RTÉ’s Leaders’ Debate is an Incumbents Paradise – Tóibín
Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín, has called on RTÉ to include political parties with Dáil representation in the Leader’s debate tomorrow or postpone debate until agreement can be reached.
The call comes 3 days after the Aontú leader issued RTÉ, through the party’s solicitors, a threat of High Court legal action unless RTÉ reverses its decision to exclude Aontú as one of the eight parties contesting the elections.
With just 24 hours to the debate the threat of legal action still remains.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“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. The bar for inclusion in those debates was that the party had at least one TD elected to the Dáil. The changed criteria for inclusion is arbitrary.
"It means that any new political party such as Aontú will never be given a chance to challenge the political establishment in live leaders’ debate. It protects the establishment incumbent parties from challenge.
“Aontú received a higher vote that 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 allowed participate by RTÉ.
“In an open and free democracy it is critical that citizens have an opportunity to see the policy platforms of all national political parties that are contesting the election. Excluding one party reduces citizens opportunity to make an informed decision. RTE must reverse their decision."