Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is to examine the possible decriminalisation of cannabis in his new role as Minister of State with Responsibility for the Drug Strategy. Photograph: David Sleator

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is to examine the possible decriminalisation of cannabis in his new role as Minister of State with Responsibility for the Drug Strat(...)

 Aodhán  Ó’Ríordáin, a Dublin Bay North deputy, is already a junior Minister at the Department of Justice and at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Labour TD and junior Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is to be made Minister of State with responsibility for drugs, in addition to his existing roles.There(...)

 Labour junior minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: “The first World War doesn’t seem to have achieved anything at all.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

On the wall of his office in Leinster House, Labour junior minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has a yellowed and torn copy of the Weekly Irish Times from 191(...)

A small step on asylum

If official reports and political commitments had been acted upon, thousands of asylum seekers would be in a better place. As things stand, they are d(...)

Teachers voting at the ASTI conference in Killarney this week. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Teachers at the final day of the ASTI conference in Killarney have called for a change to how women with pregnancy-related sick leave are treated.Sin(...)

Irish Refugee Council chief executive Sue Conlan said moves to improve access to third level for asylum-seeking students were a step in the right direction. Photograph: The Irish Times

More than 1,500 asylum seekers whose refugee applications have been rejected are likely to benefit from the right to reside here under proposals being(...)

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said  she is determined  asylum-seeking students who have been in the system for five years or more should be treated in the same way as Irish students. File photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Young asylum-seekers will be entitled to access third level education in the same way as Irish students under proposals being drawn up by the Governme(...)

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan says teachers “need to be realistic” about the Government’s capacity to restore the pay losses of the austerity era. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan says teachers “need to be realistic” about the Government’s capacity to restore the pay losses of the austerity(...)

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

A new “fast track” system for asylum seekers in direct provision for more than five years, which would see their cases dealt with within six months(...)

Minister of State for New Communities Aodhán Ó Riordáin said the working group report on the asylum-seeker system would be published within weeks after Easter. Photograph: The Irish Times

An independent report on making improvements to supports for asylum seekers, including the direct provision system, will be published “within weeks”. (...)