Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien: pledged laws on cuckoo funds, rent relief and vacant sites. None made it into the programme for government.

Government moved fast in teeth of Covid-19 but drags heels on so many vested interests

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan, giving a media briefing at Govt. buildings: Dave Meehan for The Irish Times

The walloping of the election has seemed to help him find a groove in the pandemic crisis

Mr Harris was available for an astonishing number of interviews and social media activity, much of it good messages on social distancing, but some of it excessive. Photo:Leah Farrell/

Older people have for too long been regarded as a sort of foreign species in our society

The hammering of economies will reduce  emissions in a way not done by those who had the  power to do it before. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Our hope and salvation lie in dreams of new world that will emerge after Covid-19

The rental crisis should be tackled in the budget. The Government says there’s no room for giveaways, such as reintroducing rent relief, but oddly there’s no room to collect tax from booming corporate landlords either. Photograph: Getty Images

There is no coherent strategy from any protest movement on this crucial issue

 Northern Ireland  also uses a similar standard measure of spirit alcohol as the Republic, 35ml, compared to the standard single shot of 25ml in England, Scotland and Wales.

North already diverges from many significant laws enacted across the rest of the UK

“Fine Gael failed to foresee how creating a situation whereby large funds would buy thousands of apartments meant they could set the price of rent for whole cities.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

None of the parties is really engaging in the search for a solution

With growing antidepressant dependency, a wave of anxiety and high suicide rates, we may have a God-shaped hole in our lives. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Ireland remains hugely and beneficially religious but how we practise our faith has changed

We’d already known about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s extraordinary access to Enda Kenny over several years and how she even lobbied over the appointment of a new Data Protection Commissioner.

It’s been left to British politicians and the British media to inform us about Facebook’s involvement in election manipulation

Leo Varadkar: The Taoiseach is all about the glitz. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Need proof that materialist excess is back in vogue? Take a look at the political class

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. The only thing that separates these parties is the fear that merging would end their reason to exist, hand the Opposition to Sinn Féin and kill off a club rivalry they enjoy so much. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

No impetus for change as no difference between Government and Opposition policies

President Michael D Higgins at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght: his term has demonstrated no lack of energy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Hugely popular with the young, at 77 Michael D also inspires the older generation

Oliver Callan: I knew that it was wrong to be gay, and that I was undoubtedly one of these misfortunates, long before I knew anything about sex. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Finally admitting I was different was my epiphany, freeing me from a life of sameness

Other than the economy can we really claim that Enda Kenny left health, housing, faith in the Garda, water services and politics in better nick?

Why do these men leaving office need honours to top up generous handouts?

An anti-abortion campaigner holds a sign up in front of pro-choice campaigners outside Leinster House, Dublin, ahead of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA

The referendum affects someone else’s life in a way that doesn’t affect you back

Denis O’Brien: Those who know him say he’s great company and very generous. He’s able to laugh at himself. Professionally, O’Brien is a feared litigant. Photograph: Collins Courts

Media and politicians go selectively silent about INM out of fear of the billionaire

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: The Taoiseach was star-struck and raised none of social media’s controversies with him.

Irish politicians see tech giants as job announcement photo-ops, not threats

Mary Lou McDonald’s task is huge. To lead the party in a way that refutes the overwhelming sense, even among neutrals, that Sinn Féin is deeply controlled by a Belfast conclave. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Party’s failure to truly tackle past has infected the culture of their present

After all the hubbub from peers, buccaneers and Brexiteers, we’re now assured we’ll get an invisible Border

Oliver Callan: Its fate is always decided by faraway people who will never smuggle soup

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. “Varadkar’s rather doctorly brand of self-confidence, often mistaken as arrogance, has benefited him.” Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Fitzgerald fiasco the making of ‘Doctor without Hard Borders’ Taoiseach

Patrick Kavanagh, poet. File photograph: The Wiltshire Collection, National Library of Ireland

For 50th anniversary of Monaghan poet’s death, mercifully, there are no official events by the committees and boards he despised

“Leo Varadkar’s Republic of Photo-Opportunities is a terrific success . . . Fine Gael has hit a six-year high at 34 per cent and his approval rating is 52.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tweeting Taoiseach understands modern voters want bite-sized news light on detail

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Apple executives he would consider changes to the strategic infrastructure Act to speed up the planning process for “large-scale projects” such as its Athenry data centre.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Job are desirable but State should not change laws to facilitate light-taxed Apple and its ilk

President Michael D Higgins:  it’s hard to think of someone more suited to serve the next seven years, as the State celebrates the centenary of the War of Independence and the Civil War.  Photograph: Frank Miller

His promise to serve a single term was a mistake, a result of unjust focus on his age

Simon Coveney: the failure of his effort to move hundreds families from hotels and B&Bs by July 1st was rewarded with Cabinet promotion. Photograph: Eric Luke

Council must hand back refurbished properties to owners within five years

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin. Photograph: Niall  Carson/PA

Taoiseach glad-hands Trudeau and sends Deasy to DC as emigration flood continues

The newly elected Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with his predecessor Enda Kenny at Leinster House. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

He is globalist, anti-abortion and fired a class missile with his anti-welfare fraud campaign

Fine Gael leadership candidates Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney debate with each other at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

What a choice for Fine Gael: the first openly smug minister or the first openly generic one

Departing Taoiseach Enda Kenny photographed in Dublin on Monday. “He bounds out of office with that cheese-wire cut grin of his, ever youthful and excited about the glow of three-pension heaven that awaits him.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Enda Kenny squandered majority and focused on trivia and spin

As campaigns go, the pro-choice movement is in a better position with a motivated young female power base and a sense of humour. “Get your rosaries off my ovaries” is one of their many great slogans

Our parliament is not set up for the quick end to the abortion debate that is needed

Alan Shatter, a dogged and nuanced legal mind, would make for an uncomfortable figure on the backbenches for Enda Kenny where his future hung on every last vote. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Despite being vindicated by the O’Higgins report the former justice minister has got little sympathy from the public

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington on Thursday: elected a TD in 1975, he was in a better position than most to do something about the horrors that continued in his time. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Behind the shamrock blinkers and pleasant poetry, we’re just hypocrites

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “The contradiction means that a Taoiseach elected in 2011 with a mandate for change so huge he could have done anything, leaves having altered little.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

It’s a system that sees the Taoiseach accept the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal but then pose happily next to the man damned by(...)

Maurice McCabe: “Finding justice for Maurice McCabe is a side issue to the boxset drama series that is politics.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

We need to be able to hold senior civil servants to account for decisions that harm citizens

Michael and Danny Healy-Rae on the bonnet of an SUV to celebrate the first meeting of the 32nd Dáil, outside Leinster House. File photograph: Alan Betson

The Healy-Raes only differ from the US president in how they conceal their wealth

Enda Kenny during his 2012 trip to the White House: the Taoiseach should visit Trump with confidence and respectfully express our feelings about torture and human rights. Photograph: Leslie E Kossoff/LK Photos/PA Wire

It might be trendy to join the condemnation but the sensible approach is to wait and see

Joseph Fiennes and Michael Jackson, whom he portrayed in Sky Arts’ satire  Urban Myths.

We don’t need permission from their families every time we parody public figures

Meryl Streep accepts her Golden Globe award, “deluded into thinking that holding another shiny award gave her the right to lambast the choice of 63 million ordinary voters.” Photograph: Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP

For celebrity activism to be authentic it must come at a cost to the individual

Someone moons at Rose of Tralee (picture actually shows previous winner Geraldine O’Grady). Photograph: Eric Luke

Des Cahill does the splits, Dr Eva is in choc shock and someone moons at Rose of Tralee

Snowfall: “I’ve seen frosty mornings where the spray of a leaking hose made art out of dead stalks of cow parsley.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Country walk brings a peaceful loneliness that’s the perfect antidote to a noisy year

It’s curtains, for the last time,  for the turkeys of Drumlusty

After 40 years the Callan family is bowing out of the seasonal fowl business

Season of goodwill: Christmas is peak season for charities and Ireland has about 24,000 of them. Photograph: Getty

Ireland’s charity sector is in urgent need of tough regulation and downsizing

While the diverse group of immigrants, farmers, liberals, hippies and tiny Tories might sing together, there’s little harmony.

The public sector, left wing, emigrants, farmers and elite all play their parts

Participants during the NUI Galway Feminist Society and Students Union organised “Slutwalk” in Galway city.

Women have to get men, and drag queens, onside in fight for equality and stop sweating small stuff

Donald Trump, played by Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live, right, was easily the most parodied candidate in US election history and he still won

Satire exaggerates to make a point but just serves to confirm prejudice

In Lisbon, Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave “paced the stage like a man who had lost his keys, clutching a tiny iPad as a life raft”. Photograph: Andre Kosters/EPA

Paddy Cosgrave’s creation is a global Irish brand as big as Tayto but as disliked as Bono

That the documentary was broadcast at all proved its own theme: the constant underestimation of Enda Kenny. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Documentary elevated Taoiseach into some sort of ruthlessly clever and manipulating leader

‘In hand-me-down wool blazer and red tie, clutching a holy book, my communion photo made me look like Mormon-meets-mini-Tory. I was delighted with myself and the suit has served as camouflage ever since.’

If privilege allows them to say what they like, it should allow them to wear what they like

 Gerry Adams, Taoiseach Enda Kenny,  Joan Burton and Micheál Martin at the TV3/Newstalk television debate: subjective newspaper articles on Mr Adams’s performance were passed off as hard news. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Our own media has questions to answer about coverage of the last election

Childcare subsidies are being handed out with such fanfare that Katherine Zappone enjoyed a “Varadkar” of media homage this week, to use the new collective noun for inexplicably positive PR.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

They endured a 65% tax rate and entertainment from Big Tom and Twink

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