Fianna Fáil’s  Michael McGrath and  Micheál Martin at last year’s general election count in Cork.  It is expected that Cork South Central – where both are sitting TDs – will be one of the first constituencies to hold its convention. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Party will hold selection conventions to have candidates in place before summer break

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe: merger of PRSI and USC  would create “deeper social contract between those who pay taxes and the services that they receive in return”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Finance to look at how to deliver key plank of Leo Varadkar’s manifesto

Tanaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald at Templemore Garda College with Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan . Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

The confidence and supply agreement has been tested on a number of occasions in the 13 months it has been in existence

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised over Dáil comments about former attorney general Máire Whelan. Photographs: The Irish Times

Members of judiciary ‘extremely disappointed’ after comments in Dáil about Whelan

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is expected to announce on Thursday the target set by his predecessor, Simon Coveney, will not be met. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister to say family removal from emergency accommodation falling short of plan

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál  Martin:  said trust between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had been damaged by the events of the past few days. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Cabinet meeting hears criticisms over nomination of former attorney general

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is appointing junior ministers on Tuesday

Dropped junior minister: ‘He said he had to reward his supporters’

Máire Whelan, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal, with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach also rejected Fianna Fáil claims that an election may be imminent

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: wants the Dáil to sit an extra week. It is due to rise on July 13th but the Government wants to carry out an assessment of pending legislation to see what can be passed. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Leo Varadkar expected to grant demand that former AG’s appointment be reviewed

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath. File photograph: Collins

Finian McGrath suggests others wanted position on Court of Appeal

Trinity College  historian Patrick Geoghegan also hosts a radio show. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Varadkar guest at Patrick Geoghegan’s wedding last year

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and the  Cabinet: Mr Varadkar  is likely to scale down the engagements he will attend and become a “bit more removed”. Photograph:  Maxwellphotography.ie

The Taoiseach is more direct and proactive and less diplomatic than Enda Kenny

Declaring that he was ‘elected to lead but I promise to serve’, Leo Varadkar recommitted himself to the Coalition arrangement. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

The Taoiseach promotes a new generation of Fine Gael as he reshuffles his Cabinet

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney: Coveney’s big ask was to be given, after the Taoiseach, the next most important position when it comes to Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Gareth Chaney

Cabinet appointments include Finance for Paschal Donohoe, Tánaiste post for Frances Fitzgerald

The talks to establish a new executive at Stormont will have to be high on the agenda for Leo Varadkar’s new Cabinet. Photograph: Paul Faith

Fine Gael will face pressure on many fronts in the months ahead

Leo Varadkar appointed Simon Coveney as his deputy leader. Photograph: Collins

Ministerial casualties not ruled out as Varadkar to make ‘conservative’ changes

Interim report on the future of certain stations brought to Cabinet

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

Inside Politics: Generation shift in Fine Gael as leader makes way for younger TDs

Good Friday alcohol ban: the Bill tabled by Independent Senator Billy Lawless would have removed the 90-year-old prohibition only for pubs and off-licences. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Broader Bill to cover restaurants, clubs and hotels as well as pubs and off-licences

Fianna Fail leader Micheall Martin during a  press briefing on the plinth of Leinster House. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Round of meetings also leads to Fianna Fáil confirmation that it will facilitate Varadkar’s election as taoiseach

Simon Coveney:  wants a position that would allow him to take on “big briefs” and would make him “a very powerful member of government”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Post of tánaiste and minister for foreign affairs possible options, says source

Leo Varadkar is expected to be elected taoiseach when the House resumes on Tuesday, June 13th. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Government TDs also want commitment to phase out USC ahead of vote for Taoiseach

Like Enda Kenny, Leo Varadkar will need the support of at least 58 TDs. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Michael Fitzmaurice says he will vote against Varadkar while others are undecided

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney. Photograph: Alan Betson

Jostling for position begins as Coveney expected to become next tánaiste

Leo Varadkar  at the Mansion House, Dublin, after his election: The vast majority of senior Ministers voted for him, so a major overhaul is not expected. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Big question is what to do with Simon Harris, the Minister for Health who backed Coveney

  Leo Varadkar   is to establish a special Cabinet sub committee on national security when he takes over as Taoiseach. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

President Higgins sends sympathy of Irish people to London victims and their families

Ireland’s next taoiseach:  Leo Varadkar arrives at the Fine Gael count on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fine Gael’s new leader had been quietly preparing the ground for months

A look back on Varadkar’s words, sometimes spoken in anger

Leo Varadkar arrives with his parents Ashok (R) and Miriam (L) Varadkar as it is announced that he won the Fine Gael leadership race. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Dublin West TD’s team put a large bet down on carrying the parliamentary party and it paid off

Fine Gael leadership candidates Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney during their debate  at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Coveney team maintains he can still win race to succeed Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Simon Coveney  at the publication on May 21st of his road map to change Fine Gael, government and the country. Photograph: Kenneth O Halloran

Analysis: For Coveney it is the party’s soul, for Varadkar supporters it is just a slogan

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is to bring proposed legislation on reforming the judicial appointments process to Cabinet on Tuesday.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Frances Fitzgerald is to bring legislation demanded by Shane Ross before Ministers

Simon Coveney:   said he could still win the race to succeed Enda Kenny

Sister of TD claimed Mitchell O’Connor is supporting Varadkar to save her ministry

 Minister for Health Simon Harris has this week continued to campaign for Simon Coveney at rallies around the country as some of his  party colleagues speculated about his future. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

There may not be a place for Minister in Cabinet chaired by Leo Varadkar

Fine Gael leadership candidates Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney greet each other in a Dublin hotel at the start of the first of four nights on the hustings. Photograph: Alan Betson

Varadkar says in trying to stand for everyone, the party risked standing for nothing

 Fine Gael Leadership Candidates Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney greet each other at the start of the first of four nights on the Hustings, at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Some at hustings criticised that many in parliamentary party had already publicly declared

Leo Varadkar: poised to take the crown. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Inside Politics: But Varadkar should still avoid cappuccino kids’ fate

Simon Coveney and Kate O’ Connell at Mr  Coveney’s policy document launch at the weekend. Photograph:  Collins

Kate O’Connell previously called Varadkar supporters ‘choirboys’

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, who has a commanding lead in the Fine Gael leadership contest so far. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Varadkar’s heartland contains just 10% of FG members who can vote in leadership contest

Simon Coveney, who said he believed he can beat leadership  rival Leo Varadkar in the regional hustings due to begin on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister says he has sought to convince the members to switch support from Varadkar

Simon Coveney  called Leo Varadkar’s manifesto a “list of spending commitments”. Mr Varadkar’s campaign declined to comment on the criticism

Varadkar backs more infrastructure spending and equalising tax credits for self-employed

 Simon Coveney   took issue with Leo Varadkar’s statement that Fine Gael needs to be for people who get out of bed early in the morning, saying the party needs to represent other people too.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Varadkar says Government has to ‘hold the line’ on public sector pay

Leo Varadkar launching his policy manifesto in Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Leadership candidate threatens to overturn rival Simon Coveney’s ‘help to buy’ plan

Fine Gael leadership candidate Leo Varadkar at a 5k run in Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Centre-right rivals for Fine Gael leadership divided by style rather than policies

Fine Gael Leadership candidate Simon Coveney  at the launch of his policy document in the Dean Hotel in Dublin. The document draws on Fine Gael’s ‘just society’ tradition. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister trailing in Fine Gael leadership race, but says he will see contest through

Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney  at the launch of his campaign for the Fine Gael leadership, on Mount Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Analysis: The Minister for Housing is staying in a contest that has effectively ended

 Leo Varadkar at the launch of his leadership campaign for Fine Gael Party in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Some supporters of Coveney had urged him to withdraw

Varadkar has been preparing for years, his team for months. Numerous people have been involved , but most were in the dark about who else was involved. Everyone fed back to him, but only a select handful knew the full plan

Varadkar co-ordination team had moved into office and were preparing for months

Leo Varadkar has a commanding lead in the Fine Gael leadership race after securing backing form twice as many of the party’s TDs and Senators as Simon Coveney. Photograph: Collins

Coveney hoping for support from large number of undeclared party members

Simon Coveney  and Leo Varadkar are the only declared candidates deemed certain of getting the required eight nominations required for a tilt at the leadership. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

There will be four debates for FG members around the country, beginning on Thursday

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has announced his intention to step down. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Kenny describes Noonan’s contribution to restoration of economy as ‘extraordinary’

Brutonvar

Coveney pledges to unite party as Noonan says he will step down as Minister

 Enda Kenny: one source at the Fine Gael meeting said the Taoiseach’s departure was “clinical”

‘Let the games begin,’ said Taoiseach, before leaving the room to a standing ovation

The  newly formed  Cabinet one year ago: change is now in the air as Enda Kenny steps down. Photograph:  Maxwellphotography.ie

Enda Kenny’s replacement as Fine Gael leader must deal with local demands

To be eligible to vote, rank-and-file members must have held membership of the party in 2016 and 2017. Fine Gael officials say there are about 25,000 entitled to cast their ballot.

Fine Gael’s party constitution has clear protocols around the ballot for its leader

Simon Coveney  and Leo Varadkar are the only declared candidates deemed certain of getting the required eight nominations required for a tilt at the leadership. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dublin Minister ahead of Cork Cabinet colleague by 6% among TDs, Senators, Councillors

Taoiseach Enda Kenny  launching the Finite Lives at Government Buildings prior to announcing his resignation.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Very emotional’ Taoiseach to step down from midnight

‘I’ve learned that people actually own you in a very different way than you might ever imagine’: Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Fine Gael leader in pensive mood ahead of ‘announcement’ on his future

Taoiseach Enda Kenny launching The Irish Times’ Nealon’s Guide to the 32nd Dáil and Seanad, edited by Tim Ryan (centre). Photograph: Dave Meehan

Party hierarchy demands clean contest after Enda Kenny stands aside as Fine Gael chief

“In truth, those closest to the Taoiseach say only two people know exactly what is going to happen: Kenny and his wife Fionnuala.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Analysis: Kenny sits atop the steaming pot; ambition, restlessness and loyalty stew below

Leo Varadkar has asked for campaign spending limits to be imposed by Fine Gael, in a move seen as raising the issue of the family wealth of his rival, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney. Photograph:  Maxwellphotography.ie

Minister for Social Protection has sought limit to spending on electioneering

The North-South Interconnector will run on 299 pylons about 50m high from a substation in Woodland, Co Meath, to Clontibret in Co Monaghan, linking the electricity networks in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Photograph: Eric Luke

Regina Doherty and Denis Naughten at odds over laying of cables underground

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening he will address the issue of his party leadership at next week’s meeting. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach widely expected to announce date for his departure as party leader at that stage

There has been public criticism in recent years about the prices charged for event tickets on websites that allow secondary sales.

Company argues against legislation to govern secondary sales of tickets

Leo Varadkar gave a press conference on the steps of Government Buildings challenging Simon Coveney and other potential candidates to a broadcast debate. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Analysis: Despite Enda Kenny staying put for now, leadership contest is already under way

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: backed Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

PAC vice-chairman Alan Kelly urges Fianna Fáil to push for Garda Commissioner’s exit

Preparations for the Fine Gael leadership battle are intensifying, with supporters of Simon Coveney (left) and Leo Varadkar (right) primed for the contest to begin next week.

FG contest: Some in Varadkar camp suggest Coveney at fault for poor showing in 2016 poll

 Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar: ‘I think a TV debate would be a good thing.’   Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Social Protection says public should see potential new taoiseach

Of the 64 per cent who voted to allow abortion with “no restrictions as to reason”, 48 per cent chose to allow it up to 12 weeks, and 44 per cent chose to allow it up to 22 weeks. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Oireachtas members unlikely to be as liberal in their views as Citizens’ Assembly

National Maternity Hospital controversy: Parents for Choice protest against the decision to give the new hospital to the Sisters of Charity. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Kieran Mulvey says elements of St Vincent’s agreement will be clarified but deal ‘will stand’

The Citizens’ Assembly recommended by almost two to one that abortion without restriction as to reasons be made available in the State. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

TDs unlikely to liberalise laws to extent proposed by Citizens’ Assembly, say sources

 Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin: “The challenge now for Labour is not to fight the last election again. But to listen to the people, and to prepare for the election of tomorrow”

Howlin speech to party conference offers broad sweep of positions but little new policy

Evin Ryan: “We need to promote a strong brand that says ‘Yes, we are Labour; Yes, we stand for these policies’”

Delegates at the Wexford gathering are opinionated on how the party should proceed

Reporters gathered outside  a school in Dublin’s north inner city during a visit by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minster for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last June. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Former TD Joe Costello describes Taoiseach’s taskforce as a distraction tactic

Labour TD Alan Kelly  said it was ‘totally wrong’ and ‘a disgrace’ that a company owned by the Sisters of Charity would own the new maternity hospital site. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Alan Kelly says Health Minister needs to ‘get control’ of the project

The public, after giving Labour a thrashing at the last election, have not yet been listening to the party.

Conference to take stock of election potential and voting public’s deaf ear on policy agenda

Labour leader Brendan Howlin: “Our objective is to build the party, to be the pivotal former of policy, because we live on shaping our society and having real good ideas to implement.” File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Party ‘obviously had very bruising general election’ and has been rebuilding ever since

Census figures  reveal  total housing stock grew by just 8,800 (0.4 per cent) in the five years from 2011..

Simon Coveney is considering extending incentives to increase housing supply

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. ‘The public’s estimation of Mr Kenny vastly improved when he bared his ruthless side in despatching the 2010 heave.’ Photograph: Seán Gallup/Getty Images

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar will take a hit if they fail to take action on Enda Kenny

Paschal Donohoe: “Employees in the public service need to know where they stand with their wages, now and in the future.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

FG and FF compromise on water charges not ‘pretty’ but shows political centre can hold

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister says general election in UK does not change leadership process in Fine Gael

Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin are unlikely to be the party leaders heading up the coalition – but anything is possible. Picture: Oisin McHugh/FusionShooters

Analysis: The parties will likely end up as bedfellows – after Gerry Adams steps down

Leo Varadkar is thinking about merging departments if his tilt at the Fine Gael party leadership is successful. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister considers combining portfolios of finance and public expenditure if FG leadership bid successful

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will use the summit to highlight specific Irish concerns, such as the Border and the Common Travel Area. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Enda Kenny to hold mini summit with leaders in bid to bring trade focus to EU talks

Enda Kenny: Will  the April 29th summit of the European Council be his last hurrah? Photograph: Getty Images

Inside Politics: Fine Gael meeting is told party reforms will come in under new leader

Enda Kenny: had  asked at the weekly Fine Gael steering group about how the contest to succeed him would be run

Deputy says mention of leadership by top party official signals start of the ‘end game’

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone: set to have consultations “regarding the nature and type of services and supports in the area of health and well-being that they consider would be helpful to them at this stage”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Well-being help may be better than access to a redress scheme, says Minister Zappone

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home in  Galway. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Cabinet decided against extending 2002 scheme due to cost and legal implications

A shrine at a former mother-and-baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. The Government has said it ‘not possible’ to reopen the 2002 redress scheme. File photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Due to cost Government says it cannot reopen programme for institutional abuse survivors

The commission examining the future of An Garda Síochána will be expected to issue its final report within a year to 18 months, Government sources say. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Commission asked to recommend on ways to deliver a modern police force for the State

The traditional prayer which is read by the Ceann Comhairle, or whoever is in the chair at the time

Atheist Ireland wants end to Oireachtas practice of praying to ‘Christ Our Lord’

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has secured a commitment from his seven TDs that they will all stand again. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Politicians are ramping up preparations in anticipation of a short electoral cycle

The end of the Good Friday alcohol sales ban is likely to come into effect for Good Friday 2018. Photograph: Johnny Green/PA Wire

Government is moving to lift the 90-year-old restriction on the supply of alcohol

Fianna Fáil’s private members’ motion regarding Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan will be taken in the Dáil next week. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Party seeks Policing Authority to assess if O’Sullivan capable of restoring belief in force

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

FF calls for Authority to assess O’Sullivan’s position

  Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan received reports   that recording  was taking place on non-999 calls. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

System upgrade led to recording of calls on main telephone lines in 20 divisional headquarters

Mr Justice Nial Fennelly: also investigated the implications of the recording of calls at Bandon Garda station related to the investigation of the death of the French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, in 1996.

Commission investigated taping of phone calls at Garda stations over many years

 Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar says the  confidence and supply deal allowed individual parties to take differing positions on the issue of water charges. Photograph: Collins

Minister seeks to ‘congratulate’ Paul Murphy TD for role in determining FF stance

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: flirted with adopting the language in a Labour motion for proposals on Garda reform. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Analysis: Martin must clarify stance on Garda Commissioner to regain credibility

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is understood to see human resources and how promotions are made within the Garda as a particular concern. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Review of Garda will seek to change senior appointment methodology, says Tánaiste

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