LAST NIGHT'S referendum debate on RTE turned out to be less of an informed debate and more of a shouting match with personal insults overriding any form of relevant discussion.
The Referendum Special on Claire Byrne Live aired last night with just over a week to go until the referendum day.
Many viewers tuned in to last night’s programme to view an informed discussion between members of both sides of the fence but instead witnessed the primetime show descend into chaos.
Campaigners from both the Yes campaign and No campaign appeared on the panel, alongside representatives from Together For Yes, Holles Street hospital and the Iona Institute.
Halfway through the show, the discussion was repeatedly interrupted by continued clapping and cheering from the audience.
The panel members began getting personal by trading insults.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath called Peter Boylan, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a liar in his observations on the Savita Halappanavar case.
The show was trending on Twitter in Ireland overnight and continues to be sparking heated discussion this morning.
People Before Profit TD also called Brid Smith called Maria Steen of the Iona Institute a liar and refused to apologise. She had a crisis pregnancy which led to an abortion.
Maria Steen described the abortion Ms Smith had as the sort of “social abortion” she was warning would happen in Ireland if the Eighth Amendment was repealed.
Viewers felt that producers should have taken control of the audience, with many choosing to eventually turn the programme off, calling it “disrespectful” and “hurtful”.
To every Irish woman who has had the horror of travelling for an abortion, or who has secretly taken dangerous abortion pills in the cloud of shame this country has placed on us. I'm so sorry that you have to listen to the disrespect on display on #cblive tonight#repealthe8th
— Siobhán (@siobhanmarketin) May 14, 2018
— CROSSY (@CrossyTweets) May 14, 2018
Make the clapping stop. It's neither the place nor the topic for whooping and hollering. #CBLive
— Kevin Doyle (@KevDoyle_Indo) May 14, 2018
I really, really feel for any woman who has had an abortion watching this debate tonight. The level of disrespect and the lack of decency the No campaign is showing is awful. They exist in an empathy vacuum. #cblive
— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) May 14, 2018
As a person who had an abortion I feel sick watching @rte tonight. We’ll look back at this referendum & be deeply ashamed. It’s not right. What I needed to do when I had a crisis was nobody’s business but my own. So much healing needs to happen when this is all over. #CBLive
— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) May 14, 2018
— Syd (@syddels) May 14, 2018
If I was campaigning (not allowed to!) for a Yes on May 25th I'd be worried after #cblive. What a fiasco... Make sure to vote!!!!!
— Kitty Holland (@KittyHollandIT) May 14, 2018
#cblive the gasps of disbelief and horror from the audience when @MaryLouMcDonald pointed out she is pro life just proves how the no side lack the basic understanding of what repeal means. They genuinely believe people voting yes want abortions for fun and must hate their babies
— Keira K (@keirakenny) May 14, 2018
Big win for the No side. Yes side completely overlook the unborn baby as proven tonight. #cblive
— David Quinn (@DavQuinn) May 14, 2018
I’ma father but according to that one steen I’ve no choice but to vote no or I’m telling my children I don’t love them, that was a very very low blow towards @MaryLouMcDonald that she mentioned her family, no side disgusted me tonight #cblive
— john twomey 🇮🇪🇪🇺🇵🇸🕊️🎗 (@johntwomey67) May 14, 2018
Disastrous ‘debate’. Horrendous to see the whooping and hollering with so many people like Gerry and Gaye Edwards who have been through the most traumatic experiences present in the audience. #cblive
— Paddy McKenna (@PaddyMcKenna) May 14, 2018
I have great respect for Claire Byrne but her team let her down tonight - the show was poorly planned, disorganised & quite frankly like a circus.
This kind of TV does not serve the public who wish to be informed of the facts and evidence. #cbLive #8thref
— Sen Catherine Noone (@senatornoone) May 14, 2018