Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable says real ambiguity remains around the Irish Border question in the Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Lib Dems leader says Sinn Féin’s absence from Westminster has eased Brexit passage

‘I hated sport. When I started climbing I was physically not a confident climber’

The Oireachtas Committee passed several votes on abortion that would have previously been considered inconceivable

Inside Politics: Government to come under pressure after committee votes to give access to termination up to 12 weeks without any (...)

An Oireachtas committee is due to start efforts to modify a dramatic hike in the local property tax due in 2019.

Under updated house valuations, owners in Dublin face liability for 100%-plus increases

Winter weather: the national road maintenance budget pays for the gritting and salting of roads during snow and ice. Stock photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty

Department of Transport announces reduction of 15% amid first big snowfalls

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Mícheál MacDonncha: The new mayors, scheduled to be elected in 2019, will have specified executive powers which will be limited initially but can be expanded. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Mayors will serve five-year term and have responsibility for wider metropolitan area

Simon Coveney: He rejected the suggestion technology would provide a panacea for all the Border issues, and even suggested that Northern Ireland remain within the customs union

Diplomatic offensive by Coveney and Varadkar seems to have achieved its goal

DUP leader Arlene Foster’s phone call to British prime minister Theresa May dashed hopes for a Border deal. Photograph: Getty Images

Inside Politics: Arlene Foster insists her party ‘will not accept any form of regulatory divergence’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Donald Tusk, president of the European Council at Government Buildings in  Dublin on Friday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

European Council head throws weight behind Varadkar in Brexit negotiations

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, at Government Buildings. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

European Council president says if UK offer is unacceptable to Ireland, it will be unacceptable to EU

The British government has said the EU exit process would be “seamless”. Photograph: Getty Images

Q&A: From a hard Border to the Republic exercising a veto as we near the end game

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and European Council President Donald Tusk speaking at a joint press conference at the Government buildings on Friday afternoon. Photograph:  Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

If UK’s offer on the Border ‘is unacceptable to Ireland it will be unacceptable to the EU’

Newly-appointed Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan (front) arriving at the Áras in Dublin. Photograph: PA

Newcomer Josepha Madigan seen as being a classic pro-business Fine Gael TD

Part of Trevor Ó Clochartaigh’s difficulties lie with the imminent selection convention for Galway West which he claims has a “pre-determined outcome”. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Galway West representative cites inaction on his complaints about disciplinary matters

Alan Kelly repeated his call on Wednesday for Charlie Flanagan, above, to step down and for his department to be split in two. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Opposition questions continue but Fianna Fáil has no appetite to pursue matter further

 Solidarity-People Before Profit  TDs (from left) Paul Murphy, Ruth Coppinger, Richard Boyd Barrett and Gino Kenny. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/

Solidarity-PBP had a surplus of €205,000 for the year

On November 15th, Charlie Flanagan, pictured, accused Alan Kelly of smearing him. “I will not have my good name and reputation traduced by Deputy Kelly both inside this house and outside this house,” he said. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Labour and Sinn Féin question Minister for Justice’s suitability for office

Former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald  arriving  at Finnstown House Hotel, Lucan for the Fine Gael Dublin Mid-West general election convention after her resignation Tuesday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

It looked like the Taoiseach had the upper hand but then came Monday’s game-changer

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is seen on Monday at the funeral of former TD Donal Creed in Cork on Monday. Mr Varadkar will resume talks on Monday with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in a bid to avoid a general election. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Varadkar and Martin to resume talks tonight in a bid to avert general election

Political crisis redux: Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar are hard at it in pursuit of a resolution to this latest crisis. But will their efforts bear fruit?

Events have always conspired to derail the best laid plans of ministers and governments

Alexander Hotel in Dublin, venue for Saturday’s talks between Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Election decision set to go to the wire as secret Dublin talks fail to calm political crisis

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: restated on Saturday that he would not seek Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s resignation. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Election looms as late-night meeting between Varadkar and Martin fails to end crisis

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald: under pressure from  Opposition. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Varadkar and Martin will meet Sunday night as talks to avoid election enter ‘sensitive phase’

Mary-Lou McDonald speaking at the Sinn Féin ardfheis in November. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Party’s first southern leader since 1983 will confirm a gradual shift in decision making from North

 Ballot boxes before their distribution to polling stations. The Constitution provides that a general election must be held within 30 days pf the President  dissolving the Dáil.   Photograph: Alan Betson

If Varadkar and Martin fail to reach agreement there are three likely scenarios

Harry McGee outlines three scenarios that may unfold in coming days

Leo Varadkar: Wasn’t going to fire Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Inside Politics: Taoiseach backs Frances Fitzgerald amid Fianna Fáil motion of no confidence

Saga involving Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe had its beginnings over a decade ago. An end is not yet in sight. File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Timeline: Story of Garda whistleblower led from complaint made in early 2006

An April 2017 photograph of Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and former Garda commissioner Nóirín O Sullivan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Inside Politics: Tánaiste’s account relating to Maurice McCabe’s treatment at O’Higgins commission contains gaps

Tánaiste and former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald said a controversial email was unearthed in her department only last Thursday and until it came to light, she had had no memory of it.

Background: Another embarrassing disclosure for Government

Barry Walsh is the vice chairman of the Fine Gael executive council.

Party member ‘deeply regrets tone and language’ in some Tweets and apologises

Barry Walsh is a member  of the Fine Gael executive council.

Surprising that FG executive council member not pulled up on posts before this week

Fine Gael National Executive member Barry Walsh who faces a party  disciplinary process over abusive tweets. Rolling News

Member of FG National Executive used term ‘bitch’ to describe women on social media

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams will outline plans for his future at the weekend.

Party to vote on motion calling for repeal of 8th Amendment at Ard Fheis

House prices have increased by over 450 per cent since 1995

Inside Politics: ESRI predicts prices will increase 20 per cent over the next three years

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy:  will bring a memorandum to Cabinet looking to reduce the size of local electoral areas within councils. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Report favours single mayor elected every five years, with strong executive powers

The Policing Authority is understood to have asked for approval to appoint a police officer from the PSNI to the rank of Garda Superintendent. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Policing Authority makes its first senior appointment from ranks of North’s police service

Most people have done things they regret when intoxicated.

Indisputable that other states spend less and have better health services, says Taoiseach

The Simon Community tweeted: “Other countries use a broader definition of homelessness when gathering their statistics.” File photograph: Getty Images

Taoiseach backs claim that housing strategy works in comparison to other countries

Leo Varadkar during his leadership campaign launch earlier this year. Friday night’s speech at the Fine Gael National Conference will be a test of his appeal to younger voters. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach will talk about Republic of Opportunity, but won’t mention rival parties

Séamus Morris: “Having been subjected to a litany of bullying behaviour by some party members seeking to stymie honesty and transparency, I cannot continue to support or be a member of the Sinn Féin party,” he said.

More than 10 councillors have resigned or been expelled from party in past year

Photograph:  Joe St Leger

Liability caused by application of mortgage interest relief after wrongful switching

Harlad Malmgren and daughter Pippa: special advisers to many US presidents

Harald was adviser to four consecutive presidents and daughter Pippa followed him into the White House

 Simon Harris is understood to be willing to make  minor adjustments  to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

Minister prepared to ‘tweak’ contentious Public Health Alcohol Bill being debated by Senators

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wearing a shamrock poppy badge while speaking at the Dáil.

Sinn Féin says it was mistake for Varadkar to wear poppy in Dáil as emblem is divisive

The Paradise Papers have revealed how people secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens. Photograph: EPA

Inside Politics: Legal offshore tax arrangements are a source of frustration for ordinary taxpayers

Sean Kelly MEP: “I do know that Peadar and those who joined the PSNI at the time are owed a great debt of gratitude from the country. They are heroes . . .” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sean Kelly urges resolution of Kickhams Creggan club dispute with Peadar Heffron

Families  have condemned the judge’s report as ‘rude and aggressive’ and ‘a shambles’. Photograph: Tom Lawlor

Retired judge Pat McCartan found no new inquiry into tragedy warranted

Eoghan Murphy is expected to bring a memorandum to this week’s Cabinet meeting with proposed terms of reference to set up a local government boundaries committee. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Independent Alliance Ministers to ‘fiercly oppose’ Eoghan Murphy’s plans

Alan Shatter resigned as minister for justice in 2014 amid controversy over his Department’s handling of the whistleblower Maurice McCabe case. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

Former justice minister says the party’s politics now ‘too much smoke and mirrors’

Taffic pictured in Dublin’s College Green. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Brian Hayes says Government needs to support Opposition stance

Labour’s Dublin spokesman Kevin Humphreys: “You need one clear voice who speaks for the whole of the city. People in Tallaght and in Swords primarily think of themselves as Dubliners.”   Photograph: Alan Betson

‘Dublin is not four different cities and there would be no co-ordination’

Noel O’Donoghue from Bandon talks to local Dáil Deputy Jim Daly using Skype. Technology aids constituents in one of the biggest constituencies in the State.

Jim Daly hosts additional clinics online using laptop to reduce delays and queues for people

Dublin Senator Neale Richmond: “There is an obvious gap in the workplace of skilled staff in the hospitality sector with trained chefs and experienced waiting staff increasingly hard to find for employers.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Neale Richmond seeks longer list of jobs for which foreign workers might be eligible

There will  be a civil Bill aimed at strengthening the oversight and governance of corporations and executives.

Package includes two new Bills providing stricter monitoring of financial institutions

Ibrahim Halawa with Fr Seamus Fleming who made a presentation to welcome Ibrahim home after his four years in prison in Cairo. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Ibrahim Halawa’s eventual release was the result of a painstaking official campaign

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar drew a strong distinction between Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance by refusing to say the Garda should be called in to investigate the tracker mortgage scandal. Photograph: Aurore Belot/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar refuses to say Garda should be called in to investigate mortgage scandal

The special committee’s recommendation was that water services be paid out of general taxation but that those households using more than 1.7 times the average household use would pay for the excess. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

With agreement reached by both parties, it looks certain that the Bill will not become law

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy (left) with   Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday morning. Photograph:  Orla Murray/SON

‘I wouldn’t like to live in a country where politicians could order in the police as some have suggested’

Ulster Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon: Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said lenders had treated borrowers “disgracefully”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Some banks say it may take them longer for compensation or entitlement decisions

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said on Tuesday  gardaí should be directly involved in the investigation and should be examining the evidence.

McGrath does not accept the tracker mortgage issues in different banks a coincidence

Central Bank of Ireland Governor Prof Philip Lane following a meeting with  Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph:  Collins

Inside Politics: Paschal Donohoe calls in heads of banks for dressing-down over mortgage scandal

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup, addressing the Institute of International and European Affairs  in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Eurogroup chief says governments need to use economic growth to create ‘fiscal space’

The absence of leading Sinn Féin personalities – or the party’s banners – from the March for Choice in Dublin in September was striking. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Urban-rural divide among party members crystallises in relation to eighth amendment

Irish-American Democrat politician Martin O’Malley

‘I came to Baltimore and saw nothing but opportunity to heal and save a lot of lives’

Fianna Fáil Dublin West TD Jack Chambers said the Government was proposing a 200-fold funding increase for yet another “bureaucratic quango”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fianna Fáil opposed the Office of Judicial Appointments which will cost €700,000

Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister of State  Kevin “Boxer” Moran during a media briefing on Storm Ophelia in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Government keen not to repeat past mistakes as Taoiseach leads the on-air response

Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran during a media briefing on Storm Ophelia. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Inside Politics: Taoiseach conscious of political response and remained visible over critical 24 hours

Storm Ophelia batters the west Cork coast at the Beacon near Baltimore, on Monday. Photograph: Youen Jacob/Provision

Ireland will experience more intense storm activities as climate change takes hold

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at RTÉ Radio Centre. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Minister has said pension inequality ‘bonkers’ but that funds not there to fix it

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before the unveiling of Budget 2018. Photograph: Alan Betson

Brendan Howlin wrote to Standards in Public Office Commission about funding and recruitment

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is likely to reverse the steep increase in stamp duty for non-residential land specifically for a small group of farmers inheriting land from their parents.  File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Donohoe considers exemption for certain farmers inheriting land from relatives

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe addressing members of the media  after appearing on  RTÉ Radio 1’s  ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’ programme on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Multitude of measures flagged earlier in the year did not materialise this time

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe’s budget  contained no major political landmines. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Inside Politics: Paschal Donohoe’s budget contains no major political landmines

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outside Government Buildings, Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Leo Varadkar previously said communications unit would be cost neutral

Paschal Donohoe: “We are increasing current spending… so that can can continue, step-by-step, to deliver sustainable improvements for all…”

Analysis: Only exception was Vat increase on sunbed use because of the link to cancer

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has increased his scope for spending with one big targeted move for revenue-raising. Photograph: Reuters

Inside Politics: The main money-making change is a steep rise in commercial stamp duty from 2 per cent to 6 per cent

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon  at  The Ark centre in Temple Bar, Dublin, with  brothers Aidan King (4) and Cillian (6) from Baldoyle, Co Dublin.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Scottish leader says Scotland may seek different options to rest of UK in relationship with EU

John Halligan:  described Kevin “Boxer” Moran  as an “idiot”  in September 2016

Bickering has thrown up question marks about longevity of Independent Alliance

Dara Calleary and Michael McGrath TD during the Fianna Fáil announcement of their budget priorities. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘We have contained the worst of Fine Gael’s right-wing tendencies,’ Dara Calleary says

The all-party Budgetary Oversight Committee, chaired by Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan, will begin a review of Local Property Tax during this Dáil session.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Paschal Donohoe keen to avoid big hike in charges when six-year valuations freeze ends

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: had a 30-minute meeting with US trade secretary Wilbur Ross. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Aviation company significant to economy and peace process, Minister tells Washington

There has been a lack of buzz around Paschal Donohoe’s budget. Photograph: The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Previous ministers for finance went for the grand gesture, inflicted savage cuts or had schemes that backfired

Catalan separatists wave flags in Barcelona. Photograph: Enrique Calvo/Reuters

Ministers agree police force was ‘excessive’ but strongly disagree on legitimacy of vote

 Barry Cowen: “With the right policy instruments in place this could translate into over 20,000 additional residential units in a short space of time”

Barry Cowen says Government will not oppose measures to allow families be housed

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Katherine Zappone will commence all provisions of Children First Act in December

Sherry Perreault, head of lobbying regulation at the Standards in Public Office Commission, says the introduction of a register has improved transparency in the industry. Photograph: Eric Luke

Many former political advisers now lobby for influence on issues such as drink legislation

Protesters at the March for Choice in Dublin.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Party defends its decision not to take a formal role in the abortion rights rally in Dublin

Ciaran Conlon. The former special adviser to Richard Bruton and Fine Gael official has lobbied on behalf of Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland. Photograph: Collins

Ex-Fine Gael senators are also working as lobbyists on the controversial legislation

Brian Lenihan, Eileen Lemass, Charles Haughey and Gerry Collins at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

Irish politicians have turned ‘pulling a fast one’ into an art form

Mary Lou McDonald stopped in front of the Taoiseach’s seat to remonstrate with him before leaving the chamber.

There was a sense in Fine Gael that Enda Kenny hadn’t sufficiently taken on Sinn Féin

The Road Traffic Bill introduced by Minister for Transport Shane Ross  has caused divisions. Photograph: iStock

Analysis: Rural publicans have fought against harsher laws for more than 20 years

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Vote to give Oireachtas committees more power failed over fears of parallel justice system

Seán Canney, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran , Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Shane Ross at Government Buildings. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Independent Alliance TD criticises the proposed legislation as ‘disproportionate’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Britain’s prime minister Theresa May shaking hands at a joint press conference after talks at 10 Downing Street in London in June. Photograph: Photograph: Photograph: Philip Toscano/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Taoiseach says he will emphasise the importance of free trade between Ireland and the UK

Leo Varadkar will  have to find new Fine Gael voters. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Varadkar needs to negate a reputation for not delivering on what he promises

President Michael D Higgins, his wife Sabina, Anna May McHugh with competitors at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

At the ploughing championships, Michael D Higgins also bemoaned rural decline

President Michael D Higgins shakes hands with field steward Jim Dempsey from Kells, Co Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Michael D Higgins led the political posse at Tullamore

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, speaks to the media about the Residential Tenancies Boardâ’ s latest Quarterly Rent Index Report on the opening day of the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co Offaly. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

Rental costs up 6.6% in year to June, setting new record, Residential Tenancies Board finds

Sinn Féin has expelled three Wicklow councillors

Gerry Adams says party has perhaps been ‘too patient’ in dealing with local disputes

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