Morning Focus – Monday 14/10/19

It’s a pivotal week for Brexit after EU and UK negotiators failed to reach a deal over the weekend.

Talks were aimed at replacing the controversial backstop and securing a deal by Thursday’s EU summit appear to have stalled. There are just 18 days left until the UK is supposed to leave the European Union and still a deal hasn’t been reached. Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin, from Newmarket-on-Fergus, Associate Professor at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University (DCU) and author of ‘From Partition to Brexit: The Irish Government and Northern Ireland’ joined Gavin on air to discuss Brexit and what these proceedings might mean going forward.

If you missed it you can listen back below:


Next on the show, we heard from Liam Ryan of Doughmore Action Group following the news that the Trump resort has been given planning permission for a €40 million upgrade of its facilities in Doonbeg. The resort plans to construct 53 new holiday homes, a restaurant, leisure facilities, and perhaps most significantly a large function room. However, the future of those works heavily depends on a major application for controversial coastal protection works. These are still being considered by An Bord Pleanála.

Next, we heard from Michael McNamara, Former Labour TD for Clare as he spoke to Gavin regarding Budget 2020, and a cut in funding for new school buildings and other educational facilities.  It’s the first cut of its kind in seven years. At a time when all levels within education are facing pressure from unprecedented growth in student numbers, the capital budget for education has been reduced by €19m, or 2%. The Minister for Education Joe McHugh insists that an “understanding” had been reached with the Department of Public Expenditure to shift funding from capital to current spending in order to protect frontline services. This included pressures caused by demographics, and to ensure that 1,300 new places for students with special needs were protected. The department has also confirmed that it still intends to create 30,000 new student places.

Sgt Tríona O’Rourke joined Gavin in the studio for this week’s Garda Focus segment.

Following on from Friday’s show when Clare FM’s Brian Flynn joined us to share his recent experience of heart problems and to advise others of the warning signs, the next guest, Michael Harding, Author, had a similar experience last year and joined us on air to share his story. Michael also told us about his new book – ‘Chest Pain’, which looks at the months before the heart attack, a time when he kept the signs of failing health from his beloved ones and instead retreated into solitude. With his inimitable style and humour Michael also takes readers with him through the months after a stent had been inserted into his heart, where he travels the roads of Donegal in a camper van on a journey back to himself.

You can listen back to Michael’s story below:

Next, on Morning Focus we went back in time to North Clare in the late 1970s where a teenager’s discovery of Punk Rock turns his life upside down and causes consideration, shock and misunderstanding with his parents, his community and his friends. The setting for this play is in the village of Lisdoonvarna, where a tight-knit, conservative, traditional based community is invaded by this new foreign phenomenon Punk Rock. Dermott Petty, playwright, joined Gavin on air to chat about his new play, ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ which takes place on October 26th & 27th at the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna.

If you missed our chat with Dermott, listen back below:

Lastly, to wrap up today’s edition of Morning Focus, Clare FM’s Darren Kelly joined Gavin in studio for a discussion on all the local and national news in sport over the weekend.

They discussed a range of county finals in Clare, including the Senior Hurling and Camogie deciders, as well as Ireland’s Rugby World Cup chances ahead of their Quarter-Final against New Zealand.

You can listen back below: