The four contenders for the Fianna Fáil leadership have addressed the parliamentary party this evening ahead of tomorrow's vote.

Each of the candidates spoke for between ten and 15 minutes and outlined why they should lead they party.

It is thought that Micheál Martin is now in a commanding position to succeed Brian Cowen and become the party's eighth leader.

One of Mr Martin's supporters has claimed that he has the support of more than 40 of the 72 TDs eligible to vote.

A leading bookmaker has already paid out on the former Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan came to tonight's meeting from the Dáil chamber where he was debating the Finance Bill.

Ministers Éamon Ó Cuív and Mary Hanafin also set out their cases, but as things stand the Cork South Central TD looks like the man to beat.

Tomorrow's meeting of the parliamentary party will see the candidates proposed and seconded, before the vote is taken in a secret ballot.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Devins has been re-admitted to the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party.

Mr Devins resigned the party whip in August 2009 over opposition to cuts at Sligo General Hospital.

He is not running at the General Election but he does have a vote now at the leadership contest.