Ciaran Lynch, Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis Elaine Byrne: Banking Inquiry fiasco further erodes public belief in accountability

Temporary inquiries are no substitute for properly resourced oversight agencies

Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times Only surprise is that farmers are surprised about IFA boss’s pay

Pat Smith’s salary is no more or less troubling than that of any other successful executive

The UN conference on climate change in Paris from November 30th-December 11th provides a greater cause for optimism than any previous climate summit. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images. Looking for a beacon of hope on climate change in Paris

The Cop21 summit offers a truly historic opportunity for a global energy revolution

‘A small number of Irish parents have allowed mild and reasonable concerns about the side effects of routine immunisations to spiral into an ‘anti-vax’ mindset.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Healthy scepticism is feeding irrational vaccination fears

Success of free immunisation may have led to complacent attitude to serious childhood diseases

Fr Kevin Reynolds meeting with parishioners after Mass after he was welcomed back to his ministry in Saint Cuan’s Church in Ahascragh in 2011. It was fortunate for him that DNA testing cleared his name. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy. Breda O’Brien: What happened to Pat Carey was a long time in the making

Religious have long been subjected to similar treatment by media and the Church

Colum Eastwood wins the SDLP leadership contest with new deputy leader Fearghal McKinney during the Party Conference last Saturday. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press Diarmaid Ferriter: New SDLP leader should take party into opposition and challenge SF

Colum Eastwood needs to dig his own trench and move his party out of the Hume shadow

Billy Kelleher: Fianna Fail  will  not go into coalition with Fine Gael or Sinn Féin and will not support a Fine Gael-led minority government from the outside. Photograph: Aidan Crawley Stephen Collins: Kelleher puts cat amongst post election pigeons

If the Coalition fails to hit the 70-seat mark the situation could get very messy

Further external interventions would provoke deeper regional upheavals and send more refugees and instability towards Europe.  ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images Paul Gillespie: Regional Sunni powers hold the key to Syria

Federal state with power sharing most convincing solution

Tánaiste Joan Burton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Chris Hyams of Indeed during a jobs announcement: when governments go to the electorate in bad times, they try to create distractions. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins Cliff Taylor: Government working overtime to get ‘bad news’ stories out of the way

Just look at what has happened over the last couple of weeks and the potential controversies that have been neutralised or put off

There seems no happy balance in writing about sex. The prose is either too clinical (medical terms for body parts) or too archly poetic. Photograph: Getty Images Donald Clarke: Bad Sex Award – the agony and the ecstasy

‘The promiscuous shell-collecting in Jane Austen gets my juices flowing’ . . . and so on

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) Fintan O’Toole: Babbling commentary is music to the ears of Islamic State

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

Peter Robinson: A one-time head of the Northern Ireland civil service described him as “somewhat scary.”Photo : Brian Lawless/PA Wire David McKittrick: Robinson was key to allowing Paisley enter government with Sinn Fein

He concentrated on masterminding the DUP’s battle to displace the Ulster Unionist party while doubtless privately wondering when Paisley would retire.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald amended  the bill on the advice of the attorney general that the Bar Council could sue. Pic: Collins Photos. Colm Keena: Legal Services Bill brings transparency but no reduction in fees

It would be extraordinary if barristers and solicitors were not in the premier league when it comes to arguing their case to Government.

FineGael poster from the 2007 general election Noel Whelan: FG’s ambitious health plan simply flushed away

The fudged, vague agreement with Labour was this week pushed off into the never never

Paris attacks: An atrocity in a familiar place in a neighbouring country is always going to hit home in a way that will not be the case for a more remote place.  Photograph: Adrien Morlent/AFP/Getty Images Paris attacks: How West should move on from Islamic State outrage

Piaras Mac Éinrí: Eight lessons to be learned from latest Isis assault on French

Iraqi Yazidi people fleeing IS in August 2014. More than a thousand women and girls were kidnapped. Younger girls were shared out among fighters, older women murdered. One mass grave held the bodies of around 80 women, all apparently over the age of 40.  (Adam Ferguson/The New York Times) Eamonn McCann: Islamic State’s actions are rooted in religion

Refusing to acknowledge the religious basis of the Paris attacks is to refuse to face facts

But the past is not just about British national security, about the military and intelligence agencies and what information will be disclosed. This process is no closer to understanding what co-operation it could expect from the IRA and the various loyalist organisations.  PA Brian Rowan: Stormont deal represents another failure to deal with the past

After five attempts to create a process, perhaps it is time to accept that this is work for others, independent and international others

President Michael D Higgins is greeted by co-director of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre during his visit to mark 30 years anniversary. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Colum McCann: Travellers must talk and we must listen

The ability of Irish Travellers and the Roma to tell their stories is paramount to their dignity and survival

A masked, black-clad militant, who has been identified by the Washington Post newspaper as a Briton named Mohammed Emwazi, brandishes a knife in this still file image from a 2014 video obtained from SITE Intel Group February 26, 2015.  REUTERS/SITE Intel Group Kathy Sheridan : How to explain Jihadi John?

How he must have longed for the bullies at home to know how far he had travelled. How easy it must have been to transfer that blazing vengeance to his blameless victims, coating his actions in a depraved ideology.

Homelessness. The Government watched the crisis develop and did nothing. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES Peter McVerry: Rent measures are lacking and late – but welcome

We were waiting for the rich uncle but they sent the poor cousin instead

The terrorists struck at the city’s most vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods where integration has been visibly successful, in sharp contrast to the blighted suburbs to the north.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Max McGuinness: Isis struck at diversity and integration

Last Friday night in Paris, France was attacked by terrorists for its successes rather than for its failures

Richard Dowlin (L), 35, and Cormac Gollogly, 35, are married by registrar Mary Claire Heffernan in the South Clonmel Community Care Centre in County Tipperary on November , 17, 2015. Dowlin and Gollogly are the first gay couple to marry in Ireland. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton Fine Gael and Labour’s approach to marriage equality was crude, uncertain and politically opportune

Sending the divisive issue to the constitutional convention for deliberation was truly a political masterstroke.

“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 Fintan O’Toole: Carey inquiry leaks an abuse of human dignity

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

Mary says “yes”! Ilustration from the ‘Grow in Love’ religion course which is based on the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum. Chris Hayden: Atheist Ireland’s retelling of the Annunciation story ‘perverse’

“It is the carefully rehashed story of how a stranger appears in a young girl’s bedroom at night. The girl is afraid, yet she says “yes” to becoming pregnant.”

“Jihad is an egalitarian, equal-opportunity employer: fraternal, fast-breaking, glorious, cool – and persuasive” REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (Gaza) Islamic State has a plan and that plan is working

Analysis: Group reaching out to fill void wherever chaos exists or to create it in lands of infidel

Fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria stand near their infantry fighting vehicles around the al-Khatoniyah lake area after they took control of it from Islamic State militants, near al Houl town in Hasaka province, Syria on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters  Paris attacks put focus on coherent EU response

Terrorist threats in the bloc have until now been seen through the prism of national security

French prime minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives with interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve  and defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images Questions raised over French security intelligence

Former DGSE agent says attacks at several locations is ‘security services nightmare’

Sympathisers put a candle  outside the French ambassador’s residence in Dublin. Ireland should not be shy about making its  experience and position known. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Irish fall into same target of ‘infidels’ as Paris victims

To protect ourselves we need to beef up security, but also to support moderate Muslims

North-South relations: “Despite working in and around Leinster House for more than a decade and studying Irish at school, I’m still self-conscious of my pronunciation of the word ‘Dáil’ and even ‘Taoiseach’.” Mary Minihan: Five reasons why it is hard to be a Nordie

Life south of the Border throws many personality and cultural traits into stark relief

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin presents Budget 2016 at Government Buildings. Photograph: Eric Luke Only Labour can deliver balance in next government

Party is determined to ensure required balance of left and right continues

A man attaches a banne to a statue at Place de la Republique near sites of the deadly attacks in Paris on Sunday. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters Air strikes on Syria echo fatally back home in Paris

There’s a straight line between Bush’s invasion of Iraq and France’s torment

Pat Carey at the Dublin City Count Centre at the RDS on during ther 2011 General Election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times Stephen Collins: Treatment of Pat Carey by the media shameful

Carey’s reputation casually shredded without having been informed of complaint

Angela Merkel the “indispensable European” for “defending Germany’s interests without losing sight of Europe’s”. Photograph: Carsten Koall/Getty Images Derek Scally: Germany is here, Berlin is back

It was not in London, Paris or Brussels but in Berlin that George Osborne gave a sneak preview of UK’s EU reform demands

John Treacy winning silver at the 1984 Olympics. (Photo by Tony Duffy/Getty Images) Diarmaid Ferriter: Rot in athletics will take time to fix

The sad thing now is that I am not sure I would be bothered to wake my own children from slumber to witness an Olympic race

Everyone in the abortion industry wants to paint Gosnell as a monster, but while he is a very strange and disturbed individual, in one respect he is identical to abortion advocates everywhere – his reasoning. Breda O’Brien: Ireland should not aspire to providing legalised killing

So long as the safety valve of abortion is there, we never have to take seriously the issue of providing real alternatives.

And YOU DO NOT even acknowledge the existence of something on which the legal magic dust of confidentiality has been sprinkled Cliff Taylor: Welcome to Confidentiality Club gentlemen

The Fight Club rules of Irish confidentiality were emphasised by the IBRC Special Liquidators

Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at the signing of the Anglo-Irish agreement in Hillsborough Castle in 1985. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh Charlie Flanagan: “From the consciousness of danger to the consciousness of peace”

Anglo Irish agreement laid the foundations for the peace process that followed

People who are not from Galway sometimes argue that its folk spend too much time parading in huge papier mâché heads. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy Donald Clarke: You pretend to like us Nordies but you don’t

Even fervent Southern nationalists harbour guilty suspicions of Northern otherness

“I don’t think of that man, the alcoholic, he wasn’t my dad. .” Credit: Julian Herbert/Getty Images Ruairí McKiernan: Natasha Eddery has shattered the national silence

Why do we not want to talk the secrets that call out to us from the mirror?

“A lot to welcome”.  Minister Alan Kelly, and Minister Micheal Noonan take tea  with  tenant Eoin Whelan after announcing rental reforms.Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES Paddy Gray: Long-term rental strategy is still needed

Government has bought time to come up with policies that recognise renting is becoming the norm

Eamon Gilmore answering reporters’ questions at a special meeting of the Labour Party. Photograph: Frank Miller Noel Whelan: This time around Labour’s goal is political survival

Party will once again warn electorate about dangers of Fine Gael majority government

Jeremy Corbyn: Was accused by Gen Sir Nicholas Houghton of undermining “the credibility of deterrence”. Photograph: PA Corbyn stance on scrapping nuclear missiles makes sense

Military’s default ‘deterrance’ position on nukes more to do with prestige than defence

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny with British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street on Monday. Nigel Farage: Ireland has been crushed by iron fist of the EU

Your politicians have sold out for free sandwiches and jobs in Brussels

Nature of inquiry into IBRC exposed limits of judge’s powers

Subject matter of bank investigation always likely to lead to legal challenges over customer disclosure

Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city. Bloody Sunday: Paras were the wrong regiment in the wrong place

Commanders failed to realise that they were not suited to the job of armed policing

Most Discussed