Morning Focus – Wednesday 31st July 2019

On Wednesdays Morning Focus we highlighted how we have already heard calls this week from the St Vincent de Paul Society for licensed moneylenders advertisements to come with a clear warning about their often huge interest rates.

This time of year, we’re told is one of the most lucrative for money lenders with back-to-school expenses putting even more pressure on parents. Elaine Clifford is from Clare MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) and she’s got lots of advice about coping at this time of year.

The Taoiseach has told the British Prime Minister in their first phone call which took place yesterday, that the backstop is necessary as part of a Brexit agreement. Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson spoke for the first time – 6 days after he became UK leader.
The Taoiseach reiterated the EU stance that the Withdrawal Agreement could not be reopened. He restated the need for both governments to be fully committed to the Good Friday agreement and restoration of power-sharing in the north. Leo Varadkar congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment and invited him to Dublin.

Boris Johnson is set to meet the five main political leaders in Northern Ireland today.


A tweet by Timmy Dooley, before the Varadkar-Johnson phone call; which he later deleted read:  ‘The stand-off with our nearest neighbour is as a direct result of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s failure to engage in basic diplomacy over the past two years. The Government’s lack of experience and arrogance will hurt Ireland in the coming months.’

Following the tweet (which was liked by a number of his FF party colleagues) leader Micheál Martin rebuked Dep Dooley who was accused of opening the door to Brexiteers by lashing out at the Government’s lack of Brexit diplomacy. Mr. Martin said he wanted to make it “absolutely clear” his party believes new British prime minister Boris Johnson is at fault for the diplomatic stand-off after a private phone call with Mr. Dooley in which he ordered his colleague to tone down the rhetoric.

Dr. Donnacha Ó Beacháin – Associate Professor at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University and Author of From Partition To Brexit: The Irish Government and Northern Ireland joined us live on the show to give us his reactions and thoughts to what has been going on.

A review of Leaving Cert education highlights mixed views on keeping Irish a compulsory subject. The review examined the current curriculum structure and feedback from stakeholders – including teachers parents and 2500 students. It was launched by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in 2016 and is now open for public consultation. It found many students think Irish should become an optional subject for the Leaving Cert.

Dónal Ó Loinsigh, Cúl Caint ar Clare FM, Príomhoide Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraidhe in Carrigaholt joined us live in the studio to discuss what he thinks about Irish being made a noncompulsory subject.

Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha Historian and teacher joined us on the show to appeal for people who attended St Flannan’s College in Ennis.
He wants people to share any old diaries, letters, school publications or other memorabilia as part of his research for a new history of the college, which is set for publication next year.

There’s a very special interpretation of the classic drama ‘the Colleen Bawn’ being staged over the coming months at Culturlann Sweeney in Kilkee. It’s described as a ‘regency whodunit’ based on eye witness accounts written by one of the next guests, Rob Hopkins.
The story of this murder gripped Clare and the new take on the drama is fascinating.
Playwright from Full Moon Theatre, Rob Hopkins
Author Richard Fitzgerald
and Aobh Keating whos is set to play Ellen Hanly joined us live in the studio to tell us a little more about what to expect and to give us a sneak preview.

The Derry-born author and journalist Susan McKay will be in Clare on Friday to open the 17th Scariff Harbour Festival. Best known as a TV commentator and opinion columnist, Susan grew up in Derry at the start of the Troubles and lived through the tensions and violence on her own doorstep.
As a consequence, understanding violence and its legacy underpins much of her life’s work in a variety of professional spheres. Susan joined us live on the show to discuss the opening of the festival, discuss topics such as Lyra McKee and the possibility of a Border poll.

Motor Neurone Disease is something almost all of us have heard of. Maybe because of the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, or maybe because this hugely challenging condition has come knocking on our own door. Listeners might well remember Fr Tony Coote who told his own moving story while he walked from Donegal to Cork.
At the moment, there are 8 people in this county who, like Fr Tony, live with MND and it’s never been so important to raise funds for research into this progressive neurological condition. To this end, the next and final guest on today’s show has organised a fund-raising concert with an incredible line-up at the Woodstock Hotel tomorrow fortnight on  Thursday, August 15 at 8pm.
It’ll include the like of Anthony Kearns (The Irish Tenors), Liam O’Brien (formerly of Emmerdale fame) with home-grown talent including the Quin ‘n’ Tonic Choir, Mariett Hehir, Michael Hennessey and many more.
Aidan White who is the Organiser of the event joined us on the show.