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Is it time to turn our backs on the Book?

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The alarming “breach of trust” (Mark Zuckerberg’s words) that has led to this Cambridge Analytica scandal has left many users wondering if they should delete Facebook altogether. To be honest, it might be no harm.

50 million people had their data unwittingly mined, analysed and used against them in a shocking betrayal of privacy that is straight out of a dystopian sci-fi novel. The scary thing is, it wasn’t just people who signed up for these 3rd party apps who fell victim to the scam, it was all of their Facebook friends as well, so it’s not like you can blame the victims for being careless.

Cambridge Analytica took this data – likes, statuses, personal information – identified target voter groups and designed targeted messaging to influence opinion. The kind of opinion they were trying to illicit hasn’t necessarily been proven just yet but the fact that Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon oversaw the company’s activities and Robert Mercer, a major donor to the Trump campaign, invested $15 million, it’s not too difficult to connect the dots.

Broadcaster Matt Cooper deleted his Facebook account live on air and, since the scandal broke, many fellow users have removed themselves (or at least talked about removing themselves) from the world’s biggest social media platform. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done.

Facebook has become a fairly sad place in my opinion. I remember joining in 2008 and being completely drawn in by its unique design and features. Once all of our group of friends had signed up, Bebo couldn’t compete. Back then Facebook was actually “social”. Almost all of your time on the site was spent chatting to friends, posting on their walls and, if you really liked someone, sending pokes. It was good craic.

Now, trawling through your news feed is a very different experience. All you see is viral videos, memes, click bait and “tag someone who…” posts. WhatsApp has completely taken over the messaging scene (although Facebook’s independent Messenger app isn’t bad either, in fairness) and writing on walls is a thing of the past, so really the social element to Facebook has virtually vanished.

The one thing it can potentially still be useful for is news. At the Advertiser we find that Facebook is a good way of sharing our stories and interacting with readers. Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithm pushes whatever it sees fit to the top of your news feed, with viral videos and memes apparently more important to them than actual news. It’s worth bookmarking your favourite pages (like the Killarney Advertiser) so you can access them directly.

The problem with Facebook at the moment is that there’s a whole bunch of noise and not a lot of substance.

So why not just delete it? FOMO (fear of missing out) is definitely a factor. What if all the lads are having great banter on FB, and I’m here on my own twiddling my thumbs like a chump? It’s like being at the dullest party ever but being afraid to leave in case it suddenly turns into the best night of all time.

Facebook is also addictive. We’re addicted to getting likes and we’re addicted to viral content. Research has shown that click bait works, even if the content that we click through to is rubbish. It’s the anticipation that gives us the buzz. In terms of this kind of rush, Facebook is a very potent dealer.

People have been wary of how much Facebook knows about us for a long time. I think we have always known that in the wrong hands, our personal information could cause personal embarrassment, profit faceless corporations and even swing an election. But, for whatever reason, we’ve resisted deleting. Now we know for a fact what Zuckerberg and co. think of our privacy, is it finally time to turn our backs on the Book?

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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