BYLINE: Fintan O’Toole

Fintan O’Toole is a columnist with the Irish Times, and widely and correctly viewed as the most essential voice in Irish journalism. He is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, has written 25 books, and has won many awards, including the European Press Prize for commentary in 2017, the same year he won the Orwell Prize for Journalism. Fintan is not just the conscience of Irish journalism, but a conscience of Irish society, upholding the values of journalism with real meaning, empathy, honesty, truth, and often a tenderness that is increasingly easy to abandon in an era of binary debates and hot takes.

In this episode of BYLINE, we talk to Fintan about Brexit, a subject he has emerged as the smartest voice in any room on, rising above the din with his trademark reason, insight and intelligence.

EPISODE 76: Why can’t we build gaffs like the old days?

As some ppl try to turn the narrative from councillors this week voting not to trade half the Oscar Traynor site for private development and for the council to become the lead housing developer, to the apparent collapse of a deal to build 853 houses, we’re looking back to a utopian community build in the Tenters.

The Tenters is about to celebrate its centenary and resident & local historian Maria O’Reilly joins us to discuss this pioneering development that has stood the test of time. If we could do it then etc….

We also have ‘the wisest woman on Twitter’ ™, architect & UCD professor Orla Hegarty to talk us through how we might navigate our way out of our public land development mess.

BONUS: The grim reality of Facebook moderation

*WARNING* Please be aware that this episode contains descriptions of extreme violence, child abuse and cruelty, animal abuse and cruelty, acts of murder, sexual violence, and other descriptions that listeners may find distressing.

People working as content reviewers, moderating the dregs of the internet on Facebook, have one of the toughest and most distressing modern jobs. So why do it? In this episode, we speak to a former worker who lays out the reality of what the fundamentals of the job are, despite Facebook’s policies and processes continuing to change. This is a tough listen, but an essential one.

EPISODE 75: FERMANAGH: What the frack is going on with… fracking in Ireland?

It’s not always bad news you know!

This week we’re talking about the recent wins against fracking in Fermanagh and the end of a long, 12-year legal battle on Monday that quashed planning permission for Shannon LNG terminal. We’re joined by the inspirational Tony Lowes from Friends of the Irish Environment to talk about his work on this case and with the phenomenal Climate Case Ireland.

We’re also overflowing with Fave bits including, but not limited to Kevin McCloud, Roisin Murphy, Ruth Medjber, nature (in general) & christmas cards.

Onwards sailor!

BONUS EP: Can we stop art getting the boot from Temple Bar?

We’re talking to artist and co-founder of the Icon Factory and Icon Walk, Aga Szot about their new landlord seeking to turn their cultural space in Temple Bar into a restaurant.

Has art and culture had its day in Temple Bar and have the ravages of strictly commercial gain made its way into what was designated and developed to be a cultural hotspot for Dublin?

If you want to support Icon Factory and the Icon Walk, Sign the petition here

Things Are Looking Up…

It’s not just the results that are coming in from the election that are making us feel a bit more hopeful all of a sudden, even though we’re sure that energy is definitely having an impact on this turn – but all of a sudden, it feels like we’re collectively coming out the other side.

We wanted to take an episode to mark this turning and talk about the things that are making us more hopeful for where we are and where we’re going.


EPISODE 73: Kilkenny – the shebeen is back

Off we pop to the county home of the oldest brewery in Ireland up until recently, and we delve into the resurgence in shebeens around Ireland. (SIRI, what’s a tenuous link?) Chief writer of the Irish Times’ An Irishman’s Diary Frank McNally joins us to discuss illicit drinking dens from Cape Town to Inishowen.

Also, Andrea is obsessed with Kilkenny’s witchy history (festive), Una’s impression of Stephen Donnelly wins an Oscar, and Fine Gael are obsessed with themselves.

BONUS EP: 😲 Nobody shocked as student accommodation pivots to tourists

It felt inevitable.

And now disappointing decisions from Planning at DCC see purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) being granted permission to ‘pivot’ to accomodation for tourists or “short-term worker apartments”.

Was this always a backdoor way of building much maligned co-living developments?

We’re talking to Labour Senator Rebecca Moynihan about why, or more so how, this has happened.