Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said direct provision system needs to be improved. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Move from direct provision to ‘self-empowerment’ planned, says Minister

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s department has been without a secretary general, the most senior civil servant in a government department, since 2014. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Frances Fitzgerald’s department has been without a secretary general since 2014

The Government has been told it cannot ban a TD convicted of corruption from running  for election to the Dáil for a decade. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

AG rejects proposal to prohibit convicted politicians from standing for Dáil for 10 years

 Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald, pictured in her office. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Tánaiste speaks on her leadership ambitions and the need for FG to be more aggressive

The department’s tax strategy documents, published before the budget for the first time, show that new cash will have to be raised elsewhere, if the Government is to cut USC and at the same time meet these other commitments. File photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Reduction in 5.5% rate may compromise other commitments in government programme

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney: the investment  is part of wider commitment to deliver social housing. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister Coveney says plan is to supply 1,500 houses through public-private partnerships

Brendan Howlin: “We do not believe that to serve in elected office renders us part of the elite or the establishment. Photograph: Eric Luke

Left-wing parties should not ‘run scared of governing’, leader to tell MacGill audience

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney at Dolphin’s Barn flats. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Houses for €250,000 to be built in strategic development zones such as Cherrywood

Simon Coveny at the launch of the Government’s housing action plan on Tuesday. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Minister insists Government’s new housing plan will not overheat property market

There is a growing acceptance in the Government that an inquiry into Nama is inevitable given the seriousness of the allegations being advanced by Mick Wallace TD. Photograph: The Irish Times

Meeting set to take place over Independent TD’s call for Project Eagle investigation

Figures involved in preparing the action plan said the value of any package for first-time buyers must be about €10,000 to have tangible impact. Photographs: The Irish Times

Scheme to boost construction of more starter homes will be outlined in budget

The overall level of house building – both public and private – will rise to just over 25,000 units per year by 2021

Much depends on Simon Coveney and his ambitions hinge on delivery

The housing plan says that by the middle of next year, hotels will only be used as emergency accommodation in limited circumstances and support for homeless families with children will be increased.  Photograph: PA

€5.35 billion has been allocated to social housing by 2021; an increase of €2.2 billion

The plan will say all available State lands, on which imminent important infrastructural developments are not yet planned, should be put forward for housing where appropriate. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Strategy to tackle homes crisis includes allocation of further €2bn for social housing

It is understood a recommended increase in the minimum wage will be significantly lower than last year when it rose by 50 cent from €8.65 to €9.15

Terms of reference will also allow study of salary levels paid in private companies

A scheme to help first-time home buyers with tax relief and State top-ups of mortgage deposit savings is being examined by the Government. File photograph: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Government is considering tax relief and top-ups in effort to tackle housing crisis

The Fianna Fáil general election manifesto called for a first-time buyer’s scheme that would see the Government top up savings for a mortgage deposit by 25 per cent, up to a maximum of €5,000 per person

Micheál Martin calls for action ahead of budget to help younger people buy homes

 Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone: “Transport costs have been identified as a significant barrier to normal family life and a burden on parents and children alike.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Cost of transport was one issue when Minister Zappone consulted homeless families

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: ‘The national need comes first and we are clear that we don’t need further instability now in terms of the Government preparing itself for the negotiations on Brexit.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fianna Fáil leader insists he will honour the deal supporting Fine Gael in Government

This picture taken on Friday shows the site where a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on the Promenade des Anglais seafront near the Negresco Hotel in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photograph: Getty

Former commissioner having dinner when ‘screaming and roaring occurred all over the place’

A group of backbench TDs have maintained pressure on Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s leadership of Fine Gael, with some again calling for a timeframe for his departure. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg.

Deputies seek timeframe for leadership change and criticise Reilly appointment

It is understood Taoiseach Enda Kenny will not outline a timetable for his departure as Fine Gael leader despite recent calls on him to do so from some members. Photograph: Bloomberg

Taoiseach to address Fine Gael TDs and Senators at Leinster House meeting

Taoiseach Enda Kenny.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Party’s Ministers believe the Taoiseach should be given time to pass a budget

Enda Kenny’s leadership of Fine Gael came under renewed pressure this week with a view emerging that he should be afforded the opportunity to stand aside of his own accord after October’s budget. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Party drew up contingency during government formation for possible snap election

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: it is understood he intends to lead Fine Gael for a full term in office but not into the next election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Chief Whip calls on Enda Kenny to clarify his intentions over succession process

Regina Doherty: ‘It would be fair if the Taoiseach clarified this so we could get back to normal’. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Chief Whip says ‘decision on his future when he makes it will be completely his own’

Dr James Reilly: he had assumed that, having lost his Dáil seat, he would no longer be deputy leader.  Photograph: Alan Betson

It had been assumed post of deputy leader of Fine Gael would go to Frances Fitzgerald

Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell:  said the Taoiseach had made it clear he would not lead the party into the next general election. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

General sense Enda Kenny should resign or indicate intentions after October budget

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney: He has  publicly said the question of leadership will be discussed in the “not too distant future”, while some backbenchers explicitly said Enda Kenny must set out his intentions by year’s end. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Taoiseach’s judgment being questioned by party TDs who no longer fear him

Dr James Reilly  said his job as deputy leader of Fine Gael  is best suited to someone who is not tied up in the day-to-day business of Government.  File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Reilly reappointment as deputy leader sparks surprise in parliamentary party

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala Kenny at Government Buildings. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘Driver’ of Ladies Lunch Fionnuala Kenny hands over organisation of event

 Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar are two of the leading candidates to replace Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader. Photograph: Collins

Analysis: Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are sending signals to backbench TDs

Minster for Housing Simon Coveney (left) has said he expects the leadership of Fine Gael by Enda Kenny to be discussed in the ‘not to distant future’ but  now is not the time. File photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

Comment comes after Kenny’s position at top of FG openly questioned by own TDs

 James Reilly:  lost his Dublin Fingal seat at the last election but was appointed by Enda Kenny to the Seanad as one of the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Kenny move ‘defies political logic’ says one TD; Taoiseach ruled out Reilly weeks ago

Senator James Reilly. Photograph: Alan Betson

Decision to reappoints James Reilly as deputy leader of Fine Gael shocks TDs

Enda Kenny: not having the best week of his political career. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Fine Gael furious over Independents’ insistence on free vote on fatal foetal abnormalities Bill

Fine Gael strategist Andrew McDowell, who is leaving Government for a top job with the European Investment Bank which comes with a €275,000 salary

Andrew McDowell was one of most significant figures in Irish politics in recent years

Enda Kenny’s economic adviser Andrew McDowell (right) with   Fine Gael Ministers at Trinity College Dublin. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach’s chief economic adviser Andrew McDowell named vice-president of body

One source said Mr Coveney’s proposal could also potentially bypass local area plans laid down by councils. Photograph: Bloomberg

Proposals for developments in excess of 150 houses would go directly to planning board

Ibrahim Halawa: Trial postponed for the 14th time this week

Parliamentary delegation to be dispatched to Egypt for meeting with jailed Irish student

Fine Gael’s extensive use of focus groups to road test its policies and election slogans, such as the ‘keep the recovery going’ phrase,  was criticised by some TDs in the aftermath of a poor election for the party. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Spending returns for parties published by Standards in Public Office Commission

A disused Republic of Ireland Customs post on the Border near Newry, pictured in May 2016. Could it be restored to use in the not-too-distant future? File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘People will be fighting for the last loaf on the shelf and that is how bad this is going to get’

Joe O’Toole, a former president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, will head up the new expert commission, which will be tasked with examining the future of domestic water charges in the State. Photograph Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Expert panel is being tasked with examining the future of domestic water charges

 Sherry Perreault, head of the  Register of Lobbying: said she was pleased with the number of people who had registered and filed returns with the organisation so far, as well as how it was  operating. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Head says it is still a relatively new organisation and it will take time to get used to it

In Berlin, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi set out their positions on how the European Union should proceed.

Politics Digest: Some worried EU officials will not recognise body blow the union has taken

Allowances are paid to people who cannot afford the full cost of renting a home and are, in effect, top-ups to cover the full cost. Photographs: Getty Images/PA

Additional assistance to tackle housing emergency expected to vary by location

Labour’s Brendan Howlin has said the relationship between Ireland and Britain has been “afforded a body blow” by the Brexit vote result. Illustration: Paul Scott/The Irish Times

Brexit debate: Gerry Adams call for poll on united Ireland rejected by most speakers

Taoiseach Enda Kenny  will enter the first phase of what will be a protracted process to extricate Britain from the EU at the European Council meeting next week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Government likely to get broad political backing for its strategy on UK exit talks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, goods and services between our islands.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Leaders hold phone conversation as Britain dismisses need for poll on North’s future

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings making a statement after the UK voted to leave the EU. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Plan outline priorities for how State will work ‘within EU context’ to manage fallout

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks during a press conference in Dublin on Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union in an historic referendum. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Dáil is recalled for Monday to discuss Britain’s decision to leave the European Union

Following the result of the UK referendum Ireland must be ’absolutely clear about our position,’ Mr Martin said in a statement.

Micheál Martin says Ireland must be ‘fully involved’ in Britain’s negotiations with EU

Martin McGuinness: British government has forfeited any mandate to represent the economic or political interests of the people

Arlene Foster welcomes result, says Martin McGuinness being opportunistic over poll

An emergency Cabinet meeting is expected to be held on Friday as the Government begins to prepare for the impact of Brexit on Ireland, the prospect of which was repeatedly described as an almost nightmare scenario by Ministers and officials in Dublin. Photograph: PA

Irish contingency plans swing into action to contain fallout of Britain leaving EU

 Independent TD Mick Wallace:  has repeatedly raised concerns about the loans, called Project Eagle. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mick Wallace puts down motion over sale of Nama’s Northern loans

Secretary of the Felons Club Gerry Scullion:  “My first instinct was not to vote at all, but I’ll probably be voting stay.” Photograph: Arthur Allison

Reluctant Remain votes likely but damage to union by departure ‘could be a positive’

Farmers at  Markethill cattle mart in Armagh shared their views on Brexit. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

‘For the agriculture community, single farm payment isn’t enough to cover everything’

Posters on Brexit in Newry. The likelihood that Britain may actually leave the European Union, with associated concerns of the reintroduction of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, seemed, until recent weeks, remote.

Any likelihood that Britain might leave EU seemed remote until recent weeks

The current Garda command and control centre at Harcourt Square, Dublin. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Gardaí face being evicted from Harcourt Square facility due to legal dispute

British voters living in Ireland have been targeted by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and other Fine Gael TDs urging them to remain within the European Union.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/ The Irish Times.

Letter also asks people to urge friends and family in Britain to vote to stay in EU

 Minister for Housing Simon Coveney: claimed the building fund would allow developers “bring forward their plans for timetabling” developments and bring about “real movement” in the construction industry. Photograph:  Colin Keegan

Building fund will not be available until 2017 and scheme will apply over three years

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe will bring a memo to Cabinet outlining a proposal for a new fund to be administered by local authorities. Photograph: PA

Scheme means the cost of infrastructure provision would be partially borne by State

The 100% relief applies to a maximum of €200,000 per individual commercial project and is spread over seven years. Photograph: The Irish Times

Noonan plan to promote regeneration of historic city centres comes under review

In Manchester, New Hampshire, Donald Trump noted that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen’s parents were born in Afghanistan. Photograph: Jim Cole/AP

Leo Varadkar says comments by US Republican presidential candidate ‘pretty crass’

In a letter to President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker the Taoiseach said investment in infrastructure in Ireland was at its “lowest level for many years, and also represents the lowest level of any member state at present”. Photographs: The Irish Times

EU warned that infrastructure investment in the Republic at ‘lowest level’ for many years

Brendan Howlin:  Raised his concerns with the troika in private. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Party leader unhappy about way State dealt with by institutions during economic crisis

Term limits for abortion should be considered in the event of the eighth amendment to the Constitution being repealed, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said

Varadkar defends Government position that a citizen’s assembly be held before a referendum

Minister of State for disabilities Finian McGrath has announced an additional €31 million in funding for the sector as part of a deal struck with Fine Gael this week.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

Government keen to provide improved services and supports, Finian McGrath says

Kate O’Connell recently criticised Enda Kenny’s decision to create another three junior ministries, increasing the number from 15 to 18, as “jobs for the boys”. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Kate O’Connell’s criticism of Kenny will embolden others to follow suit

Brexit was cited in the memo to Cabinet as one of the main international concerns. Photograph: Getty Images

Government alerted to danger in update of strategic challenges confronting Ireland

Popular: Michael D Higgins at the Bloom garden festival this week with his wife, Sabina, and the garden designer Alan Rudden. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Labour says it backs its nominee to stay in office after 2018. Now Fine Gael has voiced support. Could the President be returned u(...)

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney told the Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee: “We cannot have a situation where some communities block social housing in their area because they don’t want it.” File photograph: Getty Images

Mixture of public, private housing unpopular in places but necessary - Coveney

Dara Murphy, Fine Gael Minister of State for European Affairs. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

‘Eyebrows raised’ in parliamentary meeting as Cork North-Central TD Murphy makes comments

Kieran Conway, the former head of IRA intelligence: claimed the bombers were “relatively blameless” and that  their identities were well-known. Photograph: Barry Moore

‘The families want to see people convicted,’ says solicitor Kieran Conway

A briefing for Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe argued that reforms to disability allowances should be considered as existing rules increase welfare dependency and increase poverty, not reduce it

Finian McGrath says he wants to see as many people with disabilities as possible in secure jobs with a good salary

Michael Lowry: His son, Cllr  Micheál Lowry released a statement on Wednesday which said he has had 'absolutely no discussions or conversations with Fine Gael either nationally or locally'. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Reports suggest Cllr Micheál Lowry could be Fine Gael candidate in future elections

President Michael D Higgins would enjoy “enormous support” for a second term, says Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Eric Luke

Varadkar praises President who would be 84 if he stayed in office for another seven years

Bertie Ahern at Queen’s University Belfast. “A Brexit would be an obstacle to the cross-Border economic co-operation that is profoundly benefiting both states on this island.” Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Former taoiseach dismisses Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers’s comments

 Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Minister to tell Cabinet ‘saturation policing’ necessary to tackle organised crime gangs

John McGuinness: “I believe my action has been vindicated.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Nóirín O’Sullivan says she had no knowledge of meeting between predecessor and John McGuinness

The last government’s decision to increase third level registration fees to €3,000 caused controversy, but the third-level sector has consistently said it is facing serious financial difficulties.   File photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

PER document says proposals are not enough and seeks higher fee increase

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe: the document lays out challenges facing him in public service pay, saying “significant” pressures will arise as the economy improves. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Five-year capital investment plan may need review if economy continues to grow

Fine Gael has floated the idea of a 12-week break this summer, citing restoration work at Leinster House. But that’s not quite the(...)

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has written to other party leaders seeking support for a Dáil motion that aims to increase workers’ rights. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Labour leader writes letter to party bosses on increasing protections for employees

Leinster House refurbishment. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Remedial work to be carried out on Georgian building, which forms core of the complex

Micheál Martin has declared that he felt the proposed Dáil summer break was too long.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Fine Gael is told the Dáil will rise on July 7th and is unlikely to return until late September

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: said the proposed period for the Dáil to rise is “too early and it is too long”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Dáil to rise on July 7th and return later than usual due to Leinster House repair work

 Garda headquarters at Harcourt Square which was sold by Nama in 2013.  The OPW lease for the building expires this year. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

OPW in Harcourt Square dispute as planning permission not yet lodged for new site

Micheál  Martin was addressing a Fianna Fáil event, which took place the Round Room of Dublin’s Mansion House last night, to mark the centenary of the Rising. Photograph: The Irish Times

Party chief pays tribute to pivotal role of generation of people who fought in Rising

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says proposed period is too long

There has been no bold movement aimed at tackling the problems taking hold in Dublin’s north inner city and elsewhere. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Gangland violence comes to the fore after latest fatal shooting in Kinahan-Hutch feud

The Hibernia Reit property investment company has confirmed it is in a legal dispute with the Office of Public Works over Harcourt Square. Photograph: The Irish Times

Property investment company is in a dispute with Office of Public Works

Enda Kenny: Areas already identified by the Taoiseach include the preparation of a plan for housing in the first 100 days. Photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach sets Cabinet task of potential achievements in first 100 days and year one

One Fine Gael source said there may be a difference on what John Halligan believes he got for his Waterford constituency and what the party sees as its commitment to him. Photograph: The Irish Times

Questions linger on Independents staying the course, with most doubts on John Halligan

Gardaí at the scene of a fatal shooting on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Collins

Fianna Fáil calls for increased Garda resources to tackle gangland crime

Independent Minister of State John Halligan will vote with the Government in a Dáil debate calling for the abolition of water charges this week. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister of State had initially indicated support for Sinn Féin’s abolition proposal

Independent junior minister John Halligan says he may vote in favour of a motion before the Dáil this week calling for the abolition of water charges and Irish Water. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Earlier Independent junior minister said he would back Sinn Féin bill

Alan Kelly “rose too far, too fast through sheer force of will,” said one Labour figure, adding: “He’s too ambitious to give up”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Labour TD’s scrapes with officials have become the thing of legend in political circles

 Independent TD John Halligan during  talks for government at Government Buildings, Dublin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

John Halligan secured millions in extra subsidies for extension at Waterford Airport

Irish Water could not give the exact percentage of customers who had paid their bills so far this year but sources said the drop almost brought the revenue level back to where it had been when water charging began

Sixty-four per cent of homes paid charge in first year of billing, semi-State body says

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