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.
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.
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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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.
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: https://www.theatreupstairs.ie/northern-lights
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#Threshold marks 40 years in existence this year and when you consider that they help keep 14 tenancies in place per week they are, sadly, needed more now than ever. We are joined in the #TortoiseShack by Andy and Lar, who work at the coalface; not only advocating to help tenants stay in there homes, but to introduce legislation that’ll provide more rights and security in the rental market.
We don’t think it’s unfair to say that without the intervention of Threshold the number of homeless people would be double the current atrocious level.
Homelessness is a 24/7, 365 failure of the State to meet Ireland’s housing needs and to recognise that a home is not just a commodity. Please dig deep during this festive season and donate to Threshold here – www.threshold.ie/donate
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There are lots of ways of looking after yourself. But our guest in the tortoise shack,(via Skype) British based Irish woman, scientist and ultramarathon runner, Jo Kilkenny takes her self care to extremes, one hundred mile plus extremes.
She shares with us her story and explains how 10 years ago a bad relationship led her to setting out to run 5km and how that coping mechanism evolved into running grueling 150 mile races.
She explains the line between endurance and insanity and the empowerment she discovered when it’s just you and the trail. This is a remarkable woman completing feats that seem superhuman. And Jo really is a super human.
Here in the tortoise shack we have a tendency to get a bit too caught up in the numbers. That’s why what our guest, writer, former (yeah right) musical comedian and totally cracked dad Aidan Comerford, does is so impressive. His twitter threads are things of beauty, telling simple stories that can help readers understand complex issues, make you laugh out loud or give you a that gut-punch you didn’t see coming.
Aidan is a fascinating person and that he is so open about his own struggles is a testament to his resilience and, indeed, his wife’s patience! We thoroughly enjoyed this conversation about an twitter personality, an award winning comic, a one time Damien Rice wannabe, a husband and a father.
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Artwork by @Ciaraioch
Change takes persistence, determination and an unwavering belief in what you are trying to achieve. Our guest in the tortoise shack is scholar, independent Senator and long-time civil rights activist, David Norris.
David has turned his ire towards the government policy of inviting in vulture funds and allowing them “pick the carcass” of mortgagees. Working with the Master of the High Court, Ed Honohan and Fianna Fail TD, John McGuinness, David is looking to introduce a Bill that will keep people in their homes and allow them equal access to the purchase of their loans.
David has had a well documented health scare recently and it was great to see him in full voice and kicking back against a system designed for Big Finance at the expense of the ordinary citizen.
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NAMA is right now looking for an institutional(vulture?)investor to pay €36m for a site with full planning permission for 460 apartments which the state will then rent back via Housing Assistance Payment, RAS etc… This is the economic ineptitude that is still continuing under the self-appointed fiscally responsible Fine Gael.
Our guests in the tortoise shack are Hilary Daly and Brian Leeson of Dundrum Housing Action. They outline how these high level deals are part of the continuing financialisation of the right to a home and a hollowing out of communities across this country.
They also outline that, despite what the Taoiseach has said recently, it is not “Hard Left” to want a safe and secure home.
Follow them on twitter @DundrumA
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