We do have choices

In the wake of yet another austerity addled budget, a strident chorus of our political leaders and self-proclaimed media statespersons, backed by a broad range of public comprador/organic intellectuals are echoing the sentiments if not the exact words of that great ‘reformer’ Margaret Thatcher - that ‘There is no alternative’ (TINA) to the policies of austerity that have and are continuing to prove so ruinous to our country.

Let’s educate together: A humanist approach to education

The majority of primary schools in Ireland are still under the patronage of the catholic church, despite the fact that a significant of the population do not share this belief. Educate together schools provide a humanist alternative to this, where children are not segregated or ostracised because of belief, and where religion is taught in a historical context which highlights the comparison between world religions. By Justin Frewen.

Growing Diversity

Stark figures on domestic abuse

The statisics on domestic abuse in Ireland are often worrying, and the government needs to do more to ensure victims are protected. By Justin Frewen.

“… one in five Irish women who have ever been in a relationship experience physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse.” (Margaret Martin, Director Women’s Aid)

The recent launch of the annual statistics report for 2010 by Women’s Aid on domestic violence serves once more to highlight the continuing abuse inflicted on so many women in Ireland by their partners.

The UN and state-building - part two

Although its original charter made no mention of peacekeeping, let alone state-building, both now feature prominently in its activities. By Justin Frewen.

(This is the second of a two-part series. Part one can be found here.)

Life Imitates Art? Part II

The metamorphic transformations inflicted on their human victims by Ovid's capricious gods have serious or even fatal consequences. When Jove's wife Juno, jealous of Callisto's relationship with her husband, changes her into a bear, Callisto is forced to wander alone for many years, still in possession of her human feelings but trapped in a bear-like form. After fifteen years she runs into her own son Arcas, who fails to recognise his mother. He is only prevented from killing her by the intervention of Jove, who turns them both into neighbouring constellations.

Irish legislation fails to protect victims of domestic abuse

An issue often overlooked by the mainstream media, Justin Frewen sheds light on the horrific abuse millions of women are subjected to both in times of war and, perhaps more frighteningly, in their own homes during peacetime. In Ireland it is estimated a woman will suffer abuse 35 times before reporting it, but Irish legislation provides scant protection.

Life Imitates Art? Part I

All art is at once surface and symbol

Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril

Those who read the symbol do so at their peril

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray Preface)

The concept of metamorphosis has provided a rich vein of material for artists throughout history. Hundreds of artistic and literary works have benefited from characters gifted with shape altering abilities or who have been cursed to involuntarily change their form.

Humanism and Darwin Day

Saturday next, the 12th of February, will mark the 202nd anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and 152 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species. Every year organisations around the world celebrate this day by commemorating the works and life of Darwin. However, Darwin Day is also an occasion for highlighting the significant achievements brought about by the application of human inquisitiveness, resourcefulness, and ingenuity in improving all our lives.

Ireland is no exception in this respect.