You are on page 1of 40 August / september 2019 pAge 1 August / September 2019 Web:  Email:
August / september 2019
pAge 1
August / September 2019
Web:  Email:  Local newsdesk phone: 01 667 3317
Serving Sandymount, Irishtown, Ringsend, Pearse Street, Docklands, Ballsbridge & Donnybrook

Cube Homes: THe FuTure oF Housing?


Geneva Pattison

A s property prices con- tinue to soar in Dublin, the public are constant-

ly looking for creative solutions to get their foot on the housing ladder – enter Cube Homes. These homes are stylishly- converted shipping containers fitted to your ordered specifica- tions, with all mod cons avail- able for inclusion. This innovative brainchild of Vincent Byrne was born out of the desire to provide afford- able and functional housing to people who may feel trapped in the cycle of poverty that high rent costs seem to create. Other companies on the continent are exploring similar ideas and re- purposing shipping containers but as the company director said himself, not to the level of

as the company director said himself, not to the level of quality they’re offering. On the
as the company director said himself, not to the level of quality they’re offering. On the

quality they’re offering. On the subject of the struc- ture itself, Vincent explained some of the aspects a Cube home has to offer: “The out- side is all maintenance free… The render on the outside is acrylic so it’ll stay like that forever. All you have to do is power wash it. Everything’s electric, so no fossil fuels are used, only heaters to heat the water… The roof is very strong, so if you wanted to put a roof garden on it you could. The world’s your oyster!” In keeping with his aim of limiting people’s financial bur- dens, he is also hoping to set up finance payment options for those interested in purchasing

a Cube, paid over a period of time in regular installments.

It’s all in the details Everything in the 320 square foot single showhouse cost a total of €60,000 to complete. That included insulation, stor- age facilities, fridge, freezer, hob, oven, dishwasher, wash- ing machine and fitted bath- room facilities. The electric and plumbing pipes installation is included too, all you have to do is con- nect the drains, water and elec- tric to the relevant sources. Vincent clarified that “there is no issue in supplying electricity to the cube as long as there is an electricity source and abso-

lutely, electrical meters can be easily installed.” Before purchasing the home, laying preparatory groundwork on the site would be necessary in most scenarios. The homes are not made on site, they come ready-made, which means there will be an extra cost for truck transport and to hire a crane to lower it into place. These structures can be made into two-storey premises or sev- eral containers adjacent to one another, whatever layout suits your purpose and budget. Vincent has an independ- ent planning consultant who is available to consult with pro- spective owners regarding ob- taining planning permission

from the relevant authorities for each Cube Home, regardless of its final specification. Whether you’re looking for a multi-sto- rey house, student accommoda- tion, granny flat, office or stu- dio, all options can be explored. The single cube show house in Poolbeg included handmade fittings and bespoke interior de- sign elements with a classic feel, that touched on the stylish Scan- divanian interior trends. The interior designer of the show home, Rachel, explained that working with a smaller space provided some challenges. She explained that a main focus of hers was “making sure that there was enough living space in terms of dining and room for guests if they come over,” with- out sacrificing comfort. Continued on page 2.

with- out sacrificing comfort. Continued on page 2. Page 10-11: Campaign to save Markievicz Pool In
Page 10-11: Campaign to save Markievicz Pool
Page 10-11: Campaign to save Markievicz Pool

In thIs Issue…

Page 16: RTE funding crisis
Page 16: RTE funding crisis
Page 26: Profile. George Noble Plunkett
Page 26: Profile. George Noble Plunkett
Page 34: Running for Sanctuary
Page 34: Running for Sanctuary

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August / september 2019

Cube Homes: THe FuTure oF Housing?

Continued from page 1. The use of space was clev- er throughout the property. An entire wall in the living area was occupied with sleek floor-to-ceiling shelving, with room left for a large tel- evision at the centre and add- ed space on a lower shelf for storing a seating pouffe. A similar style of practical yet elegant shelving was used in the bedroom to allow for plenty of floor space around the bed. The main colour scheme was a classic char- coal and white, with splashes of jewel tones and vibrant yellow coming through in the accessories throughout the house.

Container homes on the Continent In the Netherlands, they have successfully utilised container housing to try and improve their student hous- ing deficit. The Netherlands is already the highest popu- lated country in Europe and one of the most densely pop- ulated countries in the world, with around 488 people per square kilometre. The yearly influx of stu- dents coming to study from abroad started putting a huge demand on their al- ready scarce accommodation. Those coming to college saw themselves being put up in shared tents with cots in them near their respective campus- es. That was until the govern- ment decided to invest in a quick, affordable and effec- tive solution. This paved the

way for the creation of Keet- wonen in Amsterdam. Keetwonen is the largest shipping container housing project in the world and when it was first launched in 2006, it was the biggest student accommodation ever under- taken. Currently, Keetwonen is being dismantled and 249 of the units have already been relocated to the city of Gro- ningen, where the demand is the most dire. The remaining 751 units are still up for sale which also include housing, a shopping centre and a cafe. This is a great example of one of the perks of container housing. You can pick it up and move it wherever it’s needed. The implementation of this container housing, on larger scales, has been a great suc- cess abroad. With Minister Eoghan Murphy’s introduc- tion this year of the co-liv- ing housing model and the

recent refusal of planning permission for over 200 co- living units in Tallaght, it begs the question – would a well planned container home format have been more suc- cessful? An Bord Pleanála released a quote regarding their reasons for refusing the build, stating that the co- living structure would “fail to provide an acceptable liv- ing environment,” and that it had a “notable shortfall in the provision of sufficient com- munal facilities.” Comparing this interpre- tation of co-living with the privacy and independence a container home could offer, there really is no comparison. Similarly, consider the pros-

pects it could offer those in Ireland currently homeless or living in hotels. It is without

a doubt an idea that should,

and hopefully will, be ex- plored by our government in the near future.

will, be ex- plored by our government in the near future. Forward thinking Cube Homes may

Forward thinking Cube Homes may be in its early days, but Vincent is looking to the future of this emerging business already. He hopes to introduce solar panels as an option to gen- erate clean energy and simi- larly, a circulating water har- vesting system, which would be installed underground near the house providing all the necessary water for consump- tion and washing. Similarly, Cube Homes are looking to get government backing to ensure this po- tential housing solution suc- ceeds. With potential govern- ment backing and investment, Cube Homes may be able to provide people in dire situa- tions some comfort, dignity and interim security while saving on overall governmen-

tal expenditure. If the idea of living in a converted shipping container still doesn’t feel very ap- pealing to you, after walking around the show house my- self and seeing what can be done with limited space on a budget I was blown away. The space on the whole felt bright, roomy and full of infi- nite possibilities. I can assure you with every confidence that these are not just houses, they’re homes.

Cube Homes are based out of Ringsend, visit htt- ps:// for any inquiries or to view their projects online.






The Editor’s Corner

W e live in times of great uncertainty. The world seems to be sliding towards a politics of separation, and a hard- ness that is slowly becoming the norm. In the present

time along with a growing affluence there is a concomitant sense of isolation and individualism. With the ever increasing likeli- hood of a no deal Brexit, which according to a recent govern- ment report could mean a potential €6 billion cost to the Irish economy, and an estimated increase of 50,000 plus in unemploy- ment, that uncertainty got a whole lot worse. Yet it is not Brexit, nor the global economy, but homelessness, which is undoubtedly the defining issue of 21st century Ireland. The provision of affordable public housing must be a priority and a demand at the next election. As from the end of May 2019 there

were over 10,000 people homeless in Ireland. Many young chil- dren are growing up knowing only hotel rooms as their home.

An unacceptable situation. Our cover story offers one innovative solution, but the government needs to look at the broader picture and treat this malaise with the urgency it demands. With communities breaking down (see pg 32-33) many peo- ple on the margins are made to feel invisible. That’s why it’s more important than ever to reignite the sense of belonging, of community, and resilience which Ireland has traditionally been known for, and to make sure it extends to everyone, including asylum seekers and refugees (pg 34). Progress and development in our city, so vital and welcome

in many ways, must not be allowed to happen at the expense of

the destruction our homes and amenities (pg 10-11). The future may be uncertain, but that doesn’t mean we have to meet it with fear. We as a human race have an innate need for connection and community. Now is the time to nurture this, and with compassion and strength, make sure everyone shares in our common wealth.

August / september 2019


pAge 3

The UCD Irish Young Philosopher Awards


David Prendeville

T he second Irish Young Philoso- pher Awards Festival (IYPA) 2019 took place earlier this sum-

mer at University College Dublin. The aim behind the IYPA is for primary and secondary school students to explore phi- losophy through a nationwide award pro- gramme and festival. Students from Third to Sixth Class in primary schools and all secondary school students were invited to participate. Stu- dents created complex projects and were judged according to their critical and ethical thinking, creativity, collaboration, philosophical analysis and innovation. The number of participants doubled this year, with 350 finalists chosen for Wednesday’s festival. Students submit- ted their philosophy projects using vari- ous mediums, including posters, films, essays, and podcasts. They also visual- ized their philosophical thinking in mind- maps or posters. President Michael D Higgins and Sa- bina Higgins attended the awards cer- emony at UCD’s O’Reilly Hall. The

President reiterated his support for phi- losophy in schools, saying: “History tells us that it is the asking of questions to which there is, yet, no definite, defini- tive answer that leads to new discoveries, new possibilities, the potential to create a better world.” The overall winner was Lauren Doyle (16) a transition year student at Mount Sackville Secondary School, who was awarded the Grand Prize sponsored by Arthur Cox for her project: “Why is na- ture beautiful and why do we destroy it?” Speaking at the event, one of the fes- tival’s organisers Dr. Danielle Pether- bridge, of the UCD School of Philosophy, said “we would like schools from every county in Ireland taking part – 19 were represented this year – and also more in- put from Deis schools in disadvantaged areas, where additional supports may be required to ensure philosophy is offered as a subject.” The philosophical topics submitted this year included nature and environmental ethics, artificial intelligence and ethics, freedom and free speech, happiness,

and ethics, freedom and free speech, happiness, identity, reality and perception, gender representation,

identity, reality and perception, gender representation, animal rights and ethics, fake news and facts and friendship. Staying on the theme of philosophy, An Post are releasing a commemora- tive postcard of Irish-born philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch to celebrate her centenary. They are also partnering with In Parenthesis and the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life to launch Phi- losophy by Postcard, a public philosophy project introducing #slowphilosophy and celebrating Murdoch. People can send a postcard to the ad- dress of Iris Murdoch’s birthplace on Blessington Street in Dublin. Posing a question to an esteemed philosopher, applicants will be in with a chance of

being one of the 100 people to receive an individual reply from a philosopher, based on their readings of Murdoch’s philosophy. The window for submitting questions is between July and September. One of the postcard designs will be that by Ame- lia O’Connell, a primary school student who won the Iris Murdoch prize which was also announced at the Irish Young Philosopher’s Awards Festival. Further information on Philosophy by Postcard is available at: https://www.phi-

Photo of IYPA Winner Lauren Doyle and President Michael D. Higgins courtesy of UCD. Photo of IYPA Winner Lauren Doyle and President Michael D. Higgins courtesy of UCD.

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August / september 2019

End of an era at St Brigid’s


Dermot Carmody

N ewsFour attended the

closing ceremony for

Saint Brigid’s Primary

School and launch of a com- memorative book, Memories of Saint Brigid’s Primary School Haddington Road 1902-2019, which took place in St Mary’s Church in Haddington Road on Wednesday June 26th. There was a large number of pupils and staff, past and pre- sent, and their families in attend- ance to celebrate over a hundred years of St Brigid’s and look forward to the future when the school merges with St. Mary’s BNS in September in the newly- built St Christopher’s Primary School. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin presided along with Fr Fachtna McCarthy and Fr Patrick Claf- fey from St Mary’s Parish. St Brigid’s Principal, Annemarie Hogan, who has also been ap- pointed principal of the new St Christopher’s, welcomed all those attending, and in particular former teachers. Pupils from the current fifth and sixth class choir sang beautifully throughout. The school was celebrated by a procession of symbols borne by current pupils. Among these were the school crest, repre- senting the school’s connection

to its founders the Holy Faith Sisters,

a school register

representing pu-

pils throughout the school’s history and a collection of books representing teach- ing and learning at


school through-


its 117 years of

existence. A globe was chosen to repre- sent the modern di-

versity of the school community. There was a sense


history through-


the evening, as

when Archbishop Martin alluded in his address to a number of significant his-

torical facts related

to the year of the

school’s foundation, and to the very dif- ferent Dublin of the time.

The Archbishop went on to


that the future is secured in


fertile ground of our efforts

in the present, as with the crea- tion by the Holy Faith Sisters


an educational opportunity


girls in the community that


not previously existed at the

beginning of the last century. Remarking on the very differ-

beginning of the last century. Remarking on the very differ- ent cultural and social context of

ent cultural and social context of present day Dublin, he stressed the importance of permanent positive values as embodied by St Brigid’s. Gerardene Harty, who is re- tiring after thirty eight years teaching at St Brigid’s, also spoke. She was instrumental in instigating the project to publish the book being launched at the

event, Memories of Saint Brigid’s Pri- mary School. She described the long process of bringing the book into being from an idea over a cup of coffee some years ago to publication. She thanked the many past pupils and staff who made contributions to the book and the many more whose contri- butions couldn’t be included. The book itself is very attractively laid out with numerous photographs of the school and its pupils from throughout its history, as well as artwork from cur- rent pupils. There are fascinating articles on the history of the school and its con- nection with significant events such as the 1916 Rising and the Influenza pandemic of 1918, the effects of which can be seen in the number of children with- drawn from the school register through illness around the time. But it is the memories of for- mer pupils that take pride of

But it is the memories of for- mer pupils that take pride of place in the

place in the book, providing a window through which bygone eras are viewed. Anna Hul- graine, who was a pupil in the 1940s, remembers the pleasure of trekking to Ringsend Tech- nical College with ingredients for cookery class wrapped in a white cloth and of bringing the resulting dishes home to an ap- preciative family. She also recalls with less hap- piness the use of cane and strap which could be terrifying to the children at times. Maureen Staf- ford remembers further back to the 1930s, recalling how the nuns would walk to school from Clyde Road every morning (or take a taxi if the weather was bad) before they moved to the convent on St Mary’s Road. Patricia Duirnin, who was a pupil from 1945-1954 remem- bers the weekly drill exercises, with activities including “figure marching, skipping, swinging clubs and using coloured scarves to make designs.” Parents would attend a drill display at the end of the year. Elsewhere, there are articles about the vital role of fund rais- ing sales of work in the 80s and 90s. Esther Butler, whose children attended the school, recounts how a delegation was formed and met with Garret Fitzgerald to plead the case for extra staff at St Brigid’s in the face of severe cutbacks in edu- cation at the time. Ashling Lani- gann, a pupil in the 90s, recalls the excitement of being among those from the school chosen to sing with Michael Jackson in his concert at Lansdowne Road. The book concludes with a snapshot of life in present-day St Brigid’s and looks forward fi- nally to the beginning of a new chapter in September with the move to St Christopher’s Pri- mary School. Overall, Memories of Saint Brigid’s Primary School is a treasure trove of memories for those connected with the school and a fascinating insight into a unique institution for any reader.

St Brigid’s informed News- Four that a number of copies of the book were still available to purchase. Anyone wishing to do so should contact the school directly at stbrigidspri-

August / september 2019


pAge 5


Kathrin Kobus

F or five days this August, the Con- vention Centre at Spencer Dock will be the focal point for science

fiction fans from all over the World. Irish sci-fi fans started planning with the idea “Why don’t we?” seven or eight years ago, 2011 or 2012 before Dublin was officially announced as the location at the Helsinki Con/Finland in 2015. James Bacon, chairman for the Dub- lin event says: “More than 800 people will be attending Worldcon for the first time. It’s especially important because a Worldcon coming to town is often a member’s first experience with fandom. Diversity in areas such as background, experience, race, country of origin, socio-economic status, language, and religion leads to a deeper and more en- riching convention experience for all of our members.” Opinions differ about what is to be regarded as the first piece of science fiction literature. Even Shakespeare’s The Tempest gets mentioned. But sci- ence fiction really took off a little over a century ago. Works by Jules Verne, HG Wells (only examples, there are oth- ers of course), featured journeys to the moon and other planets, other worlds. Sci-fi and dime novels went hand-in- hand by the time the first WorldCon was held in 1939.

Beam me up, Spencer Dock

The Hugo Award The Hugos are the most prestigious award in the science fiction genre, hon- ouring literature and media as well as fan activities. The awards were first presented in 1953. The one-off event quickly became a tradition that will, of course, continue in Dublin. Those signed up for the convention could nominate up to five suggestions for the ballot box that they believed worth a Hugo. “The six most popular nominees in each category will appear on the fi- nal voting ballot. Only Dublin 2019 members will be able to vote on the

final ballot and choose the winners. The 1944 Retro Hugo Awards will be presented on Thursday, August 15, the opening night of Dublin 2019, and the 2019 Hugo Awards, and the Lodestar and Campbell Awards, will be present- ed on Sunday, August 18.” The 2019 Hugo will get the Irish touch, as the base for it has been de- signed by Dublin-based Jim Fitzpat- rick, famous not least for THE Che Guevara poster. Among invited guests is Irish astro- naut in training Dr. Norah Patten, who will lead a space flight workshop as part of the children-specific program-

flight workshop as part of the children-specific program - ming of the con. “In 2017 she

ming of the con. “In 2017 she found- ed Planet Zebunar, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education company focused on space stories. Her children’s book Shoot- ing for the Stars is forthcoming from O’Brien Press in September. She won the 2018 PoSSUM Science Educator award. Dr Patten will be our first Special Guest and will attend the convention on Saturday and Monday. It’s wonderful that we are going to hear about cutting- edge developments in space research from a scientist of Norah’s calibre.” There are over 700 programme events, from readings, panel discus- sions, meets with fans, Pokemon hunt- ing, video gaming, theatre plays, kara- oke parties and of course CosPlay, the masquerade ball on Saturday night. Online sales for the Con are closed now, but there will tickets available at the Convention Centre. The 77th World Con will run over five days from 15th till 19th of August at the Spencer Dock.

For details, check out @dublin- 2019Facebook, @dublin 2019 Twit- ter and @dublin2019worldcon In- stagram accounts up until the convention. More information is available on the Dublin 2019 pro- gramme pages.

In - stagram accounts up until the convention. More information is available on the Dublin 2019

pAge 6


August / september 2019

Golden applause at RDRD Annual Event


Beibhinn Byrne

T he teenage years are noto- rious for trouble. A highly- charged and creative time

in life that can prove tricky for most often requires huge support. The many rites of passage at play – from peer group approval to sexual awakening, growing inde- pendence and freedom, to anxiety about identity, insecurity, a waver- ing spectrum of self-worth and the hostile arrangement of hormones – all are confluent tributaries that can become an overwhelming swell. Home isn’t always the help or comfort it should be either. Often times, it can be the original source of discomfort that drives many teenagers to self-harming addic- tion. Even when this isn’t the case, the most nurturing parents can be at a loss or feel helpless faced with the heartache of a family member experiencing such suffering. There are many reasons why any young person may end up harming with substance abuse, but there is only one, true, long-term solu- tion and that is to undergo treat- ment and support and recover. The Ringsend and District Response to Drugs (RDRD), located at The Spellman Centre in Irishtown, does vital work in the community to help and support young people and their families. The centre was established in 1995 by its current manager Te- resa Weafer and the late Fr. Paul Spellman. Teresa was a commu- nity youth worker at the time who saw first-hand the harm addiction was doing to young people and their families. Fr. Paul was a parish priest and with the indispensable assistance of Betty Bissett they set up the RDRD The Ringsend & District Re- sponse to Drugs (RDRD) com- prises of statutory, voluntary and community groups which have come together under the umbrella of the centre.

which have come together under the umbrella of the centre. The project’s goal was, and re-

The project’s goal was, and re- mains: ‘To support young people and their families in their strug- gle to become free of drugs’. Lo- cated in the Spellman Centre on Irishtown Road, RDRD provides a wide range of services with the aim of combating the effects of ad- diction and drug use and to support people on their journey toward re- habilitation. RDRD works closely with the community to create awareness of drug misuse issues and help the community respond to the prob- lem. Community is key, and it was out in full force at the annual RDRD drug awareness graduation event. It was a golden moment of achievement on a hot, and sunny June evening. Ringsend College’s auditorium was coppered with late evening sunlight. Each individual table was decorated with goldfish swimming in bowls surrounded by lit candles that reflected the shim- mer. Recovered graduates, their fami- lies, friends and supporters animat- edly seated themselves at tables or milled about greeting one another triumphantly, drinking non-alco- holic refreshments and checking out the barbeque area outside the doors at the far side of the room. The room was packed. A display of children’s pictures and slogans artistically express- ing positivity and the clear bell of children’s emotional wisdom and insight was a joyful testament to

proactive classes in self-esteem and reinforcement at these devel- opmental stages. A cohort of pre- teen youngsters were awarded cer- tificates for their work. Adult artwork was also on dis- play. The hot weather brought the summer clobber of short shorts and skimpy T-shirts and a room- ful of arms and legs showed off some very fine tattoo work to full advantage. And the eye travelled. The intricate realism of a coloured dream catcher that you felt you could catch the rope of was one marvel, another shoulder displayed minutely detailed, winged mythi- cal creatures, while elsewhere, in- tricate, thunderous old gods and a menagerie of animals were glow- ering on calves, shin bones, backs, shoulder blades and arms, and were long wrought achievements in their own right. It was a celebration and every- one here was ready to congratu- late and acknowledge the hard and brave work from these inspira- tional young people and the depth of the emotional achievement won by them. Whoops and cheers went up every time someone got roll called followed by long applause when each assembled group stood awarded. Nearly all of the local politicians, both councillors and ministers, at- tended, there was a very supportive presence from the new Garda Supt. of Donnybrook and Irishtown Tim Burke with many of his colleagues, including the well-known and

friendly community Gardaí Derek Dempsey and Anthony Kelly. Many local community activists were there, not only from Ring- send, but from across the city, in- cluding ‘from across the bridge,’ represented by St Andrew’s Re- source Centre’s Betty Ashe. An- other long-time Drugs Task Force member Dermot Lacey was also present and has only just recently stepped down from these du- ties and of course co-founder of RDRD at The Spellman Centre, prime mover, Teresa Weafer as well as Dublin Port representatives and many volunteers and co-ordi- nators. During the welcoming speech, it was highlighted that recent cuts in budgets and current government policy have made things very dif- ficult for drug services resources all over the city. They are not get- ting the financial support they need and it is through the sheer dedica- tion of the volunteers, workers and community that they are getting by. It was stressed that without Dublin Port’s sponsorship, many programmes would simply not go ahead. This conscientious, social en- gagement reflects well on Dublin Port, but reflects poorly on the cur- rent government’s successive so- cial neglect. That it is leaving it up to the generosity of big business to help out vital social services, rather than formulating strong policy and earmarking properly costed budg- ets for funding such important and

necessary schemes is really an in- dictment of its priorities. How much of this dissonance was felt by the legion of politicians present, enjoying the commu- nity camaraderie and ingratiating themselves with potential locals’ votes is questionable, as none of them voiced an opinion, risked a response or tackled the issue when speechifying later. When the correct services and supports are in place, it works. In recent years the process found most effective, and now being followed, is the Iceland model, so named be- cause in 1998, 42% of Iceland’s 15 and 16 year-olds reported that they had got drunk in the past 30 days. By 2016, though, this figure had fallen to just 5% and drug use and smoking had also sharply declined. The action plan that led to this dramatic success – strikingly – does not focus on tighter policing or awareness campaigns to warn children off bad habits. Instead, top researchers collaborate closely with communities on initiatives like parental pledges and night- time patrols after dark, while the government invests in recreational facilities. Its basic principle stems from working with parents and the com- munity ‘to have their backs’ rather than ‘be on their backs’. The Spell- man centre has also added over the last seven years a range of holistic services to its programme, includ- ing acupuncture, mindfulness training and reiki. If you, a friend or a family member have a drug or addic- tion problem and are looking to access support and services which can help, The Spellman Centre, which provides positive and non judgemental support to- wards rehabilitation, welcomes you to contact them. Telephone : 01 667 7666 htt- ps:// rdrd/

M any thanks to all who at- tended what was a very packed hall for the An-

nual Festival Event of RDRD / the Spellman Centre that took place in Ringsend College on June 26th. The Spellman Centre provides family and addiction support ser- vices, and helps to develop aware- ness on mental health, on teenage bullying and on suicide, develop- ing alternative treatment, as well as building a strong network of

community groups linked to the Drugs Task Force. Presentations were made by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Mur-

phy TD, Jim O’Callaghan TD and Senator Kevin Humphreys, and by Superintendent Tim Burke and Edel Curry of Dublin Port Company.

We congratulated the IGB Hous- ing Action for their campaigning work on social and affordable housing and made a special pres-

on social and affordable housing and made a special pres- entation to Dr Patricia Comer, our

entation to Dr Patricia Comer, our local GP who has retired after 40 years’ service to the community. Many thanks to Betty Ashe from St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Bernie McDonnell of CAD, Anna Quigley, Fr Ivan Tonge, Lord Mayor Deke Rivers, Beibhinn Byrne of NewsFour, Cllrs Dermot Lacey, Danny Byrne and Daithí Doolan for their ongoing support.

Tom Crilly, Chair, RDRD.

August / september 2019

pAge 7

Triple award-winning Sandymount Hotel is crowned ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’

Europe’s ‘Green’ leader puts Ireland firmly on the international map of sus- tainable hotel practices

M adeira, 8th June 2019: Sand- ymount Hotel, Dublin’s largest family-run hotel, has yet again

been awarded ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’, scooping the award for a third year running at the prestigious World Travel Awards. Triple award winning Sandymount Ho- tel, famed for its sustainable hotel prac- tices, beat stiff competition from some of the world’s most renowned hotels includ- ing ICE Hotel in Sweden, Vila Vita Parc in Portugal, Eagles Palace in Greece and Angel’s Marmaris, Turkey, to put Ireland firmly on the international map, setting award-winning standards for environmen- tal friendly hotels worldwide. Renowned as the “Oscars” of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards rec- ognise leaders across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. A spe- cial World Travel Awards 2019 red-carpet event took place at the picturesque Bel- mond Reid’s Palace in Madeira last night.

Bel- mond Reid’s Palace in Madeira last night. In attendance were father and son duo, John

In attendance were father and son duo, John and Gerard Loughran, Family Di- rectors at Sandymount Hotel, to celebrate their prestigious win:

“The team at Sandymount Hotel are de- lighted to scoop the award for ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’ for a third year run- ning. We’ve come a long way since we first became more environmentally aware

and year on year, we have progressed our sustainable approaches to ensure that we are consistently improving and minimis- ing any negative effect our procedures and systems have on the environment. Our dedicated in-house ‘green’ team has been tremendous, researching and in- stilling new measures to offer our best environmentally-friendly practices, in

line with our overall guest offerings and experiences. In an age where the environment has truly become an emotive topic, green trav- el is on the rise with travellers inspired to choose eco-friendly travel options as they think more about conservation and sus- tainability. We are honoured to play our part in protecting the Earth, whilst also offering an exceptional hospitality experi- ence. We would also like to congratulate our friends at EPIC for their fantastic ‘Eu- rope’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ win. A great night for the Irish hospitality and tourism industry as we celebrated our suc- cess on an international stage.” In 2013, Sandymount Hotel took an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to achieve a greener, cleaner hotel by re- ducing both energy and water consump- tion. Fast forward to 2019 and the ‘green’ award winning Sandymount Hotel is the European front-runner. Email: Telephone: 01 6142000.

Pictured: John and Gerard Loughran. Email: Telephone: 01 6142000. Pictured: John and Gerard Loughran.

pAge 8


August / september 2019


Geneva Pattison

No garden? No problem

Let’s talk about hydroponics

No garden? No problem Let’s talk about hydroponics tions of the lake were shallow and marshy,

tions of the lake were shallow and marshy, they pushed the rafts to the centre of the lake, where roots could access non-stagnant water through breaks in the wood. The swampy deposits along the shores were then harvested and utilised to nourish the plants.

Benefits of hydroponic gar- dening One of the major benefits of hydroponic gardening is overall water conservation. Hydropon- ics use less water than traditional growing methods, as the water is re-circulated or stored in a reser- voir for later use. Another positive aspect of hy- droponic growing is that your plant’s growth rate will speed up by around 25% with it’s produce yield improving by 30%, as op- posed to traditional cultivation in soil. By eliminating the element of soil, you’re also promoting a high- er oxygen intake for your plants as soil can often block the oxygen uptake for the root systems, mak- ing it difficult for plants to truly flourish. Similarly, in tradi- tional farming, plants only absorb a fraction of the water you give them when in soil. When you choose to grow us- ing hydroponics, you’re much more in control of your growing environ- ment. Usually the sys- tems are raised high off the ground, so insects will have a harder time

destroying any vegetation. Hydroponics are in essence, portable growing devices, if the growing environment is wrong, pack up and move it . Best of all, there’s no need to worry about soil-based diseases like root rot and you never have to pull weeds again.

Potential difficulties with hydroculture There are some aspects to keep in mind when choosing hydro- ponic growing. For example, in traditional cultivation the soil is used as a buffer for stabilising the environment’s PH level. Hydro- ponics leaves little room for error with regards to PH changes – if too many nutrients are added to the growing solution, the entire crop could fail. You really need to know your plants well and be acutely aware of their specific nutri tional needs. In the same vein, the steady avail- ability of water promotes a more humid environment, which could lead to mildew or fungi develop- ing on your plants. Simply put, until you get the hang of hydro- ponics watch your plants.

Impact in Ireland Urban Farm is an initiative cre- ated by Andrew Douglas. The pro- ject enables communities to work together on sustainable horticul- ture projects specialising in aqua- culture and hydroponic growing. One of the many innovative projects Urban Farm has been involved in was creating a roof-

top indoor farm for the students of Belvedere College S.J. The students used a glass-roofed Sci- ence Laboratory aptly named the GROWlab, to cultivate their own fungi, crops and fish for year- round sustainable produce. One of Urban Farm’s aims was to educate the students on the tech- nology associated with hydropon- ics and alternative farming meth- ods, as quoted on the website:

“Using smart technologies like interactive displays, students monitor and record variables in humidity, temperature, PH, EC, DO and the environment inside and outside the GROWlab help- ing to educate in biology, phys- ics, earth sciences, the living en- vironment and helping to provide tomorrow’s decision-makers with an elevated set of skills, a broader perspective, and a lasting sense of commitment to lead the global community in an environmentally efficient way”. Urban Farm has also success- fully created an indoor allotment project called LOST THE PLOT in Dublin, it’s main aim being to reduce our reliance on imported goods and reduce food waste. The project hopes to create a space for people to utilise for growing crops and shared learning, while also playing host to cultural events such as talks, poetry readings and community get togethers. LOST THE PLOT also has the benefit of being assisted by knowledgeable hydroponic gardeners, so begin- ners can learn as they go along, with no pressure.

U rban landscapes often

present the issue of hav-

ing little space for grow-

ing at home. With less city houses with gardens being built and apart- ment complex living on the rise, we have to think outside the box. In recent times, people have been turning to hydroponic grow- ing to solve this problem. Hydro- ponic gardening is the practice of growing plants or vegetables through a growing medium, usu- ally clay pellets or moss, with just water and nutrients. The premise of this method is that you’ll be providing a higher oxygen content for your plant, with a consistent supply of fer- tilised water that is filtered. You may have seen hydroponics used in sci-fi movies like Passengers or 10 Cloverfield Lane, but this method has been used for thou- sands of years. The word hydroponic, is de- rived from the Greek words “hy- dro” meaning water and “ponos”, meaning labour. Historically, the method was first alluded to in re- lation to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in a text from the third century BC, which quoted the Babylonian monk Berossus. It is believed that the hanging gardens used a system of irri- gated channels on top of ziggurat structures of varying heights. The ancient people devised a system of chains and pulleys to get wa- ter from the nearby Euphrates river, directing it towards the city. Eventually, it was dropped on the landing of the hanging gardens, trickling down to lower levels. Babylon, now modern Iraq, has a very dry climate with little rain. Thus, the hydroponic theory made perfect sense. Hydroculture methods were even used by the Aztecs. Around the 10th and 11th century AD the island city of Tenochtitlan, which lay on lake Texcoco, devised a series of floating man-made is- lands to grow crops. Because sec-

of floating man-made is - lands to grow crops. Because sec- The farming of tomorrow The

The farming of tomorrow The United Nations have pre- dicted that by 2050 the world’s total population will rise to almost 10 billion people from our current population which stands at 7.7 bil- lion. With this forecasted increase, there will be gargantuan pressures

put on agricultural sectors across the globe to provide adequate amounts of food per person. Similarly, con- sidering the predicted upsurge of extreme weather events set to occur,

a protected hydro-farm seems like

a far more functional option long-

term, as opposed to a flooded field and ruined crops. Farmers from less arable countries with dustier climates like Yemen and Bangladesh have already started

to explore the possibilities of hydro-

ponics. It takes 1,000 years to gener-

ate the first 3cm of topsoil and with the rate of soil degradation occurring right now, we have to start viewing alternative means of growing. Once the feasible and sustainable methodologies have been put in place, hydroculture should be a very real and viable option for keeping up with food demands on a global level. Urban Farm’s website: http:// United Nations population fore- cast graph: https://population.


Scholarly article on Hydropon-






History of Hydroponics: https://


Information on Hydroponics:



Images, clockwise from top:

Map printed in 1524 AD of Tenochtitlan; vertical farm; Hanging Gardens of Babylon. (Images: Wiki Commons, pixabay)

top: Map printed in 1524 AD of Tenochtitlan; vertical farm; Hanging Gardens of Babylon. (Images: Wiki August / september 2019 pAge 9
August / september 2019
pAge 9

pAge 10


August / september 2019

Campaign to save Markievicz Pool fromMetrolink


Peter McNamara

O n Thursday June 16th members of the “Save Markievicz Pool” cam-

paign group convened a public meeting at St Andrews Resource Centre, on Pearse Street. At is- sue was the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) proposal to demolish the newly-refurbished Markievicz Pool and Gym com- plex on Luke Street, the attached College Gate apartments, and eight townhouses, to build a Metrolink Station in their place. Given the extensive impact of the NTA proposals, it’s not sur- prising that the June 16th meeting was well attended. John Dean, a key campaign or- ganiser, opened proceedings. Ac- cording to him the reason for the meeting was threefold: to outline what’s been going on with the Metrolink plans; to discuss how the community campaign has been going; and to lay out what is needed to be done next to save the threatened buildings. Seán de Burca, another affected local, took the stage to highlight the concerns of local residents amid questionable official behav- iour. Finally, College Gate owner- occupier Nicola Brait scrutinised the NTA’s proposals in detail, and offered alternatives.

LACK oF oFFICIAL CoM- MuNICATIoN Metrolink, announced in March 2018, is a plan to run an under- ground train from Dublin Airport to Sandyford in the south of the city. The project is being conduct- ed by a number of official bodies. The National Transport Authority is the administrative wing of the plan, with Transport Infrastruc- ture Ireland (TII) acting as the en- gineering wing of operations. As part of the Metrolink Plan, a station is to be built in the Luke Street area to connect with the DART station at Tara Street, and thereby link these transport routes. With their thorough and pro- fessional presentation, the cam- paigners made a robust case for reconsidering the NTA’s choice of locating a Metrolink Station at Luke Street. Instead of knocking the housing and the leisure centre, they argued either for a station to be built instead on the site of

nearby Hawkins House, or for the construction at Luke Street to be done underground, to preserve the buildings that currently stand at street level. While giving an overview of the situation, De Burca was quick to emphasise that although the cam- paigners were against the NTA plans, they were strongly in fa- vour of the project in general. “We need a Metrolink,” De Bur- ca told the crowd, “but not at the expense of the local community.” Given the current housing crisis, and the fact that the NTA intends to pull down 70 high-quality city centre apartments, and eight town- houses with elderly residents, he went on to describe the official plans as “shameful and incompre- hensible.” To what extent Dublin City Council is involved remains un- clear. Officially, they have no role. However, local residents and cam- paign organisers claim to have seen Council staff taking an active part in preparations. According to campaign organisers, this lack of clarity is indicative of the careless approach being taken by the NTA, the TII, and DCC, when it comes to the planning and execution of the Metrolink project, and com- munication with residents. Many of the residents who will be evicted as result of these pro- posals received no direct com- munication or information about the scheme from the NTA. At the public meeting, one woman spoke about how she chanced upon an article in a newspaper, and thereby discovered that her home was to be demolished. Another affected resident only learned of the plans when he queried a City Council

employee, who was drilling in the area. Campaigners also claim that the Public Consultation was very poorly advertised. De Burca had invited officials to attend the pub- lic meeting, but received refusals all around. “That’s not accept- able,” he said. “We live here. We are stakeholders in this project. They should appear in public and properly engage.”

HAwKINS HouSE or AN A L L - u NDE r G rou N D BuIlD Nicola Brait, an owner-occupi- er at College Gate, gave a more detailed analysis of the official plans, and offered the campaign- er’s alternatives. One of the NTA’s key reasons for building a Metro Station on Luke Street is its proximity to the existing DART station at Tara Street. The Hawkins House site is further from the DART station than the Luke Street location – it’s 150m from Tara Street. The NTA has deemed this distance to be too great for passengers mak- ing Metrolink and DART connec- tions. However, each of the proposed Metrolink Stations for Dublin Airport are roughly 230m and 250m from the airport terminals. In that light, argued Brait, 150m shouldn’t be seen as an unaccepta- ble distance to walk from one train connection to another, and should make Hawkins House a perfectly acceptable site. What’s more, Brait suggested building an underground pedes- trian tunnel to connect the two sta- tions. Such a tunnel has proved an effective solution in Rotterdam.

Such a tunnel has proved an effective solution in Rotterdam. As part of his slideshow presen-
Such a tunnel has proved an effective solution in Rotterdam. As part of his slideshow presen-

As part of his slideshow presen- tation, he showed an impressive rendering of an underground pe- destrian tunnel, complete with shops, cafés, and travellators. The Hawkins House alterna- tive would also reduce the journey

time on the Metrolink, as a station

at that site would create a gentler

curve along the Metrolink line,

when compared with one on Luke Street. Also, this more straightfor- ward route would require 125m less tunnelling. Brait went on to outline the possibilities and advantages of completing most of the proposed build at Luke Street underground. Instead of knocking the Markiev- icz Pool and Gym, and the apart- ments and townhouses, a station could be built underground – such

a built had been completed suc-

cessfully in Bilbao. While a viable option, he noted that this approach poses greater risks for construction workers, and emphasised that of the two proposals, the Save Markievicz Pool campaign was primarily in favour of relocating the Metrolink station to Hawkins House.


At the public meeting on June 16th, one thing was abundantly clear: users of the Markievicz Pool and Gym treasure having such a centre in their locality. De Burca described it as a place “for health, connection, and social ex- periences.” “I use the pool and the gym,” he said. “I’ve been living on Pearse Street for the last four years, rent- ing here. It’s not a private enter- prise. It’s a public celebration. It’s not just about health and fitness, it’s a real social centre. Those kinds of opportunities are quite limited.”

During the questions and com- ments part of the meeting, another attendee said that the leisure cen- tre “saved my life.” “The staff,” he added, “are like a family in there. They’re like social workers. They’re wonderful.” His words won a round of applause.

An elderly woman living in one of the targeted townhouses said, “I love my house, I love my lit- tle garden. They’re talking about replacing the housing, but when? And where will be it? Out in the middle of nowhere?” Her concerns have validity. Pledges have been made to com- pensate renters and owners in the affected apartments and town- houses, but there is nothing set in stone. And, given the pressure for space in Dublin city centre,

and the low supply of housing, it would be challenging to provide adequate compensatory accom- modation – and that’s assuming the Metrolink planners made a genuine effort to do so. In the absence of a binding agreement such compensation might not come at all. The town- houses were built only 16 years ago. And, like the College Gate apartments, they are of a high quality, and would be difficult to match. Séan deBurca, when giving his concluding remarks in his speech, speculated on the possible ulterior motives of the NTA, the TII, and Dublin City Council, given their persistent lack of engagement, and the un-advertised public consulta- tion. He wondered if there was a push to knock the housing and the leisure centre, so as to end up with not only the Metrolink station, but also some additional empty sites in that valuable area of Dub- lin 2. He speculated – emphasis- ing it was only a hunch, and not founded in evidence – that such

August / september 2019

pAge 11

valuable vacant sites might be used for ad- ditional office blocks or hotels.

GETTING INvoLvED If the issues raised here concern you and you’d like to get involved, there are a num- ber of things you can do to help the Save Markievicz Pool campaign. If you have experience or qualifications in the construc- tion industry that might be most useful of all: what campaigners really need is an ad- vising engineer. Money is also an issue. The Freedom of Information requests campaigners have to see official plans/activity which costs €30 at a time. Added to this is the cost of posters and leaflets, which are used to inform those concerned and the general public about the situation on Luke Street. Donations can be made via, which is linked from their Facebook page. Likewise, the campaigners welcome any- one who might be able to spare some time now and then, to distribute flyers and post- ers. Sending letters and emails to the media, and to local councillors and TDs is another way to influence the situation. You might simply add your name to the online petition at pool-gym. According to campaigners, the plans are already over-budget, and appear to be rushed and sloppy. They insist that with the right public pressure, they can be unraveled.

Campaigns to revise the Metrolink plans have been effective in other parts of the city. When disruptive building was announced near the Charlemont Luas stop in Ranelagh, locals successfully had the Metrolink plans changed. While this success may be related to the affluence of this area, it nonetheless shows that the NTA can be made to recon- sider. Changes were also forced when the Na Fianna Gaelic club in Glasnevin realised it was set to be affected by the Metrolink construction. In this instance, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar personally stepped in to re- verse the NTA’s decision. It’s perhaps note- worthy that the Minister for Finance Pascal Donoghue is TD for Glasnevin. Although the Save Markievicz Pool cam- paigners don’t have the same clout as those in Ranelagh or Glasnevin, they are not de- terred. De Burca exhorted the crowd at the public meeting to “believe in your rights, be confident.” “It’s a bad plan,” he said, “it can be changed, it’s been done so before. Spread the word, stay connected, and keep each other informed.”

If you’d like to get involved with the campaign, or to get more information about it, contact savemarkieviczpool@ Check in on the ‘Save Markievicz Pool’ Facebook page, to do- nate to the campaign and connect with those involved.

do - nate to the campaign and connect with those involved. n David Prendeville T he

David Prendeville

T he new exhibition Perfection is run-

ning from now until October 6th at

the Trinity College Science Gallery

on Pearse Street. The exhibition explores the

notion of perfection and how people strive for

it in various different forms throughout life.

It explores both the positive and negative aspects of this rather abstract notion that is consistently present in some aspects of our lives. Whether someone is striving for the perfect job, wants to do their job perfectly, stives for the perfect partner or to create a perfect piece of art, the idea of perfection is something that we almost innately cannot get away from. This exhibition is, as always with the Sci-

ence Gallery, a fusion of art and science. It is

a highly stimulating and thought-provoking

show. One of the highlights includes French artist Orlan’s Omnipresence. This was her seventh medical performance in which she altered her appearance to reflect the beauty ideals of Western Art. Some of the surgeries she undertook included forehead implants to reflect Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa’s permanent brow and plumped lips to imitate Moreau’s Europa.

With these surgeries, the artist’s body be-

comes the medium of her art and is a per- fectly provocative fusion of the desire for aesthetic and artistic perfection with the in- nately imperfect nature and fragility of the human form. The idea of perfection in relation to the human body is also explored in Graham – a body designed to withstand the impact of a car crash. The body certainly doesn’t fit with traditional notions of aesthetic beauty, but is perfect in an altogether more practical way. The idea of a perfect partner is explored in Symbiotic Ones by Jane Sverdrupsen. This piece examines the idea that couples look similar to each other and that over time, cou- ples who live together begin to look more alike. Data from a survey of twelve couples in which they answered questions about their similarity to each other is used to determine the width of the mid-section where their pho- tographed faces merge into each other. The theme of a perfect partner is raised also in the presentation of Harmony, one of the world’s most romantic companions. As things advance, would a robot make a perfect partner? The deceptive element of perfection is examined in Morphoteque #15 by Dres- sens and Verstappen. Here it is highlighted how crops are manipulated to look ‘regular’, whereas in reality the appearance of these fruits and vegetables is much more diverse. This is a fascinating exhibition that lingers long in the memory. Highly recommended.




exhibition that lingers long in the memory. Highly recommended. Image: (stock photo).

pAge 12


August / september 2019

www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 David Prendeville T he latest

David Prendevillewww . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 T he latest book from

T he latest book from

Professor Ruth Barton,

of Trinity College, is an

extensive look at Irish cinema in the 21st century. It’s broken down into eight chapters and covers Irish animation, hor- ror, documentary, history and

Irish Cinema in the 21st Century

Cinema, by using The Lobster as an example. That film was shot in Ireland, produced by Mespil Road-based company Element Pictures and had some Irish actors and crew. However it isn’t explicitly set in Ireland and its director, Yor- gos Lanthimos, is Greek She explores in the book the myriad ways that these mod- ern films – some co-produc- tions – deal with notions of Irishness in their own ways. Barton starts each chapter of the book with a textual analy- sis of a short film. Included amongst these are Foxes, di- rected by Lorcan Finnegan, who recently enjoyed success at Critic’s Week in Cannes with Vivarium, and Martin McDonagh’s Oscar-winning Six Shooter. It is an interesting and suc- cessful tactic by Barton, as it allows her to engage with the

highly fecund area of short film-making in Ireland, with- out having to go into the level of depth that might require an- other book altogether. The book is extensive in the breadth of feature films it covers, from low-budget idig- enous Irish films such as Once to the aforementioned The Lobster. The relationship between modern Irish cinema and cul- ture, and the past is fascinat- ingly illustrated in a chapter in which Barton explores how Irish films in the 21st century tend to grapple with Ireland’s history in an altogether differ- ent manner than in earlier pe- riods. Barton also focusses heav- ily on the marginalized and under-represented in Irish cinema. She highlights how, despite modernization in lots of ways, modern Irish cinema

still restricts women to roles as wives, mothers, etc, giv- ing them little agency of their own. She also highlights how people from ethnic minorities are either ignored or repre- sented problematically. She also points to the fact that gay people have also been very under-represented until re- cently, with films such as A Date for Mad Mary and Hand- some Devil. This is a rich, insightful book. It is intellectually rig- orous but also written in an accessible, clear and concise manner, and is essential for those with an interest in Irish cinema. It will likely stand alongside Barton’s earlier works as a touchstone of Irish film studies.

Published by Manchester university Press, 2019, paper- back, rrP: €22.

trauma, Northern Ireland, rural and small-town Ire- land and images of the city. It gives a fasci- nating insight into how Irish cinema has both evolved and stayed the same over the years. In her con- clusion Barton says that her rea- son for writing the book was to affirm the idea of a national identity

still had relevance in modern Irish cinema. The idea that the advent of co-productions would put paid to such an idea, she finds, to be unfounded. In her introduction she il- lustrates the complexity of how co-productions impact on notions of an Irish National

A 21st Century treescape

Susan o’Brienon notions of an Irish National A 21st Century treescape W hile walking along the neighbourhood

W hile walking along the

neighbourhood streets

in recent sunny days,

I found myself actively seeking

out the tree-lined side of the road. In an endeavour to keep cool my route was notably influenced by the welcome cooling effect from the leaf canopy above. Whenever possible I choose

to walk. Unaccompanied, my awareness of the surrounding en- vironment and sense of place is heightened. When my route takes me in a treeless direction there

is a clear lack of spatial rhythm ahead, no play of light or shadow, and limited colour, apart from grey. If I plug in my earphones,

I do so reluctantly and above the

advised sound level. I long for a turn onto a leafier lined path. In principle, the urban land- scape is a manmade, constructed environment with no place for components from a natural wood- land setting. Indeed, it is a pretty hostile place for a tree with mul- tiple challenges and constraints. Below ground, there is limited root space and competition with utilities, poor quality, compacted soils and fortuitous root mutila- tion.

Above ground, there is an un- comfortable microclimate, reflec- tive glare, wind exposure, and damage from needless vandalism.

Without a doubt, tree failure and premature decline has a negative impact on the look, feel and sense of place for any neighbourhood. Over the past 25 years astound- ing progress has been made by companies such as Greenleaf. They have researched these prob- lems to provide practical solutions that stimulate integrated thinking, and allow two unlikely compo- nents to fit together throughout the life of a tree. Of course, there has to be a two- fold alignment in order to prevent the likelihood of any conflict.

Above all, the objective is to cre- ate a place where tree species can thrive and deliver their full range of benefits, without causing harm- ful nuisance to people or proper- ty. This requires a collaborative appreciation of context, from a broad spectrum of stakeholders that include councillors, planners, developers, engineers, insurers, utilities, designers, nurseries, ar- borists, businesses and residents. It may seem like an oxymoron, but trees matter for 21st century living in built-up communities.

Up to date research findings clearly identify the economic, so- cial and environmental gains that include air pollution control, rain water management, noise abate- ment, reduced crime, traffic calm- ing, economic potential and over- all quality of place. Together, collaborative fore- thought and integration bring wider returns. Successful case studies abroad in London, Man- chester, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield, demonstrate how grey and green infrastructure is com- bined to deliver this 21st century vision that looks, feels and works better for everyone. Closer to home, a finished ex-

ample of a state of the art, tree pit design solution can be seen at the newly-planted site on Shelbourne road. At ground level the protec- tive load-bearing grille has a built

in irrigation/ventilation inlet and

a removable inner section that

allows for tree girth expansion. Even the biodegradable hessian tree tie reduces maintenance time and cost. It gives adequate sup- port, without damaging or stran- gling the tree. For anyone considering a future career in horticulture and land- scape design, this area presents a

in horticulture and land- scape design, this area presents a very challenging, varied and valu- able

very challenging, varied and valu- able role with lots of opportunity to travel! Plant knowledge is key. As late autumn and early winter is synonymous with tree planting, now is the time to consider a suit- able species. If you’re looking to select a tree for your space, there

is plenty of local inspiration to be

found amongst our neighbouring front gardens. Here, you will clearly see an established tree in context. There are some beautiful specimens thriving throughout the locality. In particular, I adore the multi- stemmed trees, such as magno- lia, lilac, myrtle, kousa dogwood, river birch and the larger-leaved

Japanese maples. They bring such a defined character and flow to a space, with a subliminal sense of seasonal movement. All it takes is a little planning, patience and time.

If readers are looking for any guidance and tips with regard to composting, soil cultivation, indoor and outdoor, plant selec- tion or plant care, please email your query to me at garden- I will happily answer your questions here in this column. Susan O’ Brien Dip. Hort (Kew)

Above: Acer japonicum.

August / september 2019


pAge 13

Slugs and snails begone! DIY repellents


Geneva Pattison

playing a part in the decline of certain animal and friendly insect species. So how can we stop these pests from destroy- ing all our hard work in the garden without damaging any- thing else?

DIY pest repellents are gain- ing in popularity on a large scale. As with most DIY repel- lent methods, what works for one gardener may not work for another gardener so ex- perimentation is key. Here are some homemade and eco-friendly recipes you can concoct and trial run at home.

1: Coffee Grounds Do you ever make yourself a nice French press coffee on the week-

A s the sad but inevita- ble end of the Summer holidays approaches,

so will the dreary weather. Snails and slugs can wreak havoc on even the most acute- ly tended-to gardens during rainy periods and it can feel impossible to prevent. There is a growing public concern about the over-use of well-known pesticides which have been linked to damag- ing human health, along with

have been linked to damag- ing human health, along with ends? Well, save up those leftover

ends? Well, save up those leftover coffee grounds. Ap- parently, coffee grounds are a major deterrent to snails and slugs. If you don’t have the coffee grounds to hand, cof- fee shops are great for giving them away. Just ask!

2: Slug Repellent Plants Many people swear by the old method of planting slug and snail repellent plants in their garden. Some of the most popular choices to send the nasty critters running the oth- er way are chives and garlic plants. These plants’ pungent odours are toxic to molluscs and will often kill them. If you don’t want to plant anything new, you could make a garlic spray solution. Mash or blend two bulbs (yes, bulbs!) of gar- lic. Allow to sit for 24 hours, strain the puree into a jar and

Allow to sit for 24 hours, strain the puree into a jar and add a teaspoon

add a teaspoon of mild dish soap. Mix two tablespoons of this mixture into an average- sized spray bottle and fill with water. Spray it liberally around the affected plants.

3: Egg shells As molluscs have sensitive membrane bodies, they have an aversion to abrasive sur- faces. Crushed egg shells scat- tered around your plants will send the slugs packing. If you live near the seaside try using crushed seashells instead

4: Natural predators Encouraging birds and hedgehogs to come into your garden can be an effective and hassle-free solution to keeping your garden looking great and pest-free. Leave out some un- salted nuts and seeds around your garden for the birds, and for hedgehogs leave out some pieces of fruit. Be sure not to over feed them or they won’t go for any snails or slugs.

Images: Snail and hedgehog – Wikimedia Commons.

sure not to over feed them or they won’t go for any snails or slugs. Images:

pAge 14


August / september 2019

Mrs Carter’s eventful Irish visit


Dermot Carmody

I n 1977 ‘Miss Lillian’ Carter,

mother of the then recent-

ly-elected President of the

USA, Jimmy Carter, made an

eight-day visit to Dublin as part of a Friendship Force visit by

a group of around 250 people

from Des Moines, Iowa. Friendship Force had been start- ed by Jimmy Carter and Pres- byterian Minister Wayne Smith

a few years previously when

Carter was Governor of Georgia. The President’s mother remained

honorary chairperson of Friend- ship Force until 2002. The or- ganisation promotes intercultur-

al relations through “homestays”

such as the one Lillian Carter was making to Dublin, where ordinary people travel and stay with their counterparts in an- other country. In Carter’s case, her hosts were Tim and Noelle Ryan’s family in Foxrock. With the Des Moines group having such a notable person- age among its number as Lillian Carter, the visit excited media interest on both sides of the At- lantic. Mrs. Carter had quickly become popular with the US press with her charming South- ern manner and down to earth wit. Accordingly, The New York Times covered her visit to Ire- land in a number of articles, in- cluding one about the New Ross

in a number of articles, in- cluding one about the New Ross “hoax” incident. Brendan O’Keefe,
in a number of articles, in- cluding one about the New Ross “hoax” incident. Brendan O’Keefe,

“hoax” incident.

Brendan O’Keefe, the propri- etor of the Five Counties Hotel

in New Ross had received a call

purportedly from a representa- tive of Bórd Fáilte, saying the Mrs. Carter planned to visit New Ross to see the ancestral home

of John F. Kennedy later that day

and would call to the hotel for tea. O’Keefe got the call around 11 am and quickly mobilised to organise the hotel and the sur- rounding community for a suit- able “hooley”. Suspicions were aroused when

a call later in the day to Bórd

Fáilte received a bemused re- sponse, but it was only when the Garda Sergeant in New Ross got on the blower to Dublin Castle that the call was definitely estab- lished to have been a hoax. The New York Times reported that O’Keefe and the disappoint-

ed crowd assembled made the most of it by having a great party anyway, and when word of the

hoax got back to Mrs. Carter’s representatives they got in touch with the disappointed hotelier and arranged for him to meet her while she was on a scheduled and genuine visit to Kilkenny. Most of Mrs. Carter’s visit was centred in Dublin. She was treated to lunches in the Dáil and at the Mansion House, and was entertained at the famous Jury’s Irish Cabaret in the Ballsbridge hotel. She also visited UCD and

was a big hit on The Late Late Show, with the Irish Times tel- evision reviewer noting that de- spite his concern at having the already over-exposed celebrity on the show, he was quickly won over by her “outspoken charm” and sense of humour. Ballsbridge was also where

Mrs. Carter planted a maple tree, which is still growing strong af- ter 42 years, and where she and her companions marked the of- ficial end of the visit at a dinner in Thomas Prior House. The group nearly didn’t make it out of Ireland however, with the ITGWU blocking the flight meant to take them home in sympathy with American unions who were involved in strike ac- tion with Trans-International Airways, the charter company running the flight. The Irish Times reported that it took a day of “frantic resched- uling” to work around the union action. Eventually, the group flew to the UK and joined up with a TIA charter flight there. Apparently, this did not sour the visit for Mrs. Carter, who report- edly bade a fond and emotional farewell to Ireland with tears in

her eyes before she left. And apparently she left more than a tree in Herbert Park be- hind her as a legacy of the trip. Bórd Fáilte subsequently attrib- uted a 14% rise in tourism to Ireland from North America in 1977 to the substantial publicity that Lillian Carter’s visit had re- ceived while here.

Clockwise from top:

President Jimmy Carter and his mother Lillian pictured at the White House in 1977. (Photo: Wiki Commons) Maple tree planted by Lillian Carter in Herbert Park, Balls- bridge in 1977. (Photo: Dermot Carmody) Plaque marking tree planted by Lillian Carter in Herbert Park. (Photo: Dermot Carmody)

by Lillian Carter in Herbert Park. (Photo: Dermot Carmody) Big Grill returns to Herbert Park T

Big Grill returns to Herbert Park

(Photo: Dermot Carmody) Big Grill returns to Herbert Park T he Big Grill which prides itself
(Photo: Dermot Carmody) Big Grill returns to Herbert Park T he Big Grill which prides itself

T he Big Grill which prides itself on being

Europe’s largest BBQ festival returns

for its sixth year to Herbert Park in mid-

August. Festival organisers promise an excit- ing line-up:

“Over 20 restaurants will join in for the week- end, with the only rule being they must cook with live fire using natural charcoal and wood only. No gas or electricity allowed! This year’s fire-filled line-up, curated by pitmaster and festival co-

founder Andy Noonan, has a distinct international street food vibe with New York, London, Buenos Aires and Birmingham all represented.” The festival will run from Thursday August 15th until Sunday 18th. Hopefully, the sun man- ages to stay with us and make it a real sizzler. To avail of tickets go to tickets www.biggrillfes-

Images courtesy of Big Grill.

August / september 2019


pAge 15

Shakespeare in the Dail?

The Holinshed Chronicles and other treasures


Geneva Pattison

T his year, the Oireachtas Li- brary displayed the oldest book in its collection The

Holinshed Chronicles, for the en- tirety of May. Originally housed in the library of the Chief Secre- tary of Dublin Castle, The Holin- shed Chronicles of England, Scot- land and Ireland was a project conceived by a man named Regi- nald Wolfe in 1548. He intended to compile an all-encompassing history of the three nations, but died before finishing the full com- pendium. Raphael Holinshed succeeded Wolfe in 1573 and expanded the project to include more writers, information and original woodcut illustrations. The copy belonging to the Oi- reachtas happens to be a second edition of the book from 1587. Second editions may not sound particularly enthralling, but this reprint holds a special place in lit- erary history. It’s widely believed by scholars that Shakespeare used this version of the historical an- thology as a source of reference for many of his plays, including Macbeth and King Lear. While there are certain paral- lels between the wordsmith’s plays and the depictions in Ho- linshed, one in particular comes to the fore. The Three Witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth are depicted as dark, ugly creatures and are largely nefarious in na- ture. However, when examining the Holinshed Chronicles they are referred to as “Creatures of the Elderwood… nymphs or fairies.’’ By comparing Shakespeare’s works to the 16th century book, academics have been able to de- termine to what extent the famous

have been able to de- termine to what extent the famous bard cleverly employed dramatic suspense

bard cleverly employed dramatic suspense and literary devices to engage the crowds of the time.

This in turn has given the world

a clearer view on the anthropo-

logical societal tendencies of the people during the English Renais- sance. These are entertainment trends we still gravitate towards today. Who doesn’t love a hard- hitting drama with a gripping


The Dail at 100 The Oireachtas has been mak- ing many historical documents in its collection available online for public viewing to celebrate the centenary of the Dail’s first for-

mation. Guest curators were in- vited to explore the historical col- lections in the Oireachtas Library and choose their favourites of the selection on topics that most ap- pealed to them. The guest curators comprised

of Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Ceann Com-

hairle of the 32nd Dáil, Mar- tyn Turner, political cartoonist for The Irish Times, Dr. Aoife Whelan, lecturer at the School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folk- lore at UCD and John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison. The exhibit available to view via the Oireachtas website is called Treasures of the Dail and includes items of national inter- est from a parliamentarian per- spective. It includes political car- toons as far back as the 1880’s, an original copy of Arthur Griffith’s publication To Rebuild the Na- tion and also pamphlets from the early 20th century that document the repeated push to preserve the Irish language in Ireland. There’s a particularly interest- ing document in the Parliament for Ireland section of the exhibit of Vanity Fair caricatures of Irish political figures. One dates from as far back as 1873 and depicts

a very well dressed, red faced

leader of the Home Rule League, Isacc Butt. Charles Stewart Parnell, is de- picted in the selection with what I would say is a very complimen- tary likeness. However reading the accompanying outline of his rise to prominence, he did not en- tirely escape the shrewd magnify- ing glass of the journalists of the time. Comments such as “With- out eloquence, humour or knowl-

Comments such as “With - out eloquence, humour or knowl- edge, Mr. Parnell has managed to

edge, Mr. Parnell has managed to elevate reiteration and persistence

into a fine art” and “English by family, American by inclination and Irish by interest” illustrate the dual nature of opinions on a man now generally deemed to be an Irish political hero. The visual depictions are rela- tively scathing in most cases and the accompanying abstract on each of the men are on occasion, even more so. However, it makes for a highly interesting look into our shared past. Visit en/oireachtas-library to view the Treasures of the Oireachtas online exhibit. To view what’s currently in the Dail’s display case and to read more about the Holinshed Chron- icles, visit this website:



display-case/ A fully digitised page-by-page copy of the Holinshed Chronicles

is available from the link below:


Images: Parnell caricature courtesy of the Dáil press office. Holinshed chronicles title page and Macbeth and Banquo meet- ing the witches courtesy Wiki Commons.

and Banquo meet- ing the witches courtesy Wiki Commons. McCartan Opticians moving to new building n

McCartan Opticians moving to new building


David Prendeville

M cCartan

Opti -

a n s ,

which has been in Ringsend since 1987 and Baggot Street before that, since 1935, is moving to 2 Thorncastle Street on the corner, beside Ferrari’s chip shop. The building they’re moving into was formerly the old post-office, and has also been a wine shop, butchers and barbers in the more recent past. Jason McNerney, who has worked there since 2004 is going to take over the business from Paddy McCartan, who is retiring from optics. Jason tells me how much of an advantage it is that the new location is a ground-floor premises: “It’s great in that it facilitates mobility-impaired patients. It’s also good for us from the point of view of visibility. We have been hidden away upstairs for the last thirty-odd years.” Jason is looking forward to an exciting journey ahead, hoping to see the familiar faces of his old clientele as well as making some new friends along the way. Cllr McCartan will remain on Dublin City Council and wishes to extend his deepest thanks to his clients “for their loyalty over the years.” Pat Ann Dodd, the chiropodist, will also be moving to the new premises. She will have a room upstairs. Here at NewsFour we would like to extend our best wishes to all those involved on the move and to Jason and Paddy on their pas- tures new.

would like to extend our best wishes to all those involved on the move and to

c i

would like to extend our best wishes to all those involved on the move and to

pAge 16


August / september 2019

New funding model needed for RTÉ?


David Prendeville

R TÉ have released their annual report for 2018 and it paints

quite a bleak picture. Last year saw the launch of RTÉ’s five-year strategy from 2018 to 2022. This plan reflected the need for RTÉ to evolve in an age of changing technologies and the changing means of consumption of televisual content. This strategy was backed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which recommended that RTÉ re- ceive an increase of at least 30 million per annum moving forward. The Director-General of RTÉ, Dee Forbes, in her re- view in the 2018 report, em- phasises that against this backdrop RTÉ recorded a loss of €13 million in 2018. This is despite cutting costs once more. Forbes goes on to suggest a need to reform the licence fee as one method of averting what is currently an unsustainable situation. The perceived problem of the licence fee is further elaborated on in the finan- cial report section. Here, the evasion figures of 14% and higher collection costs than the UK are highlighted. Naturally, another concern to which attention is drawn in the financial report, is the fact that many households are now consuming home entertainment in new ways, beyond the television. This figure now stands at 10.6%. This leads on to their argu- ment that, as per some other countries, the model of li- cense fee should be changed and should move beyond be- ing device dependent. This is obviously a very contentious issue for mem- bers of the public. It’s un- derstandably frustrating that somebody who watches all their shows on Netflix or some other streaming plat- forms, and has no reliance on RTÉ, should be charged to keep the station afloat. How- ever, on the other hand it is absolutely imperative that we have a national broadcaster for obvious democratic and cultural reasons.

To justify bringing in a uni- versal media charge, then, quite simply means that higher standards must be set across all aspects of the sta-

tion’s output. The fact that the report boasts of RTÉ’s factu-

al shows such as At Your Ser-

vice, Operation Transforma-

tion, Daniel and Majella’s B

& B Roadtrip, Don’t Tell the

been reflected in a statement in which the Screen Direc- tors Guild of Ireland, which includes the likes of Neil Jor- dan, Lenny Abrahamson and Dearbhla Walsh, amongst others, have called for both

an increase of the €30 mil- lion cited in the 2018-2022 plan and backed by the BAI,

and the creation of a separate

ued governmental mandate that views cinema as pure in- dustry, as opposed to an art- form such as the theatre or literature. This attitude pos- sibly stems somewhat from old Catholic Ireland’s deep suspicion of the subversive potential of cinema. However, a well-run RTÉ can also help reverse the tide

anomaly exists that, while all European broadcasters have funds to invest in both film in addition to drama, RTÉ has no budget to invest in film and this is adversely impact- ing industry growth and any hope for a vibrant future.” With a more fecund drama output, RTÉ could act as a training ground for emerging

output, RTÉ could act as a training ground for emerging Bride and Say Yes to Dress

Bride and Say Yes to Dress

tells its own sad story about what RTÉ considers quality, ‘factual’ programming. The question for RTÉ is re- ally one of trust and reform.

I have written extensively

on the issues facing the FAI recently and really it’s hard not to think the same issues apply to RTÉ. I believe the vast majority of people, even those who do not own a tel- evision, would have no prob- lem paying a media fee if the standard of programming on RTÉ was higher. The area of home-grown drama is partic- ularly contentious. If one thinks back on the last decade, only Love/Hate could be considered a bona fide success. That simply isn’t good enough. This has

drama fund to produce qual- ity home-grown work. One need only look to Den- mark, a similar-sized country to Ireland, and the amount of Danish dramas that have

been exported far and wide as a model Irish drama should aspire to. Denmark does have a far richer heritage of the moving image, sadly, than Ireland does. From Carl Theodor Dreyer to Lars von Trier, Denmark has a rich cinematic history. Ireland’s lack of a cinemat- ic heritage is a deeper prob- lem and stems from a contin-

ic heritage is a deeper prob- lem and stems from a contin- on this. It can

on this. It can share the bur- den with Screen Ireland (for- merly the Irish Film Board) in funding films more frequent- ly. This is also addressed in the SDGI statement, with one of their four key recommen- dations being: “the fragmen- tation of RTÉ engagement between the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is not productive. We recom- mend that communications and culture should operate in the same department and to build on synergies on the investment in film.” Chairperson Maurice Sweeney elaborated on this further, as reported in the Irish Times, saying: “An

talent. An institution that is looking for increased finance cannot brag about their con- tinued commitment to Mrs. Brown’s Boys when discuss- ing their dedication to high quality drama, as they do in the 2018 report. This is the only sensible way forward. RTÉ is cur- rently unsustainable. Efforts have to be made to ensure that there is a sustained fo- cus on creating a breeding- ground for high-quality culture. That, in turn, can sustain the interests of view- ers, regardless of what device they are using.

Above: Danish drama Borgen versus Mrs Brown’s Boys: Is more quality output needed? Images courtesy of wikipedia.

August / september 2019

pAge 17

Top Tips on Back-to-School Dental Health

A s part of the busy back- to-school transition this year, have you consid-

ered reviewing your family’s den- tal health routine? According to Dr Jennifer Col- lins, lead general dentist at North- umberland Dental Care in Dublin 4: “Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty for children in eating, playing and even learning, not to mention hours of missed school. The best way to prevent dental worries is a regular den- tal examination, and a thorough cleaning routine.”


1. Schedule Dental Appointments A dental examination should be an integral part of back-to-school preparations. Prevention is better than cure, and regular check-ups are the best way to avoid unneces- sary pain and minimise impact on important study time during the school year. It may seem a long way off, but a good rule of thumb is to sched-

ule your child’s back-to-school check-up when the summer re- ports arrive. Similarly, it is a great idea to plan all orthodontic visits at the start of the school year to restrict interruption to teaching time, par- ticularly in the case of students preparing for State examinations. The transition from primary to secondary school, known as the mixed dentition stage, is an ideal time to see an orthodontist.

2. Regular Tooth Brushing In the rush to update school shoes, uniforms and stationery for the new school year, be sure to consider replacing the family’s toothbrushes too. It is important to replace your child’s toothbrush at least every three months, or af- ter an illness. To keep their mouths healthy, regular brushing with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is key. Children should also floss once a day, preferably after din- ner. For younger children just start-

preferably after din- ner. For younger children just start- ing school, parents will still need to

ing school, parents will still need to provide assistance with brush- ing, whilst at the same time en- couraging them to manage their own brushing routine.

3. Tooth Friendly Lunch Boxes Most schools have a healthy lunch box policy, which goes hand-in-hand with maintaining good dental health, and should include a balance of grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yoghurt or fruit. Try to avoid too many fruit drinks and smoothies that can ap- pear to be healthy but often tend to be high in sugar and therefore impact on dental decay. Instead,

opt for a small child’s size bottle of water if possible or a small car- ton of milk. Replace sugary snacks such as chocolate and granola bars with alternatives like celery sticks, baby carrots and cubes of cheddar cheese.

4. Birthday Party Prep With a busy birthday party sea- son and Halloween on the horizon, try to limit treats to mealtimes and avoid grazing on them throughout the day. Our saliva production in- creases during meals, which helps rinse away sugary food particles and can reduce the risk of cavi- ties. Avoid treats that tend to lin- ger in the mouth, such as hard or sticky sweets. Drinking water will help to dilute any acid attacks caused by sugary snacks.

5. Mouth Guard Fitting A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential safety feature for children ahead of the winter sports season. Whether participat-

ing in organised team sports, PE classes or extra-curricular activi- ties, a mouth guard should be part of every child’s sports kit. A dentist can custom fit your child’s mouthguard to ensure that it is accurately adapted to the mouth and stays in place securely. As the child’s teeth develop and change, it is important to check each year that their mouthguard still fits.

6. Emergency Contacts The new school year is an op- portunity to update your emer- gency contact list, which should include details for your dentist. It is also worth checking if your school has access to a dentist on call, in case of playground or sports mishaps.

Northumberland Dental Care is offering a free back-to-school child’s check-up, with all adult examinations booked during August. For further informa- tion, contact the practice on 01 668 8441 or visit

examinations booked during August. For further informa - tion, contact the practice on 01 668 8441

pAge 18


August / september 2019

Percy french: Sandymount’s adopted son


Eoin Meegan

mytage Moore, a Cavan na- tive, who was to become his wife. The couple married on the 28th June 1890 at St Ste- phen’s Church, Dublin. After their honeymoon at Castle Howard, Avoca, they moved to Victoria Lodge, at number 3 St John’s Road, Sandymount. By all accounts the couple spent many happy days here, for according to the local rec- tor’s wife, he and his new bride were always known to be laughing and singing. He loved the area, doing many sketches of Sandymount Strand. Sadly the idyllic time was to be all too short, when exactly a year and a day from their wedding, following the birth of their first daughter, both Ettie and the baby died. Ettie’s loss inspired French to write Gortnamona, a haunting tribute to her. It is believed the double tragedy great- ly affected him mentally and he disappeared to the country for several months, ceasing all activity. French had a keen eye and a sensitive soul. It is said when he came upon a scene of outstanding al- lure he would stop trans- fixed, almost intoxicated by its beauty. He produced hundreds of watercolours, making a steady income from this as well as from his music. He toured London during the theatre season, and fol- lowed this by a tour of the seaside resorts in Ireland. He also did tours of Amer- ica and Europe; in 1914 helping to raise money for children displaced due to the war. His life was a hectic round of shows and engagements, but he always in- sisted on taking a month off every year when he would repair to the West of Ireland to rest, soak up the scenery, and of course paint. In 1897, he was travelling to do a concert in Moore’s hotel, Kilkee, Co Clare when the train broke down at Miltown Malbay, leaving the passen- gers stranded for five hours. So put out was he that as well as suing the West Clare Railway Company for loss of earnings, he got the perfect revenge by penning the satirical song ‘Are you right there Michael’. Later, due to the embarrassment the song caused them, the Company took

to the embarrassment the song caused them, the Company took a libel action against him. It’s

a libel action against him. It’s reported that French deliberately turned up in the courthouse in Clare nearly an hour late and when questioned by the judge, replied (no doubt to peals of laughter) that it was due to him travelling by the West Clare Railway. The libel was thrown out! Percy was to marry again, and once more live in Dublin, this time at 35 Mespil Road, not far from his former Sandymount home. His second wife was Helen Sheldon, who was a chorus girl, and the pair had three children, all girls, the first he named after Ettie. Ap- parently known for his wit, he used to casually inform acquaintances, “We are living by the canal, do drop in.” I’m not sure if the pun was intended. There is

also a seat dedicated to him on the Ca- nal very near Paddy Kavanagh’s. Percy French died in Liverpool after contracted pneumonia in 1920. He was 65. It’s regrettable that his final resting place is not in Ireland, but in Formby, Merseyside where he died. Ettie is bur- ied in St Jerome’s. Percy French will always be re- membered for his witty, occasionally profound, and sometimes subversive songs.

Left: The Percy French Memorial in the town square of Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. Above: Mayo Mermaids painted by Percy French. (Images courtesy of Wiki Commons)

This photo is from a performance of Songs Across the Sea on July 5th at

This photo is from a performance of Songs Across the Sea on July 5th at St John’s Church, Sandymount, led by distinguished conductor and great grand nephew of Percy French, John Daly Goodwin. The concert featured the A Viva Voce Festival Chorus of New York, and included some of Percy French’s most memorable tunes. The night was a great success.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch.

P ercy French is known far and

wide as the writer of timeless

classics such as ‘The Mountains

of Mourne’, ‘Phil The Fluter’s Ball’, and ‘Slattery’s Mounted Fut’. What is less well-known is that the composer, who was born in 1884 in Roscommon, and not Cavan as is sometimes be- lieved, was also a landscape painter of some distinction. What fewer still will know is that, for a short time, he was a resident of Sandymount. In fact, his time in Sand- ymount could be said to have been the happiest of his life, until it ended abruptly with the tragic death of his first wife and child. Coming from a wealthy background, Percy was able to attend Trinity Col- lege, and although academically gifted he preferred artistic pursuits. When he first moved there, he promptly bought himself a banjo and starting attend- ing operas at the newly-opened Gaiety Theatre.

attend- ing operas at the newly-opened Gaiety Theatre. He excelled at music, tennis, and painting, and

He excelled at music, tennis, and painting, and was a somewhat reluctant

attendee at lectures. He was, by all ac- counts, a gifted tennis player and had

a low cutting net shot that might even give one Roger Federer some trouble, had the pair been able to meet. French graduated from Trinity with

a degree in civil engineering and took

up a job inspecting drains in County Cavan with the Board of Works, hence his association with that county. He lived there for many years and fell in love with the beauty of the place, in- spiring songs such as the Mountains of Mourne, and Come Back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff. He also fell in love with Ettie Ar-

August / september 2019


pAge 19

Dermot CarmodyA ugust / s eptember 2019 CULTURE / MUSIC p Age 19 T he Dublin Fringe

T he Dublin Fringe Festival cel-

ebrates its 25th birthday this year

with shows in more than 30 loca-

tions around the city running from Sep- tember 7-29. The festival draws over 30,000 spectators each year to a range of innovative and often subversive events across a range of art forms. Among the highlights promised this year is Gym Swim Party at the O’Reilly Theatre. The show is co-created by Dan- ielle Galligan and Gavin Kostick and di- rected by Louise Lowe and tells the epic tale of a turf war between rival gym dy- nasties through an exhilarating triptych of movement, dance and story. Project Arts Centre and Dublin Fringe Festival bring a co-presentation series bringing international artists who are mak- ing waves around the world to an Irish au- dience. This includes Natalie Palamides’s Nate at The Project. The award-winning American comedian and erstwhile Power Puff Girl plays Nate in male drag in a cross-dressing comedy show for the #Me- Too era that workshops, with audience participation, the idea of consent. Project Arts Centre also hosts aerialist Emily Aoibheann’s Sorry Gold, a ground- breaking live art piece, where sculpture and body merge to create the ultimate moving artwork. If aerial is the dance of industrial technology, what will the dance of biotechnology be? Sorry Gold is part

Dublin fringe festival

25th Birthday Feast

one of a twin-production project on the themes of civilization and nature As part of the festival’s international pro- gramme Fringe presents Things We’ve Al- ways Wanted To Tell You at Project Cube. The show is directed by UK-based writer and actor Scottee, and made and performed

in collaboration with spoken word artist and

poet Felispeaks, aerialist Jade O’Connor of Femme Bizarre, photographer Brian Teel- ing, and actor and writer from the North inner-city Thommas Kane Byrne. This world premiere production invites

Thommas Kane Byrne. This world premiere production invites patrons to a dinner party to sit down,

patrons to a dinner party to sit down, shut up and overhear the conversations of four proud working-class Irish folk as they dis- cuss the middle classes, privilege and the bright lights of Lidl. It’s a show for any of us who think Ireland doesn’t have a class system and for those of us who are aware enough to know better. The Ringside Bar at the National Sta- dium, Dublin is transformed into a music venue on the brink of closure for We Are Lightening, a show about gentrification and the resulting loss of music and club venues.

and the resulting loss of music and club venues. A teen band, a brass band, a

A teen band, a brass band, a community choir and ageing rockers from Dublin join Joseph O’Farrell’s drums and Sam Halm- arack’s guitar to mark and protest its de- mise, leading audiences through a strange ceremony and heartfelt celebration of how music shapes the lives of the people who play it. Dublin Fringe Festival runs from Sep- tember 7-22 at over 30 venues in Dublin For more information and booking visit

Below, from left: Scottee, Director Thing’s We’ve Always Wanted To Tell You (Photo:

Holly Revell); Gym Swim Party actress Danielle Galligan (Photo: Ste Murray); Natalie Palamides as Nate (Photo: Nick Rasmussen).

Murray); Natalie Palamides as Nate (Photo: Nick Rasmussen). n Dermot Carmody inger and songwriter Kevin Mor

Dermot Carmody inger and songwriter Kevin Mor- row has been playing on Thursday nights in McCloskey’s pub in Don-

nybrook for the last five years. McCloskey’s is an old-school shop where a body can expect the type of ef- ficient service that comes wrapped in a convivial deadpan expression and only requires the correct angling of an empty pint glass to set the wheels in motion. No dusty books, sewing machines or faux antiques adorn its shelves. It’s just a big old comfortable local where you and the twenty members of your bell-ringing club can be accommodated and still leave plenty of space for the book readers, field enthusiasts or solo philosophers to have their piece of peace. Kevin’s poster suggests a human juke- box. It lists about twenty artists whose


material he performs in his solo gigs ranging from Bob Dylan to Eric Clap- ton via David Bowie and Joni Mitchell. Kevin’s mental songbook must contain hundreds, if not thousands, of songs in dozens of genres. However, it would be wrong to see him as a hack covers artist. His beautiful guitar playing and excellent harmonica combine with a soulful vocal range and lovely overall musicianship to mark him out as someone capable of interpreting a song faithfully while very much making it his own. Not many men from Hollywood,

Kevin Morrow at McCloskey’s

Not many men from Hollywood, Kevin Morrow at McCloskey’s County Down could pull off Kate Bush’s

County Down could pull off Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. In fact, there’s only one, and he really enjoys the Thursday night gig in McCloskeys. “I do really like this gig,” says Kevin.

“People are kind of chilled it’s not like

a mad weekend with people letting off

steam.” He feels more people are listen- ing here on a Thursday night, as demon- strated by the fact that, in this gig more

than some of his other regular perfor- mances, he gets requests not just for the songs of other well-known artists, but for his own songs. Perched on a high stool, straw trilby atop his head, Kevin is charming and af- fable between songs, clearly comfortable in his performer’s skin. It’s not surprising really – he’s been at it a while. He formed the rock band Renegade in 1981 in Belfast and they became well known there, supporting Wishbone Ash and Mama’s Boys. After a four-year stint in London in the 80s, where life revolved more around building sites than guitars, he moved back to Belfast, playing with local band The Attic and then to Dublin in 1990. He played with a number of Dublin bands, notably Parchman Farm, who were resident at the legendary JJ Smyths in Aungier Street for many years, and Brian Downey’s Blues Up Front in 2001. In 2004 he formed Hollywood Slim And the Fat Cats who played a residency in the Burlington Supper Club until 2009, when he went solo. Now he’s keen to promote his own songwriting talent. “I’m recording with a fellow called Bill Shanley,” he explains. “He’s Ray Davies’ guitar player and he works with Paul Brady. I’m record- ing the voice, guitar and harmonica and

he’s adding bass, keyboards, slide guitar, loads of vocal harmonies as well. I’m re- ally, really pleased with it.” Kevin’s face lights up talking about the project and he whips out his phone to play me some snippets of recent record- ings, including his haunting ballad, Oc- tober Moon, which will be a track on the EP he’s planning to release this autumn. When I ask him how he intends to promote the recording, his faith in his own work comes through: “I reckon if the songs are really good, they’ll speak on their own without having to push too hard.” As our conversation ends and Kevin prepare to start the gig, an elderly pa- tron grabs him on his way out the door to apologise for not staying. “She told me not to tarry,” he laments. “Ah, for God’s sake,” says Kevin sympathetically, “I’ve the Green Glens Of Antrim all set for you…” And off he goes to play another thirty requests instead. Kevin Morrow plays at McCloskey’s in Donnybrook every Thursday night. No cover charge. Kevin also plays O’Reilly’s in Sand- ymount on Saturdays, The Old Mill, Tal- laght on Fridays and Birchall’s in Crum- lin on Sundays.

Left: Kevin Morrow blows a mean har- monica on Thursday nights at McClos- key’s pub. (Photo Dermot Carmody)

pAge 20


August / september 2019

A R Y www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 The Amerigo
A R Y www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 The Amerigo
A R Y www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 The Amerigo
A R Y www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 The Amerigo

The Amerigo Vespucci, a sail training vessel for Italian Navy cadets seen moored at and later departing from Dublin Port. Images by Gary Burke.

Dermot Lacey and his wife Jill took a final boat trip around the port before he officially resigned as chairman from the Rinn Voyager programme.

resigned as chairman from the Rinn Voyager programme. Lorcan Tucker (wearing yellow bib) at Lords. Image

Lorcan Tucker (wearing yellow bib) at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes.

yellow bib) at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes. Craig Senior, Kieran Vulker, Greg McNamara,

Craig Senior, Kieran Vulker, Greg McNamara, Tammy Grinager, Caroline Lynch and Amanda Dunlop supporting the Irish cricket team at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes.

cricket team at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes. Pembroke Foxes on tour at Lords.

Pembroke Foxes on tour at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes.

on tour at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes. Andy Balbirnie scoring his 50th innings

Andy Balbirnie scoring his 50th innings at Lords. Image by Sean Smith, Pembroke Foxes.

August / september 2019


pAge 21

www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 P H O T O

pAge 22


August / september 2019

POETRY www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 B loomsday on the
POETRY www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 B loomsday on the

Bloomsday on the douBle


Rodney Devitt ixty-five years ago, a photograph, which was to become a cultural icon, was published in the Irish Times. Five literary gentlemen, John Ryan, Anthony Cronin, Flann

O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh, and Tom Joyce, a cousin of James Joyce, decided to visit, as far as was possible, the various fa- mous scenes throughout Dublin depicted in James Joyce’s great novel Ulysses. On the morning of the 16th of June, 1954, the fiftieth anniver- sary of the date the novel was set, they commenced their odys- sey, thus inadvertently creating the first “Bloomsday”. Many stops for refreshments were made along the way, and their full itinerary was never completed. While still reasonably steady on their feet, their picture was snapped in front of Sand- ymount Tower, more or less on the spot where Stephen Dedalus asked himself the question: “Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount Strand?” Sixty-five years later, with Bloomsday now an international in- stitution, that celebrated picture is recreated in the same location by five members of the Sweny’s Pharmacy Joycean Museum:

Paddy O’Dwyer, Joe Kenny, Val O’Donnell, Rodney Devitt, and Gerry O’Reilly, in homage to their illustrious predecessors. The original photographer is now unknown. His modern suc- cessor is Philip White.



First Bloomsday, fifty years beyond a date,

A famous date, fictitious and yet true,

That somehow never happened and yet did. Strange pantomime of laughing gods and men,

A toast to Bella Cohen and a glass,

A tipple here, a tipple there and soon

Half-arsed with drink on Sandymount they stand o’Brien, Cronin, Kavanagh and ryan

In June day celebration of a man

whose dentist cousin stands now in his place. First June day writers’ celebration of

A book and of a man who’s in his grave

And Homer smiles as dead Joyce shouts a laugh

– Stand straight you eejits for the photograph.

Copyright © 2018 by Joe Kenny


Copyright © 2018 by Joe Kenny THE POETRY PLACE Talking to The Trees By Glenda Cimino,
Copyright © 2018 by Joe Kenny THE POETRY PLACE Talking to The Trees By Glenda Cimino,
Copyright © 2018 by Joe Kenny THE POETRY PLACE Talking to The Trees By Glenda Cimino,
Talking to The Trees By Glenda Cimino, (written in Herbert Park)
Talking to The Trees
By Glenda Cimino, (written in Herbert Park)

I went to the park one summer morning

Stood looking at the tall old trees And imagined that I was an alien Just landed on earth From a faraway planet And these were the earthlings I was meeting for the very first time.

I greeted the natives, who were standing

with great dignity, in twos and threes. Somehow they understood my thoughts, and I theirs. They told me of their long lives, Of the many things they had seen How they produced oxygen for other earthlings, Let some earthlings nest in their branches, provided shade From the planet’s sun, and shelter from the winds. But there was another species on this planet, Humans, who thought they were superior to the trees – in fact, in their ignorance, they imagined themselves to be Superior to all the other earthlings. These self-centred beings mostly did not understand any tree languages, but chopped them down as if they were objects, turning their skin and flesh into

houses or furniture or paper or firewood. And those who were left grieved for the ones who were taken.

I admired these sturdy creatures, who seemed to be

mistreated, and perhaps even a little endangered.

I told them that on my planet they would be honoured for their wisdom, strength, and giving nature. They warned me to be wary of the humans, The most dangerous species on earth. They might choose to kill or capture me, Use me for unnatural experiments.

I wondered what these strange beings were like.

They are not rooted, like us, the trees said. Instead of branches and trunks they have Odd-looking arms and legs and move restlessly around the planet. They rarely thank us,

though they can speak, they can’t hear our whispers in the wind. They are like sleepwalkers; if they do not awaken, They will destroy all of the rest of us, and Themselves as well. We try to warn them, but they just won’t listen. Suddenly I am brought back to reality, My own humanness seems a shameful thing.

I look at the peaceful trees, now silent,

And wonder if they really believed For a moment as I did; that I was an alien Who saw them as they saw themselves.

August / september 2019

pAge 23

News from the Old Dublin Society

Launch of ‘Dublin Histori- cal Record – Spring/Sum- mer 2019’, Editor Dr. Séa- mas Ó Maitiú, published by the old Dublin Society.

R ecently Dr. Mary Clarke, Dublin City Archivist, launched

the latest issue of the Dub- lin Historical Record at a reception in Kevin Street Library, Dublin, attended by members and friends of the Society, and also presented John Fitzgerald with the Old Dublin Society Medal for his paper ‘The Life and Times of Lundy Foot & Co., Tobacco Manufacturers’, the most outstanding paper published in the Dublin Historical Re- cord during 2018. This issue of the Dublin Historical Society has as the front cover an oil painting purporting to be ‘Passengers boarding a train probably at Westland Row Station. Dub- lin’ and relates to one of the articles in this issue

Articles featured in this is- sue of the Dublin Historical Record, which has the wider

world of Dublin’s Industrial, business, economic, and so- cial life as a common theme, include:

• ‘In Around the Town’ Dr.

Séamas Ó Maitiú reflects on various events that have tak- en place in the city includ- ing the return of the Liffey Ferry and the demolition of the Tivoli Theatre in Fran- cis Street, Dublin, which is the subject of a poem ‘They knocked down the Tivvo to- day’ penned by Leo Magee, one of the Library Assistants based in Dublin City Library & Archive. • Seán Magee in ‘Grand Jury and other records of St. Thomas’s Parish, Dub- lin City’ provides a picture of this body of men who did their best for the wretched of

their area within the limits of their resources.

• Bríd Nolan in ‘Newtown

on the Strand – an elusive townland’ traces the evolu- tion, peoples, houses and his- tory of this part of south Dub- lin which became submerged into modern day Blackrock.

Dub- lin which became submerged into modern day Blackrock. • The Ballinteer Local His - tory

• The Ballinteer Local His-

tory Group in ‘The Round House Stackstown, Co. Dub- lin – A query’ seek informa-

tion on this building, in par-

ticular the design and use of this cottage, which now lies in ruins above Stackstown Golf Club.

• In ‘The Medlar’s Gotcha!

– The Story of Dublin fam- ily’, Pól Ó Duibhir writes about P.J. Medlar, (1885- 1849), undertaken, alderman and city councillor, and his family, whose origins are in

Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, with the emphasis of that part of the family which settled in Dublin.

• Ireland’s first railway, The

Dublin & Kingstown Rail- way, has been the subject of numerous books but in ‘The Dublin & Kingstown Rail-

of numerous books but in ‘The Dublin & Kingstown Rail- way: History, Art and Real- ity’

way: History, Art and Real- ity’ Kurt Kullmann provides new insights into this railway and some masterful insights and comments on some of the illustrations published when the line opened in 1834. • Medical matters are cov- ered in ‘St. Ultan’s Hospital,

Charlemont Street – Back- ground and Achievement’ by Margaret Bradley, who pro-

vides a fascinating history of this Dublin infant’s hospital, established in 1919 which closed in 1984 when its ser- vices were transferred to the National Children’s Hospital in Harcourt Street, Dublin, which in 1998 was absorbed

into Tallaght Hospital.

• Irish Whiskey distilling

is currently enjoying a re- markable resurgence and in ‘The Roe Family and Roe’s Distillery’ Sean J. Murphy tells the story of what was Dublin’s largest producer of

whiskey until closure in the 1920s and currently the Roe brand of whiskey has been re-launched by Diageo.

• The issue of homeless-

ness is not a modern issue as in the middle of the 19th century it was a major one in Dublin and Ireland. If mod- ern Dublin owes a huge debt to Fr. Peter McVerry and his co-workers for provid- ing a night shelter for those without a roof over the heads, then it owes a huge debt to his 19th predecessor Fr. James Spatt whose work has been largely overlooked but now recalled by Fergus A. D’Arcy in ‘From Weav- ers to Waifs – From Tenter House to Asylum: The Cork Street Night Refuge for Homeless Women and Chil- dren, 1818 – 2001.’ • In ‘Countess Markievicz, a cottage in Sandyford and her neighbour Mary Mulli- gan’, Peader Curran provides an insight into this retreat used by the Countess to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Other items in this pub- lication are Society News

and Book Reviews and No- tices. Over the counter cop- ies of this journal can be ob- tained from Book Upstairs, Westmoreland Street, Dub- lin, Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street, Dublin 2, or directly from the Old Dublin Society via or by email: olddublinsoci- Correspondence: Wren’s Rest, 19 Hazelwood, Shankill, Co. Dublin D18


James Scannell, Hon.PRO. Cumann Le Seandacht Átha Cliath (The Old Dublin Soci- ety).

Directors: Bernardine ruddy, Anthony P. Behan, Barry Farrell, James Scan- nell, Bryan MacMahon. Sheila Fleming. Company No.15059 CHy No. 5327 registered in Ire- land. registered Address:

1-2 Marino Mart, Fairview, Dublin 3.

Company No.15059 CHy No. 5327 registered in Ire - land. registered Address: 1-2 Marino Mart, Fairview,

pAge 24


August / september 2019

Hot 8 Brass Band at the Button Factory


Dermot Carmody

T he Hot 8 Brass Band brought the second line pa- rades of their native New

Orleans to a heaving, happy and hopping July night at The Button Factory in Temple Bar. The band was formed from the fusion of two high school brass bands by sousaphone player and bandleader Benni Pete in 1996. Like the communities its members come from, the Hot 8 Brass band was dispersed in the process of evacuation and resettlement that tore New Orleans apart in the wake of the massive damage done to the city by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The band reformed and played to the re-located New Orelans peo- ple around the US. They began to play abroad as well and opened for R&B singer Lauryn Hill’s tour. The Hot 8 Brass Band also fea- tured prominently in two HBO documentaries about New Orleans post-Katrina directed by Spike Lee: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2016) and If God Is Willing and da Creek

Don’t Rise (2010). They’ve re- leased a number of albums includ- ing 2017’s On The Spot and the Grammy-nominated The Life & Times Of… The Hot 8 Brass Band in 2015. Apart from Katrina, the band has suffered personal tragedy, losing four members over the years, three of them to gun violence. In 1996, 17 year old trumpeter Jacob John- son was shot dead in his home. Then in 2004 trombonist Joseph “Shotgun Joe” Johnson was shot dead by police officers in disputed circumstances when they stopped his truck. Two years later snare drummer Dinerral Shavers was shot dead while driving with his family. Additionally, the band lost 28 year old trombonist Demond Dorsey to a heart attack. The band’s music builds on a bedrock of traditional New Orleans marching jazz to incorporate R&B, rap and hip hop influences. There can be up to 10 in the ensemble, but on this night there were eight:

saxophone, two trombones, two trumpets, snare, bass drum and the

humongous sousaphone. The result is a soulful, dance- inducing house party. The voices of the horns soar above the rhythm section of the bass and snare drum- mers and the bass lines from the depths of the Mississippi mud channeled through Benni Pete’s sousaphone. Early on in the Button Factory the band had the audience enthu- siastically committed to call and response singing and waving its arms in the air like it just don’t care. Their eclectic repertoire of Hot 8 “remixes” create a number of highlights. From a thorough de-electron- ification of Joy Division in Love Will Tear Us Apart, through epic versions of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing and Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together the Hot 8 work the room until it becomes practically physi- ologically impossible not to dance. Possibly the most affecting highlight of the night is their ver- sion of the American jazz clas- sic St. James Infirmary Blues. The spirit of Louis Armstrong is

St. James Infirmary Blues. The spirit of Louis Armstrong is there in the opening bars of

there in the opening bars of solo trumpet quoting Chopin’s funeral march into the wonderful dirge with dizzyingly beautiful patterns of the horn lines woven around the stomping lament of the rhythm section. Despite the tragedy in their back story, or perhaps because of how they have come through it all, The Hot 8 Brass Band embodies the

power of their music to bring peo- ple together in a healing and joy- ously life-affirming way. For more about The Hot 8 Brass Band visit

Pictured: The Hot 8 Brass Band playing at The Button Factory in Temple Bar on July 17th 2019. Photo by Dermot Carmody.

The NewsFour Crossword

Compiled by Gemma byrNe

T he N ews F our C rossword C ompiled by G emma b yrNe Name:……………………………






Human embodiment (15)


Extremely unpleasant (6)


Spring onion (8)


Threw/kicked in a high arc (6)


Stop (6)


Comic book sound effect (3)


Covert (11)


Romantic Elvis Costello hit (3)


Precipitation (4)


Corridors (11)


Hilarious fossil fuel? (7, 3)


Predicament (6)


Picking it up wrong (15)



One who gets on easily with others (6, 6)


A proud spectrum of colours? (7)


Luxury (8)


Ralph Lauren or Coco Chanel (7, 8)


This silent family game is a complete sham (8)


Put up with (8)


Even so (11)


Espadrille or brogue (4)


Ain’t (4)


Each (3)


Cigarette (informal) (6)


Open mouthed in suspense (4)


Opposed to (4)


Unattractive citrus fruit? (4)


To help like this is criminal (4)


Chasing or rugby? (3)

SoLuTIoNS For THE JuNE / JuLy 2019 CroSSworD


1) Hypochondriac; 7) Prospectus; 9) Mac; 10) Gaga; 12) Earliest; 13) Doff; 14) Deli; 15) Oboe; 16) Levi, 17) Sir; 18) Null; 19) Near; 20) Ooze; 22) Nape; 24) Ore; 26) Land; 27) Eros; 28) Exactly; 29) Sip; 31) Inconsistencies


1) Happenstance; 2) Progress; 3) Capricorn; 4) Occasionally; 5) Drug; 6) Armadillo; 8) Safe- guards; 11) Officers Mess; 21) Oar; 23) Plaice; 24) On; 25) Stink; 27) Epoch; 30) ETA; 31) In

Prize of €25 book token. Post entries to NewsFour, 13A Fit- zwilliam Street, ringsend, Dub- lin 4 by 27th September 2019.

The winner of our June/July crossword competition is Mar- garet Battle, North Circular road, Dublin 1.

August / september 2019


pAge 25

DCC Notes

for SEAC meeting, July 2019

Compiled by Eoin Meegan

F resh from the May elections

the South East Area Committee

(SEAC) got proceedings under-

way on July 8th with Cllr Dermot Lacey (LAB) taking up his new role as Area Committee Chairperson. The meeting began with a presentation by Elaine Sullivan, one of the area plan- ners for the Dublin 4 area, outlining the planning application for the development of the Poolbeg peninsula, notably the SDZ zone on the former Irish Glass Bot- tle site, and the adjoining Fabrizia lands. This was followed by a presentation by Kevin Rossiter on the Dublin bike scheme arising from a motion earlier this year calling for the scheme to be ex- tended to Ballsbridge and the surround- ing area. The Poolbeg development was gener- ally welcomed by the members, while the timeline for any future expansion of the Just Eat Dublin bike scheme, and what form that would take, is still unclear and awaits an evaluation of the market and the direction the scheme will go.

Nowhere to bathe The arbitrary closure of beaches to bathers which dogged the city last year was back on the agenda following a number of “no bathing” water notices popping up over the summer. Apart from the general inconvenience to the public, the specific problem of overflows at the Ringsend Wastewater plant was raised by Cllr Claire Byrne (GP). The issue of real time testing and the reasons for the clo- sures became the subject of some debate. Cllr James Geoghegan FG) began:

“Because we don’t have real time testing [the beaches] remains closed to bathers, and there would be a period in which we could get back in the water if there was real time monitoring, which I under- stand is an inexpensive thing to deliver… We know that it’s not just the Ringsend Wastewater treatment plant that’s con- tributing to the water being unswimma- ble, it’s also the Ailesbury pump station, it’s the Elm Park stream, there’s a whole heap of factors that are contributing to the poor bathing water qualities.” He called for the council to be updat- ed as to which phases of the Ringsend Wastewater treatment plant are likely to precipitate closure. Cllr Hazel Chu (GP) while agreeing, took Cllr Geoghe- gan to task on one point: “We talk about real time testing and it actually is avail- able, and the current testing time is three days… but what we need to bring in is on the day turnaround.” Which, given proper investment she argued is highly possible. She also expressed the need to

argued is highly possible. She also expressed the need to implement a real time text alert

implement a real time text alert to facili- tate the public. Cllr Manix Flynn (Ind) however, was in no doubt as to where the blame lay:

“Whatever about everything else in terms of real time monitoring the point of the matter is that the system that’s there in Ringsend is openly dumping sewage into the water and will continue to do that until we have the proper facility.” He went on to say that it’s not a leak or an accident but a deliberate situation. “In my opinion, you just have to tell the public not to go in there and swim at all, because I wouldn’t trust the kind of information that’s coming ou… if you bear in mind that Irish Water didn’t even bother to inform the public or Dublin City Council, it took a member of the public and their own drone to do so… It’s an outrageous situation to happen here, and that’s the crux of the matter, you can have all the real time [testing] you like but if a State company is going to dump that kind of effluent into the water, well then we’re in deep trouble.” The motion was accepted by the committee.

Reducing Speed into Ringsend Cllr Kevin Donoghue (LAB) proposed that the speed limit on the main road through Ringsend into Irishtown be re- duced to 30 km/h. The reply was: “Ringsend area has been included in the fourth phase of the 30 km/h speed limit introduction. This proposal will be going for public con- sultation during summer 2019. Follow- ing the adoption, and sealing of the new bye-laws in the autumn 2019, works will commence to erect the relevant signage in the new areas in summer 2020. The main road through Ringsend into Irishtown is an approved arterial route. Dublin City Council will be reviewing the speed limits on the arterial and other routes and based on the findings from the review will make a decision if changes are required. This will take place after implementation of 30 km/h is fully com- pleted. It is planned to do so by the end of 2020.

The selection process will still be fo- cused on areas where schools are located and areas that have previously had sig- nificant engineering interventions intro- duced. It will also be a priority to ensure that there is a flow from one 30 km/h zone to another rather than a stop-start approach; this is to ensure that road users are travelling at constant speeds where possible and also not to add any confu- sion and/or a proliferation of signage in the areas.”

yoga in the Park Yoga and fitness classes have become

a common sight in our public parks

throughout the summer time in recent years, organised by in as- sociation with DCC. Cllr Deirdre Conroy (FF) called for the reinstatement of the outdoor yoga class on Saturday mornings in Dart- mouth Square, which apparently had ceased. “This is something that the local residents and people in general really ap- preciate so I don’t know why it’s been banned,” she said. Cllr Byrne (GP) who had this down as

a motion previously, said the problem wasn’t confined to Dartmouth Square but affected other parks too. She called for someone in the Parks Department to provide the committee with an update on what’s happening “as we’re nearly

half-way through the summer and it’s a hugely important facility for the citizens

of the city in order to have affordable, ac-

cessible yoga classes for the health and

mental health of our citizens.” However, Cllr Mary Freehill (LAB) argued that the subject was more com-

plex, and raised the issue of permanent studios who paid their taxes and, one

in particular she mentioned, found their

customer numbers had fallen to zero. “It

is a bit like people who are selling stuff

along the canal, and the local shops who are paying their rates then can’t sell any- thing at lunch time.” She pointed out that while not against the park facilities there was a need for balance and fairness to be exercised in this matter.

Cllr Conroy in reply said, “nobody would want anyone’s private business to be affected, but this is an entirely differ- ent thing, it is an outdoor event open to the public… in the open square children can be brought in with their parents, and dogs can be brought it, so there’s things like that that can never be brought into a studio. The yoga teachers themselves are being paid, it’s five euros per person, so it’s very affordable. Cllr Flynn (Ind) thought the park facili- ty was a very good thing, but they should try to include the studio owners too. He proposed they ask the OPW why Ste- phen’s Green and the Iveagh Gardens are not being used for this facility as well. The motion was agreed which would al- low the yoga to continue.

wildflowers and Biodiversity Cllr Chris Andrews (SF) proposed that this area committee agrees and requests that DCC sow wildflowers as proposed by Donnybrook Tidy Towns on the me- dian strip from Donnybrook Church up to RTÉ entrance as it would help pollina- tors and also reduce maintenance costs. The council replied: “Park Services welcomes the planting of wildflowers and flowering species which increases biodiversity in the city. If a representative of Donnybrook Tidy Towns contacts the undersigned [Mary Taylor, Executive Manager, South City, tel.: 222 5112, email: mary.taylor@dub-] we will be very happy to assist them in their endeavours and also in se- lecting suitable locations.” And on a similar theme Cllr Hazel Chu (GP) proposed that this local area com- mittee would sow wildflowers on grass verges without mowing throughout the year to both save cost and support pol- linators and increase biodiversity. The reply was: “Park Services supports the planting of wildflowers and other flowering species which increases biodi- versity in the city. However, such plant- ing is labour intensive at certain times of the year and therefore safe access is es- sential during these times. Therefore, other means of increasing pollinator planting and enhancing biodi- versity e.g. seasonal bulb planting, may be more appropriate and will be consid- ered for grass verges.” An emergency motion put down by Cllr Dermot Lacey (LAB) called for traf- fic officials to immediately engage with residents of Seafort Avenue regarding two proposed new pedestrian crossings, and the removal of the already limited parking for residents. The council re- plied that it was willing to discuss these matters with the Dept of Education, and with local residents, and also to try and provide parking permits for residents of Seafort avenue on surrounding roads.

Above: Among the ‘wildflowers’. Photo: Eugene Carolan.

pAge 26


August / september 2019

George Noble Plunkett


Dermot Carmody

A hundred years ago, Count

George Noble Plunkett

led the TDs into the first

Dáil in the Mansion House. He had won the election in Roscom- mon largely because of his son, Joseph Mary Plunkett (Joe), a sig- natory of the 1916 Proclamation who had been executed as a leader of the Rising. But there was more to Plunkett than that, both politi- cally and as a significant figure in culture and art in Ireland. He was born in Aungier Street on December 3rd 1851. His par- ents were Patrick Joseph Plunkett, a builder and urban councillor and Elizabeth (Bess) nee Noble, who owned a successful shop selling French and Italian leather. The stamp of Nationalism was made early in Plunkett’s life, when he was visited aged six months by two men saying they were the drummers who had fought at Vinegar Hill in 1798. Plunkett’s great granddaughter, writer and musician Honor O’Brolchain, admits the folklore could be im- precise. “Of course nobody could find drummers,” says Honor, “but that could be anything in the Irish army. They could have said ‘well, you two are the drummers now’. But it was two men from ‘98 and everybody regarded that as a tre- mendous thing.” Plunkett was educated at prima- ry school in Nice for three years and at the Oblate Fathers school in Upper Mount Street. From 1867- 69 he attended Clongowes Wood College, Kildare, where Honor suspects his political formation continued as “there were these ter- rific debating societies, I think that they had only recently started, so there was a lot of Nationalist dis- cussion and things going on.” After travelling for a time, main- ly studying painting in Italy, Plun- kett entered Dublin University in 1872. There, he became friends with Isaac Butt and Douglas Hyde,

There, he became friends with Isaac Butt and Douglas Hyde, as well as with literary figures

as well as with literary figures like Bram Stoker, the poet Katherine Tynan and Oscar Wilde. Plunkett’s primary ambition was to be a journalist. While still at school he contributed to The Shamrock and The Nation. In 1882, he started and edited the monthly review magazine Hi- bernia, which was notable for its inclusion of women poets, espe- cially his friend Katherine Tynan. In 1884, Pope Leo XIII made Plunkett a count, Knight Com- mander of the Holy Sepulchre in recognition of his donation of funds and a villa in Rome to a nursing order, the Little Company of Mary. He didn’t like using the ti- tle but the Vatican asked him to use

it for political reasons. Italy was in

the process of unification and there

was concern that the Vatican states might be absorbed and even that such titles might be banned, as had happened in France. Another in Plunkett’s life who favoured his use of his title was Josephine Mary Cranny, whom he married in 1884. She disliked it when he received invites ad- dressed merely to “George Plun- kett”. The couple represented a un- ion of two great Catholic builders of Dublin, the Plunketts and the Crannys. Their wedding settle- ment included a number of houses in Rathmines, which Patrick Plun- kett had built, as well as a Cran- ny-built terrace on Marlborough Road, several houses on Elgin Road and 26 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, where the family lived for

a number of years. The Plunketts had seven chil- dren, Philomena Mary Josephine, Joseph Mary, Mary Josephine Pa- tricia, Geraldine Mary Germaine, George Oliver Michael, Josephine Mary Jane and John Patrick. In later years, they also lived in 40 Elgin Road, a large house where meetings of the “Second Dail”, composed of those like Plunkett who didn’t recognise the Republican legitimacy of the trea- tyite Dáil, were held. In 1892, Count Plunkett ran for election as a Parnellite in Mid Ty- rone. He ran because he could af- ford to lose his deposit and in the end he withdrew in order not to split the Nationalist vote between himself and Matthew Joseph Ken- ny, who was on the anti-Parnell side of the Irish Parliamentary Party.

on the anti-Parnell side of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Plunkett also ran twice for elec- tion

Plunkett also ran twice for elec- tion in St Stephen’s Green, reduc-

ing the Unionist majority in the seat to 137. Eventually in 1900, the Irish Parliamentary Party won

the seat, but the party leader John Redmond would not allow Plun- kett to run. That election marked the start of a hiatus in Plunkett’s po- litical career, perhaps, as Honor O’Brolchain observes, because of

a difference between his politics

and those of Redmond. Plunkett’s more radical views, for example his belief that there should be tariffs on trade with Britain, were at odds with the Irish Parliamentary Party’s links with the British Liberal Party. “The oddity about Count Plunkett is that he was so out of politics in that 16 years between 1900 and 1916 – because of Redmond really. If he was going to be anywhere that’s where he would have been, in the

Irish Parliamentary Party.” Plunkett returned to his other interests, publishing his Botticelli biography and other books on art and architecture. He was director of the Cork International Exhibi- tion in 1903 and was appointed director of the National Museum of Ireland in 1907, where visits increased from 100 to 3,000 in his first year. In the run-up to the 1916 Ris- ing, Larkfield in Kimmage, where the Plunketts were living at the time, was a training centre for the “Liverpool Lambs”, young men from Irish organisations in Brit- ain who came to train for rebel- lion and to escape conscription.

In April 1916, Plunkett’s son Joe

swore him into the IRB. He went to Europe to confirm the date of the Rising with Roger Casement, who was trying to buy arms from

the German government, and to plead with the Pope not to con- demn the Rising. After the Rising, Joe was exe- cuted and his brothers George and Jack imprisoned. Count Plunkett and his wife were also imprisoned in Richmond Barracks and then deported to Oxford. He returned without permission to fight and win the North Roscommon by- election which he won, largely on

account of being Joe’s father. He held a meeting in the Man- sion House to form an abstention- ist alliance with his own Liberty League, Sinn Féin, Cumann na mBan, the IRB, the IPP and others. In October, the alliance became a party using the name Sinn Féin. Griffith, Plunkett and de Valera, who was still in prison, were nom- inated as president of Sinn Féin, but Griffith stood aside in favour of de Valera and Plunkett followed suit. Plunkett was interned again in 1918, but was released after Sinn Féin’s electoral triumph, in which he was again elected. He presided at a planning meeting for Dáil Éireann on January 21st 1919, and led TDs into the first Dáil session in the Mansion House. He was ap- pointed Minister for Foreign Af- fairs. With de Valera and Griffith, he travelled to Paris in an unsuccess- ful attempt to secure a place at the post-war treaty talks. He also travelled with de Valera to nego- tiations in London after the War of Independence in 1921, but, believ- ing they were merely being offered Home Rule he took no further part in negotiations. De Valera removed him from Foreign Affairs to a portfolio out- side cabinet for Arts. Opposing the treaty, he left office in Janu-

ary 1922 and led the anti-treaty Cumann na Poblachta, which lost the June General Election. Plunkett abstained from the Dáil in the Civil War and was interned until December 1923. In the 1923 election he topped the poll in County Roscommon. He would not take his seat in the treatyite Dáil and as a result lost his deposit in the June 1927 general election. He ran again in 1935 for Cumman Poblachta na hÉireann in the Co. Galway by-election but again lost his deposit. In later life, Count Plunkett con- tinued to lecture in art history as long as his health allowed him to do so. He also founded The Acad- emy of Christian Art, which oper- ated out of 42 Upper Mount Street. The family moved to Bally- mascanlon in Louth for a time and ultimately Plunkett and his wife moved back to Dublin. “His children and his grandchildren were all mad about him,” Honor says. “They all spoke of him with huge love and affection, all the ones that met him.” Speaking this year at a symposium in The Man- sion House organised buy Honor, Seoirse Plunkett, his grandson, re- membered him as being “a dote”. He died at home in Upper Mount Street on 12 March 1948, four years after the death of his wife and is buried in Glasnevin Cem- etery. You can read more on Honor O’Brolchain website www.hon- and watch a video of Seoirse Plunkett speaking about his memories of his grandfather Count Plunkett at The Mansion House earlier this year on YouTube

Clockwise from bottom left:

George Noble Plunkett (Par- isienne print dated July 1875 on reverse). Wedding group photograph in front of Muckross in Marlbor- ough Road, June 1884. Count Plunkett in Papal regalia on the steps of 40 Elgin Road. Images: All courtesy of Honor O’Brolchain.

June 1884. Count Plunkett in Papal regalia on the steps of 40 Elgin Road. Images: All

August / september 2019

pAge 27

Surgeons, Starlets and Suffragettes at Ringsend Library

27 Surgeons, Starlets and Suffragettes at Ringsend Library n Dermot Carmody N ewsFour attended a talk

Dermot Carmody

N ewsFour attended a talk given on Wednesday July 3rd by Maeve Cas-

serly, Historian In Residence for Southeast Dublin, about notable women associated with the area from mainly 20th century history. Maeve’s talk was entitled Sur- geons, Starlets and Suffragettes, a title reflecting the diversity of the women in question. The talk mentioned many wom- en associated with Rathmines and environs, including the several residents of Belgrave Road, or Rebel Road as it became known, so prominent were its insurgent residents. Dr. Kathleen Lynn ran her gen- eral practice in 9 Belgrave Road, where she lived with her partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen. Both were members of the Irish Citi- zens Army and Dr. Lynn was the ICA’s chief medical officer during the 1916 Rising. Both were imprisoned in Kil- mainham for their part in the Ris- ing and Dr. Lynn was deported to England for a time, but returned then to re-establish her Belgrave Road practice. She was vice-president of Sinn Féin and was elected TD for Dublin County in 1923. Lynn co- founded St. Ultan’s Children’s Hospital, which was entirely run by women, in Charlemont in 1919. Dorothy Stopford Price was another important woman associ-

Dorothy Stopford Price was another important woman associ- ated with St. Ultan’s. She lived with her

ated with St. Ultan’s. She lived with her husband in FitzWilliam place and in later years at 8 Her- bert Park. They moved there after Dorothy suffered a stroke and the grand house in FitzWilliam place became unmanageable. She pioneered the use of tuber- culin testing for TB in Ireland, along with the use of the BCG vaccine to immunise children. In 1937, a BCG vaccination pro- gramme was run from St. Ultan’s and in 1949, Price became the first chairperson of the Irish National BCG Committee. Another Rathmines revolution- ary was Constance Gore Booth (Countess Markievicz). She was a close associate of James Con- nolly and joined his Irish Citizen’s Army, formed during the 1913 Lock Out. Connolly lodged with her at Surrey House in Leinster Road and published The Spark and The Worker’s Republic from her print- ing press there. Constance fought mainly at St. Stephen’s Green in the Rising and was subsequently jailed. She was elected a member of the first Dail and served as Min- ister for Labour. One of Countess Markievicz’s neighbours in Leinster Road was Anna Haslam. Anna and her hus- band Thomas were from a differ- ent reforming tradition, regarding themselves as suffragists rather than the more radical activism of the suffragettes. Anna cam- paigned for social and political reform from the mid 19th century, and was celebrated by all shades of political activism when at al- most 90 she went to vote for the first time in the 1918 general elec- tion. Worth mentioning too is Eliza- beth O’Farrell, nurse and rebel, who was literally airbrushed out of a photograph of Padraig Pearse surrendering at the end of the 1916 Rising and who is therefore

perhaps emblematic of the mascu- line prism through which history

is too often viewed.

As well as tending the wound- ed during the Rising, O’Farrell and others acted as despatchers through the perilous streets and it was she who approached the Brit- ish from the GPO under a white flag seeking to surrender. Maeve Casserly’s tour of nota- ble women from Southeast Dublin was not confined to rebels and so-

cial reformers, however. Women in the arts were also celebrated in- cluding Maureen O’Hara, born in Beechwood Avenue in Ranelagh and perhaps most famous for her role alongside John Wayne in The Quiet Man. O’Hara is very much a figure of local folklore in Ranelagh and as recently as 2010 she was pictured opening the Ranelagh Arts Fes- tival that year, her neck proudly adorned with a Shamrock Rov- ers scarf. Her father had bought

a stake in Rovers when she was a

child and she remained a lifelong supporter of the club.

Another Ranelagh native who became famous in the USA was

Maeve Brennan. Moving to New York in the 1940s, Brennan was

a writer at Harper’s Bazaar and

then at The New Yorker. Her witty prose was much admired. Sadly, she grew ill in the 1970s and by the 1980s was destitute until she died in a nursing home in 1993. Painting and fashion design were represented in the talk by Sarah Purser and Sybill Con- nolly. Purser lived in 19 Wel- lington Road and had a studio at the Grand Canal end of Harcourt Terrace. A notable portrait paint- er, her portrait of Constance and Eva Gore Booth sold for an unex- pectedly high €200,000 in 2018. Purser was also instrumental in the setting up of the Hugh Lane Gallery. Sybill Connolly, who lived in 71 Merrion Square, became fa-

Connolly, who lived in 71 Merrion Square, became fa - mous for her designs, typically using

mous for her designs, typically using traditional

Irish fabrics such as lin- en, tweed and lace. Her clothes were worn by Jul- ie Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor and most famous- ly by Jacqueline Kennedy when the President’s wife sat for an official White House portrait. Surgeons, Starlets and Suffragettes provided an interesting starting point from where one could delve deeper into the sto- ries of these women and others which time and history excluded. Maeve Casserly returns to Ringsend Li- brary in August for a further talk, this time focussing on domestic life in Dublin during the First World War. Maeve Casserly, Historian In Residence for Southeast Dub- lin will give her talk Food Fuel

And Making Do in Ringsend Library on Wednesday August 14th at 6.30pm.

Do in Ringsend Library on Wednesday August 14th at 6.30pm. For further information or to book

For further information or to book a place for this event contact ringsend Library Tel- ephone: +353 1 6680063 Email:

Clockwise from top left:

Kathleen Lynn with Madeleine ffrench-Mullen; the actress Mau- reen O’Hara; Elizabeth O’Farrell and Dorothy Stopford Price.

Lynn with Madeleine ffrench-Mullen; the actress Mau- reen O’Hara; Elizabeth O’Farrell and Dorothy Stopford Price.

pAge 28


August / september 2019

R T S www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 David Prendeville

David PrendevilleR T S www . newsfour . ie A ugust / s eptember 2019 L ocal

L ocal company Wildcard Distribution scored another big hit at this year’s Gal-

way Film Fleadh, which ran from the 9th to the 14th of July. Their su- pernatural comedy Extra Ordinary took home the prize for Best Irish Film. The film stars Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward and Will Forte, and was directed by debutants Mike Aherne and Enda Loughman. It follows a lonely driving instructor, played by Higgins, who has super- natural abilities. The film will be released by Wildcard across the country in Sep- tember. It is an Irish-Belgian co-

production with Dublin’s Blinder Films co-producing with Umedia, with funding from Screen Ireland, Umedia and Inevitable Pictures. The film had previously played to a great reception at the prestig- ious SXSW festival in Austin ear- lier this year. American comedian and co-star of the film, Forte, was also one of the big name guests present at this year’s festival, pro- viding an acting masterclass. Other notable guests at the fes- tival included American writer/ director Alison Anders, known for films such as Gas Food Lodging, who also provided a masterclass. Wildcard will also distribute two other acclaimed Irish films that

Locals win at film fleadh

premiered at the festival. Never Grow Old, a western starring John Cusack and Emile Hirsch and di- rected by the supremely talented, eccentric Irish film-maker Ivan Kavanagh. Kavanagh’s previous work includes the micro-budget Eraserhead-esque Tin Can Man and the post-modern, ornate horror

The Canal. Irish viewers can check out his latest when it is released here on August 23rd. Wildcard will also oversee the release of Jihad Jane, Ciaran Cas- sidy’s debut feature documentary, which received its world premiere

at the festival. While that hasn’t yet

been set a release date, people can expect to see it in cinemas before

the end of the year. Mespil Road-based Element

Pictures were the other big winners

at this year’s Fleadh. Their film

A Bump Along the Way starring

Bronagh Gallagher won Best First Irish Film. The drama, directed by Shelly Lowe, follows a boozy 44-year old played by Gallagher who becomes pregnant, much to the chagrin of her teenage daugh- ter, played by Lola Petticrew. Pet- ticrew also went home with the prestigious Bingham Ray New Talent award. The film will be re- leased by Element on August 30th. There is also an Element con-

nection in what was one of the un- doubted highlights of the festival for this writer, Joanna Hogg’s su- perb The Souvenir. This painterly, highly intelligent films charts a doomed romance between a young film student and a complicated older man. Based on a chapter in Hogg’s own life, the film works as a seri- ous philosophical consideration of what cinema is and the role of the film-maker. While that film was a UK/US co- production, Element Pictures are co-producing The Souvenir Part

2, which is currently filming. Tilda Swinton and her daughter Honor Swinton-Byrne star in both parts. Part 1 is released here on August 30th, while we can look forward to Part 2 some time in 2020.

There was another vast array of

shorts on show at this year’s festi- val, the most high-profile of which was Bainne, the directorial debut

of Jack Reynor, fresh from his turn

in Ari Aster’s Midsommar. The film, which stars Reynor’s Midsommar co-star Will Poulter, is a black and white, Irish-language drama set during the famine. It played to warm reviews and landed the much coveted Best First Irish Short Drama award. Another highlight of the shorts

that played was the cinema debut of Barry O’ Connor and Grace Dyas (both known for their thea- tre work), Aftermath, a harrowing, extremely powerful depiction of grief. Also impressive was Brute, a genre piece, directed by Brian Folan and starring Elva Trill. Mi- cael Smiley, the veteran character actor and star of such films as Kill List, was also in town for the pre- miere of his directorial debut, the short Le Petite Mort. Film fans should keep their eyes peeled for those at upcoming festivals. It was another strong and eclec- tic line-up at this year’s festival, now in its 31st year. The sun was shining and there was a great at- mosphere in the Rowing Club and the Galmont after the screenings, workshops and events that took place. Will Fitzgearld must be con- gratulated on another highly suc- cessful, stimulating year, only his second in charge. We are already looking forward to next year’s event and extend our congratula- tions to the local companies and talent who enjoyed success at this year’s festival.

Picture of Will Forte courtesy Wiki Commons.

Holy Show: New printed arts magazine is launched

Peter McNamaraCommons. Holy Show: New printed arts magazine is launched H oly Show is a new print

H oly Show is a new print arts magazine, that was launched at the end of

July at the Project in Temple Bar.

For sale in Eason’s, and most bookshops around Dublin, Holy Show is being pitched as an arts magazine for everyone, some- thing the regular passer-by might pick up off the shelf. In the run- up to the launch, I sat down with its editor and creator, the Dublin writer Brendan Mac Evilly.

why do you decide to call the magazine Holy Show? A holy show is someone who makes a spectacle of themselves. Is that such a bad thing? That wild rant you went on last night; the pang of dread that courses through your mind when you re- call everything you let slip. But didn’t it hold a grain of truth?

Has something not consciously or sub-consciously been revealed? Is it so awful that you danced or sang as badly as you did? Isn’t it more important that you danced and sang? You took a risk. You ignored propriety and broke with convention. Weren’t you glad to


get it off your chest? Well be not!

How does being a ‘holy show’ relate to being an artist? For artists, making a spectacle and breaking with convention are arguably the modi operandi, to draw attention to their work, to create a show, an exhibition, but with purpose, deploying skill and craft, aiming to reveal something true about the world, from a sur- prising viewpoint, about people and places, where we live or pass through; a commentary or ob- servation on our collective lives

a commentary or ob - servation on our collective lives unfolding, our beliefs, struggles, pains and

unfolding, our beliefs, struggles, pains and joys. Artists in Ireland have a history of doing this in the face of censorship and censure.

why do you think there was so much censorship? To reveal what is both new and true can be a dangerous business. Our old friends shame and judge- ment are never too far away, the checks and balances of public opinion. Edna O’Brien, a holy show. John McGahern, a holy show. Panti Bliss, a holy show.

So will Holy Show go in search of that kind of controversy? No, not at all. But it will look

for life, energy. It’ll give printed space to artists to say or show us something true, trusting them

to tell the stories of who we are

with honesty and insight. Nor is

the title Holy Show intended as a nod to the idea of art as a replace- ment for religion. The gallery is

a secular temple. The growing

reverence for self-expression, an occasion for meaning. That said, reading Issue one from cover to cover will take about as long as

Fr Clippit takes to say mass – “a

good, long mass” since his stroke.

Put simply, what can we expect from this new magazine?

These stories come in a variety

of forms, from a range of incred-

ibly talented artists working in diverse media. Issue one includes critical musings on TV archival footage, hybrid essays, theatre show extracts and poetry adapta- tions, film footage, conversation, audio extracts and a gonzo jaunt to Mass of an Easter Sunday

morning. With added fire. Holy Show is a cross-arts pub- lication and production company. Over the next year it will produce and tour a live audio-visual ver- sion of Ian Maleney’s Minor

Monuments in collaboration with film-maker Jamie Goldrick, to venues and festivals north and south of the border. See the inside back cover for more on this.

In print or in person, you will not be bored. What follows should feel like something be- tween an entrancingly esoteric lecture and the best pub conver- sation you’ve ever had. Enjoy ir- responsibly.

Holy Show is available to buy at, in Eason’s, and in most book shops around Dublin. Tickets for Ian Male- ney’s Minor Monuments tour, and the full list of tour dates, are available at

Above: A cheeky swimmer adorns the cover of the first issue of Holy Show. Picture courtesy of Holy Show.

August / september 2019


pAge 29

Roll up, roll up!

The Laya City Spectacular


Geneva Pattison

J uly 12th to 14th saw the

much-loved Laya City

Spectacular return to Mer-

rion Square for yet another successful year. The free jam- packed festival is in its 14th year of running and had enter- tainment galore, food aplenty and sunshine to boot. This year saw many perform- ers from overseas delight and amuse onlookers, with some acts standing out in particular. Orbax and Pepper do Sci- ence are a Canadian duo spe- cialising in kooky sideshow science for kids. The pair edu- cated the crowd on the speed of sound using a bullwhip, created homemade smoke guns and for the finale, propelled a large bin into the sky using the explosive power of liquid nitrogen. In short, they started with a whip and ended with a BANG, it was fantastic. When they’re not nourishing minds or break- ing Guinness World Records, they also operate under the name Monsters of Schlock performing classic and fantas- tical sideshow feats and very recently, they guest starred on one of Blindboy Boatclub’s live shows. Aussie sideshow and street theatre artist, The Space Cow- boy provided a truly out of this

artist, The Space Cow- boy provided a truly out of this world performance. For start- ers,

world performance. For start- ers, he warmed up with a bit of sword swallowing and knife juggling. A few minutes later he climbed onto a nine-foot unicycle juggling knives and machetes blindfolded. Again, the 55-time Guinness

knives and machetes blindfolded. Again, the 55-time Guinness world record holder amped it up a notch

world record holder amped it up a notch by trying to break his own world record for jug- gling a functioning chainsaw on the towering unicycle. Spoilers, he broke it – the world record, not any of his appendages. He engaged with the audi- ence throughout all of his death-defying acts, even con- vincing one brave audience member to throw the knives up to him while he sat in skyward confidence. The Space Cow-

to him while he sat in skyward confidence. The Space Cow - boy was undoubtedly one

boy was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the festival, head and shoulders above the rest, literally and figuratively. Even with the high octane elements from some perform- ers, acts such as B-Xtreme, a New York based breakdancing group and wacky visual come- dy from Cartoonette the living statue, made for a very family- friendly day out. An interesting thing about the festival is that they en- courage the audiences to tip the performers, giving the au- dience the power to exercise their judgement on the worth of each performance. The idea of the tipping format re- ally plays an active role in re-invigorating our love, inter- est and appreciation of street art in all its glorious forms. Street theatre truly is a form of whimsical escapism for the public and we should relish in it when available.

Images: Laya logo courtesy of Laya City Spectacular press office. Other photos by Geneva Pattison.

in it when available. Images: Laya logo courtesy of Laya City Spectacular press office. Other photos
in it when available. Images: Laya logo courtesy of Laya City Spectacular press office. Other photos

pAge 30

August / september 2019

Refurbishment of Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre

Refurbishment of Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre T he refurbishment of the Centre com- menced in

T he refurbishment

of the Centre com-

menced in Early

February 2019 and is on schedule to be completed in September 2019. This refurbishment/devel- opment of the Community Centre is fundamental to im- prove the area of Ringsend and Irishtown. Our plan will bring the Community Centre up to date by providing a ful- ly functioning up to standard place of work and access. The local Community will have access to a modernised building with an improved environment for Centre users and Centre staff. We will upgrade spaces for these valuable services such as; Ringsend & Irishtown Community Crèche, Money Advice and Budgeting Ser-

vice (MABS), Citizens Infor- mation Service (CIS), Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), Senior Services and activities and Youth Services. The refurbishment allows better use of the current lay- out and will also provide ad- ditional space to cater for our expanding services. The Board, management and staff of the RICC would like to sincerely thank our service users, neighbours and the Community for their continued support during the works and business will con- tinue as usual at the rear of the Centre until the works are complete.

Pictured above are, left to right: Dylan Clayton, Bar- bara Doyle CSP Manager and Assistant Manager at RICC, Marie Murphy RICC, John Lynch Chairman of RICC, Marian Finn and Lorraine Barry Manager of RICC. Below: Builders on the job at RICC.

RICC, John Lynch Chairman of RICC, Marian Finn and Lorraine Barry Manager of RICC. Below: Builders
RICC, John Lynch Chairman of RICC, Marian Finn and Lorraine Barry Manager of RICC. Below: Builders
RICC, John Lynch Chairman of RICC, Marian Finn and Lorraine Barry Manager of RICC. Below: Builders

August / september 2019

pAge 31

The Challenge of Co Parenting

/ s eptember 2019 p Age 31 The Challenge of Co Parenting C o-parenting is a

C o-parenting is a chal- lenge that is facing an increasing number of

parents in Ireland. Many cou- ples no longer stay together ‘for the sake of the children’, instead seeking a more appro- priate and healthier situation in which to live and parent. With the stigma associated with di- vorce and separation dissipat- ing slowly, parents are now much more likely to find an alternative to living together in what may well be an acrimoni- ous and unhealthy atmosphere. The challenges that co-par- enting presents and how ‘you try for the children always to just remain calm and get through it’. This touches upon what is probably the ultimate

goal of co-parenting: to offer the children the opportunity to grow in a home environment free from being caught in the middle of the parents’ hostil- ity. Parents need to switch their role from spouses to co-par- ents. This is a substantial chal- lenge but absolutely necessary to lessen the impact of conflict on the child’s development.

Cooperative Parenting The benefits to the child of

a co-operative parenting pro-

gramme will last for their lives. One of the hardest parts is en- suring that the children do not get caught in a loyalty Bind. This can be very unsettling for a child; the sense of being in an environment that is not relaxed

and suffering the stress of pa- rental conflict. A co-operative environment will help the child learn effective communication

and conflict-resolution skills. It gives the child the best chance

of keeping two active parents in

their lives. For the parents, a healthy co-operative parenting pro- gramme also offers benefits. It allows the parents to rebuild and develop their lives as sepa- rate individuals. It allows both parents to focus on current child-rearing issues instead of dwelling on past marital issues. Relationships begin and re- lationships often end. Some- times, children are involved. As a society we would do well to acknowledge the difficul-

ties faced, and to deal with the challenge of co-parenting in

a responsible and supportive

manner. The benefits will last a life-time, not just for the chil-

dren but for the parents also.

valerie Kilkenny Counsel- lor and Psychotherapist BA, MA, MIACP. Eamonn Boland Counsellor and Psychotherapist A, MA, MIACP. Directors at Bath Avenue Counselling Centre.

Tips on Parenting

at Bath Avenue Counselling Centre. Tips on Parenting Are you a parent or carer who would

Are you a parent or carer who would value some sup- port on any aspect of par- enting (from toddler right through to the teenage years)?

We will offer you individual 30 minute parenting consultations

at €20.

These sessions will take place every Wednesday morning be- tween 10-12am, starting on

Wednesday 25th September


This is a consultation for par- ents and carers only. Please do not bring your children to the appointment as this con- sultation is to be a space for you to speak freely.

We offer support in relation to a child’s:

Development; behaviour; re- lationships and Adjustments to life changes.

Booking is essential. By teaching you the various

skills you will need to support your child/children in the above aspects of their lives, you will

be relieved of a lot of the stress

that goes with being a parent.

Bath Avenue Counselling Cen- tre

Contact us to book on: 01 678 8864 or Email info@bathavenuecoun-

on: 01 678 8864 or Email info@bathavenuecoun- Parenting After Are you separated from your partner

Parenting After

or Email info@bathavenuecoun- Parenting After Are you separated from your partner and open to gaining

Are you separated from your partner and open to gaining sup- port with adjusting to the chang- es in your relationship in regards to co-parenting your children? We are offering a limited number of spaces for you to join a weekly, two hour co-operative parenting group for the duration of 5 weeks.

The programme content includes but is not limited to:

• The importance of developing a parental relationship that is sensi- tive to your child’s needs.

• Shifting the relationship from former partner or spouse to co-par- ent.

• Effective communication.

• Negotiation skills and planning for the future.

Prior booking is essential. A complimentary 30 minute consultation is included prior to signing up to take part in the group please use our contact in- formation above to book your session. We have additional information about the method and content of this programme. If required please do not hesitate to contact us and we will forward this to you. Cost: €40 per session. Starting date for this group: Tuesday 24th September 2019.

Bath Avenue Counselling Centre Contact us on: 01 678 8864 E-mail

pAge 32


August / september 2019

The destruction of CommunityDevelopment


Peter McNamara

R emarkable new research, undertaken by Patricia Kelleher (PhD) and Cath-

leen O’Neill (MA), traces the rise and dramatic fall of the once- thriving community development sector in Ireland. Their paper, The Destruction of the Community Development Sector (2002-2015), was launched earlier this year at the Irish Con- gress of Trade Unions. The focus of the paper is to ascertain how, when, and why so many progres- sive forces within the state were silenced. A vibrant community sector had been developing in Ireland since the mid-1980s, with a state-sup- ported framework that actively encouraged people to have their say in official decisions. By the early 2000s, however, instability, disbelief, and demoralisation was rife. Although the recession even- tually decimated the community development sector, it might sur- prise some to learn it was being undermined as far back as 2002. During the boom years the state had huge money to spend on com- munity development, but, accord- ing to Kelleher and O’Neill, it set about destroying the sector, for reasons of ideology, and not aus- terity. In the absence of a strong com- munity development sector, issues around drugs, housing, healthcare and migrant rights have worsened to an extreme degree in Ireland. Community workers were delib- erately put out of touch with the movements in their community. At its height in the 1990s, the community development sector fostered an inclusive, participa- tory kind of democracy, with de- cision-makers and civil servants keeping strong ties to local groups and local needs. As the sector was eroded, the participatory approach came to be replaced by a distant and authoritarian representative democracy, where official deci- sions were made from atop a rigid hierarchy, behind many layers of bureaucracy. Kelleher and O’Neill’s ground- breaking research can help us understand how things have got- ten to this point, and how trends

might be reversed.

A century of active Irish Com- munities Social movements and commu- nity development in Ireland have long played a significant role in moderating how power is distrib- uted in society. Such movements challenged the status quo and brought about change by assist- ing marginalised groups, working class communities and poorer ru- ral societies. In the late 1800s a period of renewal and upheaval began in Ireland. Many remember the Irish literary revival, led by William Butler Yeats. When it comes to political agitation and grassroots activism, most people might think of the violent revolutionary poli- tics of that time, which culminat- ed in the Easter Rising of 1916. However, there was during these decades a related but dif- ferent kind of revolution taking place, in the sphere of civic de- bate and civic action. Countless ordinary Irish men and women banded together to agitate for po- litical change. They campaigned for sovereignty, women’s suf- frage, land reform and working class rights. The Gaelic Athletic Association was one early exam- ple, as was the rural co-operative movement. With the founding of the Irish State, community activism spread even further. Muintir na Tire emerged in the 1930s, as did the United Irishwomen (now the Irish Countrywomen’s Association), and the Irish Housewives Asso- ciation. Through the 1960s and 1970s, vibrant social movements con- tinued to emerge in Ireland. One notable example was the “second wave” of the women’s liberation movement – which questioned the role of women in society. Added to this was the student movement; the anti- nuclear campaign which helped to make Ireland a nuclear- free zone; the National Farmers’ Association which demanded that the voice of farmers be heard; Save Wood Quay which opposed the building of civic offices on a Viking settlement site; and the Living City Group which resisted the de-tenanting of Dublin’s inner

city and helped to reverse the de- struction of the city. These groups, among many oth- ers, helped lay the foundation for the remarkable growth that was to come in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Community Development Programme: A golden era The late 1980s and early 1990s in Ireland was a time of high emi- gration, income deprivation and social marginalisation. The unem- ployment rate rose to 17%, with consistent poverty levels at 16%. Inside Dáil Éireann many mem- bers of the Labour Party were committed to eliminating pov- erty. In addition, sympathetic civil servants (some of whom were di- rectly involved in EU initiatives) were in key positions, enabling them to support anti-poverty and community empowerment initia- tives. Up until the mid-1980s, com- munity activism and the newer forms of community develop- ment mostly originated and grew outside of official state structures. Organisations were generally funded by member subscriptions or voluntary contributions and op- erated on a purely voluntary basis. Gradually funding arrange- ments were put in place, and the sector accessed significant sup- port from the state, the European Union and philanthropic organisa- tions. Improved funding gave rise to the increased professionalisa- tion as many volunteer activists of the 1970s became paid com- munity workers. It was, ironically, this recognition and empower- ment of the Community Develop- ment sector that eventually led to its downfall – by becoming tied to state structures, the sector entered into a paradoxical relationship, that gave it strength while eroding its autonomy. The Department of Social Wel- fare (DSW) was the lead govern- ment department with a brief for community development in the 1990s. The Community Develop- ment Programme (CDP) was for- mally established in 1990. Under this emerging model, community development came into its own. It built relation- ships and empowered people to participate in decision-making

ships and empowered people to participate in decision-making structures that affected their com- munities. It emphasised

structures that affected their com- munities. It emphasised critical social analysis. It developed local social infrastructure – including local neighbourhood networks and coalition-building between organisations. Using these principles, commu- nity-led, locally-tailored models of service provision were devel- oped in a range of areas across the country. Workers in the sec- tor gave life-changing assistance with employment, training, child care, and adult education and eased problems around drug use and violence against women. The publication of the White Paper on the Relationship between the Community and Voluntary Sector and the State (Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs 2000) was a milestone, in that it gave formal recognition to the community and voluntary sec- tor. The paper articulated a vision of Participatory Democracy to govern local community and vol- untary activities. It outlined the values of social justice, and a be- lief that citizens had a right to par- ticipate in decisions that affected their lives. It affirmed the value of empowering working class and rural communities, as well as the rights of Travellers and migrants. According to Kelleher and O’Neill, the vibrancy of the com- munity, anti-poverty and equality sector during this period led many to describe it as a “golden era”.

Targets and quotas: Neo-liberal managerialism The sector developed through the 1990s, bringing relief, as-

sistance, and hope, to countless people. Then, on June 6th 2002, Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats entered a coalition government. They established

a new Department of Commu-

nity, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Between 2002 and 2010 a major

paradigm shift occurred in how the Community Development sec- tor was governed: a top-down ap- proach of target-based “manageri- alism” began. This managerialism was part

of the international movement to-

wards Neo-liberal globalisation. Neo-liberalism is an economic model that gives maximum con- trol to private commercial inter- ests, with minimal state interven- tions, founded on the belief that consumer demand will cause soci- ety to regulate itself. The theory is that, based on their personal needs, people will seek the goods/services that they want,

which will lead the private entities

to provide such services, and at the

most competitive price possible. It promises commercial efficiency, and greater personal freedom. The neo-liberal economic model came to prominence in the 1980s, with the privatisation and anti-welfare policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, in Britain and America. With the col-

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lapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, and the effective end of the com- munist alternative, neo-liberalism gained a supreme position in global politics: indeed, it became an unchallenged fact that the only way to organise a free democracy, was on free-market economics. Neo-liberalism became the “ide- ology with no name”, such was its dominance. It is only since the economic crash of 2008 – which was caused by a lack of state in- tervention and market regulation – that people have come to question this model, and seek out alterna- tives. By 2002 neo-liberalism had come to Ireland. Based on its free- market assumptions, Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats went about fragmenting and effec- tively destroying the Participatory Democracy framework. Aside from ideological reasons of cost-cutting, and minimal state intervention, Kelleher and O’Neill also report a feeling among politi- cians that the sector had gone be- yond its brief in its campaigning and public education role. Com- munity organisations became ri- vals to local government and poli- ticians. The political system was sceptical – they saw such groups and activists as alternative forms of local democracy. As effective as the sector was in solving community problems, officials became cagey of autono- mous forms of community devel- opment. And it was a catch-22 situation: the sector could not take on the state and expect to be fund- ed by it at the same time. Many inter-related develop- ments were split. This structural change caused much confusion and inefficiency, and gave a core group of civil servants in the De- partment of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the opportunity to impose a new model for man- aging the community and local development sectors. This model focused on external- ly-set and often arbitrary targets. “Value for money” became the central theme, and on-the-ground social good receded into the back-

ground. Social interventions were calculated in terms of cost and benefit, to give a shallow numeri- cal value.

Recession annihilates the sector When workers challenged these policies, they faced great hostil- ity. Official warnings were given to those in community and local development projects that they were not to engage in any activism or campaigning work, and that no employee should undermine or be in conflict with representative democracy. Faced with reduced funding, and mounting disregard, the sector began to wane. It grass- roots, bottom-up values had been outlawed. Demoralisation set in. Then, with the economic down- turn of 2008, came annihilation. Although funding cuts had com- menced prior to the financial crisis, as part of the government’s policy of austerity cutbacks were exacer- bated. Between 2008 and 2011 the community and voluntary sector was cut by 35%, in contrast to the 7% faced by other sectors. Some estimations put the decrease in funding as high as 41%. In 2009, nineteen of the 180 Community Development Pro- jects were closed with two weeks’ notice. Workers were made re- dundant without full entitlements, something that SIPTU is still pur- suing to this day in the Labour Court. Worse still, communication of redundancies came not by per- sonal contact but by way of email or text. Coming two weeks before Christmas, the devastation was to- tal. One worker said “it was as if my life’s work was erased, it was like a bereavement.” With no redundancy payments and no entitlements to a work pension, the economic realities of the closures hit hard. Many work- ers ended up unemployed, while some workers ended up on tem- porary employment and training schemes. Unable to pay the rent in her private sector housing, one woman interviewed by Kelleher and O’Neill ended up homeless. Project budgets of the remain- ing projects were cut and projects

budgets of the remain- ing projects were cut and projects were ordered to desist from all

were ordered to desist from all campaigning and advocacy. Local project structures, project workers and the language of community development were taken over and a centrally-driven, repressive, and bureaucratic procedure was put in place. The autonomy of the sector was finally done away with. State- funded community development work was an at end. Local Development Companies (LDCs) that managed the pro- gramme were accountable to cen- tral government through Pobal. These companies were responsi- ble for achieving targets set by the centre and adhering to budgetary obligations. Local projects in turn were answerable to the LDCs. The result was a complex relationship between the state and community organisations as control was exer- cised through devolved structures with stifling levels of bureaucracy. Administrative and reporting re- sponsibilities in the Local and Community Development Pro- gramme (LCDP) were excessive and time consuming. The high-point of the 2000 White Paper on the Relation- ship between the Community and Voluntary Sector and the State was a distant memory. The state had once official endorsed values of bottom-up development, had recognised the capacity for com- munities to identify and create in- novative solutions, and enshrined the importance of advocacy and campaigning. Today, workers in the sector report being engaged in endless red-tape, being confined to offices and metrics, instead of tak- ing an active role outside their of- fice, amongst community groups.

Naming neo-liberalism and forging new alliances According to Kelleher and O’Neill, the shift that took place in the community development, anti-poverty and equality sector between 2002 and 2015 was a shift from participatory democ- racy to a more controlling repre- sentative structure based on neo- liberal values. Ordinary people were no longer encouraged to take a role in the decisions that affected them; and community workers were distanced from individuals and groups in their locality, tasked more often with filling out lengthly reports and satisfying arbitrary targets. Under the new model social problems were individualised and de-contextualised from their social and economic context. The principles of social value,

social solidarity and the building

of social capital were given little

attention. Community was com-

modified. Worse still, according

to Kelleher and O’Neill, the trau-

ma, shame, hopelessness, anger and demoralisation experienced, resulted in a silence around the destruction of the community de-

velopment sector. It’s a story that has largely gone untold. Notwithstanding this, much of the community and local activism which was built up under state- funded programmes in the 1980s and 1990s has moved onto street protests. Examples include the anti-austerity marches concerned with water charges, as well as protests about cut-backs in com- munity and social services, the bank bail-out, homelessness and affordable housing. Aside from this, some key fig- ures in the movement to repeal the eight amendment had been fighting for the cause since the introduction of the amendment,

in 1983.

Kelleher and O’Neill argue that when it comes to fighting for the interests of the community development sector, and for so-

cial solidarity, a huge part of the problem still lies in the dominant and invisible position enjoyed by neo-liberalism in modern political discourse. Seldom was it named

in the crises to which it gave rise

such as: the financial meltdown

of 2007/2008; or the offshoring

of wealth by the super-rich, docu-

mented in the Panama Papers in December 2016. They stress that neo-liberalism needs to be named, challenged, and market economics needs to be put under greater regulatory restraint, with some sectors taken under state control entirely. The marketisation of the hous- ing sector in the 1990s, and the gradual withdrawal of the state from direct local authority house building contributed to the cur- rent crisis in homelessness, and the unaffordability of houses to buy or to rent. The persistence of

the crisis was in part due to the reluctance of the Irish state to un- dertake the robust interventions that were needed, as the political elite waited for the re-balancing

of a self-regulating housing mar-

ket. In the concluding sections of

their report, the academics ar- gue for the state to re-engage in

a substantial housing building

programme, with the retention of public land in public ownership. They also outline the need to fund

land in public ownership. They also outline the need to fund initiatives based on those prin-

initiatives based on those prin- ciples of social value that were once central to the community development sector, such as co- operative housing. Furthermore, they advocate for an increased role for credit unions which, unlike exclusively profit- driven banks, are owned and pro- vide mutual benefit and support for members. Likewise, approved

housing associations could ad- dress mortgage default needs, and avoid the outsourcing of mortgag- es and loans to so-called “vulture funds”. Based on their wide-ranging interviews with former partici- pants in the sector, Kelleher and O’Neill argue for building a new bottom-up, autonomous, inde-

pendent movement. Such a move- ment would suffer from a lack of official funding – but would by the same token enjoy a much greater level of autonomy. Funding, they suggest, might be sourced from the trade un- ion movement or philanthropic foundations such as the Carnegie Foundation. By forging closer networks with Irish trade unions, as well as other international en- tities in the global justice sector, a new community development- type movement could begin to find its feet. If you are interested in the re- search outlined in this article, and would like to request a copy of Kelleher and O’Neill’s entire research paper, email peternews-

Pictured page 32: Pauline Con- lon MA who provided assistance with the research, and was pre- sent at the official launch. This page: Patricia Kelleher who co-authored the report. She has a PhD from UCD, and was

previously a research fellow at Harvard University. Pictures courtesy of Patricia Kelleher and Cathleen O’Neill.

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