An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the Government will not be able to deliver on its promise to decide if emigrants should be allowed to vote in Presidential elections before Christmas.
Cabinet was due to make a decision about holding a referendum to give voting rights to those living abroad in 2015, but the Taoiseach has confirmed that it won’t be happening.
Speaking at the Irish embassy in Brussels, he told youth emigrant organisation We're Coming Back that, despite promises, a decision would definitely not be made by December 25th..
“There are a number of issues that need to be decided” he said. “I think this is a topic for the next general election and the next Government.”
It’s a big disappointment for We’re Coming Back, which has been campaigning for voting rights since the Constitutional Convention voted strongly in favour of the change in September 2013.
"It's disappointing to see our citizens abroad ignored again" campaign co-founder Conor O'Neill said. "Enda Kenny voted for this while in opposition, told us yesterday that he's "very much in favour" of an emigrant vote, but has still proceeded to kick the issue to touch. It's not good enough - he should do right by our citizens abroad and take action."
Young emigrants will still campaign for their voting rights this weekend though, as We’re Coming Back hosts an international Toast for a Vote this weekend.
Here, I shall present a definitive assortment of holiday hits which are sweeter than all your favourite tinned Christmas candies combined. However, in order to spread a welcome smear of originality, it has been decided that the typical Christmas cinematic crackers we have become so aware of, largely due to their overt representation of festivity, shall be excluded.
So, despite the fact they’re outstanding viewing, classics such as The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) or Home Alone (1990) will not feature. Instead, a collective of pictures which remind so many of us of fond December memories, without being clichéd fixtures of the supermarket holiday DVD section, will be highlighted.
Allow me to initially state that this list was drafted long before the 2014 Late Late Toy Show was broadcast. So before, your newsfeed was bombarded with compliments for a certain English male vocalist, yours truly was considering the parameters for this list.
I went back and forth numerous times, attempting to select a film to omit from the finalised top ten but unfortunately, it was iron clad in my estimation. So instead of presenting an awkward array of eleven, I decided to offer up an esteemed alternative to my forthcoming hotchpotch in the form of an honourable mention.
What better to get the bauble rolling, than a witty musical comedy smash featuring the exploits of the lovable Dick Van Dyke? A multilayered flick with a very wide appeal due to its incredible balance of theme and tone, it is no surprise kids young and old recall this one so fondly. Also, in the midst of all the light hearted singing and dancing, audiences are presented with possibly the creepiest and otherworldly character to ever be portrayed in traditional children’s film- the notorious child catcher, played brilliantly by Robert Helpmann.
Many don’t understand the allure of this film, but if a Christmas Day goes by and no channel is featuring Gone with the Wind, our society has surely ascended into a twilight zone consumed by pure anarchy. Whilst this is a December 25th classic, it may not be to everybody’s taste, largely due to the fact that one has to devote their entire afternoon to its viewing, as it racks up nearly four hours of screen time.
One of the few Romance movies which has stood the test of time, thus it must have something going for it. And it does deep timeless themes which sustain a universal applicability which is rare from the romance movies of the current day like No Strings Attached (2011) or Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). Like the latter, this film is based on a novel which many attest is streets ahead of the movie.
Those who criticise this movies popularity perhaps should consult the original text first before making any definite verdicts. Perhaps, it too could be in the category of movies which the book surpasses the standard of its on-screen adaption. David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014) is as good an example as any.
Alfred Hitchcock is my all time favourite director, one simple acknowledgement of his extensive filmography and I’m sure many more will be converted. I was first introduced to the British director’s work on Christmas Day some fifteen years ago, whilst taking a break from playing a newly delivered copy of Championship Manager I stumbled upon a movie starring Cary Grant.
What had been intended to be a short break turned into quite an extensive one, as I watched the film in its entirety. Unlike, some of Hitch’s other, more low-key work, this flick was a full on blockbuster of its time. Also, Hitchcock also uses the coolest actors to play the leads in his movies- Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda are just some Hitchcock luminaries who ooze class and cool.
Forget Dan Bilzerian, these guys were once the epitome of cool. With its intriguing story and pulsating pacing, it is no wonder North by Northwest is a frequent addition to the holiday pages of the RTE Guide.
Much like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), audiences are thrust into a Dick Van Dyke populated mystical London where tea parties on the ceiling and kite flying are commonplace. It is probably the fantastical amount of glee which transcends this P.L Travers’ story beyond the realms of fiction to straight up sensational, which has allowed it into the Christmas hearts of people worldwide.
Despite being often silly and eccentric, it still somehow manages to stay grounded. Julie Andrews composed yet classy performance compounds this. This film emphasises the joy and wonder which is part and parcel to childhood, and how every child deserves to occasionally let imagination run wild.
Also, it's worth checking out Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks exploring the creation of this film and the real-life events that inspired it, in 2013 metafilm Saving Mr. Banks.
What better way to kick start your jollies than a morning viewing of the Roald Dahl gem followed by a chilly Christmas day swim? Despite, having nothing to do with Christmas thematically, there is something about exploring the realms of a forbidden chocolate factory that has sleigh bells ringing in my head. Maybe it was the frequent receipt of selection boxes as childhood gifts that cemented this opinion in my mind.
This Gene Wilder spearheaded wonder is thronged with assertion of the importance of childhood hope, ambition and imagination. Seemingly similar to Forrest Gump (1994), in that it challenges audiences to make the most of what they have in the hope of succeeding and doing what they inevitably want despite the obvious obstacles. Watching this tale is an unforgettably life affirming experience.
Plus, Gene Wilder is absolutely great, he is an undoubted living legend whose talent has been almost forgotten by modern day audiences. I implore all readers to check out Wilder comedy gold alongside Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy (1980) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989).
In reality, I could have chosen any of the entries from the original Indiana Jones trilogy to be included for Christmas viewing. 1984 was an unforgettable year in terms of acclaimed cinema releases such as Ghostbusters, The Terminator and A Nightmare on Elm Street, thus I eventually decided to go with the second Indy adventure.
The third instalment, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (1989), captured the spot of my favourite Dr. Jones adventure but what swung it for me was Steven Spielberg’s usage of colour in the scenes within the temple that are paradoxically reminiscent of Christmas. Notice, how I haven’t mentioned The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)? That was intentional. You're better off watching a soap opera omnibus on Christmas than that drivel.
If it is on this year, look back on what you’ve done all year. It is your bag of coal!
Many film fans will consider this their favourite holiday movie of all time, and for the most part it would be difficult to disagree with them. Also, don’t be surprised if local theatres treat their audiences to special screening of the John McTiernan hit this festive season. Much like the film that came before it, this franchise was later hurt by inferior attempts to reignite the magic of the original material which made it so enthralling.
Despite being set on Christmas Eve, aside from a number of implicit biblical references, its time setting isn’t directly effective on the plot of the story. Yet for some strange reason, it would be odd to imagine this film without it. Sometimes, it is the slight intricate details that elevate films from a mere ‘good’ to classic status.
One of Hollywood’s most distinguished living directors is one Tim Burton and many accredit this Johnny Depp led adventure as his best work to date. Following a single viewing, one would find it difficult to argue against that. It is so poetically poignant how a seemingly grotesque character submerged in such an oddly defined environment can be so enchanting.
This flick challenges the perception associated with the mundane monotony of suburbia, a setting which is all too frequently misrepresented in film, if at all. There is a unique theatrical quality present; the stylised sets and equally colourful characters. Burton also employs a fantastic colour scheme in light of his presentation of suburbia, with its bright colours seemingly counteracting the film’s dark root themes.
However, my favourite aspect of this film is the undoubtedly beautifully haunting and mesmerizing score, which will both chill and uplift evenly.
In August of this year, the wonderful Robin Williams tragically passed away. Like many others, I was devastated that we had lost one of the main faces of entertainment representative of our generation. So many of my childhood memories revolved around the work of the fallen star, especially Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of Peter Pan.
There is no time more special for children than Christmas, and what this picture is primarily about is children and their ability to conquer all obstacles. This film probably didn’t receive the credit it deserved upon release, but has since become a family favourite, especially at this time of the year.
It simply ticks all the appropriate boxes one could hope for, it is humourous, exciting and heart warming without being corny- essentially everything a holiday film should be.
Honestly, I can’t think of any trailer more thrilling than that! How cool! This next entry is a personal favourite of mine and our second featuring of Tim Burton. Contrary to the opinions of the majority of Batman movie buffs, this instalment is my preferred Gotham outing. Despite being set at Christmas, the time of the year has little or no bearing on the plot of the film.
However, it does add a significantly eerie quality to an already captivatingly beautiful film set. The cast of characters is so impressive; the English language’s range of superlatives couldn’t do it justice. Michael Keaton is so underrated as Batman it still sickens me to this day, Danny DeVito fits the role of the hideously deformed Penguin impeccably (sweet pun) and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is the greatest interpretation of the modern day femme fatale.
Unfortunately, following the outrage from parents at the films overly dark tone, the caped crusader franchise was taken out of Burton's hands and lead in a more kid friendly direction by new Warner Bros recruit Joel Schumacher. The rest is history, unfortunate history, but history nonetheless!
In hindsight, the 90s produced some unbelievable cinema that many modern movies could learn many a lesson from. I love the 1950s and 1960s but the 80s and 90s were nothing short of extraordinary. One of the major assets of the final decade of the 21st century was this Chris Columbus comedy.
It is still hard to believe that somebody so profoundly unhappy would be able to bring so much joy to the lives of audiences everywhere as Euphegenia Doubtfire. My favourite part of this movie is the monologue given by Doubtfire following Daniel Hillard’s awaited reunification with his children. It has to be up there with some of my favourite dialogue ever written/given.
Happy Christmas Robin and thanks for all the memories.
If there's one thing 2014 has taught us for certain it's that Ireland's future is in safe hands.
Over the course of the past 12 months we've watched so many inspiring young people do wonderful things for themselves, for others, and for the country.
Here at SpunOut towers, as the New Year approaches, we think it's high time we took a look back and celebrated just a few of the inspiring young Irish people who blazed a trail for all of us in 2014:
It’s not every day that you’ll find yourself on a list with Malala Yousafzai, Kendall Jenner and Lorde, but for Cork teenagers Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow it’s all in a day’s work.
The trio made Time Magazine’s list of the world’s most influential teenagers this year, thanks to an extraordinary science project. They won the grand prize at the Google Science Fair after discovering a bacteria that could speed up the growth of cereal crops and even increase the amount of food produced.
Just imagine what you could have done if you’d just stopped playing with that Bunsen burner and paid attention instead.
Dealing with depression is a daunting task but it’s one Dublin GAA Under 21s star Shane Carthy bravely undertook in 2014.
The 20-year-old All-Ireland winning footballer was hospitalised earlier this year, preventing another impressive run at the semi-final stage of the championship.
DCU student Shane made the incredibly brave decision to speak out about mental health issues and shared his experience with SpunOut.ie for World Mental Day in October. His words made quite the impression, both within the sporting community and beyond.
Blogger Sinead Burke is one busy young lady. If she’s not out interviewing some of Ireland’s most extraordinary women she’s meeting up with musicians, fashion industry insiders and even the man who manages Adele.
Is it any wonder that her blog, Minnie Melange, was named overall Blog of The Year by IMAGE Magazine?
The 23 year old took to the stage at One Young World to discuss perceptions about disability and even had chat with Maia Dunphy on her RTÉ series 'What Women Want'. At 3ft 5 inches tall Sinead defines herself as a “little person” but she’s never considered it a barrier to doing big things.
If you spend a lot of time on Facebook then you’ve probably heard of Jamie Harrington. The 16-year-old freelance photographer (yup, you read that right) is famous for his posts about how to stay positive when you’re dealing with depression and has over 12,000 followers on his official Facebook page.
Jamie does a lot of work with Teenline Ireland and is also part of the Never Alone Collective, who got together to release a charity single last year.
You might also have spotted him on RTÉ Two’s Connected, working hard filming and supporting his cousin Temper-Mental MissElayneous, or right here on SpunOut.ie talking about mental health issues.
Were you blown away by Emma Watson’s #HeForShe speech? Well then you’d better hold on to your hat because we’ve got one very inspiring young feminist here in Ireland and she’s most definitely going places.
Secondary school student Saibh McCaffrey is involved with The Y Factor, a youth initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, aimed at empowering young people to be leaders for women’s equality.
She was one of a panel of inspiring young women who helped create the organisation’s toolkit for gender equality and her passion for the cause inspired Irish polticians to call on her to go into politics herself.
Never mind Marco Pierre White, there's a rising star here in Ireland who's cooking up an absolute storm. 22 year old Matthew Logan was awarded the coveted 2014 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year in November and will now embark on an all expenses paid stage, at the world-renowned The Square London, where he will work under the direction of two star Michelin chef Philip Howard.
He's already a Chef de Partie at Dublin's Chapter One so who knows where he'll end up next! His passion for food was shared by the other amazing finalists, who offer proof that you don't have to travel to Europe to find some of the finest young chefs in the world.
We'll take any free lunches you're offering Matthew!
If there’s one person who proves that football is most definitely NOT just for boys it’s Irish woman Stephanie Roche.
The 25 year old hit the headlines when an incredible goal she scored against the Wexford Youths in October 2013 was nominated for FIFA’s Goal of The Year.
Stephanie beat off stiff competition from some of the world’s best football players to make it all the way to the final three, alongside Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez.
Think we missed someone? Who blazed a trail for you in 2014? Let us know in the comments below.
As much as we love them, spending too much time with family could make even the Dalai Lama lose his cool. There’s nothing like Christmas to make your house feel a little claustrophobic, especially if you’re surrounded by your family 24/7. Some people love having the whole gang together but others couldn't think of anything less appealing.
Heading home with no idea how you're going to handle it? Never fear, we're right here with some helpful and handy tips.
There’s nothing worse than being forced to spend Christmas with people you don’t like. It's even worse when they’re related to you.
First of all it might be good to get some perspective. Are these relations you only see once a year? It might be tough, but take a deep breath, and try to play nice. It’s definitely easier said than done, but it’s only one day after all. Look on the bright side: You don’t have to see them for another 364 days. Yay.
Practice your happy face for when you open that awful Christmas present that you’re bound to get. After all, it’s not about the present, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Compliment the food even if it’s not to your tastes. Someone's been working hard to make sure it's on the table so it'd be a little bit rude not to at least say thanks and attempt to eat the bits you DO like.
If all else fails, think of dessert and the selection box that will come after dinner.
Are you afraid of all the, ‘What are you doing when you finish school/college?’ ‘Have you a boyfriend or girlfriend?’ questions about to come your way?
Confuse the hell out of the other party and get in there first with the questions. Faking interest in the lives of all the relations around you, may be the best way to save yourself from the awkward questions.
If there are a lot of people around and you need some headspace, get out of the house for an hour. Wrap up warm and go outside for a stroll. It's a great idea to head out just before or after dinner because the exercise might either help you work up an appetite or digest that giant feast. It might also be a good way to get out of doing the dishes.
Go easy on the alcohol. Having a few drinks might seem like a good idea but it won’t make the day any better, in fact you may get wound up more easily and find everyone even less tolerable which won’t end well.
Try to form an alliance with your siblings if you have any, and help each other stay sane. Yes, you might revert back to being eight years old and fighting over the remote, but spending time at home is so much easier when you have allies. Form a buddy system and step in when the other person needs rescuing from the awkward questions. If you don't have siblings you can team up with cousins, parents, aunts and uncles or neighbours too.
If it makes you feel any better, you're probably not the only one trying to survive Christmas! Arrange to meet up with friends on Stephens' Day and share your Christmas horror stories.
Have you got some Christmas Day survival tips? Share them in the comments below!
I think we have a problem of over simplifying things. Seeing stuff in black-and-white. School, conflict, relationships – it’s forgivable. But it’s something to be aware of. As it results in us being too hard on ourselves. Let’s take Christmas. It seems we’re either caroling in an ochre tinted photo – or spending a miserable Christmas rapt with rows and explosive feelings. The truth lies somewhere in between.
Yet, we can be forgiven for having such an idealistic view of Christmas. As kids we’re told stories of Santa and nativity. And I always loved Christmas. But then I surpassed the age of about ten, eleven, twelve. It became a time of year that I suddenly disliked.
I was tired of these ridiculous ideals of Christmas. In particular, the turkeys on TV. How did they make it that particular shade of gold? Ours was grey at best, black at worst. You’d hear of Christmas miracles. Suddenly it seems that either everything is fabulous or it’s le classique “worst Christmas ever”.
Then about two years ago I was sitting in the kitchen in a dull mood. Everyone else was festive, and I just felt as normal – it heightened these feelings and made me feel worse.
This was when my mum reminded me that Christmas isn’t ideal. It’s not picture perfect, but there are lots of positives. There is also lots of stress. For instance, if she stressed out to get the best Christmas dinner – she wouldn’t enjoy it herself.
At this point I’m not going to try say what Christmas is, and what Christmas isn’t. But I am going to say it is a time of the year when most of us have two weeks off. There’s lots of sweets and people we seldom meet. If Christmas spontaneously happened on November 25th or January 25th we’d think it was amazing.
Truth is – it’s just one other day of the year. But don’t let that limit you. In fact, I would almost say for people who really can't stand Christmas: just pretend it’s a normal day. That way you don’t wake up expecting everything to go as planned.
Following my Mum’s advice, I enjoyed that Christmas. I didn’t get into any fights, nor did I afford any time to FOMOing**. This was surely an improvement on the last few years.
So, although I haven’t become some Christmas fanatic, I do plan to have fun. Not just as some sort of Christian or commercial climax of the year. I’m going to take it as it comes, neither expecting it to be great or terrible. I look forward to spending time with my family and watching The Toy Show. (I haven’t seen it yet)
** That’s “Fear of Missing Out” if you aren’t au fait with the latest hipster jargon.
If you're being bullied online or offline it's important to talk to someone about it. Your bully could be someone you know in your every day life, or someone anonymous on the Internet. Whatever the case you shouldn't have to put up with it. You don't need to go through this alone either. If you're the bully of the situation you need to click on these links to see the error of your ways. Bullying is an ever increasing problem in Ireland and this needs to be addressed. See these links below to get up to speed, and be safe. Don't be a bystander!
How to recognise bullying, and the different types.
I'm being bullied
Tips on coping with bullying.
Cyber and text bullying
What to do if you're being bullied.
The effects of bullying
The effects of bullying on others.
Opinion: Retweeting is not enough
A young person's opinion on the issue of online bullying.
Cyber bullying and parents
Educating your folks about the issues.
Helping the victims of bullying
What YOU can do to help.
Could you be a bully?
Be aware of your actions.
Bullying at work
When work becomes a nightmare.
Ask.FM Safety Factsheet
Find out how to block, report, and deactivate on Ask.fm.
How to stay safe online.
Check out this great video from the NSPCC.
Talking about your problems and feelings is natural and nobody should try to stop you showing your emotions or asking for help when you need it.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide or self-harm, you should immediately contact your local doctor or go to the A&E department of the nearest hospital. You can contact the emergency services by calling 999 or 112. The doctors and hospitals in your area will be listed in the Golden Pages.
Helping someone at risk of suicide or self-harm:
Look after yourself:
It's important to take care of your own health as well. You might be worried, frightened or stressed if a friend confides in you about their problems. Remember that you can offer your friend support and encourage them to seek help; however you are not responsible for your friend.
It is important that you talk to someone you trust (maybe a family member, school counsellor, doctor or support organisation) and share any worries or feelings with them. Remember, that no matter what the question or the problem, there is always someone that can help.
Search for support on SpunOut:
You can find all sorts of supportive information here on SpunOut. If you can't find exactly what you are looking for then use the Search facility at the top right hand corner of every page to find supportive SpunOut articles, as well as useful services and organisations nationwide.
How to use the search:
Simply enter the search term (what you are looking for) in the search box at the top right hand corner of any page. The search will give you access to relevant SpunOut articles, as well as contact details for services and organisations nationwide.
Too many results?
If you search for a broad term, such as 'youth centre', you will see contact details for all related articles and organisations. So narrow the search by being more specific, for example, searching for 'Youth centre Tralee'.
You can also directly access results on a certain topic. Just adapt the following web address to the topic that you are searching for: www.spunout.ie/topic/yoursearchterm
www.spunout.ie/topic/drugs will provide you with all articles, organisations and services relating to drugs.
Winter exercising may sound like an impossible task. It's freezing, it rains all the time and it gets dark so early. How can you possibly keep fit in such conditions?
If there is a will, (and maybe some long johns) there is a way!
Tips on winter exercise:
How to dress for outdoor winter exercise:
A put down! Criticism! Disagreements! How do you stop people treating you this way? Well the simple answer is that you often can't stop people from making negative comments. However, here are some tips on how to protect and look after yourself when dealing with other peoples' criticisms.
Coping with put-downs
Usually people react to criticism by avoiding it, taking it to heart or reacting aggressively to it. Criticism can be helpful if it is specific, acknowledges positives, is calm, to the point, doesn't stereotype or label people and is focused on a person's behaviour rather than an attack on the person.
Here are some tips to use criticism assertively:
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence means feeling good about yourself, believing in your abilities and believing that other people value you. It’s doesn’t mean boasting about how good you are at something. YOU have to believe in your own value rather than relying on impressing others.
Do you need a confidence boost?
If you said yes to some of the above questions, then it’s time to work on improving your confidence.
Improve your confidence:
The pace of life nowadays can be overwhelming. Sometimes, we need to take a break from all the holla baloo and just chillax.