Morning Focus – Tuesday 14/01/20

Today on Morning Focus Dr Michael Harty, Independent TD and Kilmihil GP joined us in studio to confirm his decision to not seek a Dáil re-election.

The Kilmihil GP was elected in 2016 at the first time of asking, with the ‘No Doctor, No Village’ campaign. He went on to become the Chair of the Slaintecare committee in his time in the Dail, during which he was a member of the Rural Independents group. Dr Harty says that he has chosen to put his community first – after struggling to find locum cover – and as such can’t put his name forward in the pending election.

If you missed our interview with Dr Harty, you can listen below:


On a different note, next on the show, we were joined by Eamonn Fitzgibbon, Director of the Irish Institute for Pastoral Studies, Mary Immaculate College as Pope Benedict calls for caution on the liberalisation of church rules. He has appealed to Pope Francis not to relax the rules surrounding priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church. Benedict has made the call in a new book, despite promising to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013.

It comes as Pope Francis considers the possibility of allowing older, married men to be ordained as priests in the Amazon region. Pope Francis has previously stressed that celibacy is a tradition, not doctrine, and therefore can change. The disagreement is a very unusual one – there usually isn’t a former Pope available to disagree with the words of a present one.

You can listen back below:

Next on Morning Focus, we heard from Fiona Penollar, Director of the Irish Passport Service as she spoke to Clare FM’s Ben Sweeney about how the Passport service has expanded its online operations. As it’s the time of the year that you might be looking to book a trip away. The Irish Passport Service are urging people to make sure that the document is in date – and even that they know where it is! They’ve also expanded their range of online services to include first-time applicants.

After the news headlines, we heard from Dr Jeevs Kochar of Ennis Orthodontic Clinic as himself and Gavin discussed how to help people improve the health of their teeth and the process involved in improving the appearance of someone’s teeth.

If you missed it, you can listen back below:

Next on Morning Focus we were joined on the line by Adrian Weckler, Irish Independent Tech Editor to discuss the circulation of ‘fake news’ on social media during election time and how this problem can be tackled. It’s the first time that the Irish people are going to the polls since the Brexit vote and Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States. Famously, both campaigns were affected by intrusion from foreign governments or from those spreading ‘fake news’ online. Ahead of the Irish elections – and in a year which will also see US elections – we found out what steps firms taking to tackle misinformation online.

To a different topic altogether, Feargal Harrington, Director of Intro Matchmaking joined us on air to chat about the figures released by the CSO at the end of the year which showed that in a three-month spell in 2019, 132 children – or 40% of those born – were to unmarried parents. The figure caught the attention of Feargal, who suggests it could signal a change in dating and attitudes towards relationships.

If you missed it, you can listen back below:

To wrap up today’s Morning Focus we were joined in studio by Clare County Dog Warden, Frankie Coote for an Animal Welfare Update.