Howlin expects Coalition to complete its full term

Former bookmaker and FG minister Ivan Yates earlier predicted November 20th poll

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has said former bookmaker Ivan Yates should be asked what odds he would give on an early general election.

Speaking on Newstalk’s breakfast programme on Tuesday, Mr Yates said sources had told him the election would be held on November 20th.

However, asked about Mr Yates’ comments on his way into Cabinet, Mr Howlin said the Coalition wanted to remain in office into 2016. Mr Howlin and Mr Yates were both TDs in the Wexford constituency during the latter’s political career.

“Ivan is a bookie formerly so ask him what odds is he offering. I don’t know. Certainly the consensus in Government is to run its full term,” Mr Howlin said.

Bookmaker Paddy Power on Tuesday said it had been forced to slash the odds on the election taking place in November following a rush of money in the past day.

It said the odds of a November poll had shortened from 4/1 to 4/5 following a series of bets.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week told the Dáil the election would be held early next year.

His comments temporarily dampened down speculation in political circles that a snap election would be called for November.

Some TDs believed the Government should go to the country after the Budget announcement on October 13th.

Earlier this month Fine Gael TD Áine Collins claimed the election will be held on February 26th 2016.

Ms Collins was speaking to her local radio station Corks 96fm.

Tánaiste Joan Burton has made clear it is Labour’s preference that the Government go its full term and that an election is held next year.

If the Government went full-term, the latest possible date for an election to be held would be April 9th.

Meanwhile, the Government has tendered for a supply of ballot papers.

A € 400,000 contract will be awarded for supplying ballot papers and posters for Dáil elections and byelections.

Work on party manifestos and candidate selection conventions are nearing a conclusion.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Acting Features Editor of The Irish Times