Russian president Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony marking Navy Day in Kaliningrad in July  2015. Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images Kaliningrad could be next flashpoint between Russia and the West

Putin could use enclave in a “hybrid-war” gambit to destabilise Baltic countries

Survivors of Symphysiotomy chairwoman Marie O’Connor (far right) with members and supporters of  the group: The State recently claimed to the UN Women’s Committee   that in many cases consent was obtained before the pelvis-breaking procedure was performed.  Photograph: Alan Betson  Symphysiotomy falsehoods: Ireland’s culture of impunity must end

Medical ambition was behind breaches of women’s human rights yet no person or agency has ever been held to account

The town of Ilulissat in Greenland: the Faroes secured an opt-out from what was then the EEC when Denmark joined in 1973 and Greenland followed by leaving in 1985. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Brexit: Greenland and Faroes point way to UK solution

Danish link with old territories shows how UK could accommodate Scotland and North

Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair after the signing of the Belfast Agreement on April 10th, 1998. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/Reuters Newton Emerson: Irish mistrust is the real threat to North’s peace

Human rights are sewn into the Belfast Agreement, which the UK will not breach

Brian Boyd: Should we respond to trolls like “Dear Paddy”?

Responding to hate speak risks validating the writer and amplifying their message

David Simon, creator of HBO series The Wire, called John Banville “f**knuts” on Twitter. Photograph: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Kathy Sheridan: The appalling decline in the quality of public insults

We all have the right to offend but not a licence to be coarse and vulgar

The Mary Robinson Centre is in Ballina, Co Mayo, the former president’s home town.  Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Phocus. The Mary Robinson Centre is no vanity project

Presidential archives don’t have to be in the Pale to be a resource for everyone

Martin Shanahan CEO IDA Ireland (left) with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Regardless of recent criticism of her performance, “questions have been raised as to whether or not she is being held to a different set of standards than her male colleagues”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons There has never been a better time for women to get into politics

The civility of the ‘new politics’ gives female parliamentarians the break they needed

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan: commissioned an analysis from four independent lawyers of the concentration of media ownership in Ireland. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill Fintan O’Toole: Why some papers are ignoring a report on Irish media

The coverage of a study of media ownership confirms how much the issue matters

Massgoers leaving the Pro Cathedral: “Even though Christ Church has been in possession of the Anglican church for nearly 500 years, it is still viewed by the Roman Catholic Church as the primary official Dublin cathedral, since it was so designated by the pope at the request of the then Archbishop of Dublin, Saint Laurence O’Toole, in the [late] 12th century.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien A modest proposal for St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral

Pope should revoke ancient designation of Christ Church as Dublin’s cathedral

Calais “Jungle” migrant camp: the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called for Ireland to take 200 of its unaccompanied refugee children. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images St Stanislaus Kennedy: Taoiseach must step up on refugee issue

Resistance to migrants appears to be becoming more pronounced

Ashers, a bakery run by an evangelical Christian family, was guilty of direct discrimination against Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist who requested a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’ iced on it.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images) Fionola Meredith: Gay cake ruling is all wrong and this is why

The ruling enshrines the principle that the law can compel you to promote causes with which you absolutely disagree

At the New York pride march in June, 49 members of Gays Against Guns dressed in white to represent the lives lost in the Orlando nightclub massacre. Photograph: Monika Graff/Getty Images Una Mullally: US gays take aim at gun violence

Gays Against Guns draws on LGBT veterans of direct-action Aids campaigns

Would a more pragmatic, creative solution not be both less expensive and less destructive of the National Museum of Ireland’s capacities? Photograph: Bryan O’Brien Seanad should not be allowed move into museum and disrupt its activities

Extremely expensive and damaging intervention will badly affect museum

A large number of public service groups  – including many that earn far less than teachers and gardaí – could make a  case for “special treatment”. Photograph: Eric Luke Teachers and gardaí betraying fellow public sector workers

Why should some public servants get early pay increases at the expense of the rest?

Wrong location for   archive? The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co Mayo. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Phocus Diarmaid Ferriter: Mary Robinson’s legacy in no need of a vanity project

The former president should follow the practice of her predecessors and donate her papers to the National Library, the National Archives or a university

Pope Francis: there was surprise and delight when he announced that the next meeting would be in Dublin.  Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Breda O’Brien: Work gets under way for papal visit to Dublin

The World Meeting of Families will reflect Pope Francis’s focus on family

British prime minister Theresa May (left) at the European Summit in Brussels: she believes the 27 remaining EU states have as much to lose as the UK from its exit. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA Stephen Collins: We need to realise Tories will do Brexit the hard way

Conservative Party conference justified ‘the stupid party’ tag coined in Victorian times

Snowflake generation? To save the €50,000-plus deposit needed to buy  an average new home in Dublin, about  16,000 cappuccinos would have to be forgone. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Cliff Taylor: Giving up brunch won’t help millennials buy a home

The sums just don’t add up for a generation of first-time housebuyers in Ireland

Scottish First Minister  Nicola Sturgeon suggests Scotland could be accommodated in an EU  half-way house akin to Norway, while the rest of the UK adopts a “hard” Brexit. Photograph:  Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images World View: EU can adapt to complexities of British exit

A variegated Brexit in which regions retain closer ties to EU should not be problematic

The Garda Inspectorate has compiled 11 major reports to date and made 574 recommendations – which it says have always been accepted, just not always implemented. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien What is really wrong with Garda culture

Focus on whistleblowers has obscured deep-seated culture of fear and blame

All at sea: the price tag of a ship like the recently launched LE Samuel Beckett is €48 million, which is also the estimated cost to Ireland of making good on its promise to accept 4,000 Syrian refugees by September 2017. Ireland: Best little country for plucking refugees out of the sea

We are slow to take in refugees but dispatch rescue ships with great gusto

Fintan O’Toole: Britain’s Irish question becomes Ireland’s English question

A soft, ambiguous and contingent Brexit could be possible – with Ireland’s help

Trump appeals  to every crackpot conspiracy theorist, every tinfoil hat-wearing rage-filled person, everyone who thinks America is in fact on the brink of a civil war, everyone who thinks a race war is the way to “take their country back”, everyone who is waiting for the rapture or sees things in biblical terms of good versus evil. Trump’s lasting legacy will be that he made crazy mainstream

His baseless attack on the election process feeds every crackpot conspiracy theorist and extremist out there

The  unexpected golden age of Irish opera includes  Landmark Production and Wide Open Opera’s The Last Hotel,  a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh featuring Katherine Manley and Claudia Boyle. Photograph: Patrick Redmond Michael Dervan: Time to do the right thing by Irish opera

Arts Council should use increased funding announced in the budget to address the needs of opera lovers and the professional opera community

Ireland should make every effort to play its role in the continued evolution of the EU and ensure that the outcomes of negotiations about the future of Europe are in the best interests of Ireland, our people and our economy Wolfgang Münchau is wrong on case for Irish exit from EU

Our low-tax business model is not broken and it makes no sense to follow UK out of union

Watching the Donald Trump campaign disintegrate is both compelling and disturbing. Photograph: George Frey/Getty Images Noel Whelan: That Donald Trump has nothing to lose makes him dangerous

Even if defeated, the candidate has ability to damage the US political system even further

Electoral posters against and in favour  of the immigration referendum. Now the Swiss are in the unenviable position of providing a test case for Brexit negotiations. Photograph:  Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images Switzerland offers foretaste of the difficulties to come for Brexit

The Swiss vote to limit EU immigration now threatens its trade deal with the EU

Perhaps the Taoiseach is ignoring all this because his forum is just a gimmick or a distraction for political rivals – in which case, everyone should boycott it. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times Newton Emerson: Unionists right to boycott Kenny’s Brexit forum

Cross-Border discussions already possible and real talks will be between Dublin and London

Gardaí police a protest in Dublin: The Government’s view is that if it concedes a special deal for either the teachers or the gardaí outside the Lansdowne Road Agreement then the pay pact is dead. FIle photograph: Alan Betson Pat Leahy: Government cannot afford to blink first on Garda strike

Relaxation of public pay restraint would lead to free for all and toppled administration

Pádraig Ó Céidigh: we need to empower a government of whatever hue to take and execute decisions which are in the long -term best interests of our country. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times Pádraig Ó Céidigh: Joining Seanad opened my eyes to flawed system

Lack of long-term thinking behind many of Ireland’s ills

Prejudice and the Irish: There are plenty of Irish people who will look away when a person of colour – born here or not – points to race-based prejudice. They’ve created their own bubble, unaffected by the same discrimination, that denies its existence White privilege is real and it exists in Ireland

White Irish people are expert at denying the extent of society’s racial prejudice

Cllr Christian Holliday: launched a formal petition to make supporting EU membership an act of treason. Kathy Sheridan: From Great Britain to little England

Brexit fallout continues to poison UK politics and bring out worst in people

 Gerry Adams, Taoiseach Enda Kenny,  Joan Burton and Micheál Martin at the TV3/Newstalk television debate: subjective newspaper articles on Mr Adams’s performance were passed off as hard news. Photograph: Cyril Byrne Oliver Callan casts a wry eye on US election comedy show

Our own media has questions to answer about coverage of the last election

The Stiller effect: “There is a large body of research showing that, like it or not, celebrities have an influence on health behaviours, including cancer screening. (AP Photo/Miguel Villagran) Brian Boyd: Ben Stiller did more harm than good by talking about his prostate cancer

The PSA test the actor claims “saved his life” is highly controversial and advised against by many health experts

More than 5,600 women in Ireland tried to buy abortion pills online over a five-year period from one Dutch-based supplier alone Fintan O’Toole: Is a woman who has an abortion as depraved as a child rapist?

Even Donald Trump withdrew his call to punish women who have abortions

Jameel Mutoola, imam of Anwar Madina Mosque, Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri from the Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre and Rabbi Zalman Lent on the  Interfaith Walk of Peace in Dublin in 2012.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley Melanie Brown: We must embrace difference, not tolerate it

People of all faiths and none must make intercultural dialogue part of their daily lives

Kurdish forces  advance on villages east of Mosul on Monday. Photograph: Bryan Denton/The New York Times Assault on Mosul could prove fatal for Islamic State

Opinion: The existence of an Islamic caliphate that transcends national borders in the Middle East would be called into question by the militant group’s defeat

What happens when your rent is raised a couple of hundred quid a month? There is no buffer. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters Una Mullally: Yet another budget leaving tenants out in the cold

Why are all the benefits for landlords? Some 20 per cent of TDs own rental property

Protesters in Bahrain: the suggestion that the sharing of experience, best practice and skills should not happen until after the human rights issues have gone away doesn’t add up. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters Bahrain deserves a chance to prove itself on human rights

Engagement and assistance can bring change more effectively than a boycott

Almost all women in the study shared one common negative experience: the shroud of secrecy behind which they were compelled to keep their abortions. File photograph: Getty Images Demand for abortion pills highlights need for change in the law

Analysis shows women can decide for themselves the best reproductive choice

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan presenting Budget 2017 during the week. Photograph: Eric Luke We all love budget day but surely it is now well past its sell-by date?

Discussion about the country’s annual €55bn spend should not revolve around one day

“Slogans are unhelpful. ‘Repeal the Eighth’ has a ring to it. But its right-on, emotional appeal covers a multitude.”   Photograph: Alan Betson Citizens’ Assembly should keep it simple and just get on with it

Eighth Amendment changes which voters will tolerate should be quickly identified

Enda Kenny and Michael Martin: A minority Government utterly dependant for its survival on the main Opposition party has emerged from the perils of the budget process with its prospects of survival enhanced rather than diminished. Photograph:  Maxpix/Julien Behal Stephen Collins: Centre-ground of Irish politics more robust than expected

But could it withstand a serious economic downturn post-Brexit?

‘O’Leary revelled in a coarse, hectoring and hate-filled discourse that would make Donald Trump proud – and his primary targets were public servants.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw Diarmaid Ferriter: Fine Gael’s adoration of Michael O’Leary is troubling

Ryanair boss is an ideological soulmate for the party that talks centre but thinks right

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