Sunday 21 January 2018

Taoiseach Enda Kenny accused of 'ducking and diving and running away' as he fails to appear on RTE Six One News

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FIANNA Fáil leader Michéal Martin has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of “ducking and diving and running away” following his failure to appear on RTÉ’s ‘Six One’ News

Mr Martin said it is clear Fine Gael is sending Leo Varadkar to fight the election on his behalf after the Health Minister was instead interviewed by Bryan Dobson.

Mr Martin, Labour Party leader Joan Burton and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams all agreed to the interview - but Mr Kenny declined.

“I think the whole strategy from Fine Gael is quite insulting to the electorate.The idea that we’d have the shortest campaign in living history,” Mr Martin said.

“The idea that we’d pick and choose our battles, the idea we’d pick and choose the interviews we do, we’d pick and choose the debates we do, the ducking and diving and running away,” he added.

Mr Martin made the remarks prior to giving a speech at his party’s election launch in Swords, North County Dublin.

About 150 members were in attendance.

The Cork TD also said it is “condescending” for Mr Kenny to claim he won’t engage in economic jargon.

And he said it is clear both Fine Gael and Labour are at odds over universal GP care.

“After five years they are desperately trying to cover up the scale of their failure,” Mr Martin said.

“They put all the blame on James Reilly and handed the Department to their media star – and things have got even worse.  The highest overspend in the history of the health service and desperate attempts to keep lists under control until after voting is Fine Gael’s record.”

Speaking to reporters prior to the event, Mr Martin  also criticised Gerry Adams over his refusal to answer questions on the Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy controversy..

BBC ‘Spotlight’ this week broadcast an interview from a British soldier who claimed Murphy ordered murders on behalf of the IRA.

Mr Adams said the issue is central to the campaign.

“It is a fundamental moral question in terms of where Gerry Adams stands on the most fundamental thing of all in terms of the upholding of the Irish courts, the dealing with issues in terms of tax in that case,” Mr Adams said.

“There is a real issue there for Gerry Adams in terms of his moral leadership in terms of going forward as a party that wants to go into government.”

Asked why the Taoiseach did not take part in the interview a Fine Gael spokesman said: "He will be present to media every day throughout the campaign."

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