Vulture funds are, on average, considering more arrangements for those in arrears when compared to banks and retail credit firms. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Central Bank finds firms acting for vulture funds largely honouring code of conduct

British prime minister Theresa May speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall in London on Monday night.  “The negotiations for our departure are now in the endgame,” she said. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Theresa May says speculation about an imminent breakthrough in talks is premature

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attends the launch of the Gender Action Plan 2018 on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Garda chief Drew Harris seeks to reverse decision to fund defence of his predecessor

John Deasy, the Waterford TD appointed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to spearhead efforts at visa reform in US. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

John Deasy credits figures in president’s cabinet for helping progress US-Ireland plan

Minister for Children Dr Katherine Zappone with Jessica Shaw and Niamh Finglas from Louth after the Minister launched four new childcare reports on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ministers warned over lack of engagement with Government’s public services portal

Eamon O’Cuiv TD and Senator Mark Daly with Sorcha McAnespy, who said she would  run as a Fianna Fail candidate in next year’s local council elections. Photograph: Fianna Fáil/PA Wire

Party says Ó Cuív ‘aware in advance’ of plans to hold unauthorised candidate launch

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Éamon Ó Cuív, who also took part in event, says he has not been contacted about matter

Geoffrey Cox, the UK’s attorney general, arriving at 10 Downing Street for a cabinet meeting. He described the EU’s willingness to consider a review mechanism for the backstop  a “major step” towards a deal. Photograph: Bloomberg

EU believes movement on Border issue this week would allow for November summit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made clear to British prime minister Theresa May  his “consistent” position that a unilateral withdrawal from the Border backstop by the UK was unacceptable. Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach underlines ‘consistent’ stance on Border in call with British prime minister

Taoisech Leo Varadkar  and Junior Housing Minister Damien English at the opening of a new housing development  in Ballymun, Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach says three month limit ‘not worth paper it’s written on’

Border at Derry: emerging withdrawal agreement will contain additional measures on the Border,  including extra customs rules. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Guarantee’s specific application to NI may be replaced by Britain-wide customs control

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: may not have to vastly improve party’s  Dáil standing to acquire again the position of post-election powerbroker.  Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA

Left-leaning bloc may serve Labour as bargaining chip in future government formation

Labour leader Brendan Howlin (right) greets the party’s spokesperson on health Alan Kelly at the party conference in Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Party to produce ‘red line’ demands for participating in government ahead of election

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said  areas of rural Ireland that will be easiest to reach for new broadband infrastructure could be connected in the next “year or two”, but said more remote areas may taken longer to connect.

Leo Varadkar declines to put timeline on scheme completion or give precise figure on cost

Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney with UK minister for the cabinet office, David Lidington. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Simon Coveney and David Lidington at British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin says he has written to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood asking him to outline his intentions regarding a potential merger with Fianna Fáil. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Labour leader says Irish and UK Labour parties may need to contest North polls together

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, who is on the Fine Gael negotiating team for talks on the future of the confidence-and-supply deal. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Parties meet for more than five hours to discuss future of confidence-and-supply deal

Sinn Féin TD  Peadar Toibin voted against the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Meath West TD says suspension could become ‘de facto expulsion’ from party

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD  casts his vote at Scoil Thomáis, Laural Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Strong exit poll measuring party voting intentions gives Taoiseach pause for thought

Businessman Gavin Duffy secured just over 2 per cent of the vote in the presidential election. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Businessman only won 32,198 number one votes – or just 2.2 per cent of the total

 Michael D Higgins gives a speech following the announcement of his re-election as President at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Comments after securing second term could be as critical of poll runner-up Peter Casey

Presidential candidate Peter Casey arriving at Dublin Castle on Saturday where the final results will be announced. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Analysis: If businessman runs for Dáil he could stop Sinn Féin winning a second seat in Donegal

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin during the children’s referendum campaign in 2012. Those close to both men insist they share no personal animus. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

‘This battle is about the war, and the war is the general election’, says senior Fianna Fáil TD

Peter Casey’s strength was relatively consistent across all age groups, apart from the youngest demographic. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Peter Casey, in distant second, polls weakly among youngest category of 18-24-year-olds

Party denies decision to contest local elections following McAnespy announcement

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has praised Fianna Fáil’s contribution to developments in recent years.

Party representatives begin talks on possibly extending their Government accord

Leinster House: It is understood, although not yet confirmed, that the meeting will be held in the small room usually used by Ministers to host concerned delegations of various hue. It is, after all, neutral territory.

A lot rests on the negotiations which are to begin in a small room in Leinster House

Owners of buy-to-let properties will have to get planning permission from local councils if they want to use their second homes or apartments for short-term lets for more than three months every year. Photograph: Getty Images

Councils will get greater powers over short-term lettings in areas of high housing demand

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Tuesday asked his front bench to come forward with concerns they have about lack of delivery by the Government in their policy areas. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Parties set to begin negotiations on review of confidence-and-supply agreement

 Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph: AP /Hasan Jamali, File)

Minister notes expulsion of Russian diplomat after Salisbury poisoning

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport: an independently owned third terminal at Dublin is an “appropriate response” to anticipated passenger growth and is deemed to be required by 2031.  Photograph : Matt Kavanagh

Second runway at Dublin Airport and independently owned third terminal advocated

President Michael D Higgins could be in for some rough treatment in the final televised debate. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Michael D Higgins faces final televised debate amid questions surrounding a Belfast visit earlier this year

President Michael D Higgins launching his Shared Ireland, Shared Island initiative at Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda, Co Louth, on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

President ‘welcomes’ PSNI statement seen as challenging his claim of ‘security concerns’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe  at Government Buildings, before giving Budget 2019 speech. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Report notes potential economic disruption of Brexit and leaving rainy day fund short

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and the party’s presidential candidate Liadh Ni Riada canvassing in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Party leader says she would not wear poppy, after presidential candidate said she would

SDLP veteran Séamus Mallon:  helped President Michael D Higgins launch his “Shared Ireland, Shared Island” initiative at Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Former NI deputy first minister joins Michael D Higgins at presidential campaign event

While criticising candidate Peter Casey as “ignorant”, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, above, said there needed to be a greater understanding between settled and Traveller people. Photograph: Eric Luke

Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn slates candidate’s views – but ‘discussion necessary’

Denis Naughten, former minister for communications, resigned last week over contacts he had with David McCourt of Granahan McCourt, the last remaining bidder for the contract to roll-out rural broadband. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Department carried out a review of all meetings recorded in ministerial diaries

Former minister for communications Denis Naughten.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Auditor Peter Smyth to complete review ordered after resignation of Denis Naughten

Paddy Duffy, former political adviser to Bertie Ahern, has died.  File photograph: Frank Miller

Former taoiseach was with Mr Duffy when he died

President Michael D Higgins: 66 per cent of first-preference votes in Irish Times poll. Photograph: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Inside Politics: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll confirms president has unassailable lead over rivals

Michael D Higgins has been accused of treating presidential debates like radio phone-in show ‘Liveline’. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.

TDs say President’s team wrong to phone in a clarification when he had not shown up

Labour  leader Brendan Howlin TD.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Labour leader says potentially ‘dangerous’ development has to be resisted by Ireland

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

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

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: cautioned against ‘conceding the idea that the Irish parliament and the Irish Government could fall as a direct consequence of a vote in the British parliament.’ Photograph: Garrett White/Collins

Flanagan warns of FF linking confidence and supply deal to House of Commons decision

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: “Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for Ireland/Northern Ireland to avoid a hard border.” Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Backstop accord elusive for London and Brussels as time-limitation a stumbling block

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a full renegotiation of the confidence-and-supply agreement could be wrapped up within a month. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin to meet next week on future of confidence-and-supply

David McCourt with former minister for communications, Denis Naughten. Photograph: Andrew Downes

Former minister’s desperation resulted in an appalling lack of judgment

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin wrote to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “I think it is best if we both state upfront, irrespective of what happens during the confidence and supply review process, that we both agree not to bring down the Government”.

Varadkar responds to Martin plan that they should ‘commit not to collapse Government until Brexit deal reached’

Asked if he was satisfied with Denis Naughten’s explanations about the extent of his meetings with David McCourt, above, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar replied: “So far, yes.”

Analysis: As a shocked Dáil listened to the TD resign thoughts turned to the future of an already precarious minority Government

Denis Naughten: His departure from Government reduces the number of votes the Taoiseach can command in the Dáil to 54 – three short of a bare majority when Fianna Fáil abstains. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Independent auditor will assess if process has been compromised, says Taoiseach

 Michael D Higgins and Denis Naughten  during an Appointment of Ministers Seal of Office ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Naughten’s political career saw him rise from Young Fine Gael to party’s frontbench

Anger grows over Minister’s contacts with lead bidder for State-backed €500m plan

Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, announcing details of the National Broadband Plan at Government Buildings last year. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

‘Drip feed of information’ about meetings with lead broadband bidder ‘not helpful’

Paschal Donohoe: his budget neither seeks to thrill nor leaves many disappointed, but, in covering as many bases as possible, provides cover for an election  if there is to be one

The budget was less a call to electoral arms than a study in incrementalism

Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance, declared that the reduced VAT rate of 9 per cent to help the tourism and hospitality industry has “done its job”.

Budget 2019: Minister says measure will raise €466m for spending and is ‘responsible’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe presents Budget 2019 outside Government Buildings. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Paschal Donohoe announces increase in tourism VAT rate, tweaks to USC, €5 increase in welfare

The overall health budget is set to be €17.2 billion, an increase of 6.6 per cent, with new and existing measures grouped under the Sláintecare heading.  File photograph: iStockPhoto

Health and housing to be main focus with mild income tax cuts for middle earners

The threshold at which people hit the lower 2%  USC rate, which is levied on income between €12,000 and €19, 000, will be widened by €500 to take account of a 25 cent increase in the minimum wage

All social welfare payments will increase by €5 from next year, with the Christmas bonus restored to a double payment

HMBudget1

Budget to see a dramatic swing towards spending rather than tax reductions

 The Minister for Finance,  Paschal Donohoe, at the publication of  a White Paper in advance of Budget 2019. Photograph:    Donall Farmer

Independent Alliance expected to secure full restoration of social welfare Christmas bonus

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is expected to outline details of a €1 billion corporation tax windfall on Friday evening. Photo: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Significant payment due to exchequer later this year as multinationals pay more tax

So far Government measures to improve housing supply have produced more noise than results. Photograph: Getty Images

Developments worth up to €7m could be carried out with one-stage approval

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: the Minister and Fianna Fáil have set aside €500 million for the rainy day fund, but Labour wants this to go towards a national housing development bank. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Labour, Greens and Social Democrats launch alternative budgets ahead of Budget 2019

Members of the Independent Alliance have objected to being labelled the ‘auld fellas’ party’ by others in Government. Pictured is Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

Independent Alliance expected to drop objections to VAT rise

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: his planned meeting with  the Independent Alliance  was postponed on Wednesday

Independent Alliance and Fine Gael disagree over higher VAT on hospitality sector

Different ways of changing the hospitality VAT rate have been discussed.

Group is also digging in on insistence pensioners should be exempt from property tax

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said a levy on intellectual property assets brought to Ireland by multinationals on a tax-free basis would bring In €750 million. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins.

Party publishes alternative Budget plans ahead of Finance Minister’s announcement next week

“Ireland’s tax base is highly exposed to firm and sector-specific shocks,” states the Parliamentary Budgetary Office  report.

Parliamentary Budgetary Office advises broad, non-volatile tax base in budget

Louth TD Peter Fitzpatrick: ‘The decision to resign from Fine Gael was a difficult decision to make.’

Anti-abortion deputy was member of Oireachtas committee on Eighth Amendment

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe:  property tax rate of 0.18 per cent  likely to be cut when new house valuations take effect from November 2019. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Independent Alliance pressure to unveil measure in budget resisted by Minister

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: some Ministers may ignore his request to inform local Fianna Fáil TDs about official engagements as an  election approaches. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Leo Varadkar makes request at monthly meeting after issue raised by Micheál Martin

Catherine Martin TD: “Providing a directly elected Dublin mayor must be viewed in the context of the housing emergency and the transport gridlock Dubliners face every day.” Photograph:  Maxwellphotography.ie

Prospect of directly elected mayor for Dublin referred to a citizens’ assembly for 2019

 Sean Gallagher said the presidency should be as ‘transparent as possible because after all, it is taxpayer’s money’. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Businessman says presidency should be as ‘transparent as possible because it is taxpayer’s money’

A setion of the crowd at the public meeting in Portmarnock. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Proposed redesign leaves some areas of Dublin without direct link to city centre

  Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming, chairman of the PAC, insisted that what the committee intended to do was not unconstitutional. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Former Attorney General says expenditure of public monies should be open to scrutiny

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has been accused of being ‘seriously politically disinterested’ in the BusConnects scheme. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister says ‘legitimate’ concerns over BusConnects scheme will be remedied

Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher attended a defence Forces  protest outside  Leinster House on Wednesday and where he also met  some Fianna Fail   TDs. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Party TDs share photos with presidential candidate

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

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