Festival Rules

I can write this now. I had to wait until I could confirm my daughter had escaped from Electric Picnic alive with all her limbs intact and preferably with her tent still in tow. It is a good tent and I did not want to see it discarded with the other tents. Although I know that discarded tents and wellies can be collected for refugees which is a fabulous use for them. On this occasion and with this tent though I wanted to see returned home. My daughter is a good daughter too and I wanted her safe home too. I bumped into many parents over the weekend whose daughters were also at the picnic. We shared stories and worries. I hope they all came home safe too. Going to the picnic was a last minute decision for my daughter. A lone ticket attached to some friends was for sale and she jumped at the chance. I jumped too but with worry – and I am the most laid back mum on the planet. I do benign neglect with a passion but on this occasion I began to double and triple think. I’m the same as Jonathan Healy of Newstalk […]

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I call it ‘couchsurfing’, but really I’m homeless

In the Irish Times Weekend Magazine August 6, 2016  Facing homelessness for the second time, Jillian Godsil explores how this social issue has become a middle-class problem             I’m trying to think of a word to sum up how I feel. I think there must be one out there but I can’t put my finger on it. I know what it feels like, a funny ache that lives mostly in the pit of my belly but sometimes it crawls up to lodge in the back of my throat. I am homeless, for the second time in my adult life, and – though each person’s situation is unique and many are worse than mine – I am part of the great sickening statistic that haunts this land. The first time I became homeless, the banks repossessed my fine home and sold it for a pittance. There were so many wrongs I hardly know where to start. But I was stoic then. Gracious almost. Leavetaking suited me, liberated me or so I told myself. I embraced the continental way of living. Let us rent instead. I threw the words out carelessly as if they cost me nothing. […]

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A field for … Toby

Toby is a beautiful chestnut Bavarian warmblood gelding.  He came into our lives four years ago. His previous owner thought he had kissing spine, a terminal condition, and he was going to the factory. My daughter Georgina fell in love with him and refused to let him go. We paid the factory (ie meat) money for him and brought him home. It turns out Toby does not have kissing spine. We had chiropractors and vets examine him. However, what he does have is – well lots of things, most of them mental. He box walked, weaved, has herd separation anxiety and lots of other things hard to fathom. Georgina, who as you can guess is animal and horse mad, is also a T Touch student. Her friend and top T Touch healer Sarah Fisher was in Ireland and she came and worked with Toby. Georgina used the same techniques and soon Toby calmed down, relaxed and began to enjoy himself. Of course, there is only one thing better than a rescue horse, and that is two rescue horses. So along came Deano. Deano is a top class racehorse. His sire is Flemensfirth, an American stallion and sire of many racing heroes. However, poor Deano was not very fast, […]

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When Viagra spammers switch to Alzheimer’s, it’s time to take notice

First printed in the Irish Independent June 1 2016 We have to help carer and sufferer break free from their prisons When shoe shiners give you stock market advice, it’s time to sell your shares. When taxi drivers advise on where to buy abroad, it’s time to stay home. But when your spam switches from Nigerian businessmen, cheap Viagra and belly fat pills to cures for Alzheimer’s Disease, then it is time to stand up and pay attention. And none too soon. According to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, the number of people living with dementia in Ireland is greater than 50,000 this year. And that is probably a serious underestimation of the problem, since there is no official register of people with dementia. A large proportion are cared for by family members and it is generally acknowledged that family carers do not routinely get support from State services as a consequence. Add in to that mix the medical postcode lottery that persists across the country and it is obvious that certain black spots have huge implications, not only for sufferers of dementia but also their carers. Unlike minding a family member with, say, cancer, caring for dementia is treated […]

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Desperately seeking …Me!

First published in the Irish Independent on May 18, 2016 We are a nation of lost souls. We have swapped the security blanket of religion for the cold harsh light of truth. We wander like bewildered two-year-olds lost in a grocery store. What began like a moment of freedom has swiftly translated into a terrifying ordeal. We have three choices: stay out in the cold, embrace it even; return to our mother’s arms and the refuge that lies within. Or we can seek new truths, new comforts.   The latter choice, the era of self-enlightenment is truly upon us. It is the new drug of the thinking classes, the opiate we choose in the search for fulfilment. We had become a nation of fast food snackers and now we need substance. The route to enlightenment has many paths. Last year, I attended a Jordan Belfort seminar – he of the Wolf of Wall Street fame. The seminar was aimed at making money but he caught the mood of the audience at an early stage. Jordan scanned the crowd and sympathetically called us out. We were there to learn how to make money but he ringed our wings by calling on […]

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Should he stay or should he go?

  Even when @TheNotorious is not at press conferences he is still dominating them.  The curiously named Dana White looked sheepish at a press conference yesterday (April 23) when despite Conor’s absence he was still the centre of the questions.  His smile when saying he was not cross with Conor had all the authenticity of a Cheshire cat and was only from the teeth out. In all the not present not participating Conor was mentioned 53 times. Do not be confused – this is a major battle of hearts and minds. It is a David with a Goliath-sized shadow pitched against the murkier side of UFC where finance holds sway and fighting rules are as clear and transparent as the Cat’s smile. Other MMA fighters have joined the cause backing Conor’s decision not to be pushed around by the UFC. However, there is an obvious difference between Conor and other fighters, he has the deep pockets to pick a fight. It could be argued he is also has more to lose if he doesn’t get his way but that is a moot point – he has picked the fight and the world looks on to see who will win. It […]

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Homes for the Dead – 1916 – Holden Stodart

Art houses invoke the forgotten civilian victims of the Easter Rising Public contribute installations to remember each of the 262 civilians killed in the Rising First published in the Irish Times April 10,2016  And also in a wonderful short video by Ronan McGreevy at the exhibition. Watch it here or below.                 A unique free exhibition celebrating 1916 is open in the National Botanical Gardens from this week until April 24th. The exhibition, called the 1916Sackville Street project, was developed to celebrate the largely forgotten and ignored civilian deaths in 1916. Until this year, little was known about the civilian dead – indeed few people realised that the number of civilian dead exceeded that of the total military casualties on both sides. In all, 262 innocent men, women and children were slaughtered on the streets of the capital during the first week of fighting. The 1916Sackville Street Art Project invited students, individuals and organisations to build art homes for the dead – to provide a final resting place. Indeed since many of the civilian dead were amongst the very poorest of the city some bodies were never claimed and to this day they lie in […]

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On being an Intersex

In February I was invited to speak at my alma mater in a competition debate.  This was a bolt from the blue. Thirty years ago I was an undergraduate in Trinity College Dublin. I read History and English, joint honours, and majored in the former. I joined various societies and clubs, but the one that possessed me the most was the College Historical Society, or the oldest college debating society in the world. I joined the HIST as it is called and sat through many nights of debates, where the cut and thrust of speakers was thrilling. Parliamentary procedure was followed, with rules and bells and points of information from the floor. Imagine my subsequent disappointment when I first watched televised debates in the real parliamentary chamber in Dail Eireann – the speeches were nothing like the wonderful robust displays I remembered from my college days.  Politicians can disappoint is so many ways. I became a committee member and from there an officer. I debated a little but preferred to witness rather than contribute directly, so I was very surprised to be invited back to speak in a competition last week. It was the occasion of the honorary members’ debate. […]

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B(u)y the book!

Last week I made it into a book, a legal book, a proper non-fiction book about Electoral Law in Ireland. The author Jennifer Kavanagh is a lecturer in Law in Waterford IT and has just completed a PhD in law in Trinity College Dublin. Her book, Electoral Law in Ireland, is available from Bloomsbury Professional It is quite an expensive book as paperbacks go, costing €150, but it is possible to write the cost against tax. I was advised that by the young barrister Ruadhán Mac Aodháin who was also purchasing the book just as I arrived at the book launch. Ruadhán was part of the legal team that made it possible for me to be mentioned in the book. In 2014 when I became the first female bankrupt under the new Insolvency laws in Ireland, I was unable to run for public office. Those of you who know my story will remember that my own personal descent into financial ruin (divorce + home repossession + business failure + bailiffs) had created an accidental activist. I became well known for ranting and raving on the airways domestically and abroad about the injustices facing ordinary people. I was – and remain […]

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When you’ve hung up your boots, can you still make it in the boardroom?

First Printed in the Sunday Independent 20/12/2015 A career as a professional sports star is something that children dream of. But what happens to sportspeople when age catches up with them? Last month, UFC fighter Conor Pendred announced his retirement, aged just 28, stating a lack of passion. “The time is right to close one door and open another,” he said. And making that decision may have been a tougher struggle than any of his cage fights. Closing one door can be painful but making the transition to another career can be helped if the skill sets used in sport can be used in the next competitive arena. If sport is competitive, so too is business, and the will to succeed in one area will often lead to success in the other. But are they directly transferable? Aidan McCullen, director of digital innovation at Communicorp, suggests that not all sporting skill sets may not directly map onto business. “I played 10 years of professional rugby and by the end I could do a mean spin pass off my left hand. I’m not sure that had deep resonance with the advertising industry.” McCullen’s joke masks a modest approach to his sporting […]

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