Sunday 25 September 2016

Dáil rang out with cries of protests as Taoiseach dodged election date announcement

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 03/02/2016 | 11:00

Photo: Twitter/ @EndaKennyTD
Photo: Twitter/ @EndaKennyTD

IT was all over, almost before it began.

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At 9:32am, Taoiseach Enda Kenny strolled down the steps of the Dáil chamber armed with the answers we have been seeking for weeks.

Flanked by his entire Cabinet, the time had come for him to bring the 31st to and end and finally reveal the date of election 26.

But Enda had different ideas.

“St Brigid’s Day has passed, and Spring has arrived,” Mr Kenny said quoting a line as Gaeilge.

He confirmed his plans to head to the Áras to meet the President and dissolve the Dáil until March 10.

But what about the election date itself?

At 9:34am, Mr Kenny moved briskly out of the Chamber leaving behind an Opposition lost for words.

By holding back on the election date, the wily Enda had pulled a stroke.

“The Taoiseach has formally gone into hiding,” shouted Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley.

“A pathetic end to a pathetic Dáil,” added Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

The cries of protests from the handful of deputies sitting on the Opposition benches were immediately ridiculed by those opposite.

Government TDs laughed and joked with each as they scrambled out of the chamber in the knowledge that the Taoiseach had stolen a step on his rivals.

But Enda was in no mood to stop for a cup of tea and a breather.

About 40 minutes later, He had glided through the corridors of Leinster House and emerged, in the company of Tánaiste Joan Burton, on the steps of Government Buildings.

As the sun beamed down, he shook the Tánaiste’s hand before hopping into his mercedes en route to the Phoenix Park.

And his parting words to Joan?

“This is not goodbye”.

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