RTÉ's General Election Televised will air tonight live from Limerick, the first time a leaders debate has been held outside of the Capital City. The second debate of the election with just 1 more to follow. The next will be on RTÉ One live from Dublin, as the proposed TG4 debate has been called off. Seven parties are due to debate, with The Green Party excluded following a short legal battle earlier today. The parties will debate their policies for the next 5 years and in some cases beyond. Labour just launched its manifesto, and the current polls show Fine Gael at 28%, Labour at 8%, Fianna Fail at 18%, Sinn Fein at 20%, Social Democrats on 4%, AAA-PBP 3%, The Green Party at 2%, Renua at 1% and Independents at 16%.
TV3 are first with the General Election Televised debates. This is the first debate of the election with 3 more to follow. The next will be on RTÉ One live from Limerick, followed by TG4 and then the final show down on RTÉ One. The main parties debate their policies for the next 5 years and in some cases beyond. Fianna Fail just launched its manifesto, and Paddy Power had the first Election Campaign Poll. Showing Fine Gael at 30%, Labour at 8%, Fianna Fail at 18%, Sinn Fein at 17% Other Parties at 9% and Independents at 16%. The Debate will broadcast live on TV3 and Newstalk from the Virgin Media's HD Studio's in Dublin at 9pm.
Broadcasting is becoming old fashioned but both the Right and the Left of the political spectrum have huge interest in the National Broadcasters. Renua plan is simple cut the License Fee and retain just €56million from the Department of Social Protection for the procurement of Public Service broadcasters from different sources. The proposal is cost neutral according to the Party. As such RTÉ must stand on its own two feet. So why the problem with such a simple and, for many voters, an agreeable plan.
Good news for the government parties coming into the General Election 2016 as the Central Statistics Office suggests that unemployment has fallen in January 2016. The figures released show that the Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was at 8.6% this compares to 10.1% this time last year. The total number of people unemployed in January 2016 was 186,700, this is a change of -3,000 from December 2015.
General Election 2016 is officially underway, even if an official date has yet to be announced. Posters are going up in constituencies and the media are talking coalitions. Which parties will other parties do business with and even which independent TD will they do a deal with? What are their red line issues, which must be implemented over the lifetime of the next government? Largely few are willing to discuss the make-up of the opposition benches.
I have only met Pat Rabbitte, former Labour Party Leader, once. First impressions last as they say. I found him to be rude and powerless, this was at the height of his career as Minister for Communications. I decided to rush down to Cork to go to RTÉ's 50th celebrations at UCC. It was made up of the usual heads and a few of the public. Actually having it in Cork meant that much of the Dublin media were absent, meaning a slightly better conversation about Broadcasting in Ireland.