The leaders of the two main political parties face each other for the first time in a televised debate prior to a general election.

For the first time on Irish television, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the day, Garret FitzGerald of Fine Gael, and the leader of the opposition party Fianna Fáil, Charles Haughey, debate live on television.

On the night of the debate, the interest resembled that given to prizefighters before they enter the ring. The press were there in force to cover the arrival of FitzGerald and Haughey at the RTÉ television studios in Donnybrook.

In a 'Today Tonight' special two days before the election, the prospective Taoisigh debate the election issues live on air. Presenter Barry Cowan outlines the background to the election using RTÉ news archive footage and introduces the debate to be chaired by Brian Farrell.