Income tax receipts in January-February were €183 million stronger than in 2014 and spending in the Department of Social Protection declined by €238 million

Clamour to relax its stringent fiscal stance will increase

The department of Finance said the State collected €6.74 billion in taxes in January and February, an increase of €925 million or 15.9 per cent on the same period in 2014 . The overall return was €345 million or 5.4 per cent ahead of the target set out in the October budget .

Exchequer returns for February also show lower social welfare expenditure

James Reilly: the Minister for Children expressed disquiet that solicitors Arthur Cox are simultaneously working as corporate legal adviser to Tusla Corporate (in a contract worth €800,000) while acting for Japan Tobacco. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Arthur Cox threatened action against State over plain cigarette packaging

Michael O’Leary: The group’s reputation for the shadowy exercise of power is at odds with his brash public image. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Ryanair chief asked to join select conference reputed to truly govern international affairs

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, who will speak on political stability at the Institute of Directors today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

The mantra of ‘political stability’ will be at the centre of the coming election campaign

 Chief executive of the IDA Martin Shanahan said the current pipeline of job projects looks “looks reasonably strong for the foreseeable future”.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Agency will seek to win up to 900 extra investment projects in next five years

Martin Shanahan, Chief Executive IDA, said that companies themselves ultimately decide where they want to locate. Photograph: Alan Betson

Latest data shows unemployment rate is within a whisker of Government’s 10% target

Central Bank economist Yvonne McCarthy: ‘People in fragile employment have a 5 per cent higher probability of being in distress with their mortgage relative to people in secure employment.’

About 20% of people in arrears previously unemployed, says economist

Inquiry chairman Ciarán Lynch welcomed the ECB’s offer of assistance but said it still wants to hear directly from Jean-Claude Trichet. Photograph: The Irish Times

Move follows intervention by Taoiseach over bank’s refusal to participate in investigation

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