Minister for Education Richard Bruton said: ‘There is not a [constitutional] provision, however, which states every parent should get the school of their choice.’ File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Education told families being split due to restrictions on places

Luas cross-city: Fianna Fáil said Shane Ross had become the “minister for standstill”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister for Transport calls Dublin tram system ‘temporary victim of its own success’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil on Tuesday the bank had not yet sold any of the loans and had not identified a prospective buyer. Photograph: Alan Betson

Varadkar tells Dáil any proposed deal must first be discussed with Minister for Finance

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has approached  former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union and strong anti-Brexit campaigner Ian Marshall to run for the seat vacated by  Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar favours ex-president of Ulster Farmers’ Union Ian Marshall

Deputy leader of the Labour Party  Barry Desmond (right) with party leader  Dick Spring, in 1987. Mr Desmond, who represented Dún Laoghaire, recalls being denounced by priests from the altar. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

Gemma Hussey recalls threatening letters warning ‘we know where you live’

Fianna Fáil TDs Dara Calleary and Michael McGrath raised concerns about banks selling non-performing loans in the Dáil on Thursday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Simon Coveney says sales are regrettable but banks need to continue on a path of recovery

 Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick. Shane Ross said he had never suggested Mr FitzPatrick should be Central Bank governor. File photograph: Collins Courts

Minister denies recommending former Anglo chairman for job in newspaper article

Sinn Féin spokesperson on finance Pearse Doherty outside Leinster House, Dublin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government accepts the ‘overall principle’ of SF’s proposed banking reforms

Mr Varadkar said checks between Ireland and Britain would be inevitable if the UK decided to leave the customs union and the single market and did not replace them with a new arrangement that was very similar or close to them

Taoiseach says Brexit is complicated negotiation but Government’s objectives are very simple

Senator Catherine Noone said the public sees the Seanad “as a creche or a retirement home’’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Catherine Noone claims politicians degraded themselves in populist cost-cutting moves

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil landlords get a bad press, some deservedly so, but they did not all deserve it. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Varadkar says people could end up paying cash secretly or sub-letting

Mother-and-baby homes: Gerry Kearney is to chair the collaborative forum for former residents

Minister for Children says Gerry Kearney will spearhead ‘fruitful endeavour’

The Iona Institute’s has launched billboards featuring an unborn child at 11 weeks as part of its anti-abortion campaign. Photograph: Iona Institute

Maria Steen says baby in the womb a ‘fellow human being’

Social Democrats: Ms Shortall said that under her party’s legislation unpaid leave would be available to either or both parents. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Social Democrats Bill extending unpaid leave accepted by Minister of State

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: said the Government wanted to ensure there was “no pullback” from commitments on the Border. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/EPA

Labour leader claims legal basis for agreement running into sand

  Minister for Planning Eoghan Murphy said the Office of the Planning Regulator would also be enabled to consider complaints from members of the public. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Murphy tells Seanad office will have power to review procedures of An Bórd Pleanála

The Irish Times story on the struggle between the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health over how the spending plan for the health service this year should be presented to the public was published on Monday.

FF leader accuses Government of ‘lack of transparency’ about resources

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the poor school attendance record of some children was not of their own making. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin says disadvantaged children more likely to miss school

 Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte, party spokesman  on communications Timmy Dooley and Fianna Fáil technology spokesman  James Lawless  speaking to media at Leinster House regarding the party’s  private member’s  motion on the delivery of   broadband.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Naughten says he will not allow process to continue a minute longer than necessary

Passengers at  Heuston station in  Dublin.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Fianna Fáil leader challenges Government’s record on rural development

The temporary Seanad chamber at Government buildings.  Photograph: Fran Veale

Leo Varadkar says House has not fulfilled role as revising chamber or independent voice

Simon Coveney: “There are about 80 people working on this for the State to get this contract right”

Heated Dáil exchanges follow withdrawal of Eir from procurement process

Senator David Norris said he thought he was the first person in Ireland to include abortion in a manifesto. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Independent Senator David Norris claims 12-week provision ‘foolish’

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he agreed about the urgency involved in dealing with the issue. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Justice minister said Bill was ‘timely and appropriate’ but needs amending

Lack of capacity in public transport raised in Dáil by TD who said traffic chaos exacerbated by cross-city Luas in Dublin

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said five schools and a further education college, were about 90 per cent completed.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister acknowledges ‘understandable concern’ among school communities

Senator Frances Black said the Bill was about respect for international law and standing up for the rights of vulnerable people. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Settlements in Palestinian territories unjust, Simon Coveney tells Seanad

 Minister of State for Finance Patrick O’Donovan: “I have too much uncertainty in my own head at the moment . . . I am not asking people to agree with me.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Patrick O’Donovan declares position in advance of referendum Cabinet meeting

The Social Democrats  conference heard that those most likely to die and those most in need of healthcare were the least likely to have access to health services. Photograph: Getty Images

Social Democrats conference hears about ‘caring’ society and ‘careless’ Government

Members of the Social Democrats  at the party’s national conference in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Photograph: Paul Sharp/Sharppix

Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall urge rise in public spending at party conference

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall attends the party’s national conference at the Marine Hotel in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Photograph: Paul Sharp/Sharppix

Social Democrats event also hears that the party should aim to be in government

The Dáil heard that the abortion argument has been a particularly Irish trauma for decades. Photographs: The Irish Times

Cowen: Decision to support termination up to 12 weeks ‘agonising and difficult’

When mandatory reporting was introduced on December 11th, Tulsa said it could not be precise on how the policy change would affect its workload. File photograph: Getty Images

Zappone tells Seanad over 1,100 reports received – but no evidence of ‘anticipated spike’

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath:  speaking as the father of a child with Down Syndrome, he said people with the condition should not be used as an argument from either side of the debate.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

People with condition ‘listen to radio, watch TD and read media’ so respect is crucial

Joanne Hayes, pictured in 1985, received an apology from An Garda Síochána and the State last week regarding the investigation. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Joanne Hayes wrongly charged with the murder of ‘Baby John’, says Paul Coghlan

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said the State needed to invest in the training, pay and conditions of teachers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Varakdar urges FF leader not to be ‘partisan’ in statements made and questions asked

Mattie McGrath: Independent TD Mattie McGrath called the quorum which requires 10 Deputies to be present.   Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

McGrath condemns lack of attendance as disgraceful in debate called for 10pm

Sinn Féin’s Niall Ó Donnghaile has called for a Department of Foreign Affairs office to deal with applications for Irish passports from  Northern Ireland. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

SF Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile urges Government to ‘put its money where its mouth is’

Better management, proper clinical leadership, real accountability and proper responsibility were required from those charged with  managing the health services, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said. File photograph: Getty Images

Health service unique in estimating it needs €1.5bn extra a year to do nothing – Varadkar

Colm Cooper celebrates scoring a goal for Kerry in the 2008 All-Ireland semi-final replay against Cork. File photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Former Gaelic footballer receives annual award from Kerry Association in Dublin

A Dáil debate on the findings of the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment has concluded.

Minister of State opposes ‘purposeful destruction’ of a viable pregnancy

Senator Paul  Coghlan said the most basic and fundamental right was the right to life. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Colleague Gabrielle McFadden highlights exodus of 165,000 women for abortion

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD at Leinster House on Wednesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Tánaiste says Government will try to make ‘quick’ decision on compensation

Joanne Hayes leaving the tribunal of enquiry into the Kerry babies in 1985. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Attitudes to gardaí and role of women have changed dramatically since nadir of 1980s

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: yet to state where he stands on the amendment introduced in 1983 to underpin Ireland’s anti-abortion laws but is expected to favour  repeal. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach likely to back repeal of amendment at special parliamentary party meeting

Frances Fitzgerald: neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael has an obvious candidate to oppose Michael D Higgins if he runs again. Within Fine Gael, Ms Fitzgerald’s name has been mentioned. Photograph: Eric Luke

Possible general election and cost may mean the parties will not field candidates

‘They shot us all at waist level to stop anyone from running away’, recalled Alan Black, sole survivor of Kingsmill massacre. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Alan Black, who saw 10 colleagues killed by the IRA, says Barry McElduff was ‘dancing on their graves’

Boxer Moran (left) pictured in 2015 with and Simon Coghill in Athlone as they shore up the flood defences on the Eastern side of the River Shannon. File photograph: Alan Betson

Minister of State says any tensions within Independent Alliance in the past

Pope Francis greets newlyweds during his weekly general audience at Aula Paolo VI, in the Vatican, on Wednesday. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May and Donald Trump rate poorly among Irish people, according to new poll

The Department of Foreign Affairs provided support to Irish people caught up in terrorist attacks in Barcelona (above), Manchester, London and St Petersburg, the earthquake in Mexico City and Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean. Photograph: Andreu Dalmau/EPA

More than 2,500 Irish needed help, some caught up in terrorist attacks and natural disasters

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said on average there are 15,830 delayed discharges every month, or 58 per day. Photograph: iStock

Party health spokesman Billy Kelleher says total for first nine months was 142,472

Mattie McGrath: “Members of the public are coming to us asking to join because they feel let down by other parties.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins set to promote anti-abortion message

Leo Varadkar letter: the lonely and socially isolated are more likely to die younger, the Senator has told the Taoiseach

Dr Keith Swanick calls on Government to set up loneliness task force

Rev Dr Laurence Graham, president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, presents a gift to President Michael D Higgins to mark his visit to the Dublin Central Mission, Abbey Street. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Higgins says many people have experienced the mission’s ‘warm embrace’

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said there would also be a new offence of coercive control under the Domestic Violence Bill 2017.

Charlie Flanagan says law allowing those under 18 years marry will be repealed

Sign language users will soon be able to access State services in their native language. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Legislation initiated in the Seanad by Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly

Senator Lynn Ruane has called for an open, honest conversation on the issue of class. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Independent Senator calls for Seanad debate on class issues in Irish society

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: Nothing that commits the EU to a specific Brexit time period. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister tells Dail it is not realistic to expect a new trade arrangement in full by October

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said: “As any student of Anglo-Irish politics will tell, it will all end in tears as all of unionism’s dalliances with the British have.” File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Sinn Féin leader says some progress made in talks to restore Northern Executive

A queue outside the Capuchin Centre in Dublin last December. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

FF leader says numbers seeking help are rising and key staff have not been appointed

John Wilson, former principal of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, leading a rehearsal at the National Concert Hall.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Micheál Martin says orchestras have been part of Ireland’s cultural life for many decades

A shrine with an image of the Virgin Mary is seen on the site of the former mother-and-baby home run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam, Co Galway. File photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Katherine Zappone publishes report outlining options for mother-and-baby home site

Charlie Flanagan: he said he had discussed the consolidation of road traffic legislation with Minister for Transport Shane Ross

Flanagan says he is very concerned about ‘inconsistent’ operation of court poor box

The Seanad heard that figures released recently showed that life expectancy had increased by about five years. File Photograph: Getty Images

Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke says planning to meet challenge should begin in earnest

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘I take it very seriously and it is something I am very committed to because I really feel for these kids and their families.’ Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Leo Varadkar says he feels for scoliosis sufferers after Martin criticises €6m used for PR

Taoiseach said  he had maintained a “studied silence’’ on Monday

Taoiseach says all parties should be told about any deal at same time

Taoiseach tells the Dáil ‘some people want to work part-time’ during a debate on precarious work. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Opposition claims some employees exploited by short-term contracts

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil he believed there was time to put the Brexit border agreement back on track. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Leo Varadkar acknowledges relations between Ireland UK ‘strained’ in the last year or two

Mary Lou McDonald acknowledged  there was an “issue to be addressed” following a number of resignations. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Succession of resignations amid allegations causing party embarrassment

The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations

Tourism Ireland says Brexit will present challenges next year

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a press conference with  European Council president  Donald Tusk on Friday. Photograph: Laura Hutton/PA Wire.

Taoiseach says Government has not been weakened by controversies

Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces march to the Dáil in protest against low pay levels of military personnel. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Coveney says offering one group of public workers special treatment would prove difficult

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: “As to whether I expect the numbers to grow, the answer is ‘Yes, I do’.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Majority expected to receive redress and compensation by the end of the year

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the Bill completed ‘a not inconsiderable task’. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Gross pay of most public servants to return to pre-recession levels by July 2021

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he understood the Charleton tribunal could investigate the Department of Justice. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Justice says he recognises ‘disquiet and concern’ expressed in recent days

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Garda overtime was paid a month in arrears. “I would have hoped or assumed Garda management would have been aware of that.’’  Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Taoiseach says there is enough funding for Garda overtime next month

Charlie Flanagan: “I had been told by some people in my constituency that Deputy Kelly had made very negative comments about me in their presence.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Justice acknowledges he should have handled TD’s McCabe questions better

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: many backbench TDs are angry at what they see as a drawn-out controversy which angered the public and raised the vista of a pre-Christmas election.  Photograph: Press Association

TDs critical of Varadkar and Fitzgerald over controversy as they look to filling vacancy

The Taoiseach has said from now on Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan (above) will ensure Dáil questions to his department  are properly answered. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach not happy at Department of Justice’s failure to fully answer questions

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney said the EU taskforce would negotiate in a way that was consistent but fair and which showed some understanding of British difficulties.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Foreign Affairs says he personally believes no-deal outcome unlikely

Members of the Irish RWC 2023 bid team: IRFU chief executive, Philip Browne (centre); IRFU president Philip Orr (right) and bid chairman Dick Spring.

Heated exchanges in Seanad as Senator Terry Leyden criticises group lobbying for Ireland as Rugby World Cup venue

The Taoiseach recently tweeted a photograph of himself being “photobombed by a llama”. Photograph: Twitter

Varadkar dismisses Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin’s criticism as ‘nonsensical’

Senator Lynn Ruane said volunteers she had encountered had taken into account the personalities of the homeless people they met. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

Seanad hears it is unacceptable to dismiss work of ‘empathy and compassion’

The Bill’s passage brings to an end bitter divisions generated by the charges, which saw thousands of people take to the streets in protest marches. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

Bill now goes to President Higgins for signing

The Government is exploring a number of initiatives to deal with social isolation in rural areas, Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Transport Shane Ross introduces Bill to ban all drivers caught over limit

Leo Varadkar said Frances Fitzgerald had no prior knowledge of the approach former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s legal team pursued.

No record exists of telephone call to Department of Justice secretary general

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the introduction of the rent pressure zones meant 60 per cent of renters had rent certainty and control. Phoograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

‘Life goals once considered modest made impossible,’ Mary Lou McDonald says

Mr Kelleher said he had been told by one senior hospital manager the only programme in place for winter was “the flu vaccine and prayers’’. Photograph: iStock

Fianna Fáil’s Bill Kelleher says it provides evidence of the crisis in services

Minister of State for Justice David Stanton said sometimes it was better to start from scratch, redraft the cannabis legislation and resubmit it, if it was not possible to amend it.

Health committee warns enacting Bill will lead to legislative contradictions

Past winners of the award include former tánaiste Dick Spring. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Kerry Association in Dublin seeking nominations for awards which began in 1979

The Bill paves the way for refugees to bring grandparents, cousins, nephews, nieces and siblings to Ireland by expanding the reunification programme. Photograph: iStock

Proposal allows refugees bring extended family to Ireland

“There is no point in coming in here saying we all support hospices when you screwed them,’’ said Micheál Martin to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach claims FF leader used word ‘unbecoming’ of his office

Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy has confirmed all water charges will not be refunded before Christmas, as originally planned. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Minister blames ‘Sinn Féin and Left parties’ for delay in getting money back to households

The RTÉ Investigates documentary went undercover to show people living in sub-standard rental accommodation, with bunk beds packed into rooms.

Eoin Ó Broin says recent RTÉ investigation highlighted State’s failure to protect tenants

 Minister for Arts Heather Humphries was meeting the Arts Council to discuss allegations of sexual harassment at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.   File photograph:  Matt Kavanagh.

Joan Burton says claims of what happened women at Gate Theatre ‘hardly actually believable’

 Irish Rail staff picketing  at Connolly Station in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Varadkar urged to ‘step in’ and ensure reasonable demands of workers are met

Willie Penrose said wronged tracker mortgage customers deserved to be able to take a collective action. File photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Willie Penrose says victims should be allowed collective legal action over issue

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said there were at least 30,000 cases involving tracker mortgage issues. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin criticised for unparliamentary language

John McGuinness says the tracker mortgage situation needs outside focus. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John McGuinness says Central Bank is not fit for purpose and calls on ECB to intervene

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said while he did not accept there was a deep crisis in the Defence Forces, there were substantive issues.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach agrees ‘substantive’ issues to be dealt with but denies crisis

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