FECK your EU bailout, we’ve got a plan outside. It wasn’t quite far off what Eamon Gilmore was saying as he marched through the Rubberbandits’ stomping grounds of Limerick.
It was a flash visit first to the Munster city with the Labour leader and his election gang jumping out of their convoy of Ford Galaxy cars on St Patrick’s Street.
They weren’t Honda Civics, but eager Eamon spent a lot of his campaigning day telling reporters ‘sure feck the bailout, we’ve another plan outside’.
Setting a fast pace under an army of umbrellas on the gusty streets, Eamon was heckled by a voter who yelled after him:
“You’re long gone from the Workers’ Party, you’re upper middle class now.”
Taking refuge in Arthurs Quay shopping centre, the electioneering pack were stopped by Mike McNamara, president of Limerick Council of Trade Unions, who pressed the leader over public sector support and reform.
“Some [reforms] might not be entirely what trade unions are looking for,” warned Eamon.
Throughout the windy day on the move, the Labour leader kept telling reporters that Ireland should ditch the current EU bailout.
Labour had another plan, feck the current deal. “What we’ll bring to the table is prospects for the Irish economy to recover,” he argued beside local candidates Jan O’Sullivan and Joe Leddin.
Popping in and out of shops, the handshaking continued before one group of hooded youths shouted after him “up Sinn Féin”, with another yelling “come here I wanna ask ya a few questions”.
As the ‘Eamon express’ team shuffled into a café in Newcastle West, former tanáiste and party leader Dick Spring emerged as a collection of coffees hit the tables. Parts of the EU bailout could be dumped, he hinted.
“I do think that aspects of it can be renegotiated and I believe the European Union will be sympathetic to that,” said Mr Spring, whose son Arthur is running for Labour in Kerry North.
For the moment, the new Gilmore Tide are betting all their hopes on negotiations with Europe.
It’s sure to emerge, though there’ll need to be a bit more give as well as take at the table there if Ireland should follow the Munster mantra of ‘feck the EU bailout, we’ve a plan outside’.
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