Monday 5 December 2016

Cormac McQuinn: With thick skin and hard hat, Kenny soldiers on

Published 13/02/2016 | 02:30

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. escorted by Gardai as he passes a small group of protesters at the turning of the sod on the €50m Cork Event Centre, Cork city. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. escorted by Gardai as he passes a small group of protesters at the turning of the sod on the €50m Cork Event Centre, Cork city. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

In years to come it may become known as the 'Tustle of Tuckey Street', if it's remembered at all. On one end of the street Taoiseach Enda Kenny. On the other end, around 20 protesters.

  • Go To

What they lacked in numbers they made up for in noise - very loud noise.

Mr Kenny was on a walkabout in Cork City en route to the old Beamish and Crawford plant for the turning of the sod at the new convention centre.

He pressed on, determined to reach his destination.

The shouts of "Traitor" and "Enda, Enda, Enda, Out, Out, Out" grew louder and the two sides finally met. One man roared at Mr Kenny: "You're in Cork City now, we're not f*****g forgetting at all."

The level of discourse didn't elevate much higher than that.

It was just one anti-water charge sign that gave some indication of what it might have all been about.

Within two minutes, Mr Kenny was in the gates of the old brewery and it was all over.

The Taoiseach's day began at a youth diversion centre in Togher, where social workers and youngsters have created a garden.

It was Fine Gael's day for launching its justice plans - including 1,800 additional gardaí - and minister Frances Fitzgerald travelled down to Cork for the event.

Next up was a visit to the site of the new Capitol Cinemas and the first sod of the day, as well as the first hard hat of the campaign - there'll surely be many more.

In the English Market, a few elderly Corkonians took the opportunity to give Mr Kenny a piece of their mind.

Pat Kelly (73), told Mr Kelly how he'd been a carer for his parents for decades and complained about cuts to health. "I'm terrified of going into hospital and waiting on trolleys," he told the Taoiseach.

"Thanks for telling me your story," Mr Kenny said, outlining how the Government has "invested a lot of money in different aspects of the health service".

The roadshow moved on to Kinsale, where Mr Kenny was greeted by more loud chanting. This time it was schoolchildren shouting his name in excitement.

"I'm very glad to be in the constituency, the home county of the great Collins," he roared at the crowd, who lapped it up. He addressed the children: "For these young people here this is an old-style election meeting... We might have new ways of communicating with Twitter and Viper and all these other... Viber" - he knows enough to correct himself - "these other Facebook ways you do things. But here down in Cork South West we go and knock on the doors and say we're here," he said.

Mr Kenny was fired up, roaring how his party's message is "if you have a strong economy you can build a strong country".

"You couldn't build lego," one solitary woman shouted.

There's always one.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News