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“It’s not just sports stars – the problem is with young males in general”

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A week on from the acquittal of Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison, the nation continues to dissect the details from the hugely divisive Belfast rape trial. One of the more controversial aspects of the whole debacle is the content of the WhatsApp messages sent back and forth between the accused and their friends in the aftermath of the incident at a house party in Jackson’s home.

Some of the language that was used is too vulgar to be repeated in this publication, but suffice to say it was incredibly disrespectful to the girl in question, and to women in general.

Like any right-minded individual, I’m naturally appalled by what was said. The comments were pathetic. But, to be completely honest, I’m not one bit shocked by the tone of the conversations.

I’ve been added to a lot of different football and soccer teams' WhatsApps down through the years, both at home and abroad, and I've also been in plenty of WhatsApp groups with other young men that had nothing to do with sports. While I’ve never witnessed anything as bad as the messages retrieved from Jackson and co.’s phones, I have seen things get fairly crude.

So I think it’s wrong to say that this kind of misogyny is the domain of professional athletes. None of the worst offenders in the WhatsApp groups I’ve been in previously were entitled soccer stars, or intercounty players, they were just regular fellas, some of whom happened to play sport in their spare time. The problem isn’t just with young male sports stars. The problem is with young males in general.

As public figures, athletes have more of a responsibility to behave appropriately than the regular guy on the street who isn’t idolised by millions of kids. Therefore it makes sense to try and correct their behaviour. But what about the 99.9% of young men who aren't elite athletes? If they disrespect women, is that somehow less wrong?

Many observers have criticised the IRFU for not educating its players. I agree that employers certainly have a duty to educate athletes about the dangers that come with fame and fortune, but should the IRFU really have to teach its players to respect women? And, perhaps more to the point, can they?

The accused in this trial behaved the way they did because they thought it was okay. And not just okay. From the way they boasted in the group, they clearly felt that this kind of behaviour is admirable. “Why are we all such legends?” Society has told them that this is how legends act. For cases like this to become a thing of the past, society has to change. That’s obviously easier said than done.

When reading the reactions in the media, one thing I noticed was the number of men who said they were disgusted by the WhatsApp messages. I don’t doubt their sincerity, but how many of them actually call out misogynistic behaviour when they encounter it themselves? How many of them simply say “yeah” and laugh awkwardly, or post a crying laughing emoji, just to avoid the awkwardness of confrontation? I have 100% been guilty of it myself. The expression, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” comes to mind.

I would like to think that my response will be different in the future. Changing the attitude of an entire demographic is a tall order. Changing your own, however, should be manageable enough.

 

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Applecroft B&B named in Ireland’s Top 10

By Michelle Crean What a better way for a local business to celebrate its silver jubilee than to be named in the Top 10 places to stay in Ireland especially as they prepare to reopen after the pandemic. Owners Kathy and Don Brosnan, who run Applecroft House in Woodlawn, were named number 6 in Ireland’s […]

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By Michelle Crean

What a better way for a local business to celebrate its silver jubilee than to be named in the Top 10 places to stay in Ireland especially as they prepare to reopen after the pandemic.

Owners Kathy and Don Brosnan, who run Applecroft House in Woodlawn, were named number 6 in Ireland’s Top 10 B&Bs for 2022 by the Irish Independent ‘Reader Travel Awards’ while Ireland’s Best B&B was named as Dingle’s Pax House.

The couple began their business in 1997 and are very happy with the feedback from visitors who voted for their B&B, especially after two difficult years.

“I’m thrilled, especially as we’re celebrating our silver jubilee this year,” Kathy told the Killarney Advertiser.

The couple built their house in the early ’80s and aptly named it ‘Applecroft’ as it was built in a field which has an orchard.

In the late ’90s they opened five spacious rooms up, each with its own theme; 
‘Poet’s Corner’, ‘Past Times’, ‘The 19th Green’, ‘The Race-goer’s Club’ and ‘The Kerry Way’, for guests as Kathy, who worked in The Europe Hotel and the Great Southern Killarney for many years, had a passion to bring a great stay experience to guests visiting Killarney. They kept themselves busy planting in their two acre garden during the pandemic.

They have won numerous awards over the years and have had film crews in but this latest award is the icing on the cake for the couple who are looking forward to reopening in late March.

“It’s amazing, and a bonus especially with the two years we’ve had. We’ve never experienced anything like that. It was “wow” – we were preparing to reopen on St Patrick’s Day that year and all of a sudden everything closed down on the 16. It was a big shock.”

Don creates amazing bread and scones which guests rave about, she added.

“I was delighted as we came tenth for breakfast and sixth for the B&B.”

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Tributes paid to life-long Legion supporter

By Sean Moriarty Legion GAA Club has led tributes to one of their most ‘fervent’ supporters who passed away on Tuesday. Described as one of the town’s ‘old stock’, Tim Looney from Coolgraine Park and late of Daltons Avenue, was a central part of Killarney’s rich sporting heritage. As well as a life-long supporter of […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Legion GAA Club has led tributes to one of their most ‘fervent’ supporters who passed away on Tuesday.

Described as one of the town’s ‘old stock’, Tim Looney from Coolgraine Park and late of Daltons Avenue, was a central part of Killarney’s rich sporting heritage.

As well as a life-long supporter of Legion, he played basketball in the famous town leagues of the 1970s and the seven-a-side soccer ‘Wipeouts’ competitions.

“He was a very proud Legion man and always flew the green and white flag out his window whenever the club was playing in a big game,” PRO Enda Walshe told the Killarney Advertiser. “He was a fervent loyal club supporter but was also one of the characters of the winter basketball leagues.”

Tim was also a regular participant in Dart Pub Leagues back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tim’s funeral took place today (Friday). He was laid to rest at Killarney Burial Ground after 10am Mass St Mary’s Cathedral.

Tim is survived by his wife Nuala, his children Joanne, Paudie and Timmy, and was a much loved grandfather to Stephen, Makaela, Chloe, Padraic, Keelan, Alex and the late Lorna. He will also be sadly missed by his daughters-in-law Margaret and Sharon, son-in-law Tony, sisters Kathleen, Sheila and Ann, brothers Lewis-John and Paddy, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, relatives, neighbours and many great friends.

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