Concerns have been raised unsuitable individuals could seek access to children through applying for certain jobs and avoid vetting. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Department of Culture bodies say interpretation at odds with child-protection policies

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, whose spokesman said there had been a consistent preference for a May 2020 date and that had not changed. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Parties say they are largely prepared for early election if one is called

Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin: accused Fine Gael of trying to force election. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Varadkar had ‘some neck’ to claim credit for budget demands, says FF leader

Simon Harris: he is said to have delivered a rallying call amid claims that the party is “downtrodden”

Some within Fine Gael believe the Taoiseach may go to the country within weeks if a Brexit extension or deal is achieved

UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is welcomed by EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP Pool.

Donald Tusk says hopes of agreement have risen but that positive signs can be ‘political tricks’

Orchard Lawns in Cherry Orchard, Dublin, where builders were targeted by antisocial behaviour while constructing a social housing project. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Drug gang figures still received money from construction firms after accounts frozen

The Department of Housing was informed two years two years ago of the allegations of criminality at a time when Tánaiste Simon Coveney was minister. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Housing department informed of Dublin protection money operation in 2017

Go Ahead  commenced operations in September 2018.

National Transport Authority says Dublin Bus will pay €280k for failure to operate as scheduled

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy  said he ‘can’t condone that kind of activity, or officials from any local authority being involved in that type of activity’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Survey is considered after allegations that Dublin authority paid protection money

Paschal Donohoe’s budget: delivered with zero fanfare. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Government can do very little to rock the boat as parties look to Brexit and end of confidence-and-supply arrange(...)

The Taoiseach had signalled changes to the help-to-buy scheme, saying some couples who could already afford a deposit were benefitting. File photograph: Getty

Budget move to ensure couples who can ‘well afford to buy’ will not be unfairly subsidised

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘We are in the process of trying to arrange a meeting with prime minister Johnson next week. Time is tight.’ Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty

Still time for UK to bring further solutions to break current Brexit impasse, says Varadkar

A European Commission source said the talks, with Brexit adviser David Frost (above), will continue on Monday. Photograph: AP

EU declines to continue discussions with Johnson’s chief negotiator over weekend

The site of the national children’s hospital at the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Concerns have also been raised about the number of health and safety incidents on the site

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar following a meeting with Swedish prime minister in Stockholm. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

Johnson’s proposals create ‘major obstacles’ to deal, says Taoiseach

A 16-year-old girl told Childline she had sent images to a former boyfriend, who then shared them with others without her permission. File photograph: Getty

Officers to inform Oireachtas justice group that images often circulated to third parties

Paschal Donohoe: he said it “now seems evident” the UK wants to adopt sharply different regulatory rules to the EU after Brexit. Photograph: Getty Images

Final budget negotiations ‘difficult’ in the light of uncertainty around Brexit

The final stage of naturalisation requires attendance at a citizenship ceremony. Photograph: Frank Miller

Minister says ceremonies will be held after Bill about unbroken residence becomes law

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the budget would be safe and careful. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Minister insists he and Taoiseach ‘absolutely aligned’ on policy after Varadkar comments

Garda commissioner Drew Harris has said existing laws are adequate to deal with protests outside healthcare centres that provide abortion care. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Minister for Health to press ahead with plans for exclusion zones outside hospitals

A report by Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon found that several aspects of how the public services card was used were unlawful. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Data Protection Commissioner stands over her report and is going ahead with enforcement proceedings

 A garda  speaks to a motorist at a checkpoint. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

PAC hears thousands of drivers will not have their cases appealed despite having already paid fines

Paschal Donohoe: reportedly confident the Government can steer the country through a disorderly Brexit with the planned budget. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Paschal Donohoe does not plan on any supplementary or emergency budgets, sources say

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris revealed on Wednesday which stations would be the divisional headquarters after 28 divisions are amalgamated to create 19. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Reorganisation plan ‘unacceptable’, Roscommon TD Denis Naughten says

Most councils have opted to increased tax next year due to budgetary pressures

Not all companies that produce medical devices in the UK have put measures in place to transition their UK  certificates to the necessary EU regulations.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

‘Significant’ number of UK suppliers will not have regulations in place by October 31st

Minister for Health Simon Harris and  HPRA chief executive Lorraine Nolan. File photograph: Naoise Culhane

Health authority warns ‘no absolute guarantees’ on critical medicines such as insulin

Kathleen Lynch was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1994. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Ex-junior minister lost her Cork North Central seat in 2016 general election

Minister for Justice  Charlie Flanagan: it has emerged employees at prominent State attractions who could have access to children and vulnerable people may not be vetted. Photograph: Tom Honan

Minister at odds with bureau claiming some staff access to children ‘incidental’ to job

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan also hopes to give effect to the divorce and blasphemy referendum results this year. Photograph: Tom Honan

Judge ruled practice of allowing applicants six weeks out of country not permitted by law

Drew Harris is seen by some as being more akin to a chief executive than a traditional Garda commissioner. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘Distant but decisive’ ex-PSNI man has impressed many, but others say the jury is out

‘Whether there is a deal, a soft Brexit, a hard Brexit, no deal, we are looking at a border situation,’ Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has said. File photograph: Tom Honan/ The Irish Times

Minister for Justice says Garda Commissioner has plans to deal with border issues

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said there is “strong legal advice” in favour of the continued use of the public services card. She said the Government did not agree with the findings in a report by data protection commissioner Helen Dixon.

Regina Doherty admits this may be the first time a regulator has been challenged

The Government had planned to address the fact that 8% of households use 30% of the water supply. Photograph: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images

Commission seeks update on Irish water management, infrastructure improvements

A protester’s sign at the Dawn Meats plant at Grannagh, Co Waterford. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Farming body warns of beef shortages unless breakthrough made soon

The Public Services Card: The Department of Social Protection said it might be necessary and appropriate for the matter to be referred to the courts for a definitive decision.

Government to challenge watchdog’s findings that card has no basis in law

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the cost of the new national children’s hospital is just 1.3 per cent of the annual health budget. Photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach says claims rising cost will see other projects scrapped are ‘fake’ and ‘made-up’

Maria Bailey has been in the spotlight following the negative publicity that surrounded her decision to pursue, but later withdraw, a personal injuries claim.  Photograph: Dara MacDonaill/The Irish Times

TD mired in controversy over swing incident under pressure not to run in Dún Laoghaire

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone: Childminding “has not received the support it deserves in our public funding or our system of regulation”. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Department has not yet decided what level of qualifications minders must have

Fianna Fáil committee member, James Lawless, TD. Photograph: Tom Honan/  The Irish Times

Unlikely issue will unseat Government, despite FF TD’s take on it

The chair of the Oireachtas Communications Committee Hildegarde Naughten, said it was ‘critical’ the Government proceed and sign the contract.

Oireachtas Communications Committee publishes report seeking independent review

The committee will call on the Government to ‘examine the best model’ for delivery of a new national broadband plan through the ESB. File photograph: Getty

Oireachtas group critical of Government reluctance to identify flawed tendering process

Because the HPV virus can cause cancers and conditions in boys too, the Government announced the decision to extend the vaccine from September onwards. File photograph: Getty

Vaccine will now also be given to boys in what Harris called ‘important milestone’

In a written response Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Leo Varadkar said that no external consultancy or legal firm had been used by his department to investigate protected disclosures. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government department says it may be necessary to share identity ‘on occasion’

John Wall highlighted the difficulties faced by those who are given a terminal diagnosis in getting access to terminal illness medical cards.

John Wall, diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, had emergency medical card revoked

“It is a cause for concern that the operator will recoup its money within seven to eight years, will carry very little risk thereafter and retain full ownership while at the same time the State will have invested almost €3 billion with no ownership rights.” Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Oireachtas urges cost/benefit study and more oversight in move that may delay rollout

The committee will criticise the lack of private sector risk associated with the broadband project. Photograph: iStock

Report on €3bn plan will recommend an external and independent review on proposals

National Broadband Plan: Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane wants the committee to agree  the infrastructure “should remain in public ownership”. Photograph:  Michael Smith/Getty

Oireachtas committee to consider ownership issues and cost/benefit of proposed rollout

An Garda Síochána say vetting not needed in places where presence of children is ‘incidental’. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Force asserts checks are not needed as presence of children at certain sites is ‘incidental’

 Fianna Fáil Councillor Abul Kalam Azad Talukder. Photograph: Brendan Gleeson

Limerick’s first Muslim councillor says most people are welcoming and ‘like new voices’

National Gallery of Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Comments come after news that vetting bureau has ‘clamped down’ on applications

In one email, the Garda National Vetting Bureau said “the institutions in question are places open to the public at large and each of the roles . . . would be working with everyone in attendance.” Photograph: Hemera/Thinkstock/Getty

Decision relates to guides and gallery volunteer access to children and the vulnerable

Footage for an RTÉ undercover investigation into a chain of Dublin creches showed babies restrained in high chairs for lengthy periods, causing them to become highly distressed. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A ‘significant number’ of the 37 services have made the necessary improvements

Festivals and other events rely on Civil Defence members to provide first aid. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Application for licence paves way for Civil Defence to provide medical services at events

“The purpose of the excessive use charge is to incentivise the fixing of leaks and the conservation of water. The excessive usage charge will apply to households that use an excessive amount of water.” File photograph: Getty

80,000 households expected to face annual charge of up to €500 for excessive use

Sinn Féin TD Denise Mitchell placed the most expensive print order in the form of 50,000 colour newsletters at a cost of  €1,286.

Documents released under FoI show those with highest spending on Oireachtas service

 Minister for Education Joe McHugh: college fees will be frozen for five years. Photograph: Alan Betson

Joe McHugh pledges university registration fees will not exceed €3,000 if FG returned

Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson: A meeting between the two leaders is not expected until after the next G7 summit. Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuters and Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Government insists withdrawal agreement and backstop not up for negotiation

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is due to meet French leader Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Donald Trump this month. Photograph: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images

There is speculation UK prime minister may be planning snap election, after G7 summit

Photograph: iStock

Currently investors are set to appoint majority of board of National Broadband Ireland

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a “Make America Great Again” campaign rally with US President Donald Trump in Cincinnati, Ohio, on August 1st. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty.

Group says picture painted of ‘conservative backward YFG’

 Fine Gael TD Noel Rock: he criticised the attendance

Right-wing conservative youth group says Foley-Walsh was at the conference in a ‘personal capacity’

The Government is going ahead with the broadband project despite the advice of some who caution the €3 billion programme does not represent good value.

Oireachtas committee report raises concerns about multibillion-euro roll-out

The highest number of bed days lost was in St James’s Hospital at 12,333 – more than 2,000 every month. Photograph: Alan Betson

HSE data shows €200m wasted yearly over lack of step-down care, says Sinn Féin TD

Senator David Norris: claimed €29,459 for “website, design and online” services last year. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Expenses claimed since 2015 yet Senator’s site ‘news section’ last updated two years ago

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: ‘Does anyone seriously think that we will stop Boris Johnson on a technicality? Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/ Getty Images

FG supports Fintan O’Toole’s idea that SF MPs stand down in order to trigger election

The Department of Housing says 1,770 affordable homes will be delivered out of a total of 6,200 affordable homes planned under the services fund. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/ Bloomberg

Houses comprise part of an €84m infrastructure package, says Eoghan Murphy

There are currently more than 16,000 young people on apprenticeship programmes. Photograph: Getty Images

Pre-budget submission by the council seeks better youth work services and schemes to encourage more women apprentices

Demonstrators march to vent their frustrations over Britain’s inability to agree on a plan to leave the European Union, in London. Photograph: Andrew Testa/The New York Times

Government risk register issues a clear warning about Northern Ireland and no-deal

Officials from the Department of Communications want to make it mandatory that ducting for high-speed broadband be included for new house planning permission to be obtained.

Government officials want to make cabling mandatory to obtain planning permission

Last year, Leo Varadkar’s first full year at the top of Government, there were 15 meetings of the committees that are supposed to look at issues such as Brexit, health, infrastructure and national security.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach’s preference for informal meetings has been both praised and criticised

A person in possession of narcotics, determined by An Garda Síochána to be for personal use, will on the first occasion be referred on a mandatory basis to the Health Service Executive for a health screening and a “brief intervention”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Where a person is caught a second time, gardaí will have discretion to issue a caution

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said owners of crèches should discuss any quality or regulatory concerns with parents. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Creche owners should tell parents about quality or regulatory concerns, says Zappone

Officials from the Department of Children and Tusla are appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Children to discuss the RTÉ Investigates programme

Installing CCTV in creches ‘the obvious solution’ to protect children, committee hears

The cost of the national children’s hospital has risen from an estimated €800m in 2014 to €1.4bn, which is expected to increase to some €1.7bn. Photograph: iStock

National Paediatric Hospital Development Board members query aspects of the project

A senior official in the Department of Children is expected to address an Oireachtas committee on non-compliance in childcare centres. File photograph: iStock

Official will tell committee of ‘inconvenience’ to parents who rely on services

RTÉ Investigates revealed a pattern of disturbing practices in a chain of Hyde & Seek Dublin creches. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Bernie McNally to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Children

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has asked officials to examine how parents can be informed at the earliest possible opportunity of concerns being investigated. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Zappone writes to Tusla requesting outline of changes needed to strengthen enforcement powers

 Maria Bailey: Fine Gael councillor John Kennedy said she  should analyse what the “strengths and weaknesses are”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Louth FG TD says he does not believe Maria Bailey should stand for re-election for party

Commander Justin Codd (left) chats with Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson and Britain’s defence secretary Ben Wallace (2nd left) aboard Vanguard-class submarine HMS Victorious during a visit to Faslane Naval base (HM Naval Base Clyde), north of Glasgow in Scotland. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Pool/AFP

Taoiseach and new British prime minister have yet to officially speak

The third highest agency spend was in the area of nursing with agency staff costing more than €32m. File photograph: Getty

Bill for doctors, nurses and support staff to plug healthcare gaps comes in at €135m

An investigation was carried out by RTÉ  into Hyde & Seek, a company that runs four creches in Dublin. Photograph: Collins

Agency to be quizzed by Oireachtas committee on how centres could remain open

Seán Kyne will chair a group   to form a strategy for Ireland’s 30 populated islands. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Ministers to discuss drug cautions, night culture scheme and childcare at final meeting

Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne is expected to bring to Cabinet an expert report on the personal possession of illegal drugs. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Catherine Byrne to present expert report that does not recommend decriminalisation

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone: ‘We cannot have a law that provides unrestricted access to information about one’s identity to the adopted person.’ Photograph: Patrick Bolger

Katherine Zappone is working on amendments to enable disclosure of information for adoptees

 Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton:  the Climate Action Fund is one of four funds established under the National Development Plan 2018-2027. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Funding of Government plan from levy on oil products under dispute

In a statement, the HSE said that ‘the delivery of the new MRI scan remains a key priority for the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore and the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group’. Photograph: Getty Images

Midlands hospital group has longest waiting list for scans in the State, at more than 16,000

New proposals for exclusion zones outside healthcare centres that provide abortion care are expected to be given to the Minister for Health Simon Harris later this week. Photograph: SON Photo

Comes after protest saw baby-sized coffins outside National Maternity Hospital

Phil Hogan: role in the Mercosur trade agreement did not go unnoticed. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Inside Politics: Hundreds of farmers are expected to protest outside the Dáil today

European Union agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan. The IFA praised Mr Hogan for tackling unfair trading practices and delivering a Brexit aid package for the sector. File photograph: Ray Ryan

Taoiseach to nominate the EU agriculture commissioner for another term in Brussels

Labour TD Joan Burton: ‘I don’t think there has been any really serious debate on this, and no white paper on the extent of the proposal.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Vote proposed to extend rights to allow Irish citizens abroad vote in presidential elections

Maria Bailey received criticism from Cabinet Ministers after an interview with RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke about the swing incident in a Dublin hotel. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Fine Gael TD may instead be asked to resign as Oireachtas committee chair

‘The report is nothing to do with me, so I don’t know what is in it, ’Regina Doherty said.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach has received document compiled by senior counsel on TD’s claim controversy

Maria Bailey’s  withdrawn action against the Dean Hotel in Dublin  alleged she had suffered injuries after falling from a swing in the hotel bar in July 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Varadkar says he has discussed with TD and will not publish due to anonymity

Former TD John V Farrelly said he has stepped aside from his role as chairperson of the Meath East constituency pending the outcome of an investigation by the party.

John V Farrelly alleged to have described female party member as ‘n****r in the woodpile’

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin speaking to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday in Dublin Castle. Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

‘I have offended a lot of people...I do apologise and I am going to withdraw the remarks’

Irish farmers have taken issue with the Mercosur trade deal, with lobby groups saying the beef element of it could cost the Irish meat sector up to €750m annually. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters.

Mercosur promises to shut out farms, regions or countries dumping low-quality meat

Michael Creed has vowed to ‘thwart’ the EU’s Mercosur deal. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Minister for Agriculture has vowed to ‘dismantle’ EU-Mercosur agreement

After three days of unprecedented deadlock and whisperings, agreement has been reached on who should take the coveted top jobs in Europe. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Politics digest: Varadkar stands with rebels against Merkel

 Under Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly’s amendment, the tribunal dealing with CervicalCheck claims would be able to award aggravated damages. Photograph: Eric Luke

Party tables Bill amendment about ‘unnecessarily aggressive’ questioning of women

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