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Thursday 18 September 2014

Fionnan Sheahan: Team Kenny mike-shy no more as they embrace media quiz

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Published 04/02/2011 | 05:00

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ENDA Kenny and his Fine Gael team were falling over themselves to be accommodating to questions from the media yesterday.

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And after the events on the opening day of the campaign at the Fine Gael press conference when the party was caught out in shutting down the probing of its policies, none of the parties wanted to be accused of trying to evade scrutiny.

From the off, the lessons were learnt that getting a reputation for dodging questions was not a desirable tag in this campaign.

In a 24-hour news media age, with newspapers, radio and television backed by internet and social media, word can spread like wildfire when an incident goes bad.

Previous election campaigns were frequently marked by party attempts to make brash announcements and then fail to back them up with any proof -- Fianna Fail being the prime culprits.

Given the history of flimsy promises from past campaigns and the subsequent economic mistakes, it is vital that this campaign be decidedly different.

Hence the vehement objections of a number of journalists when the Fine Gael hierarchy attempted to scurry off as their figures were looking shaky.

Certain commentators have suggested the questioning of parties is really only of concern to the media.

The same analysts agreed the identification of a policy shift was significant, yet fail to see the blatantly obvious connection.

If questions are blocked, then loopholes can't be located and highlighted to the public to inform them in their decision-making.

* Contrary to a report in yesterday's Irish Independent, Phil Hogan did not resign as a minister for leaking an advance copy of the Budget to a journalist. Mr Hogan resigned after he took responsibility when a staff member sent out Budget details to a journalist before it was announced.

Irish Independent

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