Many cases, many different stories
When it comes to adopted people acquiring the right to trace their birth parents, I can imagine various scenarios, drawn partly from experience of cases I’ve known. One is of an older woman who, back in the 1960s, had a baby when single. At the time, she was assured by everyone who knew of her…
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Exams are just a metaphor for the tests of life
Some people of my generation (born in the 1940s) refer to young folk as “snowflakes”: fragile and likely to dissolve under stress. This is unkind and mostly untrue. Most young people I meet are very nice, thoughtful and idealistic. But, certainly, they have been raised in a gentler and more protective way, and adulthood has…
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The other side of emigration – the ‘disappearing nations’ elsewhere
Ireland’s welcome to immigrants – from the EU and elsewhere – is admirable, and, at an anecdotal level, I have heard plenty of praise around the country about such young people who come to Ireland to work. The catering and hotel trade, I’ve often heard it said, just couldn’t function without them. I even asked…
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Christmas – opportunities of faith
More people go to a church over the Christmas period than at any other time of the year. So, shouldn’t the churches use this opportunity to attract more church-going right through the year? Some might call this a modern marketing opportunity. St Paul would call it evangelisation. If I were a marketing consultant, I would…
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Teach history as it truly was
We’ve been marking the centenary of women’s suffrage – when women over 30 in Ireland and Britain were entitled to vote for the first time, in 1918 (and women over 21 were entitled to stand for election.) An enlightened advance indeed: less well-known, or well-publicised, is the fact that the Pope of the time, Benedict…
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Mullinalaghta has a lesson for Europe!
Isn’t Mullinalaghta wonderful? This small village in Co Longford  raised a national cheer – and a hooray among the diaspora too – when its GAA football team beat Kilmacud Crokes to win the Leinster Football Club final last weekend. Mullinalaghta has a population of only 447 and the GAA club’s membership there is just 155…
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A classic that misses the point of Christmas
It’s now 175 years since Charles Dickens published his phenomenally successful A Christmas Carol, in 1843 – so successful that it has almost come to define modern Christmas. It has spawned endless editions and many and diverse movie versions, and its allusions have gone into the language: we all know what a ‘Scrooge’ is, and…
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The chivalric ideal…and gender-based violence
President Michael D. Higgins spoke last weekend about the “scourge” of violence against women – there is a global campaign this week and next to halt this horrible offence.  Who would disagree with him, or the purpose of the campaign? Gender-based violence – sometimes called domestic abuse, since it often takes place in the home…
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Professorships just for women – is it fair?
Since I have little experience of academia, I cannot say whether Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor is acting judiciously in proposing to appoint female-only chairs to universities in Ireland. Some say that a 50-50 gender distribution needs an imaginative push with affirmative action, since women aren’t, apparently, being appointed in sufficient numbers to professorships. Others say…
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Doctors who terminate have their own motives
What kind of a doctor is eager to perform abortions? Perhaps that’s a question for Health Minister Simon Harris. To be fair to the medical profession, I don’t think that most doctors do like to carry out abortions. Some may do so if they feel it’s called for, clinically, but most – in my experience…
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