No preconditions for Kenny interview: NewstalkTuesday 22 February 2011 07.44
Newstalk has said that there were no preconditions for the radio station’s interview with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.
The station issued a statement after suggestions that Fine Gael had asked that the issue of Mr Kenny's pension entitlements as a former teacher would not be discussed during the interview, which was recorded yesterday and broadcast this morning.
A Fine Gael spokesperson said the pension issue had been dealt with by Mr Kenny and in that context it was decided, and agreed by Newstalk, to conduct the interview on the basis originally agreed.
Mr Kenny has said that he clarified the issue of his teacher's pension yesterday and that that matter was now closed.
A statement on Newstalk's website this afternoon said: 'It has been suggested that the reason why no question was asked on the pension was because preconditions were set by Fine Gael.
'Newstalk wishes to state categorically that no such preconditions were in place.
'They were not sought and Newstalk considered that the issue of the pension had been dealt with in Enda Kenny’s speech from the podium.'
It had been reported that Mr Kenny was entitled to a teacher’s pension - a lump sum of €100,000 in April and €30,000 per annum - after working as a teacher for only four years.
Earlier, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said media outlets should not allow political parties to set conditions on what can and cannot be discussed in interviews.
Mr Martin had said he did not realise 'gagging' of programmes or journalists was going on in this election.
Green Party leader John Gormley said if it was the case that Fine Gael laid down preconditions for the interview then it would be a retrograde step.
Parties try to ensure core vote
Jobs, families and farming were highlighted by the parties in the General Election campaign today, as a new opinion poll shows Fine Gael on twice as much support as its nearest rival.
Today's Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll shows Fine Gael on 37%, up 4% since the start of the campaign, while Labour drops five to 19%.
Fianna Fáil gains one to 16%, Sinn Féin drops one to 11%, the Greens are up one to 2%. Independents and Others are unchanged at 15%.
The final days of the election campaign are seeing parties try to woo the undecided and ensure their core vote turns out.