Seán Conlon: his departure from the  Fine Gael party follows that of veteran councillor Hugh McElvaney. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh

Cavan-Monaghan TD leaves party following series of high-profile controversies

Cavan-Monaghan TD Seán Conlan has said he will run as an Independent in the next general election. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Cavan-Monaghan TD resigned from Fine Gael party on Tuesday

Fine Gael TD Seán Conlan. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Move follows councillor Hughie McElvaney resignation in Monaghan last night

An IFA-sponsored protest (above). Carlow-Kilkenny deputy Pat Deering said the association  did a lot of very good work and had a very good reputation for lobbying and being disciplined. “It’s important that they are strong and united representing the farmers, which they are not at the moment,” he said. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Andrew Doyle: Pat Smith salary exceeded what could be considered ‘fair and reasonable’

‘A small number of Irish parents have allowed mild and reasonable concerns about the side effects of routine immunisations to spiral into an ‘anti-vax’ mindset.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Success of free immunisation may have led to complacent attitude to serious childhood diseases

Denis O’Brien and Web Summit cofounder Paddy Cosgrave  are among those invited to today’s Global Irish Economic Forum. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Invitation indicates Coalition’s ‘support’ for billionaire, says Lucinda Creighton

Fianna Fáil supporter and floating voters may not want to vote for a party without the power to influence government decisions. Photograph: Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Analysis: Floating voters may prefer to opt in for a party that is likely to be in power

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Niall Collins (right) next to the party leader Micheál Martin. Mr Collins has said people are switching allegiance back to his party from Fine Gael ahead of the next election. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

People ‘switching back’ to Fianna Fáil ahead of election, says party’s justice spokesman

Fianna Fáil director of elections  Billy Kelleher  at Leinster House. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

New director of elections Billy Kelleher rules out support for Fine Gael minority

‘Head of a Bearded Man’, by Sir Peter Paul Rubens.

Alfred Beit Foundation selling paintings to fund upkeep of Co Wicklow house

Brendan Howlin said the ‘desirable’ UHI model remains an objective for the Government. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin claims decision is a ‘resigning matter’

Catherine Day, former European Commission secretary general,  received the European of the Year 2015 award in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Catherine Day says agreement allowing travel in Europe without passports should stay

Brendan Howlin said: ‘We empathise with decent, honest, honourable people going about their business’. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Minister Brendan Howlin warns ‘the same madness could visit any of our cities’

North-South relations: “Despite working in and around Leinster House for more than a decade and studying Irish at school, I’m still self-conscious of my pronunciation of the word ‘Dáil’ and even ‘Taoiseach’.”

Life south of the Border throws many personality and cultural traits into stark relief

Former  minister Pat Carey: has “absolutely and unconditionally” denied “any impropriety” after sexual abuse allegations against a politician, adding  he did not know if  allegations related to him. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Martin thanks retiring director Pat Carey for his work to date on election campaign

Gardaí are understood to be examining how information that officers were investigating sexual abuse allegations made against a former politician was made public. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Ex-Fianna Fáil minister Pat Carey says he is not sure if abuse allegations relate to him

Minister ofr Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at a press conference on the 2016 Budget. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Cabinet in control ‘to the point of dominance’ says report which proposes reforms

A Labour spokesman has said: “Maíria Cahill [right] has addressed her brief involvement with RNU on numerous occasions in the past, and on the public record.” The spokesman said Labour was proud Ms Cahill was the party’s candidate for the Seanad. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Norris says sisters of murder victim Robert McCartney urged further questioning of Cahill

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Judge contacted Taoiseach’s department seeking time to distribute interim report

Former chairman says right of IBRC directors to a good name is prejudiced by delays

Karel Kiely: “These records were never intended for the purpose we use them today.”  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Archbishop wrote letter over National Library’s publication of details free online

Political parties will lose half their funding unless 30% of their general election candidates are female. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Brian Mohan was excluded from selection convention due to rules on female candidates

Renua’s  Lucinda Creighton at Leinster House. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Analysis: Many agree with getting more women into politics, just not at their expense

Report says possession of some illegal drugs should be dealt with by ‘Dissuasion Committees’

Padraig Mac Lochlann TD at Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Some have disgraced their community, says first TD from Traveller background

The  North South electricity interconnector, involving a cross-Border network of pylons and high-voltage lines, has met with  opposition in Counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

EirGrid strongly defends plan at meeting of Oireachtas communications committee

 Eamon Gilmore: writes about some on the Fine Gael side of Government “turning tribal”. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA

‘Fine Gael was very quick to grab the limelight and grab the microphone,’ says Gilmore

Minister Howlin’s comments follow claims illegal African and Asian migrant workers are routinely used as cheap labour on board some Irish trawlers.  Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Move follow claims illegal workers are used as cheap labour on some Irish trawlers

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly continues to battle for rent certainty measures. Photograph: Getty Images

National Economic and Social Council critical of ‘surprising’ data in DKM report

Tánaiste Joan Burton:  anxious to see levels of entitlement rise for self-employed.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

FG election manifesto will commit party to scheme to help small business owners

Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said outgoing Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan was not the person who spoke about the possibility of the army being used to protect ATM machines.

Ex-tánaiste recalls crisis meeting where re-launch of punt was discussed

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: a spokesman said the next available date for the hearing  in the Special Criminal Court is June 2017 and that this was “not acceptable”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Human rights committee to ask Government to explain second Special Criminal Court

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of ‘spoofing’ and ‘making an eejit of himself’ over the story that the Army might have been required to guard ATM machines. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar says whether or not there was a formal meeting was ‘beside the point’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that Fine Gael will commit the party to completing tax equalisation for the self-employed by 2018 if returned to government. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Taoiseach says party will commit to achieving tax equalisation by 2018 in manifesto

Responding to the WHO report on processed meat, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said: “This is about moderation, it’s about people having a balanced healthy diet.”  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘Sunshine can cause cancer as well. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t stand out in it’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he did not receive a specific briefing from the Central Bank about increasing security at ATMs when the euro crisis was at its worst. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Taoiseach responding to criticism for saying Honohan told him to prepare to deploy Army

Joan Burton: People in both Labour and Fine Gael have strong ideological views. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Tánaiste says critical issue is ensuring housing supply

Mary Lou McDonald:  Denied move was an act of “desperation” by Sinnn Féin. Photograph: The Irish Times

McDonald says it will be ‘unforgivable’ if left-wing groups do not grasp opportunity

Joan Burton: ‘It sounds a bit as though before the parties even got to the altar they kind of fell out’. Photograph: The Irish Times

Sinn Féin signs up to back broad policy principles of anti-water charges movement

Former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave: his government followed the British lead in the 1970s. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Dust will barely have time to settle on documents now before they are released

Archbishop of Tuam   Michael Neary: “None of us should entrust the decisions of our conscience to another on issues like this which are, literally, matters of life and death,” he wrote in a letter  to Enda Kenny at height of the controversy over the Government’s abortion legislation. Photograph: Frank Miller

Michael Neary said he hoped Taoiseach was ‘free to exercise’ his own conscience

Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys outlined her concerns that an “incomplete view” of historical events could develop in the coming years. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister proposes early release to provide ‘balanced’ view of shared history with UK

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the housing crisis will only be resolved when adequate supply was in place. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Brendan Howlin denies ‘personality clash’ between Kelly and Noonan over proposals

Minister for Environment Alan Kelly says he fully supports the actions of the local authority manager over the rehousing of families after the Carrickmines fire. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Environment says negotiations ongoing over Rockwell Drive opposition

The Government is set to sign off on a fleet of new Garda cars to patrol the motorways. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

More than 250 ‘high-powered’ cars allocated to patrol motorways, rural communities

 Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys will bring a memo to Government containing a proposal that the 30-year rule be reduced on a phased basis. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Proposal comes amid concerns over historical impact of similar move by UK

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has insisted that the new housing package must be agreed within weeks to ensure nobody is homeless for Christmas. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Government TDs who are landlords say they are supportive of rent certainty

Sinn Féin councillor Sinead Burke will contest the Seanad byelection against Labour candidate Máiría Cahill, Fianna Fáil candidate Dr Keith Swanick and Independent Jerry Beades.

Sinead Burke will run against party critic Máiría Cahill, who was chosen by Labour

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly, at the post-budget press conference in Government Buildings. Photograph: Eric Luke

Measures to alleviate crisis have caused divide between Coalition parties

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin defend limited increases on RTÉ radio phone-in

Tensions increase between Alan Kelly and Fine Gael over housing package

Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Cover of Budget 2016 document illustrates Government move to woo mothers

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin at Government Buildings ahead of their Budget presentation. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

A 50 cents rise in cost of 20 cigarettes - effective from midnight - is only tax increase

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Michael Noonan said the budget will “also throw up additional resources” for better services, tax relief and health.

Finance Minister says ’ primary purpose’ of today’s measures is to ensure growth

Ministers are discussing tax incentives  to landlords who take in tenants who have a long-term housing need. Photograph: Bloomberg

Taoiseach says Ministers will continue to discuss ways to provide more housing

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Creighton’s party branded ‘neo-liberal repackaged Fine Gael’ by Richard Boyd Barrett

Róisín Shortall,  Catherine Murphy and Stephen Donnelly at the launch of the Social Democrats party in July.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill /The Irish Times

Party calls for scaling back of USC, abolition of water charges in pre-budget submission

Joe Higgins, with Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett during the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit press conference. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Analysis: Left-wing party needs to channel ‘popular revolt’ to become election threat

Members of the new Anti-Austerity Alliance (from left) Bríd Smith, Ruth Coppinger, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy and Gino Kenny at the press conference where the new party was formed. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) plans to contest 27 constituencies

Minister for Environment Alan Kelly is to discuss a proposal to increase the supply of housing with the Taoiseach and Michael Noonan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times.

Alan Kelly to discuss plans to boost housing supply with Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton had a conversation on Tuesday night following increased conjecture about a November election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Committee report due by January; Taoiseach and Tánaiste have discussed poll speculation

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe: “My department has a critical role to play in supporting economic recovery and enhancing our future economic and social development.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Graham Doyle has ‘superb mix of skills’ for new role at Department of Transport

Longboat Quay Apartments in Dublin’s Docklands.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Alan Kelly to hold ‘detailed discussions’ with Longboat Quay residents

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has again declined to comment on the likely date of the election. Photograph: PA

Enda Kenny says he is focused on the publication of the Budget next Tuesday

A proposal to use the customer databases of cable and satellite providers Sky and UPC to track down television licence fee evaders has been rejected.

Coalition set to refuse proposal which would have given An Post access to TV firm records

Renua Ireland, led by Lucinda Creighton, has called for the abolition of the TV licence fee and the movement of RTÉ to a model that is directly funded by commercial revenue. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Motor tax should be replaced with levy on fuel, flat tax of 23% proposed by Creighton’s party

Richard Boyd Barrett said Labour has ‘imposed crushing austerity on working people’. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

People Before Profit TD says union should decide on party support on a case by case basis

Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton has called on Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin to ‘calm public disquiet’ following controversy over the absence of a prosecution in a road traffic accident involving a Limerick Fianna Fáil councillor. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Lucinda Creighton says case showed need ‘for root and branch reform of administration’

Mr Kenny said Ireland had “come a long way from the dark days when having a disability banished men, women and children to the margins of society”. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Public service employment target of people with disabilities to increase from 3% to 6%

Colm O’Reardon (second from left) is a brother of Labour Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Colm O’Reardon will become a deputy secretary general in Leo Varadkar’s department

Ministers move to quash growing talk of poll taking place in November

Fianna Fáil’s public expenditure spokesman Seán Fleming has  insisted the Government’s capital spending plan is heavily dependent on private investment. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

No guarantee Coalition can secure necessary investment to deliver projects - Fleming

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan welcomed the “significant” capital funding over the next six years of €3.8 billion for projects under the remit of her department. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Initiative includes funds for 19,000 primary spaces and 43,000 at post primary

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, said he agreed with a lot of the President’s comments about homelessness.Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Minister ‘agrees’ with President’s comments about homelessness ‘failure’ in Ireland

Former bookmaker and Fine Gael TD Ivan Yates said sources had told him the election would be held on November 20th. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

Former bookmaker and FG minister Ivan Yates earlier predicted November 20th poll

Dara Murphy: “I do regret if people feel that I did something inappropriate.” Photograph: The Irish Times / Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Had Dara Murphy claimed the taxi fare of €350 you would be asking me about that’

A revised proposal for a metro linking Dublin city centre to Dublin airport is among the key elements of the captial spending plan to be published on Tuesday.

Howlin says plan to ensure regional balance in economy and ease pressures in education

Former greek finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis speaks during the 43rd annual Fete de la Rose political meeting last August  in Frangy-en-Bresse, France. Photograph:  Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images

Former Greek finance minister to be key draw for annual festival

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. File Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Labour’s Alex White says Independents have ‘superficial’ attraction to electorate

Glenna Lynch. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Businesswoman famously grilled then presidential frontrunner Seán Gallagher on TV

  File photo  of a prostitute talking to a driver. Photograph: PA Wire

Person offering sexual services will not be guilty of a crime

 Russborough House in Blessington, Co Wicklow. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Alfred Beit Foundation wants 100% relief on art that is bought and donated to the State

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

TD says party will be judged on whether they ‘jump for government’ after general election

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: “This important new Bill provides for wide ranging reform of our laws, including stronger sanctions, aimed at protecting children from sexual exploitation; child abuse material and online grooming.” File photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Minister says legislation will protect children online with crimes carrying prison sentences

Charlie Flanagan says he detects “a willingness on the part of the party leaders to move forward” on the North talks. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Foreign Affairs says ‘chart has been set’ in attempt to end Stormont crisis

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin says Labour want to ‘have a very sharp focus on work paying’.Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Minister says people on low income should take home as much of that as possible

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has not requested speaking time for debate

Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West Robert Dowds who has decided not to contest the next general election.

Dublin Mid-West TD says Labour is not going to be able to retain two seats in constituency

Last month Airbnb contacted users telling them it would supply Revenue with details of income generated by users in the Republic going back to May 1st, 2014. It said host income had always been taxable and it had always made that clear.  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ministers must not have checked their ‘e-briefs’ before contacting Noonan

The Coalition is planning targeted pre-school funding as part of the budget.  File photograph: Frank Perry/AFP/GettyImages

Government wants to ensure children with disabilities benefit from free pre-school year

Michael Noonan’s reply to Enda Kenny regarding a constituent’s Airbnb concerns was not revealed. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Taoiseach spoke for constituent who wants changes to taxing of income from website

Sheila Pratschke: “We will build on the findings of this report.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister’s report generally positive, but calls for more transparency in decision-making

Brittish Ambassador to Ireland Dominic Chilcott,  Rev Dr Heather Morris (former President Methodist Church in Ireland) and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD at the Mansion House, Dublin during the launch of the book Uncomfortable Conversations, an initiative for dialogue towards reconciliation. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

British ambassador says British royal family will help secure peace process

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness speaking at a refugee crisis event at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast,   September 17th, 2015. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Tánaiste Joan Burton says Sinn Féin are ‘seeking to hijack the history of the country’

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan speaking to  transition year students at the launch of his department’s  Iveagh Scholars Programme 2015 at Muckross Park College, Donnybrook, in Dublin, On Thursday. Photograph:  Collins

Students in Republic and North can compete for 30 week-long placements in department

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said “accelerated” talks in Belfast next week will aim to reach consensus on the formation of a new body to monitor paramilitary groups. Photogaph: PA

Minister for Foreign Affairs says that Stormont situation remains ‘fragile’

A woman cycles past a marriage equality mural in the Liberties area of Dublin. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Fitzgerald announces discount for existing unions as Government agrees Marriage Bill

 Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald who brought the  Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill to Cabinet on Wednesday. Photograph: Collins

Law strengthens protections for children from sexual exploitation and grooming

Michael McNamara: expected to rejoin the Labour Party. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Clare TD lost whip in May after voting against sale of State’s Aer Lingus stake to IAG

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