Live minute-by-minute coverage of Ireland's presidential election results

Michael D Higgins is the early pacesetter in the race to become the ninth President of Ireland. The veteran Labor Party candidate has polled heavily in Dublin as he looks to succeed Mary McAleese.

Higgins has even outpolled Dundalk resident Sean Gallagher in his own town of Blackrock in Louth as the Fianna Fail connection looks set to thwart the Independent’s bid for the job.

Gallagher just hasn’t recovered from Sinn Fein’s revelations on Monday that he acted as a ‘bagman’ for Fianna Fail at a 2008 fund raising dinner.

Early tallies suggest that Higgins will do enough to see off Gallagher when the final result is known early on Saturday.

With almost a third of all boxes now open at count centres across the country, it is looking good for former Government Minister Higgins despite a relatively disappointing turnout of just 50 per cent of the electorate.

Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness is set to finish third behind Higgins and Gallagher with Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell and Independent Senator David Norris fighting it out for fourth but well down the pecking order.

Independents Mary Davis and Dana Rosemary Scallon are completely off the pace and will do well to poll enough votes to have their expenses reimbursed by the State.

Live minute-by-minute coverage of Ireland's presidential election results