- 23 May 18
Last night the final live debate on the upcoming referendum was on RTE's prime time and Simon Harris absolutely destroyed TD Peadar Toibin with his incredibly strong and well prepared arguments, defending the Yes campaign.
With just two days left before the referendum, we can see the arguments as they are coming in now, with a particular emphasis on the 12 weeks by the No side which we saw again last night from Peadar Toibin. Meanwhile the Yes side is continuing to drive their campaign wth compassion and care.
The big controversy over last nights debate is because of the last minute withdrawal of Cora Sherlock from The LoveBoth organisation, who had confirmed last week that she would appear on the programme as a panelist.
When RTE was informed of this, The LoveBoth organisation said that they would replace her position with Maria Steen however the broadcaster said it could not agree to Ms Steen's participation, due to the fact that she had appeared on Claire Byrne Live on May 18th as well as the fact that this simply was not the agreement.
Since the programme last night, The LoveBoth organisation has accused RTE of failing to achieve balance on the panel of last night's show. A broadcaster for RTE has said; "The television debate on the referendum continued with the panel of Minister for Health Simon Harris and Peadar Tóibín TD, in addition to substantial contributions from the audience, which gave an equitable and fair opportunity to both sides to express their views."
LoveBoth said in a statement this morning that RTÉ's decision to invite pro-repeal obstetrician Mary Higgins on the panel and no medic from the pro-retain side was utterly unacceptable.
It accused RTÉ of making no serious effort to achieve balance on the panel.
Interestingly, Ms Sherlock said this morning that "at no stage" did she pull out of the Prime Time debate.
Ms Sherlock has since posted a video on Facebook on the liberal.ie where she is seen calling on all those in favour of retaining the amendment to 'unite again' as a movement.
The reason behind the withdrawal is still unclear but the different statements being released from The LoveBoth organised and Ms Sherlock herself would indicate there was some kind of issue between the No side.
However, the real show stopping element of the programme last night was the incredible performance Minister for Health Simon Harris delivered. He was strong, prepared and incredibly knowledegable. There wasn't a question Harris couldn't answer and reply with a very well constructed argument. I think it's safe to say he has done the country proud as well as winning the hearts of every Irish woman. As an Irish politician, he showed incredible strength in his ability to debate professionally.
On behave of the women and men of Ireland, thank you Minister, for fighting so well for us all. With such a small amount of time left, every effort really counts now, and the Ministers performance last night is sure to have an impact on the last few that are undecided.
See you all on the other side folks!