No decision yet by Kenny on TV debate

Wed, May 23, 2012, 01:00

BROADCAST:TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has not yet decided on whether he will participate in a televised leaders’ debate on the referendum, his spokesman has said.

Mr Kenny turned down a request to take part in last week’s debate on TV3. The Taoiseach’s spokesman said no decision had yet been made on whether Mr Kenny would become involved in a leaders’ debate. The spokesman added there had not been a discernable public demand to date for such a debate to take place.

Mr Kenny will make a 10-minute televised address on Sunday evening on RTÉ. However, this has been agreed as a means of achieving balance, following Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’ 30-minute address to his party’s ardfheis on Saturday night.

When asked last night why the Taoiseach had not appeared in a televised debate, Fine Gael Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd said Mr Kenny was canvassing up and down the country and would also be making the televised address on Sunday.

Speaking on TG4 last night, he said: “Mr Kenny is talking to ordinary people and he will continue to do that.”

RTÉ has said that its final debate will be held on May 29th, two days before polling. However, a spokeswoman declined yesterday to say who would be participating or if an invitation had been issued to the Taoiseach.

It came as Fianna Fáil’s director of elections Timmy Dooley TD called on RTÉ to host a final eve of poll debate. He based his argument on polls that showed that more than 30 per cent of people had yet to decide how to vote.

Last night, TV3 issued another invitation to the Taoiseach to participate in a live, televised debate. It said it welcomed the clarification from his spokesman that his planned national address on RTÉ did not preclude him from participating in such a debate.