Minister for Children Katherine Zappone: wants to consult with the local community in Tuam before proceeding on a definite course of action. Photograph: Dave Meehan

DNA testing on mother and baby home remains unlikely to succeed, says expert group

Minister for Health Simon Harris: says it is recognised the delivery of healthcare is an “inherently risky activity” and it is inevitable things may go wrong on occasion.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Hiqa would have power to shut clinics in plan acknowledging healthcare carries risks

British prime minister  Theresa May is taking an upbeat stance on securing a Brexit deal, as Ireland insists the UK must stick to its commitments on keeping a soft border with the Republic. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

David Davis caused consternation with comments he has since clarified

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar holds a press  conference in Dublin on Friday morning after the European Commission announced that “sufficient progress” has been made in the first phase of Brexit talks. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

After Monday’s debacle, Friday’s breakthrough on Border brought welcome cheer

Brexit negotiations are now expected to advance to the next stage which focuses on the transition period after Brexit takes effect in March 2019 and on the future EU-UK relationship. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland gets commitment there will be no hard border even if UK leaves EU without deal

 Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Simon Coveney during  a press conference in Dublin after the deal was agreed. Photograph:  Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Varadkar says Government has ‘achieved all we set out to achieve’ in phase one of talks

 Britain’s secretary of state for Brexit  David Davis (left), Britain’s prime minister Theresa May (second left), European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (second right)and European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (right) meet at the European Commission in Brussels, on Friday morning. Photograph: EPA

DUP would have preferred if May did not sign deal, says it won ‘six substantive changes’

British prime minister Theresa May may travel to Brussels on Friday to conclude a deal with commission president Jean-Claude Juncker if the Irish, British and EU teams can agree on language. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

‘Irish Times’ poll finds overwhelming public support for Varadkar’s tough line with UK

Chairperson of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily: Nóirín O’Sullivan’s  “intentions certainly would have been to perform [her] role honourably”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Josephine Feehily says former Garda commissioner had ‘strong sense of mission’

Chris Grayling said “regulatory alignment” proposed by Theresa May – a phrase which alarmed the DUP – did not involve laws within the post-Brexit UK being the same as those in the rest of Europe. Photograph: Getty Images

Varadkar and May speak for 15 minutes on Thursday evening

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar explains a point after a meeting  the prime minister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte in Dublin on Wednesday night. Photograph: EPA

Commission says final deadline is Sunday if EU council is to make decision on next phase

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met  the Dutch prime minister  Mark Rutte in Government Buildings in Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the substance and meaning of the deal must not be altered

British prime minister Theresa May with DUP leader Arlene Foster wh spoke by telephone on Wednesday as efforts continue to rescue a deal on the Border arrangements after Brexit.  Photograph: Daniel Leal Olivas/AFP/Getty

Taoiseach is playing a dangerous game, says DUP’s Nigel Dodds

The Government believes it is  up to Theresa May to get DUP leader Arlene Foster (above) over the line. Photograph: Getty Images

Inside Politics: Dublin believes it is now up to Theresa May to get the DUP and North deal over the line

The age at which people are entitled to a State pension will rise to 67 in 2021 and to 68 within the next decade. Photograph: Getty Images

Workers will still be able to retire at age 65 but will have option to work until age 70

Leo Varadkar: he has said on numerous occasions that while the wording of a deal could be changed, its substance must not

Additions ‘must not undermine’ substance of Dublin-Brussels-London agreement

DUP shock: Arlene Foster with party colleagues Jeffrey Donaldson and Nigel Dodds in Belfast on Monday. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Draft agreement was a ‘big shock’ to Democratic Unionists, says Arlene Foster

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker prior to addressing a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday.  Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Unionists reject ‘regulatory divergence’ as Varadkar says he is ‘disappointed’ with impasse

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a press conference in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Fianna Fáil describes outline deal as ‘best of both worlds’

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney  at Government Press Centre on Monday evening. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

‘We were happy to accept either convergence, no divergence or regulatory alignment,’ says Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a Brexit press conference at Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Agreement between EU and Britain ‘not possible today’ as DUP objects

UK prime minister Theresa May: set to meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead Brexit negotiator. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Ireland insists same regulations must apply North and South in final Brexit deal

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said that despite assumptions she is the runaway favourite, “there is no done deal here . . . there is no ordination, coronation”. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

TD will announce run for leadership at Dublin Central selection convention

The resignation of Cllr Gabriel Cronnelly from Sinn Féin comes days after a high-profile Galway Senator also quit the party amid allegations of bullying. Image: Facebook.

Departure comes days after Senator Trevor Ó’Clochartaigh, also from Galway, quit

Resignation: Frances Fitzgerald at Government Buildings after she quit the Government. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

On Monday night, the then-minister was on two phones, fighting for her political life

Frances Fitzgerald: “I expect her to continue to play a full role in political and public life including at the highest level,” says Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Former tánaiste may be offered role in referendum campaigns but is unlikely to return to ministerial office

Garda Keith Harrison and  Marisa Simms: his solicitor said Garda Harrison  would continue suing the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General. File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Garda says he is disappointed but not surprised at Charleton judgment

HM1CivilS

Association of Higher and Civil Public Servants says members will not be ‘scapegoated’

 Former tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald, after her resignation. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Department of Justice says it ‘fully complied’ with tribunal’s orders of discovery

Noel Waters: resigned this week.   Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Salary of around €200,000 is unlikely to attract an external candidate

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

Varadkar believes former tánaiste to be vindicated at Disclosures Tribunal

Other colleagues feel Varadkar’s staunch defence of Fitzgerald will stand to him. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister admits concern about Taoiseach’s perceived lack of strategic thinking

Outgoing Siptu president Jack O’Connor is poised to run for the Labour Party at the next general election in Wicklow.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Trade unionist asked to contest Labour Party selection convention in Wicklow

 Frances Fitzgerald leaving Government Buildings. Photograph: The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Laws of political logic suggested the Tánaiste would have resigned last week

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  arriving at the funeral mass of former TD Donal Creed in Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney

Negotiations a bitter reminder that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have history

File image of Tánaiste  Frances Fitzgerald  with former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fine Gael defence of Tánaiste melts away as damning new emails emerge

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald  leaves Government Buildings on Monday night. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Fresh revelations about treatment of Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe undermine effort to resolve crisis

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the funeral of Donal Creed, father of Minister Michael Creed, in St Colman’s Church, Macroom, co Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Reaction: Taoiseach and ministers insist they don’t want election

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

Party leaders Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar have agreed to resume talks over the weekend in an attempt to resolve the political impasse.

Frances Fitzgerald under pressure over Garda legal strategy on whistleblower

Leinster House. The deal which underpins the minority Government does not expire until late next year, and picking a moment to go to the polls before then must be finely judged

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will initially try to claim the other party caused the election

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald leaving Government Buildings on Friday evening: she is understood to be adamant she will not resign.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Parties look to December 19th poll despite idea of Fitzgerald temporarily stepping aside

Even if Fitzgerald resigns, an election would be unavoidable in the medium term. Photograph: Press Association

The controversy arises from an email sent to Fitzgerald while she was Minister for Justice

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on RTÉ’s Six One News on Friday

Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader hold one-hour meeting amid Government crisis

Fine Gael executive council will meet next week

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fine Gael executive council to meet as officials get ready for election in mid-January

 Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’s arrest in 2014 was a blow to Mary Lou McDonald when she was on the cusp of becoming an acceptable figure to many middle-ground voters. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Departure will put theory Adams was cap on party’s potential in Republic to test

 TDs Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty at the Sinn Féin ardfheis at the RDS in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

More than 1,000 delegates would cast votes at ardfheis to choose next party leader

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:  previously said he had an open mind on updating Savi. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Call for in-depth study as 2002 Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland report outdated

Social Democrat TDs Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall. Photograph: Eric Luke

Move follows stand-off over Social Democrats co-leader’s refusal to reveal sources

 British prime minister Theresa May and Leo Varadkar will hold a bilateral meeting on the margins of a summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. File photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach to push for promise of no hard Border before next phase of Brexit talks begins

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams: Giving little away about his departure date. Photograph: Niall Carson /PA Wire

Inside Politics: Party president gives little away when asked about the end of his leadership tenure

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has been directed by the party, along with SF TDs Jonathan O’Brien and Peadar Tóibín, not to engage in public disputes over the abortion issue. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

SF will adopt a policy on the issue at the event – and members will be expected to toe that line

Noel Waters, the highest-ranking official in the justice department, will step down in February. Photograph: Eric Luke

Noel Waters to retire in February after career that will have spanned 40 years

Noel  Waters pictured with former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Senior official to leave post in February having completed 40 years of service

A file photograph of Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, who has emerged as a potential Dáil candidate for Fianna Fáil in Cork. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Fianna Fáil is eyeing up the former All-Ireland winner as a prospective nominee in Cork

Labour TD Alan Kelly has tabled a series of Dáil questions about the tribunal investigating allegations of a smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe (pictured in 2014). Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Inquiry into treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe must be respected, Minister says

 Noirín O’Sullivan’s phone call with  secretary general of the Department of Justice Noel Waters has been queried. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Alan Kelly queries contacts between former garda commissioner and secretary general

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar   said he wanted to see the UK’s proposal for avoiding a hard Border in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Reuters

Taoiseach says 18-months after Brexit, ‘they ‘must, at this stage, have a counter proposal’

The EU is demanding Britain accept Northern Ireland may need to remain inside the European customs union and single market after Brexit in order to avoid “a hard Border”. Photograph: Getty Images

North could continue to apply customs union and single market rules, says Taoiseach

Independent Alliance Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan, who is in Thailand on Government business, could not be reached for comment on his brother’s interview. Photograph Nick Bradshaw.

Independent Alliance Ministers ‘ganged up on’ over Korea trip – McGrath

Everyday life in Government has proved difficult at times for the Independent Alliance and the past week, particularly the suggestion of a peace mission to North Korea, damaged and exposed the dividing line in the group. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Politicians likely to operate within their political limits in future

Pension

Dara Calleary calls for funds to be focused on people who are not entitled to full pension

 Minister For Transport Shane Ross:  “It was just an idea.”  Photograph: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Minister says there was never a ‘structured plan’ over mooted peace mission by some members of Independent Alliance

Kevin “Boxer” Moran said he had been embarrassed by the proposed peace trip to North Korea by some of the Independent Alliance’s  members. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Angry exchanges as members say group has been exposed to ridicule over issue

John Halligan, an Independent TD for Waterford, is Minister of State for Training and Skills.

Government department is ordered to pay €7,500 to female official for discrimination

Taoiseach: border question can’t be fully settled until EU-UK relationship clarified

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil on Tuesday there should be “no tolerance” of assault, sexual harassment or bullying in any workplace.

Taoiseach says there should be ‘no tolerance’ of workplace bullying or sexual harassment

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath, said all Irish people must pay their ‘fair share’ of tax. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Michael McGrath says there is a ‘very fine line’ between tax avoidance and tax evasion

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Apple chief executive Tim Cook at Apple’s headquarters in California last week.

Tech giant had been informed ‘publicly and privately’ of Government’s intentions

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams:  “We are very much in support of the repeal of the eighth amendment in the Constitution, we want to see that gone.” Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

Leader Gerry Adams says his personal view is that it should be a woman’s right to choose

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny at NUI Galway  where he was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the National University of Ireland. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

No members of Kenny’s family will seek to succeed him as a TD for Mayo

Alan Kelly  said his party leader Brendan Howlin has  his support but  there has to be “a dramatic change in how our support base is responding to us”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘We need to see a dramatic change in how our support base is responding to us’

The Gate has set up a confidential email address for anyone who wishes to communicate concerns about experiences they had.

Niamh Smyth says harassment allegations are ‘major threat’ to State’s artistic reputation

Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams: ready to do a deal, but not met with enthusiasm by Arlene Foster and the DUP. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

As Sinn Féin and DUP lurch towards a deal, there will be the usual hoo-ha about sell-outs and betrayals, but broken promises are s(...)

Ministers gathered at Government Buildings to announce details on a new initiative on tackling white-collar crime. From left: Charlie Flanagan, Francis Fitzgerald Paschal Donohoe and Shane Ross. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister insists action will be taken if tracker mortgage issue is not efficiently resolved

Asylum seekers at the Mosney direct provision centre. Photograph: Alan Betson

Those in direct provision who meet certain criteria to be given rolling six-month permits

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said there had been “an unacceptable litany of instances of very bad behaviour on the part of the gardaí”. Photograph: PA.

Minister for Justice says exaggerated breath tests ‘a bleak chapter’ for gardaí

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick leaving the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in May after he was acquitted on all charges by direction of the judge. Photograph: Collins Courts

Minister had described ODCE as ‘not fit for purpose’ because of collapse of case against FitzPatrick

The gap between male and female earnings in RTÉ is substantially less that the national average, an independent report to be published today has found. .Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Mulvey report says differential between over 2,000 male and female staff is just 4 per cent

Only 286 unions were classified as actively trading, with the largest 50 accounting for more than half of the movement’s €15.9 billion of assets at the end of last year.  Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Concerns signalled earlier this year about unions becoming involved in mortgage market

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

John McGuinness says the tracker mortgage situation needs outside focus. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John McGuinness says Central Bank is not fit for purpose and calls on ECB to intervene

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has threatened to become an activist shareholder in the three banks in which the State holds shares – AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB – if sufficient progress is not made in the weeks ahead. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA

Central Bank to consider more protection as some lenders delay compensation

Minister for Finance  Paschal Donohoe   reading a statement on tracker mortgages at the Department of Finance. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Further regulation of banks yet to be decided on

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

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will issue a statement on Wednesday after he meets senior banking executives over the tracker mortgage scandal. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne says the bank will ‘a fuller statement tomorrow’

L-R: Permanent TSB chief executive Jeremy Masding, incoming Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh and KBC chief executive Wim VerBraeken. Photograph: Collins and Rollingnews.ie

Central Bank governor thinks ‘vast majority’ of 13,000 cases will be paid before Christmas

Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh: “We are treating this matter very seriously and we’ll be making a statement in due course.”

Minister for Finance holds meetings with three lenders involved in mortgage scandal

Paschal Donohoe: the Minister for Finance says he will deal with some banks as a shareholder, suggesting he might have more leverage with these. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Government demands clear timetable to compensate victims of overcharging

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and French president Emmanuel Macron clashed in a discussion at the European Council last week over another idea favoured by France, a potential digital tax. Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach and French president’s first bilateral meeting to also include talks on Brexit

Philip Lane says vast majority of confirmed cases to get refunds before Christmas

 Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe:   what matters to those affected is “not the completion of a probe, but the end of a journey”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Government to seek firm commitment and timeline for compensating tracker victims

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said Leo Varadkar was “a  Taoiseach, not just a Fine Gael leader. He needs to behave like a Taoiseach”.  Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin leader takes issue with claims that Michelle O’Neill was ready to do a deal with DUP

If Fianna Fáil does not take a position, the public’s perception of the party will be shaped by what Micheál Martin himself does.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fianna Fáil more conservative than public at large but party may not take official position

 Governor Philip Lane. The Central Bank has defended the pace of its inquiry, which started two years ago. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Philip Lane says not all lenders addressed ‘unacceptable failings’

Central Bank governor Philip Lane: said the Central Bank had to “push to the limits” of its powers. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach says Government ‘has lost patience’ with Irish banks over tracker mortgage scandal

Minister for  Social Protection Regina Doherty: “I’m saying Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted. They can’t be trusted with the economy. They can’t be trusted with the sincerity of actually saying something that people can believe in.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Willie O’Dea calls for Regina Doherty to apologise

 Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O’Loughlin and party spokesman on social protection Willie O’Dea TD during a press briefing by the party on  pensions. Photograph: Collins

Leo Varadkar confirms that Fianna Fáil did raise pensions issue before Budget

There is a belief in Dublin, as well as London, that Michelle O’Neill was ready to do a deal but was effectively blocked by senior members in Sinn Féin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Sinn Féin and DUP are as far away as ever from getting the lights back on at Stormont

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