Hello everyone and welcome to the second quarter of the academic year, the year is flying and I hope you all are too. The nights are drawing in, it’s becoming increasingly colder and Christmas is just around the corner. I don’t know about you, but this is my favourite time of the year.
While you still have some time before exams start, my little bit of advice for this next couple of weeks is to just prepare yourself slightly for what is to come. This may be just getting out a piece of paper and planning what you need to do between now and the end of the academic year. I personally have a big whiteboard in my room with assignment dates and any other important events. I find it helps me to stay on track because it’s easy for us to lose sight of things if we aren’t careful and all it takes is one stupid error on your part to ruin your Christmas spirit.
One thing that has certainly put me in a bad mood, or as you can see from the title, ‘pushed my buttons, well do I really need to explain much more? The sharpshooters amongst you will have understood my editorial pun but nevertheless there is nothing funny or amusing about the revelations that unfolded from Dáil Éireann last week. For those of you who haven’t heard, it was announced that TDs who were not present in the Dáil chamber during voting sessions were getting colleagues to vote on their behalf. It was later revealed that a less serious practice of deputies voting on behalf of other members, who were in the chamber but not in their seats, seems to be a widespread epidemic in our legislator, with Fianna Fáil particularly culpable.
While I can have some sympathy for the latter of the two cases in some circumstances, the former is nothing short of a national disgrace and reflects very poorly on our representative democracy. Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins are both at the centre of the storm with Collins voting for his parliamentary colleague while he was out of the chamber. It has led them to be suspended from the Fianna Fáil front bench but the question is whether this punishment is enough? For me it certainly isn’t and Micheál Martin has an opportunity to set a precedent in order for no further such scandals to arise again the future. It’s high-time that some of our politicians were held accountable for their actions and what better way to start than with these two charlatans.
In this week’s paper you can here more about what I’ve just spoken about in our news section, along with our front page story on the tragic death of a homeless man on UCC’s doorstep. We have a brilliant take on how to quit smoking, which may be useful for any of you planning New Year resolutions, and I interview Ireland’s youngest elected Councillor, who happens to be a UCC student!