New FF leader Micheal Martin has demanded a series of three way debates involving himself, FG leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore. Enda Kenny and FG have ruled this out and demanded a series of debates involving leaders of the five main parties. This would include John Gormley (Greens) and Caoimghin O'Caolain (Sinn Fein) also. Kenny is not prepared to be dictated to by Martin. Cork South Central Labour Party TD Ciaran Lynch was quick out of the blocks today to attack the FG position. To put it mildly Lynch is engaged in hypocritical posturing.
Labour had consistently condemned the fact that up to now it was excluded from such debates. It is now in the happy position that it is included. However it is perfectly happy to see other parties excluded.
Labour is running scared of Sinn Fein which is eating into its left flank. Ciaran Lynch of course wont admit to that.
A five-leader debate no doubt would show differences between FG and Labour. However it would also show up differences between FF and Labour and between Labour and Sinn Fein. In short it would show differences between all five parties.
Much is made of these debates in the media. However it is well to remember that great leaders are not necessarily great debaters. Sean Lemass was not a great debater. Nevertheless he had a successful tenure as Taoiseach. He recognised his limitations and deferred to TK Whitaker on economic matters.
It is time for people such as Ciaran Lynch and the Labour Party to focus on policy.