As Dáil term nears a close, the government is creaking a bit under the pressure of a growing number of fronts: agriculture, broadband, Brexit and hard budgetary choices to come. Pat Leahy, Jennifer Bray and Gerard Howlin add up the problems and wonder if this government's race is run.
Who is Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen and why is she the new EU Commission president? Her appointment is a natural expression of the power struggle at the heart of the European Union, while her skill set will come in handy for challenges to come, explains Derek Scally.
Fianna Fáil MEP-in-waiting Barry Andrews says there is life in the Spitzencandidate approach yet, and criticises EU centre-right political group EPP (of which Fine Gael is a member) for allowing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban be kingmaker in the allocation of top jobs.