In October 1983 the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution became law following a referendum that resulted in a two-to-one majority for its inclusion. More than three decades later, a second referendum returned a two-to-one majority for its repeal in the centenary year of Irish women’s suffrage. It seems fitting to ask whether the significant change in attitude signalled by the vote to give women the right to make their own healthcare decisions translates into changes in the status of women in Ireland more generally.
A new study reveals a disconnect between what students are taught at secondary school and the skills required for third-level study. A large majority of first-year undergraduates at DCU said that they had not been prepared to critically review evidence, to identify and compare sources of information, to use evidence to inform opinions, to interrogate ideas—essentially higher-order thinking skills. Two young people I know recently passed their Leaving Certificate in English, with honours, but without reading the assigned texts; instead, they simply memorised bullet lists of facts supplied by textbooks and teachers. That is, they left school qualified but not educated. And unprepared for the active role demanded of them at third level.
The PSC and the Data Protection Bill 2018 drafts show how little respect government departments have for the integrity of our personal data. The cervical check scandal shows the contempt government agencies have for disseminating data – even to the point of killing us. Data from Garda, Housing, Employment and other arms of government cannot be trusted.