Many people are over-doing it with alcohol and don’t even realise it, he warned. And a real shocker is, liver blood tests may not indicate how damaged your liver actually is.
Terrifyingly, you could actually think you’re fine. You may just feel a bit tired sometimes and write it off.
But according to Professor Murry, patients often arrive in hospital with severe liver damage, having no idea what’s wrong with them and they can and do at times, actually die.
While well-intended, this kind of communication may not be reaching the people who really need to listen to this potentially life-saving advice.
So, in the midst of dry January,
perhaps think more about the benefits than risks of giving up booze.
Try focusing on what happens when you stop drinking.
Drinking makes us drowsy and after a night on the tiles or even tucking into a bottle of wine, we tend to fall asleep quickly.
However a disturbed sleep is usually what follows. After consuming alcohol, the brain behaves the way it would normally when awake and resting.
The result is poor quality sleep, often followed the next day by confusion and irritability.
Sleep is a mood stabiliser. When we are well-rested and fresh, everyday decisions and tasks become easier. Ditching the booze brings clarity and energy to our lives.
In addition to the empty calories contained in our favourite drink (125 calories/glass of wine) alcohol increases our appetite. American studies show women in particular, eat more when they drink.
One hour after the last drink our liver starts to work hard to metabolise and remove the alcohol from our bodies. The pancreas then produces extra insulin which in turn lowers blood sugar.
And boom we’re hungry but not for a fresh fruit salad or low-fat yogurt. We crave fat and carbohydrate. Those who run the local fish and chip shop already know about this phenomenon.
Swapping booze for willpower makes it much easier to control sugar cravings and stick to a healthy diet.
Women are the target market for a million and one skin-care products. Creams, lotions, face masks, multi-vitamin and herb extract supplements.
Instead of adding something that costs money and has dubious science behind it, why not remove something that we know is not good for our skin?
It only takes a few days without alcohol to see an improvement in skin condition and a brighter complexion.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases fluid loss through urination and sweating.
Cutting out alcohol improves hydration and can alleviate the symptoms of common skin conditions such as eczema and dandruff.
Improved liver function
Drinking large volumes of alcohol, even for just a few days causes fat to accumulate in the liver.
This condition is very common and has no symptoms. If not treated, fatty liver will lead to liver disease. The treatment is free if you stop drinking.
The liver is one of the most complex organs in the human body and it has an amazing capacity to regenerate and self-heal. If, you allow it.
Some sources, like the NHS, advise that even giving up alcohol for two weeks can have a large impact on liver health.
Staff at New Scientist tested out the effect of dry January on their own livers. The results were incredible.
After only one month without alcohol, participants had reduced their liver fat by 15 to 20%.
A healthy liver will boost immunity, metabolism and general vitality. Give it a chance and it will make your life healthier.
Drinking at home is definitely more cost effective than going out for the night. However, popping an extra bottle or two of wine into the shopping trolley can mask how much we are actually spending on booze.
Seeing how our cash spend on alcohol adds up, can really be an eye-opener. When we think about it, is it really money well spent?
If you’ve decided dry January is not for you, that’s understandable. January is a tough month after the fun and frolics of Christmas have died down.
But why not dry February? January might be the darkest month of the year but February is the shortest because the chances are you will possibly indulge in March for St Patrick’s Day.
I can’t describe quite how I felt apart from that my heart pounded and I wanted to cry. But for some reason I didn’t panic and I instead knew someone had to talk to this man, to try to be there for him and that someone had to be me because I was the one he’d phoned.
Martin told me he’d been on the streets for years and he had saved up by begging. That he hoped he’d finally be able to start rebuilding his life but he’d been robbed that night.
“I can’t take it anymore, I just can’t,” he kept saying over and over. He told me how he planned to take his life that night and that he had no doubt that it was the right thing to do.
“I can’t take living like this anymore, out in the cold, every night.” Martin explained he’d tried hostels in Dublin but he just couldn’t sleep in them. He claimed they were full of “drug addicts, alcoholics and violent people.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this claim from a homeless person. Some take their chances with the streets rather than with the hostels despite how loudly the Government and Dublin City Council, claims it’s providing for rough sleepers.
Really, when you think about it, would you or I wish to sleep in an open dorm full of strangers? And hey, you may not always be guaranteed a bed throughout the year and sometimes you may only get a sleeping bag to take back to the streets you’re trying to escape.
While also, you know you’ll spend all day roaming the streets because hostels aren’t a home and you’re not allowed to stay in your home during the day. This is merely a ramshackle sleeping arrangement for someone who just doesn’t fit in to this fast-moving, overpriced society of ours.
His voice shook. His words were resolute. I begged. This was a stranger to me but I begged.
Martin told me not to feel guilty, to go on and enjoy the final days of the holidays, to go home to my family but how could I? I told him, if he took his life, I’d never forgive myself. I meant it. How could I? He needed someone. He needed someone to give a shit. He needed to believe someone cared. Anyone. And I did. I did care.
I spent around half-an-hour speaking to Martin. I asked could I pass his number to a helpline. He refused. I didn’t want to stress him out but I managed to get assistance with the situation.
I checked on Martin a few times later in the night and I told him I cared, that I may not know him, but if he’d done anything that I knew he would regret, I wouldn’t be able to get over it, that I’d forever be sad for this loss.
I told him he meant the world to me as a human being and that I just knew tomorrow and the next day would be better. I knew that while he had hope, life, that he could recover, that he could rebuild, that he could get over this.
I felt closer to Martin in that short amount of time than I have with many people in my life. I suppose the old saying does ring true to some extent…A friend in need…
Martin was the most important human being to me that night in all the world. I know if he’d died my heart would have broken. I’d have felt responsible for letting him down even though, in reality, I know it wouldn’t have been my fault.
I told him I cared. I told him he was now my friend. I told him others cared too, I just knew they did and that one day he would be able to look back on this as his turning moment.
I don’t know if I said anything that mattered, that counted, that worked because guess what, nothing does prepare you in any way to deal with such a situation.
All I know is I was able to help Martin. I got him advice and I offered an ear to someone in a very low moment.
Something must have worked because a text came through the next day that I’ll never forget. Martin told me he was fine. He thanked me for my “kindness.” For being a “friend.” And by good fortune, he said his money had been returned to him.
I hope I never have to face that situation again – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone either – but I do know I’d be a friend to anyone who felt suicidal and I’ll always care for those less fortunate because tomorrow it could be you or I.
If you are struggling like Martin was, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123 freephone 24 hours a day.
There is a constant desire to be better or to be more but never to just be. My issue with this is that even though it can be a powerful motivating force we sometimes only focus on the exterior self.
Have you taken time to get to know your true self? Did you know it existed? It’s the part of you that captains the ship regardless of the course you take. The part of you that has been your best friend since birth regardless of circumstances it has protected you.
So what if this new year we did something a little different? On January 1, 2017 instead of looking at our external self, maybe we should take a look inward in what is known as reflection.
We won’t require any mirrors for this one I’m afraid but you will discover your true self in the reflection.
What are we looking for? ….what ever you can find. We often spend so long planning ahead and wishing our time away we simply forget to reflect on our lives to date.
Have the struggles you’ve gone through taught you something about yourself?
Did life throw you a curve ball when you least expected it perhaps forcing you on a different path?
Have certain people left an imprint on you? Have you considered these questions before?
These are but a few of the sample questions you can use as a starting point to reflect on.
I often writing a journal as a method of reflection. And there’s a particular quote I love. ‘Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes,’ – Carl Jung.
The prospect of a new year can be extremely daunting especially if you are suffering or struggling with something underneath the surface.
The best way to deal with this is a head on approach. In this case looking into your inner self may require the support of a therapist or someone you can open up to and know that this is perfectly normal and okay to need a helping hand during the exploration.
The fact is our early years shaped us even though our recollection may be vague. In a way looking inward is reconnecting with our childhood self as we embark on a treasure hunt together to find the missing pieces.
I assure you investing this new year in your inner self will present treasure you never knew existed. Try it for yourself. I did and it was the best decision I ever made.
“My generation is the first to live our lives on the internet,” Padraig said. “I think some of us are on social networks too much and it’s not good for our mental health – some feel inadequate, measuring themselves up against others on social networks and we aren’t all necessarily communicating one-to-one enough.
“But on the flip side when it all becomes too much, this app is there to help. Because where are young people most likely to turn for help? I believe the internet.”
Padraig has been working on the app with the advice of a mental health expert – who has guided him on the literature to insert into the technology and next he is looking to attract charities such as the Samaritans, to assist.
And in the future he is aiming to insert artificial intelligence into the technology so that the app recognises information about its user – making the whole experience more personal for the young person.
The app works by letting the user tap into different modes, from motivational, to relaxation and perspective – each guiding the user on how they are feeling.
It even goes into explaining the psychology behind relationship turmoil, from family rows to girlfriend and boyfriend trouble.
The user is given the option to add in their name, favourite motivational quotes and their most loved photos – as a way of sparking happy memories.
“My generation is dealing with mental health a lot better,” Padraig said. “But, still this app, I believe will help combat the stigma that still exists in getting help. Young people can go through the app for advice and at at the end there will be help numbers for them to access support if they need it.
“I’ve been working with a school psychiatrist, who’s been very supportive of my work. I’ve researched a great deal on mental health and I really believe that this app could help so many young people who just feel they have nowhere to turn.”
Padraig, who loves studying science and maths, is currently also studying hard for his Leaving Cert and he is looking forward to going to university to potentially study computer science.
The student has previously developed a gaming app called balloonHop (correct) and made the move to produce the mental health app to help teenagers and young adults deal with problems in their lives.
And the really amazing thing is Padraig is self-taught. “I just really took an interest in computer programming a couple of years ago and started reading up on it and watching YouTube videos on how to get started.
“I like playing football and doing all the things teenagers like but computers are my thing and my mum even asks me to help out with her IT issues for the family business.
“I just feel it is so important to help others my age and older if they are struggling because if I have these skills, why not do something good with them.”
The app will be free and Padraig is planning to launch SAR for Christmas – a particularly difficult time for many young people due to family rows and other issues.
If you are a mental health charity or can help Padraig with funding towards reaching his goal of adding artificial intelligence on the app in the future – get in touch with him on Twitter via @Padraig_Sp
“I see it as an open forum for writers to express their opinions on whatever topic is dear to their heart, whatever issue they feel strongly about, and also what excites them about the Ireland they live in.
“In my case, I love finding out what is going on in Dublin in terms of the arts and entertainment, but also I like to know what, as a people, we are doing to help each other in terms of charitable causes, reaching out to people who may be experiencing hardship of different kinds and how we can connect better with each other.
“What I hope we do is reflect what life in modern Ireland is really like, not as we imagine it to be.”
Laura Lynott is the editor and creator of Irelandtodaynews.com and as a journalist of 14 years, she realised a long-running dream when she launched the site in November 2015.
“I wanted to give citizen journalists, trainee journalists and ordinary people from all types of backgrounds a chance to write news, features and opinion pieces on a popular website,” Laura said.
“I am extremely grateful to all the writers and contributors to the website, who work very hard week-in-week-out to create a truly individual and inspirational website unlike any other out there, giving a glimpse of the real Ireland and snapshots of the world we all inhabit.
“I have been amazed by some of the talented writers I’ve met who have all brought fresh ideas and inspiration to my dream. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart and all our loyal readers who keep supporting us every Tuesday.
“Keep supporting an indie news website and help us build by donating as you read! Just a euro each week could make a difference to us and help us keep growing.”
And our resident reviews writer, Brendan Callaghan brings sardonic wit and a wise take on all things musical and movies.
Brendan said: “We all have opinions on the things we love but writing about a movie or a concert, really forces you to analyse your opinions and then explain and justify those opinions in a clear way.
“I like the challenge of writing something original; something that doesn’t rely too heavily on clichés (of course, I don’t always succeed at this).
“It’s sort of like transplanting a slice of your personality on to a blank page, and it’s strangely satisfying.”
The award-winning actress, who also played a role in Jim Sheridan’s recent offering The Secret Scripture, knows what it is to get lost in a world of imagination – and this is something she doesn’t with to see Irish children being deprived of.
Maeve feels areas like northside Dublin, in particular would benefit from seeing more drama introduced in to schools and across the community – and this is something all parents need to be aware of.
“We are naive to think that won’t have an impact on the imagination of our children. If we can get children to create stories in this safe world of imagination, as they go into adulthood it provides them with security and being themselves.”
Maeve said there was a shortage of acting classes in the northside, where she had counted only 10, compared to 16 on the southside of the city.
“We don’t have the resources this side of the city to explore the benefits of drama, including self-expression and confidence.
“From my point of view, acting provided me with so much when I was in my teens. I had to travel in to the city centre to go to a class but it was worth it.
“I was very shy and acting gave me confidence. People I know who teach drama say the benefits for children are clear.
“A young child might be too shy to say their name in front of people but acting helps them gain confidence.”
Ailbhe, who now lives in the Liberties, Dublin, said: “I came up with the idea watching my sister and my best friend, Izzy, in her wheelchair. Wheelchairs can look so ugly and mechanical, so medical.
“But I know how important the wheelchair is to Izzy and to other people with disabilities because without them they wouldn’t have freedom.
“So one day I just decided to do a little experiment and made her wheel covers with floral designs. She loved them. That’s where it all started.”
Ailbhe recently designed special silver and black wheelchair covers for Izzy’s debs ball matching her sparkly dress and in total she has created 15 sets of covers so her sister will have a change of fashion regularly.
“Able-bodied people like to change their style regularly and I didn’t see why Izzy and other people in wheelchairs couldn’t do the same,” she said.
The simple idea has already transformed wheelchair users’ lives across the country and soon Ailbhe will be stocking special festive designs for her Christmas market.
She was backed by Enterprise Ireland and now she is hoping that parents will come to her to make their kids’ wheelchairs fashionable too.
Galway NUIG first year student, Izzy, who has spina bifida – an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord – has been in a wheelchair since she was a child.
Though Izzy had become accustomed to her chair – Ailbhe seems to have spoiled her for choice and she is now regularly changing looks to match her outfits for the day and night.
Eanna insists he is innocent of carrying 0.38 grams of marijuana in two joints through airport security – and his family tried to shield elderly Josephine from the truth before her death – but to no avail.
“We tried to keep what was happening to me from my mother – but when she was in hospital she saw a photo of me in the newspaper and read what had happened,” said Eanna.
“I’m convinced she died of a broken heart and that if I’d been there to care for her, she’d have lived longer.”
Four months after he was arrested, Eanna was convicted of possession of marijuana. He launched an appeal, which he lost at the end of August and now he intends to launch another at the highest court in the Philippines, the Supreme Court.
In a tragic twist to the dire circumstances he found himself in, Eanna, who’s lived in Stratford, East London, for almost two decades, was made to suffer the loss of half his family and his best friend, who also died in 2014 – and he was unable to attend any of the four funerals because Filipino authorities seized his Irish passport.
Josephine, 94, passed away after learning the disturbing truth of her son’s situation, and his brother, Colm died after suffering cancer, while his beloved sister, Deirdre passed away. All died in 2014.
The nurse wept as he recalled the final phone call to his mother three months before her death and the losses he has suffered while fighting for his liberty.
Heartbreakingly, Josephine was unable to hear Eanna over the long-distance phone line but managed to tell him: “I love you Eanna. Can you hear me?” before she died.
Josephine passed away fearing for her son’s life after accidentally finding out his fate in a local newspaper read from her nursing home bed.
“She loved to read newspapers and she read them every day,” Eanna said. “Someone gave her a paper one day and unfortunately she read the story. She was in shock.
“Can you imagine at 94 and I was her favourite son – She always expected me to be there at the end.
“I’d made a promise to care for her at the end and she kept asking nursing staff ‘When is Eanna coming?’”
The father-of-one’s nightmare began in 2013 as he attempted to leave the country to return to London.
Manila security staff claimed they caught Eanna red handed with two small sticks of marijuana in a cigarette packet, a claim he strenuously denies.
Eanna has grown increasingly terrified as vigilantes and police sanctioned by President Rodrigo Duterte target anyone connected with the drugs trade. Around 3,500 people have been executed in just four months.
Eanna claims when he entered the airport on the evening of his arrest he had a “last cigarette” before going through security. He alleges that he was searched by airport staff, with one man “searching my camera bag,” who then announced he had found marijuana seeds.
“I told him it was dirt from the beach and no way was it marijuana seeds. My wife was freaking out and crowds were gathering,” Eanna said.
“He ordered me to be searched again.” This is when the nurse claims a security staff member took his cigarette box and passed it to a customs worker who “broke” a hand-rolled cigarette in half and “claimed it was proof it was marijuana. He claimed he saw me smoking marijuana in the carpark (of the airport) and knew it was marijuana because no smoke came from my mouth.”
Eanna was taken to the police station opposite the airport where he refused to sign papers saying he had read his rights, until he saw a solicitor.
“I was treated like an animal. My wife was distraught. The flight was to leave in 10 minutes and I ordered her to catch it because our daughter, Caoibhe, was alone in London.”
He claimed Filipino police did not “bag” the cigarettes they claimed were marijuana for evidence. “They left them sitting in a tray,” he said.
“A camera crew arrived…They filmed me as well as the sticks (roll-ups)…It was only later that next day, I saw my cigarettes had been switched for one fat three paper joint and another made into a skinny pencil (roll up) like a joint.” He claimed from there on officials attempted to extort money from hi in return for his freedom.
The former Christian Brothers College, Cork, student, said he hadn’t even been able to talk to his mother, to say how he too loved her, before she passed away with only a nurse by her side.
“I never got to say goodbye, to say I love you. It was very difficult because of where I was in 2014 when she died and she was almost deaf towards the end,” said Eanna.
“You can imagine a call from a remote beach, where I was hiding at the time, wouldn’t work.
“I spoke to mum three months before she died but she couldn’t understand with the echo and time delay.
“She kept saying to the nurse ‘I can’t hear him,’ but she did say one very important thing. She told me she loved me and that she hoped I could hear her. That was very difficult.
“It brings back my own humanity to remember it. It’s barbaric. This was one year and everyone I loved seemed to be dying.
“The night I found out my mother had died, I lost control. I freaked out. I broke the bone in my hand from punching a door in anger.
“I ended up surrounded by eight huge Filipinos – I was so enraged with hate. I was trapped and I’d lost those I loved and couldn’t be there with them.
“I’m innocent and condemned to this hell.”
Eanna, who also worked in Iraq during the first Gulf war, said he’s been “forsaken” by the Irish Government and is adamant he was “set up,” claiming attempts were made to extort money from him..
The United Nations, western governments and human rights groups are alarmed at the sanctioned mass killings in the Philippines.
Minister Flanagan said the department was concerned for the well-being and health of an Irish citizen.
But Eanna has accused the Irish state of “leaving me to die.” “I have been to hell and back and I am an innocent man. The Irish Government has condemned me by leaving me here as death squads search for anyone involved in drugs.
“I’m like a sitting duck and I may not survive this.
“I have lost so much while I’ve been stuck here for three years. I lost my mother, my brother, my sister and my best friend.
“Imagine being an innocent Irish citizen in another country and you can’t even say goodbye to mother, your loved ones, one last time. I’m in a living nightmare every day.
“My mother was 94 and she had multiple health problems but the plan was I’d look after her in final days, that she’d never set foot in a nursing home.
“That was the promise I made to her,” Eanna said, his voice breaking.
“But the woman I loved so much, who did everything for me as a child and young man, fell between the gaps.
“She ended up bouncing in and out of hospital and ended up in a nursing home. She died with just a nurse there by her side. That breaks my heart.
“She was compos mentis until the last couple of weeks and everyday she was asking for me.
“I just want to come home.”
IF YOU FEEL THAT EANNA IS NOT BEING HELPED ENOUGH BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SEND MINISTER CHARLIE FLANAGAN’S OFFICE AN EMAIL HERE CALLING FOR MORE ACTION TO BRING EANNA HOME AND TWEET AND FACEBOOK THE HASHTAG #BRINGEANNAHOME
Despite the fact these children do not have a real toy, happiness seems to be their constant friend.
In the next picture, there is a class with walls of air and desks of knees. Yet, an atmosphere of joy and passion for learning occupies the place.
Those people who suffer in such places, know nothing about modern life, but they can create love, happiness, joy, and benefit from actually having nothing. In my mind, I tell myself, those are the real happy people.
The last photo on my mind, shows two girls seeming to play over some broken stones. The real story is that those two little girls play over, their beds, toys, books, rooms, food, and what was left of the wreckage of their own house in Palestine.
The dreadful fact is they play with a harsh reality over the lost dreams. In fact this photo is a part of a normal day in Palestine.
The kids who did not see any part of the world except this broken one believe in life and insist for it to be their future. They can create beauty from damage. They know nothing about despair and losing hope. They simply make a ladder of ambition to reach the sky.
Life is a picture and it is up to you how you draw it. If you see beauty, you will hold a cloud of happiness over your head and rain smiles every time you walk.
And when you keep frowning and complaining having nothing, you will always be in the same place.
One cannot have nothing. When God created us, he gave every single person on this planet a gift to distinguish him/her from other creatures.
So stand up for life and say I am lucky. Do not try to remember why, look around you and you will understand what I mean.
Trump’s words, the allegations against him, are like knives digging in to most the female psyche and perhaps nowhere more than Ireland – a country that still forces rape victims to give birth.
Helen Plass from Dublin, said: “Donald Trump’s recent remarks were vile, disturbing, deeply shocking, but ultimately it’s so sad that a man of his age and supposed importance in this world, has such a demeaning view of women.
“It shows there is so much work to be done in the higher echelons of business, politics and in life general, to bring women to at least, a level playing field, when this bull***t is around. Who stood up to him? Nobody. All I heard in the clips were pathetic sniggering men, giggling like naughty schoolboys. Disgraceful.
“I believe that because someone in his position can ‘get away with it’ on so many occasions, he sends the message across the world that it’s just ‘banter’ and that it’s okay for men to do this. He truly disgusts me. His daughters and wife should be mortified of him. He should be arrested for forcing himself onto women without their consent, but that just won’t happen.”
Helen, who works with women and their birthing partners to achieve an “empowering, healthy and happy journey into pregnancy, birth and motherhood” with her online company Nurturemamas, couldn’t recall if she’d ever met Trump type language but she had faced laddish behaviour, like most women – and even being groped – another dirty issue many women deal with daily in Ireland.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre released research that 13% of Irish women have experienced rape or attempted rape over their lifetime.
As a nation, many of us are suffering in silence and watching a man who speaks so insultingly of women gain such power, must bother so many who’ve been mistreated or abused by men.
“I have definitely walked in on a group of lads chatting about me, in a sporting environment. It was a short conversation, I know that much,” Helen said.
“And when I was in Spain on my Erasmus year abroad, I was walking along the street during the day in Seville, when a young local lad, no more than 18 or 19, got off his bike and felt it was okay to grope my breasts.
“He got on his bike and rode off again. I felt sick and utterly violated. I was taller than him and was so angry I wanted to run after him and deck him. Probably not the best thing to do. But I just froze and was deeply upset. Again, he just saw me as this tall, blonde creature that stuck out like a sore thumb in Seville, as the men were all tiny, so thought he’d ‘have a go’.”
Helen also told how when she was travelling by train the day of the All Ireland GAA replay.
“There was your typical group of lads on the train, in their mid-20’s, drinking before the match. They were all very-well spoken may I add,” she said.
“There were about eight of us standing in between the carriages of the busy train. One lad was noticeably louder, and more drunk. He was full of guff and started talking about his ‘conquests’ from the previous week.
“He told how he went to a strip club, got two girls to kiss in front of him, total bravado and no doubt, complete bull***t. The other guys were smiling awkwardly and aware of me standing behind him, and started to get embarrassed.
“He became aware of the awkwardness, so turned round to see me looking at him. So I said ‘oh please do finish, I’m intrigued as to what happened next.’ He was mortified and put an end to the story immediately.
“Then he tried a few minutes later to talk normally to me. What an arse. But all I could think of were my two sons, who are only small boys now, and how one day they are going to be lads going to football and rugby matches.
“I hope to God that I will have instilled in them, a deep level of respect for women. Perhaps when we have more women in powerful positions, when it is normal for women to manage men, be seen as the boss, the respect will start to even out. I’m hopeful.”
Dr Edel Hyland, researcher and lecturer at Queens University Belfast, has been enjoying a running daily joke with her partner for weeks. It begins “Did you hear what Donald Trump said today?”
“It’s our attempt to find humour in the farcical spectacle that is the current U.S presidential race. Last weekend however, upon the release of the Access Hollywood tape (the secret recording that revealed Trump and Billy Bush’s conversation on women) we couldn’t find any humour.
“The reality of Donald Trump that was revealed in that video is shocking at best, and at worst, a damning indictment of the potential leader of the free world.
“As a female lecturer and researcher in biosciences, I have had to navigate some male-dominated arenas. As such, there were times when I was very conscious of my gender, or indeed have had other colleagues draw unnecessary attention to it. As uncomfortable as these situations were, thankfully that has been the extent of first-hand sexual harassment.
“Unfortunately, however, I have witnessed the misuse of authority by male senior academic staff who have taken advantage of the ‘hero status’ that is sometimes afforded them by young female students, not unlike how Donald Trump misuses his celebrity status with women.
“biggest tragedy here is not only the fact that this ‘man’ is running for one of the most powerful positions in the world, but that in spite of these deplorable comments, there are still tens of millions of people who will go out and vote for him, including women.
“It would appear that people are somehow forgiving of his despicable behaviour and some women will justify it. How are we ever going to explain this to our daughters, and indeed our sons?”
Dr Hyland is a geneticist and molecular evolutionary biologist, originally from Dublin. She graduated from the natural sciences program at Trinity College Dublin.
Aoife Lynch, photographer and lifestyle blogger, from Dublin, said: “I think that Donald Trump is an odious, misogynistic narcissistic billionaire whose whole campaign was best described as a half-assed ego trip and adventure tourism for the idiot rich.
“I try not to focus on the boorish behavior of a brash billionaire in America, as I find everything he says to be backward, vile and small minded and I find it utterly depressing that so many people subscribe to his negative views of people and our planet.
“It’s utterly terrifying that a person who may soon be in such a position of power actually denies that climate change is happening.
“And although he has flip flopped on his abortion stance and is now on the pro-life side to adhere to Republican party views, I personally don’t believe that old white men in government have any right to dictate what we do with our bodies.”
Aoife said she found Trump’s words “offensive and crass” and felt he had attempted to objectify women and “reduce them to nothing more than their appearance”.
“I have worked in male dominated industries since leaving college. Firstly, in TV and film post production and now in photography and I honestly have never experienced any real sexism or misogyny in my workplaces.
“But when I want to get up for a sunrise photography session or head out into nature alone to do what I love best, there is a fear that there’s a possibility that as a woman I stand a greater chance of being attacked when out alone.
“It disgusts me to hear this man so flippantly talking about sexually assaulting a woman like we are nothing more than objects on this planet for their pleasure. It is so important that a man like Trump does not win this election.”
Aoife Lynch is currently working as a photography studio assistant. You can follow her or catch a glimpse of her inspiring photos on Facebook at Aoife Lynch Photography or onInstagramataoifenoellelynch.
Dr Joyce Rubotham is a molecular biologist, a mother and blogger. You can read more from her blog Diary of a Wimpy Woman here.
Glenn Gannon, who penned Miracle Man, from homeless to Hollywood, after living rough on the streets of Dublin – clearly used his survival techniques to make the most of a bad situation when he was due to sing on stage to help raise cash for four-year-old Rory Gallagher, who needs a vital operation in the U.S to help him walk without a frame and to live a pain free life.
Gannon’s guitarist had to cancel last minute and the actor, who’s starred alongside big hitters including, Anne Hathaway, decided to use his cheeky Dublin charm to hire the busker for a charity fundraiser at the uber posh Lillie’s Bordello nightclub in the city.
Gannon said that after taking a walk up Grafton street to clear his head he heard a busker playing the guitar and offered him €50 to help with this event. Gannon said: “There was no way I was letting little Rory down”.
Rory, from Sligo, who has cerebral palsy, has fought all the odds to walk following life-changing surgery in the U.S last year – but now his parents are being forced to sell their home to raise the funds to bring their boy back to America for further surgery to improve the child’s quality of life.
Mum Shauna Gallagher told Ireland Today: “Unfortunately I couldn’t be as involved in organising this as Rory has been in and out of hospital because he’s been having seizures,” but she added that she was overwhelmed by the support and for the help of the organiser Sharon Hennessy.
“All Rory talks about is walking and boxing,” she added, explaining how important the next operation, scheduled for December, is.
Acts at the Sing a Song for Rory event included actor and performer, Nourice Stephens, Glenn Gannon and Red Rock actor, Steven Mangan.
A raffle took place during the night last Friday and a magic mirror, used to capture fun photos of the revellers, was introduced to raise further funds.
The event began at 7:30pm and the venue was packed despite the rain.
Shauna and Gerard received little to no support from Irish health services and found themselves fundraising for a chance of a lifetime, taking Rory to the U.S for this SDR surgery.
After raising €120,000 for the surgery, Rory received the first part of his operation in July last year at St Louis’ Children’s Hospital in Missouri, allowing him to take his first steps. He can now toddle along with the help of a frame but his parents hope one day Rory will walk unaided.
Rory was the youngest child in Ireland to have undergone this procedure and Shauna said: “It’s more than we could ever, ever have wished for.”
She told how three days after the surgery, Rory, “wiggled his toes for the first time. It was just so amazing to see. He wants to do everything himself, he’s so determined. Rory is the most fun-loving little boy and our pride and joy.”
“It’s been the most amazing journey and I’m so proud of Rory. At times it has been very difficult but Rory is worth every minute of stress”.
Rory also had an operation on his eye which increased his vision by 60 per cent. The procedure also improved his mobility and reduced pain.
The family are now trying to raise €80,000 for the boy to undergo another procedure, orthopaedic surgery on his ankles, on December 8 to allow him to live a pain-free life. Rory also needs further operations to improve his vision.
The Gallaghers have put their home up for sale in order to cover the cost of the operation and neurological rehabilitation Rory requires.
They said “The aftercare and intensive physiotherapy costs are expensive but our wee man is worth it.”
Dublin celeb nightspot,Lillie’s Bordello are along with the Miss Ireland organisers and others, holding a fundraising event, Sing a Song for Rory or “The stars have come out for Rory,” as Sharon referred to it.
This event will see Red Rockactor, Steven Mangan, and a host of singers and performers, including author and homeless campaigner, Glenn Gannon, take to the stage.
The fundraiser will take place in Lillies on Friday, October 14. Tickets are €20 and are available here.
“I wasn’t allowed in to the consultation room with Stephen because he was 20 and no longer classed as a child. Medical practitioners only deal in confidentiality with adults, even those suffering mental health problems. I appreciate those are the rules, but even a 20-year-old needs his mother sometimes.”
When Stephen emerged from the consultation, Patricia was given more cause for concern. “I’ll never forget seeing Stephen holding a piece of paper, obviously torn off one corner of a page, with a number for a drug and alcohol helpline,” remembers Patricia.
“I told the doctor Stephen didn’t have alcohol or drug problems, but it made no difference. Stephen turned round and said to the doctor as we were leaving ‘If someone doesn’t help me, I’ll be dead in a week.’
The harrowing day came to pass when Stephen died after demons had haunted his young life and Patricia remembers the last time she saw her son, as she fought with herself whether to let him walk away from her.
“I had only left Stephen to go to pick my youngest son Dylan from school and he had smiled at me so I thought he was okay,” said Patricia.
“But as I walked off to get the bus, I got this strange feeling. Something telling me I shouldn’t leave him that day, but I didn’t want to smother him so I got the bus. I remember it was January and freezing and I kept phoning to check on him and there was no answer. He phoned me back eventually, saying ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’m after talking to the baby. Can you tell the baby I love her to bits, Ma. I love you, I’m sorry.’
Now Patricia is determined not to be a lone voice for change in the health system. Since her son’s death, she has been rallying TDs to aid her quest for change and can count Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald and Pat Buckley among her supporters.
In fact, Mr Buckley shared Patricia’s story in the Dail recently and pledged to be “Stephen’s voice” – to speak out for all mental health patients let down by the system.
Patricia said: “If my story prevents one family having to suffer in this way, some good will have come of this grief.”
I wanted to create a lifeline, yet at the same time implement practices that would maintain mental well-being. After all prevention is better than cure right? The reality being that the only way I could do this was by co founding a voluntary organisation. As a career this role does not exist.
I know all too well that if someone has surgery and returns home they receive regular visits from the local district nurse who will dress and clean the wounds and look out for the persons overall welfare to prevent anything reoccurring or becoming worse. Imagine if a person discharged from a psychiatric unit or day hospital received the same treatment? Someone to call daily for the initial reintegration period to ensure they have all they need to help themselves. Someone to talk to, someone to just be there.
What about our farmers, unemployed, widows, or the elderly all living in rural areas alone with their own thoughts 24 hrs a day? Where’s the wellness maintenance plan here? Who at the top is looking out for them? If it wasn’t for the kindhearted people and voluntary agencies in their communities, I dread to think what would happen.
The way I see it is that in this country it seems to be the fire fighting approach that is taken. If smoke is seen then there’s a reaction to quench it immediately but who investigates the cause of the fire? Who carries out a risk assessment?
We live in a country where unless you walk into the social welfare counter with crutches or are in a wheelchair, you are not believed to have a disability and you have to fight to prove it. We live in a country so wrapped up in paperwork and meetings that our friends and family are being forgotten.
We need change and we need it fast. No false promises only action and solutions are needed. Our communities deserve better they deserve piece of mind because regardless of our Budget today, there will be a human cost tomorrow.
On Friday 40 children sat patiently in the Afterschools Education and Support Programme on Dublin’s Sheriff Street, listening to the Andy Morgan Foundation’s message. Music filled the air and the children danced. The children and their teachers even had a dance off.
Joanne said: “Through positive reinforcement like today this programme can really work. My ideal is for this Buddy Bench system to give children a chance to show compassion to each other.
“A mother contacted me the other day telling me how her daughter had heard about the scheme and when she saw another child by herself, asked her to play. That mother was so proud of her daughter.”
This initiative is not the first of its kind but it is one of the first set up in Ireland. The Andy Morgan Foundation, a group of volunteers, only charges schools for timber and paint to make the benches.
A number of schools have been presented with benches and the demand is increasing. Angie McEvoy, from the group, said: “Schools have been contacting us and we have two schools in Galway waiting on benches. It’s really spread across the country.”
Most of us have struggled with exams – but what if someone could give you the answer to help you breeze through tests? Is this where the multi-million euro Mind Mapping theory comes in?
Mind Mapping works on the belief that the human mind sees in pictures and colour and using this pattern a person can remember facts for exams better than making lists – which let’s face it most of us just can’t remember.
Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Mapping, held a seminar at Trinity College on Saturday and had an entire lecture theatre of a few hundred mesmorised as adults, young and old and children, took on the innocent childhood hobby of drawing pictures and writing in colours in a bid to train the mind to remember facts.
“80 per cent of what you read, you forget,” Buzan told the Trinity crowd. “The Mind Map saves you, so your concentration is perfect.”
Buzan, who is a member of Mensa, was frustrated at how long it was taking him to revise while at the University of British Columbia in the ’60s – and he couldn’t remember most of what he was taking notes on.
He started investigating how to do things quicker and found the students getting the best grades, also had the messiest notes.
Buzan then looked in to how Leonardo Da Vinci had used doodles in his notes and from this early discovery, he invented the mind maps – an industry worth now more than €150 million.
Speaking at his Trinity seminar, Buzan said that learning was like “riding a bicycle,” and the more we use colours, word association, codes, doodles – mind mapping – the more we can learn and maintain in our minds.
“Everyone has that inate love of colour,” he said explaining that it was not natural for students to be forced to write in black or blue pen ink, when colours would help them remember information much easier.
“I was in Mensa and I thought I was very smart,” he said. “I was beginning to invent the mind map and Lorraine Gill, an artist, said to me ‘why don’t you draw?’
“I said I couldn’t – I tried to prove to her that I couldn’t – I was using my IQ to convince her I was stupid.
“She said ‘everyone is able to draw.’
Buzan began adopting pictures in to his mind maps and as he tested the theory on the crowd at Trinity, it appeared to work.
People admitted they had become lost in their imaginations as they drew their mind maps – a map similar to a family tree, with branches all stretching out as far and as littered with as much content as the creator desires.
The central part of a mind map is a picture of a topic – for example at this session – people were asked to draw themselves and branches coming out of the centre of the page showing different facets of their personality and lives.
From main branches, sub branches are drawn to explain sub topics. Pictures can be scattered round the mind map and colours used to further help the brain recall information.
Buzan also explained that he felt the simple act of sitting down and drawing dooles connecting information together, was more healthy that trying to cram notes in to a person’s head.
While he showed a certain disdain for the methods of learning being used by many across the globe – an over reliance on technology.
He told how he felt it was damaging to children – he referred to as young as two – being able to swipe on a tablet before they can walk or communicate properly.
He encouraged everyone at the seminar to leave their phones off during the break and to get to know people round them because he fears that this over reliance on technology is actually leading to a dumbing down of society and leaving people less able to learn and maintain facts.
If you would like to find out more about Mind Mapping and Tony Buzan, log on here http://www.tonybuzan.com/http://www.tonybuzan.com/
Buzan has authored a number of books and he is planning to return to Dublin next Autumn again for a similar seminar.
He invited everyone at Saturday’s seminar to his 100th birthday. He is currently only 74 – but commented that his doctor has said if he continues using his mind and staying active the way he does, there’s “no reason you won’t be around until 100.”
Without a doubt it could be very worthwhile for students, in particular to try the Mind Mapping theory. If nothing else, it might inject a bit of fun in to a monotonous study session.
Buzan states that memory can be improved 50 per cent along with a higher IQ being achieved if the method is stuck to during studying. Watch this clip to hear what Tony had to say to Trinity:
It’s Saturday and the birds were in full song, the sun had risen and a young lady by the name of Katie Whelan was in full flight in the People’s Park, Limerick, gearing up for an extraordinary event – a huge water balloon fight designed to raise positive mental health awareness.
“I just want everyone to have fun. I want people to realise that positive mental health is something that we can all achieve,” Katie told Ireland Today.
Katie is the founder of Lisa’s light, a campaign established in memory of her late cousin Lisa who tragically took her own life. She set up the initiative after an extremely vivid dream one night in which she witnessed Lisa on a lit up bridge.
Katie said she knew this was a sign and she needed to do something about lighting up Limerick’s bridges. With the help of friends, peers and locals, Lisa’s Light boxes are lit up night after night on Limerick’s bridges spreading messages of hope to all.
“Positive mental health is not something that comes once and stays forever, it’s something that you find in everyday life. It’s the extra 10 minutes before your alarm, the finding €5 in your jeans pocket or someone telling you that you look great.
“It’s always those little things that we take for granted. I want people to know there is good in everyday.”
Since the light box campaign, Katie has certainly not taken her foot off the pedal. She was crowned Limerick’s person of the year 2015, she has continued to speak in schools and anywhere she can to spread the word about positive mental health while at the same time completing her Leaving Cert and progressing onto university.
Splash out for Mental Health, Saturday’s water fight is yet another way she sees as a fun way to bring about mental health awareness while also giving back to all those that support her ongoing campaign.
Each balloon thrown is helping to break a little bit of stigma as it hits its target. It’s clear the city of Limerick and its people have a huge place in her heart and from the crowd attending today it’s plain for all to see that Limerick’s people feel the same about her.
When asked about her thoughts on the day as it unfolded, Katie said. “It’s amazing , I really was not expecting such a big crowd. Never mind the variation in ages. It was just so unbelievable. To get the message out to all those people. I’m in shock.”
As Katie speaks about mental health she does so with passion, drive and a determination to make a difference. Encountering obstacles and setbacks as she goes, Katie takes them in her stride and learns from every pitfall.
Pools of balloons awaited their masters and eager crowds waited on the green light to get started. Some people, who wore troubled faces left later with smiles.
This water fight took everyone back to their childhood, a place of innocence, presence and fun. A place where the ego is left at the front gate.
After all are we all not kids at heart? As each balloon launched, another worry or concern seemed to leave the throwers mind replaced with excitement.
Balloon after balloon, relief after relief. As everyone ceases fire the music, face painting and fun continued. Grandparents played with grandchildren and it was a treasure to watch.
When asked what she would say to someone in distress, Katie replied: “I would beg them to get help. I would ask them to please get help and fight for their life and tell them that they don’t want to die, they just forget how to live.
“I would ask them to please don’t put their loved ones through what I go through every day. I would tell them they mean something to someone and that their life is worth living.”
Kid’s characters, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Spongebob, Daffy Duck, Scooby Doo and Woodie, made an appearance at the event and made children and adults smile.
Katie is more than a campaigner for Lisa’s Light – she’s a girl who puts everyone first and no one last, a lady that adores her friends, family and boyfriend and who sees an opportunity around every corner.
And all that she does is aimed at saving a life.
Thank you Katie for being fearless and taking on the fight for others – Caitriona
Two-and-a-half years ago I made a vow to myself. I swore I would never, ever, under any circumstances, take my daughter on a plane without back-up ever again.
But last week I broke that promise. The recollection of that hellish ordeal when she was just 18-months-old had slightly faded by the passing of time.
It was now no more of a memory than my going into the kitchen, pouring a cup of milk then returning to the living room without it.
The faded memory and the fact I had no choice saw me take my daughter back in to the air. If I wanted to take her to Ireland, as I had been promising for ages, then I would simply have to man up and get on another flight with her by myself.
And to my complete and utter disbelief, it was actually a success. No tears, no screaming, no tantrums….and Poppy was pretty well behaved too.
It wasn’t just the flight I was nervous about. It was Poppy’s first time to visit Ireland, meeting my boyfriend’s family. And she wasn’t just meeting them – we were staying with them too. For four days.
I’m generally nervous taking her to meet people she doesn’t know in environments she’s not familiar with because I just don’t know how she’ll settle and how she’ll react to certain people and certain situations.
Basically, she’s unpredictable. There’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to who she likes and who she would rather hide behind my leg from.
But thankfully she took to her new Irish family like I took to the Tayto crisps. And I *think* her behaviour was acceptable enough for us to be invited back…
And while Poppy got her fix of lollipops and ice-cream and met “the real Mr Tayto” at Tayto Park, me and my boyfriend got two nights out and lie-ins every morning. And I got a suitcase full of Taytos and Superquinn sausages to take home with me. Poppy said it was the best weekend ever, and who am I to argue?
They come from far and away to visit the city to get well and truly LOCKED.
In Stamullen village, just 35km north of Dublin city, preparations are underway.
Tricolours hang from shops and local businesses, and the pubs are advertising a great evening’s ‘craic’ – with live music and traditional dancing.
But local man Thomas Kiely, 75, had his own colourful take on the event. It’ll be an open air lunatic asylum as usual, he said.
You see Thomas remembers a time when the celebrations were considerably more subdued compared to today’s standards – which let’s face it often end up in a gang getting drunk at home before they even hit, stumble, or fall in to the streets.
“You would see a small parade going up and down the road, much smaller by the examples you see today,” Thomas said, remembering Paddy’s days of old.
But still, Thomas will look forward to enjoying a little Irish pride tomorrow.
“The number of parades now has grown and it’s nice to see the traditions being embraced by the different generations.
And as soon as the horseracing is on, I’ll be up the road.
While for some, if the American-Irish aren’t busy lapping up our heritage, they are busy taking it over.
Elaine McDonnell, a drama teacher, feels as a nation we’ve been overshadowed by other countries often elaborate forms of honouring our patron saint.
“The Americans have often shown us up by the way they celebrate Paddy’s day,” she said.
“I hope we can top their celebrations this year.”
It’s unlikely though really isnt it? I mean how can we compete with a New York Paddy’s Day or a Boston Paddy’s parade?
For a start, maybe most people at the American parades are sober enough to remember not to make a show of themselves and leave that to the dancing leprechauns.
Hannah Egan, 20, a staff member at Whyte’s Bar & Restaurant, in Stamullen, said she will be too busy to be affected by the celebrations.
It’s just another day for me, another day in work. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a big part of our culture and if I wasn’t working, I’d be enjoying it with everyone, but work has to come first, and we’ll see, I might have a drink after work.
Ah work…what a sobering thought. Perhaps too sobering on March 17 when the rest of the country is at the pub or enjoying a take-away and a good old drink.
Fergus Mctaggart, a retired mechanic, will be a patriot tomorrow, however. St Patrick’s Day is not about the drink for Fergus, no.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to rejoice in having the good fortune to be born in the country that I love.”
Fair play Fergus – now, shall we have a drink to that?
Stamullen resident Ethna Whearity Wilde reminded us of another sobering thought – that the village has paid its own homage to the memory of St Patrick.
“Stamullen Parish Church is dedicated to St Patrick,” said Ethna.
“It’s a special day in the parish with the blessing of the graves in the cemetery on the day. Many of the local premises love Irish dancers in on the day where they have Irish music and craic.”
Well, it’s good to know there will be dancing…
But in Dublin city, many are dreading the 17th. They wear their battle scars from years gone by.
They’ve seen the taxi queues and the carnage in the streets and bars – and don’t even mention the words ‘Temple Bar’ to many city dwellers.
Louise Brandon said: That’s a hard one. Paddy’s Day is a bit of a let down sometimes to me. It’s grand ’cause there is so much on but way too many people around that cause fights and stuff.
Ah yes…but doesn’t this give us a chance to reclaim our stereotypical nickname as ‘the fighting Irish?’
Though we doubt a good old street brawl between drunk groups of men and women will actually draw the Americans in next year at all.
Conor O’Leary said: “The negative I feel is the emphasis on alcohol. I’m not a fan of the romanticisation of the drink culture in Ireland.
I think the image of the drunk Irishman is a very negative one for our culture. Drinking is way too common in our society considering how unhealthy it is.
“It’s a very dangerous habit to have and yet it is way too easy to obtain alcohol in Ireland. I think it should be regulated more.
“I don’t like the common idea of getting p***ed on Paddy’s Day for the sake of it. I think it’s an unhealthy way to celebrate our culture and it encourages violence and drunken accidents.”
But for Conor there is a very important reason why we should all come out and wear green with pride on the 17th.
It is positive to celebrate our Irish culture with pride and to show our history. It can be a very positive thing to be proud of your national identity and encourage others to do so.
Perhaps the best way to mark the party this year is to have a nice meal with loved ones, enjoy a few glasses of wine and the craic and go home early enough to escape the rabble who chose the alcohol supper.
Here at Ireland Today, we will be working some of the day and perhaps enjoying a pint in the evening – but we will be home well before midnight, well before the party gets messy.
“I found newspaper articles, and I then carried out genealogical research and traced him back to where he was born, Kevin Street, Dublin in a tenement slum,” Chandler said.
“Jack’s father was a jarvey, a hackney cab driver. His mother kept house for a large family. She was illiterate, couldn’t read or write. Jack had sisters and two brothers, who were also taxi drivers.
“If Jack stayed in Dublin, he would have ended up a cab driver, earning very little.
The fact Jack was a mystery, that no one knew anything about him, the more I wanted to find out. I like a mystery – and the more I found out, the more interesting he became.
The very notion royalty and high class figures, including lords and members of parliament, could have been paying for sex with Saul and other gay sex workers, sent the machinations of the British legal system into overdrive, Chandler said.
The brothel was raided by police and shut down, with some of those involved forced to flee to France.
And one of the most high profile policemen of the era, Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline, who had led the investigation into Jack the Ripper – was assigned to the case.
A royal scandal was borne and the editor of the North London Press, Ernest Parke, took the brave step of identifying one of the establishment figures buying sex from male prostitutes.
The small newspaper, with a circulation of only around 4,000, reported that the Earl of Euston visited 19 Cleveland Street for “sodomitical purposes,” – a matter the earl vigorously denied.
Parke was forced to defend a libel action in court it seemed he could not win – but a fortuitous occurrence took place when Saul, at the age of 32, decided to become somewhat of an anti-hero.
The rent boy volunteered himself in the witness box as defence for the newspaper editor, to tell a truthful account of the Earl’s debauchery.
He told how he had met the earl in Piccadilly Circus and how they had returned to the brothel together on several occasions.
I think he did it because he genuinely felt that this editor was being unfairly treated, Chandler said.
“The North London Press was a very small newspaper. The young editor, who was about the same age as Jack, was quite a radical and he had published articles in favour of Irish home rule.
“I took the view that Jack must have thought this young editor has been screwing the establishment for the past six months, ‘I have been doing it all my life.’
“I think Jack genuinely wanted to do something good in his life and help someone because no one forced him to do it. He could have done what a lot of other gay men did and jumped on the ferry to France.”
The Dubliner stood in the dock of the Old Bailey in 1889, several years before Oscar Wilde uttered mention of “the love that dare not speak its name”.
Saul risked his liberty – Wilde was later sentenced to serve two years hard labour in prison for sodomy – for the same admission.
Chandler believes Saul may have took this unpredictable step, to redeem himself after years of immoral living.
He had been part of a gang, who had blackmailed wealthy men to pay up or have their private lives spread across London and of course he had used his body as a convenient commodity against poverty.
“To stand up in court several years before Oscar Wilde and say, ‘Yes, I am a sodomite. I make my name sleeping with gentlemen. I took the Earl of Euston back to Cleveland Street and I have seen him a number of times,’ was a terribly risky thing to do,” Chandler said.
“Jack did this at a time when he could have been sent to prison for two years hard labour. In a sense he was the first gay activist and years before Oscar Wilde put his head on the block.
“Despite admitting ‘I am a sodomite,’ the archive records show the court decided it could not convict this man only on evidence from the witness box. In other words Jack knew where the bodies were buried.
He mentioned names of members of parliament, wealthy stockbrokers, military, and the founding member of Barclays.
Chandler believes that now is the time to tell the story to a the new Ireland – post gay marriage referendum. The writer hopes the book will see a new generation recognise the bravery of a flawed character – who lies in an unmarked grave in Glasnevin Cemetery.
He believes tribute should be paid to Saul, for standing up for what was right, coming out so openly as a gay man in those dark, Victorian days.
“The libel case was lost in the end, the young editor went to prison and the Earl of Euston walked away without a stain on his character,” Chandler said.
“The aristocracy always win and the judge was absolutely homicidal to Jack. He branded him a ‘loathsome, melancholy creature.’
“He said to the jury ‘How can a creature like that walk the streets of London? ‘Look at him, gentlemen,’
“Jack was in court with a silver topped cane and a flashy ring on his finger,” Chandler said. “This was an Irish rent boy, sleeping with all and sundry in the British aristocracy.”
“He gave a long statement to Chief Inspector Abberline of the Metropolitan Police, but because he knew so much, he was never charged.
“Jack walked away from the court. The government of the day thought if we put him in the box and charge him, what on earth is he going to come out with.
“He knew too much. The Old Bailey didn’t send him to prison. The authorities were desperate to keep Prince Eddy’s name out of the scandal.
“The prince’s name was never mentioned in the UK papers. It was only ever reported as someone in high up circles, but in the American press, they said the prince went to the brothel.
“The Prince Eddie rumour was well known.”
Saul made moves to rebuild his life after the case. He became a servant at a London hotel, a gentleman’s valet and butler.
“These were popular jobs for homosexual men back then,” Chandler said. “Eventually he went back to Ireland, to his family.”
But this was only one scandal Saul was involved in. There is another infamous tale that his name is wrapped up in.
Jack Saul also featured in a scandalous and pornographic book, ‘The Sins of the Cities of the plane,’ published in 1881.
The book, a mix of fact and fiction, depicts the life of Saul, a “handsome man in London, who has found his body to be his best asset and makes his way through life as a prostitute.”
The novel incorporates real-life accounts of those involved in the Cleveland Street Scandal, the Oscar Wilde trials, and other shocking cases of the period.
The book was one of the first accounts of homosexuality in Victorian England and even Oscar Wilde bought a copy.
It became an influence on the more famous gay erotic novel, Teleny, penned by Wilde and published in 1893.
There is only one copy left and it is in the British Library but this is not the original text. That is believed to be unobtainable today.
The fact Wilde was inspired by the book, to write Teleny – and that incidentally the men are likely to have known each other in Dublin, is also a matter of intrigue for the writer.
When Jack lived in Dublin, he was based in the same street as Wilde’s favourite restaurant and I would say they crossed each other’s paths, Chandler said.
The history of Saul is a familiar one, of a poor Catholic boy in Dublin in the Victorian era. While his protestant, middle class counterparts had opportunity to thrive in Irish society, he was destined to a life of destitution.
But Saul wanted more – he had dreams beyond his Dublin, slum home.
In 1875, at the age of just 17, Saul was again caught up in dishonour, when he met and Chandler believes, fell in love, with a young lieutenant in the Dublin Militia, Martin Oranmore Kirwan.
Kirwan was the protestant son of a wealthy Galway landowner and justice of the peace, a cousin of Lord Oranmore.
The Victorians abhorred the very notion of social classes mixing, let alone having sex, and the idea of homosexuality, was of course, the stuff of scandal and criminality in Ireland in these times.
In 1884, Kirwan was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit sodomy. Saul, who was linked with him, was arrested in London and taken back to Dublin to give evidence but fortunately this was never used and Kirwan was released.
Kirwan was acquitted but his reputation damaged – so much so that Chandler claims he is still remembered for ignominy today by the few aware of the history.
When researching the book in recent months – Chandler claims a woman who lives near Kirwan’s home, just outside Galway city, slammed her car door shut on the writer, when he mentioned the lieutenant’s name.
He said she drove off hastily to avoid any discussion about the lieutenant.
“I’ve been over to Ireland quite a few times,” Chandler said. “To Dublin, Wicklow and Galway, tracking down Jack’s history and where he had lived.
“Jack died in Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross. He was taken in with Tuberculosis, aged 46 and he is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, in an unmarked grave.”
Despite Saul having purged himself of his dark past, leaving prostitution behind for an honest living, it seems like the lieutenant he loved, shame is still attached to his memory, Chandler said.
Even those who are his kin do not wish to be publicly linked to Saul, it seems.
I have spoken to one or two relatives, Chandler said. They asked me not to reveal their identities. They just confirmed his name was accurate and that he was born just off Kevin Street, that he was christened in Latin, Johannes Saul and he was born in 1857.
“I think Irish people would be quite shocked, all this went on, back in Victorian times,” Chandler said.
“Here is a sort of Irish villain, mixing in these circles, but Jack does something good with his life in the end.
“It seems sad he is then buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in an unmarked grave. But he has faded from history. I hope his sins can be forgiven and he can be remembered for good now, in history.
“Jack Saul was born at a time when there were 6,000 soldiers based in Dublin.
“He was a Catholic boy from a slum with little chance of elevating himself to a better life. A protestant could could walk into a good, clerical job at that time and a Catholic boy, sweep floors just to survive.”
With so many soldiers in Ireland, many were looking for male prostitutes, according to Chandler and at the age of just 17, Saul learnt a less conventional way of survival in harsh economic times.
The Sins of Jack Saul can be ordered in all good book shops and can be ordered from Amazon. It is priced at £9.99 or around €12.89.
Meanwhile Chandler has also created a musical in honour of his Dublin muse. The Sins of Jack Saul – The Musical, will be staged at Above The Stag Theatre, Arch 17, London from May 11 until June 12.
I could explore new relationships, and I could be the person I always wanted to be.
Soon I was telling everyone and receiving hugs, instead of the rejection I had expected.
After 18 years, I could finally breathe. But why had I waited so long?
Well, I had seen first-hand the bullying that occurred as result of being perceived as gay.
I remember one kid who never stated his sexual orientation, but was labelled gay anyway, and slagged horribly for it.
When I saw the torture this kid had to endure day in and day out, I knew revealing my true self in secondary school was out of the question.
For the last two years of secondary school, I kept quiet, and dived into my studies.
Nobody suspected or thought for a moment that I might be anything other than straight.
So when I heard homophobic remarks uttered, I stood idly by and did nothing. I didn’t want to be ridiculed or have my sexual orientation uncovered and blasted over social media.
Defending someone would have cost me a lot. I didn’t know whether my classmates would ever speak to me again.
It was strange that a school that was very accommodating towards different nationalities, couldn’t muster up the same support for LGBT individuals.
The problem perhaps stemmed from the system. I still find it bizarre to this day, that the school never took time to educate us on the multiple sexual identities out there.
As far as most of us were concerned normal meant following a strict diet of heterosexuality.
For example, every week, in sixth year, we had motivational speakers in, ranging from an ex-criminal to religious speakers, yet not once was there an LGBT individual.
It shows that despite the leaps and bounds made for the sake of equality that some traditions remain firmly locked in place.
I sincerely hope that since I left in 2012, that my old school has made changes.
Fortunately after leaving secondary there’s the move to college. This is, I feel, the best time to express your sexuality.
There’s no better place. People have matured and they become more open minded.
If you want to come out and still feel uncomfortable disclosing, most third level institutions have LGBT societies, and these are places where judgement simply does not exist.
Bottling up your identity should not be an option. Identity is key to who you are, and where you want to go in life.
Schools should have an obligation to teach children from an early age about the numerous different sexualities, and the acceptance of LGBT individuals. This would help the fight against bullying, improve mental health and create a positive learning environment for all.
To the current generation struggling with coming out, I hope you have the ability to express your sexual orientation.
I hope your friends are true friends, and will not turn their backs on you. If you are straight and reading the article; support your friends. My friends did, and now I’m smiling.
All That Fall is the story of a lonely, elderly woman Maddy Rooney, who seems to have fallen in to old age and simultaneously lost the love of her husband, Dan.
Though they are together in life, it seems that they are, like many couples, far apart.
And though she yearns for two signs of affection, mere pecks on the cheek in the morning and before bed, even these seemingly small requests are too much to ask.
The opening scene finds Maddy struggling down a country road towards the station, named Boghill in the play.
It’s her husband’s birthday. She’s already presented him a with a tie but decides to surprise him by meeting him off the 12:30 train.
At each stage of the journey, she meets a number of people, including an old admirer. He offers her a lift in his limousine but she is too plump to enter the car with ease.
Comedy ensues as grunts and pants emerge from the huge, great speakers, hidden somewhere in the room.
The couple sound almost as if they are up to some type of nocturnal activities not becoming of a married woman in those times, or today of course.
But the grunts are nothing more than a struggle to help Maddy gain entry to the car.
She finally makes it to the end of the journey to find the train her husband has been on is delayed – something that never occurs at the station.
It seems Beckett’s Ireland is far removed from the Ireland of today where such delays would be no surprise.
Moments later the train arrives and the huge lights at the front of the room illuminate to such an extent that warmth can be felt on the audience’s faces.
The crescendo of the huge steam train chugging in to the station can be heard loudly, almost too loudly – to the extent that listeners could easily be sitting right in front of the steel monster.
And we hear Maddy as she panics when she can’t find Dan, who has been led to the toilet by a young boy, Jerry, whom often helps him for a penny.
Jerry refuses to discuss why the train was late and the couple begin their trek by foot home, moaning and sighing with every step.
As the couple continue their arduous walk home, sheep and cattle can be heard, children poking fun at them and finally a terrible storm, that we can only presume must have soaked and blown them off their path.
Jerry, the young helper, runs after Dan, informing him he had dropped something.
Maddy enquires from the innocent child, who is sure to tell all, just why the train was late.
The answer ends the play with a shock, as we think of the tragic consequences of what could result from a simple journey on a train.
The delay could explain Dan’s mood but we are left with the impression his passion for love and life, has left his body before his last breath.
Jerry exits and we hear his steps fade away and the couple head off in silence as we contemplate the awfulness of what has occurred.
On the night I attended the performance – half play, half art installation – it took the audience moments which seemed to turn in to minutes, to realise the event had come to an end.
After all there was no sign of an ending without a lack of bodies exiting the stage.
Theatre goers stretched from their rocking chairs and looked round, eyes blinking, to others, to see was this really the end.
It was and only then did I notice the cushions on the rocking chairs bore black skulls. The designs had clearly added to the deathly, sinister subject matter at the heart of the play.
My mind wandered as I left the theatre a little dazed. I forgot to see if Mr Gambon was still watching the rugby.
All That Fall is at the Abbey until February 20th.
Since 2013 I’ve listened to quite a lot of the sessions. I’ve interviewed a number of the musicians, including Aly Bain and Danny Thompson.
Joining them in Derry were Rhiannon Gidden, Karen Matheson, Cara Dillon and The Milk Carton Kids.
Musicians included Phil Cunningham, John Doyle, Danny Thompson, Michael McGoldrick, Russ Barenberg, John McCusker, Donald Shaw and James Mackintosh.
It really felt as if we, the audience, were invited into the parlour of a home and the session just flowed. The audience were one on the night and the stage was just an extension of the said parlour.
This was my first introduction to The Milk Carton Kids and they really added their authentic, exquisite twists to this session.
Rhiannon Gidden was also a first for myself and she really stole the show. Her audacious reworking of ‘Black is the Colour’ had everyone in awe.
As always Matheson and Dillon were warmly welcomed and delighted the audience. Jerry Douglas didn’t leave the stage throughout. He really stood tall among his crew.
This combination of musicians excel when on that stage.
It was a night of shared roots forging new common ground between today’s finest Celtic and American musicians. It was a night not only of music and song, but one of storytelling, history and sheer enjoyment.
The first Derry International Irish Music Festival also showcased an exploration of the writings and ideals of the leaders of the Easter Rising 1916, in a concert programme inspired by their lives, their work, and their words.
The night saw Lorcán MacMathúna and his band explore these writings and ideals of the Easter Rising leaders in a spectacular fashion.
Musically, dramatically, through song and spoken word, this really was a little piece of history on The Glassworks stage in Derry.
There were numerous sessions throughout the week. Workshops were visited and explored by young and old alike.
The Instrument Fair gave people the opportunity to try an instrument and play their first notes.
Professional instructors were present to demonstrate and assist. The Trad Trail encouraged folk to take their instrument across the city and play at various sessions.
Bars and restaurants alike were alive with the sound of Irish music. Derry really was at the fore of traditional music and song for the week.
Last week not only saw the first International Irish Music Festival in Derry but it also saw the official opening of a very special music academy in the city.
A legacy from 2013 had finally materialised. Acadamh Ceoil Chaoimhín Uí Dhochartaigh opened it’s doors last autumn, with it’s official opening during last weeks Festival.
I was very fortunate to meet up with Liz Doherty and Eiblín Ní Dhochartaigh at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Doire, late last year, to talk about this new academy and what it means for Derry.
Eibhlín, the brainchild behind the academy, told me that as a legacy to the Fleadh 2013, they decided to set up a Music Academy in the city.
Liz told me that it would be “a centre of excellence for music. We intend to provide a host of musical programmes.”
Eibhlín said: On a personal level I have great pride in the opening of the academy because it’s named after my husband who passed away five years ago.
“Chaoimhín would be very interested in passing on the tradition of music to young people.
“Chaoimhín helped form the first branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann in Derry in 1972. He was instrumental with Eibhlín in the development of Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin which opened just weeks before his death.”
His fiddle was played for the first time since he died during the fiddle orchestra performance last week.
The fiddle orchestra performance was the closing concert of last week’s festival on Sunday afternoon.
100 Fiddles at 55° North was a 20 minute musical piece written by Belfast composer, Neil Martin. with an orchestra featuring 100 fiddles from across Ireland and Scotland.
This really was a musical spectacle to surpass all others. A very fitting end to an exceptionally fitting week.
Last week showed that Derry is very much at the cultural fore of Irish music and Irish music at its very best.
Derry International Irish Music Festival patron Cara Dillon said: “A festival of this kind has been long overdue in our corner of the world and I look forward to promoting it far and wide for years to come.”
I don’t doubt that her promotion will not be in vain. This is one annual event I will certainly be placing firmly in my diary for 2017 and for many years to come.
The more the images were showed on rolling TV channels, on Twitter and Facebook, the more the damage of this bloody evil act, seemed to have on Dublin and indeed Ireland – as fear echoed across communities.
The names of innocent victims such as Anthony Campbell and Shane Geoghegan, caught in the crossfire of gangland killings in Ireland, are very fresh in the minds of most people.
And as a city and country everyone is very aware that if a threatened gang war erupts on the scale being discussed by commentators in the media, the threat of innocents being killed again, is a very real one.
The impact of this threat was increased once again after another murder, reported as being a revenge attack, took place on Monday night – just three days after the Regency Hotel attack.
An innocent man, father-of-five Eddie Hutch senior, 59, was shot dead by a gang of four in Poplar Row, north Dublin.
The taxi driver’s home had been sprayed with bullets. It seemed the only reason this father lost his life in such a debased way was because he was related to a crime boss, Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
This killing was believed to have been carried out by the Kinahans – an international drugs gang based between Dublin and Spain.
It is believed the Kinahan’s targeted Eddie after the murder of Byrne, one of their gang, at the hotel.
As soon as news broke of the second murder, panic again spread across social networks as ordinary Dubliners worried about the prospect of a deepening disorder on the streets of the capital.
News again flashed across our screens, not only in Ireland but in the UK and across the world, again too.
And within a short time false reports of another shooting in Tallaght, Dublin, emerged, and spread across Twitter – though there was no truth in this.
Such was the shock in Dublin after two serious gun attacks, that it seemed a deep sense of fear had taken hold among residents right across the city.
But as the finger of blame was directed at Gardai, the Minister of Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, and as far up as Taoiseach Enda Kenny – and as shock continued to surge through communities – particularly in the affected neighbourhoods – the ordinary Dubliners continued to live and away from any shadow of fear.
We realised evil walked among us a long time ago – but we never dreamed it would parade itself on TV as it unleashed its bloody will.
Gangland figures in Dublin and across the world, may be called infamous – but they are not famous. Most people do not wish to see them idolised and though they had their five minutes of despicable notoriety, one man’s words stand true.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said they are not idols or stars or heroes, but criminals who threaten public order and democracy.
Just providing a safe place, where the young can hang out, get involved in an activity is a prevention against them falling in to a negative lifestyle.
The Ballybough Youth project is also based in the centre. They carry out vital work with 10 to 21 year olds in the area.
“The work they do is extremely important and reaches young people who are at high risk,” Treacy said.
It is very important people and young people are there for each other and can talk about what is happening in the community, she added.
“The dedicated youth workers will be making sure all this (the latest murder) is talked about and feelings are heard.
“We just opened a gym here so I am glad it is such a hit with the community. It gives them somewhere to come and work out which will have a positive impact on them.”
It is clear, no one ever carries out such work for wealth or prestige – they do it because they care. Treacy and the other workers and volunteers at the centre are no different.
She recently applied for money to set up the new gym which opened on January 4 – a place where families and friends will now hopefully gather more than ever in the coming days.
I have worked in the area for 10 years and have got to know many great people, who are all friendly and I have never felt any negativity here, Treacy said.
“The community really help in the centre and take part in classes. There is a dedicated voluntary group in Ballybough, who are doing really great voluntary work with the under tens, including working to set up a homework club and running summer projects. Some of the locals volunteer with Dublin City Council and the Youth Project.”
And while the residents are working to build a stronger community – with the centre at its heart – people like Treacy and numerous nameless and faceless heroes, offer their best every day of the week.
While the evil acts of Friday and Monday may have struck in to the heart of civilised Dublin – the ordinary mothers and fathers, teenagers and young men and women, are clearly very resilient as they continue their daily lives in peace – and ensure they remain a part of the centre.
“There are all age ranges using the centre, starting with a childcare centre which is dedicated to 2 to 4 year olds,” Treacy said.
“We have a jobs clubs, which is for men and women, from mainly 30 to 40 year olds.
“And the gym and fitness classes are for 16 year olds and above and it has a lot of new members.
“Our classes are full, with spinning and boxercise being the most popular.”
The centre also houses a men’s health project which runs twice a year, working with males between 40 and 60.
The women’s art class is mainly occupied by women aged 40 and up.
Children’s classes are provided for the under tens while there is a childcare centre to help busy working parents.
Computer, cookery, Irish dancing, pilates and yoga, are all activities on offer here.
And while the news of hatred and fear in this community on Monday night, may be making the headlines – this centre’s story has gone untold – but Treacy does not wish it to be forgotten.
“On a very positive note the centre just recently won The Chambers of Ireland Award for Health and Wellbeing.
“We have become a template of what a multi-functional centre should be.”
It seems that the community in general deserves an award too – for standing together against the darkness, together, not divided by hate.
But for now this boy will sit his Leaving Cert and he will show the system that he deserves to be counted. He will show them that he will defeat them all. And he will survive. No thanks to our Government and their provisions for him, but simply through his own determination to survive.
W.B Yeats had no help either. My son has the same experience in 2016. Yeats was a success and my son will be too. But he shouldn’t have to struggle to succeed.
Earlier this month a student with dyslexia challenged the Minister for Education’s refusal to grant him an adult “reader” to help him understand his Leaving Certificate papers.
The 18-year-old sixth year student from Dublin was given a reader when sitting his Junior Certificate, but has been refused one for the Leaving Certificate, which he is due to sit later this year.
At nine, the student secured a placement at a special school for children with dyslexia who are of higher or average intelligence but with lesser literacy skills than 98 per cent of their fellow pupils.
Since returning to mainstream school, the student attends after-school study five days a week.
A clinical psychologist said the student’s change in attention and listening are worsened by anxiety in exam situations.
The student claims he is severely prejudiced due to the refusal of a reader and the matter is urgent as he is to sit his mock Leaving Certificate.
When I vote later this month I will weigh up all the odds. I won’t be voting with a light heart. I’ll be considering the educational future of our youth with learning difficulties. The youth that will be our country’s future. The youth that deserve to be counted.
During this forthcoming election you will frequently hear this government tell us all they understand what the working people have been through during the past five years, that they understand the hardship and sacrifices working people have had to make. You can only laugh.
How does someone on approximately €8,000/10,000 a month plus generous expenses – and a guaranteed indexed link pension awaiting them on retirement – have any idea what it has been like for ordinary wage earners?
By the way, this criticism is not confined to this government; there are quite a few former Fianna Fail ministers strolling around still enjoying their Mercs and perks thanks to the hard pressed taxpayer.
Those who have been telling us all to make sacrifices for the national good weren’t making too much of sacrifice themselves, were they? But sure what’s new.
“I loved his photo. He was real muscular and worked out a lot. He was like my ex but better looking, so I thought, why not have some fun.
“He asked me round to his – and I can’t believe I did this – but I felt like c**p.
“I got his address and jumped in a cab. It was like a dream – like I wasn’t doing it. I didn’t tell my friends where I was going because I know they would have disapproved and anyhow, they were too busy with their new men.
“The taxi didn’t take long. He was at the door of his house when I got there. As I got nearer, I realised he looked nothing like his profile photo.
“I felt uneasy and disappointed.”
Ciara said the reason she didn’t leave when she saw the man looked older and less in shape than he had appeared in his profile, was because the streets were “deserted” and the “cab had left.”
“I felt the best option was just to go with it. I went inside. I thought I’ll go home soon when I’ve spent some time with the guy.”
When she got inside the house, a poor looking terrace, the man told her stories of how lost he had been.
He had recently lost his mother, and he had been single for years, unable to meet a “nice girl.”
I started to feel like he was really lost and down and I stayed on to chat longer than I should have.
“We had some drink and that was the last thing I needed. Things moved on. They shouldn’t have but I felt sorry for him and I felt so down about my ex – I feared he had met someone else – that I just let him kiss me.
“Before I knew it we were having sex and I was regretting it. I asked him to stop.
“I explained I was sorry but I had just been in a break-up and I was vulnerable and drunk.”
The next occurrence shocked Ciara. She realised she had lost control and now she was terrified.
He refused to stop. He kept having sex with me and by this time I was begging him to stop.
“He didn’t. He raised his voice and told me to ‘stop talking,’ that he was ‘nearly done.’
I couldn’t believe it. He was raping me now because I’d told him to stop and he was just telling me to stop talking, to continue letting him do what he was doing to my body.
“I was angry, terrified, a lot of emotions at once – but then as I tried to move from under him – he put his hand on my throat and I froze.
“He seemed to get more aggressive as he continued to rape me.
“I was numb. I cried. He eventually stopped and shaking I grabbed my clothes and walked downstairs.”
The man hadn’t finished tormenting Ciara though. He followed her to the living room, where she was calling a taxi on her phone.
He told me I was “shit,” called me a “whore.” He said so many things, then he ordered me out of his house.
“I just left, too afraid to answer him. I called the cab in the street. There was no one round.
“It was a rough neighbourhood. I was afraid. He was looking out of the window at me. I feared he would hurt me, even kill me.
“I walked off up to a pub that was closed a few minutes away, to get away from that man, his house, to meet the cab at the pub.”
Ciara sat on the step outside the pub cowering in fear from the threat that the man could follow her and hurt her again.
After what seemed like “forever,” but in what, was reality, around 10 minutes, the cab arrived.
She cried in the back of the taxi. Ciara never reported the incident to the Gardai. She didn’t tell her friends or family but she has bravely opened up to Ireland Today, in the hope of preventing others from making the same mistake.
As if what she went through was not shocking enough. Ciara said the man continued texting her for “months” after the incident.
“It’s really weird because the first couple of times I answered him and just said I was busy and I had met someone and was happy.
“I hadn’t and I was far from happy after what he had done to me but I thought in some stupid way if I made him feel it was okay, he wouldn’t bother me again.
I was afraid of him finding me, seeing me again on the street.
But when the texts continued for weeks, Ciara began to ignore them. For weeks she would not hear anything and then suddenly she would receive them again.
This continued but each time she ignored them. Eventually she changed her phone number and she will never try online dating again.
I know I should have reported that man. I know I should have but I was ashamed of my own behaviour that night.
I was afraid it would get back to my family if it went to court and in a way I knew I shouldn’t have gone to his house.
“But I do know it wasn’t my fault. At least by talking now and telling what happened to me, others might read this and not make the same awful decisions.
“I would say stay away from online dating because you just don’t know who is on the other end of the computer or phone.”
Ireland Today has also learned of incidents of men with previous histories of sexual offences using online dating as a way of finding women.
One man that we became aware of used his full name on a profile that made him very easy to link back to court records.
And now a gay man in the UK claims he has been infected with HIV after having sex with another man he met on gay dating app Grindr.
The man, from Edinburgh, who goes by the name ‘Matt’, told how he asked for his sexual partner to wear a condom – but that afterwards he feared he had not.
Days later he received terrifying texts telling him his partner hadn’t worn a condom. He underwent tests and found to his horror, he had contracted HIV.
Police are investigating this case and several men have come forward having fallen prey to the same sickening behaviour – feared to have been carried out by one man.
The story, and the comments from Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, the CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, made before the latest horror was reported publicly, have again caused concern that online dating could be exposing us to the world of the unknown, the insidious and even the terrifying, more than ever before.
We could not touch on this issue without of course mentioning the horrific murder of Dubliner Elaine O’Hara, a 36-year-old childcare worker, with a personality disorder, who met killer Graham Dwyer, a middle class architect, on a dating site for those interested in domination, bondage and masochism.
Elaine was murdered in 2012 after undergoing mental and physical torture for months.
We also spoke to Emily from north Dublin, a 28-year-old office worker who tried online dating because she admits she was in a “trap, meeting the wrong men in bars and clubs.”
“I really kind of felt I was getting on and a lot of my friends were getting or had got married,” she said.
“There used to be a shame in going online but now it seems like everyone is doing it so I gave it a try.
“It wasn’t embarrassing anymore – and I could have the craic with the women in the office about it too, showing them the photos of the men I had talked to.”
But Emily admits that after weeks of swiping through photos of men and even their private parts (not something she had wanted to see) – she began to feel she was on a “shopping exercise,” rather than a dating search.
I felt like the way it was set up, made the men feel like products – and I am sure that’s how a lot of the women look to the men too.
“It’s almost like no one is real. It’s weird.”
She put aside her reservations and agreed to set up a few dates but on her first one, she was already beginning to regret her decision.
“I met him in a bar and he didn’t drink. I thought, fine, that’s okay – but then he acted disgusted that I did.
“It’s fairly unusual to go in to a bar with anyone in Dublin and then to drink tea, but this guy did and he made me feel awful for having a pint.
“He told me I was ‘in good shape,’ and then went on to ask why I was single and seemed to be looking for weak spots in his questioning.
“I felt more like I was being quizzed than having fun on a date. The conversation was dry and it was all overwhelming, so I told him I wanted to go home and I lied and said I’d had a nice time.
He reacted badly to my wanting to leave. I’d been there an hour. He began getting aggressive, telling me I was no better than him.
“Then when I started to walk off he insisted I walk with him to the bus stop. I refused three times but in the end, to avoid a public scene, I let him walk me – and though I felt uneasy, I figured the streets were lit and busy enough.”
She let the man walk with her to the bus stop and instantly regretted the decision.
He asked to kiss me and I kissed him on the cheek, though I didn’t want to. He got angry again and started saying I thought I was better than him and I wasn’t.
“He went to kiss me on the mouth and I pulled away. He pulled at my arms and my back, forcing my body to lean in to his.
He started kissing me, and I was absolutely disgusted and terrified. He was hurting me. I pulled away and told him he had better get the f**ck off me or I’d scream for help.
“A man walked past and asked if I was okay and I said I would be when this guy went away. He told the idiot to leave and waited with me until the bus came and he was gone.
“I never used online dating again and that a**hole kept texting me for weeks – until I had to change my number.”
Ellen O’Malley Dunlop said earlier this month: “I think it’s really important for people to know how dangerous it can be because you have perpetrators who are out there seeking vulnerable people and that site (Tinder) is extremely dangerous or can be…for people to access another person just to have sex.
“You can have perpetrators who are seeking to abuse another.
People are going on the Tinder website specifically to have a sexual relationship with another outside the realms of any other type of relationship and that is very concerning.
Ms O’Malley Dunlop, the outgoing chief executive, who is standing as an independent in the Seanad elections, said she would advise people from using the site.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre reported a 33 per cent rise in rapes and sex assaults in the first eight months of 2015 – though there could be no evident link made between this and the increase in popularity of dating sites, and in particular dating apps.
Tinder has 50 million users globally and 10,000 in Ireland. Grindr has more than 10 million users worldwide and is popular in Ireland also.
Both websites and dating sites across the board, offer safety tips. Tinder acknowledges it does not do criminal checks on users and Grindr warns it cannot protect a user’s location, saying even if it blocks the information, technologically skilled people can still find another user.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this feature and need to speak to someone, contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24 hour helpline on: A National 24-Hour Helpline: 1800 77 88 88
A couple of hours later, we were both still there, alive and kicking. I had made my first feline friend.
No tears, no runny nose, no hives, no nothing. Just this feeling of peace and calm. This beautiful animal had helped shift something major inside me.
The clean food, the yogic breath, the Reiki healings, the feline friend… I haven’t taken any asthma or allergy medication for over a year now, zero, zilch, nada, which for me – and for the GP, who keeps a medical history of my condition, is crazy.
Now, as an energy healer, I’m very aware that when people come to me with physical symptoms, there is often more to it than meets the eye.
Do you ever get unexplained aches and pains and wonder why the hell your bones are creaking before their time?
Well, the aches and pains might not necessarily be medical if new research is to be believed.
According to psychological studies, physical pain can be caused not only by physical injury, but also by emotional stress.
Research claims that unexplained chronic knee pain can arise as a result of an inflamed ego.
Lower back pain has also been linked to financial concerns. Ironic because most people spend money on pain killer trying to rid themselves of an achy back.
Pain in the shoulders has been linked to a person who may be carrying a heavy emotional burden.
I would have been in the past, until I miraculously cured myself of chronic asthma and debilitating allergies I had been medicating a lifetime.
Ireland Today does not encourage people to come off medication that they have been prescribed by a GP but if they want to follow some guidelines, such as Gizane’s towards relaxation and healthy eating, they are free to enjoy any possible benefits, though of course we cannot guarantee results!
She has reviewed around 200 adult colouring books and has become part of a huge and growing online community, with colourers sharing photos of their work and stories of how the activity helps them in their lives.
Lucy Fyles, 25, from Worthing, West Sussex, is another adult colourer, who has also used the art form to help her anxiety. She also has her own blog: www.inthemidstofmadness.wordpress.com where she writes about mental health and colouring.
“I’m an adult colourer who is currently virtually housebound with a severe anxiety disorder,” Lucy said.
I have used adult colouring throughout this period of illness and found it very beneficial for my anxiety and I now review adult colouring books and mediums from a mental health perspective.
“Before having to stop work, I was working as a nursing assistant on a psychiatric inpatient ward and I regularly used adult colouring with my patients, with great effects on mood and stress levels.”
Lucy explained she is using her blog to: “reduce stigma, dispel some myths and misconceptions, to put a face to mental illness and to highlight positive and negative stories in the media.”
She said she never grew out of colouring and that while completing a psychology degree, Lucy coloured as a form of relaxation and a way of using her creativity.
“I always used to have to use children’s books because adult ones didn’t really exist or just consisted of geometric patterns which were lovely but a little tedious given the lack of choice.
When I was an hospital inpatient in 2008 we participated in art therapy and were often given colouring pages of mandalas or garden scenes which were wonderfully relaxing to add colour to.
“As a nursing assistant and activity co-ordinator in an NHS psychiatric unit, I regularly used colouring with my patients to promote calmness and use as a distraction technique when they were experiencing difficult feelings.
“One of my patients brought in an adult colouring book called The Creative Colouring Book for Grown-Ups which was unlike any colouring book I’d seen before and I went ahead and bought a copy and so my adult colouring journey truly began.”
Lucy also reviews books on her blog and aims to help others who are housebound to enable them to choose their next colouring book.
There seems to be a psychological process that lies within the act of colouring – and the books are even being sold as mindfulness tools now.
It’s believed the activity engages the brain to relaxation but maintaining concentration without becoming draining.
Research carried out at San Francisco State University examined if a range of hobbies and pastimes could help workers recover from the demands of their jobs.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, found that people who pursue creative activities outside the office not only deal with stress better but their performance at work improves, too.
Dr Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia has a different explanation for the therapeutic effect of colouring stating that concentrating on colouring an image may replace of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones.
Dr Pearson said: “You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a colour.”
“It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery happening as well. … Anything that helps you control your attention is going to help.”
Michelle Byrne, 51, from Trenton New Jersey in the U.S. is the founder of Coloring For Me, another adult colouring website.
Similar to the others Ireland Today talked to, Michelle finds that sitting down to colour, helps her cope.
It relaxes me. I suffer from depression and anxiety and this really helps. When I am feeling anxious, I can really lose myself when I colour.
“I’ve been colouring For about 10 years now. Up until this past year, it has been really hard to find adult colouring books. Now I find them everywhere I go.”
But of course, until the world of adult colouring exploded last year, Michelle was one of many who hid her creative side for fear of ridicule. After all, this had been a hobby favoured by five-year-olds for so long.
Many would and still do question why adults would colour when surely they could be partaking in baking, knitting, mowing the lawn, or some other sort of serious adult activity.
“For many years I hid it,” Michelle said. Only my closest friends and family knew about it. My husband has always been very encouraging. Now that it has become more mainstream, I find myself being much more open about it. I still get some strange looks though.
“I got my best friend hooked on it and we sometimes colour together. Mostly though it is a solitary hobby. I can lose myself in making my art and that’s truly what I consider this to be.
“I tell people all the time that I can feel my blood pressure return to normal after a really stressful day.”
“Years ago my husband’s best friend brought his 13-year-old daughter to the lake where we have a summer place.
“Before the end of the summer, I had her and several of her friends coming down just to spend the day colouring with me.
“I belong to about 15 groups in addition to my own group. I love looking at other people’s work and the comradeship of sharing in the groups.
I love Floral pieces and abstract animals. I spend entire days working on pieces – and I’m talking eight or more hours.
Michelle actually feels, like many adults who colour, that she is “addicted,” to the hobby – but there are much worse things to call an addiction.
“I colour every day. And I won’t mention how much money I have spent on colouring.”
Adult Coloring Worldwide, one of Facebook’s fastest growing and largest adult colouring groups, has over 16,000 members.
HOUSING minister Alan Kelly’s plans to make city apartments smaller – without any guarantee they will be cheaper – could see poorer quality housing, in disadvantaged areas – as he races for the polls and risks changing the city landscape way beyond his term.
Minister Kelly seems intent on forcing Dublin and Cork and city councils to reduce their housing standards.
For example a one-bed apartment would be reduced from 55 square metres to 45 square metres.
Apparently some developers, who want a reduction in current standards, believe that these current standards are not high enough for middle-income areas.
In other words they want a reduction in standards in regeneration areas, so poorer quality housing for poorer people in poor areas.
In the 1990s and 2000s there was serious public concern about the poor quality of apartment schemes being constructed.
Terms such as ‘shoe boxes’ were used, and people complained about the long dreary corridors.
Dublin City Council responded by moving to increase the minimum apartment standards in 2006 and 2007.
There was strong opposition then from powerful vested interests to Dublin City Council introduction of improved apartment standards.
However, the City Council and the city councillors held firm and passed a Variation to the Development Plan in 2007, entitled “Achieving Liveable Sustainable New Apartment Homes” – making the improved standards mandatory.
Minister Kelly has defended his decision to force Dublin and Cork to reduce their apartment standards, making a case that is so completely disingenuous, in so many ways.
He claims that reducing the floor areas of apartments will reduce their price.
There is no evidence for this. Apartment prices will not be reduced by lowering standards.
People will pay the same price or more for a lower quality apartment. The only result will be that site prices will rise; only site owners will benefit.
Opposition to larger apartment standards never went away and indeed increased in recent years.
Property Industry Ireland and the Urban Land Institute, joining with the long-established opposition of the Construction Industry Federation, remain powerful voices in the interests of property developers.
When I drafted the new standards for more spacious apartments in 2007, I wrote: “The key issue in relation to apartment housing quality/liveability is the size or floor area of individual units.
“This is the envelope within which all the other qualities and facilities can be delivered.
The needs of children must be incorporated from the outset and this includes play areas, storage, for example for a trike, bathrooms big enough to easily bathe a child, study areas, etc.
“Designers shall ask themselves the question and document the answer in the Housing Quality Assessment – In very practical terms how does the proposed development accommodate satisfactorily for a household of two adults and one or two children?”
The key case made by those opposed to the improved apartment standards is that it increases construction costs in a major way.
However, there is no independent and authoritative information on construction costs in Ireland.
Pat Davitt, CEO of the Institute of professional Auctioneers and Valuers, in a recent statement said that “the lack of clarity around house building costs was one of the ‘unknowns’ that needs to be addressed.
“We have written to the Minister for Finance urging the Government to undertake an independent study as a matter of urgency to establish the true cost of building.
“This is such a central issue, we need to have absolute clarity on it from an independent source,” he concluded.
Dr Lorcan Sirr, lecturer in housing studies and urban economics at Dublin Institute of Technology, effectively demolishes the construction costs case.
Dr Sirr told the Dublin Inquirer: “Firstly, research which purports to demonstrate the extra costs caused by Dublin City Council’s standards varies wildly and is therefore dubious.
“Secondly, there is no official verified figure for construction per square metre, and no builder will give you one as that would give the game away.
“So we have no clue what the true cost of construction is; there are industry-supplied figures, but these don’t stand up to any decent scrutiny …
“Thirdly, a 20 per cent reduction in the size of an apartment does not equate to a 20 per cent reduction in construction costs and especially not to a guaranteed 20 per cent reduction in any proposed selling price.”
In fairness, to Minister Kelly, it should be said that he introduced a vacant land levy via the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 against great opposition from the Construction Industry Federation, Property Industry Ireland and others.
This levy at 3 per cent of the market value of the site will kick in 2018 and will apply to all public and privately owned vacant development sites.
The levy will tend to increase the supply of development on to the market so moderating the price of development land and the price of housing.
Kieran Rose is a planner and drafted the Dublin City Council submission to Government calling for a vacant land levy (2013).
He is a Board Member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and co-chair of GLEN (Fay and Lesbian Equality Network), Advisory Board Member of the New York-based Center for the Theory of Change http://www.theoryofchange.org/
The fight for Foynes: GFS says they saved town €2 million this weekend.
By Elizabeth Doherty
THE country is yet again counting the cost – human and financial to the flooding in the wake of Storm Desmond’s ire – but shouldn’t the state be proactive to prevent such wide scale effects?
The storm caused road closures, power outages and flooding across the country, with Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Cork and Galway, all affected.
One flooding expert says the Irish Government is not taking enough action – and is merely “paying lip service,” to the issue.
Photos emerged over the weekend of a pub in Donegal half submerged along with the rest of a village street and of a donkey being rescued from rising flood water in Kerry.
The army was even called to evacuate an elderly couple from their home near Glenflesk, Co Kerry.
And motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles as waters rose.
But floods are not a new phenomenon to Ireland anymore – and in the last decade they have been occurring more often.
Yet it seems the state is not placing enough resources in to addressing, what has now become a national urgency.
Shane Curran, co-founder of Global Flood Solutions, is part of a very successful company defending communities across the world against flooding.
But while former GAA Roscommon goalkeeper Shane, stands at the forefront of building the answer to flooding – it seems the Irish Government is yet to take on board the solution.
GFS has provided flood defence to parts of Africa, Canada, the U.S and UK, but is has only been requested to assist once in Ireland.
“The Government needs to take control, to streamline effective flood control measures. Unfortunately too much lip service is paid to effective mitigating control measures,” Shane said.
“This could be done very effectively by taking a pro active and business like approach to deploy effective barriers.
“Government or agencies of the state have little experience of flooding and its nature,” Shane said.
“Cowering behind reports that will have little or no impact is how they deal with severe flooding issues.
“There is currently no plan to effectively resource councils with the armory to fight flood occurrences.
“There are many ways our company and products could effectively help the state and reduce the issues currently been experienced by people, businesses and infrastructure around the country.
Last year flooding also caused problems in Dublin, across Santry, Malahide, Drumcondra, and in other areas.
And in 2013, flooding also struck the Irish capital and swept across the country. In 2012, Cork and Belfast suffered heavy flooding.
Last year a European Commission report warned that the cost of sea flooding would increase from €996m to almost €3bn in Ireland and the UK.
Figures released last year also showed that flooding had resulted in insurers paying almost €750m in claims since 2000.
“Preparing effectively with products that can alleviate flood issues is the first step and I would also say we need an efficient mechanism to deploy effective barriers to cope with these frequent problems,” Shane said.
The establishment of a “cohesive organisation” with its “primary focus” on flood defence should be “a priority,” the former footballer said.
“Councils simply don’t have manpower or technical expertise to operate a resilience plan,” he said.
Despite his conviction and the company’s track record – it seems strange that the Government has not alerted Shane and co for help.
But the fact is, it hasn’t. However, Canada, the U.S, the UK and Africa, has. This seems even more unusual given that the firm is Irish.
“Our company could put an effective plan in place that would prepare targeted areas in a very short time-frame, with our extensive international operations experience,” Shane said.
“Regretfully it’s only a matter of time before a similar instance occurs here. A person lost their life in the last flood in Dublin – We can’t protect everything but we can prepare and mitigate effectively.
“The major issue is responsibility. There will be frantic calls here in the next few days about defense and the great and the good will come out and talk nonsense.
“Then, like the floods retreat until the next, the talks will too and so it goes on until the next and then it’s some one else’s problem. It’s the hear no evil see no evil scenario.”
The state vowed to spend double on flood defence last year – from €100m by 2019 – but this sum would only be enough to protect one city – Cork.
In 2014, flooding to Cork and Limerick, was estimated to have cost €50m of damage.
Last year the Government’s flood defence coffers spent just €45m.
And again, this year, the country seemed ill-prepared against the storm and rising tide.
“Effective procurement would cost the state a small fraction of what it would save from clean up-operations,” Shane said.
“Figures suggest that every €1 spent on flood defence up to €10 is saved. It would not take a genius to work out from a simple audit how much it would cost to adequately put a plan in place.
“With modern meteorology techniques, it’s possible to predict well in advance storms and possible flooding – indeed Gerry Fleming, an esteemed meteorologist, was predicting this last week.
“Further more it’s been predicted that this week is going to bring more severe rains and further flooding.”
The company has provided flood protection to Canada, the City of Medicine Hat in Alberta, the U.S, Washington. It also worked on a military project in Somalia.
In Ireland, Shane said the company “saved the town of Foynes from flooding.”
The firm estimates it saved the state €2million by providing defence to the town which was at risk of flooding over the weekend.
The mobile concertainer wall, which is filled with sand, is almost a metre high and a metre deep, and runs for 100 metres between the harbour and railways tracks.
The defence was put in place in just six hours. It was put in place to replace a 40 ft block wall breached last year.
That flood surged through the town, flooding homes, shops and bars. Shannon Port Company chose to adopt this system to save money in future.