Former taoisigh Brian Cowen (left) and Albert Reynolds with Arthur French of the K Club at a reception in Áras an Uachtaráin hosted by President Mary McAleese.  Photograph : Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

The former taoiseach Albert Reynolds, who has died aged 81, made Northern Ireland his priority when he took office in 1992. Building on the groundwork(...)

In total, the HSE paid about €2.5 billion to contractors – doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacists – in 2011, representing about 20 per cent of its total spend. Fee cuts have seen reductions in payments for many professionals but this has been ameliorated by a rise in the number of people qualifying for medical cards.

A Dublin family doctor has earned more than €700,000 from the HSE for treating patients subsidised by the State under the medi(...)