Does Munster matter?

It's a serious question. What happened to the Atlantic Corridor, bringing transport links and growth to the three cities of the West? Well, we got the Limerick to Galway motorway, and that's wonderful. But it's not quite a corridor when on both ends of that lovely piece of tarmac there are roads that are potholed, single [...]

I don't normally do this, but… 2015… what's the plan?

I don't normally do very personal blog posts here, but quite a bit of my op/ed stuff over the past year related to personal experiences, so I feel I should bring it all together a bit here.  It's late January, and I am only now getting into 'January mode', the mode of healthy eating and exercise, [...]

Mapping the gender gap

The World Gender Gap Report 2014 has been released today. Here's a very nifty map of the report showing where the biggest disparities exist and also mapping progress over time using the slider.  Rwanda (my area of interest in this regard) comes one step ahead of Ireland due to its enormous success in involving women in [...]

Rwanda… 20 years on

Today is UN Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide. The country’s President Paul Kagame has just completed a European tour, including a visit to Aras an Uachtarain last week. While in Ireland, he donated €50,000 to help build a robot for Cork’s Joanne O’Riordan. When Kagame’s RPF ended the genocide by invading [...]

The Rwandan genocide

As the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide approaches, the country’s President Paul Kagame is on a tour of Europe commemorating what is known as Kwibuka 20.   Since 1994, Rwanda has been synonymous with genocide. In a planned action which began 20 years ago this month, approximately 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred [...]

Rwanda’s women get ahead, while Ireland prepares for quotas

Mary Lou McDonald had to fight for maternity leave from the Dail - there is currently no provision for this. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I wrote this piece in March after a trip to Rwanda to meet women politicians there, and after spending about four months shadowing and interviewing women politicians in Ireland. I just [...]

The Dail has a history of sordid sexism – and without more women, it's not going to change

I wrote this piece for the Herald on Thursday as "lapgate" began spreading on social media. The reason I'm posting it here as well is this article by Stephen Collins in today's Irish Times. Collins is right on Dail reform but he is utterly out of step on this issue; an incident of sexual harassment in [...]

Sticks and stones

“Sure you know what I mean…” The call to complicity is one we hear all the time. It’s the stock response from anyone called out on discrimination, and it’s all too easy to just nod along and mumble “yeah, I do”. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a [...]

We didn't mean to write about the genocide

... But we did. It's in the air you breathe in Rwanda, in the food you eat and in the way people look at you, or don't. It's unavoidable, inescapable and it would be a fallacy and a betrayal to go there and ignore it. Everything is done and said in the context of the genocide, [...]

Rwanda's women working together (or, everyone's got a Bono story)

Women's empowerment in Rwanda is crossing the boundaries of ethnicity, class, education, geography and even wellness. Yesterday, we met Yvonne Mutakwasuku, the mayor of a district called Muhanga just west of Kigali. A softly spoken Francophone, Yvonne has worked as a health and social worker with local authorities, NGOs and women's groups for her entire career, [...]