Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher: suggested delegating the vetting process to divisional level for students. Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill

Tánaiste insists e-vetting has sped up process, after TD complains of six-week delays

Christy Moore was the guest of honour at a concert in Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services to mark the ‘Light Up a Life’ event. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Guest of honour Christy Moore performs at gathering and turns on Christmas tree lights

Minister of State Finian McGrath: said he would sign the convention “tomorrow morning if I had the opportunity”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Finian McGrath says ‘blockages’ in legislative system to blame for nine-year delay

Simon Harris says he will “act quickly’’ on a report about legalising medicinal cannabis due at end of January. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin TD hits out at doctor for alleging legislation a ‘Trojan horse’

Clare Daly: the TD highlighted the “phenomenal sums the State Claims Agency has paid out in maternity cases”. Photograph:  Fergal Phillips

First maternity strategy to be implemented in same way as successful cancer strategy

Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney said he would bring a detailed options paper on extending the franchise in presidential elections to Irish citizens outside Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin accuses Fine Gael, Fianna Fail of offering ’tea and sympathy’ but failing to act

Jan O’Sullivan TD has accused Fianna Fáil of political gamesmanship. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Simon Coveney says strategy, to be published on December 12th, will offer rent certainty

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said a vaccine trial in Kilkenny is complete with results expected in 2017

Clare Daly says vaccination talks ongoing for 25 years, as 6,000 badgers culled annually

Richard Bruton:  said  “approval of a drug of this nature has been taken out of the political process”

Micheál Martin says drug is ‘effective in terms of lung function, weight gain, quality of life and independence’

Clare Daly said there was online footage of a hare being hit by dogs, pinned to the ground and subjected to a long battering in Co Offaly. Photograph: The Irish Times

Independents4Change TD claims industry ‘out of control . . . derogatory to call it a sport’

 Mary Robinson: she was entitled to claim €1.2 million tax relief for donating her archive but  said she would not avail of the  credit and   freely “gift” it to NUI Galway. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sinn Féin TD queries tax relief to well pensioned former politicians on work they did in office

Pope John Paul II greets by Cuban president Fidel Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana just prior to their private talks during the pontiff’s visit in 1998. Photograph: Getty  Images

FF chief Micheál Martin calls for protocols on the deaths of foreign leaders to be checked

Minster for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan and the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, at Iveagh House, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/ The Irish Times

First minister says Scotland is exploring options that would respect people’s Brexit vote

Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney: He said the scheme would allow   members the “freedom and flexibility to use the library at times that suit them.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Extended ‘My Open Library’ scheme operating in 20 counties expected to cost €1.94m

The 2015 Statute Law Revision Act expunged 6,000 obsolete laws proclamations, directions and orders made in the 800 years before 1821. File photograph: David Sleator

Overhaul of archaic legislation to be paused to progress other priorities, says Minister

The 1718 Adulteration of Coffee Act sought to counter the “evil-disposed persons” who added water, grease or butter to roasted coffee to increase its weight. Photograph: iStock

Ban on criticism of Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn is one of 60,000 laws repealed

 Paul Kehoe: said Sinn Féin’s  Bill was “unnecessary and would impact negatively on Ireland’s ability to contribute positively in the international community”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Paul Kehoe says Ireland’s neutrality as strong as it was during second World War

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly: called on Government to examine the “cabal at the top of the pensions industry”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Clare Daly calls for inquiry into ‘cabal at top of pensions industry’

Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys said young people’s programming had been “the incubator of talent for the broadcasting community and the arts in RTÉ”. File photograph: Davd Sleator/The Irish Times

‘Unacceptable’ that RTÉ director did not tell committee about youth programming decision

Independent Senator Pádraig O Ceidigh was  confirmed as chairman of the water charges committee after a 92 to 39 vote and a suspension of the Dail.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Independent senator confirmed as chair but AAA-PBP TD accuses Government of ‘stitch-up’

Ibrahim Halawa: Arrested in August 2013, his trial has been adjourned 16 times.

Ibrahim Halawa imprisoned for three years without trial after arrest for protest in Cairo

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended his message on Twitter about a phone conversation with US vice-president-elect Mike Pence. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Richard Boyd Barrett attacks US vice-president-elect over his ‘disgusting bigotry’

Grace O’Sullivan (Green):  accused the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government of “incompetence” for its late reaction and said it should start with her Bill, not Fianna Fáil’s. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Coveney to write to European Commission on intent to ban microbeads in cosmetics

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD  Ruth Coppinger in Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Ruth Coppinger questions Government commitment to tackling domestic violence

The Dáil exchanges occurred in the context of the Domestic Violence Bill which should be published by the end of 2016.

Kenny reacts to strident Coppinger questions on helplines and ‘systematic cuts’ to funding

Late writer William Trevor: Tributes paid in the Seanad. Photograph: Eric Luke

Late writer commended for ‘wonderful contribution to literature and Ireland’

Independent Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh: described by Taoiseach Enda Kenny as “an outstanding person”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Pádraig Ó Céidigh appointment ‘beyond remit’ of Simon Coveney, Sinn Féin says

Fianna Fáil spokesman for Dublin John Lahart said the BIll provided for a plebiscite of Dublin voters. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Damien English indicates support for move but says Fianna Fáil Bill lacks specifics

Casting votes during the marriage referendum and the age of presidential candidates referendum. Photograph: Alan Betson

This year’s general election cost the State €26.8m and the Lisbon Treaty poll cost €22m

The Housing Agency is co-ordinating preparation of an independent audit of house-building costs,  Simon Coveney said.  File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

‘We need to benchmark against cost of building houses in other parts of Europe’

 Simon Coveney:  says they tried to keep costs of  expert commission on water to a sensible level. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Coveney defends cost of group looking at €5bn investment programme for Irish Water

Mick Wallace said he had submitted the names in a letter last week to Nama chairman Frank Daly. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

TD alleges businessman thanked Frank Cushnahan for information on ‘acquisition success fees’

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin is the largest provider of surgery for scoliosis or curvature of the spine. File photograph: AP

Spine curvature in child went from 40 to over 100 degrees while waiting for surgery

Just three TDs were present in the Dáil for a debate on legislation to introduce greater transparency and fairness to school admissions. File photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil’s education spokesman calls quorum saying ‘the attendance here is pitiful’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: stressed that Ireland had to remain competitive and that meant keeping costs down. Photograph: PA

Gerry Adams says Taoiseach and Cabinet ‘incompetent and unfit to be in office’

 Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton  at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Richard Bruton claims pupils in 375 schools could miss 10% of their English exams

FF chief Micheál Martin said cyber attacks had potential to do untold damage. Photograph: Getty Images

Kenny indicates that evidence available of such strikes in specific locations in Republic

The Taoiseach said he had the “utmost respect for members of the judiciary, and I always have had that”

Brendan Howlin describes Minister’s comments as ‘most aggressive attack’ on judges

One third of Garda cars are fitted with automatic number plate recognition technology. Photograph: Frank Miller

Tommy Broughan highlights rise in road deaths, decline in Garda traffic personnel

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Justice says Government view is that State has been well served by judiciary

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “The Government will not sacrifice the hard-won gains that have been achieved by the Irish people over the last number of years.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Taoiseach rules out access to industrial relations machinery for Defence Forces

Mick Wallace said the Minister knew that the Commissioner had questioned the motivation, credibility and integrity of Sgt McCabe. Photograph: The Irish Times

Inappropriate to comment on alleged leaks from the O’Higgins inquiry, says Minister

Independent TD Mattie McGrath opposed  locating   the  National Children’s Hospital at St James’s Hospital in Dublin

Ministers for Health and Public Expenditure to bring memo to Government on costs

Members of the Irish Defence Forces on parade during an Easter 1916 commemoration. The Government has “no intention” of allowing the Defence Forces to access the State’s industrial relations machinery in the same way as gardaí, the Taoiseach  said. File photograph: Getty Images

Enda Kenny insists military will not have same access as gardaí had during pay dispute

Ictu said private sector unions would be seeking 4 per cent pay rises.

Enda Kenny ‘stands by Lansdowne Road’; Ictu says agreement must be amended

Ellie Kisyombe at a   Dublin rally  calling for the end to the  direct provision system for asylum seekers. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Over 4,301 people now in direct provision, 2,611 of them for between one and five years

Clare Daly TD highlighted  comments of the UN special rapporteur on torture on Irish prisons when he said  people in solitary confinement “are suffering what constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and perhaps even torture”.  File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Clare Daly says law should be passed before State’s next sitting at UN rights committee

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “Nama does not believe that anything illegal happened.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Minister rejects allegation former Fine Gael TD lobbied on behalf of business partners

Labour  leader Brendan Howlin raised  concerns about Donald Trump’s position on immigration which he said was the direct opposite of Ireland’s. Photograph: Dave Meehan

If State wants Trump to help Irish illegals we must address ‘crucial issue’ here – Howlin

Labour leader Brendan Howlin: there were many thousands in Ireland “who live in the shadows of our society”

Howlin says there are up to 26,000 undocumented in Ireland, including thousands of children

Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney said it was “imperative” the Bill to allow a referendum on the future of water services underwent pre-legislative scrutiny. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Coalition and Fianna Fáil warned not to ‘bury’ referendum Bill in committee

Minister for Public Expenditure  Paschal Donohoe: “I don’t believe politicians should set other politicians’ pay.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

SF’s David Cullinane says TDs getting rise of €100 a week but workers getting just €20

 Gerry Adams said Sinn Féin’s four MPs will not take their Westminster seats for Brexit vote. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Sharp exchanges as Micheál Martin accuses SF of hypocrisy for ‘taking Saxon shilling’

The Irish Coast Guard: A TD claims Department of Transport managers are making decisions about the volunteer service even though they “have no direct involvement” in it. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Taoiseach says he advised service to put its proposals to Transport Minister

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar: “If you’re going to spend more on public service pay there is less money for public services.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister published Social Welfare Bill early to ensure benefit increases in March

Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh  and   deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald: Ó Snodaigh has raised the idea of a new national bank holiday since 2012. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Ó Snodaigh tells Dáil he believes April 24th each year should be designated Republic Day

Minister for Tourism Shane Ross has been accused of “absolute hypocrisy” over the failure to use the Public Appointments Service in the recruitment of a new chief executive for tourism body Fáilte Ireland. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Tourism body decided not to use Public Appointments Service to find new boss

 Minister of Education Richard Bruton speaks to media in Government Buildings, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Richard Bruton says there has been no formal offer from ASTI ahead of industrial action

Tickets for the Rio Olympics. An inquiry was established after the controversy over the distribution of tickets from Ireland

Labour spokesman on sport says it is ‘incredible’ Pat Hickey has been OCI president for 28 years

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said 28m people travelled on licensed bus services last year with over seven million travelling on Bus Éireann Expressway services. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister says consultative process not possible in the ‘heat of industrial disputes’

In response to Opposition criticism Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil  “the ASTI could deal with the issue today”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach says supervision and substitution constitute part of the public pay agreement

FF leader Micheál Martin called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to produce a paper “outlining the full implications of what’s involved in terms of budget . . . and public pay policy”. Photographs: The Irish Times/Getty Images

Fianna Fáil leader claims deal unravelling due to administration’s ‘unilateral action’

RTÉ in Montrose, Dublin: in a parliamentary reply to Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty, Minister for Communications Denis Naughten said 1,433,752 TV licences were issued last year by An Post. Photograph: Alan Betson

Over 7,000 households in 2015 signed declarations swearing they had no television

Maureen O’Sullivan is concerned at the slow pace of progress on the Gambling Control Bill. Photograph: Getty images

Maureen O’Sullivan says there are 40,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in the State

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: says enhancing rural access to the Garda network by connecting non-networked sites to the network is  being examined. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Best practice shows there are too many stations for effective service, says Sinn Féin TD

Fine Gael’s John Deasy: “Two commissioners in particular are chipping away at our competitiveness and our tax sovereignty as if nothing has changed.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ireland faces economic war on two fronts with EU and UK, says Fine Gael TD

Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TDs Ruth Coppinger and Bríd Smith: “The key point is we must keep women’s bodies out of the Constitution.” Photograph:

Dáil approves Government amendment that blocks proposed AAA-PBP legislation

A Government counter-motion to a Bill proposing a referendum be held on repealing the Eighth Amendment has been carried in the Dáil.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times.

Government counter-motion stalled proposal put forward by the AAA-PBP

Independent TD Joan Collins said she expected the loophole would have been closed in Budget 2017, but it was not. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Recipients abusing terms of tax relief by renting out gifted houses, says Independent TD

Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy: “We are asking them to visually separate alcohol from the eyes of children and young people.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Seanad fails to meet deadline after debate on minimum unit pricing and advertising

Minister  for Health Simon Harris attended the alcohol debate in Seanad Éireann to support his Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kenny who is being pressed on policy by FG Senators. Photographs: The Irish Times

Former minister for health tells House men in their 20s presenting with cirrhosis of liver

Independent TD claims inheritance tax being avoided and relief being abused by well-off

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty accused Micheál Martin of “completely undermining” the business committee  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fianna Fáil voted for week off in business committee, Government Chief Whip claims

Paul Murphy was repeatedly warned by Leas Cheann Comhairle Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher of long-standing practice in the Dáil that a court case could not be discussed.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Paul Murphy questions how right to protest can be maintained after youth’s conviction

 Minister for Health Simon Harris says the Citizens’ Assembly should be allowed to conclude its deliberations and make its recommendations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister declines to give second hearing to AAA-PBP Bill on Eighth Amendment repeal

A number of weeks ago Regina  Doherty proposed to the business committee that the Dáil should sit during the mid-term because of the lengthy summer break. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

FF had initially voted in business committee for the break before later voting against

 Micheál Martin speaking at the Annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co Kildare.Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Government Chief Whip says FF leader has ‘taken a pop’ at FG at every opportunity

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland are due to hold the first of seven one-day strikes on Thursday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Special treatment for striking gardaí and teachers ‘unacceptable’, Impact cautions

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald: said students from a large number of countries such as the US and Brazil as well as members of the European Economic Area  do not require visas to study in Ireland.Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Saudi Arabia in second place, followed by China and India

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has insisted his party is committed to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Party leader clarifies FF’s position on legislation following lobbying by drinks industry

  Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has criticised Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister responds after FF leader criticises his ‘PR-obsessed’ tenure in health portfolio

Speaking at the annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co, Kildare, party leader Micheál Martin described the actions of the London government on Brexit as “little short of shambolic”. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Micheál Martin says British ministers have been ‘cavalier and grossly unprofessional’

 Minister of State for Health Marcella Corcoran Kennedy who is steering the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill through the Seanad and Dáil. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Objections to advertising restrictions, label information and segregating drink in shops

John Halligan, Minister of State for Training and Skills, submitted two questions to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald about refugees and the refugee resettlement programme. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister defies Government norms by issuing parliamentary question to Fitzgerald

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald: unfair that TDs would have pay restored to €92,000. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister hits out at Sinn Féin claims TDs only take industrial wage

Independent TD Michael Lowry has called for a golf club close to the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, not to be closed for the expansion of the training facility. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Independent TD says the facility should not be affected by expansion at Templemore

Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys has defended the company managing the 1916 site at Moore Street. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Sinn Féin TD questions links between heritage site’s manager and retail developer

Mary-Lou McDonald and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar engaged in sharp Dáil exchanges on Thursday in a row over politicians’ pay. Photographs: Collins

McDonald and Varadkar in sharp Dáil exchanges over €5,400 politician repayment

Taoiseach Enda Kenny:  “There is no political direction being given to [the Citizens’ Assembly]  and there is no political cul-de-sac being put in place.”   Photograph: PA Wire

Brendan Howlin introduces legislation to regulate ‘rogue crisis pregnancy agencies’

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe: says “it remains open to members of the Oireachtas to forgo the restoration of the pay reduction”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin will introduce motion to halt ‘unfair’ increment, David Cullinane tells Minister

The Government’s national strategy for the rental sector will be published by the end of the year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Taoiseach defends Budget 2017 amid claims that there is ‘nothing in it for tenants’

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Mushroom industry is in a very serious crisis. Photograph: The Irish Times

At least six of 60 producers have gone bust since Brexit vote, Sinn Féin TD says

Independent Alliance TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran making his maiden Dáil speech. Image:

Independent Alliance TD congratulates Enda Kenny on his re-election as Taoiseach

Jim O’Callaghan has sharply criticised Britain’s preparation for Brexit as “abysmal”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

ECHR to be replaced with ‘some ambiguous unknown British Bill of Rights’ - O’Callaghan

A call has been made for the HSE to show ‘more humanity’ and halt plans to move people with mental and physical disabilities who have been living in a care facility for 40 years back into the community.

FG’s Paul Coghlan calls for ‘more humanity’ over proposal for residents of Kerry facility

Minister Simon Harris said there was an increase of more than 4 per cent in the numbers attending in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

15% non-attendance rate ‘costs health service a great deal’ and increases waiting lists

Gerry Adams: “the Government should be proactive about setting out contingencies to protect and promote the national interests of the entire island of Ireland”

All 15 secretaries general in London last week for talks with British counterparts

Garda reservists during a  passing out parade  at the Garda College in Templemore recently. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Deploying reservists with no ‘power of arrest’ will not reassure public, says Labour leader

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has defended Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald over her response to the threatened Garda strike. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach says Frances Fitzgerald is taking ‘a very responsible view’ of the situation

Builders would be “cutting off their nose to spite their face” if they raised prices steeply. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Estate agents and builders say rises of up to €45,000 unrelated to first-time buyer rebate

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