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  • ‘Rebellion’ and historical accuracy

    Sir, – The misrepresentation of Éamon de Valera in the RTÉ series Rebellion, as outlined by Siobhan de Paor (February 5th), is nothing new. We all remember how he was portrayed in the film Michael Collins by a sinister Alan Rickman, wandering around the west Cork hill farms like a highly strung version of Gollum, casting spells by his very presence. The poor man made the mistake of surviving. – Yours, etc, EUGENE TANNAM, Firhouse. Dublin 24. Sir, – I was disappointed that Bruce Forsyth, the Beatles, and Clyde, the orangutan from the Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way But Loose, were not included as characters in Rebellion. True, they played no part in the historical events depicted, but surely

    The Irish Times q
  • Micheál Martin finds FF posters hanging tough in east Cork

    As metaphors go, it was apt – the Fine Gael poster of a gimlet-eyed Enda Kenny urging people to “Let’s Keep the Recovery Going” gradually disappearing from the telegraph poles in Tivoli, at the eastern end of Cork city, and not even making it as far as the Dunkettle Roundabout and points east and north. It seemed to set the tone for the day’s campaign, coming in the wake of comments by Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney, brother of Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, which questioned how so many people had been “left behind” by “the unprecedented economic recovery” . The Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, was in East Cork and all the way down through Carrigtwohill, Midleton, Castlemartyr and Killeagh, Martin’s face smiled down from every pole, with Fine Gael limited to a sprinkling of posters from local TD David Stanton.

    The Irish Times q
  • Eye on Nature: Woe betide he or she who fells a fairy tree

    ONE of the first stories I reported on more than 20 years ago as a trainee journalist was about a fallen tree. It had been partially uprooted in a storm and was lying across a footpath and on to the road. Pedestrians had to step out on to the road to get past and even cars had to swerve into the opposite lane to avoid it. It lay there for more than three weeks so I phoned government departments and the local council offices who all insisted that it was someone else’s problem. Finally, I put the question: "Was the reason that the tree had not been moved because the workmen were afraid of being cursed by the fairies?" Needless to say the response was met with bluster, derision and even contempt. q
  • The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial review

    When he was writing his recent novel The Zone of Influence Martin Amis filtered his preoccupation with the Holocaust through one of its less commonly discussed dimensions: the logistical headache the German state faced when it tried to exterminate the Jewish race. Likewise Lawrence Douglas, himself a sometime novelist as well as a professor of law, here hones in on another of the Holocaust’s thorny peripheral facets: the legal entanglements that arose in decades after the second World War, as Germany and the wider world sought to apportion guilt for a crime of a kind never seen before. Dense and legally minded, his book will be of particular interest to those for whom the law is a passion or

    The Irish Times q
  • Question: Should Ireland follow France and ban disposal of waste food by supermarkets?

    How many not-quite-past-it food items will you throw in the bin this weekend before heading straight to the supermarket to restock the fridge and every cupboard? Irish households reportedly spend about €700 million a year on food that ultimately gets dumped. About a million tonnes of food is thrown out by Irish businesses and consumers each year. Globally, figures suggest about 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. And while householders and businesses here must now comply with regulations on the disposal and recycling of food waste, France this week became the first country to pass a law to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying food. It follows a campaign led by shoppers and anti-poverty

    The Irish Times q
  • Tens of thousands of Syrians flee Aleppo for Turkish border

    Thousands of Syrians have fled towards the Turkish border to escape a Russian-backed military offensive by president Bashar al-Assad’s forces on Syria’s northern Aleppo province, sparking a fresh humanitarian crisis after peace talks failed earlier this week. Turkish forces held back the latest wave of refugees trying to escape the country’s five-year civil war, sealing the border gates to thousands of Syrians gathered there. Syrian opposition groups said about 30,000 to 40,000 people are on the move across Aleppo province after fleeing their homes. Backed by intense Russian air strikes that have pounded Aleppo’s countryside in recent days, Mr Assad’s forces and allied militias are advancing

    The Irish Times q
  • Donald Clarke: ‘The Donald’ is ruining a good name

    Thanks a bunch, Donald Trump. Thanks for ruining a perfectly good name. Not only have you soiled a melodic Anglicised variation on a Celtic classic but, by allowing the definite article to precede it, you imply that this incarnation is the deified avatar of Donaldishness. Mr Trump is “The Donald”. The rest of us are indefinite copies. We may have written brilliant, post-beatnik songs for Steely Dan. We may have played the forger in The Great Escape. No matter. A clatter of Donalds mill pathetically before a rough obelisk, upon which the cleverest Orangutan ever to emerge from the Borough of Queens angrily waves bones at distant constellations. I have always been happy enough with my name. Derived

    The Irish Times q
  • PSNI blame republicans for refusal to explain mine costs

    Police have blamed the threat posed by dissident republicans for refusing to release details of more than £170,000 spent on security measures linked to a gold mining firm in Co Tyrone. The cost of the ongoing operation at the privately-owned Dalradian site near Greencastle is being footed by the public purse. Earlier this week residents voiced concern over plans by Dalradian Gold to use cyanide at a proposed processing plant linked to a mine. Police last night confirmed they escort explosives to the site and provide security at the “point of use”. However, when asked in a freedom of information request to give a breakdown of how the £170,000 has been spent, the PSNI refused to reveal further q
  • New application of maul law to make it easier to halt ball carrier

    The current Six Nations Championship will be the last under which the old law governing the lineout maul will pertain. The days of teams kicking penalties to the corner and setting up a flying phalanx of bodies are about to become more complicated. As the graphics (inset) demonstrate the present law allows the ball carrier to immediately slip to the back of the maul behind a mass of team-mates. Under the new application, the ball carrier must start at the front of the maul, thereby giving the defending team a chance to tackle the carrier. If he slides to the back of the maul he will be penalised. The team in possession can transfer the ball backwards in the maul, thereby changing the ball carrier.

    The Irish Times q
  • Eminent mathematician and crossword puzzle setter

    The Thurles-born mathematician Michael Carroll, who has died aged 79, was a former professor at the mechanical engineering department of the University of California, Berkeley, and dean of engineering at Rice University, Houston. Carroll was something of a polymath, with more than 100 technical papers to his name, yet he is remembered not just for his research prowess and administrative flair but also for his kindness, wry wit, and for his crossword puzzles published in the New York Times. He was also a connoisseur of single malt Irish whiskey. In tribute, Sid Burrus of Rice University described Carroll as “truly a ‘Renaissance man’, having many more dimensions than any other academic I have

    The Irish Times q
  • Terry Wogan and the end of a broadcasting era

    Among the many stories written about Terry Wogan after his death last weekend, one popular vignette seemed particularly telling. When the UK radio ratings confirmed Wogan’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show had a listenership of some eight million loyal fans in 2005, Wogan quipped: “Hang on, there are 60 million people in the country – what are the other 52 million listening to?” Joking aside, consider the size of that radio audience – nearly twice the population of Ireland tuning in every morning. Between his radio and TV work over such a long period, Wogan attained a rare cultural status, an avuncular presence to the entire nation. Gay Byrne, most obviously, holds a similar status here. However, there

    The Irish Times q
  • Our Wedding Story: Rainy night out to honeymoon in sunny South Africa

    Elizabeth Kearns and Conor Delaney Elizabeth, a fashion designer from Dundalk, Co Louth, met actor Conor, from Sutton, Co Dublin, on a rainy night out in January 2013. “We met in Flannery’s, a pub we’d never normally venture to, and haven’t been back to since,” remembers Elizabeth. “But funnily enough, a number of our married friends also met there ... I definitely think it’s a place to meet.” Elizabeth and Conor were married on October 16th, 2015 in Culmullen Church, Co Meath and their reception was held in Bellinter House Hotel. Elizabeth designed the stationary, floral arrangements, centre-pieces, decorations and favours – animal chocolate bars. “We had a subtle elephant theme as we’re both

    The Irish Times q
  • Renua could hold balance of power, says Creighton

    Renua Ireland could hold the balance of power in the next government, leader Lucinda Creighton has said. Ms Creighton was speaking as the party outlined its “red-line” issues that will not be sacrificed during any coalition negotiations. She said Renua would not do any deal with Sinn Féin or Independent TD Michael Lowry. Ms Creighton said: “I was delighted that after 13 opportunities the Taoiseach finally, 10 days later, ruled out coalition with Michael Lowry. That was important. “We have to be wary of that, and I think that it is important there is a party that has unequivocally from day one said that we would not do business with Michael Lowry who has had such adverse findings made against

    The Irish Times q
  • ‘Serial’ underlines public’s fascination with murder

    Sitting in the closet of a hotel bedroom in Baltimore, USA, this week, surrounded by bathrobes, Sarah Koenig is reporting daily on what’s been happening at the post-conviction relief hearing of convicted murderer Adnan Syed, the central character in her phenomenally successful 2014 podcast series, Serial. Within hours, each 15-minute report will be downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Syed, sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for murdering his ex-girlfriend and fellow high school student, Hae Min Lee, is petitioning for a review based on shortcomings in his original defence team. Koenig is returning to the subject for these hearings 15 months after her original series

    The Irish Times q
  • Fusion is in fashion, and nuclear is going green

    German pride in its technological prowess was on display this week at an experimental fusion reactor in the northeastern city of Greifswald. Chancellor Angela Merkel was on hand to push a button and set off a burst of hydrogen plasma at temperatures 10 times hotter than the sun. The politician has a doctorate in physics and would know all about the energy source of the sun, the fusion of two hydrogen atoms to make one helium atom, with an attendant release of massive energy based on Albert Einstein’s famous formula E=mc2. Energy resources The German government is strongly committed to fusion research, given it has funded about 80 per cent of the €1.1 billion needed over the past 18 years to build the reactor.

    The Irish Times q
  • Video: ‘Tattooed republicans' exhibition opens in Belfast

    A NEW exhibition featuring tattoos detailing the stories and lives of republicans and ex-prisoners has opened in Belfast city centre. The Independence on the Skin exhibition, which has opened at the Red Barn Gallery in Rosemary Street, features 35 pieces of work from award-winning Italian photographer, Erik Messori who travelled around Ireland to photograph the colourful illustrations. The tattoos, which belong to both men and women, feature everything from weapons, a map of Ireland and a list of hunger strikers to tributes to Glasgow Celtic, and images of Eric Cantona and James Connolly. The exhibition details the stories of the featured individuals' lives, their fallen friends and past actions. q
  • VW postpones 2015 results as it grapples with scandal

    German carmaker Volkswagen said it would push back publication of 2015 results and its annual shareholders’ meeting as it continues to grapple with the impact of its emissions test-rigging scandal. More than four months after the scandal broke in the US, Volkswagen (VW) still lacks a technical solution for almost 600,000 diesel cars and is facing a growing number of legal allegations. Top players on VW’s supervisory board have been meeting more frequently lately to discuss the crisis, including how to account for the scandal in the carmaker’s annual results which originally were due to be released in full on March 10th. The inner circle of the 20-member supervisory board on Wednesday discussed to what extent Volkswagen would need to incorporate provisions for the scandal in the 2015 results, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    The Irish Times q
  • Frostbit Boy ‘confused Gerry Adams with Pierce Brosnan'

    'FROSTBIT boy' Ruairi McSorley has insisted he has no interest in any political party, joking that he confused Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams with actor Pierce Brosnan. The teenager, who became an unlikely internet sensation last year, made a surprise appearance at an election launch for Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh in Carraroe, Co Galway. Sporting a Sinn Féin sticker, Mr McSorley posed for photographs with party president Gerry Adams. However, the teenager from Park in Co Derry, who is studying media and Irish in Galway, has said he only went to the event "for a bit of craic". On his Facebook site on Friday night Mr McSorley posted a short video showing him peering at two remarkably similar photos q
  • Stephen Collins: Fine Gael campaign off to a weak start

    The election campaign got off to an undignified start on Wednesday with Taoiseach Enda Kenny rushing in and out of the Dáil before a bemused Leas Ceann Comhairle Michael Kitt knew what was happening. It was not the best way to kick off the campaign and it didn’t get much better for Fine Gael in the first 24 hours, with unsteady responses to questions about its plans for the “fiscal space” in the years ahead. One puzzled Fine Gael TD commented that the party was like a team that had over-trained for the big match. The blizzard of budgetary figures that engulfed the opening day of the campaign appeared to spark a contradiction between Kenny and his Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan and it took a while for it to be ironed out.

    The Irish Times q
  • Big Jim Larkin: Hero or Wrecker? review: When Big Jim looked small

    Every summer the James Larkin Society gathers at the former site of a small house where the big man of Irish labour history was born in 1874. In 2012 its annual march into Liverpool city centre was targeted by a group called the North West Infidels. Loudly announced as an “anti-Irish rally”, the protest elicited bemusement at first: was the British far-right momentarily dropping Islamophobia in favour of some retrothemed weekend outing? The 26 arrests that followed suggested more sinister intent. Such brouhaha would have been familiar to Jim Larkin, who, like his great Irish leftist contemporary James Connolly, was born in Britain of Ulster parentage. Larkin’s childhood was marked by scraps between

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