President Michael D Higgins with poet Brendan Kennelly at a reception in the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, where he received the inaugural Kerry Association in Dublin Arts Award. Photograph: Julien Behal

Retired Trinity academic and poet receives inaugural Kerry association arts award

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gerry Adams says no hardening of the Border in any way

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire: said Britain does not want a return to direct rule over the North. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gerry Adams calls for election, says Northern Secretary’s contribution ‘less than helpful’

Taoiseach  Enda Kenny: strike can only be resolved by the Workplace Relations Commission. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Enda Kenny rejects calls for Shane Ross to intervene in Bus Éireann dispute

 Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: said she would consider a Patten-like commission of investigation or an independent review

SF asks how Minister can have confidence in Garda Commissioner who tells media first

Senator Michael McDowell told the Seanad there was an increasing number of judicial vacancies and it would appear that legislation on the issue had not materialised. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Senator also renews his criticism of lay majority in judicial appointments

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has  said the Government believed the level of public concern  was so profound it was time to conduct “a thorough, comprehensive and independent root-and-branch review” of the Garda. File photograph: Getty Images

Government continues to have confidence in Garda Commissioner, restates Taoiseach

Fianna Fáil believes amending the 2007 Water Services Act, which allows fines for wasting water, could be used to prevent wastage

EU commissioner says it is ‘questionable’ if fines would meet water directive

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Reaction: FF leader calls on commissioner to consider her position in absence of clarity

 Richard Boyd Barrett: old and disabled people would not use the service at night unless the stations were adequately staffed. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Richard Boyd Barrett says staff had prevented a suicide at Monkstown stop

David Norris said it was time Senators asserted their dignity. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘We got €311 in wage restitution. Oh jolly, gee, wonderful. . . it is less than €1 a day’

Minister of State for Justice David Stanton told the Seanad: said the Bail (Amendment) Bill expanded the factors a court could take into account in refusing bail. Photograph: Alan Betson

David Stanton says it will be targeted at cases where most likely to be effective

The late Martin McGuinness in November 2016 with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Brian O’Driscoll at the Aviva Stadium for the launch of of Ireland’s bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

McDonald calls for Government to redouble efforts to implement negotiated agreements

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was replying to a question in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

FF leader plans to attend crucial European Council meeting on April 29th as Taoiseach

Former bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey at a papal youth Mass in Galway when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

High-profile member of Catholic hierarchy caught in scandal over fathering of son

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: ‘I am absolutely determined that anybody over the legal limit shall face a disqualification.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister plans to proceed Bill providing for automatic disqualification for drink-driving

Minister for Health Simon Harris has called on the Vatican and Irish church leaders to put pressure on religious orders to pay half the cost of compensating those abused in Catholic institutions.

Minister for Health criticises ‘pathetic and paltry’ amount paid to date

Richard Bruton: “Unfortunately, as a result of agreements put in place by previous governments, we have no legal mechanisms open to use to compel the congregations to meet these targets”

Richard Bruton calls on congregations to respect view of successive governments

Katherine Zappone: Tuam was “part of a tapestry of oppression, abuse and systematic human rights violations”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister announces ‘scoping exercise’ on expanding Tuam commission’s remit

Minister of State for Disability Finian McGrath: ‘I want to get this moving. However, I also wish to ensure and put down a marker in order that the other people will not be excluded.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Government bows to Opposition demands for broader investigation into care home abuse

Aggressive seagulls are attacking residents of the north Dublin town of Balbriggan, Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has claimed. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil Senator says residents in Balbriggan are being targeted by the birds

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he saw no reason why an interim report on the Tuam baby scandal should not be published. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Heated exchanges in Dáil as Independent TD criticises Kenny’s handling of controversy

Minister of State Finian McGrath had been strongly criticised by the opposition and two whistleblowers about the limited scope of the ‘Grace’ inquiry. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Limited scope of initial terms strongly criticised by opposition and whistleblowers

 Fine Gael’s Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has rejected a new Bill on abortion. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The Dáil debates a Bill to reduce the penalty for having a termination to a €1 fine

Independent TD Mick Wallace said he had received information which showed a young woman, known as “Ann”, was making day visits to the home until 2015.

Dáil hears claims about ongoing services, as Finian McGrath is urged to expand inquiry

Historian Catherine Corless at the site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home, Co Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gerard Craughwell recalls growing up in Galway under bishop’s ‘tyranny’

  Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath who confirmed on Tuesday  a commission of investigation has been set up into the care of ’Grace’ in a foster home in the southeast.  Photograph: Collins

Senior counsel Marjorie Farrelly will lead commission and report within one year

Senator Ned O’Sullivan said he had experience of the negative aspects of social media when he had, “famously, or perhaps infamously”, made a comment about the seagull situation in Dublin. Photograph: Getty Images

Fianna Fáil’s Ned O’Sullivan rails against ‘nameless, faceless people’ on social network

Richard Bruton: he said the Policing Authority had been very clear it would monitor the tribunal in terms of the commissioner’s capacity to continue to do her job. Photograph: Eric Luke

Clare Daly says Nóirín O’Sullivan’s position is untenable and she should stand down

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: he has an impressive ministerial record and  is a good Dáil performer, as are his colleagues. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Public mood may have softened but credibility issues remain for Howlin’s party

Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger has suggested that the Taoiseach’s likely successors have little interest in repealing the Eighth Amendment. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Ruth Coppinger accuses Coveney and Varadkar of being ‘old heads on young shoulders’

Members of the Traveller community  watch the Dáil debate the recognition of Traveller ethnicity, in Buswells Hotel, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says ‘it is a proud day for Ireland’ as community gains new status

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has again insisted he will not become involved directly in the dispute at Bus Éireann. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Taoiseach backs Minister for Transport, who denies not doing enough to solve crisis at company

Graffiti on Charlemont Place at the side of the Grand Canal in Dublin. Price talks on the groundbreaking but highly expensive cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi are entering a “critical phase,” Minister for Health Simon Harris has said. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

HSE and manufacturer of costly medicine in ‘critical phase’ of discussions on deal

Minister of State for  Gaeltacht Affairs Seán Kyne said there was little visible progress in developing the institutions to be established under the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Fianna Fáil Senator says 1,000 Troubles victims and families want independent inquiry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government was committed to the establishment of a commission of investigation into the treatment of an intellectually disabled woman in a southeast foster home. File photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Enda Kenny apologises and calls woman’s treatment in foster home a disgrace

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said credit unions could currently provide mortgages to members within certain maturity limits. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Minister says members’ savings must be secure

At the launch of the publication of the HSE reports in Kilkenny are Tess O Donovan, assistant National Director HR ,Dr Cathal Morgan Head of Operations HSE Disability Services. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Two reports published on alleged abuse say four other cases must be examined

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice: “I have found some Ministers are just figureheads.”

Political jobs not as important as issues and principles, says Independent TD

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald: likely to take over as leader in South with Gerry Adams retaining an influential presidential role linking the operation on both parts of the island.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

All change in Sinn Féin as Gerry Adams likely to cede leadership to Mary Lou McDonald

Chief Whip Regina Doherty:  nothing could be further from the truth than claims this was a “do-nothing’’ Dáil. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Regina Doherty defends new politics and Fine Gael-led minority Government

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has said funding would be provided from next year to achieve the 2021 target of 25 per cent of homes being inspected. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Rate was below 2% in seven local authorities in 2014, with 55% of homes below standard

Ted Moynihan: “People like Ted are the frequently unsung heroes of the voluntary sector which makes such a significant contribution to many areas of Irish life,’’ said  Leesha Duffy of the Kerry Association in Dublin. Photograph: YouTube

Ted Moynihan named Kerry Person of the Year for ‘remarkable’ contribution

“In 2008, the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern went on a prolonged lap of honour while the country was on fire.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Aodhán Ó Riordáin compares situation around Enda Kenny’s exit to Bertie Ahern’s

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen accused the Government of attempting to bamboozle people with details. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘Shameful’ statistic shows Government policy not working, says FF TD Barry Cowen

Abolition of mandatory retirement age:  The Bill will now go to a Dáil committee. File photograph: Getty Images

Minister says serious policy and expenditure issues need to be considered

Minister of State  Catherine Byrne:  “First centre will be a pilot to determine suitability and effectiveness of injecting rooms in an Irish context.”  Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister says project could end desperate situation for people who inject on streets

Organic vegetables at a farmers’ market. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister of State says Ireland can capitalise on growing organic food market

Charlie Flanagan: said he would reject comments disrespectful of the Irish language and inconsistent with the principles of the Good Friday agreement

Minister asked about remarks by Foster that she would not support Irish Language Act

Labour leader Brendan Howlin: Concern on a perceived delay in bringing forward legislation. Photograph: The Irish Times

Labour leader Brendan Howlin raises issue of procrastination in introducing legislation

Imelda Munster: asked the Taoiseach to make a commitment to publish an audit under way at St John of God centre at Drumcar, Co Louth

Imelda Munster claims money of residents was used for medical supplies

Frances Fitzgerald: The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice said it will not be the function of the Garda whistleblower tribunal to apportion criminal liability. Photograph: Eric Luke

Frances Fitzgerald says alleged wrongdoing by gardaí will be addressed fully and fairly

Former tánaiste  Michael McDowell has called on Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to stand aside until a tribunal into the handling of garda whistleblowers is complete. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

Ex-tánaiste concerned gardaí would have difficulty giving evidence against their boss

Minister for Foreign Affairs and  Trade Charlie Flanagan:  said Brexit was at the  top of the Government’s agenda and had been since before the UK referendum vote.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister warns on creating concerns for other EU partners about setting precedents

Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a debate on the Government in the Dáil.

Sharp exchanges in Dáil as TDs debate Coalition’s handling of McCabe controversy

A tribunal of inquiry will look at allegations that senior Garda management were involved in a smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice Mc Cabe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Taoiseach signals his support for the inclusion of other Garda whistleblowers

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone told the Dáil she accepted some Cabinet colleagues would have preferred if she had made a contribution at Cabinet and she would learn from that. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister says she did not give Kenny details of allegations against Sgt Maurice McCabe

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny  said there were “many people who’ve been here before me for many years who have made mistakes”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Cabinet to hold further meeting on handling of false claims against Sgt Maurice McCabe

Fine Gael parliamentary party vice-chairman Pat Deering has said Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan (inset) should step aside until the Charleton commission report  is completed. File photographs: The Irish Times

Pat Deering says claims too serious for Nóirín O’Sullivan to stay on while inquiry ongoing

In the Seanad Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone raised problems facing Irish people seeking to have the deaths of relatives abroad registered at home. Photograph: The Irish Times

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone calls for the implementation of 2014 legislation

Political hand grenade: Fine Gael’s Michael D’Arcy said he did not believe Nóirín O’Sullivan’s version of events regarding whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Health waiting lists and Garda crisis on grim political agenda

Minister for Health Simon Harris: said he was also looking at outsourcing the treatment of some of the teenagers awaiting scoliosis procedures

Harris repeats pledge Crumlin hospital theatre will operate by April

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said the management of the health service could be better. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Health says HSE will submit action plan on waiting lists by March

 Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has said there is no legislative way to prevent ‘fake news’. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Denis Naughten calls for investment in journalism during media ownership debate

 Catherine Byrne: said the building of the national children’s hospital at St James’s is the opportunity of a lifetime and should be embraced. Photograph: Alan Betson

Catherine Byrne refuses to be drawn on HSE claim it cannot afford to engage in project

 Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD briefs the  press on job losses at HP on Wednesday.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister says IDA Ireland marketing site of HP plant in north Kildare to interested buyers

Enda Kenny has said the job losses at HP Inc became apparent about five weeks ago. Photograph:  Leon Neal/Getty Images

‘This is really bad news,’ says Coveney as company announces nearly 500 job cuts

Finian McGrath: Aim was to support people with severe disabilities.

Minister tells Seanad that scheme will be targeted towards those with greatest need

Minister for Health Simon Harris said 194 spinal procedures would be carried out, significantly more than last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister repeats he is ‘ashamed’ by RTÉ disclosures on waiting lists

Minister for Health Simon Harris said long waiting lists in the health system are caused by management decisions and not lack of funding. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Simon Harris says health service decision making and not funding to blame for issue

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Frances Fitzgerald says fundamental review of Gsoc needed after decade in place

Independent Senator Billy Lawless wants RTÉ to continue to provide its UK long-wave service, which is due to be abolished later this year. Photograph: The Irish Times

Senator Billy Lawless cites survey revealing 92% of Irish in UK listen daily to service

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said there will be greater promotion opportunities  for new teachers coming into the system under the package announced in the last budget. Photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill

Issue of pay equality for new teachers has not been addressed, says Mary Lou McDonald

 Frances Fitzgerald: has  said  criticism of the Government’s Brexit preparation could damage Ireland’s reputation. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Frances Fitzgerald insists Government has a ‘clear and comprehensive plan’ for UK exit

Senator Michael McDowell has criticised the  Government’s lay majority on the proposed judicial appointments commission. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Senator says lay majority on proposed appointments council is ‘an attack on the system’

Minister for Health Simon Harris said his priority is to make progress on the new national children’s hospital as soon as possible. Photograph: Eric Luke

Decision to locate hospital on St James’s site made in best interests of children – Harris

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told the Dáil on Wednesday Nama had provided all documentation and had answered all questions put to it regarding suspicions about any transaction. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance says inquiry cannot circumvent Garda functions

Enda Kenny: The Taoiseach said Donald Trump is “well used to disagreements and, obviously, is going to have many more in the times ahead”. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Kenny, defending St Patrick’s Day trip, praises courage of US attorney general

Catherine Ardagh: What is most disturbing is Donald Trump’s sacking of Sally Yates. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Senad hears condemnation of Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaking during a press conference in Washington DC in June. Photograph: Getty

Enda Kenny rejects calls to boycott White House meeting as ‘populist question’

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has objected to Taoiseach Enda Kenny travelling to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump for St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Independent Alliance TD only Cabinet member to oppose St Patrick’s Day visit

U.S. President Barack Obama receives a bowl of shamrock from Taoiseach Enda Kenny  during a St Patrick’s Day reception at the White House in Washington. Photograph: Chris Kleponis/Reuters

John Halligan urges Taoiseach to withdraw from St Patrick’s Day meeting

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said he fully suppports Enda Kenny as leader of Fine Gael. Photograph: Collins

Minister says Taoiseach took Fine Gael from ‘extinction level event’ to being largest party

Paschal Donohoe: he said given the additional cost represented 0.2% of total gross voted current expenditure, most departments should be in a position to absorb the additional costs

Donohoe says additional payment to public servants will be met from available public resources

A Donald Trump banner at the New York St Patrick’s Day parade in . . . 2011.  Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Minister says Ireland’s priority is to ensure interests of Irish citizens are served

Minister for  Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan: “The controversy concerning the substance of the RHI scheme is a matter solely and exclusively for the devolved institutions, and not something on which I, or the Government, would comment.” Photograph: Justin Kernoghan

Minister for Foreign Affairs says Renewable Heat Incentive a matter for devolved bodies

Simon Harris: he told the Seanad that behind every trolley number there was a patient in need of effective, timely and compassionate care

Senator says problems in secondary care will never be rectified until primary care is adequately resourced

Busáras:  Enda Kenny says a resolution to the differences between Bus Éireann and the trade unions must be found. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Enda Kenny insists ‘commercial response’ needed for Bus Éireann’s problems

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said “the despicable, deliberate actions of our banks have caused misery for an additional 15,000 mortgage-holders and their families across the country”.

FF criticises Central Bank for showing ‘no urgency whatsoever’ to reinstate proper rate

Minister for Children  Katherine Zappone: Bill  provides for “best interests of the child”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

All children eligible for adoption regardless of parents’ marital status, Minister says

Frances Fitzgerald: the implications of the High Court judgment had been considered in consultation with the Attorney General, the Minister said. Photograph: Mark Stedman/PA Wire

High Court found section of 2006 Act to be unconstitutional

Enda Kenny said he and  Theresa May would have a Taoiseach to prime minister discussion during her visit to Dublin.  Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime minister’s plans for next week’s Dublin visit yet to be finalised, says Taoiseach

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he was surprised a security review had not been carried out at the airport. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tánaiste says, while not terrorism or human trafficking, ‘situation remains very serious’

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney: said it was important to distinguish between numbers in emergency accommodation and those officially homeless. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Sinn Féin TD says families in direct provision not included as all relevant data not collated

Róisín Shortall: asked if repossessions were happening without people being afforded their rights. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Róisín Shortall questions legality of repossession orders

Simon Coveney: “If areas qualify under the criteria with which everyone is familiar, they will be designated as rent-pressure zones and the rules will apply’’

Minister insists housing policy needs to include a balance towards landlords

“Ireland also a very high incidence of self-harm among young people,” Richard Boyd Barrett told Dáil. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

TD suggests move in light of Ireland’s youth suicide rate being one of highest in Europe

Mr Kenny said there had been  very strong growth in the commercial bus market, but this had   not been  felt in the Expressway arm of Bus Éireann

Taoiseach insists Shane Ross is not responsible for financial difficulties at bus company

Michael McGrath: “this is a scandal. This is disgraceful treatment of mortgage customers”

Minister for Finance says what happened is ‘outrageous’

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