It has been quite a week in world history. How the mighty have fallen. Most of the statues are remote figures who have no connection to what's happening today. But such is the power of globalisation now that people in Europe feel propelled by an act of police brutality in the United States to rearrange their own history and urban landscape.
Ireland is a small European island and a small political and economic unit, even more so by its division into the North and Republic. As a result, it must especially define itself in how it interacts with the outside world, in terms of trade, diplomacy and organisations like the European Union and United Nations.
You have to wonder who came up with the idea of an actual State ceremony to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), who, in effect, fought against Irish independence. Yes, we should remember and respect these public servants, caught on 'the wrong side of history', but to have a Government ceremony for them is too much.
In a sense you have to feel for RTÉ. In the very week it mourns its greatest broadcaster, Gay Byrne, it announces the bombshell of major cuts and the shedding of 200 jobs. In fact, the announcement was postponed for a few days because Gay had died, which only adds to the grim irony.
Back in the 1960s, singer Ronnie Drew used to joke at concerts that the Government had proposed all the books banned in Ireland should be printed in Irish as this would be a great incentive for the Irish people to learn their own language.
Back in the 1960s, singer Ronnie Drew used to joke at concerts that the Government had proposed that all the books banned in Ireland should be printed in Irish – as this would a great incentive for the Irish people to learn their own language.
There is nothing worse in a difficult relationship than sitting at home waiting for the phone call. You are powerless, entirely dependent on the decision of your partner and unable to properly focus on other things. And then, when they do ring, your paralysing focus moves to what they do next. And whether they will honour any proposal loosely made.
Like him or loathe him, Donald J Trump is president of the United States, a long and stalwart ally of Ireland. None of us has to be told how important the Americans are in terms of investment, family ties, cultural and democratic principles and achieving peace in Northern Ireland.
So exhausting and stressful was the arrival of my first-born child that I really relished that pint of Guinness at the end of a draining day. So I had a fond smile when I heard that the makers of the black stuff, Diageo, are offering new fathers six months' paid paternity leave.
I remember it well. I was sitting on a rush-hour bus in Dublin when a fellow student held up the front of the Evening Herald. "What do you think of this?" he asked grimly. It was the dramatic headline about the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in then Soviet-controlled Ukraine. "Don't go on your holidays to eastern Europe any time soon!" he warned me. I didn't.
In his fine introduction to this book - Being New York, Being Irish: Reflections on Twenty-Five Years of Irish America and New York University's Glucksman Ireland House - writer Terry Golway describes two memorable events for the Irish community in New York in the early 1990s which had a lasting resonance.
An interesting proposal was recently made at the Citizens' Assembly by UCD economist Micheal Collins. In a discussion on the elderly, Dr Collins suggested that people of a senior vintage with assets of over €200,000 should be levied a special tax so as to contribute more towards the public purse, and including presumably their own care.
We keep being told that all resources are being marshalled to deal with Brexit, described as the greatest political and economic change to face Ireland since its independence. With the distractions of our ministers in their 'new politics' arrangement, we are told that behind the scenes our officials, diplomats and overseas agencies are busy working to get the best deal for Ireland and 'special case' consideration in relation to the North.
John Hurt was a great actor, a memorable character - and a wonderful friend of Ireland. Like many bawdy, but sensitive English souls, he 'got' Ireland and at one stage, in the Who Do You Think You Are? genealogy TV series, he even seemed to have found his Irish roots, somewhat to the surprise of his many friends!
Calls for Gerry Adams to step aside as Sinn Féin leader, so that the party can maturely prepare for Government, are wide of the mark. In fact, it is worth having Mr Adams still there as a reminder of the incredible ability of the party's double think. Not just on economics where the party implements Tory policy up North but is somehow a left-wing down South - but also on the thing that produced Sinn Fein in the first place, which is the Troubles and their legacy.
I was at a summer school in the North once, where a gathering of academics and historians were discussing the Republic's neutrality during World War II. There were a few trendy media people there (Channel 4, the 'Guardian', etc) and you could see their boredom as the debate noodled on about national identity and 'the Irish struggle'. Until someone mentioned about how Eamon de Valera had signed the book of condolences for Adolf Hitler in 1945.
These are scary times. After the Government's concession on Garda pay, a raft of public sector unions have immediately made similar demands and along with lower forecasts on economic growth, the Brexit threat and rising living costs, it looks like our whole recovery could be unravelling.
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