Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, who face a run-off election on May 7th for the presidency of France. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images British media backing Le Pen view of Europe through Brexit prism

Kathy Sheridan: Support for hard-right candidate a sign of media desperation

The proposed new National Maternity Hospital would be located in the middle of the Elm Park campus. New National Maternity Hospital will not be ‘run by nuns’

Hospital deal clearly protects clinical autonomy from any religious ethos

 Members of the Citizens’ Assembly casting their vote at its final meeting on the topic of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution on Saturday. Photograph Nick Bradshaw Saturday was great, but now it’s time for a conversation about abortion

The citizens in Malahide said they want to know what abortion services might look like. It’s no longer about repeal

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walks with Labour Party activists as he leaves his home to cast his vote at a polling station at Pakeman Primary School in Islington on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) Brian Boyd: Jeremy Corbyn, Islington Labour and me

The Islington Labour Party of the 1980’s was achingly “right on” and as relevant today as Duran Duran

The RTÉ campus in Donnybrook: some 8.64 acres of the national broadcaster’s grounds are to be sold off for housing. Photograph: Cyril Byrne The RTÉ campus may be a better site for the National Maternity Hospital

Why are religious congregations involved in providing private medical care?

St Vincent’s hospital campus in Dublin, to where it is proposed the National Maternity Hospital will move. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire Fintan O’Toole: Church control of hospitals maintains myth of charity

Maternity hospital debacle a symptom of public services as favours, not rights

By the time children baptised this year reach confirmation age our diocese will be a changed place with many parishes without a resident priest. Photograph: Istock Was the church too comfortable, too aligned with political and social power?

We have 53 diocesan priests with no one under 40 and no one studying to be a priest

Founder and Leader of the political movement ‘En Marche !’ Emmanuel Macron speaks after winning the lead percentage of votes in the first round of the French Presidential Elections at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images) Macron will be president but France will never be the same again

The real test will be if he can win a majority in June’s parliamentary elections

Whiplash in some affluent countries is big business, a multibillion dollar gravy train for the medical profession, victims and lawyers. Photograph: Getty Images Onus on medical profession to stop supporting myth of whiplash

For 20 years I wrote medical reports which were economical with the truth

Not having an official record of the extent and depth of the problem is a massive barrier to ending violence against women. Photograph:  Enrique Algarra/Imagefile Data holds key to tackling violence against women

Outdated data-collection system prevents understanding scale and depth of problem

Eighty seven per cent  at the Citizens’ Assembly voted that Article 40.3.3 should not be retained in full. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw Una Mullally: Oireachtas must act urgently on abortion mandate

There is a difference between complex constitutional issues and issues that don’t belong in the Constitution

The UK Houses of Parliament following the attack by Khalid Masood: his wife Farzana fled their three-month-old marriage after violence from her “controlling psychopath” husband. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images Kathy Sheridan: Time to look at link between extremism and sexual violence

Many who kill in the name of religion have a history of assault on wives and partners

Pay and display: the boom-time rise in incomes was one reason we got in such trouble. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw Public servants want their ‘stolen’ money back. Time for a reality check

Pay restoration looks set to follow water charges and become the next political mess

Leaked documents from OSF reveal it gave funds to three Irish organisations so  they could “work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment”. Photograph: Eric Luke Breda O’Brien: Foreign funding buys undemocratic influence

The recent revelations regarding Glen’s financial governance mask a bigger problem

Sisters of Charity: the Minister for Health says the order will have no influence on medical care when the National Maternity Hospital moves to its St Vincent’s campus. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire The State needs to protect its assets as well as religious orders do

What’s needed is the sort of thing Irish politics is hopeless at: a long-term plan

Dave Hiernan from Blackrock during a demonstration at Government plans to hand ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins No ‘value for money’ in giving away public assets for nothing

Free privatisation is a much bigger issue than the new National Maternity Hospital

Teachers at all levels have a particular balancing act to perform: to safeguard teachers’ welfare and to promote the interests of those they serve. Photograph: The Irish Times Diarmaid Ferriter: Teaching unions must unite on pay

Teachers subjected to two-tier pay system that is compete antithesis of equality

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan:  “After the failed coup attempt last July, he started a large-scale purge of his “enemies”, arresting 45,000 people and firing or suspending 130,000. But he has 10 straight victories at the polls since 2002, and there is no doubting his popularity.” File photograph:  Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images Turkey’s referendum result more than Erdogan power grab

World View: Trump pays homage to strongman autocrat

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first general election campaign speech in London on April 20th. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA Noel Whelan: The UK faces an unhealthy election

Theresa May undermines British democracy by announcing a vote with no real choice

‘The best that might happen in the next election is that the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Irish politics finally form a coalition government, rather than repeat the present nonsense.’ Photograph: Alan Betson Irish voters must be realistic in the next election

There is too much at stake to continue with the current shambolic arrangement

Plans for the new National Maternity Hospital in Dublin. Peter Boylan: New maternity hospital should not be given to Sisters of Charity

The religious order disagrees with modern maternity and gynaecological care

The HIV virus. Recent studies in the US claim PrEP is 70 per cent effective in reducing HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men. Anti-HIV drug removes personal responsibility

PrEP promotes an attitude of play now, pay later among men who have sex with men

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. ‘The public’s estimation of Mr Kenny vastly improved when he bared his ruthless side in despatching the 2010 heave.’ Photograph: Seán Gallup/Getty Images Fine Gael leadership saga risks damaging candidates

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar will take a hit if they fail to take action on Enda Kenny

British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Getty Images Newton Emerson: Snap election complicates Stormont stand-off

Theresa May’s move may throw a spanner into talks on forming a devolved government

“The recent activity in the Dáil on water may not have been pretty, but it showed that the centre can hold and compromise can work. How often that feat can be repeated is open to question, however.”  File photograph: Getty Images Paschal Donohoe: Water debacle shows that the centre can hold

Global upheaval does not have to adversely affect Ireland if we can offer certainty

An unmanned aircraft in  the Middle East. The history of US intervention in the region might have been avoided if in 1919 US president Woodrow Wilson had acted on recommendations of a commission he appointed to survey Arab opinion on governance following the collapse of the Ottoman empire. Photograph: Getty Images US intervention in Middle East has a long, difficult history

Current effort to oust Assad follows many failed attempts to topple him

Cystic fibrosis sufferer and campaigner Jillian McNulty with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin outside the Dáil after it was announced that the HSE had reached a deal on the provision of Orkambi. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Providing Orkambi to CF sufferers will cost lives

Spend on high-tech drug could have more impact elsewhere in health service

The gradual demise of the mentality in which Ireland was merely the opposite of England has done us nothing but good. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien Fintan O’Toole: Brexit means Ireland must be the anti-England

Seeing ourselves as opposites used to be a bad idea. Now it might be a necessity

In Ireland, new cases of HIV rose more than 25% between 2015 and 2016. Una Mullally: Anti-HIV drug must be made available

Ireland needs to get serious about PrEP to combat a surge in infection rates

“It is hard to see a prayer that involves a wish that ‘Christ Our Lord’ will guide parliamentarians’ work as a mere cultural symbol.” Photograph: Johnny Bambur Inclusive Ireland should consign Dáil prayers to history

Prayer in parliament can give impression of State endorsement of Christianity

The tribal sneers of Barry Cowen and the distraction of the Fine Gael leadership issue exemplify why still, in O hEithir’s words, “questions of personality shoulder serious questions off the stage”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill Diarmaid Ferriter: cute hoorism has cast a long shadow

Fianna Fáil’s somersaults on the water issue are as cynical as anything seen in Irish politics

 US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Trump has gone from accusing China of manipulating its currency to denying it. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Trump performs U-turns but has not changed

Paul Gillespie: US president remains an opportunistic populist despite policy shifts

Fine Gael leadership hopefuls Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar. “The history of party politics has shown us that healthy leadership tussles can be destructive forces.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Fine Gael leadership contest could lead to damaging schism

Harry McGee: Varadkar and Coveney camps could end up in war of attrition

Cystic Fibrosis sufferer and campaigner Jillian McNulty with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin outside the Dáil on Wednesday after the HSE reached a deal on the provision of Orkambi. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons Governments will struggle to pay for high-tech drugs

Cliff Taylor: High-tech drugs budget now similar to routine spending on defence

 Crucifixes for sale in a Cairo shop. Christians are a significant minority in Egypt, as 10 per cent of the population are Coptic Orthodox. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP Terrorism and repression leave Egyptian Christians vulnerable

Breda O’Brien: Pope’s visit may focus attention on plight of isolated minority

“The Security Council is far from perfect. At times it has been wholly ineffective. Syria is only the most recent and glaring example.” Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters Ireland should pursue UN Security Council seat

Charlie Flanagan: State should capitalise on its outstanding reputation at the UN

Many unionists will vote for the union come hell or high water, but increasing numbers   will now take a more measured, nuanced position. They will want solid answers to some very difficult questions. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Brexit challenges the identity of Ulster unionism

A Border poll is now more likely, and the nature of any unity debate has changed

A Sinn Féin leadership change to Mary Lou McDonald is likely to significantly improve the party’s  position. Photograph: Alan Betson Noel Whelan: Polls suggest another election would not change much

Noel Whelan: new leaders of FG or SF only things likely to shake up Dáil make-up

    Brian Boyd: We have reached Peak Synthetic Outrage

Stories about Pepsi, United Airlines and Sean Spicer ticked the “social media storm/online backlash” boxes but none of them stand up

A hardish Brexit could knock one percentage point off our growth rate for a few years. Photograph: Reuters Cliff Taylor: In an uncertain world, economic forecasting is fraught with danger

Brexit is just one of the unknowns making growth predictions tricky

Syrian Democratic Forces fighters near destroyed airplane parts inside Tabqa military airport after taking control of it from Islamic State fighters, west of Raqqa city, Syria, earlier this week. Photograph: Rodi Said/Reuters After Islamic State what comes next?

Even if Isis is defeated, the attraction of its ideology is unlikely to disappear

Belfast, 1989: “High unemployment was hardly unique to Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s but it combined with the Troubles to create a grim sense of inevitability – it felt like there would always be few jobs and even fewer prospects.” File photograph: Getty Images Newton Emerson: What is North’s policy on jobs and immigration?

British government wants to use Brexit to substitute migrant workers with the unemployed

Martyn Turner

Wednesday April 12th, 2017

 Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at a meeting with the Policing Authority last year. Photograph: Eric Luke Patten-like commission will further delay Garda reforms

Policing Authority should decide if O’Sullivan is the one to carry out reforms

 USS Porter  launching a missile strike while in the Mediterranean Sea, 07 April 2017. The United States military launched at least 50 tomahawk cruise missiles against al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria, in response to the Syrian military’s alleged use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in a rebel held area in Idlib province. EPA/US NAVYEPA/US NAVY Nicholas Kristof: Trump was right to strike Syria

We all have an interest in reinforcing the taboo on chemical weapons. It is not just about Syria but also about deterring the next dictator from turning to sarin

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