Taoiseach confirms: General Election set for February 8

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that a General Election will be held on Saturday, February 8.

The Taoiseach made the announcement today, Tuesday, January 14, at Leinster House, following a meeting with his cabinet.

It had been expected over the course of last week that he would make an announcement on an election some time this week.

Over the course of today, speculation mounted that the announcement would be made after the cabinet meeting.

The Taoiseach said that he would this afternoon travel to Áras an Uachtaráin to ask President Michael D. Higgins to dissolve the current – 32nd – Dáil.

During his speech today, he said that a long election campaign of several months – ending in an election in April or May – would “no be in the interests of the country”, citing the upcoming period of free-trade negotiations between the EU and UK.

He added that several policies in areas such as healthcare, housing, climate change and tax reform, depended on a “positive result” from those free-trade negotiation.

Even before today’s announcement, the Taoiseach’s re-election campaign was getting underway…

In the above tweet, Sinn Féin councillor for Fingal Paul Donnelly took pictures which appear to show campaign posters for the Taoiseach being erected.

Rural TD

One rural TD has already said that he won’t seek re-election in the upcoming election.

Clare independent TD Michael Harty, a member of the Rural Independent Group, has announced that he would not seek re-election, saying that he “found the Dáil a difficult place to work”.