Thursday 19 October 2017

'Someone in Government must be stocking up' - Joe Biden becomes latest visitor to be gifted hurley by Taoiseach

US Vice President Joe Biden pictured Taoiseach Enda Kenny and little Amy Fox (3) at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan
US Vice President Joe Biden pictured Taoiseach Enda Kenny and little Amy Fox (3) at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Visiting Ireland as a dignitary comes with various perks including a red carpet greeting by at least a Minister… and a €34 hurley.

This week Joe Biden became the latest visitor to be gifted a hurley by the Taoiseach.

Whoever was sent to buy the gift however may have been left with a red-face because a sticker mark left on the hurley was spotted by eagle eyed snappers covering the event suggesting that the hurley was store-bought.

Sean Torpey, the operation officer for the Torpey hurley manufacturing company, joked that someone in Leinster House must be stockpiling his product.

“Someone in Government buildings must be stocking up on Torpey hurleys to give to political leaders,” he quipped.

“As a small company it is nice to have the major world leaders being presented with our product.

US Vice President Joe Biden pictured with Maureen Conmy at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan
US Vice President Joe Biden pictured with Maureen Conmy at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan
US Vice President Joe Biden's brother Jim at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan
US Vice President Joe Biden pictured kissing Mona Curry at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan
US Vice President Joe Biden pictured with baby JAmie Mangan at Ballina yesterday. Pic Colin O Riordan

“We are getting used to it now. We have had a number of people who have been given them,” he added.

In 2012 the then Chinese Vice-President, Xi Jinping, visited Ireland and watched Sean’s dad John testing a newly crafted hurley which he was then gifted.

Barack Obama was also presented with a personalised hurley by Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he was in Ireland.

Prince Charles was also presented with a hurley and sliotar by Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald earlier this year. His was marked with a 32 but it wasn’t a tongue-in-cheek reference to a united Ireland, instead just the size of the hurley.

It’s not only political heavy-weights who are fans however, Rory McIlroy was given a present of a hurley during the 2014 Irish open.

The Department of the Taoiseach did not respond directly when asked how much the hurley cost to give to the US Vice President this week.

“This was a personal gift. Hurling is one of our national sports and unique to this country. The hurley and sliotar themselves represent that uniqueness,” a spokeswoman said.

“The Taoiseach often believes it appropriate to offer them as gifts to visiting dignitaries so they can take a piece of that unique heritage home with them.”

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