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.

Jordi Solé #CatalanCrisis Pt.2

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In Part 2 of our series on the Catalan Crisis, Tony is joined in the tortoise shack by Catalan MEP and member of the Catalan Republican Left, Jordi Solé. 

Jordi is a friend and colleague of former Vice President Oriol Junqueras, one of the 9 Catalan Parliamentarians who are currently in pre-trial imprisonment and facing up to 25 years in jail for Rebellion.

He explains how we got here, the context for the events of October 1st, 2017 and the workable, democratic resolutions to the crisis.

For me, you, the people of Spain and Catalunya (and for 100% for the EU) the solution must to be diplomatic and democratic. Because the EU is made up of people, not trade deals.

Injustice done anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Prof. Joe Haslam #CatalanCrisis Pt.1

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On the 1st of October 2017, the world watched as the Catalan people held a referendum that many involved hoped would be the birth of the independent State of Catalunya. 

As we know, from the images of that day, things weren’t that black and white. Our guest in the tortoise shack, via Skype, is Professor at the IE Business School in Madrid, Sometime Commentator and Proud Munster Man, Joe Haslam.

Now, with several members of the Catalan Parliament in prison on charges of Rebellion, Joe gives us his views on the origins, politics and pawns tied up in the Catalan Crisis. We discuss the internal politics of Spain and how the role the global financial crisis has played in the polarisation of the countries politics and peoples. 

This is part 1 of our look into a crisis of democracy that is playing out today within the EU, with barely a raised eyebrow by Brussels and, we think, asks questions of the EU project as a democratic body that it has thus far ignored.  

Shubhangi Karmakar #Diversity Ep.121

What do you do when your face doesn’t fit? Our guest in the tortoise shack, Medic, Researcher, Designer and Activist, Shubhangi Karmakar tells us of her experiences as a person of colour, a woman, a student and an activist.
Detailing the feelings you are hit with when the message you receive seems too often be that your face doesn’t fit and that despite your work and efforts, at some stage, you wind up be seen as an inconvenience, even by fellow activists.

We discuss how it is diversity that always helps win the day, only to be abandoned when the cameras come on. Tony and I, (two white lads of a certain age) are grateful that Shubhangi shared her experiences and wisdom with us. We all need to check our privilege sometimes.

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Anthony O’Connor #RadicalCentrist Ep. 118

The Leo-bot gives good diversion. Our guest in the tortoise shack, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Labour member and VERY PROUD Cork man, Anthony O’Connor gives us his reaction to the Taoiseach’s attempt to deflect from the fact that the government have failed to put forward a Winter Plan and instead blame Doctor’s and Nurse’s for wanting to have a day off.
Anthony tells us about his own experiences, working in both the UK’s NHS and the Irish HSE, and shares some insights to the people who we need when we are literally in mortal danger. The reality is very different than that peddled by the Leo-bot.
We also talk about how Anthony’s leaving Ireland has shaped his political beliefs and why the campaign to end Dublin rule in Cork is the real battle for our survival.

Whisper it, but we think he’s a terrific guy. For a Cork Man.

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Stephen Jones #NorthernLights Ep.120

This week in the tortoise shack we sat down with actor, playwright, Tallaghtfornian and ‘you know yer man, that fella, you saw him in the thing, Stephen Jones for a walk along the unconventional route he’s taken into acting and creating his own plays.
Whether it’s on stage or on the big screen Stephen loves what he does, and it shows. His parts in Love/Hate, Red Rock and Dublin Oldschool, fit seamlessly beside his theatre work; like playing Bricks in Eva O’Connor’s fantastic Maz & Bricks or now Lloyd, alongside Seána Kerslake, in his upcoming play Northern Lights.

This is a great insight into the creative process of yer man, you know his face, you do!

Tickets for Norther Lights @ Theatre Upstairs, Eden Quay:

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