A scene from 20th Century Fox’s The Longest Day, the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during the second World War. Photograph: MPI/Getty Images

Putin pretends to be fighting Nazis when his troops are murdering and raping Ukrainians

UK foreign minister Liz Truss. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke-Pool/Getty

Struggling Ulster farmers should be alarmed about what the Tories are really thinking

A former customs guard hut at the Border near Newry. In polls, almost 80 per cent of respondents in the Republic say they would not accept higher taxes to pay for a united Ireland. In the North, just 25 per cent say they would pay higher taxes as a price for Irish unity. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

A potential new state will float in Irish Dreamland in the absence of detailed plans

‘The election shows that there is no majority for the kind of shrunken, ingrown Britishness embodied in Brexit – and none either for a United Ireland.’ Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/ Bloomberg

Onus is on Irish nationalism to do the hard thinking following the Assembly elections

Part of an anti-war art exhibition in the King’s Square in Bucharest, Romania. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

Putin’s previous success was a result not of his own strength, but of the West’s passivity

If we fail to act collectively, there will be no one left to dig the turf  and the sea view will be from the bottom of an ocean that has engulfed our former cities. Photograph: iStock

Atmosphere does not care if its carbon overload is from an Offaly bog or a BMW in Dalkey

Stewart Rhodes, a leader of the neo-fascist Oath Keepers, who helped organise the assault on the Capitol, has been charged with “seditious conspiracy” – a pretty good short definition of treason. Photograph: Aaron C Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Treason has flourished because progressives have been far too prim about calling it out

British prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Bury FC’s Gigg Lane ground on Monday. Photograph: Danny Lawson/Getty Images

Boris Johnson and his acolytes will risk anything in order to protect Brexit project

Carts laden with bread supplies sent by the Bolsheviks from a collective farm leave Alekseyevka in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine in 1932. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

Famine came to 1840s Ireland and 1930s Ukraine. Now it threatens the wider world

Ireland could produce 80 gigawatts of power annually from offshore wind. That’s the equivalent of about 170 million barrels of oil. Photograph: iStock

We can enhance the safety of Europe by exporting clean, renewable energy to it

The centrist Macron asked voters to trust him for a second five-year term despite a presidency troubled by protests, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Photograph: EPA/Yoan Valat

If Macron is re-elected, it will be less because of what he is than what he is not: a crypto-fascist

French far-right party Reconquete! presidential candidate Eric Zemmour. ‘The crypto-fascists Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour have just taken a third of the vote in France...’  Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty

Feral capitalism has eroded information free flow, rule of law and democratic checks

’The US is equally fierce in its insistence that the ICC cannot investigate any crimes committed by its citizens in countries  that do accept the ICC’s jurisdiction’

By refusing to join International Criminal Court, US continues to undermine system

An artwork  depicts a dragon eating President Vladimir Putin in a street pond in Helsinge, Denmark: A dictator’s authority rests on a claim to unique instinct and insight.  Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen

Ukraine invasion exposes myth that authoritarian regimes are more efficient

On current plans, our direct provision system  system for refugees and asylum seekers will be gone by 2024 – a quarter of a century of housing people  in conditions that did not have to be tolerable. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

We are fluent in high-minded idealism, making it real is another story

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson: With a gaping wound on its eastern side, asking the European Union to care about the ingrown toenail of Brexit on its western extremity is crass. Photograph:  Henry Nicholls

London rhetoric about EU oppression trivial compared to Putin’s death and destruction

London’s Belgravia, popular with oligarchs: there is as much financial wealth held by rich Russians abroad – in Britain, Switzerland, Cyprus, and other European democracies, including Ireland – as is held by the entire Russian population in Russia itself. Photograph: Getty Images

West enthusiastically enabled Russia’s mafia, but it was leading inexorably toward murder

Monument to the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov: Apart perhaps from the Greek tragedies, Chekhov must surely be the dramatist most often adapted by Irish playwrights. Photograph: iStock

It is very hard to imagine the history of modern Irish culture without Russia

President Donald Trump meeting President Vladimir Putin in June 2019. Putin’s operatives had worked hard to get Trump elected in 2016. Photograph: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

In not realising that there were limits even to their stupidity, he has revealed his own

Mariana Vishegirskaya walks downstairs at a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol: There is every reason to fear that Putin’s war on Ukraine could potentially outlive him. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka

The nature of war has changed. It is fought now primarily against civilians

Vladimir Putin’s barbarism demanded – and rightly received – a fast and furious response from the West. Photograph: Aleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik/EPA

Shock of Al-Qaeda’s attacks on the US in 2001 led to some catastrophic responses

 Russian president Vladimir Putin. Building a wall between itself and the West will likely see Russia become  a client state of China. Photograph:  Sergei Ilyin/Kremlin Pool/Sputnik/EPA

In digging up Europe’s bloody past, Putin has plunged Russia back into the nightmare of history

Ireland has the world’s fifth-largest shadow banking industry, with €3.45tn of assets held here in 2020. That’s 17 times the size of the real economy.

We owe it to people huddling in bomb shelters to close down the money havens

In Copenhagen a monthly ticket for public transport costs little more than half the equivalent in Dublin. File photograph: Getty

Ordinary families pay high price for failure to build a social democracy

Russian president Vladimir Putin: Ireland has a system to allow any Russian who wants to hide money behind trusts and shells to do so with virtually no regulation. Photograph:  Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP

We point finger at London but Irish tax regime facilitates Putin and his oligarchs

Russian president Vladimir Putin: his main aim is to recreate as much of the lost Soviet empire as he can. Photograph: via AP

Nato’s eastward expansion broke the West’s promises and played on Russia’s fears

Roof insulation: If the retrofit scheme is going to work – and it must work if we are to take real action on climate change – the Government must deal with a glaring deficit in construction skills. Photograph: iStock

The system for training much-needed construction workers has been undermined

British Conservative  politician Enoch Powell  at the party conference in Brighton, 1969. Photograph:  William Lovelace/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty

In his impotent rage Jeffrey Donaldson seems unable to escape grim logic of Powellism

Protesters call for the resignation of British prime minister Boris Johnson in front of the Downing Street gates on Sunday. Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

An Anglo-Irish ruler named Aldfrith warned that arrogance leads to oblivion

Passengers wave farewell to friends on the quayside in Galway harbour. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty

A hard rain is about to fall on the old political order

Red herring: Irish people know more about the Red Cow Roundabout and the Monasterevin Bypass than we do about the Porcupine Seabight or  Goban Spur.

Village People singing In the Navy would scare off the Russians more than we can

The majority of people looked first and foremost to their national governments for leadership and reassurance: some of them, like those of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, were actively malevolent. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/ AP Photo

From fake news and racial stereotyping to wealth inequality, the pandemic has taught us a lot about what thrives in a global crisi(...)

Even the church doesn’t really defend it in principle – it merely sits on what it has. And yet, it goes on. Why? Photograph: Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty

Political inertia in the face of sweeping social change is simply indefensible

Bloody Sunday witness Paddy Walsh creeping towards Patrick Doherty. Lord Saville concluded he had "no doubt" Doherty was shot dead by Soldier F as he tried to crawl to safety. Photograph: Gilles Peress/Magnum

Far more people died because of Bloody Sunday than those who were murdered on the day

Women live with a baseline level of threat, just below the surface of consciousness. Photograph: iStock

Places that women fear are not beyond the Pale of normality; they are all around them every day

Lego is an example of how capital in Denmark, unlike in the Republic, is rooted in locality, family and society. Photograph: iStock

Without revenue from multinationals the State would face radically different choices

With the guts of half a billion euro up for grabs for PPE, this was surely the greatest single opportunity for corruption. And yet, there is no evidence anybody in Ireland seized this chance for self-enrichment.

Pandemic test of Irish political culture finds it more honest than 20 years ago

O’Devaney Gardens flats: in a report from November last, there is even a literal replacement of bad flats by good apartments. We have ‘the proposed development of more than 1,000 apartments’ on the site of the former ‘O’Devaney Gardens flats’.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

When words are being manipulated, something is being obscured. In this case, it is the loss of a sense of community

2022: And the new taoiseach will be – curb your enthusiasm! – Leo!.. Varadkar! Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

We can change the sense of being trapped inside a familiar story by responding to what we already know

Polling throughout the Brexit referendum campaign found an almost perfect correlation between how people felt about Boris Johnson and how they intended to vote. Photograph: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Those who sold it are slithering away from responsibility for its consequences. Those to whom it was sold are left to bear them

The great moments of liberation and enlightenment that seemed to be promised at the beginning of the year didn’t quite happen. Photograph: iStock

Triumph of science is the big story this year, but we still struggle with the truth

It is as if years have melted into each other or even disappeared altogether into one long dreary annus horribilis. But what must this be like for a child? Photograph: iStock

They deserve medals from the State for being heroes throughout the pandemic

Hillsborough Castle: in recent years Northern Ireland has had some secretaries you wouldn’t trust to form a judgment on whether the sun appears likely to come up in the morning. Photograph: Frank Miller

Irish Times poll shows widespread belief that Irish unity can be achieved without sacrifice

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2016. All the relevant documents have been in the public arena for more than a decade. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Charging journalists with spying is a favourite trick of authoritarian regimes

 A vandalized Covid-19 sign  at the Forty Foot in Sandycove, Co Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

If we understand why people won’t get jabbed, we might be able to reach some of them

Fintan O’Toole’s top books of 2021. Main photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty

Seeking inspiration for a book to read or give as a gift? This selection could help you

Arnaldo Otegi: leader of the party that used to be Eta’s political wing. Photograph: Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images

Basque terror group and IRA were blood brothers but only one has accepted responsibility for pain it caused

October 1921: Michael Collins in London for the negotiations which resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Brexiteers ignore the most obvious effects of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921

‘We have to institutionalise the management of Covid, to make it, for the foreseeable future, a part of the way we govern ourselves.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Responsibility for management of the pandemic is fragmented and lacks accountability

None of what is happening in Tallaght is invisible or secret. There are at least a hundred crack houses known to local communities in the area

Much of what was eventually achieved in the State’s drugs policy the 1990s is now being reversed

Faced with an unfolding emergency, the Government understood that unambiguous communication was vital. The authorities had to speak with one voice. File photograph: Getty

Coalition has swung from obsessive control of the message to what is now a free for all

Brexiteers are determined to evade  the political consequences of their actions. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ireland didn’t want this, but Brexiteers have a deep belief that someone else should pay

The antigen test: Why such open aversion to adding this extra weapon to the anti-Covid arsenal, alongside vaccinations and masks and hygiene? Photograph : Laura Hutton

Fear that negative tests will create a false sense of security assumes we’re all a bit dim

One of the most striking answers provided by today’s Ipsos Global Trends 2021 study is the relative absence of nostalgia

The Ipsos Global Trends survey suggests Irish people don’t think like the rest of the world

Then taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British prime minister Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor Hotel, on The Wirral in October 2019: The accord was founded on the latter’s duplicity. Photograph: PA

Ireland’s pact with the British prime minister on the North was a deal with a deceitful cheat

The question that now faces the world is a stark one: can humans concentrate their collective minds without an external enemy? Photograph: Getty

Political systems tackled great threats before – can that resolve be generated without war?

One in three of all public transport users in Ireland have experienced or witnessed some form of harassment or violence. File photograph: THE IRISH TIMES

Feeling unsafe is one of the reasons 95% of Irish women say they need a car

People the world over now understand that the price of passivity on climate change is infinitely higher than the cost of change. Photograph: Getty Images

This is a unique opportunity to reshape humanity’s relationship to the natural world

It has taken too many apocalyptic wildfires for humanity to see that the sparks that it lit at its own dawning have created a deathly glow on the dark horizon of its future. Photograph: Fateh Guidoum/AP

Cop26 delegates have the power to create a turning point in the evolution of our species

Put the word ‘social’ before ‘media’ and it dissolves the responsibility of publishers. Gossip, now written down, becomes gospel

Local paper liable for every claim it publishes, but social media liable for nothing

People wade through a waterlogged road in Chennai, India,  October 10th. Photograph:  Epa/Idrees Mohammed

Challenge for Cop26 is that humans have an in-built bias towards optimism

Leo Varadkar in 2017, the year he told  the Dáil that, having seen children with scoliosis when he was a medical student: ‘I vowed to myself that if I ever had the privilege to hold political office, to be minister for health or taoiseach, I would try to do something about this.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Children are still in agony, and forced to display their suffering on the airwaves

A HGV driver in southeast England. Without enough such drivers, supply chains break down and supermarket shelves are unstocked. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

Those who do tough physical jobs, now called ‘key workers’, are in short supply

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg: The “free world” has unleashed its  own threats to democratic freedoms and has given control of the technologies that amplify those threats to morally illiterate frat boys. Photograph: Josh Edelson

Social media platform we use to talk to our families also facilitates tyranny

The Jealous Wall at Belvedere House: In the 18th century, [...] it was the height of fashion to construct buildings that looked like the skeletal vestiges of long-lost edifices. Photograph: Jane Powers

Why is the taxpayer solely responsible for the failures of private builders and manufacturers?

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, says its new national holiday is a day to reflect on the horrors the country inflicted on children and families. Photograph: David Kawai/ Bloomberg

Canada is facing up to historic institutionalised violence against children. Why can’t Ireland?

The problem with declaring war on geography is that the enemy has all the big battalions on its side, including Britain’s long-established inability to feed itself. Photograph: iStock

In Brexit’s war on geography, geography was always going to win

 In 2010, instead of resistance to the big mistake, the State, before taking flight from its own sovereignty, gripped its passport: 12.5 per cent.  Photograph: Getty Images

By making the 12.5% corporate tax rate the test of our sovereignty, the State sends out a message of fear to the world

Fintan O’Toole (centre) as a boy

We Don’t Know Ourselves is the story of Ireland’s growth since the 1950s

Members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and candidates at party’s think-in. Photograph: Fine Gael

Party’s self-perception as the paragon of propriety actually encourages bad behaviour

Polls have consistently shown that support for a United Ireland drops very sharply if the question comes with a real world qualification, like paying higher taxes to sustain it. Photograph: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

The biggest mistake is to confuse what Irish people say they want with how they regard what happens in the real world

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: should beg Tom Keane to come back to the Sláintecare Advisory Council and invest him and his committee with the full authority of the Taoiseach’s department. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Sláintecare debacle shows State lacks political will and sense of what to do

For people living in poverty, cash may be a much more effective mental health treatment than anything pharmacology has invented. Photograph: iStock

The lie that giving cash to poor people makes them lazy has been exposed by Covid

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney appears to have been destroying official records as a matter of routine. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Entitled Coveney and Varadkar behave lawlessly with information

Fintan O’Toole (left) and his brother Kieran, in the cassocks and surplices they wore as altar servers, with their siblings Mary, Valerie and Patrick

The brother’s incredulity released itself in a volcano of rage. ‘Who threw this?’

 Osama bin Laden hoped to lure the Americans into a long war in Afghanistan where they, too, would be defeated. Photograph: AP Photo

By dividing the world into bad guys and good guys, the US did bin Laden’s work

Sally Rooney photographed by Ellius Grace/New York Times

Review: Even when the characters in Rooney’s third novel are overwrought, her writing never is

Charlie Watts: The postwar expansion of art schools in England was driven by a wild idea: give working- and lower-middle-class kids who can’t or won’t go to university an alternative place to be. Photograph: Hayoung Jeon

Great explosion in English rock music was unintended result of art schools

 Cenotaph at Enniskillen with the devastated community centre in the background after it was hit by an IRA bomb. Photograph: PA

Sinn Féin seeks to exercise power on both sides of the Border. It must account for how it uses power

Scenes at  the Hamid Karzai International Airport: the disastrous defeat of the American and European mission in Afghanistan is a failure to sustain the western idea of progress in the face of   the Taliban’s certainty that time was on its side.   Photograph: EPA

Belief in inevitable progress is an illusion; as is the brutal fantasy of an eternal Islam

Fintan O’Toole: If I suggested that the State should spend an extra €50 billion over the next decade to eliminate consistent poverty, I would be laughed at. But we will spend at least that on the fiscal consequences of deprivation. Photograph: Tom Honan

Why fund the consequences of poverty instead of investing in its outright elimination?

Scorched forest on Evia, the second largest island of Greece, August 10th, 2021. The fires in northern Evia had destroyed more than 120,000 acres of pine forest, to date, razed homes and displaced hundreds of people. File photograph: New York Times

We are in charge of the planet, but not in control of ourselves

The EU country with the highest level of acceptance of the need to be vaccinated is Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

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

The Griffith Wood apartment complex under construction on Griffith Avenue in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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

Ian Bailey  is the black hole of Irish journalism, sucking in attention and emitting nothing of any value. Photograph:   Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision

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

People take the knee during a demonstration in support of Manchester United striker and England player Marcus Rashford in  Withington on July 13th. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Gareth Southgate’s team chose decency and dignity over the toxic ‘Ingerland’ identity

Then taoiseach  Albert Reynolds arriving at the beef tribunal in October 1992.  Photograph: Jack McManus

Once its hold on power evaporated, so did the party’s reason for existing

Raw sewage running into the Avoca river in Arklow, 2016

Our fecklessness with nature might be interpreted as a postcolonial hangover

Did Paschal and Leo dream, when they were nerdy kids, of hanging out with the bad boys of international finance? Photograph: EPA

Government is defending the indefensible on corporation tax by placing State in company of tax havens and rogue state

Last year Simon Coveney predicted: ‘Ireland, post this crisis, will be a different place.’

The political environment has changed radically but can the existing parties adapt to it?

From left,   Micheál Ó Seighin, Willie Corduff, Philip McGrath, Brendan Philbin and  Vincent McGrath – the five Mayo farmers jailed  for refusing to give an undertaking not to obstruct the construction of the Corrib gas pipe line. Photograph: Alan Betson

Twenty years ago, the State threw its full weight behind the coercion of small landowners

If you make people feel foolish for obeying the authorities in a crisis, they will be less inclined to do so when the next one arrives. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Vaccine programme has left people in their 60s exposed to the Delta variant

The proposed new national maternity hospital is to be co-located with St Vincent’s hospital in south Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Maternity hospital ownership is essential to end culture of deference

The immediate context for thinking more deeply about the need for a radical renewal is, of course, the pandemic. Graphic: Paul Scott

The pandemic has taught us that things we once thought impossible are achievable

Boris Johnson confronted Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit over the weekend: ‘How would you like it if the French courts stopped you moving Toulouse sausages to Paris?’. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Reversion to old postures of English belligerence is absurd but dangerous

Functions that are locally controlled in almost every other European country – policing, health and social care, schools – are in Ireland almost entirely controlled from the centre.

The lack of spending power at local level is an absence of power, full stop

Mother and baby homes protest at Phoenix Park: The procedure adopted by the commission re-victimised the women by depriving them of ownership even of their own testimony. File photograph:  Tom Honan

Flawed process deprives survivors of their stories and compounds injustice to them

 Boris Johnson  with his wife, Carrie Johnson, following their wedding at Westminster Cathedral,  in London. Photograph: Rebecca Fulton/ Downing Street via Getty

If only the institution had been as flexible for Henry VIII as it is for Boris Johnson

Covid-19 has been a ferocious stress test for the Government. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/Pool/AP

We need to look honestly at the mistakes and report quickly on the lessons to be drawn

If you are not confident working online, you are less likely to get a good job. File photograph: Getty

The lack of basic online skills in our population is now both a marker and a driver of social inequality

More articles