Pearse Doherty labels RTÉ Varadkar/Martin debate an "utter joke" 10 months ago

Pearse Doherty labels RTÉ Varadkar/Martin debate an "utter joke"

"RTÉ's decision is an utter joke."

RTÉ announced on Wednesday it would be holding two live debates in the run up to the general election on 8 February.

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The first will be The Claire Byrne Live Leaders Debate which will see leaders from a number of political parties invited to take part in front of a live audience.

The second will be a Prime Time Leaders Debate and will be a head-to-head studio debate between Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin.

Leaders of the parties will also sit down with Bryan Dobson in a series of interviews which will be broadcast on RTÉ at 7pm during the election campaign.

The decision to only invite the leaders of the two largest parties for this second debate has angered Sinn Féin with claiming RTÉ is failing to live up to its responsibilities.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty called the decision to exclude other leaders, including Mary Lou McDonald  "an utter joke."

"There is no difference between these two parties," Doherty said in a statement on Wednesday.

"They have the same ideology and the same outlook, and combined they received less than 50% of the votes of the Irish people at the last general election.

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"They have tried to carve up government and opposition, and now they want to carve up this election by excluding Sinn Féin.

"This election is about much more than these two parties and the media have a responsibility to make sure that all voices are heard.

"By excluding Sinn Féin, RTÉ is facilitating the gameplan of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

"RTÉ's decision is an utter joke," Doherty said.

Main image via Sinn Féin

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