Irish PM Leo Varadkar to hold a parliamentary election in February

Deputy Michael Lowry said he expects the election to be 'well underway' by 5 February

Ireland will go to the polls for general election on February 8, the prime minister told his cabinet Tuesday morning.

Varadkar is expected to visit Aras and Uachtarain later in the day to achieve the dissolution of President Michael D. Higgins' 32nd day.

The poll will be Mr Varadkar's first General Election as Taoiseach, and the first Irish General Election to be held on a Saturday.

The last time an Irish General Election was held on a Saturday was 1918, in the aftermath of the Easter Rising, when Sinn Féin won an overwhelming majority.

"Thank you for that honour and for your trust in me", he said. "But I know it's not enough, and we want to do much more". We have a plan for fairer taxes - for future jobs and for rural Ireland - to put that right. A future we can all look forward to.

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The unusual Saturday election date has proved somewhat controversial, with some joking that primary school students and teachers would be disappointed due to usually getting the day off as the schools were used as polling booths.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says the 2020 election will be "vital" for the Irish people.

"Particularly in terms of housing - the inability of people to afford houses, housing prices and housing rents are simply far too high and there is a deep, deep crisis of homelessness right across every level of housing".

Mr Varadkar previously said he hoped to feel "the love of the people" when the public go to the polls days ahead of Valentine's Day. The Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive have reconvened.

"Many people are frustrated about the pace of progress in housing and health". If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

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