Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: he retains a touch for the public mood but sometimes acts rashly.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Mary Lou McDonald and Micheál Martin have squandered some hard-won political capital

A move allowing UK agricultural products access EU single market is  likely to be welcomed by the Irish Government as it could overcome many of the potential difficulties at the Border. File photograph: Mary Turner/Bloomberg

Barnier signals willingness to ‘improve the text’ of backstop agreement

Vicky and Jim Phelan  with their solicitor, Cian O’Carroll, leave the Four Courts Tuesday after the announcement of a settlement of their High Court action for damages. Photograph: Collins Courts

Analysis: Growing feeling that measures package must protect screening programme

Vicky Phelan  at Government Buildings on Wednesday: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris have been criticised for dragging their feet. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Department of Health says ‘determination of negligence’ can only be made by court

Mary Lou McDonald: she said that if there was to be a hard Brexit next year the British government would have to hold a Border poll.  Photograph: PA Wire

Micheál Martin says change in position ‘raises serious questions about who’s in charge’

Leo Varadkar: “I haven’t seen convincing evidence of a land bubble at this stage,  but it’s something obviously we have to look out for.” Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach admits land is not being made available for development quickly enough

Vicky Phelan at Government buildings on Wednesday afternoon following her meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government looking at compensation options that will avoid a court process

 Vicky Phelan leaves Government Buildings after meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Judge to study options for compensating for women affected by controversy

Vicky Phelan is to meet the Taoiseach regarding the CervicalCheck debacle. Photograph: CourtPix

Varadkar confirms all 221 women will qualify for compensation

Mary Lou McDonald said on Monday: ‘It is my strong preference that we have sequencing that firstly delivers a level of economic and social certainty, in as much we can be certain, and stability and, from that base, we then continue the conversation about Irish unity.” Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sinn Féin leader does apparent U-turn after previously saying it was not the right climate

File image of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Éamon Ó Cuív at the Mansion House, Dublin. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Timmy Dooley says he is following party policy and supporting Michael D Higgins

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  pictured during a media briefing at Government Buildings. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Taoiseach says the main thing is the measure must guarantee no hard Border post-Brexit

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan  compared Sinn Féin to its ‘sister party’ Syriza in Greece, where he said the ‘radical left wing economics’ of that party had ‘delivered little more than chaos’. File photograph: PA

Charlie Flanagan highlights Sinn Féin’s ‘crazed’ economic policies

Fianna Fáil communications spokesman Timmy Dooley said a proposed new minister for the media is ‘about the preservation and protection of quality journalism’. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Timmy Dooley launches new plan calling for establishment of minister for the media

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said broadband was “as important as water and electricity” in rural Ireland”, and called for the Dáil to be recalled. Photograph: Getty Images

Withdrawal of SSE from the sole remaining consortium bidding for the project has raised serious questions over viability of the sc(...)

Leo Varadkar: were he to call an election in September he  would be throwing the leadership of the country into doubt at precisely the time of greatest sensitivity in Brexit

Recent weeks have seen a flurry of activity as Fine Gael continues to select candidates

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: the four Independent Ministers are expected to say to him that talk of an early election in Fine Gael is damaging the stability of the Government. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Discussions will include the forthcoming budget and the future of the Coalition

President Michael D Higgins  at Croke Park on Saturday. Speaking in the stadium on Sunday, the President said he was “very concerned about gambling” in sport. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Intervention likely to raise eyebrows with presidential election looming in the autumn

Gavin Duffy, who says  he entered the race “to give voters a choice”. He is a member of the Louth Hunt and a former chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dragons’ Den star says he will run ‘the most modern, dynamic, interactive campaign’

 Minister for Health Simon Harris:  his brave and deft handling of the abortion referendum is insulating him from criticism about the state of the health service over which he  presides

Ministers tend to ask not ‘how can we fix the health system?’ but ‘how can we stop it costing us the election?’

Retired judge, Mr Justice Sean Ryan, chairperson , at the launch of TCommission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report, in Dublin. File photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Justice expressed his gratitude to Mr Justice Charleton for ‘ sterling work’

Dublin remains the centre of the State’s homelessness problem with 1,352 families accessing homeless services in the region out of a national total of 1,754. There were 2,858 children in such services in the capital in June

Homeless campaigners say the numbers remain unacceptably high

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will today begin a tour of three European capitals to discuss Brexit and other issues. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach to visit Croatia, Romania and Italy as Dominic Raab criticises Brussels stance

A water tanker near Vartry Reservoir, Co Wicklow. The Department of Housing and Local Government said on Sunday that  even with some rainfall, reservoir levels will not rise because the soil is too dry.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Department says without heavy rainfall in coming weeks, further restrictions inevitable

Former chairperson of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Senator Catherine Noone is part of the group. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Irish and UK politicians call on British government to reform North’s abortion laws

Martin O’Donoghue pictured at his home in 1983. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Trinity economist (85) was elected to the Dáil in 1977 and was appointed a minister on his first day

British prime minister Theresa May in Belfast on July 20th: her administration can resemble the final days of Brian Cowen’s chaotic, disintegrating government. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/WPA Pool/Getty

With little progress on backstop, Dublin must pool ideas with DUP and Sinn Féin

Theresa May delivers a speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, on Friday. The British prime minister challenged the EU to reply to last week’s British government White Paper. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Reuters

EU chief negotiator Barnier says the UK’s White Paper is ‘proven unworkable’

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan: “What took place during the Brexit referendum and the last US presidential election cannot be ignored or allowed happen again.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Information will shed light on the extent of online campaigning in Ireland

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe  warned that health spending would have to be controlled. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Spending review advises reducing legal aid payments and garda overtime rates

The publication of expenditure reports gives Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe ammunition when he sits down to listen to Ministers demanding more money for their departments. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance has €800m for new spending and tax cuts

The cost of public service pensions will rise sharply in the coming years, increasing by €2 billion by 2025, while the level of pension contribution from public servants will remain steady.

Contributions from workers to remain static at some €1.6bn per year as bill hits €7.3bn

 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

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: because of “turmoil in Westminster”, the Government will step up plans for a “no-deal scenario”. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Coveney to brief Cabinet on recruitment and other preparations for hard Brexit

Political parties should improve levels of cyber security, a group of senior officials who examined threats to Irish elections and referendums from disinformation said.

Transparency of online political advertising should be regulated, group says

Referring to “political instability in London” and “turmoil in Westminster” the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it “shouldn’t give us cause for panic”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘It’s prudent for any government to prepare for the worst’ - Leo Varadkar

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Senator Ivana Bacik during a Labour  press briefing on religion in schools.   Photograph:  Collins

‘We don’t believe children should be separated on the basis of religion in education’

Sláintecare aims to  restructure the health service from a current mix of public and private care into “an affordable, universal, single-tier healthcare system, in which patients are treated promptly on the basis of need rather than ability to pay”. Photograph: Getty Images

Growing concerns that the HSE deficit could be over €500m for the full year

Low water levels at Blessington Lake. Photograph: Tom Honan

Agreement is building around stand-alone body under public ownership and management

Night-time reductions in the water supply were introduced in the greater Dublin area last night. Photograph: iStock

Some politicians say support is contingent on utility remaining in public ownership

Palestinian farmer Muna al-Taneeb with Irish Senator Frances Black outside Leinster House  for a vote on the occupied territories Bill. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/AP Images for Avaaz

The legislation would ban imports from illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attend the National Day of Commemoration ceremony at   Collins Barracks in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

President’s announcement that he will seek a second term opens up the bear pit

Shipping containers in Dublin Port. Photograph: Alan Betson

Simon Coveney claims extra measures will be required at Irish ports and airports

Senator and former attorney general Michael McDowell says he believes that aspects of the Bill are unconstitutional. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Legislation championed by Shane Ross has not concluded committee stage in the Seanad

Leinster House. Photograph: Alan Betson

Parties get funding for each TD and senator, while Independents get individual grants

Labour former minister Ben Bradshaw (bottom right) throws copies of the Brexit White Paper to colleagues as Brexit secretary Dominic Raab makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire

Publication will ‘inject momentum’ into negotiations, Government hopes

Today is the final day of scheduled Dáil sittings for the term, with the House adjourning until Septemer 18th

Inside Politics: Some believe Fine Gael has been stringing out the legislative process as there is little enthusiasm in party for (...)

The Bill’s author, Independent Senator Frances Black, has called the settlements “a gross violation of international law”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Ballot to ban Israeli goods from occupied Palestinian territories passes in Seanad

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the British government was moving to “what the majority of people are looking for - which is a sensible, soft Brexit.” File photograph: Cyril Byrne

British moving towards a ‘sensible, soft Brexit’, says Coveney

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: has clashed with Shane Ross on occasion. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Shane Ross wants reform of selection process as he believes bench is marred by ‘cronyism’

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan  resigned last year after controversies in the gardaí.  Photograph: The Irish Times

Ministers and commissioners have to resign or retire ‘even for issues not of their making’

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu: when the Bill was last tabled, he summoned the Irish Ambassador to Israel to hear his objections. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty

Campaigners optimistic Frances Black Bill will pass when it reaches Seanad

British prime minister Theresa May: has she the political strength to follow through after the resignations? Few are  willing to say so with much confidence.  Photograph: Rick Findler

Intensifying Brexit negotiations likely to make May move further towards EU position

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. ‘Neither the Constitution nor political logic gives him the power to have his election while blaming someone else for it.’

Taoiseach’s damaging Trump comparison adds to Brexit and election misfires

British prime minister Theresa May hosts a meeting with her cabinet at Chequers to discuss Brexit. Photograph: Joel Rouse/MOD Crown Copyright

British ministers agree at Chequers summit to plans for a new EU-UK free trade area

Irish sources expressed concern that Theresa  May’s anticipated move would be unacceptable to Brussels. Photograph: Sean Gallup/EPA

Irish Government expects British prime minister to signal towards soft Brexit

In recent weeks NGO search and rescue activity has ceased in the Mediterranean under pressure from EU governments. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

EU operation helps return of migrants to risk of rape, slavery and murder, charity says

The referendum on the deletion of article 41.2 from the Constitution is likely to be held on October 25th. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Poll likely to be held on day of blasphemy referendum and presidential election

‘LE Samuel Beckett’  is back on duty in the  Mediterranean in Operation Sophia. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/ Provision

Operation Sophia has made crossing the Mediterranean more deadly, says charity

Leo Varadkar arriving at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels last week. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Taoiseach pilloried for ‘subservient’ attitude to EU during Dáil statements on summit

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: to meet  UK cabinet office minister David Lidington and chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister set to emphasise Britain must deliver legally on December commitments

The exchequer figures show the Government collected just under €25 billion in taxes in the year to the end of June, which was 5 per cent up on last year and more than €168 million ahead of target. File photograph: Getty Images

Concerns grow over reliance on corporate sector, and health overspending

The Taoiseach is seeking to give himself the grounds for an autumn election. Photograph: Reuters

Inside Politics: Varadkar and Martin are circling one another over renewal of the confidence and supply agreement

The Sláintecare report recommends  reforms throughout the health service, including the complete separation of the public and private systems of healthcare. Photograph: Getty Images

There is nervousness in Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure about potential escalation of costs under the plan

 Super-junior Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath:  “I wouldn’t feel comfortable wining and dining there”

A number of politicians have declined invitations to a US embassy event in protest over Trump administration policies

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: rejected a charge that Fine Gael Ministers were “swaggering around the place”. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Senior Fianna Fáil figures believe Varadkar is keeping option of autumn election open

Online political ads: Who pays  and where they get the money is information citizens need if they are to be fully informed about the democratic processes.

Democracy of Irish voting needs laws to ensure transparency of digital influence

Some Ministers believe Fine Gael can gain between seven and 13 seats in the next general election

Senior Government sources say Taoiseach is eager to have general election this year

French president Emmanuel Macron greets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a breakfast meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, on Friday. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/PA

Varadkar struggles to sound optimistic in Brussels while EU’s focus shifts to other matters

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “Some of these NGOs are doing great work, some aren’t up to much good, quite frankly.”  Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

EU summit resolves to increase aid to Africa and consider refugee reception centres

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks at the end of a night of negotiation on migration during an European Council summit in Brussels.Photograph: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Ireland will accept migrants to Europe as part of burden-sharing, says Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Helen McEntee, Minister of State for European Affairs, arrive at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Bloc’s leaders warn Theresa May of the danger of the UK crashing out of the union

Micheál Martin: he said he had been clear since as early as last February that he wanted to pass a  third budget as committed to in the confidence and supply arrangement

Fianna Fáil leader claims the Taoiseach is trying to provoke him into an election

Leo Varadkar: “We’re two years telling people that it can’t be cherrypicking – it can’t be cake and eat it.” Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Taoiseach warns that the EU could not compromise on fundamental principles of single market

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘If Belgium wins, England will probably get an easier ride in the next round. So perhaps it’s one of those win-win scenarios.’ Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuter

Taoiseach spoke to reporters on Fianna Fáil and football ahead of EU Brexit talks in Brussels

New Garda commissioner Drew Harris. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Government desperate to show it can pass Bills through Dail, says insider

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

No official comment from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil or Labour on Lowry verdict

Simon Harris: he has insisted that all legal provisions to allow for abortion services will be in place by the end of the year

No mention of abortion Bill in list of 19 Bills Government is seeking to progress in next fortnight

The MV “Lifeline”, now moored off Malta, has 234 migrants who were rescued on June 20th including 14 women and four children younger than three years.   Photograph:  Felix Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Coveney says he told Malta that Ireland would take 10 per cent of the 234 migrants

Big test: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

There’s one force working against pledges to not repeat mistakes of the past: an election

“At the moment everything is driven by the chaos in London.” Britain’s prime minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Increasingly, the Government will have to ride two horses in the Brexit negotiations

Minister for Health Simon Harris said a clause has been included in the agreement to ensure contractual compliance by consultants, “in particular those relating to private practice”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Consultants had lodged breach of contract claims against HSE and the State

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the launch of Feile An Phobail at St Mary’s University College, Belfast, Friday June 8th, 2018. Photograph: Laura Hutton/PA Wire

Inside Politics: We have become used to Varadkar as Taoiseach now, so it’s easy forget how novel he was

Seamus Coffey: will brief TDs and Senators on the advisory council’s budget warnings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fiscal Advisory Council to recommend paying down debt and making economy resilient

The cases are due in court this week. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Private investigators were used to monitor individual doctors’ hours, it has been reported

Leo Varadkar: ‘The deadline is October and I do think it is possible between now and October for us to finalise and negotiate that withdrawal agreement.’ File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Leo Varadkar says Brexit talks should continue despite the lack of progress on the issue

 Leo Varadkar is expected to frame the plan as part of Ireland’s response to Brexit. Photograph: EPA/Paul McErlane

Increased promotion of Irish arts and culture abroad will form a key part of the plan

 Mary Lou Mc Donald voting at St Joseph’s, Navan Road: her intentions are clear – a coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

McDonald may have her moment but competition between FG and FF will remain key

Pro-Life Campaign spokeswoman Caroline Simons says the result of the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment does not mean the Government is obliged to legislate for unrestricted abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Pro-Life Campaign says there is no need for Government to legislate for abortion up to 12 weeks

Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis (right), with international trade secretary Liam Fox outside 10 Downing Street on Thursday. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

UK wants a permanent solution to the issue to be included in its withdrawal agreement

Observers of Theresa May’s management of Brexit might raise some questions about the details and progress made. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Pool/EPA

Amid much political huffing and puffing, the latest Brexit ‘plan’ leaves many unsure

President Michael D Higgins: cannot sign the referendum result into law – therefore amending the Constitution – until the legal process has been exhausted. Photograph: Eric Luke

Concluding all possible legal avenues by early July will be extremely difficult

Criminal lawyer Tara Burns, currently counsel to the former Garda press officer Dave Taylor at the Disclosures Tribunal, has been nominated for appointment to the High Court.  Photograph: Collins Courts

Three new Court of Appeal judges and one High Court judge named

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been increasing pressure on London to propose more concrete solutions in time for the summit. Photograph: EPA/BALAZS MOHAI

Irish officials expect new British proposals on Border this week

Mary Lou McDonald said that she expected to talk to both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael about forming a government. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Party expects to open negotiations on coalition deal after next election

On a roll: Mary Lou McDonald at the RDS during the abortion referendum count. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Abortion question, bullying allegations and intolerance of dissent could cause problems

Shane Ross  has frequently held up appointments because he wants to see new laws governing judicial appointments introduced. Photograph: Barbara Lindberg

Shane Ross declined to say if he would assent to new appointments to Court of Appeal

The Villa Spada, the Irish embassy in Rome. Derek Hannon is to replace Emma Madigan as teh new ambassador to the Holy See in the Vatican.

Mumbai, New Zealand and Jordan among new diplomatic missions to be established

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: ordered a review of how rape cases were conducted following Belfast trial. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Justice says proposal complicated by nature of Ireland’s trial process

The HSE has told the department that overspending is a result of the January trolley crisis and additional pressure on hospitals, especially from older patients

HSE overspending understood to have reached €100m for first quarter of year alone

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