Oman Diary: Catch of the day

Early morning at the small coastal town of Barka, 50 miles west of Oman's capital Mustcat. Since daybreak fishermen have been arriving in boats laden with the night's catch. They moor along the shore beside the fish market, known by locals as the souk. The traditional fishing boats - called huris - pitch and roll in the small waves; fisherman balance inside, dividing the catch into plastic crates and passing them to merchants. Crates are carried to the merchant's stall where the haggling with the punters begins.

Domestic Violence Act fails to protect many people


In the first part of this two part mini-series on domestic abuse in Ireland we looked at the reality of domestic abuse and the scale of the problem in Ireland. In this final part, we will look at what might be done to help support the victims of such abuse. By Justin Frewen.

Over 200,000 Irish women live in fear of being abused by their current or ex-husbands, partners or boyfriends. The shocking truth is that women run a greater risk of being abused by someone they know than from any stranger.  

The pain of domestic abuse felt by women and men

In the first of a two part series, an overview is taken of the devastating impact of domestic abuse in Irish life. By Justin Frewen.

It is only in the last couple of decades that the world has focused on the horrific levels of violence perpetrated against women in times of war. Although women and girls have been the victims of sexual violence and other forms of aggression for several millennia, their plight has generally been relegated to the footnotes of historical accounts.  

Mental health and human rights inevitably linked

The link between human rights and mental health is a crucial one. Moreover, it is one that continues to grow in importance. By Justin Frewen and Dr. Anna Datta.

A range of international human rights agreements and principles provide minimum standards as to how states should respect the rights of their citizens. Every person, irrespective of their race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, mental health or any other aspect of their status is entitled to full enjoyment of their human rights.

Struggles faced by migrant workers are severe

Irish migrant workers on employment visas face a number of problems. These include high levels of exploitation and discrimination as well as difficulty changing employment. By Justin Frewen.

The 2006 Census informs us that 15% of the Irish workforce was comprised of non-Irish nationals from 188 different countries. Although this has certainly declined since the onset of the current recession, a large percentage still remain.

African Guinness still 'Good for You' and your Lady friend

African Guinness is marketed as a liquid Viagra. By Tom Rowe.

'Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink', said the ancient mariner, lost at sea. This may be akin to how an Irishman adrift in Africa feels, where Guinness abounds, but not the same black stuff as made in St. James Gate.

African Guinness is labeled 'Foreign Extra', a quaint term carried over from when Guinness was produced in Ireland or England and exported to Africa, beginning in 1827. The stout had more alcohol than other beers, and travelled well on the long voyage south.

Policy choices and the political business cycle

The political business cycle - the theory that during the run up to an election, the government has an incentive to produce a giveaway budget to woo prospective voters – is a perpetual feature of elections. Recent research on the US economy has shown election outcomes are strongly correlated with only the last two quarters of economic output. In other words, voters have very short memories. Struggling politicians therefore have a strong incentive to produce giveaway budgets near election years, regardless of whether it is a good idea economically or not.

Agent Orange still a silent killer

Thousands of people still struggle with the effects of dangerous levels of dioxin released by the US military in the Vietnam War. By Justin Frewen.

In 1975, after a 30 years struggle against a range of foreign forces, the victorious National Liberation Front of Vietnam forces entered Saigon, the capital of the South. For the first time since its occupation by France in the late 19th century, Việt Nam was independent and no longer subject to the dictates of external powers.

The social determinants of mental health

Progressive change in mental health can be made by improving the social and economic status of the poorest. By Justin Frewen and Dr. Anna Datta.

There is a growing awareness among health professionals and policy makers of the role social and economic factors play in determining good mental health.

Playing a dangerous game in Chad

UN withdrawal from Chad will leave vulnerable people with no protection and waste efforts already made to stabilise the region. By Tom Rowe.

The 400 Irish troops in eastern Chad protect thousands of Chadians and Sudanese refugees, as well as numerous humanitarian aid agencies, from danger.