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Donnelly to be Soc Dems 'leader' in debate


Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Tom Burke

Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Tom Burke

Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Tom Burke

Stephen Donnelly will act as the de facto leader of the Social Democrats tonight as he represents the party in the second live television debate, which takes place in Limerick.

The new party doesn't have a single leader as Mr Donnelly shares the role with Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall.

But the focus tonight will be firmly on whether Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton can improve on their faltering performances last week.

Mr Kenny is likely to benefit from the seven-way structure during RTÉ's debate, which will allow him to adopt a less prominent role than in last week's four-way showdown on TV3.

Mr Kenny and Ms Burton will challenge Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to set out his alternative government. And they will also claim the opposition parties have "no real plan" and promote measures that will put the economy at risk.

Ms Burton will attempt to differentiate the Labour Party from Fine Gael and warn voters her party is needed in government in order to safeguard the recovery.

Mr Adams, buoyed by Sinn Féin's bounce in support in the opinion polls, will try to avoid another disastrous performance when he is quizzed over crime and security issues.

Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett will try to tackle Fine Gael and Labour over their record on housing, healthcare and education.

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton will attempt to sell her party's "flat tax" proposals.

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