PRIOR COMMITMENTS An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, pictured here at Mayo's Connacht Semi Final against Galway in McHale Park last month (with European Boxing Championship Gold medal winner Ray Moylette), wil not be at Sunday's Connacht Final due to family commitments.Pic: Sportsfile
Enda Kenny will not attend Connacht Final
An Taoiseach will spend Sunday afternoon with his family in the Gaeltacht
THE Mayo Senior Football team will be minus one of their most fervent supporters in Roscommon on Sunday afternoon after An Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed today (Friday) that he is unable to attend the provincial showpiece.
Speculation had been rife that Taoiseach Kenny, whose father Henry won an All-Ireland title with Mayo in 1936, would not be attendance due to the tension surrounding the announcement of the closure of the Accident and Emergency department of Roscommon Hospital, which is located in close proximity to Dr Hyde Park.
Deputy Kenny announced today he would not be attending, not due to safety concerns, but due to the fact that he had a prior family engagement to attend.
Speaking to Galway Bay FM, Deputy Kenny said he would be visiting his children in the Gaeltacht for a ‘family event’. He said he had not seen his children in weeks. The Taoiseach was quoted as saying: “Family first and sport second.”
His colleague, Deputy Michael Ring, Minister of State at the Department of Sport, said the Taoiseach’s decision was ‘entirely understandable’.
“I honestly believe that sport and politics shouldn’t be mixed and I think Enda Kenny or I or anybody else that wants to go to a football occasion should be allowed to do so. The people of Roscommon have every right to protest but the occasion should be left as a football occasion.
“Enda Kenny has made his decision and his family come first. I don’t think anybody can quibble with that,” said Deputy Ring.
Earlier this week, Roscommon TD Ming Flanagan laid down the gauntlet to Enda Kenny, arguing that he should not stay away from the game.
“It would say a lot about his feelings on the issue if he doesn’t come to the match,” Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan told The Mayo News on Monday. “What would that say about his stance? It would tell me that he is 100 per cent aware of the betrayal he has perpetrated on the people of Roscommon. What would it say about the Taoiseach of this country if felt he could not attend a GAA game?”.
Deputy Flanagan added that he was hoping that during the playing of the national anthem, over 10,000 crosses would be raised to ‘greet Enda Kenny’ but it is not known if this protest will now go ahead as the Taoiseach will now not be at the game. In the region of 25,000 people are expected to descend on Roscommon town for the Connacht Football Final, which throws-in at 2pm and is live on TV3 television.