Election 2016: The magnificient seven battle it out on Leaders Debate redux – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Election 2016: The magnificient seven battle it out on Leaders Debate redux


The usual suspects took to the stage at University Concert Hall Limerick tonight, to shake hands and talk tough about the nation’s fate.

Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit), Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin), Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil), Enda Kenny (Fine Gael), Joan Burton (Labour), Stephen Donnelly (Social Democrats), Lucinda Creighton (Renua) were all present and correct tonight, and they did what they came to do, with RTE’s Claire Byrne doing the refereeing.

Early in the debate, when the cast had not yet found their place in the fray, the economy and broken promises by successive Cabinets dominated the talk.

Then, as the debate went on, it got personal. The Taoiseach, for instance, was dogged with questions about the downgrading and/or closure of A&E departments nationwide. Richard Boyd Barrett pointed out that this led to ‘chaos’, and the audience went wild, he got a good round of applause for this dead-center snipe on Kenny.

Joan Burton again botched her interventions, and Claire Byrne shot her down in a couple of occasions, much to the audience’s delight. In fact, a great deal of animosity grew between the two women. ‘Would you mind answering the question Joan?,’ Byrne retorted, after a long diatribe by Burton.

Burton went on to pour figures about how Labour greatly increased rent supplement, a statement that is wholly untrue. Spending on rent supplement actually dropped by 40% between 2011 and 2015.

The Labour leader has now sealed her political fate, after yet another failed live performance.

Then, when the Taoiseach was asked about the issue of homelessness, he said “We have two kinds of homelessness in this country. We’ve the rough sleepers, who are on the streets and if they want a bed they can have one, that’s no problem.” But he didn’t say who the second cohort of homeless people might be.

The issue of rural crime was tackled then. Gerry Adams said “I represent a rural constituency, and people are afraid they’re going to be burgled in their homes.” He would like to reopen rural Garda stations.

Lucinda Creighton from Renua suggested the ‘Three strikes and you’re out’ sort of approach for criminals.

Overall, a lively debate, and Kenny finally, and categorically admitted that Fine Gael will ‘absolutely not’ go into Government with Fianna Fail.

But, as we all know, things that were said in the heat of the moment might be taken back anytime ‘for the good of the country’, if the political plot needs moving along.

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