Sinn Féin began a two-day party strategy meeting in Dublin today in advance of the new Dáil session on 24 September.

Over the next three weeks, the other major parties will also hold special meetings to prepare for the new Dáil term.

Sinn Féin is gathering in Howth to plan its political agenda for the months ahead, with the economy, health, crime, the Lisbon Treaty and the Northern Assembly among the main issues.

The economic downturn will mean the public finances and the options for the December Budget will be a crucial issue for all the parties.

Next week, the Labour Party gathers in Clonmel, while the Progressive Democrats will hold a parliamentary party and National Executive meeting in Dublin.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens will meet in different venues around the country to finalise their preparations the following week.