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 thecity.ie, 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

Lebron James enjoying unprecedented Season 15

Lebron James has done the seemingly impossible.  No, that’s not make it out of the streets of Akron, Ohio, raised only by a single mother to become arguably the second greatest basketball player of all time … instead, he has managed to get better in year fifteen of his career.

Better might be an overstatement, but he clearly is showing off an improved shooting stroke this year, coupled with a zen mastery of basketball knowledge, while only slightly losing some of his otherworldly athleticism, which has seen him at least return to MVP form (and possibly lead the MVP race).

However, just to show how rare what Lebron James is doing I’m going to compare him to the greatest to ever play the game at year fifteen in their respective careers.  The numbers speak for themselves and Lebron is truly showcasing the kind of unique athletic specimen he truly is.


Points Per Game (PPG) is often a stat people look to in order to see the dominance a player has over a game.  Sometimes a misperceived stat as it is over glorified, it is still the main aim of the game, put the ball through the hoop.  Lebron is miles ahead of his Hall of Fame counter-parts, almost 3 points ahead of his nearest rival as seen in the graph above.  Legendary scoring machine and widely considered the best basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, only averaged a 20 PPG for a lowly Washington Wizards team that didn’t even make the playoffs.  Albeit, Jordan was 39 years old at the time, while Lebron only turns 33 at the end of December (although Lebron has played more games than Jordan).


Not only is he scoring more than all of these other great players at this stage of their career, he is also shooting it at a better rate than any of them.  The graph above shows the players True Shooting Percentage (TS%), which according to Basketball-Reference.com, is a “measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account 2-point field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws”.  Again, James leads this category by a healthy margin with a TS% of 65.7 percent, which trumps Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s percentage of 60.8 percent.  He’s a full five percent better than a 7”2 giant, who had the most unstoppable shot of all time and also got most of his points within five feet of the basket.

apg 15.png

While Lebron is a scoring machine, he is better known for being able to do everything on the basketball court, he can dominate a game with more than just his scoring.  James is known as a gifted passer, often compared to the great Magic Johnson for his court vision.  The chart above shows that only assist king, Steve Nash (11.4), bests him in this category.  Not even all time great point guard John Stockton could muster up more assists than ‘The Chosen One’.  Nash of course had the advantage of playing full time point guard with his only real job to set up team mates, whereas Lebron is averaging 8.3 assists while also averaging 8.3 rebounds.  Lebron isn’t particularly close to the top of the rebounding pile, however, as shown in the graph below, he is above the mean.  He is bested only by some of the best big man rebounders to ever play the game.

Lebron also stuffs the stat sheet on the defensive end.  Combining steals and blocks Lebron sits in 3rd with 2.4 per game.  One of the best defensive players ever, Hakeem Olajuwon, obliterates the competition with 4.1 per game.  However, Lebron James shows his versatility on the basketball court by being near the top of all of these categories.



Lebron James not only dominates traditional statistics, he’s an advanced stats mercenary.  Lebron by any metric is great, hence being considered one of the best players ever, but when compared to all of these great players, it’s not even a contest.  Player efficiency rating (PER), is widely regarded as a stat that can truly quantify how valuable a basketball player is on the court.  According to basketball-reference.com, PER,  ‘The Player Efficiency Rating (PER), is a per-minute rating developed by ESPN.com columnist John Hollinger.

In Hollinger’s words, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance while adjusting for pace.”  ‘The King’s PER in year 15 is just astounding, it is a full four points better than his closest rival Karl Malone, who in all honesty is the only one who came close.  Karl Malone, revered for how well he kept his body during his career, was the pinnacle of fitness later in his career.  That James has easily outperformed him is a testament to the work that Lebron has put into keeping his body in phenomenal condition even at this late stage of his career.  The only way to compare his PER in this season is to compare it to the all-time single season PER.  Wilt Chamberlain holds the record of 31.82 in his fourth season in the league while he was 26 years old, and averaged a mere 44.8 PPG and 24.3 RPG.  Lebron, at nearly 33 years old in his 15th season, would have the 9th highest PER ever if the season ended today.



Win Shares per 48 minutes (WS/48), is a stat which directly correlates with the player’s direct impact on his team winning a game.  Again, Lebron shows he is not just a superior player but absolutely vital for his team to succeed even in the regular season.  The graph above shows that Karl Malone is Lebron’s only true challenger when it comes to comparing players in year fifteen in their respective careers.  However, this is one time ‘The Mailman’ can’t deliver as ‘The King’ rules over all when it comes to players a decade and a half into their respective careers.  The graph below is simply an amalgamation of all the stats mentioned throughout this article to show his utter dominance in every aspect of the game.

So, what does any of this even mean?  We already knew Lebron is one of the best ever to play the game and his longevity has always been a big factor in that.  It seems though that even comparing him to past greats isn’t fair.  So who better to compare Lebron to other than, well, Lebron James!  James’ tenth year in the league, when he won his second NBA championship and fourth MVP trophy is widely regarded as the greatest Lebron James season, statistically anyways.  This was when Lebron was in the prime of his career at 28 years old and was playing for a powerhouse Miami Heat squad.

James slid to the power forward position and Coach Eric Spoelstra was using James masterfully to get him easy chances around the basket.  This was pinnacle Lebron, the apex predator, the cerebral assassin, the final evolution.  However, it seems Lebron still had more growing to do as a player and has developed even further.  The graph below compares these two seasons.  Lebron this year trumps his past self in points, rebounds, assists and TS%.  In the 2012-13 season, James was one vote shy of becoming the first ever unanimous MVP.  This year is comparable, if not more impressive.  Is Lebron going to make history again and become the first player ever to win an MVP fifteen years into his career, five years after he won his last one?

combined stats.png

Stats taken from Basketball-reference.com, Lebron James stats as of December 2nd 2017.

By Lee Shields

Consistency is key for Cúltech

The Synthetic Hurley made by Cúltech has increased the consistency of striking, according to recent data obtained from a novel experiment conducted by journalists of thecity.ie.

In a test conducted on the 10th April 2017 the results found the synthetic variant to be 20.83% more consistent than ash-made hurls. The standard deviation (which measures how spread out data is from the average) of the traditional hurl was 18.19m however the synthetic cúltech’s standard deviation was only 15.05m. This confirmed the hypothesis that the synthetic hurley had greater consistency when striking the ball.

The test results also produced some data of interest with regards to the distance one could strike the ball. On this occasion the traditional ash hurley marginally outperformed its synthetic counterpart. In the case of two of the three test subjects their greatest strike was recorded using the traditional ash (81.6m and 75.2m respectively) with the third test subject achieving a max distance with the synthetic Cúltech (65m). This data seems to dispel the myth that a synthetic hurley will help the user achieve a greater distance when striking the ball.  (see fig.1)

Maximum distance achieved
Wood Graphite
Test subject 1 81.6 79.57
Test subject 2 59.03 65
Test subject 3 75.2 74.09

(Fig. 1)

Interestingly, the results also showed that all three test subjects minimum recorded striking distance was greater when using the synthetic Cúltech. The three minimum strike distances recorded for Cúltech were 63.73m, 59.9m and 49.87m. The three minimum strike distances recorded for the traditional ash were 62.37m, 59.72m and 39.17m. This might also suggest a greater deal of consistency from the synthetic hurl. (see fig.2)

Wood Graphite
Test subject 1 62.37 63.73
Test subject 2 39.17 42.34
Test subject 3 59.72 59.9

(Fig. 2)

The test was conducted under very strict circumstances in order to eliminate as many variables as possible. All three test subjects used a 33 inch synthetic cúltech and a 33 inch traditional ash hurley when striking the ball. Both hurleys were also similar in weight. All three tests were conducted on the same day under the same conditions (dry, mild, little to no wind). In order to eliminate momentum from the test, each subject was not permitted to move their feet meaning their swing was as close to identical each time. In order to combat the influence of fatigue each test subject took ten shots with a synthetic cúltech then the next subject would go. After every ten shots the test subject would change the hurl they were using. Test subjects took a total of 100 strikes (50 with each hurley). The distance measurement was taken from where the ball first made contact with the ground after being struck from the hurley. This eliminated the influence of a favourable or unfavourable bounce. The sliotars used for these tests were official O’Neill’s size 5 sliotars, all balls were brand new and identical. This eliminated the ball as a possible variable. Therefore the only remaining variable was the material of the hurl. All of these measures were taken in order to make it as fair a test as possible.

Hurling is an ancient Irish game that has been played for over 3,000 years. Traditionally the game has always been played with a wooden hurley (typically made from ash). However in more modern times there have been several attempts at developing a synthetic hurley. Early attempts at this were largely unpopular as the synthetic material was a poor shock absorber meaning pain could shoot into the arm of the user when the hurl collided with another.

However, Irish company Cúltech have developed a solution to this problem and their synthetic hurley has passed all health and safety regulations set out by the GAA. They have done this by using a hollow shaft and using a corked bás (the flat part used to strike ball). The hurley is manufactured using plastic components including epoxy, nylon and graphite. They claim that their product offered a larger ‘sweet spot’ thus offering the user a greater chance of a good strike. Another urban myth surrounding the synthetic hurl alternative is that it increases the distance a player can strike the ball. St. Vincent’s GAA senior hurler Andrew Brennan is a strong advocate for the traditional ash. However, after seeing the data from this research he conceded that Cúltech may be more consistent when it comes to striking. “Traditional ash is still better for general play and there are more options in terms of the shape of the hurl to suit whoever is using it,” he said, “the ash hurleys just look better [as well].”

Average striking distance of ash hurleys compared with Cúltech hurleys.

By Eoghan McGrane

Interview of Interest: Trainee Pilot Alice Farrell

Dubliner Alice Farrell is currently based in Jerez de la Frontera where she is undertaking 14 months of training as part of the Aer Lingus Cadet Pilot Programme. She tells us about securing a place on the programme and what life is like for a trainee pilot.

Source: Alice Farrell

How did you get into the Aer Lingus Cadet Pilot Programme and what did the process involve?

I applied for the cadetship when it opened last September (2015). I’d made an agreement with myself that I’d wait to apply for the cadetship until I’d finished my undergraduate degree. A couple of weeks after applying I was invited to submit several online essays that covered my interest in aviation, my perceived ability to be a pilot and my general teamwork and communication skills.

After this stage, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Aer Lingus’ assessment day, which was jointly ran by my flight school FTE Jerez. The day consisted of four main segments; a group exercise, a panel interview, pilot aptitude tests and general aptitude tests. A reasonable standard of maths and basic physics is required to do well in these tests as time is limited. The group exercise was an interesting segment of the day as it’s very hard to prepare for such a scenario and a group of people that are entirely unpredictable. I had to trust my own confidence in my ability to adapt and to truly listen and communicate effectively with others.

The final panel interview was the next stage. This was as intense as expected but the interviewers really did try their best to relax and settle you. They very much were there to give you the platform to talk and show them who you are. They supported any search for clarity or understanding throughout. At times it’s very much your interview, in terms of what to talk about. An interview with a psychologist followed this stage. It was much like the panel interview but less technical, although it still had technical elements, and a longer time was spent probing certain topics in search of more in depth answers to perhaps previously asked questions. Lastly, [there] was a medical examination in the Mater Private. I was then offered the cadetship in early December.

Is being a pilot something you always dreamed of?

When I was younger, I actually dreamt of being an astronaut! As years went on, I realised that this was probably a lot more difficult to achieve than my childhood self had imagined. When it came to going to college I decided that if I couldn’t be the person flying the spaceship, I would be the one who helped build it. Although I found my degree in Physics with Astrophysics interesting, it still didn’t satisfy the part of me that was interested in aviation. So, I decided to apply for an MSc in Safety and Human Factors in Aviation. In the same fortnight, the cadetship opened for Aer Lingus.

What’s an average day like for you?

An average day for me at the moment is not as exciting as one may believe. I’m currently in Phase Two ground-school, where I am preparing for eight of the fourteen European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) exams. A typical ground-school day starts at 9.00am sharp where a student will do three one hour classes in the morning and another three in the evening, finishing at 5.00pm. After the school day has finished, most students will take a rest hour or two for relaxation and dinner. From 7.00pm to 10pm/11pm, I will then study the topics covered throughout the day.

Source: Alice Farrell

How intense is the programme?

The course is a lot of tough work. Before heading down, I was told that however hard you think it will be, double it! This unfortunately proved to be very true. Most students will have to study most evenings, this includes weekends. And for those fortunate enough to be in the flying phase, [they] also have a lot of work to do with flight preparation, from checking the aircraft to route preparation to checking the weather forecast etc. The course is by far the most work I’ve ever invested into something but it’s truly enjoyable to see the rewards of your work as it’s a relatively short course, in comparison to a degree.

What do you like the most and the least about the programme?

As would be expected, the flying has been by far the best part. The feeling of walking out to an airplane and 15 minutes later, being at 3000 feet in control and alone, is one of the most liberating and thrilling experiences you can imagine. The least enjoyable part would probably be the ground-school, simply because you’re exactly that, grounded. Although, it must be noted that it’s a necessary evil in order to fully appreciate and understand what is required before heading into either of the flying phases.

How many people are in the programme?

There are around 145 of us in the training school – 15 female students and 130 male students. This hopefully reflects a slow but positive change in the industry in which currently only around 6% of pilots are female.

When do you get your pilot’s wings?

Wings are presented to students who have completed their CPL (Commercial Pilot’s License) and IR (Instrument Rating). On my timeline, I hope to achieve this sometime in late March/April 2017.

So will you be flying a commercial airline by May?

Not exactly. Myself and the remaining cadets return to Ireland late April where we will do our JOC (Jet Orientation Course) and type rating for the Airbus A320. Hopefully I’ll be flying by late summer!

What one thing would people be interested or surprised to hear about the programme?

People may think that because they’ve never flown a plane or because they have no background in aviation, this programme might not be for them or that their chances would be limited. I’d say to people of that mindset that the cadetship is for anyone that has ever dreamed of or has been passionate about a career in flying. The cadetship is definitely there to seek individuals that are passionate about aviation, hardworking, and an all-round team player. Regardless of experience, it really is a programme open to everyone who truly wants it.

Opinion: Scotty T admits paying for Irish girls abortion

By Chelsea Tyler McNeill


Geordie Shore stars are known for being extremely controversial and sexually provocative. It is also a known fact that the men of Geordie Shore like to stop off at every port for a one night stand while they do ‘press tours’ – so it was no surprise that Scotty T revealed he has slept with over 1,000 women.

That is utterly stomach turning, in my opinion. I wouldn’t even want to go on a date with someone with a record that high, let alone sleep with them – but not all Irish women would agree. One of the 1000 women he slept with was a northern Irish girl, who happened to get pregnant.

Self proclaimed ‘playboy’ Scotty T is certainly not the ideal man to settle down and have a child with, which was probably a factor in the Irish woman’s decision to abort the baby.

The reality star admits, in his book ‘Scotty T: A Shore thing’, that it was just a one night stand and when she fell pregnant, she told him because she felt he had a right to know. You have to give her credit for that, telling a ‘celeb’ who has slept with over 1,000 women that you are pregnant with his child, because it must have been intimidating and his reaction was exactly what we would expect.

“Forgive me for saying it, but the sudden relief I experienced when she said that she wasn’t planning on keeping the baby was overwhelming, because I knew for sure that I wasn’t ready to be a dad.” he told the Irish Sun.

Obviously this situation is a much bigger deal in Ireland with abortion being illegal and the Repeal the 8th Campaign getting louder. She clearly felt that it was her choice to abort the baby if that wasn’t what she wanted, but I suppose she should have thought about that before having unprotected sex.

Not to say that I don’t believe women should have a choice, they should, but I don’t believe that abortion should be used as contraception. I think putting a condom on should be the first option rather than having unprotected sex and ‘getting rid of the baby’.

Admittedly, we don’t know the full circumstance or anything about this girls life so it would be wrong to condemn her, but a man who has had that many one night stands should know to wrap it up.

The Geordie Shore star supported the Irish woman all the way, he flew her over to Newcastle for the abortion, funded the whole thing and went with her. It seems that in the UK the media is glorifying him for such a chivalrous act, but should a man paying for an abortion after he slept with a woman without protection be applauded?

“To be honest it was the only occasion this had happened. But I dealt with it properly and respectfully, as should anyone else in that situation. If there was a chance that she was carrying my baby I was never going to leave this poor girl struggling on her own, that’s not right.”, he claims.

Of course it’s not right – they both had sex and they both created a baby so excuse me if I don’t jump to give Scotty T a pat on the back. Would I have expected him to just say ‘good luck’ and walk away? Yes, but that just means that he is less of a sleaze than I expected, not the biggest gentleman alive.


Following the Presidential Election: Candidates Struggle to Meet the Finish Line

By Cáitríona Murphy

In the third of a series of articles looking at the US Presidential Election, The City’s Cáitríona Murphy fills us in on the events that have unfolded over the past ten days, including the third and final debate, and the effect that it has had on the election.

As both candidates try to prove their worthiness, outside actors shed light on each candidate’s questionable past, and spectators watch as their reputations diminish. The question now is not who is the best candidate but who could the American people stomach to see in the Oval office?

Source: Wikipedia

Unsurprisingly, following the emergence of Trump’s 2005 ‘backstage at American idol’ video an array of women have come out of the woodwork accusing Mr Trump of inappropriate behaviour and sexual misconduct; including groping and making unwanted advancements.

In Thursday night’s debate, Trump told the mediator Chris Wallace that “those stories have been largely debunked” in response to the allegations from nine women. Trump insisted that the emergence of these women this week was either orchestrated by the Clinton’s campaign team or that these women just wanted their “10 minutes of fame”.

Although it is unlikely that Trump will actually be charged with sexual assault, these allegations have caused the – already divided – Republican party to split even further.

However, Clinton has not exactly had the best week either as the controversy surrounding her emails has once again blown up in her face after Wikileaks published around 20,000 pages of emails illegally stolen from John Podesta, her campaign chair.

The emails don’t really expose any new information about Clinton but rather shows us the inner workings of how Hillary Clinton works politically.

The emails have provided more details of the questionable relationship between the Clinton Foundation and its donors, her ties with big business in Wall Street and other wealthy campaign contributors.

Source: Wikileaks

The text on the left is parts of Hillary’s speeches that she was paid an exorbitant amount of money to make at Goldman Sachs events, and the highlighted text shows the close relationship that she has with high profile Wall Street companies. She discusses her military tactics with the Wall Street company. “My view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene,” she said. And she exposes her true economic policies in terms of regulation, “People that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”

Clinton is a walking contradiction when it comes to Wall Street and regulation. Up until now, she has walked a fine line between what she says to the public and what she means. However, this is not news, she has been questioned and attacked about her ties to Wall Street and all Wikileaks has done is confirm her contradictions.

The email on the right (above) is an example of the ethical difficulties that face the Clinton Foundation. This email is discussing how representatives from Qatar were hoping to get “five minutes” with former President Bill Clinton while in New York to present him with a $1 million check for his foundation as a birthday gift.

Ethical issues arise from this as the ties that the foundation has to foreign governments and financiers are unhealthy, and it raises questions about whether or not these donations are being used to buy favours from Hillary Clinton, considering at the time that this email was sent, Ms Clinton was the country’s top diplomat

This is nothing that she can be sent to jail for, and these assumptions can not be confirmed, but it does shed a light on the inner workings of the Clinton’s political dealings in the past, the foundation and Clinton’s campaign.

For anyone reading the emails and speeches that were published by Wikileaks, it may make a voter uneasy but would not exactly inspire any Democrat to go out and vote for Trump, especially after hearing some of the allegations made by his accusers.

Before the final debate on Wednesday, nine women had come forward with stories of groping and unwanted advances from Mr Trump which he denied when questioned about; “I didn’t know any of these — I didn’t see these women,” he said.

Since the debate a tenth woman has come forward, Karena Virginia, a yoga instructor and life coach from the New York region. She said she was 27 at the time and was waiting for a car to take her home when Mr Trump grabbed her right arm and “then his hand touched the right inside of my breast,” Ms Virginia said.

Getting down to brass tacks: the real policy issues

Both candidates had a tough week but both candidates also performed well on the night of the debate and the mediator Chris Wallace managed to focus the debate on important policy issues far more successfully than the mediators did at the previous debates. After every issue, each candidate was given two minutes to speak and granted brief rebuttals if necessary making it overall a successful debate for the audience and candidates alike.

Source: Flickr

It was important for each candidate to get their final remarks on the topics that can make or break their campaign. What is most notable about any debate is where the candidates differ and in this case it was abortion, gun laws, immigration and the handling of the economy (specifically taxes).

In the case of abortion and gun laws, Trump assured the audience that he would appoint pro-life judges to the supreme court who “will have a conservative bent, and will be protecting the Second Amendment”, which is the amendment that gives the citizens of the US a right to bear arms.

Trump believes that the Constitution is sacred and should be interpreted how the founding fathers wanted it interpreted, whereas Clinton, along with most democrats, believes that the Constitution is a living document. She said in the debate on the issue of the Supreme Court that “it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade,” which was the landmark case that extended the right of privacy to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

In terms of guns laws and the Second Amendment, in usual Hillary Clinton fashion, she tows the line and tries to stay to the centre as we saw in the debate. “I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership. It goes back to the founding of our country. But I also believe that there can be, and must be, reasonable regulation,” she said. Whether she believes it or not, Clinton knows that she cannot afford to lose the vote of the gun owners in America.

One vote that Hillary Clinton can always rely on is that of the minority groups specifically the votes of the African-American, Latino and Hispanic communities, especially in this election. Trump has spouted particularly racist rhetoric since the beginning of his campaign and one can go as far as saying that one of the foundation policies of his campaign is his idea to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Two weeks before the election is due to take place, nothing has changed as we heard in the debate; “Now I want to build a wall. We need the wall. The border patrol, ICE, they all want the wall. We stop the drugs, shore up the border,” he said.

Clinton’s political experience really shone through at this point in the debate as she took what Donald said and reinterpreted it for the audience, “Now, here’s what that means, it means you would have to have a massive law enforcement presence, where law enforcement officers would be going school to school, home to home, business to business, rounding up people who are undocumented, and we would then have to put them on trains, on buses, to get them out of our country.”

In this one sentence Clinton appeals to both Democrats and Republicans as she outlines how Trump’s plan would cost the country billions. As well as the cost of such an operation, this one sentence would send a chill down the spine of every conservative Republican who has nightmares about mass state intervention.

And finally probably the second biggest topic of the whole election was of course the economy and how each candidate plans to stimulate it and increase the historically low rate of GDP growth. And once again the ideological split is seen. Typical of a liberal Democratic candidate Clinton tells the audience that she wants to raise taxes and raise the minimum wage. She criticises Trump’s economic policies as she says he uses ‘trickle down’ economics that favour the wealthy and privileged whereas she “will not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less,” she said.

In contrast but a stance typical of the Republican Party Trump says that, “We’re going to cut taxes massively. We’ll cut business taxes massively.” The point in doing this is to incentivise companies to stay in America, which will therefore create employment.

If voters were only to look at each candidate’s policies and political beliefs their job on the 8th of November may not be so difficult but when the voters begin to consider all of the outside and personal factors of Trump and Clinton the choice is not as clear cut. Clinton appears to be gaining ground at the moment but I truly believe the air of uncertainty that has developed over this election will remain until the last ballot is counted.

A look into Dublin’s BMX scene

Mark Twomey is part of TheBMXDays, a group of friends from Dublin who took up BMXing in the last five years and have since gathered a following on YouTube and Facebook.

Here, Twomey discusses how he got into the sport, what the community in Dublin and Ireland is like now, how the opening of new skate parks is contributing to its growth and the financial costs of the hobby.

For more from Matthew you can visit his Twitter @_Gogery.

By Aidan Kelly and Matthew Colfer

Photo courtesy of TheBMXDays