Mary Kenny

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Full name: Mary Kenny

Area of interest: Society and Values; Women's issues; Relationship between England and Ireland

Journals/Organisation: Freelance or unaffiliated journalists


Personal website:

Website: | Comment is free


Representation: contact Mary Kenny




Education: Birkbeck College, London University: French studies

Career: Originally a reporter on the London Evening Standard, has written for over twenty newspapers, including The Guardian, Daily Express, Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Times, the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, the Irish Times, and the Catholic Herald, see: comment is free - profile

Current position/role: Freelance journalist

  • also writes/written for:

Other roles/Main role: Author, Playwright, Broadcaster

Other activities:



Broadcast media:


Controversy/Criticism: Resigned from position as Daily Express columnist in 2000 following the journal's takeover by Richard Desmond



Other: Married to writer, Richard West; mother of columnist Ed West


Column name: Mary Kenny

Remit/Info: Society and Values






Commissioning editor:

Day published:


Column format:

Average length:

Books & Debate:

  • Germany calling: a personal biography of William Joyce, Lord Haw Haw (Dublin: New Island, 2003) OCLC 52784321

Latest work: Working on a study of the relations between the British monarchy and the Irish people, from Queen Victoria to Prince William, to be published in 2008




  • Ireland faces a choice between lucre and liberty - Austerity quite appeals to Irish Catholics: it's the obvious loss of sovereignty that troubles us - The Guardian, 25th May 2012
  • The joy of sobriety - I'm glad to see alcohol consumption fall – but how about some pro-sobriety messages instead of the usual anti-drink nagging? - The Guardian, 3rd September 2010
  • Faith and realpolitik - Personal faith can be separate from politics, but, in the public realm, there will often be an overlapping - The Guardian, 30th August 2010
  • AA has problems I can live with - I don't buy everything about AA – but when something works, tolerance is surely called for - The Guardian, 10th May 2012
  • A shame that can make us stronger - Those who are committed to the faith feel that now, more than ever, is when the church needs support - The Guardian, 7th April 2012
  • I'd get rid of gluttony - The greed that's most offensive at Christmas isn't metaphorical: it's our obsession with food - The Guardian, 24th December 2009
  • Our artistic debt to faith - That religion is the wellspring of European art is undoubted – but there are other reasons I keep going back to holy pictures - The Guardian, 7th December 2009
  • We should welcome Sacks's natalism - A fertile society is an energetic one, and we must beware of being pessimistic about the problems of population - The Guardian, 16th November 2009
  • The angelus rings on - Irish broadcaster RTE's decision to revamp the traditional angelus segment strikes the right note in difficult times - 23rd September 2009
  • The church's hidden shame - As the Catholic church in Ireland braces itself for another abuse scandal, I try to reconcile memories of the priests I have known with a shameful reality - The Guardian, 20th May 2009
  • Easter after abstinence - What does Easter mean? - The Guardian, 10th April 2009
  • The carrot and carrot approach to sex - Ads for condoms and abortion won't stop unwanted pregnancy. The financial crisis teaches us that risk has consequences - The Guardian, 26th March 2009
  • The female instinct for faith - Religion may be patriarchal in its power structures. But it is women who spread it, women who keep it going, and women who are consoled by it - The Guardian, 24th March 2009
  • We should revel in our outsider status - It's the Christian destiny to be a thorn in the side of a greedy, materialistic mainstream culture - The Guardian, 7th March 2009
  • Once in Royal David's City - Sentimental it may be, but this carol emphasises something crucial: that Christ was not born in grandeur, but in poverty - The Guardian, 22nd December 2008
  • Atheists, enjoy life? - Most of the non-believers I've encountered are gloomy blighters with a depressing message that there is no purpose to life - The Guardian, 24th October 2008
  • Ireland's chance to speak for England - The country's vote on Thursday will determine the fate of the Lisbon treaty, a situation rich in historical paradox - The Guardian, 10th June 2008
  • Wot price Woss? - If the BBC wants to spend vast sums paying the market rate for talent, it should go the whole hog and live by the market alone - The Guardian, 4th June 2008
  • This debate won't end - Embryo bill: If you think the argument about abortion has ended after last night's vote, you're mistaken. It will run on and on - The Guardian, 21st May 2008
  • The St Patrick's brand - Ireland's national day is known around the world and remains inclusive without losing its green core: why can't Britain do the same? - The Guardian, 17th March 2008
  • None more deadly - The Catholic church has changed its definition of the seven deadly sins. But there was nothing wrong with the old ones - The Guardian, 10th March 2008
  • The sad story of Ursula's ashes - New York bodysnatchers - The Telegraph, 11th October 2007
  • Passing laws will never sober up Britain - Legal drinking age - The Times, 17th August 2007
  • Marry young: matrimony is wasted on the old - When to marry - The Times, 16th April 2007
  • Let her choose - The European court has rejected Natallie Evans' appeal, but natural justice dictates that she should be allowed to have children using frozen embryos - The Guardian, 10th April 2007
  • Peace dividends - Behind the politics in Northern Ireland lies a boom in prosperity - and nothing binds up tribal wounds like the promise of plenty of money - The Guardian, 26th March 2007
  • What is done easily is done frequently - Abortion - The Telegraph, 16th February 2007
  • A royal engagement - I'm always greatly pleased by news of royal nuptials, but the impending wedding of Prince William is to be particularly welcomed - The Guardian, 8th January 2007
  • With regrets - Zoe Williams seems surprised that abortion still carries a stigma, but it's in our natures to know that it's a crying shame - The Guardian, 29th November 2006
  • Winterval. It's just what I want for Christmas - Christian traditions - The Times, 11th December 2006
  • The wheel turns - but nothing changes - Family structure and change - The Times, 28th December 2006
  • Don't call me a fascist, you racist - Definitions of Fascism and racism - The Times, 17th November 2006
  • Coffin-dodgers relish life's absurdities - Anti-ageist legislation - The Telegraph, 13th October 2006
  • It's against women's nature to want to lead - Women's career choices - The Telegraph, 3rd October 2006
  • The world is full of remarried men... Second marriages - The Telegraph, 6th September 2006
  • Shopping? Are you serious? - Young women's apirations - The Times, 23rd August 2006
  • When George Bush is good for the planet - The Guardian, 15th July 2006
  • Why would a woman choose an abortion? - The Guardian, 8th July 2006
  • Why I'm a foxy lady - Want to look beautiful, feel great and make friends in the process? Just slip on your fur coat - The Guardian, 19th January 2006
  • When only 'I do', will do... - Cohabiting - The Telegraph, 12th July 2006
  • To be a burden is to be truly human - Care for the sick and old and dying - 18th August 2006
  • If you want your share, get married - Equalising cohabitation with marriage - The Telegraph, 1st June 2006
  • A ceremony to stand on - They are stressful, costly and so archaic, yet big weddings are back - and that's good for all of us - The Guardian, 28th September 2005
  • Our native sense of show - Dubliners have been seduced by Coronation Street, but for real drama they need the Abbey - The Guardian, 25th July 2005
  • What's the dress code? - A basic social principle that survived fishnets and hotpants has been lost in today's sartorial anarchy - The Guardian, 17th May 2005
  • How about a spiritually rich list? - I've got nothing against the super-wealthy - but the way society worships them is getting a bit out of hand - The Guardian, 4th April 2005
  • Sense, not censorship - I applaud the Christians who protested in their thousands about the BBC's Jerry Springer broadcast - The Guardian, 10th January 2005
  • Pull yourselves together - Prozac and Seroxat cannot cure the human condition - The Guardian, 8th December 2004
  • I do the work of five women - However much working women are categorised as 'bitches' or 'guys', the truth is we are all these and more - The Guardian, 8th November 2004
  • La hate cuisine - French food always came at the expense of women's indentured labour - The Guardian, 9th October 2004
  • Virtue can seriously damage your fun - When I was young, the church tried to blackmail us into being good. Now the anti-smoking brigade are at it - The Guardian, 24th September 2004
  • Stuff and nonsense - We Grumpy Old Biddies are an important corrective to an inconsiderate society obsessed with the silly - The Guardian, 15th September 2004
  • This week - Lady Black, with her £2,000 handbags and her 2,000 pairs of designer shoes, don'cha hate her? Well, no, not exactly, Glenda, though one does struggle to suppress a shameful frisson of Schadenfreude - The Guardian, 4th September 2004
  • This week - It was 25 years ago yesterday that Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA at Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, along with his 14-year-old grandson and a 17-year-old local boatman - The Guardian, 28th August 2004
  • This week - My friend Marjorie and I hooted with laughter over Simon Jenkins's declaration that he was proud to be a 1960s liberal - The Guardian, 24th July 2004
  • Death is the right price - When I heard the statement made by the parents of the murdered twin sisters Diane and Claire Sanderson - "words cannot express how we feel about the sudden and unexplained deaths of our two beautiful daughters" - for a moment I wished, passionately, that the death penalty could still be invoked for such an appalling murder - The Guardian, 23rd July 2004
  • Faith is a feminist issue - The newly renamed Madonna has joined a long line of women drawn to the spritual life in their middle age - The Guardian, 21st June 2004
  • In praise of enchantment - We love royal weddings because they remind us of the glamour and heritage missing from our prosaic lives - The Guardian, 25th May 2004
  • Living proof - The beautiful sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant is a total vindication for the pro-life campaigners of the 60s - The Guardian, 29th March 2004
  • Tooth and sale - My dentist used to tut tut at my flossing. Privatisation put an end to that - The Guardian, 6th March 2004
  • Would you Adam and Eve it? - Atheism teaching will be dull next to the richness of religion - The Guardian, 17th February 2004
  • Women beware women - As one woman is convicted of the rape of another, Mary Kenny asks what has changed since those halcyon days of 70s feminism when sisterhood was a given - The Guardian, 19th March 2001
  • Grow up, Cherie: men don't clean - She's 45 and she thinks men will take equal shares in housework - The Guardian, 23rd March 2000

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