The Irish government was yesterday reduced to a cabinet of 7 members, the minimum allowed under the Irish Consitution.
Following the withdrawal by the Irish Green Party from the government at 3:30pm yesterday, a general election now seems to be days rather than weeks from being called.
The opposition parties, who now have a majority in the Dáil (parliament), will today meet with government and department of finance officials to set out a timetable that will see the 2011 Finance Act to meet the terms of the EU/IMF bailout voted on as quickly as possible and an election called thereafter.
It appears that if agreement is not reached today that the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, will be forced to dissolve parliament and call an immediate election as one of the opposition parties has a motion of no confidence in the government on the agenda of parliament tomorrow. Labour party leader, Eamon Gilmore, has said that he will only withdraw that motion in the event of agreement on a timetable being reached today. It is expected that all other opposition parties would support such a motion.