Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: said the proposed period for the Dáil to rise is “too early and it is too long”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

As the Dáil is set to get about three months holidays, we look at the norm in other jurisdictions

Parked cars engulfed in a crater that opened next to the river Arno in Florence on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Maurizio degl’Innocenti/ANSA via AP.

No injuries but 20 parked cars swallowed by hole apparently caused by burst water pipe

Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said he hoped Pope Francis would visit Ireland  in 2018 and that the pontiff would be able to visit Northern Ireland.

Archbishop of Dublin says Irish bishops would like any papal visit to include North

Italy boss Antonio Conte is wary of the threat posed by Ireland. Photograph: Epa

Wary of Irish threat as Azzurri head into Euro 2016 with a far from vintage crop

Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui and Msgr Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda sit during their trial in the Vatican, in this file picture from November 2015. Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano/AP

Latest witness tells of electronic bugs, threatening letters and secret meetings

Pope Francis is greeted by Sr Carmen Sammut, a Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa, during an audience with the International Union of Superiors General at the Vatican on Thursday. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

Pope questioned by leaders of women’s religious orders on exclusion of female deacons

Supporters of same-sex civil unions stand outside the Italian Parliament in Rome on May 11th, 2016. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Move comes following three decades of campaigning, opposed by Catholic Church

Enduring  irony: Silvio Berlusconi has managed to turn the forthcoming mayoral contest in Rome on its head, causing problems for his centre-right “rivals” and potentially doing favours to his centre-left “allies”. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Media tycoon moves to split right-wing vote in Rome mayoral elections to aid Renzi

 Pope Francis   with US vice-president Joe Biden. Photograph: AFP Photo/Osservatore Romano

Joe Biden, the second senior US Democrat to visit Vatican in the last two weeks, meets the pope

Rene Brulhart, president of the Vatican Financial Information Authority  argued that the increased number of suspicious case reports was a direct result of the work of his own institution. Photograph:  Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

Institution receives 544 reports of suspicious activities last year, says president Brülhart

Irish Jesuit priest Fr John Sullivan. Pope Francis has approved his beatification. Photograph: Jesuits in Ireland website

Woman who prayed to Fr John Sullivan made ‘miraculous’ recovery from a cancer

Fr Iggy O Donovan says Swiss theologian Hans Küng is ‘hopelessly optimistic’ in perceiving a ‘new freedom’ in the Vatican. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Dissident theologians accuse church watchdog of heartless, unchristian attitude

Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, says he hopes an audit of the Vatican finances will resume very shortly, following its suspension this week. Photograph:  Daniel Munoz/Reuters

Pope Francis’s new body believed to be on collision course with Secretariat of State

Pope Francis welcomes Syrian refugees at Ciampino airport in Rome following his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte

The pope says decision to bring Syrian families to Rome was a ‘humanitarian’ one

Syrian refugees Wafa, in the centre with white scarf holding her son Omar’s hand, husband Osama, second from left as they arrive with another Syrian family at the St Egidio Community in Rome on Saturday. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Child welcomed with familiar food after leaving Lesbos with Pope on Saturday

 Bernie Sanders arriving at the Vatican for a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of ‘Centesimus Annus’, a high-level teaching document by Pope John Paul II on the economy and social justice at the end of the Cold War. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA

Democrat presidential candidate makes speech calling for redistribution of world’s wealth

A gust of wind lifts Pope Francis’s mantilla: “I travel to Lesbos to express my closeness and solidarity, both to the refugees and to the citizens of Lesbos and to the whole Greek people, who have been so generous in receiving” asylum seekers. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys

Vatican rejects idea pope’s five-hour visit is criticism of EU migration handling

 US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders: He  is expected to attend a small, invitation-only conference at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

US Democratic presidential candidate not expected to meet Pope Francis in Rome

Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s finance minister, who has announced an industry-led bailout programme for the country’s troubled banking sector. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Industry funded bailout proposed by finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan may run into ‘state aid’ difficulties with EU

Paola, the mother of Giulio Regeni, with lawyer Alessandra Ballerini and senator Luigi Manconi, at the Italian Senate, in Rome. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo

Egyptian police are implicated in the gruesome death of Italian student Giulio Regeni

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn shows a copy of “Amoris Laetitia” during a press conference at the Vatican. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

‘Amoris Laetitia’ steers a middle of the road course on family and sexuality

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone: says he spent €300,000 of his own money on apartment renovation. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Former Vatican secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone says he funded upgrade himself

An aerial view of the destruction in the city of L’Aquila, central Italy, caused by the earthquake of April 2009. Photograph: AP/Italian Forestry Police Force

Suburbs have been reconstructed but the heart of L’Aquila remains to be rebuilt

Italian Police escort a man, centre, to a police car in the southern city of Salerno, Italy. Police identified the man arrested as an Algerian wanted in Belgium for facilitating illegal migration linked to the recent terror attacks in Paris. Photograph: AP

Men linked with bombings crossed Italian borders and security with apparent ease

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi benediction at the Vatican. Photograph: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

Francis speaks on Brussels bombing and terror attacks worldwide

  Msgr Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda  with Francesca Chaouqui in this file photograph taken in 2014.The Vatican has arrested Msgr Vallejo and Ms Chaouqui for allegedly stealing and leaking classified documents. Photograph: Umberto Pizziumberto/Getty Images

Vatileaks 2 trial in Vatican City court takes bizarre turn

Labour leader Joan Burton  on the campaign trail last month. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

‘The two biggest parties have to shape up to what the country requires’, says acting Tánaiste

Lay consultant Francesca Chaouqui and Spanish monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda: pair are among the five on trial. Photograph:  Umberto Pizzi/AFP/Getty Images

Five accused of leaking information face eight-year prison sentence if found guilty

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: The killing in Libya  of two Italian construction workers has put the traditional  policy of Mediterranean “dialogue” under  pressure. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Matteo Renzi says he will not deploy soldiers but secret service is already active in Libya

Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell speaks to the media at the Quirinale hotel in Rome on Thursday at the end of evidence via video-link to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Vatican finance chief George Pell concludes four days of evidence to Australian inquiry

Australian Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell is shown on a screen in Canberra, Australia, as he gives evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via video link from Rome Italy. Photograph: EPA

Pell’s evidence showed a man remarkably incurious about suspicions raised with him

Supporters of same-sex civil unions demonstrate in Rome. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Government comfortably wins confidence vote on complex legislation, by 173 to 71 votes

Francesco Totti’s playing career for AS Roma could be nearing its end. Photograph: Afp

Giallorossi’s greatest ever no longer untouchable after 25 years with boyhood club

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi:  says Italian banks are “more solid than German banks”.   Photograph: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

The rescue of four local banks has set alarm bells ringing about the sector

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard the papal plane flying from Mexico to Italy on Thursday. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/AFP/Getty Images

Let us not confuse the act of avoiding pregnancy with abortion, says Argentinian pope

  Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston:  “We all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.”     Photograph:  Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Reports that mandatory reporting may ‘not necessarily’ be a bishop’s duty denied

Italian leader Matteo Renzi: there are fears he is becoming mired in old-style, crony politics. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Italy’s prime minister arrived on the scene in dramatic fashion, full of promises of change

Baked images of Pope Francis are part of the production of a bakery in Morelia, Michoacan State, Mexico. The pope  will visit four Mexican states during his time there. Photograph: Enrique Castro/AFP/Getty

Pope will stop in Cuba on way to Mexico to meet spiritual leader of Russian Orthodoxy

Peter Saunders:  criticised appointment  of controversial  bishop Juan Barros. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Peter Saunders, given ‘leave of absence’, says Vatican system ‘essentially corrupt’

Thousands of demonstrators take part in the Family Day rally at the Circo Massimo in central Rome on Saturday. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Some 300,000 people gather at Rome’s Circus Maximus to oppose proposed legislation

Statue of Padre Pio  in Rome: saint’s relics will go on tour at the request of Pope Francis. Photograph: Pier Paolo Cito/AP Photo

Pope Francis wants remains of the Italian saint be brought to Rome for a few days

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani with Pope Francis  at the end of their private audience in the Vatican on Tuesday. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AFP/Getty Images

First Iranian leader to visit the Vatican for 17 years urges Muslims to protect churches

Pope Francis talking during his visit to the Lutheran church in Rome on November 15th last year. He is to take part in a joint Catholic-Lutheran service in Sweden in October. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Pontiff will travel to Lund, Sweden, for ecumenical commemoration

Supporters of same-sex civil union kiss holding alarm clocks “to wake up Italy” on Saturday near the Pantheon in central Rome. An estimated one million people took to the streets of Italy, to signal their support for civil union legislation. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Church influence blamed for fact Italy is last country in western Europe without civil union

 Maurizio Sarri: “I acknowledge that I made a mistake. I used an inappropriate expression and for that reason I apologise to all homosexuals and I apologise to Mancini. Photograph: Reuters

Maurizio Sarri launched tirade of homophobic abuse during Italian Cup tie

Prof Roy Foster: “I think they were very carefully planned to avoid the pitfalls of crude triumphalism.” Photograph: The Irish Times

Historian ‘impressed by how Government’s commemorative strategies have worked’

Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni at the launch of Pope Francis’s book, ‘The Name of God is Mercy’, at the Vatican  on Tuesday. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/ EPA

Oscar winner Roberto Benigni describes Pope Francis as ‘greatest man in the world’

Pope Francis greets an ambassador and his wife during an audience with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican on Monday. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Pope acknowledges cultural and social challenges of refugees in address to diplomats

Old country: Trevignanesi assemble to put the world to rights, at sunset by Lake Bracciano. Photograph: Paddy Agnew

Rural life, which still revolves around feasts, cafes and church, is the envy of visitors but a deep frustration for young Italian(...)

A group  takes a selfie with an iPhone in front of the Colosseum in Rome: Apple has agreed to pay €318m to settle an Italian tax claim. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Tim Cook dismissed criticism of company’s overseas tax policy as ‘political crap’

Dublin diocesan priest Monsignor Paul Tighe (57) has been appointed a bishop and secretary of the Vatican’s Council for Culture by Pope Francis.

Monsignor who was central to social media strategy is also made secretary of Council for Culture

Licio Gelli: even though he was given a 10-year sentence for having “derailed” the Bologna station investigation and a 12-year sentence for his role in the Banco Ambrosiano collapse, Gelli actually spent little time in prison.

Gelli’s name turned up in numerous high-profile inquiries but he spent little time in jail

 Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica, formally starting the Jubilee of Mercy, at the Vatican on Tuesday morning.  Photograph: Maurizio Brambatti/EPA

Symbolic act at St Peter’s Basilica takes place amid greatly increased security

Pope Francis arriving at the St Maria Maggiore cathedral upon his return to Rome on Monday. Photograph: AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte

Pope speaks at press conference on papal plane during return from six-day trip to Africa

Francesca Chaouqui and Msgr Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda  during their trial in the Vatican: Msgr Balda said he had sex with Ms Chaouqui. She says they did not. Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

Defendant in trial for stealing documents from Holy See claims he was seduced

Pope Francis delivers his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and to the World) message from St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican,  in 2013. Photograph: AP

In their very different ways, writes Paddy Agnew, these excellent, well-written, much researched books ask the ‘big question’ – ca(...)

Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi and PR consultant Francesca Chaouqui   during the Vatileaks 2 trial in the Vatican. Photograph: EPA/L’Osservatore Romano

PR consultant and monsignor among those on trial for leaking Vatican documents

Artist Simon Kizito tries to sell his painting of Pope Francis in Nairobi’s Kangemi slum. Photograph: Nichole Sobecki/Getty

Speculation trip may have to be cut short because of unrest in Central African Republic

Writers Gianluigi Nuzzi (right) and Emiliano Fittipaldi. Photograph: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Luca Bruno, file

Monsignor and two writers among those accused of confidential document theft

Avarizia (Greed) and Via Crucis (Stations of the Resurrection),  by Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi respectively,  both reproduce confidential financial documents allegedly stolen from the Vatican.  Photograph: Ciro Fusco/EPA

Authors of books on Pope Francis and Holy See reform charged over stolen documents

St. Peter’s Basilica before the arrival of Pope Francis for his general audience in Vatican City on Wednesday. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/EPA

Italian police believe the former head of the world famous abbey laundered up to €600,000

Avarizia and Via Crucis, new  books on the Vatican by Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, on display  in a bookshop in Naples. Photograph: Ciro Fusco/EPA

Two arrests and two new books – just the start of a dramatic week for the Holy See

Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi at a news conference to publicise his book, ‘Via Crucis’, in Rome on Wednesday. Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

Reports of pontiff’s ‘brain tumour’ described as ‘blatantly false’ attempt to undermine him

Rumours and speculation concerning a new “Vatileaks” scandal have been flying around the Vatican for days. The development suggests resistance remains in the Holy See curia to the reform process of Pope Francis (above). Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters.

Development comes ahead of publication of books containing secret Vatican information

Pope Francis gives an audience to nomadic peoples at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Families among 600 from nomadic communities to attend event at Vatican

Pope Francis arrives with bishops and cardinals for the morning session of the last day of the Synod on the Family at the Vatican on Saturday. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Rumours and discontent to the fore as Pope Francis’s ‘reform process’ meets opposition

Pope Francis leads a mass to mark the closure of the Synod on the Family in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Given divergences of opinion Pope Francis can probably consider it a good result

Archbishop Eamon Martin attends a news conference at the end of a morning session of the synod on the family at the Vatican. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Primate of All Ireland welcomes debate on pastoral approach

Newspaper group claims that a small dark spot on Francis’ brain was identified during a check-up seven months ago. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Vatican spokesman denies the story, saying it is ‘unfounded’ and ‘irresponsible’

‘Scandals’ seem to refer to Carmelite gay prostitution case and Polish monsignor

South African cardinal Wilfred Napier, said a paper calling for greater inclusivity towards homosexuals had been published at last year’s synod without prior knowledge of many. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Prelates write to pope expressing concern on liberal declarations emerging at gathering

Pope Francis prays at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington during his five-day trip to the US. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

The odd tale of the pope and the county clerk put a spanner in the works of his US visit

Former Rome mayor Ignazio Marino arriving at City Hall on Friday, the day after his resignation. Among others, he appeared to have annoyed Pope Francis. Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

Ignazio Marino annoyed so many people that it is tough to pinpoint precise reason for exit

A screengrab of   Italian priest Don Gino Flaim, who has been suspended from his functions at the San Pio X church in Trent, northern Italy, after he made comments in which he appeared to “justify” paedophilia.

Don Gino Flaim made comments seemingly blaming ‘love-seeking children’

Pope Francis attends the synod on the family at St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican yesterday. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images

Synod president claims church stance on communion for remarried misunderstood

President Mary McAleese: “The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is simply wrong”

Former president says she wouldn’t ask 300 celibate men for expertise on the family

On the eve of the Synod on the Family, the Holy See was rocked on Saturday morning by the public coming out of 43-year-old Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a senior official at the Vatican’s Congregation For the Doctrine Of The Faith (CDF), ex-Holy Office. File photograph: Osservatore Romano

Vatican critises Monsignor Charamsa for ‘irresponsible’ statement on eve of Synod’

Looking forward: Pope Francis has made it clear on at least two occasions this year that he wants results from the Synod on the Family, which begins in Rome tomorrow. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images.

Controversy seems to dog Synod on the Family which begins in Rome on Sunday

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis celebrates her release from the Carter County Detention centre in Grayson, Kentucky in September. Photograph: Chris Tilley/Reuters

Davis spent five days in jail after refusing to sign marriage licences for gay couples

Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Photograph: Reuters

Cardinal Robert Sarah: Such relationships ‘retrogressive for culture and civilisation’

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi: Made off-the-cuff remarks to party members. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Italian prime minister warns dissident party members against schism

A portraIt of Pope Francis marking his visit to Cuba is seen in a street of the capital Havana. The pope is visiting Cuba from September 19th-22nd, the first stop on a trip that also will take him to the United States.  Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

This 10th foreign trip of Pope Francis could turn out to be his most important

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio  reads Pope Francis’s details on the marriage annulments reforms. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Papal decrees announced ahead of Pope Francis’s first US trip and synod on the family

Bono and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi at Expo 2015 in Milan last night. Renzi acknowledged that Italy could provide more food aid and distribution. Photograph: Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo

U2 singer used to ‘create a stir’ at Expo 15 in Milan and put pressure on states to donate

Pope Francis tries on a pair of spectacles at his optician’s shop in Via del Babuino, in central Rome. Photograph: Daniel Soehne/AP

Optics are good after pontiff has glasses fixed in Rome city centre

Mourners surround an ornate hearse, pulled by six black-plumed horses, carrying the body of Vittorio Casamonica to the Rome suburbs where his funeral Mass was celebrated on August 20th. Photograph: Reuters

Recent displays of street power pose the question: who controls the Eternal City?

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office (Osservatore Romano) shows Pope Francis celebrating mass in Santa Marta at the Vatican on Tuesday. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images

Francis says that he wants the faithful to have a ‘genuine experience of God’s mercy’

File photograph of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski. File photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

Former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski was found dead in the Vatican earlier this week

 Archbishop Josef Wesolowski was  charged with child abuse and possession of child pornography. In June 2014, he was found guilty by a church disciplinary panel and deemed no longer fit to serve as a priest. Photograph: Danny Polanco/EPA

Josef Wesolowski (67) was first senior Vatican official to be tried for child sex abuse

A child is carried from the LÉ Niamh in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo. Photograph: Reuters

Irish commander describes trauma and chaos, writes Paddy Agnew in Palermo

Migrants wait to get off the Irish Navy vessel LÉ Niamh in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo on August 6th. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters/ TPX

Palermo’s mayor vents his anger at the EU after witnessing so much suffering

Pope Francis greets a child as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican City, August 5th, 2015. Photograph: Giampiero Sposito/Reuters

Papal statement seems to leave all possibilities for divorced and remarried persons open

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst: now reported to be living in a sprawling penthouse apartment in Rome with a monthly salary of €10,300. Photograph: Fredrik Von Erichsen/EPA

Disgraced former Limburg bishop spent €31m in elaborate cathedral complex restoration

Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella: Ireland among the ‘more generous’ countries in accepting refugees.  Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Government has said it will accept 600 additional refugees over the next two years

File photograph dated August 12th, 2011 shows then Papal Nuncio Jozef Wesolowski attending a ceremony in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

Jozef Wesolowski accused of abusing boys and possessing child pornography

Former Polish Archbishop Josef Wesolowski goes on trial in the Vatican on child sex abuse charges. Photograph:  Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty

Polish Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski was laicized in a canon court hearing last year

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen said legislation should be changed to ensure former senior politicians did not get pension increases. Photograph: Brian Lawless

Former taoiseach speaks as Kenny calls on ex-ministers to decline increase in payment

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke about the Greek situation during a  visit to the Irish pavilion at Expo Milano.  Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Taoiseach denies EU has shown more ‘solidarity’ to creditors than Greek people

At a news conference in Milan this week, prosecutors claimed Mr Berlusconi has spent more than €10 million in the last four years bribing young ladies who attended the infamous parties, in order to buy their silence on the witness stand. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/ EPA

Prosecutors say Berlusconi spent over €10 million to buy women’s silence on the stand

A fan with a flag in the Argentine colours. The pope is not travelling  to his native Argentina during this trip. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Francis will visit three of the region’s poorest countries, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay

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