The Presidential Election campaign will take on an added dimension at TG4 Headquarters next Tuesday as candidates in the race for election of Uachtarán na hÉireann come face to face in a bilingual television debate, Áras 2011. Dana Rosemary Scallon will be the only absentee, having declared she has another commitment on that date. The hour-long debate will be moderated by TG4’s current affairs presenter, Páidí Ó Lionáird and will air at 7pm on Tuesday 18th October (with a repeat broadcast later that night at 11.05pm).
TG4’s three-way Irish language Leaders’ Debate during the General Election, was a huge success with an audience reach of over 500,000 people for the tv transmissions and over 30,000 viewers accessing it on www.tg4.tv
The channel was keen to provide a meaningful candidates’ debate during the Presidential Election also. Accordingly, and bearing in mind the varying degrees of fluency in Irish of the various candidates, it devised an inclusive format for the debate.
Each candidate will make an opening statement in Irish. This will be followed by a 40 minute debate with candidates using Irish or English as they prefer. The debate will conclude with a short closing statement in Irish by each candidate. (The debate will be pre-recorded earlier in the day to allow for subtitling).
TG4 Leascheannasaí, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha welcomed candidates’ confirmation of their willingness to participate in this debate. “We are delighted to have devised another innovative and inclusive television debate for a major election”, he said, “and we see it as an important contribution to the overall public discourse during a campaign which ends with the Irish electorate voting directly to choose a Head of State. We look forward to welcoming the participants to Baile na hAbhann and to affording this opportunity to viewers to assess their abilities”.
Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, TG4, 01-4763030, 087-2657689