The Budget Axe Falls… on me

So I deliberately didn’t write about the budget yesterday. I was too annoyed and I would write the wrong thing. But today, I am a little calmer. This post is about how the budget affects me, expect broader posts as the week go on. Basically this is a rant!

Overall I am not happy with the budget. That is fairly obvious. While I myself am not massively hit straight away, my pay package from the 1st of January will be hit with the Universal Social Charge.

This budget also limits my choices in furthering my education. The €200 charge on Post Leaving Cert Courses means that it will cost in the region of €500 to do the course I was planning to do next year, which means I have to now reconsider my options. Is this what we want for our knowledge economy? One where people have to figure out whether they can attend college. The higher education student contribution of €2,000 rules out university for me.

Thankfully none of the other cuts will affect me in any major way. But I am annoyed with the cuts in pensions for those under 65, and the cuts in careers allowance and tax credits. How does that make it a progressive budget?

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2009

happy new year 2010
Image by mugley via Flickr

What a year! 2009 is approaching its end and its been and up and down year for me.

Blogging

What a year for me and blogging! It started off great being selected for the first Th!nk about it competition and then that led to other cool projects, again involving European Journalism Centre and the Anna Lindh Foundation. I of course moved the blog .com and its bein great doing that. I have gotten involved with bloggingportal, irishelection and sluggerotoole at various points through out the year. I have met and been contacted by lots of cool people through all this.

Work/College

Its been an up and down year with work. Loosing my job, like so many others, was a bit of a wake up call, and thankfully I landed on my feet. I know am back in college and have a part-time job. Things really did turn out for the better.

Politics

What a year to be involved in Politcs. The Local and European elections were great fun, as was the preceding the Ard Fheis. I learned a lot during the campiagns and look forward to putting that to good use in the coming General Election, whenever that will be. The second Lisbon Referendum was also a great opportunity. Getting involved with Generation Yes, Ireland For Europe and Bloggers for Europe, let to more learning and of course meeting lots of people. It was a great experience. It also got me published in local newspapers!

Personal Life

While 2009 was a great year, it saw a number of deaths for me too. This year I lost a favourite teacher from school, Paddy Mulcahy, and a good friend of mine, Brian Finn. Its right to remember them at this time of year. This year, brought lots of opportunities in my personal life, and I am glad I took them!

2010

So what will next year bring? Who knows, but im looking forward to it!

All thats left to do now, is to wish you all a Happy New Year and best of luck for 2010!

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The Picket Dilemma: I’ve decided

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: A DHL lorry pass...
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I know the blog seems to be obsessed with Strikes at the moment, but they are a big part of whats going on with me at the moment! Between asking you what you think of crossing pickets to my teachers going on strike its time that I decided what I am going to do about the strike at Boots.

I have talked to a few friends about this and teachers about my predicament and everyone acknowledges the predicament I am in. I have some suggestions, such as calling in sick during the strike to just plain cross the picket.

So I have decided.

As I am a part time worker on a temporary contract, on this occassion I will be crossing the pickets. I need the hours, basically I need the money. I think the full time union members will appreciate these facts and there will not be hassle with me ducking the picket line, if there is one when I am working.

Oh if only life was easy!

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Would you cross a picket?

As some of you are aware I am now (re)employed by Boots. Now union employees have voted for strike action and there could be possible pickets on stores. So I face a dilemma, to cross the picket or not. What would you do?

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Symposium on European Citizenship

As the Euroblggersphere is suffering an identity crisis at the moment it is a conincidence that Alliance Francaise Cork and UCC are organising a European Symposium on European Citizenship on Tuesday, September 1st in UCC.

It looks like it will be an interesting day. The topics covered will be “Women and Europe”, “Justice: rights and responsibilities of the European citizens”, “National Identities within European Culture and Identity” and “Green Citizenship”.

The speakers include:

  • Nicole FONTAINE, Former French President of the European Parliament
  • Treasa NI MHURCHU, Deputy Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Vice-President of European Women’s Group
  • Pascale JOANNIN, Director of the Foundation Robert Schuman
  • Micheál MARTIN, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Alan DUKES, President of the Alliance Française Dublin
  • Jean-Dominique GIULIANI, President of the Foundation Robert Schuman
  • Loïc TRIBOT LA SPIERE, Jurist and General Delegate of CEPS
  • Jérôme CLOAREC, President of Atelier Europe
  • Dermot KEOGH, Professor of European Integration Studies
  • Dominique REYNIE, Director of the Foundation for Political Innovation
  • Cécile LE CLERCQ, European Commission, Citizenship Policy Unit; Europe for citizens
  • Maurice RIEUTORD s.j., General Delegate of the Institut Robert Schuman pour l’Europe
  • Stephen SPILLANE, Euroblogger, “thinkaboutit.eu” Project – European Journalism Centre
  • Déirdre de BURCA, Senator Green Party
  • Michael EWING, Social Partnership Coordinator, Environmental Pillar
  • Dr. Peter BRENNAN, Managing Director of Economics, Policy and Strategy Consulting

Throughout the day there will also be a exhibition from goodplanet.org. At the end of the day there will be a showing of Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND’s film “Home”.

Yes, you did see my name mentioned in the list of speakers. I will be speaking on the panel on “National Identities within European Culture and Identity” which should prove interesting and it will be my first time speaking on a panel!

The full programme is  availible here in PDF. If you wish to attend here is the Invitation and reply card (both PDF)!

To find out more check out the website, facebook and twitter!

12 days to write a speech the pressure is on!! Do come along and support me though, I am speeking at some point between 2:30pm and 4:30pm in UCC’s Aula Maxima

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The Flower of Identity

Pink Flower, Oxalis Weed Macro
Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

In Luxembourg as part of the training with the Anna Lindh Foundation we had to write a list of things that we think identify us. One suggestion was to draw a flower and on each petal write one thing. I of course am useless at drawing so decided to write a list.

So how do I see myself?

The first things that came to my mind was European, the next was Irish and after that Gay came into my mind. Then the fact that I was Male reared its head. After that I was stumped.

Now I didnt want to seem superficial so I tried really hard to come up with more, so Political came to mind. Then Adventerous and Outgoing popped up. Religous also came to mind as did Blogger After that it was tough going.

Even now two weeks after the training I find it hard to come up with more. Ones that do are Stubborn, Caring, and Smart.

How to others see me?

I decided to see how others saw me, so I asked on twitter, facebook and MSN about people saw me. I got the following back:

  • Friendly
  • Caring
  • Up Beat
  • Outgoing
  • Helpful
  • Headstrong
  • Opinionated
  • Political
  • Intelligent
  • Someone who stands up for what they Believe in
  • A good friend
  • Sexy (I am not making it up!!)
  • Nice Guy
  • Listener
  • Values debate and diversity
  • Principled
  • Respectful
  • Smart
  • Gay

Why do this?

After asking a friend, a conversation ensued about why I was doing this and was their a difference in how I saw myself and how others saw me. To me the big difference was no one mentioned nationality. Which was strange cause if was the first thing I thought of when asked the question about myself as it forms part of who I am and therefore how I act. That was the huge difference.

In Luxembourg after we wrote this out we all went to another room and sat on the floor. One of the trainers Xavi called out different categories about how we saw ourselves and for one of them I was one of two people standing. That category was “Sexual Orientation”. To me started off the questioning that led to this blog post, am I placing too much emphasis on it. The fact that someone else mentioned it, kind of puts my mind at rest.

At the same time I was overwhelmed at the response given to me. I simplfied where I could what my friends said down to one word where possible. It is strange when your friends can come up with more ways of describing you then you can.

But thats Identity thats Personality!

One thing I noticed even while doing this was how fluid Identity and Personality are. To me they are not mutually exclusive. This excercise proves that in most ways except in the area of nationality which I have already dealt with.

So is nationality what actual divides us from stangers, as we don’t see it as part our friends?

Do try this yourself and see personally how you describe yourself, draw it as a flower or a list. It will surprise you.

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Normality – for a bit & Cologne & Rotterdam Memories

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So I am back in Ireland after my holidays. It was great so things shall return to normal on the blog. Well until the weekend as I’m off on Cub Pack Camp to Fota Scout Campsite in Co. Cork. So dont expect a lot over the next few days as I work the germanisms out of my system!! I found myself better at German this time round so even though I was there for only a week I could understand and speak more german then when i was there for five months!!! Crazy like!!

This morning was the weirdest thing ever though. Me and Elain got on the wrong train to Koln/Bonn Flugaehen. So we had to go back to the Hauptbahnhof. Who was on the platform but one of my friends, Helene, who I wasnt able to meet with due to other things. Why was she there? Cause she missed her train! Faith or what!!

It was seriously great to see everyone again also. Huge thanks to Elaine for putting me up and feeding me! Also to her kids (and cats!) who kept me entertained!! I made some new friends and it was certainly great to see my old friends from Cologne also!

Now for Rotterdam. I was named as one of the quality bloggers in the comnpetition, and I won an iPhone!! It was an amzing time and great to meet the other Th!nkers who had I had been interacting with on comments and stuff.

Th!nk will be continuing but its focus will be changing to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in the Autumn. I think it is a pity because there is a need for a group EU blog in my opinion, without the compertition. Maybe a few of us will get together and set one up? If anyone is interested let me know at Stephen[AT]stephenspillane[DOT]com.

Anyways, back to jobhunting and blogging until Friday!

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A new addition to the family – Poppy!

Poppy
Image by stephen.spillane via Flickr

A non-political post!!

So last night while out I get a phone call saying be carefull of the dog when coming home! This gets me all excited on the way home! She is a beautiful dog. She is a year old and a rescue. We think she is a cross between a Corgie and a Border Collie or a Alsation or even both. She is asleep on the chair next to me as I type this and is the cutest thing ever.

Hopefully she will be with us for a long time! 🙂

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