Cricket deserves praise for understanding complexity of mental illness



The writer Mark Rice-Oxley believes cricket should be praised for understanding the complex mental issues a number of players have suffered from in recent years.

Rice-Oxley, who has been studying depression in the sport for a number of years, believes the sport has made great advances in the past decade compared to other sports.

The author was speaking after the English batsman Jonathan Trott was forced to return home from Australia yesterday evening due to a stress related illness.

Rice-Oxley told News Anois: “there is a far more forgiving environment in cricket toward mental illness now and much of this is thanks to Marcus Trescothick”.

Trescothick, once a talisman for the English national team, was forced to leave the international scene in 2006 due to a stress related illness.

Rice-Oxley said: “once this wall had been broken down it led to a much greater degree of understanding in the global cricket society and with mental illness matters public understanding is absolutely crucial.

Rice-Oxley warned that the “crazy scheduling” involved in international cricket would guarantee that players will continue to develop mental illnesses, with frantic travelling meaning players can often go months without seeing their friends.

“The international game is full of amazing highs but also, often more frequently, such demoralising lows”, said the experienced writer.

The Australian test player Ed Cowen defines the psyche of cricketers as “spending more time thinking about our next inevitable failure than our next success”.

In order to soften the severe psychological strain test cricketers endure Rice-Oxley argued that confrontation is required between cricket players and international authorities.

However before that could occur the players would have to unite in their belief, something unlikely to happen in the future as some players are keen to maximise their wage while others, often older, are more aware of the effect intense travel can have on the mind.

Rice-Oxley labelled some of the early press treatment of Trott in the Australian media as “crass and insensitive”, while he was extremely critical of Piers Morgan, who yesterday tweeted that winners never quit in relation to the English batsman’s affairs.

“Sport is often painted as a gladiatorial contest… but finally we’re beginning to see the stigma attached to mental illness in sport dissolve”.

Ronan Morrissey


UK fishing vessel in breach of EU fishing regulations



A UK registered fishing vessel was detained by the Irish Naval Service today after it was found to be in breach of fishing regulations.

The vessel is being handed over to the UK Maritime Management Office and will return to the UK this evening.

Speaking to News Anois, the Naval Service revealed that the reason for returning the vessel to the UK rather than seeking prosecution in Ireland is because the breach is of “EU fishing regulations”, not just those of Ireland.

Regardless of the EU country that the law is broken in, anyone in breach of these fishing regulations is guilty of “the same breach” and prosecution can be carried out in any EU country.

The vessel will be turned over to the appropriate authorities in the UK where the breach will be investigated further.

Lauren O’Halleron

Irish actor Chris O’Dowd to make Broadway debut

Credit Chris O'Dowd official twitter page

Credit Chris O’Dowd’s official twitter page

The play, which will be an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, will star O’Dowd as the dim-witted Lennie in the tragic tale of two labourers in 1930s California.

The play will run April through June at the Longacre Theatre in New York, with the opening night on April 16th.

Franco, star of 127 Hours, will play his wiser sidekick George.

It has been almost forty years since the tale appeared on Broadway in 1974.

O’Dowd, who won last night the Comedy Award at the International Emmy Awards, happily tweeted: “We may have won”, accompanied by the above image.

He picked up the award with his fellow Moone Boy writer Nick Vincent Murphy, who O’Dowd said “was the best writer working in the UK.” Reacting to the win, Murphy said: “It’s insane we won this thing.”

In a recent interview with the Irish Independent, O’Dowd admitted that before he got cast in Bridesmaids, he was struggling financially.

“I was just really broke so we got our cable turned off and all that kind of stuff. It was weird. I was more broke than I have ever been in a way, because I was in so much debt. It was really scary.”

Hannah Popham


Should Ireland join Britain in re-evaluating cycling safety?

Credit Paolo Lisarelli

Credit Pier Paolo Lisarelli

650 police officers have been deployed around London in a bid to enforce awareness and cycling safety. Officers have been stationed at various busy areas during rush hour.

The number of officers is set to be raised to 2,500 over the coming weeks and will stay in place until after Christmas. The officers will issue penalty notices to people breaking traffic rules. Helmets and hi-visibility vests are not a legal requirement but officers will be pushing cyclists to use these safety precautions.

The clamp down on cycling safety comes as a result of six deaths over 14 days in London. Each incident involved a lorry, bus or coach.

The incidents in London have caused widespread recognition of the importance of cycling safety and the controversy of mandatory bicycle helmets. A spokesperson for Cycling Ireland said “there is no doubt that wearing a helmet saves lives. However, it is important that the onus of safe cycling is not solely on the cyclist”.

Boris Johnson caused controversy across the cycling world by stating he wants to ban the use of headphones while cycling. This ban would encourage cyclists to become more aware of their surroundings and potentially lessen the amount of cyclists killed on public roads.

Ireland does not currently have laws regarding helmets, hi- visibility wear or headphones while cycling. Dan Martin, an Irish profession cyclist for Team Garmin- Sharpe, said “The blame/claim culture means if you don’t wear one [a helmet], the first thing they will say when you crash is ‘were you wearing a helmet’ but until I was pro I never wore one.” Martin continued by saying the helmet can often create the illusion of invincibility in the cyclist and the real concern should be driver’s awareness.

He stated “it makes people think they are safe if they have their helmet on. When in reality it does very little. It will somewhat protect against fracture and abrasions but concussion they are useless.” Martin is required to use a helmet when racing and acknowledges the issue of headphones while out on busy roads: “I wore headphones once training and it scared the hell out of me. You don’t realise how much you use hearing on a bike”. Cycling Ireland agreed with the movement towards a safer cycling environment for Irish cyclists. A spokesperson for Cycling Ireland concluded by stating that “Increased awareness should lead to fewer incidents, accidents are not caused by not wearing a helmet; they are caused by bad drivers or bad cycling”.

Katelyn Cook

Emergency homeless services already stretched beyond their means



The Homeless Charity Trust has warned many more homeless people will die over the coming winter months due to a lack of emergency accommodation in the capital.

A man in his forties died overnight in Bray over the weekend while sleeping rough in the town.

The prediction follows the news yesterday that the number of people living rough on the streets of Dublin trebled in the last year.

The homeless action plan, Sustaining the Pathway to Home, is being conducted by Dublin’s four local authorities and will be implemented early next year.

The report states “the demand for access to emergency accommodation and related homeless services in Dublin is deepening”, while affordable and adequate housing remains extremely limited.

The draft also highlights the growing issue of people living on the streets for the first time.

One third of the 2,886 people accessing homeless services in the first six months of the year were using them for the first time.

These figures follow on from last year where over half of the 4,837 people using such emergency services were utilizing them for the first time.

The decision to move away from an emergency accommodation approach to a housing first solution to combat homelessness appears not to have aided the drastic situation.

Last year only 879 people “successfully moved away from homelessness back into independent living”.

Francis Doherty of the Peter McVerry Trust said that these figures would continue to increase as a result of rising rents in Dublin City despite the economic troubles of many Irish people.

In February the Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan announced the Government’s ambition to eliminate long-term homelessness by 2016.

Despite this, Government expenditure on social housing has been slashed from €1.3 billion in 2008 to €275 million last year, resulting in only 1,500 units being constructed annually for social housing initiatives compared to 8,000 previously.

Alice Leahy of Trust said: “The government is not accepting the fact that there is a need for emergency accommodation”, before declaring Trust cannot accommodate the high demand for places in its already fully occupied premises.

Doherty of the McVerry Trust was more optimistic, praising the new government initiative which allows people in financial trouble to receive rent allowance while working.

The next set of results, acquired two weeks ago, are expected to show another increase in people on the streets.

Ronan Morrissey

Relations stirred in light of Iran nuclear deal

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons


Israel accused Iran of “deception and self-delusion” in what has been called the most significant development between the United States and the Iran in the last 34 years.

Barack Obama said that “Diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure, a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon. While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear programme.”

The deal commits Iran to stop uranium enrichment above five per cent, limit existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, stop further development of the Arak reactor and allow increased inspections of its nuclear sites.

In turn, the six world super powers – the U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (P5+1) – are committed to relieve economic sanctions on Iran.

The compromise reached in Geneva may only be for six months but it has significantly reshuffled alliances in the middle east and inevitably caused controversy. The United States have called it a “great deal”, a standpoint that contradicts that of their Israeli allies who are calling it a “historic mistake”.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet: “Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world”.

Remaining highly critical of negations between Iran and U.S, the Israeli embassy in Dublin reiterated today that, “The agreement that was signed between Iran and the P5+1 is a bad agreement and a mistake. Iran received the deal it wanted, and the West received a very bad and dangerous deal. There is no such thing as a half solution in a matter like this; the example of North Korea shows that when extremist regimes get a soft deal like this it does not produce stability in the long-term but merely buys the regime time to further its ambitions.”

With such a strong reaction from the Israeli side,  it can’t but highlight the fact that Israel refuses to acknowledge publicly that it has nuclear weapons. The U.S government also officially does not acknowledge the existence of such a program.

Lilah Gaafar

Green provides new means of delivery



Founded by Nick Keegan and Marcin Jernas in February 2013, Green is a free online, postal system which is making strides in the Irish mailing industry. It is a service that allows its customers to receive post through a secure, confidential digital post-box.

Customers are asked to register their home address for digital postal mail. Green then creates a secure connection between their service providers and their digital post-box so that providers can send their customers an electronic version of their document rather than a paper document.

The basic service is free for customers. Green then makes its profits by charging organisations that send the letters digitally a small fee.

Despite setting up a new service in the midst of a global recession CEO Nick Keegan is pleased with the progress his company has made. “We have had huge growth, phenomenal.” Keegan also confirmed that his business was “on course to reach our targets.”

Keegan highlights the “digital” and “secure” nature of the service as some of the benefits of their service as well as the usefulness for customers who no longer, “have to manage paper.” The company also has an app which allows customers to use the service on their phone.

Furthermore the company emphasises its positive effect on the environment as the traditional mail industry consumes vast amounts of paper and ink every day.

Whilst Keegan is happy with the company’s progress to date he has admitted that there are difficulties in setting up such a service. “It is a difficult market to set up in. Between getting stakeholders on board and getting customers to buy into the service, it’s a balancing act.”

Green is located at the IDA Business Park, Poppintree, Dublin 11. Further information can also be found on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

John Lillis