The sudden death of a candidate in Tipperary has had an unexpectedly big impact on what happens after Saturday's General Election.

Nobody in Tipperary will go to the polls this weekend following the death of Independent candidate Marese Skehan.

The five seat constituency will now have a new contest.

The legislation regarding what happens in the event of the death of a candidate is available here.

It is clear that Tipperary returning officer James Seymour must start the process from scratch.

This morning he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that he decided to postpone the election in Tipperary and said logistically the most likely date for a new election will be 28 or 29 February.

It also means new candidates can enter the contest for seats in Tipperary.

The nominations for people to put forward their names is expected to reopen tomorrow.

It is the first time something like this has happened since 1948.

Despite the fact all the seats will not be filled as things stand the Dáil will have to meet on 20 February, senior officials in Leinster House believe.

This is because the proclamation issued by the President on the day the election was called, on the advice of the Taoiseach, required that the Dáil meets on that date.

Should this meeting take place it would be business as usual and TDs would be asked to elect a new Ceann Comhairle and a new Taoiseach.

Any move to delay the Dáil meeting on this day, in light of the delay to election vote in Tipperary, would need the President to issue a new proclamation on the advice of the Taoiseach.

That means it would be up to current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to request a new date.

At present the TDs for Tipperary are Alan Kelly (Labour), Michael Lowry (Independent), Mattie McGrath (Independent), Seamus Healy (Independent) and Jackie Cahill (Fianna Fáil).

Nobody knows what the outcome of the General Election will be but it is possible Independent TDs could play a crucial role as they did over the last four years.

Tipperary has a history of producing Independent TDs.

But it also means big parties could put greater effort towards winning seats in Tipperary after Saturday's vote fills the other 155 seats in the Dáil.

The electorate in the constituency could play crucial role in government formation.

Its voters will also have the benefit of knowing the outcome of the race for the other 155 seats.

Tipperary could make the process of forming a government a more protracted affair.

But the constituency could also be the key to the next administration.

Read more:
Tipperary waits for new date for General Election vote