‘Arlene Foster and her colleagues knew with complete certainty that a large majority of voters in Northern Ireland wished to stay in the EU. Foster as First Minister had a duty to represent, not the DUP, but Northern Ireland.’ Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters Fintan O’Toole: DUP must be punished for its Brexit folly

Never mind ‘cash for ash’, the party has trashed Northern Ireland’s vital interests

Absorption has both secular and religious aspects. Everyday life offers experience that can be described as spiritual in this sense. Aspects of this experience are to be found in any activity that we engage in for pleasure rather than for an extrinsic purpose such as a reward. Rite & Reason: Spiritual moments in secular life

Full engagement in positive pursuits can offer moments of spiritual experience

Michael Gove is simply Donald Trump’s cheerleader, glossing over inconsistencies and ignorance, writes Jonathan Freedland. Michael Gove’s sycophantic interview with Donald Trump reeks of neediness

Discussion is latest demonstration of the one sided nature of Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with US

Apollo House should embolden not just activists in other sectors, but people inspired by activism. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Let us stop repeating the lie that Irish people do not protest

The legacy of Apollo House is that the public now knows change can occur

Winston Churchill: “I hope to see a Europe where men and women of every country will think of being European as of belonging to their native land.” Photograph: Yousuf Karsh Joe Mulholand: Brexit is not just about Ireland and the UK

We urgently need to take account of overall state of EU and risk of disintegration

Kevin McLoughlin: “The review of the tax code  as part of the State’s response to the EU’s Apple tax rulings is a great opportunity for Ireland to reassure on the stability of its tax regime.” Review of corporate tax code must underpin Ireland’s advantage

Opportunity for the country to consider bold moves to compete for foreign investment

Putin’s pressers are televised live across all Russian TV channels, attended by all kinds of media - federal news agencies, small local publications and foreign reporters based in Moscow - and are supposed to overshadow every other event in Russia or abroad. A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media

Trump’s press conference was straight out of Vladimir Putin’s playbook

‘In a study, more than 80% of students believed that an online article identified by the words ‘sponsored content’ was a real news story, even when they understood the term.’ Breda O’Brien: Teenagers are not that internet savvy

Young people are easily duped when evaluating information on social media

“Trump has been a consistent critic of the trade policies of countries such as China for years. He has been elected on a ticket of doing something about it.” Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images Trump’s risky policies could hit economic confidence hard

Incoming US president’s stance on China has potential to start a war of attrition in trade

The minority Government faces existential threats from Brexit and a Trump presidency. File photograph: Aidan Crawley The Government would not survive a Trump-Brexit recession

Irish economy will be hit by Theresa May’s article 50 speech and the new US president

British prime minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Enda Kenny speak during an EU leaders’ summit last October in Brussels. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images Ireland must not play the UK off against the EU

We need to help the British in Brexit talks while recommitting ourselves to the EU

Cypriots, from  occupied Northern city of Kyrenia, chant slogans during  demonstration against  UN-sponsored Cyprus peace talks. Photograph:  Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP Cyprus, reunification and a lot of maybes

Most of the remaining points of difference are not of principle but degree

Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan dismissed criticism over the State’s approach to vulture funds at an Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness hearing in May 2016. Diarmaid Ferriter: Vultures will come back to bite Government

There is growing resistance to the notion that the sale of people’s debts was necessary

Theresa May: So far the British prime minister has been unable to decide or communicate what kind of post-Brexit relationship Britain should have with the EU. Photograph: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth Noel Whelan: British cannot be allowed to set the pace on Brexit

It is foolish to wait and see what the UK will do before deciding what is best for Ireland

Meryl Streep accepts her Golden Globe award, “deluded into thinking that holding another shiny award gave her the right to lambast the choice of 63 million ordinary voters.” Photograph: Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP Oliver Callan: Delusional Meryl Streep risked little attacking Trump

For celebrity activism to be authentic it must come at a cost to the individual

Stock image of a young reporter at work. “Back in no-low-fares, no-internet 1990, being on the Paris-based Journalists in Europe (JE) programme was like stepping into another world; or, perhaps more precisely, just stepping into the world.” File photograph: iStockPhoto/Getty Colm Keena: ‘Journalists in Europe’ crucial for hungry young reporters

In no-low-fares, no-internet 1990, being on scheme was just like ‘stepping into the world’

A  man photographs a mural showing Donald Trump blowing marijuana smoke into the mouth of Vladimir Putin in Vilnius, Lithuania. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty What Vladimir Putin really wants from Donald Trump

When Kremlin officials talk about a new security architecture for Europe what they mean is the end of the US presence.

Una Mullally: Buzzfeed played into Trump’s hands

Publishing unsubstantiated allegations gives the President-elect ammunition to further demonise the media and accuse legitimate news organisations of being fake ones

Has Arlene Foster forfeited a place in history  by being too inflexible, showing a lack of grace? Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Eamonn Mallie: Hope and history rhymed for Arlene Foster but she did not hear them

With her lack of grace, the First Minister missed a chance to change the tone in North's politics

Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a wage ceiling is an echo of a Swiss vote in 2013 to limit the pay of top executives to 12 times the wages of their lowliest employees.  Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters Pay caps are neither economically crazy nor morally wrong

Economic incentives are vital for growth but they do not require infinite inequality

 Paul Givan (right, with  Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir):  The DUP minister was denounced as an “ignoramus” by Gerry Adams after cutting an Irish-language bursary.   Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Nationalists must stop using equality as flag of convenience

‘Unionism is British nationalism, and two nationalisms cannot have equal standing’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Despite the stresses and strains of party politics, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have managed to stick with their agreed confidence and supply arrangement. Photograph: Maxpix Stephen Collins: Coming year will test traditional party politics

Instead of saying the system is broken, politicians need to show it’s working

Security and medical staff working in the emergency department of St James’s Hospital. Photograph: Alan Betson Kathy Sheridan: Trolley crisis has to be kept in perspective

Some once-notorious hospitals have battered the problem into some degree of submission

Ballaghaderreen’s Market Square: For more than three decades the town has had a significant Muslim population. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons State right not to consult Ballaghaderreen on refugees

Giving platform to naysayers would have sown division in welcoming town

Though it may irritate some, a bad outcome for the UK in its future trading relationship with the EU will be a bad outcome for Ireland. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire Like it or not, State must help UK get good deal on Brexit

Empathy with our largest trading partner does not mean antipathy to the EU

Minster for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, and Japanese Foreign Minister Mr Fumio Kishida, crack open a barrel of Japanese Sake in a ceremony at Iveagh House , Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times A deal between Japan and the EU would send a positive signal on free trade

Japan and Ireland have both achieved their current prosperity as a result of the global system of free trade

Less than equal partners? Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters Newton Emerson: Martin McGuinness’s departure represents failure on all sides

Unionists about to be taught lesson they never learn: deal with nationalism now

A protest in Los Angeles against the appointment, by Donald Trump, of white nationalist alt-right media mogul Steve Bannon as chief strategist of the White House. Photograph:  David McNew/AFP/Getty Images Fintan O’Toole: the alt-right is old fascism in new clothes

Like most viruses, fascism adapts to changing environments and it’s just as deadly

Most atheists believe gods exist only as ideas in the minds of humans. Most atheists are open to new evidence that we might be mistaken. File photograph: iStockPhoto/Getty A secular State is best for religious and atheist citizens

Political secularism is a force for good: happiest states are secular liberal democracies

Twitter  trading  on the New York Stock Exchange: “People now scoff at Twitter’s inability to pivot or diversify or evolve or monetise or find a workable business model.” Photograph: Reuters/Brendan McDermid Una Mullally: Twitter shows how to lose friends and influence nada

‘At what point does the grief outweigh the positives you gain from Twitter?’

“The UK can be expected to argue strongly, if regrettably at times incoherently, for its own interests in a European Union that it has shunned.” Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters Phil Hogan: Now is the time to cut our ties with Brexiting Britain

Our common interest with the UK has been a defining characteristic of EU membership

By second year,  females from middle-class professional backgrounds maintain interest in education while another group begins  actively disengaging from school work. Photograph: Getty Images Opinion: Junior cycle reforms are a badly needed corrective

Ireland’s high place in international rankings doesn’t negate need for overhaul

Germaine Greer: some students at Cardiff University launched a petition to stop the feminist academic speaking because of her allegedly transphobic views. Photograph: Newspix/Rex Civility and respect beat political correctness every time

Denying a platform to those who disagree with you drives dissent underground

Eamon de Valera, in addressing the League of Nations when the Irish Free State held the presidency of the League Council, highlighted his disquiet about the larger powers dominating international organisations Diarmaid Ferriter: Kenny must justify his lead role on Brexit

There is precedent for Taoiseach taking on foreign affairs challenge but he must bring coherence and planning

European Commission chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: Some critics have misinterpreted his Gaullism. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters World View: It makes sense to stick closer to Brussels than London on Brexit

We should eschew a bilateral agreement with the UK for the time being

The logic of every report, complaint, discussion and political intervention in the extensive media reporting of the hospital overcrowding this week was that the health service will have to get extra money or the problems will not be solved. Pat Leahy: Predictable response to a predictable hospital crisis

Competing interests and focus on immediacy makes long-term strategy difficult

Average hourly earnings at the start of 2008 were €21.53, according to the CSO figures. They are now €21.55. We are, on average, getting paid roughly the same as we were pre-crisis. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg Cliff Taylor: Tax-take is up, so why do we feel worse off?

Many have seen a stagnation of living standards and USC is one major culprit

Someone moons at Rose of Tralee (picture actually shows previous winner Geraldine O’Grady). Photograph: Eric Luke Oliver Callan: predictions for the Chinese year of the Rooster

Des Cahill does the splits, Dr Eva is in choc shock and someone moons at Rose of Tralee

 Melanie Lynch, founder and director of Her Story, launching the four-day festival  during Nollaig na mBan  with her mother Maria Bourke (right) and  grandmother  Maureen Bourke (centre) at a light installation on Dame Street in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times Nollaig na mBan: Women care all the time, but do we really care for women?

Abortion, domestic violence and equal pay are all issues that must be addressed in 2017

 Chuck Feeney memorably said that philanthropy works best “not when it steers the grantee’s ship, but when it helps put the wind in their sails”. Photograph: Alan Betson Building on the legacy of Chuck Feeney’s philanthropy

Atlantic Philanthropies leaves a chasm in research funding for Irish universities

Movement leader Richard Spencer believes the Alt-right will infiltrate mainstream American culture and politics, starting with deporting undocumented immigrants under Donald Trump. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters Angela Nagle: What the Alt-right is really all about

Their key concern is race, as they embrace slippery use of irony and sense of hip elitism

Nigel Farage: just because the idea that Ireland could leave the European Union came out of his mouth doesn’t mean it is necessarily wrong. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters Noel Whelan: It is naive to say Ireland would never leave the EU

Brexit means our main trading partners, the UK and US, will be outside the EU

Steve Bannon, of the hateful online outlet Breitbart, will be in the White House. It will be the media’s role to challenge this new era, not treat it with such a light touch. Photograph: Getty Images Una Mullally: Why ‘The Irish Times’ should not have published Nicholas Pell

We should not be interested in humouring fascism. We should be invested in destroying it

A protest against the appointment of  alt-right media mogul  Stephen Bannon as Donald Trump’s   chief strategist. Photograph: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images The alt-right movement: everything you need to know

You will be hearing a lot more about this offensive, influential, and reactionary grouping under President Trump

Why we published Nicholas Pell’s article on the Alt-right

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