Gallagher has a commanding lead as race enters final days
INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Sean Gallagher holds a commanding lead over his rivals for the Aras as the campaign enters the last few days.
Several polls have put the former Fianna Fail man well in front, with Labour's Michael D Higgins banking on across-the-board transfers to run close.
The seven candidates will go head-to-head twice today in live debates with Google and Newstalk radio hosting a midday broadcast before RTE's Frontline hosts the last television debate.
The latest opinion poll, an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI survey, gives Mr Gallagher twice the support he had three weeks ago.
Mr Higgins will require a huge swing this week to go close on the first count.
All of the other candidates have lost support since the last poll. Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has cemented third place while support for Senator David Norris and Gay Mitchell of Fine Gael has continued to fall.
Mary Davis has dropped into joint last place with Dana Rosemary Scallon.
Voters go to the polls on Thursday with the final four days of tough campaigning expected to ratchet up attacks on Mr Gallagher's past links to Fianna Fail and business background.