Presidential hopeful Gavin Duffy told Carlow County Council he would “inspire debate and dialogue” if elected. File photograph: Collins

Presidential candidate tells Carlow councillors he would avoid ‘megaphone diplomacy’

Michael D Higgins and Niall Ring, the Lord Mayor of Dublin: The Office of President does not fall under the remit of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 but receives significant public funding. Photograph:  Maxwell Photography

Fianna Fáil says it will consider legislation in September

Independent Alliance TDs Shane Ross and John Halligan called for an increase to the special VAT rate for hotels. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Cost of the lowered rate since its introduction in 2011 has been €2.7bn

Fianna Fáil has launched a new policy   aimed at improving safety for cyclists and overhauling cycling infrastructure.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fianna Fáil also wants legislation requiring motorists to keep a minimum distance from cyclists when passing them

Some of the correspondence questioned the celebratory scenes in Dublin Castle on the day of the referendum count. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/ Getty Images

Freedom of Information documents reveal level of hostility to repealing the amendment

 The Irish Hockey team  following their reception at City Hall. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Funds have been drawn from a €12m dividend from the Irish Aviation Authority

Under proposals, councils would be given targets of how many houses they should build and the work would then be contracted on to private developers. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Housing to become tension point between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in negotiations

 Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Fourteen councillors made allegations of bullying before quitting

 Minister for Health Simon Harris:  the Government denies he is considering an interim law to assist women who have received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality and to decriminalise those who procure an abortion.   Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Three court cases have delayed introduction of law to regulate pregnancy termination

Margaret Cash with six of her seven children. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said there is clearly urgent need for a review of how State agencies deal with families who present late at night in need of emergency accommodation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Plans in place to move homeless families to commuter towns during papal visit

Michael Healy Rae. Photograph: David Sleator

Independent TD writes stories ‘about growing up and different things like that’

Leo Varadkar, Regina Doherty and Peter Fitzpatrick at the Fine Gael 78th Ard Fheis in 2016. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The Louth TD was a vocal opponent to the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment and had indicated he would vote against the (...)

Lecturer in law at NUI Galway Tom O’Malley has been asked to assess the legal protection offered to complainants in sexual assault trials.

Law lecturer to report proposed changes to Justice Minister shortly

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan set out a new system under which asylum seekers apply to the Department of Justice for work permits. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Background: Numbers seeking permits expose flaws in Government scheme

The Department of Justice estimates that some 3,000 of the more than 5,300 people in the direct provision system will benefit from the work permit changes. Photograph: Rory O’Neill

System introduced by the Government less than six weeks ago lifts ban preventing many asylum seekers from taking up jobs

Minister for Health Simon Harris and Laura Magahy, executive director of the Sláintecare Programme Office. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.

Minister says Government committed to reform plan despite failure to set budget or timeline

Minister for Health Simon Harris and  Laura Magahy, executive director of the Sláintecare programme office, pictured at the publication of the Sláintecare implementation strategy. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Implementation strategy doesn’t deal with some of the most significant proposals

Simon Harris at the launch of Sláintecare in Dublin. Photograph: Aoife Moore/PA

Minister for Health Simon Harris says the cost of the reforms will depend on talks

Photograph: Alan Betson

Michael Fitzmaurice says distance charging idea shows Government is out of touch

Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland including in the cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities making it one of the most restrictive systems in Europe. File photograph: PA Wire

Minister for Health urges NI politicians to address abortion ban there

 Lisa Lawlor with her parents Maureen and Francis, who were both killed in the Stardust tragedy in 1981. Ms Lawlor, 38, who was just 17-months-old when her parents died, has given her support to a call for a new inquest for the first time. Photograph: Family handout/PA Wire

Group now pressing for fresh inquests into the deaths of 48 people in 1981 Artane blaze

 Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross: “I welcome all suggestions about the best way to reopen Stepaside Garda station but criticism from the man who closed the station is a little bit rich.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ex-minister claims Stepaside station will be just a ‘prefab’ across four car park spaces

Pope Francis waves to a crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square  in the Vatican. File photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Cabinet is warned that pontiff’s forthcoming trip to Ireland carries a number of risks

The plan, which was launched by former minister for housing Simon Coveney, aimed to eliminate homelessness and to rapidly increase the supply of housing, most particularly social housing, by 2021. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Rebuilding Ireland was launched two years ago. There are still 9,846 people homeless

The proposals follow advice from the Attorney General Séamus Woulfe, who said the current flaws in the legislation may contravene Ireland’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Reforms to coroners legislation will strengthen and modernise current law

Under the existing legislation, children under the age of 16 are currently prohibited from accessing gender recognition, while teenagers aged 16-17 must go through a medical and psychiatric process before changing. File photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Social Protection seeks to address loopholes in current legislation

Eoghan Murphy: he has received advice from the Attorney General  on potential wording for a referendum on enshrining public ownership of water services in the Constitution.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Separation from Ervia group could bring savings of €70m a year but also job losses

Sinn Féin  confirmed in recent days it will field a candidate to challenge Michael D Higgins in the presidential election. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

SF is the only party to challenge Michael D Higgins for office of president

The Constitution of Ireland –  Bunreacht na hÉireann. Photograph: Alan Betson

A vote on removing the Article seemed like a sure thing, but it has already been derailed

From left, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Laura Magahy, Dr Tom Keane and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

Laura Magahy owns consultancy firm which received €2.2m from the HSE in 2016

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: offered to meet the committee next week to discuss the matter. Photograph: Eric Luke

Government plans for October vote derailed by Dáil’s business committee

Minister for Health Simon Harris sought approval from Cabinet on Thursday morning for the appointment of Laura Magahy. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Former director of Temple Bar Properties was also involved with the ‘Bertie Bowl’

‘Women in the home’ proposal sent for further scrutiny before vote

The former Garda station in Stepaside. The Office of Public Works and An Garda Síochána are understood to prefer a new modular station. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Favoured option would involve a facility built in sections and transported to the Dublin site

President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins wave after they greeted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they arrived at Aras an Uactharain on Wednesday. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Parliamentary party agrees to back incumbent in his bid to be re-elected President

Some believe ‘woman’ reference in abortion Bill may exclude trans people

President Michael D Higgins has confirmed he is to offer himself for a second seven-year term in Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph:   Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Oireachtas members begin co-ordinated efforts to field a rival presidential candidate

Minister for Health Simon Harris committed to the introduction of exclusion zones outside facilities providing abortion services. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health confirms abortion services ‘will be provided on a universal basis’

Aidan O’Driscoll has been appointed secretary-general at the Department of Justice nine months after the position became vacant.

Aidan O’Driscoll is currently secretary-general at Department of Agriculture

A file image of Michael D Higgins and Seán Gallagher during the 2011 presidential campaign.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Michael D Higgins confirms intention to seek second term and is likely to face an election

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, AKA Harry and Meghan, will be visiting the capital city and will pop in to see Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Inside Politics: Who knows what can be achieved, or destroyed, between now and March?

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, who will bring the heads of the Health (Regulation of the Termination of Pregnancy) Bill to this morning’s Cabinet meeting. Photograph:  Tom Honan.

Minister for Health to seek Cabinet approval to publish abortion legislation

KBC Bank Ireland will be the last of the country’s five remaining retail banks to appear before the Oireachtas finance committee in the space of five weeks. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Non-performing loans have fallen almost by half to €4.5bn at the end of March, says chief

Leo Lieghio, Collette Griffin, Margaret Kavanagh, and Julie Patten, all of whom lost a child in road traffic incidents.

Filibustering and attempts to delay the legislation by some rural TDs left a bitter taste

Minister for Health Simon Harris is to bring the Heads of the Health (Regulation of the Termination of Pregnancy) Bill to Cabinet on Tuesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Zones of 100m-150m intended to stop women being harassed while accessing services

Dr Gabriel Scally had earlier criticised the HSE for a continuing delay in providing documentation to his investigation.  File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Dr Scally had earlier criticised alleged lack of cooperation on provision of documents

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: said it is “not acceptable” Dr  Gabriel Scally is facing resistance from State bodies. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Scoping inquiry chair Gabriel Scally not happy at information’s ‘pace and format’

Senator Joan Freeman: A number of TDs from the rural technical group confirmed they are willing to back her if she decides to run for president. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Pieta House founder was appointed to the Seanad by Enda Kenny

Leo Varadkar: “I don’t think I have said one personalised negative thing about Micheál Martin or made a personalised remark about him.” Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil leader launches personal attack on Taoiseach after latter’s remarks on media

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of Zendesk’s new office in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach tells reporters in Dublin he never said he agreed with US president

For Leo Varadkar to sympathise with the president of the United States on the media was moronic. Photograph: Reuters

Inside Politics: Taoiseach’s strategy is to bypass traditional press and use social media to connect with people

Increases in property prices and rents are continuing and the supply response has been insufficient. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Latest health report highlights housing crisis and advises against spending increases and tax cuts

Insolvency Service of Ireland: three of its investigations resulted in the recovery of about €6.5 million.  Photograph: iStockphoto

New bankruptcies fell 10% last year to 526 as economy continued to recover from crisis

Minister for Health Simon Harris will bring the Heads of the Patient Safety Bill to Cabinet.  File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Claims agency says number of legal actions is now 28, with two more potential challenges

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

Report into its future had proposed National Symphony Orchestra should be a State entity

Francesca McDonagh is to tell the Oireachtas finance committee the tracker issue became a “key focus” for her after she took up her role as  chief executive of Bank of Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Number of accounts identified as impacted up by 13 since March, to 9,345

Taking off from Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fingal County Council likely candidate after AG rules out Irish Aviation Authority

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is to seek Cabinet approval on Thursday to proceed with a referendum on the Constitutional reference to a woman’s place in the home. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan proceeds with deletion despite concerns

Independent TD Mattie McGrath: “I believe there is a need for a new political party, which focuses on rural issues.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Independent TD plans to set up his own party with TD for Cork South West Michael Collins

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald: holds view there should be a presidential contest and has indicated she has identified potential candidates. Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA

Views differ on whether SF should support Michael D Higgins or field own candidate

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

Simon Harris attends the launch of the State’s new LGBTI+  national youth strategy, in Dublin. Photograph:

Tánaiste says Fine Gael not keen for there to be an election as the public do not want one

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

Gaby Patino and Max have lived in a direct provision centre with her boyfriend in Cork for nearly two years. File photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Employed people will be expected to make contribution to direct provision centre

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Taoiseach needed to “cop on”. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader claims party will not discuss renewing confidence and supply agreement

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has  said he does not envisage offering employers incentives to recruit asylum seekers. File photograph: Eric Luke

But new scheme excludes those who are appealing rejected asylum applications

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Drew Harris at Government Buildings on Tuesday. Mr Harris is currently the Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Taoiseach welcomes appointment of outsider as ‘good’ for Irish policing

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan secured Cabinet approval on Tuesday to lift restrictions on asylum seekers working, including the abolishment of the €1,000 payment for an employment permit. Photograph: Eric Luke

All jobs but Garda, Defence and Civil Service will be open to those in direct provision

Drew Harris, who has 34 years’ policing experience, principally in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Party has had tense relationship with Drew Harris – some partly blame him for Adams’s arrest

Micheal Martin: “President Higgins has served the country with great distinction over the course of his first term both at home and around the world.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Micheal Martin says party will not field a candidate in the presidential election

Deputy Chief Constable with the Police Service of Northern Ireland Drew Harris who has been chosen as the next Garda Commissioner. Photograph: Getty

An Garda Síochána is ‘on the cusp of significant change’, says Minister for Justice

Photograph: Eric Luke

Harris to address naming anomaly preventing same sex-couples register as legal parent

Senator Gerard Craughwell. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Gerard Craughwell claims President is delaying any announcement for tactical reasons

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan: he may be in charge of granting work permits

Supreme Court ruled a year ago ban on asylum-seekers accessing work was unconstitutional

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín accepts he will  lose the whip by voting against abortion legislation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Meath West TD will not support law to allow for access to terminations up to 12 weeks

Risk register: Gardaí say an intruder alarm and CCTV systems should be installed to monitor access in offices and public waiting areas. File photograph: Getty Images

Gardaí advise politicians on how best to assist staff in wake of rising threat from public

A coloured scanning electron micrograph of a cell of a cervical carcinoma. File photograph: Getty Images

HSE phones woman to apologise while she is getting post-cancer-treatment wig

As the incumbent, President Michael D. Higgins can nominate himself for a second term. Photograph: Toms Kalnins/EPA

Michael D Higgins indicates his desire to stand again ahead of formal announcement

A total of 204 women have made requests seeking their medical records. However, only 116 of the files have been handed over.  File photograph:  Frank Miller

‘Extraordinary’ figures show many yet to receive information despite Government promises

Minister for Health Simon Harris has been sent a lengthy submission on abortion legislation by Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger.

Heads of a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancy is due to be published next month

The practice of sending smear tests to the US has been criticised in recent weeks as the CervicalCheck controversy came to light. Photograph: Getty Images.

Practice of CervicalCheck sending smear tests abroad has been criticised

Nama sold its Northern Ireland property loans portfolio, Project Eagle, to US company Cerberus in 2014 for some €1.6billion. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

File of 800-pages on €1.6bn disposal of NI loans understood to have come from developer

 Minister for Health, Simon Harris: addresses criticisms levelled at the people who gathered in Dublin Castle for the referendum result.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Exclusion zones needed to stop protesters from intimidating women accessing services

Minister for Transport Shane Ross singled out Independent Senator Michael McDowell, who has been a vocal opponent of the measures. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister says he is pleased Upper House accepts change needed to way judges appointed

Many stay in emergency accommodation until they can secure a local authority home

The State apology was in response to a motion tabled by the Labour party and accepted by all political parties. Photograph: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

Mary McAleese says Ireland ‘now grown deeply respectful of gay citizens’

Deputy Carol Nolan, who had been suspended,  has written to Sinn Féin informing them she will not be returning to the party.

‘I cannot and will not support abortion... for that reason I have decided to leave Sinn Féin’

Ulster Bank’s interim chief executive, Paul Stanley, will update the Oireachtas finance committee on Tuesday on a range of issues concerning the lender. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Bank to update Oireachtas committee on overcharging issue that will result in €38m paidout

Article 41.2 of the Constitution says the State “recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved”. File photograph: Getty Images

Charlie Flanagan also seeking approval for referendum on issue of blasphemy

Five people have participated in the final round of interviews to become the next Garda commissioner. File photograph: iStockPhoto

If an internal Garda candidate is chosen, appointment likely to go ahead in August

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes: Despite a voluntary-redundancy scheme,  a land sale and new structures, the annual report warns of financial challenges.

Broadcaster posts €6.4m deficit for 2017and cites licence, Brexit and ad revenue woes

 Charlie Flanagan will seek Cabinet approval on Tuesday to offer a formal apology to the men, who were criminalised prior to 1993 for consensual same-sex activities. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Oireachtas to acknowledge law, in place prior to 1993, caused multiple harms to those affected

The Government may not be able to introduce legislation to regulate the termination of pregnancy until the autumn, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Attorney General says law cannot be considered by Oireachtas until challenges dealt with

Vicky Phelan who settled a High Court action after her cancer was missed in a smear test three years before she was diagnosed. Photograph: Collins Courts

Officials warn disclosures ‘could be more harmful than beneficial’ amid smear test inquiry

Mr Harris will brief the Opposition on Thursday on the issue but a source said the Government was mindful of the fact it could not be committal on the timeline. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Health plans to publish legislation in early July regardless of court actions

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was unclear as to whether legislation to implement the decision of the people can even be introduced in the Dáil while the courts consider the applications. Photograph: Dáil/PA Wire

Inside Politics: Taoiseach unclear if legislation can be introduced during court process

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has previously quetioned Mari Hurley’s appointment to the board of Nama.

Minister not opposed to second term for Mari Hurley but said he wants more transparency

Three cumainn from Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín’s constituency  support a vote of conscience on the forthcoming legislation on abortion. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Party leadership seeking to apply whip on the matter but 24 local cumainn are opposed

Dr Gabriel Scally: his inquiry will not be able to meet its deadline of a final report by the end of June. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Department and HSE under fire for late handover and format of documents

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