This is what Alan Shatter is quoted as saying in today’s Irish Times:
” Meanwhile, Fine Gael justice spokesman Alan Shatter said yesterday he expected the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to step in and stop any broadcaster from going ahead with a leaders’ debate without Enda Kenny. Mr Shatter accused TV3 of being “delusional” if they believed they could dictate the format of an electoral debate. He warned that any attempt to go without Mr Kenny would be in breach of the Broadcasting Act which mandates broadcasters to be fair and impartial.”
What if FF, Labour and TV3 decide to go to court, and make the argument that Fine Gael do not have the right to prevent other people to debate if they are offered an equal place themselves? The Broadcasting Act requires fairness. But it doesn’t give a veto. Yet that’s how Fine Gael want to spend the first week of the campaign? Seriously? Highlighting their fears about their leader’s inability to perform on the night? Is there anyone who really believes that Fine Gael are worried about John Gormley and Gerry Adams not getting a fair shake of the stick?
Fine Gael can’t stop FF and Labour hosting their own web debate. Journalists will turn up, many people people will watch online (not as many as on TV, admittedly), and Fine Gael ends up looking bizarre, especially if an empty podium with a Fine Gael logo is left on the set. That is not the way to start an election campaign.