Noonan pulled out of RTÉ debate in support of 'very upset' McGrath
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he initially pulled out of a budget debate on RTÉ's 'Prime Time' because his opposite number in Fianna Fáil, Michael McGrath, was "very upset" about being dropped from the televised discussion by the station.
Mr Noonan said he supported Mr McGrath, who felt he was being “punished for being responsible” by the station after it decided to choose Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty to take part in a debate.
Mr Noonan said it has always been the practice that the Finance Minister of the day goes head to head with the finance spokesman of the main opposition party on Budget night Mr Noonan said “his relationship with Fianna Fáil is more important than his relationship with Miriam O’Callaghan” on initially pulling out of the ‘Prime Time’ debate.
However, Mr Noonan later appeared on ‘Prime Time’ after RTÉ organised a panel-based discussion featuring the Finance Minister, Mr McGrath, Mr Doherty, Communications Minister Denis Naughten and AAA-PBP’s Ruth Coppinger.