As we head into 2014 Northern Ireland finds itself, nearly 16 years into the Good Friday Agreement, at a crucial political crossroads with much to be lost if its politicians fail to agree ALSO Flags and parades are costing NI at least £1m a week * The bomb squad was called out at least 400 times in 2013 * Ian Paisley, 87, taken to hospital for tests * Charlie Haughey thought Jimmy Savile could help mediate with Margaret Thatcher on Northern Ireland
PRIME MINISTER David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have long said that they will commemorate the 1914-18 war together and they started with a joint visit to Flanders shortly before Christmas
PRESIDENT HIGGINS, in his New Year’s message to Irish people in this country and elsewhere overseas, looks forward to his UK State visit in April…during which he is expected to lay a tribute wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey
CONOR MCPHERSON’S play The Weir was a huge theatrical hit in the 1990s and made his reputation. It’s back in the West End and its stars – established names in their own right – talk to the Irish World about why this ghostly tale is so special.
IRISH DANCING: The Irish World’s Irish Dancing expert John Egan looks forward to the big dancing event of the year, the World Championships in London in April.
GAY MARRIAGE: TAOISEACH Enda Kenny WILL campaign in favour of same sex marriage, he promises
EMIGRATION: Some 15,400 Irish people joined the UK labour force between 2012-13
MRS BROWN: Brendan O’Carroll – the undisputed Christmas TV ratings winner – won’t be censored by either the Americans – who want to bleep out Mrs. Brown’s swear words – OR the Russians who want to write out her gay son, Rory
DEBT: Irish people with mortgages in arrears will lose Irish Central Bank protections if their debts are sold off to any of the many so-called private equity vulture funds snapping up Irish debts and properties
TABOOS: David Hennessy on the taboo surrounding male victims of sexual assault
HOLLYWOOD: Irish actor Simon Delaney has just made his big Hollywood break through in a Vince Vaughn comedy, DELIVERY MAN, produced by Steven Spielberg’s SKG Dreamworks company
TRAD MUSIC: Fiddle master Martin Hayes tells Shelley Marsden about trad supergroup THE GLOAMING/ London Irish band the Craicheads release their debut album, described as “like the Pogues with Johnny Cash”
IRISH CINEMA: David Hennessy looks at the wide array of emerging Irish talent both in front of and behind the camera
THE HARDY BUCKS: Tracey Halloran, in Galway, spoke to Chris Tordoff, the Engoish writer and actor behind the hugely successful surreal rural comedy
ALL THIS AND MORE IN THE JANUARY 4 IRISH WORLD (PRINT EDITION)