Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, a mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA State can and should legislate to allow adopted people access birth certs

Pat Leahy: Attorney General Paul Gallagher understood to believe a referendum can be avoided

Mother helping daughter with homework. Photograph: E+/iStock/Getty Jennifer O'Connell: Working mothers are bearing an unfair burden in lockdown fallout

Teachers and parents are stepping up to the homeschooling challenge. It is time employers did too

‘The future of the Coalition hinges on how well it handles the rollout of the Covid vaccine in the coming months.’ File photograph: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg Public mood will turn ugly if people feel vaccine rollout is being botched

Stephen Collins: Coalition needs to prove it has a plan for final phase of Covid-19 battle

A memorial marks a mass burial site at what was formerly the Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Diarmaid Ferriter: Efforts to avoid ‘public scandal’ created the greatest scandal of all

Vitriol that emanated from the altar remarkable in its unvarnished hatred

While none of us likes the restrictions, we are willing to adhere. This is still the case, 10 months into the pandemic. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire Telling the public Covid-19 is out of control is wrong approach

Fear is a dangerous ingredient when it comes to public health campaigns

The Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was a mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire Una Mullally: The State and Church worked together to oppress

The Church’s guilt was meted out through violence and oppression. That is not our shame. It is their guilt

This is how an 82-year-old mother sent to Tuam had to watch the Government’s announcement to survivors of the mother and baby institutions. They were told to take time to read the report. But Rose McKinney has no way to access it. She wants a copy in her hands. Photograph: Caelainn Hogan Mother and baby homes report contradicts survivors’ lived experiences

Its hard for former residents to trust something compiled behind closed doors

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/ Bloomberg Ideology cannot be a barrier to building homes

One party’s perfect can become the enemy of everyone’s good

“During Stormont’s three-year collapse, Sinn Féin portrayed the crisis as a choice between restoring devolution or pushing on quickly for a [Border] poll.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Newton Emerson: SF, DUP refuse to concede their atavistic nationalism a huge strategic error

A 'win' in a border poll is not likely in the next few years, so why demand one?

There is little doubt that Donald Trump’s words on Twitter acted as an incentive to violence for the mob. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP Finn McRedmond: Trump has gone from Twitter…who is next?

Tech giants should not have this kind of control over speech

The Tuam mother and baby home in Galway. Photograph: Tuam Home Graveyard Committee/PA Wire Mother and Baby Homes: Now we must pay the price for our wilful silence

Homes provided a refuge, however harsh, when there was nowhere else for the women to go

The US Capitol  visible beyond the reflection of a  Facebook logo from an advertising board, in Washington DC: Broadcast and print media can’t spread sedition or defamation without consequence. Why should social media be wholly immune from such controls? File photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times Michael McDowell: Response to Trump’s claims must be measured

Freedom of speech is a fundamental value, but taking responsibility for publications is equally important

Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol on January 6th.  Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images Kathy Sheridan: Whither the proud Irish Trump fans now?

We’ve taken to aping the protest style of Trump supporters

“... There are those, best symbolised by residents in care homes but not restricted to them, whose needs have never been too far up the policy agenda and not just during the pandemic. This includes, of course, the elderly.” File photograph: iStock We must plan for a better society as we wade through a Slough of Despond

Children, elderly and migrants must be a focus as we plot a more compassionate society

Donald Trump: last week’s testing of the market suggests that he has a hard core of tens of millions of followers now fully committed to the destruction of American democracy. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA Fintan O’Toole: Assault on US Capitol showed Trump where his market is now

Millions of Americans saluted for fascism

White cliffs: Lorries arrive at the Port of Dover in Kent in recent days, after  the introduction of post-Brexit regulations. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Brexit has enabled the EU to reveal its essential essence

Union became tougher and more resilient in confronting dangers of UK’s exit

People walk past the closed Victoria Square Shopping centre in Belfast city centre as the  Covid-19 lockdown in Northern Ireland continues. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire A referendum on Irish unity is coming, whether we like it or not

Brexit has bulldozed the foundations of the union, so North and South need to prepare

The furthering of linkages between North and South through culture, environment and tourism can  raise the levels of mutual dependence and assist in the avoidance of conflict. Photograph: iStock Interdependence is the antidote to Northern Irish politics

A policy of enhanced all-island relationships will build economic, cultural and political opportunity

Trump is always showering love on his followers, and in turn, they love him, hence the dominance of Trump flags over American flags in the DC crowd. Photograph: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images Una Mullally: US faces greater threat than Trump if its leaders remain in denial

Biden saying that Capitol riots do not reflect a true America is profoundly unhelpful

 Supporters of US president Donald  Trump stand by the door to the Senate chambers after they breached the US Capitol security in Washington, DC, USA. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA David McWilliams: Capitol rioters can’t stop the economic forces undermining their tribe

The white working class is slipping down the US and global pecking order

‘If you think of the many and terrible ways in which trust has been abused and betrayed in Ireland over the last two decades, there is something precious in our willingness to keep doing so.’ Fintan O’Toole: Ireland's extraordinary culture of mutual trust still exists amid pandemic

The State has issued a vast IOU drawn on the bank of public trust

More than 70 per cent of the population, including older children, will need to be immunised to achieve population or herd immunity and thereby prevent transmission of the virus. Photograph: Paul Scott Covid vaccine could be conserved by excluding the already infected

People who have recovered from infection have already generated a protective immune response to the virus

 The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine being administered to staff at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson Will most of us be vaccinated by the summer, or will it drag on into autumn?

We face a difficult interim period as we wait for the slow roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine

Supporters of US president Donald Trump are confronted by police officers outside the Senate chamber inside the Capitol after storming the building. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo Violent, shambolic, inept: A grimly fitting finale to the Trump years

World view: The ragtag mob storming the US Capitol should be taken deadly seriously

Ivanka Trump was believed to be a voice of reason around her father. File photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Jennifer O’Connell: Forget the voice of reason, Ivanka has only been the voice of Ivanka

After four years, a medium-sized insurrection must seem like a small price to pay

The private view of one senior health expert is that socialisation got us to 1,000 cases a day; the new variant did the rest. Photograph: Getty Images Pat Leahy: It hangs in the balance if the pandemic will change the political landscape

If the health service is overwhelmed the lasting scars will forever remind people of a Government that lost its grip on the situation

The government needs to develop the ability to plan for best and worst-case scenarios. File photograph: Getty Time for real educational consultation and forward planning

The debacle this week in education shows a dangerous weakness in governmental planning for education

Supporters of President Donald Trump who swarmed the US Capitol walk through its National Statuary Hall in Washington.(Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times) Trump has not been alone in undermining American democracy

By supporting Trump’s claims of electoral fraud, Republican leaders incited protestors

The private sector residential development model is broken. It cannot deliver genuinely affordable homes for working people. Photograph: Getty Images State must be involved in direct delivery of affordable homes to buy and rent

With government borrowing at negative interest rates, now is the time to invest in critical infrastructure

Historically, proponents of vaccinations have always faced obstacles born of contemporary pressures and prejudices. Photograph: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty   Images Diarmaid Ferriter: Covid-19 vaccination a test for State

Challenge not just about roll out but convincing people of merits

This undated file image provided by attorneys  shows Lisa Montgomery. (Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery via AP) Trump pardons his friends – he must show clemency to Lisa Montgomery

Trump administration appears determined to push ahead with executions

A truck driver drives on board the Larne to Cairnryan ferry at the port of Larne on January 1st, 2021 –  first day of the UK’s future outside the European Union. Larne harbour is one of three point of entry locations situated in Northern Ireland along with Belfast and Warrenpoint. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Newton Emerson: Unionists have no choice but to make the Irish Sea border work

Post-Brexit problems likely to be aggravations rather than a big crisis

Conor Brady: Funding journalism is a good idea, but what is the best way to do it?

Journalists could benefit from State financial support for training and development

Exiting with haste:  By overpromising, Boris Johnson pressurises the system, and redoubles the motivation to administer as many vaccines as feasible. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/ PA Wire Boris Johnson shows why optimism is now key in the fight against Covid-19

Finn McRedmond: Overpromising makes practical sense when it comes to the vaccine

Dr Lucy McCourt receives the Covid-19 vaccine from clinical nurse manager Leona Malone at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin on Tuesday.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw Covid vaccines: We may ‘follow the science’, but do we listen to what it says?

We are sorely lacking the tools to adequately address the Covid-19 challenges ahead

We urgently need to address the lack of appropriate State intervention to deliver care services to the public. Photograph: iStock State relying on unpaid care work by women for far too long

Outdated reference in Constitution to ‘women’s place in the home’ needs to be replaced

Up to 150,000 Israelis are now being vaccinated daily and that country has now passed the one-million immunisation milestone. File photograph: Getty Michael McDowell: Ireland appears to have a last-minute approach to mass immunisation

Our public health team must take a more visible role in advising on the vaccination drive

A view of Dublin city centre  on Sunday. The urge to downplay the grimness of what we have to endure has lessened the rewards of lockdown. Photograph: Tom Honan Fintan O’Toole: If we must endure, please hit Covid on the head

Public losing faith in empty promises that pain will be matched by gain

US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Samuel Corum/The New York Times Fear in Washington as Trump presidency enters its final weeks

Even if Trump’s worst instincts are kept in check, the GOP is in a dangerous place

It is difficult for people in the Ireland of today to appreciate how much attitudes to sexual mores have changed in the intervening years since the 1970s. Photograph: Robert Atanasovski/AFP Good work of religious in aiding single mothers now largely forgotten

In the 1970s church people provided more assistance to women in need than secular society

‘Our response as a society to the Covid-19 crisis has certainly taught us a great deal about what we can achieve when we work together for a common cause,’ says Sr Stanislaus Kennedy. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw ‘Pandemic should be a turning point in struggle to defeat homelessness’

Focus Ireland campaign to call on Government to set deadline for end of homelessness

Realistic estimations from experts suggest it will be September or October at the earliest before some element of herd immunity can be achieved through vaccination. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/Getty Images Still not too late to reap benefits of a zero-covid strategy

Strategy co-ordinated with North could allow unrestricted domestic travel within 12 weeks

With the Brexit deal, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson achieved the “Canada plus” outcome he had sought from the start of his premiership. Photograph: Jeff Overs/EPA EU holds better hand despite Johnson’s Brexit success

UK adopted ideological approach while EU pragmatically protected its interests

Micheál Martin’s populist insistence that people could be ‘given’ a Christmas reprieve  led to actions that people previously would have avoided. Photograph: Julien Behal Una Mullally: We are good at denial and now must pay the price

People who should know better broke Covid-19 guidelines, but messaging came from the top

 Map of European Union without United Kingdom after Brexit. France, your closest EU neighbour

France and Ireland together favour a political project for Europe based on shared values, at the service of European citizens, and providing peace and prosperity