‘Protesters accused Bishop Barros of having thwarted investigations into the actions of Fr Fernando Karadima, one of the best-known and most respected priests in Chile until a spate of serious allegations emerged against him about 10 years ago.’ Above, Msgr Juan Barros Madrid is escorted after being attacked by demonstrators during his appointment as Bishop of Osorno, at Cathedral of Osorno, Chile. Photograph:  EPA/FELIPE TRUEBA

Eamonn McCann: ‘Ushers were needed to protect Bishop Juan Barros from jostling by the angry congregation’

‘None of these criticisms is likely to dent Blair’s belief in his own righteousness. He is doubtless buoyed by regular, gushes of praise for his involvement in the making of the Belfast Agreement.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘As was evident in the begorrah antics at the White House on Tuesday, the Northern Ireland peace process just keeps on giving, alb(...)

‘This is the first time trades unions have opposed a Stormont deal. On every previous occasion, the ICTU and individual unions have hailed the outcome as a welcome contribution to the consolidation of peace’. Photograph: Getty Images

The unions’ main concern is that the agreement involves the loss of 20,000 public sector jobs

 Mary Wollstonecraft: “How many women thus waste life away, the prey of discontent?” Image:   A drawing by A S Merritt after the painting by Opie. (Photograph by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Eamonn McCann: ‘There’s the connection, the tradition coming down, the river ever flowing, the women marching, marching’

‘We have been here before. At the UN General Assembly in September 2012, Binyamin Netanyahu held up a cartoon of a bomb with a red line drawn across it to illustrate his contention that Iran would be in a position to build its own nuclear weapons by, at the latest, the end of 2013. This turned out to be entirely untrue, as everybody who knew anything about the Middle East recognised from the outset.’ Photograph:  DON EMMERT/AFP/ GettyImages

Netanyahu expected to call for US intervention to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear bombs

Hosts Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone announce the movie ‘American Sniper’ as one of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture during the Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California on January 15th. Photograph:   MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

‘American Sniper will likely win a few gilded prizes on Sunday. Not that should matter much to lovers of movies’

‘Religion is a distorted reflection of social relations, emanating from the material world, to be eradicated only by transformatio(...)

Dr Alasdair McDonnell, SDLP. ‘Asked about pregnancy as a result of rape, McDonnell replied: “I know a number of people who are very good normal people...who were conceived as a result of what might be termed a crime”.’ Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

Political opposition to abortion changes in North doesn’t reflect polls

‘There’s nothing dishonest about the brilliant doggerel of “The Ballad of Scouse McLaughlin”, which says more about what happened in Derry 43 years ago tomorrow than the wonderfully subtle report by Lord Saville.’ Above, the remains of an Argentine trench from the war for the possession of the Malvinas/Falkland islands in 1982. Photograph: DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

‘They should give Corporal Stewart “Scouse” McLaughlin the medal. He earned it doing what he reasonably believed they had sent him(...)

‘Prince Andrew is scheduled to tell a meeting at the annual World Economic Forum, of his ideas –  “my mission” –  for encouraging young entrepreneurs to go forth and multiply their money. It’s been suggested that Buckingham Palace would rather he maintained a lower profile at the moment.’  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

‘Former footballer Ched Evans won’t be the only person to watch the news today and wonder at a world so ill-divided’

‘The Housing Executive can be seen as the most solid single achievement of the early civil rights movement. It is now at imminent risk.’ Photograph: David Sleator

Stormont House Agreement commits to redundancies and privatisation

Brenda Lee and her family must listen at least once to the song every holiday, there being no escape

At the  ‘Hooded Men’ Amnesty press conference in Dublin recently, from left: Micheal Donnelly, Patrick Mc Nally, Brian Turley, Gerry Mc Kerr, Francis Mc Guigan, Joe Clarke, Jim Auld. Front left, Kevin Hannaway, Liam Shannon and Colm O Gorman, Amnesty Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Hooded men case and Shannon stopover rendition accusations send mixed signals

‘One of the themes at Lima has been of the need to “learn from Kyoto”.’ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at  the opening of the High Level Segment of the UN Climate Change Conference  in Lima, December 9, 2014.  Photograph: Mariana Bazo /Reuters

There is a precedent for state economic planning: wartime United States

‘NI Water issued a statement on November 28th: “NI Water would like to categorically state once more that it is not installing meters to facilitate charging . . . Only the NI Executive has the power to introduce water charges”.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘It came as a surprise when it emerged 35,000 water meters had been installed in new-built houses across the North since 2007. W(...)

‘Gregory Campbell’s cackling performance two days earlier will have aggravated any unease felt by the activists Gerry Adams was directly addressing.’ Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer

‘Both men were voicing opinions which have been held for generations but which in recent times have tended to be left unsaid in p(...)

A protester is pushed  away from blocking Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s car outside the Mansion House, Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘Incidents have been exaggerated to portray opponents of the current political order as little better than terrorists’ (...)

‘There are scores of other players who might resent their jerseys being used to promote British patriotism and sentimentalise war. But only James McClean (above) from Creggan Heights stood up and said so, explaining his refusal to wear a poppy playing for Wigan against Bolton on Friday night. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Opinion: ‘The underlying purpose of Remembrance is to soften the memory of futile slaughter the better to make the next generation(...)

‘Harrying Adams should not rule out hammering on the door of Theresa Villiers’s office.’ Photograph:   Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: A question of priorities means, in practice, wronged women must wait

‘Harrying Adams should not rule out hammering on the door of Theresa Villiers’s office.’ Photograph:   Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: A question of priorities means, in practice, wronged women must wait

‘Commentators who would never be seen dead at a demo came close to lamenting that the working class was letting the country down. Oh for the days of Jim Larkin, they sighed, relaxed that the preacher of discontent was safely entombed in Glasnevin.’ Above, an anti-water charges protest march, in O’Connell Street, Dublin, last month. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘The idea of having to pay for a substance so natural that it falls from the sky and without which we’d die sparks a part(...)

‘The troops who left Afghanistan on Monday last after 13 years of war  were told by Downing Street and the White House, the MoD and the Pentagon, that, all things considered, their efforts had been worthwhile. I suppose they can say no other.’ above, US marines preparing to depart following  the end of operations for marines and British combat troops in Helmand on Monday. Photograph: /Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Opinion: More than $100 billion has been spent and thousands have died, yet it remains one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt(...)

A protest of Travellers and supporters protest outside the Dáil on Kildare Street, Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘It struck me that if we had taken this approach in the North, there might still be a government at Stormont, probably he(...)

‘Peter Robinson will not be attending today’s gathering on account of having “a very full diary as First Minister on Thursday”.’ Above, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, First Minister Peter Robinson and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a press conference after a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council at Dublin Castle earlier this month. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Opinion: North talks include parades, the past, flags, welfare reform and the election of a new Assembly speaker

‘Back at the United Nations, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was explaining that any apparent differences between Isis, Hamas, Iran, Hizbollah, the Assad regime, the Palestinian Authority, etc, etc, were entirely illusory.’ Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Opinion: Isis proclaims its disregard for national borders. Hamas, on the other hand, is a nationalist organisation par excellence(...)

‘Within 48 hours of Theresa Villiers’s optimistic projection, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced the closure of the historical enquiries team  by Christmas, due to a cut in the policing budget.’ Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

Opinion: ‘The chances of Loyalist or Republican paramilitary groups making a clean breast of it are slim at best. The chances of t(...)

‘No golf writer or proper sports journalist has speculated that Paul McGinley’s sensational hint that he might “split” Northerners Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell for the doubles matches in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this weekend was down to Rory being from a Catholic background and Graeme  from Protestant stock.’ Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Opinion: American fans, like the players, seem to be more fervent than their European counterparts

‘Would one among them urge English cities, towns and villages to drape themselves in the Ulster Banner, aka St Patrick’s Saltire, to send the message – “Stay”?’ Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivers a speech at Scottish Labour campaign headquarters in Glasgow. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Opinion: Miliband’s madcap flags proposal has been but one sign of panic in the No camp

‘The majority of people in Gaza and the West Bank believes that Hamas won the latest battle in the long-running war between Palestinians  and Israeli authorities.’ Above, Hamas supporters take part in a rally celebrating what organisers say was a victory by Palestinians in Gaza over Israel following a ceasefire, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.   Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Opinion: The figures signal the failure of Israel and its allies to persuade the Palestinians by punishment

‘Understandably the DUP is ever alert for incidents which can be construed as evidence of bad faith by the Shinners’. Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘Go On Home’ was originally recorded by the Wolfe Tones

‘In this context, all inhabitants of Gaza and indeed the entity itself can be – and have been – declared legitimate targets.’ Above, the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during an offensive, in the east of Gaza City on July 26th.   Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Opinion: The doctrine provides a basis for deploying massive force and showing reckless disregard for civilian life

‘Despite Ms Halappanavar’s death, far from being enhanced, women’s rights will be diminished.’ Above, a protest outside the Dáil about abortion legislation following the death of Savita Halappanavar. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: In both jurisdictions, a frantic ‘pro-life’ rearguard action has persuaded politicians to back off from meaningful change(...)

‘Given the ideology he espouses, Bruton cannot acknowledge either that the Rising was a genuine strike against imperialism, whereas the Great War was a clash between rival robber gangs, with the proles as expendable fodder.’ Above, a British army soldier stands guard over Irish republican prisoners in a temporary hospital at Dublin Castle following the Easter Rising, 1916. Original publication: ‘The Graphic’, published May 13th, 1916. Photograph:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Opinion: There’s an overlap between views of John Bruton and cheerleaders for the IRA’s 1971-1998 campaign

‘Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had made the same point in a CNN interview seven days earlier. “All civilian casualties are unintended by us but actually intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can . . .They use telegenically-dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better’.” Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

Opinion: Netanyahu spokesman’s words closely follow pollster Luntz’s language

The Kincora boys’ home in Belfast

Opinion: Questions may arise about Hague’s judgment in accepting advice not to publish Welsh report

A member of the Orange Order wearing a sash and draped in the union flag marches in Belfast. Figures suggest  the order is a weak and declining organisation. Photograph: Reuters

Electoral politics in Northern Ireland plays out not between but within communities

Activists  outside the Supreme Court in Washington after the Hobby Lobby ruling.  Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Opinion: Principle of separation of church and state blurred

Gerry Conlon shows the letter of apology he received from then prime minister Tony Blair, in 2005.  Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA

Opinion: It was plain that the Guildford Four, like the Birmingham Six and Judith Theresa Ward had been framed

Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. ‘The film invited audiences to feel outrage against an aspect of history, then to savour the warmth that comes from the triumph of decency in the final reel. No prompt to face the fact of slavery remaining a reality for tens of millions today.’

Opinion: Thai authorities do a U-turn over forced labour

‘These things speak as eloquently of the harsh realities and beautiful romance of football as anything likely to emerge from Brazil over the coming month.’ Above,  an alley decorated in the Brazilian national colours to celebrate the World Cup. Photograph: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Opinion: These are the World Cup facts the ‘experts’ keep under wraps

First Minister Peter Robinson with members of Muslim community during his visit to the Belfast Islamic Centre where made a public apology for any offence caused to Muslims by his defence of a controversial preacher. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye /PA

Racism is a blight spreading across the terrain

‘Eamon Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton and the rest made their choice and may never be forgiven.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Opinion: The major unions’ leaderships likely to suffer reputational damage from the falling rubble of Labour principles

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends a Q & A session at an engineering company as joins his Conservative Party's election campaign for the European elections, in Woodchester, southern England May 8, 2014. Britain votes in local and European elections on May 22.    REUTERS/Andrew Winning   (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Opinion: Both Conservatives and Labour have form when it comes to deals with the DUP in exchange for Commons votes

 Jean McConville (left)  with three of her children shortly before she disappeared in 1972.  Pacemaker Belfast

Opinion: Peter Hain’s intervention came amid a flurry of futile debate about dealing with the past

 ‘Representatives of thousands of victims of clerical child sex abuse from around the world had gathered in Rome in an effort to draw attention to their treatment at the hands of the imminent saint. By and large, their efforts failed.’   Photograph:  Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Opinion: Protests of clerical child abuse victims were drowned out

‘The mood was reportedly euphoric at a celebration on April 20th, the traditional day in the US for “free the weed” rallies and “smoke-outs”.’ Above, a man smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally  in Denver, Colorado, on April 20th, 2014. Photograph: Mark Leffingwell/Reuters

Opinion: Fears for decriminalisation ‘catastrophe’ unfounded

‘There is an island in the south Pacific whose people adhere to a cargo cult and – so it’s said – regard the queen’s husband as a god. We are not there yet, but it’s early days.’ Above,  the banquet held at Windsor Castle during the State visit of President Higgins. Photograph: Alan Betson

Opinion: Irish elite were celebrating their acceptance into a particular layer of society

 Chris Christie. Photograph: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Opinion: Battle for funding in Republican presidential campaign

‘It is this combination of economic advantage and community background that offers the most obvious explanation of the sharply different educational outcomes.’

Opinion: Poverty and community key issues in educational performance

‘If you are a teenager or in your 20s on the Falls or the Shankill  . . . you might react with something approaching rage when you are told again to settle down, don’t cause trouble, don’t undermine the peace.’ Above, artists working on the Peace wall in West Belfast, in 2009. Photograph:  Paul Faith/PA Wire

Opinion: When it comes to community morale, Catholics doing better than Protestants

‘When it comes to double-talk, however, there is no contest. Putin is never going to be a match for Obama at talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.’ Above, Vladimir Putin addresses the  audience during a rally and a concert called “We are together” to support the annexation of  Crimea, on March 18th. The words in the background read, “Crimea is in my heart”. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Obama’s interest in the region is dictated by US strategy for curbing Russian power

‘The audience lapped it up. Not least Enda.’ Above, Bono meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny after addressing the EPP gathering in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson
Bedazzzling Bono

Opinion: Role lends cultural cred to the chancer class

Peter Hain: resigned from the British cabinet over what was later deemed a technical offence. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opinion: In Northern Ireland the law often comes second to political considerations

Opinion: Frazier was discarded from the communal memory after Manila defeat

Celtic and Rangers fans taunt each other at an Old Firm derby. But can they really be seen as “two sides of the same debased coind”? Photograph: PA

Opinion: Campaign against journalist suggests sectarianism is still alive and well

Opinion: Irish Americans with dollars were not keen on solidarity with African Americans

US secretary of state John Kerry at the security conference in  Munich last weekend. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Majority in Israel and majority of US Jews seem to dissent from extreme positions

St Joseph’s Home,Termonbacca, on the outskirts of Derry. “Nobody ever put their arm around you and said ‘You are a good kid.’” Photograph: Trevor McBride

Opinion: It was said the boys would find ease in heaven as they had certainly done their purgatory on Earth

“The church is facilitated in presenting itself today as a religious organisation, tomorrow as a state – a handy arrangement, given some of its more sordid entanglements.” Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, yesterday. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Opinion: the cradle of the Catholic Church is a constitutional wraith and a scam

This land is our land: Dr Paisley at an Independent Orange Order demonstration at Ballycastle, Co Antrim in 1985. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

American sermons related plight of Northern Protestants to that of Old Testament Jews

Opinion: It is highly implausible that branch managers were unaware that they were being used to launder drugs money

Richard Haass, with Meghan O’Sullivan, speaking to the media in Belfast. Professor O’Sullivan is a tough customer with considerable experience in hotter spots than south Belfast. Photograph: PA

Opinion: DUP unable to deliver as it has little influence over loyalist paramilitaries

Opinion: Contrary to perceived wisdom, the people of the North are liberal on ‘moral’ issues

A street in Kabul: can lessons be learned in Afghanistan from the experience of Northern Ireland? Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opinion: It is insulting to black South Africans to compare their experience to that of Catholics from the Bogside

Former prime minister Golda Meir: not aware of any Palestinians. Photograph: AP

Opinion: Settlement plan involves erasure of 35 villages and displacement of 70,000 people

Police in riot gear look on as protesters wave union flags in front of Belfast City Hall in December last year. Anniversary demonstrations have been planned. Photograph: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Opinion: Working class loyalists have only fond memories and fear of the future

Women walk past a Loyalist mural on the   Newtonards Road in East Belfast. John Larkin has suggested that there should be an end to prosecutions into killings related to the Troubles. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: If John Larkin’s views were not conservative on hot-button issues it is likely he would be regarded with less indulgence (...)

Edwin Poots: following what he believes to be the natural order. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

Opinion: Northern Ireland system allows minister to dictate law in defiance of the courts

Gerry Adams says that former colleagues who accuse him of having ordered the death of Jean McConville are driven by hostility to the peace process

The contradiction that ran through the Provisional movement explains the anger of Gerry Adams’s accusers

 Angela Merkel holds a BlackBerry Z10 smartphone featuring high security  software, used for governmental communication, at a computer fair in Hanover in in March this year. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: It is surprising that so many people seem surprised by the extent of surveillance

 A poster hangs on a wall in Ebrington Square, Derry, the venue of the 2013 Turner Prize. Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: Turner Prize at least gives us an opportunity every year to vent our scepticism

 Cardinal Sean Brady: might permit himself a smile as he observes Gerry Adams discovering that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Photograph: Eric Luke

Opinion: Parallels exist between the way both organisations handled child abuse allegations

Pakistani schoolchildren hold a handwritten sign during a special class to commemorate the anniversary of Malala Yousufzai’s shooting at a school in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, today. Photograph: AP

Opinion: No Western country has called Saudis or Bahrainis to account over their repression

Israeli border policemen detain a Palestinian protester as an undercover Israeli policeman walks by during clashes at Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem last week. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: US Jewish attitudes to Zionist state not as monolithic as some think

President Rouhani addressing the UN in New York this week. Photograph: AP

Opinion: There is no evidence of any breach of international agreements by Tehran

Lord Saville, chairman of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Evidence allowed Cameron to make much-praised statement

To fail to respect the Orange Order is not necessarily to disrespect Protestants or Protestantism. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Opinion: waving a flag or backing the Provos’ war is not the only possible identity marker

Martin Luther King: in 1967 Time magazine passed a more severe, and perhaps racist, judgment on him than it had 10 years previously. Photograph: PA

Opinion: Civil rights leader called for ‘eternal opposition’ to poverty, racism and militarism

John Brennan: has explicitly defended what is called ‘advanced interrogation’. Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: Not so many people seem to care about rendition, torture and wire-taps

Bradley Manning: has already served more time than was served by William Calley, who played a leadership role in the killing of 504 civilians during the Vietnam war. Photograph: Reuters

Telling people civilians are being killed seen as a bigger crime than killing civilians

Orangemen during a recent stand-off with police on Woodvale Road, Belfast. If the Belfast Agreement is the best we can do we can look forward to almost permanent sectarian division.

Opinion: there is something more serious going on than just yobbos spoiling for a fight

Something to chuckle about: the DUP, with 38 of 55 designated unionist seats, can veto any measure it doesn’t fancy. Photograph: David Sleator

Votes in institutions do not count unless one is affiliated to one or other ‘community’

Edwin Poots: no date set for results of consultation. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

It is still not possible to avail of a service which the courts have decreed is your right

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