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Taoiseach: Micheál Martin is looking for notice and an opportunity

RTÉ has confirmed Enda Kenny had turned down an invitation to a TV debate. But the Fianna Fáil leader has said he hopes the Taoiseach will change his mind.

Enda Kenny canvassing with Transport Minister Leo Varadkar in Blanchardstown today.
Enda Kenny canvassing with Transport Minister Leo Varadkar in Blanchardstown today.
Image: Photocall Ireland

ENDA KENNY HAS been been playing down criticism of his reluctance to take part in a TV debate on the abolition of the Seanad.

The Taoiseach has told RTÉ he won’ t be taking part in next Tuesday’s planned Prime Time debate on the issue, it was confirmed by the national broadcaster today.

Asked about the issue yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin – who will represent the ‘no’ side in the programme – said he hoped Enda Kenny would “change his mind” and “respond positively” to the invitation.

But speaking to reporters on a canvass in Blanchardstown today, the Taoiseach said Martin was simply “looking for notice and an opportunity”.

Kenny added: “This is the people’s choice. 70 years on, all political parties have failed to deal with the question of the Seanad”.

Confirming the Taoiseach’s refusal earlier, RTÉ said that the debate would still go ahead, and that the programme team would make efforts to secure another representative for the ‘yes’ side.

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson said the party was “deeply disappointed” by the decision by the Fine Gael leader.

“The very least people could have expected was that the Taoiseach would have the courage of his convictions and would seek to discuss and debate what is his personal initiative,” the spokesperson said.

Read: Kenny says ‘no’ to TV debate on Seanad abolition >

Read: Martin: I’m turning up for Seanad TV debate… but no one knows if the Taoiseach will

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