Martin McGuinness had a confidence, intelligence and empathy that stood out. But he also had a ruthlessness that was honed in the Derry cauldron of his time. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Diarmaid Ferriter: Unpicking McGuinness legacy will take time

Ruthless he was, but crude stereotypes do not do justice to the man or the times

The  coffin of Martin McGuinness is carried through  Derry at his funeral on Thursday. Photograph: Alan Betson Sinn Féin’s problem with history hasn’t gone away

As the party’s leadership changes generation, the real question about Sinn Féin is not why has its support grown, but why hasn’t it grown more?

DUP leader Arlene Foster signs a book of condolence for her late former colleague Martin McGuinness at Stormont on Wednesday. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images In war and peace, Martin McGuinness’s commitment was total and pivotal

Noel Whelan: Definitive view of the IRA leader turned politician still to be formed

A Border sign in Pettigo, Co Donegal: a shared-space arrangement would enable a shared civil and commercial life, while preserving  current political identities. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters A shared-space solution to Ireland’s Brexit Border problem

A deal could allow free passage across the island with rules on entry and exit

 A boy eats  at his home in Ngop in South Sudan’s Unity State: Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan on February 29th. Photograph: Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP/Getty South Sudan famine results from failure of political will

Ireland’s tragic experience gives us a voice and the responsibility that goes with it

Flowers and messages are left near the scene of an attack by a man driving a car and weilding a knife left five people dead and dozens injured, in London. REUTERS/Neil Hall The Westminster attack is a tragedy, but it’s not a threat to democracy

The terrorists’ aim is not just to kill a few but to terrify a multitude. For politicians and media to overreact would play into their hands

FBI director James Comey and  Michael Rogers, director of the NSA:  Comey said that a tweet put out by the president’s account, interpreting what he said, was not accurate. Photograph: Eric Thayer/The New York Times Is truth catching up with the Trump White House?

FBI director Comey’s contradiction of president was a jolt hard enough to freeze the spin

US president Donald Trump and Taoiseach Enda Kenny: The furore over the speech presents an interesting case study about the clash between traditional and new media. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst Back-slapping Taoiseach failed to stand up to Trump

Contrast between Merkel’s body language and Irish bonhomie could not have been starker

Enda Kenny: the Taoiseach deserved plaudits for the skilful way he stated important principles about immigration while remaining within the bounds of diplomatic courtesy. Photograph: Kholood Eid/Bloomberg Lesson for Irish political press in US coverage of Kenny speech

State’s media must avoid distorting lens that turns criticism to destructive cynicism

If the majority evaporates, the Border becomes unsustainable. Nationalists will want it gone and unionists will see no point to it. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters United Ireland most likely option if unionists outvoted

Challenge would be how to treat demands of British minority once motion passed

A security alert in 2009 in south Armagh on the Border near the village of Forkhill. The  Border meanders for 499km Brexit: There will be a hard border. The only question is where?

Only smugglers benefit from leaky borders – a real border at ports and airports is needed

Vaxxed  has been banned by many cinemas over its purported linking of the MMR vaccine  to autism Next in line for the anti-vaccination brigade? Autism

Controversial ‘anti-vaxx’ film linking autism to childhood vaccinations to tour Ireland

During Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington he credited Germany with smarter negotiators. But there are no such negotiators.  (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times) Frank Bruni: Donald Trump is tweeting on the edge of oblivion

A sense of persecution has brought about many ill-advised tweets and ill-considered public statements

Gerry Adams (from left) and Martin McGuinness with Tony Blair and Jonathan Powell at Westminster in 2007. ‘He deserves to be remembered for the risks he took and the success he achieved in making Northern Ireland a better place.’ Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Jonathan Powell: What happens now that Martin McGuinness is gone?

The former IRA man made the Good Friday Agreement work. But now power-sharing is under threat, and the stage is set for a return to grievance politics

We can only marvel at the brilliance of social engineers who managed to protect their property, customs and traditions by using shame to control women who became pregnant in the ‘wrong’ cirumstances. Photograph: iStock Kathy Sheridan: The weaponisation of shame

Shame has long been used to control women in Ireland so why won’t it work on Trump?

 Theresa May and Donald Trump: “Using the Conservative and Republican parties as vehicles for revolutionary social protest is putting diesel in a petrol car: it will go for a while, but breakdown is inevitable.” Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters Fintan O’Toole: Progressives must be the first to call out treachery

After Trump and the Brexiteers betray their voters, who will channel the anger?

Nicola Sturgeon believes autumn 2018 would be a common-sense date for a second Scottish independence referendum. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images England’s idea of unionism is not shared in the rest of UK

Scottish independence would leave unionists in the North and Wales even more isolated

Children in  Malawi, Africa who lost their mother to Aids. Pope Paul VI wrote: “The development of peoples has the church’s close attention, particularly the development of those  striving to escape from hunger, misery, endemic diseases and ignorance.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Pope Paul’s views on development 50 years ago important today

Pope’s encyclical challenged trickle-down theory and warned of uneven growth

 Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy: Grand Marshall of the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson Success of Dublin St Patrick’s Festival means funding must continue

By building a magnificent festival in Dublin, the whole St Patrick’s Day brand is enhanced

George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer was a surprise appointment as editor of the Evening Standard I can’t believe I am agreeing with George Osborne, John Major and Tony Blair

In our post-Brexit landscape, the former chancellor at the Evening Standard will be a rare voice speaking up for the much-scorned ‘metropolitan elite’

The Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, operated by CHC Helicopter for the Coast Guard, which crashed during a rescue mission off the west coast on March 14th. Photograph: Brian O’Loughlin/EPA Air Corps problems go deeper than pilot shortage

Financial squeeze imposed by Government will continue to erode capability

Bananarama will be performing  at Beatyard. Otherwise it’s an all-male line-up of festival headliners at   Forbidden Fruit, Longitude, Body & Soul, Sea Sessions, Indiependence and Castlepalooza. Clearly there is something wrong. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile Una Mullally: Cruel summer ahead with no female festival headliners

Too few women playing Ireland’s big music festivals – and too many excuses

Soothing tributes flowed from the pens of Irish bishops and others when former bishop Eamonn Casey (above) and cardinal Desmond Connell died. Photograph: Frank Miller Colum Kenny: When is it all right to speak ill of the dead?

Romancing the reputations of public figures does a disservice to those they let down

Bishop Eamonn Casey at the papal youth Mass in Galway in 1979. Photograph: Peter Thursfield Diarmaid Ferriter: Bishop Casey – activist and sexist hypocrite

Former Bishop of Kerry was a highly compartmentalised man in his 1970s heyday

Scottish  first minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) and British prime minister Theresa May: the Scottish National Party case for staying in the single market and customs union were dismissed by May. Photograph: PA Wire Sinn Féin can no longer claim ownership of Irish unity

The Belfast Agreement has been disrupted by Brexit and Conservative party behaviour

“There will always be a light on in Áras an Uachtaráin for our exiles and our emigrants.” John McManus: Taoiseach blows out Mary Robinson’s light

Offer to extend presidential franchise raises uncomfortable questions about diaspora

President Michael D Higgins  hit out at an European Commission White Paper saying  it appears no one is  addressing the underlying issues honestly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Cliff Taylor: EU struggles to find compelling vision as it hits 60

Instead of a grand plan, the union needs to take practical steps to address problems

 Pope Francis: has a reputation as a reformer, but in some areas it is difficult to see any meaningful progress. Photograph:  Alessandra Tarantino/EPA/pool Breda O’Brien: Pope Francis must prioritise child safety

Pontif espouses ‘zero tolerance’ policy on abusers, but little has changed on the ground

Donald Trump and Enda Kenny: “Kenny went to Washington and did what anyone who has ever been taoiseach would have done – and, predictably enough, he is getting monstered for it.” Photograph: Olivier Douliery/EPA Pat Leahy: Kenny’s return from US will spur leadership race

Forget political ideals, the question of money will be the inconvenient truth in the contest

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks at a St Patrick’s Day breakfast at the Naval Observatory  in Washington, DC, on March 16, 2017.  Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images Noel Whelan: Votes for emigrants? Don’t hold your breath

Little substance to announcement 1,265 days after convention’s recommendation

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the launch of the ‘Succeed in Ireland’ initiative in 2012. Photograph: Alan Betson Diaspora job creation initiative should be saved

ConnectIreland rejects IDA claim that it has only created 527 jobs since 2012

Racegoers enjoy a drink at Cheltenham racecourse. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Brian Boyd: Cheltenham is backing the wrong addiction

Excessive gambling rather than alcohol consumption is the real danger

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington on Thursday: elected a TD in 1975, he was in a better position than most to do something about the horrors that continued in his time. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire Oliver Callan: St Patrick’s Day a party for phoney Ireland

Behind the shamrock blinkers and pleasant poetry, we’re just hypocrites

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon  at  her  first cabinet meeting  aftersignalling her intention to hold another independence referendum. REUTERS/Jane Barlow/Pool Brexit was an English vote for independence – you can’t begrudge the Scots the same

The English were prepared to vote in a way that would disrupt the union, so it’s no surprise that the UK is at risk

 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during election night in The Hague, The Netherlands, 15 March 2017. Rutte’s center-right VVD party has won the most seats in the parliamentary elections . EPA/JERRY LAMPEN Dutch election result holds back populist tide in Europe

But Wilders has succeeded in moving Dutch politics as a whole to the right

John Hume: spent his political life trying to convince everybody that territorial unity is not what matters but unity between people Nationalists have learned little over the last 100 years

By using Brexit to campaign for a united Ireland nationalism has repeated an old mistake

Sinn Féin leader  Gerry Adams: what a transformation has already occurred in his personal fortunes. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters Adams may have found key to North-South appeal

Unionism has provoked nationalism into a thrilling tribal slap-down

It may well be difficult for religious bodies to prohibit such forms of religious dress like headscarves, when the religious habits of nuns, and all the trappings of Catholicism, are permitted in what is a State-sponsored system.   Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP photo Headscarf bans: Coming to a Catholic school near you?

EU ruling clarifies when employers can refuse to let staff wear religious symbols

Reunification costs: Britain might argue that Northern Ireland has been responsible for a disproportionate share of UK debt, and would therefore push for a larger share of this liability to be transferred to a united Ireland. File image: Getty A united Ireland would be worse off than the Republic

Questions over UK debt mean Irish reunification could come at a high economic price

British prime minister Theresa May said a Scottish independence referendum would be ’divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time’. Photograph: PA Wire Kathy Sheridan: Another day, another Brexit lie exposed

The UK has been sold down the river in a proxy war between Tory public schoolboys

 Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “You’re a wily old fox at talking down the clock,” a PAC member said when the Minister had returned to the same formula of words for the umpteenth time. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times Harry McGee: Sure-footed Noonan comes unstuck over Project Eagle

Failure to disclose meeting means he will not emerge unscathed from controversy

 A section of a ‘peace wall’ in Belfast. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty John Cushnahan: A united Ireland remains wishful thinking

Despite Northern Irish election results, we are far away from a majority vote for unity

‘By the time I was 10, growing up on a 1960s Dublin housing estate, I knew three exotic words: Artane (above), Letterfrack, Daingean. And I knew what they stood for: the hell that awaited those who did not fit in.’ Photograph: Jimmy McCormack Fintan O’Toole: Ireland is still defined by the church’s mindset

A vast system of Catholic repression has left Irish society with four toxic habits of mind

Vatican city, Rome: the guiding light towards change in the church in Ireland and elsewhere might not be shining from Rome. If the church is truly universal, new strategies can come from any corner of its multi-faceted arena Guidance on Catholic church reform might not be from Rome

If a core group in an organisation dominates, their hold is so tight they strangle it

Allied Irish Banks: “AIB has a long history of being bailed out by taxpayers, of poor corporate culture, of excessive remuneration, and of overcharging customers.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw Selling AIB: Who should own it, and where should the sale profits go?

For this ‘badly behaved’ bank, the big issues need a wider airing before privatisation

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