Clocks go back at 02.00 tomorrow across the European Union, which means we in Ireland and the UK will be on GMT.
Daylight Saving Time or Summer Time, which is GMT plus one in Ireland and the UK, was introduced on April 30 in 1916 in Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Over the years there have been many attempts to extend DST (GMT plus one in Ireland and the UK, GMT plus two in mainland Europe) throughout the entire year.
Moscow does not observe Daylight Saving Time. It made the change some years ago.
That Ireland and the UK are always an hour behind the rest of Europe means that a number of hours are lost during the day to do business with counterparts on mainland Europe. They are at work an hour earler than we are, more time is lost during lunchtime and then at the finish of business they have gone home an hour before Irish offices close.
The term GMT has now been replaced by UCT, Coordinated Universal Time.
This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.
Do you like your surroundings? Or are you even unaware of them?
It is spectacularly uplifting to walk into a home, an office or a public place and see it tastefully decorated, where form follows function.
Some weeks ago I spent a few days away from home. I arrived in my accommodation and went straight to my room. I was instantly struck by the ugly furniture in the room. Bland, boring, a white table, wardrobe, bed post, all in a depressing plastic! And then the pictures and paintings on the walls were horrible beyond words. It was an uninviting atmosphere. Doubtful if there had been any thought or planning gone into putting the room together.
It set me thinking about how the environment around us can influence our mood and peace of mind. It also prompted me to wonder about style and fashion.
Of course people like different things. Also, fashion changes from season to season: one year green can be the colour, the following year it's blue. Trends change continuously and they are influenced by many things, including films, exhibitions, events. The Olympic Games, big football occasions, all play a part in influencing styles and fashions.
Anyone who watches RTE TV's 'Reeling in the Years' will notice how styles change over time. We look at it and are tempted to say how 'silly' people looked 'back then'. But on the other hand it's what people felt at ease in, they felt 'great' looking like that.
Personal style never goes out of fashion.
There are those who follow trends, but surely the underlying principle should and must be that style or fashion cheers us, helps make us feel good and look good too.
Paris-based German fashion designer, artist and photographer Karl Lagerfeld says it well: “I’m a very down-to-earth person, but it is my job to make that earth more pleasant."
I was at a meeting in a hall some weeks ago. Looking around the room I noticed the prints/pictures that were on the walls. I can't believe anyone would look at any of them and I can't imagine how they could ever possibly lift one's spirits. Why at all are they there?
Do you like your surroundings? Are they uplifting, joyous, relaxing? Do you regularly look at the paintings on your wall? Do they help make you a happier person? Do they challenge you and inspire you?
I probably know nothing about art or design but I do know what I like and don't like.
A friend of mine, who is an artist, has been making hand cut paper collages for the past few years. The images that she creates pop with colour and energy. And immediately lift your spirits and give you great pleasure as soon as you see them.
Last year she and a fellow artist friend of hers exhibited their work in Wexford during the Opera Festival. It was my friend's artistic debut and to her delight it proved such a success they are back exhibiting again this year during the Opera Festival. The exhibition, Phase .: 3, which opens this Wednesday, October 26 is taking place at 44 South Main Street, Wexford, opposite Penneys.
I bought three works at the exhibition last year and yes, they do enhance my home.... adding colour and elegance, and I regularly look at them and it does me good.
There is an emotional power in shapes, forms and colour. And you don't have to 'know' about art to enjoy or appreciate objects of art that you like and admire.
Do you like your surroundings, those paintings on the wall?
This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.
While the most sophisticated jets ever made drop their bombs over Syrian cities, particularly Aleppo, the United States of America prepares for its November elections.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton slug it out. It's not a pretty show. While they fight it out Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, does not know where Aleppo is.
The now infamous tape of the Donald telling his buddies, using foul language, what he can do with and to women, has orbited the world many times over.
What a nasty piece of work he is. But it fits. It complements a lot of the other nasty things he has been saying: Mexican thieves and rapists and Muslim undesirables.
If it weren't so sad it would be hilariously funny. To think that millions of people will vote next month to put this man in the White House is scary. At the Republican convention that elected him to be the party's presidential candidate a middle-aged woman said that she was voting for him because he was a man with great family values.
What was particularly noteworthy was how the Donald apologised for his 'locker room language'. It's an interesting term. What at all goes on in locker rooms?
The apology reminds me of an episode fadó fadó in the US soap 'Dallas'. JR Ewing was up to trickery but was caught by his wife. He apologises and she quips that the only reason he apologised was because he was caught. Of course the only reason he says he's sorry is because he was found out.
I can't imagine the Donald voluntarily apologising for a wrong-doing if we didn't already know about it.
This is the same man who wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico in order to keep out undesirables. Maybe he needs to build a high wall around himself.
It's the same story with the whole sad affair of clerical child sex abuse. If it had never become public knowledge the churches would never have uttered a word of apology. Even worse, church authorities did their damnedest to keep it all quiet. Heavens only knows how much they paid in hush-hush money and how many deals of confidentiality were drawn up between perpetrators and victims. Is all the profuse apologising a result of having been found out?
Last week in Germany there was another example of hypocrisy. The Rosenburg Report was published, which gives a tiny glimpse into how in postwar Germany so many former Nazi officials walked into top State jobs.
The former Nazis managed to protect one another and they were in a position to keep everything under the carpet. Most were never uncovered. On the other hand, the German State has been exemplary in trying to make amends for the barbarous evil of National Socialism.
There was a line in the Gospel reading at Mass on Wednesday of last week: "A curse is on you Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogues and to be greeted in the market place."
It reminded me of the Trumps of this world. People thinking they deserve a special spot in the limelight. And then when they're caught the apology is the cure-all.
But in a way, isn't it something we all try. We do wrong, no-one hears about it so we stay stum. If we are found out we might own-up and say we are sorry.
How genuine is our sorrow? But it is different from the carry on of the Pharisees, postwar Nazis church apparatchicks and the Trumps of this world. Or is it?
The 'Thinking Anew' column in today's The Irish Times.
The front page headline on last week's German weekly newspaper 'Die Zeit' ran: 'The power of the insulted'. A very clever headline that tells the story of our time.
Populist politicians in the western world are tapping into the feelings of those who feel dispossessed, those who feel they have lost out.
There is a mood about that the world is tired of the status quo, that the elite have been in control for far too long and simply do not understand the plight of the 'squeezed middle' and those who 'keep things going'.
Part of the irony of the current political play is that those who claim to be on the side of the common people are quite clearly deeply ensconced in the heart of the so-called elite classes.
It's baffling how mega-wealthy privileged people can give the impression that somehow they are 'one of us'. And it seems to be working. Right across the western world, there are millions of people who are now placing their trust and indeed hope in right-wing ideologues. History, and indeed, common sense, tell us that such people and their policies always leave the poorest people in society less well off.
There are always battles as to who should be the ruling class. There are peaceful ways to do it but such change can also happen through bloody revolution.
But it does seem that right now there is a worldwide cry for change. And that cry seems to want to swing the pendulum in a right-wing direction. It's also happening within the churches. And it seems to be inevitable that the tectonic plates are moving.
There is no doubt that our leaders need to be more answerable to us and more careful in how they use the world's resources. However, the loudest voices for change often offer us fear, begrudgery and isolation. That can never be good.
But that's the way of the world. Power is some sort of aphrodisiac and there are those who crave to be in the top jobs. They will do anything to get to the top. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Tomorrow's Gospel throws some sort of universal wisdom on our relationship with those who hold worldly power.
A poor widow pleads with a corrupt and powerful judge to help her in her miserable plight. She is simply looking for justice to be done. She wants him to intervene on her behalf and help right the wrong that has been done to her. She is persistent and keeps asking him to do what is right.
Eventually, he comes on board. His reasoning is: "Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out." (Luke 18: 4 - 5)
Commentators use this Gospel to point out how prayer, our pleading to God ultimately works. If a corrupt judge will eventually listen to a nagging woman, how much more will a loving God, listen to our pleading. And that makes great sense.
But there is also a story in that Gospel that is telling us that all power on earth is limited, temporal and ecclesiastical. And that no matter who is in power or what ideology is prevalent, that we can never rest on our laurels and allow those in power and control to do as they wish.
Plato's gnat, who constantly asked questions of those in power, is always needed to keep us and the ruling classes on their toes.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus is always at the heels of those in power, no matter what hue they are.
Yes, we have to live by the rules, but putting all our trust in any sort of temporal power is never the full story. There is something greater to be found by looking upwards and contemplating the word of God.
BBC 2's 'Newsnight' last evening told the story of the Badreddin family from Syria.
The family came to Britian under a programme launched by the then British prime minister, David Cameron.
On their arrival, BBC filmed their first steps in the their new country. While filming, their son, Omar Badreddin, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Leazes Park in Newcastle.
Yesterday in Newcastle Court Omar was found not guilty.
The approximately 25-minute 'Newsnight' clip is a moving story of how an innocent family suffered so much in their country of adoption.
The programme ran from 22.30 yesterday and excellent television.
This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.
Early morning flights out of Dublin are not for the fainthearted.
It was the 07.20 Ryanair service to Berlin. It meant getting out of the bed at 04.15. The taxi fare from Dundrum to the airport was €17 short of the return Dublin Berlin ticket. We certainly live in a strange and unexplainable world.
It appears Monday mornings are the busiest in the week at the airport.
The queue at security seems endless but it did end and everyone was on the plane shortly after 07.00. Schedule departure time is 07.20. Michael O'Leary would be delighted with the efficiency of the staff. And all done in a seamless fashion. It was a full plane.
Monday October 3 was a national holiday in Germany. The Germans celebrate national unity every year on that date. Last year it was on a Sunday. Tough luck for the Germans. No free day on the Monday.
It seemed everyone on the plane was German, taking advantage of the free Monday.
All passengers sitting in their seats, ready for take off. The plane is pushed back from the stand. It's bye bye Dublin. Or is it?
The plane creeps along. Then sometime around 07.30 the pilot tells us we are in a queue and there would be a delay in taking off. There are 11 planes ahead of us. He keeps us well informed. It is approximately 08.10 before the wheels leave the ground. Never before experienced such a delay at Dublin Airport but one of the cabin crew tells me that is how it is every morning at that time.
We eventually arrive in Berlin Schönefeld at 11.00 German time. Ryanair must hate that sort of delay as it causes knock-on delays. They take pride in extra short turn-arounds but any hi-cough and the proverbial hits the fan.
I was sitting beside a couple from Wismar, which is in north Germany, a city in the former East German State.
They had been in Dublin for the weekend. It was their first time in Ireland and they had enjoyed themselves. They stayed in a hotel in the north inner city, found it somewhat expensive. They were generally positive about Dublin but were surprised to see so many empty and dilapidated buildings. They'd come back and would like to visit the south west of Ireland.
Wismar is not far from the former west east border. People in the east are still earning less than their fellow citizens in the west. They told me they know people who travel a 90-minute return train journey every day to Lübeck in the west where they earn significantly more money. Different rates of pay for the same job happen not just in Ireland.
I was on a five-day visit to the German capital with a friend, who had never been in the city.
Later that day we visited the Memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe. It is in the heart of the city, near the Brandenburg Gate.
The memorial was opened on May 12, 2005 and consists of 2,711 concrete blocks over an area of 19,000 square metres. There has been controversy about the memorial. Walking through it, getting lost inside it, gives one a tiny glimpse of the terror of Nazi tyranny.
There is also an information centre which chronicles some of the horror that millions of people suffered.
Inside the main door is a quote from Primo Levi:
"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say."
A 50-minute delay at Dublin Airport is little to worry about.
Trump did say that he would “grab [women] by the pussy”, and was recorded saying so in 2005 in a video published by the Washington Post on Friday.
Pressed by moderator Anderson Cooper, he did admit to having made the comment, though he then said he had never actually acted in the way. He was accused of “attempted rape” in the 1990s, though never convicted.
Diane James has quit as Ukip leader after just 18 days in the job, saying she had enjoyed the support of members but not party colleagues.
In a sign of the turmoil that has engulfed Ukip since her predecessor Nigel Farage resigned, she said: “It has become clear I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of MEP colleagues and party officers to implement the changes I believe are necessary and upon which I based my campaign.”
Citing both personal and professional reasons for quitting, she also said she would continue as MEP for South East England.
She tweeted the statement along with a message of thanks to all supporters who attended her leadership speeches over the summer.
One may not support Ukip but the reality/phenomenon of not enjoying the support of party colleagues is not exclusive to Ukip.
It's a reality that becomes ever more clear right across society, maybe especially so within the churches, dioceses and religious congregations. But never a word within the dioceses or congregations. It is a taboo subject. Under no circumstances can the matter be discussed.
The anger, the hatred, the disdain makes itself ever more evident. But the subject must never be discussed.
The jealousy too.
All shocking and sad. The damage that's done, the pain people suffer. But no one dare say a word. It is a tyranny and certainly great bullying. And then 'preaching the Good News' and talking about 'truth'. If it weren't so sad and painful it would be funny.
But it's the work and lives of the good women and men that keep the flags flying and they always outnumber the nonsense and deceit.
This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.
Monday, September 26, sometime after 6.30am it was dark and wet, at least in Dublin. I was cycling on a relatively narrow road when a car passed at speed and far too close to me.
I caught up with the car at the traffic lights and beckoned to the driver. He opened his window. In a polite and quiet manner I suggested he was driving far too fast and came dangerously close to me. He looked at me and told me to f... off. The lights turned green and we both moved on. Not a nice early morning experience. But that's life, unfortunately.
In mid-morning I received an email informing me that a woman I know was seriously ill in hospital.
After lunch I cycled to the hospital to visit her. I walked up to the reception with my fold-up bicycle and asked the porter if I could leave the bicycle behind his desk. He graciously assented. He could so easily have told me it was no place for a bicycle and that I should take it back outside and leave it in the bicycle shed.
After some initial enquiries we discovered that the woman I was visiting was in a room close to the accident and emergency section of the hospital. It is obviously a room designated for seriously ill people. Just as the porter directed me to the room he quietly said, "God love her".
I was touched by his comment. It was so nice of him. He's there all day every day and yet he had the sensitivity and kindness to say something so thoughtful and uplifting to me. It was impressive. A good man.
After visiting the sick woman I returned to collect my bicycle. I thanked the porter and explained to him how impressed I had been by his thoughtful comment. While I was talking to him, a colleague, who was standing nearby, overheard what I was saying to him.
A few moments later, while assembling the bicycle the colleague came over to me, explaining how he had heard what I had been saying.
" I want to tell you something about that man. He really does go that extra mile. Do you know what he did? He went off and learned sign language, all off his own batt, so that people who came to the desk who could not speak he would be in a position to explain to them where to go and what to do."
The 18th century English writer Charles Lamb wrote: "The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident."
Certainly it was a complete accident that I bumped into that man. Had I not met his colleague I would still have been impressed but the story of his learning sign language was really the iceing on the cake. It's now over a week since it happened and I am still telling people about it.
What a joy it is to experience such acts of kindness. So much of it goes under the radar, never making the headlines. And yet it's one of those qualities or characteristics that make life so worthwhile. I'm certainly in a better place for having met that man. He'll never know the impact that short encounter had on me.
I've placed the early morning episode to the back of my head. It's far surpassed by the kindness of the porter in the hospital.
There is an old Latin saying: bonum est diffusivum sui, which means goodness of its nature diffuses itself. So true.
This picture appears on the international website of the Dominican Order. The caption under the picture reads:
The sisters visited the Convent of Santa Sabina where fr Michael Mascari, OP, the Socius for Intellectual Life offered an insightful tour of the convent and basilica. The entire meeting was an opportunity for an intercultural regeneration to which each sister brought something unique from her homeland.
Not one name of a single sister in the picture, yet we get the name of a Dominican priest, who does not feature in the picture.
Walking through St Luke's Hospital in Rathgar one will not see a roman collar, immaculately starched habits, amices, albs. One will most unlikely hear God's name being mentioned. There certainly will be no pseudo holy voices 'explaining' God to people. There will be no nonsense at all.
But in every corner of the hospital one will see God at work. God's presence is made ever so real by everyone in St Luke's.
To observe the kindness and love of people is life-changing.
Real Christianity in action and nothing fraudulent about it, nothing to do with power and control.