When Will the General Election Take Place?
Deaglán de Bréadún
The question on everyone’s mind in the Dail these days is: When will the general election take place?
TDs and their associates are like two teams that know they are in the all-Ireland but haven’t been told what Sunday in September the game will be held.
The Dail comes back on January 12th, a week earlier than planned. The Finance Bill, which implements the Budget, is expected to come before the House the following week.
Last year, it took till the end of March for the Finance Bill to be processed. It won’t take as long this year, you can be sure.
The thinking around Teach Laighean is that the Finance Bill will be completed by early-to-mid February with the election taking place four weeks later, perhaps 3rd March but more likely 10th.
If one assumes, as most people do, that Fianna Fail lose office, Brian Cowen will still be Taoiseach for a short period after election day and will presumably hand over the bowl of shamrock to President Obama at the White House.
It is thought unlikely the Americans would want to see him in the event that the election was taking place on, say, 24 March, if he still has the aura of a loser. It will be interesting to see how much difference, if any, the actual campaign makes.