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Colette Fitzpatrick: Family's agony is made worse by politicians wimping out


The Four Courts in Dublin

The Four Courts in Dublin



Denise McCormack

Denise McCormack


The Four Courts in Dublin

Just five days ago, a young woman was lowered into a grave on a bitterly cold day.

Her dad and her partner by her graveside, were distraught to be burying the daughter, mother and fiance they adored. We don't know whether her two young children were there to see the cold, hard soil hit the lid of the coffin.

How do you make that decision, as their dad and grandad? How do you decide whether or not they should be there when their mother is laid to rest? Perhaps the family decided it would be too harrowing for them; that they were too young to understand mortality and death.

Maybe they were there. Maybe they didn't understand exactly what was going on. But even when you don't understand or remember everything, you do understand and remember how you felt.

Tragically, these young children's mammy was always going to die from the catastrophic brain trauma she suffered.

What didn't have to happen and what wouldn't have happened in some other countries, was the 'grotesque experiment' of a brain-dead woman essentially being used as an incubator for more than three weeks.

It's clear that the 8th amendment caused the unbearable, harrowing and unnecessary grief for the family at the centre of this case. Or rather trying to interpret exactly what was the legal position surrounding this case.

The state itself, for failing to deal with the lack of clarity, is therefore responsible for the family's unbearable suffering.

And while politicians have been lining up to say "there's difficulties" with the amendment and "it doesn't serve women well", they all agree there'll be no move on it in the lifetime of this Government.

Practically every single political party in this country has shown their invertebrate physiology by failing to deal with this issue.

They have all displayed a yellow-bellied, lily-livered cowardice that led to a woman being kept 'half alive' for almost a month.

And that political cowardice meant that a young child had to see her mum in the most unimaginable state.

Has that child been able to get rid of that awful image from her head?

While politicians ponder how to solve what to them is a political inconvenience, a child is desperately trying to get the image of the mammy they remember back into their head.


Facebook's year review app gets a thumbs down

Is there a 'don't like' button on Facebook? The reverse of the 'like' one? Because it seems most people didn't 'like' your year in review app.

Web-design consultant Eric Meyer wrote an emotional piece about it after viewing the picture of his daughter, who died of brain cancer earlier this year, in his news feed. 'Clip art partiers danced around a picture of my middle daughter, Rebecca, who is dead,' he wrote.

She died this year on her sixth birthday, less than 10 months after she was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.

"Yes, my year looked like that," he said. "My year looked like the now-absent face of my Little Spark. It was still unkind to remind me so tactlessly."

No consent on his part. No option for him to decide whether he'd like to be reminded of highlights, significant moments, memories or photos that were posted in the past year.

The Year in Review app kept coming up on his feed, rotating between fun backgrounds but always showing Rebecca, as if celebrating her death, until he finally clicked the drop-down arrow and said he didn't want to see it any more.

Other users had similar complaints. One shared a picture of her boyfriend's house on fire framed in the celebratory 'Year in Review' border. Others tweeted about how losses they suffered this year were billed in their news feed.

The product manager for the app has apologised for the pain it caused. But it's hard to fathom how anybody would think that everything that happened in a year was a highlight.

The feature has been tweaked (the slideshow ends with the words "It's been a great year!" rather than "See you next year!"), But it's another reminder of how automated technology doesn't automatically line up with our real lives.


Hair-raising trend is coming to our shores


* I’m intrigued as to whether the trend of dying armpit hair will catch on here in 2015. Not shaving it was once seen as the ultimate feminist statement. A sort of ‘I’m not conforming to male views of how a woman should look’. Going one step further and dying seems even more subversive. And while I disagree with the ‘you are anti-feminist if you shave’ point of view (surely choice is what feminism is all about?), I do relish the thought of this alternative beauty trend taking hold here. Even if it’s for no other reason than to make us think about what we do to our bodies and why we do it.


* I see retailers are saying that the days between Christmas and New Year’s have been “pretty positive”. Of course they have. That’s when some of the men in our lives go to the shops and buy up all the rubbish we turned our noses up at, in the run up to the big day. And when you’re not seasoned at this game, it’s ever so easy to sell the stuff that no one wants.


* Looking forward to TV3's new soap Red Rock, starting this month? Having had a sneak preview of the first two episodes, I can tell you, it won’t disappoint. With two feuding families, The Kielys and the Hennessys, a bitter battle reignites making for addictive viewing. Irish drama with great production values is sure to win over an audience that’s become sophisticated and, quite rightly, picky about its drama.  It airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8.30pm.