Students on UCD campus in Belfield. File  photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Expert group leans in favour of the loan system used in Australia and Netherlands

High birth rates  mean the number of students entering higher education is projected to grow by almost 30 per cent by 2028. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spending cuts and rising student numbers mean universities are on verge of crisis

Graduates could pay back tuition fees via income tax when earnings reach set level

Teachers in Ireland are paid more than countries such as the UK, France, and Italy, but they lag behind countries such as Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

OECD report shows Ireland has one of highest rates of second-level completion

Dublin City University was named in 46th place in the QS Top 50 Under 50 list. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Prof Brian MacCraith says high ranking comes despite funding shortage at third level

Most schools will not be in a position to deliver the Junior Cert  changes because they are staffed by members of the  ASTI, which has rejected the reforms. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Children’s education being put at risk due to dispute, says National Parents Council

All second-level schools are being given education packs this week on tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying as part of a national campaign. Photograph: Getty Images/Hemera

More than half LGBT people report being called hurtful names over sexual orientation

The National Council for Special Education said while many secondary schools have inclusive admissions policies, it was disappointed there were still barriers to opening special classes, even in cases where they were clearly needed. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

State body says all students should have chance to attend school in their community

Institutes of Technology may face disruption in  coming months after the TUI announced plans to ballot members on a possible campaign of industrial action. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish  Times

TUI to ballot members over coming weeks as part of national campaign of action

Speaking at an event to mark the launch of, Minister for  Education Jan O’Sullivan said it would be a single point of information and support for anyone affected by bullying. provides advice and support for students, teachers and parents

Early Childhood Ireland chief executive officer Teresa Heeney: says vital supports such as speech therapists, psychologists and occupational therapists are  needed. Photograph: Garrett White

Many children with disabilities currently unable to access early childhood care and education

The recommendations are contained in the State body’s observations on the new Admissions to Schools Bill (2015). Photograph: PA

Legal change needed to end discrimination against unbaptised, minority faith children

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan with six year old Samuel Ogunbe pictured at Scoil Bride, Blanchardstown  where they launched the new six year school building programme. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

14 new schools for Dublin, Limerick and Laois to meet population growth

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar with Samuel Ogunbe (6)  at Scoil Bhríde, Blanchardstown. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

At least 14 new schools and over 60,000 school places promised by Government

Ireland had the highest birth rate in the EU in 2014,  with 14.4 babies born per 1,000 residents. Photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Education to announce 310 new projects to deliver 62,000 more school places

Atlantic Philanthropies founder Chuck Feeney (right) with president and chief executive Christopher Oechsli. Photograph: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Trinity College Dublin and University of California to share largest allocation to date

Mothers chatting at the entrance to a tenement building in Dublin, circa 1945. Photograph:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From 19th-century tenements to the crisis of 2015 – 200 years of landlord v tenant

Housing in Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

From landlords to Nama, the market is made up of and influenced by multiple factors

  The new curriculum  will focus on the development of oral language, reading and writing skills. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Move aimed at training teachers to introduce new language curriculum

Archbishop Charles Brown: A neglected ethos “can dissolve to non-descript and vague spiritualism – or even disappear entirely.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

Archbishop Charles Brown says church has nothing to fear from growth in alternatives

TUI president Gerry Quinn (left) seen in this file photo of a teachers’ protest in May this year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Half of second-level teachers under-35 employed on temporary basis, says TUI president

Students seeking to travel to the US on J1 work visa will be obliged to find jobs before they travel under changes announced on Thursday.

Irish officials fear numbers participating may drop by up to 80 per cent

“For those who do not want faith education for their children, it is appropriate that non-faith schools be provided. It is faith that makes Catholic schools Catholic and what makes Catholic education different,” said Archdiocese of Tuam Archbishop Michael Neary.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Catholics must be clear on schools’ identity and why this is important, says Michael Neary

A Fine Gael senator wants to limit the access children have to unhealthy food during school hours.

Catherine Noone says move would limit access to fast-food and help tackle obesity

A new Leaving Cert “politics and society” subject is to be introduced next year and will require students to be familiar with political thinkers such as Karl Marx (above). File photograph: Imagno/Getty Images

Students will learn about key thinkers such as Karl Marx and concepts such as capitalism

Letterkenny IT: The highest proportion of new entrants in receipt of a grant is at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Trinity had 24 per cent of grant recipients compared to 67 per cent at Letterkenny IT

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said proximity could be included in “future reform”. Photograph: Frank Miller

Jan O’Sullivan says future reform of admissions needed to ensure equal access

The pay deal has been proposed by Kevin Foley of the Labour Court. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Pay deal would increase hourly rate of secretaries and caretakers from €10.25 to €13

NUI Galway: the university  has said it takes the issue of gender equality very seriously and has set up a task force to review its practices.

Only 19 per cent of professors are women despite recent gender equality initiatives

Under plans announced this week, all primary schools will be required to teach new classes on religion and ethics.  File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Is there really a need for yet more religious teaching in the State’s classrooms?

Atheist Ireland chairman Michael Nugent was due to speak at St Dominic’s girl’s secondary school in Cabra. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

School concerned talk may help ‘cultivate non-religious belief’ among students

Michael Thai Trung King, who is to be conferred with a PhD from the RCSI. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Michael Thai Trung King, the son of Vietnamese refugees, is set to graduate from RCSI

Prof Louise Richardson, principal of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. File photograph: Robert Ormerod/The New York Times

Louise Richardson says State must consider whether it can afford arrangement

Many students in higher education feel they are not learning skills that  will boost their chances of employment, a new survey indicates. File photograph:  ThinkStock

Significant number in higher education say it is not boosting their employment chances

The new “religion, beliefs and ethics” classes will be separate to existing faith-based classes in denominational schools. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

State advisory body says new curriculum will be separate to existing religion classes

Plans may prove controversial as teachers worried about ‘curriculum overload’

Tánaiste Joan Burton: said recommendations to improve the scheme are being implemented. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

ESRI study finds scheme actually had negative effect on some employment prospects

A mounted policeman leads a group of migrants near Dobova, Slovenia. The country has moved to tighten security to cope with a surge of migrants arriving from the Balkans. Photograph: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

State taskforce to consider offers of support from public made through Irish Red Cross

Syrian Ayman Amouneh with his family Hanan, son Adib and baby daughter Aleen at their home in Elmwood, Thurles Co Tipperary. Photograph: John D Kelly

Twelve Syrian refugee families finally get to build lives anew – in Thurles, Co Tipperary

Research shows that narcotics seriously impair driving skills. Photograph: Getty Images

Narcotics such as cocaine discernible from analysis of swab taken from driver’s mouth

Former social care worker warns of young people in State care in danger of exploitation

The High Court ruled in February 2014 that use of the poor box for penalty point offences was barred under the Road Traffic Act 2010.  Photograph: Thinkstock

High Court ruled that use of poor box for road traffic offences was ‘incorrect’ last year

Brian Sheehan, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, said he expected many of these may now avail of the new provision. Photograph: Eric Luke.

1,500 couples have availed of civil partnerships since they became available in 2011

Up to 200 parents marched through Dublin city centre on Sunday to call for an end to “religious discrimination” over access to the education system. Photograph: Carl O’Brien/The Irish Times

Parents call for equal access to taxpayer-funded schools for all children

Road Safety Authority figures show there were 521 drivers disqualified at the time they received convictions for dangerous driving causing serious injury or death in the period January 2013 to March 2015. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

521 drivers were already disqualified when convicted over incidents causing injury or death

Prof Richard Layte (r), author of a new report on childhood in Ireland. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Analysis says falling incomes and unemployment put strain on relationships

Six out of 10 people due before courts for drink driving were able to escape without conviction. File photograph: Frank Miller

Plan to overhaul road traffic legislation comes amid anger over conviction rate

Drivers use a range of challenges to get their drink-driving cases struck out. File photograph: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

‘It’s like the Grand National. There are dozens of hurdles. Hit any and the case can fall’

Figures issued by the Department of Justice show  only 40 per cent of drinking driving cases before the courts are resulting in convictions.

Review of road traffic legislation needed to clamp down on loopholes, Liz O’Donnell says

An e-fit, released by Hampshire police, of the dead kayaker. It is thought that he may have been Irish.

Hampshire police release e-fit of man whose body was found washed up on Isle of Wight

The scene at Rockville Drive, Glanamuck Road, Carrickmines on 14th October. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Rockville Drive residents blocking land earmarked for Travellers left homeless by blaze

The scene at Rockville Drive in Carrickmines. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Carrickmines stand-off symbolises relations between settled community and Travellers

 Many drivers have also been able to avoid penalty points in court by making contributions to the poor box, despite a High Court ruling stating the practice was “incorrect”.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Safety campaigners rail over numbers getting away without a fine or penalty points

Garda Tony Golden: Described as a “credit to An Garda Síochána”. Photograph: PA

Authorities face questions over how Adrian Crevan Mackin had access to a handgun

Tricolour at half mast, at Dundalk Garda station,  following the Sunday’s shootings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The shock of the shootings, say many, is reminiscent of the years of the Troubles

Gardai Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan at Dundalk Garda station this afternoon giving a press conference after the death of Garda Tony Golden .Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Commissioner visits scene, says investigation will look at circumstances prior to shooting

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the scene of a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Campaigners warn of dangers after Carrickmines blaze which killed 10 people

Sky-high cost of childcare: childcare accounts for about 35 per cent of income for Irish parents with two children; the average in the rest of the EU is between 10 and 12 per cent. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty

Next week’s budget may finally address Ireland’s childcare crisis, but moving beyond sticking-plaster solutions will take politica(...)

Some of the large crowd that attended the Save Our Community Meeting in the Anner Hotel Thurles  photo john d kelly

Campaigners tell senior Garda members communities are losing fight against crime

Recurrent victims of crime are organising themselves to protect rural communities

An audit by the Revenue Commissioners in late 2013 concluded that spousal travel costs should be treated as a benefit-in-kind and taxed accordingly. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

State body Solas gets voluntary repayments from top officials but cash still outstanding

The use of Fás’s credit card to pay over $900 for a three-ball golf match at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando was defended as “developing relationships”. Photograph: Getty Images

Elite travel, rounds of golf and a beauty salon, but agency nadir was Rody Molloy interview

The Government and health authorities pledged to close unsuitable “congregated settings” within a seven-year period. Photograph: Getty Images

Scheme to relocate up to 4,000 isolated and vulnerable people was due to take six years

Martin Dooher prepares a meal at his home in Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

After spending most of his life in institutions, Martin Dooher is able to choose for himself

The cost and quality of childcare has become a major political issue. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Up to 25,000 additional low-income families could benefit from subsidised childcare

Drivers are currently required to pay a fixed-charge notice for penalty points within 28 days . Photograph: Cyril Byrne

150,000 drivers summonsed to court over penalty points not prosecuted

A Garda operates a speed camera: Almost 150,000 drivers who were ordered to appear in court over the past two years were not convicted

Some 150,000 drivers summonsed to court over penalty points offences are not prosecuted

The latest report by the Child Care Law Reporting Project also documents a number of cases of good outcomes for both young people in care and their parents where support was provided.

Child care law report details abuse as well as positive stories of reuniting with parents

More than 10,000 people received methadone last year as a treatment for drug addiction. Photograph: Getty Images

Clinicians say Suboxone could benefit problem drug users and provide treatment option

Philly McMahon: “I grew up here, I love it, it was a brilliant place for me. I’m happy here.” Photograph: The Irish Times

Three-time All-Ireland winner has become a role model for a new generation in the area

Philip (43) has been in recovery and using methadone for the past 15 years. He says he would welcome any alternative which could help his rehabilitation. Photograph: The Irish Times

More than 10,000 receive the heroin substitute, but an alternative medication is available

Tara Flynn speaking at the March for Choice organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign in Dublin city centre. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

Thousands of people take part in demonstration in central Dublin

The scarring effects of long-term unemployment in the 1980s and early 1990s were especially difficult to tackle. Photograph: Aidan Crawley A total of just under 15 per cent of children live in jobless households, latest figures show. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Number of people living in households with no one in employment falling, study finds

(From left) Fergus Finlay, Joanna Fortune, Kieran Mulvey and Aine Lynch of the Stop Out-of-Control Drinking campaign. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Anti-binge drinking group says it will not back restrictions for sports and live events

Developers complain of difficulties raising finance from banks for new schemes

The construction industry has been lobbying in recent times for a major reduction in development costs for housing, including development levies. Photograph: PA

Cabinet sub-committee examines bigger role for Nama on construction of homes in Dublin

New facial recognition software has helped authorities detect dozens of attempts by fraudsters to claim welfare benefits using multiple identities over recent months. File photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Department of Social Protection software blocks claimants using multiple identities

Companies were forced to repay the exchequer a record €21 million in back-tax following more than 200 audits in 2013. Photograph: Getty Images

Departmental review indicates contentious tax credit plays vital role in supporting jobs

A spokesman for JJ Rhatigan said the firm disagreed with the finding and planned to appeal the decision on the workers’ status. Photograph: Getty Images

Department ruling on status means workers may be entitled to range of PRSI benefits

 The Child Care Law Reporting Project has identified regional differences in the number of childcare orders sought. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

District Court dealt with just over 9,800 applications in 2014, up from about 8,700 in 2013

Fred McBride, the chief operating officer of Tusla, said the organisation accepted that use of single separation was not adequate on occasions.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Hiqa concern over use of safe rooms and ‘single separation’ to manage behaviour

  A spokesman for Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said the free travel scheme would remain intact. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Funding freeze puts pressure on service which is being reviewed by the Government

Former PD minister Liz O’Donnell: involved in lobbying in recent years. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Regulation of Lobbying Act aims to create transparency following controversies

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  removed a citizenship clause so individuals couldn’t avoid the tax by renouncing their citizenship. Photograph: Eric Luke

More than 900 people with six-figure incomes were obliged to contribute more

The placement of children in withdrawal rooms is regarded by most special schools as a measure of last resort to protect the safety of pupils and staff. Photograph: The Irish Times

Children as young as six placed in isolation for hours at a time, say campaigners

Dylan Kennedy (10) with his mother Debbie Kennedy at home in Dublin. Photograph: The Irish Times

Debbie Kennedy says the regular use of seclusion has worsened her son’s behaviour

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said that “some provisional IRA organisational infrastructure continues to exist”. Photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

However, report claimed some members involved in criminal activity for ‘personal gain’

Bogus self-employment has been a long-running issue in the construction sector.  Photograph: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire.

In today’s diverse, complex workplace, the rights of workers are harder to protect

Some 51,000 additional claims have been received – an average of more than 5,300 per week – since application forms were issued in mid-June. Photograph: Getty Images

Authorities struggling to keep up with additional claims for means-tested allowances

Almost 200 cases of were uncovered in the construction industry.   Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Employers are misclassifying workers as self-employed to maximise company profits

Aoife Beary (21), who suffered a traumatic brain injury in the Berkeley balcony collapse, faces a long road  towards recovery.

Berkeley balcony collapse survivor faces long path towards recovery from injuries

The Christmas shop in Brown Thomas  in Dublin in 2011. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

Dublin, Cork and Limerick stores to launch Christmas markets from Thursday

State officials have been using bank data to match people who are paying out significant sums in Dirt tax on their savings, while also claiming means-tested benefits. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

One individual forced to repay €140,000 in benefits as part of Dirt tax investigation

Some 140,000 people have had their salaries or pensions reduced at source for failing to pay the property tax. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Almost 250,000 homeowners declared value more than €100,000 below guide price

To date work with a value of some €468 million – or more than €5 million a week – has been entered onto the system. The estimated tax relief due to homeowners under the scheme is about €32 million.

Failure to register with home renovation tax incentive scheme to be examined

 A water taxi service operated by Liffey River Cruises has been operating on the river for several years. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien /The Irish Times

No injuries reported after water taxi lost power and struck Millennium Bridge

The latest figures indicate that Ireland is  back on track to reducing road deaths. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Despite a fall in the number of fatalities this year, reckless driving remains a huge issue

The scarring effects of long-term unemployment in the 1980s and early 1990s were especially difficult to tackle. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Analysis: A large ‘lost generation’ didn’t emerge in the way many feared

Paudie Woodlock, at the Tipperary Cheese Company, Twomileborris, Co Tipperary. What started out as a part-time work placement turned into a full-time job. Photograph: John D Kelly

In all, some 127,000 people of working age are still long-term unemployed

Latest figures show that wider investigations into white-collar professions – such as doctors, dentists, accountants and lawyers – have yielded tens of millions of euro in tax and penalties for the exchequer. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials discover that companies utilised for ‘aggressive’ tax planning

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