The students of Lucan Community College’s Amnesty group held their very successful Annual Sleep Out last Friday night. The Sleep Out’s aim was to raise awareness about the ever-increasing homeless crisis in Ireland as homelessness in Dublin has risen 55% since the first time they did the Sleep Out in 2015.They also wanted to highlight the fact that homelessness is a human rights issue. ”The first year we did the sleep out I was shocked by the number of homeless people and I’m disgusted that numbers are continuing to rise each year since” Lucy Freeman.
The Sleep Out started at 7pm Friday evening and ended at 8am the following morning. During the night, the temperature reached lows of 5 degrees and students had to wrap up well to keep warm. ”It’s shocking that people have to live like this in our country” said Naoise, a member of the Amnesty group, ”The government needs to act immediately to address this human rights issue”. They slept in sleeping bags on pieces of cardboard in the school’s court-yard. In the morning they received a simple breakfast of tea and toast, similar to what is given in a homeless hostel. It was an unforgettable experience for all and the students were extra grateful for their bed the following night. ”I’ll never take my home for granted after doing the Sleep Out” said Gemma, a member of the Amnesty group.
Throughout last week, the students collected signatures for a petition that expressed the student’s dismay about the homelessness crisis. ”The government’s lack of empathy towards homeless people is nothing short of inhumane ”said Sarah Walsh,a member of the Amnesty group. They handed out cards and have over 670 signatures so far. These signatures were presented to the Tánaiste, Francis Fitzgerald, when she visited on Friday morning. The Tánaiste also listened to the opinions and questions of the Amnesty group surrounding homelessness and other political and human rights issues facing this country. Later that evening, local Fianna Fáil TD, John Curran, visited the event and listened to the students views on the homeless crisis and answered their questions. They also presented John Curran with a sample of the petition and the number of signatures to bring into the Dáil.
We are attaching a few pictures of the night.
Naoise, Gemma and Lee on behalf of the LCC Amnesty group
You can now read the Summer bumper edition of our Parent Newsletter. Catch up on all of the events of our final term and remind yourself of dates and times for events in the final week and during the examinations.
Congratulations to Gayatri Sangra who was school finalist in the Tour Guide Competition run by Glasnevin Cemetery for Transition Year students. Well done to all who participated in the Tour Guide programme. Gayatri is pictured presenting her piece on Rory O’Connor (see below) and receiving her certificate for reaching the Final of the Competition.
It is impossible to tell the story of Rory O’Connor without mentioning his lifelong friend, Kevin O’Higgins. Their friendship is a brilliant representation of how the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War shaped and moulded society and how such events cost the lives of many and the relationships of many more.
We’ll go back to 1883, the year Rory O’Connor was born. Coming from a well-off family, O’Connor met his best friend, Kevin O’Higgins, while he was studying at University College Dublin. In 1911, after receiving his diploma in the College of Science, O’Connor moved to Canada, however he returned to Ireland in 1916 to take part in the famous 1916 Easter Rising. In the years to come Rory O’Connor became actively involved with the Irish Republican Army, also known as the IRA, and it wasn’t until the War of Independence that O’Connor and O’Higgins formed a real deep friendship. Both were often in the company of famous revolutionary leaders such as Michael Collins and they both also oversaw the blowing up of railway lines and bridges. While blowing up different methods of transport does sound like an odd way of protesting, it was the loudest way to have people’s voices heard and it was because of their hard work in that field that Michael Collins appointed Kevin O’Higgins as the Minister for Local Government and Rory O’Connor as O’Higgins secretary. Both friends worked together through the War of Independence and extensively travelled around Ireland together, often staying in safe houses as authorities were on the lookout for both men.
In October of 1921, O’Higgins married Brigid Cole, a teacher he had met during his travels, and asked O’Connor to be his best man. Naturally O’Connor accepted and he was given two golden guinneas by O’Higgins as a souvenir from his wedding day. It was at that wedding, however, that one of the most famous pictures that relate to the Irish Civil War was taken. A picture of O’Higgins, flanked by future president Eamon de Valera on one side, and his best man, Rory O’Connor on the other, alongside his bride sitting in front was taken. In that picture, you can see the bond between the three men and the happiness they had for one another. You can see a team, ready to work together and bring to the people of their nation a free Ireland. Unfortunately, everything from there on out went downhill and it is that picture that is a testament to the friendships that were broken during the Civil War.
It is not surprise that reason why there was a dispute between the two friends, was because of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, a treaty that separated the north of Ireland from the south.
Like Eamon de Valera, Rory O’Connor was against the treaty as he believed that stopping on the way to total freedom would, in the end, never allow them to see a whole independent Ireland. However, like Michael Collins, Kevin O’Higgins believed in the treaty and saw it as a stepping stone to freedom.
Due to the vast difference of opinions, Rory O’Connor and Kevin O’Higgins friendship slowly crumbled away. In July of 1922, with pressure from the British, O’Connor made the decision as the IRA’s Chairman of the Military Council, to shell the Four Courts, the nerve centre of the Irish legal system. After two days of fighting, during which many people were killed, the wounded Rory O’Connor surrendered to the British. It was the shelling of the Courts organised by O’Connor, that essentially ignited the Irish Civil War.
During the time Rory O’Connor was working with the anti-treaty side, Kevin O’Higgins station rose and he became Minister of Justice. I imagine that when he got the job as Minister he was delighted, however he had no idea that on the 7th of December 1922, he would have to sign the death warrant of 4 anti-treaty men, one from each providence as a way of sending a message of zero tolerance all around the country. The condemned men were Liam Mellowes for Connaught, Dick Barrett for Munster, Joe McKelvey for Ulster – and Rory O’Connor for Leinster. At precisely 9 am, all four men were shot dead and were buried in Mountjoy, and it is said that O’Connor had requested the gold guinneas that O’Higgins had gave him only a year before hand to be buried with him regardless of O’Higgins involvement with O’Connor’s execution.
Despite the years of friendship between the two men, in the end of one was killed by the other due war and politics. Rory O’Connor now lies in Glasnevin cemetery, still buried with the golden guinneas, given to him by the man he considered his best friend until the day he died.
Congratulations to Transition Year students Mark Lombard and Darragh Bacon whose Transition Year blogs were shortlisted for a Junior Spider award (http://www.juniorspiders.ie/shortlist-2017/). Have a look at the two student blog as they are an excellent showcase of our TY Programme!
Mark Lombard’s Blog (https://marklombardmusic.wixsite.com/marks-ty-blog)
Darragh Bacon’s Blog (https://jebadiya16.wixsite.com/myty)