Elizabeth Cloherty, a care assistant, has no complaints about pay or the hours she gets. She is concerned, however, about what the future holds. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Elizabeth Cloherty and others in a like situation have no contract and little sense of security

A rally in support of Dunnes Stores workers earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

How State can ensure economic flexibility for employers and job security for workers

Keith Doran outside his former workplace, Clerys, on O’Connell Street, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Keith Doran got a call from HR manager to say there was no need to come in the next day

Sinéad Pembroke works in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Nursing and Midwifery: “I can’t think about buying a house or starting a family”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Short-term contracts and casual work increasingly common in workplace

Sinead Pembroke, who works at TCD’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. “I can’t think about buying a house or starting a family. I don’t have the security or the finance. It’s the source of a lot of anxiety. Many others in the same boat are constantly thinking about applying for the next job.”Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Sinead Pembroke is one of a rising number of academics reliant on precarious work

The use of contractors in the IT, pharmaceutical, health and engineering sectors has been promoted by both employers and recruitment firms. File photograph: PA Photo

Growing use of self-employed workers in IT, pharmaceutical, health and engineering

Latest projections indicate the family income supplement will be paid to more than 50,000 families in respect of more than 100,000 children this year. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Critics say rapid rise in family income supplement tops up low pay by employers

Stephen McLeod,  archaeologist:  His work comes in dribs and drabs of contracts ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Photograph Tony Corey

Muireann Dalton, retail worker with Dunnes Stores

The proportion of full-time workers who are on temporary contracts has doubled in the past decade or so, up from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. Illustration: John Holcroft/Ikon/Getty

Workers are spending longer at work, are changing jobs more often, and are more likely to be on internships or temporary contracts(...)

Tánaiste Joan Burton said she would like to see an increase in child benefit in the next budget.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

40,000 may no longer have to pay universal social charge under tax changes

Mosney reception centre for asylum seekers, in Co Meath. Photograph: Frank Miller

Proposals come as latest figures show 250 people sought asylum in the State last month

Tánaiste Joan Burton:   “Broadly, we’re agreeable to taking part in the arrangements and to take numbers that are appropriate to our size, population and resources.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

EU plans to share 40,000 migrants on voluntary basis over next two years

Lorcán Miller’s coffin is carried into Rathmichael Parish Church in Shankill, Co Dublin, for his funeral.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Postcard sent from Berkeley only arrived on Tuesday

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Dr Shekhar Saxena from the World Health Organisationat the launch of the “Connecting for Life” suicide prevention strategy at Farmleigh House in Dublin. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds Photography.

Plan includes classes on dealing with stress for students but no extra funding for services

Consensus between civil servants and campaign groups means there will be few areas of contention when the proposal is discussed by the Cabinet next week. Photograph: The Irish Times

Recommendation that application for asylum be dealt with not later than six months

Laiq and his wife Amtul with their sons Waleed (16) Nabeed (12) and Sarmad (5). The family live and sleep in one room in the Eglinton direct provision centre in Salthill. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

A fast-track measure within six months is the one thing that would change their world

The Health Information and Quality Authority found significant delays at Tusla in assessing the needs of children and families where there were reports of suspected abuse or neglect. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Health watchdog finds inconsistencies in safety and quality of services for children

Conor Neill (6) with his class in the Doodle Den in St Michael’s Infants School in Limerick. Photograph: Brian Gavin/Press 22

Impact Journalism Day: Addressing education and inequality one afternoon at a time

The Department of Social Protection says thousands of lone parents who increase their number of part-time working hours to 19 will be better off under the changes due next month. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Government insists reforms will end poverty traps and improve access to employment

Karen Kiernan of One Family: “This reform process is forcing lone parents who are already working part-time to give up their jobs because they no longer meet the eligibility criteria and because work does not pay, meaning even greater poverty.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Government insists reforms will end poverty trap and improve access to education

Michelle McFarland and her daughter Ashleigh. She is one of about 4,000 lone parents who stand to lose out under welfare changes. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Coalition says welfare changes will tackle poverty, but some will end up losing out

Senior HSE managers have expressed concern  over the cost implications of an EU directive that allows patients to obtain care abroad and recoup the costs from the State. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Health body fears cost implications of reimbursement scheme for treatment abroad

‘Connecting for life’, a new youth suicide prevention strategy, is to focus on helping secondary school students to deal with stress.

Republic ranks fourth highest in EU for young people taking their own lives

A homeless man begs on Dublin’s Grafton Street. Sir Anthony Atkinson, author of Inequality: What can be done?, says the gap between rich and poor can be narrowed with policies which aren’t radical or revolutionary. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Sir Anthony Atkinson says what must be done to narrow gap between rich and poor

56 high-profile high achievers, from Bill Clinton to Bono, contribute to this deluxe coffee-table anthology; it makes for both ins(...)

Cregg House was previously at the centre of controversy over poor staffing levels and lack of access to activities for residents when it was operated by the Daughters of Wisdom, a religious order.

Disabled children left in bed until 1pm due to understaffing, report into HSE centre finds

Minahil Sarfraz on Direct Provision: “I’m a girl who every day wakes up in a mobile home. Not big enough to roam. Frighterned every night not knowing the out comel. A ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.” Photograph: Maxwells

Discrimination key theme of ‘Picture Your Rights’ survey of 2,000 children in Ireland

The Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has called on the Government to immediately extend his remit to provide independent oversight of direct provision centres for asylum seekers. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘It’s entirely inappropriate. It reflects badly on us. It needs to be brought to an end’

Many survivors waited years before seeking support. Last year, most adults made contact with the Rape Crisis Network five years after the incident occurred. Photograph: Getty Images

Majority of the 53 rape survivors went on to give birth and parent their child, says network

The Minister of State for Health, Kathleen Lynch, said: “If we don’t do anything, we’re going to have serious problems.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Eleven facilities will not meet Hiqa standards unless they are rebuilt or renovated

The headline at-risk-of-poverty figures may be out by up to 80,000 people. Photograph: Getty Images

Dept of Social Protection and ESRI point out discrepancy in EU survey

Other cases documented raise questions as to what support was offered to vulnerable mothers prior to care proceedings being brought

In one case a District Court issued a care order for a child whose mother had a mental age of eight

Health authorities are to develop new guidelines on the use of powerful psychotropic medication. Photograph: Getty Images

Groups voice concern medication overused to control behaviour of vulnerable patients

Linda and her son Anthony Kletzander, who is in his early 20s and lives in a group home. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Potent pills: how drugs are being used to control behaviour of disabled

More than half of people with learning disabilities living in residential centres are being prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs. Photograph: Getty Images

Campaigners raise concerns over scale of ‘chemical cosh’ in residential centres

 Gerard Finn, who died from Alzheimer’s disease after spending many years in a nursing home, with his daughters Sharon and Lourda, who is holding her son Fionn, in October 2006. Photograph copied by Liam Burke/Press 22.

Many of the psychotropic medicines being used are not licensed for use on older people

Up to one-in-three residents in some Irish nursing homes are being administered psychotropic medication, based on previously unreleased pharmacy records and new research. Photograph: The Irish Times

Side-effects of antipsychotic drugs in Ireland may be linked to dozens of deaths, strokes

Slapping is widely practised, though it’s been declining sharply over recent years. Photograph: Getty Images

Answer: The Coalition is fearful of wading into an issue where public opinion is divided

Council of Europe: Lack of clear corporal punishment ban violates rights of youth

While legislation which allowed parents to use force against their children was repealed almost 15 years ago, the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ still exists in common law for parents or child carers

Children’s groups say Ireland is out of kilter with Europe by permitting corporal punishment

Leila Dube from Galway marching with asylum seekers, refugees and supporters  on Universal Children’s Day last November, protesting about the system of direct provision. Photograph: Alan Betson

The State has failed repeatedly to improve conditions for asylum seekers

Hiqa reports suicidal child waited three years for response from authorities

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

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