A  CCTV picture  from the Metropolitan Police Service  shows the three  British teenagers  at Gatwick Airport, before flying to Istanbul, raising concerns they would travel on to Syria to join IS jihadists.  Photograph: AFP/Metropolitan Police/Getty Images

Can I be the only one who jumped out a pub window once or twice at the news that a responsible adult was approaching? Or triggered a near riot in a Sy(...)

‘We liked the word “warns”. It carried intimations of threats and sanctions. Maybe – ring out them bells – Minister of State, Paudie Coffey, had found a way to rein in the big cats of the construction world?’ Photograph: Getty Images

We know that leopards never change their spots and that greedy little toads rarely morph into St Francis of Assisi. But isn’t life more tolerable if w(...)

‘The brilliance of the 64-page formula is that we never had to hear about the subsequent unpleasantness when he recovered.’ Above, author EL James attends the Fifty Shades Of Grey New York Fan First screening  on February 6th. Photograph:  Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Woodie’s are fresh out of rope, according to one feverish creature. They’re probably running low on cable ties too. B&Q is loaning copies of the b(...)

 ‘Operation Transformation is not the X Factor or Big Brother. It is well regarded by many healthcare professionals and has a deadly serious objective.’ Above, Operation Transformation.  Photograph: RTÉ

Reality shows are among those sorrowful mysteries to which the only sane reaction is total bafflement. Why would anyone risk a public unravelling in p(...)

 Alexis Tsipras: on a visit to Ireland last year he engaged in some local/European canvassing with Sinn Féin. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Some weeks ago, while tweeting a link to an insightful analysis of the challenges facing Syriza, I quoted from the writer’s final sentence: “Can a par(...)

New side of Leo Varadkar: the Fine Gael TD told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ last weekend that he’s gay. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly
Who is Leo Varadkar?

Last Sunday, on the morning of his 36th birthday, Leo Varadkar posed on the steps of the RTÉ Radio Centre, a bottle of water in hand, deep, tired c(...)

‘For most people a bonus is the peacetime equivalent of a war medal – a hard-earned reward for striving in exceptionally challenging circumstances.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

At a High Court hearing in June 2008, for the second time that year, Mr Justice Richard Johnson was asking for details of bonuses given to bank and bu(...)

Then mInister for education Niamh Bhreathnach (left) and Mags O’Brien celebrate victory in  the divorce referendum at the RDS on November 25th, 1995. Photograph: Frank Miller

It’s 20 years since Ireland voted for divorce. An Irish Times series, Divorced Ireland, explores the effects of that vote on Irish life, then (...)

Kingsmill Massacre – Alan Black, the sole survivor of the massacre, in 2000 laying a floral tribute at the Bessbrook Town Hall memorial to those killed – “Atrocities like these can never be expunged from a conscience or explained away.”  –  Picture by Stephen Wilson/Pacemaker

Nuance. It was going to be my watchword for 2015. The one by which every utterance would be measured. Life is too short to muster up the pretence o(...)

‘Even 35 years on, Charvet Charlie, his bagman, his stately home, his befurred, entitled mistress, his grovelling Uriah Heep ministers, the phone-tapping, the tails, the threats, all remain too close, too familiar, too infuriating to be classified as fascinating or entertaining, especially at this point in our history, when it is all too clear how the seeds of that poisonous culture would re-erupt like ragwort, again and again, across the decades.’  Above, Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey

Forty-eight hours on, the nausea triggered by 90 minutes of Charlie still lingers. It may be a generational thing. Some aged under 45, say, with no me(...)