Sunday 11 December 2016

Taoiseach, the time for speeches is over

Published 05/09/2015 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, left, and French President Francois Holland
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, left, and French President Francois Holland

The chatty mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb, gave Enda a guided tour of his office, which could only be described as sumptuous. The 17th century Hotel de Ville is jaw-droppingly ornate, a baroque confection of silk and oak and gilded columns and a shimmer of chandeliers and parades of portraits of well-fed Comtes of This and That looking as imposing as any male sporting a white, curly powdered wig and head-to-toe red velvet could hope to look.

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This has been a working city hall for centuries, and was quite a hive of activity during the French Revolution. One of the splendid rooms contains a special door; when various rebels or suspected insurgents were brought before the city poobahs to judge which side they were on, if they were ruled as being among the trouble-makers, they were whisked straight through the special door and hustled straight to the waiting and over-worked guillotine.

No messing around. Just instant justice dispensed.

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