Men’s Voices Ireland, a male advocacy group, have begun to release a series of podcasts which will involve discussions on issues of concern to men and boys.
Towards the middle of 2014, a number of men, troubled by the ongoing side-lining and neglect of male issues in Ireland, began meeting in order to share their experiences and insights; and to discuss how the various injustices they identified towards men and boys might be addressed.
The group held their inaugural conference at Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin in November 2016 and featured a number of qualified speakers including group chairman and spokesman David Walsh, a former mathematics lecturer in NUI Maynooth. Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr Walsh stated his belief that in Ireland “legislation is slanted as a result of there being no male advocacy group”.
Speaking to TheCircular this week, group member James said:
Men’s Voices Ireland was founded as a small group prior to the general election last year. Since then we’ve had a successful conference on International Men’s Day last year, picked up a number of op-eds in The Journal as well as national coverage by the Irish Times, along with an appearance on the Brendan O’Connor show. The group is still small but growing and looking to become a more formally-recognised advocacy group around the area of men’s issues.
Men’s Voices Ireland have now begun to raise their profile further by recording podcasts which are shared on the Men’s Voices Ireland Facebook page and YouTube channel. The group states that “The aim of releasing the podcasts is to increase awareness of these issues, generate a discussion around the topics covered, boost the profile of the group and, hopefully, to entertain!”
In the first edition of the podcast, Men’s Voices chairman David Walsh and members James Behan and Sarah Grey discuss the foundations of Men’s Voices Ireland, how they became involved in male issues and also the recent developments regarding Ireland’s new legal definition of sexual consent.
The second edition of the podcast discusses how ‘education inequality’ isn’t often thought of as an issue affecting men. However, studies show that there has been a trend in recent years of boys falling behind at all levels in education. The gender ratio at third level institutions now stands at around 60:40 female:male, and drop out rates of boys and men at both secondary and tertiary levels are significantly higher than for women and girls.
There has in the past appeared to be a certain hostility towards the idea of a male advocacy group in Ireland but this is completely unfounded. Men’s Voices Ireland should certainly not be viewed as anti-female. A quick glance at a number of topics that have featured quite heavily even in recent public conversation, shows that there are certain issues that have a far greater impact on men than on women in this country:
- Male suicide – CSO figures show that in the 5 years from 2007 to 2011, victims of almost 83% of suicide deaths in Ireland were male.
- Homelessness – The latest CSO report on homelessness was conducted in 2011 and showed that over 90% of people sleeping rough in Ireland are male.
- False allegations of child abuse or rape – The Maurice McCabe scandal almost caused the collapse of the current government and has hastened the departure of Enda Kenny from the office of Taoiseach.
The group will be continuing to release podcasts over the coming weeks with a fortnightly release schedule. The plan is to cover issues under a number of key areas including male mental health, male suicide, injustice in the family court system and education.
Further information about the group, the many issues they are attempting to address and the work they have already done can be found on the Men’s Voices Ireland website.