Dublin Airport Lights Social Media on Fire

By Sarah O’Brien

Sarah O’Brien argues that while sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great sources of breaking news stories, it’s very easy for false or misleading content to be uploaded and shared.

Social media and web 2.0 is well on its (mobile) way to defining this generation. New statistics revealed recently suggest that Irish people have the highest smartphone internet usage rates in the western world, and are we really that surprised?

As wonderful as the advancements of modern technologies are, social media has its downsides, one obvious one being that it can serve to manipulate information, whether intentionally or not.

Take the recent fire that broke out in Dublin airport last Wednesday morning. Most major media outlets used this photograph when reporting on the story. Does anything look odd about this picture? Continue reading

Report Reveals Startling Inequality in Irish Broadcasting

By Sarah O’Brien

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has unveiled a report showcasing a massive gender imbalance in flagship current affairs programming.

Research undertaken over a three-week period in the latter half of 2014, reveals that 72 percent of those appearing on RTE, Newstalk and Today FM’s main news programmes are male.

The worst offender in terms of female representation was Newstalk at a paltry 18%, with RTE being the best at 37%. Today FM followed closely behind the state broadcaster with 30% female participation.

The ‘Hearing Women’s Voices’ research, carried out by NWCI and DCU, has highlighted a shocking disparity between the numbers of male and female guests.

The report, which was launched today at the Department of Justice and Equality in St. Stephen’s Green, saw Minister Alex White, NWCI Director Orla O’Connor and an expert panel speak at the event. Continue reading

Bereaved Mother Calls for Accurate and Sensitive Reporting of Murder Suicide Cases

Una Butler Cork

Pictured: Cork woman Una Butler, who lost her two children to a murder-suicide in 2010.

By Sarah O’Brien

Accuracy and sensitivity around the reporting of mental health issues and suicide has been called for by a Cork woman who lost her two children and husband to a murder-suicide.

Una Butler’s husband, John Butler, tragically took his own life and the lives of their young children Ella and Zoe at their home in Ballycotton, Co. Cork in 2010.

Speaking at symposium on media coverage of mental health stories, organised by the University of Limerick’s Journalism Department, Ms Butler stressed the importance of not shying away from or glamorising and sensationalising murder-suicide stories.

“I can understand that people just cannot comprehend or don’t want to read about it and that is why it is so important that, when murder-suicide cases are being reported on, it should be reported accurately and in a sensitive manner – no sensationalizing, no glamorizing of the events,” Ms Butler explained. Continue reading

Melanchthon’s Watch-Chapter 3: A Serendipitous Encounter

By Sarah O’Brien

The stench of death hung heavy in the air around the camp. Soldiers, barely old enough to be called men, lay wounded on makeshift canvas beds. A general air of malaise petered through the army hospital as delirious soldiers cried out in their sleep, writhing in pain, their finger nails digging into the blood and excrement-caked sheets. As every day passed, more and more men were brought to the little encampment. Makeshift gurneys lined the tents, their maimed occupiers waiting for the sweet mercy of death to relieve them of their physical torment. Elizabeth, a trainee nurse just shy of 19, watched as every day soldiers came in to the camp on stretchers and went out in body bags. The men lucky enough to return home, did so less an eye or limb. There was no mercy in war, of that she was certain… Continue reading

Limerick Responds to Growing Appetite for Vegan and Vegetarian Menus

As Limerick responds to the growing appetite for vegan and vegetarian menu options, Limerick Voice reporter Sarah O’Brien explores what’s on offer in the Treaty city.

Veganism, a lifestyle promoting compassionate living but long dismissed as the preserve of crunchy counterculture hippies, is in vogue according to a new survey.

The latest figures from the Vegan Society show that veganism has grown by a whopping 360 percent in Britain over the past 10 years.

Of that figure almost half are between the ages of 15-42 with most dwelling in urban areas. Though there are no official stats for Ireland as of yet, if Britain’s are anything to go by, consumer demand is there and it’s growing at a phenomenal pace. Continue reading

Dead Rats, Flies and Blood Stains Among Violations Found in Limerick Restaurants

By Sarah O’Brien

NINE food businesses have been served with closure orders in Limerick since January 2015 due to a litany of hygiene problems, the Limerick Voice has learned.

Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the reasons why so many premises were ordered to shut down food operations until they’d cleaned up their act.

Evidence of insects and rodent droppings throughout the food preparation, storage and first floor seating areas were one of the main reasons Star Pizza on Limerick’s Denmark Street was served with a closure order on April 29, 2015.

Health inspectors noted that “a large hole was gnawed through under the pizza oven in the service area” and that “gnawing was evident on the stairs leading to the basement food storage area”. This order was lifted five months later when the premises was cleaned up. Continue reading

Share a Dream Brings the Magic of Disneyland to Limerick

By Sarah O’Brien

Europe’s first all-inclusive indoor play centre for sick and disabled children had a preview opening in Castletroy’s Park Point Complex on Friday.

Dreamland, the brand new play centre set up by the Share a Dream Foundation, will cater for Ireland’s 80,000 disabled children, recreating the magic of Disneyland at home.

Share a Dream Founder, Shay Kinsella, said, “This is a big news story for Limerick. Travelling with sick children can be an ordeal when you consider all the medicine parents have to bring and parking and It’s not easy. Now they can come to Dreamland in Limerick.” Continue reading