Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan: commissioned an analysis from four independent lawyers of the concentration of media ownership in Ireland. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill

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

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

More than 5,600 women in Ireland tried to buy abortion pills online over a five-year period from one Dutch-based supplier alone

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

The collective works in our series show how molten and defiant Irish artworks can be

Let the shaman perform the rites of “unveiling the budget” (telling phrase that) and the other druids and elders deliver the magic words, do the ritual dances and holler the ritual shout of approbation. Photograph: Frank Miller

Financial plan is a tribal ritual, not a serious exercise in democratic scrutiny

Fintan O’Toole: What’s happening across much of the western world right now is that we have whole movements (metaphorically) of 15-year-old adolescent boys. Trump, UKIP and much of the new populist right across Europe have the ludicrous, idiotic swagger of the hormonally deranged schoolboy.

Trump, UKIP and much of the new populist right across Europe have the idiotic swagger of the hormonally deranged schoolboy

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala: fuses drama and dance, exquisite aesthetic refinement and knockabout satire, simple storytelling and dazzlingly complex physical imagery

Dublin Theatre Festival is staging thrilling blends of dance and drama by Michael Keegan-Dolan, Anu and CoisCéim

 A Syrian civil defence volunteer, known as the “white helmets”, holds the body of a child after he was pulled from the rubble following a government forces air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of Karm Homad in the northern city of Aleppo, on October 4th, 2016. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

American indifference to “collateral damage” no more evil than Russian cynicism about the deaths of about 320 civilians, includin(...)

At the commemoration in Custume Barracks, Athlone, a relative points to the plaque marking the 55th anniversary of the siege of Jadotville in the Congo in 1961. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

My uncle could have bragged about Jadotville – but he never did

Sinéad Morrissey: more than one way to view history

The poet grew up in the heat of the Troubles, but her work avoids any direct reckoning

Camille O’Sullivan in Ancient Rain at the  Olympia Theatre,  as part of Dublin Theatre Festival

Dublin Theatre Festival: Irish poems set to music beg the question - why?

Neither St Augustine nor St Thomas Aquinas held that the foetus in the early stages of development has a full human soul. Photograph: Getty

It is wrong to equate a woman to a group of cells at the moment of conception

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan and Taoiseach, Enda Kenny while speaking at the launch of the action plan for education. Photograph: Alan Betson

There is nothing wrong with having high hopes, but action plan for education is an exercise in denial

Arás an Uachtaráin: Michael D Higgins in his study at his official residence. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The President discusses the poverty of his early life, his health, his future and the struggles of the Irish Republic

Immersive: in Laundry each member of the audience had to move through the former Gloucester Street Magdalene laundry alone, forced to confront a deliberately forgotten past

By staging her play in a former Magdalene laundry the playwright compels the audience to inhabit the haunted spaces of Irish hist(...)

Ajai Chopra of the IMF. The the dominant emotion about the 2010 troika bailout was  Relief. Relief that someone else was taking charge. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Underneath our bluster is an insecurity that prevents us from adapting to the changing world

One of the big underlying stories of Ireland in the past 20 years is the strange death of Anglophobia. Illustration: Mark Harwood/Getty/ITPM

A new Irish Times series explores Ireland’s relationship with its bigger, more powerful neighbour, our changing levels of enmity(...)

Emma Donoghue: exile and motherhood both help to shape her novel Room. Photograph: Lynn Goldsmith/Rex

The Dublin author’s book is an intensification of the common experience of having a child, in all its claustrophobic terror and gl(...)

Seamus Heaney at his old primary school in Anahorish, Bellaghy, Co Derry, in spring 1996. Photograph: Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives/John J Burns Library/Boston College

The North’s Minister for Infrastructure has given the go-ahead for a dual carriageway to push right through Mossbawn, Anahorish an(...)

Are we really going to defend the Ireland of the great kleptocrat Charles Haughey? Photograph: Colman Doyle

It is against what would be deemed our national interest to be seen as a rogue state

The certainty that is being held out as the reward for sticking by Apple and appealing the ruling is already gone. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Our decades old economic strategy based on low corporation tax is probably doomed anyway

Troubles: violence looms over Deirdre Madden’s work. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The power of the novelist’s work lies in its control and transformation of powerful feeling into understated art

‘Try this little game. Put the phrase “passionate about” into a search engine and then add a random word.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Coming soon: the passion of the panel beater

Hidden recess: Colm Tóibín explores parts that people try to hide. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Colm Tóibín’s short stories bring into the light the side of themselves that people try to bury

“At 23 miles Jim Hogan was half-dead, slumped on the ground, hoping strangers would understand the universal gesture for “water, please”. He was a pathetic loser – and my hero, then and now.”

Losers of Olympian history are still our heroes – marked out by their courage

John Banville: Wexford’s coast is a place of ‘narrow horizontals’. Photograph: Frank Miller

John Banville won the Booker Prize for ‘The Sea’, but it is of a piece with his other novels, which deal with the tests of time – (...)

Candles are lit  at the vigil at Eyre Square in Galway to mark the first anniversary of the death of Savita Halappanavar. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Irish anti-abortion campaigners should stop basing their case on a wild untruth

Paul Muldoon has pored over his own mixed feelings about the heritage of the Rising

The new public ambivalence is best exemplified by two northern artists, Paul Muldoon and Rita Duffy

The people of three of the five parts of These Islands (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland) now see their relations with the rest of the world in one way while those of the other two (England and Wales) see them very differently.

Current political shape of These Islands carries asterisk: terms and conditions apply

Ballymun: on the estate in 1996; the last high-rise was demolished in 2015. Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Rex

Dublin’s best-known tower blocks were to be a bright new world. What went wrong?

The aftermath of the 1998 Omagh bombing: “Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich, for example, could benefit from a crash course in the Troubles to remind them that Isis no more equals Islam that the UDA equals Protestantism or the IRA Catholicism.” Photograph: Frank Millar/The Irish Times

Our communities have generated resilient and effective terrorist organisations

A woman arrives with a stuffed toy and a bouquet of flowers as people pay tribute near the scene where a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, France. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The line between an open, democratic and civilised society and its nihilistic opponents is defined by terror and pity

Former British Conservative Party leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images

Opportunistic politicians are promoting a discourse based on unrealistic optimism

A sign saying welcome to Northern Ireland is seen on the border of Armagh and Louth in Ireland. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

The Government must oppose moves to take NI out of the EU against its will

 Boris Johnson: The farce of Boris Johnson’s abortive leadership bid is just a token of a deeper truth: this is a game of thrones that is all game and no throne.

Boris Johnson was only playing, after all. But he was playing with fire

Backward-looking nostalgic nationalism: when, exactly, was the golden age of Englishness that Brexiters want to return to? Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty

Leave campaigners cling to ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘This scepter’d isle’. They’ve misunderstood both William Blake and Shakespeare

Focus on equality rather than the creation of a super state

A file image from 2005 showing a fortified police station in the Border village of Crossmaglen in  Northern Ireland. ‘Given that the Border could not be secured with army watchtowers during the Troubles, it is not at all clear how a new policing operation will work.’ Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty

Opinion: ‘To do this seriously and soberly is bad. To do it so carelessly is frankly insulting’

'Vote Leave' campaigner Boris Johnson attends a press conference in London after the Brexit referendum. Photograph: Mary Turner/Getty Images

Brexit vote reveals rancour and distrust at the heart of the English body politic

The English nationalism that fueled this week’s revolution was not explicitly on the table — it was cloaked in talk of Britain and the UK.

Stiff upper lips part and release wild and inarticulate cry of rage and triumph

‘The proportion of children living in consistent poverty nearly doubled in the austerity years. Basic hunger returned as a reality.’ Photograph: Getty Images (file photo)

By investing in young citizens, democracies can rediscover the joys of good government

 Mini demonstrators for Brexit are seen in front of a miniature of British Parliament in Mini-Europe miniture park in Brussels. Photograph: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Leaving the EU is a form of self-harm for suffering communities

English nationalism: Nigel Farage of Ukip unveils a referendum poster. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty

The country seems to be stumbling towards independence as an unintended side effect of disgruntlement with the European Union

A friend of Amanda Alvear holds up her photo at a memorial service the day after a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Group that bought Nama’s NI portfolio also owns an assault rifle maker

The funeral of Gareth Hutch, who was shot dead at the Avondale House flat complex on Dublin’s North Cumberland Street, at the Holy Family church on Aughrim Street, Dublin, last week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Why crime is the best stimulus to the nation’s social conscience

Strong women: Marion O’Dwyer in the Peacock premiere of Portia Coughlan, in 1996. Photograph: Abbey Theatre

The Co Offaly playwright unleashes the great forces of sex and death, doom and rage – in language whose words ooze into each other(...)

Bruce Springsteen’s Croke Park concert: short of impounding Enda Kenny’s air guitar and holding it to ransom, it seems impossible to force the Taoiseach to grasp the value of the arts

No Taoiseach since Éamon de Valera has been so culturally destructive. IDA Ireland understands far better the importance of our gl(...)

There is no disciplinary action arising from the O’Higgins report and none from the Clare Daly affair. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

If you read the O’Higgins report, you will find that at the bottom of so many of its case histories is sheer fecklessness

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association convention, Friday, May 20th, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: Mark Humphrey

White House hopeful offers white working class magical thinking and chance to get even

“If you mention inheritance tax in print, as I have done in the past, you will be bombarded with sob stories about the current oppressive regime and about adult children being thrown out of the family home because they have to sell the house to pay the tax when their parent dies. Some of these stories are complete nonsense.” File photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

The Government has shown its true colours with its cynical inheritance tax stunt

Photograph: David Sleator

The report concludes with the deeply depressing words: “the commission considers that the institution of any disciplinary proceedi(...)

New literary style: Roddy Doyle around 1993. Photograph: Nutan/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Roddy Doyle’s novel about a 10-year-old whose parents’ marriage is falling apart reveals the dark secret that the writer had been (...)

“It would be great to think that the new Government has had a Damascene conversion . . . But its programme reads like somebody blurting out awkward truths and then, appalled at the implications, shrinking back into silence.”  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

‘Maybe we’ve just seen the greatest ideological reversal in Irish politics. I genuinely hope so’

Teacher and exile: Patrick McCabe in 2007. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

The former teacher’s dark masterpiece gives a disconcerting but compelling voice to the mistreated children who were Ireland’s dar(...)

‘Belief that governments can achieve positive social change has evaporated’

Untitled: Philippe VACHER was   filmed in an actual operating theatre, and  shows the French actor falling forward onto a surgical cart littered with medicine bottles and medical devices. Photograph © James Coleman

The influential Irish postwar multimedia artist played with our sense of time and reality

 Mick O’Dea’s portrait of Eamon de Valera. In Tom Murphy’s An Aspect of the Rising, the prostitute  works herself into erotic ecstasies by unleashing a torrent of blistering invective towards the Long Fellow. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Ever since the seismic events of 1916 Irish artists have taken a nuanced view of events

“Instead of waving rifles or proclamations, we should proudly hold aloft our Form 11s.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Confidentiality of tax returns is unquestionable only because it is unquestioned

Going his own way: Paul Muldoon around the time of Madoc. Photograph: Frank Miller

The Co Armagh-born poet is arguably the first real Irish writer of globalisation

Corporate tax avoidance is now a huge political issue forcing the government to stand up to the corporations: President Obama’s effective blocking of the Pfizer/Allergan deal is a resonant moment. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

For ordinary Americans our foreign direct investment wheeze is too shady for comfort

“Abtran is a reputable, law- abiding and entirely legitimate operation. It is not using the BVI to evade tax; it pays its taxes in Ireland. It is quite upfront about the reasons why it is now owned by a BVI company: secrecy.”

The secrecy inherent in offshore is incompatible with democratic accountability

Taoiseach Enda Kenny  at Custom House Quay, Dublin. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The party knew long before it drew up its manifesto that the new government would face fiscal issues

The playwright’s ambition was to create a theatre that was serious in its reflections on Northern Ireland’s political crisis, whil(...)

The former Christian Brothers industrial school at Letterfrack, Co Galway, where Peter Tyrrell was taken in 1924. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Commemorating Rising should not be at the cost of amnesia about the failure of its ideals

Fighting for his life: The Trial of Roger Casement, 1916, painted by John Lavery. Photograph:  Crown copyright/ UK Government art collection/Courtesy Royal Irish Academy

As Casement faced trial for treason in 1916, Shaw wrote a speech that he was convinced could turn the trial into a national dram(...)

Public voice: Paula Meehan in 2015. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The Dubliner grew up in the oral tradition of stories and singing – ‘a vivid, interesting and textured world’. However complex her(...)

Irish Volunteers and one Irish Citizen Army member inside the GPO 1916. Photograph: Defence Forces Military Archives, Cathal Brugha barracks

On the second day of the Easter Rising, soldiers poured into Dublin, and martial law was declared

Mount Street Bridge, where one of the bloodiest  fights of the Easter 1916 Rising took place.  Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mount Street battle erupts, an engagement in which 230 killed or wounded

Jacob’s Biscuit factory, Dublin at the time of the Easter Rising 1916. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

On Easter Monday 1916, the rebels seize key buildings across Dublin city centre

A cross which marks the place where James Connolly was executed, sitting in a chair, in the stonebreakers yard in Kilmainham Gaol yesterday. The other thirteen leaders of the rising were shot against the opposite wall. Photograph: Frank Miller

After a chaotic week, British commander Maxwell proceeds, against advice, with executions. Confusion over who is to die causes ups(...)

Soldiers inspect the interior of Dublin's General Post Office, viewing the complete destruction of the building after being shelled by the British during the Easter Rising 1916.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On the last day of the 1916 Rising, the rebels are forced to surrender unconditionally and brought to Richmond Barracks, where t(...)

Martin Maloinowsk is among the familes facing notice to quit their homes in Tyrrelstown. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/PA

They may be on the same site, but it’s a hell of a long way from Boland’s Mills to Boland’s Quay

Writing Observe the Sons of Ulster was an eye-opener for Frank McGuinness, a Catholic republican

Frank McGuinness’s searing drama dared go into the minds of Northern loyalists who have made their own blood sacrifice in the tren(...)

Sigmund Freud had a name for the psychological mechanism that brings together visceral hatred and deep similarity. He called it “the narcissism of minor difference”. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

Party needs to convince itself that the beautiful reflection it sees in the mirror is a real, and utterly unique, self

It would not be as dramatic as another Rising, but it would make those words on the tattered green flag - Irish Republic - more than a broken dream.

Can the business of forming a government actually be infused with reminders of what we wanted an independent government for?

The Baptism of St Patrick: Harry Clarke’s stained-glass art is deeply questioning. St Patrick is haggard and weary; the image seems to invite us to wonder about his anxiety and about what would come after him

Harry Clarke and Richard King created profoundly questioning work

Shelling: from GPO in Flames, by Norman Teeling. The paintings reproduced here are from his series The Rising, on show at the Oriel Gallery, Clare Street, Dublin 2;

As Trinity College became a barracks, fire wiped out the east side of O’Connell Street

We are not racist, stupid, greedy, lacking in moral direction, guilt ridden or chicken

As British forces storm O’Connell Street, Patrick Pearse orders rebels to evacuate

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.  Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

What we voted for is a profound shift of priorities, towards decent services, a fair use of public resources and a reversal of th(...)

Derek Mahon: the industrial world he grew up in was gradually disappearing. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

In this collection, as in much of the poet’s work, dreams of permanence give way to history’s merciless demand to leave everything(...)

Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

They now have one comfortable majority between them and if they don’t occupy that space together, it becomes a power vacuum.

British prime minister David Cameron. “The odd way in which the threat of a British exit makes the notion of Europe interesting again is actually quite familiar.” Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Threat of Brexit may see union reconnect with its roots in positive side of fear

The Irish Times.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

For most of its period of office, the coalition told citizens that it was essentially powerless and only obeying orders

Friends since university: Eavan Boland and Mary Robinson at Trinity College Dublin, where they met in the 1960s. Photograph courtesy of Eavan Boland

Poet’s reclaiming of the reality of women’s experience was both important and thrilling

The Whitaker consensus: For my entire lifetime, the three pillars of that consensus have shaped Irish government.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Whoever gets into power after the election will run the country in much the same way

Donal McCann as Frank Hardy in the Abbey Theatre’s Irish premiere of Faith Healer by Brian Friel, directed by Joe Dowling, Abbey Theatre, 1980. Photograph: Fergus Bourke, courtesy of the Abbey Theatre

Brian Friel wrote three superb plays in an astonishing two-year burst of activity. ‘Faith Healer’ was the least well received but (...)

Mount Rushmore: Abraham Lincoln may pass muster, but Thomas Jefferson (slave owner), George Washington (slave owner) and Theodore Roosevelt (white supremacist and imperialist) do not. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty

Statues of old white guys are being removed, vandalised or campaigned against. The problem with the new iconoclasm is knowing wher(...)

This fecklessness matters. It means that ministers can get away with pretty much anything. Photograph: Alan Betson

Elected with a huge mandate for radical democratic change, it lapsed into collective indifference and impotence

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: if the Republican candidate is elected president, the US could lurch towards a weird mixture of unilateralism (kick their asses and ask questions later) and isolationism (withdrawing into a nativist fantasy world with no Mexicans, no Muslims and no international obligations). Photograph: Mark Kauzlarich

A lack of political authority due to spiraling inequality is the common thread

“Nearly 20 years ago, I went to the Project Arts Centre in Dublin to see a play called Ladies and Gentlemen by Emma Donoghue, who now has an Oscar nomination for adapting her superb novel, Room. The play wasn’t all that good.” Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The glamorous stuff that gives the nation a lift is a byproduct of a messy, dynamic creative ecosystem full of knowns and unknow(...)

“Other than broad allegations of threats to his safety, we do not know what David Drumm has experienced in prison. But we do know that the US prison system is a disgrace to a civilised country”.

Government has a duty to ensure that citizens who have not been convicted are spared the horrors of US prison system

‘The shock of that famous appearance on Top of the Pops in 1972 wasn’t just the visual weirdness or the playing with homosexuality. There was something deeper and more disturbing going on - the shapeshifter beaming into our living rooms.’

As geniuses tend to do, he anticipated what was coming in the virtual world

Hugely admired: Seamus Heaney in the 1970s. Photograph: Jack McManus

In the poet’s most direct response to the Troubles in his native Northern Ireland, the past is alive with an atavistic violence t(...)

A photograph from The Irish Times property supplement of November 25th 2004  of a  field on the Knocklofty Road in Newcastle, County Tipperary. The sign says: “For Sale: Land Zoned Residential”.

Time and again, local people protested against development on flood plains

The Dublin-born writer found fame in New York, but her best stories are set in Ireland

Phil Lynott performing on stage in 1976. Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images

In this piece, originally published in Magill magazine in January 1986 in the wake of Phil Lynott’s death, Fintan O’Toole recalls (...)

Last time our ruling class thought there was some kind of historic karma at work - Irish developers flying around in his and hers helicopters was payback for the Great Hunger. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Dame Fortune has given us another chance to build a real republic

“In some ways they’re like passengers who have walked away from a car crash, the awful shock buffered by the joy of survival. The sad thing, of course, is that so many of them have indeed walked way”

The rug was pulled from under them but they gradually found their feet

I’m not sure we learn anything from the arts – except that we need them more than ever

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