Currently a journalist at The Echo, Jane McNamara has long had a passion for investigative journalism, social justice and music and her newest podcast series ‘Modern Problem’ is the synthesis of those interests.
The first episode examines Ireland’s system of Direct Provision and poses the question as to whether it will be deemed a national scandal in years to come.
“My background is playing music and writing articles for newspapers. I started working in a newsroom in a radio station a few months ago and I was suddenly confronted with my own lack of knowledge on social issues that I had thought I was fairly well informed on,” she said.
“Direct provision was one of them. I started to look into it to learn more. I started to tell my friends and family what I was learning and realised a lot of people were very unaware of the realities of the system. I felt a deep sense of shame about that, honestly. The system is so complex so I decided to make a podcast about what I found so other people could also educate themselves.”
First breaking down the historical context that led to the system of Direct Provision which was initially intended to be temporary, Jane’s podcast then interrogates the controversy surrounding it.
Featuring contributions from academics, those seeking asylum in Ireland and the general public, Jane seeks to build a picture of the problem at hand, that many may not be aware of.
“When I started this project three months ago I remember feeling certain if more people knew the facts, more people would care. And although this should never have taken so long it is good to see that that is true; Irish people and people living in Ireland do care. We were just not as aware as we should have been.”
Following the debut episode, the second instalment tells the story of a family currently residing in the system that face deportation.
Featuring compassionate production and music from Post-Punk Podge, beats from Cork’s Spekulativ Fiktion and an original soundtrack from Baby Witch entitled ‘Hidden Villages’ which is named after an Irish Times article by Kitty Holland about Direct Provision centres.
“I am a musician and I love podcasts so it was natural the soundtrack would be very important to me but I think because this topic is so sensitive, the music plays an even greater role than I expected.”
“I knew I wanted the contrast between beautiful piano music and dark beats. I think it kind of mirrors the feeling of pain and beauty in the stories of the people who are speaking. Pain because their situations are so heartbreaking but beauty because (hopefully) their generous vulnerability will help inspire much-needed action. We hear a lot about authenticity and connection. I think these interviews are those things in action.”
Founder of the Repeal Project Anna Cosgrave was also an advisor to the podcast, with Ellie O’Neill featuring as a co-editor.
It’s an educational and informative look into one of Ireland’s modern shames.
Listen to the podcast below:
Photography: Direct Provision Protests Dublin 2017 (Eamonn Farrell/ RollingNews.ie) Post-Punk Podge Instagram – credit @eiliswalsh