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Darragh McManus on radio: Howl out loud if you want to see wolves return to Ireland


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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Now into the second post-election week, and unless there's a dramatic turn of events between me writing this midweek and you reading it, we're still without a new government. And not getting any closer.

As reporter Lise Hand put it on The Last Word (Today FM, Mon-Fri 4.30pm), there is "an awful lot of finger-pointing and blame-gaming and red lines being drawn".

Fellow political correspondent Daniel McConnell reckoned that talk of going into government in "the national interest" is not going down too well among Fine Gael. The notion has been met with comments along the lines of "shove your national interest, let's look at the party's interests for now".

Hand noted that the outgoing government is now "stir-crazy and demob-happy". But, she pointed out, there may be hope yet, with Green leader Eamon Ryan creating what we might term "a safe space - neutral ground where people can talk".

Away from politics, the tragic death of TV star Caroline Flack was discussed across the airwaves, following various strands of the story. Ryan Tubridy (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 9am) once again showed his skills as a tactful, empathetic interviewer when chatting to London-based stylist Fiona Fagan - currently over here working on Dancing with the Stars - a long-time friend of Flack.

"I can't believe I'm not going to hear her laugh again and never going to see her again," she told Tubridy. Fagan and Flack met 20 years ago and, she recalled, enjoyed their young adulthood together in fine style.

"She's a real girl's girl," Fiona said. "We really got on and remained friends ever since. We went through so much together."

"I'm still completely in shock," she added. "I can't believe this is the end. I keep waking up thinking it hasn't really happened."

Meanwhile, Ivan Yates was declaring on The Hard Shoulder (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 4pm), "Is it time to bring back wolves to Ireland?" Now, normally when someone in media poses a question, the answer is a loud "no!"

In this case, though, I'm minded to think… maybe? Wolves are just so incredibly cool, aren't they? And as we heard from Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust, these apex predators are very useful in maintaining ecological balance.

"The biodiversity crisis has hit Ireland as badly as any other country," he said, "and 120 species have gone extinct since humans arrived here. How can we rebuild ecosystems?"

Wolves were in Ireland from at least the end of the Ice Age, and lived alongside people for centuries, until in the 16th century we started an extermination programme and they become extinct in the late 1700s. They're very adaptable creatures that will eat anything that's available to them. Bring 'em back, I say.

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