Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald at Liberty Hall, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan

Another earthquake moment at Sinn Féin rally on a mission to disprove seismology isn’t everything

Cabinet trophies: Micheál Martin and his deputy Dara Calleary would be in the frame first for Fianna Fáil. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

An unholy marriage of FF and FG would badly squeeze Cabinet space for both parties

Members of the Healy-Rae family perform outside Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Early celebrations give way to gloom as a stable government remains a distant hope

Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd-Barrett and Mick Barry speak to media outside the Dáil. Photograph: Áine McMahon/PA Wire

New TDs shown around the Dáil chamber but all the action is on the plinth

‘The Sinn Féin leader was busy making as many grand entrances as she possibly could with her 36 strong Dáil team.’ Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA

Oireachtas staff supplied with handy mugshots of new TDs as parties descend

With his PLO scarf, hopalong foot, Bee-Gees hair and sweat shirt emblazoned with the image of Mexican revolutionary Emialiano Zapata, Gerry Adams somehow managed to be the centre of attention. Photograph: Gareth Chaney /Collins

Fianna Fáil queue up to give message of ABSF – ‘Anybody But Sinn Féin’

Social Democrat TDs Jennifer Whitmore, Cian O’Callaghan, Catherine Murphy, Róisín Shortall, Gary Gannon and Holly Cairns outside Leinster House on Wednesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Social Democrats savour dizzy heights of half dozen while Howlin steps down with little fuss

Mary Lou McDonald, president of Sinn Féin, and fellow party TD Eoin Ó Broin greet supporters on Moore Street, Dublin. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

The one political present they don’t want might yet end up under the tree after all

At three minutes to six, Mary Lou McDonald was elected. There was a flurry of activity. At three minutes past six, she was gone. Photograph:  Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

It was the best day ever for the Shinners’ leader and the biggest day ever for her party

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar buys more sausages in Ennis, Co Clare.  We can only hope somebody remembered to clear all the meat out of the BMW’s boot. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

‘An uncertain future to look forward to’ could be the real slogan for this campaign

Labour Party’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Ivana Bacik and Ged Nash: Mr Nash has just completed his second course of antibiotics having been laid low by the flu. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Eamon Ryan looks to a glowing green future as Soc Dems parade in purple

“Happy to change a nappy, but not to put up with this s***,” read one placard. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

These are the people ignored by the parties whose leaders look down on them from lampposts

Sinn Féin leader  Mary Lou McDonald arriving for  the final TV leaders’ debate at the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Sinn Féin strategy is to pack its leader in cotton wool and keep her out of harm’s reach

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin canvassing in Dún Laoghaire on Friday with the party’s candidate in the constituency, Juliet O’Connell. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Howlin seeks to sew things up in Dún Laoghaire with Juliet O’Connell

From left to right: Finian McGrath, Ruth Buchanon, John Halligan and Shane Ross on the campaign Trail in Ballinteer, Co Dublin.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

It’s all good fun, but Shane Ross is under no illusions Dublin Rathdown seat is in danger

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend at the opening of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge in New Ross, co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

These were no ordinary candidates – they were junior ministerial candidates

 Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald launching her party’s General Election 2020 Manifesto in the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios. Photograph: Alan Betson

Mary Lou chooses big installation. The Labour Party goes for chiselled old masters

Building up his street cred: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael party members in Dublin city centre on Friday.  Photograph: Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

Taoiseach’s visit is latest in wave of politician invasions, but it wasn’t a complete washout

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  at a cultural and diversity class at Castleknock Community College, Dublin.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Micheál Martin forgot to mention he once had two double espressos in a pizza joint in Ballincollig

Candidate Paul Murphy speaking to Steven, Abbie and Billy Banks while canvassing in the Rossfield Avenue estate in Tallaght. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Richard Boyd Barrett insists his party was on the pension bandwagon before anyone else

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Dublin Bay North candidate David Healy and Dublin North-West candidate Caroline Conroy at Bull Island to launch the party’s Biodiversity and Pollution Policy Paper. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Eamon Ryan and team visit Bull Island to remind voters that climate crisis is no bull

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald visits the Purple House cancer support centre in Bray. Photograph: Oisin McCann

Party leader came to talk about health crisis and ended up on the gurney

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin canvassing for the upcoming general election in Cabra and Phibsborough, meeting hairdresser Erica Oragano and her client Dezirae Stephan. Photograph: Dave Meehan

‘I’d get the full Monty here,’ he declared, before focusing on a woman with her head in a basin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney,  Paschal Donohoe and Heather Humphreys at the headquarters of Combilift Ireland on Wednesday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach brings his Presentables to Monaghan before undoing his good work

“The Taoiseach could have made his announcement indoors, but the imposing backdrop of Government Buildings was the perfect setting for a man being packaged in this election as a European statesman with proven leadership credentials on the international stage.” Photograph: Tom Honan

Rift in space-time continuum opens up as Fine Gael offers ‘a future to look forward to’

Our Politician of the Year is Sinn Féin’s deputy leader in the Dáil, Pearse Doherty,  whose work in taking on the insurance industry and keeping a spotlight on its practices has been a rare highlight.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Political awards for 2019: Gongs for Varadkar, Healy-Rae . . . and Bertie

Micheál Martin: ‘Perhaps Dara Murphy’s good fortune was that, unlike Deputy [Maria] Bailey, no opinion poll was done showing him to be a liability to Fine Gael.’ Photograph:

Leo opts not to spoil the mood with election date while campaign supplies are stockpiled

Dara Murphy: the former TD for Cork North central ‘formally’ resigned two weeks ago, but was gone in spirit  long before that. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader bicker over double-jobbing TD with eye on election


Taoiseach’s father will celebrate 80th birthday in the land of his birth

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: the manner in which judges are appointed has always been at the top of his political wishlist. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Shane Ross’s pet project passes, but its opponents claim a Governmental U-turn

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris: a St Vincent de Paul report, Growing Up in the Cold, found 140,000 children are living in substandard, cold and damp homes. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

UN index that rated Ireland third-best country to live in in the world is Taoiseach's answer to questions about poverty and homele(...)

Dara Murphy registered his presence in Leinster House on 42 of the 104 sitting days in 2018. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

This week saw high-spirited dispatches from Gerry Adams and another twist in swing-gate

The burning question in Kildare Street switched from ‘Where is Dara Murphy?’ to ‘What has Dara Murphy got on Leo Varadkar?’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Leo’s claim for second term in doubt after Dara Murphy walks away with nice package

Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy at Leinster House on Wednesday. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Air Miles’ Dara Murphy disappears again after confidence vote in Eoghan Murphy

Fine Gael’s Wexford byelection candidate Verona Murphy is pictured after being eliminated, at St Joseph’s Community Centre. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Party leaders make their excuses as their Wexford candidate fails to haul in votes

Flawless foundation: former taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

Election fever simmers as politicians begin stockpiling ammunition – against each other

Dara Murphy is stepping down as a TD with Fine Gael to take up a job in the cabinet of EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ireland’s loss is Europe’s gain as Fine Gael TD for Cork North-Central heads to Brussels

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar canvasses with Wexford byelection candidate Verona Murphy in Wexford town. Photograph: Fiach Kelly

Party leaders were keen to avoid mentioning Verona Murphy’s name, for different reasons

Soaking up the atmosphere: Mick Wallace in Brussels

Learjet woes, compo culture and Maria Bailey all made an appearance this week

So what answer did the broadband minister have to the charges that Fine Gael hijacked a non-partisan infrastructural project for its own ends? Answer came there none. Minister Richard Bruton completely ignored the question. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

Micheál Martin not happy as Fine Gael flock to broadband contract signing en masse

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and US businessman David McCourt signing the National Broadband plan at St Kevin’s National School in Co Wicklow. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Micheál Martin goes on attack as Opposition refuses to dance to Government’s tune

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran had two videos running on Facebook – one for Longford and one for Westmeath. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Rivals claim Taoiseach was tweeting congrats to clubs in his constituency before deadline

Former speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow was the special guest keynote speaker for the County Kildare Chamber business breakfast at the K-Club. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan

The florid rabbiting of the former speaker, although entertaining, can become trying

Noel Grealish was nowhere near the Dáil chamber when Leaders’ Questions rolled around again. Photograph: Screengrab from Oireachtas TV

Independent TD’s provocative question leads to a second day of blowback in the Dáil

Noel Grealish  usually likes to keep things local when he raises issues in the Dáil. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

We worried the dog at home heard TD’s powerful whistle and escaped

Shane Ross: Poster boy for poster-free elections. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The minister for self-effacement asked rivals this week to consider going green

Die-hard Gay Byrne fans began gathering outside the Pro-Cathedral  from 8 o’clock in the morning for the midday Mass. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Heady mix of light-entertainment stalwarts and RTÉ luvvies wedged into wooden pews

Gerry Adams, was garnering most of the attention on the Shinner benches with his new hairstyle

Unwelcome light has settled on cavalier attitude of some politicians to their Dáil duty

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described Gay Byrne aptly as  “perhaps, our original Citizens’ Assembly”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Condolences for late broadcaster precede rows about hospitals and ‘money messages’

‘Just one more thing, ma’am . . .’ If the Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy's hunch is right, then ‘Fobgate’ could put the War of the Buttons into the ha’penny place. Photograph: John Ohle for The Irish Times

Do TDs fob each other into the chamber? Lt Columbo aka Paul Murphy cracks the case

 Timmy Dooley and  Niall Collins: gave grovelling apologies when hauled up to account for their button-pushing blunders. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/

Dáil makes a meal of latest shambles to darken its democratic, buttoned-up world

Votegate – the curious story of a Fianna Fail TD voting for his party colleague Timmy Dooley (left) when Dooley wasn’t even in the chamber – has left Leo Varadkar delighted for another Fianna Fáil TD. Photographs: James Forde/The Irish Times and Niall Carson/PA Wire

Schrodooley’s Seat occurs when a Clare TD seemed to have voted and not voted at the same time

Lorraine Walsh and Vicky Phelan  leaving at Leinster House. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

TDs too busy arguing over ‘Votegate’ to share ‘watershed moment’ over cervical scandal

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan highlighted her ‘great personal achievements’. Photograph:  Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Fergus O’Dowd breaks leg while leafleting and Josepha Madigan’s trumpet-blowing

Leo Varadkar, perhaps getting some Brexit frustration out of his system or maybe imagining what it must be like to be on the verge of calling a snap election, continued on the offensive. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Martin and Varadkar fight over respective disability sector records as Brexit truce holds

Leo Varadkar rushed across after his session in the House. Why, with all he has on his plate, he felt the need to be present at a bread and butter ministerial event announcing a road-building project in Mayo was a mystery. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Meanwhile, Coveney was attending Leaders’ Questions. The poor man needed the rest

Leo Varadkar with Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor Hotel in Cheshire. Photograph: PA Wire

The party needs to stop talking itself into opposition, reckons Simon Harris

A small but perfectly formed crowd waited in the Dáil after midday to hear the Taoiseach deliver his first contribution on Budget 2020

Taoiseach tries to impress with biblical and literary quotes, but is hoist by his own petard

In his Budget 2020 speech, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe  promised a variety of financial “interventions” for sectors hit by the UK crashing out of the European Union. Photograph: Alan Betson

Paschal Donohoe seeks shelter from Brexit storm in a budget without surprises

Ray McSharry: the Fianna Fáil grandee was treated to a surprise This Is Your Life party featuring familiar faces of the party down the years.    Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Blasts from the party’s past gather to pay homage to former tánaiste Ray MacSharry

The Taoiseach’s big-ticket lecterns – three of them – were rolled out in a line at the bottom of the steps in front of Government Buildings, signifying this was not a Richard Bruton gig anymore.   Photograph:  Laura Hutton

No alarm and no surprises for Taoiseach and Tánaiste as briefing gets barely a mention

‘After the weekend, the Dáil reluctantly examined the latest gobbets of nothingness hacked up by the British prime minister to avoid saying anything meaningful about his withdrawal intentions.’

Thanks to Johnson and his ‘non-papers’ it’s only a matter of time before . . . non-budget leaks

Maria O’Halloran with her children Sally (6), Peigi (3 months) and PJ (8) from Sandymount. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

No begrudgers were welcome at the homecoming for county’s two winning teams

Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd Barrett  and Bríd Smith of Solidarity/People Before Profit. Murphy has left the Socialist Party to form his own far-left party which he will launch on Monday.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

With Paul Murphy starting his own party, Ogle thinks it’s a good time to unite socialists

By sticking to her script and keeping her replies low key  Heather Humphreys easily reached her objective of escaping unscathed. File photograph: Alan Betson

Nothing to do in Kildare Street but wait for big fish to savage themselves into a solution

Following two years of renovation work on the chamber, its gilded occupants were finally allowed back, leaving behind their temporary lodgings in the Ceramics Room of the National Museum where plumptious yellow-haired cherubs – the spit of Donald Trump – decorated the walls. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

Back in their expensively refurbished Upper House, the talk was still resolutely cheap

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and UK chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid at Farmleigh House. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

A priest delivers Leo from Brexit evil; and ex-senator Lorraine Higgins joins the lobby

Ploughnew sized

Varadkar proves he is not a man who eats his dinner in the middle of the day

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett with  Halima Usman and People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith at a protest outside the offices of vulture fund Val Issuer Dac on Molesworth Street, Dublin. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Dáil Sketch: Tenants told ‘notice to quit’ is not the same as eviction – they’ll sleep easy, so

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended a teasing welcome to ‘what will be an eventful session, I believe’.  File image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar leads his B Team back for a new Dáil term but where’s the Brexit plan?

Eoghan Murphy, Martin Heydon and Damien English during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Pictures of politicians splashing about without a care can make many people violently ill

Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd with leader Mary Lou McDonald  and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill  before a party away day at the Carrickdale Hotel and Spa in Dundalk. Photograph: PA

While barmy Boris and Co go bonkers over Brexit, Sinn Féin eye solutions-focused success

Micheál Martin at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting at the Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey, Co Wexford. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Mercifully for the small band of media in Gorey, all the sessions were held in private

British prime minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media ahead of his meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Johnson was in Dublin scattering optimism and enthusiasm about like fairy dust

US vice president Mike Pence, Nancy Pence-Fritsch and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, An Taoiseach at Farmleigh House, where Mr Pence was  the service records of his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, who served with distinction in the  Defence Forces during the Civil War. Photograph: Maxwell

Stoical smiles as US vice-president delivers strong endorsement of Johnson and Brexit

Still friends: Dublin and Kerry fans chat after the All-Ireland senior football final in Croke Park. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Final score: Dublin 1-16, Kerry 1-16 and everyone else a basket case.

Politician of the Year: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Dáil movers, shakers, losers and inbetweeners, plus the prestigious George Clooney Award

The antics of the elusive Dáil rodent have been well-chronicled.

A rat in TDs’ midst; Shane Ross’s birthday; Dr Reilly’s tie; hands, knees and boomps-a-daisy

Olympic silver medallist and Fine Gael councillor  Kenneth Egan does battle (of sorts)  with Senator  Neale Richmond

A repentant Leo is smarting for his sins after troublesome week

A laughing Leo Varadkar, hands up in mock horror, stressed in the Dáil that his fan mail days were behind him. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Taoiseach switches EU fast lane for Dáil clash over Cork roundabout

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Government’s chief damper downer tries to sooth TDs rattled by Mercosur

Jackie Healy-Rae outside the Dáil. File photograph: Peter Thursfield

Ministers in a tizzy about last week’s column; and yours truly comes a quiz cropper

Expressions of sympathy on the late former TD Jackie Healy Rae were heard in the Dáil on Wednesday, nearly five years after his death. File photograph: Eric Luke

The Kingdom comes to Kildare Street to remember the late Independent TD

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe  with Robert Watt (left), secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure, and John McCarthy, chief economist at the Department of Finance. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/For The Irish Times

The Minister is a man with a plan, or rather two plans

 President Michael D Higgins, with one of his dogs, and his wife, Sabina,   with Pat  and  Michael English at the Presidential Concert, celebrating Irish country music in Áras an Uachtaráin.

The First Dogs are more than ice-breakers, ‘they’re also a great source of wisdom’

The Taoiseach wasn’t behaving like someone who wants to keep his confidence and supply partners sweet.   Photograph: Fran Veale

Leo v Micheál: leaders get personal, citing hypocrisy and two-facedness

‘They looked so pleased with themselves as they alighted at their final and only destination. . . For they had left their government cars at home.’ Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Fossil-friendly Danny Healy-Rae says FF and FG trying to be greener than the Greens

The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill is Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s pet project. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Government's latest attempt to push Ross's Bill through involves exhausting everyone

Everybody in the Dáil, from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar down, agrees carers are marvellous.  Photograph: Fran Veale

Calls for a rendition of Rock On Rockall as things heat up with the UK over fisheries

During Leaders’ Questions, the Taoiseach continued his pattern of slightly patronising his opposite number. Probably because he knows this annoys him. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Fine Gael leader looks to ‘share the blame’ on Cork mayoral plebiscite

Hearts sank at Doonbeg National School when it emerged that children from Clohanes National School  had met the president.  Photograph:   PA Wire

Doonbeg villagers were hurt over some things said in the media over past few days

Tour operator Mick O’Dea makes his way through Doonbeg in Co Clare during the visit of US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Keeping small towns and villages alive is hard going – Trump’s hotel provides jobs

US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania departing from Southampton Airport for Shannon. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Miriam Lord: Shannon in a lather of stress and excitement before circus heads for Doonbeg

Fine Gael politician Maria Bailey. Her interview with Seán O’Rourke will go down in the annals of toe-curling radio. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Swing Out Sister interview will go down in the annals of the toe-curlingly bad

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, pictured at the EU summit in Brussels this week, arrived home to meet Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photograph: Kenzo Triouillard/AFP/Getty Images

There was a distracted air about the benches as Taoiseach returned from his travels

Heather Humphreys: ‘There’s a culture in this country which says: it’s everyone’s fault but your own.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister makes pointed criticism of compo culture as FG throw Maria Bailey under bus

Maria Bailey TD. Photograph:

‘Humanity has been crossed,’ she sniffed in a rivetingly mortifying radio interview

Green Party MEP candidate Saoirse McHugh at Castlebar count centre. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin

Ryan and Co are an attractive proposition to major party wanting a political partner

Maria Bailey took a slide off a swing at the Dean Hotel  and ended up on a legal roundabout. Photograph:  Ellen Rose O’Riordan

Dark mutterings of ‘dirty tricks’ as Maria Bailey’s night out hogged the headlines

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the authorities “would welcome complaints by any residents in direct provision at Mosney or any other centre”. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Legitimate personal injury case risks taking shine off party’s much-trumpeted crusade

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