ENDA KENNY HAS used his local radio station to confirm that he will call a general election tomorrow.
The Taoiseach confirmed what has been the subject of intense speculation in political circles in a phone interview with MidWest Radio 96.1fm this afternoon.
Kenny, a TD for Mayo, said he’d told the cabinet this morning that he will ask President Michael D Higgins to dissolve the Dáil tomorrow and announce polling day:
I’ve already told the cabinet that I will proceed to Áras an Uachtaráin tomorrow to ask for a dissolution of the Dáil and announce polling day.
He would not confirm the date of the election but it’s widely expected to be Friday, 26 February, meaning a short campaign of just over three weeks.
Later in the Dáil, Kenny would not be drawn on the timing of tomorrow’s announcement despite persistent questions from outgoing Socialist TD Joe Higgins.
The Taoiseach would only confirm that Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan is due to take questions on his brief at 9.30am in the chamber.
However, this could change if Kenny makes an early visit to the Phoenix Park. Higgins had some advice for the Fine Gael leader if he does:
It is expected that Kenny will hold a joint press conference with Tánaiste Joan Burton at some point tomorrow before the coalition party leaders head their separate ways for the campaign.
Confirmation that the election will be called ends a flurry of speculation over the last 24 hours.
It had been expected for much of yesterday that Kenny would call the election today given that the pre-cabinet meeting of Fine Gael ministers was brought forward to last night.
However, at that meeting, where Fine Gael’s manifesto was approved, he did not divulge details of when the election would be called or when it would be.
The need to establish a judicial inquiry into the alleged abuse at a south-eastern foster home meant there needed to be Dáil statements this evening.