Leaked documents from OSF reveal it gave funds to three Irish organisations so  they could “work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment”. Photograph: Eric Luke

The recent revelations regarding Glen’s financial governance mask a bigger problem

 Crucifixes for sale in a Cairo shop. Christians are a significant minority in Egypt, as 10 per cent of the population are Coptic Orthodox. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Breda O’Brien: Pope’s visit may focus attention on plight of isolated minority

‘A child from a dysfunctional background is at a disadvantage in a court.’ Photograph: Getty

Focus on guardians ad litem misses bigger issue of overly adversarial system

Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar with students from St Joseph’s secondary school in Stanhope Street in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Education body skews debate by claiming some schools ‘eligible’ for Deis status

The Grand Hotel in Brighton after the IRA bombing  in 1984 that  left Margaret Tebbit paralysed. Photograph:  PA

Martin McGuinness: British politician’s remarks underestimate ex-IRA leader

 Pope Francis: has a reputation as a reformer, but in some areas it is difficult to see any meaningful progress. Photograph:  Alessandra Tarantino/EPA/pool

Pontif espouses ‘zero tolerance’ policy on abusers, but little has changed on the ground

The entrance to the site of a mass grave at the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Tuam scandal shows the vice most characteristic of any age is often dressed up as virtue

Minister for Education Richard Bruton: says   there is no way of managing current crisis. Photograph: Eric Luke

Instead of trying to solve ASTI row, bullying tactics are being used on teachers

‘Cardinal Desmond Connell championed the underdog at every opportunity.’

Cardinal was seen as a good man in an ill-suited role, but the truth is more complex

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone outside Leinster House this week. Photograph: Eric Luke

Those the media approves of are naive, those it dislikes are deemed negligent

 Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, at the inaugural meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly in Dublin Castle. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The assembly is badly compromised by choice of speakers and framing of issues

US president Donald Trump with Neil Gorsuch, his choice for the US Supreme Court. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Reaction to US president’s Supreme Court pick shows dangerous polarisation

 John Hurt in the film of  ‘1984’. Liberal US media have their own versions of thoughtcrime, which include reluctance to publish anything that presents abortion as anything other than an unqualified good

While sales of Orwell’s ‘1984’ soar, media ignores book on abortionist Kermit Gosnell

Minister for Education Richard Bruton:  has announced a “consultation process” on admissions to religious-run schools at an event run by a lobby group called Equate. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Proposals likely to damage minority Christian traditions and cut diversity

‘In a study, more than 80% of students believed that an online article identified by the words ‘sponsored content’ was a real news story, even when they understood the term.’

Young people are easily duped when evaluating information on social media

Germaine Greer: some students at Cardiff University launched a petition to stop the feminist academic speaking because of her allegedly transphobic views. Photograph: Newspix/Rex

Denying a platform to those who disagree with you drives dissent underground

An image from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.

Gently but explicitly religious, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ is a holiday classic

A recent study  found  a child’s cognitive skills are improved  by spending more time with their mothers between the ages of three and seven

Majority of mothers do not want full-time work, so why is Zappone acting as if they do?

  Some 400 hours  are to be dedicated to a new subject called ‘wellbeing’, in contrast to 240 hours for maths. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Countries such as Sweden are now questioning the value of enquiry-based learning

Minister for Health Simon Harris won’t meet Tanya Coonan or her group, Every Life Counts, and has never met the other groups like One Day More who represent parents of babies with life-limiting conditions. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

More support services needed for parents who choose to continue with such pregnancies

Judge Maureen Harding Clark  suggested that the possibility of financial payment had influenced some women.

Sensationalist consensus may overlook one third of applicants who never had procedure

US secretary of state John Kerry speaking at the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco, on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters/Mark Ralston

Irish people may not realise how important the conversation is on climate change

‘A great deal of Trump’s success could be attributed to voters not being able to stomach the prospect of four years of Hillary Clinton.’ Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

US religious right’s view of president-elect mirrors left’s stance on Hillary Clinton

‘A 2010 study of the 50 most popular pornographic DVD titles found that 88 per cent of scenes included violence.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If your child goes online, the question is not if but when they will access pornography

Every person who is addicted has a negative impact on four others, usually loved ones and family members

Public debate is needed on best ways to intervene in chaotic lives of addicts

Pope Francis: there was surprise and delight when he announced that the next meeting would be in Dublin.  Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The World Meeting of Families will reflect Pope Francis’s focus on family

“Because of a generous homecare allowance, which gives parents choice, only 41 per cent of Finnish children up to the age of two are in day care.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Government shows it is out of step by deciding some choices are more worthy

The house in Bluebell, Dublin, where the bodies of brothers  Daniel and William McCarthy, who were deaf, were discovered.  Although many deaf people are well integrated into their communities, it can be a very isolating disability.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Although the deaths of the McCarthy brothers in their home raise important questions, loneliness in general is on the rise in the (...)

Chosen children: such a slogan screams that adults are all-powerful. They have the right to exclude others from even being defined as human. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Designating a child as chosen radically alters the unconditional nature of parental love

‘Only 40 per cent of parents send their children to a crèche, so the Government should offer more than just this option.’

Incentivising people to send children to a crèche ignores many other options

People who want to fulfil their civic duty by voting, but who don’t want to vote for Trump or Clinton, can vote for Mike Maturen

The best bet seems to be a car salesman and professional magician

The Women’s Clinic (in building on right) on Berkeley Street in Dublin, is next door to Reproductive Choices, a pregnancy advisory clinic closely aligned to the Marie Stopes organisation in the UK. The clinics are unrelated. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy/The Irish Times

A ‘rogue clinic’ has been accused of deceiving women, but pro-choice clinics tell lies too

Residents at the Oberstown Detention Campus, Dublin who  climbed up onto the roof of one of the buildings this week. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Campus and staff not able to cope with transfer of young offenders from St Pat’s

Brianna Parkins onstage at the Rose of Tralee:  If she had called for the retention of the Eighth Amendment, would media people be queuing up to congratulate her, and to offer her a drink?

Double standards in the media have become increasingly obvious

‘Jaime Herrera Beutler (above) is  only the ninth woman to give birth while serving in the US Congress. She received an experimental treatment involving replacing missing amniotic fluid with saline, and her baby, Abigail, was born at 28 weeks.’ Photograph:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

‘It would be wonderful if we could discard flawed terms like fatal foetal abnormality and incompatible with life’

‘Everybody knows that education is the great engine of equality, that it represents a vital route out of poverty. Everybody, apparently, except successive governments.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘When people complain about the high cost of education, they are primarily complaining about the high costs of textbooks, uniforms(...)

A nun looks on as pilgrims sleep at the Campus Misericordiae during World Youth Day in Brzegi near Krakow, Poland. Photograph: Agencja Gazeta/Kuba Ociepa

World Youth Day showcases the other side of catholicism and religous life

All schools teach a worldview. All schools have mission statements

Apparently, learning about religion is fine but not praying

Milo Yiannopoulos. Twitter has decided to bar him for life, allegedly for coordinating an attack on Leslie Jones, one of four women who star in the reboot of Ghostbusters.

People like the professional troll make it easier to dismiss all conservative objections

 Demonstrators  outside the home of former London Mayor Boris Johnson on July 1. Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Elements of both the remain and the leave campaigns played fast and loose with facts and emotions

St Augustine’s school in Blackrock, Co Dublin is a co-educational school for children aged 8 to 18 who have mild general learning disability.

Pioneering school to lose 26 staff because resources needed elsewhere in system

When it works well, palliative care is not just about pain relief, but a vision of living well until you die.

Unbearable suffering and assisted suicide are far from the only options at the end of life

In the last six months two sets of complaints have been upheld against The Ray D’Arcy Show.

Far from having a chilling effect, some broadcasters appear chilled out about having been found in breach of regulations

‘If Pope Emeritus Benedict were still alive when Pope Francis (above) retires it would no doubt trigger some epic event. Certainly if the prophecies of St Malachy and Nostradamus that my father relished telling me about are anything to go by.’  Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

‘Some people are already wondering if Francis will follow the humble example of his predecessor and retire’.

Like it or not: “This giant company [Facebook] is now the major source of news for many people.” Photograph: Getty Images

Hundreds of millions are being influenced by this hugely powerful company

Indpendent TD Katherine Zappone is now seeing her preferred model of childcare, that is, direct payments to childcare providers, being implemented.Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

It is the triump of ideology over what parents want, which is to look after children at home

Census 2016: The recent social media campaign which urged people to tick ‘No religion’, failed to understand that views on religion are not black and white.  Picture Nick Bradshaw

We may not choose to actively support something - but heaven help anyone who tries to say that we are not entitled to it.

Seán MacBride; A co-founder of Amnesty International he voted yes to the Eighth Amendment, and wrote an influential newspaper article two days before the Referendum.

Amnesty International is manipulating the right not to be tortured in order to invent a ‘right’ to end a tiny human being’s life (...)

Pope Francis: “A particular kind of parish priest, of course, one completely orthodox but utterly aware of and compassionate towards human frailty. The kind of priest who is a bit garrulous, prone to re-telling anecdotes, but is nobody’s fool.”  ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

‘The pope’s apostolic exhortation is a practical document with immense pastoral experience behind it, and decades of knowing famil(...)

Court: “I believe that little was to be gained by prosecuting the young woman [who took abortion pills]  in Northern Ireland”

Pro-choice advocates did not mention Jade Rees, although the system they wish to introduce is at the very least implicated in h(...)

Loyalist forces stand guard on a main road in the Mansoura residential district of Yemen’s second city of Aden after they pushed Al-Qaeda out of parts of the  city. Photograph:  Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images

The story of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil spread on social media before the details were verified

A cross which marks the place where James Connolly was executed, sitting in a chair, in  Kilmainham Gaol. Photograph: Frank Miller

This Easter, we could honour the sacrifices of the Rising by remembering religion’s role

 Aylan Kurdi’s body lies on the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey, on September 2, 2015.  Photo  Nilufer Demir/AFP/Getty Images

Sub-contracting responsibility for refugees to Ankara sees refugees as a threat to be kept out, not human beings in need of shelte(...)

Lucinda Creighton: her defeat was largely due to Fine Gael tribalism. Photograph: Eric Luke

‘Social issues’ do count. All politics is local. People don’t want recovery for the few.

Cork University Maternity Hospital: important research has been carried out at the hospital with mothers who decided to continue their pregnancies. Image: Google Streetview

Mothers who continue their pregnancy are rarely lauded as brave – at best, they are patronised

The doughty Mattie McGrath: Voted against the Orwellian titled Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Look for someone who would defy the party whip because of personal conviction

Moyross: Primary school children do not have any access to National Educational Psychological Services, despite the fact that the Department of Education knows that many of the children  require therapeutic interventions. Picture: Don Moloney / Press 22

For many young people raised in poverty, either numbing out through drug use, or becoming a tiny cog in the criminal machine, can (...)

Minister of State  Kathleen Lynch. The proposed commission of inquiry is designed to deflect criticism before an election. Photograph: Joe Boland

Our child protection and welfare system is broken, and there is no political will to fix it

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  unveiling measures to tackle the mortgage arrears crisis in 2013. There are about 750,000 residential mortgages in Ireland, and over 92,000 of those are in arrears – about one in eight. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

There is still a sense of shame and stigma that blocks people from accessing help

An Armenian Orthodox woman prays at the Syrian Saint Sarkis Church during Christmas celebrations on January 6, 2016 in Damascus. AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA

EU should follow Lithuania’s lead rather than cowardice and expediency of US

It is a moot point as to when a foetus experiences pain, but it is not a moot point as to when someone becomes human

Päivi Räsänen of the unashamedly pro-family Christian Democratic party was Finland’s interior minister until the  election last year.

We have simply replaced one set of authorities whom we feared to challenge with another

‘Imagine if a fraction of the passion that is expended on getting re-elected was expended on creating narratives that point to the brighter future that can result from caring for the environment.’ Photograph: Clement Sabourin/AFP/Getty Images

In my view, the media have to bear a huge amount of responsibility for the lack of a compelling narrative that motivates change

Again and again, research has shown that denominational schools are far more likely to contain minorities such as travellers or immigrant children, and to welcome them. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

It is more than likely a symbolic response by Minister O’Sullivan to Fine Gael’s refusal to buy her School Admissions Bill

RAF Typhoons arrive at RAF Akrotiri to begin operations againts Isis in Syria in Akrotiri, Cyprus. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Can you really say that air strikes on fighters dispersed among a civilian population fulfil the criteria of proportionate force a(...)

Zapatero’s government introduced a one-stage ‘express’ divorce law. The incidence of divorce jumped from 51,000 divorces in 2004 to 127,000 in 2007, and eventually levelled off at roughly double the 2004 rate. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The law is a teacher. It embodies what society considers to be worth both validating and punishing.

Fr Kevin Reynolds meeting with parishioners after Mass after he was welcomed back to his ministry in Saint Cuan’s Church in Ahascragh in 2011. It was fortunate for him that DNA testing cleared his name. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Religious have long been subjected to similar treatment by media and the Church

Everyone in the abortion industry wants to paint Gosnell as a monster, but while he is a very strange and disturbed individual, in one respect he is identical to abortion advocates everywhere – his reasoning.

So long as the safety valve of abortion is there, we never have to take seriously the issue of providing real alternatives.

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny ...”Our Taoiseach has given us a vision for this State – the best small country in the world in which to do business.” Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

‘The degree to which this Taoiseach has been given free passes is quite extraordinary’

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of the Synod on the Family. He announced a new Vatican office for Catholic laity and families. Slow, slow progress, but progress, nonetheless. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/EPA.

Layman voting at synod shows it is possible laywomen could be next

 The cuts in Traveller education were made because it was easy to do. The masses would not be taking to the streets to protest. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Reinstating the Visiting Teacher Scheme and resources teachers for Travellers would be a practical, realisable way to mark watersh(...)

I am getting really tired of advocates of state-funded childcare who make claims along the lines that long-term studies show that every €1 invested in early quality care and education will deliver €7 in improved outcomes. Those studies were conducted on disadvantaged children

Pre-school intervention works best when employed to make up for a lack of adequate parenting

Sombreros: Banned at the University of East Anglia lest they cause offence. Getty

“Vindictive protectiveness” is on the rise

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton: Like the four he chose to highlight, Francis defies easy categorisation.

All shared an intense consciousness of the centrality of God in their lives

“Children who went through Quebec’s child-care system were more likely to commit a crime, have poor health and experience lower levels of life satisfaction.”

What is good for disadvantaged children is not good for all children, research suggests

A demonstration outside the Dáil in 2013 ahead of a vote to introduce abortion in limited cases where the mother’s life is at risk. Photograph: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images

‘You can argue about personhood before birth, but you cannot argue about humanity’

Aylan Kurdi, with his brother Galip, who both died trying to reach Europe: Aylan ‘deserves a public campaign to bring more of his fellow Syrians, and other refugees here’.

‘I feel that photographs taken after a tragic death demean a person’s dignity’

A  Syrian migrant runs after crossing under a fence as he enters Hungary, at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 27th, 2015.  Photograph:  Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

Images from ‘Children of Men’ are eerily similar to current television news broadcasts, down to the cages and the barbed wire

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn speaks outside the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle, during his campaign. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

‘How viable is our democracy when despite the proliferation of new parties and old, many Irish people still have no party for whic(...)

‘The Educational Welfare Service records home-schooled children by age rather than whether they are at primary or secondary level.’ Photograph: Getty Images

There are formidable obstacles to pursuing the Leaving Certificate at home

Pope Francis at the end of  his visit to South America earlier this month. Photograph:  EPA/Andres C Benitez

The Pope should strike a blow against the ‘overwork’ culture

Anti-abortion campaigners protesting in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taking foetal organs for profit requires obliteration of individuals’ humanity

The Scandinavian childcare system has evolved “because of a cultural consensus that simply does not exist in Ireland.”

In Sweden it is considered almost regressive to want to look after your child yourself

Pope Francis –   insists on the importance of recognising difference: “Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology.”  Photograph: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Francis builds on ‘human ecology’ to ask how to develop an ‘integral ecology’

Anti-abortion protesters outside the Dáil  as the amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill were being voted on in 2013. Photograph: Dave Meehan

‘An equal right to life is a much more basic and foundational concept than Constitutional recognition of a loving relationship’ (...)

‘Communities come into their own, like schools, which continue to have deep significance long after pupils have left them behind, and parishes, which open their doors to create a safe space to gather.’  Above, flowers have been laid beside a memorial service in UCD, Dublin for the six students who died in the balcony collapse tragedy in Berkeley, California. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

‘Sometimes we worry that community is weakening in Ireland. That may be true in some respects, but it is at times of bereavement t(...)

‘Modern sexual mores are naive in a different way. The assumption is that sex can be just another recreational activity without any downside, so long as consent is present.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Consent, personal autonomy, and choice are the new holy trinity of modern mores’

 ‘Robert  Putnam believes that the “neo-traditional model” of family, that is, stable, durable marriages of biological parents, where both parents are likely to work but also invest significant time into parenting, leads to a range of positive outcomes for children.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘Until Irish people can re-discover the sense that the poorer kids are also our kids, a crusade to end child poverty will never re(...)

 A No campaign poster  in Dublin: “This  same Government presided over the disintegration of mental health services – everything from removing guidance counsellors from school, often the first to pick up serious problems – to decimating the psychiatric services.” The hypocrisy is stunning.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

‘734,300 No voters are just as generous and inclusive as those who voted Yes’

‘Catherine  Deneuve says that in the 1960s, “high-heeled shoes were for women of ill repute. They were reserved for those who were obliged by their profession to live up to a caricature. Do women today really want to make caricatures of themselves?” Yes, apparently.’ Above, Deneuve with and actor Benoit Magimel pose as they arrive for the screening of the film “Standing Tall” (Tête Haute) during the opening ceremony of the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Photograph: CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images

‘High heels were once the exclusive province of men’

‘This Government’s only commitment to marriage is to re-defining it to make it gender-neutral and then repeating loudly that it represents no change at all.’ Above, Eileen King, Keith Mills and Tom Finegan  during the Mothers and Fathers Matter press conference  in Dublin where they unveiled their new campaign posters and put questions to the Referendum Commission this week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

‘This Government’s only commitment to marriage is to re-defining it to make it gender-neutral’

‘Let’s not forget Marriage Equality, whose name even ended up on the referendum ballot paper.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Groupthink has been exalted to an Irish sacrament’

Retired Supreme Court justice Catherine McGuinness with community garda Kerrie Sullivan at Pearse Street station, Dublin, on Sunday. Photograph: Paul Sharp/Sharppix

‘It is just one of the deeply disturbing aspects of the debate, or should that be non-debate, in advance of the referendum’

‘There is genuine horror at the stories emerging of migrants drowning in their hundreds, and the danger, as Pope Francis put it, of the Mediterranean becoming a vast cemetery.’ Above, rescued migrants  after disembarking from the Italian Navy vessel “Bettica” in the harbour of Augusta, this week.  Photograph: AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi

‘In a landmark decision on Wednesday, the High Court ruled that gardaí­ failed to identify a victim of human trafficking, resultin(...)

‘I think I know what prompted Mary McAleese to speak out – deep compassion for a minority in Irish society who have been badly treated in virtually every country in the world.’ Above, former President Mary McAleese with her husband Dr Martin McAleese. Photograph: Frank Miller / THE IRISH TIMES

‘If the referendum is passed, there will be children born in this country who will never experience a mother’s love’

‘A somewhat silly hypothetical question from a reporter eager for a story (who serves pizza at weddings?) resulted in credible death threats, police protection, and the family being forced to close their business temporarily.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Same-sex marriage referendum is not just about saying ‘I do’

‘Being a male who experiences domestic violence is doubly stigmatising, because it is seen as emasculating, and because people are frankly sceptical that women can inflict damage on men in the same way.’ Photograph: Getty Images

We need a second report on sexual abuse and violence in Ireland – and we must act on it

‘Micheál Martin is obsessed with electoral success in Dublin, but he believes that the way to gain it is by “modernising” the party. He has surrounded himself with people who think the same way, and is doing the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and going “nah-nah-nah-nah” to anyone inside or outside the party who says anything different.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

‘There is no party that now represents those who are socially conservative but not economically right wing’

‘Pregnant models stalked down the catwalk, and instead of carrying dinky little handbags, some of the models toted beautiful babies.’  Photograph: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Elton John and Martina Navratilova criticise ‘parenting’ views of designers

‘The Government operates a system of direct provision for asylum-seekers, so that each adult gets €19.10 a week, along with accommodation and food. People languish for years in a system originally intended to be a temporary measure for six months or so.’ Above, a group of  asylum seekers, refugees and supporters which marched from the Dáil to the Department of Justice last year protesting about the system of direct provision. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

‘Kathy feels as if the State has cut her adrift after almost forcibly institutionalising her. She doesn’t want to be dependent . .(...)

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