Customers’ data provides valuable information, which can be used to make those customers more profitable. Whether it is targeted advertising, or a customised news feed, our data are manipulated to keep us loyal to service providers or to tempt us to spend money. Our personal data are precious - we must take back control

We are the first generation of people to give our information freely and in bulk to almost anyone who asks for it. We have allowed ourselves to be infantilised by the technology.

‘We are basically telling the future children of Ireland: ‘Hey kids, it’s okay to shoot up or snort a line of cocaine – but remember, just a small amount.’’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Ireland’s youth will suffer from looser drug laws

Government needs to realise we already consume drugs with dangerous abandon

About 800 women and girls are reported as travelling from Northern Ireland to Britain each year for abortions. Photograph: Paul Mezzer/FRF/Getty North’s politicians are leaving human rights to the courts

Abortion case proves the importance of the Human Rights Act to Northern Ireland

U2 on stage in London during their ‘Joshua Tree’ heritage tour. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters Creative Ireland is not listening to popular music

Contemporary music deemed to be ‘commercial’ is overlooked and underfunded

Boris Johnson and Ukip’s Douglas Carswell on the campaign trail ahead of the Brexit referendum. ‘A crude question divides a nation, driven by emotions not on the ballot paper, paralysing politics for years to come.’ File photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Polly Toynbee: A second Brexit referendum would be a disaster

Best hope of avoiding disaster is to revoke article 50 triggering open-ended transition

 At the moment it is still mainly former politicians, such as Tony Blair and Nick Clegg, who are explicit about their desire to prevent the UK leaving the EU. File photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images Gideon Rachman: The democratic case for stopping Brexit

It is a distinct possibility that there will be revelatory moments in the next two years that create a clear demand for a second vote

Modular homes being built for social housing in Ballymun, Dublin, in 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Fintan O’Toole: The homeless are trapped in a hellish circle

Governing policies mean that homeless families are now too poor for social housing

Garry Hynes: ‘When we lose our communities we lose, at a fundamental level, the sense of who we are.’ File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times Garry Hynes: Human condition is based on people and place

When we lose our communities we lose, at a fundamental level, the sense of who we are

‘There is little evidence to suggest that migrants, from the EU in particular, push down wages or displace the jobs of domestic workers.’ File photograph: Ben Borg Cardona/AFP/Getty Images Why migration to Ireland should be encouraged

Immigrants could be key in tackling the demographic crises faced by the State

Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates beating Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images Brian Boyd: Federer happy to talk about drugs so why does nobody want to ask?

Wimbledon winner’s remarkable revival raises questions that only he seems to be asking

France has achieved a 25 per cent decline in alcohol consumption since introducing advertising restrictions via the “Loi Evin”. Photograph: Fran Veale Why banning alcohol advertising for young people is the right move

Frank Murray: It is shocking that children see more alcohol adverts than adults

People whose capacity is impaired because of mental health difficulties should have the same entitlement to have their views heard and their values respected as everybody else. Reform of mental health law should put patient’s voice to the fore

Changes are afoot, but comprehensive review of Mental Health Act is urgently required

Dachshund pups in small enclosures at an illegal puppy farm in the midlands. Many mistakenly believe the key issue with animal welfare is inadequate legislation. Photograph: Fergal Shanahan A well-enforced welfare system for animals long overdue

Puppy farming – and animal welfare generally – are still among Ireland’s saddest secrets

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald: at the start of this year they both signalled that the party needed to review its position on coalition. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Sinn Féin's changed coalition stance is the big political move of 2017

Opinion: Leo Varadkar has potential but he has failed to show it so far

“Our blind acceptance and compliance with technologies means that the people who know us best – what we like, want, prefer, aspire to be – are not our governments but Google and Facebook.” Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Opening our digital door to welcome in tech-Stasi police

Many of the ‘problems’ being sold to us by digital technologies aren’t problems at all

Men dressed as customs officers take part in a protest outside Stormont against Brexit and its effect on the Border. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images A frictionless Border is impossible, an invisible one undesirable

Suspension of talks between NI parties does not bode well for a creative solution

Brexit tussle: Michel Barnier won this week’s war of words with Boris Johnson. Photograph: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg Britain’s Brexit paralysis: New PM could be the only solution

Denis Staunton: Johnson, Hammond and Davis all potential successors to Theresa May

 New figures by the CSO show  the domestic economy is continuing to grow strongly as people are spending more. Photograph: Getty Images Preparing for economic shocks is more important than a tax cut

Cliff Taylor: Stripping out big multinationals presents a different picture of the economy

French president Emmanuel Macron at Versailles. Photograph: AFP Macron’s idealism is a worthy model for Irish politics

Irish politicians should heed the French president and show what we stand for

'Vincent Browne on TV3 showed a genuine commitment to diversity.’ Photograph: Brian McEvoy Noel Whelan: Six of the best from Vincent Browne

The journalist leaves a trail of memorable moments as he prepares to sign off for good

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Tom Parlon: We must spend on infrastructure now

Extra funding for strategic investment is welcome - but we cannot delay using it

The default digital age of consent in the EU is 16. However, member states have the option of lowering that age of consent to the age of 13. Photograph: Andrew Gombert/EPA We need to talk about the Irish ‘digital age of consent’

Mooted change of parental consent limit from 16 to 13 should make us concerned

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. “While there have been some cringe-inducing moments, they haven’t damaged his standing and if anything probably enhanced his appeal to younger voters.” Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Stephen Collins: Budget battles await honeymooning Varadkar

Taoiseach should use summer respite to steel himself for tough decisions ahead

DUP leader Arlene Foster. The DUP routes all candidate donations via the party, as does Sinn Féin. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images Newton Emerson: North’s political donations row a bottle of smoke

Results from any further transparency likely to disappoint conspiracy theorists

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe arrives for a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet Capital spending must not be hijacked by ‘new politics’

We desperately need new infrastructure, but we cannot allow special interests to dictate it

Donald Trump jnr with his father. Just as Trump’s proposal for co-operation with Russia on cybersecurity and the move to allow Ivanka to sit at the G20 table was met with bafflement, Trump jnr’s decision to meet with a Russian lawyer and then not disclose it could be seen as political naivety at best. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images Donald Trump jnr’s actions show the first family is out of their depth

Son’s meeting with Russian lawyer has serious implications for US president

The bill proposes to ban the use of disposable coffee cups which are non recyclable by 2020 Maybe ‘new politics’ is able to deliver reform after all

Issues like the environment are bigger than any one party

“The whole European co-operation project is at a ‘Kairos moment – a crucial moment of truth-telling’.” Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images Churches must be more vocal in speaking about EU successes

At the heart of the European Union must be a vision beyond ‘prosperity’ for some

Mary Lou McDonald, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams and Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin at Stormont last January. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Patience of McGuinness a useful example for North’s deadlocked parties

Former deputy first minister pursued long-term strategy with much forbearance

The deadline for the Rugby World Cup was treated as absolute. The deadline for ending an abuse of the rights of our children remains a moveable feast. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho Fintan O’Toole: Rugby is an emergency, homeless kids can wait

Government meets rugby event deadline but misses one on homeless children

Minister for Health Simon Harris at the launch of the third national cancer strategy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Success of cancer strategy hinges on funding decisions

Well-developed strategy provides clear road map for improving survival rates

Thisispopbaby’s production ‘Riot’. “It is not blindly optimistic. It places resistance and egalitarianism front and centre.” Una Mullally: Riotous take on Ireland shows us all we can be

‘Riot’ drenches modern Ireland in colour in a triumph of wild and uplifting theatre

The British government proposes that, the day after Brexit, Europeans obtain the status of “third country nationals”. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images UK offer on rights of EU citizens in UK grossly inadequate

Retrospective removal of rights already acquired must not be allowed

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin. Photograph: Niall  Carson/PA Oliver Callan: Varadkar continues tradition of pointless gestures

Taoiseach glad-hands Trudeau and sends Deasy to DC as emigration flood continues

US president Donald Trump in Hamburg, on Friday.  Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images Donald Trump will survive as president – for now

US leader’s alarming behaviour has yet to provoke a meaningful Republican backlash

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten announcing the broadband plan last April.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne Rural broadband should be an absolute priority

Irish politicians cannot afford to delay delivery of decent connections any longer

Moroccan migrants rest at the port of Barbate after 163 migrants, including 50 children, were rescued from the Strait of Gibraltar on Friday. Photograph: Marcos Moreno/AFP/Getty Images World View: Migration coverage is polarised and narrow

A new study shows how reporting often reduces migrant experiences to stereotypes

Éamon de Valera with members of the cabinet during the inauguration of the Constitution in 1937. Photograph: Hulton Archive Diarmaid Ferriter: Irish Constitution stands the test of time

De Valera and his team created a robust, adaptable and sophisticated document

Ready for the world: A banner supporting Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid is unveiled at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Inpho/Billy Stickland The old Shane Ross would have railed against rugby Bill

The legislation commits significant public resources to Rugby World Cup bid with little scrutiny

A HSE audit found €1.85 million in top-up payments to St John of God executives Is money getting in the way of the religious mission?

St John of God saga illustrates the opaque ownership structure of some key public services

A tussle for Jack Sock’s Wimbledon towel on the second day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, in London, England. Photograph: Screengrab/BBC Brian Boyd: Towelgate shows the failings of social media

Furore over the Wimbledon tussle highlights a digital desperation for popularity

Ken Purcell, Scott Masterson, Paul Murphy, Michael Murphy, Ciarán Mahon, Frank Donaghy and Michael Banks following their acquittal in the  Jobstown protest trial. Photograph: PA Joe Higgins: Inquiry into Garda handling of Jobstown case needed

Bulk of media was partisan and hostile, while some Garda evidence was surreal

Solidarity/People Before Profit  TDs Mick Barry, Bríd Smith, Paul Murphy and Gino Kenny. Far left’s high profile contrasts sharply with modest electoral reach

Factionalism has long relegated fractious hard left to margins of Irish politics

Minister for Health Simon Harris at the launch of a new national cancer strategy for 2017-2026: “In Ireland there are currently over 150,000 cancer survivors and this number will grow as cancer incidence grows and treatments improve.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill Simon Harris: Fight against cancer requires sustained national effort

Ireland aims to be in top quartile of European countries for cancer survival

“The notion that Ireland could somehow do a better deal if it was not tied to the EU 27 is laughable.” Photograph: iStock/Getty Ireland’s interests lie in strengthened EU after Brexit

State has vested interest in supporting EU negotiating stance on UK exit

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