Dáil by-elections set to take place alongside local and European polls

It has been reported that two Dáil by-elections will go ahead on the same day as next month's local and European polls.

It had been widely anticipated that the Government had been looking at holding two-Dáil by-elections on the same day as the local and European elections on May 23.

That now looks to have been given the go-ahead, with sources in the coalition reportedly saying they want to "get it out of the way".

The two seats have been left vacant by the resignation of Independent Patrick Nulty in Dublin West and the death of Fine Gael's Nicky McFadden in Longford-Westmeath.

It sets the stage for a so-called "Super Friday" for the Government, who will be hoping the gamble avoids the disastrous fate of a similar decision by the Fianna Fáil/Greens coalition five years ago.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that this campaign is different to the last local and general elections as he canvassed in Clare.

"There's very strong contrast in terms of the level of engagement with people on the door today," he said.

"Throughout this campaign, and I've been on the doorstep now for the last 12 months and I've noticed people are concerned about the future, people are concerned for the prospects for their children or grandchildren - will they make it in this country, will they get through education - and many of the elderly are worried about the degree to which their pensions can cover their basic necessities of life."

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