Wednesday, 5th December 2012
27 November 2012
I am a sociologist interested in issues of inclusion and exclusion in Irish society and the management of spoilt identity.
To this end I am interested in hearing of the circumstances under which people have been barred from public houses in this country and the consequences thereof. Being barred, especially from a favourite pub, can be a deeply disturbing, traumatic and embarrassing event for a person. It can often happen as a consequence of vulnerability, challenge or threat that is being experienced by a person in their life or other chronic underlying factors. Publicans are not sufficiently sensitive or knowledgeable to enable them to understand such matters so that even one minor event, often arising from a miscommunication, may be sufficient to incur summary debarment. These events in most cases are so minor as to not even warrant
Wednesday, 28th November 2012
At a time when there seems to be so much uncertainty all around, it is heartening to see that something positive is happening in Waterford. The upcoming Christmas festivities are really ratcheting up a gear and it has to be said that the centre of the city is really looking at its very best. The turning on of the Christmas lights by the Mayor was a huge event attended by many people. The simple act of relocating the Christmas tree has really opened up John Robert's Square and the arrival of the carousel really gives the whole area a real festive air. Of course, with the launch of Winterval this year there will be a lot of activity in Waterford to entice people into the city centre. While Christmas is always a joyous affair where people pull out all
Tuesday, 20th November 2012
It cannot happen again
The death of Savita Halappanavar has been described using many words but that one that seems to be used the most and perhaps has most resonance is the word shame. Its an interesting word in so far that it implies within it that we should have known better and that such a situation should never have been allowed happen in the first place. It has been over 20 years since the X case and since then no Government, or it seems practically any public representative, has tried to do anything to formalise the implications of that particular case. It is not surprising. The issue of abortion is a highly emotive one and here in Ireland it has engendered vicious and protracted public debates leaving virtually everyone wary of even broaching the subject in public. But then again
Tuesday, 13th November 2012
Although almost all media outlets would have had you believe that the U.S. Presidential elections were going to be a close run thing there was never any real doubt that Barack Obama would hold on to the office. The idea that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would somehow win was just too unbelievable. While 90% of Europeans questioned on who should win the election backed Obama the real vote rested with the American electorate and they backed the incumbent. A lot of people though were not so enamoured with the President and voiced their concerns that he really wasn't doing the job as well as they expected. That coupled with what was perceived to be a bad job in the first Presidential debate made it looked as if there might be some doubt that the man would not be
Tuesday, 6th November 2012
Rich are different than you or me
When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote 'The rich are different from you and me' he knew what he was talking about. Not only are they different from you and me but most importantly they think and act differently. What else could explain the actions of members of the Quinn family at the High Court. Sean Quinn was just given nine weeks in jail for contempt of court for what the Judge described as his 'outrageous' behaviour in putting assets beyond the reach of the court and also said into the bargain that he had no one else to blame but himself. For a former billionaire it was not at all what he was expecting. Or his family. Outside the court his son said that he couldn't believe what had just happened and that it was
Friday, 2nd November 2012
Positives and Negatives
Without being too ethnocentric about it Ireland as a nation does seem to punch above its weight. Of course this positive starts from a negative in so far as so many of our fellow citizens have had to make their home abroad for economic reasons. The result has been that Ireland and seemingly all things Irish have a currency around the world that few other countries have. It is at this time of year that this is most obvious. When it hits the 31st of October everyone goes Halloween crazy and in the same breath that this is mentioned it is always said that this particular holiday originated in Ireland. Of course it has changed over the decades and now it has influences from other countries as well, such as pumpkins and the ubiquitous phrase 'trick or treat'.
Wednesday, 24th October 2012
The Rights Of Children
It is a well known fact that the family is at the heart of the Irish Constitution. What this has meant in effect is that parents and the rights of parents are at the real heart of the Irish Constitution. In November the Irish electorate are being given the chance to change this and affirm that for the first time children have definite rights that will be enshrined in the Constitution. As it stands it looks as if the referendum will be passed by an overwhelming majority and if anything this referendum has been marked by a lack of acrimony that usually characterises any sort of public debate in Ireland.
One thing that many people have said during the run up to the referendum is that they don't really know what the wording of the referendum is and
Wednesday, 17th October 2012
What is being said
Often when you listen to people talk, what they don't say is way more important than what they do actually say. The art of leaving things out has become highly refined and is widespread amongst politicians and decision makers. One of the most blatant uses of this technique was by President Clinton during the Lewinsky affair. When he stated that he did not have 'sexual relations with that woman' he was absolutely, 100% telling the truth. Because in America that term, sexual relations, is strictly defined as intercourse. Being a lawyer, of course, he knew this. So he didn't lie. But what he didn't say was the most important thing of all.
Here at home while we haven't, thankfully, had to deal with something like that, we do have to deal with politicians who favour the technique of
Wednesday, 17th October 2012
Deputy Coffey explains his position on local government reform in Waterford
I expect that there will be an announcement made within next week or so in respect of a radical overhaul of local government in Ireland. This will have an obvious impact on local government in Waterford and how it operates. There has been much talk in recent weeks of the possible implications for Waterford, and I have been asked what my position on the matter is.
I want to put on record the clear and strong representations that I have made directly to Minister Hogan and his officials in the Department of the Environment about any possible impact on Waterford as a result of this overall local government reform package.
There are currently 65 Councillors in Waterford, A City Council, A County Council, three Town Councils, five Mayors and five Deputy Mayors. This government before
Wednesday, 10th October 2012
The debate over proposed changes to the Children's Allowance rates has sparked a massive backlash against the present Government. Talk of people using their Children's Allowance to fund holidays as well as how middle class people didn't need the money as much as the working class did not go down very well with the electorate and it’s not hard to see why. For the vast, vast majority the Children's Allowance is not a bonus, something that can be used for treats and days out. The Children's Allowance is a vital part of any family's income and is calculated in household budgets that way. Of course, depending on your income, it’s going to play a larger part in your budget and the way you pay for things. But there is no getting away from the fact that for nearly all
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Making Hay while the Sun ShinesNaturally, by the time that you read this editorial the weather will have changed majorly several times and we will have experienced lashing rain, snow, gale force winds and hailstones but the thing is that for about the first time this year we have experienced some really good weather that lasted for more than the usual 20 minutes to half an hour. As a nation we are obsessed by the weather and its entirely understandable. It is so variable and in such a constant flux that …
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