Family Values survey debunks the cliche of the gold-plated old and yellow-pack young

When asked about their standard of living eight out of 10 35- to 54-year-olds believe it is better now than it was for their parents. It gets even higher among the retired and over-55s; 90 per cent of them say their standard of living is better

Family Values, a major survey by ‘The Irish Times’, explores the changing Irish family

‘As a 40-year-old, two-term Fine Gael TD, who lost the whip for opposing the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, Terence Flanagan is no ingénu.’ Above with Lucinda Creighton. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘Politicians know that three-quarters of the audience is willing them to fail’

“We should want real  women with real-life experience of the education system, the workplace, childbirth, childcare, managing money in tight situations and general life,” Cllr Brabazon says. Photograph: Getty Images

Kathy Sheridan: ‘As if smothering all that mighty male talent wasn’t outrageous enough, it will be done by weak females’

Solicitor Brian O’Donnell returning to the house in Killiney after a High Court Hearing into an application for a trespass order was adjourned. John Martin from the New Land League (right) opened the gates. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

This was no ordinary trespass order, as the O’Donnell circus occupied Court No 1

‘It’s just a matter of time until the work of departments such as Brendan Howlin’s – racing to play catch-up after decades of big party neglect – is recognised. History, they must believe, will be kinder.’ Above, Brendan Howlin, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Alex White, Kathleen Lynch, Ged Nash and Jan O’Sullivan at the Labour party conference in Killarney. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

‘It’s no fun being a green, blue or pinkish small party with a brief to save the people’

Representatives of the bank receiver posting documents on the order of the court on the gate of  the O’Donnell family home, Gorse Hill. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

O’Donnells have until 4pm today to comply with order to vacate house

Graham Dwyer. Sitting with her slight body angled toward the judge’s bench, Gemma Dwyer’s eyes never met those of the man she has known for nearly 20 years. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dwyers celebrated their birthdays on day Elaine O’Hara’s remains were found

A  CCTV picture  from the Metropolitan Police Service  shows the three  British teenagers  at Gatwick Airport, before flying to Istanbul, raising concerns they would travel on to Syria to join IS jihadists.  Photograph: AFP/Metropolitan Police/Getty Images

‘When I was young and stupid I was young and stupid. Luckily, I have managed to locate the diary and kill it’

‘We liked the word “warns”. It carried intimations of threats and sanctions. Maybe – ring out them bells – Minister of State, Paudie Coffey, had found a way to rein in the big cats of the construction world?’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘The State – in a hurry to boost housing supply – is planning to loan money to builders at low rates to pay for the infrastructure(...)

‘The brilliance of the 64-page formula is that we never had to hear about the subsequent unpleasantness when he recovered.’ Above, author EL James attends the Fifty Shades Of Grey New York Fan First screening  on February 6th. Photograph:  Mike Coppola/Getty Images

‘Anyone old enough to remember the Mills & Boon 64-pagers will recognise the formula’

 ‘Operation Transformation is not the X Factor or Big Brother. It is well regarded by many healthcare professionals and has a deadly serious objective.’ Above, Operation Transformation.  Photograph: RTÉ

‘ Viewers are left under no illusion; reinventing your life and changing your lifestyle is not easy’

 Alexis Tsipras: on a visit to Ireland last year he engaged in some local/European canvassing with Sinn Féin. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Is there any new party, movement or alliance in Ireland with Syriza’s potential?

New side of Leo Varadkar: the Fine Gael TD told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ last weekend that he’s gay. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly
Who is Leo Varadkar?

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar is an unusual politician. He has a high IQ and a small ego. He’s a ‘bit odd’ socially and seldom (...)

‘For most people a bonus is the peacetime equivalent of a war medal – a hard-earned reward for striving in exceptionally challenging circumstances.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘The Davos summit will welcome back many of the same movers and shakers whose reckless exuberance virtually destroyed lives and ec(...)

Then mInister for education Niamh Bhreathnach (left) and Mags O’Brien celebrate victory in  the divorce referendum at the RDS on November 25th, 1995. Photograph: Frank Miller

1995 referendum that gave separated people the right to divorce was barely carried

Kingsmill Massacre – Alan Black, the sole survivor of the massacre, in 2000 laying a floral tribute at the Bessbrook Town Hall memorial to those killed – “Atrocities like these can never be expunged from a conscience or explained away.”  –  Picture by Stephen Wilson/Pacemaker

Universal yearning to find meaning in barbarity

‘Even 35 years on, Charvet Charlie, his bagman, his stately home, his befurred, entitled mistress, his grovelling Uriah Heep ministers, the phone-tapping, the tails, the threats, all remain too close, too familiar, too infuriating to be classified as fascinating or entertaining, especially at this point in our history, when it is all too clear how the seeds of that poisonous culture would re-erupt like ragwort, again and again, across the decades.’  Above, Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey

‘The RTÉ series is described as “fascinating”. But Charlie Haughey’s corrupt, thuggish little power play will always elicit other (...)

Power to the people: water-charge protesters on Merrion Square. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Anadolu/Getty

From the Rehab controversy to the John McNulty affair and the Irish Water debacle, the people of Ireland finally had enough

 ‘To dismiss the Roscommon-South Leitrim Independent byelection winner Michael Fitzmaurice as a turf-cutter would be reckless.’   Photograph:  Mick McCormack

‘In its ideal manifestation, localism is a driver of practical, community activism. Its flipside however, can be a reckless indiff(...)

Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

Social enterprise, civil disobedience and a more accountable political system could help Ireland work better. But for starters, le(...)

‘The Dublin protests also got a mention in the same feature, including the placards denouncing the “Ministry of Thirst” and the fact that Ireland was the only country in the OECD that did not charge its citizens for water usage.’ Above, people taking part in the anti-water charges protest march in O’Connell Street, Dublin earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

‘If the protests are about something other than water – as the leaders are insisting now – why hijack World Human Rights Day, fro(...)

The area where a homeless man was found dead on Molesworth Street, only 50 metres from the Dáil. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

‘Tonight, among even those with roofs over their heads, there will be people of every class – whatever that means – too fearful to(...)

Ireland  international wing Tommy Bowe attending the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of John Wilson “Jack” Kyle, former Ireland and Lions rugby player in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Willie John McBride: ‘He was just one of the great men of this world, I am just proud I had him as a friend’

 Bertie Ahern canvassing during the 2007 general elction.

Electorate should be mindful of its part in electing problem politicians of the past

‘Industry supporters characterise prostitution as a legitimate career choice, contrasting it with poorly-paid burger-flipping or retail work. But burger-flippers are not routinely assaulted.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘Liberals might need to put clear, blue water between ourselves, libertarians and laissez-faire monetarism; where we nee(...)

Joe Kernen on CNBC’s Squawk Box with the IDA’s Martin Shanahan: ‘The trouble with Joe and his ilk is not the ignorance; it’s the shamelessness’ Joe Kernan on CNBC’s Squawk Box with the IDA’s Martin Shanahan: ‘The trouble with Joe and his ilk is not the ignorance; it’s the shamelessness’

Opinion: No shame in not knowing the answer - the shame is in not admitting it

“I kind of do the work as opposed to saying what I want to be.” Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice, visiting the Learning for Life centre in Esker Hill, Lucan. Photograph: Alan Betson

Practical, tireless, sharp and fast-moving, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is showing she has a flair for the feasible

‘Is there anyone who does not regard Nina Pham and her fellow workers as astounding human beings?’ Above, US President Barack Obama hugged Ebola survivor Nina Pham last week. Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters

Opinion: When Nina Pham mentioned God, the keyboard warriors bestirred themselves just long enough to read the prayer headline

Photograph: Eric Luke

After more than 10 years of writing, former Progressive Democrats leader Des O’Malley has published his autobiography. Few escape (...)

‘In 10 months’ time, Oscar Pistorius  will be 28, probably fit enough and gritty enough  to resume competitive running. Will he be embraced as someone who has done – or is doing — his time or will he be shunned?’ Above, Pistorius is led to a prison van after his sentencing in Pretoria yesterday. Photograph:  Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Opinion: In 10 months’ time, he will be 28, probably fit enough and gritty enough to resume competitive running

Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Children need inner strength to survive in a tough world, says‘Tiger Mother’ author

Family time: three out of every four people surveyed about their end-of-life wishes said they would like to die at home, surrounded by loved ones. Photograph: Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty

Ireland supposedly ‘does death well’. But a new survey suggests that it’s a modern taboo – and that end-of-life care in this count(...)

‘If Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane (above, in 2007) were women, how would the reaction to all the “snidey” point-scoring in their book-selling blitzes differ from that accorded to the men?’ Photograph:  Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Opinion: Keane and Ferguson claim attention as water protests grow

Sale of Co Kildare property follows €22m court judgement

The 750-acre estate and stud farm goes on the market today, writes Kathy Sheridan

‘Politicians do not exist in isolation from society. How many people have never sought special consideration from a politician or a “contact” for example? When it works for them, it’s called having a “good constituency worker”. When it works for someone else, it’s called cronyism.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: Is there an Irish person who has never sniffed cronyism while job-seeking?

Conor Brady: his judgment on the force    now is implicit in his decision not to seek reappointment to GSOC. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Brady’s disillusionment with limitations of office prompted his decision not to seek reappointment

‘While endless columns and air time are sacrificed to fulminations over the McNulty fiasco, the would-be stroke that has reduced the Oireachtas to an orgiastic lather can be reduced to one small and boring fact: Enda Kenny’s contempt for the Seanad.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: The genie was well out of the bottle before the concession by Kenny that the Seanad seat targeted for a thoroughly humili(...)

Photograph: Frank Miller

He loves long nights, sing-songs and money but is deadly serious about his writing, his teaching and learning to live with his ‘de(...)

  Irishwoman Louise Richardson, president  of the University of St Andrews, in Scotland. Photograph: Robert Ormerod/The New York Times

On the same day as the Scottish referendum, a secret ballot at the Royal and Ancient golf club of St Andrews will decide on whethe(...)

Kathleen Reynolds follows the coffin as it is carried from the Mansion House. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

People paid their respects to the late former taoiseach at Donnybrook church

Former taoiseach Albert Reynolds with his wife, Kathleen, in 1996: he got a palpable buzz out of life and people, without a drop of alcohol passing his lips (apart from a sip of champagne in September 1994 when the IRA declared a ceasefire, his life’s great achievement). Photograph: Frank Miller

While getting on with his countless other schemes he became a central figure in ours

‘Last week, the Mexican telecoms tycoon, Carlos Slim, called for the introduction of a global three-day working week. The days would be 11 or 12 hours long, against the average of seven to eight and people would carry on working into their 70s.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: In a 24/7 world, the notion of a nine to five business seems increasingly out-dated

The Dublin City Rounders country and western duo playing on Wicklow Street, Dublin, this weekend. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Country music comes to sunburnt Dublin with Stetson and City music trail

Why the impulse to ignorantly dismiss, rather than explore, the phenomenon that is Garth Brooks? Photograph: AP

Opinion: The people who like popular entertainment pay their taxes too

Ericka Zagorski and Jane Davis from the US enjoy a day on the Ring of Kerry. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

The Trip: ‘Bring on the leprechauns,’ says one of our group of North Americans mischievously as I join them for a tour of Cork and(...)

Áth Cliath or Gach Áit Eile? Do our views on what is right and natural change from the perspective of where we live? Photograph: Eric Luke

‘Maybe we should just start listening to each other in this tiny country’

Joan Burton of Labour at the Ansbacher debate in 2002. Photograph: Frank Miller

With a mother who believed ferociously in her, Burton was not afraid to try anything

‘In a single week recently, both the Bank England’s Mark Carney and the IMF’s Christine Lagarde warned that capitalism is eating itself, devouring the social capital essential for its own survival and fuelling inequality.’  Above, IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde with  the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto  and Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens, during a financial forum  in Mexico, in which she warned  about the high inequality level that prevails worldwide. Photograph: Mario Guzman/EPA

Opinion: ‘When the Taoiseach told EU leaders a few weeks ago that Irish families are “worn out”, he wasn’t just talking about wate(...)

‘Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan’s plan to further restrict car traffic on the north quays to one lane is not surprising. He declared war 11 years ago, as the city’s director of traffic: “We have given up trying to cater for the private car and if people haven’t worked that out yet, then there’s a serious problem with IQ.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Opinion: ‘Why would any sane adult “choose” to drive a car into the city unless there were pressing practical or health reasons (...)

‘In 1935, while the Tuam babies were being swept away by catastrophic measles and whooping cough epidemics and the types of debility that continue to kill the poor and the marginalised, a criminal court judge was pondering “the awful plague of infanticide . . . over-running the country at the present time”. ’ Above, the memorial on the site of   the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Opinion: ‘Is it possible to ask for reflection without risking condemnation as a fellow-traveller?’

Port city: Reginald’s Tower, by the Suir. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Bausch & Lomb is cutting jobs and wages in Waterford, a city already hit hard by unemployment, where ‘survival is the new success’(...)

Number one: Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan celebrates with supporters after his election to the European Parliament. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

In last weekend’s elections, Independents, small alliances and anti-austerity groups were the big winners, polling more than 40 pe(...)

Luke “Ming” Flanagan at the count centre for the European elections in Castlebar, Co Mayo, yesterday. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Raw emotion racks count centre while Taoiseach tries to get Gilmore on phone

Luke “Ming” Flanagan at the local and European elections count in the TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co Mayo.  Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Who stole our perky Taoiseach and sent a weary man in his place?

Matt Carthy (right) , Sinn Fein candidate in the European Elections , canvassing Alan Grey, jeweller, at Dundalk , Co. Louth on Monday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The young-looking Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil candidates try to persuade people to vote

Avril Grufferty, Ballinrobe (left) and Martha Egan, Finney, meet Cllr Brendan Henaghan, on his local election canvass in Castlebar. Photograph: Michael Donnelly

Many voters in Castlebar feel Enda Kenny hasn’t done enough for the area

Longford-Westmeath byelection candidate Gabrielle McFadden canvassing Mikey Ward and Winnie Sherlock in Athlone. Photograph: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo

Her sister’s death is still a raw wound for Fine Gael candidate Gabrielle McFadden

Independent candidate Luke Ming Flanagan gets a little help from his friend, whistelblower John Wilson, as he canvasses Eamon Murray and Sean Roche in Cavan town. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Luke Ming Flanagan is running in the Euro poll because Europe ‘has gone too far’

Sinn Féin local election candidate Noeleen Reilly: “There’s been no economic regeneration of Ballymun. You can’t get rent supplement here and some of the rents are sky high.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Campaign trail: local resident and Sinn Féin candidate Noeleen Reilly looks a shoo-in in local poll

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Fine Gael’s  six MEP candidates at the launch of the party’s European election campaign. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

Full horror of constituencies’ massive size finally dawns

Last night’s concert in celebration of the life and work of Seamus Heaney at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Nobel laureate’s lines now grace tapestry at departure gates in Dublin Airport's T2

 A detail from the tapestry tribute to Seamus Heaney by Czech artist Peter Sís

The tribute to Heaney, which was paid for by a group of the poet’s admirers, including Paul Simon and Bono, is bringing colour (...)

‘Up to now, the GAA has played a blinder. “Community is at the heart of our association .
.
.We are a volunteer-led organisation. All our members play and engage in our games as amateurs,” says its mission statement.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Opinion: What happens when you package an ethos and sell it to a profit-driven monolith?

Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opinion: Why accountability matters

‘L’Wren Scott  had broken into the tough celebrity-styling world long before she met Mick Jagger and embarked on a 13-year partnership with him that only ended with her death. In fact, their relationship lasted six years longer than his marriage to Bianca Jagger.’  Photograph:  Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Opinion: Status of L’Wren Scott’s relationship with Mick Jagger central to reports of fashion designer’s death

‘Christine Buckley  was an implacable fighter, not because she wanted to be,  but because she was forced to be. Once you become a whistleblower or an inconvenient truthteller, once you utter a profound truth and they isolate you and call you a liar, what else do you do?’ Photograph: Arthur Carron/Collins

Christine Buckley was the great whistleblower of our time

Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2013, Kathy Sheridan describes a rollercoaster year of treatment and recovery

Family bonds: Corrinna Moore. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Marie Fleming, best known for her ‘right to die’ court appearances, died two months ago. But that case was just one part of Marie’(...)

Relationships are difficult, ageism is rife and, if you're a young single woman, 'everyone is looking at you'

Marie Fleming’s life depended on these next few moments

Dublin’s commuter belt has changed – again – as have the lives of those who live there

Jonathan Cloonan explains why ‘Forbes’ magazine has made him one of its ‘30 Under 30’ young innovators

A tale or two

All I Want for Christmas is a collection of heart-warming short stories written by some of Ireland’s bestselling authors, all…

The imagery represented justice at its most humane

It’s a messy business, democracy. Start involving citizens – aka regular people – and who knows where it will end?

In 1987, the Economist magazine carried a bleak feature on Ireland

Legal history was made in the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday when the first member of the judiciary convicted of a serious…

Four Angry Men paint a stark picture of economic woes but still raise laughs

A scheme to assist more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to progress into the higher professions was announced last night…

In her smart, belted camel coat and dark, swept-back hair, the elegant Tania Kaur cut an unlikely figure as a demonstrator

On his final Building Blitz project in South Africa, the businessman and philanthropist Niall Mellon talks Nama, Enda and Ireland…

South Africa delivered a resounding thank you to Niall Mellon and 600 Irish volunteers on the charity’s final housing blitz here…

Funds under the Government’s official Irish Aid programme should be more actively used to create Irish jobs abroad, entrepreneur…

PAUL MCCULLEY brings a cool, Californian vibe to the Set Theatre in Kilkenny

It was a historic moment as the first big beast of Irish business jungle joined a new batch of prisoners to Mountjoy

FOLLOWING A perfectly pitched appeal to the heart by his barrister yesterday, Seán Quinn snr returns to the Four Courts today…

SEÁN QUINN Snr entered the packed courtroom wearing the controlled, serene mask of the accomplished actor

THE BANKS must offer reasonable mechanisms to help middle income families who bought homes during the property boom Minister …

“BEFORE WE start”, said the woman from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs), “you should know you’re the seventh guard…

THE FINANCIAL difficulties of middle-income families who bought their home during the property boom have been highlighted by …

THEY STARTED to gather near the platform well before 4pm, a sombre, watchful crowd hugging the walls of Ballyconnell’s community…

Five women who told their stories in this paper earlier this year would not qualify

IT LASTED just 10 minutes, with few public witnesses and no visual record

HE MIGHT have turned up without his wellies, but President Michael D knew his audience

THE PARENTS: Does this generation think their parents squandered the Tiger’s spoils? Do the parents feel guilty?

THE OPTICS were poor, in fairness

Enda Kenny named the Budget date at Fine Gael’s Mayo think-in but was swiftly corrected

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