Waltzing on borrowed time-The Real Debate for Ireland’s 33rd Dáil

by Padraig Conlon
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While the RTE Leaders Debate is being broadcast live on TV tonight an alternative debate will take place online.

“The Real Debate”, a podcast/streaming event, is offering the electorate several different opinions and views from across the political spectrum.

With contributions from members of both the judiciary and the legislature as well as policy makers, campaigners and commentators, “The Real Debate” will discuss topics like Housing, Health, Climate, Banking, Vulture Funds, Radical Political Change, Public Accountability, Collective Solutions and many others.

Even though RTE decided on Monday to invite Mary Lou McDonald to take part in their Leaders Debate with Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar, the organisers of “The Real Debate” decided to go ahead with their event and release it to the public just ahead of RTE’s offering which takes place at 9.30 tonight.

The idea for this streaming event emerged from the growing frustration of large sections of the Irish electorate following RTE’s decision to only invite leaders of the two governing parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who between them represent less than 50% of the electorate.

Set up as a collaboration between several organisations, including Right2Homes, HomeOptions, and ourselves Dublin Gazette as a media partner, “The Real Debate” sets out to offer the other 55% of voters a debate.

One of the Moderator’s tonight, Donagh McKeown, told Dublin Gazette why he was so keen to be involved in “The Real Debate.”

“Whether you take the word of the numerous surveys and polls by “official” groups or take your own straw poll with folks on the street,” he said.

“You’ll soon see that both will lead with deep concerns, firstly about health and the health service in Ireland.

“Over 50% in collective polling say that’s their number one concern, with housing coming second.

“In that mix come the plight of the homeless.

“Calls for increased affordable housing are being heard at every doorstep, from the inner cities to our most rural areas.

“Deep in the Irish psyche there’s the desire to own one’s own home.

“Many people are also deeply concerned for the growing numbers of homeless people who now roam our streets.

“In this election, there’s a strong wave for social change, true re-engagement with the disenfranchised.

“There’s a strong move of support away from the centrist parties like Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, with an almost tsunami level of support moving to more socially democratic leaning parties, with Sinn Fein rising, in polls at least leading that movement for change.”

Another contributor tonight will be property developer Paddy Kelly who will share his ideas on how to stimulate house building nationwide.

“The building and development industry has in the past demonstrated it’s ability to deliver the capacity required,” Paddy told Dublin Gazette.

“Many of us in the industry are involved and are responding.

“We need a better awareness of The Cyclical Nature of the building and development industry.

“Annual housing completions went from an annual high of 94k to a low of 5k in the decade ending in 2008 there as an average of 78k homes completed annually

“In the decade ending in 2018 there was an average of 10k homes completed annually – with a low of 5k in some years – The industry almost closed down

“Uncertainty and delay needs to be taken out of the planning process Zoned Land needs to be provided.”

The Real Debate Ireland 2020 | Waltzing on Borrowed Time with Donagh Mc Keown, Marian Shanley, Brian Reilly and many others, from 8 pm tonight.

Links to view, a watch party, and audio coming shortly.


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