Arpita Chakraborty #ToxicMasculinity Ep.139

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In order to effect change, we must first recognise the problem. Our guest in the tortoise shack, feminist killjoy, newly minted PhD and Chair of the Síbeal Network, Arpita Chakraborty, talks to us about the role of Feminism in tackling the traditional power structures of a patriarchal society, toxic masculinity and the importance of no longer being a bystander.

If a Gillette advert upset you, then this isn’t the podcast for you. But if you want to hear what we can all do to recognise and change society to the benefit of all, then listen up! #MIALLS

M.I.A.L.LS – Make Ireland A Little Less Sexist

Jana Lyons #EqualPayForEqualWork Ep.136

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Equal pay for equal work was done away with during the crash. The two-tier workplace became the norm and phrases like the locked-out generation were born. Our guest in the tortoise shack, primary school teacher, active INTO member and activist for pay equality, Jana Lyons has already lost the equivalent of a full years pay in salary denied because of these “deals.”

Jana walks us through the beginning of this divide across the public sector, how it effects relationships between colleagues and the need for workplace solidarity. She talks passionately about the similarity between teachers situation and the current pay dispute our nurses are involved in.

This is a call to us, let the nurses and teachers, who we rely on, know that we stand with them, even when it creates an inconvenience for us, because injustice done anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

#StandWithNurses #EqualPayForEqualWork

Prof. Aviva Chomsky & Lynn Boylan #GreenWashing

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In 2018, the Oireachtas environment committee rejected calls to summon the ESB to appear before it over its importation of millions of tons of coal from a Colombian mine linked to human rights and environmental abuses. Joining us in the tortoise shack to discuss this is academic, author, activist and Professor of Latin American Studies, Aviva Chomsky and Sine Féin MEP for Dublin, Lynn Boylan.

The Professor and Lynn help us join the dots from the documented abuses linked to the mine, including intimidation, assault and death threats against activists, to the electricity that probably charged the device that your listening to this on.

Up to 90% of the coal used at Irish Power-plant, Moneypoint, comes from the Cerrejon mine in the northeast of Colombia, which is one of the largest opencast mines in the world. The ESB is ‘greenwashing’ its involvement with a code of practice, whilst complicated taxation structures funneled through Ireland make us ultimately complicit in the ongoing human rights abuses.

We are indebted to MEP Boylan for the opportunity to speak with her and Professor Chomsky. This is about Climate Change and getting the whole picture.

Ellie Kisyombe & Sile Ni Dhubhghaill #EndDirectProvision Ep.137

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‘Nothing about us, without us,’ is much more than just a catchy slogan. Our guests in the tortoise shack are both local election candidates for the Social Democrats AND are both working, in their own way, to End Direct Provision.

Ellie Kisyombe has lived for a decade in the “temporary” Direct Provision Limbo-Like System and Sile Ni Dubhghaill volunteers in her local community to help people, stuck in what can only be called a National Shame, feel accepted and part of their communities.

We are very lucky to get the opportunity to meet so many people who want to make Ireland a better place. Ellie and Sile are no exception, you might even say they are exceptional. There is so much more I can write to recommend these amazing ladies and their stories, but I think it is better to just let you listen to them.

Gerard Cunningham #TheFacts Ep.134

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We like to give it socks in the tortoise shack, so it was very welcome that our guest, news reporter and self-described former productive member of society, Gerard Cunningham came in and gave us a different perspective.

Gerard gives us his insights into why Tribunals, for all their faults, might be the best worst option we have. He also talks about the white-noise that social media can be and why so much of the blame laid at the door of mainstream media is misplaced.

I really enjoyed this spiky conversation with a man who doesn’t suffer fools. Hence the bruises!

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.