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Shane Ross: 'My grandkids photoshopped me into the Jesus birth scene after Katie Taylor memes'

“I was with everybody, I think I was with Putin. I was with Donald Trump. I was at the landing the Moon landing.”

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT Shane Ross has said he thought the jokes made at his expense after a now infamous photo opportunity with professional boxer Katie Taylor this year were “brilliant”.

Ross greeted Taylor at Dublin Airport in June as she returned from New York as the undisputed lightweight champion and did not stray far from her side as photographers snapped away.

It was not long before memes of Ross photoshopped in the background of other significant moments in history began to emerge online. He was at the Moon landing, he was a guest at the most recent royal wedding, he was in that famous Oscars selfie. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie at part of a wider interview, the minister said he had been criticised on previous occasions for failing to greet sportspeople on their return from a significant event. 

“It was a wonderful honour for Ireland and for the Irish people,” he said of Taylor’s win.

“And so the important thing is you go out there, you express on behalf of the Irish people what an incredible success she had, what a wonderful person she is, but you’ve got to get it in the pics, you know. If you don’t get it the pics no one knows you’re there. And they’ll say to you ‘why weren’t you there?’

Maybe I gilded the lily by being absolutely certain to be photographed in them and people thought it was a silly but no, I kind of love photo opportunities when they’re good ones all politicians do.

When asked about the memes that appeared after the photo opportunity, he said they were “absolutely brilliant”. Even his family got involved in the mockery.

“I was at home one Sunday, so Sunday after that. And one of my grandchildren asked to borrow my my phone. And so I said yeah, of course and they started playing games, which is what grandchildren do. They gave it back to me and I didn’t look at it until the next day. And the next day when I opened it, the screenshot on it was changed and there I was at the birth of Jesus,” he said.

“And I can’t change my screenshot, it’s still there.”

Ross said he did not think the jokes made about him online were malicious and if people get a bit of fun out of it, that’s fine with him. 

“They [the memes] were magnificently funny, and they actually prompted, challenged a lot of people’s creativity. I was with Mohammed Ali. I was with Shane Lowry. That was a famous one. I was with everybody, I think I was with Putin. I was with Donald Trump. I was at the landing the Moon landing,” he said.

“They were brilliant. For God’s sake, if people get a kick out of that, they can keep doing it because I quite enjoy that.”

In the full interview with TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn this weekend, Minister Ross discussed the Bus Connects project, cycle lanes and his view that all of his Cabinet colleagues should give up their petrol and diesel cars. 

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