Taoiseach says political events overtook timeline for election

Ireland's PM sets stage for February election

Irish prime minister to call national election on 8 February

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Sunday announced plans for fresh elections but stopped short of setting a date.

The Taoiseach was due to meet Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin to discuss the election date but it remains unclear if this will go ahead.

Varadkar will dissolve parliament today, the president's office said, with lawmakers set to resume work on February 20.

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He described the pact as a "significant achievement" and underlined that "there is no alternative to this agreement". Triggering the mechanism amounts to formally accusing Iran of violating the terms of the agreement.


"Brexit is not done yet", the prime minister said, adding that the next step is to negotiate a free trade agreement that "protects our jobs, our businesses, our rural communities".

Leo Varadkar is expected to initiate the parliament dissolution in the afternoon as the election campaigns have already got underway.

He said: "I'm a humble man as you know and as far as I'm concerned it's very competitive, I think it's neck and neck if I'm honest".

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While he has scored successes on the economy, Brexit and Northern Ireland, opposition parties are highlighting failings in the health sector and housing market.

Varadkar told his ministers that he would travel to the president's residence to get his approval to formally start the campaign and hold the poll on 8 February, the Irish Times and national broadcaster RTE reported.

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