The Echo Chamber Podcast

The Echo Chamber Podcast, hosted by Tony Groves and Martin McMahon, brings you the voices you need to hear from the Venn Diagram of News, Politics and Culture. Always serious, yet always entertaining, we explore the issues of the day, the problems facing us in society and talk real solutions in a way you won’t hear anywhere else. Often irreverent, each episode aims to bring a unique perspective, break through the PR fog and set the record straight. This is Ireland as it is and Ireland as it can be. So join the fastest growing independent News and Politics podcast. You won’t be sorry you did. Enjoy!

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The Echo Chamber Podcast is available now to download from iTunes and Soundcloud

Austerity isn’t the Answer with Aidan Regan

The “we’re all in this together” mood music from government changed very quickly and the old economic orthodoxy has looked to reassert itself. Our guest is Associate Professor in UCD and columnist with the Sunday Business Post, Aidan Regan, and this is a must listen for both traditionalists and progressives.

Aidan breaks down how the old ideas no longer fit and how Ireland can use this crisis to reshape itself, and do so far a lot less than the austerity hawks would have you believe.

Please listen to this and remember it when you hear the insanity of returning to the path that left us with the highest income inequality in the OECD put forward as a solution to restarting the economy post the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Lifting LockDown
Prof. Joe Haslam

As Spain enters Phase 1 of lifting what was previously one of the most restrictive Covid-19 lockdowns, we go back to Madrid to speak with Professor Joe Haslam about how things are in the Spanish capital.

Joe outlines why the toxic political discourse is partly only a cover for an ideological battle between a (seemingly) competent Left Wing Government and a incoherent and angry Right Wing opposition. As you’ll hear, some of this is playing out on the streets and in a time when Spain needs to plan a way to rebuild its ailing economy, this is a very bad development.

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#GE2020 Pt2?
Dr Jennifer Kavanagh

How long can a caretaker government limp on for? What happens when the money runs out? Is it even possible to have an election under these extraordinary times?

Lecturer in Law in Waterford Institute of Technology and author of Constitutional Law in Ireland, Dr Jennifer Kavanagh, joins us to discuss all this and a lot more.

This conversation breaks down the breakdown in our democratic process and offers a common sense way for it to be fixed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Tara Flynn

In what was the 300th episode of the Echo Chamber, we were joined by actor, writer, comedian (available for voice-work) and good friend of the pod, Tara Flynn.

Recorded in front of a live (zoom) audience of tortoise shack members that was packed with lots of familiar faces and absolute sounders, this was as much an interview with Tara as it was a celebration of the last 299 episodes.

We want to sincerely thank you all for your support over the last few years and we hope to see more of you on the other side of this lockdown!

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Simone George

It was an absolute pleasure to sit down and chat with human rights lawyer, activist, advocate and TED talk speaker, Simone George. We discuss #StandForTruth and how her work with the Redress Board shaped her and the work that she would go on to do. Simone shares her insights into structural inequality, patriarchy and working on domestic violence issues.

Finally, Simone pays a beautiful tribute to her mother, Claudette, who passed away from a long illness only a few weeks ago during this most difficult of times. She was an incredible woman. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.

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Colette Bennett

Every year Social Justice Ireland submit an alternative budget that aims to tackle inequality, protect our most vulnerable and build a better society through a more sustainable economy. If only the government had listened.

Colette Bennett is a Research and Policy Analyst with Social Justice Ireland and she joined us to explain how a lot of our current public policy is pretty private and the steps we need to take to change that. Really enjoyed this conversation.

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The Arts Aren’t Dead
Emmet Kirwan

As part of our Live in Lockdown series we sat down with actor, writer, poet and friend of the pod, Emmet Kirwan, for a conversation about the health of the arts in Ireland. In Emmet’s own words, “It begins with art, but ends in real estate”.

We were joined by an audience of tortoise shack members and Emmet kindly hung around to answer questions on his work, the arts in education, tone policing and the cost of speaking out.

This was another great evening and we have more lined up this week.

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Lifting Lockdown
Joao Pina

Across the globe countries are trying to plot their way out of the Covid-19 lockdown. So we went back to Portugal to speak with friend of the shack and Deputy Vice-Leader of the Socialist Party (the Party of Government), Joao Pina, to ask how the EU’s most successful Left Wing Government are dealing with the task.

From talking about the need to abandon the EU’s fiscal rules, to ruling out a return to austerity and why a government must be humble and admit its mistakes, Joao didn’t disappoint. Martin also gives you his “get beach-body ready for summer” tips.

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John Tye
& Matthew Kenny

From the Trump impeachment to the Harvey Weinstein cases, the role of whistleblowers has been crucial in the uncovering of malfeasance and criminality. In both of these recent high profile cases legal counsel was given by members of Whistleblower Aid. Their founder and CEO, John Tye, who was himself a U.S National Security Agency whistleblower and Matthew Kenny, who is their Irish Legal Partner, joined us via zoom to discuss the work they do, why protections for whistleblowers are so important and why they are now offering this service in Ireland.

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The Leaving Cert
Thomas Byrne TD

Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East and party spokesperson for Education, Thomas Byrne, joined Martin and Ewan MacKenna of the Black Eye Podcast, to discuss the Leaving Cert and trying to make the best choices in difficult circumstances.

We also discuss Government formation, the unwillingness to work with Sinn Féin and the type of programme for government Thomas believes a FF/FG coalition will deliver. This is a strong and at times testy interview, but we appreciate Thomas taking the time to talk with us.

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Wendy Lyon

Tony was joined by immigration and human rights solicitor, Wendy Lyon to discuss Ireland’s immigration system and the struggle to get access to justice for those left living what can be a life stuck on pause for years.

We discuss the life limiting nature of Direct Provision and how the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated what was already a breach of human rights in the ugly for profit current model.
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Our next live in lockdown pod is tomorrow, Wednedsay the 13th at 7:30pm with Dublin Old School writer, actor and poet, Emmet Kirwan.

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Lenny Abrahamson

It was a great treat to be joined for another of our Tortoise Shack Live in #LockDown podcasts by filmmaker, director and Live Line content creator, Lenny Abrahamson. Caroline, Tony and Martin ask Lenny about the (unforeseen?) success of Normal People, the good and bad reactions to the sex scenes and the thought and care that went into the consent putting consent on screen.

We also get an insight into Lenny’s upcoming project, A Mans World – the Emile Griffith Story.

Then our brilliant members, including some familiar voices ask some terrific questions. Enjoy.

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The Green Dilemma
John Gibbons

While Martin is off sunning himself (in hospital), Tony talked with campaigning journalist and climate activist, John Gibbons about the price the Green Party must extract in order to enter government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

John talks about the need to be in government and the healthy scepticism we share for any deal with the two parties that have thus far specialised in producing plans to be great at something at sometime in the future.

The clock is ticking: Electoral Destruction or Climate Devastation?

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A Humanitarian Crisis
Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair

How can you stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic if you have nothing to eat? Our guest is Head of International Advocacy at Concern Worldwide, Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair and with over 12 years experience of working in some of the worlds poorest countries she understands that the hunger can be more deadly than the virus.

She outlines what Covid-19 means for humanitarian programmes, the impact it is having on those who are already extremely poor and how the economic impact has the potential to worsen these already difficult situations.

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Mary Lou McDonald
Live in #LockDown

On Wednesday Sinn Féin Leader, Mary Lou McDonald, joined us and an audience of Tortoise Shack members for a live podcast. We discuss the health of our democracy, the response of sections of our current system to the general election result and what Sinn Féin should and can be doing in these extraordinary times.

In this hour long conversation we talk about the challenges facing the country, the real changes the people who voted Left want to see, Covid-19 and a lot more. We end with some excellent questions from the audience.

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Ireland’s Renewable
Energy Potential
Dr Rory Monaghan

Just before the world ground to a halt and everything became about Covid-19, we were joined on the phone by lecturer in energy systems engineering in NUI Galway, Dr Rory Monaghan, to talk about Ireland’s potential for renewable energy. Given the Fianna Gael overtures to the Green Party we thought it timely for our listeners.

Rory explains where we stand currently, the advances in technology and the untapped resources that are just off our coastline. We also discuss the need for large scale investment into renewable energy, the fascinating tender process involved and the need to bring the public in on the plans.

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Seona Dillon McLoughlin
Access to Justice in Malawi

It was a great pleasure to be joined via zoom by Country Programme Manager in Malawi with Irish Rule of Law, Seona Dillon McLoughlin, to discuss the fascinating and crucial work they do in places like Malawi, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Seona explains how using the law helps tackle injustice, inequality and corruption. She also talks about the differences access to justice can make and the role they are playing now during the Covid-19 pandemic in what is one of the worlds poorest countries.

Really enjoyed this chat.

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Vicky Conway
Elizabeth Farries

In our first ever #TortoiseShackLive in Lockdown, Caroline, Tony and Martin were joined by Associate Professor at DCU Law & Gov and member of the Policing Authority, Dr Vicky Conway and Digital Rights Expert and Surveillance and Human Rights Lawyer with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Elizabeth Farries and lots of you, our Tortoise Shack family.

We talked the emergency powers given to the police, the UN Special Rapporteur’s letter about the Public Services Card and answered lots of great questions from the audience. Thanks so much to Vicky and Elizabeth for their time and to our brilliant and engaged members.

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The Political
Economics of Covid-19
Stephen Kinsella

Associate Professor of Economics at UL, Stephen Kinsella joined us to discuss the “economics” of the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil framework document, the EU’s actions in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, capital flight, tax havens and the O’Connell Street Spire.

We also discuss how wealth buys access, the need to broaden the tax base post Covid and how people will not accept austerity so soon after the end of the last economic crisis.

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Irish Traveller Movement
Emily Murtagh

In this short podcast recorded at the New Public Housing conference in NUI Maynooth, the Accommodation Policy Officer with the Irish Traveller Movement, Emily Murtagh, gives us an insight into the reality of Traveller accommodation, the statistics that show how disproportionately they are impacted by homelessness and reads some eye-opening testimonials about the real lived experiences of Traveller families.

The Covid-19 response has shown that the State can act quickly to provide adequate accommodation when faced with a pandemic. Once this crisis abates there can be #NoGoingBack

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Tech Support

If you are 65+ in Ireland and need help with your tech issues with smartphones, tablets, laptops then can help you. We were delighted to be joined by one of the volunteers behind this excellent and free service, John Harrington, to discuss how it works and how you (yes, you) can help. They are looking for volunteers and for you to get the word out to people who might benefit from this service.

It is amazing to see so many fantastic initiatives during this difficult time.

You can contact the team on: Freephone 01 9633288 on Twitter @Covid19_tech (or use the hashtag #TechHelpCovid19) or via their website

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Trump vs Reality
Jon Schwarz

From where we sit it looks like Donald Trump is ramping up his war on criticism of his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, rather than ramping up his governments response to it. So to get a better insight into these events we were delighted to be joined from Maryland via zoom by journalist and writer with the intercept, Jon Schwarz.

We discuss both the bizarre Trump Presidency, the current economic and societal situation in the US, the upcoming Presidential election and the very real worries we should all share about the future of American democracy.

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Homelessness In
A Pandemic

Ireland already had a housing and homelessness emergency before the Covid-19 pandemic. While the emergency response has received near universal acclaim we’d seen the number of people still sleeping on our streets still very high. So we caught up with Independent Dublin City Councillor and CEO of Inner City Helping Homelessness, Anthony Flynn, to discuss what is going right, what is going wrong and where is the money going to. We also discuss the lack of oversight at local government level and the feeling that the same old people are profiting from this crisis.

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Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh

As part of our ongoing look into the impacts of Covid-19 and our #NoGoingBack series we chatted with infectious diseases specialist and internal medicine physician, Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh. Clíona explains how those already most vulnerable in our society are the worst impacted by a pandemic like coronavirus. She explains how her research and work in St James’s Hospital on excluded people: homeless people, injecting drug users and other marginalised groups, shows the negative impacts our current support model has on immunity and overall health.

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The Archive

Enjoying our podcasts and want to hear more? Just visit our Archive Page where you’ll find links to many more hours of top quality content.

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