Don’t hold your breath waiting for redress

For more than 200 years, from the 18th century to the late 20th century, so-called ‘fallen’ women and their children endured the horrors of the Magdalene laundries. 

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Cyber savvy shopping

Like other notable celebratory days on the calendar, Black Friday has now morphed into a full weekend, culminating in Cyber Monday, with retailers encouraging shoppers to take to the high street on the Friday and go online on Monday.

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Frances Fitzgerald can be our ‘hero of the hour’

The phrase “all politics is local” is generally attributed to the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, the late Tip O’Neill. 

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Family law - A cruel struggle

Twenty years ago the Law Reform Commission called for a modernised, effective and accessible family law court structure.

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Gardaí and PAC clash - Sad example of failures in public life

As Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald yesterday confronted the strengthening possibility that she might become the second justice minister to lose a cabinet seat over one of the scandals that have so altered the perception of An Garda Síochána, another episode in our culture war played out in a Leinster House committee room when senior gardaí were guests of the Public Accounts Committee.

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Contrasting paths to the future - Despots facing different fates

Contrasting ways of accepting the past were seen this week when two mass murderers, suffered very different fates.

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L’affaire McCabe: Tánaiste’s reputation in tatters

Students of European political history might be familiar with the infamous l’affaire Dreyfus, otherwise known as the Dreyfus affair.

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Health service shortcomings: Public beds for public patients

If you want to know what is wrong with our health service, don’t ask Simon Harris or the HSE. 

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David Cassidy’s downfall: Burden of youth

Bob Geldof once remarked that he was glad he had not been a fresh-faced rock idol in his youth. “I’m fairly lucky, in that I’ve always looked like shite,” he said. “If you were a pretty-boy pop singer, it would wreck you, growing older.”

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Online extremism: Cyber world a vehicle for hate and fear

IF the misogyny, the bigotry, the homophobia, the racism, the bullying, the hatred, the dangerous ignorance, the xenophobic nationalism and irrational hostility that make up far too much of today’s online commentary were expressed in the columns of this or any other newspaper lawyers would demand and get the kind of damages that would put the survival of any traditional media platform in jeopardy.

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Garda whistleblower scandal: Swimming in murky waters

IT is essential that cabinet members are credible when they speak in the Dáil but the level of dishonesty and scandal uncovered in An Garda Síochana is so startling that resolving those issues must almost take precedence over any other issue in that sphere. 

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Too risky to use: Pesticide ban moves closer

DDT — dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane — is a perfect example of what was initially considered a chemical solution to age-old problems. 

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Citizens guarding communities: Conflict needs to be resolved

Over recent days, questions about how citizens might use technology to try to protect communities or individuals from criminals — violent thieves or suspected paedophiles — have been pushed to the fore of public discourse.

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German coalition talks fail: EU cannot afford to lose Merkel

At a moment when the liberal values that have done so much to advance Western societies over the last 75 years are threatened on so many fronts the difficulties facing chancellor Angela Merkel have implications far beyond German or European borders.

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Recognising evil in our midst: Cult killer dies

In a world that is childishly enraptured by Christmas even before November has played out it may be hard to imagine, much less accept, the existence of evil.

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New bugging laws - Be discrete

In a society so comfortable with discretion bordering on secrecy it may be difficult to grasp the full extent of how the minutiae of our lives can be trawled by the algorithms driving social media and so much more of today’s communications technologies.

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Gerry Adams’ legacy - A figurehead for violent nationalism

In a film about John Hume’s pivotal role in ending terrorism on this island, launched last week, Bill Clinton describes Hume as “Northern Ireland’s Martin Luther King”. 

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Sex pests in the workplace - Complaints law unsatisfactory

The Weinstein scandal has unleashed a tsunami of allegations about his, and many others, predatory sexual behaviour.

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Scheme sets power of imagination free

IN the shorthand of our time, an art form all but perfected by our American cousins, country music is described as “three chords and the truth”.

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Evictions are fuelling the rise of extremism

THE eviction of more than 20 families in Cork to facilitate refurbishment of apartments epitomises one strand of the unequal relationships at the root of our housing crisis.

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Votes or principle?

SOMETIMES, it’s wise to forget or at least to pretend to forget so that age-old divisions might be resolved.

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Regime change in Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s tyranny at an end

SPEAKING before his death almost exactly 11 years ago, Ian Smith, prime minister of Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979 and a controversial figure by any standards, said that he would happily walk down any street in Harare — Salisbury in his time — but that his successor Robert Mugabe dare not.

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Painting sold for $450m: Epitomising inequality

BEAUTY, or at least your version of it, may be priceless but the New York sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, a long-lost painting of Jesus Christ commissioned by King Louis XII more than 500 years ago, for $450m suggests that even our highest ideals can be, and are being, commodified. In reality, it was ever thus.

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Tacking crime empires: A united front

GARDAÍ have, in recent months, endured more criticism — most of it entirely justified — than is healthy in a democracy so it is important to recognise and celebrate the kind of achievement that cannot be realised without commitment and no little courage.

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Ireland must act on CO2 emissions: We’ve scored an own goal on climate

Ireland as a nation suffered three significant setbacks in the past two days, at least one of them self-inflicted. Our soccer team succumbed to the Danes on Tuesday night, and yesterday we lost out to France to host the Rugby World Cup.

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Housing crisis: Disgraceful spin on homelessness

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Solidarity TDs — not always known for sober assessment — are correct in arguing that there appears to be a co-ordinated by the Government to “spin” the narrative on the housing crisis.

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Same-sex marriage vote: We paved way

Australia has become the second nation, after Ireland, to vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. 

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Fast-and-loose finance industry: Sector plays on our tragic deference

The Central Bank’s (CB) deputy governor Ed Sibley yesterday called for bank executives and directors to be held to account for overcharging at least 20,000 mortgage customers over recent years. 

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Rural development: A more difficult balancing act

The European Court of Auditors has concluded that a new planning process for rural development takes too long and is too complex.

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Now we know: A positive agent for change

In the 11 years since it was established to regulate and monitor the quality of residential care in centres for children, older people, or people with disabilities, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has uncovered some unacceptable practices and condemned buildings no longer fit for purpose.

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Resolving the housing crisis - Our faith in convention has failed

AT the dawning, unfolding stages of a scandal, it is usual to suggest that the majority of those in an organisation facing earth-shattering allegations are innocent and that only a tiny minority of their colleagues are wrongdoers. 

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Minister’s McCabe response - A new appalling vista is looming

IT is, sadly, easy to argue that An Garda Síochána cannot withstand another scandal; the force’s credibility is shot.

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Insider trading - A two-tier pension system

ONE of the greatest impediment to pension reform is that the advantageous situation enjoyed by public servants could not survive any review designed to introduce fairness.

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KGB’s old boys: Double Irish

IT IS said that, in today’s world, only a dog provides lasting loyalty. 

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RTÉ’s problems: TV funding unfit for purpose

RTÉ boss Dee Forbes is 15 months into the job, and Ireland waits on for news of how she plans to tackle the challenges facing the country’s mainstream broadcaster. 

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Medical transfers crisis: Matter of life and death

THE Independent Alliance TDs, who have ditched — thanks to a barrage of ridicule — their absurd plan to visit North Korea in a bid for world peace, now have time in which to turn their attention, and that of the Cabinet, to extremely serious problems much nearer home: The capability of emergency air transfer services, mostly for critically sick children, and Air Corps understaffing.

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Honour them best by learning their lesson

Today marks the last time we can remember the 1918 World War I armistice within a century of its realisation. 

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Charity points to our society’s deep failure

Christmas is a festival of consumption rather than a celebration of the universal values of faith, hope, and charity. Christmas represents the kind of rampant, out-of-control commercialism that makes Ebenezer Scrooge’s 1843 bah-humbug dismissal seem appropriate if a tad curmudgeonly.

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Questions to answer

It is hardly surprising that those who believe they were the victims of a sexual offence make up the majority of people who ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to explain why, after their allegations have been investigated, that nobody is prosecuted. 

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Our delegation to Pyongyang - TDs’ flight of fancy almost defies satire

The meek are promised that they shall inherit the earth. That distracting, deferred consolation, though of ever more questionable value, may transpire. 

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RTÉ to review role in musicmaking - Orchestras must be sustained

This week the Paradise Papers showed what lengths investors will go to minimise tax bills. 

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A hard choice - Euthanasia figures up 67%

It was as predictable as it was unavoidable: Even though a date for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment has not yet been announced opposing camps — that phrase hardly does justice to how polarised they are — are in full campaign mode. 

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Choice characters - #makeamericagreatagain

Tweets, the literary structure of choice for many, have just gone from 140 to 280 characters, reflecting its power and influence.

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Stardust tragedy - When there are no answers

Whenever a young person dies in horrific, unexpected, and extreme circumstances, his or her parents, family, and close friends want answers: How did it happen? Why did it happen? Who is responsible?

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Enniskillen memorial - The powerful role symbols can play

A new memorial to the victims of the Enniskillen bombing is to be unveiled on Sunday at a ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of the IRA attack in which 11 people were slaughtered.

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Top three in Melbourne Cup - Our golden age

It must be hoped, for the sake of politeness at least, that Australian minister for consumer affairs Marlene Kairouz, who apologised last week for suggesting that anyone with an Irish accent calling to a home in Melbourne should be turned away, did not allow her bias get in the way of backing Irish runners in the Melbourne Cup.

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Climate change proposals - Why pay to stop farm pollution?

The reaction to the weekend recommendations on the delivery of climate change policy — or the lack of it — from the Citizens’ Assembly was a mix of dismay and derision.

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Transparency, and the lack thereof - We pay a huge price for apathy

By any yardstick the 2002 compensation deal for victims of clerical abuse agreed by education minister Michael Woods was disastrous — unless of course, your loyalties lie with the congregations who have dodged their responsibilities in what was to have been a 50/50 burden-sharing agreement.

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Art competitions: What's the real prize?

The debate of what might constitute art may never beresolved. 

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The Paradise Papers: A glimpse at unfair reality of our world

It's more than 1,000 years since King William the Conqueror of England commissioned the Domesday Book, a record of “The Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales to establish “how many hundreds of hides were in the shire, what land the king himself had, and what stock upon the land; or, what dues he ought to have by the year from the shire”. 

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