1916 Battlefields Saved

Fianna Eireann

Image copyright Julie Corcoran Photography, 2016.

Today, in the Irish High Court, Mr Justice Max Barrett passed judgement in favour of the case made by the 1916 Relatives Association with support from a new generation of Irish volunteers.  This judgement, against the position of the government, will protect important 1916 battle sites beside the GPO around Moore Street from demolition.

Sadly a proportion of 1916 battlefield sites were deemed unimportant by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphries and her government. Now the High Court has ordered that she must reconsider her position.

You can read the full story here from the Irish Times including a synopsis of the 400 page judgement by Mr Justice Max Barrett.


Tractor sunrise

Shepherd’s Warning. Image ©Julie Corcoran 2016. 

With rumours concerning the date of the upcoming General Election here in Ireland; could this morning’s other-worldly sunrise indicate that Enda Kenny and his party, Fine Gael, are engaging more than just the services of political advisors to secure another term in office?

Which dog breeds are more likely to bite? An Irish perspective.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 14.43.44

Illustration © Lili Chin

‘Rottweilers…..don’t they bite?’ she asked.

As the lady posing the question already owns a dog she should know all dogs have the potential to bite. She went on, quite smug;

I have a Golden Retriever‘.

As she didn’t expand the conversation any further, I’m guessing her implication was that dog bites are something Golden Retriever owners don’t often think about. But they should.

I have written before about the problems regarding breed specific legislation (bsl) following the publishing of O’Súilleabhán’s research on the substantial increase in hospitalisations due to dog bites since it’s introduction. He argues that..

“Regulating breeds places restrictions on dogs that pose little risk and ignores the possibility that any breed is capable of inflicting serious injuries” 

(O’Súilleabhán, P. 2015).

  Ill-judged legislation, coupled with an absence of a proper educational campaign with supports to encourage responsible dog ownership leaves government policy with regard to ‘controlling’ dogs recklessly unbalanced.

Since the government vilified in stone, 11 breeds of dog in this country, hospitalisations in this country as a result of dog bites increased by nearly 50%.

The lady who asked a very specific question about Rottweilers might do well to consider the study published in 2012 by O’Sullivan and Hanlon  which reviewed dog control data from Cork for the year 2007.

“the experience of a growl or snarl from a restricted breed is more likely to result in a complaint to the authorities than would similar behaviour from a non-restricted breed. It is the authors’ view that this reflects the media derived perception amongst the public that the restricted breeds pose a more significant public danger.” 

The research found that although people were more likely to report incidence of aggression (a snarl or growl) from a dog on the restricted breeds list, the actual threat to public safety, in the form of dog bites, came from a variety of breeds;

The top offenders when it came to dog bites were Terriers, German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Springer Spaniels and Collies

(you’ll notice only one of those breeds is on the restricted breeds list. See the table here ).

So in answer to the lady with the Golden Retriever; my dogs are just as likely not to bite as yours (possibly, as studies have shown, even less likely) which is why dog control legislation in this country needs a serious overhaul in conjunction with a canine awareness education programme rolled out through all the schools.


Breed Specific Legislation Doesn’t Work. Fact. 


image copyright agsmaoineamh.com

 In Ireland, since its introduction in the late 90s, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) hasn’t worked.

It’s focus on the breed rather than the deed has failed to encourage responsible dog ownership across the board. 

Páraic Ó Súilleabháin, a psychologist at NUI Galway, has shown that the number of people hospitalised for dog bites rose 50 per cent between 1998 and 2013, following the introduction of breed-specific legislation.

“Targeting dogs by breed doesn’t identify potentially dangerous dogs. Research has found no difference in aggression or factors leading to biting between regulated and nonregulated breeds.”
Read the full Irish Times article Here

New report finds Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) simply doesn’t work.

IMG_9223A new report by Páraic ó Súilleabháin of NUI Galway is to appear in The Veterinary Journal with not unsurprising findings for owners of dogs on the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) list.

BSL does not work. Since the latest legislation was introduced by the Irish government in 1998, hospitalisations due to dog bites have increased by 50%.

The report finds that of the 11 breeds on the BSL list, none are any more aggressive than any other breed of dog, and this mis-information has led the general public to believe that all the other breeds, not on the list, are incapable of inflicting injury.

The government’s mistaken focus on dog breeds rather than dog owners and educating young people, the report suggests has resulted in 50% more injuries in a five year period.

Click below for the full report;

Minister’s database rethink #POD 

Serious concerns, raised with the Minister for Education, regarding the proposed data retention period for the Primary Online Database (POD) may be allayed by a piece in today’s Irish Examiner

Parents, data experts and the Data Protection Commisioner alike have all been petitioning Minister O’Sullivan over many issues and worries regarding POD; including the excessive thirty year retention period for student data. 

It now looks like the Minister will be announcing that student data will be held until their 19th birthday. After that date, their information will become depersonalised and only used for statistical and analytical purposes (I’d like to see more details on this).

This clearly is a textbook example of citizens using democratic channels (official means like contacting the Data Commisioner’s office and unofficial channels like creating all merry hell on Twitter!) to highlight ill-conceived elements of a government policy (the introduction of POD).