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Quotes of the week

"Ireland is about to enter a three-month period of inane debate leading to largely worthless European Parliament elections in which candidates are being nominated by all parties chiefly because they are household names. Between the candidates there will be no debate whatsoever on where they actually stand on the very real emergence of proposals to create a federal Europe."

Michael McDowell, former Justice Minister.

"We need to go back to building 25,000 houses per year or all the young people will end up living with their parents until they are 35. They might not mind this, but their parents will."

John FitzGerald, ESRI.

"All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing my real name in connection with the books and to my being pointed out to, and being stared at by strangers ... I hate all of that so intensely I almost wish I had never written any books at all."

Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, in a hitherto unpublished letter.

"Nobody else took what I was doing seriously, so nobody would want to work with me. I was thought to be a bit eccentric."

Professor Peter Higgs, Nobel Prize winner for research on the Higgs bosun particle.

"It brings back memories of the end of the Second World War, and the horror and the shame and the shock. In political camps large numbers of people were effectively starved to death and disposed of in pots, burned and buried."

Michael Kirby, retired Australian judge, chair of UN expert panel on North Korea.

"Yeah, I had a facelift years ago. Why not? It gives you all the things you need to be part of the action. You photograph better and looks are a key part of being an entertainer. All sorts of horrific things happen in life, so why make it worse by worrying about getting older."

Debbie Harry, Blondie singer.

"Marriage has to be an act of free will and awareness. When you rely totally on your parents for every step, a spouse does not know what to do because he's constantly seeking the consensus of a third person. Many women separate because of the immature behaviour of their husbands who depend totally on their mothers – a really disturbing element in the couple's relationship."

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, on Italian men.

"It would be difficult to get approval of all the other member states to have a new member coming from one member state. I believe it's going to be extremely difficult if not impossible."

Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission president, on the chances of an independent Scotland being admitted to the EU.

"It's a morass that I care not to dip my toe in. I try to keep away out of it. I don't want to be an influence in it, I don't want to influence anybody. A lot of people take your word as if it's spun gold. The Scots will come to a good conclusion and they'll get what they deserve."

Billy Connolly, comedian, on Scottish independence.

"Anything that cigarette companies are for, I'm against. They are horrible, despicable people. Billions and billions of euro off people using their products and dying."

Ray D'Arcy, radio presenter, whose two grandmothers died from smoking-related cancer.

"There's definitely things we learnt where we could have potentially done things better. One of the things we've learnt, and we're doing it now, is that we're going to take the underground option and develop it side by side with an overhead option and have that stage in the consultation."

Fintan Slye, EirGrid chief executive.

Sunday Independent