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Kenny rejects Australian PM’s message about Ireland and alcohol

NewsBy Karl Doyle
Was Abbott's address patronising, insulting or just a 'bit of craic'? Kenny wasn't impressed
Was Abbott's address patronising, insulting or just a 'bit of craic'? Kenny wasn't impressed

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has reacted to the St Patrick’s Day video message from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying of his depiction of Irish people: “I don’t agree”.

In the address, Abbott talks about the impact Irish people have had in Australia and makes references to having a couple of pints of Guinness “or three”, as well as alluding to the Irish fondness for singing.

While many viewed his message as a harmless – if a bit patronising – stereotyping of the ‘stage Irishman’, the Taoiseach came out strongly against the depiction.

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

“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.”

Abbott couldn’t resist having a go at his opposition in the Australian Green Party either, saying “This is the one day of the year when it’s good to be green”.