Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with French president Emmanuel Macron. The post-Brexit direction of the EU led by Macron will be uncomfortable for Ireland in several respects. File photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Six-month extension to Brexit opens potential window for general election

Taoiseach Minister Leo Varadkar  and French President Emmanuel Macron leave after a special EU summit on Brexit at the European Council in Brussels. Photograph Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Good news for Ireland as summit shows lengths EU and UK will go to to avoid crash-out

British prime minister Theresa May holds a press conference after the European Council meeting on Brexit in Brussels. Photograph: by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

British PM rejects charge that she has reneged on a promise to House of Commons

UK prime minister Theresa May arrives for an EU summit in Brussels. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Friday crash-out likely to be averted but EU is sceptical about prospects of breakthrough

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May and Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel in discussion with European Council president Donald Tusk, ahead of the meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via Reuters

Change in article 50 deadline will be reviewed in June as Macron blocks longer delay

Theresa May departs 10 Downing Street today. Photograph: EPA/ANDY RAIN

Inside Politics: Widespread scepticism over Theresa May’s request for an extension until June 30th

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/WPA Pool/Getty

Taoiseach is concerned that offering extension UK does not want may lead to no-deal

Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator, at Government Buildings speaking to media following meeting. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ministers at Dublin meeting are told EU will ‘stand fully behind Ireland’

European Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier, meeting Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar  at Government Buildings. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Barnier says ‘operational solutions’ will be found to goods crossing the Border

Puffed up on empty Brexiteer rhetoric but clueless strategically and politically, the UK accepted the EU design of how the talks process would work. Photograph: Getty Images

This chapter in the UK’s history has been marked by a catastrophic failure of leadership

European Council president Donald Tusk and UK prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/Pool/EPA

Dublin favours longer extension but expects EU to impose conditions

German chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as she leaves Farmleigh House: the visit was “the message”. Photograph:  Maxwellphotography.ie/Pool

Europe’s most powerful politician’s face time with Varadkar leaves her reassured

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar greets  German chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin on Thursday. Photograpg: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

‘We will simply have to be able to do this, we must be successful,’ says German chancellor

Theresa May has held Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Both Conservatives and Labour are split on the issue as May meets Corbyn for talks

Preparations for dealing with the EU frontier on the island of Ireland will be one of the main items on the agenda when the German chancellor Angela Merkel visits Dublin today for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Discussion of frontier will be on agenda when Angela Merkel visits Dublin

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May in the House of Commons. A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister held constructive talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday. Photograph: Mark Duffy/UK Parliament/AFP

Prime minister and Labour leader agree ‘programme of work’ to find common approach

British prime minister Theresa May: signalled that she would drop some of her negotiating red lines as she sought a compromise on the political declaration setting out the future relationship between Britain and the EU.  Photograph: Jack Taylor/PA Wire

PM to ask for short delay to Brexit and seek common approach with Labour leader

Ms Justice Mary Irvine: she  has served as a judge on the Court of Appeal for the last four years, and before that was a High Court judge, having been appointed in 2007

New legislation governing the appointment of judges continues to make its way slowly through the Houses of the Oireachtas

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg   after meeting with members of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, in Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan

Mark Zuckerberg praises Europe’s GDPR rules during meeting with Irish politicians

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May arrives at church, in Sonning. Sunday, March 31st. Photograph: Reuters/Simon Dawson

Ulster Unionist leader launches stinging Brexit attack on DUP

Leo Varadkar will meet with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel this week to discuss plans for the EU in the case of a no-deal Brexit. File photograph:  Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chaos continues at Westminster as 11 ministers in May’s cabinet urge her to leave EU with no deal

The Greens are running 100 candidates North and South in the local elections – a springboard, says leader Eamon Ryan, to a general election he expects in September/October. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Despite all the handwringing, Irish voters are oddly reluctant to back Green initiatives

MPs rejected Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement by 344 votes to 286. Photograph:  Mark Duffy/AFP

Theresa May hints at snap general election as MPs vote against agreement for the third time

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who plans to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin next Thursday. Photograph: Eva Plevier/Reuters

Varadkar to meet Macron in Paris on Tuesday

President Michael D Higgins launches the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at UCD, with his wife Sabina, Prof Colin Scott and Dr Aidan Regan. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Head of State calls for changes to European institutions amid deepening inequalities

A video grab shows MPs waiting to hear the outcome of indicative votes on the alternative options for Brexit. Image: AFP PHOTO/PRU

Inside Politics: None of the alternative options secured majority backing from MPs after indicative votes

British prime minister Theresa May announced on Wednesday that she would not remain in her post for the next phase of Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Border question has been hiding in plain sight for some time

Alexandre Holroyd: “The EU will cease to function if we don’t find a way that citizens are more convinced of its efficiencies. We have to get out of the status quo”

French MP Alexandre Holroyd is one of five ‘ambassadors’ promoting Macron’s ideas for greater EU solidarity

John Cronin, president of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and Jane Howard, Ulster Bank’s CEO, pictured with Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney. Photograph: Paul Sherwood

Varadkar insists North will have to be treated differently to avoid hard border in no-deal scenario

A former shop known locally as Matt the Bakers at the Border between Co Tyrone and Co Monaghan. Photograph: Bryn Colton/Bloomberg

Taoiseach concedes no-deal poses ‘dilemma’ during sometimes testy Dáil exchanges

 Theresa May: will address Conservative backbenchers on Wednesday afternoon. Photograph:  Paul Ellis/AFP

Mounting speculation PM will set date for resignation to get backbenchers on board

 As the European Commission acknowledged that a no-deal outcome was growing more likely, it  said it would immediately apply its rules and tariffs at the border with the UK. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Contingency planning taking place behind closed doors in event of no-deal Brexit

Eoghan Murphy (left), Minister for Local Government, signed orders setting the day for polling, while Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan (right) will bring proposals to Cabinet about modernising divorce arrangements. Photograph: Alan Betson

Day sets up to be ‘super Friday’ with referendum and plebiscites on three city mayors

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) with other EU leaders at the European Council summit in Brussels. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Brussels Diary: Frustration of EU leaders with British prime minister unmistakable

The EU will no longer be sad to see the UK go; it will be relieved. Photograph: Getty Images

All that time, effort, energy and money spent dealing with the Brexit shambles could have been expended elsewhere

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has refused to engage with suggestions that an EU task force could be set up to deal with the Border in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Photograph: Getty Images

Merkel notes difficulties of protecting the Belfast Agreement in a no-deal situation

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gives a press conference at the end of an EU summit focused on Brexit in Brussels on Friday.  Photograph: Aris Oikonomou/AFP/Getty Images

DUP describes Theresa May’s failure to secure new EU concessions as ‘inexcusable’

British prime minister Theresa May ahead of the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

EU leaders agree extension if MPs approve British prime minister’s Brexit deal next week

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives for a meeting ahead of the European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Taoiseach meets prime minister in Brussels after warning against ‘rolling cliff edge’

A man with painted EU and British flags on his face is seen ahead of a EU Summit in Brussels. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

EU agrees to give UK more time, but key House of Commons vote still due next week

 British prime minister Theresa May leaves after making a statement inside Number 10 Downing Street. Photograph: EPA/CHRIS J. RATCLIFFE

Inside Politics: Prime minister makes extraordinary attack on Commons in televised address

UK prime minister Theresa May: ‘All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want.’ Photograph:  Chris J Ratcliffe/Pool/EPA

PM points finger in TV address after Tusk rules out extension without MPs voting for deal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach strikes softer tone than Tusk but warns of a ‘no-deal scenario by accident’

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May speaking during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons in London. Photograph: HO/PRU/AFP Photo

Varadkar says it is time to ‘cut the British government some slack’ and allow extension

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and European chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a  council on article 50 negotiations   at the European Commission in Brussels. Photograph:  Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Justification for an extension must be linked to a new event or a new political process, says Barnier

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and European Council president Donald Tusk at Government Buildings on Tuesday. Photograph: Paul Faith/Getty Images

Tusk expresses ‘strong and ongoing solidarity’ with Ireland in advance of summit

DUP (leader Arlene Foster, above) ‘could have used its leverage in Westminster to design a Brexit that delivered unprecedented opportunities to Northern Ireland’  Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Usually you have to be good at politics to be prime minister – then there’s Teresa May

 Donald Trump shakes hands with Leo Varadkar: a visit to Ireland by Mr Trump would be a political, security and logistical nightmare for the Government. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP

Government acknowledges US president likely to face protests rather than cheering crowds

 British soldiers   killed 14 unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. Photograph:  William L Rukeyser/Getty Images

Decision to charge Bloody Sunday soldiers expected on Thursday

UK prime minister Theresa May (front centre) in the House of Commons. Photograph: Mark Duffy/UK Parliament/AFP/Getty

British PM issues warning after House of Commons votes to rule out no-deal exit

British prime minister Theresa May in the House of Commons as MPs rejected her Brexit deal by 391 votes to 242. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

Inside Politics: British government releases its plans for tariffs and the Border

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Short of strapping her dead deal to a horse, El Cid style, Theresa May has few options left

Withdrawal agreement: Three documents were published  which will carry varying degrees of legal force. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Analysis: Provision on backstop is clearly important for the British

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s poll numbers, formerly stellar, are now of a more terrestrial hue. Photograph: François Lenoir/Reuters

Evidence of economic competence required if Fine Gael is to recover losses in opinion polls

The Government is blamed even by Fine Gael voters for cost overruns at the national children’s hospital, with 69 per cent polled saying it has mismanaged the project.

Seventy-seven per cent say Government mismanaged children’s hospital project

British prime minister Theresa May and DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Large majority would back staying in EU in second vote while one-third want border poll

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds at Westminster: A whopping two-thirds of Northern voters said they thought DUP MPs were doing a bad job of representing Northern Ireland in London. File photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Irish Times poll shows cross-community support in North for softest of soft exits from EU

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Hartstown Community School, Blakestown, Dublin 15. Photograph: Tom Honan

Eight-point decline in leader’s personal rating will worry Fine Gael most of all

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar satisfaction rating has fallen by eight points from 51% last October to 43% today. Photograph: Tom Honan

Support for Fine Gael falls sharply among farmers and most well-off voters

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney speaks to the media during a press brieifing in the courtyard of Government Buildings in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste stresses Irish and EU desire to help UK pass a deal in crucial Commons vote

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney during the Government’s launch of A Better World, February 28th. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Restrictions on use of aid money to be set aside following abortion reform in Ireland

The Minister for Communications intends to empower an online safety commissioner with authority to order internet companies to remove content. File photograph: Getty Images

Government initiative to herald end of self-regulation era for social media companies

The informal meeting of the Cabinet at Farmleigh House will be “a good opportunity to take stock and focus on broader issues”, a Government spokesman said. Photograph: Eric Luke

Meeting an opportunity to ‘focus on broader issues’ in lead-up to Commons votes

Peter Feeney questioned whether Irish juries should hold the authority to decide on the level of damages awarded in libel cases. Photograph: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Ombudsman says Irish levels above other countries and points to ‘self-censorship’ issue

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney: the men who brought you the bulletproof backstop. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Government is coming to see a move on border backstop would be sensible

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: politicians should bear in mind the extreme cost of tribunals and inquiries. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Moriarty, Siteserv and ‘Project Eagle’ contribute to department total bill of €110m-plus

A handout photo taken from the Twitter page of Tánaiste Simon Coveney(right) shows him with British  cabinet office minister David Lidington  in Dublin on Thursday. Photograp: Twitter/PA Wire.

Tánaiste tells Theresa May’s defacto deputy that Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened

Michael Cohen reacts while listening to the closing remarks before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Photograph: EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Inside Politics: Michael Cohen tells a congressional hearing the US president is a racist, conman and cheat

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with British prime minister Theresa May  earlier this week in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. In the Dáil on Wednesday he said he hoped to be in a position to make a decision on the broadband plan before Easter. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Taoiseach says cost of the plan has risen to ‘many multiples of the original estimate’

Irish and EU sources say the text of the Withdrawal Agreement provisions on the backstop cannot be changed. An anti-Brexit rally in Co Louth, January 2019. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Breakthrough not expected until mid-March making article 50 extension more likely

Political satire artist Kaya Mar holds his painting of Theresa May pushing Brexit off a cliff outside Downing Street. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

If May is to swing her party behind her deal, she needs a backstop tweak she can sell

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘If it’s being delayed as a plot to stop Brexit altogether ... it would undermine our democracy.’ Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Mays says if MPs reject deal, they can vote on no deal and on extending article 50

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn: “We are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.” Photograph:  Aaron Chown/PA

London to bring back direct rule in NI as administrative move in event of crashout

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. “Donohoe did a deal; he will pay the nurses more; he has opened his wallet.” Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Unravelling of pay deal will take months and may get subsumed into an election

Head of  Bam, Mr Cullinane, said the construction firm would ‘fully engage with PwC to ensure all relevant facts are disclosed’.  Photograph: Niall Carson/ PA Wire

Construction firm Bam says it will step down if asked to do so

Construction site of the national children’s hospital: its costs are soaring but the Government appears to learn  from  such mistakes. Photograph: Tom Honan

State is still learning about infrastructure costings. Hospital is dear but valuable lesson

Robert Watt, secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, said he had been asked to appear before four Dáil committees in connection with the children’s hospital.   File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

PAC wants to question DPER head Robert Watt about children’s hospital spending

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, pictured at the European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

Taoiseach warns Ministers not to engage with British requests to discuss the backstop

The contract for the children’s hospital was awarded to the lowest tender (€637 million) but the costs have rocketed since to an expected €1.7 billion Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government concerned over companies low-balling for tenders for children’s hospital

Minister for Health Simon Harris (left) and Minister for Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe speaking after the nurses’ strike was suspended Photograph: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Paschal Donohoe concedes a pay increase to nurses of some €1,200 each

Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister for Finance  Paschal  Donohoe speaking to the media at Government Buildings on Monday night. Photograph: Tom Honan

Fears that pay increases for nurses may threaten wider public sector pay agreement

A view of the construction site of The National Children’s Hospital. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

Harris describes protest at his house as ‘plain and simple intimidation’

Supporters of a nurses and midwives protest at Merrion Square on Saturday linked to the now suspended nationwide strike. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fórsa poised to scrutinise Labour Court implications for other civil and public servants

UK shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer speaking to the media before holding a series of meetings in Congress House in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Labour MP visited Dublin and met unions, businesses and Tánaiste Simon Coveney

Minister for Health Simon Harris; the European Investment Bank’s Andrew McDowell and Werner Hoyer; and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the signing of documents for the EIB loan for the national children’s hospital, in December 2017. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Government’s efforts to project itself as a sensible manager of the national finances now undermined

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK prime minister Theresa May in Farmleigh House, Dublin Photograph: AFP/Maxwells/Getty

Private dinner meeting described as ‘warm’ by aides also focused on stalled NI assembly

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  and Minister for Health Simon Harris help turn the sod to mark the commencement of construction of the national children’s hospital in October 2017. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Few people believe, at this point anyway, that Harris will be forced to resign on the issue

Leo Varadkar and Theresa May. The two leaders do not have an easy relationship, and all their previous meetings have come across as scratchy.  Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

A common view is PM's visits to Brussels and Dublin are to show activity, momentum

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker receives prime minister Theresa May in Brussels. Photograph:  Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Varadkar to confirm EU’s repeated line to prime minister that backstop not on table

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation members on the picket line outside St James’s Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Latest public pay row is the most important battle of Paschal Donohoe’s ministerial career

British prime minister Theresa May  giving a speech on Brexit in Belfast on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA/Aidan Crawley

British prime minister says during Belfast visit promise to avoid hard border is ‘unshakeable’

Artist’s impressions  of proposed new National Children’s Hospital at St James Hospital campus.

Taoiseach yields to concerns around oversight layers and acceptance of responsibility

Revenue from the new taxes would enable the Government to fund “a five-year plan for eradicating poverty in Ireland”, the group says. Photograph: Alan Betson

Social Justice Ireland’s annual report says Ireland’s economic model not fit for purpose

 Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid appears on BBC’s  Andrew Marr Show where he suggested technology could be used to avoid a hard border in Ireland. Photograph: Reuters

Taoiseach frustrated UK is revisiting things already rejected and which will not work

The critical decision Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will face will be whether to offer an amendment to the  backstop to help Theresa May. Photograph: Tom Honan

Pat Leahy: The Government is going to have to decide whether to help Theresa May

Leo Varadkar will “outline the work under way in Ireland and the supports that may be needed given the potential impact of a hard Brexit in Ireland”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Few significant public developments likely until votes in the Commons on February 14th

Nurses were the most trusted profession. File image: iStock

Only 10% of those surveyed trust social media influencers

 Britain’s foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt leaves Downing Street. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Corbyn says an extension may be required due to government’s ‘failure to negotiate’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: told Theresa May it was unusual to go back on an agreement she had made. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Inside Politics: Taoiseach tells British PM it was unusual to go back on an agreement she had made

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. British prime minister Theresa May offered no new ideas on how to avoid a hard Border in a telephone call with him on Wednesday night. Photograph: Tom Honan

Europe reaffirms backing for State ahead of visit to discuss no-deal Brexit preparations

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