Orlando – A Gay Christian’s response

pulese“I’ve been waiting all week for this. A Saturday night out with the boys. Maybe I’ll meet someone. Always a chance of that in Pulse”

Replace ‘Pulse’ in the above with any gay club or bar in any city around the world and that is probably the thoughts of some those there. It’s normally similar to mine on Friday or Saturday night out in Cork.

But for those attending Pulse in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night, it all ended so differently, so tragically. when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people, and injured countless others. Members of the LGBT*Q Community, just like me.

It’s hard to figure out mu feelings on this. I’m hurt, angry, heartbroken, shocked, vulnerable and sad. I’m angry that this could happen. That someone could target people just because of who they are, who they love, how they were created.

But we cannot respond in kind. We cannot blame a particular religion, or all religions, for one man’s actions. We must be better than this. If we react to hate with hate, then hate wins. Martin Luther King speaking in 1963 said

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

lgbt half mastWe must now reach out the hand of comfort to out LGBT*Q Brothers and sisters in Florida who are hurt, grief-stricken, and scared. We must reach out to those who mourn the loss of family friends and friends. We must also look out for those in the world-wide LGBT*Q Community for whom the fear of attacks, rape and murder are a daily fear.

But on the other hand we must also reach out the hand of understanding to our Muslim Brothers and Sisters here and the US as they face the inevitable backlash due to one man’s actions.

We in the LGBT*Q Community must continue to stand tall, roar loudly to be treated equally, demand our place in the Public Square, and not bow our heads in shame because of who we are pr who we love. We must do this, not just for ourselves, but those worse off. The members of the LGBT*Q Community who still live in countries where it is illegal to be gay, for LGBT*Q Muslims, and for LGBT*Q Refugees.

Those of us in religions must continue to work hard to ensure an affirming welcome for all in our churches, temples, mosques and synagogues. This work isn’t easy, nor should it be. But we cannot put limits on God’s love that is open to all.

Vigils are being held in Ireland this week in remembrance for those who died. Tonight In Dublin Belong To, GLEN – GAY AND LESBIAN EQUALITY NETWORK and Transgender Equality Network Ireland are in Bernardo’s Square (beside City Hall on Dame Street, Dublin 2) at 6.30pm Monday and also in Tralee tonight at 9pm in the Square.

In Galway on Wednesday in Eyre Square organised by Amach and also in Cork on Wednesday.

Further Reading:

Thoughts on Orlando – UCC Express Editorial

Queer Muslims exist – and we are in mourning too – The Guardian

Upcoming Events: JCI Cork, Cork International Choral Festival and Cork Feminista

Here are some interesting events coming up in Cork over the next few weeks

JCI Cork – April Event: Impact Talks – Thursday 28th April, 7pm, Clarion HotelJCI Logo

Junior Chamber International (JCI) Cork is this week hosting an Impact Talks where the guests will be speaking on the topic of “If I knew then what I know now… what I would tell my younger self’.

The speakers are Cliona Murphy, Vice President Technical for PepsiCo Worldwide Flavours, who is based in Cork with global responsibility for Research & Development, Quality, Engineering, Environmental Health & Safety and Global Quality Services and Commander Peter Twomey of the Irish Naval Service and is now head of Personnel Management.

This should be a great event. Tickets are free for JCI Members and there is a small charge for non-members. Full details on the Eventbrite Page

Cork International Choral Festival April 27th – May 1st, across the City

choral-festival-logo6

The Cork Choral Festival takes place around the May Bank Holiday Weekend every year and there is loads happening around the city. Some are free and while others are ticketed. See the website for full programme and details.

My favourite part of the Festival is Shandon Sunrise. This year it is taking place on Sunday May 1st at 6:05am. With singing from the Clock Tower from Cathal O’Boyle and the Cork Chamber Choir to welcome in the dawn. This is a truly wonderful experience. It is followed by an ecumenical service in St Anne’s. Come along to this FREE event! More details here.

Cork Feminista – Coffee Connections – An International Women’s Breakfast –  Monday May 9th, 10am, The Haven Cafe 

corkfeminista coffee connections

Coffee Connections is a womens breakfast event hosted by Cork Feminista & Love and Care for People. Come along to share coffee and stories with women from diverse backgrounds in Cork. Feel free to bring a breakfast dish to share if you like! More details see the Facebook Event

Have an event you want to share? Send me an email stephen@stephenspillane.com

Cork Pride AGM and Preparing for Marriage Equality Referendum – Cork

Two events of interest to the LGBT Community are coming up in Cork.

pride15The first is the Cork LGBT Pride AGM.

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback with us in the Cork Pride 2014 Survey, your options and suggestions are greatly appreciated and will help us ensure that the festival is one the whole Cork community can be proud of.

If you would like to get involved more with Cork Pride, we are hosting our AGM on the 19th of January at 7pm in the Cork Gay Community Development offices at 8 North Mall, Cork City, for directions please see https://goo.gl/maps/yaOrx

This is the first of two meetings. At this meeting Officer reports will be presented and those who wish to get involved can get a better idea of the roles.

 

The second “Preparing for Marriage Equality Referendum – Cork” is organised by GayCork.com and Fine Gael LGBT. It takes place on February 5th at 8pm on in the Gresham Metropole Hotel.

Panel Speakers:

* Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD
* Dr Conor O’Mahony, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, UCC
* Laura Harmon, President USI (Union Students Ireland)
* Brian Sheehan, Director of GLEN

The aim of this public meeting is to encourage people of Cork to become involved in building a winning referendum campaign.

This is of course very important for us who want a Yes Vote in May!

YesEquality

#UCCEconoCon Live Blog

Refresh for updates, thanks to @AudreyEWalsh for some of the quotes

Hello and welcome to my live blog of the UCC Economics Society Economic Conference. There is a great line up of speakers organised and I will be updating this post as the day goes on. Feel free to ask questions in the comments on Twitter (@spiller2 or @corkeconomics) or on Facebook. Todays Timetable:

11:30 – 11:35    Welcome by Stephen Barry, Auditor of UCC Economics Society
11:35 – 11:50    Opening Address by Robbie Butler, UCC Department of Economics

11:50 – 12:50    Panel Discussion 1: Is politics the greatest stumbling block to economic stability? Ciaran Lynch TD, Sinead Ryan and Declan Jordan, Peter Mathews TD and John Considine (Chair)

12:50 – 13:20    Q&A

13:20 – 14:20    Lunch

14:20 – 14:40 “Gaming It: Incentives, Cheating and the Grey Area in Sports” – Declan Jordan

14:40 – 15:40    Panel Discussion 2: The Eurozone – wobbling on a tightrope between growth and debt? Megan Greene, Seamus Coffey, Brendan Keenan, Lorcan Roche-Kelly and Tim Harford (Chair)

15:40 – 16.10   Q&A

16:10 – 16:20    Coffee Break

16.20 –     Keynote Speech by Tim Harford

Robbie Butler:

  • We can go from Primary to University without studying Economics.
  • We don’t teach basic Economics, how to save, how to spend, how not to spend more then you earn
  • Interest in Economics has declined since the recession.
  • Need to capture imagination of young people. Less than 10% leave formal education with education in economics

Panel 1: Is politics the greatest stumbling block to economic stability?

Declan Jordan

  • Politics isnt the greatest stumbling block to economic stability
  • Do Governments hinder or help the Economy
  • 13 Countries with good growth had committed, credible and capable Government
  • Bad decisions and Bad Governments can damage Economies
  • Electorate needs to incentives “good politicians” with “Good policies”
  • we tend to see politics as a problem, we get the government we deserve, we elected them
  • we elected the same government 3 times who had short term views, but we contributed to it

Peter Matthews TD

  • We’ve had a volatile economic situation here, as opposed to stagnation (Japan) or depressed (Soviet Union)
  • Unregulated markets has wrecked the real economy.
  • Read the “Price of Inequality” – Joseph Stiglitz
  • Also read “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
  • This country is overburdened by debt which is unsustainable! A debt right down for Ireland would be the right thing to do!
  • The 11 MEPs need to agree on working together to reduce the €53bn debt

Sinead Ryan

  • 1st lesson of economics is of scarcity, 1st lesson of politics is to ignore the 1st lesson of economics.
  • Where there is conflict between Economist and Politicians, the tax payer ends up the loser.
  • Examples are Irish Water, HSE, Bank Crisis and unprofitable routes on public transport
  • No politician wants to be called brave

Ciaran Lynch TD

  • If Government is a stumbling block for economic stability if bad policies are followed, its not if good policies are followed.
  • Everyone now has opinion about economics just as in politics
  • The financial crisis has both internal and external causes!
  • Economics does not come with an ideology, just like Politics
  • Coming out of the current crisis/bailout is an example of how politics can work
  • Life cycle carbon taxes – there is not enough materials in the world to meet future supply.
  • Politics does not cause instability but pursuing economic dogma does

Q&A: Question: How do we get the Politician’s we deserve

  • Economist should provide Electorate with information
  • Economist should fact check on political policies

“ECB Monetary Policy” – Lorcan Roche Kelly

  • German Economy is the most important tool to the the ECB
  • To get where the ECB wants to be, the must do something new. They can’t cut interest rates. Money supply must be managed better!
  • The crisis that Europe is facing, is not a debt crisis…. it is a growth crisis!
  • The best thing that happened to the ECB was Trichet leaving the bank and Draghi coming in
  • The Euro suffers from a publicity problem

“Gaming It: Incentives, Cheating and the Grey Area in Sports” – Declan Jordan

  • Lots of cheating in sport, Luis Suraz, World Cup 1982, Theire Henry, A-Rod, Lance Armstrong, Maradonna.
  • Cheating is not new, its easier, they do work hard
  • Its’ expected
  • Is bending the rules allowed?
  • Cheating needs a new definition
  • Should be defined as Breaking the rules for Advantage

Panel 2: The Eurozone – wobbling on a tightrope between growth and debt?

Brendan Keenan

  • Eurozone is still a collection of National Economies, cant be compared to USA. Huge disparities between Governments
  • The eurozone crisis could easily erupt again!
  • Ireland facing more contraction until 2016, Public spending can grow beyond that if we reach that if international recovery
  • Is Ireland political willing to continue walking the tightrope? It will still be tough
  • A Tightrope… doesn’t matter which side you fall off! You fall off! A second bailout would lead to unknown territory.

Megan Greene

  • Adding an item to the agenda, INFLATION…… it should be growth, solvency and inflation.
  • It is important to look at 2 different solvency levels: 1) Public Solvency levels 2) External Solvency levels
  • 2014 will be a chronic year for the Eurozone, however next year things should get get better!
  • Germany has some room to provide some stimulus, but unlikely as its facing a rapid ageing population
  • German’s population is ageing and while their fiscal policy is good, their future generations will be paying the price.
  • Banking Union will not be about burden sharing, which was the point
  • Debt conference in Europe with all the weaker countries (and perhaps France), to restructure debt, is necessary.
  • The most political likely deal is debt restructuring. It will be politically tough. But rescheduling at least is nessecary

Seamus Coffey

  • If deflation appears in prices, it might not be too bad. However, if it appears in wages, it would not good!
  • Deflation also affects Government income, VAT and Duty.
  • Those most hurt by deflation are those in debt. Most in debt? Governments- where anti deflation comments come
  • We still havent solved the Banking Crisis
  • EU needs to become more federal, whether in policy or fiscally, for social project of 1950s to avoid getting stuck
  • The Burden of the Debt has to go Somewhere

Lorcan Roche Kelly

  • Eurozone is almost a Co-Op
  • The Eurozone is a good tempate for a Federalised Europe
  • We need a really bad crisis for politicians to hand over fiscal power. Seeds are there for that crisis. Sovereign Debt
  • The answer is more Europe
  • Integration or Disintegration
  • We are half way across canyon, if we turn around we will fall off.

Keynote Speech: Tim Harford

  • Focusing on the story of Alban William Phillips (Also known as Bill Phillips)
  • He is the Indiana Jones of Economics
  • Invented the Moniac the first computer model of an economy
  • Developed the Philips Curve, the correlation between inflation and unemployment
  • The 1970’s Oil Crisis discredited the Philips Curve
  • When he developed the curve he never believed in it.

And thats it folks! Thanks for joining me!

 

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UCC Economics Conference to kick-start wealth of debate

This Saturday, the UCC Economics Society will be holding their Economic Conference. There is a number of excellent speakers lined up (see below) which should be interesting to a lot of people. The reason I am posting this is that I shall be there and covering it on Twitter, Facebook and the blog.

Press Release:

Multi-million selling author and BBC Radio presenter Tim Harford will be the keynote speaker at the UCC Economics Society inaugural conference on Saturday the 1st of February in the Aula Maxima, UCC from 11am to 5pm. Other speakers include economists, broadcasters, politicians and journalists.

Harford spent some time lecturing in UCC in the nineties. Since then he become well known through his writing. He contributes to the Financial Times where he writes the world’s only economic ‘agony aunt’ column. His most recent publication ‘The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to run or ruin an economy’ takes a step into macroeconomics, while his online TED talk has over 150,000 views (link http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_harford.html )

The conference features a number of other high-profile panellists who will debate European and political related economicaffairs. Megan Greene, Chief Economist with Maverick Intelligence, based in London, will speak about the current European situation. Other speaks include Brendan Keenan, former Economics Editor for Independent NewspapersSinead Ryan, consumer and personal finance journalist with The Herald, and Ciarán Lynch TD, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. UCC economists will also contribute, including Robbie Butler, Seamus Coffey and Declan Jordan.

The conference comes as part of a string of economics events running from Monday 27th January – Monday 3 February.Economist and author David McWilliams will officially launch ‘Economics Week’ on Monday 27th January in Boole Lecture Theatre 1 at 6:30pm. The week will be concluded by John Fitzgerald, Research Professor at the Economics and Social Research Institute, on Monday 3rd February at 7pm in Kane Science Building G02. A full timetable is available here: http://www.ucceconomicsconference.com/

Speaking ahead of the event, conference convener Jamie Cullinan said, “This conference is intended to unite leading academics and practitioners in the field to discuss economic problems with a view towards finding a pathway into the future. Applying the discussion to matters of politics and policy will focus the conference on the most current topics in a continually challenging economic environment.”

“Thanks to our hard-working team, we are very happy to have such a fantastic line up from international and national commentators and economists. Many people have read Tim Harford and he has enthralled us with his writing, while we’ve seen the likes of Megan Greene and Sinead Ryan speaking at Kilkenomics where they proved very insightful commentators. Now more than ever economics is to the forefront of society. Economists have dug into real-world matters and tried to understand human behaviour.

“Importantly this discussion will take place in a college setting and will have the power to influence economic thinking into the future through the attending students, who will also be given an opportunity to question the prevailing economic thought and policy issues on the day.”

Tickets for the conference are €10, with a €5 rate for students, and are on sale both online (http://www.ucceconomicsconference.com/ )  and on campus. For further information please contact economics@uccsocieties.ie.

 

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G-Everyone, Cork

Mashable have come up with a great idea to coincide with the G-8 Summit in Lough Erne Golf Resort, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on the 17th and 18th of June. Mashable have challenged its members on Meetup.com to host a G-Everyone in their local community and I have decided to try and do it!

So what is it?

Organized through Mashable’s Meetup Everywhere platform, G-everyone meetups will take place on the eve of the G8, a forum of the world’s eight wealthiest Western countries. The goal of G-everyone is to make the G8 more accessible, and to brainstorm ways to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

G-everyone will provide an open dialogue around the G8’s core themes of “Open Economies, Open Governments and Open Societies.” Mashable will crowdsource the best ideas and thoughts from our community via Meetup Everywhere, and report back to the leaders at the G8.

The G-everyone conversation will happen during a 24-hour global meetup on Monday, June 10. To organize or attend a meetup, register on Mashable‘s Meetup Everywhere community.

So the Meet-Up in Cork is planned for 7pm on June 10th. I am currently working on securing a venue.

The topics to be discussed on the night are:

  • How can innovation stimulate your local economy?
  • How can technology make your government more open?
  • How can online communities help build healthier societies?

As you can see there is something for everyone!

Mashable promises that  they “will gather global data from the G-everyone Meetups through +SocialGood and report back on the themes and ideas emerging around the world. The initial G-everyone themes will be shared at a series of high-level meetings in London during the G-8″

If your interested shoot me an email Stephen(at)stephenspillane(dot)com and I will let you know what the details are as soon as I know. Also if you have any ideas on a location or know people that should be involved do let them know!

Its only by coming together and sharing ideas that we can make the world a better place.

The G-everyone Meetup is brought to you by the Social Good Summit partners: Mashable, 92nd Street Y, the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Development Progamme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

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Children’s Rights Referendum Public Meeting.

Fine Gael have organised a public information meeting on the Children’s Rights Referendum on Monday November 5th at 8:00pm in the Imperial Hotel, South Mall.

Speakers on the night include:

  • Simon Coveney TD, Minister For Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  • Mr Geoffrey Shannon, Government Special Rapporteur on Child Protection
  • Mr Joe O’Toole, Yes for Children
  • Ms Sinead McKee, ISPCC
  • Ms Gwen Healy, UCC

This is the perfect event to get more information on the referendum to help make up your mind before voting on Saturday 10th.

Remember its Your Constitution, Your Decision, Your Vote!

Facebook event here

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Campaign For Children – Cork Meeting Wednesday 25th

The Campaign for Children will be holding a public meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 25th, at 6pm in the Geogrpahy Lecture Hall in UCC. It is part of a series of public meetings to inform people about the work of the campaign.

The Campaign is chaired by Former Supreme Court Justice Catherine McGuinness. Its board also contains some influential people, including Fergus Finlay of Barnardos and Olivia O’Leary.

The Campaign raises very important issues and more importantly has suggestions to how they should be solved.

This organisation will most likely play a leading role in any referendum campaign on Children’s Rights.

So head along and find out more about the campaign.

More info

Tonights Liveblog!

As part of my tweeting from the We The Citizens event I shall be interacting (well attempting to) with everyone else who is watching the events unfold! You can also take part using the tag #citizens

Do check out the Liveblog Click Here.

In the mean time check out my posts on We the Citizens.

VLOG: We the Citizens

So ahead of tonights We The Citizens event in the Clarion Cork tonight I decided to a Video Blog!

Its mainly about the reactions I have gotten to bringing up the We the Citizens event and around citizens involvement, oh I hate cynical viewpoints!

Do let me know what you think!

PS Don’t forget I will be tweeting from the event tonight! So do follow me on twitter!