TIME Ireland

Irish Minister for Health Announces He’s Gay

Irish Health minister Leo Varadkar, 36, who has publicly come out as gay, pictured here on Dec. 27, 2013.
Irish Health minister Leo Varadkar, 36, who has publicly come out as gay, pictured here on Dec. 27, 2013. Brian Lawless—Press Association/AP

The country is set to hold a referedum on marriage equality in May

Just months before Ireland is due to hold a referendum on marriage equality, the country’s minister for health has come out during a radio interview. Leo Varadkar told RTÉ Radio 1, an Irish radio station, that he was gay and would be campaigning in support of same-sex marriage in the lead up to the referendum in May.

“It’s not a secret — but not something that everyone would necessarily know, but it isn’t something I’ve spoken publicly about before,” he said during the Jan. 18 interview. “I just kind of want to be honest with people. I don’t want anyone to think that I have a hidden agenda.”

He added: “I’d like the referendum to pass because I’d like to be an equal citizen in my own country, the country in which I happen to be a member of Government, and at the moment I’m not.”

Ireland decriminalized homosexuality 22 years ago and same-sex couples have been able to enter a civil partnership since 2011, but not marry.

[RTÉ]

TIME Canada

Hero of Ottawa Attack Gets Rewarded With Ambassadorship

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa
Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014. Chris Wattie—Reuters

Kevin Vickers will become the Canadian ambassador to Ireland

The sergeant-at-arms of Canada’s House of Commons who took down the gunman in the October attack is now being rewarded for his bravery with the post of Ambassador to Ireland.

Kevin Vickers has little experience in diplomacy outside of protecting visiting dignitaries — including members of the British royal family — but his actions so impressed Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he was deemed well equipped for the (currently vacant) job.

“I think [his actions] speak for themselves and speak to his character, and I know he will do a tremendous job as ambassador,” said Prime Minister Harper.

“As a Canadian with family on both sides hailing from Ireland,” said Vickers, “there could be no greater honor.”

[NYT]

TIME Ireland

The Irish Parliament Looks Set to Recognize a Palestinian State

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Irish Parliament in Dublin John Harper—Getty Images

Ireland would be joining the U.K., France, Spain and other countries in extending symbolic recognition

The Irish government accepted a motion Tuesday calling for the symbolic recognition of Palestinian statehood “on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, as established in U.N. resolutions.”

On Wednesday, members of the lower house of the Oireachtas, or Irish Parliament, will continue debating the nonbinding bill, which is being put forward by the opposition, Reuters reports. A government spokesman said it would not oppose the motion.

“Recognizing the independent state of Palestine would be a symbolically important expression of Ireland’s support for the people of Palestine’s right to self determination,” said member of Parliament Dominic Hannigan, according to the Irish Examiner.

The Irish upper house passed a similar resolution in October.

Spain, the U.K. and France, have also passed symbolic votes of recognition, however some European countries have gone a step further and officially recognize a Palestinian state, with Sweden recently becoming the largest European nation to do so.

TIME portfolio

See Haunting Photos of the Sites of Child Abuse

The very ordinariness of both the context and the location of child abuse in Ireland struck photographer Kim Haughton as profoundly disturbing.

In a damning 2009 report, Ireland’s independently-run Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse – which spent nine years investigating thousands of allegations of abuse at religious-run institutions – spoke of a culture of “endemic sexual abuse” in the country’s Catholic boys’ schools and of the “deferential and submissive attitude” of the Irish state towards the religious orders who ran them.

What emerged from the investigation, and from a separate Dublin-specific inquiry concluded the same year, was that institutional child abuse was widespread and that it had occurred not only in schools, but in many places where young people were in the care of religious orders. The commissions also revealed that very often when children reported the abuse, they were largely ignored and even punished, with many of the adult perpetrators being relocated to new parishes by church officials. The state, too, had willfully turned a blind eye.

For victims like Andrew Madden – one of the first people in Ireland to have gone public about the molestation he suffered – much of the abuse happened in the living room of Father Ivan Payne’s ordinary looking house in the middle-class Dublin suburb of Glasnevin. Madden had worked weekend odd jobs for the priest, a common arrangement in many Irish towns, and like many children in the care of religious figures mentioned in the report, had been abused on a regular basis.

It was the very ordinariness of both the context and the location in Madden’s case, and in many others, that struck photographer Kim Haughton as profoundly disturbing. This was molestation that was at once hidden and woven into the fabric of everyday life. Abuse that was, in effect, ignored while happening in plain sight.

“So much of this happened in places like schools and churches, and in homes,” she tells TIME. “I consider these images of seemingly ordinary spaces as crime scenes — where the cruelest acts were carried out on vulnerable children; children that society had a responsibility to protect,” Haughton says.

And so she embarked on In Plain Sight, a project in which the sites of these abuses became the subjects of her lens. Here, the work would not be merely illustrative of the sorts of places where abuse occurred, but photographs of the actual sites where victims were molested. We see a parochial house, a local shop and a swimming pool – places that, when taken at face value, seem unremarkable.

To find the sites, she talked to abuse victims who were willing to share their stories and found out how and where the abuse occurred: “Finding people was a challenge but not as hard as listening to their experiences,” she says. “They endured so much. It is very difficult to drive away after somebody has shared profound life experiences with you.”

When revisited with the knowledge of what happened at each location, Haughton’s work seems to permeate with an uneasy stillness, the images transforming from long-silent witnesses of horror into a haunting cartography of extreme suffering. A visible record of abuse that can never be – and should never be – forgotten.

“The work, I hope, challenges us to confront these crimes in the context in which they happened,” Haughton adds, “everyday life.”

Kim Haughton is an Irish photographer based in New York. Her work has appeared in TIME, Vanity Fair, Financial Times, Business Week and The Guardian, among others.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for LightBox.

TIME

Campaign Against Sex Trafficking Launches on Tinder

Swipe right for awareness

Correction appended: Nov. 8, 2014

Tinder users looking for a hook-up might be surprised to come across a number of profiles featuring women with cuts and bruises on their faces and bodies. And that newfound awareness is exactly the mission of Irish advertising agency EightyTwenty, which has partnered with the Immigrant Council of Ireland to launch a campaign against sex trafficking that leverages the no-cost distribution channel of the dating app.

The fake profiles, which use models so as not to exploit actual victims, begin with conventionally alluring photographs of the women. But as users swipe to see more, they see images of the abuse that victims of sex trafficking often endure. The series ends with a PSA that juxtaposes Tinder users’ options with the entrapment victims face: “Your options are left or right,” one version reads. “Sex trafficking victims have no options. You have the option to help end it now.”

The campaign’s website says the agency has received “a large number of comments from users who are shocked upon hearing about the realities of sex trafficking in a modern society.” They estimate that the illicit industry yields €200 million ($248 million) annually for foreign and domestic criminal gangs.

The campaign stands to receive criticism from activists who oppose sex trafficking but don’t support a wholesale ban on prostitution. Immediately after prompting the user to “help end it now,” the PSA links to the website for Turn Off the Red Light, a coalition that aims to end both sex trafficking and prostitution. It’s a conflation of one issue that people agree, more or less universally, is harmful, and another which is much more complicated. Melissa Gira Grant, a journalist and author of Playing the Whore, has spoken out about the way in which anti-prostitution groups oversimplify the problems sex workers face. As she wrote in the Guardian in 2011, “When politicians, social service providers and celebrity philanthropists insist that sex workers are selling ourselves, they engage in the same kind of dehumanisation that they claim johns do to us.”

There’s also the question as to whether Tinder is the right place for such a PSA. The men who most need to hear this message, some would argue, are men who pay for sex, not men who use Tinder to find sexual (and romantic) partners whose interactions involve no exchange of funds (although this argument assumes the two groups are mutually exclusive and ignores reports of escorts advertising their services on Tinder). Still, despite these critiques, the campaign stands to raise awareness about a major problem among a group of people who had previously been unaware, or at least unmotivated to act. And that, say advocates, is better than nothing.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly named Melissa Gira Grant as a sex worker activist and author. She is a journalist and author.

TIME Companies

These 2 Harmful Chemicals Will No Longer Be Used to Assemble Your iPhone

Activist groups called for the ban earlier this year.

Apple said Wednesday that its factories would no longer use two chemicals that are potentially hazardous to workers in the assembly of iPhones and iPads.

On the heels of a petition earlier this year by two activist groups, Apple moved to ban benzene and n-hexane from final production, the Associated Press reports. Some 500,000 people work on final production at more than 20 factories, primarily in China but also in Brazil, Ireland, Texas and California. The California-based company also lowered the maximum amount of the chemicals that can be present during earlier production phases, which occurs across hundreds of other factories.

The company said that a four-month investigation found no evidence that those workers were at risk from the chemicals, which are often found in solvents used to clean machinery. Benzene, which is also found in gasoline, paints and detergents, is believed to be a carcinogen and n-hexane has been linked to nerve damage, according to the AP.

“We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, told the AP.

[AP]

MONEY The Economy

WATCH: How Some U.S. Companies Are Dodging Taxes

Major American corporations are reincorporating overseas to avoid paying higher U.S. taxes.

TIME Photos

Feel Good Friday: 19 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From swamp soccer to baby giraffes, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

TIME Television

Now You Can Plan Your Very Own Game of Thrones Vacation

Arya Stark and The Hound
Helen Sloan—HBO

You might not be able to go to Westeros or Essos, but you can still visit all the places that play them on TV

Game of Thrones is done for roughly the next 10 months, sadly. On the bright side, you can use the off-season to travel to all the places that the show is filmed—assuming you, die-hard fan that you are, haven’t already done so. Hopper, a Boston and Montreal-based travel planning site, has done most of the hard work for you, putting together a detailed map of the major GoT filming locations.

The site also breaks down the destinations by both season and house (Lannister, Stark, Targaryen, etc.), so it won’t be too difficult to pledge allegiance to a particular one. Or you can just pull a Littlefinger and pick and choose whatever suits your desires at that particular moment.

The vast majority of production takes place in Europe (Ireland, Iceland and Croatia are three of the more popular settings), but Morocco in northern Africa has also played host to some of Daenerys Targaryen’s conquered cities. This won’t come as a particular shock to fans of the show, but the destinations cut a fairly wide swath of climates and terrains, so if you can find the time (and money) to tour all of them before Season 5 kicks off next spring, there’s little chance you’ll get bored.

TIME Ireland

Jacqueline Kennedy’s Letters Removed from Irish Auction

The All Hallows College is now reportedly exploring better ways to preserve the archive with the help of the Kennedy family

A collection of letters between former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and an Irish priest was removed from an auction in Ireland on Wednesday. In the letters, the former first lady questions her faith in the wake of the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

The Vincentian Fathers and All Hallows College, where the letters between Jackie Kennedy and Father Joseph Leonard were being held, said Wednesday the letters “are being withdrawn from auction at the direction of All Hallows College and the Vincentian Fathers,” according to a statement to the BBC.

Representatives of the college and the Vincentian Fathers are now “exploring with members of Mrs. Kennedy’s family how best to preserve and curate this archive for the future.”

Sheppard’s Irish Auction House, which was scheduled to host the sale of the personal letters, said in a statement on its website that Sheppard’s is in the process of returning the archive and related items to the vendor. TIME’s requests for further comment were not immediately returned. In an earlier statement, the auction house referred to the letters as a “unpublished autobiography of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.”

Critics of the sale, however, said the correspondence was never meant for public consumption. Controversy over the sale had been brewing since the sale of the 33 letters was announced in April, given their deeply personal nature.

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