Just hours remain for 30th Dáil

Only hours remain in the lifetime of the 30th Dáil; An Taoiseach Brian Cowen will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin this afternoon, where he will ask the President to dissolve the Dáil.

Only hours remain in the lifetime of the 30th Dáil; An Taoiseach Brian Cowen will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin this afternoon, where he will ask the President to dissolve the Dáil.

It will be the final act of Mr Cowen's political career, after last night's confirmation that he is bowing out of politics.

TDs spent most of the morning clearing out their desks and saying their goodbyes. With more than 30 Deputies retiring at this Election, there is set to more change after this election than in any poll for decades.

Former Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe said it was time to move on. "It's a day when you could be sentimental. I'm not. I've been here for 24 years and it's the end of an era. You just move on," he said.

Brian Cowen will take to his feet in the Dáil at 2.30pm today to make his final speech.

It is uncertain whether he will name the Election date today, with most observers saying February 25 remains the most likely day.

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