Ireland's new parliament yesterday elected the soft-spoken Enda Kenny as prime minister to lead a coalition government that faces immediate pressure to revive the nation's debt-crippled economy.
IF ONLY every day was as easy for Enda Kenny, as, on a bright lunchtime in Dublin, the Fine Gael leader was elected Taoiseach.
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Ireland's recent general election was the most dramatic in the country's history: Fianna Fáil lost almost three-quarters of its seats, the hard Left made significant gains and Gerry Adams will now sit in the Dáil as the head of the fourth-largest party in Irish politics.
Fine Gael and Labour will form a coalition government in Ireland following the ratification of a draft programme for government by a special Labour Party delegate conference in Dublin yesterday. Separately, the Fine Gael parliamentary party unanimously endorsed the proposed programme.
Ireland is almost unique among western democracies in having never had a left-wing government. Both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, the dominant political forces since the foundation of the state, are broadly right-of-centre.
Ireland's incoming leader is facing a one-week deadline to form a new government after Fine Gael romped to a historic general election victory.
Ireland's new leader-in-waiting, Enda Kenny, last night launched a fierce attack on the outgoing government for being removed from the people.
VOTERS have been going to the polls in Ireland today to take part in what many commentators have labelled the most important election in the nation's history.
On the road from Dublin airport to the city centre stands an eye-catching piece of street art. Painted in 4ft-high red and white letters, located on a concrete wall just a stone's throw from the half-finished headquarters of the bankrupt Anglo-Irish bank near the banks of the River Liffey, the work carries a stark message: "Greed is the Knife & the Scars Run Deep."
Leaders of Ireland's political parties dashed around the country yesterday in a frantic bid to curry favour with wavering voters two days before the general election.
Ireland's Labour Party, long seen as a likely member of a new coalition government, has lost further ground ahead of the election, with both the party and its leader suffering in a new opinion poll.
Sean O'Leary, the pride of Kenmare's senior Gaelic football team, will soon be packing his boots for Boston, where a job as a carpenter beckons.
Enda Kenny's promises of political reform, solid management and good government are likely to land him the Taoiseach's's job
The English writer JB Priestley once compared opinion polls to "children in a garden, digging things up all the time to see how they're growing."
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, expected to become Ireland's next prime minister, emerged unscathed from his first leadership debate of the election campaign, Irish media agreed yesterday.
Michael Healy-Rae canvasses swiftly at the horse fair, shaking hands, distributing fliers and sidestepping piles of dung.
Irish politicians may regret their anti-European rhetoric in this month's election campaign.
Ireland's main opposition party Fine Gael has seen its poll rating drop as nationalist rival Sinn Fein gains support, according to the Irish Independent.
Gerry Adams has officially resigned from his Westminster seat and become Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, the Prime Minister said yesterday.
Brian Cowen's reputation as a hard-nosed political operator was in tatters well before yesterday afternoon's session of the Irish parliament, but his latest public performance will have done little to instil confidence in Ireland's limp premier. In what was possibly his valedictory speech to the Dáil, Mr Cowen brazenly declared "this government is functioning as it is required to".