— @Aoifs123 (@Aoifs123) January 30, 2020
What the country cant afford is to pay €70k a year on pensions for 50 year old former politicians.
— Mick Caul (@caulmick) January 30, 2020
From top: Panel on Virgin Media One’s post-debate show, Political Correspondent Gavan Reilly, debate moderators Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper
Virgin Media One hosted a seven-way leaders’ debate which was moderated by Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper.
Mr Yates opened the debate with the following line:
“I’m wondering has there ever been such a collection of chancers and charlatans put before the Irish public. Because I put it to you, starting with the Taoiseach, that is a fundamentally dishonest election because the presumption is there’s €11billion to have a giveaway on tax cuts and spending when, in actual fact, the Department of Finance have not assured us that money will be available.”
Following the debate, Virgin Media One’s Political Correspondent Gavan Reilly hosted a post-debate show with a panel including journalist and commentator Alison O’Connor, Associate Professor of Politics at DCU Gary Murphy, Irish Independent‘s Fionnan Sheahan and businesswoman Norah Casey.
The manner in which the debate was moderated came in for a lot of criticism on social media and from the panel.
Ms O’Connor said she’d like to have one of the moderators “drug tested” to see how much “Red Bull” they had drank before adding that she felt there was too much testosterone in the room.
Mr Sheahan reluctantly admitted he’d like to see Vincent Browne back, in a nod to the former host of The Tonight Show on then TV3.
During the debate, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told Mr Yates to “calm it” at one point [see above].
Eventually, Mr Yates and Mr Cooper joined the post-debate panel.
Then Mr Reilly put the criticism up to them and they had this exchange…
Gavan Reilly: “Welcome back. Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates have joined us straight from this evening’s debate which, technically speaking they moderated but gents I have to put it to you, Ivan, you specifically, the way you set the tone in the first 15 seconds. It hardly really set the pace for what should have been a very mature exchange of views about the future of the country and how Ireland ought to be run…”
Ivan Yates: “Well, part of what I do, both on this show and on radio, is not to do the ‘journalistic-ask-the-questions’. I’m not a journalist at all. I have an opinion and I’ve a very strong opinion on this election that the Department of Finance is muzzled for saying what they really think.
“And I think they are having a conniption about the promises that all parties are making. They actually don’t believe there’ll be 2.5% growth each year for the next five years, that we’ll be record breakers.
“And all those things.
“And I’ve seen the correspondence that they’ve sent the parties and they’ve totally, dishonestly misrepresented what the costings are. Because, like, if you say ‘what’s the reduction of pupil-to-teacher ratio? it’ll cost €50million’. They’ll give you a figure but they have an opinion of the knock-on effects of tax change…”
Reilly: “No sure, and all of that is fine…”
Yates: “The public have never got that…”
Reilly: “But that’s fine, but that’s your opinion, and you’re not running…”
Yates: “That’s right.”
Reilly: “…in the election…”
Reilly: “So why then did you take up so much time from the seven people who do have aspirations to lead different cohorts of the Government and take up so much time, not only setting the tone but not letting them finish when they tried to reply?”
Yates: “Well, a lot of that was to do with crowd control. There was nine people in the room and there was only so many minutes. But the whole entire first section was taken up with the economy and their promises. And I think that has to be put squarely to the voters, to say ‘are they really trying to buy my vote here?’.”
Alison O’Connor: “Yeah, but I think the viewer, I think that the problem was, appreciating what you’re saying, the problem was that in that section the viewer wasn’t served. Because it was like ‘reach for the Solpadeine’. That was the problem. It was very shouty and camáile and it was difficult, appreciating that there were nine people. So it was very, it was very difficult to…”
Talk over each other
Yates: “…the seven leaders because they were very anxious…”
Reilly: “Matt, having just come back from the studio what do you think the other seven leaders made of the tone of the conduct of tonight’s debate?”
Matt Cooper: “That’s not something we discussed with them afterwards. You do your handshakes, you let them go off and do what they’re going to do…”
Reilly: “No, and I appreciate you have to come down here too but surely you talked to them during the ad breaks?”
Cooper: “No actually, we didn’t. We go and talk and talk to our producers, whatever, so there wasn’t, we had, I had one brief conversation with them at the second ad break in relation to, that there was an issue that perhaps there was a bit too much talking over each other. And I think then when we moved into the discussion about a united Ireland was particularly interesting and particularly illuminating, and I was very, very happy with the third and fourth sections.
“I see where you’re coming from in relation to the early parts. And that’s something obviously that, well we can’t change, we take very much on board.
“But one thing I would say, I think one thing that we are probably, I think we should be glad of in Ireland is that we do actually have an awful lot of really, well-intentioned politicians. Whatever you might think of the particular positions that they take in relation to things. I’d say I was impressed by all of them with the way that they stood their corner, the way they articulated their positions, some of them perhaps maybe are not as well thought out as they might think and some of them are…”
Gary Murphy: “But that’s not the way...That’s not the way you introduced the debate though. That’s not the way you introduced the debate. You introduced the debate saying that basically they were all, you know, chancers because of the Department of Finance…your views…”
Cooper: “It’s not…in fairness to Ivan, sometimes that is to provoke the response from the people to say ‘well no, we’re actually not chancers, this is what we’re doing and why we’re doing it’…”
Watch back in full here
Previously: Lose The Hattitude