'We're still up there, we're still the leaders' - Marty Whelan feeling 'positive' about our Eurovision chances next year
THE voice of Eurovision, Marty Whelan, has insisted he will never give up on Ireland's chances of reclaiming glory in the television extravaganza.
But the TV presenter admitted there's "no plan" to turn around the country's losing streak in the competition, which has seen Ireland fail to make the final for several years.
"Portugal had never won before this year," he said.
"To say there's a formula that we're not adhering to, that's not true.
"There's no plan - you can have all the plans you like.
"The best song will have the best chance, no question about it. We need the best song we can get."
Brendan Murray represented Ireland in this year's contest with his ballad, Dying To Try, but failed to make the final.
Ireland last won Eurovision in 1996, with the country's best result in recent years being in 2011, when Jedward finished in eighth place with Lipstick.
RTE has called for songwriters and singers to put themselves forward for next year's competition, and says it is looking for experienced acts.
Marty, who provides the commentary for Irish viewers of the annual song contest, feels confident that Ireland will make the final next year.
"I think it should be open to anybody who wants to be a part of it," he said.
"It's much more open this year, I hope. You need the big night. It's still an incredible event.
"I remember when Brian Kennedy went to Athens and he was fantastic. You just don't know. We didn't qualify again this year.
"The problem now is you say to someone, 'Will you go?' and they have to make the decision. Do we send Johnny Logan again?
"I hope we'll get to the final next year, I'm very positive about it. We're still up there, we're still the leaders.
"You can't point your finger and say 'that's why' we lost', we don't know why. No one can come back to us and say, 'Your act was crap', because it wasn't."