EPISODE 113: Big Tech’s data dream

As Ireland continues to be home for many Big Tech HQ’s, the responsibility for enforcing privacy laws lies with us too.

This week, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties released a report that suggests Ireland is failing to enforce these laws on these companies.

The report comes on the back of a recent case with WhatsApp where the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s suggested fine of 30-50 million was pushed back on by our EU counterparts in the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), which oversees the GDPR and ended up coming in at 225m.

Obviously financial penalties are but a thorn in the side of big tech, and enforcement of the privacy laws with order’s to bring data systems into compliance is much more pertinent.

To discuss this report and to offer suggestions on what needs to happen to bring Big Tech under control is Dr Jonny Ryan, Senior Fellow at ICCL and the Open Markets Institute and co-author of the report.


BONUS EP: Defects: Living with the Legacy of the Celtic Tiger

Last night Eoin O’Broin launched his new book, Defects: Living with the Legacy of the Celtic Tiger. Today, bus loads of mica redress campaigners have arrived at the Fianna Fáil think-in in Cavan.

In this bonus episode, we talk to the Sinn Fein spokesperson on housing and TD Eoin O Broin about his new book where O Broin examines the personal stories of people living in defective homes, as well as the legislative and political context that gave rise to scandals such as breaches of building regulations in fire safety, pyrite, and the ongoing mica scandal.


EPISODE 112: DERELICTE

Housing For All launched last week and there were some easy wins for the government that were kicked down the road, like tackling the vacancy and dereliction problem that is currently rampaging through the country. The most sustainable and sense filled solution is to obviously use what’s already built – but you simply have to look at the hashtags #DerelictIreland & #DerelictDublin to see the amount of buildings that are just being left to rot.

But here at United Ireland, we don’t like to just give out, we love to look at solutions and action. Step forward Lauren Tuite from D8 Developments, a social enterprise in Inchicore that turns empty properties into beautiful and affordable spaces where people can live and work. We were also extremely interested to hear about Lauren’s research regarding the correlation between car usage and dereliction.

We’re also talking Mighty Zapponela; The Guardian’s edit (or slashing) of an entire section of Judith Butler’s interview calling out TERF hatred; and some Motel Makeover for good measure.


EPISODE 111: Reopening, The Dance

Everything is a dance at the moment.

Government are dancing between vaccine rollout, reopening plans and warnings from immunologists that it’s too early, the events and entertainment industry are dancing on the spot and it’s safe to say we are all dying for a dance.

So we’re talking to the man fighting for our right to dance – Sunil Sharpe from Give Us The Night – about the reopening roadmap. What does it mean for ppl trying to roll out events, what will the pilot event look like and will it in fact pilot anything, and maybe most importantly, what does the future hold for clubs and dancing in Ireland going into the future?

Plus, the Texan abortion ban, land speculation on co-living plans and why can’t ministers manage to figure out how to free up space on their phones without deleting govt business from their phones and what FOI really means?


BYLINE: Sarah Schulman

Sarah Schulman is one of the most influential and important queer writers and thinkers in the world. Writing and creating across multiple forms, from novels to non-fiction books, plays to screenwriting, her clarity of thought and depth of research illuminates both the causes and the effects of the often under-interrogated systems that influence our lives, from familial homophobia to urban gentrification.

Her latest book, Let The Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York 1987-1993, is a huge piece of work and an essential piece of documentary, memoir, oral history, and journalism that examines the incredible successes of ACT UP during the height of the AIDS crisis in New York. The book has been lauded in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times has called it “a masterpiece”.

In this episode, we talk about her career, her new book, and what the pandemic revealed about the future of cities.


EPISODE 110: Pedestrianisation Wars

It ended with a tweet.

Last night, DCC announced the end of pedestrianisation on Capel Street and Parliament Street, by way of a tweet outlining how successful it had been. There was no consultation with the businesses surviving because of the pedestrianisation, or the people living there enjoying their traffic free life.

We’re talking to the landlady with the biggest, blondest wigs since Peggy Mitchell – the Queen of Ireland, Panti aka Rory O’Neill, about the frustrations of running your business on the whims of tweets, the exhaustion of having essential changes to the city based on outrage and public pressure rather than a vision for how the city can be better and how having a city run by elected officials with no power needs to be overthrown.

The City Revolution is a coming……


EPISODE 109: POCKET FORESTS

Ok. Ok.

We always try our best to provide solutions and things you can do about the subjects we’re covering but understand that it can sometimes not feel like enough or all a bit overwhelming.

Which is why we’re so excited to be talking to Catherine Cleary and Ashe Conrad-Jones who were feeling like that too and started Pocket Forests – a special method of planting small biodiverse forests in urban areas.

We’ll also be talking about the events industry shit show, Owen Keegan’s interview & more Build to Rent shenanigans.

So dive in and get your Vitamin Tree!


BYLINE: Killian Woods

Killian Woods is a senior business reporter with the Business Post. His reporting on housing has provided readers with a detailed, complex, and global picture of the forces at work that contribute to and benefit from Ireland’s housing crisis.

In this episode of Byline, we go behind the scenes of Killian’s work, as he discusses the seemingly insurmountable disfunction of the current crisis as it has been created by misguided government tinkering. From empty luxury apartments across the capital, to the reasons so much student accommodation is being built, from the return of short-term lets to his prediction of how the stress and strain of this all will likely end up in a rent strike.

Also, we discuss the incredible and bizarre story at Johnstown Estate in Enfield, and the infamous estate in Maynooth that kicked off another piece of government intervention earlier this year.


EPISODE 108: Climate Revolution NOW

It’s clear from the IPCC report that shit has hit the fan.

But it’s also true that we can still do something about it.

Which is why we’re especially pleased to be joined by Dr. Paul Behrens, author of The Best of Times The Worst of Times: Futures from the Frontiers of Climate Science, a book that lays it all out but also has alternating optimistic chapters of what we can do.

We’re also talking about wealthy shoppers apparently absconding from town because 3 roads were pedestrianised; robot trees in Cork; new lobby groups for Data Centres which leads to an Una Rant™ about time being called on lobbying aka legal corruption.

Lean in listeners, lean in (not in a Sheryl Sandberg way though).

Also, isn’t it so great the Luas is still free?


EPISODE 107: The People’s Vaccine

Half of the world is starting to consider the pandemic coming to an end. The other half, the poorer half, can’t afford access to the vaccine and won’t start vaccinating till 2023.

The phrase “None of us is safe until all of us are safe” couldn’t be more true when we live in such an interconnected world trying to fight a virus that can mutate and respread, even to those who are protected.

So we’re talking to Robbie Lawlor from Access to Medicines Ireland about the importance of equitable access to not just COVID 19 vaccines, but to patented medicines across the board. How do medical IP’s work, how do they hold back innovation and what can we do to ensure fair access to medicines for people who need it.

Log on to peoplesvaccine.ie/ to sign the petition, tweet your politician and join the conversation with #PeoplesVaccine