Race for Seanad Eireann – thanks to Fine Gael for the opportunity

There are four options for political people. Ignore it all together. Sign on for the Taoiseach’s 11, run for NUI or TCD, or on a panel nominated by an outside nominating body or by Oireachtas members.

I had the privilege of running for the Cultural and Educational panel for Fine Gael as an Oireachtas nominee. It is a singular honour and it presented me with the opportunity of touring the country and meeting many interesting people. I wish to thank those people who voted for me. Any vote is an honour and I treat it like that. False declarations and promises are contemptable and only demeanm those who operate like that. I voted No 1 for those I told I would do so. No lies – No bullshit.

Unfortunately for me, I won the liars prize but that’s life.

Thanks to Gerry O’Connell, Bill Martin, Paul Cuddihy, Henry Kenny, Madeleine Argue, Jim Finucane, the Cs, Crowe and Conway in Clare, the members in Donegal, Louth and many others. The count revealed an intense localism in transfers. It merely bears out the Tip O’Neill maxim that all politics are local.

I drove around the ring of Kerry, the wilds of Ballycroy, the Slieve Bloom mountains, the hills of Cavan, to Hughie’s house in Monaghan, across Tyrone to Lifford, around Cork City and county and saw the magnificent Ballycotton Lighthouse from Hegarty’s farm, to meet Dundalk fan Martin Bellew, through Clare to the family farm, watched the sun set on Spanish Point, sat in Durrow on a sunday afternoon in the sunshine, got recalled to Kinsale with the promise of a fourth preference, enjoyed the Sheehan home in Killarney, stayed in the Dunraven Arms Hotel, bumped the car to Passage east in Waterford and marvelled at the farm of Paddy Kavanagh in Enniscorthy. I saw a patridge and many peacocks in Tipperary. Stopped at Rockwell where two of my uncles went to school and St Louis’s in Monaghan where my aunts boarded. I met Frank Kilbride in Edgeworthtown and Paggy Nolan in Longford where Victor Kiernan spoke to me from the cab of his red tractor. doing a radio programme live on Q102 from Lord Major of Limerick, Maria Byrne’s office looking out on the Shannon was an experience.

This campaign was a wonderful experience for me. I take victory and defeat like the imposters they are. I think of my class – John Dillon, Ailish Hayes, Tommy Brennan, Colm Allen, Doon O’Riordan, Dermot O’Brien, Catherine Counihan, Jim Dowling, Fran Ryan, – all dead and By J…. it’s great to be alive. You must have perspective. Look at the job enda has now. Daunting is the only appropriate description.

Life is precious. Enjoy it while you can and never be mean in money or in spirit. I even forgive Gerry “beggars” Breen and wish him well!!!! Bitterness only leaves a bad taste!

The car ran at 6.0 litres per 100 km and I salute volvo engineers for that.

There is also the experience of the wonderful optimism of John Bailey as he raced around Ireland.

Reading some of the campaign was both funny and awe inspiring.McCartan quoting his Mensa membership as his second canvass point. Another candidate writing that he wanted to save councillors from the Gormley cuts and reverse the expense straight jacket and the pay cuts. I obviously occupy a different planet.

I will provide a World Tour of Ireland Report as soon as I have the time. Here is a tincture – the pictures are of Durrow, County Laois and the last of Rathdowney where John is King! (ps a decent bloke and a fireman).