Ophelia waves crash into the town of Summercove near Kinsale, Co Cork. Photograph: John Allen

Three killed in storm while cost of repairs across country may run to hundreds of millions

British prime minister Theresa May.  Photograph: Epa/Will Oliver

Phonecall lasting 40 minutes one of many she made to EU leaders ahead of summit

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin stressed in his ardfheis speech that  the Government is “on notice” to deliver in the areas of housing and health. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Party leader uses keynote address to attack Taoiseach as divisive force in Irish society

Ógra Fianna Fáil stand at the party’s ardfheis, in the RDS Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Party takes aim at Taoiseach in effort to cast itself as one returning to left of centre roots

Micheál Martin delivers the leader’s address at the Fianna Fail Ardfheis, in the RDS Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader tells members Taoiseach has initiated ‘big move to right’ by Fine Gael

 Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has claimed a Revenue report compiled last year was not published until this week because its content did not suit the political narrative.

Fianna Fáil leader says ‘suppression’ of report until this week is a ‘disservice’ to debate

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Nobody wants a hard Brexit. Photograph: EPA

EU also notes UK’s lack of ‘concrete commitment’ on divorce bill

The Central Bank published new figures showing 12,500 customers were identified up to the end of June as having their mortgages changed.

Call comes as new figures show 12,500 customers had mortgages changed

Timmy Dooley is consulting industry groups to explore a number of options, such as a levy on advertising with online outlets like Google and Facebook. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party drafting plan to help fund public-service journalism after return to government

 Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath: “The people who are affected want to see a roadmap back to being treated equally based on their contributions.” Photograph: Eric Luke

FF says women losing out on payments due to ‘bonkers and unbelievable’ anomaly

Senator Rónán Mullen: said US-based Center for Reproductive Rights, listed as witnesses by the Oireachtas committee, “has been fundraising  to overturn Ireland’s pro-life laws”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Mattie McGrath and Rónán Mullen claim majority of witnesses called are pro-abortion

Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary  and its finance spokesman Michael McGrath. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Party’s ire directed towards Sinn Féin and Independent Alliance rather than at Fine Gael

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at the Department of Finance   with TD Peter Burke. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Budget 2018: Expect to hear the word ‘sustainable’ a lot today

Budget 2018 will see between €1.1 and €1.2 billion of new spending and tax cuts, split 2:1  in favour of spending. Photograph: Getty

Cost of 20 cigarettes will increase by 50 cents but duties on alcohol remain untouched

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.  There will be increased staffing across the public sector to deal with Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Decrease in prescription charges set to form part of financial package worth about €1bn

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe:  the overall size of the package of new tax cuts and spending commitments  is expected to be about €1.1 billion to €1.2 billion. Photograph: Reuters

Threshold for higher rate of income tax could rise by €750 with significant State spend planned

 Artist Jim Fitzpatrick with a promotional image of a stamp featuring his world famous image of Che Guevara.

Prominent Cuban-American radio host calls on An Post to explain its decision

The €1 stamp features a famous image of Guevara, a leading figure in the Cuban revolution, by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

Fine Gael Senator asks An Post if Pol Pot and Ceausescu also acceptable for special stamps

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the funeral of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave on Saturday. Budget 2018 will be the first of Mr Varadkar’s  administration. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach says series of improvements will lead to a ‘new period of sustained progress’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Stamp duty rise among measures expected to boost package of spending and tax cuts

The Government and the Oireachtas are likely to decide early next year the wording of a referendum, with a vote expected to be held next May or June. Photograph: EPA

Pro-choice group claims ‘Irish Times’ poll designed to favour ‘restrictive’ regime

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. The controversial grant scheme for first-time buyers is to remain almost completely unchanged in next week’s budget

Varadkar and Murphy had previously indicated possible scrapping of grant scheme

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: also considering the old favourites of hiking excise on tobacco and alcohol. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Measure is one of several being mulled to offset budget tax cuts and spending increases

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: declined to say what conditions would be placed on asylum seekers’ right to work. Photograph: Eric Luke

Government intends to change system in line with recent Supreme Court ruling

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:  the Government is not ruling  out seeking special arrangements for Ireland and Northern Ireland. Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill

Varadkar says he wants to keep a free trade area between Britain and Ireland

 Where Donohoe gets  extra money from will be the key issue this week. “Everyone assumes he has something, but nobody knows what it is yet,” said one Government insider.  Photograph: Getty Images

Government insiders think the giveaway package has to be near €600m to have any political impact

Pearse Doherty: Party’s taxation package amounts to a ‘rebalancing of the tax base’. Photograph: The Irish Times

Budget plan containing €2bn in tax hikes also proposes increasing hotel VAT rate

The cost of builders accessing finance to fund development has been identified as a key problem by Ministers as they seek to tackle the housing crisis.

Government discusses the proposal to speed up construction of houses and apartments

 Donna Price of the Irish Road Victims’ Association  said it is “a very, very dangerous precedent for our politicians to be opposing road safety legislation”. File  photograph: Alan Betson

It is very dangerous for them to be opposing road safety legislation - victims group

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Paschal Donohoe: the Minister for Finance’s  polite yet firm nature will be tested to its limits this week, when the real talking begins. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Budget 2018 looms, but who is really in charge of the public purse strings?

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

FF and FG in talks on budget as mortgage interest relief may prove sticking point

Minister for Health Simon Harris complained to HSE director Tony O’Brien about health events and launches  taking place ‘without his office being informed in advance’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

HSE director says the Minister complained about not being notified of launches

Leo Varadkar has previously said the Eighth Amendment is too restrictive. Photograph: EPA

Inside Politics: Leo Varadkar has yet to decide his stance on the abortion referendum

The Taoiseach  wants to reform  Local Property Tax  to give greater flexibility,  allowing councils in urban areas to prevent steep increases due to rising property prices. File photograph: Getty Images

Varadkar wants to reform LPT to allow urban councils to prevent steep increases

 Members of An Garda Síochána should not be allowed go on strike, a new Government report has urged. File photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Government review calls for new measures to prevent industrial action by Garda members

Leo Varadkar is likely to raise some taxes to pay for a cut in the universal social charge. Photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Fianna Fáil is holding Leo Varadkar to a budget promise that could cost €100m

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s strategy is to assemble a minority administration with a patchwork quilt of Labour, the Social Democrats, the Greens and others. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Significant gains in Dublin required if Fianna Fáil is to be in position to form government

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his Government believed in a “culture of aspiration” and wanted to help those who feel “they pay for everything but get little in return”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach stresses middle-income earners will see income tax reductions in budget

President Michael D Higgins at an Áras an Uachtaráin engagement on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘You don’t survive in politics as long as he has without being cute,’ says informed source

President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins

President to wait until 12 months to declare intentions but he is expected to stand again

Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Feargháil and guest speaker  Alan Quinlan prior to the Oireachtas symposium on  mental health at  Dublin Castle. Photograph: Maxwells

Ceann Comhairle says politicians not immune to suffering mental health problems

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the  Fine Gael think-in in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, ahead of the resumption of the Dáil next week.  Photograph:  PA Wire

Early days see directness and caution, and no striking out in any bold new direction

Leo Varadkar on the cover of Time magazine’s Europe edition

Taoiseach makes strong impression internationally, but sees controversy at home

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: worked on the plan to repurpose Nama with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Repurposed agency to work with developers towards greater supply of affordable homes

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  at the Fine Gael parliamentary party think-in in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Plan intended to ensure a ‘strong State lever to drive delivery’ of more homes

Nóirín O’Sullivan: “The last Garda commissioner was in and out to so many public forums that she wasn’t able to do her job,” according to Dermot Ahern. Photograph: Alan Betson

Politicians agree the Garda commissioner has a tough role, but sympathy is limited

Apartment supply is the main concern when it comes to building costs, with house building seen as satisfactory by sources. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

Government report sought industry group input, who say housing estates only marginally viable

Garda commissioner: Nóirín O’Sullivan will be entitled to a lump sum of almost €290,000 and a pension of €90,000. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Government believes 65% increase in salary required for Nóirín O’Sullivan’s successor

Minister for Justice  Charlie Flanagan speaking on Monday following the retirement of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

It is understood Justice officials were contacted, and prospect of retirement raised

Dr Rhona Mahony at Labour Party think-in. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Rhona Mahony also tells Labour think-in of toxic working conditions in health service

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: At the Customs House yesterday, he hosted another emergency summit on homelessness. Nobody will be surprised if there will be yet more. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Housing mess is a chance for the parties in power to show ‘new politics’ can work

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Some Fianna Fáil sources described his preferred government option as a ‘rainbow coalition on steroids’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Micheál Martin issues warning amid concerns over frightening middle-ground voters

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe speaking outside  Government Buildings in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Varadkar: ‘Other 27 member states behind us in seeking to preserve Common Travel Area’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe plan to execute an early repayment of the remaining €4.5bn owed to the IMF. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Paschal Donohoe says decision to hold off repayment has nothing to do with Brexit

Sinn Féin’s leader in the North Michelle O’Neill. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Michelle O’Neill calls for short, focussed negotiation following informal contacts

Gerry Adams, president,  Mary Lou McDonald, deputy leader and Michelle O’Neill, leader of Sinn Féin Northern Ireland at the party think-in. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Now that ‘if’ has turned to ‘when’, Sinn Féin at risk of having a lame duck leader

Paschal Donohoe would rather the money would be “spent by the State directly” on new construction rather than given to developers. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Minister calls Fianna Fáil proposal a ‘repeat of the mistakes behind the crash’

Gerry Adams says internal investigation into claims by Lisa Marie Sheehy found no evidence

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said he would again seek re-election as Sinn Féin leader at the party’s ardfheis in November. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Louth TD to outline ‘generational change’ process and ‘future intentions’ at ardfheis

Mary Lou McDonald is expected to succeed  Gerry Adams. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party has recently ramped up ambitions, but much depends on Southern partners

During the Fine Gael leadership contest Leo Varadkar said the revaluation of property tax would allow the Government take a “proper look at it”.  Photograph: Getty Images

Many homes will see increase in liability because of rising property prices

Homelessness crisis: although social housing is being built, “the difficulty is it will be into next year before we see it at a volume”, says Paul Reid of Fingal County Council. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Homelessness crisis cannot be tackled properly until 2018, council head warns

 Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath was contacted by Simon Harris after he stood over his previous opposition to the HPV vaccine. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister supporting Government campaign having previously raised concerns about practice

Irish Water: about a million households will benefit from the refunds, which will be for up to €325

Government keen to draw line under water-charges controversy

Senior Government figures have discussed setting up a new housing corporation that would be able to act as a developer of State-funded homes. Photograph: Getty Images

Sinn Féin says new semi-State company for housing would be ‘very foolish’

RTÉ redundancies: the broadcaster and its director general, Dee Forbes, have been given Government go-ahead

Broadcaster’s severance scheme to be more generous than HSE package

It is understood senior figures have discussed setting up a new housing corporation to act as a developer of State-funded homes. Similar to the model of Irish Water, it would take powers off local authorities. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Organisation would be similar to Irish Water and take powers from local authorities

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a visit to a border post between the US and Canada on Tuesday.

Taoiseach says network of North American crossing posts costs over €1bn a year to run

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Taoiseach to look at post-Brexit Border options during ‘fact-finding’ Canadian visit

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said: “We have Christmas bonuses to consider, we have increases in pension payments to consider, but there are far more vulnerable people in Ireland today than our old age pensioners.” File photograph: Getty Images

Budget 2018: Taoiseach responds to Doherty view that pensioners are not the most vulnerable

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau,  shake hands prior to a bilateral meeting in Montreal. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Taoiseach tells Canadian PM there is ‘always more to do’ on social change

Double Irish: Leo Varadkar TD outlined his “Ireland’s Global Footprint 2025” plan at an Enterprise Ireland breakfast in Toronto during his official visit to Canada

Taoiseach unveils plans for more diplomatic staff, embassies and agencies worldwide

Leo Varadkar was speaking after he met with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal on Sunday. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Taoiseach responds to Brexit secretary but suggests existing trade deals are ‘very good’

Speaking in Canada, the Taoiseach insisted Mr Trump’s invitation to Ireland still stands. Photograph: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Leo Varadkar responded to comments from Minister Regina Doherty, who called on Ireland to stand up to Mr Trump

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and  Justin Trudeau go for a jog through Phoenix Park during a visit to Ireland earlier this year by the Canadian prime minister.

US-Canadian border cited as example of how the Irish Border could operate post-Brexit

“Nice pace – shame about the maple leaf socks.” Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar jogging in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: PA Wire

The Taoiseach and the Canadian PM are meeting yet again – is Canada that important?

Former chief justice Susan Denham is the chief signatory of the letter, which takes issue with the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Letter claims lay commission will not promote choice of ‘best possible candidates’

The letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was signed by former chief justice Susan Denham, as well as the presidents of the Court of Appeal, High Court, Circuit Court and District Courts. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

June letter claims Minister’s proposals would fail to depoliticise judicial appointments

The UK government is trying to have it all its own way: maintain the benefits of the Customs Union while also using any transitional period to negotiate, but not finalise, its own free trade deals

UK position papers indicate it wants to cherrypick aspects of EU arrangements

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend the Montreal Pride Parade. Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

Spokesman denies Canadian trip means Government accepts hard Border with North

Figures published this month revealed 7,941  people are homeless. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Minister says Government ‘has a real crisis’ and is seeking to ‘get a proper handle on it’

Fine Gael wants to avoid a repeat of a row before the last election, which saw a  former minister of State take the party to court in a dispute over a selection convention. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Senior GAA figures advising party on ‘gold standard’ dispute-resolution mechanisms

The British chancellor Philip Hammond, left, and the international trade secretary Liam Fox have jointly stated that Brexit would mean the UK pulling out of both the EU single market and the customs union. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Position paper to focus on making Border as ‘seamless and frictionless as possible’

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said  “ideology has nothing to do” with solving the housing crisis, and that all potential solutions will be examined

Move is part of new strategy on vacant homes which is due to be announced next month

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Those close to him maintain that by Christmas people will know exactly what he stands for.

Brexit, abortion referendum and party strategies will all alter the political landscape

 Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Statements by group of Deputies contrast with Micheál Martin’s position on the issue

Gerry Adams: he described confidence and supply deals such as the one between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as “fundamentally dishonest”. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Adams follows McDonald in ruling out supporting minority government

The Government’s sharper tone on Brexit  has led to objections from those in favour of leaving the EU, such as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Language from the Irish Government has become much tougher in recent weeks

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: “No decisions have been made in respect of Budget 2018,” said a spokeswoman for Mr Donohoe. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

TD Alan Farrell had suggested increase in subsidy could be allocated in October budget

Dublin Central TD Finian McGrath. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Finian McGrath claims Independents will field a candidate to oppose the President in 2018

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has been accused  of using the issue of high-rise as a “smokescreen for inaction”. Photograph: Getty Images

Minister examining how to bring down the cost of building apartments

Mary Lou McDonald: she  says Sinn Féin will talk to all comers after an election, but senior party figures believe  Fianna Fáil, for cultural reasons, is the likeliest partner. Photograph Getty Images

Party’s shifting stance is posing a conundrum that must be solved sooner or later

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone says she will be seeking more money for the childcare scheme in this October’s budget. Photograph: Istock

Study will investigate why Irish childcare is among the most expensive in Europe

Mary Lou McDonald: “You either take the plunge and you go into government or you don’t.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minority governments do not serve Ireland’s needs, claims deputy party leader

Sale of a family home: capital gains tax would be hard to introduce politically. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Government has ‘no plans or intentions’ to implement tax-strategy suggestion

Fine Gael Clare TD Joe Carey said the Government should be cautious about introducing any higher excise duty on fuels. Photograph: Eamon Ward

TDs urge Government caution in relation to possible increase in excise duty on diesel fuel

Between 2008 and 2015, an extra 471,711 diesel cars took to the road, while the number of petrol cars decreased by 425,903. Photograph: Alan Betson

Government is considering a higher levy due to health and environmental concerns

 Rent-pressure zones are areas in which rents are permitted to rise by only 4%  annually, and which are experiencing housing shortages generally. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials say rent surges outside Dublin could be due to worries over spread of ‘pressure zones’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Kyle Kearney (8) from Ballyfermot, Darius O’Reilly (4) from Clontarf, Finn O’Connor (4) from Smithfield and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone at the launch of the national awareness campaign ahead of extra childcare supports starting next month. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Early Childhood Ireland says more childminders need to be brought into the scheme

Senior officials have raised the prospect of abolishing relief on family homes from capital gains tax when they are sold. Photograph: iStock

Move is among tax reform options put forward by Department of Finance group

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