Normal People has been a huge hit with both RTÉ and BBC viewers. The series has received 301,000 streams to date on RTÉ Player and is the strongest ever drama opening on the platform. The first two episodes were watched by an average of 371,000 people on RTÉ One. The show also gave BBC Three its biggest ever week of iPlayer ratings, leading the BBC to admit that it was considering bringing the online-only channel back to TV. Joe O'Shea and Jennifer Gannon discussed this and more in our weekly TV...more
From 15 June, it will be mandatory for face masks to be worn on public transport in England. Those who refuse to comply may be refused travel and could even be fined in some cases. There are currently no plans for similar measures to be made mandatory here in Ireland, but should they be? Dermot O'Leary, General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union, joined us to explain why he thinks public transport in Ireland should follow England's lead. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the ...more
IAG, the owner of Aer Lingus and British Airways, may take the British government to court over its quarantine period for incoming travellers. Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of IAG, said there had been no consultation with the industry prior to the legislation being brought in and that the 14-day quarantine rule makes no sense. Ian Guider, markets editor of the Business Post, joined us for our daily business update with this story and more from the aviation and retail industries, including: ...more
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described racism as a virus, and said that we "don't have to look across the Atlantic" to find it. Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, he said that there had been an "absence of moral leadership" in the United States in the wake of George Floyd's death, and that we have "many examples" of racism in Ireland which need to be tackled. Lise Hand and Donal O'Donoghue joined us for The Week Trending to discuss this and some of the other stories making the news this week, includi...more
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the €350 a week pandemic unemployment payment will be reduced for part-time workers. It's believed that the payment could be cut by 40% in line with the jobseeker's allowance paid to the unemployed. However, the Taoiseach stated that part-time workers would still be earning more than they were prior to the pandemic. Ian Guider, markets editor with the Business Post, joined us for the business news with this story and more, including: Ibec warns the econ...more
Dating has become a difficult proposition during the COVID-19 pandemic, with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, gyms and parks all closed. People are being urged to think twice before meeting up with an online date due to social distancing concerns, but how is this impacting dating apps such as Tinder? We spoke to Nicola Fox Hamilton, a cyberpsychology researcher with an interest in online dating, and Jade Hayden, a writer, journalist and occasional tweeter for Her.ie. Listen to the interview in f...more
Our lives have changed in many ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some people have been affected more than others. The restrictions put in place in recent months have made daily life particularly difficult for people living with sight loss. The actress Victoria Smurfit has been working with Irish charity Fighting Blindness for a number of years. Her daughter Evie lives with a condition called Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy, which eventually leads to blindness. They both previously spoke to Ma...more
Families across Ireland are now spending considerably more time online as technology allows us to work from home, educate our children and stay in touch with family and friends during COVID-19. A third of internet users globally are children, and a number of groups are are today calling for child safety online to be a priority in the new programme for government. We were joined by Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance, and Alex Cooney, CEO of CyberSafeIreland, to discuss ...more
This week's Culture Club inductee is chef and restaurateur JP McMahon. He spoke to Frank Greaney about his favourite music, movies, plays and TV shows. First Single Ever Bought: Stone Roses - Fools Gold Favourite Artists: Pearl Jam, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, The Beatles Best Gig: Beastie Boys in Dublin, 1995 Favourite Movie: The Departed Favourite Play: Endgame by Samuel Beckett Favourite TV shows: He-Man, Breaking Bad Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
C&C, the maker of Bulmers, is losing €7 million a month due to COVID-19 restrictions. Pub and restaurant closures have made a significant impact despite the company experiencing an increase in demand through the off-license channel. Ian Guider, markets editor of the Business Post, joined us with this and the day's other business stories, including: Exchequer deficit of €1.6 billion recorded in May Zoom profits boom due to pandemic Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button...more
Next week's planned Black Lives Matter protest outside the US embassy in Dublin has been cancelled due to fears about potential prosecution. A protest in Dublin on Monday was attended by thousands of people, raising concerns about social distancing. How can we balance our right to protest with observing the restrictions in place around mass gatherings? We spoke to Doireann Ansbro, senior research and policy officer with ICCL, about this. RISE TD Paul Murphy and former diplomat Eamon Delaney also...more
Consumers in Ireland have been conned out of €2 million this year by investment scams, according to the head of the Garda fraud division. Revenue revealed last week that up to 3,000 taxpayers may have given their bank and personal details to fraudsters offering fictional tax refunds. The COVID-19 pandemic is believed to be partly responsible for the upsurge in scams, as people have more time to respond to unsolicited emails, texts and social media messages. Charlie Weston, personal finance edito...more
Our latest Culture Club inductee is Sinead Gleeson, writer of Constellations: Reflections from Life. She spoke to Matt about her favourite music, movies, books, TV shows, plays and podcasts. First Single Ever Bought: Madonna - Like a Virgin Favourite Album: Nick Cave - The Boatman's Call Best Gigs: Kate Bush in London in 2016, Sonic Youth in McGonagles Favourite Movies: Jaws, Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas Favourite Play: Anything by Any Productions Favourite Authors/Book: Leslie Jamison, Roxane ...more
Many members of the music industry have been taking part in the #BlackoutTuesday initiative in response to the murders of black citizens by the police. The action, accompanied by the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, calls for a day to disconnect from work. It was started by music industry executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang "in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard." They add that "we will not continue to conduct business as ...more
Grocery sales continued to surge in May, according to new data from Kantar. Sales jumped by a quarter over the past 12 weeks, marking the fastest rate of growth in 15 years. With pubs still closed and sunny weather dominating, people have also been drinking more at home. Alcohol sales saw a 93% increase over the month to 17 May. Ian Guider, markets editor of the Business Post, joined us for our daily business update with this and more, including: 24 million fewer pints were consumed in April 20...more
US President Donald Trump has threatened military mobilisation against those protesting the death of George Floyd. Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, died in the custody of Minneapolis police when an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Protests have been taking place across the United States. Just minutes after Trump's remarks, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors near the White House to clear the streets for a photo opportunity for the president at...more
In this beautiful weather, there's nothing better than a BBQ. But it doesn’t always go to plan. Warm drinks, coals that won't light and overcooked meat can really spoil a socially distant party. Luckily, you can now find high-tech solutions to all of these problems. Andy O'Donoghue joined us for Tech Tuesday to recommend some of the best BBQ gadgets. GoSun Solar BBQ - €225 Looftlighter - Meater+ - €190 Traeger Timberline 1300 - €2,500 Grillbot - €150 Cooper Cooler Rapid Beverage Chiller - €180 ...more
The Minnesota State Patrol have arrested a CNN reporter reporting live on television while covering the Minneapolis protests, without giving any reason, leading him and three crew members away in handcuffs.
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order that threatens punishment against Twitter, Facebook and Google over allegations of political bias. It comes as Twitter flagged one of Mr Trump's tweets about mail-in ballots in California with a fact-check warning.
We Are One: A Global Film Festival starts May 29 at YouTube.com/WeAreOne, and continues for 10 days with a slew of films and pre-recorded conversations from 21 festivals. Brian Lloyd & Dee Molumby chat with Matt about this and more in this week’s movie slot. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
For the third level students returning to college next September there are an awful lot of unknowns. However, one thing is for sure: the third level experience in an era of social distancing will be completely different to previous years.
In recent weeks, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faced questions on composition of the National Health Public Emergency Team, and the lack of transparency around the decision-making during the Covid-19 crisis.
Boris Johnson will launch an anti-obesity strategy after telling friends he thinks his weight was part of the reason he ended up in intensive care with Covid19. The British Prime Minister reportedly weighed 17½st when he was taken to hospital with coronavirus. At 5ft 9in tall, this would mean his Body Mass Index (BMI) was 36, which is in the obese range. Dr Doireann O'Leary joined us to talk about the link between Covid19 and obesity.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has suggested that the next government could encourage people to work from home in the long term by offering them income tax incentives. Personal Finance Editor, Charlie Weston speaks to Matt about the benefits.
As Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s new duet ‘Rain on Me’ Leads the U.K. Chart Race, John Cadell and Clara Kavanagh talk about some of the best female music duets of all time.
A widower is asking Twitter to remove posts by President Donald Trump seeking to link his wife's death in 2001 to talk show host Joe Scarborough, a prominent Trump critic.
Matt speaks with Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald about the failure of the government to provide a credible childcare scheme for parents returning to work.
Looking to spruce up your garden this summer? From cordless lawnmowers to outdoor heating, these top tech picks will keep your garden looking great all summer. Andy O’Donoghue is here to tell us about the best gardening gadgets for summer 2020.
Have urban city centres been redefined? Frank McDonald weighs in on what will Dublin look like after the pandemic?
News broke today that The Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) wish to reopen on June 29, instead of July 20, and will meet with the government this week to present recommendations supporting their plea. Restaurants are also set to reopen later this summer, but do the current social distancing regulations make business viable?
Should the government change the ‘road map’ to reopening the country? Could current restrictions impose more costs, without the benefit? Could there be a second surge if the government got the reopening of the country wrong?
Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust is warning the public of the serious dangers hotter weather can have for dogs. Did you know that freezing some of your dog’s favourite toys in water or making a dog friendly ice-pop with frozen treats inside will encourage them to lick the ice and help keep your pooch hydrated!
How does Ireland reopen, resuscitate and reignite its economy?
Large-scale bus diversions, restrictions on cars and a widespread reallocation of road space to pedestrians and cyclists are planned under a new Covid-19 strategy for Dublin city centre.
The government is still having to address issues in relation to the marking of this year's Leaving Certificate, given the cancellation of the exams. It's been reported today that the cabinet is going to approve an indemnity for teachers marking papers and teachers and schools will also be indemnified from any legal cases taken by pupils or their parents. Seamus Lahart, President of the Teachers Union of Ireland, Arthur Godsil, former headmaster of St Andrews College and Director of Godsil Educat...more
Taoiseach Loe Varadkar today announced that the transmission of Covid-19 in the community has been effectively suppressed. Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe joined Matt Cooper on The Last Word to address calls for the government to speed up the easing of restrictions to get people back to work, to get businesses back up and running and to save the state some of the money it is spending on supports. As the Irish economy reopens gradually over the coming months it remains to be seen what will lie i...more
Yesterday the Children's Minister Katherine Zappone outlined preliminary guidance for childcare providers as creches prepare to reopen for "essential workers" under the government roadmap as early as June 29. What measures must be considered for the reopening of creches next month? Should Social Distancing be ruled out for children and why? Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
More than four in every ten Dublin pubs intend to reopen as restaurants at the end of June. Under the government's roadmap, bars can't begin operating again until August 10th. However, a number of pubs are hoping to use a loophole to reopen sooner than planned.
Just one month ago, Denmark were the first country in Europe to reopen schools for pupils up to the age of 11 - something not envisaged in Ireland for months yet. So how did re-opening work? Were the teacher's union on board? How are children finding it?
This week on The Last Word Culture Club Matt Cooper was joined by international superstar of literature - Richard Ford, who has been staying safe in the US throughout the Coronavirus crisis. So what will a man who has been described as the great living American novelist pick as his favourite music, movies, books, plays and podcasts? Catch the full chat by pressing the Listen button on this page.
The pandemic has provoked extraordinary acts of kindness and charity, but among these good deeds it has become clear some firms and institutions are failing to act fairly.
The music monthly Q is one of 10 magazines that could disappear from newsagents’ shelves as one of the UK’s biggest publishers considers the future of print titles as the coronavirus crisis hastens the shift of readers and advertisers online.
The traditional commute may never be the same again once people return to work after lockdown. Social distancing needs to be maintained. So how will this impact your commute? Will we see a rise in commuters using electric bicycles or will taxi drones become a familiar scene around the city?
President Donald Trump said Monday that he has been taking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for over a week to prevent coronavirus infection even though it is not yet a proven treatment. The president said he consulted with the White House doctor about taking the drug, but it was not explicitly recommended for him since he has not tested positive for the virus. Medical experts and media figures were quick to raise concerns about Trump's embrace of the drug, expressing alarm that it may...more
A huge cloud of uncertainty hangs over the summer camps of 2020, and where they might slot into the reopening of Ireland’s roadmap.
Dublin City Council plans to close College Green to traffic, and pedestrianise a significant number of streets under plans to reopen the city centre as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
Need some advice on "how to keep calm at home" while parenting through this COVID-19 crisis? Psychotherapist Helen Vaughan joins us and shares some tips on what you need to know about protecting you and your child's mental health during a pandemic.
An Garda Síochána has begun investigating the possibility of using drones for the first time.
According to the government roadmap out of lockdown, small weddings would be permitted by Phase Four, which is due to begin on 20 July.
Fans of BBC Four could be about to lose their favourite arts and culture programmes, as rumours are circulating that the channel is facing closure by the end of the year. It has an annual budget of £44 million and attracts a niche audience of mainly older viewers. The BBC, which is looking to cut costs, has previously emphasised that its aim is to invest in younger audiences. Several BBC Four presenters are unhappy about the idea, and have taken to social media to campaign for the channel to be ...more