The top stories in Thursday's newspapers:
• Leo Varadkar has backed leadership rival Simon Coveney's uncompromising stance on water charges in the escalating row with Fianna Fáil. The paper reports that Coveney has also received support from Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe. It comes as FF warns it will pull the plug on the minority government if Coveney refuses to legislate for the complete abolition of the controversial levy.
• On its front page the paper also carries a picture of a tearful Aisling Golden being comforted by her mother as she mourns her sister Grainne who died of Cystic Fibrosis. The family attended a protest at Leinster House yesterday over the HSE's refusal to fund CF drug Orkambi.
• Irish mobile phone operators could incur the wrath of the EU over roaming charges after the commission warned telecommunications giants they cannot "circumvent" new laws to abolish the fees.
• Ibec director general Danny McCoy has launched a broadside at British Prime Minister Theresa May claiming she is "bad for business". McCoy said the decision to to take her country out of the single market is a mistake but could provide a competitive advantage for Ireland.
THE IRISH TIMES
• An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll shows support for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is almost equal, while Sinn Féin has made gains since December. Despite the controversies in recent weeks, the survey found that most voters remain unmoved, with most changes within the margin of error.
• Tensions deepen as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both refused to rule out a general election over water charges as the parties remain divided over possible levies for excessive usage. Both Simon Coveney and Barry Cowen have indicated they are prepared to take the matter to the country, if necessary.
• The controversial home at the centre of the bitter battle between Brian and Mary O'Donnell and Bank of Ireland has gone on sale for €8.5 million. The 10,000 sq ft mansion on south Dublin's exclusive Vico Road is being sold through joint agents Sherry Fitzgerald and Knight Frank.
• In its business section the paper reports that CRH could spend as much as €3 billion in acquisitions over the next 18 months. The building material giant's financial headroom comes after the group cut its debt burden and enjoyed record expenditure in 2015.
• Sweeping reforms to rules for initial public offerings are being proposed to keep Britain "open for business" after Brexit. The paper reports that the Financial Conduct Authority said that information about a company planning an IPO should be made available sooner and to a wider range of analysts and investors.
• Theresa May is considering resurrecting Gordon Brown's "death tax" as part of changes to the British social care system. It is understood that in next week's budget, British chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce hundreds of millions of pounds in emergency funding for social care. Reviving the idea of remodelling inheritance tax as a means of recouping costs when elderly people die is believed to be under consideration.
• The House of Lords has voted to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit. The house voted by a majority of 102 to amend legislation - the biggest turnout by peers since 1999. The paper reports that the size of the defeat suggests that some Conservative peers crossed the benches to back the amendment.
• London's 1.8m full-time migrant workers each contribute £46,000 to the capital's economy every year, according to research by the London First lobby organisation and PwC consultancy. The study found that EU migrants make up 13 per cent of the British capital's workforce.