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Michael D Higgins with his wife Sabina speaking to the media whilst on his campaign trail on Grafton Street this afternoon.
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Michael D Higgins says he won't take part in Claire Byrne Live debate

The president said he will take part in a number of other broadcasts.

INCUMBENT PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has said he will not be taking part in one of the scheduled presidential debates. 

Higgins said he will not participate in the Claire Byrne Live show, which is scheduled to be broadcast in front of a live studio audience. 

However, speaking on his canvass through Dublin this afternoon, Higgins said that he will be part of RTÉ Prime Time debate as well as Virgin Media’s offering with Pat Kenny.

He told reporters: “It’s a matter of making a choice between the different offers that are there.”

The 77 year-old has held the office since 2011 and revealed he would seek re-election earlier this summer, with his campaign kicking-off properly in September when his website went live.

Speaking previously about debates, Higgins said: “All of that has to be settled of course. You know very very well, I have never ever pulled back from most things. But it is all to be negotiated. My campaign team will be discussing [it with] people.”

Higgins’ closest competitor in the polls, Sean Gallagher, has also been outspoken on the debates process – saying he would only take part in certain broadcasts if the incumbent were present. 

There are four televised debates scheduled so far. They are to be show on Prime Time and Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ while Pat Kenny will host one on Virgin Media One with the other to be broadcast on the Tonight Show on the same station.

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