Do A Big Score
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16-page supplement inside
The University Times Irish Student Newspaper of the Year TUESDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2011
Bartlett beats RON, COC squeaks home » Student Centre Levy defeated
» Kearney gets the nod for Provost
» Miller wins on first count
All-Ireland campus survey: Fine Gael are students’ pick
Ronan Costello Editor-Elect
Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor
LAST THURSDAY saw the culmination of two weeks of intense SU election campaigning. When Returning Officer Ashley Cooke announced the results it was revealed that Ryan Bartlett had beaten back the RON scare to become TCDSU President-elect and Chris O’Connor had come from being the rank outsider in the Ents race to squeaking past Elaine McDaid to be elected Ents Officer by 141 votes. The Mont Clare Hotel, just off Merrion Square, was the venue for the count and from 8pm speculation was leaking down from the count room as the ballots were sorted and fi rst impressions were gleaned by University Times Editor, Tom Lowe, and quickly tweeted to the UT Twitter account. Lowe was promptly asked to eave the count room, leaving him leaning in through the doorway, furiously typing any scraps of information that came his way. There was some early drama in the night as Seb Lecocq’s campaign manager and then John Cooney campaigner Danny O’Keefe took an unfortunate spill down the stairs of the hotel to the detriment of his chin, having to be carted off in an ambulance. By 10pm the bar was packed with anxious hopefuls and their weary but unendingly enthusiastic
In a poll of 1,248 university students conducted in a collaborative effort by student media across the country, it has emerged that Labour have much greater support among students than among those polled for the Irish Times and the Independent. Students from TCD, UCD, DCU, UCC, UL and NUIG took part in the opinion poll, coordinated by UCD’s College Tribune in association with The University Times and other student media outlets across the country. The results from each individual college were weighted by dividing the number of students in each college by the total number polled, and multiplied by each result, so that colleges with comparatively larger student populations were represented accurately. Irish students on average prefer Eamon Gilmore to Enda Kenny, as the Labour leader is thought to be the best candidate for Taoiseach to 23% of Irish students, compared to Enda Kenny’s 20%. Micheál Martin polls much lower among students than the national average, with only 13% considering him to be the best candidate for Taoiseach, compared with 28% in a Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll. Fine Gael is still seen as the party in the lead with 34%, but is followed closely by Labour with 30%, with the next-highest polling party for fi rst preference votes being miscellaneous independent candidates with 13%. Fianna Fáil trails with 10%, beating only the Green Party, Sinn Féin and Other. The poll also demonstrates a level of political attentiveness amongst students, with 73% saying they will be voting, of whom 24% are undecided, dispelling the myth of youth voter apathy. The Green Party fared extremely poorly in the poll with 4% intending to vote for them, and only 3% of students think that John Gormley would be the most capable Taoiseach, as students have apparently come to see the Green Party as not being worthy of consideration following their inglorious time in government with Fianna Fáil.
Chris O’Connor (right) celebrates with Campaign Manager Plunkett McCullagh and Paddy Lynch after being elected. Photo: Dargan Crowley-Long campaign teams. But before the SU results could be tallied, the student centre referendum and Provostial votes had to be counted. The student centre has been promised for ten years now, it being a central plank of current Provost John Hegarty’s manifesto. The passing of this referendum would
have cleared the fi nal funding hurdle and construction would have begun in earnest. Trinity students were asked if they would be willing to pay a levy of €69 with an additional €2 being added every year for twenty years. The fi nancially strapped student body rejected this proposal by 2399
votes to 2066, setting back ten years of work and leaving the project with no clear way forward. The dismay on the faces of Sabbats present was obvious, with Ents Officer Darragh Genockey particularly annoyed at the result, as it meant that the promised gigs venue with capacity for 700 may not see
a guitar licked nor a banjo picked. After this initial surprise, the gathered audience returned to their drinks as the Provostial votes were counted. Patrick Prendergast entered this race as the clear favourite but Colm Kearney’s savvy electioneering and student-centric
promises had given the business Professor the momentum heading into the final days. Th is was borne out in the result, with Kearney beating Prendergast by 1721 to 1599 on the third count. Thus, the six SU votes in the Continued on p3
Student leaders round on The Piranha Ball lineup revealed Ronan Costello News Editor STUDENT LEADERS were outraged last week by an article in the Piranha Election Special on the subject of former SU Presidential candidate Sebastien Lecocq. The Piranha Election Special, edited by John Engle, was published on 14 February and featured profi les on all SU candidates. While most profi les were judged to be within the bounds of satire, the article on Seb Lecocq shocked many who read it and many deemed it to have gone beyond the bounds of satire and into character assassination. The publication also misspelled his fi rst and second name. Classifying Lecocq as a
“joke candidate”, The Piranha stated that Lecocq was “fucking weird”. While claiming that it did not want to mock LeCocq for having a medical condition, The Piranha nonetheless named the condition. In an interview with The University Times, LeCocq said that that part of the article was the most offensive to him, and that his medical condition is not open to public discussion. The article went on to say that that Lecocq “has generated a completely warranted societal ostracism for his incredibly abrasive personality and general douchebaggery.” Lecocq’s friends also came in for harsh character criticism. The article falsely stated that Lecocq’s campaign manager was
Dan Reilly, whom it called a “noted douchebag”. In commenting on this fallacy, The Piranha stated that Lecocq is “clearly an absolute asshole who surrounds himself with assholes. A giant black asshole orbited by smaller
Lecocq said that he was “shocked by the piece” and that it could only be described as “bullying”. “I want a public apology,” said Lecocq. “I would expect the editor of The Piranha to issue an apology in the next
Seb Lecocq said that he “would expect the editor of The Piranha to issue an apology in the next issue”
assholes, one might say.” In concluding its synopsis on Lecocq, The Piranha said that he was a “douchebag from the moment of conception” and that he is “what is wrong with Trinity”.
issue.” Current SU President, Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem said the article was Continued on p2
Ronan Costello News Editor IT WAS announced yesterday that The Streets are to headline this year’s Trinity Ball, with Bell X1 given second billing on the ticket. Mike Skinner’s act tops a lineup that includes Jessie J, Simian Mobile Disco, Chipmunk, Professor Green, Fight Like Apes and The Rubberbandits. “I think it’s a great lineup,” said TCDSU Ents Officer Darragh Genockey. “There’s a huge headliner, with talent all the way down the list. I think it’s the best lineup in years and fi ngers crossed students will be happy with it. I think there’s something in there for everyone.” Further down the lineup
are acts which MCD are sure will shoot to prominence in the near future, including Ryan Sheridan, Katy B, Glasser, Bitches With Wolves, Jenna Toro, Devlin, Alex Metric, Starsmith, The Minutes, The Kanyu Tree and Royseven. Best known for their fi rst and second albums, The Streets’s popularity peaked with the release of the “A Grand Don’t Come for Free” in 2004. Since then the band has released three albums, with the latest being released only two weeks ago. Critically acclaimed and commercially successful, The Streets have reached the top of the Irish and UK Continued on p2
Th is will no doubt cause some annoyance to the Greens, claiming that it was Paul Gogarty (who infamously quipped “With all due respect, in the most unparliamentary language, fuck you Deputy Stagg” during a debate in the Dáil in 2009) that kept tuition fees off the table as chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Science. If that was the case, it evidently is not enough for student voters. Sinn Féin are also below national average figures when compared with students, as only 6% of those polled intend to vote for them, and a mere 4% think that Gerry Adams would be the best Taoiseach. 14% thought that none of the candidates offered would be a desirable Taoiseach and 23% don’t know. USI President Gary Redmond said to The University Times that “One thing that this poll shows is that voting intention for students is much higher for the Labour Party than in older generations. I would imagine that this is because the Labour Party have come out very strongly in favour of free fees, and indeed have said that they would reduce the Student Services Charge. Th is is obviously incredibly important to students and that’s factoring in strongly in their voting intentions.” He blames the lack of support for Fianna Fáil on their failure to deliver on student issues, commenting that “with Fianna Fáil at around 8% lower than in national polls, it’s clear that students feel very strongly about what Fianna Fáil have done in government. They cut student grants, raised the registration fee hugely and did nothing to tackle graduate unemployment. “At the National Student Protest, we said that parties who failed to tackle these issues would pay the price at the ballot box, and it’s clear that this is the case. Trinity and other Students’ Unions around the country have been registering students to vote for the last few months and parties that don’t respect students’ needs will be punished come election day. Every opinion poll shows that students are more politicised than ever and that their voices will be heard in this election.”
College faces a projected deﬁcit of €80-100 million by 2015 due to government cuts. The government provides 90% of College’s funding.
Balancing Trinity College’s books will be difﬁcult. Choosing the Provost who can do it is simpler. Colm Kearney: Professor International Business; formerly Professor of Finance, Professor of Economics, and Senior Adviser to the Australian Treasurer and Finance Minister 1991-93.
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
Quinn signs fees pledge
54% of students guilty of plagiarism
Ronan Costello News Editor
Caelainn Hogan Features Editor
LABOUR EDUCATION spokesperson Ruairi Quinn signed a USI-written pledge which binds him to opposing and campaigning against “any new form of third level fees including student loans, graduate taxes and any further increase in the Student Contribution.” The pledge, which Deputy Quinn signed outside the front gate of Trinity College, further mandates Labour to use their position within Dail Eireann to protect the Higher Education Maintenance Grant from any and all cuts and tackle graduate unemployment. The signing was attended by USI President Gary Redmond, USI Education Officer Colm Murphy as well as TCDSU President Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem and Education Officer Jen Fox. Speaking about the importance of ensuring that vulnerable groups in society
like students are not targeted for further cuts, Quinn said that it was important that the country come through these difficult times as a society, not an economy and that people could not be unnecessarily bruised or damaged by the expensive corrections that have to be made to the economy. Quinn said that there was no danger of a U-turn being done on this pledge, as has been the case with the Lib Dems in England. “This is a commitment to the renewal of the Irish economy,” said Quinn. “The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs have stated very clearly that increasing the number of graduates participating in the Irish University system by up to 70% as well as increasing innovation and research is the way forward and that is predicated on having a proper education system.” Dismissing the notion of this pledge creating a dealbreaking issue between
Labour and potential coalition partners, Fine Gael, Quinn said that everyone was committed to ensuring that people are given the opportunity to participate in the education system. Fine Gael had accused Quinn and Labour of flip flopping on the issue of an increased student contribution, an accusation that was firmly denied by Quinn at the signing. “I’ve recognised that students have been making a contribution through the Student Service Charge and that’s why we’re freezing it at €1500,” Quinn stated to The University Times. “It has been decided by the outgoing Government to increase it to €2000 and to introduce a €200 fee to do post-leaving cert courses.We think that barrier at the entrance to education is simply too much. When students enter higher level education they invariably become high earners and pay tax.” Recognising the
increased financial burden created by any increase in the student contribtution, Quinn said that he wanted to keep the gates of higher level institutions open to as many people as possible and that this would become increasingly difficult in the event of any further monetary charges being imposed on current and prospective university students. USI President Gary Redmond said that the Labour Party’s pledge was a “progressive step forward” and that the student body was warming to the Labour Party as a result of their commitment to reducing the student contribution by €500 and changing its name back to “the student service charge”, which Redmond believes is significant in that it more accurately describes what students should be paying for, namely services that affect them directly.
A UNIVERSITY Times survey of 681 students has shown that over half of students have contravened Trinity’s plagiarism policy by enlisting the help of a friend to complete their assignment. A further 18% of students admitted including work copied from other students in their submitted assignments. When confronted with the large number of students admitting plagiarism, Trinity’s Communications Office pointed to the College Calendar, which states that “Any material used in a piece of work, of any form, that is not the original thought of the author should be fully referenced in the work and attributed to its source.” When asked what safeguards are put in place to deal with the problem of plagiarism in College, the Communications Office acknowledged only that “safeguards can vary at school/ department level.” The survey also found that over 70% of students either have no knowledge or only some knowledge of Trinity policies on plagiarism. This news comes as a new company which promises to provide “authentic
academic papers written by high calibre postgraduates.” Launched on February 7th, the Wicklow based company Write My Assignments is the first of its kind in Ireland, and they have confirmed to the University Times that they already have three projects pending for Trinity students. The brain child of Michael Noble and Matthew Kehoe, who both studied Business and Enterprise at IADT, the company currently caters for ten universities in Ireland and has 566 graduates confirmed as writers, 186 of which are Trinity graduates. Through the website http://writemyassigments.com, undergraduates can commission a document written by a graduate of the course they are taking who has achieved qualifications of II.1 or above. The student identifies his or her academic course from those listed on the website, provides a brief of the academic assignment and their current average grade. Due to the flexibility Write My Assignments gives its writers, it will first find a writer who is willing to complete the project, and then will agree on a timeframe and quote. Write My Assignments assure the UT that “Every project is unique, so every project has a unique price”,
giving a €220-300 estimate for a 2,000 word paper. The student pays a 25% deposit before the writer commences work and pays the total on receiving the completed document. Throughout the process updates and drafts are provided and the student can communicate any alterations to suit his or her specifications. The service ensures complete privacy and confidentiality throughout and after the process. Since launching, Write My Assignments have completed 14 projects, with 8 pending, including the 3 for Trinity. Trinity has proven the most difficult to provide for, due to the “huge amount of courses”. Michael and Matthew see their service as “a system that enhances educational progression”, similar to grinds, and the website states that the documents can be used as a guideline and academic aide for research purposes. When asked whether they thought students were likely to hand in the assignment as their own, both stated firmly “We don’t condone that” and explained, “We’re producing a document from original thought from someone who has knowledge in the area; what the student chooses to do from then on, that’s their own
choice.” Only just launched, they have been “inundated with phone calls and emails, we’ve had a lot of requests from people looking for quotes, in the last 8 days we’ve had 200 people following us on Facebook, at least 60 or 70 emails”. In the future they plan to expand and cover all Irish colleges, stating “It’ll take time, but we definitely want to expand throughout Ireland, and into rural Ireland, that’s where we see it going.” When asked in the survey if they would avail of such a service as Write My Assignments, 11% of students said yes. Even when used as a research aide, a student would be required by the College plagiarism policy to reference the Write My Assignments document in their relevant academic work. Write My Assignments remains adamant, however, that their business does not encourage plagiarism, and when asked would they not promote themselves through colleges, they said “It’d be excellent to get the colleges behind us”; certainly a bold statement from a very confident new enterprise, leaving responsibility solely in the hands of the students who avail of the service.
The Streets, Bell X1, Rubberbandits to play Ball Continued from p1
Ruarí Quinn signs the pledge outside Front Arch on Monday. Photo: Tom Lowe
album and singles charts. This may well be the last time that Trinity students get the opportunity to see The Streets as Skinner has repeatedly said that their recently released album, “Computers and Blues”, will
be their final studio recording. Skinner is known for crowd interaction and energetic performances, qualities which will go down well with the revelling crowd of the Ball. The second headliner, Bell X1, are widely considered to be the best Irish act
of the last decade. Fronted by Paul Noonan, the band have enjoyed international success, being regarded as the second largest Irish music act in the US. Too maintain this international profile the band are constantly touring, playing relatively few Irish gigs and so making
Lecocq not amused by Piranha article Continued from p1 “an unjustifiable personal attack - if someone said it to his face it would be considered bullying, and I view it as such.” “The article was a cowardly assault on a member of the Students’ Union who had the guts to put himself in front of the entire college population to try and improve students’ lives. Although I usually find The Piranha very entertaining, this article was a grave error of judgement on the part of the editor, and he should apologise to Seb publicly.” The reaction to those involved in the elections has been overwhelmingly negative. In his concession speech on Monday 14 February, joke SU President candidate Aaron Heffernan remarked that Lecocq was “atrociously slandered in some grubby publication which [he refused] to name”. Heffernan’s campaign manager, Matt Smyth, said “the explanation that “it’s satire” only works when the piece is in any way funny. Does Seb owe Engle money or something? Maybe there was a case of girlfriend stealing? One of those might explain it.” Lecocq’s former Presidential rival and now SU President-elect, Ryan Bartlett, said “the point of The Piranha is to be satirical. That piece wasn’t funny, it was a personal attack. The Piranha is not living up to what it’s supposed to be doing. It can’t continue to do what it’s doing now. As editor, I think John Engle owes Seb a printed apology.”
Engle also holds the position of Vice-President of the University Philosophical Society, and was for a long time tipped to run for the role of President. Since the publication of the most recent issue, Engle has told close friends that he will not be contesting the election. Phil President Declan Meehan said, “I think the Election Special was a step too far. It was in bad taste, especially the piece on Seb Lecocq. LeCocq has confirmed that he has dropped a copy of the article in to the Junior Dean’s office, and expects a personal meeting to be arranged when the Dean has considered the contents of the article. SU Welfare Officer Steph Fleming has received a number of emails about the article, some requesting that she contact the Junior Dean about the article, and others asking about the protocol for making a complaint themselves. Such is the severity of the negative reaction towards the article that the normally protective Publications Committee has said that it is taking the matter “incredibly seriously and [does] not condone the article in any way.” Chairperson of Publications, Grace Walsh, said that the matter was being looked into, with a meeting scheduled this week, and that action would definitely be taken. Walsh did not speculate as to what action would be taken. The man on whom most of this criticism falls is The Piranha editor, John Engle. When asked what he thought of the college community’s
reaction to the piece, Engle simply said that the reaction was “mixed” and that he could see why people did not agree with what was said but disagreed with the claim that The Piranha had gone beyond the bounds of satire. Adopting a defensive and stubborn nature, Engle said that he would not be issuing a public apology and that if Lecocq wanted to approach him to discuss the matter in person, he was free to do so. When The University Times reminded Engle that he and Lecocq had been in the same Philosophy lecture only last Friday and that Lecocq had fully expected a personal apology before or after that lecture, Engle did not respond. Before the Election Special, Engle’s editorship had already caused ructions within his own staff with Deputy Editor, Howard Helen, resigning due to differences of opinion. “I feel Piranha is a great platform to deliver high-quality satire of a fictional nature to the college community, incorporating submissions from all students,” said Helen. “I believe the continuing trend of SU-bashing, particularly the targeting of individual officers, along with attacks on large societies hugely undermines the hard work that those involved in these ventures do, and it is a trend that I anticipate continuing. The Piranha that we see on our shelves is not my vision, and I did not see fit to continue to attach my name to it. Consequently, I took the decision to resign.” Engle debates at the Phil. Photo courtesy of The University Philosophical Society
this booking all the more significant for the Trinity Ball. Having barely missed out on the Christmas number one slot in the Irish singles charts, The Rubberbandits come to the Trinity Ball with a hugely increased level of popularity from their gig in the GMB last September. The success of “Horse Outside” and cumulative YouTube hits nearing 8 million have turned the Rubberbandits into a genuine phenomenon and they will surely compete with the top-billed headliners for students’ attention. One act featuring in the Ball who up until recently held the number one spot on the UK singles chart is Jessie J with the song “Price Tag”. Jessie J launched her solo career debuting “Do It Like a Dude” as her first single, which charted at number-two on the UK Singles Charts. “Price Tag” debuted at number one in the UK Singles Chart and held the position for two consecutive weeks.Her debut album, Who You Are, is set to be released February 2011 in the UK and April in the US. Trinty Ball verterans, Fight Like Apes make a welcome return having enjoyed great success since their performance two years ago. The Dublin band released their second album, “The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner”, last summer to critical acclaim. The album was praised as “head-spinning slice of twentysomething life” by Hot Press. Known for their frenetic and often rowdy live performances, FLA bring just the right attitude to a Ball that’s formal in dress code only. Simian Mobile Disco and Professor Green beef up the dance music part of the billing.
The 52nd Trinity Ball will take place on 8th April 2011. Tickets can be purchased online at www.trinityball.ie
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
Joy and tears on election count night Continued from p1 Provostial election will be cast for Kearney. With Kearney victorious, Cooke announced that the Communications ballots would be counted next, provoking giddy chatter in the bar. The candidates made their way up to the count room, with Eleni Megoran accompanied by UT columnist and blogger Declan Harmon while Ronan Costello was joined by his nail-biting campaign comanager Darragh Haugh. The Communications race had been one of the more genial contests, with no bad blood between the candidates. It was with good grace then that the candidates accepted the result, Costello claiming victory by 2738 to Megoran’s 1353. Daniela Matuschka, a first year Trinity Halls resident, observed that “Costello’s ginger hair motif was the perfect combination of eye-catching attention grabber and zeitgeisty Hardy Bucks style banter-indicator. There was no chance he could lose.” The Education candidates didn’t have to wait long before Cooke descended the stairs again. The result proved what the UT polls had predicted since early on in the race, with Rachel
Barry claiming a solid victory over John Cooney. Barry won 2494 first preferences to Cooney’s 1720. The contest had been bitterly fought at times, the insults summed up by Ian Curran when he wrote that he had enjoyed them calling each other “drunken paedophiles”, but both candidates were humble when the result was announced, with any grudges that had existed being forgotten. At this point in the night the atmosphere became feverish, the hotel staff becoming ever more belligerent in an effort to kick all non-essential hangerson out of the building. The doors were locked and anyone who left was not allowed back in. Predictably, the gathered crowd ignored all of this and continued to wait for the next result: Welfare. At the start of the Welfare race it had been anticipated that it would come down to a tight run-off between Louisa Miller and LGBT Auditor Darren O’Gorman. In the end though Miller ran away with it, receiving more first preferences than the rest of her competitors combined. Miller’s 2196 first preferences were enough to see her clear the quota by eleven votes on the first count. O’Gorman received 1065
while Russell Bryce and Caroline Keating received 569 and 438 respectively. Miller had run an extremely well organised campaign and many had judged her election materials to be the best designed of the election. The wait between Education and Welfare had been long and seemingly unnecessary, but this was nothing compared to the wait before the results for the Ents race were announced. The most hotly contested race of the night, and easily the most bitter rivalry of the election, the candidates were called up to the count room and didn’t emerge for the best part of an hour. The tension downstairs increased as the hotel staff continued to clean up around the supporters and bleat about everyone clearing out. Not only did the supporters not clear out but the CO’C faithful began to arrive through the windows in droves, maintaining their laddish image. Elaine McDaid’s parents waited with those of her boyfriend, Ents Officer Darragh Genockey as the ballots were counted. McDaid had been nervous about them meeting for the first time, but any thoughts of awkward icebreakers or
familial divisions over Eircom League teams were all but forgotten as both families sat together and stared at the door through which Cooke would enter with the result. As Cooke arrived down to deliver the result, texts were already being sent from the count room from O’Connor’s team, greeted with expressions of euphoric disbelief by their recipients. The Swinford native had done it. When Cooke made the official announcement the CO’C supporters who had gathered together, arm in arm, erupted in roars of delight and victory chants. “We will CO’C you” was sung to O’Connor as he entered the room, mobbed by the campaign team that had propelled him from relative obscurity to being the figurehead for a fresh and creative approach to Ents campaigns, one which took advantage of the emergence of video and played on an implied acceptance that the Ents Officer should be a Van Wilder-type character. McDaid, who had run an accomplished and professional campaign based on experience and the promise of collaboration between the Ents office and the student body, was stoic in defeat while all around her succumbed to despair.
There were tears in the street, in the bar and in the corridors. Her family sat ashen-faced as her supporters comforted each other. It was a journey neither they nor their daughter will soon forget. The final tally, after RONs were transferred, was 2207 to O’Connor and 2066 to McDaid. This result created a strange atmosphere for the Presidential count. While some speculated that Bartlett might actually be “RON’d”, this was never a realistic prediction. It has never happened to an uncontested candidate before and probably never will. Bartlett received 3028 first preferences to RON’s 1330. While this was the largest ever showing for RON, it still left Bartlett with a very comfortable margin. The large RON turnout was inevitable, with Heffernan having stirred genuine affection and enthusiasm from those who followed his campaign. The count over, and hotel staff reaching their wits end, the winners and losers trickled out of the hotel. The Button Factory was the designated after-party destination. Some made it there, others didn’t.
All photos by Dargan Crowley-Long
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
Controversy over tenure, academic freedom in UCD Rónán Burtenshaw Deputy News Editor A furore has erupted in University College Dublin over references in that college’s Croke Park Agreement ‘Implementation Plan’ to academic freedom and tenure. Attempts to define and limit the scope of the two concepts have drawn a backlash from the academic community. As part of the Croke Park Agreement, a public service agreement whereby unions consented to various costsaving and restructuring measures to avoid pay-cuts and redundancies for their workers, each university must submit an ‘Implementation Plan’ to the government. This plan, according to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Mary Hanafin on January 25th, 2011, is to outline the ways “Civil and Public Service management [are] working with their staff to increase efficiency and reduce costs across the public sector.” The controversy surrounding Trinity College’s ‘Implementation Plan was covered by this paper in its last issue. The ramifications, however, of the disagreements regarding the UCD plan are likely to be much more fundamental. While academic freedom
and tenure were never ruled out as topics for discussion explicitly in relation to cost-reducing or restructuring measures relating to the Agreement, they had yet to be referenced in ‘Implementation Plans’. One of the reasons for this is their existence in a somewhat illdefined grey area. While the recent endorsement of a document on the subject by Trinity College’s Academic Council has provided some framework here, the status of academic freedom and tenure in UCD remain ambiguous. Aside from the contracts of academics, which state that employment will last until 65 years of age, tenure has not been defined and its status in law is also largely untested. Against this backdrop the reference in the ‘Implementation Plan’, each of which are drawn up and submitted by respective College senior management exclusively, came as somewhat of a surprise to the college staff. On tenure, the document’s definition was quite clear, “tenure is to be consistent with the established corpus of employment law. In this context tenure refers to the duration of the contract.” Limiting of tenure to employment law would be significant, as it stands opposed to the notion that the
concept of tenure for academics is in some way distinct from other employment statuses. Academic freedom was also discussed in the section of the plan that dealt with “a comprehensive review of academic employment contracts”. This freedom was defined as that which was laid out in section fourteen of the Universities Act, 1997 – “A member of the academic staff of a university shall have the freedom, within the law, in his or her teaching, research and any other
freedom to contractual obligations, particularly when those obligations are under employment law and not the concept of academic tenure, is also seen as significant by university staff. The definition of the purpose of tenure by the American Association of University Professors as a “guarantee for academic freedom” (1957) is widely accepted by academic labour theorists. “Tenure,” the AAUP say, “is important to protect those in academe and fields of intellectual study from undue penalty
Mike Jennings of IFUT said “We cannot understand why the IUA and UCD authorities have put this on the table.”
activities either in or outside the university, to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state controversial or unpopular opinions and shall not be disadvantaged, or subject to less favourable treatment by the university, for the exercise of that freedom.” However, this freedom is to be exercised “within the context of the framework of obligations set out in the contract”. The tying of academic
for their theories or the results of their research.” In response to concerns from academic unions and direct contact from academics expressing their disapproval at the ‘Implementation Plan’ document, President of UCD Hugh Brady has sent out a series of three e-mails clarifying the document to staff. The first e-mail simply referenced the impending Public Sector Agreement (PSA) Implementation Plan. In the
second e-mail, dated January 28th, Dr. Brady said that he was aware of “the degree of concern surrounding… [The] ‘Implementation Plan’.” He summed up his conversations with concerned academics thus: “many academic staff members concluded from the UCD document that the implementation plan would limit academic freedom, alter the notion of tenure and change/diminish employment rights because the terms ‘academic freedom’ and ‘tenure’ were listed in the same context as such issues as attendance, duties, flexibility and cooperation, annual leave, dismissal/discipline and ‘Devlin time’.” Dr. Brady continued that this was “not the intention”. He said that the University fully supported the definition of academic freedom outlined in the 1997 Universities Act and that references to academic freedom and tenure were in the document to underscore that “any proposed changes in work practices under the [Implementation Plan] must be consistent with this (Irish and European) legislation.” He concluded the second email by acknowledging that “communication… could undoubtedly have been handled better”. By the third e-mail, from
February 14th, Dr. Brady had “asked Academic Council to develop a UCD policy statement on Academic Freedom”. He promised that such a definition would regard existing legislation and be “reasonable… given the nature of academic work and the value system which accompanies it.” On the issue of tenure he said that he was “asking the University Committee on Academic Appointments, Tenure and Promotion (UCAATP) to formulate a clear statement on the issue of tenure in the UCD context.” Dr. Brady also promised to have “each College Principal and Vice-President work with their Heads of School and Heads of Unit respectively to involve all staff in considering the main provisions of the PSA”. UCD would establish a “Steering Committee”, which he would chair, “to guide the process and to collate and consider the various recommendations for presentation” to appropriate bodies. Dr. Brady also promised that negotiations with academic unions would continue at a local and national level but assured staff that there would be “no dilution of Academic Freedom or Tenure”. Between the second and third e-mail the Irish Universities Association also
issued a statement acknowledging “the focus of the concerns expressed to date is that the provisions of contractual revision represent an attack on academic freedom and tenure and thus the very essence of the university.” The body, which consists of the seven heads of Ireland’s universities, including President Brady, believed that this was “emphatically not the case”. They rejected the suggestion that the proposals “casualised” academic employment by diminishing the concept of tenure and said that they were “unambiguously committed to academic freedom of thought and enquiry”. The statement also indicated that these topics must be open for discussion in relation to the Croke Park Agreement. In response Mike Jennings, President of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, said that “academic freedom and tenure have nothing to do with the PSA”. He said that his organisation were “adamant” that these issues be kept “completely separate”. “The Department [of Education and Skills] had said that they were only interested in issues that would save money. In light of this we cannot understand why the Irish Universities
Association and UCD authorities have put this on the table. It was only ever going to raise anxieties amongst the academic staff.” Mr. Jennings further suggested that if UCD were looking for a guideline on a definition of academic freedom and tenure they should “pick up the phone” to Trinity, whose recent document on the subject he described as “excellent”. IFUT are not covered by the Croke Park Agreement but are engaged in what he described as a “parallel process to find an arrangement that would mirror it or be its substitute”. The largest union representing academic staff that is covered by the agreement, SIPTU, were unable to reply to a number of requests for comment. The definition of academic freedom and its protection in the Universities Act of 1997 is also of import for the Croke Park Agreement because that legislation does not cover non-university third-level institutions, such as institutes of technology (ITs). This would mean that the realms of possibility for negotiation over tenure and academic freedom in those institutions span beyond what is currently on the table in universities such as Trinity or UCD.
Spate of withdrawals hits USI Officer Board elections Rónán Burtenshaw Deputy News Editor THREE CANDIDATES have withdrawn from races for offices in the Union of Students in Ireland leaving four of the six races uncontested. Two candidates from UCDSU, current President Paul Lynam and current Campaigns and Communications Officer Pat de Brún, withdrew within ten minutes of each other on Monday, February 14th. Another candidate, Joseph Loughnane from NUI Galway, had been expected to be the first candidate for USI office to officially run under the banner of Free Education for Everyone (FEE) before his withdrawal. There had been speculation that Paul Lynam had decided to run for USI President because current President Gary Redmond would seek a Seanad seat for the National University of Ireland (NUI) in the upcoming elections. When asked why he decided to enter the race Lynam said that there was “no reason that he wished to go into” and pointed out that he had “really only been in it over a weekend”. “I was always supporting Gary,” he said, “and he has my full support for USI President.” He also said that he was not considering running for the position of USI President in the future. Mr Redmond, in response to a question about his intention to run for a Seanad seat said that he “absolutely would not” be seeking election to another position. “The USI Presidency has been my only consideration and I’m fully focused on that.” He also said that he had “no plans at the moment to go into politics” at a later stage, saying that he might be “forced to emigrate” when he completed his degree. It had also been rumoured that Mr Redmond might seek a position with the European Students’ Union at some stage, but he also said that this was not something he was considering. He did, however, later in the interview say that there was “scope” for someone to hold positions in both the USI and ESU simultaneously due to the complementarity of the roles of those organisations. He again
stressed that this was simply an opinion and that it did not refer to his intentions. The issue of a dual mandate for someone in a representative student position was raised with Lynam, Redmond and de Brún, and there was a confluence of opinion. Redmond felt that it would be “unlikely and difficult” in the current climate due to the pressures of the jobs of the officers. He did point out a history of local students’ union representatives also being elected as county or city councillors but said that if it were to happen it would need to be discussed by Congress. Lynam said that, while he “hadn’t thought too much about it”,
highlighting the fees campaign and also a rebranding of the organisation which he felt helped “open up” the USI to students. An organisation which would not share the views of Lynam and de Brún, FEE, also saw a candidate affiliated with them drop out of the race. FEE had previously called Gary Redmond a “hypocrite”, labelled his denunciation of protestors at the Department of Finance “shameful” and were hoping to have their first representative openly contesting a USI election. Their candidate, Joseph Loughnane, a 24-year-old graduate in Legal Science and Philosophy from NUI Maynooth who is
USI President Gary Redmond said: “The USI Presidency has been my only consideration and I’m fully focused on that.”
he considered the prospect “not [to be] a great idea”. De Brún raised the possibility of “conflicts of interest” arising and cast doubt on the possibility of such an eventuality arising. Pat de Brún explained that he decided to withdraw to focus instead on running for the position of President of the UCDSU. “To be honest, I was leaning all along on running for UCDSU President,” he said before saying that joining the USI Deputy President race was a way of “keeping his options open”. His enjoyment of the “national side” of student politics coupled with the late scheduling of the UCDSU elections had motivated him to look at USI options but his campaign for UCDSU President was now occupying his focus exclusively. Both Lynam and de Brún were fully supportive of the leadership of Gary Redmond and said that they would be supporting him as he ran unopposed – against RON – for the position later this year. De Brún said that he had done a “great job” as USI President and that while he would follow council mandate at next Tuesday’s USI Hustings he personally supported Mr. Redmond. For his part Mr. Redmond listed what he saw as his accomplishments in office,
currently completing a parttime LLM in International Human Rights, also withdrew from the race for Deputy President/Campaigns Officer last week. Galway-native Loughnane, who is in his seventh year as a student, is a political activist involved with the Socialist Workers’ Party and People Before Profit said that he had withdrawn from the race after advice that because of his “lack of union experience… there was no point in running”. Mr. Loughnane also said that he felt USI races were very much like “popularity contests” at the moment and that established candidates had a huge advantage. He said that he had the support of former USI President Peter Mannion when writing his manifesto but that while Gary Redmond was President there was “not much point” in FEE members running for USI. He said that he expected FEE members to run for local SU positions and that he was now giving his support to NUI Mainooth President Aengus Ó Maoláin in the Deputy-President’s race. On the issue of FEE running candidates for USI elections Mr. Redmond said that he expected all office-holders to “leave personal opinions at the door”.
Pointing to FEE representatives who had previously had involvement with the USI he acknowledged that Mr. Loughnane would be the first one to run for office on a FEE ticket. In principle, he said, “every member of the union should be able to run” for representative positions but he highlighted again his opinion that “USI [was] no place for personal opinions”. In response to this Loughnane questioned Mr. Redmond’s use of the term “personal opinions” saying that discussing whether a person was willing to “rock the boat” might be more worthwhile. He said that students needed a “better activist and campaigner” and accused Redmond of being too cautious. “We don’t think he’s done a good enough job and… in future it will be very important that students have officers who are interested in taking it to the next level. This would mean strong, peaceful, direct-action protests.” Gary Redmond also discussed the four out of six races for USI offices that were going uncontested. Highlighting the “dirty” reputation politics now had as a reason for what he felt was widespread “discouragement” in the student body to run for office. He said that he viewed this as a problem across society, saying that the only way to change a broken political system was for young people to “get involved”. He continued that he would like to see races always being contested to keep the union “youthful, vibrant and fresh” but that he was personally “delighted” to be unopposed for the position of President. TCDSU Education Officer Jen Fox is running unopposed for the position of Education Officer of USI next year. She has the nomination of the TCD and UCD Students’ Unions. Also running unopposed are Gerard Gallagher and Scott Ahearn from UCDSU. Gallagher, the 2010-11 Disability Rights Officer is running for the position of Equality Officer and is a final year social science student in UCD. Scott Ahearn is the current Welfare Officer of UCDSU and is running for the same position in USI. The candidates are nominated by UCDSU and ITCSU, MSU, NUIGSU,
TCDSU and UCDSU respectively. The competitive races are those of Deputy-President and LGBT Rights Officer. Current Education Officer of USI, Colm Murphy, is running for Deputy-President. The 24-year-old Wexfordnative is a graduate of Waterford Institute of Technology and is nominated by DKITSU, ITTSU and NUIGSU. His opponent is NUI Maynooth Students’ Union President, Aengus Ó Maoláin. Ó Maoláin, who graduated in 2009
in Music, is studying for his MA this year and is a member of the Labour Party. In the LGBT Rights Officer race incumbent Siobhán McGuire is running against Galway-Mayo IT student James Mitchell. McGuire is a former student of UCD and has worked with various LGBT groups including BeLonGTo, Marriage Equality and LGBT Noise. James Mitchell is the GMITSU Vice President & Welfare Officer for Castlebar and runs a YouTube v-log channel
called JamesMitchellTV. McGuire is nominated by DKITSU, ITCSU, LITSU, NUIGSU, QUBSU, TCDSU, TISU, UCCSU and UCDSU while Mitchell has the support of GMITSU, NUIGSU and TCDSU. USI elections will take place at USI Congress, which runs from the 13th to the 15th of March. It is traditional for the election itself to happen on the 14th. Each affiliated university is eligible to send two delegates for their first thousand or less
students and one for every additional thousand thereafter. This is a reduction in the numbers from last year, when the additional students were for every 750, in order to cut the costs of running Congress. This reduction is reflected in the drop of Trinity delegates at this year’s event from twentythree in 2010 to nineteen in 2011.
vote for Provost 2011
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
Trinity: get your house in order Rory O’Donovan Senior Staff Writer
OWARDS THE END of the summer of 2008, I received a bulky package from Trinity College Dublin welcoming me to Ireland’s finest university. The ‘welcome’ was perhaps the only reassuring part of the package, the bulk of it was made up of seemingly endless lists of things I needed to do before the beginning of the college year. Coming from England, applying for a place in Halls went straight to the top of my priority list. Perhaps naively, I wasn’t particularly worried about the chances of my application being rejected. Firstly, the vast majority of universities in England guarantee some sort of accommodation for first year students and, secondly, I lived outside of Ireland, surely I would be given a place? Just a few short weeks before term began, I was informed that my application had been rejected. Actually, I wasn’t even informed. A list was published with the student numbers of those whose applications had been accepted; mine wasn’t on it. Looking back, it would be easy to say I took this on the chin, dusted myself off and got busy finding somewhere to sleep at night. But I didn’t. I was leaving home for a new city, to attend a prestigious university, and I had nowhere to live. I was shitting myself. Thankfully I got in touch with friends in Dublin and eventually managed to find myself somewhere to live with relatively little stress. But I know countless people who weren’t so lucky. I know students from abroad who were also rejected from Halls and who didn’t know a soul in Ireland, let alone Dublin. Naturally, they sought advice from the
accommodation office of the university they were coming to attend. Disappointingly, their desperate pleas fell on relatively deaf ears. Most were advised to travel to Dublin, to (maybe) get a room on campus for a few days and to go about conquering the mission of finding a home alone. One student remembers this time with little fondness: ‘Having been rejected from Halls I called and was told to come
online so that international students could at least have the security of knowing they had a few viewings arranged, I was told that it ‘just wasn’t possible’. Another time I rang I was assured by the lady who answered that I was ‘sure to meet other students in the accommodation office in the same situation and could look for somewhere to live with them’. Now I was as open minded as the next fresher,
acceptance into the college, calling to enquire about accommodation, to be told that all accommodation had already been allocated. This means that there are international students who are accepted to the college and not even given the chance of living in college-provided and organised accommodation. Imagine if you arrived, as a fresher, to a college in America to be told to go and find yourself a place to live?
‘college year’ of accommodation ends and any students who wish to extend their stay will be forced to pay nearly €20 per day for the privilege. Two international students in Goldsmith Hall told me that they are ‘considering moving into a hostel for the exam period’. In order, one might speculate, to encourage the evacuation of a number of rooms in time for the highly profitable summer letting period,
on-campus accommodation exceed Dublin city norms by 25%. Not only does campus accommodation operate on an illogical timetable and at far below an appropriate capacity, but it charges excessive rents and even more excessive charges during extension periods. Worryingly, capacity, calendar and charges are not the most concerning aspects of the Trinity accommodation system. In fact, these could
Freshers’ Nirvana Trinity Hall can seem a distant prospect for rejected first years. Photo: Trinity College to Dublin and find somewhere to live. I was informed that a notice board had been established – how very good of them – with adverts for houses and apartments for students. When I asked why this ‘notice board’ wasn’t
but, call me old-fashioned, I wasn’t too sure that desperation was the best terms on which to move in with a person. Stories have also emerged of Trinity students, having just received news of their
In a strange city? You’d be appalled, you’d consider going home. International students have also told me of their dissatisfaction with the fact that just a few days after exams begin, the lease on the
Trinity College are forcing visiting students to resort to staying in hostels during the exam period. Furthermore, as a previous article in the University Times outlined, rents charged by the college for
all be forgiven if the system didn’t lack a transparent and, at the very least, reasonably unambiguous explanation of the criteria for room allocation. Moreover, even this pales in comparison with the quite startling
policy of charging €15 just for applying. The website for the registrar of chambers, the mystical figure who supposedly has the final say on whether or not your application will be accepted, cites only one apparent criteria for the allocation of rooms, that of a candidate illustrating ‘evidence of significant contribution to college life’. Whilst I am not debating the appropriateness of this criterion, it is unquestionably ambiguous, particularly considering applicants gamble €15 in the hope that whoever assesses their application will deem their ‘contribution to college life’ of sufficient value. Rooms are allocated, according to the website, firstly to scholars and then to the various societies and sports clubs who have entitlements to a room. Also, Students’ Union sabbatical officers are appropriately awarded campus accommodation for their tenure. Or at least they are supposed to be. One of last years sabbatical officers who, I am assured, is not the first, had their application rejected by the registrar of chambers. The individual in question, having pleaded their case, was eventually given a room. There are a relatively small number of individuals entitled to oncampus accommodation, but it seems even they cannot be assured that Trinity accommodation will grant them a bed. Even the rejections could be begrudgingly accepted if some sort of explanation was provided to disappointed applicants. Is it too much to ask for that, having put time and effort into an application and, significantly, paid €15 just to be considered, your rejection came with some sort of qualification? Surely, in the interests of fairness, or even courtesy,
college should give some indication of why an application was unsuccessful, if only so that others can gain some insight into what the criteria for allocation actually are. Maybe I am just bitter. Perhaps I still can’t forgive Trinity accommodation for that first rejection. It is entirely possible that I am searching for the negatives and ignoring the positives. As a student scorned, it is my prerogative to have grumbling preconceptions. But the more I talked to people before writing this article, the more I realised that I was in no way in the minority. Even those who had never had anything to do with the accommodation office knew of someone close who had been inconvenienced by it. I appreciate that Trinity accommodation must work within a budget. I can understand that the application process must generate administrative nightmares. But as students, it is our right to demand explanations for college policies; it is our right to insist on improvements. Why doesn’t Trinity provide enough accommodation, particularly to first year students? Why is the calendar not designed appropriately to include the exam period? Why are college rents so extortionate? Why are applicants charged €15 just to apply? Where does this money go? And, finally, why isn’t the entire system, especially with regards to criteria for acceptance and explanations for rejections, unambiguous, transparent and responsive? If the incoming Students’ Union officers are looking for an issue to tackle, a problem at the heart of college life, affecting a large proportion of the student body, then this is it.
Entrepreneurial spirit alive and well on campus Caelainn Hogan Features Editor
OUNTER TO THE endless talk of economic crisis and emigration, there is now, more than ever, a wealth of innovative and entrepreneurial projects and businesses being set up and run by students, proving there is still hope for Ireland and the “Celtic cubs” generation. There are also a growing number of initiatives and competitions being set up to encourage and support entrepreneurship among students in Ireland, crucial to creating new jobs, recovering the economy and
rebuilding Ireland’s reputation. Theo Dorgan, in a speech to graduating students at UCC, rightly stated “A certain kind of Ireland is over and we are well rid of it. There is a new Ireland to be imagined and worked for, a new kind of Ireland to build and it is you who must build it.” This is not a project for the future, but an urgent undertaking our generation needs get to work on immediately. As Ireland’s top university, Trinity students have the the responsibility to forget the culture of entitlement we were brought up in and the skills to forge a new society based on motivation, innovation and a
lot of elbow grease. There are many students in Trinity who already are setting the standard for innovation, making the most of the available opportunities and support, with some becoming successful entrepreneurs even before graduation. Final year politics student Daniel Bowman set up his consultancy agency Spark in his first year of college, helped set up the Trinity Student Managed Fund, the first of its kind in Ireland, founded last year, and has recently created the innovative Tell Us Why? (www.telluswhy.ie) which puts prospective TD’s under the spotlight. Bowman, speaking on the SMF, stated that “You rarely get the chance to be involved in something at the beginning that will potentially last for generations”. Tell Us Why? is equally a new political forum which complements the need for quickly accessible information, and the pressing need for political awareness among students and Irish people in general, to ensure greater accountability in Irish politics. Bowman sees positives consequences of the economic crisis, particularly a change in mentality amongst students, from a “culture of entitlement” where free education, a good job and easy promotion was expected, to a new appreciation for the opportunities we still have, and a willingness to work hard and make the best of them. “We’re actually lucky with our generation” he says, “because we saw the potential for good things but it didn’t settle in with us
too much, so we’re able to cop on.” Having completed a Start Your Own Business course that was heavily subsidised by the Dublin Enterprise Board, he warns that the government must “make sure that we aren’t cutting back funding which actually is going to bring new jobs.” Bowman would like to see more support from college for student entrepreneurship, suggesting more initiatives that bring entrepreneurial and business students together with students doing science and technology subjects, to combine ideas and energy with the skill to create them. He states that at a time when college is having financial difficulty “It’d be great if the college could invest in student projects and ultimately reap the benefits”. Final year BESS student Garret Dargan saw such a model of college investment in student businesses during his exchange at Babson College in Massacheusits, the top business school for entrepreneurship. Babson’s FME program, Garrett explains, “is a mandatory program in Babson which is taken by every student. So by the time each student reaches second year, they all have first-hand experience in Entrepreneurship and are not just reading about it in a text book.” Similar to Bowman, Dargan suggested that Trinity could focus on programmes “which involve identifying a problem which Entrepreneurs and Engineers work together to create an innovative product, could be something Trinity could look at seeing as we have all the relevant schools
in Trinity.” Liam Ryan is further proof that students who follow an idea and put in the hard work can be seriously successful. A final year engineering student, Ryan is the joint CEO of Safe Text (safetext.ie), the company which helps women remember to take their oral contraception, which won the ‘One to Watch’2010 Eircom Golden Spider Award and ‘Most Innovative Website’ at the 2010 Irish Web Awards. Over the next while Ryan says the company will create 10 new jobs from software design to admin and although he stresses the importance of hard work, he says it’s “the most fun I’ve ever had.” Unfortunately, Ryan says that services such as the banks made setting up his business overly difficult, and as a student it was “really hard to be taken seriously”, with everyone in the business from his bank manager to the person printing his business cards “wishing him the world” but then turning him down for a simply credit card system for his site. This attitude he says is needlessly “blocking potential”. He says that Trinity’s engineering faculty on the contrary were hugely supporting, and he believes that among students, despite the economic crisis, “innovation is growing at a huge rate”. His advice to students would be to “Just go for it, you’ll find the support, take every opportunity”. Trinity students Ciara Begley, Julianne Cox and Ross Curran, inspired by Theo Dorgan’s speech, set up Wikipol, a political forum event held on February
20th, which brought together a large contingency of students and guest speakers such as journalist Mark Little, to work out what issues were most important to students and what change they wanted from the new Irish government. They found their political science lecturer Elaine Byrne extremely supportive, “she helped us secure funding, develop the idea and helped secure guests to come”, and they also found financial support from the Irish Times who donated 400 euro. However, in terms of support from college in general, they admitted “It does feel like we’ve had impediment after impediment”, finding that “[college] don’t seem to like one society communicating with other societies about an event which isn’t in the remit of one society’s constitution.” They hoped that “the success of this will promote the idea that you have to be more lenient”, giving students easier access to communicate with the student body as a whole and also to promote engagement between all clubs and societies. Third year medicine student Callum Swift is the director of two successful downhill mountain biking films, his first in 2008/9 being ‘The Uprising’ which he produced entirely by himself and sold it Europe’s largest online bike store, the profits from the latter funding ‘MADE’ in 2009/10, featuring the world’s top riders, with sponsorship several large companies and distributed worldwide. Concentrating on his studies for now, Swift continues with
side projects, short travel documentaries, as well as filming the promotional videos for the new Ents Officer Chris O Connor’s electoral campaign. Swift sees positives in the economic crisis, “It’s fostering a culture of professionalism and doing a really good job, because otherwise no one’s going to notice you.” He also emphasises the importance of online social networking for new businesses, explaining, “all my promotion is done entirely over the internet; it’s free, it’s viral”. From the above, it is clear that there are many students with the talent and motivation to pursue
entrepreneurial projects and new business ideas, but it will be the responsibility of the next government to ensure that despite funding cuts, funds that enable support systems such as the Dublin Enterprise Board, which make possible the creation of new businesses and jobs, are protected. Every effort must be made to ensure that students with innovative projects have the opportunity to make their ideas a reality, enriching our economy and creating jobs. It should not be seen as a cost, but an investment in a brighter Irish future.
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
John McLean and the story of Trinity Cat Eadaoin O’Flanagan Staff Writer
N THE FAMILIAR stretch of path alongside the cricket pitch, I met with John McLean. Third bench from the left, braving the bitter cold, he’s got Trinity cats back (or “Trinny” as I’ve come to learn.) I’m greeted with a hugely welcoming smile and a handshake from John. His monochromatic feline companion is settling into today’s cuisine à la Whiskas. Where to start? John, hailing from Belfast, insists that the story of the unique relationship between them begins with the origin of Trinny himself. Abandoned as a kitten, little over a year ago, he was found neglected inside the Nassau Street railings. John fondly recalls the helpful staff at the time, later rescuing him from a drain beside Áras an Phiarsaigh. Giving both John and Trinny immense support to this day, two particular women - Pamela and Liz are modest about their input, though John certainly sees them as key players in Trinny’s life story. Given only a week to live by the vet treating Trinny at the time, he’s certainly made a recovery and a name for himself amongst students on campus. This is when John, known to many simply as the ‘Trinity-Cat Man’ came on the scene at first. A cricket fan and former coach of the sport, he was originally drawn to Trinity
to watch games unfold on the pitch. “I must have been sitting there for about a month… he wouldn’t come all the way up to me.” One day this unmistakable relationship suddenly blossomed: “…he just came and jumped up on my knee. Since then we’ve just been good mates.” He feels that
“We’re more than a cat and man type of thing, there’s a special bond” Trinity, its passers-by and regular visitors such as the warm hearted “Colette” have really helped in providing a “home” for them both. John’s duties with Trinny extend far beyond what the students see everyday. He keeps a check on Trinny’s health: Mentioning concerns about his eyesight and joking about the fact that “He was a he… but he’s been neutered”. Remarking on how lucky Trinny’s been from his initial rescue to his
various nine lives; John has saved Trinny from many threatening situations. He’s fought off a very persistent Labrador; he’s located Trinny after a three-day disappearing act (Freeing him from a boiler room close to his stomping ground where he was trapped.) John also liaises Trinny with the many friends he’s come to have as the colleges celebrity tomcat. Have you heard of another cat with pen pals? That’s right; Trinny is kept in correspondence with an intrigued 20-something French couple by snail mail. Visitors last summer, they send parcels and gifts to both John and the cat at holidays supplementing their bimonthly letters. John remarks on how in-demand the cat has become and it’s evident online: With over 2,700 friends on Facebook, popular isn’t the word. Trinny even tops our current SU President Nikolai on the friend count, who lags behind, only hitting the 1,600 mark. John operates with admirable discipline, coming in everyday “rail, hail or shine.” True to his word, over the past cold snap and snowfalls around Christmas, he acquired clearance from Campus Security in order to get to Trinny over the crucial winter break: providing him with food, supplies and of course, company. Despite a saddening past, he was laughing and joking throughout and the picture
John and Trinny enjoy the sun beside the cricket pitch. Photos: Ana Lezcano of an amusing, caring and all round happy man built up before me: this newfound friendship having a profound effect; “We’re more than a cat and man type of thing, there’s a special bond”. Trinny, consider yourself lucky as one half of the perfect adoptive duo for many years to come. Finishing as I began with
Trinny’s dedicated guardian, a man now deeply rooted within Trinity’s community and full of stories, he shakes my hand again and sums himself up better than I ever could have: “Cold hands, warm heart.”
Trinity in the Community: VDP Homework Club Tomas Sullivan Staff Writer In recent years this country, this city, and this university have identified education as both what makes us distinctive and unique, and as the area where we excel the most. Many of us have marched against and opposed cuts to education as well as opposing fees. Masters of language like Wilde, Joyce and Beckett are some of our greatest national, not just cultural, heroes. Remember also that Beckett’s name hasn’t just been given to a theatre, but also a harp shaped bridge over the liffey. We tend to think of writers as born geniuses, but these illustrious people were all highly educated intellectuals. Yet Ireland’s literacy rate is one of the lowest in Europe, as is overall investment in education. Inequality still reigns in our
education system. We all know fee-paying schools have fed universities for years. Michael King, an economics lecturer, who founded Suas, the educational volunteering organisation, as a student, points out that free fees have not significantly changed the socio-economic background of those attending university. But Michael believes that students can make a difference. ‘While a comprehensive response to educational inequality should be multifaceted and begin at preprimary level and before, the problem of educational disadvantage in Ireland and abroad, can be tackled in part by Trinity students in the form of volunteering.’ He tells the University Times. Michael began volunteering with the VDP in his freshman year, giving teaching assistance in an inner city school. He gave tutorship to a few of the
school’s pass maths pupils. Next year at freshers’ week , much to his surprise, he was chatting to one of the boys at the VDP stand. It was out of the VDP that SUAS grew, he explains. It was in his 4th year that he led a group fourteen to Calcutta for the first time. There were certain challenges at first. ‘But soon the remarkable commitment of all those involved’, combined with CSC funding, state support and private philanthropy, enabled the project to take off. ‘It was the power of the idea that carried it forward,’ he explains. Although acknowledging that we currently live in a ‘resource constrained environment’, when I ask whether the establishment of Suas was due to the prosperity of the era he answers firmly in the negative, arguing that volunteering is about ideas, not money. Michael identifies students as being rich
in energy and time, saying, ‘in a student environment you can get a large group of people motivated and committed, which I can’t imagine doing anywhere else.’ He talks about the Bridge2College program where trinity students mentor kids from disadvantaged secondary schools. Apart from the direct educational benefit Michael believes that students from Trinity provide great role-models for those from disadvantaged areas. He also says, ‘there’s no doubt that there are students who would benefit from seeing the other side of life’. The Trinity VDP still runs educational volunteering projects, such as the St. Enda’s and St. Audeon’s homework clubs, where students help primary school children with their homework. Alison Swain, leader of St. Audeon’s club says that ‘Within a few visits to the school, bonds form between
the volunteers and the children.’ Volunteers provide a stable environment for the children to learn, ‘Often volunteers wonder if Irish or spelling and grammar are essential skills to have but they are most certainly not. The children benefit from our encouragement and enthusiasm.’ The whole experience is immensely enjoyable for both the children and the volunteers. ‘Playing in the yard with the children is one of my highlights. You’re brought back to your childhood days of stuck in the mud or a game of polo. The boys are always up for a game of football and when a lad shows up to the school the boys are thrilled.’ The club has continued despite funding cuts and there is a good number of volunteers. However, new volunteers are always welcome, ‘Over the years I have noticed that at least three
quarters of the homework club volunteers are first year students. I’d really encourage other years to get involved. It’s only an hour and a half out of the day and worth every second of it.’ An organisation less well known in Ireland is the UK charity/graduate employer/educator, Teach First. Jen Williams, TF recruiter for Trinity, sums up their goals as ‘putting the brightest and the best graduates in the most underprivileged schools.’ In the UK the biggest determiner of academic success is parental wealth and only 10% of teachers consider working in underprivileged schools. TF’s solution is to identify schools with a high proportion of students who qualify for free school meals (a measure of poverty) and a low level of educational achievement. Graduates that are high achievers academically but ‘more importantly
who are passionate and want to make a difference,’ are sent on two year teaching placements in such schools. They become fully qualified teachers on the job, but graduates of Teach First have gone on to many different careers. Jen holds that TF develops leadership in their teachers and makes the point that the organisation is currently ranked the 7th best graduate employer by the Times. Jen informed me that they have already made offers to a number of Trinity students and introduced me to Adam, a TCD graduate and colleague of hers who recently completed the programme. Adam, a former law student, had always aspired to work in the organisation, but still found it an ‘eye-opening experience’, describing it as both immensely challenging and rewarding. But he believes that Trinity students are up
to it. ‘Trinity obviously has really good graduates, but there’s also a certain vibe on campus; people are genuinely concerned about social justice issues.’ Volunteering is too often viewed as just an act of charity, of simple, one-sided donation, but Trinity’s volunteers clearly tell a different story and demonstrate that real volunteering and a commitment to education is immensely rewarding for everyone involved. This is not just at an individual level; if educational excellence truly does benefit this country, as everyone who recently ran to lead the SU, and this college, maintained resolutely, then educational disadvantage is something for all of us, as a society, to continue fighting against.
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
TIMESFEATURES Hard life for international students An international student, who does not want to be identified by name, gives her opinion on how Trinity can compete on the international stage Facebook photos of international students studying at Trinity include everything except the Irish. Max Winkler, a student from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, asserts that “when I came to Dublin, I intended to ‘avoid’ the usual Erasmus community as far as possible, particularly because I wanted to get into the Irish culture and to improve my English as fast as possible. But it has been harder than expected to hang around with the locals. They usually have their own social network. They don’t depend on new Erasmus students. Other international students, in turn, face the same situation. They are new in town, usually know nobody or just a few people and are rather open to meet new people. That’s why it is easier for an international student to be friends with other international students than with the locals”. Trinity has decided that 15% of places in all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes will be reserved for non-EU students from next year. This ambitious undertaking should require Trinity to adjust some of its administrative policies towards international students to make their stay easier. The Communications Office stated that “increasing the diversity of the student population is a key strategic goal of the University’s current Strategic Plan”. However, I wonder if adjustments to some of the residential and administrative policies which affect international students are included in the blueprint of their ‘Strategic Plan’. The SU International Students’ Officer, Caitlin Sherry, states that “international students struggle more than they should to establish themselves in Ireland and in Trinity”. A student from the University of Pennsylvania living in Pearse Street
accommodation deplored how “the closest some students got last semester to interacting with locals was at a wine reception which the Accommodation Office organised in week seven of the term” which, conveniently, was study week. A student from Emory University elaborated that “not only was a meeting session arranged so late in the semester but was arranged during a week when internationals were spending time away from Trinity travelling”. The only other time students were congregated in the same area was for the residential ‘Fire and Safety’ lecture which was hardly a socialising opportunity. In contrast, a Canadian student, Matt Ritchie, has found it easy to integrate. He has met “tons of Irish people” living at Trinity Halls. Unfortunately, the type of accommodation you have at Trinity can dictate the degree of authenticity of your Irish experience. The majority of international students are lumped together in Pearse St or Goldsmith accommodation. Although these residences contain a substantial number of Irish students, the Pearse street accommodation does not possess a common room. This gives international students no other option but to spend the first week or two of their exchange watching Glee or Boston Legal on their computers, dining on ‘for one’ Marks and Spencers’ meals alone in their rooms. International students must also take their rite of passage by confirming their status as visitors through the Garda of Immigration Bureau. For some, the flight over to Dublin is shorter than the time it takes to sort through this rigmarole. Students are required to line up outside the Garda at 7am to obtain a ticket. Once the golden ticket has been secured, students must wait
for about five hours till they can have their documents stamped. After breathing the same air as other ‘visitors’ for six hours, they then have to wait for another hour until they can reclaim their passport. Caitlin Sherry explains that students have to open an Irish bank account in order to obtain proof of address. However, they cannot open an Irish bank account unless they have proof of address. This leaves Visiting and Erasmus students perplexed when they visit the Garda office. According to Canadian student Matthew Ritchie, “the process for registering is embarrassingly inefficient. It took me almost 8 hours of waiting (spread over a day) to actually get to see somebody in order to register. Trinity’s pretty good about making sure you know what paperwork you need, I can’t imagine how painful it would be if you needed to come back.” Another problem international students have is gaining access to material from past lectures. Universities in America, the U.K and Australia upload all lectures ranging from medicine to art history online. Although its reputation stems from being an ancient university, Trinity needs to stop wallowing in the technological backwaters. Max Winkler asserts that “the lack of technologybased student or learning infrastructure is probably the most important downside at Trinity. In my home institution, it is common to register, to choose courses, and to download course material online. It seems to be normal at Trinity that students queue for more than 2 hours to register for College”. He elaborates that “some departments simply don’t use the electronic platform webCT. This could be subject of further improvements”. Allaying the common concern that uploading lectures will lead to a lack of
attendance, a group of Australian students informed me that students will often continue to attend lectures for the social aspect of university which far outweighs listening to lectures alone in one’s college room or poky apartment. The porous academic barrier between Michelmas Term and Hilary term at Trinity causes international students to work themselves into a state of apoplectic horror when the May exam period approaches. Anna Davis, a student from St Mary’s College of Maryland states in ‘The Point’ that “the academic system is completely the opposite of St. Mary’s. Most classes only meet once a week for fifty minutes and [...] there are no assessments of knowledge of the class material during the term”. She elaborates that “some classes will have midterm presentations but this is rare” and that “[her] grade for all but one of [her] classes is based on one exam”. Although differences in academic teaching is part of the exchange experience, an international student from California exclaimed that “the online-lecture system at my home institution is a luxury but at Trinity it should be a necessity”. Problems with the nonsemesterisation semesterisation, lack of engagement with technology and the isolation of international accommodation should be ‘integrated’ into Trinity’s ‘Strategic Plan’. Trinity is internationally acclaimed for its academic reputation and administrative bungles like this should be rectified to maintain its reputation in a world in which a bad blog post or sad-face Facebook status could deter internationals from visiting our culturally rich and unique institution.
Ciara Begley and Julianne Cox examine gender quotas Gender quotas have featured heavily in political reform discourse in Ireland. They imply temporary limits on state funding of political parties based on the gender balance they present to the electorate on the ballot paper. Quotas are among the most divisive political reform measures and generate significant controversy. The biggest argument against affirmative action is that it violates rights by ignoring equality of opportunity and not allocating based on competence and qualification. A weighty critique given that equality above all is often the primary justification for the use of quotas. Another argument put forward questions the limits of affirmative action. Should it be employed to ensure adequate representation of all minorities and subgroups and where is the line to be drawn on this slippery slope? In Ireland quotas have come to dominate political reform debate and merit balanced consideration. Affirmative action is often most fiercely resisted by already elected female politicians. So we decided to consult with female politicians from the opposing camps to help shed some light on the issue. Mary O’Rourke vehemently denounced the idea of women being ‘catapulted into power’ through the use of any mechanism of affirmative action. As a woman she felt that her merit and that alone entitled her to achieve her position as an elected representative. The idea of favours being done or odds being stacked in the favour of women was to her a repugnant perversion of the democratic workings of the Irish state. She repeatedly argued throughout the interview that women are already involved in Irish Politics and that in her constituency there were at least nine active female politicians at local and national level. Mary
O’Rourke argued that the optimal method of improving the likelihood of future female participation in national politics was to change the workings of the Dail to ensure more social hours suitable to mothers. She outright rejected any claim that low levels of female involvement are a long institutionalised reality in Irish politics. The historical legacies of the Catholic patriarchal hierarchy and a deferent political culture have not shaped modern politics and gender roles according to Mary O’Rourke. Not isolated in this view; she is supported by Joanna Tuffy of the Labour party and Lucinda Creighton of Fine Gael. So cross party agreement can perhaps be achieved on some issues. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the equal rights of
and governments of member states. While the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) states that it is the role and responsibility of governments to use all appropriate measures to ensure women’s equal participation in political and public decision-making. Over the past 15 years, female representation has increased significantly in almost all other EU member states. Today, average participation rate in EU nations is 24%. The failure of successive governments and political parties to confront gender imbalance has meant that female representation has never reached more than 14% in Ireland. The 2009 Sub-committee on women’s participation in politics produced a report that recommend-
Over the past 15 years, female representation has increased significantly in almost all other EU member states. Today, average participation rate in EU nations is 24% men and women as fundamental human rights, and seeks to secure their effective recognition and observance by the people
Spain and Belgium. The 2007 election returned 22 women to the Dail, which translates into a weak 13%, well below the 30% target set by the United Nations Organization. The proportion of female candidates in the forthcoming election, at 17%, is even lower than in the 2007 contest. The Labour Party has the highest number of women running for the Dail (16), followed by Fine Gael (14) and Fianna Fail (9), Sinn Fein (5), United Left Alliance (5), Greens (3). This skewed gender balance is an affront to the democratic ideal of equality. Gender equality is a principle of human rights and the government should be accountable in the promotion of gender equality. Female underrepresentation is a problem in Ireland and gender quotas offer a mechanism that can be used to improve women’s representation in parliament. Irish political parties have recognized that action is required to secure women’s place on candidate lists and have undertaken steps to implement a gender equality plan. However, no party has committed to a definite gender quota. Under-representation of women is shameful and can no longer be accepted. The absence of affirmative action to tackle the problem makes it exceedingly clear that not only does a glass ceiling exist in Irish society but that it has concrete reinforcements.
ed the adoption of gender quotas. Gender quotas have worked as a solution to gender imbalance in countries such as
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Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
It could be worse: the craziest parties to never get elected With a general election looming, the Irish people will once again be faced with a choice of who should lead the country to a bright and shining future, and then be forced to deal with the inevitable disappointment when said government fails to do so. When this happens, Deputy Editor Tommy Gavin will take solace from the fact that as bad as they may turn out to be, the government will not be made up of any of the following parties. Natural Law The Natural Law Party was founded in 1992 by a group of transcendental meditation practitioners in Fairfield, Iowa. The party was established on the teachings and principles of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the movement’s guru and spiritual leader, and former ‘spiritual advisor’ to the Beatles. While this all may look and sound suspiciously like a cult, there was never any evidence of any sinister motives, beyond trying to establish world peace through the election the Natural Law party in several countries across the globe. The party was politically active in 74 countries and despite the loftiness of their ambition; only achieved electoral success in the Indian State Assembly and the Croatian Regional Assembly. Had George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Star taken up the Maharishi on his suggestion that they all stand for election as MPs for Liverpool as Natural Law Party candidates, the party’s success may have been greater, but George Harrison did perform his fi rst full concert in the UK since 1969, as a NLP fundraiser in the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. The NLP was active in Ireland since 1994 and was based in Dublin under the leadership of John Burns who ran with nine other NLP candidates in the 1997 General Election and four others in the 1999 European elections. Among his campaign promises in the European election was to call on NATO to cease bombing in Yugoslavia and instead send 7000 “yogic flyers” to radiate peace in the region through positive vibrations, and to eliminate 50% of all diseases within three years through the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health. Those five European candidates collected nearly 7000 votes between them and this does sound impressive, until you realise that the single Christian Solidarity candidate picked up over 9000 1st preference votes in that election. After that, they understandably stopped fielding candidates in Ireland.
Christian Solidarity Do you believe that same-sex couples deserve fewer legal rights than proper CHRISTIAN couples in order to combat the nefarious homosexual agenda? Do you believe that a woman’s place is in the home? Do you believe that Ireland’s political failings stem from a lack of involving God in our decision making? Do you believe that repealing the constitutional abolition on contraception and divorce were proof of state immorality? If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then the Christian Solidarity party may just be for you. Founded in advance of the 1997 General Election by Gerard Casey, it campaigns on being, without exception; antiabortion, anti-gay marriage, euro-sceptic and anti-bin tax. Typically trotted out in the media for “down with this sort of thing” soundbites, they are currently unrepresented at the local or national level. All seven of the candidates they ran in the 2007 General Election lost their deposits, their best performing candidate getting only 260 votes. In the upcoming election, the party is fielding eight candidates under a new leader, Richard Greene. The new leader was a member
of the frigidly conservative Muintir na hÉireann, and is also a spokesperson for Cóir. The Christian Solidarity party have yet to publicly advocate a 1979 Iranian revolution style of Roman Catholic theocracy, but it’s really only a matter of time for these messers.
Immigration Control Platform
likely to become a fully-fledged political party any time soon, as parties are required to disclose the number of their members and sources of their funding and the ICP does neither. That is not to imply that either number is particularly great, ICP protests rarely involve more than two or three people, but are a way of proclaiming the views of the “silent majority”, while also protecting the anonymity for people who may be members, to continue to preface their opinions with the old disclaimer “I’m not racist, but….”.
Ailtirí na hAiséirghe:
Not to be confused with the equally troubling Insane Clown Posse, The Immigration Control Platform is not technically a political party as it has not registered as such, but more of a political grouping whose candidates have ran as independents in both the 2002 and 2007 general elections. A single issue party whose main concern according to spokesperson Áine Ní Chonaill, is representing the average “Joe Soap, and he wants to wash the car take the dog for a walk, go for a pint.” Unfortunately for Joe, these activities have become corrupted by the presence of immigrants (even when it was the bears, I knew it was immigrants), and the ICP solution is to increase deportations, “unshackle” ourselves from the Geneva convention, and basically copy the xenophobic prejudice of Migration Watch UK. T he ICP is not
Ailtirí na hAiséirghe or Architects of the Revolution was a party founded by Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin, existing from 1942 until 1958, with the ultimate goal of turning Ireland into a ‘missionary-ideological state.’ Th is new Ireland would preach totalitarian fascist politics and Christian social principles across the world, and the party also set up a Hitler youth movement through Irish, with 23 clubs for schoolchildren in Dublin. It was the fl irtation with fascism in a period of the state where a n
independent Ireland could still look like anything it wanted to, and Aiséirghe’s vision was for a one-party government under a Catholic dictatorship, where the public use of English would be criminalised, Jews would be persecuted, and the public would be drafted into a massive conscript army that would reclaim the North. Following this conquest, Ireland was to set its sights on mastery of the Atlantic Ocean. Never doubt the ambition of fascists, according to one document; ““We shall become master in the Pacific Ocean also… Should we play our cards carefully and cleverly, it will be possible for us from the capital of Ireland, to dictate to the dictators.” Naturally, this never quite came to pass. Despite gaining nine out of 31 contested seats in 1945 local government elections, they ran out of steam and it was the foundation of the centre-left Clann na Poblachta, created by former IRA chief of staff and founding member of Amnesty International Sean McBride, that Aiséirghe saw they’re gains reversed.
Libertas During its brief existence on the Irish political landscape, Libertas and its creator Declan Ganley were inexorably linked to the Lisbon treaty as fi rm opponents of it, and as euro-sceptics generally. Before becoming a registered political party, the Libertas institute successfully campaigned against the fi rst Lisbon treaty with posters such as “Democracy 1916-2009? Vote No!” and a song called Easy Come, So Easy Go by Liam Tiernan, featuring the lines “through famine, wars and plunder, through disease and foreign foes, don’t disrespect her memory” and “Libertas will keep you safe, of this you can be sure.” While this campaign of nationalist guilt trips managed to successfully defeat the treaty the fi rst time around, it did not translate into votes for Libertas candidates in the 2009 European election, and Ganley actually lost 3000 votes on a recount he requested. One of the main contributors to Libertas was Ulick McEvaddy, a former Irish intelligence officer and CEO of Omega air, an aviation company whose primary customer is the United States Defence Department. A 1999 profi le in the Irish Independent disclosed that he learned to speak fluent Russian whilst working the “Russian desk” and observed that his “experience in military intelligence must have been a great door-opener when he dealt with the US and the armed forces of other countries.” Declan Ganley himself is no stranger to the shadow world of international clandestine services, having made his fortune trading aluminium in Latvia in ’91 and set up the fi rst private fi nance company in Albania in ’96. More recently he founded Rivada Networks which secured a non-competitive bid to the pentagon to supply telecommunications to the United States Department of Homeland Security in Iraq, and has ties to Washington foreign policy think tanks. What was actually going on with Libertas might one day make a pretty decent fi lm, but as of 2010 it ceased to be a political party.
Businessman Declan Ganley was the founder of the short-lived Libertas.
Smartphone revolution taking hold in Trinity Paul Kelly Staff Writer Smartphone usage has become more and more ubiquitous across campus with 44% of students using them, according to a recent University Times survey. In addition to this, with WiFi access becoming available for smartphones across Trinity within a month, they are fast becoming an essential tool for every student. However, although dedicated phone operating systems (OS) have been around since 1996, with the release of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating system, these OS’s and the apps available for them have become key to winning our hearts. Th is was highlighted clearly in Nokia and Microsoft’s partnership last week in producing a Nokia Windows 7 phone. Two years ago, this would have been unthinkable. Now, however, a smartphone’s OS has become its key selling point, rather than its manufacturer. With this in mind, we break down the three most prominent OS’s, to enable you to make the right decision at this critical juncture. Google’s Android OS, Nokia’s Symbian OS and Apple’s iOS have become the dominant powers in the Irish smartphone market
due to their wide app markets. Apple were the fi rst to launch their App Store, resulting in them being lightyears ahead of the competition with 314,415 apps- and rising. With the latest iPhone also sporting a 1GHZ processor, an impressive retina 3.5 inch screen and a 5 MP camera, there is little to complain about- as demonstrated by the fact that over 53% of Trinity students now either have a phone running on iOS or would like to. However, although Apple may have the largest, and certainly the best, app market, 75% of these are paid- a byproduct of refusing to make their OS open source. In the same vein, the iPhone’s iOS, unlike competing OS’s, is limited to it’s name- you can only get it on the iPhone and, as usual, Apple will charge you an extortionate amount for it (between €670-€700). I was sceptical about why students should have to pay so much and so I went to interview Brian Hannon, the Business and Education Executive at CompuB, Ireland’s only premium Apple reseller. I asked him why Apple felt the necessity to charge such high amounts and he told me it was “the cost of the hardware”. However, when you look at competing smartphones, such as the HTC Desire which
also has a 1 GHZ processor, 5 MP camera and a screen 2 inches larger running on Android 2.2, the price is far lower at €440 on Meteor and €420 on Vodafone- a €150 difference. I said as much and was told simply that the iPhone “is a premium product and Apple have priced it as a premium product”, that I was paying not just for the hardware but “for the whole Apple experience”. In contrast, however, reasonable Android phones start from as little as €115 with a 600 MHZ processor to be found in the Samsung Europa. Herein lies the great strength behind
Google’s Android OS, with no ties to any one phone manufacturer, the price continues to plummet, allowing smartphone access for the rest of us. Additionally, one of the best parts of anything Google is that it stays in Beta (if unofficially) for all eternity, meaning Android phones can be continually upgraded with each oncoming version of the OS. With a respectable 135,829 apps, Android Market is easily the App Store’s biggest competitor and most importantly, 57% of these are free. Additionally, as Android’s OS is open source, you can also get some slightly more
risqué apps such as PSX4DROID, a Playstation emulator. However, this freedom for developers is also a double edged sword as apps have already been found that can search your smartphone and pull any personal and fi nancial details it can fi nd, as well as listen in to any conversations you have and steal credit card details that way. Sadly, Nokia’s Symbian OS has been increasingly marginalised between the above giants and it’s easy to see why as, in the new market which relies on apps to sell smartphones, Nokia manage only
43,535 apps- 85% of which are paid. However, Nokia still have the largest market share, with 31% of the market, meaning they are positioned perfectly for a comeback- something Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, hopes a new Nokia OS powered by Microsoft might achieve. Th ink X-Box LIVE on your phone. Bearing this in mind, however, it is easy to see the latest battle between smartphone OS’s simply becoming a part of the ancient war between normal computer operating systems, with Google, Microsoft and Apple all competing to provide ease of use in syncing to, or even supplanting your desktop. Google doesn’t yet have its own desktop OS- but do not doubt that it is on the way. The release of Honeycomb (Android 3.0) for tablets has shown that. From this perspective, it is easy to see why Nokia’s Symbian is on its last legs as smartphones and PCs/MACs converge in a larger and more complex design. Smartphones are advancing rapidly and soon they will reach a point where their OS will be your only OS as you get home and just plug it straight into your monitor.
Survey Results Trinity’s Preferred Smartphone OS iOS Android Symbian Palm Windows 7
52% 32% 8% 2% 3%
Relevance of smartphone OS to Trinity Students Relevant Irrelevant
Top 3 Apps Used by Trinity Students Facebook 55% Internet Browser 38% Google Maps 20%
Do You Think Smartphone Access to Trinity Wi-Fi Should be Enabled? Yes No
781 students were surveyed
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
Revolutionising the revolution Caelainn Hogan looks at how the wave of technologically-inspired protests in the Arab World has changed the face of people power
here is a joke circulating in Kashmir which has Hosni Mubarak, after death, in conversation with past Egyptian presidents Gamal Nasser and Anwar Sadat. They ask him the reason for his demise, poison or bullet? Mubarak replies: Facebook and Twitter! The recent uprising across the Arab world will be one of the key historical developments of our generation, particularly due to the key role of the internet and online social networks, which has transformed the scale and medium of reporting and political activism, and has indeed revolutionised the act of revolution itself. I witnessed the influence of online social networks as a forum for protest in Kashmir last summer during a period of unrest that claimed 110 civilian lives. While the region was under almost constant military curfew, and SMS services were shut down, Facebook and Youtube became a new outlet for young people to express their solidarity and protest. This grew into a veritable “cyber intifada” with Facebook groups such as “I Protest” attracting nearly 10,000 members, and grassroots reporting of the acts committed by security forces against civilians through a proliferation of photos and videos uploaded and shared. It also became a crucial source for local news when, under curfew, newspapers were often prevented from distributing. The Egyptian uprising and its virtual campaign follow the same principles, but on a massive and international scale which heralds a veritable global zeitgeist in communication and political action. Online social media has been the catalyst behind the viral nature of the uprisings across the Arab world. It is significant that the causes of these Muslim societies, often disregarded due to the stereotypical correlation with fundamentalism and ‘terrorism’, are now reaching Western audiences directly and are being received with empathy and solidarity. Solidarity is inherent in the Muslim faith; all Muslims consider themselves brothers and sisters under Islam. Online social media has helped to show this as a positive and dynamic solidarity, breaking the stereotypes of Muslims united only in opposition to the West. It has the potential to dissolve the most threatening and polarising conflicts of our time, that between the Islamic world and the West. Facebook has been a crucial platform for people across the world to take a stance against the Mubarak regime and support the cause of the Egyptian people. There are 866,066 netizens attending the Facebook event “A virtual “March of Millions” in solidarity with the Egyptian People” and so far there are 48, 142 attending the “A Virtual-ONLINE- March of Millions in Solidarity with Iranian protesters” event. The protests outside the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin were publicised by daily Facebook messages rallying people to the cause. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube brought the Egyptian protests to an international scale. The Youtube video entitled “Mubarak,
the world is watching you!” is the most powerful testament to the international nature of the Egyptian protest. It features clips from across America and Europe (Dublin features prominently), with short footage of anti-Mubarak protests for each city named. Each protest visually portrays a solidarity which has transcended national boundaries. At one of the many demonstrations held outside the Egyptian embassy in Dublin people chanted the slogan “Free, free Egypt! All of us, Egypt!” The unifying power of online social networks in the Egyptian uprising and beyond is encapsulated in those four words: “All of us, Egypt!” The virtual world has become a post-national platform for global movements, enabling a global community to identify with even small grassroots causes. Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive and previously anonymous cyber activist who started a revolution with a Facebook page, has been heralded as the leader of a leaderless revolution, although this is counter to his aim to remain an anonymous facilitator. After Tunsia’s public revolt sent Ben Ali running, Ghonim announced a revolution in Egypt through his Facebook page “We are all Khalid Said“, inviting all
Facebook has been a crucial platform for people across the world to take a stance against the Mubarak regime and support the cause of the Egyptian people members to a protest on January 25th. Ghonim is “So proud of our generation”, describing how a 64 year old medical doctor he met said he had created a Facebook account in solidarity. He warned in a Tweet on February 15th that “This revolution is not over until democracy is enforced & until unemployment & poverty rates reaches the same levels of developed countries”, and also states that female empowerment is “key for new Egypt”. What Ghonim has named “Revolution 2.0”, is the first revolution to preannounce its time and location and to which people were cordially invited, the first in which “no one was a hero because everyone was a hero”. He believes, and has been proved right, that “The Power of People is stronger than the People in Power”, and Egypt has proved that this truism, easy to execute in the virtual world, can also
be successfully implemented in the real. Ironically, it was the Egyptian government’s attempt to stifle the uprising by shutting down all internet networks in the country, which emphasised the power of online social networks to enable activism and solidarity on a global scale, promoting innovative initiatives to sustain communication with the Egyptian people. From January 25th there were reported interferences to online social networks, with Twitter reporting on its official PR stream that it was being restricted. From the 27th internet monitoring firm Renesys reported “In an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet.” The growing power of Anonymous and political hacktivism was quick to react, threatening to attack any companies complicit with the shut down. Google and Twitter activated a service called Speak2Tweet which allowed Egyptians to leave Twitter messages through dial-to-tweet voicemail after internet networks were shut down. This led to the creation of Alive in Egypt (http://egypt.alive. in), where three outside organisations, Small World News, Yamli and Meeda were brought together to translate the Arabic messages into English, “transcribing the voices of Egypt”. The site now includes videos, radio and longer reports delivered over Speak2Tweet and can be translated into over 50 languages. Small News World has devoted itself now to pioneering a new platform for grassroots level reporting, enabling “realtime collaboration on realtime collaboration on an even bigger scale to produce truly global stories.” The fact that The Guardian’s reports often consisted purely of published Twitter updates, which gave a fascinating and quick timeline of events as they progressed and the immediate reaction, heralds a revolution in journalism and media. These leaderless uprisings, enabled and propelled to an international scale through online social media have reminded us of the true essence of democracy, in stark contrast with the stagnant and often corrupt political institutions, greatly exposed during the economic downturn as flawed and failing. Democracy is not simply a benevolent mask behind which capitalism runs riot, but a political ideal which is centred on the power of dissent, the right to question and hold to account those in authority, because the power lies with the people. The acquisition of the virtual space as a site for protest and revolution has translated into a renewed conception and utilization of public space. The online world is a limitless one, one of rapid proliferation and accessibility. The sheer magnitude of the “march of millions” across Egypt was mirrored and multiplied online, and the visual impact of Tahrir square transformed into was a physical embodiment of this solidarity. The reoccupation and creation of free spaces, whether virtual
Above: An Egyptian woman smiles at the protest outside the Egyptian embassy in Dublin. Below: A schoolchild takes a photo of the protest with his mobile phone. Photos: Caelainn Hogan
The Audacity of Harmon
Getting pessimistic about pessimism
or physical, is being made possible through the demand for full transparency and accountability, through initiatives such as Wikileaks and grassroots reporting brought to an international scale through online networks. In his article for the Guardian “Why fear the Arab revolution?” Slajov ŽIžek highlights the hypocrisy of Western liberal democrats who seem to endorse a manageable Egypt under a dictatorial regime rather than an Egypt that is free but unpredictable, or perhaps not so easily manipulated.
The uprising itself has exposed the hypocritical actions of the West, particularly the democratising mission of the United States. Many protesters reported that the tear gas canisters used against them were US made. Robert Fisk argues that the West’s aim has always aimed to keep the Middle East divided, to keep it under control, and that “The freedom they ask for is the freedom to make their own choices, and this we do not give them, and that is why they ask for justice.” However, the Egyptian people did not ask for justice, they
demanded nothing less. In this case, it is not the Arab revolution the powers of the West, as well as governments throughout the world, should fear, but the new virtual revolution which has been its catalyst and facilitator.
was fortunate enough recently to attend a dinner where the guest speech was given by Kingsley Aikins, who was until last year the Chief Executive of the Ireland Funds. The Ireland Funds is a most extraordinary organisation that has raised over $350 million for philanthropic projects in Ireland. Having spent a career shaking them down for money, Aikins is probably the leading expert on Ireland’s diaspora and how emigration from these shores has been both a scourge and an opportunity. He is, therefore, also well placed to comment on our current difficulty. One thing that he said struck me very clearly: “I am pessimistic about the pessimism industry in Ireland”. It’s a nice line, and it got a laugh, but it also got me thinking. I have felt for some time that we are beating ourselves up far too much as a nation. We seem to be unable to do economic emotion in moderation. During the boom, we got caught up in a hedonistic hubris, wherein the seeds of our downfall were sown. Now, in the bust, we seem to have retreated into fatalistic wailing. A more measured examination of our situation is appropriate. Now, don’t get me wrong, the actions of politicians, regulators and bankers that contributed to our present situation agitate and anger me just as much as the next man. I am not presenting an apologia for Bertie, Seanie or Michael Fingleton. However, I equally feel that anger in itself isn’t going to get us very far. The reality is that we still live in one of the richest countries in the world, a country where the average standard of living exceeds even that enjoyed by those in the countries that are currently lending our State money to keep the lights on. Of course, that is not to ignore the very real problems of social deprivation in our society, nor does it ignore the difficulties that many face as a result of our changed economic situation. However, household savings amounted to over €11 billion last year. There is still a lot of money floating around our economy, even if people don’t have the confidence to spend it. We are not exactly destitute. Th is is a recession. It is not a famine. While there are tragic stories of individuals taking their own lives because of their fi nancial situation, for the most part a recession never killed anybody. As anybody who has been watching Fergal Keane’s excellent The Story of Ireland on RTÉ will know, our country has overcome much bigger challenges in its history. Indeed, even in the 1980s we did not have the same capacity to bounce back as we do now, although I acknowledge the economic challenge is bigger now than then. Ireland isn’t fi nished. I am confident about that because for every perma-tanned Oompa-Loompa lookalike I meet in Trinity who seemed to get in here by collecting ten crisp packets, I meet someone else with intelligence, vision, energy and integrity – people who will achieve for themselves and achieve for Ireland. Unfortunately, many of them may have to emigrate for a time. But emigration is not the life sentence it once was. Even in the midst of the gloom of last year, 13,000 Irish people returned to these shores after previously emigrating. While it can be difficult to be hopeful when our politicians seem to be so hopeless and our media so relentlessly negative, we must force our nerve and heart and sinew to serve our turn, even though they may appear to be gone. Because, almost despite ourselves, this is still a great little country. And, despite everything, to be born here is still a great stroke of luck.
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
The Young and the Damned: JF at the Ball Gary Wall Ah the Trinity Ball, a special occasion in every Trinity student’s calendar. A night where art students can feel like kings and aristocracy, or where, just once, can the denizens of the Hamilton act like social experts. It’s a night in which all things are communicated through dance and drink. The universal language -albeit not including Iran- of the party. Yes, my first year
sense tells me that the Trinity Ball is the Academy Awards of debauchery, and frankly I look forward to losing my innocence, just like a giddy, young schoolgirl ready to lose her (*ahem*) innocence. When my first year friends and I first stepped into the arts block from the bus on our first day, indeed we were harangued by people conscripting us into
LETTERS to the Editor
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Trinity Foundation and the Student Centre Dear Editor, Further to an article in the most recent issue of The University Times of January 25th last, entitled ‘Foundation pulls Student Centre Funding’, as chairperson of the Luce Hall Planning Committee I wish to clarify the following points: First, it is important to note that the Foundation is the fundraising arm of the College and not a grant making body. Every project starts from a zero base and the role of the Foundation is to work closely with College to develop a fundraising strategy and a donor base for key strategic projects – such as the Student Centre. It is appropriate to commit to working to ambitious but achievable targets, however it is not possible to guarantee that such funding will be secured with certainty. Second, contrary to an assertion in the article, Trinity Foundation did not promise to contribute ¤7m. This figure was a working assumption of the amount that might be raised through philanthropy. However as the project progressed, the issue of finance was revisited in light of the changing economic conditions and we were advised by the Foundation that ¤3.5m over five years was a more realistic assumption. The Luce Hall Working Group (not the Planning Committee) then drew up figures for the levy based on a worst-case scenario in which no money might be raised through philanthropy. However it was always understood that the philanthropic route would be pursued and that money would be generated from that source that would go to reduce the amount of the student levy. Third, the speculation that the Foundation waited until Professor Prendergast had stood down as Vice-Provost/ Chief Academic Officer before raising the issue of philanthropic funding is simply without foundation. Finally, College’s commitment to the project is evidenced in the facts that the provision of a Student Centre is one of the objectives stated in the current College Strategic Plan and that College has already committed ¤10m towards this project. Yours Pro Vice-Provost/ Chief Academic Officer Professor Michael Marsh
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various societies as well as a tempest of different timetables whirling around us. And yet amidst all the despair of Third level Education, there were tales told to us from the fourth Years. Tales of an event that could match the second coming of Jesus in terms of jubilation. And like a bat pissing, it shone out as gold when all around is dark. It could only be the Trinity College Ball. A party to make even the most extreme of debs look like a well-dressed crèche! From what I hear though, the Trinity Ball is not some standard gaff-en-masse for people to arrive in tatty jeans or their trackies tucked into their socks. No No(!) It’s depravity in style. A Black-Tie Event of the utmost highest standard. Girls in elegant dresses and guys in classy tuxes. For a first year noob to write these sentences and read them in my head, makes me salivate uncontrollably. I mean is it as good as the hype?! Well let’s look at it this way: the mathematical concept of Euler’s Number e, when derived or integrated is pretty much the same. Its value doesn’t really get bigger or smaller, and please (please!) before any budding physicists or
mathematicians start trolling in the comments area,
the mill plebeian equations, I can assume that the same
to the rhetorical question posed earlier, yes I believe
Europe’s largest private party, inviting over 7000 differ-
that it is as good as the hype suggests. However, what article of speculation and awe is complete without dropping a few statistics? The Trinity Ball is supposedly
ent people each year. That’s a lot of hidden naggins, and Trinity acknowledges the shrewdness of its students so it comes as no surprise that there is to be some strict
We like to party. Photo: Martin McKenna I’m saying this for the sake of a metaphor. The number is consistent throughout its processes. And, as such, the result in a way is what’s expected, unlike some run of
can be said for the Trinity Ball, it is what’s expected. The things said in the build-up are gospel, and as such anticipation leads to a better night. So in answer
security regarding the trafficking of your own alcohol in. Well I suppose there’s always a catch and it would seem that the Trinity Ball’s catch is the Boardwalk Empire-esque monopoly on libations. I do not condone bringing in alcohol that isn’t allowed and I definitely don’t condone slipping a small naggin into your black dress sock that fits under a flared, pin-striped, trouser leg of any length, before taking it out approximately 47 yards after you lose sight of any security. I don’t condone this at all. Undoubtedly however I would predict trouble of some sort to do with this factor. I cannot speak for all 1st years, but in my eyes, this Ball, this occasion will change lives, create lovers, break limits and potentially embarrass numerous Facebooks the next morning (or afternoon, let’s be realistic). With a dollop of bangin’ choonz (sorry), a dash of classy attire, a sprinkling of drink and a touch of good company, you’ve baked yourself quite a party. Can’t wait.
FG Irish policy is short-sighted
Irish just isn’t wanted by our generation
Eugene Reavey Deputy Opinion Editor
Daniel Harrington JS Law
Lets face it, Irish is a bloody hard language. Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam, it’s a lovely sentiment, but it’s easily forgotten as you work through an modh coinníollach, and try frantically to find out what the hell the genitive case is, and how it works. French, Spanish and the other romantic languages, sound so much better, and are so much more accessible. So why would anybody risk their precious A1 by choosing Irish? The reason being at the minute of course, that they have no choice. However, Fine Gael are on a crusade to ensure that leaving cert students can maximise their points with the minimum fuss possible. So what’s the problem? The problem is of course that Irish is, and remains the first official language of this country. It is the native language of this Island. It is also on the brink of extinction. At present, every leaving cert student leaves school with at least some proficiency in the language. This has not stopped the language from falling into serious decline. And yet Fine Gael in their wisdom have contrived a policy which states that the language should be optional at leaving cert level. The rationale is that student’s who really want to study Irish will continue into leaving cert level with real enthusiasm, and in the long run, this will encourage more and more students to pick Irish of their own volition. This has already been shown to be a failed policy. In the UK Labour Ministers predicted the same outcome after making languages optional at GCSE Level. The result has been a 1/3 decline in numbers taking languages and only a minority of students achieving the top grades. The results in the leaving cert system could be even more detrimental. The focus in the leaving centres largely on memory retention and regurgitation as opposed to the English system which favours a more analytical approach to learning. Irish imposes strong demands on any student learning the language, and were it to be made optional, it simply wouldn’t make sense for a budding doctor to jeopardise his place in Trinity by picking the Irish language. This short sightedness is of course forgivable in the case of leaving cert students. However, it is unforgivable
coming from the leaders of Fine Gael. One can’t help but reach the conclusion that this is a lazy approach to a serious problem. Irish as the official language of this State should be given upmost priority. The syllabus in place and the way Irish is taught is unsatisfactory. Too much emphasis is placed on exam technique, with the result that apart from a few stock phrases learnt off for the oral, students leave school with relatively poor conversational Irish. More emphasis should surely be placed on the oral and aural skills of students. The answer is not to make the subject optional, but to diversify and enliven the cirruculm to ensure that young people are genuinely enthused about learning their native language. These sentiments were echoed strongly outside Fine Gael headquarters, where a USI representative handed over a petition with over 15,000 signatures decrying the policy. Other political parties in the Dáil have advocated an overhaul of the cirrculum, whilst Sinn Féin have announced that they would introduce a government minister to oversee a 20 year regeneration project of the language. All such proposals must be welcomed. There would also be huge economic consequences for Ireland’s Gaeltacht communities if this policy was implemented. Each year over 25,000 students attend rural gaeltacht language courses generating over €50 million for these areas. It’s clear that there are few opportunites in Ireland’s isolated gaeltacht’s, and the money that these courses generate is absolutely vital to the continuance of a strong and vibrant Gaeltacht communities. The shrinking of these communities has continued at an exponential rate, as young native speakers leave in search of jobs and opprtunities. This process must be reversed as a matter of urgency. A poet once lamented, “i measc mo dhaoine tá tobar an fhíoruisce ag dul i ndíchuimhne,” or in English “among my people the springwell is being forgotten.” It is past the time that we realise what we have in the Irish language, how lucky we are the language has survived this far, and endeavour to ensure the language grows from strength to strength.
It simply wouldn’t make sense for a budding doctor to jeopardise his place in Trinity by picking the Irish language
The recent emergence of a group on Facebook has achieved a mighty feat and, instead of wishing FB installed a ‘dislike’ button, it actually got me thinking. The group says that “An Irish essay just isn’t complete without GO TOBANN!” ‘Go tobann’ means suddenly in English and every Leaving Cert examiner goes through the same ritual every year – namely putting a little approving tick beside that phrase to congratulate us on writing a story containing some urgency and sudden movement. Go tobann is just one of the popular phrases thrown in to spice up the aiste on Páipéar 1 in the Leaving Cert. Is mór an tsláinte ná na táinte. Is minic a bhris beál duine a shrón. In English, we call these phrases small talk, clichés. But in Irish, they are rewarded by a system ignoring the fact that they are mindlessly learned off by heart and instead, they are foolishly looked upon as signs of fluency in na daoine óga. Irish is, as Enda Kenny pointed out on TG4, a core subject in the Leaving Certificate. It is one forced upon every student in the country, barring a few exemptions. Peig may be dead and buried but the ghost of compulsory Irish still remains for the meantime. A Fine Gael-lead government would change all this, it is claimed. In their recently published manifesto, the election frontrunners plan to abolish an Ghaeilge as a compulsory subject and install it as an optional choice on the curriculum. This has been met with typical indignant outrage by the other political parties as well as a certain amount of public disgust that our national language could be relegated to such a level. Tír gan teanga, Tír gan anam they would cry! But, as it stands, we might as well be a country without a language! The Fine Gael policy is not designed to put the final nail in the coffin. The aim is actually to revitalise the language so that muintir na hÉireann will stand up and want to learn the language rather than allowing it to sink into apathetic decay. Students every year in the Leaving Cert experience a brief flirtation with fluency around the time of their oral exams. Seanfhocals and metaphors are then rhymed off for the written paper before the traditional 6th year holiday removes any trace of Gaeilge from the system. Why? Irish just isn’t wanted by the younger generation. If they wanted it, they would use it. People would argue that Irish is widely used among the younger population and that we
want to be able to learn our native tongue. The Fine Gael policy doesn’t stop us doing this. By making Irish a choice, those who
The current method of force-feeding Irish to adolescents has failed. Those who can speak Irish do so because they want to learn it.
wish to study Irish can do so without an obstacle. Why force those who don’t want to study Irish to sit in the classroom and attempt to describe the imagery in a poem or the theme of a short story? – younger people don’t respond well to being forced to do something. Giving people the choice – this is the key. Irish classrooms would be filled with those who positively wanted to learn the language, those who voluntarily signed up for the course. This scenario would lead to flowing fluency. An enthusiastic experience in the classroom where there was no negativity. Those who were there would be there because of their grá don teanga. Making Irish optional wouldn’t destroy it – it gives people the freedom of choice and recognises the reality that forcing people to do Leaving Cert Irish still won’t keep the language alive. According to the 2006 Census by the CSO, 1,656,790 people mark themselves as being Irish speakers. 2,400, 856 said they cannot speak Irish. These figures would be respectable but they hide the truth of the matter. How many of these million and a half people use Irish as their first language?
How often is it used on a daily basis? Saying ‘Go raibh maith agat’ to a customer in my local shop certainly warrants a raised eyebrow or a frown. Less than half the country can speak the national language. The newspaper ‘Foinse’ went out of business. Admittedly, it is now available in the Irish Independent but only as a free supplement. In the culture of accountability and waste nowadays, how many letters of complaint have been drafted about the correction of signs so that Irish is displayed or the expensive translation of all official documents (including EU documents since 2007) into Irish? The current method of force-feeding Irish to adolescents has failed. Those who can speak Irish do so because they want to learn it. Those who were forced to learn it but can still not speak it are those who complain loudest about it. A shift towards wanting to speak the language in school won’t harm Irish – it will revitalise the language and allow for a younger generation who actively and enthusiastically choose Irish as a language of life. The Leaving Cert is currently an unfriendly curriculum – an oral exam, an aural exam and two difficult papers at Honours level leads to a fairly voluminous course. Alongside eight poems, there are five possible short stories, an essay question, and comprehensions. As it stands, this would not be an attractive option for any 16 year old to choose, which is why the curriculum must be altered for this policy to work. Fine Gael, in making Irish optional plan to incentivise the youth to learn Irish – making the Leaving Cert students want to do it. Improving the standard of teachers, restoring the balance to the workload and offering bonus points for Irish – these incentives will fuel the desire of younger students to keep their language alive. The compulsory, comprehension-based curriculum of the last 10-20 years has failed. Irish is in dire straits and needs incentivised enthusiasm soon otherwise the decline will deepen. Focus on conversation, getting people talking – use is the best way to both learn and retain a language. Again, forced used will not solve this problem but allowing these young adults the positive choice will reinforce the strength of their love for the language.
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
The University Times SU SHOULD LEARN FROM HEFFERNAN
ith the SU Sabbatical campaigns behind us, the one that will obviously be recanted to freshers for years to come will be Aaron Heffernan’s bid for SU President. He is now the yardstick by which all joke candidates will be measured, and they will be found wanting. It was a campaign that worked on every level, from his grand opening of the arts block to his secret gig in the SU bookshop, and yes, the tragic death of his bodyguard Prudence at the hands of a grizzly bear on the Arts Block ramp. Despite the fact that his main policies were to personally help each student with their assignments, introduce new animals into Trinity’s ecosystem, and free the “Guantanamo babies” from the crèche, People genuinely wanted him to win, and he would have had he not dropped out of the race. That a joke candidate should have received such huge support compared to the very serious and experienced Ryan Bartlett (albeit with a lacklustre campaign) showed that there is a lack of engagement generally between students and the Students’ Union on a policy level, that students would prefer a candidate who ran as an elaborate joke to candidates who were serious and hard-working in trying to come up with policies that they felt would genuinely benefit students. Most
students this newspaper spoke to over the course of the election were unsure of what it is that the President of the Students’ Union does, beyond harbouring an ambition for politics, according to the stereotype. Students largely don’t really have much to say about the Student Union, it’s not that they’re alienated by it, they just don’t care. They prefer the fun of a joke candidate because the effects that the SU President has on their lives is brief, indirect and subtle. However, it is not the responsibility of students collectively to give a damn about something just because an elected body of their peers says they should. It is up to the Students’ Union itself to demonstrate its own relevance. It is not students who should feel bad for wanting to vote for Heffernan, it’s the Students’ Union that needs to learn from the Heffernan campaign that it needs to shed its reputation of being a self-serving clique and engage with students on a level that is not condescending, and does not carry the presumption that students should care. Most of all though, admittedly difficult as it may be, it should try to not be boring. The more that students are able to work together, the more clout we have on a political level, and the easiest way to do that is through the Students’ Union. It is up to the Students’ Union to prove it.
PIRANHA EDITOR SHOULD RESIGN
ince 1978, The Piranha has cut over-sized egos down to size, mocked the selfimportance of the SU and student societies, and forced College authorities to acknowledge some hard truths. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan and current Irish ambassador to the EU Rory Montgomery were involved in its founding. The Pirhana has a proud tradition of casting a skeptical eye over College life, entertaining its readers with its writers’ wit and insight. It has done this by treading a fine line between biting satire and bullying, no easy task when the subjects most easily tackled are the colourful characters that scramble up the various power ladders in college. Last week, The Piranha failed to strike this balance. It failed because it forgot its purpose. Written by a small group of writers, it turned into a bully pulpit in a very real way, slandering Sebastien Lecocq and his friends in a character assassination that was neither provoked nor
proportional. Repeatedly calling Lecocq an “asshole” and a “douchebag”, The Piranha’s article on the former SU Presidential hopeful came off as little more than the vindictive ramblings of a malicious writer. It wasn’t funny and it certainly wasn’t satire. The responsibility for this piece lies with the editor, John Engle. Engle refused to show any remorse or offer Lecocq an apology when The University Times called him on Sunday. Despite the ever-mounting criticism laid at his door by various student leaders and even from vaunted defenders of free speech DU Publications, Engle has remained stubborn in his defence of the piece, claiming that such hatchet jobs are the norm for Piranha election specials, notwithstanding the obvious difference in tone between Lecocq’s article and those of the other candidates. This is not an issue of freedom of speech. As Students’ Union President Nikolai
Trigoub-Rotnem said, if Engle had even communicated the content of the article to Lecocq face-to-face, it would still be considered bullying. Ridiculing a blameless individual for their appearance and the medical condition that causes it is the behaviour of a schoolyard bully, and certainly not befitting a platform which amplifies the bullying thousandfold. Either Engle knows he’s in the wrong and he’s just too proud to admit it or he doesn’t fully understand what satire is. Either way, Engle should step down as editor of The Piranha. His editorship has damaged the credibility of The Piranha at a time when Trinity has no other source of satirical journalism. If Engle stays on, then the muchloved publication may be irreparably damaged in the eyes of the student body.
For better politicians, we need an educated electorate Sam Ford
n Friday I will be voting in the notoriously volatile 4-seat Dublin Central constituency. I am very excited. If I weren’t so ignorant of popular culture, I might say something like CAN’T WAAAIT in a poor attempt at a Limerick accent. Election literature has been pouring in through my letterbox for weeks and the candidates are interesting to say the least. With Bertie Ahern gone – the ex-Taoiseach turned sports columnist is hiding in a PVC cupboard until the Presidential Election comes around – it is almost assured that Labour stalwart Joe Costello will top the poll and be elected on the first count. It is predicted that he will be followed Dáilward by rattly old puffin Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind), Tony Gregory’s campaign manager, and Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe, who received a First in Economics & Political Science from this very college. The fourth seat will be a toss-up between Sinn Féin deputy leader MaryLou ‘Mouthpiece Without A Mandate’ McDonald, Cllr. Áine Clancy (Labour) and Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick, who has a degree in German & Italian. The latter was, in her own words, “shafted” by Bertie Ahern and running mate Cyprian Brady on the morning of the 2007 election, when letters instructing voters to put Brady down as #2 instead of her were distributed to 30,000 homes. Thus, she may benefit from the “Ah Jaysus isn’t that dreadful” sympathy vote. Coming up the rear is devoted community worker Christy Burke [pron: Booorke], formerly of the IRA and Sinn Féin, who will no doubt affect McDonald’s chances of gaining a seat, and various no-hoper independents with silly policies and no qualifications. Notables include bald tattoo artist and motorcycle enthusiast John “Pluto” Hyland, racist postman Pat Talbot
of Immigration Control Platform, who presumably doesn’t deliver post to people with fordhen-sounding names, a gammy-eyed homophobe called Paul, a busdriver-faced man whose CAPS LOCK LEAFLET reads like a Howler from Harry Potter, and niceguy Phil Kearney of the Greens who likes bicycles and is very NICE. I am tempted to give the lattermost my Number 1 just so that I can track the progress of my ballot paper when his 13 first preferences are distributed. It’ll feel like voting twice! Also, if there’s any justice in the world, Cyprian Brady will come last. What does this have to do with literacy I hear you ask. Don’t be so impatient, I’m getting there! The plethora of election leaflets are horrendously vague. They are bite-sized, dumbed-down, patronising. They are indistinct, inexact and ill-defined. They use buzzwords, alliteration and tripartites. They are woollier than a Wicklow sheep. They insult our intelligence. They are like fun-sized Mars bars. Programme for Employment! Real Political Reform! Job Protection & Creation! New legislation! Honesty, integrity and courage! Jobs, reform and fairness! Serious challenges! Leadership and innovative policies! Renewing Ireland! Where’s the detail? It’s almost as if they think a large body of text will put us off… like we’re LAZY or something. I am Class Rep for JF Italian and I have found that extremely concise emails with keywords CAPITALISED and emboldened always get a better response than those of the long, rambly variety. Of the recent glut of Provostial candidate messages, I only read the short, succinct ones. We are the Google generation. We google things. Very rarely is a globule of desired information more than a click away. Look up an encyclopædia? Ha! What is this, 1989? We tweet our
thoughts in 140 characters or less. Our Facebook statii are slightly more generous at 420. We have lightningfast broadband connections and would probably burst a vein if we ever had to use the CLCS computers, let alone go back to the dark days of dial-up. This superabundance of information has grave consequences. When we are given a month to read a book and do an essay on it, we grimace and groan and inevitably leave it until the early hours of Sunday morning to get going, simultaneously tweeting “246 words down, 1,754 to go. FML.” (Thank you calculator.com). According to American psychologist Nicholas Carr, the result is “cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning”. He makes a very strong argument for internet usage rewiring our brains: the parts of the brain that deal with temporary, fleeting morsels of information are heavily encumbered and those parts that allow for deep thought and the attainability of hard-won knowledge are neglected and weakened over time. Scary stuff. Maybe I’ll restrict myself to ‘Top Stories’ in my fb news feed from
now on. We spend far more time checking our profiles than we do reading books or newspapers. Perhaps this is why many political parties disregard the youth vote. They assume we’re politically disengaged, illiterate in terms of current affairs. Election? MEH. In a recent survey conducted by a lesser publication in UCDD (University College Dublin, Dublin), 24% said they would vote Labour, 20% Fine Gael, 20% Independents / ULA / others, 5% Fianna Fáil, 4% Fine Gael and 17% MEH, EFFORT OF FORMING AN OPINION! At present, there are NO Dáil deputies under the age of 30 and young upstarts like Dylan Haskins are very much the exception to the rule. At the risk of sounding like a complete Luddite, the language used on Facebook is also extremely detrimental to literacy. PeOpLe RaNdOmLy CaPiTaLiSe ThInGs AnD r3pLaC3 ‘E’ with ‘3’. This is disastrous in cases where the user is already from a background of low educational attainment. Ireland has a functional illiteracy rate of between 20 and 40%. That is to say, 20 to 40% of the population have massive issues with reading
things like train timetables and prescriptions. How are such people expected to make an informed choice on polling day? Another startling statistic is the number of people from sociallydeprived areas going on to third-level education: 10% from Ballyfermot-Inchicore and 87% from Foxrock, a stark difference. Ballyfermot-Inchicore is an area with double the national average rate of functional illiteracy. Serious action must be taken by the next government to break the vicious cycle of underachievement there. The poverty cycle begins with a book-free childhood, struggling in primary school, really struggling in secondary school and very often ends in underage pregnancy / drug use / alcoholism / a menial job / the Dole. These people, victims of poor education, end up replicating their parents’ environment. The links between functional illiteracy and violence are also well established. Humans are highly emotional creatures – we constantly feel the need to express ourselves, one of the reasons Facebook is so popular – but a lack of facility for language can seriously hinder self-expression,
leading to physical expression. And I don’t mean interpretive dance. Violence is a sort of thwarted speaking. Reading, on the other hand, has a softening, humanising effect; it is a hallmark of humanity. German philosopher Immanuel Kant talked about personal Aufklärung (enlightenment / age of reason) being achieved by emerging from beneath a self-imposed Unmündigkeit (voicelessness). How does one go about achieving this? By reading of course. Knowledge is power! Reading from an early age is crucial to educational success and self-advancement, a message which Fianna Fáil has failed to propagate or instigate for the past 16 years. There are fully-grown adults out there with the reading capacity of a 4th Class pupil or worse. These people are ‘half-baked’, to borrow a term from Aravind Adiga’s Booker-winning book, The White Tiger. It is possible to get a decent mark in the Leaving Certficate and still be half-baked. Rather than encouraging individual thought, it encourages the regurgitation of rote-learnt material in an inhumane timeframe. On arrival in college, students
spend months unlearning bad habits. Computers do not feature at all, Ireland having been ranked 25th of 27 in an EU-wide survey of computer literacy. Subjects vital to self-expression e.g. Drama, Psychology and Politics are nowhere to be seen. As for Irish… tubaiste ceart is ea iad na modhanna múinteoireachta a úsaidtear. We also refuse to acknowledge the ascendant world powers – we should be learning Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Russian… German! Could these factors be behind our illiterate political system, rife with gombeen clientelism, as epitomised by Jackie Healy-Rae? Could this be the reason we treat out Teachtaí Dála as little more than local councillors? Could this be why the farmers only ever vote FF (Dev) or FG (Collins)? Could this be why we keep going back to Fianna Fáil, despite the fact they are clearly Éire’s figurative abusive boyfriend, constantly letting us down and reneging on promises? (Pat Rabbitte recently remarked “at the beginning of the campaign, my view was that if PJ Mara [FF kingpin] was caught buggering Micheál Martin in Brown Thomas’s window, they would still get 25 per cent of the vote”). I reckon so. We, the functionally illiterate Irish people, will be taken in by ridiculous empty guarantees such as John Gormley’s “100,000 jobs in green energy”. We could probably power 100,000 houses if we put a solar panel on his forehead and connected him to the National Grid. Fianna Fáil has copied and pasted most of their ‘Plean Ceart don Todhchaí’ from Dermot Desmond, a man with a railroad baron moustache who makes frequent appearances at the Court of Dodgy Dealings. Fine Gael, under the stewardship of Inda ‘Sexy Daddy’ Kenny, Michael ‘Bald’ Noonan and Leo ‘Abrasive’ Varadkar, have a gaping €5bn euro hole in their plan. Sinn Féin live in Cloud Cuckoo Land (aka their HQ at Parnell Square West, opposite the smoking preggos of the Rotunda) and seem
to think that we can just not pay back the EU/IMF fund. Crazy talk. Illiterate talk! All joking aside, there is a solution. A slow, painful solution that will require large investment and grassroots passion and enthusiasm. A solution that will not come to fruition for several years, unlike a Facebook frape, which takes effect instantly. It ought to be the cornerstone for any recovery. What am I talking about? EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. The Labour Party has proposed a literacy scheme that would involve 120 minutes of intensive reading in the classroom every day. I would go further and suggest some kind of legislation whereby parents were given incentives to read to their kids. The Dole – money for sitting on one’s scratcher – needs huge reform. FÁS courses or voluntary work or training places ought to be a prerequisite for receiving such payments. And we need to stop throwing money at those Goddamn banks. In the Celtic tiger days, we had giveaway budgets, lighttouch financial regulation and the Anglo-Irish Golden Circle. We invested in roads and the LUAS and an unhealthy HSE. We attracted the likes of Dell, Intel and Google. The one thing we didn’t invest in was the people. We became complacent, the Moët went to our heads. Like the dodo that found a perfect island home free of predators, we became complacent and lost the power of (educational and economic) flight. We are wallowing in mediocrity. Project Maths? Knowledge economy? TCDUCD Research Alliance? We need to start at the very beginning. We need our Junior Infants to be voracious readers. We need to mol an óige (ionas go dtiocfaidh sí). We need the post of Minister for Education to be the most sought-after Cabinet position. Look after education and the rest will look after itself. Oh and Firewalling Facebook wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
Head-to-head: The Piranha Bullying through print Piranha readers are smart is still bullying enough to know what to believe Jack Farrell
ullying is an issue which goes largely unnoticed in college. An issue that is apparently consigned to our schooldays, with the mentality being that people surely have matured enough to know when a bit of teasing has gone too far. I’m afraid that isn’t the case. This is an issue which surveys show that over 80% of college students have dealt with, and it appears as if it is one of those issues that colleges fail to deal with. When the welfare office launches a new initiative it is always to do with the issue of the day, using buzzwords like “depression”. It is necessary however to disaggregate these issues further and deal with the fundamental causes of things like “depression” such as bullying or stress. The reason for my sudden urge to write about such a topic was spurred on by the SU election special of The Piranha. Renowned for being a newspaper that pokes fun at people in the college community, I always looked forward to a new edition. This time, however, The Piranha crossed the realm of humour and into that of bad taste, singling out a candidate and then carrying out a disgusting character assault in the name of good fun. When I left secondary school I thought I was escaping a world were bullying was the norm. People arrive in college from a variety of backgrounds and tolerance becomes second nature as we become immersed in a melting pot. For a college publication to gently tease all other candidates and single out one is fundamentally wrong. Having
spoken to many about the issue they all feel it would have been fine had the profiles of the other candidates been handled with the same ruthlessness. Freedom of the Press is one of the cornerstones of democracy and it is not one that should be abused in such a fashion, for incidents like this are what create greater issues within society, and not to sound melodramatic but it is very easy to draw parallels with any authoritarian regime. We can’t sit back and let issues like this go unnoticed, passing it off as “just a laugh” isn’t good enough. This is an issue that the SU should deal with and bring about greater awareness. Bullying appears to be ignored in the college community and as a result we all suffer. The SU seeks to be a body representative of the student’s needs and the widespread condemnation that this publication has received is evidence that something needs to be done. I am not trying to argue that The Piranha should no longer be published, but measures need to be taken to ensure that individual victimisation as has such been carried out doesn’t occur in future editions, or indeed any college publication. Every single person in college has their own story, their own trials and tribulations. Some have issues at home, others at work and college provides the ideal means for escapism. We all have enough on our plates without needing to fear or dislike coming to college. The issue of bullying should have been put to rest during our school years, by now we should have accumulated the emotional intelligence to recognise the difference between right and wrong; to know when an attempt to gain a few laughs becomes an attempt to belittle another member of the college community. I guess common decency and manners seem like a very basic idea, one which we’ve all heard before but one that seems to be very easily forgotten.
The issue of bullying should have been put to rest during our school years
atirical expression is usually controversial - some would claim that its very nature necessitates that. Despite how offensive satire can be, opponents of censorship claim its role is to call our attention to what society is doing wrong by violating societal norms or that which is considered “decent”. Perhaps the most famous piece of satire is Jonathan Swift’s 1729 essay A Modest Proposal. The essay’s thesis is that the children of starving Irish people be sold to rich people to be eaten. By putting forward such an awful proposal Swift hoped to make people think about economic exploitation. His essay is thus held up as an example of noble satire. In this way, satire is seen as useful and worthy despite its ability to offend. Offensive articles which seem to lack this noble aspect are often accused as hiding behind the mask of satire in order to lend a veneer of legitimacy to writing which is nothing more than crude immaturity. Debate over this issue can leave participants struggling to define what satire truly is and what should be “allowed” to be printed. It is my opinion that the difficulty and inevitable bias involved in deciding what is worthy means that almost everything should be acceptable as publishable content under law. Recently, Trinity’s satirical paper The Piranha attracted negative attention for its coverage of the SU sabbatical elections. It provoked outrage for seemingly singling one of the candidates out for much harsher treatment than the others. Most of the sabbatical candidates became victims of the typical strategy of absurdity favoured by the paper, including education office-seeker John Cooney being portrayed as a secret superhero. However, former presidential hopeful Sebastien LeCocq seemed to come in for a much more personal attack, rather than being used as an excuse to front an article of irrelevant absurdity for comic effect like the others. As well as portraying
How low will you go? Caelainn Hogan
he student job can be one of the most degrading experiences of your young life, but it is none the less a rite of passage. Forget those few lucky students who land a promotional job paying 15 euros an hour to hand out free Blackberries, the real student job is one that gives you a renewed sense of purpose in college out of pure fear that you will have to work in that sad, mind numbing occupation for the rest of your life. Past Trinity student Gregg, who once worked in a factory matching left and right pairs of shoes, can surely empathise with the latter. My first student job was working at a Centra deli. I still have scars from having incorrectly manoeuvred the giant oven trays while cooking Cuisine de France baguettes by the hundred and rounds of sausages, bacon and hash browns for the breakfast rolls. The giant walk in freezer was a daily nightmare, haunted by the thought of being accidentally locked inside. My second job “selling bins” was a conversation starter during awkward Fresher moments. In fact, it was a promotional job with Greenstar, the private refuse company, going door to door wooing people into rejecting their common council bins and signing up with us. Bin politics
and rumours of Panda spies made for daily excitement. The strangest moment had to be during a day’s work in Shankill’s Rathsallagh Estate, when I ended up being invited in to a “living wake”. I gave my spiel in a living room smelling strongly of whiskey, to two jovial woman and a man stretched out on the opposite couch under a heap of blankets, who I was informed would soon be dead. Maynooth students, it would appear, are the pioneers in morbid and indeed gruesome part time work. Now graduates of Maynooth College, Francis Balfe and Ronan O’Braonáin both worked in slaughterhouses during their time as students, to make ends meat (pun intended). Francis worked for a local turkey farmer, Cathal Higgins, and had to “feed and clean out turkey houses. There would be thousands of them. They drank from drinkers suspended from the roof and with the mix of water and excrement some would become lame and would eventually fall foul [the puns abound] to the other turkeys sitting on it till it died.” Continuing with the gruesome details of the job, he described how “the pluckers would be sitting on a stool and would hand-pluck the turkeys. The turkeys’ nerves
would still be going so they would kick, shit and jump out of your lap even though they were dead.” Ronan’s job in the summer of second year was equally macabre: “I was working for a company called Farm Relief services that basically hire you out to farmers to give a hand. I got sent to this crazy intensive pig farm that kept tens of thousands of pigs in these big long sheds. I had to spend the day cutting the teeth and tails off a few thousand piglets. Wasn’t the nicest thing I’ve ever had to do.” Most students are, like Trinity student Paul Kelly, “happy with basically any job”. Paul had no idea what exact occupation he was applying for when he went for the interview, “they just fed me some bull about meeting with important clients and that kind of marketing language. I had to go for a day of training where I basically just shadowed someone doing the job before I started. I found out then that I was selling make-up.” He explains that “We’d go door to door and in suits looking exactly like Jehovahs Witnesses, which was actually one of the start up lines one of the lads used on basically everyone he tried to sell to! The pay was awful, as it was 100% commission so unless you got ridiculously good at selling make-up you didn’t make much money.” He says he expected to get the door slammed in his face more than he did, which only
happened once or twice, but mostly “people just found it funny that I was going around selling make-up and you’d usually have a bit of craic just joking to people about it when you made your pitch.” DIT student Peter had varied jobs during college, from a ‘mover’ in Boston to maintenance guy in the Caribbean, including a stint working on a trawler in Howth. Work in the trawler consisted of being “deep in the fish hold grinding steel mostly, it was an absolutely filthy job. At one point I was using a Jackhammer to get concrete out of the bottom of the hull. If you imagine the noise of a roadside jackhammer, multiply it by ten, you’re probably still not close to the noise levels experienced in a closed steel hull.” He looks back on it fondly however, claiming “That was a great job though, I loved it. Nothing beats a hard day’s labour, with the exception of a well earned cold beer afterwards.” Peter, seemingly the jack of all trades, realised his limit when he and a friend “got speaking with a manager outside a well known adult venue. We were offered the jobs on the spot, but sadly our initial interest waned as the details [which included mopping any spillages] unfolded!” Proof that, though they may be low, there are limits to what students will do for money.
LeCocq as a masochistic pariah for running in the election, The Piranha also seemed to disclose a medical condition of LeCocq’s. This reference is widely regarded as extremely distasteful and unnecessary. The publication’s editor, John Engle, has been reported to the Junior Dean for his treatment of LeCocq. Opinion on whether Engle should be punished by college authorities for his publication’s content is divided: some claim that he committed an act of character assassination and must face consequences, others that, while LeCocq’s profile was unjust, freedom must be allowed for subversion in print even if it is sometimes at the cost of good taste. I fall in to the latter category. As much as I find the treatment of LeCocq upsetting, I still defend The Piranha’s right to do it. It is my belief that in any free society people should have the right to publish what they want to. The Piranha markets itself as a satirical magazine. Leaving aside the ambiguity which this definition engenders, it is safe to say that it is a publication which does not represent itself as being a source of factual truth and claims no pretensions of journalistic integrity. As such, there is no deception of its audience. This type of publication is an “anything goes” forum, from which the conclusions readers draw (if any) must be heavily tempered by the knowledge that its content may be meaningless. In my view, such a publication must be allowed to continue uncensored and with its contributors untouched by lawful punishment (I think that if we are to take Trinity as a microcosm of society, reprimand from the Junior Dean is fairly equivalent to punishment by law). Papers like The Piranha often end up spewing forth unwarranted nastiness, yes, yet they are one of the few types of spaces where dissatisfaction with fundamental evils in society, which can go unnoticed without the existence of subversive elements, can be expressed powerfully. Ultimately, we should be able to think for ourselves, to pick out the parts of a marginal, controversial publication like The Piranha which seem wrong to us and to voice our disapproval of
such ideas, but we should also value it as a potential agent in better informing our views. Recourse to law in order to punish the individuals responsible for publishing that which offends should not be necessary- whether we consider those individuals’ actions to be brave or disgusting. The response to the LeCocq article demonstrates that students of this college have the ability to know something rotten when they see it and there is widespread indignation on his behalf throughout college. Why scare those who may have other controversial, but perhaps necessary, content to share with the power of the Junior Dean as well as public scorn? An incident which I feel further strengthens my point is The Piranha’s connection to another controversy regarding the elections. The facebook page “RON # 1 Trinity SU President”, which urged students to vote to re-open nominations instead of voting for the sole remaining canidiate, Ryan Bartlett, was created under a fake “Trinity Piranha” account. Engle posted on the page denying any connection to it, helpfully clearing up any difficult confusions one might have regarding the complex nature of satire when he stated that “satire is funny because it is not real, but merely a facade of reality. When one steps into the realm of genuine political campaign the point of the publication is lost.” He signed off his post with the sentence “Close this shit down”. This proves that freedom is a two-way street. Engle, who campaigned for Bartlett during the election, has the freedom to print what he wants in a self-professed satirical magazine, but, equally, anyone can use his publication’s name for their own purposes in the chaotic environment of the internet. It is my belief that if a large amount of freedom is given to everyone to print what they want and individuals are intelligent and tenacious enough to draw their own conclusions (and if they are not, we as a society have much bigger problems), the rest will take care of itself. It is detrimental to introduce rule-based punishment in cases such as this.
Students finally give a damn Fergal Mullins
he importance of the forthcoming General Election cannot be understated. It is universally regarded as a watershed moment, the significance of which is unparalleled since the founding of the Free State. Unlike previous elections of 2002 and 2007, this election has captured the imagination of previously politically indifferent students. The reasons for this are obvious. With the IMF now in town, the backdrop to this campaign is in marked contrast to its predecessors. The country is no longer blowing its nose with hard cash and this has made students more politically engaged. The extent of the country’s empty coffers has been made all too clear to students; increased student fees, mass unemployment and the looming threat of emigration hanging over their shoulders. Not even the abundance of €4 naggins can paper over this reality. This has caused the student population to stand up and take notice. Aside from the mechanics of party politics, students have made their voices heard. This was epitomized by the student march against fees and the recent march by over 3,000 student nurses against the Government’s plan to ultimately cut-off payments for
their mandatory 36-week placement in hospitals. Students now want to know now more than ever what they are getting for their vote. This upsurge in political interest among students has also filtered through to the various political party movements in Trinity itself. These parties have managed to overcome the stigma attached to politics and counteract the apathy among students. Membership has risen across the board and committee meetings are enjoying a renewed vigour from new members, especially the new freshers. Despite being on the breach of an electoral hiding, Ógra Fianna Fáil has seen fewer empty seats at
its committee meetings. Labour Youth has built on its solid base with over one hundred new freshers signing up into the ranks. Young Greens, far from being punished for its role in government with Fianna Fail, has seen its popularity go from strength to strength and remarkably enjoyed more new recruits than its senior coalition partner. Young Fine Gael, spurred on by its uprising national popularity, recorded more than double the amount of new recruits than any other party and have even noted the need to form a second committee in order to contain the level of fresh faces. It would also appear than the socialist movement is alive and well in Trinity with eighty new budding left-wingers pledging their support. This, coupled with Trinity student, Dylan Haskins, putting forward his
candidature as an independent voice, shows politics to be enjoying a rude bill of health among Trinity students. Whatever the outcome of Friday’s election, the student body will play a significant role with more than 2,500 new voters signing up during the recent voter registration drive in Trinity. The question of disengagement of young people and politics is less apparent. Students, regardless of their political allegiance are making a conscious effort to be more informed. While politics still has a long way to go to endear itself to students, it is certainly going in the right direction.Even though a whopping 70% of TD’s in the Dail are aged over 50, irish politics isn’t exclusively an old-man’s game.
JS Dylan Haskins is emblematic of the repoliticisation of students. Photo: Tom Lowe
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
TRINITY TALKS: SEXISM IN SPORT TODAY Jack Leahy Sports Editor THE ‘VOICE of football’ for most of the Premier League years, Andy Gray, simply could not escape the indicting symbolism: valued and, in many cases, revered for his opinion and
commentary, his comments regarding Sian Massey were rightly condemned by fans, players, and equality groups alike. Having used his words so masterfully to make his way to the top of his field, they have brought him tumbling back down to its scrapheap.
Had Gray been ousted for simply jesting ‘someone ought to teach the woman the offside rule’, I would be venting my apoplexy and berating an over-sensitive world in which everything which can offend anyone in the slightest offends everyone to the maximum.
But this was not the case with Gray and co-star Andy Keys; their comments were cynical and indicative of an antediluvian attitude towards women in sport. Misogyny is a strong word, but if the glove fits then you wear it. The fact that the comments were picked up
‘off the record’, so to speak, only serves to indicte them further as they cannot dismiss what was said as slipof-the-tongue. Their departure from their roles with Sky Sports has resolved the matter in practical terms, yet – nearly a month on – questions
which arose during the fierce debate which ensued still remain. Do their comments belong to the minority of an outdated boys’ club in an otherwise progressive domain, or are they indicative of deeply-rooted anti-female attitudes within sport in general?
Whatever the answer, these events once again call attention to sport’s remarkable power to shine a light on important issues which go far beyond the confines of track, field, pitch, court, and rink. With all this in mind, UTSports poses a question.
While simple in form, it is one which evokes fierce debate and the radical polarisation of opinion. We ask:
especially rugby and American Football, place too much emphasis on being physically or athletically superior to the opponent. Even today, historically technique-orientated sports such as golf and tennis are starting to see a shift towards fitness and strength taking priority over technical mastery. A dominance of brutish muscularity has not yet permeated the female game, which in some cases makes it aesthetically pleasing. Yet who speaks for the silent majority? Females who prefer to watch males competing don’t have to make excuses when asked why they are not watching women’s sports instead of men’s. And these women aren’t fictional. One of the biggest Manchester United fanatics I know is a premium season ticket owner, a minor shareholder and a part-time tenant of a Manchester city centre flat. She also happens to be female, but, to my knowledge, has never declared an interest in the female side of affairs. It must also be noted that some sports are more sexist than others. Rugby is a physical sport, which requires much self-punishment to achieve success. It is also traditionally played by males and most females of my acquaintance would rather employ their time in less physically demanding ways, such as (dare I say it?) shopping. On the reverse side of the coin however, hockey, especially in Ireland, is traditionally played by females, and although it requires much physical endurance and athleticism, many males choose to forgo it, in place of other sports.
Every summer, when our hangover TV is dominated by the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, as much interest is shown towards the female competition. The same can be said for many of the more obscure sports in the Olympics, such as the pole-vault, curling, or synchronized swimming. Some sports simply have qualities which attract the bearers of the Y chromosome, while others don’t. Let me use the topical example of the Leinster Senior Cup – the Holy Grail of any Leinster-based rugby playing school. A similar tournament takes place among the female hockey playing schools, yet
do achieve success are portrayed as sex symbols and asked to appear in swimwear advertisements. Serena Williams went on sabbatical from professional tennis in order to promote her new fashion line. Maria Sharapova’s tweets often include descriptions of her many sponsors, which include Tiffany’s Jewellery and Cole Haan Fashion, and her magazine photo-shoots. Will female ambassadors for rugby or football follow this route in the future? Or will they be provided with lucrative sponsorship deals to Maximuscle, a la Johnny Sexton. Maybe the idea of physical competition is truly sexist because of the incorruptible argument that states that genetically, males are physically superior to females This is not sexism it’s science and it’s proven. Sport is only sexist as long as males and females compete in different tournaments, but doing this would provide half the population with an unfair genetic advantage, an advantage sports organisations work hard to eliminate, in order to create a level playing field. Sport doesn’t promote sexism. What it does is show how difficult it can be to avoid.
at sport than girls. One day, I may wholly accept this statement, but for now, only half of me does. Men are born with the mentality that they are the powerful, strong sex. When a girl enters what they consider their “territory”, they naturally feel threatened - it is a basic instinct. The sexism to which I find myself subject is almost always in good nature, just a bit of craic. But when women are internationally shamed in their profession, it is not ‘a bit of craic’ at all. It’s the 21st century, it’s 2011, we are no longer living in the era where girls stay at home to cook and clean while their brothers and fathers win the bread. Women are just as powerful as men in so many areas. Just look at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Angelina is most definitely
the dominant one in the relationship. Look at women like Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice, Marie Curie even Miley Cyrus taking the world by storm across the generations, regardless of whether or not we like to accept this (Party in the USA was a good tune in fairness). Yet, once it comes down to sport, women fade into in significance. We all know who David Beckham, Henry Shefflin and Brian O’Driscoll are, but we know nothing of their female counterparts. I don’t mean to say that I do, and I couldn’t name one player on the Irish women’s rugby team but that labours my point even more of how unfairly females in sport are represented, and this is down to the fact that men control sports and the publicizing of sports. It is clear
IS SPORT FUNDAMENTALLY SEXIST? Emma Tobin JF BESS, gymnast HERE’S THE thing. I love sports. I can list off the Irish rugby team in its entirety, including the Wolfhounds, all of Leinster, Munster, Ulster, a sizeable part of the other European rugby teams, the top five seeds in tennis, a hell of a lot of athletics competitors, swimmers and even some North American hockey, baseball, basketball and American football teams. But I struggle to remember the top seeds in women’s tennis that aren’t the Williams sisters, female athletes that aren’t undergoing gender investigations, and one women’s sports team that isn’t a national squad. I’m probably one of the last people who should be talking about sexism in sport when I’m so clearly part of the problem. But I’m going to anyway. As a nation we are absolutely obsessed with sports in any and all forms. But unless we have a female team, Derval O’Rourke or Katie Taylor in a final, we focus solely on the male aspects of it. It makes up about twenty five percent of news features on RTÉ one and dominates RTÉ 2 for the majority of the weekend, gaining the station some of its highest weekly viewings. Women’s sports could never achieve that kind of following. The entire problem is sort of stuck in a loop. Sports only start to grow when their following starts to increase, but they need viewers and exposure to do that. To get exposure they need funding and air time. Funding and air time they will not get until they become Emma Barron Staff Writer/Trinity GAA Most definitely. Just take a look around you. These days, men and women are equal. But in one aspect of life, men and women could not be less equal: sport. As children, girls are given dolls to play with, boys are handed a football and told to go outside to play. It is rooted deeply within us that boys are the sporty ones while girls are the sensitive indoor types. When a girl breaks the mould and picks up a tennis racket or a hockey stick, heads roll. Girls like this are labelled “tomboys” and “she-men”. They are seen as less attractive as their handbag-bearing, manicured counterparts. Why do we have this attitude? It is in the media that so carefully controls our
popular. See the problem? Bar the hardcore sports fans, most people only watch games if the team they’re affiliated with is playing or the outcome will affect said team. Women’s sports teams have yet to garner that kind of following just yet. Then there’s also that wonderfully awkward social truth we have to acknowledge; girls on the whole just aren’t as into sports as guys are. So, the target for women’s sport is already limited. Women who dislike sports won’t suddenly change their mind on the matter because it’s their own gender playing. Of course there are females like yours truly who are into sport, so would most likely watch both guys and girls competing if given the opportunity. Men are choosier. Some don’t see female sports as legitimate, but that’s a rant for another day. Others just aren’t interested if it’s not their team playing or if it’s not a major competitive fixture. There is an easy way to fix it though, and here is when the real extent of the ‘sexist’ issue becomes apparent. Girls need to get access to sports and opportunities to develop their skills earlier on than they do, or in some cases get any kind of access at all. Even if they aren’t future medallists, it would help build up interest and support systems for female athletes and teams. As it stands, sports facilities in girl’s schools are extremely lacking and P.E classes are the standing joke of the Irish school system. lives. The Premiership, the Six Nations, the Superbowl - these money-making machines are male dominated. The matches are shown on prime time TV across the world and on demand. Last summer hundreds of millions of people watched Spain defeat the Netherlands in the World Cup Final whereas I cannot even find TV ratings for the Women’s World Cup Final between Germany and Brazil in 2007. Yes, it was between Germany and Brzail. However, I have to admit I am at a total crossroads when it comes to sexism in sport. I frown upon it and complain about how badly female sports players are treated. Yet, when it boils down to it, I have to admit that boys are better. I am rather bipolar about the whole situation to be honest;
In comparison, boy’s schools have multiple sports leagues for GAA, Rugby, Football, Swimming and Basketball. The Junior and Senior Rugby cups even get feature positions in Irish papers. Yet unless you’ve competed in it, I doubt you could name any girls league of that prominence or calibre. Even at club level males get preference. My own experience of being in a mix
week in week out. Focus is taken away from their sports skills and achievement when commentators begin commenting on appearance. I challenge anyone to watch tennis matches featuring Serena Williams and not hear the commentator pass some judgement on her attire, regardless of how many sets ahead she is. No one would give a damn if Nadal played in just his tennis shoes so long as the match was decent. To be fair, male athletes are also being objectified to some extent. Fifteen years ago the notion of seeing a rugby player posing for magazine shoots was laughable. Today many no doubt have magazines featuring a shirtless BOD, Bowe, Kearney or Fitzgerald hidden away under beds. The only thing I’ve really managed to figure out is that sport is indeed sexist. But not by nature. It’s just reflecting those day to day occurrences of sexism that we’re all used to and put up with. That might be a bit of a big claim, but when notable sports personalities disagree with a referee’s call of off side, blaming her gender instead of her ability to read the game and interpret rules, I think that says it all.
As a nation, unless we have a female team, or Derval O’Rourke or Katie Taylor in a final, we focus solely on the male aspects of sport. sports club include the male members getting preferences in training times, coach access and equipment use, even when they were the club minority. Even in dance companies, the most successful choreographers are predominantly male. Those sportswomen who do establish themselves on an international level find themselves under far more external pressure than their male counterparts. They have their appearance picked apart and dissected by the tabloid media daily, are subjected to ridiculous “Top 10 Hottest...” rankings and still have to deal with fan expectations to deliver winning performances I should probably be seeing a shrink and not writing this article. In my opinion, sports like rugby were not built for the petite frame of the female; it is a hard-hitting, highly physical sport and as much as I hate to admit it, the female equivalent will never quite measure up. Of course, it could be said that men cannot be dancers or gymnasts, yet they are and it is widely accepted that they are just as good, even if not as common as females. There are sports deemed manly and others deemed feminine. Some sports, such as athletics or swimming, maintain a balance of the two extremes. Although it hurts my soul to admit, sports will forever be male dominated. Male sports
by the most part are more exciting than the female equivalent. They are faster and more passionate.
I cannot even find TV ratings for the Women’s World Cup Final between Germany and Brazil in 2007. I could list female friends of mine who have quit sports due to utter laziness and interference with their
Matthew Rye Deputy Sports Editor WOMEN HAVE never been represented equally in sport. They don’t receive the same financial support from the administrative organisations and backers. Sponsorship deals are less lucrative. Player pools are smaller. Regular broadcast is underfunded and sporadic. A valid argument could be made that female sportswomen will not receive significant attention until certain achievements have been fulfilled. But until the recent ‘Graygate’ scandal, the idea that male sports pundits would be misogynistic or sexist, was overlooked. But the uncouth references made to female linesman Sian Massey which went viral on the internet, were deemed visceral enough to secure terminations of esteemed commentators. There is no place for that in the game, particularly when the accusations turn out to be inaccurate. But is the sports media sexist? In a way I suppose they are. Without wanting to follow the infamous Sky Sports duo to the feminist lynching post, there simply isn’t as much consumer demand for coverage of female sports. People who prefer to see men play rugby or football aren’t necessarily inherently sexist. It’s just that, generally, the play is of a higher standard, a fact which many female sports fans would find hard to deny. That is not to say female sport is unappealing. Personally, I find they can be refreshing to watch for its technical properties. Many contact sports nowadays, social lives and/or education (nobody really cares about that though). They give up training in the rain on Wednesday nights in favour of Tripod. I can honestly say that I do not know any boys that have done this; they are so committed that it is somewhat frightening. I know lads who eat, live and sleep sport. Drinking bans do not bother them because the glory of winning that crucial game or race is worth it. Sport is instilled in their steroid-filled blood. It dates way back to the days before Jesus Christ, back to the cavemen; men were built to hunt, and they chased dinosaurs for dinner. We girls made the dinner and we made the babies. It is in our physical make-up, boys are better
Genetically, males are physically superior to females. This is not sexism - it’s science and it’s proven. this, to date, has not received a sponsorship from Powerade or media coverage by Setanta Sports. Yet those who compete will argue that just as much physical and emotional energy is sacrificed. Equality here seems hard to come by. Another obstacle which some female athletes may come across is media coverage for the wrong reasons. Those female athletes who
when you open a newspaper how lacking the sports section is in female presence and we accept it without complaint because if we complain, we will be laughed at. So yes, men do have a hugely condescending attitude towards women in sport and sport is indeed sexist, but what’s stopping them? If girls don’t stand up for themselves and demand to be recognised, it will remain this way forever. God, I feel so empowered after that rant.
Does the gender divide extend to College sports? Mairead McParland Staff Writer Is sport fundamentally sexist? Having been involved in sport from a young age my immediate answer to this question would usually be a resounding yes. Usually I point to the example of female athletes who excel in two or three different sports and bemoan the fact that if they were men they would be heroes all over the country. I decided to take this question and put it to the students of Trinity College to find out on campus if our sport in College mirrors that of the outside world and is indeed fundamentally sexist. Over the last number of years the ladies
sports clubs in Trinity have often been more successful than their male counterparts, and in a sense this has been reflected in the makeup of the sports scholarships with the ladies being as well represented as boys, though not 50-50 in a forced equality. Athletes are chosen on merit rather than gender. When I asked high profile sports participants on campus if they felt Trinity sport was sexist it produced some interesting responses but the general consensus was that in Trinity talent is recognised for what it is and there is no discrimination. One point that was made however was that in the gym the weights area could be made more user friendly for females but overall girls do not feel differently treated
in Trinity Sports Centre. The composition of DUCAC also reflects this culture. The Head of Sport is Michelle Tanner and the DUCAC administrator is Drindra Jones. In a college which has often been criticised for its glass ceiling and lack of females in top Head of Department roles throughout College, the sports department could once again be said to be showing the way in this area. It is up to those involved in sport to dispel any notions of sexism. For example in any level of sport the ladies team usually pulls a smaller audience than the male game but I do not think this is an indication of sexism. Instead I feel that its girls involved in sport who can change this. Using GAA as an example, on any given
Sunday up and down the country girls will be seen cheering on their men’s team, faithfully decked out in the club or county colours. The same happens here, with plenty of girls lining out to cheer on the boys, whereas no one really knows when the girls’ games happen. Perhaps they are just poorly publicised by the College. Very few of these girls ever exhibit the same passion and loyalty when following their ladies team. It is up to girls to get out and support their own and lay that aspect of imbalance in sport to rest once and for all. Overall I would conclude that sport is no more sexist than aspects of everyday life. I feel it is up to girls to disprove any notions there are of sexism in sport by getting out and supporting
their own because if ladies sport started pulling enough spectators, the media could no longer ignore it. In Trinity the attitude to sport on campus is one where high performance is recognised and encouraged from the top of the DUCAC administration throughout the clubs. Those involved in Trinity sport deserve great credit for this – long may it continue. To conclude, have a look at the names of the writers in this section of the Students’ Union paper. You will find more female contributors than males, and long may that continue as well.
The University Times | Tuesday, February 22nd 2011
TIMESSPORTS Ronaldo: In loving memory
Interview: Champion Jockey Barry Geraghty
Jack Leahy Sports Editor
Lydia Symonds Staff Writer
FAREWELL, RONALDO we hardly knew ye. After 18 long years in the game, the footballing world said its final farewell to one of its greatest ever stars last week as Brazilian legend Ronaldo hung up his boots following Corinthians’ elimination from the Copa Libertadores. Many will observe a period of mourning no longer than the time required to shrug their shoulders, justifiably pointing out that Ronaldo’s career effectively ended a long time ago. But for our generation, Ronaldo’s retirement represents the loss of one of the greatest players of our time, however plagued by injury and calorie consumption he may have been. I really admire players whose quality endures into the twilight of their long careers; I will make no secret of the fact that when Ryan Giggs eventually calls it a day, I will shed more than just a few tears. While the latter stages of Ronaldo’s career never saw him reach the heights of his Inter Milan years, he always demonstrated a flash of brilliance which brought the memories flooding back. At his prime, Ronaldo was the only player in the world whose presence alone was enough to win a game. Scoring goals was his art, one which came as naturally to him as breathing. Defenders quaked in their Nike boots when the saw him steamrolling goalwards, frozen in their tracks by the presence of an all-powerful God of the sport enacting his destructive will. For me and many like me, it is the Brazilains who constitute my earliest memories in football. I was always enthralled by the fact teams containing the legendary likes of Rivaldo, Cafu,
Roberto Carlos, Emerson, Kaka, Ronaldinho, and Lucio still had one star who shone the brightest in the chubby but lovable frontman. Nowadays, the Brazilians hail just about every decent player to come out a country as a ‘star’, the majority of whom come to Europe at a very young age and for an inflated fee, disappoint many, moan to all those who will listen, and end up somewhere obscure like Ankayara or at one of Moscow’s several sides. But Ronaldo was different – he arrived at PSV with big expectation and only went from strength to strength. He was greatly successful at Europe’s biggest clubs, save an anticlimactic period at A.C. Milan. In fact, given the modern context typified by Fernando Torres’ ill-received move to Chelsea, Ronaldo’s career record really is outstanding. He managed to cross the divide on no fewer than three occasions, having played for both Milan sides, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Corinthians and Cruziero, admittedly a lesser rivalry. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine another player ever being so universally embraced that he can move from big club to big club without leaving behind hard feelings and contempt. It seems that in this great career, all that mattered was that Ronaldo loved football, and those who love football reciprocated accordingly. And why would they not? As I have mentioned, most of the clubs lucky enough to have called themselves home to this star are much better off for his time with them and can have no reasonable complaints. His job was to score goals, and boy did he do that. That is also down to the simple fact that few will ever do so well that of which Ronaldo made a career: scoring
goals, winning trophies, and illuminating sides with a dominating on-pitch presence which belied his quiet off-pitch politeness. Until the end of his Real Madrid career, Ronaldo brought confidence and success to his clubs in equal measure. He can hardly be blamed for the swift fall-out which ended his time in Madrid; as many will testify, Real are hardly the best man-managers in the business. His true superstardom was revealed on the international stage, bagging 62 goals in 97 international caps. His importance to the great Brazilian teams of the late 90s and early 2000s is underlined by their gobsmacking implosion in the 1998 World Cup final after his late withdrawal from the starting line-up. His fifteen goals in World Cup competition are an alltime record and his eight in South Korea/Japan 2002 were the deciding factor in Brazil’s reclaiming of the World Cup trophy. The image of Ronaldo celebrating his first goal in the final against Germany, ridiculous hairstyle standing out as he giggled with delight and wagged his finger in the direction of team-mate Rivaldo, is one which for this generation, will always be part of our footballing memories. All in all, Ronaldo will be remembered for his unstoppable finishing, his physical prowess, his indomitable presence and his infectious smile. He was not one for empty badge-kissing gestures or showmanship, for unsporting behaviour or for arrogance. He is a simple man whose aims in the game were basic: score goals, win trophies, and enjoy every minute of it. And so, Ronaldo, we bid you a fond farewell. As a generation we say thanks for the goals, thanks for the cheer, and most of all, thanks for the memories.
NFL: Super Bowl ‘11 Melanie Giedlin Staff Writer WHETHER YOU watched it at one of Dublin’s sports bars, elbow-to-elbow with cheering fans and their pints, on the TV in your living-room, or even on ESPN live on your laptop, this was the Super Bowl game that people held their breath for. Touted as a match-up with big stakes, with the Pittsburgh Steelers gunning for a 7th win in their 8th appearance (the last time being Super Bowl XLIII in 2008) and the Green Bay Packers looking for their 4th in 5 appearances, it was a disappointment for Steelers fans who watched their team play an uncharacteristically sloppy game. In the end, the Packers were left holding the Lombardi trophy, the score Steelers 25 ,Packers 31. Expected by many to be a showdown between the two quarterback greats, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl XLV saw Roethlisberger making some decisive mistakes in the first half. A 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson set up a Packers lead early in the game, and Roethlisberger had a touchdown literally knocked out of his hands as a collision with Howard Green made his pass fall short, intercepted by Nick Collins who scored a second Packers touchdown. However, the Steelers managed to pick up some steam with a 49-yard drive, capped off by a field goal that gave them 3 to the Packers 14. For the Steelers, it seemed to go downhill quickly. Roethlisberger threw another pass that was intercepted, and Rodgers’ 21-yard pass to Greg Jennings (who put the team on his back, for those of you who have seen the youtube video) gave the Packers another needed touchdown. Second Quarter score with 2:24 minutes to go? Steelers 3, Pittsburgh 21. Though Steelers fans could breathe a small sigh of relief when a 37-yard drive led to a run resulting in a 8-yard touchdown reception by Hines Ward, it’s safe to say not many took too much enjoyment out of the BlackEyed Peas’ halftime show. Then again, it’s also safe to say not many fans in general took much enjoyment out of the Black-Eyed Peas, especially in comparison to the last three years acts (The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Tom Petty). During halftime, both teams faced the loss of key players: Packers’ receiver Donald Driver was out, Charles Woodson ended his season with a broken collarbone,
and Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders had to end his game with an injury as well. However, both teams soldiered on, and the Packer’s bounced back from their losses as they had all season. As the second half began, the Steelers’ defense began to amp it up and it seemed as if the Steelers’ could pull a win out of the game, forcing Green Bay to punt, followed by a drive led by Steelers running back Rashad Mendenhall, leading the Steelers’ to a third down and 1 and allowing running back Isaac Redman to gain 16 yards and Mendenhall to eke out a 8-yard touchdown and securing 17 points to the Packer’s 21. As Roethlisberger tried to build on his team’s gain, he was stopped in quick succession by Clay Matthews, Desmond Bishop, and finally Frank Zombo on the third down. The fourth quarter was when the game got real intense, real fast. After a fumble by Mendenhall, it was Packers’ time as Rodger’s kicked it into high gear. Throwing a 38-yard pass to Nelson that led to an 8-yard pass to Jennings, Rodgers gave the Packers’ another 7 points. However, Steelers’ fans held their breath as Roethlisberger took the team to Green Bay’s 40 yard line, and threw a touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, and passed to Antwaan Randle El on a conversion, ratcheting the score up to 25-28. With just about 7 minutes left, the Lombardi trophy could have been either teams for the taking; it was Mason Crosby’s field goal that gave the Packers their 3 point lead, and though the Steelers got the ball back, a turnover allowed the Packers to run out the clock and win Super Bowl XLV. In the end, it wasn’t a game filled with nail-biting moments, but one that rested on solid gameplay. Both teams had seasons rife with victories, leading to a Super Bowl that was truly the match up between the best two teams in the season. However, in the end it came down to the Packers’ ability to outlast the Steelers (in a game where safety Troy Polamalu was almost invisible), led on the charge by Aaron Rodgers. The Steelers could have, and many will argue (including me) should have, taken home the trophy if not for some decisive mistakes. In Super Bowl XLV, it was the the Green Bay Packers and their legions of Cheeseheads that went home with the glory, while postgame Ben Roethlisberger hung his head and cried into his Terrible Towel.
BARRY GERAGHTY is one of Ireland’s top jump jockeys, clocking up successes both in Britain and Ireland. One would not hesitate to describe him as a “big race specialist” as he is the only jump Jockey riding today to have won all four of the feature races at the Cheltenham festival as well as the Grand National. The first of these coming in the 2003 Queen Mother Champion chase aboard the popular Jessie Harrington trained chaser Moscow Flyer and in the same year winning the Grand National on Monty’s Pass. Since these first
two winners there really has been no stopping his success. Barry splits his time riding in Ireland and Britain, he is the stable jockey at Seven Barrows for trainer Nicky Henderson a position that he has held for three 3 seasons, a partnership that is one of great success, the highlight of which came in 2009 when aboard Punjabi, the less fancied of the Henderson runners, stormed up the Cheltenham hill to land the highest accolade over the smaller obstacles, the Champion Hurdle. Barry is also not short of talent away Henderson’s Lambournbased yard and this was brilliantly highlighted when he had a third success in the Champion
Chase in 2010 on Big Zeb for Irish trainer Colm Murphy. Barry has a host of exciting rides at this year’s festival having had good horses in abundance throughout the whole season, winning races at all levels. He has had a strong season at Nicky Henderson’s, being part of a big moment for Mr Henderson when Punchestowns won at Kempton, putting Nicky in an elite club having trained 2000 winners since he began in 1978, at which stage Barry was not even born! For him it was an important day, “tweeting” shortly after the race “brilliant achievement by Nicky to train his 2000 winners…was a privilege to be involved.”
Barry salutes another win on English soil. Photo: Michael Cusack
Did you always want to be a jockey?
all my big Cheltenham wins - any winner at Cheltenham is always very special.
Yes, my parents own a riding school in county Meath so there was no other profession I wanted to do, I always knew that this was the job for me.
Who was/is the biggest influence on your career?
When and where did you ride your first winner under orders? When I was 18 at Gowran Park, January 1997 for trainer Noel Meade on a horse called Stagalier.
You have won most of the top class races in your career, what would you consider to be your career highlight? It’s difficult to pick one out because I have been lucky enough to ride so many good horses, but the Grand National was very special and
When I was growing up I always looked up to Richard Dunwoody and his achievements in racing, being leading jump jockey on 3 occasions and the winners he clocked up over the years. But when I was riding it would have to be Charlie Swann because he was still riding when I was so I learned a lot from him, he was clever rider and I always admired him when I was starting out.
What do you get up to during your time out of the saddle? I watch a lot of sport and like to keep up with that, but I also buy and sell horses. It’s always rewarding when a horse that you have bought as youngster turns out to be
a potential superstar, something that I have particularly seen this season in Bobs Worth having won twice at Cheltenham this season. I also like to do touch of farming in my spare time.
This season you were appointed as the 2010/11 Horse Racing Ireland NH Ambassador what do you do in this new role? I help promote racing throughout Ireland, and to try and get more people involved and interested in the sport especially the younger people, I write a blog on goracing.ie, twitter and have a facebook page to try and people as up to date as possible!
You said to watch a lot of other sport, what other sporting figure do you admire and why? I like Rafael Nadal - he is a very talented and never gives up. But being a Liverpool supporter, Steven Gerrard
would have to be my pick. He has been at the club for such a long time now and is such a brilliant footballer and a great captain.
What would be the one thing you would change about racing? Admissions- this is the main thing I would hange; I would make them more affordable. I think it is important to get more people on the racecourses making racing more available to the general public.
And finally, what horse are you most excited about for this years Cheltenham festival? Finian’s Rainbow, is such an exciting novice, he really gives me great feel every time I ride him and he is unbeaten over fences so far this season. That’s always a massive bonus going into the festival!
Collingwood Cup 2011: Draw in full First Round Monday Feb 21st 2011
Quarter Finals Tuesday Feb 22nd 2011
UCD v College of Surgeons UU Magee v UU Coleraine DCU v NUI Maynooth Mary Immaculate College v UCC UU Jordanstown v Queens University
(a) UCD/College of Surgeons v Magee/Coleraine
Byes- Dublin University (hosts) , University of Limerick , NUI Galway.
(c) UU Jordanstown/QUB v Dublin University
(b) DCU/NUI Maynooth v Mary Immaculate/ UCC
Semi-Finals Wednesday 23rd 2011 Winner A v Winner B Winner C v Winner D
Final to take place on Thursday 24th Feb at 2.30pm in College Park.
(d) University of Limerick v NUI Galway
Jack Hogan’s Premier League Miscellany Jack Hogan Armchair Footballer What a month is has been in the Premier League. From transfer deadline day madness to four-goal comebacks and goal-of-the-season contenders, the past few weeks have been among the most eventful so far this season. Where else can we start other than the dramatic 4-4 thriller at St. James’ Park? Newcastle showed some outstanding resilience to come back in the second half though they were helped, it must be said, by the sending-off of Abou Diaby after a moment of madness. Joey Barton again proved his worth as both a penalty taker and a
middleweight wrestler having violently tackled Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny. However, Alan Pardrew’s men still face the challenge in consolidating their position in football’s top flight. Arsenal, however, have ground to make up on United in the title race. Alex Ferguson’s men look as strong as ever and are hitting form at exactly the right time of the season. A crucial win over their City rivals has created some breathing space at the top of the table. However, the game will always be remembered for Wayne Rooney’s simply unbelievable winner. Though a vital goal in the context of the season, perhaps it has been hyped-up somewhat by the English media
due to the fact that it was Rooney who scored it. It was refreshing to see Lee Dixon on Match of the Day proving with slow-motion video evidence that Rooney in fact shinned it! Great goal nonetheless. At the other end ,the writing is very much on the wall for West Ham. Though they won their bid to take over the Olympic Stadium in 2012, they will have trouble filling the 80,000-seat arena should they find themselves in the Championship next season. Avram Grant has much work to do to in order to motivate his players, although the question must be asked – is he really the man for the job? Another team struggling at the wrong end of the
table is West Brom. The departure of Roberto Di Matteo no doubt upset many fans. However the knowledge and experience of elder statesman Roy Hodgson should see them to safety and end the club’s reputation as a “yo-yo team” who only get promoted the get relegated straight away. In contrast, Sunderland and Bolton continue to punch above their weight in the top half and it appears as though it will be race between them and Liverpool to secure European football next season. Kenny Dalglish’s purple-patch came to an end recently with a woeful home draw against Wigan. However, once Andy Carroll recovers from injury they should be a serious
attacking threat with Carroll winning the ball in the air and the likes of Suarez and the excellent Raul Meireles playing off him. Finally we come to the high-spending, blank-firing Chelsea. Their woeful run of form continued with a loss at home to Liverpool and a lucky away draw at Craven Cottage. They have again shown that you cannot buy your way out of trouble in football - £50million Fernando Torres has been a shadow of his former self. If their slip-ups continue, it should be enough to cost them Champions League football next season. Ironic, don’t you think Mr. Abramovich?
Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 | The University Times
Interview: Barry Geraghty
McShera competes on international stage Jack Leahy Sports Editor First year MSISS (Management Science and Information Systems) student Shane McShera recently represented Ireland on the international stage in both the World Student Winter Games in Turkey and the World Alpine Ski Championships in Garmisch, competing as part of a threeman Irish team. Dublin University Snow Sports Society (DUSSC) member McShera, who was victorious in the advanced race in last year’s inter-varsity competitions, competed at the Junior World Chamionships last year and at
the European Youth Olympic Festival while still in secondary education. First up were the World Student Winter games in Turkey, where he competed in the Giant Slalom alongside some 85 other athletes on February 4th. Weather conditions for the games were hardly ideal, with the warmer than expected weather resulting in no snowfall, with any put on the track by the organisers blown away by winds. What resulted was a dry track, reflected in relatively fast times across the board but a harder track to navigate. McShera recorded a time of 2minutes, 16.29 seconds to place a disappointing
69th, 24 seconds behind winning skiier BernhardGraff. The Austrian, who raced down the mountain in 1minute, 52.04 seconds, was half a second ahead of Adam Zika of Russia. Nonetheless, McShera was the best-placed Irish racer in the Giant Slalom event, with team-mate Nicholas McKelvey of Dundee University failing to finish the race. Statistical analysis shows that Shane, 20, outperformed his ranking of 104 by 35 places. The Men’s Slalom two days later was a less successful event for McShera, who was the last of the nonfinishing skiers to fall. The difference between Giant
Slalom and Slalom skiing lies in the spacing of the poles on the track, with the much narrower spacing causing sharper and faster turns. Compatriot McKelvey once again failed to finish in a disappointing showing from the Irish side. The event was won by American Josef Stiegler, in a time of 1 minute, 45.71 seconds, just .13 seconds ahead of second-placed Slovenian Filip Mlensak. McShera’s achievement in earning selection for the next competition, The World Alpine Ski Championships, should not be overlooked, as the competition included the best the world has to offer in Alpine skiers from over
UCD await after deserved semi win Trinity 3-10 Athlone 1-08 Athlone Mairead McParland Staff Writer Trinity Ladies have set up a mouth-watering Lynch Cup semi final against UCD this Tuesday following a clinical eight-point victory over Athlone IT. After a long bus journey following a late venue change, the Trinity girls got off to a sluggish start with Athlone registering two points before Sinead O’Sullivan got Trinity off the mark with a free kick. Trinity espoused the maxim that your attack is the first line of defence, with tenacious tackling in the forwards overturning the Athlone kick-out and once
again O’Sullivan was on hand to convert a free kick and bring the sides level. The game cracked to life when Marie Ní Mhuinichean rose highest to fist the ball to the net past the Athlone net-minder who was otherwise outstanding throughout. Siobhan Melvin then provided the spectators with an exhibition of the core skills of the game when she took a wonderful catch and turned and slotted the ball between the posts. Athlone responded in style, driving through the heart of the Trinity defence to register a well-worked and hard-earned point. They attacked again but good defensive pressure from Kathryn Rice forced the shot wide. Marie Ní Mhuinuchean again showed her predatory instincts, reacting quickest to slide the ball into the net after Sinead
O’Sullivan’s initial shot had been well saved. Once more, the westerners showed a lot of character and after a period of sustained pressure, they got the goal they deserved to leave just 3 points between the teams. On the stroke of half time the referee awarded a throw up in the heart of the Athlone defense. Karen O’Shea won the ball and in one fluid movement turned and struck the ball low to the net giving the College a six point cushion at the break on a score line of 3-4 to 1-4. Siobhan Melvin opened the scoring in the second half and an immediate reply from Athlone reflected the way the half would continue – for every point Trinity scored, Athlone broke up the field to reply and vice versa. Despite their sustained pressure Athlone never really looked like getting the big score they needed to
haul themselves back into the contest and a few Sinead O’Sullivan points and a superlative effort from Carol Dooher was enough to leave the final score reading 3-10 to 1-08 in favour of Trinity. The challenge of facing UCD in Belfield is a serious one, but thisTrinity side showed glimpses of the form they are capable of against Athlone, with some brave tackling, excellent wellworked scores and some good passages of team work. Considering this game was the first competitive outing for the senior ladies team after a long lay off, they can take many positives from the performance. As always with any UCD-Trinity match the stakes are high and a victory will see Trinity qualify for the Lynch Cup weekend in Limerick on 19th March, which is where every college team aspires to be. An intriguing battle is in store.
40 countries, many of whom have been skiing since before McShera was born. In the Giant Slalom event last Friday in Garmisch, Germany, McShera finished 111th of the 127 athletes who completed the event, with over 40 others either not finishing or being disqualified for technical faults. His time of 2 minutes, 33.34 seconds in the number 104 bib was a disimprovement on his time in Turkey, but this was a respectable showing in the company of some of the world’s finest. He once again finished ahead of team-mate McKelvey, who was 3 seconds behind in 117th place. He was the second-placed Irish
Austrian Bernhard Gaff, who defeated McShera in the Giant Slalom event in Turkey. racer, 33 places behind 17year old Conor Lyne who
managed a time of 1 minute 16 seconds to finish 68th in
Ladies seconds fall at final hurdle Trinity 0-4 Marino 0-11 Clanna Gael Mairead McParland Staff Writer Trinity Ladies’ second team suffered heart break after suffering defeat in the league final in Clanna Gael last week. Marino were the only team to defeat Trinity in their group games and following comprehensive victories over Froebel and UCD, Trinity were confident that they could avenge their first round defeat. Marino, however, opened up proceedings as they intended to continue with a blistering start, and within the first ten minutes they had already put six points on the board. Trinity were finding it hard to get any
possession and when Marino were attacking, Trinity had great difficulty in halting their charge. The few times that Trinity attacked, Marino were always there to close up space and deny the home side any shooting opportunities. Trinity stood their ground and an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Clare Foley ensured that Trinity were still in with a shout of an unlikely comeback. Maeve Breen won the ball in the fullback line and sprinted up the field before combining beautifully with Jacinta Brady to knock over Trinity’s only score of the half. When the ‘home’ side were give occasion to display their footballing skills and superior fitness, they really took the game to their Marino counterparts and made them look distinctly ordinary. The problem was,
however, that they rarely had sufficient possession to sustain these periods of dominance and the teachers had little trouble in establishing a 0-9 to 0-1 lead at the break. An eight-point half-time deficit was always likely to prove insurmountable, but nonetheless the girls fought bravely in the second half. They stood toe-to-toe with Marino in every sector of the field and in scoring three points, they outplayed their opponents scoreborardwise in the second period. Unfortunately, it proved to be too little too late and the goals that Trinity required to haul themselves back into contention never materialsed. The heart and desire shown in the second half in particular though was a credit to the team and in their first year in existence getting to a league final is no mean feat.
Turbulent February for Rugby firsts Matthew Rye Deputy Sports Editor February has so far been a truly turbulent month for Trinity’s struggling rugby side. Entering the month second from bottom of the league, and with tough away fixtures to Ballynahinch and Clonakilty, one could be forgiven for not be so optimistic about the coming month. However, considering the difficulty of their position, many would consider the past couple of performances in the AIB Division 2 quite admirable. One loss away to league leaders, Ballynahinch and a rousing victory in Cork will definitely increase
confidence in a side that has been lacking in that department this season. The opening match of the month in Ulster saw captain Scott LaValla’s men take on the league leaders, who had been in excellent form at home all season. Ballynahinch showed flashes of this form early on, as the backline carved through the Trinity defence and scored a try less than two minutes after kick-off. However, far from letting their heads fall, Trinity used their forward power to establish themselves by dominating territory through some choice kicking from James O’Donoghue. O’Donoghue put Trinity on the board
with a penalty after sheer domination of the breakdown by the Trinity pack. Second row Pierce Byrne then darted over from close range for an opportunistic try for Trinity. The pack continued to use their size to outmuscle Hinch, keeping them out of scoring range with good tactical kicking and a solid, disciplined defence. Hinch managed to score on a sweeping counter-attack, while Trinity were stretched, but the away side were able to claw their way back on top via an Alan Mathews try after some excellent continuity play from the trinity pack. James O’Donoghue’s successful
conversion secured a 20-15 lead for Trinity going into halftime. The fickle breeze, which Trinity managed to manipulate so well in the first half, certainly had more of an impact to make in the second period, as Hinch kept Trinity penned back deep in their own territory for large periods of the second half. Penalties seemed to plague the away side and attributed to the first try of second half, scored by the Hinch backs off a shortened lineout. Two sin-binnings for Trinity meant they lacked the firepower to work their way back into game, which always looked out of their reach in the second half.
spite of a ranking of 94.
A late try by the home side meant that Trinity were denied a bonus point, which they probably deserved based on the quality of the performance. The encounter with Clonakilty in west Cork would prove to be more fortuitous for the home side, though not undeservingly so. Five minutes after the kick-off, Trinity were already two tries ahead by the virtue of wingers Niall Hanratty and Niyi Adeoluken. These were followed by a fantastic individual effort by Tim McCoy, as he received the ball on the halfway line, stepped inside the defence, chipped the ball over the flailing Clonakilty
Trinity: C. Foley, A. Codd, S. Quinn, M. Breen, M. Pendred, S. Cotter, M. Smith, J. Brady, F. Kearney , M. O’Riordan, C. Byrne, C. Carmody, L. McKenna, M. Ní Mhuinichean, M. McParland
Subs: L. Goonan, S. Mulkerrin, U. Brennan, A. Clifford, F. Rogers
Team vs. Ballynahinch
fullback and collected the ball to score under the posts. The Trinity backs seemed to dominate proceedings throughout the remainder of the first half, with McCoy and out-half Dave Joyce controlling the tempo of the game and switching the points of attack frequently to keep the Clonakilty defence guessing. Joyce had a hand in the next try, performing a skip pass to Trinity captain Scott LaValla who scored Trinity’s fourth try before half time, helping his team to a 33-13 lead at the interval. The game continued to open up in the second half, which worked in favour of
the collegiate side. Back rowers Alan Mathews and Dominic Gallagher managed to get themselves deservedly on the score sheet after some solid performances. Sam Bell and LaValla completed the scoring, and James O’Donoghue kicked six of nine conversions in a 59-27 victory for the Students. Although defence and set pieces are areas for the players and staff to work on, the team can feel much happier about their performances in the New Year. A tough challenge at home to Thomond looms next weekend.
15 James O’Donoghue, 14 Neil Hanratty, 13 Tim McCoy, 12 Ciaran Wade (Niyi Adeolukan 50), 11 Peter Zarafi, 10 Dave Joyce, 9 Mick McLoughlin (Sam Bell 70), 1 Ian Hirst (Paddy McCabe 50), 2 Mark Murdoch (Craig Telford 70), 3 James Gethings, 4 Scott LaValla, 5 Pierce Byrne, 6 John Iliff (Colm MacDonnell 15), 7 Eamon Guinan, 8 Alan Mathews. Team vs Clonakilty 15 James O’Donoghue, 14 Neil Hanratty (Peter Zarafi 65), 13 Ciaran Wade (Ed Barry 65), 12 Tim McCoy, 11 Niyi Adeolukan, 10 Dave Joyce, 9 Sam Bell, 1 Ian Hirst (Paddy McCabe 60), 2 Mark Murdoch, 3 James Gethings, 4 Colin McDonnell (Eamon Guinan 50), 5 Pierce Byrne, 6 Scott LaValla, 7 Dominic Gallagher (Craig Telford 60), 8 Alan Mathews.
Trinity to host Collingwood Cup Jack Leahy Sports Editor From 21st-24th February, Trinity will play host to the DublinBus Collingwood Cup 2011, the first time the competition has come to Trinity since 1992. That year, UCD claimed the title with a hard-fought 5-4 victory. The Cup, established by former UCD Mathematics Professor Bertram Collingwood in 1914, is the biggest University football competition in Ireland and has been contested annually since its inception, save a brief hiatus
during the First World War and on one other occasion in 1933/34. The competition is regared as one of the most competitive in its field, and holds special significance this year as performance in the tournament will form the basis for selection in the Irish Universities Squad for the World University games in China this year. Over four days, 13 Universities from both sides of the border compete for the title of Ireland’s premier footballing University. Holders and this year’s hot favourites
UCD were the competition’s first winners, overcoming Queen’s University, Belfast in the 1914 final. They will face tough competition, however, from University College Cork and University of Ulster Jordanstown, who have amassed eight competition victories between them since the dawn of the millenium. The hosts have only two Cup titles to their name, last taking the title in 1979 while under the tutelage of the great Liam Tuohy. This year, they face the difficult prospect of a quarter -final clash
with the winners of the first round game between Queen’s and Jordanstown. Of the 13 teams taking part, seven have never won the Collingwood Cup and will be hoping to make this year a memorable one. In the last two sesons, Trinity sides have claimed back-toback Leinster League titles and will thus approach the tournament on home soil with optimism. The side will be led by captain Conall O’ Shaugnessy. All fixtures are scheduled to take place at 11am and 2.30pm at Santry Playing
Fields, with the exception of games involving Trinity and the final, the latter taking place on Thursday 24th February 2011 in College Park at 2.30pm and all games involving Trinity taking place on campus in College Park. Since 1943, UCD are the most successful side in the competition, taking 31 victories and 13 runner-up medals. They are well ahead of Queen’s University Belfast, who have taken 12 titles since the same year. Trinity, however, have only ever won twice with both coming in that period.
Last year’s champions UCD accept the Collingwood Cup.