“We ask people to pay a lot of money”

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Retrofitting homes for energy efficiency can be a hot environmental issue, but it’s obviously not a hot topic for radio. So bravo to Claire Byrne, who on Wednesday not only brings a practical curiosity on the subject, but even manages to inject a Shakespearean sensibility into the debates, albeit unintentionally.

In a discussion of the “cost and complexity of modernization” on his show, Today with Claire Byrne (RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays), she wonders if it is worth paying the price necessary to reach the coveted energy rating of the building needed for a subsidy. While her doubts may not quite reach Hamlet’s levels, she asks the question: B2 or not B2?

While Byrne sometimes looks skeptical in his Q&A with Electric Ireland Superhomes’ Stephen O’Connor and Mike O’Rourke, it’s not about the effectiveness of the retrofit. Rather, she fears that the financial burden of these improvements, at the heart of the government’s climate action plan, rests largely on homeowners. “We ask people to pay a lot of money for this,” she says.

Claire Byrne’s segment on home renovations is deceptively effective, an article ostensibly billed as a consumer article but which, by digging into the details of household improvements, ends up questioning a central element of the climate strategy of the country. country.

In response, O’Connor points to reduced energy bills, increased home comfort, and even improved property value, and suggests it’s a good investment compared to others: “One hundred thousand people this year are going to spend $ 40,000 on a new car that is going to sit in their driveway and depreciate.

While Byrne is not entirely swayed by such reasoning, she is even more skeptical about the ramifications of interior remodeling when it comes to interior design. When O’Rourke says that sealing the chimneys can be “the difference in coming up with a B2 and not a B2,” the host seems uncertain. “What do you propose to replace these open fires? Byrne asks, her incredulous tone suggesting that she might like a home herself.

It’s a deceptively effective segment, ostensibly presented as a consumer item but which, digging into the details of household improvements, ends up questioning a central element of the country’s climate strategy. “As a country, we need to attract people to this area,” Byrne observes. “People listen and say ‘My house is grand, actually. I don’t need to do this. Convince me.

On this evidence, the fiscal and aesthetic arguments are not entirely convincing, despite the prospect of an apocalyptic environmental collapse.

Such conversations highlight Byrne’s penchant for a more granular approach to social and political matters, with an attitude of pragmatic pragmatism that seems particularly geared towards this legendary land of media stereotypes, Central Ireland. Comfortable with the details of the policy during the interview with Justice Minister Helen McEntee, the host is also up to date – and comfortable – with the minefield of WhatsApp group chats during her regular mental health niche with Dr Harry Barry and Dr Ann-Marie Creaven.

Where his Newstalk rival Pat Kenny showed his old hip (cough) side during a similar discussion about psychedelics a few years ago, Byrne is happy to be square.

It’s only when dealing with broader topics that Byrne’s on-air style can seem clunky. Speaking to psychiatrist Professor Brendan Kelly on Tuesday about the growing use of psychedelics in the treatment of trauma and depression, the host’s first bet seems somehow straightforward but picturesque: “C ‘ So is magic mushrooms we’re talking about here. “

Her guest quickly deflates any sensationalism, describing psychedelics – “a family of chemicals” – as being systematically studied to see if they can be “exploited and made safer to treat people with debilitating and resistant psychiatric illnesses.” to treatments ”. We are far from the old lysergic rallying cry of “switch on, plug in, give up”.

It is nonetheless a fascinating conversation, touching on neurology and pharmacology, as well as broader social issues. Kelly says psychedelics can play a role in treating some special cases, but is clearly dismissive when asked that they represent a revolution in psychiatry. “If we could reduce the consumption of alcohol, cannabis, [and] cocaine, with addiction services to help, these things would produce a revolution in our mental health, ”he says.

Byrne seems awkward to contextualize the counter-cultural history of drugs such as LSD: “There was a school of thought that they made people become more rebellious,” she says stiffly. His guest is telling a more prosaic truth. While psychedelic drugs can grab the headlines, Kelly says, “Something like meditation will change your view of the universe, with far fewer side effects.” This is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to the article. Where his Newstalk rival Pat Kenny showed his old hip (cough) side during a similar discussion about psychedelics a few years ago, Byrne is happy to be square.

Lest there be any confusion, the harmful effects of the drug are clearly illustrated on Monday Morning Ireland (RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays). Ailbhe Conneely reports crack cocaine use in Tallaght, a problem that is “currently ravaging the community.” It may sound like an eerily familiar story, but there are alarming new aspects to this situation. On the one hand, there is the devastating personal impact of crack, compared to even heroin – “The harm it causes takes a person much faster,” says Debbie McDolan, a community worker. “It takes your soul.”

Morning Ireland’s report on crack is clear-sighted and insane, but it’s also an indictment against a deep political failure: As host Audrey Carville puts it, “Isn’t there something fundamentally broken in the system ?

More vulnerable women are dragged into crack addiction than in previous drug waves. “Drug traffickers now lure them into sexual favors,” says another community worker, Fiona Murphy, who says packets of crack are thrown on the balconies of recovering women. “There is no escaping it.” It’s a shocking scenario, but Conneely hears how the government only pledged € 500,000 for crack addiction services, which has led to calls for an additional € 1 million for addiction support.

But as Senator Lynn Ruane, from Tallaght, points out, deeper issues are at stake, such as multi-generational dependence in families. “We cannot decouple the drug crisis from the crisis of inequality and poverty,” says Ruane.

It is a lucid and senseless report, but it is also an indictment against a deep political failure: as Audrey Carville, presenter of Morning Ireland puts it, “Isn’t there something fundamentally broken in the system ? Yet other than an interview with Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe on Tuesday’s show, there is little follow-up on the topic elsewhere on national airwaves. While the sustainability of our homes deserves consideration, the notion of entire communities going up in smoke deserves urgent attention.

Time of week

Breaking away from their usual insane dizziness, Dermot and Dave (Today FM, weekdays) explain how referees from a North Dublin schoolchildren’s league are going on strike against bullying from parents and coaches. Dave Moore, who coaches Under-9 football himself, is not surprised, describing “rocky situations” he has seen. But he is baffled: “I’m a coach, it’s important, but it doesn’t matter either. Dermot Whelan, the duo’s serial joker, wonders why it’s tolerated: Clubs should ban parents “rather than posting #respect,” he says. Whelan strikes at a sadder truth of modern sport: “Sometimes the referee is a less independent referee than the bad panto.” They might be silly, but the pair remind listeners that football is, in fact, less important than life and death.

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