‘Niall O’Dowd’s reminder and characterisation of Adams’s centrality to the peace process certainly served the interests of Sinn Féin, especially in the week that’s in it. There was no mention from the podiums in New York, or it seems the following day in Washington, of Adams’s recent troubles arising from how his party and the IRA responded to reports of child abuse.’ O’Dowd made his comments at the  Irish America Hall of Fame in New York, on Monday, at which former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke. Photograph:  EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT

At an annual St Patrick’s week lunch in New York this week at which Hillary Clinton was inducted into the Irish America Magazine’s hall of fame, publi(...)

‘Having carefully framed their terms of reference, the inquiry’s chairman Ciarán Lynch TD and his colleagues have settled down in their first module to a careful consideration of the context in which the banking and fiscal crisis arose.’  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

For a while now I had been meaning to look in on the banking inquiry. It was only earlier this week that I finally got around to watching it on the Oi(...)

Simon Harris told the Fine Gael national conference: “We’ve fixed the Irish car, we’ve taken it out of the ditch, we’ve put it on the road, Now we’re ready for the next part of the journey. The last thing we can afford is to give the car back to the people who crashed it.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

In the past few weeks we have seen a shrewd and careful attempt by the senior Government party to frame the political context for the next election. H(...)

‘Anyone listening to some of the media coverage and political rhetoric in the last week would be forgiven for thinking that the courts have been imprisoning people for protesting against water charges and water metering. This is simply not the case.’ Above, protesters march from Central Bank, Dublin, to Mountjoy Prison on February 21st,  over the imprisonment of  water charges demonstrators. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Anyone listening to some of the media coverage and political rhetoric in the last week would be forgiven for thinking that the courts have been impris(...)

‘The media coverage surrounding Pat Carey arose because he had expressed reservations about Fianna Fáil’s state of readiness for the forthcoming marriage equality campaign. By going public with his own story he has made a significant and timely intervention into that national debate.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

It was fascinating this week to hear two of Fianna Fáil’s most mild-mannered men provoked to emotional engagement in the debate around family, rela(...)

‘Incumbent centre-right governments across Europe know that facilitating a positive outcome for the new Greek government will not assist their own prospects of re-election.’ Above, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel welcomes Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ahead of a meeting in Brussels on February 12th. Photograph: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The word Greece will feature prominently in any word cloud of Irish political debate generated at any point between now and the next general election.(...)

One of the changes most often sought by those campaigning for political reform is for all future ceann comhairles to be elected by a secret ballot of TDs.  Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

A certain ritual is played out in Westminster every time the house gets a new speaker. The member of parliament who is newly elected as speaker is exp(...)

‘These protests directed at the President also show a complete lack of understanding of the powers and function of his office. The only role which the President has in considering legislation is to assess, with the advice of the Council of State if he wishes, whether the Bill is constitutional.’ Photograph:  Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Over the generations commentators have often complained of a crisis of incivility in politics. It is an overworked phrase, sometimes used too easily b(...)

‘The Irish have come a long way in a short time in our attitude towards homosexuality. The scale of this shift in attitude was reflected in the warmth of the response to Varadkar’s interview.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar’s sexual orientation has been raised with me by a diverse range of people in conversations in recent years. He is one of the small band o(...)

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will only participate in TV election debates if the Greens and perhaps the Scottish National Party are invited to participate. –  Photo.  PA Wire

Unlike us, the British know when their next election is going to be. The lifetime of each Westminster parliament is now fixed by statute and the elect(...)