Three weeks to polling days

Taoiseach Enda Kenny went into the Dáil this morning to seek its dissolution ahead of a General Election on 26 February.

RTÉ's Mícheál Lehane spoke to Morning Ireland about what we can expect to see - and hear - from candidates in the coming weeks.

He said: "There is speculation of a Fine Gael /Labour press conference - in an effort to show the joint approach as the Government seeks to be re-elected.

"It will be a short campaign, just three weeks - 1989 was the most recent election that was that short."

With timing and the inclement weather an issue, much of this campaign is likely to be fought out over the airwaves.

Explaining that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is likely to be "used sparingly" over the course of the campaign, Mr Lehane said: "There is a belief that the Taoiseach will not get to all 40 constituencies over the course of the campaign - but should get to every region.

"We can expect a rush of manifesto launches over the coming days but the messages from the respective parties are all fairly clear already."

Fine Gael will push stability and "keeping the recovery going"; Fianna Fáil is talking about "greater fairness"; Sinn Féin has been playing up the message that Fine Gael's figures "don't add up" while Labour insists it needs to be in government to curb "right-wing tendencies with Fine Gael".

Mr Lehane speculated that the Labour Party may be "in the most difficulty" and will do well to win back half of its seats; Fianna Fáil's recovery may have stalled - "without sufficient penitence, there doesn't come atonement" - while Sinn Féin will be confident of earning 10 or more seats.

Listen to Mícheál Lehane's analysis in full here...

Coalition tensions surface at hustings

"Breaking the link between politicians and public sector pay" was the main topic at a hustings for political parties in Dublin last night.

Coalition tensions surfaced at the event which was organised by the association of Higher Civil and Public Servants. RTÉ's Aisling Kenny reports.

Beware the perils of auction politics 

Irish Times Political Editor Stephen Collins talks to Morning Ireland about low voter enthusiasm, Fine Gael's best defence and why parties - and voters - need to be wary of political promises made as a result of "auction politics".