Our casual racism against Travellers is one of Ireland's last great shames
How much more time will need to pass before it becomes unacceptable to neglect or denigrate an entire section of our society, simply because they don’t conform to our version of “normal”? Another five, 10 or 20 years? Or for Travellers, will that day ever come?
Child-free flights? I'm on board
The debate about children on planes was reignited in the US recently, after a passenger on a Delta flight allegedly slapped the crying child who was seated next to him.
Joe Rickey Hundley turned himself into the authorities last week, although he denies hitting the wailing two-year-old.
It was a horrible incident, not least because of the racist undertones; Hundley allegedly told the child’s mother to “shut that [racial slur] baby up”.
But it does raise the question – would childfree flights be a good idea? Or even childfree sections on planes? I say “yes”.
My children are thankfully past the crying-on-planes stage, but I have been the harassed mother trying to soothe a fractious toddler and an inconsolable baby, while all around me willed themselves not to slap someone.
On another occasion, my children were sleeping quietly when a distraught baby across the aisle incited the air rage of another passenger, who screamed at the airline staff to move him to another seat. They moved him to the row in front of me, and I spent the rest of the flight in abject terror that one of my children would whimper and set him off again.
I would happily be segregated into the ranks of howling babies and sympathetic parents, rather than face the wrath of another air-rage man.
Equally, when I’m travelling without my kids, I don’t want to be anywhere near yours.
Breaking up the boys' club in the Dáil
A new report on women and power in the UK has revealed that only Italy and Ireland have lower rates of female representation in political life.
The report includes a graph showing the number of women MPs in eight western countries. Ireland lurks at the bottom, and, more depressingly still, the line has barely moved in 12 years.
Plans to introduce a mandatory 30 per cent quota for political candidates will go some way to addressing this, but it’s not enough. There are many good reasons why Irish women might not want to pursue a career in politics: the unsocial hours; the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere of the Dáil; the logistical difficulty for women with families in dealing with the demands of spending your evenings knocking on doors in the run-up to election time.
There is no magic wand – we need to begin by tackling the boys’ club atmosphere one step at a time.