Cowen seeks to dissolve parliament
Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen is to seek the dissolution of the Dail parliament as voters await formal confirmation of the general election date.
The Taoiseach, who remains in charge of the country until a new Government is formed, will make his farewell speech to the 30th Dail at 2.30pm.
Mr Cowen announced his retirement from frontline politics on Monday night.
Opposition leaders will be allowed a chance to respond to his valedictory address before the Ceann Comhairle invites other retiring MPs to speak.
Oireachtas officials expect the final session to last up to one and half hours. Immediately afterwards, Mr Cowen will be driven to Aras an Uachtarain where he will ask President Mary McAleese to formally dissolve the parliament.
The pair will sign the necessary warrant in the state reception room before posing for photographs.
Mr Cowen is then expected to travel to Tullamore for the Fianna Fail selection convention in his Laois/Offaly constituency.
Candidates will be officially announced after the party's final selection convention. Mr Cowen's brother Barry Cowen, a councillor, has been widely tipped to stand in his place for the seat formerly held by their father, Ber.