SENATORS who appeared on a Late Late Show debate on March 20 were told in advance what best to say to defend their work, the Irish Examiner has learned.
The debate focused on the relevancy of the Senate and whether its cost could be justified.
Prior to the show, the communications unit of the Houses of the Oireachtas circulated a briefing document to all 60 senators. It provided answers to even the most basic questions, reminding the senators of the size of the Senate, how they are elected and how much they are paid.
Replies to expected questions were provided to senators in scripted, conversational format. One began with: “As you know Pat...”
On the key question of Senate costs, the document advised senators to reply: “Costing is something of an inexact science… I know you are thinking that I am trying in some way to avoid the question — I’m not.”
During the show, three senators — Donie Cassidy, Alex White and David Norris — sat onstage with Mr Kenny, while a number of others sat in the audience. Mr Cassidy, leader of the Seanad, appeared to draw on the briefing document in a couple of instances.
The head of the communications unit Mark Mulqueen said: “The whole aim was to ensure there is an improving understanding among the public of the two houses.”
An RTÉ spokesperson said it was not aware of any briefing document.
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