Trinity News Vol. 68, Issue 1

Page 1


How accomodation is allocated in Trinity

The fight to Save Tolka Park

New Perspectives at the National Gallery Life pullout



Tuesday 7 September 2021

Ireland’s Oldest Student Newspaper

Vol. 68, Issue. 1

Students express feelings of disappointment and indifference towards College’s “twophase approach” to reopening

Open for business The doors of Trinity’s Front Arch open in preparation for “Senior Freshers’ Week”, which runs until Friday September 10. Returning undergradaute and all postgraduate students then begin classes next Monday, September 13.

Bella Salerno Deputy News Editor



Return to campus begins as Trinity opens its doors for the first time since March 2020 Kate Henshaw, Jack Kennedy

News Editor, Editor


E T U R N I N G U N D E R G R A D UAT E AND ALL POSTGRAD STUDENTS are back on campus this week for the first time in 18 months. Trinity is holding orientation and “Senior Freshers’ Week” over the coming days, before teaching for those students begins next Monday, September 13. First years will begin their orientation on September 20 and classes on September 27. This is as a result of Leaving Certificate results being released only last

week on September 3, and offers of places at third level institutions are being sent to candidates today. Trinity was the first university to close its doors in March 2020 as a result of rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in Ireland. Since then, there has been little to no oncampus activity, with the majority of students having exclusively online teaching last year. For most senior fresh students, next week will mark their first ever in-person university experiences. Though some aspects of campus life, such as the libraries, have remained open through last year, this week marks the most significant reopening since the beginning of the pandemic. Trinity has opted for a more

cautious approach than other colleges as Provost Linda Doyle announced last week in College’s Return to Campus plan. Though the long-awaited return to campus has begun, it may not be the complete restoration of normality students have been hoping for. For the first half of the semester, up to and including reading week, there will be College-wide limits on lecture numbers and strict social distancing will be enforced. Mask wearing is also mandatory in all campus buildings, and indoor social activities are not currently permitted. Proof of vaccination is required to access indoor dining on campus, including the Pavilion Bar (the Pav).

In an email, Doyle explained that much of the reason for this approach is “to do with our location and layout as a campus”. “Given that our main campus is compact and contained within the city centre…we and our public health experts feel this is the right approach.” However, College intends to “relax regulations further to allow for many more in-person campus experiences” from November 1. Contingent on the state of the virus and percentage of the population fully vaccinated, government also intends to lift almost all remaining nationwide restrictions on October 22. It remains to be seen if College will do the same.

TUDENTS HAVE EXPRESSED FEELINGS OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND indifference towards College’s ‘two-phase’ approach to reopening. On August 27, Provost Linda Doyle announced College’s restrictions on campus activity for the first half of the semester. Trinity opened on September 6 with a “more cautious” approach. These regulations are to last up to and including Reading Week. From November 1, College intends to “relax regulations further to allow for many more inperson campus experiences”. This was previously reported by Trinity News after the news was leaked in a School of Physics email, but a College spokesperson later denied it. Continued on page 2>> TrinityNewsDublin Trinity_News trinitynews trinitynews


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Table of contents News Features - page 14

>> Continued from front page

Guests not permitted in College accommodation this year

Senior fresh students have begun their own Freshers’ Week , whilst junior fresh students will have an Orientation Week beginning September 20. Mask wearing will not be mandatory for students whilst outdoors on campus. Indoor dining will be permitted, with students being required to show vaccination certificates or proof of recovery from the virus. Indoor social events will not be allowed, however outdoor social events can proceed on campus. Events in the temporary marquee by the Pavillion bar (the Pav) will take place, within 1 hour and 45 minute time slots. Last week, government announced their intention to lift almost Covid-19 restrictions on October 22 and move towards a new phase of ‘personal responsibility’. Several students have shared their thoughts on this ‘two-phase reopening’ of campus with Trinity News. A senior fresh French student said that she “understands the factors behind Trinity’s decision” to have a phased reopening “given its central location”.

Analysis: Comparing colleges’ plans for term

Could a four day week work for Ireland?

Comment - page 20

Ireland has a duty to provide refuge to those fleeing Afghanistan

SciTech - page 25

Ghost fishing is not the end of seafood


- page 29

How can you not be romantic about baseball?


Students express disappointment about College’s approach to reopening

Editor Deputy Editor Assistant Editor Online Editor Life Editor Editor-at-Large

Jack Kennedy Shannon Connolly Grace Gageby Shannon McGreevy Heather Bruton Finn Purdy

News Editor Features Editor Comment Editor Scitech Editors Eagarthóir Gaeilge

Kate Henshaw Ellen Kenny Sophie Furlong Tighe Lucy Fitzsimmons Nina Chen Niamh Ní Dhubhaigh

Front Gate reopened at beginning of Senior Freshers’ Week for staff and students

Head Photographer Head Videographer Head Copyeditor

Eliza Meller Kallum Linnie Sarah Moran

Kate Henshaw

Printed by Webprint at Mahon Retail Park, Cork

She said: “I think Trinity’s strict decision to return so slowly is fine, as long as we do see increased oncampus activity after October 22.” After having her entire first year of college online, she believes that a full return to campus would be “overwhelming as many of us are used to working from home”. Also speaking to Trinity News, a postgraduate student thinks College is “motivated by money” and “doesn’t prioritise student satisfaction”. She believes College is making the “wrong choice” by reopening so gradually. She said: “By reopening to just allow fee-paying students and paying tourists on campus it reinforces the elitist image Trinity already has a reputation for.” “So far the pandemic has been a cycle of opening and locking down again” she continued. She is worried that “Trinity will waste this moment where we have an opportunity to experience some social life and will be facing new restrictions before Christmas, either due to a new variant or waning vaccine protection”. “It is an especially tough pill to swallow when looking at other Irish universities who are giving

their students more freedom.” Students have expressed to Trinity News that they are generally on board with social distancing and mask wearing rules. Beatrice Pistola, a senior fresh Middle Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Civilisations student, told Trinity News she thinks the requirements for students to wear masks indoors and to socially distance “are only fair”. Another senior fresh student

It is an especially tough pill to swallow when looking at other Irish universities

Front Gate re-opens for first time since pandemic hit Ireland required to present their ID cards to gain entry into campus. Visitors to the Old Library may also enter through the Nassau Street gate. Staff and students also need to present their ID cards to enter

campus through Front Gate. This comes after Provost Linda Doyle announced on August 27, that students would be able to “come and go” on campus, despite College previously saying students

News Editor


RONT GATE HAS REOPENED FOR THE FIRST TIME since the beginning of the pandemic. This marks the first time this entrance into campus has been accessible for staff and students since March 2020. At 7am on the first day of Senior Freshers Week, September 6, the gate opened for staff and students. The gate is not open to members of the public. The College Green entrance is open from 7am to midnight on weekdays, and 8am to 6pm on weekends and public holidays, similar to how it operated before the pandemic. The Nassau Street and Pearse Street entrances are currently open for staff and students who are



TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


would be “requested not to attend” campus when they were not timetabled to be in class. Mask wearing will not be made mandatory for students whilst outdoors on campus. Students will not need to have proof of a library or study space booking to come on campus and College will not be “insisting students leave campus once lectures, laboratories and tutorials are finished”. However, College is encouraging staff to “continue to work from home where agreed or required and where appropriate”. Last week, Doyle announced College’s plans for a two-phase return to campus, which differs from the approach of other universities. Trinity is to open on September 6 with a “more cautious” approach. These regulations are to last up to and including Reading Week, starting October 25. From November 1, College intends to “relax regulations further to allow for many more inperson campus experiences”. This was previously reported by Trinity News after the news was leaked in a school of physics email, but a College spokesperson later denied it. In the first half of the semester, lecture sizes will be limited, with each individual school to decide on the precise maximum class size. The Library and study spaces are to continue to operate with two metre social distancing and mandatory mask wearing. The 1 hour 45 minute time limit and booking system will also remain in place.

Free masks and potential pop-up vaccine centres to feature in college reopening - Harris PHOTO PHILAFRENZY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

said “it’s in our best interest” to wear a mask and social distance indoors, and they are “simply used to it”. Concerning the prohibition of all indoor extracurricular activities, students are generally disappointed. Pistola thinks College could have “handled it better”. “Societies are one of the only chances we have to socialise with other students, and indoor events are essential.” Another senior fresh student said that “it’s a shame” since the majority of students will be fully vaccinated and “the weather is going to start to get colder soon”. One postgraduate student was disappointed with College’s decision to restrict indoor activity on campus during the first half of Michaelmas term since “it’s the most important time of the academic year for socialising”. She said: “I experienced Trinity as a first year and if I had to choose I would pick the first half of the first semester over the second half in a heartbeat.” In relation to time limits on some outdoor events, one student said “it’s not ideal”, but they would accept the regulations in lieu of no opportunity to attend them. It is not yet clear how College plans to relax restrictions after Reading Week.

Minister Harris also expressed a desire to “end the points race” during the third-level admission process Jack Kennedy Editor


INISTER FOR F U R T H E R AND HIGHER E D U C AT I O N , Innovation and Research Simon Harris has said that free face masks, pop-up vaccination centres, and antigen testing will be part of the return to on-campus university teaching this month. Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio programme last week, Harris laid out a number of measures the government will be taking to facilitate the safe return of in-person teaching at third-level institutions. Harris said his department wants to make the process “as easy as possible for everyone” and will be providing free face masks on college campuses. The department is working with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to potentially open up popup vaccine centres on campuses. Harris noted that 83% of 1824 year olds are already at least partially vaccinated, and “our young people are really enthused about vaccines in general”, but that it will be important to make getting vaccinated “as easy as possible” for those who aren’t yet fully inoculated. He also noted that nine institutions in Ireland have already joined the UniCoV rapid antigen testing project and he “intend[s] to double that figure in the coming days”. Harris said that he is “really

We have a plan to get people back to get people back safely

excited” about the return of oncampus teaching. “Students who have been doing college at the kitchen table in their mum or dad’s house, will now be going back to college” he said. “I’m sure the parents will be glad to get the kitchen table back as well.” “We have a plan to get people back to get people back safely. It’s not just my plan, people will be glad to know it’s endorsed by the [HSE] chief medical officer” he continued. He noted, however, that when reopening of any sector occurs, “outbreaks happen”. The government intends to coordinate between universities and the HSE to ensure PCR testing is available quickly for staff and students to locate and control such outbreaks. Harris also repeated his commitment that on-campus non-teaching activities would be regulated in the same way as those happening in other places: “If you’re drinking in the college bar, it’s just like you’re drinking in the town or village bar, you have to have a vaccine pass.” The minister said again that specific regulations on lecture sizes and the nature of teaching activities would be down to the judgement of each college,

depending on the physical layout of their facilities. Provost Linda Doyle invoked this sentiment on August 27, saying that Trinity was being more cautious than other colleges due to the compact nature of campus. Also during the RTÉ interview, Harris spoke about college entry procedures, in the context of the release of Leaving Certificate (LC) results, saying he wanted to “end the points race”. “We have to move on from the obsession with institutions and focus on career pathways,” he continued.” There are so many ways for you to get to where you want to be.” He did however note that there will be more than 4,500 additional college places available for students this year, as many deferred their entry last year due to the pandemic. He said that LC students should be made more aware of the potential to do preparatory courses at NFQ level six or seven in order to get into university courses without having received the necessary points in their exams. Harris also said more students should be encouraged to consider doing apprenticeships. “From November, when this year’s sixth year students log on

We have to move on from the obsession with institutions and focus on career pathways to the Central Applications Office website, I want, for the very first time, for them to be able to see their further education choices and their apprenticeship choices.” “We’re proud of everybody’s effort, and there are many pathways to get to where you want to, and we will work with you on that”, he concluded.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Analysis: Department launches TCDSU and Trinity Ents launch Senior three-year strategy and onFreshers’ week for returning students campus rapid testing pilot

Deputy News Analysis Editor


HE DEPARTMENT OF FURTHER AND HIGHER Education inaugurated a new strategy for 2021-23 this summer. Among its key goals, it outlines a “sustainable funding model” for third-level education, as well as the modernisation of the governance of higher education. A recent law, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Act 2021, gave powers to the HEA to oversee governing structures of universities and institutes. At the time, College officials voiced concerns around Trinity’s autonomy as an academic institution. The Department also plans to review the Student Grant Scheme and to further cooperation with Northern Ireland in research. The Department also launched a rapid Covid-19 testing pilot for universities called UniCoV this year. It initially covered the four campuses of Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and National University of Ireland Galway. Participants take nasal swab tests and supply saliva samples twice a week to help to prevent and to control future outbreaks. The study also monitors wastewater for Sars-CoV-2 virus. This campaign has been supported by Trinity College Dublin Student Union (TCDSU) who have promoted UniCoV on their social media. The Department also secured approval in late July for €105 million of funding for the thirdlevel sector to safely return in this academic year. €3 million of this will go to student mental health services and €10 million will go to the Student Assistance Fund to help students in financial difficulty. The Department introduced a sexual consent online learning hub with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), called


Connie Roughan

A variety of inperson outdoor and online events are planned in collaboration with clubs and societies Bella Salerno Deputy News Editor

Active*Consent. The relevant section of USI’s website has a directory of contacts for survivors and an educational module to learn about sexual consent. It also launched a website for a “national brainstorm” called “Creating our Future” where, until November, citizens can submit ideas that could improve Ireland’s future to a panel of researchers and civil society leaders. Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said, “we are asking everyone to submit that idea that they have been thinking about.” The third technological university in the country was established this summer, the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands and Midwest. The institution was born out of a merger of the Athlone and Limerick institutes of technology. It will begin to operate as a university in October and students will graduate with university qualifications from this summer. Carlow and Waterford Institutes of Technology submitted an application to merge and become the Technological University of South East Ireland in April, and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology Sligo and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology are also planning to merge into the Technological University for the West and NorthWest of Ireland. It is expected that this university will begin to operate in 2022, following evaluation by the Department.


WEEK OF EVENTS FOR SENIOR FRESH STUDENTS planned by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and Trinity Ents commenced this Monday, September 6. TCDSU organised the Orientation Week for senior freshers after their Freshers’ Week last September was held entirely online due to Covid-19 restrictions. TCDSU and Trinity Ents are to hold a separate Freshers’ Week for incoming first year students beginning on September 20. The Senior Freshers’ week timetable includes “a number of in-person events, as well as some hybrid online events”, according to TCDSU Communications and Marketing Officer Aoife Cronin. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, TCDSU is holding an orientation fair (freshers fair) in Front Square. At the fair, students can avail of TCDSU Welcome Packages, can sign up to become a class representative and have the opportunity to talk with the TCDSU sabbatical team. Trinity Ents have planned “a full programme of day and night time events”, which are to be held at the temporary Pavilion bar marquee (the Pav), outdoor spaces on campus and off-campus locations. On August 27, Provost Linda Doyle announced Trinity’s plans for a two-phase return to campus, which differs from the approach of other Irish universities. Michaelmas term is beginning with a “more cautious” approach. These restrictions are to last up to and including Reading Week. From November 1, College intends to “relax regulations further to allow for many more inperson campus experiences”. In the announcement, Doyle said “indoor events are not allowed”. While outdoor social events can take place, all social activities held at the Pav marquee are limited to a maximum of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU Ents Officer Greg Arrowsmith said that he was “delighted” to announce the SU’s programme of events for Senior Freshers week following months of

preparation. “We think that we’ve managed to put together a week that will be fun, safe and memorable for second years, who deserve no less.” “We’re hopeful that there is an event for everyone to enjoy, and can’t wait to see everyone next week,’’ he continued. The events have been organised by TCDSU and Trinity Ents in conjunction with various clubs and societies. On Monday, the freshers’ fair, yoga with the Yoga Society, and a gig in conjunction with Trinity Arts Festival (TAF) took place. A pub crawl organised with Dublin University (DU) Snowsports was held off-campus and an evening movie screening was hosted by the DU Film Society. Tuesday includes the freshers’ fair again, a “special guest speaker” event held with the Law Society (LawSoc), and a gig organised with DU Music. An evening movie screening will be hosted with the Trinity Surf Club, and musical bingo will take place at the Pav marquee with DU Players. Wednesday involves a treasure hunt planned by the College Historical Society (The Hist), Vincent de Paul (VDP) and TAF. At the Pav marquee, The Hist will host a panel debate on housing. TCDSU will also hold a themed quiz online. On Thursday, the University Philosophical Society (The Phil) and the Cancer Society will coordinate a second scavenger hunt, and the Zoological Society (ZooSoc) will hold a petting zoo. In the evening, there will be an offcampus pub crawl organised with LawSoc and the Food and Drink society, as well as a “Gaeltacht” at the Pav marquee, hosted in

collaboration with Cumann Gaeleach and Trad Soc. Friday involves a spike ball tournament held by Roundnet Ireland and an evening DJ set at the Pav with the Digital Arts Society (DUDJ). Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU Ents Officer Greg Arrowsmith is confident that the measures put in place to manage the events “will prevent the spread of Covid-19 at Ents events”. He said that the events planned are “primarily outdoor”, with a “time limit of 1 hour and 45 minutes on nearly all”. When asked how the events will be managed and manned, Arrowsmith said TCDSU will use “one way systems, ticketing, stewarding and staggered start times to avoid congestion at entry/ egress points”. “The stewards will be SUhired, along with society and Ents committee members, as well as PSA qualified security guards for some events” he continued. “These stewards will also manage the ticketing, which will almost all be done through fixr and using digital QR code tickets.” Arrowsmith added that TCDSU will use “the socially distanced white painted circles on library square for the live gigs, movie screenings and speaker events” as an additional measure to ensure adequate social distancing. In regards to the first year Freshers’ Week, TCDSU “are still developing plans but intend to do a lot of similar events”. Arrowsmith said: “We’ll review how next week’s events go and take the best events from there, and hopefully can make it an even better week”.


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


A princely sum Prince Albert II of Monaco in the Old Library during his visit to Trinity on September 3. The Monégasque monarch made a “major benfaction” to the library and was given a tour by Provost Linda Doyle, who thanked him for his donation.

TCDSU organises full programme of events for campus reopening while societies struggle with uncertainty Several society committees said that communication from College and the CSC had made planning for the term difficult Jack Kennedy Editor


OLLEGE SOCIETIES HAVE FACED UNCERTAINTY regarding their ability to hold on-campus events, despite Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) organising numerous Senior Freshers’ Week activities in Trinity. As part of Trinity’s two-phase return to campus announced on August 27, College said that it did not plan to allow indoor social events on campus, at least until November 1. Off-campus events may take place according to government regulations, and outdoor on-campus events are allowed, including in a number of bookable outdoor spaces and marquees set up for that purpose. On August 30, the Central Societies Committee (CSC) sent out an update to society committees saying that “details regarding exact locations, booking systems, specific timelines, and potential daytime bookings” for these spaces “will be

coming soon”. However, the following day, August 31, TCDSU announced a timetable of events it would be holding for Senior Freshers’ Week between September 6 and 10, including several in on-campus spaces. Speaking to Trinity News on Sunday September 5, TCDSU confirmed that College was delegating management of these spaces to the union, and that it hoped to have a booking system in place for societies, clubs and student groups by Monday September 6. Ents Officer Greg Arrowsmith said: “We felt that it was essential that second years were given the opportunity to bond as a year, before another group of students are admitted on September 20.” He noted that they have “put months of work into these events, and the spaces in which we will run them”. He said they “put together detailed proposals to college for how we can run them as safely as possible”. The union said it was “regrettable” that there would not be a society Freshers’ Fair during Senior Freshers’ Week, noting that this was outside TCDSU’s control. The CSC had previously said it was not holding such a Fair as it had not received communication from College around the issue. The union did not say if it had deliberately not let societies book event spaces in time for the week, or if this was down to difficulty setting up a booking system. The union did not offer a reason for the late launch of the booking system for event spaces. They also did not explain why such a book-

ing system was not implemented in time for societies to plan Senior Freshers’ Week events. Several members of society committees expressed frustration with the way the social and extracurricular aspects of the return to campus have been handled in general. River Cooke, treasurer of Qsoc, said that “restrictions on social activities, while to an extent reasonable given the nature of the pandemic, as well as [College’s] refusal to implement vaccine mandates making some degree of limitations unavoidable, are compounded into oblivion by the sheer effort I and my colleagues have had to put into understanding any of it”. “It also doesn’t help that the return of different years is staggered.”

There has definitely been a lot of delays and it has been incredibly difficult for societies to plan events

Sé Ó hEidhin, chair of Trinity Literary Society, said that “the restrictions seem to make a reasonable amount of sense”. “The idea of outdoor society events on campus this year is more than we were expecting, honestly” he continued.“The issue is more so with communicating that.” “There’s so many emails from college that all have little pieces of information about restrictions so when trying to plan anything, you end up extremely confused about what is technically allowed or not allowed.” Ó hEidhin added that the CSC “seem to really be doing their best” but that it’s “hard to figure out in their emails what they’re hoping for, and what is the actual reality of the situation”. On the subject of TCDSU’s plans, Ó hEidhin said: “My issue is less with the SU over running a week of events, I think that every Trinity student should have a freshers week, even this year’s senior freshers.” “My issue is more so the position it has put societies in” he noted. “Our members are asking what the plan is for Senior Freshers’ Week, as if that’s a thing.” “Some collaboration with the CSC certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss, where now, societies have to put something in place frantically to match this new week the SU just made up.” Vice-auditor of Cumann Gaelach, Clíodha Nic Gafraidh, said that while “there has definitely been a lot of delays and it has been incredibly difficult for societies to plan events,” the society “understand[s] that the CSC and College

Our members are asking what the plan is for Senior Freshers’ Week, as if that’s a thing in general have been trying their best to accommodate everyone”. “Realistically, we all had to wait for government guidelines to be issued before we could plan ahead.” Nic Gafraidh concluded optimistically, saying: “Society life is at the heart of Trinity College and with the new roadmap issued by the government...we’re sure that it will be returning shortly.” Minister for Transport Éamon Ryan said last week that it will be the responsibility of societies and students’ unions to apply newly announced restrictions and make sure “there is a social life in our colleges”.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Fenergo to provide scholarship for incoming TAP student The Irish software company is to sponsor an incoming TAP student throughout their year in TAP and their degree Shannon Connolly Deputy Editor


HE “UNICORN” START-UP FENERGO IS TO PROVIDE A SCHOLARSHIP over five years for one of this year’s incoming Trinity Access Program (TAP) students. The scholarship, which is being spearheaded by two previous TAP students within the company, is to provide a bursary as well as funding their five years of education within College. Two previous TAP students within the company spoke to

Trinity News last week about the Fenergo sponsored scholarship. Craig Cahill, who is a senior partner solutions consultant within Fenergo, previously studied psychology at Trinity after completing a year within TAP. He stated that he looks back “really, really fondly” on his time in TAP. “I think that any time between the ages of 18 and 21 can be very tumultuous for anybody,” he continued. “I look back on [my time in TAP] quite fondly, as it has shaped me and made me the way I am today.” Ian McLoughlin, who is the director of client solutions for EMEA region in Fenergo, previously studied science within Trinity, following his year with TAP in 2007. McLoughlin stated that his time in Trinity and TAP was “really positive”, and that TAP “really set you up for what it was going to be like for the next four years”. The student in receipt of this scholarship will be chosen from the pool of incoming TAP students, who will be interviewed by TAP and Fenergo upon expressing interest in the opportunity.

Speaking about how the scholarship came about, Cahill added that when himself and McLoughlin started working together in Fenergo after meeting through TAP, they started to discuss the possibility of providing a scholarship to a student in TAP. Cahill said: “We thought it would be great to give back to TAP, to create an avenue for an individual who wanted to pursue a career in business, technology or law, or maybe all three. You get to combine those three areas in Fenergo.” McLoughlin added that he “really appreciated what [TAP] had done for [him] throughout [his] academic career, and even beyond that”. “I just feel like I come from a disadvantaged area, and I would love nothing more than to see young people and students coming from areas such as mine to go on to third level education and to have the same opportunities as I did,” McLoughlin added. “The scholarship is going to be life-changing for somebody,” he continued. “It just means that they can focus entirely on their studies

and on their goals without actually having to think about money.” “It will really enable them to excel and succeed in their course and throughout their undergraduate degree.” The student who is chosen for this scholarship will have the opportunity to pursue an internship within Fenergo, if they wish to, throughout or after their degree. “It will be a conversation and a discussion,” Cahill continued. “Maybe that person may want to plough ahead themselves and love the idea of the option of coming to work for Fenergo or coming to get experience with Fenergo.” “By no means do they have to do anything, they don’t have to come work for us [if they attain the scholarship],” Cahill explained. “We’ll be there to nurture them and their career going forward.” McLoughlin added: “It is going to be the best five years of your life, inclusive of TAP and your undergraduate degree.” “Really immerse yourself in everything Trinity has to offer and everything TAP has to offer.” “You are being given an

opportunity. It is even rarer to be given an opportunity like this, so take it with both hands,” McLoughlin continued. “We will give everything we can once that student gives everything they can.” Fenergo is the digital enabler of client and regulatory technology for financial services. It provides “client lifecycle management” software solutions for financial institutions including corporate and institutional banking, commercial and retail banking, asset management and private banking. McLoughlin continued that he “hopes” other companies with previous TAP students will also consider providing these types of scholarships in future. “We are setting a benchmark in terms of providing this scholarship, and hoping other companies and other students of TAP would see the benefit of actually giving scholarships of this nature.” The Trinity Access Program (TAP) offers entry programmes to Trinity for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is an additional year before a student begins their bachelor degree.

Analysis: Ents officer optimistic about comeback of in-person events Bonnie Gill

News Analysis Editor


INCE THE FORCED CLOSURE OF COLLEGE back in March 2020, inperson social events have been put on hold. During an entire college year of online learning, strong efforts were made by Trinity Ents to keep the social aspects alive by hosting online events such as charity concerts and cocktail making classes. Despite the optimistic initial announcement that Trinity Ball would be going ahead in April 2021, it was later cancelled due to the continuation of government restrictions regarding music events. As we enter the new college year, with the easing of government restrictions on the

horizon, it raises the question; what will the comeback of Ents look like? The end of last year saw the appointment of a new Ents committee, with Greg Arrowsmith elected Ents officer. Arrowsmith framed his campaign around a strong hope of getting events back up and running in September 2021. He outlined that one of his aims as Ents officer would be to host a “Senior Freshers’ Week”, in which second years who did not get to experience a Freshers’ Week would be able to do so. On August 11, Provost Linda Doyle, in a live Q&A session with Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) President Leah

Keogh, confirmed that Senior Freshers’ Week would be taking place from Monday September 6. Despite this, the the Central Societies Committee (CSC) said the same day that they had not been informed of these plans by College and would not be able to participate. On August 27, Provost Linda Doyle made an announcement via email regarding the general roadmap for the return to campus. An attached document further explained the restrictions which would be in place as we enter the new academic year. In regards to social events, the document stated that both Freshers’ Week as well as Senior Freshers’ Week would be

going ahead. Outdoor events oncampus are to be allowed while indoor ones would not initially be permitted. The document also confirmed that an event area near the Pavilion Bar would be operating from September 6 to October 1, albeit with a time limit of 1h 45m for “safety reasons” and to “ensure as many students as possible get access.” On the same day as the Provost’s email, Ents announced via Instagram and Facebook that Senior Freshers’ Week would be going ahead from September 6 to 10. In the post, they said that they are preparing for a week of “pub crawls, boozy bingo nights, trad sessions, spikeball, yoga, and much much more.” Speaking to Trinity News, Arrowsmith said that there are some 20 events planned for Senior Freshers’ Week. He said that one of his goals for the year is to run events that; “everyone wants to go to, not just first years”. He also confirmed that alongside Senior Freshers week, ents would be running events the week after that for second, third

It’s going to be a great year and fourth years. It was announced on 30 August by the government that almost all Covid-19 restrictions are to be lifted by 22 October, while College has said it plans for an unspecified easing of its own rules on November 1, leaving time in the remainder of the semester for larger events to take place. Arrowsmith said that as nightclubs open Ents will be running events in them, but that he hopes to keep the events “interesting and novel, rather than just average nightclub events.” The Ents Officer seems optimistic about the year ahead, asserting that he thinks; “it’s going to be a great year.”


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


Guests not permitted in College accommodation this year This is the second year in a row that the pandemic has prompted a ban on guests in College rooms Sarah Emerson Deputy News Editor


ESIDENTS OF TRINITY HALL AND CAMPUS ACCOMMODATION will not be permitted to have visitors or overnight guests this coming year. In an email from the accommodation office seen by Trinity News, incoming residents were told: “Due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by Covid-19, student residents in College are not permitted to have visitors or overnight guests in their rooms in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms 2021/22.” “Parties are also not permitted in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms 2021/22” the email continued. “These conditions apply to all College accommodation.” However the email noted that these conditions “will be reviewed before the beginning of Hilary Term 2022 and will remain in place for as long as necessary”. A gathering of more than 8 people within a kitchen or common room is deemed a party by the 2021-22 Conditions of Occupancy for College Residences document. According to the “Return to Campus” plan circulated by Provost Linda Doyle on August 27, “residents should comply with normal indoor rules, as per national guidelines, when in rooms”. “Residents must wear masks when outside their apartments when circulating in residential buildings/blocks.” The plan also noted that “the agreed protocols for isolation (for example for incoming international students) and protocols for any outbreak must of course be followed”. While other campus restrictions, including indoor dining, will operate in line with national restrictions in place for the rest of society, the accommodation rules determined by College differ from those in private homes. Under current government restrictions, fully vaccinated people can meet indoors in private homes without limit on numbers, masking or social distancing requirements.

Also, fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with people from one unvaccinated household, if no more than 3 households are present. Where the hosting and visiting households are not fully vaccinated, the visitors must only come from one household. Government plan to lift the majority of remaining Covid-19 restrictions by the end of October, in a move towards personal responsibility. From October 22, limits on gatherings in homes and gardens will end. Face-coverings will not be required indoors, unless in a healthcare or retail setting, or on public transport. Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for College said: “Regulations governing access to student accommodation on campus are set by the Junior Dean, under the guidance of College health authorities and taking the prevailing public health situation into account.” “At present, College is not open to any visitors except other those who have tickets to the Book Of Kells or who are specifically authorised to access the Campus on official business.” “No guest will be permitted from outside College accommodation until the College decides to reopen to the public” the statement continued. Asked if College’s accommodation rules would be revised earlier than Hilary Term, if national restrictions were lifted on October 22, the spokesperson said: “All rules remain under constant review considering changing Public Health advice and College decisions.” The spokesperson was also asked to clarify “the agreed proto-

cols for isolation… and protocols for any outbreak” within Trinity accommodation. Questioned if a resident who tests positive for Covid-19 would be required to leave their accommodation and isolate elsewhere, the spokesperson said that “this will depend on public health advice at the time”. “As was the case last year, a number of rooms at Trinity Hall and on Campus have been retained to facilitate self-isolation if needed”, the spokesperson added. Trinity accommodation residents were not permitted to host visitors or overnight guests over the 2020-21 academic year. College’s treatment of student renters over the course of the pandemic has attracted criticism. In

A number of rooms...have been retained to facilitate self-isolation if needed

March 2020, when Trinity made the decision to shut its accommodation, residents were instructed to vacate rooms with 24 hours notice, or 48 hours for international students. Last year, students at Trinity Hall criticised the complex for its strict Covid-19 restrictions and “disproportionate and unfair punishments'' when these were broken. Penalties included essay assignments, fines and relocation. Students also complained about Trinity Hall staff members for what they perceived as unwarranted verbal attacks when rules were broken.

At present, College is not open to any visitors except other those who have tickets to the Book Of Kells PHOTO BY ZAHRA TORABPOURAN FOR TRINITY NEWS


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


College to require residents Analysis: The TCDSU sabbats’ first months in office rooms to have valid proof o

Jamie Cox

News Analysis Editor


ITH THE END OF WHAT HAS BEEN an uncertain summer, students at Trinity now have some clarification as to what a new year on campus will look like. Students will return to campus. Events will be held outdoors. And a further relaxation of restrictions is to occur after reading week. However, the changeover of the Trinity College Dublin Student Union (TCDSU) Sabbatical Officers is something that happened without much fanfare. It shouldn’t be expected that new officers will enter office with a bang. But it is useful to consider going forward into the new year what this new union has set out to do and whether, in the last two months, much has occurred to indicate that these goals will be accomplished at all. Upon taking office, President Leah Keogh told Trinity News that she was; “eager to get to work and will spend the summertime preparing for September.” Speaking again to Trinity News two months later, Keogh has now said that; “This summer has been non-stop in the run up to the next academic year. “I sat on 6 recurring college committees and lots of ad-hoc meetings, averaging 20 hours a week. I sent and received thousands of emails”. Keogh’s reports of a busy summer do ring true, having been part of discussions around the reopening of campus alongside figures such as the provost and the minister for further and higher education. It is difficult to say, from the outside, how much influence TCDSU actually had in these meetings, or whether Keogh occupied more of an observer role. Keogh met with Minister Harris in July and had the opportunity to discuss with him “the importance of co-curricular activities being deemed essential…to promote student mental health.” Education officer, Bev Genockey, who attended the meeting, described it as brief but said that issues like the importance of clubs and societies and the priority they deserve were discussed. Genockey added that TCDSU were determined to engage with Harris on an ongoing basis. And while further meetings have not yet occurred, Genockey added that

Only students who are fully vaccinated with a Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine are permitted to rent shared bedrooms Sarah Emerson Deputy News Editor

R TCDSU also sits on “several college committees representing the student voice in these discussions”. No doubt Keogh and Genockey hope that these meetings will be useful to TCDSU, establishing communication between the union and the Department. In the coming year, the SU will no doubt try to leverage these connections to progress issues of student welfare. Keogh has also sought to establish a working relationship with College. Her Q&A session with Provost Linda Doyle this month certainly facilitated familiarity between students and their new Provost, giving Doyle an opportunity to state and explain college’s decisions regarding reopening, in a way that College’s “Covid Update” emails never could. One could potentially ask if this familiarity is an unbridled positive, however, and whether TCDSU should be communicating students’ grievances to College, rather than merely facilitating its messaging uncritically. Speaking to Trinity News, Welfare Officer Sierra Mueller Owens spoke of work she has done “with a lot of students on an individual basis to ensure that they have a smooth transition into the academic year.” SCommunications Officer Aoife Cronin added; “Looking back on my time in office so far, I believe I’ve had a productive summer and have facilitated the Union in a number of ways. “I assisted the Education and Welfare Officers with their Fit2Sit

Reassessment campaign. “During this campaign, I designed new Student Union business cards, brochures, and stickers. Additionally, I designed the newly updated Exam Success Guide.” The Fit2Sit Campaign aimed to assist students resitting examinations in the summer. The union provided tips to students on how to succeed in exams, as well as information on subjects such as study drugs. Care packages were also provided to students. Ents Officer Greg Arrowsmith has succeeded in his aims to establish a marquee outside the Pavilion Bar. The marquee is to be used to host outdoor events during both Freshers’ Weeks, beginning September 6 and 20. Speaking to Trinity News he said that; “Despite the uncertainty surrounding live events, I've been busy this summer preparing fun, socially distanced and outdoor events. “I've also been very busy preparing for both Freshers’ Week and Senior Freshers’ Week, with 45 Ents events planned for the next 3 weeks.” TCDSU has endeavoured to remain responsive and assistive to students, particularly to those facing resits this summer. The beginning of the semester will be a vital time for the union, testing its ability to support students and to lobby on their behalf to College. The sabbats have had a busy first few months in office, and the coming weeks will be a test of the efficacy of those efforts.

ESIDENTS OCCUPYING SHARED BEDROOMS IN COLLEGE accommodation are required to have valid proof vaccination with an EU approved vaccine. According to the “Return to Campus” document circulated by Provost Linda Doyle last week, “Residents who are sharing a room must have a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate or evidence of full vaccination with a Covid Vaccine approved in Ireland”. The four vaccines currently authorised by the European Commission after review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are: Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, AstraZeneca (Oxford), and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson). These vaccines are offered in Ireland’s vaccination programme, across the European Union (EU), and in some other countries around the world. A number of other vaccines are currently under rolling review by the EMA, including Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines. In the EU, people are considered fully vaccinated and receive the Digital Covid Certificate seven days after a second Pfizer dose, 15 days after a second AstraZeneca dose, 14 days after a second Moderna dose and 14 days after the single dose Janseen vaccine. Across the world, there are 18 other vaccines approved by at least 1 country. A number of countries have approved vaccines not authorized in the EU, as well as offering at least one EMA-approved vaccineThe countries include Brazil, Canada, Ukraine, Hungary, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, Thailand, India, Nigeria and South Africa. Meanwhile, China, Russia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Laos, Venezuela and Zimbabwe have only approved vaccines not approved in the EU and Ireland. Only students who are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine and valid proof may take up residence in a shared room in campus accommodation or Trinity

Hall (Halls). International students who have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated can receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland. According to the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS); “International students who do not have a PPSN can register to be vaccinated by calling the COVID-19 helpline for free at 1800 700 700.” International students are also being invited to attend walk-in vaccination centres or clinics and can do so without an appointment. Students can also receive their second dose of a Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine in Ireland if they were vaccinated elsewhere, as long as they have proof of their first dose. However, it appears that students who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine not approved by the EMA are considered unvaccinated. These students may be able to register to be vaccinated in Ireland. However, testing on the efficacy of mixing vaccines is still underway. Students previously vaccinated overseas with an unapproved vaccine will not be permitted to rent shared rooms in Trinity accommodation. Rent in shared bedrooms typically costs less than single rooms. Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for College confirmed that this was the case saying “students in this category will be excluded [from room sharing] as they must have evidence of an EU approved vaccine”. Asked if anything would be done to help these students who are required to rent the higher cost single rooms, the spokesperson did not directly answer but reiterated the previous statement. These students will also not be permitted to dine indoors within College catering facilities. In the Return to Campus plan, indoor dining at College cafés and restaurants are subject to the “same rules


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


s of shared Residential Tenancies Board asks student of vaccination renters to be aware of their rights

Jack Kennedy Editor

as apply nationally - allowed with Covid cert”. Under the reopening roadmap announced by government last week, proof of vaccination or recovery will no longer be required to access restaurants, pubs or other venues indoors from October 22. College’s indoor dining restrictions will be lifted at this time, however it is unclear if the rules for shared bedrooms will be reviewed.


HE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES BOARD (RTB) is encouraging students in the coming academic year to be aware of their rights as renters. The statutory body regulating renting in Ireland has issued a fivepoint “student rental checklist” ahead of third-level institutions reopening in September. First, the RTB says renters should never pay a deposit or sign an agreement before viewing a property, and ideally multiple properties to allow for comparison.

Second, the RTB is reminding students that there are minimum standards and requirements for rental properties, such as the availability of hot and cold water and that they should ensure any accommodation advertised meets those standards. Third, renters should always get a dated receipt when putting down a deposit for a rental. The RTB notes that it is not legal to ask for more than one month’s rent as a deposit. It’s also not permissible for tenants to be required to pay more than one month’s rent in advance, the RTB says. Fourth, the organisation is encouraging everyone to be aware of rent pressure zones (RPZs), which are areas in which rent can not be increased at a rate greater than that of inflation. The RTB has an RPZ calculator which allows people to see if their accommodation is in such a zone, see how much the rent was for the previous tenant, and verify they’re not being overcharged. Finally, the regulatory body says students should stay informed of their rights as tenants via the RTB website and to get in contact if they have any questions. Emer Morrissey, the organisation’s interim head of dispute

resolution, notes that for first and second year students in particular, “moving away from home and into a new city or town for the first time can be daunting”. “Our checklist is a quick and easy way for you to be as prepared as possible coming into the new school year” she continued. “From experience, the RTB knows students might feel overwhelmed when finding a new home and we’re here to help.” All standard private rental accommodation falls under the re-

mit of the RTB. Since 2019, “student-specific accommodation”, including on-campus housing and private, purpose-built student housing, is also within the organisation’s jurisdiction. However, short-term letting, digs, and “rent a room” schemes are not regulated by the RTB. Earlier this month, an Garda Síochána warned students against the prevalence of accomodation fraud schemes, particularly in Dublin. PHOTO BY XERESNELRO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The agency’s “student rental checklist” aims to demystify the process of renting and the regulations that govern it

Analysis: Vaccine uptake among students is commendable, but gap remains Jamie Cox

News Analysis Editor


S COLLEGE UNVEILS ITS PLANS for a reopening of campus and the country prepares for a total lifting of restrictions in October, students and others will soon see life mostly return to “normal”. Student vaccine uptake is certainly one important factor that has allowed this to happen. Whilst the reopening of universities was dependent on nationwide vaccine uptake, it was and is imperative in particular that students and staff protect themselves and their colleagues in order for higher education to return in-person. Young people have received praise for the uptake of the vaccine shown in their age cohort. Heads

of the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) last week issued a statement in which students were commended for their enthusiasm around the vaccine. Students who had not yet registered were urged to do so. Patricia O Sullivan, Executive Director of HECA, said: “We strongly encourage students to take up offers of the Covid-19 vaccine before the return to on-campus.” As of September 3, 71.0% of people between 18 and 24 years old were fully vaccinated, with a further 9.2% having received only one dose of a two-dose vaccine. 19.8% had not yet received any inoculation. Not all people in this age brack-

et are students and not all students fit into this age bracket, but there is significant overlap between the 1824 year old demographic and the student population. The almost one fifth of this cohort that remain unvaccinated can partially be explained simply by the scheduling of the vaccine rollout; people under 24 were the last and most recent group of adults to be offered the vaccine, and many may simply not have gotten around to scheduling their appointment yet. The group of adults with the next-lowest rate of uptake is the 25-49 bracket, and then the 50-59 bracket. There is, it seems, a time lag issue. Nonetheless, there are doubtless some people within that 19.8%

who do not plan to get the vaccine at any point, and in ideal circumstances people would register for their dose as soon as possible. Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania, Garret A FitzGerald wrote in the Irish Times suggesting that a lack of vaccine mandate in Ireland’s third level institutions would prove detrimental in the coming months. Fitzgerald’s main argument was that unvaccinated students and staff would serve as a danger to themselves and others, allowing cases of Covid to spread through our Higher Education Institutes (HEI). Despite the article somewhat failing to address the ongoing uptake of vaccines among Irish students, as well as its application of US issues to an Irish context,, certain points made by Fitzgerald do offer perspective on the issue of currently-unvaccinated students. Whilst it should be expected that this gap will continue to close, as the recent trend has been one of high uptake among students, it should be viewed as imperative that as many students do register before returning to campus.

Fitzgerald also aptly points out issues surrounding the level of efficiency in vaccines. No matter how effective the vaccine may be, some breakthrough cases will always occur. It therefore is important not to downplay the risk Covid still presents on campuses, a risk which is only increased by vaccine hesitancy. The vaccines offer significant protection and to avoid them only serves to put those around us at risk. Speaking on Thursday September 2 , Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris commented on the potential to establish walk-in vaccine centres on campus. Such a move would, as Harris pointed out, make inoculating those not already covered far easier. Actions such as this will, hopefully, help to increase the number of fully-vaccinated students. As the joint HEI statement acknowledges, young adults have turned up to be vaccinated in significant numbers, reflecting a desire from students to return to campus and an awareness of the role of vaccines in this process.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Restrictions on indoor dining on campus to be lifted on October 22 Only students who are fully vaccinated with a Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine are permitted to rent shared bedrooms Sarah Emerson Deputy News Editor


OLLEGE HAS CONFIRMED THAT RESTRICTIONS on indoor dining on campus are to be lifted on Oc-

tober 22. Last week, College confirmed to Trinity News that restaurants and cafés will no longer require proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a recovery certificate from October 22, in line with national restrictions easing. Last Tuesday, government announced the reopening roadmap that will see almost all Covid-19 restrictions lifted by the end of October. Under the plan, from October 22 proof of vaccination, recovery or testing as a prerequisite for access to any activities or events will no longer be required, with the exception of international travel. Vaccine certificates will not be needed to access restaurants, pubs

or other venues indoors. Requirements for physical distancing and mask wearing will also be lifted, except in healthcare or retail settings, or on public transport. Limits on gatherings in homes, outdoor events, sporting, leisure or community activities, weddings, funerals, and religious services will also end. Restrictions on high-risk activities including nightclubs will be lifted. According to the “Return to Campus” document circulated by Provost Linda Doyle on August 27, indoor dining at Trinity cafés and restaurants are subject to the “same rules as apply nationally allowed with Covid cert”. People who are not fully vaccinated and those vaccinated with a vaccine not approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are not currently able to access indoor dining on campus. Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for College confirmed that if national restrictions on indoor dining are lifted by government in October, campus facilities will follow, at the same time. “Yes, indoor dining in College will follow the prevailing hospitality guidelines”, the spokesperson said. Other College restrictions on social activity, including sports clubs and indoor society events, are said to follow “the same rules as apply nationally”. It is not clear at present whether these will also be eased on October 22, though Trinity intends to “relax regulations further” from November 1.

Analysis: Comparing colleg Sarah Emerson Deputy News Editor


RINITY’S RETURNTO-CAMPUS PLAN IS MARKEDLY DIFFERENT from that of other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Ireland. Government and HEIs have committed to a campus return this year, with every student to have some measure of in-person college experience and “maximum on-site presence”. Colleges have agreed upon sector-wide measures in line with government’s Safe Return Plan, while allowing for institutional discretion in determining specific regulations. Limits on lecture sizes and length of classes, for example, will be decided by each university, depending on available facilities. Laboratory and classroombased teaching and learning, tutorials, workshops, smaller lectures and research are to take place on-site from September, and larger lectures are permitted in reduced-capacity lecture halls. Measures implemented across all Irish colleges and universities include mandatory face-coverings indoors, sanitation procedures, and managed entry and exits in buildings and lecture theatres. HEIs all make clear that restrictions are subject to change, based on evolving circumstances and prevailing public health advice. University College Dublin (UCD) will return to in-person teaching this September with no capacity limits for teaching or social-distancing requirements for students and staff. Lectures will take place at prepandemic class sizes in UCD, while standard lecture time will be reduced to 45 minutes. The vast majority of rooms at UCD have adequate ventilation for full capacity, the university says. “UCD is uniquely placed in an Irish context in having the largest number of students, the largest lecture theatres and one of the most spacious campuses”, UCD President Andrew Deeks noted in a bulletin addressed to staff. UCD plans to provide lecture recordings or other online support to complement face-to-face teaching “to the greatest extent possible”, in order to support student learning generally and safeguard immunocompromised students. All lecturers are encouraged to avail of recording equipment fitted in lecture halls,

while recordings are required to be provided for lectures with over 250 students. Dublin City University (DCU) is to deliver “face-to-face teaching at close to normal levels for most modules on programmes which are normally campus-based”. Classrooms and laboratories will be operating at 80% or greater capacity, with air quality managed and monitored. Rooms with high levels of ventilation will be at normal capacity. DCU announced that it “does not have the resources to simultaneously support extensive face-to-face teaching and to deliver programmes fully online,” but that it would “make every effort to support a full learning experience” for students with significant health risks. At University College Cork (UCC), face-to-face teaching will take place, with lecture theatres, laboratories and practical tuition settings operating at 80% of normal room capacity. Lectures will be limited to a maximum of 200 attendees. Most lectures will be reduced to 45 minutes of teaching time, and it is recommended that 2 hour lectures break after 1 hour. The libraries at UCC will also operate at 80% capacity, with extended opening hours. An existing pre-booking system will remain in place. Two metre physical distancing will be enforced for laboratory and desk-based research. The University of Limerick (UL) will operate at normal classroom occupancy, up to a limit of 300 students. “Apart from large lectures, all other activity is planned to be on-campus”, and class durations will be unchanged. Lectures and classrooms have updated ventilation systems meeting public health requirements, the university says, while other indoor spaces will have social distancing guidelines posted prominently. Meanwhile, Trinity is to adopt “a two-phased approach” in the return to campus, with restrictions easing after reading week. From September 6 to November 1, Trinity will take a “more cautious approach,” with “high-level regulations” governing all aspects of campus life, as outlined in the Return to Campus plan published on August 27. In the first half of the semester, all lectures, laboratories and

Trinity will appear judicious in the event that other colleges have to tighten restrictions and cancel large lectures tutorials are to operate with at least one metre social-distancing. Classes with fewer than 50 students must be in person, while lectures above 150 people will operate online. Individual schools are to determine whether lectures between these parameters are inperson or online, depending on the facilities available to them. However, the Schools of Physics and English have set their maximum in-person lecture sizes at 50 and 45 respectively, due to insufficient space in provided teaching spaces with social distancing. While timetables are not yet finalised, the School of English anticipates that the majority of fresher tutorials and sophister seminars will be in-person, while fresher lectures will remain online. All physics students are to have face-to-face laboratories and tutorials, while lectures over 50 will be delivered online until at least November 1. The Library and study spaces at Trinity will continue to operate with two metre social distancing, with the 1 hour 45 minute limit and booking system remaining in place. Regarding colleges’ other on-site activity, government’s Safe Return Plan stipulates that canteens, sports facilities, clubs and societies and bars are to be “operational in accordance with public health advice”. This provides for campus activities to reopen inline with the rest of society, if the


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

ges’ plans for term college chooses. Most colleges’ outdoor sports facilities are currently operational, with indoor facilities only open to individual training, as per national guidelines. However, indoor sports facilities remain closed at Maynooth University. Catering is also open across campuses, with vaccine certificates required to eat indoors. UCC restaurants and cafés currently only offer takeaway service. Most colleges’ regulations on clubs and societies are still forthcoming. UCC and UCD have not confirmed plans, but claim that on-campus society events will be permitted within public health frameworks. Indoor extra-curricular events at Trinity will not be allowed, while outdoor sports and social events can occur on campus. Events at the Students’ Union temporary marquee will be limited to 1 hour 45 minutes. Trinity has claimed that “we are working on creating more outdoor covered spaces that can be used by Clubs & Societies and students more generally”. At DCU, an outside marquee is being installed to cater for student club and society events. Meanwhile, Technological University (TU) Dublin anticipates holding indoor social events at limited capacity, including “fitness classes, film screenings, quizzes, gaming tournaments and volunteering events”. Though “organised indoor events” are not currently permitted under Government guidelines, almost all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted by October 22, including limits of numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities, and requirements for proof of vaccination or immunity. Restrictions on “organised indoor events” and “group activities” will also begin to ease

in September for people who are fully-vaccinated or immune, with limits to numbers. It remains to be seen whether colleges will permit indoor social events as national restrictions ease this month, or if mandatory vaccine certificates will be introduced for campus social events. It appears that Trinity currently does not plan to ease its restrictions until November 1, but the Return to Campus plan states: “any changes in Government guidelines that have an impact on these [social] activities can be put into action immediately.” Depending on degree programme and cohort size, Trinity students are likely to have less inperson teaching and learning than their counterparts in other Irish universities. Social distancing will remain in place in all indoor settings within Trinity, while other colleges will have almost normal occupancy in classrooms, lecture halls and libraries. The operation of sports facilities and clubs across all Irish colleges is largely similar, as governed by national guidance. It is likely that indoor social events will not take place in any institution at the beginning of term, though colleges’ approaches may diverge later. Announcing the regulations around the return to campus, Trinity Provost Linda Doyle acknowledged “many of you will be disappointed that we are starting out with caution and you may rightly ask why we are being more cautious than some other institutions”. Doyle explained that the twophased approach was based on a number of factors, including Trinity’s urban locations, space constraints, older buildings, enclosed entrances and distribution of residences across

campus. “In coming to this conclusion, we have drawn on the expertise in the University and our public health, clinical, science and safety experts support this approach.” While many Trinity students welcome a partial return to inperson learning after over a year of virtual classes, others will be disappointed by a hybrid model that still requires students to rent in Dublin for little contact hours. A student may prefer more or less in-person classes than timetabled, depending on learning style, mental health needs, vaccination status, health concerns, previous College experience and living situation. The success of Trinity’s approach will be measured by the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, as well as the success or failure of other colleges’ policies. Trinity will appear judicious in the event that other colleges have to tighten restrictions and cancel large lectures. Acceptance of or appreciation for Trinity’s approach will also grow if College relaxes restrictions significantly from November. Equally if not more importantly, students desire transparency from Trinity. Last year, students were promised some measure of inperson teaching, but the majority did not have any classes on campus for the entirety of 2020/21. While a return to campus for the upcoming academic year has been promised by government since April, only on August 27 did College announce its plans, with many students still awaiting further information from their schools and confirmation of their timetables. It was also implied by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris that a return to campus would entail a reopening of university social life, which he said is an important part of the college experience. Meanwhile, Trinity societies were only informed in late August that indoor society events were forbidden indefinitely.



College’s investigation into Head of Facilities and Services sexual assault conviction still “ongoing” Kate Henshaw News Editor

This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.


HE INVESTIGATION INTO THE SUSPENDED HEAD OF FACILITIES AND SERVICES Brendan Leahy is still “ongoing”, according to a College spokesperson. Leahy has been suspended from his post since receiving a suspended sentence in March 2021 for sexually assaulting his Airbnb guest over three years ago. A spokesperson for College stated that Leahy is “off duty at this time, pending the outcome of an investigation, as is the norm”. They also noted that “As this is an ongoing investigation, [they] are not in a position to comment further”. The assault in question occurred after Leahy took it upon himself to guide the guest and her fiance on a historic pub tour of Dublin. Leahy appeared in front of a judge at Dublin District Court in March 2021, after having pled guilty to sexually assaulting the woman in the summer of 2018. The assault occurred at Kehoe’s Pub on South Anne Street and involved Leahy repeatedly pushing the front of his body against the woman from behind. During the case, a garda told Judge John Hughes that the victim had been staying in Leahy’s spare bedroom, which was in use as an Airbnb. CCTV footage of the assault that lasted six and a half seconds was shown in court. The judge imposed a threemonth sentence but suspended it on the condition that Leahy does not reoffend in the next year; completes a sex offenders education course; pays a €1,000 fine; and gives another €1,000 in compensation to the woman. The judge ordered Leahy to no longer provide Airbnb services. Following the assault in the

summer of 2018, the woman and her fiance went to Pearse Street garda station and reported the incident. The court was told that the sexual assault had a “profound effect” on the woman. The woman provided a victim impact statement that was read out in court which detailed that she was left in shock, suffered flashbacks and panic attacks, and has been taking anti-anxiety medication. Leahy had no previous criminal convictions and co-operated with the investigation, the court was told. Two months after the assault, he went to Pearse Street garda station and said he didn’t recall the incident because he was too drunk. Leahy identified himself in the CCTV footage from the night in the pub. He could have faced a 12-month prison term and a €5,000 fine in the district court, but in a mitigation plea, defence solicitor Ruth Walsh said that Leahy was remorseful and “absolutely devastated”. Leahy is currently suspended from his position as Head of Facilities and Services within Estates and Facilities, a role which he has held since January 2015. Trinity sets out a definition of sexual harassment in its Dignity and Respect Policy, but not of sexual assault. The policy states that “assault, including sexual assault, is not within the University’s disciplinary jurisdiction and, as a matter of criminal law, should be referred to An Garda Siochana”. A list of examples of academic staff misconduct governed by College’s statues includes sexual harassment on College premises or in the course of employment, but does not make reference to instances of sexual harassment offcampus. A similar list setting out examples of serious misconduct governing support and technical staff includes “serious breaches of the College’s policies regarding sexual or other forms of harassment”.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Analysis: Doyle’s first month of provostship indicates many campaign promises largely attainable Bonnie Gill

News Analysis Editor


N APRIL 2020, PROF. LINDA DOYLE WAS ELECTED as the next provost of Trinity, taking over from Prof. Patrick Prendergast and becoming the first ever woman to hold the role. She led her campaign with the assertion that she “has something to give Trinity”, alongside a manifesto that prioritised the decentralisation of power in College, lobbying for government investment, and increasing sustainability. On August 1, Doyle officially began her provostship, which is to last for ten years. At the beginning of September and another college year, what has Linda Doyle’s first month as provost looked like? During and following her campaign last semester, Doyle

remained “hopeful” about students returning to college inperson in September. Despite some discussion of continuing teaching online into future years, Doyle was adamant that in-person activities were essential to the Trinity experience. In an interview with Trinity News during her campaign, she stated that the pandemic “reaffirmed the need for that physical space.” On August 11, the new provost hosted the first in-person graduation ceremony since College’s closure in March 2020, making Trinity the first university in Ireland to do so. Students who should have graduated in 2020 were given the opportunity to receive their degree in-person. The event, although still in

keeping with nationwide Covid-19 restrictions, was a milestone in the path to fully returning to college life. Since beginning her provostship, Doyle has affirmed the sentiment that “everyone will have some in-person teaching experience” this year, but that the details of restrictions would depend on decisions made by individual schools within College. While University College Cork (UCC) announced that lectures would be taking place at 80% capacity and University College Dublin (UCD) had no plans to limit lecture sizes, Trinity will place a university-wide 150 person cap on classes. On August 27, Doyle announced in an email that Trinity would be

adopting a two-phase approach to reopening, which would “start out cautiously in the first half of the new semester.” In the email, she admitted that students “may rightly ask why we are being more cautious than other institutions” but asserted that the diversion from other college’s restrictions was due to Trinity’s physical location and the layout of campus. Doyle also hinted at the restarting of social activities such as clubs, societies and events, saying that College was going to “maximise” these activities. The document that circulated regarding restrictions entering the new year however, outlined that clubs would be allowed to operate “with restrictions”, while societies may hold events outdoors or offcampus only. On August 27, Doyle welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to Trinity, leading his tour around campus alongside Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, and Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland. During Macron’s visit he met with staff and students to discuss topics such as climate change and digital

equality. The tour was also joined by Prof. Catherine Comiskey, the director of Trinity’s CHARM-EU learning programme in Global Challenges for Sustainability. During the course of her campaign last semester, Doyle maintained a strong focus on the importance of sustainability and tackling climate change. In her first month as provost, Macron’s visit is at least a symbolic nod towards the importance of these goals, while also furthering College’s international reputation. In her first month as provost, Doyle’s hopes of returning to college life have to a degree been successful. Though a promise of larger social events restarting has largely failed to materialise, Doyle’s assertion that all students will have some in-person learning experience seems at this point to be attainable. Her hosting of the first in-person graduation as well as Macron’s visit are two public events which speak to the possibility of College returning to at least semi-normality.

Senior leadership team under Provost Linda Doyle announced Trinity last week issued a full list of the faculty members appointed by Doyle to take office immediately Jamie Cox News Analysis Editor


HE BOARD OF TRINITY COLLEGE announced on September 1 the appointment of the new senior leadership team under Provost Linda Doyle, who took office effective immediately. The appointments were announced by Trinity in a press release. Prof. Orla Sheils has been named naas vice-provost and chief academic officer, taking over the role from Jürgen Barkhoff. Shiels has a PhD in molecular pathology from Trinity College and a masters in medical law and ethics from Kings College London. Prof. Eleanor Denny has been announced as bursar and director of strategic unnovation. Denny

worked as an assistant professor of economics at Trinity College Dublin and was awarded the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities in 2021. Prof. Neville Cox is to take office as registrar of College. Cox has a PhD in speech law and religion. He is a professor in the School of Law. He was appointed as dean of graduate studies in 2016, a role he worked in until 2020. Prof. David Shepherd has been announced as senior lecturer and dean of undergraduate studies. Shepherd is an associate professor in the School of Religion. Prof. Martine Smith will serve as dean of graduate studies. Smith is a professor of clinical speech and language studies in the School of Linguistics and has served as dean of graduate studies from 2020. Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt has been appointed as dean of research. Schmitt worked as a professor in the School of Chemistry. Prof. Jürgen Barkhoff has been announced as senior proctor. Barkhoff served as vice-provost under Prof. Patrick Prendergast, and is a professor of German in the School of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies. Prof. Michael Rowan has been appointed as junior proctor. Rowen is a professor of neuropharmacology, pharmacology & therapeu-

tics in the School of Medicine. Prof. Tomás Eoin O’Sullivan has been made senior dean. O’Sullivan is a professor of social studies in the School of Social Work and Social Policy. Prof. Philip Coleman has been made junior dean. Coleman is a professor in the School of English and acted as the previous registrar of chamber, as well as the existing junior dean, a role he is reprising. Prof. Catherine McCabe has been re-announced as dean of students and is an associate professor in the School of Nursing. She has acted as dean of students since 2020. Prof. Aidan Seery has been re-elected as senior tutor. The only member of the team not to be appointed by Provost Doyle, Seery was elected to the role by other tutors and has served as senior tutor since 2016. Seery is an associate professor in the School of Education. Other appointments made today were Prof. Emma Stokes as vice-president for Global Engagement, Prof. Anna Chahoud as public orator, Prof. Jo-Hanna Ivers as associate dean of civic engagement and social innovation officer, and Prof. Dónall Mac Dónaill as registrar of chambers. The three associate deans of research appointed are Prof. Maria Brenner in Health Sciences, Prof.

Brian Broderick in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic, and Prof. Immo Warntjes in Arts, Humanities and Social Science. Prof. Áine Kelly has been appointed associate dean of undergraduate (UG) science education,

Prof. Graeme Murdock as dean of UG curriculum architecture, Prof. Gerard McHugh as dean of development, and Prof. Lorraine Leeson as Associate vice-provost for equality, diversity and inclusion. The positions announced are to take office with immediate effect.



TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


French President Emmanuel Macron visits Trinity Macron was welcomed by Provost Linda Doyle and joined by the Taoiseach, Minister Simon Harris and Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland Bella Salerno Deputy News Editor


N AUGUST 26, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE EMMANUEL MACRON visited Trinity during his first trip to Ireland since entering office. He toured the campus and met with students and staff to discuss topics such as post-Cocvid Europe, climate change and digital equality. He was joined by Taoiseach Micheal Martin; Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris; and Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland. Provost Linda Doyle welcomed the French president and led the group through a tour of campus. Prof Catherine Comiskey, director of the new Erasmus-funded master’s in global challenges for sustainability, part of the CHallenge-driven Accessible Research-based Mobile European University (CHARM-EU) programme, was also in attendance. College is one of the five CHARM-EU universities along with the University of Montpellier, University of Barcelona, Utrecht University and the Eötvös Loránd University. Macron was introduced to several of College’s academic staff working in France-related fields, such as Assistant Professor in French Edward Arnold, Associate Professor in French and Head of the French Department James Hanrahan, Professor in Geography Padraig Carmody, Assistant Professor in Education Donatella Camedda, and Assistant Professor in Political Science Jacqueline Hayden. At the Old Library, Librarian Helon Shenton showed the president around the Long Room, where he viewed the Book of Kells and the Library’s collection of 347 Samuel Beckett letters. Addressing the president and assembled guests, the Provost said: “I am delighted to welcome President Macron to Trinity for a visit that gives us a chance to celebrate our abundant connections with his country. France is the most popular destination for Trinity’s Eras-

mus students, and we currently have exchange agreements with 42 French institutions.” She continued: “It is wonderful that our students have had the opportunity to discuss with President Macron some of the most important challenges we all face.” College is also member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) along with three French universities; Sorbonne

University, Université Paris-Saclay, and the University of Strasbourg. According to the Provost, College collaborated with 266 French institutions and co-authored more than 1,100 co-publications between 2016 and 2020. College is also home to the oldest chair of French in the world, the alumni of which includes writers Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde. PHOTOS BY FENNELL PHOTOGRAPHY


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


The campaign for a four day work week Eliza Meller

page 16

Is TikTok fashion costing the environment? Fast fashion trends on social media hasve led to a rise in overconsumption from retailers such as SHEIN Ria Walls Contributing Writer


ikTok has caused fast fashion retailers to increase their profits by as much as 44% following the viral videos of clothing hauls. These trends, which are encouraged by the popular styles and garments on social media apps, lead to a rise in overconsumption. Creators on TikTok and YouTube post content of large hauls of clothing from websites such as SHEIN, where you can buy large quantities of items for a very cheap price. This encourages viewers to overconsume, which in turn makes over-buying a trend in itself. As well as this, as the creators gain mass amounts of views, they can begin to get paid and sponsored for their content; it benefits them to overconsume. This creates a

vicious cycle of fast fashion, and it is important to break out while we can. Fast fashion is designed to be discarded. Items are worn once or twice and as quickly as they come into fashion, they are out again, leaving them to sit permanently in the back of a wardrobe for the rest of their life. Think of the cherub mesh tops that were popular over lockdown, yet aren’t worn any more as TikTok creators have moved on to the next garment. Another microtrend is the brand House of Sunny; their green dress and fluffy cardigans were trending a few months ago, but now they are nowhere to be seen on social media. Fast fashion flows at a pace that is unethical and unsustainable. Every week on social media brings about a new trend, which causes consumers to purchase these items on a regular basis. The cheap price lures us in, and before we know it, we are part of the ongoing issue of fast fashion. The affordability of the clothing encourages mass buying, as it’s the easiest way to buy large quantities of garments. The mass production of these items cannot be ethically justified. In 2020, Fashion Checker concluded that 93% of investigated brands weren’t paying garment workers a living wage. Due to overconsumption, mass production and lack of recycling, millions of euros worth of garments are wasted. This isn’t


By purchasing pre-loved clothes, in a roundabout way you’re making fast fashion slightly more sustainable, as popular garments are getting a second chance only by customers, but often when clothing is returned or doesn’t sell, companies throw the items out instead of recycling, upcycling or donating them to charity. The fast fashion industry is responsible for

Open book exams: here to stay? Lara Mellett

page 18

carbon emissions and pollution to land and water. Statistics from Plastic Soup Foundation show that the fashion industry is responsible for around one third of microplastics found in the ocean. Alarmingly, a study by the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit reveals that clothing production produces more emissions than international plane travel and shipping combined. While it can be said that every industry plays a role in damaging the environment in one way or another, fast fashion is an easy trend to combat. There are many alternatives to purchasing from fast fashion retailers. For example, the online store Lucy and Yak produces sustainable clothing such as dungarees and trousers. They tell in great detail who made the clothes, what went into making them and the traceability of their material and suppliers. Each product has a label that includes who made your item, and you can go onto their website to see a picture of the worker and read about their story. This is an amazing example of sustainability and accountability in fashion, and it puts many other businesses to shame in their resourcing of materials and manufacturing of garments. A counteracting trend on TikTok has been vintage shopping. The hashtag ‘#thriftwithme’ became popular when lockdown lifted and creators could go into second hand shops again. Videos under this craze show consumers thrift shopping, highlighting the amazing hidden gems that can be found in charity shops, which has in turn inspired many to hit the streets and check out their

Every industry plays a role in damaging the environment in one way or another, but fast fashion is an easy trend to combat local thrift shops. We are very fortunate in Dublin to have a wide selection of second hand shops — check out George’s Street right up to Rathmines for a 3k stretch of charity shops galore. As well as this, Temple Bar is overwhelmed by vintage and thrift shops. The benefits of shopping second hand are endless; not only do you get your items at a fraction of the price as you would from highstreet stores, you also slow down fashion, which slashes the consumption of fast fashion. Reusing and recycling clothes decreases the items purchased from unethical chains. For those who prefer online shopping, apps like Depop, Vinted, ASOS Marketplace and eBay allow users to buy and sell used clothes. By purchasing preloved clothes, in a roundabout way you’re making fast fashion slightly more sustainable, as popular garments are getting a second chance by being sold ethically. Depop, which has over 15 million users worldwide, helps to recycle and reduce the carbon footprint emitted by consumers. TikTok has had a negative impact on the fast fashion industry, which in turn has affected the environment. Creators and consumers alike are both to blame; creators make content, and those watching give them the views which encourages more content to be made, and the cycle continues. While it is easy to fall into the trap of overconsumption and cheap clothing while on social media, there are alternatives out there that are easy and accessible. Why not challenge yourself — next time you are shopping, try purchasing from a charity shop instead of a fast fashion retailer. It takes for everyone to do their bit to combat fast fashion, whether that’s buying second hand, or not bulk ordering hundreds of euros worth of SHEIN clothing.


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


Mature students: balancing academic ambitions with adult responsibilities A second-year mature student and parent spoke to Trinity News to share their experiences of parenting and student life Claudia Prettejohn Contributing Writer


hen students are depicted in the media, they are mostly shown as teens and young adults, on their own for the first time in their lives with little to show for themselves other than the hope of a degree and a growing pile of debt. However, this image does not reflect the diversity of the modern student population. In recent years, Ireland has seen increasing numbers of mature students applying to and studying at higher education institutions. As of 2020, approximately ten percent of undergraduates at Trinity College Dublin were mature students, and with a 20 percent increase in applications from those over 23 to the CAO in its most recent cycle, that proportion is set to increase. Despite their growing numbers and significance as part of the student body, younger students tend to have little understanding of the lives of mature students both on and off campus. Many

Many of Lucy’s lectures finish as late as 6pm, creating a conflict between her academic ambitions and parenting duties

mature students also balance parenting with their studies, a unique challenge that often goes unrecognised by students and College alike. For Lucy*, a parent of five children ranging from four to 17-years-old, trying to balance home and college life has not been simple. Entering Trinity through the Trinity Access Programme (TAP), she has found that wanting to pursue her own ambition of getting a degree alongside looking after her children is difficult. The structure of a college day does not align seamlessly with the school day, meaning there are times where her childcare responsibilities and classes overlap. When it comes to having lectures in the afternoon, she often finds herself having to leave her children to their own devices while she tries to concentrate. “There’s always the guilt, feeling like I’m not a proper mother,” she says. In 2013, Trinity published their Policy on Supports for Student Parents, Student Carers and Students Experiencing Pregnancy, supposedly to help in situations where parents are balancing academic and parenting responsibilities. It states that “College will make reasonable efforts to take into account the needs of student parents and carers and, where feasible, prioritise family-friendly timetables”. Despite this promise, the needs of students with children have slipped through the gaps. Many of Lucy’s lectures finish as late as 6pm, creating a conflict between her academic ambitions and parenting duties. Learning from home during a pandemic has presented its own challenges. With children at home, live classes were difficult as she worried that “you could hear the kids screaming and playing in the background.” However, the flexibility which recorded content provided was a welcome relief. Lucy explains: “it was really useful to be able to pause a lecture to put on the dinner, collect the kids from school and watch it later on.” Hoping for a hybrid model of learning to continue, Lucy prefers the socialising and camaraderie of campus life combined with the more family-friendly elements of online learning, saying “It is easier to manage and balance when it is online.” As in-person teaching returns, student parents will be looking for childcare to cover the times they are in college while children are at home, an expensive and competitive process. Trinity College currently has a day nursery for children from three months to four-and-a-half-yearsold. However, places are extremely

It was really useful to be able to pause a lecture to put on the dinner, collect the kids from school and watch it later on

limited, and once children reach school age, the practical support dries up. Financial support is offered through the Student Assistance Fund which supports those experiencing short and long-term financial difficulties, while the 1916 Bursary is available for underrepresented groups in higher education, including mature students and lone parents. Unfortunately, according to many students, applying for these supports is often a long process that can be emotionally taxing,

having to provide substantial evidence of your situation before your application is even considered. The Students’ Union also has a Childcare Assistance Fund, providing 30 euro over 20 weeks but this is only given to those students “experiencing the greatest need”, a somewhat vague criterion. For Lucy, the cost of childcare is too much to manage without support, and she worries about periods where she will require more childcare, such as school holidays during College term time. At present, there is no one occupying the Student Parent Officer role in the SU, something that worries Lucy. “Not having the parent officer is impacting us because there are issues that need to be brought up, especially regarding the [school] holidays.” A 2016/17 Equality Fund project run by the former SU Student Parent Officer, Carly Bailey, saw fully funded places at the Sports Centre’s midterm children’s camp provided for student parents, allowing them to attend classes as normal, something which Lucy wishes had been continued: “It would have made College more accessible and meant I wouldn’t have to worry about the financial side of things, so I could focus on my work.” The experience of College life outside of academics is another area where mature students and

parents face unique challenges. Societies and events often are tailored to the younger student population, with club nights and events in evenings inaccessible to those who require childcare. The Mature Student Society provides a forum for mature students to interact and share experiences, helping to bridge the gap between an often intimidating and inaccessible social scene and mature students. However, the opportunity to interact with younger students with different perspectives is still welcomed by many, including Lucy. “The young people, I find, are very open minded,” she says, and despite her initial fears that she would feel like “everybody’s mum”, she has enjoyed getting to know them and hearing their views. For students like Lucy who did not follow the conventional path to university, the opportunity to study at Trinity cannot be passed up. However, the difficulties that mature students — particularly parents — face in balancing their responsibilities and financially supporting themselves through College, make the prospect of a degree in later life seem daunting. As the proportion of mature students grows, it remains to be seen how the university process will be improved to accommodate a growing and more diverse student population. * Name changed to preserve anonymity



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Making a four day week work for Ireland The chairperson of Four Day Week Ireland speaks to Trinity News about a new perspective on productivity and flexibility in the workplace Ellen Kenny Features Editor


n 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes wrote his famous essay entitled Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, in which he made a bold prediction: by the twenty-first century, technology would have advanced far enough that the average work week would be only fifteen hours. While technology has advanced hugely since his prediction, Keynes’ economic vision of the future is a far cry from reality. In 2021, Denmark has the shortest average work week for full-time workers at 37.2 hours per week. Ireland is the 11th highest ranking country in the world at 39.7 hour/s per week. Decreases in the average work weeks plateaued in the 1980s as rapid economic growth led to increased consumption rather than increased leisure time — workers prioritised more

money in their hands than free time on their hands. Second-wave feminism and women’s fight for economic rights also meant that the workforce was growing rather than shrinking, and reducing work hours was no longer a priority for policymakers and business owners. While today’s world is profoundly different from that of Keynes, there are still many who see the same possibilities he did. The Four Day Week Ireland campaign was launched in September 2019. Inspired by similar initiatives in New Zealand, Germany and Sweden, the group advocates for the gradual transition of the average work week from five to four days “with no loss of pay”. The group of Irish trade unions and private businesses believes that such a transition in Ireland is better for productivity, profitability and worker satisfaction. Speaking to Trinity News, chairperson of Four Day Week Ireland Joe O’Connor explained: “Our focus is on the idea of the ‘one hundred-eightyone hundred’ model. It basically means one hundred percent of the pay for eighty percent of the time, resulting in one hundred percent of the productivity.” “We believe that the four day work week is something that could be better for business. There’s a lot of academic research and also real world case studies that have taken place in the last number of years that have introduced the four day work week and have seen their productivity increase

through a more focused approach and greater prioritisation… [employers] have seen major improvements in terms of reduced unplanned sick leave [and] greater employee retention.” Limerick-based company ICE Group implemented a four day work week in July 2019, one of the first in Ireland to do so, and was a key supporter in the formation of Four Day Week Ireland. It is companies like this, O’Connor believes, that are creating a better future for its employees and the wider world. “From a worker perspective, this is something that can really assist in providing a greater work-life balance,” O’Connor said. “Reducing

From a worker perspective, this is something that can really assist in providing a greater worklife balance

work-related stress and burnout, and also enabling workers to spend more time on hobbies, in the community and with their families.” In particular, O’Connor emphasised the “revolutionary” impact the four day work week has on gender equality in the workplace. Currently, women take on the greatest proportion of domestic responsibility, taking time off and jeopardising their ability to progress in their careers as much as their male counterparts. O’Connor argues that “if we move towards a four day working week, a standard across the economy, it would effectively redress the balance whereby you would have an even playing field between women and men. It could well lead to a rebalancing of domestic and caring responsibilities in the home, which in turn enables women to overcome some of the barriers to achieving senior leadership positions in work.” O’Connor also believes that a shorter work week is a greener work week: “There’s a number of studies that show a very close correlation between working time and carbon emission. One study from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden suggests that a 16% [reduction] in carbon emissions could be brought about by a four day work week, which would be achieved through reduced commuting [and] reduced energy use in office buildings.” While the Four Day Week Ireland campaign boasts an ambitious plan with far-reaching impacts on society, there are still those who question the feasibility of such a plan. Maeve McElwee of the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation criticised the idea of a universal four day work week as “prohibitively expensive” and “too unrealistic”. Concerns have also been raised on how the shorter work week might be adapted in different sectors of the economy. Speaking to Trinity News on the matter, Trinity professor of economics Michael Wycherly pointed out that less flexible sectors that require staff with specific skills, such as education, childcare and healthcare, might struggle to cope with the implementation. “If workers go to a four day week then firms may have to hire additional workers and then train them in the specific skills, raising their costs,” Wycherly explained. “Even if wages went down to keep the total wage bill about the same, this would still impose higher costs on firms [due to] the need to train and hire more staff than before.” O’Connor admits that these challenges faced by these sectors will require more overhaul and investments into staff than others, and such overhaul cannot be achieved in “phase one” of the campaign’s plans. However, O’Connor holds that a shorter, more flexible work week is

The Four Day Week campaign is very much about changing our mindsets, changing how we think about work possible across Ireland “within the next five to ten years”. “I think the reason that a lot of businesses who have done [the four day week] have found, almost counter intuitively, that when they reduce work time they deliver better outcomes in terms of profitability and productivity, it’s because they use the four day week as a lever to have a conversation in their business about ‘how can we better prioritise, how can we work smarter, how can we focus on the things that are really important?’” In June, Four Day Week Ireland announced plans for a sixmonth pilot programme to test the effectiveness of a shorter work week, beginning in January 2022. The Government also announced plans to fund research into the national impacts of a four day work week. Tanáiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged that COVID-19 and remote working has forced new discussions around work practices. According to O’Connor, the “remote revolution” has introduced both employees and employers to a new approach towards productivity and flexibility. While O’Connor believes that the incoming programme and government research will be very critical of the campaign, he asserts that “the more we can demonstrate through pilot programmes and through research that this is something that can work, that’s when we’ll get the broader support, both within the business community and within politics, that [the four day week] is something we need a much broader shift towards”. “The Four Day Week campaign is very much about changing our mindsets, changing how we think about work, away from this idea of measuring people’s worth based on the time they spend at the office, the time they spend at the desk, or the time they spend on the clock.”


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


This year, 0% of rooms on Trinity Campus have been allocated to Junior Fresh, Senior Fresh, or Junior Sophister students

How accommodation is allocated in Trinity Trinity’s Accommodation Allocation Plan leaves many students without housing Lara Mellett Deputy Features Editor


s the new academic year rears its head, a slew of Trinity students are returning to Dublin. Some have been granted accommodation through College either on campus, near campus, or in Trinity Hall. However, for most, finding accommodation has been a struggle, adding stress to their academic preparations as they scroll through, revising their budgets as they see the reality of rent prices. Those who miss out on student accommodation feel the weight of added pressure and responsibility when returning to college, but what proportion of students is this stress hitting the most? Is Trinity’s allocation of accommodation leaving cohorts of students forlorn, lost, and stressed — and what is the solution? Trinity’s Residential Department constructs an Accommodation Allocation Plan which is approved by the Provost each year, mapping out which groups of students will be prioritised in housing each year.

This year, 0% of rooms on Trinity Campus (including Heritage, Pearse, Goldsmith, Business School, Printing House Square, or Kavanagh Court) have been allocated to Junior Fresh, Senior Fresh, or Junior Sophister students applying regularly through the accommodation portal. 14.5% of rooms are allocated to Scholars, 11.4% to international students, and 2-4% of rooms are allocated to other groups including students with disabilities or students within the Irish, DU Central Athletic Club (DUCAC), or Central Societies Committee (CSC) schemes. Over 50% of Trinity Hall is allocated to Junior Fresh students, with 27% going to international students, and 5% going to both scholars and

After the first round of offers, allocations are made on the basis of random selection to rising final year students on the waiting list

special considerations. Speaking with Trinity News, Alex Clark from Trinity’s Accommodation Advisory Service explained the reason for the uneven allocation of accommodation: “Normally, such rooms are only allocated to rising final year students, with a limited allocation for graduate students. There are quotas of rooms set aside for scholars, international students, schemes in support of the Irish Language, DUCAC, and the CSC. Thereafter, priority is normally given to international students, those who have not lived on campus previously, and those who make a significant contribution to College and/or the wider community.” It also became clear that there was hope after a first rejection, but only for a small group of students: “After the first round of offers, allocations are made on the basis of random selection to rising final year students on the waiting list.” It seems as though Trinity has a plethora of quotas to meet when allocating their rooms, but even with these figures, and this explanation, a vast cohort of College students are neglected in the accommodation allocation process. With this in mind, it is up for question whether Trinity should make rooms available for these students, or enable them to apply in the first place. The application process for College accommodation is a lengthy and unique one, with students being required to present an argument as to why they think they deserve a spot. As a rising Senior Fresh student having been informed that I had missed out on accommodation and, after reaching out for answers, seeing

the Allocation Plan, I felt that application had been a waste of time, as I had not even been considered. For most colleges and universities, the accommodation application process includes a lottery, wherein each applicant has an equal chance. This could be a possible, and perhaps more forgivable, method for Trinity. It is clear that the

foundational issue with Trinity Accommodation Services is not the quotas it has to meet nor its method of allocation, but the sheer lack of rooms they have for their students. An obvious but clearly unfeasible solution would be for College to provide more accommodation for its students, so while that is not an option, students must explore alternatives. The Accommodation Advisory Service recommends “a similar halls of residence style accommodation” for those who are looking for a similar experience to that of oncampus accommodation, such as Binary Hub, or finding private housing through websites such as or They understand that entering into a private lease can be both daunting and confusing, and provide support and advice, along with TCD Renter’s Union. Trinity’s Accommodation Plan leaves many groups of students disappointed and stressed each year, but is their allocation of rooms a necessity for the college, or intentionally and unnecessarily neglecting large cohorts? Before coming to College, each student fantasizes about living in Trinity, and experiencing the college at its most authentic, but the allocation of accommodation realises this dream for very few.



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Open book exams: Contingency plan or permanent possibility? An investigation into the benefits and pitfalls of open book examinations as we return to inperson teaching Lara Mellet Deputy Features Editor


or the entire 2020/21 academic year, students and professors alike were forced to adapt to a year confined and defined by Covid-19. For most, this meant a transition completely online, and as exam season reared its head, the easiest contingency and kindness offered to students was in the form of online, open book, and take home exams. Students were equipped with notes and resources to aid them through their exams in an attempt to alleviate a morsel of stress from an anxiety-inducing year. Speaking to students and professors it seemed that, in certain instances, this alternative assessment proved to have advantages over in-person, timed examinations. With these advantages in mind, it is up for consideration whether open book, online exams should be integrated into university assessment or abandoned for traditional methods as we transition back to normality. With no mandatory lab hours or practical classes, many Arts, Humanities and Social Science (AHSS) subjects were able to transition online quite seamlessly. This included not only lectures and tutorials, but assessments. Exams that would usually be held in person under typical conditions became open book, take home exams, with time limits being extended to days, or even weeks. As an English Studies student, I found this substitute form of assessment to be quite appropriate. My expectation of the course before I began was that I would not only be learning about great works of literature, but that I would also be developing the ability to critically and independently analyse the works presented to me. The School of English course description boasts that: “Our English courses have been designed to develop independence of critical thought and the articulation of informed discussion, both oral and written”, and throughout our classes we were encouraged to offer our own opinions and ideas on our

studied texts. Many assessments came in the form of essays, where we had the opportunity, time, and resources to fully develop a coherent, high-quality argument. Other assessments were to be in-person exams, and it seemed to be the general consensus that exams were expected to be lower quality than essays. However, when these exams were changed to open book, take home exams, the potential to present a quality answer reopened itself. Without the time constraints of an inperson exam, I could articulate my ideas more clearly, and redraft my answer until it was coherent and cohesive. As a resuIt, my answers were a more accurate display of not only the knowledge I had gained but the skills I had developed over the semester, and thus were a more appropropriate method of examination for my chosen subject. There is an argument to be made on both styles of examination to be integrated into

It is up for consideration whether open book, online exams should be integrated into university assessment or abandoned for traditional methods

the English Studies curriculum. Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing, provided his perspective on open book exams. Speaking to Trinity News, he said: “I certainly think that for much of what we do in English – particularly where the core skill involves students being able to engage closely with a complex literary text – a good way to assess that is some form of assessment where students have access to that text, such as an open book or take-home exam.” He also argued that some of the skills in English Studies may be more appropriately examined through normal exam conditions: “There may be some areas of English – such as the ability to read a short, unseen text, such as a poem, or to translate from Old English – that are better assessed in the conventional inperson proctored exam.” Parts of the English Studies course that involve learning information rather than developing skills,

such as the Old English language, would be more appropriately examined under normal conditions, as this would actually test how well the student had retained the information. Both examination methods fit different elements of the English Studies course, and this can translate to other courses in the School of Arts. With this considered, it may be suitable to suggest a more balanced approach to the assessment of Arts subjects in the future, where all expectations of learning within the course can be examined in their most appropriate methods, some of these being open book, take-home exams. While many Arts subjects prioritise a development of new skills in conjunction with gaining knowledge, making open book exams suitable, other areas of study may require the traditional approach. Many courses in the School of Engineering, Maths, and Science and the School of



TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

Features Health Sciences strongly require memorising information, and therefore regular exam conditions would present a much more accurate depiction of a student’s knowledge of the subject. Speaking to Trinity News, Niamh O’Dwyer, a Management Science and Information System Studies (MSISS) student, shared her experience with open book exams this year, and the suitability for different methods of examination for different types of learning became blatantly clear. MSISS students study a combination of computer science, maths and business subjects, and while all of their online exams were labelled open book, Niamh commented: “Many of the exams still had severe time limits, meaning that there was no opportunity to check your notes under the constraints.” She also explained that, in their maths-based exams, while notes were an aid, the understanding of a concept was vital. In business exams they were expected to present essay style answers, and she said that “you could follow a train of thoughts using your notes, on which you could base your method and thinking.” Open book exams provided them with a guide without tainting the examination of their understanding. In this way, knowledge based exams would be more accurately tested under normal exam conditions, but the skill of understanding may be more apparent in open book conditions. As a final comment, she added: “Overall I think open book exams could be really useful for certain modules, depending on what the objectives of the module are. In modules including any self expression, I think open book would be ideal because it removes the unnecessary pressure of real exam conditions”. Some subjects require in person examinations as a part of their degree, making a transition to exclusively open book exams unrealistic. Dr Neville Cox, Professor of Law and Registrar of College, understood the benefits of open book exams and disadvantages of in person ones, saying “not only are [in person exams] mere memory tests, they also test things like endurance, absence of anxiety, absence of potential impacts of menstrual cycles and so on – none of which are academically relevant.” However, he continued, “the professional bodies for law (that is, those that qualify barristers and solicitors) do still require that, if they are to accredit our degrees, students must be examined by way of exam. Hence for the time being some law courses will need that final exam. We would impoverish our students otherwise by not enabling them to qualify as practitioners.” In this way, in person examinations are integral to a students development, and even contribute to the quality of their degree. Bev Genockey, Education Officer of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU)

also spoke to Trinity News about the use and effectiveness of open book exams, commenting that “online, open-book exams are more appropriate than in person exams in certain instances, particularly in the case of essaybased subjects as it allows students to demonstrate critical thinking

It may be suitable to suggest a more balanced approach to the assessment of Arts subjects in the future

and synthesis skills, rather than simply recall, which I feel greatly benefits the overall learning experience of the student.” She weighed this up against the alternative, suggesting situations where in person exams may be more appropriate: “online exams which have required the use of proctoring to uphold the principles of academic integrity (which would typically been used in professionally accredited courses) would be better suited to being traditional in-person assessments, due in large part to the documented issues with proctoring software and student privacy or connectivity concerns.” The integrity of an in person exam cannot be completely mimicked online, and thus cannot be fully replaced by this style of assessment. Sharing her thoughts, she said “I am inclined to believe that we might see a shift toward a sort of hybrid approach to assessment whereby some take place in person, and others are online – which would be good, as it allows greater room to diversify the types of assessments offered to students.” Continuing on from this, she pointed out that in the Student Union’s Big SUrvey, 52%

Knowledge based exams would be more accurately tested under normal exam conditions, but the skill of understanding may be more apparent in open book conditions

of students agreed that their learning had been fully and fairly assessed in the past year. While it is clear that open book exams cannot completely replace the traditional method of assessment, in some instances it may be a more appropriate and accurate display of a student’s development of both skills and knowledge. By providing students with resources such as texts or reference materials, their understanding of a theory or their critical thinking and analysis skills would not be clouded by the pressures of an in person exam. In other scenarios, in person exams more accurately test a student’s knowledge of a subject. Open book exams provide an alternate way to test students and different aspects of learning. It is unclear as of yet whether online examinations will be implemented or integrated into the university curriculum as studies return to normal, or if they will be abandoned in favour of tradition, but there is certainly reason to consider the effectiveness of open book exams as a method of examination.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Even with consent classes, sexual violence education is lacking Roisín Daly

page 19

Ireland has a duty to provide refuge to those fleeing Afghanistan Fionnán Uíbh Eachach Deputy Comment Editor


he sudden nature of the recent US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the accompanying success of the Taliban have left many Afghans, who fear the oppressive religious conservatism and violent brutality of the incoming regime, scrambling to find a route out of the country. The lives of countless Afghans now depend on their access to asylum abroad. As a country that has benefitted hugely from access to safe havens abroad in the past, and from freedom of movement today, one might expect Ireland to open its doors to those fleeing war. Yet, the Irish government has so far committed only to accept 600-700 Afghan refugees — a paltry figure. Given

our fortunate position as one of the richest countries in the world, Ireland has a moral duty to accept many more refugees than this and to provide a reasonable standard of living. In recent weeks, people across the globe have been rightly shocked and appalled at scenes from Afghanistan depicting innocent Afghans hiding in their homes from Taliban patrols, rushing to any route out of the country and begging Western forces not to abandon them. Widely-spread videos of terrified Afghans clambering onto the outside of departing aircraft despite near non-existent odds of surviving the journey point indeed to a level of desperation unimaginable to those of us

privileged enough to live in peace. Naturally, there has been an outpouring of sympathy for these suffering innocents and biting condemnation of Western policy in Afghanistan can now be heard by the minute. But sympathy without action means little, and tears alone will do nothing to save those now trapped between closed-off borders and vengeful Taliban militants. The notion that the Irish state would welcome only hundreds of such refugees is an insult to the decency of the Irish people. How can a country whose national identity is so defined by emigration and whose history is so scarred by conflict accept such a low number when so many are in need of help? While it should be enough

College’s administrative ineptitude must be addressed Editorial

page 24

to say that we ought to welcome those fleeing conflict abroad out of decency and a sense of morality alone, it must also be kept in mind that Ireland has played a role in this crisis by facilitating the transport of American aircraft and troops through Shannon airport. Indeed, successive Irish governments have found no contradiction between the professed neutrality of the state and the provision of an Irish airport to aid the US in waging war in Afghanistan. As a result of this, Ireland bears a degree of responsibility for lives lost in the conflict. It does therefore not seem unreasonable to suggest that beyond our basic moral duty to accept refugees, Ireland also owes refuge to those whose suffering we have helped to facilitate. Through our membership of the European Union and role in EU initiatives (such as EUPOL Afghanistan), Ireland has also had a limited state-building presence in Afghanistan. While the peaceful life in Afghanistan such initiatives once promised can no longer become reality, it is still within the power of the Irish state to try to give Afghan refugees a peaceful life in Ireland. Given the fast-deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the increased risk of life to those fleeing through Kabul airport and the Pakistani border, it is imperative that governments around the world, including Ireland, focus now on providing refuge to as large a number of Afghans as can be organised under present conditions (the Irish Refugee Council has argued that a minimum of 1000 refugees be initially accepted). The provision of asylum alone cannot be regarded as an end in itself. It is doubtful that those

Ireland has played a role in this crisis by facilitating the transport of American aircraft and troops through Shannon airport

How can a country whose national identity is so defined by emigration accept such a low number when so many are in need of help?

resettled abroad will be able to return to an Afghanistan governed by the Taliban. In light of this, governments ought to enable them to live reasonable lives abroad by cancelling deportation orders, fast-tracking family reunification, giving them access to all educational and state facilities and providing a clear route to citizenship. While the Irish government has already made some progress in provisionally cancelling deportation orders for Afghans and not forcing them to enter Direct Provision, such measures must be made permanent given the lack of certainty regarding any future return home. The thirdlevel sector also has an important role to play here and those of us studying in Irish institutions ought to push for easier access to university and further education for all refugees, who currently must be resident for three years before becoming eligible for free admission. We in Ireland often pride ourselves on being an especially welcoming country, on greeting all guests with a céad mile fáilte. Ireland has too often underperformed when it comes to taking our fair share of those fleeing conflict or persecution. One need only look at the hardship faced by asylum seekers in our Direct Provision centres for proof of this. As a country that has experienced persecution and conflict in its own history and is now a wealthy, developed democracy, Ireland is well-placed to provide a new home for many of those fleeing Afghanistan and elsewhere. To fail to do so would be an irreparable shame.


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


The #BloodForAll campaign is laudable, but we must push even further Sophie Furlong Tighe Comment Editor


n June this year, for the first time since the 1990s, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) imported 115 units of blood from the NHS due to a shortage of homedonated blood. When this was reported, people took to Twitter in droves to point out that the service discriminates against men who have sex with men (MSM) and their female partners. Currently, in order to be eligible to donate blood, MSM are required to abstain from oral and anal sex for a period of twelve months prior to their donation (this is a minor improvement from the total ban on MSM donating blood prior to 2017). Similarly confusing is the fact that any woman who has had oral, anal, or vaginal sex with an MSM is banned indefinitely from donating blood. Of course, this is ridiculous. Queer men have perfectly healthy blood, as do their female partners. There are plenty of people who have blood unsuitable for transfusion (straight people, for example, who are HIV positive) which is why IBTS go through the obviously sensible process of testing every donation they receive. Ultimately, the blood ban is a remnant of a rabidly homophobic moral panic which Ireland can’t seem to get over. A campaign group was quickly set up to protest this injustice — #BloodForAll set up a Change. org petition (which, at the time of writing, has just over 600 signatures) and a number of social media accounts. While they are not formally affiliated with TCDSU’s campaign of the same nature, their material has been shared by the union’s social media accounts. At this time, no direct action has been announced on their part. While their effort is laudable, and their cause just, to any regular at the D’Olier Street blood donation clinic (as I myself am), the focus of this campaign raises some questions. I will admit that this battle is a largely symbolic one. Anyone who has been to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service is well aware that you can simply lie to the nurses about your sexual past (this is not an endorsement— I’ll

leave it up to you to weigh up the discomfort of breaking some unconfirmable rules versus the potential of saving a life). But to call this battle symbolic is not to dismiss it. The idea that men who have sex with men (and their female partners) can not safely give blood is certainly linked to the perception that MSM are overwhelmingly likely to have HIV or AIDs. Though, importantly, this same logic can be applied to the other groups of people who are discriminated against by IBTS. For context, there are a number of questions that one is required to answer prior to donation. There are the ones that make sense: have you taken medication in the past 2 days? Are you healthy and well? Have you recently gotten a tattoo? Then, you quite quickly get to the ones that do not make sense: are you a man who has had sex with a man in the past year? Have you ever exchanged sex for drugs or money? Have you been incarcerated in the past 12 months? Each of these nonsensical questions represent a different ban on a different group of people from donating blood. IBTS’s guidelines are homophobic, but they’re also discriminatory against sex workers and

previously incarcerated people. Sex workers (a number of whom are MSM) are already disproportionately marginalised within Irish society. The current legal model for sex work in Ireland means that those who choose to work together for safety can be criminalised for “brothel-keeping” and those who work in public can be moved on and away from outreach services and support. Obviously, there is nothing inherent to being a sex worker which compromises the quality of one’s blood. The deeply insulting logic here is that those who have worked in the sex industry are more likely to have HIV. As well as there being no evidence to say this is true, now would be a good time to reiterate that IBTS does, indeed, test the blood it receives. The exact same argument can be made for those who have been incarcerated — every reason that

IBTS chooses not to accept their blood is based on one unjustifiable stereotype or another, and there is nothing inherently compromised about any group of marginalised people’s blood. So why, then, does the only campaign for IBTS reform we’ve seen in recent years focus exclusively on the ban on queer men? I would venture that this either comes from an ignorance of IBTS’s rules (which can be corrected with an amendment to the campaign) or a perception that queer men are a more palatable target for political reform. Or maybe it just didn’t occur to them. Regardless, it is not sufficient to end the fight with the rights of non-incarcerated, non-sexworking queer men. The LGBTQ+ movement has struggled for its entire history to strike a balance between “respectable” and “representative”. Time and time again we have chosen respectability, and where has that left us? A sanitised, sexless pride with AIB sponsorship and Google floats. All this, while 98.8% of LGBTQ+ students in the US have witnessed or experienced homophobic harassment in school. With this in mind, we must push further and demand an end to all the IBTS’ blood bans. They overlap, and they are all rooted in the marginalisation of minority

It is simply not sufficient to end the fight with the rights of Western, nonincarcerated, non-sexworking queer men groups. There is a perception that ending the blood ban is the final frontier of gay rights in Ireland. But we must remember that the rights of all marginalised groups are inherently interlinked, and even our symbolic battles must be fought with care, empathy, and complete solidarity.

IBTS’s guidelines are homophobic, but they’re also discriminatory against sexworkers and previously incarcerated people PHOTO BY ELIZA MELLER FOR TRINITY NEWS


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Trinity is a college, but it is also a place


Gabrielle Fullam Contributing Writer


hen we talk about the public spaces of a city, we are talking about the character of the city itself. The city’s ability to foster meaningful community relationships and individual fulfilment is dependent on its very structure. As students, many of us are living in small, rented apartments, or full family homes. And so, we lobby for student centres and are aggrieved by confusing library opening hours. But more than that, we instinctively recognise the need for meeting spaces that allow us to feel not only safe, but welcome. Throughout the pandemic, many of us bemoaned Portobello’s fences, the closure of public parks, and the monetary requirement for social outings in pubs and cafes at a time of great social deprivation. We know that public spaces offer immense benefits to mental and physical health; they bond and bridge communities and allow for political and social mobilisation. These benefits are only achieved through the creation of comforting, freely-accessible space. It can be further proposed that the power structures and common cultures within a region are reflected in the organisation, planning and use of public spaces. Ben Rogers argues that dynamic, accessible and welcome urban spaces nurture communities that have greater levels of equality and contentment. Communities flourish under physical structures which are designed for them. It's easy to see public places for simply their practical benefits — a place to play, eat, run — or their aesthetic, environmental, or economic value. This view of public space is true to some extent, but it disregards the most important contribution they make; space is where we draw a more deep-rooted sense of belonging. Due to differing functions of public space, and their importance for community development, public spaces need an ability to cater to the individualised needs and desires of specific communities. It is because of this that urban designers have started to champion the idea of “placemaking”. Placemaking refers to its theoretical concept and its application to community planning. It centres

around the needs of a community, and encourages “crowd-sourced” collective reimagination of public space. In this way, public spaces are not dictated by “top-down” approaches but by the “bottom-up” creativity and ingenuity of evolving social and cultural communities. While this proposes a more radical re-imagination of community locations, it is also important to note that welcoming atmospheres and easy accessibility are necessary conditions for public space to achieve its full value and support its community. The use of public spaces cannot be fully realised without welcoming and easy access. It is against this backdrop that Trinity’s relationship to Dublin City becomes troubling. When the rest of the city is flush with commuters and parties, Trinity is often quiet. And sometimes, Trinity actually locks up. Empty pathways, cricket pitch grass you’re not allowed to tread on, overheads you’re not allowed to shelter under. This, of course, has been exaggerated by COVID-19, where College has been accessible

When my nanny asks me “Is Trinity open?” I say “only to students”. This is a declaration and institutionalisation of what was already enshrined in our social codes

to staff & students only — but the sentiment predates it. Trinity is physically walled in, with only a few narrow entrances; it attracts wealth and then pigeons it between cold gates. Trinity is both intimately connected with Dublin and seemingly hovering above it. I felt isolated from it when younger and yet eager to gain access to something that seemed (at least a little bit) unattainable or exclusive. And when I started attending in my teens, I quickly became furious about its inaccessibility, the wealth I encountered, and the inequity that Trinity perpetuated both internally and on a global and national scale. Physical access to Trinity is an important determinant of wider public perception of the college, something a college that often claims to fight elitism should care about. Beyond that, it is also simply something the people of Dublin deserve. For a public space to thrive, one must consider its links to surrounding areas, such as through open and accessible pedestrian entrances, as well as strong disability access. Trinity’s sense of community, sociability and connectedness to the city’s community could be strengthened through public events and cultural activities. Over the past year, however, while attending this ghost college, I have started to recognise something greater. When I enter campus, I scan my personalised student card and step out of bustling Nassau Street into empty Fellows Square. When my nanny asks me “Is Trinity open?” I say “only to students” (and, now, tourists). This process is a formal declaration and institutionalisation of what was already implicitly enshrined in our social codes. We have access to something others don’t. In fact, our access to this is only valuable specifically because it is exclusive. As students in higher education, we derive our value from the necessary exclusion of others. As we look towards a return to an “open” and “in-person” campus for students, College must not just prioritise access for paying tourists. We must be cognisant of this physical manifestation of institutional privilege. Trinity is a college, yes; but it is also a place.

Even with consent clas violence education is l Roisín Daly

Contributing Writer


he move from secondary school to university often serves as an emblem of liberation; college is a time for adolescents to meet new people, cook their own meals and explore their sexuality. Essentially, it is the first opportunity to live independently in a way they never could before. But growing up is as bitter as it is sweet, and along with this transition the joys of university come exposure to many harsh realities. One of the more prominent and likely the most perturbing reality of college life today is the problem of sexual violence on campuses. Studies carried out by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) have revealed that female students between 18 and 24 are three times more likely

than the average person to be victims of sexual violence. 13% of students, both males and females, experience rape or sexual assault. Sexual violence is a staggering concern amongst undergraduate students specifically. Statistics show that 26.4% of undergraduate female students and 6.8% of undergraduate males are victims of sexual assault. One of the reasons for the high rate of sexual violence amongst university students is the collective ignorance surrounding what consent really entails. Too often we hear the phrase “Why couldn’t she just say no?”. While a study conducted in NUI Galway demonstrated that students will be attentive to a clear cut no, it also indicated that they wouldn’t pay as much attention to indirect comments or reluctant body language. This becomes a severe issue in social settings within a college environment. Where students may engage in sexual acts they don’t want to as a result of social pressure from new friends, or may not be able to properly consent under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For example, a student might feel pressured by an older student to engage in a sexual activity, fearing the consequences of saying


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September



sses, sexual lacking no. Alcohol also plays a dominant role in the high rates of sexual violence in universities. Victims who experience sexual harm while intoxicated are often told that their memory has been impaired, and that they did consent. The presence of alcohol in tandem with sexual violence paves the way to a grey area in which the perpetrator can hide, while the victim is left to drown. The consent workshops organized by universities, while intended well, are simply not enough. The problem is not that people don’t know what consent

The problem is not that people don’t know what consent is – we’ve all seen the video using tea as a metaphor for sex – but that it is seen as superfluous.

is – we’ve all seen the video using tea as a metaphor for sex in secondary school – but that it is seen as superfluous. NUIG’s study also revealed that 20% of Irish boys do not believe that consent is always necessary. The assumption that a victim can easily get out of their situation is dangerous amongst a young student population. As well as this, it is a far too convenient misconception for the perpetrator. People differ in their responses to danger. A person who freezes up should not be shamed for it. Instead of teaching students about what they already know in consent workshops, focus should be placed on how people can respond differently to uncomfortable situations and that reluctant body language and a person’s discomfort should never be ignored during a sexual activity. Misunderstandings about responses to danger can lead to victim shaming and, worse again, victims blaming themselves. Students need to be taught about the effects of sexual assault on the mental health of victims. It needs to be amplified that just because sexual harm is nuanced, it doesn’t mean a victim’s responses are invalid. Despite the high rates of sexual violence amongst college students, many cases of sexual harm go unreported. Victims don’t report their cases for a number of reasons: many victims are scared that they will be blamed, or their case wouldn’t be deemed important enough to report. Many victims also feel that reporting their case wouldn’t or couldn’t help, as the stark reality is that reported cases of sexual assault often go uninvestigated. In 2018/19, less than half of the sexual assault and harassment cases reported by students were investigated by universities. A stigma that sexual assault victims are “overreactive” is likely the reason why very few female student victims seek help after having been raped or sexually assaulted. Evidently, the majority of student victims feel as though they have no one to turn to. Last year, nine Irish universities, including Trinity, paid €80,000 for an online system that allows students to anonymously report experiences of sexual assault. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, this system alone won’t suffice. There needs to be more support systems in place for sexual assault victims within universities. Students should be given more information about the counselling services available on campus when coming into University and be encouraged to seek support. It is the role of each university to provide support services that are accessible to everyone. If students were assured that help is there for them and that they won’t be judged for needing it, victims of sexual violence would be more likely to come forward and seek support. Sexual harm is a staggering issue within universities, and instead of ignoring this reality, colleges must face this issue head on with compassion and empathy for their students.

Ella Sloane

Student Living Editor

College has a duty to engage in ethical investment


s government and student funded institutions, it is imperative that universities strive to uphold an ethical approach to investment, something which Trinity is crucially failing to do. Ethical investment is a strategy whereby investors, in this case College, choose to allocate capital towards companies whose practices and values align with their own social or moral values. College’s continued investment in both the armaments and defence industry, accompanied by its unrelenting financial support for companies involved in the fossil fuel industry despite claims to champion sustainability, severely undermine its academic integrity. To profit from such companies is to gain a level of moral culpability for putting lives at stake, both in the short and long term as we see the devastating effects of global conflict and climate change unravel in years to come. Students4change, an open-forum, independent alliance of Trinity students, received a response to their freedom of information (FOI) request regarding details of College’s endowment fund on the 30th of July 2021. The documents provided revealed the full nature of College’s investments. Perhaps most striking was the extent to which Trinity invests in armaments and defence industries — a sum amounting to approximately €2.6 million. In doing so, College is complicit in the grievous conflict and colonial oppression in which these industries are involved and as a result, the suffering and loss of innocent civilians. Companies included in these investments such as Raytheon Technologies, Airbus and BAE Systems, to name but a few, have been linked to airstrikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen, a country ravaged by war and famine. Furthermore, €721,473 worth of investments in Lockheed Martin has helped to fund the supply of weapons and fighter jets used by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) against Palestinian civilians. Trinity BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), a student-led campaign group, publicly deplored College’s complicity in Israel’s apartheid at protests in June of this year. The ugly truth of the mat-

ter is that Trinity is indirectly responsible for the supply of the equipment used to carry out such horrific war crimes. College must immediately take ownership of this truth and make amends by prioritising divestment. It is not an exaggeration to say that Trinity has blood on its hands as a result of these ill-considered investments and the problematic findings of this FOI request point towards concerns regarding the need for transparency in the future. If students and staff alike are to feel truly represented by the college they attend and fund, then there is a need for information as to which companies Trinity invests in to become freely accessible to the whole college community. Trinity’s investments have been at the root of past controversy, namely the €8 m worth of shares that continue to be invested in up to 85 companies directly involved in fossil fuel activities, of which 11 are involved in extraction. College’s investments in fossil fuel industries still represent a whopping 3.6% of the endowment fund, despite the fact that there were explicit promises to divest from such companies as far back as 2016 — a promise which has disappointingly not come into fruition. College must be held accountable for the lack of action on this issue and student lobbying groups, parties and activists will be hopeful that Provost Linda Doyle will take steps to rectify this wrong during her first year in office. As a well-respected, high-ranking institution, Trinity commands

the societal clout to challenge the ethical standing of the fossil fuels industry by divesting from the companies that enable it to prosper. It is in College’s best interest to promptly address the matter if it hopes to truly live up to its vision to “courageously advance the cause of a pluralistic, just and sustainable society”. Using College’s endowment fund to profit off the destruction of the climate is utterly contradictory to such a vision and is quite frankly hypocritical. There exists an urgent moral obligation for third level institutions such as Trinity to take action in order to mitigate the evermore devastating effects of climate change. History has shown time and time again that divestment has the power to act as a vital catalyst for social and political change. According to the Harvard University Institute of Politics, divestment played a fundamental role in the collapse of Apartheid in the 1980s, and holds the same potential in combatting climate change today. Nelson Mandela echoed this, also crediting divestment as a central component to South Africa’s liberation. More recently, divestment strategies have been used to exert financial pressure on the Sudanese government in an attempt to put an end to Darfur’s atrocious genocide. College should seek not to inflict harm on the world through its investments and should instead harness its authority as an influential third-level institution to oppose human rights violations and climate injustices.



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Editorial: College’s constant administrative ineptitude has only been magnified by the pandemic


enjamin Franklin once said that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. For students enrolled in this university, it may be more apt to say there are three: death, taxes, and the incompetence of College administration. There have been opinion articles posted in the pages of this newspaper for the last three years running, and several times before that, on the annual inability of Trinity to provide basic timetable information in a timely manner. This year though, College’s woeful lack of communication about the return to campus (following Simon Harris’ assertion that the amount of in-person teaching would be left up to individual higher education institutions) has added insult to injury for students trying to organise accommodation, work hours, or indeed anything. In August, module enrolment for second and third year students was delayed by two hours with no forewarning from College. Enrolment was initially scheduled to be in July, before being pushed forward to an unspecified date in August, which was then tied down

as August 19 with one week’s notice. The same occurred last year, in which enrolment was delayed by thirty minutes, again with no warning from College. When module registration operates on a first-come-first-served basis, and especially when many students have jobs, children or other responsibilities that prevent them waiting by the computer all day, this is unacceptable. College’s incompetence here is twofold; not only do they refuse to adequately organise what they know is an annual process, but they can’t, or perhaps won’t, learn from their mistakes. While students have come to expect the worst from Academic Registry (AR), the lack of guidance for students on the return to campus from College itself has also been enormously frustrating. While protecting public health in the age of Covid-19 must take precedence over everything, Simon Harris’ promise that campus life could resume in-line with broader national re-opening has not materialised. For example, students availing of College accommodation this year are not permitted to mix with

even one other household in their apartment, despite the fact that fully vaccinated adults may mix in private residences under current government restrictions. As well as this, the organisation (and indeed very existence of) Senior Freshers’ Week, beginning yesterday, has been a prime example of College’s scattergun approach to both Covid-19 restrictions and student life more generally. While the week of September 6 to September 10 theoretically serves as a Freshers’ Week for those who missed out on one due to the pandemic, the late notice from College on what this would entail severely hampered this in practice. More than that, the preferential treatment granted to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) with regards to booking spaces and events, meant other capitated bodies such as the Central Societies’ Committee (CSC) missed out on the ability to welcome senior freshers to College. The initial assertion that Senior Freshers’ Week would be primarily online was then directly contradicted by Trinity Ents’ schedule of in-person events. This rightfully confused and frustrated

many society and club committee members, who had been provided with little guidance from the CSC. This isn’t the latter’s fault though, but rather a consequence of the fact that they in turn had received mixed messages from College. Further confusion with regards to teaching and learning ensued when the School of Psychics announced on August 19 that College-wide restriction on large lectures would last until November 1. This information was given in an email to physics students, but on August 20, College claimed that despite what the email said, this only applied to that School. Then on August 27, College again contradicted itself by publishing a two-phase plan for the resumption of on-site teaching which confirmed restrictions would relax on November 1. While rapidly changing public health guidelines render forming plans very difficult, an institution which prides itself on excellence of every kind and is obsessively concerned about maintaining its place in university rankings should do better. It is frankly embarrassing that College is reduced to leaking information and either lying or being mistak-

en in response, flip flopping on lecture sizes, and continuing to struggle with basic logistics and administration 18 months into the pandemic. It goes without saying that the last year and a half has proven difficult for everyone, and a global pandemic is hardly something anyone working in College administration thought they would have to navigate in their lifetime. It would be unfair to blame College for teething problems during the worst and most difficult moments of this uncertain time, or for simply following sometimes-illogical government guidelines. However, the reality is that the pandemic has not so much created new opportunities for College to expose its own failings, as it has magnified its existing and constant ineptitude. This problem of struggling with the most basic organisational functions has plagued Trinity as long as anyone can remember. At an institution that prides itself on its history and reputation, why is this something we continue to tolerate?

Seanad Éireann is in urgent need of radical reform Most citizens are excluded from Seanad elections. This must change Fionnán Uíbh Eachach

Deputy Comment Editor


lmost eight years have now passed since the people of Ireland narrowly voted to retain Seanad Éireann in the 2013 referendum on its abolition. Despite subsequent promises of reform, there has since been no serious attempt by the government to improve the institution, which extends the franchise only to public representatives and the graduates of some universities. Given that graduates of Trinity are among the very few citizens entitled to representation in the chamber, it is vital that those of us with this privilege understand the need for reform and push for its implementation. While the chamber possesses a largely advisory role and has remained unchanged for decades, reform is still necessary. The fundamental problem with the Seanad lies not in its limit-

ed powers but rather in the fact that its very composition is an affront to the basic principles of accountability and equality that one should expect in a democratic republic. Unlike the more powerful Dáil Éireann, which is directly elected by all citizens, the Seanad’s franchise is limited only to sitting members of the Dáil, mayors, councillors and graduates of both Trinity College and the National University of Ireland (NUI). This excludes the vast majority of Irish citizens from participating in elections to the chamber and thereby leaves Senators accountable to only a tiny proportion of the nation they govern. It hardly fits the spirit of democratic government that the only way for the average citizen to affect change in the Seanad is to either win election to public office or spend years earning a degree from one of a specific set of universities. If the purpose of democratic, republican government is for citizens to take part in public affairs, then how can one possibly justify the exclusion of all but those with the means to attend select universities from elections to national office? This exclusionary model of election to the Seanad also leaves the chamber even more toothless than its already limited powers (debating and delaying bills) would suggest, as most of its 60

seats are filled by the 43 Senators elected by serving TDs and councillors and the eleven personal appointees of the Taoiseach. This ensures that the government will almost always possess a strong majority in the Seanad and therefore can never serve as a real check on the power of the Dáil. It is difficult to believe that the Seanad could possibly hold the government to account, when the vast majority of Senators owe their position to the same government they ought to scrutinise. It is therefore often the case that it is from the six Senators elected by graduates of the University of Dublin and the National University of Ireland that real debate is heard in our upper house. It cannot be denied that representatives of this constituency have indeed made vital contributions to Irish life – one need look no further than David Norris’ role in the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland. Although the independence of university Senators from the influence of government allows them the freedom to truly scrutinise prospective legislation, the very notion that graduates of university are in some way more deserving of political representation than others betrays a disconcerting sense of elitism at the chamber’s core. Even if one were to accept the clearly immoral idea

that graduates deserve more of a voice in Irish politics than others, the fact that only two specific universities are represented in the body demonstrates just how exclusionary the Seanad remains today. Given this failure of the Seanad to live up to the most basic principles of democratic government, it is imperative that the chamber be either radically reformed or be abolished in its entirety. Irish governments have for decades paid little more than lip service to Seanad reform; Fine Gael, the very party that campaigned only 8 years ago for its abolition, now shies away from the issue. Even the modest extension of voting rights to graduates of all third-level institutions (supported by 92.4% of voters in 1979) remains unimplemented. Such reluctance to engage seriously with this question is deeply disappointing, as Seanad reform provides an opportunity to reimagine the nature of Ireland’s political system and simultaneously deal with the feelings of many citizens that their views are not represented in the Oireachtas. It might therefore be wise to make use of such reform to highlight the views of those whose voices are today often excluded from public discourse. Many in rural Ireland feel excluded in

modern Irish politics, so a Seanad akin to the United States’ Senate in which different regions are equally represented might go some way towards alleviating this particular frustration. Alternatively, one might instead prefer a Seanad in which the long unheard diaspora and those living in the North are afforded the representation they currently lack. At its core, reform must involve the extension of voting rights to all citizens. However, it also offers Irish society an invaluable opportunity to debate what important concepts such as representative democracy, republicanism and good government mean a century after independence. When campaigning for its abolition only eight short years ago, the current Leader of the Seanad Regina Doherty labelled the upper house “shockingly undemocratic”. Although Senator Doherty is now clearly reconciled with the same chamber that once endured her contempt, those of us studying at privileged institutions such as Trinity would be wise to listen to her erstwhile advice. The current nature of the Seanad affords us the special privilege to have our voices heard in Ireland’s upper house. It is therefore our responsibility to push for reform that would extend to others the representation we presently enjoy.


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


Ireland’s MSM blood ban is not grounded in science Lucy Fitzsimmons

page 26

Ghost fishing is haunting, but not the end of seafood Nina Chen

page 27

ECOLIFE conservation efforts creating fiery change around the climate crisis Aquaponing and Patsari stoves provide burning solutions in the fight against climate change Shannon McGreevy Online Editor


team of researchers at achel Carson wrote in her overwhelmingly influential book Silent Spring that “time is the essential ingredient, but in the modern world there is no time”. In the fight against climate change, time is not humanity’s friend. Efforts to live more sustainably and learn about the impacts that we as the human race are having on the world has never been more important. With terrifying facts like the 2018 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting that by 2030 we will be facing irreversible climate change impacts, it is easy to feel hopeless and cynical about the way the world is heading. However, there are astonishingly creative efforts being made to try to save everything that can still be saved – including ourselves. Some of these efforts are being driven by Bill Toone and his wife Sunni Black who are beacons of hope in As the founders of ECOLIFE Conservation, Toone and Black are continuously working towards their mission to “protect wildlife, natural resources, and the people that depend on them.” With the opportunity to be able to meet them in person, it is impossible not to be inspired by their enthusiasm and utter passion towards this critical cause. Toone himself has a rich history in conservation in California who in collaboration with the Zoological Society of San Diego, co-led the recovery of the California condor, the largest North American land bird. He is extremely humble, but quite frankly, the condor would not be thriving in California without his efforts. Black has worked on noble conservation efforts as well, previously working at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. The two

make an unstoppable pair, which is clearly demonstrated by ECOLIFE’s success in a variety of conservation efforts. Global food systems are a focus of ECOLIFE’s efforts. Food systems include all the processes it takes to feed a population, involving production, processing, transport and production. Inefficient and dangerous food systems link the loss of human lives and wildlife extinction. Growing food with pesticides and destroying untouched land leads to habitat loss and extinction of wildlife in areas of agriculture, which covers half of the world’s habitable land. This regional land infertility and drought can create limited access to quality food and nutrition, leading to human deaths. This correlation between wildlife and human deaths is clear to see. Food systems don’t only involve growing food, but also cooking it. One third of the world’s popula-

These stoves offer an alternative solution to the inefficient food systems that are causing environmental devastation due to indoor cooking fires.” tion cooks over a fire, which causes severe daily smoke inhalation. Toone and Black have reported to the San Diego Voyager that this is “the equivalent of smoking 400 cigarettes a day” and indoor cooking fires cause “about 4 million deaths a year”. In addition to human mortality, cooking fires cause deforestation with the massive amount of wood needed to fuel all of these fires, further contributing to habitat loss and wildlife extinction.

With the problem of growing and cooking food apparent, Toone and Black set out to come up with various creative solutions. Aquaponics offered an appealing solution: sustainable agriculture with aquaponics allows produce to be grown with 90% less land and water according to ECOLIFE. Quite literally taking apart the term, “aqua” refers to aquaculture – raising fish in a controlled environment – and “ponics” is Latin for “to work” and refers to the hydroponics aspect of growing plants in water with added nutrients. So, aquaponics is putting fish to work and mirrors a natural ecosystem in many ways. Using the waste product of fish as food for bacteria to be converted into fertilizer for plants, plants can prosper and return the water in a clean form to the fish. With habitat loss being a major driver of extinction, aquaponics can help mediate the problems posed by the destruction of land for agriculture. Additionally, without the need to use harmful pesticides and other chemicals, this form of sustainable agriculture allows for the growth of safer food. Aquaponics is a closed-loop system which prevents runoff – when there is more water than soil can absorb – and opens the door to feed more people in growing populations as well as reduce land and water use. ECOLIFE is working to bring aquaponics into communities, classrooms, and homes. They have a kit that can be purchased as a way to grow plants in your own home easily and in an eco-friendly way from their website. There is also an Aquaponics Innovation Center in San Diego which allows visitors to learn more about the engineering of aquaponics and to see it on a larger scale. With over 750 kits donated to schools across the United States, more than 124,000 students are able to engage with these systems and learn more about aquaponics and sustainable agriculture. This is inevitably a positive impact for students and an opportunity for them to teach others. This aquaponics initiative has mostly been promoted within the United States and is only one of the many ongoing projects of the ECOLIFE organization. In Mexico, the main ECOLIFE initiative employs locals in the community to build “Patsari” stoves. “Patsari” in Mexico’s indigenous Purépecha language means “caretaker”. Therefore these stoves offer an alternative solution to the inefficient food

systems that are causing environmental devastation due to indoor cooking fires. An efficient combustion chamber sits in the middle of sturdy, brick-walled stoves, making the home environment safer for children. An amazing part of the work that ECOLIFE has done and continues to do in Mexico is making these stoves culturally appropriate by working with locals to identify and fulfill their needs. This led to the design of the Patsari stoves’ which feature flat surfaces to allow for the cooking of tortillas and other traditional meals. With the reduction of burning wood for cooking fires, the Patsari stove uses 60% less firewood and reduces 90% of smoke in homes. This benefits not only the families, but also the monarch butterfly population which has plummeted due to deforestation. Every year, monarch butterflies migrate to the oyamel fir trees in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. This previously dense forest used to provide shelter and warmth for these butterflies every winter, but with these trees being cut down in order to fuel cooking fires, the monarchs suffer harsh winter temperatures and freeze. The implementation of these fuel-efficient stoves, and eliminating the need for wood harvesting, has given the monarch butterfly an opportunity to thrive. Over 8,500 stoves have been built and distributed in areas around the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. These stoves

have led to an estimated 637,000 trees saved in the habitat and a reduction in 127,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Not only are these stoves benefiting local communities by educating them on the effects of deforestation on the monarch butterfly population, they also provide jobs for locals to help build the stoves and improve their health by eliminating deathly smoke inhalation. Similar to the program in Mexico, ECOLIFE also has a stove initiative in Uganda with efforts to protect the human Batwa population in the area and the vanishing mountain gorilla species in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Three Batwa women are leading the Ugandan stove building crew through spreading awareness about the effects of habitat loss on the gorillas and how it is pushing them into an inescapable corner with little space for their unstable numbers. What these women are doing is no easy feat, but their efforts have allowed for the building and maintenance of 400 stoves in the region surrounding the gorilla habitat. Toone and Black have founded a successful global conservation group that is not only protecting species like the monarch butterfly and mountain gorilla, but educating and spreading awareness in communities about sustainable agriculture and safe cooking methods. Not only are ECOLIFE’s solutions to the issue of poor food systems innovative and creative, they are also equally effective. It is impossible not to share their passion for both animals and humans alike when thinking about how we source and cook our food. Their efforts are buying us the time that Carson so cynically predicted we are running out of.



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Ireland’s MSM blood ban does not move with the times or the science Modern testing and evidence from more progressive requirements in other counties show it is time for change Lucy Fitzimmons SciTech Co-Editor


ne in four of us will need a blood transfusion at some point in our lives. Donations are used for an expansive range of patients, including those undergoing chemotherapy treatment and surgeries, or victims of serious traffic accidents. 1,000 transfusions are carried out in Ireland each week on average. This requires weekly donations from 3,000 members of the public each week to meet this vital demand, but only 3% of the population that is eligible to donate blood actually do. Blood donation is entirely voluntary and participants must meet an extensive list of criteria in order to be allowed to donate, to prevent infection from being passed from donors to vulnerable recipients. One of the eligibility criteria currently in place is a controversial 12 month waiting period to give blood for men who have sex with men (MSM). The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) states that it cannot accept blood donation from men who, in the past twelve months, have had oral or anal sex with another man. This

includes safe sex using precautions such as condoms or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Regulations such as these were introduced during the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. In a landscape of panic and fear, lifetime bans were placed on men who have sex with men donating blood, in the hopes of preventing transmission via transfusions. In Ireland, this ban stayed in place for almost 40 years, despite huge developments in relation to the illness in this time period. In the early decades, contracting HIV/ AIDS meant a life-altering and fatal diagnosis. Now, HIV/AIDS can be carefully and safely managed by modern healthcare. Additionally, HIV screening is much more widespread and available. In 2018 it was estimated that 90% of people living with HIV in Ireland have received a diagnosis. Medicines such as pre and post-exposure prophylaxis prevent transmission, and those who are diagnosed and received treatment reach undetectable levels of the condition. The condition becomes untransmittable to their sexual partners. In essence, there has been a seismic shift in what HIV-related health in Ireland looks like since the early 80s, but for some, there is a lingering fear about the virus. So what is the process blood goes through to get to be used for transfusions? Firstly, donors have to answer a series of questions prior to giving a donation. These include questions to ensure giving blood will not impact their own health, for example, whether you are within a certain age and weight bracket. Other questions try to establish whether the donation will be safe for the recipient,


asking whether the donor is on medications that could cause issues, whether they have had cancer or any allergies, all with the aim of establishing their health profile. There are also several questions about the donor’s sexual health. They cannot give blood if they have ever had certain STIs, of which HIV is one. But further to this, men who have had sex with any men in the past 12 months (even if this is just one partner if they have had safe sex, and if both have tested clear of STIs) cannot donate. This is a criterion that has caused considerable confusion and anger, as some argue that it is based on homophobic and outdated fears and that other countries approach of a case by case evaluation of sexual health is just as effective in protecting the blood supply. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service cites a “window period” where infections are not detected as the crux of this ban. This is a time at the early stages of an infection where it may not show up on screening tests. The donor may be oblivious to their infection and not be showing any symptoms, and if the infection also failed to register during screening, it could be passed on to a vulnerable transfusion recipient. This is the logic used by the IBTS and some other transfusion services across the world. The disease markers which the IBTS tests for include HIV 1 and 2, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis E, Syphilis and Human T-Lymphotropic virus types I and II. Other tests are carried out on specific donor samples if they are at higher risk of certain diseases eg, cytomegalovirus. No samples are batch tested; each donor’s blood is tested individually and if any of

these disease markers register, the donation is destroyed and does not enter the blood supply. Testing is fully automated, to remove any element of human error. The window period arises because some testing relies on antibodies being detected. This can not occur until the body has produced sufficient antibodies which can take weeks or longer. So this is the dangerous time, where the infection is in fact present but in terms of antibodies, the person looks completely healthy. Other tests can help with this test for material from the virus itself, which will be in the body from the very beginning of the infection and does not involve the same window period. Nucleic Acid Amplification testing (NAT) looks for DNA or RNA belonging to viruses in the blood and can show an infection before antibodies are made. For HIV, NAT tests can look for RNA belonging to the HIV. The IBTS has been screening for HIV-1 using antibody-based testing since 1985, and the equivalent for HIV-2 since 1990. But since 2004 NAT testing has been used which detects HIV-1 RNA much sooner than the antibody window period. The IBTS says “NAT closes the window period between infection and detection of an antibody for those infected with HIV by about two weeks for donations tested individually, significantly reducing the risk of HIV transmission by transfusion.” This leads to a period of only 5-7 days where a new HIV infection may not show up in a donor sample. Currently, the chance of a transfusion recipient gaining an HIV-1 infection through blood transfusion has been calculated by the

IBTS at about 1 in 15 million donations transfused. The detection of HIV-2 gained by transfusion has no reported cases in the IBTS to date. These statistics seem to back up the calls by many to remove the MSM 12 month ban, or to reduce it. In fact, many countries around the globe have done this and had success. In the UK, the waiting period for men to donate blood since they last had sex with a man was changed to three months in

Ireland is far behind in the global movement for more equal blood donation, a movement backed thoroughly by science 2017, and they did not report any increase in cases of transfusion-related transmission. As of June of this year, the UK has changed the regulation to allow men who have had only had sex with the same male partner for at least three months to give blood without any wait time. This will open up a much larger pool of donors that previously would have been unable to contribute to the country’s blood supply. This criterion makes giving blood fairer, grounded in more modern science, and more concerned with individualised risk rather than stereotypes and historical experiences. In the UK, all donors are asked the same questions about their sexual health, sexual partners, and sexual activities regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. This moves the focus to the person themselves as an individual rather than group all MSM as having the same lifestyle and from the archaic idea that the choices of MSM are inherently promiscuous or dangerous. Ireland is far behind in the global movement for more equal blood donation, a movement backed thoroughly by science. As a country, we are becoming more aware and more proactive about our sexual health, preventative measures are changing the landscape of HIV, and we desperately need to increase our donor pool in this country. It is not just time for equality in our healthcare, it is greatly overdue.


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


Ghost fishing is haunting, but not the end of seafood Offshore fishing practices can have harmful effects, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up seafood for good Nina Chen

SciTech Co-Editor


n recent years, the environmental impacts of beef farming have been the main focus of mainstream media, however there is a lot to say about our consumption of seafood and the detrimental impacts of the fishing industry. The term ghost fishing refers to abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), also known as “ghost gear”, which continues to catch and kill sea creatures when left in the ocean. This causes a considerable environmental impact. It is estimated that over 640,000 tonnes is abandoned at sea each year, which is roughly 10% of all marine debris. Whilst ghost fishing does harm to our oceans, Dr. Cordula Scherer, a researcher at the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities, has shown that there are sustain-

able ways to consume seafood in Ireland. “The damage that we do, we don’t even know the half of it,” Dr. Scherer says. As of today, it is believed that ghost gear kills up to 136,000 sea mammals a year, and even more marine organisms like fish and birds. Marine life struggles with the large amounts of plastic waste that pollute their waters; animals often eat the plastic, causing toxicity, difficulty breathing, and death. Additionally, ghost gear that accumulates on the seafloor damages coral sea tissue and causes mass death of coral, leading to the destruction of coral reefs, which provide habitats for nearly 25% of all sea life. The destruction that this fishing equipment causes is not just a once-off occurrence. When a fishing net is abandoned or lost in the ocean, it may trap large schools of fish or marine animals. The weight of the catch causes the net to sink, which results in the net trapping more creatures at different sea depths. The trapped animals die and deteriorate, but the nets, made of the synthetic polymer nylon, do not degrade. Instead, without the weight of their catch, they rise again, repeating the cycle of trapping animals and killing them. “This cycle can continue for ten to twenty years,” Dr. Scherer stated. “Even if we started sustainably fishing now, the ghost nets would still do harm in the ocean. We need to make huge efforts to take them out.”

The damage ghost gear does is immeasurable and long-lasting, but the solution does not involve cutting seafood from your diet. “It’s not right to tell people that they cannot eat seafood,” Dr. Scherer asserted. “Do you really want to put 1.6 billion people into jeopardy and into future food insecurity just because someone tells them to stop fishing?” Whilst seafood is not inherently sustainable, it can be the most environmentally friendly option when done right. Aquaculture is the breeding,

The damage ghost gear does is immeasurable and longlasting, but the solution does not involve cutting seafood from your diet

rearing, and harvesting of fish and other organisms in all types of water environments. Whereas some fishing methods can do great damage to the environment, sustainable aquaculture introduces more biodiversity, creating an ecosystem within the farm. “For example, we have algae growing along the ropes of the cages. This algae produces organic matter for filter feeders like mussels to be integrated in the system. These mussels are then fed to the fish, and the fish waste provides nutrients for the algae.” This cycle, with multiple species in a habitat, mimics an ecosystem in nature, making the aquaculture more sustainable and environmentally friendly than other methods of fish farming. In Ireland today, the majority of our seafood consumption is salmon and cod, foods which take large amounts of time and energy to catch. “To catch these fish requires a lot of fuel consumption,” Dr. Scherer explained. Therefore, our overfishing habits mean that eating salmon and cod is not a favourable option. However, unlike fish, shellfish do not require a lot of energy to grow and harvest. “They are filter feeders, so they don’t need extra attention.” Filter feeders are animals which filter small particles in the water, thereby cleaning it. They also act as carbon sinks: carbon from the ocean gets trapped in the shells of oysters and mussels, making them a far more sustain-

able source of protein than beef or pork, which release carbon into the atmosphere. While both offshore fishing and shellfish cultivation use nylon ropes, the ropes are not lost and abandoned at sea and are often reused, since mussels are grown on the coast. “Oysters and mussels are superfoods,” Dr. Scherer stated. “You can’t be more sustainable than that.” Eating mussels and oysters is the first step in the right direction to seafood sustainability, but it is important to eat a varied ocean diet. Herring and hake are more sustainable alternatives to salmon and cod, as they require less fuel to catch, and cause minimal damage to the seabed. Additionally, foods like seaweed and algae are nutritional organisms which absorb carbon, making them great food options for environmentally friendly eating. This isn’t an exhaustive list; there are an abundance of sustainable foods in the ocean to try. “In Ireland, we are incredibly lucky to have so many different types of fish and seafood in the ocean,” Dr. Scherer asserted. “We just need to eat them sustainably!” To encourage an increase in sustainable seafood consumption,

Carbon from the ocean gets trapped in the shells of oysters and mussels, making them a far more sustainable source of protein than beef or pork Dr. Scherer works with seafood chef Niall Sabongi to recreate traditional Irish recipes in a new way, allowing them to work for a modern taste. This project, called Food Smart Dublin, is hosted by the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities and is funded by the Irish Research Council under COALESCE. They have some recipes on their website to try, as well as some publications on seafood, sustainability, and the connections both have to Irish Heritage. Though our oceans continue to be haunted by ghost fishing, Dr. Scherer’s research highlights that there are still ethical ways to consume seafood.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


Trinity researchers help better understand the variability in the severity of Covid-19 Autoantibodies that are more common in older adults block an important immune response Lucy Fitzsimmons

have been endeavouring to answer. The collaborative study examines why morbidity and mortality are so varied for Covid-19 infections across patients; why more than 4.5 million deaths have been caused by a disease that for others is nothing more significant than a cold. Well, some of this variability is caused by a blocking of an important viral immune response in some patients. Antibodies are one of our

bodies’ most important mechanisms at fighting viruses. However, some antibodies, called autoantibodies, target our own tissue and organs rather than the virus. The autoantibodies are capable of blocking the important “type 1 interferon immune response” and prevent the body from protecting itself via this vital mechanism. It appears that the presence of these autoantibodies is consider-

ably higher in older adults over 60 years old, with over 4% of over 70s exhibiting them. The researchers estimate that the action of these autoantibodies is responsible for up to 20% of Covid-19 related deaths, so approximately 900,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The researchers believe that some of the variability in the severity of the Covid-19 response in older adults is partially due to

the presence or lack of autoantibodies. Dr Adam Dyer, ICAT Fellow & Specialist Registrar in Geriatric Medicine, Trinity College Dublin & Tallaght University Hospital and co-author of the study said: “The findings of this landmark study emphasise the need to explore immune-system variability in older adults. As clinicians, we see an immense variability in morbidity and mortality in older adults infected with this virus, and exploring the underlying immunological reasons why is an urgent unmet clinical need.” The research by Trinity and Tallaght hospital was conducted alongside other work encompassed in a longitudinal Covid-19 study on nursing home patients, NH-COVAIR. Co-author of the study, Consultant Physician in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine in the Department of Age-related healthcare based at Tallaght University Hospital and Clinical Associate Professor in Medical Gerontology in Trinity College Professor Seán Kennelly said: “This important study explains why COVID-19 can have severe clinical consequences in some people but not others. We were delighted to ensure Tallaght University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin were represented amongst this international consortium of leading clinical research institutes. We are extremely grateful for the generous support of local nursing home residents, staff, and families who participated in this study.” Given the new information on the inhibition of the type 1 interferon immune response by the autoantibodies, doctors could be better able to predict those who will have the most severe infections and worst outcomes of a Covid-19 infection and hospitalise them earlier, or potentially who would benefit from interferon beta therapy to compensate for the damage done by their autoantibodies.

SciTech Co-Editor


ince the beginning of the pandemic, it has been clear that Covid-19 usually has more severe effects on older people than their younger counterparts. But even within individual age groups, the effect Covid-19 has on a person is far from predictable. Some can be asymptomatically infected with the virus and be none the wiser, others have flu-like symptoms that last a few days, but in the worst cases, it can lead to hospitalisation and death. This we know from the past months, but what we do not know is why some react so badly to the virus and why the severity of symptoms is so varied for those in the same age group. This is a question which researchers from Trinity’s School of Medicine, alongside Tallaght University Hospital and research facilities spread across 38 countries,



TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

The fight to Save Tolka Park Grace Gageby page 30


How can you not be romantic about baseball? My unlikely descent into sports fanaticism Jack Kennedy Editor


n school, I didn’t enjoy PE class. I was a weedy, asthmatic, bookish kid lacking the stamina and co-ordination that those two hours a week demanded of me. The problem only got worse once I reached second level, when I began to feel self-conscious and insecure in the hypermasculine environment the likes of which only teenage boys can cultivate. I wasn’t one for spectator sports either. I was mostly lost in discussions of football and rugby throughout my youth, despite a theoretical allegiance to Manchester United and Leinster, which I had really just inherited from my older brother and my county of birth respectively. It seemed like a fun thing to be interested in, and would doubtless have been a useful social shibboleth to have, but just didn’t do it for me. But I always loved rounders. The most oft-forgotten GAA sport held, and continues to hold a special place in my heart. It was fast, exciting, and just manly enough without requiring me to throw or kick anything. The thud of a pitched tennis ball ricocheting off your racket and tracing a high arc across the park was enough to make anyone feel like Babe Ruth. Perhaps it was nostalgia for moments like that which drove me towards baseball, years later, at the age of 20. What actually first caught my attention, though, was sabermetrics – the field of statistics as they relate to baseball. It’s a very unsexy and not at all romantic thing to be drawn to, but I like numbers. Numbers make sense. And baseball is full of numbers. Like so many people, I saw Moneyball, and unlike many of those people, I was really very much drawn to the idea of winning a professional sporting title because you can write better Excel formulas than anyone else. I didn’t know anything about the sport, save that which I’d picked up on the rounders field, but I was of course familiar with its mythos

and its place in US pop culture. And now I had an in. So, I started reading through Wikipedia’s “Glossary of baseball terms” and watching old games on YouTube, and something strange started to happen. I started to get really into it. The team I’d arbitrarily picked to follow (on the basis that they’re sort of associated with NASA and space exploration, and I’ve always been a space nerd) went from an object of interest to one of pride and finally to one of almost religious importance. I found myself staying up into the small hours of the morning to watch games taking place six time zones away (instead of staying up because I’ve always had a terrible sleep schedule). I bought a hat. I learned to yell “are you blind? There’s no f***ing way that was a strike!” at the TV. I became a sports person. Baseball is not, on the surface, a very interesting sport. The average length of a major league game in 2021 is, according to Baseball Reference, three hours and eight minutes. The longest game of this season so far was a bit over five and a half hours, two weeks ago. Most of that time the game isn’t even being played. Hitters are adjusting their bat grip and taking practice swings, or pitchers are kicking at the dirt on the mound and spitting. The fans in the stadium spend a lot of the game talking to each other, drinking beer, and eating hot dogs rather than being enraptured by the action. So what’s the appeal? Maybe we love baseball because of its emotional heights. When Tom Hanks’ character in A League of Their Own shouted “there’s no crying in baseball!”, he could scarcely have been more wrong. I watched my beloved team lose (deservedly, unfortunately) in the final game of the 2019 World Series, at 4am, alone in my darkened kitchen. I’ve watched millionaire athletes sob or punch each other over the outcome of just one of each season’s 162 games. I know there is, in fact, a lot of crying in baseball, and every other kind of emotional outburst besides. Because though baseball is slow, it makes up for this by concentrating all the excitement, tension, and pressure into one or two crucial moments a game. You can physically feel it, that tightness in your chest, as the hitter steps up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth in-

ning. There are two outs, his side is down by a couple runs, the bases are loaded, and it’s the last game of a postseason series. You could be a hundred metres away in the stands or a thousand kilometres away watching a livestream, but when the batter and the pitcher lock eyes across 60 feet and six inches of grass and dirt and the whole stadium goes quiet, you might as well be standing behind home plate. And in just a moment, one team will explode into expressions of ecstasy, and the other will feel the bottoms of their stomachs drop. Hanks’ Jimmy Dugan was getting at something, though. So often the game is struggling with questions like whether grown men are allowed to cry. It speaks to something that all of the baseball stories in popular culture are

There is, in fact, a lot of crying in baseball, and every other kind of emotional outburst besides

Balancing sport and mental health Shannon Connolly page 32

partially about masculinity in crisis. Dugan (while not the star of the movie) angry and wretched, trying to get to grips with having his meteoric career shattered by alcoholism. Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane in Moneyball has never really recovered from his career never really taking off, and can’t figure out who he is if not a baseball player. The entire plot of Field of Dreams, supposedly the only film it’s popularly permissible for men to cry at, is about a guy who just wanted to play a game of catch with his now-deceased father. Baseball, and by extension baseball movies, is the stage on which American men play out the drama of their inner lives, because they don’t know how or where else they could. Not only is there crying in baseball, perhaps baseball is the only place you get to cry. But oftentimes, baseball doesn’t need us to write our personal stories in the margins. It has plenty of drama of its own. On 24 August 1919, Ray Caldwell, in his first game pitching for Cleveland, was getting ready to throw the final out of the game when he was struck by lightning. The bolt knocked off the catcher’s mask and the third base coach’s hat, and drove Caldwell to the ground. Many onlookers reported feeling a tingling sensation and their hair standing on end for several minutes after. After a moment, Caldwell got back up, dusted himself off, pitched, and forced a groundout to win the game. Caldwell survived mostly unscathed, but a year later his teammate Ray Chapman would become the only person to date to be killed during a major league game, when he was struck in the head by a pitch. But in terms of single pivotal moments that reinforce Billy Beane’s rhetorical question in the title of this article, perhaps nothing compares to game seven of the 2016 World Series. The Chicago Cubs were facing Cleveland, both

teams had won three of the first six games, and the game was tied at six runs each after nine innings. The Cubs hadn’t won a national title in 108 years. When they won their 1908 World Series, the Ottoman Empire still existed. With the game tied after nine, it would have to go on to extra innings. But then it started raining. Ohio’s Progressive Field isn’t a ballpark with a roof, so play had to be stopped. It was just a comparatively short, 17-minute rain delay, but no doubt a tense one as the Cubs retreated to the visitors’ locker room. The players may have been thinking about the last time their team had reached the World Series but failed to win, in 1945. Or maybe the time before that, in 1938, or any of the other five times in 1935, 1932, 1929, 1919, and 1910. They may have been feeling a certain amount of pressure not to add an eighth entry to that list of almosts. So Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward gathered his teammates together. He told them he loved them and that he was proud of them. He told them they were brothers, and that they had to look inside and remember all that each of them had done during the season to get to that moment. He said: “We’re the best team in baseball, and we’re the best team in baseball for a reason. Now we’re going to show it.” “I don’t know how it’s going to happen, how we’re going to do it, but let’s go out and get a win.” And they went out and got it. Once the game restarted, the Cubs immediately batted in two runs and won their first World Series in 108 years. I never thought I’d become a sports fan. Ray Caldwell never thought he’d be struck by lightning. Jason Heyward probably never thought he’d almost single-handedly break his club’s century-long curse. But in baseball as in life, everything can change in a moment.



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


The local activists fighting to Sav Trinity News speaks to the campaign group about the importance of preserving this historic amenity, home of Shelbourne Football Club Grace Gageby Assistant Editor

The ethos of the movement is not based on trying to torpedo the club’s move to Dalymount, which all principal stakeholders have agreed to. The ethos and the campaign’s clarity of purpose is around preserving Tolka Park, not just for Shelbourne FC or its fans, but for a generation of Dubliners who would be deprived by the loss of a cultural and sporting landmark. “At a time when so much of our city is gobbled up by hotels, co-living spaces, student accommodation and other vacuous buildings, it is right for every citizen of this city to ask: can Dublin afford to lose Tolka Park?” These words appeared on a Shelbourne Football Club match day programme from April, and succinctly capture the ethos of the Save Tolka Park campaign. The movement emerged earlier this year and calls for the preservation of Tolka Park on the grounds of keeping public land for public use, sustainable community development, and the sporting and community potential of the site Situated on the northern bank of the river after which it is named, Tolka Park has been used as a

football ground since the 1920. It has been the home of Shelbourne FC since 1989, when the club obtained a long-term lease on the pitch. While the property is currently owned by Dublin City Council (DCC), the council’s leadership has proposed demolishing Tolka Park and is asking that councillors vote to rezone the land. Ultimately, the council would like to sell the land for private development. The funds from this would then be used to fund the improvement of Dalymount Park in Phibsborough, where the Shelbourne team would move. Dalymount is already the home of Bohemians FC. When this plan was initially announced in 2016, the development of Dalymount was to cost €20 million. This has now risen to €35.6 million, with the planned capacity reduced by 4000 seats from the initial proposal. In January 2020, Owen Keegan, DCC Chief Executive included Tolka Park in his proposal to sell off council-owned land across Dublin in order to fund DCC capital projects. Embedded in this plan was a pledge to put €15 million towards the redevelopment of Dalymount Park. This was rejected by councillors, given a previous agreement to only approve the sale of such amenities or sites if they were then used to build social housing. Lee Daly, a spokesperson for the Save Tolka Park campaign spoke to Trinity News about the history of the project, and the direction it hopes to take. Daly described the campaign as “a coalition of football fans, residents and activists dedicated to the preservation of Tolka Park in public ownership.” The campaign argues that ”with the right planning and investment, this historic football ground can play a key role in the local area by providing a home for Shelbourne Football Club.”

Daly describes the genesis of the campaign as being “a few of us football fans looking at what was going on within DCC...the fact that councillors were looking at rejecting the sale of public land.” While the threat to Tolka Park primarily concerns the home team, Shelbourne FC, Daly stressed that while “a lot of us are Shelbourne fans; the campaign isn’t about any one particular club.” Instead, it is about the shared belief that the grounds are

Tolka Park has been used as football grounds since the 1920s, and has been the homeground of Shelbourne FC since 1989 “something worth saving, and worth keeping.” The proposed demolition of Tolka Park, and relocation of Shelbourne to Dalymount, would also pose a threat to women’s football. Daly says: “we have won league titles, and we’ve taken women’s football very seriously.” Currently there are two senior women’s teams based at Tolka Park. Daly went on to say that “Bohs [Bohemians Football Club], to their credit, have introduced a women’s team, but their team wasn’t playing in Dalymount Park until recently. We have a real concern that scheduling for four senior teams could get messy. “We don’t want to see women’s teams excluded, not necessarily because of any per-se sexism, but because at the moment, games for women are lower than those for men, in terms of attendance.” This is another of the campaign’s arguments in favour of retaining two stadiums, rather than funnelling the funds from the sale of Tolka Park into the Dalymount

stadium. “That’s why it’s important to have two facilities,” says Daly. “We don’t want girls being taken to games to have to use inferior facilities.” Of the predicament the club has been forced to face, Daly said that it is an “unprecedented situation Shels fans are facing. There isn’t a single parallel in the entire world where a stadium is about to be sold, and the proceeds used to renovate a rival ground.” But the issue with this doesn’t come down to just club rivalry. Daly explains that: “We have no objection to the redevelopment of Dalymount Park - we think it’s good, but we want better.” On the proposed “build-torent” housing that may materialise were Tolka to be demolished, Daly says “We want proper housing developments that are affordable, and for the state to not have to continue to cut bad deals because it has no capital to make these things happen. “This is a perfect example of that: ‘finance for this’ and ‘capital for that’ should come from sources that are not the sale of Tolka Park.” Opposition TDs including

A lot of us are Shelbourne fans, but the campaign isn’t about any one particular club. It’s something worth saving and worth keeping


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


ve Tolka Park

If political parties are making hay of the idea of land for public use, there is no question that this should apply to Tolka Park Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald recently objected to a 1,600-apartment build-to-rent development in Drumcondra, on the basis that these schemes are often proposed by investors looking to exploit the demand for accommodation in Dublin city and in turn, driving up the cost of land. The Save Tolka Park Campaign also made a submission opposing the aforementioned development.

A post on their Twitter reads “this development reverses gains in land ownership made since independence. Absentee landlords brought much pain to this city in times gone past, and we cannot return to those days.” On this topic, Daly argued that “if political parties are making hay of the idea of land for public use,

there is no question that this should apply to Tolka Park. Football fans... sometimes we’re politically not really taken seriously. We want to be taken very seriously. That’s why we set about this campaign.” The Save Tolka Park group is adamant that the destruction of this amenity is not an isolated incident, but rather part of a

broader trend in Dublin of destroying public space, selling public land, and pricing out local residents. Daly says that “the reason why that’s happening is the exact same reason we’re seeing a load of other developments in the city. It’s about a maximisation of profit, and it’s about an inability on the part of the state because


of a very deliberate policy to have capital, to maintain land for public use, and to have a sufficient housing policy.” Following the campaign’s meeting with the government’s department of sport, Daly claims “we looked very closely at what the parties have been saying, and what the stances of the political parties are. Public land for public use should apply to Tolka Park as well. “It wasn’t good enough for it to be sold, it wasn’t good enough that two stadiums were going to have to be traded off against each other, and that communities and clubs were going to have to be pitted against each other.” Where is the campaign going, and what is to be done? For Daly, the answer is simple. “This can all be ended reasonably quickly,” he says. “If the funding is found for the Dalymount project, and there’s some space for Shels as primary tenants, and the community around Tolka to come together and decide exactly what the future of the site should be.” While the campaign unequivocally wants to see Tolka Park remain in public ownership, they say this would require “that the central government make the funding available, and not keep burdening us with this austerity that’s pitting people against one another.”


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

How can you not be romantic about baseball? Jack Kennedy page 29


The fight to Save Tolka Park Grace Gageby page 30

Gymnast Simone Biles started an important conversation about prioritising mental health, even in competition settings Shannon Connolly Deputy Editor


port and mental health have always seemed to me to go hand-in-hand. From athletic friends telling me they do it for their head, to finding that going on a run helps when the stress piles on, it seems that exercise, and sport in general is a major asset to protecting our mental health. For this reason, when sport begins to negatively affect someone’s mental health, people can often be less willing to admit it. During the Olympics this year, this became a topic of conversa-

tion after Gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of some of her events due to mental health concerns. Biles had qualified for all five individual events, but had ultimately withdrawn from four. This decision received a mixed reaction among viewers; some were glad to see Biles prioritising herself following the team events, others viciously condemned and attacked her online. The sentiment that as a professional athlete, she should have been able to “handle the pressure” was expressed on social media. I couldn’t disagree more. The idea that athletes must put up with tremendous pressure and condemnation if they fail because it’s simply their profession is nonsensical to me. Sport has, and can always be, a very good means by which to improve your mental and physical health, build community and have fun. Despite this, there is a hesitancy to talk about, or even acknowledge how the pressure of competitive sport can turn ugly, and have catastrophic effects on one’s well being. The pressure from an event like the Olympics would have an extraordinary effect on any of us, and your mental health throughout the events must be an utmost priority. Nobody would expect an athlete to compete with a broken leg or


Sport and mental health: why must it be one over the other?

arm; why is Simone Biles pulling out to protect her mental health any different? At a time when great strides have been made to destigmatise and start a conversation around the prevalence of mental illness, why are we so keen to rush to condemn an athlete for simply prioritising their health? The amount of stress from


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any job can mean that taking a break for mental health reasons is necessary, and athletes are at the end of the day, doing their jobs. The condemnation Biles received for prioritising her health in the Olympics was unfair, and the culture of vicious condemnation in sporting events generally needs to be challenged. Mental health

and sport shouldn’t be separate conversations - they need to be part of the same one. Sport can be an asset to your health, but it can also be a hindrance in certain instances. In short, Biles prioritising herself should be a welcome development in the sporting world.

TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

Online society events: here to stay? page 3

Making a #MeToo for us all page 7

Gender exploration in the time of Covid page 10



The back-tocampus issue



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

In this issue Putting inclusivity on our radars

Advice from a Senior Fresh to i

- page 6 How to handle homesickness - page 5 A Freshers’ guide to societies - page 7 Artists in conversation:

ELOISE and Tertia

Gender exploration in a time of Covid

- page 10

- page 8

Getting to grips with virtual interships

- page 14

Life staff Editor-in-Chief Life Editor Life Deputy Editor

Jack Kennedy Heather Bruton Eva O’Beirne

Arts & Culture Editor Arts & Culture Deputies

Elena McCrory Oona Kauppi Maisie McGregor

Sex & Relationships Editor Sex & Relationships Deputy

Maya Kulukundis

Societies Editor Societies Deputy

Ella-Bleu Kiely Ruth McGann

Student Living Editor Student Living Deputies

Ella Sloane Seán Holland Ria Walls

Lila Funge

Lara Monahan gives guidance to students new to Trinity


ven in the best of times, making the transition from secondary school to college is a daunting enough experience without the added stress that some students have of moving to a new city, or even country, and being away from family for the first time. Like nearly everything, the pandemic has only exacerbated the difficult elements of this change. However, with a year of Zoom meetings and limited social contact behind us, current second year students have lived and learned, and have some advice to give the incoming freshers. Dublin is not renowned for its affordability. Meal planning is one of the more effective ways to keep within your budget and make sure you are eating properly. Using supermarket apps — particularly Lidl Plus — can help to save some cash. Moreover, making meal times sociable can also be a way of sharing the financial burden that is enjoyable; every now and again cooking and eating together, either with housemates or some new friends, is a really

low pressure way to socialise and save some cash. Sharing food staples is also a winner — nobody walking the face of the earth needs as much salt as a first year flat, so why not buy it together and save? On the topic of sharing, DiFontaine’s Pizzeria on Temple Bar does a 20 inch pizza which serves between five to six people depending on how hungry you are, with prices starting at 24 euro and individual slices for just 4

It is an absolute necessity to invest in a Leap Card when it comes to public transport in Dublin

euro. It is really filling, delicious and, crucially, does not break the bank. Bike subscription services, such as Dublin Bikes, are a cost-effective way to get around while also being environmentally friendly and good for exercising. Driving in the city as a student is notoriously difficult and expensive due to parking, but more accessible options include Dublin Bus, the LUAS, or the Dart for those living further afield. Therefore, it is an absolute necessity to invest in a Leap Card when it comes to public transport in Dublin. At any Luas stop you can top up your card and use it at a discounted student rate while riding the tram. It also enables you to purchase a student weekly or monthly ticket, which saves a lot of money in comparison to a normal ticket. Your Leap Card can be easily purchased online through their website. Another bonus is that you get discounts in a selection of high street shops, such as McDonalds! While a Leap Card is any student’s best friend, sometimes it can feel like your only one. First year is a great time to branch out and meet new people. Particularly with there still being uncertainty over the delivery of teaching this year, making group chats with a smaller number of people in each, such as for tutorial groups, can be a really fun and low pressure way


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

incoming first years

But, really, the hallmark of anyone living in Dublin is the unfortunate lack of an umbrella in a downpour, so wear your dripping hair and streaked mascara as a badge of honour to get to know different people and to figure out the course material together. Being the one to make the group chat can feel daunting, but remember that everyone is just as nervous as each other. I promise being inclusive and reaching out to others is very well-received. As Senior Fresh psychology student Kate Schnoebelen put it: “People are just as desperate for social interaction and friendship as you are, so don’t hesitate to just randomly DM people whether they’re from your course, year, or if you have anything in common… you’d be surprised at how happy people are when you reach out”. Clubs and societies are also vital to the college experience; this year they encouraged socialising and networking through weekly emails and online events. If socials are held online, these events have the potential to feel forced, but they are not to be dismissed offhand. Often, it actually creates an environment to connect with other like-minded students. As a third year history student explained: “the group of friends that I’ve found through sport have made my college experience, and throughout the pandemic gave me something to look forward to when I could get back on campus and play”. However, it is really important to prioritise your well-being. Don’t feel guilty for feeling too drained from society events and make sure to have some time to yourself. College often feels full on, online or not, so resting is really key. There is so much to do around

Dublin, and in first year it is a good idea to explore the city and all it has to offer; the heart-stopping and scream-inducing cold of the Irish sea is a surprisingly helpful antidote to homesickness. This rite of passage can be found half-an-hour away from the Dart station on Tara Street, at the Vico Baths, the Forty Foot, or for a more sandy spot, Burrow Beach. Howth also makes for a lovely beach day out, perhaps for some bonding with new pals. Accounts on social media that are geared towards tourists, like @lovindublin on Instagram, often have good suggestions for things to do, be it taking a long walk in the Wicklow mountains or — more realistically — a short one through St. Stephen’s Green. With the weather here consisting mostly of all four seasons over the course of one day, taking an umbrella with you everywhere you go is a good idea. But, really, the hallmark of anyone living in Dublin is the unfortunate lack of an umbrella in a downpour, so wear your dripping hair and streaked mascara as a badge of honour if, or rather when, this happens to you. Getting your student card and navigating your way around campus as early as possible will both make you feel more comfortable and prepare you for when you will eventually use the library for more than just being the main character. This year it has been a necessity to have your student card to gain access to the building, so it’s important to have it on you at all times. Loading money onto your student ID is also a missed trick in Michaelmas term for a lot of freshers; the Buttery gives a discount for those using their student card on top of already being a bargain. No one comes to college for the first time completely prepared. When dealing with more complex college issues than not owning a tin opener, remember that you are not alone in feeling lonely at this big change in your life. Seeking out help is very necessary; the student counselling service is there to be used, and can help monumentally with the difficulty of this transition to adulthood and the feelings of disillusionment it can bring. Talking to other students, both peers and those further into their Trinity education, helps too. Most, if not all, students will struggle with at least one aspect of college life in their time here. Confiding in someone who has either gone through or is going through the same things can be really reassuring. Above all, first year is for growth and enjoyment, so squeeze every good moment out of it, and know that the ups and downs of first year are paths well-trodden. Add your own footprint with as much enthusiasm as you can.

Online Society Events: Will They Stay Or Will They Go? Ruth McGann investigates how online events affected societies last year


ince the pandemic began in early 2020, societies have had to adapt to a brave new world of online meetings, events and hangouts. Facing a challenge no students had ever encountered, Trinity’s societies rose to the occasion, guiding their members through one lockdown after another. From virtual coffee mornings, guest speakers via Zoom and even online plays and performances, our students made the best of a difficult situation. As we slowly edge closer toward normal student life, and with it face-toface society events, what impact has their time online had on our students and our societies? Naturally, an online event can never replace the atmosphere of an in-person gathering. For most, Zoom interactions are slightly awkward and interrupt the natural flow of face-to-face conversation. Particularly for last year’s first year students, joining societies and meeting people via Zoom was extremely challenging. Gone was the ability to show up at an event, start chatting to whoever happened to be next to you and walk away with a new found friend, or at least a friendly face for the next meetup. Suddenly, members had to speak in front of a group of strangers, an intimidating prospect at the best of times, made worse by its online medium. Societies made every effort in their power to reduce this awkwardness and facilitate one-on-one interaction through breakout rooms, icebreakers and games. In an anonymous survey, one student noted that “breakout rooms can be used to create that feeling of talking to people nearby (since often zoom events can be taken up by one or two people talking to each other).” Breakout rooms have been vital in creating the connection between students that has been lost in our time away from campus. Societies have played an enormous role in bringing students together outside the virtual classroom to build friendships and escape the loneliness of lockdown. Not only has the world of online social interaction been a challenge for society members, it has been an unprecedented dilemma for their committee members. Hosting online events that remain engaging, entertaining and

welcoming via a Zoom link is a remarkable feat and Trinity’s societies have managed to excel at it. Speaking to Eva O’Beirne, Correspondence Secretary of the College Historical Society (the Hist), she noted that maintaining audience participation was the biggest challenge. She explained: “Each online event has to be fresh and interactive — no one wants to sit on a Zoom call anymore.” O’Beirne also cited a lack of guidance from the university as an

Hosting online events that remain engaging, entertaining and welcoming via a Zoom link is a remarkable feat and Trinity’s societies have managed to excel at it

additional obstacle to organising online events. “It was and still is a DIY situation which is both fun and challenging.” As we emerge from over a year of online college, will virtual events become a thing of the past? While hopes remain high for on campus activity to resume fully by the end of 2021, online events may become a permanent feature of annual society activities. For certain society functions, including guest speakers who may live in another country and could be interviewed via Zoom, the online world provides real advantages. Online events may facilitate more attendees, where seating and space constraints do not apply, and may be more convenient for the busy college student. Virtual events may become one of the many strengths of our societies, diversifying their activities and broadening their impact. As students eagerly return to campus this September, societies will once again have to adapt to a new frontier of socially distanced activities. Whether or not the virtual society experience will fade into the background remains to be seen and is up to the members of each society to decide. What is for certain is that societies have never been a more necessary part of student life. The solace students have sought from societies during one of the most challenging periods in human history cannot be underestimated and will never be forgotten.



Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

Hertta Kiiski wants young people to stay hopeful about climate change Oona Kauppi interviews Finnish artist Hertta Kiiski on her work Milky Way for PhotoIreland Festival 2021


n the midst of climate-induced anxiety, Hertta Kiiski’s artwork stands out like a beacon. The Finnish artist’s colourful installations combine photography, film, live performance and textiles, yet broach some of the more pressing issues of our age. I sat down with Kiiski at the beginning of July to talk about Milky Way, her double-commission for PhotoIreland Festival 2021, running from July 1-31. We discuss the environmental theme of her work, the label of “activist art”, and the message that she wants to communicate to our generation. When Kiiski heard of PhotoIreland Festival’s theme for 2021 – “the politics and poetics of food”, hence the slogan “Bite the Hand that Feeds You” – she was immediately interested. “My work mainly focuses on animal rights issues,” she explains. “Collaborating with PhotoIreland on this year’s theme felt very natural.” Kiiski is a longtime vegetarian; her history with conscious consumption dates back to school. Much of her art probes the relationship between humans and animals and questions the ways in which this relationship could be made more equal. In preparation for her commission, Kiiski researched Ireland’s food culture. She soon found that the dairy industry holds special weight in the Irish context. “I became interested in the ethics of livestock transportation. Since they are not of use to the dairy industry, male calves are transported to Central Europe, where the market for calf meat is considerable. When they reach Central Europe, they are fattened for months before they are slaughtered.” Kiiski was immediately struck by how young the calves are when they are shipped out. “It was heart-breaking to learn about,” she says, citing this moment of empathy as the starting point of her project. In its intended space at Project Arts Center, Milky Way is an installation set inside a black box room and illuminated with colourful spotlights. There are two painted cages, the same size as those used to transport calves. Each is draped with fabric that is printed with photographs. Originally,

How to handl Leanne Healy shares some advice on how to assuage the pangs of homesickness that accompany moving to a new city

T Kiiski’s teenage niece and daughter, Irma and Elli, were meant to perform live as part of the work. Covid-19 restrictions prevented them from coming to Dublin, so they filmed the video in Finland and included it in the installation. “Instead of having live performers, the viewers become performers,” Kiiski explains. In the video, Irma and Elli look waveringly at the camera. They wear cowhide-printed dresses that are embroidered with large tears. Each girl holds a baby bottle filled with milk, the same kind used to feed calves, Kiiski tells me. The reasons for including them were twofold: “First of all, it seems ridiculous that humans drink cow’s milk when it is intended for calves. But the calves are also transported when they are so young that they cannot drink milk on their own.” As Kiiski’s girls speak, their words are barely discernible over the soundtrack of mooing that blasts from the surrounding speakers. “[Irma and Elli’s] performance is very “ASMR”,” Kiiski says, smiling. When she clarified that they are speaking in Finnish, we joked about cows having their own language too, which is just as cryptic as the girls’ whispers. Milky Way is meant to be suitable for all audiences. For this reason, Kiiski worked hard to make it inviting, gentle and non-violent. She points out that there are many ways to enjoy Milky Way: “A two-year-old can see the work and think ‘What a nice truck!’ or ‘What funny mooing sounds!’, they can watch the spotlights change colour and touch the fabrics,” she explains. In contrast, “an adult will understand the gravity of the topic.” The presence of Irma and Elli is also meant to increase the relatability of the work for younger viewers. Kiiski is particularly thankful for Irish artist, Róisín White, and her Young Milky Way Explorers supplement, the guide to Milky Way catered specifically to families. While the Finnish artist finds

colours and tactility to be helpful in attracting the attention of children, her use of the former also lightens the atmosphere around her art. “I’ve worked on a lot of serious political issues in the past and I’ve always used flamboyant colours in depicting them,” Kiiski says. Her reason for doing so is partly a question of taste. However, it also consciously opposes the austere way that political issues are usually represented in art. On the topic of animal rights advocacy, Kiiski returns to this argument. “Milky Way is unlike typical animal rights material, which is intended to induce discomfort in the viewer. Only those who are firmly rooted in the movement can bear to look at the evidence,” Kiiski admits. “My approach is more aesthetically-driven.” Milky Way is, in many ways, centred around the environment and sustainability. “I tried to use as many recycled materials as possible so as not to be at odds with the themes of my work,” Kiiski is quick to note. The photographs printed on the textiles range from transport trucks to elements of the natural world. The latter feature seaweed and tree bark; Kiiski likens their role as protective units in nature, synecdochically, to nature as a whole. “Even though nature it-

I value the work that activists do, but as an artist, my platform is different from theirs

self can easily be damaged, it’s also very powerful and has a strong defence system,” Kiiski reflects. The third length of fabric is peppered with planets, courtesy of Nasa’s archive photos of the Milky Way. “There’s a bit of wordplay there: when I realised that the Milky Way could be related to the transport of calves, I chose it as the title of my work,” Kiiski explains. “There is also a grandiosity about the [cosmic] Milky Way. It reminds us of how small all living things are, despite the human effort to rule over other beings. In the end, we are just as small as cows”, she laughs. Nevertheless, Kiiski is hesitant to call Milky Way activist art. “I value the work that activists do, but as an artist, my platform is different from theirs,” she says, before elaborating, “In politics, oftentimes, the focus is on the rational. Through art, it’s easier to reach people on an emotional level.” Kiiski feels a deep gratitude towards her platform as it allows her to discuss the issues that she finds important. “If even one person were to realise how grim [the animal world] is in contrast to what is presented in children’s books, I would be satisfied,” she tells me. Kiiski is not opposed to labelling her art “soft activism”. Milky Way explores the ethics of consumer culture with uncharacteristic playfulness and humour. Kiiski is unconcerned about certain aspects of her work going over viewers’ heads – the positive aura of Milky Way permeates through all levels of understanding. She doesn’t think it is the job of young people, inheritors of a doomed planet, to fix their parents’ mistakes. Instead, Kiiski believes in our generation’s potential to act in such a way as to protect our planet. “Today’s young people care about what they consume. They are open-minded and they are well-informed. One might even say they are unselfish. This optimism is what I want to communicate through my art.”

ypically, leaving for college is an exciting time for many students. There is a newfound sense of freedom that one acquires when moving away for the first time — no rules, no parents and a fresh start. On paper, it seems perfect. When moving to college everything is new and unknown, a new city with new friends and most importantly, a new home. In all this chaos, students may find themselves craving the predictable, stable life that they have left behind and miss the comforts and familiarities of home. In an unfamiliar city, people can often miss the feeling of being known. The experience (which many of us know all too well) of walking downtown and seeing at least three people you know is now gone. Instead, a sea of faces that you will likely never see again rush past you on Grafton Street. The unknown can be intimidating; however, instead of turning back home, students should face it head on. According to the Students’ Union, over 70% of students experience this feeling of homesickness, so know that you are not in this alone. This article outlines ways to adapt to a new life in Dublin with tips and tricks on how to cope with and reduce homesickness. It is important to distract yourself in order to overcome the feeling of homesickness. In other words, keep yourself busy. A great way to do this is to join societies and Trinity definitely has no shortage of them, from chess, to astrology and even juggling. With over 120 different options available, at least one will interest each student in some way. Joining a society is a great and easy way to meet like-minded people who have similar interests to you. Societies organise a range of events throughout the year for members to attend. College is a great time to start something new; whether you have always wanted to learn how to debate, get involved with student politics, or even pick up knitting, Trinity societies offer it all! It is crucial to put yourself out there. Although it may seem daunting at first, reaching out to people and making that special effort could result in lifelong friendships forming. The feeling of homesickness usually creeps up when alone, so it is important to make friends and meet new peo-


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

le homesickness ple. Do not be afraid to make the first move and ask people if they want to go for a coffee after a lecture, or to the library for a study session – the worst they could do is say no! By making new friends, you will keep yourself preoccupied all whilst creating great memories. A perfect way to make friends is to get to know your flatmates. Flatmates will be there for you through the highs and the lows, the laughter and the tears – they essentially will become your second family. There are many different bonding activities which a flat can take part in together, from movie nights to cooking dinners, or even just staying up the entire night chatting. Getting to know your flatmates will help ease any nerves you may have and distract you from the thought of home. This may seem obvious, but decorating your new room will instantly make it feel more like home. One sentimental way to spruce up your room is to hang up some photos of friends and family on the walls, as well as photos of your journey in Trinity and the new friends which you have made. This is a great way to look back on life at home while also reminding yourself of the new memories and adventures yet to come. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with Dublin from the beginning – become a true Dubliner! Taking advantage of Google Maps and learning different routes to get to and from your accommodation is a helpful place to start. By learning the names of different streets in Dublin (not just Temple Bar) your confidence in the city will grow and you will be able to picture what streets look like in no time, instead of having to whip out trusty Google Maps. There are many different

walking tours and bus tours available in Dublin or you can also try discovering the city with flatmates and new friends. In Dublin, public transport will be your best friend; get a Leap card and start exploring! By getting to know Dublin, it will no longer feel like a new city, but more like a second home. Facetiming and Skyping your family and friends are great ways to keep in contact with them if you are missing home. However, if these calls are made too often, they may do more harm than good. Video calls are great for a catch up and to fill each other in on any big news in life but if more than one is being made per day it may result in missing home even more. It is a good idea to schedule a weekly or biweekly Facetime or Skype call with home. Setting small boundaries like this prevents you from getting too attached, therefore helping to avoid homesickness. Students need the opportunity to embrace their new life in college and become more independent. Talking about your feelings is a fantastic way to deal with and understand them. As mentioned, almost 70% of students will experience homesickness at some point. Don’t be afraid to open up to friends and let them know your feelings and worries. If you do not feel comfortable sharing with your friends and would feel more at ease talking to a professional, Trinity offers a free counselling service for students. The most important thing to remember is that homesickness is a temporary feeling which will pass. The unfamiliarity of the city will fade over time, the unpredictability of each day will become predictable once settled into a routine, and Dublin will soon become your new home.


Society spotlight

Engineering Society

Ruth McGann talks to Eng Soc’s Fergus O’Brien to see what the society has in store for this year


he discipline of engineering has a prestigious reputation, both in Trinity and across the world. Engineering students take on heavy workloads and long contact hours, clocking up an impressive number of hours in the lab. So how can a busy engineering student possibly have time to run a society? I spoke to Fergus O’Brien, chairperson of Trinity Engineering Society (Eng Soc), to find out. Eng Soc, O’Brien explained, runs a variety of events over the course of each academic year, ranging from workshops where students from a range of disciplines can learn how to make various, mainly electronic, items, to social events like the Engineering Ball and the Mystery Tour. Until recently, a trip abroad was also organised each year. O’Brien explained: “This is something I want to bring back as chairperson”, noting that similar trips within Ireland are being considered as contingencies in the event of more COVID-19 restrictions. Eng Soc also organises a number of guest speakers to give interesting talks about engineering as a career, or innovative research they may be working on. O’Brien said that these events are “a little more niche than the likes of the Mystery Tour” but that he has “never been to one that disappointed.” One of the primary aims of Eng Soc is to provide academic support for their members. O’Brien explained that the focus of this support is on choosing a stream of engineering at the end of second year. In the second term of each year, Eng Soc hosts an event in which third or fourth year students from each stream explain their choice and give second years a sense of what it involves. O’Brien noted that most students “tend to find [the] Stream Choice Talks more beneficial than the ones provided by the school of Engineering, as it is given by students rather than lecturers”, allowing for a more authentic perspective. O’Brien urged students to come to Eng Soc if they are experiencing any problems, whether social or academic, and the society will do their best to mitigate them. Over the last year and a half, Eng Soc — like every society — has been faced with an unprecedented challenge due to Covid-19 restrictions. O’Brien acknowledged that “very few societies came away from last year feeling like they had had their best year.” However, he adds that Eng Soc’s committee were “amazing” and “managed to salvage what could have been a really terrible year and reinvent the society in the process.” Eng Soc ran their usual talks online rather than in-person and could even record and upload them for anyone who may have missed seeing them live. O’Brien explained that the real change came when Eng Soc’s then auditor, Cliodhna Kate O’Toole, suggested running events weekly, which really “kept the society alive.” Eng Soc’s usual events were interspersed with charity fundraisers and games nights, making the

Once I was on the committe and got involved with organising events, I fell in love with the society

best of a difficult year. O’Brien became auditor of Eng Soc in April 2021 and said his involvement in the society all began with free pizza. In his first year as an engineering student, O’Brien and his friends went along to the AGM of Eng Soc having been promised free pizza on arrival. Having obtained said pizza, O’Brien decided to run for first year representative and won. O’Brien explained: “I was hooked. Once I was on the committee and got involved in organising events, I fell in love with the society.” Having organised some very successful events in second year, O’Brien said: “when it came time to elect new officers, I wasn’t going to turn my back on the society I’m so fond of,” so he ran for auditor and won. O’Brien said his goal for Eng Soc as this year’s auditor is “to create a new era of inclusivity within the society.” He explained: “The society has held events in collaboration with DU Gender Equality before and are very proud to have endorsed the Black Studies campaign last year, but I want to keep the momentum of change up within the society.” Students should be on the lookout for events centred around women and minorities in STEM in the coming months. O’Brien, along with Eng Soc’s Ents Officer, plans to run more casual events regularly over the course of the year, moving away from alcohol-based events to become more welcoming to those who prefer not to drink. As students return to campus this semester, O’Brien encourages them to get involved in Eng Soc and not to be intimidated by it. He urges students from any discipline to join, saying: “We’re a fun bunch, and even if you’re not in engineering, our events can still be a fun way to get into things you didn’t think you could.” O’Brien especially urges engineering students to get involved as it can be a great way to make friends to help you through the intense semesters. This Freshers’ Week, Eng Soc will be running an outdoor treasure hunt. “It’s not engineering based, I know,” added O’Brien. “But it will be a great way to meet people with similar interests to you in an outdoor setting.” There will also be an information night, which may be online or in-person. For engineering students, there is a lot to love about Eng Soc and many opportunities throughout the year to make friends and learn something new. Now more than ever societies like Eng Soc are integral to the student experience.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

Putting inclusivity on our radars Ella-Bleu Kiely talks to the Trinity Ability co_op about its Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Project


his Summer, the Trinity Ability co_op launched its Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Project. They describe themselves as an active cooperative movement led by students with disabilities towards creating radical inclusion in Trinity College Dublin. The project is funded by the Trinity Trust, and aims to support the development of clubs and societies that are inclusive to students with disabilities as these students can often be excluded from social aspects of the college experience. The Trinity Ability co_op wishes to improve the inclusion of disabled students across all clubs and societies. The project strives to make real change in the individual lives of Trinity students and speaking with the project’s leader, Rachel Murphy, we discussed the motives of the project, its contents, and the main issues identified in Trinity’s club and society life. The Trinity Ability co_op team has created a checklist that asks societies and clubs to answer questions on various elements of running their organisation. Each section asks about specific aspects of inclusion and accessibility, and provides clubs and societies with a starting point towards future change. Upon completion, they are given a report with solutions to any negative answers, as well as a score

out of 30. Those with a score of 25/30 and higher will receive a digital badge that displays to students with disabilities which clubs and societies are welcoming to them. Since the founding of the organisation last year, Murphy revealed that The Trinity Ability co_ op had from the beginning wanted to do a project on clubs and societies: “it’s been great to now actually do it and focus on it.” When asked if she and her team felt that this project was in high demand from students she expressed that it was simply something they themselves felt was needed. “We did a survey last year asking students with disabilities about their experiences with clubs and societies. Some of it was positive but a lot of it was saying that they felt excluded or they didn’t feel welcome,” Murphy said. “I feel like it’s [inclusion] something you hear spoken a lot about, but to actually be given those responses made us see how big of a problem it is”. The Trinity Inclusive Clubs and Societies Guidelines of the project outline how to become inclusive to disabled students in detail. It is student-focused and provides information about running a student organisation along with disability etiquette, planning an event, social media accessibility, and inclusive physical and social environments. On creating material for the inclusivity project, Murphy said: “I think we had to really identify what the problems were and give solutions, not just come up with solutions for problems that already exist.” The project’s training videos also offer an overview of the Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Project’s key recommendations. There are four videos in total: The Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Project: An Introduction,

The Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Checklist, The Role of an Accessibility and Inclusion Officer, and Planning an Accessible and Inclusive Event. On the issue of applying for the Trinity Trust funding both Linda Doyle, the newly-elected Provost, and the Trinity Equality Office were extremely receptive to the project. “They expressed that they always knew it was a problem, but no one has necessarily addressed it specifically. I got the feeling that they were really happy that it was students with disabilities that were working on the project. It makes it more engaging and a lot more sense. From the start they were very supportive,” Murphy ex-

plained. The Trinity Ability co_op’s Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Project has so far been greatly supported by the Central Societies Committee and Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC). Both organisations have agreed to circulate the project’s resources. We should all be aware of both visible and invisible disabilities, especially in the life of our fellow students. “In general it’s not in people’s radar in clubs and societies to be always thinking about the inclusion and accessibility of say events before they even think what type of event it’ll be — sometimes this is an afterthought,” said Murphy. She expressed that the Trinity

Ability co_op’s goal is to prioritise accessibility and inclusion a lot more and “it’s really not hard to do; it’s just the act of having it in your brain while going through all the steps.” Finally, on being asked what she feels everyone should make themselves aware of in relation to students with disabilities, Murphy said: “I think it’s just accepting that people have different experiences, and embracing differences and different ways of communicating.” Of course, rapid change towards perfect inclusion and accessibility for students with disabilities cannot happen overnight — but Trinity Ability’s co_op work brings us rightfully closer.

Increasing access to third-level education one candle at a time Maisie McGregor discusses Learning Lights with fourthyear Business student and founder Jody Murphy


ody Murphy, a fourth-year Business student, has bold aspirations for Learning Lights, his candle business that aims to increase access to third-level education in Ireland. Made from soy wax and recycled glass bottles, the candles are handmade by Murphy and stocked in stores and pharmacies across Ireland. Through the use of an endowment fund, a large portion of Learning Lights’ profits will be in-

vested into financial bursaries for low-income students. Access to third-level education is an ever-present problem in Ireland, with social inequality still shaping many college communities. As a first-generation student himself, Murphy says: “I understand that it can be difficult to afford the various education-related expenses, especially if you and a sibling are at college.” Inspired further by the limitations of the SUSI grant, Learning Lights aims to offer students receiving financial aid the chance to gain employment during the academic year. Whilst the candles themselves aren’t unique, admits Murphy, his business model is. He tells me that “no other candle-manufacturing business currently does or would likely be willing to do what Learning Lights was created for; helping

others.” Has the process of running a start-up alone, during a pandemic one might add, been a matter of overcoming endless difficulties? “So far I have found the highs and lows that go along with starting a business to be thrilling, yet nerve-racking. I adore the entire

Learning Lights was created for helping others

experience of walking into the store with some sample candles, feeling completely out of my comfort zone, and putting everything I have into making a strong and emotive pitch.” As a first-time entrepreneur, Murphy appears to have an impressive grasp of business’s ins and outs, something his time at Trinity has amplified considerably. A keen contributor to the Trinity Business Review, member of the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society, and the Student Management Fund, it seems the two roles of Trinity student and young entrepreneur work together in mutual support, each bolstering the other. On his time at Trinity, Murphy tells me: “You can imagine, studying business has been of huge benefit to me, particularly with regards to the general operations of

the business.” The Learning Lights adventure is not limited to his time at college; he has bright hopes for the startup beyond Trinity College, aiming to work on it full-time once he graduates. Beyond getting the candles into more shops across the country, Murphy hopes to launch the Learning Lights Alliance, an initiative that will work with businesses in Ireland who wish to support the mission by burning the candles on their premises. Learning Lights candles are an affordable means by which we can all do our part to increase access to third-level education. The candles are now available in a number of locations in Monaghan and Dublin. Murphy, who admits to have caught “the start-up bug”, is himself a beacon of inspiration for young entrepreneurs across Ireland.


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

A Freshers’ guide to societies Ella-Bleu Kiely talks to the Trinity Ability co_op about its Towards Inclusive Clubs and Societies Project

Making a #MeToo for us all Five years after the birth of the #MeToo movement, what has changed, asks Sophie Furlong Tighe Content Warning : This article mentions sexual assault


t has been almost five years since the #MeToo movement ushered in a reckoning on how we look at sexual assault and sexual misconduct. At the time, it felt like both the end of the world and the beginning of something beautifully new. But looking back now, I’m not sure the movement was ever built for victims like me — messy victims, shy victims, victims who do not work in Hollywood. Without a doubt, that particular cultural movement was both long overdue and completely justified. For so long we lived in a society that didn’t acknowledge anything other than a violent assault from a stranger as anything worth talking about. With a focus primarily on workplace sexual misconduct, #MeToo redefined how we look at sexual harm — inappropriate comments from a superior were no longer just “workplace banter,” but were recognised for the harassment they were. However, this laudable acknowledgement came at a cost. This is not a popular opinion, and it is one that I often struggle to articulate. I have been violently raped, non-violently assaulted, and I have been harassed at work. Each of these experiences were deeply upsetting, and some have been traumatic. Importantly, they have all been wildly different from each other; wildly different events necessitate wildly different consequences. The #MeToo movement had a dual focus on firing and jailing perpetrators of sexual

harm, while also expanding upon what we think of as sexual harm. Both these goals are individually well-meaning and often laudable. However, sexual harm is a nuanced issue, often one without a clear victim/perpetrator dynamic, and the collapsing of all harm into one movement with one goal (punishment) will never create fertile ground for discussing this deeply nuanced issue. While some may see punishment as important, removing the conditions which encourage and allow sexual harm to occur is vital. This cannot be done in a movement that collapses everything from violent assault to inappropriate touching into one category. Certainly, the largely online situation of this movement has to do with the lack of nuance we’ve seen. But more importantly, it has created an environment in which the expected way to get justice is to write about it online. In August 2019, just after a popular Irish comedian was accused of sexual misconduct, everyone was sharing their stories — Notes app screenshots, Twitter threads, quickly disappearing Instagram stories. I did the same. I wrote up everything that happened to me on my iPhone’s Notes app, screenshotted it, and posted it on my Twitter, hoping for catharsis or justice. Lots of people liked it, some people replied, and I received some kind messages. It did feel good, at least for a moment. I felt believed, which is something victims of sexual assault in particular often struggle with. But I was also eerily conscious that just over a thousand people had access to the most horrific thing that ever happened to me. I thought about my colleagues, my friends, random girls I’d met on nights out, and how “rape victim” was now one of the most available (and certainly most salacious) frames they had to view me through. As with punishment, this phenomenon of sharing stories online is a flimsy plaster on a deep scar. Because our paths to justice are so

sparse, this public reckoning feels like the only way to validate oneself as a victim. Who could blame someone for going through this process when left as the only option? When the police don’t believe you, your abuser’s friends don’t believe you, and your workplace or college doesn’t believe you, the guaranteed validation of a feminist echo chamber feels vital. But personally, it is not something I would recommend to any victim. Sometimes, I go to parties and I see an acquaintance who liked that tweet and I wish I could just be the girl drinking white wine in the corner, stealing the AUX cord to put on Ribs by Lorde for the third time. I want to exist without preconceptions, I want the bruises I woke up with that morning to belong to me only. They don’t, now. That’s okay, and it’s partially my fault, but the fallout from the #MeToo movement has put a pernicious pressure on victims to share their stories for the internet to provide validation. I would like to be very clear, I do not think #MeToo has gone too far — this is a misogynist talking point which usually means “I don’t like feeling accountable for my actions.” If anything, I don’t think it’s gone far enough. It’s easy to punish, it’s easy to send someone to prison or tweet at them until they delete their account and leave it at that. What’s difficult is creating an environment for victims to enable their own recovery, to ask them what they need and provide for them. The #MeToo movement was a desperately overdue reckoning and one for which I am glad. Ultimately, all of its problems are the problems of the society from which it emerged. When we live in a world whose only two solutions to sexual violence are to punish or ignore, no movement is without its harms. This is an upsetting truth, but it’s not a rigid one. We must imagine and create a world where responses to sexual harm are nuanced, generous, and focused on healing.


elcome Freshers! And of course returning students who have decided this is the year you join a new society. With the beloved Freshers’ week fast approaching, beginning on Monday September 20 along with Senior Freshers week on September 6, we are planning to see our clubs and societies safely set up in Front Square. With an electric mix of 121 societies in Trinity, they not only allow you to take a break from essays, lab reports or taxing group projects, but are where many great friendships are born. After a year of strictly virtual events and Zoom calls, we are now hoping to return back to some live normality. Club and society life is considered an integral part of the college experience, and one should take full advantage of it. Firstly, be brave. It’s ideal to join societies related to your course , but if something you’ve never thought about being a part of grabs your fancy, just go for it. From my time in college, I can vouch for many who signed up for things who nev-

Firstly, be brave. It’s ideal to join societies related to your course, but if something you’ve never thought about being a part of grabs your fancy, just go for it

er in a million years thought they would find themselves doing, and it went on to shape their college experience. Clubs and societies in Trinity can grant you with so many opportunities; from performing to competing, from travelling to interternships and from creating and spreading awareness to making a difference. Keep an open mind and try not to restrict yourself to simply one area of interest. Saying that, of course it’s great to join societies focused on what you enjoy - whether that be dancing or gaming or debating or sailing, you’ll meet people from different courses and backgrounds. If you are a visiting student at Trinity, certainly still soak up what the club and society life has to offer. Perhaps even do some research on the Central Societies Committee (CSC) website to see what’s on offer before gandering around the Freshers’ fair. Members of societies will be more than glad to have a chat about what it is they do. Society intimidation is most definitely a real thing, but there isn’t a need for it to be. As an incoming first year, perhaps not yet knowing anyone, it can definitely be scary finding your feet in college and certainly often in a club or society. Just remember that every club and society wants you to join, and every member was a first year who signed up during Freshers’ week too. If there’s anything I’d say to my first year self, joining societies and going to events, it’s to talk to everyone you can and relax. At the end of the day, everyone is there to meet new people. Something that is also real in the life of the average student is the Freshers’ overload. At the beginning of your college career, saying yes to every social opportunity is inevitable. However, sometimes it can be difficult to balance a healthy social life and work, especially after summer. Get yourself into a solid routine and book some library time. Nursing a hangover while attending a morning lecture gets easier over time. It’s good to be busy, but make sure to accommodate your own pace. After the year we’ve had, getting involved in clubs and societies is more important than ever. Trinity most definitely has something that appeals to every interest and passion. Get involved in society life and make the most of your Trinity experience.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

Artists in conversation

ELOISE and Tertia The Trinity-based DJ and singer sit down with Maisie McGregor to discuss their work, creative processes, and relationships to the term “artist”


begin my Zoom call with Eloise and Tertia and am immediately filled with holiday envy; Eloise sits on board a houseboat in Amsterdam where she is currently working and living, whilst Tertia lounges, notably sunkissed, on a sofa in France. Once initial conversation subsides, I introduce them to the Artists in Conversation series, a new venture at Trinity News for which they have been chosen as guinea-pigs. What proceeds is a fascinating discussion on, among other things, the subjectivity of terms such as “artist” and “creation”, the music industry’s flailing lucrativeness, and the importance of the exchange between performer and audience. They introduce themselves as so… Tertia: I am at Trinity, going into my final year. I do philosophy, which is great, and I also do music, which is why I am here. I am a solo artist and turning into, hopefully, well, I’m a producer as well, but I’m learning; I’m a budding producer and singer songwriter! What about you? ELOISE: I am in Trinity as well, I study English and am going into third year. We kind of know each other vaguely through the music scene, which is really nice because I feel like you connect with people even if it’s not in person. I guess I would call myself a DJ but I find that a pretty vague term for myself because it was just kind of the bouncing block for me. Then I started feeling more creative in other aspects of my life, like I always knew that I was interested in and passionate about music when I was younger, but yeah doing it as a DJ is just something I do for fun so that I can put on an event that my friends can come to and have a great time. That’s the main reason that I do it. Tertia: So, when did you initially get your decks and start actually doing it? ELOISE: I started when I was probably around fifteen or sixteen; I used to come up to Dublin on the train and go to All City, I don’t know if you know it, it’s the record store in Temple Bar. I used to go with a friend of mine and

the more we went the more the guys who worked there started to recognise us and eventually they just said, “Hey, do you wanna start learning how to mix these together?” Tertia: Did you learn on vinyl then? That is so cool! I feel like no one learns on vinyl anymore. ELOISE: Yeah I mean, I wouldn’t even call myself particularly good at vinyl, it takes a lot more time and diligence but I didn’t realise that at the time. And then when I was put in front of a pair of CDJs I realised, “Oh, this makes my life so much easier!”. But working with vinyl is fun, every time is different. But also, there’s The Midnight Disco, which is something I got involved in the year before finishing secondary school. A group of my friends who were already at Trinity wanted to start a student club night and put on events with and for their friends. There was kind of a gap in the market at that time for a good student night that was more dancey and fun. So I started more on the business side of things and then when I started at college I had my first DJ gig and that was it really. Tertia: [Midnight Disco] is how I first heard of you actually, I genuinely thought you were an influencer when I first met you because everyone was so like, “Eloise! Eloise!” ELOISE: Speaking of what we do, do you think there’s pressure on you now, as an artist producing music, to be uber creative? Tertia: I feel like so many artists now — and I’m especially thinking about Arlo Parks because she’s a poet — she loves books and is always talking about her creative inspirations, and I think it is really important to go and find your inspiration in more things than music. I sort of resign myself to not knowing a lot about art, yet still telling myself that I can enjoy it; and that’s the same with music. ELOISE: Yeah, when I started DJ-ing I didn’t know anything about the music I was playing which was kind of a little ignorant of me, but I knew what I liked and what jumped out at me, and that gave me a more organic route to the kind of music I wanted to play. Tertia: I was listening to some of your Soundcloud mixes and, even though I think genre-pigeonholing doesn’t really mean anything, I was trying to work out what genre you’d say your music is. ELOISE: I have always kind of said Disco or Disco House, but while I’ve been [in Amsterdam] I’ve been listening to so much Soul and reading so much into the history of Soul music in the States, and even in Holland. So probably Disco Soul, but with a heavier

When I perform live I sometimes feel that it is quite a binary thing of me and my music versus everyone else; it’s more passive, whereas for you everyone is working together bass undertone. Tertia: Yeah, still dance music! That’s probably my least favourite question to be asked, mainly because I’m like “Well right now I’m indie-pop, leaning on the indie side, but maybe in three weeks I’m gonna be pop or pure indie!” It’s such a minefield, genre-labelling, but in a way it’s important if you wanna promote your own music and work out where you are in the demographic of artists and try and do something with that. ELOISE: I don’t know if this is offensive, but I really love when your music it’s like instrumental, when it’s, um, what’s the word? Tertia: Acoustic? ELOISE: Yeah acoustic! When it’s just you and the keyboard. Tertia: That’s really nice, thank you! Interesting question for you, do you consider yourself to be an artist? ELOISE: For me? Um, probably not. There’s so many people doing such amazing things and so I think I put myself down a little bit. But then, when things do open up again I am going to be able to put on gigs, and I have a lot of experience with doing that. So, I guess I would need to consider myself an artist because I put on gigs, I mean that’s what artists do! [Laughing] So, yeah I guess I would consider myself an artist. My mum is an artist, she’s a paper maker, so that’s what I grew up with, but I need to consider DJ-ing as a skill too. Tertia: Yeah I think, especially for you, DJ-ing and mixing involves so much creativity, but

as you say it’s an unconventional definition of — ELOISE: — yeah, maybe I consider myself more of a ‘selector’ than an artist. Tertia: But as you do it more, the creative element of your work will shine through more. It is a more reactive thing because, as you say, you have more of a relationship with an audience. When I perform live I sometimes feel that it is quite a binary thing of me and my music versus everyone else; it’s more passive, whereas for you everyone is working together. They’re gassing you up and you’re gassing them up! ELOISE: True! When you’re writing on your own would it be a sort of chronological process, do you start with words and then build in the music or do you start with, like, a riff ? Tertia: That’s a difficult ques-

tion, it really depends. I’d say, as cringe as it sounds, that it starts with a feeling. I used to write lyrical ideas and then try to come up with something from that, but more often than not I sit down at my keyboard and just see what happens. Usually the keys come first, the melody second, and then the lyrics third. ELOISE: Do you think that there will continue to be more small-scale producers or do you reckon that the big production companies in music will always hold the power? Tertia: The way that the music streaming world is, it has to change eventually because it’s just not sustainable. Musicians can’t afford to do anything, I mean even musicians like Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish have commented that it’s a lot less of a lucrative industry than it once was. This is wishful thinking maybe, but hopefully we’re nearing some kind of music revolution where streaming services will have to start giving artists more money, so that musicians can actually make a living using their art. There have been a few collectives starting in Dublin which are really cool. And I was actu-


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

ally talking with my sister today about how I’d really love to start a record label because it’s really nice for other artists to not be doing everything on their own, but that shouldn’t come at the price of their autonomy or ability to own their music. Anyways, I don’t really see you promoting your music too much on social media; that’s not really a question, more of a statement, but do you find it hard work promoting your events on it? ELOISE: I think that a lot of people find it kind of cringey, but in the past year I’ve noticed friends of mine starting small businesses like fashion brands and, because it is such a small city, Dublin is always so welcoming of that. I’m so proud of the city that it’s turning into, it is so supportive of any kind of art, whereas often there is a “cringe-culture” that has been carried through people’s teenage years growing up in rural Ireland. Tertia: Yeah, and you have a very good social media presence, you seem to be a natural at it, I don’t think I am. As you said though, being in Dublin there is such a nice feeling of mutual support. Everyone knows everyone

but it goes beyond that; there is an element of solidarity which is so nice and I don’t really feel that in London, probably because it’s such a huge place and so saturated with musicians and artists and people trying to make it. ELOISE: Do you think it’s Dublin or is it Trinity in particular? Tertia: I think it’s Dublin, not gonna lie. I mean Trinity is really good because I can meet people like you and, who else? People like Oscar Blue, Tadgh Williams, and Matthew Harris. But I guess mainly what I’m thinking about is an attitude which I’ve noticed in Dublin. ELOISE: The people that I’ve met through music, or through that community, are some of my closest friends. Tertia: And that’s what is so nice about being a student and an artist; you can have two different things going on, and they’re interchangeable as well because of the way that Trinity hosts a community of musicians and small artists. ELOISE: I know, I always have to pinch myself after a set, especially when we played the Halloween before lockdown. It was over 2000 people and I re-

member coming off and being like “Do I get paid to basically play my Spotify playlist to my friends?” [Laughing] But that’s obviously not what it is! Tertia: Was that the District 8 night? ELOISE: Yeah! Tertia: Woah, I did not know you were DJ-ing at that, that’s sick! And what do you foresee this year with club nights potentially coming back? What do you hope will happen? ELOISE: If they can regulate it, I’m all for it. Tertia: And do you have any nights lined up? ELOISE: Yeah! We have a couple of gigs, like Halloween kind of time, but yeah I’m hoping for stuff before Christmas. Fingers crossed! Tertia: And if worse comes to worse, you can always do something in London! ELOISE: Yes, maybe! I’ve been contacted by some friends in Bristol and we wanna do a Midnight Disco takeover there which we’ve done in Manchester before. So who knows… And your gig in Whelan’s has been postponed again has it? Tertia: Yeah so it has been postponed for about a year and a half now, [laughing] which is great! Hopefully it’ll happen next term. ELOISE: And would you go ahead with it if it was sit-down? Tertia: I don’t know, maybe … hmm … I don’t know. ELOISE: [Laughing] It’s a question for another day! Tertia: Yep! Maybe is my answer! The thing is, part of me thinks I should just wait until it can be a big thing, but the problem is that I’ve been waiting for that moment for so long now; I’m getting impatient. But I have two new songs

It’s such a minefield, genrelabelling, but in a way it’s important if you wanna promote your own music and work out where you are in the demographic of artists

which will be coming out in the near-ish future, so I’d quite like to do some kind of live thing to celebrate those and get a bit of hype. And also, because it’s my last year at Trinity, it would be so nice to make the most of Dublin, and Whelan’s is such an incredible venue it’d be such a shame not to play there. We will see! ELOISE: Yeah, I have hope! Also, I didn’t ask you back, about social media and promotion. You said that you didn’t think you were a natural at it, does that hinder your work do you think? Tertia: Yeah I think probably I could do better. Now social media is so important and everyone keeps saying to me “Tertia, TikTok is the music industry now.” I’d love to do it but I just don’t know if I have it in me. But then I don’t know if we really have that much of a choice nowadays, as young “up and coming” artists can’t really pick and choose so much; you have to make the most of every single possible thing. ELOISE: I didn’t have TikTok until pretty recently and I just mainly use it to watch my friends’ funny videos, but anytime that I do make videos I make sure to use either Greg’s music or your music. Because if you’re gonna do it you might as well support your friends whilst doing it! Tertia: Oh my god that’s so cute, I didn’t know that!

ELOISE: Well it is a great way to do it, when you’re scrolling through you just see so many musicians! So many artists, of whatever form, tend to think that there’s not enough space for them out there, but I do think you just have to lean into your niche and there’s always room. And you have such a unique sound! Tertia: Aw thanks, that’s actually really encouraging! I don’t know about you but I definitely have these dips and troughs of feeling really inspired, confident and motivated, and then times when I’m just like, “Maybe I should just be a librarian…” It can be quite a stressful and vulnerable experience, trying to make a career out of something creative. But the risk is the reward! You know the brother in Sing Street? “Rock and roll is a risk!” I love that, not that I play rock and roll, but the sentiment works. ELOISE: I love that film. Tertia: Such a good film! Except I watched it again and I was like, “Is it really shit?” But no I don’t think it is, everyone needs a bit of cringe in their life! [They laugh] ELOISE: Well, thank you for having this amazing discussion with me! Tertia: Yeah it was great chatting! ELOISE: We should definitely go for a pint when we’re back.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

New academic year, New Perspectives Elena Mc Crory walks us through the National Gallery of Ireland’s New Perspectives, Acquisitions 20112020 exhibition New Perspectives, Acquisitions 2011-2020 made me nostalgic. Walking through the corridors of our beloved National Gallery (NGI) after its long enclosure gave me a sense of reunification. These new acquisitions were displayed, some for the very first time, from May 11-August 2. Like many other generous donations to the Gallery, they serve only to strengthen the diversity of its permanent collection. Curated over four rooms by Janet McLean, Niamh McNally, and museum director Sean Rainbird, the exhibit focuses on highlights from acquisitions over the past decade. What first catches my eye is a monogram by Ludwig Meidner. Bettler (1916), purchased in 2020, is one of twelve pen and ink drawings from the artist’s book In Nacken das Sternenmeer (In the Nape of the Sea of Stars). The work is a reflection on Meidner’s own poverty-stricken life and brings to mind the power of expressionist book illustrations. The defiant black lines embellish his hard reality and the fine ink work captures his anguish. In the same room is Paul Henry’s Kate Anne Berry (1907), Louis le Brocquy’s Mother and Child (1950), and Margaret Clarke’s Miserae (1926), which she painted after being the second woman elected into the Royal Hibernian Academy, the first being Sarah Purser. Religious imagery surfaces in Günter Schöllkopf ’s Stations of the Cross. Lastly, A Village Kermesse near Antwerp (1640s) is a joyful scene on copper by David Tenier II, one of the most significant Flemish painters of his time. Figures in a Boat by John Lavery reminisces on the artist’s early life and opens up the second room nicely. Completed in 1883 as he moved to Scotland to attend Glasgow’s Haldane Academy, the etching on paper — a rarity in Lavery’s oeuvre — depicts two figures on a boat. The work is accompanied by a letter that states it is Lavery’s only print. The wistfulness of movement makes this etching

all the more mesmerising. Beside it hangs pieces by Frederick William Burton, Neville Johnson, and James Forrester, as well as Evelyn Hofer’s Mulligan’s James Joyce’s Pub, Dublin, 1966 (1996). A stunning manipulation of shadow, the work depicts a cat sitting beside a pint puller, telepathically demanding to be left alone. I hone in on a Blackshaw as I walk through rooms three and four. Landscape with Trees (1951) was drawn by Basil Blackshaw at only 18, and is now being exhibited for the first time. Black daggers feature in the foreground, while the near distance reveals buildings hidden in this hypnotic landscape. Micheal Farrell’s Miss O’Murphy d’apres Boucher (1978) grabs me, as he depicts the third real Irish political picture. I look at Tony O’Malley’s In Memory of Peter Lanyon-Newmill Quarry in Winter with Windhover (1964) in awe. O’Malley paints with oil on board a beautiful portrayal of grief — a symbolic picture following the death of his friend Peter Lanyon (1918-64), mirroring the loneliness felt by many this year. Almost completely void of perspective and depth, O’Malley paints a central dark pit and a hawk hovering over a quarry close to Trevaylor in Cornwall. The hole against snowy surroundings emanates the fragility of life, whilst the hawk in motion exemplifies a daring creativity and freedom. The final room is a showstop-

per. Here, modern Irish themes meld together: animals, nature, hope, and the contemporary. Aoife Layton’s Clash (2018) makes me miss the Trinity seagulls. I passed Anne Yeats’ Crayfish (20th century), William McKeown’s Hope painting -Drummond Place (2007), and Siobhán Hapaska’s snake, apple, tree (2018). The star for me, however, is hidden in the back corner. It glows from its murky background: Dorothy Cross’s Ghostship (i) (2011). In the work, a luminous green ship floats on Dún Laoghaire harbour. Its silent presence charms you. The canvas is filled with nostalgia and tradition, for by the 1970s most lightships had been retired along with their ship crew. The remembrance is eerie. The exhibition, presenting a variety of mediums, subjects, and provenances, showcases only a selected few of the nearly 2,000 pieces acquired over the past 10 years. Surely we will see many more future acquisitions at the NGI, shaped by the beautiful choices that entertain history beside the contemporary. Following the announcement by Catherine Martin, Minister for Arts, that €500,000 will be placed in capital funding for the 2020 acquisition programme, it is not surprising that in his Irish Times response, Sean Rainbird cites the national collection as belonging “to the people of Ireland”. Biasly, I chose my favourites from this exhibit, but a challenge it was. A fitting title to compliment the display, New Perspectives opens up discussions surrounding the astounding stories behind each piece and allows the viewer a wider scope to explore new beginnings.

Gender exploration i Lila Funge asks how a year of isolation has shaped queer teens’ perspectives on their gender


f you ask anyone from Generation Z what has got them through the pandemic, the answer will most likely be TikTok. Not only has this platform been an escape from a world that seems to be crashing down around us, but it has also become a safe haven for selfexpression. Each swipe exposes more of the world; more people your own age shaving their heads, wearing what they want, and owning their gender. But where exactly did this wave of gender exploration come from? My best guess is that the pandemic might just have had something to do with it. Video after video shows people who entered the pandemic fully convinced that they were cis-het women exit quarantine as non-binary lesbians. Each swipe of the thumb presents another face, the face of someone living (or trying to live) their most authentic lives. Each profile clicked on reveals pronouns in their bio – a constant reminder that you, yourself, aren’t quite happy with the ones in yours. Quarantine, and the pandemic as a whole, has created excess time for internet browsing that was not there before. In the past, we’ve had to commute to school and work, hang out with friends, and live life outside of our phones. For queer youth, access to the internet during lockdown can be a blessing and a curse. We consistently open our phones to see another friend has re-introduced themselves into the world as their truest selves and, at a certain point, we admit that we must do the same. TikTok is obviously not the only cause of this gender movement, but I was curious to find out just how critical a role social media had to play in it. I decided to sit down with two of my peers who have recently been discovering their own gender identities to find out just how crucial lockdown was for their journey. Ella, 19, she/they Ella explained how they don’t currently have a strong grasp on their gender identity: “However, my pronouns are she/her/they/ them.” They go on to explain that they have been considering their gender identity for approximately the last 10 months, emphasising that the pandemic definitely had an influence on their understanding of gender. “I found that I was exposed to more media that spoke on gender and how it looked for different people.

The period of self-reflection for many during the pandemic led to a stronger presence of varied opinions on gender roles on a more individual level, as well as how living life apart from prepandemic society allowed people to focus on their identity without as much external criticism.” When asked what they think the concept of gender will look like post-pandemic, Ella responded: “I think that, based on the larger online presence that the discussion of gender has had in the last year and a half, there will be a stronger acceptance of varied gender identity, especially in Gen Z and younger. I don’t think that the pandemic will have a total breakthrough effect on the presence of gender as a social construct.” Frank, 19, she/he/they Frank started the interview with an explanation of their identity: “I definitely don’t feel or express myself in a male or masculine way, but I don’t feel entirely like a woman either, and the way I feel about it fluctuates. I


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

in the time of Covid guess gender-fluid would probably be a good word for it, but I usually just call myself queer. Firstly because it’s both an ambiguous, multifaceted word which embraces the way in which the gender part of my identity is hard to pin down. Additionally, it’s a politically loaded and provocative word because it was reclaimed from being a slur; I feel like there’s something defiant about it.” Frank then noted how they started exploring their gender identity four years ago, but this year they started “feeling very strongly about it again”. When asked if the pandemic and spending time in quarantine had an influence on their approach to gender, Frank noted that “It did for a lot of people. Several people I’m close to went into the pandemic thinking they were cisgender and now feel very differently – they partly attribute it to the isolation and the time alone to reflect on themselves. For me, I’m not so sure. It’s true that my approach to gender changed completely during the pandemic, I just don’t know to what extent

it was because of the pandemic, too.” Frank expressed their hopes that gender, and how we think of it, will be different post-pandemic: “I think that if it’s true that the pandemic inspired many people to start considering their gender, who might have taken longer to do so otherwise, then the simple fact that there will be more transgender or questioning people floating around post-pandemic will change how we look at gender – hopefully, it will help normalise being trans, as more people will either be trans or know people who are.” What I found most interesting through these interviews was that despite gender being so personal and unique, the period of exploration for many can be quite similar. Obviously, this isolating time in our lives will only ever be one piece of the puzzle. However, for many, Covid-19 has given queer teens the deep time of selfreflection necessary to discover who we really were all along.


Worth the hype? Trying Dublin’s Most Instagram-able Restaurants Eva O’Beirne explores the world of food blogging in Dublin Dublin has some truly extortionate prices — from food, to rent, to cocktails, to using a public bathroom (a cool €3.50), it can be hard to decide if any restaurant in Dublin is good value anymore. I’ve taken on the task of exploring the “Instagram vs. Reality” of the Big Smoke’s most popular restaurants. Starting this series is Token, an arcade-themed bar and restaurant situated in Smithfield, Dublin 7. A stone’s throw from Smithfield’s LUAS stop, Token’s exterior is unassuming and dark — you almost have to look twice to make sure you’re in the right place. Once inside, however, you are transported back into the arcade halls of your childhood. Dark and full of retro furniture and noise, Token is totally committed to bringing you back in time. Token has truly made a name for itself with its extensive vegan menu, meaning it was almost too hard to decide what we wanted to order for the table. We eventually settled on a “Bi-Chick” chicken burger (€11), the “Katsu Love” vegan nuggets (€11), with mozzarella sticks (€7) and charred broccoli (€6) for sides. I almost had to call a server over to ask if there had been a mistake with the vegan nuggets — they literally tasted just like chicken. We then indulged in a “Kinder ClusterF**k Cheesecake” (€7.50) and several cocktails: “The Ricky”, “Tropicana” and “My Pride” (all €12). Both the dessert and cocktails were lovely, but we wished there had been a 2 for 1 deal on drinks once we saw our bill. I personally found it annoying that the burgers did not come with any sides — and that you had to pay for condiments — but in fairness the portions are gigantic. I wouldn’t recommend Token for a full sit-down meal but rather a “cocktails and light food” night out. The portions are big, but unfortunately slightly too greasy to eat more than one dish. The presentation is currently okay — the burgers seem to be stuffed to the point where you can’t actually take a bite, which leads you to wonder if they care more about Instagram stories than flavour, but every ingredient is fresh and cooked to perfection. The food service is also lightning fast. Our food was actually served before our first round of cocktails. Token isn’t aiming to be a Michelin-star experience, but the sense of community and good service truly made up for the price of the cocktails and lack of meal

deals. With compostable cutlery and paper plates, the restaurant isn’t surface level when it comes to its eco-policies. But you don’t come to Token just for the food, you come for the joy of playing arcade games with your friends. You can purchase tokens as you go, either from your server or from a dispenser. We settled for a €5 bag (10 tokens), and it lasted us the whole evening. The small details in Token go a long way, from their selfie-worthy bathrooms to the retro décor. Token also has three bar areas for you to explore, along with

plenty of new arcade machines; no two visits are ever the same. From a friend date to a first date, Token is worth every penny you spend there. My top tips for this restaurant are definitely: 1) Have one cocktail and then stick to their craft beer selection for the rest of the night 2) Book a late night slot, it’s quieter so you’ll get more chances at games 3) Get a combination of side dishes or their nuggets instead of the burgers — you’ll get more for your money that way.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS


“Getting che An anonymous contributor reflects on a trip to the gynecologist, and what healthcare could and should mean

I A Graduation like no other Mary O Harte talks to the class of 2020 on finally celebrating their long-awaited graduation


ecently something strange happened on campus. The Front Square, which had been a virtual wasteland for almost a year, started to fill up with students in caps and gowns. While many had chosen to be conferred in absentia, over the course of several days, 1,000 students from the class of 2020 were able to finally celebrate their graduation in a number of socially distanced ceremonies. I worked at the commencement ceremonies this year, taking photographs. The atmosphere was a little strange, as many of the graduating students had not been on campus since March 2020. Carefully planned outfits clashed with multicoloured masks. Because of the limits on numbers, and the virtual option, several students graduated without any of their friends or classmates present. Still, several students commented on how lovely it was to be back. Carol McGill, an English graduate, was one such student, commenting that “finishing final year in lockdown was so jarring. None of us knew at that point how long the lockdown would be, so I

didn’t even really realise my last day on campus was my last.” The sentiment was echoed by others, who mentioned their sadness over not getting to have one last drink at the Pav, say goodbye to lecturers, or just enjoy one last stroll around the campus that’s been a part of their lives for the last few years. It’s easy to roll your eyes at the ceremony, to see it as nothing more than a photo-op, that it is more symbolic than anything, but graduation is also an important emotional milestone. Graduating from university is one of the final moments of closure you get before entering the “real world”, so to speak. It represents one chapter of your life ending, and another chapter beginning. A number of graduates online talked about how anticlimactic it felt to essentially finish their degree by pressing a button on their screens. I asked Carol if she was happy that she had held out for the in-person ceremony, and she had no doubts about it. “Getting to actually celebrate college ending, gave me closure I didn’t know I needed and I’m so grateful.” Catharsis, a sense of relief or closure - these may seem like lofty, abstract things to strive for - but if the last year has taught us anything it’s that these small moments matter. Their importance should not be overlooked just because bigger things are happening. While people have talked about missing foreign holidays and music festivals, as lockdown went on we became more wistful for simple moments that would often be taken for granted, like enjoying a cup of coffee indoors,

or smelling a scented candle in a shop. Over the last number of years, graduates have been entering an increasingly tumultuous world. The rise of the gig economy, the housing crisis, and climate change have all contributed to feelings of dread and uncertainty. This has worsened with the Covid-19 pandemic, which the class of 2020 graduated into. For underclassmen, the pandemic has had devastating effects, but at the same time we have had the safety net of college. The 2020 graduates were left in limbo, forced to move back in with their parents as their plans for the future were derailed. However, this made some students like Conor Kelly, appreciate the graduation event all the more. “The fact we graduated a year on from college meant we had already faced the existential dread that comes with stepping into the big bad world so we could really just enjoy the day.” I asked him if he was glad that he waited for the in-person ceremony, rather than getting it over with earlier. “I am. I know one or two who didn’t, which I didn’t quite understand because graduation is meant to be a celebration and not a trip to the dentist. You’re meant to enjoy it and that I did.” After the past year, I got to have a day where I could celebrate with the people who got me into college and then in the evening celebrate with those I met throughout my four years who I love, and call my best friends - is there more I could ask for?”

am not registered with a GP. Somewhere in the haze of school to bigger school to university, one city and one country to another, I never did the paperwork. I was aware, as one is aware of things like the fact that one in three get cancer and that your face will sag, of the importance of sexual and reproductive health. I lectured friends on getting tested. I also knew that we should all be demanding adequate care; demanding a future where racism, classism, sexism or homophobia no longer impede or affect the quality of medical care received. Those who are not what Mary McAuliffe describes as the “archetypal patient” – “male, white and middle class” – deserve to be listened to and believed by medical professionals. One friend of mine has such painful periods that she collapses in restaurant bathrooms and has to order painkillers on the dark web. No doctors have taken much notice. Another’s contraceptive implant ruptured into her stomach. The A&E doctors, sceptical of her pain levels, sent her home. May’s HSE study called for an “immediate and urgent” investigation into “alarming” perinatal mortality rates in Ireland’s African community, within which 6.3% of babies are stillborn compared to 3.7% for Irish mothers nationally. 208 women, including, most famously, Vicky Phelan, were not told of the abnormalities detected in initially falsely negative smear tests, leading

My visit to the gynaecologist was a positive experience. But not everyone will find this, or even find an appointment

to late-stage cancer diagnoses. 17 of those women have since died. Miriam Lloyd has criticised the Irish state for its “disordered relationship towards women for the waist down” and, confronted by these statistics, we might be reminded of how recently the eighth amendment was repealed, despite the unnecessary deaths of so many women either from unsafe pregnancies or from carrying out desperate DIY abortions. In the light of this crisis, I knew that it could only be a good thing to discuss our experiences about sexual and reproductive health. Our conversations, our stories, are politically important – take, for example, the powerful impact of Savita Halappanavar’s death on the repeal campaign or Jade Goody’s on the fight to diagnose and treat cervical cancer. They are also personally necessary. I was terrified of getting my period. A girl at my primary school, when she started developing, concluded that she had cancer in the chest. I wish that both of us had saved months of trembling fear and spoken to the nurse, or a friend, or our mothers. We need to know that we can speak about our bodies and that having genitals, and/or having sex, is not a shameful thing. But, to know these things in theory and even to preach them to other people is not the same as believing them yourself. I did not have a GP and I purposely remained unregistered. I did not want to receive, in the post, an invitation to a cervical smear. As a part of some deep fear that there was something very wrong with me, I avoided the idea that one should, at some point, visit a gynaecologist. In occasional panics, I emailed helplines or bought pregnancy tests. But, after one too many dreams about blackened teeth, I realised that if I was really dying or going mouldy from the cervix-out, or cursed by the seething, misogynist guardian of female “purity”, I had better get on top of it. Although I was late to the appointment, getting intentionally lost between hospital corridors and, childishly, taking the wrong bus, the gynaecologist did not shout at me – although I had, suddenly experiencing all those unwarranted but internalised feelings of embarrassment bestowed upon the young woman who has admitted to being a woman, expected her to. Shame hangs like humidity in rooms in which you will soon remove your pants. She asked about my menstrual cycle. I asked her whether a light or heavy period was better. She laughed at this, interrogating my toxic inner urge to be physically defined as good or bad. Indeed, to go through these details so seriously and to have someone take them down in a notebook was a comfortingly


TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September


We need to know that we can speak about our bodies and that having genitals, and/ or having sex, is not a shameful thing dissociative process – reminding me that I have a body, as do you, and its appearance and behaviours need not infringe on my sense of self. I realised that I had probably never considered the actual details of my periods – just felt the sharp fear of bleeding onto sheets or skirts or the embarrassment, as someone whose eating disordered pride in ever having succeeded at developing secondary amenorrhea persists, that they happened at all. After the physical examination, I was assured that there were no growths or lumps or any otherwise dark creatures living inside me. But, she asked, had I been experiencing pain during intercourse? Unlike the earlier questions, I hesitated; why would one identify “pain” in an experience that I (wrongly) had assumed was necessarily characterised by a degree of discomfort? Drawing on a sheet of white card, she outlined a process of involuntary muscle spasms that might make this the case for me: vaginismus.

It was curable, relatively common and, crucially, there. Even if I had identified painful sex as a problem, and looking back it is now obvious that it was, it had remained a subconscious thought. Sex, as it rationally turns out, need not be painful. She asked me why I had never wanted to tackle this before. I did not know I could, I said. I had not known if it was real pain. When my friend collapsed in a restaurant bathroom, I was terrified. I asked her if I should call an ambulance. She said no, it was fine, it was just her period. But should a period make you collapse? To revisit my earlier insistence that the wider healthcare system needs to believe in people’s pain, I wonder whether some, gas-lit by a flawed system, have stopped believing themselves. Certainly, I had. I worry about the potential consequences of this act of internalised silencing, a selfcensorship. Pain is an indicator of physical distress. What happens when we stop allowing ourselves to admit to it? When we become, thus, unable to identify it? What happens when shame and/or dangerous third-party commentary interferes with our literal ability to feel? I am cis and I am white, and I paid for a private appointment. My gynaecologist was experienced, professional and she seemed to understand why I might not have thought to inquire about this before, why I did not feel I could. My visit to the gynaecologist was a positive experience. It interrupted the cycle of shame, guilt and paranoia that had infected me since puberty. But not everyone will find this, or even find an appointment. To (too briefly) note one glaring example: transgender people in Ireland sometimes have to wait up to five years for a healthcare appointment. A trans friend recently described to me the difficulty of communicating their experience to a cis-gendered medical practitioner. Issues of inclusivity, availability and funding all impede our ability to offer effective, compassionate healthcare. However, by continuing to encourage and amplify these discussions, we might cement the political and psychological notion that everyone is entitled to it.

The 8th film: a masterful and poignant glimpse into the Irish abortion crisis Oona Kauppi reviews The 8th film, Ireland’s documented campaign to remove the Eighth Amendment


n today’s world, 24 out of 195 countries prohibit abortion. Prohibited there, too, are abortions carried out to save a woman’s life. An additional 42 countries, including Brazil and Mexico, allow abortion if the circumstances are lifethreatening. These are facts. But as of 18 September 2018, Ireland no longer features in this second category. The 8th, which premiered in May 2021, follows the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act of 1983, an Act which largely undermined women’s rights by placing the life of an unborn child above that of its mother’s. In celebration of the repeal’s third anniversary, The 8th documents the behind the scenes activity of Ireland’s pro-choice movement, led by the ever-energetic Ailbhe Smyth and nail artist-turnedactivist Andrea Horan, as they navigate the days leading up to the referendum. The question of abortion in Ireland is divisive, as the documentary makes clear from the offset. While The 8th predominately highlights the life’s work of Smyth, who campaigned against the Eighth Amendment when it was first introduced, we also encounter perspectives from the other side. Journalist and radio presenter at Spirit Radio, Wendy Grace, is one of the leading figures of the pro-life movement. Grace is interviewed in the studio, leaning forward insistently as she speaks: “This [workforce] that was set up for men, by men, hasn’t adapted to the reality that women are now in it,” she states, referencing pregnancies had by working women. “How do we ever say that in order to be equal to men, we

have to end the lives of children?” Grace believes that there is another solution, and that legalising abortion would only deflect from the state’s inability to provide support and childcare to new mothers. Her associates are less diplomatic in their approach: “It’s murder! Can you not see? It’s murder!”, shouts a man during Smyth’s speech at a rally. Both sides of the debate are equally matched in their conviction and the camera periodically cuts between the two. Their strategies, however, are similar. In order to rack up support, Smyth’s side focuses on convincing those who remain undecided, many of whom are interviewed in the door-to-door clips. The heat mounts as the pro-choice and pro-life campaigners take part in a ruthless “compassion battle”, the power of which cannot help but affect the viewer. As the documentary progresses, the fight for abortion begins to take on a new shape. The end of The 8th reveals historical and modern accounts of reproductive rights side by side. Ireland’s religious past, which arguably encouraged poor treatment of women, is seen as having caused “an entire country’s PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)”. Abortion laws have come to represent women’s rights. In the run-up to the film’s climax, the abortion confessions of individual women blend together into a unified whole, a single voice to represent Ireland. This effect is furthered by breathtaking aerial shots of the country. There is a sense that the Eighth Amendment is no longer simply the Eighth

Amendment. It is an opportunity to modernize Ireland, to separate it from a difficult past, and give Irish citizens the rights that they deserve. On election day, the relief is palpable: 66% of the population vote “yes”, while 34% vote “no” to the repeal. A new Ireland is formed in what Smyth calls a “national moment of catharsis.” Abortion continues to be a highly-debated issue around the world. In the USA, many states are now in the same limbo that Ireland was in. Only last month, the state of Texas banned abortions when a foetal heartbeat could be detected. The European countries of Poland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, and San Marino all have bans on abortion. Poland’s implementation of a near-total ban back in January caused some of the biggest protests in the country’s recent history. Ireland’s struggle to repeal the Eighth Amendment is one of many similar cases, yet it has been particularly amplified. The 8th explores the nuances of political activism, religious history, women’s experiences, and the physicality of a nation — and binds them in one cohesive report. The construction of the film as a whole is pleasantly symbolic and its message is impactful. The gamble of its production is justified by the resounding “yes” of the people. In the three years since the repeal, we cannot claim to have “fixed” the Irish sexual health system, or gender equality for that matter. But it is safe to say we are heading in the right direction.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

Trinity students get to grips with online internships Ella Sloane and Seán Holland talk to undergraduates about their experiences with this novel internship format In terms of employability and skill development, internships can prove immensely valuable for undergraduates, often enhancing their future career prospects. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have pivoted their traditional internship programmes to virtual formats in order to adapt. While this new remote setting presents a range of unique challenges and benefits that set it apart from the typical officebased internship many of us are familiar with, it has also thrown internship possibilities wide open in terms of working with companies which are primarily based abroad, or balancing office hours with full-time studies. We interviewed students from various backgrounds to gain insights into this rapidly evolving and novel internship format. Speaking to Trinity News, Kate Henshaw, a Junior Sophister Sociology and Social Policy student, delved into her summer internship experience with Kinzen. The company describes its mission as one that “empowers the people who protect communities and conversation from disinformation campaigns and dangerous content”. Summarising the nature of her internship, Henshaw explained that it was fully online, full time and 40 hours per week. After interviewing other students, this brief synopsis appears to be the recurring formula for many remote summer internships. Regarding the application process, Henshaw recalled: “I applied for the internship in June and had to submit a CV and a cover letter. I was then given an interview. I also had to complete an introductory task and bring that prepared to talk about in the interview.” She gladly concluded that “it was a very straightforward process”. The internship began in June and ran through the whole summer period, and was paid at minimum wage. Not every student is lucky enough to secure a paid internship, something that seems to be in concerningly sparse supply considering the

arduous tasks demanded by many. Collecting and reviewing data was Henshaw’s primary objective throughout a regular day of her internship, which proved enriching to her own degree and areas of interest. “The tasks I did really effectively blended my interests in policy making, journalism and tackling social issues like hate speech together. It has really reaffirmed what I want to do post-college.” Of course there are drawbacks to a remote internship, no matter how engaging it may be. Henshaw admitted: “I really wish it was in person so I could have the full office experience” but reaffirmed that “the team has been fantastic in bringing that experience to the virtual sphere”. Oliver Fisk, a European Studies student, interned for the human rights organisation Salam for Democracy and Human Rights. Some of the tasks central to his internship included translating tweets and organising virtual events for the organisation. Fisk shared his enthusiasm about being able to directly apply the knowledge of Russian garnered from his degree, while also making use of the infrastructure of an online human rights organisation to gain knowledge on subjects that may previously have been inaccessible to him. Although the organisation is based in London and Beirut, Fisk could work with relative ease from the comfort of his own home, highlighting the unique educational opportunities afforded by virtual internships. The internship was parttime (ten hours weekly) and unpaid, and required prolonged time commitment, lasting from January to May. Although an unpaid internship is not accessible to everyone, Fisk believes this opportunity was valuable and will prove beneficial to him in the future: “It gave me some really incredible experience and I’m confident that all of the people (and all the things I learned) will help me in the future, specifically in regards to trying to gain employment”. One of his highlights was organising an event in conjunction with Trinity’s Society for International Affairs (SOFIA) to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the Arab Spring. At the event there were speakers from Bahrain, Egypt and Libya, and it highlighted how the remote format lends itself to intercultural communication. This particular internship is an example of something that is off the beaten path and correlated to both the degree and interests of a Trinity

undergraduate. Speaking to Trinity News, Ella Nurkett, a Senior Fresher PPES student, shared their unique remote internship experience with JUMP! foundation, an organisation they described as “specifically dedicated to working with children to develop important skills like global citizenship and compassion”. Burkett had the opportunity to work with the international programme, which is based in Thailand, from their own home in Abu Dhabi during the summer of 2020. The internship lasted approximately six weeks and required a time commitment of 40 hours weekly. Burkett recalled the application process, something that is often perceived to be the most daunting aspect of securing an internship, as a relatively simple experience. Beginning in late April, the process required just two or three steps, including submitting a cover letter and completing an interview, soon after which they were notified of their successful application. This entirely volunteerbased internship involved a vast range of daily tasks “primarily directed towards media and communications” including crafting Instagram posts, writing Linkedin content, working on Jump! Foundation’s website, and attending intimate Zoom meetings in which employees shared their progress and participated in “think-tank” sessions. Burkett delved into the pros and cons of completing a virtual internship, shedding

light on how it can “teach you a lot of strong, self-directed work skills’’, something which is becoming increasingly valuable to employers. “Because of the sheer amount of tasks I had to do, I had to learn how to manage my time better in a professional setting”. Regretfully, the remote environment cost them the opportunity to form the “really special personal connections” with their colleagues that would have been possible in a faceto-face format. Another new learning curve for Burkett was the development of asynchronous collaboration in a work setting, a unique challenge posed by the online format of their internship. STEM internships also acclimate students to working in a career in their field. Diya Mecheri, a Junior Sophister Biological and Biomedical Sciences student, recently interned at the Redwood Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience in the University of California, Berkeley. Under the guidance of Prof. Bruno Olshausen, Mecheri completed a 10 week internship in the area of vision science, a focus which relates to her degree specialisation in neuroscience at Trinity. Mecheri explained how she stayed motivated for the duration of her internship: “On weekdays, I set goals for myself (e.g., to complete the required readings and have questions ready)”. Biweekly meetings with Micheri’s mentor were held, keeping the internship engaging even in its virtual format. Furthermore, weekly lab meetings offered

Mecheri the chance to share weekly progress and to network. Mecheri found that the internship translated effectively to an online working environment because the scientific journals, PubMed and Google Scholar, as well as computational software needed to complete her work, were all available remotely. Being involved in an extended academic setting has given Mecheri an understanding of the level of punctuality and professionalism needed to work in this environment. Evidently, the world of virtual internships has the advantage of broadening career opportunities and education possibilities for Trinity undergraduates. While the lack of in-person office time is the biggest downfall of these virtual internships, students are quickly learning how to navigate and take advantage of work spaces that are increasingly moving online. Online internships provide students with the ability to make inroads into their career with a wide-range of career prospects in a full-time or parttime setting. This selection of accounts attests to the fact that Trinity students are continuing to experience first hand how both major corporations and smaller organisations operate, under this new and fast-developing format, and are implementing their own knowledge garnered from their undergraduate degrees to challenge themselves and secure grad roles.



TRINITY NEWS | Tuesday 7 September

Top Coffee spots in the second most “coffee-obsessed” city in the world Heather Bruton discusses the best places to get your caffeine fix in Dublin


ince the pandemic, meeting for coffee and chats has in many ways become people’s primary mode of socialising. Luckily for us, Dublin is brimming with cafés. In fact, according to a study conducted by Brew Smartly, Dublin is the second most “coffee-obsessed” capital in the world. With the capital city boasting over 180 coffee shops per 100,000 people, there is no shortage of choice for your daily dose of caffeine. Given Trinity’s advantageous location to many a coffee shop, there is no time like the present to get exploring all the unique coffee spots the city centre has to offer. Yes, there is of course an abundance of Costas, Starbucks and Café Neros, but as we enter this new academic year why not try instead to support local and independent cafés? Coffee with a pastry If you’re looking for quality coffee and something delicious to eat, then look no further. Meet Me in the Morning, just off Camden Street, with its window full of freshly baked focaccia and pastries is the perfect place for a midday pick-me-up. Another tasty option a bit closer to campus is Bread 41. Situated on Pearse Street under the DART

bridge, you can’t miss the smell of freshly baked sourdough as you walk out of the Science Gallery entrance. Treat yourself to a coffee and one of their unique cruffins or danishes. Coffee for under €3 There is no shortage of lovely, but often expensive, cafés in Dublin, so where can the broke, caffeine-deprived student venture to then? Dublin Barista School (DBS) on South Anne Street is a student go-to. Not only is it mere minutes from Trinity’s Nassau Street entrance, they offer a discount if you flash your student card. Another great option, particularly if you are not bothered to leave campus, is the Buttery. Although not famed for its coffee quality, it is for its prices. Get a further 50% discount if you use your T-Card to pay and maybe grab a cheap lunch while you’re at it. Coffee with outdoor seating Before the pandemic, good outdoor seating was few and far between in Dublin, but now we are absolutely spoiled for choice. Some of my favourites include Bestseller on Dawson Street (but be warned you will run into every other Trinity student here), Industry on Drury Street, Coffee Angel on South Anne Street, and Metro Cafe on South William Street. Weather permitting, these are all great options for chats with friends, old and new. Brother Hubbard is another great coffee spot with outdoor dining, especially if you want to pair it with some scrumptious brunch food. There is one on the

northside and the southside, with the southside one featuring fairly decent coverage if the rain does start to fall. Coffee on the go Sometimes you want a coffee and a long catch-up with a friend, but other times a takeaway to soothe those caffeine cravings is all that is needed. Beanhive on Dawson Street serves takeaway coffee with an artistic flare, so if you’re looking for some unique coffee art this one's for you. Clement & Pekoe on South William Street is another great spot for a takeaway coffee, or try one of their speciality teas if that’s more your thing. Practically around the corner from Clement & Pekoe, is Kaph on Drury Street, which is perfect for your afternoon coffee break. Finally, there is the ever reliable Butlers, with one practically on every corner when you exit College. Given the option of a free chocolate with every coffee, you can’t ever really go wrong getting a coffee here. Of course, there are so many other cafés to choose from and as we settle into academic mode once again, I believe the best way to procrastinate your college work is to go out and discover your own favourite coffee spots. Especially if you are new to Dublin or new to Trinity, finding your go-to spot for all things caffeine is a crucial and necessary part of your college experience. And if you are anything like me, this guide to Dublin’s cafés will come in very handy when it comes to exam time.


Samuel Beckett and Dublin’s Pan Pan Theatre come to London Maisie McGregor reviews the production of Beckett’s 1963 radio play Cascando at the Barbican Centre


he Dublin-based Pan Pan Theatre company brought Samuel Beckett to London this July with their innovative take on his radio play, Cascando. The play, written by Beckett in 1963 and first broadcast in England the following year, is as impenetrable as his other dramatic works, featuring just two voices that grapple with one another across the thirty-minute piece. A third character might even be suggested, that of Music, guiding the narrative to a large extent with its screeching, horrorlike manner. The score, crafted by Jimmy Eadie, fades across the two voices and adds further poetic depth to Beckett’s Cascando. The Pan Pan production, first premiered at the Samuel Beckett Theatre in 2016 and directed by Gavin Quinn, was this summer brought to the Barbican Centre, a venue one could believe to have been designed with Beckett’s repetitious and almost brutalist Cascando in mind. The production invites the audience to participate in the narrative in a way that perfectly demonstrates theatre’s ability to adjust to pandemic circumstances, despite the concept having originated three years prior. Each listener is asked to don a floor-length black hooded cloak, before they are given a set of headphones attached to an iPod nano. The twenty or so participants are then asked to arrange themselves into a single file line, at which point the play begins in each headset and the parade sets off to explore the Barbican’s open-air Highwalk. As we leave the building,

Opener, voiced by Daniel Reardon, tells us of “the reawakening” — a fitting moment as we simultaneously sense both a physical exit and a feeling of coming out of a dark situation. This semantic resonance carries through the play, with the naturally socially distanced formation of the listeners as well as the action of walking solitarily out in the open reminding each individual of the pandemic experience. However, the play is fundamentally collaborative, with each listener becoming a performer in their own right. As the procession moves slowly across the Highwalks one feels as though one has inadvertently joined a cult-like community, with onlookers gazing on in confusion at the mass of identical strangers. Whilst in 1964 the play allowed listeners, who could access it only by virtue of having the right regional location or being available at the limited time of broadcast, to experience the play in the privacy of their own home, Pan Pan’s production invites the public not only to come together for, but to actively partake in Cascando. The production, meditative by nature, is perhaps less successful in presenting the content of Cascando and more so in its ability to convey the experience of Woburn, its central voice. As the listeners step over one of the Barbican’s water features, the protagonist fittingly enters the sea. Likewise, the description of Woburn’s long brown coat instantly transplants the listener into his psyche as our eyes sit restfully on our black cloaks as they graze the ground beneath us. Whilst the narrative clarity of the play is perhaps lacking, the opportunity to take part in what Cascando’s dramaturg Nicholas Johnson deems a “social sculpture” that “intervenes in public space” is one to cherish, both for its poetic and social value.


Tuesday 7 September | TRINITY NEWS

Celebrating and promoting literacy in the age of distance learning Emmae Lueders on what to expect from the 55th UNESCO International Literacy Day tomorrow


NESCO International Literacy Day — not to be confused with World Book Day, which entailed book tokens and cheap Roald Dahl paperbacks in primary school — is tomorrow, September 8. The theme for this year is “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: narrowing the digital divide”. With the cynicism in me that has built up over watching multiple companies and organizations try to make the pandemic relevant to their brand, I assumed this might have been another attempt to stay relevant. However, when I read UNESCO's reason for this year's theme and their overall mission statement for International Literacy Day, I quickly realised I was wrong to doubt the earnestness of UNESCO’s effort. To set the background, UNESCO has been at the forefront of

global literacy efforts since 1946, with International Literacy Day being celebrated since 1967. UNESCO views improving literacy levels as an intrinsic part of the right to education. They solidify it in their developing multiplier effect. Giving the opportunity to improve literacy skills throughout life empowers people and enables them to participate in the labour market, improving personal and family health and nutrition, reducing poverty, and expanding life opportunities. However, COVID-19 has only magnified the inequality of access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities. The pandemic has affected over 1.6 billion learners, with this being the most extended school closure of the century. UNESCO highlights that the pandemic has been a struggle for all students; statistics showed that the average child had lost 54% of a year's contact time by November 2020. In reaction to this, governments have tried to ensure the continuation of literacy learning through both distance and blended learning for formal, primary and higher education. This, however, has highlighted how non-literate young people and adults who face intersecting disadvantages have a high risk of being left behind. Distance learning also fails

those who fall into the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure and ability to engage with technology. The rate of people who do not use the internet sits at half of the global population, with this percentage focused on the least developed countries and urban-rural disparities. It is estimated that only 7.7% of people in sub-Saharan Africa have a computer at home. There is also a persistent gender gap in literacy levels. While reading this report, I listed all the aspects of education I could still participate in due to digital literacy. I could still attend college lectures, work remotely online, and order books from the library. Distance learning is something I found challenging, yet it was still something that I could participate in. With over half the world not accessing material through the internet, it is no wonder why the International Literacy Day theme for this year was centred around this concept. The pandemic has only amplified the centrality of literacy in people's lives, work, and lifelong learning. Reading and writing are pivotal for accessing life-saving information and sustain livelihoods. This also extends into the digital age, with digital literacy crucial to engaging in an online workplace, society and learning system.

In Europe, 43% of adults lack the basic digital skills required to participate in distance learning. The past two years have highlighted how digital skills need to be integrated into literacy skills. We need to provide learning opportunities to those who need digital literacy skills, inclusive access to technology-enabled literacy programmes, and good governance and partnerships for technology-enabled literacy. Distance learning can be an incredible development for education levels internationally, but digital literacy and overall literacy levels need to be established and taught first. After what you have just read,

I could still attend college lectures, work remotely online, and order books from the library

the word celebration may seem oxymoronic. Internationally, we still have a long journey to ensuring that everyone has the right to literacy and education, with the pandemic making it more difficult to bridge this gap. International Literacy Day is an excellent opportunity to remind people of the importance of literacy and the importance of closing the considerable distance between global literacy levels. As students in third-level education, it can be easy to overlook the fundamental importance of literacy and how low literacy levels can prohibit access to further education. UNESCO will be holding live conferences on topics such as 'Enhancing national policy and systems for narrowing the digital divide' on September 8 and 9. Further information on scheduling and panel members can be found on the UNESCO website. You can also follow the winner and runners-up of the UNESCO Literacy Award and read about their contributions. If after reading this you are wondering how you can help, then here are some ideas: you can open a dialogue in your community about the importance of literacy, volunteer with an afterschool club, or even organize a book swap. It would be an easy act to donate money to charity, but we need to work as a society towards bridging the gap within global literacy levels, including digital literacy. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to fix these things together.

What we’re reading

The Transgender Issue Shon Faye What we’re listening to

Make My Bed King Princess