Tanaiste Joan Burton falls out of boat while visiting flood site
TANAISTE Joan Burton and Minister of State Environment Ann Phelan experienced the hardship of the floods at close quarters today - when they both tipped out of a canoe and into the icy overflow from the River Nore.
They had been on a visit to Thomastown, Co Kilkenny to inspect the devastation of the flood damage from Storm Frank when the incident occurred shortly after 3pm.
After meeting business owners, they were being taken in a Canadian canoe by Shem Caulfield to visit his home along the banks of the Nore where the flood waters were still lying two inches below the electrical sockets.
Shem was dragging the canoe behind him as he walked through the floods in waders.
They had almost reached the front door of the house when Shem turned the corner and both the Tanaiste and the Minister tipped rapidly into the water, under the aghast gaze of bystanders – and a slew of cameras.
Both women quickly recovered their composure and walked the rest of the way to the house and continued their inspection.
Afterwards, they laughed off the incident, with Minister Phelan saying: “We can’t say we didn’t experience the flood.”
Shem sheepishly joked: “How to drown a Tanaiste,” as Minister Burton reassured him, saying: “No, no.”
“I’m very fast on my feet,” she quipped.
“It’s all my fault,” Shem said but the Tanaiste brushed off his apologies, saying: “It only went on my trousers,” adding that she was not cold and had a change of clothes in the car.
“We’re grand. We’re a bit tougher than that now,” said Minister Phelan.
Afterwards the pair continued their tour of flood stricken areas in Kilkenny, as they went on to visit Graiguenamanagh.
She later tweeted: "I believe in politics you must push the boat out. Maybe not this way though!"