A family member of Joan Connolly holds a photograph of Joan after the findings of the Ballymurphy inquest were revealed at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Tuesday. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

It is cruel and dishonest to pretend unsolved crimes will ever see justice in court

In an interview on RTÉ radio, columnist Eoghan Harris referred back to the 18th century to give his operation of the Barbara J Pym Twitter account a heroic prehistory. File photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Putting you name to your work is the most basic form of accountability

The Catholic Church has just published Flourish, a new programme for relationships and sexuality education (RSE) in primary schools

Government pretending it can create national curriculum that respects LGBTI+ sexuality

Edwin Poots:  If Northern Ireland ends up with a first minister for whom all the main scientific developments of the 19th and 20th centuries are bogus, the more excuse there is for British indifference. Photograph:  Edwin Poots/PA

If the earth is only 6000 years old, all the science of the last 200 years is bogus

 Edward Carson’s statue in the grounds of Stormont in Belfast. Photograph:  Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

The events of a century ago led to the creation of two sectarian states

Boris Johnson is not some dude with a big bong writing awful poetry at three a.m. It is, to use the word Johnson has so much trouble with, “actually” the voice of the sovereign government of Northern Ireland.  Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

When the British prime minister can’t be bothered to lie, he lapses into nonsense

The growth of higher education has been spectacular. File photograph: Getty

Education is our greatest asset, yet we produce it in an utterly haphazard way

Don’t get sucked into the vortex. Photograph: iStock

Learning to block out anonymous bitterness is a mental health imperative

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photograph: Cate McCurry/PA Wire

Unionism in disarray is dangerous, and tribalised glee at its plight is idiotic

Prince Philip in 2006 with the then president, Mary McAleese, for the presentation of the Gaisce Awards at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

A ‘rootless cosmopolitan’ can be the essence of Britishness when it suits the story

Cairn Homes chief executive Michael Stanley cited what he described as a “mind-blowing statistic” that the home ownership rates among 25-39-year-olds is now down to about 12 per cent.  Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

The great stabilisers of conservative Ireland – priests and property – are gone

John le Carré: the writer took out Irish citizenship, which he was able to claim through his maternal grandmother, at the end of his life. File photograph: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images)

Up to half a million British people are becoming Irish citizens. They help us to recognise our own past

The Isle of Man has three times as many deaths from Covid-19 as Taiwan – in absolute numbers. Photograph: iStock

Racism has blinded us from learning how Asian countries save their citizen's lives

John le Carré was determined to remain a European citizen. File photograph: PA

One of the last photographs of author ‘is him sitting wrapped in an Irish flag’

The Beacon Hospital in Dublin. Coronavirus vaccine operations at the private hospital are to be suspended after it used spare doses to vaccinate teachers at a private school. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Beacon incident reflects how money, not need, is how we allocate access to healthcare

This has been a dark time, a time of grief, loss and impoverishment. But within it there have been discoveries of deeper bonds with our immediate families, of reconnection with nature. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Sign of the Times survey shows Covid-19’s profound influence on our lives and minds

Grafton Street in Level 5 lockdown. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

We have chosen not to properly track the virus. The result is endless lockdown

 Handwritten  and floral tributes to Sarah Everard  placed at Clapham Common in London. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Far more attention paid to gangland violence but domestic murders more common

The Davy cabal spotted the chance to make a quick killing out of the relics of our collective suffering and shame. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

They stuck in the knife of greed and arrogance when our wounds were raw

A lone pedestrian on the Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin, in early morning fog. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

We are at the top of Mount Misery and must endure, but forbearance is not always a virtue

Monitoring what the Government does is supposed to be one of the main jobs of the Oireachtas. Photograph: iStock

The State is not imposing a tyranny but, if it were, would the Dáil really notice?

If the virus was crushed in Ireland, it could return only if it was brought back in from somewhere else. This isn’t xenophobia or paranoia. It’s just logic. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Government’s dogged denial of danger posed by international travel remains bewildering

The National Archives of Ireland: there is a huge backlog  because there is nowhere to put the files, as well as no staff to assess and catalogue them.

Ireland fails to preserve the records that constitute public memory

President Michael D Higgins talks to Fintan O'Toole during their online interview. Photograph: Maxwell's

'It would be disastrous to recreate the conditions that preceded this,' he tells Fintan O'Toole

The Northern Ireland protocol is salvage from the shipwreck of Brexit. Photograph: iStock

Instead of using North for proxy wars, Britain and EU need to get back to living with ambiguity

Joe Biden. Photograph: Doug Mill/New York Times

Donald Trump boasted of not having started a war. But he did: a war on nature

A study last summer found that one in 10 parents of primary schoolchildren in Ireland lacked an appropriate digital device for home schooling. Photograph: iStock

If a government moves classes online, it is its duty to ensure every student can access digital learning

Two women  on an almost deserted Henry Street in Dublin.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

In the fight against Covid, the wisdom of the crowd has been proven right

We now know  how to crush the virus while we wait for mass vaccination to take effect.  Photograph: Johnny Milano/Bloomberg

There’s a script for what works, so Ireland should stop improvising


Dublin’s inner city could soon become a ghost town – or reoccupied as a living public space

Passengers at Dublin airport as the Cabinet met on Monday to discuss tightening travel restrictions. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Openness is so fundamental to us that we have failed to shut off the island from danger

US President Joe Biden delivers his inauguration speech on January 20th 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

It’s no Gettysburg Address, but the inaugural speech walked the line between honesty and optimism

The church had the monopoly on damnation and salvation. The  mother and baby homes  were the outward sign of this inward terror. Photograph: iStock

There was no ‘society’ separate from the church’s power to inflict damnation

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: what no one really anticipated was that the Scottish Question would create the English Question. Photograph: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Brexit could help Scotland’s first minister over some of the obstacles to independence

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

If Trump is not impeached and prosecuted for subversion he still has good chance of winning

‘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.’

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

Protestors climb the Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday. Photograph: Jason Andrew/ New York Times

This was not a rush of blood to the head. It is the logic of a post-democratic Republican Party

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

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

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican: after our mass experiment in sensory deprivation, our senses should be keener and sharper. Photograph: Lucas Schifres/Getty

The pandemic usurped the artist in 2020. But live performance has long proved resilient

British prime minister Boris Johnson: “his bluster managed to unite the continent against British interests”. Photograph: Paul Grover/AFP via Getty Images

Dilemma of continental influence that led Britain to join EU returns as it leaves

The big question to be answered about Donald Trump is why he did not do two things that might have seemed obvious: infrastructure and war. File photograph: Getty

2020 in review: Donald Trump will continue to unleash racism, nativism and a fear of government

This Christmas, we are all following a star of hope towards some place outside of the world as we have known it in 2020. Photograph: iStock

It seems that the virus is playing a cruel game with our efforts to do the right thing

UK prime minister Boris Johnson attendiing the House of Commons. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

Don’t gloat at Britain, the once-powerful free country that has made itself weak

There is nothing in your life so important that you can’t find 15 minutes to read to your child. Photograph: iStock

Two-thirds of Irish children are not read to at home. This is not progress

Boris Johnson: Britain is left  facing an  excruciating choice he can  no longer avoid. It either destroys its trading relationship with its largest partner. Or it accepts  being bound by rules it has no voice in making. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

British premier can concede to the EU or foist pain on the most vulnerable

Brexit talks dragged on because Johnson’s regime has been playing its own game

The IRA attack killed 20 British soldiers and a tourist was also killed as the Paras returned fire on  August 27th, 1979. Photograph: Sunday Mirror/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

The British, loyalists and Sinn Féin each have their reasons for distorted storytelling

If you’re born in a body that does not match your deep sense of self, the notion that you can change your body may be, literally, a lifesaver. It is both a necessity and a joy.

Trans people’s enemy is patriarchy, not feminism

Vaccination against Covid-19 has been developed and is being tested. File photograph: iStock

Vaccine suspicion has a long-standing imaginative power that’s hard to overcome

Labour has had a Bill outlawing so-called “revenge porn” before the Oireachtas since 2017, going nowhere. Now, it’s suddenly urgent and the Government is promising action. File photograph: iStock

In a fast world, our slow government gradually digests issues it swallowed years ago

 UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

The crises of 2016 posed huge difficulties for Ireland but have left us in a better place

Dominic Cummings should have gone in May, when his contemptuous breach of lockdown restrictions was revealed. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

Collapse of Vote Leave gang not timely enough to save Brexit-addled Britain

Joe Biden pauses during a campaign speech. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Haunted by intimate and public grief, he is the most Gothic figure in US politics

US president-elect Joe Biden “knows that the future does not belong to him. But with his late, last reiteration of the Kennedy moment, a part of the past does.” Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

US president-elect is a second coming of the lost moment of the Kennedys

Joe Biden. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Trump is not going anywhere, and Biden cannot proceed as if democracy is saved

People colour in an electoral map during a US presidential election watch party at the US embassy in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, today.  Photograph: Byambasuren Byamba-Ochir/AFP/Getty

Trumpism is alive and kicking – and openly contemptuous of democracy

President Donald Trump invades the inner rooms, occupies the remote cloisters of our interior selves. Photograph: Jim Rassol/AP Photo

The president’s success in forcing himself into our thoughts will be his downfall

US president Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Des Moines International Airport. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

What is at stake when the US votes on Tuesday? Almost everything

Knock, knock. Who’s there? The garda. The garda who? Photograph: iStock

Passing a law on house parties that clearly cannot be enforced erodes public authority

US president Donald Trump’s campaign now consists primarily of showing himself to his people and inviting them to bask in the wonder of his resurrection. Photograph: Gene J Puskar/AP

The same cannot be said for the 220,000 Americans the virus has killed so far

Barbara and Maeve's wedding, Tinakilly Country House, Rathnew, County Wicklow, 2019. Photograph: © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Martin Parr’s work portrays socio-cultural shift from conformism

Dr Tony Holohan and team at a Covid -19 update press conference. ‘It is not the job of Nphet or of the Expert Advisory Group to make decisions. That’s the Government’s job – the experts advise and recommend, the Government chooses.’ Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

We are bumbling along with ad hoc arrangements created in a panic last March

The rate of US coal industry’s decline under Donald Trump has been much steeper than it was under Obama. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President who promised to bring back coal oversaw its steepest ever decline

“We don’t just have two economies – we also have two very different stories about Irish society.” File photograph: Getty

Covid pandemic is amplifying divisions inherent in having two different economies

US president Donald Trump removes his face mask at the White House on Monday after returning from the Walter Reed medical centre, where he underwent treatment for Covid-19. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

If Aids was Trump’s Vietnam, Covid-19 is his director’s cut of Apocalypse Now

A supporter of US president Donald Trump outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Monday. Authoritarianism always comes down to the unique, special, indispensable leader who alone can save the nation, and whose whims, desires and gut feelings are its guiding truths. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Covid-19 reveals the great weakness of authoritarianism: the leader’s body

The political meaning of Catholicism is right at the heart of this epic contest between Joe Biden, who identifies himself emphatically as an ‘Irish Catholic’, and sitting US president Donald Trump. Photographs: Jim Watson, Brendan SmialowskI/AFP via Getty Images

Trump’s biggest political achievement is his alliance with Catholic America

Many people in the caring professions do everything to keep a patient alive but know that a peaceful death may be much better than lingering pain and terror. Many know that the line between passively allowing someone to die and actively speeding up their death is much less than absolute. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

In the end, if we cannot choose to die, we cannot choose to live

Fintan O’Toole: ‘The pandemic will have huge effects on what we will be reading and seeing and listening to decades from now.’ File photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy/The Irish Times

Current scenario heightens our perceptions and new artists will emerge from it

We deny huge numbers of workers the right to be paid when they’re off sick – and hope the welfare system will pick up the slack. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Lack of mandatory sick pay means people have no choice but to go to work when they feel ill and this helps coronavirus spread

For Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s special adviser, Brexit is  a wrecking ball aimed at the British institutions he despises: parliament, the judiciary, the Tory Party, the civil service, the BBC, Oxbridge. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP  via Getty Images

But the reality is that the Brexit fantasists have failed. Only the disruptors are still standing

The particular problem of ‘freedom’ in the Brexit project is that you can’t free yourself from imaginary oppression. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Because the Brexiteers cannot articulate the force that drives them, they cannot set its boundaries

Covid-19 has reminded us that if schools are not open, neither society nor the economy can function properly. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Six months ago, schools and colleges closed. What have we learned since?

Boris Johnson’s general election campaign in December was reduced to a single issue and three words: Get Brexit Done. File photograph: Getty

‘Oven-ready’ policy tactic had secret addendum – ‘we’ll go back and edit the cookbook’

 Stephen Donnelly: the Minister for Health signed into law the statutory instrument  requiring pubs and restaurants to “retain and make available” to the Garda and the HSE all information on their customers – including the food they ordered – for 28 days.  Photograph: Alan Betson

There are worrying signs that those managing the pandemic are losing the ability to concentrate on what matters

Then taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Blair House, Washington DC giving his sombre address to Ireland on measures to halt the spread of Covid-19. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

The firm early decisions, the mis-steps, the reopenings as the country grappled with Covid-19

A public awareness campaign for Covid-19 at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson

Lack of testing and adequate tracing stand in stark contrast to situation in Copenhagen

The Station House Hotel in Clifden. The great mystery of  Golfgate is that the looming scandal could not have been more obvious if the hotel had erected a giant screen saying, Abandon Public Trust All Ye Who Enter Here

What is truly beyond comprehension is that they did not even think politically

A sign on a motorway bridge in Dublin calls for the resignations of the people who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society event during the pandemic. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

We must not allow controversy destroy social capital that has kept us going

A midlands meat plant. It has been clear almost from the start of the coronavirus crisis here that meat plants are a major hazard. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The obvious threat of meat plants becoming vectors of Covid-19 infection was not met with robust action

A windfarm at Carnsore Point, Co Wexford. “If [climate] commitments are not specific, how can we know whether they have been kept or not? And if we don’t know that, the whole thing is a charade.” File photograph: Getty

In throwing out State’s Climate Mitigation Plan, judges have done a real service to Irish democracy

Monica Hickey, 5th class teacher and Matt Melvin, school principal at St Etchen’s National School, Kinnegad, Co Westmeath. Photograph: Alan Betson

Why are problems entirely predictable in April only being addressed now?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: “Brexit”, he told the Tory party conference in 2017,  “is Magna Carta . . it’s Waterloo, it’s Agincourt, it’s Crécy. We win all these things”. Photograph: Peter Summers/Getty Images

The epic story of liberation has become mesmerisingly tedious

 Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp remains free to impose arbitrary blanket bans on any group of people it does not like. Photograph: Frank Miller

Cancel culture isn’t new, just a new term for an old concept of cynical hypocrisy

Minister for Education Norma Foley: There is still no roadmap for reopening schools.   Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

With just five weeks to go, the Department of Education has no ‘clear picture’ of what is needed

British prime minister Boris Johnson. Consequences are merely boring details to the Brexiteers. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Our neighbours are still struggling to believe that Brexit is a real-world event

Jack Charlton of Leeds United goes through before scoring past Arsenal’s Bob Wilson at Elland Road, 1971. Photograph: PA Wire

The two countries’ hybrid urban culture was a truth universally unacknowledged

US president Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, on Friday July 3rd. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The unfinished business of slavery, emancipation and Civil War is still playing itself out

Micheál Martin: Maybe he’s been worn down in the two decades since. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

In 1999 the then minister for education made brave choices. Does he still have it in him?

US president-elect  Donald Trump  and his wife Melania arrive for an inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on January 19th, 2017.  Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

If Donald Trump is not removed from office, Abraham Lincoln’s republic cannot endure

Big job: Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The task it faces is, in its scale, something like the nation-building of a century ago

Fintan O’Toole: ‘It is probable that Johnson’s slovenly response has ended up killing more than 20,000 people’ Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA.

For once, we didn’t follow Britain – a moment of great psychological significance

“The problem for the Greens is that, on the big issues, they’ve been proven right. What were once eccentric and exotic positions are now the bloody obvious.” File photograph: Getty

It is the Greens’ own values that force them to take the power that is on offer

We figure out what paternity means by emulating or reacting against our fathers and their fathers and their fathers’ fathers. Photograph: Getty

Fatherhood is a kind of makey-up thing, but it has come into its own in lockdown

The scene of the Enniskillen bombing seconds after the blast in November 1987. Photograph: Pacemaker

There will be no justice for victims and the bereaved. But we can at least have the truth

Asleep at the wheel? US president Donald Trump hosting a roundtable discussion at the White House this week. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Covid-19 has turned the tide against right-wing nationalism and ‘strongman’ leaders

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Pat Kenny on Virgin TV on Friday: ‘We don’t see many black or brown judges, or in the Dáil – I’m the only one, I think, at the moment – don’t see many presenters on TV, for example, and that needs to change.’ Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

If how we treat Travellers is our model for ‘rooting out’ racism, the prospects look bleak

Posters of Patrick Dorismond, seen circa 2000. Dorismond was killed outside a bar in Manhattan.  Photograph: Budd Williams/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

In 2016, white America elected a racist president. That privilege comes with a cost

Thousands throng Galway for the Macnas parade  during the ever-popular annual arts festival in the city. But this year all festivals, big and small, have disappeared.   Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Covid-19 has destroyed live performance, we must support artists in reinventing it

Trollies with patients in the A&E Accident and Emergency Department of St. James’s Hospital, Dublin. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it impossible for the old health system to continue

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