Cork South Central TD and general election candidate Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has strongly criticized his constituency colleague Micheál Martin for backing the exclusion of Mary Lou McDonald from RTÉ and Virgin Media election debates.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire, who described Sinn Féin as the real opposition to the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition, described Mr Martin’s position as “petty and undemocratic.” The Virgin Media debate is due to take place tonight, while the RTÉ debate will take place on Monday, January 27.
“Head-to-head debates between two party leaders who have been in partnership for the last four years are not real debates. It flies in the face of impartiality to exclude Mary Lou McDonald from these debates,” the Sinn Féin TD said.
“Micheál Martin's decision to double-down on the ridiculous position of RTÉ and Virgin Media, shows that he is afraid of a proper debate with a political leader who presents a clear alternative and real solutions for workers and families. This is something Fianna Fáil has failed to do,” Deputy Ó Laoghaire added.
He went on to describe Fianna Fáil’s housing policy as “dodgy” and their stance on the pension age as “wishy-washy”.
“I think anybody who put themselves forward as a potential Taoiseach should be welcoming of fair and open debate, particularly during a General Election, when it is democratic necessity that people can hear from the opposition. Clearly, this is a quality which the Fianna Fáil leader lacks.”