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'He doesn't know where the hell I was born': Woman in Kenny protest video speaks out

When Dette McLoughlin questioned the Taoiseach about water charges, he asked her where she was from. McLoughlin claims a garda approached her after the incident, looking for her details.


Source: The Galway Advertiser

THE WOMAN WHO Enda Kenny told “You’re not from Galway at all” when she asked him about water charges has slammed his behaviour as “outrageous”.

Dette McLoughlin was on the way to a protest in Galway city centre on Wednesday with fellow People Before Profit campaigners when she spotted Kenny and his “entourage” in Eyre Square.

She said the group unfurled a banner and shouted a few slogans in his direction, such as: “We can’t afford the water tax!”

“He stood with us for five minutes but didn’t seem to want to engage or answer questions,” she noted.

When she told Kenny he was “penalising people who cannot afford it” by introducing a water tax, he smiled and pointed his finger at her, saying: “You’re not from Galway at all.”

She replied: “I am!”

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McLoughlin, who was born in Manchester to Irish parents, has lived in Galway for “well over 20 years”.

A man in the background of the video can be heard shouting:

Lots of Irish people have English accents, Enda – it’s called emigration. Another generation is gone. Another generation will be coming back with English accents.

McLoughlin told TheJournal.ie the Taoiseach was deliberately undermining her in a bid to avoid answering questions.

“He was really trying to undermine me, highlighting my accent to everyone around us. What on earth has my accent got to do with what we were asking about?”

Don’t tell me you’re going to bring in a racist comment to change the subject. It’s not funny. You should know your history, our shared history [Ireland and the UK]. It’s so hurtful that so many people have had to emigrate and are still emigrating.

She claimed that once the “spectacle was over” a garda approached her “from nowhere”, looking for her details. She said she was in shock, but refused to give him any information as she hadn’t done anything wrong.

I hadn’t been rude or abusive, I hadn’t approached [Kenny], I hadn’t touch him, I hadn’t attacked him. Was it political policing?

McLoughlin said only a few friends witnessed this incident as the crowd had moved on and were “looking at [Kenny] kissing babies and shaking hands elsewhere”.


She said it was “outrageous” that Kenny would make assumptions on someone based on their accent.

“If I’d been a more vulnerable migrant I would have been really intimated and quite frightened by his comments.”

She said that when he refused to answer her questions on water charges, he turned to the woman next to him and put his arm around her, saying: “Isn’t she mighty, this woman,” referencing McLoughlin.

It was in a really condescending and patronising way … He did not address my issues, he made it out to be a comical situation. It was just awful.

Background: Taoiseach criticised for quizzing Galway woman over English accent

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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