Sunday 15 September 2019

Labour MEP candidate slams RTÉ over debate line-up

Ratings row: Labour’s Dominic Hannigan. Picture: Tom Burke
Ratings row: Labour’s Dominic Hannigan. Picture: Tom Burke

Allison Bray

A Labour Party candidate in the European elections claims he has been unfairly excluded from an all-party debate on RTÉ this weekend over another candidate in order to boost ratings.

Dominic Hannigan, an MEP candidate for Midlands North West, claims the State broadcaster chose to include former 'Dragons' Den' judge and businessman Peter Casey over him to appear on RTÉ's 'The Week in Politics' tomorrow. The debate is scheduled to include five candidates battling for the seat, including those from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and two independents.

But he questioned why the Montrose broadcaster would exclude a representative from Labour, which is the fourth largest party in the State.

He said it was "tantamount to RTÉ declaring who they think the winning candidates will be in the race, which is totally inappropriate for an ongoing electoral contest".

He also slammed the broadcaster for inviting Mr Casey, a controversial independent candidate who made headlines when he controversially said that Travellers shouldn't be recognised as a distinct ethnic group when he ran against Michael D Higgins in the last presidential election.

"By choosing to include Peter Casey on its debate line-up, RTÉ is clearly prioritising entertainment ratings over public service democratic debate," Mr Hannigan claimed.

The broadcaster said Mr Hannigan would be included in a taped interview tomorrow as part of a three-part series in which all parties would have their say.

Irish Independent

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