Shortall may be gone, but big questions remain for Fine Gael and Labour

How the Government handles the James Reilly affair will be a litmus test of its promise to break from the corruption and dishonesty of Fianna Fail. By Eoin Ó Broin.

The James Reilly affair is nowhere near from over. Róisín Shortall may have gone, but big questions remain. How they are answered will have significant consequences for the Government, the two men at its helm and the parties they lead.

Reilly/Shortall rift exposes contradiction at heart of Government

If Roisín Shortall stands her ground it will create a political problem for Labour of far greater significance than the issues relating to health service reform. By Eoin Ó Broin.

The very public row between Minister for Health James Reilly and Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care Roisín Shortall is about more than personalities. It is also about more than decision-making processes and policy choices within the Department of Health.

Our sovereignty won't be back any time soon

Has no one told Enda Kenny of the plans afoot in Europe to end even a pretence of Irish sovereignty? By Vincent Browne.

Aside from his inspirational vision of making Ireland "the best little country in the world in which to do business" (is that aspiration borrowed from the 1916 Proclamation?), Taoiseach Enda Kenny's other grand design for Ireland is to recover its "economic sovereignty".

We need alternatives, but the Irish left is a joke

One of the reasons why we are stuck with the same politics and the same old codgers - in spite of ongoing austerity and deepening inequality - is because the Irish left is a joke. By Vincent Browne.

Four years ago this month, Paul Tansey died suddenly while playing tennis with Shane Ross. Paul had been a brilliant economics commentator first with the Irish Times, then with the Sunday Tribune (where I got to know him in the mid-1980s), and finally again with the Irish Times.

Why is inner cabinet cabal calling the shots?

The political structure in Ireland is an absurdity. In practice, the Oireachtas takes almost no decisions, aside from the Dáil electing a taoiseach. By Vincent Browne.

Shortly after Michael Noonan became Minister for Finance in March 2011, he gave an interview to the Limerick Leader in which he expressed his belief that the minister for finance could defy the taoiseach of the day because the position of minister for finance was mentioned in the Constitution.

Correspondence between Denis O'Brien and Vincent Browne

Below is a correspondence between Vincent Browne and Denis O'Brien in June and July 2012.

The correspondence was initiated by Denis O'Brien in a letter dated 21 June addressing an Irish Times article and broadcasts in which Vincent Browne refers to Denis O'Brien's media interests and the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal.

Major problems with our political system comprehensively ignored

While there is lots of talk about how fortunate we are to live in a democratic society, there is almost no appreciation of how thin our democracy is, and certainly no will to do anything about it. By Vincent Browne.

There is an impressive determination on the part of our public representatives to avoid the big issues besetting our society and our system of government.

War on Ireland's poor is gaining in intensity

Statements by lavishly-paid functionaries of international organisations, urging the lowering of the pay of people who are paid a fraction of their salary, are astounding to behold. By Vincent Browne.

Enda Kenny concluded the political season with yet another verbal howler, trying to be smart in answer to a question from Ursula Halligan about Eamon Gilmore having words with James Reilly.