By staff reporter
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s recent exchange with a protestor in Galway has caused consternation amongst those who consider themselves Irish but may not have an ‘Irish’ accent.
The Fine Gael leader was visiting the town and was filmed exchanging words with People Before Profit Alliance’s Dette McLoughlin during a PBPA protest against the water tax.
Some have argued that his question to Dette, “And where are you from?” was not only patronising and condescending, but a tactic in order to bypass answering her questions.
Others have said it was a jokey comment to lighten the conversation.
Ms McLoughlin, campaign manager for PBPA Galway City Central candidate Kiran Emrich, has lived and worked in Galway for over two decades, but is originally from Manchester, born there to Irish parents.
According to Ms McLoughlin, Kenny asked Ms McLoughlin where she came from as he started speaking to the protesters, and came back to the subject again later.
“I elaborated as to which suburb of the city I live in,” said Ms McLoughlin told the Galway Advertiser. “The Taoiseach then turned to establishing my ‘origins’, asking did I come from the area – as in, born and raised here.”
She told the paper that, though the “Taoiseach’s behaviour was not bordering on racism”, she was “taken aback by this outrageous line of questioning”.