|Last week's TV3 debate|
Last week Michael Martin (Fianna Fail) was deemed the winner of the two way debate against Eamon Gilmore (Labour). Tonight we have a five way debate with Enda Kenny (Fine Gael), John Gormley (Greens) and Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein) joining the debate.
Everyone seems to have written off this five way format (and the upcoming Irish Language debate) with the focus on the next 3 way debate next week. That said it will be interesting to watch it tonight.
The Frontline is a live show in front of an audience and they normally have panel discussions. Hopefully this will be a debate rather than a panel discussion. The host is Pat Kenny. He is best known as a former host of the Late Late Show but you could see that he really was not interested in the light entertainment aspect of hosting a chat show. His real strength is in current affairs and he has been doing well on the Fontline for the last couple of years.
For our international viewers the debate should be on live http://www.rte.ie/. The frontline takes e-mails, tweets, texts etc and often international ones come in so this should also be accessable online for people (Irish emigrants or just those with an interest) based outside Ireland.
The leaders will be standing behind podiums. In the centre will be the three main parties (Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour) with positions drawn by lots. The two smaller parties (Greens & Sinn Fein) will be in the end positions again with positions drawn by lots.
The result of that draw was a standing order on stage of (Left to Right) Adams (SF), Martin (FF), Kenny (FG), Gilmore (Lab), Gormley (Gr)
There will be no opening statements. They will start immediately with questions.
The audience will ask the questions. They have been selected by Milward Brown an independent polling company. They are meant to be reflective of the general population profile. As of 10am the host, Pat Kenny, said he did not know what the questions were. The leaders won’t know the questions until they are asked.
The questions can be general (in which Pat Kenny will decide who answers first) or specifically for one leader (after which the other leaders will also have time to answer). After asking the question the audience will not be permitted to come back in or to heckle in any way.
The debate will last an hour. Hopefully the questions will be allowed to be fully debated and there won't be the same rush to get through 10 questions as there was last week.