The government has confirmed that it will hold the three outstanding by-elections early next year.
An opposition motion aimed at holding the by-elections immediately was narrowly defeated in the Dáil on Wednesday night by 81 votes to 77.
However, Chief Whip John Curran announced to the Dáil that the by-elections in Waterford, Dublin South and Donegal South West would be held in early spring.
The writs for the by-elections will be moved in the Dáil in the first quarter of 2011, with the government then obliged to hold them within 18-25 days of that happening.
This suggests that April is the latest the by-elections can take place.
Waterford’s Sinn Féin by-election candidate Cllr David Cullinane reacted angrily to the news, saying there was no reason why the elections could not be held earlier.
“There is absolutely no reason why the three by-elections cannot be held this autumn. We want the election to take place at the earliest opportunity – not at some stage in the future when the government decides it suits them best.”
He continued: “It is my belief that the government is acting in self-interest by refusing to set an actual date and is attempting to send the fool further. A commitment from this government to hold the by-elections in the first quarter of next year is not good enough. This government has no credibility and cannot be trusted.”
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