Wednesday 22 November 2017

Politicians invited to give it some welly at Picnic

The RTE Concert Orchestra at yesterday's announcement that they are to perform at Electric Picnic
The RTE Concert Orchestra at yesterday's announcement that they are to perform at Electric Picnic

Ken Sweeney and Allison Bray

BRIAN Lenihan could be set to strike an interesting note at this year's Electric Picnic festival if he takes up an offer to join other politicians in speaking at the event.

The Fianna Fail Finance Minister has been asked to take part in a political debate at the festival's Leviathan event by the concert promoter, John Reynolds -- a nephew of former Fianna Fail Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

Green Party Communications Minister Eamon Ryan and Green Party Senator Dan Boyle have both confirmed their attendance. Their leader, Environment Minister John Gormley, is also expected to attend.

A spokesman for Mr Lenihan could not confirm whether he will attend, although he suggested that it would be highly unlikely.

"I don't know if any Fianna Fail politicians are coming to Electric Picnic," said Mr Reynolds, "but I would have to say Brian Lenihan would get a tremendous reaction if he came down. I think he has shown extraordinary courage and leadership, two things we need more than anything else in the Irish economy," he said.

But he warned the politicians they will be in for a grilling.

"If politicians attend Electric Picnic this year, I think they need to be asked questions and not like in an RTE studio or TV3, when everything is scripted. They should be questioned and on the public record. Why in the current climate does the Government allow the ESB to increase its rates?

"Why was Anglo saved? Why has there been nobody taken to justice?" he added.

But he stressed any questioning of politicians at Electric Picnic should be done in a "respectful and courteous manner".

Also making their debut at this year's festival will be the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, which will perform in the Body & Soul area at 1pm on Sunday. But they won't be playing classical music.

Instead, there will be an eclectic mix, ranging from movie themes from the likes of 'Mission Impossible' and 'Ocean's Eleven' to jazz, Big Band and pop hits.

Electric Picnic weekend tickets are €240. See www.electricpicnic.ie.

Irish Independent

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