Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher will refuse to take part in debates if Michael D. Higgins doesn't show up
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Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher will refuse to take part in debates if Michael D. Higgins doesn't show up

PRESIDENTIAL candidate Sean Gallagher has said that he will refuse to take part in any debates that President Michael D. Higgins doesn't show up for.

The businessman and former Dragon’s Den investor has vowed to skip any upcoming Presidential debates that Michael D Higgins does not attend.

Speaking ahead of next Thursday’s RTE Radio News at One debate – which both candidates have declined to attend – Gallagher said that it is crucial that all candidates are treated equally and that all debates in the lead up to the election should include all candidates.

Speaking to the media yesterday in Dublin, Mr Gallagher said: “Let’s deal with all of that. I’m sure that the lessons learned from this debate will influence how and when the debates are scheduled.

“I’m ready, willing and able…in fact excited…to be taking part in all of the debates.”

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He called on the media to “ensure all candidates are available” before scheduling such debates, acknowledging that the President’s website had clearly indicated that he had a prior engagement.

Mr Higgins, on the other hand, said that his attendance at debates will depend on his schedule as President.

“You will appreciate, I know, because I am the first incumbent facing a contest in the presidency, I will participate in as many as I can.

“I do think it’s important, however, that my campaign team have the opportunity of engaging with broadcasters so we are rather not presented with a fait accompli and told to comply with it at our cost.”

Yesterday, President Higgins confirmed that he will run again for the presidency with a video posted to his Twitter page.

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The ballot has now been finalised for the 26th October, with all six candidates confirmed.

Those are Sean Gallagher, Gavin Duffy, Peter Casey, Joan Freeman, Liadh Ni Riada and current President Michael D. Higgins.