Last night, the final TV debate before Saturday's General Election 2020 broadcast.
Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar, Mary Lou McDonald, the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, faced off each other in the debate, which aired on RTÉ show Prime Time.
Presenters David McCullagh and Miriam O'Callaghan resided over the discussion, which got quite heated.
The politicians clashed over issues such as housing and health.
Highlights included Leo Varadkar's warning against bringing back Micheál Martin to run the economy. He said: “Putting Fianna Fáil back in charge of our economy would be like allowing John Delaney to take back charge of the FAI in nine years’ time.”
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald also directed an attack on Martin when she said he was trying to “mansplain” corporation tax to her.
Martin got back at McDonald for her party's tax policies, which he said don’t make sense. He declared: “Sinn Féin have magicked up the figures, they do not add up.
“There’s some sort of magic fairy tree out there that’s going to deliver all of this.”
Viewers also delighted in the party leaders being asked about their weaknesses.
Here were the best responses on Twitter:
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is currently complaining about the height of his podium. This could be crucial. #GE2020 #primetime
— Philip Ryan (@Philip_Ryan) February 4, 2020
An good debate tonight. Stand-out moments:
-McDonald finally forced to admit Conor Murphy linked Paul Quinn to criminality.
-Varadkar comparing FF’s economic management to John Delaney in the FAI.
-Martin drops his notes (just like in 2016) #GE2020 #rtept #LeadersDebate
— Kevin Doyle (@KevDoyle_Indo) February 4, 2020
Mary Lou McDonald saying her focus is on lower-income people. Leo Varadkar saying his focus is on middle-income people. Micheál Martin’s focus is on everybody and nobody #ge2020 #rtept https://t.co/eQB0L2p8k8
— Village Magazine (@VillageMagIRE) February 4, 2020
Mary Lou just stepped back there, let Leo and MM fight it out on housing and then responded by lumping them in together. That’s the strategy.#rtept #leadersdebate #ge2020
— Elaine Byrne (@ElaineByrne) February 4, 2020
Think Leo won the ‘mistake’ question. Frank & humble. ‘I’m human, I make mistakes all the time’ #rtept #ge2020
— Anne-Marie McNally (@amomcnally) February 4, 2020
The Irish leaders’ debate is really quite shocking. The three leaders have a detailed grasp of complex welfare and tax issues, they are polite and courteous, they admit mistakes, they say sorry. They might even be largely honest. Why is all that possible in Ireland but not here?
— Robert Peston (@Peston) February 4, 2020
Overall though, as an outsider, the thing which struck me most was the tone/quality of the debate: Detailed, substantive and focussed on policy. Irish politics and discourse so much further behind the post-truth nightmare by comparison to British and American politics. #GE2020
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) February 4, 2020
No standout performance by any of the three there. Varadkar clearly uncomfortable with some aspects of his own record. Martin verbose on explaining what he’d do different. McDonald her usual concise self on others’ failings, less so on her own platform.
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 4, 2020
Jesus Christ, what perversions has McCullagh got planned for his questions on health?!? #rtept#leadersdebate #GE2020 pic.twitter.com/0vP262x235
— Gerry McBride (@GerryMcBride) February 4, 2020
Moment of the debate so far HANDS DOWN! #rtept #ge2020 pic.twitter.com/Ot0MeKTVkl
— Ste Rogers (@sterogers76) February 4, 2020
An bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leithreas?! #LeadersDebate #ge2020 pic.twitter.com/Z48bHISXWz
— S Brady (@sammbradyy) February 4, 2020
When you've been standing at the bar for 15 minutes and you try to get the servers attention #LeadersDebate #GE2020 pic.twitter.com/oywoAofOYC
— Ian Mangan (@ManganIan) February 4, 2020