Fine Gael TDs to be briefed on 'general election preparedness' before Dáil resumes on Monday

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
Irish Examiner Political Correspondent

Fine Gael TDs and senators will be briefed on "general election preparedness" at a behind-closed-doors pre-Dáil think-in on Monday, 24 hours before the Dáil re-opens after the Christmas break.

Party sources confirmed the briefing will be given by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to all candidates and existing national politicians - despite stressing the meeting is only about updates and does not mean an election is imminent.

The pre-Dáil meeting in Dublin is understood to focus on a number of issues including climate action policies such as a future carbon tax, Brexit and May's imminent local and European elections.

However, the decision to also schedule a briefing on general election planning by Mr Donohoe - who is the party's director of organisations for elections - is likely to cause fresh concerns of a rush to the ballot boxes sooner than planned.

Last month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin agreed to extend the confidence and supply deal by a year due to the Brexit crisis, with both parties suggesting an election date between spring and early summer 2020.

Although the date is still expected, both Government and opposition sources suspect either side could still force an election sooner if the Brexit stand-off is resolved.

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