Tuesday 25 June 2019

'Pass Casey the aloe vera' - Green Party's Saoirse McHugh impresses debate viewers in clash with Peter Casey

Saoirse McHugh on RTE Prime Time debate.
Saoirse McHugh on RTE Prime Time debate.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh impressed viewers on Tuesday night's RTE Prime Time debate, particuarly in her clashes with rival European Election candidate Peter Casey.

Viewers took to social media to commend Ms McHugh on what they perceived as her 'take down' of failed presidential candidate Casey.

The debate ahead of the European Elections on Friday May 24 was the third and final debate hosted on RTE One and featured candidates from the Midlands - North West constituency.

Joining presenter David McCullagh in studio along with Ms McHugh and independent candidate Casey were Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness, People Before Profit candidate Cyril Brennan, Sinn Fein's Matt Carthy, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Labour's Dominic Hannigan and Fianna Fail candidate Brendan Smith.

While Brexit dominated the debate and all candidates were given a chance to express their views, it was Saoirse McHugh's exchanges with Mr Casey which garnered the greatest response on social media.

Speaking about people in direct provision McHugh, who is from Achill island, Mayo said they should have been allowed to work and be treated with dignity and respect.  When interrupted by Mr Casey, she said, "millionaires scapegoating migrants is an old trope and it's boring".

Mr Casey continued to express concerns about migrants and denied that he is scaremongering.

Saoirse McHugh said she had a problem with platforming "incoherent fear monger views", adding, "It looks like it's just for attention Peter.  You haven't an idea what you are talking about.  You are an economic migrant yourself."

She accused Peter Casey of inveting the issue and said, "Go on Dancing with the Stars if you want attention".

Viewers praised Saoirse McHugh's contribution to the debate.

Peter Kavanagh tweeted, "Millionaires blaming migrants is an old trope, and it's boring" - @saoirse_mchugh should have brought a milkshake. #rtept"

Philip O'Connor wroter, "This is the first time I have encountered @saoirse_mchugh in Irish politics, and I sincerely hope it’s not the last. So refreshing to see someone young, smart and unafraid to take on the failed careerists from FF and FG."

"Saoirse McHugh has been massively impressive dropping a few [boxing glove emoji] here and a few [fire emoji] there.  Pass Casey the aloe vera.  #rtept #RtePtDebate" wrote Emma Jane Hade.

Actor Gavin O'Connor was also impressed by her, "Green Party candidate @saoirse_mchugh walked away with that. In control of her emotions, articulate and able to back up statements with fact. Did not let herself get riled by Casey’s rhetoric. Quote of the night “If you want attention Peter go on Dancing With The Stars!” #RTEPT"

Virgin Media News broadcaster Richard Chambers also singled her out for praise, tweeting, "Saoirse McHugh of the Greens is excelling in this debate. Landing clean hits."

The polls open on Friday for the European Elections, Local Elections and Divorce Referendum.

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