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Why do we keep setting aside prime urban space for cars?

IT Sunday: Pension repayment queries and the death of Tina Turner were both topics that garnered interest this week

Welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best Irish Times journalism for our subscribers.

Car-free cities have been a talking point for quite a while now, with some places having more success than others. Some areas of Dublin have benefitted greatly from being pedestrianised – most notably Capel Street – while other streets have been held back by strong business lobbying. In his column this week, David McWilliams writes that the only reason for setting aside prime urban space for cars is money. “Fewer cars mean more life; that’s pretty much the first rule of urban regeneration. Cars are the enemy of street life and urban living. As well as being polluters, they take up space. Cars, traffic and car parks injure our towns and cities. Car parks are ugly, blocking views, acting as holding pens for the average car that is 2 tonnes of steel (80 per cent empty when driven by a single person), sitting empty, unused most of the day, in valuable space that could be used for something else,” he writes.

In his personal finance Q&A column, Dominic Coyle answers a reader who asks if their family will have to repay from inheritance received on the death of their mother-in-law who was claiming a widow’s pension for her first husband while married to her second. It’s a complex issue but one that the reader should have some clarity on after reading the response.

Earlier this week, the GAA doubled down on its rules and regulations around Go Games, the national policy for football, hurling and camogie which requires all games played at under-12 level and below to take place without any competitive element. It’s a topic that has created a lot of talk over the days since and this weekend Malachy Clerkin looks at it in his column, writing that Go Games aren’t woke nonsense or a sign society has gone soft - they are one of the best things about the GAA.


In this week’s New to the Parish, Juci Kulloi, originally from Budapest, spoke about trying to understand different Irish accents and building phrases into her everyday speaking. “I’m still not great at identifying accents though, except Cork, because every statement is almost like a question,” she says.

“One of the things I find very unique about Ireland is Irish English, which is very different, even if you speak the language fluently. I learn an Irish phrase and try to build it into my next five sentences – like ‘it’s a good day for the parish’, or ‘ah sure look’ and ‘the craic was mighty’.”

Meanwhile, Fintan O’Toole is writing about how Henry Kissinger’s 100th birthday allows us to reflect on a century where the United States failed to learn the moral lessons of the 20th century’s most catastrophic depravities. “Kissinger’s century is a dark time in which democracy is defended by overthrowing it, the balance of power is a balance of terror, reason justifies extreme violence, and the only lesson from the Holocaust is that power always trumps morality,” he writes.

Earlier this week Una Mullally wrote eloping to Las Vegas to get married and reflecting on the eight years since the marriage equality referendum and what it has meant to her. “We are imbued with the memory of 2015. We know how to band together. We know that there are more people out there who support our community than ever. We know how to fight, and we know how to win. Most vitally, I thought, my mind drifting back to this day eight years ago, we know how to love each other,” she writes.

Wednesday saw the death, at the age of 83, of Tina Turner. The American was one of rock’s most famous voices who had hits including Proud Mary and The Best. In a career spanning more than 60 years, the American-Swiss singer, who was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, won eight competitive Grammy Awards and has a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St Louis Walk of Fame. In an appreciation of the singer, Ed Power wrote about how a broken and beaten survivor reinvented herself to become a superstar.

In Thursday’s property section, Jessica Doyle reported that the Clare Island Lighthouse, which is up for sale, has seen the asking price drop nearly 40 per cent because the owners are struggling to find a buyer. The Mayo lighthouse turned Blue-Book guest house boasts commanding views of Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and Keem Bay on Achill Island, where many of the scenic vistas featured in Martin McDonagh’s Oscar-nominated The Banshees of Inisherin were shot.

In this week’s restaurant review, Corinna Hardgrave took a trip up north to sample one of Belfast’s newest spots. Roam is the work of chef Ryan Jenkins from Finaghy in Co Antrim and it certainly gets the seal of approval from our reviewer who tries, among other dishes, scallops with charred shallots and sea purslane and flat iron steak with pressed potato on her way to giving it a four-star review.

On Friday, Carl O’Brien reported that parents’ associations across all eight primary schools in Greystones, Co Wicklow, have agreed a “no smartphone voluntary code” until children start secondary school. “The move follows rising concern among teachers and parents over anxiety levels among pupils and early exposure to adult material online,” he writes.

On a similar note, in this week’s Weekend Review, Sheila Wayman looks at social media and the harm it is causing for children. Recently, the US surgeon general warned of the ‘ample indicators’ that social media can have ‘a profound risk of harm to the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents’. “Digital-savvy parent Emma thought she was doing enough to help her 13-year-old son negotiate the world of social media safely until he inadvertently stumbled on a disturbing video clip on his smartphone last week,” she writes.

Finally, In our sexual health column, a reader asks Roe McDermott whether she needs to lose weight before dating again after recently separating from a partner who wore down her self-esteem by telling her she was unattractive when she gained some weight.

As always, there is much more on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants in our food section and all the latest in sport. There are plenty more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.

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