We look at this week’s news stories from home and abroad
Taoiseach wears poppy in Dail and no-one objects
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wore a ‘shamrock poppy’ lapel pin in the Dáil last week to mark Remembrance Day. The Irish poppy pin was designed by the Royal British Legion and is “intended to promote greater public awareness of the legitimacy of the Remembrance Poppy within an Irish context.”
It is intended, according to the Royal British Legion, “to commemorate the memory of the Irish men and women from across the Island of Ireland who gave their lives in service with British, Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) or Allied Forces (USA) in the Great Wars”.
It says the enamel lapel pin is intended to draw attention to the sacrifice of the people of Ireland in both World Wars. About 210,000 Irish men and women served in the British forces during World War One, and around 35,000 died. Sinn Fein President and Louth TD Gerry Adams, who was in the Dail at the time, made no comment at the time nor did any other TDs.
Later in the week Mr Varadkar marked Remembrance Day in Enniskillen, the scene of one of the worst atrocities in the Troubles thirty years ago, where he joined DUP leader Arlene Foster in laying a poppy wreath.
U2 defend Bono… and call for tax changes
U2 was back in the headlines within days of lead singer Bono being connected to the Paradise Papers tax avoidance leak because of his investment, via Malta, in a Lithuanian shopping centre in 2007.
The band gave a free concert to thousands of people on Trafalgar Square on Saturday night as part of the MTV Awards, at which they were honoured ahead of the release of their latest album.
Talking to reporters before the event the band’s guitarist The Edge (Dave Evans) defended Bono (Paul Hewson) following lots of critical news coverage. He said he understood why ordinary taxpayers got angry at such reports and suggested the laws should be changed to close such legal loopholes.
“I think it’s a complicated thing. We are wealthy people and you could say that comes with the territory. We are high profile and sometimes you can feel a little put upon but you can also feel that you don’t get nearly enough stick.
“We do understand why people are angry with the system as it is.
“It definitely needs an overhaul but it is a complex thing. It is not straight forward like one nation can do it on their own.
“Unfortunately there were a lot of inaccuracies reported initially and at this point here are lawyers involved – we will see how that pans out.”
Most overdue book returned to Ireland’s oldest library
The oldest public library in Ireland had a book returned to it this month – after it was taken out in 1840. Marsh’s Library, by St Patrick’s Cathedral, opened in 1707 and was the library open to the pubic in Ireland.
The volume, The Book of Common Prayer, was first bound and published in 1666.
It is one of only two in Ireland and has a nominal value of €750. Now it has been returned to Marsh’s Library in Dublin’s city centre. It had been found in the Church of Ireland rectory in Monkstown by the Rev Roy Byrne.
The Marsh Library’s keeper, Jason McElligott, said it was just the ninth time that any of the 1,185 books removed from the building over the centuries found its way back home: “The cultural significance is greater than its monetary value. But it’s great to have it back in its rightful place on the shelves here.”