Sunday 17 December 2017

Live: watch the final moments of the 31st Dail

Geraldine Gittens and John Brennan

The 31st Dáil will be dissolved in a number of hours.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will ask President Michael D Higgins to dissolve the Dáil today  - the final formality before calling Ireland's General Election on Friday February 26 .

The Dail will sit for the last time before the election at 9.30am today.

Mr Kenny will then travel to Áras an Uachtarain to meet the President.

This will then signal one of the shortest election campaigns in the history of the State - 21 days.

Once the Dail has been dissolved a General Election must take place within 30 days.

Under the Irish Constitution a General Election must be held every five years - this year’s General Election had to take place no later than April 11.

The President has to dissolve the Dail if requested to do so, as long as the Taoiseach has majority support of the Dail (which Enda Kenny does).

However, the President also has the power to refuse this request if the Taoiseach has not got this majority support – no president has ever used this power.

A Red C Poll in the Sunday Business Post showed that the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition would require additional support to gain re-election.

The poll showed Fine Gael support decline for the second consecutive poll now at 29pc, while Labour reached 10pc for the first time since September.

These results put the coalition just shy of 40pc of the popular vote.

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