Government expected to call Ireland’s General Election on February 8

Senior government sources have confirmed that the 2020 General Election will be held on February 8, according to reports.

It is understood Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will visit Aras an Uachtarain later in the day seeking a dissolution of the 32nd Dail from President Michael D Higgins, and that he told his Cabinet on Tuesday morning he would be calling the election.

Speculation was further driven after pictures emerged early on Tuesday of staff erecting campaign posters of Mr Varadkar in his constituency before the Dail had been dissolved, or the Taoiseach had visited the President.

Fianna Fail TD Thomas Byrne said the move was: “Taoiseach doing what he does best – playing games.”

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Over the weekend, the Taoiseach told RTE Radio One that he had decided on the date for the election, but said protocol prevented him from revealing the date.

Media speculation about the date of the election reached fever pitch over the last week, as the Fine Gael-led minority administration was made aware they had lost the support of key votes in the chamber, and Fianna Fail stated they would not support the government in an expected no-confidence motion in Minister for Heath Simon Harris.

The election is widely predicted to hang on two major issues, health and housing, as the state continues to battle its worst ever housing crisis, and hospital overcrowding reached record-breaking levels last year.

Another issue that has been flagged in the timing of the election is that thousands of people may not be registered to vote, as a new register for 2020 will not become valid until February 15.

The register is currently only in draft status.