It was noticeable in the television debate that Joan Burton  and Enda Kenny performed like a team with complementary messages. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

The absence of an overwhelming argument for change should give those campaigning for continuity the advantage in the final days

TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton and Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Testy exchanges between Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach during TV3 debate

Outgoing Minister for Children James Reilly said Fine Gael wanted to give parents more quality time with their children and that was why the party planned to provide an additional eight weeks’ parental leave, to be taken by either parent in the first year of the child’s life. File photograph: Getty Images

Party pledges €2,000 annual childcare subsidy for young aged 9 months to 3 years if re-elected

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin candidate Chris MacManus meeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Collooney, Co Sligo. Photograph: James Connolly

Much for Fianna Fáil to consider before it might enter coalition as junior partner

Tánaiste Joan Burton calls on Sinn Féin to withdraw its manifesto pledge to  get rid of  jury-free court. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams says everybody entitled to a jury of their peers

Tánaiste Joan Burton and Abi Boxshall (2), from Lucan, at the  launch of Standing Up For Families, Labour’s plan for quality and affordable childcare. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Vital to provide low-cost quality childcare for all under-12s, says Tánaiste

Tanaiste Joan Burton with Abi Boxshall (2) from Lucan during the official launch of Standing Up For Families, Labour’s plan for quality and affordable childcare. at Labour Press Centre in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

SF leader says position on Special Criminal Court hyped out of proportion

Minister of State for Finance Simon Harris: said  there were about 60,000 parents in the welfare system who had difficulty making the transition to work because of the disincentives. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Simon Harris outlines plan to make work pay

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly signed the order for the Seanad election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Polling to close for five vocational panels on April 25th and for two university panels on April 26th

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  during a Fine Gael press conference in Dublin. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Minister hits back at criticism that party’s economic plan is not responsible

Poll position: election posters outside Government Buildings. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Micheal Martin kicked off smartly for Fianna Fáil with a number of crisp media interviews

Some 45 per cent of the new jobs created over the past five years came directly from exports,  Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Richard Bruton stresses need to increase export trade to support new jobs

A substantial majority of voters say the formation of a government is not their priority when deciding how to vote, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Analysis: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll reveals electorate’s prerogatives

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin canvassing with local candidate Mary Butler in Waterford. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll reveals only 30% of voters want Coalition re-elected

Tánasite Joan Burton has made a commitment to increase the minimum wage by some €2 an hour if Labour is returned to government after the election. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Joan Burton expects voters to back her party in good numbers to keep recovery going

Taoiseach  Enda Kenny  with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, before addressing Fine Gael candidates and supporters in Dublin. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Election 2016: Poll shows Fine Gael is losing ground while Labour remains static

A number of Labour figures have already pointed to Michael McDowell’s climb up a lamppost in Ranelagh in 2002  PHOTOGRAPH - FRANK MILLER

The problem both Coalition parties face is that their core message is stability and continuity to keep the recovery going. Too muc(...)

Fine Gael seems to be getting little traction from its message that the choice facing the country is stability or chaos. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Behind the key numbers are splits in support across geographic areas and social class

Minister For Health Leo Varadkar told colleagues that Fine Gael, if returned to power after the general election, would introduce strict new waiting time targets. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Kenny to seek to have Dáil dissolved and set general election date

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan: ‘It is in the interest of Ireland, the UK itself, and of the European Union that the UK decide to remain an active member of our union.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Irish Government gives cautious welcome to proposal published by EC president Tusk

President Michael D Higgins: Essential services must not become a political football in the election campaign. Photograph: PA

Launch of ethics initiative at Áras a stark reminder of past failures in lead up to crash

Election 2016: Tánaiste Joan Burton made a series of pledges at her party’s annual conference, including helping first-time house buyers if Labour is returned to office. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Labour Party will provide State aid up to €6,000 for first-time house buyers – Burton

The charge for green bins was initially due to be implemented last summer, but was postponed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Lower bills will come to those who separate waste properly and increase recycling

Charlie Flanagan: “The Government is proud to work closely with civil society in building a brighter future for the people of this island”

Funding has been allocated to range of community organisations in the Border region and North to promote peace

Labour Party leader Joan Burton pictured with Alan Kelly TD (left) and election candidate Carrie Smyth at the Labour Party conference in Mullingar today. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Tánaiste unveils series of election pledges including USC reform if party is re-elected

Voters’ thoughts: some of what members of the focus group said. Illustration: Malte Mueller/fStop/Getty/ITPM

Weekend Read: With the general election looming, ‘The Irish Times’ assembled a focus group. The findings make grim reading for pol(...)

The change of leadership from Eamon Gilmore to Joan Burton  has done nothing to restore Labour’s fortunes. If anything it worked to reinforce the view that the party’s tenure in office has been a failure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Since the foundation of the state Labour has averaged around 10 per cent of the vote in elections and about the same percentage of(...)

In its statement, it says: “Aosdána believes that the Taoiseach personally and the Government as a whole should oversee and control the project.”

Aosdána says planning and architectural quality should be the heart of €7.5bn Dublin development plan

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch has said ‘serious consideration’ must be given to establishing a commission of inquiry into allegations of abuse at a foster care home in Waterford.

Circumstance involves woman allegedly abused in southeast care home

Dermot Gleeson: “Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the document – it does not appear to have survived.” Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

Former chairman of bank thought it would be confined to pillar banks

Up to 330,000 residents of Ireland will be entitled to a postal vote in the upcoming Brexit referendum. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Up to 330,000 residents are entitled to vote on whether the UK should leave the EU

Wooing voters with unrealistic or dangerous promises devalues the strongest card in the party’s hand

FG never better placed going into an election – but events can derail the best-laid plans

A file image of PJ Mara from 1983. He was Charles Haughey’s press officer and confidant in the 1980s and Bertie Ahern’s director of elections for each of the three-in-a-row victories between 1997 and 2007. File photograph: Peter Thursfield/The Irish Times

‘PJ Mara doesn’t so much do a job as weave a spell. His social skills are described in terms approaching awe’

The timing of President Michael D Higgins’s holiday has fuelled speculation that Taoiseach Enda Kenny will ask him to dissolve the Dáil before February 14th. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Higgins given leave to travel to Lanzarote in Canaries between February 14th and 24th

Taoiseach Enda Kenny:  advised against taking any steps that would conflict  directly with the separation of powers. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Constitutional Convention wants economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights enshrined

Long serving Oireachtas official Peter Finnegan has been appointed clerk of Dáil Éireann and secretary general of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service.

Long serving Oireachtas official has been filling role on temporary basis for over a year

Former High Court judge Kevin O’Higgins (above) has for the past 11 months been examining  allegations made by Sgt Maurice McCabe about the conduct of nine Garda investigations between 2007. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Cabinet agrees to extension to April 29th after commission was due to report next month

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking to media on progress made in relation to the Agreed Programme for Government at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Developers’ potential legal action over banking inquiry could affect timing of poll

Tanaiste Joan Burton got a good ducking in her over eagerness to be seen to show concern in Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan.

Politicians do themselves no favours by pandering to notion that their appearance at flood scenes does any good

Patrick Connolly, attorney general during the time of the Malcolm Macarthur murder case.

Patrick Connolly resigned over Macarthur controversy in 1982

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: said the three measures taken together represented a significant shift in power from the Government to the Oireachtas. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Opposition says Government political reform measures not going far enough

The Government has decided to proceed immediately with a number of political reforms including the election of the next Ceann Comhairle by secret ballot. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘Steps a significant shift in power from the Government to the Oireachtas,’ Kenny says

Taoiseach expected to seek approval for the change, which will come into effect for the first sitting of the new Dáil after the forthcoming general election. Photograph: The Irish Times

Move proposed by Constitutional Convention marks fundamental change in Dáil practice

Michael McHugh being moved from Louth hospital by members of the Garda taskforce before he was charged with the murder of Sgt Patrick Morrissey. Photograph: Tom Conachy

Cabinet thinking on Michael McHugh revealed in Michael Noonan’s memo

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, writing in 1985, said: “The content of that statement was grossly defamatory.”  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

State Papers: Hardiman said action was based on accusations of him acting ‘maliciously’

Karen Gearon, shop steward of the striking Dunnes Stores workers, receiving a cheque for $1,000 from Seán Mac Bride, on behalf of the Irish-American Trade Union Coalition, in Dublin in May 1985. Photograph: Tom Lawlor

Determined efforts by employers’ body and ICTU failed to achieve resolution

Garret FitzGerald and Margaret Thatcher sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

State Papers 1985: Taoiseach’s view sought just weeks after Anglo-Irish Agreement

  Ted Nealon pours tea for  actors Marie Mullen, Siobhán McKenna and Mary McEvoy. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

State Papers 1985: Accounts dilemma as guests exceed wine quota at arts reception

SDLP team, from left: Seamus Mallon, Joe Hendron,  Eddie McGrady and  John Hume. Photograph: Jack McManus

State Papers 1985: Reports noted tensions between Seamus Mallon and John Hume

Lord Gowrie (centre) speaks in Dublin at the National Museum, alongside Charles  Haughey and  Dr Pat Wallace

State Papers 1985: Member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet warned of eavesdropping

Labour Party politicians Alex White (left), John Lyons, Joan Burton and Kevin Humphreys celebrate the outcome of the same sex marriage referendum at the count centre at the RDS. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

2015 News Review: Economy trumps all others as issue that will have bearing on election

Divisive isssue: A protester at the Roscommon hospital demonstration outside Leinster House. Photograph: The Irish Times

Fine Gael TD warned not to attend neighbour’s funeral as he would not be welcome

Sinn Féin leader Adams at the annual turning on of the Christmas Tree lights in Leinster House. Photograph: The Irish Times

Sinn Féin chief Gerry Adams opens party to criticism after ‘good republican’ statement

The sight of Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Ann Phelan piloting a piece of legislation through committee and final stages all on her own drew some adverse comment in the media but Government and Opposition TDs were unrepentant about abandoning the chamber

Some signs that panic is beginning to take hold in the Labour ranks as TDs head for their constituencies

 President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, at his office in the Four Courts in Dublin. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns issues warning to courts on final day on the bench

Sport to be put forward for list of world’s intangible cultural heritage

Medically supervised facility was proposed by Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

The Government is to abolish the exemption for underage marriages. File photograph: Getty Images

Government agrees to abolish marriage exemption for those under the age of 18

The notion that corruption is rife across the political system because of the dubious behaviour of a few needs to be challenged, not simply because it is wrong but because it has the capacity to further erode confidence in our democracy.

Array of forces have vested interested in undermining public confidence in established political parties

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Spending and Reform: “It’s not unusual for an economy that fell as far as ours did to have an initial bounce-back that is little short of spectacular.” Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Debt as a proportion of GDP on track to fall to about 1.7%, below original target of 2.7%

Standards in public office: “Reform is overdue.” Photograph: Getty Images

Key element of the promised Bill to be the establishment of a standards commissioner

Mr Kenny’s address will follow the completion of work by the party’s national strategy committee chaired by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: The Irish Times

Speculation mounts that MEP Brian Hayes will be named as party’s director of elections

Hard evidence: Over the past year the committee chaired by Labour TD Ciarán Lynch heard 413 hours of testimony and received 42,000 documents about the State’s financial collapse. Photograph: Thinkstock

Despite shortcomings, inability to ‘name and shame’ does not invalidate findings

The Labour leadership has made the tactical decision to campaign unambiguously for a return of the Coalition. Photograph: DAVE MEEHAN

Nine per cent of the vote will see it in government for a second term

Asked what proportion of the country’s wealth is owned by the wealthiest 1 per cent, Irish people said 40 per cent while the actual figure is 27 per cent. Photograph: Getty Images

Solid knowledge of fundamental facts revealed as Ireland trails only South Korea

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government was prepared to send additional Irish troops to Mali to relieve French soldiers who may be sent to fight Islamic State. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Seventy per cent of Labour voters support security action to assist France

The GPO on O’Connell Street in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Sinn Féin supporters the only group saying not enough is being done to mark the event

“One of Enda Kenny’s great advantages as a politician is that he has been so consistently underestimated by his political opponents and derided by an array of commentators ever since he became leader of Fine Gael in 2002.”  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

One way or another Kenny has defused a potentially divisive and damaging internal issue for Fine Gael.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD photographed during the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Taoiseach pledges constitutional review of Eighth Amendment if he is re-elected

Most Irish voters want UK to stay in EU, a new Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll reveals.

Support for Cameron’s reform plans including opposition to free movement of labour

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron: poll shows a majority of voters in Ireland support some of the key changes in the way the EU operates being sought by him. Photograph:  Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Majority back Ireland staying in EU even if UK exits, says Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll

The number of Dáil seats has been cut from 166 to 158 and the number of constituencies from 43 to 40. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Boundary changes make 2016 election result even more difficult to call than usual

Labour decline means Coalition faces uphill battle to secure second term

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Fianna Fáil’s lack of Dublin support means it will struggle to take seats in the capital

Joan Burton: secured a supplementary estimate of €299 million so the Christmas bonus can be paid. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Lures include property tax frozen until 2019 regardless of sector price changes

Deadline for getting on amended version of draft register of electors is Wednesday

Billy Kelleher: Fianna Fail  will  not go into coalition with Fine Gael or Sinn Féin and will not support a Fine Gael-led minority government from the outside. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

If the Coalition fails to hit the 70-seat mark the situation could get very messy

Pierre Vimont said the Middle East had had to cope with a refugee crisis long before the current conflict in Syria. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Co-ordinated European action now imperative to deal with the issue, advises envoy

“Following recent violence and reports on the activity of paramilitary groups, Fianna Fáil called for the reintroduction of a paramilitary monitoring commission and the establishment of a properly resourced cross-Border agency to deal with organised crime. Both of these suggestions have been accepted and we welcome this,” said Brendan Smith, Fianna Fáil spokesman on Border Region Development. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Stormont’s A Fresh Start agreement must not be another false start, says Fianna Fáil

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: “The research and the work done by the ESRI and others clearly indicates that the model that was studied is not affordable now or ever because of the very large premiums that would be imposed on families or the subsided that the exchequer would have to foot the bill for if we were to go down that route.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Leo Varadkar tells Cabinet scheme would increase health costs by €650m a year

 Peter Barry, then minister for foreign affairs,  in his office at Iveagh House in 1985. Photograph: Jack McManus

FitzGerald’s drive and relationshsip with Thatcher key to success, recalls Peter Barry

 Taoiseach Dr Gatret FtizGerald and the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Hillsborough Castle, Co Down. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Thirty years ago on Sunday November 15th, FitzGerald and Thatcher sealed deal at a press conference at which everything was sweetn(...)

Pat Carey at the Dublin City Count Centre at the RDS on during ther 2011 General Election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Carey’s reputation casually shredded without having been informed of complaint

IBRC inquiry: The Government has been told that even if Mr Justice Brian Cregan is granted the extra legal powers he believes are required to pursue the inquiry, he will need another judge to assist him. Photograph: The Irish Times

Mr Justice Brian Cregan says duration of inquiry up to eight years without appointment

The four key areas identified by British prime minister David Cameron as requiring EU reform were protection of the single market, boosting competitiveness, exempting Britain from even closer union, and restricting the rights of EU migrants to work-related benefits such as tax credits. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Seeking to restrict EU migrants’ rights to work-linked benefits seen as problematic

Very careful monitoring is needed  to ensure that a massive gap between tax and spending doesn’t suddenly open up,  once again requiring another bout of savage retrenchment measures. Above, Taoiseach, Enda Kenny Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Gearing up to repeat the mistakes of the past

The Standards in Public Office Commission has issued a damning report into the behaviour of Longford County Council chief executive Tim Caffrey. Photograph: Willie Farrell

Tim Caffrey broke ethics rules when he failed to disclose interest in property, Commission finds

Fianna Fáil’s Colm Keaveney’s query came in the wake of court proceedings taken by Denis O’Brien claiming that public relations company Red Flag had compiled a false and defamatory dossier about him. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Oireachtas issues statement detailing IT security systems used to protect material

A diesel laundering plant uncovered by the Revenue and Garda earlier this year in Co Monaghan

Minister for Foreign Affairs says tackling cross-Border crime in any new pact is vital

“In order to survive Labour TDs will have to get enough first preference votes to keep their heads above water for long enough to benefit from transfers.”

There is a long tradition going back almost half a century of transfers between Fine Gael and Labour.

Former taoiseach Charles Haughey takes up his position as Chairman of the National Gallery of Ireland foundation in 1996. From the exhibition of Eamon Farrell’s work “Charles Haughey: power, politics and public image” at the Gallery of Photography.

Long-time press photographer captured some of most revealing images of politician

The majority of delegates at a Fianna Fáil selection convention at the Longford Arms Hotel objected strongly on Thursday night when a woman was selected as the party’s candidate in the forthcoming general election at the direction of party headquarters. Image: Google Streetview

Delegates unhappy after woman selected to run in election at request of party chiefs

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald says delay of 20 months is considerable. Photograph: Eric Luke

Frances Fitzgerald concerned at backlog of terrorist cases, with delay of nearly two years

 Fianna Fáil spokesman on social protection Willie O’Dea. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Party proposes additional spending as part of reform plan for social welfare system

 Minister of State at the Department of Finance Simon Harris has announced a new tendering competition for public sector legal services.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Simon Harris wants to make it easier for smaller law firms to apply for public work

Pact with other anti-water campaigners makes perfect sense for Sinn Féin. Photograph: The Irish Times

Left-leaning arrangement could translate into extra seats for party via transfers

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Frances Fitzgerald to establish second Special Criminal Court due to case delays

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Construction federation backs Alan Kelly and criticises bank’s deposit regulations

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Micheál Martin’s response has put paid once and for all to talk of coalition

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy: “Irish Water should not be able to paint this as 830,000 people or 55 per cent having paid. That figure ignores all of those who paid the first bill but haven’t paid the second bill.”  Photograph: Gareth Chaney /Collins Agency

Paul Murphy says figures released represented ‘a masterclass in spin and misdirection’

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