Asylum seekers protesting against conditions at Birchwood House direct provision centre in 2014: “Who benefits from imposing a structure on people that strips them of their dignity and identity?” Photograph:  Patrick Browne

It’s not enough to feel sad about direct provision. In January, during a United Nations committee examining the rights of children in Ireland, Childre(...)

The interior of the now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott St, Dublin. Official policy-making was heavily influenced by the highly moralistic attitudes evident in Irish society regarding sexuality and illegitimacy, which were hardened by the increased Catholicism of the new Free State. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

Welfare reform, especially of the Irish Poor Law system, was a key facet of republicanism and nationalism in revolutionary and Free State Ireland. (...)

Jo Spain: I look at my children now, one of whom is four, and think – imagine telling a child of that age they had a new mammy and daddy? Imagine asking them to forget their mother? I get a lump in my throat every time I think of my dad, a small boy, going through that traumatic experience

There is no worse pain imaginable to a parent than the loss of a child. So it is truly distressing to realise that, for decades, a policy of forcing m(...)

Women who worked in the Magdalene laundries and remain resident in Ireland will get a medical card and other supports including home help, counselling and physiotherapy services free of charge from July 1st when the Redress for Women Who Were Resident in Certain Institutions Act comes into force.

Women who worked in the Magdalene laundries and remain resident in Ireland will get a medical card and other supports including home help, counselling(...)

Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch:  no means-testing for  medical cards. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch has said survivors of the Magdalene laundries can still apply for the medical card under the State’s(...)

Teenagers (from left) Ailish Kerr, Glasnevin, Trina Tsai, Waterford, Dylan Byrne, Tullamore, Nathan Patterson, Swords, Alison Kershaw, Blanchardstown, Dan Connor, Drumcondra, and Darragh Staunton, Finglas, at the launch of the BeLonG To YES campaign  in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage shows both striking differences and common dynamics across the Atlantic. Ireland and the United States ha(...)

Minister of State for Social Protection Kevin Humphreys: said targeting health costs was a possible next step to recoup State expenses from insurance companies

The Government is hoping to recoup more than €20 million next year from insurance companies for welfare payments paid to people who go on to get sub(...)

Returned emigrant Tom Lawlor: ‘I’ve never felt any homophobia. I’ve never felt that my relationships have been judged differently from those of my peers.’ Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Support for same-sex marriage is rising steadily, and a majority is ready to vote Yes in next year’s constitutional referendum. Seventy-one per cen(...)

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald published a Bill providing free medical care for survivors of Magdalene laundries. Photograph: Alan Betson

Free medical care will be provided to survivors of the Magdalene laundries in new legislation ushering in the next phase of a Government support pack(...)

Time and time again, politicians fail to trust people, says Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Politicians should have enough trust in voters to turn down demands for projects such as schools rather than giving in to every request, Minister for (...)