OVER 750 people are in Letterkenny tonight for the Vincent Browne ‘People ‘s Debate’. It was the fourth in a series of 40 such televised shows by TV3 across across the country in the run up to the next general election, most likely early in 2016.
There was overwhelming support in the audience for the same sex marriage referendum due in May which on the basis of a straw poll could be passed bucking our trend in Donegal of ‘No’ votes in various referenda over recent times.
After some intial debate about agreeing a format for the show it was agreed the issues to be discussed would include deprivation in Donegal, water charges, social issues such as dwindling health services, lack of cancer services forcing people to travel to Dublin and Galway, the economy, jobs and unemployment-emigration.
Other issues highlighted were gender equality, draconian cuts to public and private sectors, sharp austerity measures, the closure of small schools, rural post offices and banks along with the neglect of Donegal by successive governments for years. Partition, the demise of the fishing sector and farmers and rural Ireland also featured.
Irish Water, which cost 100million to set up mostly for consultants and the controversy over spending 500 million on water meters against the wishes of people also came in for sharp criticism. The non-appearance of Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh was heckled by the audience while Labour party county councillor Martin Farren was ‘jeered and booed’ with chants also of ‘go away, go away’ as he spoke.
The show was recorded tonight and will be broadcast on Wednesday night on TV3, See Donegal News on Monday for coverage and next Friday’s Donegal News for full pictorial and editorial coverage of the debate show.