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Enda Kenny says he will refuse to participate in any programme involving Vincent Browne - meaning TV3 may change hosts for next Tuesday's leaders' debate. PA
leaders' debates

Kenny 'won't do any programme' involving Vincent Browne

The Fine Gael leader puts the skids on TV3′s plan for Tuesday’s debate by saying he wants nothing to do with Browne.

FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny has threatened to boycott TV3′s proposed election debate for Tuesday evening, after insisting that he would not appear on “any programme that Vincent Browne has anything to do with”.

Speaking in Roscrea earlier as he was canvassing with local Fine Gael candidates, Kenny said he would refuse to participate in any show being led or moderated by Browne, because of comments he had made on the topic of suicide.

RTÉ quotes him as adding, however, that he was hoping to have reached a final conclusion on the various broadcasters’ proposals for a leaders’ debate by this evening.

Though Kenny said his personal opinion of Browne would not impact on his feelings of TV3, a spokesperson for Fine Gael was unable to comment on whether the party would still be willing to take part in a three-way leaders’ debate under an alternative host.

Kenny had previously ruled out the prospect of a three-way debate, saying he would only participate in debates involving the leaders of all five parties currently represented in the Dáil.

The Irish Daily Mail reported this morning that TV3 were hoping to hold a second debate between the leaders of all five main parties in the week before the election, to be co-moderated by its political editor Ursula Halligan and her Sky News counterpart Adam Boulton, who would be broadcasting the debate simultaneously.

TV3 will now have to decide, however, whether it will need to dispense with its main current affairs broadcaster  in order to ensure the participation of all three main party leaders, or whether it will instead merely continue with just Eamon Gilmore and Micheál Martin present.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Kenny’s comments came just hours after Micheál Martin expressed his admiration of Browne as a broadcaster, saying he was “surprised that anybody could cast doubts on Vincent Browne’s objectivity”.

Co-incidentally, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland today confirmed it had rejected a complaint made by the Headline charity against the remark made by Browne on September 30′s edition of ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’, when he suggested that Kenny should lock himself in a dark room with a gun and a bottle of whiskey.

Because the broadcaster had made an effort to apologise himself for the remark, the authority felt the matter had been “sufficiently remedied”.

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