Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has written to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to say the two men should meet in the first days of 2020 to discuss the possibility of an agreed general election date.

Mr Varadkar wrote to Mr Martin this evening, two weeks after Mr Martin said it is not tenable for the Government to continue unless an orderly wind down to a general election date is agreed.

In his letter to Mr Martin, RTÉ News understands Mr Varadkar said while he is in favour of meeting the Fianna Fail leader after Christmas, he referenced certain issues which could impact on whether a general election date can be agreed.

In particular, Mr Varadkar is understood to have referenced the fact the Dáil vote numbers are now far tighter than at the start of the confidence and supply deal.

As such, he said recent comments from a Fianna Fáil TD - believed to be Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, who has said he will vote in favour of a no confidence motion in the Government if one is tabled early next year - will have to be addressed.

Mr Varadkar is also understood to have agreed with Mr Martin that a number of bills will need to be signed off on before the general election takes place, and to have added a small number of bills he would like to prioritise.

The latter point may ultimately reduce the likelihood of a general election in early February, as it will take time to conclude work on any bills which will be prioritised when the Dáil returns in mid-January.

A Government spokesperson said this evening: "The Taoiseach has written to Micheál Martin. He has offered to meet with Deputy Martin in the New Year for further discussions".

Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin's potential meeting has been at the centre of political attention for a number of weeks due to ongoing rumours over when the general election may take place.

The issue has come under further scrutiny since the British general election results earlier this month, which has made it far more likely British prime minister Boris Johnson will ensure his Brexit legislation is passed by 31 January.

This in turn has been seen as removing Brexit as a reason to not hold a general election in early 2020, heightening talk of a snap general election as soon as January or February.

At the start of December, Mr Martin wrote to Mr Varadkar saying the Taoiseach should "step in and give some certainty" on the general election date.

At the time, Mr Martin wrote that "the responsible thing to do at this point is to end the speculation and agree a date for the dissolution of the Dáil, a date for the holding of the election".

Mr Martin also said allowing the Government to continue past January without an agreed general election date is not tenable as it will lead to "short-term tactics" by parties.

On Friday, Mr Varadkar said he is reluctant to agree a general election date as he does not want a three or four month campaign, and said the Dáil should not be wound down as suggested by Mr Martin.

The latest opinion poll by the Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes placed Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on 27% each, with Fine Gael's percentage remaining unchanged and Fianna Fáil's rising by 2%.