Eoin Ó Broin #PoliticalConstructs Ep25

It’s often said that the current confidence and supply agreement (New Politics) has left us with a ‘do nothing Dáil’. Well today’s guest, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid West, Eoin Ó Broin would challenge that. As a writer and political activist Eoin is a constant voice for what he calls a fair recovery. As party spokesperson for Housing, Planning and local government Eoin was a member of the Oireachtas Housing Committee that our previous guest, architect Mel Reynolds spoke so highly of.

With Irish Politics undergoing so much generational change, people like Eoin, working in bipartisan groups, can help bring on that fairer recovery that he is speaks so passionately about.

They discuss:
Some Dublin GAA
The generational change in politics, Sinn Fein and the wider Dáil
Eoin’s solutions to the housing crisis
Why it’s about building communities and not just houses
How Traveller accommodation and those with disabilities are nearly always forgotten.
We finish with a chat about Eoin’s recent spat with the Irish Times and the media relationship with politics in general.

Mel Reynolds #TheFixer Ep 24 pt2


Welcome back to our conversation with architect, project manager, certified passive house designer and writer with Village magazine, Mel Reynolds.
In part one Mel broke down why the private developer market cannot build affordable homes and how the state could. In this next part we discuss:
Why the moral hazard argument is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
How the Rent Pressure Zones have helped create an upwards only rental market.
Why the most optimistic scenario for the Buy to Let repossessions could see a trebling of homelessness.

Finally, Mel gives us 3 relatively cheap and effective solutions that could start to turn the tide. These ideas are so sensible and make so much financial sense that it is a wonder our government haven’t addressed them already.

Mel Reynolds #SolutionsArchitect Ep24 pt1

Returning our series of podcasts on Homelessness and the Housing Crisis, Martin and Tony are delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by architect, project manager, certified passive house designer and writer with Village magazine, Mel Reynolds. Mel has the tenacity to take the Department of Housing reports, the Rebuilding Ireland Reports and even the Oireachtas Housing Reports, read them, cut through the spin and get to the facts.
Needless to say, Mel’s work is and should be the starting point for people who want to know what the real numbers are and what are the solutions.

In part 1 Mel explains why the underlying assumptions on the housing market are wrong, and have been wrong for 40 years.
Why an affordable home cannot be built by the private sector currently.
Why the government housing stats, putting it mildly, aren’t reliable.
Why it’s a Landlords market.
The Land Casino that is the relationship between new house prices and land prices.
Can we get a real affordable housing scheme?
The HAP Trap and why Fine Gael are financially illiterate here.

Anne-Marie McNally #SocItToDem ECP Ep. 20

Martin & Tony are delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by Political Director and Social Democrat Representative for Dublin Mid West, Anne-Marie McNally. Anne-Marie is the creator of the #LockedOutGen that we’ve discussed on the pod previously and is someone who has spent her career, in and out of politics joining the dots between politics and what happens in our everyday lives.

They discuss:
The #LockedOutGen and those left behind by the Republic of Opportunity
The #SocDem alternatives and bringing sustainable thinking in politics.
#JoinTheDots and making politics matter everyday
#StormEleanor and the Climate Change Spin Cycle
Anne-Marie tells us why she thinks education is the silver bullet to inequality
We finish with giving their predictions for the next election!

Some strong language, but none from Anne-Marie, she was a complete lady!

Frankie Gaffney #NewYearRevolutions ECP Ep. 19

Tony and Martin are joined in the tortoise shack by Author, Linguist, constant voice for inner city youth and one of our preeminent smart arse’s, Frankie Gaffney. Frankie, while no stranger to controversy, is for my money, one of the most sincere voices around and his calls for unity come from a desire for a better society.

They discuss:
Inequality and the #LockedOutGen
Joining the Dots in 2018.
Left Unity and why Frankie is much more optimistic for 2018.
Social Media: bullying vs debating.
The Labour Party’s road to perdition or redemption.
A very Young Fine Gael Christmas.
We finish with a linguistic view of the Disney Channel accent!

Strong language and bad jokes throughout.

My New Year Resolution

My New Year Resolution

Rule Number 1 of Christmas Day: Don’t mention politics on Christmas Day.

Rule Number 2: Always remember rule Number 1.

I had several reports of people who, sure that they weren’t one of ‘those’ families, decided to ignore the rules. I’m not sure what’s worse, ignoring the rules, or the realisation that your cool brother in law isn’t really cool with repealing the 8th?

For so many of us the Christmas dinner table is the first time outside of our echo chamber since, well, last years Christmas dinner.

The peculiar thing is that we, being so wise, are so taken aback by the differences of opinion across the Turkey and Ham table. Of course, we’ve spent all year saying that the opinion polls are crap and that there’s no way 56% of people think Socks, Selfies and Spin make a good Taoiseach.

The realisation that we are wrong makes swallowing the customary brussel sprouts all the more difficult. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. Around the table the Right Wing (I’m a centrist!) agenda of apathy and I’m alright Jack conversation flows.

Many think, no, many believe that Fine Gael and not the sacrifice of the Irish people rescued the country. Many think, no, many are adamant that the government are doing a good job. Many, many more are opposed, down to their Indo reading bones, with the idea of Left Wing concepts.

They are not the problem. We are. We’ve wasted 364 days talking to each other about the wonderful ideas we all agree on. We never spoke to the people around our dinner table.

We’ve squabbled about Labours place in the Left. We’ve decried concessions as selling out. We’ve reduced Left Wing cohesion to a Brendan Ogle column in the Sunday Business Post. Worst of all, we have allowed the tsunami of the water movement to be reduced down to a Phil Hogan trickle.

Something has to change and it starts at the dinner table. It starts with joining the dots.

We join the dots. Whenever Leo Varadkar says that salary increases could endanger the economy WE must point out the hypocrisy of him getting a €21,000 pay rise.

We join the dots. When your brother says that it’s a testament to the strength of the economy that Ireland has repaid Denmark’s €400m loan early ask him does that house any of the 3,333 homeless children.

We join the dots. When an old friend explains that she knows a family looking for help from St Vincent De Paul who have 2 televisions, ask her why that’s a crime and screwing 40,000 Tracker Mortgage holders into debt (and death) for nearly a decade is not.

We join the dots. When your pal in your local says that the Multinationals will leave if we make them pay tax, explain that we are, according to the OECD, the best tax haven in the world YET only get one sixth of the jobs from Multinationals that non havens do.

At every water cooler moment we join the dots. At every lazy OpEd we join the dots. We forget about infighting. We forgive ourselves and others for slights and we take the fight to the barrage of bullshit that is the machinery of State.

We act as our own Strategic Communications Unit, our goal/mission statement/blue sky thought is simple: Join the Dots!

Join the dots. That’s my New Years Resolution. That’s this blog. That’s the Echo Chamber Podcast. That’s my Twitter timeline. That’s my dinner table.

We join the dots in 2018. You’re welcome to join me.

Tony Groves Dec 2017

Glenn Fitzpatrick #LockedOutGen #EchoPods Ep 18.


Martin and Tony are delighted to be joined by Activist, Trade Unionist and co-host of the fortnightly podcast The Suss, Glenn Fitzpatrick. Glenn is a passionate advocate for joining the dots between politics and the challenges facing his generation.

They Discuss:
The #LeftBehindGen of couch-surfing, precarious renting, tenuous employment and the snowflake tag!
Engaging with the #RepealThe8th movement and helping it become a force for engaging younger people in politics.
The Trade Union movement and the need to win back the rights lost over the last 10 years.
Glenn, as a music aficionado, makes the first ever ‘Grime’ reference on the pod. Tony and Martin thought he meant the tortoise shack was dirty.

Strong Language and some laughs…

Tony, Glenn and Kojak

Happy Christmas, folks and thanks for all your support!