Wednesday 7 December 2016

Varadkar frozen out of TV marriage debate

Niall O'Connor and Lise Hand

Published 16/05/2015 | 02:30

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has been forced off RTÉ’s final television debate ahead of next week’s Marriage Equality referendum
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has been forced off RTÉ’s final television debate ahead of next week’s Marriage Equality referendum

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has been forced off RTÉ's main and final television debate on the same-sex marriage referendum after a row erupted between Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

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RTÉ bosses had provisionally booked Mr Varadkar, the country's first openly gay Cabinet minister, as the Coalition representative for Tuesday night's 'Prime Time' debate.

But the station was later told he was being replaced by Labour minister Alex White.

Labour figures were left furious over Mr Varadkar's planned appearance - and insisted the move was in breach of a deal struck with Fine Gael.

But Fine Gael sources said they were "taken aback" by Labour's reaction, as the campaign is not supposed to be party political.

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has expressed personal regret over voting 'No' next Friday.

Writing in today's Irish Independent, Dr Martin said he is not "totally happy" about a 'No' vote, but the alternative will change the concept of marriage and the family. He said his vote is "not against gay and lesbian people".

Irish Independent

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