This week's Culture Club inductee is poet, playwright and novelist Sebastian Barry, whose new novel A Thousand Moons is out now. He joined us to talk about the book as well as his favourite authors, books, plays, movies, TV shows and music. Favourite Authors: George Eliot, Joseph Conrad, Anthony Trollope, Ali Smith Favourite Book: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides Favourite Play: King Lear Favourite Movie: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Favourite TV show: The Onedin Line Favourite Album: Daoirí F...more
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has said he plans to donate $1 billion towards efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, with the donation apparently representing around 28% of his wealth. While he didn't specify exactly where the funds would be sent, he plans to use his shares from the Square payment app rather than Twitter as he owns "a lot more" of them. Ian Guider, markets editor of the Business Post, joined us for our daily business update with story and more, including: EU fails to reach de...more
Since the coronavirus arrived in Ireland, GP practices have had to change the way they operate. Doctors are now trying to reduce footfall through their practices as much as possible by carrying out phone and video consultations where appropriate. Dr Doireann O'Leary, GP with MyCorkGP and health blogger, joined us for our weekly medical consultation to discuss how being a doctor has changed in recent weeks and which medical conditions still require urgent attention at this time. Listen to the int...more
If you're over the age of 70 and are cocooning due to COVID-19, how do you carry on doing your banking? For many older people, online banking may not be an option. However, the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland is offering advice and support for these people during the current crisis, while the main retail banks have also set up dedicated phone lines for this purpose. Brian Hayes, CEO of the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, joined us for our personal finance slot to advise olde...more
Two prominent American musicians sadly passed away in the last week: soul singer Bill Withers and Fountains of Wayne founder member Adam Schlesinger. Withers died of heart complications last Monday, aged 81. His hits included 'Ain't No Sunshine', 'Lean on Me' and 'Lovely Day'. Schlesinger passed away after testing positive for COVID-19. He was just 52. In addition to his work with Fountains of Wayne, he wrote and produced music for films such as That Thing You Do! and Music and Lyrics, as well a...more
Research from Trinity College has highlighted the dangers of businesses being closed for long periods of time. The research was undertaken by Professor Andrew Burke, Dean of Trinity Business School, and peers last year. It shows that "if a firm formally exits a market, as opposed to a temporary closure of its door to business, this causes a long-term permanent decrease in the number of firms and industry profits." Ian Guider, markets editor of the Business Post, discussed this story and more in ...more
Donald Trump has been a fierce advocate of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. But many people think his interest in the drug can be attributed to the fact that he has a stake in Sanofi, the French firm that makes it. Doctors in the United States have cautioned against raising false hope, as the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine has not yet been proved. Cal Thomas and Marion McKeone discussed this and more from the US, including Trump's offer ...more
Stories have been circulating on social media as well as mainstream media, claiming that 5G technology is linked to COVID-19. Some believe that 5G networks have been acting as an accelerator for the disease, a theory which leading scientists have described as "a physical and biological impossibility". Andy O'Donoghue joined us for Tech Tuesday to explain what 5G is, how it works and why it has no link whatsoever to COVID-19. He also discussed WhatsApp's attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus ...more
Debenhams is on the brink of collapse as the chain is set to file for administration for the second time in a year. It has closed 22 stores this year and has plans to close a total of 50 outlets across the UK. Meanwhile the footwear retailer Clarks is also fighting for survival amid the coronavirus crisis, drawing up plans for permanent store closures. Ian Guider, markets editor of the Business Post, joined us for our daily business update with this story and more, including: More than 700,000 ...more
What will the post-coronavirus world look like? Jonathan Ruane is a lecturer in Global Economics and Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined us to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and the potential opportunities that may arise when things return to normal, as well as the free online course he is running on entrepreneurship. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
Concerns have been raised about a potential shortage of medicines such as paracetamol, statins and antibiotics as a result of COVID-19. Ireland is dependent on supplies of active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines from China and India, which could cause shortages due to manufacturing operations in both countries being closed. Sandra Gannon, Managing Director of Azure Pharmaceuticals and former president of the pharmaceutical representative body Medicines for Ireland, raised these concerns ...more
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in hospital for observation, after testing positive for COVID-19 and spending ten days in self-isolation. Downing Street has not denied that he is receiving oxygen treatment, and tomorrow's cabinet meeting has been postponed. Nick Ferrari, presenter of Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC, joined us to discuss Johnson's condition and the Queen's speech last night, as well as the death toll in Britain which has now surpassed 5,000. Listen to the interview in fu...more
Netflix's true crime documentary series Tiger King has been a big hit since its release two weeks ago. It explores the world of big cat breeding and collecting in the United States and the feuds involved. Joe O'Shea and Jennifer Gannon gave their take on the series in our weekly TV slot, and also recommended some more documentary series to watch. Joe's Choices The Undateables Brat Camp Jennifer's Choices Wild Wild Country Ted Bundy: Falling For A Killer Listen to the interview in full by pressin...more
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, is calling for a significant stimulus plan from the government to support vulnerable businesses and help the economy recover. In a new report, the group said that the package, if fully utilised, would increase the Irish government crisis response support to the economy to about 10% of GDP, bringing Ireland into line with other countries. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, joined us for our daily business update to discuss this story a...more
Many of us are feeling anxious, stressed and scared as we try to adapt to new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Helen Vaughan, psychotherapist with Maynooth Counselling, joined us to give some tips on minding your mental health during this challenging time. Managing relationships: try not to control the other person's behaviour, pay attention to tone and try not to criticise Give yourself permission to feel anxious Prepare for the possibility of a longer period of uncertainty Focus on wh...more
The coronavirus outbreak appears to have taken its toll on couples across China, as the country's divorce rates are reported to have increased significantly. Couples are filing for divorce in large numbers after apparently spending too much time together at home during the lockdown, and divorce lawyers in the UK and United States are bracing themselves for a similar spike in cases. Roe McDermott and Niall Shanahan joined us for The Week Trending to discuss this and some of the other stories maki...more
We could all do with some cheering up in these uncertain times, and what better way than to watch some comedy? Brian Lloyd and Dee Molumby joined us with their recommendations for the best comedy movies available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Dee's Choices Coming to America This Is the End I, Tonya Spy Brian's Choices Logan Lucky What We Do in the Shadows A Cock and Bull Story Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
AIB has announced that it will waive fees for its small business customers who have been affected by COVID-19. The bank said that the maintenance and transaction fees can be applied in the third quarter of the year and can be spread equally over September, October and November. But the same help is not being offered to personal current account customers, who had an average quarterly fee of under €20 applied this week. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, joined us for our daily busin...more
There has been disagreement among TDs over whether today's Dáil sitting should have gone ahead, due to concerns about COVID-19 and health and safety. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has stated that "democracy needs to continue", but Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill took a different view on Twitter. Social distancing is among the measures being adhered to in the Dáil chamber, but was it irresponsible for the sitting to take place today? Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and Richard Boy...more
The number of people on the Live Register has jumped by over 300,000 according to the latest figures from the CSO. The figures show that, by the end of March, more than half a million people were depending on some form of jobless benefit. Dan O'Brien, chief economist at the Institute of International and European Affairs and columnist with Independent Newspapers, says that the past three weeks has seen a bigger increase in these numbers than over three years during the property crash. He was joi...more
This week's Culture Club inductee is one of Ireland's top thriller writers, Liz Nugent. Her latest novel, Our Little Cruelties, is available to order from Amazon and the Book Depository and can also be found in most Irish supermarkets. Liz joined us on The Last Word to discuss her favourite music, movies, books, TV and theatre. First Single: Alan Parsons Project - Old and Wise Favourite Album: Tom Waits - Closing Time Favourite Band: The Cranberries Best Gig: Bob Dylan at Slane in 1984 Favourite...more
Dairygold recorded a 24% increase in profits last year, as its revenues passed €1 billion. The company also said its milk suppliers expanded production during the year, bringing the total output close to 1.4 billion, a 65% increase on the amount produced before milk quotas were abolished in 2014. Samantha McCaughren, business editor of the Sunday Independent, joined us with this story and the day's other business news, including: Governor of Central Bank overseeing crisis response from Greek lo...more
The Department of Health today confirmed 212 new cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland, and 14 more deaths. The total number of cases now stands at 3,447. But are we testing everyone who needs to be tested? Dr Nick Flynn, GP with MyCorkGP, joined us for our weekly medical consultation to discuss the pressures GPs are under to get COVID-19 tests for their patients, and how the situation is impacting those with other medical needs. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button...more
Many charities have been badly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Barretstown Children's Charity. Barretstown provides residential programmes for seriously ill children and their families, but is currently unable to do so. These children are now feeling the effects of isolation, and as a result the charity has created Barretstown LIVE to deliver its programmes directly to people's homes. We were joined by Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown, and Ashley Keenan, who is the parent of an im...more
Not all comedy songs work, but some do. For our weekly music slot, John Caddell and Dee Reddy picked some of their favourite comedy songs. They also discussed new music from Dua Lipa, and why certain album releases have been put on hold. John's Choices Weird Al Yankovic - It's Still Billy Joel To Me Gift Grub - Leave Right Now Dee Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - You Stupid Bitch Flight of The Conchords - Business Time Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
Penneys is putting plans for its Dundrum expansion on hold in light of the current COVID-19 situation. The retail giant had intended to open a new store at Dundrum Town Centre, taking over the space left vacant by House of Fraser, which ceases trading in May. Peter O'Dwyer of The Business Post joined us with this story and more of the day's business news, including: Restaurants say they want flexibility from landlords over rents Economists at EY forecast the economy could shrink as much as 13% ...more
The United States now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, with New York the worst affected area. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers as the state's death toll continues to climb. But is saving the economy more of a priority for Donald Trump than protecting public health? Cal Thomas and Marion McKeone discussed this in our weekly US slot, and also questioned whether Andrew Cuomo could replace Joe Biden as the D...more
In last week's Tech Tuesday, Andy O'Donoghue spoke about how mobile phone tracking is being used in China to fight COVID-19. It now seems similar measures could be introduced in Ireland, as the Business Post reports that the HSE is moving forward with plans to ask the public to opt into a tracking and tracing app. The app would use Bluetooth to track who you've been in contact with, and identify when someone has been within two metres of a coronavirus patient for at least 30 minutes. Andy joined...more
Are you looking for some new podcasts to help you pass the time at home? Robyn Keleghan of the Communications Clinic (and formerly of The Last Word team) and Dave Hanratty, journalist and broadcaster with the No Encore podcast, joined us to give their recommendations. Robyn's Choices Fake Heiress Believed The Nobody Zone Castaway Stardust Dave's Choices The Last Days of August The Rewatchables Reply All Song Exploder Dissect Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this...more
Permanent TSB is extending cashback for transactions, with over 12,000 customers set to receive 10 cent for every purchase they make by card in April and May. The offer applies to people with an Explore current account and includes purchases made using contactless payments. Ian Guider, markets editor of The Business Post, joined us for our daily business update with this story and more, including: AIB and Bank of Ireland scrap dividends, costing the government €200m Greencore bosses take pay cu...more
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating huge difficulties for many businesses. But there are some companies who have come up with innovative ways of providing medical assistance and care during this time. Paul Collins is sales manager at Bolgers Engineering, which has created 25 new jobs as it ramps up the manufacture of ventilators. John Browne is the founder and CEO of Kastus, which manufactures unique antimicrobial solutions for glass and ceramic. They both joined us on The Last Word to talk about ...more
Various restrictions are now in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. But is it now time to consider closing our borders? We were joined by Dr Paddy Mallon, consultant at St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin and professor of microbial diseases at UCD, and defence analyst Declan Power, to discuss whether this would be a good idea. Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.
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