Police perform a stop and search on a group of people outside the high court in Hong Kong on FridY, after Tong Ying-kit was sentenced to nine years in prison for terrorism and inciting secession in the first trial conducted under a national security law imposed by China. Photograph:  Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images Ireland’s Olympic success is an inspiration to us all

Collective confidence shown by our athletes in Tokyo will make a positive impact on the country

A big row is coming about what the ‘return to work’ will look like. Photograph: iStock Cliff Taylor: Three big clashes are coming as the economy reopens this autumn

Working from home, Covid measures and public spending will be the big flashpoints

Boris Johnson’s call for a freezing of protocol implementation while an effective renegotiation of it is sought is seen as bad faith. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images EU response on NI protocol will depend on UK’s true intentions

Paul Gillespie: Bloc's role as guarantor of Belfast Agreement is now explicit

Boris Johnson’s call for a freezing of protocol implementation while an effective renegotiation of it is sought is seen as bad faith. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images Bobby McDonagh: Boris Johnson is like a hamster on a roulette wheel

Making sense of the UK prime minister is an impossible task – but we must try

Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Co Tipperary. Photograph: Alan Betson Ireland needs to fully embrace community-led housing

Irish meitheal tradition has potential to help solve the crisis – with State support

 Simone Biles reacts after competing in the artistic gymnastics balance beam event of the women’s qualification during the Tokyo   Games. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images Jennifer O’Connell: Why are some men so afraid of Simone Biles saying ‘no’?

Elite sport has a women problem, and it isn’t confined to relentless sexualisation of athletes

 Simone Biles reacts after competing in the artistic gymnastics balance beam event of the women’s qualification during the Tokyo   Games. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images Bungled Zappone appointment deflects attention from more serious issues

Cabinet fails to agree redress scheme or plan for live entertainment before summer break

Could this be the centre of Dublin in the future? Illustration: Dublin City Council Time to stop seeing climate action through the lens of economics

Only a bold political vision will prepare the public for the measures that are needed

Micheál Martin now looks far more comfortable in the role of Taoiseach than he did this time last year. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire Stephen Collins: Micheál Martin looks safe for the time being

Taoiseach had successful year in office particularly in relation to handling of Covid-19

Micheál Martin now looks far more comfortable in the role of Taoiseach than he did this time last year. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire Be wary of normalising extraordinary Covid measures

Governments have been granted significant power over our private lives

Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Irish nursing home residents. Photograph: iStock 4:09 How did we let nursing homes succumb to the third wave?

It is incumbent on us as a society to investigate what went wrong this time

File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times 5:39 Newton Emerson: Let’s be realistic about cross-Border high-speed rail

Politicians announce ambitious plans but rail experts provide the reality check

File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times 5:01 Finn McRedmond: Dominic Cummings will hold on to the limelight at any cost

Boris Johnson’s former adviser has maintained his place in the public eye, but why?

The Government’s belated recognition that children are part of the herd, and so must be part of the solution, is welcome and overdue. But why has it taken so long? Photograph: iStock 5:04 Why should we vaccinate our children? Because they are people too

Children deserve for their health and wellbeing to be taken into account

Emmet Brennan after his narrow loss to the world’s number two: took out credit union loans to support himself, worked a part-time job and, dogged by injury, managed to qualify for the Olympics in June. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO 5:23 Kathy Sheridan: Where do five-pints-in fans get confidence to tell Olympic athletes how to do it?

Athletes triumph with ambition and talent as gold medal-obsessed fans pontificate lazily

Emmet Brennan after his narrow loss to the world’s number two: took out credit union loans to support himself, worked a part-time job and, dogged by injury, managed to qualify for the Olympics in June. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO 5:19 Michael McDowell: Archbishop in no position to talk about groupthink

Those who argue for infallibility now find themselves marginalised in public debate

Calibrating the way in which we convert injuries to sums of money or offences to terms of imprisonment is crucial to broad acceptance of what happens in our courts. Photograph: Collins Courts 5:31 Maintaining public confidence in the judicial system is crucial

The work of the Judicial Council can enhance consistency and transparency

A woman holds a three-month-old baby as migrants and refugees from different African nationalities wait for assistance on an overcrowded rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea. File Photograph: AP/Bruno Thevenin 5:17 EU migration policies are enabling deaths at sea

People are prevented from safely reaching territory where they can seek asylum

A woman holds a three-month-old baby as migrants and refugees from different African nationalities wait for assistance on an overcrowded rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea. File Photograph: AP/Bruno Thevenin Fintan O’Toole: Shocking news, Irish people may be sanest in Europe

The low level of anti-vaccine sentiment is a very good sign for our democracy

Boris Johnson: “Could you find one leader or influential voice in unionism who would tell you, on the record, they trust him?” Photograph: Leon Neal 6:20 Johnson is worst possible ally unionism could have

Loyalist protests tipping into violence sole thing that may give PM cause for concern

Drug use and dealing are rampant in Irish society. They are much more sophisticated and hidden from view in more affluent areas of the city. Photograph: Paddy Whelan 4:52 Decriminalisation and injection facilities must be core of drug policy

Wishy-washy drug awareness campaigns serve nobody. We need courageous action

Drug use and dealing are rampant in Irish society. They are much more sophisticated and hidden from view in more affluent areas of the city. Photograph: Paddy Whelan Una Mullally: We need to become a culture-first society

We cannot pretend to value art yet have cities that are hostile to artists

The planet is moving from a baby boom to a baby drought, which has reached every continent except Africa. Photograph: iStock David McWilliams: The global population will soon fall, and this will change the world

Falling populations in Europe, America and Asia will make Africa an economic superpower

The Griffith Wood apartment complex under construction on Griffith Avenue in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Fintan O’Toole: Marino shows us what the State could do on housing a century ago

A new development in the city is a microcosm of 250 years of control of land in Ireland

The Griffith Wood apartment complex under construction on Griffith Avenue in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill 5:57 Jennifer O’Connell: ‘Watching the Brits self-destruct’ is high-risk fun

We’re no better than Boris if we can’t resist our own version of obsession with the past

‘How do we get homes – particularly apartments – built at a reasonable cost?’ File photograph: Getty 5:57 Cliff Taylor: No wonder the Government has the jitters about its housing plan

If the big new strategy is to work, then in time house prices will have to fall

Climate protester’s placard: Boris Johnson has encouraged unrealistic unionist expectations that the Northern Ireland  protocol’s essentials can be abolished. Photograph: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg Ireland’s position in NI protocol row is delicate and difficult

Strategic patience is a virtue as Boris Johnson is the only British PM available

Climate protester’s placard: Boris Johnson has encouraged unrealistic unionist expectations that the Northern Ireland  protocol’s essentials can be abolished. Photograph: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg Pat Leahy: Parties must now look at a wider political agenda as Covid recedes

Fianna Fáil’s performance on health and housing will matter more than internal difficulties

In an essay last August, Bill Gates estimated that by 2060, global warming could be just as deadly as coronavirus, and by 2100 it could be five times as lethal. File photograph: Getty 5:37 If the pandemic tells us how the world will deal with global warming, we’re in big trouble

Can world powers learn lessons from this event and apply them to global warming?

Most people who attend or celebrate the Latin Mass are Catholics who are striving to be faithful not just to bits and pieces of Church teaching but to all of it. File photograph: Getty Why younger Catholics are attracted to the Latin Mass

Breda O'Brien: Pope's presumption of bad faith on part of those who attend the Mass is worrying

Most people who attend or celebrate the Latin Mass are Catholics who are striving to be faithful not just to bits and pieces of Church teaching but to all of it. File photograph: Getty An economist’s view: ‘All Covid waves are not equal’

Recovery from the pandemic can be quite swift, albeit differentiated across sectors

A 2017 High Court judgment held the Constitution contained as an unwritten right, “A right to an environment that is consistent with the human dignity and wellbeing of citizens at large.” Environmental rights must be preserved in the Constitution

We urgently need to convene a Citizens’ Assembly on biodiversity loss

File image of Des O’Malley at a PD conference in Co Clare. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan Des O’Malley was defined by his struggle against armed republicanism

On the day of his funeral a reminder of O’Malley’s defence of democratic institutions

File image of Des O’Malley at a PD conference in Co Clare. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan 3:46 Mick Mulvaney: An amnesty will lock the Troubles in a box – for now

I encourage Britain not to make the same mistakes the US made in dealing with its past

People confront British soldiers on William Street in Derry minutes before paratroopers opened fire, killing 14 civilians on what became known as Bloody Sunday. Photograph: Getty 5:31 Newton Emerson: Stormont’s rejection of amnesty rings hollow

NI parties miles apart on contentious issue, with little prospect of common ground

Mark Bezos, left, listens as his brother Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, describes the experience after their launch from the spaceport near Van Horn, Texas on Tuesday. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP 5:14 Space launches of Branson and Bezos show how out of touch some of world’s wealthiest are

Earth is too busy to marvel at the billionaire space race

Mark Bezos, left, listens as his brother Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, describes the experience after their launch from the spaceport near Van Horn, Texas on Tuesday. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP 5:05 Welfare services should stick to giving advice and recommending education

Policy that assumes people are lazy and prone to welfare dependency is dubious

Demonstrators participating in a climate protest near the Dáil in February 2020. Photograph: Alan Betson We need to move from knowing about climate change to believing in it

Climate change will test limits of our co-operation, perhaps beyond breaking point

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson: His statute of limitation amnesty proposal is almost entirely motivated by a desire to satisfy right-wing British media and establishment guilt about the spectacle of seeing old men being punished by British courts for doing the dirty work asked and expected of them as squaddies. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP Michael McDowell: When do we accept awful things cannot be undone?

Realpolitik may require a line be drawn over atrocities in pursuit of greater good

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson: His statute of limitation amnesty proposal is almost entirely motivated by a desire to satisfy right-wing British media and establishment guilt about the spectacle of seeing old men being punished by British courts for doing the dirty work asked and expected of them as squaddies. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP Support for Irish unification should be accepted as legitimate position in political discourse

Efforts to halt contemplation of united Ireland undermine Belfast Agreement

Secularism has no anchor for ethics: you cannot develop a meaningful morality out of a meaningless universe. 5:21 Religions’ flaws make it easy to ignore their wisdom

Ingredients of humanity's spiritual success are vital at this critical and dark moment in history

Ian Bailey  is the black hole of Irish journalism, sucking in attention and emitting nothing of any value. Photograph:   Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision Fintan O'Toole: Ian Bailey deflects us from the reality of violent misogyny

There are 40 unsolved murders of women in Ireland since 1996. The obsession with one case is a way of avoiding this truth

Ian Bailey  is the black hole of Irish journalism, sucking in attention and emitting nothing of any value. Photograph:   Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision 6:26 Sinn Féin is biggest obstacle to Irish unity

Disavowal of past violence key to laying moral foundations for united Ireland

Mother and baby homes protest at Phoenix Park in 2020: The commission suggests children who did not spend long in an institution are unlikely to have been abused. We recognise forced separation as a harm in itself. Photograph:  Tom Honan 5:43 Why mother and baby homes report findings cannot be let stand

Alternate conclusions around force and abuse possible as accuracy of history is key

A Google data centre 5:19 Una Mullally: Data centres reveal truth of Ireland’s climate double-speak

These energy vampires will drain already lacklustre efforts to meet climate targets