President Higgins holds on to commanding lead ahead of tonight's live TV debate

President Higgins holds on to commanding lead ahead of tonight's live TV debate

Michael D Higgins looks on course to be re-elected as President for the next seven years according to the latest opinion polls.

Today's Irish Times/MRBI figures show the current president has a commanding 66% lead, with Seán Gallagher his nearest rival on 12%.

Liadh Ní Riada is just behind Sean Gallagher on 11%, while Joan Freeman has 5% support, Gavin Duffy is on 4% and Peter Casey has 2%.

Meanwhile, it looks like Seán Gallagher will be on crutches for the rest of his campaign.

The businessman was brought to hospital yesterday after tearing ligaments in his right knee during a gym workout.

All six presidential candidates will take part in a televised debate tonight after President Higgins and Mr Gallagher sat out of the Claire Byrne Live debate on RTÉ earlier in the week.

Pat Kenny will host the debate which will air on Virgin Media One at 10pm.

According to Virgin Media, the candidates will field questions from Kenny as well as members of the live studio audience.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Pat Kenny said: "It's very exciting to be hosting the first TV debate with all candidates in front of our audience.

"It’s a great opportunity for viewers to see them all in action and for them to put forward their vision for their presidency and convince us why they are the best candidate.

"Polls are just polls and nothing is a given until the votes are cast."

Mr Kenny hosted the infamous Frontline debate ahead of the 2011 debate where a tweet that came from a 'fake' account was blamed for derailing Gallagher's hopes of winning the election.

Digital Desk

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