Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Decision to provide special advisers to junior ministers comes as pandemic payment is cut

Minister for Culture Catherine Martin and Catherine Heaney, chair of the National Museum of Ireland, at the launch of the ‘Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage’ exhibition. Photograph: Julien Behal

Virtually no challengers for deputy leader's job as Greens hold their online conference

 You know they know they’re in trouble when Emergency Paschal is deployed to talk on a non-economic related matter. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gaviscon Fireman Donohoe summoned to ease Government indigestion

The Taoiseach sounded like a man fighting for his political future.  Photograph: PA

Only disappointment for the Opposition would have been running out of popcorn

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. Closer than ever, apparently. Photograph: Julien Behal

McGuinness puts some FG noses out of joint while Dáil rumour mill goes into overdrive

Taoiseach: Micheál Martin: “I do have a lot of experience of negotiations. You allow things to… evolve.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Taoiseach’s cautious approach draws boos from opposition benches

Mattie McGrath, it seems, was the only one making that case at the Business Committee, for a move back to Leinster House. File image: Collins Courts

The Dáil’s move to the Convention Centre continues to generate negative vibes

Would a €9 pork chop be a suitably priced food offering to appease the hungry Covid gods? Photograph: iStock

Gardaí now have the power to hunt down a new sub-class of cocktail sausage criminals

Newly appointed Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue (L), with President Michael D Higgins and  Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photograph: Maxwells

The fledgling Government has already brought about a truly monumental C-change

Richard Bruton: Dishy Dickie gets the Washboard of the Season award

Things can only get better for Taoiseach Micheál Martin as he turns 60 today

The sight of Richard Bruton in his Speedos led to a nasty altercation with one of the Three Ugly Misters (Leo Varadkar)

Sinn Féin’s Principal Boy turns on chief member of the Three Ugly Misters

Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary and Matt Dempsey of Tillage Industry Ireland at the launch of new report on the Irish tillage sector on Tuesday

Government bumbles on as risible sacrifice fails to rescue flagging fortunes

Richard Bruton, the new chairman of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The country crew were not about to let the Dubs bag all the top parliamentary party jobs

Mary Lou McDonald arriving at the Convention Centre for the Dáil session. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sinn Féin leader regards Martin with barely disguised contempt. It seems to be mutual

 Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar at a Dáil sitting in the Convention Centre, Dublin. File photograph: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire

‘Business is booming and more people don’t know whether they are coming or going’

Barry Cowen. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Leo’s pomp, orchard-robber analogy, plastic forks and a six-minute Dáil to Dockside dash

 Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Anything that can go wrong for Micheál has gone wrong for him. Photograph: Alan Betson

Martin makes another trip to the park before returning to Dáil for an Opposition savaging

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “This is a very sad day for Barry, his family and for me,” he told a hushed Dáil. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Martin knew he could not keep defending minister who would not defend himself in Dáil

Doing the Riverdance: Minister for Finance and new Eurogroup  president Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Donohoe’s campaign to be elected head of the Eurogroup was ‘like the Eurovision’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving at the Convention Centre in Dublin to take Leaders’ Questions at the Dáil session. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ministers few and far between at Convention Centre – taking social distancing a bit too far

Minister for Agriculture  Barry Cowen:  was forced to make his inaugural statement to the Dáil in his new role all about himself. Photograph: PA

Barry Cowen’s big apology rounds off Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s big day

Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s announcement of senior and junior ministers sparked Olympian levels of whingeing in the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Upset hopefuls in Fine Gael and Greens manage to hold their emotions in check

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: Admits it is “very unusual” not to have a senior minister from the west. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Convention Centre houses high drama as political voices cry out in the social distance

In his first speech in the office Taoiseach Micheál Martin remembered a “blessed” childhood in a “close-knit working-class community” in Cork. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

The unprecedented Dáil session in the Convention Centre looked like a theatrical set for a play about a war crimes tribunal

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan announces that the party had voted in support of the proposed programme for government. Photograph: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

FF and FG could barely wait to get permission to go into government from Greens

File photo from June 15th Leo Varadkar on one of his last duties as Taoiseach. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

No stirring words but not a dry seat in the House what with all the extreme disinfecting

“It seems when God takes the young he takes only the best.” The coffin of  Det  Garda Colm Horkan is carried in Charlestown, Co Mayo. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Family, friends and colleagues give community stalwart a loving State funeral

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Meanwhile, Eamon Ryan recites poem to weary negotiators during intense late-night session

Green Party TD Ossian Smyth: “It’s a long time since I could have got something from a hairdresser.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dáil operatics on behalf of long-haired as pub grub menu mulled over ahead of reopening

 Simon Coveney and Paschal Donohoe greeting Green PAEamon Ryan Leader of the Green Party as he arrives for talks on Government formation at Government BuildingsPhotograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Leo tries to seem pleased for potential next taoiseach Micheál, while Eamon buys socks

Eamon Ryan: Unwisely said the N-word in full while making a speech against racism. Photograph: James Forde

Whatever happens now with Eamon Ryan’s leadership, there won’t be any statue of him

Labour’s Seán Sherlock couldn’t wait to hear what Green leader Eamon Ryan had to say as ‘a prospective tánaiste giving us a sense of his vision’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fluff is in the air as TDs talk climate change and government formation

Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec, was appearing before the Covid-19 committee, giving the view from the premium seats, in the premium seat.  Photograph: Alan Betson

The sight of Ibec CEO Danny McCoy in Leo Varadkar’s seat was too much for some TDs

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: There is  “a real absence of moral leadership from the top in the United States”. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Spurned Ministers carry on as before even though they have lost their seats

Michael Ring: ‘Whoever comes into government, I will see it as a slight on rural Ireland if the Department of Rural and Community Development is not left there.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Mayo TD had the air of a man presiding at the obsequies for his own ministry

Department of Health’s Jim Breslin: “There were no other beds on the island that we could get access to . . . If there were cheaper beds out there, we could have got them, but there weren’t.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Fire engine metaphors race to public-private hospital rescue

John Halligan cheered the incarcerated unfortunates in Leinster House on the hottest day of the year with radio comments about political collegiality and government formation. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

John raises cheers but fails to realise mutual dislike is no bar to unlikely political union

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was shooed away from the chamber by the Ceann Comhairle while his question and answer session was still in full swing

Mary Lou relishes the ‘benefit of great ventilation for all the hot air’ in the chamber

An image shared on social media at the weekend of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett meeting two friends in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Chestgate. Picnicgate. Posergate. Wickergate. Call it what you will. Varadkar did no harm

Labour Leader Alan Kelly on the plinth in Leinster House on Thursday.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Labour leader brings his stopwatch to give out about ‘bonkers’ health guidance for TDs

 Katherine Zappone: Many TDs thanked her for her work during her term of office

‘Unelected’ Zappone takes almost two hours of questions from the floor

People exiting Heuston station in Dublin on Tuesday, a day after phase one of Ireland’s five-phase exit plan was triggered. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Mathematics of doing Dáil business has reached levels of advanced calculus

 Labour  leader Alan Kelly at Leinster House on Thursday. ‘With each Dáil sitting and more unanswered questions, the colour-coded  Kelly alert level has been climbing.’  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Labour leader waves ‘explosive’ letter but Mattie McGrath blows his top completely

 The unsinkable Alan Shatter. Did he lay an egg along with everything else? Is there no end to the man’s talent?  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Motion to remove report critical of Alan Shatter from Dáil record thrown out for now

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “And Sinn Féin Ministers on their Facebook site promote the fact that they hand out food parcels to the poor – reminiscent to me of Donald Trump handing out toilet rolls.” Photograph: Leon Farrell

Varadkar awakes screaming from Leaving Cert nightmare to reality of Covid payments

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. “As she has not reached the pandemic swaddling stage, the serving Minister for Children (without a seat) was able to report for duty.” Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall/PA

Zappone reports for duty in Leinster House as Ross remains in south Dublin cocoon

This time Leo addressed the nation from the bottom of the stairs.  And he skipped the poetry. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Slow and steady does it as Taoiseach unveils five-stage Covid Lockdown Exit plan

Danny Healy-Rae arrives at Leinster House for Thursday  afternoon’s Dáil session. Photograph:  Crispin Rodwell

Kerry TDs want UN to investigate China’s role in spread of coronavirus

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking in the Dáil on Thursday where social distancing measures were implemented

Dáil Sketch: Move to Convention Centre can’t come too soon for socially distancing TDs

‘I ask people to bear in mind that this is a virus that did not exist three or four months ago. It did not have a name two months ago.’

Will Micheál Martin ever get to sit in Leo’s seat? A political reshuffle of interest only to them

The brand new Finagle party will be seeking to woo smaller parties into joining it in government. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be hoping his former coalition colleague, now Labour leader, Alan Kelly might be interested. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Smaller parties give short shrift to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s shameless wooing

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “We need to persevere and we need to maintain our discipline and resolve.” Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA

Three more weeks of restrictions as Leo quotes over-plundered Heaney

This isn’t Hungary. But Richard Boyd-Barrett has us worried now. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Dark day in the Dáil, as questions go unanswered by Ministers

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, HSE chief executive Paul Reid and Minister for Health Simon Harris in the conference centre at Citywest Hotel, Dublin, as preparations get under way for a Covid-19 isolation and step-down facility. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Ardfheiseanna in Citywest will never be the same again

Richard Boyd Barrett: ‘We need democracy to continue to function.’  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

People Before Profit leader ensures that Leo Varadkar will not lead us all up the Danube

Dublin Airport Police personnel applauding front-line healthcare workers tonight at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Julien Behal

Dáil debates emergency Covid-19 Bill, but there’s no debate about the need for speed

Minister for Health Simon Harris described an incident in which he was coughed on as  ‘surreal’. Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Simon Harris coughed at by middle-aged man ‘who looked pleased with himself’

A view of a man wearing a mask on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Signs for hope are outlined as the war Cabinet gives an update on The Emergency

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin  - or ‘Fianna Fáil 1’ - at Leinster House on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Few TDs in chamber as social distancing rules apply, but sense of foreboding in the air

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made a masterly speech on Tuesday: it was reasoned,  realistic yet reassuring. ‘One for the ages’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Varadkar, supposedly a lame duck Taoiseach, enlists a scared nation to face the surge

 Dublin’s  O’Connell Street on St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Tom Honan

As leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan was official ruler of Ireland for St Patrick’s Day

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Namaste greeting with US president Donald Trump meets with in the Oval Office. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Varadkar sparks run on toilet roll back home before Dr Donald assures us virus is going away

Leo Varadkar presenting a bowl of shamrocks to Donald Trump in 2019. But what will happen this year? File photograph: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

Coronavirus made Leo a Riverdance no-show, saving himself for germaphobe Donald

 Seanad candidate Ruth Coppinger: the former  Solidarity TD took Senator Michael McDowell to task over his praise of ‘billionaire misogynist’ Mike Bloomberg. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Ruth Coppinger goes on the attack while Justin Warfield warbles some old tunes

Knees up: Fianna Fáil Senator Diarmuid Wilson gets a friendly knee from Labour’s Alan Kelly  on the Plinth on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Man who hopes to take over from Howlin unapologetic

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during wreath-laying in the Garden of Remembrance during the first day of their three-day Irish visit. Photograph: Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images

It seems the Cambridges were well briefed on the political situation here in a non-partisan way

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: far from those good old days and the vacant seats on State boards which he  never got around to filling before calling the election.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Negotiators declare what it might take to consider lending their brilliance to an administration

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

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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

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