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The Explainer is a new weekly podcast from that takes a deeper look at one big news story you need to know about. What's the background? Why is this in the news? Get the facts behind the story from Ireland's biggest news website.

The Explainer is a new weekly podcast from that takes a deeper look at one big news story you need to know about. What's the background? Why is this in the news? Get the facts behind the story from Ireland's biggest news website.
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The Explainer is a new weekly podcast from that takes a deeper look at one big news story you need to know about. What's the background? Why is this in the news? Get the facts behind the story from Ireland's biggest news website.






How are we still making discoveries at Newgrange?

Newgrange is one of Ireland's most incredible sites - but despite it and the surrounding Brú na Bóinne complex being an area of intense historical interest, and having been studied now for hundreds of years, it is still revealing more and more discoveries. Just last week, a team of archaeologists lead by UCD's Dr Steve Davis uncovered around 40 previous unknown sites of interest. In this week's episode of The Explainer, presenter Sineád O'Carroll is joined in studio by editor of Archaeology...


What is the Irish backstop?

'The backstop' is one of the most contentious parts of the Brexit agreement. But it's also something that can fall foul of bad explanations, misunderstandings, and being used as a political football. This week on The Explainer podcast, we're taking a good and proper look at the Backstop. What is it? Why is it so controversial? Is everything that's being said about it true? To help guide us through the conversation, joining host Sinéad O'Carroll in studio is reporter Gráinne Ní Aodha and...


What is Fortnite and how can people make money from it?

Whether you are a gamer or not, you'll most definitely have heard of the game Fortnite. Earlier this week, the hugely popular game hit the headlines after an Irish teenager picked up $50,000 while competing in the Fortnite World Cup. Joshua Juliano, who is just 17, came 58th out of 100 gamers. So what is Fortnite? Well for starters, it's an online first-person shooter game that involves dropping 100 players on to an island where they have to find weapons, build bases and try to eliminate the...


Can people applying for citizenship spend a day outside Ireland?

Last week, a shock ruling saw an Irish judge rule that citizenship cannot be granted to an applicant if they have spent a day outside Ireland in the past year. But how did this come about - and can it be appealed? And does it really mean what it seems to? That's what we're discussing in this week's The Explainer podcast. Reporter Dominic McGrath talks us through everything you need to know about what this ruling says and how it came about. David Kenny, Assistant Professor in Law at Trinity...


Why was there such controversy over Lizzo’s ticket sales?

When tickets for US singer Lizzo's debut Irish show at the Olympia this coming November went on sale last week, people knew there would be demand. But there were questions raised when fans found it difficult to get their hands on tickets via the Ticketmaster website, and when, hours later, 'Platinum tickets' went on sale for €140 each. In addition, resold tickets were immediately on offer as soon as the original tickets went on sale. Some asked: Did a presale earlier in the week have a major...


Why are your insurance premiums increasing by so much?

It's not every day that a video of a politician talking about insurance at an Oireachtas committee goes viral. You've likely seen the clip of Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty grilling insurance company bosses - if not, you can watch it here. Its virality has prompted more people to look at their insurance premiums and ask: Why do they keep going up, and up, and up? Many are feeling the pinch, with several summer festivals under threat due to the large sums of money now...


What's behind the Drogheda feud?

On 5 July last year, Owen Maguire was shot four times in Drogheda, Co Louth. This is seen as the start of a feud between two gangs in the town. By November the situation began to boil over with a range violent attacks taking place. Locals are becoming increasingly fed up of the feud, and efforts are now underway to bring it to an end. Gardaí have stepped up armed patrols, and the town is eager to make next month's Fleadh Cheoil pass without a hitch. However, ending a cycle of violence like...


How Patrick Nevin was found guilty in the 'Tinder rape case'

On Monday, Patrick Nevin was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He had been found guilty of attacking two women in the space of 11 days, after meeting them on Tinder. He was found guilty of raping one of the women, and sexually assaulting the other. For the rape, he was given a 14-year sentence, with two suspended on a number of conditions. For sexual assault he was sentenced to eight years, which will run concurrently. Nevin is currently in prison on another term for sexually assaulting...


The Explainer: The story of the Ana Kriegel trial

Note - some of the details in this podcast might be upsetting to listeners. On 14 May 2018, teenager Ana Kriegel went out for a walk with a boy now known as Boy B. Hours later, when she had not returned home, her parents reported her missing to the gardaí. What began as a missing teenager case turned into a murder case when Ana's body was discovered in a derelict house three days later. Two boys - Boy A and Boy B - were arrested in connection with her disappearance. On Tuesday of this week,...


How did a woman who died in Direct Provision come to be buried without ceremony?

Last month, a woman who died in Direct Provision was quietly buried by the State without ceremony. Sylva Tukula, originally from South Africa, died in August 2018. All efforts by gardaí to find her next of kin, a process with included with assistance of Interpol, had been exhausted. Friends and colleagues of Tukula had previously been told they would be notified of arrangements for her burial. This did not happen. In this week's episode of The Explainer, we examine the chain of events that...


Why was there controversy over Katie Taylor's recent win?

Katie Taylor was crowned undisputed lightweight champion on Sunday. But almost immediately, there was controversy. In this week's The Explainer, we're joined by's Gavin Casey to talk us through what happened. He was ringside on the night and wrote the definitive examination of the aftermath of the win for Joining him in studio is presenter Sinéad O'Carroll, who also interviews longtime boxing US-based promoter Lou DiBella about the boxing world, Katie's win, and how...


How have the Healy Raes never lost an election?

The Healy Raes are a clan to be reckoned with. The Co Kerry family has not one one but two TDs in it, and recently saw three more family members elected to Kerry County Council. The family political dynasty was kicked off by patriarch Jackie Healy Rae, who after many years working with Fianna Fáil went independent and got elected to the Dáil in 1997. But why are they so popular, and what makes them so beloved in Co Kerry? That's what we're looking at in this week's episode of The Explainer....


What's the story with an EU army?

Irish MEPs have recently been raising concerns about a future 'EU army'. While this isn't surprising, given the issue of Irish neutrality and the EU, it is a topic that garners strong opinions. Added into this is the issue of Pesco, – the EU’s permanent structured cooperation arrangement that 25 states have signed up to. Ireland's one of those countries. But what is Pesco, why do some people criticise it, and what does it mean for our defence forces? We looked at the subject of an EU army...


Why are so many US states tightening abortion laws right now?

Last week, a restrictive abortion law was signed in the US state of Georgia which banned terminations after six weeks gestation. This week, another state followed suit: Alabama's governor signed a law on Thursday which banned abortions in nearly all cases. With a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives and a pro-life president, this type of shift in abortion legislation in the US had been expected for some time - so what happens now? In this week's episode of The Explainer,'s...


How did Patrick Quirke get convicted of the murder of Bobby Ryan?

On 1 May, the longest-running murder trial in the state's history came to an end when Tipperary farmer Patrick Quirke was found guilty of the murder of Bobby Ryan. A jury of 12 people found Quirke guilty of the murder of Ryan – known by locals in Tipperary as DJ ‘Mr Moonlight’ - by a majority verdict of 10 to 2. Quirke had pleaded not guilty but was sentenced to life in prison after the 13-week trial. Details of the DJ’s life, circumstances surrounding his death, as well as an affair...


Can Ireland grow its own medicinal cannabis?

2019 will likely be the year when it becomes significantly easier for patients to access medicinal cannabis in Ireland. The government has found a supplier, and Minister for Health Simon Harris is due to bring his plans for a cannabis access scheme to cabinet. Currently it is only available to a small number of patients. This will make it significantly less of a grey area in Irish law - and it could also herald the start of the Irish cannabis industry. In this week's episode of The...


How will the UK’s new porn blocking law work?

Imagine popping down to your local newsagents with this shopping list: Bread, milk, eggs, Lotto quick pick, an official government porn pass. That's the situation anyone living in the United Kingdom could face from July if they want to view pornography online, when the British government brings in radical new laws. Websites which primarily host porn will be required to carry out age-verification checks to ensure anyone visiting the site is over 18 years old. It's a world first. Because of...


Why haven't any supervised drug injection centres opened in Ireland?

Back in 2015, the then-government announced that the first supervised drug injection centre in the country would open within two years. The centres - known as medically supervised injecting facilities (MSIFs) - provide drug addicts with a safer, sterile environment in which to inject heroin, cocaine or others drugs under the supervision of a medical professional. Users source their own drugs and inject themselves in booths in the centre It's more than four years since that announcement was...


What exactly happened with Brexit on Wednesday night?

On Wednesday night, the latest stage of the Brexit saga began: The Flextension. The United Kingdom and European Union agreed a flexible Brexit extension until 31 October following marathon talks in Brussels. This now gives UK prime minister Theresa May extra wiggle room to get her Brexit deal over the line - but we've already been hearing about this for more than two years, and for many people, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. In this episode of The Explainer, presenter Sinéad...


Why is John Delaney in the news so much right now?

He's not a professional sports person, but John Delaney is one of the most well-known names in Irish sport. The longtime head of the Football Association of Ireland - the FAI - followed in the footsteps of his father Joe to get involved in the organisation. He held the role treasurer of the FAI before moving on to become its chief executive. However, earlier this month he moved from the role to become executive vice-president of the FAI. Around the same time, Delaney became the focus of a...