Limerick candidates dodge the hard questions

Limerick candidates from the larger parties have pulled an Enda Kenny by avoiding a public debate organised for the Pery Hotel Thursday evening at 7:30pm. (The debate will be streamed live on

A spokesperson for the Claiming Our Future group of community and voluntary organisations said Sinn Fein's Cllr Maurice Quinlivan is the only elected politician so far to confirm he would be attending to set out his policies and take questions from the public.

Labour's Cllr Joe Leddin has given a conditional yes but no TD has confirmed their involvement in the debate. Fianna Fail's Willie O'Dea and Fine Gael's Michael Noonan have declined to attend and Peter Power and Kieran O'Donnell have yet to respond, the organisers said.

Micheal Noonan told Politico: "I am involved in the Fine Gael General Election campaign in both Limerick and Dublin. Today (Thursday) I am in Dublin and I don't expect to return to Limerick until after midnight tonight or tomorrow morning."

A spokesperson for Willie O'Dea said that he was out of the office and that they would try and obtain a statement as soon as possible.

According to spokesperson Gerard O'Donoghue: "Issues of massive importance to the future of this country are being decided at this election. The citizens of Limerick have a right to hear what the different parties policies are and have them debated in public."

Another of the organisers, community worker Gearóid Fitzgibbon, said "there may be the impression that the result is a foregone conclusion so why bother, but there is still a large group of undecided voters".

"People want clear answers on the issues of the bank bailout, political reform and the deep economic crisis in the Limerick region," Mr Fitzgibbon said. "It's just not good enough for political candidates to sit and wait it out, or skirt the hard questions. While we appreciate that candidates have an impossibly short time in which to canvass voters, proper debate is vital." 

Candidates who have confirmed attendance include Cllr Quinlivan, Sheila Cahill (Greens) and Cian Prendiville (United Left Alliance).

The debate begins at 7.30pm. For more information, email Limerick Claiming Our Future, phone 085 7409023 or visit the 'Claiming Our Future Limerick' Facebook page.