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Abortion, Syria and autograph requests - a look through the Taoiseach's post

Some people love him and some people don’t.

10/11/2016. Launch Of Ireland Edge Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

WHEN YOU’RE THE leader of a country you’re bound to get lots of post – both letters and emails.

Enda Kenny is no exception, with correspondence being sent to the Taoiseach from Ireland and abroad on a daily basis.

We were granted access to letters and emails sent to Kenny from 12-14 October, the days following the Budget announcement this year, under the Freedom of Information Act.

The topics that featured most frequently were the Eighth Amendment and the ongoing war in Syria. The Budget also came up, as did Brexit. He also got some autograph requests.

Pro-life

Over the course of the three days, the Taoiseach received a number of emails about the possibility of the Eighth Amendment (the section of the Constitution that gives equal status to the right of the unborn to that of a woman) being repealed, something currently being examined by the Citizens’ Assembly. They were all pro-life.

One of the emails described terminations as “inhumane” and claimed to be speaking on behalf of “the most vulnerable in our society – the infant in the womb”.

pro-life

Another person who emailed the Taoiseach accused him of bowing to a “roaring mob” over abortion, noting: “You really have let yourself and your country down.”

A different email included a link to a petition the writer wanted Kenny to sign. It called for the Citizens’ Assembly to be opposed as it “conspires to kill the unborn”.

Budget

Some first-time buyers, and Fine Gael voters, wrote a letter expressing their thoughts on the tax rebate scheme for new homeowners, something they missed out on it by just a few weeks.

They wrote: “During your election campaign in February you promised, in the Fine Gael Manifesto, to support home ownership. This is one of the reasons we both voted for candidates of Fine Gael in the general election and wanted your party to remain in power.

We believed you party, in continuing to recover the economy, would recognise the pressures young professionals like ourselves were under and would assist such persons through housing measures…

“Please backdate the rebate to your date of re-election to government. If there is anything you could do to help us avail of this scheme and ease our financial burden-we would be extremely grateful.”

house

Another member of the public was unhappy at what they saw as stay-at-home parents “being treated differently to dual-income families” in terms of childcare provisions in the Budget.

parents

One person sent an email to Kenny and other Oireachtas members describing the Budget as “an insult to every taxpayer in the country”.

They singled out the fiver increase in the old-age pension as particularly unfair, and said it was “time for a re-think on how the country is going to be governed for the remainder of this term … some of you will not be re-elected and you will only have yourselves to blame”.

Syria

The war in Syria, which has been ongoing since 2011 and claimed over 300,000 lives, came up a number of times over the three-day period being looked at.

The general consensus was anti-Assad regime and anti-Russia.

syria

russia

aleppo

Brexit

In terms of Brexit, Chartered Accountants Ireland sent the Taoiseach their “recommended priorities for policy makers working on agreements for the future movement of goods and people”.

Separately, a person sent an email to Kenny, but addressed to Finance Minister Michael Noonan which accused Ireland of “standing idly by” and being “asleep at the wheel” while other countries fought for business following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

noonan

‘Well done’

Although mostly negative in tone, not all public correspondence sent to Kenny over the course of the three days was negative.

A couple of people wanted his autograph or a signed photograph.

auto

pic

Another person sent him an email with the subject line ‘Well done’, which praised the Taoiseach for managing to “pull all tribes together”.

well done

Read: We asked every TD if they want a vote on a united Ireland, here’s what they said

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Órla Ryan

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