#PKDebate: 'I've been turning up since 1969' and other moments that got Twitter talking

By Michelle McGlynn

Last night saw the first televised debate of the Presidential election to feature all six candidates and viewers had their phones at the ready to share their thoughts on the big talking moments.

Pat Kenny hosted presidential hopefuls President Michael D Higgins, Gavin Duffy, Seán Gallagher, Joan Freeman, Sean Casey and Liadh Ní Riada as they tackled the big issues facing the next president.

Around 738,400 of us watched the debate and according to figures people across the country sent over 15,000 tweets during the 90 minute show.

Pic: Social Media Live with Olytico

Last night's showdown got people talking more than Monday night's eventful Claire Byrne Live debate with a 60% increase in online discussion.

The candidates were grilled by Pat Kenny on the major issues facing the country at the moment and in the year's ahead - from the homelessness crisis to Brexit there was a lot to cover.

But what seemed to catch viewers attention the most was the shade thrown, the audience antics and the feeling that maybe we've seen this all before.

Here is just some of what Twitter had to say as the race to the Áras continues.

President Higgins had the quote of the night when he responded to criticism of his absence at previous debates.

"I just want to address not turning up...I've been turning up since 1969," he said. And Twitter LOVED it.

The presidential shade didn't stop there as people relished a retort to expense claims directed at Michael D from Peter Casey.

President Higgins said that Mr Casey was creating a "fantasy list" of expenses he had claimed during this seven-year term.

After Mr Casey accused the President of taking a private jet to Zurich, he was dismissed with a simple: "Add it to the list".

There were many experiencing debate fatigue and let their feelings be known.

As always, there were a few people in the audience that caught some attention.

It wasn't just the candidates that came in for criticism from Twitter users, Pat Kenny had people talking too.

If you missed last night's debate, here is each candidate outlining their vision for the next seven years.

If you're just itching for some more election debate fun then fear not because before we head to the polls on October 26 there will be not one, but two more debates.

David McCullagh will welcome the candidates on RTÉ's Prime Time on Tuesday while Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates will host a Tonight Show: Presidential Election Special on Virgin Media One on Wednesday.

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