Mooney, Tuesday January 21st 2014



Derek Mooney with his unique mix of conversation, information, advice and entertainment

On Mooney today...

Former governor of Mountjoy John Lonergan responds to research which finds that prisoners believe they are better people than those in the wider population, and we speak to a woman who was born a male but developed female characteristics as a teen...

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

To find out how to care for and attract garden birds, read Jim Wilson's Guide To Garden Birds - CLICK HERE!

The Blind Boys Of Alabama Competition

Calling all Irish gospel choirs/groups!

Would you like to perform in the National Concert Hall as support act for gospel legends The Blind Boys of Alabama as well as on RTÉ Radio 1’s Mooney?

Mooney and Waltons World Masters Series are offering one lucky group the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that!

The Waltons World Masters Series welcomes The Blind Boys of Alabama back to Dublin and the National Concert Hall on Wednesday, May 21st 2014. Ireland has its own great tradition of gospel music, and one very special aspect of this concert is that the support act will be an Irish gospel choir/group selected by the third nationwide Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition, in association with the Mooney and RTÉ Radio 1! The winning choir/group will perform a 40-minute set before The Blind Boys take to the stage.


All Irish gospel choirs/groups are welcome to enter.

The Competition

After all entries are received, a shortlist of three finalists will be chosen by a jury made up of representatives from Waltons New School of Music and RTÉ Radio 1. The finalists will be announced and their recordings broadcast on the Mooney on Thursday, April 10th. Their entries will then be sent to The Blind Boys of Alabama, who will select the overall winner.

The winning choir/group will be announced on the Mooney on Thursday, May 1st, perform on Mooney on a date to be announced, and perform in the National Concert Hall as support act for the Blind Boys of Alabama on Wednesday, May 21st.

The winning choir/group will be responsible for their own transport to/from the venue, as well as accommodation (if required). The group will receive five pairs of tickets to the concert for guests, but there will be no monetary remuneration.


Entry forms are available at or by clicking here. E-mail or post forms with the required information and materials (e-mail preferred!) to: (with ‘Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition’ in the subject line)


Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition
Waltons New School of Music
69 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2

Entries must arrive by 5pm on Friday, March. Late entries will not be accepted.

Please include the following materials and information:

  • Good quality audio recording(s) and MPG4, MOV, AVI or WMV video files or CD and DVD of one or two pieces that best display the range and skills of your choir/group.
  • A list of proposed repertoire to be performed at the NCH if your choir/group is chosen to perform.
  • A brief description your choir/group, including history, number of members and names, musical background of members and instrumentation (if any).
  • A JPG photograph of the choir for the Mooney Show and Competition web pages. If possible, please include a live performance photograph as well.
  • Website, Facebook or other URL(s), if any.
  • Email and contact details of the choir/group director.
  • Confirmation that all performers who feature on the audio and video files are available and will be able to perform on Wednesday, 21 May in the National Concert Hall, if your choir/group is selected.

Important Dates

Entry deadline: Friday, March 21st, 5pm
Finalists announced: Thursday, April 10th
Winner announced: Thursday, 1 May
Concert: Wednesday, 21 May

John Lonergan

John Lonergan

You might think that being locked up behind bars would make you feel sad. It might make you reflect on what you had done wrong to end up in jail. You might end up with a very low self-esteem. But apparently not!

A survey of prisoners by the University of Southampton shows that prisoners believe themselves to be kinder and more honest, dependable, trustworthy, compassionate, self-controlled and moral than people on the outside.

We wondered if Irish prisoners feel the same way so we've invited former Mountjoy Governor John Lonergan in today to talk prison life and life in general!

'Intersex' Condition

Listeners with children may like to know that the following interview has adult topics, so if you are listening to this podcast with your children, please be warned.

A few weeks ago Brenda spoke to Shaun Abbitt, who at 7ft 3½ inches is the tallest man in Ireland. Shaun has a condition called Gigantism and currently is confined to his bed. Brenda went to meet Shaun, who talked about what it was like to be different, and there was a very warm reaction to this interview.

One of the people who contacted the office during the interview was Timara Lawless, who had this to say:

"Derek, your guest with the gigantism gene is amazing. Great that he is so open about it. I have a genetic "intersex" condition where I was determined male at birth but late puberty developed female bits to the extent where I am now female. I’m writing a book about growing up different, so I have an empathy with your guest's difference... Ms. Timara Lawless"

So we asked Timara to come in and tell her story...

Derek, Timara and Brenda

Support Groups for intersex and transgender people

Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. Visit or call 01 873 3575

Dublin Trans Peer Support Group started in April 2005 and is the longest running group in Ireland. The group meets every second Wednesday. It provides an inclusive and supportive environment for those who have been diagnosed with Gender identity Disorder, who feel they have a gender identity issue, and who are exploring their gender role. Our aim is to provide a safe environment for people to feel accepted and accept and explore their own gender identity. Contact or Outhouse on 01 873-4932.

Samaritans Helpline: for or immediate support, about whatever's getting to you, please call Samaritans’ 24-hour helpline: 08457 909090 (UK), 1850 609090 (ROI).


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.  

To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.

Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.


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



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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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