Sister Stanislaus Kennedy: “I have thought a lot about this,” she told The Irish Times. “I am going to vote Yes in recognition of the gay community as full members of society. They should have an entitlement to marry. It is a civil right and a human right.”   Above: Sr Stan outside the Dáil in 2012 with campaigners against sex trafficking. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Well-known social activist at odds with Catholic hierarchy on referendum stance

Migrants, many fleeing Syria, arriving at Porto Empedocle in Sicily after being rescued off the Libyian coast by a Dutch freighter the Dinteldijk. Photograph: Frank Miller

Trinity professor Brian Lucey says immigrants are net contributors to society

 Paudie Coffey, Minister of State with responsibility for housing and planning. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Campaigners say radical measures needed to stop towns and cities ‘dying on their feet’

Changing demographics: A majority feel our immigration policies should be made more restrictive (53 per cent), but these numbers have also fallen. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Despite negative views, concern over impact on schools and hospitals has eased slightly

The initiative allows mortgage holders to surrender their homes to a not-for-profit housing association, which then rents it to the original owners

Mortgage-to-rent scheme was aimed at assisting up to 3,500 at risk of losing homes

 Former chief executive of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) Mike Aynsley. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Selection of O'Brien bid for Siteserv aimed at ‘securing highest possible return’

Seven units of Dublin Fire Brigade  were called to the scene. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Emergency services provide life suppport at scene

Among the key concerns are difficulties providing timely access to acute hospitals as a result of demand exceeding capacity, resulting in overcrowding, long waiting times and delayed release of ambulances. Photograph: Getty Images

‘Risk register’ reveals scale of challenges facing health service as waiting lists lengthen

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton recently said the Government is committed to maintaining core welfare rates, while taking a zero-tolerance approach towards welfare fraud

Department received 21,000 allegations of fraud last year, however few led to savings

Joint Garda/social welfare checkpoint on Mallow to Cork road. Twenty members of the force joined the national unit earlier this year and are able to use their powers of arrest. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Beefed up team carrying out road-checks, in addition to tackling airports and takeaways

Irish Refugee Council chief executive Sue Conlan said moves to improve access to third level for asylum-seeking students were a step in the right direction. Photograph: The Irish Times

Asylum-seeking students in system for five years to be granted equal third-level access

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said  she is determined  asylum-seeking students who have been in the system for five years or more should be treated in the same way as Irish students. File photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Young students in system for more than five years to be eligible for student grants

The Child and Family Agency  is responsible for inspecting all pre-schools, play groups, crèches and day care services that cater for children aged under six

Tusla chief says gap could make it difficult to identify where children may be at risk

 Gerry O’Boyle, of Land League West, at repossessed houses in Hazel Downs Estate, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

For former auctioneer Gerry O’Boyle and other Land League West members, the suffering caused by house repossessions is un(...)

Most employment lawyers say zero-hours contracts are unlikely to be used to any significant degree in Ireland

Ministers have pledged to act if review finds employees are being exploited

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) conducted an unannounced inspection at the HSE-run St Peter’s Services in Castlepollard, Co Westmeath last December following concerns over the safety and welfare of residents. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Hiqa audit detailed unexplained bruising and lack of trained staff at St Peter’s care unit

A screengrab from secretly recorded footage in Swinford’s Áras Attracta residential care centre shows a worker putting a blanket over a resident’s head after the latter made noise looking for attention. File photograph: RTÉ

Hiqa finds major breaches after unannounced inspection at Mayo centre for people with disabilities

The State has some of the highest childcare costs in Europe. Latest figures indicate a typical dual-earner family with two young children is paying more than one-third of their income on childcare. The average cost across the EU is between a quarter and a half of the Irish average. File photograph: Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire

Direct subsidies would improve affordability and improve services, high-level body to be told

Child and Family Agency chief executive Gordon Jeyes confirmed last weekend the agency was in discussion with the Department of Children on measures required to save up to €18 million this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Child and Family Agency’s board expressed concerns at critical underfunding

UPC and Eircom currently broadcast the channel and Saorview told the Oireachtas it would like to add it to its free-to-air platform.

Survey indicates almost half of viewers have never watched the channel

Minister for Children James Reilly: said he was committed to achieving the ending of the practice of detaining children in adult prisons at the earliest possible date. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Under-18s remanded in custody to be placed in Oberstown child detention school

Open about sexuality: DIT students held Stand Up 4 Love, a comedy and music night at Vicar Street, in support of a Yes vote in the marriage-equality referendum

What proportion of us are gay, lesbian or bisexual? according to The ‘Irish Times’ Family Values poll

Dr Helen Buckley, chair of the National Review Panel, spoke of three teenage women, on lengthy waiting lists for psychology services, who had taken their own lives. Photograph: Eric Luke

Review figures raise concern about long waiting lists for mental health services

Unexplained bruising and bedsores were found on residents at the facility. Library photograph: Thinkstock

Hiqa finds unexplained bruising and inadequate medical care at St Peter’s, Co Westmeath

Tusla said all children with the greatest need were effectively identified by the service but  accepted there were areas which required improvement. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Children safer once they have social worker but process in Cork takes too long, report finds

 Solicitor Brian O’Donnell has resumed his challenge to a High Court order requiring his family to vacate their Killiney mansion, Gorse Hill. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Solicitor appealing High Court ruling requiring his family to vacate Killiney mansion

 Government sources argue there is no single reason for the increase in road deaths  again last year. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Investigation shows highest rate of penalty points for traffic offences in Co Clare

A Garda issues a speeding ticket  near Ashbourne, Co Meath. Photograph: Frank Miller

Commuter belt counties more likely to have higher rates of penalty points

Lobby groups such as the AA argue a shortage of Garda checkpoints has had an impact on driver behaviour. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Analysis: why are drivers more likely to die in counties with fewer penalty points?

Bridget McMahon with her grandchildren Lara Rose (6) and Aoife May (4) , at Lucan Co. Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Even though it can be non-stop keeping them occupied, Bridget says she and her husband are well able for it

Empty chairs:  high costs mean that less than a quarter of Irish children go to creches. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

In the absence of subsidies, Irish childcare costs are among the world’s most expensive

Extended family: grandparents now do more childcare than creches

Amid high childcare costs, 60 per cent of Ireland’s parents mind their children at home

The gap between young and old isn’t nearly as wide as you might think, based on the results of The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI “Family Values” opinion poll

Fathers’ rights, same-sex marriage, right to die: old and young agree on most family issues

‘Many older people grew up in a different era where we had to deal with distorted and unhealthy attitudes towards sex,’ says Anne Dempsey of the Third Age Foundation, a voluntary group which promotes active ageing. Photograph posed by models: Thinkstock

Values have been shaped by adult children with many now embracing diversity

Marie and John McPhilemy with their daughter Lucy: ‘It will be a special day when the law changes.’

Marie and Lucy McPhilemy are mother and daughter yet strangers in the eyes of the law

Cappahard Lodge, in Ennis, Co Clare:  in breach of conditions on care plans. Photograph: Brian Arthur/Press 22

Commission ‘disappointed and concerned’ and says it will take action against offenders

Research found up to 78 per cent of properties in Dublin where tenants were on rent supplement did not comply with basic legal minimum standards; with mould on walls, no running water, vermin and windowless rooms

Some landlords get money for over 100 homes in scheme costing State €300m a year

Men were at a much higher risk of dying by suicide. The rate among men at the end of 2012 was 57 per cent higher than would have been the case had the recession not occurred.

While suicide rates increase, countries that invest in labour market supports can reduce deaths

The economic recession has been linked to almost 500 additional deaths by suicide, new research suggests.

Unemployment, depression and substance abuse key risks during downturn, study finds

A Syrian refugee family waits near the Turkish-Syrian border after fleeing Syria, near Sanliurfa, Turkey, last year. Photo: EPA/ULAS YUNUS TOSUN

Authorities have pledged to resettle 450 Syrians since conflict began

Brian O’Donnell arriving at the Four Courts yesterday for a High Court decision regarding trespass at the disputed property, Gorse Hill, in Killiney, Co Dublin. Photograph: Courtpix

‘You and your wife have to be out of the property by 5 o’clock tomorrow,’ judge says

Brian O’Donnell asked the  appeals court if he and his wife, Mary Patricia, should “continue to pack up” their belongings. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

O’Donnell may be able to appeal High Court order requiring vacation of Gorse Hill home

A judge has ordered Brian and Mary Patricia  O’Donnell  to vacate Gorse Hill by 5pm on  Friday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Hearing against High Court decision will be on Friday morning before Court of Appeal

Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald who has drafted the general scheme of the Marriage Bill (2015). Photograph: Collins

Government publishes legislation to be enacted in event of referendum Yes vote

The UN, responding to a 2006 government report, said it was ‘deeply concerned that corporal punishment within the family is still not prohibited by law’ in Ireland. Photograph: Monkeybusinessimages/Getty

Law on smacking children is clear, but many believe it does not offer sufficient protection

The Government is under pressure to introduce a ban on smacking children following a finding by the Council of Europe that “reasonable chastisement” is a violation of young people’s rights.

Ruling follows complaint by campaigners over ‘reasonable chastisement’ defence

Mohammed Alkaran. “At night-time, I think of all the people we left behind. You end up in tears, thinking about them or reading the news. We pray for them all.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Prof Mohammed Alkaran and his family are among the millions who have fled Syria since fighting began four years ago

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch  says the review aims to give a stronger voice to the individual . Photograph: Alan Betson

Proposals from expert group aimed at modernising mental health legislation

Leo Varadkar: Was unconvinced that sponsorship of sporting events increased overall consumption. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister’s spokesman says no conflict with plans to tackle sponsorship aimed at minors

Kathleen Lynch: Intends to change legislation shortly to reflect the recommendations on ECT use. Photograph: The Irish Times

Current legislation allows shock treatment on patients unwilling to provide consent

Sophie Magennis, UNHCR Ireland’s head of office, called for the length of time asylum seekers spend awaiting decisions on their asylum applications to be reduced, in order to limit the negative effects highlighted in the ‘Towards a New Beginning’ report. Photograph: Eric Luke

Most asylum seekers have spent four years or more in State-funded accommodation units

The HSE has estimated the cost of solving the country's overcrowding  crisis to be in the range of €100m. Photograph: Getty Images.

Money would open more hospital beds, pay for nursing home places and provide for home help

Increasing the employee rate of PRSI from 4 to 5 per cent for higher earners would affect 250,000 employees and yield €60 million, according to the report

Increase in contributions needed to keep social insurance fund on sustainable footing

Beaumont Hospital has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into complaints about the treatment of a man in his 80s.

Campaign group says strong laws needed to make managers accountable

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan endorsed a more gradual approach to lending restrictions rather than suddenly restricting banks from lending more than 80 per cent of a home’s purchase price. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Rents close to boom peak and Department of Finance fears mortgage rules will not help

Oberstown is the setting for a new child detention campus which will accommodate teenage offenders who until recently have been placed in St Patrick’s Institution, a wing of Mountjoy Prison. Photograph: The Irish Times

Hiqa report says one child spent 83 hours in isolation over four-day period

The group Mothers and Fathers Matter organised a photocall outside Leinster House yesterday as the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015 was presented to Cabinet. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Analysis: Children and Family Relationships Bill modernises areas such as custody and access

Increasing wealth is being concentrated in the hands of fewer people

Kathleen Lynch: Minister has conceded to colleagues that the Coaltion is taking heavy criticism over money pledged for mental health not being spent. Photograph: Jason Clarke

Target to end practice of admitting teenagers into adult psychiatic units ‘unlikely to be met’

Report by economic think-tank Tasc is likely to pose fresh questions over definition of “squeezed middle”. Photograph: Getty

Income share of top earners has doubled since 1980s, while bottom 90% has lost share of income

Economic inequality is often seen as inevitable, but it needn’t be so. Photograph: Getty

Reversing inequality does not mean hindering economic growth, says new research

Tasc research indicates State  now the most unequal country in the EU when it comes to how the economy distributes income. Photograph: Getty Images

Gap widening as over 33% of earnings in hand of top 10% of earners, report finds

Allowing multinationals to funnel profits out of developing countries deprives them of billions of euro in much-needed revenue, ac(...)

Field work: cutting sugar cane in Zambia. Photograph: Jason Larkin/Panos/ActionAid

A Zambian food company pays almost no tax in poverty-stricken Africa, opting instead to route its profits through Dublin. Our tax (...)

Into the west: Ennis has the highest pass rates for the driving test, followed by Sligo,  Tuam, Clifden and Roscommon. Dublin has the lowest. Photograph by Frank Miller

Ennis has highest pass rate, at 68%, and Dublin’s Rathgar the lowest, at 41%

Among the areas where health services are under serious pressure are hospital emergency departments and maternity services, while there are also growing waiting lists for vital procedures and primary care. File photograph: Getty Images

HSE only received half additional money it sought to run health services in 2015

Proud Corkman Carl O’Brien on O’Connell Street in Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

No matter how far you go, even if it’s only as far as Dublin, you never leave behind the legacy that you’re from the chosen land (...)

Number of people seeking protection in Ireland jumped by 53 per cent last year

Mountain View centre in Newbridge: inspectors said some staff lacked mandatory training and sufficient safeguards to prevent potential abuse of vulnerable residents.

Kildare centre in breach of regulations over care planning and use of chemical restraint

Minister for Finance  Michael Noonan giving a joint Budget 2015 press conference at Government Buildings in October 2014. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Department of Social Protection report says better-off families set to gain most from changes

There was  good news for Toyota when the top 10 best-selling cars of 2009 underwent the NCT in 2013 - this being the first required test for cars, at four years old. The compact Yaris came out on top (87 per cent pass rate). File photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

NCT test data for 2013 shows models from Japanese car brand have highest pass rate

The NCT centre at Font Hill Road, Dublin. The average pass rate per centre is 48 per cent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Major variations in pass rates among test centres

All households who register with Irish Water are entitled to a €100 water conservation grant

Capped charges mean average cost per litre will fall well below European average

Latest NCT statistics show major variations in pass rates between test centres and car brands

Measuring the Pressure, an analysis of social services, says there are some 2,740 cases without a social worker classified as a “high priority”, indicating serious child protection concerns or other risks

Report to Child and Family Agency warns of huge number of cases without social worker

 Mark Gray from  Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin: ‘By the time you’re on your third or fourth social worker, you’re just fed up of explaining yourself.’ Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Young people in care need urgent support, says former care home resident

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: On budget day he announced improved tax incentives for research and development aimed at attracting inward investment. Photograph: The Irish Times

Budget concession allows companies to lower taxes with 25% credit via spend on R&D

A boy begging in an alleyway in Dublin – the worst poverty rates were felt by lone parents, the unemployed, those out of work  and children

Rising levels of consistent poverty are a legacy of the downturn

Campaigners said the scale of rising poverty amounted to a “national scandal”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Numbers anchored in consistent poverty escalate to 140,000, fresh data reveals

Tom McMahon, senior statistician, Richard McMahon, assistant director general and Patrick Foley, statistician, at the Central Statistics Office at Government Buildings Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Analysis:The number of children living in consistent poverty has doubled during the recession

The CSO said people across all income groups were reporting increases in deprivation each year since 2008. Photograph: Getty Images/Hemera

Living conditions survey shows deprivation rates double since before economic crash

Health and social care professionals accused of misconduct or poor performance may face a public fitness-to-practise hearing for the first time. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Sanctions against those found guilty of miscondiuct to include ban on practising

‘My home is Ireland, and I am never leaving my home.’

Minister for Children Dr James Reilly: he said the findings would help in his department’s reform of youth services. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Poor data meant Department of Children report could not judge efficiency of programmes

Paul Redmond, spokesman for the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors and David Kinsella who grew up in St Patrick’s, at the publication of the terms of reference for the mother and baby homes inquiry. Photograph: Collins

Coalition anxious to avoid repeat of decade-long inquiry into industrial schools

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Inquiry to examine Catholic and Protestant homes between 1922 and early 1990s

The doorway in Molesworth Street where Jonathan Corrie was found dead. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Tackling housing crisis in 2015 will prove bigger challenge than issue of rough sleeping

Retail Ireland says figures suggest it will be retailers’ best Christmas for five years. It has forecast a 2 per cent rise in the sales worth €80 million. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Sales began early with more shops offering discounts online on Christmas Day

Monica Rowe, Childline’s national manager: ‘The season can bring unwelcome stress on families and issues such as financial pressures and alcohol misuse in the home.’

Most calls were from children experiencing family difficulties or mental health problems

Childline’s night-time service is to remain open after the charity reached an agreement with the Government over funding and use of technology. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Charity to assist State by sharing use of technology to assist with child protection

Ten staff placed on leave as HSE investigates complaints at Daughters of Charity centre

Then minister for finance Brian Lenihan argued that continued payment of child benefit to those who could afford to meet their own needs was “not appropriate in the current circumstances”

Cabinet records for 2010 budget reveal push for steeper cuts to welfare and dole

Delays can have big impact on health, says Irish Family Planning Association

IFPA chief executive Niall Behan: counsellors are restricted in what support they can give to vulnerable women seeking abortion services under Irish law. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Counselling organisation says figures show ‘insurmountable’ obstacles faced by women

Eamonn Kennedy admitted to hospital with injuries

Eamonn Kennedy (44) admitted to hospital while a resident of Redwood care facility

The entrance to the Redwood Extended Care Facility in Stamullen, Co Meath. Photograph: Google Streetview

Hiqa report on Redwood facility for intellecutally disabled people is published

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn: said the HSE put in new management arrangements and convinced Hiqa the systems in place ensured better protection for residents. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Dehydration and malnutrition listed as ‘factors’ in death of 72-year-old disabled man

Unpublished HSE report shows outdated group homes continuing to admit new residents

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: has ruled out providing employment rights for asylum seekers or an amnesty for those in the system. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

Commission says system fails to safeguard rights of children and parents

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