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
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.
David Robert Grimes is a physicist, cancer researcher and frequent writer and commentator on scientific topics. ***** I was talking in the last couple of podcasts about water charges, and the resistance to them, particularly in the light of the summer droughts, and there was quite a bit of feedback about those pieces. One of the main points that I was making was that water metering would discipline both the consumer and the supplier not to waste water. In podcast 75, I said this: And I probably should have known better than to rely on Irish Times figures without checking them out. One listener who did check them out was Brian Greene, and he pointed out that my comparison with the UK was wrong, because the figures from the Irish Times were per household, not per person, thanks to him for that. But my point that there was quite a big variation in water usage, and that these differences largely track wealth, is still valid, even if the figures are collected at the household level, rather than the individual level. I think that Brian was on the same page as Brendan Ogle of Right 2 Water, who I talked to in podcast number 78. Brendan’s take was that there just isn’t much slack in the system, there isn’t much conservation that consumers can do to moderate water use. So all this inspired me to go to the source, pardon the pun, and have a look at the raw water consumption figures and see if they told a tale; could we work out whether there is a justification for water metering. So I went to the CSO, and special thanks to Linh Nolan of the CSO who dug out the information for me and… oh, boy. What I got was the data from water meters, for 2015 and 2016 – 2017 isn't ready yet. It’s divided into centiles, that’s to say grouped by each percent, the 1 per cent who are the lowest users, the next lowest percent and so on to the hundredth centile, the highest users, so it’s quite fine grained. One figure that screams out is that, get this, in 2015, the hundredth centile accounted for more than a 25 per cent of all the domestic water use. Get that – a quarter of all the domestic water supply, used by less than one per cent of households. The figures show that there is gigantic variation between the amounts of water used by different households. Now, we have to be careful with the figures, because for sure the bottom few centiles are almost certainly dwellings that are vacant for some or all of the year in question – the bottom centile averages only one litre...
Brendan Ogle is the spokesperson for Right2Water, and is Unite the Union's Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland. ***** In the last podcast I had an interview with presidential candidate Gemma O’Doherty, and I have to say that I found the reactions to it pretty depressing. There was a twitterstorm in a teacup with a series of journalists making what I thought were incredibly petty complaints. In particular they complained of Gemma doing an undercover story several years ago that exposed some crisis pregnancy agencies advising clients on how to obtain and smuggle into Ireland abortion pills – which were illegal at the time – into the state. Now, whatever you think of abortion, it’s pretty remarkable that a crisis pregnancy agency would advise someone to break the law, and reporting on that is absolutely a journalistic thing to do. Kitty Holland of the Irish Times in particular laid at Gemma O’Doherty’s door a tasteless joke on Twitter shared by someone who apparently supports Gemma. Now, I can see that if Gemma O’Doherty had shared a tasteless joke, then she might be justifiably criticised, but criticising her for a bad joke from a supporter of hers, that’s just nonsense, and it exposes an agenda on the part of Kitty Holland. If Kitty Holland is so short of stories to report, she might do better to cover something like the garda commissioner being called as a witness in a case that centred on him personally benefiting from garda corruption – that was a story that made international headlines, but not a single word was printed about it in the Irish Times. All that said, I don’t think that Gemma O’Doherty – or anyone else – is above criticism.
Gemma O'Doherty worked for the Irish Independent for 17 years before being dismissed following her investigation of the penalty points scandal. Since then she has worked as an independent journalist on a number of high-profile scandals and particularly on failed murder investigations. On 19 August, she announced her intention to seek nominations to be a candidate in the forthcoming presidential election. Amongst other stories, Gemma has investigated the cases of Mary Boyle, a then-seven-year-old missing from Co Donegal since 1977, presumed murdered, and Fr Niall Molloy, who was beaten to death in a savage attack during a house party in 1985. Both cases are suspected to have political connections; the gardaí have failed to pursue leads in the cases, and many media outlets seem reluctant to cover this aspect of the stories. In our conversation I mentioned her sharing of a video by Jerry Beades; claims that Hillary Clinton conspired to send secret messages to NBC debate host Lester Holt, and tweets featuring a conspiracy theory that Clinton was seriously ill during the 2016 US presidential election, which was fabricated by the Internet Research Agency, an arm of Russian military intelligence.
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is a Labour Party senator and former TD. ***** I wanted to comment a bit about the controversy that blew up in the UK last week about Boris Johnson’s comment about Muslim women who wear burkas. Boris Johnson, in case you don’t know, is the Tory Brexiteer who resigned in protest that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chequers plan wasn’t hardline enough. Now, everything about Johnson’s behaviour in regards to Brexit suggests that he has little or no principled beliefs on the matter and is just using it as a leverage to try to get himself into her job, but that’s a different story. Johnson started a controversy when he said that women who wear the niqab or burka look like bank robbers or letterboxes. Let’s be clear about terms here, by far the majority of Muslim wo men who wear headscarves wear a hijab, or something similar, which basically covers their hair and neck. Some go further and wear a niqab, which includes a veil which exposes only their eyes, and the most extreme, notably in Afghanistan under the Taliban, wear a burka, which even covers the eyes with a semi-transparent gauze. It’s worth noting that women covering their hair is by no means confined to the Islamic world. It’s common in more traditional areas, like in Greece or Armenia – both Christian – for women to wear scarves in public. It’s pretty common in Russia too, particularly in more rural areas, and it would have been quite normal in Ireland up to maybe 50 years ago. I have a couple of views about this. Firstly, for people in the west, I don’t like the idea of people wearing special clothes to mark out the fact that they are of a minority religion. I don’t confine that to Muslim women; the right-wing American commentator Ben Shapiro has defended the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab, pointing out that he wears a kippah, the Jewish skullcap. I disagree with Muslim women wearing a hijab in public, I disagree with Ben Shapiro or other Jewish men wearing a kippah in public, because I think that it is bad for the cohesion of society to have some people marking themselves out as not ‘normal’, with the rest of us by corollary, being ‘normal’. To be clear, I think that people have the right to wear a kippah or a hijab, I don’t want any laws to prevent them from wearing them, they have a perfect right to make that choice; but I have a right to disagree with that cho...
John Leahy became leader of Renua Ireland in September 2016. I spoke to him about aspects of his policies set out on the Renua website, including the proposal to Introduce 90-day detention orders for those Gardai suspect of being actively involved in preparations to murder another or of being responsible for directing the activities of an organised criminal gang. Jailing people for any length of time because of what gardaí suspect that they might do in the future would almost certainly be unconstitutional. Also, Renua will campaign for the return of national vetoes over all policy areas and the abandonment of Qualified Majority Voting [and] ... introduce an Australian-type points system for inter-EU migration. We do not believe that the free movement of people is an essential element of any customs union. There is no prospect of implementing any of these policies without first leaving the EU. ***** I like free stuff. I think everyone does. Even when it’s not really free. I was on holiday recently in a hotel where they did breakfast as one of those buffet things where you can collect whatever from a huge array of food. There was pancakes, every type of cereal, cooked breakfasts, scrambled eggs, different breads, hot croissants and pastries, cake – cake for breakfast – cheeses and I dunno what else. I ate myself stupid. Some people have the presence of mind to just collect a couple of things that they want. I don’t have that sort of self-control. And the worst of it was that I wasn’t even able to eat half the things that I collected, even by stuffing myself, so I either had to eat myself even sicker, or watch it go to waste. And the food wasn’t even all that good. It looked appealing, but the pancakes were stodgy, the scrambled eggs were cold – and it was clear that I wasn’t the only glutton, there was a huge amount of food being wasted in the place. I wouldn’t mind so much, but I'm normally pretty good with avoiding that type of waste. I'm the type of person who goes to the supermarket with a shopping list, I buy what I need, I freeze leftovers. We really don’t do food waste in our house. So what comes over me at the breakfast buffet? Economists actually have an explanation for this. They have a saying: Unpriced resources will be wasted. That basically means that if we’re not paying for it, we’re not careful with it. We saw this in spectacular fashion years ago with the plastic bag levy. When it was introduced,