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

‘Not every woman is in a position to threaten the person who sexually harasses them.’ Photograph: iStock

A recent case in Ireland shows how workplace sexual harassment is alive and well

Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, a private company which appropriated and exploited about 50 million Facebook user profiles and – by its own words – nano-targeted enough unsuspecting voters to elect Donald Trump. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Cambridge Analytica exploited Facebook to get Donald Trump elected

Stormy Daniels at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles recently. Evangelical Christian supporters of Donald Trump are unlikely to be too happy about allegations. Photograph: Matt Sayles/AP

Evangelical pulpit-thumping fanboys unlikely to be too impressed

“When analysis of our home’s metered data convinced Irish Water that the unusually high usage suggested a leak, contractors spent several sweaty summer days digging in multiple locations to find it and repair the holes, at no charge.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Latest threats to supply highlight argument our politicians are too scared to make

A hoarding in St Petersburg advertises Vladimir Putin ahead of the upcoming Russian presidential election. The European Parliament has lambasted a “Kremlin-orchestrated” campaign of “leaks, fake news, disinformation campaigns, and cyberattacks” targeting among others, the Brexit referendum. Photograph: Anton Vaganov/Reuters

Vested interests behind distorted Brexit reporting in British newspapers

Electronic voting machines and ballot modules  in storage in Glasnevin, Dublin. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Cyberattacks and social media threats show the benefits of traditional democracy

Nigel Farage: grinning prop for a pint? Photograph: Bryan Meade

Kathy Sheridan: Why does Ukip’s chief dog whistler still accept a €100,000 EU salary?

Trump bump: the US president during his appearance with Piers Morgan. Photograph: ITV

Ex-‘Daily Mirror’ editor simpers where credible journalists bring predators to account

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. “Last week’s speech suggested a world of nuance, context, realism, personal grief and – above all – empathy, had accompanied him on this particular journey.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fianna Fáil leader gives party pause for thought by rejecting easy certainties

If Margaret Atwood hasn’t earned the right to have her opinions treated with due care and respect, where are we?

Kathy Sheridan: #MeToo is a revolution, and ‘guilty because accused’ has kicked in

Unpresidential behaviour: as we retain the capacity for surprise, each new Trump atrocity feels like a repeated blow to the head.  Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty

Kathy Sheridan: Ignorant shoutiness emerged as the motif of 2017

On Christmas day if you are not the host remember that someone had a choice and still opted to include you in this most privileged of inner circles. The unstated condition is that you be kind in turn. Photograph: Getty Images

Everyone deserves a few days free of anger, home truths, sniping and whataboutery

 Brexit promulgators such as Nigel Farage routinely used the blue passport as a prop. Photograph:  Leon Neal/Getty Images

Blustering have-your-cake-and-eat-it Brexit brigade blunders on regardless

Finland is the safest country on Earth, according to the Travel Risk Map, and the ninth most tolerant, according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.

State aged 100 near top of world rankings for education, innovation and quality of life

UK prime minister Theresa May: English frontline politicians and media have exposed their contempt and gross ignorance about Ireland and our shared history. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Infantile ideas like Ireland should pay for Border part of UK cultivating obtuseness

Comedian and broadcaster Al Porter described his conduct as “in keeping with my flamboyant and outrageous public persona”.

Common thread of responses to recent revelations is to attempt to minimise them

Former IRA hunger-striker, Laurence McKeown, wears clothes fashioned from a former prison blanket similar to the ones used by the prisoners known as the ‘Blanketmen’ who took part in the dirty protest in the Maze prison during the 1970s and 1980s. Photograph: Stephen Davison

Laurence McKeown is using a blanket from the Maze to make a different kind of statement

Tweeting Taoiseach: “It’s not called photobombing when you stand in front of something to take a photo,” sniffed FF Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee

Varadkar’s shared Twitter photo with a llama could be media savvy or just a bit childish

Michael Colgan: do allegations suggest he might be a bully or a sexual harasser?

Kathy Sheridan: It is vital to distinguish targeting a gender from brutal abuse of power

Ciara Kelly: posted tweets describing an unnamed, “prominent” Irish male who is accused by various unnamed people of serial rape, wife-beating, unlawful detention and relentless harassment. Photograph: Twitter

Social media users who dislike the law should campaign to have it changed

Senator Terry Leyden: his casual peddling of something he saw on Google as a serious contribution to public policy should be a matter of serious concern.   Photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill

Comments by politicians with no scientific basis must be exposed in public as fake

Harvey Weinstein: Accused of sexual assault in 2015, he mobilised lawyers and publicists to make the case go away. Photograph: Benjamin Norman/The New York Times

Weinstein scandal could be a watershed moment in the fight against sexual harassment

Harvey Weinstein  has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. File photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

As usual, the focus is already shifting from the accused to the behaviour of his accusers

 Roddy Doyle: “It’s actually very easy to live privately here, particularly as you get older.” Photograph: Alan Betson

The Dubliner on the savagery of school, how being famous is easy in Ireland, and getting older

Diana, Princess of Wales: an exasperating woman who achieved fame only through the man she married and who became more celebrated for her clothes, bulimia, suicide attempts, exotic holidays, media manipulation, psychic consultations and colonic irrigations than anything else Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty

Twenty years on from Diana’s paparazzi- hounded passing, Kathy Sheridan looks behind the myth

US president Donald Trump boards Air Force One, bound for his summer vacation and the golf course.  Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

Yiannopoulos, Scaramucci and now the US president have all got in touch with their feelings

Kevin Myers on RTÉ’s ‘Today with Seán O’Rourke’ programme on Tuesday. Photograph: RTÉ Radio One/PA Wire

The writer has been spewing evidence-free bile about women for decades

BBC correspondent Orla Guerin, in Bajaur, part of Pakistan’s troubled tribal belt. What kind of system rewards a news presenter such as  Huw Edwards with vast sums but not correspondents such as Guerin or Lyse Doucet, who put their actual bodies on the line?

The issue of gender pay equality comes down to fairness and fundamental social values

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (68) speaks to the crowd from the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. Photograph:  Yui Mok/PA Wire

If age is only a number, when is it okay to use that culturally loaded term ‘old’?

 British prime minister Theresa May’s popularity ratings have plummeted to 34, roughly where Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s were last November. Photograph: Getty Images

Labour leader may have handled the Grenfell disaster better but he is flawed too

British prime minister Theresa May: a former minister was pleased to report May had “agreed to listen to all the wings of the party” on Brexit. Of the party, note. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Prime minster has shown contempt for the 48 per cent who voted Remain

Salvador Sobral’s Eurovision victory on Saturday was marked by modesty and generosity. “Just a boy in his bedroom singing a song written by his sister,” as Graham Norton put it.  Photograph: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Irish hubris, Portuguese charm and British arrogance were all in the contest’s limelight

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