Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’s arrest in 2014 was a blow to Mary Lou McDonald when she was on the cusp of becoming an acceptable figure to many middle-ground voters. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Departure will put theory Adams was cap on party’s potential in Republic to test

 TDs Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty at the Sinn Féin ardfheis at the RDS in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

More than 1,000 delegates would cast votes at ardfheis to choose next party leader

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:  previously said he had an open mind on updating Savi. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Call for in-depth study as 2002 Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland report outdated

Social Democrat TDs Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall. Photograph: Eric Luke

Move follows stand-off over Social Democrats co-leader’s refusal to reveal sources

 British prime minister Theresa May and Leo Varadkar will hold a bilateral meeting on the margins of a summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. File photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach to push for promise of no hard Border before next phase of Brexit talks begins

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams: Giving little away about his departure date. Photograph: Niall Carson /PA Wire

Inside Politics: Party president gives little away when asked about the end of his leadership tenure

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has been directed by the party, along with SF TDs Jonathan O’Brien and Peadar Tóibín, not to engage in public disputes over the abortion issue. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

SF will adopt a policy on the issue at the event – and members will be expected to toe that line

Noel Waters, the highest-ranking official in the justice department, will step down in February. Photograph: Eric Luke

Noel Waters to retire in February after career that will have spanned 40 years

Noel  Waters pictured with former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Senior official to leave post in February having completed 40 years of service

A file photograph of Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, who has emerged as a potential Dáil candidate for Fianna Fáil in Cork. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Fianna Fáil is eyeing up the former All-Ireland winner as a prospective nominee in Cork

Labour TD Alan Kelly has tabled a series of Dáil questions about the tribunal investigating allegations of a smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe (pictured in 2014). Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Inquiry into treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe must be respected, Minister says

 Noirín O’Sullivan’s phone call with  secretary general of the Department of Justice Noel Waters has been queried. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Alan Kelly queries contacts between former garda commissioner and secretary general

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar   said he wanted to see the UK’s proposal for avoiding a hard Border in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Reuters

Taoiseach says 18-months after Brexit, ‘they ‘must, at this stage, have a counter proposal’

The EU is demanding Britain accept Northern Ireland may need to remain inside the European customs union and single market after Brexit in order to avoid “a hard Border”. Photograph: Getty Images

North could continue to apply customs union and single market rules, says Taoiseach

Independent Alliance Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan, who is in Thailand on Government business, could not be reached for comment on his brother’s interview. Photograph Nick Bradshaw.

Independent Alliance Ministers ‘ganged up on’ over Korea trip – McGrath

Everyday life in Government has proved difficult at times for the Independent Alliance and the past week, particularly the suggestion of a peace mission to North Korea, damaged and exposed the dividing line in the group. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Politicians likely to operate within their political limits in future


Dara Calleary calls for funds to be focused on people who are not entitled to full pension

 Minister For Transport Shane Ross:  “It was just an idea.”  Photograph: Sam Boal/

Minister says there was never a ‘structured plan’ over mooted peace mission by some members of Independent Alliance

Kevin “Boxer” Moran said he had been embarrassed by the proposed peace trip to North Korea by some of the Independent Alliance’s  members. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Angry exchanges as members say group has been exposed to ridicule over issue

John Halligan, an Independent TD for Waterford, is Minister of State for Training and Skills.

Government department is ordered to pay €7,500 to female official for discrimination

Taoiseach: border question can’t be fully settled until EU-UK relationship clarified

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil on Tuesday there should be “no tolerance” of assault, sexual harassment or bullying in any workplace.

Taoiseach says there should be ‘no tolerance’ of workplace bullying or sexual harassment

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath, said all Irish people must pay their ‘fair share’ of tax. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Michael McGrath says there is a ‘very fine line’ between tax avoidance and tax evasion

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Apple chief executive Tim Cook at Apple’s headquarters in California last week.

Tech giant had been informed ‘publicly and privately’ of Government’s intentions

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams:  “We are very much in support of the repeal of the eighth amendment in the Constitution, we want to see that gone.” Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

Leader Gerry Adams says his personal view is that it should be a woman’s right to choose

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny at NUI Galway  where he was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the National University of Ireland. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

No members of Kenny’s family will seek to succeed him as a TD for Mayo

Alan Kelly  said his party leader Brendan Howlin has  his support but  there has to be “a dramatic change in how our support base is responding to us”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘We need to see a dramatic change in how our support base is responding to us’

The Gate has set up a confidential email address for anyone who wishes to communicate concerns about experiences they had.

Niamh Smyth says harassment allegations are ‘major threat’ to State’s artistic reputation

Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams: ready to do a deal, but not met with enthusiasm by Arlene Foster and the DUP. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

As Sinn Féin and DUP lurch towards a deal, there will be the usual hoo-ha about sell-outs and betrayals, but broken promises are s(...)

Ministers gathered at Government Buildings to announce details on a new initiative on tackling white-collar crime. From left: Charlie Flanagan, Francis Fitzgerald Paschal Donohoe and Shane Ross. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister insists action will be taken if tracker mortgage issue is not efficiently resolved

Asylum seekers at the Mosney direct provision centre. Photograph: Alan Betson

Those in direct provision who meet certain criteria to be given rolling six-month permits

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said there had been “an unacceptable litany of instances of very bad behaviour on the part of the gardaí”. Photograph: PA.

Minister for Justice says exaggerated breath tests ‘a bleak chapter’ for gardaí

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick leaving the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in May after he was acquitted on all charges by direction of the judge. Photograph: Collins Courts

Minister had described ODCE as ‘not fit for purpose’ because of collapse of case against FitzPatrick

The gap between male and female earnings in RTÉ is substantially less that the national average, an independent report to be published today has found. .Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Mulvey report says differential between over 2,000 male and female staff is just 4 per cent

Only 286 unions were classified as actively trading, with the largest 50 accounting for more than half of the movement’s €15.9 billion of assets at the end of last year.  Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Concerns signalled earlier this year about unions becoming involved in mortgage market

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar drew a strong distinction between Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance by refusing to say the Garda should be called in to investigate the tracker mortgage scandal. Photograph: Aurore Belot/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar refuses to say Garda should be called in to investigate mortgage scandal

John McGuinness says the tracker mortgage situation needs outside focus. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John McGuinness says Central Bank is not fit for purpose and calls on ECB to intervene

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has threatened to become an activist shareholder in the three banks in which the State holds shares – AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB – if sufficient progress is not made in the weeks ahead. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA

Central Bank to consider more protection as some lenders delay compensation

Minister for Finance  Paschal Donohoe   reading a statement on tracker mortgages at the Department of Finance. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Further regulation of banks yet to be decided on

Ulster Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon: Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said lenders had treated borrowers “disgracefully”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Some banks say it may take them longer for compensation or entitlement decisions

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will issue a statement on Wednesday after he meets senior banking executives over the tracker mortgage scandal. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne says the bank will ‘a fuller statement tomorrow’

L-R: Permanent TSB chief executive Jeremy Masding, incoming Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh and KBC chief executive Wim VerBraeken. Photograph: Collins and

Central Bank governor thinks ‘vast majority’ of 13,000 cases will be paid before Christmas

Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh: “We are treating this matter very seriously and we’ll be making a statement in due course.”

Minister for Finance holds meetings with three lenders involved in mortgage scandal

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and French president Emmanuel Macron clashed in a discussion at the European Council last week over another idea favoured by France, a potential digital tax. Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach and French president’s first bilateral meeting to also include talks on Brexit

Paschal Donohoe: the Minister for Finance says he will deal with some banks as a shareholder, suggesting he might have more leverage with these. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Government demands clear timetable to compensate victims of overcharging

Philip Lane says vast majority of confirmed cases to get refunds before Christmas

 Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe:   what matters to those affected is “not the completion of a probe, but the end of a journey”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Government to seek firm commitment and timeline for compensating tracker victims

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said Leo Varadkar was “a  Taoiseach, not just a Fine Gael leader. He needs to behave like a Taoiseach”.  Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin leader takes issue with claims that Michelle O’Neill was ready to do a deal with DUP

If Fianna Fáil does not take a position, the public’s perception of the party will be shaped by what Micheál Martin himself does.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fianna Fáil more conservative than public at large but party may not take official position

 Governor Philip Lane. The Central Bank has defended the pace of its inquiry, which started two years ago. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Philip Lane says not all lenders addressed ‘unacceptable failings’

Central Bank governor Philip Lane: said the Central Bank had to “push to the limits” of its powers. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach says Government ‘has lost patience’ with Irish banks over tracker mortgage scandal

Minister for  Social Protection Regina Doherty: “I’m saying Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted. They can’t be trusted with the economy. They can’t be trusted with the sincerity of actually saying something that people can believe in.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Willie O’Dea calls for Regina Doherty to apologise

 Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O’Loughlin and party spokesman on social protection Willie O’Dea TD during a press briefing by the party on  pensions. Photograph: Collins

Leo Varadkar confirms that Fianna Fáil did raise pensions issue before Budget

There is a belief in Dublin, as well as London, that Michelle O’Neill was ready to do a deal but was effectively blocked by senior members in Sinn Féin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Sinn Féin and DUP are as far away as ever from getting the lights back on at Stormont

Former US president Bill Clinton met Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill  at George Best Belfast City Airport

Senior Sinn Féin party figures blocked leader from securing agreement, Government sources say

Workmen clear a tree that fell and took out power lines on the R703 between Thomastown and Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

ESB Networks warns that fallen electricity lines are still a threat across the country

People at the  diving board in Salthill, Galway as Hurricane Ophelia hit on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Storm Ophelia: Dara Fitzpatrick’s sister criticises ‘idiots’ ignoring storm warning

Ophelia waves crash into the town of Summercove near Kinsale, Co Cork. Photograph: John Allen

Three killed in storm while cost of repairs across country may run to hundreds of millions

British prime minister Theresa May.  Photograph: Epa/Will Oliver

Phonecall lasting 40 minutes one of many she made to EU leaders ahead of summit

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin stressed in his ardfheis speech that  the Government is “on notice” to deliver in the areas of housing and health. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Party leader uses keynote address to attack Taoiseach as divisive force in Irish society

Ógra Fianna Fáil stand at the party’s ardfheis, in the RDS Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Party takes aim at Taoiseach in effort to cast itself as one returning to left of centre roots

Micheál Martin delivers the leader’s address at the Fianna Fail Ardfheis, in the RDS Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader tells members Taoiseach has initiated ‘big move to right’ by Fine Gael

 Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has claimed a Revenue report compiled last year was not published until this week because its content did not suit the political narrative.

Fianna Fáil leader says ‘suppression’ of report until this week is a ‘disservice’ to debate

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Nobody wants a hard Brexit. Photograph: EPA

EU also notes UK’s lack of ‘concrete commitment’ on divorce bill

The Central Bank published new figures showing 12,500 customers were identified up to the end of June as having their mortgages changed.

Call comes as new figures show 12,500 customers had mortgages changed

Timmy Dooley is consulting industry groups to explore a number of options, such as a levy on advertising with online outlets like Google and Facebook. Photograph: Alan Betson

Party drafting plan to help fund public-service journalism after return to government

 Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath: “The people who are affected want to see a roadmap back to being treated equally based on their contributions.” Photograph: Eric Luke

FF says women losing out on payments due to ‘bonkers and unbelievable’ anomaly

Senator Rónán Mullen: said US-based Center for Reproductive Rights, listed as witnesses by the Oireachtas committee, “has been fundraising  to overturn Ireland’s pro-life laws”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Mattie McGrath and Rónán Mullen claim majority of witnesses called are pro-abortion

Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary  and its finance spokesman Michael McGrath. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Party’s ire directed towards Sinn Féin and Independent Alliance rather than at Fine Gael

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at the Department of Finance   with TD Peter Burke. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Budget 2018: Expect to hear the word ‘sustainable’ a lot today

Budget 2018 will see between €1.1 and €1.2 billion of new spending and tax cuts, split 2:1  in favour of spending. Photograph: Getty

Cost of 20 cigarettes will increase by 50 cents but duties on alcohol remain untouched

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.  There will be increased staffing across the public sector to deal with Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Decrease in prescription charges set to form part of financial package worth about €1bn

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe:  the overall size of the package of new tax cuts and spending commitments  is expected to be about €1.1 billion to €1.2 billion. Photograph: Reuters

Threshold for higher rate of income tax could rise by €750 with significant State spend planned

 Artist Jim Fitzpatrick with a promotional image of a stamp featuring his world famous image of Che Guevara.

Prominent Cuban-American radio host calls on An Post to explain its decision

The €1 stamp features a famous image of Guevara, a leading figure in the Cuban revolution, by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

Fine Gael Senator asks An Post if Pol Pot and Ceausescu also acceptable for special stamps

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the funeral of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave on Saturday. Budget 2018 will be the first of Mr Varadkar’s  administration. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach says series of improvements will lead to a ‘new period of sustained progress’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Stamp duty rise among measures expected to boost package of spending and tax cuts

The Government and the Oireachtas are likely to decide early next year the wording of a referendum, with a vote expected to be held next May or June. Photograph: EPA

Pro-choice group claims ‘Irish Times’ poll designed to favour ‘restrictive’ regime

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. The controversial grant scheme for first-time buyers is to remain almost completely unchanged in next week’s budget

Varadkar and Murphy had previously indicated possible scrapping of grant scheme

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: also considering the old favourites of hiking excise on tobacco and alcohol. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Measure is one of several being mulled to offset budget tax cuts and spending increases

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: declined to say what conditions would be placed on asylum seekers’ right to work. Photograph: Eric Luke

Government intends to change system in line with recent Supreme Court ruling

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:  the Government is not ruling  out seeking special arrangements for Ireland and Northern Ireland. Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill

Varadkar says he wants to keep a free trade area between Britain and Ireland

 Where Donohoe gets  extra money from will be the key issue this week. “Everyone assumes he has something, but nobody knows what it is yet,” said one Government insider.  Photograph: Getty Images

Government insiders think the giveaway package has to be near €600m to have any political impact

Pearse Doherty: Party’s taxation package amounts to a ‘rebalancing of the tax base’. Photograph: The Irish Times

Budget plan containing €2bn in tax hikes also proposes increasing hotel VAT rate

The cost of builders accessing finance to fund development has been identified as a key problem by Ministers as they seek to tackle the housing crisis.

Government discusses the proposal to speed up construction of houses and apartments

 Donna Price of the Irish Road Victims’ Association  said it is “a very, very dangerous precedent for our politicians to be opposing road safety legislation”. File  photograph: Alan Betson

It is very dangerous for them to be opposing road safety legislation - victims group

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Paschal Donohoe: the Minister for Finance’s  polite yet firm nature will be tested to its limits this week, when the real talking begins. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Budget 2018 looms, but who is really in charge of the public purse strings?

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

FF and FG in talks on budget as mortgage interest relief may prove sticking point

Minister for Health Simon Harris complained to HSE director Tony O’Brien about health events and launches  taking place ‘without his office being informed in advance’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

HSE director says the Minister complained about not being notified of launches

Leo Varadkar has previously said the Eighth Amendment is too restrictive. Photograph: EPA

Inside Politics: Leo Varadkar has yet to decide his stance on the abortion referendum

The Taoiseach  wants to reform  Local Property Tax  to give greater flexibility,  allowing councils in urban areas to prevent steep increases due to rising property prices. File photograph: Getty Images

Varadkar wants to reform LPT to allow urban councils to prevent steep increases

 Members of An Garda Síochána should not be allowed go on strike, a new Government report has urged. File photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Government review calls for new measures to prevent industrial action by Garda members

Leo Varadkar is likely to raise some taxes to pay for a cut in the universal social charge. Photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Fianna Fáil is holding Leo Varadkar to a budget promise that could cost €100m

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s strategy is to assemble a minority administration with a patchwork quilt of Labour, the Social Democrats, the Greens and others. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Significant gains in Dublin required if Fianna Fáil is to be in position to form government

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his Government believed in a “culture of aspiration” and wanted to help those who feel “they pay for everything but get little in return”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach stresses middle-income earners will see income tax reductions in budget

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

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