President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, the National Ploughing Association director Anna May McHugh,  and chairman of the National Ploughing Association, Denis Keohane. Photograph: Tom Honan

President helps Germans find Donaghmede while Madigan shows off her Hochdeutsch

Leinster House. Photograph: Alan Betson

Deputies are stuck in Ploughing-related tailbacks as they return from summer break

Into battle: Michael D Higgins at the first day of  the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan in Co Offaly. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

President’s ploughing championship visit leaves challengers with ground to make up

Simon Coveney and his family greet the pope at Dublin Airport, following a last-minute deal with Simon's daughter Annalise. Photograph: EPA

Coveney inundated with cat offers after bribing daughter (5) to greet the pope

 Norma Burke aka Bunty Twuntingdon McFluff at City Hall. “I did this because I got so angry listening to people who want to be candidates but haven’t read the constitutional requirements for the job,” she said. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Councillors driven round the bend as candidate selection process goes off the rails

Stephen and Irene Teap with their two children Noah (3) and Oscar (5). Irene died last year, having received incorrect cervical cancer screening results. Photograph courtesy of Stephen Teap

Scally has shown up a noxious current in Irish medicine in all its arrogant swagger

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin with Anne Rabbitte, Fiona O’Loughlin, Lorraine Clifford-Lee, Catherine Ardagh and Lisa Chambers in Malahide, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

In Malahide, a wide-eyed Micheál Martin berated Fine Gael for inventing political spin

 Different times: Pope Francis arrives at the Phoenix Park for Mass on Sunday. Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Hugely anticipated visit of Pope Francis to Ireland did not attract the expected numbers

A child during the World Meeting of Families closing Mass in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

All smiles and plundering flowers, it was magnificent – for those who wanted to be there

 Pope Francis shakes hands with Katherine Zappone, Minister  for Children and Youth Affairs, at a reception at Áras an Uachtaráin  in Dublin. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Minister addresses him in the language of her forebears and Francis replies in English

Kevin Sharkey and others at Carlow County Council meeting: “Ireland should come first – that’s not to exclude anyone, that just makes common sense.”  Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Potential presidential candidates display their stalls to polite Carlovian councillors

President Michael D Higgins: still  doing what he has to do, even if journalists will be turning up in increasing numbers at his public events. Photograph: Inpho/Tommy Dickson

RDS was hopping with champagne, spice bags and tarot cards as President bides his time

Irish presidential candidate Gavin Duffy amongst the fashion on Ladies Day during day four of the Galway Festival. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Gavin Duffy happy to get into any enclosure to press the flesh

Photographic Genius Award: Fianna Fail’s Waterford TD Mary Butler got 31 colleagues, mostly TDs, to pose together for a photograph on Merrion Square to signal support for the No campaign in the abortion referendum. Photograph: Fianna Fáil

Plus: ‘Make Ireland late again’ – Why I’m running for office of Uachtaráin na hÉireann

Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy make their way back from Derrynane beach in Kerry following a Cabinet meeting in Derrynane House. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Cabinet made to wait for emancipation in Daniel O’Connell’s former home

Senator Terry Leyden finally got the memo.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

FF veteran goes from opposing to supporting Frances Black’s Bill, but Coveney’s not happy

 Prince Harry and  Meghan Markle with  President Michael Higgins  and his wife, Sabina, with  Bród and Siodá, Michael D’s Bernese Mountain dogs. Photograph: Getty Images

Newly wed prince and actress princess unleash waves of unbridled enthusiasm

The duchess and duke of Sussex with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as they arrive at Government Buildings during their visit to Dublin. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Sparse Dáil attendance as Deputies prepare to party with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

A supporter of Colombia reacts after the penalty shootout of the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16  match against England in Moscow. Sinn Féin TDs and Senators were supporting the South American side in the Dáil bar this week

Sinn Féin supports Colombia with gusto as Leo faces penalties over his US remarks

For all his media savvy, when meeting a group of media savvy young people, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar didn’t think his remarks would get out. File photograph: PA

When a politician says a journalist isn’t interested in the truth it’s usually because that politician can’t handle the truth

The Tánaiste took a swipe at Mary Lou McDonald (above) during Leaders’ Questions, calling out Sinn Féin for showing no interest after the last election when the country needed a government: “At least Fianna Fáil engaged.” File photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘Do you feel wanted this morning,’ Simon asks Mary Lou in one of the weirder moments

From here to maternity: Minister for Health Simon Harris was spreading his own good news at his Fine Gael party’s summer night out this week. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Harris breaks news of wife’s pregnancy while Fine Gael colleagues hit Harcourt Street

There was no sign of Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry in the Dáil on the day after he and his company were fined a total of €25,000. Photograph: Collins Courts

A Moriartyesque state of affairs as the Independent TD stays away from questions

26/06/2018 - NEWS -Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, speaking to media responding to comments made by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, in Dublin.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish TimesPhotograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Having a Minister for Culture say ‘I never claimed I said Mass’ is not what you expect

Helen McEntee, Eamon Mallie, Noel Murphy, Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone and Declan McGrath pose in front of Murphy’s portrait of all the women members of the Oireachtas.

Painting of all female members of Oireachtas marks centenary of women’s suffrage

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten at the launch of “Empowering Communities for Climate Action” on Wednesday. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Apologies abound as Leo says mea culpa to the people of West Belfast for tweet that insulted the wrong people

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar marking  25 years since Ireland decriminalised homosexuality. Photograph: PA

David Norris heralded in Dáil and Seanad as State apologises for treatment of gay people

When the huge poster was unveiled on Tuesday, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin posed happily beside it.  Photograph: Cate McCurry/PA Wire

Attack ad the latest bout in sparring match between two south Dublin private schoolboys

Leo Varadkar: “We have much more to do and it’s going to take many more years”

No cakewalk for Taoiseach at Leaders’ Questions as TDs queue to burst his balloon

“Leo feels at home in this territory – where he speaks above the heads of politicians in the Dáil chamber and directly to middle Ireland.” Photograph: DominicWire

Procedure involves monitoring movements of top medics using the latest equipment

Minister of State for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris at the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds

The pair, tied together since the referendum, present food for thought in the Phoenix Park

Rising Social Democrats star Sinéad Gibney with comedian Des Bishop and Catherine Murphy TD.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil casts an envious eye over Social Democrat talent

Richard Boyd-Barrett: When he brought the story closer to home, the TDs in the chamber looked and listened with a mixture of upset and concern. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The adoption scandal is the latest in a relentless stream of dispiriting episodes

Clare Daly, the Independents4Change deputy from Dublin Fingal, has been the most compelling voice of recent times in Dáil Éireann in the fight for abortion rights.

Emotional Independents4Change Deputy tells TDs it was public who led on abortion

A single rose is held aloft at Dublin Castle as the crowd gathered to celebrate the Yes vote. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Cheers and tears greeted the verdict – a just reward for decades fighting the good fight

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina casting their votes in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment at St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Suffocating old certainties, unrepresentative lobby groups and celibate clerics swept aside

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has voiced his support for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment, saying that the proposed legislation, “in no way represents abortion on demand”

International media arrive in Dublin as photocalls and press conferences wind down

‘The Fianna Fáil TDs who are not backing their leader Micheál Martin’s position sat stony-faced. Not a peep out of one of them’

Not a peep from retainers as Varadkar calls their bluff over concern for hard cases

Danny Healy Rae: insists he’s got nothing against winged creatures. Or hedges.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Kerry TD reckons it’s okay to cut hedgerows, as birds are too smart to nest by busy roads

Vicky Phelan arriving at the Dáil prior to her appearance before the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Vicky Phelan tells Public Accounts Committee she does not want to die in vain

Referendum posters advocating Yes and No outside  Government Buildings in Dublin. Photograph: Getty Images

Flying column arrives outside the Dáil just in time for Leaders’ Questions

Men of the Week: members of Waterford City and County Council who stood for a group photograph to highlight their support for a No vote in the referendum. Photograph:  Darren Skelton/Waterford News & Star.

Healy-Raes exhaust patience over driving Bill, Kenny to be named European of the Year

Mattie McGrath:  “I’m asking you, Taoiseach, to have some accountability for your Ministers”

Taoiseach allowing Minister for Health to cavort with people from Amnesty – McGrath

Canny time-hogging strategies by rural TDs a feature of grab-a-number speaker system

Bertie Ahern: will his achievements be eclipsed by his shortcomings? Photograph: David Sleator

The former taoiseach resigned 10 years ago this weekend. We assess his legacy

Former Fianna Fáil TD Noel O’Flynn who was honoured by being made a tribe leader last week in Kenya in recognition, according to Cork businessman Michael Mulcahy’s Facebook posting, of his support for businesses in the east Africa country. In case anyone was wondering, wrote Mulcahy in a post with this photograph, he did not know whether O’Flynn, when attending future events in Cork, would have to be addressed as Chief

‘If a boy gets himself into trouble, can he not take the morning-after pilsner?’

Leo Varadkar:  moved to reassure women whose smear tests returned a negative result that they should not worry that those results may not be accurate. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Taoiseach coincidentally surrounded by women as he addresses serious women’s issues

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) and  Minister for Health Simon Harris: Taoiseach told the Dáil he is ‘very angry’  women were not told that following an audit of their tests it was discovered that pre-cancerous cells were not identified in  their first check. ‘I’m a Taoiseach, a doctor and also a brother with two sisters,’ he said. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

All sides in the Dáil agreed the CervicalCheck and HSE response is unacceptable

Anybody But McDowell?: Shane Ross seems not to want Michael McDowell (above) to chair the Taoiseach’s committee to oversee the implementation of the Manning report on Seanad reform. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Miriam Lord on Shane Ross, strange alliances, and a lather of misplaced indignation

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “This is more fake news, I’m afraid. This time it was in ‘The Irish Times’, it was the ‘Irish Examiner’ earlier on in the week.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach tries to pin blame on media for reported dissent over judicial appointment

Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy holding up “Repeal the Eighth” posters in the Dáil on Tuesday. Image: Oireachtas TV.

Tánaiste denounces ‘stupid stunts’ as Solidarity/PBP TDs hold up images of mural

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten addresses the Dáil about claims in relation to Independent News & Media. Photograph: Oireachtas TV/PA Wire

Minister learns that everything remains private until corporate big boys fall out

“The reported data breaches [at INM] represent a very significant threat to the freedom of our press but the way in which the media have responded to this threat to date should reassure us that our press will not be silenced,” the Taoiseach told the Dáil.

Echoes of times past as party leaders proclaim unbridled love for the media

Simon Community team: members    served food and hot drinks to homeless people and rough sleepers during the recent snow. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Warm sausage rolls, cold war paranoia and ... the Ceann Comhairle interruption

Simon Harris then he made an interesting point about how the same people keep popping up all the time in all these different campaigns. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Health draws attention to false claims from previous referendum campaigns

'TDs may sneer all they like about dogs’ dinners, but sometimes you can’t help thinking that a lot more thought goes into the composition of food on Fido’s plate than into the composition of certain utterances and actions dished up in Leinster House.'

Give the Taoiseach a bowl of Winalot at the next election and he will bite the hand off you

Fiona O’Loughlin declared: “I am a bog woman and I’m very proud of it. I come from the heart of the Bog of Allen.”

Meanwhile, there was a crucial Grand Slam decider that didn’t go to plan in London

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae argued if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, unborn babies won’t stand a chance. Image: Oireachtas TV

Bill allowing referendum passes but significant minority don’t trust themselves

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar poses for selfies during the St Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue in New York.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Varadkar’s Doonbeg joke melted away as he paraded on the sunny side of the street

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is greeted by US vice-president Mike Pence and wife Karen at a breakfast event in Washington. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Smart money would have been on Trump saying something stupid. Instead he teed Leo up

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and US president Donald Trump shaking hands in the Oval Office of the White House. Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Talk of golf and Doonbeg may have landed the Taoiseach in a hole

A screen shot from Government video promoting Ireland.

Slick production tells US audience about the best of Ireland. ‘What about it?’ asks one viewer

British ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a Belfast  Agreement 20th anniversary event at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach in Washington for beginning of annual St Patrick’s week schmoozefest

Charles Haughey in 1987. “He was really into his food; almost fanatical about it,” said Oireachtas chef Julie Lyons. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Former taoiseach ‘liked his grapes polished’, Oireachtas chef tells Ryan Tubridy

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: jousted with the Taoiseach over the never-ending saga of his special communications unit. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Dáil Sketch: McDonald insists on being heard in House that often drowns out women

Michael McDowell, Sgt Maurice McCabe, his wife Lorraine and solicitor Sean Costello arrive at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle on Tuesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Garda whistleblower’s claims disputed in cross-examination at disclosures tribunal

Sgt Maurice McCabe leaving the Disclosures Tribunal with his wife Lorraine on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Emotional Maurice McCabe paints vivid picture of alleged treatment

Katherine Zappone described recent attempts to exclude former president Mary McAleese from an associated event in the Vatican along with “the airbrushing out of images of LGBTI families from certain church literature related to this event” as “a source of serious concern”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister, who has Italian heritage, will travel to Vatican for St Patrick’s eve reception

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Wednesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Caustic edge as Fianna Fáil TD accuses Government of ‘Goebbels-style launch’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Project 2040 publicity operation “operates at arm’s length and does so in accordance with Civil Service rules”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Campaign has ‘potential to corrupt’ democratic process, Fianna Fáil leader says

 Members of the Cabinet on stage for the launch of  Project Ireland 2040, at Sligo’s Institute of Technology. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

National Development Plan’s launch was a matter of record in several respects

Taoiseach again parries Opposition questions about cost of National Development Plan ads

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald smiled when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed her as a new leader, then gave him a look which said, “thanks, now get on with your answer.”

Taoiseach turns on the charm with Sinn Féin leader, but his ‘strategic communication’ backfires

 Cabinet special meeting in the Institute of Technology Sligo: it was “a great day for Ireland” said Heather Humphreys. Photograph: Alan Betson

Cabinet decamps to Sligo for day-long orgy of unveiling in style of old Fianna Fáil playbook

The team in Stormont, with Leo Varadkar and Theresa May in the centre. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

The official photo at Stormont didn’t look great, much to Joan Burton’s dismay

 Mary Lou McDonald:   “I believe in reaching out,” she said. “I believe in standing my ground too.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

There was lots of talk of shoes too – as in not filling Gerry Adams’ Crocs – as the new leader of Sinn Féin was installed

 Independent Mattie McGrath was among those to contribute as the Dáil debated the latest developments in the broadband plan. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Katherine Zappone says yes to the dress as Mattie McGrath plays the self-blame game

Independent TD brothers Danny and Michael Healy-Rae in the Dáil, which had to be suspended for five minutes after a shouting match between TDs over speaking rights. Photograph: Oireachtas/PA Wire

Smiling Taoiseach savours the in-house Dáil entertainment as brothers row with MacSharry

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring: proof of Leo Varadkar’s rural bona fides.  Photograph: Eric Luke

With the Pro-Rural Lifers facing off against the Fancy-Dan Dubs, the muck is flying

These days, the Seanad is temporarily housed in an oversized room on loan from the National Museum. It is mere minutes away from the Dáil chamber, thanks to the OPW knocking down a party wall. Photograph: MaxwellPhotography.ie

Potential abolition will not be revisited. He sounded rather regretful, but dem’s the breaks

 Frances Fitzgerald arriving at the disclosures tribunal in Dublin Castle on Wednesday.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Former minister for justice gives another masterclass in forgetfulness at tribunal

‘Where Leo Varadkar’s moment was concerned, it was widely described as ‘historic’ and ‘a watershed’ and, of course, ‘seismic’.’ Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

There was hardly a peep about the big issue of the day while the Taoiseach was in the Dáil

“Oy, get your hands off my Dingle . . .” The man in the map of Ireland costume at Cheltenham in 2012. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Getty Images

Miriam Lord’s Week: ‘Hostess’ agency sent map-of-Ireland man to Cheltenham

 Sgt Maurice McCabe, Michael McDowell SC, and his solicitor Kathryn Ward, arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

To think Nóirín O’Sullivan wasn’t aware of dangerous ripples is hard to credit

Late Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan’s mother, Eileen and daughters, Molly and Dakota follow behind as her coffin  is carried at her  funeral  at the Church of St Ailbe, Ballybricken, Limerick. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin.

She may have been globally famous, but in Limerick she was one of the O’Riordans

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at the disclosures tribunal in Dublin Castle on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Miriam Lord: Former Garda commissioner says she ‘absolutely’ supported McCabe

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin outlined his views on the abortion amendment in the Dáil on Thursday and caused astonishment  across the political spectrum.

FF leader’s support for abortion access up to 12 weeks sends shockwaves to Ireland’s DNA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  and Nigel Farage at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. They both look very happy as they enjoy a pre-lunch glass of bubbly

Nigel Farage happy to get on like a house on fire with Varadkar and his people

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s wide-ranging speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg took in issues such a Brexit, climate change, European unity, tax issues and migration. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach charms MEPs in Strasbourg with personal touch about British-Irish relationship

Justice swamp: former minister Frances Fitzgerald with former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Martin marched his party up and down hills, Kenny departed, Varadkar got the top job

Politician of the Year Paschal Donohoe: “A consummate media performer, popular with the public and his party, he rarely puts a foot out of place and is always there at his leader’s shoulder.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘Consummate media performer’ Paschal Donohoe scoops Politician of the Year Award

Leo Varadkar on the first day of Luas passenger services on the Green Line extension. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

And nuptials and novelty ties filled the Oireachtas with love and Christmas cheer

Campaign badges to support repeal of  Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

No denying magnitude of majority decision to support removal of Eighth Amendment

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he would not like to see any of Creative Ireland’s money going on the RTÉ orchestras. Photograph: Dáil/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil leader urges Taoiseach to strike supportive note about ‘national treasure’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visits St Laurence O’Toole girls’ national school in Seville Place, Dublin, on Thursday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘World’s Best Taoiseach’ mug steals show as Varadkar’s cup runneth over

The Taoiseach did a double take. A Healy-Rae threatening eternal damnation is not to be trifled with. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Then Mick Wallace was on to the pesto. And the hokey-cokey. We were agog

  Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghail turns  on the Oireachtas Christmas tree lights at Leinster House. He was joined  by Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Denis O’Donovan, party leaders and other members of the Oireachtas with music and song provided by the Oireachtas choir and the Cavan Rugby Club male voice choir. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Parties present united front against hard border after May’s hames of Brexit deal

Former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald: When in doubt, just forget. Photograph: Tom Honan

After the recent outbreak of amnesia in Kildare Street, I've conveniently forgotten everything

The Taoiseach's forthcoming trip to Brussels for a crucial European Council meeting might just be the thing to buff up his tarnished halo. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Passionate Howlin pressures Taoiseach over Brexit and the ‘Irish question’

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and his predecessor Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Best gag? Flanagan saying thanks for questions leading to Government’s near downfall

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