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Taoiseach defends debate decision: 'I answered questions here, there and everywhere'

Enda Kenny has come under fire for declining to participate in televised debates on the Seanad Referendum in the wake of its defeat.

(YouTube: Hugh O’Connell)

ENDA KENNY HAS defended his decision not to participate in any televised debates on the Seanad referendum.

Following the defeat of the proposed amendment to abolish the second house, the Taoiseach spoke to reporters outside Dublin Castle and said he had appeared at “umpteen occasions like this” and debated the matter in the Dáil.

“People would love to have a shouting match between party political leaders…It is not a party political leader issue. It is a people’s issue.”

The Fine Gael leader has been criticised for not appearing during the campaign.

Democracy Matters campaigner Michael McDowell noted Kenny’s earlier declaration that Seanad abolition was his “personal initiative”, concluding then that he should have debated it.

“The real question is that when he brought it to the people why did it cease to be a personal leadership initiative? Why didn’t he lead when the Yes side required him to lead? That’s a matter for him to consider.”

Agreeing with that evaluation, Micheál Martin said the decision to decline two TV debates on RTÉ and TV3 did not go down well with people “on the doorstep”. It sent a “bad message”, according to the Fianna Fáil leader.

“Anecdotally, on the doorstep, meeting people around, people were not happy with the idea that the leader of the country who puts forward a very significant amendment to the Constitution… is not prepared to debate it.”

AS IT HAPPENED: The Seanad is here to stay as referendum defeated

‘Sometimes in politics you get a wallop’: Taoiseach on referendum result

Here’s how the country voted in the Seanad Referendum

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