Proposed transition to opt-out system for organ donation

A joint Oireachtas Committee, chaired by Mr. Jerry Buttimer, has called for a change in the way Irish citizens are asked to donate our organs, in the hope more organs will be donated.

An opt-out system, instead of an opt-in system, would increase the number of organ donors, according to Mr. Buttimer.

In this way, Irish residents would automatically become donors unless they specifically choose not to, by opting out.

Under the present system, organ donors opt-in by choosing to donate their organs by carrying an organ donor card.

Nevertheless, the Irish Kidney Association does not think an opt-out system will increase donor numbers and would prefer a change in the way organs are obtained.

It expected the public consultation process, initiated by the Department of Health, to debate whether an opt-out system should or should not be introduced, and explained this in their submission.

We have been asking Irish people to donate organs for the past 49 years, said the Irish Kidney Association, and the proposal now is to tell them they can object to organ donation.

A “public awareness campaign for an opt-out system is a much harder proposition to sell to the public, than the informed consent system” and needs careful consideration, it added.

In 2012, three Dublin hospitals carried out 239 organ transplants – 163 kidney, 50 liver, 14 lung, 10 heart and two pancreas.

The total number of donors was 78 deceased and 32 live donors. Notwithstanding, the number of patients on the transplant list was 563, an increase of 35 on 2011 figures


Reporter: Anne Stewart

Camera: Kay Cairns

Production: Jonathan Crean

How to combat the rise in electricity prices

Letters Electricity

Electric Ireland and Airtricity, two of the leading electricity suppliers in the country, have both released statements declaring price hikes for residential customers.

Electric Ireland sets to increase prices by 1.7% starting January 1 2014. This, on top of the recently approved public service mandate (PSO) amounts to an extra €35 a year for an average family.

Airtricity said it is to hike electricity prices by 3.5% from November 1. This increase will add almost €40 a year to its customer bills.

As winter creeps ever closer consumers will have to be extra careful with their usage in order to overcome these hikes. To aid you in your quest we put together a list of ways to use less electricity and save money…

Idle machines rack up costs:

Configure your computer to “sleep” if left idle for more than ten minutes. Furthermore, turning your computer off at night will save on average 25% of its annual energy usage. Appliances on standby still use electricity, switching appliances off at the mains is a good habit to get into.

Maintain your appliances:

Preventing the build-up of frost in your freezer will increase its energy consumption. Heating water can account for half of your bill. Make sure your tank is properly insulated.

Be tactful:

A full load of washing is more energy efficient than two half loads so plan ahead of time.  When boiling the kettle make sure to boil only the amount required.

Use online billing:

Online billing is simple, less hassle, and most providers now offer this service. Bord Gais and Airtricity both offer discounts to online bill payers.


An obvious yet affect tip – low energy light bulbs. A low energy bulb uses over five times less energy than a standard bulb.

“There’s an app for that”:

Many companies now offer free applications that allow you to pinpoint the real energy guzzlers in your home.

Do you feel safe in a taxi?

For those of us that live in the city, taxis are a vital mode of transportation.

But, when you know nothing about the driver, it can sometimes be an unsettling experience.

Just last week, Gardaí seized a Dublin taxi for forensic examination after a woman claimed that she was raped by the driver.

The woman, who is in her 20s, told Gardaí that the incident happened while she was travelling home from Copper Face Jack’s nightclub.

According to the woman, the driver took a detour to the Phoenix Park where he stopped the car and raped her.

It is understood that he sexually assaulted her near the park’s Wellington Monument sometime after 1.30am.

The woman was later dropped off outside the gates of DCU where she raised the alarm to Gardaí.

Upon being questioned by the Gardaí, the driver, who is in his 40s, denied the allegation, stating that the sex had been consensual.

He said that he had put his phone number into the woman’s phone with the intention of meeting up with her again.

However, detectives believe that the woman may have been too intoxicated to give consent.

Medical professionals have since examined the woman, but no arrests have yet been made.

In light of this incident, Claire Mc Quaid took to the streets of Dublin to find out whether or not people feel safe in taxis.

Video Credits

Reporter: Claire McQuaid

Camera: Anne Stewart 

Production: Jonathan Crean

Abandon Ship! Students on emigration

University College Cork’s recent study of emigration trends in Ireland last week revealed that nearly two thirds of emigrants had a third-level qualification. It also showed that half of those emigrating were doing so as a matter of choice, leaving a full-time job they had here in Ireland.

This provided some food for thought for experts and journalists who lamented the ‘brain drain’ as a tragic consequence of our crumbling economy. The claim that people are leaving unwillingly as a matter of necessity is now being called into question.

Perhaps the mass exodus has more to do with the quality of jobs available as opposed to the quantity. To put it simply, young Irish people don’t want to settle for what they see as menial jobs. But in this climate, the pressure is even greater to take what you’re given and be grateful. I went in search of answers from some final year college students.

ImageHilary Pidgeon, 22

“When I graduate I’m probably going to emigrate. Maybe not permanently, I’d probably move away for a couple of years. There’s so much more opportunities in other countries like America and Canada. Some of my friends are doing jobs that are widely available in Ireland, but if they want to go far in their career they’d have to emigrate. I think it’s really bad. You’ve got your family here and your friends here. You’re basically cutting off the life you’ve built up here for twenty something years”

ImageLouise McLoughlin, 22

“I think I’m going to head straight to London after I finish. My boyfriend has already emigrated there, so that’s one reason but secondly I think there’s just a lot more opportunity especially for someone studying media. I think the majority of my friends are going to stay for the next few years at least but I think if something better is offered somewhere else they’re going to take it. People should do what’s best for them. It’s not our job to hold the country together. Why should be stick around just to stop a boat from sinking?”

ImageTessa Flemming, 23

 “When I graduate I know I probably won’t get work in my area of study so I’m just going out with a completely open mind, to experience life rather  than find a career straight away. I really wanted to learn Spanish this year, I was thinking of going to South America or Spain and just live in another country for a year. I see myself as a wanderer, so any opportunities that are presented to me I’ll definitely say yes. I think people don’t really want to leave, but they’re doing crappy jobs at the moment that don’t reflect their skills. I really don’t want to happen to me. ”

ImageBarry Lennon, 21.

“Emigration isn’t really on my radar, but I wouldn’t mind moving abroad for a while to grow as person.  I mean if push comes to shove and there is a better offer abroad perhaps, even just to get a different experience. I probably would like to return to Ireland depending on how things go. Maybe when I get my retirement and I can settle down with the wife. I’ll sell the house and buy a nice retirement home somewhere in west Cork. I think it’s bad though, the country is investing in these people only for them to go away.”

ImageSean Carroll, 21

“I’ll  head to the west coast of America for a year, hopefully with friends. I’m  getting a degree in marketing, and I don’t have any interest in working in Ireland right now with the recession strangling any chance I have!  We pride ourselves here in Ireland for having such an educated workforce, but people are getting educated here and then they’re leaving. Obviously people don’t want to leave their family and friends behind but if you’ve studied for four or five years in a particular field, it seems like a waste to stay here. If you have a degree in engineering but you have to work full time in Centra you’re not going to stay around.”

Sinead O’Connor, Miley Cyrus spat continues

Sinead O’Connor and Miley Cyrus have continued in their cyber tit-for-tat argument.

The feud began with a seemingly good-willed letter, drafted by O’Connor, and posted on her personal website addressed to Miley Cyrus, in relation to the young American popstar’s recent sexaully-provacative antics. However the fourth, most recent letter, has moved onto the topic of mental health – more pertinently, Miley Cyrus’ derogatory attitude towards the issue.

Sinead O'Connor was less than thrilled to hear she was the inspiration of Miley Cyrus' new video. Image by: Pieter Morlion
Sinead O’Connor was less than thrilled to hear she was the inspiration of Miley Cyrus’ new video. Image by: Pieter Morlion

The first letter was drafted in response to comments Cyrus made to Rolling Stones magazine in relation to her new video, Wreaking Ball, being “like Sinead O’Connor’s video [for Nothing Compares to You] but, like, the most modern version.”

Cyrus responded in kind with a crass twitter response saying, “before Amanda Bynes there was Sinead O’Connor,” making light of both Bynes current, and O’Connor previous struggles with mental illness.

In the most recent letter O’Connor called for Cyrus to issue “an apology to all sufferers of mental health difficulties and all those who have had experience of suicidal feelings or who have been affected by suicide”.

She goes on to state that “a lot of these deaths [suicide] would not take place if it were not the case that stigmatisation and bullying and buffooning of those perceived mistakenly or otherwise to have mental health issues.”

The 20-year-old US singer is finding support hard to come by.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, a mental health anti-stigma programme has also publicly commented on the Cyrus’ ignorant statement.

“It’s really disappointing to see Miley Cyrus mocking Sinead O’Connor’s mental health problems”, said Baker, “and this only serves to fuel stigma.

She continued, “one in four of us will experience a mental health problem and there are times when we need to speak out and seek help. We would encourage Miley to apologise to Sinead.”

Social counsellor Thereseanne McCormack understands the “sense of naivety” shown on Cyrus’ behalf.

“She has been sheltered from a young age, which has clearly warped her judgement,” said McCormack.

“I would be worried about Cyrus’ ability to lay blame upon everyone else, as it is a sign of her own worries and sub-conscious issues.”


Hozier video goes viral

Hozier playing The Button Factory for Hard Working Class Heroes - Photo by Sarah Buckley
Hozier playing The Button Factory for Hard Working Class Heroes – Photo by Sarah Buckley

Hozier is a name that’s starting conversations all over the place lately following the release of the Dublin singer-songwriters debut EP “Take Me To Church” in July. What’s making waves though is his recently released video for the track of the same name.

‘Take Me To Church’ is the most complete song from Hozier’s nascent career, a soulful high-spirited track which seeks redemption in the flesh through metaphors around church worship – “if the heaven’s ever did speak / she’s the last true mouth piece”, “I was born sick but I love it / command me to be well”.

Feel Good Lost’s black and white video for the track also addresses that issue: by showing what can happen to a gay couple who face the violent homophobic backlash that ensues when the community learns of one of the man’s sexuality.

Hozier told State Magazine recently that the video:

“references the recent increase of organised attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious organisations and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and Brendan liked the idea.”

Frantically shot with a palpable sense of dread, the narrative explores homophobia, violence and oppression with the harsh unforgiving eye of the camera capturing the fear and aggression portrayed with a real feeling of precision communicating the subject matters all too real relevance.

As of writing the video has recieved over 239,385 views on Youtube.