The young Gerry Adams was moved out of the family home to live with his paternal grandparents in the Lower Falls Road.

As the Sinn Féin leader prepares to step down, it is important to recall his many achievements

Former taoiseach Albert Reynolds meeting former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave after he spoke at the launch of a biography of John A Costello  by David McCullagh in Dublin’s Mansion House in 2010. Photograph: Alan Betson

Cosgrave’s political career was dogged by economic calamity and serious differences with his party

The Woodberry Down Health Centre in Stoke Newington, London, opens for treatment. Woodberry Down was the first fully comprehensive health centre to be built under the National Health Service Act. Photograph: L Blandford/Getty Images

‘Bread for All’ engagingly traces the creation of the UK’s welfare state

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar during the launch of his policy document, Taking Ireland Forward, as part of his campaign for the Fine Gael leadership, at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Coveney’s ‘Just Society’ blather was not compatible with party in 1965 or now

Sallins train robbery, envoy’s murder and Kerry babies case were all shrouded in controversy

Austin Stack (left), son of Brian Stack, confronts Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams during a  press conference.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Challenging Gerry Adams on confidentiality is more fake indignation by media

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern: “He would be skilled in dealing with Donald Trump, partly because neither would understand what the other was on about.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Bertie Ahern achieved plenty, but he has way too much baggage for a comeback

There is no reason now why the Dáil cannot get on with the business of addressing the housing crisis, the health chaos, the water infrastructure deficit and all the other matters that consensus deems important. PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

It was stable governments that made our Parliament irrelevant, so as to perpetuate unaccountability in exercise of power of stable(...)

Opportunism of Left over past five years ensured it was unable to make gains it could have

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams with party members  outside Government Buildings. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Republican party not a threat to the established order - it wants to become part of it

Rev Ian Paisley: political outsider scorned by the aristocrats and merchant princes of the unionist establishment. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Comment: former first minister heaped poison into well of sectarianism

 ‘Labour is transfixed on “office” (ie ministerial office), insisting, against all the evidence, that only in “office” can it serve the interests of those who depend on it.’ Above, Eamon Gilmore, giving the party leader televised address at the end of the Labour Party Conference in February. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Opinion: Party never had ‘core values’, apart from two brief dalliances with socialism

‘Treachery has not gone away, you know, and no new leader of Labour will change that.’ The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore speaking on his resignation as Labour Party leader. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Opinion: Labour claims it had ‘no alternative’ to cuts to most disadvantaged

‘A report by  Gráinne McMorrow SC, published earlier this month on the killing of a prisoner, Gary Douch, in Mountjoy jail suggests the prison system is  dysfunctional.’ Photograph: David Sleator

Opinion: Maybe it was a mistake for the British parliament to promise us home rule

‘The Smithwick tribunal inquired into allegations that a “mole” in Dundalk Garda station had tipped off the IRA about the presence of the officers.’ Above, Judge Peter Smithwick.  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Opinion: More than a ‘few bad apples’ in the force

A tribunal of inquiry, chaired by, for instance, Peter Kelly (above), augmented by a banking expert and Kathleen Lynch, a sociologist at UCD, would have the capacity, legal authority and expertise to do a thorough job. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Opinion: Thirteen questions have to be answered

 ‘What matters is the size of the wage bill.’ Fans take a picture of a statue for former Manchester United manager David Moyes. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Opinion: What makes a successful football club?

Former financial regulator Patrick Neary, arriving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to give evidence during the trial of three former directors of Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Opinion: What former regulator told Anglo trial

Vincent Browne (left), then-editor of Election ‘82 , with  Nora Owen and  Bertie Ahern. Photograph: The Irish Times

Opinion: Belfast Agreement, joining the euro and the financial crisis among biggest changes

‘There is a ring of truth to what Peter Robinson said at the weekend about Sinn Féin. He said Martin McGuinness (above) had agreed on welfare “reform” in Northern Ireland, which means devastating the lives of vulnerable people by cuts in social supports, but that had been vetoed by Sinn Fein in Dublin.’ Photograph: Will Oliver/PA Wire

Opinion: A Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin government would do the same as a re-elected Fine Gael-Labour government would

‘On March 30th, 2000 the DPP issued a formal direction that Ian Bailey (above) should not be prosecuted on the basis of available evidence.’ Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Opinion: Separating the allegations from the evidence

‘Charlie Haughey was also forced to resign as taoiseach, not over the policies which he enacted from 1987 that devastated the health and education services but over whether he knew in 1982 of the tapping for a few weeks of the phones of journalists.’ Photograph: Frank Miller

Opinion: Why do some big issues get scant attention?

‘ “Getting hurt? You recover from it. And the pain does subside and I don’t know, in a really perverted way, legally inflicting pain on someone else gives you a thrill,” Brian O’Driscoll  said jokingly, according to Gerry Thornley.’ Above, O’Driscoll is applauded by his team mates at the Six Nations game against Italy at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Opinion: Brian O’Driscoll’s comments raise disturbing questions

‘This should be called The Concealment of Information Bill. And it could get worse before it is finally enacted.  For instance, there is pressure to exempt information on salaries and fees paid to people engaged by Nama. It is contended “the best and the brightest” will flee the agency if there is a possibility the size of their wage packets will be disclosed.’ Above, the Treasury Building, home to Nama, in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Opinion: How FOI works against disclosure

Opinion: Talk of ‘responsible’ betting just another example of corporate mumbo-jumbo

Opinion: Commission would benefit from being chaired by a sturdy High Court judge

Declan Costello, second from right at back, attorney general in 1973. Photograph: Pat Langan

Opinion: Declan Costello’s programme may have been prompted by a realisation that he could not stay in the party unless it changed

Louise O’Keeffe: apology to her was a meaningless contrivance. Photograph: Garrett White / Collins Court

Opinion: One in five women has reported contact abuse in childhood

 Louise O’Keeffe: vindicated yesterday at the European Court of Human Rights. Photograph: Garrett White / Collins Court

Opinion: There was copious evidence available that the sexual abuse of children was widespread in Ireland

Opinion: We are a rich society and can afford proper services, so why don’t we just get on with it?

Declan Costello: when he talked of reform the word had a radical, distributive edge. Now it seems to mean dismantling workers’ few remaining protections. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

Opinion: Nearly half the electorate has no opinion as to how it will vote at the next election

Opinion: Those who were well-off barely felt the pain of the post-crash ‘adjustment’

Vast emigration haemorrhage of the 1950s, which included all my classmates, dictated a continuance of the selective generosity of Santa.

In the Broadford of my youth Santa was generous to those households which needed his generosity the least

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Apart from a cut in the interest rate it was Frankfurt’s way and Brussels’s way and Berlin’s way. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: The Government did what it was required to do? Where’s the triumph in that?

Children playing football in Soweto. What has changed for them since the end of apartheid? Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Opinion: Mandela’s charisma was used to enforce the neoliberal economic consensus

Opinion: Capitalist outlook espoused by 1913 Lockout victor became fundamental to the character of the independent Irish state

Fr Alec Reid praying over the body of one of the murdered soldiers. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Opinion: Adams, encouraged and facilitated by Fr Alec Reid, embarked on a project to end republican violence forever

Lissadell House: A local action group had no success in persuading the State to buy the house. Photograph: Alan Betson

Opinion: Historical parallel suggests that ideology that underlies legal thinking has not changed much

Peter Coonan, Robbie Sheehan, Tom Vaughan Lawlor and Killian Scott in ‘Love/Hate’.

Opinion: It is through gangland culture that many men find a status otherwise denied to them

Enda Kenny  at the launch of Fine Gael’s referendum campaign on the Lisbon Treaty in 2008. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opinion: We said goodbye to running our own affairs in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992

A Roma family after their eviction from an encampment in Villeneuve d’Ascq in France last year. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Excuses offered for actions of gardaí are not plausible

Pensioners demonstrating outside the Dáil yesterday. “Small, well-organised lobby groups”? Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Opinion: Stories focus on squabbles, PR and what can secure a party advantage over its rivals

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, speaking to the Fine Gael conference in Limerick last weekend. Photograph: Alan Betson

Opinion: Taoiseach claims we are all in this together, but the reality is otherwise

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: needs more practice in reflection. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Opinion: Simple legislative changes could improve the Seanad at a stroke

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been in the Dáil since 1975 and for 35 years had almost nothing to say about the Seanad. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Opinion: The Government deserves the odium that it will incur with a defeat

Pope Francis: spoke movingly about his parents and his grandmother. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Pontiff’s declaration that he is a sinner is not merely an affectation

Tony Ryan in 2005  at home in Co Kildare: his instinct was to push everyone and every deal to the edge.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Ryanair founder was untrustworthy and treated his underlings appallingly, but he deserves better than this unsatisfactory biog(...)

A joint Oireachtas committee in session – Government   proposals are “pretend reforms, which will change some of the frolics of our system but nothing that matters.” PHOTOGRAPH: BRYAN O’BRIEN

‘Bring back Brian Cowen and Bertie!’

The Bill makes clear that if Brendan Howlin or his ministerial successors want to suppress anything they may do just that. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Opinion: New provisions want to keep secret as much as it is possible to keep secret

 Denis O’Brien arriving for the Moriarty Tribunal at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

We must be constantly reminded of the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: promised that during his term in office he would increase total employment by 100,000. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Our problem is not so much austerity per se as the distribution of wealth and income

Noel Callan (right), of Cullaville, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan  was sentenced to death in 1985 for the murder of Garda Patrick Morrissey. Photograph: Collins Courts

The Supreme Court this month ruled that Noel Callan was entitled to remission

Change “was made on foot of an internal review by Anglo Irish Bank”. Photograph: Frank Miller

Draft letter fully answered queries while final letter did not

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “had never taken a ‘leader’s initiative’ on anything in his life until October 17th, 2009.” Photograph:   Niall Carson/PA

Column: A reformed Seanad could resolve the central crisis of our political structure: the unaccountability of the government

Our culture has absorbed “the poisonous misogyny of the Roman Catholic Church”. Photograph: Getty Images

Who is it that should decide whether her body should be used for the propagation of an unborn child, other than the mother?

A focus on Fianna Fáil will fail to acknowledge the complicity of Fine Gael and Labour in almost every single iota of the policy agenda that caused and drove the crisis. Photograph: Eric Luke

It seems our primary concern must always be the welfare of the most privileged

Finance minister Brian Lenihan: Was there not an onus on him and Brian Cowen to assure themselves as regards the gamble they were taking that the problem with the banks was not a solvency one? Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Government pledged €440bn without knowing the nature of the banks’ crisis

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford as Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in the film All The President’s Men. Photograph: Warner Bros/Getty Images

War crimes and rampant inequality are of greater importance

Column: Democracy requires attention to views of ordinary people

Photograph: Jon Boyes/Photographer’s Choice/Getty

Column: If Ireland is a rogue state, then there are many others

“New information has emerged from the Revenue Commissioners on incomes and taxation here.”

Column: There is a determination not to disturb the contentedness of the wealthy by even a modest increase in income tax

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid with then taoiseach John A Costello and (standing behind) Costello’s ADC, Mick Byrne. Costello told the Dáil: “I, as a Catholic, obey my church authorities and will continue to do so . . . There will be no flouting of the authority of the bishops in the matter of Catholic social or moral teaching.”

Column: In the early years of the State, government leaders pronounced their devotion to the Catholic hierarchy

President Michael D Higgins was saying the current ethos of the EU project, founded on the idea that markets know best, irrespective of the social cost, is an abomination.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Column: Michael D Higgins can resist any Government demands that he seek prior approval for statements

Three of the world’s richest men, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list of billionaires worldwide: Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim and Bill Gates.

Column: The vast fortunes of the 10 wealthiest people in the world allow them enormous power over much of humanity

Praveen Halappanavar with a photograph of his late wife, Savita: there were deficiencies in her care but none is likely to have caused her death. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/Irish Times

Column: Savita Halappanavar’s death was not caused by confusion about the law

Grappling with “objectivity” and “impartiality” –  Bob Collins, chairman of the broadcasting authority, arriving to appear before the joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, at Leinster House recently. Photograph: Eric Luke

The BAI seems to think that impartiality is achievabe in the treatment of current affairs, and that a sanction will achieve or ada(...)

Column: Constitutional change just another empty election promise

“While Fianna Fáil were the culprits in office, Fine Gael and Labour were complicit in the policies that caused the crisis.” Clockwise from left: Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore, Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin at the interdenominational service of prayer for the assembly of the 31st Dáil in St Ann’s Church in Dublin. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The electorate appears content with the political culture that caused the economic crisis

At Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue in New York an engagement ring costing $1 million or more can be bought on the second floor.

Wasn’t the rage of the Russian workers and peasantry against the power and riches of the Romanovs justified?

Businesses can suceed without relentless drive for profit

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul, sometimes described as the co-founder of Christianity, writing in around AD 50, well before…

Further issues concerning Denis O’Brien and his dealing with the former minister for communications, Michael Lowry, arise from…

In 1862 the Westminster parliament established a committee to inquire into the prevalence of venereal disease in the British …

We are about to witness again in the coming months the most lavish imperial splendour surviving in the modern world: the election…

With characteristic subtlety, Shane Ross proposed a motion in the Dáil last evening, drafted more for self-promotion than to …

They set up a Facebook page for Philly O’Toole after he disappeared on Monday, January 7th

The lead headline in the Sunday Independent of three days ago shrieked: “Cowen privacy case may open floodgates for the fallen…

A new person, a girl, has come into the lives of people I know

Pat Rabbitte and Eamon Gilmore entered electoral politics via student politics and trade union politics in the 1970s and 1980s…

Enda Kenny was afforded some further ammunition to target Sinn Féin by the recent revelations about Dessie Ellis, the Sinn Féin…

The most moving address on Sunday night at the interfaith ceremony at Newtown, Connecticut, was a prayer sung beautifully in …

Just last year, in February of last year, they were talking of a new politics

The Labour Party is right

The expert group report on abortion arose from a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in 2005 by three women, alleging…

How anybody thought an investigation panel into the death of a person in a hospital controlled by the Health Service Executive…

There is an impulse to dismiss political rhetoric as just so much blather, harmless blather.

There is a strong temptation to vote No in the children’s referendum on Saturday, not at all for reasons advanced by the No …

AT A conference in Dublin on Monday, an academic from Iceland, Thora Kristin Thorsdottir, showed a chart contrasting the impact…

FORTY-SIX years ago (in 1966) three High Court judges adjudicated in a case where a child, born to unmarried parents, was adopted…

THERE IS more to the publication of the topless photographs of Kate Middleton than the breach of her privacy or the hilarity …

MICHAEL COLLINS, one of the founders of the State, was assassinated 90 years ago today at Béal na Blá

DENIS O’BRIEN wrote two letters to me, one on June 21st last, the other on July 20th, the latter in response to an email from…

ON JUNE 21st last I received via email a personal letter from Denis O’Brien, marked “Private and Confidential”

When trivia is elevated to importance you can be assured the political system is in disrepute

There are many reasons why we should be concerned about Denis O’Brien’s concentration of media ownership

The inquiry system we have is like an accused person deciding which judge can hear their case and who the jury members should…

The lack of action on a survey of Travellers first published in 2010 shows no one cares

A celebrated writer felt representative democracy was rotten as it left people out of key decisions in society

Of the murders of two women in January 2011, one has got blanket coverage, the other got only passing attention

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