Leaders debate on 14th February on RTÉ

The five way Leaders Debate

What do I think: All except Gerry Adams showed initial stress on their faces. As the program progressed, Enda and Mick Martin were more fluent, confident, relaxed and definitive. John Gormley debated coherently and cogently. Gerry Adams’ content was cliche ridden and disingenuous but he gave the impression of believing his own rhetoric. Mick Martin is a good competent debater but is in denial about the undemocratic and autocratic nature of his HSE and the massive mismanagement of the health service on his watch. The public won’t be fooled because their paychecks and welfare receipts ram the message home with regular monotony.Eamonn Gilmore looked nervous, red faced and overweight. He signalled the similarity between the health policies of Labour and Fine Gael. Mick Martin made a good point about the insurance costs of universal health care, and insurance capital regulation and about privatisation but Enda pointed out that the Health Minister will remain in charge unlike the HSE administrative monster created by Mick. With Fine Gael, the hospitals will remain in public ownership. Martin.Kenny’s comment, about the hundreds of HSE staff not knowing what their jobs were, was telling. The effects of supply-side economics was not addressed by either and Pat Kenny was a light touch facilitator. tryinmg to bring in Anaeurin Bevan and ignoring Beveridge the Liberal was a little bit intellectually loose but maybe he does not know the history.

I thought that Eamonn Gilmore struggled the most. Gerry Adams was good for those who do not want the truth. Mick Martin was like Munster, he stood up and fought but always knew that the judges knew he was an ampty vessel with powder puff punches. He should be ashamed of his co-responsibility for the Irish economic calamity. John Gormley named a local area once inappropriately in this national existential debate. Enda was on top of his brief, was fluent and coherent to the degree that he dispelled questions of his competence. James Reilly was a GP advocate and had little to do with consultant contracts.

Add in al. A good night for Enda and for FG. It strengthened Enda withiin Fine Gael.