Tuesday 20 August 2019

'Saoirse McHugh would be MEP if she got same coverage as Peter Casey' - 'Ming' Flanagan

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan discusses the numbers with independent MEP candidate Luke Flanagan (Aoife Moore/PA)
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan discusses the numbers with independent MEP candidate Luke Flanagan (Aoife Moore/PA)
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

LUKE 'Ming Flanagan has claimed that the Green Party's Saoirse McHugh would have won a European Parliament seat if she had as much media coverage as Peter Casey.

Independent MEP Mr Flanagan is on course to keep his seat in Midlands-North-West.

Ms McHugh was tipped to cause an upset after an exit poll put her support at 14pc. However, that estimate has not panned out and she is now highly unlikely to take a seat.

She came to national prominence afteran impressive performance on an RTÉ TV debate where she clashed with controversial ex-presidential candidate Mr Casey.

During the debate Ms McHugh took issue with Mr Casey's views on immigrants and told him: "Go on Dancing with the Stars if you want attention".

Speaking this evening Mr Flanagan predicted that he will be elected and said his own vote "held up" in the election.

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Winners and contenders: Mairead McGuinness and Saoirse McHugh at the Castlebar count centre. Photo: Mark Condren

He added: "I'm absolutely delighted with that when there was such quality candidates like Saoirse McHugh."

He said the media are the "the gatekeepers to democracy" and claimed: "we had a situation where Peter Casey got wall-to-wall coverage, and Saoirse got four minutes on Prime Time, and from that she surged."

He added: "The question has to be asked of the state broadcaster what would the result of this election would be if Saoirse McHugh had got an equal billing with Peter Casey.

"I'll tell you, she'd be an MEP."

An RTÉ spokesperson said: "RTÉ is is satisfied that it’s coverage was fair, objective and impartial, and is fully compliant with all its statutory and regulatory obligations."

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