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    The meaning of civilisation

    When Ibrahim Al Sabe reached Eftalou beach, on the legend-suffused island of Lesbos in Greece, he was soaking wet, but indescribably happy to be alive. The engine of the rubber dinghy, carrying 45 Syrian refugees, had stopped working five times during the four-mile journey. The boat started to fill with water and almost went under. […]

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    U2’s First Recording Session Reviewed For The First Time

    U2 released ‘Songs of Experience’ before Christmas as a companion piece to 2014’s Songs of Innocence. Thematically, ‘Songs of Innocence’ was inspired by the band’s memories of their youth in Dublin in the 1970s with Bono describing it as “the most personal album we’ve written”. ‘Songs of Innocence’ touched upon these memories as perceived four […]

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    History Rarely Repeats, But Often Rhymes

    For over a decade now, Dublin-based five-piece The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock have been fusing the folklore and musical traditions of their home city with sounds and processes from further afield, with elements of drone and post-rock sitting alongside the foundations of folk and trad across their previous pair of full-length records. In addressing […]

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    Looking-down syndrome

    I grew up in a feminist household where that telling put-down of our American anti-abortion brigade was part of the lexicon. (It was also a Catholic household, but when it came to reproductive rights, as most things, feminism trumped religion). It’s a crude line, but it describes a political right for whom opposing abortion is […]

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    Dáil and its legal reforms are pro-lawyer

    The circumstances of the demise of former Minister for Justice, Alan  Shatter, diverted attention from the risk of the thwarting of his reforms of the legal profession. Infamously many ministers, and their – often informal – advisers, are lawyers. Indicative of the problem is that at the last reading of the proposed reform bill, it […]

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    Dr Pat and Harassment at the Museum

    ‘Gogglebox’ added a new face to its ever-deepening stable of television viewers last October. Pat Wallace, alongside wife Siobhan, joined TV3’s Irish rendering of BBC’s extremely popular vicarious Big Brother-style television inversion. Before then Dr Pat Wallace was notable mostly for his heroic record on the controversial Wood Quay archaeological dig from 1974 when speaking […]

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    Gonzagrievance

    Revelations of sex abuse in all-male private schools in past decades have been powerfully conveyed across the Irish media. That barbarism should not, however, deflect attention from other enduring problems. I believe grave damage is still being done to the development of boys in ostensibly civilised institutions. Moreover, unequal educational provision maintains widening inequalities, underpinning […]

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    2008 not 2000-1

    David McWilliams is a talented analytical polymath but he is egocentric and predictions of both boom and bust for Ireland have nearly all been wrong.

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    It’s Time For Leaving Cert Reform

    It’s that time of year again. The CAO applications deadline has just passed and the mock exams are about to begin for almost 60,000 sixth year students. It’s also the season for commentary on the Leaving Certificate from employers, those in the media and staff in further and higher education institutions. The main criticism centres […]

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