storm frank

Where is Enda? The Taoiseach has made an appearance

After facing criticism over his low-profile, he’s now out and about in Athlone.

Updated 2.21am


TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY is visiting Athlone this afternoon after facing criticism for keeping a low profile in recent days, prompting accusations of government inaction.

While several cabinet ministers were out speaking to locals affected by Storm Frank yesterday, the Taoiseach was absent.

This morning Kenny confirmed he would visit communities, and is reportedly due to chair an emergency meeting on the response to flooding tomorrow.

#WhereIsEnda trended on Twitter last night, and Minister for Rural Affairs Ann Phelan didn’t defend the Taoiseach’s absence from the flooding when questioned on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.

“I’m not sure what the Taoiseach’s schedule is at the moment but I’m out this morning.”

Kenny has been compared to his British counterpart David Cameron, who has been pictured out and about meeting communities affected by severe weather in the United Kingdom.

Winter weather Dec 28th 2015 PA WIRE PA WIRE

Yesterday, Minister of State Simon Harris said the the Taoiseach “isn’t just putting on the wellies and doing the Bertie Ahern standing in a puddle of water saying ‘look at me taking action’”, referring to the iconic photograph of the former Taoiseach standing in the middle of floods in Drumcondra.

“The Taoiseach is taking action,” he said.

A government spokesperson yesterday said:

The issue will also be a priority item at the first cabinet meeting of the new year. The Taoiseach has previously visited flood areas and will do so again in the coming days.
The Taoiseach is being briefed comprehensively on a daily basis by his officials in relation to the ongoing challenges people are facing following recent adverse weather.

The spokesperson added that Kenny “is in constant contact with the responsible Ministers and fully abreast of the work of the national committee involving all relevant agencies which is centrally coordinating the government response”.

The Taoiseach this morning confirmed in a tweet that he will be visiting affected areas later today.

scorthy Enniscorthy yesterday morning. Paddy Banville Paddy Banville

The Irish Independent reports an emergency committee handling the response to the floods will be chaired by Kenny tomorrow.

Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney has called for an urgent recall of the Dáil “to agree and implement necessary legislation and funding to deal with the immediate consequences of the flooding and to prepare for future storms”.

So far €15 million in humanitarian assistance has been established.

Any failure to agree on all necessary measures before the dissolution of this Dáil could result in a delay of two or three months in putting any legislation in place. This will narrow the window of opportunity to begin the installation of flood defenses where needed in preparation for the winter of 2016.

“As a representative of one of the worst hit constituencies in the present flooding crisis, I have been frankly appalled at the lack of urgency in the government’s response.”

Earlier Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams called the Taoiseach’s response to the flooding “pathetic”.

“The Taoiseach has been invisible as the latest storm has left many communities flooded and without power, he said. “Frontline services have been pushed to the very limit but the response of the government has been pathetic.

“Homes and businesses have been destroyed in recent days and farms have been very badly hit. As has happened before, the government is making promises that defences will be constructed in the future.”

Originally published 8.50am

Read: Enda is visiting flood-hit areas, but not ‘doing the Bertie Ahern’ >

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.