Aontú goes to court over exclusion from RTÉ debate

Mairéad Tóibín, Aontú’s representative in Dublin Bay South by-election, has confirmed her party commenced High Court proceedings this afternoon over the decision by RTÉ to exclude the Dáil party from the all of their by-election broadcast debates.

Tóibín said RTÉ, as the national broadcaster, had “a particular responsibility” to ensure that election coverage is “fair, democratic, inclusive and unbiased.”

“However RTÉ has decided to exclude only one Dáil political party out of the eight Dáil parties contesting this bye-election. This is an incredibly arbitary decision”.

In a statement released this evening, Aontú said RTÉ also have a responsibility for “the diversity of Ireland to be reflected in public discourse.”

“Aontú is a political party registered in both the North of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We have 6 elected reps. We received over 50,000 votes in the last General Elections. This is a vote higher than People before Profit who RTE have allowed in this debate,” the statement reads.

“In the 2 ½ years of our existence we have grown significantly and created a real foundation. Indeed Aontú is polling higher than People before Profit in many national opinion polls for the last 6 months.

“Aontú is also polling at or ahead of the Greens and Labour in some opinion polls. In the only opinion poll carried out in this constituency, by the Irish Times, Aontú is polling ahead of People before Profit. That RTE facilitates a party with less support in this constituency than Aontú and excludes us raises serious questions of management in RTE.

“For the purposes of The Week in Politics debate RTE seek to place Aontú in a prerecord segment with micro political parties who have no elected representatives at all. This completely skews the reality and people’s perception of Aontú.”

Whether Aontú will be successful in their High Court action remains to be seen, but, with the Dublin Bay South by-election set to take place on July 8th, the clock is ticking for candidates hoping to make a big impression.

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