Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said he hoped   personal lives will not be issue in the party’s leadership race. Photograph:  Collins

‘I’m not going to make my personal life an issue and I hope others won’t do either’

Labour MP Hilary Benn attended a Brexit meeting in Dublin on Thursday. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tory MP says the UK will not honour existing fiscal commitments during Dublin meeting

Longford-Westmeath TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran. Photograph: Alan Betson

Proposals from Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD

Enda Kenny has restructured aspects of the party and made it a much slimmer organisation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Party needs to find voice outside Government agenda

The  leading contenders to replace Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader and taoiseach, Simon Coveney and Leo  Varadkar. Photograph: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Both teams for main rivals for Fine Gael leadership believe their man holds advantage

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Outstanding matter of his leadership will be dealt with after his return from the St Patrick’s Day visit to the US. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach to deal with contentious leadership issue after return from US visit

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Simon Coveney  and Leo Varadkar in 2010. Mr Kenny will say the leadership issue will be dealt with after he visits Washington DC for St Patrick’s Day. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Taoiseach expected to indicate he will step down after meeting US president in March

Sources said Enda Kenny wanted to remain party leader during the election of his successor. Photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach ‘philosophical’ and intended to step aside in coming months, say sources

The Taoiseach has said he will speak to the Fine Gael parliamentary party at its weekly meeting on Wednesday.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Once Enda Kenny outlines his intentions, the process to elect a new FG leader will begin

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan: he described a WhatsApp message on the Fine Gael leadership as “jovial Sunday afternoon banter”

Frances Fitzgerald, Richard Bruton and Simon Harris could enter FG leadership race

‘I am certainly not going to support anybody who suggests that we should be forcing the issue,’ Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said.   Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Flanagan says message he sent to WhatsApp group on Harris was ‘jovial Sunday banter’

A screengrab from the Fine Gael Whatsapp group showing Charlie Flanagan’s comment that Simon Harris wants out of the Department of Health.

Charlie Flanagan posts message on Sunday saying Harris wants to ‘get out of health’

Enda Kenny at the  All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit: sources close to him believe he will stand down. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Varadkar and Coveney have private meeting as fighting breaks out in the Fine Gael ranks

Enda Kenny at the Microsoft hiring announcement on Friday: The Taoiseach is expected to consult with family and friends in Mayo this weekend about his future after a tough political week. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘He just has to say something – this is not going to go away,’ says one supporter

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Mr Kenny is under renewed pressure over his leadership of Fine Gael. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Parliamentary party chair asks members to stop making statements about the Taoiseach

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a meeting on Thursday night. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Leo Varadkar says Taoiseach will know the right time to resign as Fine Gael leader

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe while  canvassing for Fine Gael candidate Gabrielle McFadden in the Longford-Westmeath byelection in 2014. Photograph: Séamus Kiernan/Westmeath Topic

Taoiseach’s capacity to ‘manage chaos’ wanes as Varadkar and Coveney talk of election

Enda Kenny  at The Mansion House, Dublin, on Wednesday: Leo  Varadkar told a Fine Gaal party meeting  they needed  to discuss election preparations soon. Sources said this effectively offers a timeline for Mr Kenny to indicate when he will stand down. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Ministers and backbenchers call for change over handling of Garda whistleblower affair

Enda Kenny was facing widespread criticism from his TDs on Wednesday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Ministers and backbenchers call for change over handling of Garda whistleblower affair

Independent Alliance TDs: Sean Canney, John Halligan, Shane Ross, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD and Finian McGrath  photographed on the plinth of the Dail. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Enda Kenny agrees to external audit of An Garda Síochána by policing expert

The Taoiseach gave a ‘mea culpa’ for his false accounts of contacts with Katherine Zappone. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: The clock is ticking on Enda Kenny’s leadership

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney are considered the frontrunners to replace the Taoiseach. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Some Fine Gael TDs hoping Taoiseach will stand aside but Ministers resist pressure

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Leo Varadkar and  Simon Coveney are attempting to calm Fine Gael backbenchers who want to rapidly remove Mr Kenny as party leader. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Taoiseach faces opposition within Fine Gael over his handling of McCabe controversy

Oxfam and Goal will continue to deliver aid programmes pending the outcome of their merger discussions.

Boards approve initiative to create ‘global development agency’ rooted in Ireland

Enda Kenny: Backbencher Noel Rock, a supporter of Leo Varadkar, called on the Taoiseach to set a timeframe for his departure. Ministers may give him until St Patrick’s Day, but not much longer. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Mood has shifted in Fine Gael, and Ministers’ patience with Taoiseach may soon run out

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: It is widely hoped in the Fine Gael party that Mr Kenny will step down of his own accord. Photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Close allies of Enda Kenny expect the issue to be brought to a head next month

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD during a visit to Cork yesterday. The Cabinet will discuss the establishment of a tribunal this morning. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Kenny and Martin meet to forge deal on controversy that threatens Government

Dublin North-West TD Noel Rock has said he would like to see Leo Varadkar take over as party leader. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Dublin TD Noel Rock says Enda Kenny must set out a timeframe for his departure

Fianna Fáil intends to bring its motion forward by a number of weeks, and table it before Taoiseach Enda Kenny travels to the US for St Patrick’s Day in order to make the Dáil’s position clear. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Israel reported to be asking Trump to put pressure on Kenny to block move

Minister for Transport Shane Ross  argued against Enda Kenny taking part in the annual St Patrick’s Day event at the White House at a Cabinet meeting. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Minister objects to Enda Kenny travelling to US to meet Donald Trump on national day

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney: the changes outlined by him do not herald a huge overhaul of how the scheme operates with individual families. Photograph: Alan Betson

Analysis: Private finance will speed up transfer of troubled loans into rental scheme

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney was responsible for  expanding the State’s mortgage-to-rent scheme. File photograph: Alan Betson

Merrion Capital targets loans for ‘mortgage-to-rent’ scheme

Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan has repeatedly raised objections to the prospect of a redrawing of the county boundary between Kilkenny and Waterford. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister held ‘clear the air’ meeting with John Paul Phelan after boundary change dispute

Move by Minister for Housing marks expansion of ‘mortgage-to-rent’ scheme

 Simon Coveney seems to believe success for Fine Gael lies in a further move to the soft centre of politics. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Minister says party is not seen as caring for and protecting people

Migrants on board the Naval Service patrol ship LÉ Niamh.  Photograph: Irish Defence Forces

Minister says those who took part in Mediterranean missions to receive €15 daily rate

Micheál Martin: “He put it in the context of if we are to get to 55 to 60 seats some people are going to bring in running mates where they didn’t before”

Party leader tells senior TDs to bring in running mates

Minister for Planning Simon Coveney at the launch of Ireland 2040 at Maynooth University. Photograph: Alan Betson

Analysis: Coveney’s strategy will have to navigate the demands of the parish pump

Simon Coveney: he warned three-quarters of the projected population increase of more than one million would be focused on Dublin and the east coast unless action was taken

Minister says most difficult thing about development plan ‘will be the politics around it’

Mr Coveney says the population of the country will increase by around one million by 2040, and a further 500,000 homes will be needed

Taoiseach and Coveney to outline spatial plan which will map Ireland’s growth to 2040

Angela Kerins: sought damages for the PAC’s conduct during its engagements with her in the course of its Rehab investigation. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Despite court ruling, some officials abhor how Angela Kerins was treated by committee

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan outline the approach of the mid-term review of the capital plan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Investment to 2021 will allocate extra funds to roads, ports and airports to facilitate trade

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has objected to Taoiseach Enda Kenny travelling to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump for St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Independent Alliance TD only Cabinet member to oppose St Patrick’s Day visit

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan: Now is not the time to question the US pre-clearance arrangements. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: US pre-clearance at Irish airports likely to be unchanged amid travel-ban controversy

A woman poses for a photograph beside a piece of street art, by artist ADW, lampooning US president Donald Trump in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. Photograph: Laura Hutton

US pre-clearance at Irish airports to be reviewed, and Kenny's US visit to go ahead

Paschal Donohoe is to tell Ministers that there is an additional €2.6bn available for capital investment up to 2021. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Cabinet is considering accelerating the project as part of review of capital programme

Simon Coveney says rent controls ‘generally do more harm than good over the short-, medium- and long-term’ in a letter released under FoI. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Finance said Simon Coveney’s proposal would exacerbate housing crisis

Taoiseach Enda Kenny answers questions during  a press conference at Government Buildings in Dublin after meeting British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

One person refused clearance at Dublin Airport in wake of Trump travel ban

Leo Varadkar: Some TDs have made their views known to him and supporters of the Minster for Social Protection know that every vote counts in a leadership contest. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Analysis: Rebel backbenchers believe it is up to aspirant leaders to call time on Enda Kenny

Fine Gael Ministers Paschal Donohoe, Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Frances Fitzgerald. Three out of four distanced themselves from the Taoiseach’s remarks. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Comments undermine Taoiseach, who earlier refused to rule out future partnership

TD Pat Deering said it was “way off the mark” for the Taoiseach to decline to rule out a future coalition with Sinn Féin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

First-time TDs say Enda Kenny’s position irrelevant as next government ‘won’t be his call’

Simon Coveney: “As I’ve said before, I don’t think the two parties are compatible partners that could work together in government, there are too many fundamental differences.” File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘I don’t think the two parties are compatible partners that could work together in government’

The Government moved to clamp down on how overseas buyers of Irish property  used ultra tax-efficient structures to minimise their tax bills. File photograph: Getty Images

Most vulture fund efforts to influence tax clampdown do not need to be declared

Mary Lou McDonald: said she wanted Sinn Féin to be in government, but said this would only happen if the party could deliver on its policies

Mary Lou McDonald raised prospect of SF in government as a junior coalition partner

Mary Lou McDonald outside Leinster House: “We can only go into government when we are confident that we are in a position to deliver.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Party would not enter government for ‘cheap thrill of headlines’, says deputy leader

Eoghan Murphy, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, is launching the International Financial Services Action Plan for 2017. “We won’t be predatory but we must be competitive.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ireland must lobby harder to attract financial services companies, says Eoghan Murphy

Initiative would allow for the refurbishment of vacant commercial properties, such as shops and premises  above ground floor retail units, without having to apply for planning permission. Photograph: David Sleator

Measures aim to rejuvenate rural areas, including towns, villages and regional cities

Micheál Martin: Some unhappy senior Fianna Fáil TDs  have urged the party leadership  to go for an early election. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Micheál Martin told his deputies deal would stay in place for another two budgets

TDs seeing their proposals pass earlier stages in the Dáil at first believe they are making progress, only for their Bills to languish thereafter

Next budget shaping up to be more contentious than the one introduced last October

Michael Noonan: Documents  show the extent of lobbying from US vulture and property funds, and industry groups, as the Government moved to implement this clampdown in the Finance Bill.  Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show lobbying by US funds

Kennedy Wilson’s top Irish executive Peter Collins met department officials in August to air concerns. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Pre-budget correspondence shows how companies sought to keep the status quo

Peter Collins, Kennedy Wilson’s top Irish executive. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Oaktree Capital, CarVal and Kennedy Wilson among those canvassing Noonan

The report outlines options for dealing with secondary ticket selling.

Airline-style approach would allow ticket prices rise in line with demand

Davos has become an annual jaunt for Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photograph: Sergio Barrenchea/EPA

Taoiseach and Minister for Finance step among liberal economic elite in Davos

A hard Border and tariffs between Northern Ireland and the Republic is likely unless there is a softening of positions in the Brexit negotiations, according to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.  File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Inside Politics podcast: Hard Border ‘likely without softening of positions in Brexit talks’

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the launch of the new all-island free travel pass in February 2007. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Yearly charge of €50 could recoup €37m and help save scheme that was ‘not sustainable’

The report said free travel could be “a passport to leisure, time with family, for some a way to get to work and others to help them attend their hospital appointments”

Government report warned scheme needed increased funding or significant reforms to ensure its viability

 Flights, trains and ferries:  The paper outlines work that has already been done to defend against attacks, identifies gaps in existing defences and proposes further action. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission study warns such assaults could destabalise a country

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell: Doubts Taoiseach is suitable to lead Ireland in Brexit talks. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party activists in Dublin Bay South constituency unimpressed by ‘meandering rhetoric’

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Jim McGrath follows Alan Cantwell in resigning from post in Department of Jobs

Kate O’Connell said the “future leader” of Fine Gael must be involved in the formal talks on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Photograph: Alan Betson

FG should not ‘blindly accept’ Taoiseach as best person for Brexit talks, says O’Connell

  Taoiseach Enda Kenny addresses  Fine Gael supporters in CHQ Building in  Dublin. The party in total collected €429,190 from membership fees, but €104,320 was from Ministers, TDs and senators. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sipo release accounts showing party took in most money in 2015, followed by Fianna Fáil

Finian McGrath: “I think politics has changed. I don’t think the bigger parties are going to get the big bloc votes they used to get before. There will always be a role for Independents.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dublin Independent and Super-junior Minister says he will be standing in next election

President Michael D Higgins: not yet said if he will run again. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

‘Lazy politics’ to return Higgins without a contest, says Independent Alliance Minister

Minister of State Finian McGrath: “In fairness to him, he is the glue at the moment and nobody knows what would happen if there was a leadership contest.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister of State says Kenny best placed to lead Government following Brexit

Sean Canney: “We have enough law in this area, and I am not sure we need any more law. We need to enforce the law that is there.”

Sean Canney: Older people in constituency who drive to pub and do not drink to excess

Simon Harris: the question is whether he  wants to stay in Health for invevitable  battles, or escape as others have in the past. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Simon Harris faces major fight to succeed in department where many have failed

Government chief whip Regina Doherty has said there “was a deal done” during the Government formation talks to have an accelerated contest. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Vote could be restricted to parliamentary party members to reduce timeframe

Minister for Health Simon Harris finds himself exactly where others have before: apologising for a system that does not work. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Service is well funded by European standards, but problem is not just political

The latest measures are an expansion of the previously announced €40 million “winter plan” but no extra funding has been allocated from the Government. Any extra funding will have to be found from existing HSE resources.

Staff needed to cover extra work, while some patients taken to private hospitals

 Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has been discharged from hospital. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Communications was struck by vehicle while cycling earlier this week

Regina  Doherty (right) said Helen McEntee would ‘walk past me in the corridor and wouldn’t even blink her eyes’.

Minister to raise concerns in Fine Gael after Chief Whip said pair did not get on

 Regina Doherty: “To be fair to Fianna Fáil, they are incredibly good when they are good and they are bowsies when they are bowsies. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

‘I have a way of getting what I want without falling out with people’

Regina Doherty:  believes Fianna Fáil is already questioning trust in the confidence and supply deal – which has led some Ministers to accelerate plans to get as much work done as possible in case the Government collapses. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘No reason’ for Fianna Fáil to back minority administration if party’s popularity grows

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone (above) and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald will seek Government approval for a “special project office” to respond to  needs of children separated from  loved ones by war and terror. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Move to bring 200 unaccompanied children to Republic expected to be approved by Cabinet

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten was held overnight for tests at Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway, which has been on “full capacity protocol” for several days. File photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister transferred to Galway University Hospital for test but due for release on Wednesday

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney: Plan centres on “affordable rental” model.

Coveney says those in such accommodation will pay 70% of market rate in same area

Frances Fitzgerald: ‘The Bill will introduce, for the first time, statutory rights for victims of crime.’ File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

New measures will give victims more rights in accessing information and obtaining help

Leo Varadkar and Frances Fitzgerald are Simon Coveney’s opponents to succeed to the office of taoiseach. Photographs: The Irish Times

Full process as laid down in party rules should apply, says Minister for Housing

A referendum on Irish unity is allowed for in the Belfast Agreement.

Germany cited as case for how to deal with North if united Ireland chosen in future poll

Katherine Zappone: The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has said that the current system of guardians is too ad hoc, as well as unregulated. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Proposals will set out professional standards but won’t likely lead to big cost big reduction

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney: Wide-ranging plan. Photographs: The Irish Times

Development of Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Galway needed as population expands

Simon Coveney:  “Dublin runs the risk of overheating at a time when there are significant economic opportunities arising as a result of Brexit”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister’s briefing paper says population and economic activity will continue to east side

Barry Andrews: he held a seat in the Dún Laoghaire constituency for Fianna Fáil between 2002 and 2011, when he lost out in the party’s post-bailout electoral meltdown

Former Goal chief previously held Dún Laoghaire seat for party

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty: Proposed route would pass through areas of her constituency. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Chief Whip refuses to rule out resigning from role over opposition to overground cables

Ministers were alarmed at how close the State came to an unprecedented strike by more than 12,000 gardaí last month. File photograph: Getty Images

Constraints on Garda industrial action and trade union status possibility to be debated

 The plans allow for an income tax rebate worth up to 5 per cent of the price of a home to a value of €400,000, allowing for a maximum rebate of €20,000. Photograph: Frank Miller

Lack of cost-benefit analysis of scheme ‘sets a dangerous precedent’, officials warned Minister

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan overrode the concerns of his officials to introduce an income tax refund scheme for first-time house buyers.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Michael Noonan was warned the plan would drive up house prices, documents show

 Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney: has given his TDs the fight with Fianna Fáil they were pining for. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Tensions with Fianna Fáil tackled as Minister for Housing attempts to call their bluff

Simon Coveney’s “rent predictability” plan sets out proposals for so-called “rent pressure zones” and imposing limitations on the level of rent increases allowable on residential properties in these zones. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Simon Coveney offered to outline areas outside Dublin and Cork to be assessed for caps

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