The Leaders Debate: As It Happened


The full blow by blow account of the bruising encounter between the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders as it happened:

Things about to kick off, Virgin Media adopting a US politics style ‘head-to-head’ debate here, however, the confetti canons and cheerleaders are a bit much.

Pat Kenny is wearing a Tom Ford suit tonight, and is equipped with a specially designed colostomy bag which enables him to go the toilet without leaving the debate.

Viewers expecting tonight’s episode of Love Island, featuring people awkwardly dancing around the fact they want to couple up, will not be disappointed.

The stakes for the country couldn’t be higher; one of these two men will not get nearly enough votes to form a government and therefore fail to implement whatever half-baked policies they talk about tonight

FACT CHECK: the neeeeeeeeeck of these two.

Taoiseach now fully embracing his party’s ‘A Future To Look Forward To’ slogan with constant reference to Fianna Fáil’s past.

Back on safer ground, the Taoiseach returns to a subject he has considerable knowledge and genuine understanding of, nevertheless, Pat Kenny asks him politely to stop talking about ‘Love, Actually’.

Breakdown of the issues Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil differ on: 404 not found.

Varadkar sparks up what appears to be a Marlboro Light in an attempt to vex Martin, knowing he helped introduce the smoking ban.

Martin is now fake coughing.

“If this is the best we can do, we’re fucked” already trending on Twitter

Asked if it’s fair to say the public find it hard to relate to him as a person, the Taoiseach concedes “it’s true, I am not ‘a poor'”.

Martin hit a groove there, lambasting Fine Gael for a series of scandals, that he made sure they weren’t punished for, by sticking by Confidence and Supply deal.

Martin denying lumpy flesh growing on his shoulder is a Celtic Tiger era property developer.

Fine Gael Statement: “The Taoiseach is only operating on 3% battery due to no proper charging points in the Virgin Media Studio”

Martin sticks it to Varadkar now with a rendition of ‘Come Out You Black And Tans”

“The fucking homeless can’t vote. Next fucking subject please” the party leaders say in unison.

Michael Martin visibly rattled there on health, as he wonders if he remembered to record Split on Film 4.

Simon Harris and Eoghan Murphy watching from the crowd with a ‘We Luv U Leo’ banner that they made themselves.

I haven’t had a day off in years, you cunt!” Awkward scenes here as a rogue hospital trolley had to be removed from the studio for shouting obscenities at the Taoiseach

Martin really benefitting from Irish electorate’s debilitating amnesia. Gets to accuse Taoiseach of having no shame with a straight face.

The public remain unimpressed by both men, but accept that there’s no real option other than to vote for one of them.

“Us two having to rely on the HSE for care?” the two leaders now doubled over laughing at the thought.

“And we would just like to add, if anyone out there fancies buying our health service, we’d be open to that too” both leaders conclude the health segment in unison

Now onto pensions – Best just to ignore whatever is being claimed and just presume you’ll be working into your 90s.

“We’re not the Fianna Fáil of old, we’ve got a lot better at hiding the dodgy stuff” Martin says, defending votegate and expenses.

Onto crime now. Ooooh, juicy.

Ireland is a very safe country” several of Varadkar’s security detail now prompting the Taoiseach on what to say next.

Pat Kenny directly calling out his TV colleagues now… criticising cocaine users. Brave.

“Love the smack” Varadkar artfully dodging question on whether he used drugs.

Martin now excelling on crime, “everyone lives in fear” which presumably had nothing to do with the gutting of essential services after the crash.

“I dabbed a bit of pure MDMA at a Kris Kristofferson concert once, but that was about it” Pat Kenny answers one of the leaders questions himself forcing producers to call an ad break.

The economy.

“Oh, thank fuck” Pat Kenny remarks as the party leaders confirm they don’t intend on increasing taxes on Ireland’s highest earners.

As debate draws to a close, Ireland has shown it’s ready for a gay person of colour to be Taoiseach, but remains unclear whether the Ireland of 2020 can bring itself to vote for someone from Cork.

We have now entered the shit on Sinn Féin portion of the evening.

Martin now conceding you’d have to drag him kicking and screaming to a United Ireland.

Both leaders declining to put giving a shit about the environment before trying to win the farming vote.

Both leaders explain they would only resign if they lost after double checking their lucrative pension set up


Martin rattles off record number of empty promises in 60 seconds, Guinness world record observers confirm.

“I am inevitable” Varadkar says now, quoting Avengers’ villain Thanos before clicking his fingers in the hope of eliminating the poor.