President Michael D Higgins at an Áras an Uachtaráin engagement on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘You don’t survive in politics as long as he has without being cute,’ says informed source

President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins

President to wait until 12 months to declare intentions but he is expected to stand again

Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Feargháil and guest speaker  Alan Quinlan prior to the Oireachtas symposium on  mental health at  Dublin Castle. Photograph: Maxwells

Ceann Comhairle says politicians not immune to suffering mental health problems

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the  Fine Gael think-in in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, ahead of the resumption of the Dáil next week.  Photograph:  PA Wire

Early days see directness and caution, and no striking out in any bold new direction

Leo Varadkar on the cover of Time magazine’s Europe edition

Taoiseach makes strong impression internationally, but sees controversy at home

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: worked on the plan to repurpose Nama with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Repurposed agency to work with developers towards greater supply of affordable homes

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  at the Fine Gael parliamentary party think-in in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Plan intended to ensure a ‘strong State lever to drive delivery’ of more homes

Nóirín O’Sullivan: “The last Garda commissioner was in and out to so many public forums that she wasn’t able to do her job,” according to Dermot Ahern. Photograph: Alan Betson

Politicians agree the Garda commissioner has a tough role, but sympathy is limited

Apartment supply is the main concern when it comes to building costs, with house building seen as satisfactory by sources. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

Government report sought industry group input, who say housing estates only marginally viable

Garda commissioner: Nóirín O’Sullivan will be entitled to a lump sum of almost €290,000 and a pension of €90,000. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Government believes 65% increase in salary required for Nóirín O’Sullivan’s successor

Minister for Justice  Charlie Flanagan speaking on Monday following the retirement of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

It is understood Justice officials were contacted, and prospect of retirement raised

Dr Rhona Mahony at Labour Party think-in. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/

Rhona Mahony also tells Labour think-in of toxic working conditions in health service

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: At the Customs House yesterday, he hosted another emergency summit on homelessness. Nobody will be surprised if there will be yet more. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Housing mess is a chance for the parties in power to show ‘new politics’ can work

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Some Fianna Fáil sources described his preferred government option as a ‘rainbow coalition on steroids’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Micheál Martin issues warning amid concerns over frightening middle-ground voters

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe speaking outside  Government Buildings in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Varadkar: ‘Other 27 member states behind us in seeking to preserve Common Travel Area’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe plan to execute an early repayment of the remaining €4.5bn owed to the IMF. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Paschal Donohoe says decision to hold off repayment has nothing to do with Brexit

Sinn Féin’s leader in the North Michelle O’Neill. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Michelle O’Neill calls for short, focussed negotiation following informal contacts

Gerry Adams, president,  Mary Lou McDonald, deputy leader and Michelle O’Neill, leader of Sinn Féin Northern Ireland at the party think-in. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Now that ‘if’ has turned to ‘when’, Sinn Féin at risk of having a lame duck leader

Paschal Donohoe would rather the money would be “spent by the State directly” on new construction rather than given to developers. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Minister calls Fianna Fáil proposal a ‘repeat of the mistakes behind the crash’

Gerry Adams says internal investigation into claims by Lisa Marie Sheehy found no evidence

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said he would again seek re-election as Sinn Féin leader at the party’s ardfheis in November. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Louth TD to outline ‘generational change’ process and ‘future intentions’ at ardfheis

Mary Lou McDonald is expected to succeed  Gerry Adams. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party has recently ramped up ambitions, but much depends on Southern partners

During the Fine Gael leadership contest Leo Varadkar said the revaluation of property tax would allow the Government take a “proper look at it”.  Photograph: Getty Images

Many homes will see increase in liability because of rising property prices

Homelessness crisis: although social housing is being built, “the difficulty is it will be into next year before we see it at a volume”, says Paul Reid of Fingal County Council. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Homelessness crisis cannot be tackled properly until 2018, council head warns

 Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath was contacted by Simon Harris after he stood over his previous opposition to the HPV vaccine. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister supporting Government campaign having previously raised concerns about practice

Irish Water: about a million households will benefit from the refunds, which will be for up to €325

Government keen to draw line under water-charges controversy

Senior Government figures have discussed setting up a new housing corporation that would be able to act as a developer of State-funded homes. Photograph: Getty Images

Sinn Féin says new semi-State company for housing would be ‘very foolish’

RTÉ redundancies: the broadcaster and its director general, Dee Forbes, have been given Government go-ahead

Broadcaster’s severance scheme to be more generous than HSE package

It is understood senior figures have discussed setting up a new housing corporation to act as a developer of State-funded homes. Similar to the model of Irish Water, it would take powers off local authorities. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Organisation would be similar to Irish Water and take powers from local authorities

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a visit to a border post between the US and Canada on Tuesday.

Taoiseach says network of North American crossing posts costs over €1bn a year to run

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Taoiseach to look at post-Brexit Border options during ‘fact-finding’ Canadian visit

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said: “We have Christmas bonuses to consider, we have increases in pension payments to consider, but there are far more vulnerable people in Ireland today than our old age pensioners.” File photograph: Getty Images

Budget 2018: Taoiseach responds to Doherty view that pensioners are not the most vulnerable

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau,  shake hands prior to a bilateral meeting in Montreal. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Taoiseach tells Canadian PM there is ‘always more to do’ on social change

Double Irish: Leo Varadkar TD outlined his “Ireland’s Global Footprint 2025” plan at an Enterprise Ireland breakfast in Toronto during his official visit to Canada

Taoiseach unveils plans for more diplomatic staff, embassies and agencies worldwide

Leo Varadkar was speaking after he met with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal on Sunday. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Taoiseach responds to Brexit secretary but suggests existing trade deals are ‘very good’

Speaking in Canada, the Taoiseach insisted Mr Trump’s invitation to Ireland still stands. Photograph: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Leo Varadkar responded to comments from Minister Regina Doherty, who called on Ireland to stand up to Mr Trump

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and  Justin Trudeau go for a jog through Phoenix Park during a visit to Ireland earlier this year by the Canadian prime minister.

US-Canadian border cited as example of how the Irish Border could operate post-Brexit

“Nice pace – shame about the maple leaf socks.” Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar jogging in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: PA Wire

The Taoiseach and the Canadian PM are meeting yet again – is Canada that important?

Former chief justice Susan Denham is the chief signatory of the letter, which takes issue with the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Letter claims lay commission will not promote choice of ‘best possible candidates’

The letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was signed by former chief justice Susan Denham, as well as the presidents of the Court of Appeal, High Court, Circuit Court and District Courts. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

June letter claims Minister’s proposals would fail to depoliticise judicial appointments

The UK government is trying to have it all its own way: maintain the benefits of the Customs Union while also using any transitional period to negotiate, but not finalise, its own free trade deals

UK position papers indicate it wants to cherrypick aspects of EU arrangements

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend the Montreal Pride Parade. Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

Spokesman denies Canadian trip means Government accepts hard Border with North

Figures published this month revealed 7,941  people are homeless. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Minister says Government ‘has a real crisis’ and is seeking to ‘get a proper handle on it’

Fine Gael wants to avoid a repeat of a row before the last election, which saw a  former minister of State take the party to court in a dispute over a selection convention. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Senior GAA figures advising party on ‘gold standard’ dispute-resolution mechanisms

The British chancellor Philip Hammond, left, and the international trade secretary Liam Fox have jointly stated that Brexit would mean the UK pulling out of both the EU single market and the customs union. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Position paper to focus on making Border as ‘seamless and frictionless as possible’

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said  “ideology has nothing to do” with solving the housing crisis, and that all potential solutions will be examined

Move is part of new strategy on vacant homes which is due to be announced next month

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Those close to him maintain that by Christmas people will know exactly what he stands for.

Brexit, abortion referendum and party strategies will all alter the political landscape

 Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Statements by group of Deputies contrast with Micheál Martin’s position on the issue

Gerry Adams: he described confidence and supply deals such as the one between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as “fundamentally dishonest”. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Adams follows McDonald in ruling out supporting minority government

The Government’s sharper tone on Brexit  has led to objections from those in favour of leaving the EU, such as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Language from the Irish Government has become much tougher in recent weeks

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: “No decisions have been made in respect of Budget 2018,” said a spokeswoman for Mr Donohoe. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

TD Alan Farrell had suggested increase in subsidy could be allocated in October budget

Dublin Central TD Finian McGrath. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Finian McGrath claims Independents will field a candidate to oppose the President in 2018

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has been accused  of using the issue of high-rise as a “smokescreen for inaction”. Photograph: Getty Images

Minister examining how to bring down the cost of building apartments

Mary Lou McDonald: she  says Sinn Féin will talk to all comers after an election, but senior party figures believe  Fianna Fáil, for cultural reasons, is the likeliest partner. Photograph Getty Images

Party’s shifting stance is posing a conundrum that must be solved sooner or later

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone says she will be seeking more money for the childcare scheme in this October’s budget. Photograph: Istock

Study will investigate why Irish childcare is among the most expensive in Europe

Mary Lou McDonald: “You either take the plunge and you go into government or you don’t.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minority governments do not serve Ireland’s needs, claims deputy party leader

Sale of a family home: capital gains tax would be hard to introduce politically. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Government has ‘no plans or intentions’ to implement tax-strategy suggestion

Fine Gael Clare TD Joe Carey said the Government should be cautious about introducing any higher excise duty on fuels. Photograph: Eamon Ward

TDs urge Government caution in relation to possible increase in excise duty on diesel fuel

Between 2008 and 2015, an extra 471,711 diesel cars took to the road, while the number of petrol cars decreased by 425,903. Photograph: Alan Betson

Government is considering a higher levy due to health and environmental concerns

 Rent-pressure zones are areas in which rents are permitted to rise by only 4%  annually, and which are experiencing housing shortages generally. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials say rent surges outside Dublin could be due to worries over spread of ‘pressure zones’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Kyle Kearney (8) from Ballyfermot, Darius O’Reilly (4) from Clontarf, Finn O’Connor (4) from Smithfield and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone at the launch of the national awareness campaign ahead of extra childcare supports starting next month. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Early Childhood Ireland says more childminders need to be brought into the scheme

Senior officials have raised the prospect of abolishing relief on family homes from capital gains tax when they are sold. Photograph: iStock

Move is among tax reform options put forward by Department of Finance group

Dole queues in Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision

Department of Social Protection indicates rise in all areas may not be possible

Splitting Northern Ireland off from the rest of the UK and allowing it remain in the single market or customs union on its own would be strongly opposed by the DUP. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Government believes either North on its own or all of UK must remain in single market

Willie O’Dea: he said he was not in favour of going into government with either Fine Gael or Sinn Féin. Photograph: Getty Images

Martin says Fianna Fáil wants to ‘lead next government’ and would not rule anything out

 Independent Alliance member Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran proposed the Keeping People in their Homes Bill, 2017. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Government and Central Bank issue warnings over ‘Boxer’ Moran’s proposed legislation

The 9% rate was introduced for special tourism-related activities, such as restaurants, hotels and cinemas.

Department of Finance advises Minister that 9% rate, introduced in 2011, has ‘done its job’

LÉ ‘Samuel Beckett’ during a rescue mission in the Mediterranean last September. For the Naval Service, not being part of the wider EU operation but working in the same theatre on tasks intimately connected to the EU mission has created limitations

Our Mediterranean missions currently based on an arrangement with the Italian government

Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe: the Taoiseach signalled during his Fine Gael leadership campaign that he would accelerate infrastructural projects such as motorways and Metro North. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Money diverted as first of new policies in 10-year capital investment programme

 Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A number of FF TDs believe the Government will fall by the spring of next year

Micheál Martin: has been back on the doors since last year. Photograph: Eric Luke

Micheál Martin is not in favour of an election early next year – but FF will be ready

The site where ‘significant’ quantities of human remains were found buried under the site of a former institution for unmarried mothers run by the Sisters of the Bon Secours. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Department of Children releases update on investigation of mother-and-baby homes

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had to amend his plan to publish the names of all social welfare fraudsters in order to get the legislation passed. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Deal with FF means only people guilty of defrauding €5,000 or more will be named

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: Indicated the USC will soon be merged with PRSI. Photograph: Collins

Inside Politics: Minister for Finance indictates USC will soon be merged with PRSI

Leo Varadkar at the launch in Dublin of his campaign against welfare fraud, in April 2017. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Only people found guilty of defrauding State of more than €5,000 will be named

Minister for Health Simon Harris is to say that the aim of the new cancer care strategy is to ensure cancer survival rates in the State will be among the best in Europe. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Simon Harris’s plan will warn that the number of cases of the disease will double in 20 years

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau plays a game of hurling with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Canadian prime minister says two countries should stay ‘positive and progressive’

The Government aims to use the extra property tax  to help cut income tax or build more homes.

Property tax could be doubled on vacant properties in areas of high demand

Paul Murphy during a Solidarity rally at the Tivoli Theatre: will ask the Taoiseach to establish a public inquiry into how the Jobstown  trial proceeded.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Solidarity TD expected to speak about alleged conspiracy during Taoiseach’s Questions

John Deasy TD will work with the Irish embassy in Washington DC and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Waterford TD will look after interests of undocumented Irish following concerns

The report found that house prices in Ireland have risen more in the first six months of 2017 than in the whole of last year

Warning comes as Leo Varadkar orders inquiry into housebuilding costs across Europe

Leo  Varadkar and Paschal  Donohoe are set to use the Summer Economic Statement to give effect to the Taoiseach’s promise, made during the campaign for the Fine Gael leadership, for greater infrastructural spending. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach has said Ireland’s economic growth at risk if such spending not increased

A hard Brexit could result in Irish consumers facing higher product prices and a rise in the cost base for Irish manufacturers. Photograph: iStock

Agri-food sector would be worst affected, says risk assessment report

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said ‘I am determined that we find some space to increase the take home pay of two million people who work really hard in this country’. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach says he plans to increase take home pay of people who ‘get up every day’ to work

Fine Gael does not really favour Shane  Ross’s proposals. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Transport thinks he has a thoroughbred, but the crowd sees a mongrel

Chief Justice Susan Denham: the weakening of her  role in appointments is one of the judges’  main concerns. Photograph: Frank Miller

Five court presidents write to Taoiseach over ‘implications for administration of justice’

 Over the weekend Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan  texted Fine Gael TDs with a message critical of Shane Ross.  Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Move comes in the wake of text message criticising Minister for Transport Shane Ross

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Minister ‘disappointed’ at Independent Alliance TD’s comments on judge appointments

Mr Justice Peter Kelly pictured in his chambers

Justice Peter Kelly tells private dinner Government is moving with ‘undue haste’

As a US-listed company, Apple would generally employ a more aggressive investment policy on its funds than a sovereign state. Photograph: Bloomberg

Government fears that if tax case is overturned, Apple could seek recompense

Fianna Fáil’s  Michael McGrath and  Micheál Martin at last year’s general election count in Cork.  It is expected that Cork South Central – where both are sitting TDs – will be one of the first constituencies to hold its convention. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Party will hold selection conventions to have candidates in place before summer break

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe: merger of PRSI and USC  would create “deeper social contract between those who pay taxes and the services that they receive in return”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Finance to look at how to deliver key plank of Leo Varadkar’s manifesto

Tanaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald at Templemore Garda College with Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan . Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

The confidence and supply agreement has been tested on a number of occasions in the 13 months it has been in existence

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised over Dáil comments about former attorney general Máire Whelan. Photographs: The Irish Times

Members of judiciary ‘extremely disappointed’ after comments in Dáil about Whelan

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is expected to announce on Thursday the target set by his predecessor, Simon Coveney, will not be met. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister to say family removal from emergency accommodation falling short of plan

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál  Martin:  said trust between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had been damaged by the events of the past few days. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Cabinet meeting hears criticisms over nomination of former attorney general

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is appointing junior ministers on Tuesday

Dropped junior minister: ‘He said he had to reward his supporters’

Máire Whelan, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal, with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach also rejected Fianna Fáil claims that an election may be imminent

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: wants the Dáil to sit an extra week. It is due to rise on July 13th but the Government wants to carry out an assessment of pending legislation to see what can be passed. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/

Leo Varadkar expected to grant demand that former AG’s appointment be reviewed

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath. File photograph: Collins

Finian McGrath suggests others wanted position on Court of Appeal

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