Joe Ainsworth: a creative and sometimes brilliant career policeman who seemed destined to lead the Garda Síochána. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Joe Ainsworth, who has died aged 88, was a creative and sometimes brilliant career policeman who seemed destined to lead the Garda Síochána. Bu(...)

After a month of negotiations a new Fianna Fail-Labour government was formed on January 12th, 1993, 48 days after the election. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

In light of this week’s Irish Times poll it is worth remembering that a week is a long time in politics, and the weeks between an election an(...)

 Michael Lowry, then  minister for transport, energy and communications (left) and  Denis O’Brien, then chairman of Esat Digifone,  in 1996. File photograph:  Moya Nolan/The Irish Times

The Moriarty Tribunal has told a number of parties awaiting costs rulings, including businessman Denis O’Brien, that no decisions will be made in thei(...)

Fianna Fáil director of elections  Billy Kelleher  at Leinster House. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Fianna Fáil is unlikely to be part of the next government, the party’s new director of elections Billy Kelleher has implicitly acknowledged. Sp(...)

 Peter Barry, then minister for foreign affairs,  in his office at Iveagh House in 1985. Photograph: Jack McManus

Garret FitzGerald deserves more credit than anybody else for the Anglo-Irish Agreement, according to Peter Barry, who himself played an important role(...)

Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey signs copies of the New Ireland Forum’s report in May 1984. Haughey initially opposed the subsequent Anglo-Irish Agreement. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Every major political breakthrough requires significant imagination and courage. The Anglo-Irish Agreement was Margaret Thatcher’s Nixon to China mome(...)

 Seamus Mallon, Joe Hendron, Eddie McGrady and John Hume of the SDLP, at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin in 1985, after a meeting with taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and members of the cabinet.  Photograph: Jack McManus/The Irish Times

For the Northern nationalist community, the Anglo-Irish Agreement was truly transformational. More than a decade had passed since hopes of a new begin(...)

The scene outside Hillsborough courthouse while the Anglo-Irish Agreement was being signed in Hillsborough Castle. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea.
Intense rivalry extended north

Charles Haughey’s trenchant opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement was undoubtedly a mistake, which had negative political consequences, but it also (...)

 Margaret Thatcher, flanked by Sir Geoffrey Howe and Tom King, waving goodbye after the signing of the agreement. Photograph: Pat Langan

I have a vivid recollection of what it felt like that day as I watched the prime minister and the taoiseach put their signatures to an agreement betwe(...)

 Taoiseach Dr Gatret FtizGerald and the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Hillsborough Castle, Co Down. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

It was shortly before 8am on the morning of November 15th, 1985, and I was one of a group of journalists who gathered at Dublin airport for a flight t(...)