Eoin Stynes investigates the impact that anti-vaccination groups are having in the wake of the most recent measles outbreak in Ireland
Tara McCamley looks at the growing popularity of Galentine’s Day and why its mainstream success is both a good and bad thing for the holiday
Frost is a seasonal shopping experience which opened in Dublin city centre this week. Keeva Tyrrell reports on the latest Christmas addition to the capital’s streets.
Located on the ground floor of the Fumbally Exchange on Dame Lane, the shop will run from 23rd November until the 21st December. The collaborative craft shop features more than twenty of Ireland’s finest designers, craftspeople, and artists.
George Boyle, founder of the Fumbally Exchange, said: “It’s incredible to see the talent and vision that has gone into creating these beautiful gifts. The crafts and products on offer in Frost come from true artists. It’s a great opportunity to find something different, something that will bring a smile to the faces of eager gift-getters.”
Frost is a collaborative shop originating from the ethos of the Fumbally Exchange, a creative community that believes the most extraordinary and powerful works of art, design and innovation can be realised through working together.
“This is the first time we’re running our own Pop Up shop, but we’ve frequently run our own exhibitions in our Pop Up space featuring the works of artists and designers from our community. These included exhibitions such as Elemental, Transformation, Play, amongst others,” said Sam Whelan-Curtin, Director of Fumbally Exchange.
Fumbally Exhange has been in Dame Lane for over four years.
“Last summer, we were reflecting on the success of so many of these, and thought it would be great to bring together a collective of designers, artists, craftspeople from within and outside our community who could together be able to bring this shop to realisation,” said Mr Whelan.
The shop is host to a wide range of Irish products and features original work that is being created in Ireland at the moment.
Illustrator Melissa Doran’s Naturama illustration and limited framed prints will be on sale in the shop along with work from other artists and creators.
Speaking about the event, she said she was contacted by Oisin MacManus, the interior designer who designed the interiors for Teelings Whiskey Distillery in Dublin 8.
“She asked if anyone would be interested in being involved in a Christmas shop and we all said yes. It’s really nice and obviously she’s great at design so it’s real cool and all white and is like a gallery experience so it’s really relaxing to walk into.”
Doran is an illustrator based in Dublin with a passion for wildlife. The illustrations depict scenes of Irish wildlife, and are created with a combination of hand drawing and digital collage.
After doing some work for the Irish Wildlife Trust, she then got the opportunity to illustrate Naturama, a popular Irish wildlife book for children, written by Michael Fewer.
“They (Irish Wildlife Trust) have a children’s magazine that they give out along with their regular magazine and I did two posters there and the publishers saw that work and really liked it and they had been speaking to Michael Fewer about maybe making a nature series out of it and he liked it.”
Ms Doran said her website Go Radiate started while she was helping small business get themselves online.
“When the business started out I wasn’t doing illustration. I was doing websites and social media like short promo videos to get the businesses set up online and get the promoted. Go Radiate is a catchy, positive phrase and the idea was that the business could get set up with me then they could go off on their own and their online presence would radiate and get them lots of attention,” said Ms Doran.
Fumbally Exchange is a not-for-profit movement of creative and innovative professionals who share co-working spaces. Having been in Fumbally Exchange for four years, she is now an associate member.
“It’s brilliant. I went in when I was about one month into business and it was so good; everyone was very experienced and knew a lot more about running their own business. I didn’t know anyone who had ran their own business so the concept was alien to me, so it was nice to be around people in the same boat,” said Ms Doran. The movement focuses on small businesses, sole traders and start-ups.
List of Participants at the Fumbally Exchange Frost Experience:
Pawel Jasinski – Wooden Accessories and Hand Crafter works
Alison McEvoy – Children’s Organic Clothing
Ana Paula Sampaio (Anatomia Design) – Silkscreen T-Shirts
Jenny Huston (Edge Only) – Men & Women’s Contemporary Jewellery
Jette Virdi – Irish linen handprinted bed throws and bath towels, bowls, chopping boards and beeswax candles
Filip Vanas – Core Range of Jewellery and Bespoke Children’s Art Collection
Sara Murphy Saram – Wooden Boards
Ali @ Mantra Incausa – Bespoke Incense
Kasia Eska-Grajek Jewellery
Claire Prouvost – Digitally Illustrated and Hand drawn Prints
Melissa Doran (Go Radiate) – Framed Limited Edition Prints
Gareth Jones – Digitally Illustrated Prints
Myles Shelly – Photographic Prints
Natalie Cassidy – Illustrated Prints
Olivia Golden – Prints
Kate O Moore – Illustrated Christmas Cards
Helen McCormack – Prints
Graham Thew – Printed Media
Alison Hackett – Visual Time Traveller Books and Prints
Sybil Cope – Animal Etchings
Ireland ranks dead last in reading news online and has one of the highest percentages of booking travel and holiday accommodation in Europe.
A 2017 edition of Eurostat’s ‘The life of women and men in Europe’ shows there are large differences in how Irish men and women use the internet and how that compares to the rest of the EU.
On average 72 percent of men and 68 percent of women use the internet to read news online, whereas in Ireland, only 53 percent of men do and less than half of women (46 percent) who use the internet read news online. These figures are enough to rank Ireland last out of all EU countries and not exactly close to the second lowest country France (Men: 57%; Women: 55%).
When it comes to online shopping, Ireland is right up there with the highest spending nations. Sixty seven percent of men and women have booked travel and holiday accommodations in the last year, 15 and 16 percent over the EU average respectively.
According to the report, Irish men and women use the internet in a lot of similar ways but there are some categories where there are differences.
The report also shows what men and women are buying when they are online shopping. Overall, 68 percent of women buy clothes and sports goods online and 17 percent buy electronic equipment. On the other hand, only 53 percent of men use the internet for buying clothes and sports goods and 35 percent buy electronic goods.
In total, 74 percent of women spend time on social media compared to 66 percent of men. It’s the opposite story searching for jobs online however where twenty percent of men seek employment online which is just below the EU average, but only 14 percent of women do (less than two-thirds of the average).
The full report can be found here.
By Shane McGannon
New minimum prices on some alcoholic beverages will effectively ban the low-cost sales of alcoholic products.
The proposed law of a minimum unit pricing of 10 cent per gram of alcohol will mainly affect drinks with higher alcohol content levels and the majority of alcohol products will not be impacted at all.
The minimum costs under the new rules will work out as follows:
- A 500 ml can of Guinness — €1.66
- 750 ml bottle of Jacob’s Creek classic Chardonnay — €7.52
- 700 ml bottle of Gordon’s dry gin — €20.71
- 700 ml bottle of Smirnoff Ice — €20.71
- 700 ml bottle of Jameson whiskey — €22.09
- 500 ml can of Dutch Gold – €1.58
Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “This is about targeting the cheapest drinks which have high alcohol content and … we all noted it is about ensuring that we are having a particular impact on our younger citizens and the next generation of citizens and decision makers in this country.”
According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in 2015, nearly a quarter (23%) of Ireland’s young people aged between 15 and 24 binge drank at least once a week. In that study, binge drinking was classified as drinking six or more units of alcohol in one sitting.
Sixteen percent of those who drink alcohol, stated that they have binge drank at least once a week, which is an increase from 13.7 percent the previous year. This is well above the EU average of 5.6 percent in 2014.
There is a significant difference between the percentage of Irish males and females who engage in binge drinking. In 2014, just under one in six (15.5 percent) Irish women aged 18 to 24 engaged in binge drinking at least once a week, which is the highest rate in the EU, and well above the EU average of 4.3 percent. However, the male average was much higher at 26.8 percent for 18 to 24 year olds that same year, which was more than double the EU average of 11.7 percent.
The proposed alcohol laws will most likely affect these statistics, as young people in Ireland may need to switch to cheaper beverages with lower alcohol contents, or engage in binge drinking less frequently.
By Alison Egan
Influencer. It seems to be the term of the moment.
This single word is usually always followed by the same question; what the hell is an influencer?
To put it simply, an influencer is a social media user who has an influence over a large number of followers.
There are fashion influencers, beauty influencers, fitness influencers, and so on. You name it, someone is trying to influence it.
These influencers are often sponsored by large companies to promote their products to followers. Some of Ireland’s most successful influencers include Suzanne Jackson (So Sue Me), Pippa O’Connor Ormond, and Rob Lipsett.
Emma Doyle is a 21 year old fashion design student from Dublin who is trying to make her mark as a social media influencer in a saturated market.
“I started my blog the summer after I finished school in 2014,” says Emma. “I was looking at doing fashion design in college so I started it as a fashion blog and I wanted to put up different outfit pictures.
“I didn’t expect it to become anything,” she explains. “I just wanted to do it for myself to see if I liked it.
“I found out that I really liked makeup and beauty, which I didn’t realise. I started incorporating that in as well and doing reviews when I bought new makeup and products.”
It has been a challenge for Emma to establish a following. She started her blog from nothing and it has taken a lot of time and effort to build her profile. She now has 12,000 Instagram followers and 1,500 people who log on to Snapchat to watch her everyday routine.
“It’s weird because [my following] kind of goes up and down,” she says. “You get out what you put into it. If I have a busy few months when I’m in college and I’m scraping by trying to put up a post a day, I won’t get many new followers.”
Often, followers come when you least expect them. Emma explains: “Say when I’m away on holidays and I’m putting up a load of pictures when I’m away, I’ll end up getting way more followers that week.
“It might not even be blog related. It could be my outfit on holidays and that would be it. It’s weird.”
When Emma started blogging in 2014, it was the fashionable thing to do. Snapchat was in its infancy and Instagram videos or stories had not yet been introduced on the picture sharing app.
However, as technology has changed, so have Emma’s tactics.
“I feel like people don’t really read that much anymore so I rarely write on my blog,” Emma explains. “I think it’s moved to watching things. You need to Snapchat and make videos to get your point across.”
Emma believes that coming on camera and speaking to her followers creates a level of intimacy and this is why people continue to follow her.
“I have a small audience but they’re all interactive,” she smiles. “They all do really care.”
Despite her growing success, there are times the fashion design student wonders why she continues to blog.
“Sometimes I do question ‘should I keep going with this?’ and think about the things I shouldn’t do anymore,” Emma says.
Are there ever days where she’s just not bothered?
“Definitely,” Emma says with a firm nod of her head. “There are days that I feel like I’m in a rut and like you feel that you’re not improving. You’re wondering what’s the point in me doing this if it’s not going to be really successful?
“I think it’s hard because no matter how far you go, you think this. When I first started, I never thought I’d get to where I am now. Now I’m here, I feel like it’s the same and I haven’t gotten anywhere.”
It’s the small things, however, that motivate Emma to keep going.
“I get press stuff sent to me now,” she smiles. “I get sent new products and I didn’t get that at the start. So I have to think about that too and think of that as success.
“Sometimes a bigger company will reach out to you and it’s like wow. In your head you’re thinking ‘I can’t believe that this is happening’ and you’re shocked by it. You can’t even imagine it happening a month before.
“Things happen that you don’t expect and it gives you a bit of motivation.”
Talking to Emma across a small table in a Dublin coffee shop, she radiates confidence. There is an air of self-assurance that streams from her voice as she speaks passionately about what she does.
She explains, however, this was not always the case.
“Anyone who knows me knows I have never been overly confident,” Emma says. “Speaking on Snapchat and Youtube has made me a different person. I feel like I can talk to people.
“Even in college I can talk to my lecturers much easier. Before, I wouldn’t even ask a question.”
“I just don’t care,” Emma smirks. “You grow a thick skin and now I actually just don’t care. Sometimes I’m thinking ‘should I post this? It’s a bit risky or a bit weird’. I wonder ‘should I say this?’
“Then I realise that I just don’t care and I post it.
“If I cared, I wouldn’t be where I am. At the start if I had cared when I got my first nasty message, that would have been it and I would have finished.”
Social media influencers have come under fire in recent months about the authenticity of their posts and whether they are talking about a product because they actually like it or because they are being paid to talk about it.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) launched a new code of conduct for bloggers and influencers in January 2016. This states that influencers must say when they have been paid by a company to promote a product by writing either #ad or #sp (sponsored) on their photos and videos.
Despite these rules, influencers have gotten into hot water recently for not posting the relevant hashtags. In recent months, at least two influencers have been issued warnings by the ASAI for not disclosing ads.
Should we be questioning the authenticity of influencers?
“I question it myself,” Emma says. “Sometimes you see a post and you just know it’s sponsored. You know when you look at it. You can tell by the picture and the way it’s posed.
“I can almost predict it and then I scroll down to the caption and I see #ad I know I’m right.
“I do think that’s it fair that they’re paid,” Emma says. “I don’t think it’s bad being paid. Why wouldn’t they get paid for doing it? It is a full time job.”
She is forced to stop when I start laughing. I question whether it is a full time job.
“I think it is,” she says. “I understand how much time and work goes into it.
“For every sponsored Instagram post, they have to do their makeup and get a photographer. Say for example #IWorkWithPrimark, they have to go and shoot those looks. They get a voucher, go into Penneys, buy the stuff. Obviously you wouldn’t complain about that. That’s not a chore.
“Then you have to go hire a photographer and get them to take the photos. They have to do their makeup and style their outfits. They have to edit the photos, put them up and write a caption as well. It does take time. That’s a couple of hours out of your day. If they’re paying that photographer, that’s money out of their own pocket. It is fair they get paid.”
Is it a sustainable full time job that Emma would consider when she leaves college?
“I don’t think it’s going to be going anywhere,” she says. “I think it’s only going to get bigger. More people want to work with influencers. It’s hard to know what it will be in the future.
“I don’t know what I want to do when I finish college,” she reveals. “Last year, I was thinking about not going back to college and just seeing where it would take me. I wasn’t sure if I definitely wanted to do my course. So I was going to try and see what I could do by blogging full time.
“I decided to go back to college and finish it off because it’s only one more year. I’m happy I did go back. My course is beneficial and I need something to back me up. It’s not safe for me to do it full time yet and I need a steady income and routine.”
So what does the future hold for Emma Doyle?
“I’m not thinking about what I’m going to do when I leave college just yet,” Emma says.
“I’d love to try fashion buying or styling. I’d love to design or have my own online fashion shop.”
It’s clear Emma will have a lot of options and opportunity when she leaves college next May. Whether she will continue to blog and “influence” remains to be seen.
What’s also clear however, is that influencers are here to stay. In fact, the influencer industry is only going to grow as we become more and more dependent on that rectangular piece of glass we carry around in our pockets.
By Louise Burne
“The number of new cases of alcohol-related cancers in Ireland is expected to double by 2020.”
This is the stark statement by the Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Manager Kevin O’Hagan on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) report released on October 18th 2017. A grim picture was painted, which showed that in 2014, Irish people between the ages of 18 and 24 topped the EU table for excessively drinking alcohol.
Irish people have a reputation for being heavy drinkers. The average EU rate of alcohol consumption between people aged 18-24 is 11.7% for men and 4.3% for women. More than a quarter of Irish males (26.8%) aged 18-24 engaged in binge drinking at least once a week in 2014, which was over double the EU average. The figure for Irish women of the same age was over treble the EU average at 15.5%.
The data from the CSO report looks like this:
|5.17 EU: Persons with heavy episodic drinking at least once a week, 2014|
|% of cohort|
|Source: CSO IHS, Eurostat EHIS|
“The statistics are very disappointing in that we have known for some time that alcohol consumption is the third leading risk factor for disease and mortality in Europe.” Kevin O’Hagan, the Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Manager said.
According to the society’s website, alcohol is associated with seven different types of cancer: throat cancer, mouth cancer, cancer of the voice box, cancer of the oesophagus, breast cancer, liver cancer and bowel cancer.
Every year, 900 people develop cancer from excessively drinking alcohol. Of those 900, over 500 die from the disease.
Excessive drinking or ‘binge drinking’ is described by the HSE’s website as drinking more than six standard drinks in one sitting. A standard drink is a pub measure of spirits, a small glass of wine, an alcopop or a half pint of beer.
For drinkers of alcohol, the recommended weekly intake for women is 11 standard drinks and 17 standard drinks for men.
In Europe, an estimated 10% of all cancer cases in men and 3% of all cancer cases in women are attributable to alcohol consumption, according to the Irish Cancer Society.
Kevin O’Hagan highlights some of the risks associated with alcohol consumption for women.
“More than 100 studies have looked at the link between alcohol and breast cancer in women. These studies have time and time again found that drinking alcohol increases breast cancer risk.” He explained: “Evidence has shown that drinking one standard drink a day is associated with a 9% increase in the risk of a women developing breast cancer, while drinking 3 to 6 standard drinks a day increases the risk by 41%.”
It is obvious that we have a problem in Ireland with drinking too much alcohol. As well as the CSO data, a global report from May 2014 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) put Ireland as second out of 194 WHO countries for binge drinking.
The report found that 39% of all Irish people aged 15 and over had excessively drank alcohol in the past 30 days, which put us ahead of the UK (28%) and only below Austria’s 40.5%.
Ireland has had a complex relationship with alcohol for decades. Since 1960, our levels of drinking almost trebled and are still more than double despite a near 20% drop since reaching its peak.
“Alcohol consumption in Ireland almost trebled over four decades between 1960 (4.9 litres of pure alcohol per capita) and 2000 (14.1 litres of pure alcohol per capita), as alcohol became much more affordable and more widely available. Since then, our alcohol consumption has declined by 19.6%, from a peak of 14.3 litres of pure alcohol per capita in 2001, to 11.5 litres in 2016.”
These figures were obtained from Alcohol Action Ireland’s website, a national charity that aims to reduce levels of alcohol harm by trying to improve public policy and safety on the matter.
CEO of Drink Aware, Niamh Gallagher who campaigns for an Ireland without alcohol abuse is well aware of the problems associated with alcohol consumption.
“We know that regularly drinking alcohol at this level can increase the risk of experiencing alcohol-related harms, including accidents, injuries, violence, stomach disease, cancer and strokes. As well as the impact on physical health, alcohol can have a serious impact on mental health, affecting ability to cope with everyday stresses. It is also linked with particular mental health issues including depression and anxiety,” said Ms Gallagher.
The solutions to reducing alcohol intake are complex.
“We need a combination of measures; education and awareness to communicate the impact of alcohol on young people and to build the skills and resilience required to say no; and enforcement of the law, to ensure that young people under age cannot access alcohol and those who supply it to them are punished,” said Ms Gallagher.
The Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Manager, Kevin O’Hagan said: “The most important thing at the moment is to continue to increase awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer. Presenting this message is particularly challenging in the context of considerable investment by the alcohol industry on marketing and advertising to influence people’s alcohol beliefs and behaviour.”
Suzanne Costello, Interim Leader of the HSE Alcohol Programme, agreed with Mr O’ Hagan.
“Alcohol marketing is designed to make alcohol sell. A huge amount of money is invested in it and so alcohol is marketed as something that is largely risk-free. It’s glamorous and aligned with social success in how it’s marketed and hence, for young people, that makes it attractive. The key point to reducing alcohol harm with consumption is the fact that it’s very difficult to achieve because there’s a very strong industry lobby opposing those things. It’s a contested space and the public health community need to make the case and display the evidence in order to get politicians to take action to progress the legislation.”
The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) represents alcoholic drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland. The Director of ABFI, Patricia Callan, defended the statements made by saying that the drinks industry supports measures to tackle misuse of alcohol and to reduce alcohol consumption of young people.
“The position of the drinks industry has always been to support the introduction of measures to tackle alcohol misuse and alcohol consumption by young people,” said Ms Callan.
Ms Callan also said alcohol abuse damages the drinks industry and its reputation and is not something they want.
“It is not in the best interests of the drinks industry when people misuse our product. Ultimately, alcohol misuse damages our brands and our reputation,” she said. “Our industry engages in responsible marketing and promotion, and is governed by some of the strictest regulatory codes in the world.”
In December 2015, the legislation for the Public Health Bill was approved by the Irish government. The bill’s aim is to deal with minimum unit pricing of alcohol, labelling laws on alcohol, advertising laws and availability of alcohol in Ireland.
“It is our hope that the new Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will introduce much stricter legislation governing alcohol advertising and sponsorship and also health labelling of alcohol products since there is widespread misunderstanding and denial of the harmful effects of alcohol on health,” said Mr O’ Hagan of The Irish Cancer Society.
Drink Aware are also supportive of the Public Health Bill. CEO Niamh Gallagher said, “We are supportive of the bill but it’s a matter of what happens next.”
The HSE Interim Leader of the Alcohol Programme, Suzanne Costello, finds this statement to be ‘contradictory’, given the fact that Drink Aware are funded by the alcohol industry.
“That’s a position that we would find contradictory because if the people that fund Drink Aware are funding the lobbyists to derail the bill, I’m not sure what exactly their position is.”
Niamh Gallagher admitted to being funded by the alcohol industry but stressed that the governance of Drink Aware is separate to the funding.
“Drink Aware does receive funding from the alcohol industry and the grocery retail industry so we’re not just funded by the alcohol industry. We receive funding from both but our governance is absolutely separate to our funding. Our Board drives our strategy and oversees our work and they have no links to the alcohol industry. They’re completely independent,” Ms Gallagher said.
The Public Health Bill is still being debated, with it moving back and forth between the Dáil and the Seanad. It is hoped that the Bill will come before the Seanad again in November of this year.
By Leanne Salmon