Theresa May is welcomed by the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker prior to a bilateral meeting on Brexit talks on Wednesday. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Inside Politics: Brexit talks continue with tentative hopes of breakthrough brokered in middle ground

 Climate change protesters demonstrated outside Leinster House in Dublin earlier this week.   Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

Parties wanted to set impossibly high targets for reducing carbon footprint so Government would not reach them, meeting heard

Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board chief executive Dr Deirdre Keyes will attend the Dáil public accounts committee on Thursday.

Criminal probe into concerns over spending of taxpayers’ money

European Parliament building in Strasbourg. Photograph: AP/Christian Lutz

After election extra MEPs in Ireland South and Dublin must wait to attend parliament

Security issues in the Circuit Family Court in Phoenix House were recently  exposed when a Circuit Court judge  was taken hostage along with a lawyer and client.

RCNI to discuss potential reforms and establishment of special family law court

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty says she is expecting to receive a new report on the effectiveness of the JobPath scheme shortly. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Penalties meted out for transgressions including failing to keep an appointment

Tom Costello, who has since resigned as the chair of the National Paediatric Hospital’s Development board. Photograph: Ray Lohan for The Irish Times

Agreement was to cover issues relating to finance, building and main contractor Bam

Dublin Airport. Under EU rules the appointment of a noise regulator is required before the commissioning of the proposed second runway at the  airport. Photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Transport Shane Ross had said Fingal County Council will regulate new runway

Head of  Bam, Mr Cullinane, said the construction firm would ‘fully engage with PwC to ensure all relevant facts are disclosed’.  Photograph: Niall Carson/ PA Wire

Construction firm Bam says it will step down if asked to do so

The construction site of The National Children’s Hospital. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

BAM says if hospital board wishes to ‘opt out of contract’ then it will ‘facilitate this option’

The Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring has allocated €62m towards a range of rural projects as part of the €1 billion rural regeneration fund which was previously announced in the Project Ireland 2040 plan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

National mountain-biking project and tourism site at Granard Motte to receive some of the €62m

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy told the Public Accounts Committee that the senior civil servant was bound by a circular. File photograph: Frank Miller

Paul Quinn was chair of the finance subcommittee board of the national children’s hospital

Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan prior to his retirement from MMA. Photograph: Getty

Paddy Holohan to run in Jobstown after retiring from mixed martial arts

Simon Harris:  “We will not be found wanting when it comes to acting against any entity or any company if errors were made”

Taoiseach concerned companies had come in with very low tenders to win contracts, and then sought to increase the budget

Minister for Health Simon Harris pictured in the Dail earlier this week, on televisions in Arnotts in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

‘Where we got extremely badly let down is the elasticity of the cost”

Minister for Health Simon Harris apologises to the Dáil for not providing fuller information to Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Opposition seeks to pin down final cost of project and what other plans will suffer due to overrun

Anne O’Connor, HSE interim director general, will appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee on Wednesday morning. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Oireachtas Health Committee to hear how HSE plans to address backlog

The contract for the children’s hospital was awarded to the lowest tender (€637 million) but the costs have rocketed since to an expected €1.7 billion Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government concerned over companies low-balling for tenders for children’s hospital

Independent TD D Michael Harty: it is incumbent on the Department of Public Expenditure, whose officials have not appeared before the health committee, to explain its involvement. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Mazars says checks and balances failed to protect board from project price spiralling

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris turn the sod on the National Children’s Hospital in 2017. The cost overrun for the hospital has placed the Government and Mr Harris under severe political pressure. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Government says it learned in November 2018 of massive overrun in costs

A view of the construction site of The National Children’s Hospital. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

To save €79m, one existing children’s hospital would have to stay open at €169m cost

Britain’s Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay leaves 10 Downing Street in London. Mr Barclay is due to meet Michel Barnier on Monday. File photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

EU to remain resolute on the backstop as Conservatives extend olive branch to Corbyn

Minister for Health Simon Harris is due to apologise for not providing fuller information about the cost escalation at the national children’s hospital when he was asked about it last September.  File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Harris due to apologise for not providing fuller information about cost escalation

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: instead of responding to the letter, it was agreed the issues referred to would be addressed in the estimates process. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister requested re-profiling of health capital allocation to address capital shortfall

Simon Harris told Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen that capital expenditure on the project was ‘in line with the expected expenditure profile’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Spokeswoman for Minister indicates he will apologise this week

 Minister for Health Simon Harris

Minister told Fianna Fáil TD that budget was on track despite learning a month earlier of overruns

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he did not find Simon Harris’s “explanations credible at all”. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Taoiseach says he understands taxpayers ‘very annoyed’ about cost overrun

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he has “total confidence” in Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘I have every confidence in Mr Harris but am not going to pre-empt what he says in Dáil’

Work continues at the site of the new national children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Timeline: Project had an overrun of €61m five months after getting the green light

A spokeswoman for the Minister said he is maintaining his position that he only became aware of the final figures in November. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Children’s hospital: Minister for health warned in 2017 of increases in capital cost

A view of the construction site of The National Children’s Hospital. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Officials discussed how ‘construction costing is trending very significantly over budget’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he would bring a memo next week on procurement and on allocations for the Government’s capital plan. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Concerns raised at Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting at overspend on the new hospital

 Simon Harris, Minister for Health , Andrew Mc Dowell EIB vice president, Werner Hoyer EIB president, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe  and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the signing of documents for the EIB loan for the new children’s hospital.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minutes of national children’s hospital project steering group show concerns raised about escalating costs from August 2017

Simon Harris: facing questions on  the escalation of costs at the National Children’s Hospital. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Inside Politics: Records of steering group meetings show growing disquiet over increasing figures

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he became aware of potential overruns at the National Children’s Hospital in August 2018. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minutes of steering group meetings are likely to intensify pressure on Minister for Health

Minister for Health Simon Harris has maintained that he became aware of concerns around the cost of the National Children’s Hospital on August 21st last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister did ‘right and appropriate thing’ on hearing about rising costs, Taoiseach says

Minister for Transport Shane Ross:  he will say EU no-deal plans will ensure continued air access between the EU27 member states and the UK for a limited period of 12 months. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Transport will discuss Bill to prevent travel chaos at Oireachtas committee

 A view of the construction site of The National Children’s Hospital. Photograph:  Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Party denies it is propping up Government: ‘we don’t think they are doing a good job’

Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Minister says he will act on any recommendations of report into escalating costs of new facility

The Irish passport is ‘a representation of a real Irish person’, according to Fiona Penollar, who  heads the Passport Service. Photograph: Frank Miller

Brexit is not the only factor behind the recent surge in applications for the harp

An artist’s impressions of proposed new National Children’s Hospital at St James Hospital campus.

Review of spiralling cost of new hospital will not ‘determine individual culpability’

 Simon Coveney: “The Minister for Health has made it very clear that he is committed to the second cath lab in Waterford.”  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘No decision has been made on how we are funding the €50m needed for 2019’ says HSE

Artist’s impressions of proposed new National Children’s Hospital at St James Hospital campus.

Alan Kelly says public confidence in how large projects are managed is ‘lost’

“Significant work” has been undertaken to anticipate any potential supply vulnerabilities. Photograph: iStock

Arrangements being made for cross-Border co-operation and to ensure medical supplies

 Minister for Justice  Charlie Flanagan and  Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan speaking to journalists on the Government’s decision to hold a referendum to amend the constitutional provisions on divorce. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

It is proposed that the divorce waiting period will drop to two out of three years living apart if the referendum is passed.

Former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín resigned from the party at the end of 2018 over its support for repealing the Eighth Amendment on abortion. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Former Sinn Féin TD registers with electoral bodies on both side of the Border

Minister for  Social Protection Regina Doherty: ‘The vast majority of our schools don’t have kitchens and we’re not going to retrofit all of the schools that don’t but there are other ways that we can do this’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Regina Doherty says she wants to introduce annual eye and dental checks for children

Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, tries to address concerns in a letter to Dr Peter Boylan. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Itish Times

Doctors fearful of criminalisation as women present at 11 weeks’ gestation

Despite the less than comprehensive level of access, abortions are now happening across the country in hospitals and in general practices. File photograph: Getty Images

Abortion has been legal in Ireland for almost a month, yet uncertainties and problems persist

Minister for Health Simon Harris: “I knew there was a potential issue, but I did not know there were 6,000 women waiting to be retested.”

‘Fear and anxiety injected into women and families of Ireland again,’ support group says

Inside Politics: Fianna Fáil and SDLP will give details of their new partnership today

Governance at the University of Limerick is due to  be scrutinised by the public accounts committee on Thursday.

Public accounts committee to discuss remuneration of senior staff at UL and Sligo IT

The Department of Education bought the former Harold’s Cross  stadium from the Irish Greyhound Board for €23 million. File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Department of Education payed double estate agent valuation for Harold’s Cross land

 Minister for Children Katherine Zappone: apologised to the former residents, saying she was “deeply sorry” about the delayed report. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Commission of investigation criticises HSE over lack of documentation

Vicky Phelan from the CervicalCheck Patient Support Group and journalist Martina Fitzgerald at the National Women’s Council of Ireland’s FemFest conference in Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan

Loss of momentum in dealing with issues following Scally report and tribunal promise

Coombe wrote to woman: “As you are aware, your foetus has been diagnosed with a complex foetal anomaly.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Coombe says medics not of opinion foetus would die before or within 28 days of birth

Obstetrician and former master of the Rotunda Dr Sam Coulter-Smyth: “Decisions will have to consider situations whether a baby with an abnormality will die without treatment or if the condition might be treatable with surgical intervention.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Doctors and politicians say medical professionals not legislators should make decision

 The Coombe is the only one of the three Dublin maternity hospitals that has not yet started taking full referrals for women seeking abortions. Photograph: Dave Meehan / The Irish Times

Number of GPs signing up to provide abortion care has increased

While the Coombe hospital said it could not comment on individual cases, it said the board did not have an input into certification for terminations. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Two TDs tell Dáil a woman was denied abortion ‘despite consultants’ approval’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  at Government Buildings on Wednesday. Government Chief Whip Seán Kyne has emailed Ministers and TDs to warn them that any unapproved absences during the coming Dáil term will be reported to Mr Varadkar. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Chief Whip’s email goes on to say that pairing arrangements for Ministers will be stopped

‘It appears the board of the Coombe Hospital is refusing her constitutional right that we all voted for to have an abortion at a time she chooses,’ Ruth Coppinger TD claimed. Photograph: Alan Betson

TDs told Dáil woman was denied abortion after fatal foetal abnormality detected

 Leo Varadkar  and his partner, Matt Barrett, walk in the St Patrick’s Day parade on 5th Avenue in New York city last year. Photograph: Niall Carson/ PA Wire

Government believes the ministerial visits are more important than ever

Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher said: “I certainly would have an interest in pursuing the area in the European stage.”

Development comes as sitting MEP Brian Crowley prepares to reveal future intentions

 Theresa May reacts as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn informs the MPs that he has tabled a vote of no confidence in the Government in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Photograph: Ho/Pru/AFP/Getty Images

Inside Politics: With 10 weeks to go until the UK leaves the EU , the political stakes have never been higher

The Dáil 100 Experience was launched on Tuesday and   showcases the history of Leinster House and the evolution of Irish democracy through the decades. Photograph:  Tom Honan

Ivana Bacik calls for Constance Markievicz portrait to be erected outside Leinster House

The Cabinet yesterday discussed potential disruptions to the supply of medicines which could occur if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. Photograph: EPA/Andy Rain

No-deal Brexit could affect supply of intravenous foods and radiotherapy drugs

 Peadar Toibin  sent a letter to supporters this afternoon informing them that he has  picked a name for the party. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former Sinn Féin politician says fundraising and church-gate collections have begun

Theresa May: more likely that parliament would insist on a second referendum.   Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Senior health service officials concerned about access to some 45 key drugs

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association  says up to 70%  of medicines on the Irish market come from or transit through the UK. Photograph: Getty Images

Government told it will need to make plans for foodstuffs for those who have specialised diets and rely on products from the UK

Speaking in Dublin on Saturday Sinn Féin president Mary Lou  McDonald said many people would not endorse the leadership of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the basis of poverty that they may be suffering. File photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

There were people in Ireland too who would not endorse the leadership of the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, SF president said

Senior Government figures remain adamant  they will not concede to the nurses’ demands, citing the upfront cost and the belief it would spell the end of the public sector pay agreement. Photograph: Getty Images

Psychiatric nurses’ union says it will join wave of strikes by nurses next month

While one source described the conversation with the Taoiseach as ‘housekeeping’, another said that Ministers were effectively told that they need to do better. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Taoiseach and Chief Whip warn Ministers Government losing too many votes

Nicolas Maduro poses after being sworn-in for the second term as Venezuela’s president  in Caracas on Wednesday.  Sinn Féin has defended its attendance at the event. Photograph: Miguel Gutierrez/EPA.

Re-election of Venezuelan president denounced as illegitimate at home and abroad

“The Minister [Simon Harris] acknowledges the introduction of any new service will bring a number of challenges.”  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Officials working on exclusion zone laws following protests outside facilities

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Costs of upgrade to be shared by US customs authorities and Irish airports

Dr Cliona Murphy, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said concerns were expressed at a meeting of its members about the level of preparedness for abortion  services. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Group met to discuss motion on patient safety risks but no vote was held

All public bodies will have to report on their recycling progress by November. Photograph: iStock

Each department to submit recycling plans by mid-June

“We think this legislation is not sound, it is not enforceable, and therefore I can’t support it,” Simon Coveney said. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Coveney says Government cannot support legislation on AG advice it is not legally sound

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said those with low-carbon lifestyles would fare better under this plan. Photograph: Tom Honan/PA Wire

Money raised from carbon tax to be ‘given back to households’, says Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “Ultimately, I believe in the politics of engagement rather than the politics of boycott.” Photograph: Donall Farmer

Varadkar warns of ‘double standard’ if diplomats attend male-only events elsewhere

An offence of psychological or emotional abuse is to be introduced as part of new domestic violence measures announced by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan. Photograph: iStock

‘We want to see the development of good practices; of good, comprehensive training’

Under the Domestic Violence Act, safety orders will be available to those who are in intimate relationships but who are not cohabiting

Domestic Violence Act 2018 to include new crime of coercive control

Yes campaigners during the abortion referendum count at Dublin Castle. The Yes side won with 66.4 per cent of the votes. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

The abortion referendum result was the ‘culmination of a quiet revolution in Ireland’

A spokeswoman for the Rotunda in Dublin said it would be providing abortions from the new year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Thirty doctors signed up do not want HSE to give their details out to avoid being targeted

Dr Gabriel Scally, who carried out a  scoping enquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening programme earlier this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

More than 60,000 women concerned over CervicalCheck scandal awaiting results

Taoiseach and Minister of Health Simon Harris during a HSE Winter Plan Oversight Group meeting . Photograph: Donall Farmer

Drop attributed to low levels of flu, milder weather, an increase in homecare packages

Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: James Forde/The Irish Times

Sources say 145 GPs have signed a contract to provide termination services to patients

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: ‘What is certain to me is in order to avoid a hard border you must have alignment on customs and regulations,’ Mr Varadkar said. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

We don’t think a no-deal Brexit is a probability, but it’s a possibility, Leo Varadkar says

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan  said his Bill would ensure that prosecutions for blasphemy will be no longer possible. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Justice has published Bill to give effect to referendum result

 Minister for Health Simon Harris: to consider the establishment of an ex-gratia compensatory scheme.   Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ms Justice Mary Irvine will chair tribunal, which will be set up in late 2019

The  National Children’s Hospital: rising costs could make it one of the most expensive healthcare facilities in the world. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Revelation that price tag has soared to at least €1.4 billion is ‘extraordinary stuff’, says Martin

Minister for Health Simon Harris met the HSE and Dr Peter Boylan, clinical adviser to the HSE on the introduction of abortion services, on Monday about the roll-out of the services from January 1st. File photograph: Getty Images

HSE hoping more GPs who have agreed to provide services will sign up to helpline

The Rotunda Hospital has indicated it will be in a position to provide abortion services, provided it is given the necessary resources by the Government. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Draft plans on terminations also call for conscientious objectors to opt out in 'timely manner'

Kathleen Funchion TD, Mairead McGuinness MEP, Maria Bailey TD, Francis Fitzgerald TD, former president Mary McAleese, Mary Hanafin TD, Senator Ivana Bacik, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, Mary Coughlan TD and Brid Smyth TD at the Politics Needs Women Conference at the Convention Centre in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan James Brophy for The Irish Times

Female TDs endure sexist remarks, comments on their dress and macho culture

Ailbhe Smyth at the central count centre in Dublin Castle for the abortion referendum in May. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Activists celebrate but urge full decriminalisation and removal of three-day wait period

During a heated debate in the Dáil, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik asked Senator Terry  Leyden not to ‘accuse Senators of being emotional, it is gendered language’. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill will now go to the President

 Eileen O’Sullivan and Ramon Whelan outside Leinster House on Wednesday after the launch of new legislation to crack down on advertising of false cancer cures. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Bill to regulate advertisement of so-called alternative treatments introduced in Dáil

Minister for Health Simon Harris during the Health (regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen accuses Minister for Health of ‘hustling’ hospitals

The move is set out in the implementation plan for the recommendations of Dr Gabriel Scally (above) on the Cervical Cancer Screening Programme which was approved by the Cabinet. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Dr Scally found current HSE and State Claims Agency policy was unsatisfactory

Kate O’Connell:  Under the proposed law, it would be an offence to suggest that a medical consultation, diagnosis, treatment or surgery is unnecessary for the treatment of cancer. Photograph:  Tom Honan

Those who break the law could face imprisonment under Bill proposed by O’Connell

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