Friday 30 September 2016

Pat Kenny to host first party leaders’ debate on TV3

David Kearns

Published 09/02/2016 | 18:35

Pat Kenny will moderate alongside TV3 news anchor Colette Fitzpatrick
Pat Kenny will moderate alongside TV3 news anchor Colette Fitzpatrick

Newstalk's Pat Kenny will be making his TV3 debut as he co-hosts the channel’s upcoming ‘Leaders’ Debate’ ahead of the general election in two weeks time.

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Mr Kenny will moderate the first of the announced leaders’ television debates alongside TV3 news anchor Colette Fitzpatrick.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Joan Burton, Micheál Martin, and Gerry Adams have all confirmed their attendance, in what will be a four-way debate.

A joint production between TV3 and Newstalk, the special, due to air this Thursday at 9 pm, is the first time that the veteran broadcaster has presented an election debate since his move from RTÉ in 2013.

“[We] will have two of Ireland’s finest current affairs broadcast journalists posing questions in what promises to be one of the big highlights and centre-pieces of the General Election so far,” said TV3′s director of news Andrew Hanlon.

The veteran political expert Vincent Browne five years ago moderated the channel’s first debate, and would likely have done so again this week if not for his announcement that he would be missing much of the station’s coverage of the General Election due to an illness.

The 71-year-old informed viewers of Monday’s Tonight with Vincent Browne last week that his role would be limited to hosting the four remaining People’s Debates, which are constituency based town hall style gatherings where election candidates face questions from constituents.

Thursday’s debate, which will also be broadcast on Newstalk, will be followed by a Tonight Show Special at 10.30pmpresented by Newstalk Breakfast host Ivan Yates, along with a panel of political experts.

Commenting on the announcement, Garrett Harte, Editor in Chief of Newstalk said: “As the first leaders debate in this General Election this is a significant showcase for two of the leading brands in the independent broadcasting sector.

“Leader’s debates can be pivotal events in the run up to polling day and I am looking forward to the formidable team of Pat and Colette probing the leader’s positions in a number of important issues.”

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