Acting Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is to brief Independents on the costings of Fine Gael proposals on housing and other matters. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil wants to reduce development levies as FG suggests reduction in VAT

President Michael D Higgins at the opening of the new visitor centre in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Michael D Higgins did not ‘want to become embroiled in matters of political controversy’

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams hoists Senator Kathryn Reilly at the party’s 2012  ardfheis in Killarney. Photograph: Alan Betson

Crestfallen politician hoped to secure second Dáil seat for party in Cavan-Monaghan

Labour Party leader Joan Burton: Her hour-long conversation with Micheál Martin was described by a Labour source as very cordial and wide-ranging, with “no commitments sought or given”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Labour leader to meet defeated candidates after ruling-out involvement in new government

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny arriving at Government Buildings on Tuesday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Group of five Independents willing to intensify discussions with Fine Gael

Denis Naughten: called for a “political partnership agreement”, along the lines of the social partnership agreements  in the 1980s. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Effective leader of the rural Independents issues call for ‘coalition of constructive TDs’

“I don’t think any leader ever has 100 per cent backing in any organisation but after the meeting I think he [Enda Kenny] still has the support of the grassroots”

Strong criticism of the FG leadership’s performance voiced at post-election meeting

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Fine Gael have held talks to gauge support for potential minority government. Photograph: Laurent Dubrule/EPA

Party source says talks with possible partners constructive after being ‘rebuffed’ by FF

Labour’s Aodhan O’Riordain who lost his Dáil seat in the general elecction has been selected to run for the party on the Seanad’s industrial and commercial panel. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Two ministers of state had lost their Dáil seats in the general election

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “The careful management of the economy and the public finances must and will remain a priority.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

Looming Government tasks include preparation of spring statement and October budget

Seán Ó Fearghaíl arriving at the Dáil on the day he was elected   Ceann Comhairle. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ó Fearghaíl respected and liked across political divide for sincerity and even-handedness

A file image of European Commissioner for Agriculture  Phil Hogan who expects  the parties to form a government within  weeks. Photograph: AFP

Simon Coveney opposed to rotating taoiseach as part of a Fine Gael - Fianna Fáil coalition’

 Members of the Independent Alliance (from left) Micheal Fitzmaurice, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Shane Ross, Finian McGrath, Sean Canney speak to reporters at  Leinster House after meeting Micheál Martin. Photo: Collins

Independent Alliance member defends description of Enda Kenny as possible ‘political corpse’

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White: “There is no coalition government without broken promises. There is no government without broken promises.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/Irish Times

Outgoing Minister hopes Brendan Howlin will be next Labour leader

Independent Catherine Connolly was among the new women TDs elected to the 32nd Dáil.

More than 22% of TDs will be female, compared with 15% per cent in 2011

Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael’s deputy campaign director for the marriage referendum who revealed he was gay in 2012, was ousted in Cork South -Central

Politicians behind popular agendas rewarded with electoral pain . . . rather than gain

Former Renua TD  Lucinda Creighton at the RDS count centre. She has been reflecting on the toll politics can take on family and finances after clearing out her Dáil office.   Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins.

‘In politics you take a risk and have to deal with the consequences,’ Renua leader says

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett

Dún Laoghaire: Returned as outgoing Ceann Comhairle

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly with Mary Lou McDonald celebrating her election in the Dublin Fingal constituency. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Many of the women elected to the 32nd Dáil have a strong political track record

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton: insisted the party would continue in existence irrespective of whether or not it succeeded in winning any Dáil seat. Photograph: Eric Luke

As the Social Democrats ate into older parties’ vote, Renua’s candidates fell at the first electoral hurdle

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly with Mary Lou McDonald celebrating her election in the Dublin Fingal constituency. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Many of the women elected to the 32nd Dáil have a strong political track record

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and fellow Co Louth candidate Imelda Munster celebrate in Dundalk. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

A sense remains the party did not perform as well as it could have, despite its seat gains

Maria Bailey

Dún Laoghaire: Third TD elected of three*

Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Dún Laoghaire: Second TD elected of three*

Richard Boyd Barrett. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Dún Laoghaire: First TD elected of three*

Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martiand Michael McGrath at the general election 2016 count at the City Hall in Cork. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

White hot anger directed against the party in 2011 appears to have evaporated

Mary Mitchell O’Connor of Fine Gael and her running mate Maria Bailey have almost 12,000 votes each. Photograph: Mary Minihan

Richard Boyd-Barrett will be returning to the Dáil after securing 15,718 votes on sixth count

There has been much grumbling about the #ge16 campaign having been dull. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Inside Politics: Anyone claiming to understand proportional representation by single transferable vote is telling porkies

 Richard Boyd Barrett and Paul Murphy of Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit sets target of seven seats in general election

‘I am not offering some kind of immediate workers’ utopia or some liberal nirvana. But I’m offering solid, sustained progress and reform,’  says Labour leader Tánaiste Joan Burton, pictured with  Minister for Communications Alex White. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Every Labour TD ‘fighting for their political lives’, says Brendan Howlin

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he has no regrets about not calling an election in November because an early poll would have ‘ruptured’ ties with the Labour Party. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Last-minute attempts by parties to persuade undecided voters

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams ,Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Joan Burton during the election debate on RTÉ Prime Time. Photograph: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire

We test credibility of some of the major claims made by politicians in heat of debate

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty insists that the party’s position on the Special Criminal Court would not change despite the latest Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI opinion poll finding a slight majority of party supporters favoured the retention of the court. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Pearse Doherty says party will remove people earning under €19,572 from the USC net

On Sunday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he did not regret his comments about “whingers” in Castlebar, adding: “Some of them wouldn’t know sunshine if they saw it.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Taoiseach says insulting locals in his hometown not intended as opponents leap on gaffe

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton during a visit to Shellybanks Educate Together National School in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Tánaiste disagrees with Taoiseach on ‘whingers’ as she sets out education policy

A defaced Enda Kenny election campaign poster outside Castlebar, Co Mayo. ‘You’ll be whinging Friday,’ it reads. Photograph: Paul Mealey

Taoiseach claims he was referencing ‘politicians who constantly talk down their own town’

Tánaiste Joan Burton: insisted lots of people had not made up their minds yet. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Joan Burton criticises opponents, puts space between Labour and Fine Gael on economy

Tánaiste Joan Burton would not be drawn on Labour’s showing in recent opinion polls. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste claims she persuaded Fine Gael to ‘switch policies’ on lowering top rate of tax

Mary Fitzpatrick, Fianna Fáil candidate in the Dublin Central constituency, canvassing in Cabra. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Seats are hard won and memories go back long way in Dublin Central constituency

 Labour leader Joan Burton during an election event in Dublin. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Labour also announces plan to pardon those convicted of homosexual offences pre-1993

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton said: ‘We have to be rigorous in how we prioritise where resources are directed, and for us it’s about the most vulnerable the sickest in our society.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Party will not ‘dangle any so-called freebies’ to electorate ahead of general election

 Social Democrats candidate Catherine Murphy meets Anne Savage while canvassing at Oaklawn, Leixlip, Co Kildare. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Social Democrats founder has clear support as she seeks re-election in Kildare North

 Social Democrats founding member Catherine Murphy TD (centre) with candidates Anne-Marie McNally (left) Dublin Mid West, and Glenna Lynch, Dublin Bay South, at the launch of the party’s policy document “Reforming Politics-Tackling Corruption”. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

UCD politics professor David Farrell praises party’s reform proposals

Richard Boyd Barrett, Gerry Adams, Micheal Martin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Joan Burton, Stephen Donnelly, and Lucinda Creighton at the RTE Claire Byrne Live Leaders Debate. Photograph: FusionShooters

Series of claims made during second general election debate, but do they hold water?

From left to right: Politics graduate Sophie Kane, Director of the National Women’s Council Orla O’Connor and former Fianna Fail Minister Mary O’Rourke.

Mary O’Rourke criticism of ‘territorial’ treatment of female candidates disputed

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen has insisted his party is “not compatible” with Fine Gael in Government.

Finance spokesman Michael McGrath says mortgages should be central to election campaign

Labour party leader Joan Burton with Kevin Humphreys and Eric Byrne , at the launch of the party’s poster. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Coalition options prove politics is maths with a little razzmatazz thrown in

Farmer Pat Molloy  with  Renua TD Billy Timmins on a canvass in the Ballyraymond Commons area of north Wicklow. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Renua deputy leader performs soft sell on constituents loyal to former party

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins: “We absolutely aim to be the lead party, and under no circumstances are we going in as one leg on a three-legged stool for Fine Gael or indeed with anybody else - and that is emphatic.” File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘Under no circumstances are we going in as one leg on three-legged stool for FG or anyone else’

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins says the party would set up a new Serious and Organised Crime Unit, with a special cybercrime section.

Niall Collins says party would set up second non-jury court

 Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins (left) will today announce Fianna Fáil’s plans to set up of a new Serious and Organised Crime Unit, with a special Cybercrime section. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Crime becomes unexpected lead issue in election campaign

Announcing planned cap of student fee at €2,500 by the end of 2017, Labour leader Joan Burton said ‘we will certainly try to improve the situation for students’. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Student contribution fee will be reduced by €500 under party plan

 Broken glass on the front door of the home of   Eddie Hutch snr on Poplar Row on Dublin’s north inner city. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Diarmuid Martin rules out intervention in ‘turf wars’ between criminal groups

A garda outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin following the fatal shooting of David Byrne there last week.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Justice confirms second non-jury court to open on April 4th

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has provided a breakdown of the additional 10,000 gardaí, teachers, doctors, nurses and other frontline staff Fine Gael is promising by 2021. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Varadkar confirms he has spoken to HSE director about recruitment restrictions

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Collins

Frances Fitzgerald confirms second Special Criminal Court will open on April 4th

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.  Gerry Adams described his reported comments as ‘stupid’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Varadkar quoted as saying more beds and resources could lead to less productivity

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD during a launch of a new billboard. File photograph: Collins

Sinn Féin manifesto will pledge to abolish non-jury court

 Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has announced plans to abolish USC by 2020 as part of the party’s long term economic plan, at Fine Gael Media HQ , in CHQ Building, Custom House Quay, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

‘Prove it. Prove it’. Minister challenges media to prove his ‘fiscal space’ figures are wrong

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin meets former Minister Martin Cullen while canvassing in Waterford on Thursday: he urged “a strong note of caution” in the Irish general election campaign. Photograph: Frank Miller

Speculation distracting from policy discussions, says Fianna Fáil leader in Waterford

Gerry Adams canvassing in Finglas, Dublin, with Dessie Ellis and Cathleen Carney Boud. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Sinn Féin leader wraps up two Dublin constituencies in quick succession

 The Dáil chamber in Leinster House. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Analysis: Parties have done just about enough not to have their State funding cut

Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Cllr Catherine Ardagh at a press conference following the announcement of Election 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Party leaders, Ministers and TDs address media as election campaigns begin in earnest

Lucinda Creighton  of Renua Ireland holding a press conference outside the gates of Leinster House in response to the declaration of election. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Renua leader says party a ‘force to be reckoned with’ and is targeting 10 seats

Election 2016: Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Labour leader Joan Burton, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Renua leader Lucinda Creighton and Ruth Coppinger of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.

Coalition hopes to be returned as FF says it could be biggest party after February 26th poll

Former Labour Party leaders (from left) Ruairí Quinn (led party from 1997 to 2002), Eamon Gilmore (2007-2014) and Pat Rabbitte (2002-2007): None are seeking re-election in 2016. File photographs: The Irish Times

More than €14 million set aside to cover TDs’ and Senators’ pensions and associated costs

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Dublin Fingal candidate Louise O’Reilly at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Sinn Féin leader says decison to call election is best one taken by Enda Kenny as Taoiseach

Lucinda Creighton at Leinster House, Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Party profile: The priority for the party is to get existing TDs re-elected

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD during a launch of a new billboard. File  photograph: Collins

Party profile: Sinn Féin’s progress has been steady in recent years

Social Democrats launching their manifesto on O’Connell Street, from left Catherine Murphy, Stephen Donnelly and Roisin Shortall. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Party profile: Three sitting deputies likely to be returned but securing more seats remains a challenge

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin where they signed the dissolution of the 31st Dail. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Order for polling day on Friday, February 26th is signed by Alan Kelly

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed his intention to dissolve the 31st Dáil on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Enda Kenny says he will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin and announce polling date

Labour Party leader Joan Burton and Alan Kelly take a selfie at the Labour Party Conference in Mullingar. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Labour Party leader says deputy has ‘great way with words’

Tánaiste Joan Burton:  People would be “taken out of their misery very soon”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Tánaiste indicates preference is for Friday, February 26th, but no date signed off on yet

Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch discussed the case with HSE director general Tony O’Brien. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Tánaiste says a full judicial inquiry is required into allegations about foster home

Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív: “Actually what they’ve done is, on the macro scale, to implement basically a plan that was put in place by us in the dying days of the previous Government.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Agriculture spokesman claims Labour ‘ditched their own policy’ for rural areas

The latest output from the rumour mill is that Wednesday, rather than Tuesday, will be the day Enda Kenny calls the election. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Renua bites back after Labour tells canvassers party is ‘right of Donald Trump’

Despite their optimism, TDs and Ministers are struggling to take credit off Fine Gael

Labour Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has said Fine Gael Minister Michael Noonan’s plan for a “rainy day fund” makes sense, but she did not necessarily agree with his proposed €2.5 billion figure. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Labour predicts economy will settle into a ‘more realistic’ rate of growth in the future

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has accused some mainstream parties, smaller parties and Independents of proposing populist policies.Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘If you believe in everything you believe in nothing,’ Minister tells Labour delegates

General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Patricia King has said some policy decisions of the Labour Party had ‘caused angst’ within the trade union movement.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The_Irish_Times

Ictu general secretary is guest speaker at party’s national conference

 Renua leader Lucinda Creighton. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Guide for canvassers also outlines ‘five reasons to fear Sinn Féin in government’

Labour backbencher Anne Ferris has said she could wallpaper a room with the amount of hatemail she has received for her stance on abortion. File photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish TimesAnne Ferris

Women experiencing crisis pregnancies are ‘trapped in this country’ ,TD says

Tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton has said Sinn Fein is more concerned with ‘protecting its good republican friends than actually building a good Republic’. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Labour conference told party had ‘a fight on hands’ over next few weeks

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said abortion should be allowed if there is significant risk to a woman’s long-term physical health. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Health says ‘life experience and growing up a bit’ led him to change his views

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: said he had “occasional frustrations” with Fine Gael. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Minister for Health says Alan Shatter had never approached him with criticisms

Social Democrats launching their manifesto on O’Connell Street, from left Catherine Murphy, Stephen Donnelly and Roisin Shortall. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Social Democrats, AAA-PBP must select single representative for pre-election TV debate

Independent TD Michael Lowry said: “Let [Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly] sail on, no problem. From my perspective it’s very simple. The people of Tipperary will adjudicate in due course.”  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Alan Kelly says he doesn’t ‘pay much attention’ to Tipperary constituency rival

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: “Certainly there is no Fine Gael candidate who is safe and they’ll all be fighting for their seats.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar in full ‘taking nothing for granted’ mode

 Michael Lowry at the launch of his election campaign  earlier this month.

Minister for Health weighs into debate over Michael Lowry’s support

Seán Duigenan, at the Fine Gael 78th Ard Fheis, at Citywest Hotel, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Members give views on coalition prospects and assess government’s performance

Aengus Ó Snodaigh’s leaflet: “Some people have been asking for more copies and looking to send them abroad to friends and relatives”

Aengus Ó Snodaigh, once dubbed the “Wolfe Toner”, had 20,000 newsletters printed

Paddy McCann, president of the Irish Postmasters Union: “You have to recognise your customers, respect them. They’re vitally important, whether they’re coming in just for a stamp, or whether they’re coming in for their pension or their transactions.”  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Postmaster and IPU chief Paddy McCann says network a lifeline for older customers

 Paddy McCann, President of the Irish Postmasters Union. Photograph: Alan Betson

Little prospect of rural branches surviving unless linked to other services, report finds

Speaking on the Inside Politics  podcast on on   Wednesday, Minister for Communications Alex White said it was a challenge to strike a balance between the right to privacy and the administration of the criminal justice system. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Challenge is to strike balance between privacy and administration of justice - Minister

Shillelagh Post Office, Co Wicklow: a report says post office customers should be able to set up current accounts with An Post. Photograph: Frank Miller

Proposal that post offices should be able to sell insurance, process motor tax renewals and handle credit union services

Willie O’Dea: “I think it’s absolutely inappropriate. Frankly, I’ve never heard anything like it.” Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Labour’s Alan Kelly says nothing wrong with football association chief supporting his bid to be re-elected

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the legislation of the period showed a nation in its infancy developing its own legislative framework. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Legislation to be scrapped by new Statute Law Revision Bill dates from 1922-1950

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney who said gender quotas were a good thing and necessary to deal with the fact that politics is male dominated.

‘We need to practise what we preach . . politics is male-dominated, which is not good'

 Willie O’Dea: “I think it’s totally inappropriate. I think it’s absolutely inappropriate. Frankly I’ve never heard anything like it.” File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

‘Is it any wonder that there’s such cynicism about politics out there?’ says Fianna Fáil TD

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