EPISODE 22: ARMAGH: Is there anybody out there? A United Ireland aliens special.

Trying to figure out the ‘what can you do?’ section of this week’s podcast was interesting given that we were talking to trailblazing astrophysicist; scientist; one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and one of Nature magazines ten most prominent scientists worldwide Guillem Anglada-Escudé, who discovered the Proxima-b exoplanet orbiting Proxima-Centauri, our closest neighbouring star. Suggesting ways to build your own lightsail spacecraft seemed a little excessive for you to have done before settling down to next week’s episode.

We delve into the the journey further into space and find comfort speculating on the aliens out there watching in on our little simulation here on earth. As new planets are discovered, are we any closer to finding living circumstances similar to our own that can facilitate life? Mulder and Scully, this is the episode for you.

There’s also an absolute banger of a Tuna Chicken Roll, get in a rage about 6k being spent a day on barriers to pedestrianise an area and find some joyous fave bits to bring Una back from the brink after finding out that the Government’s approval rating has shot up.

EPISODE 21: MEATH: Is everything we know about Newgrange wrong?

We’re feeling very witchy this week with the onset of Samhain, and so we are journeying to the heart of Ireland’s mythical history, the great county of MEATH. Last year, an incredible discovery was made at Newgrange by Anthony Murphy and Ken Williams who stumbled upon a massive henge at the Brú na Bóinne site. We talk to Anthony about DRONEHENGE, a discovery that shook the world of archeology and has made us rethink what was really going on at Newgrange back in the day (clue: a giant sesh.)

Join us in rolling back the clock as we talk druids, pagan Olympics, human sacrifice, and and how an extra-hot Irish summer unearthed more Meath magic. Also, a cohousing cafe, Eoghan Murphy’s Stoneybatter interventions, Andrea resurrects the Sex and the City movie, and Una reveals her past as an interpretive dance teacher.

EPISODE 20: CAVAN: Abductions, torture, the Quinn group and Cavan: what’s going on?

Power, violence, threats, abductions, torture, and jobs. Sean Quinn was Ireland’s richest man a decade ago, but now his company’s name is embroiled in a shocking series of events in Fermanagh and Cavan. We talk to brilliant local reporter Rodney Edwards about the Quinn Industrial Holdings saga and find out WFT is going on in Cavan.

Plus John Delaney’s sweetener, the new PJ Harvey documentary, Andrea’s tuna chicken roll and loads more.

EPISODE 19: TALLAGHT: Why did the Council destroy a unique wetland habitat?

We all gasped when pics of the Wetlands in Tallaght were shared, recently covered over by dredged silt from the nearby lake. How could this have happened? Why would someone do this? How could an official body let this happen? Who was responsible?

It’s safe to say that orgs and institutions are literally sweating to make sure they tick all the sustainable boxes for PR, photo opps and green flags on their websites, but when it comes to actions, are they following through? The actions from South Dublin County Council would indicate that’s a big fat no, but how could councilors and heritage officers let this happen? Surely there’s a plan that everyone in there is sticking to, to maintain our greenways and biodiversity. Sadly reader, the answer is no.

The same week a motion was passed unanimously in Dublin City Council by elected councilors, but was rebuffed by a member of the appointed Executive who said that initiating changes to the development plan was a power held by the council’s executive and the council’s management did not intend to do so. So you have to ask, who exactly holds the power to shape our city?

We spoke to Science Officer with the Herpetological Society of Ireland (HIS) & research associate at TCD, Collie Ennis to get the exact details on what happened to the Wetlands and to Cllr Carly Bailey to find out what is going on within the Councils.

EPISODE 18: LOUTH: Do we need to get more bogged down?

Ireland recently declared a climate emergency. The bogs of Ireland are our equivalent to the rain forest in terms of their role as a carbon sink, but for some bizarre reason, a bypass for Ardee that was initially planned in 2001, but put on hold, was recently put back on the table. It is due to cut right through one of the only easterly raised bogs left in Ireland.

The plans were put on hold yesterday, but only due to issues raised by the community about potential division of the town, rather than the environmental issues. An Environmental Impact Assessment has never been carried out, but surely now, the question we should be asking is; if we’re in the midst of a climate emergency, why are we building more roads to counter excess traffic, rather than looking for alternative solutions? And why are we looking to build it to the detriment of one of the biggest solutions to our climate problems, the bog?

We’re joined by activist, artist and friend of the Ardee Bog, Katie Holten and Conservation Policy Officer with the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Tristram Whyte. LEAVE THEM BOGS ALONE!

EPISODE 17: SLIGO: Can improved access to art make a better society?

In a week that brought us the news that the Shaw was closing to make way for, you guessed it, a hotel, we start to look at what can be done to encourage more value to be placed on art and culture from the those who have the power and money to shape our society.

Increasing and improving access to art is one step we think that can be taken to help people understand the weight, importance and benefits that come from having a thriving creative scene in Ireland. But another issue thrown up when you start exploring access to art, is people’s perceptions of what constitutes culture. Comments from some councillors showed that what many considered the centre of their cultural universe with the Shaw, was considered nothing more than a nuisance and eyesore. How can we support people pushing the boundaries not just with their art, but those pushing the boundaries of what art is. And who gets to be the gate-keeper of where art and culture starts and ends?

We talk to two people whose remit is to improve access to art in Ireland. Sinead Rice is Head of Education in the National Gallery and Emer McGarry is the interim Director at The Model in Sligo. We also have Patrick Curley who runs Illuminations in Sligo as our county rep.

EPISODE 16: LAOIS, Live from Electric Picnic

We’re coming live from Electric Picnic this week with our LAOIS episode, asking the question : are festivals the perfect societies? Joining us to discuss utopias and future societies are Mango, Saoirse McHugh, and Bríd Smith TD.

In front of a live audience at the Ah Hear podcast stage in Mindfield at Electric Picnic, we discussed what parts of the festival bubble could work in real life, and local legend Mary White and her son Willie White joined us as the Laois county reps. Contains kebab puns, socialism, and all the Picnic buzz.

EPISODE 15: CARLOW: Are we ready to get serious about the night​ ​time economy?

It’s very easy to moan and groan about the influx of hotels and the homogenisation of the landscape in cities and towns around the country, but it’s worth remembering that it’s not the job of hotel owners to ​shape the fabric of our society, it’s their job to build hotels and make money​. So, who’s job is it?

When it comes to being custodians of culture and city planning, we have the Minister for Culture & Heritage, her department, Dublin City Council and many art institutions and councils. When it comes to the night time economy or life after dark, however, it is that so often these pursuits aren’t considered culture. But, the fact of the matter is — clubbing IS culture.

This week, we’re talking to Global Night Mayor advocate Mirik Milan, who was the first Night Mayor of Amsterdam in 2012, along with Philly McMahon, who has challenged the definition and scope of culture with ThisIsPopBaby. This episode of the podcast is longer than a club night in Dublin and it’s time for us all to get behind and champion culturally relevant nightlife in Ireland.

We also have the “complete Aisling”, Sarah Breen as our county rep for Carlow, news from the week, top Carlow facts, Get In the Sea and of course, our Tuna Chicken Roll.

EPISODE 14: Privacy, the Public Service Card, and big problems…

If there’s anything we’ve learned since the Cambridge Analytica exposé, it’s that data is both very precious to those who own it and extremely dangerous if it’s accessed by power hungry maniacs. Hell, we learned this from James Bond and The Bourne films, but it’s only when it hits you in the face that the stark reality of what’s at stake IRL truly materialises.

Which is why we wanted to fully focus this week’s episode on the fallout from the Data Protection Commissioner’s landmark investigation into the government’s Public Service Card. We’re joined in the studio by the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon to talk through what happened, why it was found to be illegal and what the ramifications of that are, what they could have been and where we go from here.

We’re also talking about Aches’ Horseboy mural; Tarantino being a forever creep; The Berlin Boys Club, a nomadic men’s group exploring healthy masculinity and just how great Aisling Bea is.

EPISODE 13: DONEGAL: Should Donegal have Universal Basic Income?

We’re all about radical solutions to big issues here at United Ireland, and this week we journey to Donegal, to see whether what’s often called the forgotten county could benefit from new thinking. Joining us this week is the mastermind behind Finland’s Universal Basic Income experiment, Olli Kangas, and Donegal doer and thinker Declan Meehan gives us the lay of the land. Our County Rep this week is Una’s better half, Sarah Francis, who is repping the north west hard.

Andrea bowls us over with her Donegal facts, and we also talk about Jeffrey Epstein, Hong Kong protests, and our all-star drag lineup for Love Sensation when Tuna Chicken Roll goes live!

Enya, Football Special, Tory kings, Donegal queens, fishing, Brexit, wee Daniel, this episode has it all! Donegal abú!