Ireland’s Prime Minister has taken offence to a St Patrick’s Day video message from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told an Irish newspaper he had watched Mr Abbott’s video and rejected the perception that Ireland was synonymous with alcohol.
Mr Abbott prompted criticism last week for the video message, in which he awkwardly describes St Patrick’s Day as the one day when “it’s good to be green”.
He proclaims Ireland’s most famous day “a great day for the Irish, and the English, the Vietnamese, the Cambodians and everyone who cares to come to a party”.
Mr Abbott signs off his message with an apology that “I can’t be there to share a Guinness or two or maybe even three”.
Mr Kenny said he had heard Mr Abbott’s comments and he didn’t agree with them.
“I’ve heard the Prime Minister’s comments. He made them. I don’t agree with that,” he was reported as saying in the Irish Independent.
“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. I think it’s really important that we understand that we have a national day that can be celebrated worldwide, St Patrick’s Day.”
After the video was released last week, two St Patrick’s Day events decided not to screen the message after it made headlines in Ireland, with critics describing it as “patronising”.