RTÉ have announced an Operation Transformation spin-off, to be broadcast next month, which aims to help people stay healthy as they go through self-isolation. The series was originally due to be called Operation Covid Nation. However, following a backlash, the name has now been changed to Operation Transformation: Keeping Well Apart. But is the new name any better? And is there any need for this series at all? Joe O'Shea and Jennifer Gannon joined us to talk about this and other things from the ...more
Profits have surged at the ESB, with the company reporting that it earned pretax profits of €338 million last year. It also pledged to pay an €88 million dividend to the exchequer, and said that it is taking a €94 million "non-cash" charge to cover various steps it is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, joined us to discuss this and the day's other business stories, including: Digicel in talks about possible debt write-downs Retail sales d...more
The uncertainty around the current COVID-19 crisis has been compared to the economic crash of a decade ago. But what can we learn from that time? Ruairí McKiernan is the author of Hitching for Hope: A Journey Into the Heart and Soul of Ireland. The book tells the story of how he went hitchhiking around the country in the wake of the Celtic Tiger collapse, the people he spoke to along the way, and the things that gave him hope. Ruairí joined us on The Last Word to talk about the book and the impo...more
Gardaí have closed down a tanning salon in Waterford which suggested that UV light could help kill the coronavirus. The salon, which remained open even after the government announcement that all non-essential businesses should close, also posted on its Facebook page that there were reasons to believe COVID-19 was "one big lie on a global scale". Brianna Parkins and Lorcan Nyhan discussed this and other coronavirus stories in The Week Trending. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play...more
Disney+ launched in Ireland this week, and is available for €6.99 a month or €69.99 a year. All the classic Disney movies are available for streaming, as well as new original content. But what should you watch first? Dee Molumby and Brian Lloyd joined us for The Last Word on Movies to pick their favourites. Brian's Choices The Mighty Ducks Three Men and a Baby The Rocketeer Dee's Choices Ratatouille Who Framed Roger Rabbit Sister Act Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play but...more
The ESRI has warned that the economy could shrink by 7.1% and the unemployment rate could increase to 18% as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Under the current scenario outlined in its report, over 350,000 people would lose their jobs. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more in our daily business update, including: Trips to Ireland actually rose in February, according to CSO data Penneys suspend rent payments to landlords for 37 stores Wetherspoons suspen...more
Measures have been put in place to help people with mortgage repayments during the COVID-19 outbreak. But what about the relationship between landlords and tenants? Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers joined us to discuss the steps landlords and tenants should take during the current crisis. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
The Dáil is debating new emergency measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation includes temporary rent freezes, social welfare improvements and giving the Gardaí more powers to counteract issues such as social gatherings. Daniel McConnell, political editor of the Irish Examiner, joined us to discuss the latest developments. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
This week's Culture Club inductee is musician and actor Steve Wall, lead singer and songwriter with The Walls and The Stunning. He joined us to talk about his favourite music, TV shows, movies, books and plays. Favourite Play/Musical: Conversations on a Homecoming by Tom Murphy, Oliver! First Single Ever Bought: Mott The Hoople - Honaloochie Boogie Favourite Band/Artist: The Beatles, Howlin' Wolf Favourite Album: John Murry - The Graceless Age Best Gig: The Undertones at Leisureland, Galway in 1...more
The United States has agreed a rescue package for the economy worth more than $1.8 trillion. The package includes money to bail out industries that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis. US markets rose in response, including the Dow Jones which went up by more than 4% in early afternoon trade in New York. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more in our daily business update, including: Ryanair providing repatriation and emergency medical flights Ca...more
COVID-19 can be particularly severe for those with underlying health conditions, and smokers are one of the most at risk groups. It can be a difficult habit to break, but those who smoke are being strongly encouraged to quit in order to reduce the risk of developing complications if they contract COVID-19. Dr Doireann O'Leary, GP at mycorkgp and health blogger, joined us for our weekly medical consultation to talk about the effects of smoking and the benefits of giving up. Listen to the intervie...more
People who test positive for COVID-19 may struggle to get life insurance, mortgage protection and serious illness cover. Some insurance companies have said they will not cover anyone who recently returned from an affected area, or if they contracted the illness, until they have made a full recovery. This applies to new policies. Charlie Weston, personal finance editor of the Irish Independent, joined us to discuss this issue. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this pa...more
Madonna is being criticised for a bizarre video posted on Instagram which shows her in a bath filled with rose petals, talking about the coronavirus. The singer describes the virus as "the great equalizer" while sitting in the bath as music plays in the background. Fans responding to the post have accused Madonna of trivialising the pandemic, with some implying that she is privileged and out of touch. John Caddell and Dee Reddy discussed this and more of the week's music news, including the deat...more
Disney+ officially launched in Ireland today, bringing content such as Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian to subscribers here. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping millions of people at home, including children, the streaming service looks likely to be a big success. Ian Guider brought us this story and more in our daily business round-up, including: Ryanair says it doesn't expect any flights to operate in April/May Forecourt operator Applegreen to talk to landlord about rent deferrals Sports ...more
The World Health Organization has warned that the United States could become the next centre of the global coronavirus pandemic, as cases continue to rise rapidly. Despite the objections of health experts, Donald Trump is said to be considering reopening the economy sooner rather than later, remarking during a White House briefing that "our country wasn't built to be shut down." Cal Thomas and Marion McKeone discussed this in our weekly US slot. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the pl...more
In China, mobile phone location tracking is being used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This is allowing health authorities to track people's movements, interactions and health status in order to facilitate contact tracing and isolation. Could this approach help combat the spread of the virus in other countries, despite concerns about privacy? Andy O'Donoghue joined us to discuss this and other coronavirus tech issues, including how 3D printing is helping meet the need for key medical equipment. ...more
Images have emerged from Britain showing crowded London Underground trains as social distancing guidelines continue to be ignored. Why is the country having such problems maintaining social isolation during the coronavirus crisis? We spoke to Gavin Esler, former presenter of BBC's Newsnight, to find out. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
McDonald's, Nando's, Subway and Supermac's have all made the decision to close their restaurants during the coronavirus outbreak. McDonald's and Supermac's are two of the biggest purchasers of Irish beef, and their closures will have a huge impact on the sector. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more in our daily business update, including: Bank of Ireland to close more than 100 of its branches AIB postpones plans for maintenance and transaction fees Tao...more
Cathy Wheatley was seven months pregnant when she and her husband Keith lost their baby girl, Helen. After experiencing this tragedy, Cathy's next pregnancy sadly resulted in a miscarriage. But the couple decided to opt for surrogacy, and they are now the proud parents of twins. Their story is featured in You, Me and Surrogacy, which airs on Virgin Media One tonight at 10pm. Cathy and Keith joined us on The Last Word to share their surrogacy journey. Listen to the interview in full by pressing t...more
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has suggested that a full lockdown is not the most effective way of tackling the coronavirus. He added that Ireland is following the South Korean model of social distancing, testing, contact tracing and isolation of those who test positive. Is this the right approach? Professor Sam McConkey, Infectious Disease Specialist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, joined us to outline the pros and cons of a potential lockdown. Listen to the interview in full by pressing t...more
The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to affect the TV industry, with many major shows being forced to suspend production. The soaps have also been taking measures to ensure that they don't run out of episodes to broadcast. EastEnders announced that the number of episodes will be cut down to two a week as filming comes to a halt. Emmerdale and Coronation Street are both continuing to film, but have also cut back on the number of episodes broadcast per week. Older cast members will be written ou...more
Employers group IBEC has launched a major new report that details various proposals for the government to effectively address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. Among the proposals is that workers would be paid at least 70% of their salary for up to 20 weeks if needed. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, joined us with this story and more of the business news, including: Aer Lingus last night announced 50% temporary pay cuts for staff C&C, owner of Bulmers, provides l...more
A video of various celebrities coming together to sing John Lennon's 'Imagine' has been circulating on social media. Gal Gadot came up with the idea for the cover while self-isolating, and was joined by the likes of Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Mark Ruffalo and Chris O'Dowd. View this post on Instagram We are in this together, we will get through it together. Let’s imagine together. Sing with us ❤ All love to you, from me and my dear friends. #WeAreOne .........more
Vera Twomey spoke to us last year about her campaign to get medicinal cannabis for her 10-year-old daughter Ava, who has a rare form of drug-resistant epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. Vera is now pleading with the government to ensure that Ava's overseas supply of medicinal cannabis is maintained during the COVID-19 crisis, which has left them unable to travel. She joined us on The Last Word to explain why this is so important. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this ...more
With cinemas closed during the coronavirus outbreak, many of us will be turning to Netflix for entertainment. Brian Lloyd and Dee Molumby joined us to recommend the best Irish movies to watch on Netflix right now. Brian's Choices Michael Inside (2017) Katie (2018) Dee's Choices Extra Ordinary (2019) The Young Offenders (2016) The Breadwinner (2017) Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
The European Central Bank has announced a €750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme. It will involve buying up government and corporate debt to keep the European economy functioning. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more in our daily business news round-up, including: Central Bank confirm there is no impediment to banks introducing payment breaks AIB postpones €1.3 billion problem mortgages sale amid COVID-19 crisis Big residential landlords pr...more
We heard recently from Paschal Donohoe about measures introduced to help people who may be struggling with their mortgage repayments during the the coronavirus outbreak. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy today joined us on The Last Word to talk about the steps being taken to help renters, including the introduction of a moratorium on rent increases. We were also joined by Juno McEnroe, political correspondent with The Irish Examiner, who discussed the legislation being debated in the Dáil which...more
The Department of Education has made the decision to cancel the Leaving Cert oral and practical exams, as a result of school closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak. All students will instead be awarded full marks. But where does this leave the written exams? Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Deirdre McDonald, President of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, joined us to discuss this. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
This week's Culture Club inductee is Paul Flynn, chef and owner of The Tannery Restaurant, Townhouse and Cookery School in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. He joined us on The Last Word to talk about his favourite music, movies, books and TV shows. First Single Ever Bought: Driver 67 - Car 67 Favourite Album: Fleetwood Mac - Rumours Favourite Band: The National Best Gig: The National at the Olympia in 2010 Favourite Book: Retribution by Max Hastings Favourite Movie: Withnail and I Favourite TV show: Cu...more
AIB, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and KBC have announced a three-month suspension of mortgage and business loan repayments for customers affected by COVID-19. The agreement was reached following a meeting with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe today. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more in our daily business news round-up, including: Global stock markets are in turmoil again More retailers close their doors Dublin City Council chief execu...more
People are being urged to practise self-isolation and social distancing to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, but what is the difference between the two? Social distancing means reducing gatherings, maintaining a two-metre distance from others and reducing social contact as much as possible. Self-isolation is for anyone who has symptoms, either before or after testing for coronavirus, and involves staying in one room where possible and avoiding sharing items and facilities with anyone else in ...more
The coronavirus outbreak has caused unprecedented economic disruption, with thousands of people already out of work. How do you cope financially during this uncertain time? Charlie Weston, personal finance editor of the Irish Independent, gave some advice on dealing with mortgage and rent payments as well as bills, and what the banks will be doing to help. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, so for The Last Word on Music we asked John Caddell and Dee Reddy to pick their favourite Irish albums of all time. Here's what they chose: Dee's Choices Damien Rice - O Ash - 1977 Villagers - Becoming A Jackal The Divine Comedy - Fin de Siècle Sinead O'Connor - I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got John's Choices U2 - Achtung Baby An Emotional Fish - An Emotional Fish The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? Sinead O'Connor - I'm Not Bossy, I'm th...more
Retail Excellence Ireland says food shops and pharmacies will change their layouts and formalise restrictions on the numbers of people who can be in shops at a given time. Many shops have also made the decision to close their doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, in what is being referred to as the "hardest day in retail history". Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more on the financial and economic impact of COVID-19, including: Stock markets plunge des...more
Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to rise. However, the president has been accused of not taking the virus seriously enough, particularly given the country's low rate of testing. When asked by PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor about the US Pandemic Response Team that was disbanded in May 2018, Trump replied that he knew nothing about it. Cal Thomas and Marion McKeone discussed the country's approach to tackling the virus ...more
Many of us are now having to work from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but what's the best way to do so? Andy O'Donoghue joined us to advise on the tech you'll need to work from home effectively. His tips include: Add a monitor to your laptop Consider investing in a microphone Set aside a work area in your home Invest in a VPN for security Use Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype for meetings Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
This year's Cheltenham Festival has been hugely controversial, as it went ahead despite growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Thousands of Irish people are now due to return home, and there have been questions about whether they should be required to self-isolate. Should Cheltenham have gone ahead at all? Mark Boylan, journalist with the Racing Post, and Melanie Finn, journalist with the Irish Independent, discussed this in The Last Word on Sport. Listen to the interview in full by pres...more
The St. Patrick's Day parades may be cancelled, but there's still plenty to watch on TV about Ireland's patron saint. I Am Patrick is a new Netflix docudrama telling the story of St. Patrick. John Rhys-Davies and Moe Dunford are among the cast, and it's available on the streaming platform now. But is it any good? Jennifer Gannon and Joe O'Shea give their take in our weekly TV slot, and also talk about how the coronavirus is affecting production on various shows. Listen to the interview in full b...more
The COVID-19 outbreak poses a significant public health threat, as well as a threat to the economic health of the country. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe today announced measures to support businesses, and welcomed an announcement by Revenue that small businesses won't have to pay interest on late VAT returns. The Minister joined us to discuss these measures in detail. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
The government has been forced to deny rumours that an emergency lockdown will be enforced in Ireland on Monday, after claims were made in a WhatsApp voice message. It's just one of many pieces of misinformation about the coronavirus that have been circulating on social media. Others include the myth that drinking water every 15 minutes will protect you from the virus, and tips on how to make your own hand sanitiser. Does there need to be a societal response in terms of debunking these myths? Br...more
A number of measures were announced this morning as Ireland moved into the 'delay' phase of tackling COVID-19, including the closure of schools, colleges and crèches. Public transport is operating as normal for the time being, but should people be considering avoiding unnecessary travel, and what needs to be done to ensure the health and safety of passengers? Motoring journalist Michael Sheridan and Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU joined us to discuss this. Listen to the interview in full by pressing...more
Airline shares are taking a battering as a result of the US-Europe travel ban. Donald Trump yesterday announced a 30-day ban on arrivals from Europe in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, prompting a drop in shares. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, brought us this story and more in our business round-up, including: The ECB unveil more measures to fight off economic slowdown Companies are warning of its impact from cinemas to retailers House prices rebounded in January a...more
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a lot of uncertainty, especially around the issue of travel and events. Many people who have booked flights or holidays, or who may have been planning weddings, are now unsure of their options regarding cancellations and insurance. Charlie Weston, personal finance editor of The Irish Independent, and David Kerr, Managing Director of Bonkers.ie, joined us to explain what your rights are. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
People are being urged to avoid panic buying, as Ireland moves into the 'delay' phase of its response to COVID-19. Items such as toilet roll, tinned food and hand sanitiser have been disappearing from supermarket shelves. However, Simon Coveney today reassured consumers that supply chains are robust, and warned that panic buying could create problems. Vincent Jennings, CEO of the Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association, and David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland joined us to talk ...more
Ireland has moved into the 'delay' phase of its efforts to tackle COVID-19, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announcing a number of measures this morning. Schools, colleges and crèches across the country are set to close until 29 March, along with cultural institutions. The closure of schools and crèches in particular are likely to create difficulties for parents, many of whom will have to make alternative arrangements for childcare. Minister for Education Joe McHugh joined us to discuss these measur...more
This week's Culture Club inductee is Father Brian D'Arcy. He joined us to talk about his favourite music, movies, books and TV shows. First Single Ever Bought: The Royal Showband - Come Down The Mountain Katie Daly Favourite Artist: Dolly Parton Best Gigs: The Rolling Stones in San Francisco, Neil Diamond at Croke Park Favourite Authors: John McGahern, John Steinbeck Favourite TV shows: Father Ted, The Two Ronnies Favourite Movies: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Schindler's List Listen to the ...more
The full line-up of Electric Picnic 2020 was announced earlier today. Rage Against The Machine were the first headliners to be announced last month, and they will now be joined by Snow Patrol, The Chemical Brothers, Picture This and Lewis Capaldi. But as the coronavirus spreads, how likely is the festival to go ahead in September as planned? Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, joined us to discuss this. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
The Bank of England has announced an emergency cut in interest rates amid the coronavirus outbreak in a bid to prevent an economic crisis. Rates have been slashed by 0.5%, taking borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, discussed this story and more in our daily business update, including: The head of the ECB warns the coronavirus could have as bad an effect on the European economy as 2008 financial crisis Number of visitors to I...more
Coachella is reportedly planning to move from April to October over coronavirus concerns. Several artists have also cancelled or postponed tours, including Madonna, Peal Jam and Neil Young. Meanwhile full details of Electric Picnic will be announced tomorrow, with Rage Against The Machine being the only act announced to date. John Caddell and Dee Reddy discussed all of this and more in our weekly music slot. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus have announced they are each suspending flights to and from Italy due to the coronavirus. The Ryanair suspension will last until 8 April, while the Aer Lingus one will last until 3 April. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, joined us to discuss this story and more of the day's business news, including: Irish banks offer relief to borrowers hit by coronavirus Financial markets recover, Dow Jones up 1.17% Glanbia boss Siobhan Talbot gives up 2020 bonus Listen ...more