‘Until three years ago, the phrase ‘Black Friday’ had minimal recognition in this country . . . except that it was the fourth best song on Steely Dan’s second best album.’ Photograph: Rob Stothard/Getty Images Donald Clarke: Black Friday is a white elephant

We no longer need to covet the American way of life as our ‘stuff’ is the same as theirs

Patrick Honohan, speaking on his last day as Governor of The Central Bank of Ireland .Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times Pain of austerity was unavoidable once recessionary teeth sank into economy

Burning the senior bondholders would have made us all feel better. But it would not have made a really significant difference to the sums

Wrong to think David Cameron could magic up a brand new EU after a few chats with Angela Merkel and Jean Claude Juncker. - WPA Pool /Getty Images) Denis MacShane: Brexit will have massive impact on Ireland

Referendums on the Euro in Sweden, on the constitutional treaty in France and the Netherlands, on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland and Denmark produced a rejection or No to Europe vote.

After a month of negotiations a new Fianna Fail-Labour government was formed on January 12th, 1993, 48 days after the election. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times Noel Whelan: Don't pay attention to pre-election pledges about coalition

Nothing concentrates the minds of politicians like the fear of a further election. Next year will be no different.

We bought a hill farm overlooking beautiful Bantry Bay and built a comfortable straw bale house, powered by wind generators, solar panels, and a wood-burning stove. Clare Watson: How to make people care about climate change

We humans are a tricky species. Our hearts rule our heads, and emotions trump reason. Mix humans with climate change and you get a perfect storm.

In the days before Budget 2016, the Government announced its intention to have a large and unexpected increase in spending for 2015. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times John McHale: Coalition spending strays from prudent path

The upward adjustment this year is higher than in any year during the property boom

Environmental problems have a natural attention cycle among readers and climate change has probably gone through this attention cycle several times. Photograph: Getty Images/Stockphoto Why the media doesn’t care about climate change

News likes unambiguous, discrete events, straight-forward, one-off happenings rather than long-term social trends

Algerian migrants in a bus after they were arrested by French police during a brutal police crackdown on October 17th 1961. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images/Archives Eamonn McCann: Paris’s past helps explain the troubling present

Deadliest violence to strike France since 1945 was probably the mass killing of Algerians by Paris police in 1961

Jeremy Clarkson: To inflate his bully-boy rant to the level of “racial discrimination” undermines genuine instances of racially motivated hatred. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA Wire Fionola Meredith: If Jeremy Clarkson’s vitriol is discrimination we are all victims

Oisín Tymon wrong to claim “lazy Irish c***” remark was ethnically motivated

We came face to face with the use of violence against women in conflict ten years ago in Darfur, Sudan and chose  to no longer merely act as witnesses to it. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti Irish group has world-leading expertise in addressing violence against women

The motivation for The Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence (ICGBV) for the next 10 years is to prevent and respond to all of forms of violence against women and girls

“We know from the divorce and marriage equality campaigns that, in order to be passed, the effect of a referendum must be clearly spelt out in advance – people need to know what they are voting for.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins Ivana Bacik: Repeal the Eighth Amendment for the sake of our daughters

Labour’s framework legislation will allow abortion on four medically certified grounds

A social housing scheme in Dublin: Tenants will be able to buy at up to a 60 per cent discount Simon Brooke: Alan Kelly selling off family silver at a knock-down price

Tenant Purchase scheme will cost money and reduce social housing stock

 Fine Gael leader Dr Garret FitzGerald (right) and Mr John Bruton, TD, FG, spokesman on finance promised reform of the budget process in 1981. Photograph: Pat Langan Fintan O’Toole: Still the best little parliament in the world for rubber-stamping budgets

The level of engagement the Houses of the Oireachtas in the budgetary process is the lowest observed in any OECD country

“We need a political breakthrough in Paris to begin addressing this injustice.” A model from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) with a world map painted on her body poses in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in the run up to COP21 Bishop William Crean: Halting climate change is our duty as Christians

Earth was created for the benefit of everyone and human greed threatens to destroy it

Ciaran Lynch, Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis Elaine Byrne: Banking Inquiry fiasco further erodes public belief in accountability

Temporary inquiries are no substitute for properly resourced oversight agencies

Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times Only surprise is that farmers are surprised about IFA boss’s pay

Pat Smith’s salary is no more or less troubling than that of any other successful executive

The UN conference on climate change in Paris from November 30th-December 11th provides a greater cause for optimism than any previous climate summit. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images. Looking for a beacon of hope on climate change in Paris

The Cop21 summit offers a truly historic opportunity for a global energy revolution

‘A small number of Irish parents have allowed mild and reasonable concerns about the side effects of routine immunisations to spiral into an ‘anti-vax’ mindset.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Healthy scepticism is feeding irrational vaccination fears

Success of free immunisation may have led to complacent attitude to serious childhood diseases

Fr Kevin Reynolds meeting with parishioners after Mass after he was welcomed back to his ministry in Saint Cuan’s Church in Ahascragh in 2011. It was fortunate for him that DNA testing cleared his name. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy. Breda O’Brien: What happened to Pat Carey was a long time in the making

Religious have long been subjected to similar treatment by media and the Church

Colum Eastwood wins the SDLP leadership contest with new deputy leader Fearghal McKinney during the Party Conference last Saturday. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press Diarmaid Ferriter: New SDLP leader should take party into opposition and challenge SF

Colum Eastwood needs to dig his own trench and move his party out of the Hume shadow

Billy Kelleher: Fianna Fail  will  not go into coalition with Fine Gael or Sinn Féin and will not support a Fine Gael-led minority government from the outside. Photograph: Aidan Crawley Stephen Collins: Kelleher puts cat amongst post election pigeons

If the Coalition fails to hit the 70-seat mark the situation could get very messy

Further external interventions would provoke deeper regional upheavals and send more refugees and instability towards Europe.  ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images Paul Gillespie: Regional Sunni powers hold the key to Syria

Federal state with power sharing most convincing solution

Tánaiste Joan Burton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Chris Hyams of Indeed during a jobs announcement: when governments go to the electorate in bad times, they try to create distractions. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins Cliff Taylor: Government working overtime to get ‘bad news’ stories out of the way

Just look at what has happened over the last couple of weeks and the potential controversies that have been neutralised or put off

There seems no happy balance in writing about sex. The prose is either too clinical (medical terms for body parts) or too archly poetic. Photograph: Getty Images Donald Clarke: Bad Sex Award – the agony and the ecstasy

‘The promiscuous shell-collecting in Jane Austen gets my juices flowing’ . . . and so on

Paris will be the same. Terrorist atrocities change forever the lives of the bereaved and the survivors. They do not change the lives of big cities.  (AP Photo/Francois Mori) Fintan O’Toole: Babbling commentary is music to the ears of Islamic State

Making sweeping statements about the Paris attacks puffs up their lethal vanity

Peter Robinson: A one-time head of the Northern Ireland civil service described him as “somewhat scary.”Photo : Brian Lawless/PA Wire David McKittrick: Robinson was key to allowing Paisley enter government with Sinn Fein

He concentrated on masterminding the DUP’s battle to displace the Ulster Unionist party while doubtless privately wondering when Paisley would retire.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald amended  the bill on the advice of the attorney general that the Bar Council could sue. Pic: Collins Photos. Colm Keena: Legal Services Bill brings transparency but no reduction in fees

It would be extraordinary if barristers and solicitors were not in the premier league when it comes to arguing their case to Government.

FineGael poster from the 2007 general election Noel Whelan: FG’s ambitious health plan simply flushed away

The fudged, vague agreement with Labour was this week pushed off into the never never

Paris attacks: An atrocity in a familiar place in a neighbouring country is always going to hit home in a way that will not be the case for a more remote place.  Photograph: Adrien Morlent/AFP/Getty Images Paris attacks: How West should move on from Islamic State outrage

Piaras Mac Éinrí: Eight lessons to be learned from latest Isis assault on French

Iraqi Yazidi people fleeing IS in August 2014. More than a thousand women and girls were kidnapped. Younger girls were shared out among fighters, older women murdered. One mass grave held the bodies of around 80 women, all apparently over the age of 40.  (Adam Ferguson/The New York Times) Eamonn McCann: Islamic State’s actions are rooted in religion

Refusing to acknowledge the religious basis of the Paris attacks is to refuse to face facts

But the past is not just about British national security, about the military and intelligence agencies and what information will be disclosed. This process is no closer to understanding what co-operation it could expect from the IRA and the various loyalist organisations.  PA Brian Rowan: Stormont deal represents another failure to deal with the past

After five attempts to create a process, perhaps it is time to accept that this is work for others, independent and international others

President Michael D Higgins is greeted by co-director of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre during his visit to mark 30 years anniversary. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Colum McCann: Travellers must talk and we must listen

The ability of Irish Travellers and the Roma to tell their stories is paramount to their dignity and survival

A masked, black-clad militant, who has been identified by the Washington Post newspaper as a Briton named Mohammed Emwazi, brandishes a knife in this still file image from a 2014 video obtained from SITE Intel Group February 26, 2015.  REUTERS/SITE Intel Group Kathy Sheridan : How to explain Jihadi John?

How he must have longed for the bullies at home to know how far he had travelled. How easy it must have been to transfer that blazing vengeance to his blameless victims, coating his actions in a depraved ideology.

Homelessness. The Government watched the crisis develop and did nothing. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES Peter McVerry: Rent measures are lacking and late – but welcome

We were waiting for the rich uncle but they sent the poor cousin instead

The terrorists struck at the city’s most vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods where integration has been visibly successful, in sharp contrast to the blighted suburbs to the north.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Max McGuinness: Isis struck at diversity and integration

Last Friday night in Paris, France was attacked by terrorists for its successes rather than for its failures

Richard Dowlin (L), 35, and Cormac Gollogly, 35, are married by registrar Mary Claire Heffernan in the South Clonmel Community Care Centre in County Tipperary on November , 17, 2015. Dowlin and Gollogly are the first gay couple to marry in Ireland. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton Fine Gael and Labour’s approach to marriage equality was crude, uncertain and politically opportune

Sending the divisive issue to the constitutional convention for deliberation was truly a political masterstroke.

“I assumed that the raging energies of curiosity and sensation would be kept in check here. What’s happened to Pat Carey over the last week shows that I was wrong.” Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES Fintan O’Toole: Carey inquiry leaks an abuse of human dignity

What happened to to Pat Carey shows that our tradition of restraint has faded

Mary says “yes”! Ilustration from the ‘Grow in Love’ religion course which is based on the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum. Chris Hayden: Atheist Ireland’s retelling of the Annunciation story ‘perverse’

“It is the carefully rehashed story of how a stranger appears in a young girl’s bedroom at night. The girl is afraid, yet she says “yes” to becoming pregnant.”

“Jihad is an egalitarian, equal-opportunity employer: fraternal, fast-breaking, glorious, cool – and persuasive” REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (Gaza) Islamic State has a plan and that plan is working

Analysis: Group reaching out to fill void wherever chaos exists or to create it in lands of infidel

Fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria stand near their infantry fighting vehicles around the al-Khatoniyah lake area after they took control of it from Islamic State militants, near al Houl town in Hasaka province, Syria on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters  Paris attacks put focus on coherent EU response

Terrorist threats in the bloc have until now been seen through the prism of national security

French prime minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives with interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve  and defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images Questions raised over French security intelligence

Former DGSE agent says attacks at several locations is ‘security services nightmare’

Sympathisers put a candle  outside the French ambassador’s residence in Dublin. Ireland should not be shy about making its  experience and position known. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Irish fall into same target of ‘infidels’ as Paris victims

To protect ourselves we need to beef up security, but also to support moderate Muslims

North-South relations: “Despite working in and around Leinster House for more than a decade and studying Irish at school, I’m still self-conscious of my pronunciation of the word ‘Dáil’ and even ‘Taoiseach’.” Mary Minihan: Five reasons why it is hard to be a Nordie

Life south of the Border throws many personality and cultural traits into stark relief

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin presents Budget 2016 at Government Buildings. Photograph: Eric Luke Only Labour can deliver balance in next government

Party is determined to ensure required balance of left and right continues

A man attaches a banne to a statue at Place de la Republique near sites of the deadly attacks in Paris on Sunday. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters Air strikes on Syria echo fatally back home in Paris

There’s a straight line between Bush’s invasion of Iraq and France’s torment

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