Second Leader's Debate General Election 2016
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%.
Claire Byrne took no prisoners during the debate and was seen as the main winner by viewers and critics. She was quick to prevent candidates shouting over each other, while unwilling to accept political jargon like "Fiscal Space". Questions were set by the audience.
Question 1: Can we really believe the Promises?
Enda Kenny was the first of seven to take question, he said the government had a mandate to fix the economy, it was a daunting challenge but that at the end of their term Ireland was in a safer place. Claire Byrne pushed him on the removal of the Universal Social Charge (USC), he said reducing taxes was a priority to help people back to work.
The Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit representative Richard Boyd Barrett was next to speak. He said AAA-PBP were not over promising saying that when we were a poor country we could provide better social services and at the very least a roof over people's heads. He wants to tax the wealth to pay for social services.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin was next stating that Fine Gael and Labour's manifestos were the bigest giveaways in the in history of the state. He could understand people problem when so many election promises had been abandoned by the government including reduced student fees and prescription fees. FF's plan is to reduce USC on lower earners and invest in public services.
Joan Burton was quick to interject saying that Micheal Martin had run away from responsibility and the country, and FF had destroyed the country. Labour will invest every 1 euro of the 3 euro raised from USC into public services.
Stephen Donelly was next saying that we could not trust the political establishment who want a US type tax take and European type public services. He advised that USC is necessary for a stable tax base and that through good social services money can be return to the public to spend on other services and products.
Renua's Lucinda Creighton was next saying that voters could trust Renua, she was leading by example as she had resided her ministerial post because of broken promises. She and her party want to see the abolition of tax loop holes and different rates of taxes, calling for a flat tax.
Gerry Adams' 3 Amigos joke played well with the audience. The told them that Micheal Martin created the mess and Enda Kenny and Joan Burton continued with FF polices, but had been election on a different mandate. He said that Sinn Fein would prudently invest in Public Services while providing a contingency fund for a rainy day.
Enda Kenny came into attack Micheal Martin on his assurances that no IMF money was require on the lead up to the bail out.
Micheal Martin advised that FG's plans come down to spending every penny and more to run the country, and he attacked Gerry Adams on his role in the IRA.