“A teacher and columnist…”

“Breda O’Brien is a teacher and a columnist with the Irish Times”, according to the clip below. But unlike Joan Collins and Ciara Conway, her political affiliation is not mentioned during this introduction, on a Late Debate programme to discuss the death of Savita Halappanavar, and the abortion debate it sparked. Breda is a patron […]

Hairetikos

So I’ve got some unleavened bread here. To some people, it’s just a piece of flour, mixed with water and heated. And to some people, it’s the body of a god, sacred beyond imagining. Plain unraised bread, made without yeast or other raising agent, is ‘unleavened’. A few years ago, a Florida student called Webster […]

Any Other Business

It’s going to be an interesting week in Dáil Éireann. Desperate not to cut back on their holiday time,the government has opted instead to cut debating time, and plans to guillotine several bills into law by Friday. Among the highlights: The blasphemy clause in the Defamation bill, making it illegal to say naughty things if […]

That Lisbon Non-Event

I arrived at Heathrow last night to find someone reading an Irish Independent front page announcing that a ‘Cowen-Brown rift deals blow to key Lisbon talks’. Happily, the impasse (which didn’t even make the inside pages in any British paper I read) was resolved, and the EU agreed a statement that says, in effect, that […]

Blessed Be Mammon

Two weeks from now, Thursday 14 May, has been pencilled in as National Blasphemy Day. The idea is simple. To protest the proposal to make blasphemy a criminal offence, bloggers will ‘deliberately set out to grossly offend the religious sensitivities of as many religious believers as possible, with the clear intention of causing outrage’. The […]

Identity Politics

One in eight who voted No to the Lisbon treaty say they did so to protect Irish identity. What does that mean? Is it simply a polite way of saying no to immigration, the reason given by one percent of those asked? Perhaps. But I think there’s another meaning. After asking voters why they voted, […]