Candidate numbers are also concentrated in Dublin Bay North, which has been described as a “constituency of death” because of the competition. The ballot paper is likely to be about 45 cm (18 inches) long. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Amalgamation leads to constituency having 22 candidates running for election

 Stephen Donnelly of the Social Democrats (above right) said:  “We have to see where there is opportunity about coalition. We will talk to people who are serious about a social democratic Ireland.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Party wants employers to move voluntarily to the living wage, assessed at €11.30

A garda outside the Regency Airport Hotel over the weekend, after the shooting of David Byrne on February 5th. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TDs in Crumlin area say crime issue not coming up on doorstep after David Byrne’s death

Minister for Communications Alex White: described Tánaiste Joan Burton in Latin as primus inter pares or first among equals when asked about the future of the party post-election if the leader stood down. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘There isn’t a single TD who doesn’t want to be leader of his or her party,’ says Alex White

On your bike:   Kevin Humphreys and Alex White during the launch of Labour’s policy on green jobs. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

€1 million for cycle to school scheme to tackle obesity, encourage ‘lifelong’ commitment

Fine Gael and Labour have mixed fortunes in the three latest opinion polls with one Sunday newspaper predicting an increased likelihood of a hung Dáil, while another shows increased support for the largest party. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Behaviour & Attitudes poll shows dissatisfaction with Government highest among women

Catherine Murphy, Roisin Shorthall and Stephen Donnolly during the launch of the Social Democrats election campaign in Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Party plans to reduce the cost of living and leaves all coalition options open

Labour Seanad leader Ivana Bacik described retiring Senator Feargal Quinn as “a model for us in terms of his activity and immense contribution to the Seanad over those years”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Electorate praised for voting ‘in their wisdom’ in referendum to retain Seanad

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

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 and former Labour leader and tánaiste Eamon Gilmore at the first Cabinet meeting of the 31st Dáil on March 9th, 2011. Photograph: PA

Attrition of full five-year term in office took toll on Government’s 30-seat majority

Minister For Health Leo Varadkar: said it appeared some girls first suffered symptoms at about the time they received the vaccine, and understandably some parents had connected it to their daughters’ condition. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Varadkar says no need to change the way HPV vaccines are used

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton: defended the Government’s record on worker protection. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Joan Collins clashed with Richard Bruton over contracts for 530 Xtra-vision employees

Labour Seanad leader Ivana Bacik has  commended a social worker who “blew the whistle on the appalling extent of the abuse and the numbers of children who may have been affected”  in a foster home in the southeast. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

HSE explanation to Public Accounts Committee ‘stinks of cover-up’ - Máiría Cahill

Catherine Murphy said there were “obvious questions of probity”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy points to failings in previous contracts

Senator Fergal Quinn introduces his last piece of legislation before his retirement from the Upper House.

Legislation would also make it an offence to fly a drone over another person’s home

Fine Gael’s David Stanton: told the Dáil it should be a “privilege to be a member of a committee, not a right”.

Candidates for Ceann Comhairle must have support of seven TDs under new Dáil rules

 Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said there were “obvious questions of probity” in the awarding of an Irish Water contract to Abtran. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TD claims company had failed on student grant system and property tax contracts

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: says  there has to be normal negotiations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Jan O’Sullivan agrees that ‘full consultation’ is needed on Technological Universities Bill

Government struggled to reach quorum of 20 TDs as deputies stay home to canvass

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Minister rejects call to withdraw Irish troops from UN Golan Heights mission

An erroneous Revenue Commissioners letter to Longboat Quay owners suggested that a reduction in their property tax was possible

Property tax based on 2013 values, with no changes despite fire-safety construction flaws

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘It is important to note that there are significant numbers of Irish citizens living in Britain.’ Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

Decision is ‘critical’ to relations with Northern Ireland, Kenny says

Jennifer Guinness at a press conference after her release by kidnappers in April 1986. Photograph: Eamon Farrell/Photocall

She was kidnapped in 1986 and held in Dublin for eight days

Minister for Children James Reilly has promised that from September children will have access to free pre-school from the age of three until they go to school. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

From September children will have free pre-school from 3 to school age, says Reilly

Sligo-Leitrim TD John Perry failed to be selected at the constituency convention but was later added to the ticket in the wake of his litigation, which cost the party an estimated €500,000 in legal charges. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons /The Irish Times

Secrecy in directives to conventions ‘does us no good’ delegate tells debate

Frances Fitzgerald and Simon Harris at the Fine Gael Ardfheis at Citywest Hotel, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Noonan compares Fianna Fáil claims to ‘Comical Ali’ in Baghdad

Dublin Bay North delegate speaks in English ‘so people can understand’

Delegates at the Fine Gael ardfheis in Citywest in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Ardfheis delegates back motion on refunds to small- and medium-sized enterprises

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney: “I know people are dying to get going in this election and that’s fair enough but there’ll be no election called tomorrow night.” File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister claims at Fine Gael ardfheis it is ‘probable’ date will be announced in Dáil

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said that a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will not be necessary after the general election. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Minister for Finance claims he is confident that voters will re-elect the Government

 The auditorium where Taoiseach Enda Kenny was due to address the Fine Gael ardfheis  was cleared briefly after a bullet cartridge was found on stage. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Auditorium cleared briefly at Citywest Hotel venue ahead of Taoiseach’s appearance

An emotional Olivia Mitchell: It is seldom that a TD who is about to retire comes into the chamber to thank supporters.

You would know an election is in the offing as TDs focus on local issues

Thomas Pringle, Independent TD for Donegal South West: said Ballybofey had the highest commercial property vacancy rate in the northwest at more than 28 per cent. Photograph: Collins

Tánaiste defends the Coalition, and said as Minister for Social Protection she had improved social welfare provisions

Olivia Mitchell: Thanked Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett and his predecessors for “their courtesy and guidance and indeed their friendship over the years”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Fine Gael Dublin South TD thanks voters for ‘incomparable honour’ of representing them

The North Dublin facility at Oberstown is the official National Children’s Detention Centre and caters for approximately 74 boys and six girls.

Figures show a total of 102 incidents at youth detention centre in 2015

Minister of State for Housing Paudie Coffey’s claim that the council wants to ensure suitable Traveller accommodation is disputed by Gerry Adams.Photograph: Sara Freund

Adams, Coppinger say Dundalk site repairs could be done while families in situ

Minister for  Reform Brendan Howlin said the level of declarable interests for public officials “will be significantly extended in line with the Mahon tribunal’s recommendations”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Public Sector Standards Bill will not be enacted before general election

Senator Jillian van Turnhout: Minister should also follow the example of the HSE which last year introduced a policy ceasing all links with the drinks industry. Photograph: The Irish Times

Independent Senator calls for authority to follow example of Department of Education

 Senator David Norris: “I always assume my phone is tapped” and “that somebody is listening”.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

FF accuses Taoiseach of ‘crocodile tears’ and ‘ kicking can down the road’ with review

Independent TD Clare Daly:  called on Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to include the 2009 Surveillance Act and the 1993 Interception of Postal Packages and Telecommunications Messages Act in the review to be conducted by former chief justice John Murray.  Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TDs claim a ‘double standard’ in outcry over GSOC accessing journalists’ phone data

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has expressed  “absolute confidence” in GSOC chairwoman  Judge Mary Ellen Ring. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Enda Kenny says he is ‘not responsible’ for headlines claiming he rebuked commission

SF claims Taoiseach would get €12,000 a year if Fine Gael eliminates social charge

Sinn Féin vice-president Mary Lou McDonald: accused the Government of ignoring the constitutional convention’s recommendations and reports, saying “No one signed up to this process to be ignored, sidelined, second-guessed or patronised.”   Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Opposition condemns Government’s ‘lack of respect’ for constitutional convention

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath: said somebody who paid a premium of €400 in 2014 would probably pay €650 to €700 after this year with young drivers and motorists with older cars being penalised most. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Finance says review under way of insurance sector, particularly motor costs

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate how upset people are.”

Minister says no political interference in bank decision, but progress being made

Investigation will be completed ‘within months’, Minister for Finance says

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett: “I have no doubt his appointment will allow the service to grow and develop under his strategic direction.”   Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Decision delayed over how most senior official in Oireachtas should be chosen

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection Kevin Humphreys: “We want people involved in the CSP to be paid a good wage. However, our funding is approximately one-third of the requirement.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

FF and SF call for increased State funding to programme after rise in minimum wage

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins has outlined allegations of serious irregularities involving public bodies and taxpayers’ money in the Dáil. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Higgins calls for inquiry into involvement of public bodies in Wexford development

By the end of 2002, 90 per cent of Irish pounds had been withdrawn. Photograph: Thinkstock

A lot not expected to be accounted for despite £872,000 exchanged for euro in 2015

Michael Noonan remains a hugely popular Minister despite having delivered three austerity budgets since he took up the finance portfolio almost five years ago.

Finance minister is Fine Gael’s oldest and most experienced TD and Minister

A man in his 70s has died following a road traffic collision involving two cars in Co Westmeath. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Three others were injured in fatal incident on the N4 Mullingar to Longford Road

A rib from the Irish Naval Service ship LÉ Samuel Beckett is seen rescuing more than 100 people, including two children, off the Libyan coast last October. Photograph: Defence Forces

10 arrests made for alleged fishing regulation infringements; over 1,000 vessels boarded in 2015

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly: The new guidelines are to be published following the passage of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill in the Dáil last week.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly is expected to publish the guidelines today

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has strongly criticised Gerry Adams’ backing of Thomas Slab Murphy. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

No one should be fooled by ‘false theatrical concern’ for rule of law, ex-justice minister says

Independent Senator Jillian van Turnhout called for the weekly direct provision payment for children to be increased. File photograph: Dara Mac Domhnaill

Republic to attend Geneva hearing concerning the implementation of children’s rights

Richard Boyd Barrett TD. Called for the Government to “take bold action to contribute to preventing further climate change and reduce fossil fuel use by banning fracking”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Time to ‘forget about reports, sitting on the fence, fudging things’

Senator Jillian van Turnhout: “Who would entertain the idea of an education programme about the dangers of smoking being designed and delivered by an organisation that is funded by tobacco companies?” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Drinks industry has power to cut prices if it cuts alcohol strength

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: agreed drug companies “overcharge and use patients as pawns”. Photograph:  Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger said ordinary people were held hostage by the “profiteering of these companies under our capita(...)

Tánaiste Joan Burton hit out at Donegal TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, describing him as a ‘barroom brawler’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Rowdy scenes in Dáil as Mary Lou McDonald and Joan Burton have heated exchanges

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan told the Dail the Government’s approach to dealing with the case of Ibrahim Halawa was the  one most likely to make progress.

Flanagan tells Dáil ‘our contacts, experience’ means the State is best placed to succeed

 Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe: “Nearly one third of traffic travels on the outside lane at peak times.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Transport says measures to deal with traffic include new junctions on M50

Independent TD John Halligan: “The evidence is that Article 40.3.3 does not stop Irish abortions, it merely exports our problem.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

John Halligan asks if Fine Gael candidates will state position on Eighth Amendment

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: acknowledged criticisms by  Ivana Bacik and  Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Justice says State must be very rigorous in our monitoring of the situation

Enda Kenny said  statutory authority rests with a number of bodies, including the ESB, the Office of Public Works, the National Parks and Wildlife Service as well as fisheries, tourism, commercial and local authority interests. Photograph: Alan Betson

Gerry Adams appeals for a single authority, as the river floods land and homes

Willie Penrose:  ‘I have heard too many stories of suicide and attempted suicide, often for extraordinarily small sums.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Willie Penrose says people are under ‘yoke of invading hedge funds, unregulated entities’

Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald who said the Bankruptcy  Bill would introduce ‘several absolutely key changes’ to Irish bankruptcy law.

Bankruptcy Bill also cuts duration a bankrupt person must make payments to creditor

FF justice spokesman Niall Collins afterwards defended his party’s absence

Speaking afterwards about his absence during the committee stage debate, Niall Collins said he had been there for the entire second stage debate and made a contribution outlining the party’s position in full. Photograph: The Irish Times

FF spokesman Niall Collins defends party absence, claims row ‘silly buggers debate’

Clare Daly: she said much was said about Ireland “being one of the safest countries in the world in which to give birth but in the absence of accurate statistics, it is a groundless assertion”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Bill to reform coroners’ court legislation published in 2007 but not yet acted on

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said a budget of €360m had been set aside for the running of the Dáil and Seanad over the next three years. Photograph: The Irish Times

Provision of €14m for politicians who retire or are unsuccessful in forthcoming 2016 poll

Seán Fleming: The Minister of State “cannot say that flooding is terrible but people must pay their local property tax at the start of January”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Seán Fleming urges Minister of State to make ‘some effort’ for people hard hit by deluge

Michael Fitzmaurice TD (right) with Luke Ming Flanagan: how come Holland is not ‘drowned out of it’?

Independent TD Fitzmaurice says Parks and Wildlife Service is ‘the biggest villain’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny : proper flood relief schemes took time to plan and implement. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

SF accuses Government of cutting OPW risk-management fund by 25 per cent

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described remarks by US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about Muslims as “unacceptable”.

US Republican presidential candidate’s call for ban on Muslims entering US denounced

Catherine Murphy: She pointed out in a Dáil debate that the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals had cost more than €200 million but implementation of their recommendations had been wholly unsatisfactory. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

TD says Sipo has ‘no teeth’ and calls for anti-corruption agency with genuine powers

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the annual turning on of the Christmas tree lights in Leinster House on Tuesday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Kenny accepts FF offer to facilitate enactment of standards Bill before election

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys:  ‘The department principally supports artists and arts organisations through the work of the Arts Council.’ Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Minister for the Arts says “we are now in a position to invest in our arts and culture”

Senator David Norris:  “I condemn utterly corruption but I also condemn the squalid methods employed by RTÉ in the making of that programme.”

Norris condemns corruption and ‘squalid methods’ of documentary programme

Housing in Mosney for asylum seekers. File photograph: Frank Miller

Jillian van Turnhout repsonds to criticism from non-governmental organisations

 A wing of St Patrick’s Institution in Dublin. The detention centre is to shut its doors 30 years after its closure was first recommend. Photograph by Matt Kavanagh

Institution once described as ‘finishing school for bullying and developing criminal skills’

The Building Better Lives programme will be extended to the Midlands prison in Portlaoise, where a significant number of sex offenders are jailed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Independent TD warns of risk since half of prisoners were not in treatment programmes

Winners at the 2015 People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab,  after the live awards presentation. Front left to right: Aoibheann Mangan, Padraic Godwin, Mick O’Connell (on behalf of his son, Paul), Fadhila Hajji, John Evoy, Ade Stack and Marty Curley. Back left to right): Cpl Conor Kilbride, Able Comm Op Shauna Fero, Lt Elaine Maloney, Chief ERA Rory De Barra, Philip Grant, Fr Brendan McBride, Brian Sheehan, Deirdre Duffy, Grainne Healy and Ken Maleady. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds.

Referendum campaigners Yes Equality named Community Group of the Year

Joan Burton said her party was not willing to be dominated by Sinn Féin and what they had stood for.   File Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste responds to SF criticism, accuses Fine Gael of trying to ’shrink the State’

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called for the blueprint for policing followed in North Ireland after the peace process to be applied to An Garda Síochána. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Sinn Féin leader says blueprint of PSNI should be followed after report criticises force

Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch: “It is not acceptable for patients in these categories to be subject to a charge for procedures associated with routine diagnosis and treatment.”  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Kathleen Lynch responds to question about GP practice charging €15

Fine Gael Seanad leader Maurice Cummins: “I question why the Bill was published in the first place when so many amendments have been produced”

Legislation on asylum published last week, 90 amendments introduced this week

Minister for Energy Alex White warned Opposition TDs they could not reduce energy policy to the legitimate concerns that local communities have on the issue

Alex White denies ministerial rift with Alan Kelly over wind turbine regulations

Alex White said nothing had “broken down” between ministers over wind turbine guidelines. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

TDs must balance local concerns with ‘bigger picture’ of renewable energy, says Minister

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was urged to make  Ministers  concentrate on counties in the west. Photograph: Eric Luke

Enda Kenny rejects Dáil claims by Roscommon-South Leitrim deputy Michael Fitzmaurice

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has been urged in the Seanad to withdraw the Legal Services Regulation Bill. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Justice had 105 amendments for single page of legislation

Minister for Health  Leo Varadkar: “I meet people where I have a particular role and can add something and there is a particular purpose to the meeting.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister will not be meeting parents of baby who died in botched delivery in 1992

Maureen O’Sullivan TD: “Will we just keep giving foreign aid and pay millions, if not billions, in fines to the EU because we are not meeting targets?”

Irish role on hunger hypocritical without climate change action, says Independent TD

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen is due for a pension rise under the Public Interest Bill. Photograph: Eric Luke

However, Howlin says it is unconstitutional to penalise certain public service recipients

 Tanaiste Joan Burton: claimed Fianna Fáil was ‘not in the game at all’ when it came to the election. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Burton ‘very competent’ at ’spin and empathy’, claims Cowen

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen arrives at Leinster House in this file photograph.

Brian Cowen on €134,000, Charlie McCreevy on €108,000, Ivor Callely on €62,000

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty: objected “in the strongest possible terms” to questions he and a number of other TDs had raised being refused.

Minister for Finance says he did not rule questions out of order on investigation

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: said the Central Bank had the regulations under constant review.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil calls for Central Bank 20 per cent mortgage deposit rules to be halved

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