Rise in humanist weddings means a wedding that's very much yours

When you come to that point in life where weddings - one a month, at least in summer - are an inevitability, certain things become equally inevitable. Coast dresses. Fascinators. Fake tan. And re-learning what you’d long blocked out; when to kneel, sit and stand in Mass. Because chances are, at the age of 30ish, you [...]

2018-12-01T09:56:36+00:00 October 8th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , |

An ode to the ould fella

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE8TvsYMPkg Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a country pub, but ould fellas fill me with a tenderness I reserve only for them. Twinkly eyes in weatherbeaten faces, leathery hands and even the odd tuft of ear hair - bonus points for a flat cap and an odour of cattle - bring out the [...]

2018-12-01T09:56:36+00:00 September 19th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , |

Something to smile about – the world is a happier place since 2008

It’s official. You are now living in the 18th happiest nation on earth. Not only that, but the world has become a happier and more generous place over the past five years, despite the financial collapse, while the regional distribution of happiness has become more equal. In 2011 the UN General Assembly decided it was time [...]

2013-09-29T19:00:09+00:00 September 29th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

Mental health and how abuse victims find the reporting process

I was on Tonight with Vincent Browne on TV3 on Thursday evening. The main topics under discussion were Ireland's corporation tax rate and the Quinns being back in court, but I spoke at the end (from about 38 minutes) about climbing self-harm rates, the mental health budget and the difficulties sexual abuse victims have in reporting [...]

2013-01-26T11:37:31+00:00 January 26th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Rwanda

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa AND has very fertile soil. This is how that works out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) At the moment I am busy making plans for a trip to Rwanda in February. I received funding from Irish Aid's Simon Cumbers Media Fund last summer for a project on [...]

Make that empathy work

It’s been a strange week. I read an article in the Irish Times yesterday in which the journalist Michael Harding professed his shame and horror at being Irish, after the awful news broke about Savita Halappanavar. I think we all felt a little bit of that last week. To see him criticised on social media as [...]

2012-11-22T16:08:24+00:00 November 22nd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Hand-wringing and head-shaking

Fianna Fáil Press Office Billy Kelleher TD Spokesperson on Health 13 June 2012 Symphysiotomy victims should not be barred from civil action by statute of limitations – Kelleher Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has welcomed the publication of the report on Symphysiotomy in Ireland by Professor Oonagh Walsh. Deputy Kelleher said: “This first part of this report gives a very concise history of this procedure in Ireland and across Europe. The report says that the procedure was used in the majority of cases in an emergency and did assist with saving babies lives in particular before caesarean sections became common practice. The report says symphysiotomy "was wrongly used in a number of cases". “In the larger Maternity hospitals such as the Coombe, Rotunda and Holles street it was used very infrequently, 0.36% of cases (7 out of 5,874 births) in the Rotunda. It seems to have been used more frequently in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and the last case was reported in 1984 when most of the other hospitals would have stopped using it in the 1960's. The fact that it was still being used in 1984 should be investigated further as it seems totally unacceptable when alternative life-saving treatments were in common use by then. “Judge Maureen Harding Clarke investigated cases of women in this same hospital who had hysterectomies unnecessarily and this was done in a very swift non-confrontational manner. Minister Reilly should look at this model when the final recommendations are made.” The second part of this report will contain recommendations. Deputy Kelleher concluded that “there is no doubt that that these women should not be prohibited from taking civil cases by the statute of limitations.”

Political doublespeak, waffle, spin... call it what you will. It's incessant.

Politicians moving motions of congratulations, condolence, sympathy, at local authority meetings where nobody cares and they are simply wasting time they should be formulating policy and making decisions.

Politicians making vague statements - see previous post re Enda Kenny talking about "google for trees" when visiting Cork.

And politicians issuing press releases purely to be in on something. The very odd time, they have something useful to add. More often than not they are trying to involve themselves in a story that they have nothing to do with, that they have never contributed to in any meaningful way, and that they never intend to help with, really. But it's 99% perception, isn't it?

I got a press release yesterday from Fianna Fáil health spokesperson (and my local TD, who has never once canvassed my house in 2 years) Billy Kelleher, about the symphysiotomy scandal.

I watched Vincent Browne on Tuesday night along with thousands of other absolutely horrified viewers.

The dignity of the victim on that show was almost unbearable.

And we followed up on it for today's paper, with the story of a Cork woman on the front page. Her husband was justifiably angry about their treatment by politicians, who came and went, always making sure to get their name in the story.

Now.

Saying that someone "should not be statute barred" from pursuing a claim in court, is like saying the sky shouldn't be blue, we should have ink flowing through our veins instead of blood, and eating lots of chocolate shouldn't make you fat.

This is probably the most insulting press release I've ever received.

Reciting the content of the report, indulging in some headshaking, and generally bemoaning the state of the world.

Why on EARTH would I print that, in a story about the brutality suffered by thousands of women for whom justice has never been done?

You tell me.




Viva España

I'm in Gran Canaria this week on holidays with my mother. We're staying at a nice resort, in a lovely apartment, and we're 100% conscious of our comparative wealth here in a way I've never been in a country of 'old Europe' before. On (budget) trips to Morocco, Egypt, and even Hungary, I have been super [...]

2012-04-19T13:12:30+00:00 April 19th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Someone to look up to

On Monday evening I was in Dublin to attend RTÉ's The Frontline as a participant from the audience. The show was about the Presidency and my contribution was about the absurdity of the political hoops prospective candidates must jump through, before they ever get to our ballot papers. Our only directly elected national representative [...]