After her parents died in the 1981 fire, Lisa Lawlor became known as the ‘Stardust baby’

  US president Joe Biden’s cabinet is more or less evenly divided on gender. One in five of his secretaries are black; one in 10 is of Asian descent; 15 per cent are Latina. Photograph: Al Drago/POOL/EPA

People who say it shouldn’t matter are used to seeing their own image reflected back to them

The Irish Times wants to hear from readers about their experiences of grief during the pandemic

Doctors in some of the worst-hit areas are noticing marked change in early symptoms

Mother helping daughter with homework. Photograph: E+/iStock/Getty

Teachers and parents are stepping up to the homeschooling challenge. It is time employers did too

Ivanka Trump was believed to be a voice of reason around her father. File photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

After four years, a medium-sized insurrection must seem like a small price to pay

2020 in review: Four out of five Irish people saw incomes grow or stay the same in the pandemic

Why do we have such trouble attracting women into roles of positions of authority? Let’s ask Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, due her first baby next year, who currently has no entitlement to maternity leave, why she thinks that might be. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The harsh reality is that without more women in positions of authority, women’s needs will never rank highly in a crisis – or at a(...)

 Catherine O’Halloran says she is   so worried about her son Richard’s health, who has been unable to leave China since February 2019. Photograph: Tom Honan

Catherine O’Halloran believes State has done ‘little’ in trying to free her deteriorating son

There may be some ‘Brit-bashing’ but deep down, we all feel a little bit sorry for Britain now. It’s just taking some of us a bit longer to adjust to this unfamiliar state. Photograph:  Tolga Akmen/AFP

They’ll do more more damage at the festive table than an airborne Covid-particle

There will be a lot of empty chairs at Christmas dinner tables this year. Photograph: iStock

Worrying about getting together on Christmas Day is both beside the point and the only point

Karen Whooley teaching sixth-class students at St Audoen’s National School in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Pupils and students around Ireland, and their teachers, on learning in Covid-19’s shadow

Fiona Devine, and her daughter Aoibh (born 29 April 2020), at their home in Co Meath. “My last hospital appointments were all on my own. I remember overhearing one poor woman crying in the hallway after getting bad news. I couldn’t even go and sympathise with her,” she said, due to coronavirus restrictions.Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/The Irish Times

First year in new baby’s life can be isolating and anxious under even the best of circumstances

A person walks past the Pfizer Inc headquarters in New York on Wednesday. Even if there was universal public support for Covid-19 vaccines,managing their rollout was already going to be one of the most logistically complex public health operations in history. Photograph:  Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Convincing the public the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective will be a daunting task

When woke culture serves as an agent to polarise debate, it does little to protect people like Elliot Page from the outpouring of hatred he experienced this week. Photograph: Warren Toda/EPA

Wokeism treats us all as though we emerged into the world with fully formed views

Leaving Cert student Aoife Devlin. Photograph: James Connolly

‘The constant narrative that it’s us that’s the problem is really really hard,’ they say

There are bizarre inferences that the breaches of guidelines surrounding GAA games are somehow less risky or more forgivable than others. Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Sport is great but why must GAA get special pass from Covid-19 restrictions?

Dryrobe culture war is about aspiration, tribalism, social class and snobbery. Being “highly active” is correlated with higher socioeconomic status, according to a sports report.

Debate around pricey towel with hood is socioeconomics swimming against tide

Carrie Symonds: media outlets portrayed  her as a demanding, unstable wannabe Princess Diana. Photograph: Getty Images

Symonds became the victim of nasty headlines as Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain left No 10

The dosing of BNT162b2, the mRNA-based vaccine candidate against Covid-19, during a clinical test. Photograph: Biontech SE/EPA

‘All we have at this point is a very promising press release. But the signs are very promising’

Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan

Initial study by Open Orphan due to begin in January in London

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team should be figuring out how to reverse the country out of the ill-conceived purgatory of Level 5 with minimal further damage.   Photograph: Getty Images

Government instruction distracts us from asking difficult questions about Level 5

Donald Trump supporters hold signs and chant as they gather in front of the Maricopa County election office in Phoenix, Arizona. Photograph:  Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images

In Ireland we separate children and parents, we just don't use cages

Johnny Depp: Even if he had “won” the reputational cost was going to be colossal. As he lost, it may prove incalculable. Photograpah: EPA/Neil Hall

Analysis: Any lingering illusions of Hollywood as a place of glamour and sophistication are gone

Barnardos set up a support group for mothers whose children were adopted, three women share their stories.

Many women who gave babies up for adoption in 20th-century Ireland still feel the loss

Cars at a Border crossing. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Assuming the public will continue to be compliant is not a strategy

Martina, Seán and their son Jack before going to Anfield for the first time since the attack

Seán, back in his family home, is not defined by what he can’t do but by who he is

GP Dr Darach Brennan at Johnstown Medical Centre, Waterford.  Brennan says the threat of Covid-19 ‘became very real, very quickly’ following two high-profile cases in Waterford. Photograph:  Patrick Browne

It’s had blips, but Waterford still has the lowest cumulative incidence of Covid-19

Maybe Level 5 really is our one last best shot. But are we willing to accept it without question – without a lot of questions? Photograph:  Stephen Collins

Lockdown gloom is permeated with questions as to process that imposed it

People living alone with the support of a carer may form a support bubble with one other household. Photograph: iStock

Who is allowed to form one? Can one be for childcare? How to choose who to bubble with?

Lockdown has been a time of unprecedented danger for people in abusive relationships. Photograph: iStock

Women and one man share stories of being trapped, and breaking free

Michelle O’Hara, regional manager at South Leinster Mabs urges people not to wait until they’re deep in distress before contacting the helpline. Photograph: Maura Hickey

Mabs helpline receiving growing number of calls from workers in sectors hit by restrictions

If Ian Bailey doesn’t quite relish the notoriety, he has never done a lot to dampen it down. Photograph: Paul Faith / AFP via Getty

As long as the Ian Bailey show goes on, Sophie Toscan du Plantier remains lost in the story

Rose McGowan, incoming president, St Vincent de Paul. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Charity boss says needs are growing but pandemic has made society more empathetic

Operation Fanacht on the roads this week: westbound traffic on the M4 between Leixlip and Maynooth. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Too much air time was sucked into the who-said-what sideshow political drama

The late broadcaster and journalist’s husband on writing the final chapter of her memoir

Jim Gordon, owner of the Revolution Bar in Waterford city. ‘People are tending to go bar to bar to bar, booking a table for an hour and a half in each place,’ he says. ‘We’ve had to be really strict.’ Photograph:  Patrick Browne

The many challenges of running a pub – and making a living – in the Covid era are becoming apparent

Remote working has opened up yet another privilege gap.  Photograph: Chemistry

Covid-19 opened up new gap between those who have to go out to work, those who shielded behind screens

 ‘Why are women still required to prove the existence of a phenomenon that we all know is endemic?’ File photograph: Getty Images

Enough evidence to suggest we are still trying to clean up a problem that men created

Mike Murphy after meeting Jennifer O’Connell in Ballsbridge. It’s a headshot for a reason. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Broadcaster on podcasting, parenting regrets, Gay Byrne, and getting bored quickly

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly arriving at the unveiling of the Irish Government’s blueprint for living with Covid-19 in Dublin on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Jennifer O’Connell: Why we are losing faith in Project Flatten the Curve

Kim Kardashian West’s Skims Maternity Solutionwear is the latest addition to her rapidly expanding range

Her ‘Skims Maternity Solutionwear’ is simply a new way for women to hate their bodies

Richard Quinlan chief ambulance officer for north Leinster and advanced paramedic demonstrating how the test for  Covid-19 is performed.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

How does testing and tracing work? Irish Times readers share their experiences

Rapid testing turnaround times, especially as people have to go for repeat tests over the winter, will become increasingly important. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Can our system of test, trace and isolate rise to the challenge of rising case numbers?

The calculated grades system left private schools focused on delivering high results feeling discriminated against, though the department insists the process was blind. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Decision in favour of calculated grades left department with an impossible task

Even before the pandemic, teenagers were served up constant reminders that the world they were about to inherit was a crumbling wreck. Photograph: iStock

Could it be any more obvious? Young people are in trouble. Demonising them won’t help

How long did it take you to get a test? What was the process like? How long for results?

One of Rebel Wilson’s Instagram photos

Best of 2020: The headlines implied she’d found a cure for Covid or won an Olympic medal, not lost 18kg

It has been two years since Greta Thunbery first exploded into public consciousness. File photograph: Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

The teenager elicits hope, admiration and even awe in people many times her age

Manchán Magan near his home in Collinstown, Co Westmeath.Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘We are on this desperate search for our psyche ... It just happens to all be contained within the language’

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has instructed the Government to suggest a man and a woman as candidates to replace former commissioner Phil Hogan. Photograph: Francois Walschaerts/EPA

Like-minded, powerful elites reinforce the systems that keep women at arm’s length in public life

Counselor to the US president Kellyanne Conway has announced that she will leave the white house at the end of August 2020. Also her husband George Conway is withdrawing from The Lincoln Project. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Trump’s adviser wants ‘less drama, more mama’ but her family seem to have other ideas

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Dara Calleary: former minister for agriculture Calleary appears to fail to grasp “clear and unambiguous” rules. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Viral videos and Calleary’s golf buddies evidence our strategy is to tweak and fudge

Royal rift: Meghan and Harry with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, the duchess and duke of Cambridge, and other members of the British royal family at Buckingham Palace in 2018. Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty

A new biography of the couple began as a love story. It became an exercise in score-settling

An O’Brien Fine Foods employee at the processing facility in Timahoe, Co Kildare. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

‘Our staff are taking a lot of heat in Kildare right now. They haven’t done anything wrong . . . we didn’t intentionally bring the(...)

Senator Kamala Harris: to men like Trump, she represents  piercing wit, quiet strength, simmering rage. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster

Alpha bully boy and US president sees his demise in Biden’s ‘nasty’ running mate

Orlagh Eichholz with a picture of her stolen dog Molly and her other dog Millie at their home in Cappawhite, Co Tipperary. Photograph: John D Kelly

Campaigners call for strict laws on dog trade after a rise in dognapping since lockdown

The majority of cases of Covid-19 in Ireland in the past two weeks have been among the under-45s. Photograph: iStock

Three-quarters of new cases are among under-45s. Complacency seems to be creeping in

A queue develops outside Poplar Coroner’s Court, High Street, Poplar, London, prior to the resumption of the inquest into the death of television presenter  Caroline Flack. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

The internet has made the hounding business low cost, low risk and 24/7

Ireland’s premier shopping street is a grim reflection of the situation facing retailers

Passengers at the Departure Gates at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

The Government needs to worry about who is flying in, not who is flying out

Trade between Ireland and Greece chiefly involves chemicals, veterinary medicine and other drugs.

Family? Leisure? Trade? Why do people travel to these green list countries?

Inch Strand in Co Kerry. The staycation subsidy announced on Thursday is a well-intentioned effort to bolster the hospitality industry. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A week in Kerry is no longer the frugal choice of the bucket-and-spade brigade

Owner Dannielle Downes at the Foxy Chopper hair salon in Waterford city: “The world is slightly different. It’s a new era.” Photograph: Patrick Browne

Irish people are surprised ‘unlocking’ happened so fast – too fast for many of us

It’s time parents heard a bit more about what that appropriate education will look like in September. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Your children will be going back to school in September. Maybe. Possibly on a part-time basis

Sil Fox at home: ‘I just want to get back to telling a gag and making people happy.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

The comedian wants his life back after a recent sex assault case against him was dismissed

Covid-19 gives us a chance to push reset, to see the space, not the things crowding into it

Earlier this week in Dublin two Luke Kelly sculptures were doused in white paint. Photograph: Alan Betson

If we were to remove statues and rename streets in Ireland, where might we start?

Comedian Sil Fox. The case against the 87-year-old was dismissed on May 27th. Photograph: Tom Honan

Comedian (87) cites ‘serious reputational damages’ caused by prosecution in letter to DPP

HB’s Golly Bar was renamed the Giant Bar, and given new packaging, in 1992

US firms are ditching racist branding. But Ireland has had its share of offensive products

The mostly unchallenged rush to reopen pubs is a grim reflection on our priorities. Covid-19 is far from in abeyance globally. Photograph: Eric Luke

Jennifer O’Connell: Lobby groups are pushing pubs out of lockdown despite health risks

Alan O’Connor watches over his son, Glyn, in the Mater’s ICU. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni

Staff at the Dublin hospital are treating not only coronavirus but many other ailments

KiwiCo camps kick off online from June 22nd, and offer loads of free content for 3 to 11 year olds

Activities are curbed due to Covid-19, but there’s plenty of ways to keep kids occupied

JK Rowling wrote a blog post explaining why she found the phrase ‘people who menstruate’ to be ‘hostile and alienating’

JK Rowling’s tweet launched the latest salvo in a toxic war of words

Covid-19: the six-year-old’s picture of her cat attacking the disease, a black streak with sharp claws pouncing on a green spiky ball against a bright-blue sky

Parents know ‘blended learning’ is no substitute for a real education. It sells us all short

 Gillian Westman of Dunmore East Tidy Towns repainting the lamp posts: “It’s a beautiful place. We can’t keep it all to ourselves.” Photograph: Patrick Browne

‘When customers come here for dinner, they don’t want to think about Covid’

President Donald   Trump’s  photo opportunity in front of the boarded up windows of St John’s Church in Washington DC was another of his big lies. Photograph:  Shawn Thew/EPA

Anger is Trump’s weapon. It’s the reason his lies are not just tolerated, but embraced

Domhnall Herdman, Clinton Liberty, Megan McDonnell, Ross Gaynor and Kwaku Fortune, who all studied at the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art in Trinity College, Dublin, and appeared in TV series Normal People. photograph: Dara Macdónaill/The Irish Times

Meet the ‘Lirheads’: the nine college friends who ended up cast together in Normal People

Positives from the pandemic: Máire Gilmartin of St Vincent's University Hospital in PPE; a climate protest near the Dáil; and traffic on the M50 in west Dublin. Photographs: Alan Betson

The crisis poses huge threats but also shows us ways forward in health, housing, work and lifestyle

Sil Fox at Dublin District Court. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Believe women’ is a trite, reductive slogan that is equally offensive to everyone

Prof Luke O’Neill, director of Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘Black Death went away, 1918 flu went away, Swine flu went away. It’s beatable, this one’

People walk past a billboard in Dublin which is part of the Government’s In This Together campaign. Governments around the world are starting to worry about how to keep the public onside during the long, divisive, fretful months ahead. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

After 10 weeks of abnormality, a belt of the crozier will no longer be enough

Normal People’s Italian property: Marianne at Il Casale’s pool. Photograph: Enda Bowe/Element Pictures/RTÉ

Could it be a perfect spot for your own lingering glances or unspeakably tense dinner party?

Cover your face: you wear a mask to protect me; I wear one to protect you. And we all need to get on board for them to really work. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty

Coronavirus: Now you’ve made your own fabric mask, here are the rules for using it

As the Government zooms in on issues such as insurance and potential transmission risks it is ignoring the less headline-grabbing but more dire risks to vulnerable children. It is fighting the wrong wars. Photograph: Getty Images

Covid-19 has exposed system’s shortcomings and Government has failed to act effectively

Developer Johnny Ronan said he was entirely unaware of the threat of coronavirus at the time the videos were recorded. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Jennifer O’Connell: The footage is unsettling when juxtaposed with closure of Bewley’s

Prof Lockdown: the front pages of today’s Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Sun

Prof Neil Ferguson and his girlfriend broke UK lockdown rules. But he’s not a politician

If you’re wearing a mask and see someone you know, resist the temptation to pull it down to say hello. Illustration: Getty Images

Jennifer O’Connell has written down the unwritten rules of walking in the age of Covid-19

In vitro fertilisation (IVF). The majority of Irish fertility clinics are planning to reopen from next week.

Fertility clinics reopen next week. What does that mean for those awaiting treatment?

Jamie Fitzcarlos and Steve Fitzcarlos with their dog, Rua. There were due to come home from Australia this month to set up a craft brewing operation, but have had to put those plans on hold.

The outlook for Ireland’s young people is particularly bleak

A lot of recent attention has rightly focused on the needs of cocooners but working parents need a break too.

It won’t have been Cheltenham-goers or second-home owners who derailed our efforts to beat the virus, but harassed working parents(...)

Pauline Whelan, Gearoid Whelan, Ella Whelan and Brian Whelan of Whelan’s Pub in Newcastle West, Co Limerick. The family pub has been adapted to enable social distancing whenever restrictions due to coronavirus are lifted or eased. Photograph: Alan Place

We won’t have ‘packed pubs’ anytime soon, so how will going for a socially distant pint work?

A Garda checkpoint in Stoneybatter, Dublin. So far, we’ve shown remarkable compliance with the social isolation measures for people who are not, historically, a nation of rule-followers. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Plan might help people adhere to coronavirus restrictions as public’s patience wanes

Photo from 2017 of Prince Harry and his then-fiancée Meghan Markle. Photograph:  Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The trouble is, the Markle-Sussexes aren’t actually attempting to retreat from public life

Dr John Ball: ‘As a GP, you really value one-on-one interactions.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

People share their experience of the pandemic and their hopes for life afterwards

 Ursula Von der Leyen: the president of the European Commission spoke about “protecting livelihoods” as she launched a roadmap for lifting containment measures last week. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

We seem to be in danger of delaying the issue of schools reopening until autumn when we should be trying to follow Denmark

 The deserted Great George’s Street, Waterford. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Behind the closed shutters, there is hope and resilience in Waterford

Big tech will win big in this pandemic. Photograph: Reuters

It is possible to act out of both compassion and self-interest simultaneously

Bereaved father: Andrew McGinley with Conor, Carla and Darragh. Photograph: Andrew McGinley via An Garda Síochána

Bereaved father received more than 1,000 letters and cards after self-isolation appeal

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