Burton was bursting to refer to the CSO figures and she finally got her way when she said that Ireland was probably the strongest growing economy in Europe. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons /THE IRISH TIMES

Ministers smiled a lot in the Dáil yesterday. Government backbenchers had a spring in their step and were in strong voice when heckling the Opposition(...)

Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Eric Luke

A handy day to ease the Dáil back to irrelevance after a long layoff. But although the new season kicked off yesterday afternoon, it seems the tran(...)

Labour TD Joe Costello: “In the past, Ireland has been to the forefront in leading EU thinking on the Middle East.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The Government has been criticised by some of its own TDs for its decision to abstain in a United Nations vote calling for a commission of investig(...)

Joan Burton takes her first Opposition Leaders’ Questions as Tánaiste

Meanwhile, the ship of State drifts along on the tides, lights ablaze and with loud country music blaring from somewhere inside. Is there anyone at th(...)

Olivia Mitchell: “If cigarettes were wrapped in a dirty rag, not alone would a smoker smoke them but the tragedy is that he or she would grow to love the dirty rag, such is the nature of addiction.”Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

A Government backbencher has expressed concern that changing the packaging of cigarettes will do little to cut the number of smokers. Fine Gael TD Oli(...)

Finian McGrath says smokers are hit unfairly with ‘punitive’ legislation.

Smokers are the people who are always “hammered” with punitive legislation, compared to those with other addictions, Independent TD Finian McGrath has(...)

Luis Suarez may have scored in the World Cup but when it comes to recovering from injury he can’t hold a candle to  Finian McGrath. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Tribunal running costs pick up pace It seems m’learned friends are licking their chops as the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry gets down to business.(...)

The Irish Brewing Association has said it costs €100 to replace each stolen keg. Photograph by Frank Miller

Robbery of beer kegs for their metal resale value has cost Irish brewers €40 million and the loss of more than 400,000 kegs since 2007, the Dáil has (...)

A disgusted Mattie McGrath has become the victim of a ruthless takeover by Clare Daly, who quickly decamped from her office on the fourth floor to Luke “Ming” Flanagan’s lair on the third floor as soon as Ming was elected. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Mattie McGrath was very pleased for fellow Independent Ming Flanagan when he got the nod to go off to Europe. Pleased on the double, in fact. Because (...)

A plan is in place for Sgt Maurice McCabe to meet Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny on Wednesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe is set to have his first meeting next week with senior Garda management about his allegations of continued har(...)