Seanie Fitz is just a symptom of the national disease

The Pope’s pastoral letter has forced Sean Fitzpatrick off the front pages. For the cardinal in Armagh,Sean Brady, the timing must be disappointing. Fitzpatrick had shifted the spotlight from him but now the focus is right back on the Catholic Church.

Delving into Ireland's mythic past


Stories are supposed to enchant us, to whisk us away to new or foreign worlds. Both Irish Tales and Vertue Rewarded, recently republished, accomplish this task.

The Early Irish Fiction project is a series of annotated, scholarly editions of Irish fiction from the long eighteenth century (about 1680 to 1820). The principal investigator is Professor Ian Campbell Ross. (Politico conducted an interview with him here.)

Interview with Ian Campbell Ross

Ian Campbell Ross taught at the University of Birmingham from 1975 to 1977. Professor Ross was a co-founder of the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society/Cumann Eireann san Ochtú Céad Déag and co-founder of the journal Eighteenth-Century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr which he co-edited from 1986-1995. He was made a Cavaliere nell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana by the President of Italy in 2007. He was a co-founder of the Centre for Irish-Scottish and Comparative Studies and a co-director of the Centre until 2008.

There is no fat in the arts

The arts have endured financial cuts in the last year, and now seems destined to lose representation at the cabinet table in this week's reshuffle. However, investment in the arts brings not just cultural benefits, but financial return. By Joe Galvin.

Go gentle into that good night

Australian Philip Nitschke is possibly the most controversial doctor of present times. Dubbed 'Doctor Death', Nitschke gives advice worldwide on how to carry out a "painless, peaceful and reliable" death by suicide. The organisation he founded, Exit International conducts workshops on assisted suicide. Exit International visited Ireland for the first time this week, and Dr Nitschke spoke to Joe Galvin of Politico at the workshop.

Elementary, Mr. Coelho

It was the Greek Philosopher Empedocles who, in the 5th Century BC, proposed a theory of reality based on the four natural elements. He believed that all things were a combination of water, earth, air and fire and held that the entire universe could be understood only as a limitless conglomeration of these basic elements. Fast-forward 25 centuries and Paulo Coelho, one of the all-time best-selling novelists and the spiritual guru of millions, has used this elemental theory as the foundation for Inspirations, his second spicy anthology of favourite extracts from world literature.

Sean Brady's defence for not acting on abuse is risible

It is just not believable that the purpose of the oath taken by two boys in 1975 was other than to cover up abuse.

Yesterday morning the Catholic Communications Office issued a statement “to clarify media reporting on Cardinal Seán Brady”. The statement said that in late March 1975, Seán Brady was asked by his bishop, Francis McKiernan, to conduct a canonical inquiry into an allegation of child sexual abuse made by a boy in Dundalk and concerning Brendan Smyth.

St Patrick's Day Homily of Cardinal Brady

The following is the transcript of Cardinal Seán Brady's homily, read during St Patrick's Day mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

Today, Irish people across the world are remembering St Patrick and the land of their birth. Most will do so with joy and pride. They will celebrate the enormous contribution of this nation to the Christian faith and heritage across the world. They will celebrate a people renowned for generosity to others in need.

Racist toxins flow through national bloodstream

Last Wednesday night , I received an email from someone I did not know. I thought at first that it was just a familiar piece of xenophobia (dislike or fear of the unknown, invariably foreigners), as the initial parts of the e-mail seemed to be setting up something allegedly ludicrous about Ireland.