Stephen Travers #ClapYourHands Ep. 135

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For younger generations the border in Ireland is a shadow of history. But for those with lived experience, like our guest in the #tortoiseshack, survivor and victim, Stephen Travers, the border, though long gone, will never be forgotten.

Stephen was a young man in 1975, living his dream. ‘The Miami’ regularly filled music halls and ballrooms North and South of the border. On the night of the 31st of July 1975, Stephen and his band-mates were gunned down on a lonely road by hard people intent on keeping their border ‘Hard’.

The Miami Showband Massacre the ended lives and dreams of the people who were on that road that night. But it also stopped the dance for a generation who just wanted to forget the ‘Troubles’ and be normal young people enjoying a night out. This is Stephen’s story, this is all of our story, this is where we’ve been and where we can never go back to again.

You can learn more about Stephen and TARP’s work for truth and reconciliation on Twitter @TaR_Platform or on FaceBook:

Liam Farrell #IrishMed Ep. 133

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Apart from curating the well known twitter hashtag for medics, #IrishMed, our guest in the tortoise shack, ex-family doc, columnist with the British Medical Journal, GP and Writer/broadcaster Liam Farrell has found the time to write a book ‘Are you the f**king doctor?’

Liam opens up in his about the highs of lows of his pressure-cooker job, his morphine addiction and the road back. Liam brings his unique perspective to the #tortoiseshack in this compelling interview. You can get Liam’s book at:

Maria Farrell #Utopia Ep 132

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The future isn’t yet written and our guest in the tortoise shack ,writer, consultant and renowned future Utopian planner, Maria Farrell, thinks it doesn’t have to be the stuff of dystopian novels.

She joins us to discuss the pros and cons of a word where every piece of data relating to you is valuable to corporate giants. But believes that it’s not all pessimistic and the future, like she tries to do in her writing, is still ours to shape. Maria argues convincingly that we don’t need just one Utopian vision of what the future can be, we need many.

To help us on the way she proposes a #HappyLeftyBookClub and we’d love our listeners to get involved online and via patreon with their suggestions. Tell us your essential reading to help us all envisage a better tomorrow.

Dr Maeve O’Rourke #HumanRights Ep.131

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In 2019 we want to tackle structural inequality and State sanctioned violence. So there was nobody better to ask into the tortoise shack to kick off the year than the mega-impressive, award winning human rights advocate, Dr Maeve O’Rourke.

In addition to her work at the the Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL), Maeve has been assisting Justice for Magdalenes Research (formerly Justice for Magdalenes) voluntarily since 2009, including co-organising last summer’s ‘Dublin Honours Magdalenes’ gathering of survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and working recently with Cllr Gary Gannon to prevent the sale of the Sean McDermott Street Magdalene Laundry site. You can read Maeve’s legal arguments on behalf of JFMR, explore the UCD/JFMR Magdalene Oral History Project, research deaths in Magdalene Laundries through Claire McGettrick’s ‘Names Project’ and find lots more information about the Magdalene Laundries at
For the past three years Maeve has also been voluntarily co-directing the Clann Project ( with Claire McGettrick, co-founder of Adoption Rights Alliance and JFMR. The first phase of the Clann Project was an evidence-gathering initiative where 69 lawyers from the London office of Hogan Lovells LLP provided free assistance to anyone who wished to submit a witness statement to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters. 
Adoption Rights Alliance ( and JFMR both operate private Facebook pages for those affected. 

We could listen to Maeve for hours and are happy to lend our support to her work and her ambition for a Rights Based society. We hope you all agree.

David Hall #VultureFunds Ep.130

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We weren’t expecting to be recording any more podcasts in 2018, but our guest in the tortoise shack, CEO of Irish Mortgage Holders and Volunteer Chair of Inner City Helping Homelessness, David Hall had some things he wanted to get off his chest.

We discuss the reality of dealing with Vulture Funds, the possible motivations behind Taoiseach Leo Varadkar becoming the Vulture’s Champion and why the Central Bank of Ireland’s own report on mortgage arrears makes for extremely worrying reading.

Happy New Year to our listeners, guests and patrons and thank you for all your support in 2018.

Merry Ruthmas & a Happy New Year! Ep.129

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It’s been an amazing year in and out of the tortoise shack. To talk through it Martin and Tony sat down with the Fanciest of Fancies and host of the Natural Selection Box podcast, Ruth Fitzpatrick (@RuthieFizz)

This isn’t a review of 2018; it’s more like a highlights reel with a few things that mattered to us thrown in for good measure. Happy New Year to all our listeners and many thanks for your support.

Remember, these podcasts rely 100% on listener support. In 2019 we want to tackle systemic inequality and keep punching up. Join us.

Gene Kerrigan #TheCartel Ep.123

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When we started this podcast we said we’d get to talk to people who we never imagined, and we have. But atop of both of our Most Wanted List from day one sat one name, our guest in the tortoise shack, writer (The Scrap, The Rage), Journalist and the Sunday Independent’s Mr Back Page, Gene Kerrigan.

Do yourself a favour, find a quiet spot, plug in your earphones, turn down the volume and listen to a soft spoken man speak strongly about breaking through the PR Fog, structural inequality and the political cartel that has long dominated the Irish State.

This is the first podcast interview Gene has ever done and we are very grateful that he gave that little exclusive to us in the tortoise shack.

Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year to all our listeners. We are going to kick on in 2019. We hope you will join us.

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Colette Browne #NoAgenda Ep. 128

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These days it seems the rotating panels on our so-called political debate shows are stacked with shock jocks, soft spoken bigots and a sprinkling of Token McLefty’s. Clickbait for the eyeballs is the soupe du jour.

Our guest in the tortoise shack, Irish Independent Columnist and Barrister, Colette Browne, stands out as someone who doesn’t join the fake outrage about the latest fake controversy.

Colette, in her columns and in these debates, chooses to instead focus on the underlying issues and helps readers and viewers get a better sense for the things that really matter.

Happy Christmas to all our listeners and a safe and prosperous New Year. Please help us to continue to make podcasts that matter in 2019 by joing the tortoise shack at

Peter O’Dwyer #NBP Ep. 127

The National Broadband Plan – Journalism Matters

Ireland has a chequered past when it comes to the awarding of State contracts from the Department of Communications. The work of our guest in the tortoise shack, Times Ireland Edition Senior Reporter and Limerick man, Peter O’Dwyer, has added to this legacy of disrepute. He picked at a thread until he had exposed a series of off the record meetings between the now former Communications Minister and the main bidder for the lucrative National Broadband Plan contract.

Peter identified blatant breach of the rules established to protect us, the public, from cosy cartel dealings. The government answered, in our opinion, with a whitewash report, a shrug of their shoulders and have carried on regardless.

A rushed report and a hearing at the PAC that fully vindicated Peter’s story was deemed enough for the govt to carry on because they said the process hadn’t been fatally damaged.

Honestly, what is the point in having rules to protect the public when govt can pick and choose when to apply them?

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Trevor Birney & Barry McCaffrey

#NoStoneUnturned Ep.126

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What would you do if the police came into your house just because you wanted to tell the truth?

We’ve taken the tortoise shack on the road to Belfast to speak with Producers, Directors and Documentary Makers, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, who are on pre-charge bail for, well , it’s best if we let them tell it themselves.

Needless to say the reaction to the release of their film ‘No Stone Unturned’ has sent a chill through journalism and should worry anybody who believes a free press is essential in a functioning democracy.

The Loughinisland Massacre on the 18th of June 1994, was an atrocity committed in quiet rural community for which nobody has ever been brought to justice. The actions (and inaction?) of the PSNI in failing to bring these murderers to justice demands answers from the highest British authorities. Yet it is Trevor and Barry who find themselves arrested.

There can be no closure without truth. Trevor and Barry believe that and they deserve all our support.