Angry dad accuses Taoiseach of forcing his children to emigrate
A father of three yesterday accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of forcing emigration on his children.
Peadar Doyle confronted Mr Kenny as he arrived at the Golden Island Shopping Centre, Athlone, Co Westmeath, to campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum.
"Back in 1958, I was forced out of this country. You are now forcing my children and my grandchildren out of this country," said Mr Doyle.
"I'm not forcing anybody out," Mr Kenny responded. "Don't make a charge like that on me. They are leaving, unfortunately; we are trying to rectify that situation."
Mr Doyle's son Simon works in Wales; his other son, Richard, who is in college in Waterford, is considering emigration; and now he fears his daughter, Mary, may also have to leave after she completes her Leaving Cert this year.
"I am one of the people who has not paid the household charge. I am telling you personally, and whether I am breaking the law or whether I am not breaking the law, I don't mind because I paid €60,000 in taxes when I came back here," he told Mr Kenny.
Mr Kenny told Mr Doyle -- who was joined by anti-household charge and septic tank campaigners -- that he was breaking the law.
"If you want to go and make a speech, you can go and do it outside," he added.
Mr Doyle -- who insisted he was not a member of any political party -- urged Mr Kenny not to allow Angela Merkel "shrink our economy any more" and he insisted he wouldn't be sold to the Germans.
"We won't be sold to anybody, we are well able to stand on our own two feet," Mr Kenny replied, before telling Mr Doyle the economy was "actually growing".
A retired army officer and Sinn Fein member then asked Mr Kenny about the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar and rural garda station closures.
When informed of the man's party affiliation, Mr Kenny said: "Go off and talk to Gerry Adams then and tell him he should vote for this country and vote Yes for this country."
Although many welcomed the Taoiseach, Mr Kenny was again confronted when Anne Heneghan asked: "How many more have lost their jobs and their homes because the Government can't stand up to Europe?"
"We have our own problems here at home, let's sort that out ourselves, Europe will not sort that out," said Mr Kenny.
A short time later, chairman of the Athlone Anti-Household and Septic Tank Campaign, Gordon Hudson, advised Mr Kenny to "take the bridge, head west and stay there".
"You could do with a day's work, I'd say," Mr Kenny replied. Mr Hudson said he had been self-employed for 29 years but had to "pack it in because of ye".
Mr Kenny wasn't surprised by the protesters. "You find this everywhere you go; people are entitled to have their say."
In relation to emigration, Mr Kenny said: "Nobody likes to see their children emigrate.
"That's why Government and the country has got to get its house in order and grow our economy."