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

US vice-president Mike Pence and his wife Karen  arrive  in Seoul, South Korea last month: Her prominent role raised questions. Photgraph: Song Kyung-Seok-Pool/Getty Images

From Karen Pence to Philip May, the relevance of political partners is at a low

Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin leaving the Four Courts after a High Court judgment. Photograph: Collins Courts

She claims Bill Cullen’s business and thousands of others could have been saved

Jackie Lavin in the showroom of Bill Cullen Premier Cars. ‘I work on the floor now. I had to learn about cars. It’s important to have something to go to when you wake up in the morning’

Says coverage of her court action against Bill Cullen over house in Kerry is missing the point

Madeleine McCann: there are many theories about her disappearance. Photograph: Getty Images

A decade of reporting without ‘conscience’ has persecuted the missing child’s parents

Sheryl Sandberg and her husband, Dave Goldberg, during a trip to Italy.

Facebook's Sandberg on coping with the sudden death of her husband Dave Goldberg and why she wrote her new book 'Option B'

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, who face a run-off election on May 7th for the presidency of France. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Kathy Sheridan: Support for hard-right candidate a sign of media desperation

On Wednesday, a Bill will be tabled in the Seanad to end the ban on Good Friday alcohol sales, and has every chance of making it into law.  File photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

When we dump traditions we should at least be clear about our reasons for doing so

President Donald Trump in full voice in the White House. File photograph: Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Trump and Brexit supporters seem unconcerned by breaches of trust with electorate

Past and future: a woman with a pushchair walks past murals on Falls Road. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

The city’s story is encapsulated in a short walk from the centre along the Ormeau Road

The UK Houses of Parliament following the attack by Khalid Masood: his wife Farzana fled their three-month-old marriage after violence from her “controlling psychopath” husband. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images

Many who kill in the name of religion have a history of assault on wives and partners

We can only marvel at the brilliance of social engineers who managed to protect their property, customs and traditions by using shame to control women who became pregnant in the ‘wrong’ cirumstances. Photograph: iStock

Shame has long been used to control women in Ireland so why won’t it work on Trump?

British prime minister Theresa May said a Scottish independence referendum would be ’divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time’. Photograph: PA Wire

The UK has been sold down the river in a proxy war between Tory public schoolboys

Engineers at the site of a mass grave  at the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. ‘It is not just the disposal of remains in a disused waste facility that stuns the heart.’ Photograph: EPA/Aidan Crawley

Scandal disproves defence that the Catholic Church did wrong but was trying to do good

“The fact is, it’s not possible to feel every single person’s pain and be useful citizens.” Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

In the social media world the heart always wins over the head – but it shouldn’t

Neil Jordan:  “I’ve been bruised once or twice in Hollywood but have always found them in a weird way very welcoming. The lesson I had to learn was not to let them mess you about.” Photograph: Eric Luke

The not-grumpy-at-all director on being nominated for a best picture Oscar for ‘The Crying Game’ and how a serious injury led him (...)

Bertie Ahern jokes with Brian Cowen before announcing that he will resign as taoiseach in 2008. File photograph: Frank Miller

‘Perhaps the mere talk of generational change has the handy side-effect of deleting the past’

Teacher John Leyden with a pupil at Headfort School, Kells, Co Meath

Film shines light on trials and joys of pupils and teachers at unique Headfort school

‘The notion that men have a 24/7 entitlement to a special cadre of women to meet their sexual needs seems extraordinary in an age when ignorance can be no excuse.’ File photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

Criminalising the purchase but not the sale of sex does not make the industry legitimate

Stephen Donnelly with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: At a time when Trump, Putin, Brexit, et al dominate the news, it’s hard to care about the vagaries  of Irish politics. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

After six years of potshots at Fianna Fáil, we must now witness the unmasking of a crush

Bernadette Forde (left) and Gail O’Rorke. They were ‘an unlikely pair’: a career woman from a comfortable  midlands family; and a bohemian spirit raised in Crumlin amid poverty and dysfunction

Gail O’Rorke, acquitted of assisting in the suicide of Bernadette Forde, tells of the ‘nightmare’ that followed her friend’s death

The Women’s March in Washington, DC, US, on January 21st. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Women’s March proved the need to keep protesting the US’s evolving horror show

President-elect Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump adjusts Barron Trump’s tie before the 58th Presidential Inauguration for president-elect Donald Trump. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

TV coverage provided it all: Melania’s heels, all-white daughters and a question for Hillary

Barack and Michelle Obama on inauguration day, 2009

In 2009, the air in Washington DC was filled with joy - Friday will be different

 Donald Trump: The media is beginning to realise that   a neutral voice is a lame tool. Photograph: Damon Winter/The New York Times

US president-elect has had thousands of hours of airtime for his flights of ignorance

Security and medical staff working in the emergency department of St James’s Hospital. Photograph: Alan Betson

Some once-notorious hospitals have battered the problem into some degree of submission

When Apollo House was taken over by volunteers for homeless people, it was not enough to heap ostentatious praise on the occupiers; the existing service providers had to be pulled down. A case of angelic volunteers versus parasitic, homeless charities “cashing in” on the crisis.

Helping homeless people is expensive, time consuming and requires real commitment

Bowler: There was probably more to come in a remarkable life cut short at 64. Photograph: David Sleator

Tough and driven, the travel entrepreneur disrupted the entire Irish industry

“The sight of former footballers sobbing on camera while looking back on blighted lives is heartbreaking”: David Eatock, the Former Newcastle United player, says he was sexually abused while at the club.

How much have we learned about abuse, silence, societal indulgence and power?

An election party for Alexander Van der Bellen, who defeated the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer to become Austria’s  president. Photographer: Lisi Niesner/Bloomberg

Some 62% of female voters opted for Van der Bellen (72) who is backed by Green Party

President Michael D Higgins signs the book of condolence for former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Our elected leaders should be less effusive about foreign leaders – living or dead

Ivanka and Donald Trump: The presence of the president-elect’s daughter, a businesswoman, at a meeting with the Japanese prime minister has yet to be explained. Photograph: Damon Winter/The New York Times

‘Even when winners are caught out in direct lies, there is no shame, and none is expected’

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in the recent US presidential election. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

Donald Trump won amid a complete disregard for what he was actually saying

Hillary Clinton: target of “the most misogynistic presidential nominee in US history”. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

Recent distortions recall the way an earlier female US presidential candidate was treated

David Simon, creator of HBO series The Wire, called John Banville “f**knuts” on Twitter. Photograph: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

We all have the right to offend but not a licence to be coarse and vulgar

John Banville, when asked to contribute to a collection of six-word “stories”, wrote: “Should have lived more, written less”. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Writing is bad for family life, says the Irish author. ‘You take so much. I wouldn’t have been able to live with me’

Pallbearers and escorts  Keith Wood, Peter Clohessy, Mick Galwey, John Hayes, John Langford, Niall O’Donovan and Peter O’Mahony carry to coffin of Anthony Foley from St Flannan’s Church after his funeral service. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters.

Determined Olive Foley gives extraordinary 14-minute eulogy recalling ‘true soul mate’

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