News Notes: The Difficult Second Issue?

Dave Ryan discusses moments of note from The Print’s protest special

The return of the Print this week posed two intriguing questions: how would they handle the more negative aspects of last week’s protest, and could the same standard on display in the first issue remain as high?

Rather than just regurgitating exactly what was said, I’m just going to discuss some of my impressions of the issue, and I implore you all to go and get a copy and read for yourselves.

Of course, the headlines were all dominated by the march from last week. The most interesting among these was the article “Rumours of police ‘brutality’ not the whole story”. The Print, as the official publication of MSU, and written by Union members, can be expected to be at least in some way reflective of the views of those in and around the Union. As a result, how the Garda clashes were handled would be of quite significant importance, politically and diplomatically.

In short, the handling of the clashes was curious. In an attempt to clarify any controversy, it has perhaps began another controversy. The crucial line of Louise Feaheny’s article is the statement that the Union are currently preparing to release footage that completely contradicts the accusations of many that Gardaí were largely responsible for the horrendous scenes we saw last week. The article goes on to claim that the evidence we have seen on YouTube etc is “the result of extremely selective editing.”

The implications of this article are fascinating. It appears, much like the USI, MSU are doing their level best to distance themselves from these left-wing groups that were involved in the violence on Wednesday, including the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), Ógra Shinn Féin (OSF), Éirígí and Free Education For Everyone (FEE). Politically, this is a very wise move. By drawing as distinct a line as possible between the violent minority and peaceful majority, it may be possible to limit the damage this incident may have caused to the legitimacy of the anti-fees campaign. The thought I have though as I read these pages is that this is politically right, yes, but is it the ethical thing to do? The actual events of last Wednesday can, and will, be debated for quite some time, but one wonders if freezing out these groups, some of whom are NUIM students, is the most progressive thing to do. MSU is the union for all Maynooth students, not just the ones who behaved themselves. Perhaps a channel of communication between the march’s organisers and their detractors should be established to get to the bottom of this matter.Understandably, their actions cannot be praised by the Union, but if Maynooth’s left-wing continues to fracture, it will not be for anybody’s betterment.

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But anyway, enough with the tangents. The second issue as a whole would suggest that last time’s high quality was no anomaly. The standard for Issue #2 remains high, though I will note my disappointment that there wasn’t a second installment of the “Where best to rob on campus” infographic, but instead an apology about it occurring in the first place. That’s my dream of “Plundering Tuedays” out the window…..

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The final thing that I would be remiss not to highly recommend is ‘Literary and Debating Soc: A Brief History’. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that this is easily the funniest thing I’ve ever read in an MSU paper. (Well, old issues of the Print/Spoke were very funny, but that was mostly unintentional comedy). I now have more interest than ever in this society, and I will be joining the queue to ask Aidan Rowe the secrets of eternal youth. He is surprisingly spry for a man of at least 179 years. You’ll see what I mean. Read it.

-Dave Ryan

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