EPISODE 144: The Small Business Crisis

Across Ireland, small businesses are facing a near-crippling confluence of events; the staffing crisis impacting hiring and retention, out of control insurance costs, crazy energy price hikes, and inflation across the board. There’s also the housing and rental crisis which is having a huge impact on small businesses. On this episode, we’re digging into the reality of these issues, as well as looking at immediate solutions that could help. Andrea is repping Tropical Popical’s perspective, and Colm Keane of the award-winning Daddy’s cafe is talking about the various issues hitting independent hospitality businesses hard.

Also: An Bord Pleanála, Housing For All(?), Conversations with Friends & An Cailin Ciúin.


BONUS EP: Laurence McKeown, Time Shadows

The date of the Assembly Election, May 5th, was also the anniversary of Bobby Sands’ death, a seismic moment in Irish history. On this bonus episode, we talk to Laurence McKeown, who also joined the hunger strikes that changed the political landscape. McKeown is an author, playwright, and poet, who was also imprisoned in the H-Blocks, and spent 70 days on hunger strike. In this episode, he discusses his memoir which details his time in prison, the trajectory of those protests, and how the discourse around Irish unity has changed.


EPISODE 143: Assembly Election Spesh #5: End the Racist Border

It’s our final #AE22 instalment before the North goes to the polls, and this week, we’re talking borders. But not the border discourse you’re used to. Many, many people are prevented from moving from county to county in this country because of border restrictions placed on visa-nationals. Imagine working in a hospital in Derry, but being unable to take a day trip to a Derry beach. Imagine living with fear of being “caught” driving your child to school if it involves crossing the apparently invisible border. Imagine being racially profiled on public transport. This is the reality for many people on this island. We’ll be joined by people from the North West Migrants Forum to discuss how to end the racist border, and what its day-to-day impact is on people’s lives. If you’d like to get involved in this, you can find more information on the North West Migrants Forum website: www.nwmf.org.uk – from signing the petition to finding email templates to contact ROI TD’s.
We’re also talking about Darragh O’Brien’s othering of migrants; the National Maternity Hospital & Church marriage; The victory (for now) at the Cobblestone; The Met Gala; the beginning of the end of An Bord Pleanála? and much more.


EPISODE 142: Assembly Election Spesh #4: Poverty in Northern Ireland

Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick of Ulster University School of Law joins us to discuss what we feel is probably the biggest underlying election issue in the North: poverty. What aspects of poverty hit harder in the North, and why? With the cost of living crisis spirally, we chat about the problems and the solutions.

Also, Andrea has a life-changing experience at Roisin Murphy, and it’s the return of J LO NEWS.


EPISODE 141: Assembly Election Spesh #3: Arts and Culture Policy

On our third instalment examining issues beyond the headlines during election season in the North, we’re digging into the parties – as in the ones on the dancefloor. Which political party has decent arts and culture policies? We’re also joined by AVA bosswoman Sarah McBriar who gives us an insight into running one of the most interesting festivals on the island, and how Belfast is leading the way in electronic music culture.


EPISODE 140: Assembly Election Spesh #2: A New Era of Candidates with Emma DeSouza

On our second NI Assembly spesh, we’re looking beyond the traditional binaries to spotlight one of the new era of candidates that are focussing on being independent voices in the hope of being elected in a jurisdiction known for partisan politics. Emma DeSouza joins us to discuss her ideas, and the changing landscape of voters and the issues they’re invested in, in the North.

Also, NASCAR racing, Brit Brit is preg preg and the wondrous Saint Sister make magic in the Olympia.


EPISODE 139: Assembly Election Spesh #1: The Big Picture

Welcome to the first episode in our month-long series examining the upcoming Northern Irish Assembly elections!

You know we love a good vote (and this one takes place on May 5th), but we also feel that a lot of people in the South simply don’t engage in Assembly elections, and tend to tune out.

Not here!

We’re going to bring you the FUN ASSEMBLY ELECTION SPESH.

Get ready to tune into a different take on a hugely significant election, with expert analysis, brill guests, candidate interviews, constituency profiles, and a focus on the big issues beyond the political binaries.

In our first Big Picture ep, Andrea has been down the library ready to bring you her Assembly Explainer, and Susan McKay joins us for some big picture chats on unionism’s regression, election issues, and what happens when the power dynamics in the North begin to shift.


BYLINE: Simon Carswell

BYLINE is back! This month, we’re chatting to The Irish Times’ Public Affairs Editor, Simon Carswell. Carswell is known in the industry for his breadth of expertise, his fastidiousness, and his capacity to take on any beat. His background in financial journalism – when he worked at both the Business Post and then the Irish Times – switched gears to American politics when he became the Washington Correspondent of the Irish Times during Obama’s second term. In this episode, we’re talking about what it took to cover a pandemic, his time in Cuba with Obama, covering the Irish banking crisis and loads more.

BYLINE is a companion series to United Ireland where we talk to great journalists about the stories that matter. Your support of United Ireland on Patreon helps make this series happen, so if you haven’t signed up yet, please do! It costs just €3/month.


EPISODE 138: the Irish Aircraft Leasing Sector Hits Turbulence

Peter O’Dwyer of the Business Post joins us to discuss the Irish aircraft leasing sector’s turbulent times, with leased jets languishing in Russia in the face of EU sanctions, how did this industry come to be massive in Ireland, and can they get their planes back? If you’ve always wondered what Ireland’s strong connections are with this sector, here’s the explainer you’ve been waiting for!


EPISODE 137: The New Celtic Revival

As an epic return to St Patrick’s Day celebrations winds up, we’re chatting about the new Celtic revival currently influencing contemporary Irish identities across Irish culture, society, and politics. From the popularity of the Irish language, to the blending of tradition in art, music, design and fashion, it feels very much that we’re in a new Celtic revival. What’s behind this shift, what will its impact on society be?