Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has challenged the media’s ongoing unfair approach towards voters and the general election.
Speaking in advance of tonight’s Leaders’ Debate on Virgin Media, which will feature all parties with Dáil representation – bar Aontú, an Teachta Tóibín stated:
“This seems increasingly like a strategy to marginalise Aontú in this election, and it’s incredibly unfair not just to the party but to voters as well.”
An Teachta Tóibín asked:
“What precisely is the media afraid voters will hear? Something different and new? Surely that’s what election debates should be about?
“Aontú is an all-Ireland party that is growing across the 32-counties, making us a more truly national party than either Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. We are only a year old and in that time we have contested four sets of elections. We have elected representatives from Wexford to Derry.
“We achieved a larger vote share in the December by-elections than the Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit. 26 Aontú candidates are contesting this election, more than the number of Social Democrat candidates that are standing.
“Despite this, RTÉ, the state’s public broadcaster, and Virgin Media, the largest private TV operator in the state, have thought it appropriate to exclude Aontú from their Leaders’ Debates. Aontú has been locked out of routine and important components of the election process.
“Surely Aontú has a right to put forward our vision for Ireland and our alternative to the political cartel’s status quo offerings in debate with the other parties? More importantly, surely voters have a right to hear all parties with elected representatives set out their stall and present their visions for Ireland?
“It is unfair to voters and unwelcome for democracy that a nationally organised political party with Dáil representation is being excluded from debates that are styled as centre points of the election campaign. Aontú will continue to address the pressing issues in Ireland today, from healthcare and housing to regional balance and quality of life matters. We urge citizens to take account of Aontú’s exclusion from the most important TV debates as you make your decision at the ballot box.”