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

The Special Criminal Court with ICCL’s Doireann Ansboro

Emergency legislation tends to become permanent, nowhere is this more evident than with the Special Criminal Court. Despite national and international human rights criticism, emergency legislation has been approved again for the 48th year in a row to keep the SCC. We are joined in the #tortoiseshack by Doireann Ansbro, Senior Research and Policy Officer with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) to discuss the origins, workings and deficits of the SCC. We ask why it is still in operation and has it become a political football.

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Access to Justice
Attracta Uí Bhroin

Just before the election Fine Gael tried to rush through a bill that would make it harder for the average person get access to justice. Guess what is or is not back on the table in the PfG?

We were delighted to be joined by Environmental Law Officer with the Irish Environmental Network, Attracta Uí Bhroin to talk about this, what it means and why we all need to cry stop! We also discuss the intentional vagueness of the PfG, but the certainty of the trade deals.

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It’s Not Easy
Being Green

Tony opens with a brief message for the #NotAllMen Bro’s, before Martin is joined by Medic, Chair of South Dublin County Council and Green Party member, Dr Laura Donaghy, to discuss the internal debate within the Green’s, the proposed Programme for Government and how Green politics has evolved.

Whatever the outcome on Friday, it is abundantly clear that many of their members know that climate policy is housing policy is health policy. How many? We’ll know soon enough.

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There’s a lot of admirable aspirations in the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Green Party PfG. But it also promises of 7 commissions, 6 task forces, 4 committees, 73 reviews, 2 working groups, 2 forums, 2 councils, 3 citizen’s assemblies, 2 agencies and 1 expert group.

So we were delighted to be joined by UCD Shool of Architecture’s Orla Hegarty and Technological University Dublin’s Lorcac Sirr to run an eye over it. As you’d imagine we went deep into the weeds on housing and looked at what it means for the Land Development Agency, housing delivery, homelessness and direct provision.

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Embracing Differences
Amanullah De Sondy

It was a great pleasure to be joined in The Tortoise Shack by author, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam, proud Glaswegian, adopted Corkonian and always impeccably attired, Amanullah De Sondy.

Aman tells us about his journey from Glasgow to Jordan to Miami to Cork. We discuss Islam, Catholicism, Paganism and the role religious studies has in our world today. Then Aman talks us through his ups and downs and shares his optimism, something that we could all do with a lot more of. We are very grateful to Aman for his time and can’t recommend this thought provoking interview enough.

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Ibrahim Halawa

As anti-racism protests continue around the world the “tone police” are desperately trying to reassert and protect the old power structures. To discuss this we are joined by former political prisoner, human rights activist and now law student, Ibrahim Halawa. Recorded in front an audience of our patreon supporters, we discuss Black Lives Matter, the microaggressions People of Colour face daily and why saying that Ireland is not as bad as the US is not an excuse for inaction.

Ibrahim is totally open and honest about his experiences and the impact this has had on his mental health.

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Trace, Track and Test
Liam Herrick

Martin and Caroline were joined in the #TortoiseShack by Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. The ICCL has issued a report containing 9 Principles vital to creating a fair and transparent Contact Tracing App. We discuss the app as it is currently proposed, whether it is fit for purpose and the dangers of mission creep. We also discuss the Garda emergency powers and protesting in a time of #Covid19.

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Police vs Protest
Jon Schwarz

Watching the sustained attacks on the Black Lives Matter protests in the US by both an increasingly militaristic police and an increasingly incoherent Divider in Chief, Donald Trump, you can’t but be filled with a sense that we’ve seen this ‘undermining playbook’ before. We are joined by reporter and writer with The Intercept and friend of the pod, Jon Schwarz, to discuss the ongoing events and his recent article – A Short History of U.S. Law Enforcement Infiltrating Protests.

Jon talks us through what is happening on the ground, the sense of exhaustion and a lot more.

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Tianna Bartoletta

The murder of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked protests across America and indeed the world. The actions of the Divider in Chief, President Donald Trump, have only exacerbated the problems. I’m joined in the tortoise shack by Team USA track and field athlete, 3 time Olympic Gold Medalist, 3 time World Champion and writer, Tianna Bartoletta, to discuss these events and the need for us all to meet this moment. As Tianna herself says, we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking that created them. It’s not enough to say ‘I’m not a racist’, we need to active anti-racists.

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Children’s Rights
Gareth Noble

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have affected children in ways that we don’t even yet understand. This is particularly the case for vulnerable children with special needs. Martin is joined by Solicitor, Gareth Noble of KOD Lyons, to discuss the issues and obstacles he is facing in representing children. Gareth explains how the Courts, Tusla and the Department of Children have reacted in these unprecedented times.

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Austerity isn’t
the Answer
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.

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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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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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