Many moons ago, I was asked to write an analysis piece for UPI, the press agency behind this (now hastily reworded) article on the constitutional niceties of the Republic’s election law. The original words are preserved for posterity by this poster on Politics.ie:
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — The President of Northern Ireland, Mary McAleese dissolved parliament Sunday as Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced an election next month. The move came after Ahern met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, Sky News reported. However, in a joint statement issued in London, Ahern and Blair said the proposed May 24th vote could be called off if a powersharing agreement wasn’t reached by Ahern’s FF party and the right of center PDs in the 166-seat parliament known as the Dail. “If at any point it became clear that parties were unwilling to fulfill their commitments…and support for policing, it would be unreasonable to expect the people of NI to continue with an election to an assembly which would not exist,” the statement said. Ahern is seeking a third term in office, and a report said the race is expected to be close.
Ahem… Too much TV watching perhaps?