Enda Kenny expected to announce election today with polling to be held on a Friday

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is widely expected to call the general election today, with a Friday polling day likely.

A Fine Gael ministers’ meeting, which normally happens pre-Cabinet on Tuesday, was moved to last night, during which Mr Kenny discussed the party’s manifesto in detail. It is expected ministers will be told the date of the election at this morning’s cabinet meeting.

President Michael D Higgins has left his schedule free today and tomorrow, fuelling further speculation. In order to call an election, Mr Kenny must go to Áras an Uachtaráin, in Phoenix Park, to ask the President to dissolve the Dáil.

It has also been suggested by a number of Government sources that, instead of going to the Dáil chamber, Mr Kenny may hold a joint press conference with Tánaiste Joan Burton after the cabinet meeting and then go straight to the Aras.

Asked yesterday whether the election would be called via a joint press conference, Ms Burton said: “We have talked about the arrangements in relation to the calling of the election.

“At the end of the day, that is the Taoiseach’s prerogative, so I’m not at liberty to give you the detailed breakdown,” she said.

For more election news, analysis and general banter join us HERE

She added that she would be meeting Mr Kenny prior to this morning’s cabinet meeting adding that “people will be taken out of their misery very soon”.

It has been indicated that a joint announcement of the election date on the steps of Leinster House would act as a show of unity from the Coalition.

However, senior Government sources last night said the Taoiseach — who is currently father of the Dáil — is extremely traditional and may like to wait until the Dáil resumes at 2pm today to call an election.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said he was sure Mr Kenny would let the Cabinet know this morning. He said he did not think there would be “any massive surprises”, adding that everyone knew the election would be “done and dusted” this month.

Fine Gael have not booked out any conference rooms but it is understood that, in the event of an election being called, they have plans to hold briefings in their own party headquarters.

Last October, Mr Kenny gave his first indication of the timing of the election when he said: “We’re going to have an election early in spring, early in the spring.

“E-A-R-L-Y, early in the spring.”

The general election must take place no later than April 11 and the minimum amount of time between announcing an election and voting is 18 days, not including Sundays.

It remains to be seen whether Mr Kenny will chose Thursday, February 25, as polling day or the following day, which would facilitate students living away from home and those working away from their constituencies to return to cast their ballot.

Opposition parties as well as the Union of Students in Ireland are against holding the election on a Thursday. Environment Minister Alan Kelly has also made it known he would favour a Friday. Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív yesterday said: “I believe the maximum number of people should be given the opportunity to vote and I think Friday is the optimal day.”

For more election news, analysis and general banter join us HERE

More on this topic

Water charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leaderWater charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leader

Independent Alliance say FG will have to agree to 'radical proposals' for a govt by ThursdayIndependent Alliance say FG will have to agree to 'radical proposals' for a govt by Thursday

Talks with Independent Alliance could delay govt formation; SF says FF have 'lost credibility'Talks with Independent Alliance could delay govt formation; SF says FF have 'lost credibility'

Leo Varadkar's govt formation comments 'misleading and self-serving', says Michael McGrathLeo Varadkar's govt formation comments 'misleading and self-serving', says Michael McGrath


Lifestyle

Whether you’re into a ‘no make-up make-up’ look or jet black lipstick, LFW had it all.These are the biggest beauty looks from a vampy London Fashion Week

It will take you out of your beauty comfort zone, but is remarkably easy to pull off.London Fashion Week: This top make-up artist wants you to ditch your cat-eye for a ‘blue fade’

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine advises a 20-something man who isn’t having any luck meeting women in bars and clubs.Ask a counsellor: ‘Neither me or my mates have had a date for years – what are we doing wrong?’

As Aussie beer and cider brand Gayle launches in the UK, Abi Jackson finds out more from co-founder Virginia Buckworth.‘Brewed with love’: How new Aussie brand Gayle is putting ‘gay ale’ on the world drinks map

More From The Irish Examiner