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January surprise? Joan is on high alert for an early election

Could Enda go to the country before the end of next month?

"An early election, you say?"
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

JOAN BURTON HAS said that Labour is “on a high level of alert and readiness” for the general election which could take place earlier than expected.

There is growing speculation in political circles that Taoiseach Enda Kenny could go to the country as early as the end of next month or the beginning of February.

With the fate of the banking inquiry still uncertain, Kenny could opt not to bring the Dáil back in January and instead go straight to the country.

The inquiry could collapse altogether if one of the 90 respondents who has received a draft of the report decides to challenge its findings.

If this happens, there would be no requirement for the Dáil to return in the New Year and Kenny could instead go to the country straight away.

The government has been pushing various pieces of legislation through the Dáil and Seanad in recent weeks with some 16 different Bills due to pass the Oireachtas this week alone before the Christmas recess.

This has led to speculation that the decks are being cleared so that there will be no requirement for the Dáil to be brought back next month.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that 29 January or 6 February could be possible election dates.

It had been thought that 26 February was the most likely election date with a short campaign kicking off after the Fine Gael and Labour conferences in late January.

The latest opinion poll may embolden the Taoiseach with a B&A survey for the Sunday Times showing Fine Gael up five to 31% and Labour up one to 8%.

Speaking in Dublin this morning, Burton said her party is finalising its manifesto ahead of the election.

“I had an all-day meeting of the national executive of the Labour party and the general council of the labour party on Saturday, bringing people from every constituency in Ireland and finalising our preparations in relation to areas like the manifesto,” she said.

So we’re certainly on a high level of alert and readiness.

Read: If Enda was thinking election this massive poll boost for Fine Gael might just convince him

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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