Saturday 19 January 2019

Aoife Finneran: Polls have named Labour as city's most popular party -- so why all the anger, Eamon?

HE'S a happy Gilmore and who could blame him.

On the day that a Herald poll showed that Labour are the most popular party in Dublin, Eamon Gilmore made the trip to Tipp with a grin as wide as the Golden Vale.

Despite proudly holding up his copy of yesterday's Herald Millward Brown Lansdowne Poll for all to see, Eamon didn't completely abandon the character he does best - The Angry Man.

In fact, one wonders how he sleeps at night given his penchant for pure vented fury.

The Labour leader has spent the best part of a week fretting about "the big black hole" in Fianna Fail and Fine Gael's budgetary plans.

Give him a microphone and he'll recount this nightmarish tale of how his opponents must make savage cuts and raise taxes in order to tackle the national deficit by 2014.

And yesterday, just to ensure his grim prophecy has maximum effect, Unhappy Gilmore took his message nationwide.

From Roscrea to Nenagh and Killaloe to Loughrea, Eamon told his tale of the horrifying spectre of the black hole ad nauseam.

After a brief stop in Roscrea, Eamon descended on the town of Nenagh, pitching up outside Arrabawn Co-op to tell unsuspecting onlookers that "this black hole is not just a matter of accountancy, it's a matter of what's going to be used to fill it.

"How many additional guards and nurses are they going to sack? There's no point in telling us when the election is over. They must tell us what the hidden taxes are, tell us what the cuts are."

Somebody obviously advised Eamon that attack is the best form of defence. And seeing as his impressive ratings in Dublin aren't matched in the rest of the country, the Labour leader was leaving nothing to chance.

In Nenagh, he and local Dail hopeful Alan Kelly MEP bounded up the streets like two men on an urgent mission. He received an early commendation when former soldier Donal Looney grabbed his hand and passionately declared: "I want you to be my chief."

Eamon stopped short of a salute, but puffed out his chest in pride. Meanwhile, Mr Looney told us: "I gave half my life to the army and I served various governments, but this government has destroyed the country I served. Eamon Gilmore was right to accuse Brian Cowen of economic treason and I hope he never takes back those words."

Onward they marched, straight into the path of student Niall Kenny of Nenagh Vocational School. Alan immediately took the lead, stoking Niall's interest by inviting him to avail of a local investment programme that supports viable business ideas.

Clearly down with the yoof, Alan suggested his young constituent could contact him via Facebook.

"Okay, I'll add you so," nodded Niall. "I'll give you an aul poke!"

Oh yes, it was that sort of day on the campaign trail. And with Eamon doing a neat line in nightmarish tales of black holes, his loyal followers needed all the laughs they could get.

The Labour juggernaut was on a tight schedule. Eamon and his posse swept onwards, eventually arriving in the town of Ennis.

Spotting a young woman, he marched up with his hand outstretched and spiel prepared, but she cut him off at the pass by explaining: "I'm Tony Killeen's niece."

Eamon didn't bat an eyelid. After all, the former Defence Minister is retiring, so surely his family is fair game for canvassing.

Going for broke, Eamon made his pitch: "Well, he's not running so you might vote for Labour."

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