Tag Archives: irish times

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Mark Paul, of The Irish Times

You may have read an opinion piece about feminism in Wednesday’s The Irish Times by the newspaper’s business affairs correspondent Mark Paul.

Full disclosure: we have some ‘previous‘.

Mr Paul’s  article, entitled ‘Feminists busy shooting themselves in the foot‘, included the following:

Carelessly entering a Twitter debate on feminism or sexism as a straight, white male can be a hazardous thing. It’s a bit like wandering into a coop full of angry chickens who have armed themselves with machine guns. They riddle you with bullets, then spit on your corpse and call you a nasty fox.

Everybody, even the most ardent feminist, knows that most men aren’t lecherous, drooling, breast-grabbing misogynists. That is not the point, they will tell you: all women have been subjected to some sort of unwanted male attention in a pub or at work or while walking down the street. This is probably true to varying degrees. And that is lamentable.

Some feminists clearly espouse that all men are complicit in this activity or are responsible for it in some way, whether or not they engage in it. You may not have slapped any backsides or pulled any bra straps, but you’re a man, the orthodoxy goes, and your collective predilection for dirty jokes causes other men to harass women.

You’re not supposed to object to this stupid proposition. Not if you’re a man. If you do, you’re derailing the debate and bringing the focus back on to your own sorry, privileged self. It’s not about you, Mr Man. It’s about women. Right?

Further to this…

Max H Omosapien writes:

And lo it is come to pass. The hero prophesied in the ancient texts (written by men) stands among us. And as foretold he has raised his voice on high, and standing firmly upon the pinnacle of Mount Irish Times, with his cloak of privilege and probably his pendulous and prodigious testicles flapping in the breeze, he has bravely declared the utterly heartfelt, unique and never before spoken message: “Feminism, you’re doing it wrong.”

Can you feel his compassion for the many female victims of sexual assault and intimate partner abuse?

Can you feel his anger towards the perpetrators of these abuses?

Can you feel his frustration with the unequal representation of women in nearly all areas of governance and social structures?

Can you feel how tenderly and respectfully he reaches out to communicate this to his sisters?

Can you feel his unquenchable desire to work tirelessly to right these wrongs?

Me neither.

I see what I always see when a man cries crocodile tears for the state of feminism. I see a bruised ego that instead of fighting the real and urgent battles I mentioned above would rather fight the rising oppressed under a false flag of friendship.

A two-faced troll with the privilege to view all this as a game of internet argument and semantics. Someone who unconsciously or otherwise understands that equality means the erosion of the unearned privileges he enjoys as a man.

And this is a scary thought; I mean who wants to just give all that up for nothing. It’s pretty sweet after all. But they’re not a monster. They also believe in equality (in an abstract way). So how do they solve this?

They become trojan egalitarians.

I’m sure you’ve met many. They don’t actually want equality. But they can’t admit to themselves that they don’t want equality so they instead take up an unimpeachable position as high-minded, truly objective crusaders for and experts on equality.

Then strangely, they set their sights on what to them is the most important work someone in their position as a high-minded, truly objective crusaders for equality can do; they fight against feminism.

Not patriarchal systems. Not an archaic and ineffectual legal system.

No, feminism.

Do you see how clever this is? If you define the rising power of the oppressed as the true enemy of equality then you get to fight it instead of what’s actually causing the inequality.

Meaning you get to simultaneously feel like a good person fighting for equality while at the same time hampering the progress of those who, among others, are actually fighting for equality.

And by doing this you are also ensuring that you can all the while in clear conscience hold onto your sweet little male privilege.

It’s genius. It’s evil, unconscious, depressing, Gordian knot-cutting genius and it’s everywhere.

Even in the Irish Times.

Gulp.

Feminists busy shooting themselves in the foot (Mark Paul, Irish Times)

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Stillorgan dual carriageway during the recent VHI Women’s Mini Marathon

“Last Monday I was a participant in the “fast jogger” category of the women’s mini-marathon, running with my aunt, a victor over breast cancer, in Dublin on a hot summer’s day.

On three occasions I was exposed to what what I would consider sexism in the form of “motivational” slogans: “Run like you left the immersion on!”, “The N11 never looked so good!” and “Don’t worry, ladies, the hair still looks gorgeous!

The first two slogans appeared in fabric stretched across the footbridge of the Stillorgan dual-carriageway.

The latter was shouted by a member of the Order of Malta. To my astonishment, most women around me did not find fault with any of these slogans.

In fact, they cheered on the troglodyte and seemed genuinely validated by his creepy flattery.

Are the old concepts of our worth as women so embedded into the female Irish psyche that comments such as these automatically elicit a positive response of appreciation or, at the very least, an embarrassed smile?”

Christina Cleary, in this morning’s Irish Times

FIGHT!

‘Run like you left the immersion on!’ – Everyday sexism and the mini marathon (Irish Times)

Meanwhile…

Thanks Rotide

Pics via CJNíChléirigh and Lindie Naughton

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Sgt Maurice McCabe

You may recall a post from yesterday about the as yet  unpublished but leaked Justice O’Higgins report into allegations made by Sgt Maurice McCabe in relation to the Cavan-Monaghan area.

It included a transcript of a Drivetime report by RTÉ journalist Philip Boucher Hayes on Monday evening, after he secured a copy of the O’Higgins report.

At one point, Mr Boucher Hayes stated:

Another headline Maurice McCabe’s detractors point to is his allegation of corruption made against Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Mr Callinan is “entitled to have his reputation vindicated” and that allegations made against him by Maurice McCabe “were unfounded and deeply hurtful” says the judge. Proof again that McCabe was pointing an unjustified finger of blame.

But in the same paragraph, where this appears, it’s also made clear that McCabe never accused Callinan of corruption – “He had not intended to make allegations of criminal conduct against the Commissioner but rather of an abuse of power only.”

Anyone reading the accounts of the report that Maurice McCabe withdrew his allegations could reasonably infer that he knew he was on shaky ground in some of the things that he was saying.

On the contrary though it emerges in the transcripts of the commission that Sgt McCabe withdrew one complaint against an officer whom he felt should have been more critical of the shortcomings of a junior officer.

When he was presented with the testimony of the senior criticising his junior, McCabe withdrew the complaint saying that this “was the first time I’ve seen this”.

However….

An editorial in today’s Irish Times states:

The report does not paint a monochrome picture. No one is all good or all bad. There are conflicts of evidence, fact and recollection. Whistle-blower Sergeant Maurice McCabe is described as a dedicated and committed member of the Garda who acted out of genuine and legitimate concerns and was truthful in his evidence.

The corporate ranks closed against him. But his complaints of corruption against senior officers, including former Commissioner Martin Callinan, were described as hurtful and were rejected by the judge. Other complaints were overstated or exaggerated. Some were unfounded and some were withdrawn by Sgt McCabe.

Commission report on An Garda Síochána highlights need to remove politics from policing (Irish Times)

Previously: ‘Something For Everyone’

Laura Hutton/Rollingnews

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An article by Paul Wilson in yesterday’s Guardian with the headline, ‘Jürgen Klopp’s prediction comes to pass as Liverpool vanquish Villarreal’

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The same article in yesterday’s Irish Times with the headline, ‘Jurgen Klopp, players and fans make it happen at Anfield’, and attributed to the Guardian Service

BaldyMcBalyFace writes:

Why would I pay for an Irish Times service when I can read the same article for free with the Guardian online service?

It was the same last week with the Tiger Woods article, same story but different headline.

This is really annoying when I’m sitting in work bored, looking for something to read to kill the monotony of being a slave to a corporate conglomerate…

Anyone?

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An independent water commission? Is the “Great Irish Fudge” now being served up with mugs of Irish Water? This traditional political confection contains generous amounts of common and exotic nuts.

It looks inviting, tastes sweet at first, but has a sticky consistency, a bitter aftertaste and inevitably costs more than the initial price tag suggests.

Regularly repackaged to appeal to the whimsy of its target market, its familiar scent wafts once again from Ireland’s “can’t stand the heat” political kitchens. As any time-pressed chef knows, serving up a tried and tested favourite, when all that’s left on the menu are old chestnuts and red herrings, guarantees at least some measure of reprieve in the last-chance saloon.

Patricia Mulkeen,
Ballinfull,
Co Sligo.

Mixing water and politics (Irish Times letters)

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The pedestrian-only plaza planned for College Green which will prevent traffic from crossing between College Green and Dame Street 

As a citizen of Dublin, I thank you for highlighting on several occasions the daft idea of banning buses from College Green.

Essential bus routes providing cross-city services linking northeast to southwest, and northwest to southeast Dublin, carry thousands of commuters every day. Approximately 23 routes travel along Dame Street, and a further 20 go around Trinity to Nassau Street.

In addition, there are large numbers of coaches bringing tourists and shoppers from the country into an area full of cultural attractions, businesses, shops, theatres, etc. The “hop-on, hop-off” sightseeing buses use these routes also.

The complete closure of College Green to buses would bring the city to a standstill, with increased levels of pollution along the quays and other streets, longer travel times for already hard-pressed commuters, and a further limit to access for people with mobility issues.

The current ban on private cars in this area has worked well for public transport, but the recent Luas works have shown how quickly the area becomes massively congested when access to College Green is restricted.

Between Macken Street bridge and Fr Matthew bridge there are six other bridges, only four of which carry traffic, and only one of which (O’Connell Bridge) is large enough to manage significant traffic flow.

Dublin Castle/Temple Bar/Trinity combine to form a significant barrier through which College Green, D’Olier, and Westmoreland streets provide the only “pass” for effective traffic movement.

It seems that Dublin City Council is reacting to the previous underprovision of cycle paths by overcompensating and bringing all motorised traffic in our already congested city centre to a complete stop!

Far more people travel by bus than by Luas or bicycle, yet it seems these are the only two forms of transport favoured by the council.

These changes are unnecessary and will have a detrimental effect on what is currently a well-functioning bus service. It is becoming almost impossible to travel across the city as it is. City-centre businesses are suffering.

Síle Uí Laighin,
Cluain Tarbh,
Baile Átha Cliath 3.

The plans for College Green will be available for public consultation until May 24.

Are plans for College Green daft? (Irish Times letters page)

Pics: Dublin City Council

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A statement from Belfast property developer Gareth Graham.

Mr Graham has settled his court action against US company Cerberus, the firm which eventually bought Nama’s Northern Ireland property loan portfolio, Project Eagle – which had a par value of €5.7billion – for €1.6billion.

Hmmm.

Action against US company Cerberus settled by businessman (Irish Times)

Previously: Contradictions And Refusals

Spotlight Falls On Noonan

Pic Mark Tighe

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A homeless person sleeping rough in Temple Bar in November 2015

In forming a government, unlike Lanigan’s Ball, it is less important who is stepping in and out again and more important what policies they agree on. All of the parties to the current dance have explained, during the election, that their priority is to “protect the most vulnerable”, but now we need to turn this into detailed multi-annual policies to reduce poverty.

The first step is to recognise the shocking scale of the problem. The CSO has found that, between 2008 and 2013, the proportion of our people experiencing “deprivation” nearly trebled to 29 per cent. This means being unable to afford two from a list of items like heating your home or eating a substantial meal every second day, a very basic measure in the 21st century.

More than a third of children and one in five of people at work were classified as experiencing deprivation, while the picture is worse for groups like Travellers, lone parents, the long-term unemployed and the homeless.

For decades we have danced around in the same pattern. In boom times, people in poverty are left behind, while in more austere times the same groups suffer the most. Breaking this cycle will need a long-term commitment to policies and investments to provide adequate income, quality work and services, funded by sufficient and fair taxation.

There has been plenty of research and experience to show what makes the difference between a country with high and low levels of poverty. Nearly 20 years ago, the all-party National Anti Poverty Strategy pointed to most of the instruments needed. However, strategies alone don’t change the world; we need solid commitments in the programme for government to end the dance of poverty and despair.

Anne Loftus,
Chairwoman,
Robin Hanan,
Director,
European Anti-Poverty
Network,
Upper Ormond Quay,
Dublin 7.

Tackling poverty (Irish Times letter)

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A notice on the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme website

You may recall how last year Marie O’Connor, of Survivors of Symphysiotomy, spoke about the group’s grievances in relation to the symphysiotomy redress scheme.

She explained that the scheme demanded survivors to produce ‘objective evidence of women’s injuries’ – including receipts for incontinence pads or prescriptions for anti-depressants going back 50 to 60 years.

Further to this, it’s emerged that the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme is “happy to shred” the women’s records and supporting documents to prove they had a symphysiotomy.

In response, a number of academics and medical experts wrote the following letter in yesterday’s Irish Times…

The Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme announced on its website this week that it will be “happy” to shred records, if applicants are so minded, or in the alternative, return them.

The UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern that symphysiotomy was performed in Ireland without patient consent from 1944-1987, and cited Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and involuntary medical experimentation.

The committee ruled that Ireland should, inter alia, “initiate a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into cases of symphysiotomy” and “prosecute and punish the perpetrators, including medical personnel”.

Obstetric records that could potentially be destroyed may be some claimants’ only proof that they were subjected to the surgery. Many notes record the name of those who participated in these involuntary operations.

There is no guarantee that these records will be accessible in the future to investigators, researchers or even to claimants themselves. To shred these data after March 20th, as proposed, is therefore to destroy material that will be needed in any future inquiry (or research) into symphysiotomy.

Survivors are continuing to press for an inquiry with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. A further submission has been made by them to the UN Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review, a framework under which Ireland will be assessed in May of this year, and a complaint to the UN Committee Against Torture is due for examination in 2017.

Informed consent is also an issue. Applicants who do not seek the return of their obstetric records are not being informed that they may not be retrievable from their hospitals of origin.

Indeed, the Department of Health has recently given public assurances to the contrary, stating that “medical records cannot be lost by any action of the scheme”. Hospital data storage limitations suggest that this is not the case.

We urge Judge Harding Clark to reconsider her decision and return all records to all applicants by post, as per the scheme’s terms of reference.

Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley,
Department of History,
NUIG;

Dr Fiona Buckley,
Department of Government,
UCC;

Prof Linda Connolly,
Institute for Social Science
in the 21st Century, UCC;

Prof Mary Donnelly,
School of Law, UCC;

Mairead Enright,
Law School,
University of Kent;

Dr Noelle Higgins,
Department of Law,
Maynooth University;

Mark Kelly,
Executive Director,
Irish Councilfor Civil Liberties;

Prof Kathleen Lynch,
Equality Studies, UCD;

Fred Logue,
Solicitor;

Dr Jo Murphy-Lawless,
School of Nursing
and Midwifery, TCD;

Prof Joan Lalor,
School of Nursing
and Midwifery, TCD;

Prof Patricia Lundy,
School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster;

Prof Louise Kenny,
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
CUMH;

Prof Irene Lynch Fannon,
School of Law, UCC;

Dr Mary McAuliffe,
School of Social Policy,
Social Work and Social Justice, UCD;

Dr Joan McCarthy,
School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC;

Dr Claire McGing,
Department of Geography,
Maynooth University;

Dr Jacqueline Morrissey,
Historian;

Daragh O’Brien,
Katherine O’Keeffe,
Data specialists,
Castlebridge Associates;

Marie O’Connor,
Chairwoman,
Survivors of Symphysiotomy.

Shredding symphysiotomy records (Irish Times letters page, March 7, 2016)

Previously: ‘Prove It, Prove It, Prove It’

Pic: Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme