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Enda was given a perfect opportunity to rule out an early election today

But, he didn’t.

HAVING DECLINED TO rule out a November election in Mayo yesterday – and spark another round of intense speculation – Enda Kenny faced election questions again today.

Micheál Martin raised the issue after the Dáil voted to extend the banking inquiry’s deadline for its final report from the end of next month to the end of January.

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This, on the face of it, would indicate that the Taoiseach is not about to call an election for November and thus collapse the inquiry at a cost of some €5 million.

Martin asked if we could take the extension as confirmation that there will not be a general election in November or before Christmas.

I think it’s an important issue as to whether or not the Dáil will be around in January and I think given your comments yesterday, or your lack of comment, that I would ask you to make that point.

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After rattling through another few issues on the Dáil’s Order of Business, the Fianna Fáil leader gave way to Kenny to respond.

But if you were expecting a declaration of clarity you will be sorely disappointed. Kenny simply noted the decision to extend the inquiry’s deadline and said there was nothing unusual about that.

“That’s the normal business of the Dáil and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be granted and it has been granted,” he said.

So, there’s nothing unusual about that, Deputy Martin.

As Kenny took his seat, Martin could be heard observing that that was not the question he asked.

Not that Kenny seemed to mind.

enda

Fianna Fáil had this interesting observation to make on Twitter a short time later:

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach would not be drawn on Kenny’s comments in Mayo yesterday.

They noted that Kenny had said on numerous occasions that he sees no reason for the government not to go its full term – which would be to the spring of next year.

“He sees no reason to change his mind at present,” the spokesperson added.

Coalition partner Labour continues to favour a general election in the new year.

A spokesperson for the Tánaiste Joan Burton this evening confirmed that her preference remains that the election takes place in 2016.

Read: This is the new ballot paper you’ll be using at the next election

Read: Now Enda is refusing to rule out an early election

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Hugh O'Connell

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