British prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street on Friday. Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

Leaders agree to meet again ‘before summer recess’ following Chequers summit

Micheál Martin: he has declared Covid is no longer the top priority of Government – because housing is.  Photograph: Getty Images

Housing is fast becoming the political ground-zero for the Coalition

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “We’re very clear we will not be paying any ransom.” Photograph: Daragh McSweeney

Disruption set to persist into next week as Taoiseach vows ransom will not be paid

British prime minister Boris Johnson (right) and Taoiseach Micheal Martin greet each other  at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast last summer. The two are meeting today at Chequers in England. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Leaders ‘reflected’ on coroner’s report into the Ballymurphy massacre published this week

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to travel to Chequers, the British prime minister’s country residence, for a lunchtime meeting, Government Buildings has confirmed. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Hopes that face-to-face meeting could rebuild trust between two governments

Taoiseach Micheál Martin greets British prime minister Boris Johnson at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast last August. Photograph: Brian Lawless/AFP via Getty Images

The meeting will take place at Chequers, the British prime minister’s country residence

The Garda investigation into a leak by Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, pictured last week, which had been believed to be nearing its conclusion, is now expected to continue into the summer. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gardaí have conducted more interviews than initially expected to ascertain if leak is crime

CSO data analysed by the HSE suggests that another 230,000 people would become eligible to receive the vaccines if the eligibility was lowered to 45. Photograph: Samsul Said/Bloomberg

HSE to shortly begin sending J&J vaccine to centres for use in currently approved cohorts

The sniping between the Green Party and its partners in Government is  to be expected. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sniping is a signpost to cultural and policy conflicts to come within diverse Coalition

Israeli ambassador to Ireland Ophir Kariv:  Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney told him  the deaths of civilians in Gaza from  Israeli air strikes was “completely unacceptable”. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

‘Wholesale flouting of international law by Israeli state’ – Mary Lou McDonald

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Divide grows between public health figures and Ministers on use of such tests

If an intervention on stamp duty applying to multiple unit sales was pursued, sources said it would have to be carefully designed as not to impact buyers such as approved housing bodies and local authorities. File photograph: iStock

Local authorities may be blocked from agreeing long-term leases with investment funds

Even those with stable employment and decent salaries are findng  that rising house prices and tough rules on how much banks can lend result in  unbridgeable gap between what they can afford, and what the market offers them. File image: PA

Analysis: Many voters blame Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for policy failures behind housing shortage

Palestinians evacuate a body from a building targeted by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Minister says in Dáil that approach of security forces has not been acceptable

Ministers and the three party leaders favour rolling out the use of antigen tests to help with the reopening of many sectors of commercial and social life. Photograph: Getty

Government’s chief science adviser backs use of rapid tests to complement other health measures

The AILG presentation will say “for more than a century local authorities have successfully been the providers of social housing for the Irish population” .Photograph: Getty Images

Representatives from the Association of Irish Local Government to make presentation to the Oireachtas Housing Committee

Houses are out of reach. And people expect the State to provide them. File photograph: Getty

Sinn Féin see the political opening and have a simple message: ‘build more public housing’

Access to information and tracing legislation was promised by Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman in the wake of the mother and baby home report earlier this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Original birth certs with names of mothers are currently withheld on privacy grounds

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney met  Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis at the Department of Foreign Affairs  in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Simon Coveney warns Britain against ‘unilateral’ action on North legacy issues

Mullen Park estate in Maynooth, Co Kildare, where a multinational investment company has bought 115 homes. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Ministers and officials wary of chasing away source of funding needed for new projects

Secretary of state for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney after their meeting on Wednesday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Simon Coveney says Brandon Lewis gave no indication of plans during meeting

New homes at Mullen Park, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Round Hill, a multinational investment company, is in discussions to buy 115 homes at the development. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Move has been agreed between three Coalition parties, sources say

Investment fund SFO Capital have bought 135 of 170 houses at the new-build Mullen Park estate in Maynooth in Co Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ministers fear they are politically exposed on housing issue as pandemic recedes

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis visited Dublin for a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on Wednesday but it was not clear if the amnesty was discussed. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Statute of limitations to be introduced as well as plans for truth and reconciliation commission

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis  in Iveagh House, Dublin, on Wednesday. Photograph: Julien Behal

Intergovernmental conference will be first since two administrations were formed

There are understood to be about 20 projects proposed.

Cash to be paid in grants over two years and is part of bloc’s €750bn Covid-19 fiscal resource

The Health Service Executive sent recommendations on the revised plan to Government yesterday ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting. File photograph: Getty

Same approach will apply to under-50s as to over-50s following high-level discussions

Under the plan, the cheapest bottle of wine would cost €7.75 where previously it could cost under €5. A 700ml bottle of supermarket gin or vodka costing between €13 and €14 would cost €20.71 under the system. A 440ml can of lager would cost a minimum of €1.32.

Donnelly to bring memo to Cabinet on measure targeting cheap alcohol

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said almost 200,000 vaccinations were carried out last week. Photograph: Alan Betson

HSE issues 707,000 vaccines during April with more than 200,000 to be administered this week

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis is to visit Dublin on Wednesday for talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Talks to take place amid continuing uncertainty at Stormont and turmoil in DUP

 The former minister for housing Eoghan Murphy announced his resignation last month. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Some party sources favour a contest in June or July, hoping for a boost for the Government as the vaccine rollout gathers pace

Medical workers at the Citywest Covid-19 vaccination centre in Dublin. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Between 220,000 and 240,000 vaccinations scheduled for this week

High time Sinn Féin realised there are more than two audiences on the island.

Developing crisis within unionism cannot leave southern politics untouched

 Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressing the nation: After various reopenings, foreign travel and inbound tourism will restart in July if the public health situation remains positive. Photograph: Julien Behal

Public must ‘stick with strategy’, says Taoiseach, with May and June set for easing of restrictions

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has sanctioned the reopening of the social and economic life of the country at a pace considerably quicker than had been widely expected. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Biggest shift in Covid regulations since the lockdown was reimposed at Christmas

It is understood public health officials agreed reopening outdoor activity in May and June would be low risk

Move follows lengthy talks between health chiefs and leaders of the coalition parties

Visitors at the reopening of Dublin Zoo on Monday: The Coalition is finalising plans for the next phase of reopening, which will be unveiled later this week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Stephen Donnelly declares ‘full steam ahead’ on Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines

The Mater hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Frank Miller

St Vincent’s and Tallaght hospitals will also deal with trauma care for less complex cases

People arriving on bus from Dublin Airport to Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, the State’s first hotel quarantine centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Travellers arriving into State from countries on list must spend at least 12 days in hotel

‘Those aged under 50 years and who are not immunocompromised and who have had a Covid-19 infection in the previous six months should receive a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine,’ Government says. File photograph: iStock

Pregnant women to be offered faster access to vaccines after Cabinet decision

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has approved the use of  the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)  vaccine and relaxed its restrictions on the AstraZeneca shot. Photograph: EPA

Allowing J&J for over 50s, along with change in AstraZeneca guidelines, to accelerate vaccinations

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe:  “Our public debt is approaching a quarter of a trillion euros.” Photograph: Julien Behal

Pandemic supports burning through cash quicker than anticipated

Ibec said vague sentiments about summer being outdoors were not enough. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Letter to Taoiseach and Ministers says ‘summer being outdoors’ is not a plan

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is to be recommended for use by over-50s. Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

Use of both vaccines had been curtailed due to concerns around blood-clotting events

Vaccinators administering Covid 19 Vaccinations of Cohort 4 at the HSE Vaccination Centre in the Aviva Stadium .Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Number of Covid-19 patients in hospital falls to 162, the lowest level since October

The European Medicines Agency has reiterated that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s vaccine outweigh any risks. File photograph: Getty

Change to supply plan comes after EMA licenses manufacture of drug in Asian plant

A heave in Fianna Fáil to unseat leader Micheál Martin seems likely, but what would Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael do then?

Big two may be uneasy allies but realising this circumstance is recognition of political reality

The Health Protection Regulatory Authority says the vast majority of side effects are mild to moderate in nature, and the benefits of Covid-19 vaccines continue to outweigh the risks. Photograph: Gent Shkullaku/AFP

Fewer than five reports of clotting with low platelets post-jab, regulatory authority says

People queue up outside the Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on  Wednesday. Photograph:  Niall Carson/ PA Wire

Niac to consider extending time between doses of Pfizer jab to vaccinate more people

Some 14,400 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine have arrived in the State, with 26,600 due next week. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP

Niac to discuss key elements of the State’s plan on Thursday

Government Ministers have signalled they want as wide a reopening as possible in May

Cabinet agrees to proceed as planned with further easing of measures from Monday

New Supreme Court judge Gerard Hogan. Photograph: Collins Courts

Procedures approved to appoint chief justice to succeed Frank Clarke

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has written privately to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to express her condolences on the death of Prince Philip. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Letter suggests SF leader following example of McGuinness in seeking to build relations with British royals

Into the cauldron now returns Dr Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer and veteran of a hundred skirmishes with his political masters. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

There remains much division on how much loosening of restrictions is wise at this stage

Mary Lou McDonald’s comments were not quite the full-throated apology for IRA actions that many headlines would suggest. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Though the Sinn Féin leader has not broken from party theology, a shift is perceptible

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin speaking to media during a press briefing on the plinth of Leinster House. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Party will ‘take on board’ any suggestions from commissioner on database management, says Eoin Ó Broin

The Government will outline in two weeks’ time what restrictions will be removed over the month of May. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials fear a spike in cases among younger people once society begins to reopen

You are ‘more likely to struck by lightning than to be seriously harmed by’ the AstraZeneca vaccine. Photograph: Antonio Dasiparu/EPA

Prioritising the young over middle-aged is one approach that could pay dividends

 President Michael D Higgins in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin. There is no doubt that Higgins’s presidency is and has been consequential, substantial and  significant. Photograph: Tony Maxwell

After a year in lockdown, the President must choose the themes for the remainder of his time in the Áras

Health sources say the rapid rollout of AstraZeneca to the 60-69-year age group would be considered, in an effort to keep momentum in the programme. Photograph: Alan Betson

Double blow likely to mean significantly fewer vaccines administered this month

 Grafton Street, Dublin: Key economic  document will predict GDP growth of 4.5 per cent this year and 5 per cent next year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Key stability document to be published by Government on Wednesday

No life can function without a degree of risk – it is up to  politicians to decide on behalf of society how much risk it has an appetite for.  Photograph: Getty Images

Politicians are terrified to deviate from public health advice, so the key decision-makers are the top health officials

The rare risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine need to be kept in “perspective”, says Dr Mary Favier, Covid-19 adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners. Photograph: Alan Betson

One option available is to space out the doses between vaccines still being administered

Robert Watt has been in the role on an interim basis since January, after serving as secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure for almost a decade. Photograph:  Jenny Barker

Job comes with controversial salary of €292k, the highest paid to a civil servant

Religious leaders from across Belfast meet  for dialogue and prayer at a riot flashpoint in Belfast. Photograph:  EPA/Mark Marlow

Government plays down Jeffrey Donaldson’s comments critical of Simon Coveney

The  Green Party’s executive committee decided not to follow the parliamentary party in calling for Dublin Mayor Hazel Chu to step aside as party chair during her bid for a Seanad seat. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Row eases over Dublin Mayor Hazel Chu’s decision to stand for Seanad byelection as an independent

Army  personnel at Dublin Airport: There are  concerns in Government about the ability of the mandatory hotel system to absorb increased numbers but sources insist new hotel capacity can  be sourced. Photograph: Colin Keegan

Curbs on more countries imposed as Covid variant concerns persist

Several EU countries have limited the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to only older people –as the clots have affected younger people – while the UK has confined it to those aged over 30. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

Officials awaiting advice as drug linked to blood clots which have affected younger people

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said everyone is on the one page to stop the violence, reduce tensions and avoid any escalatio. Photograph: Julien Behal

Martin acknowledges unionist anger, but little prospect of agreement being reopened

Vaccines being administered at the Helix, north Dublin:  the second round of the vaccination programme will  be dealing with big numbers all the time. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty

This time around the issue is not getting the supply but administering the shots that have been delivered

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn: Ireland is ‘weeks away from having the population vaccinated and [we] do not want to go backwards’. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Plans to expand quarantine list next week as first Irish case of ‘rare’ blood clot investigated

Nationalist youths attack police officers in the Springfield Road area of Belfast on Thursday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty

Another night of violence in Northern Ireland sees a further 19 police officers injured and two arrests

Masked loyalists after hijacking and setting a car on fire at the Cloughfern roundabout in Newtownabbey. Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

Government is keen to make NI protocol as acceptable to unionists as possible

A car on fire at the Peace Gates in Lanark Way, Belfast, on  Wednesday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Northern Ireland Executive calls for end to ‘deplorable’ street violence

Members of the public wait to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine at the SSE Arena  in Belfast. File photograph: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

National Immunisation Advisory Committee to discuss State’s position on shot

HSE vaccination centre in the Aviva Stadium: Ministers and senior officials insist  the programme is “ramping up” and  200,000 people a week will receive shots in the second half of this month. Photograph: Alan Betson

Donnelly and Glynn set to consider vaccine in context of other EU countries’ restrictions

The Government’s pledge will remain to administer three million shots by the end of June, though if the programme accelerates as planned, there will be scope to administer significantly more doses, sources said. File photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Department of Health outlines rise in projected deliveries by end of June

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire   confirmed   yesterday that the case had been settled but declined to make any further comment. Photograph:   Tom Honan

Cork South Central TD settles for sum understood to be in excess of €150,000

 Covid 19 vaccinations  continuing at the HSE vaccination centre in the Aviva stadium in Dublin this week. Photograph: Alan Betson

HSE guarded on precise drug rollout figures as confidence shaky for immediate future

Staff demonstrate a Covid-19 antigen test at the RocDoc testing facility at Dublin Airport. File photograph: Laura Hutton

‘Majority report’ is in favour of mass rollout of antigen tests, possibly in schools by September

 Green Party leader   Eamon Ryan, during the publication of the final text of the Climate Action and Low Carbon (Amendment) Bill on Tuesday.

Time for party to decide if it wants to play at politics or make a difference

Any travellers arriving from a list of 33 countries deemed high risk, or anyone arriving without a negative PCR test, will be required to quarantine at a State-designated hotel

Inside Politics: Government has indicated list of countries in quarantine system will soon be expanded

Fianna Fáil backbencher Jim O’Callaghan believes   a border poll is likely over the next decade. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Prominent backbencher says unionists must be part of any future all-Ireland government

Micheál Martin took the unusual step of urging his fellow EU leaders not to move to retain vaccines in the EU ahead of a summit later this week. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Efforts to catch up on backlog in health service treatments will not begin until autumn

Prof Philip Nolan, chairman of the Nphet Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, at Monday’s Covid-19 update press conference at the Department of Health. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Outpatient appointments and elective procedures to be fully restored from June

Taoiseach Micheál Martin says export bans would risk disrupting the production of the vaccines. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

Taoiseach ‘very much against’ proposed ban on vaccine exports from European Union

A construction site in Dublin’s city centre. Under plans being examined by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, home-building could be considered from April 5th, but work on commercial premises such as offices would still not be allowed. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

If Covid-19 cases remain high travel restrictions could be expanded only to 10km or perhaps 8km

Mary Lou McDonald: Partly because of her support for the repeal of the constitutional ban on abortion in 2018, it’s often forgotten Sinn Féin’s wrestle with its conscience is as recent as Fianna Fáil’s or Fine Gael’s.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

McDonald hasn’t mentioned the DUP Bill is in accordance with her party’s policy

A guide to where things stand as gardaí step up investigation into April 2019 incident

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee will also have to consider the outcome of the review and pass its recommendation to the office of the chief medical officer, who in turn advises the Minister for Health. Photograph:  Jens Schlueter/Getty

Review of jab by European Medicines Agency due to be completed on Thursday

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said St Patrick’s Day had an added poignancy as we reflect on a year dominated by the pandemic . Photograph: : Tom Honan/Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

A further 9,030 Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the State, figures show

Taoiseach Micheál Martin the Green Party have both said they have confidence in Leo  Varadkar. Photograph: Collins

Tánaiste says he is keen to have Garda investigation into leak concluded

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: “His legal advice is that he has committed no offence and looks forward to the matter being concluded.” Photograph: Getty Images

Ministers back Tánaiste after gardaí upgrade preliminary inquiry to a formal investigation

The AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP via Getty

Government to await outcome of EMA investigation before deciding on future use of vaccine

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will also speak with US vice-president Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. File photograph: Julien Behal

Series of 78 country-specific ‘virtual receptions’ will be held, department says

Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian, had chaired sessions of the Future of Media Commission. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Alan Rusbridger had come under pressure over Roy Greenslade article about Máiría Cahill

Government sources briefed on Nphet concerns say uncertainty over the new variants of the virus is at the heart of current fears.

Varadkar rules out April 5th relaxations in event of numbers going in wrong direction

It’s time to let people meet outdoors. Above, Poolbeg in Dublin. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Leaders must shift from telling people what they can’t do to what they can do – safely

Administration of the vaccines received is a matter very much within the hands of the Government or the Health Service Executive. File photograph: Getty

Coalition will continue to be subject of public ire as long as Covid-19 programme stutters

 Neil Cosgrave:  He said the plaintiffs were “seeking to finally establish the true facts surrounding their births and subsequent illegal adoptions...” Photograph: Alan Betson

Solicitor tells High Court if liquidation proceeds the adoption society will be ‘released’ from proceedings by adopted people

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