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Interview with Paschal Donohoe… July 22, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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About seven years ago, must have been 2011 or so someone rang the front door bell. I opened the door to discover the face of one Paschal Donohoe wearing an expression that combined a smile with concern. It was kind of disconcerting. I’m not one to exorcise my political energies on the doorstep – hey, that’s why this whole site is here – so I muttered something along the lines of ‘no thanks’ and closed the door. I’m sure he was well used to that response.

Anyhow, back to Donohoe. I had to admit to a certain – admiration is too strong a word, perhaps respect, though that too is too strong, perhaps simply having canvassed so many years myself a certain recognition that it’s not fun, that’s it’s difficult and wearing. And here he was, large as life. Not that I wanted to talk to him.

But we’ve Jason O’Toole in the current issue Hot Press for that. And you know what, Donohoe tells him that:

He joined Fine Gael and became a city councillor in 2004. He became a Senator in 2007 and was finally elected to the Dáil in 2011, when he topped the poll in his Dublin Central constituency.
“Dublin Central was the jewel in the crown of Fianna Fáil,” he says, “and I spent many years battling away with little anticipation of getting elected. But I did it because I enjoyed what I did and I valued it.” He hasn’t looked back since. He was elevated

He ‘enjoyed it’? Hmmm… well that’s a new one.

O’Toole digs in. The Minister has a range of Star Wars figurines in his office. Unusual one might think in this or any century. But the man is a fan. And of Hot Press – effusive in his praise of the magazine.

And that’s why now I’ve music on all the time, reading all the time – Hot Press played a big part in a lot of that. If it wasn’t for Hot Press, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to know novelists like William Boyd and Ian Banks, let alone artists from REM to The Waterboys to Kanye West. You know, the contribution that Hot Press has given to me in terms of that kind of cultural life is something that I’d like to acknowledge. It’s such a great publication for our political and cultural life.

This, by the way would be a brilliant tactic with many an interviewer. But thankfully it’s cut short by O’Toole who pushes on to the more substantive stuff.

He was inspired to get involved in politics by a belief he had a duty to try and help everyone in our country get the same opportunities he did. And the state has ‘a role to play’.

But, in response to the question did FG’s reputation as a conservative party, a farmer’s party, not put him off…

I’m not a conservative. I’m not a farmer obviously.

And there’s a bit of evasion in respect of the following:

…if I was living in England… I wouldn’t vote for the Conservative Party. I wouldn’t vote for the Republican Party in America. I have different views.

Which really just leaves a limited number of options in the UK.

When I was in the UK I never voted in an election… if I’d had a vote, I would’ve voted LD and then when Tony Blair was lead of the LP, I’d have cast a vote for them.

There’s some discussion on religion. He’s Catholic, though heterodox in his views – pro-same sex marriage, etc.

Do you believe only Christians go to heaven, or do you believe everyone goes to heaven – including Muslims, Moonies and Jews?
Ah, God! Jason, I don’t know the answer to that now. All I can answer you is about my own beliefs about these things.

And he’s in favour of Repealing the 8th to deal with fatal foetal abnormality and mentions changing the law to deal with cases of rape.

No fan of Boris Johnson, he also believes ‘independence’ for Northern Ireland is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, he mentions in passing the ‘spirit of Roy Jenkins and the Social Democratic Party’ in the UK making a return. Oddly, or perhaps predictably, his own department, that of Public Expenditure and Report is the area he addresses least. But then, as he says, he has the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

There’s a lot more – well worth a look.

Comments»

1. dublinstreams - July 22, 2016

‘Boris Johnson is a charlatan,’ says Minister Donohoe in Hotpress interview says Indo http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/boris-johnson-is-a-charlatan-says-minister-donohoe-34900845.html when was this interview conducted after he became Foreign Secretary or before?

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sonofstan - July 22, 2016

excellent question

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Jason O'Toole - July 22, 2016

It took place 48 hours before the appointment, in fairness. I have a feeling he would’ve been a wee bit more cautious if it had taken place a few days later.

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