In Switzerland, the only peaceful country to adopt an all-party administration, parliament uses a “magic formula” to give  parties seats  on the seven-person Federal Council.  Introduced in 1959, this “zauberformel” has worked quite well.

Every four years or so, democracy involves a change of parliament. Five million citizens cannot negotiate a new Dáil; there would be chaos; so we have(...)

 Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald celebrates  winnining her seat in Dublin Central. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Against all expectations based on the tallies, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan survived the 11th count in Dublin Central to retain her seat. She jo(...)

Running for office: Independent candidate Averil Power  canvassing in Artane, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

I’ve spent 10 minutes following Finian McGrath as he canvasses in the Dollymount area of Clontarf on Monday evening, and already I’m taken aback by th(...)

Entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly: says leaders’ debate and recent polls indicate that people are seeing through the spin.

Entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly sold two stock photography firms for $135m in 2006 . Read Jerry’s full profile here The leaders’ debate and recent polls (...)

 Michael Healy Rae: “What I am saying to people in north Kerry is to give me a chance this time and judge me the next time.” File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

It’s a dreary cold February afternoon and Tralee is taciturn. With Christmas well gone and the summer tourists months away, you’d say might be the low(...)

Aidan Gillen as Charles Haughey – Charlie’s creators have described the series as “a drama based on real events”. Much artistic license has been deployed ...

A few weeks before the first instalment of Charlie, the new Haughey television drama, was broadcast, I was involved in a radio discussion on Haughey’s(...)

Jonathan O’Brien said his brother had been “forced to go back into a hostel where drug-taking happens in front of him”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Here comes Maureen. For the worthy stuff. She looks out for the people who don’t usually get a look-in. Unless one of them inconveniently dies on a do(...)

Mr Haughey, with Mr Tony Gregory, TD, before he started a sponsored cycle from Dublin to Kilnacrott, Co Cavan, to raise money for a holiday home for inner city children in 1982. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

  Brian Lenihan snr (above far right and, as played by Peter O’Meara, left) became a firm supporter of Charles Haughey when Haughey took o(...)

Jackie Healy-Rae, who has died aged 83 , was a colourful and wily grassroots politician who achieved significant national influence as an Independent TD supporting minority Fianna Fail-led governments. Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer

Jackie Healy-Rae, who has died aged 83 , was a colourful and wily grassroots politician who achieved significant national influence as an Independent(...)

Maureen O’Sullivan: “There is a new drug on the streets now called ice, and it’s ravaging communities. The people working to help addicts and their families need more resources, not fewer.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sit-in bumps Maureen O’Sullivan off the agenda When Mary Lou McDonald threw Gerry’s teddy bears out of the Sinn Féin pram on Thursday, she did no favo(...)