‘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

F-list celebrity that I am, I occasionally get approached on the street by strangers asking for my take on some political event or trend. Since the la(...)

‘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

I have been wrong about Sinn Féin in the past. I have tended to be premature in predicting its electoral rise. Just over a decade ago, when Sinn Féin (...)

‘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

The outcome of the local and European elections and associated political happenings has put the Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s capacity, or lack of it, for co(...)

One of the most prominent questions arising from the results of last week’s local elections is: who are all these Independents? A detailed answer to t(...)

‘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

In recent months, when investigating the expenditure of the Rehab Group and the Central Remedial Clinic, the Public Accounts Committees and others hav(...)

‘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

This was one of those weeks when the sheer scale and power of the Government’s press and media operation became apparent. When it gets its act togethe(...)

‘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

Alan Shatter was not pushed this week. He did not jump. As is often the case in such situations, the ground fell away from under him. The fact that he(...)

‘One thing that is already clear is that the Mary Lou momentum has already been stalled. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

In its profile of Lynn Boylan, the Dublin European election candidate, on the party website, Sinn Féin emphasises the fact that she is a member of its(...)

 ‘The scenes at the ASTI conference were pure TV news gold. They generated the type of lively footage that pushes any item up the running order.’ Photograph:   Patrick Browne

Whole libraries of books and shelfloads of theses have been written about how news priorities are determined. The perennial question of which e(...)

‘Public skirmishes between the government partners over water charges needs to be seen through a slightly broader lens than just focusing on what happened before and after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

This week’s public skirmishes between the Government partners over water charges need to be seen through a slightly broader lens than just focu(...)