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Shufflin', celebrating and protesting: The political year in pictures

There were resignations, a Cabinet reshuffle and the issue of water charges.
Dec 30th 2014, 6:00 PM 6,218 3

IN A YEAR of revelations and resignations, here’s a rundown of the political year: in photos.

Enda in the UAE

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny Enda Kenny and Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani. Source: Photocall Ireland/GIS

Taoiseach Enda Kenny kicked off the year with a trade mission to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in early January. The mission was said to be worth €65 million, but Kenny and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton were criticised for not discussing human rights issues in the region during the trip.

New Child and Family Agency 

New Tusla Agency Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The new Child and Family Agency, Tusla, was launched by the then Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald and the Taoiseach on 30 January.

Merkel stops by

German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to our shores in March for the European People’s Party congress. She also took in the sights and sounds of Trinity College, and shared a joke or two with the Taoiseach.

Angela Merkel Visits Ireland Angela Merkel and Enda Kenny at TCD Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

State Visit

President Michael D Higgin’s historic visit to the United Kingdom received a lot of coverage in April. It was the first-ever state visit by an Irish president to the UK. Needless to say, there were plenty of photo ops with the Queen, the obligatory men in tall hats and … an Irish Wolfhound.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth greets Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister McGuinness, First Minister Robinson and Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Villiers during a reception at Windsor Castle President Higgins and Queen Elizabeth greet Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, First Minister Peter Robinson and Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers at Windsor Castle. Source: Press Association Images

michael d higgins london 2

michael d higgins london

Shatter resigns

Alan Shatter Resigns Shatter pictured at the 1916 Leaders Commemoration in Arbour Hill on the day his resignation was announced. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

On 7 May, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that Justice Minister Alan Shatter would be resigning on foot of the publication of the Guerin Report into Garda whistleblowers. Many criticised how allegations made by Maurice McCabe and John Wilson were handled by Shatter’s department.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who called the whistleblowers’ actions “disgusting”, resigned in March. Shatter later went on to challenge the Report’s findings.

Election fever

Election fever gripped the country in the run up to 23 May, when votes were cast throughout the country in the local and European elections. Sinn Féin and Independents were the big winners. A full list of those elected is available here.

Fine Gael’s Gabrielle McFadden was elected in the Longford/Westmeath by-election held on the same day, while Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger came out on top in the Dublin-West by-election.

European Elections Counts Sinn Fein's Lynn Boylan celebrates being the first MEP elected in Dublin at the RDS count centre. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

European Elections Counts Independent Nessa Childers and Fine Gael's Brian Hayes took the two other European seats in the capital. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Labour pains

It was a disastrous election for Labour, leading to Tánaiste and party leader Eamon Gilmore stepping down. His successor, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, took over the reins on 4 July – making her the first woman to hold the role. Alan Kelly replaced her as deputy leader.

Labour Leadership Contests Gilmore was on hand to celebrate Burton's promotion. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Everyday I’m shufflin’

One of the first jobs Burton had to work on with Enda Kenny was a Cabinet reshuffle. Leo Varadkar received the “poison chalice” of Health, Pat Rabbitte was dropped and Ruairí Quinn jumped before he was pushed.

New Cabinet Reshuffles The new Cabinet. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

New Cabinet Junior Ministers The new junior Cabinet. Source: Photocall Ireland

Ruairi Quinn Leaves Politics Education Minister Ruairí Quinn announced his resignation on 2 July. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Albert Reynolds laid to rest

The former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach was laid to rest on 25 August. He passed away at the age of 81, after a battle with Alzheimers.

23-08-2014 The coffin of former Taoiseach Albert R Taoiseach Enda Kenny greets the Reynolds family.


In October, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan-backed candidate Michael Fitzmaurice was successful in the Roscommon-South Leitrim by-election, while the Anti-Austerity Alliance’s Paul Murphy was elected in Dublin-South West.

Dublin South West By Elections Campaigns Murphy at the count centre in Tallaght. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

m fitzmaurice Fitzmaurice celebrates his victory with Flanagan. Source:

Maíria Cahill allegations

The Taoiseach met with Maíria Cahill on 22 October. She claims to have been raped by a senior member of the IRA when she was a teenager before being forced to face him at a ‘kangaroo court’ in Belfast.

22/10/2014 Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets with Mairia

The following month, there was a heated debate in the Dáil during which Enda Kenny accused Sinn Féin and the IRA of moving abusers to the South. Gerry Adams said he believed Cahill’s claims but denied his party had been involved in a cover-up.

Abortion pill train

Pro-choice campaigners, including Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger, got a train from Dublin to Belfast on 28 October. Their aim? To buy packs of abortion pills not available in the Republic.

Upon their return to the capital, several of the women swallowed the tablets.

Abortion Issues Pill Trains Source: Sam Boal

Water charges

There was a series of anti-water charge protests towards the end of the year, including the below one in Dublin on 1 November . Estimates put the crowd at more than 100,000 people nationally.

Water Protests. Pictured people gather Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car for almost three hours by protesters while attending a graduation ceremony in Jobstown in Tallaght on 15 November. She made a statement to gardaí about the incident. Socialist TD Paul Murphy, who was at the protest, denied it became out of hand.

Winners and losers of the political year 

Look out for the giant spliff: The not-so-serious 2014 political awards

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Órla Ryan


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