The Thornton Hall site in North Dublin, which was purchased in 2005. Photograph: Alan Betson

Thornton Hall site bought for €29.9m to replace Mountjoy was a ‘Celtic Tiger mistake’

Minister Charlie Flanagan  said the Bill was ‘not gathering dust on any shelf anywhere’. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Flanagan tells Seanad Public Health Bill will proceed in the next session of the Oireachtas

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan was accused of being to the right of Genghis Khan.

Heated exchanges as Government defeated on Bill to extend family reunification rights

Senator Lynn Ruane: she said her amendment was “just a line” obliging lawyers to remind the person that mediation was voluntary, and it may not be an option for them if there was a risk to their safety

Legislation to offer mediation as alternative to court proceedings must go back to Dáil

Christmas Day swimmers at the Forty Foot. Photograph: Frank Miller

Green Party accuses Minister of ‘complete doublespeak’ on low-carbon economy

Fianna Fáil Senator Aidan Davitt said Garda morale is at an all-time low, particularly among rank-and-file officers.

FF Senator says morale at ‘all time low’ as officers face ‘onslaught of allegations’ from public

Gabrielle McFadden: “I was targeted by a number of people on social media”

McFadden to give all Senators an ‘I am a Friend’ pin for campaign to stop bullying

New legislation means drinkers should be able to go to the pub next Good Friday. Photograph: iStock

Legislation’s author says it represents progressive step in Church/State separation

Senator Pádraig Ó Ceidigh: dismissed the 20-year Irish language  as a failure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Strategy is a ‘failure’ and should be abandoned for new plan focusing on job creation

Ray Butler was  diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last August and said it was a huge wake-up call for him.

Ray Butler calls for Government to introduce free blood test to save State money long-term

Senator Lynn Ruane said the two men were probably at home “without any support after what is a tragic experience”.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Lynn Ruane raises issue of education about dangers of canal swimming

Fianna Fail TD John Lahart said the global economy relies on measuring instruments and weights such as petrol pumps and taximeters “and we need to know they can be trusted”.

TDs discuss oldest science and oldest metrology method - Pharaoh’s ‘royal cubit’

Charlie Flanagan expressed his disappointment at the North’s parties’ failure to establish an Executive.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Flanagan says Bill will play ‘important role in having a normalised society in the North’

Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers pictured outside the Dail in March 2016. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Lisa Chambers recalls impact of death of 21-year-old Ben Garrett on his friends

The late Malak Thawley with her husband, Alan. File photograph: Facebook

Dáil told family of woman who died believes Holles Street review ‘shambolic attempt to hide facts’

 Grenfell tower in west London on June 15th,  a day after it was gutted by fire. Photograph: AFP Photo

Bill to let developments of 20 houses or more continue if planning is expiring

Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe: he said the operation aimed to not only “disrupt the activities of smugglers and traffickers, but also to prevent further loss of life at sea”

Opposition warns against moving from humanitarian operation in Mediterranean

Broadcaster Stephen Fry was at the centre of row over the State’s blasphemy laws. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

Róisín Shortall seeks referendum on issue following inquiry into Stephen Fry comments

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams that Minister for Culture Heather Humphreys had assured him that funding for the case, “if there even is a bill . . .  will not come from the 2016 commemoration fund”. Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Adams’ call for State to drop appeal to High Court ruling on national monument rejected

Ceann Comhairle says Dáil ‘perjury’ transcripts will be examined

A beach strewn with waste. One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world. Photograph: Getty

Green Party Bill proposes ban on plastic cups, plates and cutlery

Fianna Fáil TD Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Harris fails to attend 'for fourth time' to answer on Letterkenny cardiology services

Leo Varadkar reiterated in the Dáil that he did not condone the actions of the protesters in Jobstown. Photograph:  Aidan Crawley/EPA

Leo Varadkar also defended comments he made about Garda evidence in trial

Senator Colm Burke said Ireland was one of the top three countries in the OECD for spending on health, yet had only 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Health service audits other agencies ‘but who controls the controllers and audits HSE?’

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy: The former minister of state said  she believed the drinks industry was attempting to unpick the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill “bit by bit”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy frustrated with third delay of Bill to deal with drink problem

National Day of Commemoration: President Michael D Higgins lays a wreath  at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Prayers, music and military ceremony at event led by President and Taoiseach

New legislation will allow developers complete unfinished housing developments in cases which might otherwise require new planning permission.

Minister to fast-track provision in legislation to be introduced, debated, passed next week

Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly has called for an independent investigation into the loophole in Section 110 of the Taxes Consolidated Act. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

FF’s Stephen Donnelly calls for independent investigation into alleged tax avoidance

Shane Ross: the Minister   had expected the Bill to be passed before the summer, but has not commented on the delay. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Legislation passes second stage by 83 to 53 votes but no further progress until autumn

Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty says some who voted for Fine Gael will be ‘let down’ by move

Shane Ross  says Bill, his second, the ‘most energising’ he has introduced. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Sport defends legislation, saying €200m will only be on line if no tickets sold

Leo Varadkar and Kate O’Connell announcing Fine Gael plans to abolish the USC ahead of last year’s general election. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Pearse Doherty accuses Fine Gael of U-turn on ‘populist’ election pledge to scrap USC

Householders are buying and throwing away food worth twice the annual cost of bin charges in some counties,   Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten said.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Minister Denis Naughten defends regime and claims people putting dead animals into recycling bins

Taoiseach also pointed out that 20 per cent of the education budget goes on special education

Taoiseach pledges annual decision on SNA jobs will be made ‘well in advance’ in future

The Cork Senator was congratulated on his engagement to his partner Conchobar Ó Laoghaire

Senator Jerry Buttimer ‘happy that we, as a country, can allow all of us to get married’

Former tánaiste Joan Burton. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Call for vote before end of June to avoid debate becoming ‘embroiled’ in Pope’s visit

Supporters of  the  Power family protest outside the Dáil on Tuesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Thomas Power’s sister tells TDs ’doors had been closed to him’ for emergency treatment

Minister for Sport Paschal Donohoe , Brian O’Driscoll, bid ambassador, Taoiseach Enda Kenny , and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring, at a photocall for Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2023 bid in 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke

Eamon Ryan appeals for delay on Bill that commits public money so IRFU can answer questions

Paul Murphy TD: said there were “very serious ramification for others who might seek to exercise their right to protest”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Varadkar rejects call by Paul Murphy for inquiry into Garda ‘conspiracy’ investigation

Bord na gCon has spent almost €50,000 on public relations advice in the first five months of this year, more than twice what it spent in the previous two years combined.  Photograph: Peter Kohalmi/AFP/Getty Images

Bord na gCon, which attended PAC last month, spent €47,000 on PR advice this year

 Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald sharply criticised the ODCE, saying it ‘fell far short of the standard impartial, unbiased and thorough investigation we expect and demand’. Photograph: Stephen Collins

Frances Fitzgerald to send ODCE report on FitzPatrick trial to AG for advice

Sinn Féin social protection spokesman John Brady claimed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ignored delays in maternity benefit payments for three months. Photograph: Julien Warnand/Reuters

Frances Fitzgerald says Taoiseach ‘clearly took’ action as payments now up to date

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has rejected as ‘quite simply untrue’ claims by Solidarity TD Mick Barry that the Government had an agenda in the Jobstown trial. Photograph: Collins Photos

Tánaiste says it is ‘quite simply untrue’ to say the Government had agenda in this case

John McGuinness: Called on Minister for Justice  to insist the courts speak directly to the families of wards of courts. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

John McGuinness claims c ourts failed to account for up to €500,000 losses in wards-of-court funds

Fergus O’Dowd: he said“we trust lay people who are selected as jurors” and have full confidence in their decision-making in cases

Róisín Shortall calls for more control and monitoring of District Court judges

An  anti-fracking campaign group in jubilant mood after the fracking Bill was passed  banning all fracking in Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Private Members' Bill passed in Seanad after passage earlier through Dáil

Mary Lou McDonald, who said the announcement  of the ending of flat-rate bin charges would result in families struggling to make ends meet being hit with new price hikes. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach defends end of flat-rate bin charges to ‘put environment first’

Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Taoiseach defends achievements as Minister - 20 Bills in six years ‘reasonably good record’

Minister for Transport Shane Ross. Photograph: Alan Betson/File

Shane Ross denies having ‘vendetta’ against judiciary

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said third-level institutions such as UCD, NUI Galway and Trinity College and others should be allowed to train barristers. FIle photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Boyd Barrett claims situation ensures ‘well-vetted elite’ decides who joins legal system

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan highlighted the ‘integrity and professionalism of the Irish judiciary, and their contribution to Ireland’s modern democracy’

Almost 10 hours set aside over three days for Second Stage of Judicial Appointments Bill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described as devoid of common sensea decision to separate an elderly couple who sought nursing home care together. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Leo Varadkar sorry for what Wexford couple ‘endured at the expense of bureaucracy’

Dogs Trust has warned  that controversy around cases such as the halting in the UK of the export of greyhounds from Ireland to China were seriously damaging to Ireland’s animal welfare reputation. Photograph: iStock

Government warned of ‘untracked, untraceable’ exports to deplorable animal welfare regimes

Developers are to be given new incentives  to encourage them to  continue building houses

New incentives offered to secure co-operation and avoid insolvency

Garda Representative Association: Dermot O’Brien, the organisation’s president, and Frances Fitzgerald, the minister for justice, in Co Carlow in 2015. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Oireachtas to focus on Garda association once Templemore irregularities reported on

The social welfare fraud campaign  was conceived by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when minister for social protection. Photograph: The Irish Times

Almost 5,000 complaints received since Varadkar ‘cheats’ campaign, says Doherty

Niall Ó Donnghaile has expressed concern about the status of ethnic minorities and non-EU citizens resident in the North.

SF appeals to Government to change law for long-term non-Irish residents

Ivana Bacik said the referendum on the repeal of the eighth amendment on abortion needed to be held by the end of February or early March next year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘No women should be denied services in Ireland,’ Seanad told

Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O’Loughlin highlighted her concerns about Child and Family Agency Tusla which she said was “not putting the child first”.

Foster mother had been ‘fighting for counselling and supports’ for boy, Dáil hears

Labour leader Brendan Howlin: claimed the Government  “is giving away the people’s investment at less than what it is worth. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Tánaiste confirms sale will go ahead with share value established today

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: TDs rejected his  amendment to the Green Party motion by 84 votes to 46 and also refused a Fianna Fáil amendment by 93 votes to 37. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Green party motion passed to fix ‘appalling construction standards’ of boom building

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was precluded as a member of the Government from discussing who was in the Cabinet room or who said what. Photograph: PA

Tánaiste says it is ‘outrageous’ to suggest any undue pressure was put on the President

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said Máire Whelan (above) was the best person to be appointed. He said the Government acted entirely within its constitutional powers. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Unfortunate her appointment as judge has been overshadowed by political row - Brendan Howlin

Minister for Health Simon Harris   announced the review as TDs raised the case of Thomas Power, above with his wife Bernadette on their wedding day last September. He died   as he was being transferred from University Hospital Waterford to Cork on Sunday.

Reivew of primary cardiology services following death of Thomas Power (39)

Varadkar says he does not believe in summary justice and kangaroo courts

Taoiseach reiterates confidence in Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has been urged to show independence in the role. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Appeal made as Dáil votes to renew anti-terrorist and organised crime laws

Michael Ring  told the Dáil that some post offices “have a very bright future, and some of them have very serious difficulties”. Photograph: Getty Images

Ó Cuív claims some holding on for package as there is no living to be made in post offices

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty was paid  €15,829 for her role as Government whip but  “no such position exists under law”, Brendan Howlin told the Dáil. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Mary Mitchell O’Connor will not get ‘top up’ as Taoiseach will not prioritise necessary law

‘Dublin room rates are highly competitive compared to other European city destinations,’ the Irish Hotels Federation said. Photograph: Alan Betson

Writers’ centre director says tourist industry should look beyond Joyce, Beckett and Yeats

More than 1,000 nurses sought proof-of-qualification certificates in 2016 to allow them seek employment abroad.  Photograph:   Frank Miller

Simon Harris: Number of nursing jobs in Ireland at highest level since 2011

‘We respect you but that doesn’t mean we’re going to spare you.’ Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dublin Fingal TD claims Taoiseach moving ‘chairs on Titanic’, ensures iceberg collision

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed there will be a referendum on the Eight Amendment to the Constitution on abortion next year.

Micheál Martin claims role of ‘super junior’ minister being abused with four appointed

Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil on Wednesday

‘I do not know him well though he and I once attended the same pilates class’

Leo Varadkar with  President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin where he was appointed Taoiseach. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Micheál Martin says Fine Gael leader’s views on most economic topics ‘right-wing’

 Enda Kenny arrives at Government Buildings in  Dublin for his last day as Taoiseach. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Shane Ross says Enda Kenny has done ‘fantastically noble job for Ireland’

Enda Kenny  leaving Áras an Uachtaráin after delivering his letter of resignation as Taoiseach to President Michael D Higgins, seen with his wife Sabina. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘This has never been about me but always about the challenges the people of our country face’

There were 2,709 self-harm presentations in 2013 to the seven hospitals in the Dublin northeast region. Photograph: iStock

11,500 people attended hospital for self-harm in the four-year period to 2015 in Dublin northeast region

Medical experts say three people die every day as a result of alcohol use. Photograph: The Irish Times

FG leader introduced legislation as minister for health but proposal stalled in Seanad

Government has been defeated after Fianna Fáil abstained in a Dáil vote on the Fair Deal scheme and its impact on farmers and small businesses. Photograph: Alan Betson

Rural TDs win vote for removal of discrimination against farmers and small firms

“Vehicles like quad bikes, dirt bikes and scramblers are being used in many of our towns and estates by people as young as four or five years of age to . . . cause many problems for the local community.” Photograph: Getty Images

Sinn Féin introduces Bill to enable gardaí seize vehicles illegally used in ‘public space’

  Roisin Shortall TD: raised  concerns about the issue of two public hospitals,  St Vincent’s and  St Michael’s, within a private corporate entity. Photograph: Collins

St Vincent’s as private body ‘has no right to dictate Government policy’ warns Shortall

 Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar at the launch of the Welfare Cheats campaign in April. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Department had said there was one case but Minister says there were 11 cases

The offender availing of the third payment option will also avoid more penalty points than those issued under the original notice.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste expects payment rates to increase from 73 per cent

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran: said the issue had been raised with him by a constituent who had been raped at the age of 19 and whose attacker  went on to sexually assault three more women. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran’s bill will punish sex offenders who ‘ignore all rehabilitation efforts’

A fracking facility in Preston:  Ireland  will join four other EU member states – Scotland, France, Germany and Bulgaria – and regions of a number of countries in banning  fracking on land on land. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

No offshore ban as Richard Boyd Barrett accuses Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of ‘political machinations’

Exchanges were mixed with levity and seriousness in Mr Kenny’s likely last verbal battle with the Opposition after six years. Photograph: Oireachtas TV screengrab

Taoiseach suggests it is also time for Adams to stand down as SF leader wishes him well

Micheál Martin: “Since the peace process we lost a lot of corporate intelligence”

Kenny questioned about National Security Committee in wake of Manchester attack

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan: “Are you going to continue to keep the commissioner in her place?” the Solidarity TD Mick Barry asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Enda Kenny rejects Solidarity call to ask Nóirín O’Sullivan about phone himself

Ibrahim Halawa: the Dubliner has been in prison in Egypt since August 2013

Cairo trial’s 24th adjournment a ‘shocking undermining’ of Dubliner’s human rights

Minister for Health Simon Harris said “nothing is off the table” in relation to the  future of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Most senior Garda position in watchdog vacant for eight months, documents show

Dachshund pups  at an illegal puppy farm in North Tipperary which was raided  by the ISPCA and gardaí. Photograph: Fergal Shanahan

‘Industrial-scale dog-breeding’ is damaging Ireland’s reputation, says Clare Daly TD

It will be 2025 at the earliest before overseas citizens will be eligible to vote. Photograph: Alan Betson

Government approves start of work on improving voter registration process

Independent TD Catherine Connolly, who described Caranua as a classic example “of an institution becoming more important than the people it is meant to serve”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Caranua operating as though ‘more important than people it is meant to serve’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister for Health Simon Harris at the site of the National Children’s Hospital, at St James’s Campus, Rialto, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

People Before Profit’s Gino Kenny compares leader’s ‘massive pension’ to nurses’ salaries

Richard Bruton: said  the sale of land was a matter for the Christian Brothers

Bruton says it would be ‘disappointing’ if education of children is compromised

Members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit take part in a training exercise. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Enda Kenny announces meeting on terrorism following Manchester bombing

Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace made claims about Cerberus as the Dáil debated the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into Nama. Photograph: Eric Luke

TD makes claims as former High Court judge is confirmed as chair of Project Eagle inquiry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘You have brought your children to a concert venue. You leave them outside as they go in to an adventure. To think some of them never came back.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Dáil pays tribute to victims and condemns suicide bombing at Ariana Grande concert

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: entitled a pension of about €126,000 a year, plus a lump sum on retirement of €378,000, the Dáil was told. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Retiring politicians and public servants also benefit from favourable tax rules

The Taoiseach  will receive an Oireachtas pension based on his years as a TD as well as a pension based on his time as an office holder. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Enda Kenny’s retirement lump sum has been estimated at about € 378,000

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