Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘I do not intend to call a general election until it is appropriate to do so.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

TDs and Senators load car boots as Taoiseach drops usual mention of election ‘next year’

Paul Murphy: “Minister Kelly is swaggering around the place like Nelson from The Simpsons, threatening to rob people’s lunch money.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach reminds Sinn Féin leader of his early support for contentious water charges

Gerry Adams TD: “In fairness, he was going to pay and he changed his mind,” said Fine Gael TD Ray Butler.

Taoiseach says he supports his Minister’s proposals for water charges, calling them a ‘modest contribution’

Lucinda Creighton: the luminous Woman in White at the launch of the new party Renua. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

At launch of new party, leader Lucinda Creighton vows to ‘govern in sunshine’

More than  30,000 republicans were involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland, any of whom could have been abusers, Pádraig MacLochlainn told Newstalk

Adams hurt at notion his party alone is taking the rap for turning blind eye to abuse

What should have been a good week for Adams post-ardfheis got off to a bumpy start

Ruth Coppinger: she asked would the Tánaiste deal “with the growing problem of the feminisation of poverty”

Tánaiste takes barbs in her stride as Ruth Coppinger goes on the attack

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett:  “Those who continue to shout here are not doing themselves any good.” So there. Photograph: Frank Miller

Deputies shouting and roaring, punctuated by the Ceann Comhairle’s ineffectual yelps – poor Gerry Adams can hardly hear himself gl(...)

Eamonn Coughlan: The Seanad’s own former Olympic athlete sent his best wishes to soon-to-be octogenarian Ronnie Delany. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

As the Coalition moves into the final phase of its term, positive announcements are beginning to roll

 Joan Burton:  The content of her speech was good. The emphasis was on Labour’s role in the recovery, with its implied staying hand on  Fine Gael. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste had clearly been voice-trained to within an inch of her bubbly personality

Artist Conor Casby’s portraits of Joan Burton, Enda Kenny and Denis O’Brien. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Portrait painter makes exhibition of eminent heads

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: the sight of him smirking and whispering to Frances Fitzgerald while the Opposition were asking serious questions deeply irritated them. Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Micheál Martin criticises Varadkar over his response to delayed discharges crisis

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: decision to axe Expressway routes ‘huge setback for citizens in rural Ireland’. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach snows SF leader under blizzard of detail on Expressway route changes

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny: “Hands up, with his fists quickly opening and snapping shut, he looked like he was being bothered by fruit flies.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Kenny gives polished performance as bouquets and brickbats fly at Fine Gael conference

The Taoiseach had a few figures of his own and he gave them straight to the Sinn Féin leader in the sort of form he likes best – an All-Ireland context.   Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Adams raises issue of salary increases for ministerial advisers with Taoiseach

Gerry Adams  welcomed “the emergence of the United Popular Front Against Sinn Féin, led by Micheál Martin, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Richard Boyd Barrett says Sinn Féin has helped bring about unity by austerity

A good smattering of TDs joined Gabrielle (Gab) McFadden to shooting the breeze in Irish in the Dáil this week.

Willie Walsh maintains holding pattern over Shannon

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter:  is “greatly concerned” the draft Bill hasn’t yet been published by his successor, Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Former minister has much to say about current affairs in Department of Justice

Clare Daly outside Leinster House following the defeat of the Fatal Foetal Abnormality Bill. Photograph: Fergal Phillips

Kenny invokes wisdom of Attorney General to shoot-down Clare Daly’s Bill

Right to left: Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett of Combilift, Tom Kelly of Enterprise Ireland,  Richard Bruton, Heather Humphreys, Senator Joe O’Reilly, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Seán Conlan and . . . Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin! Photograph: Photobomb

Humphreys gave schoolchildren day off while Varadkar gave tips on keeping pounds off

Nose for trouble: Gerry Adams. Photograph: Eric Luke

There’s an outbreak of twitching noses in the Dáil, and a few noses out of joint. Will there be a commission of inquiry into the s(...)

Enda Kenny: he and his Ministers “will feel shame each time they have to look upon Alan Shatter’s wistful, martyred face”. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Alan is causing ructions - thanks to him, the Ceann Comhairle nearly lost his job this week

Simon Coveney: Kenny didn’t spare the Minister for Agriculture’s blushes when he was late for the farmers. Three words, Enda: pot, kettle, black. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Simon Coveney arrived late for the Irish Farmers’ Association meeting, but Enda did milk it a bit

Mr Kenny sailed through Leaders’ Questions without shipping much damage. Photograph: Eric Luke

The nation stopped in its tracks and turned up the radio

Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett: challenged the quality of art and philosophy. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

It seems Kenny and Gilmore and their ministers stuck a paragraph into their programme for government to stop themselves spilling t(...)

Brian Cody addressed the troops at Joan Burton’s think-tank in Portlaoise. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Labour get lesson in teamwork from Brian Cody

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins:  said his party would be engaging in “a very robust campaign around the country” and was “fully behind”  the Yes vote. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

‘It’s strange when almost every politician is in favour of something’

‘While Gerry Adams and Mary Lou like playing hard to get, they aren’t categorically ruling out future advances.’ Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

As election draws near, the atmosphere is going to get more tense

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar with Miriam O’Callaghan in the RTÉ Radio Centre. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

For those aware of where Varadkar interview was heading it made for difficult listening

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and  Tánaiste Joan Burton  at a press conference on the outcome of their  Cabinet meeting  on jobs this week.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Creighton lines up breakfast briefing for female political journalists, a sort of ‘Ladies Who Launch’ event

Jonathan O’Brien said his brother had been “forced to go back into a hostel where drug-taking happens in front of him”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sinn Féin TD garners little sympathy after revealing his brother is a recovering addict

Back from the hols: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton. Photograph: Alan Betson

Jobs and jibes make for a serendipitous new year in Leinster House

Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin: has worked hard around the country building up the organisation while having to contend with a large awkward squad (particularly among Senators) within his small parliamentary party. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Labour is a tough old beast. It’ll be up to Joan to put the fight back into the party

Lucinda Creighton is looking to reboot Irish politics, while Shane Ross wants to uproot Irish politics. It’s enough to give anyone a pain in the hashtag. Photograph: Julien Behal.

A fascinating slow bicycle race is in full swing among our Independents

Sinn Féiner of the Year: Party leader Gerry Adams for holding onto his position for 31 years. Photograph: Alan Betson

See how Joan Burton, Enda Kenny, Gerry Adams, Micheál Martin and Mary Lou McDonald performed this year

Part of the water charges protest in Dublin earlier this month. ‘The Government seemed somewhat taken aback by the size of the marches and the depth of anger and disillusionment.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ongoing controversy over water charges has left the Coalition listing badly

   President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi definitely doesn’t want to make a date with the now-running banking inquiry. Photograph: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Mario Draghi was asked to appear, but he’s not inclined to - and there’s nothing Enda can do

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams felt obliged to remind Taoiseach Enda Kenny that he is “a player” and not merely a “junior partner” in the Northern Ireland negotiations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Kenny and Martin finally make up over issue of the mystery of the disappearing files

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: ball handling skills let him down during a nailbiting showdown in a local golf club. Photograph: Alan Betson

President and Minister have combined age of 144 – but it hasn’t slowed their gallop

On tap: John Carter from Drogheda, Co Louth, who was among the tens of thousands at the water protest in Dublin.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald receive cheers during water charge protest

“I love my country!” boomed Michael Ring. “To Inda Kinny and to Joan Burton, I want to say: CARRY ON!” At which stage he was carried out. Or at least, he should have been. Photograph: Frank Miller.

Early in the debate the Opposition had clearly written it off as a waste of time

 TD Jerry Buttimer: “His attendance was a symbolic gesture and sent a powerful message of support for what we are doing.” Photograph: Andres Poveda

Bishop of Elphin wonders what Enda Kenny was thinking attending a gay bar

Tánaiste Joan Burton (right) and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin. Photograph: Eric Luke

It’s getting TV-show hectic in Leinster House

Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald: brought up the dreaded Ansbacher accounts. Photograph: Collins

Give Mary Lou McDonald a mirror and she’d upstage herself

Gráinne Byrne and John Kelly pictured at a candlelight vigil outside the Dáil in response to the death on Molesworth street of Jonathan Corrie who was homeless. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Jonathan Corrie was not the first homeless person to die in Dublin, he won’t be the last

Lucinda Creighton: said she  was not from a political background and had no time for TDs who viewed politics almost as a family business Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Reform Alliance leader proposes a first: a party that will throw itself out of power

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: primary school pupils have “a far better view than Sinn Féin appear to have” on water charges. Photograph: Photocall

Noisy protests, water charges, and children from Monaghan who know better than their elders

Vincent Browne: “Oh, dear God, I couldn’t get out, I COULDN’T GET OUT!  What happened to Joan Burton is nothing compared to that stuff in there.”    Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Government in complete flap over deepening crisis, Opposition sensing blood and hard left believing Revolution finally about (...)

Mary Lou McDonald: went and ruined everything by announcing she wasn’t going to beat her way into the Dáil chamber, resume her sit-in and force the ushers to carry her out. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Leinster House in the 1970s sounds like great fun

Tánaiste Joan Burton: Trapped for over two hours in her car at the weekend by a baying mob and yesterday, trapped in the Chamber for over 40 minutes and fearing her ears were about to bleed. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

‘They were all ears - remorseful and ready to hear what representatives of the people had to say’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives at Government Buildings yesterday morning. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach faces anxious wait to see if water charge measures can restore calm

Maureen O’Sullivan: “There is a new drug on the streets now called ice, and it’s ravaging communities. The people working to help addicts and their families need more resources, not fewer.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Shane Ross found out it can sometimes be hard to spend a penny in Leinster House

Gerry Adams: delivered victim-centred reproach in response to allegations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

None in Dáil other than his followers bought the Sinn Féin leader’s defence

Joe Higgins: said Enda Kenny had to be protected by gardaí as a result of popular discontent.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

There are only seven more sleepless nights until Enda Kenny tells all

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton  arriving at the Fr Frank Brown photography exhibition  in Farmleigh yesterday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The ICA ladies were disappointed that they didn't get to meet the Taoiseach in Leinster House. Luckily, a well-known comedy impre(...)

Mick Wallace: Independent asked why Irish Water would not be responsible for dealing with pollution, flooding or storm water. Photograph: Alan Betson

For a man who has called for ‘clarity and certainty’, Enda Kenny made a poor job of it

Gerry Adams: told Taoiseach he walked on Saturday in the protests against water charges. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Joan Collins claims water charge is Government’s poll tax and will bring down Kenny

The scene on O’Connell Street on Saturday as thousands flocked to the city to demonstrate against water charges. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

There were parades and fancy dress, but there was also anger on the streets

Zombie banks, dead flies and Fran from Love/Hate – ‘The Guarantee’ is Nightmare on Kildare Street, without the spine-tingling sus(...)

Miriam Lord outside Leinster House, where she has worked for ‘The Irish Times’ since 2006. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Her columns, and now book, help bring the Dáil to life for ‘Irish Times’ readers but Miriam Lord insists she is no pundit

Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader put Sinn Féin leader in spotlight over Cahill allegations

Gerry Adams: getting a chilly response. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Usual suspects refrain from heckling, aware of sensitivity of the subject

Senator Marc MacSharry snapped at Senator Mary White, when interrupted:
“You’re an ignorant goat.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan swamped by fans in Dail bar – and by Tánaiste

Concerns that the increase on cigarette prices will lead to increased criminality leading to it being called a “Nidge” tax.

David Norris gives them chapter and verse over Wilde ways

A man sits on barriers erected to keep demonstrators away from Leinster House during the announcement of the 2015 Budget

It’s a PR budget from the Corner Boys - P is for Prudent and R is for Responsible

Newly elected TD Michael Fitzmaurice pictured with Sinn Féin candidate, Martin Kenny. Photograph: Brian Farrell

There was a good crowd – lots of men with huge arms and farmers’ tans

Gerry Adams: was under the impression on Monday that he wouldn’t be caught for any charges. File photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Adams in good mood for someone who has just found out he has to pay water charges

The Taoiseach, canvassing for Cllr Maura Hopkins with Joe Dolan of the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon,  and Frank Feighan TD. Photograph: Brian Farrell

The Taoiseach is too rapid a canvasser for any dissent to catch up

Former MEP Paul Murphy of the Anti-Austerity Alliance canvassing in Tallaght yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

As frontrunners Cathal King and Paul Murphy slug it out, the other candidates in Dublin South West are in danger of drowning

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar:  taking in view from Hawkins House penthouse, though he’s not planning to leave Dublin 15.

Health Minister reaches dizzy new heights of Hawkins House

European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan speaks before the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the EU Parliament in Brussels yesterday

It soon became clear he had done his homework. He was impressively well-prepared

Foul humour? Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke

A sick and tired Taoiseach tries to explain the inner workings of Fine Gael

Taoiseach Enda Kenny first accepted “full responsibility” for Whatever It Is last Friday, changing his plea from innocent to guilty in the space of 24 hours

Whatever that sin might be, the Taoiseach remains remarkably unaware of what it is. But he has apologised nonetheless

Tadhg Kilbride (2), from Dunshaughlin, Co Meath on the third and final day of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co Laois. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach’s senior conventional stroke was a lively addition to the Ploughing

Gerry King (left) from Dunleer, Co Louth, ploughing in the senior horse section, watched by his son Gerard  at the National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Eric Luke

Almost 125,000 turn up at Carter family farm in Co Laois for day two of ‘the Ploughing’

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: has only to grin sideways at the Opposition to send the Fine Gael  troops into paroxysms of laughter.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Dáil Sketch: deadpan Minister for Finance targets Sinn Féin ‘red-line issues’

Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Eric Luke

Dáil sketch: A new season starts but the transfer window remains open

Labour leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton  during the Labour Party  think-in  at Whites Hotel, Wexford. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Burton’s leadership style impresses as think-in a fairly relaxed and pleasant affair

Chin wag: Labour party members pose for a group photo at Whites Hotel In Wexford. “When you shoot people from above, it tends to eliminate double chins,” explained a photographer. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Whatever about its think-in, Labour grabbed the prize for the cheesiest family photo

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Health Minister Leo Varadkar converse over a cup of tea on the final day of the Fine Gael think-in at Fota Island Resort in Co Cork. Photograph: Barbara Lindberg

Miriam Lord stalks the corridors of the Fota Island Hotel in Cork at the Fine Gael think-in

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Eoghan Murphy TD, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD and Senator Catherine Noone take a selfie at the Fine Gael event in Fota Island resort yesterday. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Miriam Lord: Forget the Five Point Plan – the 94 Initiatives are where it’s at now

The gifts offered at Albert Reynolds’s funeral Mass the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook yesterday. Photograph: Maxwells

Gifts offered by the former taoiseach’s grandchildren summed up his full life

Taoiseach Albert Reynolds in talks with the SDLP  in 1992, (from left):  deputy leader Seamus Mallon MP, leader John Hume and Eddie McGrady MP at Government Buildings. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Achievements, not least his role in the peace process, a fine legacy for such a short spell at the top

Ivor Callely: A pathetic closing chapter for the man who dreamed ridiculously big, but behaved like a small-time political shyster. Photograph: David Sleator

From the moment he landed in Leinster House as a backbench TD, he adopted the swagger of success

Tánaiste Burton   with former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore. He went quietly, but Pat Rabbitte fought an entertaining rearguard action. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

We can’t let our representatives go on a very long summer break without acknowledging their outstanding contribution

Frank is on track to become Fine Gael’s version of Bertie Ahern. Photograph: North West Newspix

Miriam Lord: In terms of news interest Burton was relegated to second by Frank Flannery

We can picture it perfectly: Enda, with the usual grin, holding his charity docket up to the camera and betting on a Mayo win. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill

As Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty helpfully pointed out, a law passed in 1931 makes it illegal to advertise the odds of any football m(...)

Nobody was spared this Hitchcockian nightmare as the birds attacked.  And what was particularly galling for the politicians is that there was no pecking order.

Seanad told Dublin seagulls have lost the run of themselves completely

 Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring with  Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe   on Dame Lane, Dublin, during the announcement that Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Dublin’s tourism industry want to give Garth Brooks fans a weekend to remember in July.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Miriam Lord: Enda Kenny skips off to Brussels after saying he has every confidence in Joe McHugh’s language skills

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton greet Michael Ring  as he joins fellow ministers of State on the steps of Government Buildings yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Kenny overlooked his female TDs’ claims for junior ministries

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton at the first Cabinet meeting of newly appointed Ministers yesterday. Photograph: Alan Betson

The long-awaited reshuffle brings just the barest structural alterations

Joan Burton takes her first Opposition Leaders’ Questions as Tánaiste

A real crisis has finally hit: how to get a country star on to centre stage

Ruairí Quinn: following Leaders’ Questions, he was seen in the chamber receiving hugs and kisses from his Labour colleagues. Photograph: Frank Miller

Pleas about ‘Garret’ resound as Cabinet meeting gets emotional

Lucinda Creighton: As she sees it, the job of European commissioner should not be “a matter of patronage or rewarding those leaving the Oireachtas or Cabinet”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

SF parties on at the Áras; but Mick Wallace seems to have sambaed out of town

These are the moments in the tough world of politics when public and private collide

Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, but for how much longer?

Rabbitte was raging against the dying of the ministerial light

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