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The most telling Irish political pictures of 2011

A general election, the implosion of two parties, EU drama and a Presidential campaign – can you picture all that in one year? We tried…

IF A WEEK is a long time in politics, the year 2011 was a lifetime for Ireland. We saw Fianna Fáil face a leadership challenge and implode, a general election that saw Fine Gael and Labour take power and a band of colourful independents enter Leinster House, fear and loathing in the eurozone and a Presidential election that was at times as bitter and hard-fought as the February campaign.

It’s best to let the photographs do the talking:

The most telling Irish political pictures of 2011
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  • Did you sign that?

    Taoiseach Brian Cowen signing his request to President Mary McAleese to dissolve the Dail on 1 February. Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland.
  • Fight on his hands

    Fianna Fáil got a new leader in Micheál Martin. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • The Greens are down...

    Green Party leader Joihn Gormley and Senator Dan Boyle after their pre election think-in on 11 January. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
  • ...And they are out.

    Green Party leader John Gormley leads party members out of Government buildings on 23 January, 2011. Pic: AP Photo/Peter Morrison
  • The youth vote

    The Union of Students helped to rally young people to have their say in the general election. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
  • Poster boy

    Socialist Party and United Left Alliance candidate Joe Higgins with his election poster outside the offices of then Anglo Irish Bank. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire.
  • Ah stop now.

    Eamon Gilmore was touted for Taoiseach by the Labour party at the start of the campaign. TheJournal.ie's Gavan Reilly spotted this temporary setback on Golden Lane, Dublin.
  • Down with the kid

    Sinn Féin threw themselves into bagging seats - including one for party leader Gerry Adams seen here with Kaitlyn Leavy, 8. Pic: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
  • If the shoe fits...

    Labour's Pat Rabbitte got his new shoe leather sorted before hitting the campaign trail. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • War of independents

    Dylan Haskins was just one of many independents who sought to contest the political landscape in General Election 2011 Pic: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
  • The old guard

    The UpStart non-politicial movement tried to put creativity at the centre of public consciousness during the campaign. Pic: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
  • Man with a plan

    Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny survived a leadership coup to take his party to election. Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
  • Wanna be in my gang?

    Fine Gael rallied the troops on 30 January at the Mansion House in Dublin. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
  • Pothole politics

    Green Party members wearing Enda Kenny and Jackie Healy-Rae masks - claiming independent might have new stranglehold on the Dáil. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • Ceasefire

    Gerry Adams shares the love with Enda Kenny before the five-way Frontline leaders' debate at RTÉ. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • Never work with children (part 1)

    Enda Kenny meets May Hennelly in Athlone. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • Never work with children (part 2)

    Enda used to be a teacher so he does indeed have eyes on the back of his head. Pic: Stephen Kilkenny/LightCurvePhoto.com
  • Never work with children (part 3)

    Emma Brady, age 8 months, is immortalised in another Enda Kenny GE11 walkabout. Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
  • Pizza the action

    It's one in, all in, when the pizza arrives at the RDS count centre on 26 February. We hope it was on Paschal Donohue, FG, centre - he won his seat that day. Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
  • Fighting fit?

    A break in the form of a charity football game with FF's Chris Andrews, SF's Aengus O Snodaigh and Cllr Ruadhan MacAodhain. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
  • The bull wall

    Eoghan Murphy, who later won a seat for FG, scored a photo opp at the end of the South Bull Wall handing a leaflet to a swimmer who also happens to be an FG supporter. Image: Naoise Culhane/Maxwells
  • Eyes down

    Former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald keeps an eye on the Dublin North Central constituency at the RDS count centre. Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
  • How do I feel?

    Lucinda Creighton led the charge for Fine Gael, securing Dublin South East. Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
  • How did we do?

    Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire.
  • Fianna Fáil implosion

    Fianna Fáil's Pat Carey in the RDS Dublin as it became clear Fianna Fáil would lose all but Brian Lenihan's seat in Dublin. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • A lonely place

    Mary Hanafin was, for a brief time, minister for tourism, culture and sport and for enterprise, trade and innovation, but lost her Dun Laoghaire seat during this count. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
  • Brian Lenihan RIP

    Former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan became the only FF TD left in Dublin after the general election. He died of cancer on 10 June. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • In the pink

    Exchanges in the Dáil have often been colourful but after Mick Wallace was caught on mic calling Mary Mitchell-O'Connor 'Miss Piggy' with Shane Ross and Luke Flanagan in on the chat, apologies had to be forthcoming. Pic: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
  • Dial tone

    Michael Healy-Rae is asked why €2,600 of phone calls were made from a Leinster House phone to vote for him in Celebrities Go Wild reality TV show. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
  • Don't leave me hanging

    Enda Kenny with other EU leaders back on 24 March. Pic: AP Photo/Michel Euler
  • (Not) the troika

    This one is from 26 November just before David Cameron refused to sign the EU fiscal agreement. Pic: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert
  • Smashing presidential pumpkins

    Artist Mark Mcnamara carved Ireland's Presidential candidates into pumpkins - these are Mary Davis and David Norris. Pic: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland
  • Norris is out...

    Speaking of Senator David Norris, he pulled out of the Presidential race in Auguest amid revelations he sought leniency for his ex-partner convicted of statutory rape. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • ... and then he's back in

    Norris resumed the race and secured four council nominations in September to get on the Presidential ballot. Pic:Leon Farrrell/Photocall Ireland
  • All the Presidential men and women

    Gay Mitchell, David Norris, Mary Davis, Sean Gallagher, Martin McGuinness, Dana Rosemary Scallon, Michael D Higgins on nomination day. Pic: Sasko Lazarov /Photocall Ireland
  • Suck it and see

    Sean Gallagher tried his hand as an independent Presidential candidate but a question over fundraising for Fianna Fáil lost him support at the final hurdle. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
  • Car drama

    Candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon's campaign car suffered a tyre blowout on a motorway. Investigators said the tyres were not vandalised. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • Face-off

    The scene at the Google Silver Surfer awards. Presidential candidates Sean Gallagher, Michael D Higgins, Martin McGuinness. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
  • President Higgins

    Ireland's President elect Michael D Higgins is hugged by his wife Sabina after his election victory is announced. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
  • The happy President

    President Michael D Higgins inspecting the troops on the day of his inauguration. Pic: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
  • Budget 2012

    Presented by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
  • Budget 2012

    Student protesting the Budget cuts. Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
  • Getting political?

    This was the scene of anti-IMF and anti-banking bailout protests outside the Dail on the second day of the Budget announcement. Will 2012 finally be the year of public protest in Ireland? Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

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