‘Consent is the active communication through words or physical gestures that the woman agrees with or actively seeks sexual intercourse’

Sexual consent is such a complex concept that it had to be clarified by the Irish Supreme Court in 2016

Changing unhealthy habits is an ongoing struggle for a majority of the population. Photograph: iStock

Research shows most people forget about their resolutions within 48 hours

 Irish hospitals have 622,179 citizens queuing up for sickness treatment

Opinion: The investigation focused on a few doctors who don't represent the whole service

Surely if civil society organisations worked together, and with statutory agencies, more would be achieved.

Basic services are the State’s responsibility, yet it pays others €3.7bn to deliver them

There is overwhelming evidence that midwife-led care is best for 80 per cent of women, but in Ireland obstetricians are in charge – this is an abuse of power

New National Maternity Plan shows that treating pregnancy and childbirth as normal physiological processes is not going to happen (...)

It was inevitable adults and children would become overweight and obese

According to recent studies, levels of obesity in the Irish population have stabilised

Participants in the HPV Campaign  with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Deniers forget, or don’t care, how many children and adults died before vaccination

The truth is that there is very little any woman can do to keep herself safe from sexual violence.

Most acts of sexual violence are committed by males who are known to the victims

The WHO global burden of disease study (2015) estimated that nearly half a million Irish people suffer from anxiety or depression

The WHO lists burnout as a “problem related to life-management”, a classic case of victim blaming

In a  perfect kitchen, the perfect division of labour

Ireland is actually going backwards when it comes to housework and gender equality

Hitting the wall: are young people prepared for scaling the heights of the education system?

Parents must ensure the department’s new wellbeing programmes are implemented

A woman’s place? A recent poll showed only 40%  of women were in favour of repealing article 42.1 of the Constitution, which deals with the role of mothers in the home. Photograph: Getty Images

Constitutional protection for housework, by men or women, is farcical, writes Jacky Jones

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne, during the launch of a new ‘National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026’ at Iveagh House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Jacky Jones: Unless we reduce inequality, the numbers of people with cancer will not just double by 2040, as predicted in the ‘Nat(...)

Be decisive. Photograph: Getty Images

Being assertive is not just about saying no - most adults have difficulty saying yes too

Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, TD, with Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid, at the launch of Women’s Aid ‘Impact Report’ in May: Dara Mac Dónaill

Lack of empathy comes about because of political regimes and religion

Geoffrey Shannon: his audit of Garda procedures in child protection found “little evidence” of improvements in co-operation between the force, Tusla and related agencies. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Lack of effective inter-agency co-operation ‘has emerged repeatedly in child protection reviews conducted in Ireland’

Leo Varadkar launched the controversial campaign.

The biggest problem with the social protection budget is that recipients of social welfare are not paid enough

Parents For Choice organises a  march against religious ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

When it comes to maternity care, it seems service providers just can’t get it right

New survey to chart patients’ experiences with their hospital care will run through May

Almost half of older people help their adult children out financially but only 3 per cent of adult children provide financial help to their parents

Jacky Jones: Society benefits from them yet older people do not get the services they need

Northern European countries have initiation rates as high as 95 per cent, whereas just 57 per cent of Irish mothers even try breastfeeding

Women living in countries where Catholicism has dominated are less likely to initiate breastfeeding

Minister for Health Simon Harris: he recognises the need to progress the Healthy Ireland agenda and to change the model of care from illness to wellness

Many problems were inherited by the HSE and continue to affect service provision today

Jess Morris  during the Strike Repeal the Eighth March on O’Connell St, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

It is time to get angry again. This time really, really angry

The culture changes rapidly when managers and supervisors live the values every day

Relying on ‘champions’ to spread values sounds good but seldom changes the culture

Travellers celebrate outside the Dáil after the debate on recognition of Traveller ethnicity. Traveller health should improve dramatically now that their ethnic minority status has been returned to them. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Jacky Jones: Irish strategy on immigrants echoes tried and failed policy of assimilation

Dutch researchers concluded that “substance-orientated drug education programmes, either purely factual or using scare tactics, had a stimulating effect on drug experimentation”.

Jacky Jones: Whole school approach requires time and commitment from parents and teachers

Exaggerating numbers of overweight people is great for the diet industry, bad for people

There is convincing evidence that midwife-led care produces better outcomes for women and babies

Given the flat-earth mind-set of many obstetricians, resistance to their implementation seems certain

‘A person may have difficulty identifying the correct amount of medicine to take from the information on the package’

Riding high: There is no evidence that 65 is the magic number when health falls apart

Discrimination against older people is still a dangerous and unhelpful problem in Ireland

Portion sizes are one of the reasons obesity remains such a problem

Food pyramid will not change habits until food industry is confronted head on

The conclusion: all aspects of childbirth were driven by religious beliefs and misogyny.  Photograph: Getty Images

Why did so many women not know what happened to them during childbirth?

 Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice and Equality,  during the launch of the national awareness campaign on domestic violence,  “What would you do?  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

We do not need campaigns directed at bystanders. We need to see people in powerful positions doing something about domestic violen(...)

RTÉ is now recruiting ‘leaders’ for the 10th series of Operation Transformation.

Down? Worn out? You’re not alone, and no amount of health campaigns will change that

If society wants women to give birth at a younger age, policymakers need to offer longer, paid maternity leave and state-funded free childcare.

Ireland’s obstetric-led, interventionist model generates a fear and an illness culture

The remains of Clodagh Hawe being brought to the joint funeral with her husband, Alan, and their sons, Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6), at St Mary’s Church, Castlerahan,  Co Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Jacky Jones: ‘We should be suspicious of seemingly perfect families’

Menopause: women’s life circumstances are hardly ever thought about when difficulties during menopause are discussed. Photograph: iStockphoto

Men can also go through a hard time in their 50s but doctors do not blame a male menopause

Maternity staff must be well used to dealing with loss. Unfortunately, they have not always treated bereaved parents with empathy so standards are needed. Photograph: iStock

Women have always been treated harshly in Ireland’s maternity hospitals and units

Department of Health guidelines are that adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week and children at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. These guidelines may need to be reviewed in the light of the new research. Photograph: iStockphoto

Researchers estimated that physical inactivity cost healthcare systems and workplaces almost €60.26 billion worldwide

Lena, the western lowland gorilla at Dublin Zoo, breastfed her baby immediately and will continue to do so for up to five years. She “did not need a lactation consultant to urge her to do what is best”. Photograph: Patrick Bolger

Lena the gorilla at Dublin Zoo will breastfeed her baby for up to five years. Most Irish women stop after a few weeks

 Helen Stokes and Chardonnay McDonagh at St Margaret’s Traveller Housing scheme in Ballymun. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Some disadvantaged groups have death rates up to six times that of better-off people

David Hall, interim chief executive of Console, speaks to media after the charity secured a High Court injunction to prevent its founder, Paul Kelly, from accessing funds. Photograph: Collins

With €3.7 billion allocated to the so-called voluntary sector, charity is big business

Thailand, a favourite destination for Irish holidaymakers, is regarded as ‘not free’ by Freedom House. Photograph: Barbara Walton/EPA

Most of us visit places without knowing anything about the living conditions of local citizens

Leah Hoctor of the Centre for Reproductive Rights at a press conference after the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruling. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Jacky Jones: Today foetuses matter only until birth; children’s lives afterwards count for less

A study in the US found no difference in memory performance between those aged 17-24 and those aged 65-75. Photograph: iStockphoto

The body is resilient and can take a lot of abuse before succumbing to chronic disease

The ESRI found consumers to have limited capacity for ‘attending to and processing’ data when selecting various products. Photograph: iStockphoto

Normal porridge is 100% per cent oats with no added sugar, unlike the ‘children’s’ equivalent

Education costs: Is it fair for most parents to struggle to fund their children’s education, while a substantial number of parents accept child benefit yet fail to keep their side of the bargain, which is to ensure their children become contributors to society? I think not. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

There are no votes in ensuring children from lower socio-economic groups get to college, says Jacky Jones

Gardasil, a vaccine against cervical cancer: Approximately 300 women get cervical cancer every year in Ireland and 100 women die from the disease. The vaccine can prevent seven out of 10 cervical cancers.  Photograph: AFP/ Getty Images

According to some, the HPV vaccine encourages promiscuity, says Jacky Jones

Building trust involves all the partners keeping the promises they make, being supportive of each other, and behaving in ways that benefit the partnership as a whole. Illustration: Thinkstock

Trust is a poorly understood and an often taken-for-granted phenomenon

Cardinals Lorenzo Baldisseri, left, and Christoph Schoenborn show a copy of ‘The Joy of Love’. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

‘The Joy of Love’ shows the Vatican is still obsessed with sexual activity between consenting adults

More Irish people are a healthy weight now than eight years ago. Photograph: Thinkstock

Ireland was not even mentioned in the ‘Lancet’ obesity report

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall: no power to look at  complaints relating to clinical matters. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Jacky Jones: Complaints system is flawed by the restrictions it places on the ombudsman

Silver surfer is a relatively new ageist term which emphasises hair colour instead of computer skill. Photograph: iStockphoto

Second opinion: The ESRI scored an own goal using ageist terms in its housing report, argues Jacky Jones

Eimear Clarkin, from Wexford, at a Repeal the Eighth Amendment rally in Dublin last October after the arrival of the abortion pill bus from its tour of Ireland. Photograph: Aidan  Crawley

Irish attitudes have changed since 1983 and it is time our Constitution reflected that

The health consequences of domestic violence are horrendous. Participants in the survey reported bruising, burns and fractures. Photograph: Thinkstock

More than 1 in 4 Irish women surveyed had been subjected to physical or sexual abuse by a partner

Dr Paddy Hillery, IMO NCHD committee, Dr Ray Walley, president of the IMO, and Dr Peadar Gilligan, consultant chairman, prior to a briefing on the health services in the context of the general election. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

None of the parties has solutions to ever-growing waiting lists

A maternity strategy is either woman-centred or it is not. Pregnancy is either a normal physiological process or it is pathological. The new national maternity strategy wants to have it both ways. Photograph: Thinkstock

Second opinion: After a 60-year wait, the National Maternity Strategy is a big disappointment

People from Syria hold placards during a rally outside the main railway station in Cologne, Germany. Photograph: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Even today Irish six-year-olds learn that being a virgin makes a woman special

There is so much hype about diet and exercise that sensible adults want to go to bed and pull the duvet over their heads. Photograph: Thinkstock

Reality television will not work in the long term – we need policies and legislation

Unlike private sector, public sector workers do not know how to partner with either citizens or other agencies. Photograph: Getty

Public sector workers don’t know how to partner with citizens or other agencies

A woman takes a picture of a globe at the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in France. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wants everyone to pursue “sustainable lifestyles”. Photograph: Christophe Ena/PA

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change advocates ‘sustainable lifestyles’

Inequality between men and women is evident everywhere in Irish society.

Are we complacent or brainwashed into thinking men are better at making decisions?

The best things about Christmas really are free: the carol singing, being around children, long walks, and meeting friends and family. Ignore all the hype. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

The best things about Christmas are free. Don’t forget that

The differences in iron content in the diets of men and women, and boys and girls, suggest these are related to how males and females are catered for when it comes to food. Photograph: Thinkstock

Shoppers are busy checking for salt and sugar, but iron content is also important

We need to ensure migrants have their human rights vindicated from day one.  Photograph: Thinkstock

We need to ensure migrants have their human rights vindicated from day one

An occupancy rate of 95% for Irish acute hospitals is much higher than in the US and UK. Photograph: Thinkstcok

More hospital beds will not solve the crisis in our emergency wards, says Jacky Jones

Irish people’s relationship with red meat has always been problematic, leading not only to cancer but to cardiovascular diseases. Photograph: Thinkstock

Eating quality red meat no more than three times a week is safe

Misleading labelling: low-fat products usually contain high amounts of sugar and low-sugar products are often full of fats and calories. Photograph: Thinkstock

Every day, we are bombarded with messages from food and drink manufacturers and persuaded to buy products we do not need

The 2013 Annual Report from Women’s Aid shows that 16,464 women reported being stabbed, punched raped, kicked, choked, beaten, stalked and harassed. Photograph: Thinkstock

Domestic violence is misunderstood in Ireland because little is known about its prevalence, or the perpetrators - neither the CSO (...)

Lieut Seamus Shannon presents Conor McDonagh (4) and his sister Kyla (7) with a national flag and a copy of the 1916 proclamation at a ceremony in St Patrick’s National School, Cornanool, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photograph: Keith Heneghan / Phocus

Let’s not pretend this is a great little country for equality and human rights

It doesn’t matter how old or thin we are, everyone needs to exercise. Photograph: Thinkstock

Exercise should be promoted for its own sake as empowering, enjoyable and great for psychological health and not just something ob(...)

Dishcloths: E. coli was present on over one-quarter of dishcloths and 14 per cent were contaminated with Listeria. Photograph: Thinkstock

Focus on sterile sprays may endanger children who need to get used to bacteria

Nothing humans do is ever straightforward. We are the only mammals that have made a meal, excuse the pun, out of feeding our young. Photograph: Thinkstock

Jacky Jones: greater patriarchy and misogyny lead to lower rates

According to Bird Watch Ireland, gulls are useful scavengers and provide a service to towns and cities. Photograph: Thinkstock

Gulls, and other birds and animals, have the right to forage for food wherever they like

Many people (mostly men) respond aggressively when they feel angry, using verbal or/and physical body language. Photograph: Thinkstock

The best way to respond to angry feelings is by being assertive, then verbalising it

Nine-year-olds now developing same chest and waist size as Leaving Cert students of old

Cardinal Seán Brady arrives to give evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry at Banbridge Court House, Co Down.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The church’s obsession with normal sexual activity engendered a warped view of sexual abuse within the hierarchy

Photograph: Thinkstock

The most important aspect of a travelling mindset, according to Alain De Botton, is ‘receptivity’ and approaching new places with (...)

‘Equality between men and women needs to be the No 1 priority for health and society. Nothing less than 50-50 will do.’ Illustration: Thinkstock

International Men’s Health Week offers an opportunity to focus on equality

Only 68 per cent of all HSE complaints are investigated within the 30-day target. My family are still waiting for a resolution to a complaint, made 16 months ago, which is now being investigated by the Ombudsman. Photograph: Thinkstock

According to a new report, we make fewer complaints about healthcare than people in other jurisdictions

Bereaved parents Mark and Róisín Molloy with Amy Delahunt and Ollie Kelly: maternity practices at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, caused them great personal loss. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Men’s rights mattered more than women’s. Mothers were almost seen as incubators

Restrictions on marketing foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and high-fat foods are likely to have a greater impact on reducing obesity inequalities than campaigns targeted at individuals.Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

It would be great if the debate could be about healthy weight and feel-good physical activity

Blaming depression for violent behaviour does not help anyone and stigmatises mental illness. Photograph: Thinkstock

Time for balanced debate on violence and mental illness based on scientific fact, not primeval fear

A total of 8,627 health service employees (HSE and HSE-funded agencies) completed the first-ever health service employee survey on themes such as leadership and overall strategy.

The first employee survey shows that fewer than one in 10 health workers believe change is being well managed, says Jacky Jones

Adults and children need to be able to say ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘I will think about it’, in the context of everyday respectful relationships. Photograph: Thinkstock

Male attitudes are the cause of sexual violence, not lack of consent education, says Jacky Jones

Hospitals need to stop counting patients, beds and discharges, and start measuring outcomes and value for money. Photograph: iStockphoto

More than one million people were treated by emergency departments in 2014, says Jacky Jones

In practice, women in Ireland have little choice about how, when and where to give birth. Photograph: Thinkstock

Ireland’s consultant-led maternity services are misogynistic and need to be overhauled, says Jacky Jones

The latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions from the Central Statistics Office makes for grim reading, says Jacky Jones

Operation Transformation: television and radio shows focused on individual lifestyles will not fix the obesity problem and may even make things worse. Photograph: RTÉ

If RTÉ wants to contribute to population health, it must produce programmes that expose the determinants of obesity, says Jacky Jo(...)

More money never makes up for the loneliness and homesickness that can be felt by emigrants. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Nearly 250,000 healthy citizens have left since 2008, but no one seems to care

 The promenade from the Claddagh to the lighthouse on Mutton Island is one of the few places left in Galway city where citizens can walk without being deafened by traffic noise. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Noise pollution is a huge and growing problem all over Europe

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