Ireland will hold a general election on Friday March 11, Prime Minister Brian Cowen has confirmed.
Amid chaos and controversy following the resignation of six Cabinet ministers, Mr Cowen made an apparent climbdown from a reshuffle, instead choosing to reassign portfolios.
In a statement to the Dail (parliament), Mr Cowen said the coalition Government would continue in power until the Finance Bill, giving effect to Budget 2011, and other important legislation is passed.
Mr Cowen said: “I believe it is important in the weeks ahead that the Government gives legislative effect to the Budget through the enactment of the Finance Bill and other related Bills which benefit the people.
“There’s nothing more important than doing precisely that.”