Monday 18 December 2017

Kenny turns down invitation from RTE in final debate snub

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
with Fredrik Reinfeldt,
prime minister of Sweden,
at the European Council
HQ in Brussels yesterday
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister of Sweden, at the European Council HQ in Brussels yesterday

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will not take part in any broadcast debates on the fiscal treaty referendum after he turned down a fourth invitation to go head-to-head with other party leaders.

After a day of confusion over whether RTE had invited Mr Kenny to debate live, the national broadcaster last night confirmed it "had hoped" to have him on but had been turned down.

Mr Kenny has now refused four separate invitations to take part in televised debates -- three from TV3 and one from RTE.

Despite the string of refusals, Mr Kenny's spokesman last night insisted the Taoiseach "is playing a leading and active role in informing people about the stability treaty".

Mr Kenny will make a televised address on Sunday, in response to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams' Ard Fheis speech the night before.

In a statement last night, RTE said: "RTE had hoped to include the Taoiseach as part of our coverage of the fiscal stability referendum debate, but while this has not proved possible, senior government figures have contributed to our coverage and will continue to do so".

Earlier this week, Mr Kenny's spokesman said there had been no approaches from RTE on a live debate, but he later backtracked and said he had received "numerous requests, including one from RTE".

Mr Kenny initially claimed in the Dail yesterday he had not seen any invitation from RTE.

Mr Kenny's spokesman said: "This is not about party political point-scoring. It's about a treaty which, if passed, will be a positive step on Ireland's road to recovery. The Taoiseach is travelling the length and breadth of the country to deliver that message and debates live in the national parliament as he was elected to do."

Irish Independent

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