Wednesday, January 31, 2007

NUS Conference - social gathering or worthwhile trip?

The 15 delegates to travel to Blackpool for the NUS Conference this year have been announced. The all-expenses paid trip is hoped to allow Queen's to be represented at the major student gathering and to air the views and opinions of our student body. Michael Forde and Colin Caughey among others will be present to discuss and debate the issues which are of most relevance to those studying at Queen's.

The DUA makes up half of those travelling to England and, judging by their press release they seem fairly clear in their objectives - concentrating on the treatment of Christian Unions throughout Britain. Is this money well spent by Queen's Union? Aren't there more serious issues out there which need brought to attention?

Exactly what is discussed and any resolutions to the problems addressed will be followed closely by The Gown. After all, if the Union is prepared to fund 15 people to enjoy a few days away in sunny Blackpool I'm sure everyone would like to think the money spent is worthwhile...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Box denys 'Ugly Bettys'

Ten years younger - a programme on television providing peple with new clothes, new make-up...oh and a new face, in the hope that they will receive a confidence boost from their new youthful image.

Ugly Betty - a new US series which has just hit our screens, detailing the life of a twenty-something hoping to make it in the fashion industry when, in reality she has been hired by her boss' father with confidence in the fact that he's unlikely to be distracted by her less than glamorous appearance.


The Box - a new nightclub in the Odessey Pavillion which last week allegedly denied entry to two girls without giving any sort of explanation. A caller to a radio show claiming to be a bouncer at the club said they weren't 'smart and sexy' which is apparently the type of clientelle the club wishes to attract. However, the officials at the new establishment refused to comment.

There have been numerous complaints to radio shows since and one daily newspaper interviewed the girls who said they won't be returnng to the nightclub. In trying to find an explanation other than that of complete superficiality one encounters many difficulties. The girls hadn't been drinking, weren't under 18 and neither sported the casual look of trainers and a tracksuit. Sadly therefore, one can't help but arrive at the conclusion that these two girls were indeed refused entry because their appearance did not fit the bill.

Has the idea that 'image is everything' been taken to a new level? Should a club have the right to deny a person entry on their appearance alone?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Collusion - old news?

The allegations of collusion arising from Nuala O'Loan's report into the activities of the RUC, Special Branch informers and the UVF have come as "no surprise" to Gerry Adams but have "shocked and disgusted" Secretary of State Peter Hain and others.

The findings have uncovered clear abuses of power within the former RUC and led many to question how and why the activities were allowed to happen. One informant is alleged to have been involved in the murder of 18 people and yet lived on a 'salary' of £80,000 for his services to Special Branch throughout the past two decades.

Hugh Orde, when speaking a few months ago in Queen's was reluctant to acknowledge or condemn the allegations of collusion but was forced to do so when the findings were made public on Monday.

There have subsequently been calls for Ronnie Flanagan, a former Queen's student, to step down from his position as Chief of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. Flanagan was the Chief Inspector of the RUC for six years meaning he was head of the police during some of the time when the collusion is said to have taken place.

What is your opinion on the report? With a seeming reluctance to prosecute due to time, resources and money, do you think the past should be left in the past or is there a need for the perpetrators to be brought to justice? Perhaps you feel this report simply confirms what many already suspected?

Harding Memorial Trophy To Be Hosted By Queen's

by Niall McCamley

The Harding Memorial Trophy will be hosted by Queen's between the 7th and 10th of February 2007. The Harding Memorial Trophy is competed for by Freshers' soccer teams from Universities both North and South of the border.

Last year's event was hosted by University College Cork and Queen's Freshers were unlucky to be knocked out on penalties in the semi-final. The Harding Trophy is one of three soccer tournaments for Irish Universities with the Crowley Cup, for Seconds (to be hosted by University of Limerick this year), and the Collingwood Cup, for University Firsts (DCU this year).

The tournament's matches will be held at the Malone Playing Fields (otherwise known as the Dub) between the 7th and 10th of February. Visiting teams will be staying in local hostels during the competition and Queen's Football Club is also organising various events for the visiting sides.

The hosting of the Harding Memorial Trophy also adds to the workload of Queen's F.C. as work is underway to set-up an Academy for Soccer at the University as well.