The pervasive cynicism of Irish politics

It wasn't just Fianna Fáil who didn't want to confront Bertie Ahern on his finances back in 2007. By Vincent Browne.

We knew before the 2007 general election that Bertie Ahern's explanations for the tens of thousands of pounds sloshing through his bank accounts, the steel safes in St Luke's and in his ministerial office at the Department of Finance, and his then partner Celia Larkin's own accounts were lies. We knew that the stories of the house at 44 Beresford Avenue, Drumcondra, were lies. We knew the "digout" stories were untruths.

Questions arise on promissory note deferral

The breaking news that there is an imminent deal on the payment of €3.1 billion due on 31 March on Anglo promissory notes, deferring payment until 2025, seems welcome but we need to see terms and conditions. First the interest rate that will apply, second, what does this mean for the remaining €29 billion promissory notes? Then, will this remain on the books in the calculation of the national debt, requiring us to reduce the dept to 60 per cent of GDP by 2015, which will retain an enormous strain on the public finances.

Acknowledging the tension inherent in clerical celibacy

There seems to be little interest in why clerical abuse has occurred and what it is within the Catholic culture that has engendered it. By Vincent Browne.

Clerical sexual abuse is inevitable given the meaning system that is taught by the Catholic Church and to which many priests adhere.

Contradictions in that system lead to failure, increase shame and a way of living that encourages deviant behaviour.