Here's How ::: Ireland's Political, Social and Current Affairs Podcast
Summary: Here's How is Ireland's political, social and current affairs phone-in podcast. You can air your views by recording a message on on our voicemail line, and presenter William Campbell will play the best calls in the show each week. Contribute your views to the Here's How Podcast - dial +353 76 603 5060 and leave a message, or email your recording to podcast@HeresHow.ie. All views are welcome, and two- to three-minute with a single clearly-argued point are preferred. Find full details and tips on how to leave a good message at www.HeresHow.ie/call
Paul Cullen is the Health Editor of the Irish Times. His article headlined Almost 70% of cyclists without helmet at time of head trauma, appeared on the front page of IT last month. The article was sharply criticised in online discussion, including in this article by Cian Ginty. In our discussion, I mentioned a number of articles and scientific studies, including this analysis of the reporting of deaths of vulnerable road users by Joe Lindsey, and this study by Kelcie Ralph et al. I also mentioned that international and Irish studies indicate - contrary to popular imagination - motorists break traffic laws more frequently than cyclists. A study by Dr Alexa Delbosc from of the Monash Institute of Transport Studies, Department of Civil Engineering concluded that "Around half of non-cyclists view cyclists as ‘less than fully human’", and that these "dehumanization measures were significantly correlated with aggression toward cyclists." ***** Francis Rawls is in an American prison. And that’s where he’s staying. He lost his case at the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. So what has he been convicted of? Nothing. Rawls, a former Philadelphia police officer has been in jail 17 months because he invoked the Fifth Amendment, he said he wouldn’t give self-incriminating information to police investigating him. But the Fifth
The Social Fabric podcast is created by Andrea Splendori, and I'm sharing it in the Here's How feed to give you a chance to hear a sample episode. If you like it, you can subscribe on his website here.
Dr Katherine O'Keefe is an author, and the director of training and a management consultant with Castlebridge, a data privacy and information governance consultancy. Our discussion referred to a twitter thread by Katherine and another by solicitor Simon McGarr. ***** It’s probably just dumb luck, but I made two pretty accurate predictions about the byzantine machinations over the Brexit deal – or non-deal – in British politics. Firstly back on 9 May, before the first of the three House of Commons votes on Theresa May’s failed deal to leave the EU, I pointed out that that single vote meant that she was finished. The defeat was – as turned out to be the case – too big for her to overturn, and no prime minister could long outlive such a defeat, and that this outcome led inextricably to a takeover by a hardline Brexiteer, David Davis, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, or most likely Boris Johnson, and thereby a very hard Brexit. Then on 21 May, as the polls were showing that the Brexit party would perform strongly in the European elections, at the expense of the Conservatives, I predicted that would influence the election of the new Conservative leader, and make it certain that whoever took the hardest Brexiteer line would win. Two weeks later, May announced her only slightly voluntary intention to resign, and six weeks after that Johnson was elected, on a platform of saying that he would prefer to be dead in a ditch rather than delay Brexit past Halloween; and his half-hearted efforts to play the role of someone involved in serious negotiations haven't fooled anyone. Now we have the UK Supreme Court ruling that his effort to close down parliament, and prevent those pesky MPs from interfering with his cunning plans are illegal. So what’s going to happen next Mystic Meg? Is there going to be a deal,
Brigid Laffan is currently Director and Professor at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Director of the Global Governance Programme and of the European Governance and Politics Programme at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence. She was previously Professor of European Politics at University College Dublin. While she was there she was Vice-President of UCD and Principal of the College of Human Sciences. Brigid Laffan Photo: European University Institute She also is an organiser of the annual State of the European Union conference in Florence, which has a high power guest list including the president of the European Commission, president of the European Council and president of the European Parliament. She was the founding director of the Dublin European Institute and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. She was a member the Fulbright Commission and has been awarded the UACES Lifetime Achievement Award, the THESEUS Award for outstanding research on European Integration, and she’s received the Ordre national du Mérite from the President of the France. ***** I just want to follow up on a couple of the things that Brigid said there. The first point to address is where she said that she wasn’t giving me ‘permission’ to use the interview. That has no validity whatsoever. I told her very clearly that I was recording an interview for the podcast, and even if I didn’t, I don’t need permission from her or anyone else to do so. I can think of a lot of politicians who would like to withhold permission to report some things they had said. We don’t have very robust media independence in Ireland, but we’d have none at all if anyone could veto coverage of themselves. But on the substantive point, the Santer Commission, which resigned en masse in 1999, in my view is a very relevant topic for discussion because the method of nominating commissioners has not substantially changed since. Each government chooses one politician who they send to become a commissioner, basically a Europe-wide minister for something in the way that Phil Hogan is the European Commissioner for Trade. As I mentioned to Brigid, commissioners have immunity from prosecution for any crime in any EU country. That’s not so surprising when it comes to international officials like ambassadors, they couldn’t work in other countries if the host governm...
Harry Todd is senior research executive at Get Britain Out, previously worked as campaign manager for Conservative Party. He was also the national ground campaign manager for Leave means Leave. I fact-checked some of the things that Harry said in the interview including that the EU required member states to maintain a VAT rate of a minimum of 17 per cent. In fact the UK VAT rate is 20 per cent, much higher than the minimum standard VAT rate that the EU allows, which is 15 per cent. It is the UK government that chooses to set it at a higher rate. But that is the minimum standard rate, EU rules also allow member state governments to set lower rates for specific items, as low as 5 per cent, and that female hygiene products can be included in this much reduced rate, and there is a specific proposal in the works to set this to zero. ***** I don’t like knocking other podcasts, particularly other Irish podcasts, but I heard one thing a while back that I’ve been thinking about, and just have to comment. You’ll probably remember the Maria Bailey swing case against the Dean Hotel. The Fine Gael TD sued the hotel because, she claimed, in 2015 she hurt her wrist when she fell off a swing there. It’s clear that she had drink taken at the time, and was holding drinks in both hands, this was confirmed because the hotel had CCTV footage of the incident. However, Bailey claimed that the hotel was negligent because the hotel had not provided staff to supervise her drunken antics. Maria Bailey is certainly an idiot, but there are lots of idiots in Ireland, so that’s not really worth commenting on. In Bailey’s legal submissions she illustrated her injuries by claiming that she had not been able to run at all for three months after the fall. In fact she ran a 10k race in less than 54 minutes, a pretty impressive time, less than three weeks after the fall. And on a subsequent interview with Seán O Rourke on RTÉ,
I talked to Cormac Halpin, chief statistician with the CSO about the upcoming census. ***** Let’s do a bit of science. Maybe, like me, you have had various social media invaded by people making all sorts of complaints about something called 5G. That’s the newest mobile data standard. Unless you are really special, that doesn’t work on your phone yet, but the networks are being installed, and newer handsets using them will be available soon, probably starting at the top end of the price range. 5G just means the fifth generation, the first was basic mobile phones, the second was text messaging, 4G allows internet, and 5G will allow you to control the space shuttle, or something. If you click too far into Facebook or YouTube, you’d be forgiven for thinking that an apocalypse was planned, something between the worst nightmares of the antivaxxers and those people who say that their thoughts are controlled by the CIA via a chip in their brain. So I really just want to give the basic scientific information here. 5G is data transmitted over radio waves. Just like any other form of data transmitted through the air, mobile phone voice or data signals, FM radio, broadcast TV or your home wifi. All of them are, technically, radiation. So is light – by which I mean the light that your eyes use to see things around you, and so are magnetic waves, the ones that spin the needle on a compass. Some conspiracy theorists have been saying vague things that imply that 5G uses some weird special type of radiation that is dangerous or untested. In reality, 5G uses frequencies that are already in use by home wifi systems and digital TV broadcasts. Sure, the content of that signal is new technology, but the content of the signal has no relevance to the frequency it’s broadcast on. So where does that all collide with radiation that we know can kill us? Basically, the electromagnetic spectrum is split in two halves – ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation is too weak to strip the electrons off atoms, so it doesn’t create ions. Ionizing radiation is the dangerous stuff. It can knock electrons off atoms and break molecules, like your DNA, which can trigger cancer. All radiation fits on a spectrum, the
Denis Duff, author of the website Better Environment with Nuclear Energy. He's also a mechanical engineer with 30 years experience in ESB power generation, and is now an independent engineering consultant in Ireland and abroad. I mentioned projections of how long global uranium deposits - known and unknown - are likely to last, at the current rate of consumption, in which nuclear provides 4 per cent of global energy. Death rates in energy production show that by that measure, nuclear energy produces by a huge margin the lowest number of deaths per unit of electricity produced, however as I pointed out, this does not include the deaths that may happen in the future that are attributable to nuclear power use now or in the past; Denis pointed out that the figures for fossil fuels don't include any deaths arising from climate change. ***** If, when I say TikTok, your mind goes to a clock, then you are not in the demographic for TikTok, but if you’ve heard that music in the background, screeching out of mobile phones in your house, then somebody close to you probably is. TikTok is a video-sharing app, with a very young demographic. It’s got something approaching a billion users, and that’s not counting the users of a parallel app in China called Douyin, which is basically identical, except firewalled off, to comply with Chinese censorship laws. To put that in context, Facebook took almost eight years to get to a billion users. TikTok won’t be three years old until September. The videos are limited to 15 seconds in duration, and as you might expect they normally center on music and youth culture. If you want to feel old, download it and swipe through a few videos. Users who get more than 1,000 followers unlock a feature that allows you to do live streams to all of those followers, and broadcast live video to them. So far, so standard social media. But the other aspect of TikTok is the ability to send virtual gifts.
Fergal Mulligan is the Programme Director at National Broadband Plan at the Department of Communications. ***** That’s audio from an Egyptian news channel called Extra news, it’s in Arabic of course. That clip is 17 seconds long, and it’s a news item that, in Arabic, contained 42 words. As I understand it, it was broadcast only once on Extra News, the exact same number of times that it was broadcast on all other Egyptian news channels. And with the exact same text. To the word. And, every Egyptian newspaper ran the same story, 42 words long, word for word. The news was about the death of Mohamed Morsi. Morsi was the first, and so far only, democratically elected president of Egypt. He won the 2012 elections after the Tahrir Square protests, part of the Arab Spring uprising and that swept through the Arab world nearly a decade ago now. The Arab Spring was a protest by a mixture of people, democrats, liberals, economic reformists, and Islamists who were against the corrupt elites that ruled – and in many cases still rule – the Arab countries. The Egyptian army, the real controlling force in the country, saw the way things were going, deposed the longtime dictator, and allowed largely free elections. They didn’t go to script. Morsi led the Freedom and Justice Party, and organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The party weren’t Islamic extremists, they confirmed that they were happy for women and Egypt's minority Christians to serve in government, but they were by no means what people who wanted Egypt to move towards the western democratic model would have hoped for, although he seemed to be firmly against corruption. He lasted a year. The Army, which controls a huge chunk of the Egyptian economy, with zero oversight, staged a coup, arrested Morsi, and have imprisoned him ever since, on a whole series of charges. He was on trial last month for those charges when he died, apparently of a heart attack. This is how the Egyptian media announced his death.
Declan McLoughlin is a senior manager and the head of communications at the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The Times - but not RTÉ - reported on the disgraced cardinal, Seán Brady, who covered up the crimes of the rapist priest Brendan Smith, meeting Pope Francis at Dublin Airport. Communicorp, owned by Dennis O'Brien owns: * Dublin's 98FM* Newstalk* SPIN 1038* SPIN Southwest* Today FM There are 39 radio stations licenced to broadcast from Los Angeles - this does not count all the stations that can be heard in Los Angeles broadcasting from other locations. DAB began in Ireland in 2006, but has atrophied since. By contrast more than half of all radio listening in the UK is on digital, and 100 per cent in Norway. Note to world-at-large: 'balanced coverage' doesn't mean each side being happy with its hearing. Sometimes it means one side getting spanked— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) January 24, 2017
Graham Doyle Deputy Commissioner, and Head of Communications with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. ***** This is audio from one of the count centres in the local elections. The people ah singing are from People Before Profit who lost most of their council seats, but they’ve come across housing minister Eoghan Murphy and they’re letting him know exactly what they think of some of the proposed solutions to the housing crisis. In case you haven't seen the video, which was tweeted by Irish Times journalist Jack Power, there are a dozen or more people chanting, and they’re at most two or three meters away from Murphy. In between them are a handful of uniformed gardaí who make a barrier, but the incident petered out and everyone went on their way. “You can stick your co-living up your arse” protesters chant at Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy at count centre pic.twitter.com/4BaiyBIEuJ— Jack Power (@jackpowerIT) May 26, 2019 We don’t know how lucky we are. Eoghan Murphy is a senior cabinet minister, one of the most powerful men in the country. We live in a time and place where people can chant their disapproval of him at full volume in the strongest terms, and then go about their business. I'm reminded of the case of Niall Dillon, a Dublin man who was arrested and convicted for begging in 2003. He challenged the constitutionality of the law, and said that sitting outside the shop with a cup in a quiet and peaceful manner was a right that every citizen should have. The courts agreed. They said that unobtrusively asking passersby for money was just exercising his constitutionally-protected right to free speech. The government was forced to change the law to only outlaw begging that was in some way aggressive or threatening to the public. Just think about that for a moment. A beggar takes on the might of the state. The most humble challenges the most powerful in the land. And wins. Take a moment to consider just how unusual
Dani McCabe is a member of the steering group of Standing 4 Women. We discussed several court cases surrounding the Cervical Check controversy. ***** I wrote a piece on the website last December about Brexit, with the title that might have sounded a little pessimistic. It was called It’s Over. Brace for Catastrophe. There’s No Hope. At this point, I don’t think that was pessimistic. . At this point, I don’t think that was pessimistic. I can’t see any plausible way forward for the UK that does not lead to disaster, to further disaster. Nobody knows exactly what will happen, just like nobody knows exactly which cups and plates a bull in a china shop will smash, but we don’t need to know those details, to know that it isn’t going to end well. It seems pretty clear now that Theresa May will be gone in a fortnight. The thing that will happen between now and then is what? The fourth doomed vote on her deal with the EU? No. Well, yes it will happen but it’s not relevant, the outcome is certain and it will change nothing. The thing that will happen between now and then is the European Parliament elections. This will have a much more profound impact on UK politics. We can see what’s going on in the polls. At the time of writing, the Nigel Farage fan club, otherwise known as the Brexit party is a mile in front with 35 per cent. Back nearly 20 points comes the Lib Dems, on 16, then Labour on 15, then the Greens on 10, have you worked out what’s missing yet? Something not quite normal? Yes, behind them all, in fifth place come the Conservatives with a whopping nine per cent of the vote. And it’s not just the voters who are refusing to support the Conservative Party. 40 per cent of Tory councillors have
Rowan Croft runs the YouTube political channel Grand Torino. He says that he's politically centre-right, not extreme right or alt-right, though his channel heavily features figures such as Justin Barrett of the National Party and formerly of Youth Defence, Herrmann Kelly of Irexit, Jim Dowson, the former BNP and Orange Order member who has been involved in supplying equipment to paramilitary vigilanties hunting asylum-seekers crossing the Turkish-Bulgarian border. During the interview, we talked about Rowan's faith in Qanon, a bizarre online conspiracy theory which holds that there exists no investigation into Donald Trump conspiring with Russian intelligence, and that the Mueller investigation is, in fact, a cover for investigating how Hillary Clinton and many of her top associates are pedophiles who have abused and murdered dozens of children. Both Rowan and the anonymous online source 'Q' have made many predictions to prove their access to inside knowledge. No substantial prediction has come true. Several people got in touch with me on twitter to say that they didn’t want me to play it at all. The guest is controversial for reasons you will understand when you hear it, but I don’t dismiss lightly the people who don’t think it should be included at all. The guest, by the way, is Rowan Croft, the YouTube political commentator who says that he is ‘centre-right’. Decide on that for yourself. I'm not a fan of no-platforming, but I think that it is important take care who you give attention to. It’s all too easy for media to get clicks by featuring the most outrageous speakers, without caring that, in doing so, they shift the centre ground of debate, and make people who are only a little less extremist seem reasonable by comparison. But that’s not the only consideration, and it’s not the only mechanism at work here. Whether they are religious cults or political extremists, it is a well-worn tactic to select for promotion the most mild and reasonable-sounding of their beliefs. They wait to reveal the most extreme of
Dr Michael Foley is professor emeritus at the school of media at TU Dublin – formerly DIT – also a member of the NUJ’s Ethics Council, and has been invited by the International federation of Journalists and UNESCO to write a syllabus on journalism safety and ethics. ***** Because of the detailed nature of the podcast, I sent a rough cut of the show to Neil O’Gorman of RTÉ in advance for his comments a couple of days before publication, and invited his comments. Below is Neil’s response, with interjections in italics from myself. Thank you for sending in advance. I have three comments/asks:Given that your podcast is themed around bias and journalistic ethics, it is both misleading and unethical to not disclose upfront that the conversation with me was recorded without my knowledge. It is essential that you highlight this at the front of the piece in the interests of full disclosure and potential impact on my professional reputation.On this same point, was Michael Foley informed that the conversation he has just heard was recorded without my knowledge, particularly as he is presented as an expert in ethics in journalism? In the podcast it's clear from my comments and the audio that I didn’t tell Neil in advance that I would record the call. RTÉ’s guidelines for its own journalists say secret recording is justified where there is “evidence of behaviour, or intention to carry out behaviour, that it is in the public interest to reveal”. I emailed Neil at length and made it clear to him that I believe RTÉ, a public body in receipt of hundreds of millions of euro in public funds, have a duty to respond to valid queries. Despite repeated clarifications, Neil refused to respond meaningfully to a several questions regarding RTÉ’s compliance with its own rules. In particular I asked Neil to give a narrative explanation of how RTÉ arrive at conclusions which seem to fly in the face of known facts. Neil declined. I feel it is fully justified to use the recording of Neil to illustrate that fact. Given that your podcast is themed around bias and ethics in journalism; dismissing responses – fully approved official RTÉ responses - as ‘PR guff’ without sharing those responses is disingenuous and also misleading. In particular, we have stated clearly that this is not a sponsorship.
Jamie Bryson is the editor of Unionist Voice and a prominent Loyalist activist. ***** Homelessness has been in the news a lot recently, as it deserves to be. In most normal societies, even though it’s not really polite to say so, homelessness, in the sense of people living on the streets, or very marginal accommodation, is a very different issue to the high prices in the rental and property market, and difficulty for people in finding a place to live. The bottom line is that, in most normal societies – to the extent that people living on the streets can be regarded as a normal thing –that type of homelessness is isn’t an accommodation issue, it’s not really a housing issue, it’s a mental health issue, often closely associated with alcoholism and drugs of abuse. People, when threatened with losing their accommodation can usually access social services, or at worst find a friend or relative who can put them up on a couch until they get sorted. People who have addiction and other mental health issues find it much harder to do that – often because their problems have alienated them from those support networks. They have problems,we need to address those problems, but actual housing isn't the issue. It is a sign of how serious our situation is that people who are clearly together in other areas of their lives – they have relationships, children that they care for, we have homeless children, think about that, children who are homeless – and that’s a sign of how serious the situation is. For thousands of people, the reason that they are homeless is that there just isn't a home for them. That’s not normal by any standard. And we have so many suggestions for a solution to the housing crisis. Podcast listeners might know about Dr Karl, if you don’t, then look him up, he’s worth it. Anyway, he’s a medical doctor, and one observation that he likes to make is that if a disease has one cure, then it probably works. If a disease has many cures, probably none of them work. The reason is simple, if you have a cure that works, why bother researching to find a second one? And if you have more than one cure, surely one works better than the others,
Richard Tice is a British businessman, heavily involved in property management and development, and is best known as founder of the pro Brexit organisation Leave Means Leave and former co-chair of the referendum campaign group Leave.EU. He wrote recently that May’s deal is the worst deal in history. Richard queried my quote from David Davis that “my preference would be that we should remain within the Customs Union of the EU”, even if this meant the UK would have to “give up some freedoms in terms of negotiating our trading arrangements with third countries.” In fact that statement is still on David Davis' website. ****** I was talking over the weekend to some people who could loosely be described as politicians, and we were discussing the mathematics of Theresa May getting her newly-signed Brexit deal through the British parliament, or not as it seems. Some British sources – it’s hard to tell whether they are May supporters or opponents, but some British sources are talking about a second vote in their parliament, perhaps a few weeks after the first vote, and that enough pressure would be inflicted on enough of the waverers to get the thing passed. There is one point that I think they are missing – if one vote going the wrong way in the parliament can be overturned when necessary, then why not do the same with the public vote, the referendum result, especially now given that the British public seem to have at least some idea what Brexit will result in, which wasn’t the case in 2016. But that’s just one of the options if the vote goes against May’s deal, as seems almost certain. I should put in a rider here, there have been knighthoods being given out in the strangest of ways in the past couple of weeks. Also, whatever the commitment of the DUP to the Union, I don’t think much of the argument that they will vote for the deal to avoid a Corbyn government, but I do think that their commitment to the queen is only surpassed by their commitment to the queen’s shilling; they can be bought, the only question is the price. But let’s assume that the vote goes down.