Education costs: Is it fair for most parents to struggle to fund their children’s education, while a substantial number of parents accept child benefit yet fail to keep their side of the bargain, which is to ensure their children become contributors to society? I think not. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

There are no votes in ensuring children from lower socio-economic groups get to college, says Jacky Jones

Gardasil, a vaccine against cervical cancer: Approximately 300 women get cervical cancer every year in Ireland and 100 women die from the disease. The vaccine can prevent seven out of 10 cervical cancers.  Photograph: AFP/ Getty Images

According to some, the HPV vaccine encourages promiscuity, says Jacky Jones

Building trust involves all the partners keeping the promises they make, being supportive of each other, and behaving in ways that benefit the partnership as a whole. Illustration: Thinkstock

Trust is a poorly understood and an often taken-for-granted phenomenon

Cardinals Lorenzo Baldisseri, left, and Christoph Schoenborn show a copy of ‘The Joy of Love’. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

‘The Joy of Love’ shows the Vatican is still obsessed with sexual activity between consenting adults

More Irish people are a healthy weight now than eight years ago. Photograph: Thinkstock

Ireland was not even mentioned in the ‘Lancet’ obesity report

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall: no power to look at  complaints relating to clinical matters. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Jacky Jones: Complaints system is flawed by the restrictions it places on the ombudsman

Silver surfer is a relatively new ageist term which emphasises hair colour instead of computer skill. Photograph: iStockphoto

Second opinion: The ESRI scored an own goal using ageist terms in its housing report, argues Jacky Jones

Eimear Clarkin, from Wexford, at a Repeal the Eighth Amendment rally in Dublin last October after the arrival of the abortion pill bus from its tour of Ireland. Photograph: Aidan  Crawley

Irish attitudes have changed since 1983 and it is time our Constitution reflected that

The health consequences of domestic violence are horrendous. Participants in the survey reported bruising, burns and fractures. Photograph: Thinkstock

More than 1 in 4 Irish women surveyed had been subjected to physical or sexual abuse by a partner

Dr Paddy Hillery, IMO NCHD committee, Dr Ray Walley, president of the IMO, and Dr Peadar Gilligan, consultant chairman, prior to a briefing on the health services in the context of the general election. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

None of the parties has solutions to ever-growing waiting lists

A maternity strategy is either woman-centred or it is not. Pregnancy is either a normal physiological process or it is pathological. The new national maternity strategy wants to have it both ways. Photograph: Thinkstock

Second opinion: After a 60-year wait, the National Maternity Strategy is a big disappointment

People from Syria hold placards during a rally outside the main railway station in Cologne, Germany. Photograph: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Even today Irish six-year-olds learn that being a virgin makes a woman special

There is so much hype about diet and exercise that sensible adults want to go to bed and pull the duvet over their heads. Photograph: Thinkstock

Reality television will not work in the long term – we need policies and legislation

Unlike private sector, public sector workers do not know how to partner with either citizens or other agencies. Photograph: Getty

Public sector workers don’t know how to partner with citizens or other agencies

A woman takes a picture of a globe at the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in France. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wants everyone to pursue “sustainable lifestyles”. Photograph: Christophe Ena/PA

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change advocates ‘sustainable lifestyles’

Inequality between men and women is evident everywhere in Irish society.

Are we complacent or brainwashed into thinking men are better at making decisions?

The best things about Christmas really are free: the carol singing, being around children, long walks, and meeting friends and family. Ignore all the hype. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

The best things about Christmas are free. Don’t forget that

The differences in iron content in the diets of men and women, and boys and girls, suggest these are related to how males and females are catered for when it comes to food. Photograph: Thinkstock

Shoppers are busy checking for salt and sugar, but iron content is also important

We need to ensure migrants have their human rights vindicated from day one.  Photograph: Thinkstock

We need to ensure migrants have their human rights vindicated from day one

An occupancy rate of 95% for Irish acute hospitals is much higher than in the US and UK. Photograph: Thinkstcok

More hospital beds will not solve the crisis in our emergency wards, says Jacky Jones

Irish people’s relationship with red meat has always been problematic, leading not only to cancer but to cardiovascular diseases. Photograph: Thinkstock

Eating quality red meat no more than three times a week is safe

Misleading labelling: low-fat products usually contain high amounts of sugar and low-sugar products are often full of fats and calories. Photograph: Thinkstock

Every day, we are bombarded with messages from food and drink manufacturers and persuaded to buy products we do not need

The 2013 Annual Report from Women’s Aid shows that 16,464 women reported being stabbed, punched raped, kicked, choked, beaten, stalked and harassed. Photograph: Thinkstock

Domestic violence is misunderstood in Ireland because little is known about its prevalence, or the perpetrators - neither the CSO (...)

Lieut Seamus Shannon presents Conor McDonagh (4) and his sister Kyla (7) with a national flag and a copy of the 1916 proclamation at a ceremony in St Patrick’s National School, Cornanool, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photograph: Keith Heneghan / Phocus

Let’s not pretend this is a great little country for equality and human rights

It doesn’t matter how old or thin we are, everyone needs to exercise. Photograph: Thinkstock

Exercise should be promoted for its own sake as empowering, enjoyable and great for psychological health and not just something ob(...)

Dishcloths: E. coli was present on over one-quarter of dishcloths and 14 per cent were contaminated with Listeria. Photograph: Thinkstock

Focus on sterile sprays may endanger children who need to get used to bacteria

Nothing humans do is ever straightforward. We are the only mammals that have made a meal, excuse the pun, out of feeding our young. Photograph: Thinkstock

Jacky Jones: greater patriarchy and misogyny lead to lower rates

According to Bird Watch Ireland, gulls are useful scavengers and provide a service to towns and cities. Photograph: Thinkstock

Gulls, and other birds and animals, have the right to forage for food wherever they like

Many people (mostly men) respond aggressively when they feel angry, using verbal or/and physical body language. Photograph: Thinkstock

The best way to respond to angry feelings is by being assertive, then verbalising it

Nine-year-olds now developing same chest and waist size as Leaving Cert students of old

Cardinal Seán Brady arrives to give evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry at Banbridge Court House, Co Down.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The church’s obsession with normal sexual activity engendered a warped view of sexual abuse within the hierarchy

Photograph: Thinkstock

The most important aspect of a travelling mindset, according to Alain De Botton, is ‘receptivity’ and approaching new places with (...)

‘Equality between men and women needs to be the No 1 priority for health and society. Nothing less than 50-50 will do.’ Illustration: Thinkstock

International Men’s Health Week offers an opportunity to focus on equality

Only 68 per cent of all HSE complaints are investigated within the 30-day target. My family are still waiting for a resolution to a complaint, made 16 months ago, which is now being investigated by the Ombudsman. Photograph: Thinkstock

According to a new report, we make fewer complaints about healthcare than people in other jurisdictions

Bereaved parents Mark and Róisín Molloy with Amy Delahunt and Ollie Kelly: maternity practices at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, caused them great personal loss. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Men’s rights mattered more than women’s. Mothers were almost seen as incubators

Restrictions on marketing foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and high-fat foods are likely to have a greater impact on reducing obesity inequalities than campaigns targeted at individuals.Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

It would be great if the debate could be about healthy weight and feel-good physical activity

Blaming depression for violent behaviour does not help anyone and stigmatises mental illness. Photograph: Thinkstock

Time for balanced debate on violence and mental illness based on scientific fact, not primeval fear

A total of 8,627 health service employees (HSE and HSE-funded agencies) completed the first-ever health service employee survey on themes such as leadership and overall strategy.

The first employee survey shows that fewer than one in 10 health workers believe change is being well managed, says Jacky Jones

Adults and children need to be able to say ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘I will think about it’, in the context of everyday respectful relationships. Photograph: Thinkstock

Male attitudes are the cause of sexual violence, not lack of consent education, says Jacky Jones

Hospitals need to stop counting patients, beds and discharges, and start measuring outcomes and value for money. Photograph: iStockphoto

More than one million people were treated by emergency departments in 2014, says Jacky Jones

In practice, women in Ireland have little choice about how, when and where to give birth. Photograph: Thinkstock

Ireland’s consultant-led maternity services are misogynistic and need to be overhauled, says Jacky Jones

The latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions from the Central Statistics Office makes for grim reading, says Jacky Jones

Operation Transformation: television and radio shows focused on individual lifestyles will not fix the obesity problem and may even make things worse. Photograph: RTÉ

If RTÉ wants to contribute to population health, it must produce programmes that expose the determinants of obesity, says Jacky Jo(...)

More money never makes up for the loneliness and homesickness that can be felt by emigrants. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Nearly 250,000 healthy citizens have left since 2008, but no one seems to care

 The promenade from the Claddagh to the lighthouse on Mutton Island is one of the few places left in Galway city where citizens can walk without being deafened by traffic noise. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Noise pollution is a huge and growing problem all over Europe

Social housing is not only for poor people; it is every citizen’s right, says Jacky Jones

‘Women who agree to be surrogate mothers lie to themselves for nine months to avoid cognitive dissonance.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Right to parenthood does not mean State must legalise surrogacy

Both organisations uncannily alike in the way they operate – and in their shortcomings

Children are strapped into buggies for the convenience of parents, often until they start school. Photograph: Getty Images

We need to stop giving lifestyle advice and start focusing on health throughout the life-course

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland wants school vending machines to stock only healthy options. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Actions proposed by Royal College of Physicians will work and should be acted on

Dr Jacky Jones explains why Articles 40.3.3 and 41.2 of the Constitution need to go

Unless the education system changes, the health of those in lower socioeconomic groups will deteriorate even further

The Healthy Ireland plan, launched in 2013, aims to address the deep-rooted inequalities that lead to poor health

People seem to be relying on medical treatments to solve problems caused by eating

Managers and frontline workers need to know what each treatment and service costs per service user.

The system is not broken. It is just not designed to do the job it has to do

The sugar content of one glass of pure orange juice and a yogurt exceed the WHO recommended daily limit for children. Photograph: Thinkstock

People who consume 17-21 per cent of their calories as added sugar have a 38 per cent greater risk of death from cardiovascular di(...)

Eileen Flynn from Ballyfermot with Travellers and supporters  protesting outside the Dáil on Kildare Street, Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

There is a convincing case for the State finally to recognise Travellers as a distinct ethnic group

The Minister, Dr James Reilly, has said the overall budget will remain the same, so the Health and Wellbeing Division will have to make do with €234 million to not only promote health and prevent disease, but reverse the ill-health caused by the actions of other sectors.  Photograph: Getty Images

Universal Health Insurance: will it make us any healthier?

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, with TDs and Senators from all parties on the plinth at Leinster House after a breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Equal societies have healthier men, women and children

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