Sunday Long Reads: What's changed since Sandy Hook, the League of Ireland 'brand' and the politics of Star Wars

Kick back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the best of Newstalk's Long Reads

The League of Ireland grabbed many of the sporting headlines this week after a brand report on how to improve the perception of the domestic game for football fans. 

The ideas put forward have been met with widespread skepticism and ridicule, but a Limerick company has proposed their own changes that could have a greater impact on football in Ireland, in particular given Dundalk's incredible year. 

Elsewhere, as Rogue One hits screens, there's a look at the politics of the Star Wars universe; MMA fighter Aisling Daly explains why she's backing brain scans in the amateur ranks of the sport; four years on from Sandy Hook, we look at what changes have been made to gun control laws in the United States; and we ask what steps Ireland will take as it looks set to miss EU emissions targets.

Four years on - what's changed since Sandy Hook?

On Decemeber 14th 2012, 20 children went to school and never came home.

Twenty year-old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire on children and teachers, killing 26 people in total. Prior to this, he shot and killed his mother.

Four years on, what movement has there been when it comes to reforms to the mental health system and gun control?

A Limerick company have put forward an alternative brand report for the League of Ireland

Supporting Limerick FC inspired Shane McCarthy and two of his colleagues to try and come up with their version of a brand report that they believe would improve on what Jonathan Gabay presented to League of Ireland clubs on Thursday afternoon.

McCarthy, who is the CEO of BlueChief in Limerick, spent Friday morning with his colleagues brainstorming, and he produced his findings on social media that afternoon.

On the politics of 'Star Wars': Sometimes force is the answer to fascism

“It is not a film that is, in any way, a political film,” is what Disney CEO Bob Iger told the gathered press at the premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story recently, adding: “There are no political statements in it, at all.”

His comments came after a fake news story – claiming the film’s widely reported reshoots were down to demands the film be changed to take a more critical point on its villain, seemingly a cipher for the new President-elect of the United States – led to calls for a boycott of a film that even the most conservative estimates assume will be taking home a billion dollars at the global box office.

Iger’s attempts to cool the tension of the hard-line Alt-Right movement distaste for a movie about attempts to subvert a fascistic regime ignore one thing that everyone knows about all of the films in the Star Wars canon, the much-maligned ‘Holiday Special’ included; It’s nigh-on impossible to look at any Star Wars movie and not notice the subtle and overt allegories to the goodness and evils inherent to political and faith-based ideologies.

Ireland on course to miss EU emissions targets: What is Minister Naughten going to do?

Much of the focus in Leinster House in the last weeks was on Gerry Adams and his statement to the Dail about the murder of Brian Stack. The Sinn Fein leader was under some degree of pressure to explain why his version of events did not tally with those of Brian Stack’s son, Austin.

Given this was a story that involves the IRA murder of a prison officer, the leader of a political party, two more TD’s from that party and allegations of a cover up, it’s not surprising it garnered so much attention.

Meanwhile, over in the Seanad, another event slipped by almost unnoticed. Minister Denis Naughten delivered his first ‘annual transition statement’ under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. The point of this statement is to set out Ireland’s climate change policy and provide an update as to where the country is at in terms of meeting carbon reduction commitments.

Aisling Daly explains why she'd like to see a mandatory brain scan for amateur MMA fighters

There have been massive wholesale changes made to the Irish MMA scene since the tragic passing of Joao Carvalho in April, following an MMA bout at TEF 1 at the National Stadium.

With MRI scans and a series of other medicals being made mandatory for professionals in Ireland in May, and new medical clearance criteria and rules being put in place for the amateur sport, there were many detractors as the first steps towards the regulation of MMA were put in place.

Although everything seems to have settled down as the new regulations have slowly and surely become the norm, SAFE MMA made a recommendation last month to the amateur governing body, IMMAA, which calls all amateurs to receive a one-off brain scan before competing.