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’

Cllr Christian Holliday: launched a formal petition to make supporting EU membership an act of treason.

Brexit fallout continues to poison UK politics and bring out worst in people

Denis Bergin on graduation day in 1966 with his parents Richard and Mary.

Students who gave up the seminary 50 years ago recall a suffocating atmosphere that infantilised seminarians, but also some rare a(...)

Co-presenter Billy Bush on the “Today” show in New York. On Monday NBC suspended him from the show over his behaviour during his conversation with Trump in 2005. Photograph: Peter Kramer/NBC via AP

Collusion of ‘decent men’ is a big part of the problem

“After last week’s eruption of mockery, defensiveness, whataboutery directed at Mary Robinson (above), many of us were left wondering where lies the long-vaunted sophistication in the farmers’ lobby?”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘Did any of Robinson’s critics reflect on fact she was not addressing a local cumann meeting?’

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Kenansville, North Carolina. Photograph: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

American friends wonder why the media cannot ignore the Republican candidate for a week

At 79, and having endured a stroke and the death of her husband, the indomitable Jilly Cooper is about to unleash her latest horse(...)

In the case of the Hawe family, it was the total absence of warning signs that ensured the father would be the reporters’ focus. His sheer ordinariness and apparent decency were a legitimate part of that focus. Photo credit : Hawes/Coll families/PA Wire

No journalist, decent or sleazy, lazy or meticulous, sets out to exclude a woman victim from a horrific, national news story

Marie Heaney: “Women are not allowed to play second fiddle, and I never did.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Three years after her husband’s death, the writer is ‘beginning to feel like myself again’

Shane Ross: Eight years on the county council, nine Seanad terms and counting down his second Dail term but still unprepared for the OCI ticketing scandal.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Sean Canney picked an easy target by suggesting a two term limit for ministers

“From our safe distance, it’s plain that global peace will not flow from the public humiliation of a woman by armed police on a French beach.” File photograph: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images

French ban on Muslim garment may have been overturned but it touches on host of issues

About 600 people in 120 caravans arrived in  the town of Ginsheim-Gustavsburg (above), southwest of Frankfurt,  and camped on a site beside the Rhine. File photograph: Wikimedia Commons

‘The surge of racist/xenophobic attacks and comments following Britain’s Brexit referendum demonstrated what happens when people f(...)

Copy of the 1916 Proclamation: when a 30-year-old female writes in Census of the Heart that she feels neither valued nor cherished, would the signatories be surprised? Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Are you proud to be Irish? Do you feel valued and cherished, as envisioned in the 1916 Proclamation? The Census of the Heart asks (...)

A supporter of Russia during the men’s quarter-final match between Semenov/Krasilnikov of Russia and Diaz/Gonzalez of Cuba for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball tournament on Copacabana Beach. Photograph: EPA

Devastation? Crashing out? Olympics win-at-all costs pressure overwhelming

Vladimir Putin: bares his nipples at every opportunity. Photograph:  Alexei Drizhinin/AP Photo

The tendency to fling the kit off is beginning to look a tad exploitative . . . and not clever

Joe O’Toole who recently resigned as Chairman of the Expert Commission on Water Charges at Dromineer Harbour, Co Tipperary. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Resigning as water charge body chairman is ‘rear-view mirror’ for former senator

 Jenny McDonald, Ruth Bowie , Amanda Mellet Arlette Lyons. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

In the last four years more than 300 couples have got a catastropic diagnosis and the majority will have made the decision to “tra(...)

Since polling day, with nauseating inevitability, one Leave figure after another has denied they ever said that  Britain was sending the EU £350m every week

The leave campaigns lies were exposed but no one cared

Two roses on the empty seat where murdered MP Jo Cox used to sit in the House of Commons. The roses had been placed there for a special session where members of parliament had the opportunity to pay tribute to their former colleague. Photograph: PRU/AFP/Getty Images

Is there an Irish parliamentarian who would arouse similar affection and admiration?

Former IRA intelligance director Kieran Conway. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Now a solicitor, he defends dissident republicans but regards NI campaign as a waste

‘The subject of women’s drinking has reared its head again in the context of the Stanford rape case.’

However, we should not be afraid to discuss the fact that alcohol increases vulnerablity

Ignorant, narcissistic, cartoonish machismo is spreading its contagion across the world. Boris Johnson’s comparison of the EU to Hitler-style imperialism is just a case in point. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

It is not paranoid to perceive menace in macho posturing and language

Kim Phuc, centre with her clothes torn off, flees with other South Vietnamese children after a misdirected aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong on June 8th, 1972. Photograph: ap photo/nick ut

44 years on, the 9-year-old Vietnamese child in the horrifying, iconic, unforgettable photograph is now a middle-aged Canadian who(...)

 Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, sample award-winning sausages made by brothers Diarmuid (left) and Ernan McGettigan at their butcher’s shop in Donegal town. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

It may be a sign of new normality that royal visit attracted crowd of just a few hundred

It was Maggie and her implacable ideology who made refusing to do a U-turn the ultimate test of political virility: “You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”  Photograph:  PA

Why has changing your mind received such a bad rap? Some blame Margaret Thatcher

 Independent TD’s  Noel Grealish, Denis Naughten,Mattie McGrath,Michael Harty, Michael Collins. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

This is how the brave new project begins - with the customary bellows of faux-outrage and a whimper?

 Jane Mulrooney, overall winner of the Best Dressed lady at the Punchestown Festival. Photograph: Alan Betson

A few Best Dressed hopefuls were ready for wintry blast but most had to grin and bear it

In this handout official photograph provided by Buckingham Palace to mark her 90th birthday, shows Queen Elizabeth II with her five great-grandchildren and her two youngest grandchildren. The children are: James, Viscount Severn (left), 8, and Lady Louise (second left), 12, the children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex; Mia Tindall (holding The Queen’s handbag), the two year-old-daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall; Savannah (third right), 5, and Isla Phillips (right), 3, daughters of The Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn; Prince George (second right), 2, and in The Queen’s arms and in the tradition of Royal portraiture, the youngest great-grandchild, Princess Charlotte (11 months), children of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Photograph Annie Leibovitz via Getty Images

Dissenters in small minority as Britain gears up for monarch’s real but unofficial birthday

Primary school teacher Graham Fitzpatrick, from Kilmainham, Dublin: “I take home €947.27 a fortnight . . . Over the last couple of months, I had to borrow money for the rent on a number of occasions.”  Photograph: Alan Betson

The ‘emergency’ two-tier pay system is in danger of becoming a post-recession norm

Independent Senator John Crown: A “huge fan” of the German healthcare system which is based on a system of cross-subsidised mandatory insurance. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Senator and professor has an unassailable zeal for cancer research and health service reform

A  Defence Forces piper accompanies  a wreath-laying ceremony at Moore Street, Dublin, Easter Monday, 2016. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Roars of ‘traitor to the people’ accompany Minister’s invitation to children to lay wreaths

The Colour Party leaving the grave of Peader Kearney, composer of the national anthem, after a wreath laying ceremomy at Glasnevin Cemetery. Photograph Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography.

Memorials to those who fought for Éire stand next to those who fought for king

Conor Reilly from Donaghmeade gets the best seat in the house to watch the 2016 St Patrick’s Day parade as it winds its way through O’Connell Street. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The young, old, brave and bold turn out to celebrate national day on greening of capital

I do know some who would object to coalition but they would take it on the chin for the country, says Tipperary councillor John Crosse. Photograph: Willie O’Brien

In a constituency where Fine Gael suffered, many are resigned to a coalition future

Winners take it all: Fine Gael’s Kate O’Connell and Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan were both elected in Dublin Bay South. Photograph: Eric Luke

Kevin Humpreys and James Reilly among losers, while Fianna Fáil and Greens are back

This is heart attack territory for broadcasters. Hours of reporting on nothing much. Hours of it.   Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Election 2016: The Labour mood in studio is almost of dazed bafflement

Joe Higgins: I joined Labour in 1974 and if they had taken the advice of the left – which was stay out of coalition with right-wing parties, Labour would have been in power, many decades – and now they’re facing meltdown. Photograph: The Irish Times

This courteous, entertaining, doggedly ideological man is in retreat from public life

Ruairi Quinn: “Ireland is a very conservative country. There are only two countries of the 28 EU member states that have never had a Labour-led, or even majority Labour government: Latvia and Ireland.” Photograph: Frank Miller

‘The working class doesn’t necessarily support Labour party policies,’ says TD

Enda Kenny adopted the same statemanlike air of last week’s debate, remaining on the ringside for the most part until called upon to comment.  Photograph: Oisin McHugh FusionShooters.

TV Review: Kathy Sheridan says problem about political debate is there is nothing new under the sun

Shoah: Tomi Reichental at the coat dresser that he recovered from his childhood home in what was Czechoslovakia. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Weekend Read: The Holocaust survivor has told his extraordinary story to 90,000 students, and the 80-year-old isn’t done yet

Even now, the light is slowly reclaiming our days, leading us onwards towards spring, renewal and new hope. Photograph: Alan Betson

Why do we expect our weird families to be fantasy dinner guests for one day a year?

Christmas: It’s that visceral call to the senses, the light that guides us back, whatever the cost or the stress.

And a note of caution: Don’t let unrealistic expectations ruin this season of goodwill

“What’s in it for the darkie?.” Hugh McElvaney demanding sterling for his troubles. Photograph: RTÉ

People like us will decide that on balance, Hughie is a grand fellow, up front at every funeral and ready with a hand-out for a fa(...)

Sandbags are cleared away from Quinns Chemist in Crossmolina after the weekends flood damage. “The irony this week is that many of those generous activists will be councillors. “  Pic:  Michael McLaughlin

The sound of that cute hoor, country accent asking “What’s in it for me?” was like a physical blow to the heart.

 Michael McDonnell places sandbags as waters rise on the Shannon. Photograph: Molloy Photography

Locals in suspense as rainfall filtering into Lough Ree – then it takes ‘two days to get here’

In what brutal universe are children neglected to the extent of being lice-infested, seriously underweight, unable to straighten their legs due to spending long hours strapped in buggies?

Child Care Law Reporting (CCLR) Project report is hard to read without falling into a pit of despair

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