January 19, 2020
This election is not a two-horse race – Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has strongly criticised RTÉ’s decision to exclude Sinn Féin from the leaders debate in the final week of the general election, saying that excluding alternative voices does a disservice to the public interest.

She said:

“This general election has been framed by some as a two-horse race between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil; two parties that have been in a confidence and supply arrangement since 2016.

“Regrettably, this includes the national broadcaster RTÉ, who have chosen to exclude Sinn Féin from its leaders debate in the final week of the election; despite the fact that Sinn Féin has led opposition to their government arrangement over the past four years.

“This decision, quite frankly, is wrong.

“Politics is about people and it is about policies.

“It is about opinions and it is about views.

“It is not about personality contests.

“Yet, this is what RTÉ are proposing to host by facilitating a debate between two parties with no real discernible policy differences and no alternative vision for the country.

“This morning, I have asked Sinn Féin’s Director of Elections Pearse Doherty to write formally to RTÉ outlining Sinn Féin’s absolute opposition to this decision.

“We are also now seeking legal advice on this matter.

“Because this election is about much more than these two parties.

“It is not a two-horse race and the media – particularly the national broadcaster – has a responsibility to make sure that all voices are heard.

“Excluding other views does a disservice to the public interest and prevents the public from hearing real issues being debated.

“That is Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s game plan.

“They want this election to be about them.

“But it’s not. It is about the Irish people and our future.

“RTÉ should not be playing Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s game.

“That is a failure of their duty as a public service broadcaster.”

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