€1bn tax windfall as Kenny sets date
■ Taoiseach edges towards February 26 for polling day ■ ‘Black hole’ emerges in Coalition’s manifesto figures
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is on the brink of calling the General Election on the back of new figures showing an extra €1bn poured into the State coffers in January.
A surge in consumer and car sales, combined with an increase in income tax receipts, will provide the Coalition with an ideal platform to call Election 2016.
However, a 'black hole' in the amount of money the Coalition parties believe the next government will have to play with over the next five years has now emerged.
The Department of Finance says its projections do not take account of the impact of inflation or future public sector pay rises.
The date of the election is now hardening on Friday, February 26.
Fine Gael strategists wanted the day before, Thursday, February 25, but Mr Kenny himself was always thought to favour a Friday to allow students and young people living away from home to vote.
At a meeting of Fine Gael ministers last night where the campaign was discussed, Mr Kenny made no reference to when he will call the General Election. But ministers are anxious for Mr Kenny to dissolve the Dáil today.
Mr Kenny will hold a regular Cabinet meeting this morning with the Dáil scheduled to sit this afternoon.