uo The University Observer DOMESTIC ABUSE One student’s account of their personal experience of domestic abuse
LOCAL ELECTIONS Three young election candidates speak about how they started in politics & ageism
MARTIN RUSSELL UCD AFC says goodbye to its manager Martin Russell who left for St. Pats
Nicole Casey P10
Amy Eustace P18
above The UCD Ladies Hockey team celebrate their Irish Senior Cup victory after beating Pembroke Wanderers
UCD Ball set to be held in the O2
march 4th 2014 Volume XX issue x universityobserver.ie
THE WANTED Siva Kaneswaran talks about the group going on hiatus after their Word of Mouth Tour
Killian Woods otwo p12
UCD Students’ Union (SU) President, Mícheál Gallagher, has confirmed to the University Observer that this year’s UCD Ball will be staged in the O2 on Friday, April 25th, the last day of the semester two. The 2013 Ball was the first of its kind to be held off campus, at the O2 venue, and this announcement from Gallagher answers any speculation that was surrounding the whereabouts of the end of year event. Speaking to the University Observer, Gallagher explained the numerous benefits of hosting the event in the O2, saying, “It has been evident in the last few years that the event has become unsafe
» Full line-up to be announced on March 23rd
event deemed “unsafe”
on campus, we need to prove to all stake holders that our primary concern is for the safety of students.” Issues including student behaviour and alcohol consumption had previously marred the event when it was held on campus, while no such problems arose when it was held in the O2. “By having a well run, safe and enjoyable event in the O2 it will increase the likelihood that the event will return to campus in the future.” Last year, Gardaí sent notice in the form of a written objection to UCDSU over its plans to seek an alcohol licence for staging the ball in UCD. Gallagher additionally revealed that the cost of hiring the O2 has
worked out to be cheaper than staging it on campus. He highlighted how the savings being made on venue hire has allowed for an increase in the “talent budget,” while maintaining the same overall budget as previous years. The UCD Ball has been a constant loss leader for UCDSU in recent years, but Gallagher is optimistic that their conservative estimate of breaking even for this event will be achieved, without the need for resorting to cutbacks. The UCD Ball has been a strong tradition of UCDSU and Gallagher is looking forward to the event, which he views as being “one of the biggest sources of union engagement
with our members.” The event generally attracts over 5,000 attendees and is touted as being Europe’s largest private party. The full line-up of acts for the Ball will be announced by UCDSU on Sunday, March 23rd at 7pm. Previously, the event has been headlined by international artists like The Saturdays and Professor Green, while last year’s headline artist was Dutch DJ Chuckie. Tickets for the UCD Ball 2014 will cost €40. In comparison, tickets for the Trinity Ball, which recently went on sale, are sold at a price of €80 per ticket.
INTROVERSION Mark Morris of Introversion Software chats about the group’s vision for cyberspace in video games
Niall Gosker Otwo P7
Jailbreak teams raise in excess of €40,000 Fionnán Long
GEORGE EZRA Jailbreak 2014 came to a close last weekend and so far over €40,000 has been raised for St. Vincent de Paul and Amnesty International. Of the approximately ninety teams that took part, 14 came from UCD, and collectively participants travelled a cumulative distance of 191,520km from their starting points in either Dublin or Cork. The competition was won by Team #15: Salim Sebaoui and Kyryll Chulak from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) who reached Sydney, Australia, a distance of
17, 223km from their start point in Dublin. Of the UCD contingent, Catherine Macfarlane and Denis Wickstone travelled the furthest distance, reaching Jamaica. Teams that compete in Jailbreak have to raise money for both their selected charity and also raise money to pay their travel expenses, with the overall challenge being to travel as far away as possible from your campus in 36 hours. Teams have taken a variety of different approaches to do this according to Caoimhín Ó Madagain, Auditor of the UCD St Vincent de Paul Society (UCDSVP).
Some students directly asked airlines, buses and trains for free transport at their service desk, and Ó Madagain says a small proportion of these students were successful. According to Clare Cryan, committee member of UCDSVP, students had more success with ferries and trains when it came to getting travel expenses waived. “A lot of the people who were really able to blag their way were people who went to the ferries. The ferries were really accommodating in terms of just letting people on. The flights, I think, were a bit more difficult.
But the ferries and trains, it’s easier to sweet talk people there and say, ‘Go on, sure. Let us on for free.’” Other students resorted to fundraising directly at airports. Tom Williams, a third year engineering student in UCD, and one half of Team Tom and Trisha, says that people who played guitar or tin whistle were most successful. Williams explains that students who didn’t engage in busking found that their fundraising efforts were initially less successful. Other teams secured corporate sponsorship before travelling and booked
their flight in advance. Sponsors ranged from Cadbury and Tolteca to Pantibar. Clare Cryan recalls one of the more memorable incidents to happen to a team who reached Munich. “Two lads in Munich on a Saturday night and they were stopped by the Bavarian police at one point and almost strip-searched. They ended up going to this party of some European royal and were kicked out. “They were then on a train to the airport, trying to get a flight to Istanbul the next day. They were shattered, fell asleep and missed their stop, [and] missed their flight.”
The singer/songwriter discusses how to get time alone on tour Rebekah Rennick Otwo P14
by cathal nolan
Sun is here
Sun is leaving
Sun is gone
Still no sun
Sun coming back
Sun here again march 4th 2014 1
News News in Brief KEVIN BEIRNE
Relay for Life to be held on April 9th and 10th It has been confirmed that the annual Relay for Life event, which was first held on campus in 2012, will take place between Wednesday, April 9th and Thursday, April 10th on the Devlin GAA pitch in UCD. The event, which raises money for the Irish Cancer Society, is a 24-hour relay in which “Teams of 8-30 students will camp out on the pitches with alternating people from each team walking around the track throughout the day and night,” according to Sarah Kelliher, a team recruiter for this year’s Relay. The Relay for Life will begin at 2pm on April 9th, and finish 24 hours later at 2pm on April 10th. The event kicks off with a Survivors’ Lap, in which people who have survived cancer are invited to take a lap of honour in celebration of their triumph. The Candle of Hope Ceremony is another feature, in which candles bags with the names of people who have been affected by cancer written on them are placed at the side of the pitch, and at dusk they are lit. For the three laps following the lighting of the candle bags, total silence is observed. This is expected to take place at around 7pm. Students interested in taking part in the Relay for Life can email email@example.com.
Tim Gleeson receives Arthur Cox Contribution to University Life Award The second annual Arthur Cox Contribution to University Life Award has been presented to 3rd year Law student Tim Gleeson in recognition of the role he has played in student life over the past year. The award is presented to students who achieve an “excellent” academic record, as well as making a significant contribution to extra curricular activities and improving the university community. Gleeson served as Secretary of the UCD Windsurfing Club, encouraging more people without any windsurfing experience to join and integrate themselves into the club. He also managed to stand out in the Irish Windsurfing Intervarsities, placing first in the Silver Fleet. In addition, Gleeson also took the time to serve as the UCD LawSoc Ents Officer, as well as being appointed as a County Commissioner for Scouting Ireland, which required him to overlook the running of nine scouting groups in his local area, the Dodder County region in Dublin.
UCD Choral Scholars to Embark on US East Coast Tour The UCD Choral Scholars will leave for a ten-day tour of the east coast of the USA on March 10th. The tour, entitled “Sailing Away: Songs of Farewell”, will see the Choral Scholars perform at the official St Patrick’s Day celebrations of the Consulate General of Ireland in Boston, as well as at the Sober St Patrick’s Day celebration in New York City. They will also visit a series of third-level institutions, including the University of Connecticut, Smith College of Massachusetts, Boston College, and Lehman College in New York City. They are due to return home on March 20th. The tour comes on the back of a successful 2013 for the Choral Scholars, who came in first place in the National Competition for Church Music at the 59th Cork International Choral Festival in May, as well as picking up the Florence Culwick Memorial Cup for madrigal singing and the McAuliffe Cup for mixed voice choirs during the Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil.
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Conway Institute lead EU consortium aiming to cure blindness Siobhan Copeland
Dr Breandán Kennedy and his team from the UCD Conway Institute, along with the UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, are leading a new European research consortium into treatment of ocular (eye) diseases that cause blindness and possible drugs that could treat such ailments. The UCD-led consortium, which aims to specifically develop novel anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-vessel hyperpermeability and cellprotectant molecules to fight against eye diseases, includes researchers from the University of Valladolid (Spain), KalVista Pharmaceuticals (UK), RenaSci LTD (UK) and Gadea
Grupo Farmaceutico (Spain). Speaking to the University Observer, Dr Kennedy described his goal for this consortium as “to develop genetic and pharmacological treatments for human blindness.” Dr Kennedy explained his work method and plan, saying, “Using zebrafish as an in vivo system, we have identified several families with inherited blindness and have used these to characterise disease progression and evaluate therapies. “We have also developed in vivo assays enabling us to discover novel drugs with specific neuroprotectant, anti-angiogenic or toxic properties in the eye. Technology platforms include: zebrafish (development, expression profiling, genetics, transgenics,
morphants and drug screens); Retina (Morphology and Function).” The research project, entitled Drug Discovery & Development of Novel Eye Therapeutics (3DNET), is supported by a €1.8 million grant from Marie Curie Industry-Academia Pathways and Partnerships (IAPP). After an unsuccessful application in 2012, a new application and proposal was drawn up and the IAPP gave the project the green light in 2013. Work began for this consortium with the 3DNET project in September 2013, and is set to run for four years, however, the actual research experiments were initiated in January and February of 2014. Dr Claire Kilty, from the Kennedy group, will transfer to RenaSci Ltd this month, a contract
research organisation based in Nottingham and one of the industry partners in the consortium. She will be evaluating vascular retinal permeability and pathological angiogenesis in the experimental models. Dr Kilty will specifically look at type 2 diabetes developed by RenaSci as part of an assessment of the safety and efficacy of novel ocular drugs. Dr Kilty expressed her enthusiasm for the project, saying, “I spent two weeks at RenaSci Ltd in January in preparation for my secondment, which largely involved organising logistics, familiarising myself with the day-to-day activities of the company and planning the type of work I will be carrying out while there. It was a really good insight
into the scientific research process in industry as compared to my own experience in academia.” Speaking about what would constitute the project being deemed successful, Dr Yolanda Alverez of the Conway Institute said, “Obvious success would be if we could move towards clinical development and pharmaceutical market some of the drugs discovered and developed in 3D-NET project. “But even if that does not happen, drug discovery is a very long and intricate process, this project will be a success if our consortium becomes a solid network of European researchers exchanging knowledge and joining efforts to cure irreversible blindness beyond these 4 IAPP years”.
Report shows UCD leads Ireland in engineering and agriculture subjects Emily McMorrow
The QS World University Rankings has placed UCD first in Ireland in seven subject categories and ranked the college in the top 200 in 22 of the 30 subjects measured. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) maintains its lead making the top 200 in 25 of 30 subject offerings. Meanwhile, University College Cork (UCC) had a notable improvement with 10 subjects making it into the top 200. UCD was ranked the top Irish institution for chemical engineering, civil and structural engineering as well as agriculture and forestry. TCD is the only Irish institution to have subjects within
the top 50, namely English, history, politics and modern languages. Both institutions had law, accounting and finance within the top 100 globally. NUI Galway was ranked within the top 200 providers for accounting. “Irish universities have yet to make the top 100 for mathematics, physics, computer sciences, and all four of the engineering disciplines” according to Ben Sowter, head of QS research. Sowter referenced the fast growth in Asian Institutions’ science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculties to be a contributing cause for Ireland’s lagging competition in this area. The President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks, notes, “Subject
rankings show that UCD has strengths across all Colleges and I would like to acknowledge and thank the UCD academic community for their efforts. Our aim is to improve our reputation through heightened research impact and awareness, especially among the international academic community.” UCC environmental sciences have improved significantly from the 151-200 ranking in 2013 to 101-150 this year. UCC’s education category has also improved to join UCD, TCD and the University of Limerick (UL) in the top 200 for this particular area of third-level. Like UCD and TCD, UCC law and modern languages is ranked in the top 100. Seven Irish
institutions ranked within in the top 200 for at least one subject. Dublin City University (DCU) has four subjects ranked within the top 200, namely politics, international studies, computer science and information systems. NUI Maynooth (NUIM) and UCD had English ranked within the leading 100. The QS World University Rankings consider over 2,000 third-level institutions out of which over 800 are ranked. The top 400 universities are then ranked individually according to subject and course offerings. Ranking methodology analyses the institution’s academic reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, citations per faculty, employer reputation, and
international student and faculty ratio. Validity of these rankings has come under criticism recently, in particular among non-English language universities, which tend to be undervalued in the citation and publication category. The publications analysed do not correspond with those used in faculties such as engineering and social sciences. There may also be a secondary effect from previous league tables when surveying employers. Harvard maintains its overall lead in international ranking with 11 subjects at number one. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) comes in close second with nine subjects ranked first.
Ó Briain appointed Arts Soc auditor for 2014/15 session Lucy Ryan
Aonghus Ó Briain, the current UCD Students’ Union Arts Convenor, has been appointed the new auditor of Arts Soc after he was the only applicant put forward for consideration as the new head of the society. Traditionally, elections are held to deem who assumes the role from the incumbent auditor, with all society members being invited to cast their vote for their first preference to get the position. However, with no other candidates vying for the position, UCD Arts Soc constitution policy dictates that the sole applicant
is deemed elected. Ó Briain will assume the role of auditor following his official appointment at the society’s annual general meeting (AGM). Speaking to the University Observer, Ó Briain expressed his delight at getting appointed to the position that is held in high regard within UCD Societies and hopes he can use his position to help Arts students. “I went for auditor because I enjoyed my year as Arts Convenor and enjoyed helping my fellow arts students. I hope that running for auditor next year I will be able to continue to help the students of UCD.
these new puritans in Otwo
“My role entails a number of things. Primarily I will head the Arts Soc committee, through which we will organise events for all Arts Soc members. These events range from alcoholic and non-alcoholic entertainment events, hosting guests as well as organising skills and career talks. My role is to make the year more enjoyable for our society members.” Ó Briain feels that the key to having a successful year as auditor is to ensure that the society is an open resource for Arts students and ensure events that are organised appeal to the broad student base.
“Visibility and consistency [are key]. I believe we can build on the great success we had this year. I believe that if we are visible and open to all Arts students and if we are consistent with events and communication we will continue to grow and develop the society.” Building on the achievements of this year’s Arts Soc committee is also a main aim of Ó Briain’s, one he feels he can achieve by bringing some fresh ideas to the position. “As Convenor this year I believe that I brought a new level of visibility for the Students’ Union in the Newman Building. I feel
that this is something that could improve and develop Arts Soc. I aim to do this by changing the structure and positions on committee, holding weekly events and being a present force in Arts. “I will keep the traditional events such as Arts Day, the Arts Ball, but I am also keen to bring in other events such as a graduation dinner for final year students and a big event in semester one. My aim is to have one key event every week, encompassing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic entertainment.” The Arts Soc AGM takes place on March 6th.
Ethics initiative launched by President Higgins
News in Brief
Andrew Carolan President Michael D. Higgins launched the Ethics Initiative at UCD on February 20th. The campaign aims to encourage students to become involved in a national discourse on the importance of ethics in modern Irish society. The project will take form in two particular organisations within the university. The first entitled ‘We need to talk about ethics because...,’ is being run by Prof. Andrea Prothero of the School of Business and began on March 3rd. The second aspect of the initiative is based on the ‘Role of Conscience,’ and will be led by Dr Christopher Couley, of the School of Philosophy, later on in the year. The President, speaking to students
involved with the first part of the campaign, spoke of its importance within the context of Ireland’s recent troubles, stating, “As we leave behind a crisis that caused such reputational damage to our country, this debate will, I hope, contribute to the building of a more just and sustainable version of Ireland’s future.” The Deputy President of UCD, Mark Rogers, expressed similar sentiments, regarding the application of this initiative to social media sites as particularly crucial for its success. “[It] is the perfect platform where students can contribute to and take part in this important national debate on ethics in Irish society.” Student opinions will be a major
factor in the debate on why ‘We need to talk about Ethics...’ and in the upcoming weeks, the question will be posed to students on campus. Photographs will subsequently be uploaded to various social media channels, expressing the various viewpoints and there has already been some reflection on this matter. Clay D’Arcy, studying in the School of Human Sciences, for example, expressed that “We need to talk about Ethics because... Irish women and men need truth in their lives,” while Doireann Shiunan, who is studying in the College of Health Sciences, argued that “We need to talk about Ethics because... the decisions we make shape the society we build.’
Speaking to the University Observer, Prof. Andy Prothero expressed her hope for a number of students to get involved in the campaign. “I would like us to have a number of student-led initiatives which use the white board responses as a spring board to further conversations… I would like the ideas as to what these conversations should be to come from the student population, and am excited to see how students respond.” Undertaken as part of a wider project under President Higgins for university proposals on a national ethics initiative, the campaign has already proved a success, in her mind. “We saw a wide range of
responses from each of the nine students; imagine how much we could learn from each and every student on campus, and indeed the student population of the country.” Thanking President Higgins for attending the launch, Prof. Prothero also said, “I was incredibly proud of our students during [President Higgins’] visit to campus last week. Each response to the question ‘We need to talk about ethics because…’ was thoughtful and considered… There was a great buzz in the Quinn School during the visit, and if we can maintain this buzz throughout the project I will be delighted.”
Joseph O’Connor announced as chair of creative writing at UL Dublin-born bestselling author, Joseph O’Connor, has recently been announced as the inaugural Frank McCourt chair in creative writing at the University of Limerick (UL). The Frank McCourt chair was established in UL to honour the late Limerick-born author Frank McCourt and his close ties with the University. The internationally acclaimed author, renowned for his bestselling novel Star of the Sea, will commence his tenure at the University this summer. He will join the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, teaching students of the UL masters in creative writing programme from September onwards, in addition to presenting public literary events in the Limerick region. Highly regarded in the literary arena as author of eight novels, O’Connor has won numerous accolades for his works, including an honorary doctorate for literature in UCD in 2011 and the Irish PEN award for outstanding contribution to Irish Literature in 2012. His latest novel, The Thrill of It All, will be published this May.
UCC to award honorary doctorate to Jose Manuel Barroso President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in University College Cork (UCC). The prestigious accolade recognises his extensive involvement in the European Union, with emphasis on its impact on Irish universities. Mr Barroso will receive the award at a special ceremony on March 5th, which will be attended by highly esteemed guests in education, politics and business. He has requested 25 minutes in which to make a speech, where it is expected that he will acknowledge Ireland’s progress in the current economic climate. A reception will follow the ceremony, at which Mr Barroso will meet university academics, alongside members of the local and wider community. The former Portuguese prime minister previously visited the university in 2008, when he delivered an address on the Lisbon Treaty. The event will be streamed live on Wednesday, March 5th from 6pm.
NUIG students to vote on SU policy regarding abortion & an Israeli boycott
UCD announces new VP for Research, Innovation & Impact Alanna O’Shea UCD Governing Authority has appointed Professor Orla Feely as the new Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact. Prof. Feely joined UCD as a lecturer in 1992 and is currently subject head of Electronic Engineering in the UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering and has been the chair of the Irish Research Council since 2012. The professor earned her primary degree in electronic engineering at UCD and holds a PhD in the same field from the University of California, Berkley. While at UC Berkley, she won the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award and her thesis won the DJ Sakrison Memorial Prize for outstanding and innovative research. Today she continues to win both national and international grants and prizes for her work, and heading a research group on nonlinear circuits has won her the three consecutive Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) principal investigator awards. Speaking to the University Observer about her new job responsibilities, Prof. Feely said, “I will be leading
our activities in both research and innovation, and seeking to maximise the impact they deliver to the economy and society, and within the education system.” She feels that it is the ideal time to be taking on the job and an exciting time for UCD, which has the opportunity to be “a driving force in a recovering economy and a changing society. “I have long been aware of our national research strengths in engineering and science, but through my role on the Irish Research Council I have developed an understanding of our tremendous complementary strength in humanities and social sciences.” Prof. Feely believes it is crucial to draw upon all different areas of the College to ensure UCD contributes to solving the pressing global issues that face society. “Solutions to the big research challenges of our time, such as energy and connected health, will rely on expertise that spans these domains, and a university of the breadth and quality of UCD is ideally positioned for this.” There will be challenges to her new
position as well, she feels. “Irish higher education is currently operating under extraordinarily difficult financial constraints, and the demands on academic staff time are greater and greater. “Research and innovation are highly competitive global activities, and we have some very ambitious and wellresourced competitors.” She says that reconciling these two issues will be a major difficulty during her tenure. Speaking of her appointment, UCD President, Andrew Deeks, emphasised her impact at a national level through the Research Council and her international reputation as a researcher as the reason she is perfect for the role. He spoke of her leadership both in her own College and the University as a whole. Prof. Feely says she looks forward to this new leadership role, although she will miss her daily interactions with “the incomparable UCD engineering students.”
Ian Fahey announced as LawSoc Auditor for 104th Session Lucy Ryan Second year Business and Law student, Ian Fahey, has been announced as the new auditor of the UCD Law Society (LawSoc) for the upcoming 104th session, which commences on March 6th, after he was the only candidate to declare interest in the position. Fahey expressed his motivation for the prestigious role was rooted in his passion for debating which the Society had encouraged in his school. “The Society expanded my social circle back in secondary school and I wanted to kind of go for it because I want to give back to a society that gave me so much.” Fahey does not feel following up the 103rd Session is necessarily daunting, but more so a welcome challenge, which can be overcome through good planning. “I think the best thing you can do is focus on organisation and time management. If you are planning from day one and come into the job and know exactly what to do and have the right people around you, people who are as passionate and committed as you with the year ahead then you really can’t go wrong.” This year, LawSoc brought in a succession of high profile guests, such as Alastair Campbell, Judge Judith Sheindlin (Judge Judy), Patrick J. Adams, and Joe Schmidt, which Fahey believes appeals to the broad base of students in UCD. “A lot of people argue that LawSoc should be for law students only and others argue that it should be open.
The Law Society this year has two and a half thousand members and there is certainly less law students than that. “The debates and the guests appeal to the mass of students and general students from all faculties, but it is also good to have the core law activities for law students to take part in such as, mooting and the mock trial.” He also expands upon his strategy for the year as he highlights what he believes are some vital issues and concerns that require redress. “The whole problem with the Law Society is that law students feel that there is no society that they can find themselves drawn to identity-wise. Giving the law students a society they can link themselves to is important; I want to resurrect that forgotten identity LawSoc had. One of Fahey’s other main goals for the year is to have some input into the UCD delegation that will be attending the International Model United Nations in New York next year. “It will be a lot of work and a lot of time will have to be put into that sort of event. The point of it is, you are not going to represent UCD LawSoc, you are going to represent UCD, which is your college at a global level.” Fahey looks forward to the commencement of the Session after the mid-term break, when he will assemble his committee. All members will receive the opportunity to apply for a position on the team in the coming weeks.
Upcoming Students’ Union (SU) referendums in NUI Galway (NUIG) will see students vote in relation to SU policy surrounding abortion and impose an academic and cultural boycott on Israel. Polling takes place on Thursday, March 6th and could see students select their SU to be the first in Ireland to sanction a boycott of Israel. Inspired by Irish involvement with the late Nelson Mandela in the boycott of South Africa, the NUIG Palestine Solidarity Society is encouraging a ‘yes’ vote in order to show support for innocent civilians in Palestine suffering from oppression and criminal activity imposed by Israel. Meanwhile, in the voting relating to the NUIGSU’s stance on abortion the NUIG Choice Society and the NUIG Feminist Society are encouraging all to make a ‘no’ vote, therefore advocating the right of a woman to make her own decision regarding having an abortion. This vote is called at a crucial time in Irish politics, and NUIGSU believes that by maintaining a pro-choice status, the country will be one step closer in the movement towards respecting women’s reproductive rights.
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news analysis international
News in Brief
With the hype surrounding Jailbreak 14 dying down, Cian Carton wonders what the event says about our generation’s generosity Five teams raised less than €50 while another eight also fell short of the €200 target. On average, over one in six of the participating teams failed to reach the targeted amount of donations raises questions over the efficiency of Jailbreak as a charity fundraiser
Nottingham University lecturer apologises after Facebook attack on students Anthony Fisher, a lecturer at the University of Nottingham, has apologised following an attack on students through his Facebook profile. Fisher posted a status about his students on Facebook last month, branding one student an “idiot” and “semi-literate” and even poking fun at one of his student’s panic attacks. He also joked on his Facebook page about how he had chosen to bake bread and clean his bicycle instead of marking essays over the Christmas break. In another one of his comments on the website, Fisher lashed out at the Human Resources department of his workplace referring to them as “intransigent, dogmatic, completely unreasonable and absolute assholes.” The English lecturer apologised to students this week by projecting the word “idiot” on a whiteboard and stating “There is one idiot in this room and that is me.” Anthony Fishers’ contract ends in March and he will take up a post at University of St. York. The embarrassed University have assured that the essays will also be re-marked.
University Students use “Selfies” to rally against Immigration Bill The University of Sheffield Students’ Union (SU) last week launched a selfie campaign to stop the passing of new immigration law. The basis of the campaign is for UK residents to take selfies that celebrate international friendships. They hope that this innovative campaign of posting a selfie accompanied by the hashtag #StandByMe will exemplify the importance of international relationships and show the British Government that for every immigrant there is a UK friend willing to fight their corner. The new immigration law sets to impose a healthcare levy of £200 per annum on international students. The University of Sheffield SU believe this will act as a deterrent for international students to study in the UK. The SU have also criticised the mandatory visa checks by landlords for non- EU nationals, claiming that it is “open to abuse and misinterpretation.” The University have slammed the legislation on a whole as “both unjust and negative.”
Survey reveals in excess of 7,000 Canadian students cheat in university exams A survey of Canadian universities conducted by CBC News has revealed that upwards of 7,000 students were reprimanded for cheating in their academic exams during the 2011/12 school year; a figure which experts claim falls short of the actual number of offenders. The survey showed that roughly 50% admit to cheating of some form, and David Harpp, a chemistry professor at McGill University based in Montreal, claims these results are “microscopic” compared with the true figure of students who are cheating at university level. Julia Christensen Hughes, Dean of the College of Management and Economics at the University of Guelph in Ontario, said, “There’s a huge gap between what students are telling us they’re doing and the numbers of students that are being caught and sanctioned for those behaviours.” Over the course of their survey, CBC News found a number of students did feel some guilt for cheating, but felt they could justify their transgressions. A law student said, “The professor left the room… I reached into my bag and I looked at some keywords to help me. “I’d challenge anyone who can say that they haven’t broken the law. So for me to have cheated on an exam to get ahead in life, I think it’s wrong, but I don’t think it’s the worst thing that could be done.”
4 march 4th 2014
Jailbreak 2014 is being hailed as a success after raising in excess of €40,000, but is this more of a publicity stunt than actual charity earner? The concept of Jailbreak is simple; teams of two students have 36 hours to travel as far away as possible from a starting location without the use of money, in an attempt to raise funds for charity. On Saturday, February 22nd, 75 teams of students from four Irish universities, UCD, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), NUI Galway (NUIG) and University College Cork (UCC), undertook the challenge, travelling a combined total of 191,520km within the time limit. For an event based on publicity, the strong online presence of the organisers and participants leading up to and during the challenge, especially on Facebook and Twitter, ensured that it received the coverage that it was trying to capture. Jailbreak has been marketed for offering a novel way for students to help charities while experiencing something new. When Roisin Carlos, of Team Keiller & Carlos, spoke to the University Observer before Jailbreak 2014, she stressed how the challenge was a “different and fun way to raise money for charity,” and it is evident that many more shared her sentiment. Before they departed, the teams were tasked with raising money for charity through a sponsor.ie page, with this year’s proceeds going to both Amnesty Ireland and St. Vincent de Paul. Each team was given a target of raising at least €200. They were also challenged to raise donations during their travels, with an estimated €7,500 coming from direct donations to the teams. The distance travelled and amount of money raised by each team is available on jailbreak14.com, and provides for some interesting analysis. On a university-by-university basis, UCD’s 14 teams raised the least amount of money on average (€338 per team).
Representing change With International Women’s Day approaching and the Women for Election campaign workshops wrapped up, Megan Fanning outlines why it is important for women to put themselves forward for election Saturday, March 8th is International Women’s Day and its theme is “Inspiring change.” It has raised a few questions about female participation in politics and whether there is still that reluctance to both run as a female candidate and to vote for female candidates. Only 15% of Ireland’s TDs are women and this figure has only seen growth of 1% in the past 20 years. Ireland is falling below the European average of 24% and only five countries in Europe rank lower. Many people don’t seem to understand the importance of having more women in politics; without women in politics it would be impossible to focus on issues that relate to women directly and to hear their voice on issues that are related to them. Currently, women are misrepresented by a system that they have to live in. Yet, it doesn’t seem to stem from national level; the gender gap in politics appears much earlier on. It is evident that there is still reluctance by women to run for Students’ Union elections at sabbatical and executive level and even for auditorships of societies. An initiative was launched last year by UCDSU; a partnership with Women for Election that was determined to make student politics more appealing and more approachable to women. It is designed to make representation in the SU more diverse and representative of the student body. At present, UCDSU is actively encouraging more women to run for positions within the Union and in turn be able to voice the opinion of those they represent. Pointing out the problem is a portion of the battle, but critically assessing why women are hesitant to partake in student politics is the only way that this gender gap can be addressed. Women in politics are not usually well received by the media and this was grossly evident in the film Miss Representation, which demonstrates how the media warps women and their perception of each other
because of that. Putting a woman on the ticket would be thought to gain women voters, but it tends to have the reverse effect instead. So, if this is a national issue, why is it important to have women running at collegiate level? It’s necessary because it encourages women to go into politics further on; it gives them a taste of what the next step is and campaigns like Women for Election prepare women for these roles. And like at national level, they would be able to represent the female students’ views. This year is the first in which Women for Election has collaborated with the SUs of any third-level institution in Ireland, with St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra joining UCD in the scheme. The results of their increased input into the encouragement of women to go for election will tell in time. However, they are not alone in trying to force a solution to the issue. The upcoming local elections in May will be the last time that there won’t be a requirement for a minimum percentage of male and female candidates. Minister for Environment and Local Government, Phil Hogan, introduced a new law that states parties will lose a portion of their state funding should they not meet the requirements. Some argue that these gender quotas are advantageous to women whilst others argue that it undermines democracy. So, will the level of representation be seen to increase by more than 1% in the next 20 years? An increase of sorts is probable, but for such campaigns, what constitutes a successful outcome? Is even a 20% increase in women going for election good enough? What is evidently clear is that this sort of long-term project can start in Students’ Unions across the country. For women to run at national level they must be engaged at every level. The UCDSU initiative is a perfect example of actively seeking to increase female representation and to involve them in choices.
Many people don’t seem to understand the importance of having more women in politics; without women in politics it would be impossible to focus on issues that relate to women directly and to hear their voice on issues that are related to them
This compares very unfavourably with NUIG’s 17 teams averaging €420 per team between them. A far greater imbalance appears when viewing the donations received on a team-by-team basis, though. One team that made their way to Venice raised €1,300, while another team that travelled to Amsterdam managed just €19. How can there be such a huge difference, given that both teams had exactly the same amount of time in which to attract donations? One inherent difficulty with Jailbreak is that it picks its “jailbreakers” by way of a video challenge. Prospective teams must make a video explaining why they should be chosen to participate. However, it appears that the effort put into making the application videos far outweighed some teams’ subsequent attempts at fundraising. Although the challenge encouraged creativity, the primary aim was to raise money for charity. Five teams raised less than €50 while another eight also fell short of the €200 target. On average, over one in six of the participating teams failed to reach the targeted amount of donations raises questions over the efficiency of Jailbreak as a charity fundraiser. Encouraging students to get involved in charity work is no easy task, but Jailbreak’s attempts to encourage participation have succeeded. However, it is a sad indictment of our generation that if we are to donate our time to such events, it has to go hand-in-hand with self-promotion and it appears some participants’ opinions on if their Jailbreak was successful can be put down to if they got a new profile photo. Possibly a refinement of the nomination process, where a greater emphasis is placed upon a team’s ability to raise funds first, alongside their chances of talking their way onto a plane at Dublin Airport, would improve the system perhaps. Once a closer balance between the two is struck, maybe Jailbreak could break free from its jailer critics, permanently.
Political sweet spot
In the wake of the global financial crisis, Grattan Aikins asks whether capitalism is the best system, or if there is a compromise to be made
Winston Churchill said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Nowadays, there is an idea that we must dogmatically conform to one idea of how and why the world works. This is why we have people yelling over each other about how we need to structure society. However, both ideologies of capitalism and socialism have benefits and harms which, when counter balanced, can bring the most happiness to the most people. The dichotomy between the two sides of the debate comes down to their conception of human nature. Capitalists believe that while human beings may not be greedy, they are selfish. They want things for themselves and those they are close to, like their family and friends. Socialists, however, believe that people are willing to work for the benefit of everyone, that the world is better not when everyone works for themselves, but when governments facilitate the ability for money and goods to be distributed equally amongst everyone. These two ideas in theory do not go against each other, however in practice what we want often does clash with what others want, and more importantly we are more likely to desire something rather than to appeal to a sense of duty to others we don’t know personally. So which is better? The problem with that question is that it presents a false dichotomy. Neither is better, because neither necessarily leads to a better world. The best world is found somewhere in between. Capitalism has its flaws, and in many ways those flaws can be mitigated by more socialist tendencies. Capitalism, for example, is more likely to create inequality. Countries such as India and China, which have become more
open, freer economies in the past 20 to 30 years, have already seen a large rise in inequality partly due to corruption, partly due to the fact that you’re more likely to get money if you have money to start with. However, many places have mitigated this feature of disparity and growth. Countries in South America, for example, have seen quite good growth over the past few years while income inequality has decreased. Capitalistic tendencies, moreover, don’t have to conflict with big government. Sweden has been used as an example of the importance of large government. About 44.5% of Swedish Gross Domestic Product is government spending, and there is a very high tax on large incomes. However, corporate tax is quite low (only 22% in 2013), and the government has made moves to open up freedom of investment and business within the country in recent years. Sweden may have large taxes, but in many ways the concepts of free markets are absolutely in force. Sweden’s education system is built upon an extensive use of school vouchers, allowing parents and children the ability to choose what school suits them. Their healthcare system does not seek to use the government to enforce healthcare; they instead have businesses compete for contracts to run hospitals as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. In many ways, this runs off the simple principle of supply and demand, and of competition, it’s just that the government provides the supply, and are the single buyer of healthcare services. The most capitalistic countries such as the United States fail to alleviate such problems as income inequality because they embrace capitalism not as a way to help people but as an
ideological system they believe works better than any other. That’s why many right-wingers are more than happy to oppose minimum wage hikes, subsidies to health care, and other slightly more interventionist policies even when most economists agree these policies would improve the economy of the United States. Moreover, compare high tax Sweden to similarly high tax Brazil. In Sweden, people get massive benefits from their taxes, and so it is one of the happiest and healthiest countries in the world. In Brazil, high prices for transport lead to mass protests in anger at the fact that the high taxes Brazilians pay do not get translated to benefits on the ground. People only care about giving money when they get something back. In the end, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, along with places of great success such as Singapore, South Korea and Chile, work especially well because they recognise that concepts such as capitalism and socialism are just that: concepts. They are ideological beliefs, and beliefs that people attach themselves to during a period of their life and stick to blindly without consideration for the practicalities of those beliefs. These ideas, these principles, however, work best when treated through an unbiased eye, when they are viewed purely as tools to achieve larger goals. Most people don’t care whether government is big or small, they just care whether they live in a country where they can get a good job, put food on the table, and give their children a good education. That sweet spot, while different for every country, will never be ideological. It will always be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
The dichotomy between the two sides of the debate comes down to their conception of human nature. Capitalists believe that while human beings may not be greedy, they are selfish. They want things for themselves and those they are close to, like their family and friends
Male feminism: An Oxymoron? Can men become feminists? Roisin Culligan asks if there is a role for men in getting equality for women
Many argue that while men can be sympathetic to the cause, by definition they cannot be feminists. At best they lack experiences of oppression which means they can never really be committed to the cause
The question of whether men can be feminists or engage with feminism itself raises a variety of broader issues. Can they really understand the motivation behind the feminist agenda? Do they have the solidarity needed? Do they have the political commitment necessary to stand by their feminist views? Feminism by definition is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Feminism is seen as a counteracting force to the patriarchy, a system in which men dominate women and what is considered masculine is more highly valued than what is considered feminine. Will men support a movement which actively tries to erode their structural advantages? It’s important to note that the patriarchy can be damaging to men. Every boy who is teased for being girly, or is called a “pussy” is being hurt by a system trying to impose the stereotype of men as strong and women as weak. This creates a number of unrealistic expectations on both sexes. The idea that men can be feminists seems obvious. After all, white men were able to support equal rights for black people, and straight men can believe in LGBT* equality. Surely there is no bar to men understanding the problems that women face and being opposed to them. At the other end of the discussion, many argue that while men can be sympathetic to the cause, by definition they cannot be feminists. At best they lack experiences of oppression which means they can never really be committed to the cause. At worst, men may call themselves feminists because they want women to like them, while at the same time perpetuating an unequal system. We can all agree that male feminists are better than the opposite. An example of sexism
at its best is a website called itsguycode.com. This website is the epitome of male patriarchy with headings such as “Guy Code Hook-up Methods” and “Whiny Feminists,” and articles on “10 Steps to Get Laid at the Bar”, “Bang a Chick While They’re Vulnerable” and “How to Spot a Lesbian”. This misogynistic male elitism reinforces the male entitlement of patriarchy. There are so many more examples of this white noise that distract from the real issues of feminism and gender equality at hand. Robin Thicke’s song ‘Blurred Lines’ has caused much debate since its March 2013 release. Its lyrics are disturbing; “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two” and “I know you want it.” The video overtly objectifies women. The only people worthy of clothes are men. This hit has become a hit across university campuses in America for all the wrong reasons. A Boston University society, named Humanists of BU, is demanding that Thicke’s upcoming concert at the university be cancelled. They have a petition of up to 1,600 signatures that states “Thicke’s hit song, ‘Blurred Lines’, celebrates having sex with women against their will.” They complain that the lyrics are sexist and explicitly use nonconsensual language. “We see this as a blatant form of reinforcing rape culture and sexism,” said Patrick Johnson, president of the organisation behind the petition. What these examples show us is that sexism, if not challenged, is allowed to become part of our culture. This reinforces norms such as the ones shown in ‘Blurred Lines’. Many men are well-meaning, but have had sexist norms indoctrinated into them by society, famous figures and role models. Those men who are open to challenge, and want
to be better, help the feminist movement in two ways. First, they themselves stop contributing to an unequal system. Second, they may stand up against instances of sexism that they see from others. If you want to be a male feminist it’s not enough just to call yourself a feminist. If you find yourself rationalising rape, because the woman was drunk and wearing skimpy clothing, stop. If you compliment a woman you don’t know based purely on her appearance, don’t be surprised if she gets uncomfortable. If a woman tries to tell you of her experiences of sexism, just listen. Don’t try to discredit her painful memories by pointing out that the same thing happens to men all the time. A purposive and realistic way for men to help in the fight for equality of the sexes is the ideal that men basically become menists, supporting women in their feminist work while allowing feminism to work on them, challenging themselves and other men to end patriarchy. Men can play a significant role in progressing equality for women by acting as pro-feminists, but they can also be the reason for halting the very same progress. Male feminism is not an oxymoron in principle. Men can be pro-feminist. They can advocate for women’s rights and they can help in furthering the attempts for equality for women. For equality of the sexes to occur and for feminism to attain its goal of liberating women, men must be part of that struggle. Without men who are understanding and sympathetic to the cause, things will never change. We need not only women to stand up for their rights, but also men who can change their views and the views of other men. Until men realise their complicity in the patriarchy, the patriarchy will remain. march 4th 2014 5
Back to the drawing board With our education system under reform, Elizabeth O’Malley suggests instead that we move some learning from the classroom to the computer
In his talk on how schools kill creativity, Sir Ken Robinson argued that schools do not work in a realistic way. First, they create a narrow view of intelligence that doesn’t take into account the different forms of human talent
Every country in the world is reforming their education system at the moment. The big question is whether our education system needs reforming, or if we should completely reinvent it. In his talk on how schools kill creativity, Sir Ken Robinson argued that schools do not work in a realistic way. First, they create a narrow view of intelligence that doesn’t take into account the different forms of human talent. Second, schools suppress imagination and creativity in favour of ‘the right answer’. Third, they assume that every ten year old learns at the same rates in the same subjects. Our education system is a creature of the period it was created in. Back in the industrial age it made sense to emphasise the basic subjects like maths and English that were required for work. Students went through the school system as if on a conveyor belt, coming out (hopefully) able to read, write and do basic arithmetic. It was a ‘one size fits all system’. We now have a mountain of research from bodies the American Psychiatric Association, Cambridge University and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development that shows that not every child develops at the same rate. This leads to big problems in terms of children being left behind or bored with how slow they are going. As a result many students find themselves opting out of the system. A huge issue with our education system is that trains students to learn off, to parrot back and to flounder when not given specific instructions. This both kills creativity, and also creates employees who won’t do something unless specifically asked. If they run into a problem they’ll resign themselves to it if the solution isn’t immediately obvious or prescribed. We look for the right answer, not the best answer. All of the important
ideas have occurred, not because someone asked, ‘can we make what we have better’, but said ‘can we make something that no one has ever considered before’. What innovation we have isn’t because of our current education system, but in spite of it. One of the most amazing advancements in technology in recent times is the idea that if we want to learn about something, check a definition or watch a tutorial, all we have to do is google it. This is a tool our schools should be utilising more often for a few reasons. Firstly, it means that we could create a system where a child can learn at their own rate. The idea that all a teacher needs to do is give their lesson and every child in the class will equally appreciate and understand the facts is, in practice, wrong. Some children need the teacher to slow down and re-explain certain things. Others get it straight away and become bored. Unfortunately there is no ability for our students at the moment to watch the lesson again, to rewind at certain bits, but there could be. Secondly, it allows children to learn at home and then if they want ask their teacher specific questions later they can. Lessons require the teacher to deliver generic information. Instead, they should be available to answer specific questions, to work individually with students and to provide situations where students can be more creative rather than sitting still and being expected to pay attention. Thirdly, what we find on the internet is often far more interesting, and interactive, than watching your teacher write something on the board. There is the capability for interactive quizzes, getting the most stimulating lectures from the best teachers and to discuss ideas with other students simultaneously.
Finally, and possibly most important, it could be used to facilitate students’ creativity. We could create specific courses for individual students according to their interests and talents. Students could be facilitated to do group projects or work individually during school in order to let them apply the concepts they learned in their lessons at home. There are a number of possibilities that become open to schools now that there is more lesson time available. There a number of courses you can participate in online which have embraced this technology, including edX, an online coding course, Duolingo, for languages and Coursera, which teaches a number of different university courses. Probably the best-known site for secondary school classes is Khan Academy. Some teachers have already used these videos, assigning them as homework, and then putting what used to be homework, such as working through sums, into the classroom. It facilitates interaction not only between the teacher and student, but also between the students themselves. An example of where this system has worked is in Los Altos, California. The school has introduced a tracking system, which logs how proficient each student is at a subject based on how well they did on the questions at the end of the video, whether they watched it all the way through and if they had to pause a lot. If a student is having problems then either the teacher or another student who already understands that subject can help them. There are so many options we have available to us. Yet, for some reason we still have a system of copybooks and blackboards and treating our children as a group rather than the individuals they are. We need to go back to the drawing board on education.
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For more information or to apply visit www.tcd.ie/business/masters 6 march 4th 2014
Head to Head—Should Scotland become Independent?
Independence is the only way Scotland can progress towards its full economic potential, writes Conor Keegan
Arguing against an independent Scotland, Anna Carnegie warns that secession from the UK would have dire consequences
The issue of whether Scotland should be an independent country is set to become the big political issue in the United Kingdom, as the referendum date of September 18th draws closer. Recently, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that Scotland will lose the pound sterling as their currency should the Scots vote for independence. This has already led to a surge in support for the “No” side. However, independence is the only option if Scotland is to realise its true cultural and economic potential. Scotland already has an attractive culture which has been identified with things such as kilts, whisky and bagpipes. Indeed, these items represent Scotland to many people who don’t know the anything else about the country. While this culture has remained strong despite being in the United Kingdom, it has also been diluted. It is hard enough to avoid stereotypes without also being confused as English by foreigners. It is clear that the interests of the Scottish native language will never be served as long as the Scottish Parliament is under the ultimate control of Westminster. This shows that Scotland needs to formulate an independent cultural policy. Only independence will allow this to happen. In terms of economics, the main fear of the Scottish people in the campaign to date has been how Scotland would fare as a separate economic entity. Antiindependence supporters claim Scotland would be worse off outside the UK. For example, according to Better Together, a cross-party initiative campaigning for a No vote, “Scotland’s largest market is the rest of the UK. The UK is the world’s oldest and most successful single market.” It implies that Scotland will lose the UK as a major trading partner and will be subject to tariffs on its exports if it votes for independence. This is a ludicrous claim. At the time of Irish independence, the UK was our biggest
trading partner, and remains a major destination for our exports today. The recent recession notwithstanding, Ireland has come a long way in terms of prosperity since independence, while continuing to trade freely with the UK. When one considers that Scotland is in a much better position economically now than Ireland was in 1922, it will be a much easier task for an independent Scotland to become hugely prosperous, while still maintaining an excellent free trade relationship with the UK. This is even before one considers Scotland alone has a GDP of $216 billion. This is bigger than the Ireland’s GDP of $210 billion. This figure could increase dramatically if Scotland does manage to wrest control of the precious North Sea oil reserves. There is no doubt that the loss of the pound would be a blow to Scotland, but if Scotland does manage to join the EU, it will eventually join the euro, leaving the Scots using a more stable and ubiquitous currency (recent troubles notwithstanding) than the pound sterling. If the Yes side wins, it would be wise for Scotland to hold off on applying for EU membership until the results of the UK EU referendum. It may be the case that if the UK exits the EU, it may look for sympathetic states to join the pound sterling to allow it to compete with the euro. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, but either way an independent Scotland wins. At its heart, this vote is not about economics or advantages. It’s about culture, and history. It’s about a country that has been unhappy for a long time with the current state of affairs. Scotland has never loved being under the thumb of Westminster. Ireland should know better than anyone else what it means to be independent. The Scots have an opportunity that Catalans and Bretons will probably not see for a long time to come. Let’s hope they make the right choice and vote “Yes” on September 18th.
rebuttal The issue of whether an independent Scotland would continue to use the pound is far from settled, despite George Osborne’s recent warning. A recent poll in The Scotsman revealed that 47% of Scots believe they will continue to use the pound after independence, with only 35% believing what the Chancellor said. This would suggest that many Scots will press ahead with independence, and will seek to call the Chancellor’s bluff on this issue. In relation to UK debt, it would be wise of Salmond to continue to pay Scotland’s share of the burden. The figure of £5,200 extra on each mortgage may be an example of scaremongering, but if Salmond can sideline this issue by promising to pay the debt, it may swing the referendum in his favour. The issue of EU membership is one
that has been blown out of proportion. An independent Scotland would be a perfect candidate for EU membership, with its long history of democracy and past membership of the EU as part of the UK. Attaining EU membership wouldn’t be the mammoth task some commentators would have us believe. It is estimated that there is at least 30 to 40 years of oil left in the North Sea. An independent report commissioned by the Scottish government estimated that North Sea oil will generate £57 billion of revenue up to 2018. These figures may not be as impressive as what the SNP are saying, but still constitute a convincing reason for voting Yes. Indeed, voting Yes is the more difficult route for Scotland to take, but it will allow Scotland to have control over its own destiny for the first time in recent history.
Scotland alone has a GDP of $216 billion. This is bigger than the Ireland’s GDP of $210 billion. This figure could increase dramatically if Scotland does manage to wrest control of the precious North Sea oil reserves
The Yes Scotland campaign has been purely driven by financial incentives, and the public have responded in kind, with the majority of Scots saying that would only vote for a separation if it made them wealthier
Scottish independence is becoming an increasingly hot topic these days, with even pop superstar David Bowie getting in on the act and pleading with Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom. While this celebrity endorsement may have been welcome amongst the Better Together campaign, it’s hardly likely to get people out voting against Scottish independence. What should make a difference however, are the other, more significant announcements that have taken place over the past few weeks. Firstly, there was Chancellor George Osborne’s warning that, should Scotland leave the United Kingdom, they would no longer be able to hold onto the pound as their national currency. Despite uproar from the pro-independence camp, Osborne’s ‘threat’ actually makes a lot of sense. The formation of a separate currency is not unusual when a country gains its independence. Let’s take the Irish example, it took us a few years, but eventually (under the Currency Act of 1927) we established the Saorstat pound. The conditions may have been different, but the fact remains, Scotland should not have taken British sterling as a given when they launched into a bid for UK separation. Furthermore, Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond’s proposed refusal to pay any of the UK debt burden if Scotland leave the union is set to have disastrous implications for Scottish homeowners. According to an analysis by investment banking firm Jefferies, households could end up forking out over £5,000 extra per year in mortgage payments. This is against a backdrop of the worst poverty levels in 30 years being experienced in Scotland. Is it really the right time to undergo a massive shift, a likely economically burdensome one at that? It’s not only within the UK that doubt has been cast over the viability of a separate Scotland. In an interview with the BBC, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for Scotland to enter the European Union if they become an independent state. The response of Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, demonstrated shockingly little understanding about the realities of what independence would mean. Her assertion that “Scotland is already in the
EU and has been for 40 years” is only thanks to its position as part of the United Kingdom. In a time of turbulence for the EU, it is quite understandable that facilitating an additional member state may prove difficult. Of course the Scottish National Party (SNP) could be correct in their rebuttal that Barroso’s remarks are pure scaremongering, but between the two parties, Barroso has far less cause for manipulative tactics than the SNP. Financially, Scotland might have one trick up its sleeve, then again it might not. The figurative goldmine being referred to here is, of course, oil. Salmond has claimed that the North Sea Oil reserves, which he sees as Scottish property, equate to up to £1.5 trillion in revenue, a generous sum by all accounts; although not necessarily an accurate one. In fact, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the majority of the North Sea oilfields are depleted. Additionally, an independent Scotland would be unable to come under the organisation’s membership, making them vulnerable to future decisions on production. The UK Treasury have confirmed that Salmond’s £1.5 trillion estimates are optimistic at best, would not in fact be generated into tax revenue (in the past ten years, North Sea tax receipts have been £600 million below the Scottish government’s estimates), and assume that there would be no cost involved in extracting the oil (in actuality, it’s likely to cost more than £1 trillion). Perhaps it’s not such a goldmine after all. Ultimately, the most glaring flaw with Scotland’s battle for independence is the assumption that they can have it all; taking the best parts of their British heritage (the currency, the EU membership) and leaving the bits they don’t like (debt, the lingering control of the Westminster parliament). The problem is that life doesn’t work like that. The reality for Scotland, should they choose to go down the route of independence, is a lot more complex. The Yes Scotland campaign has been purely driven by financial incentives, and the public have responded in kind, with the majority of Scots saying that would only vote for a separation if it made them wealthier. This is not an advisable reason for independence under most circumstances, but especially when those ‘financial incentives’ don’t actually appear to exist.
rebuttal It’s nice to think that the proindependence campaign is being fought with cultural, rather than economic motivations at heart. However, it is a far cry from the reality. Politicians and public alike have made no bones about the fact that the primary purpose of a ‘yes’ vote is to make them better off financially. Why else has support for independence waned on the back of two disappointing announcements regarding Scotland’s economic future post-separation? As far as language and cultural policy goes, let’s look at Wales, a country even less devolved than Scotland, therefore arguably more ‘under the thumb’ of
Westminster. Yet the Welsh language is an integral part of daily life. Compare that with Ireland, where schools struggle to engage pupils with their national tongue. Clearly, independence is not the primary issue at play here. None of this suggests that national identity is not important to the Scottish people. Of course it is, but we already recognise that a strong sense of self can be maintained without cutting themselves off from the rest of the UK. Ask people what they think of when they hear Scotland and the focus will be on castles, kilts and Celts; not cream teas or corgis. march 4th 2014 7
Finding the safe way out— An account of domestic abuse In the aftermath of Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, the University Observer looks at one student’s personal experience of domestic abuse
It is a very strange, almost incomprehensible, feature of genderbased violence that we focus on the victim more than the perpetrator. It is unusual to ask a victim of a random assault why they let it happen, and people rarely think murder victims got what was coming to them. However, when it comes to domestic abuse, this is somewhat turned on its head. It makes it quite difficult to admit you have had an abusive partner. The first question people always want an answer to is why you stayed in the relationship after the abuse began. Or perhaps more accurately, why you were stupid enough to stay. In every comment about how you’re the most unlikely victim of such abuse, there’s something that implies it may have been partly your fault. People never say you deserve the many punches you took, but they do wonder aloud what it was you might have been doing to provoke such violence, which really isn’t that different. It’s a question I’ve already asked myself hundreds of times, and I still have no conclusive answers. The truth I force myself to believe now is that even if I was an infuriating monster, no one deserves to be abused, and his behaviour cannot be excused. It has taken a very long time to even accept that much. At the time I believed I was, in fact, an infuriating monster, and that every kick to the stomach was just his way of dealing with boiling over. I thought that if I could just figure out what I was doing wrong, or change just enough to be who he wanted me to be, that we could return to being happy. At the start of our relationship, we were extremely happy. He was smart and funny, and incredibly thoughtful. He all but worshipped me. He was gentle and kind, and we became inseparable extremely quickly. After a while, I did feel like a slightly nastier side of his personality crept in, but he made me feel like I was just picking holes in a good thing. When he wanted access to my emails and other online accounts, he made it seem like an exercise in trust, rather than distrust. When he put me down, he made it seem like a cute in-joke. When he got angry if I hadn’t answered calls or texts quickly enough, he said he was just worried about me. He’d belittle my opinions and make me feel stupid, but then tell me
No one thinks they are likely to be abused by their partner, however. In fact, you imagine if you found yourself in any such situation, you would remove yourself so fast, actual clouds of dust would be left in your wake. But it’s never that simple
how pretty I was to make it okay. He didn’t like when I made plans with friends, but said it was because he missed me when I wasn’t there. While these actions and many like them were efforts to undermine me or control aspects of my life, he always made it feel like I was the one who was being unreasonable. It was overbearing, but in a naïve way. I found it quite sweet. After all, it seemed silly to complain about being loved too much. The first time he hit me, I was leaving his house to attend a close friend’s birthday party. The same friend had recently expressed some concern over how distant I had become from our group, and how possessive John* seemed to be. When he found out, he said she was jealous and suggested I stop seeing her for a while. I hadn’t realised this wasn’t a mere
8 march 4th 2014
suggestion, but an order, and when I dared to defy him, he lashed out. It was just a slap, and it stung, but I’ve never seen anyone more apologetic about anything. I forgave him almost instantly; he seemed genuinely upset and shocked at his own actions, and he swore it would never happen again. However, he also convinced me that it was partly my friend’s fault: she wanted to drive a wedge between us, and look how she was succeeding. I didn’t make it to her party. It continued like that for a long time, less and less sporadically as time went on. It always happened in the same way. He would tell me what I could and couldn’t do, and on occasions when I’d dare assert myself, I would feel the consequences. When he had calmed down, he would apologise profusely and be the most perfect boyfriend you could ask for, for a little while. Every time, he’d say it was the last time, that he would never hurt me again, and every time, I wanted it to be the truth. However, it usually came with a caveat: that he wouldn’t have to hurt me if I would simply be a better girlfriend. He wouldn’t be so angry if I didn’t make him so. As time went on though, he was clearly very aware of exactly what he was doing. It wasn’t just stress causing a bad temper. It was something he had thought about enough that he once told me that he rarely attacked my face, as I bruised easily and it would only cause people to ask questions. Instead, he would aim for places which were ordinarily covered up, or that would be easy to hide if I needed to. He would slam me against walls and pin me there so he could scream at me. He punched me, he kicked me, and he shook me so violently I’d feel nauseous or have horrible headaches for hours afterwards. He bit me, he pulled knives on me, he choked me, he spat at me and he would regularly throw things at me if I wasn’t within arm’s reach when he got angry. I became somewhat numb to the violence. It never stopped physically hurting, but somewhere along the way it stopped feeling like a betrayal. He beat the defiance out of me, and I began to try and engineer situations when we were together to minimise possible annoyances. I never succeeded because I was never really the problem. One day he wouldn’t be able to stand the mere sound of my breathing, and the next he would go after me for being too quiet and withdrawn. I could do no right, but I also couldn’t stop trying to find ways to. I didn’t see it as abuse for a very long time. Despite everything, I believed he really did love me. I felt like I was being strong for the both of us, and that he was just having a tough time. He always seemed on edge, and I felt like I was the only person in the world who could help him. Once I could find the magic solution to whatever his problems were, or stop whatever I was doing that was making me so unbearable, we would go back to normal. I was on his team, because it seemed like nobody else was. My friends tried to intervene. They didn’t know what was wrong, but they had noticed a change in me. I was embarrassed, and apprehensive about angering him by talking about any of our problems, so I denied all knowledge, and acted more confident than I was. I promised I would be less distant, and excused my lengthy absences from their lives as just being too wrapped up in the relationship. I batted away their concerns so casually that they might have been asking if I was watching too much Geordie Shore, not was my relationship extremely problematic. This silence is deadly. I thought I was protecting us, but I was actually damaging my own credibility. As I started to realise it wasn’t just an extended rough patch but an actual problem, I tried to ask for help, but I had become so far detached from my old group of friends, that I wasn’t really sure where to turn. Those I eventually reached out to didn’t really believe me. They thought I was lying, or at best, exaggerating. John was the perfect gentleman to the outside world. He was charming and funny and no matter where you ended up, he would make a new friend. I had been insisting for months and months that I was the happiest I’d ever been, and it didn’t fit with what I was saying now. They seemed to think I was trying
When he wanted access to my emails and other online accounts, he made it seem like an exercise in trust, rather than distrust. When he put me down, he made it seem like a cute in-joke. When he got angry if I hadn’t answered calls or texts quickly enough, he said he was just worried about me
35.6% of women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. (Only drops to 32.7% when you just consider high income countries.)
1 in 5
women in Ireland have been abused by a current or former partner
1 in 7
women in Ireland have have experienced severe abuse
of severe cases involve women under 25
of incidents of domestic violence involve repeat offending
to create drama rather than ask for help. John found out, and everything got much worse. He began threatening to kill me in increasingly graphic and horrible ways. When I was too exhausted by the whole ordeal to even care what he did to me, he started threatening my family. He needed to feel in control of me, and the only way he seemed to think he could achieve that was by terrifying me. There were warning signs from day one, but I didn’t recognise any of them. His jealousy and possessiveness should have rung alarm bells, and I ignored my gut instinct that told me we were getting too serious, far too quickly. While he wasn’t aggressive with me for a while, he was very impatient, and he did have a temper and would fly into a rage at what seemed like trivialities. More than anything, the stark contrast in how he acted when we were alone, and when we were around others, should have caused concern. No one thinks they are likely to be abused by their partner, however. In fact, you imagine if you found yourself in any such situation, you would remove yourself so fast, actual clouds of dust would be left in your wake. But it’s never that simple. Those who abuse rarely initially appear abusive, and by the time you see the pattern, it is both very difficult to leave, and also very dangerous. There is also a sense that it’s not a problem a young person can face. I didn’t think of it as domestic abuse, because domestic abuse sounds like
My relationship with John started out something that only affects much as normally as any other relationship older, married people. In fact, it a I’ve had. I didn’t choose to fall in love problem people of all ages face. In with an abusive person, and I could Ireland, a current or former partner never have known it would turn that has abused 1 in 5 women, and 1 in direction. I write this five years on, 7 have experienced severe abusive post-therapy, and living a life free from behaviour. If we break that down, abuse, but I’m still asked why I stayed. women under 25 were involved in Victims of domestic abuse exist in almost 60% of those severe cases. a terrifying sort of isolation, and it’s Although many young women never as simple as standing up and believe domestic abuse to be an older walking out the door. While we need person’s problem, I don’t stand alone. to break the silence for ourselves, we Women’s Aid have found 95% of also need everyone else to understand young women and 84% of young men how abusive relationships work, and know someone who has experienced why we stay, because it’s certainly abuse, violence or harassment. not that we enjoy the abuse. Anyone My story isn’t that abnormal; John can find themselves in an abusive possessed many of the typical traits relationship, and being young doesn’t associated with abusive tendencies, make that abuse any more trivial. and the relationship played out much Domestic abuse is a much more in the same way as many others serious issue for young people than have before. The circumstances we generally assume. Shining a didn’t cause the abuse, and neither light on abusive relationships is did I; it all came down to him. only one way to begin to break the It’s very difficult to see that from silence for others. Victims aren’t to the inside, however. Between believing blame for their own abuse, and it’s domestic abuse wasn’t an issue that important we not only recognise that, could affect me, and being told I was the root cause of all problems, I couldn’t but also show them a safe way out. see how unhealthy the relationship Women’s Aid run a free and confidential was. And even if I could have, I felt helpline on 1800 341 900 and they too alone for it to really matter. have a list of local support services that Abusive relationships only remain can be found on their website: http:// abusive as long as the victim remains www.womensaid.ie/services/local.html too afraid to speak out. I tell my story because I’m no longer scared silent, * The names that appear in this and with the hope that the 1 in 5 article have been changed to women in UCD who are experiencing abuse can perhaps see what I couldn’t. protect the identity of the writer
The many faces of eating disorders
Eating Disorders are a growing health concern for Irish people, and as Gráinne Loughran examines, they can affect people of all shapes and sizes
Although Eating Disorder Awareness week has passed, more awareness is not what these illnesses need. Rather, we need a better understanding of eating disorders and more recognition that recovery is possible, as this is something which tends to be left out of media articles
What image springs to mind when you think of an eating disorder? The answer tends to be something regarding bones. Skeletal, emaciated, protruding, these are all words we’ve come to associate with ‘disordered eating’. But what if the image changed to somebody who looked more like the people you know: a friend, a child, a person with an average sized body? Would you still associate the term eating disorder with them? It is estimated that up to 200,000 people in Ireland each year may be affected by eating disorders, and many of these people do not look like the image we see in our heads. The spectrum of the eating disorder spans much broader than just skeletal thinness. This appearanceobsessed age has grown into one obsessed with health, but when we associate the term ‘health’ with ‘thin’, and ‘unhealthy’ with ‘fat’ the very same problems begin to emerge. “The messages we are surrounded by that polarise everything into these two sides serve to compound the black and white thinking of an eating disorder,” says Harriet Parsons, service co-ordinator of Bodywhys. “It is never black and white… the case often is that someone may not consider themselves sick enough to get some help and support, which is compounded by the stereotypes out there that an eating disorder is about not eating and becoming very thin. “I think there is still that media portrayal of the stick-skinny teenage girl who wants to look like a supermodel, which is so insulting to somebody who is suffering with eating distress. That makes the barrier so hard for somebody to go and address the situation,” says Jacqueline Campion, care worker and schools co-ordinator at the Marino Therapy Centre. “Are people not seeing that this obsession with exercise and being ripped and having muscles is the exact same thing with a different mask on it?” A black and white view of eating disorders as being something only certain demographics or types
of people can struggle with is something that Campion herself is well aware of, having struggled with eating distress in the past. “I suppose I never felt really good enough, and that would have started from an early age. Looking back I would have achieved high results and I was quite athletic and creative, but even when you’re getting high marks or winning, it just grew subconsciously that I was not good enough. “I didn’t want to be a supermodel, there weren’t any fancy trends, and nutrition wasn’t spoken about the way it is now... This is not learning to manage or live with anything; when you’re living with an eating distress, it’s not living at all.” Is there a line between disordered eating and an eating disorder? Possibly only in that the person who describes their eating as disordered may be avoiding directly admitting that they could have a serious problem, whether it’s in the form of over-exercising, a “health” obsession, supplements or a desire to be ”ripped.” However, what seems to separate eating disorders and disordered eating is when the element of compulsion enters our eating patterns, even though the person might appear to be a healthy weight and be eating normally. According to Parsons, this is “when the person feels compelled to continue to engage with the eating disorder behaviour in order to feel they can cope with their life, and feel better. “So, even if a person is a healthy weight, but they find themselves tortured around eating, or they have a very disordered relationship with food that is causing them distress, then they should talk it out with someone, rather than keep it all locked into the disordered eating.” “There are many external issues that can affect body image, such as if you’re depressed or anxious, or have any sort of complicated relationship with food,” says Ian Power, executive director of youth website SpunOut.ie.
“It’s hard to know in terms of chicken and egg where someone’s relationship with body image derives from, but it can come from some sort of depression or anxiety, or issues with self-esteem and confidence.” There are as many unique reasons, symptoms and circumstances behind eating disorders as there are people who struggle with them, whether they are aware of it themselves or not. Therefore, it’s vital to be aware of warning signs. Power explains, “We’re very good at ignoring things, particularly in the area of body image. I think often it’s very hard for people to self-analyse, or be self-aware enough to realise that this is what’s happening to them, so the advice I would have would be to the people around them, to friends and family, to be vigilant, but to take action if you see someone has a problem.” Although Eating Disorder Awareness week has passed, more awareness is not what these illnesses need. Rather, we need a better understanding of eating disorders and more recognition that recovery is possible, as this is something which tends to be left out of media articles. “Recovery gives you things that you can’t even imagine are possible,” says Campion. “It’s liberating, and when you come from a position where you were so low, your scale will become so much bigger, and you realise how far you can actually go.” Eating disorders will always take on many forms and affect many different shapes and sizes of people, all equally real and dangerous. It’s important to remember that an eating disorder isn’t a figure on the scales, but rather a distressed state of mind that needs to be given proper care and attention. If you or somebody you know has been affected by an eating disorder, see the resources listed below: www.bodywhys.ie www.marinotherapycentre.com www.spunout.ie UCD’s Niteline - 1800 793 793
Reaching out With Irish suicide rates among the highest in Europe, Fergus Carroll examines the causes and possible solutions to youth suicide in Ireland
The Central Statistics Office reports that there were 525 deaths by suicide in 2011, an increase of 7% on the previous year, with male suicides accounting for 84% of all suicide deaths. These figures, coupled with the publication of the ‘Suicide in Ireland: 2003-2008’ report carried out by Professor Kevin Malone of UCD and St. Vincent’s early last summer, highlight the extent of a troubling issue in Irish society. Historically, Ireland has been viewed as a country with relatively low suicide rates. Traditionally a devout Catholic country, suicide was a criminal offence until 1993. But suicide rates have climbed steadily over recent years, and now young people in Ireland are among those most at risk. The research provides harsh and revealing facts. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young men in Ireland and, on average, a child under 18 dies by suicide every 18 days. When asked to account for the emergence of youth suicide in Ireland in recent years, Prof. Malone pointed to the recent growth of bullying, which is one of a few leading suicide factors. “Ireland is, in many ways, configured in such a way as to almost cultivate bullying, especially among young people.” He believes online developments have allowed bullying to become more continuous, contributing to suicidal feelings among young people. But bullying is just one of many factors that may lead someone to take his or her own life. Indeed, the range of contributing factors is part of what makes suicide prevention so difficult. Possible causes for people to feel anxious and/or depressed range from bullying to alcohol abuse, sexuality issues and everything in between. Ian Power, executive director of Spunout.ie, believes that while a stigma does still exist around the subject, it arises from the discomfort individuals may feel
when talking about their problems, rather than the shame of harbouring suicidal feelings and emotions. “The issue with mental health is that it is so broad and complex… working out how to talk about mental health on a one-to-one and individual basis [is a major problem].” It is estimated that for every suicide there are 10-30 times as many attempted suicides or instances of self-harm. Moreover, there is prevalence for repeated attempts of suicide where the individual has remained alive; so much so that 5% of these males and 2% of these women will eventually die from suicide. One of the most disturbing and worrying facts surrounding youth suicide is that many suicides happen in clusters. In Prof. Malone’s study, of 104 cases of youth suicide, as many as 15 were associated with other suicides and 10 were deemed part of suicide clusters. Prof. Malone attributes this to the composition of many communities around Ireland, where shocking issues such as suicide become further amplified due to what he calls “small social network communities.” In these instances, he believes, “Suicide contagion catches hold like wildfire, spreading from community to community.” Although the ‘Suicide in Ireland’ report only deals with suicides between the years of 2003 and 2008, when asked whether the trends were continuing, Malone acknowledged that suicide rates have actually seemed to plateau in recent years. However, it must be noted that suicide is still the leading cause of death among young people in Ireland, where we have the third highest young suicide rate in Europe. It is clear that this issue needs to be addressed and action is required to prevent the trend of youth suicide from continuing. Both Prof. Malone and Power suggest
that making simple changes will help to start tackling this issue. The creation of suicide units specifically for adolescents and young adults is one such change that would have hugely positive effects. In the past, there have been instances where adolescents suffering with mental health issues have been placed in adult units. As Malone explains, “This only adds to their distress. [This practice] should be outlawed.” In addition, Power has advocated for a change in culture and behaviour so that people may feel more comfortable about discussing suicide. He believes progress has been made in this area, but that it is a long-term endeavour, with space for much more open and transparent discussion in the future. But at what level should youth suicide be combatted? Prof. Malone believes, “Leadership from the top” is imperative, and advocates the involvement of the Department of the Taoiseach. Power disagrees, however. He believes the current arrangements for dealing with youth suicide are mostly sufficient, but require a few modifications, one of which is an increase in resources. Power also argues that the bigger issue is the disconnection between organisations that deal with suicidal youths throughout the country. “One change I would very much like to see implemented is the increased coordination and mobilisation of these groups.” In addition to this, there also needs to be a shift in attitudes among those who treat mental health issues. Powers, who admittedly recognises that some people require anti-depressants as part of their treatment, advocates “less prescribing of pharmaceuticals and more prescribing of therapy, to help those at risk talk through their troubles.” From the data that has emerged over the past number of years, it is
clear that youth suicide remains a pressing issue in Ireland and, unless we are prepared to accept rates that are among the third highest in Europe, action needs to be taken. There needs to be both a change in attitudes and practices, but this is not the insurmountable task it may appear to be at first glance. Australia and Finland are just two countries that have managed to reduce suicide rates having implemented programmes with tailored responses for young people. There should be absolutely no reason why Ireland cannot follow suit. Suicide helplines are available 24-hours a day in Ireland, with the Samaritans available on 1850 609 090 and Niteline contactable at 1800 793 793
Historically, Ireland has been viewed as a country with relatively low suicide rates. Traditionally a devout Catholic country, suicide was a criminal offence until 1993. But suicide rates have climbed steadily over recent years, and now young people in Ireland are among those most at risk
march 4th 2014 9
No country for old men With Local and European elections due to be held in May, Nicole Casey speaks to three young candidates about their campaigns and the importance of getting politically active
University is a great place to figure out where you stand politically. I found that my own views evolved pretty rapidly during my four years in UCD, and there’s no harm in opinions changing and adapting over time
On May 23rd of this year, local and European elections will be held at polling stations around the country. For most young people, and students in particular, this is not an event that will give rise to anticipation or a huge amount of interest. Politics and students have never before gone exactly hand in Jane Horgan hand, but that may be set to change. Jones, Labour This year’s election will see a number of younger candidates put themselves forward, including the election, the likes of which other two past UCD students: Jane political parties cannot attempt to Horgan Jones and Karl Gill. replicate. He explains, “We’re not Horgan Jones is a Labour party just about asking people to come candidate for the 2014 local election and vote for us, we’re about people and has been a member of the party actually getting involved in the since 2004. Currently in her fourth political process themselves. year of practice as a criminal barrister, “We’re about encouraging mass Horgan Jones initially studied Arts participation in activism, because that’s in UCD, after which she attended the the only way that things are actually Honorable Society of the King’s Inns. going to change, because ultimately In 2011, she began representing the Clontarf Local Electoral Area in Dublin that’s how change comes about.” In the past, politicians have been City Council. It was here that she became aware of just how important the slammed for being more talk than City Council truly is to the Irish public. substance, and for failing to follow through on their political promises. “I think it matters to be involved in Horgan Jones believes this is an area how our city is run and in decisions that needs to be directly addressed to that affect our communities. I’ve see growth and prosperity in the future. campaigned on issues of equality and “We had a lot of very prosperous social justice since I was in school years in this country but we didn’t and I now work as a criminal barrister end up with a more equal society even defending some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our society. though there was more to go around. “It’s no accident that those who come Trust in politics has been damaged but I feel that it’s up to our generation from disadvantaged backgrounds and to restore it if we can; it’s a difficult underfunded communities become task but through honest and effective involved in destructive behaviour. representation I think it’s possible. The City Council is fundamentally People don’t feel like their vote important for supporting communities, matters… and I want to change that.“ creating opportunities for people and Both Gill and Horgan Jones have building a city that we can be proud of.” many aspirations they would like Karl Gill is a People Before Profit to see turned into reality should candidate for the 2014 local election they be successful in the election in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in May. For Horgan Jones, the Electoral Area, and has been active allocation of City Council revenue with People Before Profit in Dún is of paramount importance. Laoghaire since 2008. He graduated “The City Council budget involves from UCD with a degree in Social about €800 million of public money Science, which he has put to great every year. I want to ensure that use during his election campaign. the money is spent equitably and It was an issue at local level which that resources are directed at the affected Gill directly that initially root cause of the many problems motivated him to get involved in that affect our communities.” politics. “About five years ago, I But true to her word of providing was in Sallynoggin College, and honest and effective representation, there was a small library attached Horgan Jones has already to the college that the council begun working on allocating the were going to shut down. Council budget in a way that “I wanted to do something about better benefits those minority it, so I contacted my local People sectors of our communities. Before Profit Group, and began “I already have experience of collecting petitions and organising fighting against regressive policies small protests. We weren’t successful that hurt our city and our local in saving the library, but we did areas. This year, the City Manager manage to set up a community-run proposed to cut the homelessness library. I saw that something could budget by almost €6 million. actually be done if people wanted “I was part of the Labour negotiating to get involved in politics.” team that flatly refused to go along Gill believes People Before Profit with… any budget that contained bring a different style of politics to
10 march 4th 2014
such a cut. We eventually managed to reverse the proposed cut, and put more money directly into fighting homelessness than at any stage over the past five years instead.” For Gill, his campaign is twofold, focusing on both local and national issues. At a local level, Gill believes housing is a major issue that needs to be addressed efficiently. “There is a housing crisis starting. Last week alone, there were four families made homeless in Dún Laoghaire and there was nowhere for them to go. And it is normally younger people, under the age of 30, with kids that are affected by the houses crises.” Gill believes People Before Profit can address national issues more effectively than their political opponents, and want to bring local issues to levels of national importance. “Looking at other local candidates, they’re purposefully concentrating on very localised issues because they are members of political organisations that have done very unpopular things at national level. Our priority is to make the water charges and housing national issues; to make sure that local politics isn’t just about local issues.” But these young politicians aren’t just using their youth to garner the student vote. Rather, they want to encourage young people to become involved in the political arena as early as possible, leading by example and encouragement. No candidate embodies this more than 20-year-old Ellen O’Connor, who is currently in her second year of studying history in Trinity College. O’Connor will represent Fine Gael in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Electoral Area, the same as Gill, for May’s elections. She will be one of the youngest candidates contesting the local elections, and will have to split her time between study and canvassing for the coming months. In 2011, O’Connor helped with the election campaign for Fine Gael’s Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, and this spurred her desire to get involved in politics. “As I canvassed door to door for Mary, I got to meet so many people from all walks of life and hear the challenges they faced and what issues really mattered to them. So when the opportunity came up to run in the local elections, I saw it as a chance to make sure that those people’s concerns and ideas would be listened to and acted upon,” she explains. And the people in her community remain at the heart of O’Connor’s campaign goals. “If I were elected to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, I hope to ensure that every member of the community feels that their views and concerns are heard and recognised.” All three candidates believe it is imperative for young people to be
We weren’t successful in saving the library, but we did manage to set up a community-run library. I saw that something could actually be done if people wanted to get involved in politics Karl Gill, People Before Profit
involved with politics, and insist that the political world we have come to know is changing rapidly. According to Horgan Jones, “There is a perception out there that politics is mostly about older men in grey suits, and from watching most political media coverage you’d think that was true.” Gill echoes this sentiment, commenting, “A lot of young people look at the political establishment and they’ll see it as boring, old fashioned, corrupt, not interesting, and very bland. But when you look around… you’ll see a different style of politics altogether.” Although the political world is changing, it still has a long way to go. “We have one of the oldest average ages of politicians in Europe and I think its critically important that young people become involved in decision making that affects them; all the way from the smallest community group right up to the Dáil,” says Horgan Jones. Politics is not an area that has been exceedingly enticing for students and young people in the past, but O’Connor opposes this continuing for the future. She says, “The decisions made by both local and national politicians matter as much to young people as they do to any other age group, either immediately or in the future. At the moment, Irish politics is missing out on many new and innovative ideas from young people… the system needs to do a better job of engaging with young people.” Of course, in a country where the political system has traditionally been dominated by older politicians, there will always be an element of ageism associated with the incoming of younger political candidates. Gill made the personal decision not to include his age on any of his literature for fear of people assuming he is inexperienced and deciding not to vote for him. For Horgan Jones, ageism comes in the form of countless “good girl” affirmations, which she finds to be frustrating considering she works a professional job in tandem with her City Council work. O’Connor, however, has had only positive experiences, and believes people are happy to see new, young candidates putting themselves forward for the Council. Getting involved in politics can be a daunting prospect, especially for those
still attending university. But all three young candidates running in May’s election believe university is the perfect time to explore your political beliefs and get involved with a political party. As Horgan Jones explains, “University is a great place to figure out where you stand politically. I found that my own views evolved pretty rapidly during my four years in UCD, and there’s no harm in opinions changing and adapting over time.” For Gill, the strong campus presence of many political parties makes university the ideal time to get involved. “Students should get involved in anything that they see going. Amnesty International are quite active in colleges, as are St Vincent de Paul, and even People Before Profit. Go on to our website, type in your email address, and you can join in.” O’Connor, who is an obvious example of a student exceedingly involved with politics, believes that now is the perfect time to get involved with a political party. “With the Local and European elections coming up in May, it’s a great time to get involved in a campaign, whether its canvassing door to door or using social media.” With the number of young people choosing to emigrate continuing to grow, Ireland is experiencing a brain drain, the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s. Young people are losing their voice rapidly, so it is essential for those of us remaining to ensure our views are heard, and to take a proactive role in shaping how we come out of the current economic crisis. You can still register for the local and European elections on May 23rd, 2014. Just visit www.checktheregister.ie and make sure you use your right to vote.
The decisions made by both local and national politicians matter as much to young people as they do to any other age group, either immediately or in the future. At the moment, Irish politics is missing out on many new and innovative ideas from young people Ellen O’Connor, Fine Gael
Leading the whey
A group of researchers based in UCD are attempting to find the next superfood, Michael O’Sullivan investigates
We live in an age where our health is such a huge topic of conversation that it’s almost impossible to walk half a mile without hearing the words organic or rice cakes. Yet in this age of health obsession, the general populations’ health is a constant source of chagrin to everyone. The children are too fat, our adults are riddled with diabetes and heart disease, and we spend more time at desks in a week than we spend interacting with family and loved ones. Due to all of these health issues, it has become more important than ever that people get the right nutrition. This becomes difficult when illnesses like diabetes are added to the mix, however, as controlling blood sugar levels is an inexact science and all it takes is one bad episode to severely set a person back. Irish food companies have banded together in response to such problems, and have collaborated with seven universities in Ireland to attempt to create food supplements to improve people’s health from one of our most abundant resources; dairy. In 2015, the EU will be repealing the current restrictions placed on dairy farmers in the form of milk quotas. For those of you not from an agricultural background, milk quotas are limits placed on the amount of milk a farmer can produce. Should they exceed this volume, they will be fined, often heavily. The repeal of this system next year means that farmers will be free to produce as much milk as they wish, and so Ireland’s food companies have turned to milk to find something that could be mass produced to be beneficial to
Irish food companies have banded together in response to such problems, and have collaborated with seven universities in Ireland to attempt to create food supplements to improve people’s health from one of our most abundant resources; dairy
people’s health the world over. There have already been success stories with this programme, dubbed Food for Health Ireland (FHI), with the achievement of a patent relating to infant nutritional supplements in recent months. This means the initiative is working and was a successful investment. The next step, however, is achieving patents in their other target areas. Dr Elaine Drummond is a researcher for FHI based in UCD. Specifically working on the area of diabetes, she and her team have been attempting to discover milk proteins that can help to manage type 2 diabetes. “I’m taking people with type 2 diabetes and I’m giving them a milk protein, which has actually been isolated by the food scientists in the project. So, they have isolated a particular peptide, and that’s been screened in cell culture to see how effective it is at altering insulin function and then I apply the peptide to these type 2 diabetics.” What follows next is a standard glucose tolerance test, which monitors the subjects’ blood glucose levels for the two hours prior to having consumed a high volume of sugar. The results thus far have been promising. The compound in question is a tripeptide, an amino acid sequence three bases long, and in the trial environment it has been helping the patients to keep their blood glucose levels within a normal range despite the massive sugar intake they have received. It is hoped that, with a little modification, the tripeptide could be added to dietary supplements such as cereal bars or yoghurts to
be consumed daily by diabetics and assist in maintaining normal glucose levels, much in the same way as some products on supermarket shelves help to lower cholesterol. “The next big thing is finding food matrices, how we deliver it. So that’s again bringing it back to the food scientists.” Should this product go on to be mass-produced, it could provide a source of income for dairy farmers and food manufacturing companies. Boosting the Irish economy while also assisting in keeping people healthy, a happy marriage of both economics and healthcare. The struggle to get this far hasn’t been easy. The current FHI programme is the second phase of the initiative; the first phase having been five years of milk screening in UCC, which has now culminated in Dr Drummond’s research. “Well phase 1 was a five year programme and that was aimed mainly at developing what we call Lead Functional Compounds. “So, you’re taking milk and you’re stripping away all the fat and all the sugar down to the proteins and then you’re separating it into whey and casein and all the different fractions of those, and then you’re stripping even further… We started with hundreds and came down to about four or five.” The process has been long and exhaustive, but is finally starting to yield some results. So the next time you buy Supermilk or Benecol, remember the effort that went into creating those products, and remember that in a few years time, a simple cereal bar could be all you need to prevent you going into diabetic shock.
Not turning a blind eye Recent research into degenerative blindness in mice has led Aoife Hardesty to some interesting possibilities Recent research has made further advances in ocular treatment with a new drug administered to blind mice leaving them with light sensing abilities once more, effectively giving them their sight back. If the three blind mice in that old nursery rhyme were given this drug, maybe their tale would not end with them tailless after all. A team of scientists led by Dr Richard Kramer of the University of California, Berkeley, made the discovery when they were looking into degenerative blindness. The mice used had either retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration. In both of these conditions, the light receptors in the eye, the rods and cones, had died and so the mice were unable to sense light, rendering them sightless. Rods and cones are located on the retina of the eye and when light passes through the eye, these receptors cause changes in the ion concentrations found in nerve cells causing an electrical signal to fire. This signal travels to the brain where it is interpreted as sight. When the rods and cones are damaged, light can still pass through the eye, but it goes undetected. In degenerative blindness, the nerve cells are still able to fire electrical signals so the ability to sense the light is lost, but not the ability to send messages from the receptors to the brain, because the retinal ganglia remains fully functional. The drug given to the mice is a molecule called DENAQ. This was developed by Dr Kramer and his team and is a photoswitch chemical, which means that it responds to light by changing its shape. By changing its shape, DENAQ is able to mimic the activity of the rods and cones. DENAQ stimulates the nerve cells appropriately by changing the ion concentrations of the cells, triggering electrical signals to send from the eye to the brain and thus causing light sensitivity. When using animal testing to conduct this kind of research, however, making a breakthrough isn’t as easy to spot since the mouse is hardly going to jump up and tell you they can see again. The system
for measuring if the mice began responding to light was put in place before the experiments commenced. Ahead of being injected with DENAQ, the mice were fully blind and would not explore their area. Following the injections, the mice were exposed to varying levels of light and when more light was present the previously blind mice became more active and took great interest in exploring their surroundings. The degree to which the mice could see is unknown. Although it is evident that the mice can sense light and respond to it, it is possible that all the mice can see is blurry light. If only the mice could talk, they could have told the researchers whether they could actually see shapes, objects, colour or if they can only sense the light. In further experiments, it may be possible to develop techniques using objects of different shapes to examine injected mice’s recognition of certain shapes associated with experiences. Using a method such as this would allow the researchers to see if the mice can distinguish between shapes or if they can just tell that an object is present, this would reveal how much DENAQ allows the mice to see. Other therapies being used and tested to combat degenerative blindness include stem cell implants and retinal transplants. In the race to beat degenerative blindness, DENAQ is definitely not in the lead, as there are many therapies currently more progressed and currently undergoing human clinical trials. Still, DENAQ has several advantages over many of these therapies. DENAQ is delivered via injections, removing the risks of surgery. Although regular injections would be needed, and the thought of having a needle injected into one’s eye may seem scary, the procedure is actually less invasive than one would think and the risks are significantly less than those associated with surgery. DENAQ appears to be fast acting, as only six hours after injections the blind mice were responding to light in the same manner as the normal sighted mice. After one week of administration, the
The drug given to the mice is a molecule called DENAQ. This was developed by Dr Kramer and his team and is a photoswitch chemical, which means that it responds to light by changing its shape
mice were still able to respond to light, suggesting DENAQ could be a potential long-term solution. Additionally, the chemical only works on ganglion cells of the rods and cones that have already died. This means it could be used for treatments where patients may still have sight, as it would not affect what sight remained. In retinal transplants, the entire retina would have to be removed and replaced and so the procedure would not typically be carried out when patients still have some level of sight. DENAQ has potential as a treatment for all levels of degenerative blindness from early onset to the late stages of full blindness. So far the drug has proven non-toxic in mice. However, toxicity testing will be required on the drug as it may still be toxic to humans. Even if the final results from toxicology tests declare the drug should be safe, it would first be tested on larger mammals and it would take several years before DENAQ is ever started in clinical trials for humans. Funding dedicated to projects such as those at University of California, Berkeley that are investigating life changing cures to age-old ailments such as blindness shows that soon enough, doctors won’t be shooting blind when treating patients with ocular abnormalities in the future. march 4th 2014 11
striking a cord A huge leap has been made in brain-spinal cord interfaces, which means a lot for paralysis patients, writes Alanna O’Shea
Imagine a car accident in which someone’s spinal cord is badly injured. A break can happen anywhere. A person who breaks a single vertebra of their upper back would be paralysed for life, while a person who damages the vertebrae of their neck could need the support of a ventilator to simply breathe. All because of a break in one very important system; the nervous system. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have been trying to find a way to overcome these breaks. They have recently succeeded in using electrical signals from the brain of a monkey to move the muscles of another sedated monkey in real time. They used a machine to convert the brain activity of a monkey into electrical signals, which then stimulated the sedated monkey’s spinal cord. Even more incredulously, 98% of signals sent from the controlling monkey elicited the correct movement response. Chips were implanted into the brain of the monkey, which mapped the actions of 100 neurons and allowed the scientists to match neuronal excitability with the monkeys’ physical movement. The scientists also connected 36 electrodes to the spinal cord of another monkey and used different combinations of stimulation to test their movements. It was only when the two aspects were combined that one monkey was able to control the movements of the other. At no point did the scientists actually paralyse a monkey; they simply sedated them. While some people worry this technology might be used to control other people’s bodies, the more likely outcome would be that this might help paralysed patients. According to Spinal Injury Ireland,
Chips were implanted into the brain of the monkey, which mapped the actions of 100 neurons and allowed the scientists to match neuronal excitability with the monkeys’ physical movement
these injuries occur once a week on average and they usually happen to young people under 35. There is a high risk of clinical depression for these patients also, and 70% of these people will never return to work. Problems arise after spinal cord injury when the ability of neurons to pass on information is disrupted. Different degrees of spinal injury can be caused by traumatic accidents or diseases such as cancer. In an incomplete spinal cord injury a person will have some sensation or movement below the injury. If there is a complete injury, a person can no longer move below the injury. So, what actually happens when neurons are interrupted? All signals to and from the brain must pass through the neurons of the spinal cord. This allows us to feel sensations and move our muscles. When sensory neurons are disrupted, senses including touch, pain and temperature are lost. This is why it is easy for people who have impaired nervous systems to consequentially injure (e.g. burn) their paralysed limbs further without realising, as their sensory neurons have not been able to convey a sense of pain. The real problem arises when motor neurons are interrupted. In the case of a complete spinal injury, the brain is still trying to send signals to the motor neurons to move the limbs. These signals travel down the spinal cord until they reach the site where the neurons were severed and can travel no further, which results in paralysis. This is the area where Harvard researchers hope to act on. It is hoped in the future, that connections will be made that will allow a paralysed person to move their limbs through an interface. The
Upgrade or charade? With France attempting to implement an outright ban on GMO crops, Shauna Maguire looks at the impact these crops have on our lives
On February 17th, France passed a ban on the sowing of genetically modified (GM) corn/ maize in the immediate future as a temporary solution to the country’s growing concerns around GM foods. The move to ban these sowing of these crops is being seen as a short term solution while the French Government works towards changing both European and domestic law to secure a permanent ban. The ban will come into effect on March 9th, following a three-week consultation period. This comes just in time for the French corn-sowing season, which gets underway in the latter half of the month. Previously, France’s government had twice been refused the publishing of similar decrees by a senior court. EU laws on the subject are much stricter than those of the US. Currently within the EU, Monsanto’s MON180 insect-resistant maize is the only variety of GM crop authorised for cultivation, while in the USA it is estimated that upwards of 70% of processed food contains GM ingredients. Last week, several EU countries failed to reach a verdict on whether or not to approve a second variety of insect-resistant maize, Pioneer 1507. This has led to frustration among the opponents of GMOs, as the inability to reach a consensus makes the approval of the crop’s cultivation by the EU Commission more likely. But are genetically modified crops really as good or as bad as we’ve been lead to believe? Do most of us really know what genetically modified organisms even are? Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have had their DNA sequence altered deliberately in a laboratory environment. Usually this is done by removing certain genes from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals and inserting them into the DNA of the crop. One of the best-known examples includes glycophosphate-resistant corn. Glycophosphate, a broad-spectrum herbicide, is a common weed killer used to eliminate weeds on commercial farms. Corporate food-giant Monsanto 12 march 4th 2014
developed a strain of glycophosphate Approximately resistant crops in the 70s. 250,000 children As a result of altering the corn’s DNA, when farmers spray their a year go blind fields with glycophosphate they due to Vitamin A can easily kill the weeds but leave deficiency and the crops undamaged. This is of half of these huge benefit to farmers and the die within a corporations producing these crops as it increases crop yield. year of going Supporters of GMO contend that blind. Excessive GM crop farming is better for the regulation of GM environment as it reduces the need foods has been for excess herbicides and pesticides. blamed for the It also allows more efficient use of delay in release land. In the United States certain tobacco plants have been implanted of this crop to with a gene from the grey mangrove the people in that lends to enhanced tolerance of need of it soils with increased salinity where they traditionally could not grow. GM food has the potential to prevent disease and save lives. Golden rice, a variety of rice genetically modified to be rich in Vitamin A, could potentially be used to prevent children in the developing world from suffered tumors and organ damage. losing their sight. Rice is the staple According to the researchers, 50% diet in Africa and South East Asia, of male rats and 70% of female rats and ordinary rice does not contain died prematurely compared to 30% Vitamin A, which is essential for a and 20% respectively in the control healthy immune system and vision. group. This study alone cannot be Approximately 250,000 children used to draw conclusive evidence, a year go blind due to Vitamin especially due the lead researcher’s A deficiency and half of these history as a critic of the GM industry. die within a year of going blind. Major ethical concerns also Excessive regulation of GM foods has surround GM food production. In been blamed for the delay in release of this crop to the people in need of it. December 2013, Brazil’s government was placed under pressure to give Opponents of the GM movement the green light to terminator seeds. argue that these benefits are These terminator seeds have been negligible in comparison to the modified so that they cannot reproduce, dangers and disadvantages present. meaning that each season farmers will By modifying our crops to be have to purchase new seeds, leading resistant to herbicides, insecticides to a greater profit for the companies and diseases, not only are we involved in their sale. This could decreasing biodiversity, but it is potentially destroy the livelihoods of likely that we will also accelerate many of Brazil’s smaller farmers. the evolution of pests and diseases The bottom line is that there needs resistant to these substances. to be a great deal more research While GM food has been tested put into GMOs and their impact for its safety of consumption, on our health and environment. many argue that the experiments We simply do not have enough carried out yield inconclusive information to make a clear and results. According to a French concise decision on their usage yet, study carried out in 2012, rats fed but only more time and investigation on a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s GM can provide us with answers. maize (treated with glycophosphate)
experiment with the monkeys proves that the motor neurons of the spinal cord can be externally stimulated and at the moment, the dream would be a machine that could sense the thoughts of a paralysed person and stimulate their spinal cord below the injury, allowing them to move their own limbs. Science, however, is a long way from solving the problem of spinal cord paralysis. Problems arise in fluidity of movement and Dr Ziz Williams, one of the researchers at Harvard, says, ���The hope is ultimately to get completely natural movement; I think it’s theoretically possible, but it will require an exponential additional effort to get to that point.” Other obstacles will have to be overcome due to the effects of longterm paralysis. The muscles of the paralysed limbs may have deteriorated and will certainly be stiff; their blood supply will also decrease. As with any form of new technology, there are a certain number of worries. With these worries come misinformed theories. This time the worry is about our bodily autonomy, with people wondering if someone could use this technology to control somebody else’s body. Professor Christopher James of University of Warwick, refutes this as a likely outcome any time soon. “Whilst the control of limbs is sophisticated, it is still rather crude overall, plus of course in an able-bodied person, their own control over their limbs remains anyway, so no one is going to control anyone else’s body against their wishes any time soon.” The good news is that monkey mind control will not be happening any time soon, although you might want to be wary of monkey’s carrying electrodes, just in case.
Regulating our bowels As the FDA stamps down on the regulation of faecal transplantation, Liam O’Halloran asks what is faecal transplantation and is regulation really needed?
On a scale of 1 to 10, patients rated the treatment 9.6 overall, 9.9 for ease, and 9.9 for likelihood of recommending the procedure to a family member or friend
Faecal transplants can be used as a treatment for a range of gastrointestinal conditions. The procedure involves replacing the stool in someone’s colon with stool donated by someone else. Yes, that kind of stool. For many, the thought of faecal transplantation give rise to disgust and astonishment, but for those suffering from bacterial infections, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis it can be the best and often only option available. In fact, faecal transplantation was shown to be more effective than intravenous antibiotic vancomycin for the treatment of C.difficile. Faecal transplantation also does not have any of the adverse effects associated with vancomycin. The rationale behind this procedure is simple: antibiotics and other factors disrupt the normal balance of the colonic flora, allowing bacteria like C.difficile to proliferate, but the imbalance can be corrected by reintroducing the normal flora. There are over 200 case reports
in the world’s medical literature to date, reporting an overall success rate of 90-95% in the treatment of C.difficile. If you had a serious debilitating disease, would you agree to a treatment that was cheap, safe and effective, but seemed disgusting? In fact, compared to alternatives, patients favour the procedure and often directly request it. On a scale of 1 to 10, patients rated the treatment 9.6 overall, 9.9 for ease, and 9.9 for likelihood of recommending the procedure to a family member or friend. The method of delivery is also very civil in a hospital setting, with the transplant often performed with colonoscopy equipment to infuse the sample as far back in the colon as possible. However, there have been developments in the delivery mechanism including a capsule regime, which has been introduced by researchers at the University of Calgary. The FDA took action in 2013 and regulated faecal transplantation, however, they granted an exemption
for its continued use in patients who had C.difficile infections. In fact, the suggestion of reclassifying faecal transplants as tissue products has been raised of late. This may be a case of over-regulation, which could interfere and delay patient treatment. At present, there is already significant screening process of stool donors. In selecting a donor for faecal transplantation, clinicians ensure that the stool does not contain any infectious agents and also exclude donors who participate in high-risk sexual behaviours, use illicit drugs or who have travelled to areas of the world where endemic diarrhoea is prevalent. Very restrictive rules might encourage people to seek treatment outside the medical establishment and there is an increasing amount of DIY advice available on the internet. One advantage of regulation and standardisation is that random controlled trials can be enabled. Regulation would also enable screened and processed material to be available through stool banks (operating like blood banks). Quality
control stands set by the IMB/ EMA would protect against infectious diseases, while centralising the processing steps would make the treatment cheaper, safer, and less variable. However, regulation introduced by the FDA may be premature. Perhaps we should instead investigate which components of faecal transplants are useful. Stool is a very complicated product that is composed of millions of living organisms and their metabolic products, and it is likely that only a few of these components are required for treatments. Microbiome research is being conducted to determine precisely which of the organisms and products in stool are needed for therapy. A fine balance needs to be met so that patients are not withheld treatment and that research is not impaired, while ensuring that a high quality product is consistently available to patients for whom the treatment is vital and effective.
Game of Phones Acquiring the social media application WhatsApp may not have been the most savvy move, writes Saahil Nanavati
other services are now costing mobile carriers notional losses in revenue as mobile internet leads to a proliferation of free international messaging services. Here is where WhatsApp’s value comes in. With the addition of the 450 million people that use WhatsApp daily to Facebook, the amount of people that Facebook can reach via mobile advertising has almost doubled. Additionally, Facebook’s new priority of increasing non-US users is also aided by WhatsApp’s cross-border appeal and large international audience. Facebook’s recent quarterly earnings displayed its first decline in user numbers, yet it also showed steadily growing profit and faith in its mobile advertising model. The company Around $19bn was spent by does not pay dividends and has Facebook to acquire WhatsApp, more than the required cash but was it worth the price? Initial holdings to splash on WhatsApp. reaction around the social and It is still a big gamble, business world was that it certainly though. With the likes of Viber wasn’t, especially considering already offering voice calls Instagram was bought for a now across national boundaries paltry $1bn and Snapchat was almost for free, this could prove to be sold for $3bn. It also caused a 5% viable competition. Microsoft fall in Facebook’s stock price. monetised Skype, Twitter held Fully answering that question on against acquisition, and needs more than media YouTube sold too early to Google. sensationalism. While it is well There is still clearly a winner known that landlines are now out of this deal. Billionaire largely unused, it’s also increasingly founder of WhatsApp, true that traditional mobile Jan Koum, can rest on his services are dying. Texting and laurels if he so chooses.
Facebook’s recent quarterly earnings displayed its first decline in user numbers, yet it also showed steadily growing profit and faith in its mobile advertising model
Psycollegey —Following orders With the UN recently condemning North Korea, Louise Dolphin looks at the psychology behind mass human cruelty
Did Eichmann, as he claimed, have “little authority in the Nazi hierarchy and was following orders?” “Befehl ist Befehl” became known as the “Nuremburg defence.” It means “an order is an order”
The most harrowing place I have ever set foot in is the Khmer Rouge S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Originally a high school, the buildings were taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison in 1975 during the Cambodian genocide. It quickly became the largest centre of detention and torture in the country. Outside, it has the appearance of an ordinary high school, with plain concrete buildings, palm trees and a grassy courtyard. But this sheer ordinariness is horribly juxtaposed by the rusted beds and array of torture instruments scattered around the former classrooms. Corridors and rooms are filled with thousands of disturbing black and white photos of each prisoner who passed through S-21, before and sometimes after torture. The majority of these torture victims were trucked out to Choeung Ek, one of the notorious killing fields just outside the city. It is impossible to visit a place like the S-21 prison, without feeling insurmountable disgust and anger at the executioners, torturers and prison guards. How is it possible for a human to ever come to the point where they could systematically carry out such inhumane acts on other individuals? Is it that they were just following orders? Are they just particularly sadistic people, or is there more to it? Two of the most infamous experiments in psychology can attempt to shed some light on this. Firstly, let’s go back to the summer of 1961, just after the widely publicised trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem. In a psychology lab in Yale, Stanley Milgram devised an experiment to try to understand a popular question at the time. Did Eichmann, as he claimed, have “little authority in the Nazi hierarchy and was following orders?” “Befehl ist Befehl” became known as the “Nuremburg defence.” It means “an order is an order.” Milgram wondered if the German race was particularly compliant. He reckoned that in the US, a relatively individualistic and non-conformist culture by the 1960s, people would not be so quick to follow an immoral command from authority. But he was quite wrong. In his very shocking, and arguably, very unethical study, Milgram recruited participants for a study on learning and memory. At the Yale lab, these participants were seated in a room with the experimenter. The learner (who, unbeknownst to the participant, was an actor), was seated in another room, linked by a sound system. Participants were required to administer varying degrees of (what they believed to be) electric shocks to the learner for incorrect responses on the learning task. At 300 volts, the learner/actor began to cry out in pain. Yet, Milgram found that almost 65% of participants administered the experiment’s final massive
450-volt shock (labelled XXX) for an incorrect answer. The only instruction given to participants by the experimenter was “the experiment requires that you continue.” This result was startling, as a panel of experts estimated that only 1% of individuals would comply with such a command. It should be noted that at some point, every participant paused and questioned the experiment. Video footage recently released shows that many participants were extremely uneasy and distressed administering the stronger shocks. Yet, they followed orders. Many people argued that the experiment took place in a very unnatural setting (a lab) and the authority figure was not a senior army officer. It was just a man in a white coat, armed only with a clipboard. They felt that people would be less willing to carry out immoral acts in a more real world situation. But, let’s fast-forward ten years to the summer of 1971. In the basement of the Stanford psychology building, Philip Zimbardo (Milgram’s former high school friend) created a mock prison. He randomly assigned 24 psychologically normal male students (based on a range of psychological tests) to the role of prisoner or guard. The experiment, which Zimbardo had planned to run for two weeks, was stopped short after six days following pressure from Zimbardo’s then girlfriend. Participants were experiencing emotional trauma. While the guards became increasingly aggressive and brutal, the prisoners turned depressed and fatalistic. Elements of the Stanford Prison Experiment have been compared to photographs of the sexually brutal behaviour of some members of the US Military at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq just a number of years ago. Dave Eshelman, a guard in the Stanford Prison Experiment says, “When I first saw the pictures, immediately a sense of familiarity struck me because I knew that I had been there before, I had been in this type of situation... I certainly subjected them to all kinds of humiliations. I don’t know where I would have stopped myself.” When the sickening pictures at Abu Ghraib were released, the US military became defensive claiming it’s just a few bad apples, but Zimbardo disagrees. He says, “There are a set of social psychological variables, that can make ordinary people do things they never could imagine doing.” He argues that it was not an individual, but a system that permits abuse. This is a rather terrifying thought. That under certain circumstances, any of us could act so inhumanely and cruelly. I still like to believe that the vast majority of us wouldn’t. But Zimbardo believes that “people can become evil when they are enmeshed in situations where the cognitive controls that usually guide their behaviour in socially desirable and acceptable ways are blocked, suspended or distorted.” The findings of Milgram and Zimbardo’s experiments play on my mind since the release of the recent UN report on North Korea. It details allegations of murder, torture, rape, abductions, enslavement, and starvation. It describes North Korea as a dictatorship “that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” Under no circumstances do these studies excuse such atrocities, but they may shed some light on the nature of, and factors that contribute to human cruelty. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, wrote, “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” march 4th 2014 13
opinion LGBT* Outreach—A shoutout to LGBTQ+ workshops nationwide Speaking about her own experiences as a ShoutOut volunteer, Ruth Murphy discusses how our society still feels it can getaway with using LGBTQ+ slurs The average age at which one figures out their sexuality is 12. The average age for an Irish person to come out as LGBTQ+ is 17. The gap between these years is roughly the amount of time we spend in secondary school; an interval during which the LGBTQ+ community are scared to come out. This fear stems from bullying, stereotyping, slagging and the creation of a stigma around LGBTQ+ people. When I was in school, we sat around in a group while our teacher explained to us that we were hurting people when we misused the words “gay,” “faggot” and “dyke.” However, the reply from many in the class was “I don’t see why it’s offensive,” and so these words would continue to run rampant through the school. Later someone would say, “It was so gay of the teacher to tell us that we were being offensive.” I was lucky to be taught even this much. Most schools in Ireland teach very little about LGBTQ+ issues. Many religious and nondenominational schools like to keep gay rights out of their ethos. It is not on the curriculum, and anyway how are they supposed to teach about LGBTQ+ issues when many SPHE teachers aren’t even allowed to recommend the use of condoms? Teachers may fear that teaching topics that aren’t on the curriculum could get them into trouble with the state, or with their local religious order. Unfortunately, this also means that teenagers are not taught the strength of their words. Despite laws on equality in the workplace, many teachers are actually afraid to tell their colleagues or students of their sexuality. It may not be a student’s business who their teacher dates, but a teacher should not fear being bullied by their students if word gets out. Inequality in secondary schools can affect every member of staff as well as every pupil. In school, every time I heard the phrase “that’s so gay,” I crept further back into the closet. With anything bad being called “gay” and anyone different being called a “dyke��� or a “faggot” I became terrified of these expressions. My fellow students had no idea how much they scared me with their
words and I was afraid that if I stood up and said that they were being rude that I would instantly be labelled as “gay,” a word I feared because of the stigma attached to it. The word “gay” meant wrong or weird, and how was I to know otherwise? In 2009, a survey commissioned by GLEN and BeLonG To found that 58% of respondents had witnessed homophobic bullying in their own school. This bullying in many cases lead to students skipping school (20%), dropping out (5%), self-harming, and even considering suicide. Worryingly, another survey conducted in 2012 by an Irish charity, shoutout.ie, found that 55% of all students and 68% of LGBTQ+ students surveyed agreed that homophobic bullying was tolerated by teachers and staff more than other forms of bullying. A staggering 92% of students surveyed felt that their secondary school did not provide enough information and support on sexuality. It is these harsh statistics that led to the establishment of ShoutOut. ShoutOut is an NGO set up and run by college students and recent graduates. It gives free workshops in Irish secondary schools. The motto of the organisation is, “Being LGBTQ+ in Irish secondary schools can be really hard. We want to change that.” ShoutOut wants to rid Irish secondary schools of homophobic and transphobic bullying and the stigma around the LGBTQ+ community, and to teach Irish teenagers to stand up for their LGBTQ+ friends. ShoutOut has over 100 volunteers who have gone to schools across Ireland, giving workshops to thousands of pupils. ShoutOut has invited schools in several counties to take on their workshops and have received requests from other counties (and one from a scout troop) to go and talk to young people about the issues facing LGBTQ+ youth. Schools may be afraid to touch on LGBTQ+ issues, but having a volunteer come in takes the load of the teacher and gives a voice to an issue that is often ignored. Many students may feel more comfortable discussing sexuality and gender identity with a young volunteer than with a teacher they
see everyday. These workshops are only one hour long, but they can make a huge difference to the lives of LGBTQ+ youth struggling to get through secondary school. I became a volunteer with ShoutOut last year. A lot of students where we were giving a workshop admitted to using words such as “gay”, “dyke” and “fag” against the LGBTQ+ community or their friends and not understanding what made these words rude or offensive. None of these teenagers disliked the LGBTQ+ community and none of them wanted to offend anybody. They simply spread words they were hearing everyday. ShoutOut teaches students like these that words can hurt people; that particular words may mean more than it seems at first glance. ShoutOut likes to use simple, relatable language to spread a message of inclusion and positivity. They teach students that there is no reason to tolerate bullying and that LGBTQ+ teenagers are just like everybody else and should be treated as such. Each workshop starts with volunteers telling the students a bit about themselves, reminding the students that the volunteers aren’t much older than them and aren’t that different to them. At the end of each workshop the students are asked to write up a peer agreement outlining what the students plan to do in future to make their school a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people, which could include agreeing to stop calling things they dislike “gay” and standing up against homophobic and transphobic bullying in their schools and communities. After these workshops, teenagers across Ireland may think before they speak. These workshops can create an inclusive environment for all. So hopefully someday when someone in school hints at someone being LGBTQ+, the person mentioned won’t feel their heart pound in their ears as their biggest secret is close to getting out. Instead, they will know that people don’t mind who they like or what gender they are. It may take a lot of work for Irish secondary schools to reach this stage, but ShoutOut is helping us get there.
My fellow students had no idea how much they scared me with their words and I was afraid that if I stood up and said that they were being rude that I would instantly be labelled as “gay,” a word I feared because of the stigma attached to it
How to be cool with Conor O’Toole The Art, Design & Technology Director has a soft day and everyone feels great for him
Assuming you’ve read my column up to this point, you’re probably now finding yourself to be pretty cool. You’ll be getting extra change in the shops, dogs will be nodding at you in a knowing way, and your breath will smell really nice. But you may have noticed something. Specifically you may have noticed something about your pockets. That’s right, you’re broke! It’s extremely hard to be cool and earn any money. There are very few cool jobs. People generally won’t pay you to hang around and do fun stuff with your friends. There are exceptions to this, like say, David Attenbourgh. But of course, all of his friends are animals. If all your friends are babies or ingredients, then you could make money being a crèche proprietor or a baker, respectively. There are some out-and-out cool jobs that pay, like being Banksy, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, or the Art, Design & Technology Director of this paper. Albeit we all get paid slightly different amounts. But sadly those jobs are in short supply. With the closure of independent record stores, 40% of all cool jobs disappeared internationally. I’m a stand up comedian, which is a great way to not make any money. That said, it is super-cool, particularly if you act all sarcastic like I do. There are some other 14 march 4th 2014
revenue streams that comedians like to paddle in, such as acting, doing voiceover work, and selling drugs. Obviously, acting is the most dubious of the whole lot. Generally, comedians don’t get the best of roles. For instance, the total number of comedians acting in the films Ben Hur, 12 Angry Men, and What Richard Did, is zero. And those were all huge successes. No, the roles comedians tend to get most often are in ads. Of course, once a comedian has been in an ad, they are tainted and to be shunned from then on out. The money is good, by the hours spent acting, but if you consider being forever associated with Texaco petrol stations to be part of your work hours, then the money is no where near enough. Unless you get a bonus every time someone in the street says to you “Hey! Aren’t you that guy who sprays petrol all over your jeans in that Texaco ad? Why did you do that, you could’ve been killed!” Then it is not such easy money. This does not apply to radio ads, because no one knows who does radio ads, it’s meant to be one of life’s great mysteries. The best way to avoid the minefield is to eat very little, and only eat very cheap food, like gone off bread. HOT TIP ALERT
I’m a stand up comedian, which is a great way to not make any money. That said, it is super-cool, particularly if you act all sarcastic like I do. There are some other revenue streams that comedians like to paddle in, such as acting, doing voiceover work, and selling drugs. Obviously, acting is the most dubious of the whole lot.
One of the most bizarre social experiments ever wrapped up (and then started again) in the depths of the internet last weekend. For those of you who don’t know, Twitch Plays Pokémon is a concept whereby thousands of people attempt to play the same video game at once. When I say that they are playing the same game all at once, I mean they are all controlling the same character at the same time. Basically, someone had taken a version of the popular Game Boy game Pokémon Red and altered it so that you could control the protagonist, RED, by typing an instruction into the chat bar beside the game. All you needed in order to play was an email address with which to register an account on twitch.tv for free. What ensued was complete an utter chaos. It was beautiful. There were tens of thousands of people
making commands at a time to the one character. After playing for over 16 days straight, the collective ‘wisdom’ of the internet (which was referred to as “the hivemind”) finally completed the game. Many have already commented that it is the modern equivalent of an infinite amount of monkeys producing the works of Shakespeare by smashing away randomly on an infinite amount of typewriters. I bring up Twitch Plays Pokémon for two reasons. First of all, because I think it is the funniest, most original piece of media I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Secondly, not only was the concept itself brilliant, but the narrative that followed it was a thing of beauty, as the hivemind tried to make sense of what was happening. The best part was that you could choose to be
a passive or an active consumer of Twitch Plays Pokémon. In a world in which we are encouraged more and more to passively consume our media, it was refreshing to see something that you could actively be a part of. Simply by typing “left” or “B” or “anarchy” and hitting enter, you became one of the creators of the story. Fans of the game began attributing personalities and intentions to the various Pokémon in the game. A common lore began to develop around various items such as the Helix Fossil, an item which some began to worship due to it randomly being selected during gameplay so often, leading fans to conclude that RED was consulting it for advice. The game had a supposed average viewership of around 70,000. Since completing Pokémon Red, they have now moved onto Pokémon Crystal,
and the games have collected over 38,500,000 views between them. Watching the game for more than a few minutes can be a tediously infuriating experience, especially when the hivemind fails to complete the most basic of tasks, such as escaping from the patch of grass they have been circling for the best part of an hour. But it does make the achievements that much better. Catching any Pokémon is difficult enough, but the chaotic mess that is Twitch Plays Pokémon managed to catch Zapdos, one of the legendary birds. For those of you who have never played any of the Pokémon games before, you should probably be aware of the fact that you only get one chance to catch Zapdos in the entire game. When you face off against him, you have three options; the first is defeat him, which is bad
because it means you cannot catch him. The second option is that he defeats you, which has almost the same effect as the first option, except you also lose half your money because apparently birds use money in the Pokémon universe. The third (and most difficult) option is to catch him. Somehow, the random button mashing of thousands of people led the team to use a Master Ball (which can catch any Pokémon) on Zapdos, thus securing one of the most powerful Pokémon in the game. I know that might not seem like a lot, but considering the fact the hivemind tossed almost every single item they ever had, it is amazing that they even had a Master Ball to use. The good fortune, however, did not last. You see, you can only carry six Pokémon at a time, so when Zapdos
was caught, he was transferred to storage. This wouldn’t be a problem in a normal game of Pokémon Red, as you would just have to go to a computer in the game and pick him up. As you can imagine, it’s a little more complicated with 70,000 people trying to command the one character. What ensued became known as Bloody Sunday, as the hivemind ended up releasing 12 Pokémon in the space of a few hours on the 11th day of proceedings. Among the released were two of the cult heroes of the game, which spawned a huge amount of fan art in order to commemorate “King Leer” and “Digrat”. At the time of writing, they already have two badges in the new game, although their team is very unbalanced. It’s got a lot to live up to after the original, although we all know that sequels are never as good as the original.
the university observer
Editor Kevin Beirne Deputy Editor Killian Woods
Ahoy Hack Hopefuls, It’s that time of year again when the hacks crawl out of the sewers in search of your barely legible signatures, and Talleyrand is hounded for advice on how to run a successful campaign. Talleyrand has been around UCD since before you were spawned, so here is some advice for those of you stupid enough to run for the SU. Talleyrand’s top tips for going for getting elected to UCDSU: If you are schmuck that is also unfortunate enough to be put on this earth with the sole purpose of being an SU hack and also have a skin disease, Talleyrand’s top tip for you is to print all your election material in black and white. Printing all that election material with your perfectly spherical face plastered front and back in colour will highlight that gangrene that plagues your head. If you suffer from crevasses,
Talleyrand is afraid he cannot help you. You will have to resort to being called Mr/Ms Burren Face or if your clefts are particularly deep, maybe you might be so unfortunate to be labelled Mr/Ms Mid-Atlantic Ridge. If Talleyrand has already disgusted you with his bullying, then here’s his next piece of advice. If you can’t make it through this column, don’t run! SU elections are all about bullying. Target your opponents and pick on their insecurities. If your opponents make a lipdub video, report them to YouTube for using songs that they did not have the permission to use. Don’t worry about checking if they have the rights to use a song, they definitely won’t. Also, don’t assume they won’t make a lipdub video, because it is still 2010 in SUland. Legally change your name to RON for the duration of the election. By doing this, you will confuse voters and might steal some votes from people trying to express
how terrible all the candidates are. If you lose, you can blame it on the confusing ballots and demand a doover. People will hate you for it, but hey, you’re running for SU election; everyone already hates you anyway. Don’t be a socialist! Talleyrand doesn’t feel he needs to explain this one. UCD hates people who pretend to care about people. Don’t be a woman. UCD students have shown time and time again that they hate women. If you were unfortunate enough to be struck with the affliction of being a woman and you are considering running for a position other than Welfare in this wretched SU, then Talleyrand highly recommends you take that €200 and spend it on something more useful, like a sponsored Facebook post or a subscription to the University Observer. In fact, even if it is Welfare you’re thinking of, you may want to avoid the whole thing anyway. Convince one of your friends to run as a joke candidate and
letters to the editor Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
use them to attack your opponents. By hiding behind someone else’s name, you will have learned the first lesson of how to succeed in UCDSU: remove all accountability from your terrible actions. By the time they realise what you’ve done, you’ll be all the way up in USI and untouchable. And as Micheal Gallagher likes to say, the Final Solution to getting elected is if you are lucky enough to get an interview with the University Observer, never show up to your interview on time. Try to game them by refusing to answer questions without barking like the dog you are. If you remember these simple tips, then Talleyrand guarantees that someone will win the election you are running in. Tally out.
Art, Design & Technology Director Conor O’Toole Comment Editor Elizabeth O’Malley Features Editor Nicole Casey Science, Health & Technology Editor Michael O’Sullivan Sports Editor Shane Hannon Chief Sports Writer Amy Eustace Otwo Co-Editors Steven Balbirnie Jack Walsh Games Editor Niall Gosker Film & TV Editor Laura Bell Music Editor Rebekah Rennick Fashion Editor Emily Mullen Chief Otwo Writer Emily Longworth
Dear Sir, I am writing to you to complain about the Students’ Union’s decision to run a series of “Women for Election” campaigns during the year, but offering no such counsel to men who might hope to run. This clearly places the women at an advantage over men who have no experience of any campaigns themselves and has discouraged this man from seeking election this year. I hope that next year’s SU President will see sense and run similar workshops for men next year.
In this ridiculous, over-the-top PC world it is considered sexist to treat men with more favour than women, but no one bats an eye when women are clearly given preferential treatment. Surely the SU should simply encourage the best candidates to run, regardless of what may or may not sit between their legs. Yours, etc. James Neil, 1st Year English
Senior Reporters Cian Carton Megan Fanning Thanks Eugene, Maeve and Stephen at Smurfit Kappa. Orla Gartland. Foil, Arms and Hog. Orla and Rory at MCD. All the Student Centre staff. SAUCEFEB. Peter Dinklage. Special Thanks Aoife. Georgina Dwyer. Amy McGovern. Bird Jesus. The Helix.
Staff Writers Anna Carnegie Louise Dolphin Fionnán Long Gráinne Loughran Dónal Ó Catháin Karl Quigley Lucy Ryan Laura Woulfe Contributors Grattan Aikins Andrew Carolan Fergus Carroll Lucy Coffey Mark Conroy Siobhan Copeland Rebecca Coyle Roisin Culligan Aoife Hardesty Stephen Heffernan Esther Hor Conor Keegan Patrick Kelleher Brid Kenny Niamh Rose King Donal Lucey Shauna Maguire Rachel Meagher Jack McCann Ross McKeever Emily McMorrow Declan Moran Ian Mulholland Aaron Murphy Ruth Murphy Ellen Murray Saahil Nanavati Liam O’Halloran Sean O’Neill Alanna O’Shea Robert Ranson David Reddy Sophie Sharpe Colman Stanley Duncan Wallace Illustrations Rory Mullen Emily Longworth Michael Vance Photographers James Brady Erica Coburn James Healy Rory Mullen Joanna O’Malley
march 4th 2014 15
sport ELECTION NOTICE It is planned to hold these elections during the week commencing 31st March 2014. Nominations will close at 6pm on Friday 7th March 2014. Nominees should submit to the Union Returning Officer a completed nomination signed by at least 150 members of the Union and a deposit of €100 before that time. To guarantee that a nomination is received by the Returning Officers, nominees are advised to make an appointment with the Union Returning Officer, who can be contacted at email@example.com Nominations may also be left in the appropriate locked metal box in the Union General Office in the Student Centre. The Returning Officers accept no responsibility, however, for nominations that are not personally given to the Union Returning Officer at an appointment made for that purpose. Nomination forms are available from the Union General Office in the Student Centre, online at www.ucdsu.ie/elections or on request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The sabbatical positions for election are: 1. The President; 2. The Welfare & Equality Officer; 3. The Undergraduate Education Officer; and 4. The Graduate Education Officer. The College Convenor positions for election are: 1. College of Human Sciences 2. College of Arts & Celtic Studies 3. College of Science 4. College of Engineering and Architecture 5. College of Health Sciences 6. College of Business and Law 7. College of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine The final position for election is: 1. Irish Language Officer / Oifigeach na Gaeilge
Come along to the I.A.S.E. stand at The Widening Participation Expo Thursday, the 6th of March 2014, from 10am until 5pm. The UCD Science Hub Concourse and the George Moore Auditorium UCD Students and Staff can sign up to become part of this year's 'National Job Shadow Day' on the 9th April.
I.A.S.E. (Irish Association of Supported Employment for People with Disabilities) Job Shadow Day is a national project bringing people with disabilities and local employers together for one day to promote equal employment opportunities and highlight the valuable contribution people with disabilities can and do make at work. Participants explore the world of work by ‘shadowing’ someone in the workplace as they go about their normal working routine. The aim of this inaugural ‘Widening Participation Expo’., being organised by UCD Access and Lifelong Learning is “to raise awareness and increase engagement with access, transfer, progression of underrepresented groups and to encourage better involvement with widening participation initiatives”. If you want to participate in the next national Job Shadow Day, please contact the IASE by emailing email@example.com, telephone +353 (0) 97 82894 or visit www.iase.ie for further information.
16 march 4th 2014
Head to Head—Paying the penalty Discussing the sense behind penalty shoot-outs, David Reddy and Robert Ranson outline for settling a game that is a stalemate
Why exactly do penalty shoot-outs produce the emotions of fear and anxiety? It is because deep down, every fan knows that penalties are a crude and unsatisfactory way to determine a winner. Manchester United and Sunderland’s recent Capital One Cup shoot-out is a testament to how the beautiful game can be decided in an ugly way. A club’s performance hinges on the collective effort of 11 players and their manager’s leadership. Individuals can alter games, but it is the team that ultimately generates victory. This is the main problem with penalties. Football, which contains so many intricacies, is boiled down to a select aspect that centres on an individual. FIFA president Sepp Blatter sums the experience up well by saying, “Football can be a tragedy when you go to penalty kicks. Football should not go to one to one. When it goes to penalty kicks football loses its essence”. The penalty shoot-out is adversely affected by what precedes it. An extra 30 minutes of mentally-draining and stamina-sapping football. It is for this reason that penalties are impossible to fully prepare for, as the mental and physical toll of extra-time cannot be accounted for on the training pitch. With this in mind we must dispel the old cliché that penalties are a lottery. A lottery suggests a certain number of agents all of which have an equal chance of being drawn. Penal-
ties provide considerably less equality. The rigours of extra-time would prove more influential on a team such as Borussia Dortmund, who assert a high tempo pressure game in both attack and defence, than on a possession heavy team that dictates the tempo of a game such as Barcelona. Missing a penalty in a major final or a crucial fixture has caused lasting and unfair damage to the legacy of some of football’s greatest figures. Roberto Baggio is a prime example of the lasting imprint a penalty miss can leave on fans’ collective memories. Baggio is regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, however, his Italian and European club silverware take a back seat to his penalty miss in the final of World Cup ‘94. Previous proposed remedies such as the golden goal rule only succeed in drenching extra-time in a suffocating blanket of caution and negativity. Teams simply did not want to expose themselves to the counter attack and preferred to hold out for penalties. An extra-time during which a player is removed from each team every five minutes until a deciding goal is scored provides a team orientated and exciting solution to the problems of penalties, however, the taking of penalties immediately after full-time may be a more realistic resolution.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter sums the experience up well by saying, “Football can be a tragedy when you go to penalty kicks. Football should not go to one to one. When it goes to penalty kicks football loses its essence”
The argument for the retention of penalty shoot-outs is quite simple. Just think back to May 21st, 2008. Who could forget John Terry’s face after slipping and missing the penalty that would have brought Champions League victory for Chelsea? Terry is one of the game’s preeminent cartoon villains, yet sport is no place for moralism and his exploits on the pitch had rendered his indiscretions moot. Therefore his sporting failure, and subsequent tears, had a decidedly poetic feel. Schadenfreude is an essential part of the sport, and penalty shootouts provide a dramatic tension, while dangling the prospect of swift sadistic satisfaction. No discussion of schadenfreude and penalty shoot-outs would be complete without mention of the perennial failures of the English at international tournaments. Successful qualifying campaigns generally breed quiet optimism, before the spectre of the latest tournament looms and the familiar words of self-doubt emanate from our dear neighbours. However, nothing fuels this national schizophrenia quite like penalty shoot-outs. While it can be sufficiently entertaining to watch this rollercoaster of emotion descend into car crash television over 90 minutes, there is something extra special about seeing the wheels come off in a penalty shootout.
Defeats in normal time may be chalked down to the superior technique or tactical awareness of other nations, but penalty shoot-out defeats rather mischievously suggest the blame may in fact lie with issues of national psyche. Nothing quite entertains an Irishman as much as watching the English struggle with issues of introspection. Perhaps some illumination on why sport provides such schadenfreude can be found in the words of George Orwell, who referred to sport as “war minus the shooting.” Modern sociological theories point to the growth in the popularity of sport as an unappreciated factor in the reduction of inter-state violence in the later 20th and early 21st century. The advent of the European Union and the United Nations succeeded in reconciling nations and promoting cooperation and harmony, sport provided an outlet for our more nefarious impulses. Issues of national pride and superiority are now fought on the pitches rather than the trenches. Nationalism can be benignly focused on the sporting exploits of ones fellow countrymen in sharp contrast to its previous darker incarnations. Besides, what is the alternative to penalties? Should we allow a match that has remained undecided over the course of 120 minutes of football trudge on yet further into the realm of tedium? We
Defeats in normal time may be chalked down to the superior technique or tactical awareness of other nations, but penalty shoot-out defeats rather mischievously suggest the blame may in fact lie with issues of national psyche
need a means of deciding games without open play continuing ad infinitum. And honestly, how many times have you turned on a match just to watch penalties? We have a dramatic and entertaining way of deciding stalemates, why would we want to change it? What better way to end a war than with a shootout? Robert Ranson
NUI Awards 2014 NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowships Each valued at €80,000 (over a 2 year period) One NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities. One NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Sciences Closing date: 14 March 2014
NUI Dr Garret FitzGerald Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Social Sciences The Fellowship is tenable for one year and is valued at €40,000. The holder of the Fellowship will be based in the NUI, 49 Merrion Square and will conduct a specified programme of research on behalf of the Education and Society Committee, on a topic or topics approved by the Committee. Closing date: 28 March 2014
NUI Travelling Studentships Tenable for up to 4 years, valued at up to €64,000
NUI E J Phelan Fellowship in International Law Valued at €25,000 (up to a period of 18 months)
The Studentships are designed to fund postgraduate studies at doctoral level. At least Four Travelling Studentships in the Humanities and Social Sciences. At least Two Travelling Studentships in the Sciences
This Fellowship is offered to NUI graduates at an advanced stage of their doctoral studies in any area of international law.
Closing date: 21 March 2014
Closing date: 21 March 2014
Full details and application procedures are available at www.nui.ie/awards
Ollscoil na hÉireann / National University of Ireland 49 Cearnóg Mhuirfean, Baile Átha Cliath 2 / 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 Teileafón / Telephone: +353 1 439 2424 Ríomhphost / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
march 4th 2014 17
Amy Given Tuesday Students lose their greatest teacher
NUI Maynooth claim their first Collingwood Cup With Ireland’s Six Nations campaign off to a flying start, one Ulsterman is chomping at the bit to be back involved. Tommy Bowe talks injuries, shoes, and lining out for the Lions with Shane Hannon
Martin Russell’s move to St. Patrick’s Athletics as assistant manager is a shock to many and role not fitting of his achievements in recent years, writes Amy Eustace
League of Ireland aficionados lament the lack of column inches our domestic outfits get in comparison to the attention that Premier League and continental competitions get from the national press. When it comes to UCD, the level of interest goes from pathetically low to almost non-existent. To that end, it’s no surprise that St. Patrick’s Athletics’ announcement that UCD boss Martin Russell would be their new assistant manager flew under the radar last week. Even UCD AFC remained largely silent on the issue. They left the talking to Pat’s, who were quick to welcome back an old flame. Russell, a former Pat’s player, has gone from capably keeping the Students above water year after year, to playing second fiddle to Liam Buckley at the home of the champions. It’s probably a sad indictment of UCD and the league as a whole that a manager of Russell’s calibre ends up as merely a supporting actor at a bigger club, despite such a fantastic record. Burdened with a squad of largely inexperienced youth, many of whom juggled college degrees and part-time jobs on top of their playing commitments, Russell crafted a side that played attractive, if not always effective, football. A squad which put the title contenders to the sword time after time. He led UCD to First Division victory in 2009, and having secured promotion, kept them in the Premier Division for the next four years. It wasn’t always an easy task. UCD’s financial stability was probably the differentiator in the struggle for survival, with plenty of teams around their playing level falling by the wayside in that period. Russell’s Students always gave a good account of themselves. For anyone who has kept a close eye on Russell’s UCD, it’s hard not to think of the move as a step down. Sure, Pat’s can compete for titles well beyond UCD’s grasp, but you could argue that Russell could have (and should have) walked into a vacant managerial spot at any Dublin club based on his water-into-wine antics in Belfield. He’s been dogged by rumours to that effect for years, although he has remained an ever-present in the UCD dugout. But there’s no smoke without fire, and few League of Ireland fans would turn their nose up at having Russell at the helm of their club. So, why did the talk turn to number two positions this year? With Shamrock Rovers announcing a ‘B’ team to compete in the First Division, Russell was mooted to be the manager of choice. This was accompanied by speculation that he might be Trevor Croly’s 18 march 4th 2014
Burdened with a squad of largely inexperienced youth, many of whom juggled college degrees and part-time jobs on top of their playing commitments, Russell crafted a side that played attractive, if not always effective, football
assistant in Rovers’ senior squad. Based on Croly’s first season at Rovers, it probably ought to have been the other way around. It’s a great appointment for Pat’s and one that will stand to them. Russell has a proven record of developing youth and a philosophy that will fit right in at Inchicore. Not to mention, he’s still a fans’ favourite for his leaguewinning exploits in the late 90s. He would still be a shoe-in for a manager’s job at any League of Ireland side. That won’t go away, and this year he won’t have to worry about survival. Pat’s have already won the inaugural President’s Cup, an Irish answer to the Community Shield, presided over by President Michael D. Higgins, since he made the switch to Inchicore. As for UCD, ex-Bohemians manager Aaron Callaghan will take the reigns. His first game in charge will be against his old club in the UCD Bowl, or at least it would, if he wasn’t serving out a touchline ban he received while at Bohs. Five games remain in Callaghan’s suspension, which means his first appearance in the dugout will be at Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers in April. Callaghan, who is not unlike Russell in his ability to get the best out of a young squad of players, saved Bohs from relegation in 2012 but was sacked during a difficult 2013 season and replaced by veteran defender Owen Heary. The Dubliner spent the bulk of his playing career in England at Crewe Alexandra and Preston North End. Having lost stalwarts like captain Mick Leahy and defender Dave O’Connor in the off-season, UCD’s extended squad has plenty of gaps to fill. No doubt Callaghan will have plenty to teach the Students. Perhaps this could be the year they graduate with honours.
I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a winning Six Nations Irish team and I’ve won the league a couple of times, but the Heineken Cup, to be part of a winning team that you train with day in day out and to have seen Munster and Leinster do it so many times, I’d love to get to that stage
NUI Maynooth 2 NUI Galway 1
NUI Maynooth (NUIM) made history by clinching their first ever Collingwood Cup with a 2-1 victory over NUI Galway (NUIG) in the UCD Bowl at Belfield in this year’s finale. It was all the more fitting, as this year’s Collingwood Cup was a special edition with it celebrating its centenary year. To mark this momentous occasion, the competition was held in UCD, the home of the most successful side ever in the competition. In the semifinals, 2011 champions University College Cork (UCC) took on NUIM, while Dublin City University (DCU) took on NUIG for the right to gain a coveted ticket to the final. NUIM confirmed their place in the semi finals after a victory over pre-tournament favourites UCD in the previous round. They showed this was no fluke as they dispatched of a hard-working UCC with a 2-0 scoreline. A close-range strike by Niall Lanigan in the 5th minute found the top corner of the UCC net and it was NUIM who controlled proceedings for much of the first half. UCC battled back in the second half with Cathal Lordan and Rob Lehane attempting to reduce the deficit. Lehane had the ball in the back of the net after a Steve Mahon strike was parried by the NUIM keeper, only for it to be ruled offside. As UCC pressed forward in search of an equaliser, NUIM continued to attack on the break and should have sealed the result but for two point blank saves by Dorgan, which kept UCC in with a shout. But NUIM were duly rewarded as they pounced down the left flank after a UCC corner. It was John McKeown’s low cross which deflected past Dorgan
off UCC’s Darragh Lucey in the 82nd minute that finally broke UCC hearts and secured NUIM’s deserved place in the final. Goals from Mickey Crean and Shane O’Rourke at the end of each half ensured NUIG would be NUIM’s opponents in the decider after they grounded out a hardfought victory against DCU in the other semi-final. DCU, however, had an afternoon to forget as they saw most of the possession, but were unable to penetrate a well-drilled NUIG defence. After making a positive start to the game, DCU lost skipper Robbie Gaul to injury midway through the first half. Momentum swung towards the Connacht side and they capitalised on a good spell of pressure, with the opening goal just before half time. DCU started the second half well and created a number of chances, but NUIG defended resolutely and were able to seal the game with their second on the stroke of full time. It all came down to Friday’s final as NUIM challenged NUIG. After disposing of hosts and pretournament favourites UCD in Wednesday’s opener, Maynooth were fancied to go all the way against a well organised NUIG. Niall Lanigan got NUIM off to the best possible start after he latched onto a well-placed Conor Mahony cross in the sixth minute and his flicked header flew past Galway goalkeeper Evan Duffy to put his side into an early lead. Galway were lucky not to be further behind after 24 minutes after Niall Conran showed great pace when he raced onto a long clearance and beat Cian
Fadden only to see his near post shot well saved by Duffy. NUIG did come close to an equaliser ten minutes later, only for Maynooth goalkeeper Murphy to excellently deny a long-range effort from O’Rourke after some good play by Galway fullback Preston Kelly down the right-hand side. It was Maynooth who were first out of the blocks in the second half and Conran was almost in on goal straight from the off, only for Duffy to sweep across and clear for the Galway men. Maynooth’s Conor Mahony then headed wide after the 53rd minute, but Maynooth’s pressure finally paid off when they grabbed their second in the 64th minute. Sean Hoare played a pinpoint pass down the right wing for Hyland who beat two defenders and whipped in an inch-perfect cross for Conor Mahony to powerfully head home. Galway were not going to go down without a fight and got themselves back into the game in spectacular fashion after 77 minutes when Mikey Green scored with a stunning finish. His right footed shot from outside the box whizzed past Murphy and into the top left hand corner, setting up a tense finish to the game. However, Galway never created any other clear-cut chances and Maynooth held on for a deserved win; ensuring the Collingwood Cup would travel to Kildare for the first time in its one hundred year history. Maynooth captain, Sean Hoare, collected the trophy and the Saint Patrick’s Athletic man was also named player of the tournament after three marvellous performances. Sean O’Neillv
sport Ireland were drawn in Group D along with Germany, Poland, Scotland and Georgia, as well as UEFA’s newest member Gibraltar, who were drawn in Group C with Spain but were switched to D for political reasons
Luge is one of the most dangerous sports in the Olympics and the athletes who race down the icy, high-banked track can travel at up to 140km/h
Euro draw gives cause for hope As we learn the groups for the upcoming European Championship qualifying campaign, Donal Lucey looks at some of the main challenges Ireland will face “It’s a difficult group but an exciting one, nevertheless. With the exception of Germany, it looks like a group where lots of teams will be able to take points off each other and I think it will be tight right until the end.” That was Ireland Manager Martin O’Neill’s reaction to Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualification group and his words seem to echo the general consensus amongst the fans. Ireland were drawn in Group D along with Germany, Poland, Scotland and Georgia, as well as UEFA’s newest member Gibraltar, who were drawn in Group C with Spain but were switched to D for political reasons. It is unmistakably a tough group, perhaps even this qualifies as the Group of Death, but the new format should leave most Irish fans quietly optimistic. The Germans will obviously be hot favourites to top the group, but looking at the rest of the group, while competitive, it is certainly within the Irish team to finish at least 3rd, and nothing
less than that should be expected. UEFA’s controversial decision to expand the European Championship from 16 to 24 teams will be the major talking point in any debate about Ireland’s chances of qualification. Interestingly, Michel Platini claims that the new format came about because of a proposal by Ireland and Scotland back in 2007. If you were cynical, you could say this new format dilutes the overall standard of the tournament and achieves Platini’s goal of ensuring the top teams earn their spot. Nevertheless, the new format gives countries that would ordinarily struggle to make FIFA’s showpiece event a chance to appear at a major tournament, and the home nations stand to benefit. It will undoubtedly add to the excitement in Group D, as it creates a mini-group between Poland, Ireland and Scotland. All three teams are capable of filling the second spot for automatic qualification or the third spot for the playoffs, but only two can. The second talking point is
that for the second qualifying campaign in succession, Ireland will face European giants Germany. Every Irish fan must have breathed a collective sigh when the draw was made. Germany thrashed Ireland 6-1 at the Aviva and easily beat a side led by Noel King last October 3-0 on their way to qualifying for this year’s World Cup. German football is certainly on a high point at the moment. The majority of the squad comes from the top two teams in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who contested last season’s Champions League final. But they did show some defensive frailty when they conceded four goals to Sweden last year in Berlin and another three goals in Stockholm. Any points taken off the Germans will be vital for any potential qualifiers and will give them a distinct advantage over their adversaries. The question is can Ireland improve enough under O’Neill and Keane to be competitive
against Joachim Löw’s men? The next talking point concerns our neighbours Scotland. A lot of Irish fans may look at this as a guaranteed six-points, but the sides are far more similar than we’d care to admit. Scotland has some talent in their midfield with the likes of Darren Fletcher, Charlie Adam, Robert Snodgrass and Kris Commons. Forwards like Justin Rhodes and Ross McCormack have been firing in goals this season and the threat they can pose to the Irish defence shouldn’t be underestimated. There will be a lot of hype around these games. Ireland and Scotland have always had a connection, football-wise, through Celtic Football Club. Indeed, the media has already focused in on the fact that it’s a battle of former Celtic managers. It has also been touted that Scotland plan to host the away game at Celtic Park. When you break down this group, the two games between these sides are vital and could well be the difference between qualifying and another
disappointment in the end. In the aftermath of the draw, despite drawing a tricky group, the air of optimism was refreshing. This is down to the new management team, Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, taking charge. There’s no doubting O’Neill’s managerial credentials and not many corners of Irish football questioned his appointment, although Roy Keane may have divided opinions a little more. Keane’s winning mentality is without question a positive influence on the dressing room, however. He has shown in the past an ability to get players on his side and want to win for him. If he can manifest such passion from his countrymen, maybe Ireland could get some consistent performances and seal second place. This optimism around the new team, however, also brings with it expectation among Irish fans and pundits alike. Fans expect O’Neill’s tenure to be a departure from the boring, defensive-minded play Giovanni Trapattoni encouraged.
Fans hope to see him to utilise the likes of Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Shane Long in a more positive and creative style of play, but we really don’t know if he will. So, one of the biggest talking points going into Euro 2016 qualification will be, what will O’Neill’s Ireland look like? The road to France in 2016 will certainly be a tough one, but it wouldn’t be a Republic of Ireland campaign if there weren’t ups and downs. One thing we can definitely bank on is excitement. We kick off with two ideal games against Georgia and Gibraltar that give us the opportunity to build confidence and more importantly get six points on the board. It may be foolish optimism, but many would be very surprised if Ireland did not finish 2nd or 3rd in this group. We have the quality to beat Poland and Scotland. And if the whole country can get behind the national team for this qualification campaign, there is a very real chance of success and another major tournament ahead.
The Badger In this week’s column, everyone’s favourite Badger discusses rugby, Roy Keane, and Badger lifespans The Badger has this week decided to shift his attention somewhat from the round ball of soccer to the oval ball of rugby. Sadly, Joe Schmidt’s boys in green couldn’t finish off the English at Twickenham (collective sigh: 1, 2, 3, awwwww). Our Grand Slam and Triple Crown dreams may be over for another year, but we’re still sitting pretty at the top of the Six Nations Championship table and things are looking good. It’s the spaghetti-eating Italians and Thierry Henry-handballing French up next for what will be Brian O’Driscoll’s final Six Nations games ever. The Badger thinks we can do it. Still, club rugby is always a good subject of conversation to liven the mood up after a defeat to England. It’s not going all that bad at the moment. Also going strong these days is part-time rugby star, full-time friend of the University Observer, Tommy Bowe, who was back from injury for Ulster last week in the Pro12, scoring tries for fun. Pity Joe Schmidt-y Cent didn’t feel T-Bowe deserved a slot in the squad for the
next game. Such a controversial call. If you need someone to talk to, Tommy, just call the Badger. Actually, would you also mind returning the Badger’s calls? And if you answer those Snapchats the Badger sent, that’d also be cool. And finally, the Badger private messaged you on Facebook last week as well. If you have a minute, just reply to that one too. Facebook tells the Badger if people see his messages. Even though it was a controversial to leave the try-scoring machine out, the Badger does think sports entertainment, or as it’s more popularly known; sport, is better when the controversy is ramped up. On the telly, it is all the better when the pundits are controversial and downright convinced they’re never wrong. George Hook comes to mind in rugby, but the man of the hour has to be Roy Keane. The Badger is admittedly a huge Keano fan and finds that his damning verdict of Manchester United’s lacklustre display against Olympiakos in the Champions League recently was merited. Oh, and the Badger has seen the
Sports Digest Women’s Soccer UCD triumphed over titleholders IT Sligo in a thrilling 3-2 victory in the WSCAI Futsal Cup final at the Mardyke Arena, University College Cork (UCC), on February 25th. IT Sligo had opened the scoring after an amazing run by Emma Hansberry ended in a UCD defender deflecting a shot into her own goal, before
UCD’s Julie-Ann Russell equalised. Captain Ciara Grant had an unfortunate game in the final. It was her attempted headed clearance that was deflected into the UCD net to tie the game and later on, her penalty was saved by Sligo goalkeeper, Rachel King. However, when it mattered most, UCD turned on the pressure. Another own goal, this time in UCD’s favour, brought the enthralling game to a close.
conditions in Saipan (the pitches wouldn’t be good enough for a badger-sized badger to live under, never mind train on) so Keano was right to walk away before the World Cup. Ooooh, the Badger is feeling extra controversial himself. Controversy was also in the air at the UCD GAA annual forum of committee meetings or something. Somehow a Cavan man got elected president. Admittedly, that man is Irish sporting legend Aogán Ó’Fearghail, but still, does anyone in Cavan know one end of a GAA ball from the other? In fairness to Cavan, a quick look at the history books will show that they have somehow actually won 9 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in their history, with the most recent being in 1952. Not even the Badger was born then. Did you know the lifespan of a Badger is roughly 24 years? Neither did this old dote and this information would have to be happened upon just as the Badger turned 23. Here’s hoping the numbers count down. Badger Out.
UCC Director of Sport, Declan Kidney, presented the trophy to a deserving UCD team who will now go on to represent Ireland at the 2014 European Championship Finals in Rotterdam, Netherlands in July.
Sailing The Irish University Sailing Association Inter-Varsity Championships took place in Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club on February 20th22nd, in which 24 teams from nine colleges around Ireland and Scotland participated.
Also going strong these days is parttime rugby star, full-time friend of the University Observer, Tommy Bowe, who was back from injury for Ulster last week in the Pro12, scoring tries for fun
UCD’s top three teams reached their target of gold fleet quarterfinals, with UCD 1 progressing all the way to the final, eliminating Scottish representatives, SUSA, in the semifinals. The final against UCC 1 was a tightly contested affair, with UCD 1 emerging as victors in the best-of-five race after notching up a 3–2 win. As winners, UCD 1 will go on to represent Ireland at the British University Championships in April. The other UCD teams fared commendably, with UCD 5 and 6 as losing semi-finalists in the bronze fleet, while UCD 4 played second fiddle to Scotland’s second team in the finals of the silver fleet.
talented Sarah Lavin came up short twice in the Athlone’s Institute of Technology International Arena Ciara Everard of the UCD Grand Prix on February 26th. Lavin Athletic Club ran a season best of was narrowly beaten by Portugal’s 2.04.02 en route to finishing fourth Eva Vital in the 60m hurdles and in the Prague Indoor Grand Prix on by Kelly Proper in the 60m. Tuesday, February 25th. Participating UCD finally struck gold after in the Women’s 800m, Everard had a a neck-in-neck race in the Men’s slow start, but steadily moved through 800m. UCD’s Karl Griffin topped the the field in the race, which was eventu- podium in 1:50.47, edging competitor ally won by Britain’s Jenny Meadows. Niall Tuohy by a mere millisecond. Her effort won her a place in the Irish team for the 2014 World Indoor Esther Hor Championships in Sopot, Poland, where she will be joined by fellow UCD athlete, Mark English. Competing nationally, UCD’s
march 4th 2014 19
UCD Marian lose out to clinical Belfast Star Colman Stanley
Whatever hopes UCD Marian had of making the Champions Tournament were taken from them by a strong Belfast Star outfit who ran out eventual winners in Marian’s final home game of the season. Missed chances and costly errors throughout the match cost the home side, and they were duly capitalised on by the Quinn twins, Paul Dick, and Dustan Moeira, in particular. Although the game was close throughout, the visitors never looked like losing and led at the end of each quarter. It was Marian’s last home game of the season, and it brought a full turnout to the arena. Perhaps the most significant part of the evening was the half time tribute to Marian legend Paul Meany. Meany was recently inducted into Basketball Ireland’s Hall of Fame, becoming only its sixth member. Meany currently sits on Marian’s Premier League Committee, but had played for the team over a staggering five decades. He is a founding member of the club and has acted as chairman, among a host of other positions. This tribute, along with the fantastic turnout, made for a quality atmosphere, which lasted the whole match. Marian began the match brightly, but missed opportunities in the first couple of minutes meant they were yet to score and it was sign of things to come. Paul Dick of Star opened the scoring with a free throw before Marian’s Kevin Foley responded with a three-pointer. After a cagey next few minutes, Marian began to pack on some points. Captain Meaney was leading their charge with a timely interception and no misses from his free throws. Michael Chubb, often overshadowed by his points machine of a brother Eoin, was also having a very effective game in both defence and attack. He had his work cut out with the livewire, Aidan Quinn, but showed he was
up to the challenge with a fine interception and a three-pointer. Terrance King, who was coming off the back of a 31 points haul, finally got into the game with a free throw. Marian’s lead was soon clawed back by Star with Quinn and Dick looking particularly impressive. An entertaining first quarter finished 23-21 to the visitors. The second quarter was where Marian began to miss shots, a trend that would carry on for the remainder of the match and effectively render some excellent build-up play worthless. Despite the first dunk of the match by Terrance King, and a sweet threepointer by Eoin Chubb, Marian were unable to stem the flow of Belfast points as they raced into an eleven point lead. Marian finished the quarter strongly, with the scores at 44-36 to the away side, but Star looking firmly in control; Marian had it all to do. The third quarter was all Belfast, and many of the chances Marian had were missed. The Quinn twins were stamping their authority on the match with two three-pointers, as was the enormous 6’ 8” frame of Dustan Moeira. Dick also continued his impressive scoring. Captain Meaney was the only positive for Marian, as their big scorers King and Chubb failed to deliver. Star extended their lead to thirteen points with scores at 66-53 when the quarter ended. A three-pointer at the beginning of the fourth quarter sparked hopes of a Marian comeback, and the crowd began to get behind the team in a big way. A King dunk was exactly what was needed as Marian clawed the game back to six points with six minutes left. However, Star continued to impress with Conor Johnson nailing a three-pointer, and Paul Dick slotting two free throws with the UCD crowd doing their utmost to put him off. Missed shots and costly fouls
continued to hamper Marian’s chances as Star got their lead back to 77-65 as a time-out was called with two minutes left. Despite Marian’s best efforts, the game finished 93-85 to the men from Belfast. Marian’s coach, Ionnasis Liapakis, was animated as ever on the sidelines and would have felt that Marian could have got a result from the match if it wasn’t for a host of missed shots throughout the game.
UCD Marian 85 Belfast Star 93
UCD RFC dispose of struggling Garryowen Jack McCann
The weather was dull and overcast and the threat of rain hung around for the entire game, however, luckily it never came. There was not much wind to speak of when the game kicked off in front of a decent crowd that grew steadily and got more boisterous as the game progressed and Garryowen mounted a late comeback to earn a losing bonus point. The began as Garryowen gathered the kickoff and straight away kicked it back into touch to give UCD their first lineout of the day. The lineout was well secured and from a first phase move UCD winger Barry Daly broke through the first line of the Garryowen defence and offloaded to Alex Kelly, the inside-centre. Although the attack was to no avail, the signs were there for a promising UCD performance to come even in the opening minutes. Even with UCD looking spritely, the visitors began to gain a foothold in the game apply a degree of pressure, mainly through their pack, but the home defence held firm. UCD’s second lineout of the day, in the 5th minute, ended up with the away side infringing, giving James Thornton his first opportunity to get points on the board. Referee George Clancy awarded the penalty after the Garryowen first tackler didn’t release the player after tackling. Thornton was not able to convert as it was just out of his range and he didn’t get the accuracy needed either. Luckily for UCD though, it would prove to be the only kick from the tee that he was to miss in the game. After a couple of minutes of good ball retention moving from left to right, Thornton got in position for a drop goal which he put over with ease in the 7th minute. In the next period of play though, UCD gifted Garryowen a way back into the game from a scrum that didn’t go to plan. The visiting side then managed to go through a period of retained possession and earned another penalty after an infringement by a Collidge defender. A drop goal attempt was missed, but Clancy went back for the penalty advantage. James Gavin, the Garryowen half-back, slotted the ball over with ease from straight down the middle of the pitch. The next period in the game was dominated by the hosts as their solid 20 march 4th 2014
scrum was enabling backs, like Andy Boyle who had an outstanding game, to have a platform to attack the opposition defence at pace. This earned Thornton another chance to split the posts after Garryowen were again penalised for not releasing. His kick just about made it from the lefthand side to make it 6-3 to UCD in the 14th minute. The game continued with home side soaking up a lot of pressure from the opposing forwards and breaking with their backs. Garryowen scrum-half Neil Cronin was sin binned just before the 20th minute for an infringement at the ruck. Thornton again converted the penalty to make it 9-3 to UCD who also had a one-man advantage for the next 10 minutes. The away team tried to keep the ball in the UCD half by kicking to the corner, but the ball did not go out and the mark was called and a 22 dropout restarted the game. UCD gained a penalty after the lineout steal and opted for a scrum from where the ball was quickly transferred right, with Boyle breaking through the first tackle on halfway, beating three more defenders before scoring the opening try of the game, which Thornton successfully converted. That score made it 16-3 to UCD, just twenty minutes into the game. Garryowen pulled three-points back a few minutes later as McGrath was penalised for the second time for a crooked feed into the scrum in the 26th minute. Gavin converted the penalty with consummate ease. Collidge upped their game but the travelling team scrambled their defence very well after a few breaks by UCD backs. Thornton converted another penalty after half an hour of play when Garryowen were again penalised for not releasing. Five minutes later the gap was widened even further when UCD pinched the ball after solid defending. The ball was passed to Thornton and his skip pass put Tom Fletcher in for the second try in the 34th minute, leaving the score at 26-6 when the teams broke for half time. The beginning of the second half was dominated by the visitors, as they shot out of the blocks, looking for the try they needed to get back into the game. Although Garryowen were beginning to dominate the
game, the hosts defended very well throughout the second half. The Limerick side made a couple of changes at half time, which gave them more muchneeded energy boost. UCD twice came close to scoring, but were penalised both times for forward passes with the line beckoning and another clean break by Barry Daly was ruled out for crossing. Garryowen’s persistence in the second half eventually paid off as they managed to pull a try back in the 66th minute through their captain, Rory Brosnan, after a good lineout and maul on the five metre line. The gradual tiring of the UCD defenders started to show as the visiting side got past for another try through Anthony Kavanagh, which was the last play of the game and gave the away side a losing bonus point. This left the final score 26-20 to UCD. The win was built off the backbone of a solid defence in the first half and also clinical play when the backs got their hands on the ball. This victory leaves UCD in sixth place in the Ulster Bank League Division 1A after 12 games and three points off a place in the playoffs.
UCD RFC 26 Garryowen 20 old alexandria
1 Pamela Smithwick 4 Sarah Canning 10 Shirley McCoy 13 Erika Hinkson 5 Laura Gray 6 Rachel Gray 7 Liane Costello 12 Danielle Costigan
9 Siobhan Scott Nielsen 15 Sally Campbell 20 Abigail Russell 11 Emma Duncan 14 Ava Beatty 8 Vanessa Winn 16 Lauren Kingston 3 Emma Russell
1 JP Cooney 2 David Rowley 3 Rory Brosnan (capt.) 4 Aaron McCloskey 5 Shane Buckley 6 Anthony Kavanagh 7 Mark Rowley 8 Barry O’Mahony 9 Neil Cronin 10 Jamie Gavin 11 Harry McNulty
12 Conan Doyle 13 Joey Purcell 14 James McInerney 15 Steve McMahon Replacements 16 John Mark Griffin 17 Peter O’Shea 18 Mark Hanrahan 19 Darren Mulcair 20 Alan Gaughan 21 Eamonn Connolly