‘The Committee Stage of a Bill in the Seanad does not normally attract a big amount of interest, but there were high hopes of fireworks at the debate on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.’

There were high hopes of fireworks during the Seanad debate on the alcohol Bill

FF chief Micheál Martin let the cat out of the bag last week while Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty had her sights set on any monkey business. But Mattie McGrath proclaimed himself disgusted

Dáil Business Committee has no business thinking that it can guide Dáil business

David McCullagh launched the biography about Douglas Hyde, written by Brian Murphy.

Bawdy touch from Myles na gCopaleen adds life to Fianna Fáil-flavoured book launch

Leo Varadkar takes Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Francis Fitzgerald are out of the country. Screengrab: Oireachtas TV

Leo’s Leaders’ Questions: FF’s Billy Kelleher says ‘that was a reasonably good first audition’

Kevin “Boxer” Moran: groundbreaking address elicited an emotional response from the skeleton crew of TDs rostered on the late shift. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Independent Alliance TD’s maiden speech will come as relief to his constituents

While Michael Healy-Rae was fit to be tied, Simon Coveney eyed the middle way but Gerry Adams favoured the back-seat drive. Photographs: The Irish Times

Nothing like a procedural row, but maybe it’s less not more time they need in Dáil Éireann

Senator David Norris on Budget 2017: “I think it is a complete and utter waste of time. It has been leaked for weeks.”

Senator David Norris declares himself “bored senseless” by Budget 2017 until talk turns to pay

  Enda Kenny: the Taoiseach  welcomed   EU chief negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier to Government Buildings on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

House updated on Government’s assessment of future consistency of the Border

 Minister  for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at a photocall to present Budget 2017 at Government Buildings. Photograph: Eric Luke

It took over three hours, after the speechifying began, for a properly critical response

Tom Neville succeeded his father Dan in Leinster House this year. We hear he has been listed as a finalist in the “One Minute Monologue” at the film festival  in Limerick.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Leinster House’s best-dressed male TD is also in contention for the best actor award

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have been telling the Dáil about the “plight” of two Garda whistleblowers and how the force has treated them as pariahs. Photograph: The Irish Times

Tenacity of Clare Daly and Mick Wallace resurfaces in long-running Garda saga

One of the travelling troika – Michael Healy-Rae, IndependentTD. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Choices for our European Affairs Committee mean that we’ve nothing to worry about

‘Yes Minister’ stars Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Eddington and Derek Fowlds.

A retiring secretary general recalls a ‘Yes Minister’-style intervention

‘Taoiseach Enda Kenny was most anxious to reflect ‘the new political landscape’ by breaking old political news.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

When the Taoiseach whips out his little jotter, you know he means business

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams told the Dáil chamber “my teddy bears are virgins”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Bizarre day as Dáil hears about Kama Sutra, bananas and . . . virgin teddy bears

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “The T-shirts might be black with the writing in white but this is about people and they’ve all got different views.”

Kenny gets one thing right when confronted about repealing Eighth Amendment

People Before Profit/Anti-Austerity Alliance Oireachtas group: ‘How about a picture in front of the four-star Hilton?’ Photograph: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Greens saved on emissions, PBP/AAA saved face, while FF saved the best till last

Simon Coveney, who is Rebuilding Ireland with his action plan, which is “rolling, changing and improving”

There were five ‘pillars’ to the homeless plan. Four walls and a roof suffice for most people

On the nose: Taoiseach Enda Kenny with ploughing champion Brian Mahon, Michelle Mahon and their baby daughter Chloe, from  Blueball, Co Offaly, at the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan, Co Offaly. Photograph: Eric Luke

This year the ploughing championships are seeing a larger than usual plague of politicians

Taoiseach Enda kenny TD at the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Meeting in Keadeen Hotel Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Whiff of Kenny’s M-word lingered through Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Meeting

Sinn Féin tried to liven things up by holding a lunchtime protest on Kildare Street. It was sparsely attended, rather like the proceedings inside. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

No sense of urgency or excitement as Leinster House inched towards novelty vote

The funeral of Alan Hawe (41), his wife Clodagh (39) and their sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) at St Mary’s Church, Castlerahan, Co Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

An unbelievable, devastating event in Cavan has gripped the nation by the heart

Joel Thomas (5) from Baldoyle was delighted to have his boxing gloves signed by returning Olympic Irish boxer Paddy Barnes. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Family and friends turn out for a loving but low-key welcome

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan speaking to media on Olympic Games tickets controversy yesterday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dáil Sketch: Minister for Sport happy to share responsibility after tough trip to Rio

Minister for Sport  Shane Ross is on a mercy dash to Brazil because it is his duty “to try and raise the morale of what is a very depleted Irish team”. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Government begins second century as Winston Churchtown rides to rescue in Rio

Taoiseach Enda Kenny gets the Gerry Adams longevity award for hangin’ in for a second term, though he looks like he’s feeling the pressure here. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Who was best Minister? Best politician? Biggest disappointment? Cutest hoor?

Athletico Kildare Street. Back row: Eamon Ryan, Brendan Griffin, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Alan Farrell, Jim O’Callaghan and Michael Binchy BL. Front row: Alan Crann BL, Tom Neville, Frankie Feighan, Neale Richmond and Will Reidy BL.

TDs and Senators played off the soccer pitch by legal eagles on the hottest day of the year

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with French President François Hollande at a press conference in Government Buildings  yesterday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

François Hollande sympathises with Irish press corps as TDs and Senators begin recess

Willie Penrose: quoted a stellar list of homegrown performers who are in favour of his Bill.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Labour TD talks of ‘impromptu concert’ to launch Bill on Irish music quotas

 Simon Coveney during the launch of the Government’s new Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness:  he clearly wants it to work and will do all he can to pull together and implement the various strands of his plan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister has worked so hard on strategy to revitalise ‘The Country of Eternal Plans’

Former minister for health Dr James Reilly. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Senators maintain collective amnesia over ‘stand-up row’ in the Leinster House pub

“We left our shillelaghs at the door beside the umbrellas, still marvelling at the supernatural genius of Michael Noonan’s little mandarins who managed to switch on a rainbow over Merrion Street for us.” File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘Supernatural genius of Noonan’s mandarins who switched on rainbow over Merrion Street’

German chancellor Angela Merkel with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Berlin on Tuesday. After some poor judgment calls last week, murmurings of discontent about  Kenny’s leadership became uncomfortably loud. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

With the Taoiseach in Berlin, Frances Fitzgerald hosted a musical Leaders’ Questions

Due to an unfortunate oversight, we understand the hotel that hosted the Fine Gael ladies lunch was not given the instruction to limit the free drink to a bottle of red and a bottle of white per table.

Flanagan in salute to green jersey while Varadkar shows form in leadership race

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the water commission was a ‘fig leaf’ for Fianna Fáil. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Sinn Féin leader uses Leaders’ Questions to have a go at both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael

Former  minister Alan Kelly Minister: When he said “understandings”, he held up two crooked fingers on either side of his head and wiggled them, indicating quotation marks. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ex-minister accuses TDs of having understandings and agreements with Government

Michael Healy-Rae: “I’ve been in B29 since February of 2011 and that’s where I’ll stay until somebody tells me I have to leave. But no somebody from Fianna Fáil is going to do it.” Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Kerry TD refuses to give up seat in dispute delaying return of electronic voting in Dáil

 Mick Wallace: in full voice after the Euros,  he brought a croaky calm to Dáil proceedings. Photograph: Eric Luke

Government Buildings appears wedded to the idea of forming committees

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

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