Focus Podcast

Focus Podcast is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. The series takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.


Latest Episode

Ethical Living and Social Change

Episode Info

In the time of late capitalism, growing inequality and increasing awareness of causes and impacts of climate crisis, what does it mean to live ethically? Our social media is saturated with perspectives around plastic use and ecological degradation, around industrialised agriculture and competing arguments for why mass population shifts to veganism can or can’t address climate change.  We are presented with a myriad of personal choices presented as ethical living, but is it possible to harness individual choices and behaviour changes into a wider forces for social change?

The panel was moderated by Tom Campbell a Lecturer with the Department of International Development (NUI Maynooth), teaching modules at undergraduate and post-graduate level including: Political Economy of Environment and Development, Sustainable Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation, Food, Nutrition and Climate Security.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:02:33 — 143.2MB)

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Previous Episodes


 Conor McCabe talks about his book ‘Money’

Episode Info

Conor  McCabe chats to Eilish Dillon, head of The Department of International Development Maynooth to discuss latest book ‘Money’.

Money exists in an opaque space, with its own language and gatekeepers to knowledge. As citizens we are required to support the profit-seeking strategies of financial institutions, but we are not supposed to question those strategies, the logic that underpins them, nor the power relations that envelop its world. Conor’s book is written to help change that. 

Conor is a research associate with UCD Equality Studies Centre.. He has written extensively on Irish finance and is involved in activist education, working with political, trade union, and community groups in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Prior to his latest book he is discussing today he published ‘Sins of the Father: Tracing the Decisions that Shaped the Irish Economy.’

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 41:04 — 94.0MB)

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Ending Volunteering in Orphanages

Episode Info

It is estimated that around 80% of children and young people living in orphanages and other institutional settings, have at least one parent alive.  It is known now that institutional living is really damaging for children and young people.  They are more vulnerable to abuse and very often forced to live in situations that are detrimental to emotional, social and educational development.  Yet across the globe, people continue to travel to the global south, with the best of intentions, to volunteer in orphanages. 

Focus speaks to Gerry O Donoghue from Maintain Hope and Gemma Kelly from Tearfund Ireland about the need to change how we think about volunteering on orphanages. 

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 27:39 — 63.3MB)

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Focus Podcast Archive

You can find the entire podcast archive feed via NearCast on NearFM below