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Gilmore accepts Martin debate challenge "in principle"

Labour leader says he has already replied to Martin’s call for two election debates between the main party leaders.

LABOUR PARTY LEADER Eamon Gilmore has agreed “in principle” to Micheál Martin’s proposals for a series of election debates.

After being elected the eighth leader of Fianna Fáil this afternoon, Micheál Martin said he had written to Gilmore and Enda Kenny suggesting they have two debates: one at the start of the election campaign and one at the end.

Gilmore has written to Martin, congratulating him on his new position and agreeing “in principle with the broad outline” Martin had proposed for the debates.

Gilmore said he had been calling for agreement on such debates for “almost a year” and said it was “now urgent that the three parties enter into discussions with each other and with broadcasters to finalise logistical” issues to facilitate the debates.

The Fine Gael press office told TheJournal.ie it had not received any correspondence from Micheál Martin, and would respond if and when that correspondence was received. It would not discuss Enda Kenny’s position on a leadership debate.

TV3 said earlier this week that it already had the blessing of all the political parties to hold a leadership debate. Sky News has also indicated its interest in airing a debate. In 2007, RTÉ hosted two debates on Prime Time ahead of the election.

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