Enda Kenny: suddenly, Enda has come over all coy. He had been happy to state his measure. Now, he doesn’t know how to say “when”. In Leinster House, people are puzzled. Photograph: Bloomberg

Sudden retreat from position of certainty on general election triggers fevered speculation

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin  and  Minister for Finance Michael Noonan speaking to media after the publication of exchequer returns at the Department of Finance. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Ministers will be on message from now until the general election, so get used to it

The Longboat Quay apartment complex in Dublin’s docklands, built by Bernard McNamara. Residents  face a possible evacuation or a  bill of €4 million for fire safety works in the building. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mary Lou McDonald in fine form as she takes Taoiseach to task about Longboat Quay

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton at Heuston station: “They gathered up all the shiny things they gave the country over the last four years and made a big deal of handing them over again.” Photograph: The Irish Times

Recycled and rewarmed capital plan arrives from sidings in time for election campaign

Where’s Willie? is doing the rounds of colleges and universities this month as part of Ógra’s national recruitment drive. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fianna Fáil’s new game drums up great interest as party meets its match in Seanad

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with newsreader Marita Kelly, from Cappoquin, Co Waterford, whose photograph appears in the Macra na Feirme ‘Cheeky’ charity calendar. Photograph: Eric Luke

Kenny gets close to calendar-girl newsreader while Coveney cosies up to winsome piglet

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Confidence? No confidence? Actually, it was a motion of no consequence. And everyone in Leinster House knew it. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Fennelly report was quickly ditched by all speakers in favour of election speeches

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Fine Gael think-in in Adare, Co Limerick, where the party hoped to break the Curse of the Challenge of the Upturn. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The best feet put forward at think-ins were first steps in Coalition’s journey to polling day

 The State funeral of Thomas Kent at St Nicholas Church, Castlelyons, Co Cork. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

1916 centenary beckons: ‘They really couldn’t ignore the last man shot outside Dublin’

Ruairí Quinn: The former Labour leader was the star of the show, casually mentioning to all and sundry that he’s off to see the pope this week with fellow European environment ministers.

The former Labour leader’s farewell speech moves the think-in audience to tears

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin speaking at the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party think-in at the Marine Hotel, Sutton, Co Dublin, with (from left): Dara Calleary TD, Cllr Darragh O’Brien, Timmy Dooley TD, Colm Keaveney TD and Brendan Smith TD. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Without the two councillors, Fianna Fáil think-in is a sadly fisticuffs-free affair

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the second day of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting in Adare. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fine Gael has juicy carrot to wave under electorate’s noses ahead of general election

Just like that: Taoiseach Enda Kenny with party colleagues at the FG think-in at The Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare Co Limerick. Photograph: The Irish Times

They’re banging the drum, all thoughts of sleeveen politics simply banished for now

Former minister for finance Charlie McCreevy: medal for bravery awarded for exceptional courage and resolve in the face of debilitating bubble-blindness. Photograph: AP Photo/ Thierry Charlier

And the three degrees award goes to: Ruairí Quinn, Pat Rabbitte and Eamon Gilmore

Ethna Tinney, former independent non-executive director at EBS arriving at the banking inquiry. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Ethna Tinney’s account of the EBS at the inquiry was depressing but very recognisable

Senator Marc MacSharry. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

While the Government was away from Kildare Street, the seagulls attempted a coup

Pat Rabbitte: Landed several blows that winded the windy Senator Marc Mac Sharry. Photograph: The Irish Times

Senator Marc Mac Sharry attempted to grab the inquiry spotlight – but missed his mark

Taoiseach Enda Kenny meeting Edward Walsh and family (owners of Lissadell House and Gardens) on arrival for a Cabinet meeting at Lissadell House, Sligo. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

No sign of Coalition chums getting carried away – they’ll leave that until the election

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern being interviewed by Miriam O Callaghan on RTÉ radio

People have persisted in saying most awful things about our poor departed ex-taoiseach

Lissadell House in Sligo, a fine place for a Cabinet retreat. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Meanwhile, water charges protests outside Leinster House are a bit of a damp squib

 Bertie Ahern arriving for the Public accounts Committee meeting at Leinster House this afternoon. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A unique brand of militant humility delivered at banking inquiry with the smiling detachment of an ordinary Joe

Stephen Donnelly, Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall at the launch of their new political party Social Democrats, at Wood Quay, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘Today we are reaching up and grabbing a rung and pulling it back down – to the people’

German president Joachim Gauck paid a quick visit to the Dáil on Tuesday

Distinguished visitor treated to not very much happening in our national chamber

Prof John Crown outside Leinster House. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Prof John Crown advises on best course of action when suffering from Seanad reform

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

‘Picture the scene: the guys in casual slacks, swapping deep thoughts on fiscal matters’

Independent TD Mick Wallace’s misgivings were seized upon by the two main Opposition leaders. Photograph: Eric Luke

Taoiseach recites Government’s latest reworking of Ode to a Grecian About Turn

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen at Leinster House for his appearance before the Oireachtas banking inquiry. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former taoiseach dismisses ‘mythology’ about party’s tent at Galway Races

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen speaks to the media as he arrives for his appearance before the Oireachtas banking inquiry at Leinster House on Thursday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

‘Front-line folk are useful, when an urgent need arises to throw bodies under the bus’

Charlie McCreevy “must have been taking lessons from Pee Flynn. On and on he went about the wonderful works he had wrought.” File photograph:   Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Where corridors are wider for inflated egos, ex-finance minister in a class of his own

“We want Jack!” roared the enormous crowd. They had sweated in the June heat for hours and it wasn’t to see preening ministers and councillors.

On the world stage, our players did us proud, the supporters did us proud, we did ourselves proud

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and president Gerry Adams.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin leader amused by Government reaction during exchanges on water Bill

 Former British government minister Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, seen with Senator Ronan Mullen,  was given a rousing reception by more than 500 guests in the Round Room of the Mansion House. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Former Tory minister is special guest at Ceiliúradh Cois Life

Minister for   Arts Heather Humphreys: Recited what we understand was a rather earthy and bawdy poem about men. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Humphreys lets hair down with female staff and party colleagues at mid-summer bash

EU commissioner Phil Hogan: “I cannot get satisfaction from the Greek authorities or even get replies to letters sent since last Christmas.” Photograph: Patrick Bolger

EU commissioner pays first official visit to Oireachtas since his elevation to EU post

Gerry Adams: Gerry Adams hissed like a burnt pot. He was steaming about that Nama kettle. Photograph: The Irish Times

Hissing Adams steams into bubbling Nama saga but swerves party strains in Rebel County

Family and friends carry the remains of Eoghan Culligan , who died tragically in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California in through students from St Marys College guard of honour before the funeral Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in Rathfarnham. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Calamity of young lives cut down in their prime has touched this grieving nation

 Ciarán Cannon and fellow TDs Paul Connaughton,  Colm Keaveney and Micheal Kitt found themselves lost for words on Vincent Browne’s People’s Debate when asked wether they would support a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Fearless Four were left sweating on Vincent Browne when put on the spot

 Former department of finance secretary-general Kevin Cardiff arriving at the Oireachtas banking inquiry in Leinster House yesterday. Photograh: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Former senior civil servant tells Joe Higgins he’s now more a socialist than he used to be

Tánaiste Joan Burton:  “I know what the J-1 experience is meant to be, a rite of passage, an opportunity to gain valuable life and cultural experience  . . . for a lot of young people, it is a summer of love and a summer of fun.”   Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

‘Do we not see the faces of our own sons and daughters as they start the great adventure of life for young people?’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: reiterated the independence of Nama and the presence of a good oversight mechanism.  Photograph: Etienne Laurent/ EPA

Dáil sketch: Enda is not afraid of the vultures coming to attack him in the dead of night

Marie Louise O’Donnell: as her six guests looked on, McGrath allegedly accused O’Donnell (who has a long-running weekly radio slot on RTÉ’s ‘Today with Seán O’Rourke’ programme) of “double-jobbing” and taking the bread from the mouths of working journalists

Senator eats McGrath alive over his ‘outrageous’ behaviour in Oireachtas restaurant

’Bruton the Younger proved himself an adequate substitute for his party leader.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Richard Bruton proves an adequate substitute for his party leader

Independent TD Catherine Murphy pictured outside Leinster House before the start of the debate on IBRC. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Department found documents when Murphy’s questions started hitting headlines

Deputy Catherine Murphy leaving the Four Courts on Tuesday in connection with the Denis O’Brien  case.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Right to speak freely in the Dáil remains undimmed. As do rights of the free press

Sally (left), Jill (right) and Hilary O’Herlihy, daughters and wife of Bill O’Herlihy at the funeral Mass of the RTÉ presenter at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in  Foxrock, south Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Those three amigos – Giles, Dunphy and Brady help shoulder Bill’s coffin from the church

Catherine Murphy: The TD’s audacity in reading material into the Dáil record has a precedent dating back to 1942, when senators got themselves in a lather about an allegedly dirty book. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘While Catherine could read her story in, it seems nobody could read it out for fear of Mr Crow. We always thought the national pa(...)

Senator David Norris at Dublin Castle for the result of the same-sex marriage referendum: Eamonn Coghlan says he was “the pathfinder on this human rights issue”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

David Norris is the man of the moment in Upper House as Senators join chorus of praise

Senator Averil Power gets a hug after announcing her resignation from the Fianna Fáil party  outside Leinster House. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

There were tears on the plinth at Leinster House after the FF lads had their laugh in Kilkenny

The crowd in the courtyard of Dublin Castle  react as the result of the same-sex marriage referendum is announced. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Miriam Lord reports from Dublin Castle where crowds gathered to hear referendum result

 Ursula Halligan:  ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. I  can’t believe I’m telling everyone I’m 54.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The marriage referendum created some new heroines as clowns played on

Apparently – at least as the No side would have it – gay people will fall prey to rampant broodiness the instant they get a wedding ring on their finger. Photograph: Getty Images

Reluctant gay icon Enda Kenny deploys the ‘what did you do in the war, daddy?’ tactic

Prince Charles on the Burren with Brendan Dunford, manager of Burren Life, and Bridgid Barry of Burrenbeo: the royal was said to have been particularly looking forward to this part of his trip. Photohraph: Eddie Mulholland/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The nature-loving royal visitor was in a very special place, and he knew it

‘Ursula Halligan is a very private person. She may have been prepared to live with her secret, but she was damned if she was going to allow others to suffer a similar fate.’  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

She was prepared to live with her secret – then the marriage referendum came along

FF’s Limerick  poll-topper Willie O’Dea waded in. “We are dealing with tomorrow before today.” Photograph: The Irish Times

After much roaring, Seán Barrett abandoned the chair and decided to suspend the House

 Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald: “I assure you, Brendan, that I’ll never win the Lotto.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

There’s nothing quite like them for boiling the blood

Poster of the Week: a hand-made black-and-white creation up on a pole on the main street in Naas, in the heart of Kildare horsey country.

Poster of the Week was in Naas: ‘Shergar Wasn’t Bred By 2 Stallions. Vote No’

‘I have a whole dossier here about posters being taken down from Donegal to Tipperary,’ said Mattie McGrath. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Mattie McGrath has been muttering darkly for some time over the campaign for the marriage equality referendum

President Michael D Higgins, with his wife, Sabina, and Joe Duffy, surrounded by pupils of St Patrick’s National School, Ringsend. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Service honours the 40 previously forgotten children killed in the Rising

John McGuinness, Fianna Fáil’s senior man in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency, has jetted off to the Canaries for a week in the sun as the party’s byelection campaign is getting into gear. Photograph: David Sleator

John McGuinness flies to Canaries for holiday as Carlow-Kilkenny campaign begins

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Couldn’t explain the absence of deputies. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

The Opposition clearly don’t realise that this week is dedicated to Selfserv, not Siteserv

Members of Karen Buckley’s graduation class at her funeral  in Analeentha, Mourneabbey, Co. Cork. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Miriam Lord: A community came together with great dignity to mourn in great sadness

“Let Bobby in there, lads!” Micheál Martin puts one arm around byelection candidate Bobby Aylward as he salutes the party faithful at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Golden oldies and optimistic youth pack hall but middle cohort not much in evidence

Former tánaiste and minister for education  Mary Coughlan and former taoiseach Brian Cowen. Photograph: Eric Luke

Micheál Martin absent as Mary Coughlan celebrates 50th with former colleagues

Frank Daly, despite the best efforts of Joe Higgins to have him agree that the banks were “reckless” in the run-up the collapse, said they “displayed an attitude to lending which wasn’t rigorous”.

Account of bank guarantee night makes episode seem even more incredible

At this stage the flatulent rat was snoozing in the Taoiseach’s breast pocket.

‘The Taoiseach sniffed the air. Nothing. He would have to go off and get a bit more detail.’

 Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald:  seemed to be sending out a very defiant message to those who would seek to censure her for abusing parliamentary privilege Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Weekly bouts between McDonald and Burton will go down in history of the 31st Dáil

“Focused on what?” snorted Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen at the Taoiseach. “You’re like a rabbit in the headlights.” Photograph: Eric Luke

A dull day in the Dáil – but it’s tough to get into the swing of things after so much time off

Jonathan Irwin, Laura Harmon, Charlie Bird, Biddy White Lennon and Anne Rigney outside the National Library in Dublin. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

‘I’m Voting Yes – Ask Me Why’ initiative runs risk of speaking to the converted

 President Micheal D Higgins lays a wreath outside the GPO. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

However next year’s centenary is likely to be the bunfight to end all bunfights

Siptu chief Jack O’Connor: Alleged that a lack of union recognition exists in TV3. Photograph: The Irish Times

Siptu leader makes heavy weather of exit from Vincent Browne television programme

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has had enough of “juvenile” behaviour. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Micheál Martin has finally decided to put manners on some senior party figures

Enda Kenny: Fished out a substantial sheaf of paper from his folder and gave the Dáil a history of the many unsuccessful attempts by various taoisigh and ministers to institute an awards system. Photograph: Bloomberg

Absence of all-party agreement a deterrent to setting up national awards scheme – Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘I do not intend to call a general election until it is appropriate to do so.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

TDs and Senators load car boots as Taoiseach drops usual mention of election ‘next year’

Paul Murphy: “Minister Kelly is swaggering around the place like Nelson from The Simpsons, threatening to rob people’s lunch money.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach reminds Sinn Féin leader of his early support for contentious water charges

Gerry Adams TD: “In fairness, he was going to pay and he changed his mind,” said Fine Gael TD Ray Butler.

Taoiseach says he supports his Minister’s proposals for water charges, calling them a ‘modest contribution’

Lucinda Creighton: the luminous Woman in White at the launch of the new party Renua. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

At launch of new party, leader Lucinda Creighton vows to ‘govern in sunshine’

More than  30,000 republicans were involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland, any of whom could have been abusers, Pádraig MacLochlainn told Newstalk

Adams hurt at notion his party alone is taking the rap for turning blind eye to abuse

What should have been a good week for Adams post-ardfheis got off to a bumpy start

Ruth Coppinger: she asked would the Tánaiste deal “with the growing problem of the feminisation of poverty”

Tánaiste takes barbs in her stride as Ruth Coppinger goes on the attack

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett:  “Those who continue to shout here are not doing themselves any good.” So there. Photograph: Frank Miller

Deputies shouting and roaring, punctuated by the Ceann Comhairle’s ineffectual yelps – poor Gerry Adams can hardly hear himself gl(...)

Eamonn Coughlan: The Seanad’s own former Olympic athlete sent his best wishes to soon-to-be octogenarian Ronnie Delany. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

As the Coalition moves into the final phase of its term, positive announcements are beginning to roll

 Joan Burton:  The content of her speech was good. The emphasis was on Labour’s role in the recovery, with its implied staying hand on  Fine Gael. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste had clearly been voice-trained to within an inch of her bubbly personality

Artist Conor Casby’s portraits of Joan Burton, Enda Kenny and Denis O’Brien. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Portrait painter makes exhibition of eminent heads

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: the sight of him smirking and whispering to Frances Fitzgerald while the Opposition were asking serious questions deeply irritated them. Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Micheál Martin criticises Varadkar over his response to delayed discharges crisis

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: decision to axe Expressway routes ‘huge setback for citizens in rural Ireland’. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach snows SF leader under blizzard of detail on Expressway route changes

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny: “Hands up, with his fists quickly opening and snapping shut, he looked like he was being bothered by fruit flies.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Kenny gives polished performance as bouquets and brickbats fly at Fine Gael conference

The Taoiseach had a few figures of his own and he gave them straight to the Sinn Féin leader in the sort of form he likes best – an All-Ireland context.   Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Adams raises issue of salary increases for ministerial advisers with Taoiseach

Gerry Adams  welcomed “the emergence of the United Popular Front Against Sinn Féin, led by Micheál Martin, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Richard Boyd Barrett says Sinn Féin has helped bring about unity by austerity

A good smattering of TDs joined Gabrielle (Gab) McFadden to shooting the breeze in Irish in the Dáil this week.

Willie Walsh maintains holding pattern over Shannon

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter:  is “greatly concerned” the draft Bill hasn’t yet been published by his successor, Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Former minister has much to say about current affairs in Department of Justice

Clare Daly outside Leinster House following the defeat of the Fatal Foetal Abnormality Bill. Photograph: Fergal Phillips

Kenny invokes wisdom of Attorney General to shoot-down Clare Daly’s Bill

Right to left: Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett of Combilift, Tom Kelly of Enterprise Ireland,  Richard Bruton, Heather Humphreys, Senator Joe O’Reilly, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Seán Conlan and . . . Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin! Photograph: Photobomb

Humphreys gave schoolchildren day off while Varadkar gave tips on keeping pounds off

Nose for trouble: Gerry Adams. Photograph: Eric Luke

There’s an outbreak of twitching noses in the Dáil, and a few noses out of joint. Will there be a commission of inquiry into the s(...)

Enda Kenny: he and his Ministers “will feel shame each time they have to look upon Alan Shatter’s wistful, martyred face”. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Alan is causing ructions - thanks to him, the Ceann Comhairle nearly lost his job this week

Simon Coveney: Kenny didn’t spare the Minister for Agriculture’s blushes when he was late for the farmers. Three words, Enda: pot, kettle, black. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Simon Coveney arrived late for the Irish Farmers’ Association meeting, but Enda did milk it a bit

Mr Kenny sailed through Leaders’ Questions without shipping much damage. Photograph: Eric Luke

The nation stopped in its tracks and turned up the radio

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