Subscriber OnlyPolitics

‘I’m listening to it now and want to headbutt the desk’: Miriam Lord on Micheál Martin’s podcast

Some naysayers have waspishly suggested Micheál should save ‘Our Electorate Ghosted Us’ for when he teams up for a podcast series with Leo after the general election

The Fianna Fáil leader’s latest PR wheeze premiered on Monday.

“New podcast hosted by Tánaiste Micheál Martin drops,” trumpeted headquarters, buoyed by the novelty of being allowed to announce that their boss had dropped because this time it wasn’t in the polls.

It was considerate of them to come straight out with the news, otherwise people would have been up all night refreshing their browsers waiting for Micheál to, er, drop.

You’re nothing these days if you don’t have your own podcast, so it seems strange that our veteran Tánaiste has beaten our youthful Taoiseach to the podcastical punch. Throwing up a video of himself flinging a few spoons into the office dishwasher represents the pinnacle of Leo Varadkar’s social media innovation thus far.


Micheál’s venture is not a one-off. Monday’s effort was ominously and grandiosely described as “his inaugural audiocast”. Presumably a plaque will be unveiled in the studio as soon as the convalescing Michael D returns to public duties.

The Tánaiste will not be dropping every week but he will be dropping slow, like the peace in Innisfree and the pace of his opening episode.

His occasional series is called In Conversation because he will be conversing with people who are happy to let him hold forth on the questions he has just asked them.

It is not the most imaginative title when so many are available.

Such as: “Smoke Ban Man” or “Fianna Fáil Saved Me from Diphtheria” or “In Terms of...” or “Ad Idem with Me”.

Some Opposition politicians have waspishly suggested to us that Micheál should save “Our Electorate Ghosted Us” for when he teams up for a podcast series with Leo after the general election.

On his maiden outing, the former taoiseach was “in conversation” with Dr Mark Henry, a psychologist and statistician whose book In Fact: An Optimist’s Guide to Ireland at 100 was a best-seller in 2021. In it, he examines the achievements of the developing Irish State over the last century.

The podcast lasted an hour, so there is no doubting the optimism of the two participants.

The time flew by so fast it was like falling asleep when your plane takes off and waking up after it lands.


We had coffee and a second go.

FF Headquarters promised us the Tánaiste would be “adopting the role of interviewer rather than interviewee”. This prompted reports in some quarters that Micheál would be “grilling” guests in his new inquisitorial sideline.

Sure wasn’t the country riddled with diphtheria and TB, and a person was lucky to survive their 50s when Fianna Fáil stepped up? Now we have the highest life expectancy in Europe

He didn’t. Instead, he welcomed Dr Henry and listeners to their “chat” about “the quality of life in Ireland today through the lens of issues that impact us all such as the economy, education and wellbeing and health. And, of course, the many challenges that face us in terms of climate change, biodiversity, housing and the cost of living.”

The challenges were greatly acknowledged; the achievements greatly discussed.

There was neither cut nor thrust to this meeting of minds. The author described how Ireland has come from a closed and impoverished society in the early years of the last century to “up there among the leading nations of the world”.

The Tánaiste gently nudged his willing guest into the areas he wanted to discuss. Speaking of achievements, Micheál managed to mention what he did as minister for health and minister for education (did somebody mention the smoking ban?), and examined how visionary ministers such as Seán Lemass and Donogh O’Malley changed this country for the better.

Sure wasn’t the country riddled with diphtheria and TB, and a person was lucky to survive their 50s when Fianna Fáil stepped up? Now we have the highest life expectancy in Europe.

Dr Henry told a rapt Tánaiste about his favourite graph. It’s about “GDP per capita in real terms over the last 100 years”.

Having chatted for nearly half an hour about health and education, interviewee Mark said to interviewer Micheál: “Great. So, do you want to segue now to the economics?”


The statistician’s facts are a welcome antidote to the “failed state” brigade and the social media doomsayers. A frustrated Tánaiste tries to get them across when under fire in the Dáil and elsewhere. This podcast gives him the chance to do this.

We called up a few anoraks for a verdict on The Micheál Show.

“I’m listening to it now and I want to headbutt the desk.”

“Lost the will to live.”

“Drink a shot every time he mentions how he was minister for health/education 20 years ago and you’ll be drunk in no time.”

Download for your holiday listening now.