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Bernard Phelan: 'He told me I'd die in prison'

Lara Marlowe spoke to Bernard Phelan, the Irish man who recently left Iran after being released from over six months in prison. He told her about life in a Tehran jail - with bad food, freezing cold temperatures and a dark atmosphere as beatings and executions took place. He also told her about the dramatic day of his release. Lara shares the story with Bernice Harrison.

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    To understand the unfolding crisis on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where a state of emergency has been declared as 7,000 migrants arrived on boats within just 48 hours, it’s crucial to look across the short stretch of the Mediterranean to Tunisia. Sally Hayden, who has been reporting on the migrant crisis and the EU’s response to it, explains in this podcast why there has been a surge of people arriving on Lampedusa; why she believes Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s proposed “naval blockade” will not work; the controversial €105 million deal between the EU and Tunisian president Kaïs Saïed, who has encouraged violence against black people in the country; and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s visit last week to the Italian island. Hayden also tells In the News the story of Saad Eddin Ismail who she met in Tunisia and who left his home in Darfur, Sudan, six years ago, on a long quest to find safety.Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by John Casey.
  • Why did spinal surgeries on children fail in one Dublin hospital?

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  • Can Patrick Kielty save The Late Late Show?

    Expectations were high for the start of the 61st season of The Late Late Show, and new host Patrick Kielty delivered on some of them: the comedian delivered a funny monologue and generally seemed comfortable in his new role. But some of the programme’s old problems remained. On today’s In the News podcast, Irish Times writer, editor and podcaster Hugh Linehan reviews the first episode under new management of what is still RTE’s flagship offering and a TV institution, looking at what went right, what went wrong - and how Mr Kielty can make the show his own. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Declan Conlon.
  • Can this plan make Dublin’s north inner city safer?

    The hiring of 'community safety wardens' to patrol Dublin’s north inner city was just one of the 50 actions contained in the Government’s latest plan for the area.But Irish Times Dublin editor Olivia Kelly explains why these wardens' ability to make the community safer will likely be limited.Meanwhile Peter Evans, a warden in Derry, explains how the system works there and just how effective it has been. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by John Casey
  • Too much Tubridy: What Irish teenagers think of the news

    This weekend, for the first time, the content of The Irish Times Magazine will be written entirely by teenagers. The six volunteers tackle subjects including the pitfalls of Tiktok, why many young women drop out of sport and what it is like to be a wheelchair user. One of their mentors for the project was Patrick Freyne, who recorded a conversation with them about the way their generation consumes news and the issues they really care about.
  • The man sending 'suicide kits' to customers in Ireland

    Gardai have  confirmed that a poisonous substance sold by an online seller in Canada, was posted to a number of people in Ireland. The man accused of selling these so called ‘suicide kits’ is Kenneth Law, a 57 year old Canadian chef. Law is currently in police custody, charged with 14 counts of counselling and aiding suicide in the region of Ontario. However, he is thought to be linked to more than 100 deaths worldwide, including Ireland. Irish Times crime and security editor Conor Lally explains the current state of the investigation into Law’s activities in Ireland and, from Canada, CBC News reporter Thomas Daigle, who has been covering the story since Law was taken into custody in May, details the latest in what is set to be a long, involved investigation into a particularly tragic crime. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Suzanne Brennan.The Samaritans can be contacted on freephone: 116 123 or email:
  • 'Hope has died' - have victims of the Troubles been betrayed?

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  • Behind the scenes of hit Netflix documentary 'The Deepest Breath' with Irish director Laura McGann

    Earlier this Summer, a Netflix documentary, all about the hidden world of freediving, catapulted the sport in front of a global audience. The Deepest Breath, tells the story of Alessia Zecchini, a champion freediver from Italy and Stephen Keenan, an expert safety diver from Glasnevin in Dublin. It follows them as they rise separately through the ranks of the sport, before their lives eventually become intertwined. The film was directed by Irish filmmaker Laura McGann and gives an incredible insight into the world of freediving: which sees divers reach depths of more than 100 meters, without any equipment and with one single breath. In this episode, McGann explains how extraordinary archive footage and the generosity of Stephen’s father Peter helped shape the documentary. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Suzanne Brennan.
  • Burning Man: how bad did it get? One Irish attendee tells his story

    Co Laois man Brendon Deacy (58) arrived at the Burning Man festival in the northern Nevada desert prepared for heat and dust – not the heavy rain that fell on the last weekend of the nine-day counterculture jamboree. The artist and NCAD lecturer tells In the News about arriving in the camper van with his four grown-up children, how the festival lived up to his expectations, and more – and how the media made a drama out of a mini-crisis. Yes, it rained but the festival went on, with mud underfoot and a bit of unexpected discomfort. In the end, the man burned. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Declan Conlon.