Social Democrats gain cross-party support for new protections for tenants

Eoin Stynes reports on the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill, which will seek to provide tenants with more security while renting

The price of peace: statistics from An Garda Síochána reveal the risks members of the force must deal with daily.

It is common knowledge that occupational hazards are very much part and parcel of choosing an occupation with An Garda Síochána. The first half of the 2010s it seems however, were particularly dangerous years for members of the force.

Figures released from An Garda Síochána’s Freedom of Information office have revealed the number of injuries sustained by members of the force since 2008. Most notable of these statistics are the number of assaults on gardaí and the number of road accidents, which have taken place.

2008 as shown below reveals that the number of recorded assaults on members of the force had begun to see a decrease from 2009 onwards, only to skyrocket in 2013. The figures continue to elevate to just under 300 attacks on gardaí in 2015. Interestingly however, the number eases in 2016 and has reached 153 so far this year.


On duty members of the gardaí throughout 2010 to 2016 have been involved in a large number of road traffic related accidents, with figures of injuries sustained by gardaí reaching almost 100 per year. 2009 saw a drop by about 22%, only to increase again by another 30% the year after. The trend eases in 2011 to 84, but rises until 2013 to 128 accidents, a spike of 35% in the space of two years.

This current year, however, the figures for recorded road accidents stand at 61.


Figures from the garda appropriation accounts of 2016 have shown that the number of garda vehicles damaged over the past eight years have risen substantially. While 2008 saw 482 recorded vehicles damaged in the year, both attributable and not attributable to gardaí, that figure has not once decreased since then.

The number of damaged vehicles peaks in 2015 at 682, the closest figures to that being 667 damaged vehicles in 2011 and 639 2012. There has however been a somewhat significant decrease in these numbers last year with the number of damaged vehicles totalling 602, an easing of 11.8%.


By Henry Phipps

Paper Bear trying to crack Irish Christmas card market

A Dublin based greeting card company has come up with a novel approach to producing Christmas cards., is a pop up card company that makes greeting cards for all occasions including Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, get well cards and even cards depicting famous Irish landmarks … all ideal for sending to loved ones living abroad.

With the busy Christmas period upon us, PaperBear are producing new designs, including Comet the reindeer, Christmas Molly Malone figures and Dublin bridge scenes.

The cards retail between €3.99 and €6.99 and there are also multipack sets available for €11-€20.



Set up in 2013, this is PaperBear’s fourth year in business. The company was set up by Katie and Aaron Dowling.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the business, Aaron Dowling said the idea came following a trip to Spain, where they saw a pop up card shop and seeing potential in the idea, they decided to put their business skills together and set up the company.

“The process begins with drawing out a sketch for a card idea. Once we work on the design more and finalise it, we create a 3D sketch. We use Corel Draw do add layers to the picture to bring it to life. Then we cut the layers out and create the objects that will pop out of the card.

“We are aware of the global implications of using our resources like paper but since March 2017, we have worked with One Tree Planted. We plant a tree every day in places like the Amazon and Kenya … so that we can give back.


“We have a stall set up at the Dun Laoghaire Christmas markets this year which we are proud to be a part of.”

The opening days and times for the markets can be found on the website under their events calendar.

By Nicole McNelis

Video: Ibrahim Halawa on his time in an Egyptian prison


Ibrahim Halawa speaks to Hajar Akl, Mary-Kate Findon & Leanne Salmon about the 4 years he spent in prison in Egypt and how he is adapting to life back home in Dublin.

Living with Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system of about 1,200 children and adults in Ireland.

A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

We had a one on one chat with someone who lives with the condition to tell us more about what life is like with CF.

What is daily life like with cystic fibrosis?

It’s more complicated than other people’s normal routines and there’s a lot more involved in my day than meets the eye, a lot more to consider.

How much more stress is added to your day?

Well I have to get up earlier than I would if I didn’t have cystic fibrosis and stuff like physio can set you up for a good day or bad day chest wise. I don’t have spontaneous days as much because I have to pre-plan things like have I my tablets for the day? Is my chest clear enough? Am I feeling good?

How does it affect your social life?

It can negatively impact my social life. This week for example I’m not feeling the best so I might not be able to go to a ball in college which everyone is excited for and I might not be able to go to my friends 21st. It’s bad because I can’t plan in advance. I have to really take it day by day because on Monday I could be fine and on Tuesday I could be really sick. I’m not as spontaneous as I would like to be, but if I am in good health I just have to be confident I can get through the night without feeling ill.

Do you have to tailor your diet in any way?

In general, the diet of someone with cystic fibrosis is high protein and high fat because due to the insufficient function of the pancreas, fats and vitamins and the nutrients in food aren’t absorbed as much as a normal person so some people with cystic fibrosis can find it hard to put on and maintain their weight. They tell you as a kid to pretty much eat as much as you can. They don’t really place an emphasis on healthy eating which I don’t like because I think you can have a healthy diet and also include what you need to maintain your weight. There can be problems due to the high fat aspect with blood sugar and diabetes, but diet you just have to be a lot more mindful of it and try your best to work with it.

Was having cystic fibrosis something you considered when choosing a course in college and do you think it will affect future job opportunities?

It went through my mind obviously because it always has to when planning my future. I think because of the person I am, I’m a determined, hard working person, so cystic fibrosis is a part of me but it’s not what dictates my life because I don’t allow it to. In relation to hours and things I just decided I’d take it as it comes because that’s just the best way to look at things and I try meet the challenges that would come with any course.

I would like to think it won’t affect my job opportunities but that would be in an ideal world. I think it will affect how I pursue getting a job and what hours I can do when considering I might have to take some time off if I get quite ill or maybe I’ll lose a job because I’m ill. So it is a worry and it is a constant worry how I’ll cope being in a professional environment but as I said before you just have to take things as they come.

Has it gotten any easier over the years to live with?

I spent a lot of my childhood in and out of hospital; it frames a big part of my childhood memories. It’s definitely not easier because I’m older, if anything it’s harder. When I was a child I didn’t know any different whereas now as an adult that knows this is a condition that hinders me, I feel a lack of control when I should feel control. It’s harder because I have things like an academic life, a social life, a romantic life to tend to so being in hospital is much more of a hindrance when I want to get on in my life.

By Shane McGannon

Daily Show photographer Sean Gallagher opens up about life in show business

We’ve all wondered what we would see behind the curtains of a TV show. There is a combination of mystery and fascination with what goes on behind the scenes, and the process that takes place until the show is presented to us. The Daily Show is one of those shows. The American late-night satire programme is presented by Trevor Noah, who replaced Jon Stewart in 2015.

Sean Gallagher, set photographer of The Daily Show gives us a little insight into the world of The Daily Show through his camera lens. His Instagram page is filled with behind the scenes photos of the show. Trevor Noah chugging down water, last minute make up touches, Hasan Minhaj fixing his tie quickly before rehearsal, and a lot more. He’s been working on the show just over six years, and has been snapping shots behind the scenes and photographing guests in his studio for a series of portraits of those who make it onto the show.

Gallagher received a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts, initially wanting to be a writer. Now 44, the Brooklyn based photographer has been shooting for over 20 years. In an interview with, he tells us more about his journey with photography.

How did you get into photography?

My mother took a photography course when I was young. I thought it was magic and was absolutely entranced by the camera, which was a fully manual Olympus. I had never seen anything like it. In high school I had some friends who took photography, but I had a full schedule of classes and couldn’t fit it in. Then I went to university thinking I would be a writer. After finishing there and back home in NYC, a friend of mine took a photo class, asked if I wanted to go with her, and I jumped at the chance. That was over twenty years ago and I’ve been shooting pretty consistently since.

What’s it like being a photographer on a show compared to in a studio?

It’s very, very different! In a photo studio, it’s generally just me, or myself and an assistant. Maybe someone whose portrait I’m doing, plus perhaps their friends on a rare occasion. The setup is mine, I know where everything is, and I can be anywhere I want. Everything that’s there is intentional. I have a goal in mind, a particular shot or shots in mind, and I spend the time accomplishing those shots.

At the show there’s an audience, the talent, the crew … people everywhere. I have to make sure I’m out of everyone’s way, not in any camera shots. The show is of paramount importance, and whether I can do my thing is incidental. I’m shooting in more of a documentary style, just trying to capture what I can about what’s happening with the show, the people, what life behind the scenes is like. Then, during rehearsal and the show, I’m trying to capture things that might be useful … expressions, use of props, good angles, moments that wouldn’t make it to the show or standout moments that did. As compared to my studio, I have little control over the look or location and no control over the content. My choices are limited to how I can tell a story while being constrained by the television show that’s going on. It all adds up to a daily challenge and it’s very fun. Trying at times, but always fun.

Do you think being a photographer today is harder than decades ago, for example, or is there no difference?

I definitely think it’s harder to make a living as a photographer now than it’s ever been – an SLR camera used to be a bulky, specialised instrument that was not all that common and kind of difficult to master. Film was hard to work with and expensive, so experimentation cost money.

Now, almost everyone has access to an excellent camera and most even carry one in their pocket almost everywhere they go. They can take thousands of shots for free. It’s simple to fix errors, or to layer on effects that used to only be available via chemistry or Photoshop, which took some time investment to learn.

And while the internet is amazing – it can be the biggest photography school you could possibly imagine – and it might at first blush seem like it holds endless promise as far as having an audience as large as the world, it’s hard to find a way to stand out from that giant, endless crowd of people. Social media is a lot of work. The hustle of it all is a lot of work. The business of photography is secretly the hardest part. It’s not hard to teach anyone to take nice enough photos to sell, it’s a lot harder to teach people that the bulk of the work of photography is business, not being creative.

How did you start working on The Daily Show?

I was working in lighting on a soap opera called “One Life to Live,” which was in the midst of fading out before it was cancelled. The writing was on the wall, despite what the producers were telling us. I had friends there who had worked on The Daily Show for years. I started out subbing for them when they took time off and then worked my way in when they transitioned out, and eventually I was hired on. Then when Trevor started, there was much more of a concentration on the web and all the ways the show could use it.

What’s your favourite thing about The Daily Show?

It’s tough to find just one thing! I think primarily the people are pretty great. Show business is rough, and rude, with all kinds of attitudes and personalities. While no place is immune, The Daily Show is far and away the best show on which I’ve worked in this regard. The feeling there is we have to see each other as much as – if not more – than we see our families, so we might as well try to make the building a pleasant place to be. For the most part, it is. There are dogs running around, there’s a lot of joking in the hallways, people are curious, kind and supportive about what each other are working on. It’s very homey.

What do you love about lighting and photography?

I really love the whole thing, from conception – whether it’s because I’m bored on the train trying to think of something new and fun to do or lying awake at night and something comes to me – to gathering together the elements I need, to the set-up to the lighting all the way through to retouching and then watching people react when I start to show it around. It’s always been thrilling, for twenty or so years, and I hope it always will be. I’m even learning to love the business end of it as I mentioned earlier.

What are the main struggles of photographers in show business from your experience? And how did you overcome them?

My experience doing photography in show business is pretty limited to my own story, and I think my own particular journey has been a little unique. I’m not sure if I have any good answers.

I will say this, and this advice is pretty typical for most gigs “behind the scenes” in show business: show up early, have a good attitude about everything, always have the tools you might need and don’t hesitate to pitch in. People will always notice the person who spent the whole day bitching and moaning and who needed to be asked three times to do their bit. Likewise, they’ll remember the person who did the worst jobs with a smile. And there are a ton of bad jobs in show business.

For photographers specifically, learn to be quiet, respectful and flexible. And always be nice to the lighting guys.

What’s your key advice for the photographers out there?

Just keep shooting, and learn how to be your own harshest critic. Don’t worry about your look, learn to use the camera and how to make a good, correct exposure. Learn how to colour correct. Don’t kid yourself into working your shortcomings into your “style.” Learn what you need to learn and then you can make something [look] funky … later on.

You can see more of Sean Gallagher’s photos on Instagram at: ruminasean

By Hajar Akl