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Slugger O’Toole is an award winning news and opinion portal, which takes a critical look at various strands of political politics in Ireland and Britain.
Jul 29, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 10: Social science can help NI politicians catch up with where the people already are and want to be...
Rosa Luxemburg once observed that without all the components of democracy (elections, unrestricted free press and assembly, and free struggle of opinion), "public life gradually falls asleep, and a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy direct and rule". In Northern Ireland we certainly have elections (three of them last year alone). But after twenty years plus of on/off institutions politics there's a growing gap between the people and the political machines which appoint them to look after their interests. Who saw the 2019 Alliance surge coming? Mick had a notion three years ago ( https://twitter.com/mickfealty/status/838075305516498945 ) something was coming. But Professor Pete Shirlow tells me he saw evidence building within social science over the last ten years , but the bigger parties had become too insular to take it seriously. An insularity that means the DUP staunch social conservatism is now actively alienating young Protestants, whilst Sinn Féin's belief in the demography as a means of unification is undermined by the fact that identity amongst the young is far more fluid than its ever been. Mick is off for a few weeks now, but he'll be back in September with a new series of #CargoOfBricks ( https://sluggerotoole.com/tag/cargo-of-bricks/ ). In the meantime, catch up Cargo of Bricks and In Conversation and subscribe on Apple Podcasts ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/slugger-otoole/id1486015674 ) | Google Podcasts ( https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hcGkucG9kY2FjaGUubmV0L3Nob3dzL2Y1MTJhZTg4LWQzNzgtNGU4YS1hNjZjLTE1ZjYwMWYzZWRiZC9mZWVk ) , Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/show/64A1xhE3nUNTUC2ITFHHAn?si=xAv7sfktRGKNDnD2QJhYHQ ) , or wherever you get your favourite podcasts.
Jul 25, 2020
#InConversation - Brian O’Neill talks with Dr David Suitor about dentistry generally and the challenges of Covid-19.
Open wide, this week I chat with Dr David Suitor who has been a dentist in Belfast for over 17 years. We chat about the general state of dentistry in Nothern Ireland as well as the specific challenges of Covid-19.
1 hr 1 min
Jul 22, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 9: From library assistant in Belfast to Smash Hits boss in four years...
This week's guest, Barry McIlheney, grew up in Oldpark in North Belfast and became singer (or as he puts it, 'chief shouter in front') in a punk band with a bunch of school mates (including Davy McClarnon who's still about today) called Shock Treatment. For Barry Mac, as he is known these days, punk was a 'coming-out' more than 'shell shock' period, in which he learned he had a talent for writing and entertaining through the sheer exuberance and the torching of any notion of the right way of doing things. After punk died, he worked in the Oldpark library ( https://twitter.com/CarnegieOldpark ) (where he had "once learned to read, and therefore write") before moving to London for a journalism course at City University. Four years later he was editor of the big insurgent title of that era, Smash Hits. Throughout his career, Barry played a key role in some of the biggest magazine titles in the world, including being the founding editor of Empire Magazine. The rest, as they say, is history, much of which you'll find in this week's edition of #CargoOfBricks... See you next week. In the meantime, the best way to keep up with Cargo of Bricks and In Conversation, is to subscribe to Slugger on Apple Podcasts ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/slugger-otoole/id1486015674 ) | Google Podcasts ( https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hcGkucG9kY2FjaGUubmV0L3Nob3dzL2Y1MTJhZTg4LWQzNzgtNGU4YS1hNjZjLTE1ZjYwMWYzZWRiZC9mZWVk ) , Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/show/64A1xhE3nUNTUC2ITFHHAn?si=xAv7sfktRGKNDnD2QJhYHQ ) , or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
Jul 20, 2020
#SluggerTV - Campaign to Extend the Franchise for the Irish Presidency
Slugger's deputy editor David McCann discusses the campaign to extend the franchise for the Irish Presidency with Naomi O'Leary (Europe correspondent for The Irish Times and host of The Irish Passport Podcast) and Ben Kelly (from the Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad (VICA) campaign). Remotely recorded and edited by Alan Meban (@alaninbelfast).
Jul 17, 2020
#InConversation Brian O’Neill talks with Dr John Moriarty from Queen’s about changes to work patterns during Covid-19.
John is a fellow in the Centre for evidence and social innovation and a sociology lecturer School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queens University Belfast In the podcast we chat about the changes to the workplace from Covid 19.
Jul 15, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 8: Lockdown London and getting kettled outside Downing Street
Episode Eight of #CargoOfBricks ( https://sluggerotoole.com/tag/cargo-of-bricks/ ) is with Dublin born, London based historian, a public commentator on both Irish and British politics and prolific crime writer Ruth Dudley Edwards. Initially a lockdown sceptic, I was curious to hear how she had managed what was probably the oddest period of disruption in our post-war lives, and how life changed for her. In the free-flowing conversation which follows she talks about... * Although, she began defiantly anti lockdown, 'when the orders came' she quickly complied. Then, it seem to her, the world seemed to fill out with people who seem knew exactly what the right answer to Covid was, in deep contrast to her own growing sense of 'not knowing' and which quickly enveloped most European governments, including the UK and Ireland. * On her daily walk she began to learn poetry, starting with Davies' classic lines ( http://www.yourdailypoem.com/listpoem.jsp?poem_id=100 ) "we have no time to stop and stare". Slowing down, in St James' Park she became embroiled in the micro-politics of the wildfowl there. She met the hawk handler who showed her the kestrels nesting on Nelson's Column. In an otherwise empty London, people smiled, and made friends. * What began to fade was the shrillness of the media commentary and her normal life, "filled with politics, and 'now' and urgency and rush". If not listening to poetry it was podcast on bigger themes, and unexpected subjected. Confronted with genuine complexity and not actually knowing, she watched the media get more hysterical and gotcha journalism. She also mentions bumping into the first Black Lives Matter protest in London on the way back from visiting a friend and the sheer joy in the young protestors at being together in a just cause and how the lockdown has been quietly stealing our quality of life and storing up issues around mental health. So that's that. See you when I will be talking to retired publisher Barry McIlheney talking about his journey from Belfast's punk scene in the late 70s to the centre of London's pop culture. You can subscribe to Cargo of Bricks , Slugger TV, and our other podcasts on Apple Podcasts ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/slugger-otoole/id1486015674 ) | Google Podcasts ( https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hcGkucG9kY2FjaGUubmV0L3Nob3dzL2Y1MTJhZTg4LWQzNzgtNGU4YS1hNjZjLTE1ZjYwMWYzZWRiZC9mZWVk ) or Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/show/64A1xhE3nUNTUC2ITFHHAn?si=xAv7sfktRGKNDnD2QJhYHQ ) , where you can also catch up on previous Covid related episodes with the likes of Ian Parsley ( https://sluggerotoole.com/2020/05/27/podcast-cargoofbricks-talks-to-ian-parsley-on-northern-irelands-response-to-covid19/ ) , Graham Brownlow ( https://sluggerotoole.com/2020/06/03/on-cargoofbricks-graham-brownlow-says-economic-recovery-from-covid19-must-be-long-sighted-and-ambitious/ ) and Tina McKenzie ( https://sluggerotoole.com/2020/06/24/cargoofbricks-ep-5-after-the-covid-sledgehammer-can-northern-irelands-politicians-continue-to-lead/ ).
Jul 8, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 7: Cooperation, looking outwards and maximising Northern Ireland's advantage...
Episode Seven of #CargoOfBricks ( https://sluggerotoole.com/tag/cargo-of-bricks/ ) , is with Willie McCarter a man who brought Fruit of the Loom in from the US to expand his family business at a time when the Troubles were at their height and brought skilled jobs to both sides of the border. In it Willie tells us: * In the early 80s, with high-interest rates as governments tried to get inflation under control, the business was getting crushed on cost and prices. With IDA support, they looked for a joint venture with a US company "with deep pockets". * In a short time, they went from 400 employees to 3000, with six or seven plants in Donegal and two in Derry, producing a million teeshirts a week and 400,000 sweatshirts by adapting to new high volume tech and Fruit of the Loom's model. * Expansion of a yarn mill on the Derry side was the result of pressure from direct rule Minister Richard Needham and John Hume, commercial pressure from the US head office, and suspension of planning for IDB sponsored projects. Willie finished by saying that the case of setting up of transnational businesses in border areas like Donegal and Derry has never been more opportunity with the ability to access global markets through the UK and European ones through the Republic. Meantime, see you next week. You can subscribe to Cargo of Bricks , Slugger TV, and our other podcasts on Apple Podcasts ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/slugger-otoole/id1486015674 ) | Google Podcasts ( https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hcGkucG9kY2FjaGUubmV0L3Nob3dzL2Y1MTJhZTg4LWQzNzgtNGU4YS1hNjZjLTE1ZjYwMWYzZWRiZC9mZWVk ) or Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/show/64A1xhE3nUNTUC2ITFHHAn?si=xAv7sfktRGKNDnD2QJhYHQ ).
Jul 3, 2020
#InConversation Podcast - Brian O’Neill talks with Adam Turkington from Seedhead Arts about the arts sector in Northern Ireland.
In this podcast, I chat with Adam Turkington ( https://twitter.com/adamturks?lang=en ). Adam is a veteran of the arts scene who is best known as the Director of Culture Night in Belfast. He has since moved on to start his own compan y Seedhead Arts ( http://www.seedheadarts.com/ ). We bounce around from Culture Night to the 12th, from Universal Basic Income to 20 sided dice.
Jul 1, 2020
#Cargo Of Bricks 6: Closing the wealth gap to save the planet
In *Episode Six* of #CargoOfBricks ( https://sluggerotoole.com/tag/cargo-of-bricks/ ) , Mick speaks to Eric Lonergan ( https://twitter.com/ericlonners ) who, with Mark Blyth ( https://twitter.com/MkBlyth ) , in #Angrynomics ( https://amzn.to/3gczU8r ) critiques how populism exploits the vacuum between democratic politics and unregulated markets, and those markets and the real economy: * At the crux of the book, anger is one of the most powerful agencies within politics just now. It takes two forms: moral anger as in the witness of injustice and an improving agent within society and the second which acts as a tribal identity regulator. * As mainstream politicians have 'biased upwards', listening to the voices of the elite, rather than the poor, angry, frustrated, or distressed. Populism has moved into that gap to give such folks a public voice. And meaningful policy choice gets lost. * However, Governments can redistribute wealth to those who don't have it and use targeted low-interest rate loans to enable the private sector to drive an ambitious Green New Deal and enable governments to regenerate our starved public services. * Much food for thought for the new Irish government. Get a copy, preferably from your local bookshop (like No Alibis Books ( http://noalibis.com/ ) in Belfast) or, if you really have to , Hive ( https://www.hive.co.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAjwxev3BRBBEiwAiB_PWPZVU8jqA4rtU8Srq8yLlz796yNCCWvcucmhvhqrZiwsiSCcyQm0-hoC1IMQAvD_BwE ) , Amazon ( https://amzn.to/3gczU8r ) or some other online space. If you are (still) really passionate about democratic politics, you'll enjoy this very important book. Meantime, see you next week. You can subscribe to Cargo of Bricks , Slugger TV, and our other podcasts on Apple Podcasts ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/slugger-otoole/id1486015674 ) | Google Podcasts ( https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hcGkucG9kY2FjaGUubmV0L3Nob3dzL2Y1MTJhZTg4LWQzNzgtNGU4YS1hNjZjLTE1ZjYwMWYzZWRiZC9mZWVk ) or Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/show/64A1xhE3nUNTUC2ITFHHAn?si=xAv7sfktRGKNDnD2QJhYHQ ).
Jun 24, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 5: After Covid can Northern Ireland's politicians continue to lead in other areas of policy?
In episode five of Cargo of Bricks podcast, I spoke to Tina McKenzie who is the current chair of the FSB in Northern Ireland as well as CEO of Grafton Recruiting and honorary consul to Finland about how business had coped with the lockdown. Subjects included: * The fact that there was no time to plan for the massive disruption that lockdown would bring, that businesses had some big decisions to make without a lot of guidance from government in London or Belfast. It was a leap into the unknown. * But working from home has forced a radical rethink of how her business operates. Outputs became the key focus, and as outputs held up people relaxed. And new rules were brought into to protect the tricky work/life for people working at home. * In terms of politics, COVID has made people more flexible in their thinking. They are willing to trust politicians to show similar leadership on Brexit, and to take tough decisions in health and schools to free up cash for investment elsewhere.
Jun 23, 2020
#SluggerTV – easing lockdown into what sort of economy + whether Cummings’ trip to Durham has damaged Johnson’s political currency
David McCann is joined by commentators Julie-Anne Corr Johnston and Tim Cairns to discuss how Northern Ireland is coming out of lockdown and what sort of economy we will emerge into, as well as the fallout of Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham on Boris Johnson’s political currency. Edited by Alan Meban.
Jun 19, 2020
#InConversation Podcast with Ellie Francis – The skills shortage in Northern Ireland
Many sectors in Northern Ireland are facing a skills shortage. In this podcast I chat with Ellie Francis about how this will affect the economy.
Jun 17, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 4: On Ireland's draft programme for government
In this week’s episode of Cargo of Bricks, as the draft programme for government finally emerges nearly five months after February, Dr Theresa Reidy and I talked through the blocks and difficulties that have had to be overcome to get a sellable deal back to their parties The main points we cover: * The ideologically committed Greens have take harder line in the framing of the draft programme than either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, making their more distinctive and is harder for their two larger coalition partners to usurp and claim as their own. * WAs Sinn Féin take on, for the first time, the constitutional role as leader of the opposition, will come a challenge to develop an even greater pallet of solution based, and a need to get on top of internal operational matters that have drawn poor publicity in the past. * In an era of "two Taoisigh", will Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar's 'spikey pragmatism' see them through? Nothing tests a government like 'events dear boy, events'. An…
Jun 12, 2020
#InConversation - Brian O’Neill talks with Andrew Hill about what is going on in America?
Andrew Hill is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Philip's College in San Antonio, Texas. In this podcast we talk about the recent race protests in America, inequality and the upcoming S Presidential Election.
Jun 10, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 3: Prof Gary Murphy on government formation in Ireland
In this week’s episode of Cargo of Bricks, I’m talking with Professor Gary Murphy of Dublin City University about last February's tumultuous general election and the dilemmas facing the now five-month-long process of government formation. In it, we dissect: * How Ireland's swing from right to left, illustrated by the collapse in the Fine Gael vote and Sinn Féin's unanticipated great leap forward, has nullified Micheál Martin's long-held ambition to lead a non-SF, left-leaning coalition government. * The political purgatory now facing the two traditional enemies of the southern state as they face up to the possibility that they may never see power again if they don't do the last thing many of their activists want to see and govern together. * And through all of this despite taking his party to the unprecedented success of 12 Dail seats the Greens leader, Eamon Ryan faces a last-minute defenestration as leader by his deputy, Catherine Martin, who is also the party's chief negotia…
Jun 3, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 2: Graham Brownlow on economic recovery from #Covid19 must be long sighted and ambitious
In this week's episode of Cargo of Bricks, I'm talking with Graham Brownlow who is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Queens Management School in Belfast about the economic effects of Covid 19, and what he thinks our response needs to be. Some of the themes we talked about include: * Rise of internet-based giants like Amazon poses huge business case challenges for local retail calling into question its capacity to continue providing services to local communities, leading to downward pressure on commercial rents... * Northern Ireland's economy remains disproportionately reliant on low waged and low skilled workers who are suffering disproportionately during the crisis by taking on higher health risks and a more uncertain future. * Belfast, not Derry, is the outlier in terms of economic performance, so the recovery plan must invest long term ambitions to overturn demographic and geographic imbalances through early years learning, clean budget planning, and infrastructure.
May 29, 2020
#InConversation Brian O'Neill talks with David Gavaghan about the economy & society after Covid-19
David is the founder of Founder Aurora Prime Real Estate Ltd. He was also the chair of CBI NI as well as the MAC Belfast. Amongst his previous roles was the Chief Executive of Titanic Quarter Ltd. While his background is in business and finance, he also has a keen interest in the environment and social justice.
May 27, 2020
#CargoOfBricks 1: Ian Parsley on Northern Ireland's response to #Covid19
This week, Slugger Editor Mick Fealty spoke to Ian Parsley whose frequently updated blog ( https://ianjamesparsley.wordpress.com/ ) you should definitely put on your reading list for its incisive analysis of many aspects government, and most recently for his coverage of Covid 19. In it we cover: * How Northern Ireland was lucky to get Stormont back to work on time * How the UK's and the Republic's efforts compare with the approaches of other European countries * Why honesty in the shortcomings of our initial responses is key to learning how to better respond to a second wave.
May 23, 2020
Chris Donnelly on the challenges to education during Covid-19
Brian O'Neill discusses the challenges to education during Covid-19 with Slugger contributor Chris Donnelly. More know to Slugger readers for his political insights, Chris is also a headteacher of a primary school in Belfast.
May 15, 2020
Slugger TV – the devolved nations fightback episode
This month Slugger O'Toole's deputy editor David McCann talks to Irish News journalist Allison Morris and Andersontown News columnist Andrée Murphy about the performance of the Northern Ireland Executive, the legacy of different devolved government strategies to ease the COVID-19 lockdown, and the Irish Government's lack of cross-border consultation about their plans. Edited by Alan Meban (@alaninbelfast).
Apr 18, 2020
Slugger TV: Episode 38 - the impact of coronavirus on the local economy
Slugger's David McCann explores the impact of coronavirus on the local economy with Tina McKenzie (chair of FSB Northern Ireland), Ryan McAleer (Irish News business journalist) and Paul Gosling (writer and SDLP policy adviser).
Mar 25, 2020
Slugger TV episode 36
Alan Meban in conversation with Irish News journalist Allison Morris and Imagine! Belfast festival director Peter O'Neill
Feb 28, 2020
Slugger TV Episode 35
David McCann is joined by Brendan Hughes and Brendan Mulgrew to talk about the Irish general election, and the challenges facing the Assembly as new Special Advisors are appointed and a budget is being prepared.
Jan 31, 2020
Slugger TV: Episode 34
Current affairs programme with Slugger O'Toole. David McCann, Allison Morris and Sarah Creighton discuss the return of the Assembly for the first time in three years.
Dec 20, 2019
Slugger TV Episode 33
Chris Donnelly and Alan Meban join David McCann to discuss and dissect the General Election results, how candidates and parties fared, and assess the repercussions for talks and politics in 2020.
Nov 2, 2019
Slugger TV Episode 31
David McCann is joined by commentator Sarah Creighton and former DUP SpAd Tim Cairns to discuss the DUP party conference, new UUP leader Steve Aiken, and the forthcoming general election.