Philip O’Connor #JustAskingQuestions Ep.87

There’s been no shortage of reasons to despair lately, but our guest in the tortoise shack, independent multimedia journalist, Philip O’Connor thinks we need to be optimistic.
His challenging of the othering that happened around the Margaret Cash case has broadened the debate beyond the “I’m just asking questions” comfortable class and unearthed many of the biases barely below the surface. And that’s progress.

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Susan Mitchell #HealthCheck Ep.86


The Cervical Check Scandal has rocked the faith of many in the Screening Process. But with one million people on waiting lists, trolley numbers at Near-Winter levels and a GP Crisis our health service is riven with problems. Our guest in the tortoise shack, Health Editor with the Sunday Business Post, Susan Mitchell talks not just about the various issues, but about some of the potential solutions.

She explains how a Patient Safety Authority could advocate and increase protection for patients, and how a No Fault Compensation Policy could save us the political games and deliver compassionate support to those failed by the system.

Karen Ciesielski #Right2Housing Ep.85


The othering of people was at its most toxic this week as we saw the State and several “commentators” scrambling to normalise children sleeping in Garda Stations. Our guest in the tortoise shack, Public Fundraising Manager at Focus Ireland, Karen Ciesielski, tells us about 3 steps that can make a difference overnight in tackling the homelessness crisis.
Please support the work of groups like Focus Ireland and ICHH.

Thank you.

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Dr Aileen Marron #Austerity Ep. 84

No matter the malady, after the Global Financial Crash, we were told that Austerity was the only treatment. Our guest in the tortoise shack, Sociologist at the Higher Education Authority and author of the upcoming book: Austerity – Media Portrayals of the Public Sector During the Financial Crisis, Dr Aileen Marron ( @alienmoron ) joins us to talk about how we never heard real dissenting voices and how playing the Private Sector off against the Public Sector deflected from the real causes of the crash.

It’s a fascinating insight into how groupthink trickles down and dismisses scepticism as revolutionary. Enjoy.

Dr Stephen Murphy #GPCrisis Ep.83


We are constantly told that we spend more on our health service that nearly anywhere else on the planet, and while this is largely true it doesn’t tell the real story. Lecturer and GP Trainer, Dr Stephen Murphy tells us about what he feels is an existential threat to the Family GP practice.
We also discuss the ongoing cervical check scandal and how governing from crisis to crisis is never going to tackle the underlying issues.

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Mike McGrath-Bryan #CorkLovesMusic Ep. 76

The recession hit young people disproportionately, but young artists and musicians channeled that into their work. Journalist with Corks Evening Echo, Village Magazine and Podcast host of Red FM’s ‘Red on Red’, Mike McGrath-Bryan works his ass off trying to promote and help these acts. Sitting down in a cafe in Cork City, he explains how it’s all for the love of the music and its creators.

You’re Paying

It’s raining. I’m sitting on the small terrace in a small apartment in a small Catalan town. My only company is a small weathervane, a Estelada Flag waving Soldier, and my anger.

The latest homelessness statistics are out and the knowledge that it doesn’t matter whether it’s 10k or 100k people, it isn’t as important to the wider population as the happenings on Love Island.

The Central Bank has issued a report critical of Banking Culture. Leaving aside the absolute failure and continued flaccid performance of the Irish Central Bank, RTE cover the story by ending their report with what can only be described as an advertisement for Bank of Ireland.

The national broadcaster is just as useless at honestly informing the public as the Central Bank is at regulation. The recent hot spell back home has resulted in a capitalist “shock doctrine” attempt to bring back water charges. To this day I’m still yet to see one article asking if there is a link between Teneo, a company with links to water privatisation globally and run by Declan Kelly ( yes, brother of the former minister Alan Kelly) and the guillotined creation of Irish Water.

Hilariously, and yet most terrifyingly, I’ve not seen one coherent counter argument put to the Corporate Lap Dogs of Fine Gael that challenges their absolute failure to do anything about climate change. Only a fool thinks that paying for water is part of a suite of things that can help tackle what is undeniably mess that’s only going to get worse.

Shock doctrine nonsense is used to shrink the public sphere, create markets where none previously existed and make more money for those already at the top.

The opinion polls put the Right Wing Tory Party, sorry, I mean Fine Gael party within a Healy-Rae dinner party of a majority. The only thing more infuriating than voting for the free market muppetry that lives on austerity is our inability to show the turkey the error of voting for Christmas.

It’s raining in Catalonia, or I should say that it’s raining in the Catalan Republic. I don’t know what the future holds. I’ve no faith that the EU would help a nascent state. I’ve less faith that the worlds media will report honestly what happened here and what is still happening today. But the Catalan people aren’t playing those guessing games anymore. They’re acting like a Republic now, with or without anyone’s approval.

In Ireland we play at numbers games, while childhoods are destroyed in “hubs”. We point at Water Protestors rather than our own disregard of the climate change existential crisis. We let big corporate and hyper capitalism devour our resources because our craven politicians plead centrism. Our media are mildly critical of political and corporate authority and then meet them in Lille’s later for a G & T.

Sure why not, you’re paying.

Frank Keoghan #PESCO

“Who is our Minister for Defence?”, that question was posed by our guest in the tortoise shack today, Frank Keoghan. Frank is President of Connect Union and General Secretary of The People’s Movement. This chat is all about PESCO, the vast amount of money we the Irish people are expected to stump up and not least of all, how it undermines our neutrality. You can join the next People’s Movement against PESCO outside the EU Parliament building on Mount Street this coming 25th July between 1 & 2 pm.

Thomas Byrne #SchoolAdmissions

We are joined in the Tortoise Shack by Fianna Fail TD for Meath East and Education Spokesperson, Thomas Byrne. We discuss the Schools Admissions Bill, the upcoming Presidential Election and the prospect of an early General Election.

The Groves Free Pod!

Norma Costello #SyrianTruths Ep. 60

The EU is screaming that immigration needs to be controlled. Our guest in the tortoise shack, Journalist Norma Costello has seen with her own eyes the tragedy that has forced millions of people to flee their homes. Her first hand experience isn’t propaganda or twitter spin, it’s the reality about the demise of a country that is the cradle of much of our civilisation.