Gallagher changes mind and will take part in all remaining debates

All six presidential candidates will feature in RTÉ One’s ‘Prime Time’ debate tonight

The presidential election takes place on Friday, October 26th.

The presidential election takes place on Friday, October 26th.

 

Presidential candidate Seán Gallagher has changed his mind and will now participate in all remaining debates.

Ahead of a televised debate with all six presidential candidates at 9.45pm on RTÉ One’s Prime Time tonight, Mr Gallagher said having listened to comments from supporters “I can confirm that I am taking part in all the remaining debates”.

Until this point Mr Gallagher had declined to take part in debates which did not include all six candidates.

Debates with all six candidates previously took place on Saturday with Cormac O hEadhra, RTÉ Radio 1 and on Pat Kenny’s Presidential Election Special on Virgin Media 1 over the last two weeks.

At the start of the campaign Michael D Higgins decided to take part in three debates, citing presidential duties, and Mr Gallagher decided not to participate in those debates in which Mr Higgins did not take part.

Mr Higgins’ use of the Government jet is likely to come under scrutiny again from Mr Gallagher, Joan Freeman, Liadh Ní Riada, Gavin Duffy and Peter Casey during the debate tonight.

He used the Government jet to travel to Belfast to deliver a speech last May, when his car also travelled to bring him from the airport to Queen’s University.

During the debate on the Pat Kenny debate, Mr Higgins said he had to use both the Government jet and his State car because “security reasons” meant he “couldn’t be picked up at the Border”.

The Claire Byrne presidential debate, which aired on RTÉ One last week, featured just four of the six presidential candidates.

Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates will host a televised debate on Virgin Media 1 on Wednesday at 9pm, with all of the candidates, except Mr Higgins taking part.

The latest Irish Times Ipsos MRBI poll, which was published last Wednesday, showed Mr Higgins at 66 per cent; Mr Gallagher on 12 per cent; Ms Ní Riada 11 per cent; Joan Freeman 5 per cent; Gavin Duffy 4 per cent; and Peter Casey 2 per cent.

The Irish Times will be running a liveblog on tonight’s debate from 7pm.

The presidential election takes place on Friday, October 26th.