Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Explanation, The Apology I sent to CLRG and The Response I Received.

Explanation, The Apology I sent to CLRG and The Response I received.

It has been a year since I wrote about my perception of the incidents that occurred between myself and members of the London school (Head teacher and ex-male assistant TCRG), a younger  London male teacher and various other incidents that resulted in great clamor and me being asked to leave Belfast school. My prerogative was to make my side of the story heard; it was not to cause trouble or to cause a tendentious attack on teachers, adjudicators and other members of the Irish dancing community.
At the time I felt that I had been treated unfairly by main teacher who I thought was aided by the manipulation of ex-male assistant TCRG  and other members of the school. It was more complex than this however, as I had other bad experiences previously which resulted in rumors being spread about myself that I felt could've been affecting the adjudication of myself. I believed that things were being said about myself in order to “put people of me”.

I was  left discombobulated why Belfast school asked me to leave as I hadn’t (at the time) said anything bad about them and the reasons they gave me seemed dubious to myself and others. I was left shocked and upset by female Belfast teachers behavior when she threatened me, harassed and was nasty to my mother at her workplace.

However things were not as simple as I originally thought; I discovered from other sources that there may have been an incident involving a physical fight between female Belfast teacher and main London teacher when they were in a bar some years ago. I wasn’t aware of this prior to joining the school, and if I had known this out of respect to main London teacher I would not of moved there. Even though I didn’t agree with all of main London teacher’s actions, I still respect  him and I can now understand why he was angry when I moved home to dance for that school.

However on the other hand I also respect the teachers of the Belfast school and can understand their perspective: that what had happened between the pair  was in the past and shouldn’t have affected my movement especially since they were in a different country and region. I also acknowledge it was unfair of me to write about these things publicly. Anyone can become shirty and in the heat of the moment say and do things that would be otherwise out of character, so I have forgiven the female teacher for their reaction. On top of this the London school at actually suggested I went to the Male teacher who taught at that school he had obviously either forgotten the male teacher and the female teacher with her sister had amalgamated or was bluffing and wasn’t expecting me to leave him.

I have not spoken to the male teacher from Belfast school, since the worlds last year. He never spoke to about it to me, which I thought was quite cowardly and sneaky, especially since he would've probably been more my teacher than the female one, but I will let this go, as maybe he felt awkward about the whole situation. I didn’t involve the female teachers sister as she mainly would've taught the younger pupils.

I have since taken all the blog posts down, sent apologies to all members involved.

I sent the following email to CLRG earlier this year:

          All members of An Coimisiún who have received this email, A Chara,

I would like to inform everyone that I have removed all my blog posts which are directly about Irish Dancing and my situation.

I have apologized to most members involved.

I have even suggested to Belfast school that I could help promote their feis through the publication I write for - which is a cultural magazine that has 50,000 readers.

I am still at times upset and angry about the whole situation however as I was raised as an Irish Catholic I have always been taught to forgive others so I have forgiven and apologized.

I have had sixteen weeks of counselling to deal with this traumatic experience and now am feeling better.

I want to put put this all in the past, be able to find a new teacher and do my final year of competition without any problems.

Hopefully everyone will be able to forgive me as I have forgiven them and there will be no problems in the future.

Le dea-ghuí

And received a very warm response from the head of the Ethics Committee

Hello again Adam,
I have to commend you for the steps you have taken as you journey to a  full personal recovery.
I know that you have had many challenges in your life and therefore, you have had numerous obstacles to overcome.
I wish you luck in your search for a dance teacher in order to continue you career in Irish Dancing.
Thank you for including me in this mailing.
Head of Ethics Committee

I am now trying to find a new teacher in order to do a final year of competition before retiring and studying for my TCRG. I felt that teachers may be hesitant to take me in if they thought there was still bad blood between me and other parties involved. I can say that it’s water under the bridge in my eyes. I try not to even think about it now, as when I was it was making me very angry and depressed.

The reason for writing this blog post, is to show on my behalf that I understood that writing about things publicly was not the right method for dealing with what is going on and as you can see with evidence I have apologized to all the people involved.  

If anyone is interested I did write an article about Feis and Festival Irish dancing for the publication I write for and am also the Sales manager.
It is available online here:

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Comedy Article from Culture Hub Issue 7: May/June

Comedy Article from Culture Hub Issue 7: May/June

The months approaching summer remind me of being stuck inside the library revising for exams or immobilised inside an office sweating in a suit whilst the sun is finally out. It’s always you who finishes their examslast or has to stay at work late to meet the deadline. Then when you come home looking forward to lying out in your back garden or having a barbeque at the weekend, of course the sun has gone and the blissful atmosphere is now replaced by something that is reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow. To laugh off how frustrating this is or to de-stress from exam season, why don’t you attend one or several of these comedy offerings running alongside the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

May Day features ‘The Comedians Cinema Club’ at the Black Box and was nominated as Best Music & Variety Show 2016 by Chortle and has been Time Out Critics Choice every month since February 2015. Created by Eric Lampaert, the show is filled with alcohol fuelled banter, and the much loved movies are not like you’ve seen them before.

May Day evening brings the Canadian comedian Craig Campbell to McHughs Bar Belfast. He is known as the wild man of Canadian comedy with controversial topics such as sex and drugs discussed during his stand-up. His performance is sure to be hilarious and unique however may leave you in shock if you are a prude.

‘Primal Squeam!’ will be performed at Voodoo 02 and 03 May. The show finds one of Belfast's best alternative theatre companies poking fun at life's foibles (i.e. men). The man in the play is Stewart and a fan of cheap thrills who wants to purchase pornography from local newsagent Wendy. Shot Glass Theatre offers a crude and kinky performance which is a quick fix of what you fancy.

On Wednesday 04 May, Rob Delaney will be performing in the festival marquee. Delaney is the star of the hit Channel 4 show Catastrophe and is widely regarded as one of America's gifted standups. He has made appearances on shows such as Have I Got News for You and 8 out of 10 Cats. The show is called ‘Meat’ because that’s how Rob views humans, and the show has graphic sexual content and explores bodily functions.

The comedic country musician Tina C will be coming to The MACon Sunday 08 May. The performance will feature a mix of love, self-empowerment, geo-political musing and damn fine hollering which will all be incorporated in her fantastic country songs.

On Wednesday 25 May, Queen's Comedy Club in the Student Union will welcome back Abandoman which is one of Ireland's top Improv teams. They combine audience interaction and improvisation to give a unique comedy experience. The show will transform the audiences’ loves and hates into hit songs and captivating tales.

Foster’s Award nominees Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez are coming to The MACon Saturday 04 June with Max & Ivan: The End. Drab seaside towns are plentifold in the UK and the fictional set in the town of Sudley-on-Sea epitomises all the gloom and glumness that a strong tide of blandness can bring in.

The lady of Geordie Comedy, Sarah Millican, is coming to the Waterfront on Saturday 10 June. Regularly appearing on comedy discussion shows, the stand-up writer and star of BBC 2's The Sarah Millican Show won the 2011 British Comedy Award for The People's Choice Queen of Comedy. The sketches narrative follows an imminent coastal apocalypse and follows the lives on an assortment of eccentric locals, including an ultra competitive sister, a corrupt local politician, a conspiracy nut and an hispanic perfume salesman. The main character is Clive, a tabloid newspaper journalist, who has returned to his hometown to make peace with his father and to scrutinize the local corrupt MP.

On 12 June Reginald D Hunter will be stopping by the Mandela Hall as part of his Irish tour with his show ‘The Aluminium Negro’. Hunter is often perceived as being brutally honest as he tackles controversial topics whilst demonstrating what it is like to be a “negro”. Hunter sets out to take his audience on a bountiful romp through today’s politically correct minefield while, at the same time, attempting to shield them from any truths they would much rather avoid.

So worry not about your exam results or take some paid leave from that secure white collar position to sample some of the many smile inducing acts rolling into the city. All the performances are indoors, so our trusty climate can’t get you down.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

1,2,3 DUP: Why The DUP Retain Their Popularity.

The 2016 Assembly election took place last Thursday and the results indicated in large the DUP maintained their status as the most popular political party in Northern Ireland, - achieving 29.8% of the popular vote and retaining all 38 seata in the Northern Ireland assembly.

Arlene Foster - DUP leader and First Minister of the Northern Ireland's Assembly.

For those not from Northern Ireland -  Who are the DUP?
The DUP are a unionist party (they want to remain part of the UK) whose members are often very Christian and due to this are socially conservative and oppose contested issues such as gay marriage and abortion.  Their opinions and policies are perceived by some as controversial and even “bigoted”.

After the election result came out I noticed numerous young people on my Facebook complaining about the result. One pointed out that she believed that the DUP only received their support due to being unionist rather than due to their tendentious policies.  The opinion she expressed is one that is held by many young people who refer to the DUP as “Dinosaurs” as they believe their socially conservative views are antediluvian. They are left frustrated by the amount of power they have in Northern Ireland as they believe they do not accurately reflect the populations consensus.

However, this opinion  could not be completely true as the DUP are not the only unionist party in Northern Irish Politics: UUP, NI Conservatives, TUV and PUP are just a few other unionist parties. It also could not be due to the party being economically conservative as most of the unionist parties are also economically conservative -for example I am a unionist (purely due to the belief that we are more economically prosperous remaining in the UK) and capitalist however my social views are more moderate so therefore I would vote Conservative or UUP.

Past DUP leaders and First Ministers: Peter Robinson and Dr. Ian Paisley

1,2,3 DUP! : 3 Reasons why the DUP are so popular.
Why is it then that the DUP remains such a popular party? The reasons for that can be explained briefly in 3 points:

  1. Social Conservatism - DUP are the most socially conservative party in Northern  Ireland. They are similar to the Republican Party in the USA as they are pro-life and anti-equal marriage. We live in a democratic state, which has not apostatized (45% of the population still regularly attend church) and thus it is likely these people vote for them as they feel the DUP represents their social views most accurately. The nationalist parties are normally more liberal and some strong Catholics do not feel their views are represented by them and thus some vote for the DUP because of this.
  2. Reputation - DUP have a reputation as hard workers and being attentive to their constituents. On top of this the candidates they choose are often highly qualified and experienced.
  3. Image - DUP members are always immaculately presented. When I watch the Nolan show for example the DUP compared to other parties e(specially nationalist) appear smart and professional. Their campaign photos are another example of this as they are very eye catching.

Hence although Northern Ireland (in particular, the capital - Belfast) is becoming more eclectic and multicultural; socially conservative attitudes are still popular and democracy holds that these views will be represented and thus until that changes DUP will perennially retain its popularity.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Why Waste Time?

Why Waste Time?

Recently a relative of mine passed away. Whilst spending time with my family I discovered that my 70 year uncle gets up at 5.30am to go to work at his manual job, followed by social activities in the evening and then doesn’t go to bed until 11.30pm every day of the week. When I heard this I was amazed and thought: “how does he manage that? I can barely get myself out of bed to work normal full time hours and yet I complain that I have sleeping problems! If my uncle who is 70 can manage this surely I can do the same!”

I felt inspired after hearing this and decided I wanted to start getting up earlier and being more productive. Adding to this 2 of my  biggest inspirations (Margaret Thatcher and Donald Trump) both stated they slept for only 3-4 hours a night.

Put in Practice

Day 1- Wednesday
I aimed to wake up at 6am. The alarm went off and I said oh fuck it and went back to sleep! I slept in till 7.45am, only had a banana for breakfast then had to get a taxi to work (which was late!) and I ended up being 10 minutes late for work! Lying in was asinine and I didn’t feel good at all for it.

Day 2- Thursday
Again I aimed to wake up at 6am. The alarm went off and I almost did the same thing but luckily at 6.15 I eventually dragged myself out of bed. I went for a run, followed by stretching, had shower and made myself my healthy fry up (2 poached eggs, 2 organic grilled bacon, 2 slices of gluten free toast). I then walked to work  and was 10 minutes early.  

Day 3 - Friday (today)

This morning I woke up very early about 4.30 am and I decided after trying to get to get back to sleep for half an hour: “What is the point in me lying here tossing and turning?” So at 5.15am I got up and managed to be very productive. I made myself a healthy fry-up and ate it. Then made myself a big pot of Mexican spaghetti for my lunch and dinner. After that I went to the gym then made my way to work (again I was early for) and am now writing this blog post.

What I discovered.

I have suffered from sleep problems for over a decade now; often I find it difficult to get to sleep and frequently wake up throughout the night. I have realized that lying there tossing and turning thinking about the meaning of life didn’t put me in a good mood and certainly didn’t help me sleep, either in fact it was futile!

Essentially when I was lying in bed I was wasting valuable time which could have several financial impacts on myself both directly and indirectly.

Directly -  From getting up earlier not only have I been more productive, I have also saved myself about £15 - from having a packed lunch and allowing myself enough time to walk instead of having to get a taxi.

Indirectly - being earlier for work and being more alert could have an effect on whether I get fired or get a promotion. People's opinions of myself seeming lazy, disorganized or bad punctuality could affect my career prospects. Being productive puts me in a good mood which in turn makes me more productive - a positive chain reaction. Overall my life seems more auspicious.


I have decided for now on I’ll sleep when I am tired and get up when I wake up. Maybe I am similar to my uncle, Trump or Thatcher and only need a modicum of sleep. Why waste time trying to sleep when I could be up being productive which then has a multitude of beneficial effects that enhance my life and mood?

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

2016 Assembly Election - STV vs FPTP and What Party Should you Vote For?

2016 Assembly Election - STV vs FPTP and What Party Should you Vote For?

Tomorrow May 5th and it is election time for the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly is Northern Ireland's dissolved legislature and it is elected through Single Transferable Vote (STV) under Proportional Representation (PR), unlike the general election for the UK parliament which employs First Past The Post (FPTP).

Picture: Stormont - The NI Assembly

Differences Between STV & FPTP

First Past The Post
  • Used for the UK General Election
  • Simple
  • Constituencies elect a single MP
  • Voters can only select one candidate and the candidate with the highest number votes then is elected.
  • Government is formed from a plurality rathern than a majority and thus government is argued to not be an accurate or fair representation of the electorate's views

FPTP is used for the UK general election as the MPs in the UK parliament deals with issues that affect the whole of the UK and international matters known as Excepted Matters or Reserved Matters. It is argued that FPTP is more suited as policies and  laws would be difficult to implement  if more interests were represented. It would be difficult to progress and gridlock or government inertia could be the result: “Too many cooks spoil the broth” is what is argued.

Single Transferable Vote
  • Form of proportional representation which aims to represent all segments in an electorate.
  • A team of candidates are elected - Northern Ireland 6 per constituency, 108 in total.
  • Voters rank list of candidates in the order that they prefer.
  • To be elected they must match a quota which is determined by the number of positions to be filled.
  • If your prefered candidate has no hope of being elected, the vote is then transferred to your second preference.
  • Arguably more fair as no votes are wasted and a wide range of candidates are elected to represent the different viewpoints in a consistency.

STV is used for local assembly elections which deal with issues on a local or city level. MLAs do not make laws. STV is suited to the assembly elections because they are dealing with parochial and community matters and therefore it is good to have different viewpoints represented: “Many hands make light work” is what is argued at local level.

Who Should I Vote for?

People vote for the candidate or party that they believe represents their views best. Due to employing STV there is no need to vote tactically for the assembly elections. An example of tactical voting may be in East Belfast during the 2015 general election: constituents tended to vote for either Naomi Long (Alliance) or Gavin Robinson (DUP) to stop the other being elected.
Naomi Long and Gavin Robinson

In Northern Ireland people typically vote based on whether they are Catholic or Protestant for example Catholics tend to vote for either Sinn Fein or SDLP whilst Protestants tend to vote for either DUP or UUP. People who consider themselves to be non-partisan in the religious divide tend to vote for Alliance.

Realistically in the near future there is not going to be a change in whether Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK or not and therefore voting along purely religious and sectarian lines makes little sense. What you might find is that the party that you choose to elect policies may not accurately represent your political voice and therefore you may end up being misrepresented.

It may be a good idea to do these two tests to see which party you sit best with before you vote tomorrow. They are blindfolded tests and the policies you choose then match with the party that represents your opinion best.  My mum’s boyfriend did a similar test for the 2015 general election, is from a nationalists background would normally vote Sinn Fein (from what I can recall) but the result indicated due to policies he should vote DUP - which was hilarious but showed how misrepresented you could be if you vote purely on religious/sectarian lines.

And concluded that I should vote for NI conservatives 100%. Which wasn’t that big of a surprise to me as I am a big Maggie Thatcher fan.

However, the second one which is more complex - http://www.who2voteni.com/#!/
It didn't include NI Conservatives but instead indicated that I should vote Traditionalist Unionist Voice (TUV)which I would have never considered voting for previously, as Jim Allister appears to me as very staunchly unionist and I am only a unionist due to economic reasons. However, what was found was I agreed with more of the TUV's policies due to being economically right winged.
Jim Allister

So why don’t you give it a shot and see what your result is?
And No cheating!