Animator Michael McCurdy gives his own take on the small town police reports of Port Townsend in Jefferson County, Washington, narrated by local residents.


At Trinity College this week; editor of University Times Eleanor O’Mahony

This week a petition was launched at Trinity College Dublin, calling for the removal of The University Times‘ editor’s salary and their on-campus accommodation from 2020/2021.

The newspaper has claimed that the petition, if successful, would also see the paper get just €3,000 a year to go towards publishing in print – and this would cover just one issue.

It follows the newspaper placing a recording a device outside an on-campus apartment where an initiation ceremony took place of an “elite, invite-only Trinity sporting society”, called the Knights of the Campanile.

On Monday, The University Times‘ rival newspaper Trinity News published an editorial titled: ‘Bugging has destroyed the integrity of the University Times’, in which it said:

“UT have claimed that RTÉ and The Irish Times have used the same methods of source-gathering in the past, but this is not true. Those organisations have never bugged anyone’s home.

“Another crucial difference is that their biggest intrusions were overwhelmingly in the public interest – which is the test applied by courts when trying to establish whether this kind of reporting is legal – as when an RTÉ researcher posed as an employee of Áras Attracta to expose abuse against residents there.

“Whatever you think about The Knights of the Campanile’s “hazing”, it is in no way comparable to such abuses.

“UT’s behaviour is better compared to the News International phone-hacking scandal in the UK in 2011, in which News of the World bugged many high-profile people in British society, including Gordon Brown and the Royal Family. The scandal was so great that it led to the closure of News of the World.”

Further to this…

Eleanor O’Mahony, editor of The University Times, told The Times Ireland edition today:

“The reaction from the Knights of the Campanile has been predictable, but we are more concerned by the response from our fellow journalists in Trinity News, who have essentially called for us to be defunded.

“We stand by our story and the techniques used to report it. We will resist any effort to defund the paper or to chill our future reporting.”

Trinity paper accused of bugging student in ‘hazing’ investigation (The Times Ireland edition)

Previously: Best Haze Of Our Lives

Pics: Jacob

H/T: Christine Bohan

Brian Mohan

This morning.

In the Supreme Court.

Fianna Fáil local election candidate for Dublin’s North Inner City Brian Mohan won his appeal against a previous Court of Appeal ruling.

The Court of Appeal ruled that he lacked legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of 2012 laws linking State funding of parties to parties meeting gender quotas when selecting candidates.

The Electoral (Political Funding) Act 2012 provides that a political party which doesn’t have at least 30 per cent male and 30 per cent female candidates in a general election would have its funding halved.

The Supreme Court found that he does have the legal standing to make his challenge.

His challenge will now be heard in the High Court at a later date.




Laura Brennan, aged 26, from Co Clare, died at University Hospital Limerick, following her diagnosis of terminal cervical cancer at the age of 24.

Since her diagnosis in 2017, Laura was a HPV vaccine campaigner and worked with the HSE on their vaccine campaign.

Her family, in a statement released through the HSE last night, said:

“Laura was a light in the life of everyone who knew her; a wonderful daughter, sister and friend. We are lost without her.

“We are all incredibly proud of the work she did in the last 18 months to help protect other young women like herself from the cancer that has taken her life today.

“Laura used her voice, her generosity and her energy to help parents to make informed choices and protect their daughters from cervical cancer.

“She wanted to make a difference, and use the time that she had to right what she felt was a great wrong.”

‘We are lost without her’: HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan (26) dies (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey, Co Roscommon

The Department of Justice has confirmed that a plan to provide an accommodation centre for asylum seekers at a disused hotel in Rooskey, Co Leitrim, will not now go ahead.

An issue over the lease of the property, which was damaged in two arson attacks in the last four months, is the reason not to proceed.

Plans for Rooskey asylum centre will not go ahead (Ciaran Mullooly, RTE)

Pale Blue Moon – Supernatural

Shane Kelly writes:

Drogheda, County Louth Band, Pale Blue Moon has entered the iTunes Rock Charts Ireland at No 2 with their debut single Supernatural. The video (above) has reached over 100k views on YouTube and continues to climb….

In fairness.

Pale Blue Moon

From top: Early morning commuters on a Dublin Bus last month; Michael Taft

There is a growing interest in reducing the working week – usually expressed as a four-day week. Numerous ad hoc examples of private and public sector companies and agencies appear in the media while, here in Ireland, Forsa recently held a conference dedicated to reducing the working week.

The arguments for a shorter working week range from greater work/life balance, productivity, stress reduction, preparing for the impact of automation, etc. As part of that debate below is some information on how many hours per year people work in Ireland in comparison with our EU peer group (other high-income economies).

This data focuses on full-time employees but it should be noted that full-time is defined as approximately 30 hours by the CSO with possible different definitions in other countries. Further, this looks at the private sector as this is where the introduction of a shorter working week on the same rate of pay will be the most challenging.

The Private Sector Economy

Irish employees work more hours than most other peer group countries. The UK and the Netherlands report higher annual working hours. The Netherlands is an interesting case. It has the highest level of part-time workers with 50 percent of all employees working part-time compared to an average of less than 25 percent in other countries.

Annual working hours can be reduced in many ways – not just a though a shorter working week. For instance, public holidays, statutory annual holidays and additional holiday hours resulting from collective agreements in the workplace can reduce annual hours worked.

In total, Irish employees work the equivalent of 2.7 weeks more than our peer-group average, assuming a basic 39-hour working week (the UK is not included in our EU peer group for obvious reasons; Eurostat is already removing the UK from EU averages). We don’t work the most, but we work more than most in our peer group.

Working Hours by Sector

The following looks at sectoral breakdowns. Let’s start with the high working-hour sectors.

Irish construction employees work more hours than any other sector, and 15 percent more than our peer group average – 248 hours annually, or the equivalent of 6.4 weeks more per year. A possible contributor to this high level of working could be the emerging labour shortage in the sector.

Irish manufacturing employees work 11 percent more than our peer group – 175 hours annually, or the equivalent of 4.5 weeks more per year.

Turning to medium-high working-hour sectors we find the following.

Irish transport employees work 8 percent more than our peer group – 132 hours annually, or the equivalent of 3.4 weeks more per year.

Irish wholesale/retail employees work 6 percent more than our peer group – 106 hours annually, or the equivalent of 2.7 weeks more per year.

Irish communication and information employees work 2 percent more than our peer group – 37 hours annually, or the equivalent of nearly one week per year.

Irish financial services employees work 5 percent more than our peer group – 76 hours annually, or the equivalent of nearly two weeks per year.

Finally, let’s look at relatively low working-hour sectors.

Irish professional and technical employees work 1 percent more than our peer group – 11 hours annually, or the equivalent of less than two days per year.

Irish administrative service employees work marginally less than our peer group – less than half-a-day per year.

Irish hospitality employees work 3 percent less than our peer group – 53 hours less, or the equivalent of 1.4 weeks per year.

It should be noted that the hospitality sector is likely to have high levels of precariousness. The problem here may be that full-time employees don’t get enough work.

It’s bad enough that we are over-worked compared to our peer group. But we also get fewer paid days off.

Annually, Irish workers get 88 fewer hours paid without working than our peer group average. That’s the equivalent of 2.3 weeks fewer paid public holidays, annual holiday leave, etc.

Some might say this is the price we must pay to have a strong economy. However, other economies with far fewer working days and more paid days off have just as strong economies.

Belgium, which has the lowest annual hours worked and the highest number of paid days off, has the highest GDP per person employed (factoring in living costs). On the other hand, the UK has the highest working hours and the fewest paid days off.

Yet they are at the bottom. Ireland, while ranking third, is clumped together with a number of other countries which have fewer working hours and more paid days off.

In short, working more doesn’t guarantee higher output.

Hopefully the debate over the future of the working week will gather pace.

But one thing is for sure. Irish workers are already over-worked. What we need is fewer working hours and more paid time off.


Michael Taft is a researcher for SIPTU and author of the political economy blog, Notes on the Front. His column appears here every Thursday.

Top pic: Donal Moloney