DCU students highlight the differences between the terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’

In the past few months refugees, or migrants as they are oftentimes referred to, have become more prominent in the news. Boats full of people from across the Middle East and Africa have come to Europe in their hundreds of thousands in pursuit of a safer environment to live in and prosper.

Darragh Mowlds, a student on the Masters in Political Communications course in Dublin City University, is part of a group who undertook a social media project to raise awareness of the difference between the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary a refugee is “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”, whereas a migrant is defined as “a person who moves from one place to another in order to find work or better living conditions.”

Although the definitions share some similarities, it is clear there is a difference, and Mowlds argues that by using the term ‘migrant’ instead of ‘refugee’ the media are conveying an incorrect message to audiences.

“The main aim was to raise awareness about the misrepresentation of refugees in the media. It’s by no means the worst in Ireland but the terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ are often used interchangeably and they have different legal distinctions.

“The recent refugee crisis has obviously increased the prevalence of refugee coverage in the media. As a regular consumer of news, it became very apparent that media organisations use migrant and refugee as if they are synonyms. Misrepresentation of people in the media impacts on how they are perceived by the public,” Mowlds said.

The campaign recently produced a video which featured legendary Irish musician Christy Moore backing the campaign and Mowlds said: “We were delighted to have been supported by Christy Moore, we are all big fans of his. Other supporters were Senator Ivana Bacik, Barry Andrews (CEO of GOAL), Sue Conlan (CEO of the Irish Refugee Council), and Razan Ibraheem (Syrian Refugee and a journalist in Storyful).”

Despite the campaign having begun life as a class project, Mowlds said the group intends to continue the campaign in order to keep highlighting the difference between the terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’.

You can follow Matthew on Twitter at @_Gogery

#AskConsent campaign a success but a legal definition of consent is still required

In mid-September, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) launched its #AskConsent campaign in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the White Ribbon Campaign.

Funded by Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, the three week educational campaign aimed to help people understand that sex without consent is rape, the second most serious crime in the Irish statute book, as well as aiming to get people talking about consent.

The main reference to consent is in Section 9 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990 which states: “It is hereby declared that in relation to an offence that consists of or includes the doing of an act to a person without the consent of that person any failure or omission by that person to offer resistance to the act does not of itself constitute consent to the act.”

The DRCC believes this reference is not specific enough and there needs to be an actual definition introduced into the Act. The organisation’s policy person, Shirley Scott said: “We need a statutory definition of consent. Sex without consent is clearly understood as rape, however the Irish legislature has yet to introduce a statutory definition of consent. Instead, Irish courts continue to rely for legal guidance on consent that comes from case law dating as far back as the 19th century.

“The DRCC sees the publication of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 as an opportunity to introduce a legislative definition of consent. A definition of consent in this new Bill would go a long way to strengthening the overall legislation on sexual offences. And while it isn’t included we would hope that the Minister for Justice [Frances Fitzgerald, TD] will consider our recommendations and include one.”

On the DRCC website, consent is defined as “the voluntary agreement in a relationship where there is equal power to engage in a particular sex act”. The organisation said it has also submitted a definition of consent to Minister Fitzgerald and the All Party Committee on Justice.

Jennifer Gavin who is in charge of social media and the digital awareness campaign for the #AskConsent campaign said the idea came about for the following reasons: “Here in the DRCC we have accompanied far too many victims to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) who were in no way capable of giving consent, for a variety of reasons, but who never report the crimes. They, nor the perpetrators, were aware that sex without consent is rape.  But the victims would still suffer all the consequences of being a victim of rape from the physical, psychological and emotional aftermath.

“Unfortunately only 1 in 10 people actually report a sexual assault.  The issue of consent is something that we come across on a daily basis in the centre.  For example a call may come in to the 24-hour helpline where the person is not sure, they may say that they haven’t been raped but something happened.  There seems to be a lot of confusion out there especially among young people when it comes to sex and consent.

“TCD carried out a Sexual Consent Survey this year of 1,000 students; 25% of women and 4.5% of men have had a non-consensual experience. That means sex without consent is rape, we know the law is black and white but many people are not aware of this.  This is why in the DRCC we felt it was important to raise awareness on what consent actually means.  This is why we have been lobbying to have a definition of consent included in the new sexual offences bill.”

This lack of awareness about sex without consent being rape raises questions about what schools, third level colleges and work places are doing to increase awareness of the issue. Gavin said that although consent was often overlooked during talks and lectures this is changing and is being included in informative talks.

“Over the last few years we have noticed more colleges, in particular student unions, getting involved in raising awareness about consent.  This is usually part of their sexual health and guidance weeks where information and sometimes consent workshops have been provided,” said Gavin.

“Education is vital when it comes to raising awareness about sexual consent but this year has been very different. It has been fantastic to be directly involved with the student unions and to raise awareness about consent. From talking to many students over the past few weeks most felt that their sex education in secondary school was sadly very basic and lacking in providing talks around the issues of sexual consent and relationships.

“However, many schools have started to contact the DRCC to provide an outreach talk to their students. One of our trained volunteers would then go out and deliver a talk on not only sexual consent but also on the services the DRCC provide.”

With the campaign still in motion Gavin talked about the success of the #AskConsent thus far: “The #AskConsent Campaign has probably been our most successful awareness raising campaign to date.  Since launching, the #AskConsent Campaign has generated a huge response from the media and public alike. As the online campaign is still ongoing we haven’t started the post campaign analysis. However, briefly looking at the DRCC website analytics, hits to [our] website were up by 25% from this time last year.

“Twitter has also been a fantastic format especially with the #AskConsent hashtag to get the message out there and to get people talking, especially students.  Some students have been talking for the first time about their own experiences saying just how vital education is. We have also had more people calling looking for support and information which is fantastic.”

If you have been affected by any of the topics covered in this article you can contact the DRCC on their 24-hour helpline on 1800 778 888 or visit their website.

Bobby Aherne’s D’you Remember Yer Man?

‘D’you Remember Yer Man?’ is the first book from 27-year-old writer and musician Bobby Aherne. The book was first released in October 2014, and has recently been reprinted and in the words of Aherne himself “is re-hitting the shelves”.

The book tells the stories of a hundred of Dublin’s most loved characters renowned for their unique personalities which have cemented their respective places in Dublin folklore.

Aherne said he was inspired to write the book by his own personal curiosity about the city’s famous characters. He said: “I realised that there was an abundance of interesting characters in Dublin and I personally wanted to find out more about them, and thought it would be as easy as buying a book about them or getting one out of the library but I realised that nobody had done that to this point.

“So, I made a decision to do it myself and I went out and found out about them the hard way by researching them and gathering them all together into this little volume. I was inspired to write it for myself really because I wanted to know more about all these people and find out just how many of these beloved characters had existed throughout the years.”

The research process was no easy feat. It took Aherne roughly two years of sifting through newspaper articles, films, books, archives and “any sources I could find at all” to gather enough material.

However, as with much folklore the oral tradition was Aherne’s starting point.

“I initially talked to people who grew up in Dublin and who knew more about Dublin than I did and from that I began to notice that the same names came up time and time again and I was able to whittle down these strange names to a list of one hundred and from this list I set about researching stories,” he said.

Aherne explained some of the characters who can be found in his debut book:

“The Liberties is the heart of Dublin in terms of most of these characters. There’s a guy called the Bird Flanagan who has a pub named after him in Rialto and he’s famous for a prank he pulled outside a butchers on Thomas Street where he tricked a police man into chasing him down the street but it was all just an elaborate practical joke for the Bird Flanagan to get his own kicks.

“Bang Bang was always around The Liberties shooting people with his key back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Zozimus and Lugs Branigan as well, he was one of the most famous Garda of all time and he was well known for keeping the peace around The Liberties, he was a much feared and respected character in equal measures,” Aherne added.

Bang Bang

D’you Remember Yer Man? is inspired by The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges and Aherne states that it is the mutual appreciation of this novel that resulted in his friend, illustrator and designer Ruan van Vliet, getting involved in the book.

“In my head from the start this book was going to be modelled on The Book of Imaginary Beings which is an alphabetical collection of anecdotes about loads of different mythical creatures and I thought that that would be a fun model to base this book on.

“At some point, Ruan started up a blog online drawing these characters who appeared in Borges’ book and I thought it was a nice coincidence because Ruan is very talented as an artist and a designer and he also had a great interest in this old book of imaginary beings so I thought he would be a great guy to collaborate with on this book. He did a great job of making [the illustrations] because all these people obviously were real people but some of them were just so weird and wonderful, he has such an exaggerated approach, he made them larger than life and made them almost like cartoons or comic book characters in a nice way.”

D’you Remember Yer Man? is available now online through its publisher New Island.

Follow Matthew on Twitter at @_Gogery

Minecraft Convention comes to Baldoyle

The second annual Minecraft Convention will take place in Baldoyle Community Hall this coming Saturday, the 14th of November from 10am to 3pm.

There are additions to the event this year with Animatronics and Five Nights at Freddy’s themes.

Breaking and placing blocks is the main element of Minecraft with players building structures to protect themselves against nocturnal monsters and also working together to build large scale, imaginative structures.

The all-ages event will include Minecraft tutoring classes conducted by Andrew Fallon at various times throughout the day.

University College Dublin will be attending the event to showcase some their Animatronics including an Oculus Rift, EV3, Lego robots and drones for people to use.

Other attractions on the day include stalls which will be selling cakes, clothes, shoes, books, wristbands, mugs, key-rings, bags and photos.

Entry costs €2 for children and is free for adults and all money from the event will contribute towards the running of the hall.

More information can be found on the Minecraft Meets Animatronics Facebook page, by emailing info@baldoyleforum.ie, or by phone on 01 8395338.

You can follow Matthew on Twitter at @-Gogery

Dublin Beatles Festival hits the city this weekend

The third annual Dublin Beatles Festival will take place this coming weekend from Friday, November 6 to Sunday, November 8 across the city.

This year the event marks the 52nd anniversary of the quartet’s performance in the Irish capital on November 7th, 1963.

The highlight of the event is set to be the appearance of Freda Kelly, former secretary, fan club manager and subject of the documentary film, ‘Good Ol’ Freda’.

Kelly will do a public interview with Newstalk presenter Tom Dunne after a screening of the award-winning documentary on Sunday, November 8 in The Grand Social.

Other events which will take place on the weekend are a gig in The Cobalt Café and The Workman’s Club as well as a Beatles table quiz in the latter.

On the final day of the festival, the short film ‘Lennon Vs McCartney’ will be shown for free in The Grand Social before ‘The Finale Show’ with The Newspaper Taxi Men in the same venue later that night.

Also on that day there will be a free performance of part of the upcoming stage play ‘Pete Best of the Beatles’, which will debut in The New Theatre in Temple Bar in February 2016.

Georgina Flood will be exhibiting some of her drawings of the Fab Four on the closing day, and memorabilia and merchandise group, Beatles Days, will also be on hand throughout the weekend.

For more information visit the Dublin Beatles Festival website. Tickets for the festival are available through Eventbrite.

For more stories from Matthew, you can find him on Twitter at @_Gogery

Photo: Floyd B. Bariscale/ Flickr CC

Majority of increase in burglary offences in Dublin

New figures show that burglaries are on the rise and our analysis shows that the capital accounts for the vast majority of this increase.

The latest report on crime from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has found the Dublin Metropolitan Area (DMA) accounts for almost 75% of the nationwide increase in reported burglaries and other offences from July 2014 to June 2015.

There were 2,241 more reported burglaries and other offences across the country in the twelve month period compared to the corresponding period from the previous year, with 1,667 of these occurring in the Dublin area.

There are three offences which fall into the burglary and related offences category: aggravated burglary, burglary (not aggravated), and possession of an article (with intent to burgle, steal, demand).

Compared to the previous year, recorded aggravated burglary offences rose by 1.6% while possession of an article (with intent to burgle, steal, demand) increased by 5.3 per cent to 625 recorded offences.

Burglary (not aggravated) had a small increase but still remains the most prominent crime in the category with 27,890 offences recorded across the country, up from 25,619 from the previous twelve months of figures.

New burglary legislation is pending with pilot schemes underway in some districts, including south Dublin, to tackle the main re-offenders for burglaries. The scheme is designed to help try and divert those involved away from their lives of crime.

Recorded theft and related offences also rose by 1.8% nationwide with an increase of 301 recorded offences in the capital.

However, offences recorded as theft from persons fell significantly, by 22.6% nationally compared to the same period in the previous year.

Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences also fell by 8.9% to 2,578 offences recorded across the country; with a similar trend recorded in Dublin with 196 fewer offences.

In contrast, recorded carjacking and offences listed as the hijacking/unlawful seizure of an aircraft or vessel rose by 27.9 per cent to 110 nationally.

Follow Matthew Colfer on Twitter at @_Gogery