This Big Sister would certainly be in favour of giving compulsory voting a try. Photograph: Getty Images

The knee-jerk reaction to the concept is that it smacks of Big Brother government

Russborough House’s entrance hall. It costs €1 million a year to keep the house in repair and open to the public

Funds raised may only cover half of €15m needed to secure stately house’s future

 Roisin Shortall TD, Catherine Murphy TD & Stephen Donnelly TD at the launch of Social Democrats. Photograph: Collins

Podcast: Says Social Democrats hope to run a candidate in every Dublin constituency

Mick Wallace: he said only a “US vulture fund” was likely to have the wherewithal to purchase the hundreds of loans in the portfolio

Project Arrow is largest portfolio sale yet undertaken by Nama involving €8.4 billion in non-performing loans

Ronit Lentin (right) of the Anti-Racism Network Ireland clashes with Identity Ireland member Paul Ó Marcháin  at an event organised by the fledgling party in Dublin

Identity Ireland wants stricter border controls and return to punt

Senator Lorraine Higgins at Pearse Street Garda Station on Tuesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Labour Senator has contacted gardaí about receiving two threats in recent days

Mick Wallace said he spoke to two gardaí: “They were pretty sharp individuals, so hopefully they have the wherewithal to sort it.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to test truth of corruption and bribery claims

Mick Wallace said he spoke to two gardaí: “They were pretty sharp individuals, so hopefully they have the wherewithal to sort it.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to test truth of corruption and bribery claims

Independent TD Mick Wallace met two senior gardaí last week and gave them information related to allegations he made in the Dáil. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Independent TD told Dáil a construction firm was asked for cash to exit the agency

The Minister said there was “no discussion whatsoever” with Labour about a joint approach to the next general election. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Fine Gael and Labour ‘have not discussed’ a joint approach to general election

Ruairí Quinn, who along with fellow former Labour leaders Pat Rabbitte and Eamon Gilmore, will not contest the next election. Photograph: Frank Miller

Pension and other costs for politicians who retire or lose will be about €14m

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  is being lobbied to raise the threshold on inheritances adult children can receive from parents without having to pay tax. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Bereaved taking out mortgages or forced to sell family home to pay inheritance tax

Alex White said he did not underestimate the challenge of winning back support. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Eighth amendment on abortion ‘will not be repealed unless we’re in government’

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern gave an hour-long interview to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One on Sunday. Photograph: Maxwell’s

Former taoiseach says Fine Gael/Labour coalition is ‘doing a good job’

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern leaving the banking inquiry last week. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

‘Some of the things I did were fairly bizarre, I don’t deny that,’ says former taoiseach

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said it was an “absolute red line” that the corporation tax rate did not go beyond 12.5 per cent.

Minister says personal taxes too high and wants to narrow gap

Minister of Finance Michael Noonan  said there could not be a ‘giveaway budget’. Photograph: Sara Freund

‘We actually have money to spend and under the rules we won’t be able to spend it all’

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan; Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Minister’s advice - seek improved terms following Central Bank report

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin TD speaks at the National Economic Dialogue. Photograph: Sara Freund/The Irish Times.

Minister for Public Expenditure says he will address ‘pressure points’ in next budget

Fianna Fáil express concern about jab offered to girls aged 12

The new Social Democrats party listed their values as: progress; equality; democracy and sustainability. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Group pledges to abolish water charges and repeal the eighth amendment

Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan is heckled by protesters in 2011 outside Leinster House against  the closure of the emergency department at Roscommon General Hospital. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins, Dublin.

‘There was a frenzy and I became the fall guy for the situation’

Russborough House: minutes of a meeting between then minister for arts Jimmy Deenihan and members of the Alfred Beit Foundation in 2013 say the trust had looked at the “nuclear option” of closing  Russborough House

Minutes state trust ‘veered’ towards disposal of non-essential assets such as furniture, porcelain and eastern ceramics

A pensioner waits to receive part of his pension at a National Bank branch in Athens. Euro zone leaders clinched a deal with Greece on Monday to negotiate a third bailout to keep the near-bankrupt country in the euro zone after a whole night of haggling at an emergency summit. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

No immediate budgetary implications for Ireland if third bailout agreed, says Noonan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is seen at the euro zone leaders summit over the weekend. Mr Kenny said on Tuesday the delay in reaching a deal had cost Greece dearly. Photograph: AFP

‘Every member of euro zone wants Greece to be able to continue as a member of euro zone’

President  Michael D Higgins. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

President calls for harmony across Europe as he hosts German president Joachim Gauck

Taoiseach Enda Kenny leaves at the end of Monday’s  EU summit on the Greek debt crisis.  Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach welcomes agreement but Adams says Government sided with the strong

Tánaiste Joan Burton has called on highly paid consultants and civil servants to forgo pension increases. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Joan Burton says she had always been in favour of caps on public service pensions

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accused the Government of taking the “side of the strong” against Greece in negotiations. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accuses Government of taking the ‘side of the strong’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Amelia Wetton, Ruben Corrigaan and Kiya O’Connor from the Child Care Centre at the St Andrews Resource Centre recently. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘The existence of blood ties sometimes means goodwill can be taken advantage of’

Gardaí outside Leinster House. File  photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gardaí warn TDs of possible security breaches amid heightened concerns

Political outfit: Julia Gillard as prime minister, in 2013. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Bloomberg

Australia’s first woman prime minister had to deal not just with political battles but also with sexist insults. That’s all the (...)

 Minister for Public Expenditure  Brendan Howlin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Public Expenditure responds to Varadkar request for supplementary funds

Nigerian ambassador Dr Bolere Ketebu and South African ambassador Ahlangene Sigcay at the launch of the Irish Aid 2014 Annual report, in Iveagh House. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister says he is committed to target of 0.7% of GDP, but it won’t be reached in 2015

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said the Cabinet had approved the provision of up to an additional 610 SNA posts from this September.

Delay in confirming SNA allocations for next academic year angered schools and parents

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis: Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said his colleague Michael Noonan had no issue with Mr Varoufakis.

‘You see shocking pictures of people crying because they’ve no money or in rubbish bins’

Former minister for communication Pat Rabbitte who said he had nothing lined for when he left politics. Photograph: The Irish Times.

Brendan Howlin says Pat Rabbitte’s decision not to contest election is a ‘loss to politics’

File image of young asylum seekers accommodated  at Knockalisheen, Meelick, Co Clare.  File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Dublin’s Balseskin and Clare’s Knockalisheen see biggest rise as Mosney figure drops

Prof Alan Barrett will chair next week’s National Economic Dialogue. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Ministers call for robust dialogue on realistic options open to the Government

PAC chairman John McGuinness. Photograph: David Sleator

TD’s claims of €10m intended for figures linked with Nama sale to be investigated

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has called on the Greek political leaders to “ditch their aggressive, provocative language”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Gerry Adams commends a ‘historic decision’ to take a stand against austerity

The Irish Navy ship Le Eithne arrives at the Taranto harbor with rescued migrants on board on June 8th. Photograph: APAP Photo/Gaetano Lo Porto

Vessel will be replaced in Mediterranean by another Irish naval vessel, the LE Niamh

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said all countries across Europe could probably have acted earlier on the ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

Minister says Europe only began responding to crisis in a co-ordinated way very recently

Mick Wallace raised concerns on Sunday about the sale in 2014 to Cerberus Capital Management of Nama’s Northern Ireland loan book. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

TD says he must check validity of ’Project Eagle’ information before it’s released

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan spoke about the plight of undocumented Irish in the US. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Minister to raise issue of Irish in US with Speaker of House of Representatives

President Michael D Higgins has called on European leaders to make the case to their electorates for the protection of asylum seekers as the global migration crisis worsens.

‘Are we to be limited in our actions by the narrow self interest of the present?’

Staff and students with Gardaí outside Leinster College language school in Harcourt St, Dublin, which closed its doors in 2014. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Jan O’Sullivan says Government ‘clean up’ of system aims to protect national reputation

Michael Conaghan: “The council is where you get local things done: parks, swimming pools and so on. The Dáil compared to that is very disappointing.”

TD for Dublin South Central says he found Dáil ‘disappointing’

Tánaiste Joan Burton said the Government was keeping ‘a very close watch’ on events in Greece. File Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Joan Burton says Government keeping a ‘a very close watch’ on Greece events

The former secretary general of the Department of Finance Kevin Cardiff has resumed his evidence to the Oireachtas banking inquiry on Wednesday.

Patrick Honohan said Ireland was in talks with the EU/IMF as Government denied it

The Department of Finance’s chief economist John McCarthy has told the banking inquiry he could have counted the number of economists working in the Department’s economic division when the crisis hit on one hand. Image: Oireachtas screen grab.

Economist John McCarthy says Department of Finance seen as ‘boy who cried wolf’ before crisis

Minister Simon Coveney said previously the cow in Louth was most likely to have contracted the disease, if it proves to be the case, from contaminated feed. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister says ‘complete picture’ expected in case of Robunt cow found dead on dairy farm

‘Head of a Dominican Monk’ by Rubens from the Russborough House collection

Ministers pleased by emergence of ‘white knights’ willing to buy Russborough paintings

“I’ve options both inside and outside politics, and I’m keeping my options open,” Louth Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick has  said. File photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Fine Gael deputy won’t say if approached by another party or asked to run as Independent

The Irish people will not be asked to vote in an other referendum before the next general election, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has confirmed

Labour Party’s next general election manifesto will include a proposal to repeal the 8th

 Minister of State for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said on Tuesday “I just heard this morning that so-called white knights had emerged to acquire them on behalf of the State and that would be a very welcome and good development”. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

Board set to postpone London auction after emergence of Irish donors

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said European leaders attending a summit in Brussels yesterday agreed   Greece should remain within the euro zone. Photograph: The Irish Times

Greece has been granted a two-day reprieve in its campaign for new rescue loans

Le cabinet de Physique de Bonnier de La Mosson, by Jacques de Lajoue (1734) formerly part of the Russborough House Alfred Beit Foundation has been acquired by Leonard Blavatnik, who is believed to have paid over £500,000 for it.

Britain’s richest man Leonard Blavatnik buys Beit painting in private Christie’s deal

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys has said her department did not have the funds, estimated to be in the region of €12 million, necessary to buy the paintings. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Difference of opinion exists over what Ministers were told by the foundation in 2013

The  restored West Wing at Russborough House, in Blessington, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

‘I’m flabbergasted at suggestion it was put to us in 2013 they had to sell part of collection’

 Russborough House, in Blessington, Co Wicklow. The trustees who run Russborough  are due to attend an extraordinary board meeting in Dublin, amid continued criticism of their   decision to sell nine paintings from the house. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Heather Humphreys says she cannot stop auction of paintings from Beit collection

Children play  in front of the restored west wing of Russborough House at its opening in 2012. The Alfred Beit Foundation has issued a statement saying the Beits themselves sold artworks to assist in the upkeep of the stately home in Blessington, Co Wicklow.  File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Foundation says it notified of financial situation before plans to sell Russborough art

Minister for Children James Reilly: “I am aware that there are concerns being expressed by a number of groups with regard to the position of young persons and children.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister wants Bill to go further in recognising rights of those aged 18 and under

Venus and Jupiter, by Peter Paul Rubens. The painting is one of the pieces from the Beit collection that is to be sold in order to raise funds for Russborough house. The trust that runs the house has refused a request by Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys to cancel or delay the sale of valuable paintings.

Heather Humphreys asked trust to reconsider auction of paintings from collection

Former tánaiste and ex-minister for justice Michael McDowell’s son Hugh has been hired as a parliamentary assistant to Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton.

Hugh McDowell will work with Lucinda Creighton as a parliamentary assistant

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has described one and two cent coins as “a weight in our pockets that we don’t need”.

Brendan Howlin backs proposal to withdraw small coins after successful pilot scheme in Wexford

A protest outside Clerys in support of the department store’s workers. The store closed on Friday with the loss of 460 jobs. Photograph: Ciaran D’Arcy

Protest in support of workers held outside Dublin store as KPMG meets union officials

A spokeswoman  for Minister for Arts and Heritage Heather Humphreys said the Minister “was not consulted in advance and she had no role in the decision-making process” on the sale of the Beit paintings. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

An Taisce calls for political intervention while Minister says she was not consulted

Detail from Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s Venus and Jupiter, oil on oak panel, which is to be sold by the Alfred Beit Foundation to raise funds for the upkeep of the house. The old master artwork has been estimated to sell at £1.2 million to £1.8 million.

Russborough House trust has sent works including Rubens to Christie’s to raise funds

Minister of State for Finance Simon Harris  said he would judge the new party  on its  substance when it is established, if it is established. Photograph: The Irish Times

Jillian Van Turnhout not interested in joining Murphy, Shortall and Donnelly group

Catherine Murphy speaking about IBRC and Denis O’Brien during Dáil proceedings on Thursday, May 28th, 2015.

Denis O’Brien letters to Ceann Comhairle urged action over Murphy Dáil claims

Pearse Doherty (left) claims Mr O’Brien had a €315 million loan from IBRC extended in late 2013.

Department confirms Doherty allegation over €315m loan extension will be examined

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly: “It’s not a big issue as far as I’m concerned”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for the Environment rejects criticism, saying ‘there’s a bit of politics going on’

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, a barrister and academic, said her family circumstances had changed when asked by The Irish Times why she had ruled herself out of her party’s upcoming selection convention.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Labour Senator says ‘I’m going to stay in my own area, Dublin Bay South’

Tánaiste Joan Burton has made clear she does not want junior bondholders in the former Anglo Irish Bank to be paid. Photograph: Collins

Michael Noonan says there may not be enough money for Anglo junior bondholders

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said on Monday the investigation would be worthless without examining the role of the department and the Minister. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Taoiseach says commission of investigation into IBRC transactions would be independent

The Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly will tell his Cabinet colleagues 75,000 homes have had lead detected in their pipes by Irish Water. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Alan Kelly to establish a grant system to deal with lead contamination

Independent TD for Kildare North Catherine Murphy outside the Department of Finance after meeting Minister for Finance Michael Noonan about the IBRC inquiry. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Taoiseach says head of commission ‘will not be dictated to’ by Government

Taoiseach reacting to group’s concerns over spring economic statement

Commentary on Sgt Michael Galvin case ‘inaccurate and inflammatory’ - Gsoc

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said: “I’ve always been a very staunch defender about the right of elected representatives in the Dáil to be able to speak their minds, say their piece, with responsibility.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach says Government is bringing investigation ‘to a different level’

Simon Harris says there was no evidence to suggest Michael Noonan knew about the sale of Siteserv in advance of the sale being announced in March 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Taoiseach says there is ‘no evidence of wrongdoing’ ahead of the widened inquiry

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said the Commission of Investigation had to be carried out properly. Photograph: Collins

Minister defends timescale for IBRC inquiry, says work must be carried out properly

Denis O’Brien: said many people had contacted him with messages of support.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Judge sets out reasons for granting injunction against RTÉ

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin with Tánaiste Joan Burton in Dublin on Wednesday. /Collins

Labour Minister insists Lansdowne Road agreement fair

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of having “failed citizens”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fianna Fáil leader said Enda Kenny ‘has failed citizens’ on O’Brien row

The High Court clarification on media reporting of Dáil comments by Independent TD Catherine Murphy about businessman Denis O’Brien’s financial affairs has been welcomed by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

Businessman writes to Ceann Comhairle to complain about Catherine Murphy speech

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said people struggling to have their true gender recognised endure “torture” and the Government was seeking to “relieve that pain”.   Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Brendan Howlin says people trapped in wrong identity endure torture

Pat Rabbitte  said he had served 30 years in public life and turned 66 years of age last week.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Rabbitte said he would have to make up his mind soon about General Election

Independent TD Catherine Murphy says there may be more to come on IBRC

Minister for Communications Alex White: Guidelines will not have impact on existing media ownership, said a Government source. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Communications to bring finalised guidelines to Cabinet

Tánaiste Joan Burton. Ms Burton has said that the constitutional protection for TDs and Senators in the Dáil is a cornerstone of democracy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste says that parliamentary privilege is a cornerstone of any democracy

The Irish Times and RTÉ are to ask the High Court on Tuesday for confirmation that they can report on a Dáil speech by Catherine Murphy relating to Denis O’Brien’s banking arrangements.

Taoiseach criticised for ‘silence’ on row over right to publish statement on Denis O’Brien

 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness: “It’s highly questionable as to whether or not the meeting will achieve anything but we will be there.” Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

‘I’m not going to be known as the Sinn Féin Minister who did the bidding of Tories’

People have until Friday, June 19th to outline their plight and give their opinion on reducing the bankruptcy period from three years to one. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Minister for Justice expected to read submissions from people with mortgage difficulties

Mr O’Brien’s spokesman claimed on RTÉ Radio that the documents in TD Catherine Murphy’s possession contained “erroneous” figures and had been altered. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Circumstance where Irish media cannot report on Dáil not tenable, says Donohoe

The Irish Times is to apply to the High Court for confirmation that it can report a statement made in the Dáil by Independent TD Catherine Murphy regarding Denis O’Brien’s banking arrangements with IBRC.

‘We believe it is critically important to our democracy that we publish a matter of public interest raised in our national parliam(...)

Denis O’Brien  has written to Independent TD Catherine Murphy to state  he is    disappointed that information ‘which you know to have been stolen’ was used to make seriously accusatory statements in the Dáil. Photograph: Getty

Donohoe says it is unacceptable Irish media cannot report on Murphy statement

 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness  said his conscience would not allow him to preside over an ‘austerity agenda’ in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Getty

Villiers and Flanagan plan to hold talks with North’s five main parties next week

Former regulator apologises for insufficient measures and inability to deal with crisis

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