The seven leaders appeared on the RTE debate this evening
The second leaders' debate of the general election campaign got underway this evening.
The leaders of seven parties represented in the current Dáil took part in the live RTE debate at the University of Limerick.
Early exchanges in the debate were dominated by questions on the economy and previous broken promises.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said his plans to lower taxes would help to create more work - and attacked Fianna Fáil in doing so:
Meanwhile Stephen Donnelly of the Social Democrats said he wants to maintain Universal Social Charge at the current rate:
The leaders also went on to discuss the issues around rural recovery, namely the problem with national broadband and what job plans the various parties have.
When the issue of trolley figures came up, Kenny was keen to point out that Micheal Martin was working with more money at the time the trolleys were quite high. However, the figures of people on trolleys has increased by about 1000 each year over the last few years. Today alone, 30 people were on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick, only surpassed by Beaumont at 34.
The debate moved swiftly on to homelessness when Claire Byrne determined she couldn't hear anything any more due to leaders arguing. Martin pointed out that more and more families are becoming homeless due to rent supplement limits. However, the Fianna Fail leader failed to point out that families were also unable to pay their mortgages.
The leaders were then questioned about crime and particularly about rural crime. Lucinda Creighton discussed the three-strike rule her party are introducing and the fact that parents should be responsible for their children. Ms Burton went on to discuss the amount of Gardaí that would be trained in the system over the next few years.
The final question was on the coalition. Kenny dodged the question pointing to the fact that the Election would take place on 26th February and asked the people to consider returning the parties that were in Government before the Election was called. Labour asked for voters to vote for their party first and then Fine Gael for their second vote.
Micheal Martin on the other hand refused to answer the question on whether he would be Tanaiste in a Fine Gael government. He says Civil War politics are a thing of the past. Gerry Adams wanted to "send the three amigos to ride off into the sunset".