‘We can expect more public clashes between Leo Varadkar (aove) and the Taoiseach and indeed between Varadkar and other Cabinet colleagues in the weeks and months ahead as tensions rumble about his straight-talking, they would say self-serving, style.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Opinion: Is it any wonder Leo Varadkar spoke out on health spending and the budget?

“It’s showtime,” were PJ Mara’s opening words at the launch of the 2002 general election campaign. It was a signature moment in an era of boom-time auction politics.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Opinion: Ministers’ signals of tax cuts have fuelled voter expectations

Demonstrators at a pro choice protest in Dublin earlier this month.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘The ground has shifted in the last 12 years but not in the direction the pro-life side would like or to the extent the pro-choice(...)

‘To borrow a phrase popular in the Reynolds camp at the time, when Dick Spring wasn’t himself taking offence he had Fergus Finlay to take offence on his behalf.’   Photograph: Paul Goulding

Opinion: Former taoiseach not alone in collapsing coalition relationship

‘Enda Kenny should be able to defuse this controversy by giving full and frank answers to parliamentary and media questions. Until and unless he can do so, the Callinan controversy will continue to be a political time bomb under the Taoiseach’s credibility.’ Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Opinion: If Shatter’s proceedings come to trial they could prove the most politically dramatic court hearings since 1970

 Leo Varadkar:  refreshing directness. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Apart from frankness, Varadkar has other assets. He is young, competent and telegenic

Opinion: Seeds may have been sown for a breakdown in relationship with TDs

Labour leader Joan Burton, with her deputy, the new Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly: tackling the housing issue is a pressing political imperative. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Opinion: Unemployment and the lack of affordable accommodation are fuelling political instability

‘Attention is focused on the fortunes of James Reilly with a general consensus emerging that he will cease to be Minister for Health next week. Reilly is an issue politician and health, in particular universal health insurance, is his issue.’ Above, Reilly  at the launch of the White Paper on Universal Health Insurance earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Opinion: Giving the European Commissionership to Hogan in line with expectations gives Kenny more space to rebrand his Government(...)

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