Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why I'm voting yes in the Presidential Age Referendum

Did you know there's a second referendum happening on Friday? The one that proposed to reduce the candidate age requirement for presidential elections from 35 to 21. I'm voting YES for the same reason I'm voting yes and here's why.

As a 27 year old, I find is odd that I'm technically old enough to become a TD, a minister or even taoiseach (all roles that effect people's daily lives) but I'm considered "too young" to become what is largely a ceremonial role. Why does someone like Dana (for example) have more of a right to stand for President that I have. We have this idea of a "elder statesman" president but are the qualities of a good President that age specific. In my mind, things like being confident, inspirational, a good public speaker, a good ambassador, knowledgeable about constitutional law, passionate about society etc are all things that make some "Presidential". Sure, life experience is something to consider but I've met people in their twenties and thirties that have far more "life experience" than some people in their sixties.

So you might think that a 21 year old is too young to be President? You could be right. But this referendum doesn't mean that a 21 year old will automatically become President. They still have to win an election and to be fair, we're probably never going to elect a 21 year old. This is more likely to apply to someone aged 30-34. That said, even with a threshold of 35, the youngest president elected was 46 and I'd say the average age of a President when they office is a lot higher.

Its not easy to become a candidate, especially for an independent candidate without the backing a political party. Before you start you'd actually want to be President. Then you'd need to know you have the financial and logistical support to run a grueling national campaign. You'd need to confidence to put yourself out there knowing you're automatically at a disadvantage because you're "too young". And then you need to get the support of 20 members of the Oireachtas or 4 county councils to get on the ballot paper, which again without the backing of a political party is a big ask. So if despite all those barriers, in the unlikely event that a 21 year old (or someone aged 22-34) can pull all that off, then why shouldn't they be able to put themselves forward and get on the ballot.

And if you still think this candidate is too young, then guess what? You vote for the other guy! We live in a republic. That means we get to vote for our representatives. No body is forcing you to vote for the younger candidate, all this referendum means is that they can ask for your vote. And who knows, having a younger candidate might make for a more interesting election and engage more voters which can't be a bad thing.

Respect and the Referendum debate

This post is an editing version of something i posted on Facebook this evening. I've received a lot of positive feedback on the post and it generated some interesting discussions on the topic so i'll put it here.

You might be wondering why I decided to post this message (there's a point to all this at the very bottom I swear). I expect as this point that you've noticed there's a referendum on same sex marriage happening in Ireland this Friday. It's generated a lot of debate and has got a bit heated at times. There's also another referendum on changing the minimum age of presidential candidates to 21. If you weren't aware of this, i'm not surprised as its got very little coverage in comparison to the Marriage Referendum.

If you you're friends with me on Facebook, you'll probably have gathered that I'm voting Yes in both referendums. I've put up a number of posts and statues over the past few days about the referendum on marriage and got a fairly positive reaction. It hasn't all been positive but I expected that. I wasn't going to say anything but today I received a rather negative message from someone I know. I won't name and shame this person (I'd like to think I'm better than that) and I'm not taking it to heart. However it has got me thinking about the nature of respect in this 

I have 1980 "friends" on facebook. That's a big number and with a number like that its inevitable that there are some no voters within that group. While trying to further both campaigns, I've tried to be respectful to those of different. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion but that doesn't mean that opinion can't be questioned - I constantly try to question my own arguments and openly welcome those with a different view to point out if they disagree. If we don't question and discus these issues, then society cannot be expected to move forward. 

To date only a small view have come forward and questioned my beliefs (mostly undecideds). I'm sure there are more people out there who feel the same way but are afraid to voice their opinions in the fear of a social media witch hunt. This is not what I would want. As I've said, I've tried to respect others. If i have offended you, I sincerely apologize- this was not my intention

In this instance, this person (you know who you are) has decided not to be respectful. In fact he was very offensive to me personally. Thankfully I'm (currently) in a position where I can read it and not take it to heart. Another person however might not be fortunate. If someone recieved that message while struggling with their identity and/or mental health issues, who knows what could happen. This debate has already got nasty and I fear it will get worse over the coming days.

So my point (I told you there was a point), if you are going to engage with someone online, please so respectfully or don't do so at all. Question the idea and not the person. If you find you disagree with someone so much that you can't engage them in respectful discussion then ignore them or hide/block/delete them on facebook. If you're willing to be respectful, i'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Here we go again.... My Fitness Goals for 2015

So in 2014 I went from doing no fitness training to running two 5Ks NS six 10Ks, playing my first few games of tag rugby, completing a Summer Fitness Challenge and the 12 Days of Insanity, doing a beginners rock climbing course and taking part in a Marathon Relay challenge. I've achieved so much more than I ever expected to and in 2015 I aim to set the bar higher and achieve even more. I'm writing this blog so that I'm publically

Starting next week I'm begining the LSP's "New Year, New Start" challenge. Similar to the Summer Fitness Challenge, its an 8 week programme with the Campus Run (or Track Attack) on a Monday, Track Attack on a Wednesday and a taster of different activities on Friday evening. At either end of the eight weeks, there's a fit test so you can see how much you've improved. Last time I had huge gains in all areas and this time around, I want to go even further.

Secondly I want to run more. I've sent the Great Limerick Run as my target with a goal of 60 minutes or less. This is a big ask but I'm confident if I put my mind to it I can do it. Other races coming up in the meantime include the Milford 10K, the Adare 10K and the Plassey 10K

Thirdly I want to hike more. With Mount Fuji coming up in the summer I need to get out on the hills more and become mountain fit. One of my goals this year is to finally summit Galtymore - the one mountain in Ireland that has defeated time and again.

I'd also like to play a bit more tag rugby and get to a few more Insanity and Body Pump classes.

Friday, January 2, 2015

On The Dry For January

So the other day I made a decision. It was an impulse decision. Within five minutes of first having the initial thought, i had signed up and posted it up on facebook to make sure others knew what I was doing (to make sure I kept my promise). The challenge - go "On The Dry" for the entire month of January.

Now I'm not an alcoholic and wouldn't even class myself as a heavy drinker but I do like to drink. I'm partial to a nice pint of Guinness and enjoy discovering new beers. Like many I probably indulged myself a bit too much over the Christmas period so perhaps a few weeks of sobreity might not be a bad idea,

Another reason for taking on the challenge is the charity. Two years ago this month, my Grandfather passed away after a stroke. Since then I have done my best to raise money for the Irish Heart Foundation which funds research into stroke and other heart deceases. So when the IHF launched the On The Dry campaign, I thought it would be a great way to raise some money for this worthy cause. I find it fitting that this is taking place during January - the two year anniversary of my Grandfather (a committed teetotaler). To me this is a nice way to honour a man who meant so much to me growing up.

Like the Movember campaigns, the On The Dry campaign works through online donations. You are encouraged to share your online profile via social media and drum up donations. You (or a friend) have even buy an "On The Sly" pass for €20 which allows for one days drinking in case of a wedding, birthday or Tuesdays.

So i'm two days in and so far I haven't touched a drop. My first big challenge will be tomorrow night - my first night out of 2015. There will be lots of tempations to be have a drink, to fit in or to make the night go faster. I'll report back on how it goes but i'm sure I should be fine.