‘At or near the top of government there have been some dramatic changes in personnel. We have a different Tánaiste   and a different leader of the Labour Party from this time last year.’    Above, Joan Burton. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

‘We may look back at 2014 as the year when, after initial tensions, Ireland shifted gently from civil war politics to a more typic(...)

‘The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll  suggests that the momentum is with the Yes side, this 80 per cent compares to 76 per cent Yes in polls by the same agency last October and 64 per cent Yes in polls by this agency in 2012. If proponents of this constitutional change want to win, however, they should ignore this and all previous polls on the issue.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Most of those who will vote will only engage at or near the end of the campaign’

‘Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael also know, however, that their vote could shrink below a point where even together they couldn’t form a government. Any doubt Fine Gael may have had about that will have been displaced by yesterday’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.’

Irish Times poll confirms Fine Gael’s best chance of staying in government after the next election is with Fianna Fáil

Fiona O’Malley with party president Michael McDowell, Bobby Molloy, PD leader Mary Harney and former leader Des O’Malley blow out the candles on the cake to mark the party’s 20 years in political life at their party HQ  in Dublin. Photograph: David Sleator

‘It would take a lot of political charisma and an impressive set of policies, not to mention lots of funding’

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly at Government Buildings Dublin, earlier this week. Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Opinion: ‘Even if Alan Kelly’s package does defuse the controversy about water it will not and cannot assuage the wider mood of a(...)

Brian Farrell chairing the 1982 televised debate on RTÉ between the then taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald (right) and the opposition leader Charles Haughey. Photograph: Paddy Whelan / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: ‘He had a deep sense of the democratic authority held by the people and assumed the role of being their voice in studio’ (...)

“It is interesting that the Fine Gael backbencher Eoghan Murphy (above) in his article on political reform here on Wednesday included an express call for the disbandment of the EMC and suggested its operation might be unconstitutional. He has a point.” Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Opinion: ‘The EMC has enhanced the role of unelected officials and advisers at the expense of those elected to govern’

‘The fact that the Government no longer has a majority in the Seanad raises the possibility that Senator Feargal Quinn’s legislation will get some traction.’ Photograph: Alan Betson, Irish Times

Opinion: Senator Feargal Quinn aims to reverse Irish Water’s new power

‘Fergus O’Dowd  said Irish Water would establish “local contact points”, would make an annual report to the Oireachtas . . . He has been demoted and has recently emerged as one of Irish Water’s most trenchant critics.’  Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Opinion: Deputies warned Government of ‘deeply flawed’ water Bill

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