David Norris: announced he was stepping down as leader of the Seanad Independent group. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Senator loses out to Marie-Louise O’Donnell as leader of Seanad Independent group

Minister for Health Simon Harris: stood with the  Taoiseach along with  Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Minister of State for European Affairs Dara Murphy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

One might have expected the chamber to have been jam-packed after the Brexit vote

Putting on brave faces: Three Remain supporters at a referendum results party at a pub in north London. Photograph: Andrew Testa/The New York Times

All quiet on Leinster House front until link made between Brexit and Irish Water

Joe Biden in Mayo: The US  vice-president Biden is greeted by local woman Maureen Conmy at Garden street, Ballina, Co Mayo. Photograph: Eric Luke/ The Irish Times

‘I just want you to know, I think my grandfather Finnegan would be very proud’

Independent TD Denis Naughten: at the receiving end of a rubbish pass.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

First Simon Coveney had the dirty job, but now it’s been dumped on Denis Naughten

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor at the launch of Google’s new data centre in Clondalkin.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach revels in the role of backseat driver, as new Ministers push forward

Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins has some harsh words to say about waste collection, while Simon Coveney was all over the growing rubbish problem. Photographs: The Irish Times

A government wary after water charges debacle? Ministers in no mood for that rubbish

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Some TDs stare pensively at Green leader as if he had just dropped from a distant planet

Senator Billy Lawless: due back in Chicago this week for a hip operation. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Illinois senator Dick Durbin congratulates Taoiseach’s appointee to Seanad

Denis Donovan landed the top post of cathaoirleach while Marie Louise O’Donnell fanned herself in a theatrical fashion, but not in the direction of Father of the House David Norris. Photographs: The Irish Times

Health professionals on standby as cases of serious back-slapping incidents a concern

“What made you take it up?” somebody asked. “Is it the leadership ambitions? You have to have the aul cúpla focal, don’t you?” “Idle speculation,” replied Leo. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Varadkar enthuses about latest unemployment figures in first official language

Bríd Smith of AAA-PBP (right) said the discussion on the issue of repealing the 8th was dominated by the two men leading the ’two biggest conservative parties’: Enda Kenny (left) and Micheál Martin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Most TDs would want to do absolutely nothing if the Eighth Amendment was repealed

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the London v Mayo match in Ruislip on Sunday. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Enda Kenny faces Leaders’ Questions on Nama, medicine and Donald Trump

“There are escalators inside for Enda to make Donald Trump-style entrances down into the chamber (formerly the Cosmetics Hall and Karen Millen).” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Clerys could be an option – on slow days, mannequins would come and fill the chamber

‘Taoiseach Enda Kenny launched a war on words in the Dáil on Wednesday.’ File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Party leaders respond to the terrifying spate of gang murders in Dublin with more words

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, and Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

If the Taoiseach can ask a direct question, surely a direct answer can’t be far behind

Prince of Labour  Brendan Howlin: If it wasn’t for Michael D  he’d have  the poshest speaking voice in Labour. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Whodunnit? It was Alan Kelly. He done himself in. And everyone was very sad about it

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and  the new junior Ministers at Government Buildings in Dublin. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Ministers of State emerge fully formed from special pods in the Leinster House basement

Tániste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Minister summons the spirit of Joan Burton in her responses to O’Higgins queries

AGSI protesters (above): “In a new twist, members of An Garda Síochána also marched on Leinster House, sensibly deciding to take a different route, ending up on the other side of the building.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

There’s a spirit-sapping familiarity about the goings-on in and around Leinster House

Purple reign: Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty at women’s motorcycle rally in Ashbourne

Elsewhere, Shane Ross is upwardly mobile; Phil Hogan escapes from ‘excited peasants’

Joan Burton announces her departure as Labour leader. Photograph: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Emotional occasion marked by tears for first woman leader of venerable Labour Party

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny leaving the Dáil after the vote. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

New era of partnership politics gets off to rocky start as Kenny finally gets over the line

John Halligan: sat on the side of a  fountain with the Government Buildings behind him, looking conflicted. It reminded one of Princess Diana, when she sat on a bench with the Taj Mahal behind her. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Genesis of new government to be followed by adjournment of Dáil to allow dust to settle

Independent TDs Danny Healy-Rae and Michael Collins:  “I believe that God above is in charge of the weather,” said Danny in response to Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

As Fine Gael hunts for Endapendents, Danny Healy-Rae is fuming about the carbon tax

Phil Hogan: why wouldn’t he be happy now that he’s far removed from the almighty political mess he left behind? Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Water naturally found its own level as the political talks flowed

Micheál Martin’s Fianna Fáil needs somewhere to house its newly arrived sincerity on the question of not paying for water and a wardrobe to hang the clothes it nicked from Sinn Féin. Photograph: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are out to avoid water damage and insulate their careers

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil know they have to do something to deliver the promised land of government to the people. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Could a biblical solution help Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to buy time – and form a government?

Part of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League final in Croke Park. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy /Sportsfile

GAA fields its most colourful and musical team in the ‘Laochra’ performance at HQ

Enda Kenny was telling people in the Dáil canteen yesterday about his packed schedule this weekend, which includes a charity cycle in the Phoenix Park, a trip to Arbour Hill, a big day out in Croke Park and sundry other activities.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

FF politicians were going around warning that the talks were ‘on the verge of collapse’

Wobbles on the cobbles: Fianna Fáil TD’s Jim O’Callaghan, Michael McGrath, Barry Cowen and Charlie McConalogue speaking to journalists after leaving talks in the Provost’s House, Trinity College. There seems to be an acceptance that whatever mish-mash of an administration emerges, it will stagger along like a tipsy sailor until it collapses at the first sign of trouble. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

With the Irish Water elephant removed from the room, a deal may finally be in sight

Maureen O’Sullivan: “I didn’t realise there was anything happening but as soon as I arrived [at the Dáil], I realised they had just had a meeting.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Three women encounter political pain while another gets Clinton to sneak past sneakers rule

 Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil at the Dáil before the vote for Taoiseach. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Gerry Adams may have to give the leaders advice on decommissioning the hatchets

Independent TDs Denis Naughten and Finian McGrath chatting with Fine Gael’s Michael Creed (centre) outside Leinster House yesterday. Photograph: Alan Betson

Will they cling to Micheál’s leg or stick with Enda? Or do a runner?

 Michael Healy-Rae: has come across as one of the most sensible voices during this entire palaver. Photograph: RollingNews.ie

Government formation talks seep out, while drinks flow at the Dáil bar along with Ó Cuív’s pen

Former tánaiste and Labour leader Dick Spring predicted yesterday “that it’s going to get very ugly”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

‘Make them stop!’: little National Interest rocks from side to side as its parents bicker

Face-off: participants in the Robinhoodtax.ie protest wear Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin masks outside the Dáil. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Dáil sketch: Fine Gael leader did most of the wooing, but Martin played hard to get

Independent Senator Averil Power and Leo Varadkar: the Minister has endorsed Power  in the forthcoming TCD Seanad elections 2016. Photograph: Conor McCabe

Tension for Labour, old dreams for Fine Gael and a sweet tweet from Lynn Boylan

Members of the Irish Great War Society acting out a scene from the Rising in Smithfield, Dublin. Photograph: Maxwells

It was the people’s Rising as they got out of bed and . . . went into town for a wander

Members of the Defence Forces march through  Dublin  as part of the programme of commemorative events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.  Photograph: Maxwells/AFP/Getty Images

Miriam Lord: Easter Rising commemorations resulted in a truly great day for Ireland and the Irish

Michael Healy-Rae: Independent TD survived a seven-hour talks marathon on heavy-duty painkillers after being attacked and injured by a calving cow on his farm last weekend. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Taoiseach’s nameplate is a hot potato as Ministers try to impress TDs in negotiations

Micheál Martin: For the moment, he hasn’t really said what his party’s role might be in bringing about a new administration. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Word went around that the Taoiseach was going to unveil a ‘round table’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘Yesterday, he was reduced to the role of mere actor surrounded by his acting ministers.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

Dáil suffers through a fruitless day of speechifying and ‘procedural wrangling’

Gino Kenny TD of AAA-PBP and his mother Marie arrive for the 32nd Dáil at Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin runs riot but Mary Lou sits on her hands during tributes to Seán Barrett

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen, ‘superb displays of shape throwing and mandate-standing in the ‘bruiserweight’ category’. Photograph: Eric Luke

As preliminary heats end, Kenny, Martin and Adams lead the field in this ancient Dáil sport

‘The Taoiseach and Micheál Martin were both busy yesterday boiling kettles and cutting sandwiches and preparing to meet Independent TDs.’

As politicians eye the top jobs, this new politics starts to seem very familiar

Sinn Féin candidate Kathleen Funchion in the groove with partner Eddie Wall during Strictly Let’s Dance Callan, which was held at the same time as the count for the Carlow/Kilkenny election seats. Funchion went on to take a Dáil seat but not the dance title. Photograph: Pat Moore

New Sinn Féin TD sashays into the limelight while Enda embraces his inner hipster

Perhaps to signal its intent, Fine Gael decided to hold a transition day photocall on the plinth, trotting out its parliamentary party for the cameras. An unusual move. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

The Fianna Fáil leader has a big problem – dealing with his party’s high spirits

Taoiseach Enda Kenny looking at Patrick Pearse’s spectacles at the launch of the National Museum’s exhibition,  ‘Proclaiming a Republic: the 1916 Rising’. Photograph: Alan Betson

Beleaguered Taoiseach puts on a brave face as he enters Execution Corner

Independent Senator Averil Power at the Dublin Bay North recount in the RDS yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Gerry Adams is still posing for photos with babies while Bertie Ahern sticks his oar in

For all the Left-wing celebration, a move to old ways leaves Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil brass neck and brass neck

Most Mortifying Selfie Award: “Me – taken by a terrified hack in a helicopter.”

Campaign awards as election showtime begins

Tánaiste Joan Burton with  Labour Ministers Alex White and Brendan Howlin: “Their little tableau could be seen as a representation of things to come for many candidates facing the loss of a seat.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Candidates bleat fairness and balance – but after that, things become more complicated

Enda Kenn and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams during the final televised debate Photograph: Maxwell’s

The conductor in leaders’ election debate outshone them all, she wielded a stern baton

Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets shopper Betty Flanagan on a visit to Ardkeen Shopping Centre in Waterford on Monday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Taoiseach’s future in politics hangs in the balance. It all looked so different five years ago

Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan with Cllr Ossian Smyth, both candidates in the general election, in Ringsend today at the launch of the Green’s housing policy. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Our big four breathlessly announce ‘the launch’ of yet another drab policy message

Michael Noonan rolls out the red carpet for Donald Trump at Shannon Airport in 2014, something he says he does not regret. Photograph: Sean Curtin

Micheál Martin is criss-crossing the country doing those good old- fashioned walkabouts

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Grant Engineering in Birr Co Offaly. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The Fine Gael crisis coach departed Dublin for Offaly as the Taoiseach talked war

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton at St Laurence O’Toole church at DIT in Grangegorman. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Whiff of incense as party sets out its stall in former church at DIT Grangegorman

The Taoiseach pointed the piece of paper out to the Fianna Fáil leader, who was wearing a Fine Gael blue tie. Micheál Martin stuck out his foot and tried to coax back the stray page. Photograph: Fusion Shooters

Seven-way discussion was never going to provide game-changing answers

Manifesto moment: Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the launch of the Fine Gael document. Photograph: The Irish Times

Fine Gael election manifesto launched in docklands amid much media matchmaking

Members of the Independent Alliance at Buswells Hotel yesterday: Shane Ross, Deirdre O’Donovan, Paul Gogarty, Tony Murphy, John Halligan, Marie Casserly, Feargal Quinn and Finian McGrath. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

The Independent Alliance wanted to nail down the unstable door before the horse bolted

Micheál Martin: Doggedly insisted  he’s still in the fight for the top job. He says he’ll be putting his name forward for taoiseach, when the time comes. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

If FF leader was in our faces any more than he is now he would face headbutting charges

High and mighty: Caroline Conroy, Ciaran Cuffe and Green party leader Eamon Ryan outline their transport plans for Dublin on an open-top bus, which was 40 minutes late. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Social Democrats launch in a whiskey museum, while Greens strangely choose a red bus

 Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, with Mary Lou McDonald TD and Cllr Rose Conway Walsh at the launch of Sinn Féin’s election manifesto in the Royal Irish Academy in  Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Gangland killings have shifted election focus away from where Sinn Féin wants it

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Emma Blain and her baby Matilda Macken at Airfield, Dundrum. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Some Dundrum mothers were not impressed at being asked to pipe down during the event

A sideways look at the election campaign

Labour leader Joan Burton and others arrive for the formal launch of the Labour Party  campaign held at the Bord Gáis Theatre, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Whatever about the letters, the Shinners had the fiscal space maths correct

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin talks  to butcher Ben Flynn while canvassing with local candidate Mary Butler in Waterford.  Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

After talking at length about polls, Fianna Fáil leader refuses to talk about polls

Taoiseach  Enda Kenny at the launch of the Fine Gael general election campaign  at the Alexander Hotel, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Opposition leaders knocked for six by the wash churning in Kenny’s wake

Dinny McGinley TD and Robert Dowds TD who are set to retire. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Miriam Lord: ‘Don’t make unnecessary promises,’ Teresa Mannion could shout as election looms

Tánaiste Joan Burton addresses the Labour Party conference: overall, her muted message suited the bland and unthreatening conference slogan: “Standing up for Ireland’s future.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

Heavy security but no hint of the ‘forest of placards’ predicted by Gilmore five years ago

Eamon Gilmore engages in traditional Colombian dance during a visit to Caloto by the EU envoy to the country’s peace process. Photograph: Christian Escobar Mora/EPA

A gasp-inducing poster, Eamon Gilmore dances while Enda Kenny orbits on campaign

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. File photograph: Eric Luke

Fianna Fáil leader stutters in the Dáil but there’s no sign of dissolving from Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: theatrical wink towards Dáil press gallery. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

‘The telescope is beginning to shorten,’ Enda Kenny tells House

 DrJames Reilly, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, at  Fine Gael’s 78th ardfheis, at Citywest Hotel, Dublin. “The only way we can win this election is by telling our story - over and over and over again,” he declared.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Deputy leader James Reilly tries to persuade party he is on to a winning story

Enda Kenny was told by Nobel prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz that “among the countries that had austerity, you did the best”

Taoiseach hits the Davos road with Nobel prizewinning US economist Joseph Stiglitz

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Giddy politicians are getting more and more difficult to control in dying days of this Dáil

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly: said  that if John Delaney wanted the people of Tipperary to vote for him, that was fine. But to say he was “actively canvassing” would be stretching it. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Anger as TDs are convinced FAI’s John Delaney was canvassing for his pal Alan Kelly

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Chris Wall arrives at the Requiem Mass of PJ Mara at St Mary’s Church, Haddington Road, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Political, media and business figures bid farewell to FF’s ‘showtime’ spin doctor

PJ Mara and  Charles Haughey: Mara’s star was inextricably linked to the fortunes of the former taoiseach – political and otherwise. Photograph: Maxwell’s

The FF strategist gave the impression he found the whole political thing a bit of a lark

It’s a fierce big job, sorting out the flooding, the Taoiseach explained to Dáil. “The answer to the problem is multi-faceted.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach floats on as Opposition attempts to bog him down in Shannon’s murky waters

Tánaiste Joan Burton displays awesome power and artistry when she executes a flawless dive from a small kayak into raging floodwater in Kilkenny before rapidly scrambling to dry land. Photograph:  Dylan Vaughan

FF are shaken, not stirred, by 007 O’Dea while FG cobble a government together

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny  and Tánaiste Joan Burton with Ministers in the courtyard at Dublin Castle for the results of the referendum on same-sex marriage. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The year saw same-sex marriage vote pass while Coalition began to consider divorce

John Perry: Leinster House veterans thought he was wasting his time on what could have been a catastrophically-expensive frolic. Photograph: Courtpix

Why John Perry shall go to the ball . . . or to the general election with Fine Gael

Simon Harris, Minister of the year: he’s been impressively combatant, competent and confident all year. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Harris may be only about 14, but he has performed with a maturity on difficult issues

 Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams: his fabled trip to Manhattan for medical treatment got another run-out.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dáil Sketch: Sinn Féin’s health strategy gets a laugh, but there’s time for serious issues

Enda Kenny: The Taoiseach  said that sometimes the experts don’t always get it right. ‘A lot of older people have great experience of drainage patterns,’ he mused.

Dáil sketch: No more news on the election but prepare to count calories in New Year

FF headquarters will be delighted to hear that O’Dea is mixing with the Rolls-Royce set. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

TD fails to secure Leinster House car parking place despite rolling up in Rolls-Royce

Independent TD Peter Mathews: feeling the pain of the Dáil sole trader. Photograph: David Sleator

TDs watch in disbelief as serial interrupter fails to get ejected by Ceann Comhairle

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin  and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the annual turning on of the christmas tree lights in Leinster House. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Kenny and Martin put those pesky political differences aside in pursuit of festive cheer

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Alex White, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, with party colleagues at a Labour event during the week. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Birthday bash for Kevin Bakhurst makes big news at RTÉ, while price of carpet is soft issue

Taoiseach Enda Kenny:  “Just because an election is on the way doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a rash of endless promises that cannot be met,” he said without the hint of a smirk. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

Dáil sketch: After years of short rations, the lid is off the national biscuit tin

Double act: “Put ’em up! Put ’em up! Just you and me, Enda! Mano a mano.”

Struggle in the interest of democracy and goes to . . . ‘heart of democratic revolution’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: a sentimental soul who likes tradition. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Whatever about Christmas, Leinster House is frozen by election speculation

Lucinda Creighton took to the plinth  to demand that the Government publish the advice it was given by the Attorney General, Máire Whelan, on the setting-up of the IBRC commission. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

A quiet week leads to Lucinda Creighton being asked bizarre Hitler question

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: “It’s extraordinary,” he said of Enda Kenny, “the degree to which you don’t engage in debate publicly”.

Dáil sketch: The 31st Dáil is a turkey. Stick a fork in it. It’s done

Princess Anne speaks with jockey AP McCoy after she officially opened the Princess Royal Grandstand during day one of The Open at Cheltenham raceourse, Cheltenham. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA Wire

TD Noel Coonan and Princess Anne have a great chat about horses over dinner

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: sat on his own, shipping dog’s abuse from Micheál Martin and not much better from Gerry Adams during Leaders’ Questions. Photograph: Collins

Gerry Adams rechristened Fine Gael’s famous Five Point Plan the ‘Five Point Scam’

Jimmy Deenihan: “It is abundantly clear that this House stands four square behind the French people in its time of national crisis”

Both Houses of the Oireachtas observe minute’s silence as mark of respect to victims of attacks in Paris

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