An angry father of three has personally accused Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny of forcing his children and their generation to emigrate in search of work.
Westmeath native Peadar Doyle confronted the government leader as he campaigned in Athlone for a Yes vote in the EU Fiscal Treaty referendum.
Doyle went head to head with Kenny as the Fine Gael leader arrived at the Golden Island shopping centre.
He was one of a number of protesters who clashed with the Prime Minister on the campaign trail.
“Back in 1958, I was forced out of this country. You are now forcing my children and my grandchildren out of this country,” Doyle told Kenny.
He later revealed that one son is already working in Wales, another is to emigrate when he finishes college in Waterford while his daughter, currently studying for her final school exams, is also resigned to emigration.
Doyle added: “I am one of the people who has not paid the household charge. I am telling you personally, and whether I am breaking the law or whether I am not breaking the law, I don’t mind because I paid €60,000 in taxes when I came back here.”
Kenny informed the angry father that he was indeed breaking the law then denied any part in his family’s plight.
The Irish PM responded: “I’m not forcing anybody out. Don’t make a charge like that on me. They are leaving, unfortunately; we are trying to rectify that situation.”
“If you want to go and make a speech, you can go and do it outside,” he added.
Reports in the Irish Independent say that Doyle, adamant he is not a member of any political party, then urged Kenny not to allow Angela Merkel ‘shrink our economy any more’.
“I won’t be sold to the Germans,” he said.
Kenny replied: “We won’t be sold to anybody, we are well able to stand on our own two feet.”
Kenny later said: “Nobody likes to see their children emigrate. That’s why Government and the country has got to get its house in order and grow our economy.”