‘Micheál Martin is obsessed with electoral success in Dublin, but he believes that the way to gain it is by “modernising” the party. He has surrounded himself with people who think the same way, and is doing the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and going “nah-nah-nah-nah” to anyone inside or outside the party who says anything different.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Political commentators are ignoring one reason for Fianna Fáil’s continuing poor performance in opinion polls. Fianna Fáil under Micheál Martin is ali(...)

‘Pregnant models stalked down the catwalk, and instead of carrying dinky little handbags, some of the models toted beautiful babies.’  Photograph: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

As someone who would not recognise a Dolce & Gabbana outfit even if I found it in Martina Navratilova’s dustbin, it was interesting to watch the v(...)

‘The Government operates a system of direct provision for asylum-seekers, so that each adult gets €19.10 a week, along with accommodation and food. People languish for years in a system originally intended to be a temporary measure for six months or so.’ Above, a group of  asylum seekers, refugees and supporters which marched from the Dáil to the Department of Justice last year protesting about the system of direct provision. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Some time ago, I visited a direct provision hostel that is within walking distance of the Dáil. Although it is so centrally located, no one to whom I (...)

‘They are the ones most affected by cutbacks in resources, or services such as guidance counselling. Yet the Government continues to deny the effects of such cutbacks.’ Photograph: Getty Images

The current debate about the Junior Cert conceals a far deeper problem. We have not had a serious public discussion about the aims of education. It us(...)

‘Not one major political party has the courage to represent the absolutely unexceptional view that being a biological parent is more than being a blood donor. Or that it is possible to have an inclusive and tolerant society which also respects the fact that it takes a man and woman to make a child, and that marriage should reflect that reality.’ Photograph: Getty Images

We don’t just have a democratic deficit, but a democratic disaster as the Government legislates with indecent speed concerning the conception and r(...)

‘The majority of people who use IVF in Ireland do not use donor eggs or sperm, but this Bill normalises and reinforces the idea that it is fine to do so, so long as you give the child some meagre information when they turn 18.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Here’s a question. Is it the job of government to reflect reality, or where it is deficient, attempt to improve on it? Let’s apply the test to child p(...)

‘The news that the child you are carrying may not make it to birth, or will only live for a short time, perhaps only hours, days, weeks, months, or in rare cases, years, splinters parents’ hearts.’  Photograph: Getty Images

Hospice is a beautiful word for a beautiful concept. It touches and supports families at their time of greatest need, and does so with discretion and (...)

 ‘The convent in Muckross Park, Donnybrook, is full of exceptional women, but none of them would begrudge praise given to Sr Barnabas Kett (Barnie), as they grieve for her just as much as her beloved family of origin do.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine that you worked closely with thousands of people, and your phenomenal memory allowed you not only to remember the(...)

‘In Ireland, we have a sad tendency to conform when it comes to political ideas, whether it be the rigid consensus of the 1950s, or the apparently ideologically opposite, but in fact, eerily similar 2015 version.’  Photograph: Getty Images

Twitter is not the real world. This may seem an obvious statement if you are not on Twitter. It may appear less so if you are. The main require(...)

‘Lots of people won’t get to be raised by loving biological parents because of neglect, abandonment, or tragic circumstances. Children can turn out really well despite all sorts of challenges. But usually, we recognise that not being raised by your Mam or Dad constitutes a loss.’ Photograph: Getty Images

When it comes to the redefinition of marriage, every major political party, every newspaper’s editorial line, every celebrity is telling us one thing:(...)