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How Ireland secured their smart and gutsy win over South Africa

IT Sunday: Elsewhere this week, extraordinary scenes at the Dáil, while Fintan O’Toole writes about the Russell Brand allegations

Welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best Irish Times journalism for our subscribers.

The big sporting news of the weekend was Ireland’s smart, gutsy and crucial win over South Africa in their Rugby World Cup pool game. The game saw Andy Farrell’s men get over a malfunctioning lineout to see off the defending world champions in a breathless contest in Paris. Gerry Thornley’s match report explains why the game lived up to its billing, while Johnny Watterson delivered his verdict on how Andy Farrell’s men fared during the clash. You can catch up here on full reports and analysis from our rugby writers.

One of the big stories of the week was the return of the Dáil on Wednesday, and with it, a vitriolic blockade by the far-right outside Leinster House. Thirteen were arrested as about 200 demonstrators gathered on Molesworth Street on the first day of the new Dáil term, with abuse shouted at people entering and exiting the building.

Miriam Lord wrote about the extraordinary scenes, as “for hours, on Dáil Éireann’s first sitting after the summer recess, this pathetic micro-rabble of angry, hyped-up men (and a few equally incoherent women) tried to deny Ireland’s legislators access to one of the main entry points to their place of work. It was an astonishing and absolutely galling sight.” She concludes: “It’s gone way beyond time to reassert power over these dangerously emboldened thugs. Enough is enough.” Meanwhile, Conor Gallagher wrote an explainer on who the Oireachtas demonstrators were, noting that the group included people objecting to everything from vaccines to housing rights.


The fallout from allegations of sexual assault and emotional abuse against comic and actor Russell Brand continued this week, with the remaining shows on Brand’s Bipolarisation tour being postponed. Fintan O’Toole wrote about the crossover between the response to the case and Brand’s own conspiracy-theory broadcasting shtick, which in turn mirrors trends within contemporary political discourse: “Brand’s case is so much bigger than the individual allegations against him, dreadful as they are. Brand’s defence is more than the personal rebuttal to which he is entitled. It is a counteroffensive against the values on which rational discourse depends: evidence, truth, objective reality ... The irony of Brand’s claims that he is being victimised by the mainstream is that the conspiracy-theory gaslighting he depends on is now itself completely mainstream. It is the inside dope.” You can read his full column here.

Emer McLysaght also wrote about coming to terms with her previous fandom of Brand and the gendered power dynamics that exist within comedy: “I was too immature and ignorant to see a lot of his comedy for what it was: misogyny. It’s a wonder any female comics rise to the top, given the misuse of power and necessary isolation that it seems critical to endure in order to be successful.” She goes on to say that “comedy is just another once male-dominated industry that is slowly delivering days of judgment. Hopefully an Irish one is coming soon.”

The return of the Dáil this week saw the return of sharp exchanges about the housing crisis, with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien accused by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty of “failing” in his role, while the Minister defended measures taken by the Government to address the crisis. In his column this weekend, David McWilliams examines the success of Vienna’s system of affordable housing, and what lies behind it.

He concludes that “for Ireland, and Dublin in particular, the Viennese lesson for affordable housing is obvious. It requires a strong central vision of what the city should look like, a well-financed municipal building programme fuelled by taxes on luxuries and most importantly, land ... It’s time for our own secessionist movement in housing that dispenses with the old failed way of doing things, and embraces the new.”

Dinner inspiration is hard to come by when life get busy. We often want to keep midweek meals simple, speedy and frugal, but the main meal of the day should still be something to look forward to after a hectic day. To this end, Marie Claire Digby compiled these 10 delicious, inexpensive dinners that are fast to make but don’t compromise on taste or satisfaction. There are lots of healthy options included too.

For those looking for an evening out without having to worry about cooking themselves, however, Corinna Hardgrave’s latest restaurant review gives Dublin 8 venue Fayrouz a resounding thumbs up, saying that this “absolute darling” of a restaurant is an affordable gem. You can read her full review here.

In the latest edition of Ask Roe, our advice columnist Roe McDermott advises a reader who says: “I love taking care of anxious partners, but my needs always get trampled.” The reader writes: “I have always been attracted to women who needed to be looked after. I got great happiness from being able to calm and console women who tended to, in hindsight, be profoundly anxious and insecure. But part of this was tied up with a sexual attraction to being submissive in a relationship ... How can I address my seemingly idiosyncratic attraction to relationships like this, and enjoy a deep, meaningful, loving relationship without becoming that doormat again?“ Read what Roe has to say here.

In this week’s On the Money newsletter, Dominic Coyle writes about how Brexit is still causing headaches when it comes to online shopping for Irish-based consumers, given that many of the websites that Irish online shoppers still default to are based in Britain. But people buying online from Britain are not the only ones who are experiencing issues: there are also the recipients of well-intended gifts from British-based family. So what are the current rules in these regards, what is tax-free and, where tax is due, what is it? You can read Dominic’s explainer here. Sign up here to receive the newsletter straight to your inbox every Friday.

As always, there is much more on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants in our food section and all the latest in sport. There are plenty more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.

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