Irish Examiner view: Politics of entitlement hits a raw nerve

Leo Varadkar under fire for attendance at UK festival
Irish Examiner view: Politics of entitlement hits a raw nerve

Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.

Every politician has a right to a private life, and indeed to privacy, although it is very hard to guarantee the latter in the modern social-media glasshouse. 

Nobody knows that better than Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, so he must have at least suspected that someone would take and post a picture of him at the Mighty Hoopla festival in London at the weekend.

Did he not think how that might look when Electric Picnic, originally due to take place on the same weekend, was cancelled at home? 

Or how the picture would go down with the tens of thousands of workers in the live events sector who have been brought to their knees?

Former Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell said his decision to attend the festival was “tone deaf”, but you don’t have to be a frequent critic of the Tánaiste, as she is, to share that view. 

'In poor taste'

Singer Mary Coughlan and many more in the live entertainment sector said his presence there was “in very poor taste”.

The depth of their anger is not only understandable but justified, coming just as the Department of Foreign Affairs took the unprecedented step of publishing documents relating to the Zappone controversy.

The politics of entitlement and arrogance are at the heart of that saga, which is why it rankles so deeply with the public. 

Leo Varadkar should have known that travelling to a one-day festival in the UK while Electric Picnic was silent would hit the same nerve.

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