Michael Healy-Rea: report said he hid ‘behind the veneer of a friendly/simple country yokel’ but was ‘unbeatable electorally’. It claimed he had a ‘vicious temper . . . he is not like his more collegial father in that regard.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has accused Fine Gael of “looking down their nose” at him after party strategy documents accused him of hiding beh(...)

The Fine Gael Kerry branch sized up Independent Michael Healy-Rae (above) as someone who hides behind “the veneer of a friendly/simple country yokel” but who is “unbeatable electorally”. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times Dara Mac Donaill

Fine Gael has outlined the strengths and weaknesses of its own TDs – as well as their opponents – in internal strategy documents prepared for the gene(...)

John O’Donoghue: his decision not to seek a Fianna Fáil nomination for the next general election clears the way for the  party to run two candidates. Photograph: David Sleator

Former ceann comhairle John O’Donoghue’s decision not to seek a Fianna Fáil nomination for the next general election has cleared the way for the party(...)

Maureen O’Sullivan: she  repeated her call in the Dáil that every primary school in the State should be a Gaelscoil or all-Irish school for its first two or three years to increase the number of Irish speakers.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny should have “more understanding” for people who do not have his knowledge of the Irish language, the Dáil has heard. Independent(...)

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry: “If I’m re-elected I’d be happy to look at it. In principle I’ve no difficulty supporting a government that produces economic policies that are good for the country.” Photograph: Eric Luke

The Government has begun reaching out to some Independent TDs ahead of the general election as senior figures calculate the administration can return(...)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Fine Gael National Conference in Castlebar last weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The spotlight is beginning to shine on what might be called “Endapendent” TDs who are being courted discreetly by both the Minister for Finance Michae(...)

Independent TD Tom Fleming:  said  increase in pupil-teacher ratios in rural schools was exacerbated by Government policy.  Photograph: Don McMonagle

One-teacher schools are not in the best interests of pupils, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil. He said the issue was exacerbated by rural depopulati(...)

 Clare Daly TD, who said to Enda Kenny: “How dare you attempt to have the arrogance to interpret the Constitution when it is only something our courts can do?”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Independent TD Clare Daly’s Bill allowing for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality was defeated by 104 votes to 20, with Sinn Féin’s abstenti(...)

Kerry South deputy Michael Healy-Rae said he had ‘grave concerns’ about the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015.

TDs with connections to the pub trade have expressed mixed views about the Government’s measures designed to reduce alcohol consumption. Kerry South d(...)

Fine Gael’s new Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan spoke in fewer Dáil and committee meetings than any other Minister, which he says could be explained by his frequent absences enforced by diplomatic trips abroad.Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Fine Gael and Labour TDs have the lowest activity rates – in terms of speaking time and written questions – in Dáil Éireann.The number of written ques(...)