Donal McCann as Frank Hardy in the Abbey Theatre’s Irish premiere of Faith Healer by Brian Friel, directed by Joe Dowling, Abbey Theatre, 1980. Photograph: Fergus Bourke, courtesy of the Abbey Theatre

Friel’s play, first produced in 1979, has become a classic of the Irish repertoire

Mount Rushmore: Abraham Lincoln may pass muster, but Thomas Jefferson (slave owner), George Washington (slave owner) and Theodore Roosevelt (white supremacist and imperialist) do not. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty

Statues of old white guys are being removed, vandalised or campaigned against. The problem with the new iconoclasm is knowing wher(...)

This fecklessness matters. It means that ministers can get away with pretty much anything. Photograph: Alan Betson

Elected with a huge mandate for radical democratic change, it lapsed into collective indifference and impotence

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: if the Republican candidate is elected president, the US could lurch towards a weird mixture of unilateralism (kick their asses and ask questions later) and isolationism (withdrawing into a nativist fantasy world with no Mexicans, no Muslims and no international obligations). Photograph: Mark Kauzlarich

A lack of political authority due to spiraling inequality is the common thread

“Nearly 20 years ago, I went to the Project Arts Centre in Dublin to see a play called Ladies and Gentlemen by Emma Donoghue, who now has an Oscar nomination for adapting her superb novel, Room. The play wasn’t all that good.” Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The glamorous stuff that gives the nation a lift is a byproduct of a messy, dynamic creative ecosystem full of knowns and unknow(...)

“Other than broad allegations of threats to his safety, we do not know what David Drumm has experienced in prison. But we do know that the US prison system is a disgrace to a civilised country”.

Government has a duty to ensure that citizens who have not been convicted are spared the horrors of US prison system

‘The shock of that famous appearance on Top of the Pops in 1972 wasn’t just the visual weirdness or the playing with homosexuality. There was something deeper and more disturbing going on - the shapeshifter beaming into our living rooms.’

As geniuses tend to do, he anticipated what was coming in the virtual world

Hugely admired: Seamus Heaney in the 1970s. Photograph: Jack McManus

In the poet’s most direct response to the Troubles in his native Northern Ireland, the past is alive with an atavistic violence t(...)

A photograph from The Irish Times property supplement of November 25th 2004  of a  field on the Knocklofty Road in Newcastle, County Tipperary. The sign says: “For Sale: Land Zoned Residential”.

Time and again, local people protested against development on flood plains

The Dublin-born writer found fame in New York, but her best stories are set in Ireland

Phil Lynott performing on stage in 1976. Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images

In this piece, originally published in Magill magazine in January 1986 in the wake of Phil Lynott’s death, Fintan O’Toole recalls (...)

Last time our ruling class thought there was some kind of historic karma at work - Irish developers flying around in his and hers helicopters was payback for the Great Hunger. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Dame Fortune has given us another chance to build a real republic

“In some ways they’re like passengers who have walked away from a car crash, the awful shock buffered by the joy of survival. The sad thing, of course, is that so many of them have indeed walked way”

The rug was pulled from under them but they gradually found their feet

I’m not sure we learn anything from the arts – except that we need them more than ever

Set for the stage: Pamela Mant and Dearbhla Molly prepare for the opening night of Da, by Hugh Leonard, at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in 1973. Photograph: Kevin McMahon

The Dublin playwright, himself an embodiment of upward mobility, brilliantly captured the comedy and melancholy of new money

The Government knows that, unlike Willie Loman in ‘Death of a Salesman’, it is not well-liked. It is supported, broadly, by a large chunk of the population. But there’s very little affection for it. Photograph: Keystone Features/Getty Images

Even an existential crisis has not disturbed the distribution of privilege or caused failed institutions and practices to be swept(...)

RTÉ Investigates: Hugh McElvaney went so far as to claim it was he who lured the broadcaster into his trap

Councillors filmed by RTÉ seeking financial rewards for help with planning have been confident and combative since the broadcast. (...)

Fintan O’Toole: “I thought perhaps JG Farrell might have been excluded on the basis that he was half-Irish, but so was Laurence Sterne, and Elizabeth Bowen, CS Lewis, Joyce Cary, Jonathan Swift and Iris Murdoch, none of whom was British, got in. Puzzling”

The Irish Times literary editor was one of 82 foreigners polled by the BBC to choose the 100 best British novels. Read how he got (...)

There is only one way to root out corruption and that is to have an independent, properly resourced anti-corruption body with full police powers. Photograph: Getty Images

Proposed watchdog’s independence from politics completely stripped away

Brian Clough: “We’ve done it as I assume everybody wants to do their job: nicely, honourably and well.”   (AP Photo/PA)

The idea that talented people need to be incentivised to work to the best of their abilities by obscene salaries and bonuses is to(...)

Both an insider and an outsider: JG Farrell at his home in London in 1978. Photograph: Jane Bown

The fall of the British Empire is expressed as dark comedy in this resonant novel

 Fine Gael leader Dr Garret FitzGerald (right) and Mr John Bruton, TD, FG, spokesman on finance promised reform of the budget process in 1981. Photograph: Pat Langan

The level of engagement the Houses of the Oireachtas in the budgetary process is the lowest observed in any OECD country

Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan in ‘Brooklyn’: Ronan makes Eilis so alive to every moment that we understand completely how she gets caught up in them

‘Brooklyn’, ‘Room’ and ‘The Secret Scripture’ all have unapologetically literary sources

Paris will be the same. Terrorist atrocities change forever the lives of the bereaved and the survivors. They do not change the lives of big cities.  (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Making sweeping statements about the Paris attacks puffs up their lethal vanity

“I assumed that the raging energies of curiosity and sensation would be kept in check here. What’s happened to Pat Carey over the last week shows that I was wrong.” Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

What happened to to Pat Carey shows that our tradition of restraint has faded

Thursday’s  Waking The Feminists event at the Abbey Theatre, which highlighted the lack of gender equality in the Abbey’s programme of events for 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The relationships between the Abbey Theatre, the Government and the Arts Council show plenty that’s wrong with arts governance in (...)

Attorney General Máire Whelan: The Fennelly report raised very serious questions about her judgment. She gave seriously inconsistent evidence to the inquiry. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A common thread is the pretence the AG is a special creature above politics

La Misère à Dublin - Le Mirroir . Image Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Perhaps the Georgian tenements were better than today’s homelessness

Travellers provide negative reassurance that a culture deeply shaped by mass migration, and utterly neurotic about its sense of home, is “settled”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

Travellers are hated because they don’t share Irish society’s great article of faith: that without a house you’re nothing

A house on Captains Road, Crumlin. Crumlin was built by the local authority, Dublin Corporation, with funding from the central government in the 1930s.

Why could State build housing in hungry 1930s and postwar 1940s but not now?

Poor Pearse Doherty, utterly defeated, meekly withdrew his proposal for an analysis of the impact of the Budget

Neither before nor after the budget will Michael Noonan produce even a basic analysis of whether his measures as a whole are progr(...)

Singer  Van Morrison. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Singer distances himself from civil action taken by wife over views from property

Unheralded leaders of the Rising take their places alongside Pearse, Connolly and Plunkett

John McGahern: lost his Clontarf teaching post. Photograph: Patrick Gregory

Official Ireland approved of McGahern’s mesmerising debut novel, based on his upbringing in a Roscommon Garda barracks. The bannin(...)

The Game: Theatreclub’s scarifying exploration of prostitution takes an avant-garde cliche and  makes it terrifyingly real.  Photograph: Fiona Morgan

If the Dublin Theatre Festival takes the pulse of Irish theatre, this year’s suggests that the life of the Irish literary play is (...)

Still waiting . James Reilly at a 2011 press conference committed to abolishing the HSE by 2016 and delivering a Dutch style universal health insurance system.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Where’s the evidence that the Government can actually do big things?

 Brian Friel at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Playwright’s language will ring out around the world for as long as theatre survives

Portrait of the artist: Brian Friel in one of Colin Davidson’s portraits of the late playwright

For the late playwright the past and our images of it were slippery and treacherous. Truth lay not in public facts but in private (...)

Deep in thought: Brian Friel in Dublin in 1980, at the Gate Theatre opening of his play Translations. Photograph: Tom Lawlor

The late playwright did not like to be interviewed, and eventually he gave it up altogether. But he did give this rare interview t(...)

"The sleight-of-hand is more Tommy Cooper than Penn and Teller". Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The top 10% pay 29% of their incomes in tax. The bottom 10% pay 28%

The cast of the 2001 production of Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark at the Abbey Theatre

Tom Murphy’s searing indictment of a distorted Irish masculinity was in the great tradition of Synge and O’Casey – telling Ireland(...)

The key to this extreme inequality, even by the miserable standards of the contemporary world, is education.

People with inadequate education suffer in pretty much every economy. But they suffer much, much worse in the State.

‘Unlike most of the other unknown knowns, the doublethink on abortion is fully institutionalised. It’s written into law. On the one hand, a woman has a constitutional right to travel abroad to get an abortion. On the other, if she performs the very same act in Ireland she and her doctor and anyone who has helped her are all liable to 14 years in prison.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘We all owe a debt to Róisín Ingle and Tara Flynn who have written so honestly about their experiences of having abortions’

 Charlie Kelleher and Tom Vesey  in ‘Sive’ by John B Keane. Photograph: Dermot Barry

The Co Kerry playwright’s mix of melodrama and myth was a cocktail so powerful that it blew the head off a country that was tired (...)

‘It’s a pity that the discussion of the Fennelly report has focused so much on the mysteries of the Taoiseach’s behaviour.’ Above, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘The stroke demands bad administration – no records, no clarity, no actual relationship between supposed cause (the taping) and d(...)

Graffiti in Brazil depicting the drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi. It reads: “Peace, abandoned”. Photograph: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

‘A Europe that turns its face against the plight of the refugees is a Europe that is killing itself’

Production crew and sets on Skellig Michael to film Star Wars Episode VII, last year. Photograph Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

When monks founded their settlement on Skellig Michael they were literally going to extremes

Van Morrison from the cover shoot for his album Moondance. Photograph: Elliott Landy/Rhino

After 50 years in the music business Van Morrison – born in Belfast 70 years ago, on August 31st, 1945 – has no game to play, no i(...)

Island life: inside the cottage on Achill where Heinrich Böll stayed. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

In his quirky, incisive account of life on Achill, Heinrich Böll celebrated the consoling power of a simple life on the edge of Eu(...)

‘The Minister for Health Leo Varadkar recently said that the health service, simply to meet current demand, needs an extra €1 billion a year’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

‘Proportionally, the Irish State raises only about 80 per cent of the revenue raised by the average euro-zone state’

Fintan O’Toole, pictured with his then-four-year-old son Samuel in ‘The Irish Times’ in August 1990, when he walked 80 kilometres of the Wicklow Way, from Marlay Park to Clonegal

You can walk for miles every day with a four-year-old – as long as you know your musicals. A new series revisits some of our best(...)

Borstal breaker: Behan pounding away on incendiary prose. Photograph: Daniel Farson/Picture Post/Getty Images

Brendan Behan’s experiences banged up in the porridge set the stage for his anti-capital punishment masterpiece, a drama about wai(...)

“What’s wrong with taxing inherited wealth? It’s about the most progressive and least economically damaging kind of taxation there is.” Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

How about free primary education instead of a cut in inheritance tax?

Patrick O’Donoghue in the RTÉ series The Gleneagle. Photograph: RTÉ

‘Killarney hotel was at the centre of some classic Celtic Tiger rezoning shenanigans’

Waiting for Godot: Lucien Raimbourg, Jean Martin, Pierre Latour and Roger Blin in Blin’s production of En Attendant Godot at Théâtre de Babylone, in Paris, in 1953. Photograph: Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty

Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece, which he wrote first in French, looks squarely at ‘humanity in ruins’ after the second World War (...)

Ivan Turgenev: the playwright fashioned a “theatre of moods, of secret turmoil rather than explicit action”, as has his adapter Brian Friel. Portrait by Mokouski/Getty

Brian Friel plays up the farce in his version of Turgenev’s ‘A Month in the Country’, but Ethan McSweeny’s production at the Gate (...)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble during a special session of the German Bundestag over the proposed bailout package for Greece last week.  Photograph: EPA/BERND VON JUTRCZENKA

‘This is not a moment in European history – it is at least two parallel moments’

Brussels all-nighter.... Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right)  and Finance Minister Euclide Tsakalotos leave at the end of the  euro zone summit on Monday.   Photograph:  Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

No deeper divide than that between those brought to heel and those who shout ‘Heel!’

Illuminatus-in-chief?  Klaus Regling, chief executive officer of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).  Photographer: Graham Crouch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We EU subjects have our own supreme ayatollahs of fiscal correctness now

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Greece that “in Ireland’s case we did not increase income tax; we did not increase VAT; we did not increase PRSI”. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Fintan O'Toole: Myths about Ireland as Europe’s best behaved state are not harmless lies

Migrants try to  board lorries bound for the United Kingdom in Calais this week. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

‘Migration is the world’s way of reminding the West that it cannot distance itself from the human catastrophes it has unleashed’ (...)

‘The payments were cut by one-third in 2014 from €150 to €100 for primary school children aged four to 11, and from €250 to €200 for secondary school students aged 12 to 17. This was a cold, deliberate choice to increase poverty among the children we know to be most vulnerable.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Back to School allowance for clothes and shoes were cut by one-third in 2014 from €150 to €100 for primary school children aged (...)

Breathtaking: Marty Rea Richard is like nothing on earth, an ethereal creature who seems to float over the ground in his Japanese robes. This captures exactly the conception of kingship that will doom him in DruidShakespeare

The director’s extraordinary take on Shakespeare’s Henry plays, reworked by Mark O’Rowe and starring Aisling O’Sullivan, Derbhle C(...)

‘Larry Goodman’s fortune in the 1980s was built on his brilliant and relentless use of the massive EU and State subsidies available to the beef industry.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

‘There is a myth of the self-made man, the rugged individualist who succeeds in building an empire in spite of the nanny State’ (...)

‘One of the best of the Beit paintings to be sold at Christie’s is David Teniers’s depiction of a Flemish country dance, the Kermesse (detail, above). As a work of art, it is delightfully anarchic, with groups of people dancing, shouting, pointing and reeling with intoxication. As a depiction for the dance around the notion of the “public trust” in this whole affair, it is all too symbolic.’

‘The tale of the Beit paintings merely puts some more glamorous touches to a drearily familiar canvas’

Mary Lavin: the writer led her stories into unexpected ground. Photograph: Evelyn Hofer

The four stories in this fine collection by an unpredictable, taboo-breaching writer capture a mood of struggling with confinement(...)

Dramatic legacy: Samuel Beckett directing Waiting for Godot in Berlin in 1975; it is surely impossible to encounter the stark setting of WB Yeats’s Purgatory – a road, a tree – without thinking of Beckett’s play. Photograph: Heuer/Ullstein Bild via Getty

Like Beckett, Yeats imagined every detail of his plays on the stage. Like Beckett, he has to be done well or not at all. And his i(...)

‘The startling thing about Leslie Buckley’s announcement is it suggests that, whatever the bluster, Denis O’Brien does not take seriously the prospect the Fine Gael-led government will do anything to curb his current media power or to stop its future expansion.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

‘Announcement suggests that, whatever the bluster, Denis O’Brien does not take seriously the prospect that the Fine Gael-led gove(...)

The February 1945 edition of ‘The Bell’, Ireland’s main intellectual monthly, carried an essay by one Donat O’Donnell on the Irish Independent. The author was described only as having “recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin”. He was, in fact, the young Conor Cruise O’Brien, writing under a pseudonym.

The ‘Irish Times’ Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks project has published its first 30 entries, covering 1916-1945 – a time of parado(...)

Elizabeth Bowen: “The disruptions of the war, oddly, gave Bowen a sense of common purpose, making the deep uncertainties of her own identity merely part of the common human condition”

The writer used her unique imagination to devastating effect in these stories

Businessman Denis O’Brien. ‘O’Brien has accumulated excessive private power. He has been allowed to take effective control of the largest Irish newspaper group and of two of the three national talk radio stations.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘The definition of excessive private power is that it ceases to be private’

Louis MacNeice: the poet recalled drinking in a bar with the “Dublin literati” after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. “They hardly mentioned the war but debated the correct versions of Dublin street songs”

The Belfast-born poet was deeply unhappy about Ireland’s stance on the second World War. He could not accept neutrality in a deci(...)

‘Their interests have been comprehensively ignored by those with power. In all the rhetoric of “tough choices” and “hard decisions”, they have been the soft target, the easy option.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Those from Yes and No sides should unite to end child poverty by 2020

On Friday, Ireland stopped being afraid of itself. The No campaign was all about fear — the fear that change could have only one vehicle (the handcart) and one destination (hell). And this time, it didn’t work.

LGBT community has given all of Irish democracy one of its greatest days

Don’t sweat the small stuff: Kate Lydic and Hamish Allan-Headley in The Belle of Belfast, staged by the Irish Repertory Theatre

‘The Belle of Belfast’, an Oirish play that’s a hit off Broadway, proves the Martin McDonagh effect. He brilliantly pastiches the (...)

‘Irish marriage has already changed in far more fundamental ways than is now being proposed. And those changes haven’t destroyed it. They’ve purified it by rooting it, not in systematic discrimination against women, but in the love between equal people.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Legal changes over the years profoundly altered the state of marriage for the better

Hungry hills: Patrick Kavanagh could write with great lyric power about the ordinary life of an ordinary farm. Photograph courtesy of the Wiltshire Collection/National Library of Ireland

The poet skewers traditional depictions of Irish country life and highlights the era’s sexual sterility in his long satirical work(...)

‘They want to shoot their bad guys – gay men and lesbians – but they end up blasting away at everybody else as well. Kill them all and let God sort them out.’  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

‘I had a vasectomy 25 years ago, so our “union” has not been “open to life” for a quarter of a century. We’re not a proper family’(...)

As well as the Sesame Street characters, the icing was to have the Queerspace logo and the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”. The evangelical Christian McArthur family, which owns the bakery, refused the order because it would be “at odds with our beliefs”. Photograph: Getty Images

Verdict in Belfast ‘gay cake’ near but the case dovetails with a wider reactionary argument

Irish outlook: George Bernard Shaw. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty

There is no convenient canon of Irish war literature, like that which appeared in Britain, even though Ireland had three towering (...)

‘In the Coen Brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy, Tim Robbins plays a guy who works in the mail room of a big corporation. He keeps trying to get the men in suits to look at his great new design idea. When they finally agree to see it, it is a piece of paper with nothing on it except a large O.’ Above,  Robbins and Paul Newman in a scene from  The Hudsucker Proxy. Photograph: Warner Brothers/Getty Images

A prototype answer for all Irish scandals: a sheet of paper with a big O on it

Slaughter: a British heavy field gun on a cliff top at Helles Bay, Gallipoli, in 1915, laid over a new photograph of the location, on the Aegean Sea. Photographs: Ernest Brooks/Getty and Sean Gallup/Getty

What’s heroic about being mown down as you wade towards a beach before you’ve even had the chance to fire a shot? What could ever (...)

‘In fairness, “inadvertent” does not cover negligence, incompetence or recklessness. But it does allow a garda – and by extension others exercising State power – to say “Sorry, it was an honest mistake” and to be told by a court “That’s alright then.” Photograph: Eric Luke

‘The Supreme Court did a terrible day’s work for accountability in Irish public life’

Kate O’Brien: Pray for the Wanderer is an attack on Éamon de Valera. Photograph: Sasha/Getty

The author of the once-banned novel ‘Mary Lavelle’ deals fearlessly with ‘the problems of the Catholic conscience’

‘Rahm Emmanuel, of whom his friend and former boss Barack Obama once said that when he lost his middle finger in an accident it rendered him practically mute, was re-elected as mayor of Chicago last week. But only narrowly and only after being forced into a runoff. It is a development that should be watched carefully in Ireland because it just may mark the death of the Irish machine.’ Photograph: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The Irish political machine is dying in Chicago – is it on the way out in Ireland too?

Striking workers and union representatives on the picket line at Dunnes Stores on Henry Street, Dublin, last week. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Culture of zero-hour contract, which Dunnes has been trying to embed, an assault on all that Dunnes once helped to define

No fixed self: Derbhle Crotty in the title role of Katie Roche, by Teresa Deevy, at the Peacock Theatre in April 1994

In the 1930s Teresa Deevy was a star Abbey writer. Then, suddenly, she was dropped. Were the questions she raised about the lives (...)

‘Alan Kelly, to his credit, recognised that this was not exactly the best label to stick on his shiny new ministerial suit. He announced that the funding would be temporarily restored pending a review of the whole scheme.’  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Waiting for review of funding to 23 organisations that provide support services for people with chronic disabilities

Potent myth: “I did what I had to do to win . . . Then I see all those maggots at the airport. Protesting me. Spitting,” says Sylvester Stallone’s character, inaccurately, in Rambo: First Blood

‘The Imitation Game’ and ‘Selma’ have both been scrutinised for historical accuracy. Is it fair to expect film-makers to stick to (...)

Distinct perspective: Oliver Sheppard’s statue was inspired not by the Easter Rising but by the Celtic revivalist interest in the myth of Cúchulainn. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The sculptor’s famous statue, at the GPO in Dublin, shows how hard it is to fix a historic moment in Irish culture

‘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’

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(...)

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, (...)

‘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

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