Sinn Féin leader  Mary Lou McDonald is pictured during a press event  at Leinster House on Thursday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

SF leader says she was honoured to take part in Belfast service for former IRA prisoner

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald (left) and the North’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill during Bobby Storey’s funeral. Photograph: PA

‘Michelle O’Neill will not be stepping aside as Deputy First Minister under any circumstances’

 Josepha Madigan  has  been appointed  Minister of State at the Department of Education with responsibility for special needs and inclusion. Photograph by Crispin Rodwell for the Irish Times

Five of the latest 17 appointments represent constituencies along western seaboard

Josepha Madigan has been appointed a Minister of State. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Jack Chambers and Niall Collins appointed Ministers of State as Jim O’Callaghan and Joe McHugh turn down roles

New Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill could be in line for a quick promotion. She has worked in different government departments as an adviser, is close to Leo Varadkar and is a strong media performer. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Party leaders yet to finalise list of ministers of State, but there will be disappointments

Photograph: Eric Luke

Video links and social distancing to be part and parcel of new committees

President Michael D Higgins presents new Ministers with their seal of office. Photograph: Maxwells

Campaigners link appointment of only four women to senior Cabinet positions to broader issues

Eoghan Murphy, Josepha Madigan, Richard Bruton and Charlie Flanagan lost their Cabinet positions following the carve-up of roles between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party

Richard Bruton, Eoghan Murphy, Charlie Flanagan, Joe McHugh among those left out

Michael Lowry is one of nine Independent TDs who voted for Micheál Martin as Taoiseach. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Concerns in relation to programme for government flagged by Independents

 Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party would continue to “press for change.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald says her party will continue to push for ‘change’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin after announcing his party members voted for the programme for government. Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA

Martin to form government, after parties’ members vote to endorse coalition deal

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith says she will make contact with those in the Green Party who are dissatisfied. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Left-wing activists in Greens urged to leave party and find new political home

Fianna Fail Leader Micheál Martin TD at the party’s press conference on Friday  evening. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Micheál Martin set to be elected taoiseach when Dáil sits tomorrow

Protesters outside Leinster House in May call for the end of direct provision. This year, direct provision will cost the State about €200 million. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Dismantling system for accommodating asylum seekers is likely to be lengthy process

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Minister for Health Simon Harris at a  press briefing in Dublin Castle on Thursday. Photograph: Julien Behal

Public patients to no longer be admitted to private hospitals under current pandemic deal

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a coronavirus briefing at Dublin Castle on Thursday. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

‘Green list’ to detail countries that can be visited without quarantine restrictions

Minister of State     Finian McGrath said   the Green Party will have to learn how to compromise over the term of the next government if the deal passes. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Some 2,000 Green Party members expected to take part in ballot on entering coalition

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan, Minister for Employment Affairs Regina Doherty and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in a post-cabinet coronavirus briefing at Dublin Castle. Photograph: PA

Restrictions on travelling abroad will be eased from July 9th

Independent Sean Canney: “I am always open to discussing the formation of a government.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Some TDs say new deal could be brokered in a week amid concerns Green Party members may reject programme for government

Michael Healy-Rea: “The Taoiseach, as far as I’m concerned, has no right if this falls through to get into his car and go to the Áras.”

Martin says there is no ‘plan B’, and proposed coalition would be ‘truly transformative’

Ireland’s childcare sector is characterised by some of the highest fees for parents in Europe, as well as low wages and below-average levels of State investment. File photograph: iStockPhoto

Analysis of European scheme suggests universal system would 'enhance maternal and child wellbeing'

Secretary general of the Department of Children Fergal Lynch is expected to tell the Oireachtas committee that the childcare sector is in ‘uncharted waters’. Photograph: iStock

Covid-19 committee to hear from sector on ongoing funding and capacity issues

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) last week gave the green light for islands to fully reopen on June 29th.

Residents express concerns about spread of Covid-19 and want to stay closed for longer

Assistant secretary general at the Department of Taoiseach Liz Canavan says: “we’re asking business owners and service providers to think about how they’re protecting customers and clients.” Photograph: PA

Daily briefing reveals 32,800 less unemployment payments issued than last week

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stressed the public must now take ‘personal responsibility’ as the State-imposed restrictions were lifted. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Vast majority of Irish economy and society is set to reopen at the end of the month

Minister Heather Humphreys: raised questions about large wedding venues which could potentially accommodate more guests and family members.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Hotels Federation says new guidance ‘fails to recognise many have capacity to host larger gatherings’

From left to right: Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Minister for Health, Simon Harris and chief medical offcier Dr Tony Holohan speaking on the update to the Government’s roadmap for Reopening Society and the economy on Friday. Photograph: Julien Behal

Places of worship, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers to reopen and sport resume from end of month

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: he  said  he would like to see the new government have at least 90 TDs to ensure its viability. Photograph: getty Images

Rural Independents TD plans to raise issue of infrastructure outside major cities

Paul Reid, chief executive of the HSE, believes the elderly care sector will need to change in order to tackle further outbreaks of the virus or other diseases. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

HSE chief to tell Dáil committee that half of nursing home infection clusters now ‘closed’

Following pressure from industry representatives, the seating time in pubs has changed. Photograph: iStock

Only contact details of one group member will be required under HPSC plan

A confidential document from the Dáil’s Covid-19 committee has warned that the continued supply of critical freight could become ‘increasingly difficult’ because of a lack of passengers. Photograph: PA

Lack of passengers will make it ‘increasingly difficult to maintain operations’

PRSI increases could be on the cards. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The deal says increasing the charge will be considered to help pay for higher benefits

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says cinemas likely to be reopen in August as meaures ease

Some €20m of the new funding will go to the Arts Council. Photograph: The Irish Times

Supports includes bursaries and commissions to artists and arts organisations

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (right) and Tánaiste Simon Coveney speaking to the media at Government Buildings in  Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire.

Éamon Ó Cuív casts doubt on viability of three party deal as Green candidate warns it will be a ‘hard sell’

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin: “There were never going to be, nor could there have been, outright winners in these negotiations and clearly we did not get everything we sought.” File photograph: Laura Hutton

Crucially, Catherine Martin, the Green Party deputy leader, has supported the deal

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan at Government Buildings on Monday. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Three Green Deputies abstain including Francis Noel Duffy, husband of Catherine Martin who backs the deal

There are also proposals to widen the eligibility of the Bike to Work scheme. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Programme for government would set aside 20% of transport budget for green modes

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party  have agreed that carbon tax will rise to €100 per tonne by 2030. Photograph: Getty Images

Home carer tax credit will be increased to help stay-at-home parents

The parties will also seek to increase the capitation grant with a view to reducing the reliance on voluntary contributions made to schools. Photograph: Getty images

Education: Parties say they will reduce teacher ratios in primary schools but no specific target is mentioned

There is a promise  to bolster Garda powers against white-collar crime including amending legislation to ensure prosecutions happen more quickly. Photograph: Mark Condren/PA Wire

Society: Parties pledge extra powers for gardaí, directly elected mayors and hate crime law

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks  at Leinster House  after Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens finalised the text of a draft programme for government four months on from the election. Photograph:   Niall Carson/PA Wire

Mary Lou McDonald says content of draft programme for government was ‘vague’

The three parties are committing to an average 7 per cent per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, with a shift to renewable source of energy such as wind.  Photograph: Ben Curtis/PA

Environment: Major drive planned ‘to realise potential of Ireland’s offshore renewables’

A new scheme will seek to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030 on a ‘aggregated’ model – meaning that certain towns or areas will be retrofitted at the same time to achieve economies of scale. File photograph: Frank Miller

‘Green new deal’ and ‘well-being indices’ are promised among other measures

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty: ‘These parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil specifically, cannot be trusted.’ Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Sinn Féin deputy leader would ‘wait and see’ how party memberships would vote on deal

Dr David Nabarro,  special envoy with the World Health Organisation, said the ‘decent thing to do’ is wear a mask and protect other people. File Photograph:  Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Dr David Nabarro tells Oireachtas committee coverings are best protection against Covid-19

David Nabarro: speaking at Covid-19 committee. Photograph: Oireachtas

WHO’s Dr David Nabarro raises prospect of diners wearing face masks in restaurants

The median number of contacts per diagnosis has risen to close to 3.5 per person, compared with an average of two per person when full restrictions were in place. Photograph: Alan Betson

In one case diagnosed with Covid-19, the individual named 25 contacts

The amount of grant for each provider will be based on number of children on department schemes pre-Covid 19. Photograph: iStock

Government package worth €75m aims to keep fees unchanged for parents

A funding package of €75m is going to be made available for childcare providers to help them open at the end of June. Photograph: iStock

Providers to get one-off reopening grant and capital grant and fee subsidies

The draft guidelines for pubs recommend reduced seating and table service wherever possible

Unpublished report recommends online booking and table service for sector

Capital grants to enable childcare operators to invest in premises to comply with new public health rules are under discussion

‘Imminent’ plan to provide grants and subsidies to creches and enable parents return to work

There will be no family-style service of food –  shared vegetable and gravy dishes – at weddings under the Covid-19 restrictions

Open self-service breakfast buffets are likely to become a thing of the past

Bookings will be encouraged and a time period allocated to spend in the restaurant

Debit and credit card machines will have to be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Kits at reception will have germicidal wipes, face and eye masks, gloves, protective aprons and biohazard disposable waste bags

Those who holiday in caravan and camping parks will notice changes in terms of washing facilities, laundry facilities

Shower ‘schedules’ and employee shopping for customers may be introduced

The Irish adventure activity tourism sector will be told to introduce stringent new measures to tackle the spread of Covid 19. File photograph: Getty Images

Tour sizes set to be cut, with participants bringing as much personal equipment as possible

There will  be no family-style service of food at weddings, ie no shared vegetable and gravy dishes. Photograph: iStock

Restaurants Association says 90% of restaurants cannot reopen with 2m distancing

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton: ‘It has taken time to get an understanding of what’s possible, and even that is still uncertain.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Election manifestos from February based on a world now ‘completely changed’, warns Minister

People on Grafton Street in Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Health Minister warns progress against virus still fragile but says ‘today is great day for country’

Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin, Green Party's Eamon Ryan and Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar

Movement on pension issue in four-hour meeting on coalition formation, say parties

‘Substantial meal’ is needed to be served for pubs to serve drinks. Photograph: iStock

Growing pressure from hospitality industry to reduce social distancing to 1m

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he expected that the Department of the Taoiseach would reach its limit in September. Photograph: The Irish Times

Dáil to be asked to rush through potentially billions of euro in additional funding

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney

Timing of Catherine Martin’s Green leadership challenge ‘far from ideal’ - FF

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan with his deputy, Catherine Martin. File photograph: Alan Betson

Government formation talks continue but ‘central issues unresolved’

Grafton Street in Dublin on Friday, as further coronavirus restrictions begin to be eased in Ireland. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

Lifting of coronavirus restrictions speeds up with effective end date of July 20th

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan at a Covid-19  press conference at the Department of Health on Friday. Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Holohan says workplaces have the potential to become ‘foci’ for new clusters of infection as public health measures are eased

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar briefs the media at Government Buildings, Dublin, on the next phase of the Roadmap for reopening society and business following a Cabinet meeting. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

Plan shortened from five to four phases with travel restrictions removed on June 29th

The 20km limit was initially intended to apply until the end of phase 3 on July 20th. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Hotels and B&Bs set to reopen at the end of June under major acceleration

A memo for the Cabinet meeting says the temporary wage subsidy scheme and the unemployment payment will remain in place until the end of August. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government expected to move to phase two of easing lockdown restrictions

Minister for Health Simon Harris speaking to the media after the cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

Minister says ‘all the indicators look good’ for moving to phase two of roadmap on Monday

Brid Smyth, People Before Profit TD. Photograph: Dave Meehan

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith said she believes Sinn Féin are trying to restrict access

 Minister for Health Simon Harris said the idea  that ‘the virus has gone away, mission accomplished, is an enemy of the progress we have made’. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

With travel limit due to rise to 20km, Minister cautions against bringing virus to less affected areas

A subgroup of the National Public Health Emergency Team  has considered the role and limitations of serology in a new report sent to the HSE. Photograph: Federico Bernini/Bloomberg

Rapid serological tests could undermine public health response to crisis, report warns

 Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health and Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Protest in Dublin attended by thousands posed ‘a risk to life’, Tony Holohan says

 Assistant secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach Liz Canavan, urging the public to continue adhering to travel and social distancing guidelines, asked people to “keep it up for a few more days”. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

June 8th will see some easing of measures introduced to combat spread of Covid-19

Passengers wearing protective face masks at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport on Thursday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar indicates easing self-isolation rules for travel from UK could be problematic

The figures were outlined by Dr Tony Holohan, the State’s Chief Medical Officer. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Virus ‘astonishingly stable’ due to ‘responsible behaviour’ of the public

People queueing for coffee in the Phoenix Park last week. Photograph: Collins

‘We’re asking you to keep the public health advice in mind, whatever your plans’

Nursing Homes Ireland chief executive, Tadhg Daly had a clear, simply-messaged story to tell when he appeared before the Dáil’s special Covid-19 committee on Tuesday. File photograph: Getty

Timeline suggests that it took more than a month for a specific plan to be put in place

Chief medical officer  Dr Tony Holohan: Government sources have expressed confidence that there may be some easing of restrictions on June 8th beyond what was originally envisaged. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Public urged to ‘hold firm’ until June 8th when second phase of reopening kicks in

 Dr Tony Holohan  indicated the two-metre rule  was necessary in order to suppress the spread of Covid-19. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Taoiseach suggests the Covid-19 committee could examine the 2-metre issue

Minister of State in the Department of Health Finian McGrath was among a handful of Ministers to call for the situation to be examined. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Senior Ministers insist heated discussion at Cabinet on social distancing did not happen

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan held a meeting with the Cabinet on Tuesday afternoon where the issue was raised by a number of ministers. File photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Two-metre social distancing rule needed to suppress Covid-19 spread, says Holohan

Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland warned about ‘cataclysmic consequences’ because of delays in testing for staff and residents. Photograph: Oireachtas TV/PA Wire

Some nursing homes say they had to use painter’s overalls due to lack of PPE

 Tadhg Daly chief executive of  Nursing Homes Ireland. Photograph:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Hundreds of pages of exchanges between the Department of Health and nursing homes’ bodies released

One nursing home spent €12,000 on ‘painters’ overalls, painters’ goggles, surgical masks that cost €1.50 each’. Photograph: iStock

Contacts between sector and department highlight concerns about situation going ‘out of control’

Nursing homes have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland, accounting for 54 per cent of the 1,606 deaths from the virus in the State. File photograph: iStock/Getty Images

Hiqa to raise concerns about care oversight shortcomings for some of State’s most vulnerable citizens

Sage will  say that in the absence of a robust testing system it is “most likely that there would have been some transfers of Covid-19 positive patients into nursing homes.” Photograph: iStock

Nursing Homes Ireland will tell TDs on Covid-19 response ‘the dismay will live forever with us’

People queuing outside shops in Dublin after the easing of restrictions allowed people to travel to purchase  essential hardware. File photograph: Collins

Public warned they should only be travelling for essential hardware

People on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre on Thursday as restrictions put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have been eased. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

WHO says best distance to keep from people to avoid inhaling droplets is two metres

People on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre on Friday as restrictions put in place due to  the coronavirus pandemic have been eased. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ministers discuss stringent measures including 14-day stay at ‘designated facility’

Simon Harris said on Thursday that ‘the passenger locator form should be on a legal footing’.

Passengers arriving in Ireland will be obliged to fill out locator forms or face €3,500 fine

Gardaí or the Border Management Unit could check in with those who have arrived into the State to ensure they are complying with the isolation measures. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Cabinet considering new Covid-19 measures to ensure travellers self-isolate for 14 days

 Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly: “We cannot have a George Orwell situation where some are more equal than others”

Labour leader Alan Kelly says it as ‘frankly bonkers’ politicians were unaware of advice about Oireachtas meetings of more than tw(...)

A timeline is being worked on by the national screening service for the return of Breastcheck and other screening programmes. Photograph: Getty

HSE working on new plan for when it will be safe to resume routine screening

University of Limerick Hospital Group and the South Southwest Hospital Group face 'significant' infection control risks if there is a further surge. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Watchdog warns Limerick and South Southwest groups face ‘significant’ risks

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical Officer, Department of Health, said anyone attending a meeting and treated as a close contact, where a positive test was recorded,  would have to self-isolate for 14 days. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Deputy CMO says he is unaware of advice used by Oireachtas and now judiciary to limit sittings

 A statement said the Courts Service was unaware ‘of what appears to be additional safety considerations beyond those already published’. Photograph:  Collins Courts.

New social distancing advice is ‘bordering on bizarre’, says solicitors’ group

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