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SUSI CHAOS CONTINUES • OVER 21,000 STUDENTS STILL LEFT IN THE DARK • 2012/13 GRANTS UNPROCESSED BY MAY 2013 THE STUDENT Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant system has once again come under fire as more than half of those who applied for a grant with the system have yet to receive a decision on their application. Despite SUSI officials reporting that they were ten weeks ahead of schedule at the start of August, more than 21,000 third-level students are yet to find out if their application to the system was successful or not. More than fifty students have had their complaints accepted by the ombudsman as valid after they went the entire 2012/13 academic year without receiving feedback in relation to progress of their grant application. Speaking on behalf of the Office of the Ombudsman, Tom Morgan admitted to the University

Observer that there have been further complaints which the ombudsman has had to deem invalid because either the complainant had not yet exhausted their right to appeal locally, or because the complaint related to some time before the 1st of May. Previously, third-level education institutions and the Student Grants Appeals Board did not fall under the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman, although this has been rectified since the Ombudsman Amendment Act 2012 came into effect on the 1st of May of this year. Morgan was keen to stress that the ombudsman could not accept any complaints about SUSI if they did not relate to an event on or after that date, otherwise they would be

rejected as “invalid premature”. “Let’s say someone applied for a grant last September and, come the first of May, they still don’t have a decision, and they’ve complained to the ombudsman,” said Morgan. “The ombudsman could take that on the basis that, as of the first of May, there was undue delay, even though the application would pre-date that. It’s slightly tricky in that respect, but we look at each one individually and on their own merits.” Meanwhile, the Department of Education has issued a statement saying that it expects a decision to be made on those still waiting by the end of October, with the earliest possible payments to be made on the 18th of October. The SUSI grant system was only







introduced at the beginning of the previous academic year, in an attempt to make the processing of grants more efficient. As of yet, it has failed to do so, leaving thousands of students still unsure as to their education status. Cian Dowling, the UCD Students’ Union Welfare and Equality Officer, has labeled the system “a disgrace” and says he has “easily seen over 100 students already” in relation to trouble with SUSI. UCDSU will be running workshops all day on Tuesday, October 1st in conjunction with SUSI in order to give students greater “peace of mind”. Dowling also stresses that the SU have “various options” for students affected by the delay in awarding grants.






THE UCD TENNIS CLUB face an uncertain second semester as plans to build a multistorey car park on campus tennis courts look set to go ahead in 2014. Although the club was told in May 2013 that the car park will be built on the campus tennis courts, lack of correspondence from the University leaves them at a loss as to where they will practice in the near future. A spokesperson for UCD said, “The site for the commuting facility was chosen in line with the master plan for the development of the sport and student precinct. “The enabling works for the new commuting facility have begun, but the main contractor has not yet been appointed. As an


interim measure, UCD is working together with the tennis club to arrange access to facilities.” The University Observer understands that issues concerning the sewerage system underneath the courts has delayed works somewhat. This delay has resulted in the Tennis Club still having access to the courts until December 2013, while no official answer has been forthcoming in relation to the long-term availability of facilities on campus from the University. Speaking to the University Observer about the possible location of the new facilities, the Ladies’ Captain of the Tennis Club, Alison Clarke, said they currently have no promises about new facilities on campus.

“There was a lot of talk that we will have courts in UCD, but we have no idea where this could be. We also heard that we will just have to go to a club after Christmas; to somewhere like Donnybrook or Lansdowne.” When asked by the University Observer, the University did not comment on whether or not plans existed to replace the facilities commandeered for the car park site. The tennis courts are scheduled to be handed over to the construction company at the start of 2014 and the club will likely have to move to a local public club with the associated costs, both financially and logistically. Speaking in relation to the added costs incurred for rent-

ing such premises, Clarke said they have been told that ‘the grant for each sports club is the same’ and that there will be ‘no more funding from the college’ to subsidise costs incurred. Clarke feels fortunate that the move is taking place in semester two due to the possible effects such a move could have had on the clubs membership numbers if this move had been forced through earlier. “I think we were lucky that it is the second half of the year. It would have been very hard if we didn’t have courts during the Sports Expo and have to say ‘Oh, but there aren’t any tennis courts.’ That definitely would have affected [membership].”











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UCD BESTOWS HIGHEST HONOUR ON PROFESSOR SIR STEPHEN O’RAHILLY UCD HAS AWARDED the former medical student Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly with the UCD Ulysses Award for his international work investigating the molecular causes that lead to diabetes, obesity and related disorders. The award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding global contribution within their field. Former recipients include Bill Clinton and Seamus Heaney. Professor O’Rahilly is now Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine at the University of Cambridge and Honary Consultant Physician at Adedenbrooke hospital. In 2013, O’Rahilly was awarded the title of Knight Bachelor at the Queen’s birthday honours for his services to medical research. He is also a member of the UCD Conway Institute scientific advisory board.

ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME LAUNCHED AT UCD SEVEN EARLY-STAGE companies and new ventures from University College Dublin (UCD) and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) are currently taking part in UCD’s new 3-month VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. The overall objective of the initiative is to support the creation of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on intellectual property. The project will equip UCD and NCAD researchers with the skills and knowledge that will be required to work as part of a team leading a new commercial venture. On completion of the programme, the participating companies will hope to have developed a commercially viable business plan. Five of the participating new ventures are emerging from UCD, while the other two come from NCAD. The overall winner of the annual programme will be announced at a VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme Awards event to be held in UCD in late November. The winner will receive a cash prize of €10,000, as well as a professional services package worth an additional €15,000. Two of the projects are among the ventures that were pitched at last week’s Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas Showcase 2013 in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

UCD ENERGY SYSTEMS RESEARCH INSTITUTE LAUNCHED BY TAOISEACH An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was present at the official launch of the UCD Energy Institute. The new unit will focus research on energy systems integration and will provide a base for improved energy performance and reduced cost with a minimal impact on the environment. Over 200 world-class energy researchers will be working in this new institution, supported by various bodies as well as the industry itself. The Institute, along with electricity distributors Eirgrid and ESB, will collaborate on a project to produce a working Smart Grid network Test Bed. The newly formed research body secured €5 million in funding from donors as well as substantial funding from within the industry.


THE UNION of Students in Ireland (USI) is soon to launch a new daily deals website for students, with offers will being made available through social media and email. The concept aims to mirror that of sites such as Groupon, GrabOne and Living Social in providing high quality products at low prices. Unlike the previously mentioned sites, 11% of the price of the offer purchased will go to a charity or not-for-profit of the customer’s choice. The USI website notes that €27 million was spent on online deals; similar to those being offered by in the first six months of 2013. An 11% cut of this figure would represent almost €3 million. While the discounted rates on offers available through the site will be between 50% and 90%, the website simultaneously aims to raise €2.1 million in its first three years for participating charities. The site will offer all the deals customary of these sites for hotels, spa day and exclusive offers for festivals and events. Students who register to the site will specifically be able to avail of certain retail opportunities. USI, along with Amnesty International, Youth Work Ireland and many others, is one of the 29 founder organisations that will benefit from the 11% donation factored into each deal. The online discount business


has grown increasingly popular in recent years with companies benefiting from higher footfall, while consumers receive valuefor-money deals which may well turn them into valued customers. These companies also benefit the wider community with many running bases in Ireland. Groupon’s office in Dublin city centre recently increased its workforce by 166% with the announcement of 20 new jobs. While overall these companies have received positive press, not all have been so fortunate. In May, the LivingSocial site revealed that nearly half a million Irish customers had their personal details accessed by hackers. While credit card details were kept safe, hackers had got unauthorised access to databases containing details of customers’ names, email addresses, date of birth and encrypted passwords. The charitable aspect of DealEffect would seem to set it apart from other similar ventures, however, other online do-gooders have found ways to incorporate charitable donations into everyday online tasks. Search engines such as will donate to the searcher’s chosen charity when the site is used and UCD graduate Brian McCormick has set up Adtruism, a corporate widget which acts as “a digital promise by that company to donate a fixed sum in direct proportion to their site traffic.”

THE COMMUNICATION revolution brought about by social media can have quite adverse personal consequences according to Bernadette John, a lecturer in Digital Professionalism at King’s College, University of London. In her address to the Annual Conference of Education and Training Boards of Ireland (ETBI), she bluntly described a precipice where students are being made “unemployable because of what they are posting online.” The informality of social media, and its dominance in young people’s lives, is leading to a merging and blurring of personal and professional boundaries. This vague line is being crossed by professionals and students daily, and Ms. John’s highlighting of a number of UK and US cases concerning the removal of teachers shows this line is anything but illusory. One such case involved a teacher and teaching assistant being fired for derogatory online posts labelling their pupils “inbred” who shopped

in “working class supermarkets.” In addition to this, The Washington Post ran an investigative piece entitled “When Young Teachers go Wild”, quoting  the Facebook page of a Washington D.C. teacher which included a post saying, “Teaching in the DC Public Schools – Lesson #1: Don’t smoke crack while pregnant.” The removal of such teachers shows how social media’s use as an open forum for people to talk about their lives is leading to professionals being pulled up for more than bad grammar and spelling. In Ireland, the legislature has tried to keep pace with this rapidly changing social environment. Employers may be held vicariously liable for inappropriate behaviour and are also liable to suffer reputational damage as result. Cyber bullying in particular has been given protection under the “Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act”, which came about in 2005, and mounting case law shows a growing trend on the part of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) to uphold employee dismissals based on inap-

propriate social media behaviour. In a recent case, the EAT held that the plaintiff’s dismissal for posting derogatory comments in respect of her employer was just grounds as the employer was specifically named in the comments. Further case law shows how having specific policy in relation to social media is vital in allowing the employer to justify dismissal in the event of acts committed outside working hours. In another, the plaintiff posted derogatory comments regarding customers where the employer had issued a staff handbook stating that acts committed outside of work that may bring the employer into disrepute would constitute misconduct. This allowed for her dismissal. John summarised the growing problem with the sharp warning: “Young people may be technologically adept, but they require guidance and support to ensure that they take a long term view of the potential consequences of the material they share online.”

KYLEMORE FOOD SCHEME SET TO RETURN CIAN CARTON UCD STUDENTS’ UNION (UCDSU) President Micheal Gallagher has announced the return of the Kylemore Food Scheme after its successful launch in early 2012. The scheme is being re-launched by the Kylemore Services Group in conjunction with the UCDSU Welfare & Equality Office, and Gallagher says its aim to provide “free lunches for students that have been identified as being in severe financial difficulty”, as the SU aims to support those who may be struggling to afford meals. In relation to eligibility for the scheme, Gallagher stressed that UCDSU Vice-President for Welfare & Equality, Cian Dowling, had already begun identifying students in need. It is hoped that it will be a step up from the previous campaign in terms of numbers of students eligible to receive these vouchers. He also urged any students who are experiencing financial difficulty to get in contact with either their student advisor, a member of the chaplaincy, or Dowling himself. Kylemore have agreed to cover the entire cost of the scheme after concerns were raised over funding issues. The expiry date of the vouchers is not yet known, as the duration of the scheme is yet to be revealed. This scheme is just one of many initiatives being run by the Students’ Union in relation to making healthy, affordable food avail-

able to students. Gallagher offered advise to students who are trying to feed themselves on a tight budget, pointing out the SU initiative, www., where students can avail of four meals for only €10. He also encouraged them to check out the “better than noodles” section on the UCDSU website, which “informs students, through YouTube tutorials, how to cook food on a budget.” The Kylemore group operate the majority of the food outlets on campus, including Readers, Starbucks, and the Java Café and this re-invented food scheme comes as a welcome resource for students struggling to meet their own basic needs. The continuing issues surrounding Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and the delayed provision of the maintenance grant to thousands of students makes this scheme very important. These delays mean that many students entered college this September without a determination on their grant application status, with some students who had applied for grants during the 2012/13 academic year still without decisions at the end of that year last May. The support service aimed to centralise grant applications for all students in a bid to streamline the service and increase efficiency. The UCD Law Society is running a debate on this issue this September 17th, at 7pm in the FitzGerald Chamber in the Student Centre.

UCDSU KEEPING FOCUS LOCAL ON NATIONAL MARCH DAY MEGAN FANNING THE UNION of Students in Ireland (USI) are set to hold their National Day of Action on the 1st of October, with the initiative aiming to mobilise students across the country with marches scheduled in Dublin, Sligo and Cork. The marches are aimed at protecting the Student Maintenance Grant, which has been cut in the last four budgets. UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) however, will be absent from proceedings on the day. Protection of the grant is a key issue for USI at present, particularly in light of the serious delays

experienced by students relying on Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) in delivering decisions relating to both new and continuing student applications. UCDSU has decided not to partake in the march, citing short notice as the principal reason for its absence. UCDSU President, Mícheál Gallagher, has said that the Union was only informed of the march on Tuesday last, 24 September and that seven days was too short notice “to effectively organise a march.” Gallagher says that his understanding of the situation was that all

students’ unions were to be contacted following the USI’s National Congress, regardless of affiliation with USI. While UCD students took a referendum decision at the end of the last academic year to disaffiliate, this will not properly take effect until 2014. Gallagher added that in this forthcoming academic year, UCDSU are more determined than ever to work alongside students and said, “engaging students on campus was top priority” and pointed out the fact that the USI march clashed with both the class rep elections and voting on the two referendums, regarding

a smoke-free campus and abortion. The Union felt it would be detrimental to move the focus away from the class reps and their efforts “before they’re even elected” and would have a major impact on voting turnout, which the UCDSU is looking to double. Recently, USI centralised preparations for their participation in the LGBT Noise event March for Marriage for marriage equality in the Trinity College Dublin atrium, from which UCDSU was absent. Gallagher confirmed that there were a number of calls between himself and a member of the USI

officer board and it was expressed that it would be better for members of the UCDSU executive not to gather in TCD prior to this march. Gallagher did, however, reiterate that the main reason for refraining from attending the National Day of Action is ultimately down to short notice and is in no way due to this previous incident. When asked if this stance of absence was a permanent one, Gallagher reiterated that while UCDSU do care for and would campaign on behalf of USI’s causes, one week is not enough time to organise 25,000 students.



LUCY RYAN FIONNÁN LONG UNION CLASS Representative (UCR) Elections take place this week on the 1st and 2nd of October. Nominations closed on Friday September 20th for representatives who will attend UCD Students’ Union Council on behalf of their class alongside the organisation. Campus-wide elections are held for these positions and many more constituencies are contested this year than in recent years. This election coincides with the impending referendums that UCDSU has asked students to take a stance on concerning abortion and also a smoke-free campus. The UCRs are now working with the part-time Union officers and

Convenors, of which there is one per faculty. Over 100 UCRs are voted in each year and UCDSU President, Mícheál Gallagher, attributes the recent escalation of class representation to “the change in Union structures finally paying out and the move away from having a full-time Campaigns and Communications Officer and the local convenors; the part-timers really put the work in.” This has facilitated a domino effect across the board, resulting in an increase in graduate representation also. While Gallagher concedes that “[he’s] happy where it’s at” at present, “it has been increased [significantly] in one year and if we can do that again, we’re

looking at full representation.” Gallagher puts the Union’s success down to its perseverance through “the ground work with lecture addressing and talking to our members one to one.” A large boost for the Union is the fact that female class rep nominations are now slightly higher than those of their male counterparts. Female nominations are up from 46% last year to 51.5%. This rise in female participation in student politics follows UCDSU’s Women for Election campaign, which encouraged young female students to run for class representative. A workshop run by the group the day before nominations closed was well

attended and increased publicity surrounding the campaign. Gallagher emphasised, “There simply aren’t enough women involved in student politics and we are delighted to work with Women for Election to help change this situation. They do fantastic work in creating a space where women feel they can run for office.” SU Gender Equality Coordinator, Rebekah McKinney-Perry, endorsed the initiative affirming her approval of “this fantastic and innovative partnership between UCDSU and Women for Election. The lack of female representation in politics is a national issue and one that is endemic in UCD.”

GENDER EQUALITY CO-ORDINATOR DEFENDS RIGHT TO LEAD PRO-CHOICE REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN KILLIAN WOODS DEPUTY EDITOR UCD STUDENTS’ UNION (SU) Gender Equality Co-ordinator, Rebek’ah McKinney-Perry, has defended her right to run a campaign that encourages students to vote for Option B in the UCDSU Abortion referendum. McKinney-Perry, whose role as Gender Equality Co-ordinator falls under the remit of the Campaigns forum, had been criticised for campaigning for students’ votes in favour of Option B in her official capacity, despite UCDSU having no official stance on the matter of abortion. Speaking to the University Observer, McKinney-Perry insisted that any campaigning she has undertaken has been strictly in a non-official capacity and purely as a student campaigning in relation to her private personal beliefs. “I

am actually not campaigning for Option B as the Gender Equality Co-ordinator. I’m campaigning as a regular student, in spite of the intent of all the other officers.” Addressing the fact that even campaigning in private capacity could cause a conflict of interest, McKinney-Perry was adamant that she followed the correct avenues to assure she was not violating her mandate. “I checked back in May when I was elected with Mícheál Gallagher (President) and Cian Dowling (Welfare and Equality Officer), because I did run on a pro-choice platform. “I’ve been very open and upfront about my pro-choice views and I checked with them back in May or June when I had my first meeting with them when they told me that there would be

a referendum on abortion. I said to them, ‘Since we currently have no stance, how would it work for me to take an opinion on that?’ “They said that the reason I can take an opinion on [the referendum] is because we have no stance. So, it is kind of a free-for-all because we don’t have a stance, so I am not misrepresenting or representing students. I’m representing my own view, because the Union doesn’t have a view on it.” When asked if she would have any issue campaigning for abortion ideology that conflicted with her own, but were upheld by her mandate, McKinney-Perry said, “Hypothetically, if students choose to have no stance on the issue then that is something I will obviously take on board because I am here to represent students.

“I do campaign in a very private capacity outside the SU for prochoice anyway, so I don’t think that is going to impact my activities towards the campaign outside of college.” McKinney-Perry was understanding of the criticism directed at her and conceded that campaigning on such issues in her capacity can be a delicate matter. “I understand why there would be criticism. It would be very hypocritical of a student if we had a stance on it, to run a campaign, but because we don’t have a stance on it, that’s the reason I’m running this campaign. “I did check if I would be misrepresenting students because we don’t have a stance on this issue, that is why I feel it is appropriate to run this campaign.”

PULP FICTION KERRY SHTYLE WINS NORTON AWARD GRAHAM NORTON was at the Institute of Technology in Tralee on the 19th of September to present two fourth year students, David Williams and Eoin O’Leary, with the inaugural Graham Norton Creativity Award. Their video, Pulp Fiction Kerry Shtyle, has been seen over 600,000 times on YouTube. The video features the acting of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, dubbed with Kerry accents. The video was aired on The Graham Norton Show and even impressed Quentin Tarantino who appeared on the show that night. Norton thanked the 400-strong student crowd for the “amazing welcome”. He praised the creators of the video saying that “it was a great idea, plus a lot of luck, plus excellence. It was really well done. The use of technology in conjunction with creativity to make the idea as good as possible”. The award is now to be presented annually in Tralee.


take place again after Christmas for students who may not be happy with their current type of accommodation or have a renewed interest following their initial query.” “The next peak time for uptake of accommodation of this nature will of course be roughly this time next year.” They have also begun looking into the possibility of a designated quiet housing block. This gives students a range of preferences for academic, religious or ‘typical’ college choices.


TO MARK the 50th anniversary of the only two Beatles concerts in the Republic of Ireland at the Adelphi Cinema, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is hosting a series of 12 lectures called ‘The Beatles in 12 Movements’. It is being run by TCD’s School of English with the Trinity Long Room Hub. All 12 albums will be covered over 12 weeks. Speakers range from TCD academics, across a range of disciplines, to significant cultural figures like singer Donovan, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly author Paul Howard and Gerry Harrison, the assistant director of the Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ film. The lecture series is open to the public. The first lecture took place on Monday the 23rd of September and was delivered by Professor Mike Grenfell, Professor UCC ‘QUIET’ AND of Education, TCD. He discussed ALCOHOL FREE the Beatles first album ‘Please HOUSING PROGRAMME Please Me’. A fine balance between music and chat was enjoyed. UCC is thinking of offering ‘quiet’ One of the event planners, housing blocks after three people Professor Darryl Jones said, signed up to its new alcohol-free “November 7th, 2013 is the 50th accommodation. The three candidates anniversary of the Beatles’ only will be living in the college-run concert in the Republic of Ireland, Victoria Lodge complex, where they an event which Paul McCartney will meet each other and sign up described as like coming home. to the alcohol-free programme. “McCartney, John Lennon and The programme is being run George Harrison all had strong Irish by UCC Health Matters and roots. Given that their achievements UCC Campus Accommodation, touched all corners of cultural life, who said they are happy with the what better way to commemorate uptake. A spokesperson said in this than to get together a group of continuation of the programme that distinguished speakers, from all areas “limited advertising of alcoholof the arts and academia, to discuss free accommodation is likely to the Beatles and their legacy?”


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24/09/2013 17:02







With the university letting down students Yvanne Kennedy is happy to see the Students’ Union picking up the slack


WORLD BANK ASSISTS AFRICAN RESEARCHERS THE WORLD BANK has launched a fellowship scheme for PhD researchers of African descent. The paid fellowships last a minimum of six months, with the programme focusing on development research and particularly encourages female candidates to apply, as women in SubSaharan Africa are heavily underrepresented in third-level education. World Bank Vice President for Human Resources, Sean McGrath, stated that the programme represents an opportunity for African scholars to conduct research and build their careers. The program aims to build a pipeline of researchers and professionals working in development from the African diaspora. The World Bank hopes to train students who are interested in pursuing careers in development, at home and abroad, alongside students who want to pursue careers at the World Bank. Those selected for the programme will work at their Headquarters in Washington DC. They will conduct work in the generation and dissemination of knowledge; the design of both global and national policies and the building of institutions to foster economic growth in developing countries. The programme will also give special focus to development initiatives in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

REPRIEVE FOR IRANIAN STUDENT ACTIVISTS THE IRANIAN MINISTRY for Science has offered a reprieve for students expelled from university due to political activism. The announcement, however, only benefits students who faced restrictions since 2011. All students barred before this will be required to retake national university examinations. This includes students who were punished for their involvement in the Green revolution of 2009, a series of mass protests against the theocratic government. Head of the Iranian Ministry for Science, Jafar Tofghi, is behind the measures and has promised that students will no longer be targeted by the Ministry for Science because of their political or personal beliefs. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) reports that hundreds of students have been barred from university since 2005. Many professors have also been removed from their positions because of their reformist ideology. President Hassan Rouhani, a candidate with reformist leanings whose victory this June surprised many observers, appears to be embarking on a path of policy reform.

SCRUM DOWN FOR A NEW PARTNERSHIP AT NUIG NEWLY-ELECTED Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbot, has dispensed with the Ministries for Science and Climate Change. It is the first time since 1931 that a cabinet portfolio responsible for Science has not existed in Australia. Abbot’s decision not to announce a minister for Climate Change has not surprised Australians due to his on the record claims that Climate Change is “crap.” He has, however, come under heavy criticism for the lack of female presence in his cabinet. One woman holds a minor cabinet position among the 19 available. This marks a change from the previous government, which was led by Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Opposition leader, Chris Bowen, has pointed out that more women in socially conservative Afghanistan hold a ministerial portfolio than in Australia. Government Senator, Sue Boyce, has described the cabinet composition as “embarrassing internationally.” Reactions from third-level lobby groups have been muted. They are waiting to see if election promises to not cut university funding will be maintained. Abbot has also dispensed with the ministries for Early Childhood, Energy, Disability, Mental Health, Youth and Status of Women. OCTOBER 1ST 2013

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, its agents and the people who organise student activities seem to be a bit confused. Across campus, decisions are being made that affect students without any significant student input. Even more importantly, there are several situations where no decisions are being made at all and the net result seems to hit the lowest common denominator hardest, the students. Currently, there is confusion surrounding the future use of the facilities located at Roebuck when the School of Law move premises to the Sutherland building. Funds are being allocated towards refurbishing and building all around campus, yet the tennis club is left without premises. This tells a story about the priorities of this institution.

There has been a sense for many years that the UCD Students’ Union is not best-serving its electing body, and from the outside that may well have appeared true back when internal decisions and their effects were not as visible. However, the local push to help and cater to the student body displayed by the Union is recent months is fairly remarkable. With only a few weeks of the semester having passed, they have pushed for and appear to have achieved a more gender-equal student representation on campus. While no sabbatical officer this year is female, more than 50 per cent of candidates for Union Class Representative (UCR) positions are. The same is true of the Union Convenors, the part-time officers of which there is one for every faculty on campus, alongside

the Irish Language Officer. The Union paid more than simple lip service to their involvement with the Women for Election group and the effort has paid off. The recent accommodation crisis also spurred the Union into action as the Welfare and Equality Officer got the Convenors in over the summer to assist students struggling to find affordable accommodation in the lead in to the first of the semester. Students are also being helped by the Kylemore Food scheme, where meals are being offered on a daily basis in conjunction with the Union to those most in need. The Union is supposed to be the students’ voice on campus, and the results would seem to indicate that they are living up to this mandate. Which is brilliant to see, since the University itself may be seen

to be falling down in places. The commitment to students doesn’t appear to be ending on campus either. With the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) hastily informing the Union of their plans to march against the increase to the cuts to the grant this week, the Union Executive made the decision to remain local and committed to this week’s elections and referendums. While rumblings of exclusion from a recent March for Marriage are still fresh, the Union did not feel a need to attempt to pander to USI by mobilising students on short notice, particularly where they were needed elsewhere. UCDSU President Mícheál Gallagher saw the value in remaining close to home and engaging with students here in the hopes of doubling voter turnout to receive a

clear student perspective on who they want representing them on Union Council and how they wish to be represented both locally, as regards the introduction of smoke-free campus, and nationally, as regards the Union stance on abortion. At the moment, being a student is proving very difficult. With cuts to the grant, which on average now stands at €84 per week, coupled with issues with the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) system of provision, many are struggling. There is a great sense that we are not being listened to on either a national or local stage. However, with the proven strength of the Union heading in to only the fourth week of the semester, students can have confidence that, at the very least, someone is working and fighting to make things that bit easier.

GRANT SYSTEM ALREADY IN NEED OF OVERHAUL Following the revelation that 21,000 grant applications still need to be processed, Killian Woods examines if SUSI needs an overhaul after only one yearencouragement is unnecessarily pushing women into politics

THIS INSIGHT ALSO REVEALS THE SKEWED DEFINITION THAT SUSI APPEAR TO ATTACH TO “RUNNING WELL ON TARGET” AND BEGGARS BELIEF OVER THEIR CLAIM THAT THE SYSTEM IS TEN WEEKS AHEAD OF LAST YEAR’S TARGETS. WHAT WOULD THE SYSTEM LOOK LIKE IF IT WAS ONLY FIVE WEEKS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE? ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, the failure of the third-level grants system makes national news. Until last year, the main grievance students would voice revolved around queuing in the Tierney Building to see if their grant cheque has arrived or bemoaning a system that is above scrutinisation by the Office of the Ombudsman. These perennial complaints voiced by students fuelled the creation of the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), a system that was intent on streamlining the grant system and give students access to an online application system that is easy to use and can speed up the processing of applications. An official statement at the start of August from SUSI claimed that they were “running well on

target” and other reports from the organisation said that they are ten weeks ahead of last year with regards to processing applications. These promising messages were a welcome surprise. In its inaugural year, SUSI had numerous teething issues that were unavoidable as such a system in this country was unprecedented, but it was expected that following a year of logging systemic problems SUSI would have some solutions. However, in an article published in the Irish Examiner on 27th of September, it was revealed that 21,000 students are yet to receive a decision on their grants applications. This interesting revelation highlights the acceptable level of failure that appears engrained in governmental institutions is reach-

ing new levels of embarrassment. This insight also reveals the skewed definition that SUSI appear to attach to “running well on target” and beggars belief over their claim that the system is ten weeks ahead of last year’s targets. What would the system look like if it was only five weeks ahead of schedule? Demanding such high standards of SUSI may be unfair when it is tasked with finding an easy solution to the delegation of grants, a somewhat unrealistic expectation. County Councils have struggled with this matter for decades, but even if streamlining such a convoluted system that always has the tendency to bottleneck doesn’t appear achievable, that surely doesn’t mean the solution is to accept failure. There are always solutions to

these sort of administration related problems, such as hiring more staff to process the applications. SUSI might argue that there is not a demand year round to have that volume of staff on the books if over 90% of their work will have been processed by late November. However, SUSI is a service that the government should be pumping funding into because it plays such an intricate part in the lives of people who may not be afforded the opportunity of attending college because their parents can’t pay the exorbitant registration fees. A possible respite for students looking at the chaos that they may have to deal with for the next few years is the fact that the third-level education institutions and the Student Grants Appeals

Board will now fall under the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman Amendment Act 2012, which came into effect on the 1st of May this year, now allows students who have had their grant applications rejected. The statistics emerging from the Ombudsman’s office also highlight how SUSI is failing students in third-level education. The 50 separate complaints made in relation to SUSI and the processing of grants prove that SUSI were still processing grant applications at the start of May. This is an organisation that feels they are making progress. They feel that failing the most financially vulnerable third-level students is acceptable. And they have no apparent answer to speeding up the process.




With the UCDSU Abortion Preferendum imminent, Anna Carnegie asks whether the SU should take a stance toward the issue, or whether it should be up to the individual student to choose

THE BALLOT BOXES are upon us. On the 1st and 2nd of October, UCD students will be asked to vote on the Students’ Union’s stance on abortion and whether smoking should be banned on campus. Both concern freedom of choice. The question is, should the Students’ Union have the say for its students as an entirety? Or should they allow us, as individuals, our own right to choose? We’re not just deciding on a women’s right to choose, or the individual’s right to smoke, but whether or not our SU should take a stance on abortion and, if so, what that stance should be. What does ‘taking a stance’ even involve? Should the SU have the power to speak for UCD students at all? To answer this, it seems wise to look at the Union’s involvement in other national issues. Let’s take the example of student fees. As well as coming out against the introduction of fees in the media, SU officers also took to the streets in protest, along with Unions from around the country, encouraging the student body to do the same. So, what if you were, dare it be said, pro-fees? Would it be a violating your freedom of choice to know that the Union you were a part of disagreed with your views? Your views are still your own. It is not a political party that is going to expel you if you disagree with its opinion. As a student, you may disagree with what the SU were campaigning for, especially since your fees fund the SU, but they represented the view of the majority, decided through a preferendum. It could be argued, quite validly, that the anti-fees campaign and the abortion issue are wildly divergent. The former affects every student; the latter does not. Student fees are

exclusive to students. Abortion is not. Let’s take another example: equal marriage. Here, the similarities are clear. Both are politically controversial issues, and both are intertwined with aspects of Irish culture and religion. Last year, we saw the Union stepping forward and addressing the subject head on. UCDSU took part in the March for Marriage Equality after conducting a survey which indicated that over 93% of students favoured equal marriage. The SU realised that it had a role to play in changing the political landscape of this country. In all likelihood, there were a small minority who, for whatever reasons, did not agree with the message behind the March for Marriage. What were they to do? Quite simply, if they were against it, they need not attend. Once again, their hand was not being forced by the SU’s actions. In one sense, we have more choice in the abortion argument as students than we did as Irish citizens. The decision to pass the important legislation was made because of a legal decision and not because of a referendum. That being said, the SU is not akin to a national government; nor should it be. In general, students look to their representatives to be a unique voice of the university in a way that is simply not required of our elected TDs. The SU is all about giving the University a community feel, in which every student has a voice. However, how can one feel like part of this community when their views are contradictory to the party line? Not everyone is going to agree on an issue as controversial as abortion. Might it not be better for the SU to remain neutral, letting each student have their own individual opinion?


The more cynical amongst us may wonder where this will end. Will the SU begin taking a stance on an increasing number of national issues, until they become something of a pseudo-political party? This will alienate not only current students who disagree with the majority view, but may also turn prospective UCD graduates away from attending the university in the first place. There is a danger that it will also distract from more pressing student-centric matters. The SU offices are a hive of activity as it is, how would our officers be able to cope with overseeing both university and national issues? In all likelihood, something would have to go.

On the other hand, it could be said that the influence and resources that the SU has gives its students a greater freedom of choice. Individually, students may not feel that they can make a difference. Together, they have a stronger voice and a possibility to change things. Is it unfair then, for the minority who disagree to put a stop to these efforts? Or should it be the case that those interested in making national changes should join an independent group to do so? On an issue as potentially life-changing as abortion legislation, is it not right that we, the future of this country, take a stance publicly through the voice of the

SU? The very nature of a subject being divisive works both ways. Yes, individuals should be entitled to their own opinion, but if the majority are calling for change this too should be taken onboard. We should not shy away from action at the risk of offending a select few. The question of whether the SU should get involved in the divisive issue of abortion could be debated for hours on end. What it comes down to is if you don’t think that the SU should get involved, then get out and vote that way. If you think our elected representatives should campaign for or against abortion, then tell them. You have that choice.

SEANAD REFORM With ‘reform’ becoming the buzzword surrounding the upcoming referendum, Elizabeth O’Malley looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of government EVERY ARGUMENT surrounding the debate of whether to abolish the Seanad or not has invoked the word ‘reform’. Those in support of the Seanad’s abolition believe that getting rid of the house most associated with cronyism and elitism is the first step in achieving real change. Those against point out that simply removing the Seanad will not ensure any real reform of the Dáil, and may remove one of the only checks against the government. With the public debate firmly focussed on what sort of government we want, the University Observer has compared and contrasted the different areas of governing in our search for the best system. By focussing on what kind of government we want in the future, we can answer the question of whether or not a second house fits into a reformed government.

UNICAMERAL GOVERNMENT Examples: Denmark, Finland and Greece, People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Israel, Uganda, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Iceland A unicameral government has only one house.

ADVANTAGES • Bills are passed quicker as they only have to go through one house • Less expensive • Easier for voters to understand • More accountability (not as easy to scapegoat the other chamber)

DISADVANTAGES • Weaker power check on the executive • A streamlined bills process may mean more flawed bills being passed • Not as diverse, less minority views • Less deliberation



Examples: Ireland, the UK, Australia, France, Canada, Japan. Note – governments with fusion of powers tend to be bicameral

Examples: Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Austria, India, Russia, Brazil

Fusion of powers concerns the division between the parliament and the executive. Members of the parliament are also in the executive, and being in executive power means having a majority in the parliament.

All powers are vested in state or local government other than those specifically given to the federal government, usually military powers, foreign policy, taxation and infrastructure.



• Less division between the different branches of government, to act as a check • Less requirement to listen to other voices

Most democracies have the Westminster cabinet system, in which ministers are selected from the party in power. Ministers are expected to publicly support the government in all instances. The cabinet are collectively responsible for government policy. Under the Presidential cabinet system, ministers cannot be a member of either house or a sitting government. They can be taken from any walk of life.


CONSCIENCE VOTE Examples: The US, Australia, Canada Ireland currently has a tight whip system. Each party assigns a whip in both houses in order to ensure that there are enough people there for the vote to make quorum and to pass bills. If they vote against the party they are likely to be expelled from the party. In the US in particular, there is little control by the parties over individual politicians. The Liberal Party in Australia similarly allows a ‘conscience vote’.

• Better separation of powers • Experts can be appointed to ministries • If a minister isn’t performing they can be let go





• It can lead to duplication, inefficiencies and contradictory laws between states and provinces • Less unity and stability

• Laws aren’t written by elected representatives on the executive • The head of government doesn’t need to listen to ministers’ advice

• Gridlock • Government is held up by individual votes, which are often traded for political favours

• Those making laws are more • Less gridlock, more aware of local problems effective governing • People will become more • Easier to pass legislation in a crisis involved in their politics


Examples: The United States


• More of a check on government • Politicians held to account for individual decisions

SUBMISSIONS Submissions concerning a bill or other items before a select committee may be submitted in writing (online) or you can ask to talk to the committee in person. The committee is required to read, and listen to, all submissions. PETITIONS Anyone can petition the House of Representatives to act on a matter of public policy or law, or to set right a local or private issue. There are a set of rules surrounding petitions, but they only need to be signed by one person. A person of any age can petition the House. CHALLENGE A REGULATION People or organisations may make a complaint if they feel wronged by how a regulation operates. The Regulations Review Committee examines all regulations and investigates complaints. There are certain grounds for submitting a valid complaint. CITIZEN INITIATED REFERENDUM A citizen may initiate a referendum by gathering signatures from 10% of eligible New Zealand voters. OCTOBER 1ST 2013



INDIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN With the verdict from the Delhi rape case coming out recently, Jennifer Smyth examines India’s attitude to women and their role in Indian society

YOU TAKE a trip to the cinema with a friend and you get the last bus home together; a typical night out for a lot of us. There might be a drunken person sitting at the back, and you can hear a teenager’s iPod blaring from upstairs. No one would ever expect to be gang raped and left for dead. On the 16th of December last year, a 23-year-old woman was raped by six men on a bus they had taken for a joy ride earlier in the evening. Her injuries from being brutally attacked, tortured, and beaten with a metal rod led to her death two weeks later in a Singapore hospital. News of this event led to worldwide disgust and protest. What is India doing about its country’s backwards views on women, their education, and the lack of respect for their rights as citizens? The education of women in India is still a much discussed topic today. The victim of the Delhi rape case was a physiotherapy student whose father had to sell his farm to pay for her education. Her attackers were not so unfortunate. Even in prison, their education is still seen as a priority. They are encouraged to continue their studies in jail as education is deemed a fundamental right. A social welfare officer spoke of one of the men’s training saying, “A tailor has been teaching him how to sew. He can now sew buttons and hem.” Why should he get to benefit from learning this skill? He brutally attacked a woman and left her for dead at the side of the road. What employer would agree to hire him after his sentence and give him the opportunity to use these new found skills? The victim’s right to life was not viewed as fundamental by the rapist, yet he is still offered a free education. He may have put an


end to her education, but her death has given a beginning to his. Delhi University argues that educating the inmates changes them for the better; but how much change can come from a man who removed 95% of a woman’s intestines by penetrating her with a metal rod? According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-Government of India, 41% of Indian women aged 15 to 49 have never been to school, compared to 18% of men. The main reasons for women never attending school were cited as the expensive cost of education, no interest in studies and that they are required for household work. The Indian government should ensure their women achieve equal rights to education before trying to teach inmates to sew. Attitudes to women and their sexuality are in need of just as much improvement

as the education system. According to Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research in Delhi, a decade ago rape was a taboo subject in India. Women were, and often still are, deemed to be objects seen as controlled and owned by men. How can rape be avoided in this sort of patriarchal society? Ten women in the capital complain about being molested every day according to 2013 data from the Delhi Police. From January to September of this year 2,400 molestations were registered in 11 police stations. An American student, Rose Chasm, has come forward and spoken out about the sexual harassment she suffered while studying abroad in India. Her experiences of attempted rape, molestation, and stalking, among others, while studying abroad left her with PTSD and forced her to take

a mental leave of absence from her studies at the University of Chicago. This type of brutality to women is deemed acceptable by a large number of India’s population. The National Family Health Survey 2005-2006 found that 51% of Indian men and 54% of Indian women thought it justifiable for a man to beat his wife. Is it the years of female subjugation that leave these statistics shockingly high or could Indian traditions be the cause? One of the most widely known traditions in Indian culture is the system of dowries. The woman’s family is expected to pay the man’s family a fee for the marriage. In 1961, the Dowry Prohibition Act was put in place in an attempt to prevent this practice, but with the lack of proper implementation many women still die as a result of their dowry. According to recent data from India’s National Crime Records

Bureau there were 8,233 dowry deaths in 2012, one every hour. Families torture and kidnap women in an attempt to raise the dowry sum. Other women take their own lives due to the conflict and fear surrounding this outdated tradition. The conviction rate for these crimes was only 32%. India is not the only country with a negative attitude towards women when they fall victim to brutal crimes such as rape. On August 11th of last year an Ohio high school student got drunk, passed out, and was raped by two of her fellow students. They posted photographs online of the girl lying naked and images of her being carried from different houses by her wrists and ankles. They posted numerous tweets about their actions and a 12 minute video on YouTube making jokes about the situation. CNN reporter Poppy Harlow

then proceeded to lament how unfortunate it was that the two rapists’ “promising futures” had been destroyed by the part they played in raping their friend. The victim was blamed for being drunk. If someone was shot while intoxicated you would blame the gunman. How is rape any different? When it comes to attitudes about rape and crimes against women, America is just as much a developing nation as India. Until women are respected as equals in Indian society there will be no way to reduce the all too prevalent crimes against them. The Delhi rape case has opened India’s eyes and brought unwanted worldwide attention to their nation for unsavory reasons, forcing both the Indian system of law and their public to take action against what they used to deem as “justifiable” brutality towards women.

FOUR MORE YEARS As Angela Merkel looks ahead to another four years as Chancellor of Germany, Amy Courtney assesses her options for coalition


ANGELA MERKEL’S magic has worked once again, as she takes on the role of Chancellor of Germany for the third term running. She has been voted the leader of Europe’s biggest economy. The Christian Democrats Union (CDU) will take the lead once again after they and their Bavarian sister party, The Christian Social Union (CSU), won 41.5% of the national vote. Europe’s most powerful woman told her supporters, “This is a wonderful result. We will treat this trust with great care.” Merkel is highly respected in Germany as she has kept the German economy stable with low unemployment rates, but the big question on eveyone’s minds is who she will go into coalition with. Despite gaining the largest number OCTOBER 1ST 2013

of seats since 1957, Merkel’s party fell just five seats short of an absolute majority. The CDU will need a partner in government, which leaves Merkel with the choice of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) with 192 seats, and the Greens with 63 seats. Currently the SPD is the favourite. The joining of forces between the CDU and the SPD would make a strong and popular collaboration and put confidence in people all over Europe that Germany will stay committed to the euro. However, the SPD want to raise taxes on wealthy German citizens and support European integration and have previously attacked Merkel on her excessive austerity on European countries in return for bailout loans.

Party leader, Peer Steinbruck, had suggested something similar to a German-funded Marshall Plan instead of what he called “a deadly dose of austerity.” All these factors may affect the potential coalition of SPD with CDU. The ecologically focused and pro-European party, the Greens, are the CDU’s other potential coalation partner, winning 63 seats this year. Although these two parties have been in coalation before, some commentators would consider them to be volatile, and this coalation may prove to not be very popular as they could have differences over taxes. This election will have long-lasting effects on the political make-up of Germany. The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP),

who were in the previous coalition government with the CDU, was pushed out this year for the first time in postwar history after gaining only 4.8% of the vote. This was a catastrophic collapse from the party’s good years, as they had received 14.6% of the vote as recently as 2009. FDP failed to meet the 5% threshold to win seats in the Bundenstag. Meanwhile, The Alternative for Germany, a euro-sceptic party that campaigned on promising to scrap the euro and stop paying money to Europe’s periphery countries in need, nearly crossed the 5% hurdle to enter Parliament. So, what does this mean for Ireland? Merkel has commended Ireland on making good

progress on our bailout and has stated that she was grateful to Enda Kenny for “implementing the reforms so passionately.” Merkel cited Ireland as “one of those examples where it can be shown that things are improving” and expressed her “sincere respect” to the government for what they have achieved. She also stated that the policy towards Ireland will not change in light of her reelection. While many hoped that the election would force Merkel to re-evaluate her policies regarding austerity, the CDU has instead campaigned against using German money to stimulate growth in neighbouring economies. Pundits pointed to recent signs that the Eurozone economies are starting to recover as proof that their policies work. German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, appeared on television Sunday night, assuring Germany’s European partners that Berlin would play a “reliable” role in the continent’s affairs. In other words, expect more of the same. Writers at the Economist argue that Merkel “is largely to blame for the failure to create a full banking union for the euro zone, the first of many institutional changes it still needs. She has refused to lead public opinion, never spelling out to her voters how much Germany is to blame for the euro mess (nor how much its banks have been rescued by its bail-outs).” They argue that she is a politically gifted democrat who is a much safer bet than her leftist rivals. Merkel’s decision to save the euro has been lead by cautious actions. Germany bailed out countries only when on the brink of collapse and while there were no major reforms, Merkel can be credited with saving Europe, an outcome that was far from certain during large portions of the past six years. Though many may not agree with Merkel, she is definitely well-respected and here to stay.




FOR THE RIGHT TO DIE Arguing the pro-euthanasia aspect of the debate, Robert Dunne discusses the ramifications of legalising such actions


AGAINST THE RIGHT TO DIE The repercussions of introducing euthanasia could drastically affect the value of life in our society, writes Fionnán Long

DIGNITY is not found at the bottom of a glass of pentobarbital, only death. Human dignity is a constant that one holds by virtue of being human. Since the discovery of Auschwitz and the firebombing of Dresden, this is the standard of moral reasoning that western civilization has aspired to hold itself to. The philosophers that framed post-war constitutions and treaties concerning human rights understood the horrors that happen when the life of a person is treated as a means rather than as an end. The dignity of life should never be conditional on anything, not even one’s own consent. It does not matter if a person is bedridden, in a state of Alzheimer-induced infancy, or does not even recognise their own dignity. Their life still has an intrinsic inalienable value. Recognising a right to die erodes that value. It may seem that when a person chooses euthanasia they are making a private decision that only matters to them. The problem is that there are wider consequences to this individual act. When a person chooses to end their own life they are communicating to others in similar circumstances that their life is not worth living. Over time social discourse will be shaped by this belief. Through it is one individual’s decision, many more will eventually feel compelled to no longer be a burden. Public understanding of any issue is merely a construct of the circumstances of the time. If a right to die is recognised, society’s understanding of death and the process of dying will change. There will eventually come a point where society will come to regard suicide as normal. People don’t

exercise free will so much as conform to social expectations. Japan, which has a long established culture of suicide, has a disproportionate level of suicide per capita. While it may be possible to introduce an obligatory psychiatric assessment as a precondition to the provision of euthanasia, a psychiatrist can only make a decision on the basis of what they are told. An individual may not be honest about factors influencing their mind or even be aware of those factors. Healthcare is a scarce resource. It will always be true that euthanasia will be the less draining alternative to palliative care. As attitudes to death change patients who receive socialised palliative care may be pressured to euthanize themselves. Even if a person is never directly pressured, people will believe they have a duty to die to allow others to receive healthcare. Palliative care, seen as wasteful, could be withdrawn from welfare programmes. Insurance providers will seek to avoid the cost of paying for palliative care when an alternative is available. This situation that encourages some to end their own lives is unconscionable. Legalising euthanasia will disproportionately affect people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. They will be unable to pay for palliative care. In the Flanders region of Belgium, a study published by the British Medical Journal found that 47% of cases of euthanasia were not reported. A study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found 32% of cases of euthanasia in Flanders were done without explicit consent. These examples show that there is room for abuse, even within a well-established system.


There is a danger in allowing death to become a commodity. Dignitas is an assisted suicide organisation that allows foreigners to take advantage of Swiss suicide law. The organisation purports to be non-profit, but in spite of this, Dignitas does not publically disclose its accounts. The founder of the organisation, Ludwig Minelli has become a millionaire since Dignitas began in 1998 according to an investigation by the Swiss magazine, the Beobachter. Former employee Soraya Wernli, though still a right to die activist, has alleged that psychiatric evaluations performed by the organisation are minimal. She claims clients have arrived in the morning and are dead by the afternoon. She alleges client’s possessions have been sold by Dignitas. In 2010 Swiss police recovered 300 urns from Lake Zurich believed contain the remains of Dignitas clients. The pursuit of profit leads to a race to the bottom. Organisations like Dignitas will become powerful lobby groups. The process of dying is one of the most profound experiences of life. It is through being a helpless burden on loved ones that both the dying and their family realise the love that holds them together. It is through cognitive regress that one understands the transience of human experience. The dependency that the prideful see as an indignity underlines the interconnected nature of human existence. This is the heart of the process of dying. It is a process of growth that suicides never experience. Though they have the courage to face death they fear the process of dying. They never learn the lessons dying has to teach.

treatment. We do not prevent people from stopping medical treatment for a relative in a persistent vegetative state, but our system does not allow them to exercise autonomy to alleviate their suffering. The two most important medical oaths, the Hippocratic Oath and the Declaration of Geneva, stress the importance of preserving life, but when that life is no longer viable, and the person is going to die anyway, we are hurting the patient. There is also a belief that if we legalise euthanasia it will lower the value of human life. This is based on a logical fallacy, namely that of the slippery slope. It fails to take into account the reasons for introducing consensual euthanasia, which is to act in their best wishes and with the consent of the patient. If one is seeking euthanasia due to family or financial pressure, then we should strive towards a society in which this doesn’t have to be the case or introduce welfare schemes to help people affected by our welfare system. Arguing otherwise entails saying that many different types of medical treatment should be denied simply because they are not financially viable. In order to prevent a situation in which patients are being euthanised against their wishes, consent must be the paramount issue. Euthanasia cannot just be the decision of the doctor. Before allowing someone to die, there are many factors that need to be taken into account. The capacity of the patient to give consent should be considered, as should any pressure from other sources to undergo the procedure. We would have to create a robust system of laws, drawing on what works in countries that already allow euthanasia. These laws include undergoing psychological assessment, getting permission from two different doctors, and talking patients through their options. This would be the only way to prevent people who may be suffering from mental problems such as depression or degenerative mental conditions from seeking euthanasia for the wrong reasons. Where the patient no longer has the required mental capacity, they are no longer capable of making the decision. A committee could also prevent a patient from trying to receive euthanasia due to familial pressure, as mentioned previously. Before we as a society can even begin to legislate for euthanasia, we must first recognise that we can no longer decide to deny people the right to die for reasons that are completely irrational. Arguments from religious authorities that resort to basic logical fallacies must be rejected.


REBUTTAL THE IDEA OF DYING as entailing physical suffering is out of date. Modern palliative care in Ireland is effective and free. The HSE even provides treatment in the patient’s own home. It is true that sometimes opiates may shorten the patient’s life expectancy. The curtailment of life expectancy is presently an unfortunate possibility. It is disingenuous to argue that this is

EUTHANASIA IS ILLEGAL in the UK and Ireland. In the UK, if one helps a person to go abroad in order to receive euthanasia, they are criminally liable for assisting the suicide of that person. Recently, physicist Stephen Hawking said that he believed in the right to die, saying that “I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives and those that help them should be free from prosecution.” His reasons for believing in the right to die were to prevent suffering. “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?” Hawking argued, admitting that there needed to be restrictions. “There must be safeguards that the person concerned genuinely wants to end their life and they are not being pressurised into it or have it done without their knowledge or consent, as would have been the case with me.” He said. The issue of euthanasia is controversial, because it entails giving people the right to commit suicide, which is considered a social taboo and a sin by most religious institutions. Many Supreme Court judges and government ministers worldwide have refused to grant euthanasia requests for this reason, or because they have internalised the belief that euthanasia should not be allowed under any circumstances. However, this issue is simply not black and white. People who suffer from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy will, over time, lose their ability to manage in daily life without a helper. While the law would permit them to commit suicide, they are physically incapable of doing so. Eventually the disease will render them unable to move or enjoy life, before they die. They do not want to endure the agony that will come before their natural death, they don’t want to be remembered by their relatives as sickly and weak in their final moments, and although healthcare should be free, they don’t want to leave their families with expensive medical bills. In a situation such as this, where we can be in full knowledge that the patient is going to die soon, there is definitely a moral argument to be made that the patient should have the right to choose death if that is their wish. At this stage of an illness the dichotomy of life or death no longer applies, rather the choice is between extended suffering, and ending suffering. Our medical system allows patients to take strong painkillers that may kill them. It allows patients to refuse life-saving

the ethical equivalent of euthanasia. When ethically evaluating such an action, it must be understood that the intention is not to euthanise, but rather to alleviate suffering while respecting the value of human life. The difference is that one action is done with the intention to stop the patient’s pain while the other is done for the sole reason of ending a life. Under the status quo people can

refuse lifesaving treatment and are passively euthanised. The argument set out above, based on human rights reasoning, holds that this ought not to happen. What happens or does not happen under the status quo is no basis for any ethical argument. While individual cases may feel compelling, what is at stake is too important to concede a right to die.

IF EUTHANASIA were to be implemented it would have to take place within the public healthcare system. Euthanasia within the private healthcare system would be subject to abuse as the entire business model is designed with the main aim of making profit as opposed to helping patients. Private healthcare is not appropriate for administrating euthanasia, or any medical procedure for that matter. A dignified death is difficult to define, as

dignity is a subjective term. What may be regarded as a dignified death should be up to the individual to decide. While for some dying may be virtuous and widen that person’s experience of life, we should not fetishise the process of dying and the suffering that comes with it. To many people, complete mental and physical decay, spending months in pain, and being remembered as sickly is not a dignified death, and it is not for us to force them to ‘learn the lessons’ of dying. OCTOBER 1ST 2013



A LANGUAGE FOR EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE With language seeming to be the biggest barrier to a globalised society, Robert Nielsen explores a growing community of self-taught speakers who want a single language for every country






tension, as it contained a mixture of Russians, Poles, Jews and Germans, ESPERANTO IS all of whom had their own language. ESSENTIALLY A Zamenhof believed the main COMBINATION reason for this division was the OF THE MAIN inability of each group to comLANGUAGES OF municate with others. He felt that if they could speak to each other, EUROPE INTO A they would be able to understand NEW NEUTRAL the others point of view, and would LANGUAGE not resort so easily to violence. THAT ALL CAN His solution was to create a SPEAK WITHOUT neutral language that all could speak equally without losing their own SURRENDERING heritage or compromising their naTHEIR NATIONAL tional pride. The idea of a universal PRIDE language soon spread across Europe. People saw it as a great way to unite the world and it became hugely linked with pacifism, especially after the carnage of the First World War. Unfortunately, not everyone liked this spirit of internationalism. NaTHE WORLD is divided into tionalists believed Esperanto would thousands of different languages, weaken their national language and each with its own culture and Esperantists were often suspected of background. Anyone who has being spies during the Second World travelled abroad will be able to War. Hitler went as far as to make identify that awkward moment of the language illegal during the Nazitrying (and usually failing) to breach era and persecuted Esperantists. the language barrier with a local. Stalin, too, disliked the idea of No doubt, we have all considered his citizens easily communicathow much easier it would be if ing with the outside world and a single language existed, that the Soviet Union also banned we could all speak together. But Esperanto and clamped down national pride has a tendency to get on speakers. Esperanto suffered in the way; we are reluctant to learn serious blows, but survived, and more than a few tourist-appropriate today it stands stronger than ever. phrases in another language. The internet offered Esperanto a A neutral language, without a past major and unexpected boost. Comof colonialism or a specific national munication with the entire world was background, is needed. However, this made possible by improvements in isn’t a recent thought, but few know internet technology, and Esperantists that such a neutral language has all over the world began to unite. It existed for many years: Esperanto. no longer mattered if you were the Esperanto is essentially a only Esperanto speaker in your town, combination of the main lanas you could find fellow enthusiasts guages of Europe into a new neutral from all over the world online. language that anyone can speak Escomu explains, “With the without surrendering their national internet, it is easy to learn and compride. Its similarities to European municate, even if you don’t have time languages make it relatively easy nor money to travel. It’s a language to learn, and it is similar to a you learn because you want to, not Romance language, but with because there is a nation with ecogreater use of the letters K and J. nomical or military power behind it.” Unlike other languages, it was There are now books to learn the invented by a single person who language, forums to discuss it and created all words and grammar, people to speak it with, all free and meaning there are not multiple inter- readily available. The world has pretations of the language in circula- become much more interconnected tion. As it is not tied to one place or than it previously was, and an inculture, it does not carry the baggage creased number of people are being of other languages, which are histori- exposed to new ideas and cultures. If cally linked to a country’s army. anything, the need for a language we Esperanto is not designed to can all understand has only grown. replace a country’s native language, Esperanto is unique in that there but rather to complement it. It aims is no hierarchy in the language. For to be the world’s second language. example, no matter how good you get Esperanto has many self-taught at French, you will never speak it as speakers, who rave about its well as a native; there will always be advantages. One such speaker is a degree of inferiority. In compariAlex Escomu, from Madrid. He son, as almost all Esperanto speakbelieves: “[Esperanto has] no nation. ers have the language as a second It is more neutral than national language, a conversation in Esperanlanguages. So its easiest to learn.” to is truly a conversation of equals. Esperanto was created in 1887 by The community of Esperanto L.L. Zamenhof, who lived in Bialys- speakers is different from any other tok, formerly part of the Russian Em- language group as all members pire. His town was rife with ethnic choose to speak it, rather than being



born into it or being forced to learn it. Larry Kenny, another self-taught Esperanto speaker explains, “In some respects, it’s a pretty ordinary, pretty European language. What makes it stand out, linguistically, is the obvious; [no one] speaks it natively. As a consequence, anybody can rise to the standard of proficiency that is [usually] reserved for native speakers.” Out of the 6,800 languages known in the world, Esperanto ranks in the top 100, having the 29th largest Wikipedia site, ahead of Arabic. There is a thriving culture behind Esperanto comprising of blogs, a newspaper and a radio station. There are over 50,000 books available in Esperanto, songs which can be found on YouTube, and even movies, the best known of which is Incubus, starring William Shatner. Esperanto even has its own flag and anthem. The idea of learning a new language can be daunting, of course. Verb conjugations, grammar rules, and odd spellings are all parts of a language that just have to be learned. All of that is removed from Esperanto. Grammar rules are minimal and Zamenhof once boasted that you can learn the grammar of Esperanto in an hour. As Esperanto was invented, it was designed to be as clear as possible and without any of the strange rules found in other languages. It is a language of logic more than anything else. As Kenny explains, “[I love] the language’s built-in tendency to accept, in a sense, anything that makes sense.” Esperanto is so easy to learn that a study by the Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn, Germany found that while it takes 2,000 hours to learn German, 1,500 to learn English, and 1,000 to learn Italian, it only takes 150 hours to learn Esperanto. For Bart Anderson of California, the ease of speaking Esperanto helps people to maintain the motivation required to learn it; people are able to use it much quicker than any other language. “I studied German for three and a half years in high school, and again on my own. Even so, I could read Esperanto more easily than German after studying it for only a few months.” The ease with which you can speak it makes Esperanto open for anyone to learn; you don’t have to spend a huge amount of time on lessons. Head of USA Esperanto Association, Bill Harris, believes,

“Esperanto is the most democratic language in the world.” The value of Esperanto was acknowledged by the Grin Report, which was created to examine the future of linguistic communication within Europe. It found that making English the primary language of Europe was not feasible as it would give all native English speakers an unfair advantage over the rest of Europe.

if the words were simply made up. In a sense, all languages are to a degree artificial, composed of approved rules and spellings that are rigidly enforced. No language is truly “natural,” as all have standardised spelling and language boards that decide how people should speak. When asked about the language, speakers highlight the ease of speaking it, the new culture you see emerging, and the people you meet as the main advantages. Information Technology Analyst WITH THE from the University of Kansas INTERNET, Andrew Beals uses Esperanto to IT IS EASY TO create worldwide contacts. “I spent an afternoon chatting, drinking LEARN AND tea with a professor in Shanghai. COMMUNICATE, Someone I never would have met if EVEN IF YOU DON’T we didn’t both speak Esperanto.” HAVE TIME NOR Anderson believes there is a MONEY TO TRAVEL. community emerging among the IT’S A LANGUAGE Esperanto speakers across the globe. “Perhaps the most unusual aspect YOU LEARN BECAUSE YOU WANT of Esperanto is the community that speaks it. It is an idealistic, TO, NOT BECAUSE grassroots movement that has lasted THERE IS A NATION for more than 125 years. There’s WITH ECONOMICAL a lot that we can learn from it.” So, is Esperanto a success? OR MILITARY There are believed to be as many POWER BEHIND IT as 2 million speakers in the world, making it roughly as popular as Irish. So while it has not succeeded in becoming the international second language of the world, most argue that this misses the point. Native speakers would automatiNowadays Esperanto is best cally dominate any conversation or viewed as a way to meet people and communication and be saved time experience different cultures. It and effort of learning another allows you to connect to people you language, while an extra burden would never otherwise have met and would be put on everyone else. visit places you would otherwise Neither would a system of multihave never seen. Many speakers lingualism where people learned make lasting friendships with other English, French or German, be enthusiasts from across the globe. feasible as it would still create some Even if it brings only a small favoured languages that would number of people together, Esdominate. There would be large costs peranto can still be considered in terms of time and translation. a success, and perhaps one day The report found that if every be seen as truly beneficial and country adopted Esperanto as its a worthwhile investment for second language, it would save €25 countries around the world. billion across the EU. People could The community of speakers communicate effectively without fear are hopeful for the future, and of diluting their national identity. believe interest in the language The report concluded that Esperanto will continue to grow. Beals bewas the best long term strategy. lieves, “One day, it will stop being A common criticism of Espea joke, as people will realise not ranto is that it is an “artificial” only its utility, but also the wealth language. While this may have of interesting literature that one been true at one time, presently it would otherwise never ever see. has a flourishing culture behind “We Esperantists will be here, it. As all of its words derive from waiting, and will welcome people with European languages, it has a flow open hearts and arms, because that’s and rhythm that would be lacking the kind of community we have.”






With insurance companies no longer allowed to use gender as a basis for discrimination, Dónal Ó Catháin investigates whether this new gender-blind system actually provides equality THIS YEAR saw a landmark change for gender equality with a new insurance system that is gender blind introduced. No longer can an insurance company quote you astronomical prices simply for being male. Although, with this comes the realisation that you can no longer escape with cheaper insurance quotes just for being a female driver. An extract from a publication by the Department of Justice and Equality on the changes in insurance premiums which came into effect this year states that “Traditionally, gender has been one of the factors that insurance companies consider when calculating risk. Arising from a ruling on a case brought before the Court of Justice of the EU, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to quote you a different price for your insurance based on your gender.” This is a change many young drivers have waited for, and it was brought about in an attempt to achieve gender equality in the world of car insurance. However, UCD School of Economics lecturer Dr Christopher Jepsen believes there was little problem with the original system. “Allowing insurance companies to offer different prices, I would argue from an economics point of view, seems reasonable in the sense that it’s an actuarial thing. “It’s not like they’re actively discriminating. If indeed men are worse drivers, and so have a higher likelihood of accidents and thus higher insurance, economics would say that’s fine. The rate is just reflecting the costs. I don’t think of that as discrimination.” When asked whether he believed it to be fair that safe male drivers should have to pay more because of other irresponsible members of their sex, he explains, “Is it fair that [young students] pay higher

car insurance than I do, because young drivers have a lot more accidents than older drivers? “As an old driver, I feel I shouldn’t have to pay more just because I’m male because they [young males] have more accidents. It’s nothing personal. Younger males simply have more car accidents. Is it fair? It’s just actuarial, statistics. Are statistics fair?” But can dangerous driving really be examined on as basic a level as gender? While some argue it as stereotyping, there are statistics to substantiate the claim that young men especially are more dangerous drivers. Figures from the 2011 RSA Collision Fact Book, representing car drivers fatalities by age and sex saw that three times as many male drivers between the ages 17–24 suffered fatalities in comparison to their female counterparts. In fact, deaths among males were higher in all age categories up to 65-years-old. According to the RSA, for male car drivers in general, the risk of dying in a traffic crash is about two times higher than that for female car drivers. In 2011, the RSA claimed, “Among all car drivers, 17–24 year old male drivers were six times more likely to be killed on the road.” This is a phenomenal figure, proving that there is obviously a large element of truth to the ‘boy racer’ stereotype. Dr Jepsen, however, is dubious of the benefits the equal premiums law could really provide. “With the car insurance, I don’t see the benefit of doing it, why should male drivers have cheaper car insurance if they cause more accidents? I don’t see discrimination there. I think maybe men should be more cautious.”


Feminist groups campaign endlessly to eradicate the large gaps in gender equality, be it in terms of wages, social standing, or any other of the numerous factors they believe to be unfairly affecting them. However, unequal car insurance premiums are one of the few gender issues that discriminates against males while benefiting women. Many male drivers hoped the equal premiums law would reduce their car insurance charges, bringing them closer to the figures previously paid by female drivers. However, this is not the case. Rather, insurance premiums for all young drivers have risen to the same high level, causing a new problem. Feminist groups campaign for equal pay and argue that there is a

noticeable gap between what males and females earn in the workforce. An issue that has not been addressed officially in great detail. Jepsen observes, “There’s the irony, women get paid less, but they’re going to pay higher car insurance and [now] men are going to pay less.” Some argue that this difference in wage levels can be accounted for, at least in part, by factors such as the fact that women tend to go on maternity leave or even leave the workforce entirely to raise families. Gender can play a part in wage levels, but can no longer play a part in insurance premiums. So, while women continue to earn less, their insurance costs are steadily rising to meet those of their male counterparts. In

essence, what appears on the surface as discrimination is most likely just economic and statistical factors at play, whether it be regarding car insurance premiums or even the wage gap. This equal insurance policy premium won’t do much to help the economy. Rather, it will just reduce expenses for young male drivers. As Jepsen explains, “By doing this you’re going to make the insurance market less efficient and certainly in Ireland the market is not particularly efficient to begin with. You’re just making it even less efficient.” Rest assured, curbing the discrimination by insurance companies will be bringing joy to joyriders in a local outlet carpark near you soon.

our opinions alternating between acute dislike and extreme pride. Still, the hypocrisy of that nation’s search for an Irish identity is probably best demonstrated by our sporting allegiances. Football is one of the most popular sports in Ireland, played in all parts of the country. The exploits of the national team provide a common talking point, and many people will still get misty-eyed recalling the glory days of Italia ‘90. Despite this, rather than support an Irish club such as Shamrock Rovers or Bohemians, the majority of Irish football fans would rather follow a Premier League club. Countless fans travel across to Britain each year to support Liverpool, Manchester United

or Celtic, while clubs at home struggle to fill stadiums during the Airtricity League season. Overall, it is obvious to us all that we have rather mixed feelings towards our ‘Irishness.’ We dislike being stereotyped, yet do little to discourage it. We both love and hate the Irish language, while sport demonstrates our difficulty in accepting fully our Irish identity. In these difficult economic times, however, we should put aside any uncertainty we have in our Irish heritage and extend a proud céad míle fáilte to our visitors. Although we might be hesitant about certain aspects of our Irish identity, they obviously still feel that our little nation is one that is well worth visiting.

A HERITAGE WE CAN CALL OUR OWN From stereotyping to the Irish language, Ciara Leacy examines our mixed feelings towards our Irish identity

“WE PUT our glass to the sky and lift up, and live tonight ‘cause you can’t take it with ya; So raise a pint for the people that aren’t with us, and live tonight ‘cause you can’t take it with ya.” So goes the chorus of ‘Irish Celebration’ by the Seattle-born rapper Macklemore, who played two sold out gigs in the O2 last week. From his popularity, and from the reaction of most Irish people to that song, it’s clear that most of us are proud of our heavy drinking, life of the party image. But why is it that this aspect of Irish life, one which has an undeniably darker side to it, garners such a positive response from Irish people, while other aspects of our “Irishness” are derided? In a completely different genre of music, Crystal Swing released their new single ‘Happy Days’ in the same week. A catchy and cheerful song, it has nevertheless experienced a rather mixed reaction. Its video is trending on YouTube, but despite over 233,000 views at the time of writing, some listeners took to the airwaves to complain about the band. One caller on the RTÉ Radio 1 radio show, Mooney Goes Wild, criticised that they spent their time making “pointless YouTube videos” and declared them “the butt of the joke.” ‘Happy Days’ is an undeniably upbeat song, yet many Irish people denounce and belittle Crystal Swing’s efforts for “making a joke of Ireland”. This, in contrast to our pride in Macklemore’s acknowledgement of his Irish heritage through a rather jaded stereotype, is striking in its demonstration of our ambivalence towards our Irish identity. Any Irish person who travels abroad will agree that the Irish are subject to relentless stereotyping by other nationalities. For many, this is a source of irritation. Laura, a Dublin-born student who has studied in Boston

and London, says stereotyping is rampant. “They automatically assume that you’re more into going out and partying than anything else and they don’t really ask anything, they just assume they know how you are.” Allen, an American working in Ireland, agrees, admitting, “I originally pictured the Irish as being very intoxicated 95% of the day.” Despite the exasperation we feel about our stereotype as drunken leprechauns, however, we also seem keen to proudly acknowledge it. A YouTube video entitled ‘You know you’re Irish when’ has been viewed over 963,000 times, and manages to pack every Irish stereotype, from alcoholism to brawling, into five minutes. Our pride in our national idiosyncrasies seems at odds with our aversion to our typical stereotypes. For many years, Ireland was known as a country that prided itself on its friendliness. However, many Irish people believe that this has declined in recent years, with urbanisation leading to increasing isolation for many. Happily, other nationalities do not seem to see this as the case. Laura explains, “We were perceived to be actually the friendliest people and anyone who said they’d come to visit has said it was the friendliest place to come to.” Our international reputation as the land of a thousand welcomes seems to be holding strong, despite our own unease towards this reputation. For many, the Irish language is a key part of Irish culture. In spite of this, however, a large number of Irish people are happy to declare their dislike, and even hatred of the language. According to the State Examinations Commission website, only 42% of students who sat the 2013 Irish Leaving Certificate examination took the higher level paper. This is in contrast to, for


example, English, where 65.5% of candidates sat the higher level paper. If not for extensive government funding, it seems highly unlikely that Irish would still be used as an everyday language, even in the Gaeltacht areas. In spite of the mixed feelings that the Irish populace seem to have towards our ancestral tongue, a cover of Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ in Irish recently went viral, and has been viewed on YouTube over two million times. In fact, well-known Irish groups such as the Coronas, the Heathers and the Rubberbandits have covered songs in Irish, often with very well-received results. We as a nation seem unable to make up our minds about ár teanga dúchais, with




NO SMOKE WITHOUT REFERENDUM As UCD students vote on the introduction of a smoke free campus, Rebecca Hart gauges the general opinion surrounding the possible ban ILLUSTRATION RORY MULLEN

THE SMOKING BAN, introduced in March 2004, was initially met with scepticism by the Irish, who traditionally held a universally acclaimed image as a nation of drinkers and smokers. However, in the last decade, the ban has been deemed a success by those in the health industry. Cigarette sales fell by 60% in the first year, as over 7,000 people gave up smoking. But smoking doesn’t just affect the health of smokers. It also has a detrimental effect on the environment and those non-smokers residing in it. When Universitas Indonesia released the results of its Green Metric ranking of world universities, the University of Limerick ranked as one of Ireland’s top green universities. They excelled in waste reduction and recycling, and have plans in place to implement a total smoking ban on campus in 2014. If the referendum, due to be held on 1st and 2nd October, is passed, UCD could be the first Irish campus to impose a smoking ban. Even if the students vote against the ban, the University could still implement it, as the referendum is just to establish UCDSU’s stance on the issue that UCD are considering. It has been suggested that an outright ban will lead to a cleaner environment, which in turn will improve the health of students and staff on campus. A 2008 study by Oxford University in England found that healthier students can attain better grades. Statistics showed that students who had a full breakfast could focus for 13% longer than those who attended classes on an empty stomach. Students living in accommodation where a meal was provided

for them, as opposed to relying on take-away and fast food, received higher grades, averaging at 8% higher than their convenience food eating counterparts. Minister for Health, James Reilly, is implementing a strategy in universities where the entire campus will become smoke free, meaning lecturers and students will no longer be able to step outside to have a cigarette. The aim is “to make smoking seem less normal in the eyes of young, influential people, and to ensure it is not seen as an attractive habit.” He plans to rid Ireland of cigarette smoke by 2025, which will be no easy achievement. At present, 29% of the population are smokers, despite a pack of cigarettes averaging at €9.40. While there are many in favour of a smokeless Ireland, a substantial number of people believe smoking is a choice every individual has the right to make. Forest Eireann, an organisation advocating the right to enjoy smoking, represents those who are against a tobacco free country. They acknowledge the health risks associated with smoking, and accept the need for restrictions, but do not accept the controlling effects of the government. They aim to protect the interest of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco and claim to debunk some of the myths about smoking. John Mallon, a spokesperson for the organisation, disagrees with the government’s new strategies. “Second hand smoke is not harmful. Unpleasant, but not harmful. Outdoors the dissipation of smoke is so total as to make it impossible to arrive at the

conclusion that there is any danger.” According to Mallon, no scientific or medical research has been carried out to prove that smoking outdoors can have a harmful effect on those in the vicinity. He believes the new and extended smoking ban will de-normalise individuals who smoke,


while also taking away their right of choice, which is a basic human right. He feels the smoking ban in Ireland has reduced diversity, and believes that since the ban was introduced in Ireland, people are less inclined to go out to pubs and bars. Being unable to smoke in places like this has resulted in a decrease in business since the introduction of the ban. In UCD, there has been a mixed reaction to a total smoking ban. Alison MacDermott, a first year Arts student, is opposed to a total ban. She believes, “[Smoking] is a social activity and a way for people to make friends.” She acknowledges the opposing side, saying, “I

understand that it is damaging to people’s health, but a total ban isn’t the way to solve it. If people want to smoke, they will find a way to do so.” Both lecturers and students will be affected by the ban, as it will no longer be possible to smoke between classes. Instead, smokers will have to leave the campus to light up, which could have a strong impact on the social aspect of stepping out for a cigarette. Supporters of the ban are many. A Science student speaking to the University Observer agrees with the idea of a smoke free campus, saying that while she believes people have the right to choose to smoke, they should not do it “in a place where others will be subjected to secondary smoke.” She continues, “A total ban will provide a clean environment for studying and will reduce disruption to lectures as people come in late having gone for a smoking break between classes.” A more neutral view of the possible initiation of a smoke free campus is the opinion that smokers should simply avoid imposing on other non-smokers. Arthur Wellington, a fifth year Engineering student, agrees with this view. He believes, “Those who wish to smoke can do as they may, as long as they stay ten feet from the doorways.” This means that other users of the entrance and exit won’t have to walk through a cloud on entering and leaving the building. The referendum, which is held on the proposal, “This union supports the smoke free campus initiative, as proposed by the UCD health promotion committee,” will see whether the students of UCD value the right of choice.

BREAKING A DANGEROUS CYCLE With animosity between cyclists and motorists at an all-time high, Jonathan Byrne examines whether student cyclists are safe on the roads of Dublin


Standing in UCD’s Belfield Bike Shop, one only needs to look around to witness the ever growing popularity of cycling. On any given afternoon, you will see a flurry of people availing of the shop’s services, ranging from repairs and parts to new and second-hand bike sales. The shop manager, Aidan Ryan, is an award-winning coach and has won numerous Irish Cycling Championships and as he explains, it’s not just during the academic year that people populate Belfield Bike Shop. “We’ve been extremely busy since about two weeks before term started.” When asked why cycling has become so popular in recent times, he explains: “Now, people are far more practical. It’s seen as not only environmentally beneficial and a healthy form of transport, but it’s also very cheap, ideal for students.” A recent topic of interest to cyclists is the possible implementation of on the spot fines by the government. Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has put measures in place to introduce new road safety regulations before the start of next year. These regulations would allow Gardaí to impose fines on three offences: breaking a red light, cycling on a footpath, and OCTOBER 1ST 2013

overtaking in a dangerous situation. These fines will have an average cost of €50 and must be paid within 56 days. Varadkar, a cyclist himself, insisted the move was not about targeting cyclists, but a move that hopes to ensure road safety for all vehicles. Ryan is sceptical about the new government measures. “The danger of one motorist breaking a red light is far greater than any cyclist breaking a red light. Cyclists are risking their own lives. Motorists are risking multiple lives. Sometimes it’s safer for a cyclist to move just before the lights go green to go ahead of the traffic. In many cases, cyclists are doing it for their own safety.” UCD Veterinary student, Joe Coffey, has his own opinions on the matter. “Breaking a red light has the potential for a very bad accident. Going up on a footpath or making an overtake manoeuvre might be the only option a cyclist has.” This past summer, Coffey undertook a mammoth task when he cycled around Ireland in ten days for the National Rehabilitation Hospital. This charity cycle was completed in aid of Jack Kavanagh and JP O’Brien. When asked about cycle lanes and their usability throughout his journey,


Coffey says, “Only major towns and cities had cycle lanes. In general they were good. Some of them were too short and ended very abruptly. I hated when cycle lanes went up on footpaths. It can be a tricky manoeuvre slowing down and going up on a path.” The availability of cycle lanes is a well-known problem, however, the size of cycle lanes is also an issue. “What we have as a cycle lane for two directions is probably the width you want for one,” explains Coffey. Some tension between motorists and cyclists is inevitable. Motorists accuse cyclists of ignoring the rules of the road, while cyclists complain about getting cut off by drivers. This negativity has only escalated in recent years. Recently, Independent TD Finian McGrath came out and

blasted cyclists for being “arrogant” and disrespecting other road users. In England, there was a rather bizarre case that caught the media’s attention earlier in the summer. A young female driver, by the name of Emma Way, took to her Twitter account to rant about cyclists. “Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier – I have right of way he doesn’t even pay road tax! #bloodycyclists.” As these words went viral over the internet, the power of social media was proven. Police were notified and the victim himself, Tom Hockley, was also discovered. Hockley testified, “She hit me hard, really hard. I am lucky to be alive, but I managed to get out of the hedge and stand up.” Way, a trainee accountant at the time, even

ended up being suspended from her employment due to the fallout. The introduction of fines and the lack of adequate cycle lanes are just two of a number of issues facing cyclists. The real question that begs an answer, however, is whether cycling to college is actually safe, especially in Dublin. “There are safe cyclists and there are people who just don’t seem to have any regard. Because the numbers of people cycling has increased, many of the drivers that you’ll meet, they’re also cyclists so they are more conscious of the cyclists needs than years ago,” notes Ryan. When asked about the differences between cycling in Dublin compared to the rest of the country, Ryan explains, “You really have to be

aware and alert. It’s a lot more dangerous and difficult to get around.” It is clear that cycling is a popular mode of transport for college students. But, with fines being implemented and city traffic difficult to navigate, cycling is not always the easiest or safest option for students. As Ryan explains: “Make yourself visible. Awareness is the most important thing. You being aware of other people and traffic, and them being aware of you.” For students, cycling can be another way to save money while also providing the added benefit of staying healthy. When undertaken with caution and an awareness of the potential dangers, cycling can be an efficient and effective way to travel, benefiting both your health and the environment.




Le reifreann neamhspleáchas na hAlban ag teacht aníos i 2014, labhraíonn Conor de Paor ar rudaí mar atá faoi láthair béaldorais

SA BHLIAIN 1707, rinne Albain iarracht chun Darién i bPanama a choilíniú, agus tar éis aon cheathrú d’airgead na tíre a chailleadh, theip go glan orthu. Ansin, ní raibh dara rogha ag na hAlbanaigh ach le dul isteach sa Ríocht Aontaithe. An bhliain seo chugainn, beidh reifreann ar siúl acu chun todhchaí na tíre a chinneadh. Is é 2014 an 700ú comóradh den chath stairiúil, Bannockburn, suíomh ar chlaí na hAlbanaigh fórsaí Edward II. Is gné bhróid é seo i stair na hAlban agus is léir go bhfuil nasc idir an stair seo agus an reifreann atá ag teacht chun cinn. Bhain Alex Salmond agus an SNP (Páirtí Náisiúnachas na hAlban) ollbhua amach i mBealtaine 2011 i Holyrood (áit a bhfuil parlaimint na hAlban) agus d’éiligh Salmond do reifreann neamhspleáchais na hAlban ar an bpointe. Tháinig an fhís a bhí aige le chéile nuair a shínigh Salmond agus David Cameron an comhaontú Dhún Éideann i mí Deireadh Fómhair 2012. Tá an SNP ag iarraidh go mbeadh Sasana agus Albain ar chomhchéim lena céile agus creideann siad go mbeidís in ann iarracht níos fearr a dhéanamh ar son eacnamaíocht na hAlban ná mar a dhéanann Westminster. Tá cúiseanna eile leis an neamhspleáchas chomh maith. Dar leis an teorainn atá leagtha amach ag an Ríocht Aontaithe, dá mbeadh Albain neamhspleách, bheadh siad i gceannas ar 90% de na páirceanna ola agus gáis sa Mhuir Thuaidh. Deirtear chomh maith go bhfuil Albain i dteideal le 81% den ola agus gáis a tháirgeadh i 2010 agus bheadh luach idir £6bn agus £12bn air seo. Aidhm eile atá ag Salmond ná bunáiteanna na hairm Bhriotanaigh a bhaint den Albain. Tá buamaí núicléacha ar fáil i roinnt de na bunáiteanna seo,

ar nós Bunáit Formhuireán Clyde. Ar an lámh eile, áfach, tá tromlach in Albain agus Westminster i gcoinne go huile is go hiomlán le neamhspleáchas sa tír. Ar dtús, bhí Holyrood ag iarraidh rogha idir ‘Status Quo’, ‘Devo Max’ agus neamhspleáchas iomlán a thabhairt do dhaoine sa reifreann, ach níor thug Westminster cead dóibh mar gheall go mbeadh roinnt daoine ar son ‘Devo Max’ mar thoradh. Bainfeadh sé seo an bonn den aontas inmheánach san R.A. agus bheadh gá le hathleasú ar Westminster. Mar sin, ní bheidh na hAlbanaigh ach in ann ‘Tá nó ‘Níl’ a rá le neamhspleáchas sa reifreann. Is gá aghaidh a thabhairt ar an Lucht Oibre sa Ríocht Aontaithe chomh maith. Dá mbeadh Albain ina tír féin, taobh amuigh den R.A., ní bheadh a dhóthain feisirí acu i Westminster chun rialtas a bhunú iad féin a thuilleadh. Bheadh laghdú ollmhór ar chumhacht an Lucht Oibre dá roghnófaí ‘Tá’ sa reifreann sa bhliain seo chugainn. Tá tuairimí ilchineálacha ann idir na hAlbanaigh ceart go leor. Ceapann roinnt dóibh nach féidir leis an tír a bheith ina haonar mar níl tada acu seachas caora, fuisce agus uisce. Is tuairim coitianta é seo agus ceaptar go n-imeodh an tír isteach sna leabhair staire dá leanfaí fís an neamhspleachais. Creidtear go bhfuil an tír i bhfad níos slána agus í ina ball den Ríocht Aontaithe. Ar an lámh eile, áfach, cé nach bhfuil an tromlach ag lorg neamhspleáchais, tá níos mó cumhachtaí airgeadais agus eacnamaíochta uathu. Agus muid ag labhairt faoi thuairim na ndaoine san Albain i dtaca leis an reifreann, is fiú go mór féachaint ar thuairim Seán Connery. Dúirt sé féin, ‘It is rooted in inclusiveness, equality and that core democratic


value that the people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future’. B’fhéidir go bhfuil an ceart aige ach ní aontaíonn mórán leis. Den chuid is mó, ní féidir brath ar na suirbhéanna vótála i dtaca leis an reifreann seo san Albain mar athraíonn an tuairim go mór ag brath ar an tslí ina gcuirtear an cheist. Is í an cheist a bhí Salmond ag iarraidh a úsáid sa reifreann ná ‘Meas tú ba cheart go mbeadh Albain ina tír neamhspleách?’ Cuireadh an cheist seo i mí Eanáir na bliana seo , ag an eagraíocht Ipsos-MORI, ar vótálaí agus dúirt 37% ‘Tá’ agus 50% ‘Níl’.

Thart ar an am céanna chuir Lord Ashcroft suirbhé le chéile a chuir an cheist, ‘Ba cheart go mbeadh Albain ina tír neamhspleách nó ba cheart di fanacht mar bhall leis an Ríocht Aontaithe?’. Thit ‘Tá’ anuas go 33% agus d’ardaigh ‘Níl’ go 67%. Is cosúil go bhfuil thart ar dhá thrian den tír i gcoinne neamhspleáchais iomlán, is dóigh. Dá n-éireodh le Holyrood neamhspleáchas a chur i gcrích ní bheadh sé éasca ar an tír ar chor ar bith le tosú amach. Fiú ag féachaint siar roinnt blianta ó shin, nuair a thug an Ríocht Aontaithe tarrtháil de £45 billiúin

don Royal Bank of Scotland agus £20 billiúin do Lloyd’s , caithfear an cheist a chur, an mbeadh an Albain in ann déileáil leis an bhfadhb chéanna gan cabhair na Ríochta Aontaithe? Bheadh sé fíordheacar í a réiteach ina haonar agus níos mó airgead a chaitheamh. I dtaca leis an ola agus gás sa Mhuir Thuaidh, cé go gceapann an Albain go bhfuil sí i dteideal le 81%, níl sé chomh héasca leis sin mar níor aontaigh an Ríocht Aontaithe leis an bhfigiúr seo go fóill agus is cinnte go bhfuil siad ag iarraidh an ola agus an gás sin ar fad a choinneáil dóibh féin.

TABOO MÓR I BEAG BHAILE NA HÉIREANN Agus an gnéas fós mar ábhar tabú i nGaeilge, fiosraíonn Cian Ó Tuathaláin stair na deacrachta atá againn leis an topaic seo.


TÁ SAOL domhandaithe againn sa lá atá inniu ann. Faoin am seo, tá mise i gContae na Mí ag féachaint ar ‘The New Australian Masterchef’, nó i mBaile Átha Cliath ag fáil bás sa leabharlann ag roinn an ‘European Integration’. Ach níl mé i m’aonar. In Ollscoil San Diego, is dócha go bhfuil leaid óg ag déanamh mionchúrsa ar Léann Eorpach agus go bhfuil na leabhair ceannann céanna pioctha aige. I São Paulo, tá bean tí áirithe ag leanúint ar na cócairí ó Mhelbourne agus Sydney agus a gcuid ‘stéig changarú ar an mbarbie’. Éire: Cró na hEorpa. A Thiarna, tá muid feabhsaithe amach is amach, ach tá spás le fás fós. Céad bliain ó shin, ba ghnáth sa Domhan Thiar go raibh cleamhnas i gceist ó thaobh mná óg agus fir oiriúnach. Bhí leanaí acu, d’fhreastail siad ar sheirbhísí reiligiúnach (Caitliceach nó Liútarach nó cibé), agus bhí saolta simplí acu le mná díograiseach dá bhfir agus dá gclann. Is minic in Éirinn a bhreathnaíonn muid siar agus deir muid, ‘ah, nach amantaí níos simplí ab ea iad’, agus déanann muid dearmad gur breacmheabhair é seo. Ba sheilbh an fhir iad na mná, agus sin mar a bhí. Sna 1920í i Meiriceá, chonaic muid an chéad Réabhlóid Ghnéis agus na ‘Roaring Twenties’. Rinne Freud is go leor eile an argóint go raibh smachtúlacht ghnéis i ngach áit, agus anois sa deireadh thiar thall, bhí daoine in ann an fhírinne a fheiceáil nach raibh gnéas díbeartha ón bhfriotal ‘s ón phobail. Bhí éadaí nochtadh á gcaitheamh ag ‘showgirls’ agus tharla gnéas taobh amuigh den phósadh go forleathan. Is sna 1960í a chonaic muid mic léinn agus hipithe ag triail le gnéithe an ghnéis nach raibh feicthe againn roimhe sin. Rinneadh scannáin den scoth ar nós ‘The Ice Storm’ ina bhfuil teaghlaigh i gConnecticut sna 1960í ar aghaidh ag turgnamh le caidreamh aerach, páistí ag teacht ag an saol taobh amuigh den phósadh agus daoine ag baint taitneamh as roinnt caidreamh gnéasaigh don chéad uair. Idir an dá linn, in Éirinn, cuireadh na máithreacha aonair

isteach sna neachtlanna, bhí cosc ar achtanna homaighnéasaigh go dtí 1993, agus bhí ábhar an ghnéis ach amháin don coinfisiúnach. Is stát óg í Éire a bheag nó a mhór, agus sna blianta tosaigh, bhí freagracht ag an rialtas ‘an tÉireannachas’ a chruthú. Is fíor go raibh Fianna Fáil agus Cumann na nGaedheal i gcumhacht, ach is léir gurb í an Eaglais Chaitleacach an fíor-rialtas a bhí againn. Ó thaobh rialacha na Róimhe de, díbríodh ‘litríocht an oilc’ agus chinntigh an chinsireacht go raibh an gnéas i bhfad ó chladaí na hÉireann. Idir 1958 agus 1966, rinne an t-antraipeolaí cultúrtha, John Cowan Messenger, suirbhé ar Inis Oírr in Árainn. Foilsíodh leabhar le torthaí an suirbhé dar teidil: “Sex and Repression in an Irish Folk Community”. Sa leabhar seo, bhí sé soiléir nach raibh gnéasoideachas ar bith ag na daoine, go raibh gá le caidreamh chollaí ach chreid siad gur feall a bhí ann, go raibh gnéas i gcónaí sa dorchadas agus le éadaí ar fad orthu. Bhí cosc ar phógadh. An toradh ón smachtúlacht seo ná féinthruailliú iomarcach, caitheamh alcól iomarcach agus troid iomarcach. Buíochas mór le Dia, (nó leis an ndiabhal, más maith leat), thug Gay Byrne an gnéas ar ais don phobail i stiúideo éigin i RTÉ agus chonaic muid an slí ina úsáidtear coiscín. Is san aimsir sin a fuair an ‘Late Late’ litreacha foréigneach ó dhaoine ag gearán faoin ábhar gnéasaigh, agus dúirt Gaybo le déanaí go raibh baill an lucht féachana i gcónaí ag fágáil na háite mar gheal ar chomhráite áirithe a bhí ar an gclár ar nós SEIF. Ó shin amach, tá Éire beagnach ar an leibhéal céanna leis an ndomhan mórthimpeall orainn. Beagnach. Sna meáin, feiceann muid an gnéas anseo is ansiúd, ach an bhfuil na hÉireannaigh glactha leis an ngnéas fós? Bíonn muid i gcónaí ag déanamh jócanna agus amantaí bíonn na scéalta grinn seo maslach agus drochbhéasach. Cloiseann muid i gcónaí rudaí ar nós rideáil agus shifteáil, ach an gcloiseann tú ariamh aon duine ag úsáid ‘mise’ agus ‘fadhbanna ghnéis’ nó ‘mise’ agus

‘mothúcháin’ gan anáil a tharraingt? Tá fíorghnéas fós faoi rún anseo. Le déanaí ar ‘Ros na Rún’, fuair muid blaisíní ‘PG’ le Lee agus Jason faoi na braillíní, ach níl mé in ann smaoineamh ar chomhrá a bhí ariamh agam faoi ghnéas agus mise ag úsáid na Gaeilge. Is í an Ghaeilge ná teanga na ndúchasach agus na bpribhléideach. Dar leis na grúpaí seo, is seantheanga í an Ghaeilge, teanga atá naofa, atá fileata. Ní do ghnéas í an Ghaeilge, is cosúil. Caithfidh daoine áirithe a bheith tinn tuirseach le bheith ag caint nó ag comhrá as Gaeilge, agus ag gáirí agus ag fáil spraoi, ach amháin chun babhtáil go dtí Béarla le cloisteáil faoi “going on the pull” nó chun scigmhagadh a dhéanamh le rá “any hole’s a goal”, nach gcaitheann? Is minic a chloistear déagóirí ag gáirí timpeall na háite ag an bhfocal ‘homaighnéasach’. “Tá tú homaighnéasach” a deir siad. Agus mar a dúirt mé cheana, bíonn siad ag gáirí. Le bhur d’thoil, déagóirí na hÉireann, stopaigí. Má dhúradh i mBéarla é, ní bheadh aon ghrinn ann. Más rud é go bhfuil greann déanta as ach amháin mar go bhfuil sé ráite i nGaeilge, bhuel, nach ndearbhaíonn sé sin go bhfuil an ábhar fós faoi gheis sa Ghaeilge? D’iarr mé ar chúigear ó Ghaeltachtaí difriúil chun focail i nGaeilge a bhaineann le gnéas a fháil dom. Anois, ba dhaoine ar chomhaois liomsa iad, a mbíonn i gcónaí ag labhairt liom faoi chúrsaí an saol. Ba chuma liom más focail seafóideach ab ea iad, más focail eolaíoch ab ea iad nó más focail drúisiúil ab ea iad. Ar éigean a bhfuil freagair faighte ar ais agam go dtí seo ó aon duine acu. Smaoinígí air sin. Seans go bhfuil aithne agaibh ar Rossa Ó Snódaigh ó Kíla. Rinne sé a dhícheall chun leabhar a scríobh le téarmaíocht gnéasaigh ann, dar teidil ‘Cliúsaíocht as Gaeilge: Making Out in Irish’, agus tá sé ar fáil ar Coiscé ar phraghas €8. Molaim é, mar ag Dia tá a fhios nach gcloisfear i Ráth Cairn nó sa Rinn an t-ábhar atá ann! OCTOBER 1ST 2013



CREATION OF A MYTH As creationist campaigners push to have their teachings feature in science textbooks, Dónal Ó Catháin asks if this really is the best idea


SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES in Texas have recently campaigned for the theory of creationism to be included in high school science textbooks, side by side with Darwinian evolution. They argue that students should be provided with every possible explanation for how the world came to be how it is, and leave it to students to make up their own minds. Texas is the second most populated state in the US and as such, what goes on in Texas has a considerable influence on what goes on in America as a whole. The Lone Star State has long been known for its large conservative demographic; in the last Presidential Election, the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, garnered over 57% of the Texan vote. The Republican Party of Texas has recently stood against same-

sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. A lot of the Party’s views on social issues are aligned with those of the Church. A Gallup poll reported that non-Republican voters are twice as likely to view evolution in a non-theistic (i.e. the lack of belief in a deity) fashion than Republican voters. There is a 25% drop in the percentage of people who hold creationist beliefs with no more than a high-school education, to those who hold these beliefs after obtaining a post-graduate education. However, scientists are up in arms about the planned inclusion. In their minds, the theory of creationism, or intelligent design, has no scientific merit, and therefore deserves no place in a science textbook. One scientific association, The

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is the biggest general scientific society in the world serving the interest of hundreds of scientific groups and 10 million individuals have stated, “The lack of scientific warrant for so-called ‘intelligent design theory’ makes it improper to include as a part of science education.” In spite of widespread opposition on the scientific front, panels of reviewers for the proposed new textbooks are in favour of creationism being added to these biology books. There is a little controversy in the sense that four panellists, out of a group of 12, who were engaged in the ultimate review round have expressed creationist beliefs in the past according to the Huffington Post. This may be a concern as regards to giving an impartial

A CHIP OFF A NEW BLOK With smartphones now a facet of everyday life, Karl Quigley looks at the latest innovations in the industry

MOORE’S LAW observes that electronics and hardware become twice as fast or half the size every two years. In such a world where everything is done at high speeds, people require technology that can keep up. This is where the smartphone came in. However, as Dave Hakkens claims on YouTube, “Everyday we throw away millions of electronic devices because they become old and worn out.” According to Mr. Hakkens, electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, and our phone is one of the biggest causes. He goes on to claim that this breakdown of technology is due to one component failing while all the other pieces remain functioning. The problem is that electronic devices are not designed to last. His solution? Phonebloks. We start off with a simple motherboard base, a very simple looking piece with lines of holes for the detachable ‘bloks’ to fit in. These bloks slot in easily using electrical pins and a screen is attached to the opposite side, with everything secured by two screws. It is his reasoning that this next level of customisation is perfect for our fast moving world. Battery power too low? Get a bigger battery blok. Rarely use the camera? Downgrade to a smaller variant for more space. Perhaps your phone is getting slower over time; simply upgrade the blok that affects speed. If a part is damaged or broken, there is no new phone required or repair needed; just replace the blok. It is an interesting concept and one that is just in its infancy. Currently Hakkens is relying on a OCTOBER 1ST 2013

mass media surge on social networking to increase awareness of his project for funding. The project is an ambitious one that will likely receive a lot of support. The only concern is that of cost. At face value, it appears to be cheaper, with the idea of individual components and replacements from time to time being far more cost effective than buying a new phone. Hakkens claims Phonebloks is “built on an open platform where companies work together to make the best phone in the world.” This means that every electronic company under the sun, if this project launches, will make a variety of bloks in each different category. From Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to phone screens and battery packs. While the base itself will be relatively cheap, given it is a group of circuits allowing connectivity, it is difficult to see how the cost would not add up. Each individual blok, regardless of its use, would be priced high by the bigger brands. And with the ability to develop your own bloks, smaller companies and enthusiastic individuals will begin to create their own. An example of user-created content taking favour among the people would be the App store. This platform gives an open opportunity to developers worldwide to create a product or service that is cheaper and sometimes better than the larger brands. Hakkens also wants to demonstrate to the companies that there is interest in “a phone worth keeping.” On October 29th there will be what is called a social media ‘thunderclap’ in which he hopes to spread the

name of Phonebloks across Facebook and set it as a trending tag on Twitter. It will be interesting to see if this project will leave the ground, and if so, where it will go from there. The Phonebloks project will hope to eventually compete with the likes of Apple, who announced the iPhone 5C and 5S on 10 September in their official World Wide Developer Conference. The 5C is very simply the iPhone 5, but has a plastic unibody with a steel structure design and a higher capacity battery. The 5S, however, carried some heavier upgrades, with the introduction of the new A7 processor chip. This makes the iPhone 5S the first ever 64-bit CPU smartphone. In other words, it will be twice the speed of an iPhone 5 and carry twice the graphical power. It also carries an M7 motion processor, which only has a use in health applications. Alongside this was the addition of an even larger battery life, a better camera with bigger pixels for better quality, more features with the camera like image stabilisation and slow motion. The most impressive addition to the 5S is easily the Touch ID. This will allow access to your phone without the need for a pass code and the ability to pay for iTunes purchases using your fingerprint. Your print is also safe, with Apple claiming that it is not stored on their servers or on Apple iCloud. The flashing problem is the memory of Android’s facial recognition feature and it’s not so impressive execution. Hopefully, this will new feature will be better and work as well as they claim. Both of these new announcements

mark two definitive sides of the up and coming generation of smartphones. Apple strive to build on a strong foundation while people like Dave Hakkens move in a creative yet utilitarian view of the world with limited resources. On either side, there will undoubtedly be plenty of people to follow and support these products.

review on the matter in hand. The reviewers on these panels are citizens who are nominated; they need not have a background in science. Certain panellists, who were critical of evolution, as well as climate change, are active in organisations which are explicitly anti-evolution. At the public hearing on this heated topic, former State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, who had campaigned in the past for it to be obligatory that both the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution be taught in science classes, was among the first people to give a testimony. The Dallas News reported that he beseeched the board to accept the biology books as “a final blow to the teaching of evolution in

Texas schools”, adding that the books contain “unsubstantiated” supporting material for evolution. “The evidence for evolution in these books is incredibly weak. And if there is no evidence, there is no evolution,” said McLeroy, a Republican from College Station. “Young creationist students will be able to sit there and say: ‘Is this all the evidence they have for evolution? Well, maybe God didn’t use evolution.’” The new biology textbooks, which are being adopted, will be approved for the next eight years at least. The inclusion or exclusion of the touchy material will not merely impact on Texan children, but will have repercussions for all of America. Texas, due to its massive population, has one of the largest public school systems in America. Therefore, publishing companies are well-served by tuning their textbooks for the Texan market and rolling out the same books nationwide. The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) noted that in 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Edwards vs. Aguillard that teaching creationism in public school science classrooms is unconstitutional. A cornerstone in the US Constitution, making up part of the First Amendment, is the separation of Church and State. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Seeing as these textbooks are being introduced in the public school network, this is concern for the state. It is hard for creationism to gain acknowledgement as a valid scientific theory and is more so a religious belief of creationists. In order for the theory of creationism to gain acceptance in these books, the notion that life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being would have to be argued to have scientific plausibility. All in all, this is a matter of science vs. religion. The scientific merit of religious beliefs must be properly evaluated and a decision will be made based on this discussion. Watch this space.




Delving into the bowels of the reports that panda poo could be used as a biofuel, poo-powered DeLorean time machines are only around the corner, writes Michael O’Sullivan

YES, they’ve officially lost it. Pack it all in scientists; you’ve researched all that’s necessary. Desperate for something new to explore the intricate properties of, American scientists have been seen slogging their way through piles of bear droppings in the hope of saving humanity. What is the reason for this bizarre and unsettling quest into the, if you’ll pardon the pun, bowels of the unexplored you ask? Biofuel is the answer. That stuff that was supposed to use old oil from the deep fat fryer to power our vehicles. Past experiments have looked into the viability of algae and household waste as alternative fuel sources, but poo is set to take centre stage. Research recently undertaken at Mississippi State University stared intently into the depths of panda poo to search for answers to the problem. Biofuel used to be a big deal; the Green Party wanted all of our cars to run on liquid seeds and the world rejoiced at the advent of biodiesel. No more fighting over oil was the sentiment. As you can all see, that worked out wonderfully well. Biofuel, while great in theory, has hit a few snags. In the last year, the earth’s population has reached dizzying heights, surpassing seven billion a few months ago. The argument for biofuel has since been relegated to the end of everyone’s in-trays. The issue is this: if we have barely enough crops to feed ourselves,

why should we spare valuable crop land to grow the plants necessary for biodiesel production? Biofuel is not immediately essential to our survival as a species after all. This is where panda poo comes in. See, there are certain parts of the crops we produce that we can’t digest, such as maize stalks and corn husks. The reason for this is the fact they contain chemicals called cellulose and lignin, two very tough molecules found in pretty much all plants. They are the chief reason why your sweet corn likes to pay you unwanted visits in your toilet bowl. Pandas however, are known for dieting only on bamboo, which is very high in both cellulose and lignin. Staring at the dark and lumpy consistency of their faeces should give us some clue as to the efficiency of their guts, as the bamboo politely exits without waving hello in a colourful and obvious fashion. They are able to digest these tough materials, so the aptly named Dr. Ashli Brown of Mississippi State University decided to use them as a starting point for her idea. If pandas can break down such strong plant matter as that of the bamboo, there must be some clue within their digestive system as to how it’s done. If it were possible to break down cellulose and lignin to form biofuel, there would be no need to fight over crop space anymore. The inedible products of the crop growing process

could be used to make fuel, and though this method is more costly than growing fields of rapeseed, it leaves farmers open to use their fields to grow other, more immediately necessary crops, without compromising biofuel production. In order to discover how it is that pandas break down their tough bamboo diet, Dr. Brown examined their poo, which contained trace amounts of bacterial RNA. Her logic was that any bacteria present in the pandas’ digestive system would surely be of great assistance to the process of breaking down plant matter. Using the trace amounts of RNA she discovered within the excrement, she backtracked, figuring out which bacterial strains contained the particular RNA strands present in the poo. From here, she selected a variety of bacteria that contained the correct genetic material. These were each tested to measure their ability to digest cellulose and lignin. This resulted in Dr. Brown being able to isolate 17 bacterial species that could digest cellulose and six that could digest lignin. These bacteria readily process plant matter into the type of sugars needed to create biofuel, converting around 65.4% of what they are presented with into usable intermediates. While this number might seem relatively low, the undigested material could


simply be recycled and fed into the system once more to be digested. There is also a second perk to the research, seen as most of the precursors necessary for this process would usually end up in compost heaps or landfill, the method could also be put forward as a waste reducing technique. Has Dr. Brown single handedly saved the world from a future of darkness and woe? Not likely. There is the slight issue of mass production. The enzymes that the bacteria produce to digest the plant matter cannot simply be extracted wholesale or synthesised in a lab just yet. Enzymes are ludicrously complicated molecules made from millions of amino acids chained together in a very specific way. Years of work goes into correctly synthesising just one in a lab, and getting these enzymes

to work more efficiently is also a problem. A 65.4% success rate is simply not a high enough number to justify producing anything on an industrial scale. There is also the advent of the electric car, which has taken off quite dramatically in recent months. Alternatives, however, are always a good thing to have should one avenue become closed to us, and electricity production is another area that needs serious rethinking if it’s going to be maintained into the future. What was achieved in Mississippi is a good start to a true and viable method of producing biofuel. Those of us who wish to see Dr. Emmett Brown’s poo-powered time machine DeLorean will have a while to wait however, as there is no such thing as time machines. Though we may soon have toiletpowered cars, now won’t that be fun?

animals aren’t very maneuverable, they don’t require a powerful visual system, as they wouldn’t be able to respond quickly enough to what they see anyway. Smaller animals are more maneuverable and can swiftly take advantage of slow motion vision. One insect proved to be an unprecedented exception to this rule. The tiger beetle is an incredibly fast and maneuverable predator, but its eyes take in surprisingly little visual information. This means the insect can run faster than its eyes can keep up, resulting in a stop-start approach to hunting, as it has to frequently re-adjust its focus to see its prey. Although this study focuses on animals, and in-particular vertebrates, its most interesting elements are its possible implications for

people. The study does show that human’s visual capabilities vary depending on the person. For example, a professional tennis player is much more proficient at absorbing visual information than the average Joe. On top of this, the study also revealed that younger animals perceive time differently to older animals. If this is also true for humans, then it could explain why time seems to travel quicker as we get older. This would also account for young children’s constant and interminable hyperactivity. The study suggests that younger people see at higher frame rates than older people, but that height differences between individual people do not make a difference. So no, Bono and Danny DeVito do not see in slow motion.

TIME FLIES, UNLESS YOU’RE A FLY Following a recent study in Trinity College Dublin into animals’ ocular ability to process light, Ross McKeever highlights the potential advantages and disadvantages of perceiving time slower than humans

WE ALL KNOW that the early bird catches the worm, but it’s a lesser-known fact that a bird’s worm catching skills may be enhanced by an ability to see in slow motion. That’s right, birds see in slow motion. This fascinating insight into the predation habits comes from a new study that has shown that animals tend to perceive time differently to humans. The study revealed that smaller animals are able to detect movement on a finer time scale to larger animals. Essentially, smaller animals observe the world at a higher frame rate and in a similar fashion to a slow motion camera. Obviously, time travels at the same speed regardless of whether or not you have paws or wings, but smaller animals tend to perceive everything as if it were moving slower. This is because these animals have brains that can process images far quicker than human brains, and their eyes send updates back to the brain more frequently. To give this observation a numerical context, the average human has the ability to see at a rate of around

a slideshow of flashy images instead of a preachy movie. That’s just one of the disadvantages of being a fly. This confounding discovery was published recently in the longstanding journal Animal Behaviours. The lead writer of the study, Kevin Healy, of the Department of Zoology in Trinity College Dublin, used a technique called critical flicker fusion frequency to help measure the speed at which each animal’s eyes could process light. This method tests the lowest frequency of flashing that a flickering source of light can be seen as a constant beam by an animal. ten frames per second. In stark The team tested a wide variety of contrast, some species of flies are species with this method, including capable processing 40 images a rodents, eels, lizards, chickens, second instead, and so time seems dogs, cats and leatherback turtles. to pass much slower for them. After this rigorous testing process, While this does mean that the flies Healy and his team came to the see everything as if it were a slow conclusion that small animals with motion cut from the Matrix, it also high metabolic rates saw the world at means that they would not be able to the highest frame rate. The pigeon, watch the Matrix, because films are the starling and the golden-mantled usually shot at 24 frames per second. ground squirrel proved to have Since flies are able to see more particularly fast visual systems. frames per second, they would see By comparison, woodlice were


not even capable of seeing at half the frame rate of humans, despite their small stature. Worse still, the European eel sees only a quarter of the frame rate humans do. The study not only reveals which animals have the best visual systems, but also briefly attempts to explain why certain species evolve to have powerful visual systems and why other species don’t. Healy’s study notes that smaller animal’s may have acquired powerful visual systems to become more aware of possible predators and prey. Healy himself states, “The ability to perceive time on very small scales may be the difference between life and death for fast-moving organisms such as predators and their prey.” Animals have to be fast to avoid predators, scavenge food and to survive in general. As the old saying goes, the early bird catches the worm, but the late bird dies of fatal gastroenteritis brought on by malnutrition. The study also claims that an animal’s maneuverability may determine whether or not it requires a powerful visual system. As larger

AND THE WINNERS ARE ... With the Ig Nobel awards being announced recently, Rónán Schütte looks into some of the quirkier awards in its history THE IG NOBEL PRIZES ARE GIVEN EACH YEAR IN EARLY OCTOBER FOR TEN UNUSUAL OR TRIVIAL ACHIEVEMENTS IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

GOTCHA! Nowhere is more prone to terrorists than airplanes. The late Gustano Pizzo won the Safety Engineering Prize for a trapdoor. The patent describes it as “A partition or barrier located immediately aft of the pilots cabin is adapted to be raised dividing the aft section longitudinally into port and starboard areas, the floors of which are dropped on command to lower the hijacker into a capsule in the belly of the plane. The capsule is releasable through opened bomb bay doors having attached thereto a parachute for safely returning the hijacker within the capsule to earth.” That’s right; we can now bomb using terrorists. Simple.



We all have a friend who will think somebody is more attractive than they actually are. Researchers in France have shown that people who are drunk tend to find themselves more attractive as well. One half of the study group was given non-alcoholic drinks, the others enough to get them tipsy. Half of each group were told exactly what they drank, the others were lied to. Psychologists lying? Never. The students who were drunk, or thought so, rated themselves as more attractive than those who were sober. Just goes to show you that French students can’t handle their drink.

As with all high profile international awards recognising outstanding achievement, we Irish have shone through with brilliance. In 2009, An Garda Siochana won the first ever Ig Nobel Prize in Literature following such luminaries as Yeats, Shaw, Beckett and Heaney. They wrote over 50 traffic tickets to a Mr. “Prawo Jazdy”. The Gardaí believed he was Ireland’s most prolific traffic offender, until a subsequent investigation found that “Prawo Jazdy” was in fact Polish for, wait for it: Driving Licence. Think Keyser Soze, except with the stupidest plot twist ever.

MUSIC FOR A BROKEN HEART Have you suffered a broken heart recently and had to get it mended? Well if so, researchers in Tokyo have gone one step further to see if opera music could help stop you rejecting your transplanted organ (in mice). It was found that the mice who listened to opera tended to live two or three times longer than those who listened to the “soothing” music of... sigh... Enya. They won the Medicine Prize in case you were wondering. ILLUSTRATIONS RORY MULLEN




LGBT OUTREACH—SAY IT AIN’T SO (GAY) Certain words and phrases are particularly powerful, especially in the LGBTQ community, explains Grace Miller

WORDS can be ridiculously powerful. You can build a person up or tear them down in a single word, whether you mean to or not. Words can be particularly powerful where the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer) community is concerned. If you’re in the closet, and someone says something problematic around you, it can have a hugely negative effect. You can be pushed right to the back of that closet, behind all of the shirts you don’t wear anymore because they’re awful. LGBTQ people have slurs and insults thrown at them from all sides. We live in a world where we have to learn how to deal with it, and try to educate anyone that revels in doing the throwing. Words have power, but you can decide what power they have over you. You can make a judgment on a personal level on what offends you. Just because someone else tells you a word is offensive doesn’t mean it has to be if you don’t see it that way. Our Auditor, Jack Carolan, says “I’m basically the epitome of apathy when it comes to slurs, but I am also aware that other people are not. The word ‘gay’ in no way offends me because I have made the personal decision that ‘gay’ has taken on another meaning in modern language. “When it is used negatively it is not meant to be in a way that is intended to offend me. When people find out that you’re gay, they are incredibly apologetic when they describe something as gay.” Although, I should probably note that this is the experience of someone who has never even smelled homophobia in his life. When people use a word or phrase that has been used against them, showing that they’re not going to be hurt by it, it’s called reclamation. A good example of this is the use of the n-word. It went from being a term of oppression to being a term of empowerment. However, it can still cause huge offence, and it is widely accepted that it is not a word that should be used by anyone outside of the black community. The same has happened with the word ‘queer’. Queer has been used as

an insult for decades, but, since the 1990s, a certain amount of people in the LGBTQ community have been using it and challenging the idea that it can be used as an insult. ‘Faggot’, ‘gay’ and ‘dyke’ have, to a certain extent, also been reclaimed. Though reclaimed, they are still only acceptable when certain people use them. Katy Perry caused uproar and hurt a lot of feelings with the song ‘Ur So Gay’. Queer, in particular, is only okay when used within the queer community, by a member of that community. When used by someone that does not identify as queer or as LGBT, the term can be very offensive. Sometimes, even people within the LGBT community don’t like the term and have a hard time understanding why anyone would identify with it. Identity is a personal thing; sexual and gender identities are extremely personal. Only you can decide how you identify. Nobody can make that decision for you, and you can’t make that

decision for anybody else. Never dispute the label or labels that a person chooses for themselves. Their identity is not for you to regulate, or even to understand. All you have to do is respect it, and do everything you can to be accommodating. If someone introduces themselves to you and asks you to use specific pronouns and/or names to refer to them, then you need to do everything in your power to use those pronouns and/or names. It’s really, really disrespectful to knowingly use the wrong pronouns. If you make a mistake, correct yourself and don’t make a big deal of apologising. It can take time to get used to using they/them/ their instead of he or she, but you’ll get there. Remember that you’re helping to make life less difficult for that person by using their preferred pronouns, and you’re showing that you respect them. If you’re in a public space, particularly around college, you never know who can hear you or

what your words can do to them. I’ve heard the word ‘gay’ used heaps of times in a derogatory way on campus, and it makes me feel awful every time. The first time I called a guy out on it, he smirked at me and laughed it off, though I’d just told him his use of the word made me feel like dirt. Still, I felt better for having told him how I felt, and one of his friends was really apologetic. If you can get through to one person, it’s better than nothing. There are a few ways of dealing with things if you hear people using slurs around you, whether you’re personally affected by them or you know someone who would be. Feel free to call the offending person out on their ridiculous bigotry, and tell them where to shove it. This can be done politely or completely impolitely, depending on your preference. I prefer politeness, but it doesn’t always work. If someone uses a word, phrase, or pronoun that you’re not comfortable

with, they should have it pointed out to them as early as possible. Letting it slide can often lead to the problem getting worse. If it’s someone in college who uses a slur or the wrong pronouns, and you don’t feel comfortable approaching them, you can contact UCD LGBT and we can help you. It might not be possible or safe for you to confront somebody in a less formal setting. If your safety or the safety of somebody else is in danger, you may need to walk away from the situation. Your health and safety come before everything else. Think about the words you use. If someone takes offence at something you say, try to see things from their point of view instead of going on the defensive. Try to make others think about the words they’re using. We’re all just trying to make it through life, and we’re all in a position to make it that bit easier for each other. Grace Miller is the Public Relations Officer for the UCD LGBT Society.

HOW TO BE COOL WITH CONOR O’TOOLE The Art, Design & Technology Director takes time out of his busy schedule to advise students on how to up their level of great



NOT EVERYONE receives a NASA medal for being a totally great and effortlessly cool guy, so I was understandably surprised and pleased last week when I received the very first one. I wish I could say it was hard work and dedication that got me where I am today, but I think that would detract from the ‘effortless’ aspect of my prize. Anyway, since I’m still contractually obliged to continue designing the University Observer for the rest of the year, I figured I might as well try and share my successes with the naff students of UCD. As they say in Beavers; ‘share, share, share’. Plus, I’m pretty sure the editors don’t read past page eight in the paper and there was a gap where that exposé on the declining condition of the UCD concrete was supposed to go. A lot of people learn how to be cool from watching movies. This is a total fallacy. Despite how cool a character may seem, in all likelihood they’re just an actor, aka a dork, saying things a screenwriter, aka a nerd, think sounds cool. In films, when danger is approaching, characters often stare for ages at whatever is running towards them instead of just running away immediately like a normal person would. They are fools. Never try and imitate the methods used in American TV to seduce people, as none of these will work.

This is because in America the electricity runs at 60Hz and here is Europe it runs at 50Hz. Anyone you convince to copulate with you using American TV methods will flicker quite badly, which will be incredibly distracting. People find positivity attractive, but find it repulsive when someone describes themselves as ‘positive’ or talk about ‘positivity’ or is HIV ‘positive’. I realise I am running the gauntlet by throwing the ‘P’ word around, but I figure it’s worth the risk, for your sake. See, I’m all right. Also, HIV is easier to cure than the common cold now, so stop being a jerk. I think the most tragic moment of optimism I have on a regular basis is when you see council workers resurfacing a road and think to myself, ‘oh, maybe the road’s going to be nicer to cycle on now.’ I like builders, despite all the ones I’ve ever worked with making me massively uncomfortable. Like how a panda would feel if mistakenly adopted by a pack of polar bears. It would try to hunt fish and be camouflaged against the snow but would ultimately be too slow and too black to do so. That’s not racism by the way, as panda are partially black. Plus I’m the panda in that analogy so if it was racism, it would be positive racism. For more on pandas, see the science section. For the first time in my life, I’ve

managed to grow some reputable facial hair this last month. I’ve no shortage of hair on other parts of my body (arms, genitals, etc). Some would say I am hairy to a fault but I’ve never had a proper beard before. It has almost halved the weekly number times children tell me I look like Harry Potter. I’m enjoying it, although I now can’t sense if there’s stuff on 30% of my face. I almost kissed my girlfriend with a big gloop of nasal semi-solid on my moustache last week. Luckily she doesn’t worry about my feelings and rapidly moved her head out of the way. I began the deconstruction of my beard after the issue one of the paper went to print by shaving my chin. As it is the bit of my face gravity directs most food that didn’t make it into mouth it seemed sensible to begin the deforestation with this area. I am currently sporting mutton chops and a moustache; a look I like to call ‘The Confederate Barkeep’. I will shave myself clean later this week, as November is starting and all twats and charitable types will start growing moustaches in aid of ‘Movember’. Let me tell you kids, the two least cool things on planet earth are trends and charity. In summary, why not follow me on Twitter. My handle is @ConorOToole. It’s my name with punctuation and white space removed. I’d better get back to laying out News now. TTYL later.



THE WORD of the week is referendum. As if we had all died and gone to democracy heaven, there will be a total of four referendums for UCD students to vote in this week; two on campus and two for the real government. In fact, one of them is even better than just a boring referendum with two boring options. The abortion preferendum has a whopping four options. That’s like two referendums for the price of one. Unfortunately for me, I am not actually a student anymore, so I can’t actually vote on whether or not UCDSU will use their immense national influence to push a pro-choice or a pro-life agenda. Who knows, I keep hearing that student apathy is at an all time high, so maybe the students will vote to not take a stance. As for the proposed smoking ban, a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the fact that even if the students vote against the ban, that will

merely determine what suggestion the SU make to the University. UCD can still turn around and ban smoking on campus, even if 100% of students vote against it. Of the two, the smoking referendum is the more interesting one. It will be interesting to how many people vote in favour of the Union adopting a pro-choice stance in order to support the idea that women should have complete control over their own bodies, but then turn around and vote against the smoking ban, despite second hand smoking being a thing. By smoking in a public place, you’re pretty much telling everyone around you that your desire to poison yourself is more important than their desire to not be poisoned. Still, you’d think that the smokers will be more passionate about the issue than non-smokers, so the anti-ban vote should be a little stronger. On a national level, very few

people seem to be aware of the fact that we are voting on two issues this Friday. Everyone knows about the Seanad referendum, but there has been almost no mention of the one concerning the Court of Appeals. It’s also interesting that you can vote to abolish the Seanad, even if you’re not eligible to vote in the Seanad elections. If you’re still unsure of what dissolving the Seanad would mean for the country’s political structure, Elizabeth O’Malley, has written a helpful piece about the differences between the various forms of government on page 5 so that you can have some clue as to what you’re voting for on Friday, assuming you are registered and intend on voting, of course. Unfortunately, abolishing the Seanad won’t fix the mess that is the Student Universal Support Ireland programme. As you can see from the front page, more than half of

all applicants have heard back about the status of their grant. Last Friday, Caroline Erskine appeared on RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime to talk about the situation. At one point, she called on the children of self-employed workers to send in their parents’ tax details at the beginning of August, despite the fact that self-assessed tax forms are not returned until late September. How exactly are the children of the self-employed supposed to send on their parents’ tax details almost two months before they know what the details are? This is just another example of the terrible communication that goes on between different parts of the government. Allowing me a perfect segue back to what’s in the paper, Robert Nielsen examines the importance of language and communication as he talks to some speakers of what has been dubbed “the neutral language”, Esperanto, on page 8.

In Science, Michael O’Sullivan dives head first into the topic of panda poo, with input from the appropriately named Dr. Brown, while Tony Flynn takes a look at UCD Marian’s chances this year in the basketball. The opinion page is particularly interesting this issue, with the LGBT Outreach column focusing on the power of words and how the context of who is saying them can change everything, while Conor O’Toole does his own thing that I don’t pretend to understand. Otwo is filled with fun content, including an interview with the dreamy Robert Sheehan by the just as dreamy Jack Walsh, while Rebekah Rennick previews the Hard Working-Class Heroes Festival, which boasts the likes of Hozier and So Cow. So far, the response we have gotten from the incoming first years who want to write for the paper


has been amazing. It is such a pity that UCD don’t carry a journalism course, as there is clearly the demand for it. It really is great to see so many great young writers coming through already this year. If you would like to write for us but haven’t actually gotten in contact with us yet, don’t worry, we’re always looking for new writers, photographers and illustrators. If you’ve got an interesting idea for the paper, we’d love to hear it. Just look at Cathal Nolan, our chief meteorologist who got the weather right every day for issue 1 after pitching the idea to us this summer. The point is, the University Observer is a student newspaper and we want to get as many of you involved as possible. If you feel like you might want to write something or learn how to correctly take photographs, don’t be afraid to drop me an email. Or better yet, pop into the office and have a chat.




AHOY MANKWAGS, Talleyrand would like to begin his fortnightly open address to the scholars of UCD with a deeply ardent and bona fide apology to the most diligent man currently holding office within the Students’ Union. Accuracy is a concept of journalism that is slowly losing its value, but maintaining a level of exactitude is a style that Talleyrand continually strives for. With all this in consideration, Talleyrand would like to issue a contrite apology to Lorcan Gray. Lorcan, Talleyrand can call you Lorcan right? Lorcan, you are an esteemed and treasured

member of this year’s sabbatical team and don’t let any other cretin tell you any otherwise. Talleyrand holds you very close to his debilitated, but chivalrous heart and promises that he will never get your name wrong again. While on the subject of accuracy, Talleyrand would like to switch attention towards the Dominos Ball. Never has a concept of such insignificant proportions been so doomed before it has even taken flight. At this point, Talleyrand could flood the column with tasteless whimsy about the Pizza Ball that is doomed to crash to the floor in some form of linear domino

like fashion, and he just did. Word has filtered to Talleyrand that his compatriot, the Welfare and Hats Officer, Cian Dowling has decided to leave his snapbacks hanging on the snaprack the day after this very columnist’s first article of Volume XX hit floors of campus bathrooms. Please don’t retire the snapbacks just yet Cian, the world isn’t ready. Before wrapping the column up with a special message, Talleyrand has noticed that the Education fund must be drier than Mr. Carroll himself, since his Twitter following has dropped by over 1,000 since Talleyrand’s previous Talleyrant.

At least you still have @ MirLestnitsy on board. @ MirLestnitsy seems like a busy man judging by his Twitter bio: “Sells ladders ​​ for self-assembly. Sale takes place throughout Russia, which allows considerably save money and time.” And finally, Talleyrand wouldn’t waste the opportunity to wish a bon voyage to his dear friend Michael Gallagher as he sails off to South Africa to begin his trial for involvement in the popular apartheid movement. It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.


Tally out OTWO CO-EDITORS Steven Balbirnie Jack Walsh GAMES EDITOR Niall Gosker FILM & TV EDITOR Laura Bell MUSIC EDITOR Rebekah Rennick



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CONTRIBUTORS Ause Braike Anna Carnegie Lucy Coffrey Amy Courtney Conor de Paor Hugh Dromey Robert Dunne Megan Fanning Sean Finegan Sean Flanagan Tony Flynn Orla Gartland Ellie Gehlert Eva Griffin Kate Hanley Matthew Hanrahan @tila the Hun Ciara Leacy Fionnán Long John Mallon Jr. Orla McEvoy Ross McKeever Conor McKenna Conor McLean Grace Miller Mystic Mittens Catriona O’Malley Karl Quigley Robert Ranson Joe Ronaldson Lucy Ryan Rónán Schütte Jennifer Smyth Alex Vickery ILLUSTRATIONS Emily Longworth Rory Mullen Michael Vance PHOTOGRAPHERS James Brady Erica Coburn Joanna O’Malley

CHIEF OTWO WRITER Emily Longworth STAFF METEROLOGIST Cathal Nolan DEAREST SIR, It has come to my attention that there is an obnoxious level of building work going on around campus at the moment and I find the manner in which your publication has ignored the problem to be reprehensible at best. In order to attend lectures, it has become a requirement that

I must trek through 4 separate diversions, whilst avoiding accidentally falling into an open manhole or being run over by a wayward gardening machine. As a campus publication, I feel it should be part of your modus operandi to ensure students are properly informed of the dangers they face when entering their place of education. UCD is a very large

place, and as such it becomes almost impossible for every student to have an intimate understanding of its nooks and crannies. This is where you should come in, to fill the gap left by UCD administration and their seemingly never ending quest to set up red and white tape in places that will inconvenience the most people. Perhaps you could add a section to your paper that includes a

map of UCD with clearly marked areas of ongoing building work? Also if you could point out the secret lake that would be great. Yours sincerely, Fred O’Shaughnessy

THANKS Thomas Dunne, Emmet Burke from NetSoc. All the staff at the Student Centre. Eugene, Maeve and all the folks at Smurfit Kappa. Alex, Sorcha and everyone in the L&H. Sarah, Orla Gartland, Foil Arms and Hog, Breehn Burns, Abby Martin, Ed Key, Andy Nelson and all those playing at the Working Class Heroes Festival. SPECIAL THANKS Jason from Google. Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis and the Appleton girls, you’re all saints. OCTOBER 1ST 2013


vote on the future of Ireland’s Seanad and on the merits of This week, you elect your future establishing a court of appeal. leaders of student government. On all the issues above, I These students that you vote on could have taken a stance on will be taking decisions on your your behalf with the executive behalf on matters around campus powers you have entrusted in at UCD students governing me. I chose not to do so as I body: Union Council. You also believe in democracy and that vote on the issues of abortion students themselves should and a smoke-free campus. decide such important issues. The abortion preferendum All the decisions above gives you four options. You may will be taken by you, the put in order of your preference voters, so get out and vote what position you want UCDSU and have your voice heard. to take on this matter. This week I will be The smoke free campus representing UCD students in initiative is an initiative of Johannesburg, South Africa at the UCD Health Promotion the One Young World Summit. committee. It will decide the The conference annually brings students’ stance on allowing over 1500 delegates from around smoking on campus. the world together to discuss Whatever decision you take the issues that face our world. will become official SU policy. I will be networking with Later in the week, on future world leaders and Friday 4th October, you will attending working groups be asked to return home to on issues such as youth


unemployment and promoting sexual health throughout the world. I’ll be meeting with the likes of Richard Branson and Kofi Annan and picking their brains over the issues we are facing here in UCD. Next year, in 2014, the summit will be coming to Dublin and is expected to bring over €3 million back to the local economy. I will therefore be promoting UCD’s future role in the conference and encouraging these world leaders to come to Dublin to visit. To have the opportunity to network with some of the best young minds in the world is something that I would love to bring to our campus. In particular, I am hoping to organise a 2014 seminar on youth mental health to showcase the cutting edge research here in UCD and influence

future world leaders on an issue I’m passionate about. There is also the matter of the march that is being held by USI today, the 1st of October. UCDSU Executive has decided, as Council has not yet being elected, to prioritise local engagement this year and focus our efforts on our campuses. These were the issues identified during our campaigns last March and it builds on the restructuring and rebranding that you have already seen in your Union. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to attend first Union Council of the year, which will take place on October 10th in the FitzGerald Chamber at 6.30pm. UCDSU is your students’ union and your vote is your voice. Get involved, get engaged and vote this week.

Mícheál Gallagher, SU President




Legalising performance enhancing substances could breathe fresh life into sport and increase the awe factor in athletics even further, writes Robert Ranson

drama and tension of team sports. It is no coincidence that you will never see hundreds of thousands of people piling into stadiums every week to watch people trying to run faster than each other. Alas, give them a football and goalposts and you watch the crowds flock in their millions. The entire dynamic is changed. Let us embrace the strengths that the “athletic” sports possess. Let us focus on the “wow factor” and how we can increase it. This is a pragmatic option for the survival and the possible thriving of athletics as a popular source of entertainment for the masses. We know that many athletes dope. Let’s not delude ourselves any longer. Rather than engaging in a tiresome cat and mouse game of better testing competing against

stealthier drugs, why not accept the nature of the sport? We want to see fit people run really fast and jump really high. Many people feel we should not weigh athletes down with our moralising, they say we should be putting the spring in their step. For example, the Dutch decided to legalise soft drugs and prostitution as they saw that the social problems were not going to go away by simply prohibiting them and then deluding themselves that they did not exist. Athletes are going to dope, let’s not shroud it in darkness any longer. There are many top athletes whose doping is an open secret. Alas, libel laws prelude their naming and shaming. Do we really want to simply wait for the delusion to be shattered? Or do we want to be entertained, to be enthralled, by the wonderful feats that the human body can achieve, with the little help of a few pills and a few needles. The World Athletics Championships in Moscow during the summer were somewhat overshadowed by the revelations that top sprinters such as Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell had tested positive for banned substances. Women’s sprinting didn’t escape the media’s wrath either with three time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown also found to be doping. Ironically enough, former doping offender Justin Gatlin of the USA ended up being Usain Bolt’s main competitor at the Games. It is clear that doping takes away the level playing field in any sport, athletics included. If all athletes are on some performance substances it would actually be quite entertaining, but in reality it takes away from the sport. Let’s hope athletics doesn’t become the new cycling. None of us want to see the future unveiling of the new Lance. That Armstrong case taught us one thing; eventually cheaters get caught. Those doctors doing the drug tests aren’t dopes.

in knowing that the European Championships in 2016 have been expanded to include 24 teams, which should make qualification that slight bit easier if they can find the blend of players and style of play to be successful. Managers mentioned for the post include former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, now at Ipswich Town, Brian McDermott of Leeds United and Chris Hughton who is managing Norwich City, but it is former Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill who has been installed as the frontrunner to take over by the bookies. His style of play and manmanagement skills look a perfect fit for the role, but any possible appointment will hinge on what Premier League managerial posts become available over the next few months, as rumours abound that O’Neill may desire a return to club

management for his next job. The FAI are obviously keen to take their time with this next appointment, and have decided to appoint Noel King, the Irish under-21 manager, as a stopgap for the senior side. King’s brief will be to see Ireland through our last two group matches, the first of which is a trip to a Germany side who boast superstars like Marco Reus and Mesut Özil. King has said he begins the role with a clean slate and that all players will be considered for the squad. The next manager will find it difficult to reach the heights of Italia ‘90 and South Korea and Japan in 2002, but they knows they will have the support from Irish fans all over world. Irish players and fans will not mind waiting a little bit longer if it means John Delaney and the FAI can find the right man for the job this time.


IMAGINE THE DAY we see a Pfizer-sponsored Usain Bolt race against a Hoffmann-La Rochebacked Mo Farah. Wouldn’t we all love the honesty? The large multinationals would compete with each other to “juice up” the most promising athletes and this fantastic spectacle would draw larger crowds. What a wonderful opportunity for science and sport to collaborate in the search for a perfect athlete, or Übermensch. It might even get kids interested in science. Forget ideas about bonus Leaving Certificate point incentives to attract school kids towards subjects of the “knowledge economy”, simply show them what all those chemicals can achieve in the right hands, or veins. They already love Breaking Bad, why not show them what athletics can achieve if it takes a leaf from


Walter White’s book and scrap any remaining pretence of innocence? Let us all accept and embrace the fundamental dishonesty of athletics. In fact, given the amount of top pharmaceutical companies residing in Ireland, it might even increase our chances of winning an Olympic gold medal. From now on, any company wishing to avail of our low corporation tax must sponsor an Irish athlete. This may even allow us to see the return of Lance Armstrong. Were we not all much happier when we bought into the myth of Lance as the cancer-curing cyclist extraordinaire? In this instance, openness and acceptance of his actions would trump all questions about how morally sound his actions were. The many sports that we can file under the wide encompassing term

“athletics” have one crucial thing in common that attracts supporters. When supporters watch a top-level competitive athletics competition, they should be in awe. They should be impressed by the extraordinary ability or fitness of the competitors. Implicit in this awe and vital to the attraction of the sport is the spectator recognising that these athletes are completing feats that the supporter himself or herself would never be able to accomplish. They are competing at the height of their chosen fields. They are showing what the human body can achieve. It is the almost super-human excellence of Usain Bolt and other athletes that provides the attraction, the entertainment and the awe factor. If we viewed much of athletics dispassionately, we would conclude much of it as boring. It lacks the

THE RUB OF THE GREEN Following a disappointing end to the World Cup qualification campaign and Trapattoni’s exit, Kate Hanley asks if Ireland has the players or infrastructure for a new manager to succeed THE SEARCH is on for the next Republic of Ireland football manager after the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) confirmed the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni. The current World Cup qualifying campaign proved fruitless for the Irish footballing public and the pressure increased on the Irish manager after the squad suffered recent defeats against Sweden and Austria. Despite starting off 2012 well, the Irish team’s performances due to the manager’s conservative style angered Irish fans. The Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for back-to-back major tournaments were left hanging by a thread after a damaging 2–1 defeat against Sweden. Robbie Keane’s 60th international goal had put the hosts ahead, but Sweden were soon level through Elmander’s header before Svensson scored a second to secure all three points for the Scandinavians. Ireland then took on Austria the following Tuesday in a must-win game. In a tight match, they conceded a late David Alaba goal to give the home side the three points and extinguish any hope that Ireland may have had for qualification of World Cup 2014. After standing down Trapattoni spoke graciously. “I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here, which has always meant a lot to us.” One key problem facing the next Irish manager is that they do not have the quality of players available to compete at the highest level. Stars of previous years are older now and are not playing in top leagues across Europe. The new pool of emerging talent is not of the same quality as was available to previous managers. In recent times, Richard Dunne has been plagued with injury problems, the veteran Shay Given decided to retire from international football and Robbie Keane left the Premier League to play in Major League Soccer.


When the Irish manager is picking the squad for the national team it is very difficult for players playing in the Airtricity League, the top league in Irish soccer, to be chosen. Although these players feature at a relatively competitive level, they do not have the technical ability and skills to compete against other international sides. Young Irish players looking for a career in professional football mainly travel across to England, with a hope of playing in the Premier League. Only a lucky few however are successful in signing for the top clubs, with many ultimately plying their trade in the lower divisions. Irish players do not possess the technical ability that many of our European counterparts rely on. Elite footballing countries like Germany and Spain have committed huge resources to coaching their young

players, and this investment has placed these nations at the top of not only European, but world football. Most of the players who are turning out for the Irish national team are playing at a lower level and do not have access to the best coaching. This presents a huge challenge for the new Irish manager who must pick a team that can have hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016. The new manager, whoever they may be, must take a look at all available players and hope to unearth a rough diamond or two for his squad. If not, they will face an uphill battle to qualify for major tournaments. Giovanni Trapattoni was said to have never attended an Ireland underage game. This is a dangerous precedent and the new manager must give the youngsters a chance. The new manager can take comfort





ON THE RIGHT TRACK In light of Rob Heffernan’s recent success in athletics, Jonny Byrne looks to the future of Irish athletics and speaks to UCD athlete Ruairi Finnegan

In her first column of the year, Amy Eustace questions the reasoning behind Fifa awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup

BACK IN 2010, when Russia and Qatar were announced as locations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively, the choices sent ripples through the broader football community. The Qatar decision, in particular, arched eyebrows worldwide. It prompted allegations of corruption, whispers of collusion and questions were understandably raised as to the suitability of the Arab nation for a summer event at which temperatures would register in the forties. The climate question would prove to be just the tip of the iceberg, or more appropriately, the tip of the sand dune. It came as a surprise to approximately no one when Sepp Blatter and

“Just don’t be yourselves, yeah?” This, combined with the unfathomable temperatures during the summer months make Qatar a comical choice, suggesting that FIFA is less of an international regulatory body and more of a glorified crack den for the rich, powerful and clueless. Three years later, the decision is becoming less of a comedy and more of a tragedy. Adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not, apparently, a prerequisite for World Cup host countries. Last week the International Trade Union Confederation claimed that up to 4,000 Nepalese migrant workers could die before a ball is kicked at the 2022 event.


BLATTER WENT AS FAR AS TO SAY THAT GAY SPECTATORS SHOULD “REFRAIN FROM SEXUAL ACTIVITY”, WHICH IS AN ONLY SLIGHTLY NICER WAY OF SAYING, “JUST DON’T BE YOURSELVES, YEAH?” Michel Platini confessed that politics may have been a factor in awarding the bid. European leaders allegedly advised their country’s FIFA Executive Committee representatives to vote for Qatar, a practice explicitly prohibited by the body’s rules. High level corruption is football’s worst kept secret. The investigation into malpractice in the selection process confirmed what everybody already suspected to be true. Football has never been less of a spectator’s sport. The road to Russia and Qatar is a bumpy one. Vladimir Putin may be the Otto von Bismarck of the 21st century thanks to his strategic peacekeeping between Syria and the US, but at home his government wages a war against the LGBT community, which plays right into the hands of the right-wing majority of voters who keep him in power.  Anti-gay legislation passed into federal law earlier this year prohibits ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,’ which means that there is no place for gay pride symbolism or public campaigning of any sort. Without definitions for ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ or ‘propaganda’, the scope of the law is indeterminably wide.  The legislation, although yet to be enforced, has been met with uproar. A long list of famous faces have come out in staunch support of Russia’s LGBT community. Cher rejected an invite to next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi in opposition to this affront to a large section of her fan base. Madonna, Lady Gaga and Elton John have also spoken out. Activist groups are calling for a boycott of next year’s winter sports tournament. Putin and co. are understandably nonplussed. The laws are designed to cater to the whims of a largely conservative Russian electorate, not pop stars and liberals. Russia aren’t prone to bowing to international pressure, but if the new law weathers the storm of controversy it has whipped up, it will only come into sharper focus in 2018.  Even stricter anti-gay laws operate in Qatar, where homosexuality isn’t just ‘frowned-upon’, but completely illegal. Blatter went as far as to say that gay spectators should “refrain from sexual activity”, which is an only slightly nicer way of saying, OCTOBER 1ST 2013

Startlingly high numbers of labourers have already died during construction; mostly due to accidents at work or heart failure. More human rights breaches are being uncovered in the Qatari preparations with each passing day. Meanwhile, 13 football fans were detained last week for 30 hours with no food or water after violence at Spartak Moscow’s 3-0 win over CSKA Moscow and several instances of police brutality during the match were documented in YouTube videos. In Soviet Russia, law breaks you. For the host countries, international sports tournaments are marketing opportunities. They consume budgets that eclipse the gross domestic product of a small nation because they draw tourists, investors and global attention, but they also come with close scrutiny. That interest could be a catalyst for social change and FIFA is at least expected to pressure both Russia and Qatar on their anti-LGBT laws. Still, isn’t it counter-intuitive to award the bids and then lobby for policy change? Russia and Qatar already have what they want. They have nothing to lose by staying exactly the way they are. Qatar’s participation has been thrown into uncertainty with FIFA having realised, suddenly, that the climate is unsuitable for summer football. The governing body is likely to agree on a move to a winter tournament, but a November/December event would completely upturn the schedules of most major European leagues. The investigation into the ‘politics’ of the bid could have consequences for Qatar, as will indications of slave labour. Evidence is mounting in favour of taking the World Cup out of their hands, but all this should have been clear to the powers-that-be back in 2010. Now, FIFA faces a dilemma. It could stand by its earlier decision and back Qatar to the hilt, revoke the hosting privilege entirely, or force a re-vote which Qatar would inevitably lose. Whatever they do, this particular FIFA farce runs far too deep to escape with a shred of credibility. A do-over would come with significant cost and not just to their reputation. For once, it might have to do what’s best for the fans, not what’s best for its pockets. Imagine that.

UNDOUBTEDLY the highlight of the year for Irish athletics was the World Championships, held in Moscow in August. Rob Heffernan secured a gold medal in the 50km walk in what were his fifth championships. In terms of Irish success on the world stage, this was a rare win. It was Ireland’s first gold medal in a World Championships for a staggering 18 years. Focusing on the two big competitions, the Olympics and the World Championships, it’s interesting to take an in-depth look into Irish performances in recent times. The Olympics are the epitome of any athlete’s aspirations. In recent years, Ireland has enjoyed great success in boxing, with a tally of seven medals between the Beijing and London Olympics. In terms of athletics however, our last medal came in the famous women’s 5000 metre race in Sydney 13 years ago, courtesy of the old reliable Sonia O’ Sullivan. In fact, we haven’t won a gold medal in athletics in the Olympics since 1956. Since O’Sullivan’s silver medal in Sydney, Ireland have secured three top eight finishes across the board, all in walking. Olive Loughnane came seventh in the women’s 20km walk in Beijing, while the man of the moment, Rob Heffernan, came eighth in the 20km walk in Beijing before moving up to the 50km

for London 2012, finishing fourth. In the last decade, we have had two medals in the World Championships; again dominated by our two walkers, Heffernan and Loughnane. With both achieving great success, Heffernan’s journey is particularly intriguing. After an eighth place finish in Beijing, Heffernan pushed himself to finish fourth in London in a race of higher difficulty, but he didn’t give up there. Heffernan’s gold in the World Championships this summer was testament to the hard work he has put in since the Olympics. This steady and constant improvement is surely something any Irish athlete can look up to. After taking a look at the past, it is interesting to take a look at what the future holds for Irish athletics. UCD student Ruari Finnegan currently represents the Ireland Junior Under 20s in the 1500m. His most recent outing was the European Championships held in Italy this summer and the University Observer was keen to find out about the process involved to represent Ireland from a young age when we spoke to him. Speaking about how he started in athletics, Finnegan said, “When you get into first year of secondary school you begin. There are three different categories: junior, intermediate and senior schools. My first competition was when I was about 13 or 14-years-old for the Irish schools team, for a race in Glasgow. I didn’t

start representing the Irish team itself until I was about 15 or 16.” Every young athlete needs a role model to look up to. Although Finnegan mentioned the likes of Steve Cram, Seb Coe and Craig Mottram, he did speak highly of a number of Irish athletes. “Historically, you’ve got Eamon Coughlan and Sonia O’Sullivan. They’re always big names to look up to. “At the minute, there are the likes of Rob Heffernan, or really any athlete at the minute who’s making it on the world stage for the Irish team are obviously very commendable. Sonia O’Sullivan follows me on Twitter. I’ve been on cross country trips with Fionnuala Britton, there are loads of people you get to know and speak to at different competitions.” Speaking about Ireland’s poor performances in athletics during the London 2012 Olympics, Finnegan said, “The statistics aren’t favourable really, but I suppose the Olympics are the biggest competition in the world.” He continued, “It’s such a high level of intense sport. In London, it was a younger team that was in the Olympics, so it would be very difficult for the younger athletes to transition into the Olympic stage. Give them a couple of years. Medals at the Olympics are a high ask really. We need to be aiming for finals and stop thinking about medals because it’s so difficult. Top 10, top 16 performances are most

realistic from an Irish perspective.” Maybe we do expect medals to be the be all and end all of Irish athletics. Do we remember Derval O’Rourke’s fourth place final finish in the 2009 World Championships? Was that not an outstanding achievement? Thinking long term, Finnegan suggested that “Ireland needs to start focusing on a European level and more medals at European level rather than at a world stage. I think there’s a good bunch of talent coming through at the minute that’s underage. Hopefully, in a couple of years’ time, we can put it up to the world stage.” Does the future look bright for Irish athletics? Finnegan was optimistic on the matter. He said, “There are numerous athletes between the 19 to 26-years-old bracket who are really starting to make an impact at a European level. I think give them 2 to 3 years, maybe Rio 2016, and they’ll be making their mark then on the world stage. I think the future is very bright.” There is certainly a lot of sense in what Finnegan says. Ireland is not going to achieve athletic success overnight. After all, this is a country dominated by other sports like rugby, GAA and soccer. For now, we should savour moments like Rob Heffernan’s gold medal win in the summer and maybe we’re waiting for a golden generation to come along and surprise us all. Who knows, it could be sooner than we expect.




With certain sports periodically dominated by certain families, Shane Hannon takes a closer look at this phenomenon and if it really is in the blood

IT IS GENERALLY accepted that various family traits are passed on from generation to generation. One only has to look at various figures in the media spotlight to realise that, and this phenomenon has created some of the best-known figures in history. Take politics for example; George W. Bush, the United States President at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was preceded in the most powerful political position on Earth by his father, George H.W., between 1989 and 1993. There was also the House of Medici, a political family dynasty which rose to prominence in Florence in the late 14th Century before lasting hundreds of years. But what of sporting dynasties, can they be as successful? Okay, so we can’t expect Venus and Serena Williams’ future offspring to be the world’s greatest tennis stars for the next four hundred years, but there are certain families that just seem to have that knack when it comes to sporting competitiveness and success. One story which made the headlines recently in the Irish sports pages was about cyclist Nicolas Roche and his temporary holding of the leaders’ red jersey after Stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana. Roche went on to finish a very respectable fifth in the general classification, but what makes the story even more incredible is that Roche probably isn’t even considered the best cyclist in his family. Nicolas’s father, Stephen, is a true cycling legend, and Ireland doesn’t have many of those, to be fair. In a thirteen-year professional career of road racing, Roche arguably peaked in 1987 when he became the second of only two cyclists to win the coveted Triple Crown of victories: the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stage races, as well as the World Road Race championship. The GAA is truly an Irish institution and both gaelic football and hurling have produced families with incredible records. Footballwise, the O’Sé family are perhaps


the best-known, with the late great Paidi and his next generation of family members Darragh, Marc and Tomás collecting 20 All-Ireland winners medals between them. The Brogans once again proved their worth in this year’s All-Ireland run for the Dubs, with Alan and Bernard picking up their second All-Ireland title; the latter kicked 2-2 in the final win over Mayo, while Alan was an unused substitute. Two years ago they, along with their brother Paul, helped Dublin

lift Sam Maguire for the first time since 1995. In fact, it was their father Bernard Senior who won three All-Ireland medals for Dublin in 1974, ’76 and ’77 respectively, with a standout moment from that third championship-winning campaign being his superb semi-final goal against Kerry. The Donnellan’s of Galway deserve a special family mention too, with three generations of All-Ireland winners. Michael won in 1998 and 2001, his father John and uncle Pat

were on Galway’s three-in-a-row side in the 60s, and their father Mick won an All-Ireland in the 1930s. Not many in the GAA world can match the achievements of the Dunmore MacHales clubmen, however, in hurling as the Larkin’s of Kilkenny have also produced three generations of All-Ireland success. Across the Irish sea in the UK, football has produced many sporting families with impressive records. Gary and Phil Neville came through the ranks together at Manchester

Harry and Jamie Redknapp and Frank Lampard Junior and Senior are related through marriage. Harry has had a successful managerial career, while Jamie made 237 appearances for Liverpool among other clubs. Frank Junior’s achievements at Chelsea are still plain to see, while his father, Frank Senior, is a West Ham United legend. It would be impossible to talk about great sporting families without mentioning Jack and Bobby Charlton. The brothers won England’s only World Cup together in 1966 and although Bobby had a more successful playing career at Manchester United, Jack is probably the Republic of Ireland’s greatest manager ever, leading us to the lofty heights of Italia ’90 and USA ’94 after taking us to our first major championships, the 1988 Euros in Germany. There are family dynasties across the Atlantic too, as American football has produced its fair share of family success on the field; and indeed off it. Last year’s Super Bowl XLVII pitted two brothers against each other as opposing managers for the first time, as John Harbaugh coached the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory since 2000, defeating his younger brother Jim’s San Francisco 49ers, 34–31. Elsewhere in the NFL family tree, there is the divine troika of NFL quarterbacks. Archie Manning who played with the New Orleans Saints for 11 years, and his sons, Peyton, current Denver Broncos quarterback, and Eli who plays for the New York Giants. Between them, the Manning United in the early 1990s as part brothers have three Superbowl rings, of ‘Fergie’s Fledgling’s’ and both despite the fact that Archie, the went on to become full England father, never even made the playoffs. internationals. Their success at club There are of course other sporting level, however, is what defined them. relations who have stood out in their Gary stayed at United for his entire respective fields. The Klitschko career, while younger brother Phil brothers in boxing and Munster’s moved to Everton in 2005, where he finest rugby-playing family, the spent eight successful years. Phil Wallaces to name but a couple. has since joined the United coaching Obviously sporting greatness is staff under new boss David Moyes, something that must be earned. It isn’t while his twin sister Tracey Neville just given to you divinely on a platter. is an England netball international. But one thing’s for sure, having that little Elsewhere in the English game, drop of sporting blood can only help.

THE BADGER In this issue, everyone’s favourite nocturnal woodland-dwelling sports critic, The Badger, discusses the enigma of loan signings before getting distracted by a group of wild WAGs

THE BADGER has always been curious when it comes to loan signings. Essentially, it sees a team ‘lend’ one of their players to another team because they’re too crap to play for their own team, but too good to sell outright. So basically, it’s like a spouse sending their partner out on loan because they don’t fulfil the bedroom requirements, but not that bad enough that they want to get rid of them completely. However, the Badger sees a flaw in this reasoning. What if they enjoys their time away so much that they don’t want to ever come back home? The Badger is clearly quite fond of his football/sex metaphors, but the underlying point is that loans aren’t always the answer. We all

remember Manchester City’s Premier League title win in 2012 (who could forget?), but the Badger is sure no-one remembers City loan signing David Pizarro that year. According to L’Oreal model, Roberto Mancini, the then 32-yearold Chilean was supposed to make a huge impact on City’s season and help them win the league. Long story short, he failed to make the ten appearances necessary to pick up his Premier League medal. The Badger feels it is imperative to note, however, that not all loan deals go awry. Not many know that David Beckham played for Preston North End on loan in the 1994/95 season. Five games and two goals, including one direct from a corner kick, wasn’t a bad return

SPORTS DIGEST CYCLING Cycling has garnered a bit of a bad name for itself over the past year or so, what with the Lance Armstrong drug scandal that rocked the sport. However, the UCD cycling club has over 60 members and is both a racing and leisure cycling club based on campus. Fresher’s Week has no doubt added plenty more budding cyclists to the club’s ranks and with the recent cycling results coming out of UCD it is no surprise.

Eoin Morton of UCD is the new Leinster Road Race Champion after the event two weekends ago in Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow. Morton won the A1 Men’s race, with fellow UCD cyclist Sean McKenna finishing up in seventh place. Elsewhere, in the Women’s race UCD fared just as well, with Niamh Stephens ending up in second place and claiming a coveted silver medal.

in the Badger’s esteemed opinion. The likes of Henrik Larsson at Manchester United, Romelu ‘Protein Shakes’ Lukaku at West Brom and Ivan Campo at Bolton Wanderers were also good acquisitions in recent years. Even our own Robbie Keane managed 16 goals in just 19 games for Celtic on loan in 2010. Despite only playing between January and May, he received the club’s Player of the Year award. The Badger feels this summarises the quality of Scottish football eloquently. The Badger has never been good at tying together subjects before, so now we are going to talk about Wives and Girlfriends (WAGS). The WAGons have really taken to football culture ever since Karl Fletcher first began the the trend for Harchester

.GAA September is the time of the year when all inter-county players long to be still involved, and UCD has been well-represented in the GAA finals this year. Dublin won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for 2013 and UCD students were on hand to lift the Sam Maguire trophy. Post Graduate student Rory O’ Carroll lined out beside UCD teammates Jack McCaffrey, a 2nd Year Medicine student, and Paul Mannion, a 2nd Year Commerce student. They were joined by UCD Graduates Cian O’ Sullivan, Michael Darragh MacAuley,

United back in the early 2000s. Don’t get the Badger wrong, it is a scientifically proven Uber Fact that WAGs now form the crucial backbone of football. If they were to hypothetically disappear, football would probably collapse in on itself and somehow ITV would end up owning the broadcasting rights again, and we all know how that worked out. The Badger will stick to his regular advice for footballers. Be unattractive and you will be a good at football because WAGs will ignore you. E.g. Carlos Tevez… and… The Badger may not have any other examples, or a cohesive argument for that point. Badger out.

Alan Brogan and Michael Fitzsimons. While UCD student Kevin McLaughlin, studying the Post graduate dip. in Education, was on the losing Mayo side. The All-Ireland Hurling Final replay was as exciting as the original draw at Croke Park, and the Cork team included UCD’s Willie Egan. The Ladies were not to be outdone, however, and Galway defeated Kilkenny in the Camogie final. Unfortunately, UCD students Grace Walsh (Nursing), Kate McDonald (Arts), and Leanne Fennelly (Science) were on the defeated Cats side. In the Ladies Football, Monaghan’s Eileen McElroy of UCD lined out against Cork.

HOCKEY The UCD Men’s Hockey team go from strength to strength year after year, and this year’s campaign is one full of optimism with a strong scholarship system in place in Belfield. Add that to the team’s top-four finish last season and things look bright for the college outfit. The team currently have three international players in their ranks in the form of Shane O’Donoghue, Kirk Shimmons and Peter Brown from Banbridge, with the latter being

the first player from Northern Ireland to be taken in on an Elite Athlete Scholarship. With half of the team on scholarships, the players have access to nutritionists, personal trainers and physiotherapy as well as the usual gym and training facilities on site. This bodes well for UCD in their quest for Leinster and Irish honours.




COLLIDGE RECORD OPENING DAY WIN One year on from its opening, Shane Hannon takes a look at UCD’s Sports Centre and how the state-of-the-art facilities are perceived


UCD RFC opened their Ulster Bank League Division 1A season in a tough affair away to Lansdowne FC, with Collidge running in three tries and James Thornton kicking four penalties. Despite entering the season with a weakened squad due to the departure of Craig Ronaldson to Connacht on a professional contract, last year’s champions will still be disappointed that they suffered an opening day home defeat to Collidge. UCD, on the other hand, will be delighted with their start to the season and have proven that they too could contend in the top division and compete with the more dominant and physical teams. The away side got off to an ideal start with a try in the 5th minute from Conor Gilsenan, who drove his way over the line in the left corner. It was a great team effort as the ball was passed precisely through the hands from one side of the pitch to the other. The missed conversion attempt by James Thornton curtailed Collidge’s perfect start, but their advantage was short lived. In the 11th minute, a dangerous tackle by Eoin Joyce saw Collidge reduced to 14 men as the number

eight was sin-binned. This was the advantage Lansdowne used to get straight back into the game as their now dominant scrum gave them a penalty opportunity within kicking range from UCD’s uprights. The kick was confidently struck by Scott Deasy in the 15th minute bringing, the home side back to within two points. Lansdowne took further advantage of their numerical superiority minutes later and converted another penalty, again by Deasy, to take the lead. This was followed by numerous attacks that yielded nothing. UCD’s defence was firmly tested and absorbed all that was thrown at it. Unfortunately, ill discipline at the break down from Collidge gave the home side another penalty that was narrowly missed by a confident Deasy in the 27th minute. Against the run of play, UCD managed to pick up a penalty in the 30th minute that was knocked over from near the halfway line by Thornton. This left the score at 8–6 as half time loomed, yet in quick succession Collidge picked up two yellow cards, one for full back Andy Boyle and one for flanker Mark McGroarty. This gave Lansdowne another three

points by the boot of Deasy and killed the confidence of UCD’s scrum. Yet Lansdowne continuously failed to capitalise on the now two-man advantage, as the away side were able to hold them off until half time without conceding points, with Lansdowne taking just a one-point advantage into the break. Lansdowne’s total dominance in the first half faded in the early part of the second, as UCD stepped up their attack. A wild pass through the legs of Collidge’s Stephen Murphy to Alex Kelly was the start of a break that almost saw Barry Daly score down the left wing. The hosts came straight back at them as Scott Deasy struck tactical kicks deep into the UCD half. His efforts were unrewarded, however, as Collidge’s back three cleaned up well, even under high pressure from the home side. This gave the young visiting side a great attacking foothold that resulted in two penalties that were both converted by Thornton, one in the 54th and 61st minute, leaving the score at 14–9 in UCD’s favour. A high tackle from Clive Ross saw Lansdowne receive their first yellow card of the match and another sloppy

penalty in the breakdown saw UCD convert another three points to see the score at 17–9; now more than a converted try clear of Lansdowne. It was a turning point in the match and really gave belief and confidence to Collidge, allowing them to increase the pressure on their opponents. UCD built on this lead soon after as a speculative pass from Thornton to Barry Daly sent the winger into the left corner for a well-worked try. Even with the conversion missed, the home team’s moral was severely damaged, while a fortunate penalty converted again by Thornton stretched out the deficit to a demoralising 13 points. Brilliant individual skill from Conor Gilsenan, James Thornton and Stephan Murphy nearly saw UCD score another try soon after, but the home side managed to hold off these now frequent attacks. Still, they were unable to convert any of their own chances as they struggled to get out of their half. A poorly struck drop goal attempt by centre Stephen Murphy of UCD almost saw his outside man, Alex Kelly, score a try of his own after the kick hit the base of the post and stopped near the home sides try line. The ball was abruptly cleared by Lansdowne, just keeping the home side in contention. Nonetheless, a Collidge try followed soon after, as Andy Boyle broke through a tiring Lansdowne defence to score near the uprights to make the score 27–9. Once again, the extra two-points for the conversion weren’t forthcoming; one of few errors fly-half Thornton can be criticised for. At this stage, the game was lost for Lansdowne but, as the final whistle was nearing, a beautiful looping pass from Mark Roche to Cian Aherne gave the home side something to cheer about with their only try of the match. Collidge were the well-deserved victors as a win against last year’s league winners has truly announced their arrival into the top division and left Lansdowne with a lot of questions about their performance. UCD’s next match is against Old Belvedere on Saturday 5th of October.



Tries: Conor Gilsenan, Barry Daly, Andrew Boyle Pens: James Thornton 4

Try: Cian Aherne Pens: Scott Deasy 3



1. James Tracy 2. Risteard Byrne 3. Rory Harrison 4. Shane Grannell C 5. Emmet MacMahon 6. Conor Gilsenan 7. Mark McGroarty 8. Eoin Joyce 9. Luke McGrath 10. James Thornton 11. Barry Daly 12. Stephen Murphy 13. Alex Kelly 14. Sam Coghlan-Murray 15. Andy Boyle

1. Peter Dooley 2. Tyrone Moran 3. Adam Boland 4. Willie Earle C 5. Rhodri Jones 6. Clive Ross 7. Charlie Butterworth 8. Ron Boucher 9. Patrick O’Driscoll 10. Scott Deasy 11. Conor Toolin 12. Mark Roche 13. Shane Gahan 14. Cian Aherne 15. Ross McCarron



16. Liam Hyland 17. Adam Clarkin 18. Micheal Cawley 19. Jamie Glynn 20. Niall Earls

16. Jack O’Connell 17. Steve Collins 18. Brian Moylett 19. Tom Kiersey 20. Gearoid McDonald


11 5 8 9




4 7


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UCD MARIAN SET TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE UCD Marian begin the basketball season on October 6th against UCC Demons, Tony Flynn met up with Superleague player and UCD alumni Kevin Foley to get his insight on the club and to talk about some of the changes that have taken place

THERE HAS been plenty going on behind the scenes at Marian since last season. DCU Mercy’s Ioannis Liapakis has joined as head coach, with a number of players moving onto pastures new. As if that wasn’t enough, American power forward Terence King has signed from East Stroudsberg University. The future is looking bright, however, there is one question on everyone’s minds; can UCD Marian compete for silverware this year? Marian won the National Cup in 2011, but the league title has proved somewhat elusive. When asked about last year’s displays, Foley said, “We finished just outside the playoffs in fifth in the league last season and we lost in the semi-final of the National Cup last year to University Limerick who were the League champions. They went on to lose to Neptune, which was a bit of a shock in the final of the cup.” However, that doesn’t tell the whole story, with many adamant that Marian were very unlucky not to progress to the final themselves. “The semi for us was close and in the end we lost by about nine points. There was only a point in it with two minutes to go, but they pulled away in those last minutes. There were a few calls that could’ve gone either way, but the score line didn’t reflect how close it was.” This current UCD side will be greatly boosted by the appointment of the new head coach Ioannis Liapakis. Since arriving in Ireland in 2011, Ioannis has worked with Mark Ingle within the DCU Mercy program, winning the under-20 National Cup. Liapakis brings with him a wealth of experience, which can only help this Marian side. Foley notes, “Ioannis actually coached at a really OCTOBER 1ST 2013

high level in Greece for AEK Athens and he was exactly what we needed to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed preseason and he’s an excellent coach.” Ioannis himself clearly knows what it takes to manage a side like UCD. He said after arriving at the club, “I understand the traditions and philosophy of UCD Marian and I hope to add my experience and expertise to this team and bring the success I know it deserves.” UCD Marian were understandably met with huge levels of interest when this head coach position became vacant, however, chairman Alan Fearon insists Ioannis was always the number one choice. “We received a huge amount of interest in the position from all over the world,” he said. “But we thought that Ioannis was the outstanding candidate and the best fit for our club.” Part of this was no doubt down to the fact that Ioannis had quite a successful playing career himself, having played in the top Greek league for Peristeri, as well as in the Euroleague for the same club. Interest in the sport of basketball across the Atlantic is no secret and UCD Marian are no doubt also excited by the prospect of seeing Americans, Terence King and Alex Moorehead, in action on court. Foley desribes King as “an absolute freak athlete. He’s got a 45 [inch] vertical jump, I mean, just crazy stuff. He’s one of the most athletic players I’ve ever played with, plus he’s a very skilled player as well so I’m excited about him.” Guard Moorehead is doing a Masters in Smurfit and Foley is just as optimistic about that acquisition. “It’s lucky we stumbled across him. He’s from a division three school in Dallas, Texas, which is where he played. He’s a good addition, but Terence and Alex can’t play at

the same time due to league rules concerning American players.” Player recruitment can tend to be a problem for Irish basketball, with interest levels in the sport not as high as the likes of rugby, soccer and gaelic football. Foley believes that it’s simply a matter of luck and proper advertising in most cases if you want the top players. “This year I randomly came across a guy that played at Bryant University in Rhode Island, which is NCAA Division 2 and he’s a quality player. “It’s just a matter of advertising around campus and seeing if these guys are there. We have a few good young Irish guys coming through and a German guy, Conor Ross, who happened to roll up to UCD and now he’s on our Superleague team.” The National Cup format has changed this year, with two legs per round now instead of one. Granted, this rule change will affect all teams equally, but Foley isn’t mad about the change. “I’m not a fan of this as basketball is such a close game and games go up to 80-90 points so you could beat someone by five points and on the return leg they beat you by six points and they’ve won it.” Foley agrees that the two-leg rule would work in other sports, but basketball is a different kettle of fish. “The two legs are fine for football, but it just doesn’t suit basketball. Fair enough if it’s best of three or best of five as that’s the way basketball playoffs in most countries are, but I just don’t see the benefit.” With regards the season ahead, Foley says “I know it’s a cliché, but take it one game at a time and see how it goes.” One thing of note Foley mentions about UCD Marian’s new head coach is that “He’s the complete package.” Let’s hope we’re saying that about the entire team come the end of the season.


Volume XX – Broadsheet – Issue 2  
Volume XX – Broadsheet – Issue 2