01/03/2017

A WEEK IN IRISH NEWS


None of us can miss out on news about large-scale international events, no matter where we live. But how about the smaller ones? What kind of national issues made it to Irish headlines this week? I kept an eye on Irish newspapers for a week and for each day picked an article specifically dealing with Irish issues that probably didn't make it outside of the island. And here we have it: a week in Irish news from 20th to 26th of February 2017!

MONDAY
A good start, right? A man in his 50s was found dead in an apartment on North Circular Road following a shooting incident on Sunday night. No one has been arrested yet, but gardaí are investigating the incident.

I picked this one for multiple reasons. Firstly, I had no idea the police are called gardaí in Ireland before I moved here, and wanted to show you a bit of that gaelic craic in action. Secondly, the amount of shooting incidents and people dying from gunshots or stabbing in Dublin was an absolute shock for me at first. Nowadays, sad to say, I'm pretty used to it. I don't think we can pass two weeks in here without the news telling yet another story of someone being shot dead. Usually it's about gang violence or drugs. Thirdly, we live only a few blocks away from the crime scene...

TUESDAY
I don't usually like to say this, but now I will: only in Ireland could a video of a baby drinking a pint of Guinness become viral - and so the hashtag #PintBaby was born. A reporter from RTÉ found a clip from a documentary filmed in 1997 where the camera cuts to a baby taking a gulp from a pint of Guinness, and the video soon started spreading all over social media. After intensive search, the Pint Baby was found, and apparently prefers to be called Stephen.

This hashtag was no. 1 on Trending on my Twitter feed last night. Not gonna comment on the question whether a baby should be allowed to take a sip of beer or not, but the response to the video here in Ireland has been surprisingly positive. The general attitude seems to be "Ahh for god's sake, we've all done it..." The Irish truly are a special folk!

WEDNESDAY
Well there's a title that grinds the gears of a Lit graduate. A man from Cork has been found guilty of IRA membership after 500kg of ammonium nitrate based fertiliser was found from the back of his van. The man stated he was going to Monaghan (a city by the border of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) for a drinking session and was apparently not aware of the fertiliser in his car...

Now, I picked this article to show you the haunting presence of the past still lingering in Ireland: this is the second case of someone associated with the IRA being arrested for the possession of explosives since I moved to Dublin. The other guy was arrested from a bus to Belfast (the capital of Northern Ireland) with TNT in his bag. There's no way the IRA still exists in the same form as during the Troubles in the 60s and 70s, but there are a couple of contemporary movements, such as RIRA (The Real Irish Republican Army) and NIRA (New Irish Republican Army) attempting to keep the legacy alive. Sinn Feín, the political party associated with the demobilised original IRA, has condemned the activity of these groups. However, I feel like the threat of a so-called "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic due to Brexit keeps everyone on their toes nowadays, since there's this fear of the peace agreement falling into pieces and violence returning if a proper border control is installed in the north. You know how The Cranberries sing: It's the same old theme / since nineteen-sixteen / in your head, in your head / they're still fighting...

Wow, this got serious. Anyway, no one's building car bombs anymore, please mom don't be scared.

THURSDAY
Interesting times in the Irish politics: prime minister, in Ireland referred to as Taoiseach, Enda Kenny is about to resign due to a police scandal involving false accusations made about a whistleblower. Thus Fine Gael, the party of Mr. Kenny, needs a new leader, a new prime minister. We finally have news as to when the Taoiseach is about to step down from his throne: after his visit to see President Trump in the White House on St. Patrick's day.

I haven't followed Irish politics as much as I probably should, but there seem to be changes in the air: in addition to Enda Kenny resigning, Sinn Feín also got a new leader just a few weeks back (that was some serious political shit storm right there for a while). The only issue I'm actively checking up on is the question of the 8th amendment - better known as the abortion ban for anyone outside Ireland. Having my say in local politics would also be pretty much the only reason why I'd eventually be interested in getting an Irish citizenship in case we actually (probably by accident) end up staying in Éire.

FRIDAY
Yes. There's nothing the Catholic church can do to surprise me anymore. Glenamady church in Galway has decided to install a drive-thru service on their grounds so people can quickly and conveniently get their ashes on Ash Wednesday.

I grew up in a 99% Protestant country and have only gotten my fair taste of Catholicism after first living in Québec and now in Ireland. In case you're like me, completely oblivious about religious dates: on Ash Wednesday the ashes of previous year's palm leaves from Palm Sunday are placed on the heads of the congregation for the start of Lent. Is Ireland religious, you ask? Well, let's just say I've never seen this many Jesus shrines on roundabouts before... It's been a weird experience for someone whose country doesn't have such a visible relationship with Christianity. Thanks to Ireland, I also had a chance to write my very first email starting with "Dear Father _____....."

SATURDAY
Since we've already covered politics, crime, religion and viral phenomena, I've spared the Saturday slot for pure entertainment and Irish celebrity gossip.

Remember Jedward, that overly energetic teenage duo with hair defying the laws of physics representing Ireland in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest? THESE GUYS? Well, as I've found out by now, these guys weren't just a one hit wonder - they're actually pretty big celebrities in Ireland to this day. Pretty sure you can't walk 100 meters in Dublin without finding their face from a lamp post.

Anyway, Jedward was apparently refused entry to Warner Music Ciroc bash at Freemasons Hall in London's Covent Garden on Wednesday night. Some A-list celebrities like Ed Sheeran and Doutzen Kroes were on the list to this VIP after-party, as supposedly was Jedward, but upon arrival the duo found out their names were not on the VIP-list after all. Jedward now claims that it was all set up, as there was a frenzy of paparazzis ready to photograph them being thrown out by the door. Oh my.

SUNDAY
Our week will finish with a weather warning - we're in Ireland, after all. Met Eireann (the Irish weather forecast service) issued an orange warning today as the wind reached a whopping 120km/h. Fallen trees and flooding have kept the whole country indoors today, including yours truly.

If there's one aspect of Ireland that really, really puts me off, it's the weather. You've been to UK? Think it's bad in there? WELCOME TO IRELAND. Honestly I thought I'd be prepared to face the Atlantic winds and 24/7 misty rain after living in Britain, but no. Ireland takes the game a step further. It's a hell on earth in here on most days - I even invested in my first-ever truly waterproof mascara a while back just so I could stop looking like a beaten up panda after 15 minutes outside.

Do you actively follow what's going on in your new home country? Or do you care more about what's going on in your old home? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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