Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Michael D and the Being Young and Irish Squad hit Monaghan

‘In Dreams begin responsibility’
So said WB Yeats, and I agree. Being young and Irish is met with mixed sentiments today. When Katie Taylor took gold in London 2012 whilst Amhrán na bhFiann bellowed in the background, when Leinster were crowned Heineken Cup champions in 2011 and 2012, when the Irish Paralympic team returned to our shores with 16 medals from London 2012, when the Irish Rugby team won both the Grand Slam and the Six Nations Championship in 2009 – I was proud to young and Irish. Having such a high calibre of young people representing us on the global stage in various sporting genres, focused and committed to achieving their best for each and every one of us, fills me with pride.
But that pride quickly subsides; when I am reminded these moments are the minority. In reality, being young and Irish equates to concern; concern about the future, Ireland’s future; who will be left behind to lead our country if the young generation of today are forced to leave our shores in search of employment opportunities abroad? Will anyone be left behind to repair this country? Despite the plethora of concerns, despite the numerous attempts to promote the need for the youth to become politically aware and involved, there was no answer from government bodies. We, the youth, had no voice. Many felt silenced, many felt cheated by a country and a former generation who’d wronged us, only to make us pay dearly for their mistakes, and many, with little hope of a future in Ireland, left. It’s disheartening to watch from the sidelines as a country shunned its youth.
Step forward Michael D Higgins, Ireland’s current President. A President, who seems to care, not solely for his term in office, but for the future of the entire country, and the future as he sees it is the youth of today. So often, presidential candidates have promises they vow to keep if they get into office, only to so quickly fall by the waste side by other more ‘pressing’ issues. Not Michael D. He wanted the involvement of young people from the start and he actively sought to create an initiative that encompasses young people remoulding our country. It’s a beginning.
Following a pilot programme earlier in the year, the Being Young and Irish initiative kicked off, with four regional workshops, which invited young people aged 17-26 years to take part in sharing their vision for Ireland, and tackling questions such as what do young people need to do to help achieve this Ireland. If you couldn’t attend a workshop and still wished to take part, you could do so by logging on to and submitting your thoughts. Finally, we have a voice.
I was taking no chances, so I registered to attend a workshop and submitted by views on the website also. I attended the Monaghan workshop on September 22nd, almost 70 young people attended. The workshop was opened by President Higgins, this small gesture of taking the time out on a Saturday morning to address us emphasised his commitment to this project and to us as a generation. I was impressed. The manner in which he addressed us was refreshing – open, honest, and encouraging. Subsequent to this address, we spent the morning brainstorming our vision for the country, what it was we wanted to be proud of in Ireland, what we wanted Ireland to be renowned for in years to come. It was interesting to see the ideas of young people, a stark reminder the creativity young people can offer. Throughout the day we tackled the problems we as young people wanted confronted, and how we proposed to get involved and provide solutions for these issues. Team work was integral, and every member had a voice, regardless if we agreed or disagreed with each other – sure a healthy debate is important now and again eh?!
I ended the day content in the fact that ideas we brought to the table, were now in the hands of the project team, and would later be presented at a national seminar, and furthermore, our proposals would be sent to the necessary governmental department for review. I could only hope that our efforts were not in vain, and that President Higgins will continue his efforts to involve young people in the country’s welfare.
Despite my content at the workshop, I also left feeling concerned. The 70 people who attended the workshop were predominantly aged between 17-20 years, whilst the workshop was open to those aged from 17-26 years. There were a mere handful of people in their twenties, on the later side of 24, not only did I feel like the OAP of the group, I was gravely concerned. Where were my age group? Was it a lack of political interest? Or had they fled the country? In the rural area of Cavan/Monaghan, most people who were permanently based in these regions have left, have had to leave due to the lack of job opportunities, and so there voice was unheard, silenced if you may. The 22-26 age bracket was underrepresented, but due to circumstance not lack of interest. I urge the Being Young and Irish initiative to attempt to gauge the views of those who’ve emigrated, it’s vital if we ever want them to return with a greater skill set than what they left with.
Also with second level students well represented on the day something new became evident. There is an education gap. The majority of second level students openly admitted to not fully understanding the salient issues of concern for our nation. When the topic of economic stability and a recovery were broached, it was a topic they felt they could not contribute or add value to, as they had not been educated to appreciate what truly is going on in our economy. These are young people in an education system which does not provide an education on such topics. Despite this concern, they were at the workshop – they acknowledged an education gap and wanted to rectify it, and wanted to learn so they too could be part of the recovery.
In an age where due to past mistakes we are often disheartened and feel undervalued as a generation when forced to emigrate or take jobs which do not allow us to realise our full potential, it is encouraging to know that though we often feel like a ‘forgotten’ generation, we now have a medium through which we can have our voice heard, and more importantly, there are a myriad of young people who want to get involved and repair this country to realise their future of a better Ireland. Let’s hope President Higgins continues with this initiative and we as a young generation get to realise our dreams – after all ‘In Dreams being Responsibility’.
Video link to my submission to the Being Young and Irish Initiative below –
 The Forgotten Irish Graduate, 26th September 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Olympic Opening Ceremony, Britain’s latest Bond Girl and a rather bizarre tribute to the NHS!

According to the BBC last night they had an audience share of 82%, with ratings soaring to 27 million during the three and a half hour spectacle. Despite the extortionate viewing figures, we can all admit that the level of hype and the highest level of secrecy surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony sparked our curiosity and drove the majority of us to tune in last night to what was undoubtedly at times one of the most atypical ceremonies ever witnessed.

£27million for the creation of Danny Boyle’s highly anticipated spectacle, but was it worth it?
As most adoring Olypmic fans and Brits praised the creative showpiece, I for one am not in total agreement that the Olympic Opening Ceremony truly was magnificent.

As the titles rolled and we sat in anticipation for what was definitely a memorable beginning to any Olympic Games, and as Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins rang the Olympic Bell I wondered what would lie in store. Was I the only one who thought school was out for the summer, only to feel like I’d been summoned to my living room chair for a British history lesson courtesy of Danny Boyle. However, despite this busy showcase, I urged myself to keep watching if only to see Katie Taylor lead the Irish Team into the Olympic Stadium. As my knowledge on the industrial revolution was restored and the inclusion of Sir Kenneth Branagh reading from Shakespeare’s The Tempest , I firmly believed that that opening ceremony could only get better, not so, as a rather bizarre tribute to the NHS ensued. I wondered what befit its place in this show, as they celebrated the NHS, up popped Harry Potter characters, and down came an influx of Mary Poppins. Was I dreaming?  Unfortunately, I wasn’t, as the peculiarities were set to continue.

Just as we began to come to terms with what we were visualising, Daniel Craig appeared on the big screen as his 007 character with Britain’s latest, and possibly oldest bond girl to date, the Queen herself. She made a cameo appearance in a comical sketch filmed at Buckingham Palace culminated by her arrival into the Olympic Stadium seemingly parachuting from an overhead helicopter with the James Bond star. As stuntsman Gary Connery makes his landing wearing a similar dress to her majesty, and the camera quickly turns on the Queen who walks into the Stadium. Yes, Danny you fooled the world there with a stunt like that!

The ceremony moved to celebrate music and social media with dance performances which included the appearance of Dizzee Rascal.  Chariots of Fire was announced as the next musical composition to be played by the orchestra, only to see Rowan Akinson’s infamous character Mr Bean, take part in the composition in a satirical manner.  Confused? Yes, me too, not quite sure why his presence was required.  Apparently his comedy is well received across the globe, well if that’s the case; why not throw him into the opening ceremony too.

Next David Beckham appeared on a speedboat travelling on the final leg of the journey with the Olympic torch. Perhaps this move a little more comprehendible as he himself is a globally renowned sporting figure.
Was I the only one who thought that the antics of the Opening Ceremony were a little bizarre? Perhaps I’m one of the few honest enough to admit that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and perhaps putting on view Britain’s well known faces for comedy sketches doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with this sporting event. Was it all a mere ploy to showcase some of Britain’s most beloved celebrities? In truth, I’m not sure. Nor am I sure what Danny Boyle’s logic was in the creation of this spectacle. One thing’s for sure it did make the global headlines.

The Guardian hailed Boyle’s ‘masterpiece’ as ‘the biggest, maddest, weirdest, most heartfelt and lovable dream sequence in British cinema history’. The Mirror did notice that ‘it was hard to think of any British icon it didn’t reference’, whilst the New York Times described it as ‘visually stunning’.
For me however, it wasn’t the spectacle and the famous faces that made the night quite stunning. Instead for me, it was seeing each country enter the Olympic Stadium with the flag holder leading their country and their country’s athletes following behind. The sense of pride which lit their eyes, and the happiness that filled their faces was no comedy sketch; it was a natural reaction to the honour bestowed on them to represent their country in the 2012 Olympic Games. It was a culmination of their talent; hard work and dedication that had resulted in each one of them walking into that stadium last night.

Watching on and reading the reviews today, it felt that the most salient part of the Opening Ceremony, the introduction of the countries and their athletes to the Olympic Stadium, had been overlooked as all eyes were on some mad spectacle set to honour celebrities and not the true heroes that were present to represent us all. Whilst Daniel Craig may be the most handsome Bond we’ve had in long time, and whilst David Beckham gets better looking with age, they were not what our eyes should have been fixated on last night, it was the athletes. The fact that the media are heralding the involvement of British celebrities in the ceremony saddens me.
What saddens me even more, is the criticism the unknown young athletes who received the Olympic torch from Sir Steve Redgrave and brought it on it’s final journey to light the cauldron was deemed an ‘anti-climax’ by many across various media outlets.

John Cherwa from the LA Times wrote ‘Hated the flame lighting. Just make a decision and pick someone’.  Some went so far as to say letting seven people light the cauldron was a cop out, and that it should have been lit by a person ‘people have heard of’.  Again a reminder that we live in a celebrity crazed world that wanted a ‘famous face’ taking the torch on it’s final hurdle. The point missed by so many is that it was seven young people who had been nominated by renowned sporting figures and athletes, who wanted to inspire the new generation.  Sport is a wonderful thing; it is something comprehendible no matter your race, religion or background. It brings people together, it requires real dedication, personal commitment, motivation, ambition and passion; characteristics that can inspire us all. The lightening of the cauldron was an act to inspire the next generation, the folk that sat in their living room tuning into the Opening Ceremony with similar dreams as those, that the athletes possessed, that were presented to us tonight. Reminding us that we can dream big, and that one day we too could inspire another generation.

The ceremony concluded with the Queen officially declaring them open ‘I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era’ and Sir Paul Mc Cartney singing Hey Jude, as a scene of breathtaking fireworks lit the London sky line, Danny Boyle tweeted ‘Proud to be British’, I tweeted ‘Proud to be Irish’. Seeing Katie Taylor wave our flag, followed by the Irish contingent filled me with pride…for me, they were the true heroes of last night, alas, I can watch Daniel Craig on the big screen any day!

28 July 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate

The Voice UK - Not about the Price Tag!

Not about the Price Tag? Whatever the reason, it looks like Jessie J and Sir Tom Jones will not be returning The Voice.

According to sources it is thought that the reason Jessie J isn’t returning as a judge on the next series of The Voice is due to a clash with her UK tour dates and the filming of the second season of the BBC show. The singer had previously received criticism for her alleged diva like behaviour on the BBC set, her refusal to do publicity for the show, and her admission on Graham Norton’s chat show that she hadn’t even bothered to watch the show back.

Meanwhile, the Welsh wonder, Sir Tom Jones, the winner of the first series with his contestant Leanne Mitchell has apparently also been advised not to return for the second season by his own management team. I for one can’t see why the man needed the gig anyhow!

Twitter crazed however, does look set to return, as does The Script front man Danny O’Donoghue, to the judging panel, but if rumours are to be believed there could be two new faces joining the judging panel. The BBC are also keen to make changes to the £22 million show in a bid to boost ratings in the upcoming season after they plummeted in week 10 of last year’s season.
£22 million for the creation of a show supposedly just aimed at finding ‘The Voice’ of the UK….a show based on true talent, devoid of any gimmicks (apparently). Hmm, why then the need for the massive £22million price tag?! Possibly a ploy to get Jessie J and Sir Tom back again?!Only time will tell… well that or a tweet from!

24  July 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate

Tale Of Tragedy As London Marathon Remembered For More Than Charitable Efforts

Last Sunday I scrambled out of bed at what seemed like an ungodly hour to tune into the coverage of the 2012 London Marathon. Interviews with elite athletes hoping for a place in the London Olympics; celebrities; and then the normal, everyday folk who didn’t have the help of a personal trainer, running for a charitable cause close to their heart were broadcast. The atmosphere seemed almost infectious as hoards of people with the same goal scampered to the start line whilst remembering the reason they had decided to endure this 26.2 mile test.

I watched on in excitement. Throughout the day headlines scrolled across our screens of the various celebrities that had bravely completed the route, the 101 year old Indian runner, Fauja Singh, who had proven that anything is possible finishing the marathon in a time of 7 hours and 49 minutes. However few were aware of the 101 year old runner’s achievement, as the headlines were dominated by a tragic end to the London Marathon for one young lady.

30 year old avid fundraiser Claire Squires was undertaking the last mile of the London Marathon when she collapsed at Birdcage Walk. She died a short time later. She had raised £500 for The Samaritans, but news of her untimely death prompted an outpouring of condolences and public donations from people across all corners of the globe to her online fundraising page. Her fund currently stands at over £1 million, five days after her death. Claire, a hairdresser from Leicestershire, was described by family and friends as an ‘incredible, inspirational, driven person’. And this was undoubtedly evident from her fundraising efforts running the marathon in aid of the Samaritans, and in honour of her brother, Grant, who passed away in 2001 following a drug overdose; raising £1,886 for the Childrens’ Society by completing the 2010 London Marathon; and only last year raised £1,430 for the RAF Association by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The outpouring of generosity this week reminds her family and friends that her fundraising efforts were not in vain, and that they can find solace in the support offered by all at this difficult time.

It is indeed a story which has touched not only the hearts of the UK, but the hearts of the world. We may not have known Claire Spires personally, but we all know someone who has ran a marathon, maybe you are a marathon runner, or maybe you’ve dreamed of being brave enough to register for one. It is a humane story to which we can all relate to. I know I can. I’m running the Belfast Marathon on May 7th, in nine days time. The Belfast Marathon will be by first marathon. It will be a culmination of my training to date, my physical ability but more importantly my mental strength, which will help me keep fighting until I see that finish line.
Claire Squires did not make that final mile, but her inspirational story touched us all. I know that I won’t be alone in saying this but when I do attempt to run the Belfast Marathon on May 7th, I will not solely be running the marathon for myself and the Irish Cancer Society, part of me will be running it for Claire too.

28 April 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate

A Real Life Villain

We all know the villain from the movies… the vacant eyes, yet a face of terror, responsible for the most heinous of crimes. We are shielded from their acts by a cinema screen, a half eaten box of popcorn perhaps or the human shield you’re sitting next to in the comfort lined cinema seats. We’ve all been there; if you dare to admit it or not, I’m sure there was that one movie, that one scene, which ignited an element of fear within you.

Unfortunately, for the packed cinema in Colorado last Friday, at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the villain that came to life that night was not one from the movies, but a real life villain. An incident, that within minutes resulted in the shooting dead of 12 people and causing injury to 58 others.  A man dressed in body armour and toting three guns opened fire at the midnight screening of the Batman movie. Moments after the massacre this man was apprehended.

President Obama was due to visit the town to meet victims and their families last night. This atrocity will now serve as a reminder for the President that the issue of gun control in America is one of grave salience and one which needs to be addressed immediately.
Today, that suspected gunman made his first court appearance, refusing to talk about the reasoning behind the shootings, a massacre which is undoubtedly one of the worst in US history. Police are still searching for the motive which led him to this terrible onslaught.

As the suspect sat in court, courtesy of the TV screen, the rest of the world were today sheltered from this villain; dressed in a red jailhouse jump suit, with bright red dyed hair, his glare fixated straight ahead – James Holmes, a real life villain, and one that will now haunt Colorado for life. He will face at least 71 charges, one for each victim, and may face the death penalty.

In the movies, the villains are also tried at the end, but it is then the happily ever after ensues, but not this time, the bleak realism for the people of Colorado is no happy ending, it’s a heartbreaking tale of a packed cinema screening that ended in tragedy, a tragedy that will remain with Colorado for years to come.
To the twelve victims of the Colorado Massacre– Rest In Peace.

24 July 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate

Labour Party Conference Descends Into Chaos

In recent times politicians haven’t been topping any popularity polls, so it was no surprise that on Saturday, at the Labour Party Conference in NUI Galway that violent clashes broke out between anti-austerity protestors and Gardaí.

In the afternoon, vicious scenes of fighting were witnessed, as protestors attacked security men with flags, utilised a mock coffin as a weapon with which they breached the Garda cordon surrounding the conference and proceeded to the doors of the hall where the conference was taking place. A mere 20 Gardaí became the shielding force, acting as the sole barrier between the protestors and the conference delegates, the not so popular Labour politicians.

Resulting from these ferocious scenes was the decision to lock down the conference centre for a period of time. This however did not deter the efforts of the protestors, with one RTE camera man even succumbing to a ‘pepper spray’ ordeal at the hands of the frustrated protestors. Journalists who had attended the event to cover the protest were also threatened, and one student was finally arrested by Gardaí after reaching the windows of the conference centre.

People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, who was one of the politicians leading the demonstration, said that what was initially a peacefully demonstration had been hijacked by a plethora of other protest groups, namely the Occupy Dame Street movement, Citizens versus Charges, Shell to Sea, lone parents, anti-bin tax campaigners, DEIS schools defenders.

As bag pipes and bodhrans sounded in the background, taunts aimed at Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, echoed around the NUI Galway campus, whilst placards read ‘Don’t Register Don’t Pay’, ‘Axe the Home Tax’ and ‘Thug Hogan’ were evident to all.

Undoubtedly this was an obvious to Phil Hogan’s reiteration on Friday night that the Government were not backing down regarding the collection of the Household Charge of €100, and would enlist the help of local authorities to pursue all those who have not paid.

To date 900,000 people have registered for the household charge. Notifications will be sent to those who have yet to pay in a similar method by which people are notified of their obligation to pay the TV licence. Phil Hogan also pointed out that “People know in these financial circumstances they must make a financial contribution for local services, and notwithstanding the fact that people are under pressure, over 900,000 people in this country have prepared to comply with the law – unlike the people outside,” referring to protestors outside a conference he delivered in Kilkenny on Friday.

So dare I say it – Are violent protests truly the correct medium to have your voice heard? Or are they just an excuse for thuggish behaviour? Does there not exist a better means through which our voice can be heard? Should these groups to meet not be given the opportunity to meet with specific political parties in an ordered manner for a healthy discussion and one which does not end in violence?

It may be the age old adage, but violence does not solve anything. Outlandish yobbish behaviour of protestors merely paints the nation in a bad light, and we could really do with not tarnishing our name any further. If we want issues addressed by government ministers we must meet with them in a different environment. Also, we must note that it is possibly the worst time to be in government, and must commend the efforts of those currently in ministerial roles, as they have quite simply landed a job that requires them to clean up a mess caused by others.

We as a nation must accept our part too in the financial recovery. Whilst we may look unfavourably at some austerity measures, and the requirement to pay the household charge, we must focus on the ways by which we will recover as a nation, and return to some form of prosperity as a country – a country we can be proud of and one we aren’t so ashamed to call home – even if that does mean adhering to the Government’s request and paying the household charge!

16 April 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate

Young, Talented and Loaded

The Sunday Times Rich List released this week gave us every reason to be envious, as young talented actors and musicians are reeling in the big bucks!

Not solely the lead role in the Harry Potter films, but Danielle Radcliffe also took the lead role in the Young Rich List of millions with earnings totalling £54m. Who would have thought that a glasses wearing wizard boy had the potential to command such high earnings?! The earnings amassed by the Radcliffe last year were resultant of his lead role in the final instalment of Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and the success of his most recent film, The Woman In Black also contributed to topping up his earnings by £6m this year.

It was however ‘Someone Like You’ singing sensation, Adele, who topped the young musicians poll. Her album entitled ‘21’ sold 10 million copies last year, and also trebled her wealth in the meantime soaring from earnings of £6m to £20m in a mere year. Not a bad year, eh?!

Acting remains the means by which one can amass significant earnings. This is evidenced by Robert Pattinson’s pay packet for his contributions to the Twlight Saga, which this year added a supplementary £8m to his wealth. The Twlight Star is now worth approximately £40m. Kiera Knightley features as the third highest paid actress with earnings of £30m. This starlet registered no increase to her wealth last year…. my heart bleeds for you Kiera, given the fact the rest of us were stripped of bonuses and salary increments to basic salaries, you can hardly complain!!

In 2010 Jessie J didn’t even feature in the Young Music Millionaires Top 20, but in 2011 her ‘Price tag’  (see what I did there?!) was an estimated £5m. The meteoric rise to fame of Rosie Huntington-Whitely secured the Victoria’s Secret lingerie model and now actress secured her earnings of £5m also. So it appears that it is possible to be plucked from obscurity one year, and included in the top young earners list the next, not a bad year’s work at all work for either starlet!!

It is also worth pointing out that on further inspection of the rich list, it appears that Mr Nasty himself, Simon Cowell, is behind many of youngsters listed this year. Juxtaposing his creation of several reality talent shows, and his influence in the music industry, X Factor sensations, JLS and Leona Lewis, and former X Factor judge Cheryl Cole also make the cut with earnings of £12m, £5m (per member) and £12m respectively. So whilst many will slate BGT, X Factor and the likes, there appears to be a hefty reward for those who go the distance once the talent shows come to a close. No doubt, the members of One Direction will be joining this rich list next year given the current success they are experiencing on an international scale.

So it seems the talented youth of today are earning mega bucks, I, like many others, am extremely envious, and wish there was some way I could feature on next year’s list!!

Now to find myself a vocal coach that can cure my tone deaf singing habits and ensure I sail through an X Factor audition…. or a drama teacher who can land me a coveted walk on role in Fair City….  

14 April 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate

Government Remain Quiet As Divorce Rate Increases

The results of Census 2011 released this week have revealed that the number of divorcees has soared by 150 percent in the past decade to 87,770. This can be evidenced from the results of the 2002 census, the first census to be conducted following the introduction of divorce in Ireland in 1996, inside which detailed a figure of 35,059 divorcees.

In contrast to the number of divorcees, the number of separated people has marginally increased to 116,194 from 107,263 five years previous.

Expectedly, resultant of an increase in the divorce rate was an increase in the marital breakdown rate. In 2006 the marital breakdown rate was 8.7%, and this has now risen to 9.7% in 2011.
Nationwide, there was an increase of 21,800 since 2006 of co-habiting couples, with 143,600 of couples favouring co-habitation as opposed to marriage.

But all of the above are mere statistics. The reasons and the effects of divorce remains a topic largely undiscussed in Ireland. The findings by the Central Statistics Office give us reason to allow these statistics occupy the headlines, but only for a matter of days, until they become the taboo subject which will only rear its ugly head again when the next set of Census results are released.
Even then the means in which they are released is a little deceiving, if you add together the number of divorcees, people separated, and those who remarried after divorce, the number jumps to a quarter of a million. Now that’s a real headline grabber! Albeit comparative to other countries the marital breakdown rate in Ireland still remains relatively low.

Today I ask, why is there no discussion surrounding these figures? Why aren’t the government questioning the increase in divorce rates? And why is no one delving into the possible effects divorce can have on both parent and child?

Whilst reported nationwide as a mere statistic, divorce is much more. It can be for many, that lasting scar which remains unhealed for years to come. The number of children who are affected by martial breakups remains unreported and research suggesting the damage it causes children has been published on countless occasions, the impact it can have on a child’s educational attainment in the future is significant, as teachers can notice a change in a child’s behaviour subsequent to a marital breakup.
On a personal note, I am a by-product of a bitter and acrimonious martial break up, but I didn’t allow it to affect my studies. In fact, following the news, I went in to school and sat my Junior Certificate exams the next morning – my education achievement remained, thankfully, unaffected.

However it has been noted that divorce leads to a mistrust of marriage by those affected, and to that I would concur. It is this which is believed to be a factor which has contributed to the falling rates of marriages in western countries. For children who experience divorce, are reluctant to ever subject themselves to something which would lead to that experience ever again. Once bitten, twice shy as they say. This also points to the reasoning behind the increase in cohabitation in western countries including Ireland – and whilst we worry about divorce rates, further research has suggested that cohabiting parents are twice as likely to break up as married parents.

So what can we do in Ireland? Re-enact our much loved ‘brush it under the carpet’ attitude? Isn’t that where the topic of abortion and other controversial topics remain? Or utilise these figures as a wake-up call.
Surely no society wants to boast about soaring divorce rates, surely no society wants children to be affected in the long term from such an experience, and surely the government can side step talks of the bank bailouts for one day in the Dail to address a humane aspect of life here in Ireland and one effecting adults, children, and the wider society alike?

I don’t know about you Enda, but I sure am getting uncomfortable with these figures!!

31st March 2012 - The Forgotten Irish Graduate