Public-service announcement posters in Melbourne counter a conspiracy theory that 5G technology causes Covid-19. Photograph: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Polls show high percentage of populations harbouring belief in conspiracy theories

Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary is the new Chief Whip but he did not get a ministerial position. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The ‘understanding’ that Ministers represent their regions is a dangerous fiction

Clare Bailey, leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Diving into the Republic’s politics at such a critical moment is quite a departure

Are there any differences at all between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael?  Photograph: Damien Eagers/Leon Farrell/PA Wire

The Civil War ceased being relevant to FF and FG policies in the 1950s

An Amazon fulfilment centre in Peterborough,  England. Photograph: Chris J RatcliffeAFP/Getty Images

Despite criticism of how it treats workers, the company is having a good pandemic

 US president Donald Trump: Every malignant, divisive, racist word that has left his mouth, every lie, every declaration of support for a murderous autocrat, has led to this juncture in world affairs where a killer virus is just another electoral tool. Photograph: Oliver Contreras/EPA

Covid-19 committee must realise this is not the gotcha territory of the banking inquiry

Eoin O Broin  tweeted a link to an Oliver Callan skit about Leo Varadkar checking his notes on the Late Late Show, and said that  “criticising, questioning and lampooning those in power is healthy, and should never be shut down”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Kathy Sheridan: Oliver Callan and Eoin Ó Broin should know better

 People take part in a “reopen” Pennsylvania demonstration last week  in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US.  Hundreds of people  gathered in the US state  to protest measures that are urging most of the nation to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic. File photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Almost every reckless decision ever can be traced to someone persuaded he was a brilliant maverick

Michael Lowry: appears impatient as others battle with the Covid-19 pandemic and Britain’s flight to Brexitland, while dealing with the three-way election verdict. Photograph: Tom Honan

Constituency supremacy ideology of no use to FF and FG in government formation

The psychological and physical benefits of a short walk outdoors should not be denied to older, vulnerable people. Photograph: iStock

A designated time each day would help those struggling in mandatory confinement

More than four out of five of us believe the current Government is doing a good job. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Why rush into an unsatisfactory arrangement while Covid-19 threat remains?

‘In the shadow of grief, upended lives, separation and tragic death, we are taking back control, not by chasing imperial phantoms but by recognising that we are the weapons capable of facing down Covid-19.’ Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

On the whole, the language on this pandemic is suddenly quite cosy, but many dangers lurk

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes a statement about the US government’s response to coronavirus, March 23rd. Photograph: Epa/Joshua Roberts/ pool

Virus has introduced a new loaded label, ‘elderly with underlying conditions’

Shelves empty of toilet rolls in The Merrion Centre, Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Reaction to coronavirus has become virtual laboratory for national self-scrutiny or lack of it

The attempt to conflate a lack of trust in the HSE’s approach with other government trust issues is  bewildering. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg

From facemasks to distrust of experts, coronavirus has brought out the worst in us

 As court officers escorted Harvey Weinstein off to custody, he left behind the walking frame on which he had conspicuously leaned for much of the trial. A telling detail about the man.   Photograph: Todd Heisler/the New York Times

Kathy Sheridan: The fight now moves on to Los Angeles

 David Cullinane of Sinn Féin: as long as their own representatives bring up the murky past, it is the media’s job to report it. This is not bias. It was not a mainstream journalist who dredged it up by shouting “Up the Ra” as recently as election night or suggesting that they “broke the Free State”. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Kathy Sheridan: Sinn Féin must grow accustomed to a vastly higher degree of accountability

“We know what we have and we value it. Ireland came fifth of 65 democracies worldwide in terms of our contentment with our democracy in a 2019 study.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Nothing about line-up of potential leaders suggests we have succumbed to an Orban or Salvini

 Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty: “But I call it just fairness. It’s about fair play.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Claims of privileged education serve too easily to deride Fine Gaelers across all media

That we should never cling to nurse for fear of something worse but that change for the sake of change is what landed the world with Brexit and Donald Trump.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Kathy Sheridan: Ask hard questions but beware of dangers of change for sake of change

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin faces Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in an election debate tonight. File photograph:  Leon Neal/AFP via Getty

Mostly they demonstrate if a candidate can remember their lines or not

“Holding a Saturday election seems enlightened, presuming that plenty of promotion is invested in the change; the fact it’s a weekend is no guarantee that people will prioritise the vote but it removes a lot of excuses.” File photograph: Frank Miller

Brexit showed how easily a country can tip over into something toxic and delusional

“You would have found [virtue signallers] upbraiding people for agonising over a blazing Notre Dame while children were being bombed in Idlib.” Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Moral grandstanding fosters anger and obscures improvements in many areas

“A frequently-cited hope in the financial meltdown was that a kinder, more contemplative spirit would emerge among all the folk who had slightly lost their way in the gold rush.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Big gift for Christmas 2019 Ireland is the fact that it’s not Christmas 10 years ago

 Brexit has morphed  from unicorns and sunlit uplands to getting “the incubus of Brexit off our collective backs”. And the worn-out people’s response is a weary, hypnotic “get Brexit done”. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

The perpetrators feel invincible. Lying is the default. Good luck to us all

Kevin Dowd, brother of  New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, holds one of his guest columns signed by President Donald Trump, in Rockville, Maryland. Trump wrote: “Kevin – thank you – you truly get it! Best wishes, Donald Trump.” Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/New York Times

NYT columnist briefly handing controls to her Trumpist sibling leaves readers with a problem

Fine Gael local election candidate Verona Murphy canvassing at New Ross, Co Wexford. ‘We are still no wiser about the source of Murphy’s claims despite the gravity of them.’ Photograph: Patrick Browne

Fine Gael’s reaction to candidate's comments on immigration is infuriating

Lorraine Clifford-Lee canvassing in Portmanock, Dublin, last week. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

'Fact-free nonsense': Why would an educated young woman believe such things, never mind tweet them?

Ana Kriégel’s murder was carried out by a boy who saw a female object, not a sensate being.  Photograph: RTÉ News

Concerns over fact that most teenagers view pornography has been known for a decade

Katie Hill: Just a year ago, the newbie representative was a shooting star on Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team. Photograph: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

The former US congresswoman has said she was worried that if she stayed in office, more compromising images would emerge

 One Government Deputy  compared some stupidly casual voting practices by certain Dáil members to the worst excesses of the Charles Haughey era. Photograph:  Getty Images

Fuss over voting practices is not on a par with historic political scandals

Extinction Rebellion activists were based in Merrion Square in Dublin for the duration of their ‘action week’.  Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Lord Mayor’s acquiescence to Merrion Square camp puts city chief in bind

A motorcyclist in Pettigo, Co Donegal. For urban dwellers accustomed to a Dublin Bus/Luas/Dart stop down the street, it must be hard to understand the head-melting time, effort and frustration involved in relying on rural public transport. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Kathy Sheridan: Ryan’s suggestion taps into perception of bubble-living urban dwellers

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: a man with an undeniable air of entitlement and still prone to stupid gaffes. Photograph:  David Young/PA

Taoiseach’s after-dinner jibe at Fianna Fáil was a cheap and silly potshot

Ode to a Grecian urn: Heracles engages in the first of his 12 labours,  helped by the goddess Athena, two characters referenced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in meeting Boris Johnson. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty

Brexit mess, modern politics and the potential wisdom of myth

The scene outside Parliament in London on Tuesday. Tempers are rising and unity and solidarity are needed to demonstrate  that something sacred to us is at stake. Photograph:  Isabel Infantes/AFP/Getty Images

The clock is ticking on towards October 31st and some kind of vent is called for

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson  places his foot on the table during a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris, France, on August 22nd. Photograph:  Christophe Petit Tesson/AFP/Getty

Putting your foot in it: Boris Johnson’s bad manners at Élysée Palace is another example

Edna O'Brien. Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty

Fearful of what? ‘Many things – people, life, swimming, bicycles, shouting, animals...’

Killian Foley-Walsh. “The president of Young Fine Gael who lit a small party fire by attending a conservative student conference addressed by Mike Pence is still only 24 and may have picked up a few life lessons already.” File photograph: Killian Foley-Walsh/Twitter

Young America’s Foundation funding merits close ideological inspection

Brenda from Bristol became the British vox pop breakout star of 2017, when a BBC reporter broke the news to her of another general election and she responded: “You’re joking Not another one! Oh, for God’s sake. Honestly. I can’t stand this. There’s too much politics going on at the moment”

In a world where social media means no opinion ever goes unexpressed, the vox pop is hauling sand to the desert

British prime minister Boris Johnson inspects poultry  at Shervington Farm, near Newport, Wales, on Tuesday. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/Getty Images

Brexiteers are putting pressure on Dublin to act on something they do not care about

Boris Johnson arrives at the Conservative Party headquarters in London on Tuesday after being announced as Britain’s next prime minister. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Next British prime minister peddles the same false hope and belief in his own centrality

My message to Ms 2121 would be heavy on curiosity. Did Field-Marshal Sixtus Rees-Mogg end up running Dambusters, the second World War theme park once known as England?  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

New census questions inspire reflection on what a reader from the past might want to know

 Boris Johnson, then foreign secretary, with Kim Darroch,  British ambassador to the US after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington in November 2017. According to media reports, US president Donald Trump has said he will no longer work with Darroch after emails in which the ambassador referred to the White House as a ‘uniquely dysfunctional environment’ were  leaked. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Leaks tell us everything about the feral rage coursing through Brexit patriots

Maura Higgins has been dubbed a feminist icon because of her remarks on Love Island. Photograph: Facebook

Occasional act of assertiveness by a female contestant cannot belie all the self-regard, exterior personalities, sexual predation,(...)

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in a photo which appeared in some newspapers earlier this week.

Right to privacy is not so straightforward when running for prime minister of the UK

Majella Moynihan in 1998. ‘The Garda Representative Association had failed so comprehensively in its purpose to protect and defend her that she wasn’t even aware of its existence.’  Photograph: RTÉ

Atmosphere that pervaded the Garda and society wrecked many lives

Boris Johnson, the bookies’ favourite to become UK prime minister, leaves his home in London on Tuesday. The great achievement of his handlers has been to get him a haircut and keep him hidden for weeks. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/AFP/Getty Images

This is a time when we can only feel a deep well of sympathy for ordinary British people

US president Donald Trump and Britain’s prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Neil Hall

The dangled bait of a US-UK trade deal is laced with predatory controls and manipulations

Green party leader Eamon Ryan: may be a national treasure. Photograph: Ryan  Gareth Chaney Collins

Eamon Ryan and Terence Flanagan are beacons for struggle leading to success

Local candidates: what constitutes the massive workload of which they speak? Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Just 8.4% of funds flow through local government compared with Denmark’s 66%

Flowers for sale beside the Spire, on O’Connell Street. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Beleaguered street deserves the best we can offer in design and creativity

There is no law against a ragbag militia taking over a swathe of the capital’s main thoroughfare and calling it a march. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Dissidents failed to anticipate furious backlash from new generation

The steeple of Notre-Dame cathedral collapses as the cathedral is engulfed in flames. Photograph: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

Declan Ganley’s response to Notre Dame fire was in stark contrast to the unity elsewhere

A worker carries  a box out of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers offices in London in September 2008: alarms were flashing many years before it  filed for bankruptcy but it didn’t suit the banking culture to heed them.  Photograph: Andrew Winning

Some 3,000 bank workers express concern about their employers’ values

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Kylie Minogue with others at the singer’s gig at the 3 Arena: He was never shy about his fandom. Photograph: Tiernan Brady/Twitter

For years we craved youth in politicians. Now we have it, we should cut them some slack

The Irish Freedom Party has spent an estimated €40,000 on a big billboard campaign. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Embryonic grouping is raising cash to run candidates in European elections

Then FAI chief executive - now executive vice-president - John Delaney in the crowd watching  Saturday’s game against Gibraltar. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Good governance: Football is big business and needs to be run properly

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald pictured taking part in New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade. Photograph: Twitter

Why are people shocked at Sinn Féin’s leader marching with a 100-year-old banner?

Lisa Smith, two to the right from then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, in 2008, when she was a member of the Defence Forces. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Group’s atrocities already notorious when ex-soldier travelled to Syria

Kathy Sheridan: ‘Lessons learned from the experience of other countries with online safety commissioner and a six-week consultation period offer a chance to get this right, or as right as it can be for now.’ File photograph: iStock

What can be done about erosion of civility and humanity is a challenge for us all

Ellie Kisyombe, photographed for the Irish Times Magazine. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Anyone running for office must be candid but she is also a tireless advocate for asylum seeker’s rights

Departing old-timers will do nicely. This year they include Brexit boyo Nigel Farage (left) – a Eurosceptic since 1999 but not too sceptical to grab the EU’s parting handshake, worth €172,000 in his case. Photograph: François Lenoir

Easy to see why MEPs keen to get noses in Brussels trough

Leave campaigner Arron Banks (left), who is being investigated by the British National Crime Agency. The mysterious deeds and motives of men like Banks – the self-styled “bad boy of Brexit” – will be life-changing for many. Photograph:   Victoria Jones/PA

Big questions remain about source of Leave campaign’s funds

Clockwise from top left: Shaun Harkin, Daniel Scott, John Harley and Mícheál Roarty were killed in a single-vehicle road crash in Co Donegal on Sunday night.

Road death reduction has come a long way but there’s no room for complacency

The Gillette ad has been accused of being patronising and preachy, and worse, of reducing the #MeToo movement to an ad for shaving

A noxious, belligerent, misogynistic streak has leached into every social and political interaction

Political fictions: Richard Goulding as Boris Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings and Oliver Maltman as Michael Gove in the new Channel 4 TV drama, “Brexit: The Uncivil War”. Photograph: Joss Barratt/Channel 4/PA

Boris Johnson’s showmanship must not be let reduce politics to entertainment

It’s the sheer resilience of human beings that makes the heart a wonder

Boris Johnson on BBC’s “The Andrew Marr Show”: crowned Idiot of the Year by the “Economist”. Photograph: Jeff Overs

Faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations and hazardous decisions are UK’s norm

Post-delivery, exhausted, possibly injured, new mothers negotiate a fractious, fragile newborn with cribs and accoutrements in a cramped, tiny space in a crammed, six-bed ward in Holles Street. How is this an acceptable beginning for the new lives we are supposed to cherish, along with labouring women and highly pressurised staff?

Planning deadlines loom, building costs rise and not a block has been laid

The Irish Times clock.   Campaigners say   clock-change would give us the promise of a little more light at the end of the working day, enough to remind that we are not doomed to live in eternal darkness. Photograph: David Sleator

Why every October, as nature is facilitating a natural adjustment to fading light, do we voluntarily hasten the onset of darkness?

Theresa May: we felt her pain, nodding mournfully that she was doing her honest best with the terrible cards she had been dealt. Then the real Theresa May popped up again. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

In our rush to sympathise and praise we almost forgot Brexit is about immigration

In Irish universities,  77 per cent of professors are male and only 23 per cent are female. Stock photograph: Getty Images

Women-only posts plan triggers outrage but figures show deep-seated problem

Minister for Health Simon Harris, whom former HSE chief executive Tony O’Brien accused of being “a frightened little boy” who “runs scared of headlines”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

McCabe and CervicalCheck episodes show harm done by political posturing

Irish presidential runner-up Peter Casey: made no attempt to meet any Travellers as he didn’t want to “invade their privacy”. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA

No heroic crusader, businessman knows very little and does not bother to find out

As for the incumbent, questions remain unanswered and his sometime tetchy demeanour suggests a man who after seven long years of presidential adulation has grown unaccustomed to being questioned. Photograph: Frank Miller

No individual should be allowed glide, unquestioned, through 14 years in the nation’s most prestigious job

 President Michael D Higgins leaving RTÉ on Monday evening. If the presidency is about dignity and mutual respect, the rather lofty tone of his letter to Seán Gallagher was unnecessary. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Presidential campaigns often take a bad turn but this one is damaging the dignity of the office

The sacred markets themselves are driven by sentiment and senior financial services people inhabit their own little world. Photograph: Michael Dalder

Public realises bankers and politicians choose to keep them in the dark

Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh: “Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer,” Kavanaugh recited several times in different ways, drawing a contrast with all those shouty, prissy liberals and their non-beer tastes. Photograph: Erin Schaff/the New York Times

US supreme court aspirant’s claims about his behaviour are not credible

Boris Johnson: his  Brexit campaign statement that the UK sends  “£350 million a week to the EU” is the subject of a prospective court case. Photograph: Steve Back/Getty Images

Big political lies such as those in Brexit blight democracy by killing voters’ trust

Here we are in the United Nations Development Programme index, with only Norway, Switzerland and Australia ahead of us and Germany behind us at number five.

Why can’t we just be pleased about the latest the UN development rankings?

Presidential hopeful Kevin Sharkey: “Ireland first. It’s my principle, but it should be a law.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dissimulators, delusionals and fantasists get weeded out as competition intensifies

US president Donald Trump: As the great warrior politician John McCain breathed his last, Mr Trump saw no reason to curtail his weekend golf outing. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque

US president’s draft-avoider reaction to death of hero John McCain far from normal

Pope Francis himself has described the curia as ‘the leprosy of the papacy’. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Former president’s powerful intervention this week highlights the Church’s warped structure

Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson: in wake of his remarks, he offers tea not adult words to journalists. Photograph: Peter Nicholls

Dogwhistle signal sent not by hack or clown but by former foreign secretary

A Cotswolds village nestling in an idyllic land of well-run medieval inns and converted mills. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

A courteous, predictable and genteel version of England exists in the dreams of many who voted for Brexit

Danny Dyer calls David Cameron a “twat” on Good Evening Britain – twice

The coronation of the Leave-voting actor for his tirade about David Cameron is a new low

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking as part of the Irish Times Women’s Podcast at the Body & Soul festival. Photo: Allen Kiely Photography

The behaviour of politicians such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson reflects well on the Taoiseach

The French parliament’s decision to ban phone use anywhere on school grounds by students aged up to 15 or so seems the adult response to a problem most parents cannot address alone.

The devices are wonderful but they have evolved into a noxious antisocial habit

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson: “acts like Trump with a thesaurus”. Photograph: Reuters/Simon Dawson

Latest ‘unguarded’ speech being ‘leaked’ at a moment of great vulnerability for his PM is quite a coincidence

Brexit: a stupid mongrel feverishly eating its own tail

Leavers finding rationale for their No decision under heavy challenge

Declan Ganley: a chief executive and chairman of a firm which has benefited from military and defence contracts, he is demanding a “conscientious objection clause” to ensure his taxes are not paying for “the killing of the unborn”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Bishop Kevin Doran, John McGuirk and Declan Ganley just not accepting Yes vote

Polling station signage in Rathmines: Up to recently, women’s stories were buried in our society as an unspeakable, amorphous blob, one woman indistinguishable from the other, reduced to “social abortions” or “issues”.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Referendum vote is set against a culture of women being shamed and silenced

RTÉ referendum debate on Monday: The main difference with the past was the absence of a pontificating Fr Michael Cleary-style cleric, or any cleric.

Role of the church and its acolytes in public policy has cast long shadow over Irish life

Undated family  photo from the “Alfies Army” official Facebook page of toddler Alfie Evans, whose parents said they were heartbroken after their son died last Saturday morning. File photograph: Alfies Army/Facebook/PA Wire

Religious exploitation of toddler’s short life serves as warning ahead of vote on Eighth Amendment

'In early October, I cried tears of joy when I saw my little baby wriggling about on the ultrasound screen.'

Martine experienced two fatal foetal abnormalities – and made a different choice for each

Banker pay: “Nothing to do with me, guv. It was all about science, the sacred independence of a process that required no fewer than three external consultants and unicorns.” File photograph: Getty Images

Proposal shows bankers’ sense of entitlement has survived the banking winter

As well-meaning men talk about staying home and leaving the referendum for women to decide, it’s important to remain alert to a significant minority whose continuing influence rests on the humbling of women. Photograph:  PA

Belfast rape case generated charged exchanges between women

Conor McGregor leaving Brooklyn Criminal Court in New York on April 6th, 2018. He  is facing criminal charges following a backstage incident  at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.  Photograph: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

If people shrink from public debate due to its abusive tone that is a loss to democracy

“A lucky boy will have role models who demonstrate that being sound is about more than blind loyalty to the pack/team/club; men whose public stature was earned on the pitch but is founded on values that bring honour to all their human interactions.” File photograph: Getty Images

Kathy Sheridan: Decent men who have influence stand up for those who don’t

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