Search for some fringe benefits turns into a close shave for Enda
The Taoiseach may not be gung-ho to go on the telly and debate the Seanad referendum with Micheal Martin, but he was happy enough to chat about it with the plain people of Ireland as he partook of a canvass around Dundalk yesterday.
Accompanied by a cohort of compadres including Fine Gael's campaign director Richard Bruton, Louth minister Fergus O'Dowd, local MEP Mairead McGuinness and TD Peter Fitzpatrick, he took a stroll around the town centre, venturing bravely into the one venue where most canvassing males avoid like a dose of rampaging Ebola – a ladies' hair salon.
For it's generally accepted that there is nothing more likely to turn the female vote against a chap than to be swooped on by a Taoiseach and a scrum of photographers while one's gruaige is wrapped in tinfoil or slathered in peroxide.
But there wasn't a bother on Enda as he bustled about The Final Edge Salon scaring women under dryers. Remarkably he got a great welcome. As Enda bent to greet another startled woman who was getting a blonde hair-colour top-up, mischievous Mairead remarked, "You've matching hair colours, Taoiseach."
But not every woman was impressed with his constitutional crusade. Back out on the street, he had a close encounter with local voter Maeve Curtis, who got stuck into him, becoming most irate when he tried to turn away.
Interestingly, she took him to task not over the Seanad abolition, but the other, almost invisible, referendum on the establishment of an appeals court. "This is another way of taking away the rights of the people," she insisted angrily.
The Taoiseach finally stood his ground and argued his case for several minutes. But it had been a bit of an unexpected curve-ball. Maybe he consoled himself with the thought that it was better it happened in El Paso with Maeve than on 'Prime Time' with Micheal.