Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of running scared after he refused to participate in a head-to-head debate with Gerry Adams on TV3 on the EU treaty.
Mr Kenny was urged to set aside his differences with the station’s presenter Vincent Browne and take part in the show for the sake of voters.
The veteran broadcaster even offered last night to stand down as moderator if that enabled it to proceed. TV3 said its political editor, Ursula Halligan, could chair the debate.
Mr Kenny earlier flatly ruled out appearing on the debate, scheduled to take place next week. “I’m very happy to debate with Deputy Adams but I do not do the Vincent Browne programme.”
TV3 has proposed a one-on-one debate on the fiscal compact referendum on May 29, two days before polling, with Mr Adams saying he will take part.
Sinn Féin finance spokes-man Pearse Doherty accused Mr Kenny of dodging the debate. “I think it’s disappointing that the Taoiseach is running scared from a debate with Sinn Féin on this issue. I would say to him that he needs to set aside his petty differences with TV3 or any presenter and debate the contents of this treaty.”
The Taoiseach’s disagreement with Mr Browne stems from a controversial suggestion by the presenter 18 months ago that Mr Kenny should go in to a dark room with a gun and a bottle of whiskey.
Mr Kenny has since turned down chances to appear on debates presided over by Mr Browne, citing comments the broadcaster made about him in relation to suicide, comments for which Mr Browne later apologised.
A spokesman for Mr Kenny last night said the new proposal was being considered.
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