Trigger set to be pulled by Taoiseach on shotgun General Election

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar with Minister for Justice and Laois TD Charlie Flanagan. Photo Denis Byrne.

The starting gun looks set to be fired on the start of what will be an extremely short General Election campaign with voting possibly taking place on a Saturday.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar is expected to seek the permission of President Michael D Higgins to dissolve the Dáil on Tuesday afternoon, January 14 meaning the campaign will last less than a month.

In total, 159 of 160 Dáil Éireann seats will be contested in 39 constituencies. The outgoing Ceann Comhairle being re-elected automatically.

Fine Gael goes into the election with 47 TDs while Fianna Fáil, led by Micheál Martin, has 45 seats in Leinster house. 
Sinn Féin is the next biggest party on 22 seats with Mary Lou McDonald at the helm while the Labour Party led by Brendan Howlin has seven TDs.
There are six TDs in the Solidarity–People Before Profit  group while the Green Party which is led by Eamon Ryan has three TDs.

There are four TDs in the Independent Alliance while the Social Democrats will be hoping to build on its compliment of two TDs.

There is one TD in the Independents 4 Change group while Aontú also retains one seat.