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Showing posts from 2016

'TheJournal.ie' - Social Work, the backlash

Three years ago I began my journey to become a professional social worker. Back then, Ireland’s torched economy smothered any prospects of a career within Ireland for my classmates and I. It mattered little. My experience of chronic illness since the winter of 2011 had not only changed my career goals and life ambitions, but also offered me an insight into the necessity of social supports to someone experiencing sudden, acute or more chronic vulnerability. I felt equipped to put myself in someone else's shoes through my experience of illness, as well as issues I had faced as an adolescent. I was hopeful that I could be a positive influence on vulnerable people’s lives. In September I will enter my fourth and final year of training. My perception of many aspects of society has evolved dramatically in the last three years. Regretfully, one of the most striking transformations has been in my understanding of the public’s perception of the role and integrity of social workers. I alway…

'Broadsheet.ie' - We get what we deserve

Last Friday night's appearance by Brendan O'Connor on The Late Late Show has got huge media attention in recent days. During the course of his interview, Brendan, who has a daughter living with Down Syndrome, was at pains to point out the plight of children living with disabilities in Ireland, and the lack of services available to them and their families. While the portion of the interview dedicated to his experience and insight was extremely powerful, and no doubt resonated with families the length and breadth of Ireland, I couldn’t help feeling that an opportunity had been lost after watching it. Too often in Ireland, when we are confronted with injustice and inequality, we are content to simply pay lip service to the particular issue, pontificating briefly, before ultimately moving on, without ever trying to understand how we can make changes in order to alleviate the issue. Unfortunately, Friday night was no different, in my opinion. 

Ireland is unique in so many great ways…

'The Irish Examiner' - Homelessness

The gates of UCC were blurred, as sheets of heavy rain ricocheted off the outside of the windscreen, condensation now varnishing the inside. I perched my head forward and peered up, trying to get a better view of the B&B which had become obscured since we had parked. Next to me, my practice teacher spoke with someone on the phone, the anxiety and concern evident in her voice. “She’s up in Drinan street collecting the cheque”, said the distressed voice on the other end of the phone. Outside, students shuffled past a long line of street lamps, all of them draped with general election slogans. It appeared recovery was in the air, and we needed to keep it going. Meanwhile, just a ten minute walk away, a young woman and her three year old child queued in a small office on a side street, seeking financial assistance in order that they could access the security and warmth of the B&B I now had in my view. She desperately needed the cheque she was queuing for, but that desperation had …

UCC Express - Students & The General Election 2016

The general election looms large. While it has been one of the shortest run ups to an election that I can remember, it has been one of the most tedious and frustrating in my living memory. Already the word ‘change’ has become so commonplace amidst the political clatter that its very meaning has been sterilised beyond any credibility. It has become a by-word for its anthesis, stagnation, most commonly interpreted on the political and societal landscape as the acceptance of a status quo. Paradoxically though, the only thing that worries me more than hearing the annoyingly predictable clammer of politicians advocating for this ‘change’, is the silence from some quarters, a silence that defines an apparent contentment with the status quo. 

The political voice of the student has always been a forceful one. Historically it has been the voice that has challenged the status quo, refusing to accept stagnation of any kind. The determination of its voice afforded the youth of today many instituti…

UCC Express - Drugs

I’m sure most of us are now aware of the tragedy that occurred at a house party on Pouladuff Road last week. Six young people had to be rushed to hospital after ingesting what is known as N-Bomb, a ‘head shop’ drug that mimics the effects of acid. Thankfully, five of those six young people were discharged from hospital, lucky enough to have survived their particular brush with the unquestionable consequences of the suppression of the illegal drug trade. Sadly though, one of those six was not so fortunate. I must outline at this point that I am extremely wary of appearing to use such a tragedy to make a political point. Unfortunately though, it is tragedies like this that illustrate the dire consequences of political ineptitude around the creation of sensible and evidence-based drug policy. And so while I remain acutely aware of the sensitivity of this case, lessons simply have to be learned by all of us. 

I have to admit from the outset to being absolute incredulous at the reaction of …