Travel restrictions have been reintroduced in a push to contain a new strain of Covid. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Pfizer indicates it can produce a vaccine against the variant in about 100 days

'Commercial routes out of South Africa and the region remain open, but busy,' said the Department of Foreign Affairs, adding that it has received many calls about entry rules for people intending to fly back to Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

Foreign Affairs says commercial flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries ‘remain open but busy’

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has set aside €55m to help councils buy homes off-plan next year in Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, Galway and Kilkenny. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe

Move aims to boost supply of affordable and social houses sold at discount to first-timers

The new terms for grid access have been set in response to increasing constraints on the power network, amid surging demand from data centres. Photograph: iStock

Terms will compel operators to provide their own emergency power

Google data centre: Grid connections will in future be determined by ability to bring on “site dispatchable” power – gas-fired electricity that can be used on demand and deployed at the request of grid operators – or power storage mechanisms.

Regulator to impose conditions on grid connection for big technology companies

Ireland’s aviation sector may require more State pandemic supports next year, Government officials have forecast in a spending review.  File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

New spending review says airport traffic levels unlikely to recover until 2025

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall is to table a Bill seeking a referendum to remove the presidential oath to ‘almighty God’ from the Constitution. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Social Democrats co-leader to table Bill on the matter after European ruling

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Setback for Róisín Shortall and others seeking to remove reference from the Constitution

Cocaine use has risen by more than 10,000% in 25 years in the State, CityWide has said. File photograph: Getty Images

CityWide group calls for Taoiseach to intervene as it notes cocaine use has risen by 10,000%

Tallaght hospital was hit by a power outage on Wednesday. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

ICU at Dublin hospital reverts to emergency generator supplies after power cut

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the changes would benefit tenants but but that it ‘respects the constitutionally protected property rights of landlords’. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Minister says all tenants will gain new rights over time but landlords can still end leases

Six of the alerts were due to ‘reduced margin’ between the level of electricity generation and demand, while a seventh related to a temporary failure of some systems in EirGrid’s control centre. Photograph: Alan Betson

Alerts issued as system came under pressure from supply constraints, Eamon Ryan says

Maroš Šefcovic told the Seanad committee he hoped negotiators could ‘bring in agreement’ on the supply of medicines into the North before he meets Mr Frost on Friday. Photograph: John Thys/Pool/EPA

European Commission vice-president says he welcomes Frost’s ‘change in tone’

Homeowners affected by mica protest outside the Donegal County Council offices in Letterkenny, Co Donegal in May. Photograph: Joe Dunne

Coalition concerned that cost of any levy would be passed directly on to consumers

Seán Quinn criticised Mannok directors in an interview published days after the Special Criminal Court convicted three men for the 2019 abduction and assault of Kevin Lunney. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Former billionaire says he is determined to remove key directors from business

The site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Scheme will open next year with a projected cost of some €800 million

The review, published by Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, says a ‘decrease in the reliance on these staffing arrangements should be pursued’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Annual spending on agency staff grew by 97% in 7 years, review finds

Protesters outside the Donegal County Council offices in Letterkenny last May. Buncrana company Cassidy Brothers supplied the lions share of blocks for homes affected by mica in northeast Donegal. Photograph: Joe Dunne

David Cassidy describes ‘personal and sinister witch-hunt’ on social media

Farmers in considerable numbers have previouly answered the IFA call to assemble in the capital. File photograph: The Irish Times

Irish Farmers’ Association chief targets November 21st in pursuit of ‘real engagement’

Martin Shanahan: ‘Clearly, moving from 12.5%  to 15%  does impact on competitiveness to some extent.’  Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

IDA chief on increased corporate tax rate, housing, power supplies and data centres

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said no consideration was being given to extending the mid-term school break despite a rising number of Covid-19 cases among children.

Varadkar suggests antigen tests could be used for school contacts as teachers seek changes

Minister for Education Norma Foley: Despite  Government concern over rising infection rates, it is understood Ms Foley has no plans to change any of the procedures governing the return of schools next week. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Number of primary pupils testing positive up by almost 50% since start of October

‘IDA wants to ensure that the energy supply which has long been part of our positive arsenal to market Ireland remains part of our positive arsenal to market Ireland’

Questions over electricity supplies ‘unhelpful’ in effort to market the State as a global business hub

An artist’s impression of the new National Maternity Hospital. The move to the St Vincent’s campus in Dublin 4 has been in train since 2013 but has been mired in controversy

Terms include a 299-year lease of the site and an increase in the number of public-interest directors

Concert promoter MCD runs the Electric Picnic festival. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Concert promoter facing complaints of ‘abrasive management behaviour’

UL argues new water charges will apply only to campus residences, leading to inequity as they will not apply to student housing off-campus and private tenancies.

Utility company plans to charge €106 per student as campus residences reclassified

Concert promoter MCD runs the music festival Electric Picnic. Photograph: Alan Betson

Live promoter ‘looking into allegation of breaches of dignity-at-work policy’

In addition to building new social homes, the Coalition aims to buy 200 units for social housing tenants. File photograph: Getty

Ambitious targets and funding in place to boost construction and ‘settle housing crisis’

The largest portion of this year’s budget allocation for the sector,  €1.46bn,  goes to Irish Water for domestic services. File photograph: The Irish Times

Budget 2022: Increase of 12% linked to need to provide infrastucture for home building

 Attorney General Paul Gallagher: Some legal colleagues believe he was unwise to continue representing former Independent News & Media directors after becoming Attorney General. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Stellar legal mind with ferocious output and common touch has become figure of criticism

Senator Marie Sherlock calls on the Coalition to reform the National Childcare Scheme, Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Committee briefed on working conditions in sector – ‘numerous staff working second jobs’

Attorney General Paul Gallagher:  The Government said last Thursday that Mr Gallagher had ‘no continuing private professional obligations’ but did not say when such obligations ceased. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Sources say Paul Gallagher recently acted for former INM directors in High Court hearing

Attorney General Paul Gallagher: ‘Fully compliant with his SIPO and Ethics in Public Office obligations.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government says no conflict of interest in Paul Gallagher’s work for former INM directors

Amanda and Paddy Diver with their children Reece and Savannah outside Leinster House on Thursday with samples of defective building blocks. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Building products standards were tightened only after emergence of mica and pyrite issues

Attorney General Paul Gallagher. Photograph: Alan Betson

Leaders sharply criticised for allowing Paul Gallagher to represent former INM directors

Attorney General Paul Gallagher: prior to his appointment, he  acted for INM in 2018 when it sought to block the appointment of High Court inspectors. Photograph: Alan Betson

Government permitted Paul Gallagher deal with outstanding cases after his appointment

 M50 at the M4 Junction – Lucan. Photograph: Alan Betson

Lack of transport and schools puts areas in west Dublin under ‘development pressure’

The ‘mini-citizens’ assembly’ in the Republic  explored the options for establishing a united Ireland if a referendum was called. Photograph:   Brian O’Leary/RollingNews.ie

Research shows preference for creation of integrated unitary state over devolved model

Engineers using ground penetrating radar at the site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Women who stayed less than six months and those resident after 1974 set to be included

The United States is set to relax EU and UK travel restrictions for vaccinated passengers, according to reports. Photograph: iStock

Passengers will have to show proof of vaccination and negative test from previous three days

Under pressure: Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Not in Ireland’s best interests to hold out if deal agreed, says American Chamber

Emirates Team New Zealand return following an America’s Cup Race in Auckland, New Zealand, last year. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty

Government is seeking extension, but some observers say little chance of bid proceeding

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: ‘My Department continues to liaise with diplomatic partners, including the EU, to explore options for the return of Irish citizens, their dependents and Irish residents from Afghanistan.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Total of 47 people evacuated from country since Taliban seized control

Mica campaigner Paddy Diver, left, from Donegal at a protest outside Leinster House in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Government under pressure to boost funding for remedial work in several counties

President  Michael D Higgins: Leaders of the main Christian churches had anticipated he would take part in an upcoming service in Armagh  as head of the State.  Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

President turns down invitation to event marking NI centenary and island’s partition

A view from the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland on January 29th, 2021. Photograph:  Gilles Martin-Raget/AFP via Getty Images

Concerns build about cost of underwriting project championed by Simon Coveney

Denis O’Brien. Photograph: Collins

‘Commercially unsound’ sale could have realised €8m more for State – draft report

Michael McDowell: Under pressure to rein in tribunal costs, in 2004 he promised a new form of investigation that would be cheaper and faster. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Unlikely that definitive conclusions will be in place before next year, 10 years on from deal

The number of apartments approved annually under SHD laws had trebled in four years, Paul Hogan, chief planning adviser in the Department of Housing, told the Oireachtas housing committee

Fast-track system has been widely criticised and has prompted many legal challenges

Senior electricity market sources say a forthcoming  document will reflect anxieties discussed at the highest levels in the Coalition. Photograph:  Andrew Milligan/PA

National grid operator to tell Government of growing concerns for power supply stability

Dr Mike Ryan: ‘It is a tragedy that we still have doctors and nurses in front-line situations in low-income countries who are not protected against Covid’. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Head of emergency programme says ‘we have to look at equity’ in global vaccine supply

The LDA expects to spend €2.5 billion by 2024-2025 on the provision of new affordable homes on public lands, chief executive John Coleman said. Photograph: iStock

Agency chief says it is on track to deliver 8,000 new dwellings by the end of 2026

Local authorities are required under Housing for All to produce a housing delivery plan by December.

Labour shortages and the potential for costs to increase significantly among challenges

The €225m fine against WhatsApp comes more than three years after the EU General Data Protection Regulation took force

Irish regulator imposes €225m fine over WhatsApp’s violations of privacy laws

Data protection commissioner Helen Dixon has imposed a record €225m fine on WhatsApp.

European regulators directed Helen Dixon to radically increase penalty for Facebook-owned service

Simon McWilliams, owner of Simon’s Place cafe on South Great George’s Street in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Inability of employers to ask about vaccination status the ‘elephant in the room’

French president Emmanuel Macron at Trinity College Dublin: Citizens “want us to change a system” that enables multinationals to avoid tax while small businesses have to pay. Photograph:  Chris Bellew/Fennell

French president’s visit ends after positive talks that see agreement on Brexit and Afghan crisis

French president Emmanuel Macron speaking during a visit to Trinity College Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Pool/EPA

Irish officials contradict French president, saying French ‘were pushing us to sign’

The late Patrick Moran in his chambers in Cork Circuit Court in 2013. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Long-serving Circuit Court judge presided over libel case taken by Ian Bailey

Bono and property investor Paddy McKillen are among the backers of plans to redevelop the prominent Tramyard site in Dalkey, Co Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Redevelopment project to be given green light once plans are changed

The Tánaiste’s remarks in favour of wind power back big tech demands for renewable energy to confront the problems facing the national grid. Photograph: Getty Images

Data centres draw criticism for putting national grid under acute pressure

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is preparing to unveil his Housing for All plan which aims to boost the construction of new homes and overhaul housing policy. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Transfer from Nama would secure State ownership of the homes

Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Beaumont says ‘no patient will be or has been removed from the transplant list’

A member of staff entering the Covid ICU at St Vincent’s University Hospital in April last year. Photograph: Alan Betson

More than 75% of patients admitted to ICU with Covid since April had no vaccine

HSE chief Paul Reid. File photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Paul Reid calls for unvaccinated people to get the jabs amid high infection levels

Cork Harbour has been shortlisted to host the 2024 America’s Cup yacht race. Photograph: iStock

Ministers to consider cost-benefit analysis before final submission for America’s Cup

Dublin Port said the suggested loss of lands needed for new port capacity up to 2040 would ‘induce an otherwise avoidable deficit’ in national port capacity. File photograph: Getty

State company tells Eamon Ryan that property marked for infrastructure ‘unavailable’

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien says  the waiver is  needed to enact the new laws because of the “urgent need to introduce transitional arrangements” before the strategic housing laws expire in February.   Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Darragh O’Brien’s waiver request meets resistance from Oireachtas housing committee

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall has taken the action in the European Court of Human Rights along with Sinn Féin TD John Brady, Senator David Norris, former Barnardos chief Fergus Finlay and Prof David McConnell, fellow emeritus in genetics at Trinity College Dublin.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Row over requirement for president to take oath may have to be settled by a referendum

Róisín Shortall and co-litigants John Brady, David Norris, Fergus Finlay and Prof David McConnell have said they would have to make an oath “to which they have a conscientious objection” if elected president. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Róisín Shortall and co-litigants cannot be ‘victims’ of ‘presence of Almighty God’ oath

The reason for preserving religious oaths is to “respect the tradition” that had a big part in shaping the legal order, according to Christian think tank the Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture. File photograph: iStock

Group makes submission to European Court of Human Rights to preserve religious oaths

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien. Photograph: Alan Betson

Constitutionality likely to be tested given potentially large sums at stake for landowners

The Government is to compel property owners and developers to pay the State up to half of the increase in the value of land when it is rezoned for housing

Move is part of far-reaching measures to rein in speculation and cool property market

Although the Irish are still young by European standards, there will soon be substantially more older people. Photograph: iStock

With a rapidly ageing population, services for older people are a key challenge for society

The high levels of vaccination uptake have provided a ‘glide-path to some level of normality’, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said. Photograph: Emily Kask/New York Times

Taoiseach plays down prospect of further easing of restrictions before end of August

Former minister Michael Lowry: has received more than €377,000 from the State for legal cost. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Payment came three years after the TD won his action against the tribunal’s decision to award him only one-third of his legal cost(...)

Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer of the HSE. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Colm Henry says further evidence required before declaring ‘true plateau’ in daily cases

Prof Philip Nolan said the rise in hospital and ICU admissions was ‘far less’ than ‘if we didn’t have so much of the population protected through vaccination’. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Pattern of infection in coming weeks ‘really quite uncertain’, says Prof Philip Nolan

Minister for Culture and Arts Catherine Martin raised the issue in a letter sent to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Catherine Martin has demanded ‘active engagement’ on reopening the industry

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: PA

Coronavirus: 1,408 new cases reported, with 152 virus patients in hospital and 26 in ICU

Willie Aherne, owner of the Palace Bar on Fleet Street, Dublin, retained all full-time staff but said other pubs around the city were struggling to fill posts. Photograph: Alan Betson

Workers leaving sector and PUP blamed by some for difficulty in finding staff

The group includes Amazon and Google, heavy power users with a big presence in Ireland

Regulator frets that growth of power-hungry facilities may spark blackouts

Publicly, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe insists he will defend the 12.5 per cent rate that has been the bedrock of Irish policy for decades. Photograph: EPA

Pressure mounts on Donohoe as State one of only nine countries to not sign OECD deal

Soon Paschal Donohoe  will have to decide whether to drop the 12.5 per cent rate that has served Ireland well but led to friction with European partners. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Finance knows tax endeavour could still fall apart in the US Congress

Power demand has grown sharply in recent years in line with economic growth and a big rise in energy demand from power-hungry data centres.

Power to be generated in North Wall in response to grid alerts and winter fears

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties said the decision reversed Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s resistance to domestic vaccine passports, which he had ruled out on civil liberties grounds. Photograph: Getty Images

Young unvaccinated restaurant workers could be in the ‘bizarre situation’ of working in a place where they cannot socialise

Hundreds of people from Donegal and Mayo protested in Dublin demanding a 100 per cent  redress scheme for homes and other buildings affected by blocks defective due to the mineral mica. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister to hear recommendation amid pressure on Government to boost redress

Attorney General Paul Gallagher is undertaking the review with input from Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and his department. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Review aimed at streamlining process and speeding up delivery of key projects

 Peter Hain  when he was the UK’s Northern Ireland secretary in 2005. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Given history between Ireland and UK, trust must be re-established, says Peter Hain

A flotilla of up to 70 fishing vessels from around the Irish Coast assembles at Dublin Port for a protest to highlight Brexit losses that have left coastal communities in fear of economic collapse. Photograph: Alan Betson

Flotilla to sail up the Liffey to highlight drop in quotas after Brexit and EU changes

The global minimum rate and proposal to tax online big tech groups in countries where they make sales have raised concern that the Government could lose more than €2 billion in annual corporation tax receipts. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Any move from Irish rate could erode certainty, warns top business lawyer

Thousands of people from Donegal and Mayo  gathered in Dublin for a protest in support of a 100 per cent redress scheme for homes and other buildings affected by  mica.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Proposals for similar levies were previously ruled out in cases of pyrite

Kilmore Quay is among the coastal areas where property prices have risen

Properties near sea 23% more expensive than before Covid-19 – report

The Beacon Hospital came under severe Government criticism for vaccinating 20 teachers and staff at the private Co Wicklow school attended by the children of its chief executive. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Lawyer investigating misuse of vaccines at private hospital wants to talk to HSE officials

‘The feeling is that maybe the rezoning is premature,’ says Tom Brabazon, left, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Donaghmede. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Resistance to plan has prompted claims ‘hundreds’ of new homes could be blocked

The disagreement between the EU and UK relates to shipments of chilled meats, such as sausages. File photograph: iStock

EU and UK disagreeing on how to process chilled meats, as grace period deadline looms

‘Remote work will not have any impact on the substance of our operations here or employee numbers on balance,’ Facebook said in reply to questions. Photograph:  Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Concern in Government at possible loss of income tax from non-resident workers

Former EU commissioner Phil Hogan will have mobile phone group Vodafone as his first client. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Former commissioner cannot advise clients on trade or agriculture until August 2022

Independent councillor for Tallaght, Mick Duff, at a site in Cookstown   which is being proposed for a strategic housing development.  Photograph: Laura Hutton

Irish Water refuses to issue feasibility cert for planning permission for 236 homes

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