News Analysis

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Taoiseach puts excitable Shatter in the corner as he smooths over court row

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Published 10/11/2012 | 05:00

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WOULD somebody think of the children?

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Papa Enda Kenny stepped into the breach to smooth over the fractious squabbling that erupted over the Supreme Court's ruling on the children's referendum.

Its decision that the Government's €1.1m information campaign was not fair, equal or impartial had injected a bit of life into a lacklustre campaign as it entered its final stretch.

In the immediate aftermath, Justice Minister Alan Shatter, as excitable and belligerent as a 10-year-old pumped up on skittles and cola, did the Government no favours.

Mr Shatter would only acknowledge there were "some difficulties" with the highest court in the land giving the Government a dressing down.

But Papa Kenny put Mr Shatter in his corner, possibly grounding him for the week in case he puts his foot in his mouth again.

The Taoiseach made an unscheduled appearance yesterday at a Comhairle na nOg youth conference in Croke Park alongside under-fire children's minister Frances Fitzgerald.

After taking part in a conga-line, Mr Kenny tried to move the focus on to getting everyone out to vote today.

An embarrassing loss is still unlikely, but the spectre of a turnout as low as 30pc, coupled with motivated No voters and confused Yes-leaning voters could spell trouble.

But Mr Kenny sought to reassure voters yesterday, accepting what the Supreme Court had to say.

He perhaps knew that the vague non-apologies could do the Yes campaign more needless harm.

"The issue here has been decided upon by the Supreme Court, the Government have accepted in full the recommendations," Mr Kenny said.

"I hope that people in their very large numbers go out and give a Yes to this irrespective of the views expressed here.

"The fact of the matter is we've waited 20 years for this question to be put to the people. It will give protection rights and recognition to the voices of young people and young children, particularly those who happen to be in vulnerable situations."

Maybe Mr Shatter will be allowed out for the count tomorrow evening for good behaviour.

Just as long as he's seen and not heard.

Irish Independent

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