‘Pope Says Yes To Condoms!’

Great headline, isn’t it? Cue Paul Merton and Ian Hislop wisecracks on Have I Got News For You. It’s a headline, however, that’s got little to do with the facts. The Pope’s statement, made in the course of an extended interview that will appear in book form, was a brief comment on the hypothetical case […]

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Smile – it’s the IMF gang

There’s  a contrary streak in me, I’m afraid. Surrounded by people celebrating, I find myself growing morose and miserable; in the midst of those solemn or crying doom, I feel an urge to start laughing. Wretch that I am, over the course of the last twenty-four hours I found myself grinning and sometimes guffawing out […]

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Smile – it’s the IMF gang

There’s  a contrary streak in me, I’m afraid. Surrounded by people celebrating, I find myself growing morose and miserable; in the midst of those solemn or crying doom, I feel an urge to start laughing. Wretch that I am, over the course of the last twenty-four hours I found myself grinning and sometimes guffawing out […]

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Books and spoofers

I  was on BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Talkback’ programme yesterday, talking about children and young people’s books. The truth is, much of what youngsters experience in the classroom teaches them that books are boring, so those writers who encourage youngsters to read – people like Roald Dahl, Sue Townsend, ,  J K Rowling  – must be […]

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Books and spoofers

I  was on BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Talkback’ programme yesterday, talking about children and young people’s books. The truth is, much of what youngsters experience in the classroom teaches them that books are boring, so those writers who encourage youngsters to read – people like Roald Dahl, Sue Townsend, ,  J K Rowling  – must be […]

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The ring that rings an alarm bell

Do the Irish people care about the British royals?  The Irish Daily Mail ( agus sin sceal eile) gives the answer today: it’s got an eight-page supplement on the engagement of young William Windsor to young Kate Middleton. Were the appetite not there, the paper wouldn’t waste paper and ink. It is, so they feed […]

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The ring that rings an alarm bell

Do the Irish people care about the British royals?  The Irish Daily Mail ( agus sin sceal eile) gives the answer today: it’s got an eight-page supplement on the engagement of young William Windsor to young Kate Middleton. Were the appetite not there, the paper wouldn’t waste paper and ink. It is, so they feed […]

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Ireland: what it means to be sovereign

I’m not sure why  it is – maybe a Presbyterian reluctance to mix darkness and light –  but most unionist politicians are poor actors. It showed up again yesterday, when the DUP’s Jonathan Bell was on radio discussing the financial crisis in the twenty-six counties. It was all Jonathan could do to stop himself letting […]

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Ireland: what it means to be sovereign

I’m not sure why  it is – maybe a Presbyterian reluctance to mix darkness and light –  but most unionist politicians are poor actors. It showed up again yesterday, when the DUP’s Jonathan Bell was on radio discussing the financial crisis in the twenty-six counties. It was all Jonathan could do to stop himself letting […]

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Running in Louth: how big a gamble?

In retrospect, it was an obvious move. So obvious that none of the pundits even sniffed it. Sinn Féin allowed several days for them scratch their heads and wonder who might run in Arthur Morgan’s vacated seat, mmm, , maybe some young guy, mmm maybe a dark horse, mmm, you never know with these things. […]

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