Tuesday 22 October 2019

Michael Kelly

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Pragmatic: But this has tended only to serve one end – Boris. Photo: REUTERS

Michael Kelly: 'Johnson could claim victory and unite his party by accepting a backstop that only applies to the North' 

Theresa May was only the latest victim in the civil war over Europe that has been tearing Britain's Conservative Party apart for decades. John Major famously used the 'b' word to describe his anti-EU cabinet colleagues and David Cameron only agreed to the referendum on EU membership to pacify the same instinct on his backbenches ahead of an election that he feared would see the rise of Ukip.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) meets with the Grand Secretary of the Orange Lodge, Reverend Mervyn Gibson. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Michael Kelly: 'Taoiseach's dialogue with Orange Order is positive - but we can't turn a blind eye to blatant sectarianism' 

The first time I was eligible to vote was the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. My friends and I were hugely enthusiastic about it. I got up at the crack of dawn to be the first one at the polling station. I was not alone - there were many people my age, first-time voters. Looking back, voting itself was a fairly underwhelming experience. I felt slightly cheated that the whole process...

Women pay tribute at the town hall in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen in Normandy, France, where Father Jacques Hamel was killed. Photo: Reuters/Pascal Rossignole

We don't grow strong by being unafraid of evil - we must face it and urge all religions to stand together 

Tuesday morning started out like any other morning for Fr Jacques Hamel. He celebrated Mass with a small group of parishioners. The Eucharist - in which Catholics believe the sacrifice of Christ is re-presented in time - was central to the life of Fr Jacques ever since his ordination in 1958. He was part of a generation of idealistic young Frenchmen who joined the priesthood following the...

Rebel: Fr Seán Fagan, seen here with Mary McAleese, was disciplined by the Vatican for views at odds with Church teaching. Photo: Peter Houlihan

Man of faith who paid a high price 

The story is told that Pope John XXIII - the man who called the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s in a bid to overhaul and modernise the Church - was once asked by a theologian-friend to recommend the friend's latest tome. The Pope responded with a wry smile, "I'll do better than that - I'll put it on the index" - a reference to the Vatican's list of banned books. The Pontiff evidently knew that making a book taboo would do more to boost sales than a papal endorsement.

'Pope of good promise': Pope Francis

The economic miracle of Pope Francis 

Your country is descending deeper and deeper into financial crisis. International markets are increasingly unwilling to lend and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is pounding on the door. Where is a government to turn? It was a real dilemma faced by the then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan as Ireland appeared destined to perish on the rocks of global capitalism gone wrong. Mr Lenihan later recalled how, having just signed the infamous bailout, he sat in Brussels airport alone and looked out at the snow and thought to himself: "Now hell was at the gates".

Aidan and Caragh O'Donoghue with their son Luke

From Farmville to the real thing. . . GIY is blooming 

For many people, the motivation to grow their own food comes from wanting to make sure their children have the best food to eat. Certainly in my case, a continuing strong motivation to keep growing, is knowing that we are able to access the best, freshest and most natural food for our two children. It also helps that by getting them involved in the growing process, they seem more amenable to eating the lovely veg that comes from the veg patch.

Seasons change and focus turns to next year's crop 

THERE'S a moment in every GIYer's year when things pivot from a focus on the current year to preparing for the next. It always amazes me how suddenly it happens. I wrote here last week about the tremendous mental health benefits of growing food – here again is another example. There's always a hopeful future when you grow your own food, always plans to be laid down for the season ahead. It's the Etch-a-Sketch approach to life – each year you get to shake things up, wipe the slate clean and start again.