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Opposition preparing televised responses to Enda's state of the nation speech

Three RTÉ slots are expected to be made available to opposition politicians this evening, while TV3 will provide time on Wednesday.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated at 1.15pm

THE OPPOSITION will be given the opportunity – three opportunities, actually – to respond to Enda Kenny’s national address on television this evening.

Directly after the Nine News on RTÉ last night, Kenny delivered the first television Taoiseach’s address to the nation since 1986. The pre-Budget address was aired on TV3 at 10.15pm due to constraints within the broadcaster’s Sunday evening schedule.

Kenny’s office requested the airtime from RTÉ and TV3 last week. In the interest of balance, RTÉ has provided three slots to the opposition today which in total will last the length of Kenny’s speech – 10 minutes.

Thomas Pringle’s name was picked out of a hat to speak on behalf of the Dáil’s 16-member technical group (which is made up of a disparate group of Independent TDs) and his address is expected to air first, just before the Six One News.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’ piece is expected to come on just after the news, while Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin’s statement is likely to be aired after the Nine News.

The three are recording their statements in RTÉ this afternoon.

TV3 said in a statement today that Martin, Adams and Pringle will each be given an uninterrupted three-minute slot during Wednesday night’s Tonight With Vincent Browne programme. They will also be invited to take part in a post-Budget debate.

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In his speech last night, Kenny spoke about the challenges facing the economy and underlined that the state is still in a crisis situation, but it meeting its commitments to the EU and IMF. He said the budget being announced this week will be tough and will affect citizens already in need.

The government is set to begin delivering Budget 2012 this afternoon.

As it happened: Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s state of the nation address >

Get ready: It’s Budget Day (pt 1) >

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