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In Focus Podcast
Our reporters and experts take you beyond the headlines to get up close and personal with the news stories that matter. In Focus is the current affairs podcast from Independent.ie. New eposides every Tuesday & Thursday.
July 22, 2021
Bans, allegations and crises: horse racing’s year of scandals
The summer’s biggest horse-racing festival, the Galway Races, starts next week. But it comes at a time when the horse racing industry is dogged by controversy, scandals and crises. From bans on trainers, to doping allegations to revelations of animal abuse, the sport of kings is under the spotlight.
July 20, 2021
Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder: the unanswered questions
The brutal murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has captured the public imagination with two documentaries on the crime. Host Fionnán Sheahan talks to Irish Independent journalist Senan Molony who met the main suspect Ian Bailey at the scene of the crime 25 years ago. “Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s death remains a stain on the national consciousness, the savage who slew her having remained free for a quarter-century (unless dead himself). Ireland’s criminal justice embarrassment currently has the attention of the world, amid parallel TV documentaries on Sky and Netflix and a growing demand for answers.” The former journalist was tried for the murder in absentia in France and found guilty. However, the Irish courts refused to extradite him and the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions has said there is not enough evidence to warrant bringing any charges against him. The Sunday Independent’s Ali Bracken assesses where the investigation is at now and we examine the unanswered questions in arguably the most notorious unsolved crime in Irish history.
July 14, 2021
Indoor dining: Is it a passport to discriminate?
Indoor dining and drinking will be back next week - provided you have a vaccine passport. A million people will be getting their Digital Covid Certificates in the coming days, opening the door for them to restaurants and pubs across the country. But is the new system discriminating against young people and those who are not vaccinated? On the Infocus current affairs podcast on Independent.ie, Irish Independent restaurant critic Katy McGuinness expresses reservations and says she won't be going indoors, if possible. "I’m going to be dining outdoors for as long as possible and when I’m dining indoors I’m going to be bringing my own personal C02 monitor to check ventilations levels in restaurants," she tells host Fionnán Sheahan. Galway restaurateur owner JP McMahon highlights a potential basklash. And Irish Independent Political Editor explains how the new new system will work and who will police it?
July 13, 2021
Cheering against England: rivalry or racism?
Football is going to Rome after Italy beat England to win Euro 2020 - and there are plenty of Irish football fans having a good laugh at our near neighbour's expense. Is it about rivalry or racism?
July 8, 2021
England v Ireland, who has picked the right path out of lockdown?
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the so-called “Freedom Day” is on track to go ahead on July 19. Meanwhile, the Irish Government are concerned about the Delta variant and have postponed further lifting of restrictions. Which country has picked the right path out of lockdown?
July 6, 2021
Ireland's Vaccine Pass: Everything We Know So Far
The reopening of hospitality has been delayed again - and it's now balancing on the controversial introduction of a vaccine pass system. What exactly is a vaccine pass and how would it work in Ireland? A vaccine pass could grant those who are vaccinated or immune access to indoor restaurants and amenities - but it has been steeped in controversy with allegations of discrimination and inequality and the question of who exactly would police the pass. In this podcast, host Denise Calnan speaks to Irish Independent Political Editor Philip Ryan who tells us everything we need to know about the pass - and who is for and against it. Dublin restaurateur Angela Ruttledge shares how she believes the pass will work in her everyday business - and we check in with journalist Tom Carstensen who joins us from Denmark where they have successfully introduced a domestic vaccine certificate system. You can listen, follow and subscribe to InFocus wherever you like to listen to your podcasts.
July 1, 2021
Dublin Bay South by-election: big names do battle in country’s wealthiest constituency
Dublin Bay South one of the wealthiest constituencies in the country will go to the polls later this month to find a replacement for Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy. History suggests the constituency is an FG stronghold. But their candidate James Geoghghan has Labour's Ivana Bacik and Sinn Féin's parachute candidate Lynn Boylan clipping at their heels. Host Kevin Doyle is joined by Political Correspondent John Downing to assess the field and the likely outcomes from the constituencies.
June 29, 2021
Delta danger: why the variant is delaying the vaccine dividend
The Delta variant is taking hold. The UK has pushed back their reopening. And our own reopening is being impacted by Delta, with question marks over the lifting of restrictions and the speed of the vaccine rollout. Is it time to reboot our strategy for dealing with Covid?
June 24, 2021
Wife tells of horror as her husband is 'held hostage' in Iraq prison
The Irish wife of an internationally acclaimed mechanical engineer being "held hostage" in an Iraq prison said his 12-day solitary confinement was "like any of the American movies that you see with torture.. just appalling". Father-of-three Robert Pether is currently in a 14-foot cell with 22 other inmates in a prison in Iraq. He was held in solitary confinement for the first 12 days of his imprisonment. The Australian citizen, who lives in Roscommon with wife and three children, was allegedly lured to Baghdad for a business trip, when he was arrested without charge and imprisoned. His detention relates to a contractual dispute between his employer, CME Consultants in Dubai and the Central Bank of Iraq. His wife, Desree McCarthy, is extremely concerned about her husband's condition and said their family is struggling to cope and remain hopeful. Their eldest son has deferred his first year of college, while Desree had to organise for emergency counselling for their 16-year-old son. "The kids absolutely adore Rob. He's an awesome dad,"Desree told the Independent.ie InFocus podcast. "He always travelled a lot for work, but no matter where he was, he would always call our 8-year-old daughter at 8pm for a bedtime story." "When we heard he had been taken it was like a bomb had dropped in our house," Desree said. "I went and woke our boys up and told them what had happened and I was trying to speak and I was hysterical. "I didn't get to speak to Robert for nearly three weeks. "I could hear him crying. And I said like, oh my God, what's happened?" In this InFocus podcast, host Denise Calnan talks to Desree McCarthy about the moment her husband was arrested, the details of his imprisonment and living conditions, her family's desperation for help and her direct appeal to the Department of Foreign Affairs for assistance.
June 22, 2021
Veronica Guerin – her legacy and how 25 years later her killers continue to avoid justice
It has been 25 years since Veronica Guerin was shot dead on the Naas Road as a result of her exposes in the Sunday Independent. Only one person is behind bars for the murder and it isn’t the man who ordered the hit. Paul Williams recounts how most of the men who set out to kill his friend have avoided justice. And Liam Collins recalls working alongside the journalist whose impact on Irish society has arguably been greater than any other.
June 17, 2021
Murder in Mauritius - the Michaela McAreavey story
Michaela McAreavey was murdered in her hotel room on her honeymoon in Mauritius on January 10, 2011. In 2012, two hotel workers were unanimously acquitted of her murder after an 8-week trial. Michaela’s family is still searching for justice. So what went happened in the trial? And what went wrong with the police investigation? Why have the Mauritian government now agreed to look at the case again?
June 15, 2021
Returning to the office - 'Staff can't be victimised if they don't want to be vaccinated'
The vaccine rollout powering on and falling Covid-19 cases means a return to the office is on the horizon for workers. Taoiseach Micheál Martin is tentatively talking about a return at the end of the summer. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledges that convincing employees to return to the workplace will not be an easy task. But with footfall in city centres down by more than 70pc, businesses are lobbying the Government to ensure office workers return soon. On InFocus, the current affairs podcast from Independent.ie, Fionnán Sheahan talks to HR expert Caroline Reidy on the legal position for workers on returning to work. Irish Independent Political Correspondent Hugh O’Connell outlines the challenges facing the Government and Independent.ie Audience Editor Rachel Farrell speaks of the difficulties young workers have encountered working from home.
June 9, 2021
A remarkable year in Irish politics – how has the crises ridden Grand Coalition fared?
They said it could never happen. They promised it would never happen. But with the country shutdown by Covid, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael formed a grand coalition and ended a century of tribal politics. Election 2020 also saw the Green Party move back centre stage as they put their 2011 wipe-out behind them as joined the traditional ‘big two’ in Government Buildings. But it has been a year like no other. Multiple resignations, people ordered to stay at home for months, a Tánaiste under garda investigation and a Taoiseach whose biggest critics are arguably within his own party. In this episode host Kevin Doyle is joined by Political Editor Philip Ryan to reflect on the many twists and turns from a remarkable year in Irish politics.
June 8, 2021
A missing princess, a daring bid for freedom and an Irish president who was ‘horribly tricked’.
The story of Princess Latifa who has been missing since 2018 when she attempted to flee Dubai but was forcibly returned by her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Host Kevin Doyle examines what happened to the Princess and how former Irish president Mary Robinson became embroiled in the controversy.
June 3, 2021
Love after lockdown: how Covid changed dating forever
One of the casualties of the pandemic was Romantic Ireland. Single people were left in isolation when dating was replaced by distancing. But as lockdown lifts host Fionnán Sheahan examines the legacy Covid has left on dating and relationships
June 1, 2021
What to do if you've been hacked - and how one Irish woman almost lost her business
You've been HACKED. What does it mean? Are we all at risk? In this podcast, Host Denise Calnan talks to Irish Independent Technology Editor Adrian Weckler about how we can protect ourselves from being hacked - and what it actually means to be hacked. And we speak to celebrity makeup artist and businesswoman Niamh Martin who almost lost her business after her social media accounts were hacked and held to ransom. You can listen, follow and subscribe to InFocus wherever you like to listen to your podcasts.
May 27, 2021
The Rental Crisis: ‘We had mice, mould and no living room’
Renters could be forgiven for feeling they are the forgotten cohort of the housing crisis. With the spotlight often on homeless people and first-time buyers, those who are renting don’t get as much attention. In this podcast Host Fionnán Sheahan talks to Irish Independent Political Reporter Gabija Gataveckaite about her experience of renting. “I lived with six other people, every room was converted into a bedroom and there was no living room. Mould, mice, thin walls, we had the lot..’ And Irish Independent Public Affairs Correspondent Amy Molloy examines the rights of renters and the wrongs done to them too. “It took a global crisis for the Government to introduce greater protections for renters, but now that normality is set to resume the evidence suggests the housing crisis is set to get far worse.”
May 25, 2021
Andrew McGinley: 'There are flags raised and questions that we need answered'
The story of Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley has given every parent in this country moment for pause over the past week. Killed by their mother, Deirdre Morley, who a jury ruled was not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. That’s a verdict their children’s father agrees with – but for Andrew McGinley reflecting on where he finds himself now, he tells of the many unanswered questions. In this podcast, Andrew sits down with host Kevin Doyle to speak about the changes he believes should be made to the Mental Health Act so that patients automatically have an advocate or family member who is aware of their condition and the potential risks that might come with it. Andrew is acutely aware of the interest in his story – and despite his own grief sees an opportunity to honour his children.
May 19, 2021
The 2009 Air France tragedy - what happened to Flight AF447?
June 1st, 2009. Flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris goes missing over the Atlantic Ocean. It sparks one of the most ambitious searches in the history of aviation. Days later, wreckage and the remains of some of the passengers are recovered from the ocean. A total of 228 people were killed in the disaster, including three young Irish women; Aisling Butler (26), from Co Tipperary, Jane Deasy (27) from Dublin and Eithne Walls (28) from Co Down. The close friends had studied medicine together in Trinity College and had been travelling with friends in South America. Their deaths have tormented their families and friends in the intervening years. Now, 12 years later, a French court, ruling on a request from prosecutors, have overturned a previous ruling and Air France and Airbus are to stand trial over the crash. In this InFocus podcast, host Denise Calnan speaks to Irish Independent news correspondent Eavan Murray, who has been covering the story since 2009. We speak about the tragedy; what happened in the cockpit, and why twelve years later no-one has been held accountable.
May 17, 2021
'Childhoods have been lost and a generation locked out of home-ownership'
In the world BC – Before Covid – one issue dominated the political agenda in Ireland like no other. Now it’s back. The housing crisis is becoming the defining issue for a generation that feels it is locked out of ever having a place to call home. In this podcast Fionnán Sheahan examines the housing headache for first-time buyers. He speaks to Irish Independent writer Larissa Nolan about her experience of the housing market and her desire to become a homeowner . And Irish Independent Business Editor Donal O’Donovan talk through the possible solutions that might end the crisis.