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Ireland Varadkar gambles on first Saturday election in century

09:10  15 january  2020
09:10  15 january  2020 Source:   independent.ie

Leo Varadkar refuses to rule out the Dail not returning next week as General Election looms

  Leo Varadkar refuses to rule out the Dail not returning next week as General Election looms There is growing speculation this evening that Leo wants to call an election this weekend .Following a special Cabinet meeting on disability issues, Mr Varadkar faced the press where he was bombarded with questions about the election.He was asked numerous times - including by the Irish Mirror - if he could commit to the Dáil returning next week, and he couldn’t.

An election had been expected. Varadkar ’s Fine Gael party leads a minority administration reliant on The Green party’s success in European and council elections last year, plus youth-led climate As Ireland’s first gay prime minister and the son of an Indian immigrant, Varadkar attracted global

Leo Varadkar has called a snap general election in Ireland to be held on Saturday February 8, setting up a short campaign in The first official confirmation of the election came shortly before midday on Tuesday when the office of president Michael D Higgins said Mr Varadkar will visit the head of state

a man wearing a suit and tie: Sealed with handshake: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin to dissolve the Dáil. Photo: Mark Condren Sealed with handshake: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin to dissolve the Dáil. Photo: Mark Condren

Fine Gael is planning a three-pronged campaign which will see the party's key players separately seek to shore up support ahead of polling day on Saturday, February 8. It will be the first time an election has been held in Ireland on a Saturday since 1918 - with Fine Gael hoping the weekend vote will help more working families and students favourable to the party to get to the polls.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tanáiste Simon Coveney will embark on separate nationwide tours while Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will be based in the party's headquarters in Dublin. Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney will both campaign separately with election candidates while Mr Donohoe, who is the party's director of elections, will hold daily briefings on the key issues. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar could call general election for next month

  Taoiseach Leo Varadkar could call general election for next month The comments come just a day ahead of the crunch meeting with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál MartinThe Taoiseach has up until now insisted that a May election date would be his preference.

This will be Leo Varadkar 's first election campaign as taoiseach and he will be up against a proven campaigner in Micheál Martin. At this early stage, a very close result is expected but politicians from all parties know campaigns develop their own momentum.

The general election campaign is firmly under way ahead of the first Saturday polling day in more than a century was announced by Leo Varadkar for A Saturday polling day is unusual, with elections in recent decades taking place on a Thursday or Friday. Fine Gael figures have said Saturday polling

Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, seen at the count centre, as counting of votes continues in the European Elections, at the RDS in Dublin. On Sunday, May 26, 2019, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Artur Widak/NurPhoto Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, seen at the count centre, as counting of votes continues in the European Elections, at the RDS in Dublin. On Sunday, May 26, 2019, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will launch a similar ground offensive, relying less on staged events in favour of meeting as many voters as possible. The opposition leader, who believes the main parties are "neck and neck", will push the message that the country needs change after nine years of Fine Gael government.

Related: For all the election 2020 news, reaction and analysis, click HERE

However, Fine Gael is eager to highlight its ministerial team during the campaign, and a party source said Health Minister Simon Harris and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will be "out front and centre" defending their records. "We will be very much taking on housing and health and Simon and Eoghan will be important figures," the source said. 

Varadkar's plea: give me four more months

  Varadkar's plea: give me four more months Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will turn to controversial Independent TDs Noel Grealish and Michael Lowry in a bid to cling to power for the next four months. Mr Varadkar is under pressure from his ministers to put distance between recent controversies, including the Black and Tans debacle, and the forthcoming general election.

LEO Varadkar has confirmed that a general election will take place on a Saturday for the first time ever. The Taoiseach said Ireland will go to the polls "In deciding not to seek agreement on a date for an election in April or May, I do so knowing that, even if this was possible, we would effectively enter

The general election will be held on Saturday February 8th, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Cabinet on Tuesday morning. A Saturday polling day is unusual, with elections in recent decades taking place on a Thursday or Friday. Fine Gael figures have said Saturday polling means schools will not

Fine Gael is also expected to target Border communities over the next three and half weeks to highlight its performance on Brexit. The party's campaign launch is being held today in a forklift factory in Co Monaghan. Yesterday, the Taoiseach said he called the election for February 8 because he wanted a new government in place for a crucial European Council Summit on Brexit on March 26. 

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil will launch a major ground offensive focusing on party leader Micheál Martin meeting voters during daily canvasses with teams of candidates. Last night, he was canvassing with the party's Dublin North West candidate Paul McAuliffe in Finglas. 

Fianna Fáil's core message will be that the country wants change and it will criticise Fine Gael for making long-term promises about fixing the health service and the housing sector in the distant future. A Fianna Fáil source said Fine Gael's election slogan, "a future to look forward to", was an example of its criticisms of the party.

'For the many, not the few' - FG ministers warned party has to change its image

  'For the many, not the few' - FG ministers warned party has to change its image Fine Gael ministers have been urged to change the public image of the party being only for the wealthy and elite ahead of the approaching general election. Ministers were told they needed to highlight what the party has done for all sectors of society, including the most vulnerable, as the debate over the election date rumbles on into the weekend.

Irish PM Leo Varadkar called an election for 8 February today, gambling on his Brexit record and his successes in resisting a hard border between northern Ireland and the Opposition Fianna Fail plans to reform the health service and housing market. Varadkar became the first openly gay premier in the

Next month's vote -- the first on a Saturday in Ireland's history -- is being called more than a year early. The last general election in February 2016 produced a hung parliament. Varadkar 's Fine Gael won 50 seats, while their fellow centre-right rivals Fianna Fail won 44, with leftists Sinn Fein third on

Clare , Ireland - 21 October 2016; Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, left, and local Dail Deputy Timmy Dooley arrive for the funeral of Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley at the St. Flannans Church, Killaloe, Co Clare. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images) © SPORTSFILE Clare , Ireland - 21 October 2016; Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, left, and local Dail Deputy Timmy Dooley arrive for the funeral of Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley at the St. Flannans Church, Killaloe, Co Clare. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images) "The slogan that they pulled out demonstrates the key point we are making that they are always talking about things happening in the future," the source said. "People want things fixed now." Sinn Féin and the Labour Party are set to make the retirement age an election issue.

Mary Lou McDonald will promise to reduce the retirement age from 66 to 65, while Brendan Howlin said he will stop it increasing to 67 next year if in government. However, the two main parties will seek to squeeze the smaller parties out of the campaign and force voters to choose between Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil on election day.

No clarity on general election date as Leo and Micheál agree to meet again next week

  No clarity on general election date as Leo and Micheál agree to meet again next week The two party leaders met tonight to discuss the next general election and the precarious Dáil numbers.A statement from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stated: 

The General Election is to be held on Saturday 8 February after the President dissolved the 32nd Dáil this afternoon. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar briefed the Cabinet and opposition leaders this morning, before travelling to This is the first time since 1918 that there will be a Saturday General Election .

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar set the stage for a general election within weeks, gambling that a strong economy and his Momentum has recently built behind Varadkar . On Saturday , Northern Ireland’s power-sharing assembly reconvened, ending a three-year deadlock after a deal brokered by

Speaking yesterday, Mr Martin said he believed the two parties were "neck and neck" in terms of public support. Mr Martin said there were "a lot of competitive electoral battles in the different constituencies" which will determine the outcome of the election. Fine Gael sources said they expected the two parties to win up to 60pc of the overall vote once the ballots are counted. 

The Fianna Fáil leader also said he would "love" a head-to-head debate with Mr Varadkar. TDs from all parties are expected to face-off on a series of debates on RTÉ's 'Prime Time', which will focus on their portfolios. The first debate is due to take place on Thursday and it will see Mr Donohoe take on the other party finance spokespersons on the economy.

The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar with President Michael D.Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain (The President's residence) as they sign the document that dissolves the government in Dublin, Ireland January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan © Thomson Reuters The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar with President Michael D.Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain (The President's residence) as they sign the document that dissolves the government in Dublin, Ireland January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan Mr Varadkar confirmed the date of the election at the end of yesterday's Cabinet meeting. He told ministers if he was re-elected to power, he would first talk to Independent TDs who "had the courage to go into government" with Fine Gael in 2016. It means Mr Varadkar would be likely to ask Transport Minister Shane Ross and Children's Minister Katherine Zappone to rejoin Fine Gael in government if they are re-elected. 

Last-minute Labour general election candidate added to the ticket had to 'postpone honeymoon'

  Last-minute Labour general election candidate added to the ticket had to 'postpone honeymoon' A FIRST-TIME general election candidate has had to postpone his honeymoon in order to run for a seat in the Dáil. Labour candidate in Dublin South West Ciarán Ahern got married on January 4 to human rights campaigner Dr Maeve O’Rourke, daughter of RTE broadcaster Sean O’Rourke.

It will be the first Saturday general election in this country since 1918. Varadkar said the decision on the day of the week was designed to ensure families don’t have Fine Gael entered government after the previous two elections in 2011 and 2016, firstly in coalition with Labour and then as a minority

Varadkar says Cabinet will meet on Tuesday and Dáil on Wednesday. Speculation has been growing that Mr Varadkar will call a general election in the coming days and the vote would A meeting of the Fine Gael executive council, due to take place on Saturday , was postponed due to the “fluid political

Ms Zappone said she "would be happy to talk to anyone who wishes to speak with me", while Mr Ross expressed a desire to progress new legislation to overhaul how judges are appointed which failed to become law before the Dáil was dissolved.

After he informed the Cabinet, the Taoiseach called Mr Martin to inform him of the election date. Mr Varadkar then travelled to Áras an Uachtaráin to officially seek President Michael D Higgins's permission to dissolve the Dáil. The election writ will be signed in the coming days and the election campaign will then have legally commenced. 

Candidates will have seven days to put their names forward for election after it has been signed. Parties were last night still putting final touches to their election tickets with a number of new candidates expected in the coming days. There has also been a wave of retirements of senior political figures, which means the landscape in several key constituencies has dramatically changed ahead of polling.

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Death of young woman 'shows homelessness crisis has gone beyond repair' .
The Government is being accused of letting the homelessness crisis "go beyond repair" following the tragic death of a young woman in emergency accommodation. Gardaí were called to the scene of a sudden death at the Phoenix Lodge hostel on Parkgate Street in Dublin on Wednesday evening. The woman, who was in her late 20s, died in "tragic circumstances". "This week alone we have seen this death, a man with life-changing injuries as a result of his tent being removed by an industrial machine as he slept in it, and our case-management team assisted a woman in her 60s who was sleeping rough," said Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn.

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