Seán FitzPatrick, after being  acquitted last week. Under intense pressure, jurors heard complex evidence from a number of witnesses and came up with verdicts that seem nuanced, sophisticated, coherent and fair. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

In spite of appearances, people are smart. Give so-called ordinary people enough information, a calm context in which to interpret it and a sen(...)

The marketisation of education: a Grant Thornton report points out that that Irish universities have become again, at their core, private institutions. Photograph: Thinkstock

One of the great achievements of modern culture is the idea of third-level education as a public good. In the decades after the second World Wa(...)

Protesters  demonstrate against the visit of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel last week in Athens,  a day after Greece  returned to international bond markets. Photograph:  Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

The guiding spirit of official Ireland for the last five years has been Miss Prism. She is the governess in The Im(...)

Film and fragility: actors Susan Loughnane, Val O’Connor and Jeda De Brí at the Factory on Barrow Street. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Factory is being evicted from Dublin’s Docklands. Set up four years ago by the film directors Kirsten Sheridan, John Carney and Lance Daly,(...)

‘Only in our most distressful country are the actions of Michael Donnellan (above)  extraordinary.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

The best April Fool joke I came across last week was an announcement on the Penguin Books website. The publisher said it was planning to create(...)

Active Nazi, thinking philosopher: Martin Heidegger. Photograph: Apic/Getty Images

Very few people can claim to have read and understood in its entirety Martin Heidegger’s masterwork, Being and Tim(...)

‘The second sorrowful mystery is why Enda Kenny didn’t call Alan Shatter (above) with the news that there was a potential crisis in the justice system on March 23rd or for 24 hours after he himself was told.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine(...)

Bryan Cranston, left, as Lyndon Baines Johnson and Brandon Dirden as Martin Luther King, Jr in  ‘All the Way’ at the Neil Simon Theater in New York. Photograph: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Is Bryan Cranston the best American actor currently at work? It’s a silly question, of course: actors are not golfers who can be ranked by tour(...)

 Awkward truths: former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan,  who resigned on Tuesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Camera 19 looked away so that it could see no evil. Around 2.30am on January 29th, 2010, Anthony Holness was walking up New Street in Waterford(...)

‘Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has been honest enough to give that instinct a face and a name. If he stays in office, the message goes out that it is still normal, in official Ireland, to be nauseated by troublesome truths.’ Photograph: David Sleator

What have the following incidents in common? The systematic sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy by a parish priest in Co Wicklow. The posting of vile(...)

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