‘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(...)

‘Brian Crowley MEP always resented efforts by Mount Street apparatchiks and senior party figures to manage the vote between candidates in the European elections.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Opinion: Fianna Fáil MEP is most successful Irish election candidate ever

‘On the week in which Jeremy Paxman retires from his role presenting the BBC flagship Newsnight programme it is worth reflecting on whether that aggressive style of political interviewing actually serves the viewer and the process of democratic debate.’  Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA

Opinion: Conflict makes for more dramatic television than the calm exchange of ideas

‘The first election of the recession was the 2009 local elections in which Sinn Féin got almost exactly the same vote as it got in 2004 and Mary Lou McDonald lost her European Parliament seat.’ Above, McDonald canvassing for the 2009 elections with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Opinion: Party did not get immediate electoral bounce out of the economic downturn

‘In the next few months Enda Kenny has to develop a new relationship with a new Labour leadership and seek to calm Labour nerves.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Opinion: Kenny’s Coalition management skills now look ropey

Opinion: Many of the Independent councillors were endorsed by their local Independent TD

‘SIPO used the occasion to draw attention again to the limited nature of the information which the parties are required to provide.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

Opinion: Sipo renewed its call for legislative change to require parties to publish full accounts

‘The centrepiece of this week’s  political confetti was a media event hosted by Brendan Howlin on Tuesday to itemise initiatives which will benefit from the Stimulus Package.’  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Opinion: Trumpeting future spending is seen as the best defence against mood of anger

‘The Secretary General of the Department of Justice was asked by the Taoiseach, rather than the Minister for Justice, to visit the Garda Commissioner who then resigned the following morning.’ Above,   Alan Shatter  with Commissioner Martin Callinan during Templemore Garda College  50th anniversary celebrations earlier this year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opinion: As a minister, he squandered political capital on needless spats

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