We’ve had one hell of a year for news at Sin. Jenna Hodgins looks back over some of our major stories…
Volume 14 of Sin Newspaper has been jam-packed with the top stories from 2012-2013. For the final issue (tear – as in crying not tearing the paper up, cheers!), let’s take a look at some of this volume’s biggest stories from fluorescent yellow t-shirts to, well, burgers.
2012 marked the year that students fought back with nearly every third level institution in the country joining forces and organizing large scale protests in the build-up and the wake of the Budget. The fluorescent yellow clad “Fed Up? Stand Up!” Students of NUI Galway, GMIT and Athlone IT joined together despite the rain on November 14.
Students rallied and marched from the campus here at NUI Galway to Eyre Square where they met with fellow students of GMIT and Athlone IT. Sabbatical Officers from each Students’ Union spoke at the rally demonstrating solidarity, allowing the voices of students to be heard and recognized. Over three thousand students turned up at Eyre Square that afternoon with 500 leaving later that day to carry a mock coffin to the office of Galway West Labour TD, Derek Nolan.
The protest was peaceful and respectful; however, it was not silent. Students blew their whistles, shouted and chanted “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts”, allowing their voices to be heard once and for all. Students were also provided with the email addresses, Twitter handlers and phone numbers of their local TDs and were encouraged to contact them.
Despite the successful organization of these protests, the budget continued to cut grants and raise the student contribution fee to €2500. The university SU responded to the budget saying that the fight will continue and sabbatical officers will not stop lobbying until they are… well , not even arresting them stopped them it seems…
…Which brings me to our next story.
Six students arrested after sit-in at Taoiseach’s constituency office.
Five Student Union officers from GMIT and NUI Galway and one first year student of the university were arrested on 12 December after a sit-in protest at Enda Kenny’s constituency office in Castlebar.
They were protesting after the smothering budget released that the income threshold to qualify for a maintenance grant would increase by 3%.
Paul Curley spoke to the media about how they were lied to; “It’s basically a slap in the face for students because a lot of people will be affected by this […] we are occupying the Taoiseach’s office to stand up for students”.
The students were later released after their arrest for ‘trespassing’. Although, they still proved the integrity of students and how the student finance issue will not go down without a fight. If standing up doesn’t work, then students will sit down.
Speaking of being lied to, is that beef burger you’re eating really a beef burger?
The horse meat scandal was, and remains to be, one of the biggest news stories of the year to date. A statement from the Food Safety Authority Ireland reached news desks in early January detailing that trace amounts of horse DNA were found in frozen beef burgers. In little or no time later, the story exploded with the infamous Tesco Value burger made up of 29% horsemeat and Aldi lasagnes found to be 100% horsemeat. The prices of frozen beef or ready-made meals with beef content plummeted, which seemed good to the starving student but then we learned about brute.
Bute is a harmful anti-inflammatory given to horses by vets for its painkilling properties. In humans, if taken in high doses, it can cause a rare disorder called aplastic anaemia also known as bone-marrow failure. Horses treated with Bute must have their passports stamped and assessed to enter into the food chain.
Nobody knows how long horsemeat has been in circulation in beef products, although now is said to be the safest and ideal time to be eating frozen meats. With food safety watchdogs now frantically testing beef products. Although, if you find that beef lasagne you froze this time last year, you should probably say ‘neigh’…
Up next is a story Sin has been closely following since the beginning of the first semester: Student camps out on campus to save money – I pity the foal. Ok, I’ll stop with the woeful puns.
Frank Cronin, a final year Psychology and Spanish student announced that he would live in a tent on campus to save money that would be usually spent on rent. What began as a week of camping eventually turned into the college year as Frank enjoyed sleeping beneath the stars a little too much. Mr Cronin initially intended on camping out for just the week, however, the challenge proved all too exhilarating. Speaking to Headcase.ie, Cronin stated that he loved to overcome challenges and he wishes to grow his YouTube channel Glowpunk through the project.
Mr Cronin told Sin newspaper in February that he plans on staying in the tent until the end of the semester. He has spoken out on several occasions about his new love of nature and how living in a tent, isn’t that bad. If anything he’s been less sick whilst living in the tent! Mr Cronin has over 2,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel including videos of guests to his tent such as Des Bishop and Buzz from Hardy Bucks.
Volume 14 of Sin has featured stories both big and small; from straight news pieces, features, opinion pieces and regular bi-weekly columns, Sin really had it all – except a working website.
But March saw the launch of Sin’s new website: sin.ie! The long-awaited revamp of the sin website finally came this year with the forever increasing demand for online journalism. When Jessica Thompson took the position of editor of SIN for volume 14, it was one of her main objectives to establish an interactive website for the newspaper, allowing its readers not only to read but to become a part of the news stories themselves.
With experience from her own website thedailyshift.com, Ms Thompson proposed to the SU with the idea for a new website just before Christmas. Within an impressive relatively short time, the website has been approved, assisted, created and launched in early March. Sin.ie now allows a larger student interaction, whether it be contributing to the website with your own articles or even dropping a comment under an article you liked (or disliked). Essentially, one of the biggest stories of this year is how Sin’s stories become bigger.
There’s so much more I could write about: the election of the new pope; the fire scare at the James Hardiman library; the rocky year for the USI; the Magdalene laundries revisited; the abortion debate in universities around the country; I could even go write about the giant rabbit found in the reading room! To read up on these stories and more to come, check out sin.ie.
It’ll be a sad farewell but until volume 15, adieu! Adieu!