Over 800,000 viewers tuned in to the TV3 Leaders’ debate last night, which aired from 9pm to 10.30pm and featured the leaders of the four largest political parties as part of TV3’s VOTE 2016 general election coverage.
An average of 430,000 watched the first big national TV debate which peaked at 502,000 viewers just after 10pm and was broadcast live from the Virgin Media TV3 HD Studio in Dublin in association with Newstalk radio.
The highly charged 90 minute debate saw Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil and Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin appearing together for the first major TV debate of the 2016 general election.
In TV3’s post-debate TONIGHT programme with Ivan Yates, 576,000 people tuned in between 10.30pm and 12 midnight for analysis and discussion by a panel of experts who expressed their views on how the leaders’ performed in the earlier debate. An average of 224,000 people watched this programme.
Commenting on the figures, TV3 Director of News & Information Programming Andrew Hanlon said: “What is so pleasing about last night’s huge viewing figures is that they demonstrate the voracious appetite the Irish people have for engaging in lively political debate and that TV3 can provide free-to-air top class public service broadcasting when it really matters.”