Saturday 16 December 2017

Taoiseach, the time for speeches is over

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, left, and French President Francois Holland
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, left, and French President Francois Holland
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

The chatty mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb, gave Enda a guided tour of his office, which could only be described as sumptuous. The 17th century Hotel de Ville is jaw-droppingly ornate, a baroque confection of silk and oak and gilded columns and a shimmer of chandeliers and parades of portraits of well-fed Comtes of This and That looking as imposing as any male sporting a white, curly powdered wig and head-to-toe red velvet could hope to look.

This has been a working city hall for centuries, and was quite a hive of activity during the French Revolution. One of the splendid rooms contains a special door; when various rebels or suspected insurgents were brought before the city poobahs to judge which side they were on, if they were ruled as being among the trouble-makers, they were whisked straight through the special door and hustled straight to the waiting and over-worked guillotine.

No messing around. Just instant justice dispensed.

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