Thursday 23 November 2017

'Senior hurling goes global' as Kenny hints at clash of the ash in Oval Office

'President Trump, then, would do well to beware of Taoisigh bearing gifts of commemorative hurleys on St Patrick’s Day – given Enda’s startling call to arms in the Dáil.'
'President Trump, then, would do well to beware of Taoisigh bearing gifts of commemorative hurleys on St Patrick’s Day – given Enda’s startling call to arms in the Dáil.'
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

'A hurling match is like a city on fire, where the crackling of burning timber and the hissing of the flames swell into the roar of conflagration," enthused the founder of the GAA, Michael Cusack.

In the Middle Ages, England banned the adoption of hurling "from which great evils and maims have arisen".

Even the Irish Volunteers did their manoeuvres with hurleys on their shoulders because guns were in short supply. In short, the game of the Gods means the chance of a schmozzle is high. Maybe even a few 'schlaps'.

President Trump, then, would do well to beware of Taoisigh bearing gifts of commemorative hurleys on St Patrick's Day - given Enda's startling call to arms in the Dáil.

"Senior hurling has gone global," he declared solemnly to the sparsely occupied chamber as he discussed his attitude towards Mr Trump during Taoiseach's questions.

They'd call him a warmonger - if he wasn't from Mayo, a county which last saw real hurling glory when it scooped the Connacht Senior Hurling Championship back in 1909. Still, Mr Kenny might conceivably be coachable to the level of delivering a good puck in the ribs by the time he meets Mr Trump in the Oval Office.

Having made the commitment to talk to the president 'face to face' and tell him what he thinks of his work, he now wants us to mobilise. We think.

Even the deputies below in the chamber seemed to be having trouble making out the gist of his message.

Regina Doherty, the Government Chief Whip, seemed to be having terrible trouble keeping a straight face.

The agenda yesterday was with the ethical struggle over whether Mr Kenny should visit Washington for the sake of the 50,000 undocumented Irish - or make a moral stand.

Unsaid was the implicit understanding that Mr Trump could lash out at the illegal Irish immigrants if snubbed.

Micheál Martin began by expressing grave concern about the situation, before hastily adding that the pre-clearance at airports here should be maintained.

He asked if Mr Kenny had written to Mr Trump yet to express his disapproval.

Frustration amongst the Opposition was mounting.

There were calls for an all-party motion to object to the new US policy being imposed on Irish soil.

"I have not written to the United States president because I intend to visit him in the Oval Office in the White House and say my piece publicly, both before and then," the Taoiseach said rather grandly.

"I think President Trump is well used to disagreements and obviously is going to have many more in the time ahead", he pointed out.

"You should make it clear you should not be implementing this executive order at pre-clearance," Gerry Adams said. "I know from my own contacts many people are frightened by the future."

Mr Kenny agreed.

"The blanket ban on any country on the basis of religion is not morally acceptable and I disagree entirely with the policy laid out," he said.

But any issues arising now legally are strictly a matter for the US courts.

Heads shook in growing impatience.

They took up the matter again at Taoiseach's questions.

Joan Burton pointed out that this call comes on the anniversary of the Holocaust.

"What will be your response?" demanded Ruth Coppinger of the Taoiseach.

"We have one powerful weapon - to deprive Mr Trump of the massive PR exercise of 'greenwashing'," she said.

"This may be your last visit. Make it one to remember," she urged.

Mr Kenny spoke of the "great courage" of US attorney general Sally Yates, sacked for instructing officials to defy the travel ban.

He demanded of Ms Coppinger if she would abandon her "50,000 brothers and sisters in the US".

"Is it not business as usual anymore, I agree," he said stiffly of the Trump situation.

"Senior hurling has gone global."

Outside, somebody attempted a translation: "S**t's got real."

Irish Independent

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