This Wednesday will mark the fourth anniversary of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Contract for key plank of review awarded following public procurement process

It is  estimated that there are currently 137,000 vacant homes at present in the State. Photograph: iStock

Zoned land tax should be raised beyond planned 3% rate, new report to recommend

Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin says there has been a ‘huge level of enthusiasm’ for the scheme. Photograph: Alan Betson

The successful 2,000 applicants will receive €325 a week

 Independent  TD Michael Lowry: ‘I would be in the same position since the start in that I will offer my support on an issue by issue basis’

Coalition is potentially reliant on the support of a handful of Independent TDs to see key votes through in the House

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the measures ‘are about removing the barriers facing people who are in receipt of social welfare.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

New measures aim to ease housing crisis and help Ukrainian refugees find homes

Patrick Costello has joined Neasa Hourigan in breaking ranks from their Coalition colleagues in saying they will support the Sinn Féin motion. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Coalition abstained on Sinn Féin motion calling for hospital to be built on land owned by State

Dublin Central Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan indicated that she will vote with the Opposition.

Coalition TD says she wants to ‘formally register objection’ in wake of Cabinet approval

Attorney General Paul Gallagher. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Attorney General’s verdict on legal documents assuages lingering Cabinet concerns

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said legislation providing for the €400 recognition payment is expected to be in place by July but the payment will be backdated. Photograph: Gareth Chaney

Roderic O’Gorman hopes ‘opt-in’ payment will be made available from the end of May

A computer generated impression of the new National Maternity Hospital

‘This is the wrong decision,’ Sinn Féin say as National Maternity Hospital relocation approved

 A view showing the size of the turnout at the ‘Our Maternity Hospital’ protest outside the Dáil today. Photograph: Tom Honan

Opponents of current plan continue to raise concerns of possible external interference

Green Party Minister Catherine Martin’s  comments clear the way for Cabinet approval next Tuesday. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Catherine Martin’s decision paves way for full Cabinet approval next week

Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, a barrister and former solicitor, is understood to be involved in efforts to formulate the new document. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Government to add codicil clarifying contentious phrase ‘clinically appropriate’

Ministers also agreed to expedite garda vetting for households who voluntarily pledged a place

Payment likely to be flat rate to minimise logistical complexity of administering it

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar indicated that the Cabinet would proceed with plans to approve a memo on the relocation at its next meeting, on Tuesday

CPO would end co-operation on National Maternity Hospital, Minister warns

 Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: offered to send a detailed clarification to  Oireachtas committee. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Minister considering options including clarification of ‘clinically appropriate’, says source

St Vincent’s Healthcare Group does not want to sell the parcel of land on which the new hospital will be built because they say it will interrupt the effective running of their other hospitals on the site. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘Clinically appropriate’ treatment stipulation gives hospital more space, clinicians say

A model of the new National Maternity Hospital on the St Vincent’s campus. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Health says St Vincent’s was asked to gift land but it was not on the table

A model of the new National Maternity Hospital on the St Vincent’s campus. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

State would be better served by owning land hospital is built on, letter to committee says

Model of the new National Maternity Hospital on the St Vincent’s campus. File photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Prof Deirdre Madden and Dr Sarah McLoughlin dissent from HSE decision

Last week’s protest against the new National Maternity Hospital plans outside Fianna Fáil HQ on Mount street.Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government set to mount a full-scale information campaign to win over wavering TDs

Minutes of a meeting of the HSE board show that members raised questions around State ownership of the land on which the new hospital will be built. Photograph: Getty Images

Green Party deputy leader to await second Government memo before deciding if concerns around maternity hospital have been addresse(...)

St Vincent's hospital, Elm Park, Dublin. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Legal documents note average yearly rent will be €10 as long as six conditions are met

Mr Donnelly said there are no issues in relation to Vatican approval for the transfer of land from the Religious Sisters of Charity. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Inside Politics: Approval delayed to allow for debate but no legal changes contemplated

Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the annual 1916 Leaders Commemoration at Arbour Hill.Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister for Defence says war in Ukraine changed the context in terms of security

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital: ‘We have a 299-year lease, and it is essentially €10 a year.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Long-mooted relocation has faced fresh upheaval this week amid Cabinet delay

The National Maternity Hospital is due to relocate to the St Vincent’s hospital campus. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Inside Politics: Maternity Hospital relocation proposed in 2013 but decision delayed again

The National Maternity Hospital is due to relocate to the St Vincent’s hospital campus. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Ministers seek assurances that all legal healthcare services will be available amid fears over religious ethos

Most surrogacies are undertaken abroad through commercial arrangements, often in Ukraine but also in Canada and the US. Photograph: Katie Collins/PA Wire

Oireachtas is now considering an Assisted Human Reproduction Bill

The charities regulator wants to be made aware of any significant events that have caused or could cause a significant risk to a charity.

Minister to unveil proposals targeting new financial thresholds for preparation of accounts

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said witnesses should be questioned in a way that does not cause hurt.

‘Issue of international surrogacy is legally, socially and emotionally complex’

 Senator Sharon Keogan: ‘I no longer feel safe or protected as a member of the committee and have made this difficult decision as a result of that,’.  Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘Mayhem’ at Oireachtas meeting as Senator seeks apology from members

A community hub for refugees in south Dublin. Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien brought a memo to Cabinet  outlining plans to provide longer-term accommodation of refugees from Ukraine. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Each council could be mandated to develop a significant housing centre in their area

The national children’s hospital building site last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Cameras installed in bid to counteract attacks, which are becoming more frequent

Ivana Bacik became the 14th Labour Party leader in March and was the sole candidate. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Labour Party leader was entitled to break from university position for up to five years

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has taken legal action against RTÉ.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Action part of growing trend by Sinn Féin to use courts against claims they say are false

The plan to move the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street in Dublin 2 to the Elm Park site has been in train since 2013. The project has been mired in controversy for years. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Concerns around Catholic ethos, ownership, governance and control have stalled project

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will bring a memo to the Cabinet on Tuesday outlining plans to abolish the €80 inpatient and day-case charge for children. Photograph: iStock

Government to double to 26 weeks period of care allowance for hospitalised children

Rescuers help a resident to  leave a damaged building in Odesa, on Sunday.  A Russian strike on a residential building in the city the day before  killed eight people, including a baby. Photograph:  Oleksandr GImanov/AFP via Getty Images

Minister to outline plans to Cabinet addressing acute accommodation pressures

An investigation was launched after Leo Varadkar confirmed he had leaked a copy of the proposed new GP contract to a friend. File photograph: Alan Betson

Gardaí have concluded their investigation, it emerged on Saturday

The proposed appointment would have seen  Dr Tony Holohan become professor of public health strategy at Trinity College Dublin. File photograph: The Irish Times

Oireachtas committee examining planned secondment that became subject of controversy

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tánaiste’s spokesman says gardaí have made no recommendation to the Director of Public Prosecutions

Homeowners also submitted concerns to the working group about the effect that such damage limits would have on the sale of a property. Photograph: Joe Dunne

Expert group says there should be extensive pattern cracking of at least 1.5mm

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: Those close to him say he strongly believes he will be vindicated in his assertion he has committed no criminal offence and say he is getting on with the job on that basis. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ongoing scrutiny of Tánaiste’s 2019 leak of GP pay deal document is set to muddy transition

Independent Senator Sharon Keogan told the witnesses: ‘I don’t believe it is everyone’s right to have a child’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Senator Sharon Keogan claims surrogacy is ‘harmful, exploitative and unethical’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin  spoke of the pressures posed by the arrival of refugees into Ireland. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Cabinet told up to 33,000 Ukrainian refugees could be seeking shelter by end of May

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is working on legislation to give homeowners in Donegal and Mayo access to enhanced grants to repair defects in their homes caused by Mica.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Scheme may have to go nationwide with engineers reporting issues in a number of counties

Policies aimed at restricting surrogacy practices usually have ‘counterproductive outcomes’, TDs and Senators have been told. Photograph: iStock

Oireachtas committee told Irish regime ‘a step behind’ system operating in UK

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has met Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Twitter

Micheál Martin assured PM Denys Shmyhal of Ireland’s support during Shannon meeting

Speaking about the Ukrainian crisis, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said ‘sovereign European democracy is being subjected to the most horrific and violent assault’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Cork facility to house refugees on short-term basis, Cabinet to be told

Muscovite mica, a mineral, has led to apparent defects in building blocks used in at least 5,000 homes in the northwest, causing cracks to open up in thousands of buildings. Photograph: Joe Dunne

No mention of pyrrhotite in protocol ‘alarming’, says group representative

Ministers are also planning a temporary reduction of VAT on gas and electricity from 13.5%  to 9%. It would require domestic legislation and be worth around €49 a year on gas and €61 a year on electricity. Photograph: Getty Images

Increasing the tax-free gift allowance that employers can give to staff from €500 to €1,000 is also still on the table

Refugees at the Ukraine Crisis Centre Ireland eating Borsch, a Ukrainian home comfort soup. There are acute concerns in Government about the State’s capacity to house Ukrainian refugees. Photograph: Alan Betson

Acute concerns in Government about State’s capacity to house those fleeing invasion

Ahead of the meeting, Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty called on the Government to introduce an emergency budget. Photograph: iStock

Households could receive an additional three weeks' payment of the fuel allowance

Refugees from Ukraine are seen at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing in Medyka. Photograph: Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images

‘We have never experienced such a rapid inflow of refugees fleeing war before’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin visits Finland to meet  president Sauli Niinistö and  prime minister Sanna Marin. Photograph:  Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty

Taoiseach says Ireland must play to its strengths on issue of neutrality

Dr Tony Holohan announced last month he was stepping down from his position as chief medical officer to take on the new role at Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: The Irish Times

Varadkar says he had ‘assumed’ CMO applied for professor role in Trinity College Dublin

At present, there are no laws governing surrogacy in Ireland. Photograph: iStock

Assisted Human Reproduction Bill will regulate surrogacy, IVF and other reproductive issues

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney was speaking after an address to the Dáil by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

President Michael D Higgins calls for ‘informed and respectful’ debate on future of Irish neutrality

Video footage from the Dáil chamber shows the People Before Profit TDs stood, but did not applaud. Photograph: Maxwells/PA Wire

TDs Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd Barrett, Gino Kenny and Bríd Smith did not applaud

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said issues in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol could be solved after the May elections in the North if there is a ‘political will’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Martin says protocol issues could be solved if there is ‘political will’ after North elections

Labout party leader Ivana Bacik: ‘Over the coming weeks I will be travelling around a lot more.’  Photograph: Damien Storan/PA Wire

The party’s 14th leader has an immense task ahead with aggravation behind the scenes

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he was ‘acutely aware of the pressure which the current demand for Covid care is putting on the healthcare system’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Minister urged to reconsider public health advice as hospitals struggle with Covid surge

Burden on acute hospitals is ‘significant’, according to a report given by State chief medical officer Tony Holohan to Government. File photograph: The Irish Times

Minister briefed on status of latest wave, that daily numbers elevated but falling recently

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is expected to unveil the legislation on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

Measures to be announced by Varadkar do not go far enough, Siptu official says

The pressure on ambulance services in Dublin comes as hospitals are responding to sustained increases in the numbers infected with the Covid-19 virus in recent weeks. Photograph: Alan Betson

Covid-19 infection surge places pressure on provision of emergency ambulance services

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly did not attend a meeting of the  Emergency Department taskforce on Monday. Photograph: Collins Photos

Sense of desperation at the lack of clear plan prompts suggestion of Nphet return

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: ‘Extremely restrictive’ measures would be needed to contain highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

No plans to reimpose measures as numbers in hospital with virus set to top 2,200

Around 750,000 employees between the age of 23 and 60 who earn over €20,000 and are not already in an occupational pensions scheme will be automatically enrolled.  Photograph: iStock

Cabinet also set to approve a €10m package of supports for tour operators and travel agents

Paul Reid: ‘We need to turn this tide again asap and repeat doing the basics. Please wear your mask appropriately, come forward for your booster or primary vaccine and isolate if [you have] symptoms.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Emergency department taskforce asks Minister for urgent fresh public health advice

The new leader of the Labour Party Ivana Bacik is congratulated by her predecessor Alan Kelly at Ringsend Irishtown Community Centre in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Dublin Bay South TD says politics ‘not about shouting matches’ or ‘tearing people apart’

A new middle rate of income tax of 30% is being considered by the Government, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Government examines proposal to ease cost-of-living pressure on middle-income earners

Ukrainian refugees Ivan and Maria Matvichuk who arrived from Nikolaev  on Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan

Current supply of accommodation for those fleeing Russian invasion may soon run short

Students protesting outside the Dáil last year over high rents and accommodation shortages. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Housing Finance Agency plans to deliver more than 3,000 new student beds by 2026

A young Ukrainian refugee boy, who fled the Russian invasion, at the Dublin Airport reception facility. The centre will act as a one-stop shop with services such as the processing of social protection numbers and help with finding accommodation. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni

Officials evaluating potential sites and facilities throughout the country

‘There are people who only know that they may have been the subject of an illegal birth registration due to DNA testing.’ Photograph: iStock

Children’s special rapporteur urges formal inquiry that adopts truth commission model

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: He and his partner, Matthew Barrett, have offered to take in Ukrainian refugees. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tánaiste says offers of accommodation will be ‘altruistic’ as numbers set to top 20,000

Tánaiste said Covid-19  case  numbers were ‘a cause for concern’ but not a  ‘cause for panic’. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Tánaiste says what is happening across Europe now ‘is a second wave of Omicron’

Coalition party leaders Eamon Ryan, Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Government parties remain broadly united despite a relentlessly bleak environment

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman: A spokesman says the Government is developing a national records and memorial centre as well as a mechanism to record the experiences of illegal adoption survivors. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Report finds State ‘consciously turned a blind eye’ to practice in 1950s and 1960s

Illegal adoptions happen when a birth certificate is falsified to register a child as having been born to his or her adoptive parents. Photograph: iStock

New report recommends a formal inquiry into illegal birth registrations

A new report into illegal adoptions concludes that the State was aware of the practice of illegal birth registration for decades before any serious action was taken to investigate.

Illegal registrations saw birth certs falsified to register child as being born to adoptive parents

Violet-Anne Wynne  celebrates with her family and supporters after being elected a TD for Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Clare TD’s frustrations shine light on culture clash between party and some of its candidates

Violet Anne Wynne had said she felt ‘pressurised’ and was not given autonomy to hire her own staff.

Violet-Anne Wynne resigned from party alleging pregnancy was used as ‘stick to beat me with’

Tipperary TD Alan Kelly announced during an emotional press conference that he was resigning as Labour Party leader after his colleagues lost faith in his ability to deliver. Photograph: Alan Betson

Inside Politics: Issues with Labour leader was most quiet disquiet seen in a party heave

Refugees receive food after arriving at the West Train Station from Zahony after border crossing at Zahony-Csap as they flee Ukraine. Photograph:  Janos Kummer/Getty

Inside Politics: Taoiseach said to be ‘crystal clear’ Ireland would not be found wanting

The AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19. Photograph: Johan Ordonez/AFP via Getty

Policy led to civil unrest in other countries, Department of Health report suggests

Housing Commission chair John O’Connor said the two big issues in the market are housing supply and affordability.

The Housing Commission has established a referendum subcommittee

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney arrives for a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle on Tuesday morning. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Appeal may be made to Irish families ‘willing to open up their homes to Ukrainian families’

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is expected to update her Cabinet colleagues on EU plans for dealing with the growing influx of refugees from Ukraine. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Inside Politics: Packed agenda on Tuesday with defamation law and health service funding also to be discussed

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Prof Mary Horgan at the unveiling of a portrait of Prof Horgan, 142nd president (and first female president) of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Provision for emergency protocol if new variant of concern threatened public health

Staff on Friday try to remove  red paint that was thrown on the gates of the Russian embassy in Dublin. The Tánaiste highlighted how Russia has 20 officials in its Dublin embassy compared to three or four Irish diplomats in Moscow.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Tánaiste says it would be ‘appropriate’ to reduce number of Russian officials in Dublin embassy

Violet Anne Wynne said she felt ‘pressurised’ and was not given autonomy to hire her own staff.

Violet Anne Wynne said a party colleague told her she was an ‘effing eejit’ for becoming pregnant

On the issue of energy, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the imposition of sanctions on Russia would come with a cost for Ireland, with damage to the economy, increased energy costs and pressure on energy supplies feared. Photograph: iStock

Visa waiver announced and finance firms told to ‘batten down the hatches’ amid online attack fears

A meeting between Mr Varadkar and the three men took place on Tuesday, described as ‘frank’ and far from  acrimonious. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Three senators lost Fine Gael whip over their attendance at golf society dinner in Clifden

The site of the former Tuam mother and baby home, in Co Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Events at Tuam described by O’Gorman as ‘a stain on our national conscience’

E-scooters are  classed as mechanically propelled vehicles. Photograph: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty

‘Unenforceable’ plan had been to makes it offence to supply scooters to under 16s

A long-awaited burials Bill will go to Cabinet on Tuesday to allow for the excavation of sites such as the Tuam mother and baby home. File photograph: The Irish Times

Proposal go to Cabinet in April but interim payments for women ruled out

The Cabinet in November approved a scheme that would mean all mothers who spent time in the institutions eligible for payments of between €5,000 and €65,000. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Objections to scheme covering those in homes for less than six months as children

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