IFA general secretary Pat Smith, book editor Matt Dempsey, Ray MacSharry and IFA president Eddie Downey at the book launch. Photograph: Finbarr O’Rourke

TD invited to repeat claims made under Dáil privilege outside the Oireachtas

Brendan Howlin: “What I have always said is that we won’t be able to undo the Fempi legislation in one year or, in fact, in two years either. It will be a gradual increase to restore pay”

Joan Burton says while shape of any pay deal has yet to be discussed, deals stretching over years were normal

FF party leader Micheál Martin: New rules introduced by Fianna Fáil in 2013 compel its leader to convene a special ardfheis should he or she wish to enter a coalition. Photograph: Alan Betson

Motions to be debated at party Ardfheis on potential post-election alliance, say sources

The Government is expected to announce its final mortgage arrears package at the end of the month, following the spring economic statement

Government planning further measures to tackle worrying mortgage arrears crisis

 MInister Paschal Donohoe launched the new safety strategy and said the main factors in sea accidents include inadequate safety equipment and failure to wear life-jackets. Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Plan includes 33 actions under headings such as information and communication, and search and rescue operations

Shares in Aer Lingus rose 5.5 per cent to €2.42 at lunchtime in Dublin

Claims that IAG and Government close to deal on Heathrow guarantees

Discarded plan? A computer-generated image of what a Metro North train arriving at Swords could look like

Minister to choose between six options and make recommendation before Dáil recess

Catholic Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran: was one of the original signatories. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Cross-denominational body taking advice from bishops

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton has said any public sector pay deal must include reforms to work practices. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Ministers in senior party say reversal of wage cuts must lead to increased productivity

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone has been selected to contest the Dublin West constituency for Fine Gael with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar in the general election. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Senator, once based in Dublin South East, to run alongside Minister in general election

Former president Mary McAleese said the question of marriage equality is a human rights issue.

Former president has described same sex marriage as a ‘human rights issue’

‘Expect more political fixes, of differing scales, as the election draws near. A recent example was the extra funding provided by Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan for resource teaching hours for children with Down syndrome.’ Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Coalition will be hammering home their message that ‘There Is No Alternative’

Filming: volunteers take part in BeLonGTo’s advertisement in the Naul. Photograph: Alan Betson

With just six weeks until Ireland votes on whether to allow same-sex marriage, the hard battle will soon be under way

Yes Equality comprises the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Marriage Equality and says it has local branches in most constituencies. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Umbrella group’s same-sex marriage campaign launched by broadcaster Charlie Bird

Pearse Doherty has said the first action of Sinn Féin in government would be to scrap domestic water charges and abolish Irish Water.

Party says it will now abolish the semi-state body as well as water charges

Teresa Heeney, chief executive of Early Childhood Ireland, said one year’s paid parental leave should be only one element of reform package

Childcare group warns on timeline as Ibec raises concerns about costs to business sector

Taoiseach, Enda Kenny: Has repeatedly said the Government intends serving out its full term of office. The last possible date in the life of the 31st Dáil is March 8th, 2016. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Coalition intent on serving term but latest date for election not until April 9th, 2016

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly: has indicated he would like to restore the capitation grant to its previous level. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill.

Coalition has agreed in principle to introduction of second year of free pre-school

Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton: property tax a ‘significant issue’. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Ministers anxious to avoid big rises after review of tax is completed this summer

Choosing to split the year – which could be divided however  parents wish – may also entitle parents to bonus weeks of leave to encourage each parent to spend as much time with their child during its first year

Minister for Children working on reform package with bonuses for staying with baby

President Micheal D Higgins accompanied by Captain Eoghan O’Sullivan inspecting the guard of honour drawn from the 7th Infantry Battalion Cathal Brugha Barracks during the 99th Anniversary of the Easter Rising at the GPO. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Politicians and Defence Forces attend ceremony on O’Connell Street, Dublin

Refugees at an asylum centre near Portlaoise:  At present asylum seekers can go through four stages before a decision on their application is finalised. Photograph: The Irish Times

Asylum seekers living in direct provision for more than five years to be deemed a priority

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin: if a leadership election is triggered, voting will be broken down into three electoral colleges, with TDs still holding the biggest sway. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

New proposal is one of several measures aimed at reforming procedures in the party

Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil: “I have never agreed with washing the party’s dirty linen in public and I want it to stop now.” Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader says some deputies better at undermining party than Coalition and SF

The Moore Street buildings, the scene of the last acts of the Easter Rising,  were declared a national monument in 2007 but have been derelict for years. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Commemorative centre to be built on site where rebels agreed to surrender in 1916

Virgin Atlantic Airways  is pushing to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee to discuss the possible sale of the State’s 25 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus.

IAG rival calls for legally binding agreements as part of Aer Lingus takeover

An inquiry by Mr Justice Nial Fennelly into the Garda taping controversy is preparing to distribute its draft report on the resignation of former commissioner Martin Callinan following the conclusion of Ian Bailey’s High Court action.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

FF says Taoiseach and his staff have ‘engaged in bluff and bluster’ over events around departure

Fianna Fáil councillor and solicitor Patrick McKee, who is currently Leas-Cathoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, is expected to contest the upcoming by-election in Carlow Kilkenny for Lucinda Creighton’s new political party Renua. Image: Youtube

Patrick McKee set to run for Renua Ireland in race to fill Hogan’s Carlow-Kilkenny seat

An alliance of Independent TDs attending an event in the Bridge Hotel, Tullamore on Saturday

Meeting in Tullamore told new grouping could back a government on confidence votes

Michael Healy-Rea: report said he hid ‘behind the veneer of a friendly/simple country yokel’ but was ‘unbeatable electorally’. It claimed he had a ‘vicious temper . . . he is not like his more collegial father in that regard.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Joan Burton defends Eamon Gilmore over FG claims he could lose Dáil seat

A Fine Gael strategy document says “Gilmore is weak and may lose his seat, which would serve FG”. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

FG document says Arthur Spring ‘goosed’ while Healy-Rae has veneer of ‘yokel’

Former minister for communications Pat Rabbitte launched a broadside against RTÉ in the Dáil earlier this week when he accused the national broadcaster of acting as “recruitment sergeant” for the far left and Sinn Féin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

TD frustrated at ‘inadequate coverage’ of improvements needed to water system

The Fine Gael Kerry branch sized up Independent Michael Healy-Rae (above) as someone who hides behind “the veneer of a friendly/simple country yokel” but who is “unbeatable electorally”. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times Dara Mac Donaill

Fine Gael outlines strengths and weaknesses of its TDs and rivals

Senator Hildegarde Naughton (above) has a “strong public image” but “poor knowledge of the political landscape”. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Party faces backlash in Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s constituency

The Department of Education compiled a new report on the flights at the request of the Dail Public Accounts Committee. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Report shows Rody Molloy claimed his wife was representing the company

“RTÉ has acted as a recruiting sergeant for those who have taken control of, and are manipulating, the water protests,” Pat Rabbitte  told the Dáil. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Former Labour minister criticises national broadcaster’s coverage of water charges

The works are likely to see the Seanad moving for much of 2017, while also closing off the majority of the original Leinster House.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Office of Public Works says improvements must be carried out on buliding’s oldest parts

A screen-grab of the home page of oblivious.ie – a politics website operated by a group of transition year students from St Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry in Sligo

Majority of those surveyed also said they would close the door on a politician

Attachment orders on wages and welfare payments are seen as likely to be included in new measures to be published by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly. Photograph: Alan Betson

Proposals being considered by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly

Maureen Haughey, wife of Charles Haughey, is to attend a Fianna Fáil event later this week to launch the party’s 1916 centenary commemorations. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Widow of Charles Haughey, daughter of Séan Lemass to attend 1916 commemorations

Gerry Adams: events in Washington and New York lined up. Photograph: Getty Images

All those attending events abroad will go economy class, party spokesman insists

Paudie McGahon: “I knew that chap long before it ever happened and then all of a sudden he started to lose control of his life, but he has got control back.” Photograph: BBC

Man who alleges rape by IRA man expects another victim of same attacker to go public

Enda Kenny: a new unit is to be established within the Department of the Taoiseach to prepare for the possible exit of Britain from the European Union as well as dealing with other aspects of Irish-UK relations. Photograph: Colin Keegan

David Cameron promises referendum if Tories return to power after general election

Irish Times Washington Correspondent appearing before the Banking Inquiry in Dublin on Tuesday evening. Screengrab: Oireachtas TV

Journalist discusses ‘cosy’ relationship between political parties and property sector

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton at a press conference to mark the Fine Gael/Labour Party Coalition’s fourth year in office on March 10th, 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Enda Kenny says reduction in bankruptcy term from three years to one to be considered

Michéal Martin: Any suggestion ‘the truth of the Taoiseach’s involvement in the departure of Martin Callinan will now potentially not be known until after the general election is simply outrageous and unacceptable’.

Mr Justice Nial Fennelly’s findings to be delayed until after the High Court case involving Ian Bailey concludes

The failure to make more headway to settle the mortgage issue is seen within Government as a “chink” in its political narrative of deepening recovery.

Coalition planning campaign to solve mortgage crisis before election

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald chaired a  meeting of Fine Gael’s election strategy committee this week which  heard the party was short of its  target of women candidates for the  election. Photograph:

One-third of general election candidates must be women or the party faces funding cut

Mich Wallace TD, with Clare Daly TD. Mr Wallace said the Dáil was the primary medium through which gardaí could be held to account

Garda asks Ceann Comhairle to remove his name after accusation

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams were among the party members at the January meeting with American businessmen.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

US perception of party as anti-business on the agenda at fact-finding meeting

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking to supporters  on March 17th 2005 in Washington, DC, US. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Leading Irish-Americans express unease at meeting with Adams, McDonald and others

The transparency of Friends of Sinn Féin’s returns exceeds legal requirements, the party’s national treasurer Jonathan O’Brien has said.

Jonathan O’Brien responds to ‘Irish Times’ report that SF raised $12m over 20 years

Gerry Adams, following the presidential address at last year’s Sinn Féin ardfheis, with (from left) Mary Lou McDonald, Liadh Ní Riada, Martina Anderson, Martin McGuinness,and Lynn Boylan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Party employs substantially more staff than its rivals in Leinster House

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton: Said he has been given assurances that the national economic dialogue will not make any decisions on pay. Photograph: The Irish Times

Labour Party backs Penrose Bill calling for reduced bankruptcy period of 12 months

 Enda Kenny will insist the Coalition remains committed to reform on the basis of accountability and transparency. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Taoiseach to discuss issues of spending, tax and pay at Ibec event

Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin: “Where are the pressure points? How do we address the issue of childcare into the future?”  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Coalition sources insist new dialogue not a return to full-blown social partnership

Tánaiste Joan Bruton speaking  at the Labour Party conference. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Joan Burton delivers a competent rallying cry to the base and a pitch to voters

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Tánaiste Joan Burton at the Labour Party conference at Killarney at the weekend: he aims to bring “rent certainty” until housing supply catches up with demand.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘Short, sharp action’ needed to protect tenants during house shortage

Brendan Howlin, Aodháin Ó Ríordáin, Alex White, Kathleen Lynch, Jed Nash and Jan O’Sullivan at the Labour party conference in Killarney at the weekend. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘The one thing I regret most about the last four years was that decision,’ says Howlin

A group of peaceful protestors at the Labour Party conference in Killarney.

More than 500 protesters from around the country march in Killarney

Siptu chief Jack O’Connor:  In his speech today, he will argue that his proposed reforms will be best achieved by a government of the left. Photograph: The Irish Times

Jack O’Connor: Will urge shelving USC for levy to fund health, childcare and care of elderly

 Patrick Honohan arriving at the  Oireachtas banking inquiry in January. He later wrote asking to ‘rephrase’ some of his comments. Photograph: Alan Betson

Central Bank governor wishes to amend evidence on bank guarantee

Minister for Public Expenditure  Brendan Howlin: “We had to make contingency plans for the collapse of the euro at that time. They were scary, scary times.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Contingency plans by economic council in 2011 included increased security at banks

Alan Kelly: “There are a certain amount of people who believe in not making a contribution to society but allow for taxpayers to fund this indulgence.”

Labour deputy leader says there needs to be conversation “about work and the value of making a contribution to society”

The union Siptu will seek assurances on the future of 1,500 Aer Lingus jobs before deciding whether or not to back the bid. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Incoming Aer Lingus chief wants airline to be allowed manage sale of Ryanair 29.8% stake

Ray Butler, a deputy for Meath West, said he and his family were intimidated by the incident which took place, at his home and constituency office in Trim, Co Meath.

Joan Burton calls on demonstrators to respect Labour’s right to hold conference

 Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Pascal Donohue with John O’Mahony TD speaking at the Dáil on the Government’s position on IAG’s proposal to make an offer for Aer Lingus. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Both Government and Opposition believe sale is possible if last few hurdles are cleared

 Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe. A Government demand that IAG guarantee the Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow Airport for a decade is emerging as the main barrier to any deal on the issue.   Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Government demand on slots emerging as main issue in proposed sale of airline stake

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe’s stated today that the commitments in IAG’s bid for Aer Lingus do not go far enough, but that the Government was open to considering revised proposals. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Minister says Government ‘remains open’ to considering revised proposal

A significant number of ministers have contacted by The Irish Times said selling to Willie Walsh led IAG would make commercial sense. File Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Many in the party have objected to selling the 25 per cent stake to IAG

Fidelma Healy-Eames: to stand  as an Independent in Galway West as her constituents were overwhelmingly in favour of her standing as a non-party candidate. Photograph Collins/Courts

Fidelma Healy-Eames considered Lucinda Creighton’s Reboot Ireland but ‘there was no meat on the bones’

Minister for Jobs  and  Enterprise  Richard Bruton with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan, at the launch of the St Patrick’s Day  Enterprise International programme. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Charlie Flanagan says €5m gained last year at cost of €300,000 in travel expenses

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is travelling to the US for St Patrick’s Day

Importance of promotion of Ireland ‘cannot be overestimated’

 Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that it is his ambition to one day lead Labour. Mr Kelly also criticised Sinn Féin for ‘false promises’ during the interview. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for the Environment also claims Sinn Féin ‘not left-wing’ during interview

Party figures have cast doubt over recent opinion polls that show Sinn Féin hovering around the mid-20s and claim their own internal polls put the party around 20 per cent. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Party considers running two candidates in several areas to capitalise on poll ratings

Coalition: Sources indicate there has been a definite change of attitude among some in Fine Gael since IAG chief executive Willie Walsh engaged in a round of publicity last week. Photograph: PA

Labour opposed to deal but Coalition sources say sale unlikely before election

A new Irish Water strategy plan says almost half the water supply around the State is lost through leaks in the water network. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

New Water Services Strategic Plan lists problems with water supply and solutions

The group Mothers and Fathers Matter gather outside Leinster House to mark the presentation of The Children and Family Relationships Bill. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Analysis: Conservative Seanad voices unlikely to let Family law Bill pass on the nod

 Seán Conlon:  The Employment Appeals Tribunal found he threatened  his secretary  with losing her job in a “wholly inappropriate manner” and cast doubt on some of his evidence and claims made. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Fine Gael pays portion of legal bills for TD in unfair dismissal case

Seán Conlan: his former secretarial assistant Cathy Shevlin took an unfair dismissal case against him, and it was heard over three days in October and December last year. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Cavan-Monaghan deputy expected to appeal against tribunal finding of unfair dismissal

Former Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward has been selected to contest the upcoming Carlow-Kilkenny byelection for the party. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Carlow-Kilkenny vote, to fill seat vacated by Phil Hogan, expected to be held in May

Frustrated TDs said party leader Micheál Martin’s leadership was not under threat. Photograph: The Irish Times

Finance spokesman Michael McGrath: Party failing to pick up support lost by Coalition

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: “It probably makes sense to phase this in over a longer period of time. It is best not done in a hurry.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Leo Varadkar ‘absolutely confident we will have the over 70s by the summer’

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin. Party strategists believe they can win almost 40 seats at the next election - double their current standing of 20. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Strategists target two seats in some constituencies, hoping for almost 40 in total

Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald: new Bill aims to bolster relationships in ruptured families. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Child’s welfare central to ‘series of provisions on making parenting work’

Minster for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is expected to publish the Children and Family Relationships Bill, which allows same-sex couples to adopt for the first time, once it is agreed by Ministers on Tuesday. File photograph: Getty Images

Child and Family Relationships Bill will allow same-sex couples to adopt for first time

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today “I do not want the country convulsed like it was in the 1980s over a period of years with arguments for and against these sensitive issues.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Taoiseach says ‘sensitive discussion’ needed on issue for next government

Anne Ferris TD speaking to media on the plinth of Leinster House after the vote last night. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Tánaiste says party made clear there would be no further legislation on matter

 Clare Daly’s Bill calling for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities will be put to a vote on Tuesday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Analysis: Will the bill calling for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities expose would-be-rebels?

Anne Ferris said “I don’t know if there will be others with me” in defying the Labour whip. Photograph: Eric Luke

Deputy expects to be expelled from party for backing Bill on fatal foetal abnormalities

Labour TD Anne Ferris is expected to vote against the Government and support a Bill calling for abortion to be allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish TimesAnne Ferris

Wicklow TD to lose whip by voting for Independent Clare Daly’s fatal foetal abnormality proposal

Minister for Children James Reilly has established a working group, which includes representatives from several Government departments, to look at the childcare issue. Photograph: Collins

Promise of second year of free pre-school care in doubt within lifetime of Government

 Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, who held a meeting in Cork to gauge people’s thoughts on the forthcoming same-sex marriage referendum. Fine Gael party sources report that the Government will focus on  ‘middle Ireland’ outside Dublin during the  referendum campaign. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Rural constituencies outside Dublin key to Yes vote campaign, party sources say

Tánaiste Joan Burton has confirmed the Labour Party will be voting against an abortion Bill proposed by Independent TD Clare Daly. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Tánaiste wants issue of fatal foetal abnormality addressed in constitutional fashion

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: Focus would be on middle-income groups, defined as those earning between €32,800 and €70,000. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Move would pave way for Irish system to fall into line with competitor countries

Fine Gael ministers privately discussed what course of action they should have taken if Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett resigned yesterday.

Prospect of reforming system of appointing Ceann Comhairle raised at pre-Cabinet meeting

Séan Barrett:  felt the safest option in the public interest was to allow the issue through on a vote but without debate. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times

Controversy wilts but authority of Ceann Comhairle takes long-term hit

Screengrab of Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett addressing the Dáil this afternoon.

Ceann Comhairle tells Dáil he came under no pressure over motion

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said chairing the Dáil was a “stressful” job. Photograph: Collins

Seán Barrett’s statement fails to satisfy party leader Micheál Martin

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