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Irish election called for February 26th

The 26 County President, Michael D Higgins, has dissolved parliament at the request of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who has called a general election

Irish

 

The 26 County President, Michael D Higgins, has dissolved parliament at  the request of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who has called a general election.

Mr Kenny signed the proclamation formally dissolving parliament.

Speaking in Leinster House, the Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader said that the next parliament would meet  on Thursday March 10th and confirmed that the election would take place  on February 26th.

The most recent opinion poll saw Fine Gael at 30 per cent and Labour at  7 per cent, Fianna Fail at 19 per cent, Sinn Fein at 21 per cent and  Independents/Others at 23 per cent. Political commentators see little  chance of any party holding an overall majority folowing the election,  and speculation over future potential coalitions has dominated news  coverage so far.

It is set to be a short election campaign officially, but the election  announcement had been repeatedly delayed. When it came this morning, it  finally brought an end to a faltering parliament as fewer and fewer TDs  bothered to appear, having already begun canvassing in their  constituencies.

In another controversy, some TDs had erected election posters in  favoured locations ahead of the announcement, in contravention of  littering laws.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin complained that there was no  opportunity to pay tribute to retiring members and Sinn Fein’s  Caoimhghin O Caolain described it as “a pathetic end to a pathetic  Dail”.

In a statement, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams outlined the steep cuts to  education, welfare and health brought in by what he said were “some of  the most reprehensible policy decisions ever made by a Government in  this State”.

They have brought chaos to the lives of ordinary citizens, he said, and  another generation had been forced into emigration.

“But now, for the first time since the foundation of this State, there  is an opportunity for real change. I hope they choose for fairness and  for genuine Republican politics. I hope they vote for Sinn Fein.”

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