Sisters Agnes, Ann, Bernadette and Joan Mallon at the meeting of the Yes campaign in the Percy French Hotel in Strokestown, Co Roscommon, last Friday night. Photograph: Paul Molloy

County has ‘a lot of silent Yes voters who are afraid to say openly they will vote Yes’

Emma Kearney (L) and Jacqueline Jago canvass Raymond Greene in Boyle O’Reilly Terrace, Drogheda, Co Louth, on the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Canvassers from both sides are working hard to win hearts and minds in Drogheda

 Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Denis Naughten: phone call between Eoghan Ó Neachtain and Mr Naughten on the proposed Celtic Media takeover by INM was not registered.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

PR executive who spoke to Naughten about INM ruling met Donohoe among other politicians

Leo Varadkar still remains the leader with the highest satisfaction ratings.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The surge in popularity evident through the winter might not be maintained

Mounting insurance costs could threaten the future provision of playgrounds, the Alliance for Insurance Reform has warned. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Mounting insurance costs could close pre-schools and playgrounds, TDs hear

Michael Dwyer was shot dead in Bolivia in 2009. Photograph: PA Wire

Decision by human rights commission to examine killing of Michael Dwyer seen as breakthrough

Tánaiste Simon Coveney. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Anyone seeing images of chemical attack in Douma would be ‘sick to their stomach’

Eoghan Murphy said his department has been applying the recommendations of a report which said high-rise apartments were not an optimal solution. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

‘All tools and incentives are there’ for developers to build more homes – Murphy

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggests joint cabinet meetings could bolster the relationship between both countries post-Brexit. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Without regular meetings relationships will decline, according to the Taoiseach

A Tomahawk land attack missile is fired from the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey  early on Saturday, April 14th, 2018.  The US, Britain and France carried out a wave of pre-dawn strikes against Syria’s regime in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack. Photograph:  Mass communication specialist 3rd Class Kallysta Castillo/US Navy/AFP Photo/Getty Images

Department of Foreign Affairs does not expressly support air strikes by US, UK, France

 Micheál Martin will be asked if he had been contacted or informed of any false allegations being made about Mr McCabe’s character by members of the force.  Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Tribunal investigating allegations of a Garda whispering campaign against Sgt McCabe

The property tax is currently calculated on 2014 property values. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Any increases will be ‘moderate and affordable’ despite rise in property values

Charging point: the Government’s climate-change-mitigation plan aims to increase the number of electric vehicles on Irish roads to 500,000 by 2030

Sales of electric vehicles still only 0.47% of the Irish car market

Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin said that under Mr Varadkar’s leadership homelessness had gone through the roof, with nearly 10,000 people now homeless in the State

Varadkar says he has no difficulty describing situation as an emergency and crisis

The Department of the Taoiseach was spending much of its justifying the SCU’s very existence, the report finds. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Controversy took up staff resources which damaged the ability to focus on priorities

Labour TD Alan Kelly: “That a department has no clear system in place for the filing and storage of emails is extraordinary”

Alan Kelly: No meaningful explanation for failure to search emails of Policing Division

Russia’s ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, leaves the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ambassador denounces ‘political theatre’ and ‘cover-up’ over UK chemical attack

Russia’s ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov leaves the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. Photograph: Tom Honan

Government anticipates retaliation from Moscow following expulsion of Russian official

Director of the SCU John Concannon. Photograph: Alan Betson

New report also exonerates the controversial unit from claims of politicisation

Vladimir Putin: It is no surprise the Russian diplomatic corps in Dublin might contain some members of the FSB, the security and intelligence service that is a successor to the KGB. Photograph: Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin

Decision not just support for UK but based on doubts about Russian activity on Irish soil

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ordered a review of the “spin unit” after negative publicity surrounding its operations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Staff in controversial ‘spin unit’ to be redeployed to other areas of the public service

Russian ambassador: Yury Filatov was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Photograph: Tom Honan

Russian ambassador was told of the Government decision on Tuesday

Séamus Woulfe, Attorney General. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times.

Shane Ross wants Judicial Appointments Bill enacted by summer - that now seems fanciful

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the  Judicial Appointments Bill was a case of “too many cooks have spoiled the broth”. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan moves to quell controversy despite admitting legislation was in ‘difficult place’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: has instructed  that any future advertising campaign should require the SCU, and not a media agency, to have final sign-off on copy and layout, to ensure no perception of partisan political bias. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Review of role of 'Fine Gael spin unit’ sparks plan to downsize €5m operation

Russian ambassador Yury Filatov with the media in the Russian embassy last week. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government is expected to announce expulsions of at least one official tomorrow

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin, former minister and now European election candidate Councillor Ciaran Cuffe and party leader Eamon Ryan pictured in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. The electorate tends to approach European elections with a different mind-set and have given a fair wind to the Greens in the past. Photograph: Green Party/Twitter

European candidate Ciarán Cuffe has a chance of winning a seat for the small party

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan speaking  at the party’s national convention in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Pauline O’Reilly/Green Party/Twitter

National convention hears sustained criticism of Government on so-called ‘green’ agenda

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin, former minister Councillor Ciaran Cuffe and party leader Eamon Ryan pictured in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Photograph: Green Party/Twitter

Party’s Dublin candidate in next year’s European elections will be former minister Ciarán Cuffe

The Oireachtas Housing and Local Government Committee heard from senior departmental planning advisers about how the Project Ireland 2040 development plan is to be implemented in the months and years ahead. File photograph: Getty Images

Interpretations differ over legal advice on status of 20-year planning framework

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh roimh dó aitheasc a thabhairt do Sheanad Éireann. Griangraif:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tugann an craoltóir iomráiteach aitheasc do Sheanad Éireann mar chuid de Bhliain na Gaeilge

Theresa May: expressed confidence an alternative arrangement with Ireland could be brokered. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Inside Politics: Theresa May concedes the ‘backstop’ would be included in the text of the draft withdrawal agreement.

Barry McElduff:  resigned as an MP after posting a video of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head in the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Three-month suspensions for Máire Devine and Barry McElduff criticised as too lenient

Austin Stack  with his mother Sheila and brother Oliver: called the tweet ‘disgusting’ and said Ms Devine should be expelled from Sinn Féin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Máire Devine retweeted anonymous post describing murdered prison officer a ‘sadist’

 Sinn Féin’s   Pearse Doherty. “The SCU has been tarnished, and there has been political interference.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Government review by top civil servant expected to be concluded at end of this week

The NTA has  said the Green Line is operating at capacity at peak times, with crowding on trams between Ballaly and Ranelagh

Withdrawal of longer trams has added to difficulties for commuters on Green Line

Labour leader Brendan Howlin:  he  said the deal on the transition period provided no clarity around how a hard border would be avoided

Fianna Fáil spokesman on Brexit says new deal ‘a fudge’ to enable talks to move to trade

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.  Photograph Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Motion on unrestricted access to abortion in first trimester will be discussed after referendum

Eilis Ryan and fellow members of the Dublin Central Repeal the 8th Campaign canvass door-to-door in Stonybatter, Dublin 7. Photograph: Alan Betson

Most young, urban dwellers favour repeal, but in rural areas the ‘12 weeks issue’ is key

The Liffey accounts for  over 80% of Dublin’s water supply, extracting 40% of all its waters, close to the upper threshold of environmental and sustainable limits.  Photograph: Getty Images

Capital is vulnerable to unexpected weather events such as a freeze or a drought

The proposed  new insurance levy would collect between €35 million to €40 million a year, the Joint Committee on Finance was told on Thursday.

Balance of deficit from collapse of Quinn and Setanta now stood at €872 million

 Actress Joely Richardson plays Countess Markievicz during the filming of a  series about the making of the Titanic in 2011. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/THE IRISH TIMES

Portrait of all 53 women in Oireachtas to be unveiled for International Women’s Day

In addition to the Dublin restrictions, there were about 20,500 people with no  water and 47,000 with reduced flow

More than a million people in the greater Dublin area with reduced supply overnight

A combination of burst pipes,  people remaining in their houses for days, and  a minority selfishly leaving taps running to prevent freezing conspired to increase water usage by 10%  across the capital

Water restrictions have affected 120,000 people in Dublin, and look set to continue for days

Water shortages underline the argument for a single water utility. Photograph: Getty Images

Inside Politics: Dublin is facing weeks of restrictions as capital strains at near capacity

 O’Connell Bridge, Dublin during Storm Emma. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Government defends its reaction and sets out challenges still to come

Flying high: John Concannon in 2014, as director of the 2016 centenary commemorations. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Government’s marketing whizz faced a snowstorm and a ‘sh**storm’ this week

John Concannon is the director of the Strategic Communications Unit. Photograph: Alan Betson

Controversy over newspaper ‘advertorials’ continues despite Taoiseach ordering review of strategy

The Taoiseach has requested a general review of the Strategic Communications Unit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Leo Varadkar says any State-sponsored feature articles should be clearly identifiable

Regional newspaper editors said the “Project Ireland 2040” strapline and the headline “in partnership with the Government of Ireland” distinguished the copy from editorial copy carried elsewhere.

Project Ireland 2040 coverage paid for by Government clearly flagged, editors say

The Strategic Communications Unit - a PR vehicle for Fine Gael and Leo Varadkar? Photograph: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Opposition targets Strategic Communications Unit over Project 2040 advertising

Irish EU Commissioner Phil Hogan will address a special sitting of Seanad Éireann next Thursday. File photograph: Finbarr O’Rourke

Irish EU Commissioner expected to take questions from members of 60-strong chamber

Tánaiste Simon Coveney: Monday’s meeting comes ahead of a major speech by British prime minister Theresa May on Friday when she will set out the “way forward” for Brexit. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Brussels meeting, the first one-on-one talks between the two since December, will focus on final text

Second term: President Michael D Higgins with children at the Eleonas migrant and refugee camp during his visit to Greece, where he gave the first public confirmation that he might consider running again. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh likely to join Craughwell in seeking nomination

Permanent TSB is to put a €3.7bn   portfolio of non-performing loans on the market. Some 14,000 home loans are included, classed as non-performing even though some customers are now making regular payments after coming to an arrangement with the bank

Bill before Dáil next week will provide that all home loans are fully regulated

The Ringsend waste water treatment plant, which is being upgraded.

Irish Water wants to reduce water staff by 1,000 and says it can save €70 million

Solidarity activists hold a protest in opposition to the sale of millions  of mortgages to vulture funds outside the Grafton Street branch of Permanent TSB bank in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Rate of family home repossessions in Ireland is low compared to EU counterparts

Danny Healy-Rae:  “In the past a criminal could never predict when a local garda would pop along . . . Now, if something happens in Sneem it will take 25 minutes from Kenmare and from Killarney it will take 50 minutes.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Station closures and reduced garda numbers leave criminals free to target country areas

Prime Minister Theresa May: Statement on the North talks was the very definition of insipid. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Theresa May’s statement on the stalled process was the very definition of insipid

The plan makes a distinction between once-off rural homes lived in by farmers and other country dwellers and those desired by those who want to leave towns but still commute for work and school.  Photograph: Getty Images

Local authorities to complete housing demand assessments

In all, 37 per cent of the country’s population live in towns of less than 1,500 or in the open countryside. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

New long-term planning blueprint sets realistic and sustainable approach to once-off homes

Inner-city regeneration is one of the key targets of the National Development Framework, including higher-density, high-rise buildings.

Development framework says new homes pose danger of rampant urban sprawl

Rural housing has  been the cause of the vast majority of lobbying since the draft of Ireland 2040, the National Planning Framework, was published in October.

Country TDs told they have nothing to fear when it comes to future of rural housing

European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly:  the  processes of the European Council, which is comprised of the heads of state in the EU, remained oblique. Photograph: Maxwell’s

European Ombudsman tells Oireachtas Committee council not a ‘star pupil’

Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring says there is a “feelgood factor out there” in rural Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Michael Ring says he has ensured policies approved at Cabinet are ‘rural proofed’

John Robb pictured in the Dáil on February 14th, 1985. Photograph: Jack McManus/The Irish Times

President Higgins praises the surgeon’s ‘deep humanity’ following his death on Tuesday

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Sensitive to the claims of an anti-rural bias. Photograph: Colins

Changes are made to national planning framework after Opposition unites in criticism

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy: “Many regional and local roads are in a dreadful state as a result of the Government’s failure to invest in roads infrastructure.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Local authorities given ‘less than half the funding they need’, says TD Robert Troy

Former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte once said ‘Oireachtas Report’ was watched only by ‘drunks and insomniacs’. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dáil deputies and senators briefed on RTÉ proposal

 Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald will formall succeed Gerry Adams. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

End of an era as Mary Lou McDonald to formally succeed Gerry Adams as president

Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald: “Mary Lou has been part of the leadership for a long time. It’s not like she has landed down from Mars.” File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Party faithful believe new leader will offer policy continuity, but a fresh, more dynamic approach

National development plan: Proposes a Dart extension - but uncertainty over Dart underground

Inside Politics: Western Rail Corridor is a notable absence from the document

 Fianna Fáil spokesman on communications Timmy Dooley speaking to media at Leinster House on Tuesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Timmy Dooley says response from Communications Minister not credible and unrealistic

Emma Blain (37), an FG  councillor in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown: ‘I am pro-choice and I am delighted that people of my generation are getting the chance to vote.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Party’s female politicians tend to back reform, but rural representatives have concerns

Tánaiste Simon Coveney  insisted he will campaign for a Yes vote to repeal and replace the Eighth Amendment.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Tánaiste criticised by colleagues for not supporting 12-week proposal

Denis Naughten:  he is particularly critical of the fact that not only will Dublin have a major trauma centre, it will also have two trauma units. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Naughten and Ring claim Galway needs more than trauma unit given large area involved

Tanaiste Simon Coveney: Supports repeal but has difficulty with the 12-week provision. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Deep misgivings exist in two major parties over proposed term for unfettered access to termination

Joe McHugh Minister of State for the Irish Language, is among those who said they could not support the proposal for unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks. Photograph: Alan Betson

Many rural representatives in particular have problems with 12-week recommendation

Dublin Airport: DAA says the impact of the restrictions will mean there will be a one-third reduction in night flights in the airport, between 11pm and 7am. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Plan could lead to drop in passenger numbers and ‘serious commercial risk’ for its future

Independent Senator Frances Black has sponsored a private members Bill in the Seanad calling for the prohibition of goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Proposed law likely to win support from most Opposition parties

 Minister for Foreign Affairs  Charlie Flanagan will bring a memo to Cabinet on the UN Convention on People with Disabilities  on Tuesday. File photograph: Eric Luke

The country will become the last EU state to take ratification step

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath with party leader Micheál Martin: McGrath has said he believed the proposal made by the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment was a step too far. File photograph: Sam Boal/

Support for repeal is 50/50 but the real split is over the proposed 12-week window

‘There was a deepening divide between Donnelly and his co-leaders, Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, which culminated in his departure. The joint leader concept persisted but it did not work for the Greens in the past and it’s unlikely to work for the Social Democrats.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

Party, which has faced structural problems, is holding its second annual conference

Hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell buses used in other European capitals to reduce emissions

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill

Two Donegal County Council members accused of duplicating expenses

If  electorates in Dublin and cork  approve the change, the first directly elected mayors will not take up their new positions until 2024. File photograph: Getty Images

Plebiscite asking whether voters want executive mayor likely to take place in June 2019

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty announced that many of those affected by 2012 pension rule changes will be entitled to a new credit that will restore their pensions to pre-2012 levels. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘Home caring credit’ to restore pension levels but retrospective payments ruled out

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan: Went over to Maurice McCabe and shook his hand. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Inside: Politics: Garda commissioner wanted whistleblower to be respected and protected while protecting force against allegations(...)

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said up to 42,000 people had been affected by a law change introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition in 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Social Protection to present memorandum to Cabinet

 It is thought most Northern Ireland-based politicians would be reluctant to run against Michelle O’Neill (above), as that might be perceived as undermining her authority. Photograph:  Jonathan Porter/PressEye

MEP Matt Carthy says he would consider running if nominated, while Doherty rules himself out

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy: the State would provide land at reduced or no cost to facilitate affordable homes. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Eoghan Murphy says four locations in Dublin are ready for construction to begin in 2018

Sgt Maurice McCabe on the first day of the Charleton Tribunal at Dublin Castle on June 14th, 2017. Photograph: Alan Betson

Despite exaggerations, the substance of his claims have stood up – and forced the Garda into being publicly accountable

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: has been told by  Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring that Gsoc should not be under the remit of his  department in order to give the public confidence in its independence. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA

Watchdog chairwoman says it should not be under Department of Justice remit

Micheál Martin: the Fianna Fáil leader was bemused to read reports of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s intentions to approach Fianna Fáil during the summer with a view to starting a review. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘We need less political manoeuvring and positioning. It is completely premature’

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: his figures are disputed by Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen who claims the Government delivered only  743 units in the first nine months of 2017. Photograph: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Barry Cowen and Eoin Ó Broin dispute Minister’s social housing data

DUP leader Arlene Foster greets Kerry Senator Mark Daly who wishes to run for president at the Killarney Economic Conference. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Sinn Féin says Brexit will be ‘disastrous for all of Ireland’

Arlene  Foster and Micheál Martin both delivered  speeches at the Killarney Economic Conference

DUP stresses Fianna Fáil Brexit proposal can only be examined in limited circumstances

‘The EU has been positive for Ireland… For a tiny country we are away up compared to where we should be,’ conference hears. Photograph: iStock

Brexit is going to be a test of Ireland’s maturity in dealing with migrants, says academic

Mike Russell: ‘There is a misunderstanding of freedom of movement that is driving the process (of Brexit).’ Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

SNP says if a second referendum were to be held, majority voting to remain would be even higher

 Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin  warned against negotiators rushing to microphones. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fianna Fáil leader said such a designation ‘would threaten no one’s sovereignty’

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