In The News
Leaving Cert: Why is there so much emphasis placed on points and third level education?
With all the good weather we're having, it can only mean one thing: it’s Leaving Cert season. This morning, around 60,000 students around the country will sit down to English Paper One. For many of them, this marks the beginning of a gruelling CAO points race and a scramble over coveted university places. But with lots of alternative routes into further education available, why is there so much emphasis on the final year exam results? Irish Times education editor Carl O’Brien explains the options available to students, who favour a less stressful route. We also hear from Irish Times intern Katie Mellett, who completed her exams last year.
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What will Budget 2024 mean for you?24:53The Republic will run a huge budget surplus this year and next, thanks to bumper corporate tax receipts. So when Budget 2024 is announced next week, can some of that money be spent on easing the cost of living crisis and tackling issues like decarbonisation, housing and health? Some, yes - but the coalition will probably opt for a more conservative set of measures than they did last year, says Irish Times resident economic spoilsport Cliff Taylor.
TikTok discovers ‘covert influence operation’ targeting Ireland27:42A network promoting disinformation to Irish TikTok users with the aim of “intensifying social conflict” has been discovered and removed by the social media giant. The information was disclosed in data reported by TikTok to the European Commission under a new code of conduct that requires major tech platforms to report disinformation on their networks and detail their efforts to combat it. The network originated in Ireland but little else has been revealed by the company. Irish Times Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary explains to In the News how disinformation is spreading on social media, how users are resistant to fact checking measures and what it means. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Suzanne Brennan
Ireland's biggest drug bust: 'They didn't know one end of a boat from another'23:08After a dramatic week in which Gardaí and the Defence Forces thwarted an audacious attempt to import tonnes of cocaine into Europe, Irish Times Crime and Security Correspondent Conor Gallagher tells the whole story of Ireland's biggest ever drugs bust, including how incompetence played a sizeable role in the smugglers' undoing.
Murders have doubled - but is Ireland really more dangerous?23:25The number of murders in the Republic has almost doubled in a 12-month period, according to new Central Statistic Office figures. The figures also show there were more reported assaults and more incidents of shoplifting. Reported sexual crimes are holding steady at a much higher level than they were five years ago. So is Ireland becoming more dangerous? It's not that simple, says Crime and Security Editor Conor Lally, who explains the factors behind some of the statistics.
Lough Neagh is dying. Whose fault is it?34:55Lough Neagh is dying in plain sight; the entire body of water has been contaminated by blooms of poisonous blue-green algae. How has it happened that the largest freshwater lake in Ireland and Britain has become toxic and, as Northern Ireland still does not have a working government in Stormont, what can be done to reverse this disaster?Northern editor Freya McClements visited Lough Neagh to talk to people whose lives have been impacted and to report on the deadly effects on wildlife and biodiversity and on the water supplies feeding into homes in Belfast and beyond. She explains both the cause and the effect of this toxic disaster.Eel fisherman Gerard McCourt tells In the News how his business has been drastically curtailed and Fiona Regan of DCU’s Water Institute points to policy decisions around farming as key culprits in this year’s Lough Neagh disaster. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by John Casey
The Sallins Train Robbery: Will the wrongly accused ever get justice?22:34The Sallins Train Robbery in 1976 was one of the most audacious criminal acts ever in the State. The Dublin to Cork mail train, carrying £200,000, was robbed with the IRA (much later) claiming responsibility, but only after three innocent men had been jailed. The men were tried, convicted and imprisoned as part of a convoluted saga involving the non-jury Special Criminal Court, claims of physical assault, forced confessions and a finding by the court that injuries sustained while in custody by some of the men were self-inflicted. In recent days, four human rights groups have petitioned Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to establish a statutory inquiry into what they say is one of the most significant miscarriages of justice in modern Irish history. Patsy McGarry, Irish Times contributor and author of While Justice Slept: Nicky Kelly and the True Story Behind the Sallins Train Robbery, tells the story of the crime and the convictions, and says this call for an inquiry is just another in nearly 50 years of such calls; none of which have resulted in action. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Suzanne Brennan.
Sally Hayden: A 'naval blockade' won't solve the crisis in the Mediterranean26:09To 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?18:04Children suffering from spina bifida have been let down by an under-resourced healthcare system for years. This week’s news that there are now serious concerns over the safety of surgery performed on children with the condition at Temple Street children’s hospital will only deepen the anxiety and frustration of children and their families left waiting for vital corrective surgery. A UK expert is to review surgeries carried out by one consultant at the hospital after an internal review identified “serious spinal surgical incidents” in the service. The shocking allegation that unapproved, non-medical objects were implanted into children during surgery must also be investigated. On today’s In the News podcast, Irish Times Health Editor Paul Cullen tells Bernice Harrison about a major medical controversy that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called ‘very alarming’.
Can Patrick Kielty save The Late Late Show?24:09Expectations 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.