The Taoiseach’s spokesperson has dismissed suggestions Enda Kenny is hiding from scrutiny or questioning about the fiscal treaty referendum in the final days before polling.
In a break from precedent, the Taoiseach did not hold a final-day press conference or do any TV interviews in a last push for a yes vote. He did not take part in televised debates during the campaign but did a live broadcast on Sunday which involved him speaking to camera without questioning.
A spokesperson rejected “out of hand” suggestions that a decision was made to keep Mr Kenny away from the media during the final part of the campaign.
“There has been very comprehensive communication from the Taoiseach,” he said, adding Mr Kenny travelled to all 26 counties and also spoke on the issue “day in, day out, in the Dáil”.
The spokesperson said: “I think the public are acutely aware of what the Taoiseach’s position is.
“His style of direct engagement was very successful during the course of the election,” the spokesman said, suggesting it was likely to work again.
On the question of TV debates, he said the Taoiseach was not going to be “shoved around by Sinn Féin or Gerry Adams to suit their agenda”.
Following a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce yesterday, the Taoiseach replied to one question from a journalist, saying he was taking nothing for granted until the final vote was cast.
Speaking afterwards to the media, Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said: “This is not a Taoiseach that is running for cover.”
He said: “I’ve never seen a Taoiseach more accessible, more out there talking to people about their concerns. That is what wins people’s support for this treaty.”
During his speech to business leaders, Mr Kenny said there had been “frustration at European level that some have played the game and some have not”.
He said “in the past, the big countries breached the conditions of the growth and stability pact and nothing happened” and, that if Ireland ratifies the treaty, others countries must “sign on to these conditions in the knowledge that they too must measure up”.
Meanwhile, a protester who was criticised by Mr Kenny expects to send a solicitor’s letter to the Taoiseach demanding a public apology after he publicly said the man could do with a day’s work.
Gordon Hudson argues that his reputation has been affected after Mr Kenny made the remarks recently at an event in Athlone.
The head of the Athlone campaign against household charges had confronted Mr Kenny on May 15 where the Taoiseach told him: “You could do with a day’s work, I’d say.”
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