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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 17 July, 2018
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It's on: The general election will be held on 26 February

The Dáil is dissolved and the campaign starts now.

Updated 10.40am 

THE GENERAL ELECTION will be held on 26 February.

The Taoiseach tweeted the date after leaving the Dáil, where he told deputies that he was heading to the Phoenix Park.

He also posted a video message on Facebook:

Posted by on Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Before he left, the Taoiseach held a photocall with Tánaiste Joan Burton outside Government Buildings and told the media: “This is not goodbye”.

http://vine.co/v/iJJUBM501Q6

He then departed for the Phoenix Park with Burton waving him off:

http://vine.co/v/iJJUKBeAgdU

President Michael D Higgins and Kenny signed the dissolution order at Áras an Uachtaráin just after 10.30am.

0830 Enda Kenny Source: Sam Boal

The announcement kicks off a three-week campaign – one of the shortest in the history of the State – in 40 constituencies across the country with 158 seats up for grabs.

The Dáil is set to resume on 10 March after the formation of a new government.

Speaking to the chamber this morning, Kenny wished all “those members of the house who are not seeking re-election… every success and happiness in the future”.

To those contesting the election, he said:

I wish all other members well in their endeavours to return to the house.

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Who’s in the running?

Fine Gael and Labour, who formed the largest Dáil majority in the history of the State in 2011, are seeking re-election.

Fianna Fáil is hoping to recover from its historic loss of more than 50 seats in 2011 while Sinn Féin will be looking to increase its current Dáil presence of 14 seats.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit are running on a joint platform. The election will also feature a number of new parties including Renua and the Social Democrats.

There are a handful of smaller parties also contesting as are dozens of independent candidates all over the country, including a grouping of current deputies and councillors calling itself the Independent Alliance.

The Green Party will be seeking a return to the Dáil having lost all six of its seats in the last election.

- additional reporting from Paul Hosford and Sinéad O’Carroll

Read: Here’s everything you need to know about the general election

Poll: Who will you vote for in the general election?

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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