herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Kenny lashes out at 'arrogant' Martin in spat over TV debate

ENDA Kenny today accused Micheal Martin of arrogance for his repeated challenges for a three-way debate involving the main party leaders.

The Fine Gael leader strongly denied he was afraid to go up against the new Fianna Fail leader in a television contest.

And he dismissed accusations that he feared tough questions from the media.

Speaking to the Herald during a canvass of commuters at a Luas stop in Dublin, he said he had issued "a formal apology" to journalists following yesterday's heated questioning at the party's press conference when journalists complained they were not being given enough time to ask questions.

Mr Kenny said he had made clear he had designated senior colleagues to answer questions relating to their areas of responsibility.

Apologised

He apologised that the press conference started late because of his tight schedule, which involved travelling to Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

And he mounted a sharp attack on Mr Martin, who has appeared to be baiting the Fine Gael leader as he demands a detailed televised debate with him.

"Micheal Martin in my view is bordering on arrogance in the way that he is now presenting himself. I asked Micheal Martin, where were you when the decisions were being made?"

"When you were at the Cabinet table, did you speak up? What did you say? Did you object to anything that was going on?"Mr Kenny demanded.

Dismissing accusations that he was afraid of a televised debate, he declared: "I've made my proposition to the broadcasters, including RTE and others. I said I wanted my own team to be out there to be able to argue their points on TV and radio."

"I want to see the schedules first of all and I want it to include all the leaders of the parties, in English and in Irish, and I want a response from the broadcasters from that."

"I would like to hear John Gormley present his case. I would like to hear Gerry Adams present his case for Sinn Fein. I'd like to hear Eamon Gilmore present a case for the Labour Party."

"Most of all, I'd like to hear Micheal Martin talk about what he said in that Cabinet room and about the wreckage that he and his colleagues created and what he has to tell the Irish people about that."

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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