Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses delegates at the Fine Gael Ardfheis. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Early election would not be in national interest due to Brexit, Taoiseach says

British prime minister Theresa May hopes to travel to Brussels this week to sign off on a political declaration on the future relationship between Britain and the EU. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

No preferential treatment for EU citizens after Brexit, UK prime minister says

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  addressing the delegates at Fine Gael Ardfheis. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw /The Irish Times

Taoiseach accuses Opposition party of delaying confidence and supply review

Mr Martin was speaking to reporters ahead ahead of the Fianna Fáil presidential dinner in Dublin on Saturday night. Photograph: The Irish Times

Micheál Martin accuses Taoiseach of making ‘election platforming speech’ at party Ardfheis

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking at Government Buildings, Dublin this week. Photograph: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

‘The Irish Times’ visited four key constituencies to gauge party's ahead of its Ardfheis

UK Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to the annual Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Guildhall in London. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Inside Politics: The ultimate aim of the backstop is to go nowhere in particular

Tony O’Brien. The Public Accounts Committee’s reputation has been under the spotlight this week, following the former HSE chief’s charge that it was ‘a kangaroo court’. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

PACs have built deserved status as watchdogs of public finances, but are they now going too far?

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the British Irish Council’s 31st summit meeting. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

British and Irish leaders meet for Brexit-dominated summit on Isle of Man

Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar: hospitals should “match peak demand with peak resources”.  Photograph: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva

Taoiseach criticised over remarks about flawed winter rostering of staff in hospitals

Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke failed to overcome Ted Cruz in Texas. Photograph: EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

Democrats’ House win will allow party undertake investigations into president

New detention powers on the way: above, undercover members of the Garda Síochána search a rickshaw driver in Dublin last year. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Rickshaw cyclists face new licensing and vetting rules as motorised rickshaws banned

President Michael D Higgins ‘is committed to establishing an audit committee’, a spokesman said. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA

President is expected to make scrutiny proposal to Government following inauguration

 Sunset on the Tapajós River, deep in the Amazon rainforest, in Brazil. Scientists are warning that if human beings continue to mine the world’s wildernesses for resources and convert them into cities and farms at the pace of the previous century, the planet’s few remaining wild places could disappear in decades. Photograph: Meridith Kohut/The New York Times

10 per cent of the earth’s wilderness which serves as a brake to effects of climate change has been lost since the 1990s

Peter Casey casts his vote at the polling station in Greencastle National School, Co Donegal,  in the  presidential election. Photograph: PA

‘Nothing to stop him’ becoming a member but election candidates already chosen

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: disagreed with the Taoiseach’s assessment that the uncertainty of not having a new agreement weakened the Government’s hand in Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fine Gael eager to look forward, but Fianna Fáil insists on review, say sources

Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív and Senator Mark Daly with Sorcha McAnespy, in  Omagh, Co Tyrone. Photograph: PA Wire

TD announced Fianna Fáil’s first North candidate without confirmation from party

Presidential runner-up Peter Casey in Dublin Castle on Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan

Fianna Fáil accuses presidential candidate of engaging in lazy and dangerous politics

Joan Freeman arrives at Dublin Castle to attend the count. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Taoiseach’s nominee to Seanad says she will not run for political office again

President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, at Dublin Castle on Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan

Fianna Fáil rebuffs Casey plan to join and lead party

If Peter Casey had not shot up from nowhere to second place, the performance of the Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada would have been the story of the election. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Ní Riada’s poor performance impacts on perception of McDonald’s judgment

During the campaign, Michael D Higgins divided his diary between presidential obligations and the campaign. There is no doubt it conferred some advantage to him. Photograph:  Reuters/ Clodagh Kilcoyne

Body fulfils functions and duties when the office is vacant or the president is abroad

Presidential candidates: Gavin Duffy; Joan Freeman; Liadh Ní Riada; Peter Casey; Sean Gallagher and the victor, Michael D. Higgins.

Level of antipathy borne out by shockingly low turnout

Presidential candidate Liadh Ni Riada at the results centre for the presidential election in Dublin Castle on Saturday. Photograph:   Collins

Analysis: If aim was to broaden brand and spread United Ireland message it did not work

Presidential election candidates at the RTÉ Prime Time Presidential Debate; the final all-candidate TV debate of the campaign on Tuesday October  23rd. From left:  Joan Freeman; Liadh Ní Riada, Michael D Higgins, Sean Gallagher, Peter Casey and Gavin Duffy. Photograph: Julien Behal

Peter Casey introduced dogwhistle into the campaign during a podcast in mid October

Presidential candidate Seán Gallagher with his wife Trish, at Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Presidential candidate remains bullish as he campaigns within his comfort zone

Presidential candidates Gavin Duffy (third from left); Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada; Peter Casey; Sean Gallagher and Senator Joan Freeman pictured alongside Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates (at far left) on Virgin Media One’s The Tonight Show Presidential Election Special. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

‘We are splitting the vote and lowering the tone,’ says Gavin Duffy

Presidential candidates Senator Joan Freeman, MEP Liadh Ní Riada, President Michael D Higgins, Seán Gallagher, Peter Casey and Gavin Duffy gather for RTÉ’s Prime Time debate. Photograph: Tom Honan

Casey accuses incumbent of telling ‘lies’ as candidates trade criticisms in heated discussion

President Michael D Higgins: ‘As far as I am concerned, I am very happy with the official PSNI statement. I welcome it, I agree with it, and I am happy to reciprocate to it by again expressing my thanks for their co-operation and courtesy.’ Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA

The explanation subtly shifted on Monday but Learjet issue is likely to be a dominant one in tonight’s PrimeTime debate on RTÉ

Ireland’s presidential candidates Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Sean Gallagher, President Michael D Higgins and Liadh Ní Riada: a poll on Wednesday put Higgins at almost 70 per cent. Photograph:   Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

The President is replaying the Mary McAleese playbook of 2004, from setting the agenda to laying down the rules of engagement

Peter Casey at Cabra Bridge, Thurles on Thursday. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Casey says he doesn’t want to get elected ‘just based on one statement I made’

 Presidential candidate Peter Casey and his wife Helen at Cabra Bridge, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Candidate refuses to retract Traveller remarks on visit to controversial estate

Members of the Traveller community protesting at the visit of  presidential candidate Peter Casey to Cabra Bridge, Thurles on Thursday.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Presidential candidate says there is ‘not a racist bone in my body’

Peter Casey and his wife Helen at the EPIC centre in Dublin for the official launch of his presidential campaign. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Presidential candidate claims group showed poor leadership over Thurles dispute

Liadh Ní Riada:  “The Áras should not be some kind of winding-down gift to somebody who has had a long career in politics.” Photograph: PA

Candidate forced to spend a lot of time trying to justify past events

DUP leader Arlene Foster visiting  St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin on Monday. ‘We are very clear about what we need for Brexit,’ she told reporters. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

Brexit: Taoiseach and DUP leader reiterate opposing views as EU-British talks stall

European Council president Donald Tusk. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Donald Tusk urges EU leaders to be ‘hopeful and determined’ about deal

 Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin speaking to media on the plinth at Leinster House, Dublin on Monday.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Teams of four senior TDs from either party are expected to participate

 Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster  speaks to the media outside   St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.  Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

DUP leader strongly reiterated view Northern Ireland leaves European Union on same terms as rest of UK during Dublin visit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ms Fitzgerald had no expectations of being appointed to fill the vacancy left by Denis Naughten. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Varadkar calls on parties and others to withdraw claims in wake of Charleton report

 Theresa May addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Monday

Backstop promise ‘cannot be time-limited’, Minister for Foreign Affairs insists

 Presidential candidate Seán Gallagher  and his wife Trish. Photograph:  Kinlan Photography

Businessman shrugs off poll findings: ‘I am living proof unprecedented things happen’

Former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald: “I am very pleased that my judgment and my approach has been found to be truthful and appropriate.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Extremely troubling Martin Callinan ‘engaged in a false and vicious attack’

‘Frances Fitzgerald will not be the first prominent public figure in recent political history to feel hard done by after their forced resignation.’ File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Analysis: Minister’s vindication shows that Dáil storms can be much ado about nothing

Former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald: the role she played   when responding to information about the Garda legal strategy in the O’Higgins tribunal  has been vindicated. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Interviews and evidence given by politicians about smear campaigns found to be true

 Former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald  at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle in January. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Former minister for justice exonerated by tribunal report

Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy speaking to media in  Dublin. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney Collins

‘I fear we are taking the presidency back to . . . a retirement home for very great politicians’

Protecting the centre is core to Donohoe’s world view. But recent evidence suggests the housing and health sectors will continue to struggle.

Tourism sector hit with VAT hike while housing and health still likely to struggle

President Michael D Higgins: He believes it’s a “myth” that he had an easier campaign than others in 2011 and says his long experience means he might be tougher than his rivals.   Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

President finds himself in the crosshairs just as much as other candidates

Gavin Duffy: he said AIB’s annual profits could produce as much money for spending as is available in the budget. Photograph; Getty Images

People do not want an establishment person as president, says Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada

The Government has already said the reserve, which will eventually reach a maximum of €8 billion, cannot be spent to counteract the effects of Brexit. File photograph: Getty Images

Department of Finance papers reveal reserve key to liquidity in event of national trauma

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin:  “This scheme already exists. It’s called the Serviced Sites Fund and has an allocation of €75 million this year, so far unspent and due to be rolled over to 2019,” he tweeted. Photograph: Cate McCurry/PA Wire

Eoin Ó Broin says €75m already available, so real figure for scheme is €25m a year

Members of the Independent Alliance: John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Shane Ross, Michael Fitzmaurice, and Kevin Boxer Moran. Photograph: Alan Betson

Restaurant sector critical of VAT rise: ‘It’s a knee-jerk reaction and not Brexit-proofed’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has dismissed any suggestion that Tuesday’s budget will be an election budget. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach insists an 'election budget' is not in the offing

The candidates: Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Liadh Ní Riada, Peter Casey, Sean Gallagher and President Michael D Higgins

Michael D Higgins will be a hard act to follow, but the pretenders have impressive CVs

 Peter Casey and his wife Helen at the EPIC centre in Dublin for the official launch of his presidential campaign. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA

Candidate says Higgins fails to inspire and should ‘take the pensions and have a nice seven years’

“I am the only one who is saying that he not Santa Claus. He should take the pensions and have a nice seven years.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Candidate says media and other contenders been far too deferential to the incumbent

Peter Casey, presidential candidate. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Candidate has already given presidential race an injection of Trumpean confrontation

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will announce the 2019 budget today. File photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Inside Politics: Paschal Donohoe will deliver his second Budget as Minister for Finance

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina  on Grafton Street. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Higgins describes media reports about his allowance as ‘outrageous’

Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy calculated his campaign would cost €300,00 and he would fund it from his own resources.. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Launching presidential campaign, candidate says he’s best equipped for Brexit challenge

Senator Joan Freeman launching her presidential campaign to questions about Des Walsh, the LA businessman who  contributed €120,000 to her cause.    Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Presidential candidate promises to use symbolic powers to mobilise communities

Presidential candidate Seán Gallagher  with students during a visit to Dublin City University. Photograph: Niall Carson/ PA Wire

Presidential candidate also defends comparing ‘Tweetgate’ to institutional abuse

 Launch of Senator Joan Freeman’s presidential campaign in Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan/ The Irish Times.

Presidential candidate says she would exploit hidden powers and symbolism of the office

Presidential candidate Seán Gallagher: “In my lifetime I will see a united Ireland and that is important for me.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Dragons’ Den’ star kept low profile following bruising conclusion to 2011 campaign

Though she resigned from the Labour Party on Friday, Martina Genockey said she would remain on South Dublin County Council as an Independent member.

‘Rising star’ Martina Genockey had sought debate on Brendan Howlin’s leadership

Presidential election candidate Joan Freeman: “I would not be going for it if I did not think I would win.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Pieta House founder funding campaign with €140,000 in loans from US businesspeople

The presidential election is set for Friday, October 26th, 2018. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Nominations for election closed at noon on Wednesday, with six names on ballot paper

President Michael D Higgins at the official launch of his presidential election campaign in   Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

President defends unaudited presidential allowance of €317,000

The candidates: Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Liadh Ní Riada, Peter Casey, Sean Gallagher and President Michael D Higgins

Nominations closed for election contest, with six candidates in running for presidency

President Michael D.Higgins: set to open his presidential campaign. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

Inside Politics: Public Accounts Committee unearths a €317,000 annual allowance for president that is not subject to audit

The President’s Office occupies a unique position in Irish public life.

The overall cost of the office is more than €8m

The initaitive to include cancer warnings on alcohol products has been championed by Indepedent Senator Frances Black. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Minister for Health Simon Harris had previously seemed to accept amendments to controversial Bill aimed at reducing consumption

Ireland remains one of a few EU countries not to have an opt-out system. The Bill will also regulate the removal, retention, storage, use and disposal of human tissue from deceased persons. File photograph: Getty Images

Consent deemed granted unless person has registered their wish not to become a donor

Secretary-general to the Government Martin Fraser queried the timing of the PAC meeting.

Comptroller and Auditor General to also attend and make opening remarks

Jeremy Corbyn said: “Let’s see what comes out of conference. I’m bound by the democracy of our party.” Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Delegates at party conference on Tuesday are expected to support another referendum

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “The EU is totally united, not just behind Ireland but also behind the single market.” Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach says talks are going through ‘rocky patch’ but he is hopeful of progress

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has been accused of being disconnected from his brief. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister: ‘I make Government policy, but don’t ask me for details. I don’t micro manage’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: castigated Britain’s international trade secretary Liam Fox for ‘playing fast and loose with food safety’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

FF leader ‘astonished’ at proposals to reduce standards to allow trade with US after Brexit

PAC chairman said members would keep questions to how money is spent and would not direct any towards Michael D Higgins personally. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Micheál Martin and Ministers believe PAC may have undue influence on election

BAI chief executive Michael O’Keeffe said the authority recognised the growing importance of social media, particularly where viewers follow debates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as they watch live TV debates.

Guidelines to come into effect immediately for the forthcoming presidential election

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has defended the response to Storm Ali, which led to the deaths of two people as it swept across Ireland on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Minister says some may not have appreciated seriousness of orange weather warning

President Michael D Higgins at the  National Ploughing Championship in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Office of President’s spending to be examined despite constitutionality concern

Michael Fitzmaurice spent several weeks trying to put the group together with a view to supporting a candidate. File photograph: Alan Betson

Fianna Fáil TD says he is likely to vote for Seán Gallagher in the presidential election

Leo Varadkar: likes concise summaries of policy positions. Photograph: EPA/AIDAN CRAWLEY

Inside Politics: Weather warnings force Taoiseach to miss Ploughing Championships ahead of Salzburg trip

Luxury Geneva hotel, the Beau-Rivage, where top suites are advertised for €3,000 a night

Committee asked to examine claims Michael D Higgins stayed in €3,000-a-night hotel

Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh published the legislative programme for the autumn. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘Rainy day fund’ among 39 pieces of legislation planned for before end of the year

Peter Casey: ‘I can go to the ploughing competition tomorrow and relax.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Derry man is ‘excited to get into race proper’, as Gemma O’Doherty’s chances look slim

Labour Youth defended the occupation of the properties, something that was not specifically defended by Mr Howlin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Labour Youth said it ‘distanced itself’ from senior members over Take Back the City

Casey seems to be the only candidate left in a position to secure a council nomination

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins

Housing crisis, health budget overruns and limited fiscal space among challenges

 Green Party leader Eamon Ryan: “By your actions you should be known and not by your tweets.”   Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Leader Eamon Ryan accuses Taoiseach and Ministers of being more interested in social media than dealing with policy issues.

Irish presidential candidate Gavin Duffy amongst the fashion on Ladies Day during day four of the Galway Summer Festival at Galway Racecourse. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

There is very little of his career that has not revolved around the airwaves or presentation

President Michael D Higgins: may formally announce his candidacy at the National Ploughing Championship on September 19th. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Confusion over rules of engagement in first election to feature incumbent since 1965

 Michael Fitzmaurice said he will set up a meeting to bring the group of backers together on the day the Dáil returns next week.  File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Michael Fitzmaurice says aspiring candidates would address group and its members would then vote

Businessman Seán Gallagher and Senator Joan Freeman both reached the required four council endorsements on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Seán Gallagher and Senator Joan Freeman each secure backing of four councils

Sean Gallagher at Galway City Hall on Thursday where he was seeking a nomination to run for president. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Presidential election might turn out to be something other than a coronation for Michael D Higgins

Cllr Jimmy Guerin, speaking at the special meeting of Fingal County Council to consider presidential nomination requests. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘Only John Gilligan and Gemma O’Doherty say he is not responsible for Veronica’s death’: Jimmy Guerin

Sinn Féin TDs Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Mary Lou McDonald (the party leader) and  Pearse Doherty. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Doherty says political opponents using PSNI assessment to attack party but have ‘no evidence’

Sinn Féin has not ruled out the possibility that the Union flag could fly above Leinster House if the North and Republic united in future.  Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg.

MLA claims delay on Brexit deal part of a UK effort to bounce EU, Dublin into pact suiting London

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty described as ridiculous’ a notion that Irish unity would lead to thousands of public sector workers losing their jobs. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins.

Pearse Doherty says party committed to raising public service numbers across island

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