Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told his Ministers that four Dáil byelections could be held in November or December.
The writs for the polls needed to fill the vacancies created by the election of TDs Frances Fitzgerald, Billy Kelleher, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly to the European Parliament must be moved by January 2nd, six months after they take their seats in Europe.
However, Mr Varadkar told his Ministers at the weekly Fine Gael pre-Cabinet meeting that it is unlikely that the writs will be moved immediately after Christmas, and suggested the move could instead be made in November or December this year.
Such a timetable would “potentially” see the byelections in Dublin Mid West, Cork North Central, Wexford and Dublin Fingal held in the run-up to Christmas, a Government source said.
They could be held on the same day as a planned referendum to allow citizens living abroad and in Northern Ireland to vote in presidential elections, Mr Varadkar later told the Dáil.
The Cabinet approved the heads of the Bill for the referendum on Tuesday. Ministers also approved the setting-up of two citizens’ assemblies. One will be to draw up proposals to advance gender equality, while the second assembly will examine the best model of local government for Dublin – in particular the proposal for a directly elected mayor and what powers the office should have.