Sunday Long Reads: Do film critics still matter and how have other countries coped in a government stalemate?

Kick back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the best long reads from Newstalk

This week's long reads takes a look at other countries that have struggled with an interim government, the role of Bank of Ireland in the Panama Papers, and whether or not film critics actually matter. 

Belgium and Spain – Other Countries in the Interim

As Enda Kenny attempts to cajole Micheál Martin into making a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael power couple, Ireland continues to sleepwalk along as a country without a government.

A full five weeks have passed since the final two Dáil seats were announced on Thursday March 3rd, and we’re edging closer to that Irish record of 58 days without a government set back in 1992/93.

We are not an anomaly in Europe, however. Within the past decade alone, two of our European Union bedfellows have dealt with prolonged periods with only interims to take care of business.

Unanswered questions: The Flannery controversy, Bank of Ireland, and the Panama Papers

It has now been the bones of a working week since leaked documents, published by the Irish Times, raised questions over the involvement of Fine Gael strategist and Rehab chief executive Frank Flannery with a British Virgin Islands (BVI) company, wherein funds were allegedly used as part security for a mortgage secured by Mr Flannery in London in the mid-1990s.

Mr Flannery says he’s never heard of the BVI company and was never aware of the existence of any such security agreement in relation to his mortgage agreement.

However, there was another party to this alleged transaction: a corporate party that cannot claim, as Mr Flannery has done, to know nothing about the BVI company cited in the leaked documents; and a party that so far has not made any on-the-record statement about the controversy. That party is Bank of Ireland.

Do film critics still matter? Of course they do

First there were the reviews. Then there was the box office numbers. And then there were the ‘think pieces’.

The superhero showdown that lends Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice its name was merely a precursor to an altogether livelier brawl. The sharp discrepancy between the mostly negative critical response to the film and the huge box office numbers provoked plenty of commentary on that hoary old debate: do critics actually matter?

OPINION: The noble McSavage? Comedian vows to face jail rather than pay TV licence fee

On that fateful Easter Monday a century ago, just south of Grafton St, members of the Irish Citizen Army, led by arguably the most diverse leaders in the Rising, a former enlisted soldier of the most humble means and a Countess who stormed around in a hat festooned with feathers in the name of Ireland, took over St Stephen’s Green.

One hundred years later, give or take, another son of Eireann took a stand, telling the Irish Sun from beneath his tweed hat that he would rather go to prison than pay his TV licence. Set your calendars for another symbolic wreath laying come 2116.

How much screen time is too much for children?

There’s no denying that technology has become a large part of parenting these days. Whether it’s handing a smaller child a tablet for a moments peace or older children spending their time on phones and consoles, there’s a consistent worry that we’re relying too heavily on ‘iSitters’. How much screen time is too much though, asks Sue Jordan.