Smaller parties prove popular in debate falloutTuesday 16 February 2016 16.16
RTÉ's Leaders' Debate involving seven party leaders has sparked a lot of reaction on online.
The general consensus was that the minority party leaders - Lucinda Creighton, Stephen Donnelly and Richard Boyd Barrett - were the strongest overall.
Rural crime, the ongoing homeless crisis and health were the topics that largely dominated the debate.
The first question of the night was directed towards Taoiseach Enda Kenny. He was asked about how people should be expected to believe the Government, after so many promises have been broken.
Good opening question from audience member as to broken promises. #GE16 kenny claims "mandate' in response. What mandate? Imagined one?— Matt Cooper (@cooper_m) February 15, 2016
Tánaiste Joan Burton aimed an early jab at Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, saying that he was like "the emperor with no clothes".
Ms Burton and Mr Kenny appeared to group together on a number of occasions against Mr Martin.
The Enda - Joan tag-team. Both focusing on Michael Martin. Will backfire. People don't want to be afraid, they want to hope. #leadersdebate— Elaine Byrne (@ElaineByrne) February 15, 2016
Renua leader Lucinda Creighton pointed out that having stepped down as a Fine Gael TD, she is the only party leader at the debate who has not broken promises.
While speaking about the homeless crisis, Mr Martin went off topic by saying that Gerry Adams had been denying his involvement with the IRA for years. Mr Adams was praised online for quickly responding: "That won't help the homeless."
Adams' 'the IRA card won't help the homeless' reply is interesting as it leaves others with one fewer card to play later in the night— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 15, 2016
During the first half of the debate, joint-leader of the Social Democrats Stephen Donnelly was the most favoured leader online.
At one point, moderator Claire Byrne asked Mr Adams to stop criticising other parties and instead focus on Sinn Féin's policies.
Mr Boyd Barrett was the first leader of the night to be applauded while speaking about JobBridge and the reduction in dole for those under the age of 26.
RBB replicating his usual Dáil tack of start-moderate-then-escalate, gets applauded twice over JobBridge and lower-dole-for-under-26s #GE16— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 15, 2016
Question three of the night was based on health. Mr Martin said he "fundamentally disagreed" with a suggestion by Claire Byrne that he had failed while minister for health.
During the first half of the debate, the leaders of the smaller parties received the best reviews on Twitter, with Mr Donnelly mentioned the most.
A lot of traditional Labour votes,nervous of transferring to "harder left" might find Soc Dems attractive after Donnelly's performance #ge16— Matt Cooper (@cooper_m) February 15, 2016
Ms Creighton spoke about Renua's policies on crime. Renua's 'three strikes' policy, along with stipulations for parents whose children commit crimes, received mixed reviews.
Prisons would fill up fairly lively with the three strike rule. #leadersdebate— Jonathan Healy (@jonathanhealy) February 15, 2016
While on the topic of crime, Mr Boyd Barrett said he supported the idea of re-opening local Garda stations around the country.
When asked about the possibility of a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Mr Kenny responded "certainly not, certainly not". Mr Martin said "this country needs a change of government".
Enda is asked about coalition options. "Labour! Labour!" he says, in a similar tone to how Haughey beckoned Mara in Scrap Saturday— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 15, 2016
The debate will be an interesting playback if Enda and Micheal end up in government.— Michael O'Regan (@MOReganIT) February 15, 2016
Ms Creighton said there was "no difference" between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and what the government needed was a "change of culture".
Mr Adams directed more than one insult to who he called the "three amigos" - Enda Kenny, Joan Burton, and Michael Martin.
Good line from @GerryAdamsSF saying three amigos should ride off on their donkeys. Now referring back to 1916. His best moment of night.— harrymcgee (@harrymcgee) February 15, 2016
Overall, Claire Byrne was largely praised for her performance tonight. She began the show by telling the leaders that there was a ban on political jargon.
No stand out moment so far in this debate...well other than @ClaireByrneLive who has done a great job so far— McConnellDaniel (@McConnellDaniel) February 15, 2016