DEM Candidate says he will refuse any invite to take part in ‘charade’ RTE debate

Directly Elected Mayor candidate John Moran. Photo: Eamon Ward

ONE of the Directly Elected Mayor of Limerick candidates who was sidelined for the upcoming RTE candidates debate has described the event as a “charade” and informed the producers he will not take part, even if invited.

He made the statement shortly before RTE announced that it will now invite all 15 candidates in the Directly Elected Mayor campaign to take part in the Upfront with Katie Hannon debate scheduled for Monday May 27 in the Limetree theatre in Limerick.

Independent candidate, John Moran said in a statement today (Thursday) that he is “informing the producers that I am withdrawing my interest to participate in any panel for their upcoming charade debate.

He said his decision will stand even in the face of “a late u-turn in the face of the outpouring of anger about my exclusion here in Limerick and beyond”.

The candidate thanked the many people who had rallied to support him and express outrage since his exclusion from the debate.

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“I now believe for the reasons set out below that it is best to put this matter to bed and let me back to concentrating on what I enjoy most, meeting the people of Limerick to explain why I believe my experience makes me the best candidate for the role and explain what I want to do for them if elected on 7 June,” he said.

“I have made numerous reasonable requests since their original selection decision and each has been rejected. Limerick has become used to being ignored up in Dublin. If nothing else, this sorry saga shows better than anything why having a strong independent mayor who can put Limerick first is so critical.

“It is ironic that the only successful time the producers of the show seem to have listened to me was when their researcher contacted me over a month ago to get my views on the mayoral role and ask would I be okay travel to Dublin for the show.

“I made it clear at that time that it would be highly insulting to the people of Limerick if candidates and audience of Limerick voters for the first mayoral election in Limerick had to travel to Dublin for a debate.  At least I won that debate”.

Mr Moran said he will now, instead “sit in the audience and make my views during the only 60 seconds of uninterrupted time which they have offered me.

“Helen (O’Donnell) has already indicated on social media that she was content to just rely on that time too so in that light I consider the matter closed.

“I want to also express my particular appreciation to the other candidates who expressed their own dissatisfaction about RTE’s decision.”

Mr Moran said he believes the outpouring of anger from Limerick about the exclusion of new independent candidates, “has shown that the voters of Limerick already know that they want real change.

“The support I have received in particular comforts me that even without this debate they also have identified the type of experience and credentials they want to see in their mayor.

“They understand better than RTE who is needed to deliver on that change for Limerick against a Dublin dominated party system which has failed us for decades here on Shannonside”.

Mr Moran said he has been invited to participate in further debates on Live 95 and on The Late Debate on RTE radio and is looking forward to doing so.

In an announcement today, RTE said “taking account of the uniquer and historical nayure of this election, the fact that there are just 15 candidates and the flexibility for wider participation that the tehtre provides, additional broadcast time has been allocated for a specially extended programme”.

The broadcast starts at 10.35pm on RTE One and RTE Player.