News National PM’s St Patrick’s Day message causes offence

PM’s St Patrick’s Day message causes offence

Tony Abbott in hot water for his St Patrick's Day message
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Ireland’s Prime Minister has taken offence to a St Patrick’s Day video message from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In the video, posted on YouTube on Friday, Mr Abbott wears a green tie and declares it the “one day of the year when it’s good to be green”.

He apologises for not being able to attend St Patrick’s Day events last Friday with Irish business leaders and share a “Guinness or two and maybe even three”.

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The Irish leader, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, said he rejected Mr Abbott’s comments as perpetuating a stereotypical view of people from Ireland, the ABC reports.

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

“I think that 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.”

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews also drew a link between St Patrick’s Day and alcohol consumption, tweeting a picture of himself holding a can of Guinness.

Asked if the Irish ambassador had complained about Abbott’s message, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, said: “I’ve not had the Irish ambassador complain about a conspicuous consumption of alcohol,” The Guardian reports.

Last week, Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Barry Corr told the Irish Times the video was not specifically targeted at Irish business leaders.

“We understand that the Prime Minister’s video message is a generic St Patrick’s Day message, not intended for the corporate audience at our event, and on that basis it is not part of the event,” he said.

Both Ireland and Northern Ireland are currently moving towards a minimum pricing scheme for alcohol in a bid to curb its damaging impact on society.

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