‘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

‘Micheál Martin  (above) would be gone as leader if there were any obvious successor who could guarantee improving fortunes. There is no such person in the current parliamentary party.’  Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘In the newly arrived era of recovery politics Fianna Fáil is finding it difficult to decide which way to turn’

 ‘Ireland managed to exit the Troika bailout relatively early because government fiscal policy was operating to a strict four-year economic plan. Now 10 months later the Government is about to launch its first post bailout budget without any detailed overall economic road map.’ Above, Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance at the announcement of the bailout exit. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: ‘The Government is about to launch its first post bailout budget without any detailed overall economic road map’

‘Enda Kenny’s newly apologetic stance is convoluted. He sounds like a penitent rattling off the “Bless me father for I have sinned . . .” mantra but then refusing to say what sins he seeks absolution for while simultaneously blaming some lads he was with for leading him astray.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: Taoiseach’s avoidance of media debate on McNulty affair is part of a pattern

‘On his own motion or having being persuaded by some apparatchik, Enda Kenny ignored the all-female shortlist and instead decided to bestow the Seanad seat on John McNulty.’

Opinion: ‘This walks, talks and looks like a stroke. It was stroke. Fine Gael should have the decency to stop digging’

 North’s First Minister Peter Robinson insists Stormont institutions are not fit for purpose.   Photograph:  Arthur Allison.

O’Loan warns of peace processes unravelling

‘We can expect more public clashes between Leo Varadkar (aove) and the Taoiseach and indeed between Varadkar and other Cabinet colleagues in the weeks and months ahead as tensions rumble about his straight-talking, they would say self-serving, style.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Opinion: Is it any wonder Leo Varadkar spoke out on health spending and the budget?

“It’s showtime,” were PJ Mara’s opening words at the launch of the 2002 general election campaign. It was a signature moment in an era of boom-time auction politics.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Opinion: Ministers’ signals of tax cuts have fuelled voter expectations

Demonstrators at a pro choice protest in Dublin earlier this month.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘The ground has shifted in the last 12 years but not in the direction the pro-life side would like or to the extent the pro-choice(...)

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