Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin: told colleagues that no one wanted to return
 public finances 
to where they were three or four years ago.

‘Leeway’ of €600m in next month’s budget, Minister tells Cabinet

Talks are to commence next month between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) on a complete review of the State’s contract with GPs.  Photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

IMO and Government to look at scope, content and fee structure to apply

David Begg, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg is to retire. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Congress leader to step down in March

The National Transport Authority  has determined that tendering about 10 per cent of  Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann’s routes represents little threat to the firms’ overall operations.

Unions warns move could lead to industrial action

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: said savings could “sometimes be illusory. If you then end up plugging gaps in the service through agency staff, it can actually cost more in some cases”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Minister says meeting Government targets would require compulsory redundancies

 The health service has  2,669 whole-time equivalent employees above the employment target.  Photograph: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Department of Health and HSE say service told to reduce number of whole-time employees

Chairman of the IMO’s GP committee Dr Ray Walley: “Over 150 new GPs qualify each year, yet we are seeing no increase in the numbers of GPs practising here.” Photograph: Eric Luke

IMO says Department of Health data is misleading

Leo Varadkar: his department warned it could not operate the public health system safely if further  cuts were imposed. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach says no decisions have been made on health spending in budget

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar:  said to have told a private meeting at the Fine Gael “think-in” in Co Cork on Thursday that the true level of his department’s budget adjustment in 2014 is €900 million. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Department warns emergency departments would close at night

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