Leader of Aontú Peadar Tóibín has stated:

“We will be notifying the High Court this morning of our intention to make an application for an injunction later in the day in relation to the exclusion of Aontú from the RTE Leaders’ debate. We believe that election debates should be fair and open to facilitate citizens in making an informed decision on policies and parties when casting their vote.

“It makes no sense to exclude one of the eight parties with Dáil representation from the debate. The recent EU elections saw RTE facilitate debates with 8 and 9 candidates. One of the criteria for inclusion in those debates was that the participant was a TD elected to the Dáil. The changed criteria for inclusion is arbitrary and unfair in our view.

“It has been argued by RTÉ that a registered group of independents and a party located solely in Tipperary are comparable to Aontú and this is the reason for our exclusion. We have 26 candidates, we have already 6 elected reps, 2,000 members and have gained just under 35,000 votes to date. There is no comparison between Aontú and these other organisations.

“If this exclusion stands then any new political party such as Aontú will never be given a chance to challenge the political establishment in a live leaders’ debate. This is an incumbents’ paradise. It protects the establishment incumbent parties from challenge.

“Aontú received a higher vote than the Soc Dems and People Before Profit in the recent by-elections. We received a higher vote that People Before Profit in the recent local elections. We are just 1 TD behind the Soc Dems in Dáil numbers and yet those two political parties will be allowed to participate in RTÉ’s debate.

“We are calling on RTE at this late stage to reverse their stance to achieve a fair outcome.”