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Showing posts from 2015

UCC Express - Drop out generation

Pack up those bags folks. End of semester exam and assignment worries, be no more. Word has come through that you’re not wanted around here anymore. Who does this advice come from? A doctor, no less. But not only a doctor who enjoyed the fruits of an education which he now would prefer you didn’t have, but it is the same doctor who, by now, must only be presiding over our university in name. Yes, our very own Dr.Michael Murphy needs you creating jobs, and not blocking up the hallways of his college, fooling yourself into thinking that an education is something to value and cherish. There’s tax to be paid, and six figure salaries to sustain, don’t be so selfish. I’ve often wondered about the hypocrisy of a state which has waxed lyrical about how smart their economy is, while systematically ensuring that the education required to become a cog in the wheel of this now infamous ‘smart economy’, becomes ever less attainable. It seems word has trickled down from the highest parts of governm…

UCC Express - Entrepreneurship in Ireland

“Heroes of this economy are the people who set up new enterprise”. Those are not my words, but the words of Richard Bruton TD at a recent business event; retweeted and endorsed by Eoghan Murphy TD and his party Fine Gael. Based on this utterance alone, one would have to wonder about the mindset of both the politicians who regularly utter such nonsense, but more pertinently, the room full of entrepreneurs whom this was said to, who it seems didn’t object to this very generous characterisation of themselves. With big ideas come big egos it seems. Enter Paddy Cosgrave, of The Web Summit ‘fame’. For those of you who don’t know who Paddy is, he’s the same guy who said his own degree from TCD is worth more than yours, or any degree from any one of the six other universities for that matter. Don’t worry though, while he may not hire the plebs who are educated outside of the pomp of Trinity, he’ll still sell you an exorbitantly overpriced ticket to the Web Summit, so all’s not lost. But thing…

The Elderly

Much has been said and written about the effects the rise of individualism and consumerism has had on morality, principles, and basic manners in contemporary society. Many equate the sharp rise in modern day ailments such as crime, mental illnesses, and addictions, as well as the overall increase in societal ‘moral decay’, with the replacing of the traditional community, in many instances held together by a collective religious belief, by a religion of greed and neoliberalism. Whether those arguments stack up or not is debatable, nevertheless, one would find it difficult to counteract an argument that some deeply unsavoury traits are packed away in the arrival luggage of neoliberalism and individualism.

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest member”. While we could all argue about what individuals collectively form the weakest group within society, I don’t think anyone could deny that our elderly would make the shortlist. Our elderl…

UCC Express - The Refugee Crisis

Another week passes and the refugee crisis continues to rumble on. I don’t think a single member of our nation has not been touched by the current situation, with opinions varying from the downright sadistic, to those of the people willing to personally sacrifice their time and safety just to help other human beings. The sad reality of western media's ignorance, bias, and downright despicability, has never been so apparent, as the voices of those apparently emotionally unaffected by the sight of a drowned child, garner the overwhelming attention of those happy to sacrifice compassion and reason for fellow human beings, just in order to sell a few more newspapers off the back of controversy. And they say politics is a dirty business? 

The issue that I see with people's perception of the refugee crisis, is the correlation people place between Syrians fleeing war and persecution, and regular immigration. The two are completely different. Irrespective of anyone's opinion on imm…

Corporate Greed

It's been a tumultuous few weeks. The current era of disquiet with corporate Ireland all began when the Heffernan clan, Dunnes Stores wealthy owners, showed us their fighting spirit, a mandatory entrepreneurial asset which is conducive to success in Irish corporate life it seems, when they brazenly faced down their low paid, dubiously contracted workers. How dare regular people with bills and children to feed, seek security outside of their fragile contracts and low pay, they said! And so the protests began, somewhat in earnest now it seems. But this was only to be the start of the muscle flexing. Following on from this, and in what has become a boringly repetitive sight, we were treated to the sight of Denis O' Brien yet again attempting to muzzle his detractors, this time a hardworking TD in Catherine Murphy, our national Parliament, as well as the public broadcaster you and I are obliged to pay for through our taxes. Thankfully Denis lost the battle, but intent on not losin…

UCC Express - Multiculturalism

Recent events have ignited debates around the success, or lack thereof, of multiculturalism as it is currently constructed in Europe. What tends to happen when media debates take place around this question, is that polarising and contrasting opinion form the ‘so called’ two bases of wider pubic opinion. This creates a huge problem for the open conversation that needs to take place around this issue, in that those who express concerns for the success of multiculturalism are greeted with anger, and branded racists and fascists, and those who express support for multiculturalism are pejoratively branded as lefty liberals; hardly constructive bases from which to attempt open, adult-led dialogue.

I must be honest, I have reservations about the success of multiculturalism in its current format. It’s not that I don’t want other races and cultures in Ireland, quite the opposite in fact. The sole reason for these reservations stem from the identification of the issues it has created for our nea…

UCC Express - Irish Media

Recent political events have inspired a debate around the independence of Ireland’s media, and the unparalleled power they hold in shaping the political and societal discourse. An open and nonpartisan media is an essential component of any well functioning democratic society. In Ireland we have a publicly funded media and a privately owned media. In an ideal world, our publicly funded media would work proactively and in an unbiased fashion, in the national best interest, while private, independently-run media would report fact-based news, possibly with a certain slant. In Ireland’s case, neither private nor public media report from this ideal world.

There are two fundamental issues with the construct of contemporary media in Ireland, as I see it; firstly, the blatant subservience of our media to that of the European institutional and Irish governmental agenda as well as that of the corporate world, and secondly, the dominance of certain business and political interests in the privately…

UCC Express - The Environment

One of my favourite places in Cork is the Marina, from the Pairc all the way down to Blackrock village. The serenity it offers to those who pound the cracked concrete there is second to none. It’s one of few places left in the city where you could imagine that you are in the countryside; the sounds of the lapping water and the wind that gushes up the river embankment and through the trees offer as soothing a melody as the crashing of waves against West Cork rocks. As you approach Blackrock, a fleeting glance across the river offers a stark contrast to this serenity, as consumerism and the pursuit of economic growth shows us its duller and more ugly side. Cargo comes and goes. Containers are lifted on and off of ships, as the sound of steel on steel fills the port, all the while the smell of diesel filling your nostrils. To those who regularly row up the river Lee, a glance from port to starboard side show two different worlds, on one side all of mans creations and desires, on the othe…

UCC Express - Politics, the Parody

“Je suis Charlie”. It is a phrase that will remain etched in the collective psyche of the world for some time to come, a phrase which passed the lips of almost every western world leader in recent weeks. We are Charlie. But are they? Are we? January wasn’t a good time to shine an investigative light on to global politics. In recent weeks, in scenes reminiscent of an elongated political parody, we saw a collection of world leaders march in solidarity through the streets of Paris, to defend and promote the idea of free speech, the correct response to such an attack on it. Yet, only two weeks later we witnessed them mourn the death of the King of Saudi Arabia, in the very same month Saudi Arabia’s oppressive regime was giving 1000 lashes to Raif Badawi for attempting to exercise the same free speech the leaders of the ‘free world’ professed to care about so much. Remember, this was a right so fundamental to these leader’s societies that they marched through sombre Paris streets, hand in …

UCC Express - Charlie Hebdo

On the morning of Wednesday, the 7th of January 2015, the west was delivered yet another chilling reminder of the dangers of religious extremism. It could be said that those living in the Middle East, and most recently Northern Nigeria, have been ignored as they consistently profess to be acutely aware of the lethal cocktail uncompromising adherence to ‘religion’ makes, when combined with impressionable and angry young minds. The rise of the 'islamic state' has shone a light on just how brutal human beings can be to one another, when faith differences and interpretation of the creator of the world they seem intent on destroying, come into the equation.

I am not Islamophobic, I am religious-phobic. I despise any ideology which fuels minds to murder, rape, oppress and divide in the name of their said God. Ireland knows more than most nations, how damaging strict societal and individual adherence to religious teachings can be, having suffered from a century of conservative Catholi…