Arm young people with facts, not fear

I was going to add my twuppence worth into the ridiculous outrage in the past few days over the ‘threesome’ article. In fairness I had a lot of fun on Twitter talking about it. I also listened to Liveline and was bemused. Have we nothing better to worry about? Yes, in fact we do: rising employment, increased repossessions, suicides, poverty, teenage bullying, stress, despair, mass emigration, lack of proper health care, people lying on trolleys in hospitals, growing polarisation between rich and poor, and that poor child who drowned yesterday. We have a lot to worry about. Providing facts about sexuality is not a bad thing. Just because you know about a certain sexual act, does not mean you have to do it. Knowledge is power. From knowledge comes choice. Ignorance only creates fear. Anyway, I don’t want to labour the point, the good people at Spunout have expressed themselves very well and I enclose their statement here.   Arm young people with facts, not fear. Published: March 23, 2013 Young people are having sex whether the Sunday Independent or Deputy Michelle Mulherin like it or not. Some of them are having sex with more than one person, and sometimes with more than one […]

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Divorce is a dish best served cold

A recent complaint before The Law Society would suggest warring spouses should think twice before seeking legal heavyweights to resolve matrimonial differences. The subject of the complaint, the current Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, was unanimously and totally exonerated of all claims in the case which arose from a difficult family law dispute between Michael Izatt and Jillian Godsil. The complaint was brought by Godsil who had retained Shatter as her divorce lawyer until he came off record mid-way through her divorce proceedings. His actions prior to that point, and indeed subsequent, were the object of the long winded, but ultimately rejected, complaint. Godsil may be known to some as the Irish divorcee who sold her house on YouTube until the banks stopped the sale. She was landed with a mortgage of some €1million on a house worth less than half that amount when her ex, returning to the UK to go bankrupt, gave the entire mortgage to his ex-wife and their two young daughters. Last month, she was served repossession papers, so she dropped the asking price of her well-known Georgian Manor House to €250,000 and has received a formal offer. However, her bank refuses to talk to her […]

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Suicide and Young People

Yesterday I was the funeral of a child, a 14 year old, who died by suicide. One of the most upsetting funerals I have ever attended. His sixth class teacher spoke at the end. He had us laughing about the impish ways of the young lad. But at the very end of his tribute he looked around the packed church where many of the mourners were only children themselves. He said: “I wanted to end on a note of positivity. I wanted to give you something positive to walk away with. But as I look around this church and see the carnage and the heart broken people I cannot.” He paused. “Instead,” he said. “I will quote Martin Luther King. He said if you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot run, then walk. If you cannot walk, then crawl.But whatever you do, keep moving forward.” I had the privilege to be part of this short and very moving video on suicide – if you have a few moments look at Edward White’s video here It is called ‘Let’s stop suicide together’ I was also privileged to be part of Norah Boran and Alan Lavender’s #DepressionHurts video here It is called ‘It […]

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Longlisted for the Doire Press 2nd Annual International Chapbook competition

I would to express my thanks to the good people at Doire Press for long-listing my short story in their 2nd Annual International Chapbook competition. The long list of entries was taken from all over Ireland, as well as England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and the States. Doire Press very kindly said the standard was very high and gave their congratulations to all the writers on the long list. The nineteen other authors are listed below. The short list will be announced on February 13, 2013. (* Indicates a writer with multiple shortlisted stories) Ruth Aylett (Edinburgh) Neil Burns (Belfast) Jodi Chilson (Idaho, US) Graham Connors (Dublin) Garbhan Downey (Derry) Jillian Godsill (Wicklow) Paddy Halligan (Cavan) Claire Hennessey (Dublin) Robert Higgins (Longford) Matt Hutchinson (London) Jay Kauffmann (Virginia, US) Martin Keaveney (Mayo) Brian Kirk (Dublin) Conor McManus  (Cork) Maeve Mulrennan (Galway) Clodagh O’Brien (Dublin) Eithne Reynolds (Dublin) Maire T. Robinson (Dubin) Dan Sheehan (Dublin) *  

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The Next Big Thing

On Wednesday 2 January my ‘Twitter/Crime/Modest’ friend Susan Condon tagged me in an online blogging initiative called The Next Big Thing which is a series of questions about writers’ next projects. The idea is to draw attention to writers and their blogs and to lead readers to writers they might not have come across before. I have given Susan three labels as one is not enough. We first met as strangers in 2011 on the steps of the Westin having recorded a Christmas charity single that went into the Irish charts at number eight. Four of us started a conversation literally as we were leaving and have been in frequent contact ever since. Twitter is great for making new friends in real life. Crime is of course Susan’s thing. So much so, her husband sometimes lies awake nights wondering if he is safe.  Recently I had a very funny conversation with Susan and another friend and crime writer Lousie Philips at Maria Duffy’s book launch. The two girls regaled me with stories of how they searched for gory details online on how to kill someone, what happens when you stick knives in funny places and then about bodies decomposing. Their […]

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Happy 2013 – Please may we have some more kindness …

I always think the first week back in January is the toughest. The Christmas decorations are still lying about, there are leftover mince pies in the canteen if anyone could stomach them and we travel to and from work in darkness. We spent the weeks leading up to Christmas and the New Year in a mad panic to see all our friends, spend time with our family and text the world and his wife broadcast New Year wishes. Then suddenly it stops. No more crazy shopping, gluttonous eating and seasonal drinking. And our wallets are considerably diminished. Before the darkness was lit by crazy lighting of every kind, now these are dismantled and all we have is car lights and windscreen wipers sweeping rain and oncoming beams out of our eyes. And someone says, Can you see the stretch in the evenings? Just before Christmas I was interviewed by the Wicklow People to ask about my New Year’s Resolutions and I attach the copy here. I have five resolutions in total. As I stand on the far side of Christmas and firmly in the New Year, I think my last one is the most important – Kindness; having the grace […]

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My Sister was Singing for Hiliary Clinton

My sister was singing for Hillary Clinton.  I was attending a reading In Trinity College. Late of course, I crawled my way through the rain-inspired traffic that choked the Dublin streets.  Hillary’s convey passed us with a full police escort. We pulled over by Lesson Street as the forerunner guards on high-powered bikes cleared a path through the steamed up, bumper-to-bumper cars. We drummed impatient fingers on steering wheels as official saloons, corporate buses and defence force coaches forged a path like geese through the built up crush of vehicles. As they passed, we swarmed back into the road and carried on with a grim determination as if sheer dint of will would force the car in front to move faster, or to move at all. My sister was singing for Hillary Clinton. I was hoping to reach Trinity College by 7pm but the traffic and the rain and the convoy were all stealing my precious time away. As I rounded onto Dawson Street, I saw more yellow flashing lights and guards and cars and yellow tape tied across the road. The traffic was corralled down Molesworth Street, which suited me as my destination carpark lay this way, but even […]

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Three things I learnt at Trailblazers

The first is that I am not afraid. I wanted to rise up from my seat in the upper Special Criminal Court house and call it out. Colm O’Gorman was speaking. It felt a bit like the eponymous Jeffers’ book: Feel the fear but do it anyway. My heart pounded and I wanted to stand up and call it out but it wasn’t my time and maybe I had confused my emotion with a film from Hollywood. But I felt it very strongly. The second is the level of propaganda promulgated by the status quo. When Ross Maguire spoke he talked of giving ordinary home owners a break, a time out. He wanted a dignified mechanism that could be implemented without the mortgage holder having to beg for help or worse not been listened to at all. Terms such as debt forgiveness and moral hazard are used by …bankers. How dare they? The purveyors of Usury should not be allowed to dictate the ethics of our society. For that is at the very nub of this problem. We are a society of individuals who have come together to create our world. Service providers, such as finance houses, are there to […]

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Bright Lights Big City

It was a cold and frosty night but the American Lifeguard, dressed only in shorts, tee shirt and flipflops, stood aloft in his high chair and called constantly through his megaphone. “Do not go into the water,” he repeated. The crowd, Irish and wrapped up in scarves and coats, laughed and stamped their collective feet against the cold.  A number of women wore very high heels combined with belt-short skirts and their bare legs shivered in sympathy with the lifeguard’s. No one was in any danger of going into the water, not that there was any in the city centre location.   The queue was lined up for the Jameson Cult film night in the Tivoli Theatre on Frances Street. Previous screenings in the Cult series had included Snatch, Alien and Reservoir of Dogs. Attendance was by invitation only and we, my friend and I, had gained our entrance through a competition run by WorldIrish. We joined the queue and soon spotted another actor roaming alongside, dressed in cutoffs and oversized glasses. Chief Brody was on hand to keep an eye on things. This caused more laughter and talk and we made some temporary friends in the people in the […]

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Horse Sense

Arriving at Camp Some years ago I went on a cattle drive in Montana. Wow, that’s some sentence in itself. When I am old and grey I shall surprise my (as yet unformed) grandchildren that the doddery old woman in front of them once cantered across US plains rounding up cattle with cowboys – just like in the movies. I wonder will they believe me or think it merely the ramblings of a senile old woman. Anyway, it is true. Some years ago I went on a cattle drive in Montana. I have the pictures to prove it, even if the memories fade in time. Before I went my main worry was the lack of sanitation. We were to camp in tents and while porta-loos were provided, or porta-potties as the cowboys called them which creases me up to this day, there were no showers for the first three days. As I habitually shower first thing every morning I was freaking out about this privation. I know – first world problems.  Advised by people who had undertaken this trip previously I stocked up on baby wipes, enough to clean the bottoms of an entire nursery if truth be told. The […]

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