Taoiseach Leo Varadkar didn't name a date for the General Election on RTÉ's This Week programme - but he as good as sounded the opening bell of the electoral contest.

He said that he had "made a decision", but couldn't go further as there was what he termed "some business to be done" - including a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Varadkar could head to Áras an Uachtaráin and request President Michael D Higgins dissolves the Dáil, after Cabinet, but that would be diplomatically awkward.

The new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is due to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin on Wednesday - and any talks would be taking place amid the full glare of a general election campaign.

It's likely, therefore, that Mr Varadkar will leave the dissolution until Wednesday evening, or even Thursday.

In his interview with David McCullagh, the Taoiseach said there was "protocol" he wanted to observe, including speaking to the leaders of the Opposition.

He also confirmed that the Dáil would return on Wednesday.

Mr Varadkar said he made his decision because "circumstances had changed", referencing the ending of the first phase of Brexit and the re-establishment of the institutions in Northern Ireland.

But he also referenced what he called Dáil "arithmetic".

Put simply, he now knows that his minority-led Government can no longer command the necessary support in the Dáil to operate.

The only outcome therefore is this: call the election.

That declaration is now only a matter of days away.  


Read more: Taoiseach decides on General Election date but won't announce it yet