ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Phil Hogan was jeered by a crowd of thousands in his home city last night at a homecoming event for Kilkenny’s All-Ireland champion hurlers.
The Fine Gael minister was given the only boos of the night as he was introduced to the stage at Nowlan Park ahead of the team’s arrival.
Hogan – a TD for Carlow-Kilkenny since 1989, and a former local councillor for the city – was introduced after a slew of other local politicians, including the county’s other TDs John McGuinness (Fianna Fáil) and Ann Phelan (Labour).
Both McGuinness and Phelan were greeted with warm applause, though the brief applause afforded to Hogan was almost immediately interrupted by a slew of jeers.
Hogan did not give any visible reaction to the crowd’s response, and was seen sharing jokes with fellow dignitaries on big screens at Nowlan Park afterwards.
Hogan’s popularity has been dented in recent months by his own role in the introduction of the household charge and mandatory septic tank registrations, as well as frustration at the government’s broader performance.
A crowd of about 15,000 were on site to welcome Brian Cody’s Kilkenny side back to their home ground, after the Cats took their sixth All-Ireland in seven years after defeating Galway in a Croke Park replay.
There were particularly enthusiastic welcomes for Henry Shefflin and Noel Hickey – both of whom won their ninth All-Ireland in Sunday’s 11-point win – as well as wing-back Tommy Walsh, who himself is from Hogan’s parish of Tullaroan, and boss Brian Cody whose victory gives him a 13th All-Ireland title as a player and manager.
The stadium homecoming followed an open-top bus tour of Kilkenny city.