The robin, not the turkey, is the real Christmas bird; you'll find him on cards, cakes and Christmas trees. But is Robin Redbreast having us on? Is he really the friendly and gentle little fellow he seems? Does he deserve his special Christmas place? Dr. Richard Collins, scientific adviser to Mooney Goes Wild, investigates! To read more about this special documentary, and to listen to the programme, click here.
On Mooney today...
Mooney today comes live from Sweden in the build up to Eurovision 2013. Derek and the team will be in Malmö with special guests Bonnie Tyler, Louis Walsh and Ireland hopeful Ryan Dolan. We'll bring you all the excitement, as it happens, in the run up to one of the most watched television events in the world!
With only six weeks to go now until the biggest musical event of the year, the 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest, coming this year from Sweden’s third major city, Malmö (where it was last held in 1992), the excitement is mounting – as it always does! For the second year in succession, Poland is absent from the event. Also taking a break this year are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Portugal, Slovakia and Turkey. So that leaves the number of participants in 2013 to just thirty-nine. The draws to determine which country went into which semi-final were made on 17th January, and Ireland drew a place in the first of these, and in the second half. On Thursday last, 28th March, the running orders for each of the semi-finals were announced by the EBU. For the first time ever, the order was not decided by drawing lots – as had been the case since the first edition in 1956 – but by the Swedish producers who felt that it should be them making that decision and not the ‘luck of the draw’, as they argued that The X Factor and other talent shows’ producers decided the running orders of their programmes; the EBU ultimately approved this. But the Eurovision Song Contest is not a talent show, nor is it a reality television show, and it never has been – it’s a song competition. So it’ll be interesting to see how this new decision pans out.
The first of the Eurovision 2013 semi-finals takes place on Tuesday 14th May. This will be shown on RTÉ 2 from 8.00pm, with television commentary by Marty Whelan. RTÉ Radio 1 will also cover the broadcast. Sixteen countries will compete for ten places in the Final on Saturday 18th May. Ireland’s Ryan Dolan, from Strabane, Co. Tyrone, won the right to represent the nation by winning the Eurosong final in February, and will sing in the first Semi-Final at No. 13. Viewers and listeners in Ireland will be able to vote for any of the other fifteen songs on the night. You can see the running order below:
Semi-Final No. 1 line-up (in order of appearance):
Similarly, on Thursday 16th May, the second semi-final will occur, also being screened on RTÉ 2 from 8.00pm. As Ireland is obviously not in this one, viewers and listeners throughout the country cannot vote in this semi-final, which will open with Latvia, winners in 2002, and close with Romania, who have yet to notch up their first victory. Again, ten of the countries below will be successful in competing in the Grand Final on 18th May.
Semi-Final No. 2 line-up (in order of appearance):
The Grand Final takes place in Malmö, Sweden, on Saturday 18th May. It will be screened on RTÉ 1, with television commentary by Marty Whelan. RTÉ Radio 1 will also cover this transmission. There will be 26 countries competing and already, there are six known finalists – host country Sweden (who automatically qualify as last year’s winners and this year’s hosts), plus the ‘Big 5’ countries who pump the most cash into the European Broadcasting Union in order to help fund the Contest. These countries are: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, who never have to go through the semi-final qualifying rounds. Plus, of course, the ten successful countries from Semi 1, and the other ten from Semi 2. It is also known that host nation Sweden is the only country so far whose place in the Grand Final running order has already been drawn – this is so the hosts have no unfair advantage. The Swedes drew the No. 16 position two weeks ago. Again, the show’s producers will decide the running order of the final for the other 25 competitors after the second semi-final has taken place.
The 6 direct finalists (so far):
WINNERS’ TABLE 1956-2012
Want to know when Ireland’s seven victories were? How many times has the UK won? Or Luxembourg? Has Portugal or Cyprus ever scored a first? For these answers, you can consult the winners’ table below:
* In 1969, four countries tied for first place, when there was no tie-break rule in force.
‡ It is highly unlikely that Yugoslavia will win again as the country no longer exists, having broken up into – in terms of participating countries – six independent states: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.
Portugal (not competing this year) is the longest-serving country in Eurovision without a single victory. Having first entered in 1964, the Portuguese still haven’t even finished in the Top 5.
Malta is now known as ‘the most successful country in Eurovision never to have won’. Since their return in 1991 (having only previously entered in 1971, 1972 and 1975): two second places, two third placings and one fifth placed entry – but no victory as yet!
Cyprus made its first appearance in Dublin’s RDS in 1981, and after more than thirty years they’ve clocked up three fifth-placed entries – but no top four placings yet.
Iceland made its début in 1986, and has achieved two runner-up positions and one fourth place.
On the other hand, Serbia (having separated from Montenegro in 2006) made its début in 2007 as an independent country – and won! Ukraine first entered the contest in 2003, and won the following year. Latvia débuted in 2000 – and won two years later. Azerbaijan was welcomed into the Eurovision fraternity in 2008, and won with their fourth entry in 2011.
Finland finally won in 2006, forty-five years after making its début. Its previous best placing was sixth in 1973.
Luxembourg, who last won thirty years ago, made their last Eurovision appearance in 1993.
Monaco took part from 1959 to 1979, then made a return to the event in 2004, but the principality’s last appearance was in 2006.
Italy made a comeback to the Eurovision contest in 2011, fourteen years after it left the competition.
And now another piece of trivia: the country with the most consecutive entries to the Eurovision Song Contest is the United Kingdom, who have been in every contest since 1959. Their first entry was in 1957, but opted out in 1958. Germany, having been there since the inaugural contest in 1956, broke their run of entries in 1996, when they failed to be selected for that year’s final, but have been there each year since 1997. As both countries are in the EBU ‘Big 5’ category, they will always have a place in the Final.
Managerial maestro and The X Factor judge Louis Walsh is in studio to give us his opinion on Ryan Dolan, Bonnie Tyler and this year's Eurovision - and to give us the lowdown on a new boyband he's putting together...
If you would like to audition for Louis' new boyband, then get along to the Button Factory in Dublin on Sunday May 19th, Monday May 20th and Tuesday May 21st - they are open auditions, and start at 12 midday each day. The Button Factory is located on Curved Street, in Temple Bar in Dublin - for directions and more information about the venue, visit www.buttonfactory.ie.
If you have an interest in the Eurovision Song Contest, why not have a listen back to Derek's 2011 documentary about our Eurovision memory man, Paul G. Sheridan - click below to listen or download The Euro Guru!
Tomorrow night, Ryan Dolan will sing his heart out for Ireland with the irresistably catchy Only Love Survives. Today, Derek presents Mooney from Malmö, in Sweden, where his guests include Ryan, British representative (and power rock legend!) Bonnie Tyler, Louis Walsh, and many more!
All roads lead to Eurovision!
Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden with our EuroGuru Paul G. Sheridan!
Linda Martin (IRL Winner 1992)
Bonnie Tyler (UK) with new friend Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan)
Derek Mooney interviews Bonnie Tyler
Derek Mooney with Ryan Dolan (IRL) and Eddie Rowley (Sunday World)
The Irish Eurovision Delegation in Malmö 2013
Press voting for Eurovision 2013 as of May 12th 2013
Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.
UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:
Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed
BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted. It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.
Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made. This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.
The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:
(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).
The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.
BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal. In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (www.npws.ie) to report such activity.
BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.
To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.
Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.
If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit www.irishwildlifematters.ie