Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. It is understood the overall figure being examined for the budget welfare package  is between €150m and €200m

Focus will be on home benefits package with support for gas and electricity bills

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: chastised his Ministers over negative briefings. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Government figures are unimpressed with proposal of all-island agri-food zone

Some Ministers and TDs were privately critical of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when he said he was open to a grand coalition with Micheál Martin’s party. Photograph: Douglas O’Connor

Donohoe may ask fiscal advisory council to scrutinise Opposition spending policies

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told  his party’s TDs that Government and Opposition party leaders had agreed the byelections would be held in the last week in November. File image: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

November 29th mooted for polls in Wexford, Dublin and Cork as TDs speculate on general election date

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will tell the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee it is “critical that the expenditure position for Budget 2020 is managed within the parameters set out in the mid-year expenditure report”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Limits allow for budget-day package of €2.8 billion, with €2.1 billion already committed

Noel Rock’s promotion will be seen as a boost to the  TD, who is battling to hold his seat in the three seat Dublin North West constituency. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Dun Laoghaire TD lost position amid controversy over personal injuries claim

The 32nd Dáil looks unlikely to last beyond May next year.

The domestic political battlegrounds are health, housing and the rising cost of living

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Enterprise Heather Humphreys at the end of day two of Fine Gael’s autumn think-in in Ballycotton, Cork. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/

Senior FG figures claim even considering idea may help ‘rehabilitate’ the Opposition

Senior Government figures have said they are examining increasing the €20 per week universal childcare subsidy in the October 8th budget. Photograph: iStock

Fine Gael seeks to put family-friendly policies at the centre of their bid for a third term

President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin speaking about pay and conditions in the Defence Forces at a presentation of the Defence Forces Values Awards. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach says Higgins’s comments on sufficient remuneration extend to all of society

A show of hands was taken at the meeting in Oughterard. Photograph: Gearóid Murphy/Twitter

Galway TD claimed direct provision centre would ‘destroy the fabric of Oughterard’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that if Fianna Fáil had the majority after the next general election then Fine Gael would have to consider a Confidence and Supply Agreement. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘I am certainly not ruling out any future arrangement with Fianna Fáil, either confidence and supply or coalition’ - Taoiseach

President Michael D Higgins: Said remarks he had made at a military award ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin had been simply expressed and he believed a genuine will exists ‘to get it all fixed’. File photograph: The Irish Times

Tánaiste indicates no ‘huge concerns’ about President’s backing for improved money

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting at the Garryvoe Hotel in Cork. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Varadkar wants poll to take place on May 20th, later than Fianna Fáil’s preference

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe during a media briefing outlining his Budget 2020 strategy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Boost to payments likely to be lower as Donohoe makes allowances for ‘no-deal’ scenario

The Irish Defence Forces crossing the Slaney River during a mission readiness exercise in the Glen of Imaal, Co Wicklow. President Michael D Higgins said    many are understandably concerned about the ability to attract and retain people of the highest calibre in the Defence Forces. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Working conditions of members ought to be ‘exemplary’ in society, says President

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that increases to social welfare payments would be “targeted” at the most vulnerable. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Finance has confirmed he will prepare the budget for a no-deal Brexit

Fianna Fáil general election candidate Lisa McDonald: ‘not happy’ at party moves.

Lisa McDonald claims Dáil Éireann representation like an ‘out of shape’ soccer team

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: bleaker outlook on Brexit since Boris Johnson became UK prime minister. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Fiscal watchdog warns of Brexit leaving a major hole in Government finances

Abhaile is run by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs). The scheme was set up in 2016 and will now run for until 2022.

Mabs-run service Abhaile has provided support to over 12,000 households at risk of losing homes

Phil Hogan briefs Irish journalists on Brexit at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Ray Ryan.

Fine Gael party stalwart not without refined political skills

Stephen Donnelly, Fianna Fáil’s health spokesman,  was speaking at the party’s think-in in Gorey, Co Wexford, where there was renewed criticism by party leader Micheál Martin of health budgeting. File photograph: Alan Betson

Party spokesman says if it is in power after next election better data will be needed

From left, Stephen Donnelly; Micheál Martin; Thomas Byrne (Meath East); Timmy Dooley (Clare); with Lisa Chambers and Pat McPartland, Fianna Fáil Communications. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Those gathering in Wexford are eager to believe voters are ready for a change

Former president Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the All-Ireland senior hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park earlier this month. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Former president to be nominated for post held by her predecessor at the Áras

Boris Johnson  is demanding that the backstop, the insurance policy to avoid a hard border, is abolished in order for there to be an orderly UK exit. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Leaked documents outline possibility of hard border and shortages of food and medicine

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is expected to speak to British prime minister Boris Johnson this week.  File photograph:  Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Reuters

Gove plays down leaked government papers, saying they set out a worst-case scenario

Micheál Martin, as the alternative taoiseach to Leo Varadkar, will face more scrutiny ahead of the next election than at any time in the past. Photograph:  Tom Honan

Fiach Kelly: Micheál Martin versus Leo will be a genuine contest come election time

The phone call to Leo Varadkar is said to be  part of a round of diplomacy by Boris Johnson in advance of the G7. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

British PM to meet Macron in Paris and Merkel in Berlin ahead of G7 summit

The paper questions the sustainability of existing grant schemes. Photograph: EPA

Government’s electric car incentive grants to run out by 2021 at current rate of take-up

Minister for Transport Shane Ross collecting his electric Hyundai Kona at in Stillorgan on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister calls on Green Party leader Ryan to purchase an EV after making switch himself

The Government will not be able to afford across-the-board €5 increases in social welfare payments if there is a no-deal Brexit, Minister of State Finian McGrath has said. Photograph: James Forde

Minister of State says in ‘doomsday scenario’, available resources must go to at-risk sectors

UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay: “We’re leaving the EU on October 31st with or without a deal.” Photograph: Tolga Akmen

Hard-Brexit Tory MPs claim even a backstop abolition insufficient to avert no-deal exit

Whatever differences those on the Opposition benches had with the Government’s presentation of Brexit issues, as well as the public tone struck by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, support for the backstop has not wavered in Leinster House

Backstop is consequence of Tory’s reliance on DUP because of May’s reckless gamble

Taoiseach Garret FtizGerald and  British prime minister Margaret Thatcher signing  the Anglo-Irish agreement. “We will have to work with the British and they with us to get out of the present unfortunate situation.” Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

‘Why didn’t the British focus on the fact that they had an extensive land border with the EU? Because it was in Ireland.’

The Climate Action Plan aims to have 950,000 electric vehicles on the road, with 100% of all new cars and vans falling into the category by 2030. Photograph: Florian Gaertner

Minister points out problems in using VRT in plan to stimulate sale of non-carbon vehicles

Seán Canney: Under “expenditure on policy formulation”, Mr Canney listed different restaurants such as Bang (€140), the Sussex (€208), Matt the Thresher (€332), The Ivy (€92), La Cave (€86) and Fire (€122). Photograph: Alan Betson

Junior minister’s ‘expenditure on policy formulation’ also done in Tuam and Athlone

Gabriel Makhlouf, incoming Central Bank governor, says he is a ‘dedicated’ public servant. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg

Incoming Central Bank governor was subject of inquiry over leak of budget information

Although Leo Varadkar invited Boris Johnson to Dublin during an initial phone call between the pair last week, Mr Johnson did not immediately take up the offer. Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuters and Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Paschal Donohoe confirms Taoiseach’s and PM’s offices in contact during BBC interview

Former Fianna Fáil minister Pat Carey. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

Former Fianna Fáil minister and Dublin North West TD ‘relieved’ at development

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Brexit may afford him his best hope of returning to Government Buildings. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Fiach Kelly: Taoiseach’s best chance of returning to Government rests on Brexit

Timmy Dooley: The tweet had been ‘seized on in an unfortunate way’.

FF communications spokesman had tweeted impasse with UK result of Varadkar’s failure

‘A no-deal Brexit would have very serious impacts on the economy north and south and in Britain, it could have security implications as well,’ Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday, on a visit in Kilkenny to launch the redevelopment of former Smithwick’s Brewery site with Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar rejects Brexiteers’ claims he is engaging in a ‘project fear’ campaign

Gabriel Makhlouf ‘has been widely criticised in New Zealand for not taking personal responsibility for the incident’, according to Brendan Howlin

Howlin says Government is ‘whitewashing’ issues raised by New Zealand inquiry

Gabriel Makhlouf was approved as Central Bank governor by the Government in May and will take up the €286,760 post in September. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg

Philip Lane and Patrick Honohan spoke to Government figures on Gabriel Makhlouf

Representative Richard Neal (L) said Congress, and not the US president, writes trade agreements. Photograph: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Richard Neal says a US-UK trade deal will not happen if 1998 accord is jeopardised

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said the Government’s ‘lack of experience and arrogance will hurt Ireland in the coming months’.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Party leader reasserts party’s stance after Timmy Dooley criticises Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson have spoken for the first time since the latter became UK prime minister almost a week ago.  Photographs: The Irish Times and PA.

Pair discuss Brexit and Northern Ireland during 15-minute phone call

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is  said to be examining how to further restrict possibilities for local objections. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Minister set to signal extension to accelerated process for Strategic Housing Developments

Gabriel Makhlouf’s appointment was approved by the Government in May and he will take up the €286,760 post in September. File photograph: Bloomberg via Getty

Gabriel Makhlouf’s succession to top post triggered direct contact by Frankfurt officials

Michael Gove: the one-time supporter of the withdrawal agreement is taking an increasingly hard line. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/AFP/Getty

Reports suggest figure of as much as £1bn, as Gove says no-deal planning now priority

Leo Varadkar at the MacGill summer school where he predicted a no-deal Brexit would prompt more liberal unionists and nationalists in the North to consider joining a united Ireland. Photograph: Michael McHugh/PA Wire

DUP describes as ‘unhelpful’ and ‘aggressive’ Taoiseach’s comments on stability of union

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, with the summer school’s director, Joe Mulholland. Photograph: North West Newspix

Varadkar says he hopes Central Bank will look at moves to help people escape ‘rent trap’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks to the media in Donegal after Thursday’s Cabinet meeting. Photograph: Michael McHugh/PA Wire

Taoiseach says it would be ‘provocative’ to discuss potential united Ireland at this stage

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announcing in Adare on Thursday that Ireland will host the Ryder Cup.  Photograph: Merrion Street/PA Wire

Taoiseach’s only job now in EU-UK discussions is to defend Border backstop

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. ‘We look forward to an early engagement to talk about Brexit, to talk about Northern Ireland and to talk about bilateral relations between the UK and Ireland into the future.’ Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Taoiseach warns new British prime minister his negotiation plans are ‘not in the real world’

Maria Bailey with former minister Alan Shatter. Ms Bailey was stripped of her position as chair of the Oireachtas committee on housing by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

FG member says Taoiseach ‘bottled it’ in not removing the whip over compensation claim

In explaining the rationale for his decision, Fine Gael sources said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had chosen a “combination of natural justice and human mercy”. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Decision not to strip TD of whip seen by some TDs as missed opportunity

The Taoiseach said he could not reconcile ‘inconsistencies’ in Maria Bailey’s ‘accounts to me and the media’.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

However TD signed affidavit that ‘overstated the impact of her injuries on her running’

 Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Varadkar says he will not remove whip from Fine Gael TD, conscious of ‘devastating effect’ of saga

Brian Cowen has been receiving treatment in hospital following serious concerns for his health earlier this month.  Photograph:Alan Betson

‘There might be a long road ahead, but there’s a road ahead,’ TD says of former taoiseach

Micheál Martin: “The parties in the North, particularly Sinn Féin and the DUP, have not utilised the Good Friday agreement to the full”

Fianna Fáil leader has ‘no difficulty’ laying out what a potential united Ireland would look like

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One on Friday before heading  to his golf resort in New Jersey. Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

Micheál Martin said US president’s comments on four congresswomen were outrageous

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey is set to lose the party whip. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fine Gael to take action against TD following investigation into personal injuries case

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: promises a “clear response” to the High Court ruling. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Continuous residence decision ‘has alarmed many interested parties’, says Minister

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the contenders to succeed Theresa May, have said they want the backstop removed from the withdrawal agreement. The EU has said the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened

Taoiseach stressed the withdrawal agreement cannot be changed

Micheál Martin: provoking a general election in the coming months  would be ’irresponsible’. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fianna Fáil leader says next British prime minister must deal with existing Brexit deal

The Taoiseach has long promised to merge the universal social charge and pay-related social insurance. File photograph: Alan Betson

Varadkar pledge to raise highest tax band would cost €2.3bn in a year

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a decision on when to hold the referendum, on extending the vote in presidential elections to Irish people living abroad, does not have to be taken until September. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Government urged to postpone poll and focus on Britain’s impending exit from EU

Protesters outside the Department of Agriculture campaign against cruelty to greyhounds. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Practices uncovered in RTÉ Investigates amounted to ‘subsidised cruelty’

Income tax credits for people who retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient are proposed in a new plan from senior Government officials.  Photograph: Getty Images

New plan from Government officials also suggests increasing carbon tax in Budget 2020

Earlier in 2019, the European Parliament voted to abolish the custom of changing the clocks by an hour in spring and autumn by 2021. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Plan to abolish clock changes may result in two time zones in Ireland post-Brexit

Frank Feighan, a former TD and current senator, has been added to the Sligo-Leitrim ticket. File photograph: PA

Party also added a senator to Sligo-Leitrim ticket

Noel Whelan: “He was a master of the telling phrase, an outstanding communicator.” Photograph: David Sleator

Tributes paid to barrister and political writer who died after short illness

Political writer and barrister Noel Whelan who died on Wednesday. Photograph: The Irish Times

President and Taoiseach lead tributes to a ‘driving force of same sex marriage campaign’

Fresh report from Northern Ireland civil service warns that at least 40,000 jobs would be lost if UK crashes out without  deal.

Minister for Foreign Affairs tells private gathering duo ‘should know better’ – sources

 European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ursula von der Leyen says she will ask all states to present male and female candidates

This is not the actual rat seen in the Dáil bar.

The rat has been spotted twice by senior Fianna Fáil members

Tánaiste Simon Coveney with Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee: Mr Coveney promises there will be no infrastructure on the Border. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Coveney refers to non-Border ‘action’ on goods from North as pessimism grows

Tánaiste Simon Coveney: “We are not going to put checks on the Border or close to it.”  Photograph: Henry Nicholls

Control of products moving between North and South to take place away from Border

The rat pictured is not the actual Leinster House rat, which remains at large. Photograph: iStock

‘These things happen... there are plenty of old drains it could have come out of’

Fine Gael councillor John Bailey, who has died aged 74. File photograph: Sportsfile

Bailey was prominent member of Cuala GAA who refereed 1986 All-Ireland hurling final

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: came in for general criticism for a number of incidents in the past year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Review of SF fall in polls defends policies and refrains from blaming politicians

 Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe said there would be ‘huge challenges’ with staffing in the Naval Service throughout the year. Photograph: Sam Boal/

Defence Forces insists two ships docked due to lack of staff while Minister cites maintenance

Eir has raised the prospect of an alternate proposal for the National Broadband Plan. File photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Letter to Bruton says €1 billion broadband claim interferes with procurement process

Gerry Adams: he has rejected suggestions he has sent a signal to Belfast that Mary Lou McDonald needs time, free of the demands for an immediate Border poll, to rebuild in the Republic

Some believe SF must not only point to Government's failings but also to solutions

‘The Government has built its argument on the backstop, the insurance policy to avoid a hard Border, around the Belfast Agreement, insisting its sole concern is protecting the hard-won peace.’

Fiach Kelly: The main threat from a crashout is political and constitutional, not economic

Maria Bailey: withdrew her action against the Dean hotel in Dublin, where she alleged she suffered injuries after falling from a swing in the hotel bar in July 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach says FG investigation into swing fall compensation claim is ‘not a public inquiry’

‘We don’t accept that an uninhabitable island can have a 12-mile limit around it,’ said Leo Varadkar, above with Nicola Sturgeon. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Increased level of fishing around tiny islet among Scottish government’s concerns

(From left) First minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, minister for the cabinet office David Lidington and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a press conference a British Irish Council  summit meeting in Manchester. Photograph: PA

‘Agreement won’t be re-opened, without backstop there will be no transition period’

Michael McGrath firmly stated his party’s political philosophy in the Dáil last night

Party finance spokesman criticises Donohoe for locking into budget package figure of €2.8 billion

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, arriving  at the Department of Finance on Tuesday to deliver the  summer economic statement. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Donohoe signals that the tax cuts would not be introduced next year if UK crashes out of EU

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe arriving a press conference  at the  Deptartment of Finance  to deliver the Government’s summer economic statement 2019. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/For The Irish Times

Budget to feature up to €700m in new spending ‘if there is an orderly Brexit’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: there will be limited room on budget day for any additional spending or tax measures beyond those already signalled. Photograph: PA

Government facing budget deficit if UK crashes out of EU

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan with local election candidates at the launch of the party’s successful campaign. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Smaller parties are now working with Fianna Fáil in ways that should worry Fine Gael

The HSE submitted a paper to Minister for Health Simon Harris’s department outlining ‘savings in the order of €500 million in 2019’. Photograph: Tom Honan

Government warns that significant savings are integral to national service plan

Paschal Donohoe: spending in health will be a ‘significant risk’ if it continues at its current pace for the rest of the year

Inside Politics: Varadkar and his Ministers seek to get one more budget through before election and to deal with Brexit

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: his unusually blunt comments will be seen as a warning to Minister for Health Simon Harris to control spending within his sector. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister’s comments seen as warning to Simon Harris

School pupils during a global protest for action to tackle climate change, outside the Dáil in Dublin in March. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Plan on climate change contains almost 200 actions to ensure Ireland meets targets

The ‘Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown’ says a new ‘easy pay back’ model for retrofitting homes will be examined by the end of the year. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Government report outlines ‘path’ to achieve net zero-carbon emissions by 2050

Non-residential buildings with more than 20 car spaces will be required to install a minimum number of recharging points  by 2025. Photograph: Getty Images

Pilot scheme on way to allow homeowners sell solar-panel electricity to national grid

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