What the broadcasters are offering on TV debate TV3 TG4 Sky
RTE said it had not yet confirmed its arrangements for election leaders' debates.
Political sources say RTE is now proposing a three-way debate at the beginning and end of the election campaign, with a five-way debate mid-way through.
During the last election, the state broadcaster hosted two debates, one of which featured all five leaders. The other featured then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern going head-to-head with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny. This year's debates are likely to be carried on flagship current affairs programme 'Prime Time'.
TV3 said the station had been in negotiations for over a year and remains open to proposals. Political sources said the station is planning a three-way debate with the leaders of the largest parties. The debates are likely to be chaired by Vincent Browne.
TG4 is not finalising its plans until the election is called, having issued invites to political leaders.
Political sources said the station is planning a three-way debate. Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin seemed to give the game away yesterday when he said TG4 issued an invitation to a debate in Galway on February 16.
Sky has proposed holding a five-way debate which would be moderated by Adam Boulton, the station's political editor.
Head of Sky News, John Ryley, said: "Viewers have never been so engaged with the country and the outcome of its general election."