of the event until three days beforehand, a 3rd place finish achieved through mere talent alone suggests a promising future in this discipline for Clarke. The event saw new Trinity records being set by Eamonn Fahey and Katy Byrd. Fahey was firing on all cylinders with entries to multiple events. A truly
Rebecca Egan Contributing Writer
LAST Saturday 4 February, Nenagh Olympic Stadium was host to a drove of eager young athletes competing at the Intervarsity Indoor Championships. The annual event consists of a plethora of athletic disciplines which, when in motion, looks like a kind of athletics circus tent: 60m sprinters fire along one end of the stadium while high jumpers spring through the air at the other. Meanwhile 8kg weights are hurled through the air as the rest of the athletes warm up for their events, contorting themselves into positions akin to gymnasts. The event truly is a spectacle and while complaints of a cold stadium and a poor turnout are common grumblings to be heard on the day, the event nevertheless proves to be a true showcase of the range of sporting talent and skill to be found across the breadth of the country. This year was no exception.
“The high calibre and unquestionably elite standard of the event was demonstrated by the presence of Olympic hopefuls” The high calibre and unquestionably elite standard of the event was demonstrated by the presence of several Olympic hopefuls. The women’s 60m event was dominated by a handful of top-class athletes. University of Ulster’s Amy Foster snatched first place, narrowly followed by Claire Bergin, current DUHAC sprints coach. The women’s 800m event marked a historical moment,
“The men’s 200m relay proved a nail-biting final for Trinity supporters, as DUHAC sailed past both DCU and UCD”
The DUHAC’s Men’s relay team at the indoor competition in Nenagh. Photo: DUHAC
when UCD scholarship athlete Ciara Everard broke Sonia O’Sullivan’s 22year under-23 indoor record, clocking a time of 2:05.76. A superb performance by Leona Byrne (WIT), with a mark of 3400 points set a championship record in the Combined Events. Tension was palpable in the stadium for the high jump event, as Barry Pender (DCU) jumped 2.16 to come out on top in a duel with Kourosh Foroughi, setting a new record for the high jump. Alongside the prowess of such impressive feats, DUHAC’s athletes still proved their ability to keep up with the competition.
Despite having only recently recovered from injury, Ciara McCallion grabbed gold by finishing in 1st place in the women’s 400m event, preceding a 2nd place finish in the same event at the National Indoor Championships last weekend. Elsewhere, the men’s 4x200m relay provided a nail-biting final for Trinity supporters, as DUHAC sailed past both DCU and UCD, scooping bronze behind UCC and UL. Despite having withdrawn from the men’s 400m event earlier in the day due to illness, DUHAC captain Garrett Dunne showed true team spirit and
commitment by not foregoing his leg in the relay. The team narrowly missed the Trinity record for the race, finishing just .49 seconds off record time. Illness also unfortunately forced Liam Tremble, one of DUHAC’s strongest athletes, to withdraw from the 3000m event, in order to ensure full fitness for the upcoming Intervarsity Cross Country Championships, in which he finished a competitive 9th place last year. DUHAC also showed the diversity of their athletic competencies with a bronze medal for Sorcha Prendiville in the women’s
elite performance saw him finish in 3rd place in the long jump and 4th place in the 60m race. This result came merely as a warm up for Fahey, who came first in the long jump at the National Indoors at the weekend. Katy Byrd’s performance in the weight for distance event also broke DUHAC legend Claire MacGlynn’s record, bringing home yet another bronze medal for Trinity. Such results are not only a showcase of the skill and talent of young athletes across the country, setting several on the international stage, but also a reflection of the array of disciplines within the broad umbrella term of athletics. The range of standards and abilities present at the event was also illustrative of the inclusive nature of intervarsity athletics competitions – there truly is something for everyone.