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  • Opinion: Decent start to a new era a priority for Ireland coach » Inside Ireland
    hopeful A coaching career that delivered two Heineken Cups in three years for Leinster is testament to the intellectual currency the former Blues coach brings to Ireland s new brains trust Despite delivering his country s second Grand Slam in 2009 there had been an underlying feeling that Declan Kidney had taken the squad as far as he could in terms of both results and performances Now that thoughtful Kiwi Schmidt has assumed the coaching reins however many commentators feel that Ireland can start making tangible progress once again Certainly the universally high esteem in which the former Leinster boss is held demonstrates that the players have been receptive to the managerial changing of guard And the positive noises emanating from the Irish camp in recent weeks speak of a squad relishing the challenges laid down by their new head coach Challenges But there is no doubt that Ireland s adopted Kiwi coach has been dealt a particularly tough hand this autumn The All Blacks remain the standard bearers of world rugby and the pinnacle of everything international teams aspire to The marvellous clean sweep in the recent rugby championship attests to a team at the very top of its game Not only have the world champions dominated all comers in terms of results recently the All Blacks have simultaneously scaled heights of performance unprecedented in the modern game New Zealand therefore are not just the best team in the world but are by some distance the elite of world rugby And history reminds us that Ireland have a monumental mountain to climb if they are to threaten this ascendancy Brian O Driscoll would like to end his season in the number 13 hersey on a high Brian O Driscoll for one would love nothing more than to form part of the first Test team from this island to topple the mighty All Blacks But neither contemporary nor historical evidence support the likelihood of such an upset Also although the current Wallaby side is far from vintage Ireland s recent record against Australia doesn t exactly instil confidence either What is more in the likes of Will Genia Adam Ashley Cooper and Israel Falou the Aussies possess devastating strike runners capable of tearing any opposition to shreds Wallaby scrum susceptible What the summer s Lions tour and Saturday s defeat by England demonstrate is that the Wallaby scrum remains susceptible to pressure and can be exposed against the highest level of opposition Ireland will hope that they possess enough firepower of their own to ask questions of a vulnerable Australian front row therefore Even Saturday s curtain raiser against Samoa cannot be taken for granted by any means As ever the supremely physical pacific islanders represent a potential banana skin for the Irish hosts in the series opener But for all the potential pitfalls reasons for optimism abound Such has been the inconsistency and under achievement afflicting Irish rugby in recent years any quantifiable improvement in terms of performance will

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/11/08/opinion-decent-start-to-a-new-era-a-priority-for-ireland-coach-102766/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Comment: Lions Tours are the summit of rugby, surpassing even the World Cup! » Inside Ireland
    made the Lions name so iconic From Willie John McBride to Phil Bennett to Martin Johnson and Keith Wood all the true greats of the game in this part of the world have graced the cherished red garments of the Lions When it comes to the real giants of the game the legends have not only played for the tourists but also sampled victory in the red shirt Earliest memories My earliest memory of the Lions is the 1989 tour to Australia I was only about ten at the time but I can still vividly recall Finlay Calder Gavin Hastings and Jeremy Guscott locking horns with Wallaby greats Lynagh Campese and Farr Jones The memories are indelibly marked in my mind watching truncated highlights of the tourists attempts to cement their place in history I was instantly captivated by the sheer spectacle and sense of occasion My affection for the Lions was emphatically confirmed eight years later when Guscott s perfectly aimed drop goal secured victory against the Springbok world champions What struck me most was the same aspect that delights me to this say the sense of unity that is created among disparate elements of rugby Unity What else in the sporting world unites Celtic sports fans in harmony finding common cause with English supporters they normally enjoy a fervent rivalry with Where else can Irish flags fly with English ones in a sense of unity That fact alone makes the Lions something to be truly cherished and celebrated And in what other context do you see British and Irish fans united in comradeship The glorious sight of British and Irish flags waving in unison must be completely unprecedented outside Lions games On Lions crusades political schisms and national partisanship are sacrificed for the common good Just like the halcyon McGuigan fights of the 1980s Lions matches serve to unite rather than divide Endurance despite success One of the most remarkable facets of Lions tours is that they endure despite a pronounced lack of success As befits a scratch side amalgamated together to compete against the elite of the southern hemisphere Lions sides tend to lose more often than they win One of the reasons we remember the marvellous victories is that they occur so infrequently The perpetual appeal of the Lions is illustrated by the fact that the fans love affair remains despite a lack of tangible success For British and Irish rugby fans however Lions tours are still the ultimate An English pal of mine jetted down under recently and I am not afraid to admit that I am positively green with envy and jealousy For like most real rugby fans from these islands I would like nothing more than to experience the delights of a Lions tour travelling to the other side of the world to cheer on the heroes of British and Irish rugby against the foes of the southern hemisphere So like many other like minded souls I will be rising early on Saturday

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/06/27/comment-lions-tours-are-the-summit-of-rugby-surpassing-even-the-world-cup-100301/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Comment and Opinion: We hope that peace throughout the Middle East becomes a palpable reality in the near future » Inside Ireland
    conflict in the world is simple and G8 leaders need to approach situations such as Israel Palestine with honest plurality and the give precedence to the optimistic promotion of peace Unfortunately the G8 currently represents a deal of what is wrong with the present system Typically they provide more obstacles rather than passages to peace in various parts of the world They need to be convinced that preferring profit over the safety and well being of humanity is wrong on so many levels Genuine Conflict Resolution Process I d like to see David Cameron and President Obama in particular discussing progressive ways forward in a genuine conflict resolution process that is based in human rights compliant principles not self interest and preferential treatment for foreign allies This requires honest brokerage something the G8 clearly lack in their current direction Our governments cannot continue appeasing the State of Israel pumping wasteful funding into a corrupt Palestinian Authority nor ignore the extremism and abuses of Hamas Sectarian divisions There needs to be a frank discussion of how to end the polarized sectarian divisions which funnel hatred mistrust and hysteria into an unbalanced conflict As the G8 begins here in Northern Ireland I feel strongly moved to encourage the G8 to focus their efforts on genuine peace building that enshrines equality basic human rights for both Israelis Palestinians Accountability for crimes and abuses is a robustly required feature in any peace process we cannot continue turning a blind eye to the official and unofficial policies of the State of Israel that fuel tensions and will eventually make peace improbable Provisions to support victims and a full method of dealing with legacies in the past that gives them acknowledgement and a voice in shaping the future must be discussed As I have already said no conflict in this world is simple and the G8 leaders along with all other members of the International Community have a responsibility to play a role in dealing with the nuances and complexities that simply must receive attention if we are ever to arrive at an equitable peace in the Middle East Syria I am mindful that the Israel Palestine conflict is not the only issue that requires attention in the Middle East and I encourage Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama to come to an agreement over Syria so that we can see an end to the bloodshed that has seen tens of thousands of innocent victims slaughtered over the course of the last two years Our society shall always stand in solidarity with those who struggle for a just resolution to the Israel Palestine conflict and advocate honestly about the reality on the ground We also hope that peace throughout the Middle East becomes a palpable reality in the near future Gary Spedding is the founder of the Palestine Solidarity Society at Queen s University Belfast The views expressed in this section are of the writer only and do not reflect the views of Inside Ireland ie Comments

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/06/16/comment-and-opinion-we-hope-that-peace-throughout-the-middle-east-becomes-a-palpable-reality-in-the-near-future-100173/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Comment and Opinion: Francis Hutcheson’s Utilitarian views can help us in the North » Inside Ireland
    if the partner persists in this behaviour Good neighbours and good neighbourhoods work on the same basis Effective teams are also dependent on each member doing things that matter to the other team members compromising where needed and even in the very best teams giving where it is not even expected Good news Bad news ratio According to an article in New Scientist last year the species that is by far the most co operative of all is Homo Sapiens This fact is not immediately evident in the media coverage of Northern Ireland North of Ireland at present But then the media no longer feel the need to be accurate or balanced in the picture they paint of the world we live in At a dinner in the Belfast City Hall a year or so ago Alastair Campbell Former Head of Communications to PM Tony Blair told a large audience that when he started in journalism the ratio of bad news stories to good news stories averaged across all the local and national press was around 1 2 He said that it was now more like 8 1 If the UK has deteriorated during this 30 years which is very doubtful it has certainly not deteriorated as much as the change in media coverage would indicate Everyone in NI NoI knows of hundreds of examples of co operation that are never given press coverage In rural areas farmers co operate on the basis of need or enlightened self interest and not on the basis of religious or political allegiance In villages towns and cities here there are a hundred cross community gettings together for every clash shown on the TV Among our local and Assembly politicians there has been a total transformation for the better since the Good Friday Agreement in the genuine attempts to engage and work for the combined good of their shared patches Unfortunately for the general public this happens in private and it seems that the great majority of these politicians cannot be seen to be co operating and compromising in public For the DUP and Sinn Féin in particular their whole political success to date has been on the basis of Not an inch and Ourselves alone As the growing public frustration with the slow progress of action in the Assembly and the falling turnout at elections show this selfish and partisan approach resonates with a dwindling number of voters most of whom are children of the Troubles and so are over fifty years of age Alliance Party and Hutcheson s phrase The Alliance Party s stress on a shared future which boils down to everyone doing some things that matter to others but not themselves is totally in harmony with Francis Hutcheson s famous phrase That action is best which procures results in the greatest happiness well being for the greatest numbers It remains to be seen whether enough of the electorate will agree with the Alliance priority in the local elections in 2013

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/05/29/comment-and-opinion-francis-hutchesons-utilitarian-views-can-help-us-in-the-north-83114/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Comment and Opinion » Inside Ireland
    forward for Unionism Get it right with working mums and your business will benefit A recent article in Time magazine 1 referred to the motherhood penalty as an under reported aspect of the global recession Married mothers are less likely to find a new job than married fathers and likely to get paid less if they do find one Rugby O Gara Blunder a Symptom of Kidney Problem InsideIreland discusses the recent treatment of Ronan O Gara The veteran outhalf who celebrates his 36th birthday today has been humiliatingly axed by the Ireland management for the upcoming game against France Six Nations Analysis Scotland Game Proves that Irish Optimism was Misplaced Rory McGimpsey offers his analysis and opinions about Ireland s disappointing and at times baffling showing against Scotland Comment and Opinion Will the riots be positive for the North s Political Parties This month s Comment and Opinion piece returns to the issue of the protests in east Belfast and elsewhere in the North following the decision by Belfast City Council to reduce the number of days the Union Jack flies on the City Hall Comment and Opinion If you feel so strongly about this flag then stop destroying the country over which it flies This month writer and student Stefan Cunning gives his opinion on the first week of December in Northern Ireland dominated by the violence following the vote on 3rd December by Belfast City Council to reduce the number of days the Union Jack flies on Belfast City Hall Comment and Opinion Weekend of Firsts at DUP Party Conference A headline filled weekend at the DUP party conference on the 3rd Saturday of November shone light on the party s new direction Comment Opinion A new Irish symbol needed for Armistice Day Comment and Opinion Time

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/category/comment-and-opinion/page/3/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Education Roundup: Fianna Fáil criticise Labour’s education ideas while students in North encouraged to register to vote » Inside Ireland
    children attending school are finding it difficult to finance their children s education so this announcement will bring some financial relief to those parents It is important in creating an education system based upon equality that every parent has the opportunity to apply for free school meals and this announcement today bringing independent schools into line with mainstream education is an important step in ensuring all of our children are treated equally Chris Hazzard MLA There are 15 independent schools across the north which last year accommodated almost 700 children The schools which educate pupils from two years old to 18 do not receive any funding from the Department Fianna Fáil criticise decision to cut chaplaincy services from VECs Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has claimed Labour Deputy Aodhán Ó Riordáin s proposal to cancel funding for chaplaincy services in VECs and community schools shows a shocking disregard for the effect that these decisions are having on vulnerable students As someone with a background in education you would expect Deputy Ó Riordáin to understand that the chaplaincy service in these institutions is more about student support than anything else Since his party demolished the student counsellor system these individuals have taken on a more important pastoral support role than ever before added the TD During the Summer Deputy Ó Riordáin said the uncomfortable reality is that Ireland has a segregated education system segregated with a small s but segregated nonetheless We do not have a state education system rather we have a State funded system We have allowed a situation to evolve where the determining ethos governing the vast bulk of our State funded schools is a religious one Labour Deputy Aodhán Ó Riordáin The Labour TD said A dangerous dynamic has arisen in a number of our second level schools where some are disproportionately populated with students with particular educational needs or from diverse cultural linguistic and ethnic backgrounds while other schools manipulate their enrolment policies to ensure they remain as white and as middle class as possible The TD added that Rather than a Republican ideal of being educated together education and schooling remains one of the most socially divisive elements in Irish society College students in North encouraged to register to vote The Youth Wing of the Alliance Party in the North have encouraged university students to ensure that they are on the electoral register Staff from the Northern Ireland Electoral Office will be delivering electoral register forms to every house which should be returned by 27th September Alliance Youth Campaigns Officer Gary Spedding said it is vitally important for students to make sure that they are on the electoral register as it ensures your democratic right to vote and allows people to have their say on who governs Northern Ireland or represents us in Westminster or Europe Students are being encouraged to register or they will not be able to vote in European parliament NI Assembly or Westminster elections There are many decisions that will

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/09/05/education-roundup-fianna-fail-criticise-labours-education-ideas-while-students-in-north-encouraged-to-register-to-vote-101650/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Incoming Student President said Stormont’s failure on equality issues is ‘nothing short of despicable’ » Inside Ireland
    to have been elected to represent students in Northern Ireland as President of NUS USI I have an ambitious vision for delivery for all students here and for delivery on equality matters in Northern Ireland she said Critical point At present Northern Ireland is at a critical point on an important journey to become a society that ensures fairness and equality for all added the Students Officer for the Labour Pary in Northern Ireland There is still so much inequality in Northern Ireland in comparison to other regions of the UK The incoming President of NUS USI said Northern Ireland is still failing to deliver on Equal Marriage Equal marriage will soon be delivered in other parts of the UK and the blood donation ban on gay men no longer exists in other parts of the UK Northern Ireland is still failing to deliver equality on both these extremely important issues Another massive inequality here is the under representation of women people from minority ethnic backgrounds and LGBT people in politics Northern Ireland s failure on equality issues is nothing short of despicable and urgent action is needed on this added the final year student Wafer thin margin Rebecca Hall was elected NUS USI president for 2013 14 by a wafer thin margin after a three way election At the first round of votes Claire Flanagan President of University of Ulster Students Union was ahead with 27 votes to Rebecca s 19 with Queen s student and photographer Tyler McNally trailing with 12 votes But 11 of Tyler s second preferences transferred to Rebecca taking her to the winning quota of 30 Rebecca will take over from the outgoing Adrianne Peltz in July In her manifesto Rebecca said I want to see an education system which delivers for everyone and I want to see a student movement that is passionate inclusive and engaging for every student in Northern Ireland NUS USI is the umbrella body for student unions in Northern Ireland NUS USI Legend loses seat The returning officer of the election Mark McLean lost his re election to the body that runs the elections and motions debates for NUS USI conference Steering Committee Paying tribute to Mark McLean the Chair of NUS USI Steering Committee Ciarán Hanna said Mark is a legend in NUS USI His knowledge in conducting elections and debates procedure was unique He has left a great legacy behind It was because of him that Queen s and UU got their proper voting entitlement in 1996 as they had only four votes at the time at NUS USI Conference He has guided Steering Committee along from its inception in 1999 until today and elected all the Presidents of NUS USI along the way It is sad that Rebecca s election was his last After 17 years of involvement in NUS USI he didn t get the farewell that he deserved from the movement However Mr Hanna wished the new Steering member Henry Adams well in winning

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/04/26/incoming-student-president-said-stormonts-failure-on-equality-issues-is-nothing-short-of-despicable-98684/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Student Blog: Will Jess get that place at Coventry University? » Inside Ireland
    late and we made it to the Ellen Terry building This time I had to go it alone yes no family or friends aloud I breathed not really knowing what was going on Ah I thought I was running late there I turned to look at a oh hel lo a very attractive guy Nope I smiled did you only apply for this course Oh no I m just late He said taking a seat beside me Yea I meant did you apply for other courses also The lecturers introduced themselves and told us that we will be making a Short Film of some sort in groups which was expected The second year teacher showed us an example of a short film but the whole way through that five minute clip I kept thinking what if I have an anxiety attack like I did last week Lately as in this past year I have been having some what I can only define as mental anxiety attacks Interview Basically I freak out in my head when I am in a group of people and we have to focus on a moving image So the beginning of the interview didn t seem to get of to a good start In our groups I was with three other guys one being the cute guy from earlier and a girl We decided on a concept for our short film entitled Tips for being a student Unfortunately my confidence brought down my lack of input in this task Jessica I looked up the second year teacher brought me to a larger room than before This time I had to present my portfolio with a lot more knowledge on each and every item I began with the blogs I have a blog for Inside Ireland on the thought process of going to university This is my very first post for them I smile she nods During the photographs the teacher just flicked through them I began to think through the past week and the amount of time I spent picking out my strongest work the hassle of finding a not cheap portfolio folder and getting the photos printed Then I glanced at her unimpressed face and had to restrain myself from saying that took me bloody well ages you better bloody well put on a smile That s a good photo She says finally a compliment I took that at the open day I say She then barely batted an eyelid at my online portfolio Yet again another thing that took ages to perfect After asking me basic questions she tells me the same you have a criteria to meet today which depends on if you get in or not This time I felt like I really don t care if I get this because she was obviously not impressed Here you go Another certificate Another Conditional I finished up the group work and got some input in bad acting and editing and met Mum and

    Original URL path: http://insideireland.ie/2013/04/02/student-blog-will-jess-get-that-place-at-coventry-university-98317/ (2016-02-11)
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