This morning Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced his intention to seek dissolution of Dáil Éireann
Irish voters will elect a new government later this month on Friday 26 February in one of the shortest General Election campaigns ever – nearly five years to the day since the last election on 25 February 2011
Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the briefest of statements to fellow TDs announce that the Dáil will not sit again until March 10.
I am seeking a dissolution of Dáil Éireann today with the election to be held on February 26th.https://t.co/R5JnwC3XFB
— Enda Kenny (@EndaKennyTD) February 3, 2016
The actual announcement of the election date was made via Twitter and Facebook, and not in the chamber.
Mr. Kenny, a Mayo TD since 1975, said the 32nd Dáil will meet on Thursday 10 March 10th at 10.30am.
The outgoing Fine Gael/Labour Coalition had the largest majority in the history of the State when Fine Gael won 76 seats, Labour a record 37 and Fianna Fáil – one the largest single party in the country – dropped from 77 seats to just 20. Sinn Fein went from six to 14 TDs.
Speaking in Irish, Mr Kenny, originally a national school teacher, said: “St Brigid’s Day has passed and spring has arrived. Now the coming of Spring, I must raise my sail.”
Mr Kenny then left Government Buildings accompanied by his coalition partner, Labour Party leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton.
He headed for Áras an Uachtaráin and his meeting with President Michael D Higgins who formally dissolved the 31st Dáil in a ceremony lasting less than two minutes during which they sat at a mahogany table and signed the proclamation of dissolution.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin complained that there had been no opportunity to pay tribute to retiring members.
Mr Martin said the dissolution of the Dáil highlighted the arrogance of the outgoing Government and that it was a disrespectful and high-handed way to end the parliament.