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Starter's Orders

Pat Kenny is coming back to your screens *

* But only to chair the first leaders’ debate of the election race this Thursday.

Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick pictured today a Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick Brian McEvoy Brian McEvoy

THE FIRST LEADERS’ debate of the election season will take place this Thursday, 11 February, on TV3.

The debate, which will run live from 9pm to 10.30pm, will be moderated by Newstalk’s Pat Kenny and TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick.

Enda Kenny, Joan Burton, Micheál Martin, and Gerry Adams have all confirmed their attendance in what will be a four-way debate.

The debate, a joint production between TV3 and Newstalk, represents the first election debate the veteran broadcaster will have presented since his move from RTÉ.

Five years ago the 2011 TV3 debate was presented by Vincent Browne.

“We will have two of Ireland’s finest current affairs broadcast journalists posing questions in what promises to be one of the big highlights and centre-pieces of the General Election so far,” said TV3′s director of news Andrew Hanlon.

Pat Kenny presided over the infamous ‘Tweetgate’ debate on RTÉ’s now defunct Frontline during the 2011 presidential race, in which businessman Seán Gallagher had a question in an unverified tweet posed to him by Kenny.

Gallagher subsequently claimed that that incident was crucial in turning the tide of that election in favour of current incumbent Michael D Higgins.

The debate will be followed by a Tonight Show Special at 10.30pm presented by Newstalk Breakfast’s Ivan Yates along with a panel of political experts and analysts.

Read: Sinn Féin wants to scrap the Special Criminal Court

Read: Micheál Martin got a little testy today on his party’s chances of winning

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