Frank is on track to become Fine Gael’s version of Bertie Ahern. Photograph: North West Newspix

If there is such a thing as a bottomless navel, the MacGill Summer School has found it. Some 34 years gazing into it now. And always more fluff to min(...)

Dr Maurice Hayes called for “the transfer of substantial powers and responsibilities to a reinvigorated local government”. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

Ireland’s political difficulties are compounded by a “lack of engagement” by the electorate and especially by the young, the MacGill Summer School ha(...)

Emily O’Reilly in her office as she prepares to publish her final report as Ombudsman today before taking up the role of European Ombudsman in Strasbourg. On the wall behind her hang portraits of her two predecessors, Michael Mills (left) and  Kevin Murphy. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

An apocryphal tale has it that a former Canadian ombudsman deliberately avoided reading the piece of law establishing his office; that way he never kn(...)

Alex White’s concern about the gaps in the system is clearly genuine. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘In due course” is a phrase straight out of the playbook of political obfuscation. Along with “at the appropriate juncture” and “in the fullness of ti(...)

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

There is a consensus among many of the political correspondents that Enda Kenny has had a good year in office, that exiting the bailout will be almost(...)

Professor Diarmuid Ferriter of  UCD: a timely critique of the power the Economic Management Council has accrued to itself

I left Glenties yesterday with my head full of the insights of others and my in-box full of their scripts. I also came away with enough material to in(...)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Sam Reddy and Rebecca Harte  at the Patrick MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal last night. Photograph: Declan Doherty

“The republic that was created from the ashes of the rising was a perversion of the human rights ideals of 1916,” the outgoing Ombudsman and Inform(...)

Ruairi McKiernan, founder of Spunout, on Green Road in Sligo as he hitch-hikes around Ireland. Photograph: James Connolly/PicSell8

You might expect a 35-year-old man hitching around modern Ireland to spend most of his time waiting by the side of the road, watching cars go by. But (...)

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