How today's events in Dail will unfold . . .
10am: Taoiseach Brian Cowen and his Cabinet hold their regular weekly meeting. The Government stays in situ until a new government is appointed after the general election.
2:30pm: Dail sits, with address from Mr Cowen signalling his intention to ask President Mary McAleese to dissolve the Dail .
The Taoiseach does not announce the date of the general election, only the date the new Dail will sit.
Party leaders and some retiring TDs are expected to be given the opportunity to make a speech.
About 4pm: Cowen heads to Aras an Uachtarain to meet the President to request the dissolution of the Dail.
About 5pm: Acting Environment Minister Pat Carey signs the order, called a writ, for the holding of the general election and announces the date of polling day.