Ireland”s four main party leaders have taken part in their last televised debate ahead of Friday’s General Election.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny hopes to become the first leader of an austerity government in the Eurozone to win a second term.
But he may be looking for new coalition partners if voters punish the co-ruling Labour Party for the cuts imposed.
With polls predicting no outright winner, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams could attempt to form the next government.
Questioned during the debate about his suitability to hold “the highest office in the land,” he replied: “I have never tried to hide my association with the IRA.
“The IRA is now history. It”s now gone. We”re living in a new era.”
With the economy dominating the three week campaign, Sky News has been gauging the mood of the electorate.
Maeve Curtis, 60, lives in Dundalk, a town 50 miles north of Dublin, and has been protesting about austerity for five years.
“When you hit the poorest and the most vulnerable in society, then there”s something seriously wrong with your government.
“In 2008, we had 16,000 millionaires in Ireland. To date we have 91,000 millionaires so who”s getting the recovery? It”s not the ordinary citizen,” she said.
Sorley McCaughey, a father-of-two from South Dublin, would rather talk about climate change but concedes that for most people, it will be about the money.
“These things are nearly always about the economy.
“But I think of my children and their children and how the change in climate is going to affect them and I don’t really see enough urgency in the candidates to date talking about climate change,” he said.
Alison Hickey and Roberta Gondola want young people to vote. They got engaged after last year”s referendum on same-sex marriage.
Alison said: “Everyone knows someone who”s in a same sex relationship now. It”s more common than it was 20, 30 years ago.
“I think because they saw their vote made a difference, I think that made it important to them, so I”m pretty confident that they”re going to step up and keep voting in elections.”
The Prime Minister has ruled out entering government with Sinn Fein. Some predict a coalition with Fianna Fail, another centre-right party.
But independent candidates could hold the key. Polls suggest they will be called on to help form the next Irish government.