‘Last month I reported on President Michael D Higgins’s visit to Africa. For this occasionally jaundiced Irishman it was a heartening experience. So much of the best in our people is daily experience there. Meeting Irish missionaries and compatriots with NGOs felt like something of a rejuvenation.’ Above,  President Michael D Higgins at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in  Addis Ababa where he  delivered the keynote address on the fourth day of his  official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa. Photograph:  Chris Bellew /  Fennell Photography

It’s the season of goodwill, so let’s attempt it. That honest Staffordshire man Dr Samuel Johnson once said “the Irish are a fair people: they never s(...)

A man from the Sudan who is believed to have travelled to the the UK from Calais while clinging to the bottom of a lorry has died after falling beneath the vehicle’s wheels. File photograph of M25.   Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

A man from the Sudan who is believed to have travelled to the the UK from Calais while clinging to the bottom of a lorry has died after falling beneat(...)

Health professionals with Médecins Sans Frontières at a training session in Brussels prior to their depature for west Africa to deliver care to Ebola patients.  Photograph: MSF

On a freezing morning near an industrial site on the outskirts of Brussels, a group of 40 people are hugging Styrofoam cups of coffee and chatting as (...)

Irish Catholic Bishop’s Conference has welcomed Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s new working group on direct provision but called for urgent action from the Government on the issue. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Catholic bishops have appealed for urgent action by the Government to address the direct provision system for asylum seekers. They welcomed Minister f(...)

Aid agencies have assessed that 78 million people are in need of assistance. Above, a displaced boy, who fled from Islamic State violence in Mosul, stands in refugee camp on the outskirts of the Kurdish city of Arbil. Photograph:  Azad Lashkari/Reuters

Struggling to cope with record numbers of victims of conflict, the United Nations appealed Monday for $16.4 billion (€13.3 billion) to finance humanit(...)

Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi gestures during his trial on charges of spying and terrorism. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood organisation has been desigated a terrorist group by Cairo. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Egypt is beset by foreign terrorists on its borders, organised domestic terrorists in Sinai and lone wolf terrorists who plant homemade bombs at vulne(...)

Kenyan men work  on a road being built by China Wuyi, a Chinese state company: China has played a crucial role in Africa’s economic development over the past 15 years. Photograph: Antony Njuguna/Reuters

The crucial role China has played in Africa’s economic development over the past 15 years has become so pronounced that western countries now see it a(...)

File image: Military personnel stand guard during a patrol in Tabit village in Sudan. At least 133 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in clashes between two groups belonging to an Arab tribe in Sudan’s West Kordofan state, a tribal leader has said. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters.

At least 133 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in clashes between two groups belonging to an Arab tribe in Sudan’s West Kordofan stat(...)

‘The Desert Charge’ by Dublin artist Aloysius O’Kelly

In 1883, the Dublin artist Aloysius O’Kelly – a staunch Fenian – travelled to Sudan to work as an illustrator for the Pictorial World, a British weekl(...)

President Michael D Higgins who is visiting Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa: “These are our  fellow children of the planet. We have to decide that we will allow the people to live and to survive at least . . . Feeding children on 80 cents a day and to be short of the 80 cents is a scandal to humanity.” Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

It might have been a scene from Yeats’s Among School Children, there in the Tierkidi refugee camp in Ethiopia’s Gambella province on the borders with (...)