Sky-high cost of childcare: childcare accounts for about 35 per cent of income for Irish parents with two children; the average in the rest of the EU is between 10 and 12 per cent. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty

Just as swallows herald the arrival of summer, the scramble by political parties in recent days to declare their childcare credentials is a sure sign (...)

‘If communication with teachers and students is good, there’s less likely to be conflict with parents.’ Photograph: Getty Images

How can you help your children to reach their full potential in school? Dozens of studies make it clear what matters most in a child’s education is(...)

Psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney: “I’ve been deeply troubled by the way the campaign has been run by some elements on the No side.” Photograph: Dave Meehan

Clinical psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney has said she was so troubled by how some on the No side in the same-sex marriage referendum campaign were co(...)

Ireland’s most borrowed: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, now also a hit film with  Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck

What do a disappearing wife, the driver theory test and a lot of wimpy kids have in common? They are among the subjects covered by Ireland’s most b(...)

100 days of happiness

Maybe you’ve been watching Dr Maureen Gaffney’s show on, “How to be happy”, which involves a somewhat scientific approach to attaining happiness invol(...)

Yo, Hodor? Hodor!

Hodorhodor? Hodor! Okay, I’ll stop now but that’s essentially the entire point of the Yo, Hodor iOS app. It’s about as useful as a back pocket in a ve(...)

On the road: Becks and his mates in ‘David Beckham Into the Unknown’

Before David Beckham sets off on a motorcycle trip from Rio through the Amazon rainforest “to find himself”, his wife, Victoria, reasonably asks, “Why(...)

Dr Maureen Gaffney: “I think we’re dispositionally optimistic. We don’t have American-style optimism. I think the Irish one is captured by the word ‘grand’. It’s kind of ambiguous.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Fostering positivity: Psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

In 2006, when the economy was at full throttle, powering inexorably towards a cliff that had yet to loom into view, the annual Gallup survey of nation(...)

Stalwart support: Marie Fleming with her partner, Tom Curran. Photograph: Garry O’Neill

I came to Marie Fleming’s book knowing just a few facts about her. I knew that she suffered from multiple sclerosis. Faced by the certain prosp(...)

Independent Senator Katherine Zappone said the group’s reform proposals could be achieved by way of legislation. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Six principles to reform the Seanad will be put forward today by the group Democracy Matters, which successfully opposed its abolition in last year’s (...)