Vice-chair Maureen O’Sullivan TD and  chairman Brendan Smith TD during a report launch  of the Irish Aid Programme by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence at Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Brendan Smith TD: ‘Vital that Ireland continues to keep aid promises to partner countries’

President Michael D Higgins  at the Béal na Bláth commemoration in   2016. Speaking of the upcoming anniversaries, he said: “We will need to display courage and honesty as we seek to speak the truth of the period, and in recognising that, during the War of Independence, and particularly during the Civil War, no single side had the monopoly of either atrocity or virtue.” Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

President’s second term would cover anniversary of War of Independence and Civil War

In general the Tusla audit found that the congregations had made substantial improvements in adhering to and implementing child abuse management guidelines.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Tusla review finds ‘a clear shift in attitudes and culture within the congregations’

Marie Collins, former member of the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors, said:  “I saw the Vatican up close, and its resistance, the lack of priority [on clerical child sex abuse], lack of transparency, and the absolutely misleading statements issued.” File photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Marie Collins fears working groups set up to address care of survivors may be scrapped

Atheist Ireland also want the religion question  moved elsewhere in the census form, “well away from questions on ethnicity, culture, or language”.

Atheist Ireland says writing in faith affiliation gives more accurate picture

Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The Muslim academic on media controversies and integration in Ireland

In a Word . . . Perfect

He had told the woman on the train he intended proposing to her sister when Mayo won the All-Ireland last September . . .

Ifrah Ahmed, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri and Dr Chris Fitzpatrick at the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre  in Dublin., Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Leading obstetrician calls on religious leaders to support FGM ban

Pope Frances has been invited to attend the women’s conference on March 8th.

Opening speaker will be former president Mary McAleese who was barred by Vatican

Warren O’Connor was killed in January 2010 in north Dublin. Photograph: PA

Gary Watson charged following his extradition from UK over Warren O’Connor murder

In a word . . . Easter

Is it about time we reviewed the timing?

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten:  has accused health authorities of trying to replicate the past in Roscommon by closing another care facility, this time in Castlerea. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Closure of Castlerea Alzheimer’s disease care facility is ‘absolute disgrace’, says Minister

Bishop John McAreavey (pictured): Actions of Malachy Finnegan were ‘abhorrent, inexcusable and indefensible’

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey said victims’ testimony made him realise decision ‘was the wrong one’

Fr Patrick Banville said he had “made it abundantly clear that for Confirmation families, participation in Sunday Eucharist is not optional, it’s absolutely essential”

Public meeting called in Enniscorthy to discuss parents’ absence from Sunday Eucharist

Bishop Brendan Leahy said any conversation around the upcoming referendum ‘is not easy for people’. File photograph: Arthur Ellis

‘In our public commentary at the moment we are often forgetting the unborn baby’

Pope Paul VI began the practice of papal travel outside of Italy, and was successful in improving ecumenical relations with Protestant and Orthodox churches. Photograph: Getty Images

First miracle took place in California in the 90s while second took place in Italy in 2014

Marie Collins, a former member of the Pope’s sex-abuse commission, hands a letter to Cardinal Seán O’Malley detailing the abuse of Juan Carlos Cruz and a cover-up by Chilean church authorities, at the Domus Santa Marta on April 12th, 2015. Photograph: Catherine Bonnet via AP

February 16th ‘ Worldwide Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse’

Marie Collins handing the letter detailing victims’ complaints of a sex abuse cover up in Chile to Cardinal Seán O’Malley on April 12th 2015.

Marie Collins gave a letter to Francis’ envoy, contradicting statement of pontiff

Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson says unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks is “not an ethical position we can accept”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

All four main Churches in Ireland now oppose 12-week proposal

President Higgins said people are now standing ‘at a highly critical juncture in world history’. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

President says those who use the drugs ‘at root of killings’ must take responsibility for actions

 (L to R) Det  Supt Declan Daly and Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll during a media briefing on  Operation Ketch at the Serious Crime Operations at  Harcourt Square,  Dublin.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Thousands of images of child exploitation seized at homes in 12 counties across Ireland

In a word . . . Phone

Another chasm in the generational divide of our time

Pope John Paul II holds the hand of Irish President Mary McAleese during their meeting in  2003 in the Vatican. File Photograph:  Arturo Mari-Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Call on Government to withhold assistance for papal visit unless LGBT assurances given

Pope Francis and  Cardinal Kevin Farrell. Photograph: diocese of Dallas

Cardinal and bishop were members of controversial Legionaries of Christ

Former Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin. File photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Event organisers respond by inviting ex-president to be keynote speaker

 Niamh Uí Bhriain, of Save the 8th Campaign, including new Disability Voices for Life group, at the launch of national billboard message in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach ‘being cynical’ as most politicians ‘shift their position for political reasons’

Pope Francis: LifeSiteNews has  accused Ireland’s Catholic bishops of “using Pope Francis’s teachings on marriage and family to promote homosexual couples as a new form of ‘family’.” Photograph: Getty Images

US website said booklet contained ‘promotion of homosexual relationships as a form of family’

“One of the more commonly noted characteristics of those who engage in child abuse and paedophilia is a lack of remorse.” File photograph: Getty Images

Rite&Reason: Society needs restrictions on perpetual abusers once they get out of jail

Disability Voices for Life will join the Save the 8th Campaign at a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday morning. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

New ‘Disability Voices for Life’ group to be launched in Dublin on Tuesday

Rabbi Zalman Lent,  and Dr Ali Selim. Photograph: Dave Meehan

All churches and faiths abhor abortion but most agree it can be the lesser evil

Bishop Kevin Doran: has urged people to contact their politicians and “make clear to them that you want them to defend the right to life of the unborn”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Abortion ‘has nothing to do with healthcare’ and is the ‘final frontier’ for society to cross

Matthew Horan (26), used Skype, Snapchat, Instagram and Kik, an anonymous instant messaging application, to send and receive child porn images from six identified child users in Ireland and nine unknown users around the world. File photograph: The Herald

Girl describes in impact statement how she felt ‘ashamed, scared and alone’ at age of 10

Gardaí  have issued a strong warning to parents and children about dangers that can face them on the internet. Photograph: Mark Steadman/

Never arrange to meet any person on the internet, Matthew Horan case investigators warn

He described as praiseworthy “those institutional and legal initiatives aimed at developing regulations for curbing the phenomenon.”  Photograph: Reuters

Journalists, as ‘protectors of news’, must be truthful and opposed to falsehoods

No action on abuse inquiry recommendations for victims until new executive set up

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland were liberated by Soviet forces on January 27th, 1945. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Event takes place annually on Sunday closest to liberation of Auschwitz by Soviets in 1945

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina greet Kutloano Pheko, charge d’affaire for the Embassy of Lesotho, and his children Riaz and Lumka at Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph: Alan Betson

General election of 1918 ‘a key point in Irish history’ as it provided mandate for first Dáil

The Freedom of Roscommon is to be conferred on New York-based artist, author, doctor, art critic and academic Brian O’Doherty (89) who grew up in Ballaghaderreen

Ballaghaderren-born Booker-shortlisted author best known at home as Patrick Ireland

A bed-capacity review says  occupancy rates are running at close to 100%   across the hospital system, posing a legitimate risk to patient safety

Government-commissioned report advises the current health system is not fit for purpose

Many of the residents of the Rosalie unit at Áras Naomh Chaolain in Castlerea suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Photograph: Getty

Minister in 2015 said ‘there were “no plans to close it and there will be no such plans’

Fr James Good: was suspended from carrying out his priestly faculties almost 50 years ago for publicly opposing “Humanae Vitae”. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Fr James Good paid a spiritual price for being against papal encyclical of 1968

Léan Kennedy with her dog, Higgins: “You’re really relying on your wits to know when it’s safe to cross.”

‘They feel they have no way of knowing when it is safe to cross over the tram line’

We ‘indomitable Irishry’ seem ‘devastated’ all the time

The 2016 census found that 399,815 people in Ireland lived alone. Image: iStock.

Fianna Fáil senator praises creation of job by Theresa May but psychologist opposes idea

Rev Dr Trevor Morrow attending the Oireachtas health committee hearings on the abortion issue. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Recommendations ‘undermine assurances’ abortion will not be introduced for disability

An international study found  the number of involuntary admissions to psychiatric care in Ireland had risen from 46.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 to 52.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016.

‘Austerity measures and lack of clear policy guidance has resulted in very little progress’

Fianna Fáil’s spokeswoman on disability called on Tusla to ‘get its act together’ regarding  services for children with disabilities.

Foster carer in ‘Molly’ case says HSE, Tusla left her ‘financially, emotionally and physically drained’

The information card issued to members of the Association of Catholic Priests

Kildare and Leighlin diocesan priests rebuke suggestion to ‘prepare for worst’ if called

 Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy at a conference about safeguarding children in Limerick city. Photograph: Keith Wiseman

To relax would be ‘a profound error which would compound the historical failures’, conference hears

Brendan Ogle, left, at the launch of the Home Sweet Home emergency housing plan  in 2017. Mr Ogle issued defamation proceedings against RTÉ last year. Photograph: Eric Luke

RTÉ’s John Kilraine has begun legal action over Facebook post by Unite’s Brendan Ogle

Prof John Monaghan: he first became involved with the SVP in 1985 in Leixlip, Co Dublin, and from then to 2010 remained an active member locally. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Retired lecturer at Trinity College Dublin was the society’s national vice-president

More than 60 per cent of the Catholic dioceses on the island of Ireland presented no financial information on their websites at all. Photograph: Getty

Lay Catholic lobby group criticises church’s lack of financial transparency

In a word . . . Gimp

I interviewed Donal McCann once, and approached with nervous uncertainty

The Rally for Life anti-abortion demonstration in Dublin in 2013. Photograph: Alan Betson

Anti-abortion and pro-choice activists will create a bear pit ahead of referendum

Al Porter: Resigned last November from Today FM where he had presented a lunchtime show.  Photograph: Brian McEvoy

‘May heads on plates be off the menu in 2018,’ says Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin was the principal celebrant at Mass for World Day of Peace in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook Dublin on Monday. Photograph: John McElroy

Diarmuid Martin praises gardaí, Defence Forces and Naval Service at new year Mass

Pope Francis exchanges Christmas greetings with Vatican employees on Thursday. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP

Abortion referendum, pope’s visit and new bishop appointments will dominate 2018

Msgr John Delaney who won €500,000 in the Euro Millions Plus draw.

Priest with links to Kennedy clan lands €500,000 lottery win

In a Word . . . Sated

So sated are we by now that a prolonged doing-without will put an edge to life by the arrival of that lesser month, February

Tatiana Rusu who works in Donnybrook Fair in Malahide, Co. Dublin,  sold a €500,000  EuroMillions ticket to a priest. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

‘Lucky’ cleric pledges to share his winnings with those in need as woman who sold ticket describes him as ‘nice gentleman’

Pope Francis: urges faithful to see global migration as “an opportunity to build peace”.   Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

Pope calls for peace, not the ‘sowing of violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia’

Matt Murphy (85) and Michael O’Sullivan (58) pictured got married in Dublin on Friday to avoid inheritance tax. Photograph: Collins

Two grooms, two witnesses, a harpist and the registrar attended

Traditional Church crib. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Some staff and patients angered by management ban on cribs in foyer and wards

Alice Leahy at the Alice Leahy Trust on Bride Road, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Alice Leahy Trust provides showers and clothes for those living on Dublin’s streets

Sean O’Boyle founder of the Columba Press.

Publishing titles included ‘The Glenstal Book of Prayer’ which sold over 150,000 copies

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said he would be upset if the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution was repealed.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Diarmuid Martin says church has ‘a right to present position respectfully but strongly’

Two elderly friends plan to marry next month to avoid inheritance tax. Photograph: iStock

Two men in their 80s plan to marry next month in bid to avoid large tax bill

GAA players sleeping-out at the GPO in Dublin on Saturday night. Photograph: Ruairí McKiernan Twitter account

Gaelic Voices for Change see players in Ireland, US and Canada show solidarity with homeless

‘I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today,’ said very ancient Greek in 650(...)

Dublin’s Michael Darragh MacAuley is among those taking part. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Alarmed at reports that Ireland has highest child homelessness rate in Europe

The exterior of the former Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott St in Dublin. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

‘All memory of what occurred in this place will be erased’ if building sold, says councillor

Rev Trevor Morrow: “very deeply concerned” recommendations would create similar conditions to those in Britain. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Although particulars vary, all faiths accept abortion allowed in narrow circumstances

John Bruton: “Does the right to human life not extend to humans before birth?”

Huge change in values has taken place since abortion referendum, says Mary O’Rourke

Iseult NicDiarmada from Gaelscoil Mide, Kilbarrack, Dublin 15 , enjoys  Snowy the rabbit at the Mansion House Live Crib. Photograph: Conor McCabe

Mansion House crib delights children as Luas-dodging farmer brings animals in daily

Bishop Kelly is himself a priest of Galway diocese and his appointment as Bishop there represents a break with the practise established  of appointing outsiders as bishop of any particular diocese.

Appointment breaks pattern of episcopal appointments from outside dioceses

Recently I received emails from London-based fashion designer Tom Cridland offering clothes that last 30 years – part of his campa(...)

The Irish phrase in the ‘Our Father’ translates as “don’t allow us into temptation”, rather than the “lead us not into temptation” of the English version.  Photograph: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

‘It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department,’ says Pope Francis

 Minister for Health Simon Harris with  children from St James National School looking at a model of the new children’s hospital. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

European Investment Bank loan of €490 million for National Children’s Hospital

A Palestinian seeks cover during clashes at Huwwara checkpoint, near the West Bank City of Nablus. Clashes erupted after an announcement of a general strike and day of rage in protest at US president Donald  Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital. Photograph: EPA

Muslims reject Trump acceptance of holy city as ‘the capital of Zionist occupying forces’

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he was proceeding with plans to set up a new statutory registration board for counsellors and psychotherapists. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy may have no role post-2018

Amhrán na bhFiann displayed prior to a match in Croke Park. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Amhrán na bhFiann’, out of copyright since 2012, was used to promote Dunnes Stores

In a word . . . Wish

I might persuade Kim Jong UN to enter the Rose of Tralee – as Pyongyang Rose

Clare Daly: she said “over 80 per cent of abortions are by pills”

Since 2013 just one woman lost an appeal of a decision refusing her an abortion

Homeless man sleeping on Kildare Street, Dublin. Intercounty players are organising sleep-outs on December 16th to draw attention to homelessness.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘We can no longer accept this level of inequality’ says Wexford star Diarmuid Lyng

Almost 600 defibrillators across the State require urgent safety updates to ensure they work in emergency situations, the Health Products Regulatory Authority has warned. Photograph: iStock.

Cardiac episode sufferers’ lives at risk in Ireland if defibrillator devices not checked

Recording the moment at the Irish Citizenship ceremony at the Convention Centre Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Do not forget your own country, your own people, your own traditions’, advises judge

I propose that the new brand for our Midlands should be ‘Tranquillity Ireland’

In a word . . . work

Then there were those secular Freudian sanctifications of work as sublimated lust

‘The word ‘Christmas’ no longers conveys the significance of the God who joined the human caravan and walked in our shoes,’ Catholic priest says

Catholics should substitute word ‘nativity’ for Christmas, Desmond O’Donnell says

Bernard Francis ‘Barney’ Casey was born in the US on November 25th 1870 to Irish immigrant parents

Fr Solanus Casey known for his attention to the sick and abilities as a spiritual counsellor

In a Word . . . women

For so long women were like ‘Indians’ in America before 1492 or Aborigines in Australia before 1770 – they didn’t exist!

Fr Ronan Drury: From Mullagh in Co Cavan, he was ordained in 1949. He died peacefully at Dublin’s Mater hospital on Thursday evening surrounded by his family and friends.

Priest ‘re-energised by the promise and possibilities of Vatican II’ dies at 93

Archbishop Eamon Martin: “The days when we could consider the priest as a lone ranger are long past.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Eamon Martin tells of ‘downcast’ atmosphere among young priests at tumultuous time

Pope Francis after this week’s general audience in St Peter’s Square:  in 2013 he declared the founder of the Presentation Sisters, Nano Nagle, “venerable”. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/ETA

Catholic church explores how investments can promote solutions to climate crisis

Alice Leahy: “The politicians haven’t a clue, really.” Photograph: Jason Clarke

Politicians failing to approach homelessness via ‘basic human issues’, says campaigner

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: “People have underestimated the effect of the [child sexual] scandals on young people.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Diarmuid Martin says gender issues a bigger factor in falling engagement than sex abuse

President Michael D Higgins, and his wife, Sabina, with Caitlyn Melia and Jake Anderson, students at St Patrick’s national school in Chapelizod, John Fitzsimons of Camara and Edel Gormley, acting principal of the school. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Camara ‘has changed the lives’ of two million people in Africa, the Caribbean and Ireland

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordains James Daly and Bill O’ Shaughnessy to the priesthood for the Dublin Diocese. Photograph: John Mc Elroy

Christian life ‘not about blindly following a pre-established rulebook or imposing rules’

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