Maelstrom in the muck as Kenny ploughs a not-so-lonely furrow
Even heckler could not distract the Taoiseach, writes Lise Hand
IT looked as if Taz the Tasmanian Devil was running amok at the Ploughing yesterday. A mini-tornado of rolling arms, legs, uniformed gardai, handy-looking plainclothes fellas with ear-pieces, frantic photographers and TV cameras, jostling TDs, stalking reporters, curious kids, groups of faithful followers and pockets of disgruntled citizenry was spinning and whirling at top speed along the walkways.
And in the epicentre of the maelstrom was the Taoiseach, striding along and deploying his own brand of semaphore (high-fives for the nippers, pat on the arm for the women, thump on the arm for the lads) as he barrelled through the crowd.
"What's going on?" wailed one woman as she suddenly found herself caught up in the whirring cyclone and propelled in an unintended direction. Only moments before she had been peacefully minding her own business and looking at some machinery.
It's a recurring peculiarity of the Irish electorate that they will spot a politician bearing down upon them and share a string of uncharitable observations on the approaching individual. But as soon as the person passes, out will stretch a hand and a polite greeting: "Howarya, Taoiseach?"
And so it was yesterday as Enda bustled about the stands and fields in Ratheniska, apart from one leather-lunged lad, Shane Fallon, who was taking loud exception to his plan to axe the Seanad.
"You're like a spoiled f**kin' child. It's your way or no way," he roared as the Taoiseach sped past, muttering: "It's your choice."
He had arrived on the site at 11.30am, going straight to the fields to inspect the ploughing and chat firstly to World Champion Ploughman John Whelan, and then to Gerry King, who told him that his two plough-horses, Pika and Keo were French horses.
"They don't understand English, so I had to direct them in French to go a gauche and a droit," he told Enda.