Taoiseach to dissolve the Dail on Tuesday
Taoiseach Brian Cowen today announced that he will dissolve the Dail on Tuesday and name a date for the General Election.
Voters are expected to go to the polls on Friday, February 25, with Mr Cowen to decide this weekend whether he will retire from politics.
The Taoiseach plans to consult family and advisers before announcing his future.
The election is widely expected to deliver a damaging defeat to Fianna Fail as it languishes at a record low in opinion polls.
Mr Cowen made the announcement In a morning interview on Raidio na Gaeltachta.
The Tuesday sitting of the Dail had been expected after normal parliamentary business was cleared this week to allow the Government to process Budget 2011.
The fast-tracked Finance Bill should be passed into law after a late sitting of the Seanad on Saturday.
The Taoiseach's final Dail appearance will also give him the opportunity to make a valedictory speech.
A Government spokeswoman confirmed the interview.
"The Taoiseach indicated on an interview with Raidio na Gaeltachta Adhmhaidin that his intentions are to go into the Dail at 2.30pm on Tuesday and dissolve it."
The Taoiseach will be required to ask President Mary McAleese to officially end the Dail term.