Tom Murphy: his daring imagination has found its varied embodiments on the stage. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Scholars and critics will use this fine book as the diving board from which to plunge into the fascinating depths of the great Iri(...)

 Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. The Muslim population is small but growing rapidly, from 49,000 to 63,000 between 2011 and 2016. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Ten years ago, integration was an imperative. Then the our Republic did nothing

What can be done: the refurbished Shaw Room in National Gallery of Ireland

Plan isn’t visionary but €725m might rescue some national institutions from years of neglect

 The Natural History Museum on Dublin’s Merrion Square is earmrked for priority funding under the National Development plan. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

National Development Plan: €75m a year will go a long towards making the main national cultural establishments fit for purpose

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage speaking at the Freedom to Prosper conference at the RDS. Photograph: Bryan Meade

A campaign to get Ireland to follow Britain out of the EU is doomed to fail

From 1963 onwards, the pill was imported into Ireland to keep menstrual anarchy at bay. This involved lying on a heroic scale. Photograph: Getty Images

Having to make rape claim to access abortion services recipe for deceit and hypocrisy

The Hundred Years’ War begins: the English claim to the throne of France and the grand rhetoric of Brexit’s revival of the glorious Englishness of Agincourt are bold and thrilling as well as being bonkers. Photograph: Getty Images

Even the worst Brexit will be nothing like the catastrophe of the Hundred Years War

College Green in Dublin: class is very much at work in the controversy over its proposed civic plaza

Behind the College Green bus ban is old-fashioned class discrimination

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan arrives to give evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photograph: Naill Carson/PA

Ex-Garda chief shed no light on strategy of impugning McCabe’s motives at tribunal

Footlights: Tyrone Guthrie in the early 1960s. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch/Corbis via Getty

Fintan O’Toole on Christopher Fitz-Simon’s edition of the great theatre director’s delightfully lively letters

Rónán Mullen outside Leinster House last October.  “We have a tradition here in Ireland where children with Down syndrome are perhaps more cherished than in many other countries,” he has claimed. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Those who favour Eighth Amendment repeal will have to show why it will not lead to ‘screening out’ of people with disabilities

US President Donald Trump after addressing the crowd during his swearing-in ceremony. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

As Donald Trump was sworn in a year ago, few believed he’d be as bad as they feared

The very fact that non-Catholics arrogantly expect the same treatment as everybody else is a challenge to the whole concept of faith-based medicine. Photograph: iStock

The A&E crisis could easily be solved in Catholic hospitals by turning away infidels

File photograph: iStock

The HSE’s grotesque winter festival has become as regular as Christmas

Peter Sutherland: no one personified quite as clearly as he did the two sides of neoliberal globalisation: its phenomenal energy and its terrible destructiveness. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

As a father of globalisation Peter Sutherland leaves a problematic legacy

November 2010: protesters hold placards depicting then taoiseach Brian Cowen and then minister for finance Brian Lenihan, as they march past the GPO in Dublin. Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

The Crash – 10 years on: Is Ireland a wiser and better-governed place than it was in the years of folly and frolic?

Michael Caine as Charlie Croker in ‘The Italian Job’.

The last moments of ‘The Italian Job’ are a perfect metaphor for the UK in 2018

Czechoslovakia, August 1968: Prague residents and students on  top of a Soviet tank in Wenceslas Square. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

Fifty years ago the world was on the brink of revolution. Then the right struck back

US president Donald Trump: his inauguration was aggressive, dystopian and, at the time, deeply strange. And it was followed by blatant lying. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Nothing will be quite the same after Trump, Weinstein and Brexit

Within hours, Trump issued a recantation: “The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”

Eighth Amendment law about locking up women and doctors really is step too far

Brexit Britain: Theresa May decided to embrace a phoney populism. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty

Decades of demonisation made the EU a natural fit in the search for an 'oppressor' to revolt against

Conor McGregor arrives at Blanchardstown District Court in Dublin, where he was facing a speeding charge. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Crumlin shook off the negative stereotypes of my youth, but he is bringing them back

Theresa May and Arlene Foster: the DUP this week helped to kill the thing it purports to love – the power and prestige of Britain. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty

The DUP’s brinkmanship and manoeuvring have exposed Britain’s powerlessness

“The problem that the Brexiteers most relentlessly ignored has come to determine the entire shape of their project”

If the UK mirrors customs union, why bother leaving EU in the first place?

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker leave after making statements at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Drama of Border talks shows how well EU protects members. Is there a lesson there?

Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe Garda at the Charleton tribunal. Photograph: Alan Betson

Political damage of McCabe saga rooted in instinct to punish troublemakers

Leo Varadkar: The political crisis reveals a malaise that goes much deeper than the department of justice

It is not just the Department of Justice that is ‘dysfunctional’. It is Irish democracy

Portrait of Jonathan Swift  by Charles Jervas in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images

350 years after his birth, Swift’s savage indignation can still reach right into our hearts

Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for aPublic Account Committee meeting in 2014.Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘We have to assume withholding of the emails from Charleton was deliberate’

This is arguably the most difficult single moment an independent Irish government has ever faced. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Our politicians are indulging in high-wire acts when they should be playing poker

Leo Varadkar briefs the press at 10 Downing Street after meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May  on September 25, 2017. Photograph: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

An alliance decades in the making is threatened by an utter lack of progress over the post-separation border

“How could Frances Fitzgerald possibly have forgotten reading such an explosive revelation in relation to the most politically destructive saga of recent years?”   Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The weirdness of this political crisis is that so far it is all cover-up and no crime

At the announcement in London of the 2023 Rugby World Cup host were Irish bid chairman Dick Spring, Minister for Sport Shane Ross, Brian O’Driscoll and IRFU president Philip Orr. Photograph: Dave Rogers/Inpho/Getty Images

We’ve lost our exotic allure without replacing it with the attraction of efficiency

The truth is that this is not a zero sum game – boys and men have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this period of openness.

Men and boys are victims both of abuse and of the toxic idea of masculinity that fuels it

‘After 25 years without the Border-crossing rituals, they will, if they return, seem impossibly absurd.’ File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

The UK’s move may result in a return to the pointless rituals of inspection at the Border

Bono & Hamilton

Fintan O’Toole: Ireland has sold its soul but is getting a very good price for it

The Sophia housing project on Cork Street in Dublin, which was set up to provide sanctuary for families living in crisis. Photograph: Alan Betson

Cattle disease outbreak showed how State can use every sinew to solve a crisis

Donald Trump: bearing grudges is what his supporters do best. They want a tale of resentment and revenge. Photograph: Eric Thayer/New York Times

Trump – one year on: The president plays a character, one whose divisiveness his supporters adore

Gate Theatre founders Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir: The theatre has a special place in the history of the struggle for sexual equality and respect in Ireland. Photograph: The Irish Times

A case taken by an actress against a Trinity student in 1747 gives the lie to the notion that there was a time when sexual harrass(...)

The Luas Red line. “If they did not already know it, they now know that they are vulnerable to sexual menace, even in public places.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Men’s treatment of women will not change unless boys are taught manners

Fintan O'Toole: Shaw changed not what people thought but the way they thought

Tom Humphries: the former Irish Times journalist pleaded guilty to two counts of defilement of a child and four counts of inviting a child to participate in a sexually explicit, obscene or indecent act.  Photograph: Courtpix

Fintan O'Toole: It would be easier if the men who do these things were not men but beasts

The Central Bank. The Dirt scandal is not ancient history – we’re still living with it. The Dirt scandal was the great alarm bell. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

The betrayal of basic ethics goes so deep only the criminal law can root it out

 Derville Rowland Director,  director general of financial conduct at the Central Bank, and the bank’s governor Philip Lane. The Central Bank has still not made a single report of suspected fraud. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

The banks’ rip-off of customers is not a scandal. It is either a miracle or a crime

December 1928: Irish dramatist, essayist, critic and pamphleteer George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) working at his desk. Photograph: Fox Photos/Getty Images

George Bernard Shaw knew that the rich are no better than the poor. But though the argument seemed settled then, it now rages more(...)

Richard Branson: while his behaviour is open and public and there is no suggestion he seeks to bully women, it does create images of beautiful young women in a working environment being bodily manhandled. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Tubridy interview with Branson avoided issue of ‘fun’ manhandling of women

By including Today FM, which has nothing at all to do with the original issue, in its fatwa, Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp has declared the separation, and editorial independence, of Newstalk and Today FM a fiction. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Blacklisting ‘The Irish Times’ is an exercise in distraction but it raises important questions

Tom Murphy: it is hard to think of more than half a dozen of his contemporaries in the English-speaking theatre who have created so much work of such high voltage. Photographed in 2008 by Bryan O’Brien

Culture Shock: The ‘Bailegangaire’ writer produces both realism and myth

A makeshift memorial in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard following last Sunday night’s  mass shooting in Las Vegas. Photograph: Chris Wattie/Reuters

Atrocities are tolerable when they are fed by a very profitable consumer industry and the fantasies of power it creates

File image of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave looking onto the main square at Collins Barracks in Dublin. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Like the Ireland of his time, Cosgrave’s achievements were a function of his limitations

Demonstrators at the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan/PA Wire

Eighth Amendment needs to be finally uprooted, not fertilised with yet more equivocations

'The Tories have stabbed the DUP not in the back, but in the front.' Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Despite their deal, the Conservatives are cutting the ground from under their ‘mates’

British prime minister Theresa May gives her landmark Brexit speech in Florence, Italy. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Theresa May and Brexiteers both insist on a damaging binary view of the UK and Europe

‘If the market couldn’t solve a housing crisis when we were building at a rate scarcely ever matched in any country, it is never going to do so.’ Photograph: Frank Miller

Political solution needed as building industry cannot solve permanent emergency

Newstalk: George Hook has been working at a station where the line between news and opinion has blurred

Fintan O’Toole: Who’d want to be associated with his views on rape? Not advertisers

Newstalk presenter George Hook. File photograph: ©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

George Hook’s rape comments are the result of the station’s flagrantly sexist strategy

Charles Haughey:  surely he and Mara did not think Keane was going to hotfoot it down to Temple Bar to open an experimental black box theatre space

Martin Keane’s tales of getting the inside track show gap between rhetoric and reality

The Border problem can be dealt with only if the UK stays in the customs union and, preferably, also the single market. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar must show steel and support Jeremy Corbyn over Theresa May

We might say that the most distinctive thing about contemporary Irish identity is precisely its radical openness

Fintan O'Toole: A reimagined republic should define the new Irish identity

Capt Peter Kelleher reading the Proclamation at the GPO, Dublin, last year. Photograph: Maxwells

We have moved beyond the shame and glory of the past, but have yet to invent our future nation

Aiden Harris Igiehon. The Irish teenager was born and raised in Clondalkin, Dublin, and has a basketball scholarship at the Lawrence Woodmere Academy in New York. Photograph: Tom Honan

Ireland’s old markers of land, nationality and religion fail to reflect changes in society

‘All the evidence is that if one set of stories no longer makes sense, people do not simply become realists. They become prey to any old story at all.’

Globalisation, migration and Catholicism’s decline have undermined stories of ourselves

Cars cross the controless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, in Donegal, Ireland on June 25, 2016. PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

The Brexit position paper feels more like an early move in the blame game than a credible plan. But this is not a game, it’s deadl(...)

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams: espousing a crude, tribal majoritarianism on the question of Irish unity. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Brexit has made Irish unity more likely, but we need to reunify people first

Ryan Tubridy’s books about John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland was accepted for the artists’ exemption. Tubridy makes €495,000 a year from RTÉ

Fintan O’Toole: The artists’ tax exemption scheme has become an embarrasment

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ahead of a speech in Belfast on August 4th, 2017. Photograph: Getty

British politicians’ time-wasting and ignorance has shifted the balance of power

Kevin Myers. He told Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ: “Men are driven by urges women don’t have.” Photograph: RTÉ Radio One/PA Wire

Cod-Darwinism touted by those who dismiss gender equality does not stack up

Kevin Myers: The keynotes of his column on Sunday were on familiar themes. Photograph: Eric Luke

If he had stuck with straight misogyny, he would have been fine

Fight poverty and homelessness? Let us debate how to spend €178 million cost of refunding  the water charges. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Instead of being the last act in a long-running farce that made a mockery of our democracy, the money we paid should be used for a(...)

Modular homes being built for social housing in Ballymun, Dublin, in 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Governing policies mean that homeless families are now too poor for social housing

Michael Hayes on BBC Northern Ireland where he declared himself an active participant in the Birmingham massacre of November 21st, 1974.

Brazen lie underpins republican evasions about 1974 bombings that killed 21

The deadline for the Rugby World Cup was treated as absolute. The deadline for ending an abuse of the rights of our children remains a moveable feast. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Government meets rugby event deadline but misses one on homeless children

“If there had been referendums in France or Italy last year, when the wave of anti-establishment anger was at its height, there is every possibility that the EU could now be facing an existential crisis of much greater import than Brexit itself.” Illustration: Getty Images

If response to Brexit is just ‘good riddance’, the EU may sleepwalk into its own demise. Our ‘Europe’s Future’ series concludes

Then tanáiste Joan Burton is confronted by anti-water charge demonstrators in Jobstown in 2014. Photograph:  Crispin Rodwell

System punishes working class misdeeds but turns blind eye to middle-class crime

  Donald Trump: Naomi Klein describes the US leader as ‘a pastiche of pretty much all the worst trends of the past half century’. Photograph:  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

No Is Not Enough lays out the case against Donald Trump in an accessible but unoriginal way

The new Terry Wogan sculpture, in Limerick: What do you do when there’s no ideology to be expressed, no larger national or imperial narrative to be given a sculptural form? Photograph: Alan Place

The Terry Wogan statue in Limerick is a case of a good artist producing bad art

 Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore: June 29th, 2012, was the moment of what both the then taoiseach and tánaiste called the “game-changer”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Lessons from bailout show State cannot take goodwill of our European allies for granted

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan arrives at Leinster House on Tuesday for her appearance before the Public Accounts Committee. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Obfuscating Garda Commissioner has taken unaccountablity to a new level in Ireland

Minute’s silence for Grenfell Tower: right-wing sneering leads to the blackened cage of “the outrageous crematorium on the skyline” of west London. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Decades of deriding public service has led the UK and US into political anarchy

Donald Trump: the golf-carting embodiment of transgression. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Fintan O’Toole: Have shock tactics had their day?

DUP politicians Jeffrey Donaldson, Nigel Dodds and Emma Pengelly emerge from 10 Downing Street on Thursday after after holding talks with Theresa May. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Conservative party thinks of England as it clasps Democratic Unionists to its bosom

DUP leader Arlene Foster and British prime minister Theresa May: “The biggest problem with the DUP’s insistence that Northern Ireland must not have special status is that it already does.” Photograph: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire

Arlene Foster’s DUP will tie British government into believing three impossible things

Prof  Philip Pettit is regarded as the leading figure in “neo-republican”  thought. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Gracious Irish political theorist says ‘it’s the message that counts, not the messenger’

Who’s in charge after the UK general election?: it’s not Theresa May, and it’s not anybody else either. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Fintan O’Toole: In all of this panic there has been a deep undermining of the idea of political authority

Lisa Dwan in ‘No’s Knife’ by Samuel Beckett at the Abbey Theatre:  She has a unique ability to draw us into the mesmeric rhythms and alluring forms of Beckett’s texts even while keeping us at the distance their enigmatic poetry demands.

Beckett’s ‘Textes Pour Rien’ convey a sense of being cut adrift from life, from existence itself. Actor Lisa Dwan conveys this abs(...)

Jeremy Corbyn is much less of a fantasist than the supposedly hard-headed Theresa May. Photograph: Neil Hall Reuters

Both parties offer versions of an imagined past but Labour’s at least yearns for something real

Police respond to the terror incident in London on Saturday night. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Fintan O’Toole: Attacks on civil society are futile. Humans have a great capacity to just carry on

US president Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accords. Photograph: Getty Images

China grasps opportunity to be at the forefront of epic battle for planetary survival

Michael Noonan and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. File photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Obsequiousness towards Brussels technocracy is as bad for Europe as it is for Ireland

A woman becomes emotional as she looks at flowers left in St Ann Square after the bomb attack in Manchester which killed 22 people. Photograph: Getty

Manchester attack shows if you want to force horror into people’s minds, it is better to attack children

Sister Cathy Cesnik disappeared one evening in 1969 – the suggestion in ‘The Keepers’ is that she was murdered because she had discovered what Maskell was up to and threatened to expose him

Netflix documentary speaks to Ireland’s uncertain relationship to Catholicism

Their respective records on housing  and health suggest that either    Simon  Coveney and Leo Varadkar, if they get the big job, will be pretty much what we’re already used to: purveyors of cautious, piecemeal, unambitious tweaks to the status quo

To home owners with health insurance, the Fine Gael leadership contest is an interesting political battle. To the disaffected citi(...)

Arlene Foster told the BBC in February she did not even know how much the mystery donor had given the party.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The story of a massive donation to the DUP is like a John le Carré novel – but voters need facts, not fiction

A supporters holds up a “Comey You’re Fired” sign back in early November, when then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was speaking in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump’s instinctive gamble has always been that his fans would be happy to live vicariously through him

File image of former archbishop John Charles McQuaid.

Blasphemy, Dáil prayer and maternity hospital rows prove the Republic has lost its way

Colm Tóibín criticised cnuas proposals. Photograph: Frank Miller

Culture Shock: Colm Tóibín is right to say the Arts Council cnuas plan is ‘oddly North Korean’

The recipient of divine guidance is merely a medium for the message and the ultimate source of authority cannot be held to account because he/she made the world. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Jesus once told nuns to sack pregnant teachers. So why has he changed his mind?

US president Donald Trump signs an executive order. He is a reality TV star before he is a politician and reality TV requires a diet of constant conflict. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

US president could have got cross-party support but chose reality TV-style conflict instead

St Vincent’s hospital campus in Dublin, to where it is proposed the National Maternity Hospital will move. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Maternity hospital debacle a symptom of public services as favours, not rights

The gradual demise of the mentality in which Ireland was merely the opposite of England has done us nothing but good. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Seeing ourselves as opposites used to be a bad idea. Now it might be a necessity

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