The Irish Blog Awards took place last Saturday in Galway. HRinI was a finalist for the best news/current affairs blog sponsored by Dediserve. The prize in that category rightly went to Maman Poulet, run by the irrepressible Suzy Byrne. We were ably represented by Liam Thornton on the night.
The IBAs were started by Damien Mulley fadó fadó (in internet time at least) and have grown from a relatively small gathering to a large and very fun annual event with numerous side events and the inevitable morning-after brunches. It is, as an event, a real example of how online activity can translate into meaningful off-line interactions and events. It is also an enormous undertaking organisationally for which Damien and the whole team deserve a great deal of gratitude. I was pleased this year to be a judge in the IBAs and I can attest to the quality of the many blogs I judged along the way, finding myself almost never in a position of awarding a poor mark.
Blogging is an important activity—it is a way for people to express their own views, a way to share emotions, a way to shed light on events or perspectives that perhaps do not make waves in the main stream media, a way to present news and current affairs with a different audience or perspective in mind. Academic group blogging is really beginning to take off in Ireland, with the charge perhaps being led by Irish Economy and now very ably joined by Political Reform. As a group academic blog, HRinI was conceived of as a way to do four things: (1) to aggregate information about Irish scholarship and events in human rights; (2) to provide quick-reaction commentary on what is happening in Ireland from a human rights perspective; (3) to create a space where the academy, practitioners, NGOs and all other interested parties can interact; and (4) to bring scholarship and legal commentary out of the university and democratise it to the extent that a dozen or so (mainly early career) academics can.
We certainly hope to continue to fulfil these functions over the next year. As always, we are delighted to hear suggestions and feedback from readers either in the comments here, on our facebook page, on twitter, or by contacting us (all our details are here).
The wonderful people at the Irish Blog Awards have now announced the finalists for the awards and we are delighted to see that HRinI has made it to the final five in the ‘Best News/Current Affairs Blog’. Thanks so much to the organisers, judges and our readers. Thanks also, of course, to dediserve who is sponsoring this category and congratulations to all of the finalist blogs.
The other blogs in the news/current affairs category are
We are delighted to see that HRinI has been shortlisted in two categories in the Irish Blog Awards: best political blog and best news/current affairs blog. Many thanks to the sponsors and the judges of the Awards. Thanks also to all of our fantastic guest contributors over the past six months. A hearty welcome to anyone who is coming here from the IBA website. Enjoy reading.
We were delighted yesterday to see that HRinI features seven times in the long-list nominations for the 2010 Irish Blog Awards, sponsored by all of these wonderful and generous people and the brain child of the unstoppable Damien Mulley. We would like to thank anyone who nominated us, and welcome people coming here for the first time from the nominations site. We hope you enjoy reading the blog. As a team we also want to congratulate Máiréad Enright for her post on the Hijab (nominated for best post) and a guest contributor Tom Hickey for his post on religious patronage, republicanism and Irish primary schools.
HRinI has been nominated in the following categories:
- Best Political/News Blog
- Best Group Blog
- Best Political Blog
- Best Specialist Blog
- Best Newcomer
- Best Blog Post: Guest Contribution—Hickey on Religious Patronage of Irish Primary Schools and Republicanism
- Best Blog Post: Primer on the Hijab Debate 2009 (by Máiréad Enright)
If you are visiting for the first time you might want to click here to see the first post on the blog, posted on 31 August 2009. Since then there have been 400 posts (incl. tens of guest posts catalogued here), over 50,000 visitors and some changes in the core contributors team as people’s ‘offline’ commitments overtook the time available to them to write for HRinI. The fundamental idea of the blog, however, remains the same: to provide a place where human rights lawyers with a connection to Ireland can reflect on the legal dimensions of human rights controversies in Ireland (primarily) or elsewhere.
Happy reading, and congratulations to all the nominees!
Addition: The Awards are seeking judges to convert the raw long-list into a short-list. You can apply here.
Nominations for the Irish Blog Awards 2010 are now open. Categories include Best News/Current Affairs Blog, Best Group Blog, Best Specialist Blog, Best Newcomer and Best Blog Post.
If you’re looking for blogs to nominate, this is a good time of year to get to know some of the best Irish political, legal and current affairs blogs out there. Some of those we admire and refer to ourselves include Irish Left Review, Cedar Lounge Revolution , Maman Poulet , Cearta, Ireland After Nama, Free Radikal, Forth Magazine, Irish Penal Reform Trust , Disability Law News, CCJHR Blog, Amnesty NI, A Clatter of the Law, Mary Rogan , IT Law in Ireland, Lex Ferenda and Progressive Economy.
You can also nominate us too…if you like.
[The European Convention on Human Rights] was drafted specifically with the appalling abuses of World War II in mind. Do you really think that putting crucifixes on the walls of state classrooms can in any way, shape or form be compared with what the Nazis and others did in World War II? No, I didn’t think so.
It will become clear that the actions [of Portmarnock Golf Club] raise very fundamental questions to do with the constitutional rights of citizens to associate with one another, and the powers of the State to regulate, penalise, or discourage such association and cognate matters, including the right to associate for purposes disapproved of by the political establishment, or by the “great and the good” in Government, the media, the quangos and elsewhere.
[Amnesty International's] Irish manifestation has apparently mission-crept into being an advocate for the entire PC agenda. Though hundreds are starving to death in Mugabe’s jails, the Congo is darkness personified, Iran is an Islamic tyranny, and unspeakable things are happening in just about every country ending in “-istan”, Amnesty Ireland is campaigning for marriage rights for homosexuals.
Rights are inalienable, they are not granted at the whim of the state – anything gifted to us by the Dáil, the EU parliament or the courts can just as easily be taken away. If abortion is a right then it must be fought for in open debate, not introduced by the back door through legalistic complaining. Even if the court decides in favour of a change to Irish law it will do no one any favours. State bodies already have too much to say about what goes on in our bodies and inviting the courts to decide what is right and wrong surrenders individual sovereignty.
As regular readers will know, every so often we run blog carnivals where we invite academics and researchers to write posts (about 500-1000 words) on a particular theme. (See examples here and here). I’m hoping to curate one on March 17th which will address the topic of Ireland’s human rights culture, or lack thereof. In particular I want us to think about the apparent popular aversion to institutionalised human rights in Ireland, and to engage with those arguments…creatively (and perhaps not defensively). I am hoping that we will get to think critically about Ireland’s human rights culture, examine its flaws and imagine alternative possibilities. This isn’t a new debate – the outlines are well laid out by scholars such as Zizek, Douzinas, Nedelsky and Brown- but maybe it is one that Irish human rights scholars need to have again.
I’m looking for participants in a blog carnival. So if you would like to join in, please email email@example.com and let me know, with a line or two on the idea you would like to blog about. Some topics I would like to see addressed (this is by no means an exhaustive list) are:
- Judicial activism and human rights.
- The juridification of human rights.
- International and European human rights institutions and Irish sovereignty.
- The incompatibility of human rights discourse with a particularly Irish cultural or religious outlook.
- The usefulness of human rights institutions.
- The subject of human rights discourse and the rights claims of the marginalised.
- The spread of human rights beyond their ‘original’ territory – human rights ‘mission creep’.
What we’re looking for really are coherent, readable punchy posts – from scholars of all disciplines – about ideas which, though they might be quite familiar to you, don’t get much of an airing in the media. It is very important that the posts address head-on standard critiques of human rights law and institutions in a reasoned and balanced way. Posts applying theory to concrete problems are best, but we’re not averse to high falutin’ theory either. Alternative/radical/rejuvenated visions of human rights are also of interest.
Today, Human Rights in Ireland passed the 20,000 reads mark, and we now have regular readers from all over the world. Very advanced for a four month old! We want to thank all our readers for motivating us to provide frequent and up to date commentary and we are delighted with the positive feedback that we have received so far.
It is a busy time for rights issues in Ireland and internationally, and every day we come across dozens of news stories and policy documents that we would love to share with you. The blog is growing so quickly because people, particularly in Ireland, are really interested in learning about the rights perspective on current affairs. But often we don’t have the time or expertise to cover all of these issues in as much detail as we would like and so some important developments inevitably fall by the wayside or aren’t given the coverage they deserve. So, we want to extend again an open invitation to our readers to help us out in the following ways:
If you are a specialist in a particular area of human rights law or human rights policy and would like contribute a guest post (500 – 1000 words) on a matter of current interest, you are more than welcome to email fiona.delondras[at]ucd.ie with your suggestion at any time. If we like the sound of the topic -and we usually do- you will have a guest post on HRinI in no time at all. PhD candidates and NGOs are especially welcome to co-operate with us in publicising their research. We can now promise a wide and informed audience and guest blogging with us is a great way to ‘have your say’ without taking on the responsibility of setting up your own blog. It goes without saying that experts from disciplines other than law are welcome to join in.
If you are running a conference or event of relevance to our readers, let us know by emailing any of the regular contributors – our emails are at the end of a Google search. We also welcome reports on relevant conferences and events.
If you are a blogging buff and you can think of something that we ought to be doing to make HRinI even better, let us know.
We are keen to highlight new scholarship by Irish (having worked or studied at a university on this island counts – and if you want to propose a broader definition for us to work with, you are welcome to do so) academics on human rights issues, as well as scholarship about human rights issues affecting Ireland. If you have published (SSRN counts) something new that fits this description, or have come across such a piece in your reading, let us know.
We welcome suggestions for blog events. Our recent immigration blog carnival was a great success, and we are very interested in collaborating with guest bloggers who have exciting ideas for new events.
Thanks again for your support, and here’s to 20,000 more reads.
The HRinI team
If you look at the top right-hand corner of the blog, you will see a new section of the blog marked ‘Email subscription’. Click on ‘subscribe’, follow the instructions, and you will get every new HRinI post directly to your inbox.
You can also stay up-to-date with HRinI by
We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting the 239th Blawg Review: The Carnival of Law Bloggers on November 23rd. If you are a law blogger and would like to submit a post, you can find details of how to do so here. Blawg Review is a blog carnival – a magazine of the week’s best blog posts which is hosted by a different legal blog every week. As editors, we will select some of the best posts submitted and sourced at Blawg Review, along with our own pick of the blawgosphere’s best writing on rights issues for publication on November 23rd. We’re looking forward to it.
These postings could potentially include human rights analysis in the following areas:
- Impact on human rights and equality institutions in the State, in particular after the draconian cut backs from Budget 2009;
- The impact of potential cutbacks on economic, social and cultural rights at home (i.e. in the broad sense, from rise in taxes, to cuts in social welfare and other public programmes) and abroad (Irish Aid);
- The right to work and budget measures in place that may assist in this right’s realisation;
- The impact of the budget on sectoral groups: workers; the unemployed; the disabled; single parents; immigrants etc.
- Other budgetary implications for human rights in Ireland.
As well as relying on the in-house expertise of Human Rights in Ireland bloggers, those in the human rights, community, voluntary and other related sectors are invited to submit proposals for commentary that they may wish to make on the budget. Blog posts should be between 400-1,000 words (max).
Those interested may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (before 1 December 2009) so that a full Blog Programme can be ready to upload throughout International Human Rights Day.