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Islanders prepare to cast their votes

More than 950 voters on islands off Donegal and Mayo go to the polls this morning as the election campaign enters its last two days.

Polling stations open on Arranmore, Gola, Inishboffin, Inishfree and Tory Island ahead of Friday's national poll.

Voters will also cast their ballot on Clare Island, Inishbiggle and Inishturk.

The ballots will help elect three candidates to the Donegal South-West constituency, currently represented by Fianna Fail's Mary Coughlan, Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty and Fine Gael's Dinny McGinley and five to Mayo, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny's heartland.

Arranmore has 523 registered voters, Gola 25, Inishboffin 67, Inishfree nine, and Tory Island 136.

Some 115 people are registered on Clare Island, 29 on Inishbiggle and 50 on Inishturk.

The islands usually vote in advance of election day to ensure the ballot boxes can be safely transported to count centres.

Meanwhile the parties will begin their last full day of canvassing before the traditional broadcasting blackout on election coverage begins at 2pm tomorrow.

Fresh from their final television debate of the campaign last night, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin and Labour's Eamon Gilmore will hold their final formal press conferences before going on the campaign trail across the country.

Mr Gilmore has a packed day of canvassing in Tipperary, Dublin, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow while Mr Kenny will be in Malahide, Baldoyle and Donaghmede before travelling to Monaghan town for an outdoor soapbox speech and on to Letterkenny.

Elsewhere Mr Martin plans to appear on two morning radio shows and carry out several engagements in Dublin, Louth, Kilkenny and Tipperary before returning to the capital.

He will later try to round up support in Mullinavat and Carrick on Suir.

The Greens will be canvassing in central Dublin while Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, will join party colleagues on the General Election campaign trail in Wicklow and Dublin.

PA Media