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15-28 February 2011 G Vol 12 Issue 8


Fri 18 & Sat 19 February 8pm till dawn Contact: 086 335 8909 086 887 2203/086 306 5201

THE HOPEFULS Four to watch in Election ʻ11 P3

The Booker Prize winner begins his brand new story, SHAM P7

GOODBYE IRELAND SMART, YOUNG and college-educated, Kazik Anhalt and Pawel Bartyna are prime prototypes of a sizeable number of Poles who left for Ireland and the UK following EU expansion in 2004. But now, just like a growing number of their travel-happy compatriots, the two thirtysomethings are back in Poland. Business graduate Bartyna, 32, decided to return to Poland after ‘maxing out’ his Irish experience.

“My decision to come to Ireland was mostly based on a hope to practice and improve my English, as well as gaining work experience, ” reflects Bartyna, who lives in Warsaw. “At some point I started thinking that over the four-and-ahalf years I’d gained enough experience and improved my English to the level I wanted, so I started to search for opportunities to come back to Poland… “The other thing was the

Pawel Bartyna and Kazak Alhalt feel they achieved all they could

news from my friends in Poland about how the Polish market doing well even though all around you could have seen the crisis. ” In Ireland Bartyna did factory work, sales, administration and then joined a credit management company, whose Polish branch he’s now with. “My job is almost the same as it was in Dublin,” he says. Asked if there’s been a period of dislocation upon returning home, like arriving late at a

party in full swing, Bartyna answers: “Well in some cases yes, I did think like that – that I have missed a lot already, that so many things have happened, many opportunities occurred. “But on the other hand I can’t say I have wasted all the time I spent in Ireland. The experience and the knowledge I have earned is the thing that gives me the confidence in myself.” Bartyna suggests his motiva-

» Continued on page 8


Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011



Mubarak’s departure is blessing for Egypt On Friday 11 February the people of Egypt celebrated the departure of President Hosni Mubarak after three decades in power. His resignation was the direct result of 18 days of mainly peaceful protests across the country, as well as in other parts of the world with a high presence of Egyptian residents and supporters. The 82-year-old Mubarak, a former air force commander, became president in 1981 and for the next 30 years proceeded to rule Egypt with an iron fist, clamping down on opposition parties and restricting personal freedoms. In Mubarak’s Egypt, human rights issues were relegated to the background; thousands were imprisoned for expressing their freedom of speech or asking for what was rightfully theirs. However, history will also remember him as the man who survived at least six assassination attempts; who maintained the truce between Egypt and Israel; and who implemented international agreements despite their unpopularity. Also, compared to other developing countries – especially in Africa – there is no gainsaying that his rule brought about economic and physical developments. But this not to say that a proper democracy could not have done better. While we celebrate the demise of President Mubarak’s regime, it is important that we understand the need to make Egypt a much better place than what it is today. What Egypt needs now is a civilian regime without the influence of extremists – one voted for by the people, but also one that will listen to them.

Then-eaders of the founding Bric countries meeting in 2008. South Africa was admitted to the group in 2010, but is not included in Labour’s manifesto plans

Not all immigrants happy with Labour scholarship plans for Bric countries By Chinedu Onyejelem

Metro Éireann Volume 12 Issue 8 Established 2000 ISSN: 1649-1777 46 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1 Tel: 01 878 3223 / 01 878 3441 Fax: 01 878 3917 E-mail: Web: Editor Chinedu Onyejelem Chief Sub-Editor/Design & Layout MacDara Conroy News Sport Office Admin Advertising & Circulation Abass Alao, Amaka Okonkwo Tel: 01 878 3223 / 01 878 3441 / Published by Metro Publishing & Consultancy Ltd

PLANS BY the Labour Party to spend €1.5m on annual scholarships for students from emerging economies – should they be elected – have been cautiously welcomed by Irish immigrant communities. The scheme – part of the party’s election document on education – aims, among other things, to develop stronger links with the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (Bric). The scholarships, which would be managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, would guarantee successful individuals to undertake mostly postgraduate and doctoral programmes in any area of their choice at no cost to them. “It will focus not just on those with academic ability, but on people who have demonstrated that they will be among the next generation of leaders in business, the arts, or politics in their home countries,” said Labour leader Eamonn Gilmore. “Our intention is that these scholars will, over a period of time, develop a bond between Ireland and their home coun-

tries. It is one example of the shift in mind set that we need to make.” Gilmore said the scholarship would be designed based on existing successful programmes such as the Mitchell Scholarship. Reacting to the proposal, Russian businessman Sergey Tarutin – publisher of Dublinbased Russian language newspaper Nasha Gazeta – told Metro Éireann that the party’s plan, though similar to previous initiative announced by Fianna Fail last year, is “a good idea”. However, Tarutin called on Labour not to fund the scheme with taxpayers’ money but to source funds from international donors, the EU and Bric countries themselves. Meanwhile, members of the African community are unhappy about the scheme’s exclusion of students from the continent, which comprises 15 per cent of the world’s population. It is particularly noteworthy since South Africa was formally admitted to the Bric group in 2010, renaming it Brics. Africa Centre director Eric Yao said: “It is a good idea for scholarship schemes to be put in

place. However, to specifically eliminate African students leaves a lot to be desired. “The Africa Centre is very disappointed that the Labour Party, [which has] African members, will have such a focus.” Yao said the lack of inclusion of Africans makes it “sad to think that issues regarding Africa and Africans in Ireland are of no importance to political parties during the coming elections.” His concerns are shared by Salome Mbugua, CEO of AkiDwA. “It is disappointing that there is lack of interest in any African country,” she told Metro Éireann. “Including an African country would not only make sense but would also strengthen the already existing economic ties between Ireland and Africa, which could as well help reduction of negative perception and stereotypes about Africa.” Eric Yao also urged Irish authorities to rethink their perceptions about the continent. “Africa has survived the chain effects of the global recession very well and is growing very steadily economically,” he said. “Cadbury, a global leader in the

chocolate industry, works largely in Africa, with 95 per cent of its chocolate coming from cocoa purchased from Ghana. Tullow Oil is drilling oil in African countries like Ghana, Uganda among others. “Nigeria is a very big economic giant and a member of the global oil producing family. Kenya, Gambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa are just a few of the very beautiful tourist destinations.” He added that “Ireland needs to begin to see [African countries] as credible business partners. There is so much Ireland can benefit from doing business in Africa. Political parties really need to change their attitude to the continent and its people.” When Metro Éireann asked the Labour Party why the scheme excluded African countries, a spokesperson said it was a "specific initiative for Bric countries which have opportunities for Irish companies to trade". Asked if such opportunities do not also exist for Irish companies in Africa, the spokesperson said the party doesn't “rule out [a] similar initiative with African countries in the future”.


Metro Éireann 4–10 December 2008


Why I will not be voting Ronit Lentin


AVING MADE my mind up not to cast a ballot last time round, I received the night before the polls a leaflet from Green Party leader John Gormley asking for my vote – so that “we can get Michael McDowell out”. Having resented and opposed McDowell’s policies, I gave Gormley my vote. Needless to say, I was hugely disappointed by his and his party’s collaboration with Fianna Fáil’s pro-bank and anti-people policies. And I was particularly dismayed by the lowering of the minimum wage. Yet when I asked his party colleague Mary White, she defended this reduction by saying it “was necessary for job creation”. In Enough is Enough: How to Build a New Republic, Fintan O’Toole debunks the myth of Ireland being a parliamentary democracy. The Dáil, he writes, does not make laws – it passes them. Legislation is almost never initiated by TDs; often the time to debate a piece of legislation is too short; and TDs are not allowed to vote independently of their party whips. In short, parliamentary democracy in Ireland does not really work, as laws are initiated by ministers and often pushed through towards the end of the sitting term. Like O’Toole, I believe that much of the centralised power of Leinster House should be distributed to properly funded local authorities which should cut out the clientelism dominating the Irish political system. O’Toole makes many suggestions as to how to reform the political system, but is reform enough? Or do we need a completely different political system? In The Meaning of Sarkozy, the French philosopher Alain Badiou says that elections to which the state summons us are dominated by the fear of dominant and well-off peo-

ple who sense their privileges are under threat. This translates into a fear of foreigners, minorities, poor people – the sort of terror we witnessed in Tahrir Square in Cairo, where the people are calling not just for reform but for a different political system. So that’s my first reason for not voting: I believe the parliamentary system here does not work, and it makes little difference who is in the next Government. My second reason has to do with the lack of representation of migrants and ethnic minorities. I am glad that Rotimi Adebari and Clement Esebamen will be contesting the elections in Laois-Offaly and Dublin. But as reported in this paper, there will be no migrant candidates running on party tickets, mostly because they have no citizenship. The parties defended the lack of migrant candidates, still speaking of the need to “reach out and train immigrant party members to know how politics in Ireland works”. Such training should indeed include tuition on how little influence TDs have on the legislative process. Immigration, asylum, integration and interculturalism have been notably absent from the pre-election discourse. If anything, candidates have focused on emigrating Irish people rather than inward migration. Yet we still need to consider asylum seekers stuck in direct provision; the work permit situation; family reunification; the intricacies of the Immigration Bill; and above all, the increase in everyday racism experienced by people whose appearance betrays their origins. If there is something we can learn from the popular uprising in Egypt, it is that political reform is not enough, and we need new tools to build a new republic as O’Toole suggests. Although we have a choice between candidates who allowed the bank bailouts to happen at the expense of the people living in Ireland, and new formations such as the United Left Alliance, I believe that voting in these elections will not lead to a real transformation. Dr Ronit Lentin is head of the MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict at the Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. Her column appears fortnightly in Metro Éireann.

15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann



Election hopefuls? By Chinedu Onyejelem AS WE ENTER the final days of the 2011 general election campaign, Fine Gael and Labour are desperately hoping a strong respective showing in the polls translates into enough Dáil seats to form the next Government. Leaders of both parties have consistently claimed they will be the next Taoiseach, which could lead to some difficulties if they are forced to make a coalition partnership. While Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is banking on a successful showing for his party's 104 candidates, Labour's Eamon Gilmore seems convinced that 68 candidates – if all take their seats – will land him a majority in the 166-member parliament. Meanwhile, Sinn Féin is praying that most of its 41 candidates would be elected to make the party a major player in Irish policitics. Only the outgoing coalition partners Fianna Fáil and the Green Party – with 75 and 43 candidates respectively – are expected to perform poorly at the polls. A record 564 candidates are contesting the general election on 25 February, with an unprecedented 233 candidates running as independents or with smaller parties – 108 more compared to the last election in 2007. Two independents come from Ireland’s immigrant communities. Former Mayor of Portlaoise Cllr Rotimi Adebari and Clement Esebamen, one-time senior policy adviser on integration to Conor Lenihan, plan to be the first Nigerians to be elected to the Dáil.

NEXT WEEK Catherine Reilly interviews South African Ambassador to Ireland Jerry Ndou

Clockwise from top left: Eamon Gilmore, Enda Kenny, Rotimi Adebari and Clemen Esebamen

AkiDwA invites you to the maiden edition of the

Young Migrant Women Forum The Young Migrant Women Forum is a project aimed at targeting all migrant women between the ages of 18 – 30 irrespective of their background. The forum aims to bridge the gap already created between the older migrant women and their children (under 18s); to build, inform, encourage, educate, empower and inspire these young women; and to enhance and develop their skills, because they've got talents! Activities will include: leadership development, talent hunting, music, drama/singing, fashion and beauty, modeling, art and craft, creative writing, sports and healthy living. We hope the result will be vibrant, talented, educated and competitive young women who are ready and willing to make mark in Irish history and beyond. Don’t miss this! Refreshments are provided! Join us on Friday 25 February 2011 from 2.45pm-4.45pm at 9b Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1 Contact: / 01 814 8582 / 086 309 6859 NOTE: From Tuesday 1 March 2011, AkiDwA will be relocated to our new office at: Unit 2, Killerney Court, Buckingham Street, Dublin 1 Watch out for details on Akidwa’s International Women’s Day event on Tuesday 8 March


27 March–2 April 2008 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011



Parties promise Higgins outraged at ‘sub-standard’ official ban on FGM apartments By Chinedu Onyejelem

Dublin West candidate Joe Higgins SOCIALIST MEP Joe Higgins has rounded on builders and developers following a tour of damaged apartments in west Dublin this week. Accompanied by a chartered engineer, Higgins visited housing blocks in Ongar where he witnessed dozens of flats flooded by thawing snow leaking from overhead balconies. Higgins said he was “amazed” at what he what he described as the “substandard building problems” being endured by local residents, including one collapsed ceiling and many more apartments soaked, stained and damp. “What we saw amounts to a litany of shoddy building and poor design; terraces directly

above apartments without proper drainage and flashing, rainwater pipes with nowhere for water to run, kitchen floors made from chipboard, the list goes on,” he said. Higgins also expressed concern about suspected pyrite, or fools’ gold, in the infill used in the buildings. The naturally occurring mineral can cause serious structural problems in buildings when it expands through chemical reactions. The Socialist MEP, who will fight for a Dáil seat in the upcoming general election, urged Fingal County Council to pursue the relevant developers and ensure that homes in west Dublin are brought up to standard.

Dublin scientists get over €10m in EU funding THREE LEADING Dublin scientists are to be awarded funding of up to €10.5m as part of the latest round of EU research grants. Professors Kenneth Wolfe and Luke O’Neill from Trinity College and Professor James Heckman from UCD will get grants worth €3.5m each to advance their pioneering projects in health and food technology. Prof Wolfe is working on the evolution of yeast species, which is important for food and drink industries. Prof O’Neill, who has contributed groundbreaking work to knowledge of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and malaria, will continue his research on the human

immune system. Prof Heckman is studying new ways of understanding general health over the course of a lifespan. The funding will be drawn down from an overall EU package of €590m for scientists from all member states, allocated through the European Research Council. Welcoming the news, Dublin MEP Proinsias De Rossa says this investment by the EU reflects well on the high quality of research in Irish universities. “It demonstrates how we in Ireland can not only benefit ourselves but the wellbeing of society more generally,” said the Labour MEP.

THE LABOUR PARTY and Fianna Fáil have vowed to ensure that the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is outlawed in Ireland if elected on 25 February. The parties made the promise in response to a letter addressed to all political parties from Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address FGM, urging for legislation to ban the harmful practice. Labour Party general secretary Ita McAuliffe said her party would work “for explicit criminalisation” of FGM. She added that Labour had already introduced the Female Genital Mutilation Bill 2010 in the Seanad through Senator Ivana Bacik. Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s general secretary Sean Dorgan said his party had already demonstrated its commitment with the publication of “the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill 2011” on 20 January, and that it “is ready to be enacted by whatever party forms the next Government”. Although welcoming the publication of the bill, the steering committee of Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address FGM said it is concerned about the slow progress being made in the “implementation of the recommendations outlined within the National Plan, particularly in light of an increase in the number of women who have experienced FGM living in Ireland.”

AkiDwA CEO Salome Mbugua has been very outspoken on the issue of FGM Photo: Bryan O’Brien

In a statement to mark the seventh International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day on 7 February, the committee stated that research published last September by AkiDwA, one of the committee’s members,

shows the estimated number of women living with FGM in the country has risen from 2,585 to 3,170 since 2007. “The legislation would be an excellent way of enhancing our work in AkiDwA on this

area,” said AkiDwA CEO Salome Mbugua. “It gives a clear message that this practice is not acceptable either in or outside Ireland.” At press time there was no reaction from other parties.

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15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 4–10 March 2010


EU refuses recall of ‘anti-Christian’ school calendars THE EUROPEAN Commission Press Office has refused to recall over three million school calendars that make no reference to important Christian holidays including Christmas and Easter. The educational calendars, printed at a cost of €5m, cite all the important religious dates for Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. They also mention Chinese festivities and other public holidays including the EU-created ‘Europe Day’ on 9 May. EU spokesperson Frederic Vincent has apologised for the “blunder”, which he said was due to insufficient “editorial policing”. He also said the Commission will include

Christian public holidays in the 2012 calendar. However this year’s edition, which has already been delivered to 21,000 schools, will not be recalled. Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins has slammed what he described as a “reckless oversight” by the Commission in failing to include any mention of Christianity, which is Europe’s majority religion. In an oral question to the commission, he also asked whether the contents of the calendar are contrary to the provisions of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which guarantee the principle of non-discrimination based on religion and respect for religious and cultural diversity.

Plan needed for future ash cloud disruption

THE EUROPEAN Parliament heard calls this week for a coordinated EU response plan to be drawn up in preparation for any future volcanic eruptions that could affect travel across the bloc. Dublin MEP Gay Mitchell urged the European Commission to put in place comprehensive measures to minimise disruption in the event of a repeat of last year’s Icelandic ash cloud crisis, which grounded planes in Europe for six days and left millions of passengers stranded. Speaking in Strasbourg, the Fine Gael MEP warned that expert opinion has said a similar volcanic eruption is possi-

ble and could have just as disruptive an effect on European airspace. “Last year Aer Lingus lost an estimated €20m in revenue as a result of the ash cloud. The unpredictable nature of volcanoes means the EU should have an action plan in place as soon as possible to ensure that the public can get information on travel options and are not left queuing in train stations which have half their information windows closed,” said Mitchell. He also recommended an EU-wide scheme to deal with profiteering and overcharging in the event of another episode of widespread travel disruption.


‘I want to choose’ Three years and counting, Tendai Madondo can only stand on the sidelines without a vote while she and 22,000 others await word on their citizenship applications. CATHERINE REILLY reports


IGHT NOW, Zimbabwean Tendai Madondo could be knocking on doors around Dublin South West, trying to convince constituents of her credentials as a Green Party candidate. But the expectant mum-oftwo won't even be voting at her local polling station come 25 February, as she is not an Irish citizen. She submitted her application three years ago. Only Irish citizens can contest for the Dáil, and resident Britons are the only non-Irish nationality entitled to vote in Dáil elections. Metro Éireann understands that Madondo – a Green Party candidate in the 2009 local elections – was earmarked for a general election foray by senior colleagues, but her lack of citizenship scuppered that plan. The Zimbabwe-born mother, who lives in Tallaght, got involved in community development after arriving in Ireland in 2002. Upon declaring as an independent candidate in the 2009 local elections, Madondo says she was approached by a number of parties and opted for the Greens, who she says are “open to new voices”. Her subsequent campaign was “challenging”, with Madondo identifying the lack of a wide family and friend circle as disadvantaging candidates of immigrant backgrounds. “And some people are already loyal to sitting councillors and politicians,” she underlines. Nevertheless, if Madondo had obtained Irish citizenship in time, she was seriously considering contesting a Dail seat. “Big time,” she says, “I have the abilities and the experience.” The Green party “would have loved” her to do so, she adds, but the plan hadn't developed as “we've long

known it wasn't possible”. Madondo, who works for an NGO, said it is “excruciating” not to be able to vote come 25 February – a situation shared by her fellow Green party member George Enyaozu, from Nigeria, who was a local election candidate in Dundalk in 2009. “I'm upset about it,” she

says. “I want to choose who'll represent me. The lack of influence is really excruciating.” The Zimbabwean was also perturbed by the lack of female candidates across the board, and said the “patriarchal” political system needs an overhaul. As for the application back-

log at the Department of Justice, Madondo said the incoming Government needs to better resource the citizenship division. Civil servants in the section “are inundated by a huge workload... They need to be resourced. Again, it goes back to the new government and how they do resource allocation.”

Call for proposals to mark Africa Day 2011 Irish Aid, the Government’s programme of assistance to developing countries, wishes to encourage organisations to organise awareness-raising and educational events to mark Africa Day 2011. Proposals are invited from educational, community and cultural groups with an interest in increasing public understanding of Africa including development aspects. It is envisaged that events will take place during the week of 20-28 May (Africa Day is 25 May). The events will be promoted widely including on the Africa Day website. Limited funding will be made available for a small number of initiatives in Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Cork. Closing date for applications is 28 February 2011. Further information and funding guidelines are available on the Irish Aid website,

Gairm Tograí chun Lá na hAfraice 2011 a cheiliúradh Is mian le Cúnamh Éireann, clár cúnaimh an Rialtais do thíortha atá i mbéal forbartha, eagraíochtaí a spreagadh le himeachtaí cothú feasachta is oideachais a eagrú chun Lá na hAfraice 2011 a cheiliúradh. Cuirfear fáilte roimh thograí ó eagraíochtaí oideachais, pobail is cultúir gur suim leo tuiscint an phobail ar an Afraic a mhéadú lena n-áirítear gnéithe forbartha. Meastar go dtitfidh na himeachtaí amach le linn na seachtaine 2028 Bealtaine (Is é 25 Bealtaine Lá na hAfraice). Tabharfar poiblíocht leathan dona himeachtaí, ar shuíomh gréasáin Lá na hAfraice san áireamh. Cuirfear maoiniú teoranta ar fáil de lion beag tograí i mBaile Átha Cliath, Luimneach, Gaillimh is Corcaigh. Is é an dáta deiridh d’iarratais ná 28 Feabhra 2011. Tá tuilleadh eolais is treoirlínte maoinithe le fáil ar shuíomh gréasáin Cúnamh Éireann,

Tendai Madondo was a local election candidate for the Green Party


27 March–2 April 2008 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011

Depression among asylum seekers OPINION can be beat, says immigrant pastor Falling for false promises By Chinedu Onyejelem

Tara Fannon


NE OF THE greatest challenges today is living in the moment, or being in the now. Many of us spend our waking hours dwelling in the past or dreaming about the future, but this doesn’t help the fact that we can always be happier, fitter, better looking and richer – at least according to the mainstream media. As if embracing what we have here and now wasn’t already hard enough, we can’t turn on the TV or radio or surf the net without being bombarded with promises of eternal happiness and fulfillment, if we’d only buy certain products or pay for certain services. Despite many of us being aware of the desensitising effect of this media deluge, we still buy into the false promise more often than not. When appearances are so important, and everyone around you seems to be jumping on the bandwagon, there is always a fear of being left behind or being less than others. This situation perfectly matches the objectives of advertisers, whose aim is to encourage greater consumption by offering us the tools to cultivate happiness and fulfillment. They play on these fears and target our desire for pleasure simultaneously. But in an increasingly individualistic and materialistic world, this becomes a serious problem. It diminishes intimacy and closeness, which

takes away from our ability to know pleasure in any deeper and more meaningful sense. We’re then forced to find it in other places and in other ways. Temporary quick-fixes and immediate gratification tide us over. And all the while our understanding of pleasure as something meaningful and as something intrinsic to our happiness is slowly eroded. More and more we are defined and judged by the trivial and insignificant choices we make. What car we drive, what labels we wear, what restaurant we dine: they shouldn’t matter, but they do. In this context they say something about us – who we are, from where we come, what we can and cannot do. Status is everything in an image-driven world. It determines the allocation of

There is always a fear of being left behind power that goes well beyond what we drive, what we wear or where we eat. Those who support the overall message are repaid with the power to set trends, standards and beliefs about what will and will not bring ‘happiness’ and ‘fulfillment’. Material things can be nice sometimes, and other times it’s just plain necessary, but we’re being literally consumed by consumption! Of course there are still many of us who either don’t buy into the hype or are finding their way back out of it. This gives me hope, but there is still much work to be done. Tara Fannon is a Sociology student at UCD. Her column appears regularly in Metro Éireann

NOT ALLOWING asylum seekers to live independently is a driver of depression and suicidal thoughts, a leading immigrant counsellor has said. Addressing a recent Dublin seminar on mental health aimed at bringing awareness of the dangers of suicide to immigrants, Pastor Amos Ngugi of the Act of Compassion Project added that by being barred from working or studying in Ireland, they are being forced into loneliness and idleness – factors that strongly influence depression and suicide. Pastor Ngugi, who also convened the seminar, said the Irish Government and public alike need to do something urgently before the issue becomes a major societal problem. “The authorities need to engage in listening initiative to find out [asylum seekers’] problems,” he urged, adding

Guests at the mental health seminar in Dublin recently that such action could prevent people from “attempting to commit suicide,” as he said recently happened among his clients. The pastor said members of the public also have a role to play in making life meaningful

for those affected by depression or suicidal thoughts. “You can listen to them without condemning them,” he said. “Show them some love, take them out, do some uplifting activities with them. All these would make a huge dif-


ference. It would take away death as an option for them. “When our mind gets mixed up, we always don’t see or think that there is an option to negative thoughts.” Pastor Ngugi advised that asylum seekers should not only seek help from professionals but also engage in activities that could help make them upbeat about life in general. “They should also engage in voluntary work to avoid having negative thoughts. This can help them so much with their mental health,” he said. Several others, including independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan, Gerry Cunningham from the Deora Project and asylum seekers, spoke at the seminar. Cunningham gave a general outline on depression suicide in Ireland, as well as suicide intervention. He also highlighted some suicide warning signs and indicators.

Documenting the Irish immigrant experience World War. “The stories they told me were absolutely astonishing and very sad,” she said. “They touched my heart, and when I had placed the text next to the images it was an absolutely intense and honest documentary book, first-hand encounter with the survivors. Since then I have wanted to keep working in that field of photography.”

By Chinedu Onyejelem A DUBLIN-BASED German documentary and fashion photographer is inviting immigrants to take part in a major Irish photographic project. The aim of the initiative, explained Cornelia Nauenburg, is to create a greater awareness of immigrants and their contributions to Irish society. “I feel that this topic is not discussed enough and that real life stories need to be told and people have the right to be heard,” said the photographer, who is also a student. “I know a lot of immigrants have been going through very difficult times, having to leave their beloved home countries due to war or other difficulties. I want to give people a voice. I want them to be able to tell their story for everybody to be heard.” Nauenburg said she is interested in getting all kinds of immigrants involved in the project, in particular those “who have had to leave their countries due to difficulties” such as lack of employment or conflict. “I am looking for people who came to Ireland in the hope of a better life,” she said. “I am also interested in immigrants who had to leave behind their children or family in order to work and live over here.” Nauenburg says the project, which will take a documentary approach, is important for inte-

Photographer and student Cornelia Nauenberg

gration. “The benefits of this project would be for Irish people to hear stories of others now living in their country,” she said. “I do think a bigger acceptance and interest will be formed.” Asked about her own immigrant experience. Nauenburg told Metro Éireann she has never had it so good. “I came to Ireland in 2006 when the Celtic Tiger was booming. At the beginning it was difficult to come to terms with firstly the weather and the prices here! But I did find the Irish people very warm-hearted and welcoming so I had no problems in making friends. “I now love living in Dublin. It is such a diverse and happening city. It will be very hard to leave this summer.” Last year Nauenburg was involved in another project documenting German citizens’ experience of the Second

Nauenberg emphasizes that immigrants who get involved in her project would have their images and stories treated with most care. They will also receive high-resolution prints and will be able to view the exhibition at the Gallery of Photography in June 2011. For details contact Cornelia Nauenburg through her website at


15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 17–30 June 2010


IMES ARE hard and getting harder. Things are rough and getting rougher. The jobs are scarce and getting – You get the point. You’re living here. You’re reading this because you’ve nothing else to do. I’m being presumptuous, a bollix. I’m sorry. But you get the point. There’s a recession. It’s still a shock. My da used to tell me about the last recession, and my granddad told me about the one before that. I always got them mixed up with World Wars One and Two. And now we’re in World War Three. That’s kind of cool. Anyway. War brings out the best and the worst in human nature. That was the name of an essay I had to do for the Mock Leaving, years ago, when I was in school. Four years ago. I hadn’t a clue. I’d never been in a war. Except the one at home, between my ma and my da. The hundred years war. Anyway. I remember writing a list. BEST: heroism, cool clothes, foreign travel. WORST: Nazism, death, drycleaning bills. I know, most of my points have nothing to do with human nature, and I knew it then too. So, I gave up and chose a different essay. Modern Ireland: An example to the World. I swear to God. Anyway, the title of that essay – the first one, like –

came into my head there, a few days ago, when I was listening to a buddy of mine explaining her plan. I could see those words as she spoke. The ‘best’ and the ‘worst’, and ‘human nature’. They were sitting in front of me. Cross-legged, gorgeous and dangerous. But I’m getting carried away, as my da often says when he’s going after the second digestive or buying a shirt for more than a tenner. I’ll start properly. I am a 22-year-old man. I’m kind of a student. Or, to be more exact, I’m a student – kind of. I’m taking a break. In the olden days, after the Famine and before Starbucks, you started your break by putting on the kettle. Well, I put on the kettle a year and half ago. It’s a bit of a story. It involves a SuperValu bag full of magic mushrooms, a woman, a bottle of Jameson, giant blades of grass, tiny blades of grass, a talking blade of grass, a dragon, a bridge, a river, the fire brigade (see ‘dragon’), the theft of my wings, vomit (mine), tears (hers), acrimony (mine), a dramatic exit (hers), a hospital, and – well – other stuff. It was supposed to be a good night out but it went on for more than a year – if, as the friends I’ve left assure me, it is actually 2011. It’s a story that needs to be told. But it’s not the story I’m interested in telling you, because (a) I can’t remember most of it; (b) I now accept that



‘My buddy’s name is Brigita. She’s from Latvia and she’s been telling me about Latvian women who are marrying men from outside Europe, so they can stay in Ireland’

The MAMA Awards 2011 are coming soon! For further information contact the Mama Awards co-ordinator at 01 878 3441

most of what I do remember never occurred (see ‘magic mushrooms’); (c) it’s still too raw (see ‘woman’, ‘dramatic exit’ and ‘hospital’); and (d) the story I want to tell you is much better. So. Back to my buddy and her plan. Her plan. I have your attention; you’re sitting up (see ‘woman’). It’s not the same woman (see ‘dramatic exit’, ‘bitch’ and ‘fucked off to Australia’). But she is a woman and I’m not, so chances are I still have your attention. My buddy’s name is Brigita. She’s from Latvia and she’s been telling me all about sham marriages, and about Latvian women who are marrying men from outside Europe, especially Pakistanis, so that the men can stay in Ireland – if you get my drift, and hers. –Many Lativan girls are coming to Dublin, like, she says. –They are promised big money, like. Brigita came here five years ago – if it’s 2011. (I’m still not convinced.) She had two jobs, until last summer. Since Christmas she’s had none. That’s why she’s here, in the sitting room we share with seven other people, at three in the pm. –But it isn’t nice, like, she says. She sighs. We’re drinking tea. It’s my drink of choice these days. If I’m feeling restless, I crack open a Cup-a-Soup. –They are treated very badly,


she says. –Like slaves, like, sometimes. I don’t like what I’m hearing. It makes me nervous. She sighs again. I see sex slaves and bad men. The room is filling up with them. I hear screams. –No, I say. –No what, like? –Don’t do it. –Do what, like? –Get involved, I say. –No, she says. She shakes her head. –No way, like. –Good, I say. –But, she says. And I listen to her plan. And, like I said earlier, the title of that essay – War brings out the best and the worst in human nature – comes into my head, and stays. Continued next month © Roddy Doyle 2011

Roddy Doyle is an author, dramatist and screenwriter. His first novel was The Commitments, and he won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He lives in north Dublin.

The Arts Councilʼs Artist in the Community Scheme The Arts Council offers grants to enable artists and communities of place and/or interest to work together to create a contemporary arts project twice yearly. The scheme is open to artists from any of the following artform disciplines: architecture, circus, street art and spectacle, dance, film, literature (Irish & English language), music, opera, theatre, visual arts and traditional arts. The projects can take place in a diverse range of social and community contexts such as arts and health; arts in prisons; arts and older people; and arts and cultural diversity. The aim of the scheme is to encourage meaningful collaboration between communities of place and/or interest and artists in creating a contemporary arts project and artwork. It is essential that consultation take place between the artist and the community group, so that both parties decide on the nature of the project. The first deadline for applications in 2011 is 14 March. For full details visit For further information on application criteria, or to book an advisory sessionabout the scheme, contact Katherine Atkinson, Professional Development, at 01 473 6600 or e-mail The scheme is managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts.

Goodbye Trouble for French? Ireland 8

27 March–2 April 2008 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011

COMMENT Céline Loriou

» Continued from page 1 tions for emigrating may not be replicated by a slightly younger generation of Poles. “We have more and more students leaving colleges and universities with good English, as they see that this is one of the things you have to have,” he explains. Therefore the advantage of improving one’s English abroad is somewhat nullified, particularly if an emigrant spent years in lowerskill jobs in Ireland. “When they are coming back it is hard for them to find a job here,” he says. “The reason is that a lot of people did not work in the area of their [qualification] interest. For example, someone who in Poland got a bachelor’s degree in business and worked at a shop counter or in deli – when they fill out their CV with that kind of information, they are being treated as if they have wasted their time spent in Ireland.” T H I RT Y- F O U R - y e a r - o l d Kazik Anhalt will be a familiar name to those with an interest in migrant rights in Ireland, having been a Siptu organiser. But Anhalt no longer walks the corridors at Dublin’s Liberty Hall – rather, he’s now in a small town called Łeba in Poland’s north. In Ireland, before his trade union job, Anhalt worked in food processing and construction. He came to Ireland as a graduate in European Studies from the University of

Young poles are choosing Warsaw over Dublin Szczecin, and subsequently studied at the Institute of Project Management in Ireland. The entrepreneurial Pole has now established his own business consultancy enterprise, and is working on establishing an ecological business park in one of Poland’s special economic zones. “It is an opportunity here as the economy is doing well,” he says. And that’s not all – he intends running for Civil Platform in next year’s Polish parliamentary elections. – Catherine Reilly

Polish embassy ‘busy as ever’ as numbers fall Despite the accounts of returned Poles, the Polish Embassy in Dublin says it is “just as busy” providing consular services to Poles in Ireland as it was during the peak years of Polish immigration. However, an embassy spokesperson said “anecdotal” evidence suggests that Ireland’s Polish population is indeed diminishing. There are no official or unofficial statistics on the number of Poles who’ve returned home from Ireland, added the official. Referring to anecdotal accounts of Polish return migration, the official said reverse migration “simply had to accel-

erate as many people got let go from their jobs in the last two years. However, we don’t know the extent of this phenomenon.” Following Poland’s accession in 2004, tens of thousands of Poles emigrated to Ireland in search of work in its then buoyant economy. The 2006 census recorded just over 60,000 Poles, but unofficial estimates put the number at up to 200,000 at its peak. A Migration Policy Institute report last year quoted statistics showing the number of Poles in Ireland fell by 20,000 in 2008, from 2007. Poles in Ireland sent home almost €1bn in 2009. – Catherine Reilly

FRENCH MINISTER for Education Luc Chatel recently announced plans to “reinvent English teaching” in France. Interviewed by Europe1 radio on 23 January, Chatel said that a strategic board for language teaching would “reflect upon how to begin teaching [English to] children from the age of three”. The minister intends to take advantage of new technologies to focus on distance learning, and to encourage partnerships between secondary schools in France and other countries to enable every student to travel abroad at least once before the age of 18. Figures quoted by Le Monde newspaper show that French people are not among the best at English: with an average score of 88 out of 120 to the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), French students fell far behind their neighbours in Germany and the Netherlands, who obtained an average of 108. However, Luc Chatel’s plans to teach English in infant schools sparked strong reactions from parents, teachers and other specialists. English is supposed to be taught to French schoolchildren from the age of seven, but many schools are lacking teachers, and it has been pointed out that the government keeps cutting auxiliary language teaching jobs. At the same time, parents often complain of teachers in primary schools who are not trained well enough to teach languages. It’s more often outside of school where French children pick up and improve their English. Two young men I spoke to said they both improved their

Luc Chatel is pushing for a ‘reinvention’ of English teaching in France basic skills by watching TV shows and films in English. “Learning English is a matter of practice,” says 18-year-old Edoudard, “especially, oral and aural. You need to practice all the time.” His friend Thibault, also 18, started learning English in primary school. In his opinion,

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being taught at school “enables [students] to learn vocabulary, but it is not what makes [them] speak well.” This is especially true when some only have two hours of English language lessons a week at the end of secondary school. The message to Luc Chatel is clear: before trying to teach


English in infant schools, the minister should ensure that it’s properly taught at primary and secondary levels too. French linguist Alain Bentolila points out another problem when he says that “a second language cannot be taught on the ruins of the mother tongue”. Indeed, French children have more and more troubles mastering their own language. At the beginning of secondary school, nearly 15 per cent of children are still not able to read and write properly in their native language. Surely, many argue, it would be more sensible to focus on the teaching of French first. It doesn’t help that so-called ‘Franglais’ is creeping ever more into the general lexicon: the supermarket chain Carrefour recently renamed one of its stores with the English ‘market’ instead of the French word ‘marché’; and many children forget that music is written ‘musique’ and that there is a French word for news. Moreover, they get the impression that English is primarily composed of slogans like ‘game over’ or ‘I’m lovin’ it’. The problem with this situation is that it does not only endangers French (and German, Spanish, and so on) – it also endangers the English language itself. People no longer speak English, they speak a Globish pidgin of it. With 1,500 words and a very simple grammar, they are able to express their feelings and ideas, on condition that these ideas remain basic. Indeed, in Globish there are no metaphors, no irony, and, above all, no heritage. What would Shakespeare think? Celine Loriou is a French student currently studying for a BA in Journalism at Dubin City University.



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15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 1–14 December 2010

Adults are never too old to learn!


Optimal Edge with Eugene Nwosu

Create lasting success in business English language student Domingas Francisco Mavacala from the Adult Learning Centre in Co Laois supports the Aontas Adult Learners’ Festival. Co Laois VEC encourages people from ethnic minority communities in Ireland to learn English, and students are promoting this campaign during the Aontas Adult Learners’ Festival Week which takes place from 21-25 February 2011. For more information visit

Politicians persuaded to put the poor first TWO OF IRELAND’S leading anti-poverty agencies have urged whoever forms the new Government to put poor people first. At a pre-election political event in Dublin, Trócaire and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) asked politicians from four of the five main political parties to outline how they would combat extreme poverty if they were in Government. Trócaire director Justin Kilcullen said: “Regardless of whether we’re talking about poverty here in Ireland or poverty in the developing world, politicians need to right their wrongs and give poor people the

same opportunities and second chances that have been afforded to banks and financial institutions.” He added: “We have come together with the SVP because chronic poverty here in Ireland and in the developing world is unacceptable. Our next government must protect the most vulnerable in the future instead of forcing them to carry the burden of political and economic mistakes.” In his address at the event, SVP national vice-president Paul McKevitt said: “The atrisk-of-poverty rate in Ireland [14.1 per cent] must be addressed. More than one third

of households at risk of poverty are in arrears with one or more of their utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, hire purchase agreements or other loans/bills.” He noted that children remained “the most vulnerable age group” with more than 18 per cent at risk of poverty, and lone parent households continued to be the most vulnerable social group “experiencing the highest at risk of poverty rate in 2009 at 35.5 per cent”. The agencies called for the next Government to commit to tackling the injustice and indignity of poverty for the most vulnerable people in Ireland and in the developing world.

Members of political parties at the event included Fine Gael’s Sean Barrett TD; Labour TD Róisín Shorthall, the Green Party’s Eamon Ryan TD, and Eoin Ó Broin from Sinn Féin. Apologies were received from Minister Pat Carey of Fianna Fáil who had earlier confirmed his attendance. MEANWHILE, THE SVP has published a list of seven questions for its 9,500 volunteers to put to candidates during canvassing. SVP national president Mairead Bushnell said: “These questions need to be asked because the crisis Ireland faces is not just economic – it is a social crisis as well.” The seven questions asked by the SVP are:  If your party is in Government, how will you improve things for the people we help?  What specifically will you do to create a fairer and more just Irish society?  What are you going to do about protecting social welfare rates?  What do you intend to do about rising energy costs?  How do you intend to tackle the costs for parents of accessing education at pre-school, primary, second and third levels?  Many of those we help are struggling to afford private and local authority rent and mortgages – what do you intend to do to assist them?  What will you do to reform the health system so that access to healthcare is based on need and not just ability to pay?


HE NOBLEST human relationships are those formed in a spirit of co-operation and harmony. Friendly co-operation is never any part of the devil’s work – he is working on the other side. A group of people who trust their leader and one another do not waste energy jockeying for prestige. They know that they will all benefit from a solution, and they are motivated to find it by sharing the knowledge and ideas. Of course obstacles will occur in any organised endeavour. Sometimes they’re in the form of technical problems, or disputes between members of a team over which course is best to follow. But where there is friendly co-operation, teamwork, synergistic purpose, and if you have set an example of initiative and open communication, you will find that your team has the mental and spiritual resources to overcome these kinds of challenges. This sort of teamwork creates a positive mental attitude which does not recognise obstacles – because friendly co-operation has a synergistic effect from which skilled leadership can create the necessary solution. It is not easy to always be a friendly, co-operative person, but in the end you will find that it’s worth the effort. Yes, everyone occasionally feels pangs of jealousy or envy, usually accompanied by the urge to cause problems or difficulty for those we dislike. But truly successful people have learned to restrain such urges. They know that if they concentrate upon their own objectives and help others along the way, they will eventually reach their goals. Co-operation must start at the head of a department. The same is true of efficiency. Managers who compete with others inside the company waste valuable resources meant for fulfilling the company’s mission to serve its customers better. The best way to get friendly co-operation is to give it. In today’s interdependent society, it is virtual-

ly impossible in any business, profession, or occupation for an individual to achieve great heights of success without the help others. When we make it a practice to encourage others, and to help them advance in their careers whenever possible, most will reciprocate when you need their help. No one can succeed and remain successful with the friendly cooperation of others. Give generously and you will benefit in kind. When you treat your competitors with the courtesy and respect you would like, most will respond in kind, and the result is a stable, productive, profitable industry. On the other hand, an industry or market that is composed of vicious, unethical competitors will soon destroy itself. The best way to secure the commitment and unending co-operation of others is through the simple application of the Golden Rule. It is the most successful and long-lasting management theory ever developed: when we treat others as we would like to be treated if we were in their situation, we will inspire loyalty and enthusiastic co-operation. Talking about getting the best out of people, Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, said: “I try to treat people as human beings... If they know you care, it brings out the best in them.” Set high standards for yourself and others, treat them well, let them do their jobs, and they will perform miracles for you. Only when people receive the respect they deserve do they willingly create and maintain successful organisations and societies. No civilisation based upon the unjust treatment of its people has ever endured. A tyrant may force the cooperation of others for a time, but their power never lasts. Eugene Nwosu is founder of Optimal Edge. He is a trained life and business coach and author of two best-selling books Optimal Edge and Cut Your Own Firewood – The Ultimate Power to Succeed.

Metro Éireann Special Offer Roddy Doyle returns with new story SHAM BOOKER-PRIZE WINNING author Roddy Doyle is showcasing another exclusive short story series in Metro Éireann, Ireland’s multicultural newspaper. The new series – entitled SHAM – is being published once a month, and according to Doyle the stories will be humorous affairs. “It will be about a young woman who trains young Irish women to seem like they are Latvian, so they can marry Pakistani men and earn some badly needed money. A recession comedy, perhaps!” SHAM is the latest in a series of Roddy Doyle original short stories published in Metro Éireann. A previous series grew into a book released by Doyle - The Deportees and Other Stories – while another story published in Metro Éireann, New Boy – about a young African child’s first day at an Irish school – was made into an Academy-award nominated short film of the same name. Doyle is also the author of nine novels as well as a memoir of his parents, Rory & Ita. He has written five books for children and contributed to a variety of publications aside from Metro Éireann, including The New Yorker, McSweeney’s and several anthologies. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He has also written the screenplays for films based on his books The Snapper and The Van, while he co-wrote the screenplay for The Commitments. In 2009, Doyle and Sean Love established a creative writing centre in Dublin called Fighting Words. Open to students of all ages, it provides tutoring in creative writing for free. The first instalment of SHAM is featured in the current edition of Metro Éireann, with subsequent chapters to follow each month.

To ensure that you get an opportunity to read Roddy’s new story, take out a subscription and have Metro Éireann delivered straight to you – a one-year subscription is only €52! Please fill in below and return to Metro Éireann or log on to I would like a one-year/two-year subscription to Metro Éireann (delete as applicable) I enclose a cheque/postal order for € ___________ made payable to: Metro Éireann, 46 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1. E-mail: Tel: 01 8783441 NAME ___________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS ___________________________________________________________________ E-MAIL ______________________________________________________________ TEL _________________________________ SIGNATURE ___________________________________________________________ DATE _______________________________________________________________

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Metro Éireann 15–31 December 2010

15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann

Guterres urges solidarity Community arts grants with people of Ivory Coast AS THE SITUATION in Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) continues to worsen, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has called for an urgent end to the political stalemate which is paralysing the country and provoking violence. In a statement, António Guterres said: “The political blockade is becoming more deeply entrenched, causing the humanitarian situation to get worse and worse. People are very afraid.” The crisis has already cost hundreds of lives and produced at least 35,000 refugees registered by the UNHCR in neighbouring Liberia. Guterres said the UN has also registered 35,000 internally displaced people in the western part of Ivory Coast who are in dire need of shelter and basic aid. The UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations are mounting an emergency response to address their pressing needs. “If the situation continues, we face the risk of a possible

up for grabs

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres

massive displacement of Ivorians,” said Guterres, who warned that the conflict is also impacting on Liberia, a country just recovering from its own civil war, and could potentially destabilise it. “Given these circumstances, I commend Liberia for its open

border policy and the Liberian people who have so generously opened their homes and shared their scarce resources,” he said. Stressing the need to urgent resolve the crisis, Guterres urged the international community to show solidarity with the Ivorian people and the

Aodhán to run for Dub North Central A FORMER METRO Éireann columnist is contesting a seat in the Dublin North Central constituency. Labour’s Cllr Aodhán O’Riordáin said he decided to stand for election for an opportunity to make a greater difference in the lives of people across the country. Ó Ríordáin, a primary school principal who has taught in Dublin’s Sheriff Street area since 2000, was inspired to get active in politics to “further the causes of the disadvantaged and voiceless in our society, ” according to a Labour Party statement. “From Malahide in north Co Dublin, Aodhán’s family originally hail from the North Inner City and are steeped in the Republican and Labour tradition,” the party added. “However it was the rights of children in an area of acute disadvantage which politicised him enough to stand for election.” He was subsequently elected to Dublin City Council in June 2004. Although he feels strongly against educational disadvantage, O’Riordáin says he is also interested in housing, planning, drugs and youth facilities issues. During his time as Dublin’s Deputy Lord Mayor in 2006, he launched the Right to Read


Cllr Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Campaign in what the Labour Party said was “an effort to challenge the poor literacy rates in disadvantaged areas. As a result, over €1m has been secured for investment in the library service, meaning that

every Dublin city library is now open six days a week for the first time. ” The campaign also secured investment for the setting up of homework clubs in each of the city’s libraries.

Liberians who are hosting them. “Urgent international political action is necessary to resolve the stalemate and restore calm,” he said. “All citizens of Cote d’Ivoire should feel secure at home and no longer forced to flee in search of safety.”

CREATIVE TYPES across the arts are being invited to apply for this year’s Artist in the Community Scheme. The Arts Council offers these biannual grants to enable artists and communities to collaborate on projects. The scheme is open to artists from numerous disciplines, including architecture, circus, dance, film, literature (Irish and English language), music and the traditional arts. The projects can take place in a range of social and community contexts, such as arts and health; arts in prisons; arts and older people; and arts and cultural diversity. Managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, the aim is to encourage “meaningful collaboration” between communities of place and/or interest and artists. According to Create, it is “essential” that consultation

take place between the artist and the community group, so that both parties are “involved in deciding on the nature of the project realisation”. There are a number of awards, including one that is open to artists who wish to research and develop a project in a community context. Another aims to attract artists who wish to develop a community based project and who have identified an artist mentor they want to work with a during the research and development phase, while one is tailored towards communities or their representative organisations. The deadlines for 2011 are Monday 14 March at 5pm and Monday 27 June at 5pm. For further information on application criteria and assessment, or to book an advisory session about the scheme, contact Katherine Atkinson at 01 473 6600 or e-mail


Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011


Monthly in Metro Éireann

Petition to change the lives of women in Africa AN INTERNATIONAL petition campaign aimed at removing the enormous bias against women in Africa has been launched by an Irish development agency. According to Self Help Africa, the Change Her Life campaign hopes to highlight the “raw deal” that women in Africa are getting. Statistics show that women are responsible for up to 80 per cent of all farm work on the continent, but receive as little as five per cent of available support, such as tools, advice, seeds, credit and training. The agency is calling on all Irish people to sign its petition at, which urges western governments to guarantee women a specific portion of international agricultural aid. Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Ray Jordan, chief executive of Self Help Africa, said: “It’s about doing more with the money we have. We all want aid to be more effective and this is a clear way to achieve that. “Studies have shown that if African women farmers

receive the same supports as their male counterparts, food production increases by 20 per cent. That’s a massive difference, and can be achieved with the stroke of a minister’s pen.” Jordan said there is “no other section of society on earth which is so marginalised and yet so productive” as Africa’s women. “Quite literally, women do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to growing food in Africa, but their role and their value is completely unrecognised,” he said. “Governments in the west spend hundreds of millions of euro each year on trying to develop agriculture throughout Africa. But the women who actually work the fields are missing out on this support.” Sylvia Gavigan, the Ugandan Consul to Ireland who co-launched the campaign with broadcaster Kathryn Thomas, said people could learn more about the situation of African women by looking at the “many parallels between rural commu-

nities in Uganda and Irish communities in the early part of the 20th century, when so many Irish people lived off the land.” Gavigan said that the difference is that in the African continent “the majority of the farming burden lies with the women of Africa, in addition to all domestic duties.” She added: “Can you imagine the pressure a young African mother is under when after working in the fields all day with a baby on her back, there is still no food to feed her children when she gets home?” Kathryn Thomas expressed her belief that the “petition can really make a huge improvement in the lives of African women. “We can make a real difference and help the women of Africa help themselves and their families.” The organisers say they will present the signatures to the Irish and UK development ministers, as well as to the EU development commissioner and to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Kathryn Thomas and Sylvia Gavigan launching the petition campaign

Mental health reform must be an election priority COMMENT Orla Barry


MPROVING mental health services must be on the election issue, as one in four Irish people experience a mental health difficulty during their lives. To this end, Mental Health Reform is urging people to raise their concern about Ireland’s outdated mental health services with election candidates at the doorstep. Mental health problems increase during economic and social recession. The growing number of suicides in this country, which increased by 25 per cent in 2009, is extremely worrying. Mental health funding is now at its lowest level in modern history at just five per cent of the HSE budget. We need to move to comprehensive community based services, as set out in Ireland’s mental health services reform plan A Vision for Change.

Since launched in 2006, implementation of A Vision for Change has been slow, leaving mental health to continue as the ‘Cinderella’ of the health services. At current rates of progress it will not be implemented even by the outside target of 2016. The consequences of this are dire. People with a mental health problem who could be treated at home will end up in hospital. People who could live independently in their community will continue to be stuck in high-cost health service residences. Without implementation of A Vision for Change, people who need mental health treatment will not get the different types of support they need such as counselling, occupational therapy or help with their housing or benefits. In 2011, just three out of 14 mental health service regions in Ireland could say that their community mental health teams provide the full range of psychiatric, nursing, psycho-

Vision for Change. There are five key areas of reform: Establish a structure The new Government needs to establish a dedicated senior executive position within the HSE responsible for implementing A Vision for Change. This should be led by a director for mental health services who has executive powers, an implementation budget and responsibility to publicly report on progress. Chairman Eddie Molloy and director Orla Barry launching Mental Health Reform logical, social work and occupational therapy supports required under A Vision for Change. People will also not get the early intervention they need, leading them to end up with worse mental health outcomes. Only two out of 14 regions in Ireland currently have early intervention services. Unfortunately, many people with mental health problems

will continue to reside in Victorian psychiatric hospitals instead of modern accommodation in their community. Given these facts, Mental Health Reform – formerly the Irish Mental Health Coalition – has set out what needs to be done to improve Ireland’s mental health services. There is an opportunity for the new government to re-focus its efforts and achieve the targets of A

Publish a plan We need a detailed implementation plan for A Vision for Change which sets out deliverables, a timeline and who is responsible. Financial commitment The new Government needs to bring the proportion of funding on mental health services to eight per cent of the health budget by 2016, as set out in A Vision for Change and ensure clear reporting on mental

health spending. Enact legislation We need to enact legislation that places obligations on the HSE to plan, deliver and report on A Vision for Change. We should also enact comprehensive capacity legislation that complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Promote cross-departmental action We must promote specific cross-departmental action on mental health. Departments covering social welfare, education, employment and housing should set out how they will implement A Vision for Change. For more information visit Orla Barry is director of Mental Health Reform, a coalition of organisations campaigning for improved mental health services.

15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann



Keep our election DIVERSITY DILEMMAS free of racism Tacking the with Doaa Baker

COMMENT Catherine Lynch


HE EUROPEAN Network Against Racism (Enar) Ireland is actively working to ensure that the 2011 General Election is conducted in a manner that does not perpetuate or incite racism. To support this effort, Enar Ireland is circulating the Anti-Racism Election Protocol first developed in 2001 by the NCCRI . The Anti-Racism Election Protocol has played an important role since 2001 in ensuring that elections have been conducted in such a way that they do not incite hatred or prejudice on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin, religious belief and membership of the Traveller Community. Political parties that have already endorsed the protocol include Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Green Party, Labour Party, Libertas, People Before Profit, Sinn Féin, the Socialist Party and the Workers’ Party. To date in Ireland, election campaigners have generally avoided using the ‘race card’, but we cannot take this for granted. Nor is the picture at all perfect. Research by Doras Luimni in Limerick, for example, reveals that political representatives on both the left and right were found to commonly address the issue of immigration in the media as a social problem. Research from the

Enar Ireland co-ordinator Catherine Lynch Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) suggests hidden messages that equality is not important and racism is not a significant issue. Enar notes a rise in rightwing extremism across Europe and a general trend towards higher levels of racism. There is now a far-right party active in the European Parliament, established in 2007 ¬¬– in the same year the German presidency was working to bring in EU legislation to tackle the rise of extremism across Europe. Keeping and removing racism from politics requires commitment on the part of politicians, political parties and civil society alike. Ireland is

facing a difficult challenge at this time. Political leadership has never been so important, in realising rights as well as maintaining solidarity and harmony between all members of society irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality or residency status. To this end, Enar Ireland is inviting individual candidates to sign the protocol as a public declaration of their own support for its message. We believe that in taking this action, candidates will be reminded of the necessity to uphold the commitment made by their political parties. Independents are also strongly encouraged to sign up. Already we have received support from

a number of candidates, and with your help this is set to grow. You too can play a part. The protocol is really only of value if it is implemented. Enar Ireland would like to hear how useful the protocol has been and what progress is made in ensuring candidates live up to the spirit of the declaration. So we ask you to:  Encourage the candidates that you come in contact with to sign the protocol and return it to us (if they have not already done so);  Report racism to us during the election campaign – if you are concerned by statements by politicians or in the media, let us know; and  Say no to racism. We all have a responsibility to address racism and to send the message that racism will not be tolerated. If you find something racist, object. You can access the protocol or report racism on our website at You can also call us at 01 889 7110 or send an e-mail to A signed protocol can be posted to us at Enar Ireland, 55 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1. Catherine Lynch is the national co-ordinator for Enar Ireland, the Irish network against racism, which brings together organisations to work collectively to address racism in Ireland and beyond. Enar Ireland is the national coordination for European Network Against Racism.

Report highlights ‘shame’ of Ireland’s prison system THE FIFTH REPORT on Ireland by the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Degrading Treatment (CPT) is the most critical yet. The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) called it a “damning indictment of a prison system that is failing to meet the most basic human rights standards of safe and humane custody”. The CPT study, conducted a year ago, also examined detention in Garda stations and psy-

chiatric institutions, but the bulk of the report is given over to detailing human rights issues in Ireland’s prisons such as slopping out, overcrowding, escalating violence and “patchy” provision of health care. Women’s prisons in Cork, Mountjoy and Limerick come in for particular criticism regarding sanitary conditions and chronic overcrowding. IPRT executive director Liam Herrick said: “This report further documents a

prison system in crisis, with clear failures of administration in many important aspects of the system - including in relation to healthcare, prisoner protection and investigation of complaints against staff.” He said many of the most serious issues “highlight failures at an operational level to meet the most basic standards of safe and humane custody. “This report shows a litany of broken commitments and inaction in relation to chronic problems over the past two

decades. There has been a failure of leadership to address the problems within our prisons.” Herrick added: “The bottom line is that prisoners and the general public are left with a prison system that is unacceptable and which has exposed Ireland to international shame.” There were 4,100 prisoners in custody when the CPT visited in January and February 2010. Prisoner numbers as of 25 January 2011 stand at 4,541.

racism taboo in Ireland


ACISM – IT'S NOT that black and white. It’s not all the high drama and sensationalism of the Nazis and their ilk. In our present age of political correctness, bigotry has more nuance and channels through subtler avenues of expression. In our current economic climes, is there an upward trend in ‘recession racism’? What form of racism poses the biggest threat in Irish society today? Last October, a human rights study by the US State Department uncovered Ireland’s serious racism problems. The key findings of this report marked an increase in acts of discrimination and violence against racial and ethnic minorities and immigrant groups. Further, it recorded an increase in ‘Irish only’ job advertisements. A earlier study by the ERSI had also found that job applicants with ‘non-Irish-sounding’ names suffer a strong disadvantage comparative to ‘typically Irish’ named candidates. As an Irish ethnic and cultural minority, many often assume that I’m a veteran victim of racial prejudice. But in reality, I sit somewhere on the fence; my experiences with racism of the overt and abusive variety have actually been very few and far between. Example incidents include your routine ‘Go home Paki’ which I’ve never understood, since I don’t come from Pakistan… In most cases I can shrug off these encounters. Ignorance exists everywhere. Personally I don’t think Ireland is any better or worse in this regard. I don’t stand stoic in the face of such dondict, but nor do I deny its despicability. But what I do note is the collective self-congratulatory condemnation that is commonly expressed in response. I don’t make sweeping accusations of mass hypocrisy here, but I mean,

isn’t it just too easy to dwell on and to denounce this type of behaviour? Isn’t it something of a red herring? It reminds me of that tacky type of smug moral superiority you’d typically find in the audience at trashy TV talk shows. Perhaps an increase in this style of racism is part of a wider trend we can see in the popularity of far-right nationalist parties across Europe. Furthermore, in our current economic condition, amid the job shortages, there comes a higher risk of minority groups being make scapegoats for society’s ills. This could explain the frequency of open acts of ‘recession racism’ against immigrants and minority ethnic groups. That said, it is my strong belief that structural and systemically embedded forms of discrimination pose the most malignant social threats. The studies I noted above support the view that despite increased multiculturalism and the ‘post-racial society’ illusion, institutional and bureaucratic bigotry operates full swing in Ireland. This could well be reinforced by the present state of the Irish economy. Of course there is an obvious flipside to this argument. I am very aware of the power of the racism card. Minorities indeed have enormous scope for manipulation and blamegame tactics I acknowledge that it’s very possible to dislike a racial, ethnic or immigrant minority individual on the basis of their own demerits. False accusations of racism are equally as abominable as racial prejudice itself. But we’re not going to get anywhere unless we tackle this taboo topic honestly and strategically. It’s the only way we can seek to ensure social stability in these uncertain times. Doaa Baker is an intern with Metro Éireann

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15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann

Metro Éireann 15–31 January 2011

THE WORLD AT HOME Charles Laffiteau’s

BIGGER PICTURE BEFORE I DISCUSS my impressions regarding President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, I think it’s a good idea to reflect on his performance during his first two years in office. It’s important to note that when President Obama began his tenure, America was in the throes of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Home prices were plunging and mortgage foreclosures rising in conjunction with deep cuts in consumer and business spending and ballooning unemployment rolls. Furthermore, President Obama inherited two foreign wars that his predecessor and his Congressional supporters had chosen to finance with ever-increasing amounts of deficit spending. America was also grappling with rapidly increasing healthcare costs, leaving some small businesses and middle-class Americans unable to fund their private health insurance plans at a time when many were also losing their jobs. Those medical bills were also driving up the costs of providing care for retired Americans. But instead of addressing this issue, the Republicans simply added more fuel to the exploding federal budget deficit by providing a Medicare prescription benefit to retirees financed by still more deficit spending. So Obama began his first year confronting a deepening economic recession with the added burden of a ballooning federal budget deficit. But most Congressional Republicans, still smarting from the shellacking they had taken in the general election, were in no mood to try to work with the President to address America’s economic malaise, preferring instead to oppose whatever legislation he and the Democratic Congress proposed to address the problem. Fortunately for America and the nation’s economy, a few Republicans decided to put the needs of their country ahead of their party’s agenda and supported the President’s bank bailout and economic stimulus measures, including an extension of unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who had lost their jobs early on in the recession. On the other side, the majority of Republicans who opposed these economic measures justified their position by claiming the economic stimulus would worsen America’s gaping federal budget deficit. To me, that’s the pot calling the kettle black. President Obama’s other most notable accomplishment so far was the landmark healthcare legislation he and Congressional Democrats succeeded in passing. While this was the right thing to do for the millions of lower and middleincome Americans who couldn’t afford private healthcare, at the same time it wasn’t the most politically savvy issue for the President to take up while America was still in the throes of a serious economic recession. On the other hand, throughout its history the US Congress has only passed landmark social legislation when one party has a substantial advantage over its political opponents. If Obama had bided his time, it might have taken another generation to muster the political support required to address the problem. I believe the President was correct in dealing with the healthcare problem while the window to do so existed. Yet for doing the right thing for their country, the President and some of his Democratic allies in Congress paid a heavy political price in the 2010 midterm elections. Democrats not only lost control of the House of Representatives, but also lost the advantage they needed in the US Senate to thwart Republican opposition to Obama’s agenda over the next two years. Meanwhile, many Democrats in Congress were upset with the President over his willingness to compromise with Republicans and agree to a two-year extension of the Bushera tax cuts. But by postponing the battle over taxes, Obama was able to provide additional stimulus to the American economy and also win round enough Republicans to get Senate approval for the nuclear arms reduction Start treaty, a 13month extension of unemployment benefits and the repeal of America’s ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ ban on openly gay men and women serving in the US armed forces. Hoping to achieve additional compromises in 2011, Obama offered Republicans another olive branch in his State of the Union address. I’ll discuss their response next time. Charles Laffiteau is a US Republican from Dallas, Texas who is pursuing a PhD in International Relations and lectures on Contemporary US Business & Society at DCU


It’s cold out there

ANDREW FARRELL braves the chill in South Korea - a country notorious for its harsh winters


HERE WON’T BE too many people in South Korea shedding a tear now that January is behind us. Unfortunately, the optimism that usually comes with the beginning of a new month won’t be extended to February. And March, too, will be one to avoid at all costs. Korea has been freezing cold for weeks now, and the bitter winds that have battered the cities and towns will hang around until April at least. Having spent time travelling to most corners of the northern hemisphere, I can safely say I have never experienced anything like a Korean winter. Ireland, in my absence, has been forced to endure consecutive winters unknown in their harshness for a generation. The snowfall here has been moderate in comparison, but it’s not the snow that makes the great outdoors a no-go zone for a month. White powder sporadically falls from our mostly sunny wintry skies, but the ice remains on the roads and pavements. The temperature is so low that even with six hours of sunshine a day, the ice simply won’t melt. Korea is known for its brutal winters, and yet – like Ireland – is always completely unprepared when the snow comes. Efforts made to clear the roads are limited to main routes only. The walk from your apartment to the local store is fraught with danger. The reason for this freeze can be pinned on the winds that blow down from Siberia. Temperatures have been hovering around -18 degrees in Seoul for a number of weeks, with other parts of the country dipping as low as -24. The residents of Gwangju, my city, have been living in -7 to -10 Celsius temperatures for the best part of a month. The climate in Korea is impossible to quantify. In four months time, Seoul will be basking in temperatures hitting 40 degrees, and soon after that will be drenched by the inevitable typhoons that sweep across from the Pacific Ocean during the rainy season. Gwangju, four hours south of

the capital and 40 minutes from the nearest coastline, is mostly protected, I’m told, by the volcanic Jeju Island which sits totally exposed in the Korea Strait. The residents of Jeju endure the brunt of the rainy season, whereas Gwangju enjoys the relative calm of a week or two of heavy rainfall. Gwangju is on the same latitude as Malta in the Mediterranean. Seoul, at 37 degrees north, is roughly similar to Seville, one of Europe’s

hottest cities. The impact those horrendously cold winds sweeping down from Siberia is clear right there up there – you can be sure Malta doesn’t experience winters as bad as this. In Korea, homes and business have been cranking up the thermostat to battle the winter chill, since the government controls the price of electricity, it’s kept artificially low. But concern is growing that unless people start saving electricity, the result could be blackouts

across the country. Some power stations only ever turned on when demand is high are now running at full capacity, and the situation has become so critical that the government is even considering running subway trains less frequently. This is the reality of winter in Korea. It’s pretty cold out there. Andrew Farrell worked as an English language teacher in Korea.

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Tá féiniúlacht na hÉireann thar a bheith luachmhar Siún Ní Dhuinn


RAITHIM NACH bhfuil morán de chuimhne ag muintir na hEireann i dtaobh rudaí áirithe. Ní chloistear faoi nósanna cultúrtha mar a bhí minic go leor, dár liomsa. Tá spéis agam i stair shóisialta na tíre, an chaoi gur thit rudaí amach sa tír agus na scéalta grá, réabhlóid na mban agus cúrsaí imirce ina measc. Léigh mé cúpla leabhar le déanaí a chur mé ag smaoineamh faoin saol mar a bhí ag ár sinsir. Na leabhair seo a chur ag machnamh mé ná Star of the Sea le Joseph O’ Connor, scéal faoi na báid ag dul go Meiriceá aimsir an Ghorta Mhóir; The Secret Scripture le Sebastian Barry, a insíonn scéal na tuaithe in Éirinn do bhean óg a thit i ngrá; agus Brooklyn le Colm Tóibín a leanann bean óg agus í ar imirce i Meiriceá. Chaith gach leabhar solas ar ghné de stair shóisialta na tíre seo nach raibh morán ar eolas agam faoi. Bhraith mé an-trua dos na caractéir agus thuig mé srianta na hEaglaise Caitlicí agus an bealach dofheicthe a bhí ag muintir na cumhachta na laethanta sin. Thug na leabhair seo léargas dom ar shaol na mban mar a bhí, agus na nósanna a bhéifí ag súil leo. Nuair a chríochnaigh mé na leabhair seo fágadh ceisteanna i

m’aigne. An ndeachaigh aon duine de mo theaghlach ar imirce? Cá ndeachaigh siad? An raibh scannal ar bith faoi rún ag mo shinsir? Nuair a d’fhiosraigh mé na scéalta seo le m’athair am Nollag agus chuala mé scéalta nach ndearnadh tagairt dóibh ariamh. Thuig mé mo stair phearsanta níos fearr agus tá mé buíoch go bhfuil an saol athraithe agus forbraithe agus go mbeidh stair dhifriúil ag mo theaglach de bharr na n-athruithe shuntasacha shóisialta seo. Tá féiniúlacht na n-Éireannach le tuiscint ó nua- litríocht na tíre, is seoid luachmhar í seo dúinn ar fad. Is scríbhneoir agus léachtóir le Gaeilge í Siún Ní Dhuinn in UCD

Irish identity is invaluable


RELAND HAS a short memory with regards to certain things. We younger people don’t hear much about cultural traditions as they were. I have an interest in social history, the way things happened, love stories, the women’s revolution and emigration stories. I read a few books recently that made me think about life as it was for our ancestors. The books that stirred me were Star of the Sea by

Joseph O’Connor, a story of a famine boat and those upon it,; The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, which tells the story of a young woman in rural Ireland who falls in love; and Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín which follows a young woman who emigrates to America. Every one of these books shed light on an aspect of social history that I hadn’t known much about. I pitied the characters and I under-

stood the chains of the Catholic Church better and invisible ways that the people in power had in those days. These books gave me an insight on women’s life and the social norms that were expected from them. When I finished the books, questions lingered in my head. Did any of my family emigrate? Where did they go? Were there some secrets swept under the carpet? When I enquired about these questions with my father at

Christmas I heard stories that I had never heard before. I understood my family history much better and I appreciate that life has changed and developed and that the next generations’ history will be different thanks to these substantial social changes. The Irish identity is to be understood from this country’s modern literature, it is a valuable jewel to us all. Siún Ní Dhuinn is a writer and lecturer at UCD



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Metro Éireann 15 December 2010–14 January 2011


15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann



Discover your purpose By Seyi Akintunde Power of His Resurrection Ministries Unit A 9-10 Academy St, Navan “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker As we begin a new year, it is important to ask ourselves if we are actually living for the purpose for which we have been created or not. No matter how successful you think you are, if you are living outside of purpose, Heaven does not recognise you as a success. On the other hand, when others may see you as a failure, Heaven is cheering you on – because you are right in the thick of your God-given assignment. Jesus, when he was about to finish his earthly assignment, said: “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you have

given me” (John 17:4). He knew his purpose and was very clear about it, so at 33 he knew his assignment here was about to be completed; he had great sense of fulfillment. You have been created for a purpose. You are not on earth by accident. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Your purpose predates you, and you are here to fit into the role. Before John the Baptist was born, his purpose was clearly spelt out by God. Jeremiah heard God inform him clearly: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah’s purpose was to be a prophet and no other thing. Apostle Paul, too, was enabled to do great exploits for the kingdom because he discovered his purpose and lived in it. He made this clear in one of his epistles: “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being” (Galatians 1:15-16). He knew clearly what he was separated for – no wonder he did not contest Peter’s territo-

ry with him. Brother, before you embark on that investment or business this year, spend time with God. Be clear as to what your purpose is on earth, and see if the step you are about to take is in harmony with your purpose. There are lots of Christians who will get to Heaven only to discover that they had run other people’s races on earth. As an athlete, no matter how good you perform in an Olympic event, if they should discover that you’re not supposed to be there, you stand disqualified. You need to use this period to embark on a journey of purpose discovery and ask God to reveal yours to you. It is true your conception was not as dramatic as that of John the Baptist, but that does not in any way suggest you are here just to populate the earth for the fun of it. It is your responsibility to discover your purpose ¬– in fact, God is waiting for you to come asking. Enough of gambling! Get serious with God; ask Him probing questions. Some people discovered their purpose by unusual divine arrangements, with events and people around them effectively used by God to lead them to their purpose, but the majority of us need to ask Him first. The Book of Proverbs says: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search a matter out is the

glory of Kings” (Proverbs 25:2). You are a king, so search out your purpose. God even stressed this again in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Your provision, protection, grace and fulfillment reside within your purpose, and until you discover that purpose you are but a wanderer. Do not do something just because everybody else is doing it. If you have not been separated for it, you will end up frustrated. Maybe you should use this time to ask why, despite all the anointing and breakthrough services you have attended, things have just refused to change. Maybe, just maybe, you are operating in another man’s office. So cross-check with your Creator. He is waiting to talk to you. There are many ways that have been suggested in discovering purpose. But as great as some of them are, none is as reliable and as trustworthy as going to God directly in prayer. This year will mark the beginning of an exciting time in living in your purpose, and you will wander no more. So do not waste this year doing what you should not be doing, for no matter how long you may spend doing the wrong thing, it will never make it right.

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Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011


17–30 June 2010 Metro Éireann

by Ifedinma Dimbo

Anthills of the Savannah By Chinua Achebe (Penguin) Anthills of the Savannah was Chinua Achebe’s fifth novel, published in 1987 and made one of Penguin’s classics in 2001. Achebe is a foremost Nigerian author who has written over 20 books, including novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry. He’s probably best known for his first novel – Things Fall Apart, written in 1957 – which has sold over 10 million copies and been translated into more than 45 languages. With Anthills of the Savannah, he alludes to the corrupt and repressive leadership and its accompanying socio-economic and political upheavals of post-oil-boom Nigeria, but the perceptive eyes can also see a lot of similarities in the great turmoil of recent times in some countries beyond Africa, where

mismanagement of the economy and the alienation of the people by their leaders is the order of the day. The setting is Kangan, a fictitious republic in west Africa, which in over a decade of independence

With Anthills, Achebe alludes to the corruption and political upheavals of post-oilboom Nigeria

has witnessed succession of coups, the latest installing Sam in power. Gradually Sam turns to dictatorship, birthing an atmosphere of fear and paranoia as he tries to install himself as president for life. Even his closest friends are not spared his wrath. It’s a story we all know well. I believe that Achebe wants the reader to nurture and keep close to heart one particular adage where he writes: “It is only the story... that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence. The story is our escort; without it, we are blind. Does the blind man own his escort? No, neither do we the story; rather, it is the story that owns us.” When I turned the last page, I could only concur. As my peope would say, he who has ears should hear with them. Ifedinma Dimbo, originally from Nigeria, is the author of She Was Foolish? More details about her work and the Irish Writers’ Exchange can be found at

Sudoku Easy



by Jurgita Vaskel

Coconut macaroon cookies ON THE RAINY, windy and dull days, nothing is as welcoming and cosy as freshly baked cookies that bring a heavenly scent of coconut and vanilla into any room. Coconut macaroon cookies have a wonderfully sweet coconut flavour, are soft and chewy inside and crispy outside. They are easy to make and the best thing about them is that you can use as many leftover egg whites as you have at the moment – simply reduce the amount of the other ingredients. These coconut macaroon cookies are an irresistible treat. Pair them with your favourite cup of tea and warm up your day. Ingredients:

(Will make about 25 cookies) 4 egg whites 3/4 cup of sugar 1/4 cup all purpose flour A few drops of vanilla extract 300g shredded coconut, sweetened and lightly toasted In a stainless steel bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites and sugar (the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t reach the water). When the mixture is nice and creamy, remove from the heat

and stir in the vanilla extract, flour and coconut. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 170C. When mixture is chilled, form small balls between your palms, place them on the parchment-lined or flour dust-

ed baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Store in an air-tight container. Jurgita Vaskel is a food blogger. Visit her blog at

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Metro Éireann 17–23 June 2010

15–28 February 2011 Metro Éireann




by Oein DeBhairduin

Aries - March 21 to April 20 - ‘I am’ Teaming up with someone who seems most like your opposite could actually be a lucky break for you: while different motivations rest behind your actions, the aim is the same ¬– co-operation will benefit you both greatly. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to say sorry. There is great bravery and courage in admitting and realising your own vices. Love is on your side. Dare to believe in others.

Cancer - June 22 to July 22 - ‘I feel’ Now is the perfect time to keep a lookout for open doors and fresh opportunities, as you might just kick yourself later if you discover you passed some by and another person managed to get in on a great possibility before you. Expect the unexpected and place yourself in high regard. You are capable of far more then you believe yourself to be. Open your heart to the brighter days that lie ahead.

Libra - Sept 23 to Oct 23 - ‘I choose’ With some quarrels among friends taking precedent, you have may have to remind yourself to remain neutral and not take sides. Even though you feel partial to one person’s opinion or argument, you must not be seen to be biased. It will be a passing clash but the memory will remain. Strife and conflict will only be made worse by you siding with one or the other. An old love seeks your attention.

Capricorn - Dec 22 to Jan 20 - ‘I build’ Remind yourself of any promises you have made towards business or financial opportunities. The time for you to truly shine is here. You may encounter some resistance and frustrations with authority figures, but take the situation softly as anything less may lead to delays. Your imagination can help you come up with some high-profit ideas. Even you have much left to learn.

Taurus - April 21 to May 21 - ‘I possess’ The stars suggest you are argumentative and impatient right now, so beware flaring up disagreements over minor irritations. Confrontations with others may be rewarding but be sure to keep your anger in check. If you can try to reconnect with nature, it’ll remind you not only of the balance of life but that all things come to pass... in their own time. Be patient with yourself.

Leo - July 23 to Aug 23 - ‘I shine’ Try to concentrate on what’s really happening in your own life long before worrying what’s going on anywhere else! You have some amazing opportunities to get into while they are young, or at least young at heart, and any dilly-dallying could only postpone your future success. Avoid gossip if you can as it will only draw you into some daft situation that matters very little. Money worries ease ¬– about time!

Scorpio - Oct 24 to Nov 22 - ‘I desire’ If you’re offered the chance to do something rather different this week, instead of turning down the opportunity outright, ask questions, inquire, explore – just do yourself a favour and research. The opportunity is worth exploring. The worries and woe of those close to you need not be yours too. Remind yourself who owns the drama and keep your own counsel. This month brings many blessings.

Aquarius - Jan 21 to Feb 18 - ‘I know’ That deep voice from within is rarely wrong. It speaks of a truth that you need to listen to. Trust your intuition and know that it guides you well. Tune into your instincts, and if you get a strong feeling to go somewhere, talk to someone or do something; follow your hunches. Emotionally you may be faced with past memories. Let them rise and view them in a new light. You have grown so much.

Gemini - May 22 to June 21 - ‘I think’ Feeling lazy and giving into the temptation of apathy is no way to be successful. Follow up on offers and opportunities as they present themselves as this is the only way to get lucky this week. You have a lot of experience and wisdom, for now when sharing it with others make sure you get something in return. Don’t allow others to ride high on your hard work and creativity. Know your worth.

Virgo - Aug 24 to Sept 22 - ‘I critique’ Be prepared, as although you may hear some negative news, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Have patience as it’s not only a lesson – it’s a stepping stone to something great. Those around you may be in an emotional lull right now but they are about to take on a new attitude and view of life. Celebrate it with them. A journey is definitely in the stars, though it may come at an unexpected time.

Sagittarius - Nov 23 to Dec 21 - ‘I aspire’ Now is the time to be getting yourself organised. Your life has been far too busy of late and you may be lacking a sense of connection with your dreams and desires. Try not to overlook any issues right now, as pretence will not be of any help. Expect a lot of frustration as financial irresponsibility has left you in a tight spot. The key might be to set limitations on your spending habits.

Pisces - Feb 19 to March 20 - ’I care’ This week you will feel very inspired by a friend or colleague’s sense of passion and drive. Together you feel you could move mountains in order to reach a very special joint goal. Strike while the iron is hot as there’s little you cannot achieve right now. Spend some time reconnecting with family and those important to you. Beware of office politics – it’s not worth the hassle or energy. Speak your truth.

WORLD NEWS WORDSEARCH In The News Last week’s answers

Eight words and phrases related to newsworthy topics over the past few months are hidden in the box above. Can you find them? Here are some clues to help you out:

1 Name Ireland’s former Minister for Health and Children, who recently resigned amid a spate of ministerial exits 2 Which British comedian ruffled Hollywood’s feathers as host of this year’s Golden Globes?

The answers to last week's word search: 1 Prince William; 2 Oprah Winfrey; 3 Mary Byrne; 4 Michelle Obama; 5 Sarah Palin; 6 Moshe Katsav; 7 Qatar; 8 Pope Scribble Box

3 What is the surname of the Arizona Democrat congresswoman who was a recent target of a mass shooting?

5 Which new country is on the way to officially becoming world’s newest state?

4 In which hospital was Ireland’s first keyhole transplant surgery recently performed?

6 Which North African country overthrew its president following mass protests in January 2011?

7 The foreign minister of which country was recently mobbed on her arrival in Gaza? 8 What's the surname of the controversial Italian Prime Minister and media mogul

who could face trial as an alleged sex offender?

Answers to this word search will be in the next edition of Metro Éireann. Good luck and happy word hunting!

20 10

Metro Éireann 15–28 February 2011


Metro Éireann SPORT


By Stephen Timmons

ROBERT KUBICA’S passion for rally driving has left his career in Formula 1 in the balance after a horror crash at the Ronde di Andorra Rally in Italy on 6 February. The accident happened when the Polish star lost control of his Skoda Fabia at high speed before colliding with a metal barrier at a church wall. Kubica’s co-driver Jakub Gerber emerged unhurt from the wreck. He said: “The guardrail pierced through the car and went all the way through it.” Gerber continued: “I immediately saw it was serious, Robert also had a bruise under his eye after hitting the steering wheel. Robert passed out and I exited through the window because the door was stuck.” Kubica, 26, was airlifted to the Santa Corona hospital in Pietra Ligure where the extent of his injuries were realised. Soon tests revealed multiple fractures to his upper right arm, elbow and right foot and leg but the main concern was his severed right hand. It took seven hours of surgery to save the limb and leading hand specialist Dr Igor Rossello, who assisted in Kubica’s surgery, said the driver has responded well to the initial treatment. “The patient arrived here

presenting an extremely complex trauma, with lesions at several levels,” he said. “Our first priority was to keep the limb alive, and this is a goal we have reached. The hand is warm, vascularised and is not swollen. “The second part of the operation was reconstructing the anatomy of the limb, since the tendons were completely severed. Then we moved on to padding the nerve lesions and we managed to recuperate the two main nerves of the hand, which were severed too.” Fr Rossello said that after the operation the hand appeared to be “in fine condition” insofar as “the patient was able to do some simple movement of the fingers, which gives good hope. “We’ll see how it evolves,” he said. “At the moment it’s difficult to make predictions.” Experts say an injury of this magnitude, if successfully rectified, should take at least a year to make a full recovery – but the Polish driver has other ideas. Vowing to make his comeback before the end of the Formula 1 season, he said: “I want to return this year. I am really determined to reduce the recovery time with a very defined programme.” He continued: “The fingers work and so does the arm, I can feel them. But I still have to

undergo another operation and then I will know.” Kubica added: “I don’t remember anything of the accident. Rallies are my passion. I drive better in Formula 1 because I have taken part in many rallies.” The Krakow native was all set to lead the Lotus Renault team in the 2011 Formula One season until the unfortunate crash. But team boss Eric Boullier defended Kubica’s decision to participate in rallies. “He loves rallying,” said Bouiller. “We knew the risks and so did he. We didn’t want a

robot or a corporate man for a driver. It was agreed.” Kubica is a devout Catholic and even has the name of former pontiff John Paul II inscribed on his helmets. Poland’s Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz sent him a medallion containing a fragment of a liturgical robe worn by the John Paul II and a drop of his blood. Cardinal Dziwiz told Polish television: “John Paul was a sportsman himself, he loved sport as a young man.” The accident could not have come at a worst time, with the Formula 1 season set to get underway at Bahrain’s

15 December 2010–14 January 211 Metro Éireann


Contact the Sports desk:

International Circuit with qualifying on 12 March. This year looked promising for the Lotus Renault team at the opening pre-season test at Valencia in Spain on 3 February when Kubica finished the day with the fastest time. As pre-season testing continued the following week at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain without Kubica, ‘get well’ wishes from all the other drivers were led by his Lotus Renault team-mate Vitaly Petrov. The Russian had the message ‘Szybkiego Powrotu do Zdrowia Robert’ (Get Well Soon Robert) sprayed across

The wrecked rally car after Kubica’s horror smash

his engine cover. The rest of the drivers soon emerged with the same message of support. It is not the first time Kubica has been involved in a lifethreatening smash since his F1 debut in 2006. During the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, the then BMW-Sauber driver clipped Jarno Trulli’s car before sliding off the track, then hitting a grass hump which sent his car rolling like a barrel back across the track and smashing into a barrier at 300kph. Amazingly, his only injuries were a few bruises and a sprained ankle. By contrast, the same grand prix a year later proved to be his only Formula One victory to date and in 2010, again in Canada, he set the fastest lap for the only time in his career. In all, Kubica has started 76 races with 12 podium finishes in Formula One. His best finish in the Drivers’ Championship was fourth place in 2008. With the Lotus Renault team having to accept that Kubica will almost certainly miss the entire 2011 season, the problem arises as to who will fill his vacant seat. Candidates to partner Petrov are Brazil’s Bruno Senna, nephew of ‘the great’ Ayrton Senna; Frenchman Romain Grosjean; and Germany’s Nick Heidfield. It would appear Heidfield, with more than a decade of experience driving in Formula 1, would be odds-on favourite.

Metroeireann Newspaper  

Metroeireann Newspaper

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