The Glass Wall

Easy as A, A, A.

This simple three-part social media strategy aims to overhaul the ways non-profit organisations use social media

Picture the scene. You’re half-asleep, scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed on your commute into work. Mindlessly, you find yourself watching a video of a rotating cheese advent calendar, an M&S special just in time for the Christmas season. You haven’t yet had breakfast. You salivate. You tag a mate.

You fell for it.

Another page you liked for the sole purpose of receiving crispy banter and high-quality memes has sold out to ‘The Man’ and is subtly sharing sponsored posts and advertising products for private companies. Social-savvy businesses understand the value of utilising platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help them sell their wares. With the right tools, it’s easy, inexpensive and extremely effective to dominate the livestreams of their target audiences. But why does it seem like the private sector are the only ones who are availing of this opportunity?

Why are non-profit organisations not using social media to help spread their messages and achieve their goals?

Non-profits undervalue social media

Non-profit organisations, like NGOs and charity groups, typically undervalue and misunderstand the importance of a strong social media strategy. Many opt to use email as their primary communication method, even though social media communities are growing 3 times faster than email, with email list sizes growing by just 11% this year, and Facebook and Twitter presence increasing by 42% and 37% respectively.

Non-profits misuse social media

74% of nonprofits are guilty of using social networks primarily as a loudspeaker to update their communities on their news and donation information. However, the power of social media marketing is at its strongest when used to convey an emotion. Herein lies an opportunity for NGOs to bolster all aspects of their work, by igniting an interest within people for what they do. Encouraging people to care about their cause more than your cash-flow will majorly bolster support for their work in both the short and the long-term and consequently lead to more donations organically.

The Three A’s

Steven Shattuck at Hubspot has discovered a straightforward and effective strategy for non-profits to boost their online presence, improve their overall image and reinforce their sustainability.

  1. Appreciationa third of all social updates should recognize donors, supporters, volunteers, and employees 
  2. Advocacya third of all social updates should engage and share with the content of other groups or non-profits who are relevant to their area 
  3. Appealsa third of all social updates should solicit donations or help


Einstein seems to have seen this one coming. It is high time that the nonprofit sector begin to take advantage of modern technology in the same way that the private sector do, before the income gap between the two spheres widens even further. NGOs can no longer afford to depend on contributions thanks to the goodness of people’s hearts – they need to get tech-savvy and they need to do it fast.

One of the most powerful tools at NGOs disposal is the stories that they can share. Whether it’s about spreading awareness on an issue, driving donations or campaigning, stories can drive that deeper connection with your followers.

Here’s 3 easy tips to add into your stories that will make them more compelling!

Use Pictures:

A single image has the power to convey an entire storyline in an instant. Words and video, as powerful as they are in their own right, require time and patience to be understood. With an image, an onlooker needs only a second to absorb its emotional essence.

Images offer a simple, cost-effective way to grab people’s attention and show them why they should care before they read the story. Visuals are especially effective on social media. Instagram, for instance, is a platform driven entirely by visuals.

Be Relatable & Emotive:

Characters are a great way to relate to your audience. Pick common characteristics that your protagonist has with your audience. Think similar demographics, hopes and dreams, or pain points and problems. You want your audience to empathise with the character, to be able to put themselves in their shoes.

Once you have chosen a protagonist for your story that your target audience can identify with, now you have to hook your audience with emotion. For your NGO’s story, use words or phrases that inspire your constituents to take action. Do you want them to feel angry about an injustice, or maybe hopeful about a solution?

The words you use will set the stage for action later on, so choose wisely based on your audience and cause.

Finish with a call to action:

Now that you’ve hooked your audience with a powerful image, and built a character they can relate too, now is the time to urge an action on your audience. Your audience may be inspired, hopeful, outraged or sad from the story you have told them. You need to provide an outlet to channel these emotions into a meaningful action.

Your call to action will depend on your organisation’s goal, but should always be action-oriented. Some common call to actions include:

  • Donate
  • Volunteer
  • Advocate
  • Fundraise
  • Subscribe

The content your organization shares can be a powerful tool to rally people around your cause and spark action — what stories do you have to tell?

Remember use powerful images, be emotive and relatable, and include a call to action!

Dear Brian,

Its been a while. Must be almost four years now since we last talked. I’m gonna be honest, it’s really fucking difficult writing this letter. I would have done it sooner but I don’t think I would’ve been able.

I still think about you sometimes. Something stupid and small will remind of you. Like the other day I was trying to find some notes for our neighbour doing the leaving cert. I found my old Maths copy and it was covered in penises. Cheers for that.

I remember the first time we met and our parents forcing us to talk. We were only about 6 or 7. If I remember correctly, the awkward conversation revolved around our mutual love of ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2’. I remember becoming friends after that, skating around our estate terrorising our neighbours. Shitting our pants on our first day of secondary school together. Competing for the same position on the rugby team. You using your brothers ID to buy us drink. The time we mitched off school to smoke our first joint. Graduating school together and feeling a bit lost. Our 6th year holiday to Magaluf, where neither of us got the ride because we were always too pissed. I remember the day your Dad died, and you seemed fine, like everything was normal. We grew up together. Now I’m about to graduate college and go into the real world.

But you’re not here to do that with me.

I’ll always remember the day it happened. I was going to text you but thought I’d leave it for another while. The phone call I got, and that was it. You were gone forever. I remember trying to tell our friends what happened. Not being able to look them in the eye. Stumbling over my words until I eventually got it out. Watching their reaction. Not knowing what to do. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I was still a kid. So were you.

I remember being angry for a long time. Angry at you. Angry that you left without saying goodbye. Angry that you didn’t leave us a note. Angry that you caused us so much pain, and we didn’t even know why. Angry about what you did to us. To your Mam. To your Brother. To our friends. To me.

I was angry at myself. How could I have not known you were going through that? Or did I know and just not do anything? Why didn’t I help you? I kept thinking back to times when the moment was there to reach out and help but I didn’t. You were right there in front of me suffering. Across the road from my house in pain and I wasn’t there for you.

I kept blaming myself. Blaming you. I used to think that all this suffering and pain was our fault. But we weren’t to blame for what happened. It’s only now I’m realising it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t your fault. 

It must have taken a lot to keep that to yourself. I can’t imagine the pain you were going through. I think, actually, I know if you had come to me I would’ve been there for you. It would’ve been awkward and uncomfortable but I was your friend. I would’ve helped you through it. But you didn’t, and that’s ok. I understand why you didn’t.

From the moment we were born the idea of being a man was shoved down our throats. We’re told that feelings are for girls. We shouldn’t cry. We shouldn’t be vulnerable. We shouldn’t talk to each other about our problems. We should keep them to ourselves. We’re men, we need to be strong.

I remember trying not to cry when I fell off my skateboard, or us laughing at someone who did. I remember in school, making fun of each other and our friends for showing the slightest bit of weakness. I think slagging each other was the only way we knew how to show affection. I remember you didn’t get the points you wanted in the leaving cert. You never talked about how disappointed you were. I remember when your Dad died, you were acting as if everything was fine, and I believed you. I remember you were drinking more than usual. Going out more, and going to college less. I remember feeling that something was up. I felt like I didn’t need to talk to you about it. You probably felt the same.

And we didn’t talk.

Now I think about what could have been. What my life would’ve been like if you were still around. What you would be up to now. If we lived in a world where we were told that it’s ok to cry sometimes. If strength and bravery was to show weakness and vulnerability, not hide it. If we felt like we could talk to each other. If being a man was not to keep pain to yourself, but to reach out for help when you need it.

Maybe you’d still be here.

I want to thank you for giving me some of the best memories of my life and I’m sad that you’re not here to make some more. I’ll always remember you.

Yours always,


This is the story of Brian and me.

But this is a story that’s all too familiar in Ireland. Every year hundreds of people take their own lives in Ireland. 1 in 5 Irish young people suffer from problems with their mental health. While there have been great strides towards breaking the stigma associated with mental health, it is still a huge problem. People, especially young men, don’t feel as though they can talk about their mental health. After Brian’s death I suffered from severe anxiety and depression. The only way I got through it was having the courage to ask for help. I reached out to my friends and family and they supported me. I’m happy to say I’m healthy again, and I owe a lot to those that helped.

I learned probably the hardest way imaginable that if you suffer from mental health problems, get help. If you broke your leg you would get help. We should look at our mental health in the same way. If you are suffering from issues with your mental health, please reach out and ask for help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your friends and family will be there to support you through it. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, there’s plenty of services out there that can help you.

Here are just a few:

Pieta House

Phone: 1800 247 247


 For children under the age of 18

Phone: 1800 66 66 66


Phone: 01 116 123

One for Ireland are fundraising for the provision of the incredible and much needed mental health services provided to young people in Ireland over the coming weekend. Please donate and show your support.

Ireland has one of the most generous welfare systems in the world. This is something we should be proud of, yet we vilify those on the dole.

Last week the minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, implemented policies that are designed to stop people cheating the Irish Welfare system. This saves tax payer money wasted on those exploiting the generosity of the state. Varadkar estimates that the suggested savings from this plan are around €500 million.

This article isn’t suggesting that Welfare scamming is acceptable or that it doesn’t exist. But its not as big of a burden as you might think. Other reports suggest that the costs of cheating the welfare system are way lower, around €41 million. While this is by no means a small amount of money, which could be put to good use somewhere else, the cheating campaign directly targets the poorest of the poor. There are much bigger fish to fry out there in terms of corruption and fraud, that would generate a LOT more revenue for the government.

The government rarely ever punish white collar crime. Remember that time the government bailed out the banks during the recession? Where were the anti-fraud measures when the banks were driving the economy towards the worst economic crisis in recent history and putting ordinary people into a lifetime of debt? Where was the incentive to punish them for cheating the system?

Severe austerity measures were put in place in order for the government to pay back the loans needed to bail out the banks. This caused unemployment to skyrocket. The middle and lower class were hit hardest as per usual, while the majority of bankers walked away scot-free. The middle and lower class will be paying for this ‘recovery’ for generations.

Recession is Over

This idea isn’t new, but it still exists. Somehow.

Over the summer Apple were ousted for cheating the Irish government out of €13 billion of tax revenue. Even after huge pressure from the EU, the government didn’t claim the money Apple owe. If we were to take Varadkar’s estimates at their word, that’s almost thirty times the amount of money lost from welfare cheats. Why is it that we let Apple get away with fraud, yet go chasing the poor for money that they actually need to survive?

You could argue hounding Apple for that money might make them pack up and leave, which would leave thousands jobless. But with Trumps America first policies cutting corporate tax rates in the US, they might leave regardless.


The middle and lower classes of Ireland are facing massive obstacles in the current economic climate. The housing crisis, stagnating wages, unemployment and emigration among the young make the welfare system more necessary than ever. These problems affect the most vulnerable people in our country. This policy not only restricts welfare for the people that desperately need it, but feeds deeper into stigma surrounding the dole.

Our anger should be turned to the businesses, not the poor. Even though corporate tax rates are extremely low, big business still cheats the system. The loss from this is far greater than the loss from the government helping people in need.

In the words of Malcom X


By Ciaran Boyle

The North West African Pride Festival has been unfortunately cancelled today! The festival which was due to take place this weekend was billed as an LGBTQI+ extravaganza with events occurring in multiple cities across several countries. Some of the colourful events planned where the suggestively named ‘Free Willy Parade,’ in Nigerian capital city Abuja, The ‘Collective of Lesbians and Informed Trans people, aka C.L.I.T  had been creating a secretive art instillation, making use of light and themes of sexual liberty.’ Even the fundraising concert in Dakar, Senegal  which was to be headlined by Pussy Riot and MC’d by Rupaul, has shockingly been cancelled.

When asked by The Glass Wall why the festival was cancelled, the organisers said ‘we actually had no idea it was illegal to be gay in most of these countries, to be honest I was sceptical as to why such an event hadn’t happened before!’ Said a spokesperson for the organisers; a group of young American volunteers who clearly meant their best, but by their own admission had little to no knowledge at all about the legal status of homosexuality in the countries of North West Africa. One such student had this to say on the issue ‘Yeah like okay, when I think of Africa, yeah obviously no food, obviously no water, but I thought they’d be super chill about like, laws and stuff because of that. Kind of like burning man with less art? I mean HIV/AIDs is so popular out here, we just thought there’d be a big group of homosexuals that wanted to party’. Sadly, the organisers were wrong.

The organisers gave The Glass Wall the exclusive on how they discovered homosexuality was illegal in these countries. ‘It was so lame, we were worried because all of our event pages on Facebook had lots of people interested, mostly by friends of ours from college back home but no one had actually clicked attending and I had sunk a large amount of my dad’s money into this so I was definitely worried about being cut off again!’ When pressed for the exact moment they realised the group look around exchanging glances until one girl who wishes to be referred to only as Samantha or her Instagram handle ‘@SammyLovesLife’ said ‘we got one ”maybe,” it was a girl I met on my surf holiday in Morocco, she was enthusiastic but told us to be careful, we didn’t understand at the time, but then we got word she’d been attacked by people in her local area, we investigated further and the police were not willing to help and they ultimately informed us it was illegal to be homosexual. From then on we were definitely worried.”

“We started googling it was like, Nigeria; illegal, Gambia; illegal, Guinea; illegal, Uganda; Illegal, Algeria; Illegal and it wasn’t just the North West! It’s illegal to be gay in 33 of the 54 African countries, particularly in the “Horn” of Africa which I personally found kind of ironic.” One disgruntled member of the group verified.

More research from the group lead them to this video:

When asked what their plans are now one member of the group smirked and said ‘We’re getting the fuck out of here man! Our parents have arranged flights to more western leaning developing countries. I, for example am going to South America. I’ll probably end up throwing a pride festival there!’ The rest of the group nodded enthusiastically. “You know there’s only so much we can do to save Africa, but as a group, we feel this is beyond our reach” concluded the lad in the group with dreadlocks.

By Niall Donnelly

On Tuesday, surrounded by mining company executives, business men and a few token miners, Donald Trump passed an executive order that unwound Obama’s coal mining policy.  The USA is the second biggest polluter in the world. While Obama had stated that climate change is “real and cannot be ignored”, Trump has a different approach to the subject matter. He believes that climate change is a global conspiracy, created by the Chinese so that they can dominate the energy and oil markets. This is an actual thing the most powerful man in the world believes. Seriously…

Trump Tweet

To put things into perspective, the Paris Agreement was signed by 194 countries from around the world to help combat climate change. It was an urgent and necessary measure for the world to have any hope at stopping rising global temperatures. Even if all countries fulfilled their side of the deal and reduced their carbon footprint drastically it would still be an uphill battle. According to scientists the point of no return is a global temperature rise of 3.6 degrees, if we go over it we’re done. We’re in and around 1 degree at the moment but the rise in temperature is getting faster.

Here’s what would happen if the temperature rose by 1-2 Degrees:

  • The Artic Sea Cap disappears by 2050
  • Intense Droughts in Sub Tropic Areas including the South West of the USA
  • The majority of Coral Reefs are virtually wiped out

It would be an ecological disaster. It’s called a tipping point for a reason. If we go past it a chain of events will increase the rate at which the temperature is rising dramatically. Basically, if the artic sea cap is gone we’re fucked.

So back to Trump…


The executive order has essentially scrapped Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’. This policy aimed to slow the process of coal mining, closing some of the mines, and stopping new ones being opened. This was followed by large investment into the renewable energy sector. Trump’s plan was to bring back jobs to the people that supported him. Blaming the red tape as the reason for the coal mining industry failing, Trump missed the bigger picture.

Coal is in an economic slump, so regardless of the jobs created today they won’t be around much longer. There’s significantly more jobs being created in the renewable energy sector. Most energy (and jobs) come from ‘cleaner’ sources anyway such as natural gas, so the days of coal may be over, in spite of Trump’s plans. On top of this the mining of coal is an incredibly dangerous job. A lot of the regulation was to protect the workers from the risks to their health.

So who is this executive order really helping?

Probably his mates who have businesses in the sector.

Another frightening aspect of this debacle is considering how other countries in the Paris Agreement react to Trump’s policy. The US hasn’t officially left the agreement. But the giant middle finger that this executive order is giving could be seen as a statement of intent from the Trump administration to leave the Paris Agreement. Countries such as China, Brazil and India could follow Trump’s lead and scrap the deal. This is a worst case scenario, however most countries have stated that they plan to keep up with the agreement.

There is still hope…

One of President Obama’s parting gifts to the world was to wrap up his policies with a shit load of legalities and red tape to stop Trump from reversing them. Trumps plan to dismantle Obama’s policy on climate change will meet road blocks at every turn. The administrator of the EPA stated that it will take years to actually happen. So hopefully by the time of the next election or if Trump gets impeached, none of his policy will ever see the light of day.

By Ciaran Boyle


A few weeks ago, 12,000 protestors shut down Dublin city centre demanding a referendum on the 8th amendment, striking in an effort to make their voices heard, and for those voices to be taken seriously. Strikers gathered outside the Department of Justice, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Health, finally bringing O’Connell bridge to a complete standstill. The recognition of the Strike on RTÉ, compared with numerous other national and international media coverage on the event, was markedly vague and short: “thousands march for International women’s day”, they blurted at the beginning of the 6-1 news, later using footage of the protest to segue into a excerpt on the gender pay gap. Yes – the fact that there is a 16% pay gap between men and women holding managerial positions in Ireland is outrageous. But to show clips of a strike which had the expressed purpose of urging a referendum on repealing the 8th amendment without mentioning that is to obscure and invisibilise the intent behind the march. In this way, RTÉ consciously undermined the strike.

Understandably, this frustrated many of those involved in the strike who trusted that the state-funded broadcaster would give the march fair and ample air-time and would not misrepresent the aims behind this collective action. Activists organised again and picketed outside RTÉ following this. Their response to that? A few lines on the “News in Brief” section of their website including, “a number of people gathered outside RTÉ studios in Donnybrook this afternoon to demand more coverage of the Repeal the 8th campaign”. Again, this would lead you to believe that this picket had been just a handful of stragglers – it was in fact 100-strong. Silence can of course express more bias than anything. The conservative, religious, Anti-Choice lobby in Ireland have historically bullied programmers into avoiding the topics like the 8th amendment completely, as was the case with letters sent during the eighties to that effect. Instances such as this are a chilling and necessary reminder that this coercion lives on. After all, “PantiGate” was only a few years ago.

Opening a Pathway into Ireland for the Alt Right

This is more insidious, however. In the days after the march, a video doing the rounds on social media caught my attention and, if I’m honest, deeply troubled me. Uploaded onto a Facebook community called “Flipside” under a comment “Oops!! The views of pro-choice activitsts without the media airbrushing”, the video sees an English man lambasting the protesters, asking them questions that neither doctors nor philosophers have a consensus on and expecting an instantaneous and definitive answer. He tells them their uteruses are vessels and accuses those who see his dubious intent and avoid him of not wanting to “engage in a sensible debate”. What concerned me the most about all of this was the reception that this video was getting. Despite the fact that the questions are wildly unfair and out of left field, the video is clearly edited to create awkward shuffles and pauses, and there is a noted lack of courtesy on the end of the interviewer, it seemed like no-one sharing it was casting a critical eye on the clips. People were accepting the content presented as fact. Those shoving the microphone and camera in strangers’ faces were trusted, and the unconsenting interviewees were condemned.

A friend put me in touch with one of the women featured in this video, who told me of having a camera shoved in her face by a young man whose tone was both invasive, condescending and antagonising. Naturally seeing this video strewn about the internet as fodder for hatred from strangers was humiliating to her and her friends, especially because she knew why she was there and why she was pro-choice. Faced with a young man who she thought was playing devil’s advocate and proding debate, she felt backed into a corner. In the atmosphere of solidarity at the strike she didn’t expect the malintent that became evident to her later:

“When the video was published online it was clear that this man was not out to stir a debate. He and his team didn’t have any objective other than to pick out 12 people from 12,000, cut and edit these interviews and shape them into a uninformed, unaware and selfish depiction of “the real pro-choicers”. A video that would easily capture the attention of the public.”

The page offers to “give another perspective on things”. That perspective is promulgated in this particular video by one Caolan Robertson, a London-based contributor to vitriolic alt-right platforms such as The New Brit and The Rebel. Here’s some examples of that perspective: “I’d like to tell you ten things I hate about the Jews”, “Why More Muslims Mean More Terrorist Attacks”, and “Transgender insanity: If Trudeau’s new “hate speech” bill passes, I’ll see you in jail”. These websites endorse the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos (Milo is famous for statements like, “If white privilege is a thing, why are people working so hard to be black? All of the award shows and cultural events favor black culture”) and Tommy Robinson, former head of English Defense League, an anti-Islam group. They are an active instrument of the brand of hyper-nationalism, xenophobia, islamophobia, misogyny and general hateful regression that drove Brexit and Trump’s election. And now they are sticking their nose into Irish politics, facilitated by the misstep of our state broadcaster, RTÉ, in deciding not to cover the Strike 4 Repeal.

This is a very grave time for Irish media. We have to decide now whether to resign ourselves to this state of affairs and descend into a similar situation of fake news coverage and selective cultural memory and the devastation that we have seen ensue from this elsewhere, or to stand up and hold our journalists and broadcasters accountable for what they chose to write and what they do not. We live in an era when it is very, very important to check not only the facts, but also the political agenda that we are furthering by simply sharing a video. It is very easy to become an instrument of fake news and of populism, and we have to investigate our sources to avoid this. This video is not the views of the Repeal movement “behind the media airbrushing”. This is in fact media airbrushing par excellence, straightforward propaganda, and just the beginning of a smear campaign, yet another instance in Ireland where women’s voices are squashed.

By Cara Spelman


The Denial Of Irish Travellers Ethnicity

“There can be no final solution to the problem created by itinerants until they are absorbed into the general community”

These were the words of Charles Haughey, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Justice, at the commencement of the Commission of Itinerancy in 1960. The Commission was set up to address the “problem” status of Irish Travellers in society, a group whose nomadic lifestyle was at odds with the new vision of a modern Ireland. This report contained another phrase that up until now, was the basis for allowing the State to insist upon assimilation:

“Itinerants (or Travellers as they prefer themselves to be called) do not constitute a single homogenous group, tribe or community within the nation although the settled population are inclined to regard them as such. Neither do they constitute a separate ethnic group”

The Commission had reason to suggest this — the prevailing myths of Traveller origin at the time suggested a fall from the grace of settlement: they were either peasants driven to the road by economics or famine, outsiders excommunicated for social disgrace, or the victims of colonial dispossession. This, however, betrays the Commission’s exclusion of Travellers from its ranks: the prevailing thought among Travellers was that they had always been on the road. A conveyor belt of sorts in which people settled or became nomadic — but the tradition of travelling remained consistently in use. “The Tinkerman” Pecker Dunne said “There have always been travellers in Ireland because some people have always preferred to travel, so as to make a living.”

The economy and culture of Traveller life was simply not compatible with the post-colonial Irish project. The Irish Folklore Commission set up in 1953 to generate a new national identity based on oral tradition by-and-large ignored Travellers. This was a community Ireland was eager to forget, a pre-colonial embarrassment that had no part in a 1 modern European player. Besides a “Tinker’s questionnaire” there was an institutional lack of interest in Travellers. This began to change with the studies of anthropologists like George and Sharon Bohn Gmelch in the 1970s who posited that along with the cultural differences between Travellers and settled society, their ascription of themselves as separate to “settled Ireland” distinguished them as an ethnic group. This definition of ethnicity is sourced from the Norwegian anthropologist Fredrik Barth, whose text, “Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Cultural Difference” , helps define what constitutes an ethnic group: it’s most important aspect not being a uniformity of culture within the group, but rather a continued cultural difference.

Today we find DNA evidence from the Royal College of Surgeons and the University of Edinburgh confirming Travellers as native to Ireland and also separate to the settled community. A month after that finding, Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced in the Dáil the formal recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group in Ireland. This victory for the Traveller community is thanks to the work of Traveller support and advocacy groups like Pavee Point or the Irish Traveller Movement. To quote Pecker Dunne again, “If you go back and read the old stories you will find Travelling people mentioned all the time”. In the old stories perhaps, but Ireland has for too long refused Travellers a part in the story of its nationhood; this recognition is a step towards Travellers’ inclusion in that story.

By Conor Ryan

Northern Ireland is a disputed territory in which a change of power from London to Dublin is always on the political agenda. Therefore, on the back of any census, opinion poll, survey or general election, the issue of preference for a united Ireland or a continued union with Great Britain is the first to be analysed. Sometimes this is unwarranted, but not this time. Not for this Assembly election.

There is a palpable buoyancy in nationalist communities in the north after Thursdays historic election. An effective campaign run by nationalist parties on issues such as equality, accountability in government, parity of esteem and to a large degree Brexit. This has resulted in its best ever result, and crucially ended the seemingly perpetual existence of a unionist majority in Stormont since the partition of Ireland.

A Victory for Unity

The significance of ending such a majority cannot be overstated. The fact that political parties (nationalist and moderate alike) with a preference for national reunification on this island now outnumber those opposed to it in the northern assembly, indicates the greatest evidence yet that the kind of change in constitutional status as envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement is afoot. Those enthusiastic about the prospect of a united Ireland now rightly feel energized by such a result.

For those that discourage enthusiasm for the prospect for fear it would cause “division”, appear to apply wholly different standards to northern nationalists than to our unionist neighbours, and this writer would urge re-examination of these standards. There should be no fear of treatment of unionists in a unified Ireland, whose interests would be far more appreciated in an island of 6 million, rather than in a wider union of 65 million, who at times prefer to forget the existence of this union at all.

Where the DUP Went Wrong


However, there had been ample evidence to fear for the continued disrespect and hostility for Irish nationalists in the northern state by the DUP. The removal of the unionist majority in the assembly represents a victory also for moderate parties, who also favour reunification, such as the Green Party. The mental gymnastics which many southern commentators attempt, in order to excuse unionist political leaders what has been pure sectarianism lately, is an untenable and counterproductive exercise. It normalises exclusionary behaviour. In a political climate in which populist right wing candidates are justifiably condemned by mainstream public opinion, we need not look far for an ultra-right wing party on this island, the DUP. Arlene Foster’s party are vehemently opposed to same sex marriage, deny climate-change and have exhibited an extreme prejudice against the minority nationalist community. The significant downsizing of DUP votes by the northern electorate signifies a move away from discrimination and sectarian politics. It is not opening the conversation on a united Ireland that would create division, it would rather be to allow the behaviour of the DUP in government to be normalised and tolerated.

A necessary part of fulfilling a reconciliation of historic proportions this island appears teetered on the edge of, is confronting unionism where necessary. The electorate have done so, it is time the Irish and British governments follow suit.

Historic times are upon us and anyone on this island that desires a radical or fundamental change as to how we conduct ourselves, in any manner, should view reunification and the project of forming a new Ireland as the necessary lubricant to achieve a society for which all the nation’s children, past, present and future may be proud of.

By Kevin Bassett

At the end of last week, a photo of Emma Watson in Vanity Fair in which her breast were somewhat revealed, sparked controversy when Julia Hartley-Brewer, a British radio presenter and commentator tweeted “Feminism, feminism…gender wage gap…why oh why am I not taken seriously…feminism…oh, and here are my tits!”

 Now, in my opinion, the question of whether the photo is indicative of hypocrisy on the part of Emma Watson, does not really require discussion. The firm answer is no. As Gloria Steinem, one of the most high profile feminists, said “Feminists can wear anything the fuck they want.”

Sexualisation or Liberation?

 However, what this ‘debate’ has exposed is a serious issue with the way in which some women view and treat other women. The photo only became ‘sexualised’ because breasts, by some (women), are perceived as inherently sexual. The image should be sparking a feminist debate because of the fact that breasts are still viewed as inherently erotic, and even minor exposing of them is perceived as utterly unacceptable, while it is socially acceptable, even admirable, for men to take their top off. What is worse is that it is not men perpetuating the idea of breasts as intrinsically sexual, not the male objectifying the female, as they are so often accused of doing, but other women.

  An incontrovertible problem, with the attitude of women towards their counterparts has been brought to light by this ‘debate’, one which needs to be addressed in order for feminism to move forward. A discussion needs to be started that will teach us to love and respect ourselves and each other. How can we fight for equality if we constantly seek to knock other women down, to beat each other with the ‘bat’ of feminism? The answer, clear and simple, is that we cannot. Feminism, from its inception, has had many strands, disagreements and divides, and this can, at least be understood to have had an influence on the fact that it has yet to have achieve complete success. In order for it ever to do so, we women need first, to unify, acknowledge, and accept our differences, appreciating that we are all fighting the same fight- for equality. Until we do so, the movement will be forever inhibited, the fault of no one but ourselves.

By Siubhann O’Donnell

Strike4Repeal will take place this Wednesday 8th March in Dublin and numerous cities around the world. As people withdraw their labour, industrial, domestic and otherwise, in a national strike in a move to focus the government on the urgency of repealing the 8th amendment, we might ask: how can we continue to support and advocate for those who are most affected by Ireland’s restrictive legislation on abortion?

Ireland’s Shady Past in Oppressing Women

It’s of course essential that we continue to give voice and show our support to the ten to twelve brave women who are forced to travel outside of Ireland daily to undergo a medical procedure which our public healthcare should provide. As traction continues to be gained on an issue which has waited too long to be resolved, we also need to give voice to those who can’t travel. Media reports confirming mass graves at the site of a former Mother and Baby home in Tuam serve as a harrowing reminder of the systemic abuses which women in Ireland, especially those already made vulnerable as a result of socio-economic marginalisation, have faced. This memory aid to our country’s disturbing selective amnesia regarding the serious structural violences facilitated by the state against the working class should cause us further alarm: the government’s lack of serious engagement with class issues, to the point of wilful ignorance, persists today.16177651_1520440501307004_2749238940293255006_o

Repeal: A Class Issue

The aftermath of the recession has seen economic inequality in Ireland only grow deeper – what has this meant for people struggling to gather the funds or get the time off of work to travel for a costly abortion? Abortion is, as Anne Howie emphasised during her brilliantly-argued and comprehensive presentation at the Citizen’s Assembly advocacy groups meeting last week, a class issue. Continuing on in the spirit of social solidarity and unity that Strike4Repeal symbolises, we need to remain constantly mindful of our political action and engage seriously with everyone that the government continues to isolate. How do we ensure moving forward that the Repeal movement remains united and inclusive, a strong opposition to a status quo that we can no longer accept?

It may seem that in introducing terms for the legislation of abortion after a repeal of the eighth amendment in these early stages when there isn’t even a referendum announced, we’re skipping a few steps and getting ahead of ourselves. And of course, the public discussion of terms for legal abortion in Ireland promises to be pretty unpleasant (we’re only at the stage of discussing a repeal of the eighth amendment and even still one of the presentations for the anti-choice advocacy groups at the citizen’s assembly entailed a horrifically graphic description of a late-term abortion conducted 30 years ago). Nonetheless, we need to get talking soon if we want to establish terms for abortion which will enshrine security for those who are made most vulnerable by Ireland’s extremely restrictive abortion laws.


As a bill for the minimalisation of penalties of abortion goes into the Dáil this week (abortion cannot be completely decriminalised due to the 8th amendment, so the bill proposes to reduce the penalty from 14 years of prison to a “peppercorn fine” of €1), we need to think ahead and address questions about the terms on which abortion in Ireland could be provided. Some terms that move towards the protection of those who are most alienated by the current state of affairs are, I think: the legalisation and provision of free, safe, and legal abortion at the will of the pregnant individual within the first trimester with conditions for abortion when necessary after this point and the provision of adequate services of support and care for the individual before and after the termination. Don’t agree? Good, let’s get talking.


By Cara Spelman

In the deepest darkest corners of the internet some people like to ask “but why is there no special day for MEN?” To that I say, for most of us living in the Western world, International Women’s Day is essentially an antidote to the misogyny that women face every single day. It also reminds us that there is still so much more work to be done for women the world over. We deserve one day of the year to celebrate women since every other day we pretty much forget to. After all, we’re living in a world where a man can say that he “moved on her like a bitch,” and still become President of the United States.

This year the theme for Women’s Day is “be bold for change”. This is a good reminder of what has always fuelled the feminist movement: bold men and women that push themselves and those around them. This year, American women led one of the biggest marches in US history, while here in Ireland the movement to repeal the eighth amendment is becoming hard to ignore. This Wednesday, take care of yourself and others, but make a conscious decision to be bold for change.

To put a little fire in your belly, here’s a quote from activist queen Audre Lorde: