An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the Government will not be able to deliver on its promise to decide if emigrants should be allowed to vote in Presidential elections before Christmas.
Cabinet was due to make a decision about holding a referendum to give voting rights to those living abroad in 2015, but the Taoiseach has confirmed that it won’t be happening.
Speaking at the Irish embassy in Brussels, he told youth emigrant organisation We're Coming Back that, despite promises, a decision would definitely not be made by December 25th..
“There are a number of issues that need to be decided” he said. “I think this is a topic for the next general election and the next Government.”
It’s a big disappointment for We’re Coming Back, which has been campaigning for voting rights since the Constitutional Convention voted strongly in favour of the change in September 2013.
"It's disappointing to see our citizens abroad ignored again" campaign co-founder Conor O'Neill said. "Enda Kenny voted for this while in opposition, told us yesterday that he's "very much in favour" of an emigrant vote, but has still proceeded to kick the issue to touch. It's not good enough - he should do right by our citizens abroad and take action."
Young emigrants will still campaign for their voting rights this weekend though, as We’re Coming Back hosts an international Toast for a Vote this weekend.
Irish emigrants around the world are urging the Government to give them the right to vote from abroad by holding an international Toast for a Vote this weekend.
We’re Coming Back, a young Irish emigrant group, plans to run the campaign via Facebook from December 19th to 21st in order to highlight their disenfranchisement and urge Government to commit to long-promised reform.
Politicians in the Cabinet are due to make a decision about holding a referendum next year, which would allow emigrants to vote in Irish Presidential elections. They’re supposed to reach an agreement before Christmas, so We’re Coming Back isn’t wasting any time.
The organisation says Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan, who "very much supports" holding the referendum in 2015, has stated that Cabinet will finally make a decision in the coming days.
Emigrants have been waiting for that decision for more than a year now: It was first discussed following last year's Constitutional Convention, which overwhelmingly supported (78%) extending a Presidential vote to emigrants.
We’re Coming Back hosted the first Toast For A Vote back in 2013. It was hugely successful and campaign co-founder Conor O’Neill seems optimistic about the progress made so far.
"We've seen huge progress on this issue over the past year. It's been supported by an assembly of our own citizens, the minister for the Diaspora, the EU Commission, and Dáil deputies of every persuasion”, he said. "We've debated this democratic deficit for almost a quarter of a century - it's time for Government to finally do something about it."
For more information on the campaign see the official Toast for A Vote event on Facebook.
UCC's LGBT Society recently ran a Humans of Homophobia campaign to raise awareness about the impact of homophobia in Ireland and now one student's open letter, written as part of the campaign, is reaching a much wider audience.
Olan Harrington's piece about the "secret homophobia" that exists in Irish society had been doing the rounds online when it was picked up by the Huffington Post.
His letter details the fear he felt while walking through the city's streets holding his boyfriend's hand and was first published on his personal blog.
He writes: "Yesterday, I felt so scared that I became angry, and I felt so angry at the homophobia that I had ignored since my teens that yesterday I couldn’t let go. I held his hand all the way to Paul Street in the centre of the city. I felt defiant, and elated that it felt normal to me, but I still felt afraid, I still felt anxious. I still felt, homophobia."
Harrington goes on to argue that homphobia is "the secret that we share, and a secret of a "civilised" society": You can read his full letter here.
Olan has also previously written about depression for SpunOut. You'll find his powerful opinion piece about forging meaning in your depression here.
Solidarity messages for the people of Ferguson, Missouri, have been trending online for weeks now but one group of young Irish people decided to get together to create a very special one.
Tensions have been high in the town since a young African American man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a police officer in August 2014. Tensions have been mounting yet again since a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer responsible on November 24th.
Young activists from across the country gathered in Dublin on November 29th and 30th for a two day training course for ethnic minority young people.
The course was intended to help them learn how to become more active in the community but, while they were there, they also decided to create a support campaign for Ferguson.
They now hope their message will spread and others will be inspired to get involved and show #Solidarity too.
Here, I shall present a definitive assortment of holiday hits which are sweeter than all your favourite tinned Christmas candies combined. However, in order to spread a welcome smear of originality, it has been decided that the typical Christmas cinematic crackers we have become so aware of, largely due to their overt representation of festivity, shall be excluded.
So, despite the fact they’re outstanding viewing, classics such as The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) or Home Alone (1990) will not feature. Instead, a collective of pictures which remind so many of us of fond December memories, without being clichéd fixtures of the supermarket holiday DVD section, will be highlighted.
Allow me to initially state that this list was drafted long before the 2014 Late Late Toy Show was broadcast. So before, your newsfeed was bombarded with compliments for a certain English male vocalist, yours truly was considering the parameters for this list.
I went back and forth numerous times, attempting to select a film to omit from the finalised top ten but unfortunately, it was iron clad in my estimation. So instead of presenting an awkward array of eleven, I decided to offer up an esteemed alternative to my forthcoming hotchpotch in the form of an honourable mention.
What better to get the bauble rolling, than a witty musical comedy smash featuring the exploits of the lovable Dick Van Dyke? A multilayered flick with a very wide appeal due to its incredible balance of theme and tone, it is no surprise kids young and old recall this one so fondly. Also, in the midst of all the light hearted singing and dancing, audiences are presented with possibly the creepiest and otherworldly character to ever be portrayed in traditional children’s film- the notorious child catcher, played brilliantly by Robert Helpmann.
Many don’t understand the allure of this film, but if a Christmas Day goes by and no channel is featuring Gone with the Wind, our society has surely ascended into a twilight zone consumed by pure anarchy. Whilst this is a December 25th classic, it may not be to everybody’s taste, largely due to the fact that one has to devote their entire afternoon to its viewing, as it racks up nearly four hours of screen time.
One of the few Romance movies which has stood the test of time, thus it must have something going for it. And it does deep timeless themes which sustain a universal applicability which is rare from the romance movies of the current day like No Strings Attached (2011) or Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). Like the latter, this film is based on a novel which many attest is streets ahead of the movie.
Those who criticise this movies popularity perhaps should consult the original text first before making any definite verdicts. Perhaps, it too could be in the category of movies which the book surpasses the standard of its on-screen adaption. David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014) is as good an example as any.
Alfred Hitchcock is my all time favourite director, one simple acknowledgement of his extensive filmography and I’m sure many more will be converted. I was first introduced to the British director’s work on Christmas Day some fifteen years ago, whilst taking a break from playing a newly delivered copy of Championship Manager I stumbled upon a movie starring Cary Grant.
What had been intended to be a short break turned into quite an extensive one, as I watched the film in its entirety. Unlike, some of Hitch’s other, more low-key work, this flick was a full on blockbuster of its time. Also, Hitchcock also uses the coolest actors to play the leads in his movies- Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda are just some Hitchcock luminaries who ooze class and cool.
Forget Dan Bilzerian, these guys were once the epitome of cool. With its intriguing story and pulsating pacing, it is no wonder North by Northwest is a frequent addition to the holiday pages of the RTE Guide.
Much like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), audiences are thrust into a Dick Van Dyke populated mystical London where tea parties on the ceiling and kite flying are commonplace. It is probably the fantastical amount of glee which transcends this P.L Travers’ story beyond the realms of fiction to straight up sensational, which has allowed it into the Christmas hearts of people worldwide.
Despite being often silly and eccentric, it still somehow manages to stay grounded. Julie Andrews composed yet classy performance compounds this. This film emphasises the joy and wonder which is part and parcel to childhood, and how every child deserves to occasionally let imagination run wild.
Also, it's worth checking out Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks exploring the creation of this film and the real-life events that inspired it, in 2013 metafilm Saving Mr. Banks.
What better way to kick start your jollies than a morning viewing of the Roald Dahl gem followed by a chilly Christmas day swim? Despite, having nothing to do with Christmas thematically, there is something about exploring the realms of a forbidden chocolate factory that has sleigh bells ringing in my head. Maybe it was the frequent receipt of selection boxes as childhood gifts that cemented this opinion in my mind.
This Gene Wilder spearheaded wonder is thronged with assertion of the importance of childhood hope, ambition and imagination. Seemingly similar to Forrest Gump (1994), in that it challenges audiences to make the most of what they have in the hope of succeeding and doing what they inevitably want despite the obvious obstacles. Watching this tale is an unforgettably life affirming experience.
Plus, Gene Wilder is absolutely great, he is an undoubted living legend whose talent has been almost forgotten by modern day audiences. I implore all readers to check out Wilder comedy gold alongside Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy (1980) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989).
In reality, I could have chosen any of the entries from the original Indiana Jones trilogy to be included for Christmas viewing. 1984 was an unforgettable year in terms of acclaimed cinema releases such as Ghostbusters, The Terminator and A Nightmare on Elm Street, thus I eventually decided to go with the second Indy adventure.
The third instalment, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (1989), captured the spot of my favourite Dr. Jones adventure but what swung it for me was Steven Spielberg’s usage of colour in the scenes within the temple that are paradoxically reminiscent of Christmas. Notice, how I haven’t mentioned The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)? That was intentional. You're better off watching a soap opera omnibus on Christmas than that drivel.
If it is on this year, look back on what you’ve done all year. It is your bag of coal!
Many film fans will consider this their favourite holiday movie of all time, and for the most part it would be difficult to disagree with them. Also, don’t be surprised if local theatres treat their audiences to special screening of the John McTiernan hit this festive season. Much like the film that came before it, this franchise was later hurt by inferior attempts to reignite the magic of the original material which made it so enthralling.
Despite being set on Christmas Eve, aside from a number of implicit biblical references, its time setting isn’t directly effective on the plot of the story. Yet for some strange reason, it would be odd to imagine this film without it. Sometimes, it is the slight intricate details that elevate films from a mere ‘good’ to classic status.
One of Hollywood’s most distinguished living directors is one Tim Burton and many accredit this Johnny Depp led adventure as his best work to date. Following a single viewing, one would find it difficult to argue against that. It is so poetically poignant how a seemingly grotesque character submerged in such an oddly defined environment can be so enchanting.
This flick challenges the perception associated with the mundane monotony of suburbia, a setting which is all too frequently misrepresented in film, if at all. There is a unique theatrical quality present; the stylised sets and equally colourful characters. Burton also employs a fantastic colour scheme in light of his presentation of suburbia, with its bright colours seemingly counteracting the film’s dark root themes.
However, my favourite aspect of this film is the undoubtedly beautifully haunting and mesmerizing score, which will both chill and uplift evenly.
In August of this year, the wonderful Robin Williams tragically passed away. Like many others, I was devastated that we had lost one of the main faces of entertainment representative of our generation. So many of my childhood memories revolved around the work of the fallen star, especially Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of Peter Pan.
There is no time more special for children than Christmas, and what this picture is primarily about is children and their ability to conquer all obstacles. This film probably didn’t receive the credit it deserved upon release, but has since become a family favourite, especially at this time of the year.
It simply ticks all the appropriate boxes one could hope for, it is humourous, exciting and heart warming without being corny- essentially everything a holiday film should be.
Honestly, I can’t think of any trailer more thrilling than that! How cool! This next entry is a personal favourite of mine and our second featuring of Tim Burton. Contrary to the opinions of the majority of Batman movie buffs, this instalment is my preferred Gotham outing. Despite being set at Christmas, the time of the year has little or no bearing on the plot of the film.
However, it does add a significantly eerie quality to an already captivatingly beautiful film set. The cast of characters is so impressive; the English language’s range of superlatives couldn’t do it justice. Michael Keaton is so underrated as Batman it still sickens me to this day, Danny DeVito fits the role of the hideously deformed Penguin impeccably (sweet pun) and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is the greatest interpretation of the modern day femme fatale.
Unfortunately, following the outrage from parents at the films overly dark tone, the caped crusader franchise was taken out of Burton's hands and lead in a more kid friendly direction by new Warner Bros recruit Joel Schumacher. The rest is history, unfortunate history, but history nonetheless!
In hindsight, the 90s produced some unbelievable cinema that many modern movies could learn many a lesson from. I love the 1950s and 1960s but the 80s and 90s were nothing short of extraordinary. One of the major assets of the final decade of the 21st century was this Chris Columbus comedy.
It is still hard to believe that somebody so profoundly unhappy would be able to bring so much joy to the lives of audiences everywhere as Euphegenia Doubtfire. My favourite part of this movie is the monologue given by Doubtfire following Daniel Hillard’s awaited reunification with his children. It has to be up there with some of my favourite dialogue ever written/given.
Happy Christmas Robin and thanks for all the memories.
If there's one thing 2014 has taught us for certain it's that Ireland's future is in safe hands.
Over the course of the past 12 months we've watched so many inspiring young people do wonderful things for themselves, for others, and for the country.
Here at SpunOut towers, as the New Year approaches, we think it's high time we took a look back and celebrated just a few of the inspiring young Irish people who blazed a trail for all of us in 2014:
It’s not every day that you’ll find yourself on a list with Malala Yousafzai, Kendall Jenner and Lorde, but for Cork teenagers Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow it’s all in a day’s work.
The trio made Time Magazine’s list of the world’s most influential teenagers this year, thanks to an extraordinary science project. They won the grand prize at the Google Science Fair after discovering a bacteria that could speed up the growth of cereal crops and even increase the amount of food produced.
Just imagine what you could have done if you’d just stopped playing with that Bunsen burner and paid attention instead.
Dealing with depression is a daunting task but it’s one Dublin GAA Under 21s star Shane Carthy bravely undertook in 2014.
The 20-year-old All-Ireland winning footballer was hospitalised earlier this year, preventing another impressive run at the semi-final stage of the championship.
DCU student Shane made the incredibly brave decision to speak out about mental health issues and shared his experience with SpunOut.ie for World Mental Day in October. His words made quite the impression, both within the sporting community and beyond.
Blogger Sinead Burke is one busy young lady. If she’s not out interviewing some of Ireland’s most extraordinary women she’s meeting up with musicians, fashion industry insiders and even the man who manages Adele.
Is it any wonder that her blog, Minnie Melange, was named overall Blog of The Year by IMAGE Magazine?
The 23 year old took to the stage at One Young World to discuss perceptions about disability and even had chat with Maia Dunphy on her RTÉ series 'What Women Want'. At 3ft 5 inches tall Sinead defines herself as a “little person” but she’s never considered it a barrier to doing big things.
If you spend a lot of time on Facebook then you’ve probably heard of Jamie Harrington. The 16-year-old freelance photographer (yup, you read that right) is famous for his posts about how to stay positive when you’re dealing with depression and has over 12,000 followers on his official Facebook page.
Jamie does a lot of work with Teenline Ireland and is also part of the Never Alone Collective, who got together to release a charity single last year.
You might also have spotted him on RTÉ Two’s Connected, working hard filming and supporting his cousin Temper-Mental MissElayneous, or right here on SpunOut.ie talking about mental health issues.
Were you blown away by Emma Watson’s #HeForShe speech? Well then you’d better hold on to your hat because we’ve got one very inspiring young feminist here in Ireland and she’s most definitely going places.
Secondary school student Saibh McCaffrey is involved with The Y Factor, a youth initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, aimed at empowering young people to be leaders for women’s equality.
She was one of a panel of inspiring young women who helped create the organisation’s toolkit for gender equality and her passion for the cause inspired Irish polticians to call on her to go into politics herself.
Never mind Marco Pierre White, there's a rising star here in Ireland who's cooking up an absolute storm. 22 year old Matthew Logan was awarded the coveted 2014 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year in November and will now embark on an all expenses paid stage, at the world-renowned The Square London, where he will work under the direction of two star Michelin chef Philip Howard.
He's already a Chef de Partie at Dublin's Chapter One so who knows where he'll end up next! His passion for food was shared by the other amazing finalists, who offer proof that you don't have to travel to Europe to find some of the finest young chefs in the world.
We'll take any free lunches you're offering Matthew!
If there’s one person who proves that football is most definitely NOT just for boys it’s Irish woman Stephanie Roche.
The 25 year old hit the headlines when an incredible goal she scored against the Wexford Youths in October 2013 was nominated for FIFA’s Goal of The Year.
Stephanie beat off stiff competition from some of the world’s best football players to make it all the way to the final three, alongside Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez.
Think we missed someone? Who blazed a trail for you in 2014? Let us know in the comments below.
I've been threatening to start a blog now for a couple of months, but like everything else I've placed it on the backburner due to college work, societies/Students' Union work and various other aspects of my life.
Why now, you ask? Well this week is Mental Health Awareness week, a week that I always love to get involved in within my own university, UCC, but alas I am laid up with back pain at home - yes I know, I'm a haggard old woman - so I decided to publish some musings on my thoughts and experiences of mental health issues.
The line-up in UCC this week is second to none and I must give Cian Power and the SU, along with the Societies Guild and various other organisations in UCC, their due credit. I know how hard Cian has worked to make this week worthwhile. The statistic is 1 in every 5, that's not something we should easily dismiss or forget. I think everyone at some stage battles with their own demons and it's heartening to see how many people have felt comfortable enough to share their experiences in order to help and guide others.
I definitely battle with my own demons at times; paranoia, anxiety and stress are all things that I experience weekly. While many people believe a diagnosis or a loss of all hope is needed to seek help - it's not. If you feel things aren't okay, just say it. Put it out there and I can guarantee you that there are people in your life who will bend over backwards to help you.
My own friends and family are one amazing support system. My paranoia and anxiety can often project onto them and can become quite aggravating and draining. I say that as an assumption because everytime I seek help, they can make me feel better in seconds and it never feels like I'm burdening them. For a long time I wasn't sure whether this paranoia and anxiety was something I wanted to share and then it became too much. I constantly questioned friendships, I analysed remarks made by friends for hours and the smallest of gestures would set my anxiety into overdrive.
While I never felt this overcoming sense of despair, these small attributes were taking much of the happiness from my life. Nights out were continually becoming something I over analysed, an unanswered text caused me sleepless nights. Then I began to talk, sometimes I spent hours discussing why I did this with friends. Now, I'm not saying this has completely gone away, but through chats, coffee and copious amounts of chocolate I've made a conscious effort to not let these emotions take over anymore.
I think this blog entry has definitely deviated from where I was thinking it would go but that's the beauty of mental health discussions, you get it all off your chest without even realising. I suppose the message I want to get across is that: if you're not okay, just say it. You have people who care about you, people who want you do well and people who would hate for you to suffer in silence,
We should all make a conscious effort to look after one another, if you think someone needs an extra hand then extend one. Always remember that everyone is fighting their own battle.
Never pre-judge someone or their struggle and always be as mindful of yourself as you are of others.
I think we have a problem of over simplifying things. Seeing stuff in black-and-white. School, conflict, relationships – it’s forgivable. But it’s something to be aware of. As it results in us being too hard on ourselves. Let’s take Christmas. It seems we’re either caroling in an ochre tinted photo – or spending a miserable Christmas rapt with rows and explosive feelings. The truth lies somewhere in between.
Yet, we can be forgiven for having such an idealistic view of Christmas. As kids we’re told stories of Santa and nativity. And I always loved Christmas. But then I surpassed the age of about ten, eleven, twelve. It became a time of year that I suddenly disliked.
I was tired of these ridiculous ideals of Christmas. In particular, the turkeys on TV. How did they make it that particular shade of gold? Ours was grey at best, black at worst. You’d hear of Christmas miracles. Suddenly it seems that either everything is fabulous or it’s le classique “worst Christmas ever”.
Then about two years ago I was sitting in the kitchen in a dull mood. Everyone else was festive, and I just felt as normal – it heightened these feelings and made me feel worse.
This was when my mum reminded me that Christmas isn’t ideal. It’s not picture perfect, but there are lots of positives. There is also lots of stress. For instance, if she stressed out to get the best Christmas dinner – she wouldn’t enjoy it herself.
At this point I’m not going to try say what Christmas is, and what Christmas isn’t. But I am going to say it is a time of the year when most of us have two weeks off. There’s lots of sweets and people we seldom meet. If Christmas spontaneously happened on November 25th or January 25th we’d think it was amazing.
Truth is – it’s just one other day of the year. But don’t let that limit you. In fact, I would almost say for people who really can't stand Christmas: just pretend it’s a normal day. That way you don’t wake up expecting everything to go as planned.
Following my Mum’s advice, I enjoyed that Christmas. I didn’t get into any fights, nor did I afford any time to FOMOing**. This was surely an improvement on the last few years.
So, although I haven’t become some Christmas fanatic, I do plan to have fun. Not just as some sort of Christian or commercial climax of the year. I’m going to take it as it comes, neither expecting it to be great or terrible. I look forward to spending time with my family and watching The Toy Show. (I haven’t seen it yet)
** That’s “Fear of Missing Out” if you aren’t au fait with the latest hipster jargon.
If you're being bullied online or offline it's important to talk to someone about it. Your bully could be someone you know in your every day life, or someone anonymous on the Internet. Whatever the case you shouldn't have to put up with it. You don't need to go through this alone either. If you're the bully of the situation you need to click on these links to see the error of your ways. Bullying is an ever increasing problem in Ireland and this needs to be addressed. See these links below to get up to speed, and be safe. Don't be a bystander!
How to recognise bullying, and the different types.
I'm being bullied
Tips on coping with bullying.
Cyber and text bullying
What to do if you're being bullied.
The effects of bullying
The effects of bullying on others.
Opinion: Retweeting is not enough
A young person's opinion on the issue of online bullying.
Cyber bullying and parents
Educating your folks about the issues.
Helping the victims of bullying
What YOU can do to help.
Could you be a bully?
Be aware of your actions.
Bullying at work
When work becomes a nightmare.
Ask.FM Safety Factsheet
Find out how to block, report, and deactivate on Ask.fm.
How to stay safe online.
Check out this great video from the NSPCC.
Winter exercising may sound like an impossible task. It's freezing, it rains all the time and it gets dark so early. How can you possibly keep fit in such conditions?
If there is a will, (and maybe some long johns) there is a way!
Tips on winter exercise:
How to dress for outdoor winter exercise:
A put down! Criticism! Disagreements! How do you stop people treating you this way? Well the simple answer is that you often can't stop people from making negative comments. However, here are some tips on how to protect and look after yourself when dealing with other peoples' criticisms.
Coping with put-downs
Usually people react to criticism by avoiding it, taking it to heart or reacting aggressively to it. Criticism can be helpful if it is specific, acknowledges positives, is calm, to the point, doesn't stereotype or label people and is focused on a person's behaviour rather than an attack on the person.
Here are some tips to use criticism assertively: