Friday, November 16, 2012

There's no more emotive an issue than abortion

There's no more emotive an issue than abortion!

In the past week, we have been privvy to 'some' information about the young Indian woman who lost her battle for life in a Galway hospital, when a miscarriage caused complications and resulted in her dying from Sepsis and E-Coli.  As has been stated on radio and in the papers numerous times, we (Joe and Joan Public) are not in possession of all the facts and therefore cannot really make an informed decision as to what did or didn' t happen.  Cold comfort that is not to her family and husband who now not only grieves the loss of his unborn child, but also of his wife...
If there is any lesson to be learned from this it is that we need clarity where medical abortions are concerned.
But its not only that!  As a woman and mother, I am absolutely torn between the choices facing some women out there.  As a woman I understand and support everyones right to choose.  As a mother, I understand what can result from a pregnancy carried to term.  The fact of the matter however is I CHOSE!  I chose what was right for me given the circumstances of my life.  While I might not agree with someone else's choice, am I right to deny them the right to choose what is right for them.  Simply put the answer is NO! 
Getting into an argument about what constitues life and when is a feotus actually a baby is an argument that is meant to cloud, confuse and evoke an emotional response.  It is commendable that those who stand up for rights have behind them the courage of their convictions, but unless a woman is free to make a choice that is right for her; her rights are being ignored and that in my opinion is not right.  We all live with the consequences of our actions; we should not be forced to live with those consequences when they don't reflect our own right to choose.

Monday, November 12, 2012


You take away the grants, you take away the support, you take away our kids future and you say we can afford it??

There has been much talk about the removal of capitation grants to private schools.  The reason for this appears to be simple. If you can afford to send your child (or children) to a private school, you can afford ALL the fees and let’s face it, the argument continues, the government can’t afford it any more.  Well, if the government can’t afford it now, what will happen when these schools close (as some most definitely will) if the capitation grants are removed and all those children have to be accommodated in already bulging secondary schools within their catchment area.  You think we have problems now within the education system?  Well, just wait for it!!  My own opinion is this; every child in this country is entitled to an education paid for by the state, that’s why we as parents pay our taxes is it not? Presently, every child, irrespective of the school, gets this capitation grant paid to the school they attend.  So we have students whose parents send them to private schools, are they then less entitled to this grant, are they less of a citizen of this country because their parents scrimp and save to put them into a school that maybe better suits their needs.  Much has been made of the facilities on offer at private schools but let me state clearly and as loudly as I can, the government, the department of Education, us, we the people by way of our taxes, do not pay anything towards those extra facilities nor do we pay for the infrastructure; the buildings, the grounds or maintenance of same.  Those ‘extras’ are funded from the fees paid by parents.  I send my son to a private school.  I sent him there because of his difficulties with Dyslexia.  At his school he receives more care and attention than if he had attended the local school.  When I visited the local school on their open night, I was told unfortunately they don’t have many facilities or remedial time to help my son.  So as a parent what was my option?  Leave him to fend for himself in a school that stated, before he’d even started, they’d do nothing for him, or send him to a school where he could be helped and pay for it.  The choice as a parent was easy. The difficulty for many ‘middle class’ parents, those parents that these politicians (proposing this step) insinuate are ‘rich’ is that it is not an easy thing in this economic climate to come up with the extra money for these school fees. To suggest every parent of every student in private education can afford to pay all their fees is both insulting, disgusting and smacks of cow-towing to elements of an electorate who think the middle class are not shouldering enough fiscal responsibility and should be taxed more.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Ask anyone branded as a member of this ‘middle class’ what they can afford and I know the answer you’ll get already.  This wonderful ‘middle class’, who are allegedly swimming in money are struggling just as much as anyone else in this country.  Being an easy target for the pugnacious comments of those politicians standing on their soapbox will have consequences when next we attend the election boxes.  You reap what you sow; I hope you all remember that!  And by the way, you should be ashamed of yourselves.


What is happening with Sentencing in our courts?

I recently read with absolute astonishment of the sentencing of a young man for burglary, the second he had committed on the day he was caught red handed.  To be fair to him he pleaded guilty; mind you how he could have pleaded anything else is beyond me, but kudos to him for ‘admitting’ it.  Then my outrage kicked in as I continued to read that the sentencing judge gave him a three year jail term, with two years suspended.  What caused my absolute incredulity is the fact that this chap had 46 previous convictions including two for burglary and at the time of his offence he was serving a ‘suspended part’ of a prison sentence.  While the circumstances of this young man’s childhood were far from ideal, it was with interest that the judge noted it but suggested that the young chap had become a menace to society.  YET, the chap only got one year for his crime!  This sentence is just nonsensical. My outrage is regularly irked at the seemingly indiscriminate and arbitrary sentencing that our judicial system hand down.   I do believe that sometimes circumstances have to be weighed heavily against the crime committed but my god how many times does the judicial do that before the rest of us look on in absolute bewilderment.  If judicial sentencing continues to be this haphazard, then surely there should be a list of restrictions with limits and boundaries.  There is no deterrent for this chap.  After he’s served the measly few months he’ll actually get in prison, he’ll be out in time for Christmas!  Wonder whose home he’ll target then!

The X-Factor or the O- Factor

OMG, I admit it; the X Factor is my guilty pleasure.  My teenage daughter and I every Saturday sit down and enjoy this show, the comments, the acts, the acting out, the outrage and the (ahem) singing!  It’s time we get to spend together and with her busy life as a teenager, its time I enjoy with her, even if it is sitting (and shouting) at the tv and comparing the acts, while fighting for our own favourites!  But OMG peoples, where’s the X-factor gone this year.  Poor poor Rylan;  plenty of pzaz, plenty of charisma, not much talent in my opinion, but still week after week as he goes through and survives, greater acts and talents are booted off the show because they are not as popular.  If you dissect the show; those acts going through are ones that get the public vote for some reason; certainly the boy bands are popular because of their looks:  that’s not too bad really because actually Union J can sing and I think will go far (not least because their legion of screaming teenage followers will buy anything they produce in the future).  But there are acts getting through where I can’t spot the talent!  I can’t see the potential, I can’t see the draw at all.  Rylan is one of those. I am sorry to say I don’t get James either!  He ‘pours’ his ‘dark’ heart into every song he sings certainly, but he sounds the same singing every one of them.  Where’s the diversity, where’s the variability, where’s the sunshine, (I think he’s only smiled twice in the last six weeks!!)?  With the exception of Leona Lewis, the show has not produced an international singing sensation as is its remit!  But is that not happens when you leave the voting in the hands of the populous more interested in the ‘talent’ than ‘the talent’. Well, that’s the opinion of this auld fogy anyway.


We are not keeping pace with technology when it comes to bullying

Unless one of your children has been the target of a bully, it is hard to imagine the sense of helplessness and powerlessness you feel as a parent.  Imagine then how that child feels as the bullied party. But bullying has moved on from pushes and taunts in the school yard.  It has moved into the realms of constant and instant communication.  Some children are exposed and powerless in a way as was never the case before because now the bullies don’t even face them; it’s done across cyberspace in a cowardly, disgusting and devious manner.  It makes it easier to bully someone when you don’t have to face them and see the impact of your words or actions.  But as we have seen in the last few weeks, the effect of such bullying can have devastating consequences on some children and their families.  Ask those who have been bullied what the consequences for them have been and the answer will be uniform across them all: fear, shame, hurt, depression, feelings of uselessness, damage to their self-esteem and their confidence and anger at times.  That anger is directed towards those who won’t or can’t help including parents who sometimes have no idea what their child is going through.   Dealing with a schoolyard bully while, not easy, is still easier than dealing with at times the anonymity of cyber comments.  I have had parents tell me that teachers or those in a position of authority have not acted when their children are bullied as the bullying is not so clear-cut; that bullying took the form of a ‘sneaky and insidious manner’.  That failure to act resulted in those children being bullied worse and for longer because the bullies acted with what they saw as impunity.  Our system is wrong when this is the result.  Our system is wrong when a child suffers so badly at the hands of his/her tormentors that the only option they feel left open to them is to take their own lives, or self-harm or act out and turn to other things like drugs or drink!  We have just voted on a child protection policy, but what about those kids we are not protecting as a result of this don’t see, don’t react attitude.  For the most part, boys will sort out their differences by swopping a few thumps; for the most part, boys don’t hold grudges, its girls who are the undisputed queens of that particular practice and it’s disgusting.  I’ve also heard the parents of bullies suggesting that there is no way ‘their child’ would do something like that!  But they do!  While some parents have no idea their child is being bullied, so too most parents will not realise their child IS a bully.  What child would like their parent to know that?  What child would like their parents to see them picking on someone else, displaying such disgusting, shameful and nauseating traits as to make them dislike their own child if just for a while?  I am sure I am not alone in getting so angry and upset and indeed disappointed at a system that does not protect, at parents who can’t imagine and at the perpetrators of the bullying who undertake such unpardonable behaviour under the cloak of ‘ignorance’.  If you bully someone – no matter the level, you damage them; it’s as simple as that.  If you allow that bullying to continue no matter who you are (teacher, parent, friend, or authority figure); in my opinion, you’re just as bad as the bullies themselves?  And it’s about time we all took responsibility for this type of behaviour and stamped it out!