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.

Paddy Cole #HardLabour Ep.23

Martin and Tony are delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by trade unionist, SIPTU worker, Labour national executive member, defender of the badge, stirrer of pots, proper bearded Lefty and soon to be a father, Paddy Cole.

They discuss:
Labour in power 2011-16.
Whether it’s fair that Labour as the minority party in government get the majority of the blame.
What now for the party?
Paddy talks about the Trade Union movement and why only a bottom up, rather than top down, approach can bring about real change.
This is a tough and sometimes thorny conversation, but we are very grateful to Paddy for coming on, taking the hits and to be able to give them back.

Some strong language and some even stronger opinions throughout.

Simon McGarr #DataScientist Ep 21 pt2

Welcome to part 2 of our chat with Lawyer and Data Specialist, Simon McGarr. This, in our opinion, is the definitive conversation on the topic of personal data and the Public Services Card.

This part covers the PSC Card, the Demographics of the Pope’s Children and a very important, VERY IMPORTANT, statistical method of tackling societal issues. Make sure you stay tuned in for a special message from Simon at the end.

Knowledge is power – France is Bacon?

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

Echo Chamber Podcast: Ep 16 Aaron Vallely

Martin and Tony are joined in the tortoise shack by writer, journalist and essayist Aaron Vallely. Aaron writes for the Huffington Post and has also written for counter-punch, head-stuff and the new statesman among others. He is best known for his work on pop culture and is a passionate voice for the arts.

They discuss:
Aaron’s experience of New York and the rise of Donald Trump.
The #MeToo phenomenon and how it has empowered so many people and Aaron relates his own personal experience.
The Creative Ireland Arts Fund and where the money really goes.
The 8th Committee and the likely next steps.
And Arron gave us his 2 recommendations to watch over the Christmas.

Aaron is a complete gentleman and we apologise for the strong language.

Please support the Gaelic Voices for Change Solidarity Sleep-out by donating what you can by clicking here

Echo Chamber Podcast: Ep 15 Mary McAuliffe


As part of their series of podcasts on the Homelessness Crisis, Martin and Tony are joined by Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Gender Studies, Mary McAuliffe.
Mary is a former president of the Women’s History Association of Ireland. She is a tireless feminist activist and is also a great follow on twitter.

They discuss:
The “inconvenient” voices of women and feminism.
They look at the issue of homelessness and “family hubs” via the prism of our history of warehousing our most vulnerable.
Mary advocates for the naming of the children’s to be: The Kathleen Lynn Hospital.
The changing of Ireland from a Catholic Theocracy, to a Neoliberal Ideology.
They discuss the need for us to own our past and why selling the old Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street to a hotel chain is a BIG mistake.
Above all else, Mary hammers home the point that throughout our History, and up to today, we convict poor people of poverty.

Mary is a passionate and cogent voice for feminism and an advocate for changing and challenging patriarchal power structures.

It’s a great and inconvenient listen…

Martin, Mary and Dobbie the Elf