Taoiseach Enda Kenny – Pondering an election date .... Averaging out its performance in the 17 polls since mid December, Fine Gael is on 25 per cent, a small improvement on how it performed up to December. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

On December 5th last year, just before the Dáil rose for Christmas, we took some time here to look at how the various parties had performed in a poll (...)

Photograph: Alan Betson

Last October the Minister for Justice announced the appointment of a working group to examine what improvement should be made to the State’s direct pr(...)

‘The difficult task the consul general and his colleagues do in these days is done on behalf of all of us.’ Above, Philip Grant, consul general of Ireland to the Western United States (right) speaks to the media with Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates following a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of the fourth-storey apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California this week. Photograph: REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

The trend worldwide has been for foreign services to engage more in public diplomacy and trade and investment promotion. This week, however, we got to(...)

‘On Tuesday when the Taoiseach began to tell the Dáil that he has “been a supporter for a very long time of the idea that Dáil questions should be answered as fully and as completely as possible” the Opposition laughed in his face.’ Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES

In January 1992, Mr Justice Liam Hamilton, while chairing the long and expensive beef tribunal felt compelled to make the following observation: “If t(...)

‘Not content with systematically seeking to dis Deputy Catherine Murphy, Denis  O’Brien and his spokesperson have also felt it necessary to attack other politicians who sought to defend Murphy’s use of parliamentary privilege.’ Photograph: David Sleator/THE IRISH TIMES

One would assume that since he is a very wealthy man Denis O’Brien would have access to the very best public relations advice that money can buy. Hav(...)

‘I was emotionally overwhelmed by the acknowledgment of my small part in their campaign but I was also deeply distressed by the intensity of their gratitude.’ Above, crowds celebrate in the court yard at Dublin Castle, the Central Results Centre, at the results of the referendum on marriage equality. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

For everyone involved in the Yes campaign in the marriage referendum there was at least one point last Saturday when the impact of the result just got(...)

 Brian Sheehan and Gráinne Healy from Yes Equality campaigning on Dublin’s Grafton Street with Vivian Sheehan from Windy Arbour. Photograph: Sharpix

In Yes campaign headquarters we took to calling them Bráinne. Such was the symmetry between Brian Sheehan and Gráinne Healy, the co-directors of Yes E(...)

‘One can also only imagine how much it took for Prince Charles on Tuesday to shake the hand of the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams who was such a significant figure in the leadership of the organisation which had killed his beloved Mountbatten.’ Photograph: Adam Gerrard/ WPA Pool/Getty Images 1:38

On the night that Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb in Mullaghmore in August 1979, Prince Charles wrote in his journal: “Life will never be t(...)

‘Remember that those impacted by this referendum are real people whose real lives cannot be dismissed by false slogans. They are our brothers, sisters, daughters and sons, our family, our friends.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Over recent months many have shared their stories and exposed their lives so that we might appreciate how much the marriage equality referendum means.(...)

‘David Fitzgerald (above) is  proving to be a strong candidate. Many objective observers who have visited Carlow-Kilkenny in recent weeks speak of his positive disposition which is connecting with voters.’ Above,  Fitzgerald,   celebrates as it’s announced in Dublin  that Kilkenny City is winner of the SuperValu TidyTowns competition,  last year. He was there in his capacity as Chairman of the Kilkenny Town Tidy Towns Committee. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Any assessment of the potential outcomes for the forthcoming Carlow-Kilkenny byelection has to start with the reality that in the last general elec(...)