‘Retention and recruitment of our professional staff is essential. We must make every effort to persuade the best and brightest professionals we train to remain in our health service.’ Photograph: Getty Images Why Simon Harris’s five actions to address hospital waiting lists won’t work

‘If the public health service were a business it would not last very long’

‘Irish nationality is something that I’ve considered and discussed for a long time, and something that I’d take very seriously.’ Photograph: Getty Images After Brexit: Why I want to apply for an Irish passport

I’m not hijacking the birthplace of my father to avoid a couple of visas, nor am I casually jumping ship

‘Just as with the Brexit vote, the BBC should be analysing these figures by socio-economic class and level of education and passing patronising judgment on same.’ Photograph: BBC Mrs Brown’s Boys – the best of sitcoms, or the worst?

Brian Boyd: I’d rather throw myself on top of a funeral pyre than watch Mrs Brown’s Boys. But the programme wasn’t commissioned with bitter cranks like me in mind

‘She’s covering something up, and it’s that freakish, disqualifying digit.’ Above,  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton walks to greet people after  a fundraiser in Piedmont, California on Tuesday. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Will Hillary Clinton’s 11th toe trip her up?

‘Just try to come up with some other explanation for why she’s so infrequently photographed in sandals or flip-flops’

‘More than one-third of Irish children live in households experiencing two or more types of material deprivation such as being unable to afford to heat their homes.’ Photograph: File image/Getty Images Despite recovery, Ireland remains a hugely unequal society

Children and women are worst hit by a society whose policies refuse to cherish all its people equally

‘The offences alleged against Pat Hickey et al are not criminal offences under Irish law’. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES Irish-Brazil co-operation on extradition or exchange of information is unlikely

‘Any release of information here could have an impact on the criminal process’

About 600 people in 120 caravans arrived in  the town of Ginsheim-Gustavsburg (above), southwest of Frankfurt,  and camped on a site beside the Rhine. File photograph: Wikimedia Commons Freedom of speech: Irish Travellers, trolls and Trump

‘The surge of racist/xenophobic attacks and comments following Britain’s Brexit referendum demonstrated what happens when people feel they have permission to vent their bigotry’

‘Possibly the formation of such ministry might evolve along the lines suggested recently by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin  when he said he would like to see seminarians living in a smaller community from where they could be “linked to a particular parish while continuing their studies”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Why does the Irish Catholic Church need two large, traditional seminaries?

Financial burden of Maynooth and Rome’s Irish College on church in Ireland too great

‘One of the failures of Dáil Éireann in recent years has been its inability to respond to scandals by prompt and effective reform.’ Photograph: Getty Images Five ways to restore Ireland’s pride after recent controversies

‘It is better to have a few good rules and get tough about them, than to have a myriad of regulations that are enforced haphazardly or not at all’

‘In travelling around three counties at the centred edge of Ireland, I was reminded of the richness and diversity of rural Ireland, the complexity of community, and struck by the depth of change that is happening with a speed we haven’t yet grasped.’ Photograph: Getty Images Why the ‘middle of nowhere’ in Ireland is the heart of the country

Vincent Woods: The great urban-rural myth

The film set of BBC TV series Ripper Street at the Kings Inns in Dublin last year. Series four starts tonight (August 22nd). Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times What is the attraction of ‘Ripper Street’?

Remember that no one ever stood trial for those brutal serial killings

‘Encouraging large numbers of young people to enter third-level courses without assessing their aptitude for the subjects they propose to study or their capacity for self-directed learning will inevitably lead to declining standards and thwarted aspirations.’ Photograph: Getty Images Not all Leaving Cert students are suited to third-level education

‘The most depressing evidence of the dumbing down of the Leaving Cert was the reaction of teachers to the exam papers reported in The Irish Times’

‘Whatever one thinks of the burkini, it is hard to see any way in which legislating against it could be helpful.’ Photograph: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images Burkini beach ban: must French Muslim women become invisible?

‘Some suggested passing off a headscarf as a way to avoid frizzy hair; others posted Harry Potter donning an invisibility cloak’

The Data Protection Commissioner’s threat of legal action unless Dublin City Library and Archive voluntarily removed the database was heavy-handed. Removal of Dublin electoral database unwarranted

Opinion: Data Protection Commissioner should reverse electoral list clampdown

‘Neo-liberal political entities, such as Fine Gael, love such [commercial] “relationships”, because it removes the responsibility of the State to altruistically fund things.’ Photograph: David Sleator Una Mullally: Dublinbikes scheme hits the brakes

The council faces a difficult conundrum about financing the popular bicycles

As Jack O’Connor suggested, the pension system has the capacity to do as much damage to the State’s finances in the long term as the banking crisis. Photograph: Getty Images Stephen Collins: USC should be diverted to pensions

State pension is unaffordable in the long term and the pensions paid to retired public servants are even more unaffordable

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

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

At the national hunger strike commemoration march last year,  at which family members of those who died during the hunger strikes hold  portraits of those who died. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw Diarmaid Ferriter: The hunger strike narrative is not as simple as it seems

On this day 35 years ago, INLA hunger striker Michael Devine died in the Maze prison, the tenth and last of the hunger strikers to die

Caught in a torrential downpour on Parkgate Street in Dublin. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency Stormy outlook: average summer for this generation, a bad summer for the next

‘Temperatures in Ireland are running more than 0.5 degrees higher for the three summer months than the average for 1961-1990’

A range of business and academic figures defend technological innovation as historically precedented and socially progressive. Photograph: Getty Images Rupert the Bear’s warning on AI, robots and jobs

‘He draws on recent dystopian business literature predicting imminent loss of jobs to machines, which talks of 47 per cent of US jobs at risk of replacement in the next 20 years’

Minister for Sport Shane Ross fields questions from journalists in Dublin Airport after he returned from Rio. Photograph: Aidan Crawley Cliff Taylor: Ross’s ticket inquiry faces legal minefield

Non-statutory inquiry can only succeed if facts are presented to it

‘Dr Lisa Bardack, Clinton’s personal doctor, wrote a two-page medical report which concluded that the 69-year-old candidate is in “excellent physical health”.’  Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Brian Boyd: Why Olympic fitness fads shouldn’t send us rushing to the gym

‘If we continue down this health probe road, we are faced with the appalling vista of a Donald Trump live colonoscopy on our TV screens’

‘Shane Ross should have fully informed himself of his legal and administrative options and the limitations before he left for Rio.’ Above,  Ross watching Michael Conlan’s bout. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/INPHO Shane Ross needs to be better prepared to tackle Rio ticket controversy

‘Gubu does not do justice to the events surrounding the Olympic Council of Ireland this week’

Martin McGuinness: ‘The Taoiseach needs to lead in defending our national interest in the working out of the Brexit vote. The clock is ticking.’ Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Remain must mean remain: why we need an all-Ireland response to Brexit

Martin McGuinness: ‘Economic uncertainty is damaging trade and investment and causing currency fluctuations that impact particularly on cross-Border business and exports’

‘Smart sports journalists barely veil their incredulity when an athlete does something incredible.’ Above, the statue of  Christ the Redeemer overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro.  Photograph:  Mario Tama/Getty Images The Rio question: F the cheaters – but which ones?

Una Mullally: The haze of cheating that has hung over this Olympics at times looks as if Christ the Redeemer is holding out his hands in exasperation

‘Judge Lynch replied, with learned accuracy: “You are a bit of a c*** yourself”.’  Photograph: David Barrett/Photoshot Why I want to reclaim the C-word for myself

Judge under fire for using the C-word in court in response to swearing defendant

“The UUP could be as readily seized as Labour because it has the same one-member one-vote rule that brought in Jeremy Corbyn (above).” Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images Newton Emerson: Takeover of UK Labour Party in North all too easy

Labour membership in Northern Ireland up tenfold as a consequence of Jeremy Corbyn

Minister for Children  Katherine Zappone Constitutional rights of children apply to the born and unborn

‘Katherine Zappone is Minister for Children – all children – yet she proposes that their protection should be diminished by the repeal of article 40.3.3’

People watch fireworks exploding over the Maracana stadium, from a terrace in the favela Mangueira, during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images An Irishman in Rio: It’s disappointing that it was a ‘white’ Olympics

‘It feels that the games are taking place in a bubble, inside of which is a perfect city, while outside the problems remain the same’

The UK is the fourth most popular destination for Erasmus students. Brexit could make Erasmus scheme unworkable for Irish institutions

Would the EU be willing to put special compensatory measures in place if Ireland were to accept appreciably more Erasmus students than its current capacity would allow?

A supporter of Russia during the men’s quarter-final match between Semenov/Krasilnikov of Russia and Diaz/Gonzalez of Cuba for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball tournament on Copacabana Beach. Photograph: EPA Kathy Sheridan: Russia’s beef with the Rio rations

Devastation? Crashing out? Olympics win-at-all costs pressure overwhelming

‘I know there is more to our generation than such inane anxieties. I know we are more capable than our social media consumption would suggest.’ Photograph: Getty Images  Why my generation must fight to secure our adulthood

We have been infantilised by social and economic conditions beyond our control

‘Try this little game. Put the phrase “passionate about” into a search engine and then add a random word.’ Photograph: Getty Images Fintan O’Toole: The push to be passionate is a passion-killer

Coming soon: the passion of the panel beater

‘Over half of those emigrating last year over the age of 15 had a third-level degree.’ Photograph: Getty Images What GDP doesn’t tell you about citizens’ wellbeing

Global index rating suggests State is good place to live in terms of basic human needs, wellbeing and opportunity

‘The mouthing of ludicrous untruths is regarded as requiring merely a shrugging of shoulders by way of response.’ Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP ‘Truthiness’ and the death of empathy

When truth becomes wholly disposable we are endangered beyond measure

“The central question is how to ensure everyone has an adequate income in retirement so they can meet their basic needs.” Photograph: Getty Images Two myths about our unfair pensions system

Opinion: How can we make sure everyone has an adequate retirement income?

“The Olympics is also now taking place in the context of a very visual social media that obsesses over body image, fitness, gym attendance and healthy eating.” Una Mullally: Olympic athletes’ sex life is their own business

Daily Beast article far more distasteful than a silly pitch about randy Olympians

‘The poisonous thing about Maynooth seminary is that, like all Roman Catholic seminaries, it is a patriarchal, hierarchical institution.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne Seminaries such as Maynooth perpetuate unjust rule of church men over women

‘Churchmen claim to have divine knowledge as to what God can’t be and do in women and through women. It’s called DMA: Divine Male Authority’

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Fairfield , Connecticut, on  August 13th. Photograph: Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters Trump versus Clinton in battle of the sexual revolutions

‘If Hillary is a (partial, given her complicated marriage) avatar of Gloria Steinem-era feminism, her opponent is an heir of the male revolutionary in whose club Steinem once went undercover: Hugh Hefner’

At the wreath-placing ceremony to mark the shooting dead of Constable  James O’Brien, the first casualty of Rising,  was  his great, great grandson, Michael O’Sullivan from Listowel, Co Kerry. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw Stephen Collins: State commemoration of 1916 has been a success

‘Things might have been far worse if the dreamers, poets and radical revolutionaries had emerged victorious from the Rising to impose their vision on an unprepared nation’

‘What are Michael Phelps’s staggering 22 Olympic gold medals if not a single powerful anecdote for the quack therapy of cupping?’ Photograph: EPA/Zsolt Czegledi It’s time to call a halt to celebrity cupping

Gwyneth Paltrow has consciously uncoupled from her Goop lifestyle publication

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses people gathered at the Presidential Complex to protest against the July 15th failed military coup attempt in Ankara. Photograph:  Kayhan Ozer/AFP/Getty Images Failed Turkish coup provides Erdogan with a pedestal

‘The official coup narrative has fed off Turkey’s relish for conspiracy theories’

A candlelight vigil earlier this year in which protesters stood in solidarity with refugees in detention in Melbourne, Australia. Many refugees inside the Immigration Detention Centre were due to be sent to Nauru or Manus Island. Photograph:  Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The hidden human tragedy of Australia’s offshore detention centre on Nauru

‘The scandal of Nauru is not new, but the sheer enormity of the files released this week by the Guardian newspaper is horrifying’

A mural depicts the late Bishop Edward Daly (right) waving a white handkerchief  in the Bogside area of Derry. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images Dr Edward Daly: The Bogside priest who didn’t want to rock the boat

‘Ironically, given his profile during and after Bloody Sunday, Daly was wary of political involvement’

Newt Gingrich: “American people feel that crime is on the up. I’ll go with that rather than your liberal statistics.” Photograph: AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt Damned lies and statistics in a post-truth world

Never mind the ‘liberal statistics’, Gingrich and Trump know how people feel

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