‘They are the ones most affected by cutbacks in resources, or services such as guidance counselling. Yet the Government continues to deny the effects of such cutbacks.’ Photograph: Getty Images

The current debate about the Junior Cert conceals a far deeper problem. We have not had a serious public discussion about the aims of education. It us(...)

‘Not one major political party has the courage to represent the absolutely unexceptional view that being a biological parent is more than being a blood donor. Or that it is possible to have an inclusive and tolerant society which also respects the fact that it takes a man and woman to make a child, and that marriage should reflect that reality.’ Photograph: Getty Images

We don’t just have a democratic deficit, but a democratic disaster as the Government legislates with indecent speed concerning the conception and r(...)

‘The majority of people who use IVF in Ireland do not use donor eggs or sperm, but this Bill normalises and reinforces the idea that it is fine to do so, so long as you give the child some meagre information when they turn 18.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Here’s a question. Is it the job of government to reflect reality, or where it is deficient, attempt to improve on it? Let’s apply the test to child p(...)

‘The news that the child you are carrying may not make it to birth, or will only live for a short time, perhaps only hours, days, weeks, months, or in rare cases, years, splinters parents’ hearts.’  Photograph: Getty Images

Hospice is a beautiful word for a beautiful concept. It touches and supports families at their time of greatest need, and does so with discretion and (...)

 ‘The convent in Muckross Park, Donnybrook, is full of exceptional women, but none of them would begrudge praise given to Sr Barnabas Kett (Barnie), as they grieve for her just as much as her beloved family of origin do.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine that you worked closely with thousands of people, and your phenomenal memory allowed you not only to remember the(...)

‘In Ireland, we have a sad tendency to conform when it comes to political ideas, whether it be the rigid consensus of the 1950s, or the apparently ideologically opposite, but in fact, eerily similar 2015 version.’  Photograph: Getty Images

Twitter is not the real world. This may seem an obvious statement if you are not on Twitter. It may appear less so if you are. The main require(...)

‘Lots of people won’t get to be raised by loving biological parents because of neglect, abandonment, or tragic circumstances. Children can turn out really well despite all sorts of challenges. But usually, we recognise that not being raised by your Mam or Dad constitutes a loss.’ Photograph: Getty Images

When it comes to the redefinition of marriage, every major political party, every newspaper’s editorial line, every celebrity is telling us one thing:(...)

Through volunteer photographers at Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, baby Liadan’s parents find comfort.  Photographer: EIleen Hyland

We Irish pride ourselves on how well we deal with death. Old traditions such as the wake, so long as they did not turn into a drunken debauch, had tre(...)

‘Ironically, moderate Muslims are likely to suffer most in the fallout from the Paris murders, and were also most likely to suffer in the aftermath of the publication of provocative cartoons or commentary.’  Above, Hassen Chalghoumi (left), Imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris, leaves flowers and prays near the Charlie Hebdo offices on Thursday. Photograph: Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

In the wake of the murders of the Charlie Hebdo team, it is imperative that there is a united front in condemning murder and violence as a response to(...)

‘My mother is 15 years dead this year, and I found myself thinking about the Christmas pudding that she used to steam in a gallon tin.’ Photograph: Getty Images

This Christmas, I found myself with tears in my eyes about a pudding. And not even a real one, but the memory of a pudding. My mother is 15 years d(...)