The opening performance of  RTÉ’s Late Late Toy Show on Friday. Revolut’s Vlad Yatsenko will also match any further donations this weekend,  up to €1 million. Photograph:  Andres Poveda

Figure doesn’t include €100,000 donation pledged by Revolut founder after app crashed

Tammy Darcy, founder of the Shona Project, won  the  Irish Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tammy Darcy’s Shona Project also wins Red Cross Innovation for Change award

Dr John O’Keeffe, Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan and Ronan McDonagh at Mullingar’s Christ the King Cathedral. Photograph: Fr Robert McCabe

Previous Irish recipients include John Hume and tenor John McCormack

The arrival of the Omicron Covid-19 variant is likely to   influence Ireland’s Catholic bishops in arriving at their decision on the matter. Photograph: iStock

Catholics in Archdiocese ‘living through dark days’, says Archbishop of Dublin

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc

A strain of English exceptionalism is enough to make any Irish person’s blood run green

The report concludes that ‘clergy and lay faithful together are ready for change, maybe more so than some might expect’. Photograph: iStock

Pandemic highlighted priest shortages and greatly reduced income to church

 Thalidomide survivor Maggie Woods lays a white rose outside the Dáil to mark the 60th anniversary of the international withdrawal of thalidomide in November 1961.  Photograph: Fran Veale/Julien Behal Photography

‘To have lived with the belief you had some hand, act or part in this is so unfair’

  Rita Cahill  being comforted by friend Clodagh Ledwidge  outside the Dáil, where survivors of mother and baby homes gathered on Tuesday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister urged to re-engage with groups representing survivors of mother and baby homes

Members  of the Pro Life Campaign  outside Leinster House in Dublin to launch a report which focuses on the Government’s three year review of the abortion law. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Poll shows 89 per cent favour women being given details on alternatives to abortion

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc
In a Word . . . Wisdom

Women and bicycles are no longer what you’d expect

Ireland was falling further and further behind EU member states of equivalent GDP when it came to victims rights, the seminar heard. Photograph: iStock

Seminar hears it is rare for victims to have legal remedy when their rights not upheld

Currently there are 26 Catholic dioceses in Ireland for a population of approximately 4.5 million faithful on the island as a whole.  Photograph: iStock

Move seen as first step towards reduction by Vatican of number of bishops in Ireland

The Bishops of Ireland undertook a pilgrimage to the international Eucharistic and Marian Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo on Sunday for a Mass for those who have been bereaved during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph:  John Mc Elroy

Special Mass told society must eusure heroic healthcare workers ‘rewarded for their goodness’

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc
In a Word... Healthy

Researchers found ‘nasal breathing improved after sexual intercourse with climax’

Fr Kieran O’Mahon said the setting up diocesan synods was ‘radically new’, and it was being carried on in a context where ‘the effective handing on of faith has ceased ... for decades now’. Photograph: iStock

More difficult ‘to reach the angry alienated, as opposed to the disappointed alienated’

A 2013 photograph showing a woman kissing the ring of  Francis Duffy when he was ordained a bishop at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Athlone. File photograph: John McElroy

The former bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois succeeds Archbishop Michael Neary

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home in Co Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Bill on excavation of children’s remains at institutions to become law early next year

A Service of Light, acknowledging the impact of the pandemic in loss and bereavement, will also take place at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin next Sunday. Photograph: iStock

Vatican extends time for obtaining plenary indulgences for dead to November 30th

Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin: ‘At a personal and community level we are called to greater simplicity and sustainability in our families, workplaces, schools and universities.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

‘Each one of us must accept our personal and collective need to change’, Archbishop says

In a Word... Patsy McGarry

The 19-acre site at Clonliffe was part of a larger plot sold by the archdiocese to the GAA for €95 million

Church collections drop dramatically due to pandemic restrictions, says report

Sinn Féin asked why the talk was ‘of all-island, dropping the word Ireland’.

‘Noise’ around divisive issue has caused problems for Taoiseach’s Shared Island Unit

Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Urban green spaces were the most visited green/natural spaces between June and September, according to the CSO

Most get to green spaces in private transport, with walking the most frequent activity there, CSO report finds

The works will include ‘rock armour cliff toe protection’. File image: Getty Images

‘Remarkable acceleration of costal erosion’ identified at Seaview, Kilmore since 2014 storms

The ACP said it had seen an increase in the number of complaints about the way some bishops are treating some priests. Photograph: iStock

Some bishops force priests out of work, are critical of their appearance, group says

The Cop26 UN Climate Change Conference is being held in Glasgow, Scotland. Photograph: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Dermot Farrell: issue will not be solved by sound bites, short-term actions, or ‘easy’ solutions

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc

Back in the pub at last, a woman I don’t know well greeted me. I couldn’t think of her name

The study found that restrictions on older people introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19 and protect health led to increased social isolation, exclusion, loneliness and boredom. Photograph: iStock

One in five indicated they had not left their homes since introduction of restrictions

Mary Harney and Mary Coughlan have spoken<NO1> forcefully<NO> about the ill effects of social media on public discourse at the MacGill Summer School 2021. File Photographs: Brian Lawless/ PA / Bryan O’Brien

‘I’m a strong fan of social media being regulated appropriately’ – Mary Harney

Pope Francis during a synod in 2018. Photograph:  Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

Denomination makes up 17.7% of population largely due to growth in Africa, census shows

Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan consecrated the columbarium in Ennis’s cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Photograph: Killaloe Diocese/Catholic Communications Office

Columbarium at Ennis Cathedral is consecrated in a first for Irish church

Deirdre Mahon (centre), chair of the Truth Recovery Design Panel, with Dr Maeve O’Rourke and Prof Phil Scraton at Stormont earlier this month

NI truth panel: ‘We came across four brothers who didn’t know of each other’

Claire O’Dwyer from Killiney prepares for the start of the Liffey Swim on Saturday. Photograph: John Ohle

Organiser says change in direction upstream may continue after year hiatus due to pandemic

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc
In a Word...


People with disabilities have suffered isolation, anxiety and depression during the pandemic, according to new reports

Lost social interaction and routine has led to isolation, anxiety and depression, say new reports

One in Four chief executive Maeve Lewis said the agency’s clients were ‘devastated’ to see their  court dates cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Photograph: Alan Betson

Agency supported 172 clients through online sessions as lockdowns disrupted in-person services

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc
In a Word . . . Toxic

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam: ‘[We] are living in a very different era. What the future will be like; who knows?’ Photograph: Joe O’Saughnessy

Archbishop of Tuam highlights dwindling priest numbers ahead of retirement

Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin: ‘If the Catholic school is to fulfil its mission properly, it cannot retreat into what it considers a safe space.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Archbishop says ‘spiritual and moral formation’ required alongside academic subjects

Pope John Paul I: The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints has formally recognised a miracle attributed to his intercession in response to prayers. Photograph: Getty Images

Buenos Aires miracle attributed to pope who sat for 33 days and died in September 1978

Those who successfully complete the propaedeutic course will continue training for the priesthood at the national seminary in St Patrick’s College Maynooth where there are currently 64 men studying for service as priests in Irish dioceses. Photograph: iStock

Introductory programme of exploration now established first stage of pursuing vocation

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc

The dog made a run towards two old ladies, so I grabbed my phone to call an ambulance

I thanked Ms Lot and set off for 2022, without a glance back. Photograph: Tooga Productions Inc

I shouted at him: ‘Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango!’

Archbishop John McDowell described the service at Armagh’s Church of Ireland St Patrick’s Cathedral  as ‘an honest attempt to respect differences’

Primate critical of how authorities in Republic dealt with churches during pandemic

About 70 people in the Diocese of Dromore have made complaints about clerical child sex abuse, with about 40 alleging they were abused by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan, a former president of St Colman’s College in Newry.

Most legal actions by abuse survivors have already been dealt with

A Catholic bishop has called on the Government to accelerate the ending of direct provision and for improvements in the time it takes to process asylum applications. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Denis Nulty says 2024 deadline for closing ‘cold and unacceptable system’ too far away

Louis O’Donoghue and Mary Rose Murphy take advantage of the new Pelletstown railway station in Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Pelletstown station will help State achieve climate goals, Eamon Ryan says

President Michael D Higgins refused an invitation from the five main Christian churches to attend the  Armagh  service. Photograph: Maxwells

Move is a display of difference with the President, say some Government sources

Only a younger person would lament their own beauty.
In a Word . . . Beauty

Surely one of the great aesthetic pleasures is beholding the body beautiful

President Michael D  Higgins said last week that in March he had made known his concerns about the title of the event. Photograph: Maxwells/PA Wire

Donaldson claims President has ‘little or no interest’ in shared future with unionism

Irish President Michael D Higgins. Photograph: Maxwells/PA Wire

Invitations to ‘controversial’ NI centenary event in Armagh to be sent today

Queen Elizabeth and Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle in 2014. Photograph: Justin Tallis/WPA Pool/Getty

Disclosure that queen to attend branded an ‘error of judgment’ from security perspective

In a Word: Songs

The major cause of death in country songs is a broken heart

The invitation sent to Michael D Higgins said the service next month would be ‘of Christian worship hosted, organised and led by the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and the Irish Council of Churches’. Photograph:  Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty

Attendance of Higgins at event would have been ‘very special’ – Archbishop Martin

Thousands of people from Donegal and Mayo protested in Dublin in June in support of a 100% redress scheme for homes and other buildings affected by blocks defective due to the mineral mica. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Bishops in west ‘gravely concerned’ at plight of families affected by building defects

Fr Tony Flannery accused Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary (pictured above) of lacking ‘ordinary human compassion’. Photograph: James Forde

Attempts made to resolve ‘sad situation... declined’, he says

President Michael D Higgins at the Quirinal Palace in Rome as part of his four-day visit to the Italian capital. Photograph: Maxwells/PA Wire

Donaldson says many may reach conclusion decision not to attend is based on politics

Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

‘Model whereby a public attends Mass once a week is not what the Church is about’, he says

Trócaire called on the Government ‘to uphold Ireland’s reputation as a leader in international development’.  Photograph: Kim Haughton

Ireland’s overseas aid ‘saves lives’, says chief executive Caoimhe de Barra

Bishop Michael Router said national media coverage highlighted the serious intimidating behaviour connected to  ongoing drugs related criminal activity in the Border area.

Support network provided assistance to more than 250 families in region last year

There are now 29 parishes with a single priest in Cloyne. Photograph: iStock

Were it not for retired priests the overall effect would be much more obvious

Former president Mary McAleese: ‘Many of us are in growing despair of our Church’s inability to turn a critical spotlight on itself while shining a critical spotlight on the world at large.’ Photograph: iStock

Authority based on ‘fictitious baptismal promises made by non-sentient babies’, says former president

Size matters?
In a Word . . . Sex

The first hint of sex in Ireland was just before Pope John Paul arrived in 1979

The Very Rev William Morton, dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin: ‘Singing is very much part of the tradition.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘They have spoken about increased numbers at services, but nothing about singing’

At the launch of Ireland and the Magdalene Laundries: A Campaign for Justice, Authors of Ireland and the Magdalene Laundries: A Campaign for Justice (from left) Maeve O’Rourke, Claire McGettrick, James M. Smith and Katherine O’Donnell. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Burials, exhumations and cremations of former Magdalene women ‘deeply troubling’

 Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral Dr William Morton marks the completion of the building works at the cathedral. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Dean of cathedral says undertaking will secure building for ‘generations to come’

The Bons Secours Sisters were ‘dedicated to the service of the sick, the poor and the needy,’ said Archbishop Farrell who made no explicit reference to the order’s involvement in the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

No explicit reference made to congregation’s role in running Tuam Mother and Baby Home

The former Artane Industrial School, now St David’s, which was run by the Christian Brothers. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Many properties transferred to trusts set up shortly before publication of Ryan Report

Archbishop Eamon Martin will ‘consider its content carefully’. Photograph: Tom Honan

Primate to discuss Darragh O’Brien’s letter at bishops’ meeting next month

Forever rolling: Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards. Photograph: Cewzan Grayson/PA Wire
In a Word ... longevity

The Rolling Stones are a musical phenomenon – and a physiological outrage

Head curator  Brendan Rooney, director  Sean Rainbird and curator Donal Maguire at the launch of the National Gallery’s newest exhibition, Jack B Yeats: Painting & Memory. Photograph: Alan Betson

Show that marks 150th anniversary of artist’s birth will see gallery at 60% capacity

Robbie Robinson (81), founder of super-pirate station Sunshine Radio in Dublin,  died on Tuesday in Lanzarote. Photograph: Sheelagh O’Donnell

Robinson came to Dublin in 1980 where he and the late Chris Carey set up the station

The two public hospitals and one private hospital owned by the Sisters of Charity through the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group were worth €434 million in 2017, according to documents filed at the Companies Registration Office. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Net assets of one religious congregation found to be more than €1 billion in 2009

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘Catholic social teaching recognises housing is a universal human right,’ says spokesman

Trees burn during the French Fire in the Sequoia National Forest, California, US, last week.  The Archbishop of Dublin has issued a warning on climate change. Photograph:  Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Dermot Farrell says ‘God now calls us to work for the good of the planet’

Broadcaster and journalist Rodney Rice who has died following a short illness. He was 76. Photograph: The Irish Times

Colleagues commend his knowledge, intellect and fairness: ‘qualities a great broadcaster needs’

In a Word...misery

One of the great conundrums of theology is ‘the problem of suffering’. It will always be with us

Around 60 per cent of participants said they were having mental health difficulties while in prison.

Well-resourced repatriation system ‘urgently required’, says Catholic Church agency

Covid vaccine sceptic, Cardinal Raymond Burke has been taken off a ventilator and moved out of intensive care in a US hospital, according to a spokesman. File picture: Getty

Cardinal Burke had questioned need for variety of anti-Covid measures

The funeral cortège of  Anthony Flynn as it passed the Inner City Helping Homeless office on Amiens Street in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Tom Honan

‘He took his shoes off and gave them to a bloke that was lying on a cardboard box’

Athletic, from Latin athleticus, Greek athletikos.

To my joy, increased levels of exercise is linked to heart issues

The unfolding crisis in Afghanistan ‘presents Ireland with another opportunity’. Photograph: Mohammad Javadzadeh/AFP

Taking in more refugees should be ‘policy priority’ and process should be speeded up

A still from a video by the Ad Council shows Pope Francis urging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Photograph: Ad Council via The New York Times

Pontiff says getting the vaccine is ‘an act of love’ and a way to promote the common good

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys announced latest round of funding under the Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Kerry main beneficiary of new funding in Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme

Soraya Afzali said her main aim at the moment is to help persuade the Government to allow emergency visas for Afghan people currently trying to flee that country. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

People ‘don’t know what is going to happen’ or what form government is going to take

In Dublin people of no religion in 2016 made up 48% of those in the 24 to 29 age group. File photograph: Getty

According to 2016 census people of no religion comprised more than 10% of population

Cardinal Raymond Burke: ‘I was raised in an Irish Catholic family which had a keen sense of the moral law.’ File photograph: Getty

Prelate receiving treatment in Wisconsin where ‘doctors encouraged by his progress’

Evidence of Christian belief in Ireland today ‘has for all intents and purposes vanished,’ Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell has said. Photograph: iStock

Reduced numbers may afford an opportunity ‘to reimagine the institutional Church’

Fr Seán McDonagh, co-founder of Association of Catholic Priests. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Climate change has been at centre of Pope Francis’s ministry, says Fr Seán McDonagh

Was this unexpected reserve  my new, post-pandemic normal?
In a Word... Normal

The new normal seems much the same as the old one. And I am glad

A spokeswoman for Elphin diocese saidt he sacrament of Confirmation takes place from mid-August to early October and all parishes are free to postpone previously scheduled dates. Photograph: iStock

Several bishops give permission for sacraments to be celebrated in August

Cardinal Raymond Burke claimed that Covid-19 was being used “by certain forces, inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda”.  Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Image

Irish-American Raymond Burke (73) queried necessity for social distancing and spoke of ‘Wuhan virus’

The Archbishop of Dublin has advised Catholics against going around with ‘a funeral face’, a ‘sourpuss’ or ‘a grimace that would stop a clock’. Photograph: iStock

Dermot Farrell says ‘sourpuss’ Christians ‘harm the mission and witness of the church’

As he caught the swirls of ice-cream, the young man turned and shouted at me, ‘Flake’

Co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests Fr Tony Flannery says bishops missed an opportunity to ‘relocate’ the preparation for sacraments from schools to parishes so ceremonies would be for only those who ‘really want it’. File photograph: iStock

Archbishop Dermot Farrell says many have concluded the ‘guidelines are discriminatory’

A spokesman for the Catholic bishops, said last week there was no centralised policy or approach to Communions and Confirmations. File photograph: Getty

Prelates accused by priests of ‘lining up with anti-vaxers’ and ignoring Covid-19 advice

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