Campaigners salute the outcome of the vote to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution at the  RDS count centre in May. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Move paves way for Government to introduce law on abortion in coming weeks

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: has rejected Leo Varadkar’s request to begin talks before the budget. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Inside Politics: Some senior Fianna Fáil TDs are concerned an extension of the pact could bind the party closer to Fine Gael’s hou(...)

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan is among those with concerns about renewing the confidence-and-supply deal. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Deputies fear extending confidence-and-supply would ‘endorse’ recent Coalition policy

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has stuck to his position that any talks on a successor to the confidence-and-supply deal must wait until after the budget. Photograph: Conor McCabe

Confidence-and-supply deal is due to be reviewed after budget

Labour Party TDs, senators and councillors who debated the leadership on Sunday evening at their think-in. Photograph: Paul Connor

Leader says ‘it was a very uniting experience. I personally ended up hugging most people’

 Labour TD Alan Kelly: “Happy for anyone to lead us into the next election” as long as the party  targets the right policies and improves its performance. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Private think-in hears calls for party leader Brendan Howlin to stand aside

Brendan Howlin  said he spoke to President Higgins in recent days, and predicted a “broad coalition” will back his re-election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Labour leader says party will act as ‘ground troops’ in upcoming presidential election

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald (right) with Liadh Ní Riada MEP (centre), who will be the party’s candidate in the presidential election, and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

MEP and daughter of composer Seán Ó Riada named as party’s candidate for presidency

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with Liadh Ní Riada MEP, who will be the party’s candidate in the presidential election. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Munster MEP majors on Irish unity in remarks but takes no questions from media

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has denied that he and the Government performed a U-turn on whether to introduce mandatory open disclosure in the health service. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Varadkar defends late removal of compulsory reporting policy in last year’s legislation

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visits Coláiste Ghlór na Mara, Balbriggan, Co Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach suggests schools could honour the signatories of the Proclamation

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: is “embarrassed” for medical profession in wake of  Dr Gabriel  Scally’s report into the CervicalCheck controversy.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Varadkar says attitude of medical staff ‘knowing best’ goes beyond CervicalCheck

Alleged child abuse victim Máiría Cahill has received an apology from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald after a report found failings in the way her allegations about an IRA member were handled. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Apology to Máiría Cahill says procedures were not in place at time of her disclosure

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told his Cabinet colleagues that demands for more money for the health sector could reduce the sum available for other measures. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Overspend on health this year estimated at €600m, Paschal Donohoe tells Cabinet

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he hopes ‘all of the pain’ experienced in the CervicalCheck controversy  leads to a new culture in the health service. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Fianna Fáil says public confidence in cancer screening system ‘has been shaken’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

FF leader says hotels charging high room rates could be singled out for VAT increase

The Land Development Agency is expected to be permitted to use compulsory-purchase orders to acquire lands neighbouring the State sites.

New agency’s initiative is to drive down the cost of land, especially around the capital

Darragh O’Brien TD, leader Micheál Martin and Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee at the Fianna Fáil think-in  in Malahide, Co Dublin. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Micheál Martin tells party think-in that Fianna Fáil is seeking ‘fundamental change in the direction of housing policy’

Dr Gabriel Scally yesterday briefed Minister for Health Simon Harris ahead of the publication of his 200-page report on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Health briefed on report about cervical screening controversy

Race for Áras an Uachtaráin (top row): Jimmy Smyth, Patrick Feeney, John Groarke, Pádraig Ó Céidigh. Middle row: Kevin Sharkey, Sarah Louise Mulligan, Seán Gallagher, Joan Freeman. Bottom row: Gemma O’Doherty, Gavin Duffy, Sinn Féin’s as-yet-unannounced candidate, President Michael D Higgins

Candidates need backing of four councils or 20 TDs or Senators

Race for Áras an Uachtaráin (top row): Jimmy Smyth, Patrick Feeney, John Groarke, Pádraig Ó Céidigh. Middle row: Kevin Sharkey, Sarah Louise Mulligan, Seán Gallagher, Joan Freeman. Bottom row: Gemma O’Doherty, Gavin Duffy, Sinn Féin’s as-yet-unannounced candidate, President Michael D Higgins

The election race starts in earnest next week. A hard road lies ahead for the hopefuls

Brexit secretary: Dominic Raab makes a speech on Thursday outlining London’s plans for a no-deal Brexit. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Pool/Getty

Fiach Kelly: Only other route to an exit deal might be for Brussels to do the dirty on Dublin

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin at Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Party leader tries to head off challenge to his position in ‘divide and conquer strategy’

Britain’s Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has said the British government is committed to safeguarding the Belfast Agreement and avoiding a hard Border. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Brexit proposal comes as Michel Barnier warns of need to ‘de-dramatise’ backstop issue

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the majority of Irish people will be happy to see Pope Francis visit Ireland this weekend.

TD says people who don’t want to take part can ignore the papal visit or ‘go to the beach’

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cúiv is understood to have told party colleagues he will not seek the party nomination for the presidency. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Source close to Fianna Fáil TD says Ó Cuív now says he will not go against party’s decision

Talks are ongoing between SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, above, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and senior officials. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Move would mean parties on joint platform for spring’s local and European elections

Planning for President Higgins’s campaign is at an early stage will only go up a gear towards the end of the month.

Advisers run the rule over successful tactics in pursuit of second term for incumbent

Brendan Howlin. Joan Burton said it would be ‘unfair’ if his leadership was discussed before he outlines how Labour will increase its popularity, and win more local authority seats, next spring. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Former tánaiste declines to say whether she supports party leader continuing in his role

Labour leader Brendan Howlin. Some Labour councillors, spooked by dismal poll ratings as they face local elections next spring, have called for him to resign.

Fiach Kelly: Micheál Martin and Brendan Howlin are both battling party malcontents

Thirty-one members of Fianna Fáil, including deputy leader Dara Calleary and the party’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath,  urged voters to oppose the proposition to remove the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Fianna Fáil

Mayo TD believes the public saw Eighth Amendment as a hugely personal issue

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary has warned Fine Gael to be ‘honest’ about where it has fallen down in housing and health. Photograph: Henry Wills

Fianna Fáil deputy leader also calls for Fine Gael to be ‘honest’ about its failures

Declan O’Callaghan  agreed  to a number of orders before the High Court. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Party sources expect Mary Devine O’Callaghan to resign from her local positions

Jack O’Connor said the issue of who leads Labour could be explored once a wider discussion had been concluded. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Jack O’Connor says full discussion on general approach of the left is needed first

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

TDs back call for issue to be addressed at pre-Dáil think in due in September

Labour leader Brendan Howin has come under further pressure for a leadership contest Photograph:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Pressure on Brendan Howlin as Martina Genockey says it would help party rebuild

Even those in the Independent Alliance acknowledge Shane Ross is politically toxic outside of his own Dublin Rathdown bailiwick.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

In this uncomfortable tug of war between old and new Ross, it’s difficult to see who benefits

Duty free:  Once the UK becomes a “third country” outside EU structures, no duties will apply to goods brought from the UK to Ireland by consumers once their combined value does not exceed €430 for someone aged above 15 or €215 for someone below 15.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Officials warn of revenue loss and costs of customs checks on UK alcohol and cigarettes

Theresa May was said to be hurt and concerned her credentials as a guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement were not being taken seriously. Photograph:  Sebastien Courdji/Pool via Reuters

Request came as Theresa May felt her credentials on the issue were not taken seriously

Independent Alliance members Shane Ross, John Halligan and Finian McGrath.  To help tackle the housing crisis they want investors buying multiple homes to  pay an extra 10%  of the purchase price in tax on each property.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Independents also want Paschal Donohoe’s budget to cap all road tolls for private cars at €5 per day

A  Department of Finance report on environmental taxes outlines  longer-term proposals to ensure motoring continues to  generate taxes for the State. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Options for retaining overall tax take include fixed charge

Brendan Howlin: sources close to the Labour Party leader   insist that he will not stand down

Group hoping to get signatures of over half of party’s 50 councillors on a letter calling for a new leader

President Michael D Higgins declined to say if he would be willing to publish his medical records. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

President responds to calls from Senator for candidates’ medical records to be released

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  said the Government would “of course” have to first discuss the issue  with Fianna Fáil.  Photograph: Sam Boal/

Taoiseach says move is necessary as part of climate change obligations

The 9% VAT rate was the “right rate for the sector”, according to the Irish Hotels Federation

Increase in the tax rate would be ‘absolutely incredible’, says Irish Hotels Federation

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: A full 4.5% increase in VAT for “tourist accommodation” would bring in €208m, his officials believe. Photograph: Tom Honan

Resurgence in tourism industry behind decision to restore full 13.5% levy

Minister for Transport  Shane Ross with  newly appointed directors  to public transport boards Liam O’Rourke (CIE), Suzy Byrne (Irish Rail), Elaine Howley (Dublin Bus) and Kevin Kelly (National Transport Authority). Photograph: Alan Betson

Shane Ross wants views of those with personal experience of disability to be heard

Mr Howlin succeeded Joan Burton as Labour leader in May 2016.

Party sources say latest bout of unrest caused by recent opinion polls

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has rejected criticism of his proposal that grandparents who help with childcare should receive a €1,000 annual payment. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister says he has not experienced any ‘pushback’ over proposed budget measure

Paul and Ruth Morrissey. Ms Morrissey was forced to take the witness stand for two days last week and deliver  personal testimony about her pain and the impact of her terminal illness on her young daughter. Photograph: Collins Courts

Legal ‘aggression’ by laboratories in recent weeks has caused surprise

Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar: “What we propose to do is to offer mediation in every case so that women can avoid having to go to court and the trauma of a court hearing.”    Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Government stands accused of breaking promise that no woman would have to face court

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said 80 per cent of premises in the country would have high-speed broadband by the end of the year. Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Announcement of preferred bidder on track for September, Varadkar says

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “False negatives are part and parcel of screening and all of them are not negligence. Indeed, most of them are not negligent.” File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Scandal called the ‘largest health issue in decades’ by Labour spokesman

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said anyone who breaks the law ‘should be willing to do the time’ in jail.

Leo Varadkar also rules out Finian McGrath’s request to free tax-evading doctor

Dr Bassam Naser, of Howth Road, Sutton, Dublin 13, who was jailed for failing to pay €100,000 in tax. File photograph: Alan Betson

Finian McGrath has visited Dr Bassam Naser in prison who is ‘very remorseful’

Michael McGrath: he said the Central Bank was still allowing some lenders to “treat their existing customers in a very unfair manner”

Sinn Féin claims there is little in Central Bank’s recommendations ‘which hasn’t already been proposed

 Joan Freeman: she is understood to have told those supporting her that she does not believe she will have a difficulty  raising funds

Commentator and barrister Noel Whelan confirms he will not stand as candidate

Taylor Swift on stage  at Croke Park. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Legislation will also ban ‘bot software’ used to buy greater numbers of tickets than permitted per purchaser by event organisers

Paschal Donohoe: ordered a report from the Central Bank into  the culture of AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and KBC Ireland following the tracker mortgage scandal.   Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Central Bank report focuses on lessons to be learned from the tracker mortgage scandal

Universal free GP care is to be downgraded to a long-term objective, according to Cabinet papers. File photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

Plan is downgraded to long-term goal, while Donohoe criticises Harris’s HSE proposals

Minister for Health Simon Harris:  his  memo says it is essential the phasing of implementation is correct and aligned with health policy goals. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Health reform move towards free GP care for all emerging as long-term objective

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said an election in 2020 would prevent any instability overshadowing crucial stages of the Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Agreed date would sidestep blame game for triggering general election

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Derrynane Beach, Co Kerry, following a Ccabinet meeting at Derrynane House on Wednesday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Two party leaders in talks over ongoing operation of their confidence and supply deal

Gavin Duffy: “No disrespect was intended and, if it has been taken thus, I apologise for the offence the councillor took from it.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Gavin Duffy’s act cheapens office of president, says Social Democrats Fingal councillor

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley, California.  Facebook has confirmed it plans to create hundreds of new jobs in Ireland next year. Photograph: Facebook

Dr Mary Aiken says asking company to self-regulate like asking drink drivers to award themselves penalty points

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arriving at Derrynane House, Kerry, for a special Cabinet meeting:   Ministers agreed to hire 1,000 additional customs and veterinary officials. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Brussels has vowed to stand by Ireland in no-deal ‘doomsday scenario’, says Taoiseach

“We need to hear a response from Facebook and an explanation from them as to why they haven’t upheld their own standards,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says. Photograph:  Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar raises prospect of penalties after revelations

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar heads  a Cabinet meeting at Derrynane House in Kerry. Health overspending is on track to be well over €500 million for 2018.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

High level of health spending will make Sláintecare plan ‘difficult’ to implement

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said about 3,000 new “bedspaces” for students have been built in the last two years, with a further 7,000 currently under construction. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Move sought by FF and SF comes after increases of as much as 15% in some areas

Speaking at a special Cabinet meeting in Derrynane House, Co Kerry, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said  the British government will be expected to honour its ‘cast iron guarantee’ of the so-called backstop arrangement. Photograph: PA

Taoiseach says EU reassured him no physical checks needed on Border if no deal on Brexit

Senator Joan Freeman says ‘simple ideas’ have helped her work towards a ‘lifelong ambition to build a better quality of life’, in a letter to councillors as part of her bid for a presidential nomination. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Senator Joan Freeman seeks nomination from councils

Senator Gerard Craughwell is seeking a nomination. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Varadkar may ask councillors to facilitate only ‘truly Independent’ candidates

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy will  update the Cabinet on the National Regeneration and Development Agency (NRDA), a key element of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 infrastructure plan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Government hopes release of State lands to build homes will drive down cost of housing

Even with Government measures such as the Rebuilding Ireland programme, a shortage of houses is “one of the most prominent risks and challenges facing the country”. File photograph: Getty Images

Government report warns issue will have major impact on economic growth and society

President Michael D Higgins meeting with Deena Cotter from Dún Laoghaire  during the afternoon tea party in Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday. Photograph:  Maxwell’s

Taoiseach: Issue of allowing councillors facilitate candidates into race yet to be decided

Minister for Health Simon Harris told the Cabinet last week that if agreement cannot be reached with the IMO, the State could unilaterally set its own fees. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Government is warned that medics may use new services as a negotiating ploy

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Mary Lou McDonald and Ciarán Quinn at the Sinn Féin ardfheis in  November 2017. Sinn Féin’s executive council, the ard chomhairle,  is expected to decide that the party should select a candidate to run against Michael D Higgins in a presidential election. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Some in party feel Higgins can’t be beaten, but election would offer a huge platform

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: the “will of the people” must be respected concerning the referendum. Photograph: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Fianna Fáil leader will aid Government in resisting filibustering TDs intent on stalling passage of law

Micheál Martin: he said  Mr Varadkar’s statements about a potential extension to the confidence and supply arrangement have been “about putting politics before policy”

Fianna Fáil leader rules out confidence and supply renewal talks until after October budget

  Finian McGrath stressed the importance of enacting the legislation before the summer recess so the service can be in place for carers in September. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Scheme expanded to include those in receipt of carer’s benefit, says Finian McGrath

Joan Freeman of Pieta House at Pieta House, Bishopstown, Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Joan Freeman, Padraig Ó’Céidigh, Gerard Craughwell or Kevin Sharkey may stand against Michael D

President Michael D Higgins:  formally declared yesterday he will nominate himself for a second term. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: No candidate has yet emerged who is likely to cause President serious trouble in bid for second term

 President Michael D Higgins: he has finally declared his hand, and says  he wants a second seven-year term in Áras an Uachtaráin

TDs and Senators of main parties unlikely to sign nomination papers of any aspiring Independent

President Michael D Higgins has confirmed he is to offer himself for a second seven-year term in Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph:   Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Oireachtas members begin co-ordinated efforts to field a rival presidential candidate

A file image of Michael D Higgins and Seán Gallagher during the 2011 presidential campaign.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Michael D Higgins confirms intention to seek second term and is likely to face an election

A memorandum  on EU data sharing for criminal investigations says “Ireland is relying on the solidarity and support of other EU member states” in Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Istock

Ireland must not be perceived as being soft on large companies, warns EU

President Michael D Higgins: he already has the support of the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil. Fine Gael is also expected to support him

‘Higgins has really screwed it for most of us,’ says Independent Senator

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson departs Downing Street following a cabinet meeting in London last week. Photograph: EPA

PM tells MPs that strategy agreed last week represents the ‘right Brexit’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting with British prime minister Theresa May in June. Photograph: Yves Herman/Pool/AP

Taoiseach says he looks forward to seeing detailed proposals for future future EU-UK relationship

President Michael D Higgins. The details of how he will declare his hand are still uncertain. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

President is due to announce his candidacy next week – but what will he do with it?

Labour TD  Willie Penrose has announced he will not contest the next general election after more than 25 years as a TD. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Deputy says public service a ‘privilege’ and believes Longford-Westmeath seat can be held by party

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said media, ‘should not consider itself above criticism’. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Taoiseach did not say in NY he agreed with Trump ‘on anything’, adds spokesman

Jurys Inn,  Christchurch. Photograph: Alan Betson

Lower VAT rate of 9% was put in place to help hospitality industry during downturn

The Taoiseach has allied himself with Trump’s views of the media in comments made on  a US trip. Photograph: EPA/Kim Haughton

Inside Politics: Taoiseach’s ill-judged comments see him claim the focus of political reportage is on gossip

  Leo Varadkar has said talks on any deal extension should begin before its  final budget, but Micheál  Martin has   said the arrangement allows for a review at the end of the year.   Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Taoiseach needs a compelling argument to call an election

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said  the ‘person who occupies the highest office in the land, ought to have an electoral sanction’. Photograph: PA Wire

Party’s ard comhairle will make a decision on the matter at a meeting on July 14th.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has spoken of entering talks on a successor to the confidence-and-supply deal before the budget, but Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says no negotiations will take place until later this year. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fianna Fáil appears in lockstep with Government on budget and Brexit

Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar and President of the European Council Jean-Claude Juncker:  “Ireland has to be part of the deal.” Photograph: Tom McLoughlin/EPA

Jean-Claude Juncker assures Varadkar State is priority in Brexit talks

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  and President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his visit to the Government Buildings in  Dublin. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach says time running out for reaching and implementing deal on UK’s EU departure

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