Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Britain’s prime minister Theresa May shaking hands at a joint press conference after talks at 10 Downing Street in London in June. Photograph: Photograph: Photograph: Philip Toscano/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Taoiseach says he will emphasise the importance of free trade between Ireland and the UK

Leo Varadkar will  have to find new Fine Gael voters. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Varadkar needs to negate a reputation for not delivering on what he promises

President Michael D Higgins, his wife Sabina, Anna May McHugh with competitors at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

At the ploughing championships, Michael D Higgins also bemoaned rural decline

President Michael D Higgins shakes hands with field steward Jim Dempsey from Kells, Co Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Michael D Higgins led the political posse at Tullamore

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, speaks to the media about the Residential Tenancies Boardâ’ s latest Quarterly Rent Index Report on the opening day of the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co Offaly. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

Rental costs up 6.6% in year to June, setting new record, Residential Tenancies Board finds

Sinn Féin has expelled three Wicklow councillors

Gerry Adams says party has perhaps been ‘too patient’ in dealing with local disputes

Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin with members of the Fianna Fáil  parliamentary party ahead of the party’s think-in  in Longford, on Monday. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Fianna Fáil think-in focuses on complaints about Government spin rather than policy

Eamon Ryan  with Catherine Martin: Mr Ryan says the Greens are well positioned to make considerable gains in the local elections in 2019, and in the next general election.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Leader Eamon Ryan says Greens well positioned to to make big gains in elections

The CSO said more than 4,600 enumerators were involved in collecting census data from every house in the country, and they recorded vacant dwellings in their area using “detailed methodology applied consistently over the past three consecutive Censuses”. File photograph: Enda O’Dowd

Office responds to Fingal council finding that vacant-home levels in its area were far lower

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said all possible solutions to the housing crisis would be looked at. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dublin study indicates that census data on unoccupied houses and apartments is inaccurate

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger and People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Group says party led by Gerry Adams has ‘moved to right’ since last general election

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has warned against the return of bedsits. Photograph Cyril Byrne

Eamon Ryan fears bringing back bedsits will see a ‘lowering of standards’ for occupiers

Photograph: iStock

Departments of agriculture, children, and public expenditure the biggest spenders

Mairéad McGuinness: Ireland has 11 seats in the European Parliament, which could be increased to 13 after Brexit is completed in 2019. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

State could be allotted more seats after Britain leaves EU, says Mairéad McGuinness

Cabinet subcommittees: Leo Varadkar signalled soon after he succeeded Enda Kenny as Taoiseach that he wanted to reduce the number of groups. Photograph: Maxwells

Five groups rather than 10 will now assess areas of Government policy

 John Tierney worked in local government for 36 years before joining Irish Water. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Firm’s profits increased threefold to €54m according to report by parent company Ervia

Bertie Ahern: “[The British] will increasingly get the backs up of the other 27, excluding Ireland, because we don’t want to get in - there’s nothing for us to get into a dogfight. We have to stay out of that dogfight.”  File photograph: Getty Images

Ex-FF taoiseach says Sinn Féin approach to economy and Europe growing more sensible

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe indicated that the Government would press ahead with its plan to merge USC and PRSI

Minister for Finance hints at budget provisions in speech to Kennedy Summer School

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s stance on Sinn Féin makes a reversal of the current arrangement with Fine Gael the most likely outcome of the next election. File photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Martin likely to be next taoiseach but party remains reluctant to pull down Government

 Lisa Marie Sheehy, who was Sinn Féin’s youngest elected councillor in the State. Photograph: Press 22

Analysis: Lisa Marie Sheehy’s allegations follow a number of similar cases in the party

Meeting between OCI president Sarah Keane (pictured) and Minister for Sport Shane Ross is expected early next week. Photograph: Alan Betson

Board of OCI has written to Minister seeking restoration of suspended State funding

The Strategic Communications Unit was set up after Leo Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as Taoiseach and is tasked with communicating the message of the Government to the general public. File photograph:  iStockPhoto

Unit strongly criticised by Opposition leaders who say it will promote political propaganda

The public services card has not suddenly appeared on the landscape. It has been around for 12 years in various guises.

Government lacking in efforts to convince it is not trying to smuggle in a national ID card

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy  said that upwards of 2.1 million people had this card already and said that instead of issuing threats Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty should be extolling its benefits.  Photograph: Alan Betson

‘What she should be doing is outlining the benefits of the card: You will have less bureaucracy’

 President Michael D Higgins  at Áras an Uachtaráin: Mr Higgins has said he will make a decision on his future in the next year. Photograph: Frank Miller

President Michael D Higgins is seen as a ‘champion of the left’, says Kerry Senator

Ibrahim Halawa: Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has said Mr Halawa will be returned to Ireland once the trial has concluded

Varadkar and Coveney to contact their counterparts in Egypt when court decision known

Micheál Martin: “The decision taken by the Labour Party to shift its policy position shows us that a hard Brexit is far from inevitable”

Micheál Martin describes change in Brexit stance as a ‘positive development’

 Former Green Party leader Trevor Sargent has become a priest in the Church of Ireland.  Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Former minister of state says he will continue to campaign for environmental issues

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (second from left) with Minister of State Joe McHugh, Donegal county senior engineer John McLaughlin and council foreman Edward Ruddy when he visited workers at sites of destruction in Donegal. Photograph: North West Newspix

Government will provide necessary support in wake of flooding, Taoiseach says

Rebuilding Ireland is the policy aiming to eliminate homelessness and  address the shortage in housing by 2021. It appears to be failing. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

We gauge State progress on eliminating homelessness under official policy headings

A clean up operation is under way after torrential rains washed away a section of main road in Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Minister pleads with insurers not to blacklist people from areas devastated by flooding

A collapsed road at Quigley’s Point in Co Donegal, after torrential rain and floods left a trail of destruction. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Kevin Moran calls for ‘substantial’ increase in funds following northwest floods

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The ESM’s latest report was completed before Mr Varadkar’s Cabinet  halved Michael Noonan’s €1bn ‘rainy-day fund’. Photograph: Cole Burston/Bloomberg

EU bailout fund report says the Irish economy is at risk from ‘external uncertainty’

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy will be launching a review of the Government’s overall housing strategy, Rebuilding Ireland, in early September which will include more proposals to deal with rent prices. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Eoghan Murphy also considering deposit protection scheme for tenants

From his @campaignforleo Twitter account: “Pleased to launch @IrelandWeek this afternoon with @pantibliss, kicks off in Los Angeles this October.”

Policy and positions stated in a safe, bland way – the 140 characters are almost incidental

Eoghan Murphy has been Minister for Housing for two months and is unlikely to last any longer than any of his predecessors.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fleeting ministerial tenures point to short-termism inimical to change

Last year  Simon Coveney came up with  Rebuilding Ireland, a plan to provide 47,000 social housing units by 2021, with a capital budget of €5.5bn. Photograph: Getty Images

After three years and countless initiatives, the homeless figures remain stark

 Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: “These are first-rate homes with the highest standards and certification.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Factory-built structures central to Minister’s plans for 47,000 social housing homes

Jeffrey Donaldson, Nigel Dodds and Emma Pengelly of the DUP walking out of 10 Downing Street in June. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Nigel Dodds criticises Taoiseach’s and Simon Coveney’s recent harder line on Brexit

Tramore-based People Before Profit representative  Una Dunphy: “We are not getting our proper piece of the pie.”   Photograph: Mary Browne

A yearned-for out-of-hours cath lab remains a beacon of hope for southeast city

Minister for Health Simon Harris and his bride, Caoimhe Wade, after their wedding at St Patrick’s Church, Kilquade, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Simon Harris weds cardiac nurse Caoimhe Wade, as Fine Gael colleagues look on

Denis Naughten: he described the plan as  an “initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve deep decarbonisation”

Plan says agriculture should attain status of ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2050

Independent Senators sponsored a Bill last year that would allow reforms of the 60-seat chamber to happen.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Government promised to establish committee to implement reform in September 2016

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Heath Simon Harris at the launch in Dublin Castle of the State’s new national strategy on drug and alcohol use. Photograph: Collins

Taoiseach makes comments as he launches new strategy on drug and alcohol use

Protesters at a march in Dublin against water charges. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Legislation to be rushed through Oireachtas to avoid breach of EU directive

Leo Varadkar said all householders who paid water bills would be refunded by Christmas

Some 190,000 households who paid no water bills availed of €100 grant

Bin charges: almost all Ireland’s waste is collected by private companies. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

With an array of schemes and fees, waste disposal has potential as next political headache

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made the cover of the European edition of Time this week. Photograph: The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Taoiseach’s attack on Solidarity TD comes after he made strategic blunder last week

Galway-Roscommon deputy Michael Fitzmaurice has proposed the derelict Galway Airport site be turned into a regional stadium for Connacht. Image: Google Streetview.

Michael Fitzmaurice TD proposes idle site be used for concerts, matches and conferences

The Abhaile service was launched in October and, according to the briefing, appears to have reduced the volume of arrears cases coming before the courts.

Proposal for Circuit Court to hold sittings on certain days to deal with mortgage arrears

Kieran Conway, above, believes Michael Hayes had given the apology in the hope that it would help the relatives of those killed. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Hayes takes ‘collective responsibility’ for actions in England, including Birmingham bombing

The Waste Reduction Bill proposes measures to tackle non-biodegradable coffee containers. Photograph: Getty

Legislation would ban non-biodegradable coffee cups and offer refunds for bottles

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: Unveiling the summer economic statement. Photograph: EPA

Inside Politics: Summer economic statement comes amid flurry of political activity

A spokesman for Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said he had decided to withdraw the Bill, prepare a memo for Government outlining its principles and have the Bill reintroduced as a Government Bill later this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran unable to progress Private Members’ Bill since becoming Minister

Under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, the Minister for Communications and Climate Action was obliged to submit a national mitigation plan to Government for approval no later than June 10th this year. File photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

Last plan setting out emissions reductions expired in 2012

Regina Doherty made a complaint about Catherine Kelly over online and social media comments.

Catherine Kelly stopped by gardaí over social media comments about Regina Doherty

An Garda Síochána’s head of human resources, John Barrett, swept his office for listening devices at a time serious divisions were emerging in the Garda.  Photograph: Frank Miller

John Barrett’s concern for eavesdropping indicates mistrust between Garda colleagues

Labout party leader Brendan Howlint has argued GDP  does not take into account important other factors such as the environment, social and welfare factors, and the economic and social well-being of the population. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Labour says GDP does not take into account environment, social and welfare factors

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has halved the number of Cabinet sub-committees from 10 to five. File photograph: Julien Warnand/AFP/Getty Images

Climate change and Irish language committees among those dropped by the Taoiseach

Census form: the recession and cutbacks curtailed inclusion of additional question areas. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Additional budget likely to facilitate formulation and testing of new areas of inquiry

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau plays a game of hurling with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Canadian prime minister says two countries should stay ‘positive and progressive’

The new bin charges proposals allow for the abolishing of a flat-rate fee imposed on householders by some waste companies. Instead, homeowners would have the option of paying by lift or paying by weight. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: SF argues for remunicipalisation while Cabinet calls incorporeal meeting

Minister for Communications and Environment Denis Naughten: his pay-by-weight waste  arrangements   could be the “next big political battleground after water charges”, warned  a Government source. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Officials draft countermotion to Fianna Fáil proposal for independent regulator

Senator Neale Richmond: his  committee’s report recommends new “open skies” agreements with the UK and an energy interconnector between Ireland and France. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Neale Richmond-led team urges all-island trade model like Germany’s pre-1990 accord

Former Irish ambassador to Canada Ray Bassett: suggested Ireland could remain with the UK in a customs and free trade area, while negotiating terms with the remaining 26 EU members.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Ray Bassett’s expertise not within EU and he must be called out, says Prof Brigid Laffan

One in five of SMEs  surveyed said they had requested credit between October 2016 and March 2017 and, of those, almost nine in 10 said their request had been granted. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Survey shows positive attitudes towards borrowing and willingness of banks to lend

Solidarity supporters, including TD Ruth Coppinger, posted video and messages during the course of the trial.  Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Minister for Justice says ‘issues raised around the trial which are source of concern’

Ireland, France and South Africa are bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Shane Ross to bring emergency legislation granting him ability to back tournament company

Minister firmly rejected any suggestion that Ireland should dismantle production or reduce the national herd. Photograph: iStock

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed dismisses criticism of sector’s emissions record

In the British election home-owners voted two to one for Conservatives; renters for Labour by the same proportion. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland is seeing unease at the status quo and a growing divide between the generations

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: contributed €1,700 of Fine Gael’s declared donations of €65,324. Photograph: Julien Warnand/Reuters

Standards in Public Office Commission publishes report on party political donations

Court of Appeal appointment: Máire Whelan is made a judge by President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Government’s ‘entitlement’ defence conjures memories of FÁS’s first-class flights

Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, one of two ministers of state who were sacked to accommodate the changes, said she found Mr Varadkar’s comments on merit to be “very offensive”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Women’s groups criticise Taoiseach over ‘new Cabinet, same old gender imbalance’

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with his Ministers of State at Government Buildings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Profiles of the 13 Fine Gael Ministers of State named on Tuesday

 Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar has increased the number of Ministers of State  to 19, one short of Bertie Ahern’s record.  File image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach’s ‘generational change’ sees 19 junior ministers appointed - but only 3 women

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is appointing junior ministers on Tuesday

Dropped junior minister: ‘He said he had to reward his supporters’

Leo Varadkar: A “thrill” to visit Number 10 for the first time. Photograph: EPA/SIMON DAWSON

Inside Politics: Theresa May gives positive comments on relationship with Ireland

Hugh Kennedy became attorney general of the provisional government on January 31st, 1922.

A brief history of Ireland’s 29 attorneys general

Waterford TD John Deasy: he is  tipped for promotion to Minister of State. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Varadkar not likely to consider those elected in 2016 when appointing Ministers of State

Charlie Flanagan: made his views on staying in Foreign Affairs known but ultimately acceded to his move to Justice. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The agony and the ecstasy as Varadkar delights and disappoints while choosing Cabinet

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD at the Data Summit in the Convention Centre, Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

UK committed to a ‘close and special partnership’, British PM tells Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. There is a consensus in Leinster House that a Varadkar-led Government will be edgier, more combative. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach to ‘call out’ left-wing parties while Opposition ready to challenge signalled shift to right

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.  Photograph:  Stephen Collins

A who’s who of all the faces in new Taoiseach’s Cabinet

Attorney General  Maire Whelan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tenure of outgoing attorney general, serving two governments, has not been without controversy

Michael Chadwick, the former chair of the Grafton Group,  made the maximum donation of € 1,000 to each of 13 Social Democrats candidates in the 2016 general election. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Michael Chadwick, Dermot Desmond, Paul McGuinness among those who supported politicians

Labour movement: the Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger says Corbyn and Bernie Sanders succeeded because they toured towns and cities and addressed rallies. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Éamon de Valera said Labour must wait. Politicians here believe their time has come

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and partner Matt Barrett (left) in the stands during the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Group D match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Fine Gael leader set to become taoiseach as Independent Alliance confirms its support

Newly elected Fine Gael party leader Leo Varadkar  with party members. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

New Fine Gael leader will set out his stall on Wednesday when he becomes taoiseach

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said there was “renewed enthusiasm” across the administration for implementing the Programme for Government. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Group’s Ministers set to retain portfolios when ‘energetic’ Fine Gael leader takes charge

Eoghan Murphy was among the members arguing for reform. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Group of TDs elected in 2011 seen as a thorn in side and nuisance by leadership

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with Pascal Donohoe. Mr Donohoe will now bring the public pay proposals to Government for approval. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Varadkar welcomes agreement which he says improves pay in affordable way

Simon Coveney ends his speech at the Mansion House as Leo Varadkar applauds: Coveney’s campaign did not begin in earnest until February and his supporters say Varadkar had a headstart. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Despite huge TD support for Leo Varadkar, Coveney surpassed himself at the hustings

‘Concepts of left and right don’t work in modern politics and probably never really worked in Ireland because of our history’, says  Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Varadkar is relaxed, confident and combative, especially when it comes to Sinn Féin

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar: if he wins the Fine Gael leadership race, he is expected to offer Simon Coveney the role of tánaiste.  Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

Simon Coveney looks set to win vote of party members as campaign enters final days

A ruling that the ban on asylum seekers looking for work is unconstitutional will have implications for the asylum process and  for Brexit negotiations. File photograph: The Irish Times

Department of Justice warns of threat to the Common Travel Area with UK

Sisters of Charity say they will have ‘no involvement in this new company’. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Can anything stop Leo Varadkar becoming king of the jungle?

Fine Gael Leadership Candidates Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney on the Hustings last week. Photograph: Alan Betson

Polling station one of 26 around the country for members to choose Coveney or Varadkar

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys in Mullingar, at the launch of a plan for rural Ireland. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Minister says contenders keen to ensure leadership race does not divide party

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party says imperative on Government to help workers made redundant

Simon Coveney:   said he could still win the race to succeed Enda Kenny

Sister of TD claimed Mitchell O’Connor is supporting Varadkar to save her ministry

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