Campaign posters about the upcoming referendum on abortion outside Government Buildings. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Strong backing for removing constitutional ban on abortion but fifth of voters undecided

“A lot of campaigning has yet to come. But unless something very substantial changes in the campaign over the coming weeks, the proposal to repeal the amendment, and liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws, will be passed.” Photographs: PA/The Irish Times

When undecided voters taken out of reckoning ‘Yes’ side has significant advantage

The sense that Leo Varadkar’s popularity could be the catalyst for a paradigm shift in Ireland’s post-crash politics is waning. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

New Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald appealing to wider base than Gerry Adams

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s  approval rating is by  far the highest among  party leaders, according to the latest   Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll findings mark end of encouraging run for Taoiseach and his party

Spokeswoman Cora Sherlock at the launch of the  ‘Love Both’ campaign in Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Pro-Life Campaign makes claim as it unveils ‘Love Both’ campaign in Dublin

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: Never enough in his treasury to satisfy all the demands of his colleagues. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Inside Politics: No minister for finance can have enough in his treasury to satisfy all the demands of colleagues

Projections for domestic growth are also based on a pre-Brexit transition period, which would mean the United Kingdom remains inside the EU until 2020. File photograph: Getty Images

‘Extraordinary’ spending demands strike note of caution despite positive economic outlook

The Public Health Alcohol Bill was published by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his time as minister for health in 2015, but is not yet law. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

European Commission said the proposed legislation may conflict with bloc’s law

Facebook executives will apologise at an Oireachtas Committee  for  the transfer of  data  to third parties which was used for campaigning purposes. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Senior aide in George W Bush White House to lead delegation of Facebook executives and advisers at Oireachtas committee

Tánaiste Simon Coveney:  “We are putting down a marker which says that if there isn’t significant progress towards trying to find a wording that puts in place an operational backstop in the withdrawal treaty, well then we’ll have to ask some very serious questions...”  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

If no progress on ‘backstop’ wording by June, UK withdrawal treaty at risk, says Coveney

Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton at a Belfast  event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Belfast  Agreement. Photograph: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Pat Leahy: politics has been described as a combination of high purpose and low cunning

Responding to the controversy in INM, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says the protection of journalists’ sources needs legal protection. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

New governance code due as Fianna Fáil leader calls for protection of media sources

Simon Harris: spoke about “the danger of the abortion pill, which we know is now a reality for many Irish women”

Obstetrician warns of ‘serious dangers’ when women take abortion pills without supervision

Facebook headquarters in Dublin has told the committee that it will send a delegation to the hearing scheduled for next Tuesday. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Advertising on social media network during abortion referendum to be discussed

Independent House: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has for the first time expressed concern over alleged breaches of personal data at Independent News and Media. File photograph: Fran Veale/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin to raise alleged data breaches at newspaper group in Dáil next week

The contraceptive pill, patches and rings would be made available without prescription and without charge, regardless of eligibility, under the IPU proposal. File photograph: Getty Images

GPs likely to resist plan to make State-funded medication available without prescription

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin:  likely to discuss whether and how to raise the INM issues with his senior TDs and advisers. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Opposition TDs expected to question Data Protection Commissioner on controversy

Former US president Bill Clinton called on Northern politicians to follow the example of their predecessors and make compromises to allow the power-sharing institutions to be restored. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Belfast Agreement 20 years on: Bill Clinton warns ‘paralysis’ cannot go on indefinitely without endangering agreement

Together for Yes co-director Grainne Griffin at the campaign launch on Dublin’s Mount Street on Monday morning.Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Well-organised anti-abortion campaign is weeks ahead in its postering and canvassing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington, Monday, April 9th. Photograph: AP

Campaigners seek clarity on anonymous ads targeting Irish voters on Facebook

Former US president Bill Clinton  at UCD on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘20 years ago, some brave people cleared a space for the miraculous’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: critical of the Government failure to push the need for State aid for companies left high and dry by Brexit. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

What was said before Christmas contrasts sharply with what transpired, says FF leader

A gallows and saloon in an old American western town.  Social media is  the wild west of electioneering

The day a big criminal trial is abandoned because of content on social media inevitably approaches

Russian embassy spokesman Vasily Velichkin:  “In response to their unjustified expulsions of Russian diplomats based on Britain’s proof-free accusations of Russia related to the Skripal case, it should not come as a surprise.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Kremlin continues its retaliation to West’s expulsion of Russian envoys over Salisbury

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke to the British secretary of state for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley on Thursday night and the two agreed to meet in Belfast after April 10th. Photograph: Alan Betson

London and Dublin to try to use significance of anniversary to re-establish powersharing

Judge Isobel Kennedy, chair of the Referendum Commission.

Watchdogs will not supervise social media campaigning despite concerns on both sides

Bertie Ahern and  Tony Blair  after agreement was reached on the Belfast Agreement on Good Friday, April 10th, 1998. Photograph:   Reuters

Officials in both governments acknowledge lack of chemistry between Varadkar and May

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: preparing his party for a general election that might be as soon as next autumn. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

New roles for Stephen Donnelly and Darragh O’Brien reveal focus on health and housing

Prof Patricia Casey speaking at the launch of website, a  resource for women with crisis pregnancies who are considering their options, with website founder Dr Fidelma Healy-Eames and Minister of State John Paul Phelan. Photograph: Dave Meehan /The Irish Times

Prof Patricia Casey hopes new website dispels some myths about adoption in Ireland

Simon Coveney has been front and centre in the latest convolutions of the abortion story. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Inside Politics: Tánaiste’s proposal for two-thirds majority for future changes to law is swiftly shot down

Simon Coveney’s vacillations reflect much middle-ground opinion on the issue. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste’s vacillations reflect much middle-ground opinion on referendum

Russian ambassador: Yury Filatov was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Photograph: Tom Honan

Russian ambassador was told of the Government decision on Tuesday

Shane Ross: “This Bill will get through in one form or another”

Ross is believed to have raised doubts about his participation in Government if Bill is not passed

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said the Judicial Appointments Bill was “an absolute top priority” for the Independent Alliance, and that he expected it would be passed by the summer recess.

Minister responds after ‘dog’s dinner’ comments by Attorney General Séamus Woulfe

Independent Alliance members Seán Canney, Kevin “Boxer” Moran , Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Shane Ross. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Independent Alliance has ceased to function as a group

 Russia’s ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov at the embassy on Orwell Road said any expulsions of personnel would constitute an “unfriendly act”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Expulsions among possible actions in wake of briefings from Garda and security services

 Russian ambassador Yury Filatov with  the media in the Russian embassy on Friday  afternoon. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government understood to have concerns over certain personnel in Russian embassy

The Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, speaking to reporters in the Russian embassy in Dublin on Friday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Russian ambassador responds after Varadkar says expulsions are being considered

Members of the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment at the launch of Together for Yes at the Rotunda Foundation in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Together for Yes has set itself up to appeal to middle-ground voters

The Dáil passed all stages of the referendum Bill last night by an overwhelming majority

Inside Politics: Almost half of Fianna Fáil TDs voted against holding the referendum at all in the first Dáil vote

Danny Healy-Rae asked: “What about the lovely, big families that were reared around my neck of the woods?” Photograph: Alan Betson

Although many TDs called for respect in Dáil debate, they still had a go at their opponents

Alexander Nix, chief executive  of Cambridge Analytica, leaving  the company’s offices in London on Tuesday. He has been suspended. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Social media giant has lost over $60bn in market value over past two days

The amount of data collected by Facebook and other new media companies is immense. Photograph:  Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Very little regulation against data-driven campaigning techniques here

Tánaiste Simon Coveney: A spokesman for him said the remaining 27 EU member states ‘have been consistent that there can be no backsliding on any part of December’s agreement’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Simon Coveney to meet Michel Barnier as Brussels seeks UK commitment on backstop

US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump host Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the White House: relating his involvement in a planning issue on behalf of Donald Trump was bonkers. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst

Taoiseach has lost any domestic benefit of US trip and revealed weakness yet again

 Regina Doherty: she and her Government colleagues “working very hard” to “put the facts on the table so that people can make informed decisions”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Regina Doherty says her previous opposition to legalisation of abortion ‘born out of ignorance’

Hugh McElvaney  was secretly filmed in a meeting with an undercover RTÉ reporter in 2015. He was  named by Revenue this week as having underdeclared his income tax by €29,000

Hugh McElvaney asked reporter for cash in exchange for help with planning application

A House of Commons committee says the British government’s intention to be outside the customs union and single market but require no Border infrastructure is ‘unprecedented’.

House of Commons group says there is ‘no evidence’ an invisible border is possible

EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Europe must “act fast” to secure a common approach to digital tax”. Adding that he expects Ireland to pay a positive role in the negotiations, despite its reservations. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

European commissioner is keen to 'act fast' and impose tax on big internet firms

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving a meeting with Texas governor Greg Abbott   in Austin  on Sunday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Varadkar heads to Washington and New York, Coveney goes to China

Ailbhe Smyth will co-chair the Together for Yes campaign. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Together for Yes will be a ‘broad-based civil society campaign’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has acknowledged that the proposal for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks would be a step too far for many people, while Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he would oppose it. Photograph: Barbara Lindberg.

Comments undermine claim Government proposal represents middle ground

Minister for Transport Shane Ross had threatened to block any judicial appointments until the Bill was progressed. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Commission says legislation is not in line with European standards

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil: “This referendum will be about asking the Irish public to change our Constitution – our basic and most fundamental law – to say that we, as a country, people and State, trust women to make these decisions for themselves.” Photograph:   Collins

Supreme Court judgment paves way for vote to change Constitution

“I am also very conscious that there are so many people who live north of the Border who are Irish citizens and believe themselves to be Irish. That is why they cannot be left behind ever again,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Government will trigger ‘backstop’ in event of hardening of existing border

Had the Court left any ambiguity on this question, it would have opened the prospect of legal challenges to any future abortion legislation.

Special cabinet meeting likely to be held tomorrow to approve wording and Referendum Bill

The Supreme Court, sitting in Limerick for the first time, will give a ruling on rights of the unborn

Inside Politics: Planned time frame for abortion referendum hinges on Supreme Court decision

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar indicated that the Strategic Communications Unit may be disbanded, or at least see significant changes to its remit. Photograph: Sam Boal/

Leo Varadkar was in combative form in the Dáil when tackled about the embattled unit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: said the Strategic Communications Unit  had become a ‘distraction from the work of Government’.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sinn Féin to table Private Members’ motion calling for the unit to be disbanded

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with British prime minister Theresa May. Mr Varadkar has said there will be no three-way talks on the Northern Ireland Border between Dublin, London and Brussels. Photograph: Daniel  Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images.

Varadkar says May speech put ‘more flesh on the bones’ of how customs might work in future

Leo Varadkar: he is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable in situations which require gladhandling of strangers, but he is at home in a hospital

Communications are key to politics, but they are not more important than policy choices

Former US president  George Bush: his observation of a flooded New Orleans through an airplane window marked the public’s perception of him. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Extreme weather gives politicians a chance to show leadership. But meltdown may occur

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier leaving  a business conference in Brussels on Thursday after delivering a speech. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters.

Michel Barnier happy to hear if Britain has ‘better ideas’ on how to avoid a hard Border

Prime minister Theresa May:  Brexit woes result from her chronic political weakness, some unfit people and the festering fissure of Conservative division on Europe. Photograph:  Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Pat Leahy: Both British and Irish governments must decide on their endgames

Unless the court comprehensively overturns the judgment of the High Court, it is likely that the wording and basis of the referendum would have to be re-examined by the Government.

The Wording of the proposed amendment may be finalised next Tuesday

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson:  has told Theresa May it was wrong to see the government’s task as “maintaining no border” on the island of Ireland after Brexit. Photograph: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Draft EU-UK withdrawal treaty likely to be rejected by Brexiteers and DUP

Leo Varadkar: his defence was blustery, and you suspect he knew it

Opposition enraged by what it sees as a campaign of promotion for Fine Gael candidates

Labour TD Alan Kelly has compared the Government’s spend on advertorials for the national plan Ireland 2040 as ‘akin to something from the Third Reich’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sipo asked to investigate Government’s publicity campaign for national plan

Project Ireland 2040: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar launched the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan in Sligo. Photograph: Alan Betson

Project Ireland 2040 campaign ‘breaks Civil Service ban’ on political work

Dara Calleary: “While governments have an obligation to communicate their policies to citizens this information should not be seen as party political; nor should it contain information about potential candidates in forthcoming elections”

Labour, Social Democrats and Fianna Fáil have all made complaints to official bodies

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives for a meeting  in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, February 23rd. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

The Strategic Communications Unit is blurring boundaries in a very familiar way

 Chief Justice Frank Clarke. For the Supreme Court to finalise a judgment in a case of this nature over a week would be remarkable. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The Government wants to finalise a wording by March 6th, but timing is not the only uncertainty

European Council president Donald Tusk: said British Brexit proposals for “managed divergence” from EU regulations along with preferential access to EU markets show that Boris Johnson’s “cake philosophy” lives on. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar says Ireland will pay more but will not sign up to common corporation tax base

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Eric Luke

Taoiseach also tells those who question Belfast Agreement to ‘respect our vote’

Mary Lou McDonald:  said she feared Northern Ireland was entering a period of “drift” and “entrenchment”. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

SF asks Labour to table legislation in Westminster allowing same-sex marriage in North

President Michael D Higgins: plans to run for the presidency again. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Michael D rides once more

Inside Politics: The President intends this summer to declare his intention to stand again

Abortion referendum: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone and Minister for Health Simon Harris; the Government hopes to finalise the referendum wording by March 6th. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ruling on rights of unborn has potential to force Government rethink

Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill and DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Both parties meeting Theresa May to see if talks can be resurrected

Eighth Amendment: anti-abortion groups have stepped up their campaigns. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Analysis: People ‘want to hear from women and doctors’, say focus groups

Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy,  Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill arrive at Government Buildings, Dublin, for a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Niall Carson /PA

SF does not want ‘cooling off period’ while DUP says key decisions for North’s schools, infrastructure and hospitals needed

Belfast solicitor Michael Finucane was involved in the circulation of the letter. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Hundred prominent signatories ‘shocked at the level of permanent inequality’ in North

Confidence-and-supply frenemies: the growing chasm between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is driven by the North and Brexit. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Pat Leahy: The big parties’ re-emergent rivalry can end only in a general election


Pat Leahy: Success will eventually come down to the nitty-gritty of implementation

Computer-generated image of what Metro North  could look like.

Taoiseach outlines parts of the new development strategy for Ireland up to 2040

Stormont talks: Simon Coveney said Micheál Martin “doesn’t understand what is going on ”. Photograph: PA

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and FF leader Micheál Martin clash on Stormont strategy

Sinn Féin’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill,  president Mary Lou McDonald and party negotiator Conor Murphy at a press conference at Parliament Buildings in Stormont in Belfast on Thursday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Dublin calls for a cooling-off period as Sinn Féin and the DUP continue to clash

Michael Healy Rae: the Kerry TD  lists 11 properties for letting or rental in the register, as well as two properties under renovation or awaiting planning permission. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Michael Healy Rae lists occupations as postmaster, farmer, plant-hire business operator and shop owner

The main impact of Brexit will be on processed foods, beef, sheep and other cattle meat and dairy products, the report says.

Rural areas and the food sector to feel worst of impact if UK crashes out of EU

The best outcome from Ireland’s perspective would be the EEA option, where Britain enjoys access to the single market. Photograph: Stephanie LeCoq/EPA

Copenhagen Economics study finds Irish economy could reduce by up to 7% by 2030

  Mary Lou McDonald:   won a Dáil seat in 2011,  comfortably retaining it in 2016. Photograph: Reuters/ Clodagh Kilcoyne

A constant at Gerry Adams’ side, McDonald was widely accepted as successor from 2016

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called for the UK to make clear what relationship they want to have with the EU. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

‘They need to make a decision on what relationship they want the UK to have with EU’

New Sinn Féin leader speaks at a special ard fheis on Saturday. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

New leader’s own views on abortion are in conflict with current party policy on the issue

France and Germany may set a course for destinations in areas like tax where the Irish government and the Irish people might not want to go. Photograph: Getty Images

Europe on verge of another big period of change that may not work to Ireland’s advantage

The LoveBoth Project ‘Lives Saved’ tour launch  in Galway on Friday.  Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Coveney’s position on 12-week abortion limit may come to be seen as key moment in campaign

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has  endorsed the tough line laid out  by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Varadkar echoes Barnier statement amid concerns over UK’s Border pledge

Enet has not yet discussed a price for the contract regarding the rural broadband programme with the Government. File photograph: iStockPhoto

Dáil votes for Fianna Fail motion by 77 votes to 48 seeking review of rural broadband plan

Screengrab from UK’s Parliamentary Recording Unit footage showing British prime minister Theresa May pointing towards Boris Johnson. Photograph: AFP Photo/PRU

Ministers fear EU’s patience with the UK is running out amid renewed Brexit talks

Paschal Donohue: Ed Brophy, a former chief of staff to Labour tánaiste Joan Burton, is to join the Fine Gael Minister’s staff in the Department of Finance. Photograph: Reuters/ Clodagh Kilcoyne

Joan Burton's ex-chief of staff to join Paschal Donohoe's Department of Finance team

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin attacked the Taoiseach for the neglect of rural Ireland. Photograph: The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Micheál Martin tells Taoiseach rural Ireland has had enough of ‘lecturing from a Dublin-centric Government’

The building plan has for an Apple data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, has been delayed for more than two years by a series of planning objections and legal actions.

Government fears challenges such as that to Apple data centre could scare off multinational investment

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