Kenny encounters anger in Athlone

Tue, May 15, 2012, 01:00

YES CAMPAIGN:IN ROBUST exchanges in Athlone yesterday a father-of-three accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of forcing emigration on his children.

Peadar Doyle confronted Mr Kenny as he arrived at the Golden Island Shopping Centre to campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming fiscal treaty 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, Dr Simon Doyle, works in Wales, his other son Richard, who is in college in Waterford, is considering emigrating, and now he fears his daughter Mary may also have to leave after she completes her Leaving Certificate 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 remarked.

“If you don’t consider that you shouldn’t contribute to the services which everybody deserves, well then €2 a week is not beyond your capacity if you paid €60,000 in taxes,” Mr Kenny added.

Mr Doyle, who insisted he was not a member of a political party, urged Mr Kenny not to allow German chancellor Angela Merkel to “shrink our economy any more”.

“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”.

Although many welcomed the Taoiseach as he toured the shopping centre, Mr Kenny was again confronted when Anne Heneghan asked: “How many more have lost their jobs and their homes because why, 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”.