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Enda tells Australian PM: We don't all get drunk on St Patrick's Day

The Taoiseach was responding to Tony Abbott’s poorly received comments about Ireland.

ENDA KENNY HAS said he “rejects” the assertion made by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that our national holiday is synonymous with alcohol.

The Taoiseach was responding to comments made by Abbott in his St Patrick’s Day address.

In the video, Abbott wears a green tie and states that the 17th of March is the “one day of the year when it’s good to be green” – a swipe at the Australian Green party.

Source: Liberal Party of Australia/YouTube

He apologises for not being able to attend St Patrick’s Day events with Irish business leaders and share “a Guinness or two and maybe even three”.

“This is the love of life and good humour that the Irish have given Australia. Indeed, it’s been said of us that the English made the laws, the Scots made the money, and the Irish made the songs,” Abbott adds.

Kenny, who is spending the day in Washington DC, told reporters he disagrees with Abbott’s remarks.

“I’ve heard the Prime Minister’s comments. He made them. I don’t agree with that,” he said.

ABC reports that Kenny said it is “perfectly in order for so many Irish people in Australia to have an enjoyable celebration of St Patrick’s Day and St Patrick’s week, and to do so in a thoroughly responsible fashion”.

“There has been a long-term view of a stage Irish perception. I reject that.”

Irish Prime Minister Atlanta Kenny pictured in Atlanta at the weekend. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Kenny’s view appears to be supported by Australian authorities – so far, anyway.

So far so good

A spokesperson from the New South Wales (NSW) ambulance service told TheJournal.ie that celebrations may be more subdued this year as St Patrick’s Day falls on a weekday.

It is a Tuesday – it is a not a day that everyone gets out for. No
more so than a regular weekend, and we don’t generally treat it any
differently than any other weekday.

However, he did add that some people would spend the day drinking, noting: “Only at around 11 o’clock that we start to see that impact.”

A spokesperson from the NSW Police Department said he wasn’t anticipating “anything more than a steady workload”, adding that no spike in anti-social behaviour has been reported.

“That’s not something that I’ve ever seen in my time work here – people just generally enjoy the festivities.”

Additional reporting: Michael Sheils McNamee. First published 07.58am

Poll: The Australian PM’s Paddy’s Day message seems a little patronising … What do you think?

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Órla Ryan

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