An open letter to the Irish Times

140 characters is usually enough

Dear Sir,

I buy a copy of the Irish Times every day. Over a week, it costs me €12.90 and I usually consider that to be money very well spent.

I am saddened that you chose to publish online an article written by – but not identified as – a member of the white supremacist “alt-right” movement. The article contained racist phraseology and was published even as its author was tweeting racist comments about refugee children.

This is not to suggest for a moment that the Irish Times should ignore the so-called “alt-right”, but neither should you publish their propaganda as clickbait.

This week I will not be spending €12.90 on the Irish Times but will instead take that sum, top it up to twenty quid, and donate the money to the Irish Refugee Council.

Please consider this my small protest against a very bad decision on your part.

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Voice your concerns

Today, Wednesday 26th October, I watched the news aghast as I saw the Government announce that it plans to remove ASTI members from the payroll on November 7th.  This is a new low of dirty tricks and something that has shocked anyone I know to the core.

One of the only things that politicians listen to is votes. Actually, I thing it’s one of the only things many of them care about – full stop. (but then, the past 8 years of treatment by Irish Politicians has turned me into something of a cynic)

I’d encourage you to let your local politicians know how you feel about the government’s treatment of teachers.

Actually, not just teachers are suffering – the cuts have hurt students.

What can any one of us do?  Not a lot as an individual, but as a group we have a voice. Exercise your voice, write to your TD.  Here’s a sample I sent to my local TDs in the run up to the recent General Election:

Dear David

In GE11 I voted for a combination of Labour/Fine Gael.  In Cork East this became yourself, Tom Barry and Sean Sherlock.

In GE16 I will not be voting for you or Sean.  Why?

Well, I am a School Chaplain, a teacher, and I’ve seen the damage that your combined policies have done to education and those suffering from disadvantage.

A quick sampling:

Removal of Guidance Counsellors: affects children of disadvantage to a greater degree.  They may not have the family resources to research college choices.

Increased Pupil Teacher Ratio: This affects all students, but will affect weaker students to a greater degree.

Capitation Cuts: School budgets were even cut in Budget 2016!  Year on year schools are being given less to work with.  And then the mantra becomes one of greater productivity.  This is a nonsense.  Schools have a great many needs, and cutting funding will affect schools ability to do the best for their students.

Unequal Pay Scales:  I could be doing the exact same job as one of my colleagues, but simply because he/she received a contract after 2011 they will be paid less?  This is an incredible injustice and one that Labour and Fine Gael should be absolutely ashamed of.

Cuts to SNAs, Resource Hours: Obviously, this will affect weaker students more.  It simply cannot be justified.


I write in the hope that you can pass on to your colleagues the depth of feeling of many teachers.  Further, I hope that you pass this message onto your colleagues.  A huge number of teachers are fed up with what Labour & Fine Gael have done to education.



John Hurley


Teachers Bullied by Government, ASTI stand up.


The words below are from the inspirational Noelle Moran ASTI, who posted them as a comment on our VFT Facebook page.

We felt that her words deserved more space, so here they are. Well done, Noelle and ASTI. We call on all Teacher Unions to stand up against Government bullying of teachers. (The article to which Noelle refers is linked at the end of this piece). Thank you, Noelle. Solidarity with ASTI.

Noel Moran: “As the person interviewed for this article, I was disappointed that some points made by me over the phone to contribute to this article did not make it to the finished piece and there are others presented here I feel need clarification. There are also inaccuracies here I want to correct. As a result I wrote this piece and copied it beneath the article on, and as it was done, I decided to copy it here…

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The ASTI and I – Convention 2016

This Easter I went to the annual Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland’s Annual Convention.  It was my first time going, and it was a bit of an eye opener.

There was a reasonable amount of Media Coverage of the whole event – but some themes were not covered fully, and I thought I’d expand on a few ideas.

So – What are my thoughts on the whole thing?

A LOT of Paper

In advance of the conference I received the following documents:

  • The minutes and report of the 2015 Convention
  • The Statement of Accounts
  • Convention Reports (basically reports from different bodies dealing with a number of issues in Education)
  • The Convention Handbook (agenda, standing orders, members attending, etc)

The impression one gets before the convention even starts is that a lot happens at convention.  It feels a little overwhelming, with lots of areas to be dealt with.


Terrible, really terrible, timekeeping

Us teachers can be  strict lot when it comes to timekeeping.  You come late to my class then I’m going to mark you late.  If I’m clamping down, I may even take those five or ten minutes back, and detain you during your (and mine) lunch break.

The same doesn’t seem to apply to convention.  The first afternoon began twenty minutes late, with pretty much every session thereafter beginning 30 minutes late.  By the end of the convention we had lost about 2 hours of time.  I personally found this incredibly frustrating.  I tweeted about this during the convention and got a great reply:

ASTI Tweet

It’s one thing to be frustrated just by the loss of 2 hours time, (a guess on my part – did anyone keep track?), but it’s another issue entirely when motions that are due to be discussed get skipped totally.  On Thursday 31st two motions (62 & 63) were skipped.  These motions related to Continuous Professional Development – an important part of any professional’s development.  And they were skipped, binned, deferred.  This need not, should not, have happened.


The Big Issue – Newly Qualified Teachers

The earliest votes were the most emotive.  On Tuesday we debated the issue of pay for NQTs.  There were some great (and emotional) contributions from teachers who are new to the profession, and are being penalised for this.  Estimates for the difference in pay put the difference at 22%.

We were unanimous in the principle – equal pay for equal work.  There was  tangible emotion in the room at what has been done to younger teachers.  The name I would put on that emotion is anger.  Some directed at the Government, and some directed at the Union itself.

Many people believe that the management of the public service unions sold out new members in allowing these cuts to happen.

ASTI Tweet 2

The President and General Secretary of the union did address this and state that they didn’t sell out- this particular cut had been set up by Fianna Fail in the run up to the Troika arriving on our doorstep.

I don’t know the facts, but I suspect the statements by the union leadership won’t stop the fingers from pointing in their direction.

What I do know is the strength of feeling.  We were voting for strike action, and everyone felt strongly that this was a worthwhile cause.  We felt that it’s worth losing some pay in order to show solidarity for our colleagues.  We felt that this was the right thing to do.  (This turned out to be an issue that we would refer back to many times over the course of the convention)

The unity of purpose in this wasn’t lost on some of the journalists present:

ASTI Tweet 3


Some Other Issues –

Croke Park Hours

The ASTI rejected the Landsdowne Road Agreement in a ballot of members.  As the Haddington Road Agreement will expire in June 2016, we then intend to not do the 33 hours of Croke Park any more.

These hours of meetings have been described as ‘Teachers’ detention’, but behind the light tone of that term, the hours have been responsible for sucking goodwill out of many staffrooms. It is hard to escape the perception that, in telling teachers to do 33 hours of meetings outside of school time, the Government is displaying a lack of trust in teachers; that teachers do no work outside of classroom hours.


That’s a pension scheme, don’t you know.  Prior to Budget 2011, the pension for teachers was based on the final year of salary.  Following Budget 2011 the pension for a teacher was based on a career average.  This posed a number of problems:

  • The average would inevitably drag down the level of pension that a teacher would get
  • Many teachers are on sub-standard contracts (less than full time).  Their career income will be so low as to further reduce their pension level.
  • Following various cuts, new teachers have an income far lower than their colleagues who were lucky enough to receive contracts before 2011.  Again, their pension would be cut.
  • Now that Posts of Responsibility have been cut, the chances for teachers to climb a ladder have been cut.  This also affects their earnings – so any career average will be hurt.

It seems that newer teachers are being hit on a number of fronts.  Hit their wages, hit their conditions, hit their pension when they finally get to retirement.

Well, at convention we voted to develop a campaign to restore proper pension rights for all teachers.

Ex-Quota Guidance

I have argued that one of the cuts that has hit disadvantaged students more is the removal of ex-quota guidance counsellors. As with many other actions, we voted overwhelmingly to chase a reversal of this decision.

Posts of Responsibility

I mentioned above that Posts of Responsibility have been cut.  This effectively means that teachers have very little chance of promotion during their careers.  Many teachers like the opportunity to take on more responsibility – to contribute in a different way to the life of their school.

We have voted to reinforce the union instruction for members not to undertake the work of posts unless they are paid for it.


An Overview

Many of the issues that we discussed were those that arose following various cuts by the government: Guidance counsellors; pay scales; pension rights; posts of responsibility; sick leave; qualifications allowances; allowances for correcting state exams; supervision and substitution payments.

It strikes me that we have spent a lot of energy fighting to reverse the damage done by numerous cuts.  So, here’s a radical idea.  If you want to reform in Education – invest properly in it.



I personally believe that the fight to support Newly Qualified Teachers should be at the top of our agenda as a profession and as a union.

The cut put on the (mostly) youngest members of our profession is unjust and must be fought.  I’m not looking forward to losing a day (or more) of pay – but it is the right price to pay.

ASIST Training – the aftermath

A great piece from Anne Marie.
Personal, touching and informative.
The ASIST training is very worthwhile. I did it a few years ago – I’d strongly recommend you consider it.

An Cailín Rua

A couple of months ago I wrote about my decision to enrol for the ASIST training workshop. Devised by Living Worksto enable people to deliver “suicide first aid”, the course is delivered in Ireland by the HSE (National Office for Suicide Prevention), co-ordinated by the HSE Regional Resource Officers for Suicide Preventionand most importantly, it’s available free of charge to everyone, though places are limited.

At the time, suicide was in the news (evenmore than usual), and it got me to thinking; if the State is going to continue to fail people who are in immediate danger of suicide- which it is; there is no disputing this -then the rest of us had better damn well start equipping ourselves to deal with it, and fast.

My reasoning? Once upon a time, I told someone I was close to that I felt so low that I didn’t…

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Labour & FG. Supporting Inequality

A lot of us remember the gloomy days near the end of the previous government.  Brian Cowen was in power, and was denying anything was wrong – even though every economic commentator was warning of a crash.  The optimists, God Bless ’em, were talking about a soft landing.

Around this time I became politically active for the first time in my life.  I joined FG, I canvassed for my local guy, went to the meetings and did my part.

My part included believing that FG would be good for people across the country.  They had a plan for free health-care, for better services, to turn the economy around.

It all ended as so many love affairs do.  With Disillusionment on one side, and confusion (What did I do wrong?) on the other.  I left Fine Gael in 2013.

As we face the final week of the latest General Election Campaign, I’ve decided that I cannot give a #1 to Fine Gael or Labour.

And why?  Well, I see inequality has greatly increased during the tenure of this government.  And, rather than put that in vague terms, lets look at how far this inequity has spread.  You see, despite the claims that the recession is over, Austerity still rules in Education.

In Education the cuts of the past 5 years have been brutal.  But these cuts have not hit everyone equally.


School budgets have been repeatedly cut

But if you go to a school in a middle-class area, then the school can ask for “voluntary contributions” that will go a long way towards making up the shortfall.  In a poorer area schools don’t have this option, or at least the amount that they could legitimately ask for is far less.  So, a school in a disadvantaged area will be hampered in what it can offer its students.

Students with Special Educational Needs.

These students are hit in two ways.  The most obvious is that the number of Special Needs Assistants was cut.  The criterion were tightened up.  Think about this.  These students are already disadvantaged, and this particular cut could only affect those who were already at a disadvantage.

The other way in which these students were affected is in the area of class sizes.  Prior to 2007 secondary schools operated with maximum class sizes of, usually, 24.  Very often this maximum is exceeded, with class sizes of 27, 28.  At primary level it’s worse, with class sizes of over 30 being relatively common.  Again, those at an educational disadvantage are hit hardest by this.  Think of trying to give individual attention to a child with dyslexia when you have 27 other students to keep engaged.  Certainly they may have ‘access’ to an SNA, but the reality is that the same SNA may be working with a number of students across different class groups.

Access to Educational Supports

How do you know if someone has dyslexia?  Their teacher may suspect it, based on a student’s written work.  But a teacher’s word is not enough to get access to an SNA.  No, for that you need a report from an Educational Psychologist.  The National Educational Psychological Service provides these assessments.  And this assessment goes to the DES to get access to an SNA approved. But guess what?  NEPS have had their resources cut as well.  So a given school will be allocated a certain number of assessments each year – and students with needs may have to wait longer – and fall behind further – because of a lack of funding.

Being Ireland there’s always a back-door.  If you can afford it you could get your child a private assessment , then that assessment will work for the DES.  Those who are better off are less affected by the cuts.

Student Supports

One of the bluntest instruments used by the current government was getting rid of Guidance Counsellors.  Another was the removal of posts of responsibility.  These posts provided teachers with the option of taking on extra responsibilities in a school, and getting paid for them.  Year Heads, Programme Coordinators, Special Duties.  They are all being cut, and other teachers have to pick up the slack, or the buck is passed onto school managers who are already being overloaded.  But, if you are in a school that can afford it, the Trustees will find some extra money to provide the needed supports for students.

This is nothing against these trustees. They are doing the right thing by their students.  It’s just that schools in poorer areas often don’t have these resources.

I could go on.  And on.  The point is that even though the same cuts have been applied across the country, the cuts have had a greater affect on the poorer among us.  Simply because they don’t have the safety blanket of spare money.

Suffice to say I’ve been disillusioned.

I look at the parties vying for my vote, and I find it easy to dismiss lots of them.

From what I can see only one party is actually talking properly about reversing some of the damage done to the public service.  That party is the Social Democrats.  I’ll be voting #1 for them.

As for #2, I’m open to suggestions!


My new chromebook – a review

I’ve been without a laptop for a while now – and have been doing a lot of thinking about what to get.

My previous machine was a mac – and  I loved it.  Out and out loved it.  I loved the Operating System, the reliability, the freedom from viruses, the quality of the build – I got 6 years good work out of it.

I didn’t love the price.  It would cost me about €1,200 to get a mac now.  As a teacher for whom the economic crisis is still in full swing, well, I can’t justify spending that kind of money on a laptop.

At school I’ve worked with PCs for years.  And they have their good points.  The MS suite is powerful, there is a huge choice of hardware – across a large price range.  There are also the downsides – regular downtime for updates, needing third-party anti-virus software, cheaper machines can be really slow to boot, old machines get unreliable.

So when I went shopping I wanted a machine I could use and be reasonably cheap.

And so I came to check out Chromebooks. As the administrator of Google Apps for Education in our school, I’m already very comfortable in the Google ecosystem, but it was still a bit of a gamble for me.  I’ve never used the chromebook previously – and I don’t get to see too many of them around.

So I went with the machine I’m using now.  A Toshiba Chromebook 2.  And the price was amazing.  I got it for €279 in Argos.

cb2The build Quality

The laptop has a 13.3″ screen.  So you’re talking about a full-sized laptop here.  The downside is that the screen doesn’t have the same punch as a more expensive machine, but it works perfectly well for my purposes.  And if I want to watch a film – there’s always Chromecast.

The machine is very plastic – and not the expensive stuff.  I suspect that in a year of heavy use I can expect to see some of the silver begin to fade from the edges.   Again, this is a fully functional machine for €279

The keyboard is very nice to use, and after a day of getting used to it, the trackpad seems to be very reliable and easy to use.

Storage is very limited.  There were 2 models of the Chromebook 2.  One has a HD screen, 4 Gb ram and (I think) 32 Gb of storage.  The option available in Ireland has an SD screen, 2 Gb ram and 16 Gb storage.  And that’s the one I have.

The 16 Gb hasn’t been an issue as my school Google account has unlimited storage (yup) and the Chromebook links to it seamlessly.

The Battery is very impressive.  I’m getting 8-10 hours from a single charge.  In practice this means that I can bring it to work for 2 days and not worry about the charger.

The Operating System

The first time I turned on the computer I thought I was in for a disappointment – it took over an hour to get going.  Eventually I contacted Google customer support and they rang me back within 60 seconds of my submitting my form.  A real person phoned me!

Anyway – the delay was an update being applied – and I’ve had no problem since.
The Chromebook is INCREDIBLY fast to start.  A cold start to the login screen is about 8 seconds.  Once you get your password in, it takes about 12 more seconds to be ready to work.

Google say that they take care of virus protection and updates.  The upshot of this is that I have sometimes noticed a little notification to remind me to restart in order to finish an update.  But the update is done in seconds.

The system itself circles around the Chrome browser.  And it’s a dinger.

I’m typing with 7 different tabs working at the moment.  2 different mail accounts, 2 different Drive accounts, tweetdeck, a search window, and wordpress.  There is no lag that I can see.  I have also worked with netflix chromecasting to the TV, with my kids watching a film, and me able to work on the same machine.

Pretty impressive.

There are a number of apps available on the Chromestore.  At the moment I have evernote, tweetdeck and a range of Google apps running.

Obviously Google Docs are very easy to work on this.  Plenty of options available – but some features that you may like in the MS suite are just not available here.

Some bits they don’t tell you about

There is no Caps Lock button.  That’s replaced by a search Icon that will open up a window showing you what apps you have available.  CAPS LOCK – is actually available press <alt> and the <search> buttons buttonThe Search Button

There are no ‘Function’ keys.  In their place is a list of keys that can move forward and back between pages visited, refresh the browser, go full screen, show all screens in miniature, adjust brightness & sound.

Skype is not supported – so if you like that, then this isn’t the machine for you.  I haven’t yet used hangouts on this, so can’t report on that.

End Result?

I’ve had this machine for a month now – and I’m extremely happy.  It’s fast, it’s reliable and the price is incredible.  It has needed  me to embrace Google Apps fully – but I was already on that path, so no burden there.
A great buy.

Austerity in Education

We are well into our new school year, and hopefully any teachers reading this are doing well – within their classrooms and within themselves.

And while we all get on with our jobs we are being told that the recession is pretty much over.  The headlines are great!  Economy creates 1,000 jobs a week; Tax take €1.4 Bn ahead of forecast.

One of the things that I reckon has slipped under the radar this September is that the capitation for schools was cut by a further 1% this year.  This is 4 years in a row that the budget for running schools has been cut.

But the headlines tell us things are great.

We are now at the point where extra supports have been cut wherever the Government thinks they can get away with it.  We have lost language supports for foreign nationals.  Because they are magically better at English now?

And the headlines still tell us things are great.

We have lost supports for students with Special Education Needs.   Think of that.  Those who need the most support – denied it in the name of Austerity.  We have had cutbacks to the National Education Psychological Service. Students who may have an undiagnosed condition may fall through the cracks – because NEPS don’t have the resources to provide enough assessments to schools. Again, it’s those who need the most help are the ones who suffer.  Another support – Guidance Counsellors – has been removed altogether.  Students need as much help as possible to make intelligent subject and college choices.  But Guidance Counsellors do so much more on a personal level with students.  But, with the stroke of a pen they became casualties of the recession.

But we’re told the recession is over.

One of the early cuts was to teacher numbers.  Classes are larger – and by necessity this means that teachers can give less attention to individuals.  All students suffer.

And they have the gall to celebrate the ‘success’ of Austerity.

Teachers have had their pay slashed – and they have been divided.  Anyone who received a contract after 2011 is paid on a different scale.  They are paid less than their equally qualified counterpart who was lucky enough to land a job in 2010 or earlier.

Forgive me if I see little to celebrate in our Government’s performance in Education.

Any successes that have appeared recently are down to the sheer hard work of so many professionals who are exhausting themselves because they love their jobs and they love teaching.  Part of me wonders if the Government knows this and that is why they are not afraid to keep on cutting.

Many teachers are exhausted – and a number have retired early simply because of the level of cuts enforced upon them.

Maybe it’s time to cut back.  The election is coming, and I very much doubt that I will be sending any votes the way of our current Government.

Let’s see them celebrate that.

For any teachers who are feeling burned out – or worried about their own ability to cope – please consider contacting Carecall – where counselling support is available for free


Killeagh & Fr. Flannery

It’s been a busy few weeks in Killeagh.  As has been reported in The Irish Times and The Irish Examiner, we have entered a bit of controversy.  For clarity (there are a few versions out there) I’ve outlined the sequence of events that have led to Bishop Crean asking our Parish Pastoral Council to withdraw its invitation to Fr. Tony Flannery.

  • In April/May our Parish Pastoral Council decided to hold a parish mission in September, and give it the title ‘Spiritfest’.  So far so good.
  • We then formed a sub-committee to organise the weekend, and I became a member of that sub-committee.
  • In May we met to discuss the format, and as part of that we looked at our Friday night as being opened with a speaker who would give a talk, followed by a Question and Answer Session.  As we fished around for names we came up with Fr. Tony Flannery.
  • Why Tony?  A few reasons.  He is a man who has had a lot to say on a number of Social Justice Issues.  He is a man who has been led by his faith to challenge the Church’s teaching on these same Social Justice Issues.  And He is a man who has been punished for his beliefs.
  • So in May we extended our invitation to Tony, and went ahead with planning the rest of the event.  (you know, the nitty gritty: microphones, stewards, timetables and tents)
  • We began to make little noises of our upcoming event: A facebook page, announcements in our Parish Newsletter, and so on.
  • One group heard of this and contacted our Bishop to complain about our Parish Priest and our invite to Fr. Flannery.  This group referred themselves as being ‘concerned Catholics’.  Personally, seeing as none of them are from Killeagh, I reckon ‘busybodies’ may be a more apt moniker.
  • And then, in July, Bishop William Crean contacted our Parish Priest to state that he had heard about our invitation to Tony Flannery, and was concerned about it going ahead – because Tony Flannery is ‘out of ministry’.  He asked that we withdraw our invitation.
  • We had a meeting of the Sub-Committee to discuss this and decided to write to the bishop that we would agree partially to his request.  We would not have Tony speak in Killeagh Church, but we would instead host him in our local Community Hall.
  • Last Week Bishop Crean asked to meet us, so we convened a special meeting of our Pastoral Council.  During the meeting Bishop Crean started by praising the initiative, and then went into his difficulties with our invite to Tony Flannery.
    Bishop Crean was pretty clear from the start in his reasoning.  Tony Flannery is out of ministry, and the policy of Cloyne Diocese is that a priest who is out of ministry does not get involved in any form of public ministry.
  • As the invite to Tony was under the auspices of the Pastoral Council, then his invite, even if it was to the local hall, it counted as ministry.  The bishop basically outlined what was to become his official statement on the matter.
  • We had the chance to say to the bishop how disappointed we were with this turn of events.  We had acted in good faith, and besides that, we didn’t agree with the manner of Tony’s silencing.
  • As the meeting progressed, we also voiced that we did not want to be in conflict with the Bishop  – we did not want a fractured relationship.
  • We then had a vote and decided, unanimously, to agree to the Bishop’s request.
  • That night we phoned Tony and let him know that we were withdrawing the invitation.

And that’s how it all happened.  End of story.
Except, of course, the story does not end there.  It did not even begin there.
In a way what happened in Killeagh simply acts as a focus for a number of issues in the Catholic Church.

The Action Against Tony Flannery.
In 2012 Tony Flannery was removed from ministry.  An action was taken against him without any form of a trial.  Tony has never been given a chance to defend himself from the charges made against him.  I’m not sure if the charges were even made clear.

The Role of the Hierarchy
I don’t know how often bishops take the time to visit pastoral councils.  But I’m pretty certain that it’s a rarity.  I don’t know whether the Bishop acted on his own initiative, or if there were other voices within the hierarchy of the Irish Church playing a part.

The place of Lay People
I am (obviously) a lay person.  I play a part in my own parish, and I value my faith.  I still have a copy of Christifideles Laici somewhere.  A document that exhorts the role of Lay People in the Church.
And yet I know that lay people can be oh so easily overruled in the Church.  Even in my own parish, where we have a Parish Priest who supports wholeheartedly the role of lay people, we know that a different priest who has a different set of beliefs could easily disband us.
The laity have a place, but sometimes this is overruled at the whim of their local priest.

Just What Is The Church
Many of those who give out about the Church really intend their criticism at the organisation.  However, the Church is made up of its members.  Those of us who profess a faith are the church.
And this brings a conflict.
If we believe we are the church, how do we reconcile with the centralised authority of Rome?
The question can become, ‘What is Catholic?’
One definition will tell you that Catholic is ‘universal in extent, involving all’.  So here’s another angle – does this definition of Catholic mean that everyone should come under one umbrella, and its authority, or should the umbrella shelter all.
That is a paradigm shift.  It moves the Church from being authoritarian to open.  And this isn’t going to be easy.  After all, those at the centre of the umbrella believe rigidity is the way to go.  Those at the edges know you’re going to get wet, and that some flexibility is needed.
Still, change is something that has started, and will continue.
Silencing Tony Flannery will not stop this change.

The Local Fallout
The ultimate stoic would now state that ‘we are where we are’.  And that statement would not reflect the real state of affairs.
There has been a lot of local coverage – and the Bishop is getting plenty of flack over what has happened.
People have been polarised – I have received emails both in favour and against what has happened.  (one stating that we should never have invited the ‘heretic’)
Yes, many of us have been upset or disappointed by our Bishop’s decision.
And yes, we may even get angry.  Some will turn from the Church as a result.
However, disappointment and anger are normal parts of life.  We will get over this – and at this point we need to look to what type of church we want to be part of.  As for Spiritfest 2015?  It’s going ahead, of course.

Maybe the debate due to be hosted by Tony Flannery has already started.