Author of three collections published by Doire Press, in 2016 - 2018 Susan's poems have appeared, among elsewhere, in: The Cafe Review, Oregan, USA - Gather In, in a Special Irish Edition; Bosom Pals,Ed Marie Cadden (Doire Press, 2017) an anthology entirely in aid of Breast Cancer Research in the National UniveristyHospital, Galway and When They've Grown Another Me in Poetry Ireland Review, Dec 2018. January 2018 has seen her poems Commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition.

She has been an invited reader of her poems at local readings in Galway, Cork and Dublin and at festivals, including the Belfast Book Festival, Cuirt International Festival of Literature and Clifden Arts Festival. Her poems have been read on radio.

Susan completed her degree in social science and qualified as a professional social worker in Trinity College, Dublin 1975. She was a psychotherapist, trainer, facilitator and occasional consultant to organisations for over thirty years until her retirement in 2012. Drawing together her writing with her earlier skills she has written interviews and facilitated conversations mediated by poetry. She continues to work on a manuscript relating the story of starting out in poetry and a mid-life move West along with occasional other creative non-fiction pieces.

Her workshop Having a New Conversation: About Dreaming was listed on the The Cuirt International Festival of Literature Programme (2015) and she facilitates similar workshops on a variety of themes, discussed through the medium of poetry, regularly and occasionally in local community settings.

While a founding editor of Skylight 47 Susan interviewed: then Ireland Professor of Poetry, Harry Clifton; Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate invited to Ireland by Dromineer Literature Festival and Dani Gill who talks about curating The Cuirt International Literature Festival. Her most recent interview, of Maeve O'Sullivan, appears in The Honest Ulsterman February, 2018.

Friday, 2 September 2016

The New Politics is Looking Good in Ireland this Week So Far

     An arrow of political accountability was shot across the bows of an announced ‘government’ decision before it could leave the safe harbour of the minions at the Department of Finance.

 It scores well for collective decision-making at cabinet and the right of the elected Members of Dail Eireann to have their say on an issue that could be particularly important to Ireland’s future – both economic and political.

    The Minister for Finance announced Ireland will appeal an EU decision that makes Apple liable to pay back tax to the Irish government for particular earnings. The issues involved are complex. By appealing the decision the Irish Government – if not the US government who might argue the tax should belong to them instead - could theoretically be cold shouldering significant funds.

     Such funds, as could for example, house the ‘more than at any time since the Famine’ being made homeless  

     ... and described as such by housing activist Peter McVerry  on a late night television show on Newstalk last night (1.9.2016). These are the citizens who have been and are being made homeless in the wake of the banking crisis and the nation’s bailout and the dearth of houses available – even if they could afford them. This is only part of the underbelly of Ireland’s supposed great economic turn-around.

For all those who still believe that politics works best when decisions are made by a central core few 

     – as in the last Irish Dail where the core triad consulted, it seems, by means of coaching rather than by garnering the range of views present at cabinet - this has not been such a good week. The upside of that way of governing may be coherent immediate action but the downside – the significant dangers that arise from group-think is among them – can be seen in the actions of the Tony Blair government in the UK before going to war in Iraq and in some of the decisions the Irish Government made, apparently in thrall to the EU and unwilling to give the IMF sufficient clout whilst the Troica managing the Irish bailout were in place.

 Independent members of the cabinet made it clear they would not be rubber-stamping  decisions made outside of cabinet. 

     Both the Alliance of such members and Deputy Katherine Zappone - whose contributions to the international debate on the need to properly tax global corporations  are, reportedly,  on the Senate record of her time there - have insisted on being given time to enable them to be better briefed before a cabinet decision is made. The Alliance also insisted that the Dail must be recalled and able to debate and vote on such an important decision.

Initially I stopped listening to the recurrent reporting of the known issues on radio and the media bleating about a possible cabinet crisis.

     Honestly, sometimes I wonder if a proportion of the media are jealous that their own default role as opposition when the Dail couldn’t debate in any significant way is the only issue concerning them. Now, however, I am being better educated on European process and the arguments on taxing Global Corporations by journalists who are clearly doing their homework. For example, it appears this morning that the Irish government offered legal alliance to a similar situation, a Spanish bank’s appeal to the European Courts, a few years ago when they saw the importance the decision could have for the right of EU member States to decide their own tax policies. A central issue is whether or not the tax law applied to Apple can be argued to be selective – one of the four key questions that are likely to be involved in any appeal according to a Morning Ireland reporter/expert on RTE1 this morning.

The critical line between European law and its interpretation and the political decision- making that goes into making such law may well be at stake here. 

Cabinet accountability, as in making Ministers accountable, and the beginning of a more effective Dail process is kicking into gear.

    Those who long for return to two party politics while simultaneously moaning about both parties should get over their caoining. (The traditional wailing at Irish wakes).


This has the potential to be a much better way of doing things. 

     It will not be ideal. It is in continuous danger of becoming grid-locked by indecision and divisiveness. But it is an opportunity to develop a much more mature, effective and – crucially – democratic process worthy of engaging the electorate who have put it in place.

It offers hope, and hope and its absence is becoming central to the question of what kind of Europe and world the next generation will live in. 

     To be fair, the politicians who spent the first couple of months of their tenure putting the new processes in place have served us well. I’m for giving them sufficient time to at least have a reasonable go at finding out how to make it work.

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