Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (left), Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Transport Shane Ross remove the ribbon on the first Luas tram to use the new cross-city track. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar a ‘big fan of light rail. Once built it requires no subvention whatsoever’

People in rural areas who collect their pension “might like to have a pint or two, but they are petrified to do so”, Independent TD Michael Collins said. File photograph: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Move to ban anyone caught above limit has made people scared ‘even to drive to Mass’

Niall Collins: said ConnectIreland had written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar claiming that the IDA’s behaviour “has laid waste to potentially thousands of new jobs and billions of euro of investment in Ireland”.

No sign of review of ConnectIreland initiative nearly nine months after promised, says FF

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Independent TD chides Minister for Housing for difficulty in getting ‘straight answer’

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: he said 200 additional permanent emergency beds would be ready by mid-December. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Bríd Smith ‘ashamed’ of Ireland with the deaths of eight homeless people since August

Irish Army: soldiers on an anti-terrorism training exercise in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Defence Forces

Constitutional challenge may be taken against Government plan

The Christian Brothers are selling the three hectares (7.5 acres) of land used by Clonkeen College in south Dublin for playing fields

Minister says he cannot intervene in Christian Brothers sale of land at Clonkeen College

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was concerned when he learned that even after Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan directed that “one of the famous emails” be sent to the tribunal, the department “still sought legal advice on whether it was covered by the terms of reference of the tribunal.” Photograph: Laura Hutton/PA Wire

Taoiseach warns national security could be compromised for years in setting up agency

A new EU military structure that the Government supports is the start of Europe taking control of its own defence, the Taoiseach has said.

Opposition TDs say further debate is required on whether State should sign up to Pesco

Margaret Hassan had spent 30 years in Iraq and worked for Care International, when she was abducted and murdered by militants on  October 19th, 2004. Photograph: AP

Statement untrue that murdered Irish aid worker Margaret Hassan converted to Islam

Unlike the harp and flag, Amhrán na bhFiann is the only national symbol not protected by copyright, Seanad is told. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Author’s grandson says anthem due respect, dignity and protection

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett claimed  the Government wanted to ‘ram through a vote’. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Opposition TDs say no rush to sign deal and time is needed for debate

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil he believed there was time to put the Brexit border agreement back on track. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Leo Varadkar acknowledges relations between Ireland UK ‘strained’ in the last year or two

Róisín Shortall said it was essential that a GP can refer a young person on to psychological services and counselling services at an early stage rather than referring the person to a waiting list.

‘You can’t put someone on a waiting list when they’re in crisis,’ says TD

Fianna Fáil has proposed that landlords who engage in a high volume of short-term lettings be required to seek planning permission. Photograph: AFP

Measure targets landlords using letting services such as Airbnb at professional level

Sinn Féin’s John Brady highlighted potential problems at Sydney Parade Dart station in Sandymount, Dublin. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Total of 34 railway stations currently unmanned as part of ongoing review

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil on Thursday that Ireland needed to use its  veto if it did not get the assurances on the Border that it needed. Photograph: PA

Tánaiste tells the Dáil Brexit will see a permanent change in relationship with Britain

Fianna Fáil Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy.

‘I can’t understand cut of that nature’ when budget increase for every year to 2021

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Coveney says culprit is from another department as Micheál Martin applies pressure

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: said the use of zero-hours contracts sends a poor message to employers. Photograph: Alan Betson

If-and-when employment contracts can work in on-call and agency situations - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil: “We have more than €8 billion for housing which will allow us to build 3,000 social houses”. Photograph: PA

Leo Varadkar ‘deeply saddened’ by deaths of two homeless men in Dublin

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said  no letter about maintenance requirements should be sent out to abuse victims. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Women seeking lone parent’s allowance no longer have to provide evidence of seeking maintenance

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faced criticism in the Dáil about the Government’s strategic communications unit. Photograph: PA.

Taoiseach is warned against using Government funds for ‘full-blooded’ political campaigns

Vera Twomey touching the gates of Leinster House after her marathon walk in March in support of her daughter Ava Barry. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Vera Twomey walked from Cork to Leinster House to highlight daughter’s struggle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks in the Dail on Tuesday following the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald. Image: Oireachtas.ie screengrab

Taoiseach says ‘a calm reading of evidence will show the tánaiste acted appropriately’

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. A Fine Gael backbencher said: “We’re ready for an election and personally I don’t think Frances Fitzgerald should resign or be forced to resign.”

Michael D Higgins will resolve controversy if party leaders fail to, says Fine Gael veteran

 Mary Newman, sister of Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell, is seeking selection as a party candidate. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Parties race to complete candidate selection as prospect of Christmas poll looms large

Repeal the Eighth: the abortion referendum is likely to be delayed if a general election is triggered by next week’s no-confidence motions in the Dáil. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Social-welfare increases and public-service pension restoration also hit

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil on Thursday.

Fitzgerald gives impassioned defence of her role as minister in heated Dáil exchanges

Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíl said the Dáil should be pursuing family-friendly policies. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Some decisions made in the early hours of the morning have ‘not exactly been sterling’

Independent Senator condemns politicians for looking for ‘heads on a plate’

Shane Ross:  “We are not ashamed of the fact we lobbied and put our case.” Photograph: Getty Images

Shane Cassells questions Minister for Sport about lobbying of Wales and Scotland

Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony highlighted the transport difficulties of people with disabilities travelling by bus in Cork.  “Even if the bus is disability-friendly, there are towns in which the bus stop is not.” File photograph: Getty Images

Shane Ross says plans in place for Irish Rail pilot project to reduce notice to four hours

Leo Varadkar: “I’m not satisfied with the fact that on a number of occasions, at least two occasions in the past week, I’ve been given incomplete information by the Department of Justice.” Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar ‘happy to correct the record’ on timeline of knowledge of legal strategy

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald speaking on justice issues in the Seanad tonight. Photograph: Oireachtas TV

Frances Fitzgerald gives Seanad staunch defence of actions over Garda whistleblower controversy

Public hospital consultants, who should be working a maximum of one day a week in private care, are working two to three times that amount, according to the investigation.   Photograph: iStock

Varadkar says non-compliance with HSE contracts is ‘deeply offensive and must stop’

The current focus is to amend broadcasting legislation to address licence fee evasion in the short-term, which is twice the UK rate. Photograph: iStock

Government focus on targeting evasion which is twice the UK rate

Tánaiste Frances  Fitzgerald said she had always acted in the interests of whistleblowers to ensure they would be protected. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Frances Fitzgerald insists she has always worked to protect whistleblowers

Catherine Murphy, concerned commission  ‘deviating from the role originally envisaged for it’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Cregan commission request for doubling of legal fees refused as cost could rise to €25m

A visitor uses her iPhone X to take a photo  at the new Apple Visitor Center in Cupertino. Photograph: Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Taoiseach told tech giant that contested back taxes must be in escrow account ‘without further delay’

 Members of the RTE Concert Orchestra at the National Concert Hall.

Varadkar to raise issue with Minister for Culture amid fears of merger

The Taoiseach said in the Dáil on Tuesday he told British prime minister  Theresa May there could be no return to direct rule in NI as it existed prior to the Belfast Agreement.

Varadkar: Irish Government cannot accept a return to pre- Belfast Agreement ’direct rule’

Martin tells Dáil Maurice McCabe takes issue with Fitzgerald’s comments on RTÉ radio

Martin Shanahan of the IDA Ireland speaking with a robot at the press conference to announce details of the 2016 results for the Authority at Dublin’s Convention Centre in January.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Foreign direct investment totalled almost €93 million in 2016

Gerry Adams: Sinn Féin’s outgoing president at the party ardfheis in Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Vox pop: ‘A society with jobs and peace is as important as a united Ireland’

Gerry Adams and Martin Ferris TD during his address to delegates at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘There’s always a time for change and this is the time for it,’ says Kerry TD

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at the RDS in Dublin during the party’s ardfheis. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Delegates vote to change rules to allow extraordinary ardfheis after president steps down

Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill said republicanism and unionism “must reach a sustainable compromise through respectful dialogue, premised on anti-sectarianism”. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin’s McCallion defends abstentionist policy as O’Neill urges respect for unionists

 Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill speaking to media at the start of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

McDonald says Brexit poses a grave threat to economy and ‘the Good Friday Agreement’

In the run-up to the budget the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe appeared on a number of social media videos.

Leo Varadkar says more social media ‘key part of Government media modernisation’

An obesity expert has criticised the fact the fast food chain McDonald’s is sponsoring part of the National Children’s Hospital thorugh its charitable arm.

Obesity expert Dr Donal O’Shea asks if Heineken would be allowed sponsor a liver unit

Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall: “I have to question the Government’s sincerity and commitment to this.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

Government warned not to let vested interests ‘block progress’ on Sláintecare programme

Members of the Irish RWC 2023 bid team: IRFU chief executive, Philip Browne (centre); IRFU president Philip Orr (right) and bid chairman Dick Spring.

Heated exchanges in Seanad as Senator Terry Leyden criticises group lobbying for Ireland as Rugby World Cup venue

Epilepsy drug was given out with  no leaflet   detailing potential birth defects or problems in unborn children if administered to a woman during pregnancy.

Health officials to contact regulator about pharmacies failing to provide data leaflets

Former cabinet colleagues Charlie Flanagan and Alan Kelly have clashed in recent days. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Charlie Flanagan angry over Labour TD’s questions regarding Maurice McCabe

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: says Ireland will not be only country to miss targets. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach says report is ‘unofficial’ and confirms Ireland will miss 2030 targets

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has established a taskforce on AirBnB lettings and said it would report by the end of the year. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images.

Minister has asked task force to examine Airbnb lettings and report by end of year

Humphreys said it was deeply worrying that Michael Colgan, above, could have been “so misguided in respect of what he felt were his freedoms to interact with the women who came forward”. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Heather Humphreys declines to be drawn on Michael Colgan’s apology at weekend

Independent TD Michael Lowry. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

TD claims banks used banking corporation money to improve their balance sheets

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he would talk to small retailers to discuss and explain how provisions for minimising the visibility of alcohol in smaller shops would work.

Minister for Health said he will talk to small retailers about minimising visibility of drink

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. “Leo’s new, vibrant, really taking on social media,” said Conor Murphy (Cork North-Central). Photograph: Aurore Belot/AFP/Getty Images

Fine Gael members on Varadkar, Kenny, elections, abortion, Fianna Fáil and Halligan

Minister for Health Simon Harris said:  “I’ve sat in far too many rooms with women who have found this country to be cold, neglectful, lonely and isolating when they have a crisis pregnancy.” File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Harris urges end to ‘tyranny of labels’ as ‘I’ve never met anyone who is not in favour of life’

Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty said Ireland’s social policy “is going to follow international norms of best practice – that parents get to stay at home with their children for the formative times in their lives”.

Minister says new social policy reflects reality that ‘there’s far more to life than work’

 Simon Coveney  on stage during the Fine Gael national party conference in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, on Friday. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Minister tells Fine Gael conference more credibility needed from UK to ensure no hard Border

Paschal Donohoe told the Dáil that from January 1st next year all public service pensioners with annuities worth up to €34,132 would be exempt from the charge imposed in 2011 under the Fempi legislation.   Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister says pensions worth up to €34,000 will be fully restored by January 1st 2018

Minister of State John Halligan told the interviewee “I know I shouldn’t be asking this”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

‘I am not too sure how repayment could work but I have no problem in paying the money’

Minister for Health Simon Harris stressed his bottom line was to minimise visibility in shops. Photograph: PA.

Separation in shops needed as drink purchases ‘not the same as buying milk or bread’

Minister for Health Simon Harris: aims to target minimum unit pricing at cheap and strong alcohol affordable to young people at pocket-money prices. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minimum unit pricing key among measures in Bill aiming to reduce alcohol consumption

Independent TD Mattie McGrath. Photograph: Eric Luke

TD enraged by Paradise Paper revelations that AIB withheld information from Revenue

Independent TD Mick Wallace: said HSE “will not even communicate” with parent of autistic boy over care plan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Teenager ‘treated as inconvenience because he is different’, mother claims

A view of Athlone Castle and the Shannon

Construction of 104-metre pedestrian and cycleway bridge will take two years

The State’s spending watchdog, the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG), should have responsibility for holding Irish Water financially accountable, the Dáil has heard.

SF call to rename Water Services Bill ‘The Water Charges by the Back Door Bill’ rejected

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting Apple chief Tim Cook in San Francisco last week. Photograph: Suzanne Lynch.

Closing of tax loopholes a constant ‘game of cat and mouse,’ Taoiseach tells Dáil

Broombridge station, near Cabra in Dublin. Iarnród Éireann wants to increase services on the Maynooth line to connect with the Luas cross-city service to the station. Photograph: Alan Betson

Union members to distribute leaflets to commuters day before first 24-hour strike

 Dublin Fire Brigade:  units  were attending illegal bonfires at Dolphin’s Barn, Ballyfermot, Darndale, Finglas and Tallaght and attempts were made to prevent crews dousing the fires. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Optometrists association warns of dangers of illegal special-effect contact lenses

The patient will have to pay some of the cleaning fee if the dentist charges more than the €42 payable by the department.  Photograph:  John Giles/PA Wire

PRSI payers including self-employed to be covered at extra annual cost of €70m

The alarm was raised at 4.30pm when the two people found themselves surrounded by water with two more hours of incoming tide.

Dún Laogaire RNLI carried out three rescues over the weekend

The fire on Richmond Road. Photograph: Dublin Fire Brigade/Twitter

Rival gangs burn Halloween stashes, firefighters to stay overnight at Richmond Road blaze

Eoghan Murphy stressed that while nationally the number of families accessing emergency accommodation was up, the overall trend was downwards. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

SF says it is ‘extreme’ to suggest there’s progress on decreasing the number of homeless families

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: said there had been a reduction in families living in hotels since the “high point” last March, with more “family hub” accommodation available.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Number of children in Dublin without place to live increased to 2,416

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said a “recent high profile case has brought the Judiciary into disrepute”. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

‘Recent high profile case has brought the Judiciary into disrepute,’ says Mary Lou McDonald

 The long-stalled Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, 2015, will be reintroduced in the Seanad when the House resumes after the Halloween break, the Taoiseach has confirmed. File photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar confirms his ‘absolute commitment’ to the controversial legislation

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Sinn Féin leader was ‘setting the scene to ensure someone else is getting the blame’ over the impasse in Northern Ireland. Photograph: The Irish Times

Sinn Féin leader should ‘stop blaming everyone else’ for lack of progress – Taoiseach

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív   called for legislation to be introduced to deal with legal difficulties for the repatriation of Irish prisoners from abroad. File photograph: Eric Luke

TD questions lack of action for prisoners abroad who want to serve jail time at home

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. Photograph: Stephen Collins

Coveney responds to calls for €1m to be spent updating 2002 Savi research

Micheál Martin: ‘I do think it’s excessive. Genuinely.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

FF leader says Halloween break is ‘excessive’ but does not call for a vote on the issue

Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten pointed to local authorities’ estimates that more than 750,000 tyres had been dumped in sites around the country. Photograph: Alan Betson

Levy of up to €2.80 to go to recycling of end-of-life car tyres to halt waste on farms

The report “also found that hospitals were unable to account for millions of euro that pharmaceutical companies stated they had paid them”.

Healthcare companies gave €30 million to hospitals, medical staff in 2016, says Minister

The refunding of approximately €173 million paid by some 999,000 householders is due before the end of the year.

Government says Bill must pass by Halloween to allow 990,000 homes get repayment by year end

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty: said reversal of changes that resulted in 36,000 people receiving reduced payments would happen in ‘matter of weeks’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Rough day as pensions anomaly, Cork boundary and votes defeated

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said  reversing the 2012 pension changes would unnecessarily benefit people who have access to other resources. File photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Willie O’Dea accuses Sinn Féin of being ‘snipers behind the ditch’ in heated exchanges

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is  set to “admonish” bank chiefs  over the delay in dealing with  thousands of  people affected by the tracker mortgage controversy. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Government has ‘lost patience’, will impose sanctions if action unsatisfactory – Taoiseach

 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

Fallen trees block a road in Cork on Tuesday. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Monday’s storm differs to flooding, says Varadkar: ‘Nobody is in a hurricane zone’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “as a Government we have lost patience” with the banks over the tracker mortgages issue, and described the controversy as “scandalous”. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Action including sanctions to be taken if banks do not move to solve issue – Taoiseach

Michael Healy-Rae TD speaking in Dublin in 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill /The Irish Times

‘He told me where to go’: Kerry TD sharply criticises former minister Phil Hogan

Independent Clare TD Michael Harty: claimed many successful Clare hurlers were from parts of the county that might end up in Limerick under proposed boundary changes in the McKinnon report

McKinnon report calls for the Cork city boundary to be extended into the county area

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets ESB Network workers in Kilcock, Co Kildare,  on Tuesday as they clear fallen power lines after Storm Ophelia. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Varadkar tells Dáil he has fewer political advisers, who cost less than his predecessors’

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald: “There’s more brass on the necks of the Fianna Fáil leadership than we would expect in a marching band.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

McDonald welcomes motion to reverse cut ‘no matter how late, cynical, self-serving’

Denise McMorrow at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis, in the RDS, Dublin: “We need to be very radical in our approach to address the housing crisis.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Party members on Martin’s leadership, arrangement with SF and presidential election

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