Sinn Féin writes to Virgin Media objecting to FG/FF debate
The debate will be held on Wednesday night.
Virgin Media are set to hold the first leaders' debate in the general election campaign when a debate between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is held this week.
No other party leaders have been invited to the debate, which is to be moderated by Pat Kenny at 9.30pm on Wednesday.
An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll released on Monday night showed that Fianna Fáil were on 25%, Fine Gael were down six at 23% and Sinn Féin were up seven to 21%.
The decision to include only Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the debate has drawn criticism from Sinn Féin and the party's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has called on the broadcaster to reverse its decision.
“There are clearly three large parties contesting this election and it would fly in the face of fairness and impartiality to exclude Mary Lou McDonald from these debates," Doherty said in a statement.
“With Fianna Fáil facilitating Fine Gael in government for the last four years it has been Sinn Féin that has been the major voice of opposition.
“Both RTÉ and Virgin Media must reverse their decision to exclude Sinn Féin from their major set piece debates.”
Doherty also said he has written to Virgin Media to call on them to reverse their decision, saying "a debate in the manner proposed is capable of affecting the outcome of the election."
Virgin Media will also host another leaders debate on 30 January, which will have leaders from multiple parties and will be moderated by Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates.