Hard questions need to be raised on Great War
2014 is the time for official Ireland to drop the tendency towards escapism, writes John Paul McCarthy
Christmas is a good time for politicians to take a step back from the everyday crush and to indulge what the Victorian journalist Walter Bagehot used to call the "reserve mind".
Much needs to be done in 2014, and if we judge their capacities by the numbing response of official Ireland to Mandela's passing, our leaders have to raise their game.
One of the most challenging events looming in 2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.