Sunday Long Reads: Beyond Room, Shane Coleman on the rise of Sinn Féin and violence in Burundi

Kick back with a cup of coffee and catch up on the best of from this week.

BY Newstalk 10:33 Sunday 24 January 2016, 10:33 24 Jan 2016

From iconic pictures of Paul Gascoigne to the mounting violence in Burundi and how the situation has escalated to the point of a "humanitarian catastrophe", there's plenty to choose from in this week's Long Reads.

After the release of Room, Sue Murphy explores the true stories of women who were kidnapped and then found, Political Editor Shane Coleman argues that it's a case of when, not if Sinn Féin get into government, and James Dempsey looks back at the 40th anniversary of Concorde.

Beyond Room - The true stories of women who were kidnapped and found 

Last weekend saw the release of perhaps not just one of the most popular Irish films from this year but ever.

Room, based on the book by Emma Donoghue, tells the story from the point of view of a young boy who has grown up in the captivity of a small room, with just the company of his mother who was kidnapped.

However, even though this story tries to give the viewer and reader an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be imprisoned, it is fiction. But there are true stories, terrifying true stories of women who have spent years locked away from the real world.

It won’t happen in 2016, but it’s now a matter of when, and not if, Sinn Féin is in government

Political Editor Shane Coleman argues that you can’t talk about the rise of Sinn Féin, without first talking about the fall.

In a few weeks time, it will be the 90th anniversary of the party’s Ard Fheis that saw Eamon de Valera lose a vote on ending abstentionism and leaving Sinn Féin to set up Fianna Fáil.

The impact on what remained of the organisation was devastating. For the next eight decades, while FF dominated, Sinn Féin would be pushed to the margins of politics south of the border. There was the odd seat here or there but – aside from the election of two candidates under the ‘Anti H-Block’ banner in 1981 – it was utterly irrelevant to the national picture. But the economic and banking crash gave fresh impetus to the party.

Is Burundi on the verge of a "humanitarian catastrophe" as violence mounts in the African state?

After months of unrest and violence that have left hundreds dead and forced 230,000 to flee the country, the UN Security Council finally visited Burundi this week.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned of a "humanitarian catastrophe", and called on the President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government to free prisoners of conscience and lift restrictions imposed on citizens.

The eastern African state is a pressing concern for the UN, as reports of mass killings and gang-rapes by government forces in the capital Bujumbura mark a significant increase in the violence sparked by Nkurunziza's controversial decision to run for re-election last April.

The man who brought us Gazza's Tears and Bonner's save picks his Top 3 photos

When it came to performances on the pitch, the 1990 World Cup proved to be the moment when the world awoke to Paul Gascoigne's talents.

But his playing ability was but a small part of the Gazzamania frenzy which built up in England in the years after Italia '90.

Gazza wore his heart very much on his sleeve and it was the tears that rolled down his cheek at the semi-final stage which won the hearts of many. That iconic image was taken by Billy Stickland, who was also present with his camera for a number of other memorable sporting moments.

Supersonic: How Concorde conquered the skies on the 40th anniversary of its take off

It was 40 years ago this week that the supersonic passenger jet Concorde took to the skies for its first commercial flights, with two of the planes taking off at the same time from London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Heading to Bahrain and Rio de Janeiro respectively, the planes accelerated down the runway with the promise of reduced flight times on long-haul flights, a new era of aviation, and arriving before you left.


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