Monday 19 February 2018

Water protesters attack Taoiseach with 'message' from late mother

Protesters hold the banner up during the Taoiseach’s visit of the Glenties
Protesters hold the banner up during the Taoiseach’s visit of the Glenties

Caroline Crawford and Cormac Fitzgerald

A small group of water protesters delivered a deeply personal attack on Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Donegal, unfurling a banner purporting to come from his late mother.

The banner read: "Kenny a message for you, from guess who?? I lie here in my grave, restless, distraught, in tears and despair as I unable to stop you rob cheat and lie to the Irish people. Please stop before it too late so I can RIP Your Mother. Bye".

The poster attacking Mr Kenny was the work of members of the Donegal Water Warriors group.

One member, Annmarie Patten, defended the message claiming: "I don't feel it is too personal, I'm sure his mother is turning in her grave."

Around 50 protesters gathered in Glenties with 70 gardai on hand. They chanted slogans against the Government and also expressed their anger to local FG politician Dinny McGinley as he entered the event.

Speaking to today, People before profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the protest was 'very inappropriate'.

"I think it's very inappropriate to personalise things in that sort of way. I think people are right to protest about issues and keep it away from personal or family matters."

"It's not really appropriate and people shouldn't bring personal family matters into these things I think it's best if people focus on the issues and the policies", he said.

As Mr Kenny spoke, the chants from protesters could still be heard from outside.

Read more: 'I believe it’s the right model, we’ve made a lot of progress in 12 months' - Irish Water parent company chief

Mr Kenny made no reference to the banner, and instead laughed off the protesters, telling the gathering: "Thank you for the welcome here in Glenties, inside and outside."

He told the crowd the country was at a crossroads, warning: "In times ahead, we can retrace our steps but we can never undo the initial road that we decide to travel."

Speaking about the 50pc tax rate that kicks in on incomes over €33,800, he said "it's too high a rate and it kicks in too early".

He said he understood many young emigrants were opting not to return because they felt they were being "screwed" by taxes here.

But he insisted this would be addressed in the upcoming Budget, where USC would be further reduced and the marginal rate of tax paid by those on under €70,000 would drop below 50pc.

In a pointed attack on Sinn Fein and independents ahead of the election, he said it would be "a political freakshow, free for all, where it's none for all and all for none".

He also warned against a return to the boom-and-bust days of Fianna Fail leadership, saying it wouldn't take much to put the country into reverse.

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