Minister for Justice Helen McEntee: ‘In Ashling, we see our sisters, our daughters and our mothers. In her family, we see our own,.’  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Special Dáil session on violence against women was compelling and heart-gripping

Ashling Murphy’s first class pupils at Durrow National School formed a guard of honour at St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Miriam Lord: A young life needlessly ended. The world changed forever for those left behind

President Michael D Higgins inspects the Defence Forces guard of honour during a ceremony at Dublin Castle to mark 100 years since the handover of Dublin Castle. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Was Varadkar looking for ideas for a more personal handover of power later this year?

A sign placed among the  flowers and candles during a vigil at Leinster House, Dublin, for  Ashling Murphy. Photograph: Brian Lawless/ PA Wire

We need to stop the ‘entry-level’ aggression in order to save women’s lives

Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe (left) leaving Galway District Court. Photograph: Andrew Downes/PA Wire

The Supreme Court judge ambled into Golfgate trial with a stack of files under his oxter

Donie Cassidy leaves Galway District Court in Co Galway after attending a hearing where he is one of four people accused to have breached Covid restrictions by organising a golf society dinner. Photograph: Andrew Downes/PA Wire

Legal heavyweights out in force in Galway – although golf is not exactly their cup of tee

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald delivers a speech at the party’s ardfheis in Dublin in October. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

Danny Healy-Rae left to his own device as Zapponegate saw Government rocked by a role

 Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue with ‘Ronnie’ the donkey  at Farmleigh House. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

TDs and Senators pose with their pets and Howlin marks a special anniversary

The Dáil rises for Christmas on Thursday. File photograph: The Irish Times

Alan Kelly gets a bout of Christmas spirit and Mattie McGrath gets nostalgic about Big Tom

‘I dressed for the occasion in red, a Ceann Comhairle. I think it would be a bit much to don the beard and the hat, so I left it,’ said Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Giddy mood in the chamber, even talk of Tipperary hospital turned fruity

And the winner is... Sinn Féin has emerged as the most popular party in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. Photograph: Alan Betson

Shinners are cock-a-hoop, but there’s a touch of ‘house private, no flowers’ about FF and FG

The Taoiseach  wasn’t wearing Cooper’s trademark red fez on his head, but by summoning the spirit of the great entertainer he created a mental image some of us can never erase. Photograph: iStock

Too much to expect Micheál Martin to conduct Leaders’ Questions wearing great entertainer’s trademark red fez

 Minister for Housing Darragh O Brien: he did his Teresa Mannion impersonation – ‘do not take unnecessary trips’ – at a press conference in Dublin.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach insists there is no gag and the Government has just decided to ‘co-ordinate’ the lads

President Michael D Higgins has previously expressed concern at a flurry of last-minute Bills. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

President could be on the Bob Cratchit shift as Government leaves its shopping late

Pearse was standing in for Mary Lou McDonald who is away in America and very definitely not fundraising for Sinn Féin in Ireland because little Sinn Féin in the USA needs constant, massive funding for some inexplicable reason. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach says he can ‘see through’ SF TD as masks and mica row dominate debate

Róisín Shortall:  the joint leader of the Social Democrats claimed  the approach to providing subsidised antigen tests has been all over the place. “More like Lanigan’s Ball – in again and out again – than fact-based and deliberative”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

No let up over antigen testing and Mica redress scheme

As Shelbourne FC’s public affairs and inclusion officer, former minister Finian McGrath will seek to liaise with government and local authorities on the club’s behalf with the goal of making it the most inclusive club in Ireland

Former minister Finian McGrath joins team Shelbourne FC as public affairs officer

Bernard Durkan wants to know why the Lotto jackpot, now worth more than €19 million, hasn’t been won since June. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Calls for balls to be dropped is an entertaining distraction, but not a winning proposal

 Garth Brooks  at Croke Park, Dublin  in advance of his concerts there next September.  Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

You may have friends in low places, but it’s no guarantee of bagging a prized Golden Swab

Mattie McGrath was among those who questioned the idea of Oireachtas politicians getting free antigen tests. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Elsewhere this week, Bertie Ahern’s comments on the North go completely south

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: It’s a rough time trying to keep national spirits up in the face of constant opposition harassment.   Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Histrionics as Micheál Martin and Alan Kelly get their wires crossed over restriction rules

Sean FitzPatrick’s remains are taken from church after his funeral mass  at the Holy Rosary Church, Greystones, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins

Miriam Lord: Death of poster villain of the crash was always going to generate interest beyond his grieving circle

Anne Rabbitte, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, thinks she’ll never be the one to deliver the good news. Photograph: Joe Dunne

Getting juniors to do seniors’ dirty work is no laughing matter for straight-talking Rabbitte

 Senator David Norris beside  his portrait  by artist William Nathans. Photograph: Alan Betson

David Norris (77) honoured for his work as human rights campaigner and doughty defender of Dublin’s building heritage

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald: Got stuck into her favourite subject - cuckoo funds swooping in and snatching homes from under ordinary people’s noses. Photograph: Alan Betson

If you had a drink for every cliche from Sinn Féin leader, you’d be legless in Leinster House

Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley. Photograph: James Forde

Fianna Fáil was hoping no one would mention the War of the Buttons two years later

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaks on the second day of the Cop26 UN Climate Change Conference  in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Miriam Lord: He hobnobbed with Boris, Biden and Bezos but met begrudgery in the Dáil

 Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: “Just let me be very clear, deputy, there is not going to be any cull of the herd. That is not a proposal in the Climate Action Plan.”

Dáil’s bovine emissions out of control and not expected to plateau any decade soon

The president of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, giving her address at the party’s  ardfheis at the Helix in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

This was republicanism with jazz hands and glitter balls as delegates assembled for Sinn Féin’s ardfheis

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier; his wife, Elke Büdenbender; President Michael D Higgins; his wife, Sabina; and their dogs, Bród and Misneach, at Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty

The red carpet is dusted off and the dogs practise diplomatic etiquette for state visit

UK prime minister Boris Johnson and secretary of state for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis at the service in Armagh. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

NI First Minister slammed by a minister in his church for attending ‘unbiblical’ event

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney with UK prime minister Boris Johnson speaking with Catholic Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin following a service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh yesterday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Coveney and Johnson exchange stilted pleasantries at event to mark North centenary

Taoiseach, Micheál Martin:  Matters proceeded uneventfully until Danny Healy-Rae ambled through a gap in the hedge with a query about the culling of cattle to combat climate change.Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Danny Healy-Rae question takes Martin close to the brink

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine : ‘You could probably dance to the bar for a drink’.

Covid’s setback now further compromised by a severe case of The Anomalies

Leo Varadkar: Needs to set his alarm. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The ‘people who get up early in the morning’ were kept waiting as the Tánaiste slept it in

Sinn Féin leader  Mary Lou McDonald: a one-woman castigation chorus. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘The emperors have no clothes,’ said SF leader, before tearing strips off the Coalition

Ant & Dec? No, it’s Michael McGrath and Paschal Donohoe, just before announcing the winners in Budget 2022. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Outbreak of civility as Ministers unveil Budget 2022, with even SF toning it down

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photograph: Gareth/Chaney Collins

Taoiseach is shook on arrival at EU summit, ahead of high-level talks about Cork roads

James O’Connor says he  feels he has been deeply misled and ‘I am hurt.’  Photograph: Stephen Collins/ Collins Photos

Dáil Sketch: O’Connor bags a meeting with the Taoiseach as MacSharry forgets who’s who

 Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick City Willie O’Dea: ‘Because I’m as wise today as I was yesterday’

O’Dea ploughed on with question about Limerick-Cork motorway, tortured by terrible feeling

Can I kick it? Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar, Michael McGrath and Eamon Ryan at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Julien Behal

National Development Plan launch was low-key – unlike the song and dance of 2018

Fergus O’Dowd: Drogheda’s data deputy.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Commemoration for IRA volunteer featured the famous Clonakilty breakfast product

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Nick Leeder, head of Google Ireland:  “I find it extraordinary that you are prepared to leave households in the dark so that you could roll out the red carpet for data centres,” said Mary Lou McDonald.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘I thank the Taoiseach for mansplaining the importance of a public policy issue’

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin reminded the Government of past efforts on housing solutions, unveiled with similar fanfare by Simon Coveney and Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘I’ve a terrible sense of deja vu,’ Eoin Ó Broin counters as housing plan is debated

Taoiseach Michéal Martin unveils a brick at the Irish Arts Center in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen

As the Dáil expands along with the population, some space will have to be cleared

Social Democrats co-Leader Róisín Shortall. Photograph: Tom Honan

Róisín Shortall savages Coalition’s lack of political will in implementing Sláintecare

 Danny Healy-Rae: Needs a big rucksack to carry his big, loud Nokia.  Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Danny Healy-Rae’s mobile keeps going off, and Alan Kelly is going off his rocker

Senator Barry Ward is celebrating his engagement to fellow Fine Gaeler Aoife McLoughlin-Ngo.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Brave Barry Ward invites FG colleagues to his Covid-compliant engagement party

 Simon Coveney leaving Government Buildings after a motion to vote confidence in him has succeeded by 92 votes to 59.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Next week the Dáil might start doing some real work

Golden moment: Boxer Kellie Harrington’s homecoming with Emmet Brennan. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

‘She’s like a beacon of light in the area now after everything that has gone on in the last few years’

The ‘mother of Portland Row’, Lily Fagan, with fellow residents, looking forward to Kellie Harrington competing for gold this  weekend. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Olympic finalist cherished and loved by her own in Dublin’s north inner city

Simon Coveney and Katherine Zappone: Zappone landing that job – for which she would seem eminently qualified – was a case of pure serendipity. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Coleen Rooney-esque sleuth unmasks the Dáil squealer while Michael D takes a stand for his holliers

Taoiseach Micheál Martin meets 3rd class pupils from St Brigid’s Girls National School in Glasnevin (from left) Isabella Ryan (10), Ella Brereton (9), Charlotte Collins (9), Caoimhe Flanagan (10), and Faye Haverty (10), who made their First Holy Communion on Wednesday as a small group.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Coalition not quite smelling of roses as Taoiseach visits Botanic Gardens

Wedded blitz:   Orla Hogan, Ali O’Mara, Briana Cullen, Anna Killeen and Orla Ó hUadhaigh  protest at the Department of Health over restrictions on numbers of guests at weddings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Health officials quake as brides-to-be march on the department, but where were the frills?

James Whelan in Doheny & Nesbitt. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Many publicans opt to wait as clarity over indoor hospitality arrives at 11th hour

Paschal Donohoe: transfer to Europe on the cards. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Forget Tokyo 2020 – the Convention Centre was where the real athletic action took place

An Irish Times cartoon of Charlie Haughey and Des O’Malley with the caption ‘Mr Haughey leaving office with dignity’. Illustration: Martyn Turner

The PD founder was charming, but could also be grumpy – especially around Charlie

Fine Gael TD Ciarán Cannon was quick to assure us there ‘wasn't a scratch on the bike’ after his crash. File photograph: Eric Luke

A touch of perspective wouldn’t have gone amiss in the Dáil this week

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is only delighted to discuss Project Happy because it’s his baby and right there in the Programme for Government. Photograph: Stephen Collins/ Collins Photos

Micheál gets ratty in slugfest over housing, CO2 monitors and Belarus comparisons

Mattie McGrath: The Independent TD  is taken to task, not for the first time, by the Taoiseach over his references to totalitarianism and authoritarianism.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Dáil Sketch: Tone of befuddlement as the Coalition goes roaring down the road to reopening

Ivana Bacik celebrates with, from left,  her daughters Louie and Cyan, and her husband, Alan Saul, after being declared the winner for the Dublin Bay South byelection at Simmonscourt, RDS.  Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

FF’s Deirdre Conroy was standing on her own when her result was announced

Darragh O’Brien, the  Minister for Housing, was rolled out on RTÉ radio’s Drivetime in an effort to clear things up about tax breaks for cuckoo funds. Sarah McInerney ate him without salt.  File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Sarah McInerney eats up Minister without salt as Dáil left to ponder who is turning off a housing tap

The Government has big plans, said Taoiseach Micheál Martin. The focus will be on building houses. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach ‘incentivising’ funds to buy up houses, Sinn Féin leader alleges

Mary Lou McDonald in Belfast recently. Photograph: Sinn Fein/PA Wire

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald and TD Martin Browne were singing different songs

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: ‘My only concern is to protect people.’ Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach robustly defends decision to delay reopening following ‘stark’ warning

Dining outdoors on Baggot St, Dublin on Tuesday. Labour leader Alan Kelly said the plan to allow only people who are fully vaccinated or have had Covid-19 to dine indoors was criminal, unenforceable and shocking. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Opposition TDs go ballistic over ‘bonkers’ and ‘bananas’ decision to delay reopening

Kate O’Connell with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, SF’s Dublin Bay South byelection candidate Lynn Boylan, O’Connell’s mother-in-law Nora O’Connell and sister-in-law Deirdre at O’Connell’s pharmacy in Rathgar

FG get a taste of their own medicine at Kate O’Connell’s Dublin Bay South pharmacy

The Minister for Health is off for more negotiations with St Vincent’s Hospital Group, still refusing to budge on selling him the land. File photograph: The Irish Times

Eight years down the line and political ructions reigning ... with no end in sight to saga

Ivana Bacik, the Labour Party candidate for the Dublin Bay South byelection with her director of elections Duncan Smith in Dublin city centre on Tuesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Promises fly as FG and SF circle the bandwagons ahead of Dublin Bay South byelection

Darragh O’Brien is compared to former US president Ronald Reagan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Praise for O’Brien’s concrete efforts and thanks to the Mayo women who gave voice to the House

Sarah Durcan, the  Social Democrats’ candidate in Dublin Bay South, launching her byelection campaign outside the Dáil on Wednesday, flanked by Róisín Shortall. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Amid Bloomsday celebrations, Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll sounds a sobering note

Homeowners from Donegal, Mayo and Clare protest at the Convention Centre in Dublin seeking 100 per cent redress over the mica issue. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Rural TDs warn of crumbling support for parties unless mica redress issue dealt with

Danny Healy-Rae is accusing Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin of ‘showboating’ over filling in the Kerry potholes.

Prospect of having to listen to people banging about constituency until October proved frightening

 Kevin Lunney: “I was conscious of blood running down from my face onto my arm.” Photograph: BBC Spotlight

Disturbing evidence could have been drawn from pages of Stephen King

Hangin’ on the telephone: Independent TD for West Cork Michael Collins.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The Taoiseach enjoyed the row so much he couldn’t resist returning to it on Wednesday

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

‘Unprecedented’ financial giveaway will help economy ‘take off like a rocket’, says Tánaiste

Taoiseach Micheál Martin shimmies down the red carpet to deliver the good news to the nation on Friday. Handout photograph: Julien Behal Photography

Micheál served up a nourishing number soup and we lapped it up with palpable relief

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: has  recommended slapping on the emergency powers for another six months. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Good faith turns to buyer’s remorse as TDs see no unwinding of draconian Covid curbs

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan’s cautious approach left sinking hearts all round. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Everyone poised to jet away for the Med just as soon as that vital paperwork comes through

Michael Ring: ‘The senior civil servants are running the Dáil and they’re running everything.’ Photograph: Crispin Rodwell for The Irish Times

Fed-up politicians want out of Convention Centre and back to Leinster House

Deputy Mattie McGrath warned us before about the appalling vista facing the nation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

It’s like ‘Germany in 1933’ all over again but Mattie’s not falling for the ‘scamdemic’

Kilcummin sewerage scheme near Killarney is an issue of huge importance to householders living in what Danny Healy-Rae said is “the biggest parish in Ireland”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Micheál Martin’s predecessor made an unexpected appearance at leaders’ questions on Tuesday

Sod that: Deputy mayor of Fingal Robert O’Donoghue, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and mayor of Fingal David Healy at the sod-turning on a new social and affordable housing scheme at Dun Emer, Lusk, Co Dublin. Photograph:  Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

Darragh O’Brien huffed and puffed and finally got a shovelful of dirt – disappointing

Richard Boyd Barrett told the Taoiseach he must be ‘living in a parallel universe’ if he thinks his plans for affordable housing are realistic. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mary Lou McDonald heaps scorn on stated promise to tackle the housing crisis

It’s all about the cuckoo investors and the vulture funds and curbing their spread further and further into the housing market

Mary Lou McDonald is mining a rich seam of public discontent and she knows it

Jim O’Callaghan dutifully tried to sound enthusiastic when asked about his party’s campaign in a constituency not noted as a Fianna Fáil stronghold. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Senior counsel Jim O’Callaghan has his work cut out to get an FF candidate over the line

“How are ordinary house buyers who scrimp and save for a mortgage supposed to compete with this?” File photograph: iStock

A nasty ‘variant’ of Greed-09 has swooped through an entire housing estate in Kildare

Helen McEntee: from here to maternity. Photograph: Tom Honan

Congratulations pour in for Minister as knives come out in Dublin Bay South

Happy days: Minister for Culture and Sport Catherine Martin, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar during the announcement of easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the reopening of hospitality, hairdressing and other services. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

The Taoiseach was happy to do the heavy lifting: lifting restrictions, lifting our spirits

Racing heart: Senator Martin Conway. Photograph: Tom Honan

Martin Conway of FG was overheard doing some side business during a virtual meeting

There’s talk of light at the end of the tunnel, but Labour leader Alan Kelly is still stuck in the tunnel, trying to get past a large blockage of vaccine the Government is promising to ‘roll out’ quickly.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

It was hard to contain the excitement at the election of two Senators, but we managed

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny staying on track

Miriam Lord: the former taoiseach is networking away on abandoned old railway lines

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: No more Mr Nice Phibsboro.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister needed a protective layer of cotton wool after getting a kicking over kids’ shoes

 Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: disconnected, mid-sentence, from the Convention Centre’s PA system. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

It’s a plucky individual who mutes the Sinn Féin leader when she’s holding forth

Micheál and Leo were wearing the same outfits.  They were like non-identical twins with nothing in common except their matching clothes. Photograph:  Julien Behal Photography

Micheál holds out a whiff of a carrot and a smaller stick with a promise of better days to come

Jimmy Deenihan. Photograph: Eric Luke

‘Jimmy’s Borehole’ might not sound very charitable, but that’s exactly what it is

Thomas Byrne, TD for Meath East, was disgusted. It’s bad enough to be compared to Cromwell in Dáil Éireann, but to make such an accusation to “someone born and reared in Drogheda” is particularly “outrageous”, he howled. Photograph:  Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Green soap forgotten as spirit of Cromwell evoked in Dáil

These women appear to have been subject to an Upstairs, Downstairs regime in Leinster House, left without basic facilities. Photograph: Alan Betson

The lack of recognition for the cleaners of this (very big) building is about to be rectified

All the best questions on the day were asked by Séamus the Dog on RTÉ’s Home School Hub when Taoiseach Micheál Martin dropped by for a chat. Image: RTÉ

Puppet pooch might have had more luck grilling Taoiseach about Gravy Stockbrokers

Derville Rowland, who heads the Central Bank’s financial misconduct unit, might as well have been talking about catching vampires for all the confidence her words inspired in her audience of politicians.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

For Derville Rowland, the silver bullet is a shaft of sunlight through the company wallet

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