‘The Bertieist system was highly sophisticated: it created ever-shifting coalitions of interest based not on any long-term coherence but on brilliantly improvised management and huge wads of cash. It was an essentially tribal system, in which the big chief kept control over the little chiefs by distributing or withholding largesse.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

For how many of its 93 years of existence has the State been economically successful?

Big-house “gel”: Molly Keane at Belleville, her home in Cappoquin, in the 1930s. Photograph courtesy of Waterford County Museum

The playwright and novelist demythologised the world of the Irish big house, depicting its decline with a masterly combination of (...)

“The habits of suppressing your natural moral revulsion, of dressing up atrocities in verbiage, of obeying the chain of command – these instincts, forged during the IRA’s “war”, seem to die much harder than most of us could have imagined.”

‘What makes Sinn Féin’s flesh creep and its stomach heave?’

 ‘The alleged attacker of Maíria Cahill was ordered into exile by the IRA. So was the alleged attacker of Paudie McGahon.’ Above, BBC Northern Ireland ‘Spotlight’ reporter, Jennifer O’Leary interviewing Paudie McGahon. Photograph: BBC Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin has managed another kind of exiling – its past is another country

‘Official policy is now (blindly and inadvertently) driving us towards effective segregation.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘The Irish Times revealed recently that 80 per cent of immigrant children are already concentrated in just 23 per cent of primary (...)

‘The Constitutional Convention’s  expert advisory group did sterling work. Over 2,500 civil society groups and individuals made submissions. And the citizen members impressed everyone by their diligence, seriousness and open-mindedness.’ Above, voting taking place at the Constitutional Convention  meeting in Malahide, Co Dublin in 2013. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

‘All it’s really done is to polish up the sign on the gates of institutional democracy: abandon hope all ye that enter here’

Cultivating American audiences: Frank O’Connor on the CBS arts programme Camera Three in 1958. Photograph: CBS via Getty

The Cork writer’s stark story compresses into a small frame the bitter truth of conflicts everywhere: if you get to know someone, (...)

Never had it easy: it took Eimear McBride nearly a decade to get A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing into print

‘The Irish Times’ is publishing a poster of Irish women writers as a rebuke to the familiar men-only Irish Writers version. It’s a(...)

‘In the real world, real children are raised by lots of people doing their limited best – men and women, parents and grandparents, minders and teachers, friends and neighbours.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Such a message should be countered by ‘Hello Reality’ – the 30,000 men who bring up children

Photograph:  © UK Government Art Collection

The society portraitist’s depiction of the moment Roger Casement was sentenced to death shows two countries’ opposed but intertwin(...)

‘The last point about article 41 is that it is paranoid. This may indeed be the most interesting thing about it. Those who oppose same-sex marriage imagine a lost holy Catholic Ireland in which “the family” was perfectly secure until nasty liberals came along and started to undermine it. Yet if you actually read article 41, you will find its tone already imbued with portents of doom: the State pledges not just to support marriage but to “protect it against attack”.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Article 41 of the Constitution, dealing with ‘The Family’, is nothing more than the rhetorical cover for a cruel, hypocritical, se(...)

Tomás Ó Criomhthain: keen-eyed, romantic vision

The fisherman’s account of life on Great Blasket is a milestone in Irish-language literature

‘In a way, what’s happening in Europe right now is another round in a battle that’s been raging since telescopes were pointed at the skies – the battle between science and religion. The true believers know in their hearts that Hell awaits us if we depart from the path of financial righteousness. Those who believe the evidence are heretics. Angela Merkel (left) is the pope; Alex Tsipras is Galileo.  Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

‘Those who believe the evidence are heretics. Angela Merkel is the pope; Alex Tsipras is Galileo’

Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Inspired by the Ardagh Chalice, the Sam Maguire Cup is the holy grail of Gaelic football. Could its lineage stretch back to the re(...)

‘The mindset that produced Michael Noonan’s “affordable and repayable” debt is one in which Ireland’s determination to be “very good” contrasts favourably with Greece’s propensity to be very bad’ Above,  Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

‘Last year, Greece paid €8 billion to service debts of €315 billion. Last year too, Ireland paid €7.5 billion to service debts of (...)

‘Collateral damage is a by-product of what you target. And the damage to a generation of children is an inevitable result of the target chosen by those who govern us.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Austerity is a form of child abuse visited on the most vulnerable in society

Early production: The Plough and the Stars at the Abbey Theatre  in Dublin in 1942. Photograph: Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Hulton/Getty

Audiences expected a play about liberation; what they got was a scabrous, unromanticised depiction of the Rising’s failings

Treated like beasts: prisoners working in the crematorium at Dachau concentration camp, which Erwin Strunz avoided with the help of Hubert Butler and his wife, Peggy Guthrie. Photograph: LAPI/Roger Viollet/Getty

As we mark Holocaust Memorial Day, it’s worth remembering that what our great essayist did was illegal – not just in Nazi Europe (...)

‘We are a “northern European country” – Greece is “down there”, like the naughty bits we don’t like to talk about. But after Sunday, we may have to talk about them after all.’ Above, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza Party. Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Recklessness is not confined to the far left – the euro zone’s orthodoxy has been demonstrably reckless

A Muslim protester holds a placard reading “Islam” and another one holds one reading “For peace and against terrorism” during a demonstration outside Atocha Station in Madrid against the recent Paris Charlie Hebdo attacks . Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia has spent $100 billion in recent decades spreading an extremist ideology

Detail from  Eve of St Agnes stained glass window by Harry Clarke. Photograph courtesy of The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin

Artist’s imaginative stained glass transcends the straitened State from which it sprang

‘The new party is a solution in search of problems – or at least of problems that can be can be addressed with right-wing policies that don’t appear to be too right-wing. Thus Eddie Hobbs (right) is from Mars and Lucinda Creighton is from Venus.’  Above, Hobbs and Creighton with   John Leahy (left) at the launch of  the party in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Eddie Hobbs is from Mars and Lucinda Creighton is from Venus, hence the fuzziness of their new party’s agenda on everything from (...)

Detail from ‘Decoration’ which draws on traditional images of the madonna and child

A modernist take on old religious themes pointed the way to Jellett’s acceptance

Illustration: Oscar Scotellaro/Getty

Budget cuts have left some of Ireland’s national cultural institutions on the brink of collapse. Now the people most affected need(...)

A protester holds a Tricolour aloft outside Government Buildings as the Cabinet discussed a financial bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Receding prospect of €64bn taxpayers put into banks being managed at European level

Lisa Dwan’s series of performances was startling

Literary society: James Joyce with Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare & Co, who first published Ulysses (far right), and her fellow publisher and writer Adrienne Monnier. Photograph: Gisele Freund/Time & Life pictures/Getty Images

James Joyce showed that universal experiences were to be found, not with gods or heroes, but in mundane urban lives

“But I don’t forget the knitted circus. There was the fat ringmaster in his scarlet coat.” Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Why I could never forget the year of that knitted circus and the hands that made it

Economic Management Council epitomises failure of ‘democratic revolution’

Staging: Barry Jackson’s production of Back to Methuselah at the Court, in London, with Colin Keith Johnson as Adam, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Eve and Edith Evans as the serpent, in 1924. Photograph: Getty

Shaw’s vast cycle of plays, a combination of ‘creative evolution’ and satire, predicted that the ‘war to end wars’ would be merely(...)

The evidence from last week’s Irish Times poll is that so far the 30 per cent of the electorate that intends to vote for Independents is driven more by disgust than by hope.  Photograph: Reuters

‘What’s needed is a genuine bottom-up movement that is a means for citizens to take back their democracy’

Museum piece: Derrynane, by Jack B Yeats. Photograph courtesy of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum/Quinnipiac University

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum in Connecticut is facing up to challenge of commemorating the Famine in a manner that is empowerin(...)

 The Lobster Fisherman at Dusk,  by Paul Henry. Photograph courtesy of adams.ie

Paul Henry’s calm portrait captures the challenge Irish artists faced in combining modernism and nationalism

‘According to Jan O’Sullivan last week, I preach “that all Irish people are venal and corrupt”.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘What does create negativity and cynicism is promising change and then shoring up the status quo’

The signing of peace: Orpen’s subjects included President Woodrow Wilson, the French prime minister, Georges Clemenceau, and the British prime minister, David Lloyd George. Photograph: IWM via Getty

William Orpen’s great painting is a work of supreme ambivalence, both memorialising and questioning the first World War and what w(...)

‘Where projects are already part of the exam system, they are supposed to be all the pupil’s very own work. Sometimes they are. Some pupils and their families and their teachers are ruthless and scrupulous.And sometimes they’re not.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Fintan O'Toole: ‘52 per cent of the youngest teachers are in temporary jobs. And how do you get a permanent job? By marking your s(...)

Pádraic Ó Conaire: a complex, subtle and far from crudely heroic response to 1916

Pádraic Ó Conaire’s collection of stories set around the Easter Rising made an important statement: artists would deal with the ne(...)

Ken Whitaker age 97 at  his home on Stillorgan Road earlier this year. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Opinion: In 92 years, Ireland has seen no more than four ambitious projects for radical change

Photograph courtesy of Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane

Sean Keating’s Rising-themed painting places the men of 1916 in a heroic pose

‘Who, can form the next government? Even the failsafe option of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil forming their natural coalition is no longer a certainty. The European and local elections show the two parties between them now commanding a minority of votes. And what are the other options?’ Above,  Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the count centre for the European elections in Castlebar, Co Mayo earlier this year. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Opinion: What we are seeing are the signs of a slow slide towards an ungovernable State

Photograph: Robert Kirk/PD/Getty

The National Museum of Ireland is being forced to consider charging for entry. Can no areas of life be recognised as priceless?

Contender: part of Into the West of Ireland, by Paul Henry. Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland

‘Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks’ is a new series on key pieces of art and literature from 1916 to today. Here, Fintan O’Toole intr(...)

Artist in exile: James Joyce in Zurich around 1918, shortly after he finished the book. Photograph: C Ruf/Archive Photos/Getty

James Joyce’s first novel, published not in Dublin but in New York and London, is an intensely Irish book

‘The public revolt against water charges is not, for the most part, a rebellion against the eminently sensible idea that a small State should have a single public utility to develop its water system.’ Above,  water charge protesters  in Crumlin, Dublin on Saturday  as part of the national water charge protest. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Opinion: The public revolt against water charges is about injustice, and it’s justified

 Pádraig MacLochlainn put it most touchingly: “I know the character of Gerry Adams and I absolutely believe him.” It’s that “absolutely” that should alert those of us outside the party that we are in the realms of pure truthiness.  Photograph:  Collins

For Sinn Féin’s leaders, things that appear incompatible can be resolved

Gerry Adams (centre)  with Sinn Féin TDs Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Opinion: SF wouldn’t tolerate evasive answers from other party leaders

‘By Stiglitz’s measures – how long it takes for recovery to happen and how extensive is the damage caused in the meantime – the success of the twin-track policy of feeding dead banks and starving public services for the most vulnerable is not at all obvious.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Given that a recovery was always going to happen, it has been a long time coming. And the damage done is profound: €200 billion o(...)

No broadcast: the Met’s revival of The Death of Klinghoffer, by John Adams. Photograph: Richard Hubert Smith/Metropolitan Opera

With ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ and Brett Bailey’s installation, the Metropolitan Opera and the Barbican have censored themselves (...)

‘When Phil Hogan sends the CVs of constituents to Irish Water, do they actually get jobs? He himself laughed off the very notion last week. So why does he do it? Because the charade satisfies some deep mutual need – for his constituents to feel that they have “pull” and for Hogan to be Big Phil, the local chieftain who can deliver the goods to his people.’  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: Our machine politics is fuelled by the belief (often erroneous) that votes are exchange commodities, given in return for (...)

Now hiring: last year’s advertisement for candidates

After the John McNulty debacle at Imma, we need to close some of the loopholes in the way board members are appointed

‘The Taoiseach told the public one day that the decision to appoint McNulty was made by Heather  Humphreys (above); the next day that he alone was responsible.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: ‘The big issue is that there are standards that should apply to every office-holder’

Donation: the late Seamus Heaney and his wife, Marie, at the National Library of Ireland in 2011, when he gave his archive to the institution. Bryan O’Brien

These precious institutions came from a 19th-century optimism about the spread of literacy and enlightenment. Now nobody with any (...)

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys who refused to answer questions in the Seanad about  Mr McNulty’s appointment.

Analysis: The sheer extent to which old politics has been given a new life is remarkable

‘Last year, the outgoing financial regulator Matthew Elderfield warned that the State still has no adequate system for tackling financial offences’. Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: Ireland is still one of the best little countries in the world in which to be a shyster

We might think of him as a seanchaí who had come down from a mountain and been transplanted to Dublin with his stories intact, but(...)

Members of  King of Scots Robert the Bruce Society, hold the Scottish flags as they prepare to vote in the Scottish independence referendum   in Loch Lomond. “The Scots have already sent a message: the current political settlement of strong oligarchies and weak democracies cannot stand.”   (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The electorate has already sent a message: the current political settlement of strong oligarchies and weak democracies cannot stan(...)

Jaw-dropping: Lisa Dwan interprets Beckett

Lisa Dwan gives astonishing performances of ‘Not I’, ‘Footfalls’ and ‘Rockaby’

Ian Paisley at a rally on Royal Avenue outside Belfast City Hall in 1974. “Paisley the politician defeated Paisley the preacher.” Photograph: Trevor McBride

Bigoted yet brilliant, Paisley had to move away from a world of absolutes

‘This kind of national pride is hard work. You have to decide what are the things your nation should be proud of and how it is going to achieve them in reality.’  Above, Yes supporters’ flags are displayed besides a block of flats on Leith Walk in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Opinion: ‘National freedom isn’t another word for nothing left to lose. It’s another word for no one left to blame – no one, that(...)

‘The French have a real Pantheon (above) into which they place the bodies of national heroes. But they at least wait some decades for the judgment of history before they declare such memories sacred. The instant Pantheon of Irish political memorialisation is a way of making the judgment of history redundant.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: The attempt to elevate real, messy, ambiguous figures to saintly greatness actually increases cynicism about public life (...)

Borstal boy: Brendan Behan. Photograph: Hulton/Getty

The worst thing you can do to a terrorist is to preserve your own better values. That’s what happened to Behan as a 16-year-old IR(...)

‘Electric Picnic is now a bucolic frolic for those on the verge of middle age — which makes it a microcosm of austerity Ireland.’ Above, the crowd at the main stage at Electric Picnic. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Fintan O'Toole: There are good reasons to be browned off in Ireland if you’re young and well-educated

Strange creation: Lisa Dwyer Hogg, Barbara Brennan, Marcus Lamb, Nick Dunning, Mark Lambert (seated), Chris McHallem, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Aislín McGuckin and Don Wycherley in Róisín McBrinn’s production. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The horrible thought that ‘Heartbreak House’, at the Abbey Theatre, pushes us towards is that there is no entertainment on stage (...)

Counting  votes for the Dublin area in the abortion referendum in 2002. Photograph: Frank Miller

Opinion: Sectarian, paranoid, apocalyptic ideology gave us the eighth amendment

Glittering: the theatre on its opening night, in March 2010. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys has nothing to say about the sale of our finest performance space. Whatever happens, it mustn’(...)

From left: Des O’Malley, John Bruton, Albert Reynolds, Dick Spring and Proinsias De Rossa. Photograph: Irish Times Archive

Decisions made to the benefit of Goodman group haunted his political career

“There will be referendums next year, and one of them should be to remove abortion from the Constitution and put it where it should be – into the ordinary Irish reality where most of us live.”

Opinion: ‘Constitutional provisions on abortion are just the detritus of the ecstatic picnic of theocracy’s final fling’

Sarah King and Amanda Gallagher from Loreto College with Joey, the puppet from War Horse, one of many successful shows to run at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Photograph: Alan Betson

New Beginning’s offer to place theatre in trust for ‘artistic and cultural life of the State’ turned down in favour of private inv(...)

Strange bedfellows: Cillian Murphy and Mikel Murfi

The relationship between words and movement in Enda Walsh’s new play, in which two weirdly innocent men are trapped in an endless (...)

‘In fairness, John Bruton himself clearly does not see any problem with continuing to draw an enormous public pension while engaging in private work.’ Former taoiseach John Bruton, chairman of IFSC Ireland. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Opinion: No one in Fine Gael seems even slightly uncomfortable that Bruton gets €134,728 from the taxpayer but still works as a w(...)

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is for sale for €20 million. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘The artistic community of Ireland should come together to stop this sale,’ says theatre owner

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre at Grand Canal Dock. Photograph: Alan Betson

The country’s largest theatre is up for grabs, caught in crossfire between Nama, the banks and developer Harry Crosbie. But there (...)

Jimmy Saville at the Central Remedial Clinic, Clontarf, Dublin, when he attended a testimonial luncheon in his honour given by the Variety Club of Ireland and the Central Remedial Clinic. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

Dan Davies has written a detailed, scrupulous and assiduous book, but even it can’t illuminate the darkness at the heart of Savile(...)

Alan Kelly: could make a good start in his new job in Environment by getting to grips with this crisis. Photograph: Alan Betson

Opinion: Small organisations doing vital work are being allowed to fall through the cracks

Philip Pettit: the absence of deference is almost as important as the absence of fear.  Photograph: Frank Wojciechowski/Princeton University

Review: Philip Pettit’s challenge to conservative ideas of freedom can invigorate democracy and the republic

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre,  one of our finest pieces of cultural infrastructure, is being sold off by Nama at a quarter of its original cost. Photograph: Alan Betson

With the arts portfolio reduced to little more than a junior ministry, and one of our finest venues being flogged by Nama, the cur(...)

Will we end up subsidising Greyhound’s operations by paying family income supplement to some of their workers? Photograph: David Sleator

‘Customers’ are being asked to collude in the impoverishment of the men who collect their bins

The Abbey has become less of a cultural powerhouse and more of a managerial institution.

Few of the Abbey staff, and none of the senior staff, are theatre artists or writers, directors or designers. This ‘contrasts clea(...)

‘I suspect this is what really disturbs some priests: not Fr Michael Cleary’s deviance from the standards he himself preached but the yearning for a family life that, however awkwardly, he tried to honour.’ Photograph:  THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: ‘The fact is that the Dublin diocese knew about Cleary’s situation almost two years before it became a public scandal’

Fr Michael Cleary during the Papal visit to Ireland in 1979

Diarmuid Martin strongly dissociates himself from Fr O’Neill

Photograph: Louis Monier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Should Faber have published ‘Echo’s Bones’, a ‘new’ story? As the director Robert Scanlan puts it, there is more ‘Beckett’ floatin(...)

Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor and ex-press secretary to British Prime Minister David Cameron outside the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Opinion: What we see in the Coulson case is a grotesque parody of journalistic independence: the freedom of the press in thrall to(...)

‘The church in Belize cited the Flynn case as sanction for the firing of Ms Roches. The chief justice of Belize, however, was sceptical to the point of open contempt for Ireland’s standing in these matters.’ Above, Eileen Flynn, who  was dismissed from her job at the Holy Faith school in New Ross in 1982. Photograph: Peter Thursfield / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: As a quid pro quo for not being allowed to fire teachers on religious grounds, the church is being given reinforced contr(...)

Baileys winner: Eimear McBride. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Our novelists have taken on themselves the job of evoking the place as it is rather than as it wishes to be

‘Eamon de Valera openly claimed this unmatched holiness would do nothing less than save the world: “Ireland today has no dearer hope than this: that, true to her own holiest traditions, she may humbly serve the truth and help by truth to save the world”.’ Photograph:  Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Opinion: Why Irish delusions of being the ‘best’ gives the worst result

In 1985, Anthony Burgess, who was devoted to Joyce and greatly admired Louis le Brocquy, agreed in principle that he would write a 20-page introduction to the special edition of “Dubliners”, which was limited to 500 copies.

Novelist's manuscript will appear in the Irish Times tomorrow to mark centenary of Joyce book

‘Most “fallen” women knew well enough that they were expected to create a narrative of disappearance, usually one that involved the boat to Holyhead.’ Photograph: HJ Allen/Evening Standard/Getty Images

Opinion: In an Irish Times article in 1964, Michael Viney referred to ‘the secret-service mother-and-baby homes’ run by religious(...)

Protesters demonstrating against cuts affecting the elderly, sick, and  vulnerable, outside Leinster House earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke

Progressive budgets are as intrinsic to social democracy as Mass is to Catholics

Blackface: vaudeville showed the inventions through which ordinary people navigated the new urban whirlpool of immigrant societies. Photograph: Transcendental Graphics/Getty

The hipsters who regard Conchita Wurst’s Eurovision win as significant don’t realise that the song contest is just an antiseptic v(...)

‘After Eamon Gilmore’s resignation, Karl Marx’s quip remains indispensible: everything in history happens twice, the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce.’ Above,  Eamon Gilmore with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opinion: Sinn Féin’s pre-democratic past hasn’t gone away, you know

Four Last Things: Elizabeth A Davis with Victor Verhaeghe and Justin Hagan in the off-Broadway production. Photograph: Russ Rowland/Royal Family Productions

Great theatre tends to give suicide a power and a glamour it must not be given in society. With ‘Four Last Things’, Lisa Tierney-K(...)

‘One of the few signs there is some dignity left in Ireland has been the wonderful way in which the people of Ballyhea and Charleville in Co Cork have marched every Sunday since March 2011 to affirm their unwillingness to accept the debts so immorally imposed.’ Above, a Ballyhea protest at Leinster House in 2012. Photograph: Eric Luke

Opinion: Diarmuid O’Flynn’s election would be the right kind of shock: an electrifying suggestion that Ireland is not supine

Cock-up rather than conspiracy: graffiti in Belfast. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters

Everyone involved – Boston College, the interviewers, the interviewees and those against whom allegations were made – has been lef(...)

‘Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald referred to what is happening in the Garda as a crisis. It is not – alas.’ Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

The underlying failures of Irish democracy keep popping up through different holes

Walking undead: Ciaran, Grainne and Eoin Meghen from Killiney taking part in the Dublin Zombie Walk,  in aid of the Irish Cancer Society and Barnardos, in August 2012. Photograph: Alan Betson/THE IRISH TIMES

Half a century before Dracula, vampires featured heavily in Irish political discourse, as avatars for English rule or the depredat(...)

Michael McConville, son of murdered Belfast woman Jean McConville, who has called for an independent investigation by a team from outside Northern Ireland so no political pressure is applied. Photograph: PA

There are two ways of dealing with the legacy of these atrocities: all or nothing

Alistair MacLeod: his short stories are actually a very, very long story - the story of dispossession. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Behind almost everything in MacLeod’s stories is the great wrenching of the Highland Clearances, the sense of a people violently u(...)

  ‘Here we have the State unapologetically telling trainee teachers that however brilliantly qualified they may be, they will probably not get a job in 90 per cent of State-funded primary schools.’ Above, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Opinion: State is openly advertising and supporting this discrimination

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