Reflowering the Forest

The Terryland Forest Park Conservation Volunteers are welcoming everyone interested in protecting biodiversity to join them at 2pm tomorrow (Sat) in undertaking the first of a series of native wildflowers plantathons in the Terryland Forest Park. Over the next year, the group intend to plant appropriate indigenous species in the meadows, woods and hedgerows of this unique urban natural heritage resource. The flowering of the forest with sanicle, cow parsley, primrose, wild garlic and bluebells will dramatically increase its attractiveness to a wide variety of insects, birds and many other types of wildlife.

The project is being overseen by horticulturalist Padraic Kerrins with funding provided by the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic Garden and Cumann na bhFear (Men's Shed).
Rendezvous point: Carpark in front of Galway Bay FM

The Irish & European Elections in Ireland: a Step Forward for Democracy?

End to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Politics?
The results of the local and European elections of last Friday were a watershed in Irish politics. Public anger in the last general election (in 2012) brought to an end Fianna Fáil’s tenure as the largest party in the Irish republic.  Popular disgust at the lies and betrayal of the electorate by the Labour Party has ended its century-old status as the main left-wing force in Irish politics and ushered in Sinn Féin as the new radical movement of the island of Ireland. The division of political power between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael-dominated governments, that has been a hallmark of the state since the early 1930s, has come to an end. 
There are of course many good honest hardworking idealistic people in all of the established parties- Ciaran Cannon and councillor Frank Fahy in Fine Gael;  Eamon O'Cuiv, John McGuinness and Noel Tracey in Fianna Fáil; Sean Sherlock and Billy Cameron in Labour. But they are too few; power and greed has corrupted too many of their colleagues.  
When Michael D. Higgins left Labour after winning the Irish Presidency the party lost its conscience. Both Fianna Fáil and Labour have betrayed the egalitarian principles of their visionary patriotic founders.

The Cosy Cartel 
This weekend's results show that there is now an alternative government-in-waiting comprising progressive independents, socialists, republicans, environmentalists, community activists and beneficial business interests that has the potential to break the three-party monolith and its long time cosy relationship with property speculators, builders, top civil servants, the trade union leaders, bishops, ranchers, bankers and the EU hierarchy that has created a huge democratic deficit in this country and across Europe that has led to growing public apathy and alienation with the body politic due to the high levels of emigration, unemployment, corruption and taxes.

For the first time since we joined the EEC in 1972, people are starting to question the never-ending loss of sovereignty to a supra-national unrepresentative bureaucratic institution that has created the environment and circumstances to privatise public services and sell off national resources across Europe to multi-national corporations unaccountable to its citizens.
Newly elected TD, Ruth Coppinger
Of course the struggle for nations, local communities and ordinary people to secure control over their destinies will take many more years to achieve and will not be without heartbreak. Sinn Féin could lose their idealism and become over time corrupted by power. But the election results today was a step forward hopefully to a better future for Ireland and Europe that will be a true union of peaceful, democratic independent countries. 
It will mean at last that the great untouchables such as Denis O'Brien and others, who as the Moriarty Tribunal showed undermined the democratic institutions of our state, can be brought to justice.

Galway's "United Nations" Hosts Multi-Cultural Festival!

The Iranian stand had an extensive range of delicious foods on offer
Yesterday the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway was ablaze with a wonderful mix of aromatic smells, exotic food dishes, colourful traditional costumes and scenic posters as it played host to a very successful Multi-Cultural Festival comprising stalls from twenty one countries. 
Turks & Greeks smiling together
With over three hundred researchers the centre, with operations at UCC, UCD and NUI Galway, is one of the worlds’ largest Big Data research institutes. 
Indians & Pakistanis happily together
The vision, reputation and activities of Insight at NUI Galway has attracted young highly skilled and motivated people from across all continents to join its ranks. With their presence, the centre has been transformed into a cornucopia of ethnicities, colours and cultures of the globe. We are truly the United Nations of Galway and bear witness to how people from diverse backgrounds, creeds, nations and countries can work together in perfect harmony to build technologies to make a better world.  
Arabs United! Syrian, Palestinian, Egyptian & Tunisian members of Insight
The multi-cultural festival was a fantastic display of all this is good about the different traditions that work in Insight celebrating a wide range of ethnic cuisine, art, dress and musical traditions. 
Germany, Romania, Chile & Spain
The countries that exhibited were Brazil, Chile, Egypt, France Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, United States, Romania, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and Vietnam.
Austian & Iranian meet a real live Irish Leprechaun!

Kevin's Hot Dogs were a popular choice at the American stand
Traditional art, cuisine, literature and dress were all on display at the Pakistani stand

 Ndrek from Albania was impressed with the large numbers that took part in the Festival

Galway's Coderdojo Kids to Showcase their Projects at NUI Galway

Parents, teachers, teenagers and children interested in computer programming are invited to attend NUI Galway on Saturday May 17th when members of one of lreland’s fastest growing volunteer youth clubs will showcase their own computer games and digital stories.

 The event will take place from 12pm-2pm on Saturday May 17th at the university’s Insight Centre for Data Analytics (formerly DERI) in the Dangan Business Park and coincides with international Scratch Day. Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT), Scratch is the most popular computer language for young people worldwide, being a significant catalyst in the huge uptake in coding across the world over the last few years. 

The organizer of the Galway event is Coderdojo Galway city, an open source, volunteer-led movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs and regular sessions for young people in a relaxed and social environment.
We are welcoming not only members of Coderdojo Galway but all young Scratch coders from city and county, from Coderdojos and from schools to attend and to showcase their Scratch projects with prizes of tablets being offered to the winners in under 12 and over 12  categories. Visitors to the event will also be entered into a draw for a tablet!

Polish Eurovision Entry Promotes Sexual Exploitation of Women

The Poland entry into Eurovision 2014 was about the sexual exploitation of women. It wasn't even subtle in its message. As anyone that knows me will confirm, I am far from being conservative on issues of sex. 

But the message of the Polish entry particularly in its video objectified women and deliberately promoted young females in the role of sex slaves. Not exactly child-friendly television. Nor what one would expect from an egalitarian European society. 

In a month when teenage girls are being abducted, taken as war booty and used as sex slaves by armed men in Nigeria and the Central African Republic; when women are being kidnapped and gang raped by armed gangs in the south Sudan; when female children are being forced into marriage in Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan; when girls are denied the right to an education by Islamic fundamentalists; when women are not allowed to vote, to drive a car and travel without the permission of a male relative in Saudi Arabia; when polygamy (for men) has been legalised in Kenya;when women are losing their former societal status as equals and being forced out of jobs in Libya and Syria; when the Internet is increasing the sexual enslavement of female teenagers; when child pornography(through the medium of the Web) is increasing in the Philippines; when we learn from ex-US President Jimmy Carter that c100,000 people are being trafficked annually into the United States to work as slaves mainly in the sex trade; this song, video and message is not appropriate. 

I love Poland and generally enjoy watching the Eurovision. But this year I have to say, Shame Poland! Shame Eurovision!

Click here to see my previous short article on the Web facilitating an upsurge in Female Exploitation & Slavery