Philip Pettit: the absence of deference is almost as important as the absence of fear.  Photograph: Frank Wojciechowski/Princeton University

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Irish politics is short on ideas, with almost all the major parties clustering around a narrow range of(...)

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre,  one of our finest pieces of cultural infrastructure, is being sold off by Nama at a quarter of its original cost. Photograph: Alan Betson

Consider two depreciating assets: Ireland’s most lavish arts venue and the minister for the arts. If you had shares in either of them, you’d be jumpin(...)

Will we end up subsidising Greyhound’s operations by paying family income supplement to some of their workers? Photograph: David Sleator

Rubbish, trash, garbage – this column has them all. But also some bigger things: the stripping away of citizenship and the brutalisation of everyday l(...)

The Abbey has become less of a cultural powerhouse and more of a managerial institution.

It would be easy, if you read only the conclusions of the independent review of the Abbey Theatre commissioned by the Arts Council and published this (...)

‘I suspect this is what really disturbs some priests: not Fr Michael Cleary’s deviance from the standards he himself preached but the yearning for a family life that, however awkwardly, he tried to honour.’ Photograph:  THE IRISH TIMES

The story of Fr Michael Cleary, the superstar priest who had two sons with his housekeeper Phyllis Hamilton, is so well known that it is hard to under(...)

Fr Michael Cleary during the Papal visit to Ireland in 1979

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has strongly dissociated himself from a parish priest who cast doubt on claims that Fr Michael Cleary h(...)

Photograph: Louis Monier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

It is obvious that Samuel Beckett’s works are among the most important of the 20th century. But what exactly do we mean by “Beckett’s works”? With (...)

Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor and ex-press secretary to British Prime Minister David Cameron outside the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

In the past few days, we’ve seen both ends of a spectrum: journalism repressed and journalism run amok. In Egypt, a highly politicised court sentenced(...)

‘The church in Belize cited the Flynn case as sanction for the firing of Ms Roches. The chief justice of Belize, however, was sceptical to the point of open contempt for Ireland’s standing in these matters.’ Above, Eileen Flynn, who  was dismissed from her job at the Holy Faith school in New Ross in 1982. Photograph: Peter Thursfield / THE IRISH TIMES

Most people, religious or non-religious, would now accept that the toxic intertwining of church and State deformed both. But it is not just an aspect (...)

Baileys winner: Eimear McBride. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Recently, when Eimear McBride won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the eminent English critic John Sutherland wrote a typically perceptive and p(...)