Leaders final debate
The leaders of the three main parties, Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil), Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) and Eamon Gilmore (Labour Party) met last night (Tuesday 22nd February) for their final televised debate.
Enda Kenny whose party Fine Gael is leading by a wide margin in the opinion polls and who is expected to be the next Taoiseach came across as confident and statesmanlike. On several occasions he found himself being pressurised by Micheál Martin who wanted more detail of the Fine Gael programme. Overall, though, he argued well and was consistent in his storyline.
Micheál Martin who is the new leader of Fianna Fáil the current governing party was combative and eloquent. He found himself fending off accusations by both of the other contestants about the record of the current government. Also, he had to contend with Enda Kenny saying, repeatedly, that the government had lied to the people of Ireland. A confident performance demonstrating a good grasp of the issues, although occasionally his answers lacked a streetwise element.
Eamon Gilmore of the third placed Labour Party tried hard to differentiate himself from the other two party leaders and did a reasonable job. Sometimes his arguments were less cohesive and Micheál Martin was quick to attack when he found weaknesses. Nevertheless this was a solid performance from a leader who must be hoping that he will be forming a coalition with Fine Gael.
The election takes place this Friday, 25th February 2011.