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’

Charlie Flanagan: he said the North’s parties had to be mindful of their responsibility to re-establish the devolved institutions on the far side of polling day

Taoiseach says there is unfinished business in delivering on Belfast Agreement

The statement on Brexit by British prime minister Theresa May brought “clarity in a number of areas”, the Taoiseach has said. Photograph: Sergio Barrenechea/EPA.

Taoiseach says State will contribute ‘very strongly’ to talks with EU on UK’s departure

Ruth Coppinger said  tens of thousands of people in America would protest against Donald Trump’s “racism, sexism, anti-woman and anti-worker policies”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Calls for large turnout at Dublin protest to coincide with US presidential inauguration

Minister for Transport Shane Ross described the RSA’s annual report as a “sloppy piece of work’’ with “embarrassing’’ misprints and “grammatical howlers’’. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Sharp exchanges between Minister and Liz O’Donnell after authority’s board reduced

Dermot Gallagher: he was closely involved in efforts to ensure the establishment of a stable powersharing administration in the North. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

President Higgins leads tributes to former Foreign Affairs secretary general

Ted Moynihan, a native of Blennerville, near Tralee, helped organise the first fundraising event for the hospice foundation in 1990. Photograph: Courtesy of YouTube

Prestigious honour awarded for ‘selfless and remarkable example of community spirit’

Minister for Health Simon Harris said industrial action was not in the interests of staff or  patients.   Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Siptu to ballot 30,000 health support staff on a variety of pay issues next month

The published  work of Anthony Cronin, pictured in 2004, included 14 volumes of poetry, novels,  and biographies of Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien. Photograph: Frank Miller

Tributes paid to poet’s part in setting up Aosdána to help artists and writers

Theo Dorgan, pictured,  said Anthony Cronin was a man with a great heart who had sacrificed a certain amount of reputation by sitting down with the “political machines’’ in setting up Aosdána to help writers and artists. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Publisher Dermot Bolger reflects on encouragement visible from teenage years

Poet, novelist and critic  Anthony Cronin has died aged 88. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh.

Co Wexford born writer served as an arts adviser to former taoiseach Charles Haughey

Shane Ross was responding to a strongly-worded attack on the company in the Dáil  Richard Boyd Barrrett. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Minister agrees about ‘doubtful nature’ of some of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company’s schemes

Seán Canney (2nd from left) with his Independent Alliance colleagues. He predicted that public service pay, rather than Brexit or Donald Trump’s election, will put the biggest pressure on the Government. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Minister of State says Ross’s past as a journalist used against him

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar: said he intended to keep the social insurance fund in surplus. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister cuts contribution young people on welfare make to rent supplement

The gifts can be placed at the crib in the Pro-Cathedral until January 6th. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Presents placed at cathedral crib before January 6th will be passed on to homeless

  Browne at his home in Connemara. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Late ex-minister published incendiary autobiography Against the Tide 30 years ago

Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd has called for a tax on vacant houses

Measure has worked in other countries with housing shortages, Fergus O’Dowd tells Dáil

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy: the commuter belt is spoken about as some sort of small peripheral part of Dublin and “there has to be new thinking”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil ‘genuflect before the free market’ on rent, says Paul Murphy

Kevin Humphreys: “We have had committees, studies and the citizens’ assembly, but we have had very little legislation.’’

Kevin Humphreys says ‘Fine Gael got the cars but Fianna Fáil the keys’

The limit on rent increases at 4 per cent a year will remain, which is being seen as a significant victory for Fine Gael. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael reach agreement over proposed 4% cap on rent increases

 Musicians play alongside Irish traditional band Moxie outside Leinster House to give support to Labour TD Willie Penrose’s Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill in September 2016. File photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

Labour TD Willie Penrose calls for return of sponsored programmes while moving Bill

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: on the logic of a 4% rent cap,   he told the Dáil  that “obviously, those reasons stand up”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach insists there were strong reasons why Cabinet settled on contentious figure

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there were compelling reasons why the Government had settled on the 4% limit. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Opposition criticises proposals to deal with spiralling increases in private rental market

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: said the all-party committee on housing and homelessness had recommended rent reviews be linked to the Consumer Price Index or a similar index. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

SF and Labour say rent reviews should be linked to Consumer Price Index

Enda Kenny told the Dáil the rent control plan “is a focused, targeted strategy”.  Photograph: Getty Images

Labour leader accuses Taoiseach of thinking only pressure zones are in Dublin and Cork

Jerry Buttimer: he said Dr Whitaker’s life was “the epitome of what good public service should be’’

Senators praise ‘architect of modern Ireland’ and former Seanad member

Simon Coveney: “There is no country in the EU even close to Ireland in terms of the level of priority and preparedness that we already have in place for the negotiations that are on the way”

Minister says Government will prioritise looking after Irish interests

Simon Coveney says  the State needed to remain close in terms of its political and trade relationships with the UK. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister says Government will prioritise looking after Irish interests at home and abroad

Michael McDowell: the Senator said Shane Ross had yet again suggested that, somehow, the judiciary was against reform, he said. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Independent Senator accuses Minister of inaccuracies in ‘Irish Times’ article

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: he has urged Vertex Pharmaceuticals to return to intensive discussions to reduce the price for those who would benefit from the drug Orkambi

Taoiseach calls in Dáil for resumed talks on cost of cystic fibrosis drug

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said Bus Éireann faces serious challenges. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Minister says company’s ‘serious financial challenges’ should be tackled decisively

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: “I have never accused anyone of being a suspect in the murder of Brian Stack, because I don’t know who the suspects might be”

Sinn Féin leader insists he does not know who the suspects of the 1983 killing might be

Fianna Fáil Senator Ned O’Sullivan said he was concerned about reports suggesting the hunting of  Killarney red deer had become “a purchasable pleasure’’.  File photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Seanad report: ‘If any culling is to be done, it should only be of non-indigenous sika species’

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said he had already dealt with the issue of the Brian Stack murder in substance and he would make a statement in the House if time was made available to him. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Enda Kenny says Sinn Féin leader should make statement under privilege in the House

Simon Harris says he will “act quickly’’ on a report about legalising medicinal cannabis due at end of January. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin TD hits out at doctor for alleging legislation a ‘Trojan horse’

Catherine Byrne: “Over a decade ago, the situation was similar for gluten-free foods, especially for dietary staples like bread.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister backs making wider range of items available for those with metabolic disorders

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said it was “fanciful’’ to believe anybody who did not pay would be pursued for the money. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Education insists issue must first be considered by Oireachtas committee

David Stanton: “The Government wishes to see the [Loughs] agency working to its full potential, which is in the interests of everyone on this island’’

Minister of State says dispute is creating ‘practical difficulties’ for number of activities

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said it was “madness” to introduce a charge that had no consequences for excessive water use. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Housing warns the public could pay more for water based on expert report

Flooding along the banks of the Shannon River near Athlone Town in 2015. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fianna Fáil spokesman Michael McGrath insists relief scheme should lead to cover

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