Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said it is his and Labour's preference that the Dáil term goes to its full duration before the General Election.

Mr Howlin said the Government had a job of work to do in relation to the Budget and the legislative programme, including on public sector pay and social welfare.

However, he said whenever the election happened Labour would be ready.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has declined to comment on the date for the General Election and has said he is focusing on the Budget.

Enda Kenny was asked about the election date on his way into Government Buildings for this morning's Cabinet meeting.

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Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has said he does not believe that the Taoiseach is in any way minded to do anything in relation to a general election other than what he has already committed to, which is for the vote to take place early next year.

Mr Kelly said the date of the election was a matter for the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.

He said they would come to their own decision and he presumed they would come to it jointly.

Mr Kelly said he would expect Tánaiste Joan Burton would be discussing and had discussed this matter with the Taoiseach, and he said there was nothing unusual about that.

Meanwhile, the format of ballot papers is to be changed under the terms of an amendment to the Electoral Act due to be debated at the end of this month.  

Mr Kelly has tabled the change, which would see party symbols moved to the right of the paper alongside the space for voters to mark their preference.

Ministers also noted a decision by Mr Kelly not to increase the spending limits for general elections, which have not been reviewed since 2007.

The change to the ballot paper requires legislation which will not be passed by both houses until mid November at the earliest.