Eoghan Murphy will sign the formal order for the election later today

The Minister for Housing has confirmed the date of the presidential election.

It will be held on Friday 26th of October.

Eoghan Murphy confirmed in an RTÉ interview that he will sign the order for the election today.

The order has to be issued before candidates can lodge their nomination papers.

Today's formal order will open the window when county councils and Oireachtas members can formally back candidates.

A number of candidates have already declared their interest in contesting the election, against Michael D Higgins who's seeking a second term.

Eight candidates sought the support of local authorities during a number of sittings yesterday.

Presidential hopefuls include entrepreneur Gavin Duffy, Senator Joan Freeman, journalist Gemma O'Doherty and artist Kevin Sharkey. 

There's speculation 2011 runner-up Sean Gallagher could also run, while Sinn Féin will also put forward a candidate.

The nomination stage will likely close at the end of September ahead of the vote on October 26th.