In The News
'Stardust baby' Lisa Lawlor's 42-year search for answers
Lisa Lawlor was just 17 months old when her parents Maureen and Francis died in the fire at Stardust Ballroom in the early hours of Valentines Day 1981. Orphaned by the tragedy, she has been known throughout her life as the ‘Stardust baby’.
In this episode, Lisa talks to Bernice Harrison about the anguish of losing her family and her 42-year search for answers. We also hear from Social Affairs Correspondent Kitty Holland, who has been attending the inquests in Dublin each day.
View all episodes
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.
Can this plan make Dublin’s north inner city safer?26:26The 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 news25:22This 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 Ireland28:22Gardai 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
'Hope has died' - have victims of the Troubles been betrayed?26:12In 1982, Emmett McConomy’s brother, 11-year-old Stephen, was playing in the street near their home in Derry. A shot fired by a British soldier from an armoured car hit him in the back of the head; he died from his injuries days later. Emmett tells In the News about his family’s decades-long fight for the truth about what happened to the child and how the UK government’s Northern Ireland legacy Bill is a betrayal of justice.The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill is set to be passed into law this week and it will put an end to inquests and court cases – and includes a form of limited immunity for some perpetrators of crimes committed during the conflict. The Bill has been universally opposed by both sides of the political divide in the North and by the Irish Government and internationally in the United States, the UN and Europe. In the UK, the Labour Party opposes it. It is supported by the Conservative Party and the British military. Freya McClements, Northern Editor of The Irish Time, explains what it means – and what might happen next. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Declan Conlon.